Best Viewed with IE or Opera. Sorry, Firefox works, but loses some sidebar layout,
'my profile' and other stuff... Anybody with a fix, please leave a comment. Many thanks in advance.

That said, if you must use Firefox (and I don't blame you, it's become my browser of choice, too)
...get the "IE Tab" extension. This allows you to view problem pages with the IE rendering engine. Very cool!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pretty flexible, that 'Cheney' fella.-----click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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Kung Fu Monkey: "Wait, Aren't You Scared?"

Errr, no. And if you are, you frankly should be a little goddam embarrassed.

No false bravado and it's not that I don't take terrorism seriously. I do,
which I why I voted for the guy who believed in securing our ports and
fighting terrorism with criminal investigation methods -- which is, if
we may remind everybody, how this particular plot was busted.

am just not going to wet my pants every time some guys get arrested in
a terror plot. I will do my best to stay informed. I will support the
necessary law enforcement agencies. I will take whatever reasonable
precautions seem, um, reasonable. But I will not be terrorized. I assume that the terror-ists would like me to be terror-ized,
as that is what is says on their nametag, rather than, say, wanting me
to surrender to ennui or negative body image, and they're just coming
the long way around.

Osama Bin Laden got everything on his
Christmas list after 9/11 -- US out of Saudi Arabia; the greatest
military in the world over-extended, pinned down and distracted; the
greatest proponent of democracy suddenly alienated from its allies; a
US culture verily eager to destroy freedoms that little scumfuck could
never even dream to touch himself -- I would like to deny him the last
little check on the clipboard, i.e. constant terror. I panic, they win.
To coin a phrase, Osama Bin Laden can suck my insouciance. link below >>>


I am absolutely buffaloed by the people who insist I man up and take it in
the teeth for the great Clash of Civilizations -- "Come ON, people,
this is the EPIC LAST WAR!! You just don't have the stones to face that fact head-on!"
-- who at the whiff of an actual terror plot will, with no apparent
sense of irony, transform and run around shrieking, eyes rolling and
Hello Kitty panties flashing like Japanese schoolgirls who have just
realized that the call is coming from inside the house!

I may have shared too much there.

To be honest, it's not like I'm a brave man. I'm not. At all. It just, well, it doesn't take that much strength of will not
to be scared. Who the hell am I supposed to be scared of? Joseph
Padilla, dirty bomber who didn't actually know how to build a bomb, had
no allies or supplies, and against whom the government case is so weak
they're now shuffling him from court to court to avoid the public
embarassment of a trial? The fuckwits who were going to take down the
Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches? Richard Reid, the Zeppo of suicide
bombers? The great Canadian plot that had organized over the internet,
was penetrated by the Mounties on day one, and we were told had a TRUCK
FULL OF EXPLOSIVES ... which they had bought from the Mounties in a sting operation but hey let's skip right over that.
Or how about the "compound" of Christian cultists in Florida who were
planning on blowing up the Sears Tower with ... kung fu?

And now these guys. As the initial "OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THEY CAN BLOW US UP WITH SNAPPLE BOTTLES!!" hysteria subsides, we discover
that these guys had been under surveillance, completely penetrated, by
no less than three major intelligence agencies. That they were planning
on cell phones, and some of them openly travelled to Pakistan
(way to keep the cover, Reilly, Ace of Spies). Hell, Chertoff knew
about this two weeks ago, and the only reason that some people can
scream this headline:

"The London Bombers were within DAYS of trying a dry run!!!"

-- was because MI-5, MI-6, and Scotland Yard let
them get that close, so they could suck in the largest number of
contacts (again, very spiffy police work). The fact that these wingnuts
could have been rolled up, at will, at any time, seems to have
competely escaped the media buzz.

This is terrorism's A-game? Sack up, people.

this is not to do anything less than marvel as cool, well-trained,
ruthless law-enforcement professionals -- who spent decades honing
their craft chasing my IRA cousins -- execute their job magnificently.
Should we take this seriously? DAMN STRAIGHT we take this seriously.
Left unchecked, these terror-fanboy bastards would have gone down in
history. These cretins' intent was monstrous; they should, and will,
all go to jail for a very long time. This is the part where we all
breathe a sigh of relief that there are some actual professionals
working the job in some countries.

But God gave me a brain, and a modicum of spine. Taking something seriously, and panicking over it are two different things. I do not assign all dangers and risks equal value. Tight little freelance squads with leak-proof operational discipline, like the 7/7 guys, -- those I worry about. A nuke coming in through one of ridiculously open ports -- I am concerned.
Not bio-terror so much, because it's a shitty delivery mechanism. That
the Muslim population of England seems to be becoming radicalized
enough to sprout up these plots, that's not a good thing to consider.
al-Queda involvement -- good if true because this means their
recruiting is shitty: bad if true because this means they're back in
business: bad if false because it means al-Queda has indeed become a
"brand": but good if false because it reinforces the idea that they're
operationally crippled (and if Zwahari is involved, I personally would like a word with whatever idiot nation took their eyes of the ball and let him escape ...)

... You get the point. There are a million factors in this New World of Terror. You weigh 'em, you process, and then you move on.

move on, building a better international society so that luddite
fundamentalist criminal gangs/cults of personality are further and
further marginalized.

Or, if you don't understand 4th Generation
Warfare at all, you move on, bombing the shit out of nation-states and
handing your opponents massive PR victories. Either way, you move the
fuck on.

Maybe it's just, I cast my eyes back on the last century ...

FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm
slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you
out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your
country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They
could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG!
Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or

... and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

is it, folks. This is the world, from now on. Even assuming the War on
Terror is a not just a bad metaphor and there is an actual measurable
winning point*, the short
4GW struggles last fifty years or so. We're going to be stopping one or
two of these bastard mass-murder plots a year, minimum, for the rest of
our lives. Hell, the way terror tactics and tech evolve, five years
from now we're going to be pining for the dudes with the flammable juice boxes.

It's now part of our life. Let's try not to hop like the trained monkeys every time it happens.

I'm just pleased that for once, nobody --

before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White
House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding
that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the

-- ahhhh. Never mind

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Friday, August 11, 2006

It's always on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Be careful what you wish on picture to "embiggen" view.

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David Lame...Magician! on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Portsmouth Herald Local News: Sign bandit speaks

STRATHAM -- One local man believes he is doing his small part to help clean and beautify the environment, and while what he is doing may technically be construed as theft, John Decker said he will not stop removing signs from public roadways.

The signs advertise things such as hot tub sales or services like removing junk from yards, and Decker said "it's littering and it's illegal."

"I called the Highway Department, and they told me it is illegal, but said that they do not have the money or manpower to remove the signs," he said.

The question is -- which act is more offensive? For Decker, it's the signs. If he doesn't outright take them, he spray-paints the word "scam" on the signs.

"This past weekend, I drove all the way along Route 151, right down to the Amesbury (Mass.) line," he said. "There were about 150 signs."

Now, because of his activity, he said he may be a wanted man. link below >>>


"This past weekend, I took the sign on Lafayette Road, at the intersection of Heritage,' he said. "The sign was from Universal Furniture and Spa on Heritage, and the guy called the police."

When a Portsmouth officer contacted Decker on Monday, he said, it was to ask him to return the sign.

"I said no,' because what he is doing is also a violation," said Decker. "They told me I could be charged with petty theft, and I said, Take me in cuffs and do the perp walk.' Everyone hates these signs. Now, my friends take them, too, and bring them to me. The police apparently have to see them do it to take action."

Portsmouth Police Lt. Dante Puopolo said he was not aware of a charge being filed as of Monday afternoon.

"I guess I'd say if a sign is posted illegally, that could be a violation of a city ordinance," said Puopolo. "But, if you're stealing it, that's a Class B misdemeanor, a theft charge."

Decker started his "hobby" about a year ago. He estimates he's dumped about 400 of the signs and said he has no intention of stopping.

"It's like someone taking a crap on your lawn every day," he said. "It's littering and everyone knows it, even the people putting up the signs."

Calls made to phone numbers listed on the signs went directly to voicemail and were not returned by Monday evening.

Portsmouth Herald Local News: Sign bandit speaks

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Portsmouth Herald Local News: Sign bandit plans rally for his arrest

By Karen Dandurant /

STRATHAM -- John Decker hopes a lot of people will come to his pre-arrest rally.

Decker will be charged at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday with theft by unauthorized taking, a misdemeanor. So, he decided to hold a rally for his cause at 3 p.m., in the parking lot of the Portsmouth police station.

A member of the Leftist Marching Band, he hopes to be able to provide entertainment, but is also looking for a show of support.

Decker became a local hero of sorts last month after he admitted he was making it his cause to rid the Seacoast of hand-written roadside signs advertising things such as hot tub sales and yard work services.

Decker said, since it's illegal to place the signs on public property, it's his right to remove them as litter. One sign owner disagreed and went to Portsmouth police after Decker "acquired" his sign. "Read More" click link below


The owner declined to comment on the ongoing saga.

Decker, who was away on vacation, said police called him on Wednesday.

"I was called by Officer (Andre) Wassouf, who told me there was a warrant out for my arrest," said Decker, who was reached by phone. "He wasn't going to be on duty again until Saturday, so I agreed to meet with him. He told me to bring $30."

Detective Sgt. Michael Ronchi confirmed that there is an arrest warrant out for Decker.

"I had a thought," said Decker. "Say I am arrested, there is a trial and I am convicted; if I am assigned to do community service, maybe cleaning away roadside litter, what do I do if I come to one of the signs?"

Decker, whose business is marketing, said he's made two phone calls to the sign owner, and a friend has made another.

"I called to say -- if you want to make it go away, I'd be happy to show you other ways to advertise and I wouldn't charge you anything. I have got everyone I can convince taking down the signs because that's simply what we do now."

In earlier interviews, Decker said getting arrested is what he wants, as a way to bring as much public attention to the cause as he can.

Decker's popularity grew from a Herald story and a forum on Many people weighed in, and as of Tuesday, the story had an unprecedented 24,000 Web hits and had been picked up by media across the country.

"I would like to have someone bring legislation to the state to tighten up enforcement of the law that already says it's illegal to put the signs up," said Decker. "I called the Highway Department, and they said they don't have the manpower to enforce the law."

Decker said he plans to talk with state legislators about the "littering" problem.
Portsmouth Herald Local News: Sign bandit plans rally for his arrest

>>> Print Article(always)...Read More(sometimes) | Town Gives Teen's Worm Biz The Hook

CROMWELL -- Local worm salesmen, beware. As 13-year-old Joe Cadieux learned recently, Cromwell can be a hostile environment for those looking to break into night crawler vending - particularly if they advertise with a yard sign.

A worm business that Joe has operated since he was 10 was shut down two weeks ago when Cromwell's planning and zoning commission issued a cease-and-desist order because the teenager's sign violated local zoning regulations.

"It's ridiculous," said the middle school student, who made $5 to $10 a month selling worms collected from his front yard, where they are plentiful after spring rainstorms. Most of the worms he sold went to local fishermen, though Joe said one repeat customer dissected the worms with his Boy Scout troop. He kept the worms in a basement drawer filled with bedding, and sold them in small blue containers.

"It's not really like I'm doing anything wrong," he said. link below >>>


But the town's planning commission sees it differently. The sign Joe stuck in his front yard on Washington Road to advertise his business, commission members said, violated local regulations on home businesses. Joe's stepfather, August Reil III, described the sign as a placard about 18-by-18-inches, that read "Nite Crawlers" and listed Joe's phone number.

"What kind of town am I living in where they're going to put the kibosh on a 13-year-old's worm business?" Reil said. "It was just to teach him the values of working and getting paid for it."

Commission member Al Diaz said he mentioned the sign during a discussion of illegal business signs in town. He said he told Cromwell's zoning enforcement officer to deal with the problematic worm sign, which he said could hurt the residential character of the Washington Road area. Diaz had seen the sign for years while driving through the area, he said.

"In a residential zone, if you want to put up a business and work out of your home you really need a special permit," Diaz said. "You come before the commission and state your case ...and then a decision is made. Chiropractors do that, lawyers do that, doctors do that, and then you're allowed to put up a sign."

But is a night crawler business - whose 13-year-old operator couldn't even buy a full tank of gas for the family car with his summer earnings - like a doctor's office, or is it just a creepy-crawly version of selling lemonade?

Town Planner Craig Minor said town regulations are vague on businesses such as lemonade and farm stands. In his opinion, the stands are allowed because they are considered customary use of property - just like a backyard barbecue, which doesn't require an assembly permit, or a doghouse that doesn't need special approval.

But the zoning regulations, he acknowledged, do not explicitly allow Joe's night crawler placard.

While Diaz stood behind his decision Thursday, other town officials say the commission exceeded common sense in issuing the cease-and-desist order.

Just let the boy have his night crawler stand, said First Selectman Paul Beaulieu. Reason, he said, should have stepped in when the regulations were vague.

"There's the letter of the law, but there's also common sense," he said. "This was over the top. Kids selling night crawlers and lemonade are part and parcel of life in small-town Connecticut."

Minor said the affected worm salesman can appeal the order to the zoning board of appeals, but Reil said the $130 fee to appeal is prohibitive for the night crawler business - Joe would have to sell over 500 worms just to break even.

Contact Sarah Mishkin at
SOURCE: | Town Gives Teen's Worm Biz The Hook

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'Aqoul: International Convention Needed on Blowing Off Little Girls' Faces

With little girls’ faces in the Middle East being blown off , and dangers of it continuing for a while longer, our clandestine correspondent has learned of a rare ultra-secret “face to face” meeting that has been going on to limit it. With the aid of an international mediator, an Israeli representative and a Hizbullah representative have gotten together to discuss the parameters of a Fifth Geneva Convention on Standards for Ripping or Blowing Little Girls’ Faces Off. Some of the text has leaked to ‘Aqoul, below. (This is not to be mixed up with little girls being encouraged to sign death messages on artillery shells that might blow off little girls' faces.)
Mediator: Can we all agree that blowing little girls' faces off is undesirable?
Hizbullah: Of course, but one must look at ripping-off-little-girls’-faces in the context of a legitimate resistance.
Israel (to mediator): Yes, yes, of course it’s undesirable, but we are talking about a war of survival. War is war. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. And you have to rip some little girls’ faces off to make an omelet when you are fighting for survival. And how can you survive without an omelet? Certainly kidnapped soldiers can’t survive without omelets, so little girls may face the risk of having their faces ripped off. link below >>>


Hizbullah: We don’t want to rip little girls’ faces off, but what alternatives can one possibly imagine when you are a political party with a large budget and huge population base facing a need of a prisoner exchange? What else is even remotely possible but ripping little girls’ faces off?
Israel: The IDF – Israeli Damsel Faceripping – guidelines are designed only to permit collateral little girls’ faces being ripped off. Nothing worse is acceptable. If we have to collaterally rip off some little girls’ faces to remind our opponent that they are barbarians hiding behind little girls' faces, so be it.
Hizbullah: Our little-girls-face-ripping-off missiles answer to God the most merciful, the most compassionate.
Israel: As Golda Meir once said: we do not actually hate them for ripping off our little girls’ faces but for making us rip off their little girls’ faces.
Hizbullah: And let’s not forget the Palestinians, they have lost their land and some of their little girls’ faces.
Israel: Oh that’s from honor killing, if the girls have sex, they rip off the girls’ faces.
{Angry shouting, inaudible}
Mediator {pounding gavel}: Inadmissible, we are only talking about face-ripping-off-of-girls in war. We are trying to prevent another Mideast Girl Face Ripping Off Free-for-All.
Israel: Millions of Jewish girls have had their faces ripped off out of sheer cruelty and hate; and dozens and dozens of Israeli girls through suicide bombers and terrorists. We will never forget. So we are accidentally ripping off girls’ faces strategically for survival.
Hizbullah: We are compelled to rip off the faces of little girls in order to hasten justice. We will, if necessary, rip off little girls’ faces until justice is complete and the Compassionate One is sovereign and cruelty is banished.
Israel: We are a humane society and we never rip off faces of little girls except by accident. And by the way, they are overcounting their little girls with their faces ripped off.
Hizbullah: They are deliberately ripping off little girls’ faces every day.
Israel: Blood libel! Blood libel!
Mediator: So will you Hizbullah, stop ripping off little girls’ faces then?
Hizbullah: Not until they retract the blood libel charge.
Israel: Give us back our soldiers!
Hizbullah: Give us back our prisoners!
{Incoherent yelling; Pause}
Mediator: Can we agree to limit the number of little girls whose faces can be ripped off?
Israel: We cannot control the number because all such events, if they occur, are purely accidents. This is very very complex.
Hizbullah: Look this isn’t rocket science—
Israel: Actually, it is….
Mediator: Should we bring in the rocket scientists?
Hizbullah: Um, uh, . . . is there a . . . um . . . Farsi translator here?
Israel: See, the Iranian Ministry of Ripping Off Little Girls’s Faces is supporting them!
HIzbullah: Is not!
Israel: Is too!
Hizbullah: Blood libel! Blood libel!
Mediator: If we can’t reach agreement on limiting the ripping off of little girls’ faces, we can at least agree in principle that it is wrong?
Hizbullah & Israel (together): Of course. But the other guys won’t stop!
Mediator: So we have an agreement. In principle it is wrong to rip the faces off little girls.
Hizbullah: Subject to the context of legitimate resistance…
Israel: Subject to the context of a war of survival…
Mediator: Can we perhaps agree to a Convention to only to rip off little girls’ faces up to the nose?
Israel: Well, their women wear veils . . . .
Hizbullah: Not kids and not over the face, that’s the Saudis.
Mediator: So up to the nose then…..
Israel: Really, we cannot control that.
Hizbullah: When there is justice, we can talk.

'Aqoul: International Convention Needed on Blowing Off Little Girls' Faces

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The Nation: Mercenary Jackpot


While the Bush Administration calls for the immediate disbanding of what it has labeled "private" and "illegal" militias in Lebanon and Iraq, it is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into its own global private mercenary army tasked with protecting US officials and institutions overseas. The secretive program, which spans at least twenty-seven countries, has been an incredible jackpot for one heavily Republican-connected firm in particular: Blackwater USA. Government records recently obtained by The Nation reveal that the Bush Administration has paid Blackwater more than $320 million since June 2004 to provide "diplomatic security" services globally. The massive contract is the largest known to have been awarded to Blackwater to date and reveals how the Administration has elevated a once-fledgling security firm into a major profiteer in the "war on terror."

Continued ___ to read the on "Print Article and/or Read More" below >>>
Blackwater's highly lucrative "diplomatic security" contract was officially awarded under the State Department's little-known Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) program, described in State Department documents as a government initiative to protect US officials as well as "certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises."

A heavily redacted 2005 government audit of Blackwater's WPPS contract proposal, obtained by The Nation, reveals that Blackwater included profit in its overhead and its total costs, which would result "not only in a duplication of profit but a pyramiding of profit since in effect Blackwater is applying profit to profit." The audit also found that the company tried to inflate its profits by representing different Blackwater divisions as wholly separate companies.

The WPPS contract awarded in 2004 was divided among a handful of companies, among them DynCorp and Triple Canopy. Blackwater was originally slated to be paid $229.5 million for five years, according to a State Department contract list. Yet as of June 30, just two years into the program, it had been paid a total of $321,715,794. When confronted with this apparent $100 million discrepancy, the State Department could not readily explain it. Blackwater's two years of WPPS earnings exceed many estimates of the company's total government contracts, which the Virginian-Pilot recently put at $290 million combined since 2000. Six years ago the government paid Blackwater less than $250,000.

"This underscores the need for Congress to exercise real oversight on the runaway use of secret companies that have strong connections to the Bush Administration, for clandestine services all over the world," says Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, a leading Congressional critic of private military companies.

"This whole business of security is just insidious," says former Assistant Defense Secretary Philip Coyle, who worked at the Pentagon from 1994 to 2001. "The costs keep going up, and there is no end in sight to what you can spend. What happens is you keep raising the threat levels to require more actions and more contracts to overcome these imaginary threats. It's an endless spiral."

In soliciting bids for the 2004 global contract, the State Department cited a need born of "the continual turmoil in the Mid East, and the post-war stabilization efforts by the United States Government in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq." It said the government "is unable to provide protective services on a long-term basis from its pool of special agents, thus, outside contractual support is required." Coyle, now with the Center for Defense Information, believes the privatization of security duties historically fulfilled by US Marines and other active-duty military is directly related to the Iraq occupation. "Obviously the military could do it, but indeed the Administration is looking for places to get more troops for Iraq," Coyle says.

While the WPPS program and the broader use of private security contractors is not new, it has escalated dramatically under the Bush Administration. According to the most recent Government Accountability Office report, some 48,000 private soldiers, working for 181 private military firms, are deployed in Iraq alone. Blackwater, now one of the most prominent and successful companies providing soldiers in Iraq, was relatively unknown until March 31, 2004, when four of its contractors were ambushed and killed in Falluja [see Scahill, "Blood Is Thicker Than Blackwater," May 8]. In the days and weeks that followed, company executives hired ultra-connected lobbyists and were welcomed by powerful government officials as heroes, allowing the firm to solidify its role in the Bush Administration's foreign policy apparatus.

Since 2003 Blackwater has held the high-profile job of guarding senior US officials in Iraq, including all three occupation-era ambassadors. The vaunted WPPS contract was awarded at the end of Paul Bremer's tenure in Baghdad. Blackwater, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment, refuses to divulge where its forces are deployed under the program. WPPS documents say contractors may be dispatched almost anywhere, including on US soil. The State Department says explicitly that there is a "long-term" need for these "protective services." Schakowsky says she will request a formal explanation from the department of the WPPS contract: "We need to know why the Bush Administration keeps writing blank checks to Blackwater and others, while it keeps Congress and the American people in the dark."
Mercenary Jackpot

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Coke, Pepsi Face Further Bans in India

by Rajesh Mahapatra

Two more Indian states banned the sale of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo soft drinks at government-run schools and colleges over allegations they contain high levels of pesticides.

Meanwhile, India's top business groups warned Thursday that the country's investment climate could be hurt by the states' actions and urged that the decisions be reversed.

So far, seven Indian states have banned the sale of Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and other brands from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo at government-run schools, colleges and hospitals after a New Delhi-based research group said last week that the soft drinks have pesticides levels that far exceed national standards.

Continued ___ to read the on "Print Article and/or Read More" below >>>
And two more Indian states, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh, said Thursday they were looking into the matter.

But the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry — which together cover more than 90 percent of Indian businesses — said the moves could hurt the broader economy, slowing foreign investment into the country.

The business groups were particularly disturbed by the decision of the southern state of Kerala, which said Wednesday it would impose a total ban on sale and production of soft drinks by the Indian subsidiaries of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.

Both companies — The Coca-Cola Co., which is based in Atlanta, and PepsiCo Inc., headquartered in Purchase, N.Y. — operate plants in Kerala.

"Without following the due process of law, it is unfortunate that (state) governments have started taking action," said FICCI President Saroj K. Poddar. "If we do that ... it could create a lot of uncertainty about India and will impact India's investment climate."

Poddar said he would urge Kerala's chief minister to review the decision.

R. Seshasayee, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said the states' actions failed to provide due process of the law.

Both Poddar and Seshasayee said the states should have conducted their own tests and then followed proper procedures, such as sending notices to the companies, before announcing the ban.

Still, India's Supreme Court already has asked Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India to disclose the ingredients of their soft drinks in six weeks.

Many Indian parents welcomed the ban.

"It is a good decision. My children have been addicts of Pepsi and Coke. Now, I can teach them how to drink water," said Molly Kurian, a housewife in Cochin, Kerala's port capital.

Sales of the two companies have been hit since the Center for Science and Environment said last week that its tests on 57 samples of soft drinks made by the two companies revealed they contained residues of pesticides 24 times higher than the Indian standards.

CSE said almost all soft drinks sold in India contain high levels of pesticides, but the focus was on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo because the two account for nearly 80 percent of India's $2 billion-plus soft drink market.

Seshasayee of the Confederation of Indian Industry said the standards cited by CSE were part of a government "proposal" that has not yet been adopted.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo officials in India continue to avoid speaking to journalists on the issue.

Kari Bjorhus, a U.S-based spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, said the company is "disappointed that the government (in Kerala) would make a decision like that based on inaccurate information."

She added: "Our products are perfectly safe and there is no reason to take them away from consumers."

This is not the first time Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have faced charges in India of excessive pesticides in their soft drinks.

Three years ago, the Center for Science and Environment made similar allegations. At the time, Coke and Pepsi sales declined for a while, but then recovered as the controversy waned.

"For three years we have looked very hard at this and engaged the best scientific minds in the world, and all of the data and all of the science point to the fact our products in India are absolutely safe, just as they are elsewhere in the world," said Dick Detwiler, a New York-based spokesman for PepsiCo's international division.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

Coke, Pepsi Face Further Bans in India

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Coke & Pepsi poisoning Indian citizens?

by Amit Srivastava

How long will it take before the powers that be in India refuse to allow multinationals to treat Indians as guinea pigs?

In what can only be characterized as arrogance and impunity, we are learning that Coca-Cola and Pepsi have continued to sell soft drinks in India with dangerously high levels of pesticides - three years after even the government of India confirmed that these products were dangerous.

Perhaps the cola companies know something that we do not? Are Indians immune to high levels of pesticides? It is time for the cola companies to provide details of the studies they must have conducted to convince themselves that the average Indian can consume pesticides safely at levels 24 times the average American and European.

Continued ___ to read the on "Print Article and/or Read More" below >>>
It is difficult to fathom the business logic of a company that boasts of having one global standard, yet three years after being rapped by the Indian government, continues to sell products in India without making any improvements.

The pesticides in soft drinks in India is a classic case of double standards, one for Americans and Europeans, and another for Indians. Coca-Cola products made in India could never be sold in the European Union markets or the United States. On at least 10 occasions since January 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration has rejected the shipment of Coca-Cola products made in India coming into the US, on the grounds that they do not conform to US laws and that they are unsafe for the US public.

Both the cola companies' excuse that they have met the (non-existent) norms for soft drinks in India falls flat in its face. In this day and age of globalization, standards are also globalized. The onus is upon the global companies to provide a product that is safe for consumers. Period. If a product is unsafe for Americans, it is also unsafe for Indians. It is the responsibility of Coca-Cola and Pepsi to clean out the contaminants from the raw materials before bringing it to market.

It is indeed ironic that on the one hand, these very companies argue for global rules for trade and corporate investment, but when challenged for their misdeeds, try to invoke local and national laws.

Unfortunately, the cola companies' transgressions run much deeper in India, both figuratively and literally.

In various parties of India, from Plachimada in south India to Mehdiganj in north India, communities living around Coca-Cola bottling plants are experiencing severe water shortages. The communities accuse the Coca-Cola company of creating water shortages because of over extraction of water and pollution of the scarce remaining water.

And the communities have the numbers to back it up. Tests conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board, for example, found excessive levels of lead and cadmium in all of the Coca-Cola waste it surveyed in bottling plants across the country, leading the CPCB to order the Coca-Cola company to treat its waste as hazardous waste. Prior to the CPCB study, the Coca-Cola company was distributing its toxic waste to farmers around its bottling plants, as fertilizer! Test results released just two weeks ago have confirmed that the water is also polluted, making it unfit for human consumption.

In Plachimada, Kerala, one of Coca-Cola's largest bottling plants has been shut down since March 2004 because of the intense community opposition to the plant. The Kerala State Pollution Control Board has also issued a stop order notice to the company's bottling plant because of the pollution by the plant.

In a highly irresponsible practice, the Coca-Cola company has located many of its bottling plants in India in "drought prone" areas, areas that were already experiencing severe water crisis. In Rajasthan, for example, a study by the Central Ground Water Board found that water tables had dropped 10 meters in just five years since Coca-Cola began its bottling operations in Kala Dera.

A formidable movement has emerged in India from these communities to challenge the Coca-Cola company for its indiscriminate exploitation of water resources and pollution.

As with the pesticide issue, the Coca-Cola company has challenged every study that has been produced implicating it for its wrongdoings. The company has also hired a high-priced lobbyist in New Delhi whose job, according to the International Herald Tribune, was to "ensure, among other things, that every government or private study accusing the company of environmental harm was challenged by another study."

Arrogance? You bet. Impunity? No doubt.

Communities in India impacted by Coca-Cola's practices enjoy tremendous support internationally, and the global movement to hold the company accountable for its abuses in India is having a major impact. The prestigious University of Michigan, for example, has placed the Coca-Cola company on probation until it is able to convince the administration that it is taking steps to rectify its wrongdoings in India.

The Coca-Cola company has been forced to acknowledge the growing discontent around its operations in India, but it is doing too little, too late. It has, instead, revved up its public relations machinery, a far cry from what the communities are demanding.

As India grapples with setting standards for soft drinks to ensure consumer safety, it should also urgently act to protect communities across the country reeling from water shortages, courtesy Coca-Cola.

It may surprise many to know that Coca-Cola and Pepsi pay nothing for the water that they use in India, which runs in the hundreds of millions of liters every day. It is also a very wasteful industry, particularly when it comes to the valuable resource of water. It takes Coca-Cola nearly four liters of freshwater to produce one liter of product. In other words, the company converts seventy five percent of the freshwater it extracts into wastewater, which in turn has contaminated the scarce remaining groundwater and land.

The entire life-cycle of Coca-Cola - from the extraction of water to the delivery of the pesticide laden product- is wrought with problems.

In India, Coca-Cola uses the slogan in Hindi - Life ho toh aisi - Life should be like this.

We don't think so.

For more information, visit

Amit Srivastava is the coordinator of India Resource Center, an international campaigning organization working to challenge abuses by multinational corporations.

How to Talk to Your Jewish Friends About Israel

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Truman Haunts Us

by Eugene Jarecki

61 years ago this week, the United States became the first and (to this day) only nation ever to use a nuclear weapon. It happened twice. First “Little Boy” was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later (before the impact of Hiroshima could fully reverberate), “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki. An estimated 200,000 died, the age of nuclear peril was born, and America sent a message to the world that resonates to this day. But as war rages now in Iraq and Lebanon, just what is the message?

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In my movie, WHY WE FIGHT, I’ve been criticized for allowing Gore Vidal to suggest onscreen that the bombings were intended as much to send a message of American nuclear primacy to Stalin as to compel unconditional Japanese surrender. No claim in the film has generated more controversy than Vidal’s assertion that “the Japanese were trying to surrender all that summer, but Truman wouldn’t listen, because Truman wanted to drop the bombs.” I left this bold claim in the film because it is supported by a tragic mountain of evidence that Truman indeed acted against the advice of a chorus of voices among his military advisors arguing that the use of weapons of mass destruction against Japanese civilians was an unwarranted, immoral, and gratuitous act.

I recognize this is a matter of intense historical debate that I do not intend to settle here, but I encourage skeptics to investigate the deep reservations expressed at the time by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Admiral William Leahy, General Douglas MacArthur, Brigadier General Carter Clarke, General Carl Spaatz as well as Admiral Ernest King and Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz . I also urge readers to consult Truman’s own diaries, in which he reveals his awareness both of Japan’s intention to surrender as well as the strategic importance of nuclear power to the growing prospect of competition with Stalin’s Russia in a post-war world. His diary entries betray an almost playful sense of rivalry with Stalin over America’s possession and planned use of the bomb.

I know proponents of the bombings will argue that the Japanese sought conditional surrender while Truman sought unconditional. To this I would note that the key condition sought by the Japanese was that their Emperor (seen by them as a direct descendant of their God) be left in power and not be subject to a war crimes tribunal following the war, a condition ultimately granted them in any event by the U.S. I am also aware that, following the bloodbath at Okinawa, there was reason to fear another ground battle in which American lives would be lost. Internal communications between the Japanese Emperor and his advisors suggest he indeed hoped to inflict such losses to strengthen Japan’s leverage in any surrender negotiations.

Still, the use of weapons of mass destruction (and its implicit launching of the nuclear age) is an action so extreme as to demand an extreme burden of proof. Proponents have long held it was a last resort, the only way finally to stop the Japanese war machine. Well, was it? I don’t know about you, but when men in positions of military leadership (particularly men unafraid of inflicting significant losses themselves) dissent, I listen. This means that, 61 years later, their voices suggest, at minimum, that there is reason to doubt the simple claim that the bombs were necessary to compel Japanese surrender. This doubt in turn challenges the moral underpinnings that have been historically used to justify the mass killing of civilians.

But if such an elite group of advisors objected, why did Truman do it? And more importantly, what message does it send to us today? Truman’s bombs indeed send two messages at once – one that undervalues civilians on the ground by making them a morally defensible target in war and the other that overvalues civilian decision-makers in Washington by presuming that their voices should dominate the formulation of foreign and defense policy.

The first message haunts the crisis in Lebanon. Mr. Olmert’s choice to launch a war against a nation in response to an action by non-state actors follows Mr. Truman’s example that targeting civilians is an acceptable form of warfare. His further choice to bomb roads through which humanitarian assistance could be provided those civilians (explained as a tactic to thwart Syrian support to Hezbollah), underscores Mr. Olmert’s willingness, after less than six short months in office, to join Mr. Truman (and Mr. Nasrallah for that matter) on that dark rampart of history.

“War is too important to be left to the generals,” Clemenceau famously warned, suggesting that the interplay of states was too delicate a task to be handled by men inclined toward military action. The playful irony of the phrase masks a clear suggestion that civilians ought to lead the hierarchy. Certainly there is merit in the notion that civilians can bring to foreign policy decisions a measure of non-military thinking that challenges the tendency to solve all problems through force. Yet Truman’s decision to drop the bombs against the wisdom of his military advisors (but heavily influenced by his civilian foreign policy guru James Byrnes) demonstrates the equal and opposite danger of undue civilian dominance of the defense establishment.

This second message haunts the ongoing crisis in Iraq, which, though temporarily knocked off the front page by other events, continues to deepen. Now that it is clear that Mr. Bush’s war In Iraq was planned, connived, and implemented in secrecy by civilians who dismissed the reservations expressed by top brass, its disastrous consequences can be seen, in the shadow of Hiroshima, as history repeating, teaching us, hopefully once and for all, that contrary to Clemenceau’s view, it may be just as dangerous to leave war in the hands of trigger-happy civilians sequestered in air-conditioned conference rooms thousands of miles from the infernal consequences of their decision-making. After all, it is the generals who directly command young people into harm’s way from which they do not return. It is the generals who feel the destructive force of the bombs beneath their feet and they who, once the smoke clears, hear the cries from some distance certainly, but at least they hear them.

So as the events of 61 years ago haunt us today, perhaps the lesson that lies between Clemenceau and Truman may well be that whenever either sector – military or civilian – make decisions in isolation from the sunlight and transparency of a democratic process, those decisions suffer from such withdrawal with potentially disastrous results.

Eugene Jarecki's film WHY WE FIGHT has just been released on DVD.

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The Lord's Our Shepherd Says The Psalm But Just In Case We'd Better Get A Bomb

by Chris Cooper

One part of it all I understand, probably better than most Americans alive today, better than many of my readers, better maybe even than a good many of those on either side of the battle, the cold and the now newly hot war, who say it is for this they fight, they kill, they murder.

I understand the land, how a man removed from it, denied it, is less of a man, however much he may feel compensated by the alternative he has chosen or how resigned to or accepting of the landless condition he endures. I have enjoyed the amenities of a few of our cities. Boston is nice for a day, although half one's time there will be spent lost on its miserably labeled streets and highways; better to bore right through on I-93, falling tunnel ceilings be damned, to Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, the Arboretum, that land cultivated and semi-wild that is refuge and wonder within the steel and stone. New York is a delight for a weekend or a week, but again it is Central Park, Fred Olmstead, bedrock outcrops, that great rectangle of managed land oscillating between found and made, remade and redeemed, as much as the towers and museums, subways and streetcars, that a Maine man there appreciates. Tampa is shining cerulean tiles and pink stucco and tropical heat and white sand and that great bridge strung like a musical instrument above the bay. And it is trees: palm trees, banyans, ficus, jacaranda, magnolias and live oaks and cypress. Under the cities, before the cities, after the cities have eroded or corroded, rotted or been burned and blown up, there was, is, will be the land.

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I live on forty-three acres of woodlot and rough field. I am the person you have come, however briefly or shallowly or indifferently, to know partly because of my experience on this small farm and woodlot in this little town, and before that because of the childhood I spent growing up, growing familiar with the details of the odd corners and ignored places and wild creatures in another town, on other land, in upstate New York. If you took me from this land, or took it from me by force or twist of law, I would likely not die, but what life remained would be diminished. I would become weak and sad and lost and confused. Or I might become mean and hard and vindictive; I hope not, but I have read history and I watch the news and I do see how it so often goes.

So the Jews, a people without a home, are granted a part of Palestine by decree, the givers who did not own the land to give forgetting or ignoring the fact that the property was already inhabited, peopled, was already home to someone else. So begins “The Palestinian Problem.” We are now nearly six decades on, countless ramifications and intrigues, skirmishes, wars, deceptions, lies, bombs and missiles and blood and death beyond the theft, the dispossession, or the rightful return (according to your particular sympathies or alliances, or which history or tribe you more highly value). Every day is now a good day to hate your neighbor, his wife, his children, to covet his land, or your land that he holds.

But land can be traded, divided, reordered; deeds compared; descent and grant and lien understood, amended, corrected, compensated. Little of it looks much like good land from a New England perspective, but men and women of open heart and good intention could resolve its titles and apportion it so it can serve many, so all have some, rather than some almost all, and so many less than nothing (unless anger, hopelessness and rage can be weighed and measured and stacked up to equal something).

In Maine we have the municipal office of Fence Viewer to decide land disputes. But if our selectmen appoint Richard Verney or Joe Barth or Clifton Walker to that job he will not have to decide ownership of a blasted dwelling, a ruined village, assign metes and bounds to the dust and destruction, declare void the interest of a headless parent, a bled-out baby or a mutilated corpse of unrecognizable sex or age or creed. We may poach a pine log from our neighbor, but we will not kill him for it. We love our land but we largely doubt that it came to us from God. I will say it—we do even doubt God. But that's just Maine for you; who knows what they might do in Tennessee or Kansas if things got tense. Or Wyoming. Dick Cheney has shot a man for less.

I understand passion for land and desire to hold what one has, or to acquire that which one wants or needs. But the God business, the “Chosen People” the “Party of God”, the smiting of thine enemies because thy god is stronger or better, bigger, holier, more righteous—that part just seems crazy to me.

I say New England is not soaked in the blood of these gods, not Christian and not Muslim and not old testament Jahwe. Of course, you say, you have all those old white Unitarians, those smug, but well-meaning Quakers, but I include even our Baptists and Pentecostalists and all those little “Community Church” congregations of more-or-less unspecified fundamentalist thrust that infest our small towns. Even our faith-healers and tract-peddlers are restrained, calm, polite if occasionally pedantic and argumentative. When the world doesn't end on schedule as foretold in the Book of Daniel or Revelation as interpreted by Pastor Prayerworthy, we just slump down off the hilltop and go back to the farm or factory until an improved date can be calculated.

I guess I'd have to say this luke-warm faith, this only-on-Sunday religion-of convenience, our shallowness, our hypocrisy, our spiritual mediocrity, is a good thing in that it seems to keep us from crossing the line which, once crossed, few seem ever to recross toward peace, away from slaughter.

Not so in the Middle East, where Christian, Jew, Muslim and various sub sects and splinter groups of each faith have merged religion and politics and nationalism into a region-wide torment of hatred and unceasing bloodletting. Americans have come to think of Muslims as “terrorists”, but much of the world sees Israel as the brutal aggressor and the United States as Israel's protector and enabler. The current awful business in Lebanon, whatever decades-long history of injustices and abuses and bombings by both sides or innumerable players preceded it, stands as symptomatic of how we so often do business in this modern world.

Hezbollah operatives kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and offered their return in exchange for persons held by Israel. One might hope the response would have been diplomacy, however cold or hard or sharp. At the outset two men under arms were captured but alive. Israel's response was an immediate and enduring attack upon the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon, including the bombing of gas stations, power plants, roads, bridges, municipal buildings and, almost daily, the incidental annihilation of civilians, with a particularly heavy toll of children. A thousand non-combatants are torn asunder to date. That's you, your family, everybody you know. That's a whole Maine town butchered because two state troopers were snatched off the streets of Machias and locked up in a warehouse in New Brunswick.

It was a bad thing, surely, to snatch those two soldiers. It is a far worse thing to blow up farmers and fruit peddlers and teenagers and toddlers, to turn their homes and villages to dust, to pollute the Mediterranean Sea with the toxic runoff, to instantly energize a new generation of hatred that will lead to decades more of terrorism and counter-terrorism. In this retribution is no proportion, no honor. Hezbollah (a bad bunch, to be sure) has a quantity of short-range, indifferently accurate missiles, and they're willing to lob them over the line, inadequate but lethal tat to Israel's ferocious tit. Who looks good here? There is not one man righteous; no, not one.

And in Connecticut, Democratic primary voters rejected one of their party's chief apologists for and boosters of our country's Middle-Eastern warmongering. Senator Lieberman no longer represents his constituents. Democratic leadership cannot yet see that Democratic voters (and many Republicans) have tired of studying war, seeking new countries to invade on pretext or contrivance. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran if Bush and Cheney get their way, Lebanon by proxy. Bush believes we are approaching Biblical “End Times”, that big and nasty doings in the Holy Land are inevitable and desirable. Condoleezza Rice, former oil company whore, blunders about the region braying her disdain for a cease-fire that would merely ease the suffering and loss but would fail to secure a political condition to her masters' liking

May God help us all. Whatever god is running things. Whichever god you choose. And it's pretty much the same guy, under different names and with or without a son who may or may not have been divine, and who might or might not have died to absolve us all of sins with which we we born already tainted. See, that's the thing. Many of us here in the land of short summers and cold winters and thin soil and some history of coming late or lukewarm to the passions of the hotter parts of our nation honor the forms but reject or ignore the bloody meat at the heart of our chosen or inherited religion.

Call us hypocrites. But if you kidnap Constable Albee we'll acknowledge that he or we may once have caused you some annoyance or harm, and we'll probably posture a bit, but we'll negotiate any reasonable trade for whomever of yours we may be holding.

I love this land, but it wasn't given to me by God. I bought it from some yuppies who couldn't stand the strain of digging a satisfying life out of its rocky but rewarding soil. I understand land, the love of it, the need for it, how unfair its misappropriation. My land was stolen from its native owners long ago by the power of the gun with the blessing of somebody's god with nothing more pressing to do than to dispense real estate to imperfect creatures of his own making. Well, nothing gets better and much gets worse, and America's hands are as bloody as anybody's. But I think even God has grown weary of that vile little self-serving creep from Connecticut, and there will come a day when the blight of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld is lifted from our land. The damage, meanwhile, piles up, my god against your god, the sand absorbing alike the blood of infidel and believer, culpable and innocent.

Chris Cooper lives in Alna, Maine. He reads all E-mail and responds to some at
The Lord's Our Shepherd Says The Psalm But Just In Case We'd Better Get A Bomb

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Iraq and Roll" it into the closet until next on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Alternate on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Judge on picture to "embiggen" view.

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U.S. Health on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Free enterprise at its on picture to "embiggen" view.

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Daily Kos: Moon's money - the billions that moved America right and theocratic

Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 10:05:13 AM PDT

John Gorenfeld has posted a video clip of Sun Myung Moon appearing before the Judiciary Committee on June 26, 1984. In the clip Moon acknowledges that by then he already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into America from overseas. link below >>>


Quoting Moon from Gorenfeld's clip:

Several hundred million dollars have been poured into America because this nation will decide the destiny of the world. These contributions are primarily coming from overseas.
That quote was from 1984. As of today the amount Moon has "poured" into America has reached well into the billions. Stay with me on the flop and I will interpret the Mooneeze in that quote and tell you where billions Moon used to bring the right to power in America originated...

First let me interpret the Mooneeze in that quote for you, this is what the conservative's Savior was saying:

"Though I am not citizen, I have brought bags and bags of cash from overseas into the USA to manipulate your political structure - I do this to bring about my world vision. You are too damn naive to see it or care; you will laugh at me or ignore me, so I will get away with it. I will push you to a right wing, theocratic, homophobic, authoritarian governance and I will do this right before your eyes and you will not see for you are blind to my efforts. In fact, the conservative movement in America, the Christian right, who as the Messiah I am here to raise up to control your government, will help me. You will all help me, either directly or by your silence."

This is the overseas money that created the empire which has funded the Washington Times, and people like Falwell, theocrat Lahaye, and to bail out and help keep in business conservative mail order guru Richard Viguerie. This is the money that paid for George Bush 41 to shill for Moon on three continents. This is the money which created front groups designed to gather the "Christian" right for political power like the American Freedom Coalition.

Moon has been wildly successful but the media will not talk about it.

Think about this as you read below. For a couple years now we have watched the right, O'Reilly, Rush, Coulter, Hannity and all the rest of the mind molders of the conservative movement, as they bitched and moaned that U.S. citizen George Soros was trying to "buy the Democratic Party" with his donations of roughly 25 million dollars to liberal causes during the 2004 election cycle. Do you ever hear them tell their followers that Sun Myung Moon has spent BILLIONS bringing them to power? If you ask a conservative who their "sugar daddy" is, they will likely mention Richard Mellon Scaife. The WP reported a few years ago that Scaife had spent some $300 million on conservative causes over 40 years. SUN MYUNG MOON has outspent Scaife 7 fold on the Washington Times alone in 20, yet most of the people in the country don't know Moon is still alive and certainly most conservatives don't know he is their prime "sugar daddy."

No, he didn't do it by himself, but let's look at the money Moon used to play a major role in bringing the right to power. Let's look at the money the Moon organization used to give right wing conservatism the boost it needed to put it in control of our closely divided government. Let's look at the money without which it is doubtful George Bush would would have been nominated, let alone allowed to become president.

From the WP Nov 1997

The long-standing explanation: It is Japan, not Korea, that provides the bulk of the church's wealth -- as much as 70 percent, church observers estimate. A former high-ranking Japanese church member told The Post in 1984 that $800 million had come from Japan into the United States in the previous nine years.

Japanese church members have long turned profits selling ginseng products and religious items such as miniature stone pagodas -- products imported from Moon companies in Korea. But tough sales tactics -- as well as disputed claims of spiritual power -- have led to class-action suits in Japan, and hundreds of claimants have won judgments and settlements in the last five years.

I STRONGLY URGE YOU to read part two here to get a good picture of how the swindles worked.

From the WP Sept 1984

Exhorted by pep talks to meet "the respected father's" needs, Japanese church members have worked in recent years under sales quotas requiring them to transfer to the United States roughly $2.5 million a month earmarked for The Times, Soejima said.

"The Washington Times was the top priority of the entire Unification Church worldwide," said Soejima, who was editor of Sekai Nippo (World Daily News), a church-controlled Tokyo newspaper, before being fired last October following a dispute with church officials over control of the paper. .....

Starting in 1975, they said, the church mobilized its Japanese members for a massive fund-raising effort that has used high-pressure sales techniques to take advantage of the religious superstitions of Japanese consumers.

Handwritten notes that Soejima made at some church finance meetings indicate that the Japanese church was taking in more than $100 million a year during 1981 and 1982, most of which was transferred to church headquarters in New York. ...

According to Soejima and others, the profits from sales of these items can be enormous. In an extreme case, he said, a vase that cost about $21 was sold for $8,300. A quantity of ginseng worth about $42 sold for eight times that amount. One salesman can raise about $4,000 per month, he said.

The salesmen's expenses are minimal. During his years in the church, Soejima said, he often visited church members at grimy group houses where they slept half a dozen to a room. The members receive no salary from the church and immediately hand over all their sales proceeds to the house "leader." Once a month, Soejima said, a church official comes to the house and "they collect it in cash and bring it to Tokyo."

The Unification Church, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, has been found responsible by the Japanese court system of swindling the citizens of Japan. This is how the Japanese Lawyers association described what followers of Moon have been put through in Japan.

All day long, they are forced to do fund-raising by committing illegal acts such as swindling through a fraudulent missionary work and spiritual sales.
As of today, UC appeals to the higher courts in Japan have failed. This is an older quote from one ruling where the Japanese courts found the UNIFICATION CHURCH responsible.
The Court recognized that the Unification Church as a religious corporate body did perpetrate unlawful acts against plaintiffs "A" and "B". In addition to corporate liability, the Court also holds the employees of the Unification Church liable for the actions of the church corporate body. The Court ruling has set a new, epoch-making legal precedent for future District Court decisions. [Judgment by the Fukuoka District Court on the Unification Church [English Translation] Court: Fukuoka District Case Number: 1990 #1082 Date of Judgment: 27 May 1994
According to the WP, the Unification Church had paid 150 million dollars settling many of the claims by 1996.

At last count a couple years ago, there were a total 20,000 claims totaling $800 million dollars. The people fighting for the citizens of Japan against the UC say this about the figures "...most certainly this sum is only a fraction of all real damages incurred by people in Japan as a result of Unification Church activities."

That would put the amounts swindled from the Japanese into the billions.

How did they get the cash into the USA? Nansook Hong, Moon's ex-daughter-in-law, reported a good bit on the group's cash smuggling activities in her book, In the Shadows of the Moons.

Here is an excerpt from a Robert Parry article which discussed Hong's book:

According to Nansook Hong, much of the money went into family safes to be doled out later to fund Moon's American businesses, his political operations and his family's luxuries.

Nansook Hong described one incident in 1992 when she personally participated in smuggling cash past U.S. Customs at the instructions of Rev. Moon's wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. Hong recounted numerous other cases in which the Moons received cash from church members who brought money from overseas and delivered it in bags. ...

Millions more pour through Moon front groups with innocuous-sounding names, such as the Women's Federation for World Peace and the American Freedom Coalition, indirectly benefiting other leading conservatives, including the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Iran-contra figure Oliver L. North. ...

"The Unification Church was a cash operation," Nansook Hong wrote. "I watched Japanese church leaders arrive at regular intervals at East Garden [the Moon compound north of New York City] with paper bags full of money, which the Reverend Moon would either pocket or distribute to the heads of various church-owned business enterprises at his breakfast table.

" The Japanese had no trouble bringing the cash into the United States; they would tell customs agents that they were in America to gamble at Atlantic City. In addition, many businesses run by the church were cash operations, including several Japanese restaurants in New York City. I saw deliveries of cash from church headquarters that went directly into the wall safe in Mrs. Moon's closet."

Mrs. Moon pressed her daughter-in-law into one cash-smuggling incident after a trip to Japan in 1992. Mrs. Moon had received "stacks of money" and divvied it up among her entourage for the return trip through Seattle, Hong wrote.

"I was given $20,000 in two packs of crisp new bills," Hong remembered. "I hid them beneath the tray in my makeup case. ... I knew that smuggling was illegal, but I believed the followers of Sun Myung Moon answered to higher laws."...

In 1994, Rev. Moon sent Hyo Jin $1 million in cash, Hong wrote. Hyo Jin delivered $600,000 to the Manhattan Center in a Bloomingdale's shopping bag and "skimmed off" $400,000 for himself. Former Manhattan Center officials have confirmed independently that the $600,000 was laundered through other Moon business enterprises.

Nansook Hong wrote that Moon "demonstrated contempt for U.S. law every time he accepted a paper bag full of untraceable, undeclared cash collected from true believers." ["Moon's Dark Shadow" by Robert Parry Oct 1, 1998]

The Washington Post reported this in 1997:
Ron Paquette, who was president of Manhattan Center Studio, the church's New York recording facility, until he left the faith in 1994. Paquette, whose job gave him access to financial information about several church-related businesses, said he believes virtually none of Unification's U.S. operations is profitable. "A lot of the stuff they do is for prestige, so they can show President Bush our dance academy and our newspaper," Paquette said. "The idea is to bring Bush in, use his name and picture, buy Moon credibility."

The road to that credibility, critics say, is paved with cash.

"Rev. Moon sent bags of cash, big fat bags, stacks and stacks of hundreds, from Korea and Japan to Manhattan Center," the church's recording studio in New York City, Paquette said. "Whenever we asked where the money was coming from, the answer was it just came 'from Father.'"

From Robert Parry, "The Bush-Moon Money Conduit"
Maria Madelene Pretorious, a former Unification Church member who worked at Moon's Manhattan Center, a New York City music venue and recording studio, testified at a court hearing in Massachusetts that in December of 1993 or January of 1994, one of Moon's sons, Hyo Jin Moon, returned from a trip to Korea "with $600,000 in cash which he had received from his father. ... Myself along with three or four other members that worked at Manhattan Center saw the cash in bags, shopping bags."

In an interview with me in the mid-1990s, Pretorious said Asian church members would bring cash into the United States where it would be circulated through Moon's business empire as a way to launder it. At the center of this financial operation, Pretorious said, was One-Up Corp., a Delaware-registered holding company that owned many Moon enterprises including the Manhattan Center and New World Communications, the parent company of the Washington Times.

"Once that cash is at the Manhattan Center, it has to be accounted for," Pretorious said. "The way that's done is to launder the cash. Manhattan Center gives cash to a business called Happy World which owns restaurants. ... Happy World needs to pay illegal aliens. ... Happy World pays some back to the Manhattan Center for 'services rendered.' The rest goes to One-Up and then comes back to Manhattan Center as an investment."

Today Moon's organization is involved with or is attempting to insinuate itself into peace negotiations with North Korea, the Middle East and into the political structure of countries all over the world. He has now opened up the left flank of Christianity having gathered many African American ministers into his web of influence. No doubt Moon has used conservatism and right wing Christianity as his predominate agents to bring his vision to America. But democratic politicians, mostly on the local and state level, send his fronts greetings on their stops around the country and do nothing to discourage his plans for the planet.

Moon, as you know, claims he is the Messiah and that Jesus failed to complete his mission. They have gone so far as to perform a service in which Jesus was married to Korean woman to get Him into heaven. From Parry's discussion of Nansook Hong, Moon's x daughter in law's book:

Even as Moon poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the American Right and ingratiated himself with President Reagan, Moon's religious pronouncements grew increasingly bizarre. When one of his teenage sons, Heung Jin, died in a car crash in 1983, Moon declared the Heung Jin had supplanted Jesus as the King of Heaven.

In 1984, Moon arranged a strange ceremony in which he married his dead son's spirit to Hoon Sook Pak, the daughter of longtime Moon lieutenant Bo Hi Pak, then the publisher of The Washington Times. Moon's theology required the wedding because he believed only married individuals could enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Even Jesus needed Rev. Moon's help in this way. "In what must stand as his ultimate act of arrogance, Sun Myung Moon actually had matched Jesus to an elderly Korean woman," Nansook Hong wrote. "Jesus himself needed the intervention of the Reverend Moon to move through those gates" of heaven.

I am not a Biblical scholar but everything I do know about the Book is explicit that Christians should expose false teaching and then shun or ignore the person or group who teaches those falsehoods. It does not say you should honor them, work with them and it certainly doesn't say you should promote them.

From U.S News and World Report March 27, 1989 (transcribed not available on the net):

On New Year's Day, 1987, South Korean mystic Sun Myung Moon, who considers himself to be the son of God, told his Unification Church followers that he wanted to expand the church's political influence in the United States. His aim, Moon said, was "the natural subjugation of the American government and population." ...

[the Unification Church] has established a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation, the largest of the conservative think tanks and an important source of government personnel during the Reagan administration. Although Heritage officials deny it, the foundation has dramatically changed its policy toward the Unification Church. In the early 80's the foundation, wary of the church's aims, prohibited staff or fellows from being associated with Unification Church organizations or taking money from the church or church-financed institutions.

As the Washington Times has become the voice of capital conservatives, the Heritage Foundation has become far more tolerant of church ties. ...

The Unification Church's newfound influence has occasioned intense debate among conservatives. One group of worried young conservatives meets regularly in private to compare notes about the problem. But little of the debate has surfaced in public forums. "Most people are afraid to address the issue because they don't want to publicize the extent of the church's involvement," says Amy Moritz of the Conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.

Because almost all conservative organizations in Washington have some ties to the church, conservatives also fear repercussions if they expose the church's role. That happened when one organization, the Capital Research Center, published a newsletter last November warning of the church's attempt to create a "centralized world theocracy." One of its board members, who was also on the board of the International Security Council, resigned in protest, and conservatives charging that the paper was creating discord on the right, besieged the center with angry calls. "We got a very, very strong reaction -- almost as if we were the enemy -- because we raised the issue," says CRC Chairman Willa Johnson, a former president of the Heritage Foundation.

From Mr. Parry's Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right
By the mid-1980s, Moon's Unification Church had carved out a niche as an acceptable part of the American right. In one speech to his followers, Moon boasted that "without knowing it, even President Reagan is being guided by Father (Moon)." Yet, Moon also made clear that his longer-range goal was the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and America's democratic form of government. "History will make the position of Reverend Moon clear, and his enemies, the American population and government will bow down to him." Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That is Father's tactic, the natural subjugation of the American government and population."
While we still haven't figured out what he did here, Moon has moved onto the planet and he will be successful there also because no one sees what he is doing and the media refuses to report on his efforts.

No one post nor any one individual can cover Moon and his efforts, the story is much to large and involved. The above is just a very small snapshot. Please look around on your own. If you would like more on his money, about how the Unification Church has funded its operation in the United States try reading the links in numbers 41-51 here.

For more on all aspects of the Moon organization visit John Gorenfeld's eye opening blog which is back in operation after a short hiatus. Also check out former members, Steve Hassan and Allen Tate Wood's sites.

ON EDIT: One of many things I forgot to mention with regard to the Moon organziation making all this money from Japan: You might think the leaders would feel guilty about these swindles but Moon simply made it part of the doctrine that Japan, as the "Eve" country, supply him with funds.

from the WP Aug 4, 1996

Oe [church official] said Unification Church doctrine requires Japan to bankroll church activities. He said South Korea is "Adam's country," Japan is "Eve's country" and the other countries where the church has followers are their offspring. "Japan is mother and wife," Oe said. "So Japan has the mission to support her husband and raise her children."

Tags: Sun Myung Moon, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, Richard Viguerie, religious right, Rescued, washington times, tony blankly (all tags)

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Love the Other as Yourself

by Joyce Marcel

Thank heavens for Mel Gibson. How could we have a conversation about an important social issue in this country without a celebrity?

As everyone who doesn't live on Mars knows by now, a couple of weeks ago, in a drunken rage, Gibson spewed anti-Semitic venom on some Malibu police officers who were arresting him for driving under the influence of alcohol.

He later 1) apologized to the police officers without mentioning his anti-Semitic remarks; 2) then apologized to Jews everywhere for his anti-Semitic remarks; 3) then promised to make amends for his anti-Semitic remarks; and 4) checked himself into rehab. The only question now is whether he will go on Letterman or Leno when he comes out.

Continued ___ to read the on "Print Article and/or Read More" below >>>
During a time when Israeli troops were hammering Lebanese civilians and Hezbollah fighters, when American generals finally used the words "civil war" and "Iraq" in the same sentence, and when Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman lost his Democratic political life as payback for supporting George Bush's war-mongering policies, why should it matter what Gibson thinks about anything?

Because of what his remarks revealed about him: his deep-seated belief in The Other.

For Gibson, The Other is the Jews. "The Jews started every war in the world," is his now-famous quote. (I don't think Hitler annexed Poland just to get at its Jews, though, Mel. The Poles would have gladly handed them all over and kept their country.)

Gibson may be dumb, but he's not much dumber than the guy who recently tried to convince me that my pacifism is misplaced by saying, "The Arabs don't want peace." Obviously he doesn't watch the nightly news, where you can see many, many Arabs who want nothing more than peace - especially if it means they don't have to dig their families out of rubble anymore.

The Arabs. The Jews. The homosexuals. The Mexican immigrants. If you can lump together any group of people - a religion, a nationality, a color, a tribe - and hang on them one epithet, then you can dismiss, dehumanize and possibly start to eliminate them. It's how genocide starts. Just ask a Hutu or a Tutsi.

The Other is a concept as old as mankind.

We know that on every continent, the name of a tribe or group usually translates as "We People." "Hopi," for example, means "peaceful person" or "civilized person." Inuit means "the people." For Tony Hillerman fans, the Navaho's word for themselves, "Dine'e" means "the people." Wampanoag? "Eastern people." It's even true for America. When the founding fathers created this country, the first words they used were "We the people..."

That makes anyone who is not "We the people," into "The Other."

Certainly from the beginning, strangers could be dangerous. They could be part of a raiding party, or loners thrown out of their own tribes for breaking some critical taboo. We probably have in our genes a long-held and deep-seated wariness about The Other.

But over time this has been countered by another human trait, consciousness, and the obvious insight that we are all in this world together. For all our cultural and linguistic differences and personal quirks, people on this planet are pretty much alike. We're all breathing the same air, living under the same sky, and loving our families in the same way. We even share a lot of the same DNA.

The principle "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" has turned out to be not only wise and generous, but self-protective as well.

However, instilling and flaming a fear of The Other is a time-honored way for kings, politicians, religious leaders and others seeking power to control their followers. As Rogers and Hammerstein wrote so long ago, "You've got to be taught/To hate and fear/You've got to be taught/From year to year/It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear/You've got to be carefully taught."

In recent years, especially in this country, hatred has gotten out of control. Who are we being taught to hate? African-American rappers? Abortion doctors? Scientific researchers? College professors? Bloggers? The list goes on and on, and it's being drummed into our dear little ears on a daily basis.

If you are being taught how to hate in any fashion, you should examine your teachers. You will soon see that their motivation has little to do with protecting you and much to do with protecting their own turf.

One of my many fears is that America, inflamed by a nationally sanctioned fear of The Other, will erupt into dismal action. That is how the Germans allowed themselves to be led to the Holocaust, and we are deluded if we don't think it can happen here.

So although he is just a pathetic little man who parlayed his remarkable good looks into a lot of money, we can thank Mel Gibson - a little - for allowing his virulent hatred to erupt into the general consciousness.

Gibson has now been soundly and rightly ridiculed and chastised. When he gets out of Detox Mansion he will be invited to tour a Holocaust museum or two and hold discussions with Jewish leaders. His consciousness might be raised an inch or two.

And along with his, maybe ours.

Joyce Marcel is a free-lance writer and columnist in Vermont. A collection of her columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through And write her at
Love the Other as Yourself

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To achieve 'altered states', maybe? ----click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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Well, Peter, Why?------click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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Pepe Le Pew he ain't.------click on picture to "embiggen" view........

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Tiny Inhaled Particles Take Easy Route From Nose To Brain

by Staff Writers
Rochester NY (SPX) Aug 08, 2006
In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Researchers also saw changes in gene expression that could signal inflammation and a cellular stress response, but they do not know yet if a buildup of ultrafine particles causes brain damage, said lead author Alison Elder, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Environmental Medicine. "Read More" click link below


The study tested manganese oxide ultrafine particles at a concentration typically inhaled by factory welders. The manganese oxide particles were the same size as manufactured nanoparticles, which are controversial and being diligently investigated because they are the key ingredient in a growing industry -- despite concerns about their safety.

Nanotechnology is a new wave of science that deals with particles engineered from many materials such as carbon, zinc and gold, which are less than 100 nanometers in diameter. The manipulation of these materials into bundles or rods helps in the manufacturing of smaller-than-ever electronics, optical and medical equipment. The sub-microscopic particles are also used in consumer products such as toothpaste, lotions and some sunscreens.

Some doctors and scientists are concerned about what happens at the cellular level after exposure to the ultrafine or nano-sized particles, and the University of Rochester is at the forefront of this type of environmental health research.

In 2004 the Defense Department selected the University Medical Center to lead a five-year, $5.5 million investigation into whether the chemical characteristics of nanoparticles determine how they will interact with or cause harm to animal and human cells.

In the current study, the particles passed quickly through the rats' nostrils to the olfactory bulb, a region of the brain near the nasal cavity. They settled in the striatum, frontal cortex, cerebellum, and lungs.

After 12 days, the concentration of ultrafine particles in the olfactory bulb rose 3.5-fold and doubled in the lungs, the study found. Although the ultra-tiny particles did not cause obvious lung inflammation, several biomarkers of inflammation and stress response, such as tumor necrosis factor and macrophage inflammatory protein, increased significantly in the brain, according to gene and protein analyses.

"We suggest that despite differences between human and rodent olfactory systems, this pathway is likely to be operative in humans," the authors conclude
Tiny Inhaled Particles Take Easy Route From Nose To Brain

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Pure Novelty Spurs The Brain

by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Aug 08, 2006
Neurobiologists have known that a novel environment sparks exploration and learning, but very little is known about whether the brain really prefers novelty as such. Rather, the major "novelty center" of the brain--called the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA)--might be activated by the unexpectedness of a stimulus, the emotional arousal it causes, or the need to respond behaviorally. "Read More" click link below


The SN/VTA exerts a major influence on learning because it is functionally linked to both the hippocampus, which is the brain's learning center, and the amygdala, the center for processing emotional information.

Now, researchers Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Duzel report studies with humans showing that the SN/VTA does respond to novelty as such and this novelty motivates the brain to explore, seeking a reward. The researchers of University College London and Otto von Guericke University reported their findings in the August 3, 2006, issue of Neuron, published by Cell Press.

In their experiments, Bunzeck and Duzel used what is known as an "oddball" experimental paradigm to study how novel images activate the SN/VTA of volunteer subjects' brains. In this method--as the subject's brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging--they were shown a series of images of the same face or outdoor scene.

However, the researchers randomly intermixed in this series four types of different, or "oddball," faces or scenes. One oddball was simply a different neutral image, one was a different image that required the researchers to press a button, one was an emotional image, and one was a distinctly novel image.

In fMRI, harmless radio signals and magnetic fields are used to measure blood flow in brain regions, which reflects activity in those regions.

With this experimental design, the researchers could compare the subjects' response to the different kinds of oddball images to distinguish the brain's reaction to pure novelty itself from the other possible sources of brain activation, such as emotional arousal.

In a second set of oddball experiments, the researchers sought to determine whether the SN/VTA encodes the magnitude of novelty. In those experiments, the researchers measured activation of the region by images of different levels of familiarity or novelty. In yet other studies, the researchers assessed whether the subjects' memory of familiar images was better when presented along with novel images or very familiar images.

The researchers found that the SN/VTA does, indeed, respond to novelty, and these response scales according to how novel the image was. They concluded that their data provide evidence for "a functional hippocampal-SN/VTA loop" that is driven by novelty rather than other forms of stimulus salience such as emotional content or the need to respond to an image.

The researchers said their finding that the SN/VTA is more activated by greater novelty is compatible with models of brain function "that see novelty as a motivating bonus to explore an environment in the search for reward rather than being a reward itself."

Also, Bunzeck and Duzel found that novelty enhanced learning in the subjects. "Thus, the human SN/VTA can code absolute stimulus novelty and might contribute to enhanced learning in the context of novelty," they concluded.

Finally, they said their findings raise the possibility that selective brain injury to the hippocampus could eliminate the positive effects of novelty in such patients and constitute one source of reduction in recognition memory in the patients.

Related Links
University College London
Otto von Guericke University

Pure Novelty Spurs The Brain

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