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News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

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A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

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Clinton Adding $11 Billion to $62 Billion CGI Pledges with Latest Fest

September 23rd, 2012

Annual Meeting of the 1% on How to Help the 99%

Clinton Leads Main Discussions With Usual Flair

But How Valid Is the Information They Rely On? Less than 100%

The list of celebrated political and business leaders at the latest CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) meeting in New York City this weekend (running Sunday 23 to Tuesday 25) is more dazzling to the naive than ever, capping several weeks of public glory for a notoriously attractive politician whose mental and social skills are reckoned among the highest of all by his admirers and his critics both, even as his motivations and values are reckoned questionable by many, including most notoriously by the late Christopher Hitchens, author of the scathing phillipic No One Left To Lie To and always delighted by exposure of the human frailty behind public reputation, whoever it might be:

The 42nd president of the United States was not infrequently accused of being needy, greedy, and tantrum-prone, as well as over-fond of fast or junk food. But try this, about his Muscovite counterpart, from an entry dated Oct. 18, 1994:

“Yeltsin did not always cope with the pressure. President Clinton said Yeltsin’s chronic escapes into alcohol were far more serious than the cultivated pose of a jolly Russian. They were worrisome for political stability, as only luck had prevented scandal or worse on both nights of this visit. Clinton had received notice of a major predawn security alarm when Secret Service agents discovered Yeltsin alone on Pennsylvania Avenue, dead drunk, clad in his underwear, yelling for a taxi. Yeltsin slurred his words in a loud argument with the baffled agents. He did not want to go back into Blair House, where he was staying. He wanted a taxi to go out for pizza. I asked what became of the standoff. ‘Well,’ the president said, shrugging, ‘he got his pizza.’ “

Both Romney and Obama will appear on Tuesday at separate times (Romney first, then Obama for lunch) to address the well funded members of the 1% who have paid $20,000 to attend. The underlying interest of course is to network and schmooze, just as they do at Davos. But the dominant theme as always will be the involvement and leadership of Clinton, who is in his element at these affairs as ringmaster, booster and commentator with an endless stock of personal anecdotes in every area addressed.

What these most important people actually say at these events on well chewed topics such as The Global Health Workforce and Integrating Social and Environmental Value into Core Business may not always be fresh in terms of facts and ideas on big problems, since those at the top of business and politics are naturally mostly dependent on what they are told by their advisors, and they are already well covered by the media. What is valuable is the direction and energy of their leadership, and CGI provides a forum to hear them on this basis that is more or less unmatched even by Davos, or Charlie Rose, who is more personal in his one on one format. But all the speakers at CGI are boosted by the electricity generated by Clinton himself.

The world can watch too – and join in with questions

The less VIP panelists can be more newsworthy on their more specialist topics in the issue based breakout sessions, such as Uncovering the Multiplier Effect of Investing in Women, since they are usually well informed by hands on experience.

But one key aspect of CGI for the public is that the great politico-business-charity gathering is now streaming its main events very efficiently indeed, providing a desktop window into current attitudes and thinking among this elite and their proteges for the rest of us which is fairly unmatched. Viewers can judge for themselves how interesting and enlightening they find the talk but now they can join in via Facebook and Livestream or Twitter -#cgi2012 – and write in their own questions and raise the topics they want, if they are lucky.

Perhaps of general interest is the interview of Chelsea Clinton by Charlie Rose (go down the page to find it), which suggests that Clinton’s daughter, already a seasoned television correspondent, will go much further in public life.

Cancer test breakthrough by high school student

In the past cynical observers might have felt that the event served too much as a platform for the privileged as they roll out their cliched but goodhearted ambitions in standard business jargon, but this time for some reason it now seems impossible to be cynical, as Chelsea Clinton remarks in her session on The Case for Optimism in the 21st Century (“given all the research that says there is such a thing as an optimist gene, it is probably impossible for anyone to be cynical in my family!”).

Now we have such participants as Jack Andraka, a student at North County High School, who raised funds for his basement project for a litmus test for cancer and produced one “168 times faster, 26,000 times cheaper. and 400 times more sensitive than the current gold standard”. He got turned down by all but 2 of the 200 donors he applied to initially, but was awarded more than $100,000 at the recent science fair.

At CGI participants describe the how of their projects rather than the why, which is usually taken for granted. Unfortunately the direction they choose is typically based on standard wisdom which is not always well informed by investigative research, so may be in need of revision.

HIV/AIDS continues to be the prize exhibit in this regard, where everyone assumes that the more drugs served up to the unfortunate blacks in Africa for the cheapest price is the best possible goal for those working to relieve their suffering from disease and malnutrition, without any awareness that there is an unresolved dispute in science on this point, and that many who have studied the subject feel that simple common sense would dictate otherwise. But of course since their host is well known for his pursuit of this goal, it is unlikely that any of them would find it conceivable that it is wrong.

These are accomplished actors and doers rather than thinkers, which is why the CGI is such a prominent and powerful event with its flavor of getting things done, rather than pointing the way. But for that very reason it is doubly sad that they should be misled in a major way on this front, where Clinton’s leadership has been unfortunately very successful.

Worldwide access almost as good as press access

“The three-day meeting will focus on designing for individual lives, our environments and the systems we rely on including food, an inclusive economy, and good governance.”

The hope is that the well connected and powerful VIPs who attend will turn out their pockets for the poor and underprivileged round the world and thus win membership of the highest strata at CGI, those who appear on stage to stand by President Clinton as he announces their planned contribution. To date the total of these pledges now exceeds $62 billion.

The 99% can check out all the plenary sessions for free if they go to CGI’s Web site and view the CGI 2012 Webcasts where they can see streaming which will be available later as well. Added to this is a twitter stream at clintonglobal and a CGI Facebook page.

This access is almost as good as that afforded to the members of the press, whose privileges have been reduced from the early days when they were allowed to mingle with the attendees at the coffee breaks and attend the break out sessions as well as the main events to being stuck downstairs in the press room watching the events on screens or sitting on a dais at the back of the main hall watching the huge screens on either side of the stage, on which the pygmy figures of the live speakers sit, too far away for one to make out their expressions directly.

The advantages the press has is that they may arrange interviews with participants and watch the small group discussions on the screens in their basement press room, and attend the press conferences on the same floor. Let’s hope they will bring back a trove of rich material from these unique opportunities rather the sycophancy that CGI seems to want to impose on the press nowadays with its heavily guarded access.

Biggest power party in the world

Both the Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf and the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will be joining the following glittering array of celebrity, political and business influentials:

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Felipe Calderón, president of Mexico; Denzil L. Douglas, prime minister of the Federation of Saint Kitts & Nevis; Ralph E. Gonsalves, prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Atifete Jahjaga, president of the Republic of Kosovo; Goodluck E. Jonathan, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Paul Kagame, president of the Republic of Rwanda; Kamla Persad-Bissessar, prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Hashim Thaçi, prime minister of the Republic of Kosovo; Timothy F. Geithner, secretary of the treasury, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, finance minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama; Tom Golisano, CGI’s founding sponsor, and founder and chairman of the board of Paychex; Condoleezza Rice, founding partner of RiceHaleyGates LLC; Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize-winner; and Carlos Slim Helú, founder, Fundación Carlos Slim will join the CGI Annual Meeting with the theme “Designing for Impact”; Regina M. Benjamin, surgeon general, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Cheryl D. Mills, counselor and chief of staff, U.S. Department of State; Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Company; Arif Naqvi, founder and group chief executive of Abraaj Holdings; Peter G. Peterson, chairman, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Reeta Roy, chief executive officer of the MasterCard Foundation; and Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, U.S. Department of State; Linda Zecher, president and chief executive officer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt;Previously announced participants at the 2012 CGI Annual Meeting include: Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco; Madeleine Albright, chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group; Joyce Banda, president of the Republic of Malawi; Walter A. Bell, chairman of the board at Swiss Re America Holding Corp; Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of the GAVI Alliance; Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom; Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO; His Majesty King Juan Carlos I, Kingdom of Spain; John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco; Jason Clay, senior vice president of market transformation at the World Wildlife Fund; Chelsea Clinton, board member of the William J. Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative; Hillary Rodham Clinton, secretary of state, U.S. Department of State; Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme; David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy, Inc.; Salma Samar Damluji, chief architect at Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation; Mallika Dutt, president and CEO of Breakthrough; Jay S. Fishman, chairman and CEO of the Travelers Companies, Inc.; Anne H. Hastings, chief executive officer of Fonkoze Financial Services; Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; José Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States; Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the American Institute of Architects; Antony Jenkins, group chief executive at Barclays PLC; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of the Republic of Liberia; Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group; Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa Inc.; Kay Krill, president and CEO of ANN INC.; Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist at the New York Times; Sasha Kramer, co-founder and executive director of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL); Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author, journalist, and deputy director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations; Elizabeth Littlefield, president and CEO of Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Molly Melching, founder and executive director of Tostan; António Mexia, chief executive officer, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A.; Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children; Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank; Jayaseelan Naidoo, chairman of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN); Reema Nanavaty, director of economic and rural development at Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA); Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, Inc.; Denis O’Brien, chairman of Digicel Group; Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation; Clarence Otis, Jr., chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants, Inc.; Stephan Ouaknine, chairman, managing partner, and CEO of Inerjys Ventures Inc.; Johanna Ralston, chief executive officer of the World Heart Federation; Navinchandra Ramgoolam, prime minister of the Republic of Mauritius; Jim Rogers, chairman, president, and CEO of Duke Energy Corporation; Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods Inc.; Robert E. Rubin, co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, former secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Kiran Sethi, founder and director of the Riverside School, Ahmedabad – India; Luis A. Ubiñas, president of The Ford Foundation; Rajiv Shah, Administrator of United States Agency for International Development; Porfirio Lobo Sosa, president of the Republic of Honduras; Lynn Stout, distinguished professor of corporate and business law at Cornell University Law School; Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson; Daniel Yohannes, chief executive officer of Millennium Challenge Corporation; Kandeh Yumkella, director general of the United Nations Development Organization; and Jochen Zeitz, chairman of the management board and CEO of PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport.

It seems reasonable to assume that the motivation of all these VIPs and semi-VIPs who are coming is not purely to work unselfishly on how to benefit less privileged groups on the planet we all share, so it might be concluded that the value of meeting one’s peers in person in conducive surroundings is at least $6,666 a day for the participants, which says something about the limitations of virtual conversations on the phone and Internet.

Designing for impact

Exactly what effect the huge sum claimed of $62 billion for projects promised and funded by attendees (Update: $73.1 billion by the end of this session) has had on the societies in which it has been spent remains to be assessed, however, and there seems to be some feeling that some of it has not had the effect intended, for this year’s theme is “Designing for Impact,” which “will examine how the Commitments to Action that CGI members make can be structured to achieve the most positive, measurable results.” Since CGI began in 2005, members have made nearly 2,300 commitments that “are already improving the lives of 400 million people all over the world,” says Clinton.

To this end of sharpening the impact of these thousands of initiatives the eighth CGI will “conduct Design Labs facilitated by the following leading design experts: Kate Canales, Director of Design and Innovation Programs, Southern Methodist University; John Cary, Founder and Editor, PublicInterestDesign.org; Krista Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer, D-Rev: Design Revolution; Heather Fleming, Chief Executive Officer, Catapult Design; David Janka, Levinthal Fellow, Stanford University Institute of Design; Patrice Martin, Co-Lead and Creative Director, IDEO.org; Liz Ogbu, Scholar in Residence, Center for Art and Public Life, California College of the Arts; Sandy Speicher, Education Lead, IDEO; Sarah Stein Greenberg, Managing Director, Stanford University Institute of Design; and, Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Creative Director, IDEO.org.”

Apart from raking in $20,000 each from probably a thousand or more attendees Clinton also has managed to involve a number of corporate donors to boost the CGI coffers. These include

The 2012 CGI Annual Meeting is sponsored by Abraaj Capital, American Federation of Teachers, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos, APCO Worldwide, Barclays, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cisco, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Delos Living, Deutsche Bank, Diageo PLC, The Dow Chemical Company, Duke Energy Corporation, ExxonMobil, The Ford Foundation, Varkey GEMS Foundation, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, Hewlett Packard Company, Inter-American Development Bank, InterEnergy, Jive Software, Knoll Inc, Laureate International Universities, Microsoft Corporation, NRG Energy Inc, Procter & Gamble, The Rockefeller Foundation, Shangri-La Industries, Standard Chartered Bank, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Tom Golisano, Toyota Motors Corporation, United Postcode Lotteries, The Victor Pinchuk Foundation, and Western Union Financial Services Inc.

    Update

On Tuesday morning, Mitt Romney delivered a strong call for encouraging prosperity abroad through free trade and aid as the best answer to those who threaten us from other nations.

Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls “prosperity pacts” that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop “the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.”

President Obama at Tuesday lunch called for strong action against human trafficking both abroad and within the United States, citing terrible examples of suffering and asking the attendees to rise and applaud some victims who has escaped and were now working to save others.

President Clinton joined him in emphasizing how the issue remained a “very big deal” and asking for more money for a cause which was failing to get the financial support he had hoped for.

(see also within PROGRAM below)

The PROGRAM

Here is the three day program:

[spoiler title=”PROGRAM Click tab for CGI THREE DAY PROGAM” open=”0″ style=”1″]OPENING PLENARY SESSION
12:00 PM –
1:30 PM

Designing for Impact ? Metropolitan Ballroom, 2nd Floor

In a world of seven billion people, the demand on natural and man-made resources is greater than ever before. Yet we also have more human capital than ever before. The power and ingenuity of seven billion individuals, when collectively applied to our greatest challenges, can foster a healthier, more prosperous, and more sustainable planet.

• How can we utilize our abundance of global capacity to invent better tools, build effective interventions, change behaviors, and work creatively and collaboratively to design a future worth pursuing?
• How are we designing our individual lives, our environments, and the global systems we employ in order to have impact on the challenges at hand?
• How can we better design our world to create more opportunity and more equality?

Remarks:

Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, IDEO
Linda Tischler, Senior Editor, Fast Company Magazine

Moderator:

President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States

Participants:

Michael T. Duke, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
2:00 PM –
3:30 PM

How can we provide reliable and safe energy to those in need? * New York East, Third Floor
Design Lab

Influencing Behavior and Attitudes * New York West, Third Floor
Commitment Workshop

Strengthening the Field of Impact Investing * Empire West, Second Floor

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
2:00 PM –
3:30 PM

Financial Inclusion for Youth * Carnegie East, Third Floor

Making a Business Case for Land Rights * Carnegie West, Third Floor

The Global Health Workforce * Liberty 5, Third Floor

Women Transforming Security: The Untapped Resource * Riverside Suite, Third Floor

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
4:00 PM –
5:30 PM

How can we advance women-owned businesses in the developing world? * New York East, Third Floor
Design Lab

Integrating Social and Environmental Value into Core Business * New York West, Third Floor
Commitment Workshop

Turning Inspiration Into Action: Advancing the Individual * Empire West, Second Floor
Broadcast Conversation

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
4:00 PM –
5:30 PM

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Highlighting Action * Liberty 5, Third Floor

Designing for Consumers at the Base of the Pyramid * Riverside Suite, Third Floor

Sustainable Tourism * Carnegie West, Third Floor

TOPIC DINNERS
6:30 PM –
9:00 PM

Africa at the Turning Point
Hosted by Barclays

Grand Challenges, Energy and Innovation: New Approaches for Breakthrough Results
Hosted by Duke Energy

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Hosted by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women

Leadership Matters: Crisis or Success, How Leaders Make a Difference
Hosted by Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos

Women in the Economy: What We’ve Learned and Where We’re Headed
Hosted by ExxonMobil

7:15 PM –
9:00 PM

Boosting Green Entrepreneurship
Hosted by United Postcode Lotteries

Reimagining College Affordability and Financial Aid: How Can We Help More Students Earn Degrees?
Hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Future of Social Investment Through the Eyes of Leading Humanitarian Groups
Hosted by Procter and Gamble

Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today: The Role of Youth in Changing Our World
Hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

MONDAY Sep 24 2012:

REGISTRATION
8:00 AM –
9:00 PM

Registration * Hudson Market

SPECIAL REMARKS
9:00 AM –
9:15 AM

Designing Diplomacy for the 21st Century * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Remarks:

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

PLENARY SESSION
9:00 AM –
10:00 AM

Women and the Built Environment: Designing for Opportunity * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Women play a key role in designing more productive, inclusive built environments. Studies show that involving women greatly improves outcomes across a wide variety of issues, ranging from public health to environmental conservation. Yet current urban planning efforts often overlook the value that women can bring to their communities.

• How can women be empowered with the decision-making and management responsibilities needed to design environments that work better for everyone?
• How can more inclusive design approaches unlock access to key services, expand economic opportunities, and reduce inequality?

Moderator:

Nicholas D. Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times

Participants:

Joan Clos, Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN-HABITAT
Salma Samar Damluji, Chief Architect, Daw’an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation
Elizabeth Heider, Senior Vice President, Skanska USA Building Inc.; Chair, Board of Directors, U.S. Green Building Council
Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity International

SPECIAL SESSION
10:30 AM –
11:30 AM

Business by Design: Growth and Opportunity * Empire West, Second Floor
Broadcast Conversation

Champions of Action * New York East, Third Floor
Keynote

Strategic Philanthropy: How To Think Bigger and Do Better * New York West, Third Floor

PLENARY SESSION
12:00 PM –
1:00 PM

The Early Years: An Irresistible Investment Opportunity * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Starting children on the right path has one of the highest returns of any social investment, with early childhood development programs returning as much as $18 for every dollar invested. High quality early childhood education programs develop the foundation for critical workforce skills that boost economic growth and reduce long-term social costs. Furthermore, ensuring essential nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life can increase a country’s GDP by two to three percent.

• How can health, care and education programs be designed as integrated, holistic systems for early childhood development?
• What are the most effective interventions, and how can they be scaled up?
• How can corporations and governments design programs that empower parents, teachers, and community health workers to provide the care and life skills children need to thrive?

Moderator:

Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF

Participants:

Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi
Bill Goodwyn, Chief Executive Officer, Discovery Education, Discovery Communications Inc.
Carolyn S. Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children
Jay Naidoo, Chairman, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
1:30 PM –
3:00 PM

Empowering Girls Through Education * Empire West, Second Floor

Financing for Impact and Scale * New York West, Third Floor
Commitment Workshop

How can we design healthier urban environments that help prevent chronic diseases? * New York East, Third Floor
Design Lab

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
1:30 PM –
3:00 PM

Designing an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem * Liberty 3, Third Floor

Regional Meeting: India * Carnegie East, Third Floor

Regional Meeting: Latin America * Carnegie West, Third Floor

Resilience Through the Arts * Liberty 5, Third Floor

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
3:30 PM –
5:00 PM

Haiti: Lessons for the Future * New York West, Third Floor
Commitment Workshop

How can we ensure more children benefit from early childhood education? * New York East, Third Floor
Design Lab

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
3:30 PM –
5:00 PM

An Inclusive Media * Carnegie East, Second Floor

Safe and Sustainable Transportation * Carnegie West, Third Floor

Trafficking and Slavery * Liberty 5, Third Floor

Waste: Global Issues, Local Perspectives * Liberty 3, Third Floor

SPECIAL EVENT
6:00 PM –
8:00 PM

At the Chef’s Table: A Pre-Show Tasting Event * Empire East/West, Second Floor

As a prelude to the Clinton Global Citizens Awards, guests will be invited to dine on inspired cuisine from some of New York’s best restaurants. Curated by a selection of the city’s finest chefs, this event will feature tasting menus from their own restaurants, as well as dishes prepared by recommended leading chefs who have shaped the New York culinary scene.

Participants:

Butter, Alex Guarnaschelli
Clover Club, Julie Reiner
Marea, Michael White
Morimoto, Masaharu Morimoto
Recette, Jesse Schenker
Commerce Restaurant, Harold Moore
Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelsson
Scarpetta, Scott Conant
Tertulia, Seamus Mullen

CLINTON GLOBAL CITIZEN AWARDS
8:00 PM –
10:00 PM

Clinton Global Citizen Awards * Metropolitan Ballroom, Third Floor

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges. The evening’s program will include special appearances by individuals who, through their work, embrace the mission of an integrated, shared world.

—————————————————
TUESDAY SEP 25 2012

BREAKFAST
7:30 AM –
8:30 AM

Track Breakfast * New York East/West, Third Floor

Kick-start the final day of the 2012 Annual Meeting and network with other CGI members that share similar topical interests.

CGI Track Managers and Account Executives will be in attendance to provide information on year-round engagement opportunities for CGI members and member organizations.

REGISTRATION
8:00 AM –
3:30 PM

Registration * Hudson Market

SPECIAL REMARKS
9:00 AM –
9:15 AM

Special Remarks * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Remarks:

Mitt Romney, Former Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Romney on How Prosperity is the Way to Combat Evil

Boston Globe

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney is unlikely to win Bill Clinton’s vote, but that doesn’t mean he can’t soak up a bit of the popular former president’s luster.

The two men stood side by side Tuesday as Clinton introduced Romney before the GOP candidate’s speech to Clinton’s annual global conference in New York. Clinton recalled working with Romney to save AmeriCorps, and praised the former Massachusetts governor’s efforts to persuade fellow Republicans to support the national service program.

Romney, taking the podium, returned the compliment.

‘‘If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this election season, by the way, it is that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good,’’ he said, prompting loud laughter and applause from the crowd.

It was a clear nod to Clinton’s speech praising President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention earlier in September, and the slight uptick in the polls that Obama enjoyed soon after.

‘‘All I have to do now is wait a few days for that bounce to happen,’’ Romney quipped.

Such moments of bipartisan levity have been rare in a campaign marked by harsh accusations, heavy-handed rhetoric and relentless attack ads between the presidential campaigns and the outside groups that support them.

Obama’s campaign currently is running one such ad against Romney that uses a clip of Clinton’s convention speech where the former president says Romney wants to ‘‘take us back to the policies that got us into trouble in the first place.’’

But any resentment was noticeably absent Tuesday as Clinton and Romney appeared chummy, patting each other on the shoulder and chatting onstage after Romney’s speech.

‘‘That was good,’’ Clinton told the man hoping to dislodge Clinton’s party from the White House.

Before the speech, Romney spoke backstage with Clinton and Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, said Romney spokesman Rick Gorka. He declined to say what they discussed.

Clinton has an outsized influence on the presidential election more than a decade after he left office. Both Obama and Romney have pointed to Clinton’s economic leadership as an example for the nation, citing prosperity and a federal budget that was balanced under his leadership.

Clinton is using the full weight of those credentials to boost Obama’s bid. In his convention speech, he systematically rebutted Romney’s attacks on Obama, accusing the Republican of pushing an economic plan that doesn’t add up.

NPR:

Romney Touts ‘Prosperity Pacts’ To Help Middle East, Developing Nations
By Mark Memmott
Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls “prosperity pacts” that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop “the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.”

Romney was addressing the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a forum that will host President Obama later today.

If he’s elected in November, Romney said (per his prepared remarks):

“To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate ‘Prosperity Pacts.’ Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

“We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

“The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.”

Romney introduced that proposal by saying he is “often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

“Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem. But that’s not the whole story.

“The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic. In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators. They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

“In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

“He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

“On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.’

“I just want to work.

“Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

PLENARY SESSION
9:00 AM –
10:00 AM

The Future of Food * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

The current food system is not sustainable. Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the world’s use of increasingly scarce water supplies, and deforestation for food production generates more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. Despite these associated environmental and social costs, one-third of the food generated for human consumption continues to be lost or wasted. With global demand expected to double in the next 25 to 50 years, current modes of production and patterns of consumption must change to ensure global food security.

• How can the global food system be redesigned to yield more, healthier food, while reducing our ecological footprint?
• How can greater access to markets, new approaches to distribution, and local sourcing bolster food quality and workers’ livelihoods, while reducing waste and improving resilience to extreme conditions?

Moderator:

Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

Participants:

Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund
Clarence Otis, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants, Inc
Irene B. Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods, Inc.

SPECIAL SESSION
10:30 AM –
11:30 AM

Communication by Design: Inspirational Change Agents * Empire West, Second Floor
Broadcast Conversation

The Case for Optimism in the 21st Century * New York East/West, Third Floor

SPECIAL REMARKS
12:00 PM –
12:15 PM

Special Remarks * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Remarks:

President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

The President spoke of the scourge of human trafficking, which was operating not only in foreign countries but in the US, which the Administration has made a top priority. He cited some very shocking examples, such as Marie, the young Congo girl abducted by an army and repeatedly raped, bearing five children who were all killed in the conflict. who escaped to triumph over her adversity and who now stood up in the audience, with two other women victims turned victors and advocates, at the call of the President to be applauded by the whole conference.

President Obama Unveils Landmark Actions To Fight Human Trafficking
The president said it was time to call human trafficking by its real name: “modern slavery.”

By ELIZABETH FLOCK

President Barack Obama unveiled major actions to fight human trafficking at home and abroad in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting Tuesday, a problem the U.S. has long sought to control.

Just hours after his Republican challenger Mitt Romney spoke to the same audience, arguing broadly that free trade and aid were the key to a better world, Obama chose to focus his speech on the single issue of trafficking, saying it was time to call it by its real name: “modern slavery”.

Obama told the assembled audience it was time to turn the focus on fighting trafficking within American borders.

“The ugly truth is that this goes on right here,” he said. “It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker… The teenage girl—beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in America.”

The president announced a new assessment of the scope and scale of human trafficking in the U.S., ticking off a host of occupations the U.S. would enlist to help, including law enforcement officers, bus and truck inspectors, teachers and educators.

The State Department estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked to the U.S. every year, but the real number is likely much higher. It estimates there are up to 27 million victims of modern slavery worldwide.

Obama also said Tuesday that the U.S. would better fight traffickers using technology. The State Department is already employing the technology of websites like SlaveryFootprint.org, which tracks the everyday household items—like toys, T-shirts or telephones—that are made with the help of slave labor.

Anna Kolhede, spokeswoman for Slavery Footprint, said a new “Free World” app was just unveiled that will teach companies how to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains.

The president said Tuesday he had also signed a new executive order to ensure the U.S. would “lead by example” on trafficking-free government contracting. “We’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings,” Obama said. “We will have zero tolerance. We mean what we say. We will enforce it.”

The president talked, too, of new efforts to help victims of human trafficking recover, promising better access to treatment, legal services and job searches, as well as a simpler visa process for victims brought to America against their will.

The Obama administration has mostly focused its energies in the past four years on going after traffickers. A record number of human traffickers were charged last year in the U.S., and the State Department recently passed sanctions against the worst human trafficking offenders around the world.

But the administration had never before launched an initiative of this size aimed at tackling the issue.

“There has actually never been this amount of time dedicated to talking about [human trafficking] in a public forum—by any government figure,” says Kolhede. “And the fact that it’s coming from the president… It’s absolutely historic.”

President Clinton followed Obama’s remarks by emphasizing the need of the NGOs at work in this arena for more funding. “This is one of the few areas where we have not got as much financial support as I hoped we would when we first focused on the issue about four years ago…This is still a very big deal and I thank the President for bringing it up today and we need to do our part too.”

PLENARY SESSION
12:00 PM –
1:00 PM

Working Capital: Creating Value for Business and Society * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Even as corporations and financial institutions serve as economic drivers, they are too often perceived to be prospering at the expense of the societies and environments in which they work. Global polls indicate that banks and financial services are currently experiencing historically low public trust, while simultaneously less than half of citizens believe their governments will do what is right. As countries and companies seek economic recovery, there is an opportunity to redefine the role of capitalist models as providers of social and environmental good.

• How can our capital systems create new markets to serve the under-served?
• How can governments find a balance between protecting consumers and encouraging competitiveness and market growth?

Moderator:

Richard Stengel, Managing Editor, TIME Magazine

Participants:

Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Abraaj Holdings
Lynn Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law, Jack G. Clarke Business Law Institute – Cornell Law School
Jochen Zeitz, Chief Executive Officer, Sport & Lifestyle Division and Chief Sustainability Officer, PPR; Chairman, PUMA

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
1:30 PM –
3:00 PM

How can we protect the poorest from debilitating shocks, such as unforeseen illness or crop failure? * New York East, Third Floor
Design Lab

Integrating Women into Global Supply Chains * New York West, Third Floor
Commitment Workshop

Leading by Design: Governing Our Global Community * Empire West, Second Floor
Broadcast Conversation

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS
1:30 PM –
3:00 PM

Barriers to Broadband Access * Carnegie West, Third Floor

Employee Engagement: Internal Champions for Shared Value * Riverside Suite, Third Floor

Resilient Cities * Carnegie East, Third Floor

Uncovering the Multiplier Effect of Investing in Women * Liberty 5, Third Floor

CLOSING PLENARY SESSION
3:30 PM –
5:00 PM

Closing Plenary * Metropolitan Ballroom, Second Floor

Participants:

President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States
Mohamed Morsi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

========================================================= [/spoiler]

Video highlights from the 2012 Annual Meeting on CGI YouTube channel.
CGI Facebook page
Follow CGI on Twitter @clintonglobal
Photos from CGI
Press releases
Webcasts of sessions:
Designing for Impact
How can we provide reliable and safe energy to those in need?
How can we advance women-owned businesses in the developing world?
Integrating Social and Environmental Value into Core Business
Turning Inspiration Into Action: Advancing the Individual
Designing Diplomacy for the 21st Century
Women and the Built Environment: Designing for Opportunity
Champions of Action
Strategic Philanthropy: How To Think Bigger and Do Better
The Early Years: An Irresistible Investment Opportunity
Financing for Impact and Scale
How can we design healthier urban environments that help prevent chronic diseases?
Haiti: Lessons for the Future
How can we ensure more children benefit from early childhood education?
Special Remarks Mitt Romney
The Future of Food
The Case for Optimism in the 21st Century
Special Remarks Barack Obama
Working Capital: Creating Value for Business and Society
How can we protect the poorest from debilitating shocks, such as unforeseen illness or crop failure?
Integrating Women into Global Supply Chains
Leading by Design: Governing Our Global Community
Closing Plenary
—————————————–

Science Libel Wars: Celia Farber Appeal Exposes Richard Jefferys’ Underhand Calumny

September 13th, 2012

Tells How Drug Company Financed HIV Defender Libeled Seasoned Reporter and Duesberg

Falsehoods Exposed In Machinations of Jefferys and others in Battle to Stop Semmelweis Awards

Standards in Gutter as HIV Flack Fomented Lynch Mob Threatening Her Career and Even Life

As we made clear in our last post on the topic, the public debate on the rights and wrongs of established science in the arena of HIV/AIDS has been severely distorted by science and social politics inside and outside the field.

Part of the huge problem is that the very few reporters and writers who are prepared objectively to tackle the topic of why and how the dogma of HIV/AIDS is clearly wrong have run into almost insuperable career problems. The NIAID PR personnel won’t allow their scientists to talk to them, the drug companies won’t return their calls, editors tell them to find another topic, publishers fire editors who publish them, and there is a large baying pack of lay hounds allied to the standard dogma for financial, social or psychological reasons who will suffocate any support they win on blog threads, even changing Wikipedia entries back to suit HIV propaganda if any illuminating changes are made there.

In other words, a big factor in the restriction of truth about good science in HIV/AIDS in public is the great number of people outside science who will attack and attempt to defeat public review of the official dogma, as viciously if they were defending a religion, and the critics were religious heretics, deserving to be burned at the stake. In this they are following the edict of HIV researcher John Moore of Cornell, a fairly rabid propagandist who once famously wrote in an ill considered email that his efforts to curtail HIV heresy would amount to all out war, objectivity be damned:

This is a war, there are no rules, and we will crush you, one at a time, completely and utterly.” John P Moore, PhD, Cornell Weill; AIDS researcher to AIDS dissident Michael Geiger, 27 January 2007.

Subverting truth with lies

Perhaps the worst behaved of the science outsiders who have followed John Moore’s lead in take no prisoners warfare in public discussion is the remarkable Richard Jefferys of the drug company financed Treatment Action Group, who careful readers of this site will recall tried very hard to put a spanner in the works of the Semmelweis Society, when they proposed to give both Celia Farber and Peter Duesberg the Semmelweis Award for Whistleblowers.

Jefferys failed in this effort, but not for lack of trying underhanded methods to scotch the award ceremony which eventually took place. Just how vicious and extreme were his attacks in word and action on Celia Farber’s reputation and peace of mind has not been fully made clear until this week, when the lawyers for this renowned investigative reporter on the HIV sham made it all transparent in their current appeal against the summary verdict which earlier blocked her libel case against Jefferys and two other miscreants involved on November 2 last year.

The “perfected” appeal was refiled last week, Sept 6 Thu 2012. It deals with the mistakes in judgment and law that Judge York surely made in prematurely dismissing the libel suit, and clarifies the nature and culpability of Jefferys et al in their literally obscene machinations off the public stage to silence Celia Farber and Peter Duesberg and prevent them from receiving the award for their bravery and public service.

The Appeal gives the Story

Here are some key parts:

Justice York was wrong to shelter Richard Jefferys’ false accusations of fraud against Celia Farber under the constitutional umbrella of “marketplace of ideas”:

Plaintiff-Appellant Celia Farber (“Farber”) brings this appeal to this Court because Justice York committed reversible errors in giving constitutional license (under cover of fostering the oft-cited “marketplace of ideas”) to Defendant-Appellee Richard Jefferys’ (“Jefferys”) false accusations of journalistic fraud against Farber, a journalist who has reported in the tradition of a war reporter (i.e. covering conflict) on the thousands of prominent scientific and medical experts who fall within the “dissident” views surrounding the idea that HIV is a new pathogen that causes AIDS and who has thereby attracted the ire of AIDS activists, such as Jefferys and his cohorts who sought to silence the expression of dissident views.

Justice York counted Jefferys factually erroneous, or to put it bluntly, lying emails as “protected speech” in a “robust public debate”, hardly the right way to characterize Jefferys’ efforts to spread fear and hysteria and to wage war to silence Celia Farber’s reporting, a campaign which led to threats on her life:

In erroneously categorizing Jefferys’ defamatory e-mail as “protected speech,” Justice York conflated the idea of “robust public debate” with Jefferys’ ongoing campaign to destroy Farber’s reputation as a journalist and spread fear and hysteria to engage others to wage war against Farber, which was intended to silence her and which has even led to threats on Farber’s life.

Jefferys’ emails to Semmelweis members to get them to withdraw their award to Celia Farner included outright factual misrepresentation, ie knowingly fraudulent assertions, which he was to prove unable to back up with any proper examples when challenged:

The accusation that Farber was a “liar” was part of a statement that she “for many years” has used journalistic “fraud” that included “altering of quotes from scientific literature” and “false representations from published papers, etc.”; and the accusation was made in an e-mail and not a letter to the editor or op-ed column.

Hollow assertions with malice

Justice Louis B. York, the appeal notes, prevented the presentation of evidence that Jefferys was motivated by malice and was grossly irresponsible by preventing discovery (the demand for relevant papers to be produced by the defendant), which was unfortunate for all who want to spill all of this particular can of worms onto the table (side note: the brief uses the word “genocide” here and elsewhere when evidently “homicide” is meant, a mistake with a certain irony since the deaths of tens of thousands of AIDS victims from knowing mismedication is certainly likely to be labeled genocide by activists if the full story of HIV scientists manipulating public policy ever comes out):

When deciding on the issues of actual malice and gross irresponsibility, Justice York failed to allow the parties the benefit of full discovery and effectively thumbed his nose at the rules governing summary judgment, never citing and never applying those rules but instead making various pronouncements that were at best fact-finding contrary to the rules governing summary judgment and did not reflect a balanced view of the record.

In concluding that Jefferys was engaged in protected public discourse, Justice York dismissed relevant evidence which tended to raise an issue of fact as to Jefferys’ “actual malice,” and, instead, took Jefferys’ hollow assertions at face value when he claimed to have written his literary genocide in reliance on various papers and articles supporting the hypothesis on HIV/AIDS of Dr. Robert Gallo. Justice York erred in his reliance on Jefferys’ assertion that he quoted from medical journals to show “eight inaccuracies” in Farber’s writings, notwithstanding that the record demonstrated Jefferys’ obvious inability to show any inaccuracy, let alone fraud, on Farber’s part or the lack of a single example of how Farber’s work has ever been challenged for inaccuracy or fraud by any periodical that has published her work. Justice York accorded no weight to Farber’s evidence and concluded that Jefferys was merely wrong or confused or giving his opinion when writing the e-mail that “launched a thousand ships” to destroy Farber’s career. Jefferys’ attack was not an example of the “marketplace of ideas,” but, instead, exhibited the very gross irresponsibility and reckless disregard of the truth that falls outside of the scope of protection under the
First Amendment.

Fortunately, the appeal allows a full statement of the true qualifications of Celia Farber and her journalistic achievement, a substantial edifice against which Jefferys and the other hounds of hell baying at Farber’s heels in their defense of the indefensible can throw themselves as hard as they wish without effect – so they resorted to lies. Small wonder that they did so, since maintaining the rationality and usefulness and validity of the theory that HIV causes AIDS symptoms, which has none of these virtues, necessarily involves lies, and no surprise that they are now accused of libel in asserting slanderous falsehoods in attacking Farber’s integrity and reputation.

Farber Has Been A Well-Respected Journalist Since the 1980’s Without Incident And Without Retraction By Any Periodical.

Farber, a veteran magazine journalist, began her work as a print journalist in high school in her native Sweden and continued as a print journalist while attending college in New York, starting to write for the US rock magazine SPIN in 1986. Her first “beat” was AIDS, a subject she reported on between 1986 and 1994. She edited and frequently wrote SPIN’s AIDS column which she created, called “Words From The Front.” These “columns” often grew into lengthy, investigative feature articles that required global travel, including across Sub-Saharan Africa and across Europe.

In 1987-88, the column featured the second print interview in the U.S. media of virologist Peter Duesberg, allowing him to explain his published contention that retroviruses, including HIV, are harmless. The following month, SPIN published a response from virologist Dr. Robert Gallo, in which Dr. Gallo, in colorful but abusive terms, declared why he felt Dr. Duesberg was wrong and he was right, about HIV being the cause of AIDS. This argument soon bloomed into extensive coverage of the burgeoning “HIV debate” which Plaintiff Farber was assigned to cover assiduously over the coming decade. (R. 807-809.)

Farber, prior to 2006, wrote publications for numerous periodicals, including Rolling Stone, (German) Vogue, Interview, New York Post, New York Press, Salon, The Herald on Sunday (Scotland,) Stop Smiling, Alive, Media Post, as well as numerous online literary and journalistic outlets. She was invited to lecture on journalism around the world, including London, Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and elsewhere. In 1994, she spoke at the American Association For The Advancement of Science (“AAAS”) on a panel that included Nobel Laureate Dr. Kary Mullis and other distinguished scientists. Her writings were used as course material in several college media and science courses, and she continues to lecture to journalism students to this day. She also wrote scripts for VH-VH-1, BBC radio, Swedish Radio (Sverige’s Radio) and co-produced a documentary film for BBC, in addition to appearing on numerous radio and TV shows, including CNN, The Today Show, Politically Correct with Bill Maher, The Charlie Rose Show, ESPN, and the Keith Olbermann Show on MSNBC. (R. 807-809.)

Since the start of her career in 1986, not a single periodical has ever accused Farber of fraud, lies, or even inaccuracies.

In other words, Celia Farber is a seasoned and accomplished writer and journalist who has built a substantial career by delivering copy to a wide variety of publications and editors and her accuracy in reporting has never been questioned – aside of course from the egregious antics of the HIV goon squad, of which Jefferys has always been a leader, even attempting to muddy discussion on this site.

That a clear and accurate factual statement of this affair has now been made available to the public, which can read for itself the clear evidence for the way in which public review and discussion of the unproven and so far useless HIV claim has been headed off by dirty tricks from the HIV goon squad, is not only a blessing for Celia Farber but a helpful contribution to public understanding of what is going on in the science and politics of HIV/AIDS.

Officials and their staff, politicians and others with influence can read the appeal on the Science Guardian page here and make better informed decisions about the validity of the current dogma and the need for review. One thing they should bear in mind is the enormous violence involved on the social and psychic level when such lynch mobs are fomented by lies from HIV defenders.

Why the case is justified

In the case of Celia Farber, perceptive onlookers have long been aware of the damage perpetrated on her career and her psyche by these attacks, which have been ongoing ever since she began to cover the topic of whether HIV made any sense as the cause of AIDS more than twenty five years ago. The wave of crowd assault engendered by the efforts of Jefferys in the Semmelweis affair was a psychic tsunami in its effect on a reporter whose livelihood depends on the trust of editors and whose public reputation rests on the confidence of readers.

Asked about its effects recently Farber likened it to a “cancer that gums up the whole works and prevents you from functioning, a solitary hell that even those close to you can’t fully understand.” The finely calibrated social antennae used in reporting and writing on a literary level – the level practiced by Farber in her magazine work, which reached a high point with her remarkable piece Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science in Harpers in March 2006 and which was celebrated in a book collection, Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS published by Melville House 2006 – are suddenly exposed to the social violence of an abusive mob. Like this week’s sacking of the US embassy in Tripoli in which an absurd home movie resulted in the death of the ambassador and two colleagues, the results can be fatal to both career and life:

“When you are targeted by systemic abuse, as all whistleblowers know, it can cripple you. It doesn’t happen right away, it happens over time. The worst thing for me was when everything fell silent, after the initial faux storm in 2006, when all hell broke loose around my Harper’s article. Friends disappeared, colleagues, even people in intimate relationships. This cancer is designed to metastasize to every organ in the body of your life. You lose your footing, and feel more and more vulnerable. You’ve been pariahed, an “un-person”.

“Exile, betrayal, social ostracization, all these things are catastrophic to the human psyche. The ancient Greeks felt that exile is a worse punishment than death. There is a sense of being in a cell, alone. That is the worst part. When I stopped being able to earn a living, when even an editor of a major publishing house that commissioned me to ghost write a book about O.J. Simpson’s case started screaming in a board meeting that I was a discredited denialist…I began to crack. It gets harder and harder to hold your head high.

Suffering that assault can lead to severe depression for whistleblowers of all stripes, and for a preternaturally sensitive social reporter who lives by her awareness of the reality behind the surface of people’s faces and words it is not surprising that Farber suffered by her own account

“shame..deep shame over being a failure at providing for your family…depression came like a typhoon, landing me finally in hospital. The pain was unrelenting. We’re not designed to withstand this kind of lunacy. In short, it was hell. My whole life was shredded, I disintegrated, and I had no idea how to stop the process.”

This is the kind of damage which social lynching can do, which is why it is an effective weapon against heresy of any kind, and why free thinking is not as common a virtue as one would wish. But for the purposes of covering the Semmelweis Affair and Farber libel suit, it must be pointed out and recorded how damaging libel can be, and how justified a suit for damages for libel can be.

Prevailing against judicial prejudice

As the appeal goes forward, it remains to be seen, however, whether it can win against the impediment which blocks review of any kind in this arena – the innate prejudice judges like the rest of the establishment have against the challenge to authority, especially in science.

Can libel actions ever succeed against the entrenched prejudice of courts in favor of the supposed expertise of scientists peddling a globally accepted dogma, such as HIV/AIDS, however logically inane and scientifically incredible that dogma might be, as it is in the case of HIV/AIDS?

Those supporters of letting a little rational light into the world of AIDS on behalf of all its victims who were disappointed when Farber’s libel suit against HIV defenders ran into summary dismissal last year, while now hoping that her appeal will succeed, might have been forgiven for thinking at the time that the answer to that important question is No, such actions can never succeed.

For last year it seemed more than likely that part of the problem was that the Judge York believed that HIV/AIDS dogma must be by definition be true and good science, and therefore a reporter like Celia Farber, who more than any other has attempted to make the politics and bad science of HIV/AIDS clear to the world, must by definition be on the wrong side of authority in science and health and therefore a poor reporter, just as the claimed libel stated.

As we have seen, and the appeal makes clear, this is the opposite of the truth, as proper study of the scientific literature will confirm. But will the appeal succeed against this prejudice, even though it should be irrelevant to the decision, and any judge who feels it should recuse himself from the chair in this case?

We shall see. But many hope that Farber will succeed in her appeal and that this will be yet another step in what could finally lead to the ultimate resolution of the HIV/AIDS debacle in the downfall of the dogma

We are referring to the recent court decision in Fort Bragg in favor of a man accused of endangering his lovers by not telling them he was HIV positive. As noted in recent comments, this decision suggested that the prosecution was unable to convince the court that being HIV positive necessarily endangered any lover.

If this trend continues – and another case recently suggests that it might, slowly – then the resolution of the scientific scandal of HIV/AIDS might come in the courts.

Let’s hope for a successful resolution of the Farber suit as a windsock blown in that direction.


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