Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ozzie Lessons on How to Keep Away From the ICC's Grasp

From Military Court too late to try Diggers for deaths of civilians by Mark Dodd, The Australian:

Australia's new Military Court will hear its first cases late next year.

But it will be too late to consider charges against three special forces soldiers over civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

The former members of the Special Operations Task Group face a range of charges including one count of manslaughter arising from the killing last year of six Afghans, including five children.

The military justice system was thrown into turmoil in May last year when the High Court struck down as unconstitutional the Military Court established in 2007 by the Howard government.

As an interim measure, the Rudd government reintroduced the court martial system.

[ ... ]

Government and legal experts yesterday played down claims that the decision to proceed with a court martial was in response to threatened action by the International Criminal Court, to which Australia is a signatory.

However, the decision to prosecute the three soldiers in Australia would ensure there would be no ICC indictment, they said.

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John Harris of presents the FKN Newz

Former BBC Correspondent Implicates MOSSAD in 9/11 Attack

Former Senior BBC Mideast Correspondent Alan Hart says on air that Israeli Mossad did 9/11 and much more in his revealing interview with Kevin Barrett which can be heard here. Alan explains the take over of America by zionists and exposes the failed false flag attack of the USS Liberty by Israel using Napalm.

Brazilian artist in the frame assassinating the Pope, the Queen and George Bush

The charcoal drawings by Gil Vicente became a focus of controversy when they went on display at the opening of the Sao Paulo Art Biennial on Saturday.

The former US President George W Bush is shown kneeling on the ground with his wrists bound behind him as Vicente pushes a pistol into his temple.

The Queen faces the onlooker with her hands clasped before her, apparently unaware that the artist is behind her pointing a gun at her back.

Pope Benedict XVI confronts the assassin with his hands raised, while the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Solva is trussed like a joint of meat with a butcher's knife at his throat.

Other world leaders depicted in the violent series include the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The series, called Inimigos (Enemies), is meant to highlight alleged crimes for which the leaders have been directly or indirectly responsible by imagining that they are being made to pay the price.

"Because they kill so many other people, it would be a favour to kill them, understand? Why don't people in power and in the elite die?" he said.

The Brazilian bar association has demanded that the images be removed from the exhibition, alleging that they encourage violent crime.

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Dr. Rick Strassman interview: DMT and near-death experiences shed light on spirit-brain relationship

Excerpt of interview by Alan Hippleheuser for the Examiner: What is the focus of your current research?

Dr. Strassman: I’m not doing clinical research. I’m writing a book on prophecy from the Old Testament point of view, using the lens of endogenous hallucinogens to make sense out of both the descriptions of prophetic consciousness in the Bible, as well as the prophetic message brought back by the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah. I set up the Cottonwood Research Foundation as an entity by which I would like to establish a “university of consciousness research,” but this is biding its time while I am working on my book. How did you get involved with your DMT study?

Dr. Strassman: I have had a long-standing interest in the biology of mystical states, and when I found out about the presence of DMT as an endogenous hallucinogen, this seemed to be the most likely candidate for a biological basis of spiritual experience. I had begun my clinical research career hoping to determine psychoactivity of the pineal gland, but an exhaustive analysis of melatonin’s effects failed to demonstrate much in the way of endogenous hallucinogenicity. Summarize for me the most significant findings of that research?

Dr. Strassman: A slew of biological markers went up in a dose-dependent manner when we administered pure intravenous DMT to a group of healthy experienced hallucinogen users – including prolactin, cortisol, beta-endorphin, heart rate, body temperature, oxytocin, core temperature. We also developing a new rating scale to quantify the subjective effects, based on Buddhist psychology, and this was quite sensitive and efficient.

Subjectively, the most interesting results were that high doses of DMT seemed to allow the consciousness of our volunteers to enter into non-corporeal, free-standing, independent realms of existence inhabited by beings of light who oftentimes were expecting the “volunteers,” and with whom the volunteers interacted. While “typical” near-death and mystical states occurred, they were relatively rare. Can you explain your comment in DMT -- " in some ways I was, and in others I wasn't, ready for where the spirit molecule would lead us. We succeeded in opening a door that had remained tightly locked for a generation. However, the box, like Pandora's, once opened, let out its force with its own agenda and language. It was a power that healed, hurt, startled, and was indifferent in wild and unpredictable ways. At every turn, I heard it call out in a voice that was tender, challenging, engaging, and frightening." I guess this experience changed your life and the lives of others involved in the project?

Dr. Strassman: I have a background and training in psychoanalysis, psychopharmacology, psychiatry, Zen Buddhism – and had the idea that DMT would lead to the sorts of states I believed it played a role in producing naturally – such as near-death and mystical states – ones that were rather “unitive” in their spiritual orientation. What was surprising to me was how “relational” the experiences were. I think I was suffering from the preconception that the psychedelic state shared more with Buddhist models of spirituality than Western ones – the latter being more relational, while the former are more unitive.

I don’t come out strongly in the DMT book for a beneficial effect of volunteers’ participation – more that it was a wash. But, in the course of filming our DMT documentary, I had the opportunity to interview over a half-dozen of the volunteers, some nearly 20 years after their participation in the study. I was quite impressed with the powerful positive effects their participation had on their lives, and realized that the effects needed a much longer time to manifest than I had originally believed.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Protesters want change. Dogs are designed to help them out'

From Political Animals: Why Some Stray Dogs Have Joined the Greek Riots by Lee Charles Kelley, Psychology Today

An Energy Theory.
As most readers know, I'm a proponent of an energy theory of behavior; one that states that all canine behavior and learning can be described through some very simple principles of energy, such as attraction and resistance, and tension and release. Are these dogs feeling the tension in the streets, and trying to find a way to release their own tension? This seems plausible. But why are these dogs so attracted to the protesters?

The Darwinian Perspective.
Since evolution is a continuous process, could we find an answer to the puzzle here? If so, perhaps the following syllogism might explain things:

1) Evolution is a process of change, where overall tendency is for simpler forms evolve into those that are more complex. 2) The complexity of modern human culture is the result of evolutionary changes, some of which came about because of our close relationship with domesticated dogs. 3) Since the goal of the protesters is to implement change, and the goal of the government is to resist it, dogs are acting as agents for change/evolution.

The Freudian Perspective.
Sigmund Freud's ideas on consciousness were derived, in part, from Darwin's theory. I've written a few articles here explaining why I think Freud is relevant to understanding dogs, in part because the human/canine bond is a reflection of the Freudian dynamic of the Id and Ego, i.e., the dog's owner acts as a governing mechanism for the dog's wildest impulses2. I also wrote an article explaining how I think  dogs are capable of sensing our desires and acting on them. With all this in mind:

1) Human consciousness operates via two energetic mechanisms, the Id and the Ego, a dynamic that can also be seen in how dogs relate to their owners. 2) Every society has its own Id (the unrestrained impulses of its people) and Ego (a government designed to keep a lid on the aggressive energies of its citizens). 3) Since dogs are almost pure Id, they gravitate more toward the side of the anarchists than to the police.

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Who Is Watching You? Nine Industries That Know Your Every Move

Don't kid yourself. Real privacy no longer exists in this country.

We've long had government organizations collecting data that paints a pretty clear picture of what we do with our time. The Internal Revenue Service knows everything about what you earn and any major transactions you make. It can access every bit of information it needs to determine how much money you should be sending on April 15.

The most important gatherer of personal information in the country is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It keeps a database of over 90 million fingerprints, which can be accessed by other law enforcement agencies. It also has an extensive database of DNA, the most specific marker of personal identity. The bureau's ability to collect information expanded following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It now tracks a large portion of mail, cell phone traffic and Internet activity of people it deems suspicious.

Thanks to advances in technology, however, there are also now numerous private enterprises that track and record your every move. Although they don't usually give out this information, there are often worrisome leaks and security breaches where they inadvertently release sensitive information about their customers. Taken together, these industries have data on where you are, who you are communicating with, how you are earning your money, how you are spending that money, as well as the hobbies and interests you are pursuing.

We examined a large number of organizations to find the most intrusive firms and industries. Here they are, ranked by the number of people they track:

1) Credit Rating Agencies
With each firm having files on over 200 million people, the three credit bureaus -- Equifax (EFX), Experian (EXPGY), and TransUnion -- know not only your credit history, but also have the data to project your credit future. The companies collect a history of all credit use by an individual, including payment of bills, mortgages, and credit cards. The agencies also track the frequency with which a person applies for credit. That information is used to determine a person's credit risk through a credit score. These scores are produced using secret algorithms, ensuring that the bureaus know much more about you than you know about them.

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Hunger proliferates in a democracy; India tops the chart

By Devinder Sharma

This is a chart that should put every Indian into shame. Not only an Indian, but also those who swear in the name of democracy. How can people's representatives remain immune to the growing scourge of hunger? Shouldn't this provoke you to ask the basic: why should hunger exist in a democracy?

The illustration above [released ahead of the Sept 20-22 Summit of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] reflects the monumental failure of the global leadership to address the worst tragedy that a democracy can inflict. Amartya Sen had said that famine does not happen in a democracy, but let me add: hunger perpetuates in a democracy.

The hunger map above is also a reflection of the dishonesty shown by the international leadership to fight hunger. Hunger is the biggest scandal, a crime against humanity that goes unpunished. At the 1996 World Food Summit, political leaders had pledged to pull out half the world's hungry (at that time the figure was somewhere around 840 million) by the years 2015. This commitment was applauded by one and all, including the academicians, policy makers, development agencies and charities, and you name it.

This commitment alone demonstrated the political indifference to mankind's worst crime. Considering FAO's own projections of the number of people succumbing to hunger and malnutrition at around 24,000 a day, I had then said that by the year 2015, the 20 years time limit they had decided to work on, 172 million people would die of hunger. And when the world meets for the MDG Summit in a few days from now, almost 15 years since the WFS 1996, close to 128 million people have already died from hunger.

And you call this an urgency?

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A short introduction to Pastafarianism

Brought to you by Spaghetti Ministries.

Middle-aged Suicide Rates Rise in US

 Suicide rates for middle-aged people are edging up — particularly for white men without college degrees — and a combination of poor health and a poor economy may be driving it, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

Middle-aged people usually have a relatively low risk for suicide as they seek to support their families, but baby boomers are bucking this trend, sociologists Julie Phillips of Rutgers University in New Jersey and Ellen Idler of Emory University in Atlanta found.

"If these trends continue, they are cause for concern," Phillips and Idler wrote in the journal Public Health Reports.

"Male baby boomers have yet to reach old age, the period of the male life course at highest risk for suicide; if they continue to set historically high suicide rates as they did in adolescence and now in middle age, their rates in old age could be very high indeed."

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Wife auctioning Philip K. Dick memorabilia

Marriage certificate of Leslie Ann Busby (me) and Philip K. Dick.

The original is for sale, if somebody bids high enough. (Hint: My house payment is $365.)
Auction ends October 5, 2010.

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Despite Privacy Objections, Enhanced Identity Documents Required for Travel

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect today despite substantial privacy and security risks. The federal government now requires US citizens to present identity documents when entering the US. These documents incorporate RFID technology that jeopardizes the privacy and security of US travelers. EPIC has previously urged the State Department to abandon the proposal. Senator Leahy has also criticized the program. See also EPIC's Spotlight on Surveillance. (Jun. 1, 2009)

~ Source: ~

'Atheists and agnostics know more about religion than Protestants and Catholics'

Many professed Christians questioned in a survey showed a lack of knowledge even of their own faiths.

Forty-five per cent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.
More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation.

The survey conducted for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history.

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Pakistan Flood Footage

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Save the planet – a message from another world

Patrick Barkham reports for the Guardian:

Jacinto Zarabata sits in a suburban back garden in north London and unselfconsciously uses a stick to probe the inside of a gourd, which is shaped like a rather phallic mushroom with a bright yellow cap. The first member of the Kogi people of Colombia ever to visit Britain is wearing traditional rough cotton clothes and has a cloth bag slung over each shoulder as he chews toasted coca leaves.

It would be easy to view Jacinto as a noble savage; an exotic being from a pristine indigenous culture still living in impenetrable pockets of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain range in the world. But this small, self-assured spokesman for the Kogi soon subverts that stereotype. As he answers my first question in fluent Spanish, he delves into one bag, extracts a camera and takes a photograph of me.

Jacinto has made the journey to Britain because the Kogi have embarked on an unusual and ambitious mission. They are making a movie about their way of life – but not for themselves, as part of some kind of do-gooding community workshop; it is for us, and it carries an uncompromising message. One of very few indigenous American people to resist the ravages of Spanish conquistadors, Christian missionaries and, now, eco-tourists, militias, drug lords and heavy industry, the Kogi have observed frightening changes to their homeland in recent decades. The glaciers are melting, storms have increased in ferocity, there are landslides and floods, followed by droughts and deforestation. The Kogi, who live by a complex set of spiritual beliefs, are the "elder brother" and guardians of this, the heart of the earth, and they believe we in the west ("little brother") are destroying the planet. They have come to warn us, before it is too late.

Jacinto, who is a spokesperson for the Mamos, the Kogi spiritual leaders who have a unique wisdom forged by an entire childhood spent living in the dark, arrived in London the previous night. He is staying with Alan Ereira, who made a BBC documentary, The Heart of the World, about their life 20 years ago. What are Jacinto's first impressions of our society?

"The first thing that is noticeable to me is that this is still the world," he says. "What's visible is construction, what you have made. This is not something we, the Kogi, are used to seeing. You give precedence to the use of a thing rather than its source. That's the intellectual error. Ultimately, it's all nature." From Jacinto's viewpoint, when we glance at a car we might assess its cost and the status conferred on its driver. We don't recognise it as a clever piece of engineering of resources that once lay inside the earth.

~ more... ~

ALUNA - The Movie

The Kogi proclaim their intention to take us into the world of Aluna in a new film.

Lawsuit Against Liquor Makers Illuminates Drug-War Charade

Occasionally, the U.S. justice system opens a window into the true nature of the drug-war pretense, despite the political rhetoric employed to conceal the hypocrisy.

That is the case with respect to a pending lawsuit that pits the government of Colombia, and its various departments (or states) against two of the world's largest liquor producers, England-based Diageo Plc and France-based Pernod Ricard SA — both of which have major U.S. operations and produce well-known brands such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan Chivas Regal and Martell.

In the litigation, a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act case filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, the government of Colombia accuses the giant liquor companies and their co-conspirators, including distributors based in Aruba (a Caribbean island nation just northeast of Colombia), of having “engaged in and facilitated organized crime by laundering the proceeds of narcotics trafficking,” among other acts, according to the court pleadings.

In what can only be described as a real head-scratcher, the government of Colombia is continuing to wage this legal battle against the liquor makers even while it presses for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States that, by the terms of the proposed pact (now awaiting approval from the U.S. Congress), would actually make it easier for liquor makers and distributors to expand their business activities in Colombia.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is part of the Executive Office of the President, provides the following description of the proposed FTA, dubbed the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement:

    Under Law 788, Colombia assesses a consumption tax on beverage alcohol based on a system of specific rates per degree (percentage point) of alcohol strength. This tax regime discriminates against imported distilled spirits through arbitrary breakpoints that have the effect of applying a lower tax rate per degree of alcohol to domestically produced spirits. Under the CTPA [U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement], Colombia committed to eliminate this discriminatory element of the excise tax for imports of distilled spirits within four years of entry into force of the agreement. Additionally, under the national treatment principle of the CTPA, Colombia committed to eliminate discriminatory practices that have restricted the ability of U.S. distilled spirits companies to conduct business in Colombia. [Emphasis added.]

Simple economics seems to dictate that if sales of foreign liquor products increase in Colombia under the trade pact as proposed, so too would the opportunity to launder money via the sales of those products.

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A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil

Cities should be a solution not a problem for human beings. The city of Curitiba has demonstrated for the past 40 years how to transform problems into cost-effective solutions that can be applied in most cities around the world.

A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil is an informative, inspirational documentary aimed at sharing ideas to provoke environment-friendly and cost-effective changes in cities worldwide. The documentary focuses on innovations in transportation, recycling, social benefits including affordable housing, seasonal parks, and the processes that transformed Curitiba into one of the most livable cities in the world.

The film includes interviews from world renowned Curitiba's mayors Jaime Lerner and Cassio Tanigushi, as well as other brilliant minds who made Curitiba a world class model.

On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972

On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972 from zwischenzug on Vimeo.

A video documentary combining exhibition footage of the Situationist International exhibitions with film footage of the 1968 Paris student uprising, and graffiti and slogans based on the ideas of Guy Debord (one of the foremost spokesmen of the Situationist International movement). Also includes commentary by leading art critics Greil Marcus, Thomas Levine, and artists Malcolm Mac Laren and Jamie Reid. Branka Bogdanov, Director and producer. NTSC-VHS 22 min. 1989

After Thirteen Months in an Iranian Prison, Sarah Shourd Has ‘No Animosity’ Toward Ahmadinejad

Sarah Shourd, the American hiker held in Iran for thirteen months on spying charges who was sent back to the U.S. last week, had a face-to-face meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad in New York yesterday. Of their chat, she said in a statement:

I would like to thank President Ahmadinejad for giving me and my mother the opportunity to meet with him today. It was a very gracious gesture and a good meeting. While I was in prison, I pleaded for the chance to speak with President Ahmadinejad in order to clear up any misunderstanding that led to our detention. Our story was completely unexpected and tragic. We did nothing wrong. We meant no harm to the Iranian people. I just think it's a huge misunderstanding - more to do with the problems between the countries than us as individuals. I have no animosity towards [Ahmadinejad ] or the government. I want it to be resolved. I want it to be finished.

Shourd added that, of course, she wants her fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, still held in Iran, sent back to the U.S. as well. Partly, that's because Bauer proposed to her while they were stuck in an Iranian prison together and thought they'd never see home again. And she still wants to marry him. Love!

~ New York Magazine ~

Musical Innerlube: Flash And The Pan - Jetsetters Ball

Scientists, Secrets and Wall Street's Lost $4 Trillion

From Pam Martens' report in Counterpunch:

Taking the human relationship, and human brain, out of investing for others and turning it over to computer formulas has produced stark results: a lost decade of retirement savings for most Americans; a multi-trillion dollar collapse of the financial system; a taxpayer bailout of the most incompetent and negligent firms in finance; the greatest wealth transfer to the top 1 percent in the history of the country -- which has contributed to  43.6 million people in America, including one in every five children, living below the poverty level.

And despite all this, Wall Street's top cop, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), continues to treat Wall Street as an overly rambunctious adolescent that needs merely a little slap on the wrist from time to time.

Consider the recent example of how Citigroup was punished by the SEC for willfully “scripting” announcements to investors to hide $39 billion of its exposure to subprime debt.   According to the SEC's order of July 29, 2010, only Gary Crittenden, CFO during the period of the order, and Arthur Tildesley, head of Investor Relations at the time, were singled out and given fines of $100,000 and $80,000 respectively.  They were not barred from Wall Street; their collaborators in the debt deception, who were known to the SEC via emails obtained from the firm, were not named in the SEC order or fined.  The following is from the SEC order:

In late September and early October 2007, Crittenden, the chief financial officer (“CFO”) of Citigroup Inc. (“Citigroup”) and Tildesley, the head of Citigroup's Investor Relations (“IR”) department, both helped draft and then approved, and Crittenden subsequently made, misstatements about the exposure to sub-prime mortgages of Citigroup's investment bank. Citigroup then included a transcript of the misstatements in a Form 8-K that it filed with the Commission on October 1, 2007. The misstatements were made at a time of heightened investor and analyst interest in public company exposure to sub-prime mortgages and related to disclosures that the Citigroup investment bank had reduced its sub-prime exposure from $24 billion at the end of 2006 to slightly less than $13 billion. In fact, however, in addition to the approximately $13 billion in disclosed sub-prime exposure, the investment bank's sub-prime exposure included more than $39 billion of “super senior” tranches of sub-prime collateralized debt obligations and related instruments called “liquidity puts” and thus exceeded $50 billion. Citigroup did not acknowledge that the investment bank's sub-prime exposure exceeded $50 billion until November 4, 2007, when the company announced that the investment bank then had approximately $55 billion of sub-prime exposure.

There are systemic ramifications to secrets like the above which, still today, proliferate across Wall Street.  The SEC has assigned a former rocket physicist, Gregg Berman, to lead the investigation into the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010.  On that day the market lost a staggering 998 points intraday, sold off some blue chip stocks at 20 to 40 per cent below their opening price, knocked some S&P 500 stocks to a penny, then turned on a dime and shot upward in a bizarre financial bungee jump, with the Dow closing down 348 points.  It apparently hasn't occurred to the SEC that the American people do not want their life savings in a venue that requires a rocket scientist to explain how it works. (A CNBC/Associated Press poll conducted between August 26 and September 8 of this year found that 86 percent of survey respondents view the stock market as unfair to small investors.  Half the respondents say they have little or no confidence in the ability of regulators to make the market fair for all investors.)

[ ... ]

One of the most outspoken critics of the risk modeling technique known as  VaR is Dr. Nassim Taleb,  who holds impressive academic credentials himself: a Wharton M.B.A., a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Management Science from the University of Paris.  Dr. Taleb testified as follows on September 10, 2009 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology.  (Despite this testimony, fourteen days later, the SEC hired Dr. Berman.)

“Thirteen years ago, I warned that 'VaR encourages misdirected people to take risks with shareholders,' and ultimately taxpayers' money.' I have since been begging for the suspension of these measurements of tail risks [fat tail or extreme events]. But this came a bit late. For the banking system has lost so far, according to the International Monetary Fund, in excess of 4 trillion dollars directly as a result of faulty risk management… My first encounter with the VaR was as a derivatives trader in the early 1990s when it was first introduced. I saw its underestimation of the risks of a portfolio by a factor of 100 --you set up your book to lose no more than $100,000 and you take a $10,000,000 hit.  Worse, there was no way to get a handle on how much its underestimation could be.  Using VaR after the crash of 1987 proved strangely gullible.  But the fact that its use was not suspended after the many subsequent major events, such as the Long-Term Capital Management blowup in 1998, requires some explanation. [Long Term Capital Management was a hedge fund blown up by a group of Ph.D.s using massive leverage.] Furthermore, regulators started promoting VaR (Basel 2) just as evidence was mounting against it.

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Iran crosses into Iraq to hit bombing suspects

Iranian forces crossed into neighboring Iraq and killed 30 fighters from a group it says was involved in last week's bombing of a military parade, state TV reported Sunday.

Gen. Abdolrasoul Mahmoudabadi of the elite Revolutionary Guards said the "terrorists" were killed on Saturday in a clash "beyond the border" and that his forces were still in pursuit of two men who escaped the ambush.

While Iran has said in the past it would target armed groups on Iraqi soil this is a rare case of it actually admitting to an attack.

Iraqi officials have complained in the past about Iranian artillery shelling its northern mountainous region where armed Kurdish opposition groups have taken refuge.

An explosion during a military parade in the town of Mahabad, in Iran's northwestern Kurdish region, killed 12 women and children on Wednesday.

Iran has already blamed the attack on Kurdish separatists who have fought Iranian forces in the area for years, but most Kurdish groups condemned the attack and no one has so far claimed responsibility for it.

Iran has also blamed Israel, the U.S. and supporters of Iraq's previous regime for supporting the Kurdish groups.

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Opium trade rife in early R.I. history

Rhode Island merchants played a major role in the American slave trade, financing some 1,000 trips to Africa.

But Providence businessmen and slavers, including John Brown, also made money from another unsavory practice after the Revolution: the opium trade.

Although opium was used as both medicine and a drug elsewhere, it was illegal in China, where merchants from Philadelphia, New York and New England made money selling the banned drug.

Relying on their skills as coastal privateers, slave traders and even patriots, Americans “became masters of opium smuggling along the China coast,” said history professor Sucheta Mazumdar at Brown University on Monday.

The Duke University professor spoke as part of a yearlong symposium called “Asia-Pacific in the Making of the Americas: Toward a Global History.”

According to Mazumdar and other scholars, American merchants played a significant role in developing new sources of opium and expanding the market from the late 1700s to 1850.

Although Americans traded in other Chinese goods, including tea, silk and porcelain, “what made opium profitable was the fact that it was a smuggled item,” said Mazumdar in a speech titled “Slaves, Textiles and Opium: The Other Half of the Triangular Trade.”

Back in America, the profits from the trade generated money for mansions, banks, railroads and textile mills, she said.

~ more... ~

Nepal fast becoming major opium producer

Nepal could soon earn the unenviable distinction of being a major opium-producing country of the world if the current trend of opium cultivation in the central Tarai continues, government officials acknowledge.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently sent a team of experts to inspect the central Tarai where the law and order situation has allowed opium cultivation to flourish.

UNODC´s inspection took place at a time when Nepal´s giant neighbors - India and China - have started to emerge as major global players in terms of opium production and consumption.

Both countries produce opium legally for medicinal use. India is the leading country in legal opium cultivation and the biggest exporter to the US, but it is also witnessing increasing illegal production.

Opium cultivation in Nepal is spreading in the southern plains that either border or are close to parts of India - Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan- where both legal and illegal opium cultivation exists.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Hemanta Malla, who specialized in narcotics during his 13-year stint at the Narcotic Control and Law Enforcement Unit (NCLEU), said illegal opium cultivation has spilled over from India into Nepal due to the poor state of law and order here.

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Take me to your UN leader (Space ambassador to greet Alien Visitors)

The United Nations could appoint an astrophysicist to co-ordinate the response to any possible alien contact.

Israel Navy to use force if Jewish aid boat heading for Gaza refuses to comply

An Israel Defense Forces official confirmed Monday that the military intends to refuse to let the boat dock in Gaza, not only in a bid to maintain the naval blockade but out of concern for the safety of the Israeli citizens onboard once in the territory.

Military officials said the boat was carrying a negligible load of supplies, and describes the action as a "provocation" that disrupts the navy's operation.

An army source said that when the vessel reaches the area where the naval blockade begins, the military will offer to transfer its supplies to the Port of Ashdod and order the crew to turn around. Should they refuse, the source said, the Shayetet 13 naval commando unit will seize control of the boat and transport it to Ashdod, where crew members will be detained for trying to violate the blockade.

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The former guerrilla set to be the world's most powerful woman

The world's most powerful woman will start coming into her own next weekend. Stocky and forceful at 63, this former leader of the resistance to a Western-backed military dictatorship (which tortured her) is preparing to take her place as President of Brazil.

As head of state, president Dilma Rousseff would outrank Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor, and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State: her enormous country of 200 million people is revelling in its new oil wealth. Brazil's growth rate, rivalling China's, is one that Europe and Washington can only envy.

Her widely predicted victory in next Sunday's presidential poll will be greeted with delight by millions. It marks the final demolition of the "national security state", an arrangement that conservative governments in the US and Europe once regarded as their best artifice for limiting democracy and reform. It maintained a rotten status quo that kept a vast majority in poverty in Latin America while favouring their rich friends.

Ms Rousseff, the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant to Brazil and his schoolteacher wife, has benefited from being, in effect, the prime minister of the immensely popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former union leader. But, with a record of determination and success (which includes appearing to have conquered lymphatic cancer), this wife, mother and grandmother will be her own woman. The polls say she has built up an unassailable lead – of more than 50 per cent compared with less than 30 per cent – over her nearest rival, an uninspiring man of the centre called Jose Serra. Few doubt that she will be installed in the Alvorada presidential palace in Brasilia in January.

Like President Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Brazil's neighbour, Ms Rousseff is unashamed of a past as an urban guerrilla which included battling the generals and spending time in jail as a political prisoner.

~ more... ~

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to ask awkward questions and annoy people

Angus Kennedy reviews Bettany Hughes' 'The Hemlock Cup':

Diogenes Laertius, in his Lives of the Philosophers, tells us that Socrates, unsatisfied with the natural philosophy of his day, 'began to enter upon moral speculations, both in his workshop and in the marketplace'. He devoted his life to investigating what it was for a man to live well or badly.

Socrates' relentless questioning of received moral wisdom and authority, his struggle to apprehend real existence in consciousness, would make him many enemies. Laertius goes on to tell us that 'very often, while arguing and discussing points that arose, he was treated with great violence and beaten, and pulled about, and laughed at and ridiculed by the multitude'. The great Athenian comedian Aristophanes ridiculed Socrates in his Clouds as 'an artful fellow, a blusterer, a villain, a knave with one hundred faces, cunning, intolerable, a gluttonous dog'. In Plato's Meno, Socrates offends a man called Anytus by suggesting that even great men such as Themistocles and Thucydides were not capable of teaching their sons to be good. Anytus warns him to be careful, that he is 'too ready to speak evil of men'. It was Anytus who brought the prosecution against Socrates in 399 BC, on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth, which led to Socrates' execution.

Was Socrates really so intolerable? Intolerant of Athenian democracy's belief that the many had the wisdom to judge, was he a threat to democracy itself? Was he guilty of asking too many questions? The debate about Socrates has raged continuously since his death. The birthplace of democracy, famed for introducing freedom of speech and equality before the law, had executed one of the first philosophers for the crime, essentially, of holding certain beliefs and for trying to educate his fellow citizens in morality. IF Stone argues in his 1988 classic, The Trial of Socrates, that he martyred himself to make his opposition to Athenian democracy immortal. But that implies that we should see Socrates as a hero of free speech at the expense of the ideal of democracy. So was Athens just a sham, a democracy in name only, a xenophobic and sexist system resting its leisured elbows on the broken backs of slave labourers, as many now claim?

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The Confessions of Robert Crumb


This is an annamatic testing the concept of video comics. It was done in the mid nineties and is incomplete.

On the Secret Committee to Save the Euro, a Dangerous Divide

Two months after Lehman Brothers collapsed in the fall of 2008, a small group of European leaders set up a secret task force—one so secret that they dubbed it "the group that doesn't exist."

Its mission: Devise a plan to head off a default by a country in the 16-nation euro zone.

When Greece ran into trouble a year later, the conclave, whose existence has never before been reported, had yet to agree on a strategy. In a prelude to a cantankerous public debate that would later delay Europe's response to the euro-zone debt crisis until the eleventh hour, the task force struggled to surmount broad disagreement over whether and how the euro zone should rescue one of its own. It never found the answer.

A Wall Street Journal investigation, based on dozens of interviews with officials from around the EU, reveals that the divisions that bedeviled the task force pushed the currency union perilously close to collapse. In early May, just hours before Germany and France broke their stalemate and agreed to endorse a trillion-dollar fund to rescue troubled euro-zone members, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told her delegation the euro zone was on the verge of breaking apart, according to people familiar with the matter.

The euro zone's near death had stakes for people around the world. A wave of government defaults on Europe's periphery could have triggered a new crisis in the international banking system, with even worse consequences for the global economy than the failure of Lehman.

The dangerous dithering was driven by ideological divisions that continue to paralyze the currency union's search for solutions to its structural flaws. Deep differences on economic policy between Europe's frugal north and laxer south, between Germany and France, and between national governments and central EU institutions hindered an effective early response to the crisis. Only when faced with calamity—the collapse of the euro zone—did leaders put aside their differences and reach a compromise.

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'The Lonely Crowd,' at 60, Is Still Timely

For many Chronicle readers, the most relevant work of David Riesman may be the milestone book he wrote with Christopher Jencks, The Academic Revolution (Doubleday, 1968), on America's dual trends toward mass higher education and elitist meritocracy. But the book that put him on a Time cover was The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character, with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney, published by Yale University Press in 1950, 60 years ago this October. (Riesman died in 2002, Denney in 1995.)

The Lonely Crowd was part of a stream of writing on tendencies in American "social character" that flourished between the 1940s and 1980s, peaking in the 50s and early 60s. It described a shift in the way Americans followed society's prescriptions, from a 19th-century "inner-direction"—behavior internalized at an early age from parents and other elders—to a mid-20th-century "other-direction," flexibly responsive to "peer groups" and the media. Key metaphors were the "gyroscope" of inner-direction versus the "radar" of other-direction. (During World War II, Riesman had been a lawyer for Sperry Gyroscope, makers of gyroscopic bombsights.) Inner-direction provided moral stability in a rapidly developing society. Unlike "tradition-directed" people, dependent on external rules in older, more static societies, inner-directed people could carry their precepts anywhere. But other-direction was more suited to a bureaucratic age of sales, services, and "human relations."

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Workers abandoned by US employer want to run firm

Workers abandoned by their American employer, Filipino workers of a dental outsourcing facility in Manila plan to run the facility on their own, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Sunday.

Baldoz said workers of Skytech International Dental Laboratories Inc. wanted to resume operations of the facility through their cooperative after their employer, Laurence K. Fishman, left with unpaid debts.

“The 350-strong workers of the company have expressed the desire to resume the operations of the company through the workers' cooperative which is duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority,” she said in a statement.

According to Raymundo Agravante, labor
director for Metro Manila, the workers, through its representative Darwin Landicho, erstwhile Skytech human resource manager, said they intended to operate the company with an initial staff of at least 10 percent of its dental technicians.

“We will initially cater to local orders. In three to four weeks, we might accept orders from abroad,” Landicho said.

The workers' desire got a boost when the company's vice president, Wilma Redler, an American, informed the workers that an investor, Canada-based Frontier Corp., is very much interested in doing business with them.

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'We misunderstand cancer by making it a noun'

From EDGE MASTER CLASS 2010: CANCERING - Listening In On The Body's Proteomic Conversation with W. Daniel Hillis:

"Instead of saying, 'My house has water', w' say, 'My plumbing is leaking.' Instead of saying, 'I have cance[r]'", we should say, "I am cancering.' The truth of the matter is we're probably cancering all the time, and our body is checking it in various ways, so we're not cancering out of control. Probably every house has a few leaky faucets, but it doesn't matter much because there are processes that are mitigating that by draining the leaks. Cancer is probably something like that.

"In order to understand what's actually going on, we have to look at the level of the things that are actually happening, and that level is proteomics. Now that we can actually measure that conversation between the parts, we're going to start building up a model that's a cause-and-effect model: This signal causes this to happen, that causes that to happen. Maybe we will not understand to the level of the molecular mechanism but we can have a kind of cause-and-effect picture of the process. More like we do in sociology or economics."

Last year's Edge Master Class in Los Angeles featured George Church and Craig Venter lecturing on Synthetic Genomics. Hillis points out that the genome is used to construct things, and that it's not the best place for analysis of what's going on. "Certainly," he says, "there are times it is useful, but I don't think that's where most of the information is.

If you think in terms of computer models, think of proteomics as a debugging tool for genomics programs. "When you write a computer program, the first thing you do is you try to run it, and it almost always has a bug in it, so you see what happens, and you debug it, you stop it in the middle of running, and you see what the state of the system is, and you understand what your bug is, and then you change the program. The proteome is the state".

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Vatican bank under investigation

Italian police freeze funds over alleged violations of EU money-laundering rules.

Univocalism in D

A poem which uses no other consonant than "D".

~ via Joel Stickley ~

'Sight is used to strike the imagination. Thirteenth experiment that proves the effect of sight.'

From Testing the Claims of Mesmerism - The First Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal Ever Conducted, with an introduction by Michael Shermer:

This power that sight has over the imagination explains the effects that the doctrine of magnetism attributes to it. It is preeminently sight that has the power to magnetize; signs & gestures employed are ordinarily useless, the Commissioners were told, unless the subject has already been taken hold of by being glanced upon. The reason is simple; it is in the eyes where the most expressive traits of the passions are, & it is there that all that is most important & most seductive in character is unfolded. Therefore, the eyes must have a great power over us; but they have this power because they stir the imagination, & in a manner more or less exaggerated according to the strength of that imagination. It is therefore sight that gets all the work of magnetism underway; & the effect is so powerful, its origins so deep, that a woman newly arrived at M. Deslon's, coming out of a crisis & meeting the gaze of the disciple of Deslon who magnetized her, stared at him for three quarters of an hour. For a long time she was hounded by this look; she kept seeing before her that same eye intent on watching her; & she constantly carried it in her imagination for three days, whether asleep or awake. One sees all that can be produced by an imagination able to preserve the same impression for such a long time, the same impression, that is to say, able to revive by its own power the same feeling for three days.

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CIA seeks to gag critics of terror hit list

The Obama Administration is trying to use national security laws to pre-empt an embarrassing court case over its targeted assassinations of terror suspects.

In papers filed over the weekend Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, argued that American security would be breached if the lawsuit was heard in court.

"This case cannot be litigated without risking or requiring the disclosure of classified and privileged intelligence information that must not be disclosed," he wrote.

Mr Panetta was responding to a lawsuit brought against the Government by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Centre for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Anwar al-Awlaki, a dual US-Yemeni citizen. His name was added to the counter-terrorism "kill list" after his alleged involvement in the failed Christmas Day airline bombing last year.

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Pentagon destroyed 10,000 copies of army officer's book

The Pentagon has admitted buying up and destroying 10,000 copies of an insider's account of life in Afghanistan by an army intelligence officer.

It said that the book, Operation Dark Heart by Lt Col Anthony Shaffer, threatened to divulge state secrets.

Lt Col Shaffer, a bronze star recipient, said he had no intention of jeopardising American lives or damaging national security.

"The whole premise smacks of retaliation," he told CNN. "Someone buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous."

The book was cleared for publication by his superiors at the US army reserve command despite being critical of strategy in Afghanistan.

But shortly before it was due to leave the warehouse, the Pentagon's intelligence unit raised concerns.

The author has said he has fallen victim to an increased sensitivity about inside information following the release by the Wikileaks website of thousands of military documents detailing the conduct of the war, and the resignation of Gen Stanley McChrystal as US commander in Afghanistan because of disparaging comments about the Barack Obama administration made by his aides to a magazine.

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It Is Official: The US Is A Police State

By Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on that “the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are 'seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.'”

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that 'if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won't have to fight them here' is just that--the old view.” The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home.”

“Violent extremism” is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning's FBI's foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with “the material support of terrorism,” just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism.

Anti-war activist Mick Kelly whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is under-estimating the threat. The FBI's own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

“Material support” is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government's lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government's declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to "adverse publicity" for the Queen and the Government.

Aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the Queen's gas and electricity bills, which had increased by 50 per cent that year, stood at more than £1m a year and had become "untenable".

The Royal Household also complained that the £15m government grant to maintain the Queen's palaces was inadequate.

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5 Surprising Facts About Spying In America

Here are 5 surprising facts about spying in America.

We understand if some of this sounds far-fetched. But take a look for yourself, and see if you can disprove these claims.

1: Cheney and Rumsfeld Pushed for Warrantless Wiretaps in the '70s

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumseld and other government officials who held high positions in the George W. Bush administration pushed for wiretaps without approval by a judge ... in the 1970s.

2: Massive Spying on Americans Began Before 9/11

You know about the government's massive program of spying on Americans which has been justified as a necessary response to 9/11?

Whistleblowers from major telecommunications companies have testified that the program began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here).

3: U.S. and Allied Intelligence Heard the 9/11 Hijackers Plans from Their Own Mouths

The 9/11 hijackers were largely unknown prior to that horrible event, right?

Actually, U.S. and allied intelligence services heard a lot from the hijackers' own mouths prior to 9/11...

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'Deputies have tested the device on themselves and say the beam is painful'

From Authorities at Castaic jail poised to use Assault Intervention Device by C.J. Lin, Daily News:

Guards trying to break up fights between inmates at a Castaic jail will be armed with the hottest nonlethal weapon on the market next week.

The 7½-foot-tall Assault Intervention Device emits a focused, invisible ray that causes an unbearable heating sensation in its targets – hopefully stopping inmates from fighting or doing anything other than trying to get out of its way, sheriff's officials said.

The device, unveiled Friday at Pitchess Detention Center, will be mounted near the ceiling in a dormitory housing about 65 prisoners, according to Commander Bob Osborne of the Sheriff's Department Technology Exploration Program.

"We hope that this type of technology will either cause an inmate to stop an assault or lessen the severity of an assault by them being distracted by the pain as a result of the beam," Osborne said. "So that we have fewer injuries, fewer assaults, those kinds of things."

Deputies have tested the device on themselves and say the beam is painful – especially when it's not expected.

"I equate it to opening an oven door and feeling that blast of hot air, except instead of being all over me, it's more focused," Osborne said. "And you begin to feel this warming feeling, and then you go 'Yow, I need to get out of the way."'

The pain can be stopped by moving out of the beam's path, which targets do instinctively.

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Musical Innerlube: Bettie Page dances to the Seeds

Genocide Denial with a Vengeance: Old and New Imperial Norms - Noam Chomsky

Perhaps the most shattering lesson from this powerful inquiry is that the end of the Cold War opened the way to an era of virtual Holocaust denial. As the authors put it, more temperately, “During the past several decades, the word 'genocide' has increased in frequency of use and recklessness of application, so much so that the crime of the 20th Century for which the term originally was coined often appears debased.” Current usage, they show, is an insult to the memory of victims of the Nazis.

It may be useful, however, to recall that the practices are deeply rooted in prevailing intellectual culture, so much so that they will not be easy to eradicate. We can see this by considering the most unambiguous cases of genocide and its debasement, those in which the crime is acknowledged by the perpetrators, and passed over as insignificant or even denied in retrospect by the beneficiaries, right to the present.

Settler colonialism, commonly the most vicious form of imperial conquest, provides striking illustrations. The English colonists in North America had no doubts about what they were doing. Revolutionary War hero General Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War in the newly liberated American colonies, described “the utter extirpation of all the Indians in most populous parts of the Union” by means “more destructive to the Indian natives than the conduct of the conquerors of Mexico and Peru,” which would have been no small achievement. In his later years, President John Quincy Adams recognized the fate of “that hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidious cruelty, [to be] among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring [it] to judgement.”

Contemporary commentators see the matter differently. The prominent Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis hails Adams as the grand strategist who laid the foundations for the Bush Doctrine that “expansion is the path to security.” Plausibly, and with evident appreciation, Gaddis takes the doctrine to be routinely applicable throughout the history of the “infant empire,” as George Washington termed the new Republic. Gaddis passes in silence over Adams's gory contributions to the “heinous sins of this nation” as he established the doctrine, along with the doctrine of executive war in violation of the Constitution, in a famous State paper justifying the conquest of Florida on utterly fraudulent pretexts of self-defense. The conquest was part of Adams's project of “removing or eliminating native Americans from the southeast,” in the words of William Earl Weeks, the leading historian of the massacre, who provides a lurid account of the “exhibition of murder and plunder” targeting Indians and runaway slaves.

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Swami Beyondananda for Empowerment Works

With Swami Beyondananda.

Friday, September 24, 2010

'The most important jury decision of modern times'

From Illuminati Cash 'Slush Fund' Estimated At $65 Trillion by Greg Szymanski:

... Before looking at some of the startling information behind how the "Illuminati banksters" create money out of thin air, ask why the 1968 Minnesota Trial Court's decision holding the Federal Reserve Act unconstitutional and void and holding the National Banking Act unconstitutional and void was never appealed or vacated?
The answer is even the legal manipulators and corrupted high court judges can't get around this decision, figuring it better to just let the case of the First National Bank of Montgomery v. Jerome Daly die in the cold Minnesota snow along with Justice Martin V. Mahoney who was found suspiciously poisoned to death six months after he issued the ruling that exposed the illegality of what has been called the Queen of England's illegal banking scam.
 This decision, which is still good law, has the effect of declaring all private mortgages on real and personal property, and all U.S. and State bonds held by the Federal Reserve, National and State Banks to void.
 According to legal scholars and Bill Drexler, who worked on the case with Judge Mahoney, "This amounts to an emancipation of this nation from personal, national and State debt purportedly owed to this banking system. Every True American owes it to himself/herself, to his or her country, and to the people of the world for that matter, to study this decision very carefully and to understand it, for upon it hangs the question of freedom or slavery."
 Saying this was the most important jury decision of modern times, Drexler who was present in the Minnesota courtroom the day the decision came down, added:
The banker testified about the mortgage loan given to Jerome Daly, but then Daly cross examined the banker about the creating of money "out of thin air," and the banker admitted that this was standard banking practice. When Justice Mahoney heard the banker testify that he could "create money out of thin air," Mahoney said, "It sounds like fraud to me." I looked at the faces of the jurors, and they were all agreeing with Mahoney by shaking their heads and by the looks on their faces.
"Both Jerome Daly and Justice Martin V. Mahoney are truly the greatest men that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The Credit River Decision was and still is the most important legal decision ever decided by a Jury." ...

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Vaccine Nation - Director's Cut (Gary Null)

For most people, vaccinating themselves and their children seems like a good idea. Vaccines are safe, effective and are supposed to protect us against dangerous infectious diseases - Right?

Wrong! What you don’t know can harm you or kill you! In this groundbreaking film, you will:

* See the truth about the dangers of vaccines and their direct relationship to autoimmune diseases, infections, allergies and a massive increase of developmental learning and behavioral disorders in children, such as Autism.

* Discover the truth about the history of vaccines and how they have NEVER been proven to be safe and effective for anyone.

* Witness the legacy of governmental deception and cover-ups associated with vaccines.

* Learn about the corruption within the scientific community and how vaccine studies are seriously flawed.

* You’ll also follow heart-wrenching, real life stories of the parents and children devastated by the effects of vaccines.

Join director Gary Null PhD and over 40 of the worlds foremost vaccine experts in this shocking expose’ that will shatter the truth as you know it.


This is a short documentary, still in its first draft stage, made for a National History Day project. It details the Yippies, a jocular protest group of the '60s.

Child rearing practices of distant ancestors foster morality, compassion in kids, research says

Ever meet a kindergartener who seemed naturally compassionate and cared about others' feelings? Who was cooperative and didn't demand his own way? Chances are, his parents held, carried and cuddled him a lot; he most likely was breastfed; he probably routinely slept with his parents; and he likely was encouraged to play outdoors with other children, according to new research findings from the University of Notre Dame.

Three new studies led by Notre Dame Psychology Professor Darcia Narvaez show a relationship between child rearing practices common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies (how we humans have spent about 99 percent of our history) and better mental health, greater empathy and conscience development, and higher intelligence in children.

“Our research shows that the roots of moral functioning form early in life, in infancy, and depend on the affective quality of family and community support,” says Narvaez, who specializes in the moral and character development of children.

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Pax Christi bishop calls for end of US-led war in Afghanistan

The American bishop who serves as president of Pax Christi USA has called for the end of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles told a gathering of about 70 Pax Christi members and supporters Sept. 16 that the military path chosen by the United States has led to greater violence and less security for Afghan people.

"Despite all the claims by U.S. officials and the media, the situation in Afghanistan after nearly nine years of U.S.-led liberation is horrendous," Bishop Zavala said.

He cited recent reports by the U.S. government, U.N. agencies and humanitarian organizations that pointed to rising violence, increased rates of civilian casualties and slowed development in Afghanistan since the surge at the end of 2009.

The bishop's comments came hours after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' upbeat assessment that the Obama administration's surge strategy that saw an additional 30,000 American troops sent to the Central Asia nation to root out Taliban insurgents seemed to be working.

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Basel III: The Global Banks at The Edge of The Precipice. Trillions of "Toxic Waste" in the Global Banking System

By Matthias Chang, Global Research

The Global Too Big To Fail Banks are so precarious that literally anything can trigger a collapse in the coming months.

I have read recent commentaries on Basel III posted to various renowned websites and financial publication, but they missed (or deliberately misled) the underlying message of the proposals, the implementation of which will be delayed till 2017 and some till 2019.

Basel III is pure spin and its timing was to assuage the deep-seated fears that there are no solutions in sight to save the fiat money system and fractional reserve banking.


The major global banks are all under-capitalised and this was all too apparent when Lehman Bros. collapsed. Banks were borrowing so much and so recklessly to play at the global casino that when the bets went sour, they were staring at a black-hole in the $trillions. In fact the banks are all insolvent.

The problem was compounded when the central bankers (all are corrupt without exception) and regulators turned a blind eye to how bankers defined what constituted “capital” so as to circumvent the need to maintain the capital ratio.


At its 12 September 2010 meeting, the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, announced a substantial strengthening of existing capital requirements and fully endorsed the agreements it reached on 26 July 2010.
These capital reforms, together with the introduction of a global liquidity standard, deliver on the core of the global financial reform agenda and will be presented to the Seoul G20 Leaders summit in November.

The Committee's package of reforms will increase the minimum common equity requirement from 2% to 4.5%.
In addition, banks will be required to hold a capital conservation buffer of 2.5% to withstand future periods of stress bringing the total common equity requirements to 7%.
This reinforces the stronger definition of capital agreed by Governors and Heads of Supervision in July and the higher capital requirements for trading, derivative and securitisation activities to be introduced at the end of 2011.

Increased capital requirements

Under the agreements reached, the minimum requirement for common equity, the highest form of loss absorbing capital, will be raised from the current 2% level, before the application of regulatory adjustments, to 4.5% after the application of stricter adjustments.
This will be phased in by 1 January 2015.
The Tier 1 capital requirement, which includes common equity and other qualifying financial instruments based on stricter criteria, will increase from 4% to 6% over the same period.

The Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision also agreed that the capital conservation buffer above the regulatory minimum requirement be calibrated at 2.5% and be met with common equity, after the application of deductions.
The purpose of the conservation buffer is to ensure that banks maintain a buffer of capital that can be used to absorb losses during periods of financial and economic stress.

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Mass Mind Control: Psycho-Civilized,Society

From Toward a Psycho-Civilized Society by David G. Guyatt:

... It was not until the middle or late 1970's that the American public became aware of a series of hitherto secret programs that had been conducted over the preceding two decades by the military and intelligence community. (3) Primarily focusing on narco-hypnosis, these extensive covert programs bore the project titles MKULTRA, MKDELTA, MKNAOMI, MKSEARCH (MK being understood to stand for Mind Kontrol), BLUEBIRD, ARTICHOKE and CHATTER. The principal aim of these and associated programs was the development of a reliable "programmable" assassin. Secondary aims were the development of a method of citizen control. (4)

Particularly relevant was Dr. Jose Delgado's secret work directed towards the creation of a "psycho-civilized" society by use of a "stimoceiver." (5) Delgado's work was seminal, and his experiments on humans and animals demonstrated that electronic stimulation can excite extreme emotions including rage, lust and fatigue. In his paper "Intracerebral Radio Stimulation and recording in Completely Free Patients," Delgado observed that: "Radio Stimulation on different points in the amygdala and hippocampus in the four patients produced a variety of effects, including pleasant sensations, elation, deep thoughtful concentration, odd feelings, super relaxation (an essential precursor for deep hypnosis), colored visions, and other responses."

With regard to the "colored visions" citation, it is reasonable to conclude he was referring to hallucinations -- an effect that a number of so-called "victims" allude to. (7) As far back as 1969, Delgado predicted the day would soon arrive when a computer would be able to establish two-way radio communication with the brain -- an event that first occurred in 1974. Lawrence Pinneo, a neurophysiologist and electronic engineer working for Stanford Research Institute (a leading military contractor), "developed a computer system capable of reading a person's mind. It correlated brain waves on an electroencephalograph with specific commands. Twenty years ago the computer responded with a dot on a TV screen. Nowadays it could be the input to a stimulator (ESB) in advanced stages using radio frequencies." (8)

In any event, narco-hypnosis was found, it is claimed, to be less than reliable, although some writers and observers dispute this. (9) Additional studies, conducted by Dr. Ewen Cameron and funded by the CIA, were directed towards erasing memory and imposing new personalities on unwilling patients. Cameron discovered that electroshock treatment caused amnesia. He set about a program that he called "de-patterning" which had the effect of erasing the memory of selected patients. Further work revealed that subjects could be transformed into a virtual blank machine (Tabula Rasa) and then be re-programmed with a technique which he termed "psychic driving." Such was the bitter public outrage, once his work was revealed (as a result of FOIA searches), that Cameron was forced to retire in disgrace.

Also of interest is Dr. John C. Lilly (10), who was asked by the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health to brief the CIA, FBI, NSA and military intelligence services on his work using electrodes to stimulate, directly, the pleasure and pain centers of the brain. Lilly said that he refused the request. However, as stated in his book, he continued to do "useful" work for the national security apparatus. In terms of timing this is interesting, for these events took place in 1953. Scientist Eldon Byrd, who worked for the Naval Surface Weapons Office, was commissioned in 1981 to develop electromagnetic devices for purposes including riot control, clandestine operations and hostage removal. (11)

From 1965 through to 1970, Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA), with up to 70-80% funding provided by the military, set in motion operation PANDORA to study the health and psychological effects of low intensity microwaves with regard to the so-called "Moscow signal." This project appears to have been quite extensive and included (under U.S. Navy funding) studies demonstrating how to induce heart seizures, create leaks in the blood/brain barrier and production of auditory hallucinations. Despite attempts to render the Pandora program invisible to scrutiny, FOIA filings revealed memoranda of Richard Cesaro, Director of DARPA, which confirmed that the program's initial goal was to "discover whether a carefully controlled microwave signal could control the mind." Cesaro urged that these studies be made "for potential weapons applications." ...

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Impunity in Print: How Argentine Newspapers Benefited from the Dictatorship

Since Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship, the nation's media laws and market have favored big corporations over independent media groups, leading to biased reporting. However, the wind has changed in the South American nation with the government taking on a number of initiatives to target corporate media in an attempt to democratize media ownership and access. Argentina's government has moved to seize the nation's only newsprint producer, Papel Prensa. The intervention into Papel Prensa is the latest in a two year old battle between the left-leaning government and the media corporation Clarín.

The clash between the government and Clarín has opened deep wounds left over from the bloody military junta which disappeared some 30,000 people. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner opened an investigation into the nation's largest newspapers Clarín and La Nación to determine whether the newspapers should be charged with crimes against humanity. Specifically, the investigation will determine whether the news groups conspired with the military government to appropriate the newsprint company which is jointly held by Clarín, La Nación and the government.

The investigation was unveiled during a televised news conference in which President Fernandez de Kirchner broke 33 years of silence regarding Papel Prensa's dark past and lack of government intervention. The investigation into Clarín's purchase of a majority stake in Papel Prensa has revealed torture, arrests and other illegal actions to acquire the billion dollar company.

[ ... ]

According to Papaleo's testimony in the investigation, the Graiver family sold the company in a secret meeting. Papeleo, Graiver's brother and his mother were separated during the meeting and told to sign without consulting with one another. “The only person who I spoke to was a man from Clarín. He told me to sign the deal to protect my daughter's life,” said Papeleo in a television interview. “I signed without knowledge of how much I was selling the company for. We didn't know what we signed, and we never got a copy of what we were signing.”

During the following year, Lidia Papaleo and her family were kidnapped in March of 1977. The former share holder of Papel Prensa was tortured during her detention.

The family's lawyer and right hand man of David Graiver, Jorge Rubinstein was kidnapped and tortured to death. The Human Rights Secretariat has opened charges against Dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, Former Navy Chief Emilio Massera, the former Economic Minister Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz and the former Industrial Secretary Raymundo Podesta who will face accusations of illegal detention, extortion, torture and murder in the case.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Stop Living and Start Worrying - Simon Critchley's philosophical antidote to the self-help manual

...How to Stop Living and Start Worrying begins with a biographical sketch of Simon Critchley's early life and career. He relates his fascination with the radicalism of the 1970s punk music scene, and acknowledges his debt to the Penguin Modern Classics series (Orwell, Huxley, Sartre). His introduction to philosophy is cast in social and economic terms, where the work of Lois Althusser, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida were inseparable from the demands of political activism. Critchley's interest in philosophy is also characterized by unexpected events, from traumatic physical injuries to the death of his father. Philosophy is valued as an everyday practice that we can all pursue, enabling reflections on the world and ourselves.

But the interviews provide an interesting counterpoint to the traditional self-help manual. Casting out the assumption that we are free and autonomous individuals, Critchley and Cedeström discuss human experience in terms of finitude and contingency. Finitude defines individuals according to a limit, whether it is death, or the limit of perception; while contingency acknowledges that we are culturally-constructed by social forces.

If there is a feel-good pep-talk element, it takes the form of acknowledging one's impotence and incapability, the contradictions and discrepancies that structure our identities, and our experience of the world. In a world where the self 'can never achieve mastery or authenticity', philosophy forms part of a continual process of emancipation from dominant social norms and values - a talking cure for existence that goes on as long as we do. For Critchley, philosophy accepts that we are 'ontologically defective', or, as Nietzsche puts it, Human, All Too Human...

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Musical Innerlube: The Webb Sisters - 'Words That Mobilize'

The Webb Sisters video 'Words that Mobilize' from the new EP 'Comes In Two's'.

Take a slide down the labyrinthine rabbithole of CIA wizard, Michael J. Riconosciuto

WILD BLUE YONDER:  Michael Riconosciuto was a Wackenhut-CIA employee who told researcher Michael Lindemann that he had attempted to get a whole helicopter full of documents and evidence detailing illegal biogenetic activities and non-Congressionally sanctioned projects involving 'illegal aliens' out of the Nevada Test Site. MJR claims, the chopper was blown out of the sky, killing all five personnel on board. Michael's father happened to be Marshall Riconosciuto, a fascist and a supporter of Adolph Hitler who was a very close friend of Fred L. Crisman. Crisman was involved in the Maurey Island 'UFO' sighting incident in 1947 near Tacoma, Washington, which researcher Anthony Kimory believes involved the test-flight of hybrid craft.

GENOCIDE: The PROMIS software eventually evolved into very bio-chemistry-specific versions named “Daylight” and “Oracle8i”.

This PROMIS software evolution is best understood by reading THE LAST CIRCLE by Cheri Seymour, aka Carol Marshall – particularly the 15th chapter. This chapter reveals the contents of files provided to Seymour by PROMIS program-modifier Michael Riconosciuto documenting the history of Ft. Detrick's biological warfare development and the stated desire of our nation's top “National Institutes of Health” and CDC scientists to use new computer technologies to create sophisticated “Designer Viruses” for covert CIA use. He also documents the INFILTRATION of ISRAELI AGENTS into the labs of Ft. Detrick.

Riconosciuto's “modifications” are so “sensitive to national security” that Riconosciuto was placed into forced detention in a high-security federal prison – not because any “crime” had been committed – but to keep him from being kidnapped by other competing “multi-national group's” interests.

According to Riconosciuto's files, the NEW GENERATON of PROMIS software, today trademarked as DAYLIGHT™ and ORACLE8i™ are unbelievably complex, and have exhibited incredible ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE capabilities as portrayed so well in the movie, “Eagle Eye”.

ORACLE8i™ not only has the ability to rapidly analyze gene clade sequencing in viruses and bacteria in mere minutes, it can build a model of a complex new viral structure just as quickly, and can calculate to the minutest detail its possible “drift” of mutations after its release. This software can not only predict the DEATH TOLL the virus would produce, but also the accurate final numbers of its genetic mutations over a given period of time. In short, this software can indeed control a complex GENOCIDE AGENDA in the form of an engineered, worldwide VIRAL PANDEMIC from beginning to end – Alpha to Omega. Evidence suggests that this agenda was indeed systematically set in motion in March of 2009.

The big question is “who in the cryptocracy would NOT want this man dead?”

Danny Casolaro was writing a book related to MJR called THE OCTOPUS. Inslaw, a manufacturer whose owner had accused the Justice Department of stealing its extremely powerful PROMIS case management software; the so-called “October Surprise” theory that Iran had held back the American hostages to help Ronald Reagan win the 1980 presidential election; the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International; and Iran-Contra. The scheme was so vast and complex that Casolaro referred to it as “the Octopus”. Casolaro was found dead in a hotel room in Martinsburg, West Virginia in August of 1991, his wrists slashed 10 to 12 times. His death was, of course, ruled a suicide.

Casolaro's story might have continued its slow fade into the dusty corners of conspiracy theory folklore, except that charges were filed 10-4-2009 against a Miami-based missionary to Honduras named Jimmy Hughes for the 1981 slayings of Fred Alvarez and two associates in Rancho Mirage, California. It is believed that Alvarez was killed to silence him before he could carry out a threat to exposure financial improprieties and other illegal activity on the Cabazon Indian reservation in Riverside County, California. Incredibly, what happened on Cabazon land in the late '70s and early '80s reaches around the world and into the highest levels of the US government — part of Casolaro's “Octopus”.

Central to the story, especially when he tells it, is the mysterious Michael Riconosciuto, now serving a 20-year sentence for production and distribution of meth. Understanding “the Octopus” is like the old story of the blind men trying to comprehend their first encounter with an elephant: the parts you touch can appear to be completely different and totally unrelated. Running over the outlines of the case in about half an hour, we didn't even mention mainstream media reports — published prior to 9/11 — that FBI spy Robert Hanssen sold an upgraded version of PROMIS to Russia, which in turn sold it to Osama bin Laden. It's believed Al Qaeda used the software to penetrate databases and move funds between banks without being detected by US counterterror groups. A PROMIS derivative was also allegedly used by Chinese military intelligence to steal nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. So, like the Octopus, the tentacles extending from the modifications made by Michael Riconosciuto at the Cabazon reservation are many and far-reaching.

Danny Casolaro was found with his wrists slashed in a motel bathtub in Martinsburg, West Virginia on August 10, 1991. He was a struggling writer and something of a romantic. Recently he had also styled himself as an investigator, contacting a variety of spooks-turned-victims and weaving their stories into an “Octopus” theory. This would be the book of his career: Danny as dragon-slayer. A year later, documents were missing from Casolaro's motel room. Was it suicide or murder?

THE OCTOPUS involves Inslaw, Inc. and its Promis software, as well as Michael Riconosciuto, a child prodigy who became a secret agent and drug pusher, and still keeps a bevy of fringe journalists busy by dispatching leads from his jail cell. Mix in several years of affidavits flying like shrapnel, mostly due to Inslaw's reasonable claim that Promis was stolen by the Justice Department. Add Riconosciuto's unreasonable claim that he hacked Promis, making it so magical that U.S. intelligence tried to install it everywhere as a Trojan horse. Include more prominent names than you can shake a stick at, each with loose but spooky connections to everyone else, and throw in a few more investigative trails that end in corpses.

~ more... ~


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