Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

August 17, 2003

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A Terrifying Statistic

No, we are not referring to the number of casualties in Iraq. Nor to the lies told by the Bush Administration to manipulate public opinion in the US into accepting the war.

We are referring to the number of psychopaths in America.

Pamela Jayne, M.A., writes in her book Ditch that Jerk that "30% of men are sociopathic."

In an American study cited elsewhere, they found psychopathic behaviour in 1 out of 20 men and 1 out of 100 women. That makes five out of one hundred for the men.

But this distribution may well change depending upon the group. Groups where psychopathic tendencies are encouraged, or where moral or ethical considerations come into play to hold back unscrupulous behaviour, would lead to a predominance of new psychopathic members to the exclusion of others.

It would also promote the use of psychopathic strategies by non-psychopaths in order to succeed.

Flashback: Signs August 30, 2002.

Expert warns of dangers of the corporate psychopath

He turned his attention to a little-known subset of psychopaths: the corporate kind. - The problem, he said, is corporate headhunters rely on resumes and standard face-to-face interviews, which reveal little about a candidate's psychological profile.

"The average psychopath has no trouble moving through that process," Dr. Hare, who teaches at the University of British Columbia, said. "That's not even a hurdle." - When there's chaos, when the rules no longer apply -- enter, stage right, the psychopath. A psychopath flourishes in that atmosphere."

A recent article published on this site had the following to say:

"Official Culture" in America: A Natural State of Psychopathy?

But we have already noted the reason: the American way of life has optimized the survival of psychopathy and in a world of psychopaths, those who are not genetic psychopaths, are induced to behave like psychopaths simply to survive.  When the rules are set up to make a society "adaptive" to psychopathy, it makes psychopaths of everyone.  As a consequence, a very large number of Americans are effective sociopaths.  (Here we use "sociopath" as a designation of those individuals who are not genetic psychopaths.)

So we see that it is very likely that, if you live in the US, many of the people around you are psychopaths or psychopaths in training. Your entire society is slowly, individually, being transformed.

Kinda reminds me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers...

And there is the very real possibility that George W. Bush is himself a psychopath.

Flashback! Signs 44, December 3, 2002:

Toronto Star: Bush is a Psychopath - When Mark Crispin Miller first set out to write Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder , about the ever-growing catalogue of President George W. Bush's verbal gaffes, he meant it for a laugh. But what he came to realize wasn't entirely amusing. - Since the 2000 presidential campaign, Miller has been compiling his own collection of Bush-isms, which have revealed, he says, a disquieting truth about what lurks behind the cock-eyed leer of the leader of the free world. He's not a moron at all... [...]

In studying Bush's various adventures in oration, he started to see a pattern emerging. "He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. "When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine," Miller said. "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes." While Miller's book has been praised for its "eloquence" and "playful use of language," it has enraged Bush supporters. [...]

By stumbling blithely along, he has been able to push his image as "just folks" — a normal guy who screws up just like the rest of us. This, in fact, is a central cog in his image-making machine, Miller says: Portraying the wealthy scion of one of America's most powerful families as a regular, imperfect Joe. But the depiction, Miller says, is also remarkable for what it hides — imperfect, yes, but also detached, wealthy and unable to identify with the "folks" he's been designed to appeal to. An example, Miller says, surfaced early in his presidential tenure.

"I know how hard it is to put food on your family," Bush was quoted as saying. "That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, 'Put food on your family's table' — it's because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table," Miller says. [...]

When this first appeared, I sent it along to a few lists I was on. One of the responses back said that it sounded more like a Narcissist than a psychopath. Here at Signs Cetnral, we consider the Narcissist to the a garden variety psychopath. That is, the Narcissist isn't as likely to end up in jail or in the psychiatrist's office.. You might also consider the psychopath to be a Narcissist with a glitch.

They can also be Narcissists since Narcissism seems to be merely a "facet" of the psychopath. You could say that the Narcissist is a "garden variety psychopath" who, because of his or her "social programming," has less likelihood of running afoul of the law. In this way, they are very efficient "survival machines," living out their lives doing untold damage to their families, friends and business associates.

It is only when a person takes a long and careful look at the full-blown psychopath - a sort of exaggerated Narcissist - that they are able to see the caricature of the traits that then make it easier for them to identify the "garden variety" psychopath - the Narcissist.

One last little bit to add into this mix. This quote from Hare cited in French Connection 9:

Several years ago two graduate students and I submitted a paper to a scientific journal. The paper described an experiment in which we had used a biomedical recorder to monitor electrical activity in the brains of several groups of adult men while they performed a language task. This activity was traced on chart paper as a series of waves, referred to as an electroencephalogram.

The editor returned our paper with his apologies. His reason, he told us: "Frankly, we found some of the brain wave patterns depicted in the paper very odd. Those EEGs couldn't have come from real people."

Some of the brain wave recordings were indeed odd, but we hadn't gathered them from aliens and we certainly hadn't made them up. We had obtained them from a class of individuals found in every race, culture, society, and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming - but always deadly - individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. [Hare, Without Conscience]

Day in and day out as we read through the headlines to put together this page, we are confronted with the influences of the psychopath on this world. We see the mayhem sowed by individuals and groups of individuals who cannot think past their own immediate needs. Worse than that, they take some perverse pleasure in the pain and suffering of others.

Think of Bush's giggling imitation of the woman on Death Row.

In the article below, we can also begin to understand the reason for the much touted "special relationship" between Bush and Blair:

Flashback! Signs 193, July 18, 2003:

'Psycho' Blair under attack

The Times, London
Philip Webster

[...] "Paradoxically, Mr Blair looks a rather dangerous, unpredictable figure given to foreign adventures and silly schemes for turning public services upside down . . . the reality is that a Brown government would have a sense of purpose that Blair governments lack."

This was followed by an item by a writer who said he had spent several weeks talking to psychologists about what drove Mr Blair.

He wrote: "One view emerged strongly: there appears to be something worryingly adrift in the mind of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, a man who doesn't really know who or what he is. More technically, he is diagnosed as a psychopath capable of reinventing himself with remarkable dexterity...

Without an understanding of the psychopath, we will never outgrow the programming of "Everyone is basically good." Without an understanding of the psychopath, we will never understand the Signs of the Times or why the world is burning...

US officials are lying about suicide attempts at Guantanamo prison

by Helen & Harry Highwater, Unknown News
August 15, 2003


Since February of 2002, hundreds of prisoners have been held at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo, without charges, without attorneys, and without even being classified as prisoners of war.

Not surprisingly under such hopeless conditions, many of these prisoners have attempted suicide.

Yesterday, Associated Press reported the latest suicide attempt:

The prisoner's attempt to kill himself this week brings the number of suicide attempts to 30 since the high-security prison was opened in January 2002, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind said.
According to earlier reports, however, there had already been 30 suicide attempts at Guantanamo — a year ago.

CBS News reported on August 15, 2002:
Doctors at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reportedly say that in the seven months that the U.S. has been keeping al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners there, about thirty have tried to kill themselves.

And in October of 2002, covering news of still more suicide attempts at Guantanamo, BBC News also reported:
Two months ago, doctors said there had been at least 30 suicide attempts at the Guantanamo detention centre.

In May of 2003, the Associated Press reported two more suicide attempts:

These brought the number of suicide attempts to 27, said Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the Camp Delta prison.

And now, on Aug. 14, 2003 — almost a year to the day after CBS News reported there had been "about thirty" suicide attempts - Associated Press reports yet another suicide attempt, which brings the total number of suicide attempts at Guantanamo ... back to 30:

The prisoner's attempt to kill himself this week brings the number of suicide attempts to 30 since the high-security prison was opened in January 2002, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind said.

Most attempts occurred this year, which officials and critics alike have attributed to the effects of the indefinite detentions on prisoner morale. Some of the prisoners have been held for more than a year and a half without charges, access to lawyers or indications of whether or when they may be freed....

Usually, when something happens over and over again, the total number of times it's happened increases. But with suicide attempts at Guantanamo, the total just sits there at 30, then somehow decreases a little, and then bounces back where it was a year ago — even as we're told that most of the suicide attempts occurred this year.

It's not surprising that these spokespeople, Barry Johnson and Barbara Burfiend, are liars. It is disappointing, however, that our government fills high-level well-paid lie-dispensing positions with half-assed liars who can't even keep their lies straight.

I ask you: Doesn't the American taxpayer at least deserve lies that are plausible?

Comment: This is, indeed, a rather sad commentary on the depth of the slumber in which the American people find themselves these days. Actually, perhaps it is more appropriate to say, "the depth of the slumber in which the rest of the world finds the American people these days."

It appears that during the recent power blackout in the USA, the people were unusually calm. If some means of subduing the populace was used, it is likely that any huge shocks in the future will not finally wake up the American people.

Guantanamo Britons in plea bargain deal

Sun 17 August, 2003 02:41 BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Two Britons held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay will admit to supporting al Qaeda in a plea bargain deal to secure short sentences, according to the Independent on Sunday. [...]

The paper quoted their lawyer in the United States, Clive Stafford Smith, as saying that they were selected for an early trial because they were prepared to admit to supporting al Qaeda, and the Pentagon wanted its first trials to be quick and successful.

"The U.S. wants to have a few guilty pleas, so they're not going to designate people for trial until they've agreed to plead guilty," he was quoted as saying. "They have to agree to plead in order to get this far." [...]

The Chains of Seduction

"If the mass will be free of chains of iron, it must accept chains of silver. If it will not love, honour and obey, it must not expect to escape seduction." (Professor Harold Lasswell, quoted, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy, Alex Carey, University of Illinois Press, 1995, p.23)

By David Cromwell
08/16/03: (Zmag)

It's an age-old conundrum for rulers everywhere. How can those who govern keep those who are governed from the levers of power? In 'free' societies - which, by definition, lack the option of "chains of iron" - devotion to consumerism and an unthinking acceptance of the inequitable distribution of power must be inculcated and maintained by a constant stream of state-corporate propaganda. This propaganda is based on appeals to universal values: freedom, democracy, justice and human rights.

The Australian social critic Alex Carey, author of the seminal book, Taking The Risk Out of Democracy, once noted:

"Consider for a moment the symbols by which Americans defined their dream and pictured social reality: the Statue of Liberty with its Christlike promise of succour and compassion to the poor and wretched of the earth; the Declaration of Independence with its noble proclamation of respect for the equal and inalienable rights of all men and women; the unending public litany of adulation for American freedom, American individualism and American democracy; a near religious commitment to the American form of free-enterprise economic system, with its supposed almost immaculate joining of private interest to public well-being." (Carey, ibid., p.75) [...]

Taking Responsibility

By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, AlterNet
August 15, 2003

"I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. Absolutely," declared President Bush during his most recent news conference. And yet weeks of debate and discussion went into parsing a mere sixteen words from Bush's State of the Union speech in which he falsely claimed to have knowledge that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium in Niger.

Rather than taking responsibility for his words, Bush and his advisors did everything to avoid taking responsibility. They first attempted to justify the inclusion of the Niger claim, which they knew was dubious, by attributing it to Tony Blair's government. CIA director George Tenet stepped forward to accept the blame for Bush's words and was rewarded by Bush declaring his confidence in Tenet.

The purpose behind this game of musical chairs, of course, is to muddy the waters so that no one has to take responsibility for the president's false remarks. Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk that read, "The buck stops here." If Bush had a plaque on his desk, it would say, "The buck stops with Blair, or Tenet, or Condoleeza Rice, but I forgive them all."

In addition to treating responsibility for the president's words like a hot potato, his public relations advisors have tried to pretend that expecting him to tell the truth about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction is petty quibbling over details. [...]

The reality is that the Bush administration's phony claims about Iraq go well beyond those mere 16 words in the State of the Union address. [...]

Privacy Villain of the Week
President's Commission on the US Postal Service

By JAMES PLUMMER
August 4, 2003
CounterPunch

Next week, a special commission created by President Bush will present him with a final report on "articulating a proposed vision for the future of the United States Postal Service." That vision includes the idea that no person should be able to mail a letter without the USPS and their pals in Homeland Security knowing about it.

According to PostalWatch, the Final Report of the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service will include the Final Recommendations of a number of Subcommittees, including this gem from the Technology Challenges and Opportunities Subcommittee:

The Subcommittee believes that a more secure system could be built using sender identified mail. The Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Service, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, explore the use of sender identification for every piece of mail, commercial and retail.

And among the other recommendations of the Commission is the maintenance of the monopoly on first-class mail.

Taken together, those two key recommendations mean that this special Presidential Commission is pushing for the legal abolishment of the right to correspond anonymously.

Yet this nation's very Constitution was founded on anonymous correspondence -- the Federalist Papers, which swayed public opinion in favor of its ratification, were authored under the pseudonym "Publius" by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Presumably if those fellows were alive in the Commission's "vision for the future," they could not mail their pamphlets without a Homeland-designed mailbox snapping a few pictures and running the images through face-recognition software.

A BIGGER PICTURE

JON RAPPOPORT
nomorefakenews.com

AUGUST 17. I want to sketch out several levels of the operation called THE BLACKOUT. This is a model, a rough cut of the multi-dimensional chess game that applies to many secret operations whose intentionality and personnel are hidden from the public.

At the first level, we have the motives and actions of the corporate hustlers who will make lots of hay from this event. They will worm $$$$ from various governments to "refurbish the grid" and no one will really question the perverse partnership between energy corporations and government, in what is supposed to be an atmosphere of "free-market" deregulation.

At a second level, we would have globalists who favor all major government-corporate partnerships, because those relationships continue to bring the whole planet under a coherent management group that oversees all major resources and labor and ownership of land, institutions, structures, and companies.

At a third level, we would have the energy cartel itself, which aims to keep populations glued to the idea that our present forms of energy are the only options. In the case of the blackout, people become emotionally convinced that they must pledge allegiance to the existing grids and methods of energy development.

In other words, alternative sources that would challenge the cartel are viewed, by the population - as the lights finally come on-as nothing more than a joke and a fantasy. Thank God I can get on a train. Thank God it isn't dark anymore. Don't bother me with anything besides that.

At a fourth level, we have groups that want to reverse technological civilization in various ways -- take us back to a more primitive time -- because these groups gain the most control in that venue. I am talking about certain organized religions that rely on fear and uncertainty and discomfort to persuade people that their only hope is joining up and finding salvation through means prescribed by these very same religious groups.

The Vatican would be at the top of that list. A blackout would be a blip-reminder that the world is a very fragile place---not a broad comfort zone---and it's time "to go back to the church and seek the only real solace." THIS IS NOT A TRIVIAL PART OF THE OP.

All these levels do not need to be in on the action of causing a blackout. Much of the direction society is marching in is automatic these days. The patterns have been laid down. People are pointed in the direction of their own circumscribed and deluded ambitions which also happen to coincide with much larger agendas.

Very high on the planetary power ladder, one often only has to watch things unfold, or tip a piece a little to the left here, a little to the right there----because the big highways to slavery have already been built.

A player at the top of the ladder can often say, "Oh, look what's happening over there. I didn't have anything to do with that and yet it's moving exactly as I would have wanted it to move had I planned it."

Ohio Line Failure Likely Caused Blackout

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
August 17, 2003

WASHINGTON - A failure to contain problems with three transmission lines in northern Ohio just south of Cleveland was the likely trigger of the nation's biggest power blackout, a leading investigator said Saturday.

Alarm systems that might have alerted engineers to the failed lines were broken, according to FirstEnergy Corp., the Akron, Ohio-based utility that officials said owned at least two of the three lines.

It was not immediately clear whether that impeded efforts to isolate the local line disruptions, some of which occurred an hour before power system shutdowns cascaded Thursday from Michigan to New York City and into Canada. [...]

Momentum growing against Patriot Act

By JESSE J. HOLLAND
Associated Press
Sat, Aug. 16, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Sept. 11 attacks convinced Congress that the federal government needed enhanced legal and investigative powers to pursue terrorists.

Yet in the two years since passing the Patriot Act, lawmakers have grown uneasy over Attorney General John Ashcroft's use of the expanded surveillance and detention powers. Not only are they leery of his requests for even greater authority, they are moving to curtail some of the tools they granted in the law. [...]

Justice Department officials are predicting dire consequences if Congress takes back the post-Sept. 11 powers. [...]

US cannot curb opium output: Rumsfeld on Afghan situation

WASHINGTON, Aug 15:

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that opium production in Afghanistan has gone up since the fall of the Taliban regime and he does not know how to curb it.

Talking to US servicemen and women at a town hall meeting in Washington on Thursday, Mr Rumsfeld said the opium production was "currently up from three years ago or so."

"And you ask what we're going to do, and the answer is, I don't really know. I think it's an awfully tough problem," said the defence secretary while responding to a soldier. Mr Rumsfeld said the Afghan heroin was a bigger problem for Europe and Russia rather than the US because it's mainly smuggled to the European nations.

He said Britain has taken the lead in trying to curb the production of opium, which is used for making heroin, in Afghanistan because "they have had the greatest concern about it. The United States has offered to help the UK."

Mr Rumsfeld said he knew that the Karzai government, the US and the other coalition partners were concerned about the problem and had tried various eradication methods. They even have tried to buy crops "and to buy people out from planting crops. And what they find is that the value is high," he added.

"I wish I had a quicker, better, easier answer, because it's a vicious problem," he said.

Comment: Obviously Rumsfeld was having trouble masking his glee when talking about the high value of the opium crop. As for "Britain taking the lead in trying to curb the production", this is a deliberate and obvious lie given that the UK has actually abandoned plans to do anything about the problem (obviously it's not really a problem, more of a boon)

Revealed: last-minute changes to Iraq dossier (UK)

By Jo Dillon, Deputy Political Editor
The Independent
17 August 2003

The Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons capability was hardened up in the days before its publication in a number of key respects that did not tally with the views of some of its most senior experts, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Scrutiny of documents released by the Hutton inquiry into the death of the weapons expert Dr David Kelly reveals that not only were key claims about the nature and extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction strengthened in the two weeks before the dossier's publication in September 2002 but that a crucial change was made to the title.

Right up until the publication of the final draft, and as late as 19 September, the document was entitled "Iraq's programme for weapons of mass destruction". But on 24 September, when the Government published the finished version, it left out the words "programme for". [...]

45-minute claim on Iraq was hearsay

Vikram Dodd, Nicholas Watt and Richard Norton Taylor
Saturday August 16, 2003
The Guardian

Tony Blair's headline-grabbing claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order to do so was based on hearsay information, the Guardian has learned.

The revelation that the controversial claim is even weaker than ministers and officials have been saying will embarrass No 10, already reeling after the first week of the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons expert David Kelly. [...]

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, said of the claim on May 29: "That was said on the basis of security service information - a single source, it wasn't corroborated."

The irony is that the government launched a furious attack on the BBC for broadcasting allegations that the dossier was "sexed up" based on a single, anonymous, uncorroborated source. That source was Dr Kelly. [...]

Terror blast cuts off Iraq's oil pipeline to Turkey

Jamie Wilson in Baghdad
The Observer
Sunday August 17, 2003

Saboteurs have blown up a crude oil export pipeline in northern Iraq, starting a huge oil fire, halting all oil exports to Turkey and starving an economy in shambles of much-needed income to rebuild.

Iraqi oil exports to Turkey had only begun on Wednesday, but the explosion, early on Friday near Baiji, 125 miles north-east of Baghdad, cut them off completely, said acting Iraqi oil minister Thamer al-Ghadaban.

The newly appointed Iraqi police commander vowed to chase the 'group of conspirators', who he said had received money from a 'particular party' which he refused to identify further. [...]

Iran claims to foil al Qaeda attacks

17-08-2003

Iranian forces have foiled schemes by activists of al-Qaeda network to launch attacks on Iranian territory, the government daily Iran quoted Sunday a top official as saying.

"They carried out a whole range of preparations for terrorist acts on Iranian soil but, through the action of the security services, these plans were uncovered and foiled," the secretary of Iran's top security body, Hassan Rohani told the paper.

Iran has recently denied that it had ever held Al Qaeda leader’s son or two principal lieutenants after an Arabic daily charged that the trio were being allowed to slip out of the country.

A foreign ministry official told the Iranian Student News Agency that longstanding reports that Saad bin Laden and Al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri and number three Saif al-Adel had been detained in Iran were untrue. (Albawaba.com)

Reports: Israeli jets hover close to Assad's residence

17-08-2003,
09 :52

Israeli fighter jets buzzed President Assad's summer residence in the northern Syrian city of Latakia in what was intended as a message that Hizbullah's attacks on Israel's northern frontier from south Lebanon must be stopped, state-run Israeli television reported late Saturday.

"President Assad was inside that residence in Syria's northern port city of Latakia when the Israeli warplanes flew above it at almost rooftop level last Sunday," the TV report said.

The incursion, it said, came after the death of an Israeli boy by shrapnel of Hizbullah anti-aircraft in the northern Israeli settlement of Shlomi.

The report indicated that Israel's F- 16fighter-bomber staged the foray into Syrian airspace via Lebanon, minutes after breaking the sound barrier over Beirut.

Syrian officials, however, denied Sunday that Israeli warplanes had flown over the palace of Assad. They said that Israel was trying to raise tensions in the region by publicizing that jets had flown over the palace.

US troops risk being like Israelis, says Iraqi royal

REUTERS
8/17/2003 2:53:18

KUWAIT: US troops must step back and let Iraqis run their own affairs or risk being equated in Arab minds with the Israeli forces in Palestinian territory, a leading member of Iraq's former royal house said.

"What we want is to change the relationship between the coalition forces and our people," Sharif Ali bin Hussein said in an interview published in Kuwait yesterday.

He stressed, however, that the Americans should remain for now to provide stability:

"On the basis that they should not interfere in our constitutional or political issues...and that they are our guests, not that we are prisoners in the hands of these forces," the former exile told the Gulf state's Al Qabas newspaper. [...]

Over 4,000 Pakistanis killed in Kargil conflict: Sharif

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2003 08:46:30 PM

ISLAMABAD: Accusing President Pervez Musharraf of masterminding the Kargil conflict, exiled former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said more than 4,000 Pakistani troops and officials were killed in the Kargil operation. This was the first time that Sharif disclosed the number of Pakistani casualties, which was kept a closely guarded secret.

Referring to the Kargil conflict, during which militants backed by Pakistani troops occupied the mountain peaks of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, Sharif said the entire operation was launched without the knowledge of his government.[...]

PM dismisses calls to increase health funding (Aus)

Sunday, August 17, 2003. 6:02pm (AEST)

The Prime Minister John Howard has dismissed calls by state premiers and chief ministers for the Federal Government to increase its $42 billion contribution to the federal health care package.

State and territory government leaders claim the health care sytem is facing increasing challenges from a rising population, a decline in bulk billing rates and increasing health costs.

They say the current Federal contribution is not enough, however the Prime Minister has called on the states to match the Commonwealth's funding.

"All I'm saying to the state premiers and the two chief ministers is, if you are interested in the health of the people who live in your states and the state of the public hospitals, why don't you match the generosity of the Commonwealth's offer," he said

Those attending the healh summit welcomed state and territory calls for more funding, however the head of the public hospitals task force, Dr Professor John Dwyer has called on all parties come to an agreement.

"This is all about policy, a reform agenda and how we can more on, and end the angst that has unfortunately seen this process politicised," he said. [..]

Comment: Meanwhile Mr Howard is busily spending money promoting a "regional security" force throughout the Pacific. Currently the Australian Government has police officer backed by a small contingent of Australian soldiers in the Solomon Islands.

PM pushes joint Pacific police force (Aus)

By Tom Allard, Foreign Affairs Writer in Auckland
August 16, 2003

The creation of a rapid-reaction force drawn from police around the region has been canvassed by the Prime Minister, John Howard, at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, said yesterday the option of the standing force, which would undertake surveillance and respond quickly to crises, had been discussed in talks with Mr Howard.

The push to create such a force came as Mr Howard failed to convince Pacific nations to appoint veteran Australian diplomat Greg Urwin as secretary-general of the forum. The matter remained unresolved after intense lobbying at yesterday's Forum leaders' retreat.

Further discussions will take place today and Australian officials remained hopeful that they might get the man they want to drive through a package of reforms for the region.

Pacific leaders, however, did agree to one of Mr Howard's proposals for a greater pooling of resources - a $17 million, five-year program to train 900 regional police each year in Suva. [..]

Official: G-8 security measures to be strict but not "police state"

The Associated Press - BRUNSWICK, Ga.

Security measures for Sea Island residents will be strict for next years G-8 summit but not oppressive, an official said Friday.

Its not going to be a police state to the point people cant move around, said Spencer Geissinger, deputy director of the summit.

The last thing the president wants to do is come down here and create a lot of ill will with people, Geissinger said.

Geissinger met with coastal Georgia and Jacksonville, Fla., hoteliers to discuss the June 8-10 meetings of President Bush and the leaders of seven other countries on Sea Island, one of Georgias Golden Isles, along with St. Simons and Jekyll islands.

The final decision on whether Sea Island and St. Simons will be completely shut down will be made by the U.S. Secret Service, Geissinger said.

If the 10 to 15 heads of states from nations other than the summit members are housed on Jekyll, security could be extremely tight there as well, he added.

You will not be able to get on Sea Island in any shape or form without a credential, Geissinger said. [...]

Comment: Don't forget what happened during this year's G8 summit in Evian, with the heavy artillery and the disgruntled populace who were prisoners in their own homes. To quell the nervous populace of Georgia they are already having to use the tag line, "We are not a police state."

Three Germans accused of selling nuclear materiel to North Korea

HAMBURG (AFP) Aug 16, 2003

Prosecutors in Stuttgart, southwest Germany, have accused three German businessmen of attempting to export materiel to North Korea for likely use in the Stalinist country's nuclear program, Der Spiegel reports in its next issue, to be published Monday.

The weekly magazine says the German government intercepted a cargo shipment last April in Hamburg destined for North Korea including 214 aluminum tubes weighing 22 tonnes.

Amin Death Cell Was a 'Heart of Darkness'

By Nicholas Moore
Sat August 16, 2003 06:34 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters)

I heard a curious noise outside the cell, as of an egg being broken.

They had just dragged away a man who'd lain on the floor. I did not know it then but other inmates of Idi Amin's military prison at Makindye told me later how the executioner used a sledgehammer.

"You were in the condemned cell," they explained. "They crack your skull."

It was just another barracks hut in Amin's Uganda, where three decades later his name, thankfully, belongs to history. His death on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, after almost a quarter century of exile, erases forever the possibility of any kind of comeback.

But back in 1972 he was all-powerful. In our cell, the grille admitted the laughter of children and the 'High Life' rhythms from a bar across the road. Carrion crows scraped their claws on a tin roof.

A few prisoners, all Africans, sat or lay, groaning, on bare concrete that smelt of vomit. Splashes of dried blood caked the wall. Nobody talked much.

"Let them come and finish it," said one man in Swahili.

I knew enough of the language from my boyhood in colonial Kenya. I wished now that I did not. In the prison guardroom a soldier had struck me across the head with a truncheon.

"Those two are going to cry for water tonight because we are going to burn their hair," he said. [...]

Libya accuses France of blackmail over Lockerbie deal

AFP, 8/16/2003

NDJAMENA: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Raman Shalgham accused France yesterday of blackmail after Paris threatened to block an agreement on lifting UN sanctions unless more money was paid to the families of victims of the bombing of a French airliner in 1989.

“France is using pressure and blackmail and we do not accept this,” said Shalgham, adding that his government had made its position clear to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. [...]

Homelessness grows as more live check-to-check

By Stephanie Armour
USA TODAY

Homelessness in major cities is escalating as more laid-off workers already living paycheck-to-paycheck wind up on the streets or in shelters.

As Americans file for bankruptcy in record numbers and credit card debt explodes, more workers are a paycheck away from losing their homes. Now the frail economy is pushing them over the edge. With 9 million unemployed workers in July, the face of homelessness is changing to include more families shaken by joblessness. [...]

Boston school children get weight report cards

Last Updated Thu, 14 Aug 2003 11:27:31

BOSTON - A pilot program in Boston is using health report cards for students to battle obesity...

The weight and fitness level of the pupils were detailed in a report card and sent to 481 parents, including those of normal weight children.

"Parents who received health and fitness report cards were almost twice as likely to know or acknowledge their child was actually overweight than those parents who did not get a report card," said Robert McGowan, head of physical education in the Boston school system.

Comment: Sometimes the smallest, seemingly unimportant statements can be so revealing. Reflect upon the statement by Robert McGowan in the last paragraph. What are the implications of the fact that the schools need to send out these cards? What are the implications that even after sending out the cards, many parents still didn't recognise that their kids were obese.

Mortgage company suddenly closes doors

By Bradley Meacham and Peter Lewis
Seattle Times staff reporters
Saturday, August 16, 2003


A national mortgage company with operations in Washington abruptly closed its doors yesterday, potentially leaving thousands of homebuyers without loans.
[...]

Admen Seek ‘Buy Button’ in Our Brains

Robert Winnet – The Sunday Times Aug 17, 2003

Market researchers have come up with a new brainwave: looking into the minds of consumers to see which of our grey cells are most vulnerable to the hard sell. [...]

“In the not too distant future, firms will be able to tell precisely if an advertising campaign or product redesign triggers the brain activity and neurochemical release associated with memory and action,” said James Bailey, professor of organisational behaviour at George Washington University in Washington DC.

A recent study carried out by German neuroscientists for DaimlerChrysler, the car company, discovered that looking at sports cars triggers two different parts of the brain: the area which responds to human faces and, more importantly, the section which deals with the concept of rewarding ourselves.

Although much of the work is in its infancy, the research has huge potential and could quickly replace traditional studies based on consumer surveys and focus groups. A trip to the local supermarket or car showroom could soon become a psychological challenge with shoppers fighting subconscious urges that are manipulated by the marketers.

Comment: Fighting manipulated subconscious urges? It is clear that most people are unable to even recognise "in your face" government mind manipulation, never mind fight it. Wishful thinking for sure.

A Chicago Meteorite Fall

Credit & Copyright: Ivan and Colby Navarro

If you wait long enough, a piece of outer space itself will come right to you. As Colby Navarro worked innocently on the computer, a rock from space crashed through the roof, struck the printer, banged off the wall, and came to rest near the filing cabinet. This occurred around midnight on March 26 in Park Forest, Illinois, USA, near Chicago. The meteorite, measuring about 10 cm across, was one of several that fell near Chicago that day as part of a tremendous fireball.[...]

Comment: The link shows a photo of the meteorite's destructive path through the house. Also see: Meteorites Fall on Chicago Suburbs: Pieces of extraterrestrial rock crash-landed near Chicago after a bolide exploded in Midwestern skies early Thursday morning, March 27, 2003.

The Peekskill Meteorite and other Fireballs

On October 9, 1992, a fireball was seen streaking across the sky from Kentucky to New York. At least 14 people captured part of the fireball on videotape; here is a spectacular MPEG movie (1 MB MPEG) of the fireball (source) . A 12-kilogram stony meteorite (chondrite) from the fireball fell in Peekskill, New York, smashed the trunk of a parked automobile, and came to rest beneath it. These are the first motion picture recordings of a fireball with an associated meteorite fall. Here is a short MPEG movie of a -4 magnitude Delta Capricornid fireball (253 kB MPEG) recorded near Hannover, Germany, on January 5, 1995

"How do I know if what I have found is a meteorite?"

The Fall of a Meteorite

[...] Provided the meteoroid does not burn up entirely, the rock (or fragments of it, if it exploded) falls to the surface of the earth, at this point having a speed no greater than any object falling to earth due to gravity. Enormous meteoroids can travel through the atmosphere without being slowed down, their great momentum overcoming the force of friction with the air, and strike the earth with such force as to cause an impact crater. Numerous craters on the earth's surface are known to have been caused by collisions of this sort, but these occurrences are rare.

The fall of a meteorite is quite a spectacle. Observers have reported coloured flashes in the sky that turn night to daylight, multiple explosions, and unusual crackling and thundering sounds both before and after the sighting. Near the actual fall, the sound of fragments breaking off the stone has been heard, as has the whistling of the falling stone and the thud of impact. On rare occasions, meteorite falls have caused damage or injury, but none of the meteorites recorded in Canada have done so.[...]

Why haven't you gotten "wet" from the meteorite rain?

Alan Hildebrand
Astro Notes June/July 1998

Once in a while you read that a meteorite has hit a building or car. Or landed on the ground next to someone. Why has it never happened to you? The Canadian Meteorite Observation and Recovery Project (MORP) that operated on the prairies from 1974 to 1985 recorded meteorite falls and Halliday et al. (1989) established from the MORP data that ~7,000 meteorites weighing more than 1 kg fall on the Earth each year (note that these are masses on the ground, not pre-atmospheric masses). However, only about five meteorites are recovered as fresh falls each year. Why only five? [...]

Pits of nothing hold key to the universe

[...] Fulvio Melia is passionate about unlocking the mysteries of supermassive black holes, the mammoth objects that rip up stars before sucking them into oblivion. They are black because even light cannot escape their monster gravitational pull.

Professor Melia, one of the world's leading astrophysicists, has spent the past 12 years studying the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, a scientific oddity where time is warped.

"They (black holes) have characteristics that border on science fiction," says the University of Arizona astronomy and physics professor. "You're talking about separate universes, and that's always mysterious." [...]

Fears over genetic profiles for al l (UK)

Gaby Hinsliff, chief political correspondent
Sunday August 17, 2003
The Observer

Plans for every baby to be genetically screened at birth came under fierce attack yesterday from the Government's advisory watchdog on the new science. [...]

DNA spit kit for tube staff(UK)

Andrew Clark, transport correspondent
Saturday August 16, 2003
The Guardian

London Underground is to distribute 11,000 DNA testing kits to its stations in an effort to crack down on commuters who become so enraged that they spit at staff. The initiative, supported by British Transport police, will allow staff to take a sample of saliva after any attack, which could be used in court to help secure a conviction.

LU said there had been more than 100 incidents over the last year of staff being spat at - which can constitute a criminal assault.

A swab sample will be checked against the police DNA database to see if it matches a previous offender. If not, it will remain on file in case the culprit is caught.

John Strutton, head of LU's crime and disorder unit, said: "They [tube staff] do an excellent job in sometimes difficult circumstances. Whatever the situation, it does not justify assault of any kind, including spitting."

Feds say cop led gang

Acclaimed officer arrested on the job

By BILL MONTGOMERY
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


An Atlanta police "Officer of the Year" was arrested Wednesday on federal racketeering charges as an alleged leader of a notorious drug gang. [...]

CBS neglects to mention that the 1962 Vatican document is only about the confessional

CBS, in its widely-linked and quoted Aug. 6, 2003 story Sex Crimes Cover-Up By Vatican?, neglects to mention that the only priest misconduct covered by the document is that which occurs in the confessional. [...]

Mass media desperately trying to ignore blogs

[...] What's worse is that the role of newspapers in a democracy is to serve as a government watchdog. It shouldn't be up to the blogs to watch for the draconian executive orders to be pumped out of the White House. Executive orders and new Congressional bills are just basic stuff, and the newspapers are failing to bring these to the attention of the public. One has to question if they're attempting to keep the public in the dark about what the government is doing. [...]

Quake jolts central Iranian city

Tehran, Aug 16, IRNA -- An earthquake measuring 3.1 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Anarak, in the central province of Isfahan, Saturday morning. [...]

New quake hits NZ

August 16, 2003

A minor earthquake centred near Eketahuna, in the lower North Island about 150km north of the capital Wellington, is the latest in a string of recent North Island tremors.

The quake happened at around 8.30am (0630 AEST Saturday) and measured 3.5 on the Richter scale. It was centred 30km northeast of Eketahuna, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences' GeoNet information website said.

Four earthquakes shook North Island regions two weekends ago, measuring between 3.9 and 5.4 on the Richter scale. [...]

4.0 quake shakes parts of Missouri

WEST PLAINS, Mo. (AP) - An earthquake with an estimated 4.0 magnitude shook parts of southeast Missouri early Saturday, but no damage was reported.

The earthquake hit at 12:09 a.m. and was centered about 10 miles northeast of West Plains at a depth of about 3.1 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.[...]

China jolted by quake measuring 5.9 on Richter scale

Sunday August 17, 5:01 AM

China's northern regions were rattled by an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale that was felt all the way to the capital Beijing, state news reported. [...]

A number of houses were found collapsed and China's Seismological Bureau Saturday night sent a rescue team of 30 experts to the quake-hit Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinhua news agency reported. [...]

Earthquake in China Topples 2,700 Homes, Kills Two

Heavy rains cause serious damage in Norway

OSLO (AFP) Aug 15, 2003

Heavy rains and mudslides caused serious damage in central Norway on Friday as two rivers overflowed and floodwaters carried away bridges, railway lines and caravans but there were no victims, officials reported.

Helicopters went into action to locate and evacuate about 100 people stranded amid the floodwaters but no injuries were reported.

The heavy rains followed the hottest July in Norway on record.

One dead as violent thunderstorms hit Czech Republic

PRAGUE (AFP) Aug 15, 2003

One person died and dozens were injured when violent thunderstorms hit the Czech Republic's northwest on early Friday. [...]

More than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and several art treasures in museums and libraries destroyed in the flood's wake.

Britain 'may face sudden Ice Age'

By Severin Carrell
17 August 2003

Britain may be basking in one of the hottest summers on record, but scientists now fear that the UK could face an abrupt switch to freezing winters and Icelandic summers.

Leading global warming experts suspect that climate change, instead of being a gradual and largely predictable process, could mean that Europe's weather patterns will worsen severely with very little warning. [...]

Wildfires Force Evacuations in Montana

By DAN D'AMBROSIO, Associated Press Writer
August 17, 2003

CONDON, Mont. - Hundreds of homes were evacuated as surging wildfires forced firefighters to shuffle crews to cover the blazes, including one they thought was under control. [...]

In April and May of 1954, an estimated 2,000 people armed with high-powered rifles beat the brush along northern Plum Creek seeking to shoot and kill bigfoot

UFO expert to give lecture on topic in Union City school

By Tom Anderson, STAFF WRITER

UNION CITY -- UFO expert Stanton Friedman never has seen a flying saucer, but he believes.

"As a nuclear physicist, I have never seen neutrons or gamma rays, but I believe in them, too," said Friedman, who is speaking at 5 p.m. today at Guy Emanuele Elementary School in Union City. The talk will cost $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and kids.

His talk, titled "Flying Saucers are Real," is based on decades of research, Friedman said. He claims there is overwhelming evidence that Earth has been visited by "intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft."

Ruben Uriarte, state director of the Mutual UFO Network, invited Friedman to give a public lecture about UFOs. Uriarte, a Union City resident, wanted Friedman in a public forum, rather than to speak at his group's regular meeting in San Jose.

"This is the first time we've held an event in Union City," Uriarte said. "I like the fact that it's being held at an elementary school because it has a 'town hall' feel to the meeting." [...]

One-armed, one-legged man to swim the Channel

By Jonathan Thompson
The Independent
17 August 2003

A Croatian photojournalist seriously injured in an explosion during the Balkans conflict will this week attempt to become the first one-armed, one-legged amputee to swim the English Channel.

Mario Filipi, 53, from Zagreb, hopes to begin his epic swim from Dover's Shakespeare Beach in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Depending on the tide and wind conditions, the 18-mile crossing to Gris Nez near Calais should take him between 16 and 20 hours.

Mr Filipi's right leg and much of his left arm were blown off by a tank shell while he was reporting on the war in 1991. The father of two, a former international rower, later took up marathon swimming in an attempt to maintain his physical fitness. [...]

And Finally...

Peace out break worries US

JQ news wire

The US government today reacted with "shock and awe" to reports that peace is breaking out in various parts of the world. In what he termed an "orgy of goodwill," the president said immediate measures must be taken to curb the clear and present danger.

The pentagon promised swift and decisive action to stamp out the peace mongers, urging the president to press congress for an immediate three thousand fold increase in the defense budget to deal with the crisis.

"We will not stand idly by and allow the peaceful activities of these rogue states, this "axis of sweetness", to threaten the stability of the free world," President Bush said.

"America's interests must be protected, we will not go quietly into the night but will stand strong and face this evil that threatens the national security of our great nation. These people hate us because of our freedom, democracy and Texas style honkey tonk saloons" he blathered.

Flag and dollar bill-waving Americans, momentarily roused from their sleep by the inane, vague and manipulative ranting of their dictator in chief, turned out to watch as 6 Aircraft carriers sailed from US shores to confront the growing threat of peace in our world today.



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