PEACE WILL PREVAIL ON EARTH


May 10, 2008

The Writing on the Wall Series #57: Collapsing Planet in Dire Need of Rescue

Hello everysoul!

I'm having less and less time to review and compile information for you as is normally the case at this time of the year with my intense gardening period soon to be underway and will LOTS of other things to attend to, including very demanding book translation work.

So expect more infrequent posts from me in the coming summer months. In the meantime if you want to keep up with various sources of news, here is a short list of websites and webpages you may wish to review regularly:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
http://www.truthout.org/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/NewsFeed.htm
http://www.worldnews.com/
http://www.rense.com
http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2008/2008.html

And I'm sure you can easily add to this our own list of preferred sources of information on the web.

Back in touch sometime soon ;-)

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com

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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THE QUOTES

"If this happens, the world's poorest countries will collapse. Of the 47 poorest countries in the world, 38 are net importers of oil, and 25 are fully dependent on imports. The UN wrote this, in 2007, when oil stood at $60: "Recent oil price increases have had devastating effects on many of the world's poor countries, some of which now spend as much as six times as much on fuel as they do on health. Others spend twice the money on fuel as they do on poverty alleviation. And in still others, the foreign exchange drain from higher oil prices is five times the gain from recent debt relief." We can only begin to imagine what is happening with oil at $120 (e.g. food price hikes and riots, hyper-inflation, etc...). $200 might well be the Rubicon for these countries, especially those with weak governments. We need a global fund for oil aid. Else, the consequences could be pretty nasty."

- Jonas -- Taken from Goldman says oil 'likely' to hit $150-$200 by 2010 (08 May 2008)



CONTENTS

1. Envisioning a Peaceful Olympics This Summer in Beijing
2. Food crisis out of control
3. Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis
4. How to End the Global Food Shortage
5. Rearming the world
6. Support Mideast ceasefire ads
7. The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President
8. Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace
9. Asia's rainforests vanishing as timber, food demand surge: experts
10. Luminaries look to the future web
11. We Should Never Have Survived!
12. Deeply moving water images... and call from Gaia
13. Humor: Indian student in the USA



SPECIAL SECTION ON THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN BURMA

Date: 07 May 2008
From: Ricken Patel (avaaz@avaaz.org)
Subject: Burma devastated--help now

Dear friends,

Burma has been devastated by a cyclone--and by the military junta's failure to help its people cope. Help raise relief funds for distribution by Burma's monks networks:

CLICK TO DONATE!

In the wake of a massive cyclone, at least 22,000 Burmese are dead. More than 40,000 are missing. A million are homeless.

But what's happening in Burma is not just a natural disaster--it's also a catastrophe of bad leadership.

Burma's brutal and corrupt military junta failed to warn the people, failed to evacuate any areas, and suppressed freedom of communication so that Burmese people didn't know the storm was coming when the rest of the world did. Now the government is failing to respond to the disaster and obstructing international aid organizations.

Humanitarian relief is urgently needed, but Burma's government could easily delay, divert or misuse any aid. Today the International Burmese Monks Organization, including many leaders of the democracy protests last fall, launched a new effort to provide relief through Burma's powerful grass roots network of monasteries--the most trusted institutions in the country and currently the only source of housing and support in many devastated communities. Click below to help the Burmese people with a donation and see a video appeal to Avaaz from a leader of the monks:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/burma_cyclone/5.php?cl=86176713

Giving to the monks is a smart, fast way to get aid directly to Burma's people. Governments and international aid organizations are important, but face challenges--they may not be allowed into Burma, or they may be forced to provide aid according to the junta's rules. And most will have to spend large amounts of money just setting up operations in the country. The monks are already on the front lines of the aid effort--housing, feeding, and supporting the victims of the cyclone since the day it struck. The International Burmese Monks Organization will send money directly to each monastery through their own networks, bypassing regime controls.

Last year, more than 800,000 of us around the world stood with the Burmese people as they rose up against the military dictatorship. The government lost no time then in dispatching its armies to ruthlessly crush the nonviolent democracy movement--but now, as tens of thousands die, the junta's response is slow and threatens to divert precious aid into the corrupt regime's pockets.

The monks are unlikely to receive aid from governments or large humanitarian organizations, but they have a stronger presence and trust among the Burmese people than both. If we all chip in a little bit, we can help them to make a big difference.

Click here to donate:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/burma_cyclone/5.php?cl=86176713

With hope,

Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Paul, Iain, Veronique, Pascal, Galit and the whole Avaaz team

PS: Here are some links to more information:

For more information about Avaaz's work to support the Burmese people, click here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/burma_report_back/

For more information about the cyclone, the humanitarian crisis, and the political dimension, see these articles:

New York Times: "A Challenge Getting Relief to Myanmar's Remote Areas." 7 May 2008.

BBC: "Will Burma's leaders let aid in?" 6 May 2008.

India's Economic Times: Indian meteorological department advised junta 48 hours in advance, 6 May 2008.

BBC:
"Disaster tests Burma's junta." 5 May 2008

Times Online: "Aid workers fear Burma cyclone deaths will top 50,000." 6 May 2008.

---

ABOUT AVAAZ
Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

---

Related articles:

UN Says 1.5 Million People Affected by Burma Storm (May 08, 2008)
http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-5-8/70457.html
The United Nations estimated 1.5 million people have been 'severely affected' by the cyclone that swept through Myanmar, as the United States expressed outrage with the country's junta over delays in allowing in aid. In Myanmar, despairing survivors awaited emergency relief on Friday, a week after 100,000 people were feared killed by Cyclone Nargis as it roared across the farms and villages of the low-lying Irrawaddy delta region. "We're outraged by the slowness of the response of the government of Burma to welcome and accept assistance," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad. "It's clear that the government's ability to deal with the situation, which is catastrophic, is limited," he told reporters on Thursday. The U.N. food agency and Red Cross/Red Crescent said they had finally started flying in emergency relief supplies after foot-dragging by Myanmar's military rulers. The United States, however, was waiting for approval to start military flights. CLIP

While the people plead for food, the junta is handing out TV sets (9 May 2008) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/while-the-people-plead-for-food-the-junta-is-handing-out-tv-sets-824570.html
(...) Despite the obvious suffering, massive devastation and pressing need for urgent action, the Burmese authorities were continuing to insist yesterday that everything was under control. On the front page of the New Light of Myanmar - a state-run government publication - was a picture of the Prime Minister, Thein Sein, handing over 20 television sets and 10 DVD players as part of the 'relief' operation. This, in a region where there has been no electricity since the 130mph storm struck. What is required is water, food, medicine and sanitation facilities for hundreds of thousands of people, and an ability to deliver it to the remote areas where the storm did the most damage. Instead, what the government is providing is obstruction and further delay. Although the authorities finally gave clearance yesterday for the first major international airlift of food, relief organisations complain that the junta is still failing to co-operate and will not even arrange visas for dozens of aid workers. (...) Evidence gathered by relief organisations and others who have visited the southernmost extremities of the Irrawaddy delta reveals a horrific reality.Bloated corpses have been washed upstream in the aftermath of the massive tidal surge, most left decaying where they lie as the survivors try to rebuild their homes and hunt for food and drinking water. Some of the dead have even been stripped of their clothes. Animal carcases float in the water in which people have to wash.In the relief camps set up by the government for the homeless, there is concern about the potential outbreak of diseases, including cholera and malaria. There is also a worry that people's entire livelihoods, livestock, fishing boats or otherwise, have been destroyed. The rice paddies on which millions depend have been flooded with saltwater.Richard Horsey, regional co-ordinator of the UN's humanitarian operation, said of the Burmese government: "It is imperative at this point that they do open up and allow a major international relief effort to get under way." CLIP



WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION

"For Eli" MOST POWERFUL SOUL-STIRRING TIRADE!
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19832.htm

Half of Vets Suffering Brain and Mind Injuries Go Untreated, but Pentagon Pretends Nothing's Going On
http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/83742/
An activist travels to the DoD's annual suicide prevention conference, only to find the military brass living in a parallel universe. (...) Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities. (...) an average of 18 war veterans manage to kill themselves each day -- five of whom were under VA care at the time. (...) The report revealed that nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan -- that's 300,000 men and women -- have symptoms of post-traumatic stress or major depression. (...) The study also estimates that about 320,000 service members may have experienced a traumatic brain injury during deployment, but that just 43 percent reported ever being evaluated by a physician for that injury, despite DoD's policy that every soldier returning from Iraq be screened. CLIP

If I were a terrorist...
http://lschilders.blogspot.com/2008/05/if-i-were-terrorist.html

Flight From Death Parts 1 to 9
http://au.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22Flight+From+Death+PART&search_type=&aq=f
An excellent documentary about death and why humans treat it differently from other animals. A truly frightening theme that emerges towards the end is the fact that we seem to feel most alive whilst ending the lives of others.

Heaven & Earth/ Jon Anderson (5 min 34 sec)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvebo1grAqM
(...) Heaven & Earth was born from a small group of friends that would sing in the campfires of annual reunions at the beach. Later, they all got involved in ecological activities and spiritual gatherings and the circle of friends became bigger and the songs better."Councils of Visions" are gatherings of people of different nationalities and spiritual beliefs that have organized giant gatherings to share the knowledge of different ancient and new age tradition (...) The video was shot in Amatlan de Quetzalcoatl, Morelos Mexico, (hometown of the "Great Quetzalcoatl" lider and messiah in Pre-Hispanic times) a few miles from the famous pyramid of Tepoztlan and Malinalco piramids. It is a MusicVideo-Documentary testimony of a real shamanic ritual night, held specially for the video by shamans of 3 different traditions: Hopi, Huichol and Aztec. CLIP Make sure to read first the whole description on this fascinating video by clicking on the "More info" link

Major Energy and Gas Price Manipulations Revealed in Key Media Articles
http://www.WantToKnow.info/008/080505energy_manipulations_gas_prices

Save the Tongass National Forest
http://www.savebiogems.org/tongass/
The ancient spruce trees of the Tongass National Forest are columns that support a forest cathedral. Without these 500-year-old giants, much of the life below them would collapse. Soaring over 200 feet high, their broad, moss-draped limbs furnish nests for birds. In the winter, their canopy acts like a warm coat for the wildlife on the forest floor, blocking harsh snows and preserving bushes that sustain wildlife through the coldest months. Yet the Bush administration wants to let logging companies tear down these trees and all the life they support. Although the 2001 Roadless Rule halted logging and road construction in wild national forests, the administration later issued an exemption for the Tongass, stripping America's rainforest of vital safeguards and opening the way for more clearcutting and destructive road-building.Already, nearly 6,000 miles of logging roads cut through the Tongass. Built with taxpayer subsidies, the vast majority of these are abandoned logging roads that the Forest Service cannot afford to maintain. Left to crumble, they degrade wildlife habitat, despoil forest streams and clog precious fish spawning grounds with silty run-off.Urge the Forest Service to protect the Tongass National Forest's last remaining roadless areas and abandon efforts to increase logging in America's rainforest. CLICK HERE to save this Biogem

Phil Schneider Underground bases, NWO, and the Alien Agenda. pt 1 and 2
Part 1
http://www.livevideo.com/video/ConspiracyCentral/0D794190EE73443B9828B0E259B0AE1A/phil-schneider-underground-bas.aspx
Part 2
http://www.livevideo.com/video/ConspiracyCentral/C33E925271C84DE3A1FFFD43DE1A0B2B/phil-schneider-underground-bas.aspx
Phil Schneider, a very brave man, lost his life due to what appeared to be a military-style execution in January 1996. He was found dead in his apartment with piano wire still wrapped around his neck. According to some sources, he had been brutally tortured repeated before being killed. Phil Schneider was an ex-government engineer who was involved in building underground bases. Phil had a Rhyolite security clearance - the highest every to come out and tell it like it is. His work as a geologist for the government took him to over 70 countries and put him direct contact with the Alien Greys. He was one of three people to survive the 1979 fire fight between the large Greys and U.S. intelligence and military forces at Dulce underground base. (Actually, one of several firefights, according to other sources. In May 1995, Phil Schneider did a lecture on what he had discovered. Seven months later he was tortured and killed by those for whom he had previously worked. This man's final acts should not go unnoticed. Phil's connection to the Philadelphia experiment comes through his father Oscar. Oscar Schneider was the medical officer for the Philadelphia Experiment and kept that secret with him until he was close to death. Before he died, Oscar told Phil the true story of his past and gave him photographs to back up his claims. Recommended by Phyllis (phyllism5@juno.com ) who wrote: "Incredible information revealed from a government geologist/engineer who was later tortured and killed for speaking out." VERY few people saw this!

Benjamin Fulford: epilogue to our recent interview
http://projectcamelot.org/whats_new.html
We asked Benjamin Fulford for a status report on the current state of affairs regarding whether there had been any change as a direct result of the public stand he took speaking out on behalf of the Asian Secret Society about the world situation. In answer, he wrote the following in an email dated today:For the reaction, you will notice that Asian countries have stopped buying US government bonds. The US secret government has retaliated by artificially raising food and oil prices. We are in the middle of World War 3. The US and Israel have been taken over by Nazis and the rest of the world is trying to take them down. The reason the society has not started assassinations yet is that the Nazis in the Bush/Clinton administration want any excuse to start all out world war. However, if starvation begins in earnest, there will be assassinations.

John Lear Tells All
http://projectcamelot.org/john_lear.html
With special emphasis on the Bob Lazar saga - as only John can tell it - we cover the inconsistencies in the 911 theories and why as a world renowned pilot he is uniquely qualified to judge just what kind of planes, if any, hit the World Trade Center (answer, none: John explains why they were holograms); why the moon's gravity may be as much as 64% that of the Earth's, and could retain a very thin atmosphere; how Ben Rich, the former Director of the Lockheed Skunk Works, was a Mossad agent; the location of the "new Area 51", called Sandia, deep within the Nevada desert; what really happened at Above Top Secret, an internet forum where he was attacked and which he has subsequently left... and much more.



ALSO RECOMMENDED

Gasoline May Soon Cost a Sawbuck (April 28, 2008)
http://www2.nysun.com/article/75363
Big New Shock at the Pump Forecast by Two Analysts -- Get ready for another economic shock of major proportions — a virtual doubling of prices at the gas pump to as much as $10 a gallon. That's the message from a couple of analytical energy industry trackers, both of whom, based on the surging oil prices, see considerably more pain at the pump than most drivers realize. Gasoline nationally is in an accelerated upswing, having jumped to $3.58 a gallon from $3.50 in just the past week. In some parts of the country, including New York City and the West Coast, gas is already sporting a price tag above $4 a gallon. There was a pray-in at a Chevron station in San Francisco on Friday led by a minister asking God for cheaper gas, and an Arco gas station in San Mateo, Calif., has already raised its price to a sky-high $4.62. (...) Oil recently hit an all-time high of nearly $120 a barrel, more than double its early 2007 price of about $50 a barrel. It closed Friday at $118.52.The forecasts calling for a jump to between $7 and $10 a gallon are based on the view that the price of crude is on its way to $200 in two to three years. Translating this price into dollars and cents at the gas pump, one of our forecasters, the chairman of Houston-based Dune Energy, Alan Gaines, sees gas rising to $7-$8 a gallon. The other, a commodities tracker at Weiss Research in Jupiter, Fla., Sean Brodrick, projects a range of $8 to $10 a gallon. While $7-$10 a gallon would be ground-breaking in America, these prices would not be trendsetting internationally. For example, European drivers are already shelling out $9 a gallon (which includes a $2-a-gallon tax). Canadians are also being hit with rising gas prices. They are paying the American-dollar equivalent of $4.92 a gallon, and they're being told to brace themselves for prices above $5.65 a gallon this summer. CLIP

Exxon Profit hits $10.9 Billion, Below Expectations
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1736554,00.html?iid=336x280_ad3nh
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday record crude prices helped its net income grow 17 percent in the first quarter, but the results came in below Wall Street forecasts. (...) Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, said earnings for the first three months of the year rose to $10.9 billion, or $2.03 per share, up from $9.3 billion, or $1.62 per share, a year ago. (...) Already, record crude prices have produced bountiful first-quarter profits for several of the other major oil companies, despite higher costs and lower results from refining. BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's two biggest oil producers, posted combined profits of $17 billion earlier this week — $9.08 billion for Shell, $7.6 billion for BP.BP's earnings surged 63 percent from a year ago; Shell's rose 25 percent. Last week, ConocoPhillips reported a 16 percent rise in net income to $4.14 billion. Like BP and Shell, the third biggest U.S. oil outfit far outpaced industry expectations. CLIP

Portrait of an Oil-Addicted Former Superpower
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174929
How Rising Oil Prices Are Obliterating America's Superpower Status (...) Though few fully realized it, this represented a significant erosion of sovereign independence even before the price of a barrel of crude soared above $110. By now, we are transferring such staggering sums yearly to foreign oil producers, who are using it to gobble up valuable American assets, that, whether we know it or not, we have essentially abandoned our claim to superpowerdom. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States is importing 12-14 million barrels of oil per day. At a current price of about $115 per barrel, that's $1.5 billion per day, or $548 billion per year. This represents the single largest contribution to America's balance-of-payments deficit, and is a leading cause for the dollar's ongoing drop in value. If oil prices rise any higher -- in response, perhaps, to a new crisis in the Middle East (as might be occasioned by U.S. air strikes on Iran) -- our annual import bill could quickly approach three-quarters of a trillion dollars or more per year.While our economy is being depleted of these funds, at a moment when credit is scarce and economic growth has screeched to a halt, the oil regimes on which we depend for our daily fix are depositing their mountains of accumulating petrodollars in "sovereign wealth funds" (SWFs) -- state-controlled investment accounts that buy up prized foreign assets in order to secure non-oil-dependent sources of wealth. At present, these funds are already believed to hold in excess of several trillion dollars; the richest, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), alone holds $875 billion. CLIP

Sleepwalking Toward the Oil Precipice (30 April 2008)
http://www.aspo-usa.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=363&Itemid=91
The time has come to discuss what we can expect from OPEC as it relates to our prosperity in the coming decade. After 2010, crude produced outside the cartel will plateau and gradually decline, so any growth in the conventional oil supply must come from OPEC. (...) We have now set realistic expectations about OPEC's future contributions. They will not produce enough crude oil in the next 12 years to meet even a minimal growth scenario. Few subjects are more important than the potential contribution of OPEC crude to world production as we move toward 2020. Living Beyond Our Means - I hope you have been able to negotiate through this sometimes tortuous discussion because there is little else I can do personally to convince you that we're all in Big Trouble. In the New York Times' The Big Thirst, the inestimable Jad Mouawad, who is now coming to his senses, quoted former peak oil skeptic Vaclav Smil—“The country has been living beyond its means,” said Vaclav Smil, a prominent energy expert at the University of Manitoba. “The situation is dire. We need to do relative sacrifices. But people don’t realize how dire the situation is.”Unless we take some drastic actions, it will be All OPEC, All the Time after 2010 when you will turn on the radio or switch on the TV to listen to the inevitable stories about whether gasoline will finally hit $5 or $6/gallon. But in 2008, our public discourse on the oil situation is still a joke. We need to stop blathering about the boosting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, opening up ANWR, taking OPEC to court, cutting federal taxes on gasoline, raising taxes on Big Oil, punishing speculators, counting on imaginary cellulosic ethanol, waiting for mass production of plug-in hybrids, and all the other nonsense we are bombarded with every day.We are sleepwalking toward the oil precipice. OPEC will not meet the fantastic expectations placed upon it by the "experts." I can only hope that Americans grasp this reality soon, because all we're doing right now is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Ignoring the Elephant in the Room (7 May 2008)
http://www.aspo-usa.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=367&Itemid=91
The disconnect between peak oil concerns and the presidential race is almost total. As prices at the pump rise, each candidate is now talking about their so-called solutions to the problem. Despite clear new warning signs from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Nigeria that peak oil is nigh, the candidates remain unwaveringly oblivious to the true causes of rising fuel prices, preferring instead to dwell on irrelevant—actually, counterproductive—measures like suspending the federal gas tax during the summer months or taxing Big Oil. This is akin to putting a band-aid on a melanoma.Our nation's capital is a self-reinforcing bastion of ignorance about the longer term oil supply issues, Al Bartlett (R, Md) and a few others excepted. The candidates and their energy advisers are full-fledged members of the "Washington Insiders" club, a group that only talks to each other and gets all of its information from inside the Beltway or pollsters. A brief example suffices to demonstrate the problem. Everybody in our nation's capital reads the Washington Post. If you want to "know" what's going on, it's in the Post. Here are the results of a Google advanced search survey of references to the exact phrase "peak oil" in four newspapers.Newspaper Hits Wall Street Journal 3820 New York Times 1970 Houston Chronicle 617 Washington Post 389The Wall Street Journal has about 10 times more allusions to "peak oil" than the Post does. Bear in mind that this informal survey includes comments by readers, guest editorials, and assorted other references that are not part of the newspaper's reporting. You will be hard-pressed to find a news article in the Washington Post that uses the term "peak oil." Earth to the Post's Editors, this is Earth calling—"peak oil" is a growing concern outside the Beltway, so it's time to get with the program. Examining the "oil dependency" positions of the candidates' energy advisers gives us little hope our newly elected government will meet the peak oil challenges head-on in 2009. CLIP

Fermi's Paradox and the End of Cheap Oil
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/05/fermi-paradox-and-end-of.html
I've been thinking of Fermi's Paradox since I saw the documentary film A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash, with its dire predictions of the wars and disruptions that could occur on the downward slope of  the Hubbert curve. While I remain an optimist about the power of human ingenuity to surmount enormous challenges, I have enough sense of history to know that catastrophes do happen, that societies fail to make the right choices, and that civilizations fail. What if the answer to Fermi's paradox is not the absence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but merely the absence of high technology? The movie makes the case that the extraordinary flowering of our society has been driven by our profligate use of oil as an incredibly cheap energy resource -- and one that won't last. With haunting images of once vibrant oil fields that are now ghost towns, the movie is a thought-provoking counterpoint to An Inconvenient Truth. If the movie's contentions are correct, we're truly caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Either global warming or peak oil will lead to an urgent transformation of civilization as we know it, or our failure to transform quickly enough might well lead to the end of civilization as we know it. And if indeed cheap oil is a prerequisite to the first flowering of technological civilization, might a Roman-Empire-style collapse due to some future disaster make it difficult to rebuild to spaceflight-capable levels due to lack of said resource the next time around? Many of the large scale energy technologies that we imagine replacing oil are energy intensive to build. They are, in a sense, themselves dependent on oil. CLIP

Siphoning Off Corn to Fuel Our Cars
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/043008N.shtml
Steven Mufson, of The Washington Post, reports: "across the country, ethanol plants are swallowing more and more of the nation's corn crop. This year, about a quarter of US corn will go to feeding ethanol plants instead of poultry or livestock. That has helped farmers like Johnson, but it has boosted demand - and prices - for corn at the same time global grain demand is growing. And it has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank."

Agrofuels on Stolen Lands Continue to Threaten Colombian Rainforests and Communities (May 6, 2008)
http://www.rainforestportal.com/alerts/send.asp?id=colombia_biofuel
It is gravely unethical and ecologically devastating to expand production of biofuels by allowing land to be stolen from local Afro-Colombian communities; and at the expense of Colombia's ancient primary rainforests, food security, water resources and regional climate. Plantation expansion for agrofuels remains a major threat to the lives, livelihoods and the environment of Afro-Colombian and other peasant communities in Chocó, Colombia. This is one of the world's most biodiverse regions, with large areas of rainforest now facing destruction. The Chocó rainforests are home to 7,000 to 8,000 species, including 2,000 endemic plant species and 100 endemic bird species. Even before the current palm oil and agrofuel expansion, 66% had been destroyed. Communities and rainforests are under threat from palm oil and sugar cane expansion for agrofuels in other parts of Colombia, too, for example around Tumaco, near the border with Ecuador, in Santander and in Magdalena. If agrofuels -- growing food for fuel -- continue to expand in Colombia, food prices are bound to rise and the nation's food security erode as is happening around the world. Please ask the government to stop and reverse those policies and to protect Colombia's communities and rich environment from further destruction for agrofuels. TAKE ACTION NOW!

Gas From Trees a Bad Idea
http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/042808EB.shtml
According to Josh Schlossberg in The Eugene Register-Guard, "As you read this, ethanol factories are popping up across the United States like gaping mouths hungry for a constant supply of forest. And, conveniently, just when industry develops the technology to exploit even the smallest tree for profit, the Forest Service announces that 'more than half of Oregon's 29.7 million acres of forest lands' are overgrown and in need of 'thinning' to keep down fire risk. What a coincidence!"

Scrubbing King Coal
http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/042808EA.shtml
In Mother Jones, James Ridgeway writes: "Across the board, the companies that control fossil fuels have begun to respond to rising concern about global warming with what amounts to a three-point strategy: First, make small overtures toward developing renewable energy, and milk them for maximum PR value. Second, invest more generously in carbon-based 'alternative energy' that gets passed off as green. Third, invoke the goal of energy independence to pump, mine, transport, and sell more and more of the same old fuels to an ever-hungrier market."

Tikkun: "The Wright Eruption" (April 30, 08)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132x5753094
(...) I think that the real culprit in all of this is the media and its systematic distortions of the political process in the U.S. We are in the midst of a war in which over a million have been killed and millions left homeless, many of them wounded or even scarred for the rest of their lives. We are facing the 21st century possibility of an end to human life on our planet either through nuclear war or most likely through environmental crisis. We have an economy that is collapsing around us. We are in a world in which twenty to thirty thousand people are dying of malnutrition-related diseases every day.. It is in this reality that we face major choices about who understands all this and who has the vision and the courage to provide us a path toward peace, environmental sanity, economic well-being, and a world in which kindness and generosity replaces violence and hatefulness. In the midst of all this, the media has switched the attention to the nut-case rantings of an otherwise quite intelligent preacher whose recent teachings are distorted and rejected by the candidate on whom they seek to pin responsibility. This entire reality is so crazy and so destructive that we need to speak out in anger at the distortions the US media have fostered by focusing away from the discussions so badly needed in the U.S. today. And since this point would appear to be self-serving if made by Obama, then certainly it should be made by spiritual progressives and other rational people who haven't themselves gotten so caught up in the fun of mutual destruction that the media loves to foster as entertainment parading as news. Can't we just say "no" to this kind of stupid and quite evil media and refuse to let our attention be switched in this manipulated way? CLIP

Myriad Crises, but Inertia in Official Washington
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/043008E.shtml
Carl Hulse, reporting for The New York Times, writes: "Americans are pumping their paychecks into their gas tanks, and the economy is in a stall. Food scarcities threaten governments overseas and spur hoarding at home. Foreclosures are up, home sales are down. Progress in Iraq and Afghanistan is halting. Despite this confluence of crises on the nation's doorstep, official Washington is beset by election-year inertia."

Six Crises That Jostle the World
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/043008G.shtml
Writing for Paris's Le Monde, Marie-Beatrice Baudet highlights the unique conjunction of the interdependent financial, monetary, food, energy, economic and environmental crises, as well as the disparate interests of the actors involved.

Navy Adds Carrier in Gulf as "Reminder" to Iran
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/043008J.shtml
David Morgan, of Reuters, reports: "the US Navy has temporarily added a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf as a 'reminder' to Iran, but this was not an escalation of American forces in the region, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters during a trip to Mexico, Gates flatly denied a suggestion that the presence of two US carriers in the Gulf could be a precursor to military action against Tehran."

Black Hole in Bush's Brain
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19829.htm
The Cheney wing of the co-presidency continues to pursue every possible avenue for expanding the failed war into a regional conflagration, which could only be settled with nuclear weapons. (...) America's Israel-centric foreign policy is focused upon making the Palestinians invisible, to hide the crimes being committed against them, as their human rights are stolen and they are swept from their ancestor's land. America is the classic "enabler" for the dysfunctional Jewish state, forcing the world to accept double standards for Israelis and Palestinians, making it possible to take away the guaranteed human rights of the native inhabitants of the land, in order to give special rights to the colonizers who had previously sworn to defend native rights. American leaders are doing everything possible to hide the suffering of the Palestinians and to twist the facts about the campaign to drive them from the land, in an effort to make it appear that all Israeli attacks are self-defense. Zionist Israel cannot continue its ambitious expansionist plans without harming its status in the world without this cloak to hide its murderous actions. This war is driven by multiple delusions, the main error being that it can eventually be won by the application of greater and greater amounts of force. Advocates of this strategy ignore the basic immorality of the argument, that victory at any price is an acceptable cost. If the American people remember their power and are given time to think about the direction of the war, they will realize how wrong these policies are. Considering that Bush is following a policy that generates more enemies than can be killed without the use of nuclear weapons and he shares Cheney's obsession with finding an excuse to nuke Iran, it becomes apparent that America's leaders are working against the people's interests. Any leader who does not support instantly stopping the prosecution of this conflict is supporting the continuation of this black hole. The only solution to the chaos in Iraq is a complete turnaround of policy, centered upon undoing the damage done by Bush's plan, which consisted of beating the Iraqi people senseless, until they submitted to all of his demands. If there is no candidate for president who advocates such a total reversal of American foreign policy, then there is not candidate worth voting for. It does not matter whether these policies have been an unending series of mistakes or if the chaotic storm that is Iraq today is the product of a cynical heartless plan, Bush or whoever succeeds him (if he allows a successor) must not be allowed to expand this failed military strategy.

Why Did Israel Bomb Syria? A Must Watch - Pepe Escobar: Real News Video Report
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19824.htm
The real story behind the September air strike has not been investigated.

Sunni parliamentarian: "Sadr City attacks are killing mostly unarmed civilians" (April 29, 2008)
http://uruknet.info/?p=m43546&hd=&size=1&l=e
In this photo 2 year old Ali Hussein is seen being pulled from the rubble of his family's home in Sadr City Tuesday, April 29, 2008. Ali's home was one of four destroyed by U.S. missiles. Ali died in hospital a few hours A member of the Iraqi Accord Front (biggest Sunni bloc in parliament) Ahmed Radhi, who was in Sadr City on Sunday as part of the multi-party sit-in, repeated yesterday the call to implement the group's demands for an end to the crisis, and he said: "The majority of those who are being killed are civilians, and not armed persons." (...) Rather than any easing, there was a dramatic escalation in military operations in Sadr City, where US forces intervened in one case with Abrams tanks, killing 22, and in another case with airstrikes killing 16. (See this summary in AlHayat, among many other accounts). And at the same time, the GreenZone and US accusations against Iran have taken on a new stridency. For instance, AlHayat reminds readers that US officials have said the Sadr City campaign is against "special groups" of criminals that are supported by Iran. And here's how Azzaman leads its main story this morning: "Armed groups linked to Iran took advangage of the bad weather for the third time, launching a round of self-propelled Katyusha rockets at various locations in the Green Zone..." So along with (1) signs of domestic political solidarity against the attacks on Sadr City; and (2) dramatic military escalation in Sadr City; there is also (3) a sharper framing of this as a struggle between Iraq on the one side, and Iranian proxies on the other. It's worth trying to keep the overall picture in mind, because there is a tendency not only in the corporate media, but in the Washington-based commentary as well, to talk exclusively about the third point, to the almost complete exclusion of the first two. As if America, politically and militarily, was some kind of a passive bystander.

Iraqi Military Orders Sadr City Residents to Evacuate
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050908J.shtml
Leila Fadel, of McClatchy Newspapers: "Iraqi security forces, after more than 40 days of intense fighting, on Thursday told residents to evacuate their homes in the northeast Shiite slum of Sadr City and to move to temporary shelters on two soccer fields. The military's call indicated the possibility of stepped-up military operations and came as Iraqi security forces raided a radio station run by backers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr. In the southern port city of Basra, militants launched rockets that struck a coalition base, killing two contractors and injuring four civilians and four coalition soldiers."

Death in childbirth: A health scourge for Afghanistan (30 Apr 2008)
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ISL318136.htm
FAIZABAD, Afghanistan, April 30 (Reuters) - A woman haemorrhages to death as she lies screaming in agony in a spartan hut in a remote region of Afghanistan. There is no doctor or midwife to help and the hospital is several days journey away. Women die this way every day in Afghanistan, a country with one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. About 1,600 Afghan women die in childbirth out of every 100,000 live births. In some of the most remote areas, the death rate is as high as 6,500. In comparison, the average rate in developing countries is 450 and in developed countries it is 9. Virtually everyone in Afghanistan can recount a story about a relative dying in childbirth, often from minor complications that can be easily treated with proper medical care. (...) It is an age old practice for Afghan women in rural areas to deliver babies at home. Trained midwives are rarely in attendance. If there are complications, it might take hours, even days to reach the nearest clinic.Even when women with labour complications get to hospital alive, there are often no doctors or medical equipment to perform caesarean sections and other life saving procedures."In some places, there aren't even operating theatres and women just wait for their death," said Rona Azamyan, who coordinates the Midwifery Education Programme in Faizabad.Among the prime complications of childbirth in Afghanistan are bleeding, infection, hypertension and obstructed labour.It is not uncommon for girls as young as 13 to marry in Afghanistan and there are often complications when they give birth."The mothers are very young, so their (pelvic) bone development is immature," said Karima Mayar, a family planning team leader at the Ministry of Public Health.Poor and malnourished, many pregnant women in Afghanistan are severely anaemic."If they get post-partum haemorrhage, they will die 100 percent of the time," said Mayar. (...) "To reduce maternal mortality, we need 8,000 midwives by 2010 to cover needs of all pregnant women," said Mayar. There are 2,143 midwives in the country of 26 million people. But years of neglecting girls' education is taking its toll."In the provinces, the maximum level of education is the 10th grade, but the minimum requirement for entry into nursing school is 12th grade," said Fatima Mohbat Ali of the Aga Khan Foundation, an aid group in Afghanistan. Some progress has been made in recent years, owing to government and NGO efforts to improve rural healthcare.In Badakhshan's Eshkashem district, which borders Tajikistan, Afghan women have been frequenting the health clinic, the most modern looking facility in a town where most of the 13,000 residents live in mud houses. From headaches to prenatal checkups, childbirth and advice on contraception, women have been bringing their complaints to the clinic's female doctor for the last three years. "Ever since we got an ambulance, a lady doctor, two midwives and an operating theatre three years ago, we have not had a single case of maternal mortality," said Abdi Mohammad, head of the Eshkashem health clinic and an obstetric surgeon.

Hezbollah Gunmen Seize Control of Beirut Areas
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050908L.shtml
The Associated Press: "Shiite opposition gunmen seized control of several Beirut neighborhoods from Sunni foes loyal to the US-backed government on Friday as sectarian clashes reminiscent of Lebanon's bloody 15-year civil war raged in the capital. At least 11 people have been killed and more than 20 wounded in three days of street battles and gunfights, security officials said."

Trip Report by Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan
http://cartercenter.org/news/trip_reports/middle_east_2008.html
(...) "Allow me to offer some tentative conclusions based on our many meetings: Public Opinion: Despair. A substantial majority of Israeli and Palestinian citizens and political leaders share the view that the peace negotiations are not making any progress and are unlikely to succeed. Palestinians are convinced that the Israeli government is more focused on expanding settlements than in making peace. Israelis fear more Palestinian attacks. When hope for peace declines and frustration increases, some people begin to turn to violence as the only path, and recent public opinion polls in the West Bank and Gaza suggest this is happening. (...) "The current strategy of isolating and suppressing Hamas and persecuting the people of Gaza is not working. It only exacerbates the cycle of violence, and latest polls show that it increases the relative popularity of Hamas throughout Palestine. Some feel that my meeting with Hamas legitimized them, but their legitimacy came when a plurality of the Palestinian people voted for them in the 2006 elections, which I observed. Israelis know that Hamas won a majority of parliamentary seats, and a recent poll of Israeli citizens indicates strong support (64 percent) for direct Israel-Hamas talks. "We have no illusions that our brief meetings will stop the violence or produce peace, but we needed to take that first step. It is clear from our conversations that their views, as well as those of Israelis, need to be tested by regular exchanges, such as occurred in the many years of Track II diplomacy with the PLO. "Violence freezes adversaries in a counterproductive posture. Israelis think the Palestinians will never accept Israel and Palestinians believe that Israel will never accept a genuinely independent Palestine. We think both are wrong and trust Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas to find their path to a two-state solution. CLIP

A human rights crime By Jimmy Carter (May 8 2008)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/08/israelandthepalestinians
The world must stop standing idle while the people of Gaza are treated with such cruelty -- The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world. An entire population is being brutally punished.This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers.Israel and the US refused to accept the right of Palestinians to form a unity government with Hamas and Fatah and now, after internal strife, Hamas alone controls Gaza. Forty-one of the 43 victorious Hamas candidates who lived in the West Bank have been imprisoned by Israel, plus an additional 10 who assumed positions in the short-lived coalition cabinet.Regardless of one's choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions on the supply of water, food, electricity and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about one million of whom are refugees.Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children. CLIP

US Consumers Rank Last In World Survey of Green Habits (May 8, 2008)
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/08/8797/
WASHINGTON - Americans rank last in a new National Geographic-sponsored survey released Wednesday that compares environmental consumption habits in 14 countries. Americans were least likely to choose the greener option in three out of four categories - housing, transportation and consumer goods_ according to the assessment. In the fourth category, food, Americans ranked ahead of Japanese consumers, who eat more meat and seafood.The rankings, called “Greendex,” are the first to compare the lifestyles and behaviors of consumers in multiple countries, according to the National Geographic Society. (...) India and Brazil tied for the highest score - 60 points out of a hundred. U.S. consumers scored 44.9. In between, China scored 56.1, Mexico 54.2, Hungary 53.2, Russia 52.4, Great Britain 50.2, Germany 50.2, Australia 50.2, Spain 50, Japan 49.1, France 48.7 and Canada 48.5. Results are based on 1,000 online respondents per country interviewed in January and February by GlobeScan, an international polling firm based in Toronto. To see how you score, take an abbreviated version of the survey. It’s at nationalgeographic.com/greendex - A separate GlobeScan survey showed consumers in Brazil, Mexico and China to be most concerned about global warming. In general, people in developing countries were more worried about harming the environment than those in developed ones were. They also live in smaller houses, are more likely to consume locally produced food and more likely to get to work by foot, bike or public transportation. CLIP

The cloning revolution (18 April 2008)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-cloning-revolution-part-2-811224.html
After Dolly comes a new scientific technique that is being used to save a doomed species of the white rhino. Could this herald a world without extinction? -- A revolutionary form of cloning is to be used as part of a last-ditch effort to save one of the world's rarest animals - the northern white rhino - which is on the brink of extinction with only a few individuals left in the wild. British scientists are to spearhead an attempt to preserve the genes of a rhino in captivity by using a technique that mixes its skin cells with the embryos of a close cousin, the southern white rhino, which is not so endangered. The resulting offspring will be "chimeras" with a mixture of cells from both sub-species, but it is hoped that some of them will grow up to produce the sperm and eggs of the northern white rhino and so boost the animal's dwindling gene pool.If the pioneering experiment is successful, the biologists hope to extend the technique to a wide range of other endangered species whose populations in the wild are severely depleted as a result of hunting and habitat loss. (...) The technique involves altering a few regulatory genes, which has the effect of "reprogramming" the adult skin cells back to an embryonic state so that it can then develop into any of the specialised tissues of the body - including the germ-line cells that give rise to sperm and eggs. One scientist warned this week in an interview with The Independent that the technique of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells could even be used on human beings by maverick IVF doctors wanting to help infertile couples, because it has proved so easy to use on mice with few apparent side-effects. CLIP

'Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child' (14 April 2008)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/now-we-have-the-technology-that-can-make-a-cloned-child-808625.html
A new form of cloning has been developed that is easier to carry out than the technique used to create Dolly the sheep, raising fears that it may one day be used on human embryos to produce "designer" babies. Scientists who used the procedure to create baby mice from the skin cells of adult animals have found it to be far more efficient than the Dolly technique, with fewer side effects, which makes it more acceptable for human use. The mice were made by inserting skin cells of an adult animal into early embryos produced by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Some of the resulting offspring were partial clones but some were full clones - just like Dolly. Unlike the Dolly technique, however, the procedure is so simple and efficient that it has raised fears that it will be seized on by IVF doctors to help infertile couples who are eager to have their own biological children. One scientist said this weekend that a maverick attempt to perform the technique on humans is now too real to ignore. "It's unethical and unsafe, but someone may be doing it today," said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of American biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology. (...) The experiments on mice demonstrated that it is now possible in principle to take a human skin cell, reprogramme it back to its embryonic state and then insert it into an early human embryo. The resulting child would share some of the genes of the person who supplied the skin tissue, as well as the genes of the embryo's two parents.These offspring are chimeras - a genetic mix of two or more individuals - because some of their cells derive from the embryo and some from the skin cell. Technically, such a child would have three biological parents. Human chimeras occur naturally when two embryos fuse in the womb and such people are often normal and healthy. Dr Lanza says there is no reason to believe that a human chimera created by the new technique would be unhealthy.Furthermore, studies on mice have shown that it is possible to produce fully cloned offspring that are 100 per cent genetically identical to the adult. This was achieved by using a type of defective mouse embryo with four sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two. CLIP

Most US Women Report Eating Disorders
http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/042908WA.shtml
Robert Preidt, HealthDay News, says, "Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of young American women report disordered eating behaviors, and 10 percent report symptoms of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, a new survey finds."

CHILDREN AND MOBILE PHONES: THE HEALTH OF THE FOLLOWING GENERATIONS IS IN DANGER (14 April 2008)
http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=885
(...) For the first time in history, we face a situation when most children and teenagers in the world are continuously exposed to the potentially adverse influence of the electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile phones. Electromagnetic field is an important biotropic factor, affecting not just a human health in general, but also the processes of the higher nervous activity, including behavior and thinking. Radiation directly affects human brain when people use mobile phones. CLIP Recommended by Paul Doyon (doyon.paul@gmail.com) who wrote: "According to the opinion of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the following health hazards are likely to be faced by the children mobile phone users in the nearest future: disruption of memory, decline of attention, diminishing learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability, sleep problems, increase in sensitivity to the stress, increased epileptic readiness. Expected (possible) remote health risks: brain tumors, tumors of acoustical and vestibular nerves (in the age of 25-30 years), Alzheimer's disease, "got dementia", depressive syndrome, and the other types of degeneration of the nervous structures of the brain (in the age of 50 to 60)." Paul also recommended this website... http://www.sophiaandme.org.uk/ ...with the following comment: This is exactly what I had: ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) / CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). It is a very serious disease! Very few people recover -- and most usually die of one of three causes: (1) Suicide, (2) Heart Failure, or (3) Cancer.When I removed myself completely from an electrosmog environment, 50% of my symptoms disappeared in the first 24 hours. It took another two months of living in this log house up in the mountains of Saga Prefecture, Japan (where there was no TV or cell-phone reception) before I was able to get off the sleeping pills. (The only pharmaceuticals I ever took were antibiotics for about two months and sleeping pills for about three months -- although the doctor I went to wanted to give me anti-depressants, I refused.) After about four months I would say I was about 90% recovered -- but by that time I had become extremely electrosensitive! Why? Because my body knew very well exactly what it was making it sick. ME/CFS is certainly not a psychological disease -- though we can say without a doubt that "yes the microwaves and other EMR affect the hormones in the brain." However, the cure is certainly not going to see some psychologist or psychiatrist who obviously doesn't have a clue and is probably frying his or her own brain with some cell phone. There are multiple biological markers which the "people in charge" refuse to accept for only one reason -- they are working in collusion with the insurance companies which do not want to pay out to the massive amount of people with this disease now! Otherwise, they would certainly go broke! And now they (those bought and paid for by the cell-phone industry) are trying to say that electrosensitivity is psychosomatic. However, these are the people who should be thrown into a psychiatric hospital with the key thrown away -- these are the executives of the cell phone companies and anyone working in collusion with them! They are the ones making us sick! They are the criminals who should be put in jail for "premeditated murder" and "crimes against humanity!" How many more people like Sophia will have to die before the truth is known?" STRONG WORDS THAT ARE JUSTIFIED TO A GREAT EXTENT - BUT THEY ALSO APPLY TO THE REGULATORY AGENCIES WHICH HAVE FAILED SO FAR TO RECOGNIZE THE GRAVITY OF THIS GLOBAL TIME-BOMB. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED WITH ASPARTAME, GMOs AND A LIST OF SIMILAR DUMB, SHORTSIGHTED DECISIONS THAT ALLOWED LETHAL TECHNOLOGIES AND CHEMICALS TO POLLUTE AND KILL MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

Earth Day preachin -- By caring for God's creatures, we avert a second flood (29 Apr 2008)
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/4/28/10522/7886
(...) Jim Hansen, the world's foremost climate scientist, is circulating a draft paper arguing that the climate "tipping point" must be reset at 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon, a point we passed two years ago. If we do not immediately return below that level, Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves will collapse, with a catastrophic rise in sea levels. From the study of ancient ice cores and sea sediment, we now know that sea level change is episodic and quick ... measured in feet per decade, rather than inches per century. Neither civilization nor global ecosystems can adapt to change this rapid.Hansen sketches a solution of appropriate scale: immediate halt to burning coal; crash Marshall program to replace it with renewables; limit oil and gas use to known, economically viable reserves; full-scale reforestation and adoption of carbon-storing agricultural practices. Nothing that we are doing, nor even seriously contemplating, comes anywhere near such massive a transformation, yet every actor on the political stage -- including major environmental organizations, "green" corporations, and presidential candidates of both major parties -- downplay the terrible realities and trumpet small-scale solutions wrapped in upbeat rhetoric. We are racing toward the end of the world and have no plan of escape, but it is considered impolite to acknowledge that fact in public. In private, though, we are more and more terrified -- especially those of us who are parents or grandparents. I know from conversations with my own grandparents how heavily the burden of parenting during the Great Depression fell on their shoulders, but anxiety over earning a livelihood is dwarfed by feelings of parents today, who face the prospect of the very fabric of civilization fraying during the lifetime of our children. To watch the evening news pass seamlessly from stories about an ice free arctic to nightly business reports enthusiastic about an upturn in oil sector stocks is to enter a rabbit hole where ordinary rules of logic, common sense, and cause and effect are overturned. (...) We live now in twilight years before the storm, like the peoples of Europe in the years before World War II. Our leaders are desperate to avoid direct confrontation, just as the democracies sought to avoid confronting Hitler. But there is no escape now, as there was none then.We do not know what event, the equivalent to Pearl Harbor, will blow America out of our complacency -- two Katrina-level hurricanes crossing Florida in one year would probably do it. But that moment will be our greatest opportunity to turn America -- and through America, the world -- onto a livable path in keeping with the rainbow covenant.It will also be a moment of chaos and fear, and there will be great pressure to turn to crackpot, quick-fix technical schemes, like lofting billions of small Mylar balloons into orbit between the earth and the sun. To survive, to choose civilization over barbarism, requires people of compassion, courage, and righteousness, who have the strength to stand unbowed and unafraid against powerful forces. We are those people. So ... we have a lot of work to do. Let's get cracking. Oh, one last thing. I don't know about you, but I'm keeping a sharp eye on the sky on rainy days!

The Well-Manicured Lawn: A Global Menace (May 1, 2008)
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/01/8641/
It’s spring. The lilacs are blooming and perfuming the air. The birds are singing. Here in Rodgers Forge, we hear them intermittently — whenever there’s a pause in the roar of lawn mowers, weed whackers and grass blowers. What a friend of mine calls “lawn assault weapons.”Indeed, when my neighbors fire them up, don goggles, and fill the air for hours with their deafening din and noxious fumes, I begin to think of grass as a greater threat to our collective happiness and security than terrorism.Lawns may be preferable to pavement, but they are not exactly “green,” as anyone with a middling interest in environmental issues can tell you. They consume nitrogen-rich fertilizers, which run off into local streams and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. They also require a considerable amount of water, compromising our supply in times of drought. (According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 30 percent of the water consumed on the East Coast goes to saturating lawns.) And they provide little in the way of habitat for animals, birds or insects.On the other hand, just about everybody in America knows that global warming is something we and our children will have to contend with in the coming decades. Yet many people are unaware of the damage to the atmosphere caused by lawn care machines. They don’t know that a lawn mower used for half an hour puts 10 times more hydrocarbons in the air than an automobile driven for the same length of time. A string trimmer is even worse, emitting 20 times more pollution than a car. But the worst are the blowers. Because their two-stroke engines burn a mixture of oil and gasoline, a grass or leaf blower puts 34 times more pollution in the air than the average car. CLIP

Freezing to show warming trend - Russian Scientist Discovers Gassy Permafrost (May 5, 2008)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-siberia-loner_rodriguezmay05,0,7326792.story
CHERSKY, Russia — Sergei Zimov waded through knee-deep snow to reach a frozen lake where so much methane belches out of the melting permafrost that it spews from the ice like small geysers. In the frigid twilight, the Russian scientist struck a match to make a jet of the greenhouse gas visible. The sudden plume of fire threw him backward. Zimov stood up, brushed the snow off his parka and beamed."Sometimes a big explosion happens, because the gas comes out like a bomb," Zimov said. "There are a million lakes like this in northern Siberia." (...) Among Zimov's findings: The release of greenhouse gases — particularly methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide—from thawing permafrost underneath Siberian lakes could accelerate global warming and represents an especially worrisome trend in the battle to slow climate change."He clearly knows what he's doing," said Thomas Grenfell, a University of Washington professor who along with colleague Stephen Warren recently carried out their own climate fieldwork at Zimov's station. "Everyone is worried about global warming, and this is one of the places where you would notice things most strongly."Stark evidenceFew places in the world can provide stark evidence of global warming like the peat bogs, lakes and woodlands that stretch eight time zones along Russia's north Siberian coastline. Melting permafrost awakens dormant microbes that devour thousands of tons of organic carbon, creating methane as a byproduct if no oxygen is present. Subsoil layers of ice also are melting, leaving dips and domes across the landscape and turning roads into mogul runs. (...) In Siberia, the permafrost entombs billions of tons of organic matter from the Ice Age, when northern Russia's steppe teemed with mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, musk oxen and other wildlife. Dormant for millennia, the permafrost is being thawed by global warming, triggering the microbial consumption that results in the release of greenhouse gases. The process feeds on itself. As the climate warms, permafrost on the banks of Siberian lakes collapses into the water, supplying bacteria with more organic material to consume and further raising the level of methane released into the air. The melting of permafrost cannot be stopped, Zimov said, but it could be slowed. CLIP

The great organic myths: Why organic foods are an indulgence the world can't afford (1 May 2008)
http://tinyurl.com/6klt7t
They're not healthier or better for the environment – and they're packed with pesticides. In an age of climate change and shortages, these foods are an indugence the world can't afford, argues environmental expert Rob Johnston -- Myth one: Organic farming is good for the environment: The study of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for the UK, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, should concern anyone who buys organic. It shows that milk and dairy production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). A litre of organic milk requires 80 per cent more land than conventional milk to produce, has 20 per cent greater global warming potential, releases 60 per cent more nutrients to water sources, and contributes 70 per cent more to acid rain. Also, organically reared cows burp twice as much methane as conventionally reared cattle – and methane is 20 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. Meat and poultry are the largest agricultural contributors to GHG emissions. LCA assessment counts the energy used to manufacture pesticide for growing cattle feed, but still shows that a kilo of organic beef releases 12 per cent more GHGs, causes twice as much nutrient pollution and more acid rain. (...) Myth two: Organic farming is more sustainable (...) Myth three: Organic farming doesn't use pesticides (...) Myth four: Pesticide levels in conventional food are dangerous (...) Myth five: Organic food is healthier (...) Myth six: Organic food contains more nutrients (...) Myth seven: The demand for organic food is booming (...) QUITE SHOCKING ISN'T IT!

EMF-Omega-News 3. May 2008
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/4904764/

Omega-News Collection 3. May 2008
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/4904768/




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NOTE from Jean: Ariel Ky, whose letters have often been featured in my compilations (over 40 times so far) and who has been teaching in China for the past several months, offers us a unique perspective on our brothers and sisters from China. The inspiring motto selected for the August 2008 Olympic Games, "One World One Dream", reflects the lofty ideals of Peace and Unity that have inspired countless people. Lately we have heard a lot about what's wrong in China and in Tibet, but now it's time to also focus, as Ariel suggests, on some of the good things that may come out of China's entry on the world stage as its people experience a formidable shift propelled by its headlong rush into a development model that is spelling both increased prosperity and opportunities for its new 150 million strong middle class, and calamitous pollution and environmental destruction with vast repercussions spreading far and wide around the world. There could be so much to say about this country and its 1.3 billion people and the media have been increasing their focus on it lately as you've probably noticed. To give you an idea, I've gathered a short sampling of some of the news about China on May 2 and 3 and have included them below (after Ariel's most interesting letter) for you review. I think however it is important to realize that China and its destiny are now intimately intertwined with the destiny of the whole world as it is breaking free from its self-imposed isolation and coming face to face with the very important challenges humanity as a whole must urgently address on this increasingly fragile but still so mesmerizingly beautiful planet. What will happen this summer can be a major turning point in this process and, evidently, it can be either for the best or for the worst. We can all play a key role so that it will be the former option rather than the latter one...

Date: 2 May 2008
From: "Ariel Ky" libertyferall@gmail.com">
Subject: Envisioning a Peaceful Olympics This Summer in Beijing

I just watched the movie Wimbledon last night. Wow! The world of sports is a strange one. It's totally amazing the resources and media coverage given to competitive sports, which I have had very little interest in all my life. You will have to forgive my socialist soul its cringe at the blatant excess shown in the long shots of stadiums and tennis playing fields at Wimbledon.

I found it interesting to observe that the ubiquitous cell phone emerged as a player in this movie when the cell phone of the agent sitting in the audience went off just as someone was focusing to serve the ball. The love story in this movie seemed rather implausible in such a highly competitive environment, but that's what made this movie interesting, that it showed how love can surface just about anywhere and always changes what happens.

... which leads me into the Olympics this summer in Beijing and a call that I would like to make to people all over the world. Please send your love to the athletes in Beijing this summer and hold everyone in a higher field of love consciousness so that the games can go forward peaceably. The Chinese are remarkably committed to maintaining stability as they rush headlong onto the world stage. However, the Western world is becoming increasingly unstable. The power lords would bring chaos onto everyone if they thought it could gain them greater control, and we know this summer's Olympics may very well be a target for agitators (no doubt on the CIA payroll).

Already I've seen a blog post urging a one world currency. At one time I also naively believed that this was the answer to our problems. Now I KNOW that one world anything is being engineered by the ruling elite to consolidate power and control in the world, at the expense of freedom and well-being of everyone else.

I solidly place all of my resources behind the Chinese to thwart these plans. I ground the energy for the Chinese to maintain stability in the world today. What is special about the Chinese and what makes China the fulcrum for what is happening in the world today, is that they are different, and their development has taken place largely in isolation from the influence of the practices of the Western world, and that it has been a communist country dedicated to the ideal of the well-being of all the people, not just the favored few. That commitment to the common people remains a factor in decision-making by communist leaders who remain committed to the commonweal. It's what makes the Chinese inscrutable to the Western mind, especially to capitalists who consider the emerging market economy in China to be a heedless rush into capitalism.

Perhaps I'm just being overly idealistic and projecting my hopes onto something that exists only in my own mind, preferring to stake my bets behind the Chinese instead of extraterrestrials to bring about a different future than that of perpetual war that the West has brought us.

Now I am aware that all large centralized governments become corrupt, and that it also exists in China today. Nevertheless, the rise of the business class here parallels the rise of the bourgeois in Europe that led to the overthrow of the aristocracy in the French Revolution, and has been a tremendous factor in everything that happens in China today, providing a rough system of checks and balances that is more effective than the almost totally corrupted judicial and legislative systems in the U.S. What is happening today with China entering the world stage, with the unmistakeable weight of an elephant, is unprecedented.

I believe the business class that is prospering in China today is bringing about a newfound freedom for its children, who are often being sent to study at universities in other countries, exposing the Chinese to every idea people have elsewhere. The Chinese are opening to new ideas as well as to new markets. My hope is that they will use discernment in assessing these ideas and how they impact the lives of people before adopting them wholesale.

Ultimately, I trust the keen intelligence that so many Chinese I've encountered possess. As a language teacher, I truly believe that learning another language opens our minds to new connections and expands our thinking ability. The Chinese have been studying English and other languages on a large scale and it's having an impact on the development of this country.

It was interesting to see the role of cell phones in the recent demonstrations in front of the Carrefour in Beijing. Almost everyone was holding up their cell phone, taking photos of the police arresting demonstrators. In the age of the Internet and digital cameras, there is a process of immediate reporting and witnessing that is changing the dynamics of social unrest.

Will the Chinese be the first to see the dangers of cell phones and how the pulsed microwaves they operate on are destroying the bees and balance of the natural world? Will the Chinese see the dangers of basing an economy on petrochemicals before it's too late and everyone owns a car? Will the Chinese lead the world in creating an industry of renewable energy resources? I can see all of the above happening because I think the Chinese are becoming leaders in the world today, stepping into the vacuum created by leaders who don't care about the common people in their countries, or the collective future of the world.

ARIEL KY

We give thanks and honor to our mother, the Earth, whose beauty and love glorifies our lives as the sun rises and sets and sparkles on the sea, as the wind blows in the trees and carries the seeds, as our existence depends on the bees.

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Related articles:

China's 'rational' nationalism
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20080502/cm_csm/echinajingo_1
Next week, China's majority ethnic group, the Han, will celebrate the Olympic torch's arrival on Mt. Everest. It will be a pinnacle experience, literally, for a people who see the Beijing Games as their ascendency to restored world glory. One problem, though: Everest's peak is in Tibet. China's bursts of Han nationalism – often resulting in violent indignation – have been marked by such contradictions. Popular calls to boycott Western imports over the recent pro-Tibet actions against the torch, for instance, have been squashed by officials – to prevent boycotts of Chinese exports.A more worrisome conundrum for China's leaders is that their own past attempts to incite domestic anger at other countries – mainly Japan and the US – have now opened the door to grass-roots protests that can quickly escalate with private mobilization over the Internet. The Communist Party, which has intensified "patriotic" indoctrination since 1994, has lately insisted on what they term "rational" nationalism. Two weeks ago, for instance, Internet-driven protests almost got out of hand in several Chinese cities against French-owned Carrefour supermarkets. People were upset at actions in Paris against the torch relay and a famous Chinese athlete. A follow-up protest against Carrefour May 1 was contained by officials who banned online searches for the word Carrefour. The real rub for the party: Unfettered nationalism might cause people to turn against it. Officials are busy enough suppressing hundreds of local protests a year by farmers and workers increasingly venting anger at misrule, inflation, land grabs, or graft. And during the Tibet crisis of the past few weeks, China has seen zealous protesters turn on fellow Chinese who don't take a hard line. One Chinese student at Duke University who tried to mediate between pro-Tibet and pro-China activists on campus was called a traitor back home, and her family there was threatened.The party's difficulty lies in defining a "rational" identity for a country that suppresses non-Han minorities (about 8 percent of the population) and floods the Muslim west and Tibet with Han Chinese (thus the anti-Han riots in March). Near-xenophobic nationalism is a useful tool to unify a land of 1.3 billion people. It provides cover for official mistakes and jailing of dissidents. But aggressive action against foreigners only portrays China as a bully, hurting its "peaceful rise" to power – especially just before the Olympics. A recent poll showed that Europeans now see China as the world's biggest threat to world stability.Foreign talk of boycotting the Olympics, and thus marring China's "coming out" party as an economic giant, only fuels nationalist anger and revives memories of past humiliations by foreign powers. Beijing might become less cooperative on trade, nuclear proliferation, and other issues, and not be a "stakeholder" in global affairs. China's potential to implode under its nationalism is, ironically, a result of the party's insecure grip on power and thus its need to command authority by lighting a patriotic torch. But love of country should not mean hatred of others. When the Olympic torch finally reaches Beijing Aug. 8, will the Chinese see it as the world's? Or as their own?

Why China's Burning Mad
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1734821,00.html
(...) The anti-French protesters are not simply a noisy, hysterical minority; many Chinese are deeply angry about what they see as a global conspiracy to blacken their nation's good name and ruin the Olympics. That makes for a perilous moment for a country that hoped to display its best side to the world this summer, and is now displaying something uglier. Chinese are immensely proud of what their country has achieved in the past two or three decades and of the prestige conferred by the Olympics. But many are still insecure about the permanence of China's new position in the world and haunted by memories of past humiliations by foreigners that have been drummed into them since childhood by a government increasingly dependent on nationalism for its legitimacy.It's testament to the fever pitch of nationalism that even iconic figures can suddenly find themselves under attack. The Paralympic fencer Jin Jing became a national hero (dubbed "the wheelchair angel" by the Chinese media) for her attempts to protect the Olympic torch from pro-Tibet protesters in Paris. But after she questioned the wisdom of a call by some nationalists on the Internet to boycott the French retail giant Carrefour, Jin found herself the subject of Internet attacks branding her "unpatriotic" and a "traitor."So, what explains the furor? The ferocity with which the protesters turn on anybody who disagrees with them reminds some older Chinese of the dark days of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, which convulsed China from 1966 to '76. Today's protesters have one thing in common with Mao's revolutionaries: years of indoctrination in a highly nationalistic--some would say xenophobic--credo that imagines a hostile and perfidious world determined to undermine China. "Maybe kids today know more about computers, about the Internet," says Dai Qing, an environmental activist who was imprisoned after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, "but when it comes to history, the education they get is the same." CLIP

China has secret nuclear submarine base (May 2, 2008)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080502/wl_asia_afp/chinamilitarynuclearbase_080502144226
LONDON (AFP) - China is building a major underground nuclear submarine base on the southern tip of Hainan Island, defence group Jane's said Friday. Jane's Intelligence Review, a respected defence periodical, said satellite images of the base from imagery provider DigitalGlobe were the first confirmation of its existence. Although Beijing is displaying no overt aggression, the base could mean an increase in its strategic capability in the South China Sea and considerably further afield, Jane's analysis said."Jane's can confirm that the satellite pictures show that China is constructing a major underground nuclear submarine base near Sanya, on Hainan Island off its southern coast," the group said.The Daily Telegraph, which reported the satellite images, called the base a "vast, James Bond-style edifice capable of concealing up to 20 nuclear-powered submarines, which will enable China to project its power across the region." (...) The satellite images showed the harbour layout and a Type 094 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine at the base, said Jane's. Others show three Luyang guided missile destroyers and a Jiangwei 2 guided missile frigate moored on a jetty, it said. There are believed to be 11 tunnel openings at the base, it was reported, with each entrance, carved into the hill-side, stretching to a height of about 60 feet (18 metres). Pictures showed two of the tunnel entrances. (...) Jane's Intelligence Review editor Christian Le Miere said: "China's nuclear and naval build-up at Sanya underlines Beijing's desire to assert tighter control over this region."China's increasing dependence on imported petroleum and mineral resources has contributed to an intensified Chinese concern about defending its access to vital sea lanes, particularly to its south. "It is this concern that in large part is driving China's development of power-projection naval forces such as aircraft carriers and long-range nuclear submarines."

Analysis: China to get SAMs from Russia (May 2, 2008)
http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Industry/Analysis/2008/05/02/analysis_china_to_get_sams_from_russia/1514/
HONG KONG (UPI) -- Russia will deliver to China four battalions of 200-kilometer-range S-300PMU2 surface-to-air missiles this summer, the last batch in a series ordered by China. The first batch of four battalions of the same missiles was delivered in July 2007.Starting in 1993, China received 12 battalions of S-300 SAMs, four of them S-300PMUs and eight S-300PMU1s. This means there are a total of 20 battalions of S-300 SAMs deployed in China. These missiles are expected to play a major role in China's core air defense system.These missiles now cover the whole of the Chinese coast facing the Taiwan Strait. Positions previously covered by HQ-2 ground-to-air missiles have been upgraded to S-300 launch positions. (...) The layout of the above missile positions reveals to some extent the tactical intentions of the PLA Air Force, that is, to give priority protection to Beijing and the coastal region with its S-300 SAMs. In particular, the air defense network along the coastal region including the Taiwan Strait and Shanghai has been greatly reinforced. A total of 18 S-300 SAM positions have been identified.After receiving the new batch of four sets of S-300PMU2 missiles this year, and with the deployment of the HQ-9s, it deserves close observation whether China will continue to purchase new S-300 serial SAMs from Russia.

China sets up first space station for spacecraft data relay (2008-05-03)
http://en.ce.cn/National/stech/200805/03/t20080503_15343695.shtml
China successfully established a space station for the data relay of its space vehicles on Thursday. This was accomplished by settling its first data relay satellite, "Tianlian I", at E. 77 degrees over the equator at 4:25 p.m.. (...) The launch was the 105th mission of China's Long March series of rockets, and the first mission of the Long March-3C carrier rocket.The 55-meter carrier rocket with two boosters is capable of launching satellites weighing between 2,600 kilograms to 3,800 kg into space. Seven Long March-3C carrier rockets are currently in production and will carry "several domestic and foreign satellites" into space. China has planned 10 space launches this year, including the Shenzhou VII spaceship. It will be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu late this year and the astronauts will leave their spacecraft for the first time. China began its manned space program in 1999 and successfully sent its first astronaut, Yang Liwei, into orbit on the Shenzhou V spacecraft in 2003. Two years later, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng completed a new Chinese record with a five-day flight on the Shenzhou VI. All returned safely.

Dalai Lama envoys travel to China for talks (May 2, 2008)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080502/wl_nm/china_tibet_meeting_dc_8
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Senior envoys of the Dalai Lama are traveling to China to meet the government over the crisis in Tibet, the government-in-exile said on Friday, only three months before the Beijing Olympics open. After a crackdown on protests against Chinese rule in Tibet, an international diplomatic chorus earlier this year urged dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Beijing abruptly announced in late April that it intended to meet his aides."During this brief visit, the envoys will take up the urgent issue of the current crisis in the Tibetan areas," the government-in-exile said in a statement on its website. Shen Kaiyun, the deputy director of the official government information department in Tibet, said he supported the Chinese government's move to talk to representatives of the Dalai Lama, but expected the spiritual leader to back his non-separatist words with deeds. (...) The Dalai Lama says he is campaigning for autonomy for the strategic Himalayan border region. But China, which says it sent troops in 1950 to Tibet to liberate the country from feudal serfdom, says he is bent on independence. Some analysts said they may be a chance for some progress with the talks."Both sides know there is nowhere to go apart from talks," said Prof. Mira Sinha Bhattacharjea, emeritus fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi." And with the Olympic Games coming, China will be a little more anxious for them (the talks) to help." The Olympic torch was run through Hong Kong on Friday, in a festive return to China after protests in other cities across the world. But tensions flared again as patriotic crowds heckled protesters and police briefly detained eight demonstrators.

China struggles to contain viral epidemic (May 2, 2008)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080502/hl_afp/chinahealthenterovirus_080502154931
BEIJING (AFP) - Doctors in China are struggling to contain the spread of an intestinal virus that has infected more than 3,600 children, killing 22 of them so far, state press reported Friday. The latest death occurred in the city of Fuyang in Anhui province, the epicentre of the epidemic with 3,321 children infected there as of Friday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local health officials. The number of children in Anhui infected with the enterovirus 71, or EV71, has risen by nearly 400 since Thursday, the report said. EV71, which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, is highly contagious and spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva or faeces of an infected person. Young children are most susceptible because of lower immune systems. The disease -- which begins with fever, blisters, mouth ulcers and rashes -- has spread in Anhui since early March, amid accusations by the Chinese media of a government-led cover-up of the epidemic. (...) The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday it did not intend to issue travel restrictions on China after earlier this week expressing concern over the epidemic, which in serious cases can lead to brain, heart and lung damage.It said in a statement Wednesday that while enteroviruses are found across the world, "the situation (in Anhui) is still of concern especially because of the current high reported case fatality rate compared to previous years."China's health ministry has tried to calm fears, saying early discovery of the disease and better treatment has lowered the mortality rate, but has warned that the disease was likely to spread. CLIP

China warms to emissions goals (May 3, 2008)
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20080503a1.html
China is expected to express support for Japan's sector-by-sector approach to setting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Friday. The announcement, to be made in a joint statement on environmental issues Tokyo and Beijing are working on, is likely to follow the bilateral summit Wednesday between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in Tokyo. If the two leaders agree to issue the statement, it will mark a significant policy shift for China in taking a positive stance toward international efforts to reduce global warming emissions, said the official, on condition of anonymity."Developing countries are now showing a cautious stance (toward setting gas reduction goals). If China shows understanding (for Japan's proposal), it will be big progress," the official said. Beijing had maintained "a very tough attitude" on climate change issues, but top Chinese leaders have apparently decided to change policy recently to show more flexibility, the official said. CLIP

More through Full Coverage: China
http://news.yahoo.com/fc/World/China;_ylt=AsenkN1F.kFqrxyK09MT6TJxy14A




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Date: 28 Apr 2008
From: Paul Hilder - Avaaz.org (avaaz@avaaz.org)
Subject: Food crisis out of control

Dear friends,

Have you noticed food costing more when you shop? Here's why -- we're plunging headlong into a world food crisis. Rocketing prices are squeezing billions and triggering food riots from Bangladesh to South Africa. Aid agencies say 100 million more people are at risk of starvation right now[1]. In Sierra Leone alone the price of a bag of rice has doubled, becoming unaffordable for 90% of citizens[2]. Fears of inflation stalk the whole world, and the worst could be yet to come.

We need to act now -- before it's too late. As Ban Ki-Moon holds a high-level UN meeting on the crisis, we're launching an urgent campaign with African foreign minister and human rights campaigner Zainab Bangura. Click below to see Zainab's video message and add your name to the food crisis petition -- we need to raise 200,000 signatures by the end of this week to deliver a massive global outcry to leaders at the UN, G8 and EU:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/world_food_crisis/9.php

The prices of staple foods like wheat, corn and rice have almost doubled, and the crisis is slipping out of control -- so we're calling for immediate action on emergency food aid, speculation and biofuels policy, while asking forthcoming summits to tackle deeper problems of investment and trade.[3]

The global food crisis touches and connects us all, creating a tsunami of hunger for the poor and damaging economies and squeezing citizens in the rich world too. But solutions are on the horizon if leaders act fast [4] -- sign the petition at the link below now, then forward this email and ask friends and family to do the same:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/world_food_crisis/9.php

With hope,

Paul, Galit, Ricken, Graziela, Iain, Mark, Pascal and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

1. BBC: "How to stop the global food crisis": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/26/AR2008042602041_pf.html

2. Zainab Bangura, Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, video message to Avaaz members http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/multinationals-make-billions-in-profit-out-of-growing-global-food-crisis-820855.html

Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis

Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

4 May 2008

Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry.

The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world's poor – who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food – into hunger and destitution.

The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world's richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn.

Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m.

Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world's largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. As a result, plans to increase harvests in developing countries have been hit hard.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. And food riots are breaking out across the globe from Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, from China to Cameroon, and from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates.

Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement, called the escalating earnings and profits "immoral" late last week. He said that the benefits of the food price increases were being kept by the big companies, and were not finding their way down to farmers in the developing world.

The soaring prices of food and fertilisers mainly come from increased demand. This has partly been caused by the boom in biofuels, which require vast amounts of grain, but even more by increasing appetites for meat, especially in India and China; producing 1lb of beef in a feedlot, for example, takes 7lbs of grain.

World food stocks at record lows, export bans and a drought in Australia have contributed to the crisis, but experts are also fingering food speculation. Professor Bob Watson – chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who led the giant International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – last week identified it as a factor.

Index-fund investment in grain and meat has increased almost fivefold to over $47bn in the past year, concludes AgResource Co, a Chicago-based research firm. And the official US Commodity Futures Trading Commission held special hearings in Washington two weeks ago to examine how much speculators were helping to push up food prices.

Cargill says that its results "reflect the cumulative effect of having invested more than $18bn in fixed and working capital over the past seven years to expand our physical facilities, service capabilities, and knowledge around the world".

The revelations are bound to increase outrage over multinational companies following last week's disclosure that Shell and BP between them recorded profits of £14bn in the first three months of the year – or £3m an hour – on the back of rising oil prices. Shell promptly attracted even greater condemnation by announcing that it was pulling out of plans to build the world's biggest wind farm off the Kent coast.

World leaders are to meet next month at a special summit on the food crisis, and it will be high on the agenda of the G8 summit of the world's richest countries in Hokkaido, Japan, in July.

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Related articles:

The Lords of Capital Decree Mass Death by Starvation (16 April 2008)
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=589&Itemid=1
Having crushed the planet's peasants and converted food into just another commodity for global manipulation, the Lord's of Capital have unleashed upon humanity the threat - no, certainty - of mass starvation. The criminal mega-enterprise is centered in the United States, the former "breadbasket of the planet" whose massive conversion to biofuels has caused staple crop prices to skyrocket beyond the reach of hundreds of millions of the world's poor. The death of millions translates into profits in the trillions for the Lords of Capital, killers on a mass scale whose only talents lie in "the production of overlapping calamities, each more lethal than the last." (...) The so-called "market" - which is actually a club of super-rich men who distort and destroy everything of value to humanity that they touch - will be the death of us all, and much quicker than through the effects of global warming, which is also greatly accelerated by the ghoulish, greedy rush to grow food for cars rather than people. In such a murderous environment -manipulated purely for the profits of the Lords of Capital - neither trees nor peasants stand a chance. The United Nations says it needs about half a billion dollars for the most critical cases of starvation, but no amount of emergency aid is sufficient to make up for the wild price rises that have already occurred - and which will put trillions in the pockets of the Lords of Capital.Agribusiness wiped out small farmers in the U.S., and impoverished and pushed off the land untold millions of peasants, worldwide. Now the Lords of Capital have imposed a triage of death by starvation on the planet. The people who live on two dollars or less per day will have to die, and then, as prices rise, the three dollar people will follow. The men who profit from such mass murder use terms like "structural adjustment" and "economic fundamentals" to attach a veneer of rationality to a chaotic system they have created on the fly for the sole purpose of mega-theft. In the end, the Lords of Capital have mastered only one art: the production of overlapping calamities, each more lethal than the last. Soon, if not already, the Haitian poor will have no cooking oil to mix with clay for their diet of dirt pies. The Lords of Capital will have turned them into dirt for another Haitian's consumption and demise.

UN Taskforce to Tackle Global Food Crisis
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/042908F.shtml
Allegra Stratton, of The Guardian UK, reports: "The UN secretary general today said he would head a special taskforce to address food shortages and price rises around the world. Ban Ki-moon said the move was an attempt to avert 'social unrest on an unprecedented scale.'"

UN: Biofuel Production 'Criminal Path' to Global Food Crisis (May 1, 2008)
http://www.enn.com/energy/article/35648
GENEVA, Switzerland - The United States and the European Union have taken a "criminal path" by contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices through using food crops to produce biofuels, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food said today.At a press conference in Geneva, Jean Ziegler of Switzerland said that fuel policies pursued by the U.S. and the EU were one of the main causes of the current worldwide food crisis. Ziegler was speaking before a meeting in Bern, Switzerland between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of key United Nations agencies. Ziegler said that last year the United States used a third of its corn crop to create biofuels, while the European Union is planning to have 10 percent of its petrol supplied by biofuels. The Special Rapporteur has called for a five-year moratorium on the production of biofuels.Ziegler also said that speculation on international markets is behind 30 percent of the increase in food prices. He said that companies such as Cargill, which controls a quarter of all cereal production, have enormous power over the market. He added that hedge funds are also making huge profits from raw materials markets, and called for new financial regulations to prevent such speculation. The Special Rapporteur warned of worsening food riots and a "horrifying" increase in deaths by starvation before reforms could take effect. Meanwhile, speaking in Rome today, a nutritionist with the UN World Food Programme said that "global price rises mean that food is literally being taken out of the mouths of hungry children whose parents can no longer afford to feed them."Andrew Thorne-Lyman said that even temporarily depriving children of the nutrients they need to grow and thrive can leave permanent scars in terms of stunting their physical growth and intellectual potential.He said that families in the developing world are "finding their buying power has been slashed by food price rises, meaning that they can buy less food or food which isn't as nutritious." CLIP

Stop the Hunger Crisis
http://www.one.org/hungercrisis/?rc=hctaf2
In just three years, the price of staple foods like wheat, corn and rice has almost doubled, and this week, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that if left unchecked, global food shortages could set the world back seven years in the fight against extreme poverty and global disease. We must urge our leaders to take action. Sign our petition to President Bush. If we don't do something soon, hundreds of thousands of people face starvation and a hundred million more could fall into extreme poverty.

Learn More about the World Hunger Crisis
http://one.org/worldhungercrisis/

Financial speculators reap profits from global hunger (April 24, 2008) SICKENING!
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8794
A series of reports in the international media have drawn attention to the role of professional speculators and hedge funds in driving up the price of basic commodities—in particular, foodstuffs. The sharp increase in food prices in recent months has led to protests and riots in a number of countries across the globe. (...) Much of the international speculation in food commodities takes place on the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX), where a number of hedge funds, investment banks and pension funds have substantially increased their activities in the past two years. Since January of this year alone, investment activity in the agricultural sector has risen by a quarter at the CHX, and, according to the Chicago firm Cole Partners, involvement by hedge funds in the raw material sector has trebled in the past two years to reach a total of $55 billion. Large-scale investors such as hedge and pension funds buy futures—shares in basic goods and foodstuffs to be delivered at a fixed date in the future. When the price of the commodity rises significantly between the time of the investment and the time of delivery, the investor is able to take home a large profit. In light of the current food crisis, substantial returns of profit are guaranteed. According to CHX figures, wheat futures (for delivery in December) are expected to rise by at least 73 percent, soybeans by 52 percent, and soy oil by 44 percent. Major ecological disasters, such as the recent drought in Australia, which hit food production and drive up basic commodity prices, are good news for the corporate investor.Substantially reduced harvests in Australia and Canada this year have led to soaring wheat prices. Deutsche Bank has estimated that the price for corn will double, while the price for wheat will rise by 80 percent in the short term. (...) An article headlined “Deadly Greed” in the current edition of the German weekly Der Spiegel gives some details of the activities of hedge funds in food market speculation. The magazine cites the example of the hedge fund Ospraie, which is generally regarded as the biggest of the management funds currently dealing in basic foodstuffs.(...) In the wake of the hunger revolts that took place a few weeks ago, ABN Amro put out a prospectus noting that India has enforced a ban on exports of rice, which, together with poor harvests in a number of countries, has led to a worldwide decline in rice reserves. “Now,” ABN Amro notes in its prospectus, “it is possible for the first time to have a share in the number one foodstuff in Asia.”According to the Spiegel report, those responding to the ABN Amro appeal were able to realise a 20 percent rate of profit in the space of three weeks—a period that saw a huge increase in investment in rice in Chicago and other major centres. CLIP




4.

From: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1734834,00.html

How to End the Global Food Shortage

April 24, 2008

By JEFFREY D. SACHS

The world economy has run into a brick wall. Despite countless warnings in recent years about the need to address a looming hunger crisis in poor countries and a looming energy crisis worldwide, world leaders failed to think ahead. The result is a global food crisis. Wheat, corn and rice prices have more than doubled in the past two years, and oil prices have more than tripled since the start of 2004. These food-price increases combined with soaring energy costs will slow if not stop economic growth in many parts of the world and will even undermine political stability, as evidenced by the protest riots that have erupted in places like Haiti, Bangladesh and Burkina Faso. Practical solutions to these growing woes do exist, but we'll have to start thinking ahead and acting globally.

The crisis has its roots in four interlinked trends. The first is the chronically low productivity of farmers in the poorest countries, caused by their inability to pay for seeds, fertilizers and irrigation. The second is the misguided policy in the U.S. and Europe of subsidizing the diversion of food crops to produce biofuels like corn-based ethanol. The third is climate change; take the recent droughts in Australia and Europe, which cut the global production of grain in 2005 and '06. The fourth is the growing global demand for food and feed grains brought on by swelling populations and incomes. In short, rising demand has hit a limited supply, with the poor taking the hardest blow.

So, what should be done? Here are three steps to ease the current crisis and avert the potential for a global disaster. The first is to scale-up the dramatic success of Malawi, a famine-prone country in southern Africa, which three years ago established a special fund to help its farmers get fertilizer and high-yield seeds. Malawi's harvest doubled after just one year. An international fund based on the Malawi model would cost a mere $10 per person annually in the rich world, or $10 billion in all. Such a fund could fight hunger as effectively as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is controlling those diseases.

Second, the U.S. and Europe should abandon their policies of subsidizing the conversion of food into biofuels. The U.S. government gives farmers a taxpayer-financed subsidy of 51¢ per gal. of ethanol to divert corn from the food and feed-grain supply. There may be a case for biofuels produced on lands that do not produce foods--tree crops (like palm oil), grasses and wood products--but there's no case for doling out subsidies to put the world's dinner into the gas tank.

Third, we urgently need to weatherproof the world's crops as soon and as effectively as possible. For a poor farmer, sometimes something as simple as a farm pond--which collects rainwater to be used for emergency irrigation in a dry spell--can make the difference between a bountiful crop and a famine. The world has already committed to establishing a Climate Adaptation Fund to help poor regions climate-proof vital economic activities such as food production and health care but has not yet acted upon the promise.

What is true for food will be true for energy, water and other increasingly scarce resources. We can combat these problems--as long as we act rapidly. New energy sources like solar thermal power and new energy-saving technologies like plug-in hybrid automobiles can be developed and mobilized within a few years. Environmentally sound fish-farming can relieve pressures on the oceans. The food crisis provides not only a warning but also an opportunity. We need to invest vastly more in sustainable development in order to achieve true global security and economic growth.




5.

FRAKISH!

Forwarded by Mark Graffis (mgraffis@gmail.com)

From: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/04/27/rearming_the_world/

Rearming the world

Why nations are suddenly locked in an arms race unseen since the early days of the Cold War

By Joshua Kurlantzick  -- April 27, 2008

LAST SUMMER, AS Americans focused on the surge in Iraq, most ignored a military exercise with a potentially more far-reaching impact. In a remote location in the Ural Mountains, Russia, China, and several Central Asian nations gathered for a massive war game, ironically dubbed "Peace Mission 2007."

Thousands of troops, armored vehicles, fighter-bombers, and attack helicopters stormed a town in a mock battle that was supposed to simulate fighting a terrorist takeover. Beneath its antiterror veneer, Peace Mission 2007 was a classic display of military readiness: When it was over, the troops paraded before their assembled defense chiefs, and the whole event laid the groundwork for a closer military alliance among the participating nations.

That such an exercise was held at all might seem shocking. Despite the global war on terrorism, and a steady drumbeat of civil conflicts, no war involving a major power like Russia has occurred in decades, and no external enemy threatens any of the Central Asian nations.

But the exercise highlighted an alarming new reality. With much less fanfare than the early days of the Cold War, the world is entering a new arms race, and with it, a dangerous new web of military relationships. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks international armed forces spending, between 1997 and 2006 global military expenditures jumped by nearly 40 percent. Driven mainly by anxiety over oil and natural resources, countries are building their arsenals of conventional weapons at a rate not seen in decades, beefing up their armies and navies, and forging potential new alliances that could divide up the world in unpredictable ways.

Much of this new arms spending is concentrated among the world's biggest consumers of resources, which are trying to protect their access to energy, and the biggest producers of resources, which are taking advantage of their new wealth to build up their defenses at a rate that would have been unthinkable for a developing country until recently.

This power shift comes with enormous implications for the United States and its Western allies. With more military power in the hands of authoritarian and sometimes unstable states, the arms race creates a growing possibility for real state-to-state conflict - a prospect that would dwarf even a major terror attack in its power to disrupt the world's stability. It also will force the West to change, to make its own plans to shore up resources, and to get used to a world arsenal it can no longer dominate.

For much of the past six decades, the world hung in a kind of armed equilibrium, with major powers unchallenged in their military and economic preeminence. During the Cold War, it was ideology that occupied the foreground for strategic thinkers; and even more recently, the idea of a power struggle driven by resources seemed remote.

But this situation has changed dramatically in just the past decade. As easily accessible global stocks of oil dwindle, the world supply of oil and gas has been concentrated in a smaller and smaller number of hands over just the past decade. Some 80 percent of all reserves now are concentrated in fewer than 10 nations.

The biggest consumers desperately want to protect their secure flows of oil and gas from this handful of key suppliers, while simultaneously preventing their rivals from inking deals with resource-rich nations.

The result, in some cases, is alliances between consumers and producers; in others, it is new and unexpected links. Middle East specialist Flynt Leverett calls some of these new relationships the emerging "Axis of Oil," an informal alliance between oil producers like Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Russia, which are increasing state control over their petroleum, and powerful authoritarian developing nations desperately short of resources.

The biggest of these nations is China, which will surpass the United States in its petroleum use within the next two decades. And, fittingly, it is China that is driving a great deal of the current arms race.

It has been increasing its defense budget by roughly 20 percent annually, and begun transforming the People's Liberation Army, historically an overpoliticized, undertrained force, into a leaner, truly modern fighting machine. "The pace and scope of China's military expansion are startling," says John Tkacik, a China analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank in Washington.

Meanwhile, China has also been inking big military deals with new allies across the globe. In 2004, China signed a deal with Iran in which it will spend as much as $100 billion on future supplies of Iranian petroleum, and Iran has become one of China's biggest arms clients. To keep strong links with Sudan, which sends roughly half of all its oil to China, Beijing has provided weapons to the Khartoum regime, despite international pressure in the wake of the Darfur genocide.

Over the past decade, China has been building other types of alliances as well - training other countries' army officers, for instance, with the kind of education programs once dominated by the Pentagon. In the Philippines, where the military historically had deep ties to America and where China has inked a joint offshore oil exploration deal, one top defense official says many of his leading officers now head to China for short courses. "This is now considered relatively prestigious, to go to China," agrees Philippine defense analyst Rommel Banlaoi. "That wouldn't have been true a few years ago."

In oil-rich Venezuela, China has been training defense satellite technicians, elite forces, and other military personnel. China has also helped Hugo Chavez revamp his oil infrastructure, and Venezuela's president has vowed to roughly triple his shipments to Beijing in the coming years. In Central Asia, Chinese oil companies, aided by large loan and aid packages from Chinese state-linked banks, have helped leading petroleum producers in that region orient new pipelines toward China. And with Central Asian nations that themselves possess aging, post-Soviet armed forces, China has become a major military player.

China is only one of the drivers in the new global arms race. Playing off its role as both energy supplier and, in some cases, consumer, Russia has increased its arms sales to border nations in the Caspian region in order to further its energy links. In Central Asia, the Kremlin has stepped up training for local militaries, and in Indonesia, one of the world's largest gas producers, then-Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer signed a deal to sell some $6 billion in new weapons. Under Putin, the Kremlin also vowed to rebuild its navy. "It's clear that a new arms race is unfolding in the world," Putin declared just before leaving office.

India has been building its arsenal, too, launching a massive ballistic missile program. Singapore has vastly upgraded its forces, and in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia recently bought billions of dollars' worth of new fighter jets from Europe, new spending nearly matched by some of the other Gulf states.

In part to counter the efforts of Russia and China, Washington and other leading industrialized powers are building their own military links - and again, these have little to do with ideological agreement.

With Australia, Singapore, Japan, and India - three democracies and one essentially authoritarian state - Washington has started holding joint military exercises, including a vast war game last summer at virtually the same time as Peace Mission 2007. On a recent visit to India by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, another top defense official told reporters that the Pentagon was building ties to India "as a hedge" against China.

In the Caspian region, the United States is building its own military-energy ties. Over the past decade, it has boosted defense links to nations like Azerbaijan and Georgia critical to petroleum pipelines serving America, while simultaneously offering public White House meetings to Caspian leaders - even to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, accused of massive fraud in the past election. Across oil-rich Central Asia, the Pentagon has negotiated deals to allow US forces to operate out of bases in many Central Asian states, and is now cultivating Turkmenistan - a major gas producer where, since the death of its long-ruling autocratic leader, the nation has taken some tentative steps to re-engage with the West.

In the Middle East, the United States is also building a new alliance to contain Iran's influence. Over the past year, the Bush administration aggressively pressured Congress to allow Washington to sell some $20 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in order to build up a bulwark against Iran.

In many ways, these new deals echo the old "Great Game," the competition among Western powers for influence in Central Asia. But today the situation is far more complex: With so much money in the hands of resource-rich countries, the line is now much fuzzier between major powers and the developing nations whose resources they are sparring over.

It is also risky. Although this new arms race might produce nothing more than bigger toys for the Pentagon and the People's Liberation Army, many defense and energy experts think this is unlikely. The buildup could push opponents toward damaging standoffs, as in the Cold War, and even escalate into real clashes.

In some arenas, the new alliances already seem to be sparking conflict. With China's more sophisticated submarine fleet increasingly moving into seas claimed by Japan, and Japan's own self-defense forces becoming more aggressive, Japan publicly exposed Chinese sub incursions, leading to perhaps the worst downturn in Beijing-Tokyo relations in recent memory.

Not all foreign policy experts believe that the world is simply lining up for a future of resource-driven wars. Carnegie Endowment scholar Robert Kagan, who is releasing a new book on the topic, "The Return of History and the End of Dreams," argues that authoritarian nations like China and Russia are still driven by ideology in their alliances - specifically, their opposition to democracy. For Kagan, the political structure of these rising powers matters as much as the energy they seek: If they develop successfully, they could suggest to other countries that authoritarian rule can bring great economic growth.

Others doubt that the world is running out of oil and gas, and without that pressure, tensions are likely to be much less severe. Although many prominent oil experts have embraced the Peak Oil theory, the idea that world oil production has already passed its maximum capacity and is now in decline, others are not so sure. Cambridge Energy Research Associates, one of the world's leading energy forecasters, two years ago released a comprehensive analysis in which it estimated that global oil reserves actually were considerably higher than many Peak Oil analysts claim.

But even if CERA's claims are borne out, the arms race is already on. And as it metastasizes, the world is becoming a far different place than it was just a decade ago. By the time the next president takes office in 2009, he or she will have to reimagine how Washington sees the world. And by then, Peace Mission's impact may already have spread.

Joshua Kurlantzick is a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of "Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World." He can be reached at mailto:jkurlantzick@ceip.org">jkurlantzick@ceip.org.

---

Related article:

Russia Parades Military Might (May 10, 2008)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/world/europe/10russia.html?ref=europe
MOSCOW — Nuclear missile launchers and columns of tanks rolled through Red Square on Friday in a display of martial hardware not seen since the Soviet Union’s waning days. (...) The parade was the first display of armor and nuclear missile launchers on Red Square since 1990, and was followed by a flyover of 32 military planes, including strategic bombers.The Kremlin’s decision to parade its military hardware has been a subject of competing interpretations, viewed variously as symbolic confirmation of Russia’s pride, or aggressiveness, as a marketing show of Russian arms, and as a nationalistic festival ordered by Mr. Putin, for Mr. Putin.Mr. Putin insisted earlier in the week that the parade should not be viewed as “saber rattling.” “It is not a warlike gesture,” he said. “Russia is not threatening anyone.”But it followed a year during which the Kremlin asserted its case against what it regarded as reckless American foreign policies. CLIP




6.

ANOTHER WONDERFUL INITIATIVE BY AVAAZ!

Date: 09 May 2008
From: Paul Hilder (avaaz@avaaz.org)
Subject: Support Mideast ceasefire ads

Dear friends,


Yesterday the state of Israel celebrated its sixtieth birthday -- while Palestinians mourn this as their own disaster. The divides look all too wide as George Bush prepares to fly to the region. Yet behind the scenes, Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief is about to make a rare visit to Israel -- bringing its leaders a ceasefire offer he has brokered with all the Palestinian groups.[1] Hope could revive with this small step.

We've asked thousands of our Israeli and Palestinian members - they overwhelmingly support such a comprehensive ceasefire. Wider public polls and the international community now do too (we directly lobbied senior European officials, Israelis and Palestinians over recent months).[2] But with leaders distracted by internal troubles and drifting into wider regional conflict, next week's chance could be lost -- unless we act fast.

So we're urgently finalising a major campaign of billboards, print media and online advertising to support a ceasefire deal and send a clear message about what the sides need to do. We need to raise at least $50,000 to confirm this campaign in time for Omar Suleiman's visit to Israel next week, so every hour counts -- to see the ad concepts and make whatever donation you can, please click this link:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ceasefire_campaign/1.php?cl=88314783

We aim to announce the campaign with Suleiman's visit, and the ads will appear prominently in leading Israeli news outlets like Yediot Aharonot and Ha'aretz and on billboards around the country. The campaign will make it clear that any ceasefire must appropriately address the concerns of both sides -- ensuring an end to rocket fire and incursions, reopening the Rafah crossing with international help (also to protect against weapons-smuggling), and laying the foundations for a reciprocal prisoner exchange including Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

As well as bringing quiet and safety to the people of Sderot and Gaza, a ceasefire should improve conditions for a more lasting peace – which is why it is being championed not just by Hamas but also by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.[3] This campaign is targeted first at Suleiman's visit to Israel, so we're asking our Israeli members as well as you which advertisements will have the best impact there -- we invite input on what parallel efforts may be necessary in the Palestinian context.

Creative advocacy can make a real difference. The Japanese press report that our Titanic ad at Bali helped change their government's policy.[4] Our Stop the Clash of Civilizations video won the 2007 YouTube Award for Best Political Video, has been seen by millions of people including thousands of schoolchildren, and is airing to millions more through the global TV event Pangea Day this Saturday.[5]

But sixty years after 1948, Palestinians still lack their own independence, Israelis still lack security, and children on both sides still cannot sleep in peace. Meanwhile, their conflict spills over around the world. Time and again, the majority of ordinary people on both sides make it clear that they want something better. Let's lend our help to make their voices heard before it's too late -- click here to make your donation and support the ceasefire campaign:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ceasefire_campaign/1.php?cl=88314783

With hope and determination,

Paul, Galit, Ricken, Veronique, Graziela, Pascal, Ben and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

1. Yediot Aharonot: "Egypt's Suleiman in Israel next week", 7th May 2008

2. Public polling suggests that
64% of Israelis and 73% of Palestinians back a comprehensive ceasefire. Our members give this campaign a strong mandate - over 87% of our Israeli membership and over 90% globally support a ceasefire on terms.

We met with senior European officials, as well as Israelis and Palestinians, to deliver our Gaza campaigns. And recently, the Quartet's meeting in London gave tacit support to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire - see Reuters: "Quartet backs Egyptian effort to ease Gaza blockade", 2 May 2008

3. Middle East Times: "Abbas gives Egypt mediation unconditional support", 27 April 2008

4. Asahi Shimbun article from January 2008 on Japan's "Bali Shock", including the story of how the environment minister placed Avaaz's advertisement on the table in front of Prime Minister Fukuda and asked, "is this how we want the world to see us?", and how the policy shift unfolded.

5. Pangea Day is a global event "bringing the world together through film" this Saturday 10 May - check it out. You can watch it on a range of TV stations and online in seven languages, and attend thousands of events around the world - visit their website to find out more.

And if you haven't already, you can watch "Stop the Clash" on YouTube...

But don't forget to help fund the ceasefire ads first!

---

ABOUT AVAAZ
Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.




7.

From: http://www.buzzflash.com/store/reviews/497

The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President

Vincent Bugliosi, With Opening Comments by Molly Ivins and Gerry Spence

BUZZFLASH REVIEWS

With the ongoing crisis of America being held hostage by a rogue, runaway executive branch, we thought it was time to return to the scene of the original crime that made this horror possible: the theft of an election from the American people by five members of the Supreme Court.

It may be January of 2007 when we write this updated commentary on Vincent Bugliosi's indictment of the Supreme Court coup leaders, which Molly Ivins (now seriously ill with a relapse of cancer) called the "J'Accuse" of the new millennium, but we are not getting over it.

How can you get over a man who lost a presidential election by more than 540,000 votes acting like a dictator for six years -- and doing everything in his power to build the institutional constructs of fascism?

As a Washington Post columnist (Andrew Cohen) noted on January 26: "Over the past few years, whenever the White House has seen or sensed trouble looming for its most controversial and tenuous positions in the legal war on terrorism, it has suddenly changed course, altered the playing field, or unilaterally declared itself beyond the purview of the prevailing rule of law. No legal defeats for this administration, no explicit concession of limits on its authority, just a series of tactical or strategic retreats that allow it to show to the world a visage of supreme executive branch power-- while at the same time allowing it at some future date to advance the same losing arguments. And all of it is done in secret, under the cloak of national security, so as to hide not just true secrets but embarrassing facts and legal opinions."

There are terrorists in the world, but Bush and Cheney are not conducting a war against terrorism. They are conducting a war on democracy, a war against the will of the American people, a war against the truth.

In a January 26, 2007, Associated Press article, Nino "The Fixer" Scalia is quoted as dismissing those who believe democracy was stolen. "It's water over the deck — get over it," Scalia said on January 23, 2007.

Several years ago, BuzzFlash offered Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's vital legal critique of the Supreme Court action that gave birth to this Bastard regime. We also interviewed Bugliosi, who -- interestingly enough -- was the lead prosecutor in the Charles Manson case.

Now, with the ongoing runaway administration steaming ahead toward Armageddon, it is important to read this book to remember that all of this current horror and destruction of democracy came about as the result of a partisan crime sanctioned by 5 members of America's top court.

It is both fitting and appropriate that the felonious Supreme Court five grace the cover of "The Betrayal of America" in the form of mugshots.

But we were the ones mugged by their theft of democracy.

Bugliosi dissects what the felonious five did and decides that if there were justice, what they accomplished was the biggest heist in American history -- and for that, they should be held accountable.

Since that time, we as a nation founded on Constitutional principles -- and the world -- have suffered grievously.

It is time to revisit the scene of the crime -- and Vincet Bugliosi serves as a legally incisive, impassioned guide through the mugging of democracy and the birth of a regime of insidious, carefully calculated tyranny.

Even George W. Bush -- as feeble-brained and psychiatrically-impaired as he is -- knows that if you can steal a presidency, you can pretty much get away with anything, even signing a death warrant for American GIs.

---

Related website:

THE STOP FASCISM ACTION NETWORK!
http://www.stopfascism.com/
The Stop Fascism Action Network ( SFAN ) has been created to provide an open space for discussion, sharing of ideas and information, and connecting with one another to spark meaningful, effective action to protect democracy, human rights and freedom, and to stop the madness of corporate fascism which is emerging with frightening speed across the planet. It is time to stand. Please join us, and welcome. The space is brand new, and it is a Network that is still in the process of being built. You are welcome and encouraged to join in the creation. The aim of the SFAN is to hold a space where serious engagement with the issues surrounding democracy, freedom, human rights, and their threats from corporate fascism, can be addressed. It is hoped that this will also be a space for the bringing of light, a place of inspiration, hope and determination, a place of empowerment, and a place where humor is not a bad word. CLIP - Lots of interesting material and videos on this website recommended by Harmony (ladyharmony23@yahoo.com) including this one...

We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For
http://www.stopfascism.com/video/video/show?id=2053082:Video:3806
The Greatest Illusion ever.




8.

IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS IN THE LAST COMPILATION...

From: http://www.counterpunch.org/farley04252008.html

Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

The Media Falls for Fake News Once Again

By JOHN W. FARLEY

25/04/08 "Counterpunch" -- -- Last September 6, Israel bombed a Syrian building at Dair el Zor. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, little was said in public, by either Israel or Syria, but later the Israelis started claiming that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor. On the radio today (April 25), I heard NPR's Tom Jelton repeat, as if it were undisputed fact, the US. government claim to have "proof" of a Syrian-North Korean nuclear connection. Now I see that AP writers Pamela Hess and Deb Reichmann have a story headlined "White House says Syria 'must come clean' about nuclear work," while ABC news has a video entitled "Syria's Nuclear Reactor".

Are the wonderful mainstream media, who gave us Saddam's mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction, lying to us again? The answer is yes.

Last fall, journalist Laura Rozen spoke with Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress. Cirincione says, "In attacking Dair el Zor in Syria on Sept. 6, the Israeli air force wasn't targeting a nuclear site but rather one of the main arms depots in the country. Dair el Zor houses a huge underground base where the Syrian army stores the long and medium-range missiles it mostly buys from Iran and North Korea. The attack by the Israeli air force coincided with the arrival of a stock of parts for Syria's 200 Scud B and 60 Scud C weapons."

Cirincione says that there is a small Syrian nuclear research program, which has been around for 40 years and is going nowhere. "It is a basic research program built around a tiny 30 kilowatt reactor that produced a few isotopes and neutrons. It is nowhere near a program for nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel," he said. Over a dozen countries have helped Syria develop its nuclear program, including Belgium, Germany, Russia, China and even the United States, by way of training of scientists, he said.

So what is really going on here? Cirincione told the BBC that "This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence' to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda." The preexisting political agenda may be promoting a war with Syria and/or Iran, or torpedoing negotiations between the US and North Korea. Finally, Cirincione adds ominously "If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should."

A big salute to the intrepid Justin Raimundo of the Libertarian website http://www.antiwar.com, who had this all figured out last October 15. This column is much indebted to Raimundo and Rozen. For ABC, AP, Tom Jelton and National Pentagon Radio, it's just another day of journalistic infamy.

John W. Farley writes from Henderson, Nevada.




9.

Forwarded by Mark Graffis (mgraffis@gmail.com)

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080427/sc_afp/asiaenvironmentrainforestslogging

Asia's rainforests vanishing as timber, food demand surge: experts

by Frank Zeller - April 27, 2008

Asia's rainforests are being rapidly destroyed, a trend accelerated by surging timber demand in booming China and India, and record food, energy and commodity prices, forest experts warn.

The loss of these biodiversity hot spots, much of it driven by the illegal timber trade and the growth of oil palm, biofuel and rubber plantations, is worsening global warming, species loss and poverty, they said.

Globally, tropical forest destruction 'is a super crisis we are facing, it's an appalling crisis,' said Oxford University's Professor Norman Myers, keynote speaker at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week conference in Hanoi.

'It's one of the worst crises since we came out of our caves 10,000 years ago,' Myers said at the five-day meeting of 500 foresters, researchers, state officials and activists held last week in the Vietnamese capital.

Over-logging in Southeast Asia caused 19 percent of global rainforest loss in 2005, Myers said, compared to cattle ranching -- once a leading cause, mainly in South America -- which now caused five percent of world losses.

The rapid growth of palm oil and other plantations accounted for 22 percent, and slash-and-burn farming, unsustainable as more poor people exploit fast-shrinking forests, caused 54 percent of rainforest destruction, he said.

Asia's forest cover, including tree plantations, in fact grew by three million hectares from 2000 to 2005 -- largely because of China's 1998 logging ban and afforestation -- said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

'In contrast, forest loss persists at a very high rate in several countries,' said an FAO report. 'Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Australia and Papua New Guinea and a number of other countries have seen significant losses.'

Ecologists stress that new forests in China, India and Vietnam are man-made plantations lacking high varieties of plant and animal species.

'Many plantations, in terms of biodiversity, are green concrete,' said Peter Walpole, head of the non-profit Asia Forest Network.

Yet what environmentalists call 'tree farms' are set to grow at the expense of natural forests, especially palm plantations, which produce oil used in products such as soap, chocolate and cosmetics as well as biodiesel.

Commercial crops 'will be the most important factor contributing to deforestation in Asia-Pacific countries,' said the FAO report, citing record prices for food grains, energy and commodities.

Demand for forest products is also surging in Asia's boom economies.

Imports to China, now the world's top furniture exporter, increased more than tenfold from 53 billion dollars in 1990 to 561 billion dollars in 2004.

India's imports of wood products, including paper, grew from about 750 million dollars in 1990 to 3.1 billion dollars in 2005, the FAO said.

Asia's boom economies are now importing timber from as far as Central Africa and South America, said FAO forestry economist C.T.S. Nair.

'In a way, they are exporting the problem to other countries, especially those where policies and institutions are extremely weak,' he said.

The illegal timber trade, fuelled by poverty and corruption, is rife in much of Asia, where 78 percent of forests are state-owned and often managed by the armed forces, not the people who live in or near them, experts said.

'The history of logging in Southeast Asia has been under the auspices of the military and of political families,' Walpole said. 'If you look at how Cambodia has been logged, this cannot happen without military acknowledgement.

'Burma has been logged by Thai generals. And if you look at the corruption of forestry in the Philippines, it's tied in many areas during the Marcos years to military presence and control. It's still in many military families.'

Precise data is rare in the world timber trade, but spot checks by environmental monitoring groups have revealed disturbing trends.

Vietnam was named as a major hub for illegally-logged timber from neighbouring Laos in a recent report by Britain's Environmental Investigation Agency and Indonesian group Telapak -- a claim Hanoi has strenuously denied.

'Indonesia has had an export ban on sawn timber since 2004, and yet countries are still accepting sawn timber from Indonesia,' said Chen Hin Keong of TRAFFIC, which monitors the illegal trade in endangered flora and fauna.

'Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the US -- in big or small volumes, they are all accepting that.'

Tropical timber is relatively cheap because key functions of forests -- clean air and water, and biodiversity -- are not factored into market prices, said Dr Daniel Murdiyarso of the Center for International Forestry Research.

'These services are underpriced or unpriced. It's a market failure.'

Solutions are being debated -- including a universal timber certification system to rein in the illegal trade, and carbon credit schemes that would reward countries for preserving forests and offsetting pollution elsewhere.

But for now these are ideas, not realities, and the FAO report called support for forestry carbon offset schemes 'disappointing' so far.

---

Related article:

Deforestation: The hidden cause of global warming
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/deforestation-the-hidden-cause-of-global-warming-448734.html
In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York. Stopping the loggers is the fastest and cheapest solution to climate change. So why are global leaders turning a blind eye to this crisis?




10.

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7373717.stm

Luminaries look to the future web

30 April 2008

The web has gone worldwide but what does the future hold?

Exactly 15 years ago the directors at the lab where the web was first developed signed a document which said the technology could be used by anyone free of charge.

That decision was instrumental in making the web truly world wide. BBC News talks to some of the leading figures in the web community about their hopes for the future of the web.

---

SIR TIM BERNERS LEE

Let me first say that I am extremely optimistic. The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there. The experience of the development of the web by so many people collaborating across the globe has just been a fantastic experience. That experience continues.

The experience of international collaboration continues. Also the spirit that really we have only started to explore the possibilities, that continues.

To look back on the web after 15 years is in fact wrong. We have to get a foothold on this 15 years and look forward.

The future is always in the past and for the web particularly. In a hundred years, 15 years will seem to be just the infancy of the web, when the semantic web wasn't even completely deployed.

You couldn't even find all the data in the world immediately at your fingertips.

What's exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance. My hope is that those will produce... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee developed the web while at the physics lab Cern.

---

PROFESSOR NIGEL SHADBOLT

What we've seen in the last 15 years is this extraordinary growth year on year, doubling and doubling of content, of users.

And that has incredible implications for everybody from individuals themselves, government, hardware providers, just the sheer amount of user generated content now.

The estimate is that 80% of all content now generated on our databases in our computers is user generated and only 20% is enterprise. So how are we going to manage that tsunami, that overwhelming avalanche of information?

The future is the Semantic web, or web 3.0. Rather than at the moment what you have to do is do some smart searching, and integrate through a lot of documents that are offered up to you, Web 3.0 will be able to do a lot of that information brokering for you.

Nigel Shadbolt is professor of computer Science at the University of Southampton.

---

PROFESSOR WENDY HALL

Everything is going mobile. And I think the big issue about access was you need a computer at the moment to access it properly. Well in the next two or three years that's not going to be the case. You will be able to access it. The technology and the interfaces will change so that it's much more accessible on a mobile device.

People who couldn't possibly afford a computer will have a mobile phone and I think that's amazing. I think that's going to be a huge transformation.

Wendy Hall is professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, UK.

---

KAI-FU LEE

The web captures the feelings of the crowd, of the users, and in some cases we see that a small minority of people are able to distort and amplify their voice.

To we make sure the web continues to properly, democratically capture what most people believe we tune into the wisdom of the crowd, rather than being manipulated by fewer number who may have louder voices.

I think that's one challenge. Technically, I'm very optimistic that cloud computing will make the web easier to use.

I do believe that cloud computing needs to overcome the challenge that people have to feel comfortable sharing their private data online and that online companies have to continue to be responsible to not betray the trust that users have placed in them.

Kai-Fu Lee is VP of Engineering at Google and president of Google Greater China.

---

DR DAVID BELANGER

I think that the big challenge that the web has, much as the internet has faced before and is still facing, is the sheer diversity of the number of types of applications that want to run on it.

So where we've moved from browsers that were primarily text based, to now browsers that are image and many have videos, the amount of traffic generated by them is enormous.

We're moving towards real time communication, voice and interactive media.

All of these things have different characteristics in the networks and in the web that is on top of them, and figuring out how to manage all of these new things, without losing the performance, I think is the largest challenge.

Dr. David G. Belanger is AT&T Labs' chief Scientist and vice president, information and software systems research.

---

MITCHELL BAKER

The web is an extraordinarily hopeful part of life and wildly exciting. So I sometimes say I have been bitten by the bug.

I had Malaria once so I know what its like to have something in your blood that is there and you cannot get rid of and that personally is what the web is for me.

And the reason is that the possibilities are so great and they are so individual and so personalised and they lend themselves to building communities.

And so I don't believe the web is a panacea and it's going to change human nature and we will only do wonderful things with it.

Humanity is humanity and we will see the whole scale of human activities on the web, even the parts we would rather not see.

But the reason it is exciting is that it makes these connections so much easier. Some of them are educational, some of them are entertainment but they are the things that make human life worth living.

In 15 years the web will be everywhere; in ways we don't know

The web in that sense will be informational and the presentation of information will be in a way "we" like it.

It will be in places we cant even imagine right now. That's why Mozilla is important going forward; to make sure that the web and information about us and created by us moves into every scope of life.

We need an organisation and a voice and a focus for keeping a human being, you and me, at the centre of it.

Mitchell Baker is chairman of the Mozilla Foundation.

---

MARK BERNSTEIN

It is a communication revolution. The internet connected resources and what the web has enabled is for people to both communicate with each other and communicate with groups of people and it's allowed the sharing of a common interest that would have no other way of connecting.

It's is going to become a very refined electronic community and a set of communities that will operate at many different levels; individual interests as well as broad social efforts.

You've seen a lot of that take place in the American elections that are gong to be taking place later this year. All the candidates have become very effective at being able to use the web as a way to both communicate and connect with their communities.

Mark Bernstein is president and director of the Palo Alto Research Center.

---

ROBERT CAILLIAU

We mustn't forget we chose the name WWW before there was even one line of code written.

We could do that because the internet as an infrastructure was already there.

Either we were going to fall on our faces or we would have something that would be truly worldwide. There was nothing in between.

We were certainly convinced it was going to be big in the academic world. But it was never our aim, I think, to extend it beyond the academic community, not really.

Over the next 15 years, assuming we have infinite energy and the planet isn't going to explode...I'd like to see a set of laws governing the web worldwide.

Since the web is totally worldwide we need a set of behavioural rules, laws they are commonly called, that are accepted worldwide.

There is a big difference as to how things are treated in the US and Europe and Asia. A lot of practices are treated differently in these areas - from extremist sites, to paedophilia and phishing.

We need that as fast as possible.

We should also be able to break the vicious cycle of author, reader and advertiser. I'd like the reader to decide if he is willing to pay minute sums for content.

I'd like the economics of web to be controlled between authors and readers, not advertiser.

In much less than 15 years I think we need to figure out what the social impact is going to be of the Semantic web. I am not sure this is a good thing.

I don't know who is controlling it. And because it works by onotologies, who decides on what basis I am going to see things?

Robert Cailliau worked on the development of the web with Sir Tim Berners-Lee at Cern.

---

ROBERT SCOBLE

The web means everything to me: I use the web to talk to my friends, to keep in touch with people around the world, to buy things, to look things up, to do research.

I can't think of a part of my life that isn't touched by the web in some way.

The next 15 years is so hard to predict. One thing I would expect to see is human augmentation.

For instance, the brain researchers I met at Davos are doing some fascinating work understanding how your brain talks with your limbs so if you were a soldier in Iraq who loses a limb, how do you replace that limb and how do you give a more lifelike experience to that limb?

That's really interesting and I think that is going to spin off a whole lot of things; for instance, why couldn't I have a little glass behind my eye that tells me your Facebook page and tells me a little bit about you on Wikipedia while I am looking at you?

I would imagine in 15 years we are going to have something like that; some sort of visualisation lens or some way to jack into your optic nerve to put imagery on what you are actually seeing and augment your human experience.

But that might be 30 years away... I don't want to sign up for the beta test of that one in case they get it wrong.

Everything is moving so fast. If you look at what I am doing with my cell phone now, transmitting live video around the world, that's really different from just five months ago.

It's even going on with Twitter. There is a new tweet coming into my account every 15 seconds and 15 years from now what's that going to feel like? You are going to be able to do a lot more than 140 character messages.

I will be Twittered out by then but there will be something new that comes along that will let me communicate with other people and that is what the web is all about ultimately.

Robert Scoble is a well-known blogger and head of Fast Company TV.

---

TIM O'REILLY

We created the first commercial website with a special dispensation from the National Science Foundation. We were interested in online publishing and we were thinking of how to get books online and then the web came along and we thought: 'Oh my god this is the answer to our prayers'.

The web was this promise of a universal platform for information and it was just transformative and so exciting to see that potential come into play.

The fact that Tim Berners-Lee gave it away was so critical to that. l imagine if someone tried to commercialise it, maybe it would have taken off but that was what Microsoft and AOL tried to do.

Free is such a powerful force in innovation.

When I look at the future of the web as a concept as opposed to a specific technology we are really moving into a world where we live with display surfaces everywhere, independent devices all connected to the cloud, sensors everywhere.

There are already sensors everywhere but they are just not connected yet.

So we are going to see the phone network merge with the web, sensor networks merge with the web. I think we will even see the power network merge with the web.

What we are really building is a global brand where all the computers in the world are connected, where all the devices in the world are connected, sometimes intermittently off and on, and all the people are connected.

This is going to be a very different thing. It's ironic that back in the 70s there was all this talk about global consciousness, 'blah blah blah', and it really is going to happen.

Except it's going to happen mediated by computers. We are connected now to this network of devices and computers and they augment our intelligence and our ability to share, to communicate, and we as a culture are changing as a result.

It's the most profound change since the advent of literacy. And it's bigger than the industrial revolution.

We are on the front of a new renaissance; and that doesn't mean all good things, there could be a lot of bad things there too.

---

Related article:

Web in infancy, says Berners-Lee (April 30, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7371660.stm
The world wide web is "still in its infancy", the web's inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has told BBC News. He was speaking ahead of the 15th anniversary of the day the web's code was put into the public domain by Cern, the lab where the web was developed.The future web will put "all the data in the world" at the fingertips of every user, Sir Tim said. "The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there." Making the web free to use had a vital role in spreading its use worldwide. There are now 165 million different websites around the world, according to internet research firm Netcraft. Sir Tim said he was optimistic about the future of the web. "The experience of the development of the web by so many people collaborating across the globe has just been a fantastic experience," he said. "The experience of international collaboration continues. Also the spirit that really we have only started to explore the possibilities of [the web], that continues." Sir Tim predicted that the web's ability to engender collaboration could one day see the web being used to help manage the planet. "What's exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance. "My hope is that those will produce... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet." The ubiquity of the web gives the impression that its success was inevitable but that was not always the case, said Robert Cailliau, who worked alongside Sir Tim.The decision by physics laboratory Cern to release the web code into the public domain was not a straightforward one, he told BBC News. CLIP

Tim O'Reilly is the founder of O'Reilly media.




11.

THIS IS PRETTY MUCH THE KIND OF CHILDHOOD PERIOD I HAD. ACTUALLY I RECALL BEING IN RISKIER SITUATIONS AND BEING MUCH FREER TO ROAM!

Forwarded by Fred Burks (emaillist@peerservice.org) on April 28, 2008

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/lancashire/fun_stuff/2003/08/18/survive.shtml

We Should Never Have Survived!

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50's, 60's, and 70's probably shouldn't have survived...

Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans. When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent 'clackers' on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - tasted the same.

We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no-one minded.

We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all.

No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends, we went outside and found them.

We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.

We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue - we learned to get over it.

We walked to friend's homes.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you're one of them.

Congratulations!




12.

CARL SENT ME A POWERPOINT FILE QUITE SIMILAR TO THIS ONE:
http://www.esnips.com/doc/cc900b88-f01e-4204-9bd7-450e4f561474/Water

THERE IS ANOTHER ONE WORTH SEEING AT http://www.esnips.com/doc/16dd58c5-db48-4afe-bb74-34302a8934e9/Water

Date: 7 May 2008
From: I AM Carl Landsness (weneedadream@yahoo.com)
Subject: Deeply moving water images... and call from Gaia

Jean,

The attached slide show moved me as deeply as any I've seen, reminding me of the incredible world and time we live in... despite the breakdowns. Receiving it on Earth Day (and my birthday) added extra meaning... as it lifted me above the pain I was feeling for Mother Earth... and inspired the below calling from Gaia.

I see such images and poems projected in four directions with music (like a cosmic ritual) to create a truly transcendent journey into higher dimensions... helping to heal and rebirth the earth.

Gaia's Birthday Call to Carl
Earth Day 08


"Rebirth the Earth!"
calls Gaia to her child
I love you very deeply
for you treasure my own wild

You've loved ME very deeply
in magic mystic ways
and felt my inner passion
throughout your lifelong days

I hear your call of anguish
for errors you think you made
and feeling pain of others
longing to serve and repay

We have a special marriage
made very long ago
before you even came here
agreeing to cherish me so

"Making Love to Gaia"
has been your common thread
when self and others fail you
know where to lay your head

Yes... I love you deeply
oh little child of mine
I know that you are hurting
and will give you a sign

You WILL rebirth again
as I will do with you
for this is part your mission
and initiation too

You know the hidden treasures
in going through the dark
for this is your great gift
helping others to restart

There's reason why you love
"Rebirth the Earth" (the phrase)
and the image and the ritual
you helped your friends stage

There's also reason why
our birthdays do align
and sometimes even Easter
a powerful rebirth sign

Keep faith, oh little Carly
as your mother called to you
There's magic still awaiting
to make your dreams come true

Recall your favorite heroes
and impossible dreams they drew
You love them for good reason
Through and through and through

Disney, Rubel, and Leckrone
and yes... Jeshua too
They all have special meaning
for you and all you do

So start again and flourish
We support you (and what you do)
For dying and rebirthing
are crucial to Earth... and you.


For the beauty of the Earth,

Carl




13.

From: Ricardo (ricardos@auroville.org.in)
Subject: Humor: Indian student in the USA
Date: 28 Apr 2008

It was the first day of a school in USA and a new Indian student named Chandrasekhar Subramanian entered the fourth grade.

The teacher said, 'Let's begin by reviewing some American History.

Who said 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death'?

She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Chandrasekhar, who had his hand up:

'Patrick Henry, 1775' he said.

'Very good!'

Who said 'Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth?'

Again, no response except from Chandrasekhar.

'Abraham Lincoln, 1863' said Chandrasekhar.

The teacher snapped at the class, 'Class, you should be ashamed.

Chandrasekhar, who is new to our country, knows more about its history than you do.'

She heard a loud whisper: 'F**k the Indians,'

'Who said that?' she demanded. Chandrasekhar put his hand up.

'General Custer, 1862.'

At that point, a student in the back said, 'I'm gonna puke.'

The teacher glares around and asks 'All right! Now, who said that?'

Again, Chandrasekhar says, 'George Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister,1991.'

Now furious, another student yells, 'Oh yeah? Suck this!'

Chandrasekhar jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher, 'Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!'

Now with almost mob hysteria someone said 'You little shit. If you say anything else, I'll kill you.'

Chandrasekhar frantically yells at the top of his voice, ' Michael Jackson to the child witnesses testifying against him - 2004.'

The teacher fainted. And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor,someone said, 'Oh sh*t, we're f**ked!'

And Chandrasekhar said quietly,

'I think it was George Bush, Iraq, 2007.'




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