Friday, March 12, 2010

Central figure in CDC vaccine cover-up absconds with $2M

A central figure behind the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars. Danish police are investigating Dr. Poul Thorsen, who has vanished along with almost $2 million that he had supposedly spent on research.

Thorsen was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote several key studies supporting CDC's claims that the MMR vaccine and mercury-laden vaccines were safe for children. Thorsen's 2003 Danish study reported a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after that country banned mercury based preservatives in its vaccines. His study concluded that mercury could therefore not be the culprit behind the autism epidemic.

His study has long been criticized as fraudulent since it failed to disclose that the increase was an artifact of new mandates requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry. This new law and the opening of a clinic dedicated to autism treatment in Copenhagen accounted for the sudden rise in reported cases rather than, as Thorsen seemed to suggest, the removal of mercury from vaccines. Despite this obvious chicanery, CDC has long touted the study as the principal proof that mercury-laced vaccines are safe for infants and young children. Mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, has relied on this study as the basis for its public assurances that it is safe to inject young children with mercury -- a potent neurotoxin -- at concentrations hundreds of times over the U.S. safety limits.

Thorsen, who was a psychiatrist and not a research scientist or toxicologist, parlayed that study into a long-term relationship with CDC. He built a research empire called the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA) that advertised its close association with the CDC autism team, a relationship that had the agency paying Thorsen and his research staff millions of dollars to churn out research papers, many of them assuring the public on the issue of vaccine safety.

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Who broke America's job machine?



If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.

Many people blame the great real estate bubble of recent years. The idea here is that once a bubble pops it can destroy more real-world business activity—and jobs—than it creates as it expands. There is some truth to this. But it doesn’t explain why, even when the real estate bubble was at its most inflated, so few jobs were created compared to the tech-stock bubble of the late ’90s. Between 2000 and 2007 American businesses created only seven million jobs, before the great recession destroyed more than that. In the ’90s prior to the dot-com bust, they created more than twenty-two million jobs.

Others point to the diffusion of new technologies that reduce the number of workers needed to produce and sell manufactured products like cars and services like airline reservations. But throughout economic history, even as new technologies like the assembly line and the personal computer destroyed large numbers of jobs, they also empowered people to create new and different ones, often in greater numbers. Yet others blame foreign competition and offshoring, and point to all the jobs lost to China, India, or Mexico. Here, too, there is some truth. But U.S. governments have been liberalizing our trade laws for decades; although this has radically changed the type of jobs available to American workers—shifting vast chunks of the U.S. manufacturing sector overseas, for instance—there is little evidence that this has resulted in any lasting decline in the number of jobs in America.

Moreover, recent Labor Department statistics show that the loss of jobs here at home, be it the result of sudden economic crashes or technological progress or trade liberalization, does not appear to be our main problem at all. Though few people realize it, the rate of job destruction in the private sector is now 20 percent lower than it was in the late ’90s, when managers at America’s corporations embraced outsourcing and downsizing with an often manic intensity. Rather, the lack of net job growth over the last decade is due mainly to the creation of fewer new jobs. As recent Labor Department statistics show, even during the peak years of the housing boom, job creation by existing businesses was 14 percent lower than it was in the late ’90s.

The problem of weak job creation certainly can’t be due to increased business taxes and regulation, since both were slashed during the Bush years. Nor can the explanation be insufficient consumer demand; throughout most of the last decade, consumers and the federal government engaged in a consumption binge of world-historical proportions.

Other, more plausible explanations have been floated for why the rate of job creation seems to have fallen. One is that the federal government made too few investments in the 1980s and ’90s in things like basic R&D, so the pipeline of technological innovation on which new jobs depend began to run dry in the 2000s. Another is that a basic shift in competitiveness has taken place—that countries like India, with educated but relatively low-cost workforces, have become more natural homes for jobs-producing sectors like IT.

But while the mystery of what killed the great American jobs machine has yielded no shortage of debatable answers, one of the more compelling potential explanations has been conspicuously absent from the national conversation: monopolization. The word itself feels anachronistic, a relic from the age of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. But the fact that the term has faded from our daily discourse doesn’t mean the thing itself has vanished—in fact, the opposite is true. In nearly every sector of our economy, far fewer firms control far greater shares of their markets than they did a generation ago.

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Banksters: How they got away with it



The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with Bill Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout. This show aired April 3, 2009. Bill Moyers Journal airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

For more: http://www.pbs.org/billmoyers

'I saw Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie'

The final moments of Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist crushed to death beneath a pile of earth and rubble in the path of an advancing Israeli army bulldozer, were described to an Israeli court by an eyewitness Wednesday.

The parents of the 23-year-old, who was killed by the bulldozer in March 2003, were present to hear the harrowing account on the first day of hearings in a civil lawsuit they have brought against the state of Israel. The country has never acknowledged culpability over Ms Corrie's death.

Richard Purssell, a British activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), said he watched in horror as Ms Corrie was dragged four metres by the bulldozer moving forward at a "fast walking pace".

He told how her fluorescent orange jacket became invisible beneath a pile of earth churned up by the blade of the 56-tonne D9 Caterpillar machine. Mr Purssell explained that he and two other ISM volunteers had been summoned from the Rafah neighbourhood of Tel Sultan earlier in the day to help five activists prevent bulldozers from carrying out what they feared would be the demolition of Palestinian homes. The five, including Ms Corrie, were in the suburb of Hai Salaam, close to the border with Egypt.

Mr Purssell said the incident took place about 20 metres from the house of Dr Samir Nasrallah, a pharmacist well known to ISM activists, who often place themselves between Israeli forces and Palestinians to try to stop the Israeli military from carrying out operations. Ms Corrie climbed on to the earth mound being created in front of the bulldozer, with her feet just below the top of the pile.

"She is looking into the cab of the bulldozer," Mr Purssell recounted. "The bulldozer continues to move forward. Rachel turns to begin coming back down the slope ... As she nears the bottom of the pile, something happened to cause her to fall forward. The bull- dozer continues to move forward and Rachel disappeared from view. The bulldozer moves forward approximately another four metres before it stops." Mr Purssell, who works as a landscape gardener in the UK, said that before the bulldozer came to a stop, other activists started running towards her – as he himself did a few seconds later.

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Petition to classify the Amerindian genocide as a Crime Against Humanity

"We, people of the Earth, whatever our race, language or religion, demand that the genocide perpetrated on the Amerindian people is classed as 'Crime against Humanity'"

http://lapetition.be/en-ligne/petition-6323.html

Biggest general strike yet paralyses Greece

Tens of thousands of trade unionists and anti-capitalists demonstrated, bringing the centre of Athens to a standstill. The protest was perhaps twice the size of the one during the general strike of 24 February. Many locals compared it to the mass action in 2001 which defeated a government attempt to cut pensions.

Protesters chanted “Make the bosses pay” and “Where has all the money gone?”

Union leaders hailed today's general strike as a complete success. Public services ground to a halt in all major cities from Alexandroupoli in the north to Sitia in the south. Public and private sector workers both joined the action.

“The prime minister has just returned from a tour of world leaders – including Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Angela Merkal in Germany and Barack Obama”

“They all congratulated him for his courageous neoliberal reforms which has seen outrageous attacks on peoples pensions, wages and job security. But now he has to face the anger of the Greek people and these strikes are just the beginning.”

Greek workers are stepping up their resistance to austerity measures being enforced by the European Union.

Riot police attempted to split the demonstration, but were met by fierce resistance. Skirmishes continued until the end when they were seen off from the area surrounding Athens Polytechnic.

The situation in Greece

This is part of the Situation in Greece series, with other updates, photos and maps of the general strike. More details at – www.lasthours.org.uk/blogs/the-situation-in-greece/

~ Source - with photos by Fil Kaler ~

~ More photos by Fil Kaler ~

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