Daily Archives: February 5, 2009

Gore to Children: Question Your Parents’ Climate Beliefs as We Questioned Segregation

Gore_Red_guard

Audio aired on Glenn Beck’s radio program has media-darling telling kids, ‘there are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know.’

Business & Media Institute | Feb 4, 2009

By Jeff Poor

Imagine this – a former high-ranking and well-respected government official telling your children that they know something you don’t. Is this Cold War-era Soviet Union? Nope. It’s Maryland, and the official is former Vice President Al Gore.

In audio aired on the Feb. 4 “Glenn Beck Radio Program,” Gore was advising school children on the eve of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, presumably at the University of Maryland Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. He said that it’s up to them to question their parents on conventional wisdom in order to overcome the challenges of modern America, one of them being global warming.

“But I’m thinking back a long way to when I was your age and the civil rights revolution was unfolding,” Gore said. “And we kids asked our parents and their generation, ‘Explain to me again why it’s OK for the law to officially discriminate against people because of their skin color?’ And parent’s try to tell their kids the right thing, you know? Usually, I do. And when our parent’s generation couldn’t answer that question, that’s when the law started to change.”

Gore’s solution to overcoming this – children, like the ones he was addressing on Jan. 19, should question their parents because according to him, this is an era of rapid change and children are the ones who will make it possible for society to adapt.

“There are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know,” Gore continued. “Why would that be? Well, in a period of rapid change, the old assumptions sometimes just don’t work anymore because they’re out of date. New knowledge, new understandings are much more widely available, sometimes to young people who are in school who aren’t weighed down with the old flawed assumptions of the past.”

Related

Gore also pointed to Galileo’s discovery of the earth revolving around the sun, as opposed to vice versa, as one of these new ideas that was accepted by younger people challenging conventional wisdom. According to the former vice president, these new ideas and ways of thinking would be instrumental in tackling three biggest threats he said that were facing our country – the economic crisis, the national security crisis and his pet issue – the climate crisis.

“The third crisis is one I talk about a lot – the climate crisis, global warming,” Gore continued. “What’s that all about? Most of you know what it’s all about, so I’m not going to dwell on it. But basically, because we’ve been relying so heavily on oil and coal, we’ve been burning larger and larger amounts of it in ways that pollute the atmosphere – not just of a city, not just of a region, but the entire world. And carbon dioxide, CO2, the principle global warming pollution, is different from the kind of pollution we’re used to thinking about.”

Gore reiterated that the old ideas of another generation must give way to those of a younger generation, and the issue of global warming was no exception.

“Today, Jan. 19, 2009 – we will put 70 million tons of this global warming pollution into the atmosphere,” he continued. “A lot of people think it’s OK. They go outside, they look up at the sky. The sky seems like a huge place. How could we possibly have any impact on it? Just like they used to go out on the ground and look at the sun rise in the East and set in the West and conclude that the sun went around the earth – they were wrong then, and anybody who thinks it is OK to put all this pollution up there is wrong today. We have to change it.”

“The entire North Polar Ice Cap is melting,” Gore continued. “The sea level is rising, the storms are getting stronger. You know the story. It has to be dealt with and you have to help us deal with it because you – you’re not encumbered with these old assumptions that it’s OK to put all the pollution up there.

Beck had his own reaction to the Goreacle’s philosophies, and explained them on his radio broadcast to his audience.

“’There are some things that you know that older people don’t know?’” Beck said. “That is – and I’m just getting started. That is one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. ‘There are some things that you know that older people don’t know.’ He is pitting the youth of this nation against their parents. We have a former vice president of the United States, a man who claims to have been President of the United States saying to the best and the brightest 12-year-olds that, ‘You know better than your parents,’ that ‘you don’t have to listen to your parents on things because they just don’t know.’”

Beck made his own analogies to past regimes and how they used youth to mold what was considered the mindset on issues of the day.

“I’m trying to think where else this has been done – Soviet Russia, Nazi, Germany, Mussolini’s Italy,” Beck said. “In fact, the Nazis took an extra step. Not only did they indoctrinate the kids and tell them you’re probably right, you know but your parents don’t; in fact, here’s the next step: Why don’t you tell us what your parents are telling you. Are we having the new Hitler youth? Is that what this is? The new Hitler youth? I’m sorry, that’s so politically incorrect – the new green guard. Man your station, 12-year-olds, your parents just don’t know.”

Advertisements

Blackwater’s Loss is DynCorp’s Gain

Guru Focus | Feb 3, 2009

by INVESTMENTU

Last week, Blackwater Worldwide received the bad news that the U.S. Government could not renew its contract after the Iraqi government refused to renew its license to operate in their country. The decision stems from the 2007 incident where Blackwater security guards fired on, and killed 17 Iraqis in a disputed who-shot-first incident.

But their bad news could be investor’s gain.

Related

Including Blackwater, the State Department uses three separate security contractors in Iraq. The only competition for the coveted security contracts now rests with Triple Canopy and DynCorp International (DCP). For investors, DynCorp is the only publicly listed company of the three.

Before you think a few extra security guards in Iraq can’t be that expensive, consider that there are thousands of private security contractors in Iraq. They protect everything from government personnel to corporate executives and buildings, earning thousands a day. Blackwater’s contract in Iraq was worth nearly $2 billion – despite its poor performance reviews.

And Iraq isn’t the only hotspot these companies operate in. There are dozens of other hotspots around the world for private security contractors to “clean up” in – like Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

New book claims women under Hitler were just as ruthless as men

hitler_youth_girls

Women who served under the Nazis, including those involved in the Hitler Youth, were just as ruthless as men according to a German historian

Behind every Nazi mass murderer was a woman: New book claims women under Hitler were just as ruthless as men

Daily Mail | Feb 3, 2009

By Alan Hall

Women who worked under Adolf Hitler were just as ruthless as men, a shocking new book reveals.

Female Perpetrators; Women Under National Socialism exposes the myth that women under Hitler were the fairer sex and were simply caught up in the cruel actions of men.

In Nazi art, films and magazines, women were always portrayed as the fairer sex, fighting on the home-front as their menfolk fought on the battlefields.

But the book, which goes on sale in Germany this week, shows this was all propaganda and that women who worked under Hitler were just as brutal as men.

In the first German post-war reckoning of the role of women in underwriting the crimes of the Nazis, historian Kathrin Kompisch has revealed what has been swept under the carpet since 1945.

‘The history of National Socialism has long been reduced to one that blamed men for everything,’ Ms Kompisch said. ‘This was and is the popular picture.’

But the fairer sex venerated by the propaganda machine of Josef Goebbels was, according to Ms Kompisch, every bit as eager to turn the thumb-screws on the victims held in Gestapo cellars across Europe.

Her book shows that women were also every bit as fanatical as the men when it came to crushing resistance to the state.

This was partially portrayed by Kate Winslet, who plays a Nazi guard accused of war crimes, in the Oscar-nominated film The Reader.

‘Apart from a few particularly cruel examples, the participation of women in the crimes of the Nazis has been blended out of the collective conscious of the Germans for a long time,’ Ms Kompisch wrote.

‘I tried to analyse the motives and the personal circumstances of the women involved and to pose the question about their own personal responsibility for what occurred.’

She found that Hitler and his satraps virtually hypnotised women to do the bidding of a regime founded on violence and race hatred.

As such they became handmaidens to the S.S.; staffed the ‘baby farms’ where ‘supermen’ children were born and assisted the doctors who first sterilised.

Later women went on to become murderers of the disabled as well as guards in the gulag of concentration camps.

‘One should never forget the legions of women who supported their menfolk as they killed people by the tens of thousands in Russia, in Poland, in places like Auschwitz and Treblinka,’ Ms Kompisch said.

‘Women typed the statistics of the murdered victims of the S.S. Action Squads in the east, operated the radios which called up for more bullets, were invariably the secretaries – and sometimes much more – in all the Gestapo posts,’ Ms Kompisch said.

‘And at the end of the war they tried to diminish their responsibility by saying they were just cogs in the all-male machine which gave the orders.’

Analysing pre and post-war statistics, Ms Kompisch found there were more government, private sector and military jobs to be had for women under Hitler than in peacetime.

But even those who didn’t work bloodied their hands in other ways.

It was largely housewives who queued up at government warehouses to buy the furniture, jewels, household appliances and clothes of their Jewish neighbours who had disappeared in the night without a word.

She found the high-testosterone, all-male hierarchy of the Nazi state blocked out women from leadership positions from the very start, but the regime actively encouraged female participation in enforcing the Nazi terror at grassroots levels.

Most ‘Blockwaerts’ – apartment house snoops who reported on un-Nazi activities to the party – were female.

They also made unofficial denunciations to the Gestapo of suspicious neighbours, Jews and other enemies of the state at a rate of three-to-one compared to men.

The surviving files of the Gestapo in the city of Duesseldorf noted that they ‘try to change the power balance of the household by denouncing their husbands as spies or Communists or anti-Nazis.’

‘The cliché of Gold Mother Cross-wearing women having 10 babies and baking bread was as much of a myth as all women in the 1920’s drinking absinthe and doing the Charleston,’ she said.

‘Women could and did advance themselves massively through the Third Reich.’

Some 3,200 women served in the concentration camp gulag.

Ms Kompisch draws on several case histories of other more outwardly normal, intelligent women to try to get to the core of the corruption of their sex in Nazi Germany.

One of them Karin Magnussen, born in 1908 in Bremen, was a brilliant biologist and physicist.

She was a woman venerated by her profession, unaffected by the financial and political upheavals that propelled Hitler to power.

The book shows she ended up using the eyeballs from still-living prisoners at Auschwitz by the demented Dr. Josef Mengele for experiments on the pigmentation of the human iris.

Ms Kompisch concludes; ‘The fact is that women allowed their female characteristics to be suppressed to bind themselves to the Nazi state and its agencies.

‘To say, as most did at the end of the war, that they knew nothing of the terror and torture, is absolutely unbelievable. They supported and underwrote such terror and torture.’

Israel admits its troops killed Gaza girls

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS GAZA

Gazan children protest during the bombing campaign.

Reuters | Feb 4, 2009

By Joseph Nasr

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel admitted Wednesday that one of its tanks killed three girls whose father’s cries on live television shocked viewers in the final days of the Gaza offensive, but said the action was “reasonable.”

An Israeli army (IDF) investigation found that two tank shells were fired at a building housing the apartment of Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish on January 16 — two days before the end of its assault on the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip.

“Investigations were held on many levels … the conclusions found that two shells were fired from an IDF tank resulting in the death of Dr Aboul Aish’s daughters,” a statement said.

It was the first finding from four investigations launched by Israel into allegations involving civilian deaths in Gaza, which numbered about 700 out of a total of 1,300 killed.

Israel has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields and of launching attacks from heavily populated areas.

The January 6 shelling of more than 40 Palestinians trying to find shelter at a U.N. school was internationally condemned, but the case of the doctor’s daughters gained more attention in Israeli media.

In its statement, the army said soldiers fighting in a populated area near his house thought they had identified militants on the roof of the building.

“During the counter-fire by (Israeli) forces, suspicious figures were identified in the upper level of Dr Aboul Aish’s house and were thought to be spotters who direct the Hamas sniper and mortar fire,” the army statement said.

“The commander of the force gave the order to open fire … It is from this fire that the three daughters of Dr Aboul Aish were killed. Following the opening of fire screams were heard … and immediately the IDF force ceased all fire.”

“PERSONAL WARNINGS”

Aboul Aish said he knew from the start that his daughters had been killed by Israeli fire.

“Thank God the truth has been revealed,” said the Hebrew-speaking gynecologist, whose anguished cry for help to Channel 10 was heard live on the main evening news bulletin when he called a correspondent’s cellphone, touching the hearts of many Israelis.

“I was always sure that my case was just,” Aboul Aish told Reuters by phone from an Israeli hospital where some of his family members are being treated for injuries.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he had wept on hearing the man’s cries of pain over the loss of his girls.

The army, however, said it “stresses that in the days leading up to the incident, Dr Aboul Aish was contacted personally several times by officers …to urge (him) to evacuate his home.” Thousands of warning leaflets were also dropped over the district, it added.

Full Story

Melamine in milk linked to kidney disease in children

Reuters | Feb 4, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A study of kidney disease risk in Chinese children who were exposed to milk contaminated with melamine is being published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It shows that exposure to melamine-contaminated powdered formula increased the risk of urinary stones by up to sevenfold, but the clinical relevance of these stones, which often produce no symptoms or laboratory abnormalities, is unclear.

Melamine is a colorless, crystalline organic compound that is rich in nitrogen. It is widely used in the manufacturing of materials such as plastics, adhesives, countertops, and dish ware.

In China, where the contamination occurred, water was added to raw milk to increase its volume. As a result of this dilution, the milk had a lower protein concentration.

Companies using the milk for further production, such as powdered infant formula, normally check the protein level through a test measuring nitrogen content. The addition of melamine increases the nitrogen content of the milk and therefore it appears to have a higher protein content than it actual.

The addition of melamine into food is not approved by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius (food standard commission), or by any national authorities.

While there are no direct human studies on the effects of melamine, data from animal studies showed that melamine caused bladder stones.

When combined with cyanuric acid, which may also be present in melamine powder, melamine can form crystals that can give rise to kidney stones. These small crystals can also block the small tubes in the kidney potentially stopping the production of urine, causing kidney failure and, in some cases, death.

Melamine has also been shown to have carcinogenic effects in animals in certain circumstances, but there are insufficient data to make a judgment on carcinogenic risk in humans.

A jump in the rates of urolithiasis, the formation of stones in the kidney, bladder and urinary tract, among young children occurred in China last year. The government announced in September that the epidemic was most likely due to melamine contamination of powdered-milk formula.

In their study, Dr. Jie Ding, from Peking University First Hospital, and colleagues describe the investigation that ultimately linked melamine exposure to urolithiasis in young children. The study involved a parental survey for 589 children, 36 months of age or younger, who were being screened for melamine exposure and symptoms of urinary tract stones. Standard urinary function tests as well as ultrasonography were also performed.

Overall, 421 children consumed melamine-tainted formula. Fifty children had confirmed stones, including 8 children without melamine exposure, 112 had suspected stones, and 427 had no stones.

Blood and white blood cells were seen in the urine of 5.9 percent and 2.9 percent of children with stones, respectively, which is comparable to the rates seen in children without stones.

Moreover, blood levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen, and alanine aminotransferase were usually normal in the patients with stones. Only 4 of 41 patients with stones had urinary markers suggesting glomerular dysfunction.

Children exposed to formulas with high-melamine content (>500 ppm) were 7.0 times more likely to have urinary stones than those given formulas not tainted with melamine. Preterm infants were 4.5-times more likely to have stones than their full-term peers.

In related correspondence, a group from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report that of 2,140 children who underwent ultrasound screening from September 28 to October 17, 2008, just one was found to have urolithiasis. Some other abnormalities were noted in a few children, but their clinical significance, if any, is unclear, they add.

According to a related editorial, the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology advises a conservative approach for treating asymptomatic infants, “since stones presumed to have been induced by melamine appear to be passed easily after hydration” and because long-term follow-up data are lacking.

Full Story

Germany demands Vatican’s clarification on denial of Nazi Holocaust

RTT News | Feb 3, 2009

Germany demanded that the Vatican should clarify explicitly that there could be no denial of the fact that Nazi Holocaust was caused by gas chambers.

With this, the row over Vatican reinstating a bishop, who said no Nazi gas chambers existed, has intensified.

Provoked by the papal action to lift the excommunication of four bishops, including British Bishop Richard Williamson, who denied the genocide of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazis during World War II, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate last week severed official ties with the Vatican.
It was immediately followed by Germany-born Pope Benedict XVI ‘s expression of “full and indisputable solidarity” with Jews.

Addressing a news conference in Berlin Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany but the Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial” of the Holocaust.

“This should not be allowed to pass without consequences,” she added.

Cheney: Obama policies risk catastrophic attacks

AFP  | Feb 4, 2009

Cheney_foamingWASHINGTON (AFP) — Former vice president Dick Cheney has warned that President Barack Obama’s anti-terror policies risk exposing the United States to a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack.

In his first interview since Obama’s inauguration, with Politico Tuesday, Cheney was unapologetic about the bitter controversies surrounding his own influential role in president George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

Cheney said Obama would regret his commitment to closing down the Guantanamo Bay internment camp and ending harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects.

“These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek,” he said in the interview, conducted at an office near Cheney’s new home in Washington’s Virginia suburbs.

He said the “ultimate threat” facing the country since the September 11 attacks of 2001 was if extremists can unleash “a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind” in the center of a US city.

“That’s the one that would involve the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, and the one you have to spend a hell of a lot of time guarding against,” Cheney said.

“I think there’s a high probability of such an attempt,” he added.

“Whether or not they can pull it off depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts, since 9/11, to launch mass-casualty attacks against the United States.”

Leading up to the end of the Bush administration, both the outgoing president and Cheney gave a series of exit interviews defending their conduct in the “war on terror” and insisting they had left the nation safer.

Politico said Cheney declined to criticize Obama personally, but was eager to attack the Democrats in general over a mammoth economic stimulus bill under debate in Congress.

He said he had spoken to Bush about a week ago, for the first time since they left Washington on January 20. Politico said Cheney had recovered from the back strain that kept him to a wheelchair at Obama’s inauguration.

Cheney said Bush was “fine.”

“We had a pleasant chat on the phone. It was a private, personal conversation — not about policy. We’re both citizens, civilians.”

Cheney, a former defense secretary and White House chief of staff who is regarded as the most powerful vice president in history, recapped that he is working on his memoirs.