Friday, December 29, 2006

FDA to Force Feed Americans with cloned meat

From the Organic Consumers Assn.:

TAKE ACTION: FDA APPROVES FOOD FROM CLONES

Despite a September survey found that 64% of Americans are repulsed by the idea of eating food from cloned animals, the FDA announced this week that milk, eggs and meat from cloned animals will soon be allowed on the market.

Ignoring a number of disturbing studies suggesting potential human health hazards, Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine said "that meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is as safe to eat as the food we eat every day." Consumer, food safety, and animal welfare groups have condemned the announcement, pointing out that animal cloning is inherently unpredictable and hazardous, and that the practice of cloning has led to a high number of cruel and painful deformities in the experimental animals' offspring.

Recognizing that requiring labels on cloned food would lead to a massive boycott by consumers, FDA bowed to industry lobbyists by stating that there likely will be no required labeling of food products containing ingredients from cloned animals. The FDA's controversial proposed regulations in the Federal Register will now be followed by a three month public comment period.

The OCA is calling on health and humane-minded consumers across the nation to stop this outrageous and hazardous regulation from coming into force as federal law. The FDA will be accepting comments until April 2007. Please consider making the message an/or subject line below unique before submitting to the FDA. Thanks!

Related Articles:

12/29/20006: Approval of Cloned Food Leaves Consumers Unprotected

12/26/2006: Despite Lack of Science and Strong Public Concern, FDA Expected to OK Food From Cloned Animals

Send Comments to:

Secretary of Health
Michael Leavitt
U.S. Department of Health and Human
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
TollFree: 877-696-6775
Mike.Leavitt_G06@hhs.gov

Gerald Ford, another dead war criminal

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pwj4QSQlHVE a quick rundown by Amy Goodman of Ford and Henry Kissinger's complicity in Indonesian acts of genocide against East Timor

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2815881561030958784&q=trials+of+henry+kissinger

You can watch this entire film about the war criminal Henry Kissinger or go to 48:18 if you're interested in East Timor genocide

National Security Archive documents proving Ford's complicity
Ford and Kissinger took great pains to assure Suharto that they would not oppose the invasion. Ford was unambiguous: “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.” Kissinger did indeed stress that “the use of US-made arms could create problems,” but then added that, “It depends on how we construe it; whether it is in self defense or is a foreign operation.” Thus, Kissinger’s concern was not about whether U.S. arms would be used offensively—and hence illegally—but whether the act would actually be interpreted as such—a process he clearly intended to manipulate.(26) In any case, Kissinger added: “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.”

Indeed, timing and damage control were very important to the Americans, as Kissinger told Suharto: “We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens happens after we return. . . If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home.” Kissinger also asked Suharto if he anticipated a “long guerilla war,” apparently aware that a quick military success would be easier to spin than a long campaign. Suharto acknowledged that there "will probably be a small guerilla war" but he was cagey enough not to predict its duration. Nevertheless, his military colleagues were optimistic; as one of the architects of Indonesian policy, General Ali Murtopo explained to a U.S. scholar some months before the invasion, "the whole business will be settled in three weeks."(27)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tired of liberal bloggers...

Chomsky mentioned NPR's coverage of Obama's personality in the talk I linked to below. It struck me because I heard the same report and had the same reaction. And NPR is at the left of the range of mainstream faux-politics.

And liberal bloggers have been engaging in the same kind of "personality" talk about Democratic presidential hopefuls. In place of discussing which kinds of policy they support (perhaps because it virtually mirrors Republican policy), I've run into things about Hillary Clinton's appearance on some horrid daytime talk show and Barak Obama's appearance on Monday Night Football, as though it's supposed to be significant.

There is a certain kind of masochistic insanity to all this. Do those even with dissident convictions (however mild they may be) honestly believe that the fate of this country depends on the way a person comes off on a talk show, or the jokes they tell or the way they shake hands with the host? Are Bush's gaffes and departures from proper English so much more terrible than the terrorist foreign policy he's behind?

I get the feeling most of these people can talk to you all day about how stupid Bush is, and how he's trying to "get the oil", as though a Democrat in the White House will come in a save everything and we'll finally live in Utopia. Never mind that Hillary's husband helped mass murder more Iraqis than Bush has even tried to, and conducted terrorist chemical warfare on Colombian farmers under the guise of the drug war. Or that Hillary has supported the insane Iraq War from the beginning, and is towing the same line to this day.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Series of good talks this week on Democracy Now!

Howard Zinn

"Whether you call yourself a totalitarian state or you call yourself a democracy, it works the same way, and that is, the leaders of the country are able to cajole or coerce and entice the people into war by scaring them, telling them they’re in danger, and threatening them and coercing them, that if they don’t go along, they will be considered unpatriotic."
...
"Don’t journalists learn from I.F. Stone, who said... “Just remember two words: governments lie”
...
"Governments in general do not represent the people of the societies that they govern. And since they don’t represent the people and since they act against the interest of the people, the only way they can hold power is if they lie to the people. If they told people the truth, they wouldn’t last very long. So history can help in understanding deception and being skeptical and not rushing to embrace whatever the government tells you."
"You will hear a young fellow who is going off to Iraq. I remember hearing the same thing when a young fellow went off to Vietnam. And a reporter goes up to the young fellow and says, “You know, young man, you’re going off, and what are your thoughts and why are you doing this?” And the young man says, “I’m doing this for my country.” No, he’s not doing it for his country. And now, she’s not doing it for her country. The people who go off to war are not doing fighting for their country. No, they’re not doing their country any good. They’re not doing their families any good. They’re certainly not doing the people over there any good. But they’re not doing it for their country. They’re doing it for their government."

Noam Chomsky - analysis of the Iraq Study Group (or Baker-Hamilton) report, along with comments on democracy in the South.

"...two-thirds of the people of Baghdad want US troops out immediately, and about over three-quarters of the whole population, including Kurds, again, wants a firm timetable for withdrawal within a year or less. Well, that isn’t mentioned, because in our mission to bring democracy to the world, we don’t care about the opinions of people. ...Also interesting is that the American people are treated the same way. A majority of people here are in favor of a firm timetable for withdrawal. But that's irrelevant, too."

"The indigenous population is, for the first time in hundreds of years, taking a -- really beginning in some of the countries, take a very active role in their own affairs. In Bolivia, they succeeded in taking over the country, controlling their resources. Bolivia -- and it’s also leading to significant democratization, real democracy, in which the population participates. So it takes a Bolivia -- it’s the poorest country in the hemisphere in South America -- Haiti is poorer -- it had a real democratic election last year, of a kind that you can't imagine in the United States, or in Europe, for that matter. There was mass popular participation, and people knew what the issues were. The issues were crystal clear and very important. And people didn't just participate on election day. These are the things they had been struggling about for years."
"There's a lot of talk here about, you know, we have a divided country. We have to unify. We need a unifier, somebody who will bring it back together. Red and blue, and so on. That's pretty marginal. It is a divided country. It's divided between public opinion and public policy. A very sharp divide."
"I was driving home from work the other day and torturing myself by listening to NPR, and -- ... But they had a section on Barack Obama, the great new hope. And it was very exuberant: what a fantastic personality he is and a great candidate, thousands of people coming out. And it went on for about 15 minutes of excited rhetoric. There's only one thing missing. They didn’t say a word about what his policies were on anything."

Robert Fisk

One of the most extraordinary events was the siege of ’82, when over and over again leaflets would fall from the sky. “If you value your loved ones, run away and take them with you.” An attempt to depopulate West Beirut. And I always remember my landlord -- I live on the seafront -- I met him at front door one day, and he was holding a little net full of fish. He had been fishing on the sea. He said, “We don't have to do as we’re told and leave our homes. We can live, you see, Mr. Robert. We can stay here.”


Scott Ritter & Sy Hersh

RITTER: As an American, I will tell you, Hezbollah does not threaten the national security of the United States of America one iota. So we should not be talking about using American military forces to deal with the Hezbollah issue. That is an Israeli problem. And yet, you’ll see the New York Times, the Washington Post and other media outlets confusing the issue. They want us to believe that Hezbollah is an American problem.

Petition for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

Why we stand for immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq


THE U.S. occupation of Iraq has not liberated the Iraqi people, but has made life worse for most Iraqis.


Tens of thousands of U.S. service people have been killed or maimed, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of the U.S. invasion in 2003, the ongoing occupation, and the violence unleashed by them.


Iraq's infrastructure has been destroyed, and U.S. plans for reconstruction abandoned. There is less electricity, less clean drinking water, and more unemployment today than before the U.S. invasion.


All of the justifications initially provided by the U.S. for waging war on Iraq have been exposed as lies; the real reasons for the invasion — to control Iraq's oil reserves and to increase U.S. strategic influence in the region — now stand revealed.


The Bush administration has insisted again and again that stability, democracy, and prosperity are around the next bend in the road. But with each day that the U.S. stays, the violence and lack of security facing Iraqis worsen. The U.S. says that it cannot withdraw its military because Iraq will collapse into civil war if it does. But the U.S. has deliberately stoked sectarian divisions in its ongoing attempt to install a U.S.-friendly regime, thus driving Iraq towards civil war.


The November elections in the United States sent a clear message that voters reject the Iraq war, and opinion polls show that seven in 10 Iraqis want the U.S. to leave sooner rather than later. Even most U.S. military and political leaders agree that staying the course in Iraq is a policy that is bound to fail.


Yet all the various alternative plans for Iraq now being discussed in Washington, including those proposed by House and Senate Democrats, aren't about withdrawing the U.S. military from Iraq. Rather, these strategies are about continuing the pursuit of U.S. goals in Iraq and the larger Middle East using different means.


Even the proposal to redeploy U.S. troops outside of Iraq, a plan favored by many Democratic Party leaders, envisions continued U.S. intervention inside Iraq.


With former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger insisting that a military victory in Iraq is no longer possible and (Ret.) Lt. Gen. William Odom calling for "complete withdrawal" of all U.S. troops, the antiwar movement should demand no less than the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. military — as well as reparations to the Iraqi people, so they can rebuild their own society and genuinely determine their own future.


We call on the U.S. to get out of Iraq — not in six months, not in a year, but now.


SIGN IT HERE


Also signed by the following people able to get at least a marginal amount of mass media attention:
  • Ali Abunimah

    ElectronicIraq.net

  • Gilbert Achcar

    Author

    Clash of Barbarisms

  • Michael Albert

    ZNet

  • Tariq Ali

    Author

    Bush in Babylon

  • Anthony Arnove

    Author

    Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

  • Noam Chomsky

    Author

    Hegemony or Survival

  • Kelly Dougherty

    Executive Director

    Iraq Veterans Against the War*

  • Eve Ensler

    Playwright

    The Vagina Monologues

  • Eduardo Galeano

    Author

    The Open Veins of Latin America

  • Rashid Khalidi

    Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies

    Columbia University

  • Camilo Mejía

    First Iraq War resister to refuse redeployment

  • Arundhati Roy

    Author

    God of Small Things

  • Howard Zinn

    Author

    A People's History of the United States



Friday, December 15, 2006

Balanced coverage, in spite of the facts

I don't pay attention to conservative news outlets because the supposedly liberal ones are bad enough.

NPR, in the past week, has featured:

- story on Global Warming where they spend five minutes on Senator Inhofe, who thinks global warming is a hoax.
- "balanced" coverage of Pinochet's death, where Steve Inskeep asked an American reporter working for a newspaper in Santiago how to pronounce his name out of respect for the brutal tyrant. I'm sure there'll be plenty of mourners at Saddam's funeral, but will they get as much coverage as the US media gave to Pinochet's supporters? Maybe if it was 1988.

Counterspin covers the Pinochet coverage nicely. (about 1/3 of the way through)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thoughts on the Iraq Study Group Report

The gist of the report is this: Iraq is fucked, but we can't leave until we find a way to do it with "our interests" intact.

"Because events in Iraq have been set in motion by American decisions and actions, the United States has both a national and a moral interest in doing what it can to give Iraqis an opportunity to avert anarchy."

The reference to "anarchy" is interesting here. Not "chaos" or "violence" or "endless war the US caused". Anarchy. Of course they are referring to the chaos that inevitably ensues if the population is not controlled under the boot of a centralized power. Of course everyone goes nuts without some form of power making decisions for them. Especially a US-backed puppet that works in service of US interests. And this is just one example - the main goal of the report, I can tell already on page 9, is we need to keep our "interests" in tact. 18 references to "interests" - and that's just with a search of that particular term.

The report seems to, however, come to terms with a few facts that any rational person has realized months and years ago.

- Those carrying out mass kidnappings and attacks "wearing police uniforms" or "wearing Iraqi Army uniforms" are, as is obvious, members of the police and army and facilities protection services. The New York Times et al can continue to publish misleading headlines to make Iraq appear more stable than it is, but the US government is now in disagreement.

"The Iraqi government is not effectively providing its people with basic services:
electricity, drinking water, sewage, health care, and education."

Ahem. Hello? Over here?

"Experts estimate that 150,000 to 200,000—and perhaps as
many as 500,000—barrels of oil per day are being stolen. Controlled prices for refined products
result in shortages within Iraq, which drive consumers to the thriving black market. One senior
U.S. official told us that corruption is more responsible than insurgents for breakdowns in the
oil sector."

"Senior members of Iraq’s oil industry argue that a national oil company could reduce
political tensions by centralizing revenues and reducing regional or local claims to a percentage
of the revenue derived from production. However, regional leaders are suspicious and resist this
proposal, affirming the rights of local communities to have direct access to the inflow of oil
revenue."

"The Iraqi government cannot now govern, sustain, and defend itself without the support of the
United States. Iraqis have not been convinced that they must take responsibility for their own
future."

you gotta be kidding me with this bullshit.

"The Iraqi people could be subjected to another strongman who flexes the political and military muscle required to impose order amid anarchy."

more anarchy

"Other countries in the region fear significant violence crossing their borders. Chaos in Iraq
could lead those countries to intervene to protect their own interests, thereby perhaps sparking a
broader regional war. Turkey could send troops into northern Iraq to prevent Kurdistan from
declaring independence. Iran could send in troops to restore stability in southern Iraq and
perhaps gain control of oil fields. The regional influence of Iran could rise at a time when that
country is on a path to producing nuclear weapons."

"Perceived failure there could diminish America’s credibility and influence in a region that is the
center of the Islamic world and vital to the world’s energy supply. This loss would reduce
America’s global influence at a time when pressing issues in North Korea, Iran, and elsewhere
demand our full attention and strong U.S. leadership of international alliances. And the longer
that U.S. political and military resources are tied down in Iraq, the more the chances for
American failure in Afghanistan increase."

"U.S. foreign policy cannot be successfully sustained without the broad support of the American people."

Let that be a lesson.

"Sixty-one percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led
forces."

"Iraqis may
become so sobered by the prospect of an unfolding civil war and intervention by their regional
neighbors that they take the steps necessary to avert catastrophe. But at the moment, such a
scenario seems implausible because the Iraqi people and their leaders have been slow to
demonstrate the capacity or will to act."

"The United States can begin to shape a positive climate
for its diplomatic efforts, internationally and within Iraq, through public statements by President
Bush that reject the notion that the United States seeks to control Iraq’s oil, or seeks permanent
military bases within Iraq. However, the United States could consider a request from Iraq for
temporary bases."

"RECOMMENDATION 23: The President should restate that the United States does not seek to
control Iraq’s oil."

It's not about the US government controlling the oil, it's about US companies. The government acts in the interest of these companies, and is staffed by former executives of these companies. I never took seriously the claims that Bush would "get the oil" and distribute it to the American people in the form of lower gas prices so he'd be re-elected. That's an absurd misunderstanding of how the government works for powerful corporations.