Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Rumsfeld legacy?

Aspartame Recall: A Message Congress Cannot Ignore
by Dr. Betty Martini, D. Hum
December 2006


Aspartame interacts with drugs and vaccines causing thousands of deaths, but instead of looking for the problem Congress has passed a new law exonerating the pharmaceutical industry from any liability. In the United Kingdom, the Honorable Roger Williams, a member of Parliament, has demanded a ban. And Robin Goodwin petitioned for a ban in the Falklands after his wife sustained a brain tumor and his daughter suffered seizures for 18 years until he found out aspartame was the culprit, and removal stopped the problem. Not wanting to wait for delays due to politics, he simply wrote every single citizen of the Falklands and aspartame products now rot on the shelves.

Congress has failed us in three congressional hearings. Senators like Orin Hatch were given money by Monsanto. Now, Congress has let us down again, giving the pharmaceutical industry a green card to be unconcerned with disability and death because they are no longer liable for any such injuries. Congress should instead echo the courageous words of State Senator Ortiz y Pino, who put the problem of lobbyists and aspartame in vivid perspective.

At the same time, consumer organizations must educate the World as a counter to the blind eye that the FDA has turned to the issue. The FDA has all too easily adopted an anti-health position on aspartame ever since it became the pharmaceutical industry’s Washington Branch Office.

Read the entire article (especially as it pertains to children)

Found at Rense.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let's start getting it right

Have you heard about the outrageous electronic voting machine meltdown in Florida?

Voting machines appear to have flat-out lost 18,000 votes for Congress—votes almost certain to change the outcome of a close House race in Sarasota.

This election meltdown demonstrates the insanity of paperless voting machines. There's no way to recount the votes short of holding a new election. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—along with Republican and Democratic leaders—are deciding now if Congress will tolerate this broken election or call for a new one.

Join me in signing this petition urging Congress to call for a re-vote in Sarasota, Florida and to repair our nation's elections. Take a look at:http://pol.moveon.org/floridaelection/

No matter what party you're for, we can all agree we need to repair our broken election system.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Proper perspective

The following is an excerpt from an article in Nation on-line, and it should be required reading for every American. My hat is off to Major Bill Edmonds, and my respect for him is immense. Please read the entire article...

A Soldier's Story
Major Bill Edmonds

For just a minute or two, step into my life. I am an American soldier in the Army Special Forces. I have just returned from a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, where I lived, shared meals, slept and fought beside my Iraqi counterpart as we battled insurgents in the center of a thousand-year-old city. I am a conflicted man, and I want you to read the story of that experience as I lived it. In the interest of security, I have omitted some identifying details, but every word is true.

Routine and Ritual

I wake in the cold and dark of each morning to the sound of a hundred different muezzins calling Muslim men and women to prayer. These calls reverberate five times per day throughout a city the size of San Francisco. Above this sound I also hear two American helicopters making their steady patrol over the rooftops of the city and the blaring horns of armored vehicles as they swerve through dense city traffic. As a combat adviser and interrogator, I find these contrasts very appropriate for the life that I now lead.

This morning, on the Iraqi base in which I live, I walk 100 feet from my bedroom to work and back again. These are the same 100 feet I will travel month after month for one year. During every trip I smile, put a hand to my heart, sometimes a hand to my head, and say to every passing Iraqi the religious and cultural words that are expected from a fellow human being. In Iraq, one cannot separate Islamic culture from the individual. They are intrinsically woven into the fabric of daily life, but for most Westerners, they seem abnormal. I sit in smoke-filled rooms and drink sugar-laden tea in small crystal glasses. I spray tobacco-scented air freshener, kiss cheeks three times or more, allow the Iraqi on the right to pass through the doorway first. I know never to inquire on the health of a wife or elder daughter. I even hold hands with other men.

Read the entire story

Turning "can do" into doo doo

Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq

Civilian Number, Duties Are Issues
By Renae Merle

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 5, 2006; D01

There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.

The survey finding, which includes Americans, Iraqis and third-party nationals hired by companies operating under U.S. government contracts, is significantly higher and wider in scope than the Pentagon's only previous estimate, which said there were 25,000 security contractors in the country.

It is also 10 times the estimated number of contractors that deployed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, reflecting the Pentagon's growing post-Cold War reliance on contractors for such jobs as providing security, interrogating prisoners, cooking meals, fixing equipment and constructing bases that were once reserved for soldiers.

Official numbers are difficult to find, said Deborah D. Avant, author of the 2005 book "The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security," but an estimated 9,200 contractors deployed during the Gulf War, a far shorter conflict without reconstruction projects. "This is the largest deployment of U.S. contractors in a military operation," said Avant, an associate professor at George Washington University.

In addition to about 140,000 U.S. troops, Iraq is now filled with a hodgepodge of contractors. DynCorp International has about 1,500 employees in Iraq, including about 700 helping train the police force. Blackwater USA has more than 1,000 employees in the country, most of them providing private security. Kellogg, Brown and Root, one of the largest contractors in Iraq, said it does not delineate its workforce by country but that it has more than 50,000 employees and subcontractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. MPRI, a unit of L-3 Communications, has about 500 employees working on 12 contracts, including providing mentors to the Iraqi Defense Ministry for strategic planning, budgeting and establishing its public affairs office. Titan, another L-3 division, has 6,500 linguists in the country.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Returning Veterans being thrown away

Excerpt from Steve Gillard

Why is there such a lack of compassion? Because no one wants to look in the mirror. If the Army admits they have a PTSD epidemic, they could be responsible for thousands of soldiers life long medical care, with 100 percent disability. Instead, they deny the problem, blame the victims and keep costs down. Years later, when these discharges are upgraded, many of these soldiers will have suffered for years.