Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dance, Dance Revolution will be televised after all

A very different scene had played out there just 24 hours earlier, when a group of some 20 young Washington, D.C., libertarians had gathered for their own Thomas Jefferson Dance Party. The plan had been to celebrate the birth of the author of the Declaration of Independence by congregating, flashmob style, for ten minutes of quiet iPod-fueled dancing, then repair to a pub nearby. Instead, park police brought the party to an abrupt halt, arresting 28-year-old Brooke Oberwetter and leading her away in handcuffs, while chasing the rest of the group off. 

By the time she was released five hours later, attendees armed with Blackberries and cell phone cameras had spread news of the incident to several local bloggers. By Sunday, the story had appeared on Fark, and Oberwetter's friends had set up a Web site and Facebook group on behalf of the "Jefferson One." And by Monday, video of the dancing and arrest had been posted to YouTube.

~ more... ~

 

Turley: White House Torture Planning Was Like a ‘Meeting of the Bada Bing Club’

Suggests Cheney, Rice, Powell and Other White House Officials Committed War Crimes




Video above from MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” on Thursday, April 10. (See transcript below.)

In the 1990s, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and constitutional expert, was a strong advocate for impeaching Pres. Bill Clinton because Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky while under oath in a deposition for a civil lawsuit.

The issue today is far more serious. According to ABC News, starting in 2002, senior Bush officials, including Vice President Cheney and Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice, who was then the national security adviser, were involved hands-on in drafting torture guidelines for the CIA. Because torture is illegal under U.S. and international law, Jonathan Turley says he believes the drafting of these guidelines was a war crime.

Late Friday afternoon, George Bush confirmed to ABC News that Cheney, Rice and the other officials were working at his behest.

News that Bush commissioned his executive staff to create guidelines for torture is being ignored in the media today (Saturday). It will be interesting to see if it makes it onto the Sunday political shows, including even ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous.”


A glimpse into the world of drug sales reps

Shahram Ahari, who spent two years selling Prozac and Zypraxa for Eli Lily, told a Senate Aging Committee that his job involved "rewarding physicians with gifts and attention for their allegiance to your product and company despite what may be ethically appropriate."
[ ... ]
It is the rare physician who refuses to meet with drug sales reps. In fact, as of April 2007, the percentage was just 7 percent of U.S. doctors.

[ ... ]

So there is a very good chance that the doctor you see right now is being subjected to similar intense sales tactics like the ones Ahari describes. According to one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine:
  • 94 percent of doctors have some type of relationship with the drug industry
  • 80 percent of doctors commonly accept free food and drug samples
  • One-third of doctors were reimbursed by the drug industry for going to professional meetings or continuing education classes
  • 28 percent of doctors have been paid for consulting, giving lectures, or signing their patients up for clinical trials
[ ... ]
Pharmaceutical sales reps are trained in tactics that are on par with some of the most potent brainwashing techniques used throughout the world, according to the PLoS report. Said Ahari:

"It's my job to figure out what a physician's price is. For some it's dinner at the finest restaurants, for others it's enough convincing data to let them prescribe confidently and for others it's my attention and friendship ... but at the most basic level, everything is for sale and everything is an exchange."

Drug reps must target doctors because it is only through a physician that a consumer can purchase their product. Although in the United States they have also ramped up their direct-to-consumer ads on television and in magazines, their real "meat and potatoes" comes from their marketing directly to physicians.

This is why drug companies spend $4 billion each year on direct-to-consumer ads in the United States, but $16 billion to influence physicians. That is $10,000 for every single doctor in the United States.

Random quotes against tyranny

When dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases
 -- Robert Anton Wilson

A great wave of oppressive tyranny isn't going to strike, but rather a slow seepage of oppressive laws and regulations from within will sink the American dream of liberty --George Baumler

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home
-- James Madison: US fourth president, 1751-1836

This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector
-- Plato: Ancient Greek philosopher (428/427-348/347 B.C.)

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience
-- Albert Camus: French novelist, essayist, and playwright.1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. 1913-1960

Most people want security in this world, not liberty
-- Henry Louis Mencken" American journalist, 1880-1956

We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security
-- Dwight David Eisenhower : 34th president of the United States, 1890-1969

I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security - out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged in listless self-satisfaction
-- John Steinbeck: American novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature for 1962, 1902-1968

The only security for the American people today, or for any people, is to be found through the control of force rather than the use of force
-- Norman Cousins: American essayist and editor, long associated with the Saturday Review, 1912-1990

Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous
-- William Proxmire

If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks
-- Frederick The Great

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful
-- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy : Russian author, 1828-1910

It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.
-- General Lee speaking to James Longstreet, on seeing a Federal charge repulsed in the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862

The victor will never be asked if he told the truth
-- Adolf Hitler

That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; that until there is no longer any first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; that until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race -- until that day, the dreams of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained
-- Speech by H.I.M. HAILE SELASSIE I - California 28th February 1968

The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.
-- Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister

The process [of mass-media deception] has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary.
-- George Orwell in the book 1984

Like the effect of advertising upon the customer, the methods of political propaganda tend to increase the feeling of insignificance of the individual voter.
-- Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and social philosopher, 1900-1980

Democracy don't rule the world, You'd better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that's better left unsaid.
-- Bob Dylan : American folksinger, b.1941

You have to show violence the way it is. If you don't show it realistically, then that's immoral and harmful. If you don't upset people, then that's obscenity.
-- Roman Polanski

When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.
-- Dwight David Eisenhower : 34th president of the United States, 1890-1969

You guard against decay, in general, and stagnation, by moving, by continuing to move.
-- Mary Daly 
 
If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.
-- Adrienne Rich
 
[ With much gratitude to George ]

Drug Makers Near an Old Goal: A Legal Shield

For years, Johnson & Johnson obscured evidence that its popular Ortho Evra birth control patch delivered much more estrogen than standard birth control pills, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes, according to internal company documents. 
But because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch, the company is arguing in court that it cannot be sued by women who claim that they were injured by the product - even though its old label inaccurately described the amount of estrogen it released.
This legal argument is called pre-emption. After decades of being dismissed by courts, the tactic now appears to be on the verge of success, lawyers for plaintiffs and drug companies say.
The Bush administration has argued strongly in favor of the doctrine, which holds that the F.D.A. is the only agency with enough expertise to regulate drug makers and that its decisions should not be second-guessed by courts. The Supreme Court is to rule on a case next term that could make pre-emption a legal standard for drug cases. The court already ruled in February that many suits against the makers of medical devices like pacemakers are pre-empted.
[ ... ]
Gloria Vanderham, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said the company acted responsibly.
"We have regularly disclosed data to the F.D.A., the medical community and the public in a timely manner," Ms. Vanderham said. "Ortho Evra is a safe and effective birth control option for women when used according to the labeling."
But Janet Abaray, a plaintiff's lawyer from Cincinnati, said that Johnson & Johnson took advantage of an agency overwhelmed by its many responsibilities.
"Johnson & Johnson knew that F.D.A. does not have the funding or the manpower to police drug companies," Ms. Abaray said.
A series of independent assessments have concluded that the agency is poorly organized, scientifically deficient and short of money. In February, its commissioner, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, acknowledged that the agency faces a crisis and may not be "adequate to regulate the food and drugs of the 21st century."
The F.D.A. does not test experimental medicines but relies on drug makers to report the results of their own tests completely and honestly. Even when companies fail to follow agency rules, officials rarely seek to penalize them. "These are scientists, not cops," said David Vladeck, a professor at Georgetown Law School. 
Last month, at a trial over the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, Dr. John Gueriguian, a scientist who worked at the F.D.A. for two decades, testified that the agency did not always ask for strong warnings even if it believed a drug was risky. Companies typically oppose warnings, and the agency knows it must compromise on its requests or face years of delay, Dr. Gueriguian said.
"We at the F.D.A. know what we can obtain and we cannot obtain," Dr. Gueriguian said. "We have many, many problems, and we have a management system - what we can't obtain we will not ask."
 
 

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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