Friday, April 23, 2010

Extramarital sex 'causes more earthquakes', Iranian cleric claims

Attractive women who snub traditional Islamic clothing to instead wear fashionable clothes and apply heavy make-up, caused youths in the country to “go astray” and have affairs, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi said.

The hard-line cleric said as a result the country, bounded by several fault lines, experienced more “calamities” such as earthquakes, the reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper reported him saying.

Iran is prone to frequent quakes, many of which have been devastating for the country.

"Many women who dress inappropriately ... cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes," he told worshippers at a Tehran prayer service late last week.

"Calamities are the result of people's deeds.

“We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers."

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Further reading:
Blogger: Show cleavage to test cleric’s quake theory

Caste discrimination against India's 'untouchables' is an international issue

For years, the Government of India has opposed efforts to place the issue of caste discrimination on the agenda of the international community. This attitude is counterproductive as it would be to India's advantage to support such efforts and take the lead in the global struggle against a form of discrimination which affects an estimated 260 million people around the world.

The caste system may be outlawed in India, but legislation is poorly implemented, and the country's 200 million Dalits – formerly known as 'untouchables' – continue to suffer appalling forms of discrimination. Murder, rape and other crimes against them are mostly committed with impunity, while many Dalits experience forced prostitution and other forms of modern slavery.

India has much to gain from encouraging international involvement in this issue. Its endorsement of a UN framework to eliminate caste discrimination would set an example to other countries and strengthen its own unsuccessful efforts to end this human rights problem. Such a framework exists in the form of the draft UN Principles and Guidelines to eliminate caste discrimination, which have been published, but not yet adopted, by the UN Human Rights Council.

Recently, civil society activists and an Indian MP have urged the government to stop opposing the inclusion of caste discrimination in the international human rights regime, and to become a champion of the draft UN Principles and Guidelines in the UN. However, government officials continue to reject such claims based on misguided interpretations of caste discrimination in the context of international human rights law.

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Greek goes to war over image rights

..."I got upset because they were using my image without my authorisation. But I also got upset because they were advertising the yoghurt as Turkish," he told the BBC.

"I am Greek. I feel Greek. I'm from Delphi, which is an internationally renowned location for Greek history."

Mr Karatzoglou has launched a series of legal proceedings in Greek courts against Lindahl's Dairy of Jonkoping in southern Sweden.

A civil suit demands compensation of 6.9m euros (£6m). His lawyers are also pursuing a criminal prosecution against the yoghurt firm's chief executive, Anders Lindahl, alleging misuse of personal data.

"This is not a frivolous case," says Athenian lawyer Mr Dimitris Dimitriou. "It is very serious. I think there is no bigger insult for a Greek than to be called a Turk."

His colleague says a misuse of personal data offence is punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

Lindahl's have rejected the compensation claim as unrealistic, and say they are not concerned about the threat of prison because the image was purchased in good faith. ...

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Tibet Blues in Russia - Loten Namling and Lento

The song of wishing the compassionate seed to all sentient beings

Pakistan holding thousands in indefinite detention, officials say

 The Pakistani military is holding thousands of suspected militants in indefinite detention, arguing that the nation's dysfunctional civilian justice system cannot be trusted to prevent them from walking free, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

The majority of the detainees have been held for nearly a year and have been allowed no contact with family members, lawyers or humanitarian groups, the Pakistani officials and human rights advocates said.

Top U.S. officials have raised concern about the detentions with Pakistani leaders, fearing that the issue could undermine American domestic and congressional support for the U.S.-backed counterinsurgency campaign in Pakistan and jeopardize billions of dollars in U.S. assistance.

Pakistani officials say that they are aware of the problem but that there is no clear solution: Pakistan has no applicable military justice system, and even civilian officials concede that their courts are not up to the task of handling such a large volume of complex terrorism cases. There is little forensic evidence in most cases, and witnesses are likely to be too scared to testify.

The quandary plays directly into the Taliban's strategy. The group has gained a following in Pakistan by capitalizing on the weakness of the civilian government, promising the sort of swift justice that is often absent from the slow-moving and overburdened courts.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Vatican, the P2 Lodge & the Mafia

Banco Ambrosiano was an Italian bank which collapsed in 1982. At the center of the bank's failure was its chairman, Roberto Calvi and his membership in the illegal masonic lodge Propaganda Due. Vatican Bank was Banco Ambrosiano's main shareholder, and the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978 is rumored to be linked to the Ambrosiano scandal, giving one of the subplots of The Godfather Part III. Vatican Bank was also accused of funneling covert United States funds to Solidarity and the Contras through Banco Ambrosiano.

The body of a top Italian banker has been found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
Known as God's banker for his links with the Vatican, 62-year-old Roberto Calvi was the chairman of Banco Ambrosiano in Milan and a central figure in a complex web of international fraud and intrigue.

He had been missing for the last nine days before his body was discovered by a passer-by hanging from scaffolding on a riverside walk under the bridge.

Police are treating the death as suicide.

Mr Calvi became chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, now Italy's largest private bank, in 1975 and built up a vast financial empire.

In 1978, a report by the Bank of Italy on Ambrosiano concluded that several billion lire had been illegally exported.

In May 1981, Mr Calvi was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to four years' imprisonment, but released pending an appeal. During his short spell in jail he attempted suicide.

Mr Calvi was due to appear in an Italian court next week to appeal against this conviction.

Later this month he was to be tried for alleged fraud involving property deals with Sicilian banker Michele Sindona, who is himself serving 25 years in America over the collapse of the Franklin National Bank in New York in 1974.

The Vatican is directly linked to Mr Calvi by Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the Pope's bodyguard, a governor of the Vatican and head of the Vatican bank which has a shareholding in Ambrosiana.

Now Ambrosiano is on the verge of collapse amid press reports that investigators found a £400m "hole" in its accounts. Last week the bank's executive board decided to strip Mr Calvi of his authority.

The Italian Treasury dissolved the bank's administration and the Bank of Italy is now a temporary commissioner.

Mr Calvi fled to Venice nine days ago after shaving his mustache to avoid being recognized.

From there it seems he hired a private plane to take him to London.

The day before he was found dead, his secretary committed suicide in Milan by jumping off the fourth floor of the bank's headquarters.

Teresa Corrocher, aged 55, left an angry suicide note condemning her boss for the damage she said he had done to Ambrosiano and its employees.

It was later revealed that Roberto Calvi was found with five bricks in his pockets and had in his possession about $14,000 in three different currencies.
On 23 July an inquest jury returned a verdict of suicide. This was overturned in 1983 when a second inquest delivered an open verdict on the death.

In October 2002 forensic experts appointed by Italian judges concluded that the banker had been murdered.

They said his neck showed no evidence of the injuries usually associated with death by hanging and his hands had never touched the stones found in the pockets of his clothes. American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was sought for questioning but was granted immunity as a Vatican employee. He retired in 1990 and died in 2006.

In October 2005 five people went on trial in Rome. They were Sardinian financier Flavio Carboni, his former girlfriend Manuela Kleinszig, Roman entrepreneur Ernesto Diotallevi, Calvi's former bodyguard, Silvano Vittor and convicted Cosa Nostra treasurer Pippo Calo.

Prosecutors said the Mafia had killed Calvi for stealing from them and from Italian financier Lucio Gelli, who was the head of the shadowy P2 masonic organization.

Propaganda, black public relations & mind control report

A series covering propaganda; the history of propaganda, the origin of word propaganda, what propaganda is, how it used and how to recognize it, how propaganda relates to truth.

Memorial program focuses on gay Holocaust victims

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Geoffrey Giles began his dissection of the Nazi mind with a message not conventionally tied to the genocide of six million Jews.

“Adolf Hitler was not particularly anti-Semitic,” he told the audience of about 350.

Instead of focusing solely on the Jewish demographic, the program remembered victims from the gay community Sunday night at the B'nai Israel Jewish Center.

This year's Holocaust memorial examined the persecution and violence targeted against German homosexuals by the Nazi regime.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, is a reminder for everyone across the nation to remember and learn about the horrors of the Holocaust.

“The Holocaust is something that really concerns us all in terms of the relative ease with which hate groups can really gain support and how easily that can spiral out of control,” Giles said.

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Deutsche Bank settles spy affair lawsuit

Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay about five million euros ($6.7 million) to settle a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit brought by the former head of investor relations it accused last year of helping to spearhead a spying operation against a shareholder and others, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Deutsche Bank confirmed that it had settled the case involving the former executive, Wolfram Schmitt, as well as a related lawsuit brought by its former head of security, Rafael Schenz. The two have declined to comment on the bank's allegations against them.

A spokesman for the bank declined to discuss the terms of the settlements. The two men had sued Deutsche Bank in a Frankfurt labor court, arguing that they had been unfairly dismissed for their alleged role in the bank's spying activities.

Deutsche Bank said last year that it had hired detectives on four occasions to investigate and gather information on several individuals, including a shareholder and a journalist, among others.

The incident that received the most attention involved Michael Bohndorf, a gadfly shareholder who had sued Deutsche Bank a number of times on corporate-governance grounds.

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When science imposes on morality

From The amazing brain by Richard Gray:

Most of us tend not to contemplate the stuff sitting between our ears. But each of us is carrying around one of the most amazing objects ever created – and one that governs almost everything about how and why we think, feel, act and believe.

For example, we think of our ability to distinguish between right and wrong as a fundamental part of what makes us human, giving us a grasp of morality and philosophy. But yesterday, researchers revealed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had essentially been able to switch off their subjects' moral compasses, by applying powerful magnets to a small region of the brain just behind the right ear.

Volunteers subjected to magnetic pulses to the right temporo-parietal junction, an area that is highly active when we think about the thoughts and beliefs of others, were more likely to make morally dubious decisions.

From Moral confusion in the name of “science” by Sam Harris:

Most educated, secular people (and this includes most scientists, academics, and journalists) seem to believe that there is no such thing as moral truth—only moral preference, moral opinion, and emotional reactions that we mistake for genuine knowledge of right and wrong, or good and evil. While I make the case for a universal conception of morality in much greater depth in my forthcoming book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values , I’d like to address the most common criticisms I’ve received thus far in response to my remarks at TED.

Some of my critics got off the train before it even left the station, by defining “science” in exceedingly narrow terms. Many think that science is synonymous with mathematical modeling, or with immediate access to experimental data. However, this is to mistake science for a few of its tools. Science simply represents our best effort to understand what is going on in this universe, and the boundary between it and the rest of rational thought cannot always be drawn. There are many tools one must get in hand to think scientifically—ideas about cause and effect, respect for evidence and logical coherence, a dash of curiosity and intellectual honesty, the inclination to make falsifiable predictions, etc.—and many come long before one starts worrying about mathematical models or specific data.

There is also much confusion about what it means to speak with scientific “objectivity.” As the philosopher John Searle once pointed out, there are two very different senses of the terms “objective” and “subjective.” The first relates to how we know (i.e. epistemology), the second to what there is to know (i.e. ontology). When we say that we are reasoning or speaking “objectively,” we mean that we are free of obvious bias, open to counter-arguments, cognizant of the relevant facts, etc. There is no impediment to our doing this with regard to subjective (i.e. first-person) facts. It is, for instance, true to say that I am experiencing tinnitus (ringing in my ears) at this moment. This is a subjective fact about me. I am not lying about it. I have been to an otologist and had the associated hearing loss in the upper frequencies in my right ear confirmed. There is simply no question that I can speak about my tinnitus in the spirit of scientific objectivity. And, no doubt, this experience must have some objective (third-person) correlates, like damage to my cochlea. Many people seem to think that because moral facts relate entirely to our experience (and are, therefore, ontologically “subjective”), all talk of morality must be “subjective” in the epistemological sense (i.e. biased, merely personal, etc.). This is simply untrue.

Many of my critics also fail to distinguish between there being no answers in practice and no answers in principle to certain questions about the nature of reality. Only the latter questions are “unscientific,” and there are countless facts to be known in principle that we will never know in practice. Exactly how many birds are in flight over the surface of the earth at this instant? What is their combined weight in grams? We cannot possibly answer such questions, but they have simple, numerical answers. Does our inability to gather the relevant data oblige us to respect all opinions equally? For instance, how seriously should we take the claim that there are exactly 23,000 birds in flight at this moment, and, as they are all hummingbirds weighing exactly 2 grams, their total weight is 46,000 grams? It should be obvious that this is a ridiculous assertion. We can, therefore, decisively reject answers to questions that we cannot possibly answer in practice. This is a perfectly reasonable, scientific, and often necessary thing to do. And yet, many scientists will say that moral truths do not exist, simply because certain facts about human experience cannot be readily known, or may never be known. As I hope to show, this blind spot has created tremendous confusion about the relationship between human knowledge and human values.

When I speak of there being right and wrong answers to questions of morality, I am saying that there are facts about human and animal wellbeing that we can, in principle, know—simply because wellbeing (and states of consciousness altogether) must lawfully relate to states of the brain and to states of the world.

Beware scientism’s onward march!

By Lionel Milgrom PhD

Introducing some concepts 

First it is necessary to make a clear distinction between science and scientism. The former might be defined as a continuing effort to increase human knowledge and understanding through observation (with the important proviso that in spite of its more outlandish proposals, post-modernism still serves to warn that objectivity in observation is always conditioned by expectations and past experiences; regardless of the 'rigour' of the science). Scientism, on the other hand, [1] is the totally unscientific belief that:-

·      Only scientific knowledge is real knowledge:

·      There is no rational, objective form of inquiry that is not a branch of science:

·      Science is the absolute and only justifiable access to truth.

Significantly, no sign of post-modernism's warning being heeded here. Indeed, supporters of scientism (which has its roots in materialistic logical positivism [2] and naïve inductivism [3] - both of which are seriously limited interpretations of science) [4] see it as their bounden duty to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, mythological, philosophical, sociological (in any non-reductive sense), and religious claims to knowledge, as their truths cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. And precisely because scientism's supporters are so jealous of what they believe is their monopoly on truth (especially as exemplified by the science of the day: science too has its fashions), they represent a form of dogmatic intolerance bordering on fundamentalism; even fascism. As neurophysiologist and Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles once so eloquently put it, “Arrogance is one of the worst diseases of scientists and it gives rise to statements of authority and finality which are expressed usually in fields that are completely beyond the scientific competence of the dogmatist. It is important to realise that dogmatism has now become a disease of scientists rather than of theologians."We shall soon see how ominously prescient were these words.

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Homeopathy: what does the "best" evidence tell us?

The debate about the value of homeopathy — a therapeutic method that often uses highly diluted preparations of substances whose effects when administered to healthy subjects correspond to the manifestation of the disorder in the unwell patient1 — is as old as homeopathy itself. In recent decades, about 150 controlled clinical trials of homeopathy have been published. The results were neither all negative nor all positive. In such situations, some commentators resort to “cherry picking” — choosing those findings that fit their own preconceptions. The problem of selective citation is most effectively overcome by evaluating all reliable evidence, an aim best met by systematic reviews.

Even at the level of systematic reviews, the evidence on homeopathy is not entirely uniform. For instance, a Lancet review of 1997 concluded that “the clinical effects of homeopathy are not completely due to placebo”,2 while another systematic review, published in the same journal in 2005, concluded that “the clinical effects of homeopathy are placebo effects”.3 In 2002, I conducted a systematic review of 17 systematic reviews and concluded that “the best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommendations of its use in clinical practice”.4

Homeopaths have argued that systematic reviews that fail to generate positive conclusions about homeopathy are biased.5 It is therefore necessary to seek out those systematic reviews of research into homeopathy that are least likely to be biased. Several authors have demonstrated that Cochrane reviews tend to be superior to other reviews; they are more rigorous, more transparent, less biased and more up to date.6 In a word, they might be considered the “best”. Therefore, the aim of this article is to summarise and appraise the findings from Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy.

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Children use space to think about time

To probe the relationship between space  and time in the developing mind, Daniel Casasanto of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and colleagues at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Stanford University showed children movies of two snails racing along parallel paths for different distances or durations. The children judged either the spatial or temporal aspect of each race, reporting which animal went for a longer distance or a longer time.

When asked to judge distance, children had no trouble ignoring time. But when asked to judge time, they had difficulty ignoring the spatial dimension of the event. Snails that moved a longer distance were mistakenly judged to have traveled for a longer time. Children use physical distance to measure of the passage of time.

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Google and Facebook raise new issues for therapists and their clients

... Across the country, therapists are facing similar situations and conflicted feelings. When Huremovic, director of psychosomatic medicine services at Nassau University Medical Center in New York, recounted his vignette last year at an American Psychiatric Association meeting and asked whether others would have read the suicidal man's blog, his audience responded with resounding calls -- of both "yes!" and "no!" One thing was clear: How and when a therapist should use the Internet -- and even whether he or she should -- are questions subject to vigorous debate.

"We are just beginning to understand what ethical issues the Internet is raising," says Stephen Behnke, ethics director for the American Psychological Association. "To write rules that allow our field to grow and develop and yet prevent [patient] harm at the same time: That's the challenge."

In fact, the tremendous availability online of personal information threatens to alter what has been an almost sacred relationship between therapist and patient. Traditionally, therapists obtained information about a patient through face-to-face dialogue. If outside information was needed, the therapist would obtain the patient's consent to speak with family members or a previous mental-health practitioner. At the same time, patients traditionally knew little about their therapists outside the consulting room. Now, with the click of a mouse, tech-savvy therapists and patients are challenging the old rules and raising serious questions about how much each should know about the other and where lines should be drawn.

Among the questions under debate:

Should a therapist review the Web site of a patient or conduct an online search without that patient's consent?

Is it appropriate for a therapist to put personal details about himself on a blog or Web site or to join Facebook or other social networks?

What are the risks of having patients and therapists interact online?

Neither the American Psychiatric Association nor the American Psychological Association has rules specifically governing therapists' online behavior, but ethics advisers with the psychiatric association maintain that online searches are not wrong -- as long as they're done in the patient's interest and not out of therapist curiosity. ...

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Whistleblowing journalist treated as "fugitive felon" by Israel's Mossad intel agents

An Israeli journalist who went into hiding after writing a series of reports showing lawbreaking approved by Israeli army commanders faces a lengthy jail term for espionage if caught, as Israeli security services warned at the weekend they would "remove the gloves" to track him down.

The Shin Bet, Israel's secret police, said it was treating Uri Blau, a reporter with the liberal Haaretz daily newspaper who has gone underground in London, as a "fugitive felon" and that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

Options being considered are an extradition request to the British authorities or, if that fails, a secret operation by Mossad, Israel's spy agency, to smuggle him back, according to Maariv, a right-wing newspaper.

It was revealed yesterday that Mr Blau's informant, Anat Kamm, 23, a former conscript soldier who copied hundreds of classified documents during her military service, had confessed shortly after her arrest in December to doing so to expose "war crimes".

The Shin Bet claims that Mr Blau is holding hundreds of classified documents, including some reported to relate to Operation Cast Lead, Israel's attack on Gaza in winter 2008 in which the army is widely believed to have violated the rules of war.

Other documents, the basis of a Haaretz investigation published in 2008, concern a meeting between the head of the army, Gabi Ashkenazi, and the Shin Bet in which it was agreed to ignore a court ruling and continue carrying out executions of Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories.

Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet, who has said his organisation was previously "too sensitive with the investigation", is now demanding that Mr Blau reveal his entire document archive and take a lie-detector test on his return to identify his sources, according to Haaretz. The newspaper and its lawyers have recommended that he remain in hiding to protect his informants.

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Israel's censorship scandal

Judith Miller reports for The Daily Beast:

A 23-year-old journalist is under arrest for exposing a secret Israeli assassination plot, and another has fled to London, afraid for his life. Judith Miller talks to insiders who have been gagged by the government about the scandal rocking Tel Aviv, and Israel's slide toward Iranian-style censorship.

You've probably never heard of Anat Kamm. Few people have. But for nearly four months, the 23-year-old Israeli journalist has been under house arrest in Tel Aviv for allegedly stealing and leaking secret Israeli defense ministry documents to a journalist from Ha'aretz, one of Israel's leading dailies.

Kamm would love to tell her side of the story, her friends and associates tell me. So would her lawyers. So, too, would Dov Alfon, the chief editor of Ha'aretz, a liberal paper, and Uri Blau, the reporter to whom Kamm allegedly leaked the documents she was said to have copied while she was completing her military service.

But they cannot talk or write about the espionage case. In an extremely rare action, an Israeli court has ordered the Israeli media not to publish or broadcast a word about Kamm, the allegations against her, or the investigation that has led Blau, the Ha'aretz reporter involved, to flee to London. For almost four months, Blau has been in self-imposed exile there to avoid answering questions about how and from whom he obtained the confidential defense department documents that are said to have resulted in a spate of stories alleging personal and institutional misconduct on the part of the Israeli Defense Forces, the hallowed IDF, and some of its senior officials.

In a nation that prides itself on its vibrant discourse and a free press, this is stunning, depressing news.

What is being called the “Anat Kamm affair” has produced its own anomaly: Since details about the inquiry have begun spilling out into the non-Israeli press, Israelis can only gossip about what the non-Israeli media are reporting. Violating such gag orders in Israel can result in severe financial penalties for Israeli newspapers and magazines and jail for editors and other media executives. At least one publication was temporarily closed several years ago for disregarding a similar court order.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FKN Newz: Submit or fight

Obama to nominate Jesus Christ to Supreme Court

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Jesus Christ, an immigrant originally born to a virgin mother in Bethlehem, to fill the new vacancy on the Supreme Court. Although Mr. Christ is over 2,000 years old, He is immortal, so Democrats and Republicans expect that He will serve on the high court forever or until He decides to start the End Times. Republicans are expected to fight the nomination on the grounds that Mr. Christ would radically move the Court to the left. The GOP is also concerned that, despite decades of controversy and speculation, Mr. Christ has never revealed his position on abortion. Mr. Christ, according to many authorities, is expected to oppose the death penalty in all forms. Michael Steele, the head of the GOP national committee, issued a statement: "Christ is a complete mystery to us. He won't reveal His physical appearance and many of His positions are unknown or the subject of speculation. He is a stealth candidate. Why won't He reveal himself? Who does He think He is?"

Republicans are reportedly outraged that Mr. Obama even considered Mr. Christ, who has been widely quoted for his sentiments supporting the poor over the wealthy. In a Facebook post, former half-term Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin called for an investigation into the Bethlehem chapter of ACORN because of what she termed the "highly suspicious" coincidence that both President Obama and Mr. Christ had each spent three years as community organizers. In her post, Palin also wrote that "More and more of good God-fearing smalltime Americans from hardworking smalltime towns from great parts of this real America, West, South, East, North, are seeing more and more every day that Christ is a community organizer. We don't need another community organizer in the White House!"

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'Revered Nagasena, what is the Blessed One's general shop?'

From The Blessed One's City of Dhamma

"The Blessed One's general shop, sire, is the nine-limbed Word of the Buddha, the shrines of his bodily relics and the things he used, and it is the jewel of the Order. And in the Blessed One's general shop, sire, the bliss of high birth is put on sale, the bliss of wealth, of long life, of good health, of beauty, of wisdom, human bliss, deva-like bliss, is put on sale, the bliss of Nibbana is put on sale. Whichever bliss they want, then, having given the price of the transaction, they buy the bliss desired. Some buy through undertaking morality, some buy through observing the formal acts of the Observance, and, in respect of this and that, they acquire the blisses from the smallest price of the transaction onwards.

"Such people as these, sire, dwell in the Blessed One's City of Dhamma: those versed in the discourses, those versed in the discipline, those versed in the Abhidhamma, speakers on Dhamma, Jataka-repeaters, Digha-repeaters, Majjhima-repeaters, Samyutta-repeaters, Anguttara-repeaters, Khudaka-repeaters; those possessed of morality, those possessed of concentration, those possessed of wisdom; those who delight in the factors of enlightenment, those with insight, those intent on their own goal; forest-dwellers, those living at the roots of trees, in the open air, on a heap of straw, in cemeteries, those who maintain a sitting posture; those who are practicing rightly, those enjoying fruition, stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners, arahants; those with the threefold knowledge, those with the six super-knowledges, those of psychic power, those gone to the perfection of wisdom; those skilled in the foundations of mindfulness, the right efforts, the bases of psychic power, the spiritual faculties, the powers, the factors of enlightenment, the excellent path; meditation, the liberations, form and formlessness, and the attainments that are peaceful and happy. The City of Dhamma is peopled and packed, crowded and teeming with these arahants like a grove of reeds.

"Those monks, sire, who are experts in the unlimited noble knowledge, who are without attachment, whose special qualities are unequaled, whose fame, strength and incandescence are beyond measure, who are turners of the Wheel of Dhamma, gone to the perfection of wisdom — monks such as these, sire, are called Generals of Dhamma in the Blessed One's City of Dhamma.

"And those monks, sire, who are of psychic power, masters of the analytical knowledges, attained to confidence, movers through the sky, difficult to equal, difficult to overcome, movers without a support, able to shake the earth with its seas and mountains, able to touch the moon and the sun, skilled in assuming different forms and making volitional determinations and resolves — monks such as these, sire, are called royal priests in the Blessed One's City of Dhamma.

"And those monks who conform to the ascetic practices, who are of few wants, contented, detesters of not seeking alms according to the disciplinary code, who go on uninterrupted rounds for almsfood like bees that, having drunk in successive scents, enter secluded groves, who are reckless of body and life, having attained to arahantship, are proclaimed eminent in a special quality of ascetic practice — monks such as these, sire, are called judges in the Blessed One's City of Dhamma.

"And those monks, sire, who are completely purified, stainless, without defilements and, won to perfection in deva-vision, are skilled in the knowledge of the deceasing here and arising elsewhere of beings — monks such as these, sire, are called lighters of the city in the Blessed One's City of Dhamma.

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Butterfly nets for ghosts

For decades physicists have suspected that neutrinos hold some of the universe’s darkest secrets. Determining their behavior and where they came from could tell rich stories of the early universe and potentially illuminate the curious nature of dark matter. Untold trillions of these tiny subatomic particles—some born soon after the birth of the universe, others born in the hearts of stars—have traveled unimaginable distances to pass through your body every second. So what does this mean for you? Not much, really. The nearly massless particles pass through almost all matter unabated, without leaving a trace. It’s this elusive nature that also makes them so difficult to detect and therefore study. Very occasionally, however, a neutrino collides into an atom, producing from the wreckage another particle—known as a muon—that can be detected (using special light sensors). At the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a team of pioneering researchers has buried thousands of these sensors miles deep into the ice at the bottom of the Earth, all in an attempt to catch the rare neutrino that crashes into an atom of ice. By analyzing the specific path of this subatomic train wreck, the researchers can trace the neutrino’s path to its distant cosmic source. In this way, IceCube looks through the Earth and to the northern skies, using the planet as a filter to select neutrinos. “I like to say we’re building butterfly nets for ghosts,” says Francis Halzen, principle investigator of the project. “The ultra-transparent Antarctic ice itself is the detector. And a real bargain at just 25 cents per ton!”

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'Epicurus’ Four-Step Program to eliminate anxiety and attain serenity'

From The Symphony of a Lifetime

In the last stage of life, even with the cheeriest outlook, it isn’t easy to keep thoughts of death at bay. Consider, though, the advice of the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 B.C.), who lent his name to the school of Epicureanism but who was, in my reading of him, the world’s first shrink. Epicureanism is generally understood to be about indulging fleshly pleasures, especially those of food and drink, but it is, I think, more correctly understood as the search for serenity.

Epicurus, who met with friends (disciples, really) in his garden in Athens, devised a program to rid the world of anxiety. His method, like most methods of personal reform, had set steps, in this case four such steps. Here they are:

Step One: Do not believe in God, or in the gods. They most likely do not exist, and even if they did, it is preposterous to believe that they could possibly care, that they are watching over you and keeping a strict accounting of your behavior.

Step Two: Don’t worry about death. Death, be assured, is oblivion, a condition not different from your life before you were born: an utter blank. Forget about heaven, forget about hell; neither exists — after death there is only the Big O (oblivion) and the Big N (nullity), nothing, nada, zilch. Get your mind off it.

Step Three: Forget, as best you are able, about pain. Pain is either brief, and will therefore soon enough diminish and be gone; or, if it doesn’t disappear, if it lingers and intensifies, death cannot be far away, and so your worries are over here, too, for death, as we know, also presents no problem, being nothing more than eternal dark, dreamless sleep.

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The world's most generic news report - Charlie Brooker's Newswipe

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The sex scholar

In 1973, historian Carl Degler was combing the University archives, gathering research for a book on the history of the family. Sifting through the papers of Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher, who taught in Stanford's hygiene department around the turn of the 20th century, he came across a mysteriously bound file. Degler nearly put it aside, figuring it was a manuscript for one of Mosher's published works, mostly statistical treatises on women's height, strength and menstruation. But instead, he recalls, "I opened it up and there were these questionnaires"— questionnaires upon which dozens of women, most born before 1870, had inscribed their most intimate thoughts.

In other words, it was a sex survey. A Victorian sex survey. It is the earliest known study of its type, long preceding, for example, the 1947 and 1953 Kinsey Reports, whose oldest female respondents were born in the 1890s. The Mosher Survey recorded not only women's sexual habits and appetites, but also their thinking about spousal relationships, children and contraception. Perhaps, it hinted, Victorian women weren't so Victorian after all.

Indeed, many of the surveyed women were decidedly unshrinking. One, born in 1844, called sex "a normal desire" and observed that "a rational use of it tends to keep people healthier." Offered another, born in 1862, "The highest devotion is based upon it, a very beautiful thing, and I am glad nature gave it to us."

The survey's genesis—like its rediscovery—was a fortuitous accident. Mosher started it in 1892 as a 28-year-old biology undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin; she had been asked to address a local Mother's Club on "the marital relation" and as a single, childless woman seems to have used data collection to fill gaps in her knowledge. Afterward, Mosher continued conducting surveys until 1920, using variations on the same form and amassing 45 profiles in all. Yet Mosher never published or drew more than cursory observations from her data. She died in 1940, and the survey was entirely forgotten when Degler unearthed it.

"I remember I was so surprised when I first opened it and saw what was there," recalls Degler, 89, the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, emeritus. "I said to the librarian there, 'Did anyone ever use these papers before?' I was sure that they'd been used before. [The subject] was something that was so instantaneously interesting at this point. And they said no, no one ever had looked at any of the papers, and certainly not at that survey. That's one of the great experiences of my life as a historian."

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Rwanda's ex-U.N. ambassador, who vanished after genocide, resurfaces in Alabama

...Shortly after the rebels captured the Rwandan capital in July and overthrew the extremist interim regime, the young ambassador disappeared. Diplomats from the incoming government who took over Rwanda's U.N. mission on East 39th Street in Manhattan found the bank accounts empty and the offices stripped bare. Even the refrigerator and the stereo were gone.

Sixteen years later, the Rwandan government is still investigating whether Bizimana supported the genocide in his capacity at the United Nations, according to Andrew Tusabe, a counselor at the Rwandan Embassy in Washington. "Bizimana has not been forgotten," he told me. But he said they had not been able to determine his whereabouts.

It seemed that the ambassador, along with his wife and two small children, had simply vanished -- until he turned up living quietly in the small town of Opelika, Ala., a few miles up the road from Auburn University. He's an American citizen now. He works for a plastics company. And he doesn't want to talk about genocide...

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'Obama's doctrine is even more deadly'

From The 'Obama doctrine': kill, don't detain by Asim Qureshi, The Guardian

Worse still, a completely new trend has emerged that, in many ways, is more dangerous than the trends under Bush. Extrajudicial killings and targeted assassinations will soon become the main point of contention that Obama's administration will need to justify. Although Bush was known for his support for such policies, the extensive use of drones under Obama have taken the death count well beyond anything that has been seen before.

Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the US state department, explained the justifications behind unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) when addressing the American Society of International Law's annual meeting on 25 March 2010:

"[I]t is the considered view of this administration … that targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war … As recent events have shown, al-Qaida has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and indeed continues to attack us. Thus, in this ongoing armed conflict, the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks … [T]his administration has carefully reviewed the rules governing targeting operations to ensure that these operations are conducted consistently with law of war principles …

"[S]ome have argued that the use of lethal force against specific individuals fails to provide adequate process and thus constitutes unlawful extrajudicial killing. But a state that is engaged in armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force. Our procedures and practices for identifying lawful targets are extremely robust, and advanced technologies have helped to make our targeting even more precise. In my experience, the principles of distinction and proportionality that the United States applies are not just recited at meeting. They are implemented rigorously throughout the planning and execution of lethal operations to ensure that such operations are conducted in accordance with all applicable law."

The legal justifications put forward by Koh are reminiscent of the arguments that were used by John Yoo and others in their bid to lend legitimacy to unlawful practices such as rendition, arbitrary detention and torture. The main cause for concern from Koh's statements is the implication that protective jurisdiction to which the US feels it is entitled in order to carry out operations anywhere in the world still continues under Obama. The laws of war do not allow for the targeting of individuals outside of the conflict zone, and yet we now find that extrajudicial killings are taking place in countries as far apart as Yemen, the Horn of Africa and Pakistan. From a legal and moral perspective, the rationale provided by the State Department is bankrupt and only reinforces the stereotype that the US has very little concern for its own principles.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Did the US send Z. A. Bhutto to the Gallows?

By Irshad Salim, Pakistan Ledger

Saddam's defense team was “coached” to seek delays by no other person than a former U.S. attorney general and Human rightsactivist, Ramsey Clark. The Times of London had reported that Clark allegedly discussed stalling the proceedings for Saddam's war crimes and genocide charges by inviting a new international lawyer to take part, and suggested challenging the legitimacy of prosecution witnesses.

Clark, 77, is an outspoken critic of American foreign policy specially with respect to its covert actions all over the world and has found himself many a times on the other side of the fence. He has been called “Attorney Outlaw”, sometime accused of being “not merely their attorney but their advocate”.

[ ... ]

Clark's stint also includes attempting to rescue Pakistan's most charismatic leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from the gallows – – but a Pakistani law prohibited him from practicing or representing Bhutto in the criminal proceedings. It ultimately put the noose around Bhutto's neck.

Clark ominously predicted Bhutto's fate and predicament, having attended some of the “sham proceedings in a “kangaroo court” as he called them, and flew back hurriedly to the West dejected. He then went around holding press conferences and attending talk shows to reach out to the American public and stoke the sentiments of a civilization that nurtured a higher standard of moral grounds.

Clark addressed Stanford University in California and announced that the CIA may have been behind Bhutto's ouster in a military coup even though he was a democratically elected President of Pakistan. It set off detonations of rumors, gossips, innuendos, drawing room politics, coffee house cigarette smoke-filled animated discussions.

But the croupier was already paid off and the dice was fixed! Even Bhutto predicted he would be assassinated.

“I don't believe in conspiracy theories in general, but the similarities in the staging of riots in Chile (where the CIA allegedly helped overthrow President Salvadore Allande) and in Pakistan are just too close.” Clark had said.

Clark also highlighted the inadequacies of Pakistan's legal system then and the bias he found among those who ran and controlled it, and who according to him was sure to send Bhutto to the gallows if the world did not act fast enough.

Bhutto may be executed soon in order to head off a probable political comeback when elections are held this October (1977), Clark had announced.

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Ramsey Clark chosen to head commission to investigate Bush crimes

On April 3, at a meeting of over 150 lawyers, legal scholars and human rights campaigners, Ramsey Clark, founder of Indict Bush Now, was chosen to be the chairperson of an international campaign to investigate war crimes committed by officials from the Bush administration.

Representatives at the meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon, came from all over the world. The campaign will investigate the lies, deceit and manipulation leading up to the Iraq war; the conduct of the war itself against an essentially defenseless country; and the horrors of the continued occupation.

Lawyers and judges in several countries are exploring prosecution.

Ramsey Clark emphasized that it is the imperative responsibility of the American people to relentlessly pursue this investigation, and to seek prosecution and indictment inside of the United States.

The culture of criminal conduct started at the top in the White House itself and seeped far down the chain of command. The White House is responsible for these crimes—from the hideous torture scenes at Abu Ghraib prison to the shockingly grotesque, cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians by U.S. helicopter pilots in Baghdad in 2007, as shown in a video released this week.

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Hallucinogens have doctors tuning in again

...Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugs' potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness.

After taking the hallucinogen, Dr. Martin put on an eye mask and headphones, and lay on a couch listening to classical music as he contemplated the universe.

“All of a sudden, everything familiar started evaporating,” he recalled. “Imagine you fall off a boat out in the open ocean, and you turn around, and the boat is gone. And then the water's gone. And then you're gone.”

Today, more than a year later, Dr. Martin credits that six-hour experience with helping him overcome his depression and profoundly transforming his relationships with his daughter and friends. He ranks it among the most meaningful events of his life, which makes him a fairly typical member of a growing club of experimental subjects.

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the United States in four decades. They plan to discuss studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol..

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Whistleblowers on US ‘massacre’ fear CIA stalkers

Activists behind a website dedicated to revealing secret documents have complained of harassment by police and intelligence services as they prepare to release a video showing an American attack in which 97 civilians were killed in Afghanistan.

Julian Assange, one of the founders of Wikileaks, has claimed that a restaurant where the group met in Reykjavic, the capital of Iceland, came under surveillance in March and one of the group's volunteers was detained for 21 hours by police.

Assange, an Australian, says he was followed on a flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen by two American agents. The group has riled governments by publishing documents leaked by whistleblowers.

Last week it released the cockpit recording from an American Apache helicopter as it killed Iraqi civilians, including a Reuters photographer, in Baghdad in 2007.

Assange claims surveillance has intensified as he and his colleagues prepare to put out their Afghan film. It is said to concern the so-called “Granai massacre”, when American aircraft dropped 500lb and 1,000lb bombs on a suspected militant compound in Farah province on May 4 last year. Several children were among those killed.

In messages on Twitter, the internet social networking site, Assange complained of “covert following and hidden photography” by police and foreign intelligence services. There have been thinly veiled threats, he says, from “an apparent British intelligence agent” in a car park in Luxembourg.

“Computers were also seized,” another member of Wikileaks said on Twitter, raising alarm among supporters with a subsequent post: “If anything happens to us, you know why ... and you know who is responsible.”

Their apprehension is perhaps understandable. America's defence establishment has made clear that it would like to silence the site. In 2008, the Pentagon produced a report on how to undermine and neutralise Wikileaks. This, too, emerged on the website.

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Top Polish leaders opposing euro and swine flu vaccines wiped out in mysterious plane crash

According to media, authorities are handling the deaths of top Polish political, military and economic leaders in a plane crash in the western Russian city of Smolensk on Saturday as an accident.

But a day after the crash, many unanswered questions surround the event.

Polskaweb has said that an assassination cannot be ruled out.

There are many reasons to dismiss the official story of how Poland's president, all of Poland's top army chiefs, the central bank governor and secret service chief died as a cover-up of massive proportions.

According to the mainstream media, the Polish delegation was flying from Warsaw to Smolensk to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre of thousands of Poles by Soviet secret service during the second world war.

But the official ceremony marking the Katyn anniversary was held earlier in the week on Wednesday and attended by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Russian head of state Vladimir Putin.

The Polish President Lech Kaczynski was not invited.

How come Presidnt Kaczynski and half of Poland's government flew to Katyn three days after the official anniversary?

Why did100 figures who are vital for the day-to-day functioning of the Polish government go to a relatively insignificant ceremony, and not to the main one?

What reason could there be for the Polish central bank governor to fly to Katyn to attend the ceremony?

Why did the 100 top Polish leaders all fly on the same plane?

How could security protocols that require that even a president and his deputy fly separately be so relaxed that so many key people needed to run the Polish government from day to day are allowed to fly on the same plane?

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Erykah Badu's JFK strip down for 'Window Seat'

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: A crazier future

The Long Now Foundation

Bush Link to Kennedy Assassination - Alex Jones 911 Conspiracy

A thorough, documented, criminal indictment of George Herbert Walker Bush, establishing beyond a reasonable doubt his guilt as a supervisor in the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life

It was no secret that Mohandas Gandhi had an unusual sex life. He spoke constantly of sex and gave detailed, often provocative, instructions to his followers as to how to they might best observe chastity. And his views were not always popular; "abnormal and unnatural" was how the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, described Gandhi's advice to newlyweds to stay celibate for the sake of their souls.

But was there something more complex than a pious plea for chastity at play in Gandhi's beliefs, preachings and even his unusual personal practices (which included, alongside his famed chastity, sleeping naked next to nubile, naked women to test his restraint)? In the course of researching my new book on Gandhi, going through a hundred volumes of his complete works and many tomes of eye-witness material, details became apparent which add up to a more bizarre sexual history.

Much of this material was known during his lifetime, but was distorted or suppressed after his death during the process of elevating Gandhi into the "Father of the Nation" Was the Mahatma, in fact, as the pre-independence prime minister of the Indian state of Travancore called him, "a most dangerous, semi-repressed sex maniac"?

Gandhi was born in the Indian state of Gujarat and married at 13 in 1883; his wife Kasturba was 14, not early by the standards of Gujarat at that time. The young couple had a normal sex life, sharing a bed in a separate room in his family home, and Kasturba was soon pregnant.

Two years later, as his father lay dying, Gandhi left his bedside to have sex with Kasturba. Meanwhile, his father drew his last breath. The young man compounded his grief with guilt that he had not been present, and represented his subsequent revulsion towards "lustful love" as being related to his father's death.

However, Gandhi and Kasturba's last child wasn't born until fifteen years later, in 1900.

In fact, Gandhi did not develop his censorious attitude to sex (and certainly not to marital sex) until he was in his 30s, while a volunteer in the ambulance corps, assisting the British Empire in its wars in Southern Africa. On long marches in sparsely populated land in the Boer War and the Zulu uprisings, Gandhi considered how he could best "give service" to humanity and decided it must be by embracing poverty and chastity.

At the age of 38, in 1906, he took a vow of brahmacharya, which meant living a spiritual life but is normally referred to as chastity, without which such a life is deemed impossible by Hindus.

Gandhi found it easy to embrace poverty. It was chastity that eluded him. So he worked out a series of complex rules which meant he could say he was chaste while still engaging in the most explicit sexual conversation, letters and behaviour.

With the zeal of the convert, within a year of his vow, he told readers of his newspaper Indian Opinion: "It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife."

Meanwhile, Gandhi was challenging that abstinence in his own way. He set up ashrams in which he began his first "experiments" with sex; boys and girls were to bathe and sleep together, chastely, but were punished for any sexual talk. Men and women were segregated, and Gandhi's advice was that husbands should not be alone with their wives, and, when they felt passion, should take a cold bath.

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Le Cercle: Private bridge between Vatican-Paneuropean and Anglo-American intelligence

From: Le Cercle and the struggle for the European continent by Joël van der Reijden

Le Cercle is a secretive, privately-funded and transnational discussion group which regularly meets in different parts of the world. It is attended by a mixture of politicians, ambassadors, bankers, shady businessmen, oil experts, editors, publishers, military officers and intelligence agents, which may or may not have retired from their official functions. The participants come from western or western-oriented countries. Many important members tend to be affiliated with the aristocratic circles in London or obscure elements within the Vatican, and accusations of links to fascism and Synarchism are anything but uncommon in this milieu. The greatest enemy of the Cercle has been the Soviet Union and members have been crusading against communist subversion for many decades. During this process, Cercle members unfortunately have accused almost every nationalist and socialist government, every labour union, every terrorist, and every serious investigator of western intelligence of being in bed with the KGB.

In addition, the Cercle is also strongly focused on European integration, going back to the efforts of its early members to bring about Franco-German rapprochement. The significant presence of Paneuropa-affiliated Opus Dei members and Knights of Malta, together with statements of the Vatican and Otto von Habsburg, clearly indicate there's an agenda in the background to some day bring about a new Holy Roman Empire with its borders stretching from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and from the Baltic Sea to North Africa. Interestingly, the latest generation of British Cercle members, whose predecessors were keen on joining the European Union, now do everything in their power to keep Britain out of the emerging European superstate, having lost faith they can become a significant force within Europe. Their American associates, however, would like for them to continue the effort of breaking into the Franco-German alliance and possibly to establish a new Anglo-German alliance.

It seems like a cold war is raging in Europe. One that doesn't directly involve the Soviets.

[ ... ]

When WWII broke out, Monnet was one of the most important individuals in contact with both the French resistance and the Churchill government. While in London at the time that France was overrun, Monnet proposed to General Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the French government in exile, the creation of a Franco-British Union; a plan to completely unite France and Britain. The Churchill government accepted, even a desperate de Gaulle accepted, but eventually the (supposedly Synarchist) opposition in France, headed by Marshall Petain, killed the plan. They saw it as an attempt of Britain to wrestle control over France. Petain subsequently became the leader of Vichy France.

After the war, Monnet was appointed by de Gaulle to reorganize the French economy. But Monnet also began to reorganize the whole of Europe.

Together with an equally mysterious Joseph Retinger (connected to both MI6 and the Vatican; founder of Bilderberg), who was raised by European nobility (21), Monnet organized the May 1948 Congress of Europe, which met under the auspices of the United Europe Movement in The Hague. Chairman was Winston Churchill, whose son-in-law, Duncan Sandys, worked closely with Joseph Retinger and CIA heads Allen Dulles and Bill Donovan. Later Cercle members as Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer were in attendance, just as Alcide de Gasperi and Paul Henri Spaak. The CIA would become the primary source of funding for the United European Movement in the following decades (22).

In 1949, with the support of Adenauer, Robert Schuman proposed the so called "Schuman Plan", which became the basis for the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It was established in 1952 and is usually seen as the birth of the European Union. In reality, Monnet, who became the first chairman of the ECSC's High Authority, had entirely written the "Schuman Plan". And interestingly, even this might only partially be true, as Monnet's structure for Europe turned out to be a slightly adapted version of Arthur Salter's 1931 paper 'The United States of Europe', which originally advocated a federal Europe within the framework of the League of Nations (23). Both men worked high up in the League of Nations and had a close relationship to the leading Anglo-American families, as has already been discussed.

One year later, on 24 October 1950, the French prime minister René Pleven introduced his "Pleven Plan". As happened earlier with Schuman, who didn't support this latest proposal, this document too had been written entirely by Jean Monnet (although he might have discussed it with his friend Arthur Salter). It proposed the creation of the European Defence Community (EDC): a Paneuropean defense force. Eventually this proposal was defeated by the Gaullist nationalists in France, and Europe's defense forces remained part of the newly-established NATO, which was (and is) mostly international, instead of supranational.

After the failure of his European Defence Community (EDC), Monnet doubled his efforts and founded the very low-profile Action Committee for the United States of Europe (ACUSE). It brought together leading international members of governments and labour unions, mainly to discuss European economic integration. ACUSE, together with the US State Department, lobbied and pressured a great deal behind the scenes in the run up to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which created the actual European Economic Community (EEC; "Economic" was dropped in '91). All of Monnet's most important associates in this process were members of the Pilgrims Society: David K.E. Bruce, the Dulles brothers, John J. McCloy, George Ball, C. Douglas Dillon, and president Eisenhower. Cercle member Konrad Adenauer was among the signers of the treaty, just as Paul Henri Spaak. Also, the founding vice president of the ACUSE was Max Kohnstamm, who became the initial 1973 European chairman of the Rockefeller-founded Trilateral Commission. Kohnstamm used to be private secretary to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Antoine Pinay was another important member of ACUSE, the organization that Time Magazine dubbed a "European shadow government" in 1969 (24).

In 1961, Monnet managed to replace the OEEC, initially established to oversee the Marshall Plan, with the broader Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (25). The OECD since then has been one of the most influential institutions promoting globalization and free trade, today working in partnership with the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization. Mainland European governors of the Atlantic Institute of International Affairs, which also was founded in 1961, have had a relatively strong presence in these institutions, especially in the OECD. Pilgrims Society members have been dominant in the other institutions while the Vatican-connected Paneuropa members have always played a minor role in the institutions above and tend to criticize the Anglo-American Liberal establishment.

Around the same time Monnet replaced the OEEC with the OECD, he met with Edward Heath (As Lord Privy Seal 1960-1963 responsible for the initial talks to bring Britain into the European Common Market; head Conservative party 1965-1975; Conservative prime minister UK 1970-1974; very committed to the EU; a close Sun Myung Moon associate) at the house of his good friend David Drummond, the 17th Lord Perth (26), a member of an old aristocratic family with very good connections to both the Vatican and the highest levels in British society, including the Rothschilds, Oppenheimers, Mellons, Cecils, and Howards (27). Lord Perth was a chairman of the Ditchley Foundation and his father was the initial secretary-general of the League of Nations while Monnet was his deputy. Heath became a member of Monnet's Action Committee and in 1973 he signed Britain into the European Economic Community. This only became possible after De Gaulle had ceased to be president of France.

Monnet was an early supporter of de Gaulle, as he was of the opinion that this legendary general was the only person who might be able to reunite the French people after WWII. However, in later years some friction developed between these two men. De Gaulle was a nationalist who supported a strong intergovernmental Europe, preferably with France being the major influence. Monnet, on the other hand, was a no holds barred supranationalist.

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Neighbor: Armed robber forced Nova instructor to ATM, then killed him, set house ablaze

Who would want to kill scientist Joseph Morrissey, who enjoyed an international reputation for his pioneering research into the use of radio frequency waves in cancer treatment?

That's the question friends and colleagues were asking late Tuesday after Morrissey, 46, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Nova Southeastern University, was fatally shot during what police say was a home invasion robbery.

Morrissey was "very well-liked," said Andres Malave, dean of NSU's College of Pharmacy.

Just after midnight Monday, an intruder burst into his Plantation home, bound him and his wife, and set fire to the house in the 600 block of NW 75th Terrace, according to police.

A neighbor told WFOR-Ch. 4 that during the ordeal the robber also abducted the couple, took them to a nearby bank and forced them to make a cash withdrawal.

Morrissey's wife Linda, 48, and the couple's young son, who was asleep at the time, later escaped from the house and were not injured.

[ ... ]

Morrissey earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of South Florida and a PhD from Stanford University. He came to Florida in 1993 to work for the Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research in Plantation.

"He was so energetic. He enjoyed his life and his work," said Claire Thuning-Roberson, the founder and former director of the institute.

At NSU, Morrissey did research in the use of electromagnetic energy to enhance the effectiveness of cancer medications, the university said.

He recently brought in grants worth $100,000 to fund his work at NSU and was just back from delivering a keynote address at a conference in Australia.

"We lost a great individual, a great scientist, and someone who was to [help] move this college into the future," said Malave. "He was a key faculty member."

For 12 years he worked as a senior scientist at Motorola in Plantation.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Iraqi medical doctors implicated in plundering body organs

By Jareer Mohammed

Azzaman, April 4, 2010

Iraqi police have arrested several people among them three doctors on charges of plundering body organs in the restive northern city of Mosul.

The victims whose organs were plundered were first kidnapped and then brought to a government hospital where their kidneys were extracted under duress.

Hospital director Raad al-Wazan affirmed that nine people were brought to Mosul's General Hospital where they were operated clandestinely and their kidneys removed.

“The surgical operations were not proper and accurate,” Wazan said.

Medical sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, say many more abducted persons might have been subjected to such operations.

They did not say how the victims were brought to the hospital but affirmed that three doctors were involved in the operations.

Police say they learned about the operations after arresting a gang accused of abducting Iraqis for ransom and body organ plundering.

The extracted kidneys were given to patients in the same hospital for massive money, the police say.

 Wazan admitted the death of an 11-year old boy in the hospital following an operation in which his kidney was removed.
“The boy suffered from bleeding which could not be stopped and died,” he said.

 The police say several hospitals in the city might be involved and the number of victims could soar.

~ Source ~

Saturday, April 3, 2010

50 years ago Thomas Szasz rocked the world of psychiatry: The difference between a disease and a disorder

By Dr. Jeffrey Schaler
Assistant Professor of Justice, Law & Society

The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas SzaszIt is fifty years now since Thomas Szasz rocked the world of psychiatry by writing The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. His work continues to have a profound impact on how we think about disease, behavior, liberty, justice, responsibility, and most important of all, what it means to be human.  Szasz has shown us how the idea of mental illness is used by the state to deprive innocent people of freedom, and guilty persons of justice.  Without the state involved, the medicalization of behavior means nothing.

He has shown us how the idea of mental illness functions as legal fiction within our legal system. In this sense, the idea of mental illness has been used much as the idea that African American slaves were considered three-fifths of a person. Persons labeled as mentally ill are now considered three-fifths of a person. It is as if there was a postscript at the bottom of the Bill of Rights that reads: “PS: For mentally healthy people only.”

The courts will not allow the idea of mental illness to be disproved, in much the same way that the idea that slaves could be three-fifths person was not allowed to be disproved. Today, mental illness as legal fiction maintains the institution of psychiatric slavery.

The Theraputic State by Thomas SzaszMental illness diagnoses have more to do with politics and science fiction, than medicine and science. Take for example the idea that people with a homosexual orientation are mentally ill. The category was excluded from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – our contemporary “Malleus Maleficorum,” or “Hammer of Witches” – the same way it was included, for political reasons, not scientific reasons. No one discovered that homosexuality was a disease, and no one discovered that it isn't a disease. They pronounced it as such, in each case, because of political pressure.

About two years after The Myth of Mental Illness was first published, Szasz published another book that has had an equally profound impact on freedom and responsibility. In Law, Liberty and Psychiatry he predicted the following:

“Although we may not know it, we have, in our day, witnessed the birth of the Therapeutic State. This is perhaps the major implication of psychiatry as an institution of social control.”

Thomas Szasz wrote that in 1963.

We live in a Therapeutic State today. Moral management now masquerades as medicine. The state dictates a “duty to be healthy.”

Seventy years ago another state, Nazi Germany, dictated a “duty to be healthy.” Back then, murder masqueraded as medicine. I think you all know what I'm referring to. We don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Today, good health practices have become a social responsibility. Bad health practices are viewed as socially irresponsible behavior. When health and illness are applied to the mind and behavior, this means that people must think and speak and act the right way. Otherwise, they may end up in a prison called a mental hospital.

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Cathy O'Brien speaks on mind control

Cathy O'Brien speaks of her CIA mind control existence and how these programs were and are being perpetrated under the illegal 1947 National Security Act even today.

CIA officer- Robert Steele stresses the importance of blogging

This is a follow up montage to those who say Bloggers and making videos (Vloggers) and those who comment, are not making a difference.


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