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Saturday December 18, 2004

He was poisoned with Dioxin

Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with TCDD, the most harmful known dioxin and one contained in Agent Orange, a scientist who analyzed his blood said Friday. The tests showed the TCDD was pure and must have been concocted in a laboratory, lead investigator Abraham Brouwer told The Associated Press. The tests, confirmed by three labs in the Netherlands and Germany, also confirmed that Yushchenko's blood contained 100,000 units of the poison, the second-highest concentration on record.

Doctors announced last weekend that the 50-year-old Yushchenko was poisoned with a dioxin chemical that left him disfigured, but Brouwer told the AP that his team has now zoned in on TCDD, the most hazardous of all the dioxins.

The poison, chemically known as tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin, usually occurs mixed with other dioxins produced by the same processes. However, the investigation led by Brouwer at BioDetection Systems in Amsterdam found Yushchenko was poisoned with pure TCDD, not a mixture. "That excludes a huge number of sources," said dioxin expert Dr. Arnold Schecter, a professor of environmental Sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas who was not involved with the investigation. "If it's pure TCDD, that means it could only be labs that buy or sell TCDD (for research purposes), government biological or chemical weapons units or a clever chemist," Schecter said. Brouwer said he agreed that the search for the source of the poison can now be focused on those three possibilities.

...Yushchenko, who faces Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych in a repeat presidential election on Dec. 26, fell ill after having dinner with Ukrainian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko and his deputy, Volodymyr Satsyuk, on Sept. 5. Yushchenko complained of a headache about three hours after the dinner, and by the next day had developed an acute stomach ache. He later developed pancreatitis and gastrointestinal pain, as well as a severe backache. About three weeks after his first symptoms, Yushchenko developed the disfigurement that is the hallmark of dioxin poisoning. Yushchenko told the AP on Thursday that he is convinced he was poisoned at the dinner. "It was a project of political murder, prepared by the authorities," Yushchenko said. The dinner "was the only place where no one from my team was present and no precautions were taken concerning the food," he said.


It's been called the "third rail of American politics" and for good reason. Anyone attempting to tamper with the Social Security system will have to do battle with the largest and most powerful special interest in the country: The AARP and their more than 35 million members. Now that President Bush has his second term it's time to make the attempt to fix this inter-generational shell game. Of course the Democrats will yell and scream that Republicans are trying to destroy Social Security--that's their job. Todays Wall Street Journal has an excellent primer on the system which explains why, without any reform, it will destroy itself:

...Demography made the whole arrangement work for a long time. In the 1930s there were 41 workers for every retiree; the payroll tax could thus be set at a low rate--about 2% for the first $3,000 of earnings. It was quite a deal for the beneficiaries--the average rate of return for people retiring in 1940 was 114%.

And like all income redistribution programs, Social Security presented politicians with lots of incentives for sweetening. In the 1950s, Congress started increasing both benefits and the number of people covered. At the same time, however, the demographics were turning sour. Life expectancy was rising to the 78 years it is today, from 69 for men born in 1940. And fertility rates were declining, from 2.2 children per woman in 1940, to a peak of 3.7 in 1957, to two per woman right now.

No surprise, then, that the ratio of workers to retirees began to fall--in 1950, it had dropped to 16 workers to one retiree and now it is just three to one. Payroll taxes have had to rise accordingly--they are now 12.4%. And real rates of return have gone into a free-fall; real returns for workers born in 1960 and retiring in 2025 are less than 2%.

Bad enough, but it is all about to get much worse. Over the next 20 years, as the Baby Boomers start retiring, the number of retirees will jump to around 77 million from 47 million today. The worker-to-retiree ratio will drop to two to one, and real returns for some could be negative. The Social Security system will start running a deficit by 2016 when benefits exceed annual payroll tax revenue. The "Trust Fund" surplus will be totally eaten up by 2042 (or a decade later, depending on economic and demographic assumptions). Then Social Security will have to rely solely on revenue from the payroll tax that will not be sufficient to pay benefits.


There are those that view the appointments of Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell,and Alberto Gonzales with a shrug. Some see it as, well, fine. The ardent diversity watchers hail it as "the first black this" or "the first hispanic that". I'm fairly agnostic about all of that. They're people. Colin Powell is unquestionably better than Madeline Albright (whom Jonah Goldberg once described as the human equivalent of car in the far left lane going 10 mph below the speed limit with it's left blinker on). Condi is surely more reliable than "docs-in-socks" Sandy Berger. Seems to me that Condi, Colin and Alberto are no more and no less than individuals whom President Bush believed would be best for their respective jobs. That's how it should be.

Then along comes Ali Khan. Mr. Khan is a professor of law at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. Can you just imagine the kinds of poison he is injecting into young kids minds. He, like many of his university brethren across this great land, is far, far left. He is left of 95% of the electorate and is even a tad left of John Kerry. To these people, nothing President Bush does will be good, moral or worthwhile. Even if President Bush does something the left has been clamoring for decades about, it will not be sufficient. Ali Khan explains his view of the Bush appointments in a student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh titled, Dirty Diversity: Bush Minority Appointees as Tools of Force, Power and Expediency:

The introduction of these and other minorities into what has traditionally been a political game of white monopoly in Washington has been in that it's suggested to the world that President Bush values both equality and diversity, and that racial prejudices, actively wired in American power grids, are falling apart. No longer are Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians confined to dirty jobs, such as cleaning private quarters of the white establishment. See, says the Administration, the sons and daughters of the people of color are being actively recruited to lead the world.

But wait a minute. On closer inspection, the willing coalition of black, brown, and other faces of color appears to have been summoned to whitewash foreign invasions, occupations, deportations, detentions, disappearances, and even the commission of war crimes such as torture and extra-judicial executions. Minorities have been cast as big-headed puppets to speak daggers on behalf of a producer/director who, we are told, believes in God, democracy, and liberation.

...Thus a new chapter is being written in American history, the theme of which is "dirty diversity." Non-white faces have been hired for big-ticket jobs so that a black woman vouches for an unjust war, a black man defends it, one Hispanic justifies the use of torture while another supervises the slaughter of foreign civilians, and a Vietnamese refugee writes the law to maim American civil liberties. The jobs for these minorities are better than they used to be, but the tasks are no cleaner.


Did you know that the election is still simmering in Ohio? Also, in Washington State. There's been a recount in Alaska too.


Speaking of elections, I hear that there's going to be one in Iraq. The U.N. plans to send in an overwhelming force of 25 election monitors to oversee the elections on January 30th. Twenty-five monitors for a population of twenty-five million. A little back-of-the-envelope math reveals that the ratio is one monitor per million inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Jimmah Carter Institute for Horrific Diplomatic Failures will be sending a team of 80 to 90 observers to monitor the Palestinian elections next month. In the West Bank and the Gaza Strip combined, there are a total of just over 3.5 million people. That works out to about 24 monitors per million inhabitants. Which is the more serious effort? I report, you decide.


No, it's not an urban legend. No it's not a storyline from C.S.I. It's real life.

An 8-month-old fetus savagely ripped from her mother's womb while the woman was being murdered turned up alive and healthy yesterday in Kansas, where police arrested a woman for kidnapping the newborn.

Here's what the doctor says:

The little girl, prematurely ripped from her mother's womb, survived because of "divine intervention," a leading obstetrician said yesterday, calling the survival of the 8-month-old fetus a "miracle." "Certainly this is one of these miracles where God protects a child no matter what happens," said Dr. Manuel Alvarez, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. "Obviously, this was an extremely stressful birth, and we won't know what the ultimate outcome of this child will be as she gets older," he added.