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Thursday, Jul 19th

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The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil

What can make tens of millions of people – who are in their daily lives peaceful and compassionate and caring – suddenly want to physically dismember a man for drawing a cartoon, or make excuses for an international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists? Not reason. Not evidence. No. But it can happen when people choose their polar opposite – religion.

In the past week we have seen two examples of how people can begin to behave in bizarre ways when they decide it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith. It has led some to regard people accused of the attempted murders of the Mohamed cartoonists as victims, and to demand "respect" for the Pope, when he should be in a police station being quizzed about his role in covering up and thereby enabling the rape of children.

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FDA warns of greater muscle risk from Zocor

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday the highest available dose of Zocor, a component in cholesterol drugs, can cause muscle damage as well as severe and potentially lethal kidney damage.

The agency said statin drugs like Zocor are known to cause muscle damage in some patients, but the risk is more severe when patients are taking 80 milligram doses of Zocor, which is the highest FDA-approved dose.

The side effects include rhabdomyolysis, a form of muscle damage that can lead to kidney damage or failure, and death. Zocor is the brand name for the drug used by Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Its chemical name is simvastatin.

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Expect False Flag Attack Before War On Iran

According to news reports, the U.S. military is shipping "bunker-buster" bombs to the U.S. Air Force base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The Herald Scotland reports that experts say the bombs are being assembled for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo Naval Base “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise.

Some prisoners there are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the George W. Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

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Tuna, polar bear protections rejected

Delegates gathered in Doha, Qatar for a global conference aimed at protecting imperiled species rejected a proposal Thursday that would have banned international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a coveted fish whose numbers have dropped steeply in recent decades.

The proposal, offered by Monaco and co-sponsored by the United States, failed by a margin of 20 in favor and 68 against, with 30 abstaining. The vote came just hours after the 175 countries assembled at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) rejected a U.S. proposal to limit the hunting of polar bears.

"This was a case of just plain ignoring the science for short-term economic gain," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Environment Group, in an interview from Doha.

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Tony Blair got cash for deal with South Korean oil firm

After 20 months of secrecy, the former prime minister has now been overruled by the chairman of the advisory committee on business appointments, the former Tory cabinet minister Ian Lang.

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$940-billion estimate clears way for House healthcare vote

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday estimated the cost of the proposed healthcare overhaul at $940 billion over 10 years, a scoring that clears the way for a House vote as soon as Sunday.

Democrats greeted the number with joy because it was less than the $1-trillion price tag that they were using as a ceiling. Republicans immediately pledged to fight the healthcare overhaul through its convoluted parliamentary route in the House and Senate. "We're absolutely giddy over the great news we have gotten from CBO," Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip, told reporters.

The CBO scoring sets the stage for the Democrats' push to collect the 216 votes needed to pass the bill. Democrats have pledged to allow 72 hours for public study, meaning the soonest the vote could come is on Sunday, when President Obama is scheduled to fly to Asia.

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Obama Administration Destroys Incriminating Contracting Data

Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have found that Fortune 500 firms have received federal small business contracts. In 2004, the SBA Office of Advocacy found large businesses had received federal small business contracts fraudulently through what they referred to as "vendor deception."

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Petraeus Warns Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen that Israel Is Jeopardizing US Security Interests

Veteran military and foreign affairs analyst and author Mark Perry reports that CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus dispatched a team of senior military officers in January to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perry reports that the briefers told Mullen that “Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing US standing in the region.”

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