Thursday, August 28

Codex Alimentarius Commission: Big Pharma Harming Health--Again

"At the end of WWII the allies split up IG Farben into companies that are now the top pharmaceutical concerns on earth among them Bayer, Hoescht, BASF..."--Richard Lederman, "The GW Bush Bang-IG Farben 2001," 25 January 2001

Bayer and BASF are cited below as members of the Big Pharma cult whose bottom line always trumps safety and human health.

By Paul Anthony Taylor

October 2006 – Codex is not an easy subject to get to grips with. With over 20 committees meeting on an annual basis, and published reports comprising a total of over 1,400 pages in 2005 alone, most people are blissfully unaware of the extent to which its activities affect their health. Read on to discover the bigger picture behind the Codex Alimentarius Commission's support for the "business with disease".

What is Codex?

The World Trade Organization uses Codex Guidelines and Standards as the benchmark in the adjudication of international trade disputes involving foods. It's headquarters, above, are located in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is the main global body that makes proposals to, and is consulted by, the Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on all matters pertaining to the implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. Established in 1963, the Commission's main purposes are stated in its Procedural Manual as being: protecting the health of consumers; ensuring fair practices in the food trade; and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations. Unfortunately however, and as we shall see, its activities do not protect the health of consumers and the international food trade is anything but fair.

At the time of writing, the Commission presides over a total of 27 active subsidiary committees and ad hoc intergovernmental task forces, the main functions of which revolve around the drafting of standards, guidelines and other related texts for foods, including food supplements. Once completed these texts are presented to the Commission for final approval and adoption as new global standards.

How does Codex affect you and your health?

Codex standards and guidelines now exist for virtually all foods.

Whilst the adoption by countries of the various standards and guidelines developed by Codex is theoretically optional, the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995 essentially changed their international status, in that they are now increasingly used by the WTO as the benchmark in the adjudication of international trade disputes involving foods. As such, the potential threat of becoming involved in – and losing – such a dispute now effectively makes the adoption of Codex guidelines and standards mandatory, in that it leaves WTO member countries little or no option but to comply with them. Given therefore that a total of 149 countries are currently members of the WTO, and also that Codex standards or guidelines now exist for virtually every food one can name, this effectively means that the activities of Codex now directly affect the vast majority of people on the planet.

In addition to dealing with ordinary foods, however, Codex also sets standards and guidelines for, amongst other things: vitamin and mineral food supplements; health claims; organic foods; genetically modified foods; food labeling; advertising; food additives and pesticide residues. Significantly, therefore, and as we shall see below, in all of these areas the evidence is now inescapable that Codex is increasingly putting economic interests – and particularly those of the pharmaceutical and chemical industries – before human health.

Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements

The Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements were adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission as a new global standard at its meeting in Rome, Italy, in July 2005.

The Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements were adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission as a new global standard at its meeting in Rome, Italy, in July 2005. Drafted using the European Union's restrictive Food Supplements Directive as a blueprint, the Guidelines mandate the setting of restrictive upper limits on the dosages of vitamins and minerals, and the prohibiting of claims that vitamin and mineral supplements are suitable for use in the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of disease. As a result, and bearing in mind the growing mountain of evidence demonstrating the impressive health improvements that can be achieved via the use of nutritional supplements, it can be seen that far from protecting the health of consumers, the global enforcement of these guidelines would ensure that the sale of curative, preventative, and therapeutic health products remains the exclusive province of the pharmaceutical industry.

Health claims

The Codex General Guidelines on Claims protects the patent on the pharmaceutical industry's control of our healthcare systems.

There are already several Codex texts in existence that place restrictions upon the health benefits that can be attributed to food products, and perhaps the most significant of these is the Codex General Guidelines on Claims. Adopted in 1979, and revised in 1991, these guidelines are in some senses the very root of the Codex problem – in terms of placing severe restrictions upon natural forms of healthcare – in that they effectively seek to ensure that the only products that can make claims relating to the prevention, alleviation, treatment, and cure of disease are pharmaceutical drugs. Specifically, and amongst other things, the Codex General Guidelines on Claims prohibit all claims implying that a balanced diet or ordinary foods cannot supply adequate amounts of all nutrients, and all claims that food products are suitable for use in the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of diseases. As such, it can be seen that they essentially protect the patent on the pharmaceutical industry's control of our healthcare systems.

Organic foods

Organic foods have been receiving increased attention from Codex in recent years, and it is now increasingly clear that the Codex Committee on Food Labelling is attempting to water down global organic standards to permit the use of substances such as sulphur dioxide, which can cause allergic reactions in some people; sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, which are potentially carcinogenic, and have been implicated in hyperactivity in children; and carrageenan, for which there is evidence that it is associated with the formation of ulcers in the intestines and cancerous tumors in the gut. Worse still, however, the Codex Alimentarius Commission recently gave the go-ahead for work to begin on the inclusion of ethylene in the Codex Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods. Ethylene is used to artificially induce fruits and vegetables to ripen whilst they are in transit, and as such its approval for use on organic foods would represent a disturbing step towards WTO-enforced acceptance of the same dubious and unnatural agricultural practices that non-organic foods are already subject to.

Why does Codex want to water down organic standards in this way? On a basic level it is simply because organic foods fetch higher prices than ordinary, non-organic, foods, and that as such the large non-organic food producers see an easy opportunity to break into the market for organic foods and make larger profits. On a deeper level, however, organic foods promote better health than non-organic foods, by virtue of the fact that they contain higher levels of micronutrients. In addition, of course, organic foods don't contain pesticides, residues of veterinary drugs or genetically-modified organisms either. Bearing in mind therefore that good health is not in the interests of the "business with disease", this ultimately makes the increasing demand for organic foods a threat to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries; not only because organic foods promote good health, however, but also because they result in a lower demand for pesticides, veterinary drugs and GM foods – and thus in lower profits.

Moreover, and unlike genetically-modified seeds, organic seeds cannot be patented. As such, given that some of the major players in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, such as Bayer and BASF, are also major players in the biotech industry, it can easily be seen that the rising popularity of non-patentable organic foods is in fact a serious and growing threat to the profits of the pharmaceutical industry's "business with disease".

Genetically-modified foods

The increasing popularity of food supplement, natural health practices and organic food is a serious threat to the pharmaceutical industry's business with diesease.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted its first guidelines and principles for genetically-modified (GM) foods in 2003. These texts subsequently became instrumental in the United States, Canada and Argentina launching, and winning, a trade dispute at the WTO against the European Union (EU), where it was argued that the EU had been applying a moratorium on the approval and importation of foods containing GM material.

Further guidelines and standards for GM foods are now in the process of being drafted by Codex. The eventual adoption of these texts will further contribute to making the approval, and importation, of GM foods that comply with them mandatory for all WTO member countries. Crucially, therefore, the United States, Canada and Argentina are also pushing for there to be no requirement for manufacturers or exporters of GM foods to disclose the presence of genetically modified organisms on their product labelling. This is exactly what the big GM food manufacturers want, of course, as they have long realized that growing numbers of people are opposed to GM food products, and moreover that they will not be able to change public opinion about these products anytime soon.

Unlike the seeds for regular foods, the seeds for GM foods can be patented. This, essentially, is the real key to why biotech companies are so desperate for these foods to be forced onto world markets, as the potential long-term profits are so colossal as to compare quite favorably with the market in pharmaceutical drugs. Given therefore that some of the major players in the pharmaceutical industry, such as Bayer and BASF, are also major players in the biotech industry, it can be seen that the pharmaceutical industry is once again positioning itself as a key beneficiary at Codex.

As such – so far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned – the only products that are worth producing are those that are patentable. Because of this, the rise in the popularity of food supplements, natural health practices and even organic food represents a serious threat to the pharmaceutical industry. The financial interest groups behind the Codex Alimentarius Commission know this only too well, of course, and as such are now engaged in a desperate struggle to maintain their monopoly upon the healthcare industry and expand into GM food production.

Food labelling

A specific Codex committee to deal with food labeling issues, the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL), has been in existence since 1965. The issue of food labelling is particularly crucial to the further spreading of life-saving natural health information, as restrictions upon the written content of food labels contribute, along with those on advertising, to preventing nutritional supplement manufacturers from informing people of the proven benefits of dietary supplementation. Crucially, therefore, CCFL has refused to acknowledge the role of optimum nutrition in the prevention, alleviation, treatment and cure of disease, and, as such, rather than protecting the health of consumers, can be seen to be acting in the interests of the pharmaceutical industry's "business with disease".


Arguments as to how or whether Codex should deal with advertising issues have been going on since at least 1972.

These arguments continued at the May 2006 CCFL meeting in Ottawa, where they centred around whether or not work on a definition for advertising should be initiated, and if it should, where (i.e. within which Codex text) such a definition should be placed. After considerable discussion regarding this issue CCFL decided that work on a definition for advertising should indeed be initiated.

From a natural health perspective, however, the definition proposed is far from satisfactory:

"Advertising: any representation to the public, by any means other than a label, that is intended or is likely to influence and shape attitude, beliefs and behaviours in order to promote directly or indirectly the sale of the food."

The wording of this proposed definition raises several key questions.

For example, as well as its potential to result in the prohibition of advertising legitimate, published, peer-reviewed scientific research papers, might it also inhibit non-profit natural health advocacy organizations from influencing and shaping attitude, beliefs and behaviours regarding the sale of nutritional supplements?

Similarly, could any restrictions on advertising that are based upon this definition be said to contravene the right to freedom of opinion and expression and/or the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers (both of which are enshrined in Article 19 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights)?

Regardless however, given that the pharmaceutical industry's "business with disease" depends for its survival upon the restriction of any and all means by which consumers can obtain natural health information, potential restrictions on advertising are clearly now a key issue at Codex.

Food additives

Codex has a specific committee that deals with the safety of food additives, one of the main functions of which is to establish their maximum permitted levels. In all, the Codex Food Additive Index currently lists a total of around 300 individual additives – both synthetic and natural – that it permits to be used in foods.

However, whilst it may be the case that some artificial additives are essentially safe when consumed in small amounts and in isolation from one another, the reality is that no substantive consideration has been given by Codex to the fact that such chemicals are consumed not in isolation, but in tandem with each other. As such, and to the benefit of their manufacturers, the cumulative long-term effect that the consumption of multiple patented chemicals and artificial additives has on the health of consumers is largely being ignored.

Diseases caused or aggravated by the long-term consumption of pesticides increase the potential market for pharmaceutical drugs.

Revealingly, therefore, many artificial additives are being manufactured by some of the same pharmaceutical and chemical companies that would like to ban vitamin supplements and force GM foods onto our dinner plates. And, as is similarly the case with pharmaceutical drugs and GM seeds, the main reason why many of these substances exist is because they can be patented - and patents equal higher profits.


The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues was formed in 1966, and is responsible for setting the maximum limits for pesticide residues in specific food items or in groups of food. Once again, however, the safety or otherwise of each individual pesticide is generally examined in isolation, and the long-term effect that their collective presence might have upon the body is mostly ignored. Given therefore that many of these dangerous chemicals are manufactured by pharmaceutical and chemical companies, it is not difficult to imagine that their widespread usage may be seen by these industries as having a dual financial benefit, in that they potentially increase the size of the market for – and hence the profits to be made from – the patented drugs used as treatments for any diseases that their long-term consumption might cause.


Codex is not just about nutritional supplements. In fact, it is the primary political battlefield where the war is being waged about who will regulate and control the global food supply from farm to fork. This 'war' is being waged by an increasingly tangled web of global authorities, big business and financial interests, and, as such, trade and profit are its prime goals – not human health.

Current indications suggest that the long-term financial winners in the battle to gain control over the world's food supply are likely to be the pharmaceutical and chemical industries; especially so given that the adoption of still further Codex guidelines for foods derived from biotechnology now seems almost inevitable. As a result, our freedom of choice, our future health and the environment itself are all now clearly at risk.

Good nutrition and optimum health threaten the pharmaceutical industry's "business with disease" because they reduce the size of the marketplace for synthetic drugs. However, food that is free of pesticide residues, artificial additives and other contaminants can, by definition, only come about as a result of a lower global usage, or ideally the entire elimination, of these chemicals. This, of course, would not be in the financial interests of the pharmaceutical and chemical companies that manufacture such substances, as it would clearly result in lower profits, better health for entire populations, and a consequent reduction in the use of synthetic drugs.

In conclusion therefore, whilst it may have been somewhat "out of the limelight" recently, the Codex Alimentarius Commission's support for the "business with disease" has continued unabated, and the wide scope of its activities makes it a significant danger to the future health of all humanity.

Do we want to see a world where our access to safe, nutritious foods and effective dietary supplements is restricted and controlled by pharmaceutical and chemical interests? If not then we must act now, before it's too late.

Source: Dr. Rath Health Foundation, October 2006. Dr Rath's website hosts the definitive book on where Big Pharma developed that corporate impulese to control and dominate, at the expense of humankind. See The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben by Joseph Borkin, one of the US post-War II prosecutors at Nurenberg who watched I.G. Farben's German and American corporate criminals walk instead of being held responsible for war crimes. Borkins wrote his detailed document to reveal the kind of treason and murder America's traitors got away with during WWII.

Sunday, August 24

Beijing-to-LA Believin': "Buffed, Beautiful and Bitchin'"

Milkhouse Mouse's "Olympic moment" today comes courtesy of stalwart American comedian Jim Carey, whose monologue in the clip below sounds under the influence of a blend of helium and speed.

A Comparable Pre-Olympic 1988 Moment: Murray, Utah gymnast Paul Hunt provided similar comedic relief at a 1988 USA-USSR competition in Los Angeles.

So, my fellow Americans, let Jim and Paul's sterling performances inspire you to vote early and often for the next leader of the Free World in November '08.

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Wednesday, August 13

Twisted Empire Psychology: The APA's Torture War

But you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate.
So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour's getting late....

Outside in the cold distance

A wild cat did growl.
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

....All Along the Watch Tower.

--Lyrics by Bob Dylan (1968), performed live by The Jim Hendrix Experience (1970)

Recently, Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., a registered psychologist and director of Boston College's Center for Research, Evaluation and Program Development, updated in the blog news on the revolt percolating within the American Psychological Association since the the post-9/11 "war on terror."
The American Psychological Association has been racked with controversy over the role of psychologists in Bush regime detainee interrogations. Unlike other health professions, which have determined that participation in the interrogations is unethical, the APA leadership has defended psychologists’ involvement in interrogations at Guantanamo and the CIA "black sites." Psychologist opponents of the APA position have, for the first time in APA history, organized a referendum to change APA policy. They are asking the APA membership to reject psychologists’ participation when such sites are in violation of international law or the Constitution. The ballots are currently arriving in members mailboxes.

After reviewing the disturbing background of psychologists crucial role in U.S. torture and detainee abuse, the referendum’s crucial clause states:

Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in isolation of, either International law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.

Jean Maria Arrigo, the psychologist who served on the APA’s PENS [Psychological Ethics and National Security] task force in 2005 and exposed the PENS report as a rubber stamp for an already determined government policy [emphasis added], has succinctly explained the importance of a "Yes" vote on the referendum: (read more-->)
As individuals, the APA, collectively indifferent to social history and trends, could benefit therapeutically from services of an unbiased historian versed in more than its own white, elite "founding fathers."

In a 2002 book (Secrets of The Tomb: Skull and Bones, The Ivy League and The Hidden Paths of Power), Yale graduate Alexandra Robbins* suggests how it is possible for the APA, ostensibly an organization fostering emotional and psychological health in the vulnerable, can claim it furthers these humanitarian ideals through members' direct involvement in US-sponsored torture.

In addition to organizing two professional organizations--the American Historical and American Economic Associations--Robbins learned that Yalie "Skull and Bones members founded the... American Psychological Association."

To the historically literate, the secret of Yale "Bonesmen" and their dominance of --along with Harvard and Princeton grads--of US intelligence agencies, such as the Office of Strategic Services and Central Intelligence Agency, have been meticulously documented.

As a group "Bonesmen" are men (and, after 1996, women) from among the most privileged families who, on graduation, assume the most prominent position in U.S. corporations, investment houses and foreign policy.

Author Kevin Phillips, a former all-star senior strategist in President Nixon's White House, in his 2004 book American Dynasty (subtitled Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush) tried to alert voters to the Bush family's "deep spook legacy" before the presidential election. Generally, Phillips likened membership in Skull and Bones "to canonization... [in which the successful pledge] started life a leg up..."[p.26], assured "they could walk through the upper echelons of American life [p.27]".

Though Phillips sets the table, he stops short of asserting that Bonesmen bankers, businessmen and politicians collectively promulgated conditions leading to the First and Second World Wars (see chapter 6: Armaments and Men: The Bush Dynasty and the National Security State).

After finishing American Dynasty, readers have a much shorter intellectual jump in concluding that these elite spooks would have an easy time colluding against a historically naive group of psychologists and convincing them of the professional virtue in aiding and abetting torture.

Best wishes to those APA dissidents as they scramble to salvage a modicum of dignity as human beings, along with extracting their work from the grip of Ivy League spooks.


*In her 22 January 2004 Democracy Now! interview, Robbins informs listeners of the implications for national security in having two Yale Bonesmen--"Republican" George W. Bush and "Democrat" John Forbes Kerry--"competing" for the White House.

David McGowan's book Understanding the F-Word (pictured above) also allegedly addressed the APA sell-out to Ivy League spookdom, but I couldn't verify that was so. But see this 2000 piece of analysis by McCowan on media fascism to understand why Newsweek was prompted in 2004 to dub CNN's Fox-esque rightward drift to christen that news organization as the "Cowardly News Network."

Tuesday, August 12

CBS Confirms Bush Drinking Again

An incendiary news leak in 2007 helps account for recent White House policy decisions.

Days before the 2000 presidential elections, Republican challenger George Bush admitted his 1976 DUI arrest, although he downplayed any problems with alcohol.

Earlier in the campaign, he told the Washington Post he wasn't an alcoholic. "Well, I don't think I had an addiction. You know it's hard for me to say. I've had friends who were, you know, very addicted. . .and they required hitting bottom [to start] going to AA. I don't think that was my case."

But by 2002, Alan Bisbort of the Hartford Advocate had seen enough of the new commander-in-chief to conclude Bush had exhibited signs of being a "dry drunk," an alcoholic who has stopped drinking but whose underlying personality problems remain untreated. In addition, because Bush's grandfather Prescott, a senator from Connecticut (1952-1963), also reportedly "drank to excess," the grandson would have had a genetic predisposition to do so as well.

A year ago this past June, a report, accompanied with photos (and BBC video clip here), revealed Bush sharing a beer with a blonde in Germany. Then CBS Late Night host Craig Ferguson produced a video clip of a clearly inebriated George Bush at a news conference later that year, either in August or September.

Monday, August 11

Consumer Scam Alert: "Pump 10" to Check for Rigged Pumps

Details contact lists are provided for the responsible consumer who, on discovering they've been price-gouged, prefer complaining intelligently rather than the routine dismissive whining before continuing their whine-filled day.

Years ago, when I taught college, I happened upon a reference, somewhere today deeply buried in the folds of lecture notes, revealing that supermarkets purposely program price scanners--hey, their computerized, you know--to pad profit margins. In other words, to many overcharges are by design, not accidents.* See Since them I've trained myself to shop for fewer items to better remember item prices. I can't guess how many times I've caught overcharges.

While making but a small difference to my finally tally, multiply that item--or items--over several shoppers and we're talking about a generous offering the buying public makes to the food industry.

Two concerned consumers may have discovered that local franchises that pay tribute to the Five Sisters--the mega-gas and oil corporations--may be using the supermarket mark-up scheme to pad their profit-margins.

Late last month, Kim and Cordi blogged at OfftheGirdGirls's [sic] posted below this stressing personal experience at a BP pump in Georgia.
Passing this along. Be careful of being over charged at the pumps!!!

I pumped exactly one gallon of gas. The price did not match the cost of one gallon, it was higher. He went inside and complained, got a refund. There is also a number on each pump that you can call and complain.

This is a true story, so read it carefully.

On April 24, 2008, I stopped at a BP gas station in GA. My truck’s gas gauge was on 1/4 of a tank. I use the mid-grade, which was priced at $3.71 per gallon. When my tank is at this point, it takes somewhere around 14 gallons to fill it up.

When the pump showed 14 gallons had been pumped I began to slow it down, then to my surprise it went to 15, then 16. I even looked under my truck to see if it was being spilled. It was not. Then it showed 17 gallons on the pump. It stopped at 18 gallons. This was very strange to me, since my truck has only an 18 gallon tank. I went on my way a little confused, and then on the evening news I heard a report that 1 out of 4 gas stations had calibrated their pumps to show more gas had been pumped than a person actually got.

Here is how to check a pump to see if you are getting the right amount:

Whichever grade you are using, put EXACTLY 10 GALLONS in your tank, and then look at the dollar amount. If the dollar amount is not EXACTLY 10 times the price of the fuel you have chosen, then the pumps are rigged.

In my case as I said the mid-grade was $3.71 9/10 per gallon; my dollar amount for 10 gallons should have been $37.19. I wish I had checked the pump. It doesn’t matter where you pump gas, please check the 10 gallon price. If you do find a station that is cheating, contact the State Agriculture Department, and direct your comments to the
Commissioner- -the information is on the gas pumps.

Please don’t delete this until you have sent it to all people in your address book. We need to put a stop to this outrageous cheating of customers. The gas companies are making enough profits at honest rates....
A response to this consumer alert offered a little finer point regarding which division within state agriculture offices to forward any compliant:
A call to your states [sic] bureau of weights and measures should put some heat on those rigged pumps. around [sic] here they go around all the time checking the calibration on pumps.
The website of the National Conference on Weights and Measures provided contact information for directors for each of the fifty states--to include DC, no less, yet excluding US territories--here.

Considering the intraagency competition, you can as a concerned consumer put an even finer point on the matter if you cc: your email/complaint to the requisite state, county and cite government consumer protection office.

Now go and raise a little long overdue hell about that price-gouging, 'kay?

* Supermarket rip-offs have been with us a very long time, a critical impetus for emergence of consumer fraud bureaus; see how these pro-consumer outfits started out in the early 1970s by helping police supermarket fraud. Also read, for example, here, here and here (scroll down to "price-fixing" section on bottom third of webpage. These examples were quickly gleaned from 12,000 webpage hits for an Altavista search using the key words "overcharge" "supermarket" and "fraud".

While Las Vegas weights and measures inspectors in 2005 claimed most retail overcharges were "blameless carelessness," this 23-page online New Jersey court ruling suggests that is not the case at supermarkets throughout that state. The attorney for a determined New Jersey woman (Elizabeth Kawa) filed class-action suit against an impressive list of supermarkets for systematically overcharging her sales tax on her purchases--a gouging angel I never thought to check. On the other hand, the swarm of corporate attorneys argued, for dismissal, citing procedural technicalities, not their clients' innocence of programing their computerized registers to overcharge sales tax. Even before you get to the conclusion of the court's April 2008 ruling, you already know the judge has selected case studies that signal his dismissal of charges. See this Los Angeles suit on supermarkets "due to alleged price-fixing of milk."

And for the clincher for the suspicious supermarket consumers among us, read "Pricing Errors: Honest mistake or fraud attempt?" in the 26 July 2006 online issue of the Pocono Record.

But, of course, we know gas companies wouldn't pursue their own version of these sorts of petty pricing fraud, since they are significantly more honest than supermarkets...right?

Thursday, August 7

American "Federal" Banking System Isn't Federal

If you're like most Americans, you never heard anything about the 1982 federal court decision Lewis v. United States, 680 F.2d 1239 (1982). That ruling, by the U.S. 9th District Court in San Francisco, validates a longstanding "conspiracy theory" lurking on the internet alleging the US central banking system, rather than an arm of the federal government, is instead privately owned.

In 1981, Californian John L. Lewis was injured by a vehicle owned by the San Francisco branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. In 1982, he filed suit (cited here and here) against the bank under the Federal Claims Tort Act, a 1946 law that permits "private parties to sue the U.S. in federal court for most torts [civil, not criminal, offenses] committed by persons acting on behalf of the United States."

On 19 April 1982, Judge David W. Williams initially dismissed Lewis' suit against the bank, "holding that [the] federal reserve bank was not a federal agency within [the] meaning of Act and that the court therefore lacked subject-matter jurisdiction." On his appeal, a Judge Poole of the U.S. Court of Appeals on 24 June also ruled against Lewis, noting "that federal reserve banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the Act, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations."

In the courts' final judgment, Williams and Poole determined that
Federal reserve banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of a Federal Tort Claims Act, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations [emphasis added] in light of fact that direct supervision and control of each bank is exercised by board of directors, federal reserve banks, though heavily regulated, are locally controlled by their member banks, banks are listed neither as "wholly owned" government corporations nor as "mixed ownership" corporations; federal reserve banks receive no appropriated funds from Congress and the banks are empowered to sue and be sued in their own names. . . .
In April 2008, finance blogger Elaine Meinel Supkis incorporated the Lewis ruling in a succinct and accessible history that details how U.S. taxpayers were kept in the dark and the American power elite forced coerced its citizenry into economic servitude by footing the bill.

Among the myriad implications emerging from Supkis's analysis of the evolution of US banking under the guise of "public service" is this one:

If the American public does not own The Fed, just whose interests were the last three GOP presidencies--the Reagan and both Bush White Houses--serving when they heavily borrowed from those private banks the mountains cash that have spiked the national debt to precipitous levels?

So much for that cherished myth of Democrats overspending US tax dollars compared to the post-Reagan GOP.

Former 2008 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul knew this about The Fed, but more. As a current member of the U.S. House Banking Committee, Paul, long an ardent opponent of the corporate banking's cavalier "mismanagement"of taxpayer money, regularly had these views--and more--censored by corporate media during his recent race against Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

In June, Paul, who proposed "gradually elimination" of this banking racketeering system, detailed its role in inflation, which corporate media dutifully ignored.

Update: Demo Congress & Federal Claims Tort Act

Back in November 2006, the public was hopefully that a 110th Democratic-controlled Congress would rectify the grievous harm inflicted on the rule of law by the Bush-Cheney White House. But a month after voters replaced Republican with Democrat leadership, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told the press that his House leadership already had pulled a "bait-and-switch" and sold out their constituency by embracing the Bush White House views on the Iraq War and impeachment.

So while expectations that Demos might rectify the cushy interest payments banksters racketeers dealt served up for themselves in 1913 is unreasonable, how about reversing GOP-imposed restrictions on the Federal Claims Tort Act?

According to a analysis of congressional bill sponsorship, New York congressman Maurice Hinchey is a "far-left" Democrat, i.e., he favors pro-consumer over corporate-friendly legislation.

This year, Hinchey proposed to amend the Federal Tort Reform Act on behalf of American soldiers, particularly those deployed in the "war on terrorism," via H.R. 6093, the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act of 2008. With only five House co-sponsors--all Democrats--the bill has languished in the Committee of the Judiciary since May without change. Translation: It's unlikely the bill will be approved.

In scanning an overview of the bill, it's difficult to decode the legalese, though its "far-left" sponsorship suggests H.R. 6093 could provide the basis for suits by troops and civilian employees of contractors such as Halliburton to sue for, among exposure to other health risks, "depleted uranium," a highly dense, radioactive waste from nuclear reactors the U.S. government recycles in munitions and armor plating of troop transport vehicles.

Wednesday, August 6

Post-9/11 Elegy: Bush White House's "Spendid Bugger" of America

The funeral segment in the Hugh Grant/Andy McDowell film Four Weddings and a Funeral proffers viewers a moving rendition of British poet W.H. Auden's elegiac "Funeral Blues."

With a modicum of reflection, Auden's elegy provided an emotional vehicle in remembering what has happened to my country during the criminal reign of King George II, especially during and since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on this country.

Here's the first half* of Auden's poem recited in the film:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

If you prefer the visual performance from FW&aF, watch the short clip below:

But you also can pick your own "funeral poem"--elegy--from this impressive list, headed by Auden's "Funeral Blues."

Other elegiac--or "farewell"--poems from the list below may be more appropriate for your current sensibilities regarding the state of American democracy:

"Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden
"To the Dead" by Frank Bidart
"Fugue of Death" by Paul Celan
"Because I Could Not Stop For Death" by Emily Dickinson
"Dying Away" by William Meredith
"To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman
"Death Stands Above Me" by Walter Savage Landor
"The Reaper and the Flowers" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"For the Union Dead" by Robert Lowell
"Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Elegy for Jane" by Theodore Roethke
"November" by Edmund Spenser
"Question" by May Swenson
"In Memoriam" by Lord Alfred Tennyson
"A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London" by Dylan Thomas
"O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

Finally, a great resource is the anthology Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies, edited by Sandra M. Gilbert and published by W. W. Norton.

*Read part II here.

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