Mercury in Swine Flu Vaccine, Decline of Dollar, US Aid Siphoned Away
Revealing News Articles
October 12, 2009
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on mercury being used in the swine flu vaccine, the decline of the US dollar as the world reserve currency, US aid monies to Afghanistan and Pakistan being siphoned off by corruption, 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. The most important sentences are highlighted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu shots
September 25, 2009, Seattle Times (Seattle's leading newspaper)
In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, Washington's Health Department ... temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative [called Thimerosal] in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3. Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, but it will be added to the bulk of the swine-flu vaccine. A vocal minority believes the compound could be linked to autism. About 15 percent of the vaccine supply will be mercury-free. Thimerosal will be added to the vaccine because it is being produced in vials that contain enough medication for 10 shots. The mercury compound kills bacteria, lowering the risk that the drug will be contaminated by needles used to withdraw separate doses. "Every time you introduce a needle, you run a risk of introducing a potential contaminant," said Dr. Tony Marfin, state epidemiologist for infectious disease. Mercury-free vaccine will be produced in single-dose vials. Nasal sprays do not contain mercury but are not recommended for children under the age of 2 and pregnant women, because they contain live, weakened virus. The law limiting the mercury preservative will be suspended for six months and applies only to the swine-flu vaccines. Once common in vaccines, thimerosal has been largely phased out in most wealthy nations. Children's vaccines in the United States are almost exclusively mercury-free, single-dose injections. After 1976's mass vaccination against a different swine-flu strain, about 500 people developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and some died. Scientists still haven't figured out why.
Note: To watch a vitally important 10-minute clip from CBS's 60 Minutes revealing government complicity in the deaths of 300 Americans and permanent paralysis of thousands more from the vaccine during the 1976 swine flu scare, click here. This is the most revealing clip by far on the swine flu that we've seen. For much more information on the dangers of thimerosal in vaccines, click here.
The demise of the dollar
October 6, 2009, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar. Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars. The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets. The Americans ... are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security." This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy.
Note: The publication of this article caused the value of the dollar to fall and the price of gold to rise worldwide. For important ideas on how to reform the role of money in the world, click here.
Voices of Power: Elizabeth Warren
October 8, 2009, Washington Post
LOIS ROMANO: Welcome, Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee that is tasked with scrutinizing how the Treasury Department has spent $700 billion to shore up our failing financial institutions. There's a wonderful moment [in the movie "Capitalism: a Love Story"] when [Michael Moore] asks you where the $700 billion is, and you look at him and you say, "I don't know." So the question is: why don't you know? WARREN: Well, we don't know where the $700 billion is because the system was initially designed to make sure that we didn't know. When Secretary Paulson first put this money out into the banks, he didn't ask "what are you going to do with it?" He didn't put any restrictions on it. He didn't put any tabs on where it was going to go; in other words, he didn't ask. And if you don't ask, no one tells. And so we have a system that originally put more than $200 billion into the financial institutions basically saying just take it. ROMANO: And that money is gone. You have not been able to track where that money is? WARREN: Well, we don't know where the money went from the financial institutions. The big conversation at the time was that the credit markets are frozen; if we put money into the financial institutions, they will start lending it because that's what they do when they receive money. It was called the "Healthy Banks Program." Secretary Paulson kept saying, over and over, these are investments in healthy financial institutions, no one needs any subsidy, that [the] money was going to be used in lending to small businesses and consumers and kind of get our whole credit market going again. That didn't happen.
Note: To watch a powerfully revealing, five-minute video showing the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve testifying that she doesn't know where trillions of dollars are, click here. For a comprehensive overview of the realities underlying the government's bailout of the biggest financial institutions, click here.
Government Watchdog Says Treasury and Fed Knew Bailed-Out Banks Were Not Healthy
October 5, 2009, ABC News
The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve lied to the American public last fall when they said that the first nine banks to receive government bailout funds were healthy, a government watchdog states in a new report released today. Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), says that despite multiple statements on Oct. 14 of last year that these nine banks were healthy and only receiving government funds for the good of the country's economy, federal officials knew otherwise. "Contemporaneous reports and officials' statements to SIGTARP during this audit indicate that there were concerns about the health of several of the nine institutions at that time and, as detailed in this report, that their overall selection was far more a result of the officials' belief in their importance to a system that was viewed as being vulnerable to collapse than concerns about their individual health and viability," Barofsky says. In announcing the initial $125 billion provided to these banks, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on Oct. 14 said, "These are healthy institutions. As these healthy institutions increase their capital base, they will be able to increase their funding to U.S. consumers and businesses." That same day, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC also released a joint statement reiterating that "these healthy institutions are taking these steps to ... enhance the overall performance of the US economy." Barofsky finds, however, senior officials at the Treasury and the Fed had serious concerns about the health of some of these banks.
Note: For a comprehensive overview of the realities underlying the government's bailout of the biggest financial institutions, click here.
U.S. FDIC chief: "too big to fail" must end for all
October 4, 2009, International Business Times/Reuters News
The head of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said on Sunday that she wanted to end the "too big to fail" doctrine and shrink the shadow banking system that operates outside the reach of regulators. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair ... said a U.S. proposal to create the authority to shut down failing systemically important financial firms may need to be extended to insurers and hedge funds. "We need to end 'too big to fail' and this needs to be an overarching policy that applies to everyone," Bair said. Bair said she believed that bank holding companies with subsidiaries that are shut down by regulators also should be made to pay the price of failure by being subject to the same wind-down process. "I believe that the new regime should apply to all bank holding companies that are more than just shells and their affiliates regardless or not whether they are considered to be systemic risks," she said, adding that including only systemically important firms in the shut-down regime could reinforce the 'too big to fail' doctrine. Financial firms subject to systemic risk shutdown authority should likely also be required to publish "living wills" -- details on how an orderly wind-down would play out -- on their websites to provide more clarity to shareholders and customers. And by applying the resolution authority more broadly outside of normal regulated bank holding companies, it would help shrink the shadow banking system by discouraging regulatory arbitrage under which financial firms shop for the most lenient supervisors. "If you tighten regulation of the banks even more without dealing with the shadow sector you could make the problem even worse," she said.
Note: For a comprehensive overview of the realities underlying the government's bailout of the biggest financial institutions, click here.
Pakistan kept billions in US aid from military
October 5, 2009, Boston Globe/Associated Press
The United States has long suspected that [many] of the billions of dollars it has sent Pakistan to battle militants has been diverted to the domestic economy and other causes, such as fighting India. Now the scope and longevity of the misuse is becoming clear: Between 2002 and 2008 ... only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military, two army generals said. At the time of the siphoning, Pervez Musharraf, a Washington ally, served as chief of staff and president, making it easier to divert money intended for the military to bolster his image at home through economic subsidies. "The army itself got very little,'' said Mahmud Durrani, a retired general who was Pakistan's ambassador to the United States under Musharraf. "It went to things like subsidies, which is why everything looked hunky-dory." Generals and ministers say the diversion of the money hurt the military in several ways. Helicopters critical to the battle in rugged border regions were not available. At one point in 2007, more than 200 soldiers were trapped by insurgents in the tribal regions without a helicopter lift to rescue them. Equipment was broken, and training was lacking. The details on misuse of American aid come as Washington again promises Pakistan money. Legislation to triple general aid to Pakistan cleared Congress last week. "We don't have a mechanism for tracking the money after we have given it to them,'' said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wright, a Pentagon spokesman.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
U.S. aid often misses targets in Afghanistan
October 4, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
When built in 2004, the agricultural storage facility in Nangarhar province was supposed to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. The U.S. government paid for its construction along with several other so-called "market centers" that would enable farmers to store crops and boost exports to nearby Pakistan. But construction and design flaws left it unusable, one of many dozens of similar failures in the country, critics say. Opponents say the Nangarhar project is just one example of massive waste of taxpayer dollars in aid programs since the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government in 2001. A Washington, D.C., company, Chemonics International, won the bid for [a] $145 million program - known as Rebuilding Agricultural Markets Program, or RAMP - that ran from 2003 to 2006. Chemonics then subcontracted the training and construction work to other Americans, who in turn subcontracted to numerous Afghan companies who did the work. At each level, the subcontractors deducted costs for salaries, office expenses and security. Only a small percentage of the original RAMP contract money actually reached farmers and other intended recipients. The exact percentage may never be known because neither Chemonics nor the U.S. government tracks such figures. Moreover, opponents note, many constructed market centers have deteriorated or are not being used for their original purpose. Afghanistan's foreign minister, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, sharply criticized how U.S. aid is spent in his country. He estimates that only "$10 or $20" of every $100 reaches its intended recipients.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Pittsburgh police used acoustic warfare during G-20 protests, drawing legal groups' ire
October 1, 2009, ABC News/Associated Press
Police ordered protesters to disperse at the Group of 20 summit last week with a device that can beam earsplitting alarm tones and verbal instructions that the manufacturer likens to a "spotlight of sound," but that legal groups called potentially dangerous. The device, called a Long Range Acoustic Device, concentrates voice commands and a car alarm-like sound in a 30- or 60-degree cone that can be heard nearly two miles away. The volume measures 140-150 decibels three feet away – louder than a jet engine. During the Pittsburgh protests, police used the device to order demonstrators to disperse and to play a high-pitched "deterrent tone" designed to drive people away. It was the first time the device was used in a riot-control situation on U.S. soil. Those who heard it said ... the "deterrent tone" as unbearable. Joel Kupferman, who was at Thursday's march as a legal observer for the National Lawyer's Guild, said he was overwhelmed by the tone and called it "overkill." "When people were moving and they still continued to use it, it was an excessive use of weaponry," Kupferman said. Witold "Vic" Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, said the device is a military weapon capable of producing permanent hearing loss, something he called "an invitation to an excessive-force lawsuit." Catherine Palmer, director of audiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said 140 decibels can cause immediate hearing loss. ["Public safety"] officials said the complaints prove the device worked as designed.
Note: To watch a disturbing 10-minute clip of the use of this weapon at the G-20 meeting, click here. For many revealing reports from major media sources on increasing threats to civil liberties, click here.
Media destruction of ACORN
September 24, 2009, MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show"
MADDOW: Tonight, a dash of truth. Seriously rich corporate interests are out to paint ACORN as a vast left-wing conspiracy against the American way of life. You can look at ACORN's primary political sin as they're trying to raise the minimum wage. ACORN has been caricatured by people, like Congressman King, as a corrupt, criminal enterprise that steals elections and turns a blind eye to prostitution. That's the story line the mainstream media has latched on to, as well. What you might not know from all of the breathless ACORN damnation coverage is what ACORN actually does. They do things like advocating for a higher minimum wage. They do things like helping low-income families file their taxes. They do things like helping low-income families find jobs. And as we discovered most recently in the healthcare debate, when industries sense a threat to their profits, they go into kill mode. They create corporate-funded purportedly grassroots organizations to derail and destroy whomever they believe to be the source of that threat. Say you're a company that doesn't really want the minimum wage to be raised. But you also don't want to be seen fighting ACORN yourself. What you do is you hire Richard Berman. And what you get is "RottenACORN.com," a grassroots-ish looking Web site dedicated to destroying ACORN. "RottenACORN.com" is run by something called the Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit think-tank that happens to be run by Richard Berman, who also happens to be the man behind grassroots-ish Web sites like the anti-labor one, "UnionFacts.com." Also, "MercuryFacts.org." which assures people that there really isn't that much mercury in that fish.
Note: A video of this segment is available at this link.
Vioxx maker Merck and Co drew up doctor hit list
April 1, 2009, The Australian (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
An international drug company made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. Staff at US company Merck &Co emailed each other about the list of doctors - mainly researchers and academics - who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action. The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words "neutralise", "neutralised" or "discredit" against some of the doctors' names. It is also alleged the company used intimidation tactics against critical researchers, including dropping hints it would stop funding to institutions and claims it interfered with academic appointments. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," a Merck employee wrote, according to an email excerpt read to the court by Julian Burnside QC, acting for the plaintiff. Merck & Co and its Australian subsidiary, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, are being sued for compensation by more than 1000 Australians, who claim they suffered heart attacks or strokes as a result of Vioxx. The drug was launched in 1999 and at its height of popularity was used by 80 million people worldwide because it did not cause stomach problems as did traditional anti-inflammatory drugs. It was voluntarily withdrawn from sale in 2004 after concerns were raised that it caused heart attacks and strokes and a clinical trial testing these potential side affects was aborted for safety reasons. Merck last year settled thousands of lawsuits in the US over the effects of Vioxx for $US 4.85 billion, but made no admission of guilt.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
US relinquishes control of the internet
September 30, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
After complaints about American dominance of the internet and growing disquiet in some parts of the world, Washington has said it will relinquish some control over the way the network is run and allow foreign governments more of a say in the future of the system. Icann – the official body that ultimately controls the development of the internet thanks to its oversight of web addresses such as .com, .net and .org – said today that it was ending its agreement with the US government. The deal, part of a contract negotiated with the US department of commerce, effectively pushes California-based Icann towards a new status as an international body with greater representation from companies and governments around the globe. Icann had previously been operating under the auspices of the American government, which had control of the net thanks to its initial role in developing the underlying technologies used for connecting computers together. But the fresh focus will give other countries a more prominent role in determining what takes place online, and even the way in which it happens – opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the internet. The new agreement comes into force immediately. It replaces the old version which had been in place since 1998 and was scheduled to expire today.
LSD's long, strange trip back into the lab
September 27, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
LSD, the drug that launched the psychedelic era and became one of the resounding symbols of the counterculture movement of the '60s, is back in the labs. Nearly 40 years after widespread fear over recreational abuse of LSD and other hallucinogens forced dozens of scientists to abandon their work, researchers at a handful of major institutions - including UCSF and Harvard University - are reigniting studies. The study at UCSF ... is looking into the mechanisms of LSD and how it works in the brain. The hope is that such research might support further studies into medical applications of LSD - for chronic headaches, for example - or psychiatric uses. "Psychedelics are in labs all over the world and there's a lot of promise," said Rick Doblin, director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz. Stanislav Grof was one of the last scientists to abandon hallucinogenic research when he shut down several projects at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in 1973 after his funding dried up. He moved to California to work at a research institute in Big Sur, where he turned to studies about how to re-create the effects of those drugs through meditation and breathing techniques. He's pleased to see some of the stigma falling away from drugs like LSD, but it bothers him that the scientific community lost decades of research. "I thought psychiatry and psychology really lost a major opportunity because of the abuse that happened with unsupervised research," Grof said. "These are fascinating substances - and they're very, very powerful, so they should be used with great precaution."
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