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STATS for this compilation: Over 45,000 words and 269 links provided
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"I expect to see more such negative reactions as our natural knee-jerk reaction kicks back in response to apparent signs of the old same corrupt ways of the past being replayed again. It's going to be easy and very tempting for lots of people, burned by years of despair and no-future under Bush & Co, to throw the baby out with the bath's water. I'm glad to read you feel like me that for now, until proven wrong, it is better to side with the wave of optimism, stake a claim on the mount of hope and nurture the vision that we can all live to see a better, greener and livable future. Yet, as Neville correctly pointed out, we must also realize that the only change will come from us, which is in essence what I stated in There is ALWAYS Hope Series #1: Taking TOGETHER a Leap of Faith! I should have more on this next week as to how we may contribute in fostering the positive rather than the negative while paying close attention to every move made by this new administration.
- Note from Jean: This is a comment I wrote in response to Ed Elkin (EdElkin@aol.com) who wrote "Wanting you to know that your 'polyanna' views are exactly the kind of optimism that is needed to forge ahead into a future of courage and hope. I am firmly believing that Obama will be a great leader, and of course, time will tell."
"The biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me is audible, is active. It tells me where I think I'm on track and where I'm off track."
Barack Obama - Taken from "Obama's Spirituality: A Candid and Powerful Interview" below - A MUST read!
- Daniel Stafford (firstname.lastname@example.org) - To whom I replied: "And such supportive comments is what more and more people need to hear to validate this very notion that unless we apply ourselves in a positively focused manner to solving the problems of the world, our current head-long rush into oblivion will simply continue."
"By cultivating a vision of a beautiful, joyful (and sustainable) world, Cullis-Suzuki believes people will want to jump into the sustainability movement."
"Matter is Energy. Energy is Light. We are all Light Beings."
- Albert Einstein
"There are so many humble unseen people on this planet whos hearts are intensely driven to contribute. Their souls long to create a better world. These are sacred souls, their gift of being in this physical plane is phenomenal."
- Alicia Power (email@example.com)
1. Our Evolving lives
2. Memo to Obama: Forging Our Common Way Ahead
3. Obama's Spirituality: A Candid and Powerful Interview
4. Barack Machiavelli
5. Barack Obama is looking more like a realist
6. How Obama Rewrote the Book
7. The Great Depression of the 21st Century: Collapse of the Real Economy
8. Celente Predicts Revolution, Food Riots, Tax Rebellions By 2012
9. Meet Laura Day: The financial psychic of Wall Street who predicted global meltdown
10. Stand with the people of Congo
11. Triggering your mind to change: Failsafe author speaks at BAG
12. Failsafe by Ian Prattis Gives Hope Where There is None
13. Suzuki: The next generation - Severn Cullis-Suzuki has always been good at making people cry
14. Supreme Court lifts limits on Navy sonar near whales
15. Wildlife: A luxury we can live without?
16. Brown clouds dim Asia, threaten world's food
17. Rainbow Peace Caravan / Creating a temporary model Peace ECO-Village in Brazil
18. Iraq war illegal bring on the trial
19. Presidential library for W
SPECIAL INSPIRATIONAL FEATURE
Forwarded by Martin Greenhut (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Donna D'Ingillo (email@example.com)
A PRAYER FOR BARACK OBAMA
Let us use the energies of change that were unleashed by the people on November 4th to bring about the changes in the US and in the world that we would like to see. The spiritual significance of the election of Barack Obama is one that will be playing out in the planet for many years to come, and we now need to seize this moment to further the desire for peace, justice, economic fairness that resounds within the human soul. There has been an overarching energy of enslavement of the masses by a powerful ruling elite for many generations within every institution of planetary life. Over the past 40 years a shift has been occurring, and a watershed event occurred on November 4th to further overcome these energies and open the hearts of millions for real change.
President-elect Obama is in the desirable and yet precarious position to follow the will of the people. There are many people who would still wish to see the old paradigm of elitism and control continue to exist. What will follow in the early days of his term of office will largely be up to us. The power that we exercised on Election Day is small in comparison to the energies of change that we can use every day. It is time to come together in intention and direct that further each and every day toward him to hold him steady in the will of the people as he must deal with the ruling elite that has held this planet tightly in control for centuries. The tide is turning and we can seize upon this to make the changes necessary to heal this world.
There is a divine plan for this planet. We may not know what that is because we cannot see it, but it is alive within our hearts. We bring it into reality by our highest intentions for the world and through our courageous, tolerant, patient and loving actions. Mr. Obama's vision is not so much in knowing what those plans are, but to catalyze and catapult our best efforts into action to address the massive problems we face. For those people who are spiritually attuned to the energies of change we can hold the focus for the divine plans to be energized through him and to attract those people to him who will help the country implement those ideals. It is a growing process that will take time to unfold yet with the collective energies of the world behind us, we will see the changes take form right before our eyes. Let us hold what we desire to see enter the halls of governance and pray that the divine plan continue to unfold. The hearts of Americans and the entire world are pinning their hopes in Washington, and we can direct this flow of spiritual sustenance here each and every day.
Please hold this prayer and intention in your hearts and spread it to like-minded people who wish to see the country take back its democracy, justice, equality, liberty and create the ideal of government that is the soul of America. Please keep this in the forefront of your mind as we continue to use the momentum that brought him to powerit will grow!
We hold America and President-elect Obama up to the light of the divine plans for this world. We ask that the necessary Spiritual Powers and energies support him as he leads the country in a new direction. We pray that his mind be open to the ways of Spirit and that he attracts those individuals to assist him that are aligned with the divine plans. We pray for his protection from the forces that want to maintain the status quo and to minimize their effect around him. We pray for the ways of peace, justice, fairness, equality, and liberty to prevail within the policy making meetings that he will oversee. We pray that his outreach efforts to the world attract those who also aligned in the divine energies of change. We hold this as our intention in unity, compassion, tolerance, patience and peace and keep the flame of hope ever-present in our awareness. May this light shine upon him and the entire world, and may the ways of Spirit manifest on earth as in heaven.
Thank you for taking time to focus on this in your hearts and holding it within your thoughts. May our efforts truly bring the changes and healing for our country and our world that we so ardently yearn for.
Forwarded by David - EarthSong 2012 (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "This from Sandy OZ is just too good to keep to myself, so, I am passing along to YOU."
From: lightascension (email@example.com)
Sent: November 17, 2008
It matters not what country you/I reside in, it matters only that we exercise our heart felt united projections and loving support to this exciting new venture,
Love & deLight,
The year is 2016. You glance at the television one morning and see President Obama having another of his many press conferences. He has now been in office for almost 8 years. It has not been perfect, but things are much better than when he took office in January of 2009.
You notice that his hair has whitened and he still has that winning smile and that take charge/positive energy that he had when he was campaigning back in 2008.
You remember how concerned you were about whether or not he would win in 2008 and you feel deeply contented that he has been safely in office for such a long time. He and Congress have done much to address global warming, health care, development of alternative energy sources and a variety of other important matters to the country and the planet and to help begin to restore America's respect in the world.
You feel deep gratitude for the past eight years and how things have unfolded.
See it... Feel it... breathe it... Pass it on. Let us... remember... all of the wonderful reasons we appreciate this reality and our part in helping to build it.
Take 30 seconds right now. Close your eyes and imagine exactly what our country will feel like. It takes so many of us to make up the world. Imagine a UNITED States. Imagine how good it will feel. See what you want to have for the future. All of us need to put into the matrix what we want the world to be like.
Imagine successful diplomacy.
Imagine peace and restored prosperity.
Imagine the citizen groups, progressive populism, social justice, and the grassroots finding their voice.
Imagine windmills and clean cars and new kinds of suppressed technology.
Imagine the earth being healed and revitalized, with everyone being brothers.
Imagine being very proud of your country and its leaders. Imagine whatever it is that draws you to support change. Imagine what your life will look like.
Just 30 seconds. Do it several times a day. We can shift and change the vibration of this country with positive visions just like this. (net)
Surround Barack Obama and his family with your precious loving support and crystal diamond golden white light of protection and see him/us after his 'eight years' of life changing and enhancing policies. They are for the betterment of not only ALL humankind, but for all the animals and all the elementals, flora and fauna, and the beloved planet herself. Perceive the crystalline pure lotus flower growing into and encapsulating our whole universe as these ensuing years are wonderfully paramount in the overall progression of this great 'sea of life' that is being reborn and revitalised with Love and Unity Consciousness.
In honor and total acceptance of the unfolding Bigger Picture,
In My Name http://www.youtube.com/inmyname
We can be the generation that ends poverty. In September 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed to the Millennium Development Goals, a set of time-bound and measurable goals for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. The deadline to achieve the MDGs is September 2015 -- we must act now if we want to achieve these goals by their deadline. Upload your video now to join the chorus with Will.i.am, John Legend, Scarlett Johansson and others around the world. Your simple video message will join thousands of others in the call to end poverty in our lifetime. - Recommended by Leslie Novak" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Vow - of Ahimsa - A wonderful initiative! Let's all do this! http://www.intent.com/blog/2008/11/07/the-vow
On November 7, 2008, at 9:45 am, I, Deepak Chopra, took a vow of non-violence in my thoughts, in my speech and in my actions. I, then, also had an opportunity to ask the almost 500 people attending the plenary session for the Alliance for a New Humanity in Barcelona if they would join me in this commitment. I first asked them to close their eyes, put their awareness in their hearts and ask themselves honestly and seriously if they were willing to take a vow. I told them that a vow is a sacred commitment from which there is no going back. It is like a child that is born, who cannot return to the womb. I told them if they were ready to take this vow, they should stand up. People stood up, one by one at first, then in groups of twos and threes, and finally in tidal waves, until more than 450 people had stood up and taken the vow. Following this, everybody agreed to have at least two people in their lives take the vow. The two in turn, would have two others join them in taking the vow. Our immediate goal now is to get 100 Million people across the world to take this vow. In the meantime, we will be setting up ways to measure and support the dramatic effects this tidal wave of shift in consciousness is going to create. Are you seriously committed to bringing about a world of peace, harmony, laughter and love by taking this vow and getting two people to join you? If you are ready, please post a blog here on Intent entitled: I take the vow. Let us know that you have passed on the vow to two friends. And, if you wish tell us your thoughts in the post, we would love to hear them. Love, Deepak Chopra - President and Founder of the Alliance For A New Humanity -- Alex King on Monday, November 17th,2008 posted the following comment: "I took the Vow at the same conference and it has since changed my life and the way I see the world. I am deeply grateful for Dr. Deepak Chopra following inspiration and allowing me the opportunity to do this. I encourage everyone who reads this to also take the Vow of Non-violence and, in so doing, change the world." MANY more such comments posted there. -- Recommended by Pennie (Touchright@aol.com) who invites everyone on the ERN list to take like her the vow of non-violence.
The ONE Campaign The ONE Campaign
ONE is an advocacy and campaigning organization of over 2 million people and growing, from all walks of life all around the world, uniting as one against extreme poverty. Add your support at http://www.ONE.org Together, we can end extreme poverty during our lifetimes.
Alicia Power's Journey - Media Interview - FASCINATING INTERVIEW! http://www.soulmentoring.com/about_us.html
Hear Alicia interviewed by broadcaster Lois Hunt. Alicia speaks about her inner journey and how she works with the spirit worlds.
Global Coherence Initiative Movie http://www.glcoherence.org/about-us/gci-movie.html
This beautiful, four-minute presentation clearly explains the essence and purpose of the Global Coherence Initiative and the Global Coherence Monitoring System. Recommended by Alicia Power (email@example.com) who wrote: "It touches on the core competency of steering ones reality from the heart.
Obama: Climate Plan Firm Amid Economic Woes (November 18, 2008) 3 min 53 sec video - MUST watch! http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/obama-climate-message-amid-economic-woes/
President-elect Barack Obama sent a video message to a summit meeting on global warming organized by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, implying that despite the continuing economic turmoil, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will remain a central component of Mr. Obamas energy, environmental and economic policies. Below you can read a transcript, as prepared by the Obama transition office. He also implied that he was turning down requests from environmental campaigners that he attend next months round of talks over a new climate treaty, in Poland, saying he has asked members of Congress who are attending to report back to him. CLIP
VIDEO: 9/11: Attack on the Pentagon - Official Release (50 min) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10806
"Pilots For 9/11 Truth brings you analysis never seen before regarding the Attack On The Pentagon. Highly technical analysis presented in a way that the layman will appreciate and understand. A 757 reported to have caused the damage at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 is analyzed based on topography, obstacles, flight data, physics, and witness statements..."
9/11 Truth on Spanish TV - WHEN IS THE TRUTH FINALLY GOING TO BE REVEALED IN NORTH AMERICA?!! http://tu.tv/videos/noticia-tele5-conferencia-richard-gage
Thanks to the conference by Richard Gage, AIA here in Madrid's Colegio Oficial de Arquitectura, on Nov 7, th, this is the first time that 9/11 Truth has been shown on mainstream media here in Spain. The conference was packed and the Colegio, which is the official "Guild" for architects here in Spain has requested several copies of the video conference. This is the recording of the news item shown at midday on the 8th of November which was seen nation-wide on Spainsh mainstream media channel, TELE-5 , with english subtitles.
"How the Towers Fell" (1 of 13) by Architect Richard Gage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW6Oez7pag0
If you have a closed mind about what happened on 911 and you have bought into the "official" conspiracy theory, don't bother watching this.Slide show link: http://www.ae911truth.net/ppt_web/slideshow.php - If you wish to honor the memory of those who were massacred on 911 by relentlessly probing for the truth of what happened, carry on and watch these videos of a presentation by Architect Richard Gage as he meticulously examines the facts of 911. Why are Architects and Engineers Re-examining the WTC Collapses? The 6 years since 9/11/01 has given us the time and space to emerge from the hypnotic trance of the shocks of these attacks and to rationally evaluate the existing and new evidence that has become available. (...) There is however a growing body of very solid evidence regarding these "collapses" that has emerged in the last couple of years - gaining ground even in the mainstream media. This new evidence casts grave doubt upon the theories of the 9/11 building collapse "experts" as well as the official reports by the 9/11 Commission, FEMA, and NIST. It lays out a solid convincing case which architects & engineers will readily see: that the 3 WTC high-rise buildings were destroyed by both classic and novel forms of controlled demolition. You will find the evidence here in our website (http://ae911truth.org) as well as at the linked websites. We hope you will find the courage and take the necessary time to review each section thoroughly. After all, if in fact these buildings were professionally demolished with explosives, and since it takes months of planning and engineering to place the explosives, and since these buildings were highly secure from the likes of terrorists, then we are presented with a horrible conclusion that we can not deny: that this entire event could only have been planned and orchestrated by some element(s) within the U.S. Government. The questions raised are therefore numerous and ominous that must be answered in the context of a truly independent congressional investigation with subpoena power. CLIP
Open Letter to President Elect Obama on UFOs (includes photos) http://www.unicusmagazine.com/pres.htm
Dear President Elect Obama, Your campaign was based on a simple, but profound promise change. There is one important aspect of the current bureaucracy in Washington, D.C., that desperately needs to change UFO secrecy. As president elect you have most likely been briefed on the more than 240 alien incursions of the restricted/prohibited airspace over Washington, D.C., that have transpired since 1948. Pentagon intelligence officers may have also briefed you on the failed military intercepts that occurred in this same period. Some of these hostile intercepts proved fatal to our veteran, combat pilots a tragic waste of life. However, the attempted military intercepts in 1948, 1952, 2002, etc. are what directly led to the current political stance on this subject total silence.Despite the fact that hundreds of people have seen and or photographed non-terrestrial, exotic aerospace craft passing over sensitive areas of Washington, D.C., we are told that officially nothing unusual is going on. This situation has got to change. However, I am certain that your transition team leaders, specifically John Podesta, will urge you not to address this issue publicly. CLIP
UFO in Costa Rica - Very clear, close encounter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJx4dKTkcjg
While hiking on an eco tour on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, this thing flew into my video camera's viewfinder. Not sure what this is, it barely made a sound. Military maybe? This event was filmed in May of 2007
What You Think You Saw, You Did Not See! http://www.ufodigest.com/news/1108/kevin-smith.html
(...) Since that day in 1947, the controllers of the cover up have believed the American people are stupid and easily duped. They have given us swamp gas, flares, jets on exercise, and commercial aircraft as the cover stories, and they truly thought we would buy it. While Americans are finally beginning to wake up to the facts, the controllers and keepers of the secrets are still spinning tales of flares hoisted by helium balloons and jets on exercise. They must truly believe that the simple misdirection and lying of 1947 will still work. But it does not work-not at all. A growing number of people have finally awakened to the facts and do not respond well to being told, what you think you saw, you did not see. They know when they are looking at an aircraft and when they are looking at something entirely different. They know their video cameras do not capture images of hallucinations. The cover uppers are still at it, but they have no cover left to use. Whatever lids they think they had on the fact that we are being visited by extraterrestrial beings of advanced intelligence have been blown off long ago. People simply do not buy the mushroom food that officialdom continues to try to feed them. (...) What you think you saw, you did not see are cute lyrics to a cool song, but they just do not work any more with a public now enlightened. It is still the standard operating procedure of the keepers of the secrets, but we know damn well what we saw, and we are not going to be convinced by spin-doctors that our eyes are lying. There are things flying in our skies that are not from this world. We may not know where they are from, who pilots them, or what they intend, but we know for sure they are not flares, weather balloons, or swamp gas.
The first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star (November 13, 2008) http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/13nov_fomalhaut.htm?list759634
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star. The planet, called 'Fomalhaut b', orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut located 25 light-years from Earth.
Here Comes the Sun (48 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLHBFyfvK8A
The sun could easily provide the planet with sufficient energy, if only we are willing to change and to invest in harvesting that solar energy...
Fake: New York Times Says All Problems Will Be Solved By July 2009 (November 12, 2008) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/12/fake-inew-york-timesi-say_n_143255.html
New York City woke up this morning to find that some committed satirists had delivered unto them a remarkably well-rendered facsimile of the New York Times, filled with earnest and hopeful headlines from the future -- specifically July 4, 2009 -- in which the Iraq War is over, Bush is indicted for treason, and columnist Thomas Friedman has confessed: "I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write." [UPDATE: According to Editor & Publisher, these fake copies of the NYT were distributed nationwide.] Gawker has followed the trail of intelligence and concluded that the parody is the work of The Yes Men -- high-concept anti-consumerist pranksters whose work in the service of humanity is documented in their 2003 self-titled movie. Their basic stock in trade is to pose as corporate or government spokespersons, gain access to high-profile events, "make shocking denigrating comments about workers and consumers, and then point out what appears to be a lack of shock or anger in the response to their prank." Wikipedia documents many of their successful exploits. Those of you who were unable to enjoy a print copy of the parody may head to their exacting and lovingly recreated parody of the Times' website, which contains the same content. I'm a little saddened by the fact that even in an ideal future, a much-needed system of congestion-pricing has not come to Manhattan, but I suppose one must remain somewhat realistic. Really, the only problem with the parody is that everyone knows that by July 4, 2009, the paper will probably owned by Rupert Murdoch, who will fill it with Drudge-baited dreck and advertisements for whores.
The Yes Men (1 hour 22 min) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-338819014348247258&q=free+trade
The Yes Men, a movie, follows a couple of anti-corporate activist-pranksters as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world. The story follows Andy and Mike from their beginnings with GWBush.com, and on to their tasteless parody of the WTO's website. Some visitors dont notice the site is a fake, and send speaking invitations meant for the real WTO. Mike and Andy play along with the ruse and soon find themselves attending important functions as WTO representatives. Delighted to speak for the organization they oppose, Andy and Mike don thrift-store suits and set out to shock their unwitting audiences with darkly comic satires on global free trade. Weirdly, the experts dont notice the joke and seem to agree with every terrible idea the two can come up with. Exhausted by their failed attempts to shock, Mike and Andy take a whole new approach for one final lecture.
NOS ENFANTS NOUS ACCUSERONT (With English subtitles) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6MBICjKoORTSMP2bC
Dans un petit village français au pied des Cévennes, le maire a décidé de faire face, a décidé de réagir en faisant passer la cantine scolaire en Bio. Ici comme ailleurs la population est confrontée aux angoisses contre la pollution industrielle, aux dangers de la pollution agro chimique. Ici commence un combat contre une logique qui pourrait devenir irréversible, un combat pour que demain nos enfants ne nous accusent pas. Plus d'info via le http://www.nosenfantsnousaccuseront-lefilm.com/
Pétition à signer pour les Québécois-es afin de demander que les chefs de Québec Solidaire et du Parti Vert du Québec puissent participer au débat télévisé http://www.debatpourtous.net/
Financial Crisis Tab Already In The Trillions (17 Nov 2008) http://www.cnbc.com/id/27719011
Given the speed at which the federal government is throwing money at the financial crisis, the average taxpayer, never mind member of Congress, might not be faulted for losing track.CNBC, however, has been paying very close attention and keeping a running tally of actual spending as well as the commitments involved. Try $4.28 trillion dollars. That's $4,284,500,000,000 and more than what was spent on WW II, if adjusted for inflation, based on our computations from a variety of estimates and sources*. - Slideshow Biggest Budget Items In US History - Not only is it a astronomical amount of money, its' a complicated cocktail of budgeted dollars, actual spending, guarantees, loans, swaps and other market mechanisms by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other offices of government taken over roughly the last year, based on government data and news releases. Strictly speaking, not every cent is a direct result of what's called the financial crisis, but it is arguably related to it. Some 68-percent of the sum falls under the Federal Reserve's umbrella, while another 16 percent is the under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, as defined under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law in early October. CLIP
With Defaults Rising, Is a Credit-Card Crisis Looming? (Nov. 14, 2008) http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1859224,00.html
We're not nearly out from under the subprime mortgage meltdown and already analysts are speculating about the next industry crisis, related to the little plastic cards in your wallet. With American Express becoming a bank-holding company this week in order to get low-cost funds and share in the $700 billion bailout pool, it's clear that even traditionally resilient industries like credit cards are feeling pressured. "Credit cards are in line to fall," says Adam Levitin, associate law professor at Georgetown University. "The question is whether they will beat out the auto industry - they're racing for the honors." The net charge-off rate on credit-card defaults could skyrocket to 10% in 2009 - double the average of 5% over the past 10 years - reaching $18.6 billion in the first quarter and $96 billion by the end of next year, predicts an October report from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, an investment-research firm. "A 10% [charge-off] rate would be unprecedented," says Laura Nishikawa, an Innovest analyst. (...) Still, not everyone agrees that the situation is on the brink of despair. (...) "I don't think the credit-card industry will implode," says Robert Mann of Columbia Law. Issuers have been taking steps to mitigate risks like scaling back credit lines and closing out accounts for cardholders exhibiting distress. "Sure, they're likely to have a bad year," he says, "but lots of people will in 2009."
Volcker issues dire warning on slump (17 Nov 2008) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/3474683/Volcker-issues-dire-warning-on-slump.html
Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has warned that the economic slump has begun to metastasise after a shocking collapse in output over the past two months, threatening to overwhelm the incoming Obama administration as it struggles to restore confidence. -- "What this crisis reveals is a broken financial system like no other in my lifetime," he told a conference at Lombard Street Research in London."Normal monetary policy is not able to get money flowing. The trouble is that, even with all this [government] protection, the market is not moving again. The only other time we have seen the US economy drop as suddenly as this was when the Carter administration imposed credit controls, which was artificial."His comments come as the blizzard of dire data in the US continues to crush spirits. The Empire State index of manufacturing dropped to minus 24.6 in October, the lowest ever recorded. Paul Ashworth, US economist at Capital Economics, said business spending was now going into "meltdown", compounding the collapse in consumer spending that is already under way. CLIP
IMF: More Countries Seek Aid Every Day http://www.truthout.org/111808E
Ralph Boulton, Reuters: "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday the number of countries seeking help to cope with a spreading economic crisis was growing every day. Japan's economy minister said recession in the world's second-biggest economy could last longer than feared. Measures of inflation fell sharply in the United States and Britain, paving the way for further interest rate cuts. The crisis has spread steadily in recent weeks beyond the major developed countries, with states from Ukraine and Iceland to Pakistan seeking help from the IMF."
G-20 Leaders Agree to Seek Major Financial Reform http://www.truthout.org/111608B
Mark Landler, The New York Times: "Facing the gravest global economic crisis in many decades, the leaders of 20 countries agreed Saturday to work more closely to reinvigorate their economies, but put off the thornier questions of how to overhaul regulation until next year, effectively giving a major assignment to the Obama administration."
Dismal end to stocks' week (Nov 14) http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/14/markets/markets_newyork/index.htm?postversion=2008111415
Volatile markets finish lower, with Dow down 338, as investors abandon recovery attempt. -- NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks slumped Friday, with investors abandoning a recovery attempt, as the worst retail sales on record ignited fears of a long recession. (...) The European economy is officially in a recession, EU leaders said Friday. Germany has already said it is in a recession. Hong Kong is in a recession. And many economists think the U.S. is in a recession, despite a lack of official declaration. CLIP
Whither the US dollar? (November 03, 2008) http://www.prudentbear.com/index.php/commentary/guestcommentary?art_id=10148
(...) After remaining relatively stable for more than a year through August 2008 at around $825 billion, the monetary base has exponentially exploded. BCA has recently highlighted that in the past eight weeks, the monetary base has grown 38% to $1.142 trillion, and shows no signs of slowing down.1 Yet these reserves injected onto the balance sheets of the banks have not been disseminated into the broader economy. This is apparent by the ratio of M2 to base money, which over the same time period since end August, has plummeted from 9.1 to 7.8 (see Charts 1 & 2). This is not surprising since most of the capital injected into banks has been used to repair and shrink the balance sheet (i.e., write-off bad assets) rather than expand it. So fractional bankings normal stimulatory impact through the money multiplier has by-in-large not been activated. In addition to the Fed pumping money into the banking sector, the US Treasury will have gargantuan funding needs. According to Goldman Sachs estimates, the US Treasury faces an unprecedented financing need in fiscal year 2009.2 Excluding funding requirements under the Supplemental Financing Program (SFP), they estimate 2009 FY issuance at $2 trillion compared to last years $1.12 trillion, which itself was already outsized. This prospective amount is driven by an estimated budget deficit reaching $850 billion, funding TARP purchases of up to $500 billion and the rollover of maturing debt equal to $561 billion. On top of these needs, it would not be unreasonable to expect additional SFP funding requirements of $500 billion, the amount already issued to date in FY 2008 used to recapitalize the Feds balance sheet. The magnitude of such funding requirements will test the operational efficacy of the Treasury, requiring increased auction size, frequency and expanding maturity buckets on debt issuance, and will likely extend through FY 2009 and into FY 2010, prior to these pressures abating. Perhaps even more ominously, issue size will severely test market demand for such an avalanche of debt. If there is significant resistance by investors to accommodating these needs, failed auctions would require the Fed to hold new US Treasury issuance (i.e., monetization) which of course would be inflationary and foment US dollar weakness. (...) The tsunami of oncoming US Treasury debt issuance holds the real potential to crowd-out private sector issuance both here and abroad, steepen the US Treasury yield curve, put downward pressure on the real economy, undermine the US AAA rating, weaken the US dollar, and if the Treasury is required to resort to monetizing new debt issuance by selling it to the Fed due to pushback from foreign investors, it could even threaten the Bretton Woods US dollar reserve status and the Greenbacks role of denomination currency for commodities: a very high price to pay for a decade-long party on Wall Street.So it seems that, despite the violent rally in the US dollar over the past three months, it may not be long lived. Much will depend on the capacity of foreign investors to offer safe harbour for new Treasury issuance and/or the likelihood of a policy mix set in Washington, DC that runs tight money and a fiscal surplus. When was the last time that occurred?
Put an End to Election Messes http://www.truthout.org/111408VA
The Boston Globe, Editorial Board: "Barack Obama's superior get-out-the-vote operation spared the country from another squeaker presidential election, with the claims of voter fraud and intimidation that have become so familiar in the previous two cycles. But that doesn't mean the problems in the nation's electoral system have disappeared. They're just not as visible at high tide."
Ditch the Smooth Transition. The People Voted for Change. http://www.truthout.org/111508E
Naomi Klein, The Guardian UK: "The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington's handling of the Wall Street bail-out is not merely incompetent: it is borderline criminal. In a moment of high panic in September, the US treasury pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed - a change long sought by the industry."
Obama Has More Threats Than Other Presidents-Elect http://www.truthout.org/111508B
The Associated Press: "Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election, but from Maine to Idaho law enforcement officials are seeing more against Barack Obama than ever before. The Secret Service would not comment or provide the number of cases they are investigating. But since the Nov. 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect, said officials aware of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue of a president's security is so sensitive."
America the Illiterate By Chris Hedges (Nov 10, 2008) http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081110_america_the_illiterate/
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities. There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nations population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book. The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. (...) The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them. As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipersour corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogueswho will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism. CLIP
Obama Controversy Shocker (November 18, 2008) http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=55213.0
Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy Stunning Break with Last Eight Years In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say. Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth. But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring. According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language. "Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist." The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off." The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. "Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.
Tech Puts JFK Conspiracy Theories to Rest (Nov. 13, 2008) http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/11/13/jfk-forensics-tech.html
A team of experts assembled by the Discovery Channel has recreated the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Using modern blood spatter analysis, new artificial human body surrogates, and 3-D computer simulations, the team determined that the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was the most likely origin of the shot that killed the 35th president of the United States. (...) The goal of Discovery Channel's Nov. 16th special, "JFK: Inside the Target Car," was to explore the theories and determine where the shots most likely came from using modern forensic science. A mock-up of the Dallas, Texas crime scene was set up, including the depository, the "grassy knoll," and other nearby landmarks. Artificial surrogates of Kennedy were placed in a car. Sharpshooters then shot the surrogates from the model depository, the grassy knoll, and four other plausible locations. CLIP - Watch this related video
Sarkozy Backs Russian Calls for Pan-European Security Pact http://www.truthout.org/111508A
Ian Traynor and Luke Harding, The Guardian UK: "President Nicolas Sarkozy of France joined Russia in condemning the Pentagon's plans to install missile defence bases in central Europe yesterday and backed President Dmitri Medvedev's previously ignored calls for a new pan-European security pact."
Israeli Bombs Are Source of Uranium at Shelled Site, Syria Says (November 13, 2008) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abU203ze9kmY&refer=home
Israeli missiles are the source of traces of uranium that diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency say were found at a suspected nuclear site in Syria, according to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. "The basis of American complaint and allegations, presented to the IAEA seven months after the Israeli raid, is that a reactor was under construction, not operating, so where did the uranium particles come from?'' al-Moallem said late yesterday, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. "Why has nobody asked about the content and type of Israeli shells used in destroying this building, in light of the U.S. and Israel's use of uranium in their shells?'' CLIP
Israel deploys remote-controlled guns along Gaza http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C11%5C12%5Cstory_12-11-2008_pg7_4
JERUSALEM: Israeli defence officials say the military has deployed remote-controlled machine guns along its border with the Gaza Strip. The system allows female soldiers watching television screens in control rooms in the rear to spot targets and open fire. In the past, lookouts had to call in ground forces to intercept militants. Israel's military is shifting to more unmanned weaponry along the Gaza frontier in an attempt to protect soldiers. An Israeli company recently developed an unmanned vehicle to patrol the border. The military had no immediate comment, and the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the new weapons have not officially been made public. Israel is currently observing a shaky truce with the Hamas militants who control Gaza.
Israeli Air Strike Kills More Palestinians in Gaza (16 November 2008) http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-11-16-voa7.cfm
Four Palestinian militants have been killed in an upsurge of violence in and around the Gaza Strip. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem. Palestinians evacuate the body of a Palestinian into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday 16 Nov. 2008, following an Israeli airstrike. Israel launched a deadly air strike against Palestinian militants who were firing mortar shells across the Gaza border. The air raid also followed a Palestinian rocket attack. The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza promised retaliation. "Today's crime will not pass without punishment," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.But Hamas stopped short of saying that the five-month-old Gaza ceasefire is over, despite nearly two weeks of tit-for-tat attacks. During that period, 170 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel and 15 Palestinian militants have been killed. Israel also wants to preserve the cease-fire. But at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he ordered the army to present plans for various operations against what he called the "Hamas terrorist regime." Mr. Olmert said Israel is not eager for battle, but does not fear it.In a bid to pressure Hamas to halt the rocket fire, Israel has shut its borders with Gaza since fighting erupted 12 days ago. Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. agency that feeds 750,000 Palestinians, says it is a catastrophe. "We have no food. Our warehouses are empty. I cannot say it any clearer than that," Gunness said. The United Nations and European Union have called for Israel to immediately reopen its border crossings with Gaza to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
UN: Israel Violating Law in Gaza (18 November 2008) http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-11-18-voa8.cfm
The United Nations' top human rights official says the Israeli blockade of Gaza is depriving Palestinians of their most basic human rights.U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay Tuesday called for an immediate, full lifting of the blockade. She said it should be followed by a strong humanitarian response to relieve what she called the massive humanitarian suffering in Gaza. Pillay said 1.5 million Gazans have been forcibly deprived of their rights, in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.Israel's Foreign Ministry dismisses Pillay's assessment as misinformed. Earlier today, Israel said it will keep all border crossings with the Gaza Strip closed today because of Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel.The U.N. High Commissioner condemned the Palestinian attacks, and appealed for both sides to stop fighting.Israel shut its border crossings with Gaza after fighting erupted earlier this month between Israeli troops and Gaza militants. The blockade has led to shortages of food and fuel in the aid-dependent Palestinian territory.Israel allowed a humanitarian aid convoy of 33 trucks into Gaza on Monday. The French news agency says U.N. aid workers were able to resume distributing aid to Gazans today. But it quotes relief workers warning that supplies will run out again in days. CLIP
The Irresponsibility of Appointing Hillary Clinton Secretary of State (November 18, 2008) http://www.counterpunch.org/christison11182008.html
In 2005 Hillary Clinton stood in Palestine and praised the apartheid wall that the government of Israel was building with large amounts of U.S. aid in furtherance of the Zionist goal of destroying one of the worlds peoples -- the Palestinians. This is the wall that the United Nations World Court has declared contrary to international law. And this is just one example of Hillary Clintons total support for all of Israels policies to oppress and eventually expel whatever elements of the Palestinian population remain west of the Jordan River. CLIP
OCCUPATION 101 - The movie starts at 3 minutes into this video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8876307927686371777&ei=B6wkSarNAZOwrALC66HyBg&q=%22Occupation+101Occupation
A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict -- 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. 101 is "One of the Best Documentaries" (Los Angeles Journal. A Winner of 8 Film Festival Awards. Voices of the Silenced Majority. As Stephen Hawking Said: The greatest ENEMY of Knowledge is not IGNORANCE, it is the ILLUSION of Knowledge. An Educational Film Must See ! This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
Afghan article says US Bin-Ladin hunt phoney (November 17, 2008) http://www.juancole.com/2008/11/afghan-article-says-us-bin-ladin-hunt.html
The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Persian Afghan press alleging that French troops were at one point close to capturing Usamah Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, but that American forces stopped them from doing so. It says that a forthcoming French documentary containing interviews with the French soldiers provides proof for the allegation. The argument is that the Bush administration needed Bin Ladin to be at large in order to justify its military expansionism. (...) So, the rumour was right: French soldiers trapped Usamah Bin-Ladin, but were not allowed by the Americans to arrest the apparent fugitive leader of Al-Qa`idah. A Bin-Ladin documentary just released by French documentary cinema examines this issue, an issue which has led to heated debate in the French media. This French documentary shows how the Americans are interested in continuing the game, a bloody and expensive game whose victims are only the unprotected and local people of our dry and dusty country. It was last year that rumours spread about this report in Kabul, but it has not been taken seriously by the media. But watching this revealing French documentary changes the rumours into disturbing facts. "Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt", produced by Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, two French filmmakers and reporters, assesses and confirms the claims of French soldiers that they could have killed Usamah within two operations, but the American forces prevented them. This film has not been broadcast publicly yet and is to be broadcast by Planet, a French network.Even though French soldiers have insisted on this in the battlefield many times, the Elysees Palace in Paris and the White House in America have rejected this, and the Afghan leadership does not have any information about it yet!The main question that arises is the extent to which the "Bin Laden on the run" project is a problem for America and Afghanistan. Seven years of suicide bombing and explosions, blood and violence, unmanned fighter planes, and old vehicles full of explosives, all to catch a long-bearded Arab whom America apparently hates? And an Arab who worked for the CIA in the name of Allah, and who now, also in the name of that same Allah, has conducted a jihad against that same CIA? Facing the facts in this Usamah film is a bitter and disturbing experience and will make you nervous and wish that what it is that you are watching is just a baseless rumour, or a figment of Hollywood's imagination. But it is not. The pictures are real and you are facing a debate in documentary form. The only justification for the bloody presence of America in Afghanistan is the ambiguous existence of Usamah Bin-Ladin and the Al-Qa'idah terrorist network.George Bush, with his "war on terror" project, has transformed the middle east and Afghanistan into an inflamed bomb ready to explode, but has not found out anything about his beloved lost Usamah Bin-Ladin so far.What is seen, and the film also emphases this, is that all these slogans, this fighting and killing are a game, a painful and prolonged game whose end even the players do not know and which is running out of control. Apparently, it is a game of cat and mouse, just like "Tom and Jerry", the famous cartoon. But it is a reality that the stubborn one from Texas does not want to catch the mouse - unlike credulous Tom - and that the long-bearded Wahhabi Arab does not want to hide - unlike the intelligent and roaming Jerry. Their prolonged game has made not only the audiences tired but has also transformed the playground into a big pool of blood. CLIP
Panel: Gulf War Illness Confirmed http://www.truthout.org/111808A
Thomas D. Williams, Truthout: "A federal health panel released conclusions Monday that evidence strongly and consistently indicates hundreds of thousands of US troops in the first Gulf War contracted long-term illnesses from use of pills, given by their own military to protect them from effects of chemical weaponized nerve agents, and from their military's pesticide use during deployment." (...) The Research Advisory Committee's conclusions additionally minimize other allegedly sickening Gulf War exposures, including depleted uranium munitions blasts, anthrax vaccine use, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases and chemical agent resistant coating (CARC). However, numerous other scientific reports have earlier concluded these exposures, too, sometimes proved extremely sickening for war veterans. Highlighted by the committee's findings is what many veterans' advocates have called the gross negligence of responsible federal health and military agencies in repeatedly failing to get to the bottom of what the government labeled the "mysterious Gulf War syndrome" illnesses. What's more, during three presidential reigns and several sessions of US Congresses, the highest level officials continuously discussed these hazards and resulting troop illnesses and deaths, but never came to their own ultimate conclusions or scientific plans to deal with the health consequences.(...) After the end of 43 days of dirty chemical and environmental Gulf War chaos when former President George H.W. Bush laid out conditions for a cease fire on Feb. 27, 1991, hundreds of thousands of US, allied, Iraqi troops and Iraqi civilians suffered resulting long-term illnesses and, ultimately, untold deaths. Very limited medical attention has ever been paid by US federal agencies to sick Iraqi civilians the US military and their private contractors were supposed to protect. Today, close to 18 years later, US and foreign governments are still making promises, struggling and conversing over failed attempts to give the combatants and civilians proper health care. Meanwhile, as the US fights the second war in Iraq and continues along with the war in Afghanistan, the failed attempts to deal with US casualties and sicknesses continues at a similar dragged out pace. "When will they ever get it done?" war veterans have repeatedly asked themselves and others. CLIP
Healing Our World: The true Thanksgiving story (November 14, 2008) http://www.healingourworld.org/
Thanksgiving story are you telling your children or talking about with your guests during this holiday? Most Americans speak of remembering the Pilgrims who, in 1620, chose the land around Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts for their settlement. You might remember from your elementary school days that since they arrived in the winter, they were unprepared for the harsh climate. Fortunately, they were aided by some friendly Indians who gave them food and showed them how to grow corn. When the warm weather came, the colonists planted crops, fished, hunted and became much better prepared for next winter. And when they harvested their first crop, they invited their Indian friends to celebrate with them what was to become the first Thanksgiving. This story is taught today in thousands of classrooms across the nation, and around the world, and is ingrained in most peoples consciousness. Just yesterday, I heard some elementary school teachers telling the story on National Pubic Radio. Unfortunately, the entire story, from start to finish, is a complete lie. (...) The story actually begins after 1492 as Europeans came in significant numbers to the newly found Americas.When people began moving, the microbes that they evolved with moved along with them. Before the arrival of Europeans, the inhabitants of North and South America were remarkably healthy. But along with the Europeans came their illnesses and their livestock and the native inhabitants were now exposed to the many diseases that can be passed back and forth between those animals and humans - anthrax, tuberculosis, cholera, streptococcus, ringworm and various poxes (...) Between 1520 and 1918, there were 93 epidemics among Native Americans.The affect that these plagues had on the native populations reached into their psyches as well. They felt that God had abandoned them. Some survivors of the Cherokee lost all confidence in their gods and priests and destroyed the sacred objects of the tribe. Indian healers could do nothing and their religion provided no cause. But the Whites usually survived and their religion seemed to save them. Many Indians turned to alcohol, Christianity or simply committed suicide. So it was a psychologically and physically devastated people that for the first 50 years of European occupation presented no real opposition to the invaders. Prior to the arrival of European invaders, the native population of North and South American was 100 million in 1492. The entire population of Europe at the time was 70 million. If colonists had not been able to take over lands that the Indians had already cleared and cultivated, and if the Indian population had not been devastated by disease, there might not have been any colonization at all. By 1880, the Indian population was 250,000, a drop of 98 percent. CLIP
Lost city 'could rewrite history' (19 January, 2002) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1768109.stm
The remains of what has been described as a huge lost city may force historians and archaeologists to radically reconsider their view of ancient human history. Marine scientists say archaeological remains discovered 36 metres (120 feet) underwater in the Gulf of Cambay off the western coast of India could be over 9,000 years old. The vast city - which is five miles long and two miles wide - is believed to predate the oldest known remains in the subcontinent by more than 5,000 years. The site was discovered by chance last year by oceanographers from India's National Institute of Ocean Technology conducting a survey of pollution.Using sidescan sonar - which sends a beam of sound waves down to the bottom of the ocean they identified huge geometrical structures at a depth of 120ft. Debris recovered from the site - including construction material, pottery, sections of walls, beads, sculpture and human bones and teeth has been carbon dated and found to be nearly 9,500 years old. Lost civilisation -- The city is believed to be even older than the ancient Harappan civilisation, which dates back around 4,000 years. (...) This, Mr Hancock told BBC News Online, could have massive repercussions for our view of the ancient world. There's a huge chronological problem in this discovery. It means that the whole model of the origins of civilisation with which archaeologists have been working will have to be remade from scratch," he said.(...) Dr Morris added that artefacts from the site would need to be very carefully analysed, and pointed out that the C14 carbon dating process is not without its error margins. It is believed that the area was submerged as ice caps melted at the end of the last ice age 9-10,000 years ago CLIP
Submerged Ruins off India at Poompuhar and Gulf of Cambay Indicate Ice Age Ended When Aryans Invaded Rama and Kumari Kandam Kingdom Flooded Confirming Genesis Chronology of Ice Age (21 Dec 2007) http://tinyurl.com/5sbmtc
(...) Why have we not heard of follow-up surveys to find more samples? That was six years ago, but not a peep about any further studies, so why is this? Its because the mainstream scientists say that the Ice Age ended circa 10000 B.C., and cities such as the ones in the Gulf of Cambay didnt begin to be built until circa 2500 B.C., so the disconnect is embarrassing to them, as only the end-of-the Ice Age sea level rise could have submerged those ruins, so far from shore, so deep. And submerged megalithic ruins were reported too in 2002 off Poompuhar, southeastern India, 5 miles from shore, 70 feet underwater, many megalithic ruins, at least twenty sites, the ruins of ancient kingdom of Kumari Kandam, but I have heard of no follow-up investigations for the same reason, its quite obvious to see. Submerged ruins have been reported at hundreds of locations worldwide, but yet, the mainstream scientists act as if they are of no interest, because the presence of those submerged ruins impugns their timeline for ancient history, but it corroborates the history recorded in the book of Genesis. CLIP
Marine Archæology News Archive - With pictures! MUCH to discover there! http://www.morien-institute.org/uwnewsarchive.html
(...) Increasingly, as technological advances allow researchers to probe into the depths of our seas around the world, new discoveries are being made almost everywhere it seems. And despite the increasing number, and the obvious high calibre, of the scientists who are conducting underwater research projects on nearly every seabed in oceans and seas around the world, the "A" word - Atlantis - is still the scourge of academic archæologists everywhere. But 'underwater cities' seem to be enjoying an incredible 21st Century revival. This underwater discoveries and research news archive will undoubtedly grow rapidly over the next few years, and the items we have featured will give a good indication of just how many different sites around the world are currently being claimed as the 'true location' of the legendary lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria. CLIP
Japan's Mysterious Pyramids http://www.morien-institute.org/imk12.html#mizostairs
The controversy that has erupted in archæological circles around the world since the discovery of an enigmatic structure, described by some as 'pyramid-like', at Iseki Point, just off the coast of the southernmost Japanese island of Yonaguni-Jima, some 15 years ago, looks set to get even hotter as news emerges that the so-called 'Yonaguni Monument' is just one of a number of underwater megalithic structures in a 'complex' stretching for many hundreds of miles northeast of Taiwan. CLIP
FORESTS ALERT! Stop Bush's Midnight Raid Upon Oregon's Wild Forests and Rivers http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=oregon_midnight_raid
Like his Presidency, it is time for President Bush's looting, plundering, and pillaging of America's natural beauty, ecological treasures and vital ecosystems to end -- The Bush Administration is rushing out long-term plans that would convert over 2 million acres of Oregon's national forests, with their towering trees, rushing rivers, and superb wildlife habitat, to empty clearcuts. Much of the forests under siege are in the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Crest, which contains some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the continent. There are some 20,000 miles of rivers, where wild Pacific salmon thrive. Ancient old-growth forests are abundant -- home to huge Douglas fir, western hemlock and western red cedar trees -- some well over 400 years old. The plan increases logging by 400% and would target 100,000 acres of old-growth forests for destruction. Oregon Governor Kulongoski is the only elected official standing between the Bush Administration and western Oregon's forests, rivers and salmon. He is allowed a 60-day "consistency review" period to propose recommendations for changes to land use plans. Please encourage the governor to propose significant amendments, pushing this decision to the Obama administration. TAKE ACTION NOW!
The California wild fire scam: Suppressed technology & Deliberate ineptitude http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/484.html
(...) Did this tragedy have to happen? The answer is -- No. The technology to put out these monstrous fires already exists, but "our government" refused to use it in 2003, because it was made in Russia. The Russians designed the Ilyusian IL76 Water-Bomber plane with the capacity to carry 16,000 gallons of water, able to put out a fire the size of 10 football fields lined up end to end, in fifteen seconds.Why did we refuse it then? Did politics and historical animosity get in the way of saving our land, our animals, and our homes?Why was it not called in for this fire? These are questions that the citizens should be asking their Government representatives.
Regenerating a Mammoth for $10 Million (November 19, 2008) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/science/20mammoth.html?_r=2
Scientists are talking for the first time about the old idea of resurrecting extinct species as if this staple of science fiction is a realistic possibility, saying that a living mammoth could perhaps be regenerated for as little as $10 million. The same technology could be applied to any other extinct species from which one can obtain hair, horn, hooves, fur or feathers, and which went extinct within the last 60,000 years, the effective age limit for DNA.Though the stuffed animals in natural history museums are not likely to burst into life again, these old collections are full of items that may contain ancient DNA that can be decoded by the new generation of DNA sequencing machines.If the genome of an extinct species can be reconstructed, biologists can work out the exact DNA differences with the genome of its nearest living relative. There are talks on how to modify the DNA in an elephants egg so that after each round of changes it would progressively resemble the DNA in a mammoth egg. The final-stage egg could then be brought to term in an elephant mother, and mammoths might once again roam the Siberian steppes.The same would be technically possible with Neanderthals, whose full genome is expected to be recovered shortly, but there would be several ethical issues in modifying modern human DNA to that of another human species
Surprise! Organic Beekeepers Reporting Zero Losses (May 11, 2007) http://www.groovygreen.com/groove/?p=1388
With all the frightening news over bee losses throughout the world, it appears that one tiny minor piece of information was overlooked: the losses are occurring in colonies besieged with chemicals and artificial additives. Organic bees are fairing quite nicely, thank you. "I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list, said Sharon Labchuck. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies." In our efforts to make larger bees that are resistant to more predators or diseases - have we crossed the line in how far we could go? As the article states, "Who should be surprised that the major media reports forget to tell us that the dying bees are actually hyper-bred varieties that we coax into a larger than normal body size? It sounds just like the beef industry. And, have we here a solution to the vanishing bee problem? Is it one that the CCD Working Group, or indeed, the scientific world at large, will support? Will media coverage affect government action in dealing with this issue?" Or, even better: Would this current administration dare trample on the industry that has risen to supply the pesticides and inorganic alternatives to these bee keepers? Can they afford not to? Check out the article for more information - but if we've already pushed bees too far, imagine what we're doing to other aspects of the environment.
EPA Knew Bayer Pesticide Killed Bees - Mystery of the Colony Collapse Disorder resolved! http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x987633
NEW SCANDAL! Imidacloprid is "Highly Toxic to Honeybees", EPA and Industry KNEW Years Ago! -- the EPA identifies both imidacloprid and clothianidin as highly toxic to honeybees. For example: Clothianidin is highly toxic to honeybees on an acute basis. It has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honeybees, as well as other non-target pollinators through the translocation of clothianidin resides in nectar and pollen. In honeybees, the affects of this toxic chronic exposure may include lethal and/or sub-lethal effects in the larvae and reproductive effects on the queen. .Documented sub-lethal affects of neonicotinoids include physiological affects that impact enzyme activity leading to impairment of olfaction memory. Behavioral affects are reported on motor activity that impact navigation and orientation and feeding behavior. Additional research has found that imidacloprid impairs the memory and brain metabolism of bees, particularly the area of the brain that is used for making new memories. CLIP
"Why Regular Hands-Free Headsets DO NOT Protect You from Cell Phone EMF Exposure"Watch video Report http://www.emfnews.org/headset.html
"The cell phone headset has become popular as a way to reduce the cognitive impairment and cancer risk associated with radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure. However, the possibility of embryonic and fetal damage is now increasing as the radiating cell phone units are being moved elsewhere on or near the body. In many cases the devices are relocated immediately adjacent to the area where an embryo or fetus is carried. Researchers have emphatically reported that an embryo/fetus should not be exposed to radiofrequency radiation, such as that emitted by the portable cell phone or portable telephone. One particular reason to avoid RF radiation exposure during pregnancy is that an embryo/fetus may not be fully protected by amniotic fluid for extended periods of time due to the natural movement of the mother or the embryo/fetus within the womb. Secondly, the pelvic structure promotes deep RF radiation penetration and that radiation can be absorbed within the developing embryo/fetus." The truth is -- hands-free kits are no guarantee of lowering EMF radiation emissions from cell phones. In some cases, they actually increase it!
14 die of cancer in seven years living next to phone mast with highest radiation levels in UK http://www.emfnews.org/Cell_Tower_Mast_victims_UK_14_die_of_cancer.html
Fourteen people living within a mile of a mobile phone mast that emits one of the highest levels of radiation in the country have died of cancer.Four of the deaths have been in a cul-de-sac yards from the site.A further 20 residents have developed tumors in the last seven years, although they have survived. Those living in the shadow of the mast have begun a campaign for its removal, claiming that it has caused a cancer hotspot. The Health Protection Agency is investigating.Worried parents are refusing to take their children to the playing fields where the mast is sited for fear of damaging their health. The mast was erected in 1995 on a disused water tower on the High Acres estate in Kingswinford, near Dudley, West Midlands. But campaigners claim health problems started among the 700 residents of the estate when more antennae and dishes were added in 2001. CLIP
Another mind-opening, soul-driven essay from our brother David Fiske (firstname.lastname@example.org) taking the long view on what is now...
Our Evolving lives
It is inevitable that we view our live and the events in it from the perspective of our own lifetime eg between 70 and 90 years. This is our view of a vast span of time sliced to our little perspective. This makes the ups and down more dramatic. Alarmed we discuss global warming or global dimming and a coming ice age, the economic crisis, the violent wars etc from a short term perspective because naturally we are concerned with what will affect us or our children.
It is salubrious to remind ourselves of geological time and of how evolution has fluidly progressed. Catastrophic events like oxygen bubbling into the atmosphere when some bacteria discovered they could extract hydrogen from water and then let the remaining poisonous oxygen flow into the air. Life was nearly wiped out by this. But that crisis allowed bacteria to cooperate in new ways which thus evolved oxygen breathing life. Evolving life dealt with the crisis so that the poison became sustenance. Without that crisis we oxygen lovers would not be here to worry over our current problems.
From a long term perspective we can see that without the challenges (opportunities) evolving life encountered we would have never got here.
For long it has seemed very evident to me that as we evolve we take a wider and wider perspective so that it becomes very possible not only to disidentify with our personal lot, to disidentify even with our fate as a species and to expand our embrace to feel a oneness with all life.
Life will always go on, with or without us, singly or collectively. It is that great stream on which for a brief while we float singing merrily merrily.
Life is evolving with remarkable intelligence. I am not sure there is a plan but there is certainly a great deal of intelligent creativity. As the product of a church school I sometimes yearn for the days when I could believe in a God with a plan. I have nostalgia for that comfort. However I am not sure such a belief has served life well. It has also allowed us to believe in our non responsibility.
The glaring fact is that we are our environment. We can make it worse or make it better. The hope that a God will do that for us is childish. Life is evolving through us. Even our errors are steps on the way. To consciously evolve is to accept that as we make more responsible choices evolving life is nudged in a direction or, conversely, as we make poor choices life is nudged in another way.
For instance through meditation and Taoist Internal arts I cultivate energy and open awareness centres for myself. It takes discipline and persistence. I make those choices. But I can well foresee a time when that which I gain slowly and with difficulty future generation might well get born having naturally, just by the fact of being alive. How long did it take the microbial soup to grow into seeing/walking/ feeling/talking/writing entities? And could it have foreseen the eventual result?
If we give a time scale of 100 years since the Big Bang (14 billion years ago) then when the Universe was 67 years old when our solar system formed. When it was 71 bacteria started on Earth. Worm brains evolved when it was 95. Reptiles followed and the dinosaurs had their great dominant period in early 98. They vanished a year later and their demise allowed mammals to flourish. Hominids stood up bipedly on Dec 20th of the current year and us homo sapiens sapiens have been around for 24 hours on this time scale.
Doesnt this put your life in a bit of a different perspective?
Who knows what will be here in another 24 hours or more of this time scale. And miraculously each of us will have played a part as life flows fluidly on. Life is evolving through us. A great energy expresses itself through me when I chop cabbage for my sauerkraut and eating it gives me a healthier colon and digestive system for my labours. This Universal energy fills my body as I do Chi Kung, not just for me but for those of a future generation that will be more balanced, more intuitive, more loving partly because of what I do.
This morning it was 2c with a drizzle of snow falling. I interrupted my form practice to pick up several handfuls of earth worms on my gravel drive. They must been driven up by the nights rain and were in risk of freezing. I took them carefully (they must have enjoyed my warm hand) and put them under mulch in the garden where my fall seeded spinach had germinated and was now snug awaiting the Spring spurt. One extends loving hands to neighbours doesnt one? And in this vast world we are surrounded by neighbours who will appreciate our love.
Just that small action gave a tiny nudge to life.
And so it is with all of us.
I like to think that our current crises are opportunities for us to create change in our lives for us and for all life on Earth.
Despair and anger are possible responses. Revenge on those who precipitated this or that. But life is just too short and precious for such indulgence. You can be a Mandela and rise above the personal to embrace the noble view or become someone angry and violent. Or you can be just wishy washy.
Perhaps it is better not to judge the other but just look to what one can do to nudge life in a direction of which one can approve.
A half black (or half white depending on perspectives) is now President Elect in the U.S.A. Another step in the direction of the realisation that someones skin colour or ethnicity or gender is no basis for evaluating their worth. Many Americans to their credit made a choice that was valuable for all of us.
It sometimes all seems so vast and each of us so insignificant. That is no excuse for non action. Isnt it better to grab the moment in front of us and nudge the future? Instead of despair isnt it better to revel in the knowledge of the long term perspective that life has always met a crisis with creative intelligence and that from bad good finally comes?
If one can feel the energy of that evolving life inside ourselves wont we sing our merrily merrily life is but a dream more lustily? And wont that be a grand song for all of us to hear? And what a way for us to end our lives with that song and a big smile on our lips.
The Worst of Times...
Humanity is in deep trouble on multiple avenues of destruction. We label this The Mess.
Our society is pulling itself apart, facing interlocking crises of unparalleled and almost unimaginable proportions. The divisions separating us lines of class, caste, color and ideology are getting wider, with no end in sight. As an ecology, our social life is highly toxic. We have lost our spiritual center. No one person or group can solve our problems; only by learning and practicing inclusivity will we be able to pull together instead of pulling apart.
We must have a clear understanding of our present precarious position, in order to move beyond empty gestures and partial measures to clear, effective action.
The Best of Times...
We stand on the brink of one of the most profound cultural and spiritual shifts in human history. All around the world, people by the millions are actively catalyzing positive change, meeting the challenges of our times with creativity, joy and a deep spiritual reverence. They are acting like their lives have meaning in the world. These turbulent times are calling forth authentic leaders adept at surfing through chaos who are creating a world beyond war and beyond fear: a world that works for all. We encourage all people to walk this path.
100 years from now
There are billions of humans living sustainably and at peace on a healthy planet.
Poverty is a thing of the past. Some have more, some have less, but all have enough.
Humans resolve all conflicts (external and internal) without war, oppression or violence.
Human institutions like governments and economies have been transformed and/or replaced by something much better!
One or two factors wont produce the necessary changes. All three, together, will produce a miracle.
Commonways goals are to:
1. Maximize the transformation of our consciousness, as quickly and effectively as possible.
2. Catalyze the transformation of our values.
3. Bring our behavior in line with our consciousness and values.
Date: 13 Nov 2008
From: "Fred Burks" (email@example.com)
Subject: Obama's Spirituality: A Candid and Powerful Interview
Over four years ago, before Barack Obama was known to the world, Cathleen Falsani, the religion reporter for the respected Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, interviewed Obama about his spiritual views. The interview is as amazing as it is revealing of the depths of this thoughtful man. I've edited the interview for brevity and clarity and highlighted key sections in bold for those with limited time. For the entire unedited interview, click here. For the inspiring article based on this interview published in the Sun-Times in 2004, click here. What a gift to have this man as the next president of the United States!
With abundant love and joy,
Barack Obama: The 2004 "God Factor" Interview Transcript
On Saturday, March 27, 2004, when I was the religion reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, I met State Sen. Barack Obama at Café Baci, a small coffee joint in Chicago, to interview him exclusively about his spirituality. Our conversation took place a few days after he'd clinched the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that he eventually won. We spoke for more than an hour. He came alone. He answered everything I asked without notes or hesitation. The profile of Obama that grew from that interview became the first in a series in the Sun-Times called "The God Factor," that eventually became my first book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People. Because of the staggering interest in Obama's faith and spiritual predilections, I thought it might be helpful to share that interview here.
Interview with State Sen. Barack Obama
Saturday March 27, 3:30 p.m.
Café Baci, 330 S. Michigan Avenue
He: alone, on time, grabs a Naked juice protein shake
What do you believe?
I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.
(A patron stops and says, "Congratulations," shakes his hand. "Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Thank you.")
So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that there is a higher power, that we are connected as a people. There are values that transcend race or culture that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.
And so, part of my project in life was to spend the first 40 years of my life figuring out what I did believe I'm 42 now . And it's not that I had it all completely worked out, but I'm spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.
Have you always been a Christian?
I was raised more by my mother, and my mother was Christian.
Any particular flavor?
No. My grandparents were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. And by the time I was born, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church. My mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We'd go to church for Easter. She wasn't a church lady.
As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn't a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you'd hear the prayer call.
I don't think as a child I had a structured religious education. But my mother was a deeply spiritual person. She would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions, and talk to me about them. And I think always, her view was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act not just for yourself, but also for the greater good. And, so that, I think, was what I carried with me through college.
I didn't start getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago. The way I came to Chicago in 1985 was that I was interested in community organizing. I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement and the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. And there was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organization to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. They didn't have much money, but felt that if they formed an organization and hired somebody to organize them to work on issues that affected their community, that would strengthen the church and also strengthen the community.
So they hired me, for $13,000 a year. A princely sum. And I drove out here and I didn't know anybody and started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or afterschool programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to underserved communities.
And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened, because I'd be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers. Everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.
I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and its importance in the community, and the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.
One of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.
Did you actually go up for an altar call?
Yes. Absolutely. It was during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. It was powerful for me because it not only confirmed my faith, it not only gave shape to my faith, but I think, also, allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.
How long ago?
16, 17 years ago. 1987 or 88
So you got yourself born again?
Yeah, although I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at its best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
I think that -- particularly as somebody who's now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart -- there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.
Do you pray often?
Uh, yeah, I guess I do. It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I have an ongoing conversation with God. Throughout the day I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.
One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and when to push back against certain people or views that you think aren't right or don't serve your constituents.
The biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me is audible, is active. It tells me where I think I'm on track and where I'm off track.
I always think of politics as having two sides. There's a vanity aspect to politics, and then there's a substantive part of politics. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it's easy to get swept up in the vanity side of it, the desire to be liked and recognized and important. It's important for me throughout the day to measure and to take stock and to say, "Now am I doing this because I think it's advantageous to me politically, or because I think it's the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it's necessary to accomplish my motives?"
Checking for altruism?
Yeah. I mean, something like it. It's interesting, the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I'm talking to a group and I'm saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I'm just being glib or clever.
What's that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?
Well, I think it's the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.
That's something you learn watching ministers. What they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they're preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualize it, but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it's powerful.
There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way, where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.
Who's Jesus to you?
(He laughs nervously)
Right. Jesus is an historical figure for me. And he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?
Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Have you read the bible?
Absolutely. I read it not as regularly as I would like. These days I don't have much time for reading or reflection, period.
Do you try to take some time for whatever, meditation, prayer reading?
I'll be honest with you. I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't. And I probably need to and would like to, but that's where that internal monologue, or dialogue I think supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days. It's much more sort of as I'm going through the day trying to take a moment here and a moment there to take stock. Why am I here, how does this connect with a larger sense of purpose?
Jack Ryan [Obama's Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race at the time] said talking about your faith is fraught with peril for a public figure.
Which is why you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it on the stump.
Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country.
I'm very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics. Now, that's different from a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it's perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.
A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we're all connected. That if there's a child on the South Side of Chicago that can't read, that makes a difference in my life, even if it's not my own child. If there's a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that's struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent. And if there's an Arab American family that's being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive.
Do you think it's wrong for people to want to know about a civic leader's spirituality?
I don't' think it's wrong. I think that political leaders are subject to all sorts of vetting by the public, and this can be a component of that. I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate. I think there is this tendency that I don't think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism.
The conversation stopper, when you say you're a Christian and leave it at that.
Where do you move forward with that? This is something that I'm sure I'd have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people who haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, that they're going to hell.
You don't believe that?
I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That's just not part of my religious makeup.
Part of the reason I think it's always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that's by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.
Do you ever have people who know you're a Christian question a particular stance you take on an issue? How can you be a Christian and ?
I haven't been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I'm always struck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FoxNews or listen to talk radio. That's dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant, and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing. They may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not say, 'you call yourself a Christian.' I cannot recall that ever happening.
Do you believe in heaven?
Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?
A place spiritually you go to after you die?
What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.
When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I've been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother, and that they're kind people and that they're honest people and they're curious people, that's a little piece of heaven.
Do you believe in sin?
What is sin?
Being out of alignment with my values.
What happens if you have sin in your life?
I think it's the same thing as the question about heaven. If I'm true to myself and my faith, that is its own reward. When I'm not true to it, that's its own punishment.
Where do you find spiritual inspiration? Music, nature, literature, people, a conduit you plug into?
There are so many. Nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it's pretty hard not to be move and be transported. I can also be transported by watching a good performance of Hamlet, or reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, or listening to Miles Davis.
Is there something that you go back to as a touchstone, a book, a particular piece of music, a place ...
As I said before, in my own sort of mental library, the Civil Rights movement has a powerful hold on me. It's a point in time where I think heaven and earth meet. Because it's a moment in which a collective faith transforms everything. So when I read Gandhi or I read King or I read certain passages of Abraham Lincoln, and I think about those times where people's values are tested, I think those inspire me.
What are you doing when you feel the most centered, the most aligned spiritually?
I think I already described it. It's when I'm being true to myself. And that can happen in me making a speech or it can happen in me playing with my kids, or it can happen in a small interaction with a security guard in a building when I'm recognizing them and exchanging a good word.
Is there someone you would look to as an example of how not to do it?
... An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?
I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma. He seemed to always maintain an air of doubt about him. I also think of Dr. King, and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metastasize into something that is hurtful.
Deeply dedicated to personal and global transformation through love and empowerment
Rahm Emanuel, the son-of-a-racist-terrorist son-of-a-bitch Israeli firster, as Obama's chief of staff seems to send an awful message, that despite all the damage that American fealty to Zionism has done - to itself, Israel, and the world - and despite all the hopes and wishes of true American progressives - who of course can't elucidate what they really want without being slurred! - Obama is just another traitor who couldn't wait to don the shackles of the Jewish Billionaires. I wouldn't give up being suspicious, but I think the Rahm appointment may have been a bit of genius.
Rahm has to be dealt with. He has an immense power base in the Democratic Party. He isn't going anywhere. If Obama had left him in the House, Rahm would have been running things, and could have held Obama's legislative agenda to ransom for the only issue that concerns Rahm, ultra-Zionism. Making Rahm chief of staff, a position which sounds good, but carries no real power, cuts Rahm's balls off. It was a brilliant move - a position important enough that Rahm couldn't turn it down (and Obama made sure the offer was made public to put the pressure on Rahm), but a position that denies Rahm any real sway over American politics. The Head Jew, whose approval Rahm would have had to seek to ensure the move was in accordance with the tenets of Organized American Zionism, must be shaking his head at the cleverness of this schwartze.
Don't give up on Obama yet. The Rahm move could be a sign of American patriotism, not more treason. I am still convinced that the people pulling Obama's strings are the Old American Establishment, and the Old American Establishment really wants to try to save American power (and don't forget that American economic woes caused by the Wars For The Jews have greatly reduced the wealth and power of the Jewish Billionaires - this kind of embarrassment would not have been necessary before they lost their power). To do so, there can be no more Wars For The Jews, and there needs to be a real final settlement of the Jewish Holocaust against the Palestinians, a settlement that the United States can take credit for. In order to make this happen, needless to say, Obama's senior cabinet has to be Judenfrei. That's because there are simply no Jewish American political operatives who are not Zionists. It remains to be seen whether Obama is an American Machiavelli or another American traitor.
The president-elect who promised to overthrow Washington's partisanship and cronyism is turning to seasoned veterans -- even lobbyists -- in an apparent effort to avoid rookie mistakes.
By Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas
November 12, 2008
Reporting from Washington Now that the confetti has fallen, the nascent administration of Barack Obama has come face to face with one of its biggest challenges: living up to the exceptionally high expectations his thrilling campaign produced among supporters and long-suffering Democrats.
At his transition team's first public briefing Tuesday, the audience was wildly outsized for the presentation by the transition chief, owlish think-tank denizen John Podesta.
Reporters flooded the meeting room, and 300 called in to listen by telephone.
What did they learn? News of Obama's economic plans, his healthcare overhaul and the big issues that dominated the campaign?
Disciplined and cautious as the Obama campaign itself, Podesta did not tip his hand on the big picture. He stuck to one of the few things Obama can quickly control: his own staff. Podesta announced new rules governing lobbyists who work on the transition staff.
So it goes as Obama makes the rocky transition from campaigning to governing.
While campaigning, he frequently decried the polarizing politics of years past.
"I am in this race because I don't want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s," he said in a typical speech in South Carolina a year ago. "I don't want this election to be about the past, because if it's about the future, we all win."
But his government-in-waiting is rife with officials from the Clinton administration. Podesta was a senior Clinton White House aide, as was Obama's choice for chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.).
Warren Christopher, who served as President Clinton's first secretary of State and is a partner at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, is heading up the transition for the State Department, and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) is preparing things at the Pentagon.
It's starting to look as though Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's family empire is living on, even though she lost the Democratic primary.
The high visibility of old hands and familiar faces underscores a tension that is already running through Team Obama: The president-elect has promised to overthrow Washington's habits of partisanship and cronyism. But it's tempting to turn to seasoned veterans to help him avoid the kinds of rookie mistakes that hobbled Clinton and President Carter. Both learned the hard way that a Congress controlled by the president's party does not guarantee smooth sailing.
Not long ago, Obama derided the old Democratic establishment. A favorite line of attack was that Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) symbolized a certain kind of Washington insider.
On the campaign trail, Obama cast himself as a fresh-faced alternative. One stock line was: "It's time to turn the page."
In a speech last year in New Hampshire, the Illinois senator said: "There are those who tout their experience working the system in Washington. But the problem is that the system in Washington isn't working for us and hasn't for a long time."
But with the campaign won, Obama seems eager not to repeat the mistakes of Democratic predecessors who left the party mandarins feeling marginalized.
Bill Clinton, a little-known Arkansas governor when he was elected president, had a hard time establishing rapport with the leaders on Capitol Hill -- and alienated them when he produced his major healthcare initiative after only scant consultation with the likes of Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), powerful chairman of the committee that oversaw the issue.
The result: Clinton's healthcare proposal never came up for a vote, even in a subcommittee. His budget was approved by the narrowest of margins, with no Republican support. Two years after Clinton won the Oval Office, his party lost control of Congress, in the GOP midterm landslide of 1994.
Carter also ruffled feathers on Capitol Hill, by attacking and vetoing public works projects that he considered wasteful pork-barrel spending.
Emanuel is well-equipped to build bridges to Capitol Hill Democrats. He has been a member of the House leadership and has accumulated chits from dozens of lawmakers whom he helped elect as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman in 2006.
But he is also seen as an edgy partisan from the Clinton years whose appointment seemed to undercut Obama's call for a new brand of post-partisan politics.
To burnish Obama's reformist credentials, Podesta on Tuesday rolled out what he billed as a tough set of ethics rules targeting professional lobbyists. But there was a loophole: Lobbyists could work on the transition as long as they stayed away from the policy areas that their lobbying involved.
As a candidate, Obama's language when it came to lobbyists was far more emphatic. "I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race -- and I've won," he said in the South Carolina speech. "I don't take a dime of their money, and when I am president, they won't find a job in my White House."
OBAMA - WIPING THE SLATE CLEAN: Appearance And Reality In The Relaunch Of Brand America (Nov 13, 08) http://www.medialens.org/alerts/index.php
In 1997, the British media filled with talk of "historic" change. Blair's victory that year "bursts open the door to a British transformation," the Independent declared. (Neal Ascherson, 'Through the door he can begin to create a freer land,' The Independent, May 4, 1997)A Guardian leader saluted the nation: "Few now sang England Arise, but England had risen all the same." (Leader, 'A political earthquake,' The Guardian, May 2, 1997) The editors predicted that, by 2007, Blair's triumph would be seen as "one of the great turning-points of British political history... the moment when Britain at last gave itself the chance to construct a modern liberal socialist order." (Ibid) The Observer assured readers that the Blair government would create "new worldwide rules on human rights" and implement "tough new limits on arms sales." (http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=5063) This, after all, was the dawn of Blair's "ethical" foreign policy. It was a dawn of the dead - Blair left behind him the almost unimaginable horror of Iraq and Afghanistan. A rare poll conducted by Ipsos last January of 754 Iraqi refugees in Syria found that "every single person interviewed by Ipsos reported experiencing at least one traumatic event in Iraq prior to their arrival in Syria." (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/iraq?page=news&id=479616762) UNHCR estimated that one in five of those registered with the agency in Syria over the previous year were classified as "victims of torture and/or violence." The survey showed that fully 89 per cent of those interviewed suffered depression and 82 per cent anxiety. This was linked to terrors endured before they fled Iraq - 77 per cent of those interviewed reported being affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks. Eighty per cent had witnessed a shooting... and so on. (Ibid)John Pilger was a lonely voice in 1997 warning that Blair was a dangerous fraud, a neocon in sheep's clothing. As Pilger later pointed out, the media could hardly plead ignorance: "Blair's Vichy-like devotion to Washington was known: read his speeches about a new order led by America. His devotion to Rupert Murdoch, who flew him and Cherie Booth around the world first class, was known. His devotion to an extreme neoliberal Thatcherite economics was known..." (John Pilger, Blair's bloody hands, March 4, 2005; http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=5063) Over the past two weeks - one decade and three wars later - the same media have been insisting, as one, that US president-elect Barrack Obama is another "new dawn". A Guardian leader observed: CLIP
The People's Counter-Coup - By Naomi Wolf (November 11, 2008) http://blog.beliefnet.com/progressiverevival/2008/11/the-peoples-countercoup.html
It's easy to look at the events of Election Day and draw the wrong conclusion. It's tempting to conclude that what happened after a long cruel and repressive eight years is that our democracy simply worked once again and proved to be self-correcting. Easy to breathe a sigh of relief and turn back to cultivating our regular pursuits. Easy -- but wrong. The right lesson to take from this election is NOT that the system is in working order without our active and radical participation. Rather, we should understand that we were, as a people, in direct engagement with other actors who sought to subvert our liberties in a dynamic and delicate feedback loop. Our actions checked their actions; our decision making on the part of thousands and millions shifted the landscape so that the worst could not take place -- so that their decision-making was likely to have been altered. What do I mean? I have said that since October 1st we have been in a situation in which a coup has taken place. I stand entirely by that statement -- with the update that we have taken steps to counter the further progression of that coup FOR NOW. This is cause for both rejoicing and caution as well as for understanding the lessons learned. (...) Then -- just to remind you that we may have won the battle but we are in a war -- the day after Obama's win -- the military announced that two more brigades would be deployed to the US to set up a permanent military beachhead on our soil. Unless these are disbanded by Obama, unless he restores Posse Comitatus, they -- or their who-knows-how many brothers and sisters to join them -- are ready for use by the next Republican president. Just like the aspects of legislation that have been seeded `like bombs in a minefield,' as Frontline producer and director of Bush's Law Michael Kirk noted, so deeply, or buried in secret directives that no one is likely to find all of them who does not know they are there; he argues that these too can be activated by the next Rovian protege in power. Practicing proactive citizenship -- citizenship undertaken in a revolutionary spirit by people who are aware of how fragile democracy is and how easily it can be subverted or even overthrown, and who, above all, take personal responsibility for their and the nation's safety -- is like practicing safe sex. In both cases, you can never know for sure exactly what kind of horror exactly you have averted for yourself and for others. But if you don't take such steps you are suicidally stupid and irresponsible. And if you do, you can know that you are taking the wise steps, the grown-up steps, the steps that do avert horrors. In the case of the millions of Americans who said No to a stolen vote or worse, it is that personal responsibility, that decision to take an action step, that brings about real, healing, saving change. So celebrate. You were revolutionaries where you had to be. But please don't think it would have happened without you. And take a rest, but only a brief one, because hero-worship -- of Obama or any leader -- leads only to citizen passivity. But those monstrous laws still need to be changed, and the criminals who wrought them prosecuted and put behind bars; the military needs to be sent to a battlefield or home. There is a great deal of work still for citizen soldiers for liberty to get done.
Divided We Fail Which campaign promises will our new leader keep? http://www.yourchoiceforchange08.org/
During the 2008 campaign, President-elect Obama committed to working across the aisle for REAL CHANGE on affordable health care and long-term financial security. Remind President-elect Obama about his campaign promise and ask him to take action in his first 100 days. More also through http://www.aarp.org/issues/dividedwefail/
Clinton to Accept Offer of Secretary of State Job http://www.truthout.org/111808K
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian UK: "Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned. Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats believe the vetting will be straightforward."
Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope. Barack Obama never talks about how people see him: I'm not the one making history, he said every chance he got. You are. Yet as he looked out Tuesday night through the bulletproof glass, in a park named for a Civil War general, he had to see the truth on people's faces. We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible," declared the President-elect, "who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." (See pictures of Barack Obama's victory celebration in Chicago.)
Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.
Remember this day, parents told their children as they took them out of school to go see an African-American candidate make history. An election in one of the world's oldest democracies looked like the kind they hold in brand-new ones, when citizens finally come out and dance, a purple-thumb day, a velvet revolution. A hundred thousand people came out in red states to hear Obama; a hundred fifty thousand turned out in purple ones, even after all this time, when they should have been sick to death of Hope and Change. In Michigan, people put an electric fence around their yard sign to protect it. NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station sent a video message encouraging people to vote; they did, from 200 miles up. A judge in Ohio ruled that homeless people could use a park bench as their address in order to register. A couple flew home from India just to cast their ballots. Obama's Ohio volunteers knocked on a million doors on Monday alone. That night, a Florida official locked himself in the Seminole County election headquarters and slept overnight with the ballots to make sure nothing went wrong with the vote. Early-voting lines in Atlanta were 10 hours long, and still people waited, as though their vote was their most precious and personal possession at a moment when everything else seemed to be losing its value. You heard the same phrases everywhere. First time ever. In my lifetime. Whatever it takes.
When it was over, more than 120 million pulled a lever or mailed a ballot, and the system could barely accommodate the demands of Extreme Democracy. Obama won more votes than anyone else in U.S. history, the biggest Democratic victory since Lyndon Johnson crushed another Arizona Senator 44 years ago. Obama won men, which no Democrat had managed since Bill Clinton. He won 54% of Catholics, 66% of Latinos, 68% of new voters - a multicultural, multigenerational movement that shatters the old political ice pack. He let loose a deep blue wave that washed well past the coasts and the college towns, into the South through Virginia and Florida, the Mountain West with Colorado and New Mexico, into the Ohio Valley and the Midwestern battlegrounds: you could almost walk from Maine to Minnesota without getting your feet wet in a red state. After months of mapmaking all the roads to 270, Obama tore right past with ease.
The victory poured down the ballot, bringing along a larger Democratic majority in both houses, though not as broad as some had predicted: Democrats widened their margins in the House and the Senate. The Republican caucus is smaller, more male and whiter at a time when the electorate is heading the other way. But the Democrats did not come close to their dream of a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which suggests that people's hunger for change is tempered by their faith in restraint.
When the race was called, there was a rush of noise, of horns honking and kids shouting and strangers hugging in the streets. People danced in Harlem and wept at Ebenezer Baptist Church and lit candles at Dr. King's grave. More than a thousand people shouted "Yes we can!" outside the White House, where a century ago it was considered scandalous for a President to invite a black hero to lunch. The Secret Service said it had never seen anything like it. President Bush called the victory "awesome" when he phoned Obama to congratulate him: "You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life."
John McCain, freedom fighter, has always seen the nobility even - maybe especially - in a losing battle, which takes the most courage to fight. When he called Obama to concede the race, the younger man honored the elder statesman. "I need your help," Obama said, and McCain offered it without reservation. "Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans," McCain told the crowd in a gracious speech beneath the Arizona mountains. "I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face."
Remember this day. We now get to imagine, at least for a while, that the election of Obama has not just turned a page in our politics but also tossed out the whole book so we can start over. Whether by design or by default, the past now loses power: for the moment, it feels as if we've left behind the baby-boomer battles of the past 40 years; the culture wars that took us prisoner and cut us off from what we have in common; the tribal warfare between rich and poor, North and South, black and white; and the illusion, if anyone still harbored it after the past eight years, that what happens in Washington does not affect what happens everywhere else.
How He Rewrote the Book
"She has gone home," Obama told the quiet crowd in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday night, recalling the grandmother who had raised him and shaped him and died on the eve of his victory. "She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America," he said, and tears we had never seen before streaked his face. "They're not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day, they work hard." One day later, Madelyn Dunham's grandson would be the most famous man in the world. (See pictures of Barack Obama's family tree.)
At a moment of obvious peril, America decided to place its fate in the hands of a man who had been born to an idealistic white teenage mother and the charismatic African grad student who abandoned them - a man who grew up without money, talked his way into good schools, worked his way up through the pitiless world of Chicago politics to the U.S. Senate and now the White House in a stunningly short period. That achievement, compared with those of the Bushes or the Kennedys or the Roosevelts or the Adamses or any of the other American princes who were born into power or bred to it, represents such a radical departure from the norm that it finally brings meaning to the promise taught from kindergarten: "Anyone can grow up to be President."
A nation doesn't much need a big President in small times; it needs one when the future is spitting out monsters. We've heard so much about Obama's brand-new voters that we easily forget the others he found, the ones who hadn't voted since Vietnam or who had never dreamed they'd vote for a black man or a liberal or a Democrat, much less all three. But many Americans are living through the worst decade of their lives, and they have anger-management issues. They saw a war mismanaged, a city swallowed, now an economy held together with foreign loans and thumbtacks. It took a perfect storm of bad news to create this moment, but even the big men rarely win in a walk. Ronald Reagan didn't. John Kennedy didn't. Those with the clearest vision often have to fight the hardest for others to see things as they do.
Obama belonged to a party that was bent on retribution; he preached reconciliation, and when voters were asked a year ago who had the best chance of winning, Hillary Clinton crushed him, 71% to 26%. He had to build a new church and reach out to the seekers who had lost faith in government or never had any in the first place. He ran not so much on any creed as on the belief that everything was broken, that the very system that produces candidates and frames issues and decides who loses and who wins in public life does little more than make a loser out of the American people. We need to start over, he argued, speak gently, listen carefully, find solutions, keep our word. It was precisely because he was an outsider with a thin résumé and few cronies or scars or grudges that he could sell himself as the solution. (See 10 things that never happened in a campaign before.)
On the cold January night in Iowa that he calls the highlight of the whole campaign, he offered a glimpse of the possible. Caucus-night victory speeches are usually sweaty affairs in crowded rooms full of debts to pay off. But Obama got up in his tightened tie and with total focus, in front of a teleprompter so he'd be sure to get it exactly right, delivered what even skeptics called one of the great political sermons of our time. "They said this day would never come," he declared. "They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night - at this defining moment in history - you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do." He won women without the help of women's groups, blacks without the help of race pols, and that golden snitch of American politics, the youth vote, whose presence not only gave his campaign a feeling of hope and energy but made old people feel younger too. That was the first test of what was really on voters' minds: even in the face of two wars and a looming recession, only 1 in 5 cited experience as the highest priority. More than a third of them cared most about who could bring about change.
It was just one of many ironies that his historic ascent required blocking Clinton's. Experience can be a virtue, but it also means familiarity and wounds and scars, and it was hard to look at her onstage - her husband behind her, his gears visibly spinning - and see her as the future. Many who saw Clinton as the victim of virulent sexism could still be eager to move on to someone who did not fight in the last war.
Two Men, Two Visions
Given a President who was radioactive and an economy weak in the knees, you could say the outcome should never have been in doubt. Seventy percent more people voted in the Democratic primaries as in the Republican; 9 out of 10 people say the country is on the wrong track. In that light, McCain was his party's sacrificial lamb, a certified American hero granted one more chance to serve, with enough rebel credits on his résumé to stand a chance of winning over disgruntled voters if Obama somehow imploded.
For Obama and Family, a Personal Transition (November 13, 2008) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/us/politics/14obama.html
CHICAGO - A couple of weeks ago, Barack Obama headed to the Hyde Park Hair Salon for a trim. He greeted the staff and other customers and plopped down in the same chair in front of the same barber who has cut his hair for the last 14 years. But when he wanted a trim this week, the Secret Service took one look at the shop's large plate-glass windows and the gawking tourists eager for a glimpse of the president-elect and the plan quickly changed. If Mr. Obama could no longer come to the barber, the barber would come to him and cut his hair at a friend's apartment.Life for the newly chosen president and his family has changed forever. Even the constraints and security of the campaign trail do not compare to the bubble that has enveloped him in the 10 days since his election. Renegade, as the Secret Service calls him, now lives within the strict limits that come with the most powerful office on the planet.He has chosen to spend this interval before his Jan. 20 inauguration at his home in Hyde Park, which has in some ways been transformed into a secure fortress for his protection. After two years of daily speeches and rallies, he has retreated into an almost hermitlike seclusion, largely hidden from public view and spotted only when he drops his two daughters off for school or goes for a workout at the gymnasium in a friend's apartment building."This is a tremendous personal transition, as well, far beyond what anyone could imagine," said Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer and a close friend. "Little things, like going to the gym, going to the movies, going to dinner with his wife, none of that will ever be the same again. Things that we take for granted." (...) "Before they had Chicago police around his house and it was barricaded. The day he became president-elect, they moved the barricades three blocks out." For Mr. Obama, it means no more casually stopping by the Medici for pastries or heading over to Valois for lunch or window shopping with the girls at 57th Street Books, at least not without elaborate preparation. He did manage to take his wife, Michelle, on Saturday night to Spiaggia, a four-star Italian restaurant in downtown Chicago, where the future president loves the wood-roasted scallops. The Obamas have been going to Spiaggia with its lakefront view for years for what they call "date night," including on their anniversary last month and Michelle's birthday earlier this year. "It's always just the two of them," said Tony Mantuano, the chef and co-owner. "Now it's just the two of them and 30 Secret Service agents." (...) "He seems to be very, very focused on the transition," said his friend, John W. Rogers Jr. chairman of Ariel Investments, who lent office space to Mr. Obama until the federal space was available. "It doesn't seem to have changed him at all. He's the same relaxed, in-control, engaging Barack that he's always been. I've been struck by that, that it hasn't shifted him." CLIP
Obama Release on Weekly Video Address (November 14, 2008) http://thepage.time.com/obama-release-on-weekly-video-address/
Today, President-elect Obama will record the Weekly Democratic Radio Address on video and radio. The address will be turned into a youtube video which we will post on www.change.gov when the embargo ends on Saturday. The audio portion will still be distributed as it normally is.President-elect Obama will continue to record and make available the Democratic radio addresses on video when he is in the White House. No President-elect or President has ever turned the radio address into a multi-media opportunity before. This is just one of many ways that President-elect Obama will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent.
The Great Depression of the 21st Century: Collapse of the Real Economy
By Michel Chossudovsky -- November 15, 2008
The financial crisis is deepening, with the risk of seriously disrupting the system of international payments.
This crisis is far more serious than the Great Depression. All major sectors of the global economy are affected. Recent reports suggest that the system of Letters of Credit as well as international shipping, which constitute the lifeline of the international trading system, are potentially in jeopardy.
The proposed bank "bailout" under the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is not a "solution" to the crisis but the "cause" of further collapse.
The "bailout" contributes to a further process of destabilization of the financial architecture. It transfers large amounts of public money, at taxpayers expense, into the hands of private financiers. It leads to a spiraling public debt and an unprecedented centralization of banking power. Moreover, the bailout money is used by the financial giants to secure corporate acquisitions both in the financial sector and the real economy.
In turn, this unprecedented concentration of financial power spearheads entire sectors of industry and the services economy into bankruptcy, leading to the layoff of tens of thousands of workers.
The upper spheres of Wall Street overshadow the real economy. The accumulation of large amounts of money wealth by a handful of Wall Street conglomerates and their associated hedge funds is reinvested in the acquisition of real assets.
Paper wealth is transformed into the ownership and control of real productive assets, including industry, services, natural resources, infrastructure, etc.
Collapse of Consumer Demand
The real economy is in crisis. The resulting increase in unemployment is conducive to a dramatic decline in consumer spending which in turn backlashes on the levels of production of goods and services.
Exacerbated by neoliberal macro-economic policy, this downward spiral is cumulative, ultimately leading to an oversupply of commodities.
Business enterprises cannot sell their products, because workers have been laid off. Consumers, namely working people, have been deprived of the purchasing power required to fuel economic growth. With their meager earnings, they cannot afford to acquire the goods produced.
Overproduction Triggers a String of Bankruptcies
Inventories of unsold goods pile up. Eventually, production collapses; the supply of commodities declines through the closing down of production facilities, including manufacturing assembly plants.
In the process of plant closure, more workers become unemployed. Thousands of bankrupt firms are driven off the economic landscape, leading to a slump in production.
Mass poverty and a Worldwide decline in living standards is the result of low wages and mass unemployment. It is the outcome of a preexisting global cheap labor economy, largely characterized by low wage assembly plants in Third World countries.
The current crisis extends the geographic contours of the cheap labor economy, leading to the impoverishment of large sectors of the population in the so-called developed countries (including the middle classes).
In the US, Canada and Western Europe, the entire industrial sector is potentially in jeopardy.
We are dealing with a long-term process of economic and financial restructuring. In its earlier phase, starting in the 1980s during the Reagan Thatcher era, local and regional level enterprises, family farms and small businesses were displaced and destroyed. In turn, the merger and acquisition boom of the 1990s led to the concurrent consolidation of large corporate entities both in the real economy as well as in banking and financial services.
In recent developments, however, the concentration of bank power has been at the expense of big business.
What is distinct in this particular phase of the crisis, is the ability of the financial giants (through their overriding control over credit) not only to create havoc in the production of goods and services, but also to undermine and destroy large corporate entities of the real economy.
Bankruptcies are occurring in all major sectors of activity: Manufacturing, telecoms, consumer retail outlets, shopping malls, airlines, hotels and tourism, not to mention real estate and the construction industry, victims of the subprime mortgage meltdown.
General Motors has confirmed that "it could run out of cash within a few months, which could prompt one of the biggest bankruptcy filings in U.S. history". (USNews.com, November 11, 2008)) In turn this would backlash on a string of related industries. Estimates of job losses in the US auto industry range from 30,000 to as much as 100,000.(Ibid). source:
Celente Predicts Revolution, Food Riots, Tax Rebellions By 2012
Trend forecaster, renowned for being accurate in the past, says that America will cease to be a developed nation within 4 years, crisis will be "worse than the great depression"
Paul Joseph Watson -- November 13, 2008
The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.
Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.
Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.
"We're going to see the end of the retail Christmas....we're going to see a fundamental shift take place....putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree," said Celente, adding that the situation would be "worse than the great depression".
"America's going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for," said Celente, noting that people's refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.
Celente, who successfully predicted the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis, the subprime mortgage collapse and the massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar, told UPI in November last year that the following year would be known as "The Panic of 2008," adding that "giants (would) tumble to their deaths," which is exactly what we have witnessed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others. He also said that the dollar would eventually be devalued by as much as 90 per cent.
The consequence of what we have seen unfold this year would lead to a lowering in living standards, Celente predicted a year ago, which is also being borne out by plummeting retail sales figures.
The prospect of revolution was a concept echoed by a British Ministry of Defence report last year, which predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest," and that, "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class."
"There will be a revolution in this country," he said. "It's not going to come yet, but it's going to come down the line and we're going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D. C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen."
"The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That's going to be the big one because people can't afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You're going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop."
"It's going to be very bleak. Very sad. And there is going to be a lot of homeless, the likes of which we have never seen before. Tent cities are already sprouting up around the country and we're going to see many more."
"We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to. It's going to come as a shock and with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be. So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension."
"When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente."
CNN Headline News
"A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties."
"Gerald Celente has a knack for getting the zeitgeist right."
"There's not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he's talking about."
"Those who take their predictions seriously ... consider the Trends Research Institute."
The Wall Street Journal
"Gerald Celente is always ahead of the curve on trends and uncannily on the mark ... he's one of the most accurate forecasters around."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Mr. Celente tracks the world's social, economic and business trends for corporate clients."
The New York Times
"Mr. Celente is a very intelligent guy. We are able to learn about trends from an authority."
48 Hours, CBS News
"Gerald Celente has a solid track record. He has predicted everything from the 1987 stock market crash and the demise of the Soviet Union to green marketing and corporate downsizing."
The Detroit News
"Gerald Celente forecast the 1987 stock market crash, 'green marketing,' and the boom in gourmet coffees."
"The Trends Research Institute is the Standard and Poors of Popular Culture."
The Los Angeles Times
"If Nostradamus were alive today, he'd have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente."
New York Post
So there you have it - hardly a nutjob conspiracy theorist blowhard now is he? The price of not heeding his warnings will be far greater than the cost of preparing for the future now. Storable food and gold are two good places to make a start.
Barack Obama will not fix the US economy. PART 1 - Hear Celente out! Really sobering! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T149XW_afx0
Trends researcher Gerald Celente speaks by warning that the economic system is going to fail, and the euphoria surrounding Obama will fade by Feb./March, as reality sets in. By 2012, Celente believes there'll be a viable third party based around making financial changes.
Meet Laura Day: The financial psychic of Wall Street who predicted global meltdown
By Helena de Bertodano -- 09 Nov 2008
This woman knows nothing about finance yet claims she can predict turmoil in the markets months before it happens. Don't believe her? Many blue-chip companies do - and pay handsomely for her 'intuition'.
A few blocks from Wall Street lives a woman who is not in the least bit surprised at the recent economic upheaval on her doorstep. In fact, she predicted it years ago and is rather enjoying it.
'I love crisis,' says Laura Day, a psychic who advises major corporations on how to direct their business dealings. 'I love turning it around. I'm going to brag - in the last few weeks I've become a hero. My clients were all prepared for this. They were out of the market a year ago and now they're ringing me saying, "The whole world is freaking out and I'm just sitting here calm."'
The 49-year-old mother has earned more than $10 million (£6.4 million) in the past 15 years advising corporations and individuals including Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and Rosanna Arquette. Day's otherwordly expertise doesn't simply encompass the financial; Arquette credits her with saving her daughter's life by sensing a potentially fatal medical condition.
While there is nothing very surprising about the Hollywood A-list embracing the help of a psychic, it is harder to imagine mainstream businesses enlisting her services. She takes on five businesses at a time, each of which pays her $10,000 (£6,400) a month for 24-hour access to her. She will not name her clients, although some have gone on the record extolling her work. Gabriel Lawson, the executive director of the American technology giant Seagate, hired her two years ago as a consultant and told Newsweek, 'She was amazing. Anybody who can afford her will get 100 times their money's worth.'
'In early July, right before the oil market dived, I said, "I wouldn't be buying oil futures now," and I predicted China's current troubles eight months ago,' Day says. Thanks to those and many other good calls, a prospective client can be on Day's waiting-list for years.
Not that she swans into board meetings wearing a gypsy dress and bejewelled headscarf. Quite the opposite. 'When I visit a company I make an effort to learn what their rules are,' she says. 'I don't want to look like a freak so I go in wearing a blue suit, I take my notes and I only say something when I know it will sound appropriate. If the CEO hires me, I go in as a consultant. Most of the time the rest of the company doesn't have a single idea of what I really do.'
So what does she really do? 'What I do actually works best if I know nothing, so I don't look at the market,' Day says. 'I'm a complete information desert. I just get a sense of the right thing to do. I'll say, "I understand that you're buying everything in China, but gosh I would hold off," and then they figure out why. Or a medical research client will come and say, "We're having trouble with the poly-whatever morph unit." My intuition will target exactly what their issue is and I'll say, "The seamed area needs something else to stick it together," and they will know they need a different polymer. Or whatever. I let the words come out of my mouth even though I may have no idea what I am talking about; my client will know what to do.'
Does she believe she is channelling spirits? 'I do not have an "in" with spirits,' Day offers. 'That's a scary concept. I don't want to be Guru Maharaja Day.' Indeed, she prefers to be known as an intuitive.
'I hate the word psychic,' she says, through gritted teeth as she settles into her sofa and tucks her feet underneath her. 'Because it means tea leaves and crystal balls and a six-floor walk up to a place that smells like cat's piss.'
It must be very alarming to see what is happening in her own future. Does she foresee health problems or know how long she will live? 'I get a sense of that, but everybody does. I repress less than most people, but the truth is you never read well in your areas of neurotic preoccupation. When you're reading for yourself, your wishes and fears get in the way. I find when my intuition needs to tell me something it wakes me up from a dead sleep.'
Sometimes, she says, she finds her intuition predicting something that she does not want to hear about. 'When that happens I just put my hands over my ears and go, "No, no, no, no."'
Day tells me that she can see into a person, even someone she has never met before. 'I know them before they walk in the door.' Somewhat nervously, I ask her what she intuits about me. 'I don't do it in interviews. If you come over another time and give me a glass of wine - because I'm a cheap drunk - you won't be able to get away from me doing it.'
I ask her if she had anticipated that the current financial crisis would be as big as this. 'I thought it would be bigger, actually, and I think it's not over yet. These symptoms were cooking for years. I could feel this six years ago.' She thinks it will be decades before the market truly recovers. 'I wouldn't expect to sell my apartment for the same price I could have sold it for a year ago not until my grandchildren sell it.'
She says that she never underestimates the 'weirdness' of her profession. When I suggest to her that it has gained in credibility over the past 20 years, she shoots back. 'Well, so has S&M, but people still don't talk about it.'
But what makes Day so much more engaging and less odd than one might think is that she happily admits her fallibility. 'I screw up all the time. My intuition is rarely wrong, but sometimes I interpret it wrong. Recently, a dear friend lost her job and was in a panic. I told her I saw her getting her job back [the following] Tuesday. She didn't get her job back, but her mother died on Tuesday and left her a lot of money. What I had been looking at was not her job, but whether she was going to have money to pay her bills. So I screwed up.'
She shrugs. 'As I always say, if I were God I would be paid more.'
Date: 13 Nov 2008
From: "Paul Hilder - Avaaz.org" firstname.lastname@example.org">
Subject: Stand with the people of Congo
The people of Congo need our help. In recent weeks over 200,000 people have been driven from their homes, and murder and rape are rife. The United Nations peacekeeping mission to Congo has not intervened to protect civilians. As this email is sent, families are running for their lives, stuck between the brutal violence of both the rebels and the Congolese army, without food or shelter - their only refuges are crowded camps which now face epidemics of disease. This is a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions.
All actors need to support better diplomacy, but only Europe can deploy a well-equipped, neutral protection force to be on the ground in two weeks - and European foreign ministers meeting earlier this week blinked, failing to act. If they send a neutral force to the region to protect civilians who are desperately in need, and help put real pressure on Congo and neighbouring countries with UN and African officials, this humanitarian crisis could be addressed and a lasting peace made possible.
The lesson of the genocide in Rwanda was -- step in before it's too late -- politicians seem to have forgotten that. The people of eastern Congo need us now. We need to put overwhelming pressure on European and global leaders to step up, so please follow the link below to take action yourself and forward this email to friends and family -- we'll be delivering the campaign later this week to decision-makers and in newspapers. The situation is deteriorating by the day. The more of us take action, the more leaders will feel that their citizens and people around the world expect them to respond and protect the Congolese people. Sign the petition here:
The recent clashes between General Nkunda's militias and the Congolese army are the latest in a place where the population has been attacked and terrorised for years by armed groups. Over five million people have been killed. It's been termed 'Africa's world war', with Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia all getting involved. The fighting is fed by a lethal war economy based on the extraction of minerals such as coltan, cobalt, diamonds and gold, to which we're all connected through the worldwide market.
Violence is escalating and allegations abound of Angolan and Zimbabwean troops fighting alongside the Congolese army -- Congolese army soldiers committing atrocities and working with militias including the Rwandan Hutu Forces, some of whose leaders were responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide -- and the Rwandan army supporting General Nkunda to muscle the Congolese government to fulfill its commitment to demobilise these same Hutu militias. So it is no surp! rise that African-only diplomacy is faltering, and that there is a need for an external, neutral force. We cannot let the best chance to stop the terror in Congo slip by as leaders turn their backs -- Congo needs concerted engagement now. Let's flood European and global leaders with requests for action. Sign the petition and please send it to your friends and family:
The United Nations mission (MONUC) is in Congo to keep the peace between this web of armed groups, but recently it has made clear statements that it cannot protect civilians. We have heard reliably that MONUC are desperate for a rapid EU bridging force to do what they can't and start restoring international legitimacy, which has been lost through overstretch and perceptions of taking sides -- UN troops have fought alongside the Congolese army and are even accused of sheltering pro-government militias.
To have a credible and effective force the United Nations mission will soon have to be reformed and redeployed. In the longer term, the international community needs to be a strong and honest broker to ensure implementation of peace agreements and confront the underlying issues feeding this war. If Europe sends a short-term, neutral force to the region now to protect civilians, it can start to change the terms of this brutal game -- providing a basis both to defend the defenceless and to apply political leverage to all sides. Click below to sign the petition:
Paul, Alice, Pascal, Ricken, Ben, Paula, Brett, Graziela, Iain and Milena - the Avaaz.org team
PS: Campaigning around force deployments is never easy and we take it extremely seriously and case by case -- Avaaz is also campaigning for withdrawal from Iraq. We are calling for this time-limited protection force in Congo because it is essential both to protect civilians who are being raped and murdered, and to support an honest-broker political effort. We have taken extensive advice and a poll of Avaaz members showed overwhelming support for this campaign.
Triggering your mind to change: Failsafe author speaks at BAG
By Erica Timmerman
The global ecosystem is going to keep deteriorating if civilization remains ignorant of their surroundings, says author, professor and meditation expert Ian Prattis in his book Failsafe. Prattis will be at the Brackendale Art Gallery Wednesday (Nov.19) from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. to talk about the book and his guidelines toward a better future.
Prattis says he has hope for the human race, believing that once the world comes to a breaking point, humans will have to snap back into consciousness. "This breaking point will then act as a catalyst, penetrating such ignorance and activating consciousness so it is propelled into expansion, deliberation and change," writes Prattis in his book.
Failsafe is a critical response to Revenge of the Gaia by James Lovelock, which Prattis says is a negative account of human's inability to change the downward spiral civilization has already made. "The solution is primarily a spiritual one - economics and politics are secondary," states Prattis in a press release. Prattis, a professor of anthropology and religion at Calreton University in Ottawa, said practicing meditation and Buddhism are ways to increase self-awareness and insight to the world's problems. "From this foundation and clarity and understanding we can respond to the crisis of the external environment because the internal environment has been properly cared for."
He adds that the only way government and corporate leaders will make change is if people become more involved in their community, write letters and organize mass movements. "A massive global citizen response will elicit an equally massive government and corporate response, as the bottom-up movement and top-down strategies for drastic change," he said. Prattis also tells readers to persuade two per cent of the people they know to reduce consumption and conserve energy. "A critical mass of two per cent will be satisfactory as a tipping point to get things moving in the right direction." Failsafe has a forward by David Suzuki, who comments that in the past century, humanity has transitioned from rural village inhabitants to big city dwellers and has become disconnected with nature as a result.
"The way we see the world, shapes the way we treat it and if we no longer perceive the planet as our sacred home, but instead, as an economic opportunity, then we will continue to log, mine, dam and degrade the biosphere," writes Suzuki. Prattis said he named the book Failsafe because it refers to a lever that diverts disaster when an intricate piece of machinery is just about to explode or break down.
"With respect to the global climate and economic crisis the failsafe lies deep in our mind," said Prattis. "So we have to access that by changing existing mind-sets."
"Just what have we done with the garden bequeathed to us? ">From outer space our beautiful blue planet has no divisions, pandemics or degradation. On the ground the same blue planet is torn asunder by violence, greed and reckless disregard for planetary care. Can we fix the planet? This is the wrong question... We remain ignorant to the consequences of the fact that everything interconnects. The right question is can we fix ourselves? Can we change the mindset that has created the global ecological emergency? We must embark on a different kind of human journey different to the crazed ego, greed and power traits that characterize our collective and presently mindless sojourn. We are neglectful of the fact that we depend on this tiny planet for everything. I give the reader a promise: This slim volume provides understanding, issues a call for the adventure of changing the existing world order by arriving at a deep understanding of what needs to be done in terms of changing our minds. Then I provide guidelines for action.">
Failsafe by Ian Prattis Gives Hope Where There is None
by Dan Bloom -- October 31, 2008
Failsafe! - Chilling but hopeful book about future asks important questions
OTTAWA(RUSHPRNEWS)10/31/08- A new book titled "Failsafe", written by Canadian environmental activist Ian Prattis, is making waves across the Internet and is finally available in a print edition. Prattis, 66, warns that humankind is slowly but surely hurtling towards a series of cataclysmic economic, social and ecological events that will take future generations to the brink of destruction.
But Prattis says he remains optimistic in the long run, adding that our hardwired instinct for self-preservation can save us - but only if it triggers new ways of thinking, being and interacting.
In a recent email interview with RushPRnews, Prattis stated, "It seems that our technology and economic institutions have outstripped our humanity. How do we get it back? That is what 'Failsafe' is about. The reality is that we have not lost our humanity - it is right there. Only we have buried it under crises, ego and the culture of greed."
The UK-born writer added: "Our separation from the environment is enshrined in present economic theory and practice. That has to be dispelled as economic and technological fixes will achieve nothing unless the underying mind-set that created both global economic melt down and global warming is changed. I draw on the wisdom of the elders about ecosystem balance and the teachings of the Buddha for science of mind change. There is no post-environment economy."
The book comes with a forward by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, and one observer sees "Failsafe" as "a critical response to James Lovelock's "The Revenge of Gaia", which painted a darker picture for the future of humanity than Prattis does.
Prattis asks a vital question in his book: "Can we fix the planet?" His answer is that the question is the wrong one.
"Our present values and patterns of consumption are the architects of the present global emergency," he insists. "The right question is: can we fix ourselves?"
Suzuki says in his introduction: "With this book, Ian Prattis offers a way to a perceptual transformation that is absolutely critical if we are to find a truly sustainable future."
Prattis is the founder of Friends for Peace - a coalition of environmental groups that works for peace and planetary care. Read his book with planetary care.
When RushPRnews asked New Zealand climate activist Lila Smith what she thought of Prattis' book, she replied in Internet time, "I, for one, can't wait to read this book. It reminds me of the saying 'change does not happen until a large enough crisis hits - real or perceived.' And Prattis says that!"
Published recently by Manor House Publishing in Canada, the book, which retails for CD$24.95, comes just as a time when global economies are flirting with possible collapse. The book is now available in Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada as well as on their website and on Amazon's order site.à
Suzuki: The next generation - Severn Cullis-Suzuki has always been good at making people cry
Emma Gilchrist, Calgary Herald
November 07, 2008
Severn Cullis-Suzuki has always been good at making people cry. In 1992, she burst into the international spotlight with a speech that brought delegates to tears at the UN Earth Summit.
She was 12 years old. She was also the daughter of famed Canadian geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki and activist Tara Cullis.
Along with three friends, Cullis-Suzuki had formed an environmental club and raised enough money to make the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The video of that speech, which has recently experienced a resurgence on YouTube, leaves you sure of at least one thing: This was one impassioned 12-year-old.
And it still had the power to leave students (and me) bleary eyed when Cullis-Suzuki showed it before speaking at the Alberta College of Art&Design last week.
She's toned it down a little since she was 12, but her message is much the same.
"One of the most powerful human forces is parents' love for their children: this is your children's world," she said in an interview after her speech.
Back in 1992, she urged delegates to protect the environment for her generation -- for their own children. "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it," she pleaded.
Now Cullis-Suzuki, 28, has more than a cute face and a famous dad to back her up. She has a master's in ethnobotany(the study of the relationships between people and plants) from the University of Victoria and a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Yale to boot.
In the past 16 years, she has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to act with the future in mind. Aside from that, she's edited a book, co-hosted a TV series and sits on the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. Oh, and she got married this fall and now calls the Haida Gwaii (a. k. a. Queen Charlotte Islands) home.
During her stop in Calgary on a leg of the Students for Sustainability (http://www.studentsforsustainability.ca) cross-country tour, Cullis-Suzuki reflected on how dire the environmental situation has become since that summit in 1992.
"We are currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction we've ever seen. The last was 65 million years ago. We're undermining our own support systems," she said.
On a positive note, about three years ago, the world started paying attention to environmental problems again.
"The weather is what has really hit it home," Cullis-Suzuki said, noting the immense cost of hurricane Katrina.
Crisis Equals Opportunity
The environmental movement's momentum was palpable and now"in the midst of all this greenery, crisis hits Wall Street . . . and suddenly the economy has become the main topic of conversation," she said.
But what may be a crisis in many ways, serves a purpose in others.
"Light has been shone on the faults in our economy. The economic system has evolved in a way that has resulted in the exploitation of its own citizens," she said.
And this means now is a great opportunity to create a better economic system -- one with a more realistic measure of progress than GDP, she adds.
"There's a chance to revise our destructive economy," she said, referring to Sustainability Within a Generation, a report by the David Suzuki Foundation that outlines how to transition to a sustainable economy. It includes creating a Genuine Wealth Index that measures the state of the nation's natural, social, human, manufactured and financial capital.
In this new world order, experts on sustainability are needed in every field, Cullis-Suzuki said. And she urged students to become those experts, whether as artists, economists, ecologists or engineers.
"To make a difference you've got to follow your heart,"she said.
Lessons From The Cullis-Suzuki Household
After her speech, when asked about the impact of her dad, she insisted she actually picked up a lot of direction from her mom.
"She's an amazing activist and feminist. She started the David Suzuki Foundation. . . . They are an amazing team and they have fun together," she said.
Their passion rubbed off on Cullis-Suzuki, who recalled such peculiar childhood experiences as having South American tribal people living in the family's basement.
She said her family taught her that if you recognize something is wrong, you have to speak up about it. "I believed you could change the course of history."
And your kids need to believe that, too, she said. Her 1992 speech goes to show what happens when a community supports it's youth.
"Kids have ideas all the time, but if parents and communities don't support their crazy ideas . . . well, here we are 16 years later still talking about it."
By cultivating a vision of a beautiful, joyful (and sustainable) world, Cullis-Suzuki believes people will want to jump into the sustainability movement.
And if you don't?
"If you think you're not connected to the environment, start to think about food. And health. You might not care about the planet, future generations, but hopefully you care about your health," she said.
David Suzuki's 43th book: Green Guide By: Dr. David Suzuki and David R. Boyd http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Publications/Books/
Everyone knows that human actions affect our natural environment. With this indispensable guide, readers will learn to consume fewer resources and become part of the solution as stewards of the planet. This book recommends actions for individuals to be more green in the homes where we live, the way we travel, the food we eat, and the things we buy. It also describes how all of us can ensure that governments support sustainable lifestyles. Suzuki and Boyd provide vital tips for readers to: -create a healthy indoor environment, - decrease energy and water use, - choose eco-friendly transportation, - make simple diet changes to eat fresher, healthier food. Here's a chapter for you to preview! Check his numerous (1230!) interviews available on Youtube... such as this fascinating one on the degradation of the environment.
David Suzuki: from prophet of doom to eternal optimist (November 10, 2008) http://www.canada.com/topics/entertainment/television/story.html?id=10a37eb7-04e1-4364-81ea-ee0adbe57a37
When David Suzuki began to sound the alarm about global warming in 1989, he inadvertently cast himself as a prophet of doom. "At home Tara (Cullis, his wife) and I would rail about this disaster or that politician and you don't really think about what the children are hearing and taking in," said Suzuki. But when daughter Sarika Cullis-Suzuki shrugged off the world's environmental problems as both terminal and insoluble, he realized that even if the message is right, the delivery can be very wrong. He atones finally for his error in the upcoming season of his award-winning CBC series The Nature of Things by taking Sarika -- now a marine biology graduate student at UBC -- on a trip to Europe. With a camera crew. The result is a special edition of The Nature of Things in which father and daughter see first-hand how life and commerce not only continue, but thrive with a smaller carbon footprint. The future it seems is not as bleak as previously thought. (...) Denmark realized during the oil embargo of the 70s that they could not continue to import 98 per cent of their energy from other countries and embarked on a program to reduce their dependency on oil.The result is a highly developed network of small wind-powered turbines for electricity and a capital city in which bicycles are the favoured mode of local transport.In the program, the Suzukis look on as hundreds of men in suits and women in skirts and office wear pedal by on bike paths totally isolated from the dangers of automobile traffic. CLIP
Quebec wins Suzuki's praise (November 4, 2008) http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=95b225be-a053-44d4-8e25-cd16ca095ae4
For the fourth year in a row, Quebec has lowered its total greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the amount of polluting gases that contribute to climate change even as the province's economy and population have grown.The news, made public yesterday by the Environment Department, was lauded by environmentalist David Suzuki, who was in Montreal speaking to a business audience.Nationally, greenhouse gas emissions have climbed 21.8 per cent since 1990, the base year for international climate-change calculations. In Quebec, the rate has risen 1.6 per cent since 1990, but growth seems to have peaked in 2003. Since then, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to drop. In 2006, they were down 5.5 per cent compared with 2003. "I was absolutely astounded to see the record of this province since 1990," Suzuki said. "It's an astounding achievement." Environment Minister Line Beauchamp said the province is on track to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for a six-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. Quebec will have to work at it, but can achieve its goal, Beauchamp said yesterday."We have had the courage to put a price on carbon, to impose a tax on petroleum products, we have a green fund, and we have an action plan (on climate change)," she said. "We could be the only jurisdiction in North America able to say that we met the Kyoto targets in 2012." Quebec adopted a climate-change action plan in 2006 outlining steps such as reducing the speed limits for trucks to 105 km/h, capturing biogas from landfill sites and expanding public transit. That plan will help Quebec meet the Kyoto target, Beauchamp said, adding that Quebecers should be proud of the results so far. In 2006, Quebec had the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Quebecer produced about 11.1 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person that year, compared with the Canadian average of 22.1. The drop is the result of people retrofitting their homes to make them more energy efficient, switching their home heating from oil to natural gas and electricity, and choosing more energy-efficient cars, said Marcel Gaucher, head of Quebec's Climate Change Office. CLIP
Supreme Court lifts limits on Navy sonar near whales
The justices said restrictions off the coast of southern California jeopardized national security.
By Warren Richey - November 12, 2008
The US Supreme Court has invalidated two court-imposed restrictions aimed at protecting whales and other marine mammals from powerful Navy sonars during anti-submarine warfare training off the southern California coast.
In a 6-3 ruling on Wednesday, the high court criticized a federal judge in California for imposing restrictions that the majority justices said jeopardized national security in an effort to protect the environment.
"We do not discount the importance of plaintiffs' ecological, scientific, and recreational interests in marine mammals," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. "Those interests, however, are plainly outweighed by the Navy's need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines."
The case, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, involved a dispute between the Navy and a group of conservationists over the use of mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar during large-scale naval training exercises.
MFA sonars send intense pulses of noise through the water that can disrupt or injure marine mammals nearby. Scientists say it can trigger fatal mass strandings under certain circumstances.
In March 2007, the NRDC and five other environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking to force the Navy to be more careful when using MFA sonar during 11 planned training exercises. They said the Navy had failed to properly complete an environmental impact study (EIS).
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction and ordered the Navy to halt its training exercises unless it adopted court-ordered mitigation measures to reduce the potential harmful effects of the sonars. The measures, as upheld by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, required the Navy to reduce sonar power whenever a marine mammal was spotted within 1.25 miles of a sonar source. In addition, during certain thermal conditions, the Navy was ordered to reduce sonar power by 75 percent when marine mammals were detected in the area.
Chief Justice Roberts said the federal judge as well as the appeals court judges failed to properly defer to senior Navy officers who warned that the measures would reduce the effectiveness of its training exercises. "We conclude that the balance of equities and consideration of the overall public interest in this case tip strongly in favor of the Navy," Roberts wrote.
"For the [environmentalists], the most serious possible injury would be harm to an unknown number of the marine mammals that they study and observe," he wrote. "In contrast, forcing the Navy to deploy an inadequately trained antisubmarine force jeopardizes the safety of the fleet."
In an important caveat, the chief justice added: "Military interests do not always trump other considerations, and we have not held that they do. In this case, however, the proper determination of where the public interest lies does not strike us as a close question."
In a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court-ordered mitigation measures were "manageable" and justified. She said the Navy's own assessments predicted "substantial and irreparable harm to marine mammals."
Joel Reynolds, a senior NRDC attorney, said the high court left in place undisputed portions of the federal judge's order concerning Navy training. As a result, the Navy must continue to abide by a 12-mile coastal buffer zone and must continue to avoid the Catalina Basin, an area with a high concentration of marine mammals.
Mr. Reynolds said the NRDC would continue to monitor the Navy's use of sonar and to push for more safeguards.
He said despite the loss at the high court, the sonar case and other efforts are paying dividends for the environment.
"This case is the most recent in a series of challenges brought by this group in the last 10 years," Reynolds said. "We've seen a definite change in the level of attention paid to environmental impacts on the part of the Navy. They are now in the process of completing environmental impact statements for planned sonar activities, not just off southern California, but off the southeast coast, Hawaii, and off the Washington coast."
Reynolds added, "We've seen significant progress."
When the case was argued in October, the dispute attracted attention in part because the Bush administration was framing it as a major showdown over the power of federal judges versus the power of the executive branch and the commander in chief.
The justices did not address those arguments. Rather, the court conducted a standard balancing of interests in assessing the lower court rulings.
Where the lower courts sided with environmentalists, the Supreme Court majority sided with the Navy. The majority justices said the ultimate issue in the case was whether the Navy had to complete an environmental impact statement. "A court concluding that the Navy is required to prepare an EIS has many remedial tools at its disposal, including declaratory relief or an injunction tailored to the preparation of an EIS rather than the Navy's training in the interim," Roberts wrote. "In the meantime, we see no basis for jeopardizing national security, as the present injunction does."
Oceans are 'too noisy' for whales (September 15, 2008) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7616283.stm
Levels of noise in the world's oceans are causing serious problems for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, a report warns. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) says undersea noise blocks animals' communication and disrupts feeding. Naval sonar has been implicated in the mass deaths of some cetaceans.In some regions, the level of ocean noise is doubling each decade, and Ifaw says protective measures are failing. "Humanity is literally drowning out marine mammals," said Robbie Marsland, UK director of Ifaw. "While nobody knows the precise consequences for specific animals, unless the international community takes preventive measures we are likely to discover only too late the terrible damage we're causing." In its global assessment of cetacean species, released last month, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded that ocean noise posed a significant threat. Across the spectrum - Whales and dolphins use sound in ways that are clearly important to their survival, though not completely understood.Baleen whales, such as blue and humpback whales, produce low frequency calls that can travel thousands of kilometres through water. Dolphins and toothed whales generate higher frequency clicks used to locate prey. Noise generated by ships' engines and propellers, and by seismic airguns used in oil and gas exploration, produce a range of frequencies that can interfere with both these groups of species, Ifaw concludes.Its report - Ocean Noise: Turn it down - cites research showing that the effective range of blue whales' calls is only about one-tenth of what it was before the era of engine-driven commercial shipping. It also notes that high-energy military sonar systems have driven the mass strandings and deaths of beaked whales. The sonar is thought to disrupt the animals' diving behaviour so much that they suffer a condition rather like "the bends" which human divers can contract if they surface too quickly. CLIP
Mixed fortunes for world's whales (12 August 2008) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7553805.stm
The latest global assessment of cetaceans shows that the marine mammals throughout the world's oceans have experienced mixed fortunes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveals that some large species, like humpbacks, have seen numbers increase. However, it warns that smaller species, including river dolphins, have declined as a result of human actions. The IUCN added that it was unable to assess more than half of the world's cetaceans because of a lack of data. "It shows that if you protect these animals then they can recover," said Randall Reeves, chairman of Cetacean Specialist Group for the IUCN, the global conservation body. "I'm encouraged by the fact that several of the large whale species that had been in trouble for a long time have shown steady increases over recent decades." CLIP
Can compromise save the whale? (28 June 2008) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7431568.stm
Icelandic and Norwegian companies have begun exporting whalemeat to Japan.About 60 tonnes of meat from fin whales caught in the 2006 Icelandic hunt was reportedly sent with a much smaller amount of minke meat from Norway. Industry sources told the BBC that the meat had already arrived in Japan, although a Japanese official said no request to import it had been received.Conservation groups say the trade will damage attempts to bridge the gap between pro- and anti-whaling nations. The fin whale is listed as Endangered on the internationally recognised Red List of Threatened Species.But Iceland maintains populations are high enough in the North Atlantic that a small annual kill, such as the seven caught in 2006, is sustainable. This is Iceland's first whalemeat export to Japan in nearly 20 years. Commercial whaling has been banned globally under the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1986, but Iceland and Norway lodged formal objections to the ban and their governments issue commercial quotas unilaterally. The global trade in whalemeat is also prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but again the three countries have exempted themselves by lodging formal "reservations". CLIP
Turning tide of whaling opinion (14 April 2008) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7346656.stm
Who has "won" the battle between the Japanese whalers and the environmentalists who set out to disrupt their hunt?Japan only managed to catch 60% of its quota of whales this season and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the organisation whose members clashed most violently with the Japanese whaling fleet, said it had "saved" hundreds of whales.But Greenpeace, the other conservation group who tailed the Japanese fleet through the waters of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, pointed out that 551 whales were still caught this year - still considerably more than the 440 caught three years ago. Japan's quotas have been far greater in the past couple of years than they used to be.Clearly, though, this year has still seen many setbacks for Japanese whalers.Officials originally said they were targeting 850 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks. Within weeks Tokyo changed its mind about the humpbacks - which had been protected by international agreements for decades - in what Japan described as a gesture to try to pacify its opponent. (...) The Japanese seemed unwilling to be filmed or photographed whaling, and so just tailing them closely was enough to disrupt operations for days at a time. Now Japan says "sabotage" by activists "was a major factor behind our failure to achieve our target". But a fisheries agency official made clear it was not the only factor. He said few fin whales were spotted, another reason why none of them were caught.But nevertheless, for the first time in 20 years protesters are being blamed for Japan's failure to meet its quota. (...) Although this is scientific whaling, the meat is sold to consumers to try to defray some of the costs of the whaling industry.The shortfall is made up by a subsidy from the Japanese taxpayer.If they caught just 60% of what they had hoped to, it is reasonable to conclude their income will fall by 40% It is unlikely that bringing home fewer whales from the Southern Ocean will raise prices because of a shortage of supply. There is reported to be a glut in the market already. So if Japan wants to continue whaling on the same kind of scale it will require a larger subsidy from the taxpayer. That will not necessarily be that easy for the bureaucrats from the fisheries agency to secure from their colleagues in the Finance Ministry. Japan's public finances are in a mess. CLIP
Blue whales 'making a comeback' (31 May 2007) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6710051.stm
The blue whale, possibly the largest animal ever to live on Earth, is making a comeback, scientists have said.They have collated data showing that the number of marine mammals in the Southern Hemisphere has increased from a few hundred to a few thousand.Before the commercial hunting era, there would have been hundreds of thousands in the oceans.The findings were presented at the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) annual meeting.Numbers of other large species such as fin whales and humpbacks are also rising in many parts of the world. "The most recent data is really encouraging," said the IWC's head of science, Greg Donovan."Blue whales have now been increasing by about 7-8% per year for the last 10 years at least, for which we have good data. "The abundance is still very low; it's about 2,300 for the whole Southern Hemisphere so it's a tiny fraction of what it used to be, but it's good news they're increasing." There is less data available for the Northern Hemisphere, but off the Icelandic coast a recovery has also been noted. The IWC's "guesstimate" is that globally, numbers are currently about 4,500. Blue whales are true leviathans, growing up to 30m in length and weighing up to 190 tonnes.Before industrial-scale commercial hunting began in earnest about a century ago, there were thought to be 150,000-200,000 in the oceans. As factory ships and efficient harpoons multiplied, the blue's size made it the favoured species, as vast quantities of oil could be extracted from its blubber. The 1930-1931 season alone saw about 30,000 prised from the oceans. Protection arrived in the 1960s; but with numbers so low, it was doubtful whether the species could survive. For now, it has survived, with its extraordinary capacity to communicate acoustically over distances of thousands of kilometres meaning it can find mates even when so few remain. CLIP
Despite our ever-increasing knowledge of the natural world, too many people still see it as just another means to make money, says Jean-Christophe Vie. In this week's Green Room, he sets out his argument why the planet's rich diversity of life needs to be preserved in its entirety.
We spend enormous energy and lose precious time by trying to demonstrate the obvious: wildlife in its integrity is vital for us
In the world of economics, what nature provides for us is often seen in terms of immediate returns.
Forests, for example, are valued for their timber. When a country needs money, the forests can be cut down and the capital immediately released.
This may contribute to the nation's Gross Domestic Product, but in reality, the country has lost resources and becomes poorer.
The rationale for preserving wildlife is based on a variety of societal values including aesthetic, moral and spiritual ones, as well as more practical ones, such as contributing to the economy and human livelihoods.
It is also based on a precautionary approach and, in my view, common sense. If a species is there, I am firmly convinced that it has a good reason to be.
Nature has developed over millions of years to produce the most favourable environment for us to live in. Before attempting to disturb the subtle balance on which we all depend, with unknown consequences, we should look carefully at what we have and know.
In fact, we still know very little of the diversity of life on our planet, but we know enough to get a global view of what is happening.
Almost a century ago, some "visionaries" sounded the first alarm bells. They have long been called "alarmists" but their predictions have slowly become reality.
Even today, when you tell the truth about the environment, many will deny the facts and try to block action; this will inevitably result in a bigger problem in the future.
Out of focus
We spend enormous energy and lose precious time by trying to demonstrate the obvious: wildlife in its integrity is vital for us.
Considering the competition between wild species and humans on a very crowded planet, one can ask if there is there room for both of us?
Instead, those who do not believe that, or think human ingenuity will solve all our problems, should be asked to demonstrate that they can live without nature.
For a very long time, conservationists have been portrayed as misanthropists, caring more for animals than other human beings. But human rights and preservation of the environment are complementary.
The environment should always be a key pillar of development aid. Humans and nature go hand in hand.
Nowadays, when the spectrum of an economic recession is looming in various part of the world, the fact that nature can sustain humankind freely is not the least of its benefits, especially for the world's poor.
There is increasing recognition of the services nature provides to us, such as clean water and healthy soils for growing crops. But considering the competition between wild species and humans on a very crowded planet, one can ask if there is there room for both of us?
There is no doubt that nature can survive without humans - and has done so, for the most part, since time began.
Humans surviving without nature is certainly not true so we have no choice but to find enough space for nature.
Despite the very limited knowledge of life on Earth, some people do not hesitate to claim that some species have no interest to humans, that we should sort them out and get rid of "redundant" species and eliminate "pests".
So should nature be preserved in its entirety, meaning all species? I say yes, without any hesitation.
Not a luxury
Almost all countries agreed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, or through the Convention on Biological Diversity, that we should significantly reduce biodiversity loss as a means to fight poverty.
Farmers in Africa need healthy ecosystems to survive climatic shifts
Every day there is a stronger consensus that, without preserving nature, the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate hunger and poverty, provide education, or combat diseases, cannot be achieved.
This is, for me, a clear response. Nature is not a luxury; it should be preserved at all costs. However, we are still losing species, as shown by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
While many are not extinct yet, the Red List shows that many are slipping slowly towards extinction. We are witnessing a collective failure to meet these agreed goals.
In parallel, the good news is that we are documenting more and more conservation successes. It shows that a clear understanding of the problems and taking appropriate collective actions, nature can be preserved.
Increasingly, human overpopulation is recognised as the biggest challenge. The need to feed this growing population is increasing the pressure on nature.
Decisions will continue to be taken in a context of emergency and without appropriate thinking or incorporation of environmental considerations, as has been the case with the uncontrolled development of biofuels.
Our ability to live with nature can also be questioned. We hear that there are too many whales depleting fish stocks, too many elephants destroying farmers' plantations, too many tigers or sharks killing people, too many wolves eating sheep, too many mosquitoes transmitting diseases, too many frogs making noises, too many trees spreading leaves in our gardens; the list could go on forever.
Quantity and quality
The positive side of this is that we still have species to fight against. Once gone, will there be anyone else other than our neighbours to fight with?
In 2050 the human population will stand at more than nine billion, with an increased demand for goods, so what does sustainable development really mean?
Species abundance is also important. We need large quantities of fish if we want to feed the world. We need enough pollinators and soil invertebrates to maintain food production.
We need a healthy population of prey to maintain predator populations. We need a large numbers of wildebeests in the Serengeti to attract tourists and ensure the fertilisation of the savannah.
The same applies to salmon, whose spawning migration is the basis of an entire food chain. Massive animal migrations or congregations of spectacular animals are the guarantee that tourists will see what they have paid to come and watch.
We need enough predators to control herbivore populations; Olive Ridley turtles ensure reproductive success by swarming beaches in mass to lay their eggs.
Wildlife is not just a question of diversity but also of quantity. The collapse of cod stocks in the northern Atlantic is the perfect illustration; cod can still be found but, for unknown reasons, the stock was never able to recover and can no longer sustain an economy.
In 2050 the human population will stand at more than nine billion, with an increased demand for goods, so what does sustainable development really mean?
Can it be achieved without drastic changes? Do we want nature to be confined in zoos and botanic gardens or isolated pockets where rich tourists could go and watch what once covered most of our planet?
Global changes and new emerging threats will not allow us to maintain this static model. Climate change, invasive species and diseases do not stop at the borders of national parks. The risk cannot continue to be evaluated by our decision-makers in terms of success at the next election.
Fortunately, it seems that showing a real commitment to the preservation of our planet is starting to pay off in political terms.
A return to more spiritual values and the findings of a study on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity might bring the key additional elements needed for a real push in favour of the preservation of the diversity of life and, more broadly, all forms of diversity on our generous planet.
Jean-Christophe Vie is deputy head of the IUCN Species Programme, and author of the book Le Jour ou L'Abeille Disparaitra..., published by Arthaud
Half of mammals are in decline, study finds (Oct. 6, 2008) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26979274/
Experts compile data for new 'Red List of Threatened Species' -- BARCELONA, Spain - One in two mammal species on Earth are in decline and at least one in four are at risk of disappearing forever, according to a scientific survey released Monday and whose sponsors described the trend as an "extinction crisis" in the making."Mammals are declining faster than we thought," said Jan Schipper, lead author of a companion study being published this week in the journal Science.The International Union for Conservation of Nature released the data compiled by 1,700 experts in 130 countries, adding that the numbers could be even worse given that data was lacking for hundreds of mammal species. "The reality is that the number of threatened mammals could be as high as 36 percent," Schipper said in a statement released by the IUCN at a gathering in Barcelona."Our results paint a bleak picture of the global status of mammals worldwide," Schipper and his co-authors said in the study. "We estimate that one in four species is threatened with extinction and that the population of one in two is declining.""The situation is particularly serious for land mammals in Asia, through the combined effects of overharvesting and habitat loss," the experts wrote in their study, "and for marine species, victims of our increasingly intensive use of the oceans."Mammals range in size from blue whales to Thailand's insect-sized bumblebee bat."I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," said Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the companion study.In South and Southeast Asia, 79 percent of primate species are threatened with extinction, the IUCN noted.Habitat loss and degradation affect 40 percent of the worlds mammals, the IUCN added. "It is most extreme in Central and South America, West, East and Central Africa, Madagascar, and in South and Southeast Asia." More than half of the 1,141 threatened mammal species fall under "critically endangered" (188) or "endangered" (450) categories used for the 2008 "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," IUCN Director Julia Marton-Lefevre said in the statement. CLIP
U.N.: Pollution haze could lead to extreme weather, harm farming
Nov. 13, 2008
BEIJING - Thick brown clouds of soot, particles and chemicals stretching from the Persian Gulf to Asia threaten health and food supplies in the world, the U.N. reported Thursday, citing what it called the newest threat to the global environment.
The regional haze, known as atmospheric brown clouds, contributes to glacial melting, reduces sunlight and helps create extreme weather conditions that impact agricultural production, according to the report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program.
The huge plumes have darkened 13 megacities in Asia including Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Cairo, Mumbai and New Delhi sharply "dimming" the amount of light by as much as 25 percent in some places.
Caused by the burning of fossil fuels, wood and plants, the brown clouds also play a significant role in exacerbating the effects of greenhouse gases in warming up the earth's atmosphere, the report said.
"Imagine for a moment a 3-kilometer-thick band of soot, particles, a cocktail of chemicals that stretches from the Arabic Peninsula to Asia," said Achim Steiner, U.N. undersecretary general and executive director of the U.N. environment program.
"All of this points to an even greater and urgent need to look at emissions across the planet because this is where the stories are linked in terms of greenhouse emissions and particle emissions and the impact that they're having on our global climate," he said.
Some particles within the pollution cloud, such as soot, absorb sunlight and heat the air. That has led to a steady melting of the Himalayan glaciers, which are the source of most of the major rivers on the continent, the report said.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences estimates the glaciers have shrunk by 5 percent since the 1950s. At the current rate of retreat, glaciers could shrink by as much as 75 percent by the year 2050, posing a major risk to the region's water security.
The pollution clouds also have helped to reduce the monsoon season in India. The weather extremes may have also played a part in reduced production of key crops such as rice, wheat and soybean, the report said. At the same time, the brown clouds have also masked the full impact of global warming by helping to cool the earth's surface and tamp down rising temperatures by between 20 to 80 percent, the study said. That's because some of the particles that make up the clouds reflect sunlight and cool down the air.
The latest findings, conducted by an international collaboration of scientists over seven-plus years, are the most detailed to date on the brown cloud phenomenon, which is not unique to Asia. Other hotspots are seen in North America, Europe, South Africa and South America.
In everyone's backyard
The enormous cloud masses can move across continents within three to four days, illustrating the fact that the phenomenon is not just a regional urban issue but a global one, said lead scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego.
"The main message is that it's a global problem. This is not a problem where we point fingers at our neighbors. Everyone is in someone else's backyard," said Ramanathan.
The report also noted that health problems associated with particulate pollution, which include cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, are linked to nearly 350,000 premature deaths in China and India every year, said Henning Rohde, a University of Stockholm scientist who worked on the study.
The value of the study is that scientists looked at the effect of the brown clouds on multiple levels, said Ankur Desai, assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Quantifying the impact on people, ice, agriculture, etc., is certainly going to be useful," he said. "The study also brings together scientists who don't traditionally work together into thinking together about the impact, mitigation and fundamental science on how this works."
Study: Calif. dirty air kills more than crashes (Nov. 13, 2008) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27697708/
Author says state is 'paying now' for not doing enough on pollution - FRESNO, Calif. - Lowering air pollution in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley would save more lives annually than ending all motor vehicle fatalities in the two regions, according to a new study. The study, which examined the costs of air pollution in two areas with the worst levels in the country, also said meeting federal ozone and fine particulate standards could save $28 billion annually in health care costs, school absences, missed work and lost income potential from premature deaths. The price tag amounts to $1,600 annually per person in the San Joaquin Valley and $1,250 in the South Coast Air Basin. CLIP
New global warming law won't happen soon (Nov. 12, 2008) SO MUCH TIME LOST DURING BUSH'S TENURE! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27684899/
Congress may not act until 2010 on bill to limit heat-trapping gases - WASHINGTON - Congress will not act until 2010 on a bill to limit the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming despite President-elect Barack Obama's declaration that he will move quickly to address climate change, the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee predicted Wednesday. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said that while every effort should be made to cap greenhouse gases, the economic crisis, the transition to a new administration and the complexity of setting up a nationwide market for carbon pollution permits preclude acting in 2009."The reality is, it may take more than the first year to get it all done," Bingaman told a carbon markets conference here. Instead, he said, Congress is "ready to go" early next year on legislation to boost energy savings in buildings and transportation and to require utilities to produce more electricity from renewable sources like windmills and solar panels. Obama advisers and members of his transition team said this week that climate change remains a priority for the incoming President. Jason Grumet, a senior environmental adviser to the president-elect and on the short list for a position in the White House, predicted at the same conference Wednesday that it was going to be a "very, very busy 2009" on climate. Obama could begin to tackle global warming without Congress, by giving California permission to regulate global warming gases from motor vehicles and by issuing regulations under the existing Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court said in April 2007 the government has authority under current law to regulate carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas. CLIP
2 greenhouse gases on the rise worry scientists (Oct. 27, 2008) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27400533/
Methane and nitrogen trifluoride join CO2 as warning signs -- WASHINGTON - Carbon dioxide isn't the only greenhouse gas that worries climate scientists. Airborne levels of two other potent gases one from ancient plants, the other from flat-panel screen technology are on the rise, too. And that's got scientists concerned about accelerated global warming. The gases are methane and nitrogen trifluoride. Both pale in comparison to the global warming effects of carbon dioxide, produced by the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. In the past couple of years, however, these other two gases have been on the rise, according to two new studies. The increase is not accounted for in predictions for future global warming and comes as a nasty surprise to climate watchers. Methane is by far the bigger worry. It is considered the No. 2 greenhouse gas based on the amount of warming it causes and the amount in the atmosphere. The total effect of methane on global warming is about one-third that of man-made carbon dioxide. Methane comes from landfills, natural gas, coal mining, animal waste, and decaying plants. But it's the decaying plants that worry scientists most. That's because thousands of years ago billions of tons of methane were created by decaying Arctic plants. It lies frozen in permafrost wetlands and trapped in the ocean floor. As the Arctic warms, the concern is this methane will be freed and worsen warming. Scientists have been trying to figure out how they would know if this process is starting. It's still early and the data are far from conclusive, but scientists say they are concerned that what they are seeing could be the start of the release of the Arctic methane.Methane rising againAfter almost eight years of stability, atmospheric methane levels measured every 40 minutes by monitors near remote coastal cliffs suddenly started rising in 2006. The amount of methane in the air has jumped by nearly 28 million tons from June 2006 to October 2007. There is now more than 5.6 billion tons of methane in the air. CLIP
'Worst Polluted Places' list unveiled (Sept. 12, 2007) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20745214
China, India, Russia each have two sites among Top 10 for 2007 -- Conservation groups on Wednesday issued their second annual "Worst Polluted Places" list, adding four sites two in India and one each in Azerbaijan and China to the top 10. Overall, the 10 sites lie in seven countries and affect more than 12 million people, according to the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland.Experts from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, MIT, Mount Sinai Hospital and other groups devised the listing criteria, which focused on pollution's impact on human health especially that of children. "The fact of the matter is that children are sick and dying in these polluted places, and it's not rocket science to fix them," Blacksmith director Richard Fuller said in a statement. "This year, there has been more focus on pollution in the media, but there has been little action in terms of new funding or programs." CLIP
The World's Worst Pollution Problems 2008 http://www.worstpolluted.org/ Blacksmith Institute in collaboration with Green Cross Switzerland issued a Top Ten list of the worlds most dangerous pollution problems. The report names pollution as one of the leading contributing factors to death and disability in the world and highlights the disproportionate effects on the health of children.The Top Ten list includes commonly discussed pollution problems like urban air pollution as well as more overlooked threats like car battery recycling. The problems included in the report have a significant impact on human health worldwide and result in death, persistent illness, and neurological impairment for millions of people, particularly children. According to the report, many of these deaths and related illnesses could be avoided with affordable and effective interventions."Our goal with the 2008 report is to increase awareness of the severe toll that pollution takes on human health and inspire the international community to act," said Richard Fuller, founder of Blacksmith Institute. "Remediation is both possible and cost-effective."
The Top 10: Artisanal Gold Mining - Contaminated Surface Water - Groundwater Contamination - Indoor Air Pollution - Industrial Mining Activities - Metals Smelters and Processing - Radioactive Waste and Uranium Mines - Untreated Sewage - Urban Air Quality - Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling
Dirty Money http://www.truthout.org/111508F
"For more than a century, the American Smelting and Refining Co. extracted heavy metals from the earth, hauled them to smelters, and refined them into the lead, zinc, and copper products that fueled industry. Under the stewardship of exceedingly rich men, the company earned enormous profits while its industrial processes poisoned poor communities in nearly two dozen states. Now, with the company's future in doubt, the pollution may outlive the company that produced it."
NOTE from Jean: The following was forwarded on 18 Nov 2008 by Ricardo Ocampo (email@example.com), co-founder of the Global Meditation Focus Group and the man in charge of the IBERAMERICAN WEB OF LIGHT and the RED ANAHUAK NETWORKS (founded 1996) with 60,000 subscribers in 90 countries and 2 languages, and organizer of 9 International Spanish Speaking Gatherings. (If you wish to receive his weekly emails you may subscribe through http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LuxWebIII/
As for Alberto Ruz Buenfil, whose message is featured below, he has been an ERN subscriber several years ago and has been on the road touring South America with the Rainbow Peace Caravan for the past 13 years doing amazing socio-eco-educational work with his group of friends (and before that he has travelled around the world as an active participant to the Rainbow Gatherings and other related activities - I've included some info on his beautiful book below). Please take a couple minutes to review what they have done and what their current project is. I encourage anyone who is inspired to support them to send a donation through a wire transfer directly in Ricardo's Bank account as explained below. This would be a great investment for a better future for all and a great show of support for an amazing Rainbow activist and Light Server!
P.S. I sent this below to Alberto yesterday and got this reply from him:
It's been quite a long time since we celebrated together the Earth Concert, and since we connected for the publication of my book Rainbow nation Without borders.
Recently, when I began this campaign for the WSF, Hazel Henderson suggested I contact you again, but I had not your address, so I left it to the "invisible forces" to see if everything worked out to meet again at this crucial moment of our history.
Ricardo Ocampo was the bridge among us, and I am grateful for that.
I definitely would love to re-initiate our dialogue, collaboration, (friendship was never interrupted), and I am very grateful for your initiative to give us a hand in this "impossible mission" to create a temporary ecovillage in the mouth of the Amazones in Belem de Para, northeast from Brazil for the WSF.
Regarding the transfers, donations, grants, etc, yes, we do have a trusted person in the US, Heidi Junkersfeld, that has set all the mechanisms to make the process easy, safe and fast for us here in Brazil. I had many problems with money being sent directly to my Brazilian account, so we have Heidi do the collecting and depositing in bulk to my son in our ecovillage in Mexico, who from there can deposit it to me each time we get several donations together.
We are barely starting, but I do trust this endeavour is worthy, an your help and words will definitely give us a strong AHO!! to continue in this direction. Please, contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org (Heidi contact Jean) asap to start the movement, and let's keep in closer contact to see if you can also meet us in Brazil next January.
All my love, thanks and blessings
Coyote Alberto Ruz
From: Alberto Ruz Buenfil (email@example.com)
Date: 07 nov 2008
Subject: Rainbow Peace Caravan / Creating a temporary model Peace ECO-Village in Brazil
PROJECT: CREATING A TEMPORARY MODEL PEACE-ECOVILLAGE at the 2009 World Social Forum in BRAZIL
Dear friends, brothers and sisters, road companions:
Greetings from the Brazilian northeast!
As you may know, the Rainbow Peace Caravan which I created in 1996 and led for the last thirteen years has been in Brazil these last three years, doing its socio-eco-educational work in partnership primarily with the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.
As emissaries from "Another Possible World", we have planted seeds of change along the way, in 17 countries, in hundreds of communities, touching the hearts and minds of thousands of people from the most diverse ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This work has initiated many projects, networks and movements, which you can read about at the conclusion of this letter.
Besides innumerable workshops, artistic events, lectures, articles, and documentaries, the Caravan has won great respect in South America with the organization of small, medium and large bioregional, national and international events. These events have brought together representatives from the whole spectrum of socio-political, educational, environmental and indigenous organizations from as many as 35 different countries at a time. (Please refer to the conclusion of this letter for a comprehensive list).
We were also responsible for hosting and organizing two "ENA" (Ecovillage Network of the Americas) annual regional representatives meetings in South America. One in the Natural Reserve Sasardi, Colombia in 2000, the second in Oyantaitambo, Perú; and one "GEN" (Global Ecovillage Network) general meeting, also in Oyantaitambo-Peru, both in 2005.
For thirteen years I have dedicated all of my time, energy and resources to these projects, and as I reached last september my 63rd anniversary, I have to decide if I want to spend the rest of my years on the road, with the Caravan, or if it is time to begin contemplating another, more suitable project for the next chapter of my life.
You all know me, and therefore also know that my priority in life has been my mission, and that I have put aside my health, wealth and security, leaving my beautiful community in Huehuecóyotl and dearest blood family, in order to follow the vision and the paths upon which my heart has led me.
In all these last 13 years, I was personally funded for only three years by an Ashoka Fellowship (2002-2005); and recently by a small grant from Gaia Trust, for the investigation of the book I am currently working on dealing with rescuing the disperse "History of the Communitarian Movements from Brazil: 1500-2008)"
In addition, the former Minister of Culture of Brazil, Gilberto Gil, funded our NGO "Caravana Arcoiris", for a 12 month project, visiting, interacting, keeping an audiovisual recording and writing a book on this exceptional experience throughout 10 Brazilian states. The project was a huge success and we won a national prize as a "Living School," and were selected with the highest notes for a new 12 month project, which, due to the difficulties of the bureaucratic administrative process in this country and the recent change of Minister, has been kept on "stand by" for almost two years now, surviving with several small projects with local Majors and Secretaries of Culture and education here and there.
In the years past, we received small punctual grants from GEN, ENA and the educational office from the State Department from the US, which were applied to specific one month projects in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Besides that, we have survived mostly thanks to the cooperation of the communities that received us in exchange for our work, from donations from a few generous friends, from the cultural activities we sold to local cultural, municipal and educational organizations, from trade, from magic hats, from faith and providence.
During these years, neither myself, nor any other members of the Caravan received a salary. We all did it as a service and voluntarily for the Earth and for the people. Only when we were funded by the Ministry of Culture in Brazil did the Caravan members receive a monthly compensation of $150 US for our personal expenses.
So, where does that leave us now?
We have a very big project ahead, and we need your support! We have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming World Social Forum in January 2009, located in northeast Brazil, in Belem-Para, at the mouth of the Amazon River. Our intention is to dedicate all of our energy and resources, from now on, to get there at least one month before the event, and create a model temporary Peace ECO-Village. This space will receive thousands of people, mostly young activists from the entire planet, which will come, attracted as never before, to this historical event.
WE NEED FUNDING!!!
We are obviously aware that the actual Economical Global Crisis could be an impediment for donations, but it can also be a challenge, a lesson that we cannot let pass, to prove that we believe and have the means and disposition to create "Another Possible World."
If you can personally afford so send a donation, it will make our purpose more feasible, and we will be thankful to your gesture. If you cannot, you may have leads to other people, institutions, social enterprises, organizations, and may become a local founder for this project. And we will be again, very thankful to you.
How much and for what?
1-Fixing of our vehicles in order to move from here (Recife-Pernambuco), to Belem (Par)
2-Fuel for our six vehicles,(two buses, one truck, two trailers and one light vehicle), to cover a distance of approximately 1,750 miles each and in Belem for production (1,500 miles)
3-Provisions for a permanent crew of 25 people from mid December to mid February
4-Production money to set-up the infrastructure of the Peace ECO-Village
5-Provisions for an extra crew of 75 people from January 15th to February 7th. (Volunteers are needed to mount the Village, run the event and for dismounting and cleaning afterwards)
1- Item $ 7.000,00 US
2- Item $ 6.000,00 US
3- Item $ 7.000,00 US
4- Item $ 10.000,00 US
5- Item $ 10,000,00 US
TOTAL. Approximately: $40,000.00 US
What would be the purpose to fund such a project?
First of all, the WSF is the largest world event focusing on the presentation of possible models for a sustainable and alternative planet. It is mostly a forum of ideas, proposals, panels, and round tables, with information concerning web-sites, blogs, documentaries, photos, and the production of artistic events.
How do we put into practice all of these visions?
The temporary peace Eco-Village we will set in Belem will create a physical-visible model where those proposals can be directly experienced. A cooperative effort where activists, from all over Brazil, Latin America, the US, Europe and the rest of the Planet can come and give a hand, to learn, to share their knowledge and to manifest our collective dream.
We do not plan to have a "stand" on ecovillages, permaculture, bioregionalism or other subjects common to us all; we plan TO BE a place where those ideas can be actually lived. That is our main purpose in La Caravana: a "Living School." Yes, we will also have information, show films, do workshops and presentations, but the focus will be on how to do things in collaboration, integrating the physical, social, artistic, and spiritual aspects of being human on this diverse and sacred planet.
(Below you will find links to more information.)
Thank you for your interest and patience, many blessings to you all. We look forward to hearing from you soon, and to meet all of you who may be able to come to Belem to share this unforgettable experience.
Always, Alberto Ruz
For personal donations and/or money orders, PLEASE ONLY from physical person
to person (Please confirm if you send one)
Roque Alberto Ruz Buenfil
Banco do Brasil
Account: # 37.922-0
Agency: 1835-X CAXANGA, Recife, Pernambuco-Brazil
NOTE from Jean: As suggested by Alberto, for people in North America, simply contact Heidi Junkersfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask her how to proceed to send a donation to Alberto Ruz Buenfil through her.
For grants, fundings from Foundations, organizations, institutions, etc:
(Please confirm if you send one with date, amount and swift #)
Site from the "Hummingbird Call": www.humingbirdcall.com
(Recommended to watch this Canadian documentary from Alice Klein "Call of the Hummingbird, filmed with the caravan in Brazil, and her proposal of the Eco-Manifest)
E-mail from Nicolas Dyszel: email@example.com
(Recommended to watch the documentary "People from the Earth-Gente de la Tierra", (in Spanish) on the event organized by the Caravan "Chamado do Beija Flor" de Brazil), directed by the Argentinean Nicolas Dyszel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?V=cOnSAAmEZ14
E-mail from Jason and Penelope Gutzmer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To get copies from the documentaries: "World Bridger's": 10 years traveling with the Caravana Arcoris por la Paz, and "The Call of the Condor"
E-mail from Gabo Zapata email@example.com
For two documentaries edited in México: "The Call of the Condor" and "Tzajalá-Consejo de Visiones de Chiapas in 2002.
Site from the most recent biorregional Council in South America (October 2008)- "El Llamado del Espino," to held in a temporary Peace Village in Chile: http://www.llamadodelespino.cl
Projects initiated in cooperation with La Caravana ArcoIris
The Colombian Ecovillages Network, integrating the North Andean Network (Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela) that will be having their coming Bioregional Council in La Atlantida Ecovillage, in January 2009, led by former caravanistas Jorge Calero and Beatriz Arjona (firstname.lastname@example.org) www.aldeafeliz.org
ECO-Chile, the "Arcoiris network" that was formed by a group of people that was part of the Caravan during our long stay in Chile, and has just organized its first Vision Council for a Bioregional Action in the month of October 2008 in the central bioregion of that country, (www.llamadodelespino.cl)
Gatherings, or "Peace Villages" (Aldeas de Paz) organized and co-organized by the Caravan:
*Mexico (1st Bioregional Council from the Americas-Meztitla, 1996);
*First bioregional gathering and ecovillage training in Great Savanna and El Pauji, Venezuela, 1998;
*First bioregional gathering of the Colombian Ecovillages Network, in Titiribi-Medellin, 2000
*The first Women's Leadership Peace Village in Ecuador, 2002;
*The first Continental Vision Council for Bioregional Action, (Call of the Condor) in Peru, 2003
*The first bioregional Vision Council in Santiago de Chile (Llamado del Arcoiris), in 2004
*The first Vision Council for Bioregional Action in Brazil (Call of the Hummingbird), 2005
*The Olinda Peace Village for the Traditional Cultural Points of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, 2008.
Alberto Ruz Buenfil is the author of
RAINBOW NATION WITHOUT BORDERS: TOWARD AN ECOTOPIAN MILLENNIUM (Published in 1991)
Discover how the Woodstock Generation of the 1960s has become the Rainbow Warriors of the 1990s! RAINBOW NATION WITHOUT BORDERS recounts the spiritual search of the post-war generation, which has tried to bring about a new balance and harmony to a world in turmoil. The leaders of Greenpeace International, Rainbow Gatherings, and eco-feminist communities worldwide describe how legend and myth are transformed into the reality of historical change as the Earth moves toward an "ecotopian millennium."
What Theodore Roszak's MAKING OF THE COUNTERCULTURE was to the '60s and '70s, and Marilyn Ferguson's AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY was to the '80s, Alberto Ruz Buenfil's RAINBOW NATION WITHOUT BORDERS will be to the '90s. Weaving together radical history, visionary politics, and Native American prophecy, Alberto Ruz Buenfil's message is bold and clear: if the rainbow nation does not become the mainstream of the 1990s, you can forget about the 21st century.
- Jose Arguelles, author of THE MAYAN FACTOR and EARTH ASCENDING
Written in a clear and concise manner, RAINBOW NATION WITHOUT BORDERS will let you discover and even feel from a first-row seat the emergence and maturation of some of the most extraordinary seeds of change in this world. From the beatniks' spontaneous experiences of the '60s to the New Age communities and events of the '80s, an ever-growing army of Rainbow Warriors is actively preparing the way for a soon-to-come golden age of peace and wisdom.
- Jean Hudon, director of Global Awareness in Action
The international Rainbow phenomenon is the most important social movement of our time, and RAINBOW NATION WITHOUT BORDERS represents the first comprehensive study of its origins and current developments.
- Steve Hager, editor-in-chief of HIGH TIMES magazine
Alberto Ruz Buenfil is a noted radical of the 1960s, who participated in political protests worldwide. In 1973, he began a spiritual quest that took him to India, the Middle East, the North American deserts, and northern Africa, where he was initiated by many great spiritual teachers including the Dalai Lama. He is founder of a land-based, eco-feminist-community in Mexico and is a ceremonial leader for the opening of planetary sacred sites.
Call for day of action / mobilisation January 26th 2008 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LuxWebIII/message/463
We are millions of women and men, organisations, networks, movements, trade unions from all parts of the world; we come from villages, regions, rural zones, urban centres; we are of all ages, peoples, cultures, beliefs, but we are united by the strong conviction that ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE. With all the richness of our plurality and diversity and our alternatives and proposals, we struggle against neo-liberalism, war, colonialism, racism and patriarchy which produce violence, exploitation, exclusion, poverty, hunger and ecological disaster and deprive people of human rights. For many years we have been resisting and constructing innovative processes, new cultures of organization and action from the local to the global, in particular within the processes and Charter of Principle of the World Social Forum from which this call emerges. Aware of the need to set our own agenda and to increase the impact of these thousands of expressions and manifestations, we are committed to strengthening the solidarity and convergence amongst our struggles, campaigns, and constructions of alternatives and alliances. We commit ourselves to a week of action which will culminate in a Global Day of Mobilisation and Action on January 26, 2008. With our diversity which is our strength, we invite all men and women to undertake throughout this week creative actions, activities, events and convergences focusing on the issues and expressed in the ways they choose. ACT TOGETHER FOR ANOTHER WORLD! First signatures (from WSF International Council Berlin meeting - May 30th, 2007) http://www.wsf2008.net
NOTE: Here is an excerpt from their Chart of Principles: "The World Social Forum is opposed to all totalitarian and reductionist views of economy, development and history and to the use of violence as a means of social control by the State. It upholds respect for Human Rights, the practices of real democracy, participatory democracy, peaceful relations, in equality and solidarity, among people, ethnicities, genders and peoples, and condemns all forms of domination and all subjection of one person by another." To read the rest go at http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2
NO WESTERN MEDIA WILL EVER FEATURE SUCH AN ARTICLE...
A senior British law lord, former Lord Chief Justice Lord Bingham, stated yesterday in a speech at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London that the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was a serious violation of international law.
Lord Binghams comments were made in reference to the Parliamentary statement made by the then Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that existing UN resolutions justified the decision to resort to force against Iraq, due to the fact that this country had violated the terms of Resolution 1441 (November 2002). This resolution stated that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms under Resolution 687, relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction, long-range missiles and the refusal to compensate Kuwait for the looting after the invasion of 1991.
However, at the time, the inspection teams led by Hans Blix had found absolutely nothing incriminating and were continuing their work in the field. Iraq had no WMD. Secondly, Resolution 1441 stated clearly that the UN Security Council would remain seized of the matter in the event of material breach (which in the event did not exist) and in any case, the basic precept of the UN Charter declares that decisions to go to war must necessarily pass by the UNSC.
Moreover, why did the USA in particular apply so much pressure to Member States of the Council to back a decision to go to war if it was not necessary? Why did Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declare that they were working on a second and separate Resolution?
And where is the legality of attacking civilian targets with military hardware? Where is the legality of dropping cluster bombs in residential areas? Is it legal to beat prisoners? Is it legal to torture people? Is it legal to set dogs on detainees? Is it legal to kidnap and take people to he held in concentration camps without the right to due legal process? Is it legal to force prisoners to stay awake through shining lights in their faces and playing loud music day and night?
Is it legal to urinate in their food? Is it legal to force someone to consume what he would not normally eat due to his religion or culture? Is it legal to rape female detainees? Is waterboarding legal? Is it legal to wire up a prisoners testicles? Is it legal to deny a prisoner access to sanitary installations?
Is it legal to force prisoners to strip naked and lie in pyramids on the floor? Is it legal to kick them on the ground? Is it legal to shoot wounded prisoners of war? Is it legal to deny access to medical treatment? Is it legal to strafe civilian areas with artillery fire? Is it legal to target hospitals and hotels?
Is it legal to destroy a countrys water supply with weaponry? Is it legal to destroy the gas and electricity supply lines? Is it legal to dole out contracts to cronies without tender?
Is it legal to massacre hundreds of thousands of people or create the conditions for this to take place? Is it legal to enter and damage property in a sovereign nation after an unlawful invasion?
The fundamental law governing the case was very clearly defined in this column months before this hideous breach of international law was purposefully and willfully committed by the regimes in the USA and UK.*
However, the American and British governments, joined by a sickening clique of snivelling yellow-bellied cowardly sycophants whose heart was not in it but who were too gutless and spineless to say no, pressed ahead. The precepts of international law exist to be adhered to, not to be broken. Therefore the perpetrators of this illegal act of butchery, this stain on the collective conscience of Mankind must be brought before a court of law and justice must be done, if we do not want future generations to deride us for what we are collectively showing ourselves to be.
Unlike their detainees, these criminals should have access to due legal process. The interrogators of Donald Rumsfeld might like to waterboard him just for him to see what it is like and George W. Bush might be tried under a legal system which allows the capital penalty of hanging. After all, here is a man who callously signed 152 death warrants (Saddam Hussein signed 148).
Or shall we all accept once and for all that international law in fact does not exist, that the whole UN thing is a sham, that Faculties of law vomit forth nothing other than simpletons and gutless whimps who are high and mighty when bullying a young divorcee but utterly useless when it matters, and that the international community is incapable of making an important statement at the begging of the Third Millenium, which the mass murderers and war criminals of this world have already sullied?
Will The Slaughter Of Iraqis By The US Military Ever Be Reported? (November 13, 2008) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-schwartz/will-the-slaughter-of-ira_b_143503.html
I recently received a set of questions from Le Monde Diplomatique reporter Kim Bredesen about the 2007 Project Censored story about 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths due to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The questions and answers are, I think, useful in framing both the untold story of the slaughter in Iraq and the failure of the U.S. media to report on its extent or on U.S. culpability for the deaths of 4% of the Iraqi population.Bredeson : I observed recently that your story on Iraqi deaths caused by US occupation became story no. 1 in this year's listing by Project Censored. I wondered if I could ask you a few questions on e-mail regarding this issue? Regards, Kim Bredesen, Le Monde diplomatiqe (Norway) These are my questions.1.Do you expect that the new administration under Barack Obama will acknowledge the validity of the statistics concerning Iraqi deaths caused by the US occupation force?It is always difficult to predict the political future, but even if the Obama administration pursues a very different policy in Iraq and the Middle East, I doubt it will acknowledge the amount of violence caused by the war during its first six years. Historically, the U.S. government has a poor record of acknowledging its responsibility for death and/or destruction of other peoples, beginning with the genocide against Native Americans (never officially acknowledged), continuing through two hundred years of the slave trade and slavery (there has actually been a limp official apology), and culminating in the ongoing refusal to acknowledge one to three million deaths in Vietnam caused by the U.S. attempt to conquer that country.2.You mention in your update to Censored 2009 that there is a media blackout about the dramatic statistics in US mass media. Do you think this will change?I think that the U.S. mainstream media has a poor record of acknowledging the many instances in which it has (collectively) failed to maintain its constitutionally mandated independence from government policy, and instead has ignored or written false reports supporting government malfeasance and tyranny. It was refreshing that the New York Times and Washington Post acknowledged their failure to report the contrary evidence to the US government claims about WMDs in Iraq, but this is a rare moment that has not led to more independent reporting on other U.S. government action in the Middle East.I think that we can expect the U.S. mainstream media to continue to compromise its journalistic integrity in reporting on Iraq, and this will mean failing to report its own suppression of the Lancet studies and continuing to misreport the U.S. role in the Iraq war. CLIP
Texas grand jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales of crime (Nov 19, 2008) http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE4AI11B20081119
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A grand jury in South Texas indicted U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for "organized criminal activity" related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons.The indictment has not been seen by a judge, who could dismiss it.The grand jury in Willacy County, in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border, said Cheney is "profiteering from depriving human beings of their liberty," according to a copy of the indictment obtained by Reuters.The indictment cites a "money trail" of Cheney's ownership in prison-related enterprises including the Vanguard Group, which owns an interest in private prisons in south Texas.Former attorney general Gonzales used his position to "stop the investigations as to the wrong doings" into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said. CLIP
Taxpayers Will Pay for Gonzales's Private Attorney http://www.truthout.org/111908M
Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers: "The Justice Department has agreed to pay for a private lawyer to defend former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales against allegations that he encouraged officials to inject partisan politics into the department's hiring and firing practices. Lawyers from the Justice Department's civil division often represent department employees who're sued in connection with their official actions. However, Gonzales' attorney recently revealed in court papers that the Justice Department had approved his request to pay private attorney's fees arising from the federal lawsuit."
Obama's Attorney General (18 November 2008) http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/poweringup/archive/2008/11/18/obama-s-attorney-general.aspx
President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition. Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal "vetting" review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted, the source said. The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments. (...) A New York City native who graduated from Columbia University and Columbia Law School, Holder spent years as a federal prosecutor - a job in which he earned a reputation as tough and aggressive foe of public corruption. After serving in the public integrity section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and later a District of Columbia Superior Court judge, Holder was named by President Clinton as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. He became deputy attorney general in 1997 under Janet Reno and was viewed as a centrist on most law enforcement issues, though he has sharply criticized the secrecy and the expansive views of executive power advanced by the Bush Justice Department.
From: Ed Elkin (email@example.com)
Date: 19 Nov 2008
Subject: Fwd: Presidential library for W
Dear Fellow Constituent
The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages and accepting donations. The Library will include:
The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.
The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.
The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.
The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.
The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.
The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.
The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.
The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.
The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they make you to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth visit.)
The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.
The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.
The Supreme Court Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.
The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.
The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.
Note: The library will feature an electron microscope to help you locate and view the President's accomplishments.
The library will also include many famous Quotes by George W. Bush:
'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
'Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.'
'No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.'
'I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.'
'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.'
'Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.'
'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.'
'The future will be better tomorrow.'
'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.'
'One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)
'Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.'
'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'
'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'...George W. Bush to Sam Donaldson
PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY!
Jack Abramoff, Co-Chair G.W. Bush Library Board of Directors
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