Meditation Focus #103

Voting With Our Souls for a New Earth


What follows is the 103rd Meditation Focus suggested for the 2 weeks beginning Sunday, January 18, 2004.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus

A) Urgent message from the Star Elders
B)Turning point in the campaign to pick the Democratic contender against Bush
C) Listening to the Voice of the People at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India
D) Why spending billions to go on Mars when our planet is slowly dying?


As we are collectively entering the last stretch of the transition period that will lead to the inauguration of a new era of global peace, universal unity and cosmic Love made manifest on Earth and beyond, several major unfolding events and pressing needs require our individual and common attention. First, it has now become clear to the vast majority of the world that policies followed and often ruthlessly implemented by the Republican political apparatus in the United States are unsustainable, dangerous and shortsighted. Yet they also create an opportunity for a massive awakening as to the need to unify all humanity not merely to counter these self-destructive trends championed by the proponents of the American Way of Life, and emulated in many respects by most other countries on Earth, but also to set into motion the crescending number of changes in all fields of human activities that will gradually enable the globalization of a more humane, more spiritually-centered and more ecologically sensible way of living on this planet, in the very near future. And in this regard, all eyes are now turned towards the march of a candidate in the Democratic field who, by his high ideals, his strict allegiance to protecting all Life and the visionary stewardship he proposes to help lead the United States and, through the momentum this country could set, the whole world towards a much brighter future, has proven to be a true champion for those who, like this soul, are here to serve the Light and co-create a New Earth.

Despite the difficult odds he faces, countless millions have been empowered and energized by his example into realizing that his campaign for the presidency is not about power, money and fame, but is about being true to your conscience, following your heart, and mastering the realities of this world so as to manifest the vision guiding each soul who has accepted to take a personal share of responsibility for the woes of this suffering planet and found within themselves the spiritual stamina to rise up, actively contribute to the solutions and becoming living beacons of hope for the rest of our brothers and sisters. It is impossible to describe how magnificently this dazzling awakening of the self-chosen ones is shining for all to see in all spheres and dimensions of Life... This kind of courageous stand for Who We Are is extremely contagious and has such a magnifying effect on all that is innately good and caring and loving in each soul currently in embodiment that there is no telling how swiftly and decisively it can turn apparently desperate situations and odds into resounding victories for the Light, once a critical threshold of empowerment of awakening beings is reached. When that happens, even those obsessed with power, money and fame may undergo profound, almost instantaneously changes of heart and begin the redeeming process that will correct, heal and love back into perfect harmony all that has been despoiled, trampled and abused.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following one, to contribute in touching in every other living soul the center that knows the Will of God guiding all individual sparks of Universal Consciousness back to the Source of All That Is, so as to awaken the desire to serve this Will, to unify with this Will and to become this Will, and then to shine from heart to Heart, from soul to Soul, from god to God the growing Realization that there is nothing to do but to Be, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.

* means the place is observing daylight saving time (DST) at the moment.

You may also check at to find your current corresponding local time if a closeby city is not listed above.


This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.

A) Urgent message from the Star Elders

17 Jan 2004

“When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

--Audre Lorde


(through "Aluna Joy Yaxk'in">)

A note from Aluna. In 1990 while in Palenque, Mexico, I was shown a energy that was coming to earth that would give us the ability to instantly manifest all our heart desires, whatever they may be. (You can read the entire story posted at The Star Elders will never predict the future, as it is dis-empowering and the future in not written in stone as we have the ability to change it. With the urgency of this message from the Star Elders, I am drawing the conclusion that this energy I was shown is about to arrive in greater quantities than ever before. I took me a couple to days before I would agree to write this for them. I told them.. Hey buddies . This is a lot of YOU do this, and YOU do that, but they showed me there are some out there that they have this message pegged for. You will know who you are. They already do.

Here is the message...

Why do you take so long to make up your minds?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?
You could be flying, but you choose to give yourself to lesser visions.
You wonder why you feel grounded, trapped, lost, alone.
You throw your hands to the sky and scream to God almighty . “WHY - WHY ME?”

You feel great anticipation for something you don't understand.
It is so close you can almost taste it, almost touch it, almost see it.
The impatience is almost to much to bear.
You feel it pushing you, but you freeze before you take a simple step.
You feel stuck in the mud, trapped in quick sand,
abandoned by your empty life, job, relationship.
You forget your life is in your hands.
You forget you can fly.

We are puzzled why you feel the light and yet place your faith in darkness.
We wonder why you believe you are in charge of your destiny
yet continue to act like a victim,
why utopia comes second place to catastrophobia.
We wonder why you prepare for the fatalistic vision, the prophesied Armageddon.
You prepare for the worst and hope for better.
And you wonder why life doesn't get better.

We wonder why you let your dreams die.
You dream to be free, to fly into the glorious vision.
yet you let others tell you it is a fantasy, unrealistic, crazy.
You doubt the vision, and then you doubt yourself.
You hide the dream, you cage it up, instead of set it free.
Why do you take so long to make up your minds?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?

You think the governments have more power than you.
You think those with more money, more education,
more things, have more power than you.
You believe the prophecies of quakes, famine, plaque.
You believe the future is set in stone — that your days are numbered.
that there is no hope but to endure or survive what is coming.
You imagine the ground is already shaking under your feet.
Why do you take so long to make up your minds?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?

We thought you knew your power!
You are reminded in so many ways that
you are the creator of your expression, maker of your destiny, 
inventor of your world, architect of your reality,
yet you don't embrace this creative power.
The fact is that this creative power is all you are.
When are you going to make up your mind?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?
When are you going to quit looking down ?!

Flying is easy.
It is about taking the leap to and forgetting you don't know how to fly,
to simply to forget to fall.
Yet you keep looking down at the darkness
and the blind barbaric world you wish to leave behind.
And you wonder WHY you fall.
Wings loose power, crumple up and you drop like falling stars.
And in the darkness, there you are.
You scream: GOD I am here - GOD why don't you see me?
You forget when you focus on darkness,
you can't see that God is you!
It is a choice not to see.
Why do you take so long to make up your minds?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?

Things are going to change — CHANGE SO FAST —
that it will be hard to hold on.
So don’t. Don't hold on.
Don't hold on to the past.
Don't hold on to what has been.
Don't hold on to the blindness.
Don't hold to those who still invest their energy
in the dark prophecies, in armageddon fantasy.
Let go. Forget to fall and FLY
You can rise up out of the blinding darkness in a second.
It is your choice!

So. When are you going to make up your mind?
When are you going to see yourself as we do?
When are you going to love yourself as much as we do?
When are you going to believe the immaculate vision?
When are you going to remember that you are
the virgins birthing a new dream into reality!

It is your choice!


More on the Star Elders at

Here is an excerpt:

(...) The Star Elders, a group of Cosmic Star Walkers, have come to Earth over and over and over again. They came to observe the cycles of Earth and wanted to know why Earth seemed to be out of sync with the rest of the universe. If you ever felt totally alone, yet still felt there is something or someone else out there… this is why! We are just a bit out of sync with it so we can’t see it yet. They fell in love with the people of earth and decided to stay a while to teach what they knew. Everything was done in a sense of fun, ease and great humor.

The Star Elders have been coming here as early as pre-historic times. They have influenced eras we do not have memories of or historical account. They were here in the times of the Atlantis and Lemuria, the birth of Incan Worlds, at the birth of the Egyptian era, the Himalayas in Tibet and a belief system that Buddhism was built on. They spent time on the sacred mountains in North America where the I AM master teaching sprung up from. Anywhere a culture, religion or tradition seem to spring up from nowhere fully developed, the Star Elders were a part of that evolutionary jump. They planted seeds of cosmic truth in different times and locations, and lets things evolve naturally. This is why we can discover common threads between beliefs and traditions in most ancient cultures. The foundations for these cultures came from the same source - from the people from the Stars, the Bird Tribes, the Star Walkers… How these truths developed into seemingly different cultures was at the whim of the local people, but the foundation of truth has remained even today.

The Star Elder are very much like Ascended Masters we know of today. They work with the Great White Brother Hood (not based on the color of the skin or gender); Lord Meru and the Brotherhood of the 7 Rays; Archangel Michael and other Archangels; Jesus - Jesuha - Sananada - Christ; Mother Mary; Saint Francis; Buddha and a multitude of Hindu / Buddhist Masters, and the list goes on and on. Now this sounds a bit far fetched but on the other side these guys all know each other and work together toward a common goal to empower humanity into mastery and to guide us thought this shift of the ages that is upon us!

The last time the Star Elders were on Earth in physical form was about 800 years ago… in a area we now called Guatemala, in a site called Quirigua. They had finished measuring the new Earth land masses after huge changes in environment. These shifts happened over 10,400 years ago and still are the basis of our catastra-phobia of end time today. They had calculated the very complicated cycles of life on earth and how they related to the cosmos. The Star Elders knew the earth was about to enter a cosmic cocoon to be transformed from a worm into a butterfly. It was time for them to go. They could not be here for this process. We were on our own. They left and went back to the stars.

This was the beginning of a time we call dark cycles, medieval times, a time of forgetfulness when the darkness seemed to rule over truth and light. It was a time where humanity seemed to devolve instead of raise it self. There was war, famine and horror beyond description. Beautiful civilizations fell to the twisted hands of barbaric and greedy warriors. We are just now coming out of that dark cycle. We are crawling out of the cocoon and stretching our wings. We do feel the pressure of this transformation and feel a deep longing for some thing or some one or some place we can not describe as yet.

CLIP - Read the rest at


See also:

Rising Phoenix Series #27: Jumping Headlong Into a New Year of Mutually Empowering Sharing and Learning (01/05/2004)

Light Series #56: Taking Up Responsibility for a Brighter Future (01/14/2004)


B) Possible turning point in the campaign to pick the Democratic contender against Bush

The Iowa Democratic party caucuses mark the official beginning of the selection of delegates to the presidential nominating conventions. Caucuses serve as a means of political mobilization in the days—half a century ago and more—when the Democratic and Republican parties had a sizeable popular base and depended on extensive local organizations to sustain them. The caucuses have become the occasion for a peculiar sort of campaign in which the candidates compete to turn out the largest number of supporters at the precinct-level meetings.


On the edge with Dennis the Menace

Jules Witcover

Originally published Jan 16, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa - To the other Democratic presidential candidates competing in Monday's Iowa precinct caucuses, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio may seem to be a real-life Dennis the Menace. A distinct long shot, he asks embarrassing questions of the other contenders in their seemingly endless debates and generally is regarded by them as a pesky irrelevance.

But the one-time boy mayor of Cleveland, who proposes creation of a new Department of Peace in the presidential Cabinet, is a man with a mission. He relentlessly holds the feet of his fellow Democrats to the fire on the issues of why and how President Bush led the nation into war in Iraq and when and how American forces should be extricated from it.

In every debate, his simple slogan "U.S. out, U.N. in" resonates with the party's most liberal activists, but sounds to other Democrats like chalk screeching down a blackboard. Mr. Kucinich unabashedly has made himself the man who came to dinner and wouldn't leave.

He is not the first long-shot candidate who has injected himself into presidential politics with few perceived qualifications for running the country or garnering the popular support to seriously contend for his party's nomination.

But few others have demonstrated the brashness and tenacity in doing so as has Mr. Kucinich. When moderator Ted Koppel of ABC News in one debate pointedly pressed him on getting out of the race as a hopeless case, Dennis the Menace brushed him aside with such alacrity that he drew cheers from the audience.

The presence of such long-shot candidates routinely draws press complaints that they clutter up serious issue discussion and needlessly take time away from the candidates running far ahead of them in the polls. But Mr. Kucinich's prodding of the others on the war has been a voice of Democratic conscience on the issue.

Democratic candidates such as Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri hedge their positions on Iraq. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean defends keeping U.S. troops there for a time. But Mr. Kucinich minces no words: The troops never should have been there in the first place and the time to get them out is now.

Long before President Bush moved against Saddam Hussein, Mr. Kucinich was roundly denouncing unilateral, pre-emptive war as unconstitutional and unwarranted. For more than a year before the war, he was stumping the country as the self-proclaimed leader of a small "peace caucus" in Congress.

Those who hope or pray that the man short in stature but long in determination will fade away in a trail of weak caucus and primary showings are likely to be disappointed. Mr. Kucinich reports he has raised about $5.5 million in campaign contributions and has just received a $3.3 million cash infusion through the federal campaign finance subsidy system - enough, he says, to carry him clear to the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July. "I'm going all the way in this," he says.

Running a shoestring campaign until now, Mr. Kucinich has begun a few TV commercials in Iowa, and several billboards touting his candidacy have sprung up around Des Moines. At the same time, he has made the most of his scrappy debate participation to garner additional TV interviews and keep the Iraq war issue on the front burner - to the continuing discomfort of those fellow Democrats in Congress who, unlike him, voted for the Bush war resolution.

Mr. Kucinich's major target, however, remains the president. In the final Iowa debate Sunday, commenting on Mr. Bush's plan to send a man to Mars, his quip - "Maybe he's looking for the weapons of mass destruction still" - drew one of the heartiest laughs from the audience.

But unlike many other presumptive "sure losers" of past presidential races, Mr. Kucinich also is making a contribution of substance to the 2004 election dialogue. He is reminding the other candidates that running for president should be something more than a contest of style, looks and charisma, little of which he has.



In wireless era, Iowa stands on ceremony

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- A slew of newfangled gadgetry -- cellphones, the Internet, hand-held Blackberry wireless communication devices -- have been introduced into the arcane caucuses that may winnow the Democratic presidential field Monday evening.

A fleet of TV satellite trucks has rolled into the state to guarantee that the world can watch what has become a four-way race between Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

But the process is still just downhome democracy. Come Monday, there is only one question left for folks in Iowa: Who will you stand for?

Basically, a caucus is a gathering of neighbors who talk and then vote on precinct delegates to county political conventions. These county delegates later get together to elect delegates to district and state conventions, where the delegates to the national Democratic and Republican conventions are elected.

The delegates are committed to particular presidential candidates.

Caucuses are different from primaries, which are like regular elections except that in most, only party members vote directly on candidates. Rather than polls being open all day, Iowa's caucuses begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Tardy voters are not allowed to participate.

"They're very different from primaries in that caucusgoers must show up at the same time all over the state and sit through a three-hour meeting," explained Dennis Goldford, chairman of the department of politics and international relations at Drake University in Des Moines. "It requires a greater degree of commitment."

Caucus nights are always cold in Iowa, he pointed out. "And if a baby sitter doesn't show up, the parents can't go to the caucus."

At the caucus, folks discuss the candidates and issues for about an hour and then move into separate spaces to indicate their support.

A candidate who doesn't get at least 15 percent of this initial standing vote is not "viable." His or her backers often shift to another favorite, said Keith Kuper, a Democratic activist who plans to "stand for" Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The process is public and supporters of viable candidates try to win over backers of those who are not viable. This has led to speculation that cellphones and Blackberries can be used between caucuses to manipulate vote totals.

If Gephardt is not viable in one caucus and Kucinich is, for instance, his supporters might call in for guidance and be told to stand for Kucinich rather than lend support to Kerry, Dean or Edwards.

Some veteran caucus watchers are doubtful.

"I am highly skeptical that it could ever happen for two reasons," said Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.

"First, it would require an enormous amount of coordination. There are almost 2,000 caucuses occurring simultaneously. I doubt any candidate has an organization in place that could attempt to direct traffic across them.

"Second, I doubt many followers would feel compelled to follow directions from the campaign if any were issued," he explained. "Caucus attenders whose candidates do not attain viability in their precincts are apt to splinter, many going off to their second choice, others becoming uncommitted, and a few going home."

A cellphone network would be too complicated, agreed Arthur Sanders, a political science professor at Drake University.

"More useful might be wireless e-mail or text messaging that you could send from a central organization to lots of people at the meetings with instructions or information," Sanders speculated. "For example, from Gephardt headquarters to precinct leaders: 'CBS is reporting that the Edwards surge did not materialize so it might be safe to combine with Edwards if there are precincts where we are not viable as this will weaken Kerry and Dean.'"

For all their color and quaintness, the caucuses contain some basic unfairness.

There are no absentee ballots. People too feeble to get out in the cold night are kept out of the democratic process.

Attendance at the caucuses is usually sparse, but those who do go are passionate and well-informed, said Goldford.

Typically, a primary will get about 17 percent turnout while the turnout of the 2000 caucuses was 15 percent for Republicans and 9 percent for Democrats, he said.

However, since the Democratic field is large and the race close, their caucuses could double the turnout this year: 125,000 voters compared with about 61,000 four years ago.

Just as important as having supporters is getting them to show up. Dean's Internet campaign has brought 3,500 volunteers to Iowa, for instance, and many of them will drive backers to the caucuses. Union members from other states have come in to help Gephardt in this effort.

The caucuses don't always pick the winners, but the neighborhood gatherings are brutal in culling the field. No candidate who competed in Iowa has ever gotten the nomination without finishing in the top three in his party caucus.

It all comes down to standing up.


From: "Daniel G keehn">
Subject: The CHOICE Before Us
Date: 16 Jan 2004

This is an historic moment of CHOICE.

This is the moment when we must choose LIFE or DEATH individually and collectively.

It is our responsibility to choose and to do it NOW!

YOU can create a 180 degree change in our politics and government leaders.

There is a man at the center of the worldwide cry for peace and change. His name is DENNIS KUCINICH, and he is one of the Democratic candidates for President of the United States.

Congressman Kucinich is the best candidate to enact the changes necessary for our survival. His policies are based on common sense and they will enable the U.S. to rejoin the world community-not as a power over, but as a partner with--other nations.

The Congressman has presented a Bill in the House of Representatives to create a Department of Peace as well as one that will ban the weaponization of space.

We have the opportunity to make him President of the U.S. if we act now!

We are told by the 'powers that be' that he is not electable. Actually it is in our power to make it SO!

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. and the Army War College have issued reports that confirm what Rep. Kucinich has been telling us about the war in Iraq.

Both are saying that this administration has misled the American people. The War College assessment is that this conflict is 'unnecessary' and has brought the U.S. Army to a "near breaking point."

An estimated 40 to 50 percent of the American people feel disenfranchised, disenchanted, frightened and embarrassed by the policies of this administration.

For those considering opting out of the next election, there is now within the Democratic ranks SOMEONE TO VOTE FOR!

It is important for you to vote for Rep. Kucinich and encourage all other Americans to do so.

"Business as usual" is a dangerous option.

Learn more about this man of truth, courage and integrity at his website, phone his headquarters, donate as much as possible to his campaign (only if you're a U. S. citizen), and think of all the ways you can help make this CHOICE in front of us a reality. Click on his website and under STATEMENTS read The Electability of Dennis Kucinich.

This is a time for action. The future is in our hands.

We hope that people in every country will help spread this email. Send it to your American friends, get information about this planetary movement to the media and help us bring hope and cooperation to our world by electing Dennis J. Kucinich President of the United States.

Come my friends, let us create a better world together!

Thank you for listening and making your CHOICE

Concerned Global Citizens

Follow the link to hear Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich's legendary speech A Prayer for America at


Date: 16 Jan 2004
Subject: Kucinich Wins Poll
From: "David Swanson, Kucinich Campaign">

While it’s not a scientific poll of voters, it is heartening to know that 23,804 visitors to an important progressive website,, have voted 44.5 percent for Dennis Kucinich, 32.4 percent for Howard Dean, 14.6 percent for Wesley Clark, 3.6 percent for John Kerry, 2.4 percent for John Edwards, 0.9 percent for Al Sharpton, 0.6 percent for Carol Mosley Braun, and 0.3 percent for Joe Lieberman.

The prognosticating political pundits are hedging their bets on Iowa – some even going so far as to admit that they have no idea what results will come out of the caucuses. And rightly so. It all depends on turnout and on the passion of those who turn out. Every person you persuade to take the time to caucus for Dennis can make a significant difference in Iowa, and therefore in the 49 states that come after Iowa.

If you want this country to have a real alternative to George W. Bush, now is the time to act. Every phone call you make to Iowa this weekend is worth hours and hours of work down the road.

Come to Iowa!

Make phone calls to Iowans!

Read updates from Iowa!


Date: 17 Jan 2004
Subject: Join Us Sunday, 1/18 1pm ET in Moment of Prayer for Dennis' Victory in Iowa

Dear Friend of Dennis:

Here is 'A Prayer for America' that YOU will author and recite!

Wherever you are, please join us for a moment or more of prayer/meditation/ritual/etc. this Sunday, January 18, at 1 p.m. ET, invoking Dennis' victory in Iowa, on his road to the White House.

Could you also invoke that all Americans have open hearts, minds, eyes and ears to see the Truth through the lies that have been propagated, and that they hold a vision of what America can and should be?

No matter what your faith or even lack thereof, the power of thought coupled with the power of love which invokes the Highest Good for All, is an energy that cannot eventually be denied.

We are the Ones we have been waiting for!

Our combined intent becomes the power that can manifest an Iowa victory for Dennis.

Please forward this call to action widely as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for all you can do! for inspiration courtesy of Dennis

In the Spirit of Peace,

Kosta Makreas
Friends of Kucinich International
San Bruno, CA


See also:

Dennis Kucinich: The Progressive Vision
It's time for America to resume its glorious journey. Time to reject shrinking jobs and wages, disappearing savings and rights. Time to reject the detour towards fear and greed. Time to look out upon the world for friends, not enemies. Time to counter the control of corporations over our politics, our economy, our resources, and mass media. Time for those who have much to help those who have little by maintaining a progressive tax structure. Time to tell the world that we wish to be their partner in peace, not their leader in war. Most of all, it is time for America to again be the land where dreams come true because the government is on the side of its people. Unfortunately, America now leads the world in categories we should not be proud of. America is now the world's leading jailer with an incarceration rate higher than China. We lead the industrialized world in poverty and in the growing gap between rich and poor. And we are the only industrial nation not to provide national health care.
This is what a Kucinich administration would work to deliver for America: CLIP (Read the rest at

Iowa's caucuses: An introduction and history

The Iowa Poll
The Iowa Poll, conducted for The Des Moines Register by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on telephone interviews with randomly selected Iowans. The Iowa Poll asked likely participants in Monday's caucuses which candidate they support for the Democratic presidential nomination.
John Kerry: 26%
John Edwards: 23%
Howard Dean: 20%
Dick Gephardt:18%
Dennis Kucinich: 3%
Source: Iowa Poll. Based on interviews conducted Jan. 13-16 with 606 likely Democratic caucus participants. CLIP

Dean Optimistic About Iowa Win, Rallies Supporters (Jan 17);jsessionid=YIU53A3WOSGE0CRBAEOCFFA?type=politicsNews&storyID=4152731
(...) A new Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll showed Kerry, Dean, Gephardt and Edwards bunched within five percentage points of each other at the top of the Democratic field in one of the closest and most intense campaigns in the history of Iowa's caucuses. "Polls at this point are really meaningless," Dean said. "Today we're up, yesterday we're down. The polls at this point cannot predict who's going to caucus and who's not going to caucus."

Poll: Four-Way Democratic Race Tightens in Iowa (Jan 17);jsessionid=Y2FSCBNXTSTO4CRBAE0CFEY?type=politicsNews&storyID=4151944
DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Democrat John Kerry slipped and Howard Dean gained ground in Iowa in a tightening four-way presidential race ahead of Monday's state caucuses, according to Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released on Saturday. Kerry held a slim lead over Dean, 22.6 percent to 22.1 percent, in the latest three-day tracking poll, with Gephardt in third place at 19.1 percent and Edwards moving up to 17.9 percent. (...) The poll found 11 percent of likely caucus-goers were still undecided two days before Monday's caucuses. (...) Dean also has seen his lead in polls in New Hampshire, which holds a primary on Jan. 27, one week after Iowa, vanish under the advance of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who skipped Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire. Clark was at 3 percent in the Iowa poll, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich at 2 percent, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman at 1 percent and former civil rights activist Al Sharpton at less than 1 percent. Lieberman also is not competing in Iowa. Polling in Iowa is complicated by the unique nature of the caucus system, which requires participants to leave their homes and gather with neighbors before publicly declaring their support for a candidate. Participation requires more of a commitment than private ballot-box voting, making it harder to gauge who will actually attend. Only about 100,000 people are expected to turn out for caucuses across Iowa.

Poll: California Democrats Favor Dean, Clark;jsessionid=ALQB4DRG4GB1YCRBAEOCFFA?type=topNews&storyID=4139206
Jan 16, 2004 - SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contenders Howard Dean and Wesley Clark are leading the pack in California by a wide margin, with the former Vermont governor edging out the retired U.S. general for first place, according to a poll released on Friday. The Field Poll of likely voters in the nation's most populous state and biggest electoral prize showed that Dean was in first place with the backing of 25 percent of voters followed closely by Clark at 20 percent. The survey follows the release earlier this week of a poll from the Public Policy Institute of California that found 31 percent of likely voters backed Dean, far ahead of Clark in second place at 14 percent. Voters in the Democratic-leaning state vote in their primary on March 2. The poll also showed support for Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Kerry has fallen steadily over the past nine months to 12 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, said U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt had the support of 5 percent of those surveyed. Sen. John Edwards was tied with civil rights activist Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich at 3 percent. The survey also said California voters are almost split evenly on whether they would reelect President Bush in November, as 46 percent indicated they would choose to do so and 47 percent said they would not.

Poll: independents moving away from Bush (Jan 17)
Washington-AP -- President Bush is losing ground with a critical group of voters: independents. That's the result of a new poll conducted by C-B-S News and The New York Times. The survey indicates less than half -- or 45 percent -- of independents approve of the job the president is doing. That's a huge drop from December, when 64 percent of independents thought well of Bush. White House foreign policy -- a favorite attack area for Democrats -- is both a positive and a negative among those polled. Some 62 percent of independents surveyed say they like how the White House is fighting terrorism, but only 44 percent support how Bush has handled the war in Iraq. The survey shows that Americans overall are split over whether to reelect Bush. With Republicans and Democrats increasingly supporting their party lines -- that makes independents key to this year's election.

Poll Bolsters Bush on Terrorism but Finds Doubts on Economy (Jan 18)
President Bush begins his campaign year with Americans voicing strong support for his handling of the war against terrorism, but many doubting his economic and domestic policies, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Fewer than one in five people said their tax burden had been eased by Mr. Bush, who has made tax cuts the centerpiece of his economic program. His latest domestic initiatives, unveiled in the run-up to the State of the Union message on Tuesday, got only a lukewarm response, with 58 percent saying that building a permanent space station on the Moon was not worth the risks and costs. Moreover, the support Mr. Bush gained after the capture of Saddam Hussein last month has largely dissipated. His overall approval rating now stands at 50 percent, comparable to President Bill Clinton's 47 percent in January 1996. Mr. Bush remains a polarizing figure in a sharply divided country, with 9 in 10 Republicans approving of his performance, and only 1 in 4 of the Democrats. Despite those vulnerabilities, which the Democratic presidential candidates are busily trying to exploit, Mr. Bush retains a powerful advantage on national security. Sixty-eight percent, including majorities of both Democrats and independents, gave him high marks for the campaign against terrorism, and 68 percent said the Bush administration's policies have made the United States safer from terrorist attacks. Sixty-four percent said they considered him a strong leader. "He demonstrated a maturity after 9/11, responding in a positive and determined way to bring the country onto a steady keel," said George House, a 72-year-old Democrat in Sigourney, Iowa. Mr. House, who was reinterviewed after the poll, added that he still had doubts about the war with Iraq. Such assessments could set a high bar for Mr. Bush's Democratic challengers, who are still largely unknown, even among Democratic primary voters, many strategists say. "People wonder whether the Democrats will be as aggressive as Bush in keeping the country safe," said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster. Already, credibility as commander in chief has emerged as a major issue in the battle for the Democratic nomination. Many Democrats in rival campaigns have argued that Howard Dean, who has led in the polls for most of the primary season, is unlikely to pass that test on national security, because of his opposition to the war in Iraq and his lack of foreign policy experience. (...) For all of Mr. Bush's strengths, the poll shows the potential for a competitive election. When asked whether Mr. Bush had done more to unite the country or divide it, the public was split - 43 percent said he had brought Americans together, 44 percent said he had divided them. When given a choice between an unnamed Democrat and Mr. Bush, 43 percent of the registered voters polled said they would vote for Mr. Bush, while 45 percent said they would vote for the Democrat.

C) Listening to the Voice of the People at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India

Globalization, arguably the most contentious subject in international economic debate over the past decade, is likely to be back in the headlines over the next week as two major world development conferences get underway. On Friday, January 16, in Mumbai, India, the World Social Forum (WSF) - which has traditionally been a platform for opponents of globalization - began its 2004 meetings. The WSF focus will be on opposing globalization, war and all forms of discrimination including its racist, patriarchal and religious forms. According to Organizers of the World Social Forum, about 100,000 anti-globalization and peace activists have gathered there this week as a counterpoint to a meeting of business executives and political leaders coming next week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The six-day event features 1,000 conferences, workshops and cultural programs.


World Social Forum declares war on globalisation

17 Jan 2004

By Maria Abraham and Jayashree Lengade

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Thousands of dancing, singing and debating activists from across the world declared war on big business at an anti-globalisation meet in India's corporate capital on Saturday.

Labour leaders from South Korea joined Indian farmers, American volunteers and Afghan women to denounce multinational companies as more than 100,000 activists assembled in a Bombay suburb for the six-day World Social Forum which began on Friday.

"Nestle, Coca Cola quit our countries. Give us our rights," Jose Bove, a French sheep farmer who has become a flag-bearer in the challenge to "economic imperialism", told a cheering crowd packed in an auditorium in the northeastern suburb of Goregaon.

Nobel laureates Shirin Ebadi and Joseph Stiglitz, and Bove, best remembered for demolishing a half-built McDonald's outlet in France nearly four years ago, are among a dozen prominent names at the fourth World Social Forum (WSF), being held in Asia for the first time.

As tribals with painted torsos danced vigorously carrying anti-globalisation banners, singers skipped down another lane belting out criticism of big business while another group performed skits about the exploitation of impoverished farmers.

Bove said global firms producing packaged food and beverages should be shunned and urged that agriculture be taken out of the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). "WTO has to get out of agriculture. It's policies are threatening our future," said Bove.

"Seeds are being patented and are controlled by big industries. This means farmers cannot use their own seeds and they will be out of work. Patenting of seeds has to stop."

The WSF, designed as a counterweight to the World Economic Forum, has become an annual rallying point for people who believe globalisation hurts developing countries.

Last year, the WSF hogged headlines in Brazil, which hosted the previous three WSF events in the southern city of Porto Alegre, after it triggered demonstrations worldwide against a then imminent attack on Iraq. This year, activists demanded Washington get out of Iraq. "Let the people of Iraq decide for themselves what they want for themselves," T. Anastasia, an activist with the Greek Social Forum, an anti-war group, told Reuters.

"We know that the Americans will not leave Iraq easily. But when there is opposition in a big way from around the world I am confident it would give a positive result," she said at a stall pasted with anti-war slogans and posters.

Marcia Meyers, a teacher and member of a voluntary group in the United States, called Washington "the military arm of economic globalisation". "They wage war and make it safe for big corporations to go into different countries," she said.



WSF in full swing in Mumbai

* Arundhati Roy urges people to shut down companies that benefited from Iraq war
* Shirin Ebadi says World Social Forum is a symbol of hope
By Saleem Samad

MUMBAI: Thousands of social justice activists, anti globalisation organisations and like-minded people have descended on Mumbai for the World Social forum mass gathering.

It has rapidly turned red with hammers and sickles sprouting on every lamppost and slogans denouncing multinationals and some denouncing the WSF itself sprayed across the walls of Mumbai.

The official slogan of the mega talkfest is ‘Another World is Possible’ and 1,200 plus seminars will discuss a range of issues from Palestine and Iraq to crimes against women to racism, caste, unemployment and communalism. The city has responded positively to the invasion.

The drivers of auto-rickshaws and taxis are happy with the extra business from the otherwise bewildered foreigners offloading at the Goregaon, the main venue for the event. The morning commuters of the city train to work are confused by the sudden activity and hundreds of foreigners from nearly 80 countries.

At the Goregaon each participant is greeted by activists with leaflets and announcements of seminars, symposiums, meetings, songs and dances and exhibitions at hundreds of sites while a hundred languages and nationalities are visible.

Held together by a motley mass of grassroots groups, labour unions, non-government organisations and artists, it seeks to throw up responses not just to globalisation but also to sectarian violence and war, like the war on Iraq. In fact, opposition to the war in Iraq and US militarism is the dominant theme, culminating in a massive rally next week against the US, said organisers.
The World Social Forum (WSF) born in Brazil in 2001 as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum in Davos, has come to Mumbai and became the talk of the town. The WSF is the response of a growing global movement against trade liberalisation and privatisation.

This is the first time that this mega Mela has been held outside Brazil in an effort to broaden the movement. “We understand we cannot do this alone, that we had to repeat the experience all over the world, and relate all our different experiences,” said Chico Whitaker, one of the founder organisers of the Forum, at a press conference.

Diane Matte, a member of the international committee agreed, “The richness of social movements in India will benefit the global movements. We cannot talk about globalisation without talking about war, racism, patriarchy which are the tools of oppression.” According to veteran social activist Medha Patkar, the Forum offers an opportunity for a broad range of social movements, labour unions and others to come together to counter economic globalisation.

“This will help us challenge the communal, corporate and corrupt economic and political systems of the day,” she said, claiming that there is a “conspiracy to sell the water, land and forests of the country”. A galaxy of high-profile speakers including Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi, former Irish prime minister Mary Robinson and writer Arundhati Roy are slated to appear at the forum. Writer-activist Arundhati Roy urged the world’s citizens to shut down the offices and projects of companies that have benefited from the Iraq war. “It is no good just saying we will win. It is time we did something,” she said amid cheers. In the great European cities, they are openly talking about neo-liberalism, and how the unruly need to be policed. “That’s you and me,” she said.

Nobel Peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who spoke in Farsi, said that this forum was a symbol of hope. “I hope that one day, there will be a world where globalisation would not be synonymous with equality, a globalisation where the human being is the centre,” she said.

Clad in a light blue suit and bereft of her traditional headscarf, petite Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi this year’s Nobel Peace prize-winner so unassuming that a senior organiser at the World Social Forum mistakenly tries to shoo her off stage. Her stern, proud face, however, reveals the strength of a woman who has spent a lifetime speaking up for her sisters and who has never shied from taking on the hardline ayatollahs.

Ms Ebadi, who was Iran’s first woman judge before the revolution put paid to women in high posts, has spent the last 25 years campaigning to change discriminatory laws against women and to free dissident intellectuals despite repeated detentions and threats to her life.

Ms Ebadi says that under Iranian criminal law, a woman’s life is worth half that of a man and so is her testimony. A rainbow cultural offering matched the multi-cultural masses, with performances from Sufi band Junoon and African dancers.



World Social Forum opens in Mumbai

January 16, 2004

Fuelled by squeezed sugar cane juice instead of Coca-Cola, and with computers running free Linux software in place of Microsoft Windows, the anti-globalisation movement's largest annual gathering opened today in Mumbai.

A counterpoint to the near simultaneous World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the World Social Forum (WSF) seeks to bring activist groups together in India's financial hub to develop alternatives to the economic policies pursued by wealthy nations.

"This forum will blow up the myth that there is no alternative," said WR Varada Rajan, a trade union leader at the WSF. "It will also explode the myth that this model of globalisation has universal acceptance."

Activists clanged cymbals, banged drums and chanted slogans as they geared up for the five-day forum, where 100,000 people from 130 countries are expected to attend more than 1,000 conferences, workshops and cultural programmes.

Speakers at the forum included Iran's Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel peace prize, and Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank director and Nobel economics laureate.

After last year's meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, India was chosen to invite greater participation from Africa and Asia.

A forum statement said Mumbai had borne the brunt of India's economic liberalisation polices with millions losing their jobs. Glitzy shopping centres have replaced mills and factories torn down over the last decade in the city.

Opposition to the US-led war in Iraq and its aftermath will also be a key focus at the gathering. Placards at exhibits in a dusty, sprawling field in the Mumbai suburb of Goregaon - which is hosting the forum - read "Stop USA," "No to war," and "Speak up against George Bush".

In a supportive gesture of peace talks between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the WSF opening featured the Pakistani rock band Junoon. Inspired by sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, the group has openly spoken and sung about peace between the two neighbours even when they were on the brink of war.

The WSF grew out of a desire to move beyond the anti-globalisation protests and "offer specific proposals, to seek concrete responses to the challenges of building 'another world', one where the economy would serve people, and not the other way round".



Place in the sun for everyone - except George Bush, Coke and Windows

World Social Forum unites 80,000 against globalisation

Randeep Ramesh in Mumbai Saturday January 17, 2004 The Guardian

On the edge of a large field in a sprawling northern suburb of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, the French sheep farmer and mascot of the anti-globalisation movement, José Bové, is holding forth among a group of farm workers from South America. Mr Bové, pipe clenched firmly between his teeth, is selling his message that "le capitalisme" is not the only way.

Agreeing with him are 80,000 people from 130 countries at the World Social Forum, who want to prove that they are not just noisy anarchists but can offer alternatives to create a fairer planet. At the forum, held for the first time in Asia, are professors from Tunisia, a Pakistani hard rock band, nuns from Ireland and a woman wearing a sign reading "Australians for Peace".

Everybody is sure of what they are against - capitalism, imperialism and George Bush. Posters proclaim that "Asia Pacific women say no to war", and there are talks on "US hegemony and the Arab street".

Nobody can say what precisely they are all for. This does not seem to worry the main speakers, who include the Nobel peace laureate and Iranian women's rights activist Shirin Ebadi, the Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy and the American economist and Nobel economics prizewinner Joseph Stiglitz. There are 1,200 events centred on the slogan "Another world is possible".

"Maybe the WSF does not have weapons of mass destruction or power from money. But we get our strength from the people," says Mustafa Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian intellectual at the forum's opening session.

The organisers of the WSF practise what they preach. Multinational brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are banned and the conference's computers run on Linux, a free operating system that is an alternative to Microsoft Windows. The organisers also chose not to accept money for the £1m event from the US-based Ford Foundation, but took donations from Oxfam.

The WSF claims to be the glue binding the global anti-war coalition, which it hopes to strengthen with a series of worldwide protests this year.

But not everybody agrees that the social forum is the best way to smash imperialism. Despite this year's forum being just one day old, already there is a battle between left and extreme left for the moral high ground.

The "real" struggle against globalisation and the US-led occupation of Iraq, say a small group of anti-capitalists, can be found in a small ground opposite the forum. There, starting today, is a rival conference, titled Mumbai Resistance 2004, organised by far-left groups who claim that the social forum has been "co-opted by capitalism".

"The WSF people simply shout slogans when out of power and then implement pro-globalisation policies when in power," says GN Saibaba, organiser of the rival event. Mr Saibaba claims that the WSF has been turned into a "talking" shop that has blunted its aims. "The WSF are not serious about changing the world. They do not accept the need for armed struggle and we do."

The WSF denies these charges, saying that the two conferences represent different shades of the same opinion. "We are not divided over the main issues", Gautham Mody, a WSF spokesman, says. "The Mumbai Resistance have just decided to go their own way."

The first three annual meetings of the WSF were held in Brazil, which many saw as a perfect place to illustrate the adverse impact of economic liberalisation. But when the last meeting only attracted 200 delegates from Asia, home to nearly half the world's poor, the decision was made to shift the venue to India. Despite the country's rapid economic growth, 400 million Indians still live below the poverty line. The change of location has also altered the agenda of the forum. In the firing line in the next few days will be the issue of caste: a system which imprisons tens of millions of people and any discussion of which would embarrass the Hindu nationalist government.

"I come from Kenya and there are a lot of similarities between my country and India," said 33-year-old Akim Chiagi. "When I listen to the radio I hear the same kind of political problems, and in Africa there is a comparable level of poverty. We are united in the problems we face."

Special reports



See also:

The World Social Forum - 2004 India - Official Website
The World Social Forum is not an organisation, not a united front platform, but "…an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals,
free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centered on the human person". (From the WSF Charter of Principles).

World Social Forum Begins with a Bang (Jan 17)
The World Social Forum began in Mumbai with extremely jubilant demonstrations of resistance. Around 100,000 poured into the WSF grounds singing and dancing throughout the day. Watch Video (mpeg 4) In the evening the opening plenary featuring speakers such as Arundhati Roy (India), Shabana Azmi (India), Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Mustafa Barghouti (Palestine) spoke to a massive crowd. [Photos | Video from One world TV. Read a report of the First Day, art & resistance, and look at anti-war cartoons, photos, photos, and more photos. CLIP

Activists bash U.S. at anti-global forum (Jan 17)
MUMBAI, India -- Delegates to an activists' forum charged Friday that the United States uses the specter of terrorism as a pretext for violating human rights and forcing questionable economic policies on other countries. CLIP

World Economic Forum begins next week in Davos
Economic Forum says this year's gathering will be different, because people are more optimistic. Last year's forum in Davos, Switzerland, was overshadowed by the pending war in Iraq. More than 30 heads of state have confirmed they'll attend next week's meeting, along with more than two-thousand participants. Organizers say the future of Iraq and Mideast peace efforts will top the agenda. The founder of the forum says several positive developments will set this gathering apart from last year. For example, Libya is sending its prime minister after it renounced weapons of mass destruction, and India and Pakistan have renewed relations.

Switzerland's gold-plated gabfest (Jan 17)
Next week, the rich and famous will trek to the 34th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to brood upon the state of capitalism and civilization and whatever else worries the planet's plutocracy. That same week, the world's impoverished -- or more accurately, those who represent them on expense accounts -- will be gathering at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India to trash and demonize globalization as well as those in Davos. (...) This year's Forum includes the usual rich and famous attendees, such as billionaires Bill Gates and George Soros, and will, once more, stage 300 sessions that reflect the current and dramatic shifts in business and geopolitics. The stalled free trade file will be dealt with by the head of the World Trade Organization and corporate regulation will be addressed by Securities and Exchange Commission Chair William Donaldson. Geopolitically, keynote addresses will be made by America's war-against-terrorism poster boys -- Iraq Administrator Paul Bremer and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Last year's Forum was consumed by concerns such as how to rein in corporate immorality, the impending invasion of Iraq and the growing rift between the U.S. and "Old Europe." French and German officials boycotted that event and this year the only French official to RSVP is the irritating and chauvinistic French Foreign Minister, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin. (There will also be an appearance by Germany's most left-wing Cabinet minister.) But attending in larger numbers than ever are leaders and businessmen from Arab countries, India and leaders from "New Europe": The presidents of the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Bulgaria and others are participating. The Forum, a non-profit entity, is comprised of corporate executives representing 1,000 of the world's largest transnational organizations with assets of more than US$5-trillion, seven times Canada's economic output and enough to buy Switzerland. They also bring with them "roughly 70% of the world's daily output of self-congratulation," according to a British wag. (...) This year's theme is "Partnering for Security and Prosperity" and the program is divided into seven "threads": Ensuring global security; promoting global growth; managing new risks; building corporate resilience; spurring innovation; harnessing the diversity of values and reducing inequity. Not only have the participants in this Forum helped to further the globalization agenda over the years, but this gathering is often a "tipping point" for unpublicized or unrecognized issues. For instance, Davos is where Bill Gates has chosen to announce his philanthropic mega-initiatives and where he and others helped put the AIDS crisis in Africa on the front pages of newspapers and onto the front burner of Washington D.C..

Annan to seek help of business leaders at Davos in promoting equitable globalization (Jan 15)
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will seek to recruit business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week in what he sees as the crucial task of making globalization work for the world's people. Five years ago in Davos, Mr. Annan launched a Global Compact aimed at involving the private sector in upgrading environmental, labour and human rights conditions. According to UN officials, during his keynote address to the Forum on 20 January, the Secretary-General will laud progress achieved since then while warning that the current critical juncture in international affairs requires continued efforts to build an open, rules-based global economy that works for the world's people. Towards that end, he will enlist the intensified help of the business community.

The policies applied in recent years and initiated by the « global leaders » present at the Davos meetings - policies defined by the GATT/WTO (World Trade Organisation), of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank C have led to a distribution of resources which is inefficient, unequal, « illiberal » and unjust. This had led in turn to a hectic race for profits and the appropriation - by a few people - of most of the world’s riches and to the devastation ofthe planet’s eco-system. Today « Davos people » recognize they were wrong. However, they continue as thougli the current functioning of a capitalist market economy, free and unregulated, is the only option. The four networks which have initiated this meeting believe that the « globalization » of resistance and struggle is imperative. Everywhere women and men are challenging the supposed inevitability of the present system. Building alternatives is possible today, based on their experiences and creativity. Faced with the challenges with which the globalization of capital confronts us, we are encouraged and strengthened by the resistance and movements which we represent and with which we are in solidarity. We shah co-ordinate our efforts and increase the pressures we bring to bear on the system. It is time to strike back. CLIP

Cheney Headed to World Economic Forum (Jan 16)
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney will lead the US delegation to next week's
World Economic Forum of government and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum Poll Reflects Profound Long-Term Global Angst (Jan 9)
AN OPINION survey which covered a sample representing 1,1-billion people more than a sixth of the world's population indicates that half of them feel "unsafe, powerless and gloomy" about the future security and prosperity of the world. (...) A distinct feeling of powerlessness comes across in the survey, which shows that individuals view themselves as having little or no influence on the larger economic, political, and social factors that affect their daily lives. (...) According to the poll, people in the US were more upbeat about their current situation and the future than the "average" global citizen. Almost half of those interviewed in the US said they and their families were more prosperous than they were 10 years ago. And four out of 10 of those polled in the US rated their security as good. Europeans were the most pessimistic, with 64% saying the world would be less safe for the next generation.

Better World Links (Over 30,000 links!!)

D) Why spending billions to go on Mars when our planet is slowly dying?

From: (gaia)
Subject: Blue Planet / Red Planet
Date: 16 Jan 2004

The great physics genius, Stephen Hawkings, has said that planet Earth will look like Venus in just 100 years if nothing is done today to stop global warming. Space exploration is our destiny, but Earth is our home here and now, and without a home mankind will never get to hear the music of the stars or explore the reaches and mysteries of our solar system.

An out of control U.S. government is spending billions of dollars on collecting rock samples from Mars, while blinding themselves to the environmental tragedy outlined in the Kyoto Protocol!! Where is everybody? Why is there no outcry!!

We live on an exotic, ancient, enchanting blue planet, and we need a great deal of money to begin healing this Earth. Let's demand that world governments, beginning with the U.S., accept environmental concerns as our first and overriding priority. Only by aggressively seizing the mantle of environmental stewardship can we save our planetary home, a home we share with millions of species who are headed toward extinction in this very century, because of a lack of human wisdom and caring.

Sarah L. Whitworth



World press pans US Mars shot

Jan 14, 2004

Bush sets America on a bold new mission

Is everyone buying into George W Bush's intrepid vision of a manned mission to Mars? Some of the world's newspapers this week were clearly behaving like spoilsports.

"The US is preparing for the invasion of Mars and other planets," wrote the Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah.

"What are the other planets chosen for the US invasion? Are they an axis of planetary evil? And what is the relationship between the regime on Pluto and fundamentalist groups?"

Australians fond of sarcasm read how Mr Bush was certainly onto a winner.

"The US President may figure that a pre-emptive strike against the Martians should occur while we have the size advantage," wrote columnist Tim Ferguson in Melbourne's The Age.

"Maybe he figures the Mission To Mars money is well spent; he was never much good at book-learnin' and we've seen his disregard for hospitals during the recent Iraq war," he said.

"George's reasons don't matter. Americans should go to Mars and Australians should go with them. Single-minded persistence in the face of futility is what humanity does best."

Space battles

In France, Le Monde cast a weary transatlantic eye over past joint projects such as the International Space Station and concluded Mr Bush's plan marked "a break with the period of international cooperation which has prevailed for the past 30 years".

"The ascendancy of Airbus over Boeing illustrates the kind of battles that are being fought in the corridors of space exploration," it said.

And France's Liberation daily wrote when Mr Bush points at the moon, he is "clearly thinking above all about the astronaut China intends to send there". It admitted however that the plan was an electoral masterstroke.

But few of the world's papers were as cynical this week as Switzerland's Le Temps, which accused Mr Bush of "using space as a diversion at a time when his Iraq policy is not exactly a shining success".

Or Austria's Der Standard: "A national mission to a far-away place where glory awaits and no rebel movement lurks will help Americans forget about the continuing problems in Iraq and portray the president as a peaceful visionary."


See also:

The Green Holocaust Files #12: Facing Up to What We Are Doing to Mother Earth (01/12/2004)

Bush unveils Moon and Mars plans (Jan 15)
(...) President Bush's "new vision" for American space exploration calls on the United States to: * send astronauts back to the Moon as early as 2015, no later than 2020 * use human and robotic exploration of Moon to prepare for living base and missions to Mars * return the space shuttle to flight but retire it by 2010 * develop a shuttle replacement by 2008 for manned exploration by 2014 * finish US work on the International Space Station (ISS) by 2010 (...) Mr Bush added that he wanted a new era of discovery but not a new space race. However, scientists in Russia, whose spacecraft currently service the ISS, announced on Wednesday that they had plans for manned flights to Mars within a decade. "Technically, the first flight by earthlings to Mars could take place as early as 2014," said Leonid Gorshkov, a designer at the Russian space corporation Energiya. Mr Gorshkov put the cost at about $15bn, saying that America planned to spend 10 time that amount on its Mars programme. China plans to put an unmanned vehicle on the Moon by 2010. (...) However, critics say Mr Bush's return-to-space idea is irresponsible at a time when the federal budget deficit is soaring. Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman said the US should not be "going hundreds of millions of miles away on a costly new mission when [it had] limited resources". The president's father proposed sending men to Mars when he was in office in 1989, but the project went nowhere after its cost was estimated at up to $500bn.

President Bush's speech last week announcing goals for a manned mission to Mars delighted many with the prospect of a new era of space exploration. But the plan had its critics, including some former astronauts and space agency officials, who wondered how much it would cost. Mr. Bush offered roughly $12 billion, most of it taken from the existing NASA budget. This was far less than the estimated cost in 1989, when President Bush's father proposed a permanent base on the Moon and a manned mission to Mars. In his new book, ''Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age" (Pantheon), Gregg Klerkx, a former manager at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., which is dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, writes that NASA scientists pronounced the senior President Bush's vision technically feasible. All that was needed for people to reach Mars, they said, was a bigger space station, a new kind of rocket, a more powerful space shuttle and a way to mine oxygen from the moon's loose soil, or "regolith." "And it could all be done," Mr. Klerkx sarcastically comments, "on schedule and on budget (making it an anomaly in NASA's history) for a mere $400 to $500 billion of taxpayer funds."

The Empire of Darkness Series #4: Connect The Dots... And Shine Back (01/08/2004)

The Empire of Darkness Series #5: Could it Get Worst Than That? You Bet! (01/16/2004)

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