Under New Management Series #2: The Real Low-Down on Stuff Going on Under Obama
As everyone knows there are always at least 2 sides to any story. There is the official version, a make-believe one for public consumption, and then there is the real and often ugly/dirty/crooked one hidden from most everyone's eyes excerpt those who dare question/doubt/research and ultimately debunk the official storyline. I sure don't pretend I've got my finger on the real pulse of what's actually happening, but I sure found enough evidence here (yet again!) to start seriously questioning the Pablum most mainstream media continue serving their indolent, complacent readers/listeners/viewers.
And then despite the mega-size of these compilations I enjoy preparing in my spare-time, believe me when I say I'm merely scratching the surface of the Matrix game board here...
Give this a look and go do some digging of your own. It is amazing what can be found!... but it's seldom reassuring... Just make sure to pack a good dose of discernment along for the ride if you go exploring the wild country of human depravity and disingenuous rapaciousness.
And bring also some kool compassion & detachment aid with you so as to not forget it is generally through trial and error we/souls all learn, that we've all been there/done that at some point in the Continuum (to some extent), and that this is all just a Grand Cosmic Game of free-willing our way back Home where some day, in a distant future, we will all end up, one way or another...
And remember, it's always all about Love - our ticket back Home... not the cheap faked version, but the real unconditional one... La totale!!
P.S. Just one more thought... As those of the Christian faith and all the others who feel/understand the deeper, invisible reality are about to celebrate Christ's resurrection, could it be that the real meaning and symbolism of it is the raising of our own soul's consciousness from the death trap of a deep memory hole, where our soul has been buried for countless aeons, to the full remembrance of our dazzling Beginnings? Perhaps rekindling/reviving the Immortal Soul in ourselves and bringing it to the fore so it may shine through in all its Divine Glory is what this merry-go-round of endless incarnations is all about... If you wish to dig this, I can't help myself but to recommend joining this Sunday this sacred global communion of souls here and beyond the Veil... at whatever time of the day feels the best for you... See you in the Continuum...
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STATS for this compilation: Over 48,800 words and 328 links provided. And U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's name appears 39 times in this compilation!... You'll see why when reading it through ;-)
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"America is devolving into a third-world nation. And if we do not immediately halt our elites rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist, which means street protests, disruptions of the system and demonstrations, or become serfs. (...) The Obama administration, rather than chart a new course, is intent on re-inflating the bubble. The trillions of dollars of government funds being spent to sustain these corrupt corporations could have renovated our economy. We could have saved tens of millions of Americans from poverty. The government could have, as consumer activist Ralph Nader has pointed out, started 10 new banks with $35 billion each and a 10-to-1 leverage to open credit markets. Vast, unimaginable sums are being placed into these dirty corporate hands without oversight. And they will use this money as they always haveto enrich themselves at our expense. (...) The economic stimulus and the bailouts will not bring back our casino capitalism. And as the meltdown shows no signs of abating, and the bailouts show no sign of working, the recklessness and desperation of our capitalist overlords have increased. The cost, to the working and middle class, is becoming unsustainable. The Fed reported in March that households lost $5.1 trillion, or 9 percent, of their wealth in the last three months of 2008, the most ever in a single quarter in the 57-year history of record keeping by the central bank. For the full year, household wealth dropped $11.1 trillion, or about 18 percent. These figures did not record the decline of investments in the stock market, which has probably erased trillions more in the countrys collective net worth."
- Chris Hedges -- Taken from Resist or Become Serfs -- MUCH more on this whole crooked mess in this compilation...
"These are tough times for a lot of folks. I have two friends whose homes are in foreclosure, another friend who recently discovered she had cancer and one who learned that he was HIV positive. So many people are either facing financial challenges or have friends or family members who are struggling. Finances, romances, relationships, health; the drama and the curriculum, in one form or another, often seems ceaseless on this Earth Journey. But it is precisely at times like this that we need a reminder that, in spite of the intensity of the moment, this too shall pass away. I get that reminder each year about this time when the first daffodils begin to bloom, sometimes poking their smiling faces through the snow. Of all of the beautiful flowers here at the Sanctuary, these are the most welcomed because they are the first display of color, signaling the end of winter and the hope of renewal that comes with Spring. Each of us need this reminder from time to time in our lives. We need to be reminded, not only that our drama is temporary, but that it is such a small part of the whole of life. Thats whats so special about returning to nature. Once we leave behind our cell phones, TVs, radios, - and all the other things that feed us the continual flow of human drama - and step into the world of nature, we are reminded of what is real. The flowers and trees bloom year after year and the grass comes up green each spring, regardless of who is president or whether we had a bad breakup or health or financial crisis. Sometimes we simply need to take some time and get back in touch with nature and listen to that still small voice within in order to remember who we really are, why we are here and what this is really all about."
"On the Obama good or bad question, I think you are right to give coverage to both sides. My view is that we cannot tell at this stage: Obama could be another Gorbachev (a sly infiltrator who revolutionised the system from within, although the end result was not very good), another Jimmy Carter (well meaning but hopelessly outgunned by the Washington elite) or another Tony Blair (a Manchurian candidate made in Washington and Tel Aviv). We just cannot tell: his appointments are pretty sinister, but maybe he was forced into them by the threat that his election campaign would be wrecked otherwise. If he is another Tony Blair (I rather fear this) it will soon enough be clear. The greater tragedy would be if he is another Gorbachev and we wouldn't give him a chance."
"Here is an interesting interview with Paul Levy - Just wanted to pass on the point made in the interview about Obama. Due to the interactive nature of our reality, the observer effect in Quantum Mechanics, how we co-create the outcome of Obama's presidency will (as you pointed out) be what we experience. So Alex Jones, Jeff Rense et all will create the reality that they focus on. What I have learned is that we need to be aware of the bad things happening in our name but then we must let it go. We forgive ourselves for carrying that part of the current reality and literally Love it to death. Somehow the scene in the Wizard of Oz relates here, Dorothy trying to be helpful threw water on the Wicked Witch of the West only to have the effect of de-materializing her (the evil empire)! After which she was able to go Home."
- Zackoree (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Thank you for circulating this excellent article by Alexander Alexis that I wish everyone would read. It talks about how to move away from our present monetary thinking which is our prison and terrorizes the world , and leads to despair and more poverty. There is a smooth and easy way that everyone can embark on without effort, that will lead humanity to abundance, peace and living the God-state. It calls for abundance and not deprivation, for joy instead of envy, fear and hatred."
- Birgitta Storjohann (email@example.com)
"The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. He lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle. He or She understands that the Universe is forever out of control, and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Dao. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
- Laotzi's Way-Power Classic (Daodejing) -- Sent by Alexander Alexis (StarAlexisOne@copper.net) who wrote: "I am happy to see people connecting over this article and other things like it because it is through this global networking of thought and feeling that changes in the field are wrought. This is helping to unify us and allow the necessary acceptance of the new energies into our "systems" (little pun in there ;-)) that will actuate the outer changes."
1. Scientists Who Trust Their Own Evidence Take Action
2. The Big Takeover
3. The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One
4. The 52 minutes of Obama magic that changed the nuclear rules
5. Pentagon unveils large cuts to defence budget
6. Thousands flee bomb attacks by US drones
7. Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings
8. Killings and Concentration Camps: A Colossal Humanitarian Tragedy is Underway in Sri Lanka and No One is Saying a Word
9. A quarter of the world's population depends on degrading land
10. Creating a Natural Economy: An Open Letter to Wage Slaves land
11. Important Update from Dr. Steven Greer
12. Message from Matthew - April 9, 2009
Forbidden Archealogy - By Richard Thompson & Michael A. Cremo (June 21, 2008) Must see with pictures! http://commonworldinheritage.blogspot.com/2008/06/forbidden-archealogy-by-richard.html
Over the past two centuries, researchers have found bones and artifacts showing that people like ourselves existed on earth millions of years ago. But the scientific establishment has suppressed, ignored, or forgotten these remarkable facts. Why? Because they contradict dominant views of human origins and antiquity. Evolutionary prejudices, deeply held by powerful groups of scientists, have acted as a 'knowledge filter'. And the filtering, intentional or not, has left us with a radically incomplete set of facts for building our ideas about human origins. The chart below summarizes some of the artifacts discussed in the book Forbidden Archeology - by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson. The book analyzes a vast number of arrow heads, tools and bones that are millions of years old and show the existence of these items contradict the established time line of evolution as rigidly held by our dogmatic scientific community. CLIP
Bob Dean interview: Cosmic Top Secret http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com/members/bdean.htm
Bob Dean is a retired Command Sergeant Major in the US Army, who became notable in UFOlogy circles after he claimed to have viewed "Cosmic Top Secret" documents detailing alien activity on Earth. He now lectures in ufology around the world and has been described as 'an elder statesman of the UFO community. Bob tells a story that skillfully presents an astonishing and convincing message: that we are not alone on this planet and never have been. Propelled upon a quest to share his discovery of a highly classified document he came upon during his military career, he has continued his agenda to inform the public about extraterrestrial life and our government's connection. One of the few holders of first-hand knowledge about government involvement with alien life, Mr. Dean recounts the contents of the 1964 report called "an Assessment," the NATO military study that acknowledged and analyzed the implications of the alien presence here on Earth
NASA's Alien Anomalies caught on film - A compilation of stunning UFO footage from NASA's archives http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlLN_Jcg1pc
!0 minutes REALLY FASCINATING! Worth viewing... Human activities at the Intl. Space station is being closely monitored.
NASA: PROOF of image tampering http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22pk2polNeA
Since the dawn of the space age, NASA (in conjunction with the Department of Defense and elements attached to the Central Intelligence Agency) have been manipulating and even manufacturing the space imagery they show you. Here is just a bit of the proof that is available out there to demonstrate the fact that you are not being shown anything close to "everything" there was to see up there during the Apollo missions. Stay tuned for Jose Escamilla's new motion picture documentary "MOON RISING", where we will go into much further depth about what is, without exaggeration, the most monumental coverup in human history. You have NO idea what you have been missing! http://MoonRising-TheMovie.com - (...) The suppressing of the evidence that there may have been civilizations existing on the Moon, or even more incredible, the possibility they are still there brings into question why we have been kept in the dark. The biggest insult is weve been led to believe the moon is a grey - colorless rock. On the contrary, The Moon appears to be a small planet teeming with life and structures the likes of which you have never seen before until now. At least it appears to have been inhabited in 1994 when these photos were taken. CLIP
California Drone UFOs and Isaac Explanation Video Report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xXdIJmjQFE
The "Isaac" explanation of the drones is available at http://isaaccaret.fortunecity.com/ (...) To reiterate my take on the recent sightings, I'd guess that experimentation done in the last couple months on a device that, among other things, is capable of interfering with various crafts onboard invisibility has resulted in a sudden wave of sightings. It may not explain all of the recent events, but like I said, I'd bet my life that's exactly what happened at Big Basin at least, and it's probably related in some way to the Chad, Rajman and Tahoe sightings. So, despite all the recent fanfare over this, I'd say this doesn't mean much. Most importantly, they aren't suddenly here. They've been here for a long time, but just happened to turn unintentionally visible for brief periods recently. CLIP
UFO fleet menaces east London (30th March 2009) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/30/street_view_ufo_fleet/print.html
"Baffled" expert Nick Pope, who apparently "used to investigate sightings for the Ministry of Defence", described the visitation as "truly fascinating". He said: "It appears to show nine objects flying in near perfect formation. About the only thing I know that can do this is the Red Arrows - and it's not them. I've run through the list of possibilities that normally explain these things, but I can't find an answer." Shaken locals shared Pope's bafflement, with one telling an on-the-spot Sun reporter: "This is definitely the strangest thing I've ever seen in Bethnal Green."
Dog walker met UFO 'alien' with Scandinavian accent (22 March 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5031587/Dog-walker-met-UFO-alien-with-Scandinavian-accent.html
A dog walker claimed she met a man from another planet who said aliens were responsible for crop circles, military UFO files have revealed. - The anonymous woman telephoned RAF Wattisham in Suffolk in a state of distress to describe an encounter she had the previous night. A covering letter in the files notes that it is "one of our more unusual UFO reports". The woman told the operator at the base that the incident happened as she was walking her dog on a sports field close to her home near Norwich at about 10.30pm on November 20 1989. She was approached by a man with a "Scandinavian-type accent" who was dressed in a light brown garment like a flying suit. The report notes: "He asked her if she was aware of stories about large circular flattened areas appearing in fields of wheat, and then went on to explain that he was from another planet similar to Earth, and that the circles had been caused by others like him who had travelled to Earth."The man said the purpose of their visits was friendly but they were told not to have contact with humans for fear that they would be considered a threat. The woman said she was "completely terrified" and after about 10 minutes the man left. As she ran home she heard a "loud buzzing noise" behind her and turned to see a large glowing orange-white spherical object rising vertically from behind trees. The RAF operator who took the statement from the woman said the conversation lasted about an hour and described it as a "genuine call".
Canadian watchdog group exposes Canadian government cover-up policy on ET/UFO sightings and landings http://www.examiner.com/x-2912-Seattle-Exopolitics-Examiner~y2009m3d30-Canadian-watchdog-group-exposes-Canadian-government-coverup-policy-on-ETUFO-sightings-and-landings Exopolitics Toronto, a citizen grass-roots watchdog group based in Toronto, Canada has issued an online report exposing the Canadian governments policy of covering up UFO and extraterrestrial-related sightings and interactions. After studying the Canadian governments release of 9500 files on its Archives Canada website, Exopolitics Canada concludes, Although the UFO files compiled by high level government officials provide an interesting chronology of Canada's accumulation of UFO sightings, many of the files also tell a dramatic story about how high level government officials orchestrated meetings, agendas, memoranda and Ministerial letters designed to play-down and ultimately cover-up the UFO issue with measures similar to those used by the American government. CLIP
Welcome to Mississauga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY79KbCptTo
Amazing interview with 88 years old mayor of the 6th largest city in Canada (debt-free!) who has been re-elected 11th times in a row!! What an inspiration.........and what a hoot!
Essence of the "Rescue" Plan In Comic Form http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/10/essence-of-rescue-plan-in-comic-form.html
To stimulate lending, the bailout plan will attempt to recapitalize banks. The method of recapitalization is best described as robbing Taxpayer Pete to pay Wall Street Paul. In essence, money is taken from the poor (via taxes, printing, and weakening of the dollar) and given to the wealthy so the wealthy supposedly will have enough money to lend back (at interest) to those who have just been robbed. Sinfest has captured the very essence of this robbery in comic form. CLIP
Accountability? - This is how they managed the Iraq War billions (10 min video) http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/307.html
Can you imagine the scope and scale of the theft that will take place with the bank bailouts?For four generations now, the Bush family has been involved in supporting the country's enemies (most notably the Nazi Party in Germany) and robbing the country blind. The family was directly involved and profited from the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s and has participated in security fraud as well. With this understanding as a background, the Iraq War can be viewed as their "masterpiece." The Bush family and its associates have stolen countless billions of dollars in the course of the war. In fact, one of their motivations for pushing the war in the first place was the opportunity for theft. Chances are the destruction of World Trade Tower Seven, the home of crucial and now lost forever SEC and other federal law enforcement evidence and case files was carried out to cover their tracks. Why isn't the news media pointing out that the last time we had a banking system collapse that enriched a bunch of crooks, a Bush was in the White House running the show?
Shelf Life: The Invisible Iraqis http://www.utne.com/Politics/Invisible-Iraqis-War-Refugees.aspx
The war has uprooted 4.7 million people from their homes. So where are they? (...) Our war in Iraq has forced 4.7 million people to leave their homes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but they are not in refugee camps where they could perhaps capture media attention, writes Julie Peteet for Middle East Report (Fall 2007). Some 2.7 million people are displaced within Iraq, struggling to get food rations and social services under a corrupt, dysfunctional government. (Tent camps exist, but conditions are so appalling that few families live in them.) Another 2 million Iraqis have spilled into neighboring states, where many of them cling to anonymity because of dubious legal status or for the safety of loved ones still in Iraq. All of thiscombined with the U.S. medias pullout from Iraq and their easy reliance on the surge is working! story linehas served to downplay the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis and the desperation of these individuals.Refugees have fled to Jordan, where 500,000 Iraqis now live, and Syria, which hosts 1.2 million Iraqisone for every 20 Syrians. CLIP
Blot on the landscape - about crop formations/celestial glyphs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN53I7lMt6s
This film is dedicated to Paul Vigay who sadly passed away (in mysterious circumstances - in the ocean in the middle of Winter) in Feb 2009 at the age of 44. Check his website - Crop circles are one of the most profound and mysterious phenomena of the modern age. Are they a communication from extra-terrestrials? Evidence of other dimensions or a catalyst to advancing our way of thinking? Governments have discussed them and then sought to confuse and misinform the populace through their control and manipulation of the popular media. The military have endangered life and safety in order to investigate and monitor crop formations, yet they deny involvement. Hollywood has sought to manipulate the truth and credibility of scientific evidence and facts, yet film goers become ever more intrigued. Hoaxers have sought to deceive, confuse and muddy research waters, in the same way that computer virus writers seek attention and attempt to contaminate data. Some crop circles are hoaxed. Some are not. We research those that are not! CLIP
Mellen-Thomas Benedict's Near-Death Experience http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation04.html
Mellen-Thomas Benedict is an artist who survived a near-death experience in 1982. He was dead for over an hour and a half after dying of cancer. At the time of his death, he rose up out of his body and went into the light. Curious about the universe, he was taken far into the remote depths of existence, and even beyond, into the energetic void of nothingness behind the Big Bang. During his experience, he was able to learn a great deal of information concerning reincarnation. CLIP
Much more on this topic through http://www.near-death.com and the
Near-Death Experience research Foundation at http://www.nderf.org/
The largest worldwide Near-Death Experience Website (in over 20 Languages - French version HERE) with over 1000 full-text experiences posted, webform to share experience
Tesla rolls out new sedan http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/26/tesla.new.sedan/index.html
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- While automakers lay off staff and shut down plants in response to the economic downturn, one automaker announced Thursday that it will open a manufacturing plant in the United States, potentially creating hundreds of jobs in the area eventually chosen. Tesla unveils its Model-S sedan, with a base price of $57,400. The manufacturing plant will be in California. Tesla Motors, maker of a high-end electric sports car, says it will build an all-electric sedan in Southern California. Thursday's announcement was made in Hawthorne, California, where Tesla unveiled the Model-S sedan at a base price of $57,400. That's about half the price of its first model, the Roadster. Started in 2003 and bankrolled by PayPal millionaire Elon Musk, Tesla has attracted investments from the Silicon Valley elite, among them Google founder Larry Page. CLIP
Volkswagen introduces worlds most economical car (6 Mar, 2009) http://www.caradvice.com.au/25172/volkswagen-introduces-worlds-most-economical-car/
While we dont have a great deal of information available at this stage, we do know that Volkswagen is set to reveal the worlds most economical non-hybrid car to shareholders attending the 42nd annual general meeting of Volkswagen AG in Hamburg.The single-seater is capable of 0.91 litres per 100km (or 258mpg in the old measure) and can manage a top speed of 123km/h. CLIP
Elvis Presley singing with Celine Dion in front of a LIVE Studio Audience http://thehumorzone.co.uk/elvis_presley_celine_dion.htm
This is absolutely unbelievable how they have done this, Even after seeing how they did it, it still makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as it really really does look for all the world that Elvis is actually standing their Live on stage singing along side Celine Dion in front of the live American Idol audience, watch and listen to the audience going berserk, as they themselves think they are actually seeing Elvis right their infront of them.A truly amazing use of modern day technology brings Elvis Presley back to life in front of your own eye's. This is amazing!For those of you that didn't see the show, Celine Dion appeared to walk out and stand next to Elvis as the two sang a duet of the classic "If I can Dream." It was like he was raised from the dead. Everyone has been asking how it was done. ET said tonight it was a hologram. Totally amazing what they can do now. Estimated cost of this was said to have cost between $50,000 to $100,000 and it is said it took months and months to create. Prior to the performance, Celine practiced with an Elvis impersonator However it was done, it was totally amazing to me. She sounded great singing with Elvis. The duet was fantastic.
Why Satanism is on the Rise in the City-State of Rome (26 May 2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHlRaAXa2eo
CBN special report: There are about 800 satanic cults operating in the country (Italy), with more than 600,000 followers. And their numbers are growing. Why is this happening in the city where the supposed Vicar of Christ calls home?
Secrets of the Vatican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi2yy82Ye2I
What deep dark secrets and conspiracies has the church kept hidden for centuries? Does the Vatican have knowledge that the crucifixion was a fraud? What does the Vatican know about UFOs and alien visits to Earth? Is there a secret chapter of Satan worshipers hidden within the Vatican? This is a short preview of the full-length 60 minute documentary. According to what I found HERE Timothy Beckley , who made this documentary, is the author of MJ 12 and the Riddle of Hangar 18; Secret Prophecy of Fatima Revealed; Angels of the Lord; UFOs Among the Stars; Prophecies of the President. He has won many awards -- including UFOlogist of the Year -- for his investigations into the unknown; and has appeared on more than 500 radio and TV talk shows. He has been studying the phenomena since he was l0 when he had his first sighting of two strange objects in the sky.
Jesuit Manipulated Catholic Nazis http://www.spirituallysmart.com/nazi.html
(...) The Catholic Church hierarchy - especially Eugenio Pacelli, before and after he became Pope Pius XII - aided the Nazis. Indeed, Pacelli and the Church played a central role in making Hitler the dictator of Germany.
Satan in the Vatican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6Cq7gx22S0
Malachi Martin was no ordinary catholic priest. He was an exorcist for 30 years and the advisor to two popes. In this interview he says Satan is now in the Vatican.
Exposing The Satanic Empire Final Cut 1/8 - Well researched documentary on the Illuminati and MORE! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbHsPR2zhFM
A Keith Thompson film on the ruling elite's involvement with satanic activity. This film dives into the formation of the Illuminati, how it infiltrated freemasonry, and the satanic nature of it's aims. It then goes into the Vatican's involvement with the Bohemian Grove, New world order elite, And freemasonry while exposing how the vatican is now anti-christian. (Access other parts through this LINK)
Business is booming for Dallas-Fort Worth bomb shelter company (April 4, 2009) http://www.star-telegram.com/state_news/story/1299777.html
(...) We manufacture underground disaster shelters for nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. They will also work for tornadoes, hurricanes - they are set up to protect people anywhere from 30 days to five years.
What are the different models, and how much do they cost? The most common model is called a P-10. It is a 10-person shelter and it is $105,000. The Cat 25 is $340,000 and it has facilities for 25 people. There are two bathrooms, two showers, a media system, cooking facilities, alcohol stoves. The third is called the Ethos community. For 300 people, it is about $6 million. We have a number of them out there. Who buys your shelters? Key executives, physicians, technical people and government personnel. Political people in Washington, D.C., are about half of our market. How has business been lately? We have 48 people [employees] and we need to get to 148 by the end of the year to keep up with the demand. We are swamped. CLIP
World's Elite Prepare For End As Earth Said Ready To Hit 'Reset' Once Again (April 9, 2009) UNVERIFIABLE! http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1221.htm
A disturbing FSB report on the G-20, NATO and US-EU meetings in Europe involving the leaders of the Western Nations this past week states that on the evening of April 3rd, over 500 of our World's most elite citizens attended a 'Black Mass' at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg presided over by Pope Benedict XVI who was secretly flown into France to preside over this most unusual ceremony. According to these reports, those attending this Black Mass included President Obama and his wife, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, nearly all senior members of Europe's Royal Houses and the top American and European bankers and corporate leaders. Interesting to note too about those attending this ceremony was the presence of former US Congressional leader Newt Gingrich, who like former Prime Minister Blair made a surprise conversion to Roman Catholicism. (...) Though ancient in origin, the history of the Black Mass, said in these reports to have been preformed by Pope Benedict XVI in Strasbourg, has its modern beginnings in France beginning during the 16th Century by The Queen of France Catherine de' Medici, and which to this day is known to be the 'official' mass of the Vatican and its elite rulers. Important to note is that the signature emblem of the Black Mass is the inverted(upside down) Christian Cross said to mock the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and which has been carved into every Papal Throne since the late 4th Century. Though the exact rituals preformed by Pope Benedict XVI for these elite leaders remain shrouded in mystery, the reasons for them being done now is not as evidence continues to emerge that our Earth is undergoing the most profound changes in nearly 10,000 years, and which our most ancient myths state are but the beginning of the ending of our present age. CLIP
"S: Thank you. . I still don't think you told me whether you are really satisfied with the progress of the light against the dark forces on Earth.
GOD: I see, my child. Very well, in a word, NO! How could I be satisfied when so many of my soul aspects are crying in torment and deprivation and others are the cause of this? When many of my children are enchanted by Satanic worship that abounds in such widespread rituals of torture and killing that your mind could not handle it? When some of my children have fallen so far from the light that they rule with tyranny and destroy all who oppose them? When so many of my children are living in fear and horror or are dying because of the deeds of these others who also are my children? When deception and corruption abound to the point of no truth being illuminated except when the light is so strongly exposing it that those who believed the lies are devastated upon learning the truth?"
"The term hooker-gate is much more frivolous than the reality, which is nothing less than a vast web of darkness that for years has been pervasive within the US government and extends to visiting foreign dignitaries, multinational corporate lobbyists and other Illuminati figures. With the intention of creating blackmail situations much more than offering entertainment, a harem to satisfy heterosexual, homosexual and pedophilia interests is available 24/7, and satanic rituals are part of it. Films of the unimaginable depravity along with proof of widespread bribery have resulted in congressional votes that fly in the face of obvious national needs and deny the constitutional rights of citizens."
"All of you are sexual by nature, whether heterosexual or homosexual, as an essential aspect of your souls and the choice of orientation in each incarnate lifetime to achieve balance. Your sexual aspect is generated by sexual energy, with androgyny being the ideal balance of male and female energies. Sexual practice is totally different. In your population, this ranges from the sublime joy of sexual union in a loving relationshiporgasms are as close as you can come physically to feeling the Oneness of Allto unspeakable perversion of the sexual energy itself. The perversions are not sex, they are efforts to show ones control over another through causing emotional and physical pain through rape or molestation of children and adults, torture, satanic ritual abuse, and death through satanic sacrifices and some murders. Behind all of these is the work of the dark forces, and obsessions with sex also are the unrecognized influence of those forces. Along a vast scale between those two extremes of a loving sexual relationship and the perversions of sexual energy are the controversies about the rights of your homosexual population; birth control and abortion; sex education in schools; pornography in films and printed material; proliferation of sexually-based advertising; sexual promiscuity; sexual prohibition in some religions; young unwed mothers; mate-swapping; sex toys and drugs to improve performance; and even fashions meant to flaunt or promote interest in sex. So to say that you as a civilization are addicted to sex and that most dont understand either sexuality or sexual energy is an understatement. As you travel with Earth into the higher vibrations, the increased spiritual clarity will transmute the energy of the current preoccupations with sex as I noted into the sensual pleasure of sexual relationships within love bonds. "
IS OBAMA SHOWING HIS TRUE COLORS?!!... IS HE TURNING AS BUSH III?
How Many Democrats Will Stand Up Against Obama's Bloated Military Budget? (April 9, 2009) http://www.counterpunch.org/scahill04092009.html
Much of the media attention this week on President Obamas new military budget has put forward a false narrative wherein Obama is somehow taking his socialist/pacifist sledgehammer to the Pentagons war machine and blasting it to smithereens. Republicans have charged that Obama is endangering the countrys security, while the Democratic leadership has hailed it as the dawn of a new era in responsible spending priorities. Part of this narrative portrays Defense Secretary Robert Gates as standing up to the war industry, particularly military contractors. The reality is that all of this is false. Here is an undeniable fact: Obama is substantially increasing US military spending, by at least $21 billion from Bush-era levels, including a significant ratcheting up of Afghanistan war spending, as well as more money for unmanned attack drones, which are increasingly being used in attacks on Pakistan. (David Swanson over at AfterDowningStreet.org does a great job of breaking down some of the media coverage of this issue across the political spectrum).Obamas budget of $534 billion to the Department of Defense represents roughly a 4-percent increase over the $513 billion allocated to the Pentagon in FY2009 under the Bush administration, and $6.7 billion more than the outgoing administrations projections for FY 2010, bragged Lawrence Korb, author of the Center for American Progress report supporting Obamas escalation of the war in Afghanistan, in an article called, Obamas Defense Budget Is on Target.Obama and his neoliberal think tankers clearly didnt think much of Rep. Barney Franks call earlier this year to cut military spending by 25% to pay for urgently needed social programs and economic aid to struggling Americans. To accomplish his goals of expanding health care and other important quality of life services without ballooning the deficit, Frank said, Obama needed to reduce military spending. If we do not get military spending under control, we will not be able to respond to important domestic needs. Well, not only is overall military spending on the rise, but Obama is about to ask for billions more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a supplemental spending bill, the type which were staples in Bushs campaign to mask of the full military budget and total cost of the wars. Obama could seek the funding as early as Thursday. CLIP
Obama Seeks $83.4 Billion in Special War Money (April 9, 2009) http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=7300061
Obama seeks $83.4 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan wars as total costs near $1 trillion - President Barack Obama meets with Gen. Ray Odierno at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday. Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for a war supplemental spending bill like the ones he sometimes opposed when he was senator and George W. Bush was president. CLIP
G20 Summit- Day After ReCap (April 3, 2009) http://www.one.org/blog/?p=4729
(...) Yesterdays G20 Summit looks like it made some real progress for the worlds poorest. Caution tells me that some of the vague language will take hard work to clarify, but this morning, as I re-read statements and news from yesterday, I am filled with a sense of hope and optimism. Highlights include: Resources: The G20 announced US $50 billion for low-income countries - although we are concerned this includes existing funding - and a further US $100 billion in lending for development banks. Reform: Developing countries will have greater representation in the international financial institutions and that election to World Bank/IMF leadership will be based on merit. Regulation: The G20 announced regulation of illicit tax havens. As with all summits like the G20, were left with just as much work coming out of the summit as we had going in. We need to work to ensure that money going to developing countries is given as grants, not loans that trigger another debt crisis. Also, much more needs to be done on the green agenda in the interests of developing countries at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year. And below, short interviews with 3 great global bloggers: CLIP
Obama Tells Europe to Pick Up Strain in Afghanistan (April 3, 2009)
Obama Offers Vision of World Without Nuclear Arms!! http://www.truthout.org/040309C
Strasbourg, France - U.S. President Barack Obama told Europe on Friday it must do more to help the United States win the war in Afghanistan, looking to leverage his huge popularity here to wring concessions from NATO allies. Greeted like a hero by the crowds after flying into France for a NATO summit, Obama said he wanted to see a world without nuclear weapons, but warned Europe that it had to face up to the threat still posed by al Qaeda. (...) Obama warned that although NATO's old adversary, the Soviet Union, had gone, the threat of nuclear catastrophe remained. "Even with the Cold War over, the spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet," he told the town hall meeting. "This weekend in Prague, I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons," he said, referring to a EU-U.S. summit in the Czech Republic on Sunday. CLIP
G20 protesters produce spoof FT http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/27/g20-spoof-financial-times-ft
Anti-capitalism campaigners hand out copies of fake Financial Times at London's Waterloo station ahead of G20 summit. (...) The 12-page paper, complete with the slogan "We live on Financial Crimes" a parody of the FT's advertising strapline "We Live in Financial Times" was handed out to commuters from dawn today at London's Waterloo station. A full-colour replica of the "Pink 'Un", the paper features spoof British and international news. A pdf version, photos and videos are available at www.ft2020.com. The front-page splash announces that "Civilisation is 'more or less unlikely to collapse this century', world leaders warn, despite the inconvenience to companies from global carbon rationing". CLIP
Tasers Are the New Killers: Watch Their Popularity Surge! (April 2, 2009) http://www.alternet.org/rights/134390/tasers_are_the_new_killers%3A_watch_their_popularity_surge%21/
Watch out: 50,000-volt Tasers are deployed in London this week; meanwhile, a new model can 'instantly incapacitate' multiple people at a time. - As protesters descend upon London's financial district to demonstrate the G-20 summit this week, they are being met by thousands of Metropolitan police officers carrying out what has repeatedly been described as the biggest police operation ever undertaken in the capital. Pre-emptive arrests were made earlier this week and despite the mainly nonviolent protests -- overshadowed by media reports of a "seige" on the Bank of England -- by Wednesday night, more than 60 people had been arrested and one man was dead.Police in London have been gearing up for these clashes for months, attracting press attention for the "unprecedented" security deployment and the various tools at their disposal. Among them are so-called "non-lethal weapons" of the sort that have become ubiquitous crowd control devices. "Scotland Yard is to deploy officers armed with 50,000-volt Taser stun guns to deal with violent demonstrators," the Times Online reported earlier this week, noting that police were gearing up for any "anarchist elements" "likely to stir up trouble." (...) "With the push of a button at a stand-off distance of up to 100 meters, the Shockwave unit deploys multiple standard TASER cartridges that are oriented across an area arc. Full area coverage is provided to instantaneously incapacitate multiple personnel within that region." CLIP
Media Focus on Minor Violence; Ignore Peaceful Protests at Global Summit (April 1, 2009) http://www.alternet.org/environment/134613/media_focus_on_minor_violence%3B_ignore_peaceful_protests_at_global_summit/
While thousands of protesters peacefully pushed for a global economic policy, the media chose to focus on the more violent acts of dissent.
Global Economic Slide May Be Easing as G-20 Gathers (April 2, 2009) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&refer=home&sid=aZVjpasXqtRs
Leaders of the most powerful nations meet today amid signs that the world economy is stabilizing after months of freefall. The Group of 20 summit convenes in London as some reports suggest the pace of decline is easing. U.S. durable-goods orders and home sales rose in February, Chinese urban investment surged 26.5 percent in the first two months of the year, and German investor confidence in March reached its highest level since July 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index last month rallied the most in seven years. Policy makers must still contend with plenty of bad news: The World Bank is warning of an "unemployment crisis," and the U.S. Labor Department is forecast to report tomorrow that the jobless rate is now the highest in a quarter-century. The challenge for the G-20 is to turn the early indications that the worst is over into a fully fledged recovery. CLIP
U.S. Russia agree to arms reduction talks (April 1, 2009) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/01/MNFV16R91A.DTL
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Wednesday to open negotiations on a treaty that could slash their nuclear arsenals by one-third, part of what they described as a step "to move beyond Cold War mentalities" in relations between the two countries. The agreement to undertake the most significant arms control talks in more than a decade emerged from the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, and included a promise by Obama to visit Moscow this summer to pursue the talks."Over the last several years, the relationship between our two countries has been allowed to drift," Obama said. "What I believe we've begun today is a very constructive dialogue that will allow us to work on issues of mutual interest." The schism has developed over issues such as NATO expansion into countries once part of the Soviet Union. It soured even further last summer when Russian troops fought a war with Georgia, a U.S. ally. Wednesday's consensus on the need for new nuclear weapons talks was the most concrete expression yet of the Obama administration's decision to opt for improved relations with Russia rather than greater confrontation. In turn, Medvedev said he is prepared to cooperate on nonproliferation, among other issues."It is important to note that there are many points on which we can work," he said. "And indeed there are far more points where we can come closer, where we can work, rather than those points on which we have differences."
Light at the End of the Tunnel? Wrong! The Decade of Darkness By MIKE WHITNEY (April 9, 2009) http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney04092009.html
It's been 21 months since two Bear Stearns hedge funds defaulted, setting off a series of events which have led to the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression. No one expected the financial earthquake to shake this hard or ripple this fast. The failure at Bear triggered a shock in the secondary market where mortgage loans are repackaged into securities and sold to investors. That market is now completely paralyzed cutting off 40 percent of funding for consumer and business loans and thrusting the broader economy into a deep recession. Banks and financial institutions have been forced to curtail their off-balance sheet operations and build their reserves which have ballooned from $45 billion to nearly $700 billion in the last 6 months alone. Like millions of homeowners who have seen their home equity vanish and their retirement savings slashed in half, the banks are hunkering down, hoping they can outlast the deflationary hurricane ahead.Deteriorating economic conditions have taken their toll on consumer confidence and forced businesses to lay off employees that won't be needed during the slowdown. The system is hollow as an empty tomb with overcapacity. Demand is falling faster than any time since the 1930s. Inventories will have to be trimmed and budgets cut to muddle through the down-times. Foreign trade has slowed to a crawl, auto sales are down by 40 per cent or more, and unemployment is rising at a rate of 650,000 per month. Policymakers have pushed through a $800 billion stimulus plan, but it won't be nearly enough to stop the steady rise in unemployment or take up the slack in an economy where industrial output has been cut in half, new home construction has dropped to record lows, and manufacturing has fallen off the cliff. Economists warn that when governments don't step in and provide stimulus to increase aggregate demand, consumers cut back sharply on spending and push the economy deeper into depression.Treasury Secretary Geithner and Fed chief Bernanke have lent or committed $13 trillion trying to keep the financial system functioning, but they've only managed to plug a few holes and avoid a system-wide collapse. The financial system is hobbled and unable to provide sufficient credit to generate growth. Every sector has suffered cutbacks, layoffs and slimmer profits. The problems go beyond toxic assets or complex derivatives. The system is plagued with stagnation, overcapacity and redundancy. CLIP
How About a Second Opinion? http://www.truthout.org/040609J
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to have the government lend up to a trillion dollars to hedge funds, private equity, funds and the banks themselves to clear their books of toxic assets. The plan implies a substantial subsidy to the banks. It is likely to result in the disposal of these assets at far above market value, with the government picking up the losses. As much as we all want to help out the Wall Street bankers in their hour of need, taxpayers may reasonably ask whether this is the best use of our money. After all, the $1 trillion that is being set aside for this latest TARP variation is equal to 300 million SCHIP kid years. Congress has had heated debates over sums that were a small fraction of this size. To give another useful measuring stick, the Geithner plan could fund 1 million of the Woodstock museums that were the main prop of Senator McCain's presidential campaign."
US backing for world currency stuns markets (7 Mar 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/5050407/US-backing-for-world-currency-stuns-markets.html
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shocked global markets by revealing that Washington is "quite open" to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar plunged instantly against the euro, yen, and sterling as the comments flashed across trading screens. David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said the apparent policy shift amounts to an earthquake in geo-finance. "The mere fact that the US Treasury Secretary is even entertaining thoughts that the dollar may cease being the anchor of the global monetary system has caused consternation," he said. Mr Geithner later qualified his remarks, insisting that the dollar would remain the "world's dominant reserve currency ... for a long period of time" but the seeds of doubt have been sown.The markets appear baffled by the confused statements emanating from Washington. President Barack Obama told a new conference hours earlier that there was no threat to the reserve status of the dollar. "I don't believe that there is a need for a global currency. The reason the dollar is strong right now is because investors consider the United States the strongest economy in the world with the most stable political system in the world," he said. The Chinese proposal, outlined this week by central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, calls for a "super-sovereign reserve currency" under IMF management, turning the Fund into a sort of world central bank.The idea is that the IMF should activate its dormant powers to issue Special Drawing Rights. These SDRs would expand their role over time, becoming a "widely-accepted means of payments". Mr Bloom said that any switch towards use of SDRs has direct implications for the currency markets. At the moment, 65pc of the world's $6.8 trillion stash of foreign reserves is held in dollars. But the dollar makes up just 42pc of the basket weighting of SDRs. So any SDR purchase under current rules must favour the euro, yen and sterling. Beijing has the backing of Russia and a clutch of emerging powers in Asia and Latin America. Economists have toyed with such schemes before but the issue has vaulted to the top of the political agenda as creditor states around the world takes fright at the extreme measures now being adopted by the Federal Reserve, especially the decision to buy US government debt directly with printed money. Mr Bloom said the US is discovering that the sensitivities of creditors cannot be ignored. "China holds almost 30pc of the world's entire reserves. What they say matters," he said. Mr Geithner's friendly comments about the SDR plan seem intended to soothe Chinese feelings after a spat in January over alleged currency manipulation by Beijing, but he will now have to explain his own categorical assurance to Congress on Tuesday that he would not countenance any moves towards a world currency.
U.S. NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/
It now stands at over 11 trillion 149 billion dollars. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.83 billion per day since September 28, 2007!
Geithner's 'Dirty Little Secret': The Entire Global Financial System is at Risk (March 30, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12953
When the Solution to the Financial Crisis becomes the Cause - US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has unveiled his long-awaited plan to put the US banking system back in order. In doing so, he has refused to tell the 'dirty little secret' of the present financial crisis. By refusing to do so, he is trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction. The Geithner Plan, his so-called Public-Private Partnership Investment Program or PPPIP, as we have noted previously is designed not to restore a healthy lending system which would funnel credit to business and consumers. Rather it is yet another intricate scheme to pour even more hundreds of billions directly to the leading banks and Wall Street firms responsible for the current mess in world credit markets without demanding they change their business model. Yet, one might say, won't this eventually help the problem by getting the banks back to health? Not the way the Obama Administration is proceeding. In defending his plan on US TV recently, Geithner, a protégé of Henry Kissinger who previously was CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, argued that his intent was 'not to sustain weak banks at the expense of strong.' Yet this is precisely what the PPPIP does. The weak banks are the five largest banks in the system. The 'dirty little secret' which Geithner is going to great degrees to obscure from the public is very simple. There are only at most perhaps five US banks which are the source of the toxic poison that is causing such dislocation in the world financial system. What Geithner is desperately trying to protect is that reality. The heart of the present problem and the reason ordinary loan losses as in prior bank crises are not the problem, is a variety of exotic financial derivatives, most especially so-called Credit Default Swaps. CLIP
45 percent of world's wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO (March 10, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE52966Z20090310
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis."Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."
Economic Meltdown: The "Dollar Glut" is What Finances America's Global Military Build-up (March 29, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12944
The U.S. media are silent about the most important topic policy makers are discussing here (and I suspect in Asia too): how to protect their countries from three inter-related dynamics: (1) the surplus dollars pouring into the rest of the world for yet further financial speculation and corporate takeovers; (2) the fact that central banks are obliged to recycle these dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the federal U.S. budget deficit; and most important (but most suppressed in the U.S. media, (3) the military character of the U.S. payments deficit and the domestic federal budget deficit.Strange as it may seem and irrational as it would be in a more logical system of world diplomacy the "dollar glut" is what finances America's global military build-up. It forces foreign central banks to bear the costs of America's expanding military empire effective "taxation without representation." Keeping international reserves in "dollars" means recycling their dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bills U.S. government debt issued largely to finance the military.To date, countries have been as powerless to defend themselves against the fact that this compulsory financing of U.S. military spending is built into the global financial system. CLIP
Stocks Will Drop; Banks Will Go Belly Up - Roubini (March 26, 2009) http://www.chartingstocks.net/2009/03/stocks-will-drop-banks-will-go-belly-up-roubini/
U.S. stocks will fall and the government will nationalize more banks as the economy contracts through the end of 2009, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted last years economic crisis.The stock market is a bit ahead of the real macroeconomic and financial news, Roubini, a professor at NYUs Stern School of Business and the chairman of consulting firm Roubini Global Economics, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London today. Well have some major banks going belly up that will need to be taken over.The global equity rebound in March that sent the Standard & Poors 500 Index to its best monthly advance in 17 years is a bear-market rally and U.S. Treasury yields will remain relatively low as investors flock to the safest assets, Roubini said. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithners new plan to remove toxic debt from financial companies wont be enough for insolvent banks, he said.
Two more quit AIG as depth of bonus anger emerges (27 March 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/mar/27/aig-insurance-public-backlash-bonuses
Two senior European bosses have resigned from AIG citing a "hostile" environment as the insurer faces a public backlash over multimillion-pound bonus payouts. Mauro Gabriele, chief executive of AIG's Paris-based financial arm, Banque AIG, has quit, alongside his deputy, Jim Shephard. Their departures were confirmed as new details emerged of scores of death threats aimed at AIG employees and their families. Sources say more employees have quit AIG's financial products division in response to outrage over last week's distribution of $165m (£115m) in bonuses. CLIP
Unemployment Jumps to 8.5 Percent, Economy Sheds 663,000 Jobs http://www.truthout.org/040309B
"U.S. President Barack Obama told Europe on Friday it must do more to help the United States win the war in Afghanistan, looking to leverage his huge popularity here to wring concessions from NATO allies."
Peter Schiff US Dollar is a Subprime Currency Mar-4-09 - Great explanations! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt7Goly6yrY
The US is like a crack addict in the sense it can't stop borrowing money from everyone else to prop up its own profligacy
Falling dollar in 2009 depression will be worst than 1929 ; Madoff fraud http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkG81PKny8Y
Paul Craig Roberts explains why the dollar in 2009 will loose more value and why this depression will be worst than 1929, he also gives his take on the Bernard Madoff fraud. Aired on the Alex Jones show on January 8th 2009
Russia backs return to Gold Standard to solve financial crisis (30 Mar 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/g20-summit/5072484/Russia-backs-return-to-Gold-Standard-to-solve-financial-crisis.html
Russia has become the first major country to call for a partial restoration of the Gold Standard to uphold discipline in the world financial system. (...) The Gold Standard was the anchor of world finance in the 19th Century but began breaking down during the First World War as governments engaged in unprecedented spending. It collapsed in the 1930s when the British Empire, the US, and France all abandoned their parities.It was revived as part of fixed dollar system until US inflation caused by the Vietnam War and "Great Society" social spending forced President Richard Nixon to close the gold window in 1971.The world's fiat paper currencies have lacked any external anchor ever since. It is widely argued that the financial excesses and extreme debt leverage of the last quarter century would have been impossible - or less likely - under the discipline of gold.Russia is a major gold producer with large untapped reserves of ore so it has a clear interest in promoting the idea. The Kremlin has already instructed the central bank of gradually raise the gold share of foreign reserves to 10pc.
Marc Faber: 'It Will All End in Disaster' (March 24, 2009) http://seekingalpha.com/article/127659-marc-faber-it-will-all-end-in-disaster
Dr. Doom takes steps to counter his recently growing reputation as a stock market bull. Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, talks with Erik Schatzker about the prospects for equity markets and recent actions by the Fed and Treasury Department. On whether Ben Bernanke has redeemed himself and what that means for stocks:I do not think so. On the contrary, I think what the government is doing and its economic "dream team" under Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Geithner and Mr. Summers are going to be, from a longer term point of view, rather negative. But, you understand, we can all sit here and say it will all end in disaster. That I'm sure. But, in the meantime, we can have big moves in markets. On the new bad assets purchase plan:I think he's doing the right thing from a very short term perpective. If you have cracks in your walls and just put paint on it, it will hide them and then you sell your house. But it won't solve the problems of the cracks - it's the next owner and these are the children of the current taxpayer who will pay for it.
Fed Planning 15-Fold Increase In US Monetary Base (MARCH 20, 2009) http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/03/fed-is-planning-15-fold-increase-in-us.html
The fed is planning moves that would more than double its balance-sheet assets by September to $4.5 trillion from $1.9 trillion. Whether expressing approval or concern over the fed's intentions, most commentators fail to understand the real magnitude of the projected expansion of the US monetary base because they don't take into account the amount of dollars circulating abroad.At least 70 percent of all US currency is held outside the country, and this means the US monetary base is considerably smaller than the fed's overall balance sheet. Take, for example, the true US domestic money supply at the beginning of September 2008, before the fed started its quantitative easing. From the Federal Reserve's website, we know that currency in circulation was 833 Billion. This translates as 583 Billion dollars circulating abroad (70 percent), and 250 Billion dollars circulating domestically (30 percent). Since the bank reserve balances held with Federal Reserve Banks were 12 billion, that gives us a 262 Billion domestic monetary base as of September 2008. Now compare that to the projected US domestic monetary base for September 2009 which is 3,818 billion (4,500 billion - 583 billion (dollars circulating abroad) - 99 billion (other fed liabilities not part of the money supply)). The fed's planned balance sheet expansion results in a 15-fold increase in the base money supply. 262 Billion = US monetary base as of September 2008 (minus dollars held abroad) 3,818 Billion = projected US monetary base in September 2009 (minus dollars held abroad) 3,818 Billion / 262 Billion = 15-Fold Increase in US monetary base. This is a staggering devaluation of the US currency! It means that for every dollar in America in September 2008, the fed is going to create fourteen more of them! Below is a rough sketch of what this increase in US monetary base would look like: CLIP
The Financial Crisis Is Escalating Out of Control (March 27, 2009) http://seekingalpha.com/article/128236-the-financial-crisis-is-escalating-out-of-control?source=article_sb_popular
The current financial crisis we are in is escalating out of control. I question whether the current administration has anyone who understands what is happening, why it is happening and is operating without some vested interest; never mind whether they have the correct answers as to how to solve it. The creation of a new entity "The Public-Private Investment Corporation" to purchase toxic debt funded by some $1 Trillion of taxpayer money is going to buy up mortgages, car loans, credit cards loans and other toxic debt off balance sheets for banks and other lenders....... If these assets are sold to large investor groups, hedge funds and other such entities at 5 cents on the dollar then it is an open admission that the tax payer will never see any return on its investment and those in power will have scratched the backs of many who put us in this position in the first place. This is the definitive version of the AIG bonuses being paid and we will unwittingly agree to this, not that we have any say, because of the language and structures used to deceive us.We are talking about a quarter of the total bail out funds which will never even be attempted to be recouped, it would be impossible for it ever to be returned and it will be small component of the $10 Trillion of additional debt that will be created by the Obama plan. The question is will the repayment of this money be handled as cavalierly. At least in Europe the governments have taken shares and stakes in the banks they bailed out so they will get share growth and dividends, the lack of commercialism and understanding in the US government is a strong indicator of how we got ourselves in this mess in the first place. If our representatives can sign the patriot act without reading it and give away our civil liberties why would we expect them to have read how the money will be used and where it will come from.We the people need a voice, we need to speak out and someone needs to derail the coming travesties and injustices that are about to occur.
(...) Government Regulation has missed the point entirely - why haven't they taken over the Rating Agencies - The government claims it will tighten regulations to ensure that such situations will never occur again but there are fundamental changes that need to occur for this to happen that will not happen without a broader scale collapse of the existing system and with the maintenance of status quo. The entire ratings system requires not just revamping and overhauling but a new and different uncorrupted system, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." With so much blame being directly attributable to the rating agencies who were evaluating investments and attaching to them double and triple A credit ratings. Kudos to their PR and PM firms who are keeping them out of the press and are enabling them to fly under the radar at a time when they should be chastised and probably shut down entirely.
(...) Many in the media are making statements that are reassuring and attempting to waylay a lot of the fears of the public and the investment community. These statements are false, unsubstantiated and in my opinion down right misleading and deception. There is no way we can turn any corner or see improvements in the economy this year or next. Much of the campaign rhetoric from the presidential campaigns is just downright impossible. The nationalization of the healthcare system is too expensive for us to pursue. Effective increases in the quality of schooling is manageable but not with the current crisis and no matter which way we look at it social security is running out of money and state pensions are going to be impossible to maintain without some delusionary system with ever escalating debt that is never intended to be repaid. The knock on effect of this is no one outside the US wants to buy treasuries and the value of the Dollar collapses raising cost of living of all out China/ Asian products. Without immense increases in domestic production this will lead to Hyper inflation, which is something we should have had long ago except for Greenspan and Bernanke's artificially low rates which created this bubble. CLIP
Beyond Elections in the Americas http://www.truthout.org/040309A
The new documentary, 'Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas,' proves that democracy can and should be more than casting a ballot every four years. This empowering film gives hopeful and concrete examples from around the Americas of people taking back the reins of power and governing their own communities. 'Beyond Elections' is a road map for social change, drawing from communal councils in Venezuela and social movements in Bolivia to participatory budgeting in Brazil and worker cooperatives in Argentina." This film can be watched at http://www.beyondelections.com/
Traces of explosives in 9/11 dust, scientists say (April 6, 2009) http://www.deseretnews.com/article/0,5143,705295677,00.html
Tiny red and gray chips found in the dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center contain highly explosive materials proof, according to a former BYU professor, that 9/11 is still a sinister mystery.Physicist Steven E. Jones, who retired from Brigham Young University in 2006 after the school recoiled from the controversy surrounding his 9/11 theories, is one of nine authors on a paper published last week in the online, peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal. Also listed as authors are BYU physics professor Jeffrey Farrer and a professor of nanochemistry at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. For several years, Jones has theorized that pre-positioned explosives, not fires from jet fuel, caused the rapid, symmetrical collapse of the two World Trade Center buildings, plus the collapse of a third building, WTC-7. The newest research, according to the journal authors, shows that dust from the collapsing towers contained a "nano-thermite" material that is highly explosive. Although the article draws no conclusions about the source and purpose of the explosives, Jones has previously supported a theory that the collapse of the WTC towers was part of a government conspiracy to ignore warnings about the 9/11 terrorists so that the attack would propel America to wage war against Afghanistan and Iraq. CLIP
Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe http://www.911blogger.com/node/19761
(...) The paper ends with this sentence: Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material. In short, the paper explodes the official story that no evidence exists for explosive/pyrotechnic materials in the WTC buildings. What is high-tech explosive/pyrotechnic material in large quantities doing in the WTC dust? Who made tons of this stuff and why? Why have government investigators refused to look for explosive residues in the WTC aftermath? These are central questions raised by this scientific study. CLIP
Dutch TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden (April 9, 2009) http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3ie9cf6d4fe9496d052885db4114f0c656
'Devil's Advocate' jury finds no proof he was behind Sept. 11 - BERLIN -- A Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the Sept. 11 attacks.In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. The Netherlands, home to "Big Brother" creator Endemol, is known for being on the cutting edge of format-based television. But even for Dutch standards, "Devil's Advocate," from Amsterdam production house AVRO, pushes the envelope.The show features star defense attorney Gerard Spong standing up for some of the world's worst criminals.In the latest show, Spong was able to convince the jury that bin Laden's connection to Sept. 11 was a product of "Western propaganda." The jury also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove bin Laden was the real head of terrorist network al-Qaida. However, the jury did rule that bin Laden is a "terrorist who has misused Islam."The show is certain to provide further ammunition in the already heated Dutch debate over immigration and the country's large Muslim minority. The Netherlands saw a sharp rise in anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiment after the 2004 murder of Dutch director Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist. Spong has been at the center of the debate, supporting legal action against anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders.
Indentured Servants, Circa 2009 (March 18, 2009) http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/031809a.html
The immigration imbroglio is the gorilla in the room that wont go away. - Feeding on this and last years gigantic job losses and fear of more to come, anti-immigrant anger is exploding across the U.S. Thus, Nativists like Arizonas Sheriff Joe Arpaio are nudged to over-the-top nastiness: Just a month ago, he proudly paraded his villains (aka illegals) through the streets of Phoenix before deporting them.In fact, since 1872, when the U.S. passed its first anti-immigrant laws at that time, against Chinese workers Nativists have played the same xenophobia card: With fundamentalist fervor, they fire up those with fragile incomes to fear immigrants, legal or otherwise. Lately, local governments have passed punishing laws against undocumented workers, while enforcement agencies ratchet up raids on factories and farms. At the same time, Chambers of Commerce insist foreign guest workers are vital to U.S. businesses. Heeding the call, politicians promise the guests will figure in any new immigration plan. Details, however, are absent.What they dont say is the U.S. guest worker saga is riddled with abuse. Nor do they mention it squeezes low-skilled domestic workers, who are also bullied in the race to the bottom and are routinely denied jobs, since the guests will work for anything under any conditions, given their desperation.Thus, before the new administration answers the Chambers prayers, it must examine our guest worker schemes, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in a 2007 report calls close to slavery. The schemes began during World War II with the Bracero program, when a half million Mexicans labored at American farms. Congress ended the program in 1964 because, among other reasons, exploitation was endemic. CLIP
Death squad leader was top CIA agent http://www.sundayherald.com/international/shinternational/display.var.2497030.0.death_squad_leader_was_top_cia_agent.php
THE LATE President Milosevic's secret police chief and organiser of Serb death squads during the genocidal ethnic cleansing of disintegrating Yugoslavia was the United States' top CIA agent in Belgrade, according to the independent Belgrade Radio B92. The claim that from 1992 until the end of the decade, Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia's murderous DB Secret Police, was regularly informing his CIA handlers of the thinking in Milosevic's inner circle has shocked the region. Stanisic is said to have loyally served his two masters for eight years. He is facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. CLIP
Red Cross says doctors helped CIA "torture" (April 7, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE53668720090407
MIAMI (Reuters) - Health workers violated medical ethics when they helped interrogate terrorism suspects who were tortured at secret CIA prisons overseas, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.The medical workers, thought to be doctors and psychologists, monitored prisoners while they were mistreated at CIA prisons and advised interrogators whether to continue, adjust or halt the abuse, the ICRC said in a report based on interviews with 14 prisoners in 2007.One prisoner alleged that medical personnel monitored his blood oxygen levels while he was subjected to waterboarding, a simulated drowning designed to induce panic and widely considered to be torture, the ICRC said.Other prisoners said that as they stood shackled with their arms chained above their heads, a doctor regularly measured the swelling in their legs and signaled when they should be allowed to sit down. CLIP
Report Calls CIA Detainee Treatment "Inhuman" (7 April 2009) http://www.truthout.org/040709A
Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman."
Report: Chinese Develop Special "Kill Weapon" to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers (March 31, 2009) https://www.usni.org/forthemedia/ChineseKillWeapon.asp
Advanced missile poses substantial new threat for U.S. Navy (...) The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes. Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets. The ASBM is said to be a modified DF-21While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages. If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack. Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat. CLIP
The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine (March 23, 2009) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=merging-of-mind-and-machine
The accelerating pace of technological progress means that our intelligent creations will soon eclipse us--and that their creations will eventually eclipse them -- Sometime early in this century the intelligence of machines will exceed that of humans. Within a quarter of a century, machines will exhibit the full range of human intellect, emotions and skills, ranging from musical and other creative aptitudes to physical movement. They will claim to have feelings and, unlike today's virtual personalities, will be very convincing when they tell us so. By around 2020 a $1,000 computer will at least match the processing power of the human brain. By 2029 the software for intelligence will have been largely mastered, and the average personal computer will be equivalent to 1,000 brains.Once computers achieve a level of intelligence comparable to that of humans, they will necessarily soar past it. For example, if I learn French, I can't readily download that learning to you. The reason is that for us, learning involves successions of stunningly complex patterns of interconnections among brain cells (neurons) and among the concentrations of biochemicals known as neurotransmitters that enable impulses to travel from neuron to neuron. We have no way of quickly downloading these patterns. But quick downloading will allow our nonbiological creations to share immediately what they learn with billions of other machines. Ultimately, nonbiological entities will master not only the sum total of their own knowledge but all of ours as well. CLIP
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own (March 25, 2009) http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/64779.html
WASHINGTON - The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons."The trend is clear: Warfare will continue and autonomous robots will ultimately be deployed in its conduct," Ronald Arkin, a robotics expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, wrote in a study commissioned by the Army."The pressure of an increasing battlefield tempo is forcing autonomy further and further toward the point of robots making that final, lethal decision," he predicted. "The time available to make the decision to shoot or not to shoot is becoming too short for remote humans to make intelligent informed decisions."Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington. This prospect alarms experts, who fear that machines will be unable to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilians in a war zone."We are sleepwalking into a brave new world where robots decide who, where and when to kill," said Noel Sharkey, an expert on robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield, England. CLIP
Robots could flex muscles that are stronger than steel (19 March 2009) http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16806-robots-could-flex-muscles-that-are-stronger-than-steel.html
A new material that is weight for weight stronger than steel and stiffer than diamond, and weighs little more than its volume in air, could be the perfect artificial muscle for robots."We've made a totally new type of artificial muscle that is able to provide performance characteristics that have not previously been obtained," says Ray Baughman, a materials scientist at the University of Texas, Dallas, and co-developer of the new muscle.Baughman and colleagues have developed a technique to make ribbons of tangled nanotubes that expand in width by 220% when a voltage is applied and then return to their normal size once it is removed. The process takes only milliseconds. CLIP
Science Fiction Becomes a Reality - With the New Star Wars Levitation Toy (2009-03-24) http://www.bignews.biz/?id=796796&keys=Starwars-forcetrainer-force-trainer
What if you could literally train your mind to levitate a sphere? Sounds a bit far fetched?Well it's not anymore, because this is exactly what you can do with the latest star wars toy called "the Forcer Trainer" which turns Science fiction into reality as it utilises your brainwaves to levitate a sphere within a tube. The Star Wars Force Trainer was created by Uncle Milton, a US based company which produces Science-based toys. The toy uses EEG technology to transmit your alpha and beta brainwaves from a head set to wirelessly drive a motor which powers a fan that sends a sphere up a tower. You can progress from Padawan to Jedi Master, as you use "The Force Trainer" through 15 levels of Jedi training. Along the way you will be encouraged by Obi Wan, Darth Vader and, of course, Yoda helping you with training tips and sound effects. The better your concentration, the more you are able to control the fan and the sphere rises. CLIP
Ecological Sustainability, the Growth Machine, and the Financial Crisis http://www.newearthrising.org/current/
Nearly a dozen authors explore the implications of the current economic crisis for the survival of the Earth and all her creatures, including humans. In the lead article, entitled "New Green Deal or Not: Industrial Capitalism Is Assured Death", the e-zine's editor, Dr. Glen Barry, critically examines New Green Deal proposals that supposedly will solve climate change while providing jobs. He concludes their focus upon economic stimulus to promote more economic growth, without reining in consumption, human population, natural resource use and ecosystem destruction, will make things worse. "Nothing grows forever. It is amazing how few recognize economic decline as the inevitable outcome of an economy based upon growth at the expense of natural ecosystems. Required green policies, such as ending the use of coal and old forest logging, must occur regardless if they create or destroy jobs, just to maintain being," says Dr. Barry.
Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=saving-the-honeybee
The mysterious ailment called colony collapse disorder has wiped out large numbers of the bees that pollinate a third of our crops. The causes turn out to be surprisingly complex, but solutions are emerging - Millions of beehives worldwide have emptied out as honeybees mysteriously disappear, putting at risk nearly 100 crops that require pollination. Research is pointing to a complex disease in which combinations of factors, including farming practices, make bees vulnerable to viruses. Taking extra care with hive hygiene seems to aid prevention. And research into antiviral drugs could lead to pharmaceutical solutions. CLIP
Plan Bee: As Honeybees Die Out, Will Other Species Take Their Place? (March 31, 2009) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=other-bee-species-subbing-for-honeybees
In a race against time, researchers propagate native solitary bees as an alternative to our most important pollinators - Honeybees have been dying in record numbers in the U.S. for at least the past two years. Experts attribute the mass deaths to a catchall condition known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), although both a cure and the culprit remain elusive. Despite as much as a 35 percent loss of bees per year, we remain almost entirely dependent on what until recently was a self-renewing annual population of billions of honeybees to pollinate over 130 kinds of fruit and nut crops. "We can't rely on the honeybee forever," says Blair Sampson, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That's a problem, given that entomologists have yet to come up with a viable alternative. But researchers report that another bee known as the blue orchard, or Osmia lignaria, holds out promise of filling in the void. (...) The reason these bees are considered the best potential honeybee stand-ins, Cane says, is that unlike some specialist native species, blue orchard bees, like honeybees, can pollinate a variety of cropsincluding almonds, peaches, plums, cherries, apples and others.In just about every other respect, however, these bees are totally unlike their European brethren. For one, they tend to live alone. In the wild, rather than hives, they inhabit boreholes drilled by beetles into the trunks and branches of dead trees. When cultivated, they will happily occupy holes drilled into lumber or even Styrofoam blocks. The blue orchard bees also do not produce honey, rarely sting and, owing to their solitary nature, do not swarm. They are incredibly efficient pollinators of many tree fruit cropson a typical acre, 2,000 blue orchard bees can do the work of more than 100,000 honeybees. Their biggest drawback is that beekeepers can only increase their populations by a factor of three to eight each year. (Honey bees can grow from a small colony consisting of a queen and a few dozen workers to a population of 20,000 foragers in a few months.) CLIP
The Extinction of Animal and Plant Species (March 31, 2009) http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2009/03/experts-say-the.html
The Planet's First-ever Mass-Extinction Precipitated by a Biotic Agent: Humans - Should we be alarmed at the current massive die-offs being noted in the animal and plant kingdoms? After all, new species arise and old species die off all the time. Its just nature taking its course, right? Not necessarily. The Earth is now entering the sixth mass extinction event in its four-billion-year history, but what's different about this die-off is that this is the only such event precipitated by a biotic agent: humans.The extinction numbers far outweigh the emergence of new species. From a purely selfish perspective, humans should be very concerned. Since we haven't terraformed Mars yet, we still need a livable ecosystem on this planet in order to survive. As mass extinction occurs, experts say that we end up dealing with serious consequences. Recently, a team of scientists have discovered new information, that indicates things are worse than we previously thought. "There's no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now," said David Wake, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. "Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn't. The fact that they're cutting out now should be a lesson for us." CLIP
Will dams on Amazon tributary wreak global havoc? (04.05.09) http://www.miamiherald.com/news/world/AP/story/985248.html
VOLTA GRANDE, Brazil -- The Xingu River, the largest tributary of the Amazon, runs wide and swift this time of year. Its turquoise waters are home to some 600 species of fish, including several not found anywhere else on the planet. A thick emerald canopy of trees hugs its banks, except in places where man has carved out pastures for cattle. Now man, in the form of the Brazilian state power company, wants to harness a section of the Xingu by building the world's third-biggest dam.Called the Belo Monte, the dam would drown 200 square miles of tropical rainforest - an area equivalent to the sprawling city of Tucson, Ariz. - and would flood the homes of 19,000 people. It would be only one of more than a dozen dams that the Brazilian government is planning to construct on tributaries of the Amazon, the world's mightiest river. Belo Monte would be only the latest assault on the Amazon tropical rainforest, which is home to one in 10 of the world's known species and covers an area as large as the United States west of the Mississippi River.Stephan Schwartzman, the director of tropical forest policy at the Environmental Defense Fund, said that 18 percent of the Amazon, an area nearly two times the size of California, had been cleared since the mid-1960s. He added that deforestation peaked in 2004 and has since declined because of falling beef and soybean prices and because the government has stepped up enforcement of protected areas.What happens to the Amazon rainforest has wide consequences, because a shrinking rainforest hampers the planet's ability to rid the atmosphere of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that trees and other green plants absorb. CLIP
85 Per Cent of Amazonian Rainforest at Risk of Destruction, Researchers Warn (March 11, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/03/11-7
COPENHAGEN - The Amazonian rainforest is likely to suffer catastrophic damage even with the lowest temperature rises forecast under climate change, researchers have found. Damage will be so severe that it will cause irreversible changes to the world's weather patterns, which would be expected to bring more storms, floods and heatwaves to Britain. Up to 40 per cent of the rainforest will be lost if temperature rises are restricted to 2C, which most climatologists regard as the least that can be expected by 2050.Researchers issued the assessment of the forest's fragility after discovering a deadly time lag in the effects of temperature rises on the forest.It had previously been thought that the trees and other vegetation, and the vast range of animals living among them, would be safe if temperatures rose no more than 2C. Researchers have now found that even 2C will destroy large tracts of the forest but that the die-back is slow and will take up to a century to reap its full effect. A 3C rise is likely to result in 75 per cent of the forest disappearing while a 4C rise, regarded as the most likely increase this century unless greenhouse gas emissions are slashed, will kill off 85 per cent of the forest. CLIP
Protect Tigers and Humans, Stop Illegal Logging in Sumatra http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/275606122?z00m=19754896
In less than a month, six people were killed from tiger attacks in Sumatra, Indonesia. And three tigers were killed by civilians in this same area. This is a clear example of the deadly consequences of interfering in the habitat of wild animals. Illegal loggers are encroaching on tiger habitat, and it is creating a dire situation for these endangered creatures. Palm oil and pulpwood plantations are clearing millions of hectares of valuable forests. Nearly 50 percent of forests have been lost in Sumatra in the past 22 years. Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, and we must do everything we can to protect these animals and the forests they call home. They're already under attack from global warming. Please tell the head of the official nature conservancy agency in the area to do everything possible to stop illegal logging and protect tiger populations.
Arctic meltdown is a threat to humanity (25 March 2009) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20127011.500-arctic-meltdown-is-a-threat-to-humanity.html
I AM shocked, truly shocked," says Katey Walter, an ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. "I was in Siberia a few weeks ago, and I am now just back in from the field in Alaska. The permafrost is melting fast all over the Arctic, lakes are forming everywhere and methane is bubbling up out of them." The permafrost is melting fast all over the Arctic, lakes are forming everywhere and methane is bubbling out of them. Back in 2006, in a paper in Nature, Walter warned that as the permafrost in Siberia melted, growing methane emissions could accelerate climate change. But even she was not expecting such a rapid change. "Lakes in Siberia are five times bigger than when I measured them in 2006. It's unprecedented. This is a global event now, and the inertia for more permafrost melt is increasing." The dramatic changes in the Arctic Ocean have often been in the news in the past two years. There has been a huge increase in the amount of sea ice melting each summer, and some are now predicting that as early as 2030 there will be no summer ice in the Arctic at all. Discussions about the consequences of the vanishing ice usually focus either on the opening up of new frontiers for shipping and mineral exploitation, or on the plight of polar bears, which rely on sea ice for hunting. The bigger picture has got much less attention: a warmer Arctic will change the entire planet, and some of the potential consequences are nothing short of catastrophic. Changes in ocean currents, for instance, could disrupt the Asian monsoon, and nearly two billion people rely on those rains to grow their food. As if that wasn't bad enough, it is also possible that positive feedback from the release of methane from melting permafrost could lead to runaway warming. The danger is that if too much methane is released, the world will get hotter no matter how drastically we slash our greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies suggest that emissions from melting permafrost could be far greater than once thought. And, although it is too early to be sure, some suspect this scenario is already starting to unfold: after remaining static for the past decade, methane levels have begun to rise again, and the source could be Arctic permafrost. What is certain is that the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on Earth.
(...) The rapid warming in the Arctic means that a global temperature rise of 3 °C, likely this century, could translate into a 10 °C warming in the far north. Permafrost hundreds of metres deep will be at risk of thawing out.This is where things go global. The Arctic is not just a reflective mirror that is cracking up. It is also a massive store of carbon and methane, locked into the frozen soils and buried in icy structures beneath the ocean bed. A quarter of the land surface of the northern hemisphere contains permafrost, permanently frozen soil, water and rock. In places, deep permafrost that formed during the last ice age, when the sea level was much lower, extends far out under the ocean, beneath the seabed. Large areas of permafrost are already starting to melt, resulting in rapid erosion, buckled highways and pipelines, collapsing buildings and "drunken" forests. The real worry, though, is that permafrost contains organic carbon in the form of long-dead plants and animals. Some of it, including the odd mammoth, has remained frozen for tens of thousands of years. When the permafrost melts, much of this carbon is likely to be released into the atmosphere.No one knows for sure how much carbon is locked away in permafrost, but it seems there is much more than we thought. An international study headed by Edward Schuur of the University of Florida last year doubled previous estimates of the carbon content of permafrost to about 1600 billion tonnes - roughly a third of all the carbon in the world's soils and twice as much as is in the atmosphere. Schuur estimates that 100 billion tonnes of this carbon could be released by thawing this century, based on standard scenarios. If that all emerged in the form of methane, it would have a warming effect equivalent to 270 years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels. "It's a kind of slow-motion time bomb," he says. CLIP
Obama looks at climate engineering (April 8, 2009) http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D97ECHLG1&show_article=1
WASHINGTON (AP) - The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort. "It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table."Holdren outlined several "tipping points" involving global warming that could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."At first, Holdren characterized the potential need to technologically tinker with the climate as just his personal view. However, he went on to say he has raised it in administration discussions. (...) Last week, Princeton scientist Robert Socolow told the National Academy that geoengineering should be an available option in case climate worsens dramatically. But Holdren noted that shooting particles into the airmaking an artificial volcano as one Nobel laureate has suggestedcould have grave side effects and would not completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions. So such actions could not be taken lightly, he said. Still, "we might get desperate enough to want to use it," he added. Another geoengineering option he mentioned was the use of so-called artificial trees to suck carbon dioxidethe chief human-caused greenhouse gasout of the air and store it. At first that seemed prohibitively expensive, but a re-examination of the approach shows it might be less costly, he said.
EPA: Global Warming Threatens Public Health, Welfare (March 23, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/03/23-8
The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House on Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public's health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation's economy and environment.The proposal -- which comes in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision ordering EPA to consider whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act -- could lay the groundwork for nationwide measures to limit such emissions. It reverses one of the Bush administration's landmark environmental decisions: In July 2008 then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected his scientific and technical staff's recommendation and announced the agency would seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming pollution."This is historic news," said Frank O'Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch. "It will set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution. And it is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving."But business groups decried the move as an economic disaster. CLIP
Arctic Summer Ice Could Vanish by 2013: Expert (March 6, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/03/06-8
OTTAWA - The Arctic is warming up so quickly that the region's sea ice cover in summer could vanish as early as 2013, decades earlier than some had predicted, a leading polar expert said on Thursday.
Scientists to Issue Stark Warning Over Dramatic New Sea Level Figures (March 8, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/03/08-2
Rising sea levels pose a far bigger eco threat than previously thought. This week's climate change conference in Copenhagen will sound an alarm over new floodings - enough to swamp Bangladesh, Florida, the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary. (...) "It is becoming increasingly apparent from our studies of Greenland and Antarctica that changes to sea ice are being transmitted into the hearts of the land-ice sheets in a remarkably short time," added Vaughan. As a result, those land sheets are breaking up faster and far more melt water is being added to the oceans than was previously expected. These revisions suggest sea-level rises could easily top a metre by 2100 - a figure that is backed by the US Geological Survey, which this year warned that they could reach as much as 1.5 metres. CLIP
Scientists Warn of Catastrophic Rises in Sea Level (March 11, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/03/11-2
(...) Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, of Potsdam Institute for Climate Change, said that unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled within 50 years, the planet would be locked into rises of "tens of metres".He presented data suggesting that a one-metre rise by the end of the century was the minimum that could be expected. "Sea level is rising faster than expected," he told the audience of climate change researchers."I'm afraid it's quite likely we'll get a substantially higher rise. Even for a low-emission scenario, the basic estimate here is above one metre. Sea level rise doesn't stop in 2100. We are setting in motion processes now that will lead to sea level rises for centuries to come. They will burden many generations coming after us." CLIP
Ice bridge ruptures in Antarctic http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7984054.stm
An ice bridge linking a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands in Antarctica has snapped. Scientists say the collapse could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is on the brink of breaking away, and provides further evidence or rapid change in the region.Sited on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Wilkins shelf has been retreating since the 1990s.Researchers regarded the ice bridge as an important barrier, holding the remnant shelf structure in place. Its removal will allow ice to move more freely between Charcot and Latady islands, into the open ocean.
This is Not Youthful Rebellion. We See the Catastrophe Ahead (March 8, 2009) http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/03/08-4
Climate change has provoked a war between the generations. Younger members of the government need to choose their side (...) The only difference between capitalism in crisis and the climate crisis is that almost nobody predicted the economic collapse, whereas almost every single qualified expert predicted with steady and unerring accuracy the effect that carbon dioxide is having on the climate. Now compare the reactions of our leaders to the two crises. If the world was a bank, Brown would have saved it already. Instead it is my generation, with our taxes for decades to come, which is bankrolling a bail-out that ranks at the bottom of the developed world for its focus on greening the economy. For us it's all pain and no gain.For us there's no difference between the scant regard paid by President Bush for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the attitude taken by these British baby-boomer politicians who gave us dodgy Saudi arms deals then blocked the inquiry because they value oil over truth. (...) Professor James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said: "In the nuclear standoff between the Soviet Union and United States, a crisis could be precipitated only by the action of one of the parties. In contrast, the present threat to the planet and civilization requires only inaction in the face of clear scientific evidence of the danger."So inaction is the greatest threat, and that's why young people are breaking through airport fences and shutting down coal plants. Because rather like the Israeli government building West Bank settlements on land that's supposed to be under negotiation in an effort to scupper a Middle East peace deal, our own governments are creating "facts on the ground" in the run up to Copenhagen - at Heathrow and Kingsnorth for example - which will destroy what hope we have of striking a deal in December. And we won't let them get away with it. CLIP
Deep Solar Minimum (April 1, 2009) http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm
The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower.2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center."This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. (...) A 50-year low in solar wind pressure: Measurements by the Ulysses spacecraft reveal a 20% drop in solar wind pressure since the mid-1990sthe lowest point since such measurements began in the 1960s. The solar wind helps keep galactic cosmic rays out of the inner solar system. With the solar wind flagging, more cosmic rays are permitted to enter, resulting in increased health hazards for astronauts. Weaker solar wind also means fewer geomagnetic storms and auroras on Earth.A 12-year low in solar "irradiance": Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun's brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. The changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming, but there are some other significant side-effects: Earth's upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less "puffed up." Satellites in low Earth orbit experience less atmospheric drag, extending their operational lifetimes. Unfortunately, space junk also remains longer in Earth orbit, increasing hazards to spacecraft and satellites. CLIP
Prize for 'Sun in the box' cooker (9 April 2009) Amazingly simple! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7991654.stm
A cheap solar cooker has won first prize in a contest for green ideas.The Kyoto Box is made from cardboard and can be used for sterilising water or boiling or baking food. The Kenyan-based inventor hopes it can make solar cooking widespread in the developing world, supplanting the use of wood which is driving deforestation. (...) "The Kyoto Box has the potential to transform millions of lives and is a model of scalable, sustainable innovation," said Peter Madden, the forum's chief executive.It is made from two cardboard boxes, which use reflective foil and black paint to maximise absorption of solar energy.Covering the cooking pot with a transparent cover retains heat and water, and temperatures inside the pot can reach at least 80C.As many as two billion people in the world use firewood as their primary fuel. CLIP
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 http://capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=12878056
Tell Congress to Improve Food Safety by Stopping Factory Farming - HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, is a limited-vision attempt by moderate Democrats and Republicans to craft food safety legislation to address the out-of-control filth and contamination that are inherent in our industrialized, now globalized, "profit-at-any-cost" food system. This being said, OCA does not support HR 875 in its present form, given the fact that, if the bill's regulations were applied in a one-size-fits-all manner to certified organic and farm-to-consumer operations, it could have a devastating impact on small farmers, especially raw milk producers who are already unfairly targeted by state food-safety regulators. Although the OCA deems this bill vaguely well-intentioned, we are calling on Congress to focus its attention on the real threats to food safety: globalized food sourcing from nations such as China where food safety is a travesty and domestic industrial-scale and factory farms whose collateral damage includes pesticide and antibiotic-tainted food, mad cow disease, E. coli contamination and salmonella poisoning. And, of course, Congress and the Obama Administration need to support a massive transition to organic farming practices.
HR 875 Is Not About Food safety, It's About Genocide of Agricultural Biodiversity
RECOMMENDED by Rebeca Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) The link below will take you to a page that has an audio clip that rally puts the nail on the head what this bill is really about. THIS IS A MUST LISTEN INDEED!!!! http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum959.php
This is Linn Cohen-Cole speaking out against HR 875 -- One of the most potentially dangerous bills we've ever heard of is trying to sneak its way through Congress right now, in the sheep's clothing of so-called "modernization" of food safety. HR 875 (text of bill) is a bill put up by Monsanto and other monolithic corporations trying to seize totalitarian control over all agriculture. It was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, and is ultimately about one thing, defining ONLY their own GMO (Genetically Mutated Organism) products as "safe". What makes the bill so dangerous is that it is heavy on penalties including prison time, while at the same time being incredibly vague about what would actually trigger those sanctions. HR 875 is nothing but a Trojan horse, with an invading army to be designated later, in the form of a bureaucratic administrator (most likely a corporate lobbyist shill) with the LAW MAKING POWER to make up their own definitions so that all competitors are either driven into bankruptcy or locked up. There are problems with food safety we can talk about, but HR 875 is not going to make us safer, any more than invading Iraq made us safer. It MUST be stopped.For more information, watch this YouTube video by Shelly Roche on HR 875. The one click form below will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject "Stop HR 875, The Food Fascism Act." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like. CLIP
FOX News Whistle blowers. UNBELIEVABLE!!! MUST WATCH (10 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trWcqxrQgcc
About the bovine growth hormone pushed by Monsanto. Shows the power of this evil company in the US! "We will tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is! (...) If you refuse to present the story the way we think it should be presented, you'll be fired for insubordination." NOTE: After extensive litigation, FOX won because, according to the Appeal court judge "Fox had no legal requirement to report the truth in a news story. " Get all the latest news on this issue through THIS LINK
Poll Reveals Americans Want GMO Labels, Strong Organic Standards & Stricter Food Safety Practices (January 2, 2009 ) http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_16339.cfm
(...) - 93 percent of consumers polled agree that dairies that produce milk and milk products without artificial growth hormones should be allowed to label their products as being free of these hormones. - 70 percent of consumers polled are concerned about dairy cows being given synthetic growth hormones. The reality: While several states have proposed banning the phrase "no artificial growth hormones" in dairy products, for now, you can easily find dairy products produced without the hormones, which are often labeled as "rbGH-free" or "rbST-free", at your local grocer or farmers' market. Safety-wise, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that use of bovine growth hormones is safe. But most industrialized nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all 25 members of the European Union, have not approved its use. CLIP
A Shocking Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms - WARNING! GRAPHIC, REPULSIVE IMAGES!! http://www.peta.org/feat/ChineseFurFarms/index.asp
When undercover investigators made their way onto Chinese fur farms recently, they found that many animals are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. (...) Take a look inside the Chinese fur trade Download this video: Quicktime | Windows Media - Before they are skinned alive, animals are pulled from their cages and thrown to the ground; workers bludgeon them with metal rods or slam them on hard surfaces, causing broken bones and convulsions but not always immediate death. Animals watch helplessly as workers make their way down the row. Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International recently toured fur farms in China's Hebei Province, and it quickly became clear why outsiders are banned from visiting. There are no regulations governing fur farms in Chinafarmers can house and slaughter animals however they see fitmeaning miserable lives and excruciating deaths. The investigators found horrors beyond their worst imaginings and concluded, "Conditions on Chinese fur farms make a mockery of the most elementary animal welfare standards. In their lives and their unspeakable deaths, these animals have been denied even the simplest acts of kindness." (...) Because a fur's origin can't be traced, anyone who wears any fur at all shares the blame for the horrific conditions on Chinese fur farms. The only way to prevent such unimaginable cruelty is never to wear any fur. Take PETA's pledge to be fur-free today!
NOTE from Jean: I watched part of this video and it is repulsively disgusting. Yet when you think of it, most methods of exploitation of animals on Earth, whether for their fur, milk or meat in highly polluting meat factories, involve some form of cruelty and blatant disrespect for their sanctity as our kins in the global web of Life. Think about the wild and even domestic animals caught in a snare or with a leg mauled in a trap set by fur traders and the ensuing hours of slow, helpless agony, think of the billions of chickens, turkeys and rabbits confined in tiny cages, of the millions of sharks stupidly slaughtered for their fin for gourmet eaters in Asia (did you know that for every human killed by a shark, up to 10 million sharks are killed by man!), or of bottom trawlers devastating huge swats of our dying oceans for the short-term profits of a few, not to mention the destruction of wild habitats worldwide leading to a fast erosion of biodiversity on our planet. Overall, humanity urgently needs to comes to term with its obsolete, greed-driven, blissfully ignorant treatment of all Life on Earth if we are to survive this century as a species. For more on this I recommend reading The Sacrifice of Eve - Here is a short telling excerpt: "Twenty years ago a group of nine leading American biologists warned that destruction of wildlife habitats and their genetic and species diversity was a threat to civilization "second only to thermonuclear war". Since then their concerns have largely gone unheeded but their dark prophesies are being fulfilled. Life on earth may, at best, take millions of years to recover. We have had the Rio convention, yet the forest is burning 34% faster and the seas are being overfished. In the next 25 years, if we don't take decisive action the greatest species extinction for 200 million years will in all probability occur. An irreversible loss which will severely compromise both the future prospects of humanity and the future evolutionary potential of the biosphere, for which we will be condemned by our descendents for untold centuries to come. There is still time to turn the tide of ignorance and inertia for the future of life." JUST reading the title of the Biocrisis Current Articles is enough to give anyone a headache! Smae thing with Rape of the Planet and Genetic Holocaust or Vanishing Diversity and hopefully enough to prod some people into action, individually, through lifestyle changes, and globally, through supporting campaigns to help bring about real, sustainable changes!
Science warns of lethal phones (16/03/200) http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=91636,1,22
JOHANNESBURG - Using your cellphone or cordless phone could mean you are placing yourself at risk for a number of potentially lethal medical complications. The risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields has been published in the journal Pathophysiology, calling for quick precautionary measures to be taken to avert a possible epidemic of brain tumours. Released by The BioInitiative Working Group, the report documents the serious scientific concerns about current limits which regulate the amount of electromagnetic field (EMF) allowed from power lines, cellphones, phone masts, cordless phones and other such devices. According to the report, exposure to EMF has been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes including childhood leukaemia, adult brain tumours, neurological effects, breast cancer in men and women, miscarriages and cardiovascular effects to name a few. CLIP
40,000 BRAIN TUMOUR PATIENTS 'MISSING' FROM OFFICIAL STATISTICS EACH YEAR (18 mars 2009) http://www.communitynewswire.press.net/article.jsp?id=5589678
A national charity has today released figures that show more than 40,000 people affected by brain tumours are missing from the UK's official statistics each year. Brain Tumour UK forecasts that the brain will become "the primary battleground against cancer" in the future, as the treatment of other cancers advances.In a new report, Register My Tumour, Recognise Me, published to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month, the charity has warned that thousands of patients each year receive inadequate care because no budget or infrastructure exists to meet their needs, particularly at local level. Furthermore, research into brain tumours is woefully underfunded because they are perceived to be "rare". Brain Tumour UK is calling on the governments and health services across the UK to ensure that all brain tumours are recorded in the official statistics by the end of 2009, so that effective care can be planned and delivered. Jenny Baker OBE, Brain Tumour UK chief executive, said: "Brain tumours, by virtue of their dangerous location, can impact on every characteristic that defines us as human beings. "It is scandalous that thousands of people, many of them suffering very substantial cognitive and physical impairments as a result of their tumour, are largely overlooked because health services have not recognised their existence and complex needs." The report - supported by experts from around the UK - estimates that 48,000 people develop a primary or secondary brain tumour in the UK every year. CLIP
Drug-resistant TB may 'spiral out of control,' U.N. says (04.01.09) http://www.miamiherald.com/news/world/AP/story/979014.html
BEIJING -- The world is on the cusp of an explosion of drug-resistant tuberculosis cases that could deluge hospitals and leave physicians fighting a nearly untreatable malady with little help from modern drugs, global experts said Wednesday. "The situation is already alarming, and poised to grow much worse very quickly," said Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization.With Bill Gates at her side, Chan urged health officials from 27 countries at a three-day forum in Beijing on drug-resistant TB to recognize the warning signs of what looms ahead, saying that traditional drugs are useless against some strains of tuberculosis and health-care costs for treating those strains can be 100 to 200 times more than for regular tuberculosis. "This is a situation set to spiral out of control. Call it what you may: a time bomb or a powder keg. Any way you look at it, this is a potentially explosive situation," Chan warned. Gates, the software magnate turned philanthropist, said scientific overconfidence had led to a lack of innovation and urgency in fighting tuberculosis, which affects 9 million people each year, killing nearly 2 million of them."The most commonly used diagnostic test is today more than 125 years old," Gates said. "The vaccine was developed more than 80 years ago, and drugs have not changed in 50 years."Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that attacks the lungs and can affect other organs as well. Coughing, sneezing and even talking can spread the bacteria. If untreated, a person with TB can infect 10 to 15 other people in a year. Once thought conquered in developed countries, virulent forms of tuberculosis are again on the march, caused often by improper use of drugs and poorly managed treatment regimes. It remains largely a disease of poverty. CLIP
UNAIDS Report on the AIDS epidemic http://www.unaids.org/en/CountryResponses/Regions/default.asp
Sub-Saharan Africa: An estimated 1.9 million [1.6 million2.1 million] people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, bringing to 22 million [20.5 million23.6 million] the number of people living with HIV. Two thirds (67%) of the global total of 32.9 million [30.3 million36.1 million] people with HIV live in this region, and three quarters (75%) of all AIDS deaths in 2007 occurred there. Asia: In Asia, an estimated 5.0 million [4.1 million6.2 million] people were living with HIV in 2007, including the 380 000 [200 000650 000] people who were newly infected that year. Approximately 380 000 [270 000490 000] died from AIDS-related illnesses. National HIV infection levels are highest in South-East Asia (Figure 2.13), where there are disparate epidemic trends. Eastern Europe and Central Asia: The estimated number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia rose to 1.5 million [1.1 million1.9 million] in 2007; almost 90% of those infected live in either the Russian Federation (69%) or Ukraine (29%). It is estimated that 110 000 [67 000180 000] people in this region became infected with HIV in 2007, while some 58 000 [41 00088 000] died of AIDS. CLIP - Statistics were also included for the Caribbean, Latin American, North America, Western and Central Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Oceania.
Vaccine refusals spur outbreak fears (March 25, 2009) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090325.wvaccine0325/BNStory/International/home
(...) A widespread scare about vaccine side effects in Ukraine has led to a sharp drop in immunizations that could result in disease outbreaks spreading beyond the former Soviet republic, international and local health officials say. Hundreds of thousands of fearful Ukrainians have refused vaccines for diseases such as diphtheria, mumps, polio, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, whooping cough and others this year, according to official estimates. Authorities have canceled a measles and rubella vaccination campaign funded by U.S. philanthropist Ted Turner, and will have to collect and incinerate nearly 9 million unused doses in coming months. In 2003, imams in northern Nigeria fomented a boycott of polio vaccinations claiming they were a Western plot to make Muslims infertile or infect them with HIV. Authorities in Indonesia are discussing a plan to end childhood immunizations against a number of diseases out of fears that foreign drug companies are using the country as a testing ground. A budding movement of parents getting exemptions from pre-school vaccination laws is seen as partly responsible for a spike in U.S. measles cases. CLIP
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Diagnosis http://www.allergyconnection.com/autismfr.html
(...) It is my opinion that Autism is truly a "mixed bag." There is a certain percentage, let's say 50% who eventually will be found to have a genetic marker. However, to account for the staggering increased rate of Autism over the past 15 years, I would agree with the autoimmune theorists that many children are genetically at risk in receiving Thimerosal preserved immunizations, casein/gluten foods, antibiotics, as well as the number of immunizations that are given in the first two years. CLIP Check also Autism Spectrum Disorder - Immunizations and Autism Spectrum Disorder - Scientific Studies vs. Reality (...) Recently, there was a report in the State of Maryland that there has been a 10,000% increase in the diagnosis of Autism in Maryland in the past 10 years. This is a staggering total. In 1993, 260 students were diagnosed as Autistic. In 2002 that number is 3,488. There have been numerous reports in recent years of staggering rates of increased rates of Autism in a number of states.
Scientists Find 'Baffling' Link between Autism and Vinyl Flooring (March 31, 2009) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=link-between-autism-and-vinyl
Swedish children who live in homes with vinyl floors are more likely to have autism, according to a new study, but what's behind the link is unclear (...) Bernard Weiss, a professor of environmental medicine at University of Rochester and a co-author of the study, said the connection between vinyl flooring and autism "turned up virtually by accident." He called it "intriguing and baffling at the same time." Experts suspect that genetic and environmental factors combine to cause autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that has increased dramatically in children over the past 20 years. In the new study, Swedish families were asked questions about flooring as part of research investigating allergies and indoor air pollutants. Phthalates, used to make soft plastic, have in previous studies been connected to allergies and asthma. The study was based on surveys that asked a variety of questions related to the indoor environment. Of the study's 4,779 children between the ages of 6 and 8, 72 had autism, including 60 boys. The researchers found four environmental factors associated with autism: vinyl flooring, the mother's smoking, family economic problems and condensation on windows, which indicates poor ventilation. Infants or toddlers who lived in bedrooms with vinyl, or PVC, floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later, in 2005, than those with wood or linoleum flooring. "A greater proportion of children with autism spectrum disorder were reported to have PVC as flooring material in the child's and the parent's bedroom in 2000 compared to children without autism spectrum disorder," the scientists wrote in the journal Neurotoxicology. "Furthermore, children with autism spectrum disorder were reported to live in homes with more condensation on the inside of the windows, which...may be seen as an indicator for deficient ventilation." CLIP
Tout ce que vous voulez savoir sur les champs électromagnétiques (27 mars 2009) http://www.cyberpresse.ca/opinions/chroniqueurs/francois-cardinal/200903/27/01-840867-tout-ce-que-vous-voulez-savoir-sur-les-champs-electromagnetiques.php
(...) Les normes du gouvernement canadien quant à la puissance maximale des antennes-relais sont-elles adéquates? Michel Arnold : Par mesure de précaution, Option consommateurs recommande à Santé Canada et à Industrie Canada de revoir à la baisse les limites d'exposition aux émissions de radiofréquences. Toujours par mesure de précaution, nous recommandons également aux municipalités, ainsi qu'à Industrie Canada, de ne plus autoriser l'implantation d'antennes relais à proximités des garderies et des écoles. D'autres pays ont déjà légiféré en ce sens : la Finlande interdit toute antenne à moins de 300 mètres des écoles et Israël interdit l'installation d'antenne relais sur les bâtiments d'habitation. (...) François Therrien : Non, nous demandons de les modifier rapidement. Nous revendiquons une exposition maximale à l'extérieur de 1000µW/m2, de 10 µW/m2 dans nos maisons et aucune antenne cellulaires à moins de 300 m des écoles. Des pays ont déjà commencé à appliquer ces normes (Autriche, Lichtenstein, Italie, Russie, Chine, Luxembourg). La norme canadienne actuelle est présentement de 10 000 000µW/m2 peu importe l'endroit et les personnes exposées, soit près de 10 000 fois ce qui s'implante présentement en Europe...
Einstein's bomb worked, remember, so he may also be right when he said, No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. How much longer will you continue believing that the same system that created global warming and financial collapse has the ability to fix it? Here are actions to take:
It seems to me that we are at the go/no-go moment in terms of preventing the methane tipping point from avalanching into unstoppable global warming.
It could the moment for scientists around the world who trust their own global warming evidence to withdraw from the system that propagates the global warming.
Withdrawal from the system is neither symbolic nor philosophical. Withdrawal is swift, total and drastic. The intention is to proactively collapse the carbon economy to give humanity a chance to change direction.
This would require great personal efforts and sacrifice on the part of the scientists. It would impact our families, teams, companies and organizations with a radical change of plans. It would also require you to take your own work seriously. If you do not trust your evidence enough to take direct personal action, why should someone else?
If our withdrawal could critically disable the carbon economy, its rapid demise would avoid even greater suffering from flood, draught, worldwide famine, and continued resource wars.
Abandoning modern culture proactively as a result of trusting scientific evidence would prove that human intelligence exists. It would be like steering a careening brakeless automobile into the hillside to stop it rather than doing nothing. By intentionally crashing the car someone might survive. Flying off the cliff is suicide for all.
The choice is not actually up to political authorities. The choice is up to the creative powerhouse behind the industrial machine: you, the scientists, engineers, programmers, designers, technicians and researchers keeping things going.
To continue a carbon-hungry consumer lifestyle in the face of recent climate-change knowledge makes us no more intelligent than bacteria, consuming beyond the carrying capacity of our resources and dying in our own wastes.
Withdrawal is simple and effective. It is nonviolent noncooperation with whatever is nonsustainable. This would include:
- Quit your job, because almost no organization including corporate, government, military, and education are sustainable; business assumes it is possible to externalize true costs.
- Sell your car, change to bicycle, public transportation, horse, and walking.
- Become basically vegetarian.
- Create community; learn the soft skills of village weaving.
- Find your people, create sustainable culture, not money-based but collaboration-based; collaboration is wealth, power and satisfaction.
- Establish local authority and local autonomy.
- Move out of your house or off-the-grid, e.g. straw bale passive solar, etc.
- With your people, grow most of your own food without fertilizers, pesticides, or tractors.
- Avoid imported foods such as bananas, pineapples, out of season fruits, spices, coffee, chocolate, sugar.
- Avoid fast food chains; they abuse third world labor and resources, pumping money away from third world economy and your local economy.
- Move away from mainstream pharmaceuticals and learn alternative healing and preventative health care.
- Home-school the children, learning together how to heal yourselves of TPP (technopenuriaphobia - the fear of the loss of technology, as explained in the book Radiant Joy Brilliant Love - http://www.radiant-joy.com/
- Recognize the Second Copernican Revolution, that people do not own nature. Nature owns people. Nature and people both have more value than money.
- Learn to make or grow most everything you need: shaving cream, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.
- Shift from the disposable mentality (throw away things when they break) to repairable mentality.
- Stop using petrochemical plastics, packaging, newspapers, mail order catalogues.
- Refuse to make any garbage at all, recycle everything (look in your garbage - it reveals the nonsustainable part of your lifestyle).
- Stop air flights, boat trips, exotic vacations; reorient towards pilgrimage, restoring nature, and local outdoor adventures by foot.
- Get rid of most of your stuff, anything you have not touched in the past year.
- Avoid TV and canned entertainment; instead get with friends and create living theater, sing, retell legends, build musical instruments, dance, make art, engage authentic transformational processes, explore new territories of experience.
- Learn new communication skills; expand your abilities to be physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually intimate.
- Avoid the paradigm of money and adopt a local paradigm of creating abundance through giving to each other.
- Sell your stocks, securities and investments, and deal openly with your addiction to gambling.
- Divest your interests in buildings or land that you do not inhabit full-time.
- Direct your time and energy towards befriending and nurturing children, plants and animals, collaborating with your neighbors and effective organizations; celebrate together a lot.
- Change your orientation so that work is about what matters to you rather than working to pays the bills.
- Transform your relationship to fear so you can enter states of raw creation and invention.
- Implement cultural innovations that develop every person's beneficial potential.
- Shift from increasing having to increasing being. Give presence rather than presents.
- Reorient towards personal development rather than personal possessions.
- Reorient from consuming to renewing the natural environment.
- Develop your capacity to experience and express love.
If you already see the perfect storm about to hit humanity and trust your own findings, then immediately and completely extricating yourself from the system that generates the problems is appropriate. Let the system fail. It was not well thought out. Our combined population growth and harmful technological waste products grew so quickly, we did not have time to make other plans. By redirecting your incredible creative capacity towards generating sustainable culture, then we Homo sapiens could be true to our name.
What do you actually think about this? Does it make sense?
What are you willing to say and do along these lines?
What can you stop now? Next week? Next month?
What do the people you know say and do about this?
Many people criticize the idea of proactively collapsing the carbon economy.
Are you ready to take action even if others won't?
How much longer will you wait before you replace talk with personal action?
Clinton Callahan, originator of Possibility Management and Phoenix Process, author of Radiant Joy Brilliant Love, founder of Callahan Academy, empowers responsible creative leadership through authentic personal development. He has traveled, lived or worked in 36 different countries, and is co-creating a sustainable-culture research ecovillage in Southern Germany.
The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
MATT TAIBBI -- March 19, 2009
It's over we're officially, royally fucked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country's heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire.
The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).
So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream. When Geithner announced the new $30 billion bailout, the party line was that poor AIG was just a victim of a lot of shitty luck bad year for business, you know, what with the financial crisis and all. Edward Liddy, the company's CEO, actually compared it to catching a cold: "The marketplace is a pretty crummy place to be right now," he said. "When the world catches pneumonia, we get it too." In a pathetic attempt at name-dropping, he even whined that AIG was being "consumed by the same issues that are driving house prices down and 401K statements down and Warren Buffet's investment portfolio down."
Liddy made AIG sound like an orphan begging in a soup line, hungry and sick from being left out in someone else's financial weather. He conveniently forgot to mention that AIG had spent more than a decade systematically scheming to evade U.S. and international regulators, or that one of the causes of its "pneumonia" was making colossal, world-sinking $500 billion bets with money it didn't have, in a toxic and completely unregulated derivatives market.
Nor did anyone mention that when AIG finally got up from its seat at the Wall Street casino, broke and busted in the afterdawn light, it owed money all over town and that a huge chunk of your taxpayer dollars in this particular bailout scam will be going to pay off the other high rollers at its table. Or that this was a casino unique among all casinos, one where middle-class taxpayers cover the bets of billionaires.
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.
The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve "our partners in the government," as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.
On the weekend of September 13th, AIG's senior leaders were summoned to the offices of the New York Federal Reserve. Regulators from Dinallo's insurance office were there, as was Geithner, then chief of the New York Fed. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who spent most of the weekend preoccupied with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, came in and out. Also present, for reasons that would emerge later, was Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. The only relevant government office that wasn't represented was the regulator that should have been there all along: the OTS.
"We sat down with Paulson, Geithner and Dinallo," says a person present at the negotiations. "I didn't see the OTS even once."
On September 14th, according to another person present, Treasury officials presented Blankfein and other bankers in attendance with an absurd proposal: "They basically asked them to spend a day and check to see if they could raise the money privately." The laughably short time span to complete the mammoth task made the answer a foregone conclusion. At the end of the day, the bankers came back and told the government officials, gee, we checked, but we can't raise that much. And the bailout was on.
A short time later, it came out that AIG was planning to pay some $90 million in deferred compensation to former executives, and to accelerate the payout of $277 million in bonuses to others a move the company insisted was necessary to "retain key employees." When Congress balked, AIG canceled the $90 million in payments.
Then, in January 2009, the company did it again. After all those years letting Cassano run wild, and after already getting caught paying out insane bonuses while on the public till, AIG decided to pay out another $450 million in bonuses. And to whom? To the 400 or so employees in Cassano's old unit, AIGFP, which is due to go out of business shortly! Yes, that's right, an average of $1.1 million in taxpayer-backed money apiece, to the very people who spent the past decade or so punching a hole in the fabric of the universe!
"We, uh, needed to keep these highly expert people in their seats," AIG spokeswoman Christina Pretto says to me in early February.
"But didn't these 'highly expert people' basically destroy your company?" I ask.
In essence, Paulson and his cronies turned the federal government into one gigantic, half-opaque holding company, one whose balance sheet includes the world's most appallingly large and risky hedge fund, a controlling stake in a dying insurance giant, huge investments in a group of teetering megabanks, and shares here and there in various auto-finance companies, student loans, and other failing businesses. Like AIG, this new federal holding company is a firm that has no mechanism for auditing itself and is run by leaders who have very little grasp of the daily operations of its disparate subsidiary operations.
In other words, it's AIG's rip-roaringly shitty business model writ almost inconceivably massive to echo Geithner, a huge, complex global company attached to a very complicated investment bank/hedge fund that's been allowed to build up without adult supervision. How much of what kinds of crap is actually on our balance sheet, and what did we pay for it? When exactly will the rent come due, when will the money run out? Does anyone know what the hell is going on? And on the linear spectrum of capitalism to socialism, where exactly are we now? Is there a dictionary word that even describes what we are now? It would be funny, if it weren't such a nightmare.
VII. YOU DON'T GET IT
The real question from here is whether the Obama administration is going to move to bring the financial system back to a place where sanity is restored and the general public can have a say in things or whether the new financial bureaucracy will remain obscure, secretive and hopelessly complex. It might not bode well that Geithner, Obama's Treasury secretary, is one of the architects of the Paulson bailouts; as chief of the New York Fed, he helped orchestrate the Goldman-friendly AIG bailout and the secretive Maiden Lane facilities used to funnel funds to the dying company. Neither did it look good when Geithner himself a protégé of notorious Goldman alum John Thain, the Merrill Lynch chief who paid out billions in bonuses after the state spent billions bailing out his firm picked a former Goldman lobbyist named Mark Patterson to be his top aide.
In fact, most of Geithner's early moves reek strongly of Paulsonism. He has continually talked about partnering with private investors to create a so-called "bad bank" that would systemically relieve private lenders of bad assets the kind of massive, opaque, quasi-private bureaucratic nightmare that Paulson specialized in. Geithner even refloated a Paulson proposal to use TALF, one of the Fed's new facilities, to essentially lend cheap money to hedge funds to invest in troubled banks while practically guaranteeing them enormous profits.
God knows exactly what this does for the taxpayer, but hedge-fund managers sure love the idea.
Recommended by Denis Kirouac (email@example.com)
"Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong."
Note from Jean: This interview is the clearest indictment I've seen so far of how badly and perhaps even criminally the Obama administration has been dealing so far with the LARGEST fraud ever perpetrated by a small coterie of banksters (as in gangsters) aided and abetted by their friends in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Once the American public understands that their successive recent federal governments have contributed in defrauding them of trillions of their hard-earned tax dollars to fill the coffers of filthy rich mega-robbers in the largest Ponzi scheme ever devised - Madoff's 60+ billion dollars fraud pales in comparison! - the streets will explode in rage and the United States will implode as state legislators will actually arrange for the dissolution of this crooked, terminally ill, failed country. That is... unless 'savior' Obama wakes up in time and gets rid of all the criminals he has surrounded himself with - of course, not all of them are crooked, but Timothy Geithner has certainly been conniving with the banksters - and implement some real changes as promised. If he wants, I'd say YES he can!
The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout.
Here is the transcript of the video you can watch at the URL above
April 3, 2009
BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal.
For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: These numbers as large as they are, vastly understate the problem of fraud.
BILL MOYERS: Bill Black was in New York this week for a conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where scholars and journalists gathered to ask the question, "How do they get away with it?" Well, no one has asked that question more often than Bill Black.
The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named he sent a memo that read, in part, "get Black kill him dead." Metaphorically, of course. Of course.
Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname "banksters."
Bill Black, welcome to the Journal.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Thank you.
BILL MOYERS: I was taken with your candor at the conference here in New York to hear you say that this crisis we're going through, this economic and financial meltdown is driven by fraud. What's your definition of fraud?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Fraud is deceit. And the essence of fraud is, "I create trust in you, and then I betray that trust, and get you to give me something of value." And as a result, there's no more effective acid against trust than fraud, especially fraud by top elites, and that's what we have.
BILL MOYERS: In your book, you make it clear that calculated dishonesty by people in charge is at the heart of most large corporate failures and scandals, including, of course, the S&L, but is that true? Is that what you're saying here, that it was in the boardrooms and the CEO offices where this fraud began?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.
BILL MOYERS: How did they do it? What do you mean?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, the way that you do it is to make really bad loans, because they pay better. Then you grow extremely rapidly, in other words, you're a Ponzi-like scheme. And the third thing you do is we call it leverage. That just means borrowing a lot of money, and the combination creates a situation where you have guaranteed record profits in the early years. That makes you rich, through the bonuses that modern executive compensation has produced. It also makes it inevitable that there's going to be a disaster down the road.
BILL MOYERS: So you're suggesting, saying that CEOs of some of these banks and mortgage firms in order to increase their own personal income, deliberately set out to make bad loans?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yes.
BILL MOYERS: How do they get away with it? I mean, what about their own checks and balances in the company? What about their accounting divisions?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: All of those checks and balances report to the CEO, so if the CEO goes bad, all of the checks and balances are easily overcome. And the art form is not simply to defeat those internal controls, but to suborn them, to turn them into your greatest allies. And the bonus programs are exactly how you do that.
BILL MOYERS: If I wanted to go looking for the parties to this, with a good bird dog, where would you send me?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, that's exactly what hasn't happened. We haven't looked, all right? The Bush Administration essentially got rid of regulation, so if nobody was looking, you were able to do this with impunity and that's exactly what happened. Where would you look? You'd look at the specialty lenders. The lenders that did almost all of their work in the sub-prime and what's called Alt-A, liars' loans.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Liars' loans--
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Liars' loans.
BILL MOYERS: Why did they call them liars' loans?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because they were liars' loans.
BILL MOYERS: And they knew it?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: They knew it. They knew that they were frauds.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Liars' loans mean that we don't check. You tell us what your income is. You tell us what your job is. You tell us what your assets are, and we agree to believe you. We won't check on any of those things. And by the way, you get a better deal if you inflate your income and your job history and your assets.
BILL MOYERS: You think they really said that to borrowers?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: We know that they said that to borrowers. In fact, they were also called, in the trade, ninja loans.
BILL MOYERS: Ninja?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yeah, because no income verification, no job verification, no asset verification.
BILL MOYERS: You're talking about significant American companies.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Huge! One company produced as many losses as the entire Savings and Loan debacle.
BILL MOYERS: Which company?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: IndyMac specialized in making liars' loans. In 2006 alone, it sold $80 billion dollars of liars' loans to other companies. $80 billion.
BILL MOYERS: And was this happening exclusively in this sub-prime mortgage business?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: No, and that's a big part of the story as well. Even prime loans began to have non-verification. Even Ronald Reagan, you know, said, "Trust, but verify." They just gutted the verification process. We know that will produce enormous fraud, under economic theory, criminology theory, and two thousand years of life experience.
BILL MOYERS: Is it possible that these complex instruments were deliberately created so swindlers could exploit them?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, absolutely. This stuff, the exotic stuff that you're talking about was created out of things like liars' loans, that were known to be extraordinarily bad. And now it was getting triple-A ratings. Now a triple-A rating is supposed to mean there is zero credit risk. So you take something that not only has significant, it has crushing risk. That's why it's toxic. And you create this fiction that it has zero risk. That itself, of course, is a fraudulent exercise. And again, there was nobody looking, during the Bush years. So finally, only a year ago, we started to have a Congressional investigation of some of these rating agencies, and it's scandalous what came out. What we know now is that the rating agencies never looked at a single loan file. When they finally did look, after the markets had completely collapsed, they found, and I'm quoting Fitch, the smallest of the rating agencies, "the results were disconcerting, in that there was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined."
BILL MOYERS: So if your assumption is correct, your evidence is sound, the bank, the lending company, created a fraud. And the ratings agency that is supposed to test the value of these assets knowingly entered into the fraud. Both parties are committing fraud by intention.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and the investment banker that we call it pooling puts together these bad mortgages, these liars' loans, and creates the toxic waste of these derivatives. All of them do that. And then they sell it to the world and the world just thinks because it has a triple-A rating it must actually be safe. Well, instead, there are 60 and 80 percent losses on these things, because of course they, in reality, are toxic waste.
BILL MOYERS: You're describing what Bernie Madoff did to a limited number of people. But you're saying it's systemic, a systemic Ponzi scheme.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, Bernie was a piker. He doesn't even get into the front ranks of a Ponzi scheme...
BILL MOYERS: But you're saying our system became a Ponzi scheme.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Our system...
BILL MOYERS: Our financial system...
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Became a Ponzi scheme. Everybody was buying a pig in the poke. But they were buying a pig in the poke with a pretty pink ribbon, and the pink ribbon said, "Triple-A."
BILL MOYERS: Is there a law against liars' loans?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Not directly, but there, of course, many laws against fraud, and liars' loans are fraudulent.
BILL MOYERS: Because...
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because they're not going to be repaid and because they had false representations. They involve deceit, which is the essence of fraud.
BILL MOYERS: Why is it so hard to prosecute? Why hasn't anyone been brought to justice over this?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because they didn't even begin to investigate the major lenders until the market had actually collapsed, which is completely contrary to what we did successfully in the Savings and Loan crisis, right? Even while the institutions were reporting they were the most profitable savings and loan in America, we knew they were frauds. And we were moving to close them down. Here, the Justice Department, even though it very appropriately warned, in 2004, that there was an epidemic...
BILL MOYERS: Who did?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: The FBI publicly warned, in September 2004 that there was an epidemic of mortgage fraud, that if it was allowed to continue it would produce a crisis at least as large as the Savings and Loan debacle. And that they were going to make sure that they didn't let that happen. So what goes wrong? After 9/11, the attacks, the Justice Department transfers 500 white-collar specialists in the FBI to national terrorism. Well, we can all understand that. But then, the Bush administration refused to replace the missing 500 agents. So even today, again, as you say, this crisis is 1000 times worse, perhaps, certainly 100 times worse, than the Savings and Loan crisis. There are one-fifth as many FBI agents as worked the Savings and Loan crisis.
BILL MOYERS: You talk about the Bush administration. Of course, there's that famous photograph of some of the regulators in 2003, who come to a press conference with a chainsaw suggesting that they're going to slash, cut business loose from regulation, right?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, they succeeded. And in that picture, by the way, the other three of the other guys with pruning shears are the...
BILL MOYERS: That's right.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: They're the trade representatives. They're the lobbyists for the bankers. And everybody's grinning. The government's working together with the industry to destroy regulation. Well, we now know what happens when you destroy regulation. You get the biggest financial calamity of anybody under the age of 80.
BILL MOYERS: But I can point you to statements by Larry Summers, who was then Bill Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury, or the other Clinton Secretary of the Treasury, Rubin. I can point you to suspects in both parties, right?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: There were two really big things, under the Clinton administration. One, they got rid of the law that came out of the real-world disasters of the Great Depression. We learned a lot of things in the Great Depression. And one is we had to separate what's called commercial banking from investment banking. That's the Glass-Steagall law. But we thought we were much smarter, supposedly. So we got rid of that law, and that was bipartisan. And the other thing is we passed a law, because there was a very good regulator, Brooksley Born, that everybody should know about and probably doesn't. She tried to do the right thing to regulate one of these exotic derivatives that you're talking about. We call them C.D.F.S. And Summers, Rubin, and Phil Gramm came together to say not only will we block this particular regulation. We will pass a law that says you can't regulate. And it's this type of derivative that is most involved in the AIG scandal. AIG all by itself, cost the same as the entire Savings and Loan debacle.
BILL MOYERS: What did AIG contribute? What did they do wrong?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: They made bad loans. Their type of loan was to sell a guarantee, right? And they charged a lot of fees up front. So, they booked a lot of income. Paid enormous bonuses. The bonuses we're thinking about now, they're much smaller than these bonuses that were also the product of accounting fraud. And they got very, very rich. But, of course, then they had guaranteed this toxic waste. These liars' loans. Well, we've just gone through why those toxic waste, those liars' loans, are going to have enormous losses. And so, you have to pay the guarantee on those enormous losses. And you go bankrupt. Except that you don't in the modern world, because you've come to the United States, and the taxpayers play the fool. Under Secretary Geithner and under Secretary Paulson before him... we took $5 billion dollars, for example, in U.S. taxpayer money. And sent it to a huge Swiss Bank called UBS. At the same time that that bank was defrauding the taxpayers of America. And we were bringing a criminal case against them. We eventually get them to pay a $780 million fine, but wait, we gave them $5 billion. So, the taxpayers of America paid the fine of a Swiss Bank. And why are we bailing out somebody who that is defrauding us?
BILL MOYERS: And why...
WILLIAM K. BLACK: How mad is this?
BILL MOYERS: What is your explanation for why the bankers who created this mess are still calling the shots?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, that, especially after what's just happened at G.M., that's... it's scandalous.
BILL MOYERS: Why are they firing the president of G.M. and not firing the head of all these banks that are involved?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: There are two reasons. One, they're much closer to the bankers. These are people from the banking industry. And they have a lot more sympathy. In fact, they're outright hostile to autoworkers, as you can see. They want to bash all of their contracts. But when they get to banking, they say, â¤contracts, sacred.' But the other element of your question is we don't want to change the bankers, because if we do, if we put honest people in, who didn't cause the problem, their first job would be to find the scope of the problem. And that would destroy the cover up.
BILL MOYERS: The cover up?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Sure. The cover up.
BILL MOYERS: That's a serious charge.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Of course.
BILL MOYERS: Who's covering up?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Geithner is charging, is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion a trillion is a thousand billion $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine.
These are all people who have failed. Paulson failed, Geithner failed. They were all promoted because they failed, not because...
BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, Geithner has, was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. All this pig in the poke stuff happened under him. So, in his phrase about legacy assets. Well he's a failed legacy regulator.
BILL MOYERS: But he denies that he was a regulator. Let me show you some of his testimony before Congress. Take a look at this.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER:I've never been a regulator, for better or worse. And I think you're right to say that we have to be very skeptical that regulation can solve all of these problems. We have parts of our system that are overwhelmed by regulation.
Overwhelmed by regulation! It wasn't the absence of regulation that was the problem, it was despite the presence of regulation you've got huge risks that build up.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, he may be right that he never regulated, but his job was to regulate. That was his mission statement.
BILL MOYERS: As?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is responsible for regulating most of the largest bank holding companies in America. And he's completely wrong that we had too much regulation in some of these areas. I mean, he gives no details, obviously. But that's just plain wrong.
BILL MOYERS: How is this happening? I mean why is it happening?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Until you get the facts, it's harder to blow all this up. And, of course, the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts.
BILL MOYERS: What facts?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: The facts about how bad the condition of the banks is. So, as long as I keep the old CEO who caused the problems, is he going to go vigorously around finding the problems? Finding the frauds?
BILL MOYERS: You--
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Taking away people's bonuses?
BILL MOYERS: To hear you say this is unusual because you supported Barack Obama, during the campaign. But you're seeming disillusioned now.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, certainly in the financial sphere, I am. I think, first, the policies are substantively bad. Second, I think they completely lack integrity. Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the Savings and Loan crisis, called the Prompt Corrective Action Law. And it requires them to close these institutions. And they're refusing to obey the law.
BILL MOYERS: In other words, they could have closed these banks without nationalizing them?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, you do a receivership. No one -- Ronald Reagan did receiverships. Nobody called it nationalization.
BILL MOYERS: And that's a law?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: That's the law.
BILL MOYERS: So, Paulson could have done this? Geithner could do this?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Not could. Was mandated--
BILL MOYERS: By the law.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: By the law.
BILL MOYERS: This law, you're talking about.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yes.
BILL MOYERS: What the reason they give for not doing it?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: They ignore it. And nobody calls them on it.
BILL MOYERS: Well, where's Congress? Where's the press? Where--
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, where's the Pecora investigation?
BILL MOYERS: The what?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: The Pecora investigation. The Great Depression, we said, "Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?" Where's our investigation?
What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, "Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking. Many people might have been, you know, we don't want to pass blame. No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them. And here, we've got a double tragedy. It isn't just that we are failing to learn from the mistakes of the past. We're failing to learn from the successes of the past.
BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: In the Savings and Loan debacle, we developed excellent ways for dealing with the frauds, and for dealing with the failed institutions. And for 15 years after the Savings and Loan crisis, didn't matter which party was in power, the U.S. Treasury Secretary would fly over to Tokyo and tell the Japanese, "You ought to do things the way we did in the Savings and Loan crisis, because it worked really well. Instead you're covering up the bank losses, because you know, you say you need confidence. And so, we have to lie to the people to create confidence. And it doesn't work. You will cause your recession to continue and continue." And the Japanese call it the lost decade. That was the result. So, now we get in trouble, and what do we do? We adopt the Japanese approach of lying about the assets. And you know what? It's working just as well as it did in Japan.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.
BILL MOYERS: You are.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right? They're scared to death of a collapse. They're afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we'll run screaming to the exits. And we won't rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you can rely on deposit insurance. And it's foolishness. All right? Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, "We just can't let the big banks fail." That's wrong.
BILL MOYERS: But what might happen, at this point, if in fact they keep from us the true health of the banks?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, then the banks will, as they did in Japan, either stay enormously weak, or Treasury will be forced to increasingly absurd giveaways of taxpayer money. We've seen how horrific AIG -- and remember, they kept secrets from everyone.
BILL MOYERS: A.I.G. did?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: What we're doing with -- no, Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.
Where Congress said, "We will not give you a single penny more unless we know who received the money." And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary, Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.
BILL MOYERS: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn't be allowed in civilized society.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, like a conflict of interest, it seems.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive conflict of interests.
BILL MOYERS: So, how did he get away with it?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: I don't know whether we've lost our capability of outrage. Or whether the cover up has been so successful that people just don't have the facts to react to it.
BILL MOYERS: Who's going to get the facts?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: We need some chairmen or chairwomen--
BILL MOYERS: In Congress.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: --in Congress, to hold the necessary hearings. And we can blast this out. But if you leave the failed CEOs in place, it isn't just that they're terrible business people, though they are. It isn't just that they lack integrity, though they do. Because they were engaged in these frauds. But they're not going to disclose the truth about the assets.
BILL MOYERS: And we have to know that, in order to know what?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: To know everything. To know who committed the frauds. Whose bonuses we should recover. How much the assets are worth. How much they should be sold for. Is the bank insolvent, such that we should resolve it in this way? It's the predicate, right? You need to know the facts to make intelligent decisions. And they're deliberately leaving in place the people that caused the problem, because they don't want the facts. And this is not new. The Reagan Administration's central priority, at all times, during the Savings and Loan crisis, was covering up the losses.
BILL MOYERS: So, you're saying that people in power, political power, and financial power, act in concert when their own behinds are in the ringer, right?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: That's right. And it's particularly a crisis that brings this out, because then the class of the banker says, "You've got to keep the information away from the public or everything will collapse. If they understand how bad it is, they'll run for the exits."
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, and this week in New York, at this conference, you described this as more than a financial crisis. You called it a moral crisis.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yes.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because it is a fundamental lack of integrity. But also because, if you look back at crises, an economist who is also a presidential appointee, as a regulator in the Savings and Loan industry, right here in New York, Larry White, wrote a book about the Savings and Loan crisis. And he said, you know, one of the most interesting questions is why so few people engaged in fraud? Because objectively, you could have gotten away with it. But only about ten percent of the CEOs, engaged in fraud. So, 90 percent of them were restrained by ethics and integrity. So, far more than law or by F.B.I. agents, it's our integrity that often prevents the greatest abuses. And what we had in this crisis, instead of the Savings and Loan, is the most elite institutions in America engaging or facilitating fraud.
BILL MOYERS: This wound that you say has been inflicted on American life. The loss of worker's income. And security and pensions and future happened, because of the misconduct of a relatively few, very well-heeled people, in very well-decorated corporate suites, right?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right.
BILL MOYERS: It was relatively a handful of people.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: And their ideologies, which swept away regulation. So, in the example, regulation means that cheaters don't prosper. So, instead of being bad for capitalism, it's what saves capitalism. "Honest purveyors prosper" is what we want. And you need regulation and law enforcement to be able to do this. The tragedy of this crisis is it didn't need to happen at all.
BILL MOYERS: When you wake in the middle of the night, thinking about your work, what do you make of that? What do you tell yourself?
WILLIAM K. BLACK: There's a saying that we took great comfort in. It's actually by the Dutch, who were fighting this impossible war for independence against what was then the most powerful nation in the world, Spain. And their motto was, "It is not necessary to hope in order to persevere."
Now, going forward, get rid of the people that have caused the problems. That's a pretty straightforward thing, as well. Why would we keep CEOs and CFOs and other senior officers, that caused the problems? That's facially nuts. That's our current system.
So stop that current system. We're hiding the losses, instead of trying to find out the real losses. Stop that, because you need good information to make good decisions, right? Follow what works instead of what's failed. Start appointing people who have records of success, instead of records of failure. That would be another nice place to start. There are lots of things we can do. Even today, as late as it is. Even though they've had a terrible start to the administration. They could change, and they could change within weeks. And by the way, the folks who are the better regulators, they paid their taxes. So, you can get them through the vetting process a lot quicker.
BILL MOYERS: William Black, thank you very much for being with me on the Journal.
WILLIAM K. BLACK: Thank you so much.
Related articles and interviews:
The Quiet Coup (May 2009) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! KEYS EXCERPTS BELOW http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our governmenta state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMFs staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, were running out of time.
(...) In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldnt be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldnt roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.But theres a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interestsfinanciers, in the case of the U.S.played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them. Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even betterin a buck stops somewhere else sort of wayon the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for safety and soundness were fast asleep at the wheel. But these various policieslightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownershiphad something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sectors profitssuch as Brooksley Borns now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998were ignored or swept aside.
(...) In a society that celebrates the idea of making money, it was easy to infer that the interests of the financial sector were the same as the interests of the countryand that the winners in the financial sector knew better what was good for America than did the career civil servants in Washington. Faith in free financial markets grew into conventional wisdomtrumpeted on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and on the floor of Congress. From this confluence of campaign finance, personal connections, and ideology there flowed, in just the past decade, a river of deregulatory policies that is, in hindsight, astonishing: - insistence on free movement of capital across borders; - the repeal of Depression-era regulations separating commercial and investment banking; - a congressional ban on the regulation of credit-default swaps; - major increases in the amount of leverage allowed to investment banks; - a light (dare I say invisible?) hand at the Securities and Exchange Commission in its regulatory enforcement; - an international agreement to allow banks to measure their own riskiness; - and an intentional failure to update regulations so as to keep up with the tremendous pace of financial innovation. The mood that accompanied these measures in Washington seemed to swing between nonchalance and outright celebration: finance unleashed, it was thought, would continue to propel the economy to greater heights.
(...) This latest planwhich is likely to provide cheap loans to hedge funds and others so that they can buy distressed bank assets at relatively high priceshas been heavily influenced by the financial sector, and Treasury has made no secret of that. As Neel Kashkari, a senior Treasury official under both Henry Paulson and Tim Geithner (and a Goldman alum) told Congress in March, We had received inbound unsolicited proposals from people in the private sector saying, We have capital on the sidelines; we want to go after [distressed bank] assets. And the plan lets them do just that: By marrying government capitaltaxpayer capitalwith private-sector capital and providing financing, you can enable those investors to then go after those assets at a price that makes sense for the investors and at a price that makes sense for the banks. Kashkari didnt mention anything about what makes sense for the third group involved: the taxpayers. Even leaving aside fairness to taxpayers, the governments velvet-glove approach with the banks is deeply troubling, for one simple reason: it is inadequate to change the behavior of a financial sector accustomed to doing business on its own terms, at a time when that behavior must change.
(...) Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just cant seem to get into gear.The second scenario begins more bleakly, and might end that way too. But it does provide at least some hope that well be shaken out of our torpor. It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, andbecause eastern Europes banks are mostly owned by western European banksjustifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administrations current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy stress scenario that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.The conventional wisdom among the elite is still that the current slump cannot be as bad as the Great Depression. This view is wrong. What we face now could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depressionbecause the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big. We face a synchronized downturn in almost all countries, a weakening of confidence among individuals and firms, and major problems for government finances. If our leadership wakes up to the potential consequences, we may yet see dramatic action on the banking system and a breaking of the old elite. Let us hope it is not then too late.
Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Wall Street's ownership of government (April 4, 2009) http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/04/summers/
White House officials yesterday released their personal financial disclosure forms, and included in the millions of dollars which top Obama economics adviser Larry Summers made from Wall Street in 2008 is this detail:Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . .Financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch paid Summers for speaking appearances in 2008. Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.That's $135,000 paid by Goldman Sachs to Summers -- for a one-day visit. And the payment was made at a time -- in April, 2008 -- when everyone assumed that the next President would either be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and that Larry Summers would therefore become exactly what he now is: the most influential financial official in the U.S. Government (and the $45,000 Merrill Lynch payment came 8 days after Obama's election). Goldman would not be able to make a one-day $135,000 payment to Summers now that he is Obama's top economics adviser, but doing so a few months beforehand was obviously something about which neither parties felt any compunction. It's basically an advanced bribe. And it's paying off in spades. And none of it seemed to bother Obama in the slightest when he first strongly considered naming Summers as Treasury Secretary and then named him his top economics adviser instead (thereby avoiding the need for Senate confirmation), knowing that Summers would exert great influence in determining who benefited from the government's response to the financial crisis.Last night, former Reagan-era S&L regulator and current University of Missouri Professor Bill Black was on Bill Moyers' Journal and detailed the magnitude of what he called the on-going massive fraud, the role Tim Geithner played in it before being promoted to Treasury Secretary (where he continues to abet it), and -- most amazingly of all -- the crusade led by Alan Greenspan, former Goldman CEO Robert Rubin (Geithner's mentor) and Larry Summers in the late 1990s to block the efforts of top regulators (especially Brooksley Born, head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission) to regulate the exact financial derivatives market that became the principal cause of the global financial crisis. To get a sense for how deep and massive is the on-going fraud and the key role played in it by key Obama officials, I highly recommend watching that Black interview (it can be seen here and the transcript is here).This article from Stanford Magazine -- an absolutely amazing read -- details how Summers, Rubin and Greenspan led the way in blocking any regulatory efforts of the derivatives market whatsoever on the ground that the financial industry and its lobbyists were objecting: (...) As much as he campaigned against anything, Obama railed against precisely this sort of incestuous, profoundly corrupt control by narrow private interests of the Government, yet he has chosen to empower the very individuals who most embody that corruption. And the results are exactly what one would expect them to be.
(...) UPDATE: Just to get a sense for how propagandistic, sycophantic and fact-free are the most extreme Obama worshippers in our "journalist" class, consider this recent article from The New Republic's Noam Scheiber in which he urged the White House to "free its economic oracle" -- Summers -- and defended and praised Summers on the ground that "his exposure to Wall Street over the years has been limited." As Jonathan Schwarz asks, citing the massive compensation on which Summers engorged himself by feeding at the Wall Street trough last year: "I wonder what would have constituted 'significant' exposure to Wall Street? Maybe if he'd worked for D.E. Shaw full time? (Amazingly, Summers was paid $5.2 million for a part-time position.)"
The 52 minutes of Obama magic that changed the nuclear rules
Two presidential speeches in two days signal end of cold war strategic thinking
Ian Traynor, 6 April 2009
In his whirlwind debut European tour of summits in Britain, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, Barack Obama has delivered two speeches, both exactly 26 minutes long.
On Friday, in Strasbourg, he was rapturously applauded by French and German students when he said he wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In Prague yesterday, he spelled out his hopes, outlining a host of means to that end and denouncing fatalism in the face of the nuclear threat as a "deadly adversary".
The world's estimated arsenal of 24,000 nuclear warheads - all but 1,000 in the US and Russian armouries - was the worst legacy of the cold war, Obama said. If the risk of all-out nuclear war had faded, the danger of nuclear attack had increased, he added.
The president pledged a drive on nuclear disarmament, possibly bigger than any ever attempted. He spelled out how he would accelerate arms control agreements with Russia, following his first summit meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev last week. The deal to conclude a new arms reduction treaty with Moscow, which would slash stockpiles by about a third was a beginning, setting the stage for further cuts.
Building on the momentum of a new agreement with the Russians, Obama said he wanted to cajole the other nuclear powers into agreeing international arms cuts.
This would include Britain's independent nuclear deterrent as well as France's force de frappe and could run into resistance.
John Hutton, the defence secretary, said at the weekend "there would have to be a very significant breakthrough in international nuclear weapons negotiations" before Britain's arsenal could be put on the table.
"It is time for testing of nuclear weapons to be banned," Obama said. He called for a resuscitation of the 1996 comprehensive test ban treaty outlawing all nuclear tests. Obama's Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, signed the treaty, but then gave up on it after running into resistance from the Republican-controlled Senate which refused to ratify it a decade ago. George Bush did not pursue the issue.
America is the most important country that has not ratified the treaty, although other nuclear countries such as China, Israel and Pakistan, as well as Iran have also declined to ratify.
Obama said he would pursue US ratification "immediately and aggressively".
As well as supporting the test ban treaty, Obama pledged to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which dates from 1968 and is the cornerstone of the effort to try to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.
He specified two ways of reinforcing the NPT regime - banning the production of fissile material used for nuclear warheads and establishing an "international fuel bank" which would supply and keep tabs on low-enriched uranium for peaceful nuclear purposes in electricity generation for countries that need it.
This is aimed at keeping countries, such as Iran, from developing their own fuel enrichment programmes and at restricting the growth of nuclear knowhow.
Low-enriched uranium is used in power plants. High-enriched uranium is used for warheads. The material can be diverted for weapons use and once you have mastered the fuel cycle for power generation, it is relatively easy to produce bomb-grade material.
Obama also insisted on greater resources and authority for international inspections - and "real and immediate consequences" for countries that violate the treaty.
Over the past 15 years there have been various efforts, mainly by the US, to secure and store nuclear materials stemming from the collapse of the Soviet Union to offset the dangers of "loose nukes", nuclear contraband, and black market trading in radioactive materials.
Obama said he wanted to re-energise this campaign to get all "vulnerable" nuclear materials in secure storage within four years.
He also said he would convene a world summit on nuclear security in the US within a year. The agenda and participants for such a conference remain unclear.
But the spread of nuclear knowhow and technology had to be stopped, he said, since it would become increasingly easy to "buy, build or steal" a nuclear bomb. The risk of terrorists being able to obtain a nuclear device was "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security."
Obama also promised to rewrite American military and national security strategy to downgrade the centrality of nuclear weapons, reversing a tendency among some senior former military officials to argue in favour of an increased reliance on nuclear weapons and a commitment to embrace preemptive nuclear strikes as an option.
The president conceded the nuclear challenge was daunting, would be a long haul, and could fail. "This goal will not be reached quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime. It would take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change." But he said it was time for a new, more robust international regime. "Rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something."
VIDEO | Obama: US Ready to Lead on Nuclear Disarmament http://www.truthout.org/040609K
President Barack Obama set out his vision for ridding the world of nuclear arms on Sunday, declaring the United States ready to lead steps by all states with atomic weapons to reduce their arsenals.
Barack Obama launches doctrine for nuclear-free world (5 April 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/05/nuclear-weapons-barack-obama
Barack Obama put flesh on the bones of his utopian vision for ridding the world of nuclear weapons today, speaking hours after North Korea launched a long-range rocket.In the first big foreign policy speech of his presidency, Obama told a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in morning sunshine in Prague that America, as the sole country ever to fire a nuclear weapon in anger, bore the moral responsibility for launching a new era of nuclear disarmament aimed at eliminating nuclear stockpiles.His presidency, Obama declared, would see "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons". CLIP
Barack Obama delivers missile shield warning to Russia (5 April 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/05/barack-obama-missile-shield
Barack Obama went to the heart of Europe today to deliver a pointed, if carefully calibrated message to Russia - that the Pentagon would press ahead, if need be, with its contentious missile shield project in the Czech Republic and Poland.Plans for missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station south of Prague are adamantly opposed by Moscow, which refuses to accept the US argument that the project is aimed not at Russia, but at a potential ballistic missile attack from Iran.In his first presidential statement on the controversy, in the Czech capital, Prague, Obama built in caveats to his commitments, saying the missile shield would need to be "proven and cost effective".He also declared that if there was no risk of Iranian attack, there would be no need for the missile shield facilities in Europe. The outgoing Czech government is keen to secure the Pentagon radar station and seized on Obama's speech as a green light after weeks of anxiety that the White House was ditching this part of George Bush's legacy. The Poles, by contrast, are not so eager to play host to silos of 10 missile interceptors. They agreed to the US installation in order to be a loyal ally and in return for US promises of beefed up Polish air defences, including Patriot missiles, as security against Russia. "The driving force for missile defence in Europe will be removed" if there was no perceived nuclear or ballistic missile threat from Iran, Obama said. Gary Samore, the new arms control adviser to the president, said the North Korean missile launch showed the need for continuing with the missile shield."The North Korean test illustrates the importance of continuing to develop missile defence in order to protect the country and our allies in Asia," he said. But the European sites play no role here. The Pentagon's other two missile shield sites, in California and Alaska, are intended to intercept potential attacks from or in Asia.
Missile launch revives fears on US west coast (6 April 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/06/north-korea-missile-launch
North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket in defiance of international pressure has redoubled concerns about its nuclear weapons programme - and the targets that may soon fall within its reach.Although Pyongyang insisted that the aim of yesterday's exercise was to send a communications satellite into orbit, regional powers strongly suspect it was a covert military exercise, since the rocket used, the Taepodong-2, is equally capable of carrying warheads. The principal concern about the Taepodong-2 is its range. Theoretically it can fly up to 4,160 miles, putting Alaska and Hawaii within reach. Yesterday's manoeuvre is certain to revive debate in the US about the deployment and efficacy of missile defence shields on the west coast.George Bush ordered a pared down version of a missile defence system to be built in 2002. Twenty interceptor missiles have already been installed in underground silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, and 20 more are planned during the next 18 months. CLIP
Let's hope Obama keeps his cool (5 April 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/05/barack-obama-north-korea
It's easy to get exercised about North Korea but Washington's relationship with Pyongyang lies at the heart of non-proliferation -- The people who are really justified in denouncing North Korea's satellite launch are those who cannot do so the people of North Korea who would prefer to see their miserable standard of living improved rather than a ruinous boost to the "immortal" prestige of Kim Jong Il and his father.For the rest of the world, this is a wake-up call on two fronts, regardless of whether the launch has been successful. First, a much more sustained effort has to be made to settle the persistent problem of the Korean peninsula, one of the last unsolved problems left over from the cold war. The abnormal division of the two Koreas, and the abnormal character of the Pyongyang regime, stem directly from this failure.Second, we cannot expect to deal effectively with would-be nuclear proliferators in a world that has already condoned proliferation by others and where progress towards disarmament by the five recognised nuclear weapons states is so painfully slow. President Barack Obama, to his great credit, has acknowledged the fatal flaw all previous American presidents and British prime ministers had denied that new nuclear states may only be persuaded to abandon their quests if the big nuclear powers set the example.To that extent, North Korea (and Iran) could in time be seen to have done the world a favour by concentrating the minds of western leaders and ex-leaders (the conversion of Henry Kissinger to the cause of a nuclear-free world is a wonderful thing) on the truth of what CND and others have been saying for decades.The immediate issue is what action should be taken by the UN security council in response to what, it is being claimed, is a violation of its own resolution 1718, adopted in the wake of North Korea's nuclear weapons test.There is a fine (but important) question of interpretation here: CLIP
Barack Obama Leads Condemnation as North Korea Launches Rocket http://www.truthout.org/040509A
Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times: "President Obama called for North Korea to be punished after the isolated communist state fired an intercontinental rocket this morning, defying weeks of warnings from world leaders and provoking anxiety across north-east Asia."
AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.
The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.
As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army. In Bajaur agency entire villages have been flattened by Pakistani troops under growing American pressure to act against Al-Qaeda militants, who have made the area their base.
Kacha Garhi is one of 11 tented camps across Pakistans frontier province once used by Afghan refugees and now inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis made homeless in their own land.
So far 546,000 have registered as internally displaced people (IDPs) according to figures provided by Rabia Ali, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Maqbool Shah Roghani, administrator for IDPs at the Commission for Afghan Refugees.
The commissioners office says there are thousands more unregistered people who have taken refuge with relatives and friends or who are in rented accommodation.
Jamil Amjad, the commissioner in charge of the refugees, says the government is running short of resources to feed and shelter such large numbers. A fortnight ago two refugees were killed and six injured in clashes with police during protests over shortages of water, food and tents.
On the road outside Kacha Garhi camp, eight-year-old Zafarullah and his little brother are among a number of children begging for coins and scraps. I want to go back to my village and school, he said.
With the attacks increasing, refugees have little hope of returning home and conditions in the camps will worsen as summer approaches and the temperatures soar.
Many have terrible stories. Baksha Zeb lost everything when his village, Anayat Kalay in Bajaur, was demolished by Pakistani forces. His eight-year-old son is a kidney patient needing dialysis and he has been left with no means to pay.
Our houses have been flattened, our cattle killed and our farms and crops destroyed, he complained. There is not a single structure in my village still standing. There is no way we can go back.
He sold his taxi to pay for food for his family and treatment for his son but the money has almost run out. God bestowed me with a son after 15 years of marriage, he said. Now I have no job and I dont know how we will survive.
Pakistani forces say they have killed 1,500 militants since launching antiTaliban operations in Bajaur in August. Locals who fled claim that only civilians were killed.
Zeb said he saw dozens of his friends and relatives killed. Villagers were forced to leave bodies unburied as they fled.
Pakistani officials say drone attacks have been stepped up since President Barack Obama took office in Washington, killing at least 81 people. A suicide attacker blew himself up inside a paramilitary base in Islamabad, killing six soldiers and wounding five yesterday.
Filling the Skies with Assassins - Terminator Planet: Launching the Drone Wars (April 7, 2009) http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175056
(...) Of course, when you openly control squads of assassination drones patrolling airspace over other countries, you've already made a mockery of whatever national sovereignty might once have meant. It's a precedent that may someday even make us distinctly uncomfortable. But not right now. If you doubt this, check out the stream of self-congratulatory comments being leaked by Washington officials about our drone assassins. These often lead off news pieces about America's "covert war" over Pakistan ("An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say..."); but be sure to read to the end of such pieces. Somewhere in them, after the successes have been touted and toted up, you get the bad news: "In fact, the stepped-up strikes have coincided with a deterioration in the security situation in Pakistan." In Pakistan, a war of machine assassins is visibly provoking terror (and terrorism), as well as anger and hatred among people who are by no means fundamentalists. It is part of a larger destabilization of the country. To those who know their air power history, that shouldn't be so surprising. Air power has had a remarkably stellar record when it comes to causing death and destruction, but a remarkably poor one when it comes to breaking the will of nations, peoples, or even modest-sized organizations. Our drone wars are destructive, but they are unlikely to achieve Washington's goals. (...) By 2020, so claim UAV enthusiasts, drones could be engaging in aerial battle and choosing their victims themselves. As Robert S. Boyd of McClatchy reported recently, "The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons."It's a particular sadness of our world that, in Washington, only the military can dream about the future in this way, and then fund the "arms race" of 2018 or 2035. Rest assured that no one with a governmental red cent is researching the health care system of 2018 or 2035, or the public education system of those years.In the meantime, the skies of our world are filling with round-the-clock assassins. They will only evolve and proliferate. CLIP
Barack Obama offers new strategy to tame Pakistan (March 28, 2009) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5989417.ece
More than seven years after America declared war on the Taleban, Afghanistan still stands on the brink of disaster, President Obama declared yesterday as he unveiled a new regional strategy to win the war in South Asia. An additional 21,000 US troops will be sent to Afghanistan and civilian aid to neighbouring Pakistan will be trebled, Mr Obama said in a speech that showed his desire to take full US ownership of the deepening conflict. He warned both governments that they had to take far greater responsibility in tackling their own corruption and the lethal insurgency that is threatening their survival.Mr Obama spoke only hours after a suicide bomber demolished a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers attending Friday prayers in the tribal region near the Afghan border, killing at least 50 people. It was the bloodiest attack in Pakistan this year. (...) In addition to 17,000 extra US troops that will be sent to Afghanistan, Mr Obama announced another 4,000 yesterday to help to train the Afghan Army and police. He is also sending hundreds of civilian experts to bolster reconstruction and tackle the opium trade, which provides the Taleban with billions of dollars each year.Mr Obama is to ask Congress for $7.5 billion (£5.2 billion) in civilian aid over five years for Pakistan, to help it to build democracy and strengthen its infrastructure. The move is fraught with risk, given Pakistan's history of corruption.
Taleban: we will launch attack on America that will amaze world (April 1, 2009) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6011879.ece
Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, threatened yesterday to launch an attack on Washington that would amaze everyone in the world as he claimed responsibility for the raid on a police academy in Lahore and boasted of a new regional militant alliance.Mr Mehsud, for whom the United States offered a $5 million reward last week, said that Monday's raid, which killed seven police officers, was retaliation for US drone attacks on Pakistan's northern tribal areas, now the main hub of Taleban and al-Qaeda activity.The 35-year-old leader of Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (Movement of Taleban Pakistan), made the claims after taking the highly unusual step of telephoning Western news organisations from an undisclosed location.We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future, he said. Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world ... The maximum they can do is martyr me. But we will exact our revenge on them from inside America.Mr Mehsud's threat illustrates his growing confidence in the Pakistani Taleban's strength and reach. He recently agreed to shelve differences with fellow commanders and join forces with the Afghan Taleban.The alliance appears to be a deliberate response to President Obama's Afpak strategy, unveiled on Friday, to send 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, pour $7.5 billion into Pakistan, and to treat the two countries as a single military theatre. (...) The militant leader boasted that he had recently set up a Council of Mujahidin uniting different groups to step up attacks on US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. That tallies with other reports that the Afghan and Pakistani Taleban have joined forces, and are also working with outlawed Pakistani militant groups with links to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. CLIP
The Scream and the Drone (April 9, 2009) http://www.truthout.org/040909K
The scream of 17-year-old Chand Bibi of the Swat Valley has been heard across Pakistan for over a week now. The drone of remotely operated US gunships over the country's mountainous western frontier has been heard for months. What the world needs to hear now is the voice of Pakistan in response to both the scream and the drone. Much of the world has by now heard the scream, too, and watched the merciless flogging of the teenage girl as Taliban punishment for alleged transgression of a misogynist code of morality: she had been caught coming out of her house with a male "stranger." The date of the incident was not clear and versions of it differed in minor detail. The local Taliban leader, however, proudly owned up to the punishment meted out for the insinuated, "anti-Islam" offense. (...) Washington will be wise not to read Pakistan's revulsion against the diabolic Taliban ways as a promise of popular acceptance of the drones. Pervez Hoodbhoy, a forthright and prominent opponent of fundamentalism in Pakistan, writes: "Drones, machine and human, have drenched Pakistan with the blood of innocents. On the one side are US-made drones such as the MQ-1B General Dynamics Predator - a remote-controlled, self-propelled, missile-bearing aerial system. On the other side are the low-tech human drones, armed with explosive vests stuffed with ball bearings and nails. These lethal engines of destruction, programmed by remote handlers, are very different. But neither asks why it must kill, nor cares about the death and suffering it causes." The clamorous voices, raised in response to the scream and the drone, do not contradict each other. They together represent an increasing, common resolve of the Pakistani people to combat terrorism, but on their own terms.
After the summer of love, Bob Dylan backtracks on Barack Obama (April 7, 2009) http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6047638.ece
Up until now it had been a mutual love affair. As the campaign for the American presidency gathered pace last June, Bob Dylan lent his support to Barack Obama, telling The Times that his candidacy was redefining the nature of politics.In return Mr Obama described the singer as an icon, and boasted of having probably 30 Dylan songs on my iPod, including the entire Blood on the Tracks album.But in an interview to be published on Dylans website today, the hero of 1960s counterculture seems to have cooled on the prospects of the recently elected American leader. Asked if he thought that Mr Obama would make a good president, the singer said that he had no idea. He added: Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men.Johnson would be a good example of that . . . Nixon, Clinton in a way, Truman, all the rest of them going back. You know, its like they all fly too close to the Sun and get burnt.In a question-and-answer session with the music journalist Bill Flanagan to promote his new album Together Through Life, Dylan dismisses politics as entertainment . . . a sport. Its for the well-groomed and well-heeled. The impeccably dressed. Party animals. Politicians are interchangeable. Politics creates more problems than it solves. It can be counter-productive. The real power is in the hands of small groups of people and I dont think they have titles.The singers comments seem to be a far cry from those he made in an interview with The Times last June, when he talked of his hope that Mr Obama could pioneer change in America.Right now America is in a state of upheaval, he said. Poverty is demoralising. You cant expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor.But weve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up . . . Barack Obama. Hes redefining what a politician is, so well have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, Im hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to. CLIP
Ex-soldier and campaigner with Breaking The Silence, Michael Maniken, told Sky News Online this week's revelations suggest a pattern of immoral conduct in the army.
"The army keeps on saying we're talking about a few rotten apples but it seems the army doesn't understand there's a norm in this kind of action," he explained.
"We're hearing about this time and time again and the army seems disconnected from reality."
A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) told Sky News Online, the t-shirts were printed on the private initiative of the soldiers and their designs "are not in accordance with IDF values and are simply tasteless. This type of humour is unacceptable and should be condemned".
Israels perverting of international law (3 April 2009) http://www.redress.cc/palestine/gbisharat20090403
The extent of Israel's brutality against Palestinian civilians in its 22-day pounding of the Gaza Strip is gradually surfacing. Israeli soldiers are testifying to lax rules of engagement tantamount to a license to kill. One soldier commented: "That's what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: you see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn't have to be with a weapon, you don't have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him."What is less appreciated is how Israel is also brutalizing international law, in ways that may long outlast the demolition of Gaza.Since 2001, Israeli military lawyers have pushed to re-classify military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from the law-enforcement model mandated by the law of occupation to one of armed conflict. Under the former, soldiers of an occupying army must arrest, rather than kill, opponents, and generally must use the minimum force necessary to quell disturbances.While in armed conflict, a military is still constrained by the laws of war including the duty to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and the duty to avoid attacks causing disproportionate harm to civilian persons or objects the standard permits far greater uses of force.Israel pressed the shift to justify its assassinations of Palestinians in the occupied territories, which clearly violated settled international law. Israel had practised "targeted killings" since the 1970s always denying that it did so -but had recently stepped up their frequency, by spectacular means (such as air strikes) that rendered denial futile. CLIP
The Lobby Falters (26 March 2009) http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n06/mear01_.html
Many people in Washington were surprised when the Obama administration tapped Charles Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council, the body that oversees the production of National Intelligence Estimates: Freeman had a distinguished 30-year career as a diplomat and Defense Department official, but he has publicly criticised Israeli policy and Americas special relationship with Israel, saying, for example, in a speech in 2005, that as long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected. Words like these are rarely spoken in public in Washington, and anyone who does use them is almost certain not to get a high-level government position. But Admiral Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence, greatly admires Freeman: just the sort of person, he thought, to revitalise the intelligence community, which had been very politicised in the Bush years. Predictably alarmed, the Israel lobby launched a smear campaign against Freeman, hoping that he would either quit or be fired by Obama. (...) When pro-Israel forces clashed with a major political figure in the past, that person usually backed off. Jimmy Carter, who was smeared by the lobby after he published Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, was the first prominent American to stand his ground and fight back. The lobby has been unable to silence him, and it is not for lack of trying. Freeman is following in Carters footsteps, but with sharper elbows. After stepping down, he issued a blistering denunciation of unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country whose aim is to prevent any view other than its own from being aired. There is, he continued, a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government. Freemans remarkable statement has shot all around the world and been read by countless individuals. This isnt good for the lobby, which would have preferred to kill Freemans appointment without leaving any fingerprints. But Freeman will continue to speak out about Israel and the lobby, and maybe some of his natural allies inside the Beltway will eventually join him. Slowly but steadily, space is being opened up in the United States to talk honestly about Israel.
Canada ban: Galloway faces his accusers a Jewish Defence League (JDL) "Terrorist" (20 mars 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAm7rfHKSyY
The decision to ban George Galloway from Canada seems odd, but now it emerges that the Jewish Defence League (JDL) pressured the Canadian Government to so the action takes on sinister connotations for Canada, why? Because the Jewish Defence League are according to the FBI a Terrorist Group. In its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, the FBI referred to the JDL as a "violent extremist Jewish organization". This "violent extremist Jewish organization" now it seems has power and influence over the Canadian Government. Harper's government is fast losing any shred of credibility it has left because of its kowtowing to the extremist Jewish lobby and as Galloway says, will be trounced into oblivion in the coming (soon hopefully!) Canadian elections.
Jewish group proud of role in barring Galloway (March 25, 2009) http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/608405
OTTAWA - The Jewish Defence League of Canada is taking credit for lighting the spark that ultimately burned a British politician's plans to enter the country. The organization advised the federal government early last week about the impending speaking tour of George Galloway, the controversial British MP who has been a bitter critic of Israel. CLIP
Galloway and Canada: Who's the popinjay? http://www.opednews.com/articles/Galloway-and-Canada-Who-s-by-Eric-Walberg-090325-527.html
(...) Is Galloway planning to enter Canada as part of some top-secret global terrorist operation? The more likely explanation is because of his outspoken and eloquent opposition to the war in Afghanistan and his success in breaking the siege of Gaza with the historic Viva Palestina convoy last week. He is being accused of supporting Hamas, which Canada officially considers a terrorist organisation. However, his only weapon is his fiery oratory, a fine example of - to paraphrase the old saw - words are mightier than white phosphorus bombs. CLIP
Sudanese Attack - Did US Assist Israeli Attack In Sudan? (March 27) http://irish4palestine.blogspot.com/2009/03/2nd-update-sudanese-attack.html
(...)Oh what a slippery slope Obama is now on. This Sudanese attack has US cooperation and Intelligence assistance written all over it IMHO. It would appear that Israel is now going to be attacking and invading any country where it deems anything suspicious, and with the approval (or assistance) of the US government. (...) It seems like Obama is going to not only keep, but honour, the agreements Bush made with Israel, so much for change and hope This means the US will support Israeli attacks into other countries, and possibly assist in those attacks. As if the US does not have enough problems already. Israel is pushing America towards war with Iran and has been for 3 years now. The slippery slope begins. CLIP
Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran-Or I Will (March 31, 2009) http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903u/netanyahu
The message from Israel's new prime minister is stark: if the Obama administration doesn't prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, Israel may be forced to attack.
Obama team readying for confrontation with Netanyahu (April 10, 2009) OR IS IT MERE POSTURING? http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1077222.html
In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration is readying for a possible confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by briefing Democratic congressmen on the peace process and the positions of the new government in Israel regarding a two-state solution. The Obama administration is expecting a clash with Netanyahu over his refusal to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In recent weeks, American officials have briefed senior Democratic congressmen and prepared the ground for the possibility of disagreements with Israel over the peace process, according to information recently received. The administration's efforts are focused on President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, which now holds a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The preemptive briefing is meant to foil the possibility that Netanyahu may try to bypass the administration by rallying support in Congress. The message that administration officials have relayed to the congressmen is that President Obama is committed to the security of Israel and intends to continue the military assistance agreement that was signed by his predecessor, George W. Bush. However, Obama considers the two-state solution central to his Middle East policy, as he reiterated during a speech in Turkey on Monday, and he intends to ask that Netanyahu fulfill all the commitments made by previous governments in Israel: accepting the principle of a Palestinian state; freezing settlement activity; evacuating illegal outposts; and providing economic and security assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Administration officials made it clear to congressmen that the Palestinians will also be required to fulfill their obligations in line with the road map and the Annapolis process. CLIP
Date: 25 Mar 2009
Subject: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Report on Medical Ethics during the War on Gaza
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel in a Report on Medical Ethics during the War on Gaza: "The Military repeatedly violated Codes of Medical Ethics during the Gaza Offensive"
Prevention of medical assistance from the trapped and the wounded, severe difficulties to emergency medical evacuation, attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities, and de facto prevention from the chronically ill and gravely wounded referral to medical care outside Gaza. "We call for an outside independent body to investigate the events" say representatives of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.
To download the full report from PHR web site press here
The new report, published today by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, gives room for concern that during the operation in Gaza, Israeli soldiers repeatedly acted in violation of the army's code of ethics, the medical code of ethics, and basic human values. These actions suggest repeated violations of the International Law regarding the treatment of the ill and the wounded and the protection of medical personnel.
The report examines six topics: the situation of the Gaza health system on the eve of the military operation, the difficulties in evacuating the wounded to medical centers outside Gaza, attacks on medical personnel, difficulties in internal evacuation of the wounded, attacks on medical facilities and injury to chronic and acute patients.
Based on numerous first hand testimonies that were brought to the attention of PHR-Israel during the attack, the report depicts a grave picture of the realities in Gaza during those 22 days. In some of the cases revealed to PHR-Israel, the army did not allow for the evacuation of wounded and trapped civilians for days on, leaving them in isolated pockets with no access to food, water and medical treatment. The army did not assist these civilians but even more, it prevented the Palestinian emergency vehicles and staff from reaching these civilians. In other cases, the soldiers did not give medical assistance to wounded human beings that were within several feet from the soldiers. This, in serious violation of the army's Ethical Code for the War on Terror of 2004 that states that "soldiers are obliged to provide adequate health services, as conditions allow, equally to themselves and to the enemy."
PHR-Israel received reports of 16 medical personnel that were killed and 25 that were wounded from the Israeli army's fire, all of them while performing their medical duties. Furthermore, 34 medical facilities were hit by the army, eight hospitals and 26 primary care clinics; this in severe violation of directives of international law that forbid attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities in times of fighting.
Prevention of evacuation and assistance for the wounded
On January 3 the house of the al'Aiedi family, situated in the south east of Gaza City, sustained missile fire from which 6 of the twenty members of the family were wounded. Attempts to leave the house were repeatedly met by artillery fire. Upon receiving notification of the event, on the morning of January 4, PHR-Israel contacted the army and tried to coordinate the evacuation of the family but to no avail. For six days, the army prevented the evacuation of the family, prevented ambulances from approaching the area, and did not provide food and water to the family or medical assistance to the wounded. On January 6, two of the wounded were able to leave their house, holding a white flag, and were compelled to walk for 2 kilometers until reaching an emergency vehicle. The other wounded were too weak to follow them. Only on January 10 were the family members able to leave their house walking and carrying their wounded.
On January 16 at approximately 2 in the afternoon three members of the Shurrarb family, the father and two sons were hit by automatic fire on their car as they were trying to gather supplies during the humanitarian ceasefire. One son was almost immediately killed, the second son was wounded in the leg and the father of was lightly injured by shrapnel. Soldiers besieged the area around the car. PHR-Israel's requests to the army to assist or evacuate the wounded were not addressed and the injured son, with no medical assistance, was losing considerable amounts of blood. At midnight the father informed PHR-Israel that his second son had bled to death. Mahmud, the father, told PHR-Israel's representative that his son cried and asked him to call an ambulance and that the soldiers at the location cursed him and threatened that if he did not put down his cell phone, they would shoot him. Mahmud and the bodies of his two children were evacuated on January 17 at 12:00 in the afternoon, 24 hours after the shooting incident
Attacks on Medical Personnel
The report details 12 incidents, including occurrences in which helicopters and tanks fired on ambulances and medical personnel. In other instances medical teams were turned away by soldiers from areas that they reached to treat the wounded
On December 31 a helicopter hit a medical team that had set out to offer help to a bleeding injured person in the northeast Gaza Strip. The doctor, the paramedic, and the wounded person they had gone to help were killed.
On January 10th five Red Crescent ambulances and a Red Cross car entered the Al-Atatra neighborhood and tank fire erupted in their direction. An ambulance driver and paramedic were injured and the medical team left without evacuating the wounded.
The report further shows that though the Israeli health system was prepared and able to receive the wounded from the Gaza Strip only few were actually referred to Israel for treatment. The closing of the crossings, bureaucratic obstacles put forward by Israel, the collapse of the coordination system, and later, the refusal of the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas to refer the wounded to Israel resulted in the fact that during the 22 days of the offensive, 6 out of 5380 wounded people received medical treatment in Israel.
The report calls the army to reiterate to its soldiers the protection granted under international law to medical personnel performing their duties and must prosecute those who violate these provisions.
Furthermore, because the testimonies indicated that the violations were neither individual nor isolated incidents, PHR-Israel convened an independent committee of international experts on forensic medicine and public health, who worked in the Gaza Strip collecting additional testimonies, examining the extent of the incidents and investigating suspicions of violations of medical ethics, the army's ethical code and international law. This report is expected to be published by the committee on April 6. 2009.
Physicians for Human Rights Israel argues that the attack on Gaza revealed a stark decline in IDF morals concerning the Palestinian population of Gaza, which in reality amounts to a contempt for Palestinian lives The army's repeated promises to the High Court to look into attacks on medical teams and medical centers have gone unfulfilled, and there are suspicions concerning its seriousness and readiness to carry out the matter. PHR-Israel therefore believes it is critical that the investigation of the attack on Gaza is completed by a neutral, external investigator without ties to the Israeli army.
In the absence of a proper Israeli investigation, PHR-Israel demands that a neutral, independent international body carry out a thorough investigation. Should this investigation find Israel had violated the International Law, the Customary Law and the Israeli Law, those responsible for these violations should be brought to justice and Israel should be held responsible for the rehabilitation of the victims of these violations.
For additional details contact Ran Yaron: 972547577696 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Killings and Concentration Camps: A Colossal Humanitarian Tragedy is Underway in Sri Lanka and No One is Saying a Word
By Arundhati Roy - April 1, 2009
What is happening right now in Sri Lanka, and what is being so effectively hidden from public scrutiny, is a brazen, openly racist war.
The horror that is unfolding in Sri Lanka becomes possible because of the silence that surrounds it. There is almost no reporting in the mainstream Indian media -- or indeed in the international press -- about what is happening there. Why this should be so is a matter of serious concern.
From the little information that is filtering through, it looks as though the Sri Lankan government is using the propaganda of "the war on terror" as a fig leaf to dismantle any semblance of democracy in the country, and commit unspeakable crimes against the Tamil people. Working on the principle that every Tamil is a terrorist unless he or she can prove otherwise, civilian areas, hospitals and shelters are being bombed and turned into a war zone. Reliable estimates put the number of civilians trapped at over 200,000. The Sri Lankan army is advancing, armed with tanks and aircraft.
Meanwhile, there are official reports that several "welfare villages" have been established to house displaced Tamils in Vavuniya and Mannar districts. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, these villages "will be compulsory holding centres for all civilians fleeing the fighting". Is this a euphemism for concentration camps? Mangala Samaraveera, the former foreign minister, told the Telegraph: "A few months ago the government started registering all Tamils in Colombo on the grounds that they could be a security threat, but this could be exploited for other purposes, like the Nazis in the 1930s. They're basically going to label the whole civilian Tamil population as potential terrorists."
Given its stated objective of "wiping out" the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, this malevolent collapse of civilians and "terrorists" does seem to signal that the government of Sri Lanka is on the verge of committing what could end up being genocide. According to a UN estimate, several thousand people have already been killed. Thousands more are critically wounded. The few eyewitness reports that have come out are descriptions of a nightmare from hell.
What we are witnessing, or should we say what is happening, in Sri Lanka -- and what is being so effectively hidden from public scrutiny -- is a brazen, openly racist war. The impunity with which the Sri Lankan government is being able to commit these crimes actually unveils the deeply ingrained racist prejudice that is precisely what led to the marginalization and alienation of the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the first place. That racism has a long history -- of social ostracism, economic blockades, pogroms and torture. The brutal nature of the decades-long civil war, which started as a peaceful protest, has its roots in this.
Why the silence? In another interview Samaraveera says that "a free media is virtually non-existent in Sri Lanka today." He talks about death squads and "white van abductions", which have made society "freeze with fear." Voices of dissent, including several journalists, have been abducted and assassinated. The International Federation of Journalists accuses the Sri Lanka government of using a combination of anti-terrorism laws, disappearances and assassinations to silence journalists.
There are disturbing but unconfirmed reports that India is lending material and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government in these crimes against humanity. If the reports are true, it is outrageous. What of the governments of other countries? Pakistan? China? What are they doing to help or to harm the situation?
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu the war in Sri Lanka has fueled passions that have led to more than 10 people immolating themselves. The public anger and anguish, much of it genuine, some of it cynical political manipulation, has become an election issue.
It is extraordinary that this concern has not traveled to the rest of India. Why is there silence here? There are no "white van abductions" -- at least not on this issue. Given the scale of what is happening in Sri Lanka, the silence is inexcusable. More so because of the Indian government's long history of irresponsible dabbling in the conflict, first taking one side and then the other. Several of us -- including myself -- who should have spoken out much earlier have not done so, simply because of a lack of information about the war.
So while the killing continues, while tens of thousands of people are being barricaded into concentration camps, while more than 200,000 face starvation, and a genocide waits to happen, there is dead silence from this great country.
It's a colossal humanitarian tragedy. The world must step in. Now. Before it's too late.
Canada pushing for Sri Lanka ceasefire: Cannon (APRIL 9, 2009) http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Canada+pushing+Lanka+ceasefire+Cannon/1482168/story.html
OTTAWA Rejecting a call by the Sri Lankan envoy to Canada to end days of disruptive protests in Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Thursday that Canada is pushing the United Nations for a ceasefire in the troubled South Asian country."We've asked for an immediate ceasefire. We're very worried, of course, of the hostilities that are taking place but particularly worried for the civilians that are in the combat zone," Cannon said."We certainly call upon the government (and the Tamil Tigers) . . . to let these civilians leave."Tamil protesters disrupted traffic in downtown Ottawa for the third consecutive day Thursday. CLIP
Sri Lankan military denies shelling safe zone (April 9, 2009) http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/04/09/sri-lanka-rebels.html
The Sri Lankan military denied on Thursday that it had shelled a "no-fire" safe zone in the north, the latest in a series of contradictory accounts of the conflict in the South Asian nation. The pro-rebel TamilNet.com website said 129 civilians were killed and 282 wounded after army artillery shells landed in a tiny safe zone in the northeast measuring just 20 square kilometres. Many Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters have been pushed into the safe zone after government troops, as part of a massive military campaign, captured vast swaths of rebel territory in recent months. CLIP
UN official appeals to save lives of Sri Lanka's war trapped civilians ( 2009-04-08) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/08/content_11145665.htm
COLOMBO, April 7 (Xinhua) -- An United Nations representative on Tuesday appealed to Sri Lanka's warring parties to ensure the safety of civilians trapped in the northeastern battle zone. The appeal was made by the Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Walter Kaelin, who ended his 4-day visit to Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Kaelin said in a statement that "I am deeply concerned for the lives of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the 14-square kilometer area of the Vanni declared by the government of Sri Lanka as a no-fire zone." "Large numbers of civilians already have been killed or wounded," Kalin said in the statement. The statement added that following reports that LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) fighters now have been pushed almost entirely into this zone, many more are at risk of losing their lives. CLIP
A quarter of the world's population depends on degrading land
Productive cropland and forest most affected
March 20, 2009 - A new study published in the journal Soil Use and Management attempts for the first time to measure the extent and severity of land degradation across the globe and concludes that 24% of the land area is degrading often in very productive areas.
Land degradation - the decline in the quality of soil, water and vegetation is of profound importance but until now there have been no consistent global data by which to assess its extent and severity. For nearly thirty years the world has depended on the Global Assessment of Soil Degradation (GLASOD) based on the subjective judgement of soil scientists who knew the conditions in their countries. GLASOD indicated that 15 per cent of the land area was degraded, but this was a map of perceptions, rather than measurement of land degradation.
The new study by Bai et al. measures global land degradation based on a clearly defined and consistent method using remotely sensed imagery. The results are startling. The new assessment indicates that 24 per cent of the land has been degraded over the period 1981-2003 - but there is hardly any overlap with the GLASOD area that recorded the cumulative effects of land degradation up to about 1990.
One of the authors, Dr David Dent of ISRIC - World Soil Information explains: "Degradation is primarily driven by land management and catastrophic natural phenomena.
Our study shows the extent and severity of land degradation measured in terms of loss of net primary productivity, making allowance for climatic variability. Overall, a quarter of the world's population depends directly on these degrading areas. The worst-hit areas are Africa south of the Equator, SE Asia and S China. The worst-affected countries, with more than 50 per cent of territory degrading are, in Africa, the Congo, Zaire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Zambia and the most affected (95 per cent degrading) Swaziland; in Asia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Korea and Indonesia. In terms of the rural population affected, the greatest numbers are in China, with nearly half a billion, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Brazil. The usual suspects, such as the African Sahel and around the Mediterranean are much less affected."
The resulting loss of carbon fixation from the atmosphere over the measured period amounts to a thousand million tonnes. At a shadow price of $50 per tonne, the loss of carbon fixed amounts to $50 billion and the real cost is far greater in terms of emissions to the atmosphere through loss of soil organic carbon.
Comparison with land use reveals that 19% of the degrading area is cropland and 43% forest. Cropland occupies 12% of the land area and forest 28%, so both are affected disproportionately.
The study found only weak correlations between degrading land and rural population density and with biophysical factors such aridity. The researchers conclude that more detailed analysis of land use history is needed to uncover the underlying social and economic drivers of land degradation.
In our modern society, we rely on the education system to teach us what we need to know to live and make a living.
That system has let us down badly. It is in the interest of those who control the current economic system, those with the established wealth and power, that we not know that there is a better way to make a living than working for them, doing meaningless work as wage slaves, just to buy ourselves some leisure time to do what has meaning for us.
We each need, personally, to rediscover the joy and meaning of natural work, of Natural Entrepreneurship. Finding the Sweet Spot is an attempt to get you started on that journey.
We need a blossoming of millions of Natural Enterprises, connected and collaborating and supporting each other as part of a dynamic Natural Economy.
But what we also need, collectively, as a society, is a blossoming of thousands, millions of Natural Enterprises, connected and collaborating and supporting each other generously as part of a dynamic new Natural Economy. Is such a thing possible?
Buckminster Fuller, who accomplished some pretty amazing things in his areas of expertise, said:
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
And Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, chimed in:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
This is where you come in.
I'm asking you to do more than just freeing yourself from a life of grinding, miserable, meaningless work by creating your own Natural Enterprise.
I'm asking you to join me in being a part of a model "that makes the existing model obsolete."
A model of a million Natural Enterprises, all communities within their own physical communities, the places they live and call home, and all communities within a new community of Natural Economy.
It's not enough that I show you, dear readers, the way to create a Natural Enterprise, and start you on this journey. We owe it to our larger community, our fragile planet struggling under the oppressive weight of an industrial economy that is destroying it, the larger community of all-life-on-Earth, that we take heart from Bucky Fuller and courage from Margaret Mead and create, together, a model that will show the world that there is a better way to make a living, and a better way to live.
We can do this. This Natural Economy could come about as quickly and miraculously as the Industrial Economy was ushered in by the steam engine and the division of labor, and could transform the way we make a living just as dramatically.
This Natural Economy is nothing more than a huge Natural Enterprise in which we will all be, must all be, partners. Its collective Purpose is nothing less than to save the world. Between us, we have the collective Gifts and collective Passions and the capacities and knowledge that are "on Purpose" to make it happen.
When you first go to the Natural Enterprise Web site you will find a Pledge. This Pledge is to join in equal partnership with others creating Natural Enterprises, to be a model, to help show the whole world a better way to make a living, responsibly, sustainably, joyfully.
Please join me in taking that Pledge, and becoming part of what might be, through the power of people, knowledge, innovation, partnership, collaboration, and generosity, the most important enterprise the world has ever known.
From: The Orion Project (email@example.com)
Date: April 7, 2009
Subject: Important Update from Dr. Steven Greer
WE NEED YOUR HELP URGENTLY
The Orion Project- thanks to your very generous support- has set up a small lab and research project staffed with four dedicated scientists and workers. They are working on a modest budget to do what billions of our tax dollars spent at the Department of Energy have failed to do: Create a fundamentally new way of generating clean energy. The team is headed by a brilliant physicist- a man who I have known for years and has a deep understanding of the secrets of Nicola Tesla and the secrets of electromagnetism. Within the coming weeks, we hope to complete the first prototype of a device running purely off of the electromagnetic energy in the space around us. No input from fossil fuels, no emissions, no pollution of any kind!
This team has already had very worrisome surveillance by shadowy people around their homes and an attempted break-in to the inventor's home. This harassment may escalate as we get closer to completing the device. We have two security people working with them, and have put security monitoring equipment in place. All of this is costly and we need your help NOW. Please make a very generous contribution to The Orion Project today - we need an additional $100,000 immediately to safely continue this work. Click here to donate.
Also, write to President Obama and encourage him to read our Energy Briefing and provide funding for new energy projects such as this one. Also, ask the President to investigate the harassment of such inventors by a shadowy cabal of operatives intent on keeping our civilization addicted to oil and coal. As taxpayers, we are spending billions of dollars on energy projects in the stimulus bill - yet not one dime is going into these new advanced energy solutions- or protecting these inventors from this type of harassment!
Thank you for your generous support of this breakthrough energy project, which is being solely funded by generous contributions from people like YOU! We need your help now more than ever and we appreciate whatever help and support you can give for this historic project.
(...) We have identified a number of advanced technologies to replace the need for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power, thus eliminating pollution and the geopolitical instability resulting from the existing systems.
These technologies fall into three broad categories (examples are listed in Section 4.0):
1. Transitional technologies. These are devices or processes that enable existing energy sources to be much more efficient, reduce pollution or clean up existing environmental hazards. For example, add-on devices to retrofit cars and trucks with a technology that significantly increases fuel economy.
2. Electromagnetic energy devices that are overunity. These include generators, solid-state devices and magnetic plasma devices that perturb the zero point energy field (or quantum vacuum flux field) to tap electromagnetic energy and create usable power, without a net external fuel source or pollution.
3. Advanced propulsion systems that use electromagnetic fields to alter the mass and space around an object to allow for lift and drive. These electrogravitic systems will enable travel to be pollution free, rapid and without the use of fossil fuels of any type or use of surface roads.
Heretofore, most efforts focusing on these technologies have been classified projects that have refused to allow widespread application and use due to various corrupt special financial and energy interests. Engineers, scientists, and inventors have either been absorbed into these so-called black projects or worked alone, without adequate R and D funding, support, strategic security or a professionalized process.
The Orion Project is an organization created to transform the current energy, environmental and social crisis into a world of sustainability and Enlightened Abundance.
Technological progress in the areas of advanced physics and electromagnetic systems, if appropriately supported, will enable humanity to live on the Earth with a minimal footprint with genuine long-term sustainability.
For over 100 years, these advanced concepts in energy generation have either been ignored or actively suppressed due to the power of fossil-fuel based economic and industrial interests.
Imagine a world where every home and village has its own clean source of electrical energy, free from the cost of fossil fuels, nuclear power or a centralized electric grid.
Imagine every means of transportation running off of clean power plants, using no source of fuel and creating no pollution.
Imagine the developing world blossoming with these new technologies and the equatorial rain forests protected from slash and burn subsistence farming and logging.
Imagine all inter-city transportation above the ground and the millions of acres paved over with highways freed for productive agriculture and recreation.
Imagine all manufacturing being clean-fuel sourced, using no-cost or low-cost energy.
Imagine the possibility of 100% recycling because the energy cost of transporting recycled materials, processing them and scrubbing pollution out of the air and water approaches zero.
This is no mere pipe-dream, but a world that is well within our grasp to create- in our lifetimes. Imagine... and see that it is a reality.
The Orion Project is dedicated to:
Supporting the world's most accomplished engineers, physicists, and inventors who have developed innovative solutions to energy generation.
Cleaning up the fossil fuel power sources currently in use.
How You Can Help:
The Orion Project urgently needs your help. Nothing short of a global, peaceful Manhattan Project can reverse the growing crisis of energy resource depletion, environmental collapse, global warming and geo-political conflict created by our current dependence on oil, gas and nuclear technology.
The technologies outlined on our website - in addition to solar and wind - provide our best hope for attaining true sustainability, peace and Enlightened Abundance for all of humanity.
Please make a donation to The Orion Project to support our Technology Development Program and to see that these emerging sciences are disclosed and implemented globally as soon as possible.
Our immediate goal is to raise a minimum of $3 million from individuals like you and from foundations and corporations concerned about the looming environmental and energy crisis. This sum will enable us to substantially support the research and development of the technologies outlined on our site through our Breakthrough Campaign.
Volunteer your skills to help The Orion Project meet its goals. We have a need for volunteers with a variety of skillsets, and this list will continue to grow as the project gathers momentum.
The future of our planet and of human civilization depends on wise, courageous and bold leadership and innovation. Will you join us?
Amazing new energy invention confiscated: Could transform energy generation worldwide (April 3, 2009) http://www.examiner.com/x-6495-National-Intelligence-Examiner~y2009m4d3-Amazing-new-energy-invention-confiscated-Could-transform-energy-generation-worldwide
A new energy revolution is brewing thanks to open source technology. A determined inventor just recently created a magnetic motor which appears to run without any energy input. Not only that, he has posted directions describing exactly how he made it on the Internet, with the hope that others will repeat and improve on his work. Few in the general public are aware that an exciting new group called the New Energy Movement has developed and grown rapidly in recent years. This pioneering movement is loosely comprised of thousands of inventors and scientists exploring energy generation techniques based on non-traditional physics, most notably something called zero point energy. CLIP
ESSENTIAL READING TO KEEP UP WITH WHAT REALLY IS...
Third density energy playing out; Earth's ascension progress; simpler lifestyle compatible with advanced technology; evolving human nature; "time" in the continuum; life in the Golden Age; multiple lifetimes for balanced experiencing; psychics' information sources; recap of messages' content.
April 9, 2009
This is Matthew, bringing you loving greetings from all souls at this station. We see your consternation about events and decisions that seemingly are irreconcilable with the continuously intensifying light on and surrounding your planet. There is growing evidence of reformation in various countries around the world, but also it is business-as-usual or the same hard line in some governments; and brutality, killings and legal injustices still abound. Our beloved Earth family, it can be no other way at this juncture, as third density energy streamers are lashing out with their last gasp of forcefulness as the energy plays itself out.
On the world stage and in personal lives, you are seeing and experiencing the effects of everything in acceleration plus the magnification of human characteristics and behavior in action. The combination of these universal forces is bringing into public view the hold that the darkness has on some individuals at the same time increasing numbers are opening hearts and minds to the light. The ultimate outcome will be lighted souls living peacefully and sharing Nature's bounty in a wondrous world. This is what you have been promisedwhat already IS in the continuum is coming to pass in your linear time.
Even as we rejoice with all who see the light of the Golden Age "at the end of the tunnel," we see that others feel discouraged because reforms are not coming more swiftly. A process the magnitude of transforming a low third density world into a full fourth density world does not happen rapidly. Progress doesn't follow a direct line from the starting point to the destinationit is a very long zigzagging process as the advocates of change become more powerful and the opponents of change step up their efforts to keep the status quo. In the case of Earth, some in the latter camp have recognized the influence of the darkness in themselves and shaken loose from it while others have not yet accepted that their resistance to global reform will be futile, thus the zigzagging progress will continue until the last tattered remnants of darkness are gone and light beings are victorious.
Let us put this into a linear timeframe. Many civilizations evolutionary journey from third to fourth density spans thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of your calendar years. Earth's starting point was only 70 years ago, and the myriad changes since then that are propelling her into fourth density will be completed by the end of your year 2012. With everything in acceleration, which includes your sense of "time" passing faster and faster, you are almost there! Earth's ascension has been at a uniquely phenomenal speed, without precedence in this universe!
And fourth density is not her stopping pointher destination is fifth density, and life along the continuing journey will become more and more glorious. With this perspective in mind, patience can come much more easily as events steadily unfold in these last transitional stages of vanquishing the lingering darkness. And, just has been the case all along, the most far-reaching objectives and achievements are happening out of the public eye. Recognizing and feeling grateful for all signs of progress, from grassroots movements on up to the international scene, is to your great benefitthe light in gratitude has an amazing ability to uplift the spirit.
And now replies to several specific questions that we are happy to answer.
Since people are planting gardens, forming small cooperative farms and strengthening community ties, how will this simpler lifestyle fit in with what you have said about long-suppressed technology coming out and more will be brought here by space beings? A simpler lifestyle is a choice some are making as they follow their inner voice, and others are discovering that it is an excellent way to deal with the economic situation. But embarking upon a simpler, cooperative lifestyle is much more than either a choice or dealing with the economy in satisfying waysit is evidence that the light is evoking fundamental changes in human nature.
The most basic qualities inherent in the soul are surmounting half a century of relentless advertising that led many to acquire, acquire, acquire, while mainstream media was suppressing the plight of billions living at bare subsistence level or as slaves. Now there is fast-growing emphasis on humanitarian assistance to impoverished peoples and stopping the slave trade as "keeping up with the Joneses" is losing its momentum. Mainstream media and many entertainment forms have been strategically designed to promote violence and at the same time create numbness to it, and to glorify war and instill fear of "aliens." That multi-thrust aim is missing its mark now: More and more people are calling for an end to war and other killings, distrusting media reporting, and beginning to believe that benevolent civilizations are nearby. Religious dogmas are giving way to the emergence of true spiritualitythe conscious knowing that all peoples at soul level are inseparable from God and each other. All of these changes are evidence of the spiritual renewal that includes the desire for a simpler life, and absolutely there is a place for this alongside technology! As linear time marches onand it is doing so at an incredibly swift pace as your collective consciousness approaches the universal continuumyou will see that the choices dearest to your heart will be perfectly aligned with technology so far advanced that you can hardly even imagine its speed and effectiveness.
I have combined and summarized readers comments and questions that relate to temporal situations. We are told to live "in the now," but to learn from experience, don't we need to keep the past in our "present" thoughts, and isn't it practical to plan for the future so we can be proactive rather than let the chips fall where they may? If we are supposed to visualize a better world so we can manifest it, but the "Golden Age" already has been created, how can what we do now affect it?
Because the cellular memory embedded in your DNA is constructed with the concept of linear time, that is your only frame of reference for what your history has recorded and what you have experienced to date, what is going on in your life and your world in this moment, and looking ahead to the outcome of plans. In a recent message, we spoke about the altering of DNA to "dumb down" Earth humankind, and programming the cells with aging, death and linear time was part of that. Until your cellular memory is restored to its original state, which is being accomplished via light absorption, it has no capacity to comprehend the universal continuum, where everything that ever was, IS.
The best explanation we can offer is this: In the continuum, what you think of as past, this moment and the future actually is a series of events that you are creating with your every thought, feeling and action; and what is termed "reincarnation" is a soul's multiple lifetimes that are occurring simultaneously. That is why some people can "remember" another lifetime, why experiences in other lifetimes can affect this one, and why your present choices can and do influence other lifetimes.
You did understand this when you chose in your most recent pre-birth agreement to participate in Earth's transition into the Golden Age. It was exactly this understanding that motivated many billions of souls to ask to reincarnate so they could contribute the strengths of their composite experiencing. Those who were chosen to become part of the master plan were certain that in this Earth lifetime, their thoughts and feelings would lead to actions that would help wind up third density on the planet and usher in the Golden Age.
Nevertheless, in their great wisdom, the master planners anticipated that once confronted by the difficulties of actual physical experiencing, some people would courageously adhere to their soul contracts by following their intuition, instincts and inspirations; and others would falter due to closing their minds, which would prevent the consciousness-raising they had felt in spirit they would achieve when embodied. That is why the master plan includes other civilizations help in many different ways to assist Earth humankind who instinctively are following their soul contracts to create the better world of their visions.
At this stage of your consciousness-raising, linear time still is firmly in place, but how you use it can change. For instance, learning from past experiences need not be a matter of keeping them in the forefront of your thoughts so you can avoid foolhardy decisions; this can be an automatic reaction that is wiser than the previous reaction to a similar situation. Always, following your intuitionthe immediate reaction to any situation that is presentedis far more to your advantage than analyzing which of your previous experiences is most applicable to the new situation.
Since we are the ones creating the "Golden Age" by our thoughts, etc., and there are so many different cultures, ideas and beliefs, how can you be so sure that everyone will be satisfied?
We are sure not only because we see that world from our vantage point, but we visit there! For further assurance, we also say that only those who absorb the light can physically survive in the high vibrations of the Golden Age, and those vibrations are of love, peace, harmony and respect for all of Nature. Although we cannot imagine that anyone could be dissatisfied in that idyllic environment, we suggest that this writer and any who share his interests read about life in that world. ["Essay on 2012," December 31, 2007, in Matthew's Messages on http://www.matthewbooks.com ]
Please explain how both of your statements can be correct: "In balance there is only light" and "Balance is the reconciliation of light and dark." Also, please explain what is meant by "The goal of every lifetime of a soul is to achieve balance and reintegrate with God."
Godby whatever name one calls the Supreme Being of this universeis a part of Creator's balanced pure light-love energy essence, and every incarnate soul in this universe is a "personal" part of God in an experiencing form. Thus each soul comes into a physical lifetime with balanced energy, which contains full awareness of its Beginnings, and the goal of each is to retain that balance as its "self" follows its soul level guidance. However, a "veil" of forgetfulness falls between the soul's awareness and the self's conscious knowledge as the infant adapts to expectations of parents and later, other authority figures, peers and society.
The veil is by divine design, so that each physical lifetime can offer the advancement in spiritual and intellectual growth that comes with greatly diversified experiencing throughout the universe. With Creator's cosmic law of free will and the immense spectrum of conscious choices, each time a soul incarnates, it has unlimited opportunities to attain the balance needed to evolve into the next higher state of being. This evolutionary pathway is available to every incarnate soul in every station throughout the universe. Because the collective consciousness of Earth's residents had spiraled downward for millennia, as generation after generation succumbed to the influence of the darkness, her peoples who are embracing the light are on their way back to fourth, then fifth density.
Now then, all participants in pre-birth agreements choose their respective roles, which are based in unconditional love for all others in the shared lifetime. Agreements are designed to benefit all the participating souls through their filling gaps in a third density physical lifetime or completing unfinished karmic lessons, which leads to balanced experiencing. By necessity, the role of some souls is within what is most commonly called "darkness" because it appears to be the opposite of light; but darkness is the absence of light, and since light and love are the same energy, simply expressed differently, darkness is the absence of love. The only way to heal individuals who have been captivated by dark persuasions is by filling their "absence" with love, the original ingredient of all souls. I know I digressed, but that is an important point.
Now back to the souls who agree to play "dark," or heavy, roles so other souls in the agreement have the opportunity to achieve balance. As an example, when in one lifetime a person is a warrior who tortures and kills an enemy warrior, in another lifetime the two switch places to allow both an opportunity to achieve balance in that respect. And since at soul level, each willingly chooses to play both roles in different lifetimes in order to assist the other, there is reconciliation of the light and the dark. This not only pertains to every one of the billions of souls embodied on the planet, but the countless souls living throughout our universe. When you consider that every celestial body also is a soul, you can understand why the universe is in a constant balancing motion.
Reintegration with God is simply a return in full consciousness to our inseparable Beginnings in the Oneness of All. Although civilizations in higher densities know this, third density consciousness precludes that knowledge and instead, there is widespread belief that every person is separate from every other and everyone is far removed from God. Or there is no belief in God.
A few of a psychic's predictions about what would happen in my life were accurate, but more were not. Where does a psychic's information come from and why is some right and some wrong?
Highly spiritually evolved souls with psychic clarity do not make "predictions," and what I shall explain pertains only to persons of that caliber, because many who offer this service are not that highly qualified. Some individuals may think they are clearly "reading" for the client, but their ability is not well developed or they may give a reading under stressful circumstances that preclude clarity. Other individuals, who know they are frauds, give a reading based on information they cleverly elicit from the client and then embellish.
Now then, your request for information is the "key" that lets the psychic reader, or psychic intermediary or medium, enter your Akashic recordinformation about all your lifetimeswhich otherwise is securely "locked" against entry even by your soul. This is a safeguard so that never can a record be altered in any way by any self-serving soul. Because of the energy in love bonds as well as some souls mission to help wherever needed, many others may come into a reading: family or friends in spirit, your guardian angel, spirit guides, or souls in physical civilizations with whom you shared other lifetimes. Also, the psychic may receive information about you from her or his special sources, and in extraordinary cases, may go directly to the universal mind. All of that input is in addition to what the psychic sees in your personal field of potentialthe energy of all thoughts, feelings and actions of your life to that point. The energy momentum in the various areas of your life at the time of the reading indicates possibilities, probabilities and certainties; and a clear psychic can distinguish which is which. Now then, your free will choices and energy focus subsequent to the reading keep on affecting your field of potential. Therefore, what appeared to be a certainty at the time of the reading may have become only a possibility or vice versa, which you think of as "inaccurate predictions."
Personal information imparted by the kind of psychic I just described indeed can be very helpful to individuals. If this were not so, there would be none of these specially gifted persons on Earth, as everything there is for a purpose, and what I am about to say does not pertain to that source of information. Readers have been requesting more frequent messages during these times when so much is transpiring in your world, and some have suggested weekly updates. It is important that you understand why this cannot be.
Always the purpose of these messages has been to explain in a universal context what is happening on Earth and the reason for multiple lifetimes, to offer spiritual guidance, and to give glimpses of the world you came to Earth to help create. We have told you why you are magnificent, powerful souls, about the opposing energy forces of the light and the dark and the crucial importance of light absorption, and the essential ways members of our universal family have been assisting you. We have described life in spirit worlds and physical civilizations in densities other than third, why religious dogmas were developed, and the power of thought and the power of fear.
Some messages have included parts of the "Matthew books" for wider availability of vital information, such as God's explanation of "who I am" and the full story of NESARA. Although the messages are not forums for nations politics or economies, those topics have been covered to the extent necessary to show their prominence in the Golden Age master plan. In offering hope, optimism and encouragement, we have assured you that there will be no nuclear war or drastic changes in Earth's land and sea masses; and during the transitional period leading to 2012, there will be an end worldwide to all that is harmful, from environmental destruction to vaccines, low frequency wavelengths, unjust laws and all other kinds of pernicious controls.
This comprehensive information and much more that is provided in almost 90 messages is timeless in its enlightenment value, and much already has been repeated because everything is interrelated. So in that respect, you could say that "our job is done." But in this way it is not: One of our primary objectives has been to wean your dependence on external sources for information and motivate you to go withinthe answers for you lie within your soul. You receive those answers by developing your innate ability of discernment and trusting your intuition, and we have given guidelines to attain this essential stage of soul evolvement.
In short, giving frequent updates is the job of current events reporters, which never has been our intentionit would belie our spiritual information mission objectives. At soul level, and hopefully now at conscious level too, you know we are here for you in the ways that all of us agreed: Our loving, healing energy is with you in every moment of your lifetime journey of self-discovery.
Received through Suzanne Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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