Friday, October 9, 2009


c/o No2ID

The biggest cheer that Brown got at the Labour Party Conference was when delegates thought he had announced that the ID scheme had been cancelled. He did not. He only repeated the same misleading things that every Home Secretary has said about the scheme since it was first mooted. But he did so with a flourish, as if announcing something new.

This seems to have fooled a lot of people to judge from newspaper reports and our own mailbag. All Brown said was that the scheme would be 'voluntary' to start and would not be compulsory for a while. As ever he focused public attention on the cards and said nothing about the database.

Remember that the Home Office's idea of "voluntary" is probably different from yours. It means a scheme you cannot ever leave (unless it dies before you do) once you "agree" to be included. And it is a scheme that you will be compelled to "volunteer" for if you ever wish to apply for any official document "designated" by the Home Secretary, the first of which is planned to be a passport - from some point in 2011.

More explanation of the Home Office's clever plan here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TODAY: Waking Up Orwell on

BlogTalkRadio Premiere of Waking Up Orwell

You are invited to listen and even call in, as technical proficiencies permit.

Our special featured guest is impeachment activist and now bestselling author, David Swanson. Swanson's new book DAYBREAK: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union is flying off the shelves for good reason. He was arrested Monday for civil disobedience in Washington during a protest to continue the policies of indefinite detention and endless war in Iraq, Afghanistan and the middle east.

OP-ED News featured this clip from mostly progressive democratic interests in D.C. at the protest where 82 people were arrested for civil disobedience.

I'll take this opportunity to goad my libertarian sisters and brothers over at to increase their philosophical tolerances and try to get together with these folks for the sake of fiscal sanity by ENDING THE WAR WE NEVER AGREED TO FUND FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS.

We recently discovered that the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has a campaign to disbarr the legal enablers of the Bush Administration's crimes against humanity. We will be touching briefly on that.

Debra Sweet and Bob Parson's from World Can't Wait and Deadline Live's, Jack Blood (and his axe to grind) were invited to drop in and "christen" the show. DJ Ball granted permissions to feature his protest music during this webcast.

Swine flu..blah blah blah... Don't take the shot. Call a lawyer if they threaten to fire you over it. NEXT! And a rhetorical comparative political fruit inspection and news, news, news.

It should be a good time.

Presidential e-mail privacy vs. Your e-mail privacy

BTC News Mashup

The Obama administration is looking into a 2 tiered systemic treatment for electronic mail privacy.

The first tier comes proposed by Sen. Rockerfeller as a lavish, no holds barred National Security power trip to commandeer private computer systems network in the United States by executive order. All Obama would have to say is, "Federal Disaster". The second tier is a deep redacting E-scrub to cleanse and conceal the dirt of the Bush Administration followed by a sunblock of SPF 800 to protect from exposures to open records requests and subpoenas.


Today, RawStory reported that millions of Bush Jr. Presidential mails are mired in obscurity as the Obama Adminsitration seems to be hiding the skeletons of the Bush Administration. Not a good track record for a President who has an ideal to create a transparency towards the American public about the internal day-to-day dealings. reported updates on a legislative draft for the CyberSecurity Act, authored by Senator Jay Rockerfeller. The legislation might expand Presidential powers during federal disasters to include seizures of entire private computer networks.

PASS ID Legislation Waits for Full Senate Vote

NEMA projects PASS Act's Greenlight by December '09
c/o NEMA

On June 16, 2009, the “Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act of 2009”(PASS ID) that would repeal and replace the REAL ID Act of 2005 in order to allow all states to fully comply with security measures designed to make ID’s safer was introduced in the Senate.

The bill was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, along with seven other co-sponsors, four of which also serve on the committee. The PASS ID Act removes certain provisions of the REAL ID Act including the requirement that State’s share identification information with each other as well as the strict rules governing use of REAL ID compliant identification to board commercial aircraft while keeping other non-controversial requirements. In July, a hearing was held to examine PASS ID legislation and Secretary Napolitano testified on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security.

On July 27, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ordered the bill reported favorably but
as of this time, no full Senate vote has been scheduled.

Despite Secretary Napolitano communicating directly with Governors through a letter, there remains a stalemate on REAL ID implementation. The Department is reluctant to continue extending the end-of-year deadline, but 13 states stand statutorily prohibited from implementing the program. A majority of states and NGA have endorsed PASS ID. It is the hope of the Secretary to see PASS ID approved by December 31.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Mandates and NY Healthcare Workers

"We Were Arrested for Speaking"

"We moved down the street and the truck came too. But we made a lot more noise. Prisoners in orange from Witness Against Torture chained themselves to the White House fence. So did Cindy Sheehan whose son died in Iraq. Veterans for Peace displayed US, Afghan, and Iraqi coffins and read the names of the dead and shouted: "Mourn the dead! Heal the wounded! End the wars!" The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, the World Can't Wait, and lots of other groups joined in. Many of us donned black shirts, white placards with the names of dead troops or civilians, and white masks: the March of the Dead. We marched on the sidewalk in front of the White House in silence.

For OpEdNews: David Swanson -

U.S. Park Policeman (USPP) who shall remain nameless on Monday, October 5, 2009: Next!

Me: Is that me?

USPP: Whoever. I'm flexible. I'm agreeable. I'm just here to please.

Me: Except for the whole arresting us part, huh? [climbing out of a cramped metal van where I'd been stuck with a dozen other men, our hands cuffed behind our backs so tightly they left marks and my friend's hands went numb]

USPP: What? I thought that was the whole point. You wanted to get arrested.

Me: No, we didn't want to get arrested. We wanted to engage in free speech.

USPP: Oh, I'm not going to get into that. Step over here. [He asks me my name and address.] Charlottesville? It's beautiful down there. Why would you want to come here and do this? [cutting himself off quickly] I mean I know why, you don't need to tell me.

But of course I did need to tell him. He just didn't want to know.

Earlier that day in front of the White House:

Another police officer (APO): You all will have to move off the sidewalk into the street.

Me: Are you sure the First Amendment says that?

APO: Oh you want to play that game? We can shut the whole area down if you want to play that game.

Me: I didn't say anything about a game.

The president was holding a press conference inside the White House fence with a bunch of doctors who oppose serious healthcare reform. Donna Smith, star of Michael Moore's "Sicko", was standing next to me and telling me that every patient who had appeared in that movie had determined that the healthcare bills now under consideration in Washington would not have done anything to help them and won't now.

Hundreds of peace activists made their way to the White House sidewalk. We joined with some doctors and nurses who were not permitted to take part in the events inside because they support single-payer healthcare. We shouted "Healthcare Not Warfare." We shouted "Troops Home Now. End Warfare." We shouted "Single Payer Now. End Warfare." We made a lot of noise, but we were in the street rather than on the forbidden sidewalk. And there was an incredibly noisy truck behind us that had chosen this moment to clean Pennsylvania Avenue with pressurized hoses.

We moved down the street and the truck came too. But we made a lot more noise. Prisoners in orange from Witness Against Torture chained themselves to the White House fence. So did Cindy Sheehan whose son died in Iraq. Veterans for Peace displayed US, Afghan, and Iraqi coffins and read the names of the dead and shouted: "Mourn the dead! Heal the wounded! End the wars!" The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, the World Can't Wait, and lots of other groups joined in. Many of us donned black shirts, white placards with the names of dead troops or civilians, and white masks: the March of the Dead. We marched on the sidewalk in front of the White House in silence.

Then the police horses came at us. The police tried to drive us into the street with their horses, but we lay down on the sidewalk, and they didn't trample us. Instead they put police tape around a huge area, moved everyone else out of it, gave three warnings, and began arresting people. We lay on the sidewalk for approximately two hours, rode with lights and sirens blaring in an escorted caravan of vans and buses to the jail, and were out within an hour with tickets to pay $100 fines or challenge in court.

The crime? Exercising free speech in a group of more than 25 people. Seriously. We're charged with failing to obey a lawful order. And the order was to move farther away from the White House because with more than 25 people you have to have a special permit in order to exercise free speech. At least 50 of us, maybe closer to 100, went to jail, while many more chose to comply with the lawful (if unconstitutional) order.

And what did the Park Police SWAT team do? Nothing but follow orders. They followed orders to the exclusion of all thought. They asked us not to encourage them to think. They didn't want to think about freedom of speech. They didn't want to think about arresting nonviolent people for peacefully demanding peace. They didn't want to think about whether protesting illegal wars actually constitutes something closer to law enforcement than what they themselves were engaged in. And they certainly didn't want to think about the men and women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan who will die because the US Park Police arrested peaceful people assembling and speaking, rather than arresting war criminals like Richard Cheney who confess to felonies on television and lives right across the river.

David Swanson is the author of the new book "DAYBREAK: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press. You can order it and find out when tour will be in your town:

Waking Up Orwell, debuting this Thursday morning on, will be featuring a very special interview with David to catch up with him after the release of his book. Within a week, DAYBREAK was a #1 Bestseller which knocked Glen Beck out of Amazon's top slot.

US has no good system to track medical implants


NEW YORK — Three years ago, the maker of a surgical clip called the Hem-o-lok issued an urgent recall notice warning doctors to stop using the fasteners on living kidney donors. It said the clips could dislodge in their bodies, with "serious, even life-threatening consequences."

Not everyone got the message.

Last October, a surgeon in Brooklyn used one of the clips to tie off Michael King's renal artery when he donated a kidney to his ailing wife. Twelve hours later, the clip popped off. King bled to death internally in the hospital as his wife lay helplessly nearby. He was 29.

Experts say such deaths are the result of a major weakness in the nation's system for recalling thousands of medical devices routinely implanted in people's bodies, ranging from screws and plates to artificial knees and hips.

"There is no system for being informed of what the problems are with the products you have in your body. Even your physician may not know," said Terry Fadem, president of the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation in Philadelphia.

Unlike the auto industry, medical equipment makers have no centralized system for tracking products throughout their life span. That means in some instances, manufacturers do not have an easy way of knowing where problematic devices are or which patients got them.

Meanwhile, the number of items implanted in people's bodies is soaring, as is the number of recalls. Nearly 2,500 medical devices were recalled for potential safety problems in fiscal 2008, according to the Food and Drug Administration. That was nearly double the number reported the previous year and a 164 percent increase since 2000.

In 2006 alone, surgeons implanted a million hip and knee replacements, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. That number is expected to quadruple by 2030.

Fadem's foundation and other groups have been pushing for years for better tracking of devices, hoping to create something like the patient registries used in Sweden, England and Australia to keep tabs on artificial joints.

Health care reform legislation being considered in Congress includes a proposal to set up the nation's first comprehensive medical device registry. Doctors say its primary use would be to uncover safety problems, but it could also be used to locate patients quickly during a recall.

The FDA currently requires comprehensive tracking of only 14 types of devices, including pacemakers, mechanical heart valves and breast implants. The agency says it is working toward better registration and tracking of other devices.

Manufacturers trace many other medical products only as far as the distributor. Finding them again is not always easy, particularly after they have been implanted into someone's body. Hospitals record the model and lot numbers of implants, but that information is often buried deep in billing records or operating-room log books.

Manufacturers send out thousands of letters announcing recalls, and the FDA puts the information on the Web, but the warnings sometimes go unnoticed.

More than 1,000 such recall notices were sent out in the first seven months of 2009 involving devices such as tracheal tubes, catheters, pacemakers, prosthetic hips, screws, pain pumps and pieces of artificial spine. More than 100 were ranked as "Class 1" recalls by the FDA, which involve a defect serious enough to create a "reasonable probability of adverse health consequences or death."

"Trying to get all that product out of the market is a real effort," said Tim Ulatowski, director of compliance for the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, chairman of the research foundation and an internist in Palm Beach, Fla., said he got a recall notice in February warning about external defibrillators, the paddles doctors use to shock a heart that has stopped beating. The defibrillators had a remote chance of blowing a fuse, delivering a low shock or shutting down in the cold.

The letter included a list of thousands of serial numbers, each representing a flawed device, but no information on who might have bought them or where.

"I couldn't do anything with it," he said. "So they are still out there."

Another patient, Richard Stone, 49, of Palm Beach, Fla., languished for months with undiagnosed pain in his artificial hip before doctors discovered that a piece of metal on the prosthetic had snapped and was scraping out the inside of his femur.

"I couldn't move at all," he said. "Even when I would move an inch, it would send a shock through my entire body."

Doctors later realized that that several batches of the same hip system — though not the one in Stone's body — had been recalled eight months earlier because of similar reports of breakage.

Stone said that if a registry had been in place, the problem might have been diagnosed sooner, saving him nine months of excruciating pain. He is now suing the manufacturer of the hip and a Florida pain clinic that treated him.

A lawyer for the King family, Jeff Korek, said that in Michael King's case, the hospital had received a registered letter about the Hem-o-lok recall from the manufacturer, Teleflex Inc. He said it was unclear why the alert was not acted upon. The family is suing the hospital, SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the surgeon.

Teleflex Medical said in a statement that it complied with all FDA regulations by notifying medical centers in writing that the clip, while fine for other types of surgery, should not be used to tie off the renal artery on living kidney donors.

Some potential solutions are in the works.

The FDA has been laying the groundwork for a registry of patients with artificial joints, which are more prone to breakage than other types of implants and are also experiencing a huge surge in use. The agency is also working on a system that would make tracking easier by associating each medical device with a unique ID number.

Thomas Gross, director of post-market surveillance for the FDA's Center for Devices, said the agency has been in talks with the industry on both projects for more than a year and is making progress.

He said the issue has gained "momentum" both in the agency and the industry, and that the FDA's new commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, is "putting a priority on post-market safety."

Jeff Secunda, a vice president of regulatory affairs at AdvaMed, an association that represents medical device companies, said the new ID system being developed by the FDA could be "the answer to everyone's problem" if combined with better electronic health records.

AdvaMed has been more critical of the proposal for a national medical device registry, saying it would be too costly and require doctors to gather information on products unlikely to pose a safety hazard.

Secunda said incidents in which patients have been hurt because of difficulty with a recall are extremely rare.

Yet mistakes do happen.

Premier Inc., an alliance of 2,200 U.S. hospitals, said it examined one recent recall and found that even after a device with a potentially dangerous flaw was pulled from the market, doctors at more than 40 hospitals implanted it in at least 50 patients.

"This is not just an issue in the United States. This is an issue across the globe," said the group's chief information officer, Joe Pleasant.

Not content to wait for government action, some medical organizations have been trying to develop tracking programs on their own.

The Kaiser Permanente health system in California has a registry keeping tabs on 75,000 artificial joints. It also gives doctors valuable information on how often they break down.

"Within 24 hours, we get a printout, by patient and by doctor, of who has those implants," said Dr. Thomas Barber, an orthopedic surgeon, associate physician in chief of the Oakland Medical Center and a board member at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Without that system, he said, hospitals can have a much tougher time. Many, he said, still keep track of implants using a system involving stickers, provided by the manufacturers, pasted into the pages of operating room log books.

"When there is a recall, hospitals have to manually go through the implant log by hand," he said.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons established a nonprofit organization in June with the goal of building a national joint implant registry similar to the Kaiser Permanente system.

The research foundation in Philadelphia launched a device registry last spring geared toward patients. Any person can sign up for free to automatically get e-mails about potential safety issues with their implant.

For King's still-distraught widow, ShellyAnn King, any reforms will come too late.

The 31-year-old New Yorker had wanted a new kidney so she could get off dialysis and eventually have a baby with her husband.

Thanks to her husband's sacrifice, she is healthy now, but she said every day is "torment and torture."

"I don't want any family to go through what we're going through," she said. "I don't want another husband or wife to feel this unnecessary grief. It should have been prevented."