Wall Street Bailout, Cell Phone Risks,
New Rules for US Customs Agents
Revealing News Articles
September 26, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the underlying reality of the proposed Wall Street bailout, a new report on the high risks for children of cell phone use, new rules permitting US Customs agents to search people entering the country, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
P.S. An exciting new movement has arisen calling on all people to unite in support of choosing leadership in the upcoming U.S. elections which supports the good of us all. Without supporting any particular candidate or party, www.WiseUSA.net invites us all to join in prayer and meditation to support whichever candidates will best serve all humanity and our planet. To see a wonderful, four-minute video description of the movement designed by Gary Malkin, a personal friend of Fred's, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCzffrwiZ5E.
Bailout tests how much the American public will tolerate theft
September 23, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Treasury Secretary Paulson's edict to create a $700 billion fund to buy worthless mortgage securities from agitated wealthy bond investors is nothing short of a final step on the path to the end of the republic. The secretary claims he can only be effective if his decisions are beyond judicial review. Our government and its owners appear to be testing how much the American public will tolerate. A few years ago, no one could have imagined that the silent majority would quietly accept thefts of this magnitude from a government that stopped tiny payments to single mothers with poor children in the name of welfare reform because the program's $10 billion cost was breaking the federal budget. If the public allows this theft, then it will signal to powerful forces that they can essentially do anything, because the American public has become so mushy-headed that it will stand up for nothing. When power discovers that those from whom it would exact payment are powerless, its viciousness increases infinitely. Our enemy has revealed itself, and it is our own government. Because the American public has not been introduced to methods for controlling its government for generations for generations, I will suggest one called a general strike. This fundamental democratic power is where everyone decides to send a message to the government by not going to work, to school, shopping, nowhere. This is the critical time when charlatans among us will promise they can save us from the inevitable if we only allow them the power they need to save us. They are lying.
Note: This article's author Sean Olender is an attorney in San Mateo, California. Mr. Oleander predicted the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac months before it happened based on clearly disempowering moves by the government. To see his prescient article on this from Feb. 2008, click here.
Almost Armageddon: Markets were 500 Trades from a Meltdown
September 21, 2008, New York Post
The market was 500 trades away from Armageddon on Thursday [September 18], traders inside two large custodial banks tell The Post. Had the Treasury and Fed not quickly stepped into the fray that morning with a quick $105 billion injection of liquidity, the Dow could have collapsed. According to traders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, money market funds were inundated with $500 billion in sell orders prior to the opening. The Fed's dramatic $105 billion liquidity injection on Thursday (pre-market) was just enough to keep key institutional accounts from following through on the sell orders and starting a stampede of cash that could have brought large tracts of the US economy to a halt. Cracks started to show in money market accounts late Tuesday when shares in one fund, the Reserve Primary Fund - which touted itself as super safe - fell below the golden $1 a share level. By Wednesday, banks sensed a run on their accounts. They started stockpiling cash in anticipation of withdrawals. Banks, which usually keep an average of $2 billion in excess reserves earmarked for withdrawals, pumped that up to an astounding $90 billion, Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrighton ICAP, told The [Wall Street] Journal. And for good reason. By the close of business on Wednesday, $144.5 billion - a record - had been withdrawn. How much money was taken out of money market funds the prior week? Roughly $7.1 billion, according to AMG Data Services. By Thursday, that level ... had grown to $100 billion.
Note: For insight into the banking and financial powers that runs today's governments, click here.
Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'
September 21, 2008, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research indicates. The study, experts say, raises fears that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life. At least nine out of 10 British 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 per cent of primary schoolchildren. Yet investigating dangers to the young has been omitted from a massive £3.1m British investigation of the risks of cancer from using mobile phones, launched this year, even though the official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme which is conducting it admits that the issue is of the "highest priority". Despite recommendations of an official report that the use of mobiles by children should be "minimised", the Government has done almost nothing to discourage it.
Last week the European Parliament voted by 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them. They are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing and because since their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains. David Carpenter, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York said: "Children are spending significant time on mobile phones. We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use."
Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Feds give customs agents free hand to seize travelers' documents
September 24, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Bush administration has overturned a 22-year-old policy and now allows customs agents to seize, read and copy documents from travelers at airports and borders without suspicion of wrongdoing, civil rights lawyers in San Francisco said Tuesday in releasing records obtained in a lawsuit. The records also indicate that the government gives customs agents unlimited authority to question travelers about their religious beliefs and political opinions, said lawyers from the Asian Law Caucus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They said they had asked the Department of Homeland Security for details of any policy that would guide or limit such questioning and received no reply. "We're concerned that people of South Asian or Muslim-looking background are being targeted inappropriately" for questioning and searches, said Asian Law Caucus attorney Shirin Sinnar. The Bay Area legal groups filed a Freedom of Information Act suit against the government in February, seeking documents on the policies that govern searches and questioning of international travelers. The organizations said they had received more than 20 complaints in the previous year, mostly from South Asians and Muslims. The travelers said customs agents regularly singled them out when they returned from abroad, looked at their papers and laptop computers, and asked them such questions as whom they had seen on their trips, whether they attended mosques and whether they hated the U.S. government.
Note: For many reports from major media sources of rising threats to civil liberties, click here.
Judge Orders Cheney To Preserve Records
September 20, 2008, CBS News/Associated Press
A federal judge [has] ordered Dick Cheney to preserve a wide range of the records from his time as vice president. The decision by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is a setback for the Bush administration in its effort to promote a narrow definition of materials that must be safeguarded under the Presidential Records Act. The Bush administration's legal position "heightens the court's concern" that some records may not be preserved, said the judge. A private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is suing Cheney and the Executive Office of the President in an effort to ensure that no presidential records are destroyed or handled in a way that makes them unavailable to the public. Cheney and the other defendants in the case "were only willing to agree to a preservation order that tracked their narrowed interpretation" of the Presidential Records Act, wrote Kollar-Kotelly. The administration, said the judge, wanted any court order on what records are at issue in the suit to cover only the office of the vice president, not Cheney or the other defendants in the lawsuit. The other defendants include the National Archives and the archivist of the United States. The lawsuit stems from Cheney's position that his office is not part of the executive branch of government. This summer, Cheney chief of staff David Addington told Congress the vice president belongs to neither the executive nor legislative branch of government, but rather is attached by the Constitution to Congress. In 2003, Cheney asserted that the office of the vice president is not an entity within the executive branch.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy, click here.
Cheney Misled GOP Leaders, New Book Says
September 16, 2008, Washington Post
A GOP congressional leader who was wavering on giving President Bush authority to wage war in late 2002 said Vice President Cheney misled him by saying that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had direct personal ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and was making rapid progress toward a suitcase nuclear weapon. That's one of the revelations in the new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, by The Post's Barton Gellman. Angler is based on hundreds of previously unpublished interviews with present and former Cheney advisers, senior officials in federal agencies, diplomats, judges, military officers, senators and members of Congress. Cheney's accusations about Saddam Hussein, described by former House Majority Leader Richard Armey, ... went far beyond public statements that have been criticized for relying on "cherry-picked" intelligence of unknown reliability. There was no intelligence to support the vice president's private assertions, Gellman reports, and they "crossed so far beyond the known universe of fact that they were simply without foundation." Some of the book's most significant news describes a three-month conflict between the Justice Department and the vice president's office over warrantless domestic surveillance. The top White House national security lawyer begins hearing rumors of "the vice president's special program." John B. Bellinger III, who had not been informed of the operation, confronted Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington. "I'm not going to tell you whether there is or isn't such a program," Addington replied, glowering. "But if there were such a program, you'd better go tell your little friends at the FBI and the CIA to keep their mouths shut."
Note: For many powerful exposures of government corruption, click here.
FDA proposes approval process for genetically modified animals
September 19, 2008, Los Angeles Times
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday opened the way for a bevy of genetically engineered salmon, cows and other animals to leap from the laboratory to the marketplace, unveiling an approval process that would treat the modified creatures like drugs.
The guidelines for the first time make explicit the regulatory hoops companies would have to jump through to sell engineered salmon that grow twice as fast as wild fish; pigs with high levels of ... omega-3 fatty acids in their meat; or goats that produce ... proteins, such as insulin, in their milk. Many experts ... say the proposed regulations may not go far enough to protect the public. In particular, they argue that the approval process would be highly secretive to guard the commercial interests of the companies involved, and that the new rules do not place sufficient weight on the potential environmental effect of what many consider to be Frankenstein animals. Animals can't be treated exactly like drugs, said Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety in Washington. "Drugs don't go out and breed with each other. When a drug gets loose, you figure you can control it. When a bull gets loose, it would be harder to corral." The first product likely to be sold under the new rules is a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon produced by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass. Inserted genes from two other fish allow it to reach full size in 18 months rather than the normal 30. Aqua Bounty, along with other biotechnology companies, has been pushing the FDA to establish guidelines and hopes to win approval next year.
Note: For a superb survey of the risks to health from genetically modified food organisms, click here.
Agency and Bush Are Sued Over Domestic Surveillance
September 18, 2008, New York Times
A privacy group filed a class-action lawsuit on Thursday against the National Security Agency, President Bush and other officials, seeking to halt what it describes as illegal surveillance of Americans' telephone and Internet traffic. The lawsuit parallels a legal action brought against the AT&T Corporation in 2006 by the same nonprofit group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, charging that the company gave the N.S.A. access to its communications lines and customer records without proper warrants. Congress derailed that lawsuit this year by passing legislation granting immunity to telecommunications companies that had provided assistance to the agency, though the foundation has said it intends to challenge the constitutionality of the new law. A lawyer with the foundation, Kevin S. Bankston, said the new suit opened a "second front" against a "massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T's domestic networks and databases of customer records." When Mr. Bush started the program in late 2001, the N.S.A. began eavesdropping inside the United States without court warrants for the first time since 1978, when Congress created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to oversee such intelligence collection. The suit's plaintiffs are five AT&T customers, but it is filed on behalf of all customers. Like the 2006 suit, it is based in part on information from Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who says he saw what he believed to be equipment installed by the N.S.A. at a company communications hub in San Francisco allowing the agency to filter a huge volume of Internet traffic.
Note: For many disturbing reports from major media sources of threats to privacy, click here.
Secrets and Shams of Political Polls
September 18, 2008, Newswise.com
In the 13 years David Moore worked for the Gallup Poll, he learned that media polls are not used to uncover the "will" or thoughts of the public, but rather to manufacture a "public opinion" that grabs the attention of journalists and can be used to fill media news holes. [Moore] draws on first-hand experience as well as the history of modern media polling practices focusing particularly on the four most influential polls: New York Times/CBS News, Washington Post/ABC News, Pew Research, and USA Today/Gallup to reveal the inner-workings of pollsters and the cycle of bias that tends to promote the powerful and suppress dissent in his new book The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls. Analyzing pollsters' problematic methodology ... Moore reveals how polls distort voters' election preferences as well as the public's support for or opposition to government policies. The net result, he says, is that polls give false readings of which candidates voters prefer and what the public wants, which ultimately determines the democratic process. In his new book, Moore shows how polls create a "legitimacy spin cycle." Those in power frame an issue to favor their position, while the press limits its coverage of sources that might disagree with the administration. Pollsters, in turn, develop surveys to dovetail with the news stories and the people many of whom have little idea of what is happening beyond the limited information presented to them by the news media are pressured into answering questions that reinforce the original position of those in power.
Note: For lots more on the many threats to free and fair elections in the United States, click here.
Helping people at home' may become a permanent part of the active Army
September 8, 2008, Army Times
The 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle. Now they're training for the same mission with a twist at home. Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters. This new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. The mission will be a permanent one. They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them. "It's a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they're fielding. They've been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we're undertaking we were the first to get it."
Note: Positioning military troops in country to deal with internal matters violates the posse comitatus act, though the administration will argue that there is a national emergency allowing this.
Fighting the Autism-Vaccine War
April 10, 2008, US News & World Report
One of the most vitriolic debates in medical history is just beginning to have its day in court vaccine court, that is. Without laying blame, the independent Office of Special Masters of the Court of Federal Claims with a 20-year record of handling vaccine matters recently conceded that the brain damage and autistic behavior of Hannah Poling stemmed from her exposure as a toddler to five vaccinations on one day in July 2000. Two days later, she was overtaken by a high fever and an encephalopathy that deteriorated into autistic behavior. At some level, the decision was a vindication for families who have been battling with the vaccine community, arguing that some poorly understood reaction to components of vaccines or their mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, could cause brain injury. Yes, vaccines are extraordinarily safe and bring huge public health benefit. But vaccine experts tend to look at the population as a whole, not at individual patients. Families are not alone in searching for a trigger that might explain why autism and autism spectrum disorders have skyrocketed; now they reportedly affect about 1 in 150 kids. The rise of this disorder, which shows up before age 3, happens to coincide with the increased number and type of vaccine shots in the first few years of life. So as a trigger, vaccines carry a ring of both historical and biological plausibility. Go back 40 or 50 years. The medical literature is replete with reports of neurological reactions to vaccines, such as mood changes, seizures, brain inflammation, and swelling.
Note: For many reports from reliable sources of the dangers posed by vaccines, click here.
What Happens When We Die?
September 18, 2008, Time magazine
A fellow at New York City's Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Sam Parnia is one of the world's leading experts on the scientific study of death. Last week Parnia and his colleagues at the Human Consciousness Project announced their first major undertaking: a 3-year exploration of the biology behind "out-of-body" experiences. The study, known as AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation), involves the collaboration of 25 major medical centers through Europe, Canada and the U.S. and will examine some 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrest. TIME spoke with Parnia about the project's origins, its skeptics and the difference between the mind and the brain. What sort of methods will this project use to try and verify people's claims of "near-death" experience? When your heart stops beating, there is no blood getting to your brain. And so what happens is that within about 10 sec., brain activity ceases as you would imagine. Yet paradoxically, 10% or 20% of people who are then brought back to life from that period, which may be a few minutes or over an hour, will report having consciousness. So the key thing here is, Are these real, or is it some sort of illusion? In my book What Happens When We Die? ... I wanted people to get both angles not just the patients' side but also the doctors' side and see how it feels for the doctors to have a patient come back and tell them what was going on. There was a cardiologist that I spoke with who said he hasn't told anyone else about it because he has no explanation for how this patient could have been able to describe in detail what he had said and done. He was so freaked out by it that he just decided not to think about it anymore.
Note: How interesting that when something amazing happened that this cardiologist could not explain, he chose not to think about it rather than consider that there might be some deeper explanation. For an excellent analysis of how this kind of thinking stops scientific progress, see our essay on fluid intellignece available here.
Special note: For some fun poking at the upcoming U.S. elections by JibJab, see their short piece available here. For a highly informative seven-minute clip from CBC (one of Canada's top networks) on the secretive HAARP program, click here. For more research on this vital topic, click here.
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Wall Street Bailout, Cell Phone Risks, New Rules for US Customs Agents