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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On the same day retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's Democratic Steak Fry became a de facto Hillary Clinton campaign rally, another group of Iowa progressives gathered in a church basement to hear from a potential presidential candidate Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders criticized the Democratic Party for moving from the center-left to the center, even while the GOP moved to the far-right. "There are a lot of great Democrats, I work with them," he said. "But I think it's fair to say that average people do not perceive that the Democratic Party standing up for the working people of this country." read more


Monday, September 15, 2014

The British prime minister and media should stop legitimizing the terror group rampaging through Syria and Iraq by describing it as Islamic State, according to a coalition of imams and organizations representing British muslims. Six senior Islamic scholars endorsed the fatwa last month, describing Britons allied to Islamic State (ISIS) cells as "heretics" and prohibiting would-be jihadists from joining the "oppressive and tyrannical" group in Iraq and Syria. It is feared that as many as 500 Britons have traveled to Syria or Iraq since 2011 to join the group and its affiliates. In a letter seen by the Observer, the signatories add: "We believe that it would send a powerful message in Britain and around the world if you would join us, as our prime minister, in leading a national debate to seek a suitable alternative way to refer to this group and further challenge its legitimacy and influence.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A retired United Methodist minister set himself on fire to protest lingering racism in his hometown of Grand Saline, Texas, later dying in a Dallas hospital of his injuries. The Rev. Charles Moore, 79, wrote in a two-page letter left for the authorities, "I would much prefer to go on living and enjoy my beloved wife and grandchildren and others. But I have come to believe that only my self-immolation will get the attention of anybody and perhaps inspire some to higher service." Moore drove to Grand Saline from his home in Allen on June 23, pulled into a Dollar General parking lot, doused himself with gasoline and set it on fire. read more


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Justice Ruth Ginsberg said the ruling on the Hobby Lobby case was based on a misreading of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and would likely open the door to a host of unintended consequences. "Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court's expansive notion of corporate personhood -- combined with its other errors in construing RFRA -- invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith," she wrote. Ginsberg concluded that the contraception mandate did not impose a substantial burden on Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood Specialties -- and therefore did not violate the RFRA. "Suppose an employer's sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work?" Ginsberg asked. read more


Comments

Maybe not so crazy.

"Secret Testing in the United States

The start of the Cold War brought new foes and new fears for the officials running America's biological weapons program. Determined to anticipate possible Soviet attacks, the U.S. staged more than 200 domestic tests aimed at assessing national vulnerabilities to biological warfare"

the St Jo Program and operatives staged mock anthrax attacks on St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg. The bacteria were released from generators placed on top of cars, and local governments were told that "invisible smokescreen[s]" were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar. The next stage was to increase dispersal patterns, dispensing particles from airplanes to find out how wide of an area they would affect. The first Large Area Concept experiment, in 1957, involved dispersing microorganisms over a swath from South Dakota to Minnesota; monitoring revealed that some of the particles eventually traveled some 1200 miles away. Further tests covered areas from Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas. In the Army's words, these experiments "proved the feasibility of covering large areas of the country with [biological weapons] agents."

Airports and Subways
Serratia marcescens bacteria. Open-air testing continued through the 1960s, with the Special Operations Division operatives simulating even more audacious assaults. In 1965 they spread bacteria throughout Washington's National Airport; a year later, agents dropped light bulbs filled with organisms onto the tracks in New York's subway system. "I think it spread pretty good," participant Wally Pannier later said, "because you had a natural aerosol developed every few minutes from every train that went past." President Nixon's 1969 termination of the United States offensive biological weapons program brought an end to the open-air testing, but the American public did not learn of this testing until 1977. Relatives of one elderly man Edward Nevin who had died of a nosocomial infection six months after the San Francisco tests sued the government in 1981, arguing that the supposedly harmless Serratia marcescens bacteria used in that test had in fact caused his death. In the event, the courts ruled against them, the main reason being that the plaintiffs could not prove that the bacteria used in the test were the same as those that killed Mr. Nevin.

www.pbs.org

Reagan did more then that!!

"1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided "critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war". The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

"While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Ronald Reagan's Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs."

According to William Blum, writing in the August 1998 issue of the Progressive, Sam Gejdenson, chairperson of a Congressional subcommittee investigating US exports to Iraq, disclosed that from 1985 until 1990 "the US government approved 771 licenses [only 39 were rejected] for the export to Iraq of $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment with military application …"

A 1994 US Senate report revealed that US companies were licenced by the commerce department to export a "witch's brew" of biological and chemical materials, including bacillus anthracis (which causes anthrax) and clostridium botulinum (the source of botulism). The American Type Culture Collection made 70 shipments of the anthrax bug and other pathogenic agents.

The report also noted that US exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling equipment. US firms supplied advanced and specialised computers, lasers, testing and analysing equipment. Among the better-known companies were Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Data General and Honeywell.

www.counterpunch.org

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