Friday, October 16, 2009

The Morning Headlines At : Le Café Politique De Camus De Café : 08.16.09

The Morning Headlines At : Le Café Politique De Camus De Café : 08.16.09

Home To Those Given To Resistance and Rebellion In The Name Of This Nation And What Is Right.

“There Are No Wars Without War Crimes And Criminals”

1946: The Nuremberg Trial War Criminals : Victor’s justice was never better served than this date in 1946, when the brass of Third Reich hung for crimes against humanity during the late World War II.

UN Vote Sends Gaza War Report To Security Council

Israel Threatens To Quit Peace Talks Over UN War Crimes Vote

World Premiere TONIGHT For A Dramatic New Radio Play For Peace, Featuring Ed Asner

Fox News Isn't Even Pretending Anymore : Want proof that journalism has devolved into entertainment? Watch "the communications arm of the Republican Party"

30 GOP Senators Vote To Defend Gang Rape

Blair Of The Bloody Hand

Healthcare: In Saying No, G.O.P. Sees More Pros Than Cons

Swine Flu Shots Revive a Debate About Vaccines

Today Is Really A Doomsday For Pakistan

Stanley McChrystal’s Long War Greenspan Says U.S. Should Consider Breaking Up Large Banks : Will wonders never cease? Greenspan becomes a consumer advocate & advises breaking up the megabanks.

October 16th, 2009 Headsman

Victor’s justice was never better served than this date in 1946, when the brass of Third Reich hung for crimes against humanity during the late World War II.

(From this page of original period audio files.)

The landmark legal proceeding* is covered well enough in many other sources for this humble venue to break new ground.

Apart from trailblazing international law, the trial was notable for the gut-punching film of German atrocities; this relatively novel piece of evidence is available for perusal thanks to the magic of the Internet. Caution: Strong stuff. An hour’s worth of Nazi atrocities.

The climactic hangings in the predawn hours this day in Nuremberg were conducted by an American hangman who used the American standard drop rather than the British table calibrated for efficacious neck-snapping. As a result, at least some hangings were botched strangulation jobs, a circumstance which has occasionally attracted charges of intentional barbarism.

Media eyewitness Kingsbury Smith’s taut report of the night’s executions (well worth the full read) described just such an ugly end for propagandist Julius Streicher.

At that instant the trap opened with a loud bang. He went down kicking. When the rope snapped taut with the body swinging wildly, groans could be heard from within the concealed interior of the scaffold. Finally, the hangman, who had descended from the gallows platform, lifted the black canvas curtain and went inside. Something happened that put a stop to the groans and brought the rope to a standstill. After it was over I was not in the mood to ask what he did, but I assume that he grabbed the swinging body of and pulled down on it. We were all of the opinion that Streicher had strangled.

There were in all 12 condemned to death at Nuremberg; all hanged this day except Martin Bormann (condemned in absentia; it was only years later that his death during the Nazi regime’s 1945 Gotterdammerung was established) and Hermann Goering (who cheated the executioner with a cyanide capsule two hours before hanging). The ten to die this day were:

* Its resultant Nuremberg Principles comprise a lofty articulation of principles whose actual application, as Noam Chomsky has observed, would have meant that “every post-war American president would have been hanged.”

Also On This Date

Possibly Related Executions

Tags: 1940s, 1946, alfred jodl, alfred rosenberg, arthur seyss-inquart, ernst kaltenbrunner, fritz sauckel, hans frank, hermann goering, joachim von ribbentrop, julius streicher, kingsbury smith, martin bormann, noam chomsky, nuremberg, nuremberg trials, october 16, wilhelm frick, wilhelm keitel, world war ii

Entry Filed under: 20th Century, Botched Executions, Capital Punishment, Cheated the Hangman, Crimes Against Humanity, Death Penalty,

England, Execution, France, Germany,Hanged, History, Infamous, Intellectuals, Mass Executions, Notable Jurisprudence, Occupation and Colonialism, Politicians, Posthumous Exonerations, Power, Russia, Soldiers, USA, War Crimes

UN Vote Sends Gaza War Report To Security Council
The Associated Press
The move could ultimately lead to international proceedings against suspected
War Criminals For Abuses Of International Law During The Dec. 27-Jan.

Israel Threatens To Quit Peace Talks Over UN War Crimes Vote

Israel has threatened to pull out of Middle East peace talks if Britain and other European nations fail to back the country in a key vote at the United ...More

World Premiere TONIGHT For A Dramatic New Radio Play For Peace, Featuring Ed Asner
Be sure to tune in TONIGHT Friday, Oct. 16 at 5PM Pacific time, to listen to the world broadcast debut of "It's Up To Us Alone", featuring Ed Asner. Anyone in the world can listen live on the KPFK website at

Fox News Isn't Even Pretending Anymore : Want proof that journalism has devolved into entertainment? Watch "the communications arm of the Republican Party"

Oct. 15, 2009 | In theory, the national news media function in a free market of ideas: a self-regulating, relentless quest for what the old Superman comics called “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” (Actually, Clark Kent’s newspaper-reporter disguise strikes contemporary audiences as a sentimental anachronism. Today, he’d be a rogue cop or a CIA operative.)

In practice, Washington political journalism has become a subdivision of the entertainment industry: its best-known practitioners are second- and third-tier TV stars, and news itself a form of politicized “infotainment.” Even lowly print reporters and pundits can greatly improve their incomes by appearing on programs like “Hardball” and copping an attitude.

Chasing audiences and advertising dollars, corporate media seek to tell target demographics the kinds of stories those audiences want to hear. Nobody who watched CNN cover Michael Jackson’s death 24/7, for example, could imagine otherwise. For weeks at a time, only BBC America provided a halfway reliable window on the outside world — a hell of a note.

The boldest innovator, however, has been Fox News. Since President Obama’s election, the cable news channel has dropped all but the barest pretense of objectivity. Billing itself as “fair and balanced,” Fox has turned itself into what White House communications director Anita Dunn recently called “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.”

Actually, that’s an extremely polite way of putting it. It’s closer to Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.” Fox openly promotes “Tea Parties” and other political demonstrations; it portrays every perceived White House defeat, such as Chicago’s failure to secure the 2016 Olympic Games, as a victory for something called “Fox Nation.”

“Obama Triples Budget Deficit to $1.4 Trillion,” reads a typical headline on the Fox Web site. In reality, the Congressional Budget Office projected the fiscal 2009 deficit at $1.2 trillion before Obama took office. Media Matters for America has compiled an encyclopedic list of similar absurdities.

“Doublethink,” Orwell called it: the ability to “hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them.” So it is with “Fox Nation” and “fair and balanced.”

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, “72 percent of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79 percent of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69 percent think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75 percent believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.”

Almost needless to say, all of these things are categorically false. The “death panels” falsehood, for example, was invented by serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey (financed by the right-wing Manhattan Institute with money from tobacco giant Philip Morris), amplified by Sarah Palin, and then broadcast day and night by Fox News. And so it goes, day after day.

Appearing on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” the White House’s Dunn made it clear that the Obama administration intends to deal with the network as a political enemy. “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” she subsequently told The New York Times. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

As feckless and cowardly as the so-called “mainstream” media have grown in the face of conservative propaganda about “liberal media bias,” this strikes me as very good news. Something like it ought to have been done as long ago as President Clinton’s first term. For the better part of a generation, Democrats have conducted themselves as if they expected Superman himself to come flying in the window to save them.

Instead, they got Clark Kent: timorous poltroons like Newsweek’s former editor Evan Thomas, who last week acknowledged in a book review that “the media’s obsession with Whitewater seem(s) excessive in retrospect.” This 16 years after Jeff Gerth’s incoherent New York Times articles kicked off the longest-running shaggy-dog story in the history of American journalism. So how many cover stories did Newsweek run touting Kenneth Starr’s fruitless investigation?

The facts were available back then, but the fearless crusaders of the so-called liberal media mostly played follow-the-leader or ran and hid. For an irreverent take on CNN’s performance, read John Camp’s raucous memoir “Odyssey of a Derelict Gunslinger.” The veteran investigative correspondent tried to persuade his superiors that Whitewater was a hoax but got nowhere.

Providentially, the Obama administration appears to grasp that Rupert Murdoch’s minions may inadvertently have done them a big favor. By taking sides so brazenly, Fox has gained audience share at the expense of turning itself into a big fat political target. The establishment political press is far too timid and clubby to have made this discovery on its own.

But if the White House says something, they have to cover it.

© 2009 Gene Lyons. Distributed by Newspaper Enterprise Association

30 GOP Senators Vote To Defend Gang Rape

It is stunning that 30 Republican members of the United States Senate would vote to protect a corporation, in this case Halliburton/KBR, over a woman who was gang raped. The details from Think Progress:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and "warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job." (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration. Offering Ms. Jones legal relief was Senator Al Franken of Minnesota who offered an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court."

Watch Franken’s speech:

Seems simple enough. And yet, to GOP Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama allowing victims of sexual assault a day in court is tantamount to a "political attack" at Halliburton. That 29 others, all men, chose to join him in opposing the Franken amendment is simply mind-boggling.

Here are those who vote to protect a corporation over a victim of rape:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)

Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

In the debate, Senator Sessions maintained that Franken's amendment overreached into the private sector and suggested that it violated the due process clause of the Constitution.

To which, Senator Franken fired back quoting the Constitution. "Article 1 Section 8 of our Constitution gives Congress the right to spend money for the welfare of our citizens. Because of this, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote, 'Congress may attach conditions on the receipt of federal funds and has repeatedly employed that power to further broad policy objectives,'" Franken said. "That is why Congress could pass laws cutting off highway funds to states that didn't raise their drinking age to 21. That's why this whole bill [the Defense Appropriations bill] is full of limitations on contractors -- what bonuses they can give and what kind of health care they can offer. The spending power is a broad power and my amendment is well within it."

God I love it when Senator Franken quotes the Constitution. Not every Republican was so clueless. Ten voted for the Franken amendment including the GOP's female contingent of Senators (Snowe, Collins, Hutchinson and Murkowski).

"We need to put assurances into the law that those kind of instances [the Jamie Leigh Jones case] are not capable of being repeated," said Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted in favor of Franken's amendment. "I want to make sure that a woman, any individual who is a victim of a terrible act, knows that they have got protections."

Murkowski said that she considered the arguments that Sessions made about the amendment being too expansive before she decided to vote for the legislation.

"I looked at it," said Murkowski. "And, I tell you, you look at some of the things we do and you have to say, 'OK, you have a specific instance we're trying to address and does this go above and beyond?' But when you have to err on the side of protecting an individual, I erred on the side of greater generosity, I guess."

Republican Sen. George LeMieux of Florida echoed some of Murkowski's sentiments.

"I can't see in any circumstance that a woman who was a victim of sexual assault shouldn't have her right to go to court," LeMieux said. "So, that is why I voted for it."

Although Franken chatted up LeMieux on the Senate floor before the vote, LeMieux said that he had already made his decision. But, LeMieux added, Franken's talk didn't hurt.

"I had decided to vote for it before I came here, but I was happy to hear his argument for it," LeMieux said. "He did what a senator should do, which was he was working it. He was working for his amendment." I'll add, Al Franken is everything a United States Senator should be.

As for Jamie Leigh Jones, she was nothing but elated and thankful. "It means the world to me," Jones said of the amendment's passage. "It means that every tear shed to go public and repeat my story over and over again to make a difference for other women was worth it."

And for the GOP, it is a new low.

More from the
Minn Post.

BLAIR OF THE BLOODY HAND | By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

1. The Daily Mail of London (Saturday, October 10, 2009 - read here) carried the following headline;

"I am not shaking your hand Mr Blair. You have got blood on it".

2. This was said by a bereaved father after the ex-Prime Minister was criticised by the Archbishop of Canterbury at an Iraq remembrance ceremony.

3. It is clear that many in England have a low regard for Tony Blair. Yet in Malaysia he was welcomed and given the honour to give a talk on social issues to Malaysians.

4. When he was Prime Minister, Blair got the British Parliament to support war against Iraq by telling lies about the so-called weapons of mass destruction. Very soon after it was revealed that he had cooked up the intelligence report so that he could support his co-liar, George Bush, President of the United States.

5. The war that they unleashed on Iraq has caused the death of more than 100,000 Iraqis, wounded many more and devastated that highly developed Arab country.

6. The leader of the Iraqis was described as a dictator who was alleged to have killed many of his people. But it is obvious that the number of Iraqis killed and maimed by the British and American soldiers is far far greater than what Saddam was alleged to have killed.

7. Saddam was arrested for his alleged crimes and hanged by the neck until he died. So were his colleagues. Yet if one compares his alleged oppression of his people with the oppression of Iraq and its people, the killings and the destruction resulting from the orders made by Blair and Bush, it must be obvious that what the two leaders had done to the Iraqi people and Iraq is far far worse and heinous. Yet Bush and Blair have escaped any kind of retribution and punishment.

8. Surely there is no justice in the difference between the treatment meted out to Saddam and company and the treatment of Bush and Blair.

9. If people like Bush and Blair are allowed to escape any form of punishment for the brutal crimes they have committed, then others who may lead powerful countries will continue to war and to kill and destroy even when there is no justification.

10. After World War II, a court was set up by the victors to try the vanquished leaders. Such a court cannot be just as it was made up of nominees of the victors. If there was going to be justice, then the court must be made up of neutral judges. In any case the people responsible for the mass killings in war, no matter which side they may be, must be tried and punished. But only the vanquished leaders were tried and we know they were the ones who killed 100,000 in Dresden, Germany and 200,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

11. In the absence of courts sanctioned by the international community the Perdana Global Peace Organization, a Non-Governmental Organization devoted to criminalizing war had decided to set up a tribunal to try war criminals.

12. The court may not be able to get the attendance of the accused persons or to carry out the proper punishment, but this is not going to stop the tibunal from holding a hearing. It will not be the first time that a court hears a case in absentia. But the trial must be held so that the crimes committed by war criminals will be exposed so that the world may punish in whatever way possible.

13. From October 28-29, 2009, a conference on war in its modern version will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

14. Present at this conference will be people like Hans von Sponeck, Dennis Halliday, Michel Chossudovsky, Cynthia Mckinney, the victims of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the people who had been tortured and many others. They will tell of the laws which prohibit torture, the tortures carried out in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the detentions without rial and without laws by the very people who talk about human rights, about the rule of law and a lot more.

15. There will be an exhibition of the tortures and the sufferings of the victims.

16. Following the conference, the Commissioners and the Tribunals will sit to listen to the evidence of the brutality perpetrated in the Iraq War.

17. All Malaysians and others are welcome to the conference and to the hearings by the Commission and the Tribunal.

18. We Malaysians have not suffered as the Iraqis, Afghans, Bosnians and Palestinians have suffered from the wars launched against them.

19. We have not even suffered from the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the floods and the storms. Even when the tsunami hit us in 2004, we suffered less because Aceh took the brunt of it.

20. We have to be grateful that we have been saved from all these horrors.

21. But we must feel and sympathize with people who have been less fortunate than us. We must therefore try to appreciate the sufferings of others, be sympathetic towards them. That is the least we can do.

22. So Malaysians, please come to the Conference on War, on Criminalising War, and the upholding of justice.

23. No fees will be charged. Give us your moral support so that we can continue our effort to criminalize war so we may all be able to live in peace and security.

For More Information Go To;

Australia's war crimes laws under spotlight

ABC Online - Hagar Cohen - 4 hours agoThe Australian Government has refused to consider retrospective war crimes laws. (ABC News - file image: file photo) ...

In Saying No, G.O.P. Sees More Pros Than Cons |By JACKIE CALMES

WASHINGTON — The numbers are striking: Of the 217 Republicans in the House and the Senate, only one, Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, has publicly supported a health care overhaul along the lines President Obama seeks.

The Caucus

The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.

The Republicans’ opposition is a remarkable display of the unity emerging against the broader Obama agenda as a dangerous expansion of government. That stance is popular with, even demanded by, the party’s narrowed conservative base.

But it also exposes Republicans to criticism that they have become political obstructionists with no policy agenda of their own. And that could keep them from extending their appeal to the centrist voters who are essential to rebuilding the party’s strength nationally.

Republicans’ nay saying on health care, after their nearly unanimous opposition to Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus package, has already drawn rare rebukes from an array of prominent party figures outside Capitol Hill, who say the party should be for something, not just against. Among the critics have been three former Senate Republican leaders: Bob Dole, Bill Frist and Howard H. Baker Jr.

Congressional Republicans, however, are certain that the politics are on their side. Dismissing Democrats’ attacks on them as “the party of no,” they point to polls and other signs indicating that high unemployment and deficits have created vast unease with Mr. Obama’s agenda as the 2010 midterm elections approach.

“We’re the party of know: k-n-o-w,” said Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of House Republicans’ campaign committee.

“We know a lot about the Democrats’ plans, and we think it’s a bad way to go,” Mr. Sessions added. “Theirs is about taxing and spending and destroying jobs.”

Some other party strategists are optimistic about the prospect of Republican gains next year, perhaps enough gains to reclaim a House majority.

“I just don’t think that there’s a downside to voting no — I really don’t,” said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. “That’s quite aside from whether you should or shouldn’t, or whether the country needs it or doesn’t need it. The basic rule is you rarely pay a price at the polls for being against something.”

Republican incumbents “have far more to lose,” he said, “by having the Republican base conclude that they’re just throwing in the towel and compromising on a big-government agenda.”

After recent defeats, Republicans are down to 40 members in the Senate and 177 in the House, or 40 percent in each chamber. They are largely reduced to the party’s base of mostly Southern and rural states and beholden both to the conservative activists there and to the cable television celebrities those activists follow.

Few centrists remain. And since many centrists have been defeated by conservatives in party primaries, the survivors — or any Republicans considering compromise — operate in fear of similar challenges.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties this year to avoid a Republican primary fight. In Utah, Senator Robert F. Bennett is unexpectedly facing a strong intraparty challenge, largely because he sponsored a bipartisan health plan.

Associates say Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Senate Finance Committee’s senior Republican, who is also up for re-election, might have cut a health deal with the committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a past ally, had Mr. Grassley not been unnerved by conservatives’ warnings back home.

Even Mr. Dole, one of the Republicans recently critical of their own party, said of his friend Mr. Grassley, “You can’t expect him to commit political suicide.”

While Mr. Grassley has denied that politics plays a role, his opposition to health care proposals has helped bolster his support among Iowa Republicans, according to a recent poll for The Des Moines Register. Yet his longtime popularity among Democrats and independents dropped by 24 and 11 percentage points, respectively, compared with the results from a poll in April.

Last week Mr. Dole and Tom Daschle, a former Senate Democratic leader, issued a statement applauding Congress’s progress on health care. The two men, along with Mr. Baker, another of the onetime Senate Republican leaders, had proposed a health plan of their own as a means of encouraging bipartisanship at the Capitol, but Mr. Baker declined to join in the statement after a current Republican senator urged him not to. Mr. Dole said that he too had gotten a call, his from Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the current Republican leader, but that he had not returned it.

National polls hold some warnings for Republicans. One, by CBS News last week, found that 69 percent of Americans say the party is not serious about health care reform. Another, for the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that even 62 percent of the Democratic initiative’s opponents say Republicans should try to improve it, not kill it. That finding “implies that there might not be a big political windfall” for Republicans in opposing the measure, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew center.

More important than national polls, Mr. Weber countered, are polls in states where Republicans hope to regain ground next year — in the South, the rural Midwest and the Mountain West — that he said were much more supportive.

Republicans say their hostility to Mr. Obama on health care is no different from Democrats’ opposition in 2005 to President George W. Bush’s proposal to partly privatizeSocial Security. But Republicans, who had majorities in Congress then, were unsupportive as well in that case. Further, while most Democrats disagreed with Mr. Bush’s view that Social Security faced a financial crisis, both parties agree that the health care system needs overhaul.

Republicans “all stand up and say they’re for health care reforms, so why don’t they do something about it?” Mr. Dole said. He said he held out hope that they would, “because I don’t believe they could absorb just across-the-board being against everything.”

Swine Flu Shots Revive a Debate About Vaccines | Top of Form

Bottom of Form

By Jennifer Steinhauer

Published: October 15, 2009

People who do not believe in vaccinating children have never had much sway over Leslie Wygant Arndt. She has studied the vaccine debate, she said, and came out in favor of having her 10-month-old daughter inoculated against childhood diseases. But there is something different about the vaccine for the H1N1 flu, she said.

Leah Nash for The New York Times

Leslie Wygant Arndt of Portland, Ore., has mixed feelings about having her daughter, Beatrice, get the H1N1 vaccine.

Times Topics: Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus)

“I have looked at the people who are against it, and I find myself taking their side,” said Ms. Wygant Arndt, who lives in Portland, Ore. “But then again I go back and forth on this every day. It’s an emotional topic.”

Anti-vaccinators, as they are often referred to by scientists and doctors, have toiled for years on the margins of medicine. But an assemblage of factors around the swine flu vaccine — including confusion over how it was made, widespread speculation about whether it might be more dangerous than the virus itself, and complaints among some health care workers in New York about a requirement that they be vaccinated — is giving the anti-vaccine movement a fresh airing, according to health experts.

“Nationally right now there is a tremendous amount of attention on this vaccine,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner. That focus has given vaccine opponents “an opportunity to speak out publicly and get their message amplified that they didn’t have at other times,” he said.

Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, an advocacy group that questions the safety of vaccines, said the swine flu has “breathed new life” into the cause. “People who have never asked questions before about vaccines are looking at this one,” Ms. Fisher said.

The increased interest is frustrating to health officials, who are struggling to persuade an already wary public to line up for shots and prevent the spread of the pandemic. According to a CBS News poll conducted last week, only 46 percent said they were likely to get the vaccine. The nationwide poll, which has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points, found that while 6 in 10 parents were likely to have their children vaccinated, less than half said they were “very likely to.”

“I wonder if the people disseminating this false information about this vaccine realize that what they are doing could result in some people losing their lives,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the director of the Department of Public Health for Los Angeles County. The comments of vaccine dissenters, which he said “politically come from the left and the right,” were frequently “not just counterproductive,” he said, “but downright disgraceful.”

Web sites, Twitter feeds, talk radio and even elevator chatter are awash with skeptics criticizing the vaccine, largely with no factual or scientific basis. The most common complaint is that the vaccine has been newly formed and quickly distributed without the benefit of clinical trials; in fact, the swine flu vaccine was made using the same techniques as seasonal flu shots over the last two decades, and a small number of clinical trials were conducted this year to determine the adequate dose.

There are also claims that the vaccine contains adjuvants — sometimes added to make vaccines more effective — although they have not been used in this one. In addition, there is fear that the vaccine could lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome, as was suspected the last time a swine flu vaccine was distributed, in 1976; flu vaccines are now much purer than they were, minimizing the risk, and Guillain-Barré is far rarer.

In measuring the risk of the vaccine, there is general consensus among doctors that serious adverse reactions are rare and that pregnant women and young people, in particular, are better off with the vaccine than without it. While most people who get H1N1 experience mild symptoms, a recent New England Journal of Medicine study showed that among Americans hospitalized with swine flu last spring, one in four ended up in intensive care and 7 percent of them died.

The illness, unlike other flu strains, has been particularly tough on children and young adults and appears to have a disproportionately high fatality rate in pregnant women.

Health care officials are concerned that some groups, especially pregnant women, are potentially swayed by the large-scale efforts of vaccine opponents.

“One of the things they are focusing on now is immunization and pregnancy,” said Saad B. Omer, assistant professor of global health at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, “and their perceptions of the vaccine in use of pregnant women. It is not a benign perception in this case, and could have serious impacts, because pregnant women have high risk of complication if they get the swine flu.”

The anti-vaccine movement, largely comprising activists and a handful of doctors and researchers who connect a variety of health problems — particularly autism spectrum disorders — to vaccines, has failed to find large-scale traction in the United States, where more than 90 percent of children are vaccinated.

But at a conference this month of National Vaccine Information Center, Ms. Fisher said, there were 675 people, more than double the number at the group’s last conference, and half said they were there to discuss swine flu. Unlike most people associated with the center, who have longstanding objections to vaccines or have a connection to the issue because of an autistic child, the newcomers were not traditional skeptics, Ms. Fisher said. “They came not knowing much,” she said, “and left galvanized.”

Further, vitamin vendors — who in some cases operate blogs, with postings by people who claim to be doctors finding fault with vaccines — are reporting an increase in sales related to swine flu. Michael Angelo, chief research and information officer for, said sales in September for flu-related products had tripled from last September. The company, he said, has sold 17,565 vitamins that it says protects against the H1N1 virus.

Some anti-vaccine groups are also highly organized and quick to respond to openings to promote their message. For instance, this week, an 8-year-old boy from Long Island died roughly a week after receiving a swine flu vaccine, though officials from the New York State Department of Health denied a connection.

Almost instantly, on a memorial page on Newsday’s Web site for the boy, Sean Weisse, a message from an anti-vaccine advocacy group appeared: “We are so sorry to hear about Sean. My understanding, and forgive me if I’m wrong, is that this was a vaccine-related injury. If so, we would like to help you. Best regards, Stan Kurtz, Generation Rescue, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy’s Organization.”

Today Is Really A Doomsday For Pakistan

Pakistan has been passing through a very critical time at the moment as the terrorists, who are desperate, have been using all their energies and resources to bring catastrophe in the region. First they have carried a big terrorist attack in Lahore, the heart of Pakistan and later they have carried a big bomb blast in Peshawar.

The drama has started in Pakistan from the morning. First the US drone has hit a target in Waziristan tribal region killing several people. That was the breaking news of all the TV channels and newspapers. Later the terrorists started a big attack on Lahore, which is being considered the heart of Pakistan. According to reports, more than thirty-nine people died during coordinated militant attacks on police in Pakistan's cities of Lahore and Kohat on Thursday, according to combined death tolls released by officials.

In Lahore, gunmen armed with grenades and suicide vests stormed a commando academy in the suburb of Bedian, another police school in the Manawan area previously attacked in March and offices of the Federal Investigation Agency.

"A total of 14 people were killed in Manawan, including four terrorists. Nine were police officials and one was unidentified," Lahore city police chief Pervez Rathor said revising up an earlier toll of four dead at the academy…

Stanley McChrystal’s Long War

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal stepped off the whirring Black Hawk and headed straight into town. He had come to Garmsir, a dusty outpost along the Helmand River in southernAfghanistan, to size up the war thatPresident Obama has asked him to save. McChrystal pulled off his flak jacket and helmet. His face, skeletal and austere, seemed a piece of the desert itself.

He was surrounded by a clutch of bodyguards, normal for a four-star general, and an array of the Marine officers charged with overseeing the town. Garmsir had been underTaliban control until May 2008, when a force of American Marines swept in and cleared it. Since then, the British, then the Americans, have been holding it and trying, ever so slowly, to build something in Garmsir — a government, an army, a police force — for the first time since the war began more than eight years ago. Greenspan Says U.S. Should Consider Breaking Up Large Banks
Will wonders never cease? Greenspan becomes a consumer advocate & advises breaking up the megabanks.

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