Mittwoch, 2. August 2006

Minimum Wage, Maximum Gall

"The one thing that should engender more fear than the current Congress's doing nothing is the current Congress's doing something," writes Harold Meyerson. "Every time Congressional Republicans are compelled by public pressure to address a serious issue, they retreat to their laboratory and emerge with Frankenstein-monster legislation designed primarily to reward their campaign donors and stick it to the Democrats, and only secondarily to fix the problem."

Important Petitions, Variety and Data

Maimed Soldier Now Questions the War

President Bush came and sat by the side of Sergeant Brian Fountaine, a 24-year-old tank commander from Dorchester, a gung-ho soldier who had lobbied to be deployed a second time. The president chatted about the sergeant's beloved Red Sox, but made no reference to the war, the soldier said. If the topic had come up, the president might not have liked what Fountaine had on his mind.

South Asia's Strange Partnership Against Peace

"This strange South Asian partnership against peace is closely connected to the 'coalition of the willing' that the US President commands," writes J. Sri Raman. "It is the India-US nuclear deal, an initiative of George W. Bush aimed at consolidating the 'coalition,' which has led directly to the current India-Pakistan nuclear compact of a covert kind ... It is clear that the India-US nuclear deal has only strengthened their determination to persist with their perilous nuclear course."

Bush Asks Federal Court to Stop Domestic Spying Lawsuit

The US government has asked a San Francisco court to quash a lawsuit charging that the Bush administration illegally spied on Americans' phone calls, legal filings showed.

Weapons of Mass Destruction in US

Bill Quigley quotes three jailed US protesters: "US leaders speak about the dangers of other nations acquiring nuclear weapons, but they fail to act in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which commits the US to take steps to disarm its weapons of mass destruction."

Rüttgers kritisiert kapitalistische "Lebenslügen" der CDU

Steuersenkungen & Arbeitsplätze: Rüttgers kritisiert kapitalistische "Lebenslügen" der CDU (02.08.06)

Vor dem Hintergrund sinkender Umfragewerte der CDU hat der stellvertretende Parteivorsitzende Jürgen Rüttgers seine Partei aufgefordert, sich von zentralen "Lebenslügen" zu verabschieden. Der nordrhein-westfälische Ministerpräsident sagte dem Magazin "Stern", es sei falsch zu glauben, dass Steuersenkungen zu mehr Investitionen und damit zu mehr Arbeitsplätzen führen würden. Gleiches gelte für die Behauptung, die Löhne in Deutschland seien zu hoch. "Wer das vertritt, weiß nicht, wie die Menschen hier leben", sagte Rüttgers. Man müsse zur Kenntnis nehmen, "dass der Lohnkostenanteil in vielen Betrieben nicht mehr die Rolle spielt, die wir ihm lange Zeit zugesprochen haben."

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet:


Rüttgers greift CDU und große Koalition scharf an,,OID5774254_REF1,00.html

Three Montana Wild Forests Need Your Help!

Please help us urge the Forest Service to protect all the wilderness-quality lands on the Bitterroot, Flathead, and Lolo National Forests.

The Forest Service is concurrently revising the long-term management plans for three large and exceptional National Forests in western Montana, the Bitterroot, Flathead, and Lolo, home to clear running mountain streams, serene backcountry, and incredible wildlife. Each of these National Forests has thousands of acres of wilderness-quality lands that are home to quiet trails, wildlife habitat, and pristine landscapes.

The bad news is that many of these wilderness-quality acres are at risk from the draft Forest Service plans. The good news is that you can help. Please take a minute and ask the Forest Service to protect the wilderness-quality lands in these three forests. The deadline for public comments is September 7th.

Tell me more

Protect Grizzly Bears

In North America, the grizzly's penchant for solitude has long made it a symbol of the frontier spirit. But despite its rugged image, experts say, the grizzly bear is more vulnerable to human activity than any other wildlife species in the northern Rockies. Roughly 1,500 grizzlies now inhabit the lower 48 states, down from as many as 100,000 in the early 1800s.

To ensure the recovery of grizzly bears in the lower 48, the current population must increase to two or three times its current size, according to wildlife biologists. Yet across the American West, oil and gas companies are pressing to open vast swaths of wildlands to drilling, even as logging, motor vehicle recreation and mining continue to threaten these pristine areas. Rural sprawl is also on the rise. As a result, grizzly habitats -- including the Yellowstone/Rockies and Castle-Bighorn BioGems -- are shrinking and fragmenting, leaving small grizzly populations isolated from food sources and one another.

To make matters worse, the Bush administration is now planning to remove the Yellowstone grizzly from the endangered species list by 2007. Stripping endangered species protection from this population of 300 to 600 bears would jeopardize its long-term recovery by opening its habitat to oil and gas drilling and other development and by allowing hunters to kill bears that roam outside the park's limits. "Delisting the Yellowstone bear prematurely could drive it back to the brink of extinction," says Louisa Willcox, director of NRDC's wild bears project. BioGems Defenders sent tens of thousands of messages protesting this reckless proposal, and we are prepared to fight it in court if necessary.

At the same time, a new Forest Service plan to withdraw proposed protections for crucial grizzly bear habitat in the Cabinet-Yaak wildlands of northwestern Montana is jeopardizing the future of North America's most endangered grizzly population. NRDC and several partner groups won a crucial reprieve for the 20 or so bears that survive in this region when we went to court and blocked a massive polluting copper and silver mine. But with new proposals looming to expand mining, logging and roadbuilding in the Cabinet-Yaak wildlands, these bears are once again in danger.

To ensure that North America's imperiled grizzly populations flourish again, NRDC and BioGems Defenders are working to protect, restore and link bear habitats stretching from Yellowstone to northern Canada. And our efforts may be life-saving for many other species as well. According to scientific research, grizzly populations mirror the health of the ecosystems they inhabit. "Where you have grizzlies, you have healthy elk, watersheds and trout," says Willcox.

Click Here to Save Grizzlies!


Yellowstone grizzlies lose federal protection
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette


Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park no longer need Endangered Species Act protection, the federal government said Thursday. The area had an estimated 136 to 312 grizzlies when the species was listed as threatened in 1975, but has more than 500 of the bears today, the government said. … Stripping the bears of protection could eventually clear the way for limited hunting of the animals. A measure that would allow such hunting has passed the Montana Senate.

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


Help protect Greater Yellowstone's last grizzly bears

Geheimdienstlicher Drahtseilakt

Geplante Anti-Terror-Datei soll schnell Informationen liefern, praktisch handhabbar sein - aber dennoch geheim bleiben.

Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas

On Midway Atoll, 40% of albatross chicks die, their bellies full of trash.

Swirling masses of drifting debris pollute remote beaches and snare wildlife.

By Kenneth R. Weiss
Times Staff Writer
August 2, 2006,0,3130914.story

MIDWAY ATOLL — The albatross chick jumped to its feet, eyes alert and focused. At 5 months, it stood 18 inches tall and was fully feathered except for the fuzz that fringed its head.

All attitude, the chick straightened up and clacked its beak at a visitor, then rocked back and dangled webbed feet in the air to cool them in the afternoon breeze.

The next afternoon, the chick ignored passersby. The bird was flopped on its belly, its legs splayed awkwardly. Its wings drooped in the hot sun. A few hours later, the chick was dead.

John Klavitter, a wildlife biologist, turned the bird over and cut it open with a knife. Probing its innards with a gloved hand, he pulled out a yellowish sac — its stomach.

Out tumbled a collection of red, blue and orange bottle caps, a black spray nozzle, part of a green comb, a white golf tee and a clump of tiny dark squid beaks ensnared in a tangle of fishing line.

"This is pretty typical," said Klavitter, who is stationed at the atoll for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We often find cigarette lighters, bucket handles, toothbrushes, syringes, toy soldiers — anything made out of plastic."

It's all part of a tide of plastic debris that has spread throughout the world's oceans, posing a lethal hazard to wildlife, even here, more than
1,000 miles from the nearest city.

Midway, an atoll halfway between North America and Japan, has no industrial centers, no fast-food joints with overflowing trash cans, and only a few dozen people.

Its isolation would seem to make it an ideal rookery for seabirds, especially Laysan albatross, which lay their eggs and hatch their young here each winter. For their first six months of life, the chicks depend entirely on their parents for nourishment. The adults forage at sea and bring back high-calorie takeout: a slurry of partly digested squid and flying-fish eggs.

As they scour the ocean surface for this sustenance, albatross encounter vast expanses of floating junk. They pick up all manner of plastic debris, mistaking it for food.

As a result, the regurgitated payload flowing down their chicks' gullets now includes Lego blocks, clothespins, fishing lures and other pieces of plastic that can perforate the stomach or block the gizzard or esophagus. The sheer volume of plastic inside a chick can leave little room for food and liquid.

Of the 500,000 albatross chicks born here each year, about 200,000 die, mostly from dehydration or starvation. A two-year study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that chicks that died from those causes had twice as much plastic in their stomachs as those that died for other reasons.

The atoll is littered with decomposing remains, grisly wreaths of feathers and bone surrounding colorful piles of bottle caps, plastic dinosaurs, checkers, highlighter pens, perfume bottles, fishing line and small Styrofoam balls. Klavitter has calculated that albatross feed their chicks about 5 tons of plastic a year at Midway.

Albatross fly hundreds of miles in their search for food for their young. Their flight paths from Midway often take them over what is perhaps the world's largest dump: a slowly rotating mass of trash-laden water about twice the size of Texas.

This is known as the Eastern Garbage Patch, part of a system of currents called the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Located halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii, the garbage patch is an area of slack winds and sluggish currents where flotsam collects from around the Pacific, much like foam piling up in the calm center of a hot tub.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been studying the clockwise swirl of plastic debris so long, he talks about it as if he were tracking a beast.

"It moves around like a big animal without a leash," said Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer in Seattle and leading expert on currents and marine debris. "When it gets close to an island, the garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic."

Some oceanic trash washes ashore at Midway — laundry baskets, television tubes, beach sandals, soccer balls and other discards.

Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic — supple, durable materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene, Styrofoam, nylon and saran.

About four-fifths of marine trash comes from land, swept by wind or washed by rain off highways and city streets, down streams and rivers, and out to sea.

The rest comes from ships. Much of it consists of synthetic floats and other gear that is jettisoned illegally to avoid the cost of proper disposal in port.

In addition, thousands of cargo containers fall overboard in stormy seas each year, spilling their contents. One ship heading from Los Angeles to Tacoma, Wash., disgorged 33,000 blue-and-white Nike basketball shoes in
2002. Other loads lost at sea include 34,000 hockey gloves and 29,000 yellow rubber ducks and other bathtub toys.

The debris can spin for decades in one of a dozen or more gigantic gyres around the globe, only to be spat out and carried by currents to distant lands. The U.N. Environment Program estimates that 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of the oceans. About 70% will eventually sink.

Albatross are by no means the only victims. An estimated 1 million seabirds choke or get tangled in plastic nets or other debris every year. About 100,000 seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and sea turtles suffer the same fate.

The amount of plastic in the oceans has risen sharply since the 1950s. Studies show a tenfold increase every decade in some places. Scientists expect the trend to continue, given the popularity of disposable plastic containers. The average American used 223 pounds of plastic in 2001. The plastics industry expects per-capita usage to increase to 326 pounds by the end of the decade.

The qualities that make plastics so useful are precisely what cause them to persist as trash.

Derived from petroleum, plastics eventually break down into carbon dioxide and water from exposure to heat and the sun's ultraviolet rays.

On land, the process can take decades, even centuries. At sea, it takes even longer, said Anthony L. Andrady, a polymer chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina who studies marine debris. Seawater keeps plastics cool while algae, barnacles and other marine growth block ultraviolet rays.

"Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere," Andrady said, "because there is no effective mechanism to break it down."

Oceanographers have counted on beachcombers around the world to help them plot the course of plastic flotsam as it circumnavigates the globe. Ebbesmeyer has found that some debris gets hung up for decades in gyres before being spun out into different currents, flung ashore or picked up by animals.

A piece of plastic found in an albatross stomach last year bore a serial number that was traced to a World War II seaplane shot down in 1944. Computer models re-creating the object's odyssey showed it spent a decade in a gyre known as the Western Garbage Patch, just south of Japan, and then drifted 6,000 miles to the Eastern Garbage Patch off the West Coast of the U.S., where it spun in circles for the next 50 years.

The Hawaiian archipelago, which stretches from the Big Island of Hawaii westward for 1,500 miles to Kure Atoll, acts like 19 unevenly spaced teeth of a giant comb, snagging debris drifting around the Pacific. Most of the archipelago's atolls are awash in plastic junk, as are some beaches on the main islands.

Native Hawaiians, seeking wood for dugout canoes, used to go to Kamilo Beach at the southernmost tip of the Big Island to collect enormous logs that had drifted from the Pacific Northwest. Now, locals like Noni Sanford pick through the debris for novelties to enter in a trash-art show in Hilo every fall.

Sanford, 58, a free-spirited great-grandmother with long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, once won second place for a mobile fashioned out of fishing line, floats and a colorful palette of plastic toothbrushes.

As a lifelong beachcomber, she is fascinated and horrified by the transformation of Kamilo Beach since she first set foot there in 1959. She was searching for driftwood with her father, a sculptor.

She remembers seeing a few tires back then. Now, plastic debris litters the crescent-shaped beach for more than a mile.

"This is nothing," Sanford said, stepping over a pile of twisted lines and nets. "This used to be 8 and 10 feet high. Of course, that was three or four cleanups ago."

Sanford and her husband, Ron, have joined in regular cleanup efforts, organized most recently by Bill Gilmartin, a retired wildlife biologist who studied monk seals.

"The rule is, don't pick up anything smaller than your fist," Gilmartin told a team of volunteers. "Otherwise, it'll take forever. We'll never be done."

Noni Sanford reached down, scooped up a handful of beach sand and let it trickle through her fingers. Most of the grainy mix was bits and pieces of plastic. The beach itself, it seemed, was turning into plastic.

Cleanup efforts in Hawaii and elsewhere have focused on "ghost nets," tangles of abandoned fishing lines, nets and traps that snare and kill marine life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dispatches scuba divers every year to cut tons of these deathtraps off Hawaiian coral reefs. It's dangerous and costly work. In July 2005, a 145-foot charter vessel brought in to haul away nets ran aground on the reef at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, about 100 miles from Midway. The ship was lost. The Coast Guard flew the 23 divers and crew 1,200 miles back to Honolulu.

If it were easier to find them, it would make sense to round up the medusas of nets and synthetic lines at sea before they snagged on coral reefs and endangered monk seals and other coastal wildlife.

But the Pacific spans millions of square miles, and even the debris circulating in the Eastern and Western garbage patches is often diffuse and hard to see, bobbing just below the surface.

Connecting the two patches is a ribbon of oceanic highway that stretches
6,000 miles, an extension of Japan's Kuroshio Current heading east. Oceanographers call this the Subtropical Convergence Zone, where the cold, green, heavier waters from the north slide under the warm, blue waters of the south.

A team of scientists working on NOAA's GhostNet Detection Project suspected that flotsam collected along this line, making it an ideal place to concentrate cleanups. Yet they couldn't be sure. They needed to see it.

The team got its chance last year, after persuading NOAA to lend them an instrument-packed, four-engine reconnaissance plane often deployed to study hurricanes. Wearing life jackets while flying 1,000 feet above the ocean's surface, observers were positioned at windows to spot nets and floats. They were to call out each sighting over the plane's intercom. Others were poised to jot down the location of each sighting.

"When we got into it, we couldn't write fast enough," said Tim Veenstra, an Alaskan pilot and private researcher working with government scientists. The meandering line of buoys, nets, life rings, buckets and other castoffs stretched for hundreds and hundreds of miles — until the airplane had to turn back.

"It was sort of a bittersweet feeling," Veenstra said. "Sweet in the fact that what we had postulated was proven true. Bitter in the fact that there was actually that much debris floating around."

Tuna fishermen have long known about the convergence zone and the debris. They know that fish like to congregate beneath anything that floats.

Off the southern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii, recreational fishermen like Guy Enriques will race miles offshore to fish beneath the flotsam.

It's important to get close to the trash, but not too close, Enriques explained, or the nets and lines will wrap around a boat's propeller.

He said the best fishing was around what looked like an enormous metal garage door floating just below the water's surface. Even some charter boat skippers learned of that one, Enriques recalled, and took fishermen there day after day, until it vanished.

But it wasn't a garage door. He and other fishermen were looking at the top of an 8-by-40-foot cargo container that fell off a ship. Such containers can float for as long as nine months. Until they sink, they are the bane of sailors in fiberglass boats who watch for them like icebergs on the high seas.

Charles Moore, a member of the Hancock Oil family, was on his way home from the Los Angeles-to-Hawaii Transpacific Yacht Race in 1997 when he took a shortcut through the Eastern Garbage Patch. It's a place that sailors usually avoid because it lacks wind.

As he motored through on his 50-foot catamaran, Moore was startled by what he saw thousands of miles from land. "Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by," he said. "How could we have fouled such a huge area? How could this go on for a week?"

The experience changed Moore's life, turning him from an adventurer into a self-taught scientist and environmental activist.

Two years later, he returned to the garbage patch with a volunteer crew to survey its contents. He knew he would collect plenty of plastic bags, bottle caps, nets and floats.

He didn't expect what turned up in a special net, one with a tight mesh for collecting plankton, the bottom link in the oceanic food chain. Instead of plankton, it was choked with a colorful array of tiny plastic fragments.

"It blew my mind," Moore said. "We are filling up the oceans with this confetti stuff, and nobody cares."

Over the last decade, Moore, 59, who lives in a waterfront home in Long Beach, has spent his own money and some from a family foundation on a quest to track the plume of plastic so he can figure out how to stop it.

On a cloudless spring day, Moore waded up to his knees into the Los Angeles River in Long Beach wearing shorts, sandals and a white hard hat. He was tethered to a volunteer standing on the dry riverbank, in case he slipped on the slick concrete channel.

The Los Angeles River carries enough trash each year to fill the Rose Bowl two stories high, and despite efforts to corral some of it near the river mouth, most slips through to the ocean.

Moore adjusted a trawlnet to collect trash flowing downriver. At Moore's signal, a crane operator lifted the net out of the water. Volunteers swarmed around the trawlnet, extracted the contents and loaded them into more than a dozen jars.

The jars were filled with plastic pellets the size and shape of pills. They come in all colors and are the raw material for a vast array of plastic products, from trash bags to medical devices.

About 100 billion pounds of pellets are produced every year and shipped to Los Angeles and other manufacturing centers. Huge numbers are spilled on the ground and swept by rainfall into gutters; down storm drains, creeks and rivers; and into the ocean.

From his river sampling, Moore estimated that 236 million pellets washed down the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers in three days' time. Also known as "nurdles" or mermaid tears, they are the most widely seen plastic debris around the world. They have washed ashore as far away as Antarctica.

The pellets, like most types of plastic, are sponges for oily toxic chemicals that don't readily dissolve in water, such as the pesticide DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Some pellets have been found to contain concentrations of these pollutants 1 million times greater than the levels found in surrounding water.

As they absorb toxic chemicals, they become poison pills. Wildlife researchers have found the pellets, which resemble fish eggs, in the bellies of fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals.

Over time, plastic can break down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually turning to powder and entering the ocean in microscopic fragments. Some plastic starts out as tiny particles, such as the abrasives in cleaning products that are washed down the sink, through sewage systems and out to sea.

The chemical components of plastics and common additives can harm animals and humans. Studies have linked the hormone-mimicking phthalates, used to soften plastic, to reduced testosterone and fertility in laboratory animals, and to subtle changes in the genitals of baby boys. Another additive, bisphenol A, used to make lightweight, heat-resistant baby bottles and microwave cookware, has been linked to prostate cancer.

Moore has tried, without success, to get manufacturers to improve their efforts to clean up spills of pellets that wash off lots and into storm drains. He considers beach cleanups a waste of time, except to raise public awareness of the problem. In his view, the cleanup has to start at the source — many miles inland.

To make that point, Moore tromped through rail yards in Vernon and La Mirada. On the side of a rail car a faded decal read "Operation Clean Sweep." It had three check boxes:

"Keep Plastics Off Ground.

"Close and Lock Caps When Outlets Not in Use.

"Pick Up All Spills."

Beneath the sign was a cone-shaped pile of pellets, as white as freshly fallen snow. Moore shuffled his sandaled feet through another drift nearby.

"This is a plastic sand dune," he said. "It's very slippery, very roly-poly. What makes them so good for the factory makes them good for getting into the ocean."

Times staff writer Usha Lee McFarling contributed to this report.

Informant: binstock


Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins has just sent around a news release proudly proclaiming that she has helped to bring big money to our state. She says the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved, for fiscal year 2007, $3.4 billion for DDX destroyer ships at Bath Iron Works and an additional $50 million for smaller military contracts sprinkled throughout the state.

This is the industrial policy of America today. Weapons production. It is our #1 industrial export product. And when weapons are your # 1 industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? That’s right, endless war.

Our Congress should be fighting to bring funding to our states to build rail systems, solar and windmills. At a time when we are told that we are now having the hottest summer in the recorded history of the U.S., does it not make sense that the taxpayers should be demanding that OUR TAX DOLLARS be used to expand the production of sustainable technologies? What does more military production do to alleviate global warming? How will we be able to get to work when gas hits $4, $5, $6, $7 a gallon if we don’t have public transit?

Think of the jobs created by building the industrial capacity to put a solar system on every house and business in the U.S.! Think of the jobs created if we built a world-class rail system connecting every corner of the country. Imagine how many people could be employed while building windmill farms all across the nation.

Why don’t the peace movement, the environmental movement, and the labor movements get together and create a unified demand to convert the military-industrial complex to peaceful production? Imagine the legs that could be put under the political demand for conversion if we did come together with such a coordinated national positive campaign?

What are we waiting for? We will never end war as long as making weapons for endless war employs growing numbers of people in the U.S. This is the direction that the corporate militarists are taking our nation as they now determine that “security export” will be our role in the New World Order. What does it do to the soul of our nation when we have to make weapons of destruction in order to employ people so they can feed their families?

Today the U.S. is feverishly resupplying Israel with new orders to replace the bombs, bullets, tanks shells and other weapons they are using to destroy Lebanon. All the while people work overtime at military production sites to keep up with the orders for more weapons. An endless cycle of death and destruction. Can military production workers be proud of their work? Hardly. But it’s a job.

The idea of moving the arms race into space, what the Pentagon says will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth, has the weapons industry drooling. Again, how will we ever end war as long as we allow a new arms race into the heavens happen?

The Congress is complicit in the disinvestment in American peacetime industry. We don’t make hardly anything in this country anymore. Look in any Wal-Mart store and see for yourself. But what we do make is weapons.

We must demand over and over again that we want OUR TAX DOLLARS to be used for peaceful and sustainable production. We can’t end global warming by building weapons so that we can grab the diminishing supplies of the world’s oil and natural gas. We must convert the military industrial complex.

Trains not tanks. Windmills not Star Wars. Solar power not fighter planes and new generations of naval destroyers.

We need life not death for our children and grandchildren.

Help us make this demand public.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652 Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517 (our blog)

Men Not Working

A look at unemployed men offers more proof of the damage being done to our economy.

Bolton's Middle East Mess

by John Prados,

The United Nations ambassador's recent actions show why he's the worst man for the job.

We're All Enemy Combatants Now

by Aziz Huq,

Despite Hamdan, Bush wants Congress to grant him even more power to detain U.S. citizens.

Banking on War

William Rivers Pitt writes: "It is, at bottom, all about profit. We sell the weapons, which create warfare, which justifies our incredibly expensive war-making capabilities when we have to go in and fight against the people who bought our weapons or procured them from a third party. This does not make the world safer, but only reinforces the permanent state of peril we find ourselves in."

The religion of politics

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Leave my children behind, please

Strike the Root
by Retta Gontana


Government tries to control what you eat and drink. It regulates your healthcare, transportation and education. It controls what you are allowed to think, say, write or wear. It infringes your rights to bear arms and to be secure in your person and property -- sacred things that were intentionally, albeit unsuccessfully, initially placed beyond their reach. It does not hesitate to help itself to your money, your home and your life. Do you think it would hesitate to help itself to your child? It already has...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Making America safe for dictatorship

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

WW III: Whose side are you on?

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Private I's?

by Dahlia Lithwick


Privacy is a fairly squishy legal concept -- springing, as it does, from somewhere deep within the greatest hits of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments. To which former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, back in a landmark 1965 case, helpfully contributed a backbeat of 'penumbras' and 'emanations' from the Constitution. When we talk about our 'right to privacy' -- whether it be freedom from government wiretapping or freedom to control our bodies -- we sometimes forget that this right exists largely in the quiet spaces between other, more concrete rights and freedoms. Courts attempting to patrol these boundaries make some wonky judgments...

Wanted: "A more productive Congress"

Frontiers of Freedom
by Kaye Grogan


Here lately it is downright painful to read or hear about the results of how our congressional members are voting on key issues in the house and senate chambers. I would rather be reading a book on how to grow a beautiful lawn. Most congressional members would barely maintain a D average, if they were graded on how effective they are on a monthly report card in how they govern. Now if they were graded on how to misappropriate funds -- they would get an A. Frankly, our tax dollars are clearly being distributed to areas and programs, that are not beneficial to most Americans, while the minimum wage hovers around the poverty level...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Bush tax cuts: rhetoric and reality

Heartland Institute
by Sandra Fabry


Since George W. Bush became president in 2001, Congress has enacted a series of tax cuts on just about every type of federal tax, from excise taxes to income taxes to the estate tax. Those cuts have not occurred without controversy. Critics charge the wealthy have disproportionately benefitted, the federal government is floating in red ink, and the cuts were just a hodgepodge of initiatives that made the tax code more complex. Budget & Tax News contributing editor Sandra Fabry of Americans for Tax Reform recently spoke with Daniel Clifton, executive director of the American Shareholders Association (ASA), about the Bush tax cuts...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Chuckling at the culture clash

Liberty For All
by Garry Reed


The culture war is a conflict of values and viewpoints between lefty liberals and righty reactionaries. The political pummeling part of the proceedings is now popularly presented as Red State vs. Blue State, which, by definition, makes the struggle Statist, thereby leaving libertarians sometimes behind liberal lines and other times in the conservative camp but frequently on the sidelines alone. As long as Reds and Blues continually fail to identify big government's ongoing war against freedom as the root of the problem, and therefore fail to realize that they're being played one against the other, and furthermore steadfastly founder at getting BigGov to do the bidding of their side against the other side, the fracas will fume on forever...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Why Dems destroy themselves

San Francisco Chronicle
by Jon Carroll


Today I'm going to quote extensively from an article by Chris Bowers at a Web site called MyDD (, 'DD' in this case standing for direct democracy. The article lays out something that I've been chaotically attempting to think about for some time, and does it more clearly than I've been able to manage. The question before the house, as it has been for some time, is: 'Why are the Democrats having trouble getting elected even though their opponents lie, cheat and steal with bewildering frequency?' Below is just a partial answer, I think, but it's a darned good start...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Will Bush and Gonzales get away with it?

by Michael Scherer


Retired Navy pilot Mike Cronin knows enough about torture to know it doesn't work. After being shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, he spent six years enduring interrogations in the Hanoi Hilton, the notorious holding block for American prisoners of war. His neck and ankles were bound together with rope, causing him to lose consciousness. The nerves and bones in his wrists were crushed. His shoulder was ripped out of its socket. He was forced to talk, but he never gave the North Vietnamese the information they wanted. ... Thanks to his persistent lobbying, Congress passed the War Crimes Act of 1996 with overwhelming bipartisan support. For the first time, U.S. courts were granted authority to convict any foreigner who commits a war crime against an American, or any American who commits a war crime at all. At the time, nobody could have predicted that a decade later a U.S. administration, with the explicit consent of the president and the attorney general, would be accused of systematic war crimes. But that is precisely the accusation that President George Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales now face... [subscription or ad view required]

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

White House wary of war crimes charges

United Press International


White House officials are drafting legislation to protect U.S. personnel from certain war crimes prosecutions, The Washington Post reported. The War Crimes Act of 1996 has Bush administration officials concerned that officials and troops involved in handling terrorism detainee matters could be accused of war crimes and prosecuted in U.S. courts, the newspaper said. Senior officials are working on legislation that would provide protection for U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight, against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act -- which criminalizes Geneva Conventions violations and could result in the death penalty in cases in which detainees die from abusive treatment in U.S. custody...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Frist's trustee role not listed

Knoxville News Sentinel


Majority Leader Bill Frist hasn't been following all the Senate's rules when it comes to disclosing details about his finances. Frist and his wife are the sole trustees in charge of a family foundation bearing the senator's name, according to Internal Revenue Service forms. However, he has not been listing that position on his Senate disclosure forms, which are made public every year...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

The US Can't Run the Show in the Middle East

The Hiroshima Myth

Fermoy, Co. Cork: media coverage of large anti-mast rally

I am forwarding you this excellent media coverage of the latest anti-mast protests here for posting.

Fermoy locals say no to mast

Dad leading Fermoy anti-mast protest

Fermoys concern over phone mast

Best, Imelda, Cork

Cheap CARD TRICKS America's Stolen Election filtered= VoterGate 2004 - 2000


Informant: Milo


A message from Ruth

Original Message:





Saxons days are numbered he due to be put to sleep we need your help now, please help to save this wonderful dog.

To register your opposition to killing Saxon please e-mail the following

PLEASE HELP SAXON - SEND YOUR EMAIL NOW click on the email address and express your feelings about Saxon


Dear Sir/Mme: I decry your intention to murder the K9, Saxon, or any other K9 simply because they are of no further use to your police force. These are living, breathing, loving creatures and deserve to enjoy their retirement as much as you hope to yours Saxon's partner on the Gwent Police Force, and his family, have offered to provide Saxon with a loving home for the rest of his life, and have agreed to accept the liability and responsibility that this entails. Please grant them the opportunity to provide this to someone who has assisted and protected their husband and father in his daily work for so long. Taking an animal on to assist with the performance of your community mandate brings with it a responsibility to care for that animal for the balance of their natural life, not for the balance of time that they are useful to you. This stands true for anyone who assumes the care and ownership of an animal. If it is not your intent to accept and perform your responsibilities to these animals, you should not be taking on the responsibility in the first place. Were I a resident of your area and knew this was your policy with your K9's I would NEVER make an animal available to you! What kind of example is your murdering intent to your community, it's children, it's criminals? It smacks of opportunistically taking advantage of whomever or whatever suits your purpose at a given time, without regard to moral ethics or the good of the community and it's inhabitants, be they human, animal, or inanimate physical assets. These retired police dogs, in the foster care of their able former masters have the opportunity to become public good will officers for your law enforcement agencies. With creative thinking you could feature them in public events or school education programs, with their partners, and bring the values of peaceful, lawful co-existence to the larger community in a hugely positive way. Use your assets, don't murder them! Trusting and praying that you choose life for these wonderful, courageous animals.

Ruth Jamieson

Laid Off Workers Handed 'Paltry' Government Grant Program

A wave of layoffs and plant closures is plunging auto-industry workers across the country into crisis. But to the Bush administration, their peril provides a springboard for a controversial proposal for a new plan to assist "dislocated" workers: cutting them a check and letting them find their own solution.

The Gas Menagerie

Amanda Griscom Little asks, "Is the sting of $75-a-barrel oil enough to convince Congress to finally boost auto fuel economy? Probably not, but a bipartisan coalition of senators led by Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is launching an admirable new effort anyway - the Fuel Economy Reform Act."

Bush Baggage Could Cost Lieberman Primary

Connecticut Democrats fume at his centrism and unbending support for the war. A poll shows the senator's rival surging. The vote is next week.,0,7078852.story?coll=ktla-news-1

From Information Clearing House

Iraq is headed toward 'existential crisis'

"If 50,000 troops, including several thousand Americans, cannot end the violence in Baghdad, why are we not committing a significantly larger force?" Reed said.

From Information Clearing House

Stop the Specter bill and save the Fourth Amendment!

July 19, 2006

The President's warrantless wiretapping program violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against wiretapping Americans without a warrant, which must be obtained by showing a judge there is a valid reason for the search. Yet, instead of holding the president accountable, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has teamed up with the White House to draft S. 2453 (nicknamed the "Cheney-Specter bill"), which would legalize the illegal wiretapping program and any other current and future secret programs the administration wants to use to spy on Americans—without ever having to secure a single warrant.

If Specter's Senate Judiciary Committee approves S. 2453, it will head to the Senate for a floor vote. The bill would make the Fourth Amendment almost completely disappear. We must act now!

Please phone both your Senators today and ask them to oppose this bill. Look up their telephone numbers at . You may also click here\ = to send them a fax. Please forward this alert widely. What's so bad about S. 2453? Plenty! It's a win-win for Bush, a lose-lose for the people. Right now you can sue the administration for violating your Fourth Amendment rights. But if this lopsided bill passes, all cases involving warrantless surveillance would go to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which is off-limits to your lawyer: Only the Administration's lawyers are allowed to present arguments before this court. The entire proceedings can be kept secret, including the court's decisions. Your case can be dismissed for "any reason" with no chance of appeal. But if the Administration's side loses, it has the right to appeal. And the secrecy doesn't end there. S 2453 goes even further than the USA PATRIOT Act: * by giving the President the authority to search your home and business with no warrant if war is declared, * by allowing the President the power to use roving wiretaps without a warrant, and * by removing protections, enabling the White House to conduct data-mining of Americans' private information. It's a blank check for the president. The President's program of electronic eavesdropping plainly violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that Congress enacted in 1978 to prevent warrantless domestic spying by the executive branch. But instead of asserting Congress's oversight authority to protect us from warrantless searches, this bill legalizes them and eliminates any meaningful checks by a court or Congress. If S. 2453 were to pass, the FISA Court could give the White House blanket authorization for its current warrantless eavesdropping program, and any other programs it desires. Individual warrants, one of the few safeguards that protect us from virtually unlimited surveillance, would disappear. It's not as advertised! Specter has claimed victory by bringing President Bush to the table with this bill. But his bait was irresistible for a president who claims absolute power and refuses oversight: Bush is even dictating to Congress that the bill pass with no changes. Both your Senators need to hear from you that S. 2453 is a sellout of our Constitution. Phone calls, personal visits, and handwritten letters delivered to your local Congressional office are best. Look up phone numbers at and call your Senators today. For quick and effective communication, send a free personalized fax, here\ = . To start engaging your community in this effort, click here .

The American people need the Fourth Amendment's protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Congress doesn't need to pass new legislation – it must enforce the laws on the books. This bill, and not the Fourth Amendment, must die in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Thank you for all you do to defend our civil liberties!

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Informant: Marsha MCClelland

Higher temperatures, rising ocean, loss of snowpack forecast for state

Informant: Doug Mackenzie

Veterans For Peace: Stop the Killing! Cease-Fire Now!

US Behind Europe In Employment Rates For Disadvantaged, Income Mobility, Health and Crime

Kurdish "Thank You" a Republican Stunt?

A Collective Failure In the Middle East

Seeing [Pentagon] Stars

Republican Realists Call for Major Course Change

Wealthy American Tax Cheats Called Out of Control

Citizen's Tool Kit to Take Back Elections

Russian General Slams BMD-1

Informant: Kev Hall

Major world cities team up to fight global warming

Informant: NHNE

The Meltdown of Public Health and Personal Freedom

by Byron Richards

When 16-year-old Abraham Cherrix refused to take another round of chemotherapy, his parents quickly found the state wanted custody of their child so they could enforce “health care.” Not only is the child sick and struggling; now he must go to court simply to defend his own health freedom. In patient-centered care, his doctor would be standing up for him. In totalitarian public health, doctors quiver in their boots rather than rock the boat. Yes, we live in the era where the doctor-patient relationship is defined by laws created for drug companies, held in place by state public health laws and a legion of whimpy doctors who cow-toe and live in fear of their licensing boards.....

FG allays fears over GSM base station emissions

The meeting was attended by all the commissioners of environment in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos and Kwara states, as well as experts in occupational health and safety, electrical electronics from the University of Ibadan, University of Benin and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

They all spoke in unison in allaying the fears already deep-rooted in Nigerians over the dangers inherent in the radiation emissions from GSM base stations across the country.

Handy verzögert Entwicklung des Kindes

Wenn Kinder zu früh ein eignes Handy bekommen, kann dies die Ablösung von den Eltern erschweren. Kinder lernen nicht eigenständig Probleme zu lösen, sonder rufen die Mutter an.

(Neuss, 1.8.2006) Ein eigenes Handy könnte die Entwicklung der Kinder verzögern. Das Mobiltelefon erschwere die notwendige Ablösung von den Eltern, so Christa Schaff, Fachärztin für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Vorsitzende des Berufsverbandes für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie in Neuss. Für Kinder unter zehn Jahren sei ein Handy nicht sinnvoll, erklärt die Experten gegenüber dem "dpa/gms-Themendienst".

Wenig Selbständigkeit

"Wenn die Kinder die ständige Erreichbarkeit der Erwachsenen spüren, kann das die Entwicklung zur Eigenständigkeit erschweren", so die Psychiaterin. Anstatt selbst die Probleme zu lösen, rufen viele sofort die Mutter an. Allerdings gebe es auch Ausnahmen, räumt die Expertin ein. So fördere bei Kindern, die Medikamenten einnehmen, ein Handy die Unabhängigkeit. Das Mobiltelefon könnte auf eine bestimmte Zeit programmiert werden, die das Kind an die Medikamenteneinnahme erinnert.

Gut und böse: SMS-Schreiben

Als ambivalent bewertet die Ärztin das SMS-Schreiben. Einerseits verzögere extremes SMS-Schreiben die Sprachentwicklung von Kindern. Die normale Sprachproduktion werde verkürzt. Andererseits diene das SMS-Schreiben als Abgrenzung gegenüber Erwachsenen, da diese mit dem verwendete Code oft nichts anfangen können.

"Fehlende Kultur des Abschaltens"

Eltern sollten zudem regelmäßig die Handy-Nutzung ihrer Kinder überprüfen. Johannes Fenz, Präsident des Katholischen Familienverband Österreichs, spricht sich auf der Homepage für Eltern-Bildung überhaupt für handyfreie Bereiche aus: "Es ist sinnvoll, innerhalb der Familie "handyfreie Zonen" zu schaffen, die zeitlich oder räumlich definiert werden sollten." Kurt Nekula, Geschäftsführer der Gesellschaft Österreichischer Kinderdörfer, spricht indes, von einer "fehlenden Kultur des Abschaltens", die sich nicht nur auf Kinder beschränkt. (jb)

© Telekom-Presse

Stop the Killing of Sea Turtles in Gillnets

Pacific Leatherbacks are the most endangered of the world's sea turtle species. The primary threat to the species is drowning in gillnet and longline fisheries. In 2000 the federal government created the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area, banning gillnets within it to protect Leatherbacks that come to feed in the rich waters off the California and Oregon coasts each fall.

Now the Bush administration is proposing to allow an industrial fishing fleet to set hundreds of their mile-long turtle-killing nets in this protected area. Take action today and demand that this destructive fishery be kept out of the Leatherback's feeding areas.

Tell me more

Minimum distance from mast

PPG8 is a problem, yes, as it does not insist that public exposure from base stations is kept as low as practicable as Stewart (IEGMP) requested. The Annex to PPG8 states that there was no need to require this as the Operators already do it in order to run an efficient system - haha, what a joke!

However, mobile phone users are by far the main problem.

A 100 metre ban would not work because too many people are using their mobile phones from home. Most masts are now much nearer than 100 metres from homes in residential areas. There are places where they are only about 5 metres from bedroom windows on lamp-posts - that is far too close, in my opinion.

However, to get adequate call capacity it is necessary to have multiple masts in residential areas to cope with all the mobile calls people make and receive from their homes. One multi-channel base-station can only handle about 127 simultaneous calls - and many only have 4 channels and handle 63 or 64 calls. That is the way the cellular system works.

The vast numbers of calls made by people from home when they could use their land-lines drives me mad with frustration.

That is by far the main reason for all the masts close to houses. Each base-station / mast costs at least £30,000 and up to £90,000 to put up. They certainly don't do it for fun or charity. Mobile phone call taxes and Operator taxes now provide over £10,000,000,000 (£10bn) per year of UK Government income.

That comes directly from mobile phone users. Period. That is why we have so many masts near to houses. The users (unthinkingly) pay for the masts to be put there.

Think about it the next time you use your mobile phone. There are currently over 60 million active registered mobile phones operating in the UK. A 100 metre ring around masts is just not possible in many residential areas now until and unless people stop using their mobiles at home.



Well, there actaully is another reason not to use a cellphone. The exposure of the body even exceeds the limits for thermal effects (limits are from 2 to 10 W/m2 (2 to 10 million microWatt/m2), mobile phone exposure goes up to 13,5 Watt/m2, scientifically proven thermal effects start from 100 Watt/m2). All known non-thermal effects may happen (while in the vicinity of a mast few non-thermal effects may happen). These are the increased risks:

Consistent indications: cell stress, DNA-damage, central nerve system disorders, cancer. DNA-damage in cell phone users 40%, while in non-users 10%.

Strong indications: hormone system disorders.

Indications: infertility, immune system disorders, cell process disturbance, blood brain barrier permeability.

Weak indications: 'electrosensitivity'.

Source: Risiken durch elektromagnetische Felder, die Grenzwertfrage im NF- und HF-Bereich, Mainz, 22 april 2006. Dr. H.-Peter Neitzke, Ecologi Institut, Hannover, Germany. Page 16.

This is the most urgent argument against cellphones.

Tell them, go on using your cellphone! As much as you can, x times a day! And put it next to your head when you go to sleep .... the mast is just a
24-hour 7-days a week extra exposure ...

Even people who know this still use a cellphone (e.g. with a bluetooth headset, adding insult to injury) and a wireless laptop, etcetera.



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