Votes Lost, Press Freedom,
Drug Prices, War Stories
Revealing News Articles
November 15, 2006
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. These news articles include revealing information on votes lost in the 2006 elections, press freedom, drug prices, war stories, and more. 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.
Rich countries 'blocking cheap drugs for developing world'
November 14, 2006, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Poor people are needlessly dying because drug companies and the governments of rich countries are blocking the developing world from obtaining affordable medicines. Five years to the day after the Doha declaration - a groundbreaking deal to give poor countries access to cheap drugs - was signed at the World Trade Organisation, Oxfam says things are worse. The charity accuses the US, which champions the interests of its giant pharmaceutical companies, of bullying developing countries into not using the measures in the Doha declaration and the EU of standing by and doing nothing. Doha technically allows poor countries to buy cheap copies of desperately needed drugs, but the US is accused of trying to prevent countries such as Thailand and India, which have manufacturing capacity, [from] making and selling cheap generic versions so as to preserve the monopolies of the drug giants. "Rich countries have broken the spirit of the Doha declaration," said Celine Charveriat, head of Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. "The declaration said the right things but needed political action to work and that hasn't happened. In fact, we've actually gone backwards. Many people are dying or suffering needlessly." The US has pursued its own free trade agreements with developing countries, tying them into much tighter observance of patent rights than anticipated at Doha. "The USA has also pressured countries for greater patent protection through threats of trade sanctions," the report says.
Administration Opposes Plan for Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices
November 13, 2006, New York Times
The Bush administration said on Sunday that it would strenuously oppose one of the Democrats' top priorities for the new Congress: legislation authorizing the government to negotiate with drug companies to secure lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. In an interview, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said he saw no prospect of compromise on the issue. Dozens of plans are available in every state. They charge different premiums and co-payments and cover different drugs. The 2003 Medicare law explicitly prohibits the federal government from negotiating drug prices or establishing a list of preferred drugs. Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who is in line to become the House speaker, has said the House will take up legislation to repeal that ban in its first 100 hours under Democratic control. Senate Democrats have expressed a similar desire. The eight Democrats newly elected to the Senate all say Medicare should have the power to negotiate with drug makers.
Note: To understand how the drug companies have become the most powerful lobby in government and will compromise our health for their profits, read what a top MD has to say by clicking here.
Conspiracy theories propel AM radio show into Top 10
November 12, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle
There was a time when "Coast to Coast AM," the late-night syndicated talk radio show dedicated to paranormal activities and political conspiracies, didn't get much respect. That all changed when millions from the mainstream met up with the after-midnight fringe folks to make "Coast to Coast AM" a top-rated radio show. George Noory...has hosted the program on weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. PST full time since 2003. The show...was taking calls about Sept. 11 conspiracy theories just two weeks after the terrorist attacks. "Coast to Coast AM"...can now reach upward of 3 million listeners through 500 stations each week. "There's absolutely a growing conspiracy climate," said Noory. "People are tired of being misled and confused from taking information directly from a government official." Noory, 56, took over "Coast to Coast AM" when the show's founder, Art Bell, retired. Bell, who has come in and out of retirement several times over the years, now hosts the program on weekends from his new home in the Philippines. Judging by the 300-plus phone calls and 1,000 e-mails the show receives on an average night...listeners include liberals, conservatives, senior citizens in San Francisco, college students in South Carolina and even soldiers in Iraq. Talkers magazine, the trade publication that tracks radio ratings, has Noory in the top 10 of its "Top Talk Radio Audiences," alongside Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly [and] Sean Hannity. "Coast to Coast" has on occasion scooped major media outlets like the New York Times and CNN, according to Noory. "We broke the story on the Dubai ports," said Noory. "We broke the story on SARS, and we were the first to report on the bird flu pandemic."
Soldiers Tell True Stories of Their War
November 12, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle
Justin LeHew, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment...Recipient of Navy Cross: There was black smoke billowing out...and I went to pull a Marine out of the back. As I was pulling him, his upper torso separated from his bottom torso, and all I had in my hands was his upper body. I handed Doc half of a Marine and said, "Put this in the back of the Humvee because Marines don't leave our dead and wounded on the battlefield." Jeff Englehart, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division: The body parts ... I don't know. It's not a video game. It's very real. But you think about -- this was a little girl. She was obviously innocent. No way you could accuse a child that young of being guilty. Her life was snuffed out in a second just from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There's no way to get emotional about it. You're just numb to it. A lot of soldiers joke about it. Look at that little foot and the bastard child that got blown up, but I guarantee that soldier thinks about it a little bit more deeper than that. Daniel B. Cotnoir, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force...Marine Corps Times "Marine of the Year": We recovered bodies out of a burnt helicopter that literally were just cremated. The only reason we knew we had two was because we counted the vertebrae and there were too many vertebrae to be one. The sad part is it's someone's son and that's all you've got left. Garett Reppenhagen, cavalry scout/snipe, 2-63 Armored Battalion, 1st Infantry Division: Some of the guys were laughing about it. It was their first time in combat and they were excited about it because they felt like they went through some rite of passage. I'm just thinking, You guys are f -- idiots. We just killed a bunch of f -- dudes who were on our side! I asked one of them, "Would you be so happy if they were Americans?"
Note: For a top general's revealing description of how soldiers suffer more than all others, click here.
Florida Recount, 2006-Style
November 11, 2006, CBS News
On Monday Florida will begin its first recount for a federal election since the botched 2000 presidential contest. The disputed race...is one place where the kind of machines used by 40% of American voters this week may have malfunctioned significantly enough to alter the outcome of a seat in Congress. An E-mail by a key election official [indicates] she may have known well before Election Day the machines weren't working properly. Republican Vern Buchanan beat Democrat Christine Jennings by 373 votes with 237,842 counted. That tiny margin – less than one-half of one percent – triggered an automatic recount under Florida state law. The Jennings campaign believes thousands of votes in the district's most populous county went unrecorded. In Sarasota County...nearly one in every six (16%) Election Day voters either skipped or missed the hotly contested House race. The Democrat won 53% of the vote in Sarasota County. Had even half the 17,811 "missing" machine votes been recorded...she would have overcome her margin of defeat. Only two-and-half percent of absentee ballots ignored the House race. Would six times as many people from the same place do so on Election Day? They didn't anywhere else in the district. Dozens of Sarasota County voters called "election protection" hotlines. Some did catch their "undervote." But what will happen in Sarasota...is less of a recount than a re-tally of the same results, because Florida is among the 15 states that do not allow touch screen machines to produce a paper trail.
Note: With no paper trail, if the voting machines were manipulated, there is no way to prove what really happened. How could our government have approved machines without a paper trail?
Election fixing charges fly in Utah county
November 7, 2006, CNN News/Associated Press
Voting appears to be very popular in Daggett County, Utah. Daggett County has registered 947 voters for Tuesday's election. According to the most recent Census figures, that's four more than the county's population in 2005. A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says complaints of vote-stuffing in the county are being investigated. Democrats suspect County Clerk Vickie McKee is letting outsiders swell the Daggett County registration rolls to give Republicans an advantage. The Democrats also say the father of a Republican deputy running for sheriff has 14 adults registered at his household. McKee hasn't responded to messages from The Associated Press.
Note: In such a small county, it is easy to spot the discrepancies. How often does this happen in much bigger counties and go unnoticed? For more, click here.
US now ranks 53rd in World Press Freedom Index
October 27, 2006, Christian Science Monitor
The news media advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders released their fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index this week. It shows that the United States has dropped 9 places since last year, and is now ranked 53rd, alongside Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. The authors of the report say that the steady erosion of press freedom in countries like the US, France and Japan (two other countries that slipped significantly on the index) is "very alarming." The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of "national security" to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his "war on terrorism." The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognize the media's right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism. Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj...has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the organization bases the index on responses to 50 questions about press freedom asked of journalists, free press organizations, researchers, human rights activists and others.
Note: It is quite interesting that the Washington Post article fails to mention the low ranking of the U.S. in the title of its article and only mentions the #53 rank in the second half of their article on the subject.
How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power
September 25, 2004, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. Newly discovered files in the US National Archives [confirm] that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism. His business dealings...continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war...he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now [a] multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson. Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system. Like his son, George, and grandson, George W, he went to Yale where he was, again like his descendants, a member of the secretive and influential Skull and Bones student society.
Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?
August 28, 2006, Washington Post
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a longtime and prominent member of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list, which notes his role as the suspected mastermind of the deadly U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa on Aug. 7, 1998. But another more infamous date -- Sept. 11, 2001 -- is nowhere to be found on the same FBI notice. The curious omission underscores the Justice Department's decision, so far, to not seek formal criminal charges against bin Laden for approving al-Qaeda's most notorious and successful terrorist attack. The notice says bin Laden is "a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world" but does not provide details. The absence has also provided fodder for conspiracy theorists who think the U.S. government or another power was behind the Sept. 11 hijackings. From this point of view, the lack of a Sept. 11 reference suggests that the connection to al-Qaeda is uncertain. FBI officials say the wanted poster merely reflects the government's long-standing practice of relying on actual criminal charges. Bin Laden was placed on the Ten Most Wanted list in June 1999 after being indicted for murder, conspiracy and other charges in connection with the embassy bombings, and a $5 million reward was put on his head at that time. The listing was updated after Sept. 11, 2001, to include a higher reward of $25 million, but no mention of the attacks was added.
Note: For an article in the Ithaca Journal which probes much deeper into this matter, click here. To see the FBI's page on bin Laden: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/terbinladen.htm. Many people forget that Bin Laden initially stated that though he applauded the attacks, he did not plan them. To see this reported on CNN, click here. Why would he deny involvement? For lots more, click here.
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Votes Lost, Press Freedom, Drug Prices, War Stories