December 29, 2007

The Perfect Storm Series #14: BIG Troubles Ahead

Hello everysoul!

I've been very busy lately and thus have barely skimmed through all the new emails I continuously receive. Yet amidst it all, a number of rather disquieting articles have caught my attention, each signaling major troubles ahead -- as if some of the stuff I've networked these past few years wasn't alarming enough...

So if you have a "couple" minutes to spare, you will find below some of what should be of concern to us all.

Of course, it is not all doom and gloom as there are always bright shining rays of hope and things we can individually do to mitigate the current global situation - to a certain extent - one of them being to keep a positive attitude and focus our spiritual "juice" onto the bright spots inwardly and outwardly so as to help us all make the breakthrough into the next level of existence.

For those of you regularly joining into our global communions of souls every Sunday, the current Meditation Focus #179: Standing Tall is good for another 2 weeks. If you feel so inclined during your meditations, you may want to help stabilize the emotional level of distraught people in Pakistan following the brutal death of Benazir Bhutto there a couple days ago (see the details on this below).

May Light, Love and Peace Prevail on Earth now and forever...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. Your feedback is as always welcomed and may be included in a coming compilation - unless you prefer it is not. Circulating this compilation (or any part of it) and personally inviting your correspondents to subscribe to this list would also help enlarge the circle of people who have access to this material. Please include the following note and the URL address for the archived copy below along with your forwards, so others may have the opportunity to explore the original copy, if they so choose.

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Thirty years ago when inflation grew and the economies sagged, we called it “stagflation.” This time the term may be too mild to encompass what seems about to happen. Within the next year our liquidity problems, unsatisfied demand for oil, growing food and water shortages, and other consequences of overindulgence appear likely to merge into an unprecedented economic storm. In the midst of this storm, which could continue for years, world oil production is likely to decline forever and the resources to mitigate the storm are likely to become very scarce. Someday the events we are all going to live through in the next decade may become known as the century’s most perfect storm.

- Tom Whipple -- Taken from The Peak Oil Crisis: Storm of the Century

"We’re saying that by the time the dust settles and the smoke is cleared, ‘the dollars is going to be worth the dime on the dollar’ will be the slogan of the future. The history books will remember 2008 as the ‘panic of 2008.’ (...) They (Feds) are going to balance it out by devaluing the dollar. That’s the way they are going to do it, and the impact is going to be tremendous. You can see what happened in Argentina when they did it and you can see what happened in other countries. The same thing is going to happen here. There will be massive unemployment. We’re going to see the worst economic conditions in the United States in the years ahead that anyone living has ever seen. "

- Gerald Celente, taken from Interview: Economic 9/11 below

Be the Peace you want to see in the world

You cannot change another's mind
You can only change your own
You cannot change another's ways
You can only change your own

You cannot change the world outside
You can only change your own
But if every one themselves did change
Then the world will have surely grown

So concentrate upon yourself
And tidy up your life
Sort out thoughts and feelings too
Get rid of all your strife

Eat pure food and think pure thoughts
And fill your life with Love
Count your Blessings day by day
That come from up above

And as you do your Spirit grows
And you will surely find
That joy abounds in all you do
And peace doth fill your mind

And if your mind with peace is filled
Your peace is felt by others
The peace you feel doth flow from you
Touching all sisters and brothers

For all we do and all we think
Affects all in our space
So if all on earth did master themselves
We'd soon heal the whole human race

- Mary Hession
Taken from


1. Greetings
2. New Moon Meditation for Peace
3. Message from Matthew - December 23, 2007
4. Rebirth
5. LaRouche Assails "British Empire" For Bhutto Assassination
6. The Peak Oil Crisis: Storm of the Century
7. Interview: Economic 9/11
8. Top 25 Censored News Stories of 2007
9. Dennis Kucinich Wins IndependentPrimary.Com
10. Help Rep. Wexler Create Cheney Impeachment Hearings in Congress
11. Discussion on global warming deniers
12. Major international study warns global warming is destroying coral reefs and calls for 'drastic actions'
13. Earth's Eighth Continent - It swirls. It grows. It's a massive, floating 'garbage patch.'
14. The Plastic Sea - Worse than oil spills?
15. Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
16. High Tech Trash: Will your discarded TV end up in a ditch in Ghana?


The World Clock - Amazing!
This is a MUST see! Recommended by Larry Stell (

The Prez candidate U.S. voters are googling for (20 December 2007)
This chart shows Google's 2007 search history for several 2008 presidential candidates. Can you guess the identify of the "light blue" candidate who's leaving everyone else in the dust? ANSWER: Ron Paul!

Ron Paul will win by a landslide (12/23/2007)
Analysis/Opinion-Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman, Ron Paul, can win the presidency. Contrary to the pundits and media propaganda, Ron Paul is best positioned to win the GOP nomination. Ron Paul has more money than his opponents and is just starting to gain momentum. As a result of massive popular support Paul’s donor base is huge and donors are not close to reaching contribution limits. Paul’s opponents are going broke and their donors are maxed out. Ron Paul may raise 20 million this quarter and chances are he’ll raise more the next quarter. (...) The point is it is already too late to stop Paul. He’s going to win the Republican nomination. As a general election candidate Ron Paul will win a 50 state landslide against any Democratic nominee. Ron Paul’s opposition to the war in Iraq, and defense of the Bill of Rights, and Civil Liberties, may actually dig deeply into the Democratic vote and overwhelmingly attract independents to his campaign. His support for secure borders as an integral part of national defense is also a very popular issue that transcends parties. CLIP - More on Ron Paul through

GOING NUCLEAR - Despite a just-released U.S. national intelligence consensus that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, apocalyptic fundamentalists George Bush and Dick Cheney remain intent on ordering an all-out attack against one of the world's oldest (and best armed) civilizations. As governments and citizenry protest this folly, an overriding question torments many minds: Will the architects of more than one-million civilian corpses in Iraq choose to “go nuclear” against Iran? Many believe they will not dare. If the inhibition against killing is one of the strongest human impulses (just ask a returning veteran), the ethical revulsion and international prohibitions against using nuclear weapons seem strong enough to rule out their first aggressive use since America's atomic attack on Nagasaki. But what if the post-WWII nuclear Rubicon has already been crossed? According to a U.S. Army veteran with extensive boots-on-the-ground connections, the United States Government has dropped five nuclear weapons on Afghanistan and Iraq. And gotten away with it. CLIP

Past Life Regression: I think I am Marilyn Monroe (August 2, 2006) (Fascinating!)
A Canadian singer contends she is the icon reincarnated. Although many will find the claim outlandish, she has a staunch supporter in Malibu psychiatrist Adrian Finkelstein.Her name is Sherrie Lea Laird. She is the lead singer of a Canadian rock band called Pandamonia and the divorced mother of a 21-year-old daughter. But throughout her life, the 43-year-old Laird contends, she has also been someone else: Marilyn Monroe. Laird’s assertion that she is the reincarnation of the late Hollywood icon is sure to be dismissed by skeptics. But it has found an ardent defender in a Malibu psychiatrist named Adrian Finkelstein, who said he uncovered Laird’s previous existence after placing her under hypnosis as part of a highly controversial therapy known as “past life regression,” in which patients recall their past lives as a way to deal with problems in their current lives. CLIP

Kennedy's speech a few days before his assassination

The Pentagon's Electronic Warfare Program: Maximum Control of the Entire Electro-Magnetic Spectrum (December 24, 2007)

The Appearance of the Blue Sun in our Solar System (November 22, 2007)
The comet that has exploded and now looks like a blue sun is a great sign of the return of Christ consciousness to the material plane of Man. This represents the reunification of the spiritual self with earthly existence. It represents an evolution in consciousness to which many will be exposed, yet only a very few will integrate quickly. CLIP recommended by Barbara Tomczyk (

If Michangelo's David Lived In the US Today
A picture is worth more than 1,000 words...


Pakistan erupts in violence as election is thrown into doubt (29 December 2007)
Violence raged across Pakistan yesterday in the angry aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, sending the country into even deeper turmoil and pushing it closer towards possible breakdown.As Ms Bhutto was buried in her ancestral home in Sindh province, more than 30 people died in incidents across the country as trains, banks and other buildings were set alight and troops were deployed to help restore order. With smoke billowing from countless fires in the southern port city of Karachi, troops there and elsewhere were given orders to shoot violent protesters on sight. A mob of 2,000 people set alight a police station and in Hyderabad at least 25 banks and 100 vehicles were aflame."Since last night, a lot of damage has been caused. Shops, cars and government buildings are being burnt," said a senior Karachi police official, Azhar Ali Farooqi. But large parts of the city were deserted as people stayed inside, and with most, if not all, petrol stations closed there were few cars on the streets. All public buildings were closed and many flights in and out of the city's airport were cancelled.In the central city of Multan, about 7,000 people ransacked seven banks and a fuel station and engaged with police who responded to their stone-throwing with tear gas. In Islamabad, about 100 protesters burnt tyres in one of the city's business areas.Reports from Ms Bhutto's home district of Larkana said hundreds of shops and vehicles were still smouldering. Many of the countless thousands of protesters were shouting anti-government slogans and blaming Mr Musharraf for Ms Bhutto's death.In the city of Peshawar, about 4,000 supporters of Ms Bhutto rallied and several hundred ransacked offices, shouting, "Musharraf dog" and "Bhutto was alive yesterday, Bhutto is alive today".A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Javed Iqbal Cheema, told reporters in Islamabad that "vested groups" and criminals were taking advantage of the situation to loot and rob, particularly banks.But it was equally clear that Ms Bhutto's death and the government's alleged failure to protect her from the assassin had ignited an anger that will not quickly dissipate. CLIP - Many more related news through

Police abandoned security posts before Bhutto assassination (December 28, 2007)
Police abandoned their security posts shortly before Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday, according to a journalist present at the time, and unanswerable questions remain about the cause of her death, because an autopsy was never performed. (...) Perhaps more shockingly, an attendee at the rally where Bhutto was killed says police charged with protecting her "abandoned their posts," leaving just a handful of Bhutto's own bodyguards protecting her."Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts," wrote Saeed Shah in an essay published by McClatchy News Service. "As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: 'Willing to die for Benazir.'"While some intelligence officials, especially within the US, were quick to finger al Qaeda militants as responsible for Bhutto's death, it remains unclear precisely who was responsible and some speculation has centered on Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, its military or even forces loyal to the current president Pervez Musharraf. Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, is the garrison city that houses the Pakistani military's headquarters."GHQ (general headquarters of the army) killed her," Sardar Saleem, a former member of parliament, told Shah at the hospital.Whatever the case, Bhutto's precise cause of death may never be known because of the failure to administer an autopsy. CLIP More on this below in LaRouche Assails "British Empire" For Bhutto Assassination

India watches with bated breath (29 Dec 2007)
NEW DELHI: As Pakistan burnt in the aftermath of Benazir's assassination, India was keeping its fingers crossed in the hope that Pakistan — often described as the "most dangerous" place on earth, with jehadis virtually having a free run of the nuclear-armed nation — did not implode. On Friday, it suspended road and rail links with the neighbour, but that scarcely brought out the concern staring it. The Indian establishment may have for decades known its neighbour as an adversary with well-crafted nefarious designs against it, but it is now faced with a different threat altogether, having to contend with a real danger of Pakistan tipping into anarchy. "We won't be able to insulate ourselves in that eventuality," said a top government functionary, after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by PM Manmohan Singh on Friday. "There is no room for us to sit back and enjoy them going down the tube. The chaos and the ever-rising clout of ultra-radical extremist fundamentalism in Pakistan will have very grave consequences for us," he grimly added. The almost-stalled bilateral composite dialogue process is not a cause for worry for India at this stage but the fact that the "backlash of the rise of extremism in Pakistan will certainly be felt in India" is leading to some anxious moments here. After directing a high alert on the borders as well as in vulnerable areas in the hinterland, the government on Friday suspended the cross-border bus and train services with Pakistan. The one-hour CCS took stock of the entire security situation in the region, discussing various scenarios which could emerge in Pakistan, reeling as it is under waves of suicide bombings, with its demoralised Army seeming to be incapable of stemming the terror attacks even in the cities far away from the frontier tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. CLIP

Vatican Bank Top 10 Money Laundering Destination (November 23, 2001)
According to one global source, the Vatican is the main destination for over $55 billion in illegal Italian money laundering and the number 8 destination worldwide for laundered money, ranked well ahead of such offshore havens as the Bahamas, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. In a recent report by the London Telegraph and the Inside Fraud Bulletin, the Vatican was named as a top "cut out" country along with the offshore banking centers of Nauru, Macao, and Mauritius. A "cut out" country is one whose banking secrecy makes it is all but impossible to trace laundered funds back to their source.The Vatican Bank is desperately resisting a legal action for an accounting of stolen World War II assets in a San Francisco Federal court (Alperin v. Vatican Bank) filed by Serb and Jewish Holocaust survivors. Contrary to the above reports, a declaration filed under penalty of perjury by the Vatican Bank's attorney, Franzo Grande Stevens, states in part that the Vatican Bank's "fundamental purpose is to promote pious acts" and that its depositors "are essentially limited to Vatican state employees, members of the Holy See, religious orders, and persons who deposit money destined, at least in part, for works of piety." Stevens also declared to the court that the Pope controls the Vatican Bank and that bank records are not retained after ten years. It seems that the Vatican Bank, a major illegal money laundering operation, is hiding behind the benign image of John Paul II. Given the Vatican Bank's alleged involvement with Nazi loot and current links to organized crime, a reckoning cannot be far off. The accumulating evidence points to a more piratical than pietical Vatican Bank.
Much more on this claim at where one can read: UPDATED OCTOBER 2007 - What is this lawsuit all about?In 1998 the US State Department issued a report implicating the Vatican in the 1945 disappearance of the Treasury of the Nazi Puppet State of Croatia. The purpose of this lawsuit is to obtain legal accounting of the missing funds from the Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order, recover assets and distribute them to survivors and their descendants.How much money is involved? Nobody knows for sure except perhaps the defendants but estimates have run from several hundred million dollars to sums as high as two billion dollars. CLIP

VIDEO: Naomi Klein on the Shock Doctrine
In a wide-ranging interview with Truthout's Geoffrey Millard, bestselling author and investigative journalist Naomi Klein discusses the catastrophic failures that have ensued from the free-market reforms that has spread throughout the world over the past few decades. Klein explains that the rise in "disaster capitalism" is also leading to an increase in worldwide violence that will only get worse. She refers to the issue as "The Shock Doctrine," which is also the title of her groundbreaking new book.

Donors pledge $420 million for UN emergency fund for global crises (13 December 2007)
The top United Nations humanitarian official today welcomed the $420 million pledged by donors for a landmark fund which has significantly reduced the time in which aid is delivered to those most in need. (...) Speaking at this morning’s donors’ meeting, Assembly President Srgjan Kerim highlighted the threat posed by climate change, which will increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters.“‘Climate shocks’ such as droughts, floods and storms are already among the strongest factors driving poverty,” he said. “They will become more frequent as the planet warms.”Mr. Kerim stressed that it is the world’s poor who will suffer the most as a result.Since its launch last March, CERF has committed nearly $600 million to more than 700 humanitarian projects in 59 countries impacted by natural disasters and armed conflicts. Since January 2007, it has disbursed over $212 million to rapid response grants in 48 countries and $124 to underfunded emergencies in almost two dozen nations. CLIP

Global Warming Isn't Heating Up Campaign Trail
Ellen Goodman, The Seattle Times: "The inconvenient truth of the 2008 election year is that climate change is still way down the dance card of most-talked-about topics. It's ranked No. 12 among Democratic candidates, and No. 15 among Republicans."

Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million (28 December 2007)
This month may have been the most important yet in the two-decade history of the fight against global warming. Al Gore got his Nobel in Stockholm; international negotiators made real progress on a treaty in Bali; and in Washington, Congress actually worked up the nerve to raise gas mileage standards for cars. But what may turn out to be the most crucial development went largely unnoticed. It happened at an academic conclave in San Francisco. A NASA scientist named James Hansen offered a simple, straightforward and mind-blowing bottom line for the planet: 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It's a number that may make what happened in Washington and Bali seem quaint and nearly irrelevant. It's the number that may define our future. To understand what it means, you need a little background. (...) In the past five years, though, scientists began to worry that the planet was reacting more quickly than they had expected to the relatively small temperature increases we've already seen. The rapid melt of most glacial systems, for instance, convinced many that 450 parts per million was a more prudent target. That's what the European Union and many of the big environmental groups have been proposing in recent years, and the economic modeling makes clear that achieving it is still possible, though the chances diminish with every new coal-fired power plant. But the data just keep getting worse. The news this fall that Arctic sea ice was melting at an off-the-charts pace and data from Greenland suggesting that its giant ice sheet was starting to slide into the ocean make even 450 look too high. Consider: We're already at 383 parts per million, and it's knocking the planet off kilter in substantial ways. So, what does that mean? It means, Hansen says, that we've gone too far. "The evidence indicates we've aimed too high - that the safe upper limit for atmospheric CO2is no more than 350 ppm," he said after his presentation. Hansen has reams of paleo-climatic data to support his statements (as do other scientists who presented papers at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco this month). The last time the Earth warmed two or three degrees Celsius - which is what 450 parts per million implies - sea levels rose by tens of meters, something that would shake the foundations of the human enterprise should it happen again. And we're already past 350. Does that mean we're doomed? Not quite. Not any more than your doctor telling you that your cholesterol is way too high means the game is over. Much like the way your body will thin its blood if you give up cheese fries, so the Earth naturally gets rid of some of its CO2each year. We just need to stop putting more in and, over time, the number will fall, perhaps fast enough to avert the worst damage. That "just," of course, hides the biggest political and economic task we've ever faced: weaning ourselves from coal, gas and oil. The difference between 550 and 350 is that the weaning has to happen now, and everywhere. No more passing the buck. The gentle measures bandied about at Bali, themselves way too much for the Bush administration, don't come close. Hansen called for an immediate ban on new coal-fired power plants that don't capture carbon, the phaseout of old coal-fired generators, and a tax on carbon high enough to make sure that we leave tar sands and oil shale in the ground. To use the medical analogy, we're not talking statins to drop your cholesterol; we're talking huge changes in every aspect of your daily life. CLIP

Japan defers humpback killings (Dec 21)
Japan has announced it will defer plans to kill up to 50 humpback whales in the Southern Ocean this summer. The country's government is set to detail plans to put off "for the time being" the killing of up to 50 of the animals as part of its whaling program. The move comes after Australia said on Wednesday it would send a send a fisheries patrol ship to shadow Tokyo's whaling fleet near Antarctica. The ship was to gather evidence for a possible international court challenge to halt Japan's yearly slaughter. Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura defended Tokyo's whaling program, saying it was in line with international treaties and he saw no problem with it. Japanese broadcaster NHK says the decision has been made out of respect for Japan's relationship with Australia and the expectation that there will be continued public concern in Australia over the issue. But Japan will continue its other whaling programs, including plans to kill up to 900 minke whales this season. CLIP

EMF-Omega-News 22. December 2007


From: Jeremy Burnham (
Subject: Greetings, brother J!
Date: 25 Dec 2007

Over a cup of tea on this poignant Christmas day:

I enter 2008 on the cusp of two critical tipping points. One appears to be coming at me, the other flows from me.

The one we call Earth Changes - the environmental and social consequences of my actions and inactions over past decades - ultimately of my separation and fear and consequent greed, insensitivity and laziness. Each new meeting of eminent scientists tells me that the changes are coming yet sooner. What to do? Be the change . . . If I want to see people more committed and outspoken - let me be so, fully, without attachment to results.

The other tipping point is that of consciousness - the environmental and social consequences of my thoughts and feelings over past decades - of my growing willingness to be and to show gratitude and love no matter what. How near are we to the critical mass that will allow the morphogenetic field of gratitude and love to make the quantum leap to envelope all? - I don't know, never can. But let that not deter me from continuing to contribute to its growth right now.

Could it be that these two tipping points are calling ever more insistently for each other? - that they are complementary? Let me this year be an exemplary steward of my own back yard; let me challenge my neighbours to do the same; let me demand of my elected representatives that they do what I elected them to do; AND let me forgive myself for my past shortcomings, and look for ways to express gratitude and love to my neighbours and representatives (yes, even him) for doing the best they knew how.

With love - Jeremy

Jeremy Burnham
The Natural Step
30 Gill St, Observatory, Jo'burg
+2711 274 6807 / 072 424 0147



From: Sharon Rose (
Subject: New Moon Meditation for Peace
Date: 25 Dec 2007

Aloha Jean,

At this sacred holiday season and the start of a new year, my heart overflows with gratitude for all of life’s wondrous blessings, and for the gift of your presence in my life this past year.

In the busyness of the holidays, it is often easy to lose our gratitude and perspective. Recently, when occupied with the busyness of my day, I received a message from a stranger that allowed me to stop and re-evaluate where I was focusing my energy. It was such an immediate wake-up call that I want to pass his message on to you.

As I placed my items on the check-out counter at the local health food store, the beautiful young man behind the counter asked me how I was. I replied with a rushed response still distracted by the events of the day. He said, “Don’t conform to the pattern of this world, but instead be transformed in the image of Christ.”

His words stopped me cold in my tracks, as I felt the truth of his statement. As I reflected further upon this simple wisdom, I realized that making this choice would not only bring about inner peace, but peace in all our relationships and endeavors, and of course, peace on Earth. No longer would we be involved in conflicts or wars, recognizing everyone as a brother or sister of our one human family. Instead of amassing armies against those that look or think different than us, our energy would be focused on loving, forgiving, and being kind to one another, and celebrating our inherent unity. Imagine. . . just imagine the kind of world we could create.

When enough of us make this choice, it will be out-pictured in the world around us, including our government. Quantum physics has proven that whatever we focus upon with our thoughts and feelings and visualize in our mind’s eye comes into manifestation.

I invite you to gather your family and friends together once a month at the time of new beginnings, the new moon, to participate in a visualization to co-create this peaceful world. This monthly event was initiated 16 years ago, and now hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are joining together to create this new world. A suggested meditation follows. Please join us.

With love and blessings for a New Year of peace and joy,

Sharon Rose
December 24, 2007


A Meditation to Create A Peaceful World

Purpose: To join together in heart, mind & spirit to create a world of peace.

When: Each new moon in 2008: Jan. 8, Feb. 6, March 7, April 5, May 5, June 3, July 2, Aug. 1, Aug. 30, Sept. 29, Oct. 28, Nov. 27, Dec. 27

How: By yourself or with a group of family and friends, offer a prayer or meditation for the creation of a more loving, peaceful, abundant world.

The following is offered as a suggestion. Add your own vision of heaven on earth.

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and breathe in the love deep at the center of your heart. Breathe love into every cell of your body.

Send love out from your heart to everyone you know and to the places in the world that need healing, until your loves reaches around the world.

Hold our precious Earth in your hands and send love and gratitude to this beloved planet that is our home.

Create in your mind’s eye the paradise this planet was always meant to be.

Envision clean air and pure water, rivers, lakes and oceans... lush green forests and farmlands... people living in dignity and abundance in harmony with each other and the Earth.

Hear the sounds of forgiveness as old enemies become friends... the sounds of joy and laughter as communities formerly divided by hate become whole again.

Feel the warmth of acceptance and the safety of our homes and neighborhoods as our world becomes united with brotherly and sisterly love.

Envision peace beginning in the heart of every individual and spreading heart to heart across the land, finally encircling the globe.

See clearly this new world that honors everyone as well as the Earth, and feel how good it feels to live in this peaceful world. See it clearly and feel it intensely.

Release it to the angels with joy and gratitude and begin today to live it. And so it is!

Adapted from Passport to Paradise copyrighted by Sharon Rose

Note from Jean: See also a previous related contribution last year (December 28, 2006) from Sharon Rose archived in the item #1 at ">"> where the summary part is worth reading again...

As a new year begins, let us pause for a moment to ponder about the progress made so far and acknowledge all that has been learned in these past 12 months. As we gradually enter in a state of deep meditation, joining in thoughts and feelings into the celestial harmonies created by the chorus of loving souls communing together, both on Earth and beyond this realm of existence, let us open ourselves to the magnificent beauty of the vast, holy assembly we form. Let us feel out the streams of loving kindness emanating from all participating souls, rejoicing in this NOW moment to the effulgence of Light pouring through our hearts and radiating around this living sphere to form a pulsating cocoon of dazzling brilliance. Let us feel Who we collectively are as we become One with all Life on Earth, One with Gaia, this perfect Being of Love, this global quintessence in which we all partake as cells in a greater body of Life.

As our thoughts float towards the center of this gigantic being, let us express our infinite gratitude for all that she continuously gives us, for the air we breathe, for the water we drink, for the food sustaining us and for the grace of Life with which we are each imbued and through which our very existence is made possible. Let us sense the rivers of Love streaming within us from within Her and connecting us all as One. Looking around into the infinitely vast universe from the vantage point of our common Earth post, let us experience the unfathomable sense of Bliss springing forth as we contemplate the Miracle of Life gracing this infinitely small speck of dust in the boundless cosmos around us, and let us feel how precious each and every single Life form truly is, each intricately connected to all others to form a perfectly functioning and self-regenerating living entity: Gaia

As we join in this globally synchronized communion of souls, at the appointed time or at any other NOW moment in the next 2 weeks, let us consciously remember what brought us here, what mission we vowed to accomplish and what infinite resources of creativity and power we each have at our disposal, if we only believe in us as One, to BE the change we are here to manifest in this physical realm of joyful existence. As we do so, let us renew our sacred vow to uphold the sanctity of Life, to protect, cherish and Love every single expression of the Creator around us, and let us brazenly, without the slightest shyness, express the embodied perfection that We each Are... for the Highest Good of All.


From: Suzanne Ward (
Subject: Message from Matthew
Date: 23 Dec 2007

December 23, 2007

MATTHEW: I bring you loving greetings from the heavenly hosts! How we wish you could hear the music of the spheres as you celebrate the holiday season— if everyone on Earth could hear these tones of celestial magnificence, your world would be instantly transformed into a planet of love and peace. Hark—that is coming! We are rejoicing as we view the vestiges of negativity on Earth being transmuted into light and the buds of long-awaited changes beginning to blossom in fullness.

For ages the tap root of deeply entrenched darkness on Earth was hidden. When that core of the system was shaken loose in recent decades, its far flung roots tried to hold firm its secret mooring. Then those roots started shaking too and became a possible threat to the viability of the whole system. Over the years, the threat grew into a probability, then the actuality, and now the once titanic tap root with its flourishing widespread network is flailing in death throes, its withering tendrils futilely trying to escape the light's brilliance. This is an allegorical depiction of the changing nature and lot of Earth humankind, changes that are being observed with growing excitement throughout the universe. 

Down to Earth, the mixture of emotions during this season always is heightened. Whether celebrating religions‚ holy days or secular festivities, the collective spirit of people with family and friends glows like billions of candles burning brightly. On a level that is not obvious to you, but is a great part of the light intensity generated, is the radiance we see in your sharing, caring and compassion for the masses of souls who are alone, homeless, grieving, in combat zones or hospitals, or enduring near intolerable hardships, and for whom this season is but a sorrowful reminder of better times. More so than ever before in your history, the outpouring of loving energy for these ones is in such abundance that our hearts are singing in exaltation!

Now for an overview of what you will see during your calendar year 2008 as undeniable evidence that the patterns of behavior and systems of the old ways are tumbling to make way for the new. Disclosures in mainstream media—where truth still is sparse in the plethora of omissions and misleading information—are only the tip of exposures so plentiful that when they come out, it will seem more like an eruption than an emergence as peoples demand an end to pervasive corruption and oppression. Yet, be mindful that what is transpiring is reformation, not revolution, and although changes ultimately will be profound, they will come within the just laws and orderliness of a civilized society and not the untenable disarray of anarchical upheaval.

All happenings are due to the frequencies Earth has reached in her ascension. The raising of consciousness and spiritual clarity enabled by these higher vibrations is reason to leap with joy, but in the short term, some effects may be unsettling. Physical anomalies, depression, fatigue and confusion may be due to bodies adjusting, but please do not assume that is the cause of discomfort. Proper treatment may be necessary, so consulting trusted health care specialists and using natural remedies is sensible, but chemicals prescribed to calm you down or cheer you up will only create more havoc with your systems‚ electromagnetic currents, which are incompatible with those chemicals. Assist your bodies by drinking a lot of pure water.

Another noticeable effect of the frequencies is changing attitudes and behavior as all characteristics and emotions are being magnified—in easiest terms, "good" is getting better and "bad" is getting worse. Positive outlooks and characteristics are blooming beautifully, enhancing relationships in families, workplaces and communities. Conversely, the veneers of acquired traits like diplomacy and feigned philanthropy are wearing thin and the less admirable basic nature is showing, just as will all instances of falsity and self-service.

In a similar vein but from a different source, hearts and minds are stirring with sensations that changes are needed in personal relationships, type of work or living environment, or perhaps a complete change of lifestyle. These usually derive from strong soul level nudgings to get on with other choices in the pre-birth agreements that require different circumstances from those already experienced.

Planetary cleansing via earthquakes and storms will continue until Earth is rid of the negativity amassed over the ages of brutality and bloodshed, thus it is wise to be prepared with sufficient typical emergency supplies to weather these kinds of events. Please remember that soul contracts are what govern physical safety and survival—do not let fear be the motivator for moving to a "safer" location. Do not let fear into your lives at all! This is a good place to mention that "global warming" is Earth's return to the predominantly moderate climate that once prevailed worldwide.

From a variety of obvious causes, many, many souls will continue to transition from Earth to spirit life, and with each one's departure, grief and missing the physical presence will befall family and friends. One day not too distant, when telepathic communication again will be commonplace on Earth, everyone will know that the leave-taking is by the soul's choice in agreement with all primary persons in that lifetime and LIFE is an unending cycle of incarnations, then residence in a spirit world, within eternal love bonds.  

Despite the highly publicized war-mongering rhetoric that is meant more to arouse fear than to undertake action, armed conflicts will ease, then cease as bellicose national leaders are ousted and lighted souls step in to govern in peace. Peoples will start enjoying the liberties and better living standards so long denied them, and a cooperative spirit of working in harmony for the good of all will replace current conflict, anger, jealousy and ruthlessness. This too will be a transition, not godliness blanketing the planet in one fell swoop, and patience a bit longer will serve you well.

The unconscionable inequality between rich and poor is coming to an end as the global foundation for financial dealings that has caused this disparity is coming apart at the seams. The largely unrecognized bankruptcy of the United States unavoidably will have domino effects, and the economies of many other nations already are in tatters. When all of this stabilizes, you will have a sound basis for commerce and banking, the lives of billions now in bare subsistence level countries will be greatly improved, and the vast coffers of those who earned their fortunes dishonestly will be fairly distributed to end impoverishment wherever it exists.

Contrary to reports that benevolent members of our universal family will make mass landings to evacuate peoples of Earth, that will not occur because there will be no need. However, their ongoing massive assistance in a variety of ways will continue, and when it is safe for those living among you to introduce themselves and those surrounding you in spacecraft to land, they will. Not only will that be a time of unequaled celebration on Earth, but all lighted civilizations in the universe will be cheering when that monumental day arrives! 

Now then, the lapse in my messages was intended to coincide with my mother's move. Although that has been delayed, she has been spending this time in other spiritual information avenues, and we thank all readers who refrained from writing emails and letters. To those who did write their hope that messages would soon resume and included good wishes for her move, we appreciate your thoughtfulness. But more significant to the point I need to make is the large number of individuals who wrote such as "I know he says we need to ask within, but I'm not getting answers and I really need his helpful messages" and "Please! We count on Matthew's information to get us through these chaotic times."

The absence of my messages had a purpose aside from my mother's anticipated need for time, and that purpose is most evident in the sentiments expressed in those verbatim examples. Despite our urging to the contrary, some of you still are relying on external sources to tell you what to think or feel or do. By no means am I the only source of enlightening and encouraging information, but a difference is that not all other messages from light beings address readers' questions, and I recognize the merit in this.

Please remember that in previous messages I have told you that my intention is to inspire you to develop your innate ability to discern truth from falsehood and learn to trust your intuition, and I offered suggestions to assist you to achieve this essential aspect of spiritual evolvement. Those words are in bold italics to stress how crucial it is that you not delay in developing these key aspects of self—you have the capacity to do this and all you need is the will to use it.

I also have said that by continuing to provide the answers that are within you, I was diminishing instead of stimulating your incentive to grow as you must; yet continue I did because you kept asking. I think my responses to some kinds of questions totally missed the mark—to show that cluttering your thoughts with trivial issues or succumbing to fear with each dire prediction forms a barrier to raising your consciousness and attaining spiritual clarity. And I could have been more emphatic about this too: Earth's journey to her destination is assured but yours isn't; it's your responsibility get on that same track.

By making every effort I could think of to impart what you need to know, I don't feel that I have failed, but neither do I feel that I have fully succeeded. So I have been pondering what I can do to ignite the spark of your self-discovery of the powerful gods and goddesses you are, and the recurring thought is "tough love." Because it is not my nature to be harsh or abrupt, but rather as helpful as can be within universal laws—this is true of all souls in lighted spirit worlds—I knew that applying tough love would not come naturally. But in practicing on my mother, I've seen that it can be effective. Ever since we started talking nearly 14 years ago, I have been telling her that she needs to drink more water—she becomes engrossed in the task at hand, thinks "as soon as I finish this," and simply keeps forgetting. Not long ago she became much more diligent without my prodding, after I told her once again about water. I knew her thought, of course, and I said, "No, I don't get tired of reminding you, I get tired of your ignoring me."

I think God must feel like that when his children repeatedly ignore The Word he sent by souls who then spread it throughout the land. Lamentably, down through the ages The Word has been distorted by those with influence, who cast out the truths and inserted information that served their purposes of greed and control. Now God-appointed messengers from the lighted realms are transmitting The Word to his receivers on Earth to waken his sleeping children in this unprecedented era on your homeland planet. A message of timeless importance in God's own words is well worth your reading and rereading. []

Now I will tell you something that is not in that message, an alert he gave my mother about a month ago. It was not to scare her, but to inform her that tentacles with dark attachments are lashing out more ferociously than ever before in energy alignment with the thoughts and deeds of the recalcitrant souls, the darkly-inclined ones whose behavior is increasingly irrational and desperate as they are acting out their fear. Since the low frequencies being emitted cannot penetrate strong psyches and spirits, they are attacking through anyone and anything that can affect those who are holding their light steady—as beacons for others, they also are major targets for the darkness. God said this accounted for several recent unlikely occurrences in my mother's home that caused inconvenience and expense—everything is energy, and tentacles with either light or dark attachments can and do affect inanimate things.

But most important, God told her, is that she must be keenly aware of her surroundings and take utmost care in all her undertakings. Because I am ever present, I know she felt that she always is cautious; however, she was not prepared for the new force of attack, and two days later her finger was severely slashed. She was using it as she usually did to hold open a special door for dogs so the little blind fellow could enter, and suddenly the largest dog flung herself at the door, which nearly severed part of that finger. Later I told my mother that a dark tentacle had "spooked" Jessie and why: How better to silence a voice that speaks through a computer keyboard?

My mother, like all other dedicated lightworkers, is protected by the Christed light, and although God's countless emissaries are ever vigilant over all of you, none may prevent something that would interfere with your choices. You must not only wisely take precautions in major endeavors, but also be alert to potential harmful effects of minor ones. Because of that injury, my mother is more safely helping the little dog exit and enter, and although she could have used this way all along, she didn't think it was necessary to do anything differently. God's message to her applies "across the board," so extrapolate here and let her experience stir you to expand your awareness and thus your safe being.

When I spoke of "tough love," I wasn't referring to a sensible suggestion like that, which comes from the tender caring of the unconditional love that all souls at this station feel for all of you. Tough love means that no longer will I answer questions that are basically curiosity: Will so-and-so be the next US president, will President Bush be impeached, which world leaders are dark and which are light, will Iran be invaded, where is the economy heading, when will the war in Iraq end, how far will the new virus spread, what will stop the chemtrails, what if? Please understand that I am NOT saying these matters are not important—they are!—and it would be a most exceptional soul who could ask within and get accurate answers.

There are two important issues here. First, in a sense, you have been given answers to those questions and many others—the descriptions of the promised Golden Age that other evolved souls and I have given you clearly show that any momentary concerns about such matters are unnecessary. Second, Earth's energy field of potential is rife with countless zigzagging streamers, and although the finale—the Golden Age—is known, all free will choices with their positive or negative charges shooting out into that field every nanosecond preclude our knowing the absolute outcome of each energetic expression. Energy is in constant motion so situations are ever in flux, and what in this moment appears likely, tomorrow may have lost its punch, or vice versa.

But the primary point I need to make is, a forecast of specific matters that in time you shall see for yourselves as they unfold is not what needs to be paramount in your thoughts—knowing and BEing the souls you are, IS! You could say that "introducing you to yourselves" is and always has been my purpose. Going on more about this would merely be repeating what I have said in many messages.

Again, they are not the only source of enlightenment, encouragement and guidance, but reviewing them could be helpful as refresher courses generally are. However, I know that with linear time racing right out of the picture and the same myriad responsibilities must be accomplished, most of you may not be able to do that. Furthermore, I would be remiss if I did not stress here one more time the "other side of the coin" from dependence on external sources to carry you along on Earth's journey, and I state with brevity that belies the inestimable honor we pay you: You are brilliant souls who, simply by radiating your light, are inspiring others to let their own light come to the fore!   

It is important to repeat as well something else I often have said, that each of you is a manifesting powerhouse and what you manifest not only is your very life, but affects Earth and the universe. In line with this is the "2012" chapter in And then God said - then I said - then He said, a book of extraordinary messages received by my mother and by Celestial Bluestar of the Pleiades and David of Arcturus, powerful light warriors with vital missions during this unique time in your world. As God instructed, "2012" is pertinent excerpts from my messages, and I asked my mother to separately post that chapter as space limitations preclude adding it here. ( You "live in the now," as your expression goes, where in each moment you are co-creating your "future." This is precisely why you chose this Earth lifetime and this is what needs to be foremost in your thoughts, your feelings, your actions! I believe that reading "2012" not only will be exciting as you visualize your co-creation, but it will remind you that you are eminently prepared for this transitional phase at hand.

Now, by request, I speak for all souls in spirit and in body at this station of spiritual evolvement: Our abiding love for every one of you shines like all the stars in the heavens—let our love lighten, guide and uplift your pathway, knowing that you and we are eternally ONE.

Suzanne Ward


Note from Suzy: You may have received this as a forward. The former Yahoo group was disbanded—if your address was in that group and you would like to receive future messages directly, you will need to sign up on the new free distribution list that will be formed soon. When that is ready, a note and the sign-up link will be posted on "Matthew's Messages" page on Please do not send your address to me—I can't add any more to my list. 

Because Matthew wanted to send out a message at this time and my injured finger precludes typing for any length of time, he transmitted this in numerous short stages during the past week. Even slowly typing with that finger "aloft" is counterproductive to its healing to the extent possible. With all other projects completed prior to the "accident," I intended to start answering emails that go back as far as March. I don't know when I can do this, so please continue to stretch your understanding and patience. Also, no new emails, please. Thank you!

The new comprehensive index of the messages and books and the search feature in "Matthew's Messages" makes it easy to access topics of special interest.

Guests on the January 23, 2008 "Matthew and Friends" BBS Internet Radio/Station 1, will be Celestial Bluestar and David, the other receivers of messages in And then God said - then I said - then He said. The book will be available early in the Spring. A description of content is at and you can preorder a copy at


Forwarded by Carl Landsness ( who wrote: "The message below poured through Mariah this morning... after a major catharsis. It was extremely profound for both of us... and we're still reverberating with aftershocks and wooziness. It brought to light an image that touches my core like no other:
This movie takes me even deeper:
May Divine Light shine upon you in you around you and from you. Blessed Be Our Birth Day."

From: Mariah (
Subject: Rebirth
Date: 24 Dec 2007

Blessings this Christmas Eve!

The attached message came through me this morning in response to a spontaneous, cathartic clearing that moved through me rather suddenly. It was far beyond the discussion Carl & I were having at the time and so I decided to write about it and see what was happening.

Attached is the message that I was gifted with. I will say that it is probably the most powerful energetic download I've ever received. This appears to be an amazing day for us all... regardless of religion, ideology, or any of the other standards by which we classify ourselves.

May you be gifted with Light & Love this day and always,


12-24-07 RE-BIRTH

This is indeed time for a choice. You are not the only ones facing the proverbial "fork in the road"! We say to you that all of humanity is at this crossroads and the choices are being made, whether they are realized or not. You are some of the fortunate ones who are realizing you are making a choice. This is a gift and a blessing — rather than the curse it may seem to be.

The time for darkness is ending. There is indeed a rebirth of the Light both for the collective and the individual. This is the good news! Rejoicing is called for — and yet there are those who simply refuse to believe that this is the case. There are those who will choose darkness and fear when even the brightest of lights are shone upon them. Again, we say to you this is a choice. You are free to choose the path that calls to you each is free to choose.

The Earth has entered its rebirth — indeed this has been happening for quite some time, and at this very moment we say to you the light at the end of the tunnel (the birth canal) is visible to you all. It is not only visible, it is all around you. You are surrounded by Light! We say again you are SURROUNDED BY LIGHT. There is no darkness unless you choose to enter it. There is no darkness unless you forget your light. All darkness can be illuminated by light.

While it may seem apparent to you that darkness can engulf light, or snuff out light, this is not true. As you have witnessed this morning, in the purging of the darkness, light is what remains. The light is always there. When the darkness is illuminated the light is still there. Always. Unquestionably. Light remains steadfast and unchanging. For the Light is All That Is. The Light is within all things and remains all ways and always.

Ask yourself this Christmas Eve This Eve of Rebirth what is it I choose? What path calls me forth? Do I choose to be a warrior/ess of Light? Do I choose to walk the path of Love? Do I choose to walk with Hope, Faith and Peace? Do I choose to believe that, in spite of the seeming darkness around me, the Light remains? Do I choose to know that all is well in spite of appearances, and do I choose to look for the Light in all beings and situations?

The birth of the Christ is the Birth of the Light. The light, the star, the guidance, are within at all times. You may look outside yourself and see light. You may look outside yourself for guidance and direction and this may be helpful if you are indeed, looking to the light. The brightest light however, shines within and illuminates all that it touches.

In the face of darkness please choose the light. Please choose to look for that which is positive, is caring, is hopeful and is blessed. It is there.

Even in the darkest of hours, the most ominous of situations, the most dire of circumstances — there is Light. And when you see it, when you acknowledge it — no matter how fleeting it may seem — it has no choice but to grow. As you focus upon the tiniest ray of hope, the tiniest sparkle of joy, the tiniest flicker of compassion, of peace, of love, of faith — it WILL grow. It has no choice; there is no option, for this is the Law of Light. When it is focused upon it expands and it illuminates the darkness.

Allow the Light within you to grow today. Allow yourself to follow your gaze until it alights upon something hopeful — and let yourself focus upon that — expand it until it fills your entire being with a Light so luminous that no darkness can penetrate it. Allow yourself to expand into Joy. Allow yourself to expand into Love. Allow yourself to expand into the luminous being that you are. And hold this place. Hold this light. Hold this love. Hold this peace. It is from this place that you are REBORN. That the Christ is BORN again. That Love is born again. And that your Life is born again.

You are born again. Earth is born again.

It is a Birthday. It is your birthday.
Celebrate it like no other for it is the birth of the Light!

Note from Jean: To find out who Mariah is, check her short bio at


Forwarded by Larry Stell (


LaRouche Assails "British Empire" For Bhutto Assassination

December 27, 2007 (LPAC)--Lyndon LaRouche today offered the following initial assessment of the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Mrs. Bhutto was killed by a suicide assassin at the conclusion of a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

LaRouche characterized the assassination as a "chaos operation." LaRouche explained that he sees the British hand all over it, referring to recent revelations of MI6 operators negotiating with Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. The British, LaRouche elaborated, are operating with many groups--in all factions, on all sides of the conflict. They work towards both parallel and contradictory objectives.

LaRouche argued that the motives behind the Bhutto assassination are global, not regional. There are factions of the British oligarchy who are out to make the entire global situation into an unwholesome mess. This has more to do with the global financial crash than anything internal to the politics of Southwest or South Asia, he continued. There are factions in the City of London and allied financial oligarchy, who understand that the present financial system is doomed--is already collapsing at an accelerating rate. They see this as end game, and are committed to determining who survives, and who goes down. They are using terrorism as a weapon of chaos, to secure their survival out of the collapse.

LaRouche explained that he is not referring to the House of Windsor. The issue is the London-centered Anglo-Dutch financial oligarchy, which is out to consolidate their imperial control over the world, under conditions of a total breakdown crisis. The issue is: Who will come out of the crash intact?

To pursue the precise British assets behind the Bhutto assassination, the appropriate question is: Which British assets in the South Asia region totally hate the prospect of any rational outcome to the situation? That is the starting point.


Related articles:

U.S. Physical Economy Shows More Signs of Collapse (December 28, 2007)
(LPAC)--The impact of the global financial crash on the American economy, its remaining physical production, is becoming more and more severe because of the lack of any Congressional acknowledgment of that crash, or action to create "firewalls" to protect the real economy from it.At least 16 U.S. states have suddenly found themselves in budget crises due to drops in tax revenues, and in two of them, California and Kentucky, the governors have announced they will call "fiscal emergencies." The reasons are spiking unemployment, Medicaid costs, as well as the rapid vaporization of housing-related taxes and fees due to the mortgage meltdown.As 2007 ended Ford and Chrysler had placed 26,000 production employees on "temporary layoffs" in during December, set to last at least through January, and potentially to become permanent. General Motors, which in 2007 "bought out" 46,000 GM and Delphi workers from the industry, announced it's getting rid of 5,000 more by the buyout route. All three automakers have cut their production for the first quarter of 2008 by another 10% or so as sales fall. Employment in the auto industry fell by 75,000 during 2007. New unemployment claims have been running at 345,000 per week in December, 15% higher than earlier in 2007. Today's announcement of November new home sales by the Census Bureau was disastrous; sales fell to a 647,000 annual rate, when only on September 18, the Homebuilders Association {warned} gloomily that they might fall to 800,000 by the end of the year! So many "pending sales" have been falling through, that previous months' figures have been revised down, to where the sales were already well below the 800,000 rate even in September, when the Homebuilders were making their "forecast." The November sales figure is the lowest for any month in 12 years. And durable goods orders for the U.S. economy, also announced today by the Commerce Department, are at $207 billion for November, a full 10% lower than November 2006. This drop is not adjusted for inflation, or for the falling dollar. It's purely and simply the falling economy. CLIP

Next Year Could Foreclose the Nation (December 26, 2007)
(LPAC) -- The implosion of the housing bubble guarantees that 2008 will be more horrific than 2007. The worsening will come from an upsurge in the number of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) reset to higher interest rates during the January to June period, the inaction-to-date by Congress, and the hyperinflationary effects of the money-pumping by private central banks.Leading inflection points of the ongoing housing crash in 2007, and projections for 2008:** Prices of existing U.S. single-family homes tumbled 6.7% during October of 2007, compared to October of 2006, the tenth straight month of decline, according to data released today by Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Composite Index for 10 of America's largest cities. The October price index fall exceeded even the previous record 6.3% decline recorded in April 1991. As well, Case-Shiller publishes a composite home price index for 20 American cities. Eleven of the cited cities experienced during October, the biggest monthly price decline since the 1929-32 depression, spearheaded by Miami, - 12.4%; Tampa, -11.8%; Detroit, -11.2%; San Diego, -11.1%.** Fannie Mae, one of the two U.S. secondary mortgage market giants, which had pumped out optimistic predictions earlier this year, now predicts over the course of 2008, that prices for existing homes, will fall an additional 4.5%, and sales for existing homes will plummet an additional 12%. That would be in addition to the plunge in home sales this year, which have been down 20.7%, comparing October of this year, to October of last year.** Lehman Brothers investment bank analysts project that approximately 1 million home mortgage loans will be thrust into default in 2008, compared to 300,000 this year. However, all this must be put in perspective: reality will outstrip even the most dire projections being made now.

Indebted Consumers Defaulting in Record Numbers (December 24, 2007)
(LPAC)-- In an article which is receiving wide play in the nation's media, Associated Press examined the records of 17 of the national credit lenders, and determined that credit card defaults have taken a big jump, rising to what the Washington Times called a "crisis level." For the month of October, accounts 30 days past due were up 26% to $17.3 billion (year-on-year figures), amounting to 4% of the nation's $920 billion credit indebtedness. "Serious" delinquencies (90 or more days overdue) were up 50% for some lenders, and defaults (where lenders have given up on collection efforts) were up 18%, to over $960 million. The three companies hardest hit were Avanta, GE Capital, and British HSBC.AP's coverage tied this directly to the ongoing mortgage crisis, where collapsing prices were wiping out borrowers home equity, on which they had built the illusion of prosperity. They a note that the areas hardest hit were Florida and California. And, like the mortgage crisis, the experts quoted all indicated that the problem would only get worse after the holidays

Schwarzenegger To Declare State Of Emergency, Massive Budget Cuts Coming (December 22, 2007)
(LPAC)--California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger dumped a huge lump of coal into the Christmas stockings of Californians yesterday, when he announced that he would declare a "fiscal emergency" on January 10, and that his administration is preparing "deep cuts" in the state budget. The unfolding of this crisis has forced Schwarzenegger to drop his usual optimistic persona, as he told reporters that the situation is "very bleak." With the estimated budget deficit now at $14.5 billion for fiscal year 2008-09, and a shortfall for the remainder of 2007-08 now at over $3.3 billion, department heads of all state agencies are putting together a plan which starts with at least 10% across-the-board cuts.Those areas bracing for the worst cuts include education, health care, social services, and the penal system. Leaks have been made to prepare people for these cuts, with a figure being floated of $1.4 billion taken out of the education budget, and a proposal to release 22,000 nonviolent prisoners with less than 20 months remaining to their sentence, drawing fire from Republicans.The most obvious problem in the discussions thus far is that there is no one addressing the real problem, which is the accelerating disintegration of the global financial system. The dramatic collapse of revenue to the state has resulted from this disintegration, as the once-powerful agricultural-industrial economy of California has been dismantled, with hundreds of thousand of jobs lost in manufacturing in the last twenty years, replaced by low-wage jobs in services, tourism, and entertainment. With legislators caught up in the phony debate of more cuts versus more taxes, there is little prospect for a solution emerging, unless the courage is found to break the control, by George Shultz and Felix Rohatyn, over the political debate.




The Peak Oil Crisis: Storm of the Century

Written by Tom Whipple   

27 December 2007

A “Perfect storm” refers to the simultaneous occurrence of events which, taken individually, would be far less powerful than the result of their chance combination. Such occurrences are rare by their very nature.

-- Wikipedia

In recent weeks we have been bombarded with reports of perturbations in the mortgage/liquidity crisis that is creating havoc in the financial world.

The travails of the “financial industry”, as it is called these days, are affecting oil prices at least as much as the normal forces of supply and demand.

Commentary on what is about to befall us is becoming scarier with each passing day. Learned professors are writing in the New York Times that our financial system is in danger of coming unglued. The general thesis is that America’s financial institutions are only capitalized at $1.1 trillion yet they are supporting $11 trillion worth of mortgages. Home prices are going to have to fall by 30-50 percent before most people can afford to buy homes again. When this drop in housing value is over, some 20 million homes will be mortgaged for far more than they are worth and a fair portion is likely to be abandoned. Some think the banking system is in for some very hard times. Others have dubbed the burgeoning financial crisis “peak money.”

But there is more: global warming seems to be causing unprecedented droughts and glacial melting which in turn are leading to lower food production and empty reservoirs and a substantial drop in hydro-electric production around the world.

Welcome to “peak climate,” “peak food,” “peak water,” “peak electricity,” or as some people are putting it, “peak everything.”

Some parts of the world are pumping so much fossil fuel emissions into the air that they can barely breathe. Perhaps they are reaching “peak air?” Then there are worries about the world’s carrying capacity –- “peak people?”  

There is no question that a lot of bad things are about to happen –- more or less simultaneously. If some “peaks” we can see looming ahead occur at the same time, they will reinforce each other leading to a far more serious situation than if they occurred decades apart where they could be dealt with separately. Simultaneous shortages of fuel and water in the same area would have serious consequences as large resources would have to be devoted to providing life-sustaining water supplies, putting additional pressure on oil supplies and prices. If the drought in the Southeastern U.S. continues much longer, Atlanta may be the first large city in the U.S. to experience this phenomenon.

Other peak situations cut both ways and may have unforeseen and unintended consequences. Food grain-based biofuels (peak oil vs. peak food) should in theory help to mitigate the peak oil situation but is contributing significantly to peak food and higher food prices. The amount of corn-based ethanol being produced today is making a minimal contribution to keeping down oil prices while resulting in much higher food prices. Increases in fuel and food prices are starting to result in significant inflation which in turn is complicating efforts to deal with peak money.

The timing of the various peaks will have a lot do with how they interact with each other. Serious consequences from global warming (peak climate) is usually thought of as being many years ahead, but if the Georgia drought turns out to be a consequence of global warming then massive economic damage from global warming may be closer than many imagine.

Keeping in mind that as yet unimagined interactions and consequences of the various peaks may arise, at the minute it seems that a major financial crisis and peak oil will set in during the next few years. The interaction of these phenomena will be complicated. At times they will mitigate each other and at times will reinforce the troubles. Currently the consensus of the global market is that as prospects for a recession improve, oil prices deserve to go down based on an eventual drop in demand. In recent weeks, we have seen nearly every governmental attempt to deal with the liquidity crisis in the U.S. and Europe resulting in surges in oil prices in hopes they will be successful.

The interaction of declining oil supplies and a world monetary situation out of control would seem to have the most potential for serious trouble in the immediate future. Newspapers, magazines and the cybersphere are filling with stories by credentialed and knowledgeable people saying that a financial meltdown has already started and that the situation will get much worse in the next year.

Current evidence suggests that at least in the U.S., Europe and China the demand for oil will continue to remain high until completely overwhelmed by economic difficulties. With the world’s population increasing by 76 million each year, the demand for food is unlikely to subside and prices are likely to increase – food-based biofuels production or not.

Thirty years ago when inflation grew and the economies sagged, we called it “stagflation.” This time the term may be too mild to encompass what seems about to happen. Within the next year our liquidity problems, unsatisfied demand for oil, growing food and water shortages, and other consequences of overindulgence appear likely to merge into an unprecedented economic storm. In the midst of this storm, which could continue for years, world oil production is likely to decline forever and the resources to mitigate the storm are likely to become very scarce.

Someday the events we are all going to live through in the next decade may become known as the century’s most perfect storm.


Related articles:

Global Food Shortage Looms (December 18th, 2007)
While the media has been focusing on looming potential global crises — a peak in oil production, shortages of potable water, threat of escalating war(s), and myriad effects of global warming — a more urgent problem has been simmering: a global food shortage.The alarm bell has now been sounded by Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, who said there is a “very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food” as prices soar and supplies dwindle.From the International Herald Tribune:“World wheat stores declined 11 percent this year, to the lowest level since 1980. That corresponds to 12 weeks of the world’s total consumption - much less than the average of 18 weeks consumption in storage during the period 2000-2005. There are only 8 weeks of corn left, down from 11 weeks in the earlier period.”Global inflation is accelerating, meantime, and that has spurred investors to buy grains and other commodities as a store of value, reports Bloomberg news. Wheat for March delivery reached a record $10.095 a bushel yesterday. The problems are all interrelated. Higher oil prices add to food distribution costs, for example. Climate change has already contributed to crop declines. Behind it all is the growing global population, which puts more demands on the planet for all these resources. One odd pressure, according to the Herald Tribune article: More grain is being diverted “to feed cattle as the population of upwardly mobile meat-eaters grows.”Don’t expect the oil part of the equation to get any better. As demand in China and India soars, one study suggest production could peak as early as 2008.

World economic crisis 2008: Russia will outstay
Most people, irrespectively of their religion and nationality, tend to celebrate New Year and hope for the best. The Russians are the same, moreover, the New Year is our main and most beloved holiday celebrated almost in every family. We wish happiness in the upcoming year; raise the goblets for a better future. However, experts who annually release economic forecasts don’t see the future so enthusiastically: they promise $175 for barrel of oil and a serious meltdown in Chinese and U.S. financial markets.The Saxo Bank’s specialists from Denmark have prepared a regular economic forecast for the next year, though it is stated that some predictions make no pretence to be precise, but give us a chance to think of the future of the financial markets.According the analysts, in the upcoming year the world oil prices will reach $175 for barrel, the prices on corn will double and we will have to face a 40% collapse of the Chinese market in August, while American stock indexes will lose 25%. Every third largest American construction company may turn bankrupt, while the British economy will sag.The question is how often the forecasts issued by the analysts come true. Saxo Bank assures that all their forecasts made for 2007 were right. CLIP


From: "Ricardo" (
Subject: Interview: Economic 9/11 - WHAT CONDITIONS SET UP THIS ECONOMIC BOMB?
Date: 24 Dec 2007


Trends in 2008

by Linda Moulton Howe

“In 2008, we’re going to see some major, giant financial firms fall as they get hit by an economic 9/11.” - Gerald Celente, The Trends Journal

The Trends Research Institute, Rhinebeck, New York.

December 21, 2007 Rhinebeck, New York -

On December 19, 2007, the Federal Reserve announced it was lending another $20 billion to American banks in the first of four special “auctions” designed to help alleviate the credit crunch on Wall Street caused by the subprime loan collapse in real estate. That $20 billion brings the total money pumped into the United States financial sector since June 2007, to about half a trillion dollars. In its announcement, the Federal Reserve said it was responding to requests for $61.6 billion in loans from 93 bidders – illustrating strong demand by banks that need short-term funds. Some market experts doubt this latest infusion of cash will help much. Barry Ritholtz, Director of Equity Research for Fusion IQ, told CNN:

“This is a crisis of confidence, not of liquidity or rates. The problem is that people made bad loans. There’s nothing the Fed can do to fix this. All they can do is try and reduce anxiety.”

And in the December 24, 2007, issue of Newsweek, financial columnist Robert Samuelson wrote about “A Sequel to the Subprime Mess? The obvious danger is another wave of large losses and a chain reaction of fear that paralyzes and cripples investors, particularly banks.” This is exactly the subject that leads off the 2008 Trends list in The Trends Journal written and published by Gerald Celente in Rhinebeck, New York. Mr. Celente has been interviewed by network newscasters for years and his trend predictions are generally correct. This week I talked to him about trends he sees for 2008, beginning with the top of his list: “Economic 9/11.”


Interview: Economic 9/11

Gerald Celente

Gerald Celente, Editor and Publisher, The Trends Journal, Rhinebeck, New York: “Economic 9/11, we believe is going to hit the United States in 2008. And just as the World Trade Centers toppled from the top down, we’re going to see the crash happen from the top down as well. This talk about the sub-prime market. Yes, that’s a problem, but nothing compared to when the big firms start failing, when banks go bust, brokerages go out of business. In 2008, we’re going to see some major, giant firms fall and get hit by an economic 9/11. We don’t know what the fuse will look like, but we know that the bomb is set already. And when it’s lit, we believe it’s going to happen before June of 2008.


Well, in 2007, we saw the first cracks. But it really needs to be understood that this has been underway for a long time. They (Feds) have been fueling the economy with low interest rates. That’s what got us out of the 2001 recession following the dot com bubble burst. They (Feds) lowered interest rates to 46-year-historic lows. They flooded the world marketplace with cheap dollars. No one wants them anymore, not even lenders in Third World countries. So, what happened in 2007, the cracks became apparent to everyone. Wall Street is in a problem.

And what do we have to save the Ship of State from sinking? Well, look ahead – that’s what we do as trend forecasters. We have a know-nothing President and a do-nothing Congress and want-to-be people in waiting that lack the intelligence, integrity, the competence, credentials, character and courage to do what a wise leader would do in times when the ship is sinking. So, we’re saying, it is going down! There is nothing to save it.


It’s called greed and gambling and it goes well beyond the subprime market. There’s a company in New York, according to The New York Times, that controls about $7 billion worth of real estate. The NYT headline read how brilliant they were that the company did that with only $30 million down. And that’s what all these deals have been. They have been doing these deals with no money down. All of a sudden, Carlisle Real Estate and Blackstone – groups we never heard of before - only those who study these things – and all of a sudden, they are buying major corporations that are worth billions and billions of dollars. They are doing this with fake money. This is why people go to Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Ivy League schools so they can get together and do the big deals. And what they do when things start falling out, they point to the little people. ‘Oh, look at them! They went over their head. They should have read the fine print.’ Subprime is just the crack in the big thing that’s going to happen and the really dirty deals that have been done are on the top – all the leveraged buyouts: Chrysler Corp. being bought out by Cerberus Corp. Who ever heard of Cerberus? Look who is on the Board of Directors: Jack Snow, the former Treasury Secretary. And remember Dan Quayle? They found a job for him – he’s on the Board, too.

[ Editor’s Note: On May 14, 2007, Daimler-Chrysler and the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced that Cerberus would buy a controlling stake in Chrysler, ending the troubled eight-year merger of the two automakers. Cerberus Corp., established in 1995, is a technology, video, audio and rich media consulting and design firm based in New York City. Cerberus clients include major Wall Street firms, private equity firms TV networks and national retailers. Cerberus President is Greg Harper.]

So, this is what is going on, Linda. It’s bigger than them getting into the greed market and fleecing the little people. They are bringing down the whole system and it’s out of control. The Swiss Bank announced they are going to be selling 250 tons of gold between now and September 2009, so they can buy more money to keep this thing afloat.

International Herald Tribune and Associated Press, June 14, 2007.

Panic of 2008


Just as when panic struck when 9/11 hit, panic is going to hit the streets again following the economic 9/11. They are not going to know what to do. They are going to be frozen. You know, I just got an email from a publication up where I am – up in the Hudson Valley – from Dutchess Magazine, Hillsdale, NY - It’s a very affluent area – Millbrook and Rhinebeck. We’re in Rhinebeck. And every year, they used to do a cover story of my Trends Journal for the New Year. This year they are not running them because, according to the letter that they sent me, some of their readers and advertisers found the new trends ‘unpalatable.’ They don’t like to hear the truth., December 19, 2007.

The central banks have already pumped in more than half a trillion dollars already! They have been pumping money in ... actually, if you go back to our Trends Journal, the Summer 2007 edition’s mid-year report – we said two weeks before the Dow hit 14000, and the Chinese markets hit their highest level ever – to get ready because we saw a financial crisis hitting. The financial crisis hit exactly on July 24, 2007, when the Dow lost well over 200 points. That was the beginning of the crack. And they (Feds) have been pumping money into the banking system since that time. They’ve had bigger bailouts than even happened after 9/11. It’s out of control! All of the currencies are going to be worth dimes on the dollars in the future, and the first one to go is going to be the American dollar.

That’s why one of our big trends for 2008 is ‘Bye, Bye Bucks!’


Except the Americans! The government says, ‘It’s so good for business. It allows us to export. So all you low-paid workers out there ... Our currency is worth so little that others can now buy our products cheaper.’ So, no longer is ‘Made in America’ a standard of high quality. It means, ‘Buy it cheap.’ That does not build a strong economy.

For example, right now the biggest rage in the New York area is foreigners coming over and going to the high-end shopping malls, where they have Versace and that kind of stuff – and going on these wild spending sprees. America has gone from 1st Class to 3rd rate in a blink of an eye! We no longer shop the world for bargains. The dollar is so cheap; they are coming here in droves. And forget the retail. Before you know it, Linda, they (foreigners) are going to buy up this country.

If the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates to make Wall Street happy, so they can continue to finance their mega-deals they’ve put together, that crashes the dollar because low interest rates means cheaper dollars. You buy them at less money. And foreigners, as they already are, they are bailing out of U. S. bucks. They are trying to do it in an orderly way so they don’t crash the market. So, the big guys are going to get out first. And you’re going to see them more and more try to prop up the dollar so there is an orderly retreat. We’re saying that by the time the dust settles and the smoke is cleared, ‘the dollars is going to be worth the dime on the dollar’ will be the slogan of the future. The history books will remember 2008 as the ‘panic of 2008.’


We think it’s going to happen at the local level. People cannot afford to pay property taxes or school taxes. And when you look at the demographics in every major community, there are more people without children living in those homes – whether single or empty nesters – than people with children. So, they cannot afford the school tax and in most parts of the country, school taxes are based upon property taxes. So, it’s all on the homeowner’s shoulders. You’re going to see a revolt coming there and you’re also going to see revolts regarding property tax rises. As the value of the home becomes less – if you had to pay more when the value went up, then they are going to have to reassess downward now if they are going to be fair about this.

Recession and Large Bank Collapses


Watch for when one of the big firms crashes – like a big bank, when that kind of thing happens. That’s going to be the first signal.


Right, but even bigger than that. Much bigger – like a Bank of America, not that that is necessarily it, but of that caliber. Look for something big to break. We’re in a recession already. You don’t have to wait for the government’s official statistics. Look at what they do – it’s comparable to when I grew up during the Cold War and what the Soviet Union used to do. They put out this deceptive basket of statistics – they talk about inflation, but we’re not adding in food and fuel. Why not? Well, because according to the pointy-headed professor who says the mean of this line dissects with this line - ... Wait! What do you mean you’re not putting in food and fuel? Who are you talking to, folks?


It’s criminal. And they are doing the same thing with the unemployment numbers. Once you’re off the rolls, ‘Hey, you’re not looking for work anymore!’ We’re already in a recession! The people are feeling it. Every time that nozzle hits the gas tank, there is panic when people fill up their car. Who can afford this stuff? And these clowns on TV saying, ‘Oh, the consumer is resilient.’ (laughs) We’re warning that there are very rough times ahead and for people to take precaution now.


One thing is don’t buy anything you don’t need. This Christmas stupidity of going and knocking yourself out to buy a lot of things that people don’t want, that you can’t afford. This is not an intelligent way to make decisions.

Conservation Engineers

And that brings us into another trend, which is positive: Conservation Engineers. How to conserve? How to use what you have for a more efficient way and bring in new materials and processes so that we can conserve more. We don’t call this the Green Movement. It’s the Smart Movement. And that’s what we are going to see, so there is going to be great job opportunities, great entrepreneurial opportunities for people who become conservation engineers, conservation specialists, using products, services and intelligence that brings us out of the Dark Age of Over-Consumption that we’ve been in for so long.


I know – what kind of craziness is this? You’re even hearing people like Warren Buffet – the 2nd richest man in the world – warning the nation that it’s turning into a plutocracy. I mean this is him and he’s intelligent enough to know!

[ Editor’s Note: Plutocracy refers to the rule or power through wealth or by the wealthy. In a plutocracy, the degree of economic inequality is high, while the level of social mobility is low. This can apply to a multitude of government systems, as the key elements of plutocracy transcend and often occur concurrently with the features of those systems. The word plutocracy is derived from the ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratein, meaning to rule or to govern.]

Aristotle is alleged to have said that the strength of a nation is built on its middle class. And dumb is dangerous. The more ignorant people are, the more desperate they are, the more it hurts all of us. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have an informed, intelligent society.


The vacuum is so big right now – all of the institutions are failing. You name it – education, health care, military, economic, medical – they are all failing. When the vacuum is this big, it could be filled with anything. It could be filled with more Fascism, bigotry and hypocrisy – or it could be filled with beauty, art, love and understanding and dignity and passion and respect. It’s up to us to fill it. But people have to do it in their individual lives.

Devalue American Dollar?

The Trends Journal - Winter 2008, Trends Research, Rhinebeck, New York.


They (Feds) are going to balance it out by devaluing the dollar. That’s the way they are going to do it, and the impact is going to be tremendous. You can see what happened in Argentina when they did it and you can see what happened in other countries. The same thing is going to happen here. There will be massive unemployment. We’re going to see the worst economic conditions in the United States in the years ahead that anyone living has ever seen.


That’s only part of it. Nobody broke people’s arms to go take out home equity loans. They did it on their own free will. And people are spending way beyond their means. Nobody out there forced people to build McMansions or drive SUVs. They did it all on their own. The people have to become more intelligent. They’ve become lazy and information-ignorant. And until they change, nothing is going to change. I believe it is going to change because there are enough people that want it to change. Not everybody is a Paris Hilton fan.



They are going to have a very difficult time because they have been built up with this false belief that somehow they are special because they can hit little buttons really fast and move their fingers nimbly over the little keys. It’s a worldwide epidemic. They are becoming technoslaves. Every time that phone rings, it has to be answered as if it is something ranging between life and death is going to be solved in the next few seconds. And it’s not like I haven’t been here and did not know when the whole cell phone thing happened. It’s a choice that I don’t have one. All my friends said, ‘Oh, I’m only going to use it in an emergency.’ But now you’re having a conversation between two people in the flesh and somebody from who knows where? They ring up and your conversation is broken up. The playing field, we believe, is going to be broken down to more and more local. More self-sustaining. You don’t have to get all these products coming from all these countries. So, we see a real breaking down. Actually, we also see a real renaissance. We think this is the end of the Dark Ages and that people are going to start going back to a higher quality. When we raise the quality bar, then everything goes up with it. That’s a strength that the United States has, if we get the kind of leadership that can push us in that kind of direction.”


Related articles:

Crisis may make 1929 look a 'walk in the park' (23/12/2007)
As central banks continue to splash their cash over the system, so far to little effect, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues things are rapidly spiralling out of their control - Twenty billion dollars here, $20bn there, and a lush half-trillion from the European Central Bank at give-away rates for Christmas. Buckets of liquidity are being splashed over the North Atlantic banking system, so far with meagre or fleeting effects. As the credit paralysis stretches through its fifth month, a chorus of economists has begun to warn that the world's central banks are fighting the wrong war, and perhaps risk a policy error of epochal proportions. CLIP

Explosive Money Supply Fuels Global Inflation (Dec 20 2007)
The worst is yet to come for the global banking system, which faces potential losses of more than half-trillion dollars from investments in toxic sub-prime US mortgage debt. “The problems in the financial sector remain with us,” said Bank of England chief Mervyn King on Nov 19th. “A painful adjustment faces the global banking sector over the next few months as losses are revealed and new capital is raised to repair bank balance sheets,” he said. To defuse the crisis, the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England are pumping enormous sums of money into the banking system, at below market interest rates, to prevent a “credit crunch” from triggering a global stock market meltdown. “Central banks are working together to forestall any sharp tightening in credit conditions that might lead to a downturn around the world,” King declared.Big banks are reluctant to lend money to each other in the LIBOR market, because of suspicions that borrowers might be holding big undisclosed losses in toxic sub-prime mortgages. Global banks are also hoarding cash against future losses that must be written off their balance sheets in the year ahead. As a result, banks must borrow money at interest rates that are at multi-year highs. It also means that central bank rate cuts are not passed on to individuals and companies. (...) The massive injections of liquidity by the central banks, come at a time when inflation is rearing its ugly head across the globe, led by sharply higher food and energy prices. Central bankers are intellectually dishonest about food and energy prices, routinely subtracting the “essentials of life” from their inflation equations, and reckon that commodity price spikes are self-correcting, due to the laws of gravity. CLIP

"An Economic 9/11"
When the chief economist at Morgan Stanley says we have a one-in-10 chance of avoiding economic Armageddon, one tends to take notice. When America's second-largest creditor tells us to get our economic house in order the same week, two points begin to determine a line. But the Bush administration has not so much as flinched.' Last week, America received two pieces of monstrously bad news. First, the chief economist of Morgan Stanley (along with Robert Reich, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, China and the currency markets) warned us that the U.S. economy is about to collapse. Second, we learned that the Bush administration is willing to ignore the likelihood of collapse and will push ahead aggressively with tax and Social Security reform. Put these two pieces of information together and you get a nightmare scenario. CLIP

The Economic 9/11 (November 9, 2005)
An interview with Clyde Prestowitz about the rise of Asia and the coming fall of the dollar.
(...) America's preeminence is precarious. We're running unsustainable trade deficits; the dollar is dangerously overvalued; increasingly invention and technological innovation are happening elsewhere; 2.5 billion people in India and China are set to enter the world’s skilled job market; technology permits many formerly localized jobs to be done anywhere in the world; our public education system is a mess; America is a massive consumption machine, financed by Asian central bankers who must be starting to wonder if we'll ever be able to pay them back. Prestowitz argues that without a major change of approach the United States—and indeed the dangerously unbalanced global economy—could be headed for an "economic 9/11." Unfortunately there's little sign that either government or corporate leaders are doing the necessary hard thinking that such a change requires. CLIP


From: Larry Stell" (
Subject: Top 25 Censored News Stories of 2007
Date: 22 Dec 2007

Top 25 Censored news stories of 2007

#01 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media.

#02 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran.

#03 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger.

#04 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US.

#05 High-Tech Genocide in Congo.

#06 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy.

# 07 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq.

#08 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act.

#09 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall.

#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians.

#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed.

#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines.

#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup.

#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US.

#15 Chemical Industry is EPA's Primary Research Partner.

#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court

#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda.

#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story.

#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever.

#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem.

#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers.

#22 $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed.

#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe.

#24 Cheney's Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year.

#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region.


Date: 20 Dec 2007
From: Kosta Gus Makreas (
Subject: Dennis Kucinich Wins IndependentPrimary.Com

Hello Friends,

A landslide victory for Dennis among Independent voters! This is the 4th Internet poll he's won in recent weeks, this time by more than a 75% margin. If only more everyday Americans were as well-informed about him as those who surf the Net...

Please pass this good news along.

Thank you,

Kosta Gus


From: IndependentPrimary.Com (

The results are in!

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is the clear favorite of independent-minded voters in the IndependentPrimary.Com internet poll.

Over 110,000 people voted in IndependentPrimary.Com.

Kucinich won over 75% of the votes cast on the Democratic side. (And Rep. Ron Paul won overwhelmingly on the Republican side).

As long-time independents we decided to do this poll because we were very concerned that Paul, Kucinich, and Gravel were excluded from some of the televised debates by the corporate media. We believe elections should be competitive and that the voters should decide at the polls! We want to give voters the authority to vote with their hearts.

Independents can swing the 2008 primary elections.

44% of voters in New Hampshire are registered independent. Since New Hampshire is an "open primary" state they can vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

Help us publicize the results of IndependentPrimary.Com in New Hampshire. And inform the state's independent voters that they can vote in the Democratic Primary.

This is an extraordinary election. All the pundits say independent-minded voters will determine the outcome. So let's make sure that the election is open and fair and voters are educated about their choices.

Please contribute. Your donation will help us buy radio spots and newspaper ads that publicize the results of this very important poll of independent-minded Americans.

A $100 contribution will pay for one 30-second radio ad. Give $25, $50, $100 or be a sponsor and give $250. Be a friend and give $500 and purchase five radio ads. Click here

IndependentPrimary.Com is conducting our elections as it should be - with the American people in charge! Isn't this what the founding fathers had in mind?

Click here to contribute towards a New Hampshire radio ad

Or go to

Thank you for voting with your hearts,

Jim Mangia & Linda Curtis

PS. Even if you can't give $100 or more, it all adds up. Please give what you can at donate. To help chip in, go to

Much more on this through...

Congressman Kucinich Announces Plan to Build Alliance with Independent Voters

Note from Jean: Check also and

A Special Message from Elizabeth Kucinich in New Hampshire


Date: 27 Dec 2007
Subject: Help Rep. Wexler Create Cheney Impeachment Hearings in Congress

Hello Friends of the United States of America and its Constitution,

Your signature is urgently needed to help Rep. Robert Wexler begin hearings in the House Judiciary Committee towards the impeachment of Vice President Cheney.

He needs 250,000 signatures before Congress reconvenes in January in order to prove to his fellow members on the House Judiciary Committee that the American people are solidly behind him in HUGE numbers as he calls for impeachment hearings.

Right now his web site has recorded 142,000+ signatures - in just 10 days' time.

His call supports Rep. Dennis Kucinich's bill H.R. 333 which has been sitting in this committee - without action - for far too long. That bill was introduced several months ago to call for impeachment.

If you are convinced that VP Cheney and the Bush administration should be held accountable for lying about the reasons to invade Iraq, for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame (a crime that was confirmed recently by the President's own former Press Secretary), for illegally spying on millions of Americans, for ordering torture, and so on, then please sign on and support Rep. Wexler at:

Congressman Wexler has promised to personally lobby each and every Democrat on this committee to sign onto his call for hearings.

Remember, "hearings" are not the actual votes for impeachment. They are a sober, judicious, fair investigation into whether impeachment is warranted. They will uncover facts that we do not now know. Rep. Wexler has promised to follow the facts where they lead.

Hearings against Richard Nixon and the facts that came out from them led to his resignation due to the threat of impeachment.

For those of you who are citizens of other nations, please understand that the current U.S. government represents only 30% of the American people. 200 million of us are angry and dismayed at the actions of that government against other countries and against its own citizens.

And now we want to hold that government accountable. But, we need to act together to support politicians like Rep. Wexler and Rep. Kucinich when they are courageous enough to ask for impeachment hearings.

I implore you to contact your American friends with this appeal. The vast majority of Americans are united with you in attempting to right the wrongs that have been committed in our name since this current U.S. government illegally seized power in 2001.

Please forward this email to all of your networks as soon as possible.

In the Spirit of Peace,

Kosta Makreas
San Bruno, CA


Arthur Bond ( wrote on Dec 18:

I think you might find this of interest!

World's Top Scientists 'Manmade Warming' Is A Dangerous Lie (12-15-7)
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. CLIP


I'm utterly dumbfounded that anyone would still give any kind of credence to such abysmally stupid and shortsighted view that this current global warming is merely a natural phenomenon we should strive to adapt to. It is anything but natural!

CO2 level as parts-per-million are higher than anything that occurred in the recent geological history of Earth, based on data recovered from air trapped in ice from ice core drilling showing what CO2 concentrations were in the past 650,000 years...

"In a separate study published in the same issue, European researchers found that today's atmospheric carbon dioxide is at the highest level in 650,000 years. Levels of carbon dioxide, the principal gas that drives global warming, are now 27 percent higher than at any point in the last 650,000 years, according to research into Antarctic ice cores published on Thursday. The evidence comes from the world's deepest ice core, drilled at a site called Dome Concordia (Dome C) in East Antarctica by European scientists who battled blizzards and an average year-round temperature of minus 54 oC and made a 1,000km trek to bring up supplies. The core, extracted using a 10cm-wide drill bit in 3m sections, brought up ice that was deposited by snows up to 650,000 years ago, as determined by estimated layers of annual snowfall. Analysis of carbon dioxide trapped in tiny bubbles in the ancient ice showed that at no point during this time frame did levels get anywhere close to today's CO2 concentrations of around 380 parts per million. Today's rising CO2 concentrations are 27 percent higher than at the highest level seen over the 650,000-year time scale, according to the study, which also appears in Science. The Dome C core, extracted by the 10-country European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), outstrips by 210,000 years the previous record-holder, drilled at an Antarctic site called Vostok. In the past five years, the average global temperature has risen by 0.2oC and this year is on course for being the hottest year on record."

- Taken from

...What is happening is so unnatural that ocean acidification due to one third of atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by the oceans will soon destroy ALL life in the oceans... (see Acid Seas Huge Threat to Coral Reefs - Study below) and when you know that at least half of the oxygen we breathe comes from phytoplankton in the oceans...

"Life in the ocean consumes and releases large quantities of carbon dioxide. Across Earth's oceans, tiny marine plants called phytoplankton use chlorophyll to capture sunlight during photosynthesis and use the energy to produce sugars. Phytoplankton are the basis of the ocean food web, and they play a significant role in Earth's climate, since they draw down carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, at the same rate as land plants. About half of the oxygen we breathe arises from photosynthesis in the ocean."

- Taken from

"A conservation group says the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are absorbing too much carbon from excessive greenhouse gas emissions. The organization wants California and other west coast states to use the federal Clean Water Act to protect the waters off their coasts. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details. The Center for Biological Diversity says acidification is changing the chemistry of the world's oceans. The group says the oceans are absorbing excess carbon dioxide produced by humans, which makes sea water more acidic. Brendan Cummings is the center's oceans program director. He says the acidity hurts the growth of plankton -- a key player in the ocean food chain. Cummings: Without phytoplankton in the abundant numbers we have now, marine life which relies upon it, which is the building block of the oceanic food webs, starts to decline."

- Taken from Conservationists Say Plankton Growth Threatened By Ocean Acidity (Aug 20, 2007)

... it is easy to understand that unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut NOW and measures are soon taken to bring back CO2 levels to more normal levels, we will be in for a lot of trouble...

The signatories to this letter to UN secretary Ban Ki-Moon are terribly misinformed or totally blind to the scientific evidence we have - or they had their palm greased by some fossil fuel industry or some science-mangler from the Bush administration to oppose what is so urgently needed.


Jean Hudon



Acid Seas Huge Threat to Coral Reefs - Study

MIAMI - In less than 50 years, oceans may be too acidic for coral reefs to grow because of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels by humans, according to research released on Thursday.

And unless still rising carbon dioxide emissions fall in the near future, existing reefs could all be dying by 2100, scientists said.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral expanse, and Caribbean reefs will be among the first casualties, according to the scientists who worked on a major coral project worldwide.

The study, to be published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, should serve as a warning to delegates to a UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, this week, the researchers said.

"We need rapid reductions in carbon dioxide levels," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a marine science professor at Australia's University of Queensland and a lead author of the study.

"The impact of climate change on coral reefs is much closer than we appreciated," he said in a telephone interview from Australia. "It's just around the corner."

The study found emissions of carbon dioxide, the main "greenhouse" gas contributing to global warming, are boosting acidity so much that sea water covering 98 percent of all coral reefs may be too acidic by 2050 for some corals to live, and while others may survive they would be unable to build reefs.

"Unless we take action soon there is a real possibility that coral reefs, and everything that depends on them, will not survive this century," researcher Ken Caldeira said.

Coral reefs, delicate undersea structures resembling rocky gardens that are made by tiny animals called coral polyps, are important nurseries and shelters for fish and other sea life.

They are also considered valuable protection for coastlines from high seas.

Reefs are a critical source of food for millions of people and are important for tourism from Australia to the islands of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys.


They produce US$375 billion a year in economic value worldwide, according to The Nature Conservancy environmental group, and are considered a storehouse of potential 21st century medicines for cancer and other diseases.

The polyps secrete calcium carbonate to build the stony base of the reef. Corals grow slowly, as little as half an inch (one cm) per year and the fragile structures they create are easily damaged by ship groundings, storms and other threats.

The researchers, who based their work on computer simulations of ocean chemistry, said about one-third of carbon dioxide, or CO2, put into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, slowing global warming but polluting the sea.

The CO2 produces carbonic acid, the substance that gives soft drinks their fizz. The acid reduces concentrations of carbonate-ions, which are critical to reef building.

Current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are 380 parts per million, researchers said, but rising quickly as humans increase their emissions by burning fossil fuels.

If trends hold, the concentration could rise to 880 ppm by 2100. But even if atmospheric CO2 stabilized at 550 ppm, which would take a concerted international effort, no existing coral reef could survive, the researchers said.

"We have the world at stake here. It's a global emergency," said Hoegh-Guldberg. "We've got to have (CO2) levels falling by 2015."

Australian and Caribbean reefs are at the greatest risk because they already have lower carbonate-ion concentrations and therefore would "reach critical levels sooner," he said.

The research should serve as a warning to those who look after reefs to ramp up the fight against other threats to them, which include overfishing, pollution from nearby land and a host of diseases, the researchers said.

"We need to think of this as the straw that broke the camel's back," said Peter Sale of the United Nations University. (Editing by Michael Christie and Richard Meares)

Story by Jim Loney

Story Date: 14/12/2007

NOTE from Jean:

To conclude this argument I recommend you watch this...

Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See (9 mi 33 sec) ( Views: 2,865,693!)




Thank you for your response to my e-mail on climate change.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a TV programme here in the UK called "Country File." It was claimed that programme that the gas Methane was far more dangerous to the environment than CO2 and other gases. Who are the culprits that produce this dangerous gas? Yes you guessed it, cattle. So if we take this as true what is the solution slaughter them all?

I find the whole climate change debate utterly confusing and increasingly contradictory. I am not a scientist and as a friend once told me, climate is not an exact science. I will continue to search for the truth however. We the public are besieged on all sides by those who have vested interests on both sides of the argument. Those politicians who support manmade climate change argument still continue, stupidly in my opinion,to call for increased economic growth.

It strikes me that the current economic system has much to answer for. No one however questions this aspect. We still continue to pollute the oceans with oil discharges, etc. We pollute the air with lethal substances such as Depleted Uranium, which directly and indirectly causes increased cases of Autism, birth defects, diabetes, and many other illnesses. DP has a half life of 4.5 billion years.

Where does DP come from? Weapons being produced in particular in the States that use DP in their ordinance. Again little notice is taken of such outrageous disregard, not just to the environment, but to peoples health.

Yours in Peace.

Arthur Bond


Thanks for your complementary comment on this thorny issue. I totally agree with you. Methane as well as depleted uranium pollution are totally disregarded "elephant in the living-room" issues that need much more exposure. Because this whole discussion is of high value with regard to greater awareness, I've decided to include both your initial letter and my reply as well as you comment above in the next compilation, and I'll recommend people who might want to seek more info on the threat posed by methane to explore the results of this google search -

Thanks for your patience with me on this ;-)

Light and blessings to you



Dear Jean,

It is kind of you to include these e-mails in your next compilation. Below is a website that I frequently use for information relating to many issues that I have found of interest. The interview with Lauren Moret is worth viewing for further information on Depleted Uranium. She, you will note is a Geo scientist and really knows her stuff.

Yours in Peace.



Forwarded by Mark Graffis ( on Dec 23


Major international study warns global warming is destroying coral reefs and calls for 'drastic actions'

December 13, 2007

By Susan Lang

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth's coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

"It's vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world's carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystem," said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward "a tipping point for functional collapse."

The 17 marine scientists who authored the new study argue that "drastic action" is needed from world leaders to turn around the trend in rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to protect coral reefs. They based their conclusions on the forecasts for rising global temperatures and levels of CO2 announced recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body.

"Coral reefs have already taken a big hit from recent warm temperatures, but rapid rises in carbon dioxide cause acidification, which adds a new threat: the inability of corals to create calcareous skeletons," said Harvell. "Acidification actually threatens all marine animals and plants with calcareous skeletons, including corals, snails, clams and crabs. Our study shows that levels of CO2 could become unsustainable for coral reefs in as little as five decades."

In the short term, better management of overfishing and local stressors may increase resilience of reefs to climate threats, but rising global CO2 emissions will rapidly outstrip the capacity of local coastal managers and policy-makers to maintain the health of these critical ecosystems if the emissions continue unchecked, the authors stress.

At stake, added Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Center for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia, and the study's senior author, are ecosystems that play vital roles in providing habitats for a vast array of marine species that are essential to the oceans' complex food chain. They also provide livelihoods to 100 million people who live along the coasts of tropical developing countries. Diving tourism in the Caribbean alone is estimated to generate more than $100 billion a year. The loss of coral reef ecosystems also is exposing people to flooding, coastal erosion and the loss of food and income from reef-based fisheries and tourism, he added.

The CRTR is a leading international coral reef research initiative that provides a coordinated approach to credible, factual and scientifically proven knowledge for improved coral reef management. It is a partnership of the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank, the University of Queensland, Australia, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and approximately 40 research institutes and other third parties around the world.


AN AWFULLY BIG PROBLEM! Recommended by Arthur Bond (


Earth's Eighth Continent - It swirls. It grows. It's a massive, floating 'garbage patch.'

By David Reid

November 21, 2007

The Phoenix

Located in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii and measuring in at roughly twice the size of Texas, this elusive mass is home to hundreds of species of marine life and is constantly expanding. It has tripled in size since the middle of the 1990s and could grow tenfold in the next decade.

Although no official title has been given to the mass yet, a popular label thus far has been "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

As suggested by the name, the island is almost entirely comprises human-made trash. It currently weighs approximately 3.5 million tons with a concentration of 3.34 million pieces of garbage per square kilometer, 80 per cent of which is plastic.

Due to the Patch's location in the North Pacific Gyre, its growth is guaranteed to continue as this Africa-sized section of ocean spins in a vortex that effectively traps flotsam.

Few visitors

The cause for the Patch's relative lack of acknowledgment is that the portion of the Pacific it occupies is almost entirely unvisited. It lacks the wind to attract sailing vessels, the biology to encourage fishing, and is not in the path of major shipping lanes.

What little air movement there is blows inwards, further trapping the garbage.

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Marcus Eriksen, a director at the Algatita Marine Research Foundation, said that "with the winds blowing in and the currents in the gyre going circular, it's the perfect environment for trapping."

While the trash is in the ocean, it is doing what could be irreparable harm to sea life, the water it's in, and eventually humans.

Plastic resists biodegrading. Instead, a plastic shopping bag or pop bottle will photo-degrade over time, meaning that it will break down into smaller and smaller pieces but retain its original molecular composition.

The result is a great amount of fine plastic sand that resembles food to many creatures.

Unfortunately, the plastic cannot be digested, so sea birds or fish can eventually starve to death with a stomach full of plastic.

Even if the amount of plastic in a creature's body is not enough to block the passage of food, the small pellets act as sponges for several toxins, concentrating chemicals such as DDT to 1 million times the normal level.

This concentration then works its way up the food chain until a fish is served at our dinner table.

A deadly shining

Some birds, attracted to the shining in the ocean, approach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in search of food. Marine researchers have commented that pelicans dissected in that area have stomachs so full of lighters that they resemble convenience stores. Sea turtles are also prone to mistaking plastic bags for jelly fish, which then cause their deaths or sit in their guts for the decades it takes the bags to break down.

In total, 267 species have been reported to have eaten from, or become entangled in, the Patch.

According to Chris Parry of the California Coastal Commission, regrettably little can be done to clean up the Patch, although many urge that a decreased reliance on plastic is the first step.

"At this point," said Parry, "cleaning it up isn't an option . . . it's just going to get bigger as our reliance on plastics continues."

"The long-term solution is to stop producing as much plastic products at home and change our consumption habits."

Cleaning up the Patch will likely cost billions of dollars and, as an approximation, be more difficult than vacuuming every inch of the United States. The plastic and garbage reach more than 30 metres down into the ocean and a great number of organisms would be destroyed in the process.

So far, no country has so much as proposed a solution, presumably because no nation wishes to claim responsibility.

Even if all plastic usage were to stop immediately, future geologists would be able to clearly mark the stratum designating the 20th and 21st century by an indelible layer of plastic coating the world's oceans.


To see pictures of this disgusting monster of our own creation go to

Check also...

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean (October 19, 2007)

Feds want to survey, possibly clean up vast garbage pit in Pacific (October 30, 2007)




The Plastic Sea - Worse than oil spills?

An ocean awash in lethal bags, bottles, pellets, line, tarps and diapers.

By Paul Watson

July 26, 2006

On the beach on San Juan Island, Washington, Allison Lance walks her dogs every morning. She carries a plastic bag in her hand to carry the bits and pieces of plastic debris she picks up. Each morning she fills the bag, but by the next morning there is always another bag to be filled. Joey Racano does the same in Huntington Beach further south in California. The harvest of plastic waste is never-ending. Allison's and Joey's beaches, and practically every beach around the world, is similarly cursed.

Recently in the Galapagos I retrieved plastic motor oil bottles and garbage bags from a remote beach on Santa Cruz Island. Every year during crossings of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, spotting plastic is a daily and regular occurrence.

A June 2006 United Nations environmental program report estimated that there are an average of 46,000 pieces of plastic debris floating on or near the surface of every square mile of ocean.

We live in a plastic convenience culture; virtually every human being on this planet uses plastic materials directly and indirectly every single day. Our babies begin life on Earth by using some 210 million pounds of plastic diaper liners each year; we give them plastic milk bottles and plastic toys, and buy their food in plastic jars, paying with a plastic credit card. Even avoiding those babies by using contraceptives results in mass disposal of billions of latex condoms, diaphragms, and hard plastic birth control pill containers each year.

Every year we eat and drink from some 34 billion newly manufactured bottles and containers. We patronize fast food restaurants and buy products that consume another 14 billion pounds of plastic. In total, our societies produce an estimated 60 billion tons of plastic material every year.

Each of us on average uses 190 pounds of plastic annually: bottled water, fast food packaging, furniture, syringes, computers and computer diskettes, packing materials, garbage bags and so much more. When you consider that this plastic does not biodegrade and remains in our ecosystems permanently, we are looking at an incredibly high volume of accumulated plastic trash that has been built up since the mid-20th century. Where does it go? There are only three places it can go: our earth, our air and our oceans.

Styrofoam foam

All the plastic that has ever been produced has been buried in landfills, incinerated and dumped into lakes, rivers and oceans. When incinerated, the plastics disperse non-biodegradable pollutants, much of which inevitably finds its way into marine ecosystems as microscopic particles.

Back in 1991, my ship, the Sea Shepherd, was anchored in the harbour of Port of Spain, Trinidad. It began to rain a hard, steady downpour. A few hours later, the entire surface area of the harbour was dirty white, as if an ice floe had entered this tropical port. The "floe" consisted of Styrofoam, plastic bottles and assorted plastic materials, as far as the eye could see, and it had come down from the streets, gutters and streams into the harbour. And, of course, it was all washing out to sea, dispersed by wind and tide.

What happened to it after that? The sun and the brine broke it down into little pellets of Styrofoam and little pieces of plastic -- each an insidious, floating, deadly mine set adrift in an ocean of life.

And over the years these little nodules have drifted. Many have been ingested by birds and fish. Weeks or months later, the victims decompose on the surface of the water or on a beach, re-exposing the nodules to the light of the sun, to be blown by the winds back into the sea. These vicious little inorganic parasites continue to maim and kill in an endless assault upon life in our oceans.

The simple fact is that when you drop a Styrofoam cup onto the street, you're causing more damage than you would by dropping a stick of dynamite into the ocean. You set in motion an invasion of thousands of killer plastibots that will cause death and destruction for centuries to come.

Eighteen billion of those disposable diapers end up in the oceans each year; Americans alone toss 2.5 million plastic bottles into the sea every hour. Our oceans are full of floating plastic debris. There is no place in the oceans where a fine trawl will not reveal plastic nodules. Studies by Captain Charles Moore and the Algalita Foundation found that even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, plastic nodules have been found to outweigh plankton by a ratio of six to one. Similar studies in the Atlantic have revealed the same ratio.

Floating out of mind

In the movie Castaway, Tom Hanks, marooned on a desert island in the South Pacific, finds a plastic siding of a portable outhouse washed up on the beach. The stuff is everywhere. I have found plastic bottles with Japanese, Chinese, Russian and English writing littering the beaches of even the most remote Aleutian Islands.

And yet we give this global threat very little thought at all. It is out of the sight of land-dwelling humanity, and thus out of mind. The only industry that seems concerned about plastic pollution is the marine insurance business. The intake of plastics into the cooling systems of engines is one of the leading causes of maritime engine failures. Last year, Japanese insurance companies paid $50 million in claims involving plastic-related engine and prop damage.

Drifting in our seas are tens of thousands of miles of monofilament ghost drift nets and lines. This same netting ensnares ship props and the necks of sea lions and turtles. Over the years, my crew has retrieved hundreds of floating monofilament nets from the sea. All of them contained the rotting corpses of fish and birds.

In a well-documented beach clean-up in Orange County, California, volunteers collected 106 million items, weighing 13 tons. The debris included preproduction plastic pellets, foamed plastics and hard plastics; plastic constituted 99 per cent of the total material collected. The most abundant item found on the beaches of Orange County was preproduction plastic pellets, most of which originated from transport losses. Approximately one quadrillion of these pellets, or 60 billion pounds, are manufactured annually in the United States alone. You never hear about these spillages in the newspaper, and there is not a single plastic pellet spillage response crew anywhere in the world.

The plastic products that end up in the sea because of consumers constitute less than 30 per cent of the total plastics dumped into the oceans each year. The greater amount comes from accidental spillage of plastic resin pellets produced by the petrochemical industry for the purpose of manufacturing consumer plastic products, or the breakdown of finished products into Styrofoam nodules or hard plastic particles. Plastic nodules are lost routinely in both the shipping and manufacturing stages, spilling from shipboard containers or from trucks onto streets and into storm drains.

Lethal threat

Oil spills occur every day in our oceans, and major spills occur on average every two weeks somewhere in the world's marine ecosystem. Although these oil spills are notorious killers of marine wildlife, their deadly impact is confined to relatively small areas geographically, and the impact is reduced with time. The Exxon Valdez spill, for example, was confined to Alaska's Prince William Sound, and although the impact on wildlife was felt for many years, the ecosystem is slowly recovering. Yet this other kind of petrochemical spill is more invasive and permanent. This type of spill is cumulative. The spillage is never cleaned up and removed, but accumulates perpetually.

I don't think that I am exaggerating when I say that the spillage of plastic resin pellets poses a significant and unappreciated threat to the survival of sea life. The oceans are becoming plasticized. This threat becomes more lethal each year as the cumulative amount increases. The impact of this spillage contributes to more casualties than all of the world's annual oil spills, yet we know very little about the problem. In fact, the public does not even recognize plastic resin pellet spillage as a problem at all.

Plastic pellets also pose an additional threat. They act as a transport medium for toxic chemicals. Many of these pellets contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The chemicals were either absorbed from ambient seawater or used in the manufacture of plasticizers prior to the 1970s. This transfer of PCBs from ingested pellets into birds was conclusively proven and documented in the fatty tissues of great shearwaters (Puffinus gravis). Studies have shown that 75 per cent of all shearwaters examined contained ingested plastic.

Of 312 species of seabirds, some 111 species, or 36 per cent, are known to mistakenly ingest plastic. In Hawaii, 16 of the 18 resident seabird species are plastic ingestors, and 70 per cent of this ingestion is of floating plastic resin pellets. Seabirds in Alaska have been found to have stomachs entirely filled with indigestible plastic. Penguins on South African beaches have suffered high chick mortality from eating plastic regurgitated by the parents, and 90 per cent of blue petrel chicks examined on South Africa's remote Marion Island had plastic particles in their stomachs. It is a global problem, and for seabirds there are no safe places. For most people, the ocean is a big toilet. The belief is that garbage, sewage and plastics are dispersed and taken away.

Garbage 'gyres'

Unfortunately, nothing is really ever "taken away"; it is simply perpetually circulated. The oceans are pulsating with powerful currents, and these currents keep plastic debris in constant circulation. As a result, debris travels in what are called "gyres." The gyre concentrates the garbage in areas where currents meet. For example, one of the largest of these movements in the Atlantic is called the central gyre, and it moves in a clockwise circular pattern driven by the Gulf Stream. The central gyre concentrates heavily in the northern Sargasso Sea, a place that is also host to numerous spawning fish species.

The number of floating plastic pellets found in the Sargasso Sea has been measured in excess of 3,500 parts per square kilometer. The same ratio of 3,500 parts per square kilometer was found in the waters of the southern coasts of Africa. This study found that plastic pollution had increased in South African waters from 1989 to the present by 190 per cent.

Birds, turtles and fish mistake the tiny nodules for fish eggs. Garbage bags, plastic soda rings and Styrofoam particles are regularly eaten by sea turtles. A floating garbage bag looks like a jellyfish to a turtle. The plastic clogs the turtle's intestines, robbing the animals of vital nutrients, and has been the cause of untold turtle losses to starvation. All seven of the world's sea turtle species suffer mortality from both plastic ingestion and plastic entanglement. One turtle found dead off Hawaii carried over 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach and intestines. And recently, a land-based turtle rescued in a Florida waterway by Stephen Nordlinger was unable to submerge due to the amount of Styrofoam trapped in its body, making it permanently buoyant.

Plastic floor

The amount of plastic pellets present on beaches is astonishingly high. In New Zealand, one beach was found to contain over 100,000 pellets per square meter. Thus, it is not so far-fetched to suggest that people are in fact sunbathing on plastic beaches -- literally. I have stopped my ship mid-ocean and found flip-flops, suntan oil bottles, plastic Coke bottles, garbage bags and even large floating industrial plastic sheets. In each place sampled, we have also found plastic pellets.

Once, on the bottom of the Mediterranean off France, I witnessed a scene that appalled me. The entire bottom was made of plastic. Bottles and plastic bags swaying with the tide, replacing the sea grasses and algae. It was especially sad to see one little fish scurry from behind a white plastic bag to take cover from me in a sunken automobile tire. Brushing aside another drifting white bag, I spied a flicker of red on the bottom. What I found was a plastic face staring up at me with a great big smile and two enormous plastic ears. It was the decapitated head of a Mickey Mouse doll.

It's a plastic sea out there.


Paul Watson is founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a co-founder of Greenpeace International and the Greenpeace Foundation, was National Director of the Sierra Club USA and is Director of the Farley Mowat Institute.

Lots of comments on this article through


Some solutions to this problem can be found through this google search with "Zero Waste"

Zero waste
Zero waste is a philosophy that aims to guide people in the redesign of their resource-use system with the aim of reducing waste to zero. Put simply, zero waste is an idea to extend the current ideas of recycling to form a circular system where as much waste as possible is reused, similar to the way it is in nature.[1] The best example of zero waste practiced by mankind is found in zero waste agriculture where households make optimal use of nature in the from of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and algae, to produce biodiverse-food, energy and nutrients in a synergistic integrated cycle of profit making processes where the waste of each process becomes the feedstock for another process."Waste is too expensive; it’s cheaper to do the right things" Paul Hawken. CLIP

Getting To Zero Waste

Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Proble (February 5, 2006)
Consumers spend a collective $100 billion every year on bottled water in the belief—often mistaken—that it is better for us than what flows from our taps. Worldwide, bottled water consumption surged to 41 billion gallons in 2004, up 57 percent since 1999.“Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy,” reports Earth Policy Institute researcher Emily Arnold. Although in much of the world, including Europe and the U.S., more regulations govern the quality of tap water than bottled water, bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more. At up to $10 per gallon, bottled water costs more than gasoline in the United States.“There is no question that clean, affordable drinking water is essential to the health of our global community,” Arnold asserts, “But bottled water is not the answer in the developed world, nor does it solve problems for the 1.1 billion people who lack a secure water supply. Improving and expanding existing water treatment and sanitation systems is more likely to provide safe and sustainable sources of water over the long term.” Members of the United Nations have agreed to halve the proportion of people who lack reliable and lasting access to safe drinking water by the year 2015. To meet this goal, they would have to double the $15 billion spent every year on water supply and sanitation. While this amount may seem large, it pales in comparison to the estimated $100 billion spent each year on bottled water.Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water is transported long distances—often across national borders—by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels.For example, in 2004 alone a Helsinki company shipped 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water 2,700 miles to Saudi Arabia. And although 94 percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is produced domestically, many Americans import water shipped some 9,000 kilometers from Fiji and other faraway places to satisfy demand for what Arnold terms “chic and exotic bottled water.”More fossil fuels are used in packaging the water. Most water bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil. “Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand alone requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year,” Arnold notes.Once it has been emptied, the bottle must be dumped. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals tied to a host of human and animal health problems. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year. Of the bottles deposited for recycling in 2004, the U.S. exported roughly 40 percent to destinations as far away as China, requiring yet more fossil fuel. CLIP

Stop Ocean Dumping
In the 1970's, the world's oceans were largely considered by industry and certain governments as convenient out-of-site, out-of-mind dumping grounds. This web site presents a history of ocean dumping and provides an insight into Greenpeace's work on this crucial environmental issue. Since the 1970's, public and political perceptions have changed towards the idea of 'sustainable development' and the recognition of 'industrial responsibility', whereby potential polluters have to deal with their waste streams rather than dump them.'This view on environmental and industrial policy has steadily gained support over the years, as witnessed by the development of international conventions controlling and banning dumping at sea, such as the London Convention and the OSPAR Convention. Through these conventions bans on the dumping of radioactive waste and industrial waste at sea have been implemented. CLIP

Derelict fishing gear poses global threat to oceans

Ships dumping bilge are slaughtering birds off Canada (September 26, 2002)
TORONTO - Ships are using Canada's ocean coast as dumping grounds and killing 300,000 birds a year because the cost of disposing the bilge in port is higher than the fines they would face if caught, the World Wildlife Fund of Canada charged.

Ocean Dumping Grounds
Although the ocean covers two-thirds of the surface of the Earth, it is surprisingly vulnerable to human influences such as overfishing, pollution from run-off, and dumping of waste from human activity. This kind of pollution can have serious economic and health impacts by killing marine life and damaging habitats and ecosystems. Toxins from pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals used on farms contaminate nearby rivers that flow into the ocean, which can cause extensive loss of marine life in bays and estuaries leading to the creation of dead zones. The dumping of industrial, nuclear and other waste into oceans was legal until the early 1970s when it became regulated; however dumping still occurs illegally everywhere. (...) The most toxic waste material dumped into the ocean includes dredged material, industrial waste, sewage sludge, and radioactive waste. Dredging contributes about 80% of all waste dumped into the ocean adding up to several million tons of material dumped each year. Rivers, canals, and harbors are dredged to remove silt and sand build up or to establish new waterways. About 20-22% of dredged material is dumped into the ocean. The remainder is dumped into other waters or landfills and some is used for development. About 10% of all dredged material is polluted with heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, and chromium; hydrocarbons such as heavy oils; nutrients including phosphorous and nitrogen; and organochlorines from pesticides. Waterways and therefore silt and sand accumulate these toxins from land runoff, shipping practices, industrial and community waste, and other sources. When these materials find their way into the ocean, marine organisms suffer toxic effects and seafood is often contaminated. CLIP

Reviving Our Oceans
In November 2006, newspapers across the country featured a cautionary tale. According to a report in the journal Science, several of the world’s leading marine biologists concluded that, if bad fishing practices continued, in a worse-case scenario all fish and seafood species worldwide would crash by 2048. In reality, the record for fisheries is mixed. There are many well-managed fisheries that produce seafood sustainably and provide good economic returns to fishermen. Whether gloomy conjectures about the future of fish come true depends on how we humans respond to the decline of fisheries, both biologically and economically, and whether we can apply lessons from successful fisheries to fix broken ones. Indeed, the threats to the ocean are many. The news has been building for decades that overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and coastal development are taking their toll. Domestically, more than half of all fisheries are overfished with most under stringent rebuilding plans to dramatically cut catches. Worldwide, several stocks of tuna, swordfish, and sharks have been depleted, particularly in the Atlantic. Some fishing practices and gear, such as large-scale trawling, enormous longlines, and dynamite fishing, kill millions of fish unintentionally each year, as well as seabirds, dolphins, turtles and whales. Global warming, too, threatens these already compromised resources. The challenge: A new way to think about oceans - We used to think the oceans were so big we could never deplete them. We now know we were wrong. The challenge for the 21st century is to change our thinking and behavior to maintain the oceans’ abundance. We can manage our enormous harvesting power, restore depleted fish populations and enjoy thriving ocean life. Environmental Defense is leading the way toward creative, practical solutions to the most critical problems facing our oceans. Our team of scientists and economists work with key stakeholders in U.S. and Caribbean waters to give fishermen a financial stake in fisheries, safeguard biologically rich areas and build new markets for sustainable seafood. CLIP



Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger

Source: Mother Jones, March /April, 2006

Oceanic problems once found on a local scale are now pandemic. Data from oceanography, marine biology, meteorology, fishery science, and glaciology reveal that the seas are changing in ominous ways. A vortex of cause and effect wrought by global environmental dilemmas is changing the ocean from a watery horizon with assorted regional troubles to a global system in alarming distress.

According to oceanographers the oceans are one, with currents linking the seas and regulating climate. Sea temperature and chemistry changes, along with contamination and reckless fishing practices, intertwine to imperil the world’s largest communal life source.

In 2005, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found clear evidence the ocean is quickly warming. They discovered that the top half-mile of the ocean has warmed dramatically in the past forty years as a result of human-induced greenhouse gases.

One manifestation of this warming is the melting of the Arctic. A shrinking ratio of ice to water has set off a feedback loop, accelerating the increase in water surfaces that promote further warming and melting. With polar waters growing fresher and tropical seas saltier, the cycle of evaporation and precipitation has quickened, further invigorating the greenhouse effect. The ocean’s currents are reacting to this freshening, causing a critical conveyor that carries warm upper waters into Europe’s northern latitudes to slow by one third since 1957, bolstering fears of a shut down and cataclysmic climate change. This accelerating cycle of cause and effect will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

Atmospheric litter is also altering sea chemistry, as thousands of toxic compounds poison marine creatures and devastate propagation. The ocean has absorbed an estimated 118 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, with 20 to 25 tons being added to the atmosphere daily. Increasing acidity from rising levels of CO2 is changing the ocean’s PH balance. Studies indicate that the shells and skeletons possessed by everything from reef-building corals to mollusks and plankton begin to dissolve within forty-eight hours of exposure to the acidity expected in the ocean by 2050. Coral reefs will almost certainly disappear and, even more worrisome, so will plankton. Phytoplankton absorb greenhouse gases, manufacture oxygen, and are the primary producers of the marine food web.

Mercury pollution enters the food web via coal and chemical industry waste, oxidizes in the atmosphere, and settles to the sea bottom. There it is consumed, delivering mercury to each subsequent link in the food chain, until predators such as tuna or whales carry levels of mercury as much as one million times that of the waters around them. The Gulf of Mexico has the highest mercury levels ever recorded, with an average of ten tons of mercury coming down the Mississippi River every year, and another ton added by offshore drilling.

Along with mercury, the Mississippi delivers nitrogen (often from fertilizers). Nitrogen stimulates plant and bacterial growth in the water that consume oxygen, creating a condition known as hypoxia, or dead zones. Dead zones occur wherever oceanic oxygen is depleted below the level necessary to sustain marine life. A sizable portion of the Gulf of Mexico has become a dead zone—the largest such area in the U.S. and the second largest on the planet, measuring nearly 8,000 square miles in 2001. It is no coincidence that almost all of the nearly 150 (and counting) dead zones on earth lay at the mouths of rivers. Nearly fifty fester off U.S. coasts. While most are caused by river-borne nitrogen, fossil fuel-burning plants help create this condition, as does phosphorous from human sewage and nitrogen emissions from auto exhaust.

Meanwhile, since its peak in 2000, the global wild fish harvest has begun a sharp decline despite progress in seagoing technologies and intensified fishing. So-called efficiencies in fishing have stimulated unprecedented decimation of sealife. Long-lining, in which a single boat sets line across sixty or more miles of ocean, each baited with up to 10,000 hooks, captures at least 25 percent unwanted catch. With an estimated 2 billion hooks set each year, as much as 88 billion pounds of life a year is thrown back to the ocean either dead or dying. Additionally, trawlers drag nets across every square inch of the continental shelves every two years. Fishing the sea floor like a bulldozer, they level an area 150 times larger than all forest clearcuts each year and destroy seafloor ecosystems. Aquaculture is no better, since three pounds of wild fish are caught to feed every pound of farmed salmon. A 2003 study out of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia concluded, based on data dating from the 1950s, that in the wake of decades of such onslaught only 10 percent of all large fish (tuna, swordfish) and ground fish (cod, hake, flounder) are left anywhere in the ocean.

Other sea nurseries are also threatened. Fifteen percent of seagrass beds have disappeared in the last ten years, depriving juvenile fish, manatees, and sea turtles of critical habitats. Kelp beds are also dying at alarming rates.

While at no time in history has science taught more about how the earth’s life-support systems work, the maelstrom of human assault on the seas continues. If human failure in governance of the world’s largest public domain is not reversed quickly, the ocean will soon and surely reach a point of no return.

(...) Most of these stories remain out of view, sunk with cement boots in the backwaters of scientific journals. The media remains unable to discern good science from bad, and gives equal credence to both, when they give any at all. The story of our declining ocean world, and our own future, develops beyond the ken of the public, who forge ahead without altering behavior or goals, and unimpeded by foresight.



High Tech Trash: Will your discarded TV end up in a ditch in Ghana?

By Chris Carroll - National Geographic January 2008 issue

June is the wet season in Ghana, but here in Accra, the capital, the morning rain has ceased. As the sun heats the humid air, pillars of black smoke begin to rise above the vast Agbogbloshie Market. I follow one plume toward its source, past lettuce and plantain vendors, past stalls of used tires, and through a clanging scrap market where hunched men bash on old alternators and engine blocks. Soon the muddy track is flanked by piles of old TVs, gutted computer cases, and smashed monitors heaped ten feet (three meters) high. Beyond lies a field of fine ash speckled with glints of amber and green—the sharp broken bits of circuit boards. I can see now that the smoke issues not from one fire, but from many small blazes. Dozens of indistinct figures move among the acrid haze, some stirring flames with sticks, others carrying armfuls of brightly colored computer wire. Most are children.

Choking, I pull my shirt over my nose and approach a boy of about 15, his thin frame wreathed in smoke. Karim says he has been tending such fires for two years. He pokes at one meditatively, and then his top half disappears as he bends into the billowing soot. He hoists a tangle of copper wire off the old tire he's using for fuel and douses the hissing mass in a puddle. With the flame retardant insulation burned away—a process that has released a bouquet of carcinogens and other toxics—the wire may fetch a dollar from a scrap-metal buyer.

Another day in the market, on a similar ash heap above an inlet that flushes to the Atlantic after a downpour, Israel Mensah, an incongruously stylish young man of about 20, adjusts his designer glasses and explains how he makes his living. Each day scrap sellers bring loads of old electronics—from where he doesn't know. Mensah and his partners—friends and family, including two shoeless boys raptly listening to us talk—buy a few computers or TVs. They break copper yokes off picture tubes, littering the ground with shards containing lead, a neurotoxin, and cadmium, a carcinogen that damages lungs and kidneys. They strip resalable parts such as drives and memory chips. Then they rip out wiring and burn the plastic. He sells copper stripped from one scrap load to buy another. The key to making money is speed, not safety. "The gas goes to your nose and you feel something in your head," Mensah says, knocking his fist against the back of his skull for effect. "Then you get sick in your head and your chest." Nearby, hulls of broken monitors float in the lagoon. Tomorrow the rain will wash them into the ocean.

People have always been proficient at making trash. Future archaeologists will note that at the tail end of the 20th century, a new, noxious kind of clutter exploded across the landscape: the digital detritus that has come to be called e-waste.

More than 40 years ago, Gordon Moore, co-founder of the computer-chip maker Intel, observed that computer processing power roughly doubles every two years. An unstated corollary to "Moore's law" is that at any given time, all the machines considered state-of-the-art are simultaneously on the verge of obsolescence. At this very moment, heavily caffeinated software engineers are designing programs that will overtax and befuddle your new turbo-powered PC when you try running them a few years from now. The memory and graphics requirements of Microsoft's recent Vista operating system, for instance, spell doom for aging machines that were still able to squeak by a year ago. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 30 to 40 million PCs will be ready for "end-of-life management" in each of the next few years.

Computers are hardly the only electronic hardware hounded by obsolescence. A switchover to digital high-definition television broadcasts is scheduled to be complete by 2009, rendering inoperable TVs that function perfectly today but receive only an analog signal. As viewers prepare for the switch, about 25 million TVs are taken out of service yearly. In the fashion-conscious mobile market, 98 million U.S. cell phones took their last call in 2005. All told, the EPA estimates that in the U.S. that year, between 1.5 and 1.9 million tons of computers, TVs, VCRs, monitors, cell phones, and other equipment were discarded. If all sources of electronic waste are tallied, it could total 50 million tons a year worldwide, according to the UN Environment Programme.

So what happens to all this junk?

In the United States, it is estimated that more than 70 percent of discarded computers and monitors, and well over 80 percent of TVs, eventually end up in landfills, despite a growing number of state laws that prohibit dumping of e-waste, which may leak lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium, and other toxics into the ground. Meanwhile, a staggering volume of unused electronic gear sits in storage—about 180 million TVs, desktop PCs, and other components as of 2005, according to the EPA. Even if this obsolete equipment remains in attics and basements indefinitely, never reaching a landfill, this solution has its own, indirect impact on the environment. In addition to toxics, e-waste contains goodly amounts of silver, gold, and other valuable metals that are highly efficient conductors of electricity. In theory, recycling gold from old computer motherboards is far more efficient and less environmentally destructive than ripping it from the earth, often by surface-mining that imperils pristine rain forests.

Currently, less than 20 percent of e-waste entering the solid waste stream is channeled through companies that advertise themselves as recyclers, though the number is likely to rise as states like California crack down on landfill dumping. Yet recycling, under the current system, is less benign than it sounds. Dropping your old electronic gear off with a recycling company or at a municipal collection point does not guarantee that it will be safely disposed of. While some recyclers process the material with an eye toward minimizing pollution and health risks, many more sell it to brokers who ship it to the developing world, where environmental enforcement is weak. For people in countries on the front end of this arrangement, it's a handy out-of-sight, out-of-mind solution.

Many governments, conscious that electronic waste wrongly handled damages the environment and human health, have tried to weave an international regulatory net. The 1989 Basel Convention, a 170-nation accord, requires that developed nations notify developing nations of incoming hazardous waste shipments. Environmental groups and many undeveloped nations called the terms too weak, and in 1995 protests led to an amendment known as the Basel Ban, which forbids hazardous waste shipments to poor countries. Though the ban has yet to take effect, the European Union has written the requirements into its laws.

The EU also requires manufacturers to shoulder the burden of safe disposal. Recently a new EU directive encourages "green design" of electronics, setting limits for allowable levels of lead, mercury, fire retardants, and other substances. Another directive requires manufacturers to set up infrastructure to collect e-waste and ensure responsible recycling—a strategy called take-back. In spite of these safeguards, untold tons of e-waste still slip out of European ports, on their way to the developing world.

In the United States, electronic waste has been less of a legislative priority. One of only three countries to sign but not ratify the Basel Convention (the other two are Haiti and Afghanistan), it does not require green design or take-back programs of manufacturers, though a few states have stepped in with their own laws. The U.S. approach, says Matthew Hale, EPA solid waste program director, is instead to encourage responsible recycling by working with industry—for instance, with a ratings system that rewards environmentally sound products with a seal of approval. "We're definitely trying to channel market forces, and look for cooperative approaches and consensus standards," Hale says.

The result of the federal hands-off policy is that the greater part of e-waste sent to domestic recyclers is shunted overseas.

"We in the developed world get the benefit from these devices," says Jim Puckett, head of Basel Action Network, or BAN, a group that opposes hazardous waste shipments to developing nations. "But when our equipment becomes unusable, we externalize the real environmental costs and liabilities to the developing world."

Asia is the center of much of the world's high-tech manufacturing, and it is here the devices often return when they die. China in particular has long been the world's electronics graveyard. With explosive growth in its manufacturing sector fueling demand, China's ports have become conduits for recyclable scrap of every sort: steel, aluminum, plastic, even paper. By the mid-1980s, electronic waste began freely pouring into China as well, carrying the lucrative promise of the precious metals embedded in circuit boards.

Vandell Norwood, owner of Corona Visions, a recycling company in San Antonio, Texas, remembers when foreign scrap brokers began trolling for electronics to ship to China. Today he opposes the practice, but then it struck him and many other recyclers as a win-win situation. "They said this stuff was all going to get recycled and put back into use," Norwood remembers brokers assuring him. "It seemed environmentally responsible. And it was profitable, because I was getting paid to have it taken off my hands." Huge volumes of scrap electronics were shipped out, and the profits rolled in.

Any illusion of responsibility was shattered in 2002, the year Puckett's group, BAN, released a documentary film that showed the reality of e-waste recycling in China. Exporting Harm focused on the town of Guiyu in Guangdong Province, adjacent to Hong Kong. Guiyu had become the dumping ground for massive quantities of electronic junk. BAN documented thousands of people—entire families, from young to old—engaged in dangerous practices like burning computer wire to expose copper, melting circuit boards in pots to extract lead and other metals, or dousing the boards in powerful acid to remove gold.

China had specifically prohibited the import of electronic waste in 2000, but that had not stopped the trade. After the worldwide publicity BAN's film generated, however, the government lengthened the list of forbidden e-wastes and began pushing local governments to enforce the ban in earnest.

On a recent trip to Taizhou, a city in Zhejiang Province south of Shanghai that was another center of e-waste processing, I saw evidence of both the crackdown and its limits. Until a few years ago, the hill country outside Taizhou was the center of a huge but informal electronics disassembly industry that rivaled Guiyu's. But these days, customs officials at the nearby Haimen and Ningbo ports—clearinghouses for massive volumes of metal scrap—are sniffing around incoming shipments for illegal hazardous waste.

High-tech scrap "imports here started in the 1990s and reached a peak in 2003," says a high school teacher whose students tested the environment around Taizhou for toxics from e-waste. He requested anonymity from fear of local recyclers angry about the drop in business. "It has been falling since 2005 and now is hard to find."

Today the salvagers operate in the shadows. Inside the open door of a house in a hillside village, a homeowner uses pliers to rip microchips and metal parts off a computer motherboard. A buyer will burn these pieces to recover copper. The man won't reveal his name. "This business is illegal," he admits, offering a cigarette. In the same village, several men huddle inside a shed, heating circuit boards over a flame to extract metal. Outside the door lies a pile of scorched boards. In another village a few miles away, a woman stacks up bags of circuit boards in her house. She shoos my translator and me away. Continuing through the hills, I see people tearing apart car batteries, alternators, and high-voltage cable for recycling, and others hauling aluminum scrap to an aging smelter. But I find no one else working with electronics. In Taizhou, at least, the e-waste business seems to be waning.

Yet for some people it is likely too late; a cycle of disease or disability is already in motion. In a spate of studies released last year, Chinese scientists documented the environmental plight of Guiyu, the site of the original BAN film. The air near some electronics salvage operations that remain open contains the highest amounts of dioxin measured anywhere in the world. Soils are saturated with the chemical, a probable carcinogen that may disrupt endocrine and immune function. High levels of flame retardants called PBDEs—common in electronics, and potentially damaging to fetal development even at very low levels—turned up in the blood of the electronics workers. The high school teacher in Taizhou says his students found high levels of PBDEs in plants and animals. Humans were also tested, but he was not at liberty to discuss the results.

China may someday succeed in curtailing electronic waste imports. But e-waste flows like water. Shipments that a few years ago might have gone to ports in Guangdong or Zhejiang Provinces can easily be diverted to friendlier environs in Thailand, Pakistan, or elsewhere. "It doesn't help in a global sense for one place like China, or India, to become restrictive," says David N. Pellow, an ethnic studies professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies electronic waste from a social justice perspective. "The flow simply shifts as it takes the path of least resistance to the bottom."

It is next to impossible to gauge how much e-waste is still being smuggled into China, diverted to other parts of Asia, or—increasingly—dumped in West African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. At ground level, however, one can pick out single threads from this global toxic tapestry and follow them back to their source.

In Accra, Mike Anane, a local environmental journalist, takes me down to the seaport. Guards block us at the gate. But some truck drivers at a nearby gas station point us toward a shipment facility just up the street, where they say computers are often unloaded. There, in a storage yard, locals are opening a shipping container from Germany. Shoes, clothes, and handbags pour out onto the tarmac. Among the clutter: some battered Pentium 2 and 3 computers and monitors with cracked cases and missing knobs, all sitting in the rain. A man hears us asking questions. "You want computers?" he asks. "How many containers?"

Near the port I enter a garage-like building with a sign over the door: "Importers of British Used Goods." Inside: more age-encrusted PCs, TVs, and audio components. According to the manager, the owner of the facility imports a 40-foot (12 meters) container every week. Working items go up for sale. Broken ones are sold for a pittance to scrap collectors.

All around the city, the sidewalks are choked with used electronics shops. In a suburb called Darkuman, a dim stall is stacked front to back with CRT monitors. These are valueless relics in wealthy countries, particularly hard to dispose of because of their high levels of lead and other toxics. Apparently no one wants them here, either. Some are monochrome, with tiny screens. Boys will soon be smashing them up in a scrap market.

A price tag on one of the monitors bears the label of a chain of Goodwill stores headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, a 45-minute drive from my house. A lot of people donate their old computers to charity organizations, believing they're doing the right thing. I might well have done the same. I ask the proprietor of the shop where he got the monitors. He tells me his brother in Alexandria, Virginia, sent them. He sees no reason not to give me his brother's phone number.

When his brother Baah finally returns my calls, he turns out not to be some shady character trying to avoid the press, but a maintenance man in an apartment complex, working 15-hour days fixing toilets and lights. To make ends meet, he tells me, he works nights and weekends exporting used computers to Ghana through his brother. A Pentium 3 brings $150 in Accra, and he can sometimes buy the machines for less than $10 on Internet liquidation websites—he favors private ones, but the U.S. General Services Administration runs one as well. Or he buys bulk loads from charity stores. (Managers of the Goodwill store whose monitor ended up in Ghana denied selling large quantities of computers to dealers.) Whatever the source, the profit margin on a working computer is substantial.

The catch: Nothing is guaranteed to work, and companies always try to unload junk. CRT monitors, though useless, are often part of the deal. Baah has neither time nor space to unpack and test his monthly loads. "You take it over there and half of them don't work," he says disgustedly. All you can do then is sell it to scrap people, he says. "What they do with it from that point, I don't know nothing about it."

Baah's little exporting business is just one trickle in the cataract of e-waste flowing out of the U.S. and the rest of the developed world. In the long run, the only way to prevent it from flooding Accra, Taizhou, or a hundred other places is to carve a new, more responsible direction for it to flow in. A Tampa, Florida, company called Creative Recycling Systems has already begun.

The key to the company's business model rumbles away at one end of a warehouse—a building-size machine operating not unlike an assembly line in reverse. "David" was what company president Jon Yob called the more than three-million-dollar investment in machines and processes when they were installed in 2006; Goliath is the towering stockpile of U.S. e-scrap. Today the machine's steel teeth are chomping up audio and video components. Vacuum pressure and filters capture dust from the process. "The air that comes out is cleaner than the ambient air in the building," vice president Joe Yob (Jon's brother) bellows over the roar.

A conveyor belt transports material from the shredder through a series of sorting stations: vibrating screens of varying finenesses, magnets, a device to extract leaded glass, and an eddy current separator—akin to a reverse magnet, Yob says—that propels nonferrous metals like copper and aluminum into a bin, along with precious metals like gold, silver, and palladium. The most valuable product, shredded circuit boards, is shipped to a state-of-the-art smelter in Belgium specializing in precious-metals recycling. According to Yob, a four-foot-square (1.2-meter-square) box of the stuff can be worth as much as $10,000.

In Europe, where the recycling infrastructure is more developed, plant-size recycling machines like David are fairly common. So far, only three other American companies have such equipment. David can handle some 150 million pounds (68 million kilograms) of electronics a year; it wouldn't take many more machines like it to process the entire country's output of high-tech trash. But under current policies, pound for pound it is still more profitable to ship waste abroad than to process it safely at home. "We can?t compete economically with people who do it wrong, who ship it overseas," Joe Yob says. Creative Recycling?s investment in David thus represents a gamble—one that could pay off if the EPA institutes a certification process for recyclers that would define minimum standards for the industry. Companies that rely mainly on export would have difficulty meeting such standards. The EPA is exploring certification options.

Ultimately, shipping e-waste overseas may be no bargain even for the developed world. In 2006, Jeffrey Weidenhamer, a chemist at Ashland University in Ohio, bought some cheap, Chinese-made jewelry at a local dollar store for his class to analyze. That the jewelry contained high amounts of lead was distressing, but hardly a surprise; Chinese-made leaded jewelry is all too commonly marketed in the U.S. More revealing were the amounts of copper and tin alloyed with the lead. As Weidenhamer and his colleague Michael Clement argued in a scientific paper published this past July, the proportions of these metals in some samples suggest their source was leaded solder used in the manufacture of electronic circuit boards.

"The U.S. right now is shipping large quantities of leaded materials to China, and China is the world's major manufacturing center," Weidenhamer says. "It's not all that surprising things are coming full circle and now we're getting contaminated products back." In a global economy, out of sight will not stay out of mind for long.


Related webpages:

Photo Gallery: High-Tech Trash - Toxic components of discarded electronics are ending up overseas.

Recycling: The Big Picture - Does it make sense to recycle?

Test Your Knowledge of E-Waste

Interactive: Toxic Computer
Lying in a landfill, a desktop computer can take a toll on public health. Click on the dots for a tour of its toxic components.

E-cycling Etiquette: How to Help
Americans toss out about two million tons of unwanted electronics annually, fouling landfills with toxic lead from old computer monitors, cadmium from leaking batteries, and more. But it's getting easier to discard responsibly. CLIP

Field Notes


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