Monday, August 3, 2009

Liberty and Justice

The Day the President Turned Black

by Greg Palast

(But has he turned back?)

He's in hot water now. For a moment, on national television, the President of the United States turned black!

Last week, when his buddy "Skip" Gates got busted for being Black in Boston, Barack Obama forgot his official role: to soothe America's conscience with the happy fairy tale that his election marked the end of racism in the USA.

Instead, Obama, the excruciatingly middle-of-the-road President, was seized by Barack the militant State Senator from the South Side of Chicago, who reminded us that cops bust Black guys for no goddamn good reason all the goddamn time.

I'm reminded that it was not so long ago that we watched the vicious gang-beating by Los Angeles cops of a defenseless, handcuffed, Rodney King, an African-American. King's beating was unusual only in that it was caught on videotape.

Yeah, I know: we've come a hell of a long way. Obama won, Jessie cried, Beyoncé has her own line of perfume and Tiger Woods plays where 30 years ago he couldn't eat lunch.

Good on them.

But what about Robert Pratt, Mr. President?

Pratt, a United Auto Workers member, has five kids and a mortgage payment of $1,100 a month on a house in Detroit worth no more than $40,000. The payment's astronomical because he pays 11% on his mortgage balance, double the national average interest rate. Now, on those crazy terms, he's sure to lose his house.

How did that happen? Pratt, whose story we've been tracking, was "steered" into a sub-prime loan by Countrywide Financial. "Steering" is the polite term for forcing folk into crappy loan terms. And not just any folk: Black folk, like Pratt. Over 60% of African-American mortgage applicants were (and ARE) steered into "sub-prime" predatory loans.

According to exhaustive studies by the Federal Reserve Board and the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), African Americans are 250% more likely to get a loan with an "exploding interest" clause than white borrowers - and notably, the higher the income and the better the credit rating of a Black borrower, the more likely the discrimination.

As an economist, I can tell you it's not a stretch to say that Obama's failure to deal with endemic racism in the finance system is killing off hope of the nation's economic recovery. The "exploding rate" attack centered on Black and Hispanic communities has, according to the CLR, caused 40.2 million homes to lose value due to their proximity to foreclosed properties.

Yet, not a peep from the Obama Administration about ending this Ku Klux lending practice which has laid waste Black neighborhoods and taken a hunk of White America's housing values with it.

Instead, Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is the honored guest of the Board of Directors of JP Morgan, owner of one of the most outrageous of the financial predators, Washington Mutual. Morgan/WaMu, with its racially-poisoned mortgage trickery, makes the Cambridge Police Department look like the NAACP.

Why they hate us

A clown in front of a 46-metre-long 'torta' (Mexican sandwich) during the annual 'Torta Festival' in Mexico City. More than 200 people helped to make the giant sandwich, which includes meat, chicken, avocado, mole (Mexican spicy sauce), turkey, tomatoes, beans, ham and different types of cheese in an attempt to break the record for the longest 'torta'. (AFP/Getty Images)

Dr. Ron Paul Introduces Health Freedom Bills!

Dr. Ron Paul, health freedom's friend in Congress, introduced two important bills yesterday that, if passed, would rein in the excessive interference in advanced health products by the FDA and FTC.

Dr. Ron Paul Introduces Health Freedom Bills!

Dr. Ron Paul, health freedom's friend in Congress, introduced two important bills yesterday that, if passed, would rein in the excessive interference in advanced health products by the FDA and FTC.

You can support these bills here:

Here is the Life Extension Foundation's description of the bills:

HR 3395: The Health Freedom Act. This bill removes FDA's power of prior restraint over all nutrient-disease relationship claims. Under the bill, the FDA may not prohibit any statement concerning a nutrient affecting a disease (including treatment effects) from being made in the market and may only act against a statement once made if it possesses clear and convincing evidence that the statement is false. Presently the FDA blocks an enormous quantity of truthful information concerning the effects of nutrients and foods on disease from reaching consumers. That barrier is removed by the Health Freedom Act, but the Act preserves the power of the government to prosecute those who communicate falsehood. The essential purpose of the First Amendment is to disarm the federal government of the power to impose a prior restraint on speech. The FDA has imposed a prior restraint for decades to the health detriment of the public. Passage of the Health Freedom Act will restore constitutional governance by reasserting the supremacy of the First Amendment over the Food and Drug Administration.

HR 3394: The Health Information Protection Act. This bill prevents the Federal Trade Commission from taking action against any advertiser that communicates a health benefit for a product unless the FTC first establishes based on clear and convincing evidence that the statement made is false and that its communication causes harm to the public. Presently, the FTC reverses the Fifth Amendment burden of proof on the government when it charges advertisers with deceptive advertising and then demands that they prove their speech true based on contemporaneously held documentation or be deemed to have advertised deceptively. The Fifth Amendment requires that FTC bear the burden of proving advertising deceptive. It may not constitutionally shift the burden to the advertiser to prove its statements not deceptive. The First Amendment requires that FTC not act against speech unless the speech is probably false. It may not constitutionally accuse a party of false advertising yet lack proof that the advertising is false and condemn advertising based on an absence of documentation concerning the truth of the statement rather than the presence of evidence establishing the falsity of the statement.

Soldiers and Marines in Iraq discussing PTSD with Tim King

Roseanne Barr, Hitler and Burnt Jew Cookies in Heeb Magazine

by: Andrea

Roseanne Barr as Adolf Hilter holding
Roseanna Barr as Adolf Hitler holding "burnt Jew cookies" in Heeb magazine

Roseanne Barr was photographed (at her request) as Adolf Hitler in a new photo spread for the Jewish humor magazine, Heeb.

"Domestic Goddess" Roseanne posed as "Domestic Goddess Hitler" for the photos, wearing Hitler's mustache and a swastika, while holding and preparing to take a bite out of "burnt Jew Cookies."

The first time the 55-year-old comedian has been seen since a "self-imposed" exile, Rosanne, who is Jewish, "nails the Fuhrer's facial expressions with twisted glee."

Roseanne and Heeb have taken heat for the pics, which have caused quite a storm of controversy.

Heeb publisher, Josh Neuman has responded to the fuss over Roseanne's Hitler photos:

Many have been up and arms over our recent photo of Roseanne Barr as a "Nazi domestic goddess" in our Germany Issue, questioning how, as Jews, we could ever find any humor in such a subject. When I hear such sorrowful pleas, I want to cry from remorse, but I'm afraid the ensuing suds would cake the lenses of my glasses.

Cannabis Science to Apply to the FDA

Cannabis Science to Apply to the FDA to Utilize Their Fast Track Procedures to Help Speed the Approval of Its Cannabinoid Medicines in Treatment of H1N1 Swine Flu as AP Report Predicts Swine Flu Could Hit up to 40 Percent in the USA

Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTCBB: CBIS), an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company, is pleased to report that it is moving as fast as possible to assist in the fight against the threat of a deadly influenza pandemic. In conjunction with its recent re-organization, the Company has begun discussions with the FDA as its program moves forward to provide FDA approved solutions for several critical illnesses.

H1N1 Swine Flu:
According to the CDC ( the Avian flu (H5N1) has a 63% mortality rate. Unfortunately, the Swine flu, while causing death at a much lower rate than the Avian flu, appears to also result in death via a similar mechanism. The common cause of death with these strains is organ failure, especially as seen in the lungs with the development of Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is caused by an excess immune-generated inflammatory response that leads to apoptosis (cell death) and subsequently to organ failure. The Company's approach will mimic how the human body uses endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally in the body) to regulate immune activity and cell survival, by regulating inflammatory biochemistry. Excessive inflammatory responses are associated with numerous disease states including autoimmune diseases, neurological imbalances, and cardiovascular disease. Phytocannabinoids provide a natural means to supplement illness-specific endocannabinoid deficiencies.

Cannabis Science H1N1 Swine Flu Formulation:
We now know that the endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in maintaining human health. The human body produces Endocannabinoids on demand when they are needed. They help restore homeostasis (biochemical balance). The Cannabis plant produces Phytocannabinoids. When the human body has endocannabinoid deficiencies, it cannot effectively restore the healthy biochemical state needed to counter a particular illness. Phytocannabinoids from the Cannabis plant can replace the deficient endocannabinoid activity in the human body to restore a health-promoting level of cannabinoid activity. Cannabis Science will test its cannabis extract lozenge with FDA guidance and oversight to determine if it will reduce ARDS-associated deaths from both the Avian and Swine influenza infections.


Little gems from the Health Care Bill

by CMS

• Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the gov option!
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll <>BR • Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesnt' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Goverment provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

Palin’s Resignation: The Edited Version

If you watched Sarah Palin's resignation speech, you know one thing: her high-priced speechwriters moved back to the Beltway long ago. Just how poorly constructed was the governor's holiday-weekend address? We asked V.F.'s red-pencil-wielding executive literary editor, Wayne Lawson, together with representatives from the research and copy departments, to whip it into publishable shape. Here is the colorful result.

GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans

Scientific Tests Must Be Approved by Industry First

One of the great mysteries surrounding the spread of GMO plants around the world since the first commercial crops were released in the early 1990's in the USA and Argentina has been the absence of independent scientific studies of possible long-term effects of a diet of GMO plants on humans or even rats. Now it has come to light the real reason. The GMO agribusiness companies like Monsanto, BASF, Pioneer, Syngenta and others prohibit independent research. 


An editorial in the respected American scientific monthly magazine, Scientific American, August 2009 reveals the shocking and alarming reality behind the proliferation of GMO products throughout the food chain of the planet since 1994. There are no independent scientific studies published in any reputed scientific journal in the world for one simple reason. It is impossible to independently verify that GMO crops such as Monsanto Roundup Ready Soybeans or MON8110 GMO maize perform as the company claims, or that, as the company also claims, that they have no harmful side effects because the GMO companies forbid such tests!


That's right. As a precondition to buy seeds, either to plant for crops or to use in research study, Monsanto and the gene giant companies must first sign an End User Agreement with the company. For the past decade, the period when the greatest proliferation of GMO seeds in agriculture has taken place, Monsanto, Pioneer (DuPont) and Syngenta require anyone buying their GMO seeds to sign an agreement that explicitly forbids that the seeds be used for any independent research. Scientists are prohibited from testing a seed to explore under what conditions it flourishes or even fails. They cannot compare any characteristics of the GMO seed with any other GMO or non-GMO seeds from another company. Most alarming, they are prohibited from examining whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended side-effects either in the environment or in animals or humans.


The only research which is permitted to be published in reputable scientific peer-reviewed journals are studies which have been pre-approved by Monsanto and the other industry GMO firms.

Jackson's aliases revealed in warrant

Prescription drugs prescribed or sold to Michael Jackson were obtained with the use of as many as 19 aliases, the attorney for Jackson's doctor says.

Edward Chernoff, who represents Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Jackson hours before his death and the subject of a federal probe, issued a statement Tuesday saying the sealed search warrant "authorized investigators to look for medical records relating to Michael Jackson and all of his reported aliases."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the aliases used were: Omar Arnold, Paul Farance, Bryan Singleton, Jack London, Michael Amir Williams Muhammad, Jimmy Nicholas, Blanca Nicholas, Roselyn Muhammad, Faheem Muhammad, Frank Tyson, Fernand Diaz, Peter Madonie, Josephine Baker and Kai Chase. Prince Jackson, Jackson's 12-year-old son, was also listed in the warrant.

Harvey Levin, executive producer of the celebrity Web site, told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith Wednesday that TMZ has records showing Jackson used aliases as far back as 1993. "He used employees of the Neverland Ranch, he used fictitious people," Levin said. "He used the name Josephine Baker, even.

"But this has been going on, not just with Dr. Murray, but literally dozens of other doctors. ... The LAPD and the coroner's office have quietly been going to other doctors. Subpoenas have been served. This is going to open up a massive investigation into what authorities believe could be gross fraudulent prescribing practices. There are a lot of people who are very nervous in Beverly Hills and west L.A. right now."

Murray is "absolutely" just the tip of that iceberg, Levin said.

Bill Maher takes on the birthers

Time Magazine, Jan. 08, 1951

Radio: Phonevision

An ambitious effort to arrange a financially happy marriage between TV and Hollywood, Phonevision gives TV set owners a chance to order movies by telephone, at $1 each. Once the order is placed, a simple gadget attached to the TV set and connected to the home telephone unscrambles the movie on the TV screen. Hollywood collects its profit and the set owner is charged on his telephone bill. Last fall Hollywood released for the Chicago test more than 90 films made during the past three or four years.

McDonald has scheduled three Phone-vision showings daily (at 4, 7 and 9 p.m.), and the films move progressively each day from one time period to another. The 300 Phonevision subscribers had an initial choice of April Showers, a 1948 musical starring Jack Carson; Welcome Stranger, a 1947 Bing Crosby comedy, and 1948's Homecoming, with Clark Gable and Lana Turner. Explained McDonald: "It wouldn't be a real test if we had only the best. Our sole interest is to find out the public reaction to Phonevision."

Confident of favorable reactions from the audience—and contingent upon Federal Communications Commission approval—McDonald expects Phonevision to be a going business within two years. Says he firmly: "The theater is moving into the home and nothing can stop it.",9171,805681,00.html

Startup Aims to Simplify the Ad Buy

By paulgillin

A lot of good ideas are being incubated to reinvent the publishing revenue model. We're going to begin profiling some of these ventures under the label "Revenue 2.0." If you'd like to be considered, send us a description of your product or service along with contact information. Please don't send ideas; there are plenty of those. We're looking for going concerns.

Pete Groverman can't believe it's so difficult to buy a newspaper ad.

"If you want to place an ad in every newspaper in Philadelphia, you have to either contact each paper directly or hire an agency or a broker to do it for you," he says. "It takes about two weeks and it's a pain in the neck."

The 26-year-old Philadelphia entrepreneur thinks he has a better way.  Groverman and a small crew of bootstrap-funded dreamers have developed Tapinko, a sort of eBay for advertising. "It's the online marketplace for offline ad space," he says.

Like eBay, Tapinko helps buyers and sellers find each other but doesn't disrupt the normal sales process.  Prospective advertisers can log into the service and find a list of outlets for their ad.  They select the opportunities that interest them and submit their request to the system.  On the other end, advertisers field and respond to individual inquiries, either selling at posted rates or negotiating side deals. Tapinko takes a small commission from the publisher for each successful sale.  The service also includes a variety of tools for tracking and managing ad campaigns.

tapinkologoTapinko launched into the college market and has signed up more than 125 college newspapers.  Emboldened by early success, the seven-person startup are now seeking alliances with mainstream publications.  In May, they signed their biggest deal to date, a partnership with Greater Media Newspapers of Freehold, New Jersey. Advertisers will be able to buy space in Greater Media's 12 newspapers via the Tapinko service.

Where Google Went Wrong

Tapinko's approach is reminiscent of Google Print Ads, a service that the search giant shuttered early this year.  Groverman believes Google's mistake was in messing with the existing process. "Google Print Ads was a Priceline approach where buyers named their own price and Google owned the brand," he says. "Newspaper sales reps had no incentive to recommend the service."

In contrast, Tapinko merely serves as a connector. Buyers still do business with individual publications at individual rates.  Ad reps still collect their commissions. "We're piggybacking on the way advertising has been sold for hundreds of years," he says.

And it turns out clients don't have to be traditional publishers.  Among Tapinko's list of media outlets is a young woman who offers to display a client's bumper sticker on her car for a monthly fee of $75.  Another man will display a company's logo as a tattoo for free as long as the advertiser pays for the tattoo.

The fledgling venture was recently accepted into the Philadelphia-based Dreamit Ventures startup foundry and is now seeking venture capital.

Lots of unanswered questions