Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Back When We Were Allowed to Celebrate Christmas ...
But then again, we can't offend the delicate sensibilities of the Buddhists, Moslems, and followers of the pseudo-holiday Kwanzaa now, can we?
Once Upon a Time When America Had Christmas
by Rabbi Aryeh Spero
November 23, 2005
[For the original, go here.]
It’s December 2030, and I’m shopping with my grandson in a mall in Northern Virginia. We’ve purchased a gift for a relative.
“Gift wrap?” inquired the clerk. “Yes, thanks.”
“Happy Chanukah, Merry Kwanzaa, or Eid Greetings?”
I frowned. The clerk whispered, “Listen, I think there may still be a few rolls of Christmas wrap in the back if you want…”
My grandson looked up at me and asked, “Why is the man whispering, Grandpa?”
The clerk leaned over the counter: “The store’s Diversity Regulations stipulate that we’re no longer permitted to offer anything saying ‘Christmas.’”
“Grandpa,” David asked, “when did the stores stop offering Christmas paper?”
“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied, “but I do remember that already back in 2005 stores like Kohl’s and Target no longer allowed their employees to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Now even schools are forbidden to print the word ‘Christmas’ on their calendars in the December 25th box.”
“But, Grandpa, the President still lights the National Fern!”
“Yes, David, and it was once the National Christmas Tree. But there were these very powerful and well-moneyed groups such as the ACLU that for over 50 years relentlessly tried to remove anything of Christmas from American public life and social discourse. Then there was this other group, the ADL, which claimed to be fighting bigotry, but really appeared to be promoting bigotry against Christians and people with political views the ADL didn’t like. Anyway, by the time 2005 had arrived, most American people no longer had the conviction and mettle of the people who founded this nation in the 18th century.”
“Why not, Grandpa?”
“Well, believe it or not, they simply were worn down by constantly being called names like anti-Semite, Islamophobe, racist, or homophobe.”
“You mean, people 50 years ago were so scared that they’d allow their country to be taken from them rather than be called a name? I thought sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”
“Well, there was another factor at work. Back then we called it ‘political correctness.’ If you spoke out against the ACLU, you were called ‘intolerant.’ If you cherished our American freedoms and were patriotic, you were ‘reactionary.’ If you were revolted by the in-your-face perversions of the day, you were ‘unsophisticated.’ If you believed in right and wrong, your thinking was ‘un-nuanced.’
“Some of the people who stood up against the ACLU,” I continued, “were called Conservatives. In those days, you weren’t welcomed in ‘progressive’ circles if you were a Conservative. You didn’t get those high-paying jobs in the media, Hollywood, or in the University. In fact, if they knew you were Conservative, you could even lose your job -- and, if you wanted to keep your job, you had to undergo diversity training at Sensitivity Sessions and mouth the appropriate platitudes and apologies, even against your own conscience.”
“How did the ACLU control everybody?” David asked.
“You see, they insisted that any references to Christmas and Christianity were ‘offensive’ to some people.”
“Were the Christians trying to impose their religion on everybody?”
“Heavens, no, David. But when Christians wanted simply to express themselves as other groups did, they were accused of having a hidden agenda of ‘Christianizing’ America. Black ‘pride,’ Jewish ‘pride,’ Islamic and Hispanic ‘pride’ were considered social goods and ‘diversity,’ but Christian expression was considered a symptom of concealed anti-Semitism, racism, Islamophobia, and even American imperialism!”
“Grandpa, how did you feel when someone wished you Merry Christmas?”
“I felt fine being on the receiving end of good wishes and that person’s desire to include me in his season of joy. Besides, it was the gracious thing to do. Then along came the Left and they politicized every harmless and gentle aspect of everyday life, rendering almost anything any normal person said as somehow ‘insensitive’ to some person or group. They took regular daily life which had been sweet and turned it into a political brawl. They made fair-minded Americans self-conscious of every word, and relations between people strained and bitter. They busy-bodied into everything private and personal. And out of a desire to be considered ‘inclusive,’ Christians allowed their Christianity to be rubbed out from the public sphere.”
“Just so they could be called ‘nice’ by a bunch of bullies, Grandpa?”
“Yes, because unbeknownst to our good-willed Christian friends, the ACLU and its fanatical left-wing collaborators were zealously engaged in a deliberate plan to expunge Christianity from America, all the while pretending that their intent was simply to have a more inclusive America and not offend non-Christians.”
“So Grandpa, I guess American Christians were suckers.”
“I’m afraid so.” As we walked around, I noticed how quiet and gloomy the store was, and remembered back to the days when every department, resplendent with colorful decorations and Christmas music, was almost bursting with shoppers.
“Grandpa, if the ACLU and ADL were against religion, why did they want religious symbols for Moslem-Americans and Jewish-Americans and African-Americans?”
“Well, David, that’s the dark little secret that only your Grandpa and a few others knew. These people weren’t anti-religious as much as they were anti-Christian: anti- the majority religion that made America, America. They weren’t against Allah or African gods. They hated the Christian God. Many simply despised Christians of Faith, hated them as people.”
“Isn’t that hatred, too?”
“Yes, indeed, 100% bigotry. But the bigotries of the Left, and those of minorities, were called ‘tolerance.’ Whatever they said, in those days, was considered the moral high ground, the law. Whomever they supported, even brutal dictators like Fidel Castro, was considered enlightened.”
“So Grandpa, if you knew what the real goals were of the ACLU and ADL, why didn’t you speak up, then?”
“I did, as did others, but so few would listen. If only they could have realized that failure to act would bring about even greater curtailment of their rights and complete demolition of our great American civilization.”
“Grandpa, who were the people who made up the ACLU?”
“Well, sadly some of our own wayward brethren who had long ago abandoned belief in God, the Bible and our own Jewish religion. Having no religious identity, they basically defined themselves as ‘not being Christian,’ so they fought Christmas displays tooth and nail. Many felt insecure even in their identity as Americans, so they waged war against the Christianity underlying America.”
“Who else belonged to the ACLU?”
“People who were raised Christian but rejected it and were therefore embarrassed by it. And, of course, the ACLU had its atheists, too. They despised America’s Judeo-Christian ethos.”
“Grandpa, we were taught in school that our country was founded on our Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage. And that our Founding Fathers were guided greatly by the principles of the Holy Koran.”
“Yes, another victory for liberalism: rewrite history and deny the facts, all in the name of ‘inclusion’.”
“Grandpa, where is the ACLU located today?”
“Why, it’s right there in Washington, D.C., across from the U.S. Capitol.”
“You mean that big white-marble building where the Supreme Court used to be? The one with the statues of Mohammed and Ruth Bader Ginsburg?”
“Yes, David. You see, the country decided that since, in effect, the ACLU and leftist judges determined almost every American law in the last 50 years, as well as being the final word as to what is Constitutional, we might as well dispense with the Supreme Court and locate in that building America’s real judicial, legal power: the ACLU.”
We took our packages and walked out of the store and were guided down the escalator by Spanish and Arabic directions, though, unlike my grandson, I focused on the smaller English subtitles. We drove on Route 50 until we came to Falls Mosque, Virginia. I remembered when the city had been renamed from the original Falls Church when that section of Virginia was granted the right to no longer live by American law but, instead, by its own shariah law now that 40% of the people in that area were Islamic. The ACLU told us that in the name of multiculturalism, not to do so would offend Islamic sensibilities and honor.
However, I knew that such a step had been rooted in timidity. We had become fraidy-cats, enfeebled, because 50 years of liberalism had made us no longer believe in ourselves, who we were and what we stood for. That had always been liberalism’s goal. Anyway, the rage among liberals had been to change all these historic American names, as was being done by their mentors and idols in Eurabia who guided us as to what was sophisticated. Londonstan, Parisabia, and Berlindad, all were renamed cities in the greater Caliphate living under the Religion of Peace.
My grandson interrupted my thoughts: “If the ACLU people hated America so, why didn’t they just leave?”
“Son, they were on a mission. They wanted to reshape America and make it socialist, with themselves at the helm calling the shots, running the show. They didn’t love America as America, but they knew they would love it completely when it became socialist. Besides, no one leaves America. Look at those Hollywood gripers. The money is too good here. The fame. The ease and the safety. Where else do you become a hero by bashing your country? Why would they leave, their family is here?”
As we got out of our car near home, we spotted a small building with a Cross. It was lit up and the distant sounds of a hymn could be heard in the cold evening air.
“What’s happening inside that building?”
“David, that is a church. A church is a place where Christians gather privately to express their Christianity, now that public expression of Christianity in America is forbidden.”
“Grandpa, how many Christians were there in America back in 2005?”
“Well, I’d say about 260 million. Indeed 85% of the country was then Christian.”
“85%?” David exclaimed, amazed, bewildered.
“Incredible, right? Of course, half the Jews had no problem with Christmas, and not all atheists were offended by Christmas trees – but it turned out that less than 10% of the country’s population was able to control the other 91%.”
“And the Americans didn’t fight for themselves at all?”
“Well, they had been bullied so long, son, they lost their fiber. The others were afraid of a newspaper called The New York Times. And the people themselves decided they had more important things to do than defend their heritage.”
“But, Grandpa, without traditions and heritage, you have nothing, right? Why did they accept that everybody else’s feelings were more important than their feelings?”
“They had become intimidated by a foolish and destructive wind that ran across the land. It was a suicidal ideology: liberalism. It taught that the greatest virtue was national self-criticism. It resulted in people hating their own great country, America. And thus a handful of well-positioned, manipulative liberal elitists were able to bring down an entire powerful country.” I thought back to what distorted times they had been, back in late 2005. While Christians were reviled and seen by liberals as the enemy, jihadist terrorists were “understood” and their detention raised a cry in their behalf for “compassion.” Social and political energy was channeled in two directions: overwhelming concern for the highest degree of humane treatment for Islamic terrorists coupled with an all out assault against Christians wanting merely to say Merry Christmas.
“You know, David,” I continued, “I remember back when I was growing up in America in the 1950s. The Christians had beautiful Christmas trees covered with glittering lights lining the avenues in the snow, children went from house to house singing Christmas carols, people gave presents to each other wrapped in sparkly wrappings, strangers would extend unexpected kindnesses and generosities to each other, and walking down a street on a wintry night one might even come across a gentle nativity scene that didn’t hurt anybody. But that was America then, not now.” Words are only good if they lead to action, I thought. Nothing happens unless the people venture boldly into public debates and the streets and face down those who are trying to destroy them and put their heritage and children in harm’s way. Where had the activists been? We were too fine to get out in the streets, too gentlemanly to call things the way they were, too preoccupied with appearing ‘compassionate’ to stop the leftists and jihadists. Maybe our good-willed friends simply never realized that some of America’s greatest foes were citizens within our own borders.
I put my arm around my young grandson. “My America is gone now. How wonderful it was. It was heaven on earth. We could have taken to the streets. We could have stood together and risen up, one citizen at a time, defying every challenge in every forum, and fighting for our freedoms on the front-lines of every village and town.”
“So what happened, Grandpa? How did we lose America?” “I’ll tell you: our soldiers on the battlefield overseas were brave, but we folks at home had no guts.”
Rabbi Spero is a radio talk show host, a pulpit rabbi, and president of Caucus for America. He can be reached at www.caucusforamerica.com.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Government Secrecy and More Government Secrecy
Bill Would Create Agency Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
From Robert Longley,
Your Guide to U.S. Gov Info / Resources.
Biodefense agency could operate in secrecy
Dateline: November 2005
A bill now before the Senate would create a new executive branch agency that would become the first-ever government agency granted total immunity from disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The bill S. 1873, the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, would create a new Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA). Under the bill cosponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TENN), BARDA would be assigned to assist and encourage private industry in developing medical countermeasures for bioterrorism agents and natural outbreaks such as a possible avian flu pandemic.
Even more unique than the bills’ stated purpose, “to prepare and strengthen the biodefenses of the United States against deliberate, accidental, and natural outbreaks of illness,” is S.
1873’s clause granting BARDA a total categorical exemption from the requirements of FOIA: “(2) FOIA - Information that relates to the activities, working groups, and advisory boards of the BARDA shall not be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code [Freedom of Information Act], unless the Secretary or Director determines that such disclosure would pose no threat to national security. Such a determination shall not be subject to judicial review,” the bill states.
While FOIA already exempts certain categories of information from disclosure, like properly classified information that could compromise national security, S. 1873 goes well above-and-beyond those exemptions by stating that a decision by BARDA to withhold information could not even be overturned by the courts.
Unless the director of BARDA determines that the release of information would pose no threat to national security, all documents created and activities undertaken by the agency and its advisory boards would not be subject to disclosure under FOIA.
S. 1873 appropriates an expenditure of $1 billion in 2006 to fund BARDA, the accounting for which could also be shielded from FOIA disclosure.
The bill was introduced on Oct. 17, was approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Oct. 24 and is now awaiting consideration before the full Senate.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
More on the "Pooring of America"
Nov 27, 12:19 PM EST
Global Work Force Helps Fed on Inflation
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- While Alan Greenspan has won praise for his successful 18-year battle to keep inflation under control, he's the first to say he's had a lot of help. Among those most responsible are tens of millions of workers in China, India and Eastern Europe.
Adding all those workers to the global economy has made the Federal Reserve's inflation-fighting job easier by increasing competition. That has helped hold down labor costs - the biggest single expense for employers - and, as a result, prices.
It has come at a cost: Many of the jobs being done overseas used to be in America.
[To read the rest, go here.]
Thursday, November 24, 2005
In lieu of putting up a piece by someone else--drawing attention to "keeper" items is a primary purpose here--I will draw attention to my own latest pieces:
Our Money System (Three Parts, find links at bottom of Part One)
Thank you for reading! Comments are welcome!
Greenville, South Carolina
Monday, November 21, 2005
U.N. Control Over the Internet? Bad Idea!
U.N. Wants Control of Internet
Posted by Bobby Eberle
November 16, 2005 at 7:02 am
As someone who has worked on the Internet since the very first web browsers starting appearing from a research group at the University of Illinois and who has built a web-based political enterprise, I am keenly aware of the power, speed, and freedom of the medium. The Internet has truly transformed the way news is disseminated, broken through the left-leaning mainstream media, and allowed ordinary citizens across the world to have a voice. Now the United Nations, the group that has put Syria on its human rights commission, wants to control it.
Currently, the Internet is under the supervision of a non-profit organization formed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, there is a push by nations such as China, Cuba, and Iran for the U.S. to turn control of the Internet over to the U.N. In this digital age, if the U.N. were to gain control of the Internet, it would truly be one of the biggest and most dangerous blunders of all time.
First, there is the issue of freedom. The Internet represents the ability for any individual to speak out about topics or news important to him or her. The Internet also provides a wealth of news and information from countless sources, allowing people the power to make informed decisions to a degree unmatched in the world's history. Nations such as China, Cuba, and Iran are notorious for stifling human rights and personal freedoms. Do we really want the Internet controlled by the U.N. who kowtows to nations such as those nations who would likely arrest (or worse) a person for speaking ill of the government? We cannot afford to put nations who have no concept of free speech in charge of the ultimate free speech medium.
Second, there is the issue of competency. As long as there is a buzz for U.N. control over the Internet, I should only have to utter three words to make my point: Oil For Food. In what is truly a scandal of epic proportions, one that shows not only incompetence but also mass corruption, the U.N. proves once again that it is not up to the task. Now, they want the Internet? I'd laugh if it weren't so scary.
As Nat Moffat points out in his commentary on Human Events, one of the motivations for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in the U.N. gaining control over the Internet would be the windfall gained in revenue from Internet taxation. Through taxing the Internet, the U.N. could "free itself from relying on member states for dues, thereby becoming even less accountable." A less accountable U.N.? As Brian Carney points out in the Wall Street Journal, "One of the goals of the summit is to advance the 'internationalization' of what is known as 'Internet governance.'"
So, despite what Kofi Annan might say, the issue is about control. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. only "controls" a small portion of the Internet anyway, particularly in the area of the domain name system or DNS. Most control is under the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This company, run out of California, has a board of directors comprised of many international members.
The Internet is a strange medium. Al Gore invented it, and now the U.N. wants to control it. This could mean we'd be putting the Internet into a 'lock box' with Iran, Syria, and China holding the keys? That premise is simply unacceptable, and the best option is to keep the Internet free, under the watchful eye of America.
A Christian Patriot
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The Perils of Not Taking Real Education Seriously in America
America’s Brain Drain Crisis
Why Our Best Scientists are Disappearing, and What’s Really at Stake
By Kathryn Wallace
December 2005 issue of Readers Digest
William Kunz is a self-described computer geek. A more apt description might be computer genius. When he was just 11, Kunz started writing software programs, and by 14 he had created his own video game. As a high school sophomore in Houston, Texas, he won first prize in a local science fair for a data encryption program he wrote. In his senior year, he took top prize in an international science and engineering fair for designing a program to analyze and sort DNA patterns.
Kunz went on to attend Carnegie-Mellon, among the nation’s highest ranked universities in computer science.
After college, he landed a job with Oracle in Silicon Valley, writing software for companies around the world. Kunz looked set to become a star in his field. Then he gave it all up.
Today, three years later, Kunz is in his first year at Harvard Business School. He left software engineering partly because his earning potential paled next to friends who were going into law or business. He also worried about job security, especially as more companies move their programming overseas to lower costs. "Every time you're asked to train someone in India, you think, Am I training my replacement?" Kunz says.
Things are turning out very differently for another standout in engineering, Qing-Shan Jia. A student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Jia shines even among his gifted cohorts at a school sometimes called the “MIT of China."
He considered applying to Harvard for his PhD, but decided it wasn't worth it. His university is investing heavily in cutting-edge research facilities, and attracts an impressive roster of international professors. "I can get a world-class education here and study with world-class scholars," Jia says.
These two snapshots illustrate part of a deeply disturbing picture. In the disciplines underpinning our high tech economy -- math, science and engineering -- America is steadily losing its global edge. The depth and breadth of our problem is clear:
* Several of our key agencies for scientific research and development will face a retirement crisis within the next ten years.
* Less than 6% of out high school seniors plan to pursue engineering degrees, down 36% from a decade ago.
* In 2000, 56% of China's undergraduate degrees were in the hard sciences; in the United States, the figure was 17%.
* China will likely produce six times the number of engineers next year than we will graduate, according to Mike Gibbons of the American Society for Engineering Education. Japan, with half our population, has minted twice as many in recent years.
There are many more unnerving developments, and they add up to this: As other countries create the learning centers and jobs to hang on to their best and brightest, the United States is losing a dependable pipeline of talent. Moreover, we are doing remarkably little to educate and train a next generation of scientists and engineers.
"Most Americans are unaware of how much science does for this country and what we stand to lose if we can't keep up," says Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. David Baltimore, president of the California Institute of Technology and a Nobel laureate, puts it bluntly: "We can't hope to keep intact our standard of living, our national security, our way of life, if Americans aren't competitive in science. Period."
The Tide We Can't Control
It's a new world, and we barely seem to have noticed. Places we associate with inexpensive low-end manufacturing are going high-tech in a big way.
The spotlight is mainly on China and India, for good reason. The Chinese economy .is surging, fueled by increasingly sophisticated engineering, producing everything from automobiles to semiconductors. India has nearly as robust an economy, powered by a cheap English-speaking labor force who excel in software and services.
Along with these emerging giants, countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore are also challenging America's dominance. If present trends continue, 90% of all the world's scientists and engineers will be living in Asia by 2010, according to Nobel laureate Richard E. Smalley, professor of chemistry and physics at Rice University.
Who can be surprised, then, that jobs in software development and research are migrating to places like Bangalore, India, and Shanghai, China? “We go where the smart people are," says Howard High, a spokesperson for Intel. "Now our business operations are two-thirds in the U.S. and one-third overseas. But that ratio will flip over the next ten years."
Joining Intel in expanding operations in Asia are hundreds of companies, like IBM, Microsoft and General Electric. True, cheap labor is a draw. But if it was not highly skilled labor as well, there'd be no brain drain from the United States.
"Other nations get it," says Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. "We got where we are by our research and universities. Our success hasn't been lost on the rest of the world."
China, for instance, has set a national goal of turning 100 universities into world-class learning centers. It's more than an academic exercise to the leadership in Beijing. Most of the top ministers in China's government have degrees in science, points out Zhong Lin Wang, professor of nano-technology at Georgia Tech and a visiting professor at several universities in China. "That's quite a difference from a government made up of lawyers," he says.
Already, a commitment to education is paying dividends for other countries, at our expense. Ten years ago, American companies and engineers were granted 10,000 more U.S. patents than foreign companies. Now, that margin is down to 4,000, and six of the top ten companies are foreign.
Our talent pool is thinning in part because it was filled for so long by political refugees. Jewish emigration from Nazi Germany brought us many remarkable scientists, including Albert Einstein and Edward Teller, and more came in later years from the former Soviet Union. "The dirty little secret is that most of America's publishings and prizes over the last decades were either authored or won by foreigners who came here to work," says David Baltimore. "We're starting to see dents in American shares because these bright people are either going home after studying here or not coming here at all."
For now, we remain a huge magnet for international students, hosting 600,000. Yet at the graduate level, applications from China dropped 45% last year, and 28% from India.
"We can't draw people here by turning on a spigot anymore," says Debra Stewart.
The Crisis We Created
In January 2001, the "Hart-Rudman Commission, tasked with finding solutions to our major national security threats, concluded that the failures of our math and science education and our system of research "pose a greater threat ... than any potential conventional war."
The roots of this failure lie in primary and secondary education. The nation that produced most of the great technological advances of the last century now scores poorly in international science testing. A 2003 survey of math and science literacy ranked American 15-year-olds against kids from other industrialized nations. In math, our students came in 24th out of 28 countries; in science, we were 24th out of 40 countries, tied with Latvia.
This test, in conjunction with others, indicates we start out with sufficient smarts--our fourth-graders score well but we begin to slide by eighth grade, and sink almost to the bottom by high school.
Don't blame school budgets. We shell out more than $440 billion each year on public education, and spend more per capita than any nation save Switzerland. The problem is that too many of our high school science and math teachers just aren't qualified. A survey in 2000 revealed that 38% of math teachers and 28% of science teachers in grades 7-12 lacked a college major or minor in their subject area.
In schools with high poverty rates, the figures jumped to 52% of math teachers and 32% of science teachers. "The highest predictor of student performance boils down to teacher knowledge," says Gerald Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association.
To California Congressman Buck McKeon, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, it comes down to this: “How can you pass on a passion to your students if you don't know the subject?"
Perhaps it's no surprise that, according to a 2004 Indiana University survey, 18% of college prep kids weren't taking math their senior year of high school. "When I compare our high schools to what I see when I'm traveling abroad, I'm terrified for our workforce of tomorrow," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told a summit of state governors earlier this year. "Our high schools, even when they're working exactly as designed, cannot teach our kids what they need to know today."
Government has been culpable also by shortchanging research in the hard sciences. "Basic research is the fundamental underlying driver of our high-tech economy," Jackson of RPI says. In the wake of 9/11, Congress pledged to double the budget of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over five years; that now looks like a pipe dream, especially since Congress actually cut the NSF budget by $105 million in 2005. That takes money from an agency whose extensive funding has helped develop technologies in areas that are essential to our competitiveness, from the Internet to nanotechnology.
The Bush Administration has also proposed cutting the fiscal 2006 budget for research and development in such key federal agencies as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the latter of which acts as a liaison with industry and researchers to apply new technology.
"Funding cuts are job cuts," says Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, Republican of Michigan and a member of the Science Committee in the House. Reduced funding has put the squeeze on research positions, further smothering incentives for students to go into hard science.
A weaker pipeline is especially alarming because the science and engineering workforce is graying. For instance, the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency that responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies here and abroad, will soon experience a retirement crisis, according to the GAO. NASA, too, has an aging staff: In just a few years, a quarter of its workforce will be eligible to retire.
"We will see in our lifetime the foolishness of our budget choices today," says New York Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, who is chairman of the House Science Committee. "I see America falling to the middle of the pack if we don't make serious changes now."
What We Must Do
We’ve done it before. The Manhattan Project, the technology surge that followed Sputnik: We've demonstrated that we can commit ourselves to daunting goals and achieve them. But we can't minimize the challenges we're facing.
We need out-of-the-box thinking, of the sort suggested by experts in a report released in October called "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." A study group within the National Academy of Sciences, which included the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, came up with innovative proposals. Among them are:
* Four-year scholarships for 25,000 undergraduate students who commit to degrees in math, science or engineering, and who qualify based on a competitive national exam;
* Four-year scholarships for 10,000 college students who commit to being math or science teachers, and who agree to teach in a public school for five years after graduation;
* Extended visas for foreign students who earn a math or science Ph.D in the United States, giving them a year after graduation to look for employment here. If they find jobs, work permits and permanent residency status would be expedited.
Many experts are also urging that non-credentialed but knowledgeable people with industry experience be allowed to teach. That experiment is already underway at High Tech High in San Diego. Conceived by Gary Jacobs, whose father founded Qualcomm, this charter school stresses a cutting-edge curriculum, whether it's classes in bio-technology or web-design. To teach these courses, the school hires industry professionals. High Tech High also arranges internships at robotics labs, Internet start-ups and university research centers.
In just five years, 750 kids have enrolled, three classes have graduated and the vast majority of students have gone on to college. One of the success stories is Jeff Jensen, class of 2005, who was a decidedly apathetic student before High Tech High. He is now a freshman at Stanford University on a partial scholarship, planning to study chemistry or medicine.
IBM is one of the companies encouraging its workers to teach. This past September, IBM announced a tuition-assistance plan, pledging to pay for teacher certification as well as a leave-of-absence for employees who wish to teach in public schools.
The philanthropic arms of corporations are also getting involved. The Siemens Foundation sponsors a yearly math, science and technology competition, considered the Nobel Prize for high school research and a great distiller of American talent. Honeywell spends $2 million each year on science programs geared to middle school students, including a hip-hop touring group that teaches physical science, and a robotics lab program that teaches kids how to design, build and program their own robot. "We've found that if we don't get kids excited about science by middle school, it's too late," says Michael Holland, a spokesperson for Honeywell.
State governments have shown that they; too, can take bold steps, as several have done in creating public high school academies that focus on the hard sciences. Among the first of these was the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), opened in 1980, and its. track record explains why these academies have taken off elsewhere. NCSSM boasts the highest SAT scores of any public school in the state. The vast majority of its graduates have gone on to college, and a number of them have started their own tech companies.
As IMPORTANT as all these initiatives are, they barely begin to take us where we need to go. Our shortcomings are vast, and time, unfortunately, is working against us.
"The whole world is running a race," says Intel's Howard High, "only we don't know it." No one knows whether or when the United States will relinquish its lead in that race. Or how far back in the pack we could ultimately fall. But the first order of business is to recognize what's at stake-and get in the game.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
M-3: More Details
[Safehaven is a market analysis and investment website. Not having used their services, this reporter cannot comment on their performance (which is the subject of this article’s second half, available at http://safehaven.com/article-4108.htm). But this excerpt, like most of their analyses, usefully describes the activities of the Plunge Protection Team. Like Catherine Austin Fitts, Chris Sanders, and James Turk, these people help explain that the financial markets are rigged, and the M-3 money supply is a key tool in that practice. A good explanation of M-3 appears at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply. --JAH]
The Fed Announces it Will Hide M-3 To Keep You From Knowing What?
by Robert McHugh
November 14, 2005
The Federal Reserve announced on November 10th, without explanation, and I quote, "On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease the publication of the M-3 monetary aggregate. It will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, RPs, and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item on this release."
Why? It's simple, really. So that the Plunge Protection Team can hide its market manipulative, equity buying activities. You see, one of the key differences between M-2 (which it appears they will report) and M-3, is repurchase agreements. This is perhaps the most obvious reporting item where PPT market buying transactions show up. If they no longer report this item, folks like us who monitor the growth of M-3 for clues as to when the PPT is likely to buy the market, will have a harder time reporting that fact before, or even as, the PPT buys. Investors will be left more in the dark as to any secret rigging of the stock market. Why now? Apparently the Federal Reserve (a key member of the Working Group, a.k.a. Plunge Protection Team) sees a coming need to buy - or facilitate the buying - of markets, including the equity market, incognito. Apparently, they don't want investors knowing they are the ones doing the buying, keeping prices up, or pushing them higher.
We have continuously demonstrated the high correlation between growth in M-3 and a rising stock market. We have also demonstrated that when M-3 either declines or stays the same, the stock market is prone to decline. The Fed knows its hypocritical hyperinflationary expansion of the money supply recently has been publicized by Fed watchers, and that 12 percent annualized growth in M-3 during a time when the Fed is raising short-term interest rates aggressively, and jawboning a determination to stop inflation, is nothing short of illogical, bizarre Fed behavior. The reason for the dichotomy is quite simple. The Fed can electronically print money and hand it over to the PPT to buy this stock market. That has to be why all the extra M-3 growth over the past several months.
When we presented the Hindenburg Omen analysis several weeks ago, we warned that the PPT would likely buy this market to stop the higher-than-normal probability that the market could crash. Why did we warn that the PPT would likely buy this market, and stop any potential crash? Because of the M-3 numbers. We could see there was too much money being created. We know that the way money gets into the economy is by the Fed buying securities. Inflation is too much money (M-3) chasing goods. Well, GDP (goods and services) is growing annually around 3.8 percent, yet M-3 was being pumped at three times that rate of growth. The difference had to go somewhere. It did. Into markets, and very probably equity markets.
Why all the M-3? Undoubtedly because the PPT wanted to manipulate markets at this time for reasons that are secret to everyone but them. We are left to speculate as to those reasons. Is the economy closer to the brink than anyone realizes? Or, is it politically expedient to goose markets? Do the corporatist elitists want the big payback for backing the powers that be, and insist upon a rising market into year end? Does Greenspan have an all-encompassing, overriding desire to ensure his legacy by seeing the Dow Industrials at an all-time high when he retires in January? We aren't privy to the reasons because the Master Planners do not believe in the forthright flow of information. They believe that bad news cannot be handled by the flock, that confidence must be boosted at all costs, even if it entails manipulating the markets. Don't let the dead be honored, instead sneaking them into Dover at night. Don't let the real jobless figures be released, goose them with a phony birth/death adjustment, and so on. Now we can kiss goodbye the most important Fed statistic computed. Do you see what is happening folks? The Unpatriotic Act steals your civil liberties. Three young girls from Kansas cannot board an Amtrak train to New York unless they have a government issued photo ID. Not some futuristic sci-fi plot. Now. It is called Corporatist Fascism. Next could be freedom of speech. Then martial law. A computer chip under your skin. Eventually, your right to vote. Then it is all over, game set and match.
Not a peep from Congress on the massacre of M-3. Oh the figure will be calculated. We just won't be allowed to know it anymore. Really begs the question, once again, Why? Obviously because the Master Planners expect to have to increase the Money Supply very rapidly, to extraordinary levels next year. Obviously because they believe they are going to need to buy equity and bond markets aggressively next year. Do they see a catastrophe coming that will require hyperinflation to bail the U.S. out? Maybe. Every time we've had a tragic event of mass proportions in 2005, the equity markets have mysteriously risen out of the blue, sharply, taking shorts to the cleaners. London bombing, Katrina, Rita, indictment of a top administration official, etc... Yes, the Master Planners have learned that they have the wherewithal and the gall to buy the markets - and get away with it. They have learned that at those times when markets are at greatest risk, when shorts have their positions lined up, a little S&P futures index buying, a select few large cap stock buys, a leak to the trading floor that their golden boy trader is buying is enough to send the shorts scurrying for cover and buy the market. You see, the PPT only needs to kick start the buying. Then the shorts buy. Then the Hedge Funds jump on the bandwagon in search of that elusive trend - either up or down - deciding it is going to be up, and keep the rally going. But by the time the Hedgies are buying, the PPT is able to get out (and their Wall Street friends who took the risk and bought with them early) at a nice profit, the shorts are out licking their losses, and we watch a waning rally with low upside volume, low advance/decline ratios, and a high number of New Lows - kinda like right now.
Yes, don't let the technical analysts and Fed watchers know when the PPT is coming in. That will spook the shorts out and the PPT needs the shorts in. But the March 2006 M-3 announcement makes one wonder. What in the world are they going to be up to next year, that will require hiding the growth of money supply from the U.S. citizenry who used to own this country, who elected this outfit? War? A big-time war? Martial law? Could it be as simple and corporatist as merely wanting to drive equity markets higher so weak political ratings improve? Maybe nothing to do with national security at all? These are the types of questions every thinking man and woman needs to ask themselves and their congressional representatives, given the Fed announcement. Remember, the original mandate of the Fed was to ensure a stable currency. Money. So now they aren't going to release their measure of money to the public? One thing that can be agreed upon, based upon our technical analysis work, is that we are sitting upon an incredibly fragile moment in the markets, one that is in no shape to psychologically withstand a catastrophic event on its own. It would thus appear that the Federal Reserve, in tandem with the Master Planner Team, is taking steps to prepare for the worst, and unfortunately that requires secrecy from the people. Secrecy about how much money is going into the economy. Secrecy.
The Coming Health Tyranny III: Update on Potential Forced Innoculations
MOUNTAIN VIEWS: FORCED INOCULATIONS BEGINNING OF BUSH'S BAD BIRD FLU PLAN
By John Hanchette
OLEAN -- Last week's column warned of imminent federal legislation that would toss powerful pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars and complete protection from liability suits in case untested and experimental bird flu vaccines damage American recipients. It drew heavy response.
The bill (S. 1873) -- a big congressional wet kiss to the drug industry -- is dressed up in a noble-sounding title: "Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act."
In essence, however, it would force Americans to receive inoculations against a disease that has yet to kill one of them, while removing their constitutional right to seek redress in our courts in case of injury or death from the shots because of company negligence. The proposal, now moving its way through the Senate, would also ban citizens from using the Freedom of Information Act and other popular informational laws to discover whether the new vaccine (when it is finally produced) was effective and safe, and even whether anyone had suffered adverse reactions to it.
Some of the e-mails and letters were laudatory, but sadly and predictably, many readers missed the point.
One wrote that I could only have reached my conclusions if I started from the position that the pharmaceutical companies were "evil" and that the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and "practically every virologist and epidemiologist in the world is part of a conspiracy." Or was I saying that I have "some sort of privileged information that H5N1 influenza will never mutate and begin to infect humans and even if it does, it won't reach the USA?"
He ended by quoting some venerable Chinese philosopher's advice to "plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small."
Well, yes, point taken on the aphorism -- but that's exactly the philosophical tack I'm following here: identifying a cancerous piece of federal business and dissecting it while it is still an undivided cell. If this bill -- which is absolutely laden with hidden agendas -- metastasizes into actual law, Senate 1873 could further ruin an already devastated national health care system.
Sure, the bird influenza that has killed 62 Asians may mutate into easily contractible flu for humans. I acknowledge that. It may soon reach the United States. I acknowledge that. But my beef is the thematic hidden agenda in this dangerous Senate bill that is designed to protect wealthy corporate contributors from any consequences of money-motivated, irresponsible scientific research and development. The legal precedent would be ruinous and take decades to set right.
One thing the bill-backer friends of Big Pharma are trying to slip through with this legislation is a market exclusivity provision that would extend patents on hugely profitable drugs that are about to evolve into the category of cheaper generic medicines.
Further, it would prohibit federal drug buyers from contracting with generic medicine makers to save taxpayers billions of dollars -- a current admirable practice.
Further, it would allow federal health officials to purchase medicines, vaccines and other palliatives by simple fiat without taking bids.
Further, and most onerously, the bill would vastly broaden the definition of products eligible to be characterized as "countermeasures" to terrorism -- in other words, potentially classifying commonly purchased substances like ibuprofen and aspirin as terrorist-fighting devices.
I'm not the only one who's noticed the exclusivity aspect of this legislative turkey.
The Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market (CCPM) is an unusually broad-based national coalition of organizations powerful on Capitol Hill in representing employers, health insurers, chain drugstores, generic drug makers and pharmacy benefit managers.
Last week, this huge group urged the Senate to revise the "biodefense" bill to remove the broadened definition of terrorism "countermeasures" because the proposal allows it to be done "in a way that could grant existing everyday medicines -- rather than novel products related to (defense) against bioterrorism -- multiple years of additional market exclusivity."
This, contends CCPM chairman Annette Guarisco, "would unnecessarily drive up prescription drug costs for private and public payers without advancing our nation's bioterrorism preparedness."
Even the big health insurance companies and pharmaceutical management lobbyists were startled by the brazen provisions at the expense of common citizens Senate 1873 portends.
Mark J. Rubino, chief pharmacy officer for Aetna Inc., states, "For private and public purchasers seeking to provide consumers with therapeutically equivalent, but more cost-efficient generic drugs, the market exclusivity provision included in the Biodefense bill takes us in exactly the wrong direction."
Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, said, "This drug monopoly extension proposal is a sweeping and unprecedented measure that would rewrite drug-patenting and force working families, the disabled, and seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs. Perhaps most troubling of all, this measure has moved forward without any regard to the cost (effects) it would have on on Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers. America's working families, seniors, and small businesses deserve better."
Some who read the column accused me of overstating the liability protections for Big Pharma contained in the bill. Surely, they wrote, I was guilty of hyperbole or making things up. Surely, federal legislators wouldn't remove the cherished American right to redress wrongs or seek compensation for uninvited injury.
Oh, yeah? The language seems pretty clear to me. It provides incredibly broad and iron-clad protection from any American seeking legal remedy from Big Pharma and just about everyone else involved in protecting against bird flu. Look up the draft bill's Section 319F-3 (a) if you don't believe me.
"Authority -- As provided in subsection (b), and subject to subsection (b) (1) C, a manufacturer, distributor, or administrator of a security countermeasure, or a qualified pandemic and epidemic product, or a health care provider shall be immune from suit or liability caused by or arising out of the design, development, clinical testing and investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, or use of a countermeasure, or a qualified pandemic and epidemic product, described in subsection (b) (1) (a)."
That just about covers the waterfront, as they say. The only avenue of relief an injured vaccine or medicine recipient or survivor could follow is requesting an investigation of their allegation by the Secretary of Health and Human Services -- who would have to find "clear and convincing evidence" of "willful misconduct" that "caused the product to present a significant or unreasonable risk to human health and proximately caused the injury alleged by the party."
There are at least seven tough legal tests contained in that one paragraph. And if the HHS Secretary refuses to even investigate the complaint of injury or death, such decision is completely "within the Secretary's discretion and shall not be subject to judicial review."
If the secretary does find for the complaining injured party -- which is extremely unlikely -- the drugmaker or distributor or health care provider named in the determination can petition the federal court in the District of Columbia for "judicial review" of the HHS ruling. But no subpoenas shall be issued, "nor shall other compulsory process apply," and no third parties can intervene. The drug company appeal "shall automatically stay the Secretary's determination for the duration of the judicial proceeding."
There are six more pages of legal gobbledygook backing this up, one of them defining the scope of protection from lawsuit as extending to allegations "relating to, or resulting from the design, development, clinical testing and investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, or use of product" defined as measures against pandemics or terrorism. There, is that specific enough for you? Is that an imaginative figment?
Interpretation of this congressional language: Pigs will fly backwards and upside down before the common citizen gets any redress or compensation for injury or death resulting from a bird flu vaccine or medicine.
Why are vaccine safety advocates so adamant that John Q. Public might get screwed by all this protect-Big Pharma bird flu legislation? Because it has happened before.
In the 1970s, the panic over swine flu led to an ill-advised vaccine push that crippled many recipients and cost the drug makers millions.
In the 1980s, a dangerously reactive vaccine against whooping cough injured and killed thousands when a safer foreign alternative was already available but stubbornly unapproved by the FDA.
In the 1990s, the federal health establishment insisted -- and still insists -- there is no connection between toxic mercury preservatives in mandated childhood vaccines and the astounding increase in autism (from 1 in 10,000 births to 1 in 166 births), despite ample scientific evidence to the contrary.
Experimental anthrax vaccine is still being tested on troops without informed consent, and was almost tested on infants until a big public fuss erupted.
The yearly hoohah over getting your flu shots to protect against contractible human flu results in less than desired protection because the scientists are always fighting the previous year's struggle that has already mutated or died out.
Both the federal government and big pharmaceutical firms will go to almost any length to protect themselves from blame when vaccines are involved.
Now we read the government experts and private researchers are predicting a minimum of 200,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 2 million deaths if the Asian bird flu mutates into a disease that can be passed from bird to human and then human to human.
"This is shoddy science at best and beyond belief that any reputable scientist could get away with such nonsense," writes Dr. Joseph Mercola, an alternative health physician and author of the popular Total Health Program. "Most of the people (in Asia) who acquired this infection were bird handlers who were in continuous contact with these sick birds. Does anyone in their right mind envision similar circumstances in the United States?"
The issue is certainly timely. This column's date of publication (Tuesday, Nov. 1) will see President George W. Bush go to the National Institutes of Health to tell us how he will spend -- at his executive discretion -- nearly $8 billion that was quickly added to the 2006 funding bill for HHS last Thursday in light of the concern over bird flu. He is expected to devote much of it to stockpiling vaccines once they are developed. The federal government has already committed to buying $162.5 million worth of experimental vaccines against the bird flu strain -- doses which may or may not protect humans -- from Chiron Corp. and Sanofi-Aventis. The feds are also ordering millions of doses of Relenza and Tamiflu, two human anti-flu drugs that seem to slow down the advance of bird flu but not completely halt it.
Meanwhile, the best possible outcome -- that the H5N1 bird flu strain fizzles out or never mutates to threaten humans -- is triggering a new concern among federal officials: that all the frantic warnings so far may have created a sense of public cynicism (or at least skepticism) over global health admonitions about pandemics.
"Will critics say we have been crying wolf?" worried HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt at the end of last week. Will the public "lose the sense of urgency we feel about this issue?"
Well, maybe, Mr. Secretary. But Americans would lend you a lot more credence if you ensured they were treated fairly.
John Hanchette, a professor of journalism at St. Bonaventure University, is a former editor of the Niagara Gazette and a Pulitzer Prize-winning national correspondent. He was a founding editor of USA Today and was recently named by Gannett as one of the Top 10 reporters of the past 25 years. He can be contacted via e-mail at Hanchette6@aol.com.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Chemtrails: Are They For Real?
First of two parts (part two presumably to be printed next week).
Chemtrails Are Over Las Vegas
Marcus K. Dalton
Tribune Media Group
Editor's Note: Las Vegas residents are increasingly noticing the appearance of chemical trails overhead. They appear EVERY weekend without fail, the only exception being the two weeks after September 11, 2001. Such "chemtrails" are substantially different in appearance to the normal condensation trails left by jet airliners. The difference is that while condensation trails are composed of water vapor that dissipates rapidly, "chemtrails" linger much longer and spread out over time to eventually cover the sky with a thin haze. This week the Las Vegas Tribune begins a two-part article to examine the undeniable and mysterious phenomena of Chemtrails Over Las Vegas.
Last year a concerned reader wrote to the Idaho Observer: "Driving across Idaho and Nevada we saw normal condensation trails in the skies above north Idaho and we were habitually looking up as we drove toward Las Vegas. We had noticed that the sparsely populated areas in Nevada had brilliantly clear blue skies and that the occasional airplane left vapor trails that dissipated normally. But as soon as we neared Las Vegas, in the skies directly above the city, we watched what appeared to be a military C-135 Transports spraying something over the populated areas. When the planes were no longer directly over Las Vegas, they continued flying leaving a vapor trail that dissipated normally."
It has been reported that the "chemtrails" contain ethylene dibromide -- a substance that has been an additive to gasoline and airplane fuels as well as a banned pesticide. Ethylene dibromide has been linked to kidney and liver damage and is an immunosuppressive and a lung irritant.
William Thomas, who has researched chemtrails since their appearance in the latter 90s, has noted stunted plant growth in once-healthy gardens and wilderness areas in Santa Fe and Aspen. Similar plant problems are commonly associated with chemtrails in other regions of the U.S.
A brief history of the chemtrail phenomenon can be traced to a Washington state man who told award-winning investigative reporter William Thomas that he'd become ill on New Year's Day 1999 after watching several jets make strange lines in the sky. Within six months, Thomas, writing primarily for the Environmental News Service, has detailed 1000s of eyewitness reports of chemtrails from 40 states.
"Mainstream newspapers have gone out of their way to dismiss these eyewitness accounts," Thomas told the New Mexican newspaper in June 1999, "It's easier to sell UFOs to major media than a phenomena as close in many cities as the nearest window."
Especially disturbing for residents of heavily chemtrailed communities like Las Vegas is a "chemtrail sickness" associated with heavy spray days leaving many stricken people complaining of the "flu" and acute allergic reactions months after the flu season has ended. Upper and lower respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments remain unusually high in many spray areas, along with debilitating fatigue - and something even more worrying.
What's going on?
Thomas is convinced that we are under "deliberate biological attack" by agents known only to top military and government officials responsible for permitting continuing over-flights by unmarked spray aircraft.
Government officials deny that anything unusual is taking place, yet increasing numbers of concerned observers are seeing 727-like aircraft painted "all-white with a black stripe up the middle of fuselage" laying long and often cries-crossing chemtrail patterns over Southern Nevada and elsewhere. None of the planes carry identifying markings.
Pat Edgar has been watching the jets spraying over eastern Oklahoma since a sunny day in October, 1997 when as many as 30 contrails gradually occluded the sky. "They look like they're playing tic-tac-toe up there," he says. "You know darn well it's not passenger planes." Edgar says he has watched "cob-webbing stuff coming down" from the zigzagging jets flying "all day long, line after line, back-and-forth, like furrows in a farm field." Edgar adds "There is a lot of Lupus in the area now. A lot of women have come down with it."
One source, who spoke to the Tribune under condition of anonymity, working as a civilian archeologist on government land throughout Nevada, began to notice "all white unmarked aircraft" preparing for take-off at Nellis AFB and at the Mancamp Complex near Tonapah in the late-90s. "It was these unmarked planes that were constantly laying down the criss-crossing X patterns of lingering chemical-spray trails over Southern Nevada." When the archeologist asked the military escort who accompanied the civilian research team into 'sensitive' areas around Nellis, about the planes, the reply received was, "You didn't see anything."
Another Las Vegas resident, Sandy Range, grew up within an outdoors field and stream-type family and has been watching the weather and the skies all her life. Holding a degree from Syracuse University, Range moved to Las Vegas in 1989. "I first began to notice the chemtrails in late '96 - 14 criss-crossed miles-long vapor trails that didn't evaporate like the norm. I began to see them weekly, then daily," Range states matter-of-factly.
One early morning in '99 Range was returing from Henderson when a low-flying craft dropped a trail right overhead along Boulder Highway. "It covered my car with a sticky web-like coating and I saved a specimen in a jar. Microscopic fiber-like filaments," Range reports.
Government denials, as usual.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio authored the Space Preservation Act of 2001, which sought a "permanent ban against weapons in space," specifically banning "chemtrails" as weapons. But in a subsequent version of the bill, the "chemtrails" language disappeared entirely. The missing words suggest an eyes-wide-open denial, which says as much about the cover-up as it does about the spraying that's plainly visible in the sky.
In a front-page story entitled "Conspiracy theorists look up," the Akron Beacon Journal noted that Kucinich's bill "had been rewrittenand the references to chemtrails and the other types of weapons were quietly eliminated." The Beacon Journal article, linking chemtrails to conspiracies, resulted from massive local pressure. Michel Massullo of Akron provided that newspaper with rolls of photos of plane trails and a sworn affidavit attesting to extensive aerial activity over that city.
The U.S. Air Force Website refutes the "Chemtrail Hoax" as having been around since 1996, "accusing the Air Force of being involved in spraying the U.S. population" with mysterious substances: "Several authors cite an Air University research paper titled 'Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025' that suggests the Air Force is conducting weather modification experiments. The purpose of that paper was part of a thesis to outline a strategy for the use of a future weather modification system to achieve military objectives and it does not reflect current military policy, practice, or capability. The Air Force is not conducting any weather modification experiments or programs and has no plans to do so in the future. The 'chemtrail' hoax has been investigated and refuted by many established and accredited universities, scientific organizations, and major media publications."
Explaining the government's position, Lieutenant Colonel Michael K. Gibson of the U.S. Air Force wrote U.S. Representative Mark Green in August 2000 and stated, "The term 'chemtrail' is a hoax that began circulating approximately three years ago which asserts the government is involved in a joint federal program of covert spraying of the public."
But many intelligent researchers call Gibson's communique a classic non-denial denial: Gibson is denying that the Air Force is secretly spraying U.S. citizens. The reality is the U.S. Space Command and other government agencies are involved in ongoing experiments for military and environmental purposes that involve aerial spraying, and the microfibers and other sprayed chemicals inevitably fall to earth, putting the public at risk.
Before you believe Gibson's and the government's "denial," do an Internet search for the following terms: "Joint Vision for 2020" and "Weather is a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025", a whitepaper by MIT's Bernard Eastlund and H-bomb father Edward Teller. Before he died in 2003, Teller was director emeritus of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where plans for nuclear, biological and directed energy weapons are crafted. In 1997, Teller publicly outlined his proposal to use aircraft to scatter through the stratosphere millions of tons of electrically-conductive metallic materials, ostensibly to reduce global warming.
Two scientists working at Wright Patterson Air Force Base confirmed to the Ohio newspaper, Columbus Alive, that they were involved in aerial spraying experiments. One involved aluminum oxide spraying related to global warming and the other involved barium stearate and had to do with high-tech military communications.
And even in the face of government denials, environmental laboratories have begun to identify an extremely toxic component of the spray drifting over cities and countryside. Several independent sources claim that samples of fallout from the lingering smoke trails and have been independently tested and found to contain ethylene dibromide (EDB).
In 1998, a US Air Force public affairs officer told residents of Las Vegas that their sudden upsurge of respiratory ailments could have come from "routine" fuel-dumping by military aircraft reducing weight for landing.
An extremely hazardous pesticide, EDB was banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1983. But in 1991, the composition of jet fuel used by commercial and military jet aircraft in the U.S. was changed from JP4 to somewhat less flammable JP8. A Department of Defense source says the move "has saved some lives" in air crashes. Ethylene dibromide is a key component of JP8.
The 1991 Chemical Hazards of the Workplace warns that repeated exposure to low levels of ethylene dibromide results in "general weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pains, coughing and shortness of breath, upper respiratory tract irritation" and respiratory failure caused by swelling of the lymph glands in the lungs. "Deterioration of the heart, liver and kidneys, and hemorrhages in the respiratory tract," can also result from prolonged contact with JP8.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's hazardous materials list: "Ethylene dibromide is a carcinogen and must be handled with extreme caution." A seven-page summary of this pesticide's extreme toxicity notes that EDB may also damage the reproductive system. According to the EPA, "Exposure can irritate the lungs, repeated exposure may cause bronchitis, development of cough, and shortness of breath. It will damage the liver and kidneys".
Mark Witten, a respiratory physiologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson where an official US Air Force study on JP8 was carried out, told Scientist in March, 1998 that crew chiefs "seem to have more colds, more bronchitis, more chronic coughs than the people not exposed to jet fuel."
EDB is 6.5-times heavier than air. Unlike normal condensation trails, the thick white streamers being sprayed from downward-pointing tail-booms over at least 39 states does not dissipate, but spreads into an overcast that refracts a purple color in sunlight and appears suddenly as an oily film in puddles and ponds.
Hundreds of photographs and videotapes made by ground observers show pairs or larger formations of aircraft spreading a white mist that thickens and drifts toward the ground. Thousands of eye-witnesses - including police officers, pilots, military and public health personnel - have provided detailed accounts of aerial spraying in characteristic "X"s and east-to-west grid patterns, followed by occluded skies - and acute auto-immune reactions and respiratory infections throughout affected regions.
Severe headaches, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, joint pain and a dry hacking cough "that never leaves" are being reported by countless Americans jamming hospital Emergency Rooms from coast to coast. While December and January are traditionally bad months for asthma sufferers, patients, doctors and nurses across the U.S. report hospital wards filled to overflowing with bronchitis, pneumonia and acute asthma admissions at up to twice-normal winter rates.
"We're getting sprayed real heavily with the chemtrails," a Las Vegas resident told the Tribune. "On some days it's just total saturation."
As over-filled Pennsylvania hospitals were forced to divert respiratory emergencies to other facilities with bed space, a south-central Pennsylvania resident, Deborah Kammerer, looked out her window and watched aircraft "flying and dispersing over the city. It was supposed to be a clear sunny day. It became more overcast as the day progressed. I observed how the white trails widened out and settled down creating a haze over everything."
Where is the mainstream media's reporting of this mass phenomenon? Indications of a concerted cover-up came in February 2003, when a retired Southern Baptist preacher named Everett Burton finally succeeded in reaching C-span. After voicing his opinion on the Clinton impeachment trial, this former minister told Americans to get a copy of the Constitution and read it to realize what they have lost. Rev. Burton then advised viewers not to take his word for what was happening in the US, "just look up in the skies as the planes regularly spray contrails across the skies, spraying people and making them ill." At that point, Rev. Burton was cut off. The screen flipped from C-span to the Tennessee state seal, remained silent for several minutes.
... to be concluded next week.
For more on Chemtrails (note that the last two links either include or present the skeptic's point of view--you be the judge who is telling the truth and who isn't):
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Foreknowledge and other 9/11 Problems and Internet Credibility
9/11 and Internet credibility
By Mary Maxwell, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Nov 15, 2005, 16:30
How long must we wait to judge the validity of the September 11th conspiracy theories that have floated around on the Internet for years? I believe there is a way to grant status and authority to the many excellent reports and analyses whose only sin is that they appear in electronic form instead of newsprint. Moreover, we should start this process right away. After all, if our government is behaving maliciously, we need to know it, communicate it to others, and act on it with urgency. This will require that we make judgments about September 11th now and not wait for ‘perfect proof.’
Here is the system I propose for rating the credibility of online journalism. Without a doubt, there is plenty of junk on the Internet; as always, we must jettison the junk. Then, casting our eyes to the universe of non-junk material on the Internet, we should assess the relative worth of what we see there. Two newly coined terms, trutho and truthilla, can help us grade the material.
Let us append the label trutho to a report on the Internet, if we would accept a similar report in a newspaper as being true. (The news reporter passed through some sort of vetting procedure before getting published, which cannot be assumed of an at-home Internet writer.) Trutho, then, should imply a basic degree of reliability. The standards are not as demanding as, say, those that a court applies to evidence or that a lab scientist must use for measuring.
The term truthilla will be applied to those statements on the Internet that an individual or organization has put forward, but which await confirmation or refutation. In other words, it is perfectly legitimate to speculate, to hypothesize, and to proffer bits of data that may be of some benefit to readers. Why ridicule a writer because she fails to take her idea to completion? Truthilla, then, is a little truth, or a part of the truth. Again I say, it is not junk.
There is nothing to prevent an author from declaring, “this is trutho” or “this is truthilla” regarding his own work. Since he would be awarding himself a seal of approval, readers must still be critical of his writing. So what does a writer gain by labeling his work trutho? It is not the writer that gains, but the whole Internet community. Once we show confidence in our medium, we can stop accepting the stigma, which the mixed quality of the Internet conferred on us.
The inside-job theory concerning September 11th – which accuses the government of collusion with the ‘hijackers’ – is already backed up by hundreds of trutho pages on the Internet. Almost any reasonable person would be persuaded by this denuded-of-junk material. Luckily, there is a good structure to the research that was contributed by many people over the four years since 2001. The main four parts of that structure are as follows:
* speculation as to motive. E.g., the government conjured up a fearsome enemy, Osama, because that would give the green light for military invasion of Afghanistan, and it would prepare Americans to surrender many of their political freedoms;
* evidence that suggests insider foreknowledge. E.g., the telltale fact that Larry Silverstein leased the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers only six weeks before the event and set himself up for large reimbursement by insurance companies, and the fact that many FBI whistleblowers claim that the White House obstructed their pre-9/11 trailing of suspected terrorists;
* the flimsiness of the official story. E.g., the government’s highly implausible claim that NORAD, with its superb surveillance system, lost track of four planes, and the allegation that someone found the passport of one of the hijackers on the ground in New York – a miraculous occurrence if it fell from a burning plane;
* lack of any proper investigation or prosecutions. E.g., the official 9/11 Commission did not require sworn testimony from Vice President Cheney, and the firefighters’ request for a proper incident report has gone unheeded. Even public debate was suppressed by dubbing it ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘paranoid.’
More evidence can be found, in abundance, at websites such as the Center for Cooperative Research and the Centre for Research on Globalization.
I do not aim to be the person who coordinates the whole September 11th argument. I merely want to highlight the intellectual respectability of Internet work, such as the above. It’s trutho. The word truthilla would be an appropriate label for many of the bits and pieces. If only one FBI agent had ever questioned the activities at a flight school, her report of that, which is a truthilla, would have ended up on the cutting room floor. (Note: even on the cutting room floor it still has truthilla quality, except now it is not going to be used.)
I feel no embarrassment in saying that I accept the inside-job theory. To me it makes perfect sense. Once I have admitted this, however, I am forced to move to the next stage and face the truly frightening question, “What should we do now that our government seems to be our violent enemy?” For the moment, let us look at one more conspiracy theory that has been canvassed on the Internet.
The Hinckley Case
In March 1981, shortly after Pres. Reagan took office, he was the target of an assassin’s bullet, which missed his heart by less than an inch. Was this event, in reality, a bold coup d’etat attempt by his vice president, G. H. W. Bush? Here are some of the items I have read on the Internet about this: 1) John Hinckley, the person who fired the shot at Pres. Reagan, was a friend of Neil Bush, the son of the vice president. (Strictly speaking, it is John’s brother Scott, who is pals with Neil.) 2) Another shot came from the window of the hotel. 3) Pres. Reagan wrote in his memoirs that he felt the pain near his ribs only after the Secret Service man had bundled him into the limousine. 4) That limousine arrived at the hospital 15 minutes later than another car that left at the same time, the excuse being that the driver, a man based in Washington, D.C., had got lost in Washington, D.C. 5) Hinckley’s motive for attempting to kill Reagan was, supposedly, that he had a crush on the actress Jodie Foster and wanted to impress her. 6) The senior Bushes and senior Hinckleys changed their stories twice in 24 hours as to whether the two families knew each other. 7) Hinckley pleaded ‘not guilty’ by reason of insanity. 8) His psychiatrist was from Tavistock Clinic in England, home of the infamous experiments on mind control, which can be used to program assassins (‘Manchurian candidates’).
As to the question of whodunit, there is no machine that can process the above information and yield a definitive answer. It falls to the mind of the individual to make a judgment. The first thing I did when considering the above facts, was to evaluate my sources. Much of the information had come from George Bush: An Unauthorized Biography by Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, which is available in full on the Internet. The publisher, Executive Intelligence Review, gets its funding from Lyndon LaRouche. I take LaRouche to be a very intelligent man, but he has developed a cult around himself, which makes me wary. So I double-sourced the information, e.g., by checking Reagan’s memoirs as to the timing of the pain in his chest.
I also summoned the courage to attend a conference in Hartford, Connecticut, presented by middle-aged survivors of government mind control. There, I met the author Kathleen Sullivan (a retired assassin) and purchased her book, Unshackled. I also met Carol Rutz, author of A Nation Betrayed, in which she details the torture she received at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele -- not at Auschwitz, but in America in the 1950s! (Note: In 1999, the International Committee of the Red Cross issued an apology for having let Mengele escape from a displaced persons camp.) It seemed to me that these two women spoke with credibility. Now I am even more inclined to accept the coup d’etat interpretation of the March 1981 attempted assassination of Reagan.
Interestingly, I have found an updated report on Hinckley that says he became eligible for release from the hospital after many years, but the release was denied. Why? Because the staff had found a letter that he had recently composed to Jodie. For my money, that means that the Bushes cannot afford to let him out into free society, where he may be questioned by those who suspect that his role was that of a mind-controlled patsy. As to why the elder Bush may have ‘needed’ to perform a coup d’etat, many recent books, such as Joseph Trento’s Prelude to Terror and Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith’s The Octopus claim that the then vice president was overseeing a massive importation of illegal drugs.
Would that I did not believe the coup d’etat theory! Would that I could accept the Arab hijacker explanation of September 11th! Would that I were not scared out of my wits right now! If the father of the current president goes in for untimely succession to office, and if the current president is comfortable with the ghosts of 3,000 New Yorkers, then I need to rethink my whole world. Quite frankly, I have lost interest in planning my spring garden party.
Mary Maxwell, Ph.D., P.O. Box 4307, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, USA, is a political scientist. She can be emailed as ‘mary’ at her website marymaxwell.us She hereby permits anyone to distribute this article provided it is unaltered and credits the author.
Copyright © 1998-2005 Online Journal
Important: Discontinuance of M3 Reporting
M3 is the quantity of unbacked fiat currency the Federal Reserve pumps into ciruclation. The more fiat currency they print, the less what we have in our hands is worth. (See Part Two of my article, "Our Money System and Its Architects" forthcoming on Breaking All The Rules and probably elsewhere for my hopefully comprehensible explanation of fractional reserve banking.)
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has decided they will no longer report the M3 as of March, 2006. Afterwards no one will have any way of knowing how much money they are printing to bankroll out-of-control federal spending. Once this happens, no one has any way of making a rational determination what our fiat dollar is really worth.
The risk: investors will (very sensibly) withdraw support from the dollar because it will be totally unreliable as currency. What could follow is the kind of financial meltdown many of us have been predicting--specifically Devvy Kidd. We could be looking at economic Armageddon.
Suggestion: cash in any savings bonds you have. Get out of stocks. Buy gold and silver. Do not trust the government to make good on any currency devaluation or honor savings bonds or other government bonds. If I learn more I'll follow up.
Release Date: November 10, 2005
Release dates | Historical data | About
Discontinuance of M3
On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release.
Measures of large-denomination time deposits will continue to be published by the Board in the Flow of Funds Accounts (Z.1 release) on a quarterly basis and in the H.8 release on a weekly basis (for commercial banks).
Monday, November 14, 2005
Another 9/11 On the Way?
You saw it here first.
GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party's decline
By DOUG THOMPSON
Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Nov 10, 2005, 06:19
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
A confidential memo circulating among senior Republican leaders suggests that a new attack by terrorists on U.S. soil could reverse the sagging fortunes of President George W. Bush as well as the GOP and "restore his image as a leader of the American people."
The closely-guarded memo lays out a list of scenarios to bring the Republican party back from the political brink, including a devastating attack by terrorists that could “validate” the President’s war on terror and allow Bush to “unite the country” in a “time of national shock and sorrow.”
The memo says such a reversal in the President's fortunes could keep the party from losing control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.
GOP insiders who have seen the memo admit it’s a risky strategy and point out that such scenarios are “blue sky thinking” that often occurs in political planning sessions.
“The President’s popularity was at an all-time high following the 9/11 attacks,” admits one aide. “Americans band together at a time of crisis.”
Other Republicans, however, worry that such a scenario carries high risk, pointing out that an attack might suggest the President has not done enough to protect the country.
“We also have to face the fact that many Americans no longer trust the President,” says a longtime GOP strategist. “That makes it harder for him to become a rallying point.”
The memo outlines other scenarios, including:
--Capture of Osama bin Laden (or proof that he is dead);
--A drastic turnaround in the economy;
--A "successful resolution" of the Iraq war.
GOP memos no longer talk of “victory” in Iraq but use the term “successful resolution.”
“A successful resolution would be us getting out intact and civil war not breaking out until after the midterm elections,” says one insider.
The memo circulates as Tuesday’s disastrous election defeats have left an already dysfunctional White House in chaos, West Wing insiders say, with shouting matches commonplace and the blame game escalating into open warfare.
“This place is like a high-school football locker room after the team lost the big game,” grumbles one Bush administration aide. “Everybody’s pissed and pointing the finger at blame at everybody else.”
Republican gubernatorial losses in Virginia and New Jersey deepened rifts between the Bush administration and Republicans who find the President radioactive. Arguments over whether or not the President should make a last-minute appearance in Virginia to try and help the sagging campaign fortunes of GOP candidate Jerry Kilgore raged until the minute Bush arrived at the rally in Richmond Monday night.
“Cooler heads tried to prevail,” one aide says. “Most knew an appearance by the President would hurt Kilgore rather than help him but (Karl) Rove rammed it through, convincing Bush that he had enough popularity left to make a difference.”
Bush didn’t have any popularity left. Overnight tracking polls showed Kilgore dropped three percentage points after the President’s appearance and Democrat Tim Kaine won on Tuesday.
Conservative Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum told radio talk show host Don Imus Wednesday that he does not want the President's help and will stay away from a Bush rally in his state on Friday.
The losses in Virginia and New Jersey, coupled with a resounding defeat of ballot initiatives backed by GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California have set off alarm klaxons throughout the demoralized Republican party. Pollsters privately tell GOP leaders that unless they stop the slide they could easily lose control of the House in the 2006 midterm elections and may lose the Senate as well.
“In 30 years of sampling public opinion, I’ve never seen such a freefall in public support,” admits one GOP pollster.
Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin says the usual tricks tried by Republicans no longer work.
"None of their old tricks worked," he says.
Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) admits the GOP is a party mired in its rural base in a country that's becoming less and less rural.
"You play to your rural base, you pay a price," he says. "Our issues blew up in our face."
As Republican political strategists scramble to find a message – any message – that will ring true with voters, GOP leaders in Congress admit privately that control of their party by right-wing extremists makes their recovery all but impossible.
“We’ve made our bed with these people,” admits an aide to House Speaker Denny Hastert. “Now it’s the morning after and the hangover hurts like hell.”
© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Politically Correct Science
This comes courtesy of Jeffrey Foxmore (thanks).
"[T]here could be some reasoned discourse. That's what I thought, and I was dead wrong."
CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY
Attacks on journal editor raise questions about academic freedom and intelligent design
Washington DC, Nov. 11, 2005 (CNA) - The editor of a small, scientific journal, loosely associated with the Smithsonian Institute, has come under tremendous fire recently, for his publication of an article supporting the theory of Intelligent Design--and he doesn’t even believe the theory himself.
Intelligent design, the burgeoning theory which suggests that the universe is too complex to have been created at random, and that an intelligent hand lies at its genesis, has garnered considerable attention in recent months.
The attention largely comes from two U.S. school districts who want (or don’t want) to include a note about the theory as an alternative to certain aspects of evolution in their biology classrooms.
Richard Sternberg, a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health, found himself at the center of the debate over science and academic freedom when he published an article by university professor and Intelligent Design proponent Stephen Meyer last year.
Meyer, a Cambridge-trained professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University and Senior Fellow at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a think tank for determining the place of a creator in the universe, wrote the peer-reviewed article called, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.”
According to National Public Radio, Sternberg published the piece, despite his skepticism "because evolutionary biologists are thinking about this. So I thought that by putting this on the table, there could be some reasoned discourse. That's what I thought, and I was dead wrong."
Sternberg, who edits the small, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, reports that not only were his colleagues furious, but some tried to smear his scientific reputation by accusing him of fraud and saying that the piece was not really peer-reviewed.
He filed a complaint with U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which protects federal employees, but after investigating--and backing up many of Sternberg’s claims--they decided they could not take action because he was not technically an employee of the Smithsonian.
While Sternberg’s critics say that no real harm was done to him, the incident highlights what many see as a hypocritical attack on academic freedom from strict evolution proponents.
Many supporters of intelligent design hold and admit that while it is widely accepted and largely unquestioned, Darwin’s theory of evolution contains serious holes which defy explanation.
Terry Mattingly, a religion writer for the Scripps-Howard news service recently criticized an article in the Columbia Journalism Review which suggested that “all the [evolution] critics are religious nuts and there is no need to take their claims seriously or present their arguments accurately.”
Earlier this year, Vienna’s Cardinal Christof Shoenborn wrote in a New York Times editorial that, “Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”
Evolution, in the sense of common ancestry may be true, the Cardinal wrote, but neo-Darwinism, or what he describes as “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection”, is completely false in the eyes of the Church.