Archive for September, 2009

Hammer and Sickle High

September 8, 2009

The communist plot to infiltrate America’s schools is almost complete.

At least, that is, according to Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party who recently testified, “As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology”-referring to the commander in chief’s scheduled address of the nation’s schools on Tuesday, September 8th.

Right-wing talk-show hosts like Glenn Beck have made Obama’s speech to the children their vein-popping tirade du jour and ABC News reported that some school districts in six states–Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota–are refusing to air President Obama’s speech to students. A small but noisy set of parents have pledged that they will keep their kids home from school on Tuesday rather than allow their children to be brainwashed by 21st century Bolshevism. Racism simmers beneath much of the vitriolic opposition to Obama and has even boiled over into open bigotry, as Teresa Kopec, a parent from South Carolina reported, “I just got anonymous phone call calling me a ‘n*gger loving communist’ for giving pro-Obama statement to local paper.”

What sedition is Obama planning to spread that has conservatives frothing at the mouth?

The White House released an outline of Obama’s address that reveals he will take up such known socialist themes as getting good grades. The administration has also prepared a Leninist lesson plan to accompany the speech that suggests, “Teachers might conduct a ‘listening with purpose’ exercise based on the themes of inspiration and challenges.”

Regardless of how cross-eyed with rage they get, the right-wing couldn’t be more erroneous when they spittle about Obama’s desire to paint the White House-or the schoolhouse-red. I should admit that I haven’t read all three volumes of Das Kapital, but I don’t think Marx ever said anything about workers of the world uniting to bailout bankers with hundreds of billions in taxpayer money. Jettisoning even his tepid public option, Obama is poised to cave to the for-profit health insurance companies. But it’s in education-through his relentless push for the privatization of the public schools in the form of charter schools-where Obama’s dedication to the free market put him in a class of his own.

The public schools represent one of the last free public government services guaranteed to all-and one of the last great frontiers for corporate America. With the right-wing school voucher programs discredited, the school privatization movement has reinvented itself with a liberal veneer in the form of the charter school lobby. Charter schools operate by taking public money and placing it in schools that are outside of public oversight, and are run by independent charter associations or for-profit entities. Often times the CEOs of these charters garner bloated salaries and-just like health insurance companies-they often deny applicants deemed “high-risk.”

Obama’s charisma and liberal credentials have helped put the charter school movement on the fast track-along with his Race to the Top Fund, designed to pressure school districts around the country to turn significant portions of their schools into these unaccountable charters or be cut off from the desperately needed federal dollars. As the Washington Post reported, “President Obama is leaning hard on the nation’s schools, using the promise of more than $4 billion in federal aid-and the threat of withholding it-to strong-arm the education establishment to accept more charter schools and performance pay for teachers.” It seems the plan is working with the recent news that the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted 6-1 to authorize opening up over 250 schools to bids by charter schools and other outside entities.

Obama defended the Race to the Top Fund saying, “It’s not based on politics, it’s not based on who’s got more clout, it’s not based on what certain constituency groups are looking for, but it’s based on what works.”

But the fact is, charter schools rival investment banks for best example of the failure of the free market. In the largest study on charter schools to date, Stanford University found in their Walton Family (of Walmart infamy) funded study that students in more than 80 percent of charter schools either performed the same as-or worse than-students in traditional public schools on mathematics tests. More damning, thirty-seven percent of charter schools students posted gains that were “significantly below” what their students would have realized if they had enrolled in their local traditional public schools instead.

For Obama to truly earn the socialist moniker his right-wing antagonists have branded him with, this is the speech he would need to deliver to the children of America:

As another school year begins, I have chosen to address the nation’s children because dramatic changes are needed if we are to ever attain a society fit for you to grow up in.

I have come to realize the hypocrisy of scolding America’s youth for not taking more personal responsibility for their future when we don’t ask the same of America’s elite.

Today, I pledge to nationalize the banks that took hundreds of billions of dollars from your parents in the form of taxpayer bailouts after sabotaging the global economy. I will use the proceeds to provide a single-payer “Medicare for All” health system that can ensure students come to school healthy and ready to learn. Furthermore, I will withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and with the money and morality saved from not killing people around the world, build the strongest public school system the world has ever seen.

Remember to always study hard-with all the new jobs I am creating in healthcare and education we will soon need smart young people like you working to meet the needs of millions who previously were neglected.

If Obama delivers this speech on Tuesday, I would be happy to write an apology to Glenn Beck requesting forgiveness for not heeding his warning of creeping socialism.
Jesse Hagopian

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/07-5

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Ban Factory Farms & Forced Vaccinations

September 5, 2009

from Organic Consumers Asso.

ALERT UPDATE (August 29, 2009): From NaturalNews: A new bill, the “Pandemic Response Bill,” S. 2028, has passed the Massachusetts state Senate and is now awaiting approval in the House. This bill suspends virtually all Constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens and forces anyone “suspected” of being infected to submit to interrogations, “decontaminations” and vaccines.

It also sets fines up to $1,000 per day for anyone who refuses to submit to quarantines, vaccinations, decontamination efforts or to follow any other verbal order by virtually any state-licensed law enforcement or medical personnel. You can read the text yourself here: http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/sen…

IF YOU LIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS, please take action to stop this bill from becoming law. IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE MASSACHUSETTS, scroll down to take action.

Despite years of warnings by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Humane Society of the U.S., earlier this year, drugged-out pigs and chickens on intensive confinement factory farms have incubated a highly infectious H1N1 virus that set off a global pandemic.

This so-far only moderately virulent but rapidly spreading strain of influenza, which contains genetic material from pigs, birds and humans, has already infected 162,000 people and killed almost 1,800 people across the world, including the United States. The World Health Organization has warned that although the current H1N1 Swine Flu is far less deadly than the Bird Flu, it could mutate into a much more dangerous strain. As the flu season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, profit-obsessed drug-makers are racing to supply governments with vaccines and medicines. There are numerous concerns about the safety of these measures, including:

A leaked memo revealed that the swine flu vaccine has been linked to paralysis.

The fast-tracked vaccine contains novel adjuvants, including dangerous squalene which was in all probability responsible for Gulf War syndrome.

If the greed of drug companies prevails over safety concerns, vaccines will be pushed on a frightened, ignorant and passive public through the school system, work places and free vaccination programs. Schoolchildren could be first in line for the swine flu vaccine this fall — and schools are being put on notice that they might be turned into shot clinics.

It is important to know that you can avoid quasi-forced vaccinations of yourself and your children. Plus, there are homeopathic alternatives for treating and building a natural immunity to the swine flu.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27144

Mercury Amalgrams

September 2, 2009

As Obama Warns of Hazards, the FDA Approves Mercury Dental Fillings
Mercury Mischief

By ELLEN BROWN

President Obama has proposed covering the costs of his new medical plan with “smarter” medicine, meaning the adoption of procedures that eliminate inefficiencies and stress prevention. At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on August 11, 2009, he gave the example of a diabetic needing to have a foot amputated, at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000. It would have been smarter to counsel the patient on diet and weight loss and monitor his medications before amputation was required. The insurance company would have saved money and the patient would have saved a foot.

The 2008 Obama/Biden Plan for a Healthy America also stressed preventive approaches to disease, including the reduction of toxins to which the body is exposed; and chief among these toxins was mercury. The Plan stated as a fundamental goal:

“Reduce Risks of Mercury Pollution. More than five million women of childbearing age have high levels of toxic mercury in their blood, and approximately 630,000 newborns are born at risk every year. The EPA estimates that every year, more than one in six children could be at risk for developmental disorders because of mercury exposure in the mother’s womb.”

As a Senator, Obama was responsible for extensive legislation reducing environmental exposure to mercury, including a ban on the export of elemental mercury, and legislation to phase out the use of mercury in the manufacture of chlorine.

Mercury can get into the blood by various routes, and one that has been lately in the news is the mercury found in the thimerosol in vaccines. Another source that made the news in July is the mercury released from dental fillings by chewing. The World Health Organization has stated that between 3-17 micrograms of mercury are released into the body each day by chewing, compared to only 2-5 micrograms from fish and all other environmental sources combined. In 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial calling mercury amalgam fillings “possibly the chief source of exposure [to mercury] of a large segment of the U.S. population”.

Surprise FDA Ruling

When mercury amalgam made the news on July 29, 2009, however, it was not to warn of its hazards. Rather, it was to report the FDA’s surprise ruling that mercury fillings are safe. The ruling came after years of foot dragging by the FDA and a wave of consumer lawsuits. A growing consumer movement had amassed so much evidence for the dangers posed by mercury dental fillings that when a court finally ordered the FDA to come out with a ruling, the plaintiffs announced, “We won!” But instead of the declaration they expected, the FDA imposed no restrictions on the use of mercury amalgam. Dentists were not even required to inform their patients that “silver” fillings are composed mostly of mercury. The FDA conceded that it did not know if amalgam was harmful to children under six, pregnant women, or nursing mothers, but it took no steps to protect them. It even pulled from its website an existing neurological risk advisory that said, “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.”

Consumer advocates were stunned, as the FDA had earlier agreed to strengthen its warnings against mercury amalgam fillings. The evidence against mercury amalgam dental fillings was considered so compelling that Sweden, Norway, and other countries had already banned their use entirely. Degussa, Germany’s largest producer of amalgam and the world’s largest producer of metals for dentistry, completely shut down its amalgam production after a federal court ruled that dentists who used it faced legal liability. The FDA was expected to follow suit.

Why its unexpected about-face? Charles Brown, of the National Counsel for consumers for Dental Choice, suggests it had to do with a change in personnel. In May 2009, Dr. Margaret Hamburg succeeded to the post of FDA Commissioner. The Wall Street Journal noted that for five years before that, she served on the board of Henry Schein Inc., a $4 billion firm that distributes medical and dental supplies, including vaccines. Brown wrote skeptically:

“Washington is famous for the revolving door — those in the party out of power take highly paid corporate positions, then return to government to bail out their benefactors. The new FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, worked in the Clinton Administration, then went out and became a director at the dental products colossus Henry Schein, earning a quarter million dollars a year for the handful of hours it takes to be a director. Corporations do this because they know the other party will return to power, at which time the corporations will call in their chits.”

Science or Politics? The Liability Question

Beyond that potential conflict of interest, there was likely to have been heavy pressure from the American Dental Association, the professional union of dentists. If mercury amalgam were officially declared to be toxic, an estimated two billion mercury amalgam fillings might have to be replaced at practitioners’ or insurers’ expense, not to mention the flood of lawsuits for medical injuries that would follow.

Dentists could hardly defend by pleading ignorance of mercury’s harmful effects, since its health risks have long been known. Lewis Carroll alluded to the toxic effects of mercury in his nineteenth century character the Mad Hatter. Felt hat workers exposed to mercuric nitrate were observed to exhibit emotional symptoms including sudden anger, depression, loss of memory, timidity, insomnia, irritability, hallucinations, delusions and mania, a condition referred to as “mad hatter syndrome.” The manufacturer of the product Dispersalloy, consisting of capsules of metal powder mixed with liquid mercury and placed in the patient’s mouth, has a warning on its website stating:

“Inhalation of mercury vapor over a long period may cause mercurialism which is characterized by fine tremors and erethism………Erethism may be manifested by abnormal shyness, blushing, self-consciousness, depression or despondency, resentment of criticism, irritability or excitability, headache, fatigue and insomnia. In severe cases, hallucinations, loss of memory and mental deterioration may occur.”

Among other disturbing studies prompting consumer concerns was one reported in August 1990 by Drs. Lorscheider and Vimy of the University of Calgary in Alberta, in which twelve radioactive mercury amalgam fillings (a typical number for a human adult) were placed in the mouths of sheep. A control group received fillings made of an inert material. Within thirty days, the sheep that got the amalgam had lost half their kidney function. The study showed that mercury in amalgam fillings is not locked in the teeth but spreads through the body to the organs. Similar data have been reported for monkeys. The isotope labeled mercury showed poisoning of the internal organs and the brain of both sheep and monkeys.

Studies in humans include one conducted at the University of Kentucky, showing significant elevations of mercury in the brains of 180 Kentucky residents who were autopsied after dying of Alzheimer’s disease. When the concentrations of trace elements were analyzed, the most important imbalance found was an elevation of mercury. In studies of the cadavers of accident victims, those with a mere five amalgams had three times the amount of mercury in their brain tissues as cadavers without amalgams.

Other studies have linked mercury fillings to multiple sclerosis. In one reported by Colorado State University researcher Robert Siblerud, MS patients having amalgams were compared to MS patients whose amalgams had been removed. The former group was found to have significantly lower levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, T-Lymphocytes and T-8 suppressor cells (indicating lowered immunity). They also had 33 percent more flare-ups of their symptoms during the previous year. In another study, mercury levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients were shown to be eight times higher than in controls. Siblerud observed that MS was first described by a French doctor in the mid-1830s, less than a decade after silver/mercury fillings were first promoted in Paris.

All of which suggests that the FDA’s July 31 ruling was based more on politics than science. The effects of mercury amalgam fillings on the patients themselves apparently carried less weight than its effects on the balance sheets of medical professionals and insurance companies.

If we are going to have “smarter medicine” that realy keeps people well, we need to get politics out of medicine. We need a government agency that explores and funds solid research into what keeps people healthy and what makes them sick, an agency that makes its determinations independently of lobbies, drug detail men, funding from industries standing to benefit from the results, or revolving doors into and out of those industries.

Written in consultation with Richard Hansen, D.M.D., co-author of The Key to Ultimate Health: Non-Toxic Dentistry.

Ellen Hodgson Brown is the author of Web of Debt: the Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. She can be reached through her website.