October 30, 2009
A new value-added tax (VAT) is “on the table” to help the U.S. address its fiscal liabilities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday night.
Pelosi, appearing on PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show” asserted that “it’s fair to look at” the VAT as part of an overhaul of the nation’s tax code.
“I would say, Put everything on the table and subject it to the scrutiny that it deserves,” Pelosi told Rose when asked if the VAT has any appeal to her.
The VAT is a tax on manufacturers at each stage of production on the amount of value an additional producer adds to a product.
Pelosi argued that the VAT would level the playing field between U.S. and foreign manufacturers, the latter of which do not have pension and healthcare costs included in the price of their goods because their governments provide those services, financed by similar taxes.
“They get a tax off of that and they use that money to pay the healthcare for their own workers,” Pelosi said, using the example of auto manufacturers. “So their cars coming into our country don’t have a healthcare component cost.
“Somewhere along the way, a value-added tax plays into this. Of course, we want to take down the healthcare cost, that’s one part of it,” the Speaker added. “But in the scheme of things, I think it’s fair look at a value- added tax as well.”
Pelosi said that any new taxes would come after the Congress finishes the healthcare debate consuming most lawmakers’ time, and that it may come as part of a larger overhaul to the tax code.
The Speaker also emphasized that any reworking of the tax code would not result in an increase in taxes on middle-class Americans.
October 30, 2009
By Dan Tencer
President Barack Obama received a great deal of media attention on Wednesday for signing a historic hate-crimes bill into law. But, on the same day, the US president also signed a Homeland Security spending bill that received far less attention, even though it effectively blocks efforts by activists to reveal photos of detainee abuse in US custody.
“We are disappointed that the president has signed a law giving the Defense Department the authority to hide evidence of its own misconduct, and we hope the defense secretary will not take advantage of that authority by suppressing photos related to the abuse of prisoners,” Jameel Jaffer, national security director for the ACLU, said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the House and Senate inserted language into the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would shield photos of detainees in the US’s war on terror from the Freedom of Information Act. The language, which was added at the prodding of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), effectively blocks an ACLU lawsuit currently before the courts that would have forced the government to release the photos under Freedom of Information statutes.
As Daphne Eviatar noted at the Washington Independent, “President Obama initially agreed to release the photos, but changed his mind after consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others at the Pentagon, who warned the photos would endanger US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
At issue are 21 photos of detainees in US custody that the Department of Defense has been fighting tooth and nail from releasing. As Raw Story reported earlier this year, those photos may show acts of sexual abuse being carried out against detainees.
Major General Antonio Taguba, the author of a report on allegations of detainee abuse in U.S. prisons in Iraq, said that photos exist depicting the following:
–An American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner.
–A male translator apparently raping a male detainee.
–A female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
Other photographs depict sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, according to Taguba.
TRANSFER OF GITMO PRISONERS NOW LEGAL
However, there was some good news for human-rights advocates in the Homeland Security bill. Another provision in the law allows for the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to US soil for trial.
“The administration should now do exactly that,” the ACLU’s Jaffer said. “The military commissions at Guantanamo are not just unlawful but unnecessary. The federal courts are fully capable of prosecuting terrorism suspects while protecting both national security interests and fundamental due process.”
President Obama made closing the detention facility for terrorism suspects in Guantanamo Bay a cornerstone of his electoral campaign. Since coming into office, the president has struggled to make good on the promise, slowly shifting detainees out of the facility whenever possible, and facing opposition to the idea that prisoners should be tried in the US from political opponents concerned about national security.
October 30, 2009
By Richard Gale and Dr Gary Null
President Obama and his top health officials are engaging in a major public relations effort to divert attention away from whether its swine flu vaccine is effective and safe – to whether there is enough of it to go around. And the media, as always, is cooperating fully. This echoes the way media debate was manipulated during the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Instead of debating whether we should even be fighting those wars, the media debated only whether we were using the correct military strategy.
Increasing numbers of scientists and doctors are issuing harsh criticisms of the Government’s plan to vaccinate (forcibly if necessary) virtually the entire U.S. population with what they claim is a poorly tested vaccine that is not only ineffective against swine flu, but could cripple and even kill many more people than it helps.
The CDC’s public relations campaign has been running “scare” ads that portray swine flu as a full-blown “pandemic” responsible for snuffing out countless lives, and which, unless stopped by universal vaccination, could kill millions of American citizens. But scientists and health officials throughout the world have called the governments claims unjustified and deliberately misleading.
For example, Dr. Anthony Morris, a distinguished virologist and former Chief Vaccine Office at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), states that “There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza” and that “The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.”
And in November 2007, the UK newspaper The Scotsman, made public warnings by the inventor of the “flu jab,” Dr. Graeme Laver. Dr. Laver was a major Australian scientist involved in the invention of a flu vaccine, in addition to playing a leading scientific role in the discovery of anti-flu drugs. He went on record as saying the vaccine he helped to create was ineffective and [that] natural infection with the flu was safer. “I have never been impressed with its efficacy,” said Dr. Laver.
We hear the assumption being made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that the number of deaths from the H1N1 virus is at pandemic levels and now a “national emergency.” One would assume that with all of its resources, the New York Times’ October 26 front page story on the CDC’s statistics would be accurate: 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,000 deaths due to the swine flu. However, this is all fiction. And it is a fiction solely based upon the CDC’s own contradictory statements and actions.
Our independent investigations into the clinical trials and statistical studies of influenza vaccines reveal glaring discrepancies. Let us not forget that it is this same New York Times, with its “star” reporter Judith Miller, who led America into believing that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, tried to purchase yellow cake uranium from Niger, and had dealings with al-Qaeda. And let us also remember that it is the same CDC and health officials in Washington, including President Ford and his top health advisor Joseph Califano, who pushed through and propagandized an untested vaccine during the 1976 swine flu scare, which resulted in thousands of severely neurologically damaged Americans and about 500 reported deaths. Aside from permanent paralysis, many of these vaccine victims also underwent torturous processes for many years to get the government to recognize their illnesses and help cover their costs. Not only was the CDC’s prediction and vaccination campaign for the 1976 flu season a total disaster, it also turned into a deadly scandal, witnessed across the United States on 60 Minutes when Dr. David Sencer, then head of the CDC, confirmed that the vaccine was never field tested, that there were only several reported incidents of H1N1 infection and none of these had been officially confirmed, and then lied about the CDC having no prior evidence that the swine flu vaccine could cause severe and permanent neurological damage. The end result from the 1976 debacle cost the government $3.5 billion in damages, two-thirds were for severe neurological injury and death directly due to the CDC’s vaccination campaign.
October 30. 2009
By Mike Adams
The US government has issued a new report that recommends blocking access to popular websites during a pandemic outbreak in order to preserve internet bandwidth for investors, day traders and securities clearing house operations. The concern is that a pandemic would cause too many people to stay at home and download YouTube videos and porn, hogging all the internet bandwidth and blocking throughput for investment activities, thereby causing a stock market meltdown.
In this article, I’m going to explain how a pandemic outbreak could theoretically bring down Wall Street. But to get to that, you’ll first need to find out what the GAO said in its curious report (see below). Parts of this article are presented as satire, but the underlying facts quoted here are all true and verifiable (links are provided to all sources).
This report in question is entitled, “GAO Report to Congressional Requesters, INFLUENZA PANDEMIC” and includes this subtitle: Key Securities Market Participants Are Making Progress, but Agencies Could Do More to Address Potential Internet Congestion and Encourage Readiness.
As the report explains:
In a severe pandemic, governments may close schools, shut down public transportation systems, and ban public gatherings such as concerts or sporting events. In such scenarios, many more people than usual may be at home during the day, and Internet use in residential neighborhoods could increase significantly as a result of people seeking news, entertainment, or social contact from home computers. Concerns have been raised that this additional traffic could lead to congestion on the Internet that would significantly affect businesses in local neighborhoods, such as small doctors’ offices or business employees attempting to telework by connecting to their employers’ enterprise networks.
October 30, 2009
By David Gutierrez
The FDA has given its approval to the first chemotherapy drug developed specifically for dogs.
“This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine,” said Bernadette Dunham of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs. Today’s approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog’s cancer.”
The drug, produced by Pfizer, is called toceranib phosphate and will be marketed under the name Palladia. In the family known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, Palladia attacks tumor cells directly while also cutting off the blood supply that they need to grow.
While chemotherapy has been available to pet owners for many years, veterinarians have only been able to prescribe drugs tested on humans, with no guarantee that they would work in dogs or other pets. According to the canine cancer awareness nonprofit Georgia’s Legacy, pet owners choosing to treat their dogs for cancer “should be prepared to spend several thousand dollars in the course of your dog’s treatment, especially if you go through chemotherapy.”
Pfizer has not yet revealed how much Palladia will cost. Pet owners in the United States currently spend $12.2 billion on veterinary medicine per year, contributing to an increasing market for pet insurance.
Palladia has been approved only for the treatment of canine cutaneous cancer, which accounts for one in five dog skin cancers. Like most forms of cancer, this variety can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
In clinical trials, Palladia slowed or stopped cutaneous tumor growth in 60 percent of pups treated with it. The most common side effects included bloody stool, diarrhea, lameness, loss of appetite and weight loss.
October 30, 2009
By SL Baker
An illustration from an 1887 book depicts the fabled “Vegetable Lamb of Tartary” as a plant with a tiny furry animal coming out of a long stalk. The reason? This wooly tree fern was once believed to literally produce sheep. That legend no doubt came about because the plant has masses of wool-like fibers that emerge on top. It grows in mountainous areas of China, northeast India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan and has long been used in Asian medicine to treat rheumatism, muscle aches and pains, nerve pain, and body aches during pregnancy.
Now scientists studying the plant, known by its botanical name Cibotium barmoetz (C. barmoetz), have found evidence it contains several powerful phytochemicals. And these natural compounds could treat the bone-thinning disorder known as osteoporosis.
A research team from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) in Hanoi, Viet Nam; Chungnam National University in Daejeon, South Korea, and the Kyungpook National University’s Skeletal Diseases Genome Research Center in Daegu, South Korea, analyzed the so-called “vegetable lamb plant” as part of a larger study of Vietnamese plant-based folk medicine. In all, scientist Young Ho Kim and his colleagues isolated eight compounds from an extract of C. barmoetz rhizomes. Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that are involved in the vigorous reproduction of these fern plants. They send new roots out of their nodes and into the soil, resulting in new stems shooting up to the surface.
As reported in the October issue of the Journal of Natural Products, published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), four of these compounds showed remarkable properties when tested in the lab. They halted the formation of 97% of osteoclast cells (which break down bone) in laboratory cultures without harming other cells. That’s important because normal strong bones depend on a healthy balance between osteoblasts (cells that build bones) and osteoclasts. If the production of osteoclasts is increased or if osteoblast production is decreased, then bones can become brittle and weak. So the C. barmoetz compounds might be able to treat osteoporosis by reducing an over-abundance of osteoclasts, thereby normalizing bone marrow function.
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue which can make you susceptible to fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million people in the US now have osteoporosis (which literally means “porous bones”) and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass.
October 30, 2009
By Mike Adams
There’s mercury everywhere around us, it seems. It’s in the food (seafood), the medicines (vaccines) and even the lights (compact fluorescent lights). And that doesn’t even cover mercury fillings still used by crazed dentists who insist mercury is “perfectly safe” to chew on!
All the sane people have already figured out that mercury is highly toxic to human health, but how do you get mercury out of your body once you’ve ingested it?
That’s where chlorella enters the picture. This amazing microalgae superfood binds to mercury and helps remove it from your body, safely and naturally. It doesn’t get 100% of the mercury out (chelation can help with that), but it does an amazingly good job for a natural, food-based dietary supplement.
I’ve taken chlorella for over a decade. It’s one of the mainstays of my nutritional supplementation (which also includes spirulina and astaxanthin). Learn more about chlorella in this collection of supporting quotes we’ve compiled for you.
Removing heavy metals with chlorella
Chlorella is a single-cell, fresh water algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, chlorella growth factor, and other beneficial substances. It is about the size of a human erythrocyte (red blood cell) or about 2-8 microns in diameter. Chlorella is high in chlorophyll, giving it a rich green color. For many years, chlorella has been accepted as a detoxifier, and it is commonly used in colon cleansing regimes. Chlorella appears to bind to heavy metals as well as other toxic substances in the bowel and help with the detoxification process.
- Disease Prevention and Treatment by The Life Extension Editorial Staff
There are several species of chlorella. Those most commonly used in nutritional supplements are Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Chlorella is rich in protein. In addition, it is rich in chlorophyll, carotenoids, such as astaxanthin, canthaxanthin, flavoxanthin, loraxanthin, neoxanthin and violaxanthin. Chlorella also contains the xanthophyll, echinenone.
- PDR for Nutritional Supplements by Sheldon Saul Hendler and David Rorvik
October 28, 2009
The New York Times
By Jennifer Medina
As people across the country clamor for the swine flu vaccine, fewer than half of New York City parents with children in elementary school have given permission for their children to receive the vaccine at school, reflecting some ambivalence about the need for the vaccine or concern about its effects.
Health officials said that while they did not have a citywide figure, 5 percent to 50 percent of parents had given consent for their children to receive the vaccine at schools that had it. At Public School 157 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where health officials opened the school vaccination effort on Wednesday, only a third of students had permission to receive it.
“The swine flu vaccine has not been out long enough for me to trust it,” said Sheena Ash, who has three children at the school. “They have never gotten a flu shot, and they’ve never gotten the flu.”
Faced with doubts about the vaccine, health officials nationwide have sought to assure the public that it is safe and advisable. But because vaccine production has lagged, few have had trouble giving their small supplies away, and some school districts have had to postpone immunization sessions.
In New York City, however, many parents appear to be passing on the vaccine. Besides questions about the vaccine itself, some may assume that if their children contracted swine flu in the spring, they were now immune, a belief supported by most flu experts. Swine flu has yet to hit New York City hard this fall, possibly leading to some complacency. Other parents may be waiting for their pediatricians to receive the vaccine, although most doctors have received far less than they have ordered.
Health officials had estimated a 30 percent to 50 percent participation rate, and had allocated vaccines for about half of the city’s more than 300,000 public elementary school students, said Dr. Jane R. Zucker, the assistant commissioner of the city’s bureau of immunization. With parental consent rates falling below estimates in some schools, the officials used Wednesday’s event to implore more parents to sign up.
“Parents need to have their child vaccinated,” Dr. Zucker said, saying that parents should be assured that the H1N1 vaccine had gone through the same tests as the seasonal flu vaccine, and that serious reactions were rare.
October 27, 2009
Larry King Live Blogs
by Suzanne Somers
There is nothing more serious than cancer. I know this firsthand, having been diagnosed with it twice.
As I’ve said in interviews and written in my book, I believe there is a time and place for Western medicine, chemo-therapeutic drugs, and even radiation. When faced with the threat of cancer, I wanted to know about all my treatment options. Yet, during both diagnoses, I was never offered any healing alternative to the standard-of-care treatment—surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and harsh after-care drugs. Why? My interviews with some of America’s leading practicing, credentialed doctors—innovative Western-trained doctors and specialists—clearly demonstrate that there are options that have been proven effective in conjunction with or as alternatives to standard of care.
I make no claims of being a physician. I am a health seeker and a concerned layperson. My intent is not to tell anyone what to do when making this most personal decision. I hope to let people know there are options, and that there are therapies that can help cancer treatment be more successful if you do choose standard of care.
What is harmful about opening a dialogue between patients, doctors, and other healers, all of whom have the same aim—a cure for this killer disease? Why are these groups not talking to each other more? Wouldn’t you want to explore and understand all sides of a life-and-death issue before deciding what’s best for you? Where is the harm in giving people more tools, more information, and more options to consider?
When a life is on the line, none of us wants to succumb to lazy thinking.
Yours in health,
October 29, 2009
A period of careful eating and regular exercise can stave off diabetes for a decade, a study suggests.
US researchers followed up nearly 3,000 overweight people who had taken part in a three year diabetes prevention programme.
The group had initially been divided into three – assigned either to a diet and exercise programme, the diabetes drug metformin or a placebo.
The Lancet report notes it was the dieters who reaped the most benefit.
All three groups were given access to ongoing lifestyle coaching once the initial three year trial had ended.
That trial, carried out by the US-based Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, had shown a diet aimed at achieving 7% weight loss, combined with half an hour of exercise five days a week, reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58% compared with the placebo group.
The group on metformin, a drug which has been used to treat the condition since the 1950s, saw their risk decline by nearly a third.
“We need more effective drugs for people who cannot follow intensive lifestyle therapy because of infirmity”
Dr Anoop Misra Lancet editorial
In the seven years after the trial ended, both the drug and placebo groups – now also eating more carefully and exercising – saw the rate of diabetes fall.
But the most significant drop was among those who had started out on a diet and exercise regime – their risk was over a third lower than the placebo group.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr Anoop Misra, a specialist in diabetes in New Delhi, described the prevention of the disease as “a long and winding road”.
‘No short cut’
Dr Misra said: “There seems to be no short cut, and a persistent and prolonged intensive lifestyle intervention seems to be the most effective way to travel on it.”
But he warned it could not be the only measure: “We need more effective drugs for those who cannot follow intensive lifestyle therapy because of infirmity.”
Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, however increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with the condition, some as young as seven.
Although obesity is a risk factor, not all people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Dr Iain Frame, head of research at Diabetes UK, said: “It is fascinating to read about the 10-year follow up studies and of the importance of lifestyle interventions, with or without metformin, in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes even after 10 years.
“There is clearly no easy route to take to prevent Type 2 diabetes but indications are that with further research into the long-term benefits of good dietary advice, physical activity and, where necessary drug therapies, we may be a step closer into helping people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes modify their lifestyle choices that are sustainable in the longer term.”