Daily Archives: September 24, 2007

Acupuncture Tops Conventional Therapy for Low-Back Pain

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Needles ease pain better than drugs

MedPage Today | Sep 24, 2007

By Charles Bankhead

BOCHUM, Germany, Sept. 24 — Acupuncture offers an effective alternative to conventional therapy for low-back pain, investigators here reported.

Almost twice as many patients responded to acupuncture versus conventional therapy, Heinz G. Endres, M.D., of Ruhr-University Bochum, and colleagues reported in the Sept. 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

However, sham acupuncture worked just as well as verum, or true, acupuncture, they reported.

“Acupuncture constitutes a strong alternative to multimodal conventional therapy,” the authors concluded. “Acupuncture gives physicians a promising and effective treatment option for chronic low-back pain, with few adverse effects or contraindications.”

As for the equally good results with fake or real acupuncture, the authors said, “The superiority of both forms of acupuncture suggests a common underlying mechanism that may act on pain generation, transmission of pain signals, or processing of pain signals by the central nervous system and that is stronger than the action mechanism of conventional therapy.”

Used to treat many medical conditions, acupuncture has a controversial role in the management of low-back pain, although a recent Cochrane review concluded that it might be useful as an adjunct to other therapies (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005;(1):CD001351).

Dr. Endres and colleagues reported findings from what they believe to be the first randomized, controlled trial of verum versus sham acupuncture for treatment of low-back pain. The German Acupuncture Trials involved clinicians in 340 outpatient practices and included 1,162 patients who had a history of low-back pain lasting an average of eight years.

The patients were treated with either verum or sham acupuncture or conventional therapy, which consisted of a combination of drugs, physical therapy, and exercise. Verum acupuncture consisted of 10 30-minute sessions of treatment according to principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Patients assigned to sham acupuncture received superficial needling at non-acupuncture points.

The primary outcome was six-month response rate, with response defined as at least 33% improvement on three pain-related items on the Von Korff Chronic Pain Grade Scale or 12% improvement on the back-specific Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire.

At the end of the study, 47.6% of patients in the verum acupuncture group had responded, as had 44.2% in the sham acupuncture group, and 27.4% in the group that received conventional therapy. Both acupuncture groups had significantly higher response rates compared with conventional therapy (P<0.001).

The inferiority of conventional therapy to both acupuncture groups “raises questions about qualitative and quantitative aspects of conventional therapy,” the authors stated. Even so, results with conventional therapy exceeded those observed in a previous German-based study of routine care for low-back pain.

They also pointed out that “the effectiveness of sham acupuncture and the principle of nihil nocere suggest that a discussion is called for about the necessary depth of insertion of acupuncture needles.”

The finding that both sham and true acupuncture relieved back pain is puzzling, commented Rex Marco, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He speculated that the sham needling could have triggered endorphin release or other potentially therapeutic effects. The sham procedures also could have had an unexpectedly large placebo effect.

Alternatively, he said, the pain-relieving benefits of sham acupuncture might have been emotional or psychological in nature.

“It’s possible that the physical contact during the sham procedures had a relaxing or soothing effect that helped relieve the pain,” said Dr. Marco. “Maybe the contact and interaction with the acupuncturist was beneficial. It’s really impossible to know why the sham procedures had a therapeutic effect. For that matter, it’s entirely possible that the sham and true procedures worked through similar or the same underlying mechanisms.”

The findings are at odds with previous studies that have shown a difference between true and sham acupuncture, said Eric Manheimer, a clinical research associate at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. More than one study has shown at least a trend in favor of true acupuncture.

Secret US air force team to perfect plan for Iran strike

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Sunday Times | Sep 23, 2007

by Sarah Baxter

THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with “fighting the next war” as tensions rise with Iran.

Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June.

It reports directly to General Michael Moseley, the US Air Force chief, and consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defence and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years by Centcom (US central command), according to defence sources.

Checkmate’s job is to add a dash of brilliance to Air Force thinking by countering the military’s tendency to “fight the last war” and by providing innovative strategies for warfighting and assessing future needs for air, space and cyberwarfare.

It is led by Brigadier-General Lawrence “Stutz” Stutzriem, who is considered one of the brightest air force generals. He is assisted by Dr Lani Kass, a former Israeli military officer and expert on cyberwarfare.

The failure of United Nations sanctions to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Tehran claims are peaceful, is giving rise to an intense debate about the likelihood of military strikes.

Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said last week that it was “necessary to prepare for the worst . . . and the worst is war”. He later qualified his remarks, saying he wanted to avoid that outcome.

France has joined America in pushing for a tough third sanctions resolution against Iran at the UN security council but is meeting strong resistance from China and Russia. Britain has been doing its best to bridge the gap, but it is increasingly likely that new sanctions will be implemented by a US-led “coalition of the willing”.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrives in New York for the United Nations general assembly today, has been forced to abandon plans to visit ground zero, where the World Trade Center stood until the September 11 attacks of 2001. Politicians from President George W Bush to Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2008 race for the White House, were outraged by the prospect of a visit to New York’s most venerated site by a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

Bush still hopes to isolate Iran diplomatically, but believes the regime is moving steadily closer to obtaining nuclear weapons while the security council bickers.

The US president faces strong opposition to military action, however, within his own joint chiefs of staff. “None of them think it is a good idea, but they will do it if they are told to,” said a senior defence source.

General John Abizaid, the former Centcom commander, said last week: “Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Critics fear Abizaid has lost sight of Iran’s potential to arm militant groups such as Hezbollah with nuclear weapons. “You can deter Iran, but there is no strategy against nuclear terrorism,” said the retired air force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney of the Iran policy committee.

“There is no question that we can take out Iran. The problem is the follow-on, the velvet revolution that needs to be created so the Iranian people know it’s not aimed at them, but at the Iranian regime.”

Checkmate’s freethinking mission is “to provide planning inputs to warfighters that are strategically, operationally and tactically sound, logistically supportable and politically feasible”. Its remit is not specific to one country, according to defence sources, but its forward planning is thought relevant to any future air war against Iranian nuclear and military sites. It is also looking at possible threats from China and North Korea.

Checkmate was formed in the 1970s to counter Soviet threats but fell into disuse in the 1980s. It was revived under Colonel John Warden and was responsible for drawing up plans for the crushing air blitz against Saddam Hussein at the opening of the first Gulf war.

Warden told The Sunday Times: “When Saddam invaded Kuwait, we had access to unlimited numbers of people with expertise, including all the intelligence agencies, and were able to be significantly more agile than Centcom.”

He believes that Checkmate’s role is to develop the necessary expertise so that “if somebody says Iran, it says: ‘here is what you need to think about’. Here are the objectives, here are the risks, here is what it will cost, here are the numbers of planes we will lose, here is how the war is going to end and here is what the peace will look like”.

Warden added: “The Centcoms of this world are executional – they don’t have the staff, the expertise or the responsibility to do the thinking that is needed before a country makes the decision to go to war. War planning is not just about bombs, airplanes and sailing boats.”

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Related

Cheney may have mulled Israeli pretext for U.S. attack on Iran

Madeleine McCann: Portuguese police tortured me, says mother behind bars

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“The police put a bag on my head, but I didn’t see what I was hit with. It was something like a baton. They made me kneel on two glass ashtrays and then they hit me. I couldn’t see who hit me because of the bag.”

Sunday Times | Sep 23, 2007

by John Follain Portimao

The senior detective leading the Madeleine McCann investigation is facing calls to step down after a woman jailed for the murder of her daughter claimed that his officers tortured her into confessing.

Leonor Cipriano, 36, told for the first time how she was forced to kneel on glass ashtrays with a bag over her head as police repeatedly hit her during almost 48 hours of nonstop questioning.

She is now serving a 16-year sentence for the murder of her eight-year-old daughter Joana, even though the body has never been found and she has since retracted her statement.

Chief Inspector Goncalo Amaral, who is jointly leading the Madeleine case, is to face a criminal hearing for allegedly concealing evidence that three of his colleagues tortured Cipriano. The hearing could be as early as next month.

Joana Cipriano disappeared from her home in Figuera, near Portimao on the Algarve, in September 2004, not far from where four-year-old Madeleine disappeared in Praia da Luz 143 days ago. Leonor Cipriano was arrested at 8am on October 14 and confessed after almost 48 hours of continuous questioning.

She retracted her statement a day later when she had access to a lawyer but was still charged and convicted of murdering her daughter.

Speaking from Odemira prison in west Portugal, she told a relative: “The police put a bag on my head, but I didn’t see what I was hit with. It was something like a baton. They made me kneel on two glass ashtrays and then they hit me. I couldn’t see who hit me because of the bag.

“It’s not true I fell down the stairs – the police hit me. I said it [the confession] because they beat me.”

A friend saw Cipriano shortly after the alleged attack. She said: “Her head was swollen, while she had huge bruises under the breasts, on the thighs and the legs.”

Amaral is accused of concealing evidence supporting allegations that three of his colleagues tortured Cipriano. The four detectives and a fifth, who is accused of fabricating evidence, deny the allegations and say Cipriano was injured when she threw herself down a flight of stairs.

Roy Ramm, a former Scotland Yard commander, said: “It is extraordinary that a man accused of an unresolved, serious complaint like this is still handling a high-profile inquiry. You would expect him at best to be in a desk job.”

Carlos Garcia, vice-president of the trade union for Portuguese police, which is defending Amaral and his colleagues, said: “They utterly reject the allegations.”

Cipriano’s boyfriend Leandro Silva, 41, a car mechanic, claims that he, too, was beaten when he was taken in for questioning in Faro in October 2004. “One officer grabbed me from behind, spun me round, then hit me in the stomach with a closed fist,” he said. “They also hit me from behind with a phone book. When they questioned me, a senior officer said, ‘You ate Joana’s body’. I couldn’t believe it. Then he said, ‘You cooked her and you ate her’. I thought they must be crazy – it was like something out of a horror movie.”

Silva is considering making a formal complaint.

Cheney may have mulled Israeli pretext for U.S. attack on Iran

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“Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz – and perhaps other sites – in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out.”

Haaretz | Sep 23, 2007

Newsweek Magazine reported Sunday that Vice President Richard Cheney may have considered a plan for Israeli missile strikes against an Iranian nuclear site in an effort to draw a military response from Iran, which could in turn spark a U.S. offensive against targets in the Islamic Republic.

Citing two unnamed sources the magazine called knowledgeable, the magazine quoted David Wurmser, until last month Cheney’s Middle East advisor, as having told a small group of people that “Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz – and perhaps other sites – in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out.”

According to the report, “The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran.”

Newsweek said that it had corroborated Wurmser’s remarks, which it said were first published by Washington foreign-policy blogger Steven Clemons.

It quoted a spokeswoman at Cheney’s office as saying in response that the vice president “supports the president’s policy on Iran.”

It also quoted Wurmser’s wife, Meyrav, as saying the allegations were untrue.

Labor MK Danny Yatom, a former head of the Mossad, told Newsweek that in order to attack Iranian nuclear sites, planes would have to operate over Iran for days or weeks.

Despite the risks of local and regional escalation, Yatom said, “The military option is not the worst option. The worst option is a nuclear Iran.”

. . .

Who Does Dick Cheney Really Work For?

David Rockefeller, whose family founded the CFR and the UN, is a top implementer for Rothschild central banking, Masonic Euro Royalty, House of Saud, Zionist and Vatican interests in creating a New World Order out of the chaos of world war.

These incredibly evil deceivers are attempting to destroy human society as we know it, kill off a majority of the population, enslave whoever is left and rise up out of the ashes to rule the entire world. It really is that simple.

We must stop them!

Veterans Disarmament Act To Bar Vets From Owning Guns

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The New Orleans, National Guard Gun Confiscation Was the ‘Trial’ Run

Gun Owners of America | Sep 23, 2007

by Larry Pratt

Hundreds of thousands of veterans — from Vietnam through Operation Iraqi Freedom — are at risk of being banned from buying firearms if legislation that is pending in Congress gets enacted.

How? The Veterans Disarmament Act — which has already passed the House — would place any veteran who has ever been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the federal gun ban list.

This is exactly what President Bill Clinton did over seven years ago when his administration illegitimately added some 83,000 veterans into the National Criminal Information System (NICS system) — prohibiting them from purchasing firearms, simply because of afflictions like PTSD.

The proposed ban is actually broader. Anyone who is diagnosed as being a tiny danger to himself or others would have his gun rights taken away … forever. It is section 102((1)©(iv) in HR 2640 that provides for dumping raw medical records into the system. Those names — like the 83,000 records mentioned above — will then, by law, serve as the basis for gun banning.

No wonder the Military Order of the Purple Heart is opposed to this legislation.

The House bill, HR 2640, is being sponsored by one of the most flaming anti-Second Amendment Representatives in Congress: Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). Another liberal anti-gunner, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill say that helpful amendments have been made so that any veteran who gets his name on the NICS list can seek an expungement.

But whenever you talk about expunging names from the Brady NICS system, you’re talking about a procedure that has always been a long shot. Right now, there are NO EXPUNGEMENTS of law-abiding Americans’ names that are taking place under federal level. Why? Because the expungement process which already exists has been blocked for over a decade by a “funds cut-off” engineered by another anti-gunner, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

So how will this bill make things even worse? Well, two legal terms are radically redefined in the Veterans Disarmament Act to carry out this vicious attack on veterans’ gun rights.

One term relates to who is classified a “mental defective.” Forty years ago that term meant one was adjudicated “not guilty” in a court of law by reason of insanity. But under the Veterans Disarmament Act, “mental defective” has been stretched to include anyone whom a psychiatrist determines might be a tiny danger to self or others.

The second term is “adjudicate.” In the past, one could only lose one’s gun rights through an adjudication by a judge, magistrate or court — meaning conviction after a trial. Adjudication could only occur in a court with all the protections of due process, including the right to face one’s accuser. Now, adjudication in HR 2640 would include a finding by “a court, commission, committee or other authorized person” (namely, a psychiatrist).

Forget the fact that people with PTSD have the same violent crime rate as the rest of us. Vietnam vets with PTSD have had careers and obtained permits to carry firearms concealed. It will now be enough for a psychiatric diagnosis (a “determination” in the language of the bill) to get a veteran barred ­for life ­ from owning guns.

Think of what this bill would do to veterans. If a robber grabs your wallet and takes everything in it, but gives you back $5 to take the bus home, would you call that a financial enhancement? If not, then we should not let HR 2640 supporters call the permission to seek an expungement an enhancement, when prior to this bill, veterans could not legitimately be denied their gun rights after being diagnosed with PTSD.

Veterans with PTSD should not be put in a position to seek an expungement. They have not been convicted (after a trial with due process) of doing anything wrong. If a veteran is thought to be a threat to self or others, there should be a real trial, not an opinion (called a diagnosis) by a psychiatrist.

If members of Congress do not hear from soldiers (active duty and retired) in large numbers, along with the rest of the public, the Veterans Disarmament Act — misleadingly titled by Rep. McCarthy as the NICS Improvement Amendments Act — will send this message to veterans: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says

What this buys us is rampant inflation, skyrocketing debt, confiscatory taxation, dollar devaluation, economic implosion, wealth transfer to the war profiteers, global destabilization, the besmirching of America’s name globally, the horrible deaths of hundreds of little kids every week and our soldiers coming home with broken bodies and traumatized minds if not in flag-draped boxes. And it is all exactly what the evil men of the Knights of Malta Skull and Bones Freemason Kill Committee who are running things want.

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This is what they want because they enjoy watching others suffer. They love the power, the control over life and death and they only want more and more as long as we give it to them.

This is no “strategic miscalculation”. This is no mistaken or “failed policy”. This IS the New World Order policy going exactly according to plan.

Make sure you get it straight.

PW

. . .

Washington Post | Sep 22, 2007

By Kari Lydersen

CHICAGO, Sept. 21 — The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity, according to the American Friends Service Committee, which displayed those statistics on large banners in cities nationwide Thursday and Friday.

The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group’s analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.

The estimates made by the group, which opposes the conflict, include not only the immediate costs of war but also ongoing factors such as long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware.

“The wounded are coming home, and many of them have severe brain and spinal injuries, which will require round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives,” said Michael McConnell, Great Lakes regional director of the AFSC, a peace group affiliated with the Quaker church.

The $720 million figure breaks down into $280 million a day from Iraq war supplementary funding bills passed by Congress, plus $440 million daily in incurred, but unpaid, long-term costs.

But some supporters of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq say that even if the war is costly, that fact is essentially immaterial.

“Either you think the war in Iraq supports America’s national security, or not,” said Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “If you think national security won’t be harmed by withdrawing from Iraq, of course you would want to see that money spent elsewhere. I myself think that belief, on a certain level, is absurd, so the question of focusing on how much money we are spending there is irrelevant.”

The war’s unpaid long-term costs do not include “macro-economic consequences” described by Bilmes and Stiglitz, including higher oil prices, loss of trade because of anti-American sentiments and lost productivity of killed or injured U.S. soldiers.

In 2006, Bilmes, who was an assistant secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton, and Stiglitz, a former chief economist at the World Bank, placed the total cost of the Iraq war at more than $2.2 trillion, not counting interest. The American Friends group used cost breakdowns and interest projections from the Congressional Budget Office to calculate the daily cost of war emblazoned on the banners flown in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities.

The banners show what this could buy in terms of health care, Head Start programs, new elementary schools, free school lunches, renewable energy and hiring new teachers. Protest organizers say they hope to turn more people against the war by laying out its true financial impact.

“I think people are becoming more aware of these guns or butter questions,” said Gary Gillespie, director of the group’s Baltimore Urban Peace Program, which displayed the banners in the Baltimore suburb of Bel Air on Friday. “But when you talk about $720 million a day, even people who work on this issue are shocked by the number and shocked by what could have been done with that money. War has no return — you’re not producing a product.”

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Related

bush_saddam_macleansmagazine

How George Bush became the new Saddam – Bush reaching out to the late dictator’s henchmen

Bush seeks another $200 billion to fund perpetual war

 

 

Bush pronounces Mandela dead

Another sick gaffe from an evil man. Bush says Saddam was a brutal dictator who “killed all the Mandelas” and “broke up families”. Well, as usual, he is talking about himself once again.

bush_saddam_macleansmagazine

How George Bush became the new Saddam – Bush reaching out to the late dictator’s henchmen

Look, the Emperor has no clothes! Even though he is just a puppet of the Rockefeller globalists, it’s time for every American to wake up to it and push for his immediate impeachment and inevitable treason conviction!

Now! Before he invades Iran and triggers WWIII!!!

PW

. . .

AFP | Sep 23, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The White House will ask Congress next week to approve another massive spending measure for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan totaling nearly 200 billion dollars, The Los Angeles Times reported on its website late Saturday.

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said if President George W. Bush’s spending request is approved, 2008 will be the most expensive year of the Iraq war.

US war costs have continued to grow because of the additional combat forces sent to Iraq this year and because of efforts to quickly ramp up production of new equipment, such as mine-resistant trucks, the report said.

The new trucks can cost three to six times as much as an armored Humvee, according to the paper.

The Bush administration said earlier this year that it probably would need 147.5 billion dollars for fiscal 2008, but Pentagon officials now say that and 47 billion dollars more will be required, The Times said.

That would spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at about 195 billion in fiscal 2008, which begins in October 1, an increase of around 12 percent from the 173 billion dollars spent this year.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other officials are to formally present the full request at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday, the report said.

When costs of CIA operations and embassy expenses are added, the war in Iraq currently costs taxpayers about 12 billion dollars a month, said Winslow Wheeler, a former Republican congressional budget aide who is a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

“Everybody predicts declines, but they haven’t occurred, and 2008 will be higher than 2007,” the paper quotes Wheeler as saying. “It all depends on what happens in Iraq, but thus far it has continued to get bloodier and more expensive.”

In 2004, the two conflicts together cost 94 billion dollars; in 2005, they cost 108 billion; in 2006, 122 billion, the paper said.

The new spending request is likely to push the cumulative cost of the war in Iraq alone through 2008 past the 600-billion-dollar mark — more than the Korean War and nearly as much as the Vietnam War, based on estimates by government budget officials, The Times said.

. . .

Republicans for Impeachment