Monday, April 14, 2008

Daily Freep - Monday, April 14, 2008

More than three billion people condemned to premature death from hunger and thirst
By Fidel Castro ( March 28, 2007)

THAT is not an exaggerated figure, but rather a cautious one. I have meditated a lot on that in the wake of President Bush's meeting with U.S. automobile manufacturers.

The sinister idea of converting food into fuel was definitively established as an economic line in U.S. foreign policy last Monday, March 26.

A cable from the AP, the U.S. news agency that reaches all corners of the world, states verbatim:
"WASHINGTON, March 26 (AP). President Bush touted the benefits of 'flexible fuel' vehicles running on ethanol and biodiesel on Monday, meeting with automakers to boost support for his energy plans.

"Bush said a commitment by the leaders of the domestic auto industry to double their production of flex-fuel vehicles could help motorists shift away from gasoline and reduce the nation's reliance on imported oil.

'"That's a major technological breakthrough for the country,' Bush said after inspecting three alternative vehicles. If the nation wants to reduce gasoline use, he said "the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice."

"The president urged Congress to 'move expeditiously' on legislation the administration recently proposed to require the use of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 and seek higher fuel economy standards for automobiles.

"Bush met with General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group chief executive Tom LaSorda.

"They discussed support for flex-fuel vehicles, attempts to develop ethanol from alternative sources like switchgrass and wood chips and the administration's proposal to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.

"The discussions came amid rising gasoline prices. The latest Lundberg Survey found the nationwide average for gasoline has risen 6 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $2.61."
I believe that reducing and moreover recycling all motors that run on electricity and fuel is an elemental and urgent need for all humanity. The tragedy does not lie in reducing those energy costs but in the idea of converting food into fuel.

It is known very precisely today that one ton of corn can only produce 413 liters of ethanol on average, according to densities. That is equivalent to 109 gallons.

The average price of corn in U.S. ports has risen to $167 per ton. Thus, 320 million tons of corn would be required to produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol.

According to FAO figures, the U.S. corn harvest rose to 280.2 million tons in the year 2005.

Although the president is talking of producing fuel derived from grass or wood shavings, anyone can understand that these are phrases totally lacking in realism. Let's be clear: 35 billion gallons translates into 35 followed by nine zeros!

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IOF Kills Seven People in Gaza, Including Two Children; Al Mezan Demands Protection of Civilians
by Justice Lover

At approximately 4am, on 11 April 2008, a special unit of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) penetrated on foot into the Gaza Strip. The force mobilized at the Gaza border and moved one kilometer into northeastern Al Bureij refugee camp, where it broke into a number of houses and took positions atop of them. This force was backed by many tanks, military vehicles, and drones. IOF tanks opened fire indiscriminately in the area and bulldozed fields planted with olive trees. At approximately 1pm, the IOF opened fire at a group of children, who are residents of the nearby area. As a result, 13-year-old Riyad Sherif Al Owais was killed and five other children were injured. In all, seven people were killed in this incursion.

At approximately 2:20pm later that day, the IOF fired an artillery shell at a group of children and teenagers who gathered to watch the incursion. As a result, four of them were killed immediately and were identified as:
  • 18-year-old Shihab Mohammad Ahmad Abu Zubeida of Al Bureij refugee camp;

  • 19-year-old Jihad Mohammad Salem Abu Zubeida of Al Bureij refugee camp;

  • 18-year-old Yousif Ali Al Maghari of Al Bureij refugee camp; and,

  • 18-year-old Abdul- Raziq Atta Nofal of An Nuseirat refugee camp.
Three others were injured and one, 15-year-old Yousif Sarhan, sustained serious injury. He was transferred to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment, where medical sources later pronounced his death. He was from Al Bureij refugee camp.

The IOF continued to fire at crowds, causing injury to thirty-one people including 15 children. The injured were transferred to Al Shadha'a Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al Balah for treatment. Due to the seriousness of their wounds, eight of those injured were transferred to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Later that day, at approximately 8pm, an IOF warplane fired one missile at a group of armed resistance members. As a result, 28-year-old Munzir Abu Howeshl, from An Nuseriat refugee camp, was killed.

At approximately 10:30am on 12 April 2008, the IOF began to withdraw and pulled out completely by 2pm that afternoon.

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Central Plank Of Global Warming Alarmism Discredited

Inspiration for Al Gore's movie cover, contention that global warming causes intense hurricanes, discredited by professor who first proposed it
by Paul Joseph Watson

One of the central philosophies of climate change alarmism and an image that adorned the cover of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth - the contention that global warming causes deadly hurricanes - has been completely discredited by the expert who first proposed it.

Hurricane buff and professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT Kerry Emanuel asserted for over 20 years that global warming breeds more frequent and stronger storms and he shot to prominence just one month before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when he delivered the "final proof" that global warming was already causing extreme weather events and wrecking livelihoods.

Emanuel was subsequently acknowledged with a place in Time Magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World" list.

Al Gore was so inspired by Emanuel's research that he devoted the iconic front cover image of his 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth to his warning, portraying a hurricane emerging from a Co2-belching smokestack.

Unfortunately for the church of environmentalism, who ceaselessly profess to have a monopoly on truth and insist that "the debate is over" on global warming, Emanuel has completely recanted his position and now admits that hurricanes and storms will actually decline over the next 200 years and have little or no correlation with global temperature change whatsoever.
"Emanuel's newest work, co-authored with two other researchers, simulates hurricane conditions nearly 200 years in the future. The research -- the first to mesh global climate models with small-scale high-resolution simulations of individual storms -- found that while storm strength rises slightly in some areas, it falls in others -- and the total number of worldwide storms actually declines slightly," reports Daily Tech.

"The new work suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries," reports The Houston Chronicle.

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ASNE Survey: Over Last Year, Dailies Shrank Their Newsrooms By Biggest Margin In Three Decades
By Mark Fitzgerald

U.S. daily newspapers shrank their newsrooms by 2,400 journalists in the past year, a 4.4% workforce decrease that's the biggest year-over-year cut in ranks since the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) began conducting its annual census 30 years ago.

ASNE said 52,600 people work full-time in daily newspaper newsrooms -- a number that has not been that low since 1984.

Among those leaving dailies in the past year were a net of nearly 300 fewer journalists of color than worked in newsrooms this time last year, ASNE found in the census released Sunday.
Because of the wave of layoffs and hiring freezes, the percentage of journalists of color in daily newsrooms actually grew by a tiny margin, to 13.52% from 13.43 percent of all journalists, according to ASNE.

"The numbers represent a dual reality: It's mildly encouraging that the minority percentage held steady despite difficult economic times that are causing many cutbacks," ASNE President Gilbert Bailon, the editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said in a statement. "On the other hand, the total number of minority journalists employed at daily newspapers declined by nearly 300 people, which follows the pattern for the overall newsroom workforce. Such a trend will not help newspapers in their quest to reach parity with the minority population by 2025."

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Semantics Can't Mask Bush's Chicanery

By Robert Fisk

After his latest shenanigans, I've come to the conclusion that George Bush is the first US president to march backwards. First we had weapons of mass destruction. Then, when they proved to be a myth, Bush told us we had stopped Saddam's "programmes" for weapons of mass destruction (which happened to be another lie).

Now he's gone a stage further. After announcing victory in Iraq in 2003 and "mission accomplished" and telling us how this enormous achievement would lead the 21st century into a "shining age of human liberty", George Bush told us this week that "thanks to the surge, we've renewed and revived the prospect of success".

Now let's take a look at this piece of chicanery and subject it to a little linguistic analysis. Five years ago, it was victory - i.e. success - but this has now been transmogrified into a mere "prospect" of success. And not a "prospect", mark you, that has even been glimpsed. No, we have "renewed" and "revived" this prospect. "Revived", as in "brought back from the dead". Am I the only one to be sickened by this obscene semantics? How on earth can you "renew" a "prospect", let alone a prospect that continues to be bathed in Iraqi blood, a subject Bush wisely chose to avoid?

Note, too, the constant use of words that begin with "re -". Renew. Revive. And - incredibly - Bush also told us that "we actually re-liberated certain communities". This, folks, goes beyond hollow laughter. Since when did armies go around "re-liberating" anything? And what does that credibility-sapping "actually" mean? I suspect it was an attempt by the White House speech writer to suggest - by sleight of hand, of course - that Bush was really - really - telling the truth this time. But by putting "actually" in front of "re-liberate" - as opposed to just "liberate" - the whole grammatical construction falls apart. Rather like Iraq.

For by my reckoning, we have now "re-liberated" Fallujah twice. We have "re-liberated" Mosul three times and "re-liberated" Ramadi four times. The scorecard goes on. My files show that Sadr City may have been "re-liberated" five times, while Baghdad is "re-liberated" on an almost daily basis. General David Petraeus, in his pitiful appearance before the US Senate armed services committee, was bound to admit his disappointment at the military failure of the equally pitiful Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Basra. He had not followed Petraeus' advice; which was presumably to "re-liberate" the city (for the fourth time, by my calculation but with a bit more planning).

Indeed, Petraeus told senators that after his beloved "surge" goes home, the US will need a period of "consolidation and evaluation" - which is suspiciously close to saying that the US military will be, as the old adage goes, "redeployed to prepared positions". Ye gods! Where will this tomfoolery end?

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Too Much of Nothing: Crime Without Punishment, War Without End
by Chris Floyd

The President of the United States has openly, proudly admitted that he approved the use of interrogation methods that are by every measure -- including the measure of United States law -- criminal acts of torture. It is one of the most brazen and scandalous confessions of wrongdoing ever uttered by an American leader -- and it has had no impact whatsoever. No scandal, no outcry, no protest, no prosecution.

This pattern has recurred over and over throughout the Bush Administration. Bush and his minions commit crimes and atrocities in secret; they move heaven and earth to conceal their filthy deeds; they squirm and squeal like panicked rats when their some small portion of their evil comes to light; they belch forth a relentless series of self-contradictory lies to cover up, obfuscate or explain away the crimes; and when at last their malefactions can no longer be denied, they trot out the president himself to say: "Yeah, we did it; so what?" And then....nothing happens.

And now nothing is happening again. It is an astounding phenomenon. Bush is the most widely despised president in modern times. The war he launched on false pretenses against Iraq is deeply unpopular, and is plainly bankrupting the country. His economic policies have plunged millions into ruin, want and insecurity. The opposition political party controls the Congress -- a bastion they could have used as a bully pulpit to rally the public and as a battering ram to bring down an openly criminal, shamelessly unconstitutional, dangerous, illegitimate regime. And yet....nothing happens.

There has never been a condition of such deep, virtually catatonic civic paralysis in American history -- and few such instances in world history. There will be no good issue from all of this. No saving grace in the last act, no life-enhancing "lessons learned," no character growth in the story arc, no deus ex machina, no redemption. There will only be -- at best, in the very best-case scenario imaginable -- a long, slow agonizing slog through the ruins, a hard, interminable labor of waste disposal and reclamation, in a much-diminished world.

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Action Alert
Oppose H.R. 5036, Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008

[THOMAS] House Bill H.R. 5036 would purportedly increase the security of the U.S. election process by reimbursing jurisdictions that voluntarily replace Direct Recording Electronic voting systems with voter-verifiable paper ballot systems in time for the 2008 elections. The bill would also grant the Election Administration Commission (EAC) new audit regulatory powers and funding to pay for vote count audits of randomly selected precincts, as well as pay for hand counts of paper ballots cast in the 2008 elections.

Critics of H.R. 5036 assert:
  • It would significantly expand an unconstitutional federal power grab to control elections that was initiated through the disastrous Help America Vote act of 2002 (HAVA) with its establishing of the Election Administration Commission (EAC).
  • A voter-verified paper ballot voting system is no guarantee against wholesale election fraud. Electronic optical scanners used to count votes on paper ballots can still be hacked or tampered with.
  • The proposed EAC audit powers undermine the benefit of the paper ballot system the bill seeks to promote, because per the proposed EAC audit policy only "random" audits would be subsidized and none of the bill's $100 million of authorized funding could be used for "targeted" audits directed at where there is a suspicion of election fraud.
  • Undesirable consequences may result from the bill's augmentation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The EAC might invite U.N. international observers to be placed throughout America to jointly monitor the fairness of U.S. elections.
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