Saturday, August 28, 2004

Aging U.S. Population Threatens Benefits

Greenspan Warns on Baby Boomer Benefits
Aug 27, 10:22 AM (ET)
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday that the country will face "abrupt and painful" choices if Congress does not move quickly to trim the Social Security and Medicare benefits that have been promised to the baby boom generation.
Returning to a politically explosive issue that he has addressed a number of times this year, Greenspan said that it was wrong for the government to hold out the promise of more retirement benefits than it is capable of providing.
He said this issue was particularly critical given the impending retirement of 77 million baby boomers born in the two decades after World War II.
"As a nation, we owe it to our retirees to promise only the benefits that can be delivered," Greenspan said in opening remarks to a two-day conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on the challenges posed by aging populations.
"If we have promised more than our economy has the ability to deliver, as I fear we may have, we must recalibrate our public programs so that pending retirees have time to adjust through other channels," Greenspan said. "If we delay, the adjustments could be abrupt and painful."
Greenspan, as he has done previously, suggested that possible changes would be raising the retirement age to receive full Social Security benefits, which currently is gradually increasing from 65 to 67.
Greenspan, who is 78 and was recently confirmed for a fifth term as Fed chairman, has been a proponent of raising the retirement age ever since he was chairman of a commission that recommended a number of changes to rescue Social Security from impending insolvency two decades ago.
In his remarks, Greenspan said that the projected doubling of the U.S. population over the age of 65 by 2035 would add to the government's budget deficit woes.
But he said it was important to be careful in how those deficits were addressed. He said that relying entirely on an increase in the payroll tax on workers to deal with the funding shortfall in Social Security and Medicare would make it more costly for employers to hire workers.
Greenspan said policymakers must consider all the economic impacts that changes in the government's two biggest benefit programs would entail such as the effect on retirement decisions, the size of the labor force and the saving behavior of Americans.
Greenspan acknowledged that any decisions to trim benefits or boost payroll taxes could be difficult politically, but he said those decisions must be made and made quickly to give baby boomers time to adjust.
"Though the challenges of prospective increasingly stark choices for the United States seem great, the necessary adjustments will likely be smaller than those required in most other developing countries," he said, noting that Europe and Japan will have a much higher proportion of retirees to current workers in coming years.
Greenspan has repeatedly this year addressed the looming crisis in Social Security and Medicare, a development that the presidential candidates have chosen to virtually ignore given the painful choices that will likely be presented to the next president.

Human Nerve Gas Tests Continued Even After Ban

Porton Down Continued Nerve Gas Testing on Human Guinea Pigs Even After Ban
London Guardian | August 27 2004

Military scientists carried on testing nerve gas on servicemen even though a government minister had imposed a complete ban on such experiments, an inquest heard yesterday.
The tests that broke the ban were conducted in a mobile gas chamber at the Porton Down chemical warfare research establishment in Wiltshire. Porton Down scientists usually tested human "guinea pigs" in permanent fixed chambers in its buildings in the establishment.
The inquest is examining the death of Ronald Maddison, a 20-year-old airman, 51 years ago during the cold war, after scientists intentionally applied liquid nerve gas to his arm in an experiment.
The hearing was told that on May 7 1953, the day after Mr Maddison's death, Duncan Sandys, the minister responsible for Porton Down, sent a secret memo to then prime minister Winston Churchill. Mr Sandys wrote: "Pending the results of our own court of inquiry, I have given instructions that further tests on human beings with nerve gas should be temporarily suspended."
The following day, a senior Whitehall official informed Porton Down of the ban, "which will remain in force until fresh instructions are given" by a minister. Later that day Stanley Mumford, the head of Porton Down, told Dr Harry Cullumbine, the scientist in charge of the department carrying out the human experiments, about the ban. He wrote: "Will you ensure that this instruction is strictly complied with?"
The Wiltshire coroner, David Masters, read extracts from a series of official documents that showed the ban was not lifted by Mr Sandys until August 20 1953.
However other documents read out by Mr Masters revealed that servicemen were tested with nerve gas on three days in 1953 when the ban was still in force. On July 13, six servicemen were exposed to sarin nerve gas in what surviving records call a "mobile chamber". A week later the experiment was repeated with 13 men from the army. On August 11 a further set of servicemen was sent into the chamber, which was filled with sarin.
The inquest heard that Porton Down scientists had started to look at using a mobile chamber on May 10, four days after Maddison's death.
Dr Paul Rice, a senior serving Porton scientist, had written to government lawyers before the inquest began in May: "It is clear from chamber records that between May 10 and May 28, work was under way to assess ... aspects of maintaining an atmosphere of [sarin nerve gas] vapour in the mobile chamber."
Gerwyn Samuel, a barrister representing the Maddison family, asked Dr Alex Proudfoot, an independent expert toxicologist, if he was "astounded" that Porton Down scientists, "reeling" from Maddison's death a few days before, had commissioned a mobile chamber when they had three permanent chambers already at Porton Down.
Dr Proudfoot replied: "The experiment ought to have been stopped. I do not think I can condone it." He added that the reaction of the scientists seemed "irresponsible".
He also said: "I accept that the ban ought not to have been violated. Why it was violated I do not know."
The inquest, due to end in late October, was reopened this year after pressure from campaigners and Mr Maddison's family. The original inquest in 1953 returned a verdict of death by misadventure after it had been held in secret on the orders of the government.
More than 3,000 men from the armed forces were exposed to nerve gas by Porton Down scientists between the end of the second world war and 1989. Data from the tests was used to develop nerve gas weapons and protection in case of a chemical attack by the Soviet Union.

Canadians Going to Third World for Medical Care

Wait lists fuel medical tourism
Patients travelling around the world to get quicker treatments
Richard Starnes
CanWest News Service
August 28, 2004

OTTAWA - The Canadian health-care system is helping fuel an exploding multibillion-dollar industry -- medical tourism.
Frustrated by longer waiting lists and unwilling to live in pain, an increasing number of Canadians are turning to bargain operations and hospital care in state-of-the-art facilities in Third World countries.
They get immediate attention, pay a fraction of the cost and may even get back a major share of the medical costs from their provincial health organizations.
They are not alone. Americans, Europeans and Asians are all flocking to a growing number of countries that have discovered an extremely healthy method for gathering foreign currency.
Medical tourism is booming in developing countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Cuba, India, Jordan, Israel, Lithuania, Singapore and South Africa.
The growing phenomenon does not surprise Canadian health experts, although they have misgivings about the practice.
"If you can afford it and it's important to you -- and health care is important -- people are going to do it," says Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Albert Schumacher of Windsor.
"Is this promoting two-tier medicine? Two-tier has always been there. For years, executives have flown to the Mayo Clinic for three days where 20 different people examine 20 different body parts and they are scanned to death. More and more people are looking for a piece of that. It buys them peace of mind."
Schumacher admits the time it takes to get treatment is vital for many Canadians patients. "They must wait three months for a CAT scan, four months to see a specialist and six months to get operation time," he says.
However, Schumacher warns Canadians about travelling abroad for treatment. "I don't see Canadians in general being willing to compromise on standards," he says. "India (a major medical tourism centre) has 240 medical schools. We have enough trouble rectifying our own schools every three years. How do we evaluate those standards in hospitals half a world away?"
Canadian Health Association president Sharon Sholzberg-Gray is equally cautious.
"I have a great deal of sympathy for those who do decide to go out of the country," she says "But letting them go is no way to run a system."
As the debate grows, so does the size of the medical tourism industry.
India is leading the charge with its aggressive promotion of a burgeoning business.
"First World treatment at Third World prices" it boasts as it chases a market it predicts will earn the country $1 billion US by 2012. The country's leading hospital chain -- Apollo Hospitals -- says it has treated more than 60,000 foreign patients at its 37 hospitals in the past three years and the numbers are growing.
Exact costs are difficult to find because of the individuality of operations, but Indian hospitals are quoting prices like $4,500 US for hip replacement or orthopedic surgery and $7,500 US for knee surgery.
MEDICAL TOURISTS
Malaysia reported over 70,000 medical tourists in 2001 and Jordan is looking toward 100,000 a year. Thailand, according to an Indian government survey, has integrated traditional tourism marketing with medicine so well it attracted a million patients last year.

© The Windsor Star 2004

Friday, August 27, 2004

U.S. Cumpulsory Mental Health Screening

Compulsory Mental Health Screening is Coming For Adults and Children Preschool and Up
Sharon Hughes | August 26 2004

There is a new major U.S. mental health initiative on the docket, based on a report of the New Freedom in Mental Health Commission, which recommends mental health screening for adults and children as young as preschool age, in primary care health settings, schools, and correctional facilities. It also includes expanding school-based mental health programs requiring specific treatments for specific conditions, including the use of specific medications.
Despite a growing public opposition to universal mental health screening, states are being encouraged by the federal government to adopt the measure. Last month Illinois bureaucrats began pushing through a plan passed into law by their legislature to screen the mental health of all pregnant women and children up to 18 years of age in their state. The plan also includes discounted psychotropic drugs.
As reported in the Illinois Leader, Larry Trainor, a parent of four children and Illinois contact for the Los Angeles based Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said, "Since psychiatric involvement in education, SAT scores have gone down for the past few decades. Evaluating mental conditions is not based on scientific evidence, it's subjective."
Pulling from the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health's Executive Summary:
In a transformed mental health system, the early detection of mental health problems in children and adults - through routine and comprehensive testing and screening - will be an expected and typical occurrence. At the first sign of difficulties, preventive interventions will be started to keep problems from escalating. For example, a child whose serious emotional disturbance is identified early will receive care, preventing the potential onset of a co-occurring substance use disorder and breaking a cycle that otherwise can lead to school failure and other problems.
Quality screening and early intervention will occur in both readily accessible, low-stigma settings, such as primary health care facilities and schools, and in settings in which a high level of risk exists for mental health problems, such as criminal justice, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems. Both children and adults will be screened for mental illnesses during their routine physical exams.
To aid in transforming the mental health system, the Commission makes four recommendations:
4.1 Promote the mental health of young children.
4.2 Improve and expand school mental health programs.
4.3 Screen for co-occurring mental and substance use disorders and link with integrated treatment strategies.
4.4 Screen for mental disorders in primary health care, across the lifespan, and connect to treatment and supports.
The New York Times reported last week that Dr. Andrew D. Mosholder, a senior epidemiologist at the Food and Drug Administration wrote a memo about a new study which confirms his findings from 22 other studies showing that the use of antidepressants for children is too dangerous because of the suicide risk. However, "his superiors strongly disagreed with his findings, kept his recommendations secret and initiated a new analysis." The New York Times secured a copy of his memo.

The Agenda Behind the Global Flu Scare

The Real Agenda Behind the Global Flu Pandemic PR Campaign
Jon Rappoport | August 26 2004

The ball is rolling on the PR campaign to convince us that a global flu pandemic is coming up.

"The sky is falling. Stay indoors."

Flu is a terrific PR target because respiratory problems are universal: 1.9 billion lung infections of various kinds wordwide every year. You can call it flu, you can call it SARS, you can call it avian or cat or pig whatever. It's an open field.

The drug that is being touted "for the pandemic" is TAMIFLU (aka Oseltamivir), manufactured by Hoffmann-LA Roche.

Basically, here is the profile. The most serious (but infrequent) adverse effect is an allergic reaction: hard to breathe/closing of throat/swelling of lips, tongue, face/hives.

The less serious but more frequent adverse effects are: nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; abdominal pain; headache; dizziness; fatigue; insomnia; cough.

As I predicted yesterday, several (if not all) of these effects can be wrongly interpreted as symptoms of the flu rather than results of the drug.

"Doctor, my son was healthy yesterday. You gave him that drug to prevent the flu and now he has all these symptoms."

"Symptoms of the flu. He has the flu. If we hadn't given him the drug he might have leprosy by now."

People with kidney or liver problems are warned as well. In other words, the drug can add to the toxicity already involved in the less-than-normal functioning of those organs.

The effect of Tamiflu on pregnant women's unborn children is not known.

Mothers nursing their babies? Contradictory advice. "Effect of drug not known." "DON'T take drug while nursing."

The safety and efficacy of Tamiflu re children under 18 are not established.

The capper? Two major studies on Tamiflu measured the time it took for cessation of flu symptoms...drug versus placebo. The drug outperformed the sugar pill by 1.3 days.

Will miracles never cease?

You decide the risk/ benefit.

One of the key buttons being pushed by the PR flacks: "O my God, there is a great shortage of the flu drugs and vaccines. Who will get them? Who will be left out? How do we establish priorities? We need more money to pay the drug companies to step up production. MAYBE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE OVER THE PRODUCTION ITSELF."

Reminds me of an old cartoon. Panel one: guy opens up a new store. Panel two: the next day he puts up big signs---GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE---LAST CHANCE---PRICES SLASHED---BUY NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.

Working the rubes, baby. Working the rubes.

EU Is Descending Into Totalitarianism

The "New European Soviet"
New American | September 2004 Issue

The European Union is rapidly descending into totalitarianism. Under NAFTA and the proposed FTAA, U.S. policymakers have adopted the same socialist EU program.

I am going to tell you a story about Europe and America. It is a true story about tyranny and freedom, about hope, folly, deception and betrayal. It is also a warning about grave danger. Alarmed at the trends I see, I feel obliged to tell this story. Now in my 91st year, I am one of the few living souls who have experienced the major events of the last century. Being both European and American, I have witnessed and studied these events from opposite sides of the Atlantic.

I am Lithuanian by birth and saw my small country suffer under both Nazi and Communist brands of totalitarianism. My family was trapped in Russia when the Bolshevik Revolution brought the Communists to power. As a young boy in Moscow, in 1922, I was forced to march with my classmates in the Communist May Day parade in front of Vladimir Lenin himself.

Like much of Europe, Lithuania was overrun in the 1940s by the Soviet Red Army, then by the Nazis, and then again by the Soviets. In 1944, as the Soviet Red Army was reinvading Lithuania, and after facing Soviet tanks, I was able to escape with my wife and daughter. In 1949, we were able to come to America and, later, thank God, to become U.S. citizens.

In January 2003 I came back to live in Lithuania. As an author, speaker and newspaper columnist, I am attempting to use my talents and opportunities in the time that I have left to warn my countrymen — both American and Lithuanian — about the very real and present danger to freedom posed by the evolving European Union (EU) and the very similar project proposed for North and South America called the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Most Americans have only a very hazy understanding about what the EU is and an even foggier notion of how it came about. Unfortunately, most Europeans also have a very poor understanding of these things. They have only recently begun to recognize how blind they have been to the very real threats that the growing centralization of power in the EU poses to their national independence and their freedoms.

However, it must be said that the main reason why Europeans and Americans both have such foggy notions about the EU is that the EU architects and promoters have purposely kept the real origins and objectives of the EU shrouded in deception. They had to do this, in order to foist this scheme on the peoples of Europe. If they had openly proclaimed their true objective — to end national sovereignty and create an unaccountable, socialist suprastate — the entire scheme would have been rejected overwhelmingly, right from the start.

When former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev visited Britain in 2000, he accurately described the European Union as "the new European Soviet." He said this with obvious approval, since he sees the evolving EU as fulfilling his vision of a "common European home" stretching "from the Atlantic to the Urals," as he described it in his 1987 book Perestroika. Mr. Gorbachev is a lifelong Communist overlord who has steadfastly refused to renounce Communism.

In fact, he defiantly remains a Communist. On December 23, 1989, Gorbachev declared to his fellow Soviets, "I am a communist. For some that may be a fantasy. But for me it is my main goal." On February 26, 1991, Gorbachev said, "I am not ashamed to say that I am a communist and adhere to the communist idea, and with this I will leave for the other world." He has repeated these sentiments many times. In his book he also stated: "I frankly admit that we are glad that the idea of a ‘common European home’ finds understanding among prominent political and public figures of not only Eastern, but also Western Europe...."

It is highly significant that a top-level Marxist-Leninist such as Mikhail Gorbachev could find such affinity with Western leaders about a "common European home" and then, 13 years later, approvingly note that that common home was moving ever closer to the Soviet model. After all, hadn’t the Soviet model collapsed and died? But Mr. Gorbachev was, at least in this instance, telling the truth; the EU has been, and is now, moving steadily toward Soviet-style tyranny.

The European Parliament, the European Commission and other EU institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and The Hague are dominated by radical socialists and dedicated one-worlders who are bent on smashing the individual, once-independent nation states of Europe into Soviet-style conformity with the oppressive dictates of the new EU Politburo.

A Revolutionary Coup d’Etat

In their powerful exposé, The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union (2003), British journalist Christopher Booker and Dr. Richard North, formerly a researcher inside the EU bureaucracy, aptly describe the EU as "a slow-motion coup d’état: the most spectacular coup d’état in history." In what remains of this article, I will attempt to explain why that description by Mr. Booker and Dr. North is no exaggeration and how this spectacular coup has come about. It is also my intent to show how the deceptive NAFTA-FTAA process is directly related to the EU and patterned after it to achieve the same kind of coup d’état in the Americas.

The "European project," as the EU designers refer to their ongoing revolution, was launched with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The Common Market was born the following December when Italy became the sixth nation to ratify the treaty (joining France, Belgium, West Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). It was sold to the peoples of Europe as a "free trade" agreement that would bring prosperity by removing barriers to the movement of people, goods, services and capital across borders.

In fact, it was a program for national suicide, for gradual, "slow-motion" political and economic merger of the member nations. Booker and North write that Belgian Prime Minister Paul-Henri Spaak, known in Europe as "Mr. Socialist," was responsible for convincing his fellow EU founding fathers that "the most effective way to disguise their project’s political purpose was to conceal it behind a pretense that it was concerned only with economic co-operation, based on dismantling trade barriers: a ‘common market.’"

The Treaty of Rome was, in truth, a constitution for a new government disguised as a treaty. Traditionally, a treaty is an agreement between sovereign states, concerning borders, military alliances, trade relations, extradition, etc. The parties to the treaty remain sovereign states; their form of government is not altered and their citizens are not directly bound with new laws or obligations. The Treaty of Rome, however, created a new, over-arching "community" independent of its member states and claiming the power to create laws that are binding not only on the member nations but on their individual citizens as well.

This was not noticed by the people at first, because the EU founders were careful only to show their citizens the benign features of their project. It had been designed to be implemented incrementally, as an ongoing process, so that no single phase of the project would arouse sufficient opposition as to stop or derail it.

The original Treaty of Rome has been repeatedly modified by subsequent treaties and legislation, all of which have greatly enhanced the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the central EU government. The European Communities Act (1972), the Single European Act (1986), the Schengen Agreement (1990), the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1998), and the Treaty of Nice (2000) are some of the most important benchmarks that have transferred vast powers piecemeal to Brussels, where the EU is headquartered.

The eurofederalists cloak this destructive, revolutionary process under such code words as "integration," "harmonization," and "convergence." In 1991, the Single European Act was coming into force and beginning to show the very ugly teeth that had been built into it. At that time, Sir Peregrine Worsthorne of the Sunday Telegraph, one of Britain’s major newspapers, expressed in a column the sense of betrayal and outrage felt by many in Europe. "Twenty years ago, when the process began," he wrote, "there was no question of losing sovereignty. That was a lie, or at any rate, a dishonest obfuscation."

It was actually a multitude of lies. The EU founders and their successors have been carrying forward nothing less than a brazen scheme of treason dressed up as economic trade policy. And treason is not too harsh a word, for many of the key leaders of this operation are government officials who are betraying a sacred trust and have been lying outright to their constituents. As Sir Worsthorne pointed out, for decades the EU advocates had explicitly lied, insisting that the developing EU would not affect national sovereignty, and that EU laws and regulations would not override national laws and constitutions. These were wild, paranoid fantasies, they said.

Warnings about the true nature of the EU were routinely smothered by the globalist controlled, pro-EU press — which includes nearly all the major media organs. Now that the project is entering its final stages, however, the eurofederalists are dropping all pretenses and admitting openly what they previously denied. They can hardly help it now, since the EU established a constitutional convention in 2002 to draw up a formal constitution for a United States of Europe. At nearly 300 pages, the document is an open-ended power grab, with none of the checks and balances and means of accountability that we enjoy in our U.S. Constitution.

Many Americans, no doubt, tend to consider the Common Market and the EU as positive steps toward greater freedom. After all, it certainly is more convenient to have only one currency, the euro, when touring the continent. But whatever conveniences it may offer are offset by far more important concerns. Consider:

• Regulatory nightmare. British grocers have been arrested and fined for continuing to sell bananas and other produce by the pound instead of by the EU’s newly mandated metric weights. Similarly, the EU dictates on the shape and size of cucumbers, the consistency of marmalade, the texture and taste of chocolate, and thousands of other consumer items.

• Acquis communautaire. The EU already operates under the doctrine of acquis communautaire, which holds that all members must adopt EU law in its entirety, and further, that once the EU usurps the right to legislate in a new area, its authority in that area is guaranteed in perpetuity. Thus, power is guaranteed to flow in one direction — from the member states to the central government.

• Corpus juris. The corpus juris is the new legal code initiated by the Amsterdam Treaty that will, among other things, set up a European Public Prosecutor with over-riding criminal law jurisdiction throughout Europe. Habeas corpus, trial by jury and other important protections will be swept away.

• Unlimited migration. Signatory countries of the EU Schengen Agreement have given up their right to police their borders, thus allowing illegal aliens — including terrorists — to travel freely between countries. With Russia and other former Soviet states, along with Turkey, scheduled for membership, we will soon have millions of new migrants, including many Communists and militant Muslims migrating at will throughout Europe — much like what could happen to the U.S. if the FTAA is implemented.

• Economic control. With the establishment of the euro currency and the European Central Bank, the EU countries have lost control of their fiscal and monetary policy as well as their currencies.

• Destroying agriculture. The EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has taken control of nearly all agriculture and has nearly destroyed British agriculture.

• Power to tax. The EU already claims the authority to dictate indirect tax policies such as the VAT (value added tax) on clothes, food, public transport, fuel, construction, homes, etc. The Treaty of European Union declares that EU decisions to "impose pecuniary obligation on persons other than States shall be enforceable." That means direct taxes on individuals.

• Coercive military and police power. If the Eurocrats have their way, they will soon have European military and police forces to enforce their increasingly dictatorial edicts.

The architects of NAFTA and the FTAA openly cite the EU as the model for their proposed regional "common market" for the Western Hemisphere. For example, Mexican President Vicente Fox acknowledged on May 16, 2002: "Eventually, our long-range objective is to establish … an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union." At the time Fox was referring specifically to the three NAFTA countries (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico); the proposed FTAA would further develop the "ensemble of connections" while extending them throughout the Americas.

President Bush, President Fox and the "new world order" Power Elite at the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Council of the Americas have all adopted the deceptive terminology of the EU — "integration," "harmonization," "convergence" — to describe their "American project." They have adopted an aggressive schedule, intending to do in a few years what it has taken the eurocrats decades to accomplish.

We can and must stop this treasonous plan — or Mr. Gorbachev and his ilk will soon be able to gloat about the "new American Soviet."

Canadian Supreme Court Being Stacked With Activists

NATIONAL POST
STACKING THE COURT WITH ACTIVISTS
Wednesday 25 August 2004
p. A18
By Lorne Gunter

So much for Paul Martin's vaunted commitment to eliminating the democratic
deficit.

The announcement on Tuesday that Mr. Martin's government would be appointing
two activist judges to the Supreme Court flies in the face of the Prime
Minister's assertions, made frequently over the past year, that he intends
to restore power to Parliament.

What difference will it make now whether he gives backbench MPs more say in
lawmaking? Who cares if he returns to the House of Commons the authority to
set our national agenda, confiscated in dribs, drabs and occasional enormous
gulps by the PMO since the days of John Diefenbaker?

None of the laws Parliament makes will be safe from judicial demolition once
the PM's two nominees -- Ontario Court of Appeal Justices Rosalie Abella and
Louise Charron -- make it to the highest court.

Not that many were safe before this latest pair were elevated.

A court that already had a reliable 6-3 majority in favour of judge-made law
will now likely vote 7-2 or even 8-1 for whatever fashionable lefty cause is
being advocated.

In an outrageous speech in 2000, Madam Justice Abella explained that
activist judges, far from subverting the democratic will of the people, were
actually democracy's greatest defenders. "The judiciary has a different
relationship with the public," Judge Abella said. "It is accountable less to
the public's opinions and more to the public interest." Message: You peons
may think you know what you want. But we judges know what is truly in your
best interests.

The Abella and Charron appointments are already being hailed as proof a new
era in democratic accountability is dawning. After all, their appointments
will not become final until after a Commons committee has had a chance to
question Justice Minister Irwin Cotler about them. But this new "review
process" is hollow: Opposition MPs will have a chance to grill Mr. Cotler
publicly about the nominees, but they will be given no opportunity to
question the nominees themselves. Nor will they have the power to reject the
candidates.

What is the point? Opposition MPs will ask the Justice Minister whether this
or that decision or public statement from a nominee's past betrays a bias
that impinges her ability to adjudicate impartially on this or that
high-profile issue; and Mr. Cotler will defer by saying he cannot know what
is in either judge's mind, but he is sure that each woman will give her
objective attention to whatever cases come before the court.

Expect a lot of this, for instance:

Opposition MP: "Mr. Cotler, when she was a justice of the Ontario Court of
Appeal, Madam Justice Abella tried to argue that judges had an obligation to
reopen divorce and separation settlements when they determined that support
payments were 'inappropriately low,' but that since there was no such thing
as a court-ordered payment that was 'inappropriately high,' there was no
legal basis for reopening settlements in which the payer felt his burden was
too great.

"Since 95% of payers are men and 95% of the payees are women, Mr. Cotler, do
you not think such logical gymnastics betray a dangerous anti-male bias on
Ms. Abella's part?"

Mr. Cotler: "With all due respect to the honourable member, I am in no
position to divine what was or was not in the respected judge's mind when
she made that ruling. But I wish to reassure the member that ..."

In 1994, Eric Miglin and his wife Linda signed a "full-and-final" separation
settlement, under which Mrs. Miglin received the couple's home, $60,000 a
year in child support and $15,000 in consulting fees from Mr. Miglin's
company. Mrs. Miglin acknowledged that "no pattern of economic dependency
has been established in their marriage," that "the implications of not
claiming [spousal] support have been explained to her by her solicitor"; and
she agreed that "at no time now or in the future" would she seek support for
herself, "regardless of the circumstances."

Yet five years later, when Mrs. Miglin went to court to reopen the couple's
settlement, Justice Abella turned this clear contract on its head and
awarded her $4,000 a month in support payments, claiming that "often,
dependent spouses are in unequal bargaining positions [and] may misapprehend
his or her needs after separation and be unaware of the real cost of
post-separation life."

Now there's an anti-male bias you could stand a spoon up in.

Judge Abella is also known for her staunch support of racial and gender
hiring quotas, her pro-labour bias in workplace issues and her crusades on
behalf of trendy issues. And Justice Charron wrote the decision in the M. v.
H. case that forced nearly 60 Ontario laws to be rewritten to include
spousal benefits for gay and lesbian couples.

Paul Martin, once thought to be the Liberals' Great Right Hope, has produced
what will likely be the most activist, left-wing court in Canadian history.

_____________________

Lorne Gunter

Columnist and Edit Bd Member,

National Post

Columnist, Edmonton Journal

Suspended Abortionist Was Already Being Probed

August 24, 2004
Officials probed abortion doctor before suspension
Mississippi State Board suspended doctor's license on Thursday after
complaints
By John Fuquay
jfuquay@jackson.gannett.com

Mississippi authorities were investigating a Jackson abortion doctor weeks
before his license was suspended last month in Alabama.

The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure received "more than one
complaint" about the doctor and began an investigation sometime during the
spring, said Dr. W. Joseph Burnett, executive director of the state board.

Dr. Malachy Dehenre, 53, was suspended July 28 in Alabama. Authorities there
cited that one of his patients died less than 24 hours after receiving an
abortion.

In reaching their decision, Alabama authorities reviewed the case of another
woman whom they said received an abortion from Dehenre in March 2003 at the
New Woman Medical Center in Jackson. According to Alabama authorities, the
woman began hemorrhaging and required a hysterectomy following her abortion.

The Mississippi board suspended Dehenre's license Thursday. He was summoned
to appear before the board Sept. 2, but Burnett said Dehenre requested a
continuance Monday through his attorney.

Dehenre could not be reached for comment Monday.

Venecca Green, an attorney involved with Dehenre's representation, would not
comment and said other attorneys involved were unavailable.

The phone at the New Woman Medical Center was answered by a machine that
referred patients to another number they apparently were given during an
office visit.

Pat Cartrette, executive director of ProLife Mississippi, said she believes
the clinic is closed. "I have definitely observed that they have not seen
patients Thursday, Friday, Saturday or today," Cartrette said Monday.

She said parking around Jackson's only other abortion clinic, Jackson
Women's Health Organization, has doubled since last week.

A woman who answered the phone at the clinic said an administrator was too
busy to comment.

Chris Tabb, the attorney for New Woman Medical Center, said, "I have not
talked to the owner, so I could not comment."

Burnett said he did not recall whether a complaint was made regarding the
woman who received the hysterectomy last year. He said his office learned of
the Alabama patient's death in early July. He said he was unable to recall
specific complaints.

Burnett said he likely will grant Dehenre's request for a continuance until
after his Sept. 22 hearing in Alabama. If Alabama authorities revoke
Dehenre's license, the Mississippi board could do the same without a
hearing.

Media's 'Christophobia' Is Destroying Democracy

Media 'Christophobia' is destroying democracy
Christian Heritage Party Communique
l 11 No 31
By Ron Gray

Reading Dr. James Dobson's new book, Marriage Under Fire, reveals that something very ugly is loose in North American culture -- a phenomenon that several CHP candidates also experienced during the last election campaign: a severe intolerance for the Christian world-view on the part of those who clamor loudly for 'tolerance'.

It's what Rev. Tristan Emmanuel, in the title of his recent book, calls Christophobia.

The kind of hatred being expressed towards Christians in Canada today is probably a precursor of persecution, just as depersonalization of Jews in Nazi Germany preceded the Holocaust. (Please understand that I'm not comparing what Christians endure today in Canada with the Holocaust. That would be absurd. Neither is what Christians in Canada experience anything close to the persecution of Christians in China, Sudan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and a host of other communist and Wahabbi Islamist states. But Michael Horowitz, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute -- who is Jewish -- has written that Christians are "becoming the Jews of the 21st Century." He, too, sees a pattern of exclusion developing. What surprises Horowitz is that so few Christians see the menace growing around them.)

Persecution of Bible-believing Christians and Jews is the most common expression of hatred abroad in the world today -- but those who depend on the mainstream media for their 'news' will never have heard that some 200 million Christians in Communist and Muslim dictatorships live under severe persecution; they will not know that about 160,000 Christians are martyred -- murdered for their faith -- every year.

Those facts don't make the news, because they're not 'politically correct'. As Horowitz says, anti-Christian prejudice is the last respectable bigotry.

And it's fuelled by the anti-Christian prejudices of the media and the Secular education establishment.

Another Jewish writer/broadcaster -- movie critic Michael Medved -- in his book Hollywood vs America revealed that in seven years of reviewing Hollywood movies up to the year 2000, he had found not one favorable portrayal of a Christian. Not one.

A new study by the Media Research Center in the United States perhaps reveals why these anti-Christian attitudes are growing and increasing in virulence: there is a massive, monolithic pro-liberal, anti-Christian bias among the 'gatekeepers' of the mainstream media.

The latest MRC SPECIAL REPORT summarizes relevant data on journalists’ attitudes -- as well as polls that reveal growing public recognition of media bias. Many surveys over the past 25 years consistently show that journalists do not reflect the public they purport to serve. Columbia University sociologists Robert and Linda Lichter and Professor Stanley Rothman turned over this stone to reveal the media bigotry against Christians in 1984; a subsequent study by the Los Angeles Times confirmed their report. Robert Lichter expanded the work into a book The Media Elite, in the 1990s. Now the MRC survey shows that the situation has not changed -- and that media bias against Christians is in part behind the massive anti-Bush campaign in the liberal US media.

On issues such as abortion, for example, more than 90 per cent of journalists say they believe a woman should have a legal right to an abortion at any time; about 70 per cent of the general public believe there should be legal restrictions on abortion. Lichter’s research also found that 75 percent of media 'gatekeepers' do not agree that homosexuality is wrong, and an even larger proportion, 85 percent, assert that it's OK for homosexuals to teach in public schools. Yet the majority of the North American public -- in spite of more than a decade of relentless pro-'gay' media propaganda -- consider homosexuality wrong.

The Columbia University sociologists also found that 54 percent of journalists don't regard adultery as wrong, and only 15 percent strongly agreed that extramarital affairs are wrong. "Thus, the media elite emerge as strong supporters of the sexual revolution, in spite of the social disasters it has fostered," wrote Lichter.

• Journalists are much less religious than the public:

Weaver and Wilhoit discovered that journalists and the public differ on the importance of religion: "[T]he percentage of journalists rating religion or religious beliefs as ‘very important’ is substantially lower (38 percent) than the percentages in the overall U.S. population (61 percent)…"

Lichter and his team found in the 1980s that "only 8 percent of top journalists go to church or synagogue weekly, and 86 percent seldom or never attend religious services."

• Journalists are far more pro-abortion than the public:

In their 1992 study, continuing a series of major national studies of American journalists begun in 1971 by sociologist John Johnstone and continued in 1982 and 1992 by David Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit at the Indiana University School of Journalism, Weaver and Wilhoit asked a broad sample of 1,156 journalists for their views on abortion, and found very few who oppose what has become the most common "medical" procedure.

More than half (51 percent) of journalists said abortion should be legal under any circumstance; 40 percent said it should be legal under certain circumstances, and only four percent said abortion should be illegal. The public at large is much less likely than journalists to see abortion as "a right", and much more likely to say it should always be illegal, they reported.

• Elite journalists are much more pro-'gay' than the public:

In 1995, the Times Mirror Center found a "values gap" when they compared the views of 228 top journalists and media executives to other groups:

"The public is divided as to whether homosexuality should be accepted (41 percent) or discouraged (53 percent)." That's actually a whopping 12 per cent margin against -- the Times-Mirror, in calling the public "divided" on the issue, seems to have been influenced by its own pro-'gay' propaganda! "But," their report continues, "members of the national media feel it should be accepted by an 83 to 4 percent margin, and this view is almost as prevalent among the local media (75 percent to 14 percent)."

• Media 'gatekeepers' are even more pro-abortion and pro-'gay' that other journalists:

Nearly all news media elites surveyed (97 percent) agreed that a woman should have the legal right to abortion, and 75 percent agreed that “homosexuality is as acceptable as heterosexuality.”

Rothman and Black’s 2001 update to the original Media Elite surveys found that reporters continue to profess these overwhelmingly liberal attitudes on social issues.

But perhaps the most horrifying statistic of all was found in the 1980s survey by Lichter, Lichter and Rothman: Of the "media elite" -- the "gatekeepers" who decide what will be treated as news and how it will be presented -- 67 percent said they believe it is "part of their job to shape public opinion."

That means when you turn on the TV or pick up a major metropolitan newspaper, you may think you're getting news or entertainment; but you're really getting deliberate brainwashing -- by people who think they know better than you what's good for you to know… and who are determined to "protect" you from any information they regard as "dangerous" -- such as the Christian standards of right and wrong on which this nation was built.

Authentic Christianity was the basis for the end of slavery (still practiced in the Middle East and in Marxist nations), for the elevation of the status of women wherever the faith has been introduced, for the establishment of universities and hospitals and countless charities throughout the world.

So what does Christianity "threaten"? Only self-centred libertinism. But in the minds of the self-appointed elites, that's enough to make us "dangerous".

And that makes them dangerous to us, and to the survival of western civilization -- which these self-appointed "elites" also hate.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Formal Complaint Filed Over Planned Parenthood

FORMAL COMPLAINT FILED WITH DOJ & IRS
QUESTIONING PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S
CONNECTION TO KERRY CAMPAIGN

(Washington D.C.) Attorneys for two EEOC complainants against Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA) have filed a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice concerning alleged electioneering violations by PPLA, a tax exempt nonprofit organization. The complaint by the law firm of Lively & Ackerman was formally presented to the Department of Justice on August 25, 2004. The DOJ complaint seeks revocation of PPLA’s tax-exempt status, interim penalties, or a formal opinion that indicates that all exempt charities may equally engage in the kind of political activity that PPLA is alleged to have engaged in during thus election cycle.
Pursuant to IRS regulations, “Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax. “
According to the formal complaint, which has several key exhibits attached to it, PPLA employees were on stage at a political event for John Kerry, and engaged in conduct that was allegedly designed to directly promote Kerry’s campaign. The complaint also presented sworn affidavits from PPLA employees, attesting to the fact that PPLA had displayed anti-Bush posters in its offices.
Other documents provided to the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service indicate that:
1. “We [PPLA] need to lobby and support both of our U.S. Senators – Feinstein is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an influence on other moderates in the Senate; Boxer is a staunch ally who could face a tough re-election effort in 2004. We also have a voice among the many Democratic presidential hopefuls who travel to California for votes and campaign contributions.”
2. The operational plan FY2004-05 for PPLA, indicates that it was a goal of PPLA to “[e]nergize the pro-choice” public concerning the election and to assert “meaningful and measurable influence on public policy decisions. [emphasis added].”
It is also noteworthy that Gloria Feldt, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of American, also a tax exempt organization, stated in a recent fundraising letter that: “we have an unparalleled ability to reach out to citizens across the country and organize a level of pro-choice, grassroots support that politicians dare not to ignore.” The letter also contained several personal attacks on President Bush, and a “survey” designed to elicit responses concerning whether or not the recipient was “affiliated with a political party” and what the survey respondent thought about legislation concerning abortion. The survey also asks, “Are you aware of any anti-choice activities in your area?”
It is alleged in the complaint that these, or similar comments, appear to be prohibited electioneering and do not constitute acceptable lobbying activity as defined by IRS publications (IR-2004-59 4/28/04) and related law. While it is expected that PPLA will claim that these are protected lobbying activities, the complaint requests that the IRS and DOJ alternatively issue a binding opinion on whether churches and other exempt organizations are permitted to engage in similar political activity. For example, the complaint points out that, “As you may already know, the First AME Church in Los Angeles had Al Gore as a guest speaker during the California recall election, and the media was reporting that Gore was actively inciting the audience to vote “[No]”on the recall effort. If this, and the activities of PPLA, do not constitute a violation of the law, please advise so that we can properly advise any of our clients who may be operating exempt organizations.” The complaint alleges that all nonprofit organizations should be able to equally compete for the hearts and minds of voters.
According to lead attorney Richard D. Ackerman, “If it is true that Planned Parenthood is allowed to post anti-Bush material in its offices, actively engage its affiliates to back ideologue candidates, and to “energize” the public to a vote for a specific candidate or agenda, then it certainly seems that churches and other nonprofit organizations should be able to express their own thoughts on the upcoming election. If what appears to be electioneering is good enough for Planned Parenthood, then it ought to be good enough for those who oppose the agenda of Planned Parenthood and John Kerry. This election is just too important to allow only one side of the political spectrum have its day in the presidential debate over the sanctity of life, stem cell research, violence against unborn children, racism, eugenics, and the other important issues of public concern. If the DOJ and IRS indicate that all exempt organizations are allowed to engage in politicking, we will certainly provide that information to pastors and churches across the nation.”
Lively & Ackerman
A Partnership of Christian Attorneys
(951) 308-6454
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We serve the Southwestern Riverside communities of Corona, Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, French Valley & Winchester. We also have office locations in the Sacramento Area, City of Industry and Palm Desert for your convenience. Our public interest litigation is statewide, and retention of these cases is based on the foreseeable cultural impact of each case.

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Partnership Profile
We are a full service legal firm offering experienced attorneys to provide representation in the following areas of law:
 Elections Law
 Family Law
 Business Litigation and Formation
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Our partners are Scott D. Lively and Richard D. Ackerman, and our firm is quickly becoming the premier public interest law firm in Southern California. Our attorneys' clients have included school districts, state legislators, corporations, small businesses, national political organizations, international diplomats, political parties, and many other important individual clients. We have been privileged to represent each of our clients and sincerely look forward to helping you to achieve success in resolving any legal issues that you may have. We provide aggressive, effective and ethical representation of our clients at a reasonable cost.
You can contact us at (951) 308-6454 for more information.

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08/18/2004 01:29:01 PM

Experts Call for Mass Medication of Citizens

Experts Call For Mass Medication Of Brits
By Jeremy Laurance
Health Editor
The Independent - UK
8-25-4

A Government agency calls today for the mass medication of the British population to protect against a "silent killer" that is threatening the lives of 40 per cent of adults.
High blood pressure affects 14 million people in the UK and is a major cause of heart attacks and strokes, but almost 10 million receive no treatment despite the availability of cheap, reliable drugs, specialists say.
In the most far-reaching drug intervention ever recommended by an official body, new guidelines launched by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice) call for the extension of treatment to the millions at risk to save lives.
A spokesman said: "This is by far the biggest impact guideline we have issued because so many people have high blood pressure."
The World Health Organisation said in 2000 that high blood pressure was the single most prolific cause of preventable deaths. It damages blood vessels in the eyes, the heart and the kidneys and is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, which account for 30 per cent of all deaths in the UK.
But despite the havoc it wreaks, most people with high blood pressure feel well and are unaware their health is at risk. One-third of the 14 million people with the condition in the UK do not know they have it, and a further third who do know are not being treated. Of the four to five million people receiving treatment, one third are not being adequately controlled by drugs, Bryan Williams, professor of medicine and director of the cardiovascular research unit at the University Hospitals NHS Trust, Leicester, said.
Professor Williams, who was involved in drawing up the guidelines, said they were among the most robust ever issued. "Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer because it does not present symptoms until it has already taken hold and caused damage," he said. "We hope the impact of these guidelines will mean fewer people will have strokes and heart attacks. If the population is to live longer, giving treatment to prevent disease is the best option even though it takes a long time to realise the benefits. I think this is the way to go and it is long overdue.
"There is more data on the treatment of hypertension than on any other treatment in medicine. We can answer the question of what works with a high degree of certainty."
Although no estimate has been made of the cost of extra drug treatment, he said it was "highly likely to be cost effective" because of the saving in treatment for heart attacks and strokes. He denied that Nice was promoting the use of drugs that could cause side effects for a symptomless condition. Even treatment with a single drug could cut heart disease by 20 per cent and the drugs had few side effects, he said.
Wendy Ross, a GP in Newcastle who helped devise the guidelines, said: "Once people start treatment they are likely to be taking tablets for the rest of their lives. Most are quite keen to avoid that and want to find out what they can do [about changing their lifestyle]."
The guidelines would lead to more people taking more drugs, she said. "There are still a lot of people out there taking one or two drugs who are not very well controlled. They need three or four drugs," she said. The NHS spent £840m on drugs for high blood pressure in 2001, accounting for 15 per cent of the cost of all drugs prescribed by GPs. Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said spending was set to rise sharply as a result of the guidelines but the amount had yet to be calculated.
Nice also publishes guidelines for the treatment of dyspepsia (indigestion) today, with a recommendation that most patients can be helped to care for the problem themselves with over-the-counter drugs.
* One in six hospitals does not have a stroke unit, which is "unacceptable", the Royal College of Physicians said yesterday. A national audit of stroke treatment found that although the care of patients was improving, it still fell short of the care given to heart patients.
THE GUIDELINES
* People with at least three blood pressure readings above 140/90 mmHg, taken on separate occasions, should be offered advice on how to reduce it by changing their lifestyle, and assessed for their risk of heart disease.
* This may involve changes to the diet, reducing weight and increasing exercise. Cutting back on alcohol, salt and caffeine and practising relaxation may also help to lower blood pressure. Stopping smoking does not reduce blood pressure but is important to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
* If lifestyle changes do not work, drug treatment should be offered to those with a significantly increased risk of heart disease, based on blood and urine tests and family history.
* People with persistently high blood pressure of 160/100 mmHg or more should automatically be offered drug treatment.
* Drug treatment should begin with a diuretic, which increases urine production, and further drugs such as beta-blockers, calcium channnel blockers and ACE inhibitors should be added as necessary until the target blood pressure is reached.
* The drugs are off patent, available in cheap, generic form and are safe with few side effects.

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.

'Elite' Was Behind Coup Attempt

Prosecutors: British Elite Funded Coup Try
Associated Press | August 26 2004

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea -- Hatched by Old Etonians and other members of the British political and financial elite, an alleged scheme to seize control of this oil-rich nation was no ordinary African coup plot, according to witnesses and prosecutors.
The plan as outlined in a trial that began Monday: send in a motley crew of European, Asian and African mercenaries to oust the 25-year ruler of what is widely considered one of the world's most corrupt regimes.
The prize: control of Africa's third-largest oil producer.
But if there was any plot, it went disastrously wrong.
Mark Thatcher, the 51-year-old son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, found himself detained in his pajamas Wednesday at his South African home and later charged with helping to finance the plot, which African authorities said they foiled in March.
Thatcher, an ex-race car driver who has been dogged by accusations of questionable arms deals and shady ventures, was placed under house arrest but not before he was robbed of his shoes, jacket and cell phone in a crowded holding cell. Police recovered the items.
Thatcher's attorney said his client was cooperating with authorities.
"Mr. Thatcher is not guilty of any allegations," attorney Alan Bruce-Brand told reporters.
Equatorial Guinea had taken steps toward Thatcher's extradition, a lawyer for the government said, speaking on condition of anonymity. No arrest warrant has yet been announced.
But 89 other suspects, including Britons and South Africans, already are on trial -- 19 in Equatorial Guinea and 70 in Zimbabwe, having come to the worst pass an accused soldier of fortune can reach -- chained hand and foot in dank African prisons, facing possible decades in prison, and, for one defendant, possible execution.
A German defendant, died shortly after his arrest in March of what Equatorial Guinea said was malaria and complications. Witnesses told Amnesty International the complications included torture.
The Equatorial Guinea government's gusto for the trial picked up considerably with news of Thatcher's pre-dawn arrest at his home in the upscale Cape Town suburb of Constantia.
Equatorial Guinea Attorney General Jose Olo Obono repeatedly waved off reporters seeking comment. But Obono's questions of the shackled defendants -- forlorn-looking aging men in shackles and overgrown beards -- grew from pointed to shouted.
All steps were likely to be taken to bring to justice those responsible, "however highly placed," a European lawyer representing Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang said outside the chandeliered courtroom in the capital of Malabo.
The Massachusetts-sized nation of just 500,000 has seen the fastest economic growth rate in the world, at up to 70 percent a year, since U.S. oil companies started drilling in the mid-1990s.
Most coups in Africa are family affairs, or emboldened power grabs by embittered army officers.
Equatorial Guinea, backed by its top witness, says this alleged attempt was different.
Testimony has named international financiers: Eli Calil, a British citizen who made fortunes previously in African oil deals, and Thatcher, accused previously of alleged arms-dealing during his mother's tenure as prime minister.
Prosecutors here and in Zimbabwe say Calil worked with Simon Mann. One of Africa's leading mercenaries in conflicts in oil- and diamond-rich countries of the 1990s, Mann is an alumnus of the exclusive boarding school Eton, a former British special forces member, and a one-time movie star.
Equatorial Guinea says the coup plotters planned to parachute in a more agreeable opposition figure, exile Severo Moto, to take power from Obiang.
"The people behind this were financial people, and they wanted to institute Severo Moto as the next government," said Nick du Toit, a South African arms dealer who is facing the death penalty for his alleged role in the plot.
The takeover would have continued an unbroken history of unelected changes of power in this former Spanish colony. In 1979, Obiang had his uncle executed to succeed him in power.
Du Toit cited what he said were Mann's sketchy accounts of other foreign backers. Obiang, accused by London-based Global Witness and others of pocketing most of the country's oil wealth, appeared to have few firm foreign friends.
Mann claimed Spain had promised to recognize the Moto government, according to du Toit, a stooped figure in shackles and flip-flops. Unidentified higher-ups in the United States also had given the plot its blessing, Mann allegedly told du Toit.
Du Toit has given the prosecution its only announced evidence so far of any coup plot. His testimony Wednesday -- after Thatcher's arrest in South Africa -- marked the first mention of the former British prime minister's son in the trial.
Du Toit said Mann introduced him to Thatcher in July 2003. Thatcher was interested in buying military helicopters for a mining operation in Sudan, du Toit testified.
Du Toit also said he and Mann recruited scores of apartheid-era South African army veterans for alleged ground forces. He moved to clear his co-defendants in Equatorial Guinea, saying they did not know the true reason they were recruited.
Verdicts were expected Saturday, in a courtroom filled with international diplomatic observers and armed soldiers lining the walls and slouching in galleries.

Winnipeg Handing Out Free Crack Kits

Thu, August 26, 2004
Tax-paid crack kit
Aim is to curb spread of disease by addicts
By KATIE CHALMERS, STAFF REPORTER

Drug users looking for a better quality crack pipe might want to try the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The WRHA is handing out kits to addicts with sores and burns on their lips in an effort to stop the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.
It's hoped the kits will "reduce the physical harms that crack cocaine users suffer," said medical officer of health Dr. Margaret Fast.
The kits come complete with a glass tube pipe, matches, a pipe cleaner, screens, alcohol swabs, lip balm, gum and condoms.
Fast believes providing the kits will help develop a trust between addicts and workers with the outreach program Street Connections, who have distributed up to 100 of the packages so far. The workers would then have a chance to convince crack cocaine addicts to seek treatment.
"This is sometimes our only opportunity to actually engage in discussion with users," Fast said. "Otherwise they might never come to us. We might never come to them."
PROVED SUCCESSFUL
Winnipeg is basing its crack pipe program on a similar one in Toronto which, Fast said, has proved successful. The WRHA decided to try it after appeals from crack addicts to outreach workers.
The glass tube pipes are safer to use than the homemade pipes addicts often use and share.
The program neither encourages nor discourages crack use but is a logical step in trying to limit the spread of disease among addicts, Fast said.
Core-area activist Harry Lehotsky disagrees.
"Maybe next they'll hand out bongs or rolling papers. Anything to help people," Lehotsky said. "And all this with government funding ... How far do we go to enable people's self-destruction?"
The kits cost the government $1.50-$2 each.
The money would be better spent on creating more drug treatment programs since some addicts end up on waiting lists, Lehotsky said.
"The addict's will to change is not a deep resolve. It's a moment of regret that you have to capitalize on," he said.
Conservative Leader Stuart Murray questioned the timing of the launch.
"It's ironic and somewhat unfortunate that the NDP under Doer have cut funding to the Addictions Foundation, forcing them to lay off 10 people and close 14 beds," said Murray.
"Clearly somebody is not thinking straight."
Outreach workers already provide condoms and intravenous needles to protect drug users and prostitutes from HIV.
Crack users who work in the sex trade could spread disease to the general population, the WRHA says.
Up to 100 kits have been handed out from a Street Connections van since Aug. 16, when the program started.
The WRHA has prepared 200 kits. Results of an impending survey into the success of the program will help the WRHA to decide whether to continue it.
The move was not a political decision, said a spokesman for Minister of Healthy Living Jim Rondeau.
"The WRHA takes advice on programs like this from public health experts, and those types of decisions are not political decisions," the spokesman said.
Crack has proved to be the drug of choice in Winnipeg. It has fueled more aggressive crimes such as muggings and gangs fighting for control of the industry, Lehotsky said.
"You see a lot more desperation type of things, snatch and grab or mug and run," he said.
"You don't need a whole lot of money but you need it really fast. When they get twitchy, they're willing to do pretty much anything."

Poll: No Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A second national poll has confirmed that a majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to be used to pay for embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of days-old unborn children.

The poll, conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, shows 53 percent of respondents opposed "using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos," while only 38 percent support it.

"When people understand that President Bush's position is to oppose ‘using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos,’ a majority agree with him," said National Right to Life Associate Executive Director Darla St. Martin

The new poll also confirmed that a strong majority of Americans prefer their tax dollars to be used for alternative research using adult stem cells. Such research is considered more ethical and has proven more effective in clinical trials.

Some 74 percent of Americans said that they "support using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that does not require the killing of human embryos," while only 20 percent opposed it.

The Wilson poll also found that a strong majority of Americans oppose the view taken by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. They want both forms of human cloning -- for reproductive and research purposes -- to be banned.

According to the poll, 69 percent of Americans want to ban all human cloning while only 24 percent of respondents backed Kerry's position saying that "cloning to create human embryos for stem cell research which would kill them should be allowed and only cloning for reproduction should be banned."

Kerry has co-sponsored a Senate bill calling for researchers to be able to clone human embryos specifically for the purpose of killing them for their stem cells.

Another poll released on Monday showed similar results.

Conducted by International Communications Research, it showed more Americans don't want their tax dollars used to pay for embryonic stem cell research, a strong majority support tax-funded adult stem cell research and respondents strongly opposed human cloning for both reproduction and research.

In August 2001, President Bush put forward a federal policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research conducted after that point. The Bush administration has spent $190 million on research using adult stem cells.

The Wilson Research Strategies survey was conducted August 16-18, 2004 and was taken among a sample of 1,000 adults nationwide and has a +/- 3.1 percent margin of error.

Judge Nixes Same-Sex Unions

Virginia Judge Voids Same-Sex Unions
United Press International

A judge in Virginia, handing down a decision in a custody case, has ruled same-sex civil unions in Vermont do not bestow parental rights.

Frederick County Circuit Judge John Prosser said laws in Vermont, which have allowed civil unions of same-sex couples since 2000, and Virginia, which last year enacted a statute that says such unions are void, are in conflict. He said, however, he must be guided by Virginia law.

Prosser then ruled the biological mother of the 2-year-old girl at the center of the case was a sole parent, the Washington Post reported.

Lisa Miller-Jenkins and Janet Miller-Jenkins entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and decided to have a child through artificial insemination. That child was born to Lisa-Miller-Jenkins in 2002. The couple, however, has since split and Prosser's ruling rejected Janet Miller-Jenkins' request for equal custody, the Winchester Star reported.

The case is complicated by Lisa Miller-Jenkins' residence in Virginia, where she said she moved to be near family, and Janet Miller-Jenkins remaining in Vermont.

Another custody battle between the two women is ongoing in Vermont courts. It was not known what effect the Virginia ruling would have on that action.

© YellowBrix, Inc. Copyright 1997-2004

New Voters Leaning Pro-Life

First-Time Voters for Life
What a Pace Poll suggests about new registrants and abortion rights.
by Duncan Currie
08/20/2004 12:00:00 AM

ACCORDING TO A RECENT POLL, new voters are trending pro-life on abortion. The nonpartisan Pace University/Rock the Vote survey, conducted by the Pace Poll in mid July, is the first in a three-part nationwide study of first-time voters, defined as "voters who registered after the 2000 presidential election." Most news coverage of the survey has focused on its implications for the general election. Namely, that in a head-to-head Bush-Kerry race, post-2000 registrants support Kerry over Bush by a margin of 50 percent to 40 percent; and in a three-way Bush-Kerry-Nader race, Bush garners 44 percent of the vote to Kerry's 42 percent and Nader's 6 percent. But the press has largely ignored first-time voters' opinions about abortion rights.
On abortion, Pace Poll researchers slice the new voter demographic into four groups. There are those who believe "abortions should be legal and generally available" (21 percent); those who feel "regulation of abortion is necessary, although it should remain legal in many circumstances" (23 percent); those who say "abortion should be legal only in the most extreme cases, such as to save the life of the mother, incest, or rape" (41 percent); and those who think "all abortions should be made illegal" (13 percent). The survey shows that, essentially, 44 percent of new voters are pro-choice while 54 percent are pro-life. Among first-time Latino voters, pro-lifers outnumber pro-choicers 61 percent to 34 percent; among blacks, the pro-life/pro-choice breakdown is 59 percent/42 percent. Self-described "moderates" similarly tend to be more pro-life (52 percent) than pro-choice (45 percent).
Pro-life views also have surprising traction among new voters who identify themselves as John Kerry supporters. A plurality (34 percent) of Kerry voters, not to mention pluralities of new independent voters (36 percent) and new undecided voters (35 percent), believe "abortion should be legal only in the most extreme cases, such as to save the life of the mother, incest, or rape." On the other hand, some 31 percent of Kerry voters say "abortions should be legal and generally available," the most extreme pro-choice position available. But still, first-time Kerry voters are more likely to be pro-life than they are to favor abortion on demand, according to the Pace Poll.
These findings come on the heels of an April 2004 Zogby poll, which showed that 56 percent of Americans either believe abortion should never be legal or would restrict it to cases of rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in danger. Zogby also revealed that more Americans consider themselves pro-life (49 percent) than pro-choice (45 percent). And according to a Gallup Youth Survey released last November, 72 percent of U.S. teenagers think abortion is morally wrong, 32 percent of teens would outlaw it entirely, and only 19 percent support abortion on demand.
To be sure, Americans' thoughts on the unborn are famously hard to unravel. Activists on both sides of the issue are thus wary of reading too much into individual polls. But, at the very least, the recent Pace Poll, Zogby, and Gallup results suggest pro-lifers should be guardedly optimistic about the future of abortion politics.

Duncan Currie is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.

© Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tolerance Is a One-Way Street For Homosexual Activists

Tolerance a 'One-Way Street' to Homosexual Activists, Says Attorney
Self-Described Homosexual Lawyer Throws Tantrum Over Being Called the 'H-Word'
By Allie Martin and Jody Brown
August 24, 2004

(AgapePress) - An attorney with a Christian legal firm in Mississippi says the actions of a homosexual lawyer in Louisiana are a good indication of where the nation is headed if homosexual activists have their way with "hate crimes" legislation.
Earlier this month, during a case challenging the constitutional validity of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage in the Bayou State, an attorney for petitioners screamed at opposing counsel for referring to him as a "homosexual." Newspaper accounts says the lawyer "lunged" at the other attorney and screamed that he was not a "homosexual," but instead a "gay man."
"No one calls me the 'h' word," attorney John Rawls is reported to have said in defense of his outburst.
Steve Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy (CLP) in Tupelo, says that attorney's actions show that homosexual activists leave no room for free speech.
"They arrogate to themselves the authority to determine who may and who may not speak, and what language they must use," Crampton states. "I think this highlights how a hate crimes law can be twisted to really prohibit Christians and [how] those who have conscientious objections to homosexuality may well be muzzled."
Crampton also points out that the term "gay" was in existence long before homosexual activists hijacked it for their own use. "This man is anything but happy in the traditional sense of the term 'gay,'" the attorney says. "He was not a gay man as that term has traditionally, historically been understood."
Crampton says it is "ludicrous" to suggest that a legitimate descriptive word can be turned into an epithet simply because one feels offended. Still, he admits he would not be surprised if ethics rules for attorneys are amended to appease lawyers like Rawls.
Brian Fahling, one of Crampton's fellow attorneys at the CLP, says Rawls was off the mark. "The term 'homosexual' is the proper term for an individual such as Mr. Rawls, who admits that he is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex," Fahling says, adding that Rawls "apparently thinks he has his 'own truth.'"
Voters in Louisiana are scheduled to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment on September 18, but recent court challenges to its constitutionality have propelled the issue along the "fast track" toward the state Supreme Court. The state attorney general says he expects the amendment to stay on the ballot.
The Louisiana legislature passed a bill earlier this year placing the amendment on the ballot. It has widespread support, including that of the Democratic governor.

2004 AgapePress all rights reserved.

Suspicious Goings-On at the Hague

Wed, August 25, 2004
Mysteries at The Hague
By PETER WORTHINGTON

Calgary filmmaker Garth Pritchard admits to being confused -- and angry. He has rejected Slobodan Milosevic's attempt to use him as a witness at his war crimes trial, but Pritchard says The Hague now wants him as a witness -- but not against Milosevic.
Instead they want him as a witness for atrocities and human rights abuses committed by Croats when they overran the centre of Knin, capital of Serbian-occupied Krajina, which Croatia attacked and conquered in 1995.
"I don't get it," says Pritchard. "Film footage I shot for the National Film Board around 1995 was turned over to prosecutors at The Hague, as evidence of massacres of people and all livestock in Knin. My tapes and testimony mysteriously disappeared -- were supposedly lost. Now they are found. Equally mysteriously."
After a report in the Sun last weekend, Pritchard says he was phoned yesterday by the RCMP working in The Hague, saying his video footage has since been found and he's wanted to testify.
"Something seems fishy," Pritchard says. "The Sun article was quoted, and I was told my tapes and testimony had been turned over to the Croats for prosecution."
He said RCMP officer Tom Steendoordan phoned him from The Hague, reported finding his "lost" material and it was now intended to investigate what happened in Knin.
Pritchard has fretted over the ignoring of Knin atrocities for years -- one of the Balkan war's horror stories.
When the Croats -- re-armed by the Germans -- occupied Krajina, attention focused on the Medak pocket where Canadians came under Croat fire.
"I was in Knin, where Maj. Gen. Alain Forand was in command of some 32 Canadians and gave sanctuary to about 800 Serbian refugees, feeding and protecting them for close to two months."
The UN insisted these Serbs were not refugees and should not be protected. "We all knew they'd be killed if we didn't protect them. Forand told the world 'not on my watch' will they be turfed out to be killed. In my eyes, Forand is a hero for refusing to turn these people over to the Croats."
Eventually the 800 were safely delivered to Serbian territory, and Knin was relegated to the Memory Hole.
"But I had it all on video," Pritchard says. "Livestock slaughtered, women eviscerated, raped, burned."
He says Steendoordan told him 82 bodies were found in Knin, and that the Croats want to follow up on war crimes.
"That makes me suspicious," says Pritchard. "Croats investigating Croat war crimes in Knin? They've got to be kidding. It smells of coverup." As for Kosovo, Pritchard says, Steendoordan corrected his claim of only 3,000 bodies found, not the widely accepted 200,000 dead in mass graves.
"He said 3,000 was accurate then. Now 5,080 bodies have been found -- but still no mass graves." Pritchard is pleased that some of the truth is beginning to come out. Pritchard told the Sun that Milosevic could "rot in hell" before he'd testify on his behalf that there were no mass murders in Kosovo.
Bosnia, yes, but not Kosovo.
"Yes, I want the truth to come out, but as a journalist I have no intention of testifying on behalf of Croats either. They only got my video footage in the first place because the film board owned it and gave it to them."
A test of The Hague's sincerity in exposing war crimes in Knin will be if Gen. Forand, now retired, testifies.
"This is a man whose courage and integrity saved the lives of 800 Serb refugees, when his Canadian superiors and the UN wanted them sacrificed to expediency." He adds: "Frankly, I don't trust much that happens at The Hague."

Prof Goes on Trial For Allowing Free Speech

Prof on trial for allowing free speech
Woman could be guilty of failing to uphold college 'intimidation' policy
Posted: August 25, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

A professor at Rhode Island College this week goes before school officials who will determine if she violated campus policy by not taking action to punish someone for allegedly creating a "hostile" environment of "racism" and "intimidation."
According to a statement from FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, RIC will subject Professor Lisa B. Church to a hearing after a complaint was filed by a woman who was offended by the speech of two others.
Church, the coordinator for RIC's preschool program, was not present when the three adults, all mothers of children in the program, engaged in a heated conversation about welfare and race. The argument ended abruptly, FIRE says, when one mother took offense to statements made by the two other mothers that allegedly expressed negative opinions of interracial relationships and the belief that certain minority groups' rights were valued over the rights of whites. The offended mother angrily left the preschool and reportedly ignored attempts at apologies.
After an initial complaint from the offended mother, Church decided not to punish the other two moms, suggesting mediation and staff sensitivity training instead. The alleged victim then took her complaint to the college Affirmative Action Office, claiming discrimination and intimidation by Church.
"RIC is actually trying a professor for following the First Amendment," said David French, president of FIRE, which wrote to the college on behalf of Church. "If professor Church had punished this person for making 'offensive' comments, she would have violated that person's right to free speech. Professor Church is on trial for the offense of obeying the law."
RIC's director of affirmative action, Patricia Giammarco, was adamant in her e-mails to Church about the allegation.
"The college has a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of discrimination. …," she wrote. "On the college campus, certain types of remarks will not be tolerated, no matter what the intent."
Explained FIRE's Greg Lukianoff: "While RIC is free to prohibit true discrimination, it is not free to enforce a policy that violates the First Amendment by punishing either 'offensive' speech or the failure to censor that speech."
FIRE wrote to RIC President John Nazarian on Aug. 2, stating that an alleged failure to punish constitutionally protected expression is not an appropriate subject for investigation and trial. While RIC did not immediately respond to FIRE's letter, the college did delay the formal hearing, originally set for August 3, until this week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Cashless Society

Aug. 18, 12:32 EDT
Cashless Society
Tara Perkins
The Hamilton Spectator

At this downtown Hamilton church, worshippers don't place tidily folded envelopes in the collection plate. Most reach for the wireless debit machine, each one swiping their offerings straight from their bank account.

Allowing parishioners to debit donations is paying off for the new Dominion Christian Centre on Park Street North. More than three-quarters of the funds the church takes in are paid on plastic, says pastor Peter Rigo.

The centre is one of the many organizations and businesses which are speeding up Canada's transformation to a cashless society.

On average, more than 75 bank cards are swiped in this country every second of every day. That's largely being driven by young Canadians, already the world's largest debit-card users.

"People 25 and under don't use cash anymore," Rigo says. "Only the over-50 generation still writes cheques."

The statistics back him up.

Three-quarters of 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada say debit is their favourite way to pay, according to the Interac Association, a co-operative of financial institutions and other companies. In the 55 to 64 age bracket, about 40 per cent prefer debit. Seniors still prefer cash.

But young people are changing the way this country pays for goods and services. That has some debt counsellors worried; they say debit makes it too easy to overspend.

Other financial experts say the debit trend may be greasing the wheels of this country's entire economy.

Canadians made more than 70 debit payments per person in 2001, compared to about 43 in the U.S.

A study recently released by Visa Canada estimates that electronic payments have fuelled a $60-billion increase in personal-consumption spending over the past two decades. That's over and above what Canadians would have spent with cash or cheques. Most of that growth came from credit cards. But debit cards -- which have really only been available for the last decade -- accounted for $10.4 billion.

In 1990, the Interac Association launched Interac Direct Payment as a pilot project, allowing people in the Ottawa area to pay at stores with their bank cards. The concept rolled out across the country four years later.

In 1994, Canadians spent $9.4 billion on their bank cards. Debit has flourished since. Last year, Canadians paid for $116 billion in goods and services on their bank cards.

There are already more than 520,000 debit machines on retail counters nationwide, and the Interac Association believes the debit craze will only increase in the years to come.

Next year, Canadians will be able to shop online with their bank cards, says Sara Feldman, vice-president of communications and marketing for the association.

And now that wireless debit is available, everyone from pizza delivery guys to taxi drivers to ice-cream-stand owners are cashing in on the trend, carrying around the small black portable machines that allow customers to swipe wherever they are.

Right now, supermarkets are leading the debit charge, taking in nearly 30 per cent of the total money Canadians spend using their bank cards.

Clothing stores and department stores are next on the list, says the Interac Association. But some businesses are reluctant to adopt the new technology. Part of that comes from the fees involved.

Debit card users pay fees to their bank. Those fees vary by bank and type of account. Also, shoppers may be asked to fork over a surcharge to use debit. For instance, a convenience store on Dundurn Street asks customers for an extra 15 cents to pay with a bank card.

Just as there are different banks offering various packages to customers, there are different companies offering debit machines to businesses, and various ways of paying for them.

Most retailers rent the machine -- though it is possible to buy them -- for about $50 a month, and then pay a small fee for each transaction (about 15 cents). Surcharges to cover that transaction fee must be approved by the company that owns the debit machine, which may split the proceeds with the retailer.

Some businesses raise their overall prices a bit, in order to pay the extra cost of offering debit. That means customers paying cash are subsidizing those who are swiping.

"I just can't believe how much we're charged for these things," says Anna Martini, co-owner of Sweetwater Cafe on Dundurn Street. She pays $35 a month to rent the debit machine, plus transaction fees.

A nearby bakery decided debit is too expensive as most customers are only taking home a few dollars' worth of food, Martini says.

But she considers it an essential expense. "I have to have debit or I would lose 50 per cent of my business," she says, adding that when new customers come in, the first words on their lips are often, 'Do you take bank cards?'

"I have people coming in and asking to put a coffee on (debit), and I can't say no, or I'll lose my customer."

She's envious of Tim Hortons, which is resisting the debit revolution, claiming the coffee and doughnut chain can get away with refusing bank cards as it has a location on every corner and a till full of customer loyalty.

Swiping cards and entering PIN numbers slows down service and adds to lineups, Tim Hortons says.

"While we want to provide convenience for our customers, the speed of service is always top of mind for us," says a Tim Hortons spokesperson. "But we are always keeping our ears open for different methods and how they can integrate into our system."

Meanwhile, other major franchises are beginning to use debit, and finding that giving customers another way to pay increases the bottom line.

Last month, McDonald's Corp. credited a portion of its higher sales and profit to the decision to accept debit and credit cards.

And it's not only the increased sales that can add to profits. In Toronto, most taxi companies are charging their passengers surcharges between 25 cents and $1.50 per debit transaction, says Nita Powers, spokesperson for eXcape Business Transactions Inc.

That B.C.-based company rents out wireless debit machines for about $40 a month, and allows taxi drivers to pass that cost (and more) on to customers through surcharges.

EXcape has cornered a chunk of the Toronto taxi market, but it's had zero luck pitching debit to Hamilton cabbies, Powers says. "We've talked to several Hamilton companies," but none of them are close to adopting the new technology.

Powers thinks she knows why.

"A lot of people who drive the taxis are above the age group, the generation, that uses debit."

In Toronto, competition from cabbies who began accepting bank cards has forced most others to follow suit.

Feldman, of the Interac Association, says, "Research indicates that consumers are increasingly using debit as a payment method because it is convenient, safe, trusted and widely available."

But too much convenience can be a bad thing, debt counsellors warn. Sharon Vukosa, a Hamilton counsellor with her own firm, BDA Consulting and Counseling Services, is not a fan of debit cards.

"They're so deadly. I tell people all the time, put your debit card away. Build your own (spending) plan for the week, and based on that you go and get the cash you need out of the bank."

Vukosa says teens and twenty-somethings who have been raised without learning how to balance a chequebook are in particular trouble.

"Young people are notorious for overusing debit cards. If you use a debit card and you're not keeping a chequebook register, how much is in your account? Do you know?"

Her words ring true for Michael Roellinghoff, a 20-year-old McMaster student who firmly resists getting a credit card but can't avoid using debit. "Debit makes me less thrifty. You can't remember how much you've spent."

The only experience he's had with a chequebook was a school lesson in Grade 5, when his teacher taught the class how to balance an account.

Roellinghoff says he tries not to use debit for small purchases, because the fees add up. And that's another reason Vukosa counsels people to stay away from bank cards. "The fees are just unbelievable on them," she says.

Anthony Daly, a credit counsellor with Hamilton's Catholic Family Services, says bank "service charges can range from $10 to $50 or $60 a month for some people, because they don't take out cash. They use debit 10 times a week."

That's in addition to the surcharges. And extra fees, plus extra spending, can equal trouble, Daly says. "The fact that people have cards and don't have to carry cash, means you have easy access and they are definitely more prone to use it."

Daly tells people to go to their bank and ask them to reduce the amount they can take out in a day. "A lot of people don't realize that they have some control over the amount that they can access." He suggests parents teach their children how to use debit while they're young. "When parents want to set a good sense of role-modeling, they can go to the bank and get a debit card and set a very small daily limit, $50 or $25."

Vukosa would like to see debit terminals in stores offer a printout of what's left in the customer's bank account. "The debit card was created for the bank, by the bank, to make the bank more money," she says. "They were not created for consumers. Because, if they were, there would be a tracking system that truly shows consumers where they are at with their money."

The Interac Association counters that debit actually "prevents overspending ... Unlike a credit card, you can't spend what you don't have. You can only spend what is already in your account ... You are able to keep track of your account by balancing it after every transaction."

Shoppers just have to keep track of sale receipts, Interac says.

Back at Dominion Christian Centre, pastor Rigo says he calls the debit machine "the beast, as in the mark of the beast."

But it's a necessary evil.

"We also take American Express, Visa, MasterCard," he says.

Implantable Chip Provides Medical Data

Medical Info Close At Hand
Mark Hazlin

NEW YORK - Sometimes the one thing most needed in a medical emergency is information: information about a patient's medical history, medications they may be taking, allergies, etc.

Someday there will be an integrated, nationwide electronic health information system to make all this information available to doctors when needed. Failing that, there are steps that individuals can now take to have their medical information handy in the event of an emergency.

The proliferation of USB keychain drives has made it possible to store personal medical profiles on a small device that can be used at doctors' offices or in emergency situations. Other technologies, such as radio frequency identification chips that can be attached to bracelets, are also being used in nursing homes and hospitals to identify patients.

An even more radical and controversial technique is to inject an RFID chip under the skin, but that application is still on the horizon. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of reviewing such a device, made by VeriChip, a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions. An electronic scanner reads the chip, implanted in the right tricep, to get verification numbers, which are then used to access medical information stored in an Internet-accessible registry.

In the meantime, privately-held Med-InfoChip, based in Boynton Beach, Fla., recently began offering a USB drive that stores personal medical histories. The drives are not designed to replace the files in a doctor's office, but are simply a way for patients to centralize and digitize their records from their personal computer.

Dr. Carl Franzblau, associate dean of Graduate Medical Sciences and chairman of the department of biochemistry at Boston University, developed the Med-InfoChip after becoming frustrated with having to fill out forms every time he went to a new doctor.

"The fact that you have all your information in one place should make for better accuracy. Not perfect but better," says Dr. Franzblau.

The chip is easy to use, and it plugs into the USB port on most desktops or laptop PCs manufactured in the last five years. Once inserted, a pop-up window guides you through the press of filling in information ranging from name and date of birth to known allergies and past medical conditions. It can even store digital images, such as X rays, electrocardiograms, photos or birth certificates.

Patients can update their information after every visit and print out hard copies of their records. The drive comes completely unencrypted so paramedics and other emergency medical personnel can access the information. That fact could make for a double-edged sword: If the drive is lost or stolen, the files are unprotected from the eyes of whomever may find it.

"I think it would make more sense to have some kind of security so that basically only hospitals and physicians will be able to read it," says Steven Fox, a lawyer at PepperHamilton LLP who leads the firm's health care informatics initiative.

The software that runs on the device is based on a FileMaker Pro application and, as a result, is somewhat unprofessional looking. But, it is extremely easy to use and navigate.

At 64 megabytes, the Med-InfoChip has relatively low storage capacity, but is plenty for its purpose. But, if you already carry a USB drive on your key chain, why not just have one larger one that handles multiple tasks?

The drive costs $69, or $99 for the two-person version, and is available only on the Med-InfoChip Web site.

While some privacy experts have expressed concern about the proliferation of electronic personal information, an estimated 98,000 deaths are attributed to medical errors every year. Getting accurate information about allergies, prescriptions or past medical conditions in the hands of medical staff might be a way to reduce those numbers.

"That kind of patient information is like gold to us," says Dr. Richard Westfal, associate director of emergency services at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan.

Forbes