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PostSubject: THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER   THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeThu Oct 09, 2008 8:41 am


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PostSubject: Re: THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER   THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeThu Oct 09, 2008 8:53 am



Dear World, Please Confront America

7. Oktober 2008, 11:14 Uhr

Naomi Wolf, the author, most recently, of The End of America: Letter of
Warning to a Young Patriot and the forthcoming Give me Liberty: How to
Become an American Revolutionary, is co-founder of the American Freedom
Campaign, a US democracy movement.

THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Eng_wolf_BM_Vermisc_678282g

Is it possible to fall out of love with your own country? For two years, I,
like many Americans, have been focused intently on documenting, exposing,
and alerting the nation to the Bush administration’s criminality and its
assault on the Constitution and the rule of law – a story often marginalized
at home. I was certain that when Americans knew what was being done in their
name, they would react with horror and outrage.
Three months ago, the Bush administration still clung to its devil’s sound
bite, “We don’t torture.” Now, Physicians for Human Rights has issued its
report documenting American-held detainees’ traumas, and even lie detector
tests confirm they have been tortured. The Red Cross report has leaked:
torture and war crimes. Jane Mayer’s impeccably researched exposé The Dark
Side just hit the stores: torture, crafted and directed from the top. The
Washington Post gave readers actual video footage of the abusive
interrogation of a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was seen showing his
still-bleeding abdominal wounds, weeping and pleading with his captors.
So the truth is out and freely available. And America is still napping,
worrying about its weight, and hanging out at the mall.

I had thought that after so much exposure,
thousands of Americans would be holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that
religious leaders would be asking God’s forgiveness, and that a popular
groundswell of revulsion, similar to the nineteenth-century anti-slavery
movement, would emerge. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if torture is not
wrong, nothing is wrong.
And yet no such thing has occurred. There is no crisis in America’s churches
and synagogues, no Christian and Jewish leaders crying out for justice in
the name of Jesus, a tortured political prisoner, or of Yahweh, who demands
righteousness. I asked a contact in the interfaith world why. He replied,
“The mainstream churches don’t care, because they are Republican. And the
synagogues don’t care, because the prisoners are Arabs.”
It was then that I realized that I could not be in love with my country right
now. How can I care about the fate of people like that? If this is what
Americans are feeling, if that is who we are, we don’t deserve our
Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Even America’s vaunted judicial system has failed to constrain obvious abuses.
A Federal court has ruled that the military tribunals system – Star Chambers
where evidence derived from torture is used against the accused – can
proceed. Another recently ruled that the president may call anyone anywhere
an “enemy combatant” and detain him or her indefinitely.
So Americans are colluding with a criminal regime. We have become an outlaw
nation – a clear and present danger to international law and global
stability – among civilized countries that have been our allies. We are –
rightly – on Canada’s list of rogue nations that torture.

Europe is still high from Barack Obama’s recent
visit. Many Americans, too, hope that an Obama victory in November will roll
back this nightmare. But this is no time to yield to delusions. Even if
Obama wins, he may well be a radically weakened president. The Bush
administration has created a transnational apparatus of lawlessness that he
alone, without global intervention, can neither roll back nor control.
Private security firms – for example, Blackwater – will still be operating,
accountable neither to him nor to Congress, and not bound, they have argued,
by international treaties. Weapons manufacturers and the telecommunications
industry, with billions at stake in maintaining a hyped “war on terror” and
their new global surveillance market, will deploy a lavishly financed army
of lobbyists to defend their interests.
Moreover, if elected, Obama will be constrained by his own Democratic Party.
America’s political parties bear little resemblance to the disciplined
organizations familiar in parliamentary democracies in Europe and elsewhere.
And Democrats in Congress will be even more divided after November if, as
many expect, conservative members defeat Republican incumbents damaged by
their association with Bush.
To be sure, some Democrats have recently launched Congressional hearings into
the Bush administration’s abuses of power. Unfortunately, with virtually no
media coverage, there is little pressure to broaden official investigations
and ensure genuine accountability.
But, while grassroots pressure has not worked, money still talks. We need
targeted government-led sanctions against the US by civilized countries,
including international divestment of capital. Many studies have shown that
tying investment to democracy and human rights reform is effective in the
developing world. There is no reason why it can’t be effective against the
world’s superpower.
We also need an internationally coordinated strategy for prosecuting war
criminals at the top and further down the chain of command – individual
countries pressing charges, as Italy and France have done. Although the
United States is not a signatory to the statute that established the
International Criminal Court, violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva
Conventions are war crimes for which anyone – potentially even the US
president – may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties
to the conventions. The whole world can hunt these criminals down.
An outlaw America is a global problem that threatens the rest of the
international community. If this regime gets away with flouting
international law, what is to prevent the next administration – or this
administration, continuing under its secret succession plan in the event of
an emergency – from going further and targeting its political opponents at
home and abroad?
We Americans are either too incapable, or too dysfunctional, to help ourselves
right now. Like drug addicts or the mentally ill who refuse treatment, we
need our friends to intervene. So remember us as we were in our better
moments, and take action to save us – and the world – from ourselves.
Maybe then I can fall in love with my country again.

(c) 2008 Project Syndicate
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PostSubject: Re: THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER   THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeThu Oct 09, 2008 10:26 am

Humans May Have Stopped Evolving

Oct 8th 2008
By Jeremy Taylor

(Our happy hour fact to amaze your drinking buddies with.)

According to a leading geneticist, human evolution is over.

Professor Steve Jones of University College in London attributes the halt to the declining rate of older fathers in the modern world. This affects evolutionary patterns because the older a man, the more likely he is to have continued fathering children and passing along evolution-causing genetic mutations. "In the old days, you would find one powerful man having hundreds of children," Jones explained.

Jones also thinks the weakening of natural selection plays a role in the demise of evolution. "In ancient times, half our children would have died by the age of 20," he explains. "Now, in the Western world, 98 percent of them are surviving to 21."

Needless to say, if you believe in creationism, this is all just silly science mumbo jumbo. THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER 735473
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PostSubject: Re: THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER   THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeThu Oct 09, 2008 4:30 pm

i've been telling people for frickin years, in the future everyone will be a vegetarian.

THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Fd745918451a82bd414fcd6a6e03

Tests stun listeria experts
Contaminated meat found in two-thirds of Toronto samples taken before recall

October 9, 2008

Robert Cribb

Two-thirds of Maple Leaf meat samples collected from Toronto hospitals and nursing homes tested positive for a virulent strain of listeria just before the country's largest food recall, according to confidential data obtained by the Toronto Star and the CBC.

The test results show a dramatically high percentage of bacteria-laced ham, corned beef, turkey and roast beef was being served to hundreds of vulnerable hospital patients and seniors. Experts say it's more contamination than they have seen and further evidence of a health risk that should have been known to the public sooner.

"There shouldn't be any positives," says Rick Holley, a food safety expert at the University of Manitoba. "The reality is if you did a survey in the market, you might find one or two at most out of this sample that are positive ... And it is a particularly virulent strain of listeria. It's one of the bad ones."

The lab tests, conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and compiled in a document labelled "confidential," reveal 17 of 26 samples collected on Aug. 14 and 15 tested positive for the pathogen.

Some samples showed contamination of more than 20,000 "listeria monocytogenes," or individual bacterium, per gram of meat. Experts say anything above zero is dangerous because the bacteria, once present, multiply. These tests prompted the national recall of various Maple Leaf meat products.

The listeria outbreak has killed 20 people. Seniors are more vulnerable because of their weaker immune systems.

The samples were collected by Toronto Public Health inspectors from 13 Toronto nursing homes, hospitals and an HIV/AIDS hospice on orders from the provincial Ministry of Health and the CFIA as part of their probe into the outbreak.

Public health units from across the province were also ordered to collect samples. A federal government source confirmed yesterday that half of the provincial samples tested positive for listeria.

But the results in Toronto were worse.

"I'd never seen anything like this," said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto's associate medical officer of health. "The fact that so many came back positive shows how contaminated the source was."

She said the samples of meat were unopened, ruling out any contamination from food handlers in the institutions.

"From a public health perspective, it means that someone could open the package and eat and it would have already had that level of contamination in it without (the) impacts of dirty hands or knife."

Positive tests show up on meat with "best before" dates ranging from early August to Oct. 1, which suggests the meat from the North York plant was being contaminated over nearly two months, said the University of Manitoba's Holley.

"Whatever the defect was here, it had to be a continuing source of contamination. There had to be a reservoir of the bacteria growing."

The particular strain listed in the test results – 1/2a – is considered one of the most dangerous because of its ability to survive in vacuum packages and because of its ability to resist digestion by white blood cells. This strain, along with strains 1/2b and 4b, are responsible for about 98 per cent of human listeriosis cases involving food.

The test results from mid-August are actually the second round of meat samples that Toronto Public Health collected during the course of the expanding investigation.

In late July, inspectors collected meat samples from a North York nursing home where two people were reported as ill with listeriosis – a highly unusual event.

Samples from that home were collected July 21, says Toronto Public Health's Dubey. But the testing process – which included sending the meat to a lab in Ottawa and then to a second federal lab in Winnipeg – took more than two weeks.

Results didn't come back until Aug. 5. They showed five of the 11 samples were positive for the listeria bacterium. Experts say, on average, no more than 3 to 5 per cent of samples should test positive.

Yet it would be another 12 days and another round of meat tests before a public recall was announced by the CFIA, on Aug. 17; it was vastly expanded a few days later.

Linda Smith, a spokesperson for Maple Leaf, said the company was informed of the second batch of test results on the evening of Aug. 16.

"On the basis of (the test results) we did a recall. When we looked at that we felt it was important to do more and that's why we closed the plant and recalled 191 products."

Dubey and many of her colleagues in the public health community say the delay in testing meat samples – and getting word to the public about the threat – was too lengthy.

"The CFIA needed a different level of evidence to go public compared with public health," she said. "Their methods are different from ours."

CFIA officials have vigorously defended their response to the outbreak, saying recalls must be based on science and that it takes time to identify the source of such an outbreak. Asked this week for comment on the results, the agency did not respond.

Maple Leaf officials have pinpointed the outbreak to meat slicers in the company's North York plant. The test results show the slicers must have been "heavily contaminated to make the results come back this positive," Dubey said.

Dubey says her health unit ordered nursing homes, hospitals and institutions to stop serving the Maple Leaf meat Aug. 14, when they believed there was sufficient evidence to suggest a link between the cold cuts and sickness.

The CFIA waited several more days for definitive test results before announcing the risk.

The test results show contaminated samples were sitting in kitchens across the city where meals for elderly, highly vulnerable residents were prepared.

"In an environment where these products are going to be consumed by that minority of the population that has some predisposition to some serious infection, this would represent a significant challenge for those people," says the University of Manitoba's Holley.

The tests were conducted on meat from sites that had a range of products. Each institution tested had purchased Maple Leaf products in large commercial-sized packages.

Among the results:

At The Village of Humber Heights seniors' home in Etobicoke inspectors found listeria-tainted turkey and roast beef in the kitchen.

A resident of the home who died in July tested positive for listeriosis, said Bob Kallonen, vice-president of operations for Oakwood Retirement Communities, which owns the home. But he says that person had other ailments that contributed to their death.

Two samples of Black Forest ham collected from Central Park Lodge nursing home in Toronto tested positive for the bacteria, the data shows. The company did not return a request for an interview.

Six of the seven roast beef samples collected in Toronto were positive for listeria, the data shows, including two from St. Joseph's Health Centre.

Carolyn Baker, president and CEO of St. Joseph's, says she's unaware of any illnesses from the meat that was being served in the hospital cafeteria when inspectors showed up Aug. 14 to take samples.

"At the end of the sampling, they indicated to us we should remove the meat from service," she said, adding the hospital was pleased Toronto Public Health advised them to remove the meat immediately.

She declined to comment on the delay it took for a federal recall to be announced three days later.

Six of seven turkey samples contained listeria, two of which were taken from Casey House, a Toronto hospice for people infected with HIV/AIDS.

A Casey House spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The Toronto plant where the listeria was found closed on Aug. 20 for deep cleaning and reopened four weeks later. The recall has cost the company an estimated $20 million.

In all, more than 220 products were recalled from stores across the country and consumers were advised to discard any they had. A Maple Leaf spokesperson said early last month the firm would store the recalled meat at four freezer facilities before disposing of it. Generally, recalled food is not tested.

CFIA inspectors interviewed by the Star and the CBC say the agency's recent move toward self-regulation of meat safety has compromised public safety. They say policy changes imposed earlier this year have shifted the responsibility for inspection to profit-driven companies while inspectors are left to review paperwork.

"We shouldn't be called inspectors any more. We should be called auditors," said one veteran CFIA inspector who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The amount of time my butt is glued to a chair has increased ... it's a travesty to the Canadian public that your grandmother could eat a sandwich and die."

Robert Cribb can be reached at or (416) 869-4411
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PostSubject: LOWLIFE   THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeThu Oct 09, 2008 9:59 pm

Jeffrey Feldman
Posted October 7, 2008 | 09:19 AM (EST)

Is Palin Trying To Incite Violence Against Obama?

At her last rally in Florida, Sarah Palin told the audience that Barack Obama "palled around with terrorists" adding,"I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America." Upon hearing the Republican VP candidate's concern that Sen. Obama might be a terrorist, a voice in the crowd cried out 'Kill him!'

McCain Campaign Amplifies Violent Rhetoric, GOP Crowds Threaten Obama's Life
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank reported an incident at a Palin rally that should open America's eyes to the central role violent rhetoric now plays in the McCain campaign. Milbank describes how Palin told the crowd in Florida that Obama has close associations with a terrorist who sought to bomb the Pentagon and the U.S. Capital, in response to which the crowd responded with a threat on Sen. Obama's life:

"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers...And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.

"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
Palin went on to say that "Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's living room, and they've worked together on various projects in Chicago." Here, Palin began to connect the dots. "These are the same guys who think that patriotism is paying higher taxes -- remember that's what Joe Biden had said. "And" -- she paused and sighed -- "I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America, as the greatest force for good in the world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as 'imperfect enough' to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." (link)

Palin's new rhetorical strategy signifies an alarming new development in the 2008 Presidential election, and one that has been not only been documented by such high profile newspapers as the Washington Post, but confirmed by the McCain campaign itself.

"It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice," a top McCain strategist recently admitted to the Daily News. "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose." (link)

The 'dangerous road,' however, is not just a generic attack on Sen. Obama's trustworthiness or honesty. Rather, the McCain campaign has chosen to stand before campaign rallies and accuse Sen. Obama of hiding sympathies with domestic terrorists--to accuse their opponent, essentially, of being a terrorist.

With the McCain campaign now using the Palin stump speech to accuse Sen. Obama of hiding a terrorist agenda, the McCain campaign has staked its future on rhetoric that skirts the boundary between character assassination and incitements of actual violence against their opponent.

Meanwhile, while McCain is not yet accusing Obama of terrorism in his own stump speech, the crowds at his rallies are.

In a recent video clip from MSNBC, McCain asked a rally, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" In response to McCain's rhetorical question, a voice from the crowd can be clearly heard to shout in response, "Terrorist!" (link)

Since the start of the election campaign well over a year ago, voters have been subject to ongoing smear campaigns in emails and push polls accusing Sen. Obama of ties to and sympathies with domestic and foreign terrorist groups. No matter how many times these smear campaigns have been exposed, they continued. Now that John McCain and Sarah Palin have echoed these accusations--the idea that Sen. Obama is secretly a terrorist has the stamp of approval of a presidential campaign, but of a multi-term U.S. senator and a U.S. governor.

One wonders at this point how the various agencies charged with the responsibility of protecting the Presidential candidates from violence will respond to this latest tactic from the McCain campaign. If, for example, a McCain supporter threatens the life of Sen. Obama by shouting 'Kill him!' at a Palin rally, should Sen. Obama's Secret Service contingent launch an investigation? Having been accused of terrorist ties by the McCain campaign, will Sen. Obama's name be put on the 'No Fly' list, effectively making it impossible for him to engage in normal airline travel?

An even more basic question, perhaps: Is Gov. Palin trying to incite violence against Sen. Obama as part of an ill-conceived campaign strategy to change the topic from the economy at any cost?

Time will tell how law enforcement will respond, but one thing is already certain: the more Palin and McCain incite calls for violence against Sen. Obama, the more their chances of achieving a victory in November disappear.

(cross-posted from Frameshop)
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