The Writing on the Wall Series #61: Global Annus Horribilis
There would be much to say about the ever-louder alarms bells warning about total collapse of much everything, which of course I've been faithfully reporting to you through my previous compilations but especially in this packed one... which I hope you'll take time to investigate/read. On the one hand, there is the BIG Distraction, that is all the bad economic news wiped into a daily frenzy in mainstream news, while the real causes of this manufactured crash are generally well hidden from the still mesmerized and increasingly anxious public. Then there are the equally under-reported real crisis -- of the global drought affecting food production worldwide which will soon trigger a tsunami of hunger, famine and death for literally billions of human beings; of the silent but real, entirely man-made sixth mass extinction episode wiping out of existence millions of species soon to leave in tatters the web of life to which we are all intricately connected; and of a whole host of other global crises too long to enumerate here.
Likewise there is another growing chorus of doomsayers and hate-mongerers in the U.S. doing their utmost best to stir up fear, inciting popular unrest and revolt against the bad rich men of AIG, Madoff and the like, and lots of agitators, especially at FOX news, painting in dark shades every move of the Obama Administration (remember how the Republicans gave hell to Clinton during his entire presidency!), while a whole bunch of other people --- many of whom have been so badly burned by years of deceit and Cabal maneuvering under Bush Sr and Jr that they can but ascribe evil intents to Barack Obama who, admittedly, has surrounded himself with Wall Street and Zionist operatives to keep some of his enemies closest to him, as he explained, while convincing them that he is going to protect their interests, in a tricky Aikido move (whereby you use to your advantage the momentum of your opponent's attack to propel them into a direction of your choice) --- express great doubts and just can't bring themselves to trust anything Obama does, without offering any kind of "solution" out of the threats they see to our freedoms and our future.
Obviously, there are causes for concern as you'll find below in $30 Billion For Israel's Military and the related articles and videos, especially The Obama Deception -- As some of you may have noticed, I've been resisting so far networking material from those who say the whole Obama quasi cult movement is a ploy by the elite to further expand the dictatorial agenda of the Bush era under a benign disguise, but after viewing this whole video, I've decided to give you an opportunity to see for yourself what their arguments are. Alex Jones, who has written and directed this video, has a whole different way of interpreting the facts at hand and he is not alone in doing so, as you'll see in this video. If you can make time for this, I suggest you take 1 hour and 50 minutes to watch this and see for yourself if this is just all paranoid conspiracy stuff - as I believe much of it is - or something we should be concerned about.
Yet after watching Obama's masterful pedagogic exercise this Thursday evening, on Jay Leno's show, as he explained in simple terms the gist of what he is trying to accomplish against incredibly difficult odds - the legacy of 8 years of Bush/Cheney shenanigans, something he doesn't even bother pointing as any regular politician would normally do - I'm still convinced that he is deftly playing a gigantic game of poker, bluffing out his adversaries (the Elite, Bilderberg & co) while gradually steering the US ship into a new direction away from the abyss the dark conspirators are trying to precipitate us all into, while inspiring people with his calm confidence that in the end the best is us all will prevail and a brighter future will rise for everyone.
At this point, we are each choosing side in this cosmic play and planetary testing ground of our spiritual mettle: either we believe that the Power of Good, Love and Peace will prevail and we align ourselves to push/row in that direction, or we let fear, hatred and doubt prevail in ourselves, allowing the worst thoughts to be the core focus of our lives and guide our words and actions. Either way, we shall soon reap the results of our choices, and enjoy the rewards or suffer the consequences...
In the Grand Universal Scheme of Things, this is yet another replay of the same eternal story of our soul's erratic wanderings away from the Light of Source, as we explore and experience the depths and duress of the Illusion of Separation, until the day finally comes when we are ready once again to deploy our wings and soar back to the penultimate Love Fest in Oneness with Who We Are.
Happy Equinox and may Love be the guiding Light of your Life ;-)
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"Collapsing healthy economies with currency speculation, fabricating trillions of dollars in fictitious debt and destroying productive businesses with short selling, these vultures have swarmed across the globe devouring one nation after another. The US is their current target. Another Board Director at the predatory Bank for International Settlements, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, used the standard Rockefeller-Rothschild blueprint for engineering the US financial collapse: deliberately expanding cheap credit to inflate the web of debt, entice rampant speculation and then suddenly withholding credit to violently contract the economy. A tactic used by Rothschilds Bank of England to rob and control its colonies, this violent contraction catalyzes waves of foreclosures, bankruptcies and layoffs that force sellers to accept pennies on the dollar for their assets. Alternatively described as Milton Friedmans economic Shock Treatment and Henry Kissingers blueprint for making the economy scream, this financial terrorism is a psychopathic formula to bring a nation to its knees. Instead of allowing a handful of corrupt Wall Street investment banks to implode from well-deserved bankruptcy, The Swindler Bailout engineered by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve extorts trillions of taxpayer dollars to purchase worthless junk loans from racketeers, reimburse speculators for their gambling losses, finance mergers and acquisitions to devour healthy banks and concentrate unearned wealth in expanded syndicate banking monopolies. Government loans could have been directly issued to victims of predatory lenders to refinance the mortgages that have devastated home values nationwide. Instead, taxpayer loans to the generators of these toxic assets reward criminals and simultaneously drain the US Treasury. Insurmountable debt, engineered by the Systemic Usury Parasite and compounded by the Swindler Bailout, lays the groundwork for structurally adjusting the American economy, permanently stripping citizens of their remaining assets, health care protection and their confiscated wages held in trust by the Social Security Administration. This premeditated Grand Theft is the prelude for national insolvency and subsequent sale of the nations assets to transnational pirates."
"Today, at the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, at the Spring Equinox of 2009, we are surrounded by apocalyptic events and here in America, we live in a country where roughly a third of the people believe in the imminent literal end of the world, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. Yet at the same time we who live on this planet at this time stand poised for greatness. The promise of a truly global civilization, equal rights for men and women, breakthroughs in the science of renewable energy, and a new and enhanced global spirituality that is based on respect for Mother Earth and transcends all religious differences, are all very real and very palpable to those who can sense the possibilities for a global Renaissance. I think that events in the world reflect this world's status as a midway point between spirit and matter. There are other worlds with more evolved civilizations, more spiritually evolved populations, and other worlds with less evolved and more barbaric or more evil or more matter-entrapped civilizations. Earth is a magnificent place to work out an understanding of the dualities inherent in material creation for this reason alone. At this time in Earth's history, the human population is reaching the end of a long period of evolutionary history which highlighted the advances of the individuated consciousness, the rational mind, and the scientific model of reality as applied to the material world, considered as separate from the observer and separate from the world of energy, ie spiritual worlds. Thus we find ourselves trapped in a materialistic culture that worships material success and power over nature, power over other sentient beings, and for this reason is self-destructive in the extreme. The social structure of this society is a reflection of this moment in evolutionary consciousness, highly structured, hierarchical, and driven by mental considerations of perceived self-interest on the part of small elites who govern on the principles of fear, greed and obfuscation. However, the next evolutionary step for human beings is to re-establish conscious ancient connections with the web of life, with the extended consciousness of the human over-soul, and with the multitude of spiritual beings in higher worlds, to offer in self-sacrifice their highly developed individuated consciousness to the Higher Self, and to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth. This is the task of the next Cosmic Day, the Age of Aquarius, as we progress from the depths of the Kali Yuga, and the Piscean crucifixion on the cross of matter into the Dawn of the Aquarian moment of stellar synchronicities, which are the material manifestation of spiritual energies accessible to the human mind, and of the dawning of scientific spirituality -- all symbolized by the seven pointed star."
"A very strange event is unfolding. Many Astrologists and seers are saying March 20th is a pivotal point and great changes will come soon after. Everything from UFOs appearing all over the world to economic meltdown. The same date keeps reappearing and to top it off a friend keeps getting text messages from the future giving the March 20th date along with XU which is an ancient name for God. Just a heads up to be alert and observe. Strange occurrences and synchronicities are unfolding so there very well may be something afoot. Don't miss the As You Wish Talk Radio Saturday where we will have an update. www.bbsradio.com Saturday 8pm pst"
1. I Have a Duty...
2. PLEASE DON'T RIOT ... IT'S JUST WHAT 'THEY' WANT
3. Reforming the Global Financial System: Flushing the Parasites
4. Global meltdown hits world's poor hardest
5. Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production
6. Mexico, Pakistan, and the So-Called "Failed State": Washington's War on "Narco-Terrorism"
7. US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights
8. FOLLOW THE MONEY / MADOFF, MOSSAD, AIG AND 9/11
9. $30 Billion For Israel's Military
10. Everyone agrees: War in Gaza was a failure
11. Afghanistan: A surge towards disaster
12. Gates: U.S. to be highly cautious in launching pre-emptive strike
13. Denmark's Wind of Change
14. Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: Banking Comparisons
Loonie jumps higher (March 19, 2009) http://business.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090319.wloonie0319/BNStory/Business/home
(...) Mr. Porter said the U.S. dollar is absolutely on its heels at this point, following the U.S. Federal Reserve Board's decision to purchase up to purchase $300-billion in longer term Treasury securities. Bank of Nova Scotia currency strategist Sacha Tihanyi said in a research note that the move took the currency markets by surprise. As we have seen repeatedly, when a central bank announces the intention to purchase longer term government bonds through the creation of reserves, the currency market immediately reacts negatively and pushes the currency in question down, Mr. Tihanyi wrote.Yesterday's reaction kept to the script and the U.S. dollar was immediately and heavily sold against all comers, with the euro skyrocketing 3 per cent against the greenback, sterling not too far behind and the Canadian dollar gaining 2.3 per cent [against the U.S. dollar Wednesday], Mr. Tihanyi said.
Federal Reserve to buy $300B of U.S. gov't securities (March 18, 2009) http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/03/18/fed-bonds.html
Moving in a new way to boost the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will buy up to $300 billion US of long-term government securities over the next six months. Saying the U.S. economic situation has deteriorated since its January rate decision, the U.S. central bank said it will also buy up to $750 billion US in additional mortgage-backed securities, bringing its total purchases of these securities up to $1.25 trillion US this year. The move came as the Fed left its key interest rate unchanged at a range between zero and 0.25 per cent. The central bank said it expects interest rates will remain low for "an extended period" to bolster the U.S. economy, which has been in recession since December 2007. "Job losses, declining equity and housing wealth, and tight credit conditions have weighed on consumer sentiment and spending," the Fed said."Weaker sales prospects and difficulties in obtaining credit have led businesses to cut back on inventories and fixed investment. U.S. exports have slumped as a number of major trading partners have also fallen into recession." Buying up U.S. government securities is a new move for the Fed as it tries to stimulate the economy. Purchasing the Treasury debt would bolster their prices and reduce their yields, which would have the effect of making borrowing cheaper on debt, such as mortgages, tied to Treasury rates.
The Federal Reserve is Bankrupt: How Did It Happen and What are the Ugly Consequences? (March 10, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12648
The Federal Reserve is bankrupt for all intents and purposes. The same goes for the Bank of England!This article will focus largely on the Fed, because the Fed is the "financial land-mine". How long can someone who has stepped on a landmine, remain standing hours, days? Eventually, when he is exhausted and his legs give way, the mine will just explode!The shadow banking system has not only stepped on the land-mine, it is carrying such a heavy load (trillions of toxic wastes) that sooner or later it will tilt, give way and trigger off the land-mine! In a recent article, I referred to the remarks of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Obama calling for the shadow banking system to be outlawed. Even if the call was genuine, it is too late. The land-mine has been triggered and the explosion cannot be averted under any circumstances. The only issue is the extent of the damage to the global economy and how long it will take for the world to recover from this fiasco a financial madness that has no precedent. The great depression is "Mary Poppins" in comparison! The idea of a central bank going bankrupt is not that outlandish. I am by no means the first author who has given this stark warning. What underlies this crisis (which I initially examined in an article in December 2006) is the potential collapse of the global banking system, specifically the Shadow Money-Lenders. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor said :"The process of socialising the private losses from this crisis has moved many of the liabilities of the private sector onto the books of the sovereign. At some point a sovereign bank may crack, in which case, the ability of the government to credibly commit to act as a backstop for the financial system including deposit guarantees could come unglued."Please read the underlined words again. "Sovereign bank" means central bank. When a central bank "cracks" i.e. becomes insolvent, "all hell breaks lose", because as the professor correctly pointed out, "any government guarantees will ring hollow and will be useless".If a central bank goes belly up, it is as good as the government going bankrupt. Period! In another article, Roubini admitted that the pressure on "the financial land-mine" is totally unbearable. He wrote: "The US Financial system is effectively insolvent". CLIP
PBS Exposes Federal Reserve and Promotes 9/11 Truth - FUNDRAISERS TURN to TRUTH in HARD TIMES? MUST WATCH !!! - MUST NETWORK !!! - MUST ACT !!! - MUST WATCH !!! - MUST NETWORK !!! - MUST ACT !!! - http://gators911truth.blogspot.com/2009/03/kdbi-pbs-fundraiser-promotes-911-truth.html
On March 5th, 2009 the local PBS station, KBDI, in Denver Colorado broadcast the ground-breaking expose, "AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM" as a fundraiser for the station. They invited Gary Franchi to come and talk about the points of the film during breaks. Franchi spoke as a patriot to expose the unconstitutional function of the Federal Reserve system. Also, a donation of $240.00 came with a premium of 6 DVD's. Among them was "ZERO: AN INVESTIGATION INTO 9/11" an Italian-made documentary that supports the increasingly educated assertion that 9/11 was a False Flag operation. See new evidence from AE911Truth.org: CLICK HERE - SEE THE REMARKABLE KBDI VIDEO (10 min) RESTORE THE REPUBLIC is the late Aaaron Russo's website that demands a stop to the polarization of Americans against each other by the corporate domination of the Democratic and Republican parties over our political system. Harold Saive's online public comment at KBDI - Yours is the only PBS station I know that has the spine to tell Americans the truth about what's happening in their country. This is a welcome breakthrough to those who have invested so much time, sweat, tears and blood to expose the False Flag terror attack on 9/11/2001 that remains the root and pretext of all the evil that followed. In Dec, 2008, Architect, Richard Gage, AIA received a response from the FBI that evaluates his video presentation showing conclusive evidence for controlled demolition of the Twin Towers as "...backed by thorough research and analysis". More information on this sizzling breakthrough CLICK HERE - We will eagerly support KDBI even though we have stopped supporting PBS in general due to their criminal complicity to protect the government cover-up of the Truth.
Help Free Aung San Suu Kyi (18 Mar 2009) http://www.avaaz.org/en/free_burma_political_prisoners
Burmese pro democracy leader and Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent 13 years detained by the Burmese military junta. She and thousands of fellow monks and students have been imprisoned for bravely challenging their brutal regime with calls for democracy. This week a glimmer of hope has risen for their release, and it's time for us to stand with them. Risking danger to speak out for their jailed friends, Burmese activists this week demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and called on the world to help. As the global economic crisis makes aid flows more essential, Burma's generals are becoming more vulnerable to international pressure, but we need a flood of petition signatures to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to make this a top priority. Follow the link to sign the petition, and forward this email on to make sure she and her fellow prisoners are freed. CLIP
NOTE from Jean: I've been flooded with strident foaming-at-the-mouth emails (see some examples below) and yet all this hoopla appears widely exaggerated. Here is why... The Organic Consumers Association sent on March 18 the following reality-check comment on this bill:
"This week, we received numerous calls and emails from OCA supporters who came across alarming YouTube videos and emails circulating on the Internet that claimed a new food safety bill (HR 875) introduced in Congress would make "organic farming illegal." Although the Bill certainly has its shortcomings, it is an exaggeration to say that is a secret plot by Monsanto and the USDA to destroy the nation's alternative food and farming system. In actuality, 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 as somewhat 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 joke 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 - The Federal Take-Over of Food Regulation (3/13/09) http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-02mar2009.htm
(...) Passage of HR 875 into law will result in a much greater degree of federal control of food production and food regulation in the individual States as well as on a national level. The Feds would control to a much greater degree the inputs farmers can use [Section 206(c)(3) & (4)] as well as the products farmers can produce (raw milk). Unannounced federal inspections of small farms will be the order of the day, reducing the level of protection provided by the Fourth Amendment. There will be little left of the States police power to regulate food. (...) The burdensome requirements the bill imposes on small farms and the intrusive federal control it creates over small farm operations threaten the future viability of sustainable agriculture and the local food movement. HR 875 has been assigned to both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Agriculture. It needs to be stopped. Anyone who values freedom of food choice and the rights and independence of small farmers should contact their elected representatives and the members of the two committees to ask that they oppose HR 875.
OUTLAW Organic Farming? Just say NO! Urgent Call to Action (6 mars 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0COikR0nA0
They're doing it. Soon. Monsanto has got his wish and they are attempting to Nationalize Farming and our Food Source. This is outrageous and requires immediate action!
Lawmakers trash the Constitution (March 16, 2009) http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/lamb/090316
It appears that the lawmakers who assemble in Washington have no idea what the Constitution says, or worse, they simply don't care. The 4th Amendment says quite clearly, that:"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...."Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro has introduced the "Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2009 (HR875). Her bill will create a new Food Safety Administration and give its administrator the authority to "conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products or the environment," on every family farm, ranch, vineyard, and fishing hole in the country. Moreover, the administrator can visit and inspect the property and demand that the owner present "papers and effects," and all records relating to food production.There is nothing in this bill that requires that the administrator show probable cause or that evidence be presented to a judge to secure a warrant for entry into the property. The 4th Amendment explicitly prohibits government from entering private property without a warrant, "describing the place to be searched, and the persons or thing to be seized." CLIP
Michelle Obamas Agenda Includes Healthful Eating - http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-12mar2009.htm
(...) Some of those who had called on President Obama to use the White House as a bully pulpit to help improve Americans eating habits are cheering Mrs. Obama on. They were thrilled to learn that the White House gets fresh fruits and vegetables from farms in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And they delighted in the news that the Obamas had served organic wine at their first big White House dinner, a gathering of the nations governors last month. Danny Meyer, the restaurateur, praised Mrs. Obama for speaking in real human terms about what kind of choices real human beings can make in terms of their own lives.Ruth Reichl, the editor of Gourmet magazine, said she was impressed to see Mrs. Obama showcase a soup kitchen that serves only fresh food nothing canned or processed to the poor. Theyre not just saying, I want to feed my family this; this is good for us, said Ms. Reichl of the Obamas. Clearly Mrs. Obama is making a point. She thinks communities across the nation deserve to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. CLIP Check also Michelle Obama digs kitchen garden at White House - Michelle Obama has begun digging an organic kitchen garden at the White House which will supply the first family with vegetables for many of their meals. (The way to go for everyone!!) (...) The White House garden is aimed to be a symbolic confrontation to childhood obesity, a fast-growing health concern in the US where many are increasingly exasperated by the overwhelming presence of fast food restaurants. Once they start dining on fennel, broccoli and spinach grown a few hundred feet from their kitchen, the Obamas will become "locavores" A locavore - a term coined by Miss Waters - is part of a larger sustainability movement that believes eating locally grown food weans dependence from large industrial farms and boosts local economies. Mrs Obama said that her daughters Malia and Sasha and the commander-in-chief himself will take time to tend to the garden. Taxpayers will be relieved to hear that after a week of controversy surrounding federally funded, multi-million dollar executive bonuses, the garden will only cost approximately $200
The Decade of Global Transformation and the New American Evolution - by Curtis Lang (March 13, 2009) http://www.satyacenter.com/decade-of-global-transformation
NOTE from Jean: Once again the breath and scope and visionary thinking of Curtis' analysis is amazing!
(...) In this newsletter, using research compiled over the last two years from honest and reliable financial experts, environmentalists, independent journalists and famous astrologers, I will give you a birds eye view of the current global financial crisis, provide you with a clear outline of its scope, depth and probable duration, and together we will take a look at the BIG picture the cultural, political, economic, social and environmental changes set to totally transform human civilization during the next decade.I maintain a steady focus on the financial, social, environmental, political and astrological factors that are most likely to shape Americas next decade. All point toward a massive awakening, a political confrontation, and a revolutionary change in the entire American way of life. I recommend some major reforms of the current banking bailout, including a call for financial democracy and for public ownership and public control of the current Federal Reserve System, which is unduly influenced by private banks for their own profit and to the detriment of the public interest.You may recall that a little over a year ago, last February, we predicted the coming collapse of the current global economic system in our Chinese New Year newsletter. (...) The bottom line is that environmental scientists, astrologers, peak oil forecasters, and honest financial commentators all agree that the current economic, political and social system is broken. Worse, our current way of life has forced 1.5 billion people into intense poverty and suffering, and is destroying the entire middle class around the world.Worst of all, our consumer society is destroying our own habitat, rendering much of the Earths surface unsuitable for human habitation while killing off literally millions of species. The system is global, and the transformation of human society that is coming will be global.If we want to see a new world emerge that is democratic, fair, environmentally sustainable and spiritual in the best sense of those words, we all will need to contribute what we can in the next two decades. If you are middle aged, like Jane and I, you might want to work out and get on a good, healthy diet and start a spiritual practice if you have not already done so. If you are young, you might want to learn skills that will be helpful during the transition and start a spiritual practice if you have not already done so. We will all need to help one another. And we will all need to be prepared to speak up, stand up and put our bodies on the line to prevent corporate fascism and fundamentalist fascism from creating a living hell on Earth. Its our choice. Its our destiny. We are the ones we have been waiting for. You may be feeling hopeless and helpless, but rest assured, that those who stay strong in body, healthy in mind, open-hearted and connected to Spirit will be given golden opportunities to contribute to the struggle to emerge from the collective chrysalis of our current failed society and fly freely in the Sun of a new dawn. Each one of us is an important worker in these changing times. CLIP
Jon Stewart can be funny -- until he's interviewing you (March 14, 2009) http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-fi-cotown-cnbc14-2009mar14,0,7086061.story
The verdict from critics Friday was quick and unsparing: Comedian Jon Stewart trounced CNBC pundit Jim Cramer in their televised encounter Thursday night. Forgoing his typically caustic humor, a serious and at times angry Stewart eviscerated Cramer for jocularly discussing how to manipulate the stock market and slammed CNBC as an ineffective watchdog of Wall Street. In the process, the host of "The Daily Show" provided one of those memorable television moments that distill the public mood -- in this case, angst about the economy's swift decline. Stewart also displayed the tough interviewing skills that belie his insistence that he's merely an entertainer. (...) James Fallows of the Atlantic declared that Stewart "has become Edward R. Murrow," while Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the investor website the Motley Fool concluded that "financial journalism's biggest celebrity looked defeated." Stewart even got a shout-out from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who praised him for asking "a lot of tough questions."" 'The Daily Show' has delivered a reminder of the need for independent-minded journalism -- and in the process rendered CNBC a laughingstock to many casual viewers that might not have afforded the channel much thought previously," Brian Lowry wrote on Variety.com. (...) "I understand you want to make finance entertaining," the comedian said. "But it's not a . . . game. And when I watch that, I can't tell you how angry that makes me."Stewart acknowledged that his ire was aimed more broadly at CNBC and the financial press in general for not alerting the public to the market's highly leveraged structure."To pretend that this was some sort of crazy once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that nobody could have seen coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst," he said. (...) Network insiders admitted privately that Cramer's appearance on "The Daily Show" was a misfire but said they had been taken aback by the vehemence of Stewart's attacks. (...) "CNBC doesn't need to retool," Rash said, "but it may need to reemphasize its journalistic roots and get as aggressive as Jon Stewart did with the network."
America cheers as satirist delivers knockout blow to TV finance gurus (15 March 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/15/usa-tv-jon-stewart-economy
For the past 10 days the US has been gripped. Even President Obama tuned in as the country's foremost TV comic, Jon Stewart, unleashed an extraordinary broadside against TV's top financial commentators for their part in the unfolding economic crisis. (...) The interview was one of those classic television moments that crystallised the public mood in the credit crisis. Stewart articulated the anger and bewilderment of millions of Americans who now feel ripped off and afraid. He framed the question everyone wanted asked: how were the financial masters of the universe allowed to pursue their ruinous behaviour unchallenged for so long? It caught the attention of the White House, prompted a frenzy among bloggers and soul-searching in the media, which failed to spot the biggest story of a lifetime or warn the public until it was too late. Indeed, CNBC and other supposedly objective journalists stood accused of complicity with big business, belonging to a cosy coterie that egged on company chief executives and fanned the flames of excess. The interview has also burnished Stewart's reputation as the last best hope in the media when it comes to, in the earnest phrase of news network CNN, "keeping them honest". It was this comedian who, like a court jester, told uncomfortable truths about the Iraq war when the mainstream media was playing cheerleader. Now, as the financial apocalypse unfolds, it is Stewart again who is scything through the herd mentality and culture of deference. CLIP
IMF poised to print billions of dollars in 'global quantitative easing' (16 March 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/recession/4986287/IMF-poised-to-print-billions-of-dollars-in-global-quantitative-easing.html
The International Monetary Fund is poised to embark on what analysts have described as "global quantitative easing" by printing billions of dollars worth of a global "super-currency" in an unprecedented new effort to address the economic crisis. Alistair Darling and senior figures in the US Treasury have been encouraging the Fund to issue hundreds of billions of dollars worth of so-called Special Drawing Rights in the coming months as part of its campaign to prevent the recession from turning into a global depression. Should the move, which is up for discussion by the summit of G20 finance ministers this weekend, be adopted, it will represent a global equivalent of the Bank of England's plan to pump extra cash into the UK economy. However, economists warned that the scheme could cause a major swell of inflation around the world as the newly-created money filters through the system. The idea has been suggested by a number of key figures, including billionaire investor George Soros and US Treasury adviser Ted Truman.Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF, said: "The principle behind it is that everyone would get bonus dollars and instead of the Federal Reserve having to print them, everyone gets them. "The objective is to create a windfall of cash. However if everybody goes out and spends the money it could be very inflationary."
U.N. panel says world should ditch dollar (20 Mar 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE52H2CY20090318
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar. Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the panel of experts, told a Reuters Funds Summit in Luxembourg that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket. Persaud, chairman of consultants Intelligence Capital and a former currency chief at JPMorgan, said the recommendation would be one of a number delivered to the United Nations on March 25 by the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Financial Reform."It is a good moment to move to a shared reserve currency," he said. Central banks hold their reserves in a variety of currencies and gold, but the dollar has dominated as the most convincing store of value -- though its rate has wavered in recent years as the United States ran up huge twin budget and external deficits.Some analysts said news of the U.N. panel's recommendation extended dollar losses because it fed into concerns about the future of the greenback as the main global reserve currency, raising the chances of central bank sales of dollar holdings." Speculation that major central banks would begin rebalancing their FX reserves has risen since the intensification of the dollar's slide between 2002 and mid-2008," CMC Markets said in a note. CLIP
Russia wants to start debate on new reserve currency at G20 (18/ 03/ 2009) http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090318/120627306.html
(...) Russia earlier put forward a suggestion to the G20 summit which would see the IMF examining possibilities for creating a supra-national reserve currency, and also forcing national banks and international financial institutions to diversify their foreign currency reserves."We believe it is necessary to consider the IMF's role in this process and also define the possibility and the need to adopt measures allowing for Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to become an internationally recognized super-reserve currency," Russia's proposals read.The G20 summit, involving advanced and emerging economies and international financial institutions, will be held in London on April 2, and will discuss the international community's efforts to overcome the ongoing global financial crisis.
China backs talks on dollar as reserve -Russian source (March 19, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/usDollarRpt/idUSLJ93633020090319
MOSCOW, March 19 (Reuters) - China and other emerging nations back Russia's call for a discussion on how to replace the dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, a senior Russian government source said on Thursday. Russia has proposed the creation of a new reserve currency, to be issued by international financial institutions, among other measures in the text of its proposals to the April G20 summit published last Monday.Calls for a rethink of the dollar's status as world's sole benchmark currency come amid concerns about its long-term value as the U.S. Federal Reserve moved to pump more than a trillion dollars of new cash into the ailing economy late Wednesday. CLIP
The Size of the Derivatives Bubble = $190K Per Person on Planet The Invisible One Quadrillion Dollar Equation (March 16, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12753
According to various distinguished sources including the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland -- the central bankers' bank -- the amount of outstanding derivatives worldwide as of December 2007 crossed USD 1.144 Quadrillion, ie, USD 1,144 Trillion. The main categories of the USD 1.144 Quadrillion derivatives market were the following: 1. Listed credit derivatives stood at USD 548 trillion; 2. The Over-The-Counter (OTC) derivatives stood in notional or face value at USD 596 trillion and included:a. Interest Rate Derivatives at about USD 393+ trillion; b. Credit Default Swaps at about USD 58+ trillion; c. Foreign Exchange Derivatives at about USD 56+ trillion; d. Commodity Derivatives at about USD 9 trillion; e. Equity Linked Derivatives at about USD 8.5 trillion; and f. Unallocated Derivatives at about USD 71+ trillion. Quadrillion? That is a number only super computing engineers and astronomers used to use, not economists and bankers! For example, the North star is "just" a couple of quadrillion miles away, ie, a few thousand trillion miles. The new "Roadrunner" supercomputer built by IBM for the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory has achieved a peak performance of 1.026 Peta Flop per second -- becoming the first supercomputer ever to reach this milestone. One Quadrillion Floating Point Operations (Flops) per second is 1 Peta Flop/s, ie, 1,000 Trillion Flops per second. It is estimated that all the data found on all the websites and stored on computers across the world totals more than One Exa byte of memory, ie, 1,000 Quadrillion bytes of data. CLIP
Wall Streets and the Citys Attempt to Destabilize the EU Banking System and the Euro - Growing Transatlantic Tensions on the Eve of the G20 Summit (March 17, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12774
According to LEAP/E2020, there are only two options left for the G20 leaders who gather next April 2nd in London: either they rebuild a new international monetary system, creating the conditions for a new global system that involves all the main global players, and reducing the crisis to a maximum of 3 to 5 years; or they strive to prolong the current system, thrusting the world into a decade long tragic crisis starting at the end of 2009.In this 33rd edition of the GEAB, we wish to describe the two ways forward that remain open until summer 2009. Beyond that, our team estimates that the short-term crisis option will be obsolete and that the world will be on the path towards global geopolitical dislocation (1), and a deep and decade-long crisis.For this reason, due to the urgency, LEAP/E2020 has decided to publish next March 24th on a global scale an open letter to all the leaders of the G20. This will be our teams attempt to divert the system from the long and tragic crisis option.The situation appears all the more worrying in that tensions are growing on the eve of the April 2nd summit. Indeed a number of thinly disguised threats on the part of some G20 leaders, as well as various attempts to manipulate public opinion on the part of others are to be observed. (...) If the G20 Summit fails to prevent the world entering into the phase of geopolitical dislocation, similar operations of manipulation and destabilization will increase in number, each regional block trying to discredit their opponent, like any zero-sum game (18) : a player gains the other players lose.
World Wide Web Turns 20 (March 13, 2009) 16 min TED video - THE WEB was born of this man's frustration! http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269123
On this day in 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web or as it is better known the Web; the impact of this young breakthrough has been phenomenal.What may be even more exciting is to think about where the Web is going in the future. Not surprisingly, Berners-Lee has some great ideas about where the web should go next. He pictures a major advance that could serve as the foundation for innovations that we can't even imagine today. One year ago, Berners-Lee said all the pieces needed to build a new Semantic Web are now in place. In February, he gave an impassioned talk at the high-profile TED conference about a related concept called Linked Data.
Internet celebrates 20 years since conception (13 Mar 09) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jJdPg7v9hc
Twenty years ago today, the idea of the internet began. A gentleman named Tim Berners Lee came up with the concept of the World Wide Web. Today, the internet is used by more than one and a half billion people worldide. But not everywhere.
Apollo 11 Armrstrong These babies were huge, sir! (19-3-2009) http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread447131/pg1
Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin saw UFOs shortly after landing Apollo 11 on the moon. The following conversation was picked up by ham radio operators that had their own VHF receiving facilities that bypassed NASAs broadcasting outlets. At the time this happened, live television broadcast was interrupted for two minutes due to a supposed overheated camera, but the transmission below was received by hundreds of ham radio operators. According to Otto Binder, who was a member of the NASA space team, when the moon-walkers, Aldrin and Armstrong were making their rounds some distance from the LEM, Armstrong clutched Aldrinss arm excitedly and exclaimed: Armstrong: What was it? What the hell was it? Thats all I want to know! Mission Control: Whats there? Malfunction (garble).Mission Control calling Apollo 11 Apollo 11: These babies were huge, sir!.... Enormous!... Oh God! You wouldnt believe it!....Im telling you there are other space-craft out there lined up on the far side of the crater edge!...Theyre on the Moon watching us! In 1979 Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA Communications Systems confirmed that Armstrong had indeed reported seeing two UFOs on the rim of a crater. The encounter was common knowledge in NASA, he revealed, but nobody has talked about until now.
Turning sunlight into fuel some eco science magic http://www.thegreenpages.com.au/index.asp?page_id=1147
Scientists working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made a revolutionary breakthrough in capturing the energy of the sun by mimicking photosynthesis in plants
Awakening to Deeper Realities and to Our Unlimited Potential - Highly recommended! http://www.wanttoknow.info/inspirational/growth_potential_unlimited
PEERS has developed a powerful way to awaken people to the deeper realities of our world. By mixing rich inspiration with verifiable, eye-opening information in a free, online course, we are successfully reaching ever growing numbers of people and inviting them to join in building a brighter future for us all. We've had awesome feedback from those who have taken the course on how it has opened their eyes and even transformed their lives. If you watch the short videos and read the brief essays in this lesson, you cannot help but be inspired to develop your own unlimited potential and join in being the change in our world. The course lessons alternate between trips down the rabbit hole and inspiring topics which invite us to step fully into our power and be the change in the world. After exploring this compelling material, consider following the links at the end of the lesson to continue down this profound path to stepping more fully into your unlimited potential. Enjoy the inspiration!
End "Corrective" Rape of Lesbians in South Africa - Go sign the letter! http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/516925943?z00m=19752166
A new ActionAid report describes the shocking rise of "corrective" rape in South Africa - in which South African lesbians are being raped in an effort to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Support groups in Cape Town say they see 10 new cases of "corrective" rape every week. And it's even more widespread around the rest of the country. Many perpetrators of rape already go unpunished in South Africa, but the situation is even worse for lesbian women. Indeed, 31 lesbian women have been murdered in homophobic attacks since 1998, but in only one of these cases has there been a conviction. Although South Africa's constitution recognizes rights of gay and lesbian people, its legal system does not view crimes committed against gay and lesbians on the basis of sexual orientation to be hate crimes. The South African legal system must recognize "corrective" rape as a hate crime in addition to a rape in order to establish a greater punishment for this brutal and widespread act of sexual violence. Urge South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to deem "corrective" rape a hate crime!
Je vous recommande aussi d'appuyer la campagne suivante - c'est URGENT!
POUR LAMOUR DU SUCRE SANS OGM AU CANADA http://www.infossante.com/pour-lamour-du-sucre-sans-ogm-au-canada/
Pour lamour du sucre sans OGM, empêchons la culture des betteraves transgéniques au Canada, qui pourrait commencer dès le mois prochain!Envoyez dès maintenant un courriel à la compagnie Lantic Inc. en vous rendant sur http://www.rcab.ca/sucresansOGM- Posez un geste avant le 8 avril 2009! Le délai a été prolongé alors, agissons! Cest le bon temps, cette compagnie se veut à lécoute des consommateurs. Si vous ne voulez pas dOGM dans votre assiette, dites le dès aujourdhui. Deux minutes pour se faire entendre et passez le mot, sil vous plaît. Lentreprise montréalaise Lantic inc. est à décider si elle doit accepter la betterave transgénique de Monsanto ou la rejeter et rester exempte dOGM. Seule entreprise au Canada à transformer la betterave à sucre (cultivée en Alberta), Lantic a le pouvoir de stopper la culture de betteraves à sucre GM au Canada. Le sucre Lantic est exempt dOGM. En avril, passez à laction pour empêcher la plantation de betteraves transgéniques!
MONITORING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
Obama Puts Up $2.4 Billion for Electric Vehicles (19 March 2009) http://www.truthout.org/032009M
Pomona, California - President Barack Obama Thursday unveiled a 2.4 billion dollar boost for electric vehicle development, vowing to compete with foreign nations in the race to be world leader on renewable energy. "We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad or we can create them here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity," Obama said on the second day of a campaign-style swing in California. Obama said the money would be used to develop next generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and advanced battery components and would create tens of thousands of US jobs and reduce reliance on foreign oil. He set a target of putting a million of the environmentally friendly vehicles on US roads by 2015. The plan would also give a 7,500 dollar tax credit to people who buy plug-in hybrid vehicles, Obama said, as he toured a plant in southern California developing the new generation transport. "The nation that leads on energy will be the nation that leads the world in the 21st century," Obama said. CLIP
AUDIO "America's Fiscal Collapse - Obama's Budget Will Impoverish America" Radio Interview with Michel Chossudovsky (March 12, 2009) http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12674
At first sight, the budget proposal has all the appearances of an expansionary program, a demand oriented "Second New Deal" geared towards creating employment, rebuilding shattered social programs and reviving the real economy. The realities are otherwise. Obama's promise is based on a mammoth austerity program. The entire fiscal structure is shattered, turned upside down. To reach these stated objectives, a significant hike in public spending on social programs (health, education, housing, social security) would be required as well as the implementation of a large scale public investment program. Major shifts in the composition of public expenditure would also be required: i.e. a move out of a war economy, requiring a movement out of military related spending in favour of civilian programs. In actuality, what we are dealing with is the most drastic curtailment in public spending in American history, leading to social havoc and the potential impoverishment of millions of people. The Obama promise largely serves the interests of Wall Street, the defence contractors and the oil conglomerates. In turn, the Bush-Obama bank "bailouts" are leading America into a spiralling public debt crisis. The economic and social dislocations are potentially devastating. Obama's budget submitted to Congress on February 26, 2009 envisages outlays for the 2010 fiscal year (commencing October 1st 2009) of $3.94 trillion, an increase of 32 percent. Total government revenues for the 2010 fiscal year, according to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Budget, are of the order of $2.381 trillion. The predicted budget deficit (according to the president's speech) is of the order of $1.75 trillion, almost 12 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. War and Wall StreetThis is a "War Budget". The austerity measures hit all major federal spending programs with the exception of: 1. Defence and the Middle East War: 2. the Wall Street bank bailout, 3. Interest payments on a staggering public debt. The budget diverts tax revenues into financing the war. It legitimizes the fraudulent transfers of tax dollars to the financial elites under the "bank bailouts". The pattern of deficit spending is not expansionary. We are not dealing with a Keynesian style deficit, which stimulates investment and consumer demand, leading to an expansion of production and employment.
US tells China its bond investments are safe (14 March 09) WATCH THIS FIRST AND THEN THE NEXT ONE... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV-ghe_XwFg
The White House has reassured China that its hundreds of billions of dollars in US bond investments (1 trillion in fact!) are safe, despite the global economic crisis. Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, has called on Washington to ease worries about the security of those assets.
Obama - Our Chinese Credit Card: Bank of China - Buying United States Bond (28 avril 2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE6GxVI-su4
LISTEN TO WHAT OBAMA SAID DURING HIS CAMPAIGN AND COMPARE THAT WITH WHAT HE IS DOING NOW!
Why is China buying our Bonds? Beck Puts The Puzzle Together; Lower deficit, Clinton goes to China (23 février 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV4d-BtkA1g
Why does it take Glenn Beck to put these pieces of the puzzle together? What is the mainstream media reporting on? Why do they not get it? Are they so much in love with Obama that their judgment and reasoning have left them, and now they are inept?I wonder how much longer they can hold this fiscal house of cards together. This is all going to catch up with us eventually; it's just a matter of time. There will be come a time when faith in the United States will end; they will not believe us anymore, they will have lost confidence in our government. If you go to your bank you will see an FDIC sign that states how your deposits are "backed by the full faith and credit of the United States". When people read that sign and then start laughing hysterically, then you will know that the end is near. That is why President Obama is acting so serious about the debt lately; he does not want the rest of the world to lose their confidence in us, especially China.
Obama tries to stop AIG bonuses: 'How do they justify this outrage?' http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/16/AIG.bonuses/
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama said Monday he will attempt to block bonuses to executives at ailing insurance giant AIG, payments he described as an "outrage." "This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed," Obama told politicians and reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were unveiling a package to aid the nation's small businesses. The president expressed dismay and anger over the bonuses to executives at AIG, which has received $173 billion in U.S. government bailouts over the past six months. "Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" Watch why Americans have a right to be angry CLIP
The sanctity of AIG's contracts (March 16, 2009) http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/03/16/aig/index.html
(...) Apparently, the supreme sanctity of employment contracts applies only to some types of employees but not others. Either way, the Obama administrations claim that nothing could be done about the AIG bonuses because AIG has solid, sacred contractual commitments to pay them is, for so many reasons, absurd on its face. As any lawyer knows, there are few things more common or easier -- than finding legal arguments that call into question the meaning and validity of contracts. Every day, commercial courts are filled with litigations between parties to seemingly clear-cut agreements. Particularly in circumstances as extreme as these, there are a litany of arguments and legal strategies that any lawyer would immediately recognize to bestow AIG with leverage either to be able to avoid these sleazy payments or force substantial concessions. Since the contracts are secret and were apparently just supposed to rely on the claims of AIG and Treasury Department lawyers, its impossible to identify these arguments specifically. But there are almost certainly viable claims to be asserted that the contracts were induced via fraud or that the bonus-demanding executives themselves violated their contracts. Independently, its inconceivable that there arent substantial counterclaims that AIG could assert against any executives suing to obtain these bonuses, a threat which, by itself, provides substantial leverage to compel meaningful concessions. Many of these executives were, after all, the very ones responsible for the cataclysmic losses.The only way a company like AIG throws up its hands from the start and announces that there is simply nothing to be done is if they are eager to make these payments. One might expect AIG to do so -- they haven't exactly proven themselves to be paragons of business ethics -- but the fact that Obama officials are also insisting that nothing can be done (even while symbolically and pointlessly pretending to join in the populist outrage over these publicly-funded "retention payments") is what is most notable here. CLIP
Outrage against AIG set to mount (MARCH 16, 2009) http://english.aljazeera.net/business/2009/03/20093152398905338.html
Outrage against American International Group (AIG) is set to grow after the ailing insurance giant said that more than half the taxpayer bailout money it has received has been paid to investment firm Goldman Sachs and several European banks.AIG's disclosure on Sunday that Goldman and the banks had received $90bn out of the $173bn of bailout money it received, came as US government officials and politicians expressed anger at the $165m in bonuses that AIG said it had to pay its employees. AIG said it paid out $90bn to firms such as Goldman Sachs formerly led by Henry Paulson, who was treasury secretary at the time of the original AIG bailout - and to European banks such as Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and Barclays. While the payments were not illegal, the fact that billions of dollars given to prop up AIG were then transferred to European banks and Goldman Sachs could raise new doubts about whether the bailout was economically necessary. CLIP
AIG Threatened With Subpoenas Over Bonuses (March 16, 2009) http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7093689&page=1
The hot seat is getting even hotter for AIG Chairman and CEO Edward Liddy. Not only has President Barack Obama called on his Treasury Secretary to do everything possible to block the bailed-out insurance company from doling out $165 million in bonuses, but now the New York Attorney General has announced that he will issue subpoenas immediately for the release of the names and job descriptions of those receiving bonuses. "Taxpayers of this company are now supporting AIG, and they deserve at the very least to know how their money is being spent," wrote Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a letter he sent to Liddy Monday. "And we owe it to the taxpayers to take every possible action to stop unwarranted bonus payments to those who caused the AIG meltdown in the first place." AIG has received over $170 billion from the government so far. Cuomo had given AIG until 4pm to turnover the information, and he announced late Monday that AIG failed to meet those demands and that subpoenas would be issued immediately. CLIP
This note from someone else was forwarded by Linda Evans (email@example.com) : "I couldn't figure out why would the Congress let some firms go under and then bend over backwards to help others. NOW this makes sense!!!!!! (Why hasn't it gotten national press coverage?) Remember when this economic crisis hit, and Congress let Bear Sterns go under, pushed a bunch of forced marriages between banks, etc.? Then they bailed out AIG. At the time, I thought: "That's strange. What does an insurance company have to do with this crisis?" I think I just found the answer. Among other things, AIG INSURES THE PENSION TRUST OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS!! No wonder they got bailed out right away! To hell with the people, let's protect our future, said all our Senators and Congressmen. Nice to see where their loyalties lie! Check http://bx.businessweek.com/aig/
Fed-up Americans mobilize: More than 170 tea parties (March 15, 2009) http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91398
A revolution is brewing as American patriots and free-market advocates unite in protest against out-of-control government spending - with a wildfire movement of more than 170 nationwide tea parties.
Obama Says US Military Will Change, But Remain World's Strongest (12 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-12-voa60.cfm
President Barack Obama says the United States will continue to maintain the strongest military in the world and that it will focus more on unconventional threats. But the president also told an audience at the National Defense University in Washington that the country needs to improve its ability to deliver civilian aid and advice abroad in order to prevent wars. Speaking to a largely military gathering as he dedicated a new building at the university, President Obama made this pledge."Now make no mistake, this nation will maintain our military dominance," he said. "We will have the strongest armed forces in the history of the world. And we will do whatever it takes to sustain our technological advantage and to invest in the capabilities that we need to protect our interests, and to defeat and deter any conventional enemy." But the president also said the U.S. military must be prepared for unconventional enemies - insurgents like the ones American troops are fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan. To that end, Mr. Obama said he is continuing the Bush administration's program to increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and to change the way troops are trained. CLIP
Obama Tackles Ambitious Agenda During First 100 Days in Office (11 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-11-voa59.cfm
President Barack Obama has now reached the halfway mark in his first 100 days in office, a traditional benchmark when new presidents are evaluated on their progress. Mr. Obama has laid out an ambitious agenda that has focused on reviving the weak U.S. economy. But, some critics and experts wonder if the president is trying to do too much too soon. From the very start, beginning with his Inaugural Address, Barack Obama promised an ambitious presidency."Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real," he said. "They are serious and many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America, they will be met."His first and most important priority was dealing with the weak U.S. economy. But Mr. Obama also moved quickly to begin the process of reining in the cost of health care while at the same time expanding coverage to the uninsured. The new president has also promised to reform education and move the country toward energy independence.For some critics like Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, it is just too ambitious."Presidents have many problems to solve," he said. "But no one ever suggested that the wisest course is to try to solve them all at once."But in marking his first 50 days in office, Mr. Obama gave no indication that he intends to back away from his agenda. CLIP
National debt hits record $11 trillion (3/17/09) http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20139.html
The eye-popping national debt surpassed $11 trillion Monday, the largest in U.S. history. The new Treasury Department figures on the national debt were released as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to project that the annual budget deficit will be higher than previously estimated by the White House's Office of Management and Budget. The debt, which refers to the cumulative amount of money the government owes, hit $10.9 trillion on Friday. The whopping number has major ramifications for President Barack Obama, who is trying to push through a raft of big-ticket bills on health care, energy, education and climate change while also attempting to stabilize the swooning economy. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Budget Committee, said Tuesday that the numbers could force Congress to make "adjustments" to Obama's $3.6 trillion budget plan. CLIP
MONITORING THE NEW EXTREMIST GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL
Lieberman 'to be new Israel FM' (MARCH 16, 2009) http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/03/200931644830994751.html
Benjamin Netanyahu, the designated Israeli prime minister and leader of the Likud party, has signed a coalition agreement with the Yisrael Beitenu party. Under the deal, Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beitenu's leader, would be foreign minister, Israel Radio reported on Monday. The agreement is the first step towards establishing a new coalition government. (...) Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna in Jerusalem said: "Seeing how the government is set up and how the US administration is beginning to position itself, combined with the demands of the Palestinians between these factors, it's very difficult to see anything but a long period of wrangling and anger as well as little progress in peace negotiations."The important point to note is that Yisrael Beiteinu agrees to a two-state solution, perhaps different from the kind of two-state solution that Palestinians might envisage. "Lieberman's wants a pure Jewish state and anyone who doesn't pledge an oath of allegiance to Israel must be deported to another state alongside, which he sees as a Palestinian state," he said. Lieberman's appointment as foreign minister raised concerns that Israel's international ties will be harmed. Lieberman has been accused of being a racist demagogue because of his plans to require loyalty oaths from Israeli Arabs as a pre-condition for gaining citizenship. CLIP
Zionism Is The Problem (March 15, 2009) http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ehrenreich15-2009mar15%2C0%2C6684861.story
The Zionist ideal of a Jewish state is keeping Israelis and Palestinians from living in peace. (...) Israeli policies have rendered the once apparently inevitable two-state solution less and less feasible. Years of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have methodically diminished the viability of a Palestinian state. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has even refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state, which suggests an immediate future of more of the same: more settlements, more punitive assaults. All of this has led to a revival of the Brit Shalom idea of a single, secular binational state in which Jews and Arabs have equal political rights. The obstacles are, of course, enormous. They include not just a powerful Israeli attachment to the idea of an exclusively Jewish state, but its Palestinian analogue: Hamas' ideal of Islamic rule. Both sides would have to find assurance that their security was guaranteed. What precise shape such a state would take -- a strict, vote-by-vote democracy or a more complex federalist system -- would involve years of painful negotiation, wiser leaders than now exist and an uncompromising commitment from the rest of the world, particularly from the United States. Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an "epidemic" more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel's apologists have been forced. Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can't be said. It's not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, "turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground." Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.
IDF to U.S.: Israel Closing In on Taking Military Aim at Iran (March 19, 2009) !!! http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130490
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi gave United States officials fresh intelligence information on an Iranian nuclear facility during his working visit this week, according to the Saudi Arabia daily Al Watan. The newspaper quoted sources that claimed Lieutenant-General Ashkenazi told American officials that Israel is preparing for a military attack. He added that the government still prefers to see if the Western worlds diplomatic pressures can succeed in stopping the growing threat that Iran soon will manufacture a nuclear weapon. The new information concerned the facility in Arak, where a heavy water nuclear reactor is estimated to be operating. Iran also is building the Bushehr nuclear reactor at Natanz, where scientists will be able to enrich uranium that can be used for a bomb. (...) The IDF generals trip coincided with the publication of a report by a Washington-based think tank that Israel could use Jericho ballistic missiles to destroy or at least damage Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz, Isfahan and Arak. The missiles can hit a target with an error margin of only several feet. The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that Israel has 42 Jericho missiles, and that their use is much more feasible than using combat aircraft.Iran has buried its nuclear sites deep underground, making them a difficult target for aerial bombing. However, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner told the Reuters news agency that the Natanz facility is so heavily fortified that an effective attack would require the use of bombs dropped into a hole created by a missile strike.
Mr. Iran envisions 'major' war in coming months (March 14, 2009) http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=88605§ionid=351020104
Amid lingering talks of war on Iran, Israel's prime minister-designate raises the alarm about a major military conflict in the coming months. The soon-to-be prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that "a national emergency" such as Israel's involvement in a major war would help him in his frantic attempts to form a new ruling coalition. Following the inconclusive February 20 elections, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, the hawkish leader of Likud, was tasked with piecing together a new Israeli government. Netanyahu, who is known as "Mr. Iran" in Israeli circles, has so far failed to gain the trust and support of opposition parties of Kadima and Labor. According to a report carried by Debka, which is believed to have close links to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, Bibi is planning to settle for a provisional administration before calling for another early election in six months. "His main consideration is that Israel expects to be embroiled in a major military confrontation in the next few months with Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah -- or all three at once," read the Debka report. "A national emergency" would then compel Israeli rivals to join Bibi's government, unnamed political sources were quoted as saying. CLIP
Russia signs deal to supply Iran with air-defense missiles (18/03/2009) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072007.html
Russian news agencies say a top defense official has confirmed that Russia has signed a contract to sell S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran but that none of the weapons have been delivered. Russian officials have consistently denied claims that it already has provided some of the powerful missiles to Iran and had not clarified whether a contract existed. The state-run ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies and the independent Interfax quoted an unnamed top official in the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service as saying Wednesday the contract had been signed two years ago. Service spokesman Andrei Tarabrin told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment. Supplying the S-300s to Iran would markedly change the military balance in the Middle East.
What we mean when we talk about Iran nukes (19/03/2009) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072276.html
Two clocks are ticking, one in Jerusalem and one in Washington. These are the clocks that measure the Iranian nuclear threat. Apparently these do not show the same time. That, at least, would be the impression of anyone reading the Israeli and American intelligence assessments. The head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, told a cabinet meeting less than two weeks ago that Iran "has crossed the technological threshold." The United States Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, told the Senate Armed Services Committee two days later that "Iran has not decided to press forward ... to have a nuclear weapon on top of a ballistic missile." (...) That is also why the clocks in Jerusalem and in Washington are not synchronized. Israel believes Iran is no more than a few months, perhaps a little over a year, away from putting together its first nuclear device. According to U.S. estimates, on the other hand, even if Iran takes the political decision to manufacture a bomb it would not be ready until 2013 or perhaps even 2015. Because the manufacture of nuclear weapons is scientifically and technologically complex, there is considerable confusion in the media on the topic. There is already more than one ton of low-level enriched uranium in the pilot plant built over a decade ago at Natanz, which under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. At its current level of enrichment (about 4 percent), this uranium cannot produce a nuclear weapon. Iran has stated that the uranium is intended to fuel the nuclear power plant built by Russia in the city of Bushehr, which is due to go on-line this year. This amount of uranium, however, is far too small to power the Bushehr reactor, the nuclear fuel for which the Russians have contracted to supply in any event. So there is a justified suspicion that Iran has other intentions. It can take the ton of uranium, run it through the Natanz centrifuges again, at much higher speed, and produce about 20 to 25 kilograms of 90-percent enriched uranium - sufficient fissile material for a nuclear bomb. It would take between a few months and a year to do this, but it would be discovered immediately by international inspectors. Iran could expel the inspectors, but that would cause an acute international crisis, including a confrontation with Russia, which might end its nuclear cooperation with Iran. CLIP
SELECTIVE VISION: IRAN, ISRAEL AND NUCLEAR ARMS (MARCH 17, 2009) MUST READ!!! http://www.medialens.org/alerts/09/090317_selective_vision_iran.php Have journalists learnt nothing from recent history? It truly is a wonder when a reporter can assert in public, on the BBC News no less, that "Tony Blair passionately believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a grave threat." (BBC1, Six O'Clock News, February 24, 2009). When BBC reporter Reeta Chakrabarti was challenged on this remarkable display of naïveté, she compounded her grievous error by responding:"I said Mr Blair passionately believed Iraq had wmd because he has consistently said so. When challenged he has stuck to his guns." (Email posted on the Media Lens Message Board, March 2, 2009)So when a demonstrably mendacious leader claims he "passionately believed" in a lie, the media has to take him at his word. This is the same brand of journalistic gullibility that has had such tragic consequences for the people of Iraq. This is the endless, uncritical obedience to power that boosted the warmongering agenda of London and Washington, allowing them to fit 'facts' to a pre-ordained policy of launching a war of aggression. Such an act, sold by the BBC as Blair's "passionate belief", is the supreme international crime, as judged by the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal. And a similar tragic fate may yet befall the people of Iran, if the corporate media portrayal of Iran as a rogue state lorded over by "ruling mullahs", desperate to get their hands on nuclear weapons, goes unchallenged. A Nuclear Programme Under Close Surveillance At the end of 2007, a thorough assessment by the United States concluded that Iran's nuclear weapons programme had already halted in 2003. The National Intelligence Estimate was the consensus view of all 16 US spy agencies. (Mark Mazzeti, 'U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work,' New York Times, December 3, 2007) In its latest report on Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) strengthened this assessment when it stated it had "been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [for possible military purposes] in Iran." (...) However, for many years, the corporate media has been amplifying supposed "fear" in the West about Iran becoming a nuclear-armed nation alongside the US, the UK, France, Russia - and Israel.Compare the sane and sober IAEA analysis above with the Daily Telegraph's reporting last month of "fears in Israel and the US that Iran is approaching the point of no return in its ability to build atom bomb." Use of "the point of no return" is a classic scare tactic intended to induce a sense of panic. Time is running out! Soon it will be too late! As though warmongering propaganda over Iraq had taken place in a parallel universe, the paper blithely asserted that "Israeli and Western intelligence agencies believe the 20-year-old programme, which was a secret until 2002, is designed to give the ruling mullahs an atom bomb." (Philip Sherwell, 'Israel launches covert war against Iran,' Daily Telegraph, February 16, 2009; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/4640052/Israel-launches-covert-war-against-Iran.html )"Ruling mullahs" is another trigger phrase intended to resonate in the public mind alongside "mad mullahs," "Islamic fundamentalism" and "militant Islam". Remarkably, the BBC told the public, who pay for the broadcaster:"Germany has warned Iran that it would support tougher sanctions if diplomatic efforts to stop the Iranians acquiring nuclear weapons broke down." (BBC online, 'Germany warns Iran over sanctions,' 15:39 GMT, February 7, 2009; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7876659.stm )So according to the BBC, Iran is indeed trying to acquire nuclear weapons. The corporation's famed "impartiality" really is a joke. CLIP
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes 'executive assassination ring' (Mar 11 2009) http://www.minnpost.com/ericblackblog/2009/03/11/7310/investigative_reporter_seymour_hersh_describes_executive_assassination_ring
At a "Great Conversations" event at the University of Minnesota last night, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh talked about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an "executive assassination ring." Moderator U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs asked Hersh if presidents [get] drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers. Hersh replied, "Yuh. After 9/11... the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it... the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it's called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ... Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on... Under President [sic] Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us. It's complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder." CLIP
Kucinich requests investigation into 'executive assassination ring' (03/16/2009) http://rawstory.com//printstory.php?story=14819
(...) If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight," Kucinich adds. "Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth. CLIP
Lady Justice an apparition for Palestinian (7 March 2009) UK Guantanamo style prison - Terrible injustice! http://www.presstv.com/Detail.aspx?id=87840§ionid=3510302
The following is an exclusive Press TV interview with Mahmud Abu-Rida, a Palestinian refugee in the UK who tells the tale of his plight in the British kingdom. (...) In 1995, we came to Britain with our daughter as refugees - we led an ordinary life in the UK as foreigners - in this year we also received political asylum. We never had any problems and we were never arrested or investigated by the police. One morning after 9/11 when I was living in "New Malden" in London I woke up to find soldiers have broken into my house, broken down the door and came in through the backyard widow. They came in 7-10 vans backed with several sniffer dogs and weapons. They had spread out in every corner of the house; they were from different organizations: the Scotland Yard, the Immigration Department, etc.; they asked me, "Are you Mahmud Abu-Rida?" and I said, "Yes, I am". The men from the Immigration Department informed me, "We've pulled out your permanent accommodation in this country; you have nothing in this country; now you are considered a threat to the British National Security; this operation is based on a new law named the 2001 law of emergency, and you are under arrest." (...) I had excruciating pains in my stomach and all over my body, so I threw the medicine on the ground, and began shouting. The officers rushed in, bound my hands and feet, lowered my head and transferred me to solitary confinement. Everything I am telling you has been documented by them. When my friends were exercising outside the unit, anti-riot police broke into my prison cell; they were wearing chest, hand and boot protection; one of them said that from then on I would be considered as a security threat, despite the fact that I was so weak; another officer hit me on the chest so hard that I couldn't breathe anymore; they tied me and caused me enormous pain in my back- I even cried from pain. (...) All that was going on was pure racism; they insulted me, forbade me and other prisoners from eating and praying, and even sleeping at nights; they kept focusing lights on our faces 24-hours a day, claiming that we might do something during the night, so how can one sleep under such circumstances? All this is happening in March, in Britain, not in Guantanamo or in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They all have the same rules and regulations. No difference between them. I kept demanding that they let us sleep. But they forbade us from even doing that as every 15 minutes or so some of the officers would come in to inspect the cells, they would open the widows just to prevent us from falling asleep. In addition to all this, we expected to be hit or pushed at any moment. Cameras were not on all the time. During investigations, we demanded the availability of cameras, but to no avail. After 40 days we were finally allowed access to a lawyer. (...) I have done nothing wrong; I have no relation with "terrorists". (...) In 2005, the House of Lords issued an order for our release. We thought that we are finally free. Later on, they put us under house arrest based on another law that has been issued by the parliament- the same story guilty with no evidence but with a letter informing you that you are a threat to British National Security. Now, I am allowed spend 12 hours outside the house and another 12 hours inside. In addition to that, the list includes about 250 of forbidden things: (...) The British government is so bad; many laws have been issued and many honest people have been jailed. The British and the Americans are behaving similarly. Worse laws are passed every day. It is becoming a police state. I don't know how things will finally end up in this country. The British and the American Foreign Departments repeatedly release reports about torturing in Syria and some other Arab countries; however they never say anything about the people being tortured here. (...) They have hurt us so much in prison that I have no hope left but the hope to leave this country. I plead with Britons or anyone in the government who still has a sense of decency to help me leave this country. Britons are not bad people they protested against the war on Iraq and Palestine. Their protests have been the biggest in the world. I hold no grudge against them. I still rush to the help of for instance an old man I see on the street. I still have a sense of decency. A human is human above all. We are all similar. How can one human torture another? I would like to tell the policemen who came and tortured me in my own home that I am totally ready to help them if need be. If they needed water, food or anything, I would offer it to them without hesitation.
Red Cross Described "Torture" at CIA Jails http://www.truthout.org/031609B
(...) The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration's treatment of al-Qaeda captives 'constituted torture,' a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document. The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA 'black site' prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.' Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. CLIP
Mexico's Catholic Church and President Felipe Calderon Charge U.S. with Corruption (March 10, 2009) http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/93909
The Catholic Church in Mexico today chimed in and sided with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon on the controversial subject of U.S. government corruption and demanded that the U.S. government have a "change of attitude" that involves a "serious anti-corruption program to eliminate the protection that - from the highest levels of power to the businessmen and public servants - is provided the traffickers, whose impunity makes possible the commerce and consumption of drugs."[SIC] Last week we reported that Mexican President Calderon said that he blames U.S. "corruption" for hampering his nation's efforts to combat violent drug cartels. "Drug trafficking in the United States is fueled by the phenomenon of corruption on the part of the American authorities," he said. President Calderon also told the media that the main cause of Mexico's drug gang problems was "having the world's biggest consumer (of drugs) next to us." (...) It is rumored that the Mexican Government is close to naming names of American officials who profit and or benefit from the huge amounts of cash generated in their country and in the U.S. by Mexican Drug Cartels. There seems to be no U.S. Government Agency immune from corruption, the FBI, DEA, CIA, IRS, DOD, National Guard, Federal Air Marshals, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, U.S. Marshalls, ICE, Dept of Commerce, U.S. Justice, U.S. State, and even our state and federal Judiciary and others, many of which are answerable to the top U.S. Agency "Homeland Security" This powerful organization was created during the Bush administration and its power reaches around the world. After describing the US military as vain and bewildered, the hierarchy of the Church indicated in its weekly publication that Mexico has recognized the serious problem of corruption among its authorities and public servants and demanded that the U.S. do the same and initiate actions to keep watchful and clean out the public institutions that contribute to narcotraffic. The periodical characterized the attitude of the U.S. as hypocritical and having double standards for offering Mexico assistance in the drug war, but on the other hand, demonstrating that it has little ability to control the traffic of drugs and flow of money in its own country. (...) Information provided to the public by this and other reporters showed following a crash of a Gulfstream jet operated by the CIA allegedly for torture flights to Guantanamo and to other countries with loose torture laws. That particular aircraft it was found by rescue workers in Mexico to have contained 4 tons of high-grade Columbian cocaine. With the raging war on drugs and terror authorities on both sides of the border are on the take. In a war that has cost billions of American tax dollars and a business that is believed by many to profit in the hundreds of billions, it is no wonder that officials from American street cops in the borders cities to the highest levels of both governments are benefiting financially from the illegal trade of smuggling drugs, humans, and terrorist into the U.S. via Mexican drug cartel smuggling routes that don't end at the border but continue North, East and West throughout the U.S.A. More U.S. officials and cops have been caught in criminal activities then ever before. CLIP
The Fed Did Indeed Cause the Housing Bubble (15 Mar 2009) http://solari.com/blog/?p=2293
(...) Of all the actions that the Federal Reserve took to engineer this housing bubble, the one that I would note is Mr. Greenspan's efforts to pacify Congresswoman Waters regarding allegations of government sponsored narcotics trafficking at a time when open Congressional hearings would have contributed to an important discussion of the operations engaging in mortgage fraud in minority communities... Alan Greenspan is a liar. The Federal Reserve and its long standing partner, the US Treasury, engineered the housing bubble, including the fraudulent inducement of America as part of a financial coup d'état. Our bankruptcy was not an accident. It was engineered at the highest levels.
Tax Time Covert Ops (March 19, 2009) http://solari.com/blog/?p=2323
(...) Think back to the race riots. My sources have convinced me that they were started by covert ops shutting off the drug supply and seeding violent behavior. Or the school shootings. My bet is that people unwillingly put through mind control are being manipulated to help do shootings that make it easier to pass gun control laws. Sound far fetched? Spend some time studying how covert operations have been used and implemented historically and I think you will be surprised. If you have not read my online book yet, I would recommend reading it and the resource documentation provided as a good place to begin. Then watch the movies that illuminate mind control operations, including the new Manchurian Candidate, Bourne Identity, Telefon, Conspiracy Theory, Long Kiss Goodnight and La Femme Nikita. When I heard the rumor today, I was not surprised. I have been expecting these kinds of rumors and ops. With bailouts up to $12-14 trillion, the Fed announcing another $1 trillion plus monetization and AIG bailing out Wall Street and paying out large bonuses, men and women on Main Street are frustrated. This is tax preparation time. When you are scrimping to come up with money to pay your taxes, the reminders that it will be liberally spent to make the rich richer runs the risk of setting off a class war or increased tax resistance. How do you prevent a class war? How do you stop people from starting or joining tax resistance movements? Well, believe it or not, you start a race war. CLIP
Capitalisms Self-Inflicted Apocalypse MOST INTERESTING INTERVIEW!!! http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22225.htm
Michael Parenti is a longtime political analyst and author of twenty books, including Democracy for the Few and Superpatriotism. Parenti writes, Free-market corporate capitalism is by its nature a disaster waiting to happen. (...)
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the Democrats and Republicans. You said youre infuriated by the Republican response, because they just want tax cuts for the rich. But what about the DemocratsI mean, just now we were playing for you Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretaryand the approach to this crisis?
MICHAEL PARENTI: Oh, its insufficient. I mean, thats whats coming out with your questions. Its insufficient. Theyre not dealing with systemic questions. Theres all this debate about the stimulus package. Hardly a word has come out about the Federal Reserve giving away two-and-a-half trillion dollars, just giving it away unaccountably.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain that.
MICHAEL PARENTI: The Federal Reserve just wentwhile we had this $750 billion stimulus package, which was passed by Congress, the Federal Reserve printed upit can print up money and create moneyand handed out over $2 trillion to the financial community in America, with no accountability, no debate in Congress and very little notice.
AMY GOODMAN: So, whats the significance of that?
MICHAEL PARENTI: Well, the significance is that were going toI mean, thats our money, that it becomes real money when it becomes debt, and weve got to pay it. You see, the Republicans were never against debt; they were the biggest debt spenders there ever was. When Ronald Reagan came into office, the national debt was $800 billion. When he left office, it was $2.5 trillion. I mean, it was OK with him to spend. He also put in the biggest tax program that ever was, but it was a regressive tax. It was a Social Security tax on tens of millions of people. When George Bush, Sr. came in, the national debt went from $2.5 to $5 trillion. ClintonIll give him credit for that one thinghe did try to go for solvency. But when you got to George Bush, Jr., for eight years, the debt has gone from $5 trillion to $10 trillion. And these Republicans were voting for that all along. All these spending bills were theirs. So, you see, they dont mind debt, because debt is really a way of upward distribution. You tax the common people, and you give the money to rich creditors. Its a very regressive way of redistributing wealth upward. So debt is fine with them. (...) The free market does not work. It's not free. It's not really a market; it's a plunder. And it has to be done away with. CLIP
Whitney Sees Credit Cards as the Next Crunch: Report (March 10, 2009) http://www.cnbc.com/id/29611789/
Prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney warned that "credit cards are the next credit crunch," as contracting credit lines will lower consumer spending and hurt the U.S. economy. "Few doubt the importance of consumer spending to the U.S. economy and its multiplier effect on the global economy, but what is under-appreciated is the role of credit-card availability in that spending," Whitney wrote in the Wall Street Journal. Although credit was extended "too freely over the past 15 years" and rationalization of lending is unavoidable, what needs to be avoided was "taking credit away from people who have the ability to pay their bills," said Whitney, CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group. Whitney said available lines were reduced by nearly $500 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 alone, and she estimates over $2 trillion of credit-card lines will be cut within 2009, and $2.7 trillion by the end of 2010. "Inevitably, credit lines will continue to be reduced across the system, but the velocity at which it is already occurring and will continue to occur will result in unintended consequences for consumer confidence, spending and the overall economy," Whitney said. There is roughly $5 trillion in credit-card lines outstanding in the U.S., and a little more than $800 billion is currently drawn upon, she said. "Lenders, regulators and politicians need to show thoughtful leadership now on this issue in order to derail what I believe will be at least a 57 percent contraction in credit-card lines," she said. Note: Some believe that rising defaults on credit card debt could cause yet another financial shock to the system. For many more revelations of the amazing realites of the Wall Street bailout and the now world-wide financial and credit crises, click here. More related news HERE
Tent Cities Cropping Up in America (March 10th, 2009) http://www.restoretherepublic.com/economy/tent-cities-cropping-up-in-america
We keep hearing media reports about skyrocketing unemployment. But as I travel the streets of the cities of America, I find myself wondering where are all of these people living? They say they are loosing homes and jobs. Does that mean theyre ALL living with family? All several million of them? Today I got that question answered. They are living in Shanty TownsTent Citiesan eerie resemblance to the images left over from the Great Depression, and we can find these places cropping up in cities like Sacramento, Seattle, Reno, and Nashville, just to name a few. In Sacramento, MSNBC reports on an area near the rail road tracks, an area that is now home to 300. They have several tarps over the tents to keep the water out and six blankets to barely hide them from the cold. They eat out of a coffee can cooking over an open fire, and the nearest bathroom and showers are a mile away. Electricity has become a luxury they cannot afford. Why are they there? Shelters are overflowing, and they have nowhere else to go. Some of them are still job hunting, but they continue to be turned down. People who were in their career field for as much as 30 years are hiding out there now, people who never imagined this could even happen. But it is happening. And like dear old Obama says, Its going to get worse, before it gets any better.
US Economic Downturn Causes Anxiety, Mental Stress Among Jobless (16 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-16-voa54.cfm
The U.S. Labor Department reported on March 13 that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits reached a record high. As more companies lay off workers, mental health advocates are becoming concerned about the stress of unemployment. A few months ago, police in southern California found the body of a husband and wife, three sons and mother-in-law. A police officer read the suicide note written by the husband who had lost his job and life savings: "He takes responsibility for the taking of the lives of his family members and himself as a result of those financial difficulties," the policeman read. Many people are finding themselves in a state of anxiety as they worry about the loss of their jobs and investments. Psychologist Doree Lynn sees many patients who fear for their future. "People wonder, especially if they are affiliated with their job or their identity is connected with their job, they wonder, 'who am I?'" she said. It can be a battle to keep up your spirits when you are out of work. Jon Rothenberg knows. He returned to Washington, DC last October, after years of working on disaster relief in Afghanistan. Rothenberg says he is surprised by how long it is taking to find a job. "Every month that I'm not working, that's more of my savings that I'm eating up," he says, "So, yes, it's very worrisome and it's very upsetting." CLIP
As travel declines, aircraft 'boneyard' in Victorville fills up (March 15, 2009) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-fi-boneyard15-2009mar15,0,4626780.story
With the economy in a tailspin, aircraft "boneyards" across the country are filling up with Boeing 747s and other jetliners no longer needed to ferry passengers. Call it airline limbo.Air carriers are grounding planes at a rate not seen since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and industry experts say this year is likely to set a record for planes sitting on the ground. (...) High fuel costs last summer drove many airlines to ground older, gas-guzzling planes.Since then, a recession- induced travel slump has led carriers to take even more planes out of the sky.Passenger traffic for the nation's largest carriers dropped an average of 11% in February compared with a year earlier . It marked the carriers' 18th consecutive monthly decline. Several big airlines that already had pared their schedules over the last six months said last week that they would slash even more flights than planned because demand was falling further. The latest rush of airliners to Victorville began in October. Before long 100 aircraft were on the tarmac, then 150, and by last week the roster had swelled to nearly 200, making the outpost more crowded at times than Los Angeles International Airp (...) Airlines like to park planes in the desert because the dry weather acts as a preservative, preventing corrosion. "Boneyards are purgatory for airliners," said aviation consultant Michael Boyd, who estimates that 10% to 20% of the planes will fly again.
Two million jobless for the first time in 12 year (March 18, 2009) http://www.france24.com/en/20090318-business-british-unemployment-2-million-jobless-jump-6.5-percent-two
The number of people claiming jobless benefits rose by the largest amount on record last month, official data showed, and total unemployment rose above two million for the first time since 1997. (...) "The unemployment data are truly awful, heightening fears about the potential depth and length of the recession" in Britain, said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight."Unemployment smashed through the two million barrier with ease ... and it seems set to head up towards three million pretty rapidly over the coming months as the economy contracts sharply and struggling businesses look to contain their costs." Barclays Capital analyst Varun Bhabha said that "in comparison with previous recessions, the path of claimant count unemployment over the past few months seems to point towards a far sharper and faster adjustment by firms. "In an attempt to turn round Britain's fortunes, the Bank of England has in recent months slashed local interest rates to a record low 0.5 percent. CLIP
Spanish town struggles with 75% unemployment (March 19, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jZC-ZbDHgtui1f9YQdJe5VCf-QnQ
(...) The town's decline is a microcosm of the situation throughout Spain, where the bubble burst on the property market last year and battered the nation's economy.Spain's unemployment rate hit 14.8 percent in January after the impact of the collapse in the building sector spread to other areas, and many economists predict it will continue to rise to hit 20 percent next year. CLIP
Stephen Harper wants Canadians to spend billions implementing a failed and costly US prison system (2009-03-01) http://www.chycho.com/?q=Harper_Prisons_chycho2009
Please note that a new study released on Monday has revealed that 7.3 million Americans were processed through the US prison system in 2007, which is equivalent to "1 in every 31 adults": (...) On Friday 27 February 2009, the Conservative government revived a bill to impose automatic jail terms for drug-related crimes, "which would send people to jail for growing as little as one marijuana plant for the purpose of trafficking." (...) Unfortunately for Canadians, the Conservative Government is planning to mimic the present flawed US prison system that this report faults in so many ways, in spite of the fact that Canadian crime rates have fallen over the last few years. This will increase the Canadian prison population and divert billions of dollars from needed social programs.To give people an idea of the sheer madness of this proposal consider the following data for the United States: Since the mid-1980's, marking the new beginning of the American "War on Drugs", the United States prison population has more than doubled. They have over 2.2 million people incarcerated, representing 25% of the worlds prison population from a country that only has 5% of the world's populace. A staggering $41+ billion is spent annually on corrections alone, even though reports indicate that $37 billion would be saved annually with legalization. They have a private prison industry that is automated for maximum profitability. There is no rehabilitation in the United States because the machine that feeds on these brutal laws is making too much money for the elite. If the majority of Canadians would just review the statistics available from the US Department of Justice's own website they would be appalled as to what Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are proposing. CLIP
End the Crisis in Zimbabwe PETITION http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/331306235?z00m=19751124
Zimbabwe was once one of the most promising countries in Africa, with a thriving agriculture industry, high literacy rates and a robust healthcare system. Today, Zimbabwe is a land of devastation. Twenty-eight years of increasingly dictatorial rule by President Robert Mugabe have led to hyperinflation, food shortages and a breakdown of basic public services. Thankfully, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was recently sworn in as the new Prime Minister, forming a "unity government" that will attempt to move the country forward. It won't be easy. A devastating cholera outbreak has killed more than 3,000 people, hunger is widespread and political issues remain unresolved despite months of negotiations. That's why the African Union must do everything it can in its official role as guarantor of the new unity government. Ask the African Union to do its job as guarantor of the unity government, and work to end the political repression that has crippled Zimbabwe.
UN Says Expulsion of Aid Agencies From Darfur Causing Conditions to Worsen (13 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-13-voa39.cfm
UN aid agencies said the humanitarian situation in Sudan's conflict ridden province of Darfur is very bad and getting worse. They said the expulsion of the 13 aid agencies is a severe blow to their humanitarian operations in Darfur. And they added that the decision by MSF-Belgium or Doctors Without Borders to leave Darfur after three of its workers were kidnapped is already having a serious impact on medical services. The World Health Organization said it counts on the non-governmental organizations to monitor the presence and emergence of diseases in the region. It said they provide key information on the status of water and diseases, on malnutrition and reproductive health.WHO Spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, said it is difficult to know what diseases are circulating or emerging in the region, now that the agencies no longer are operating.U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes (C) listens to aid workers in Kalma refugee camp in southern Darfur, (2008 file photo)She said WHO is very concerned about an outbreak of meningitis in Kalma camp in southern Darfur. She said 54 cases, including four deaths, have been reported in this camp, which houses 90,000 people."Before the expulsion of these NGOs, MSF, for example, was planning with WHO and other NGOs and other UN organizations to start an immunization campaign targeting some 80,000 people in Nyala. And, as you know, meningitis is a very dangerous disease, especially in crowded areas. So, if we are not immunizing people quite rapidly, more cases may be detected in this IDP camp," she said. The six-year old conflict in Darfur has taken a heavy toll. The United Nations reports 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million have been displaced since clashes broke out between the Sudanese-backed Janjaweed Arab militia and ethnic African rebels.Aid agencies said their assistance has succeeded in improving the nutritional and health status of the millions of people living in UN-managed camps. But, they fear this progress now will be lost because of the forced withdrawal of the 13 private aid agencies.Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir expelled the agencies after the International Criminal Court indicted him for alleged war crimes in Darfur.World Food Program spokeswoman, Emilia Casella, said children will be among the primary victims of President Al-Bashir's actions.
Philip Bennett: What We Don't Know About Iraq http://www.truthout.org/031409Y
Philip Bennett, The Washington Post: "What do Iraqis call the war that is now entering its seventh year? If you can't answer that question, it's not because you haven't been paying attention. In this country, the Iraq war has been an American story. It was born inside the Beltway. Its costs in suffering have been most visible to us at gravesides across the United States, or in the wards of Walter Reed. A growing library of histories of the war chronicles battle after bitter battle between factions of official Washington, skirmishing over ideas, strategy, about how we got in and how to get out. As the war has gone on, Iraqis' stories have been overshadowed by the towering drama of our own experience. The imbalance struck me as I recently read and revisited some of the best books to grow out of American journalism on Iraq since the invasion began on March 19, 2003. They are rich in raw, unblinking dispatches from alongside US troops and investigative digging into the thinking of US leaders - overall, a remarkable record of a continuing conflict. But they also reflect how frustration and isolation, including the isolation of journalists, have reduced Iraqis to a narrow cast of supporting roles: ungrateful partners, untrustworthy supplicants, invisible enemies and unreadable victims."
Army Robots: Will Humans Still Be in Control? (March 15, 2009) http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884169,00.html
Is the day approaching when the U.S. military can deploy a robot that can drive itself around a corner, use senors to detect an enemy fighter on-the-move and destroy the target instantly with missiles and machine guns all without human intervention? The Pentagon thinks the day may be imminent and it wants to make ensure that its technology doesn't get ahead of military doctrine. It wants to be certain that there is always a "human" making decisions regarding the use of lethal force. With some estimates of armed robots, with so-called Autonomous Navigation Systems, less than five years away, the U.S. Army is drafting a "White Paper," to establish a set of guidelines and principles for their use. CLIP
Bush May Have Set Back 'Clean Coal' Efforts by 10 Years, Report Says (March 12, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031102306.html
The Bush administration's decision to halt production of an experimental power plant that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground may have set back "clean coal" technology in the United States by as much as a decade, according to a congressional report released at a hearing yesterday.Also, cost estimates used as justification for killing the commercial-scale project known as FutureGen were grossly exaggerated because Energy Department officials did not account for inflation, according to a Government Accountability Office report, also released yesterday. CLIP
Food crisis cost W. Africa 475 million euros (Mach 17, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hwNTFO0kzrtghcUdzCEVirNxapJg
OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) Africa's food crisis, which saw prices skyrocket in 2008, cost the region 475 million euros in lost revenue the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), said Monday.The figure applied to the UEMOA's eight member states -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo -- said Jean Ndeye of the group's commission, which is based in Ouagadougou."We can say that the revenue losses for all our states due to the measures taken to face the food crisis come to some 300 billion CFA francs (475 million euros)," said Ndeye. In a bid to cushion the population from the crisis many West African states subsidized certain essential foodstuffs or gave tax and customs duty exemptions for food imports, he added."These budgetary measures, you have to be able to take responsibility for them and for that you need to have resources," Ndeye said. The UEMOA said none of the member states had been able to respect the regional agreement to keep inflation under 3.0 percent. The crisis had forced inflation in the eight-member zone up from 2.0 percent in 2007 to 7.4 percent in 2008, Ndeye said. CLIP
The Age of Autism: 'A pretty big secret' (Dec. 7, 2005) http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted1.html
It's a far piece from the horse-and-buggies of Lancaster County, Pa., to the cars and freeways of Cook County, Ill. But thousands of children cared for by Homefirst Health Services in metropolitan Chicago have at least two things in common with thousands of Amish children in rural Lancaster: They have never been vaccinated. Andthey don't have autism. "We have a fairly large practice. We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we've taken care of over the years, and I don't think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines," said Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Homefirst's medical director who founded the practice in 1973. Homefirst doctors have delivered more than 15,000 babies at home, and thousands of them have never been vaccinated. (...) "We do have enough of a sample," Eisenstein said. "The numbers are too large to not see it. We would absolutely know. We're all family doctors. If I have a child with autism come in, there's no communication.It's frightening. You can't touch them. It's not something that anyone would miss." No one knows what causes autism, but federal health authorities sayit isn't childhood immunizations. Some parents and a small minority of doctors and scientists, however, assert vaccines are responsible. This column has been looking for autism in never-vaccinated U.S.children in an effort to shed light on the issue. (...) "In the alternative-medicine network which Homefirst is part of,there are virtually no cases of childhood asthma, in contrast to the overall Blue Cross rate of childhood asthma which is approximately 10 percent," he said. "At first I thought it was because they (Homefirst's children) were breast-fed, but even among the breast-fed we've had asthma.We have virtually no asthma if you're breast-fed and not vaccinated." Because the diagnosis of asthma is based on emergency-room visits and hospital admissions, Eisenstein said, Homefirst's low rate is hard to dispute. "It's quantifiable -- the definition is not reliant on the doctor's perception of asthma." Several studies have found a risk of asthma from vaccination; others have not. Studies that include never-vaccinated children generally find little or no asthma in that group. Earlier this year Florida pediatrician Dr. Jeff Bradstreet said there is virtually no autism in home-schooling families who decline to vaccinate for religious reasons -- lending credence to Eisenstein's observations. "It's largely non-existent," said Bradstreet, who treats children with autism from around the country. "It's an extremely rare event." (...) Thimerosal, which is 49.6 percent ethyl mercury by weight, was phased out of most U.S. childhood immunizations beginning in 1999, but the CDC recommends flu shots for pregnant women and last year began recommending them for children 6 to 23 months old. Most of those shots contain thimerosal. Thimerosal-preserved vaccines are currently being injected into millions of children in developing countries around the world. "My mandate... is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized... this year, next year and for many years to come ... and that will have to be with thimerosal-containing vaccines," said John Clements of the World Health Organization at a June 2000 meeting called by the CDC. CLIP Many more articles on this through this LINK
NO AUTISM In Never-Vaccinated Children http://www.rense.com/general85/cant.htm
Doctors report there is no autism among their thousands of non-vaccinated children. Meanwhile, the national average now is one in every 175. Any questions?
How Cell Phones May Cause Autism (pdf) http://www.next-up.org/pdf/DrMercolaCommentHowCellPhonesMayCauseAutism112007.pdf
(...) The study, which involved over five years of research on children with autism and other membrane sensitivity disorders, found that EMR negatively affects cell membranes, and allows heavy metal toxins, which are associated with autism, to build up in your body. Meanwhile, the researchers pointed out that autism rates have increased concurrently along with the proliferation of cell phones and wireless use. EMR, the researchers say, could impact autism by facilitating early onset of symptoms or by trapping heavy metals inside of nerve cells, which could accelerate the onset of symptoms of heavy metal toxicity and hinder therapeutic clearance of the toxins. Speaking in reference to the huge rise in autism rates, Dr. George Carlo, the studys co-author, said, A rise of this magnitude must have a major environmental cause. Our data offer a reasonable mechanistic explanation for a connection between autism and wireless technology. They also suggest that EMR from wireless devices works in conjunction with environmental and genetic factors to cause autism. CLIP
Zoologist Swims With Lioness (13 Mar 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4977904/Zoologist-swims-with-lioness-to-escape-heat-of-South-Africa.html
Animal behaviourist Kevin Richardson raises and interacts some of the most dangerous animals known to man. With his unusual methods, he has developed some exceptionally personal bonds with his students, playing, sleeping and even swimming with animals. Taking a well deserved swim in the Crocodile River, just south of the Magaliesburg mountains, Mr Richardson, 34, was joined by Meg the lioness. Weighing a staggering 185 kg this boisterous tawny lioness playfully splashed around with the experienced behaviourist. (...) Kevin, who has been involved in countless documentaries and has just finished working on a new film about white lions, works to create awareness and being active in lion conservation.With lion numbers in the wild dropping from around 350,000 animals to 25-30,000 over a period of 15 years, the statistics paint a grim picture. "People are always amazed that she doesn't rip me to pieces with her claws," he said. "I assure you every now and again I get a claw going into me. It's unintentional and just reconfirms to me how gentle and in control she tries to be."She gets like an excited dog going for a ride in a car. She takes no coaxing to get her to swim. CLIP
The greatest show on earth (09 Nov 2007) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3669193/The-greatest-show-on-earth.html
The boundaries of technology and human endurance were pushed to the limit to make an epic film about the natural world. Naomi West talks to the cinematographers who made it happen. We wanted to make a natural history epic, Alistair Fothergill, the director of Earth, says. It is a film absolutely deserving of that description, with action that begins in the Arctic Circle and traverses the globe to Antarctica, taking in countless extraordinary natural spectacles. Conceived in parallel with the BBC Natural History Units award-winning series Planet Earth (which aired in March last year) and on which Fothergill was series producer, the films action proceeds at a brisk rate, packing in maximum drama and wonder, accompanied by a relatively sparse narration by Patrick Stewart and an emotive George Fenton score. (...) One of the most mysterious sights, though, was the boreal forest that Burton captured near Churchill, Canada, inside the Arctic Circle. This is part of a snow-coated belt of coniferous forest that stretches across North America and Eurasia, which includes one-third of the planet's trees (more than all the rainforests combined). In Burton's footage the environment has an unassailable beauty. 'Unfortunately, in other areas of Canada the boreal forests are being torn down to mine the oil sands,' Burton says. 'It's very disturbing.' And that's part of what makes Earth special, the implicit sense that so much of what we are watching is fragile. - Much more through http://www.loveearth.com - make sure to watch some of their amazing videos!... such as Birds of paradise showing off or Elephants, from Planet Earth: The Complete Series
Whale series shows mother and calf bond http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3317893/Whale-series-shows-mother-and-calf-bond.html
An ocean leviathan gently shepherds its calf through the electric-blue waters of the Pacific. (...) Ocean Voyagers features the dangers mother and son face from shark attacks, entanglement in discarded fishing gear and from commercial whalers.The film is released as the Japanese whaling fleet is in Antarctica controversially looking to kill more than 1,000 whales, including 50 of the endangered humpback which have been protected by international agreement since 1963. The baby whale is shown learning essential survival techniques from his mother, including the amazing art of bubble fishing where humpback whales surround schools of fish with elaborate curtains of bubbles before swallowing them wholesale.
Major Decline Found In Some Bird Groups (March 20, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/19/AR2009031902055.html
Several major bird populations have plummeted over the past four decades across the United States as development transformed the nation's landscape, according to a comprehensive survey released yesterday by the Interior Department and outside experts, but conservation efforts have staved off potential extinctions of others. (... ) The species in decline are being affected by climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species and disease, among other factors, the report said. More pedestrian threats, such as collisions with buildings and attacks by feral cats, have diminished birds' numbers in some urban and suburban areas. CLIP
Scientists Warn of Persistent 'Dead Zones' in Bay, Elsewhere (February 17, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/16/AR2009021601150.html
CHICAGO -- Healing low-oxygen aquatic "dead zones" in the Chesapeake Bay and hundreds of other spots worldwide will be trickier than previously imagined, leading scientists on the issue said Sunday.That's because the low oxygen levels that make it impossible for most organisms to survive also kill bacteria crucial to removing nitrogen from the water.Dead zones are caused primarily by excess nutrients -- nitrogen and phosphorus -- that feed massive algae blooms. Those, in turn, soak up most of the water's oxygen and leave little for other life forms -- a condition known as hypoxia. In recent years there have been extensive efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads in the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and other areas with dead zones. But those efforts have not yielded the expected results, scientists said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "We've been working for 20 years to breathe life into these dead zones, but we've found it much harder than we thought," said Donald F. Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "Even when the nutrient loads are reduced, the hypoxia is generally not recovering with the rapidity we assumed it might. CLIP
NOTE from Jean: The following comes from http://www.metagroups.info/Ron%27sArticles.htm#F&S and was written by long-time ERN subscriber Ron Van Dyke (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is courageously facing a difficult legal challenge in a complex court case. The way he is choosing to rebound from this situation and reach for a higher perspective is a sterling example of what living by the emerging reality of a new spiritual consciousness means. I don't know nor understand all the particular aspects of this unique situation but found especially empowering and soul resonant the following series of statements he felt compelled to express and openly affirm as his guiding principles in life and in this specific situation. Let's hope that in surrendering to the Higher Will of God/Creator Source he will be helped along the way towards a just and spiritually sound settlement for this whole issue.
I Have a Duty...
- I have a duty to tell the truth, as I know and understand it, to anyone and everyone.
- I have a duty to recognize everyones right to see differently than I see, to savor his or her own experience of awakening.
- I have a duty to live peaceably with all others to the best of my ability.
- I have a duty to educate myself, to strive to learn what I do not know or remember... yet.
- I have a duty to serve others, for service most fully expresses my nature, which is Divine and unconditional Love.
- I have a duty to defend those not yet aware enough to defend themselves, and to teach the willing, through humility, that which I have come to know.
- I have a duty to contemplate the effect of my words and actions upon others so as to create the most beneficent and beneficial result possible for everyone concerned.
- I have a duty to act in the utmost kindness to all I may encounter, especially those who may appear hostile.
- I have a duty to pay attention to the things that happen and the people that appear in my world, knowing that their gift to me is the revelation of things in me that are or have been hidden from me. This is how the Universe works to create the evolution of consciousness.
- I have a duty to honor differences, knowing that in diversity is great beauty and strength.
- I have a duty to recognize and integrate the opposite polarities within myself to the best of my ability.
- I have a duty to look inward every day of my life to see and reflect on the silent messages I am given.
- I have a duty, as a conscious being, to recognize the Higher Law at work in the affairs of men and women.
- I have a duty to speak the Truth to those claiming false power over others.
- I have a duty to laugh at myself when my ignorance surfaces.
- I have a duty to play with children and to learn from them the art of innocence and the beauty of forgiveness.
- I have a duty to forgive others when their weaknesses or mistakes cause pain for me or for others.
- I have a duty to allow all of my emotions peaceful expression... even and especially my anger at injustice.
- I have a duty to challenge the status quo that invalidates and enslaves my brothers and sisters.
- I have a duty to rock to boat when that is necessary to awaken those in danger.
- I have a duty to give freely of that which is in my power to give.
- I have a duty to rise above my fears to the best of my ability.
- I have a duty to walk humbly before God and Man.
- I have a duty to know, beyond all appearances, that I am Gods Holy Child, eternal, infinite, and compassionate.
NOTE from Jean: The following comment was included along with the forward by Jaiia (email@example.com ) of this article above: "This is a very, very good article by David Icke. Please read it and take it seriously. In rioting, they win we lose. The power of our mind is the most powerful thing there is, so please join one of the coherence groups and meditate with them for peace. Your thoughts are energy waves that go out through the Universe and are powerful enough to create change especially when done in large enough groups. Keeping the peace is the reason I get so upset about the accusations against immigrants whether legal or illegal. In keeping the peace, I dont mean getting run over by those who seek to do this. What keeping the peace means is keeping ones cool and helping others In the community to keep their cool. We need to avoid incidents that can suddenly turn into riots which bring out the police. Its about acquiring and using social intelligence. Its OK to rock the boat, in fact, its a necessity, but just do it in positive ways. Start raising your own food, seek out naturopathic doctors whenever possible and opt out of the Big Pharma run medical institution. Get a bicycle and keep your car off the road as much as possible. Dont travel unless its absolutely necessary. Get a sewing machine and learn to make your own clothes, knit sweaters, gloves, etc. Stop living to eat and begin eating to live. Stop being a consumer."
As I travel around America it is clear that this country is on the brink of an economic catastrophe the like of which it has never seen. And, of course,it is not alone. A similar story can be told around the world. The foreclosure figures are fantastic as families and others lose their homes through no fault of their own on a scale that, according to current projections, is destined to become a tidal wave.The credit explosion was orchestrated through Illuminati agents and Satanists like Alan Greenspan, who represents the interests of the Illuminati's Bilderberg Group, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and other far more exclusive and sinister secret societies. Greenspan was the long-time head of the privately-owned 'US central bank', the Federal Reserve. Once his policies had manipulated as much personal and commercial debt as possible the plug was pulled on the system to trigger what is designed to be global economic meltdown.
The global economic collapse is designed to trigger a stream of 'benefits' to the Illuminati agenda. One, as I have said from the start, is to use this as an excuse to impose a global economic dictatorship controlled by a world central bank. But there are many other 'solutions' and connected 'benefits' that are planned to be exploited and we need to be streetwise to them. The one I want to emphasise here is the need to stay calm and react peacefully to what is happening. This is not easy when there is so much stress and fear around with regard to the economic present and 'future', but we need to do it all the same or we will walk straight into a massive trap that has been set for us. Let's get this straight: They want you to riot in response to the unfolding economic catastrophe and we are already seeing people falling for this. Why would the authorities want people to riot? Readers of my books over the years will see the answer immediately. They want an excuse to bring in a fully-fledged Police State all over the world and people who riot in their desperation (instigated invariably by agent-provocateurs) are just the excuse they are looking for. Be very, very aware of anyone who starts rioting, or encourages others to do so, amid peaceful demonstrations. Who are they and why are they doing this when it is handing all the aces to the system to impose a Police State? They are either stupid or agents of that State.
We need to come together in mutual support, love, kindness and empathy. We need to put aside the manufactured fault-lines that divide us - religion, politics, race, culture and income bracket. That is not to say people have to reject their beliefs, just don't let them be weapons of division.
We are all in this together and we need to meet the challenge together, not steal from each other, loot or riot, or look the other way because something happening to someone else is 'not my problem'. They are not seeking to enslave Muslims, Jews, black people, or white middle class Americans and so on. They are seeking to do it to all of us and they are picking off different groups one by one, just like the Nazis did in Germany. Remember these famous words because they are so applicable now:
First they came for the Jews and I was not a Jew so I did nothing.
Then they came for the communists and I was not a communist so I did nothing.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I was not a trade unionist so I did nothing.
Then they came for me and there was no-one left to speak out for me.
Let us unite behind that which affects everyone - the loss of our most basic freedoms. And if this is being planned now, what kind of world are our children and grandchildren going to live in? Can you live with that thought while doing nothing or rioting as the authorities want? I can't.
We need to start getting organised in communities and groups to support each other and stop cooperating with the system - not to fight it. The system can only exist with our cooperation and acquiesce. We are holding it together. They have their men and women of violence, called the military and 'Swat' teams, to deal with violent resistance.
But their worst nightmare is our non-cooperation - the refusal to pay taxes; refusal to leave homes when banks foreclose on them; refusal to 'comply' with our own enslavement in any form. The system couldn't cope if this was done on a mass scale. And that's the point: to do this we need to do it en-masse and those not immediately affected need to support those who are.
Instead of compliance, we need the non-comply-dance of people who beat to a different drum and will not comply with what is unfair, unjust, or targets their freedom and the freedom of others. This approach does not refuse to comply in a spirit of hostility, rage or violence, but with love, joy and laughter - and an unbreakable determination not to cooperate with their own enslavement.
We need a mass refusal join the military, especially if they try to introduce the Draft; a refusal to do the compulsory 'community service' for young people that Obama's controllers want to introduce (as does the UK government); and a refusal to join, or accept the legitimacy of, Obama's planned civilian security force, which is nothing more than a scam to get the people to police the people on behalf of the Elite in the midst of the economic collapse and war.
We need to start getting together local currency schemes that can operate outside the system and, yes, people should also have mass protests if they choose, so long as they are peaceful. But they need to be part of the campaign of non-violent, non-cooperation, not the focus of it.
How many mass protests have there been over the years around the world and yet everything just goes on as before, be it war or globalisation. We need to stop posturing and then heading for the bar to feel good about ourselves and start doing what will actually make a difference.
More than anything, we all need to free our minds and become conscious. From that, everything else will come, including the intuition, inspiration and knowing that will guide us on how most effectively to deal with what we face.
If there are many things you would like to do in a room, but the room is dark and you can't see, what is the fundamental first step to anything else happening? You have to turn on the light and then all the rest becomes possible. Without that you are thrashing around in the dark and falling over the furniture.
That is what 'humans' are doing today and have been for so long. They have been manipulated to believe they are their bodies and their names when those are just the experiences of who they truly are - eternal Consciousness. As the great American comedian, Bill Hicks, said:
'... all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.'
The divisions between us are illusory to allow a certain kind of experience, but these illusions have been exploited mercilessly to divide and rule us.
When we awaken to the truth of who we are the world looks very different and so do the challenges that are put before us - or we put before ourselves. Move your point of observation and everything changes. Try it. Try ceasing to identify who you are with your body, your name and the reflection in the mirror. Try seeing those things as experiences and not who you are. Try observing your life and the world from the perception of the real you - eternal Conciousness, All That Is, Has Been and Ever Can Be in our illusion called 'time'.
Eternal Conscious in awareness of itself doesn't riot; it is not violent and it doesn't loot. But nor does it ever do, or accept for itself and others, what is not fair, just, loving and kind. Crucially, Consciousness is without fear. When we operate on that level then we can truly claim to be Conscious and not trapped in the illusion called Mind. As Albert Einstein said: 'You cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them.'
John Lennon also made this key point in Revolution about what needs to happen to really make a difference. We need to free our minds and become Conscious:
You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
We are now fast heading for the eye of the storm that has been planned for so long to enslave the global population in a centralised tyranny. But we don't have to accept it or acquiesce to it, meekly looking on as the walls of control close in by the day.
But that is what is happening and it has to stop. For everyone's sake, it has to stop.
We can come together, we MUST come together, putting aside the fault-lines of race, religion, culture and income bracket. These are just illusory labels through which we are divided and therefore ruled. Believe in them if you wish, and enjoy them if they make you happy, but don't let them divide us any longer.
We need to come together in mutual support at this time as those with sick minds and closed hearts are poised to throw everything at us to complete their agenda for total control. Whether their insanity prevails is not in their hands, but in ours. It is we who have the power if only we would choose to use it.
We are One Consciousness deluded into thinking we are 'little me'. When we realise that we are all One - and act upon that with courage, love, kindness, peace and empathy for all who need support - the walls of oppression must fall.
But sitting on your arse hoping it will all go away is no longer an option.
It never was.
Recommended by Ricardo (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "Here is a very well written and accurate article about our state of affair on the global economy. It seems to me to deliver a far greater amount of truthful information than what can be found on the online, manicured medias and is bold and courageous in revealing the scam in no hidden terms. I can guaranty that this information is entirely true to the best of my researched knowledge." Note from Jean: THIS IS QUITE ENLIGHTENING INDEED, at least as to what the apparent causes of the current "PROBLEMS" are, but it is critically short and wrong on the solutions, as far as I see it, at least for the long term. Doing entirely away with money and all top-down control economic institutions as well as all current national governments and armies and replacing greed and fear-based means of exchange such as money with trust and love-based means of living together and helping each other, with no salary paid to anyone for anything and everything free and produced locally, with fulfilling all the basic human needs and providing a healthy life-nurturing environment to everyone and every living being as the sole goal, just as nature has done for millions of years before we fell from Divine Grace and thought we could do better than God/Creator Source, is the only long term goal that should be discussed and sought, along with fostering global spiritual awakening and a true compassionate, spiritually based lifestyle. All the rest will only compound the problems and ultimately fail!
Reforming the Global Financial System: Flushing the Parasites
By Nikki Alexander
March 12, 2009 "Information Clearing House" --
When Benjamin Franklin was called before the British Parliament in 1757 and asked to account for the prosperity in the American colonies. He replied, "That is simple. In the colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Scrip. We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers. In this manner, creating for ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay to no one." It was the struggle for financial sovereignty that precipitated the American Revolution when the (Rothschild) Bank of England forced the colonists to give up their own currency.
That war never ended.
Throughout his political life Thomas Jefferson fought off the covert attempts of European bankers to control the nations money supply through a privately-owned central bank. Andrew Jackson succeeded in defeating these racketeers, nationalizing the banks and paying off the public debt. Our country then flourished without inflation. When Abraham Lincoln issued greenbacks that deprived private bankers of their monopoly control of the nations money supply he was assassinated. The international bankers battled for more than a century to establish a private central bank in the United States with the exclusive right to print their own fiat notes and exchange them for government debt. They succeeded in 1913 with The Federal Reserve Act, a covert coup that authorized a private central bank to create money out of nothing, lend it to the government with interest and control the national money supply, expanding or contracting it at will. Representative Charles Lindbergh called the Act "the worst legislative crime of the ages." Fifty years later, President John F. Kennedy almost restored our Constitutional monetary system when he issued debt-free Treasury Notes. He too was assassinated.
The Systemic Usury Parasite
In 1913 our sovereign authority to create interest-free money was unconstitutionally transferred to a transnational private banking cartel that has systemically infected our economy with a staggering national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars. Eighty-five cents of every dollar is now consumed as interest by the systemic usury parasite, draining its host of vital resources and collapsing our economy in bankruptcy. Ours is not the only nation to succumb to systemic parasitism.
The Systemic Usury Parasite has infected 170 countries, feeding itself through the central bank syndicate, a shareholder-owned consortium of private banks. Each central bank parasite has an exclusive monopoly on its host governments monetary system, with the power to create public debt and expand or contract the hosts economy at will. Coordinating their monetary policies with each other through the Bank for International Settlements, the central bankers meet behind closed doors, appoint their own governors and set their own rules. Their books are not subject to audit by the individual governments that host them. The Bank for International Settlements originated as a Nazi money laundering operation and serves today as the cashiers window for the global casino. The IMF and World Bank tentacles of this parasite, infect unsuspecting governments with insurmountable debt, forcing these nations through structural adjustment policies to rob their taxpayers, slash beneficial social programs, transfer public assets to private owners and sell the nations treasures to transnational predators at fire sale prices. Government treasuries are the parasites host. Why rob just one bank when you can rob the whole nation? And why rob just one country when you can rob them all? Flushing the global economy of this systemic parasite begins with understanding how its debilitating web of debt is manufactured.
Although governments have inherent authority to create their own money, they foolishly borrow it from central banks, with interest. A central bank fabricates fiat notes (paper money) and credit by lending them into existence, in return for treasury bonds of the host government ~ taxpayer IOUs. This money has no pre-existing substance in reality and is conjured up through accounting entries. It is literally created out of nothing. The central bank first lends these accounting entries to its private owners and then to its downline commercial banks with interest. The commercial banks are permitted to lend nine times the amount of their borrowed accounting entries held in reserve. This nine-fold multiplication of borrowed accounting entries is described as fractional reserve banking. When borrowers accept these accounting entry loans they create massive inflation of the money supply which devalues the currency. These accounting entry loans must be paid back with compound interest that multiplies exponentially. More money must then be fabricated to pay this interest. Thus, all money that enters circulation is actually debt contrived by fictitious accounting entries. Every fiat dollar is an IOU from a borrower to a lender. A debt-based monetary system can never achieve equilibrium because compound interest always overwhelms the escalating money supply and eventually causes systemic collapse.
Today the nation is essentially bankrupt and hoping Barack Obamas team of Wall Street advisors will forestall economic collapse. This expectation is equivalent to hoping that Al Capone will make our streets safe. The economic recovery team is a Trojan horse filled with the same Wall Street racketeers that infected the global economy with a quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble, using deliberately deregulated mechanisms. They have successfully held the nation hostage with a universal credit freeze and threats of systemic collapse if trillions of dollars in ransom demands are not met. But why would our government agree to double its public debt to save ruthless gamblers from bankruptcy? Why would our government re-victimize taxpayers who did not participate in this global fraud and whose investments, retirement savings, pension plans and real estate values have already been eviscerated by these swindlers? The answer is that the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman have historically represented a parasitic transnational crime syndicate, not the host government and its taxpayers.
The US Government is an instrument of the organized crime syndicate described alternatively as the Washington Consensus, the Octopus, the Shadow Government, the New World Order and Wall Street. This syndicate of transnational racketeers includes bankers, interlocking corporate directors, American, European and Asian royal families, cocaine and opium drug traffickers, illegal weapons dealers and kingpin controllers of blood diamonds, gold and oil. From the very beginning of Americas fledgling democracy these international predators surreptitiously gained control of the railroads, banks, oil and vital infrastructure, using a maze of corporations, offshore banks and holding companies that disguised foreign ownership of national resources. During the 19th and 20th centuries this syndicate secured private ownership of vital infrastructure and natural resources worldwide by engineering wars and assassinating democratic leaders. They financed Trotsky, Lenin and Hitler, using syndicate members within the Treasury and Federal Reserve to protect their international assets. Thomas Lamont, a JP Morgan banker, who was the US Treasurys representative at the 1919 Treaty of Versailles negotiations, personally raised $100 million to finance Benito Mussolini. William Boyce Thompson, director of the New York Federal Reserve traveled to Russia to destabilize the Bolshevik Revolution, ensuring that railroads, banks, oil and vital resources would remain in private hands. Across the globe democratically elected leaders were deposed or assassinated that dared to return natural resources to their people. Two notorious Nazi collaborators, Allen Dulles (CIA director) and his brother John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State), were Wall Street attorneys who worked for the syndicate to brutally suppress every democratic uprising that threatened their control over national assets that rightfully belong to sovereign nations.
General Smedley Butler is best remembered today for his oft-quoted statement in the socialist newspaper Common Sense in 1935: "I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.... Looking back on it, I felt I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents."
Wall Street racketeers who bribed members of Congress to deregulate Wall Street, could not have held our nation hostage without collusion from the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman. They are members of the crime syndicate that loots governments through the central bank system and private equity firms like JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Carlyle. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a Goldman Sachs CEO, is also a member of Robber Barons, Inc ~ the IMF Board of Governors. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers organized the looting of Russia, stripping one trillion dollars from Russias struggling economy and shifting state-owned assets to private owners. Larry Summers succeeded Robert Rubin as Treasury Secretary in 1999, marking their success in repealing Depression-era laws that banned the merger of banks, brokers, insurance firms and investment banks. A former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, Rubin joined CEO Sanford Weill at Citigroup, the first financial institution to fully embrace the Rubin-led repeal. At Rubins urging, Citigroup thrived by bundling loans as securities (mortgages, credit card loans, auto loans, student loans) and selling them as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Concurrently Larry Summers championed the deregulation of financial derivatives, ensuring the globalization of losses from those securities. With $2 trillion in junk loans, Citigroup fraud has metastasized to 100 countries making it too infectious to quarantine (too big to fail). Rubin protégés advised Obama that taxpayers should assume responsibility for $306 billion of Citigroups junk loans. Rockefeller owns Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, two of the investment banks that own the Federal Reserve. Obamas Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, is a Board Director at the central bank headquarters, the Bank for International Settlements, and is a protégé of Henry Kissinger, Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.
Author Bernard Lietaer, a former central banker, writes in The Future of Money:
"Your money's value is determined by a global casino of unprecedented proportions: $2 trillion are traded per day in foreign exchange markets, 100 times more than the trading volume of all the stock markets of the world combined. Only 2% of these foreign exchange transactions relate to the "real" economy reflecting movements of real goods and services in the world, and 98% are purely speculative. This global casino is triggering the foreign exchange crises which shook Mexico in 1994-95, Asia in 1997 and Russia in 1998. These emergencies are the dislocation symptoms of the old Industrial Age money system."
These emergencies are also the hallmark of the transnational crime syndicate controlling the global economy through financial terrorism. Collapsing healthy economies with currency speculation, fabricating trillions of dollars in fictitious debt and destroying productive businesses with short selling, these vultures have swarmed across the globe devouring one nation after another. The US is their current target.
Another Board Director at the predatory Bank for International Settlements, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, used the standard Rockefeller-Rothschild blueprint for engineering the US financial collapse: deliberately expanding cheap credit to inflate the web of debt, entice rampant speculation and then suddenly withholding credit to violently contract the economy. A tactic used by Rothschilds Bank of England to rob and control its colonies, this violent contraction catalyzes waves of foreclosures, bankruptcies and layoffs that force sellers to accept pennies on the dollar for their assets. Alternatively described as Milton Friedmans economic Shock Treatment and Henry Kissingers blueprint for making the economy scream, this financial terrorism is a psychopathic formula to bring a nation to its knees.
Instead of allowing a handful of corrupt Wall Street investment banks to implode from well-deserved bankruptcy, The Swindler Bailout engineered by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve extorts trillions of taxpayer dollars to purchase worthless junk loans from racketeers, reimburse speculators for their gambling losses, finance mergers and acquisitions to devour healthy banks and concentrate unearned wealth in expanded syndicate banking monopolies. Government loans could have been directly issued to victims of predatory lenders to refinance the mortgages that have devastated home values nationwide. Instead, taxpayer loans to the generators of these toxic assets reward criminals and simultaneously drain the US Treasury. Insurmountable debt, engineered by the Systemic Usury Parasite and compounded by the Swindler Bailout, lays the groundwork for structurally adjusting the American economy, permanently stripping citizens of their remaining assets, health care protection and their confiscated wages held in trust by the Social Security Administration. This premeditated Grand Theft is the prelude for national insolvency and subsequent sale of the nations assets to transnational pirates.
Disintegration is a Blessing
Reuters reported in February that renowned investor George Soros said the world financial system has effectively disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. We neednt wait to see how thugs might resolve the crisis. It would be much wiser to take the path of least resistance and prevent economic collapse by making the systemic correction that is long overdue.
Imagine for a moment that worldwide governments had retained their exclusive authority to create money and control credit and had strictly regulated the transparent movement of capital within their own borders. Had they remained autonomous, systemic global collapse would not have been possible. US investment banks could not have infected foreign banks and collapsed Icelands economy. Small, autonomous units counteract systemic risk by isolating disease and preventing it from metastasizing to the whole system, as nature wisely demonstrates. This disintegration of the world financial system is an opportunity to dis integrate every transnational conglomerate that binds all systems together in one monolithic web of systemic debt. Autonomous interest-free monetary systems that support small community banks, small farms and local producers of goods and services would protect self-sustaining economies from the systemic risk caused by the contagious collapse of intertwined conglomerates. Monopoly strangleholds on any commodity or economic system are lethal by nature. The greater their scope, the greater the risk of contagious catastrophic collapse - a fact we are now witnessing.
Dis integrating the parasitic central bank syndicate that is strangling every country with insurmountable debt must be accompanied by effective quarantine of the global gambling casino: replace the Glass-Steagall firewall between commercial banks (public savings) and reckless investment banks; strictly regulate commodities futures and derivatives trades; ban over-the-counter transactions that are not transparent; criminalize anti-social speculation that artificially drives up the price of essential commodities and threatens public welfare; prosecute naked short sellers that collapse healthy businesses; enforce anti-trust laws that separate large investment sectors in finance, insurance, and real estate; dis integrate every multinational conglomerate that is too criminal to care and too big to jail; end the fabrication of accounting entry debt by reforming the monetary system to issue and regulate credit through a transparent and strictly controlled public agency and localize every system that is critical to social functioning.
Isolating and strictly regulating Wall Street and offshore casinos to prevent gambling addicts from devastating the productive economy may eventually protect the global financial system from organized crime but its victims will never be reimbursed for their losses. Productive workers who lost their life savings and retirement pensions slowly accumulated over a lifetime of contributing have been thoroughly robbed by sociopaths who instantly amassed unearned wealth by parasitic gambling that contributes nothing of value. They will retire, without being prosecuted, in luxury.
The Mechanics of Money
Money is not a commodity. It is a token of value. Any two people can transfer whatever they like as a medium of exchange. We agree as a group to use one medium of exchange to simplify transactions. The purpose of inventing a medium of exchange is to sustain the flow of goods and services circulating in an economy. If we agreed to use gold or feathers as tokens, the medium of exchange would be finite and too scarce to meet everyones needs ~ and a finite physical commodity can be monopolized by individuals who might hoard the tokens and constrict the flow of goods and services that are needed by everyone in society. Paper is plentiful. In theory, we agree to the fiction that paper money and computer credits have value in order to produce and exchange the commodities we need. But they have no intrinsic value.
The pieces of paper and computer entries that are fabricated by private corporations, what we call money, can and should be created and regulated by a legitimate public agency. It is irrational to transfer this vital social function to private corporations that thrive on usury and destabilize economies by expanding and contracting fabricated credit. Usury is not a fact of life, an inherent condition one finds throughout the natural world. It is a man-made concept that could create opportunities for cultures to expand productive activities but which has been historically used by parasites that eventually kill the host.
Money and credit can and should be used to keep the economy flowing, facilitating the exchange of real goods and productive services that meet the needs of society ~ without fabricating debilitating and fictitious debt. This, in fact, was the intention of Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution that authorized only Congress to coin money and regulate its value. The founders of our nation understood that a government does not need to borrow its money from a private corporation. It has the power to create its own money. We are that government and that power belongs to us.
Our government has the constitutional authority to create money and issue credit without ever charging interest or creating debt. It can directly spend this money into circulation and extinguish excess currency to prevent inflation. Or it can charge a reasonable interest rate and use this revenue in lieu of taxes. Publicly-owned community banks could charge a moderate interest rate that is returned to depositors as dividends, or it could be used to generate revenue for implementing worthwhile social projects. Monetary science comes equipped with mathematical formulas to achieve permanent monetary equilibrium through a set of principles that balance the money supply and maintain currency stability, eliminating recessions, depressions, inflation and deflation forever. A debt-free monetary system can be mathematically regulated to facilitate the flow of goods and services as a public service. The mechanics have been understood for centuries. All that is required is social consensus.
Decentralizing the banking system would dis-integrate the global stranglehold of transnational racketeers and provide protection from future systemic collapse. Geraldine Perry has suggested that if banks are to remain privately owned they must be required to operate as independent businesses with 100% reserves and use their own capital for loans, not fictitious accounting entries and not other people's money. The national money supply would be issued by a public monetary authority. Banks would operate as any other business should and they would be regulated by the local governmental entities where they are located, thereby eliminating the need for a national regulatory scheme.
Completely abolishing the privatization of the national money and credit supply would liberate human energy to create a world of abundance in which every human community could produce and exchange the goods and services it needs without ever being enslaved by fictitious debt. Government control of the national money supply would prevent inflation and escalating debt by issuing constitutional interest-free money. Moderate interest rates could then be used to finance the operations of city, state and federal government in lieu of taxes. Two brilliant authors, attorney Ellen Brown and historian Stephen Zarlenga have articulated sound mechanics for a publicly-owned monetary system. All that remains is public demand for this reform.
What is most essential to liberating humankind from centuries of covert suppression by parasitic racketeers is financial sovereignty. Political freedom without economic freedom is meaningless. The self-induced implosion of a corrupt financial system provides our generation with a precious opportunity to secure the blessings of liberty envisioned by our ancestors and finish the American Revolution.
Nikki Alexander is a freelance writer and fine art painter living in southern California.
BURIED on page 10 of a World Bank background paper prepared for last weekend's G20 finance ministers' meeting was a sober but profoundly distressing statement:
"Preliminary analysis shows that infant deaths in developing countries may be 200,000 to 400,000 per year higher on average between 2009 and 2015 than they would have been in the absence of the (global financial) crisis. Unless reversed, this corresponds to a total of 1.4 to 2.8 million excess infant deaths during the period."
The significance of the 2015 date is that it is the target year for the achievement of the United Millennium Development Goals. These universally agreed goals set down benchmarks for the improvement of the lives of many of the world's poor. But it is increasingly clear that these goals are becoming mere pipedreams in the face of the devastating impact of the economic meltdown.
It's a truism that in any crisis those hit hardest are those already on the bottom of the pile. They have the least resources and little ability to chart another course.
The economic crisis is just the latest blow for people living in developing countries. It's on top of big increases in food prices and the increasingly evident impact of climate change, which are affecting livelihoods and exposing communities to more volatile weather patterns. A triple whammy, or indeed, a perfect storm.
The World Bank predicts that the average GDP growth rate of developing countries will fall this year to less than half the pre-crisis rate. This will have life and death consequences for the poor.
Developing countries, according to the bank, are being hurt by five negative trends:
- Declining commodity prices. Non-energy commodity prices plunged 38 per cent in the second half of 2008.
- Collapsing global trade. The International Monetary Fund expects a fall of 1 per cent in exports from emerging and developing countries. The Cambodian garment industry has laid off 30,000 workers, 10 per cent of the workforce. In India, more than 500,000 jobs were lost in the last three months of last year in export-oriented sectors.
- Disappearing private capital flows. Net capital flows to emerging markets are estimated to have declined in 2008 to half their 2007 level. There have been no international bond issues by African countries in 2008 compared with $US 6.5 billion in 2007.
- Dropping workers' remittances. Global remittance flows reached $US 305 billion ($A463 billion) in 2008, a 9 per cent increase on the previous year. But there was a marked slowdown in the second half, and the World Bank is expecting that remittances to developing countries will fall this year.
- Squeezing aid flows. Even before the crisis hit, the rich countries were reneging on their promises to the world's poor, with a bank-estimated shortfall of $US39 billion in development assistance.
So what is to be done?
First, recognise that this crisis is affecting the poorest. The coming G20 leaders' meeting needs to prioritise helping developing countries. We need to look beyond our own backyard.
Second, aid budgets need to be protected. It's gratifying that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reaffirmed his Government's pledge to boost aid spending to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015. Other donor countries are already backing away from similar commitments. Developing country governments are going to need funding for social protection programs and other help for their most vulnerable populations.
Third, resist rich country protectionism. It's inevitable that pressures to protect rich country industries will increase as this crisis continues to unfold. But they should be fought. A truly development-friendly Doha trade agreement is needed now more than ever.
The World Bank estimates that 46 million more people will be living in desperate poverty as a result of the crisis. And this is on top of the 44 million more people estimated now to be suffering from malnutrition as a result of the food crisis. As the World Bank's own analysis shows, what is done to resolve this crisis literally has life and death consequences.
Andrew Hewett is executive director of Oxfam Australia.
Related video and articles:
This crisis of capitalism is not all bad news - 10 min video with Jayati Ghosh (Friday 13 March 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2009/mar/09/capitalism-crisis-jayati-ghosh
Of course we're entering a period of financial uncertainty and crisis, but this provides an opportunity for genuine, alternative change, Recommended by David Creighton (email@example.com) who wrote: "She outlines things quite well but without much hint about what change. What she does say is important to hear. What she doesn't do is prescribe solutions; they are for us to see ourselves. That's appropriate for someone in her position I believe."
Water scarcity 'now bigger threat than financial crisis' (15 March 2009) http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/water-scarcity-now-bigger-threat-than-financial-crisis-1645358.html
By 2030, more than half the world's population will live in high-risk areas -- Humanity is facing "water bankruptcy" as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilising the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity (...) Water use has been growing far faster than the number of people. During the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that it used increased nine times over. Already 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress, the report calculates, and this will rise to 3.9 billion more than half the expected population of the world by 2030. By that time, water scarcity could cut world harvests by 30 per cent equivalent to all the grain grown in the US and India even as human numbers and appetites increase. Some 60 per cent of China's 669 cities are already short of water. The huge Yellow River is now left with only 10 per cent of its natural flow, sometimes failing to reach the sea altogether. And the glaciers of the Himalayas, which act as gigantic water banks supplying two billion people in Asia, are melting ever faster as global warming accelerates. Meanwhile devastating droughts are crippling Australia and Texas. CLIP
World facing bleak water future, warns UN (March 17, 2009) http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090087875
The world is staring at a bleak water future. Rapidly increasing global population levels, widespread mismanagement and rising demand for energy are tightening the grip on the world's evaporating water supplies, with climate change exacerbating the problem. This stark warning was issued by the United Nations in a report released on March 16 at the World Water Forum in Istanbul. The third edition of World Water Development Report, entitled Water in a changing world paints a grim scenario for the world's freshwater resources, especially in developing countries, and described the outlook for coming generations as deeply worrying. The warning from the UN is based on one of the most comprehensive assessments the global body has undertaken on the state of the world's fresh water. As many as 26 UN agencies were involved in the making of the report which was part of the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP). Releasing the report formally, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura said the report has for the first time examined how changes in water demand and supply interact with other global dynamics such as climate change, population growth and increasing food and security consumption as well as the current economic crisis. "The report tries to look outside the water box and like this Forum, seeks to bridge the many divides that stand in the way of an effective understanding of and response to world water needs", said Matsuura. The world's population has swollen to well over 6 billion people and some countries have already reached the limits of their water resources. The water crisis is particularly strong in several parts of Africa and Asia and threatens to unsettle the economic gains achieved by some of the countries. Previous assessments by other global agencies have also warned that global players like India and China could also see their some dent in their economic development in the wake of the water crisis. Stating that conflicts about water can occur at all scales, the report warns that hydrologic shocks that may occur through climate change increase the risk of major national and international security threats, especially in unstable areas.The warnings given by the report come against a backdrop of several stand-offs being witnessed across the world following acute shortages. The dwindling water resources have also led to several intra-country conflicts breaking out. The United Nations is worried that the growing number of conflicts over the fast depleting resources could raise the spectre of political instability in some hitherto stable regions. This may require developing a new security regime to tackle such national and international situations. Experts have been warning that several countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, are vulnerable to conflicts. Climate change is exacerbating the problem and the report estimated that almost half the world's population would be living in areas of high water stress by 2030, including between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa. In addition, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people. CLIP
Climate change warnings become dire (2009-03-17) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/17/content_11022539.htm
UNITED NATIONS, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Reports on climate change are like the persistent drip of a leaky faucet getting louder and more frequent. The dire consequences forecast for planet Earth are becoming less a trickle and more a torrent. The global recession is the latest factor to complicate the equation. In Rio de Janeiro last week, Britain's Prince Charles, long an advocate for the environment, told a business luncheon, "We are facing a series of challenges so immense that we can, perhaps, be forgiven for feeling they are all too forbidding to confront," the Telegraph online site reported on Friday. He quoted Chico Mendes, the Brazilian environmentalist, who said "we are all fighting for humanity." However, a bright note, perhaps. After meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington last week, Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations voiced optimism about reaching a global agreement on a new climate change treaty at the December UN climate conference in Copenhagen, despite the recession. (...) Increases in food prices around the world hurt everyone, but hit the poorest of the poor the hardest, forcing them to spend a larger proportion of their meager income on food. That translates into either less food or less nutritious food, says the World Food Program of the United Nations, or even forcing them to seek outside help to meet nutritional needs. The more prosperous in the world spend perhaps 10-20 percent of their income for food, the Rome-based agency says. But the least well-off spend 60-80 percent of their income for food. Countries most affected in the food crisis are those importing large quantities and where inflation already is high, and those that already suffer food insecurity and have large urban populations. The International Monetary Fund says food price increases have significant social implications as exhibited early last year by food riots and strikes in several African countries. CLIP
Cash-strapped U.N. to halt West Africa aid flights (Mar 17, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLH684841._CH_.2400
GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations will shut down its humanitarian air services in much of West Africa because of a shortage of funds, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.Emilia Casella of the World Food Programme (WFP) said the chartered helicopters and aircraft used to ferry aid workers and supplies to remote parts of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast would stop on Friday, March 20."In areas that are not reachable by land ... aid workers will not be able to reach vulnerable people with medical care, food, water and sanitation, and other crucial services," she told a news briefing in Geneva."The U.N. will also not be in a position to carry out timely medical and security evacuations of humanitarian personnel, if and when needed," the spokeswoman said.There are 250 humanitarian agencies now working to deliver aid in the affected West African countries, Casella said. The exact number of people receiving help from the U.N. air service is not known, but "it is safe to say that thousands of people will be affected," she said.The suspension follows the halting of air deliveries to Niger in February, and temporary shutdowns of flights to the Central African Republic, Niger, and Sudan last year because of budget constraints that have worsened for aid groups since the onset of the world economic crisis.Donor funds from the European Union, United States, Britain, Canada, Spain and the Netherlands amounted to $115 million last year, far below the $193 million budgeted for the flights, which cut days off the time needed to get help to the needy.Aid workers in West Africa have said they will have extreme difficulty doing their work without the helicopters and aircraft to help them reach places where roads and bridges are impassable or where security problems make road journeys unsafe.Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the flights were crucial for reaching people displaced by conflict and disasters."We work at the end of the earth and the only way to get there is on the humanitarian air service," he told the news briefing in Geneva.Worldwide, the U.N. air service last year carried 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian cargo and 360,000 U.N. staff, aid workers, donors and media staff. The 58 helicopters and aeroplanes also carried out medical and security evacuations in Chad, Mozambique, Myanmar, Somalia and Sudan. (Reporting by Laura MacInnis; editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Tim Pearce)
Recommended by Barry Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org) This article has already been posted on over 3,300 webpages around the world... THIS READS LIKE A GLOBAL BIBLICAL PLAGUE - 10 TIMES WORST! Did you see any mainstream report on this? I didn't! This could spell the death by famine of over 2 billions people - unless the world stops wasting food and eating meat, a bad habit which is responsible for a HUGE waste of grains. Did you know that 50 percent of all food is wasted? Incredible! "Each day, America wastes enough food to fill Madison Square Garden. Depending on which study you believe, we squander between a quarter to a half of all the food we produce. Even by the conservative estimate, that adds up to more than 100 billion pounds per year." Taken from An Abundance of Food, Wasted
After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009 looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world
To understand the depth of the food Catastrophe that faces the world this year, consider the graphic below depicting countries by USD value of their agricultural output, as of 2006.
Now, consider the same graphic with the countries experiencing droughts highlighted.
(NOTE: you MUST go see this graphic to really grasp the scope of this impending crisis!!)
The countries that make up two thirds of the world's agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China, Australia, Africa, South America, or the US , the scene will be the same: misery, ruined crop, and dying cattle.
The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer harvest is now threatened. The area of affected crops has expanded to 161 million mu (was 141 million last week), and 4.37 million people and 2.1 million livestock are facing drinking water shortage. The scarcity of rain in some parts of the north and central provinces is the worst in recorded history.
The drought which started in November threatens over half the wheat crop in eight provinces - Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.
China's largest crop producing province, Henan, has issued the highest-level drought warning. Henan has received an average rainfall of 10.5 millimeters since November 2008, almost 80 percent less than in the same period in the previous years. The Henan drought, which began in November, is the most severe since 1951.
Anhui Province issued a red drought alert, with more than 60 percent of the crops north of the Huaihe River plagued by a major drought.
Shanxi Province was put on orange drought alert on Jan. 21, with one million people and 160,000 heads of livestock are facing water shortage.
Jiangsu province has already lost over one fifth of the wheat crops affected by drought. Local agricultural departments are diverting water from nearby rivers in an emergency effort to save the rest.
Over 100 million cubic meters of water has been channeled in from outside the province to fight Hebei's drought.
1.34 million acres of crops across the bone-dry Shanxi province are affected by the worsening drought.
Since last November, Shandong province has experienced 73 percent less rain than the same period in previous years, with little rainfall forecast for the future.
Relief efforts are under way. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (about $12.69 billion) to drought-hit areas. Authorities have also resorted to cloud-seeding, and some areas received a sprinkling of rain after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals. However, there is a limit to what can be done in the face of such widespread water shortage.
As I have previously written, China is facing hyperinflation , and this record drought will make things worse. China produces 18% of the world's grain each year.
Australia has been experiencing an unrelenting drought since 2004, and 41 percent of Australia's agriculture continues to suffer from the worst drought in 117 years of record-keeping. The drought has been so severe that rivers stopped flowing, lakes turned toxic, and farmers abandoned their land in frustration:
A) The Murray River stopped flowing at its terminal point, and its mouth has closed up.
B) Australia's lower lakes are evaporating, and they are now a meter (3.2 feet) below sea level. If these lakes evaporate any further, the soil and the mud system below the water is going to be exposed to the air. The mud will then acidify, releasing sulfuric acid and a whole range of heavy metals. After this occurs, those lower lake systems will essentially become a toxic swamp which will never be able to be recovered. The Australian government's only options to prevent this are to allow salt water in, creating a dead sea, or to pray for rain.
For some reason, the debate over climate change is essentially over in Australia.
The United States
California is facing its worst drought in recorded history . The drought is predicted to be the most severe in modern times, worse than those in 1977 and 1991. Thousands of acres of row crops already have been fallowed, with more to follow. The snowpack in the Northern Sierra, home to some of the state's most important reservoirs, proved to be just 49 percent of average. Water agencies throughout the state are scrambling to adopt conservation mandates.
The Texan drought is reaching historic proportion. Dry conditions near Austin and San Antonio have been exceeded only once beforethe drought of 1917-18. 88 percent of Texas is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, and 18 percent of the state is in either extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The drought areas have been expanding almost every month. Conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying. Lack of rainfall has left pastures barren, and cattle producers have resorted to feeding animals hay. Irreversible damage has been done to winter wheat crops in Texas. Both short and long-term forecasts don't call for much rain at all, which means the Texas drought is set to get worse.
Augusta Region (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
The Augusta region has been suffering from a worsening two year drought. Augusta's rainfall deficit is already approaching 2 inches so far in 2009, with January being the driest since 1989.
Florida has been hard hit by winter drought, damaging crops, and half of state is in some level of a drought.
La Niña likely to make matters worse
Enough water a couple of degrees cooler than normal has accumulated in the eastern part of the Pacific to create a La Niña, a weather pattern expected to linger until at least the spring. La Niña generally means dry weather for Southern states, which is exactly what the US doesn't need right now.
The worst drought in half a century has turned Argentina's once-fertile soil to dust and pushed the country into a state of emergency. Cow carcasses litter the prairie fields, and sun-scorched soy plants wither under the South American summer sun. Argentina's food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent, maybe more. The country's wheat yield for 2009 will be 8.7 million metric tons, down from 16.3 million in 2008. Concern with domestic shortages (domestic wheat consumption being approximately 6.7 million metric ton), Argentina has granted no new export applications since mid January .
Brazil has cut its outlook for the crops and will do so again after assessing damage to plants from desiccation in drought-stricken regions. Brazil is the world's second-biggest exporter of soybeans and third-largest for corn.
Brazil's numbers for corn harvesting:
Harvested in 2008: 58.7 million tons
January 8 forecast: 52.3 million tons
February 6 forecast: 50.3 metric tons (optimistic)
Harvested in 2009: ???
Severe drought affecting Paraguay's economy has pushed the government to declare agricultural emergency. Crops that have direct impact on cattle food are ruined, and the soy plantations have been almost totally lost in some areas.
Uruguay declared an "agriculture emergency" last month, due to the worst drought in decades which is threatening crops, livestock and the provision of fresh produce.
The a worsening drought is pushing up food and beverage costs causing Uruguay's consumer prices to rise at the fastest annual pace in more than four years in January.
There hasn't been a drop of rain in Bolivia in nearly a year. Cattle dying, crops ruined, etc
The severe drought affecting Chile has caused an agricultural emergency in 50 rural districts, and large sectors of the economy are concerned about possible electricity rationing in March. The countries woes stem from the "La Niña" climate phenomenon which has over half of Chile dangling by a thread: persistently cold water in the Pacific ocean along with high atmospheric pressure are preventing rain-bearing fronts from entering central and southern areas of the country. As a result, the water levels at hydroelectric dams and other reservoirs are at all-time lows.
Horn of Africa
Africa faces food shortages and famine . Food production across the Horn of Africa has suffered because of the lack of rainfall. Also, half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant, and the declining soil fertility across Africa is exacerbating drought related crop losses.
Kenya is the worst hit nation in the region, having been without rainfall for 18 months. Kenya needs to import food to bridge a shortfall and keep 10 million of its people from starvation. Kenya's drought suffering neighbors will be of little help.
A poor harvest due to drought has prompted Tanzania to stop issuing food export permits. Tanzania has also intensified security at the border posts to monitor and prevent the export of food. There are 240,000 people in need of immediate relief food in Tanzania.
Crops in the north of Burundi have withered, leaving the tiny East African country facing a severe food shortage
Severe drought in northeastern Uganda's Karamoja region has the left the country on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The dry conditions and acute food shortages, which have left Karamoja near starvation, are unlikely to improve before October when the next harvest is due.
South Africa faces a potential crop shortage after wheat farmers in the eastern part of the Free State grain belt said they were likely to produce their lowest crop in 30 years this year. South Africans are "extremely angry" that food prices continue to rise.
Other African nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tunisia, Angola, and Ethiopia.
Middle East and Central Asia
The Middle East and Central Asia are suffering from the worst droughts in recent history , and food grain production has dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades. Total wheat production in the wider drought-affected region is currently estimated to have declined by at least 22 percent in 2009. Owing to the drought's severity and region-wide scope, irrigation supplies from reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater have been critically reduced. Major reservoirs in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are all at low levels requiring restrictions on usage. Given the severity of crop losses in the region, a major shortage of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected.
In Iraq during the winter grain growing period, there was essentially no measurable rainfall in many regions, and large swaths of rain-fed fields across northern Iraq simply went unplanted. These primarily rain-fed regions in northern Iraq are described as an agricultural disaster area this year, with wheat production falling 80-98 percent from normal levels. The USDA estimates total wheat production in Iraq in 2009 at 1.3 million tons, down 45 percent from last year.
Syria is experienced its worst drought in the past 18 years, and the USDA estimates total wheat production in Syria in 2009 at 2.0 million tons, down 50 percent from last year. Last summer, the taps ran dry in many neighborhoods of Damascus and residents of the capital city were forced to buy water on the black market. The severe lack of rain this winter has exacerbated the problem.
Lack of rainfall has led Afghanistan to the worst drought conditions in the past 10 years. The USDA estimates 2008/09 wheat production in Afghanistan at 1.5 million tons, down 2.3 million or 60 percent from last year. Afghanistan normally produces 3.5-4.0 million tons of wheat annually.
Jordan's persistent drought has grown worse, with almost no rain falling on the kingdom this year. The Jordanian government has stopped pumping water to farms to preserve the water for drinking purposes.
Other Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: The Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Israel, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Cyprus, and Iran.
Lack of credit will worsen food shortage
A lack of credit for farmers curbed their ability to buy seeds and fertilizers in 2008/2009 and will limit production around the world. The effects of droughts worldwide will also be amplified by the smaller amount of seeds and fertilizers used to grow crops.
Low commodity prices will worsen food shortage
The low prices at the end of 2008 discouraged the planting of new crops in 2009. In Kansas for example, farmers seeded nine million acres, the smallest planting for half a century. Wheat plantings this year are down about 4 million acres across the US and about 1.1 million acres in Canada. So even discounting drought related losses, the US, Canada, and other food producing nations are facing lower agricultural output in 2009.
Europe will not make up for the food shortfall
Europe, the only big agricultural region relatively unaffected by drought, is set for a big drop in food production. Due to the combination of a late plantings, poorer soil conditions, reduced inputs, and light rainfall, Europe's agricultural output is likely to fall by 10 to 15 percent.
Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low
Low stocks of foodstuff make the world's falling agriculture output particularly worrisome. The combined averaged of the ending stock levels of the major trading countries of Australia, Canada, United States, and the European Union have been declining steadily in the last few years:
2002-2005: 47.4 million tons
2007: 37.6 million tons
2008: 27.4 million tons
These inventory numbers are dangerously low, especially considering the horrifying possibility that China's 60 million tons of grain reserves doesn't actually exists .
Global food Catastrophe
The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Food producing nations are imposing food export restrictions. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.
The deflation debate should end now
The droughts plaguing the world's biggest agricultural regions should end the debate about deflation in 2009. The demand for agricultural commodities is relatively immune to developments in the business cycles (at least compared to that of energy or base metals), and, with a 20 to 40 percent decline in world production, already rising food prices are headed significantly higher.
In fact, agricultural commodities NEED to head higher and soon, to prevent even greater food shortages and famine. The price of wheat, corn, soybeans, etc must rise to a level which encourages the planting of every available acre with the best possible fertilizers. Otherwise, if food prices stay at their current levels, production will continue to fall, sentencing millions more to starvation.
Competitive currency appreciation
Some observers are anticipating competitive currency devaluations in addition to deflation for 2009 (nations devalue their currencies to help their export sector). The coming global food shortage makes this highly unlikely. Depreciating their currency in the current environment will produce the unwanted consequence of boosting exportsof food. Even with export restrictions like those in China, currency depreciation would cause the outflow of significant quantities of grain via the black market.
Instead of competitive currency devaluations, spiking food prices will likely cause competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for just this type of emergency . Central banks around the world will lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currencies or by using them to purchase grain on the world market.
Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. A more valuable currency allows a nation to monopolize more global resources (ie: the overvalued dollar allows the US to consume 25% of the world's oil despite having only 4% of the world's population). If China were to selloff its US reserves, its enormous population would start sucking up the world's food supply like the US has been doing with oil.
On the flip side, when a nation appreciates its currency and starts consuming more of the world's resources, it leaves less for everyone else. So when china appreciates the yuan, food shortages worldwide will increase and prices everywhere else will jump upwards. As there is nothing that breeds social unrest like soaring food prices, nations around the world, from Russia, to the EU, to Saudi Arabia, to India, will sell off their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and reduce the cost of food imports. In response to this, China will sell even more of its reserves and so on. That is competitive currency appreciation.
When faced with competitive currency appreciation, you do NOT want to be the world's reserve currency. The dollar is likely to do very poorly as central banks liquidate trillions in US holdings to buy food and appreciate their currencies.
By Eric deCarbonnel
Fighting Hunger With Technology (MARCH 19, 2009) http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/view/fighting_hunger_with_technology
Americans waste A LOT of food. Im talking tons of edible fruits, veggies, grains, nuts and meat tossed into the trash every year. Literally.It's estimated that Americans waste 27 percent of the food available for consumption. That equals out to one pound, per day, for every single person in the U.S. If you're counting at home, thats 305 million pounds of discarded food each day. If we were able to recover just five percent of the food that's wasted, we could feed four million people a day says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million more people. These figures alone would put a giant dent in the numbers of those living with a constant scarcity of food.The U.S. produces twice as much food as is required per person. These numbers should also help us understand that hunger is not a problem of supply but rather one of distribution and access. In order to make our supply meet the demand of the hungry, what is desperately needed is a way to link institutions which produce excess food to the people who need it most. CLIP
California snowpack lags, drought concerns grow (01/29/2009) http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11583369
State water officials on Thursday announced that California's snowpack is 61 percent of normal for this time of year, prompting widespread concerns that after two previous dry years, the state and Silicon Valley could face the first widespread mandatory water rationing since the early 1990s."We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history,'' said Lester Snow, director of the California Department of Water Resources. "It's imperative for Californians to conserve water immediately at home and in their businesses." There are roughly eight weeks left in California's traditional winter rainy season. If conditions don't improve, homeowners could see increased water bills, brown lawns, and "water police" issuing fines for irrigating lawns on banned days. Farmers, who use 80 percent of the water that California residents consume, will almost certainly plant fewer acres. And the state's salmon populations, already struggling from dams and poor ocean conditions, could fall further in number. To escape a serious summer drought, the state will need rain and snow at significant levels in February and March. Yet a weather condition known as La Niña, which cools Pacific Ocean waters and limits California's rainfall, is under way. CLIP
California Food Facts - Production & Crops California http://www.beachcalifornia.com/california-food-facts.html
Food Facts California has been the number one food and agricultural producer in the United States for more than 50 consecutive years. More than half the nation's fruit, nuts, and vegetables come from here.California is the nation's number one dairy state. California's leading commodity is milk and cream. Grapes are second. California's leading export crop is almonds. Nationally, products exclusively grown (99% or more) in California include almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins, clovers, and walnuts. From 70 to 80% of all ripe olives are grown in California.
The fight for water in North America (13 February 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7829850.stm
Since 2000, the Colorado River - which provides water for seven US states in the region - has carried less water than at any time in recorded history. And while the drought is worsening, the demand for water in this booming part of the country is increasing. The states dependent on the Colorado River for their water are seeking solutions to their water shortage, with some suggesting that importing water from far-flung states - or even towing icebergs down from the Arctic - could solve the problems. Meanwhile, the US states and Canadian provinces of the water-rich Great Lakes basin have drawn up an agreement to restrict the export of water from their region. Experts say this pattern - of water shortages in dry regions, and protective agreements in wet areas - is likely to repeat itself elsewhere as the world demand for water begins to exceed supply. CLIP
Long Droughts, Rising Seas Predicted Despite Future CO2 Curbs (January 27, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR2009012602037.html
Greenhouse gas levels currently expected by mid-century will produce devastating long-term droughts and a sea-level rise that will persist for 1,000 years regardless of how well the world curbs future emissions of carbon dioxide, an international team of scientists reported yesterday. Top climate researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Switzerland and France said their analysis shows that carbon dioxide will remain near peak levels in the atmosphere far longer than other greenhouse gases, which dissipate relatively quickly. "I think you have to think about this stuff as more like nuclear waste than acid rain: The more we add, the worse off we'll be," NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon told reporters in a conference call. "The more time that we take to make decisions about carbon dioxide, the more irreversible climate change we'll be locked into." CLIP
Mexico, Pakistan, and the So-Called "Failed State": Washington's War on "Narco-Terrorism"
by Shamus Cooke
March 14, 2009
Are Mexican drug cartels a threat to the United States? This is an easy conclusion to make after reading most mainstream U.S. newspapers. Hardly a day goes by without sensational stories about "broad daylight" gun battles, heart-wrenching interviews with weeping mothers, and praise for the Mexican army in its "war" against "narco-terrorists."
Interestingly, Mexico has lately been compared to Pakistan as a country "on the verge" of becoming a "failed state," with the Mexican drug cartels accused of playing the same "destabilizing" role as the Taliban/terrorists in Pakistan. Calling such a comparison a stretch would be a gross understatement, of course.
There is in fact a real connection between Mexico and Pakistan thats worth discussing, though you'd never hear it mentioned in the mainstream media. Both countries have governments that are virtual pawns of the U.S. and, as such, are having a difficult time with their native populations as they attempt to please their real bosses - U.S. mega-corporations and rich investors.
And these bosses can be demanding. For example, in Pakistan the U.S. dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) is demanding that Pakistan privatize state-owned banks, railways, power plants, water, insurance, factories, etc. - so that U.S. corporations and investors can buy them at discount rates for private profit.
In Mexico, the same U.S. groups are lustfully eyeing Mexicos number one source of national revenue: the state oil company (PEMEX). Mexican companies and natural resources had already been gobbled-up by U.S. corporate vultures long before NAFTA came into effect, though this trade agreement intensified the trend, making it a good place to begin if one is to have any understanding of the current political situation in Mexico.
NAFTA is in fact more than a trade agreement, its a trade bloc, the size of which rivals the European Union as the world's largest. A trade bloc is essentially an agreement between countries on economic integration, which inevitably includes varying levels of political and military agreements. Also, every trade bloc has a dominant member - which in NAFTA's case is the U.S.
When NAFTA was enacted, a new flood of U.S. corporate and private investment flooded into Mexico, requiring that this money be well protected. For the international investor, political instability of any kind is bad for business. This is in fact why NAFTA was extended into the "Security and Prosperity Agreement," which provides U.S. security (military) aid to protect the NAFTA-created prosperity (investments) inside of Mexico.
In speaking of security and foreign investment, The World Bank's website says: "We act as a potent deterrent against [foreign] government actions that may adversely affect investments. And even if disputes do arise, our leverage with host governments frequently enables us to resolve differences to the mutual satisfaction of all parties." Such security is ultimately guaranteed by the U.S. military.
U.S. investors had a valid fear that their investments in Mexico needed extra protecting. Social inequalities in the country have been intensifying for years, and the poor's standard of living has continued to deteriorate. This deterioration promised to continue because of the extremely fragile Mexican economy, which was especially vulnerable for the following reasons:
1) Commodities coming in from the U.S. because of NAFTA promised to out-compete and destroy Mexican farmers and businesses.
2) Mexico is highly dependent on high oil prices that have since plummeted.
3) Mexico is highly dependent on U.S. foreign investors whose investments have tapered off (because of the recession)
4) Mexican exports to the U.S. - 80% of its total exports - have sharply declined because of U.S. workers inability to consume them.
5) Remittances from Mexicans living in the U.S. have dropped sharply due to the recession.
This economic situation promised that the Mexican working class would be pushed into desperation, and that police-state measures would be needed to control them, since they might demand that U.S. owned corporations in Mexico should instead be used for ordinary Mexicans. Those who didn't emigrate to escape the crumbling economy would likely rise up.
The first uprising in Mexico began like clockwork, on the day NAFTA was enacted in 1994, led by the Zapatista movement. The Zapatistas were protesting the inevitable effects NAFTA would have on Mexico, though especially the widening of economic inequalities, privatization, and the negative impacts of "free trade" with the more powerful U.S. economy.
U.S. investors demanded that the movement be crushed, and the crushing is still going on today, including a horrific list of human rights abuses by the Mexican military and federal police - the same people that the U.S. media is daily praising.
Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy, writes how the Mexican army has recently used its "war on drugs" as an excuse to repress the Zapatista movement, among others.
The current President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, first announced the "war on drugs" in circumstances that led many to question his motives. For example, millions of people in Mexico rightly believe that Calderon stole the 2006 election. The resulting mass protests destabilized his incoming government, forcing him to be sworn in under conditions of secrecy.
At the same time, an extraordinary uprising in the state of Oaxaca led to a peoples government headed by a democratically elected Popular Assembly (APPO). To ensure the incoming president a somewhat stable beginning - as well as assuring corporate investments in Oaxaca remained untouched - exiting President Vincente Fox turned to the Mexican Federal Police to crush the movement, using the proven tactics of paramilitary squads; "disappearances," assassinations, illegal detentions, etc. (between 2007 and 2008, 1,602 such incidents of human rights violations were officially reported to the government's National Commission on Human Rights).
It was under these conditions that President Felipe Calderon declared his "war on drugs." His motive was not only to distract the public away from his illegitimate presidency, but also, as the Mexican newspaper El Univeral shamelessly pointed out: "The challenge for Calderón is not just in Oaxaca - the federal government is going to have to intervene if they don't want to see movements like the one in Oaxaca in several states."
And intervene they have. This war has sent tens of thousands of Mexican army and federal police into the streets of Mexico, and violations of human rights have exploded in the process. In "Operation Chihuahua," a major campaign in the "drug war," the Mexican army rounded up political activists and opposition leaders who had previously led protests against NAFTA.
Another extreme violation of human rights occurred in the Mexican region of Atenco, where activists were targeted and tortured, and a whole community was terrorized by the Mexican federal police to crush opposition to government policy.
The logic is disturbing: "extraordinary measures" are supposedly needed to battle the Mexican "narco-terrorists." These measures include not only the above-mentioned human rights violations, but the virtual destruction of basic constitutional rights. An apt comparison can be made to the U.S. government's equally-ridiculous "war on terror," which has also led to human and constitutional rights violations, while being based on similar motives.
In 2008 the ante was upped in Mexico. The Merida Initiative was passed in the US congress - also known as Plan Mexico (based on the similar "plan" in Colombia). This agreement adds billions of dollars in U.S. military aide to Mexico, including "counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and border security." Plan Mexico is in fact a mere extension of NAFTA' "security and prosperity" agreement, but with a more blatant role for the U.S. military.
Recently Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, updated President Obama on the emerging security threat of Mexico, and the enhanced cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican militaries through Plan Mexico. This meeting happened after a week of U.S. media hysterics over "drug cartel violence spilling over into the U.S."
Similar scare tactics were used to achieve public support for Plan Colombia, where billions of dollars of U.S. "aide" have helped militarize the country in the fight against "narco terrorists." The results aren't surprising: Colombia's human rights record is the worst in the hemisphere while being the number one cocaine exporter in the world.
Colombia is a much-needed pawn of U.S. foreign policy in a region that despises past U.S. military and economic intervention. It should be noted that the only two openly right-wing governments in the region are Mexico and Colombia.
Ultimately, the accusation that a country has "failed" has been used as a pretext for U.S. military involvement. This is indeed the case for both Mexico and Pakistan, where corporations and investors work in tandem with puppet governments against the wishes of the population.
The possibility that such police state measures can be transferred to the United States is very real, especially because of the Bush-era destruction of civil liberties that Obama is unwilling to reconstruct, let alone talk about. If policies are not put into place that immediately help the newly-created millions of unemployed, un-insured, and recently homeless, social unrest will undoubtedly emerge, and the measures Bush created will be further used against the U.S. working class. In this case, the police and military may be used to "maintain order," possibly under the guise of a "war on terror" or "war on drugs," or another creative campaign.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (http://www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at email@example.com
As Study of the History of US Intelligence Community Human Rights Violations and Continuing Research in Electromagnetic Weapons
Completed December 2006
This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF)devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing human rights abuses.
Non-lethal weapons sound harmless in relation to guns and bombs. However, non-lethal weapons are not just tazers and annoying sounds. Nor are they harmless. In fact, NLWs are such a concern that many countries have treaties demanding transparency. Beginning in the 1990s, groups have formed to provide oversight of NLW research, including international committees, concerned scientists, and citizens groups including the Federation of American Scientists and the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics.100 The proliferation of NLWs have raised concern within the EU, Russia, and other countries, as records of Cold War abuses come to light and people come forward with complaints of illegal testing.101
The concern is more than a political issue and stretches beyond civil liberties into human rights as they relate to a persons cognitive liberties. The following section highlights technologies with the capability to control and manipulate individuals or large groups of people.
Crowd Control using the Electromagnetic Spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum has provided the military with an expanse of weapons, which are operational and in military and private use today in the form of millimeter waves,102 pulsed energy projectiles, and high power magnetic weapons.
The US has deployed the Project Sheriff active denial weapon in Iraq. Raytheon outfitted Humvees with their Silent Guardian Protection System, a device capable of heating the skin to 1/64 of an inch, causing instant pain similar to intense sunburn, 103 with the goal to facilitate dispersing a crowd. According to a report released by the Air Force on the human effects of this weapon, people with contact lenses and those wearing metal suffered greater effects. An imprint of a coin was discovered on the skin of a test subject and death or severe heart problems may occur.104
Pulsed Energy Projectiles
Pulsed Energy Projectiles (PEPs) are another form of weaponry that is used to paralyze a victim with pain. According to New Scientist magazine, the expanding plasma effects nerve cells, but the longterm effects remain a public mystery.105 The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program reports that, PEPs create a flash bang effect that startles and distracts.106 However, the effects are much greater than just startling an individual. A 2001 Time magazine article states that the PEP superheats the surface moisture around a target so rapidly that it literally explodes, producing a bright flash of light and a loud bang. The effect is like a stun grenade, but unlike a grenade the pep travels at nearly the speed of light and can take out a target with pinpoint accuracy as far away as 2 km.107
While the effects of these weapons appear to be short-term and topical in nature, there is evidence that electromagnetic weapons have effects on the brain, including sleep disruption and behavior changes.108 They can produce anxiety and fear or compliance in humans. It is possible to use these weapons as a means of torture, yet without knowing exactly when, where, and how the weapons are used, we are left to speculate.109 An article by David Hambling in New Scientist magazine, March 2005, was titled, Maximum pain is aim of new US weapons. In 2006, Dr. Brian Martin, associate professor in Science, Technology and Society, University of Wollongong, Australia, co-authored a paper entitled Looming struggles over technology for border control, which describes the potential catastrophes that would lead to an extreme border protection plan. In the event of a natural disaster, or the rapid reduction of resources, or a major climactic change such as drought, rich countries will have a need to reinforce their borders against a massive influx of refugees. This scenario is often described in the nation-state context but it is possible to imagine such a perceived need in the event of internal civil unrest.
In Maoist China, cities were equipped with megaphones, bombarding the people with on-going propaganda. The megaphones were in full vision of the people, yet there was no way to escape the sound. Today technology exists that fills a similar purpose. Voice to Skull directed acoustic devices are neuro-electromagnetic non-lethal weapons that can produce sounds within the skull of a human.110
A similar technology, known as Hypersonic Sound, is used in a similar fashion. According to its inventor, Elwood Norris of American Technology Corporation (ATC), the handheld speaker can focus sound waves directly at a person without anyone else hearing the sound. The technology is being tested by corporations such as McDonalds and Wal Mart to direct advertisements into a consumers head.
The Long Rage Acoustical Device (LRAD),111 is used by the military in situations such as crowd control, mass notification, and perimeter enforcement. For instance, an unruly mob may not hear a warning to disperse with traditional acoustic technology, or border enforcement agents may need to warn an approaching intruder to turn away or face bodily harm. The technology has advantages over lethal force, yet it also has the potential to inflict physical harm, emotional manipulation, and death. According to Defense Update, the LRAD can produce a 150-decibel acoustic beam from 300 meters away. The human threshold for pain is between 120 to 140 decibels.112 In a 2003 New York Times article Mr. Norris demonstrates his technology to the reporter. At 1% of capacity, the reporters eyes hurt, and hours later still experienced a headache.113
This technology can inflict permanent damage and death despite its classification as a non-lethal weapon. While the LRAD may be seen as a way to save lives in times of disaster or to avoid civilian casualties, the LRAD and similar directed acoustics may be cause for concern to those who exercise their right to assemble and conduct peaceful demonstrations and protests. The New York City police used the LRAD at the Republican National Convention and it was also used in Miami at a WTO Free Trade protests.114 Covering ones ears will not protect a person and given, the long-range capabilities, fleeing from the beam may not help either (as evidenced in the use of directed acoustics against Jewish settlers in Gaza). The Associated Press (AP) reported that a device called the scream was used in a 2005 protest against Palestinians who covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds. An AP photographer at the scene said that even after he covered his ears, he continued to hear the sound ringing in his head.
The Madoff investigation is very similar to the 9-11 investigation in that evidence of a larger conspiracy is being avoided and ignored. It is possible that the billions that Madoff stole, and is still unaccounted for, was being used to finance Israels vast global spy and sabotage network Mossad with connections to both AIG and quite possibly 9/11 itself: Allen L Roland
Talk about red flags! I always felt there was something fishy about the Madoff scandal as if the government was going to great lengths to portray this as a simple one man Ponzi scheme while avoiding the very real possibility of a major conspiracy.
Russian intelligence has weighed in on the Madoff scandal and reported today that - " Madoff was the chief financier for a vast Israeli spy and sabotage network ( Mossad ) set up by former Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) director Jacob Perry (Yaakov Peri) who transformed himself into one of Americas most powerful businessman and led what FSB sources call the xxxx ( English translation roughly means Murderous/Fatal Gang of 7 ) which references the leaders of this American-Israeli cabal who besides Madoff and Perry include:
Henry Taub, Hungarian born American-Israeli who created the giant United States payroll company ADP which continues to funnel to Israeli intelligence services financial records for nearly every US citizen.
Maurice Greenberg, American-Israeli who was the former chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), the World's 18th largest public company and its largest insurance and financial services corporation which has (so far) funneled over $180 billion in US taxpayer money directly to Israel.
Larry Silverstein, the American-Israeli billionaire who secured a lease for the World Trade Center buildings in New York on July 24, 2001, insured them for $3.55 billion spread among 24 different insurance companies, and after their destruction 2 months later on 9/11 collected $4.55 billion for Israel.
Mortimer Zuckerman, Canadian born American-Israeli billionaire who through his vast publishing empire has direct control over 70 percent of the news reported in the United States.
Edouard de Rothschild, French born American-Israeli member of the all powerful European Rothschild Banking Empire and director of the Rothschild & Cie Banque reported by the FSB to hold nearly 80% of the wealth stolen by Israel from the United States Government and its citizens.
These reports further state that Madoff was convicted in a one of a kind designed trial in which his guilty plea kept all evidence against Israels betrayal of the United States from being entered into official American records as it was deemed by the Obama administration as too incendiary for the American people to know about and would, most certainly, unleash an Israeli backlash many Russian Military Analysts state would leave many US cities in ruin."
With that in mind, and despite the possibility that the FourWinds story may be a hoax, it most certainly seems to appear that the prosecution is playing along with Madoff to protect other conspirators involved in this massive fraud. If so, who are they and why are they being protected ?
Here's a clue - Madoff has long standing ties with two of Israel's largest banks - Bank Leumi and Israel Discount Bank ( IDB ) - which has a history of money laundering and illegal money transfers.
According to Chris Bollyn, Jacob Ezra Merkin is a part owner of Bank Leumi and has funneled billions of dollars to Madoff's fund - suggesting that Madoff's scheme was, in reality, a massive theft being disguised as a Ponzi scheme. A theft that involved many high level Zionists.
If this is indeed the case - The Madoff fraud is a Zionist fund raising scheme in which billions of dollars have been not only been stolen but it would explain why they are still totally unaccounted for.
The missing link in this cover up would be a Zionist agent playing the role of the Government prosecutor and that is indeed the case with Lev L Dassen, U.S. Attorney - one of the insiders in the judicial game surrounding the possible false-flag terror attacks that changed America and brought U.S. troops into the Middle East on a permanent basis. http://www.bollyn.info/home/articles/911/another-massive-zionist-fraud-surfaces/
Once again, the Madoff scandal is a red flag which cannot be ignored and must be investigated. Just follow the money and it could be the key to opening a Pandora's Box of Israeli influence and the 9/11 cover up. Madoff is part of the Billionaires club which has wrought havoc on Wall Street and that includes AIG's CEO Edward M. Liddy. The AIG debacle is another red flag that demands a criminal investigation - not Obama administration stonewalling - for its derivative trading schemes involves trillions of dollars of debt which cannot possibly be paid and could well be the greatest financial scandal in US history.
Follow the money starting with Madoff's missing billions and let's fully open Pandora's box.
Eliot Spitzer is Baaack as He Exposes the AIG-Federal Reserve Ponzi Scheme (March 18, 2009) http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=147509065&blogId=477628639
UNITED STATES of America - He is baaack! Eliot Spitzer's blockbuster piece at Slate.com on the real truth about the AIG 'bail out', which is nothing more than another Ponzi Scheme, this time engineered by the [privately owned] U.S. Federal Reserve aka the "creature from Jekyl Island".Again, stay tuned for our next intelligence briefing, which will also include:an update on the fire in the London financial district near AIG headquarters - the TRILLION dollars Federal Reserve "black op" that occurred today on 3/18/09, which includes new Federal Reserve derivatives that mark the par value of $1 at $100 - the role of Wells Fargo's Singapore-based hedge fund and the use of the deposits of its own customers in aiding and abetting the latest Federal Reserve derivative Ponzi Scheme - the need for the Federal Reserve to keep 9/11 patsy Osama bin Laden aka CIA employee Tim Osman alive, even though he has been dead for over seven (7) years since December of 2001, which would allow the Federal Reserve to park toxic derivative assets in "national security" custodial accounts. Finally, folks, remember this. One month before the original BushFRAUD Administration's "bail out" of AIG, in August of 2008, the FBI and U.S. Justice Department launched a criminal investigation of AIG and Citibank, which continues to this day. The Federal Reserve's action today is clearly Obstruction of Justice of the highest order. It is obvious that they want to hide the toxic derivatives from the FBI, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Finally, rumors are flying around Washington, D.C. that former BushFRAUD U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry (Hank) Paulson, has been indicted. Please enjoy Eliot Spitzer's piece which exposes the entire AIG scandal as a massive Federal Reserve Ponzi Scheme directed against the American People.
The Real AIG Scandal by Eliot Spitzer (March 17, 2009) http://www.slate.com/id/2213942/
It's not the bonuses. It's that AIG's counterparties are getting paid back in full. - Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG's bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG's counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars? For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman's collapse, they feared a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG's inability to pay the counterparties to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold. And who were AIG's trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already.It all appears, once again, to be the same insiders protecting themselves against sharing the pain and risk of their own bad adventure. The payments to AIG's counterparties are justified with an appeal to the sanctity of contract. If AIG's contracts turned out to be shaky, the theory goes, then the whole edifice of the financial system would collapse. CLIP
Clinton: Some $900 million pledged by the United States to the Palestinians will be withdrawn if the expected Palestinian Authority coalition government between Fatah and Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist, Western and Israeli diplomats said Wednesday.
- Total direct aid to Israel, 1948-2003, $89.9 billion (uncorrected for inflation)
- Since 1976 Israel has been the largest annual recipient of US aid. It is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II.
- Direct U.S. aid for each Israeli citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Israel = $16,710) over $500
- Direct U.S. Aid for each Ethiopian citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Ethiopia = $100) about $.45
- REGULAR US GRANT AID in FY 2003
- $2.76 billion military aid grant
- $2.1 billion economic support funds
- $600 million refugee resettlement grant
- COMMERCIAL LOAN GUARANTEES IN FY 2003, $2 billion
- BUSH ADMINISTRATION SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST FOR FY 2003
- Military aid grant $1 billion
- Commercial loan guarantees $9 billion
- Arrow missile development $60 million
- TOTAL AID FOR FY 2003 $14.82 billion
- Percentage of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel 30%
- Israel's population as a percentage of world population .01%
Section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) states, "No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." 22 U.S.C. 2304(a)
Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act prohibits selling military equipment to countries that use them for non-self-defense purposes.
The U.S. State Department determined in February 2001 that Israel has committed each of the acts that the law defines as "gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person." It described Israeli army use of live ammunition against Palestinians when soldiers were not in impending danger as "excessive use of force."
U.S. official: Obama won't cut military aid to Israel (11/03/2009) http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070318.html
U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity. The Obama Administration however expects the next government of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to continue peace negotiations with the Palestinians, he said. The increased military aid was promised to outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert by then-under secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns in August 2007. Israel Radio also quoted the official as saying that if Hamas joins a Palestinian unity cabinet but does not accept the conditions of the Quartet of Middle East peace sponsors - the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia - the Obama Administration would have no dealings with that government. The radical Islamist movement ruling Gaza is holding talks in Cairo with the secular Fatah party of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas and other factions on forming a unity government. The talks in Cairo are a bid to reconcile between the rivaling factions, which have been locked in a bitter power struggle since Hamas beat Fatah in January 2006 elections and culminated in the Islamist group violently seizing sole control of Gaza in June 2007. After the Hamas elections victory, the Quartet said it would boycott Hamas, unless it recognized Israel's right to exist, endorsed past interim peace deals calling for a two-state solution to the conflict, and renounced violence.
Can Obama escape the dominating influence of AIPAC and the American Jewish/Zionist Israeli lobby? (2009 02 13) OR DOES HE WANT TO?! http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2009/02/13/debbie-menon-can-obama-escape-the-dominating-influence-of-aipac-and-the-american-jewishzionist-israeli-lobby/
No one in Mainstream US media, is addressing the real problem which is, the fact that nothing contrary to Zionist, Israeli and American Jewish lobbies, AIPAC and other Pacs interests, which are all-dominating in the American political scene, will go very far. Anyone who supports such a move will have no tomorrow in American politics or business. They will be Finkelsteined to death by the Zionist assassins. Recently, a group of very high-minded and virtuous but, retired diplomats and academics who do not owe their future success to AIPAC or any Israeli lobbies, asked the question: "Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge?" But the question they should be asking is: "Can Obama escape the dominating influence of AIPAC and the American Jewish/Zionist Israeli lobby?" The answer is "probably not and live."It isn't enough, I think, just to point out that in the US, Jews have acquired the lion's share of many key political appointments in the US Administration. It is a known fact and I iterate it was 56% in the Clinton years, and almost the same in the Bush years and we are beginning to see the same shape in the formation of Obama administration. Even that Congress has been largely compromised by AIPAC and the brigade of Jewish PACs in the US is all true, and apparent of course. In my recent essay I mentioned my fading faith, hope, trust and expectations in Barack O'Bama. That was before I read Christopher Bollyn's article illustrating the Israeli Zionists in the Obama Administration and the US Government, The Israeli Who Runs the Obama White House - Bollyn and the way they "fixed" the entire US Presidential elections, and created a dramatic charade, including the comedy team of McCain and Palin. With Obama refurnishing the White House with Clinton leftovers and resurrections, it is beginning to look like business as usual and nothing has changed since the regime of Lyndon Johnson, the Clintons, the Bushes, et al.The New Emperor's new robes are being cut and tailored of the same material and by the same City Island tailors as his predecessors! So much for dreams, ideals, hope and promises of change. The question is why a large majority of the American people go along with this entire exercise? And when did it all start? CLIP
A JEWISH DEFECTOR WARNS AMERICA (February 21, 2009) http://www.kevinalfredstrom.com/2009/02/a-jewish-defector-warns-america/
Benjamin H. Freedman was one of the most intriguing and amazing individuals of the 20th century. Mr. Freedman, born in 1890, was a successful Jewish businessman of New York City who was at one time the principal owner of the Woodbury Soap Company.He broke with organized Jewry after World War II, and spent the remainder of his life and the great preponderance of his considerable fortune, at least 2.5 million dollars, exposing the Jewish power structure which dominates the United States. Mr. Freedmans testimony is especially important because he had been an insider at the highest levels of Jewish organizations and Jewish machinations to gain power over our nation. Mr. Freedman was personally acquainted with Bernard Baruch, Samuel Untermyer, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and many more movers and shakers of our times. This speech was given before a patriotic audience in 1961 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Conde McGinleys patriotic newspaper of that time, Common Sense. Though in some minor ways this wide-ranging and extemporaneous speech has become dated, Mr. Freedmans essential message to us his warning to the West is more urgent than ever before. CLIP - His speech is worth reading!!
The Obama Deception - 1:51:21 (Mar 12, 2009) Produced and narrated by Alex Jones who also plays a key role in this video and has some really powerful "Wake Up call" words at 1 hr 6 min in this video when he vigorously attacks the banking cartel. There is nothing to cheer anyone up in this but it can't be ignored... http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=7886780711843120756&hl=en
The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people. The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery. We have reached a critical juncture in the New World Order's plans. and only by exposing the con can we help to save freedom in America. The Obama Deception is not about Left or Right: it's about a One World Government. The international banks plan to loot the people of the United States and turn them into slaves on a Global Plantation. Covered in this film: who Obama works for, what lies he has told, and his real agenda, and how his initial appointments and actions prove he serves the corporate oligarchs, not the American people. If you want to know the facts and cut through all the hype, this is the film for you. http://tinyurl.com/b4wf9 - Recommended by Larry Stell (firstname.lastname@example.org) who wrote: "If you do not have time to watch it now, download it and view it later. But DO VIEW IT if you want to know what is REALLY going on. Things are a lot worse than you think. Obama's job is to sell the agenda and be the perfect puppet. Will we wake up in time? Note from Jean: This video strives to demonstrate that Obama's election was engineered by the Bilderberg elite whose members all occupy the key posts in Obama's administration, that he is their puppet and a wonderfully efficient charismatic actor, and that the economic collapse was orchestrated by this Cabal. Gerald Celente (as articulate and convincing as usual!) and Webster Tarpley are repeatedly featured in this film and have some of the most cogent arguments. George Humphrey is also featured. See his Preview: 9/11 The Great Illusion. The only politician that is positively featured in this video is Dennis Kucinich for his bill to abolish the sham Federal Reserve.
We Need a Bank Of the World (Oct 25, 2008) Alex Jones refers to this article in his video above... http://www.newsweek.com/id/165772
The financial crisis is global, and only an international central bank can deal with it.
The Israeli Who Runs the Obama White House by Christopher Bollyn - 06 November 2008 http://www.bollyn.info/home/articles/polphil/rahm-emanuel-and-barack-obama
One of the key players in the Obama administrations $900 billion economic stimulus package is Obamas new budget director Peter R. Orszag. Orszag, 40, is the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the arm of the White House responsible for crafting the federal budget and overseeing the effectiveness of federal programs. He worked closely with Rahm Emanuel in the Clinton administration - when the disastrous NAFTA was passed - and was one of the first Obama appointees to be approved. "In the coming years, no bureaucrat will be as decisive as Peter Orszag, Ezra Klein wrote recently in The American Prospect. So, who is Peter Richard Orszag and what kind of decisions will he make with the budget he controls? (Based on his background one would be well advised to prepare for a financial trainwreck.) Oddly, Orszags background has received virtually no attention in the media. At this critical moment, however, it would be foolish to ignore the troubling background of Obamas budget director, which deserves to be looked at very carefully. Orszag, for example, could start by explaining exactly what happened to the Icelandic economy. Orszag was, after all, the founder and president of the economic consultancy firm which advised the Central Bank of Iceland - before it went bankrupt. How did Icelandic banks become so indebted? Ask Peter Orszag. Orszag is an economist who served six years in the Clinton administration (1993-8) under Robert E. Rubin, the former treasury secretary who recently resigned from his senior position at the woefully mismanaged and nearly bankrupt Citigroup. The fact that Orszag was a protege of the now disgraced Rubin certainly does not bode well for the Obama administration. (...) In 1998, after serving in the Clinton administration, Orszag co-founded an economic consulting group company with his brother and Joseph Stiglitz called Sebago Associates, where he served as president through 2007. The firm's clients have included the World Bank, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and most notably, the Central Bank of Iceland. The once prosperous economy of Iceland has been devastated by the current economic crisis, which its citizens say was carried out by a gang of financial criminals who followed disastrous policies and advice - provided by Peter Orszag and Company. Americans need to be vigilant with dangerous "Young Turks" like Peter Orszag and Rahm Emanuel running the Obama White House and the U.S. budget. CLIP - There is much more incendiary stuff to discover THERE and through http://www.bollyn.info/home/
Suddenly we're all in consensus: The recent war in Gaza was a failure. The bon ton now is to list its flaws. Flip-floppers say its "achievements" were squandered; leftists say the war "should never have started" and rightists will say the war "should have lasted longer." But on this they all agree: It was a blunder.
Because we consider the war to have been almost cost-free, with just 13 Israeli dead, it will be the first in 36 years without a Commission of Inquiry formed in its wake.
Of course, the war's blunder was just as serious as its predecessors, but because we did more killing than being killed, because we caused more damage than we sustained, there's nothing deemed worthy of investigation.
It was all in vain: no progress made, no goal achieved, nothing. Deterrence wasn't reestablished, arms smuggling into Gaza was not stopped, Hamas was not weakened and abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit was not freed. On these facts we all agree.
Moreover, we paid a huge price: Hamas is stronger, the hurt Palestinian people are even more hateful toward us, and Israel is viewed as a pariah in world public opinion, with rioting on a basketball court in Ankara where an Israeli team played and the banning of spectators from Israel's Davis Cup tennis encounter with Sweden in Malmo, as the last of the rogue states.
Nobody has to answer for all this, neither the politicians who launched this crazy war nor the army commanders who were their contractors. No one will be impeached, never mind tried in court. Israel's aggressive and violent war machine won't even suffer a tiny dent.
And what of the cheerleaders who sat on the sidelines of this hellish nightmare? Perhaps we should at least hold them accountable? They sat in their television studios and at their newspaper desks. Oh, how the commentators were excited and stirred excitement. They goaded and urged, pushed and applied pressure, begging for more and more war. For months they had been clamoring for their "wide-scale operation," their hearts' desire. When their wish came true they cheered in support and whistled in excitement.
Do not take their actions lightly. They could have had an immense influence over the feeble politicians and graying officers. "Strike out at them," their baritone voices echoed from one part of the country to the other. They asserted it was a just and successful war without peer. They covered the brilliant military maneuvers with gusto, iniquitously hid the horrors, presented an unrestrained offensive against a non-existent enemy as a two-sided war, described troops' unchallenged advances as real combat and a military maneuver carried out on the back of a helpless population as a success.
They appeared at their studios with their mouths still covered with foam left over from their previous successful horror show, the Second Lebanon War. The retired generals and Tarzan commentators, whose coverage of the war in Lebanon was an abominable failure, recycled the same cliches and propaganda dictates. No one considered replacing them after their previous failure. They learned nothing and forgot nothing, and the vast majority of us nodded thoughtlessly at their words, as though they came from above.
The deja vu is striking: Again, just like after the Second Lebanon War, they suddenly became the war's biggest critics, only after it already ended - a matter of timing.
Showing no remorse and much vanity, they now shamelessly admit that the war whose praises they sang has failed. Why did it fail? Because we didn't kill enough people, they explain. If we would have given it a little push and killed 200 more children or massacred 500 more women, then we would have achieved victory.
None of them are asked what would have happened had the war continued. Would Shalit have been freed? Would Hamas have waved the white flag? Would the Palestinian people have joined the Zionist movement?
Now, get ready for the next treat. They've already begun to clamor for a new war in Gaza or Lebanon, whichever comes first. When they get what they ask for they will return to their studios. In the beginning they will offer their support for the war, and then come out against it.
No one will hold them accountable for their vile acts, and there will be nothing new under the sun.
Related articles and video:
The mistakes of Cast Lead (08/01/2009) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1053607.html
It seems the major strategic mistake in the planning of Operation Cast Lead was the decision to start from a point where it was difficult for the Israel Defense Forces to add to the destruction from the air. When a hundred targets are attacked in the first foray, using scores of aircraft, if you don't end the military move immediately - or if Hamas doesn't surrender - all the subsequent air attacks are inevitably more limited. The air force has wiped out nearly all the targets in the famous "target bank," and the problem remains of identifying additional targets that would have a great influence on Hamas' decisions if attacked. When the planners of the fighting realized what should have been clear from the outset, that the Hamas government wasn't going to raise a white flag after the destruction of the first hundred targets, the ground move became inevitable. It was impossible to increase the harshness of the air attacks beyond the first blow, and the air force had to seek new targets that were not "quality targets" like the ones already destroyed, at a time when pressure had to be increased on the Palestinians in the absence of a cease-fire. For these reasons there remained only a ground incursion. Another problem has to do with the aims of the fighting. The government has stated a vague aim for the war - to change the security situation on the Gaza border. The IDF's role was to translate this vague aim into military moves. It appears the senior command decided to shock the Palestinians by killing as many people connected to Hamas as possible. The assumption was, apparently, that killing several hundred people would make the Hamas leaders surrender or plead for a cease-fire. This is one of the reasons the air attack was carried out as a surprise. The IDF, which planned to attack buildings and sites populated by hundreds of people, did not warn them in advance to leave, but intended to kill a great many of them, and succeeded. There has been excessive use of military force here. Because it was clear that the fighting would end in an arrangement with the Palestinians, the use of military force was supposed to signal that Israel had the power to hit any target in the Gaza Strip, and it would be best for Hamas to quickly discuss a cease-fire that would prevent further killing. For this signal to be persuasive there is no need to kill hundreds of people. After all, in the end we will have to talk with the Gaza Palestinians, and there is no advantage to adding thousands more to the cycle of hatred and revenge. It is not clear, for example, what advantage or military gain stems from the intentional killing of a hundred or more Palestinian policemen standing on parade. After all, killing them contributes nothing to fighting terror and expands the circle of haters. LIP
UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION, COMING TO GET YOU ISRAEL (12 MARCH 2009) http://irish4palestine.blogspot.com/2009/03/must-readisrael-running-scared-from.html
Whoa, huge article coming out in the Jerusalem Post on March 30th. Israel is running scared from charges of war crimes, the worldwide public opinion has really now gone totally against them, and they are now very worried indeed! The article is VERY long; its an interview with an IDF commander and is quite telling. Additionally, several experts explain this new concept of universal jurisdiction which many countries are now using in order to bring charges against Israel for war crimes. (...) According to Israeli legal experts, hundreds of Israeli officers and other officials may have good reason to be fearful that they could, indeed, be investigated, arrested and charged with alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity for their conduct in Operation Cast Lead in December-January. Defense Minister Ehud Barak publicly promised that the state would back all officers and soldiers who might be accused abroad of war crimes. And the government has established an inter-ministerial committee that is, says an official, "working very much under the radar" to try to "ward off these legal proceedings through diplomatic means." CLIP
Is the Israel Lobby Running Scared? - Or Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys (March 15, 2009) http://tomdispatch.com/post/175046/robert_dreyfuss_the_freeman_affair
Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared?Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.Let's recap. (...) Of all of these figures, Freeman, because of his record of blunt statements, was the most vulnerable. His appointment looked like low-hanging fruit when it came to launching a concerted, preemptive attack on the administration. As it happens, however, this may prove anything but a moment of strength for the lobby. After all, the recent three-week Israeli assault on Gaza had already generated a barrage of headlines and television images that made Israel look like a bully nation with little regard for Palestinian lives, including those of women and children. According to polls taken in the wake of Gaza, growing numbers of Americans, including many in the Jewish community, have begun to exhibit doubts about Israel's actions, a rare moment when public opinion has begun to tilt against Israel.Perhaps most important of all, Israel is about to be run by an extremist, ultra right-wing government led by Likud Party leader Bibi Netanyahu, and including the even more extreme party of Avigdor Lieberman, as well as a host of radical-right religious parties. It's an ugly coalition that is guaranteed to clash with the priorities of the Obama White House.As a result, the arrival of the Netanyahu-Lieberman government is also guaranteed to prove a crisis moment for the Israel lobby. It will present an enormous public-relations problem, akin to the one that faced ad agency Hill & Knowlton during the decades in which it had to defend Philip Morris, the hated cigarette company that repeatedly denied the link between its products and cancer. The Israel lobby knows that it will be difficult to sell cartons of menthol smooth Netanyahu-Lieberman 100s to American consumers. (...) So here's the reality behind the Freeman debacle: Already worried over Team Obama, suffering the after-effects of the Gaza debacle, and about to be burdened with the Netanyahu-Lieberman problem, the Israel lobby is undoubtedly running scared. They succeeded in knocking off Freeman, but the true test of their strength is yet to come.
The Spirit of '68 is Reawakening : Student Protest (8 February 2009) http://worldgathering.net/2009/news029.html
"It was a feeling of fantastic elation: we began to realise that mass action could change things. Once it started, we developed a taste for it and began to consider mass activity as a way of doing politics, which is what's happening now. People are fed up with bankers, politicians and elite institutions. Hundreds of us thought the revolution was coming in '69, but maybe the revolution is coming now." -- Campus sit-ins began as a response to the Gaza attacks, but unrest is already spilling over to other issues. (...) "This is something different to anything we've seen for a long time," he said. "There is genuine fury at what Israel did". "I think it's highly likely that this year will see more student action. (...) At the end of the month students from across the country will gather for a national demonstration calling for the abolition of tuition fees, an event that organisers say has rocketed in size following the success of the occupations over Gaza. (...) "Action on this scale among students hasn't been seen since the Sixties and Seventies," she said. "This is going to go down in history as a new round of student mobilisation and it will set a precedent. Gaza is the main issue at the moment, but we're looking beyond the occupation; we're viewing it as a springboard for other protests and to set up a committee to make sure the university only invests ethically."As the first generation of students to pay substantial direct fees to universities, their negotiating power has also been strengthened. Their concern over their college's investments have been given new legitimacy because it is partly their money. Ms Legg said: "For the first time, you've got students getting principals to the negotiation table, saying they don't want their tuition fees funding war. Everybody wants to know where their money is going." CLIP
IDF in Gaza: Killing Civilians, Vandalism, and Lax Rules of Engagement (March 19, 2009) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072040.html
During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive. (...) "The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them. "I don't think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to ... I don't know how to describe it .... The lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way," he said. (...) Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered. The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader's soldiers complained that "we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist."The squad leader said: "You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won't say anything. To write 'death to the Arabs' on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most."
Soldiers Accounts of Gaza Killings Raise Furor in Israel (March 19, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/world/middleeast/20gaza.html
JERUSALEM In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing in that operation, but the Israeli military has said it followed high ethical standards and took great care to avoid civilian casualties. Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the armys conduct in Gaza.(...) When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a squad commander was quoted as saying: Whats great about Gaza you see a person on a path, he doesnt have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, Maybe hes a terrorist. What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.The testimonies by soldiers, leaked to the newspapers Maariv and Haaretz, appeared in a journal published by a military preparatory course at the Oranim Academic College in the northern town of Tivon. The newspapers promised to release more such anecdotal accounts on Friday, without saying how many.The academys director, Dany Zamir, told Israel Radio, Those were very harsh testimonies about unjustified shooting of civilians and destruction of property that conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians. CLIP
RAWA stated, "The very first outcome of the surge for Afghan people will be increase in the number of civilian casualties ..."
By Anthony Fenton - Asia Times, March 14, 2009
As United States President Barack Obama simultaneously escalates and crafts a new strategy for the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led counter-insurgency war and occupation in Afghanistan, critics say that the "surge" will send the country toward an "unmitigated disaster", the brunt of which will be borne by the civilian population.
Since Obama announced an increase in the US footprint by 17,000 soldiers on February 17, the debate over the escalation of the war in Afghanistan has reached a fever pitch. The topic now garners more headlines than the ongoing war in Iraq.
During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly pledged to escalate the war.
In a speech last July, Obama called for "at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan", and said that "we need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones". (1)
Although unreported at the time, Obama's campaign pledges were already beginning to be fulfilled by the outgoing Bush administration. While Obama has made frequent references to the US's having "taken [its] eye off the ball" in Afghanistan, and that his administration will correct the course, he has omitted mentioning that a "quiet surge" had already begun under his predecessor, George W Bush. (2)
Dating the surge
While the presence of foreign occupation forces have risen steadily in Afghanistan since at least 2004, when an anti-occupation resurgence became increasingly evident, the first signs of a more concerted escalation emerged in January 2008 when it was announced that 3,200 members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit would deploy to bolster NATO's efforts in the south of the country.(3)
By April 2008, Bush announced that an additional 7,500 to 10,000 soldiers would be added in 2009. According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the time, it was owing to "very broad bipartisan support" for a surge in Afghanistan that "this was a very safe thing for [Bush] to say".(4)
Several bipartisan reports, beginning with the report of the Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member, began to emerge by late 2006. In late 2007 and early 2008, several other reports, including two co-chaired by Obama's eventual National Security Advisor (retired) General James L Jones, were published. All advocated more soldiers, a better counterinsurgency strategy, and "unity of effort" among allies. (5)
In July of 2008, according to the March 2009 issue of Freedom Builder Magazine, a publication of the US Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan, a small group of soldiers arrived in Afghanistan "to do the base camp master planning and infrastructure design ... for an estimated 17,000 to 30,000 soldiers and marines, and their equipment". (6)
With all of this already underway, president Bush boasted to a National Defense University audience in September 2008 that the increased foreign presence from 2006 to 2007 from 41,000 to 62,000 "represent[s] a 'quiet surge' in Afghanistan". (7)
By late 2008, during the transition from Bush to Obama, reports indicated that the escalation was "already so detailed that the Pentagon has plans down to the last latrine and bullet". (8)
All told, the 17,000 additional US forces combined with additional forces pledged by US allies - the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Australia - will raise the foreign troop presence to 90,000 by 2010. (9)
Obama owns Bush's legacy
Some critics of the war have decried the continuity that Obama has shown with the policies of his predecessor. In a statement e-mailed to Asia Times Online, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) stated that "we can clearly see that there is no difference between Obama and Bush for our country".
According to RAWA, Bush and subsequently Obama's "wrong and devastated strategy ... has pushed Afghanistan and the region towards disaster and deeper conflicts". (10)
While the Obama administration will surely try and put its own mark on the prosecution of the war, following the completion of a series of strategic reviews that are currently underway, one analyst is skeptical of the outcome.
As'ad AbuKhalil, a professor in the Department of Politics at California State University, Stanislaus, feels that Obama is repeating the same practice as the Bush administration by re-defining the parameters of the purported success of the "surge" in Iraq.
During a telephone interview, AbuKhalil, who also runs the popular Angry Arab blog, told ATol that "the ability of these governments to deceive on these types of decisions is so easy because they redefine the goals and then claim success" after the fact. (11)
Contrary to the elite, bipartisan consensus inside North America that supports the war's escalation, and echoing fears that are common among Afghans, RAWA argues that "We think the 30,000 extra troops will only serve the US regional strategy in changing Afghanistan to its military base, it will have nothing to do with fighting the terrorist groups, as they claim".
Asia Times, March 14, 2009
Indeed, one of the first things the Obama administration did was publicly redefine the goals of the war. In testimony to Congress at the end of January, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that "our primary goal is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terrorists and extremists to attack the United States and our allies, and whatever else we need to do flows from that objective". (12)
In an interview with Canada's CBC prior to his first official visit to one of America's closest allies in the war on terror, Obama reiterated that the war is "winnable, in the sense of our ability to ensure that it is not a launching pad for attacks against North America". (13)
As with the case of Iraq, the purported goal of implanting Western-style democracy has been abandoned.
Despite the perception that Obama is scaling down the war in Iraq, AbuKhalil also cautioned that an end to that war is still not in sight, "The language [Obama] has used about Iraq and about the so-called withdrawal is so vague and flexible that it gives him room for leeway in order to back out of it."
If he's not careful, Obama could find himself with two quagmires on his hands. Thomas E Ricks, author of the recently released book about the US surge in Iraq, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008, writes, "I don't think the Iraq war is over, and I worry that there is much more to come than any of us suspect." (14)
Greater risk for civilians
Drawing from the lessons learned from the Iraq surge, US generals have acknowledged that the expansion of the war in Afghanistan will result in higher levels of violence.
During a February 18 press briefing at the Pentagon, the top US general in Afghanistan, David McKiernan said, "I would expect to see a temporary time where the level of violence might go up until we transition into holding and setting conditions to build." (15)
Any increase in violence will add to the already skyrocketing levels of civilian casualties in recent years. According to a report released last January by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, the 2,118 civilians killed in 2008 was an increase of 40% over 2007. (16)
Highlighting the anticipated effect of the war's expansion on Afghans, RAWA stated, "The very first outcome of the surge for Afghan people will be increase in the number of civilian casualties ... In the past seven years, thousands of innocent people have been killed or wounded by the US/NATO bombardments. In the past weeks under Obama's rule, around 100 Afghan civilians have been killed."
One US-based analyst of the war in Afghanistan, Marc Herold, who has been compiling a database of Afghan civilian casualties since 2001, agrees with RAWA's assessment.
Herold, a professor of Economic Development and Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire, told ATol that the surge will prove to be "an unmitigated disaster" that is likely to "make the situation much, much worse for everybody". (17)
Herold has calculated that the "lethality ratio" of Afghan civilians under Obama, measured as averaging 2.2-2.3 civilians killed per day, is slightly higher than the ratio in the final days of the Bush administration. (18)
Adding that the "basic rule of thumb is for every civilian killed you get three or four resistance fighters", Herold estimates that under Obama "we've created 3-500 Taliban and resistance. This is absolutely a losing proposition".
RAWA added that "The surge in level of troops will also result in a surge in protests against the US/NATO in Afghanistan and it will also push more people towards the Taliban and other terrorist groups as a reaction against occupation forces and their mistreatment against people."
Others, such as neo-conservative academic Max Boot, charge that those who focus only on the number of civilians killed are "naysayers", and encourages Obama to "ignore" them and not "lose his nerve" in the face of mounting criticisms. (19)
By contrast, commenting on the Western media's banal treatment of the war's toll on Afghan civilians, AbuKhalil said, "it can only be explained in terms of utter racism ... that the country or the media of a country can tolerate such high levels of civilian casualties on a regular basis".
For AbuKhalil, the persistent loss of Afghan life which tends to get swept away by the "propagandistic term of collateral damage", indicates that policy-makers and the media "decided this is something we can live with, this very high toll of the civilian casualties of the country we are supposedly liberating".
Washington-backed President Hamid Karzi has repeatedly decried the air strikes and other incidents, often carried out by secretive special forces units, that have led to civilian casualties. A poll conducted by the BBC and ABC News in February indicated rapidly declining support for both Karzai and the presence of foreign soldiers among the civilian population. (20)
No end in sight
As McKiernan has stated repeatedly, it is actually wrong to characterize the occupation's escalation as a "surge", which connotes a temporary influx in the military footprint, as was the case in Iraq.
Recently, McKiernan said "this is not a temporary force uplift ... it's going to need to be sustained for some period of time ... I'm trying to look out for the next three to four or five years". (21)
Three to five years may itself be an underestimation of the anticipated duration of the US's stay in Afghanistan. In recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, (retired) Lieutenant General David Barno, a former commander in Afghanistan, said the counter-insurgency campaign that he and other experts are advocating could last until at least 2025. (22)
Ignored option: Ending the occupation
Contrary to the elite, bipartisan consensus inside North America that supports the war's escalation, and echoing fears that are common among Afghans, RAWA argues that "We think the 30,000 extra troops will only serve the US regional strategy in changing Afghanistan to its military base, it will have nothing to do with fighting the terrorist groups, as they claim".
AbuKhalil adds that poor coverage of the conflict, combined with the "cloak of the United Nations", whose sanctioning of and presence in Afghanistan helps provide legitimacy to the war, means that "the president of the United States can do anything that he really wants, and that's what I think may allow for the worsening plight of the conditions of the civilian people of Afghanistan."
For AbuKhalil, "anything short of complete withdrawal and allowing [Afghans] to determine their future totally and independently of the United States is going to be a compromise with the principle of self-determination".
Herold feels that mapping out a way to withdraw from Afghanistan should be Obama's top priority: "I think that is what we really should be talking about here, rather than entering into a much greater degree".
While all signs indicate at least a temporary escalation of the war under Obama and General David Petraeus, who oversees the war as head of US Central Command, an immediate exit strategy appears, for now, to be off the table.
Regardless, RAWA feels that "Today many people in Afghanistan ask for withdrawal of the troops and regard them as useless to do anything good for Afghanistan."
About RAWA - This article above comes from this NGO's website. Please read this to better understand the complex situation in Afghanistan and the desperate plight of all women there... http://www.rawa.org/rawa.html
RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, was established in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1977 as an independent political/social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and for social justice in Afghanistan. The founders were a number of Afghan woman intellectuals under the sagacious leadership of Meena who in 1987 was assassinated in Quetta, Pakistan, by Afghan agents of the then KGB in connivance with fundamentalist band of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar . RAWAs objective was to involve an increasing number of Afghan women in social and political activities aimed at acquiring womens human rights and contributing to the struggle for the establishment of a government based on democratic and secular values in Afghanistan. Despite the suffocating political atmosphere, RAWA very soon became involved in widespread activities in different socio-political arenas including education, health and income generation as well as political agitation. (...) Since the overthrow of the Soviet-installed puppet regime in 1992 the focus of RAWAs political struggle has been against the fundamentalists and the ultra-fundamentalist Talibans criminal policies and atrocities against the people of Afghanistan in general and their incredibly ultra-male-chauvinistic and anti-woman orientation in particular. Apart from the political challenges facing RAWA, tremendous social and relief work amongst unimaginably traumatised women and children lie ahead of us, but unfortunately we do not at the moment enjoy any support from international NGOs or governments, therefore we can't run our humanitarian projects as effective as we wish due to lack of funds..The US "War on terrorism" removed the Taliban regime in October 2001, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries. In fact, by reinstalling the warlords in power in Afghanistan, the US administration is replacing one fundamentalist regime with another. The US government and Mr.Karzai mostly rely on Northern Alliance criminal leaders who are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban. RAWA believes that freedom and democracy cant be donated; it is the duty of the people of a country to fight and achieve these values. Under the US-supported government, the sworn enemies of human rights, democracy and secularism have gripped their claws over our country and attempt to restore their religious fascism on our people. Whenever fundamentalists exist as a military and political force in our injured land, the problem of Afghanistan will not be solved. Today RAWA's mission for women's rights is far from over and we have to work hard for establishment of an independent, free, democratic and secular Afghanistan. We need the solidarity and support of all people around the world.
Obama risks going down in history (the LBJ way) (29/01/2009) http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/obama-risks-going-down-in-history-the-lbj-way/1419139.aspx?storypage=0
You aren't really the US president until you've ordered an airstrike on somebody, so Barack Obama is certainly president now: two in his first week in office. But, now that he has been blooded, can we talk a little about this expanded war he's planning to fight in Afghanistan?Does that sound harsh? Well, so is killing people, and all the more so because Obama must know that these remote-controlled Predator strikes usually kill not just the ''bad guy'', whoever he is, but also the entire family he has taken shelter with. It also annoys Pakistan, whose territory the US violated in carrying out the killings. It's not a question of whether the intelligence on which the attacks were based was accurate (although sometimes it isn't).The question is: do these killings serve any useful purpose? And the same question applies to the entire US war in Afghanistan.Obama may be planning to shut Guantanamo, but the broader concept of a ''war on terror'' is still alive and well in Washington. Most of the people he has appointed to run his defence and foreign policies believe in it, and there is no sign that he himself questions it. Yet even 15 years ago the notion would have been treated with contempt in every military staff college in the country. That generation of American officers learned two things from their miserable experience in Vietnam. One was that going halfway around the world to fight a conventional military campaign against an ideology (communism then, Islamism now) was a truly stupid idea. The other was that, no matter how strenuously the other side insists it is motivated by a world-spanning ideology, its real motives are mostly political and quite local (Vietnamese nationalism then, Iraqi and Afghan nationalism now). Alas, that generation of officers has now retired, and the new generation of strategists, civilian as well as military, has to learn these lessons all over again. They are proving to be slow students, and if Obama follows their advice then Afghanistan may well prove his Vietnam. (...) Obama is drifting into the same dangerous waters, and the rotten advice he is getting from strategists who believe in the ''war on terror'' could do for him, too. He has figured out that Iraq was a foolish and unnecessary war, but has not yet applied the same analysis to Afghanistan. The two questions he needs to ask himself are first: did Osama bin Laden want the United States to invade Afghanistan in response to 9/11? The answer to that one is: yes, of course he did. And second: of all the tens of thousands of people the US has killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, would a single one have turned up in the United States to do harm if left un-killed? Answer: probably not. Other people might have turned up in the US with evil intent, but not those guys. So turning Afghanistan into a second Vietnam is probably the wrong strategy, isn't it?
Gen. Petraeus: No Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan (03.13.09) http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/AP/story/949123.html
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- The commander of the U.S. Central Command said Friday that an Iraq-style surge cannot be a solution to the problems in Afghanistan. Gen. David Petraeus, speaking before about 800 people at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council, acknowledged that the situation in Afghanistan has been spiraling downward and is likely to get worse before it gets better.In a speech that also touched on issues ranging from the nuclear threat in Iraq to pirates off Somalia, Petraeus said more resources are needed in Afghanistan, both military and especially civil to help build a stable government there."The secretary of defense and I are among the biggest champions with members of Congress for increasing the resourcing for the State Department and the Agency for International Development," he said. The U.S.-led invasion of Aghanistan ousted the Islamist Taliban regime in 2001, but the militant movement has regained control of large swaths of the country. U.S. and NATO forces have been unable to reverse the gains. Petraeus blamed the problems on a resilient "syndicate of extremists," financing from the drug trade, safe havens in Pakistan and frustration with the slow development of the country's fledgling government. CLIP
UN Chief Welcomes President Obama's 'Fresh Thinking' on Afghanistan (12 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-12-voa53.cfm
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama's new focus and "fresh thinking" on Afghanistan. During a press conference Thursday, Mr. Ban said he told President Obama that any military buildup in Afghanistan must be accompanied by a "political surge." The United Nations is hosting a major international conference on the future of Afghanistan on March 31 in the Netherlands. Top U.S., Afghan and Pakistani officials will attend along with other players in the region, including NATO members and international donor organizations. Mr. Ban said Afghanistan is at a crossroads with rising militant violence and upcoming elections in August. The Obama administration is conducting a thorough review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. The president has already approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to boost security in southern Afghanistan, a stronghold of the Taliban insurgency. Vice President Joe Biden told NATO allies earlier this week the United States is seeking out new ideas and cooperation in fighting what he described as the common threat of terrorism in the region. Top military and U.S. officials have admitted that U.S. and NATO troops are not winning the war against a range of militant groups and a resurgent Taliban movement in Afghanistan.
Obama 'mulls Afghan army boost' (19 March 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7952085.stm
The US is planning to more than double Afghanistan's national security forces to try to bring stability to the country, the New York Times reports. It quoted senior US administration officials as saying the plan would mean creating a force of about 400,000 Afghan troops and police officers. President Barack Obama is currently finalising a new strategy for the war against the Taleban. He has set Afghanistan as a foreign policy priority. The New York Times said the president was expected to approve the new plans for Afghanistan in the next few days. However. it said there were already concerns about the cost of boosting the army and police - which it put in the range of $10bn to $20bn over the next six or seven years. The new plan would increase the army to about 260,000 soldiers, with the remainder made up of police, border guards and commandos, the paper quoted officials as saying. It said there were concerns about such a large force given what it called the corruption in the Afghan government, but said officials believed the Taleban insurgency was the greater threat. CLIP
US air raid fuels Afghan anger (27 Jan 09) Under Obama! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCCYJwLw3ik
Afghan civilians have rallied against America amid reports that civilians were killed in a US air raid over the weekend. The US military says 15 fighters were killed in Laghman province, but the provincial governor says at least 10 civilians were among the dead.
Taliban warns Obama of Afghan bloodshed (1 Feb 09) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_hWi3JLIdY
Mullah Mohamad Rasul, a Taliban leader who survived the US military operation in Afghanistan in 2001, meets Al Jazeera in the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.He says that the Taliban are getting ready for a new battle, and that boosting US forces in Afghanistan will only lead to more bloodshed.
Afghan government fails to help bombed village (2 Feb 09) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c31bzAsS_4
In August, US airstrikes in Herat province drew harsh criticism from the Afghan government and the UN. They said 90 civilians had been killed. The US said 30 civilians died. President Hamid Karzai visited the area; promising justice and assistance. Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr returns to the village to find people waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.
Babies bearing brunt of Afghan wars (3 Feb 09) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHgQ4kRwknw
Decades of war in Afghanistan have left the health system in ruins, and the civilan population at severe risk by disease and injury. The situation is especially grave for pregnant women. Afghanistan has some of the highest maternity and infant mortality rates in the world. Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports from the Children's Hospital in the capital Kabul.
Gates: U.S. to be highly cautious in launching pre-emptive strike
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday that the current American administration as well as those that follow it will exercise extreme caution before launching a pre-emptive military strike against an enemy state.
When asked about the Bush administration's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the defense secretary told the U.S. public television station PBS that the lesson drawn in Washington was that the rationale for any future American offensive will have to meet stricter criteria.
"I think one of the biggest lessons learned in this is, if you are going to contemplate preempting an attack, you had better be very confident of the intelligence that you have," Gates told PBS.
"I think that the lessons learned with the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq] and some of the other things that happened will make any future president very very cautious about launching that kind of conflict or relying on intelligence."
Gates said that any future strike will first and foremost be predicated on the threat level to the continental U.S.
"[All future presidents are] going to ask a lot of very hard questions, and I think that hurdle is much higher today than it was 6 or 7 years ago," Gates told PBS.
The defense secretary's comments come on the heels of conflicting U.S. intelligence assessments of Iran's nuclear capabilities.
In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, the officials - Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples - said Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel used to power a nuclear warhead.
The officials also said recent Iranian missile tests were not directly related to its nuclear activities. They said the two programs were believed to be on separate development tracks.
Blair had been asked to clarify recent conflicting statements from defense officials on Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in a televised interview last week that the U.S. believes Iran has obtained enough nuclear material to make a bomb.
But Gates said hours later that Iran was in fact not close to having a nuclear weapon, which gives the United States and others time to try to persuade Tehran to abandon its suspected atomic arms program.
"They're not close to a stockpile, they're not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time," Gates said on NBC television's "Meet The Press."
"We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium," Blair said. "We assess that Iran has not yet made that decision," to convert the low-enriched uranium it is making to the weapons-grade material.
Obama extends sanctions against Iran (March 12, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hcgDORQfRhszP3TtHvZ0ojiPL_vw
WASHINGTON (AFP) President Barack Obama said Thursday he had extended one of the many levels of sanctions against Iran, imposed in 1995 over claims Tehran dealt in terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction.The sanctions, prohibiting US companies aiding the development of the Iranian oil industry and halting trade, export/import and investment ties with Iran, were imposed by the Clinton administration and have been extended on an annual basis by successive presidents. They would have expired without Obama's formal action to extend them. "The actions and policies of the Government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security and the US economy, Obama said in a message to Congress. The sanctions are one portion of the large range of punitive US, United Nations and international measures imposed against Iran, for various reasons, including its alleged backing for terrorism and nuclear drive. Over more than 20 years, Washington has steadily upped sanctions against Iranian entities in hopes of pressuring Tehran to pull back on its nuclear program -- which the US says is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. The United States says Iran must also halt its alleged support for groups Washington has labelled "terrorist," including Lebanon's Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups.Iran also faces UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment activities, but over the past five years has pressed on with its controversial nuclear work. Obama came to power promising to offer diplomatic engagement to US foes, including Iran, to test if there might be scope for negotiated solutions to conflicts. That was a clear shift from previous president George W. Bush, who rejected talks unless Iran halted uranium enrichment, the process which makes fuel for nuclear power plants but can also be used to produce the core of an atomic bomb. In January, Obama said "if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us."
Iranian President Shrugs Off US Renewal of Sanctions (13 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-13-voa46.cfm
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, speaking at the inauguration of a major gas project in the South Pars gasfield, said that his country is self-reliant and is therefore not worried about U.S. economic sanctions. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad says President Obama's renewal of U.S. economic sanctions on his country has no impact because Tehran relies solely on its own abilities. His comments follow Thursday's announcement that the United States was extending economic sanctions against Tehran because it continued to pose an "extraordinary threat" to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.It was a routine extension of punitive measures imposed by former U.S. president Bill Clinton in 1995. (...) Mr. Ahmedinejad called the U.S. sanctions "a childish idea and a big mistake."The Iranian president was speaking in Assaloueh at the start of the ninth and tenth phases of the vast South Pars gas field. He said 60 percent of the project is being developed by Iranian contractors, claiming that sanctions had merely reinforced Iran's intrinsic abilities to get things done."The strength of this project is a celebration of national self confidence," Mr. Ahmedinejad said. "We are thankful and are also happy for the favor our enemies have unintentionally done for us. You wanted to stop our prosperity through aggressive measures, but your efforts opened the way for us to progress and being proud of our abilities."Iran has been under various U.S. sanctions since the regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, a U.S.-ally in the Gulf, was toppled by the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Iran says Total will have no 'active role' in gas project (March 11, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gWx5w1vR1jp0DOrXiY7oj2xFmaMA
TEHRAN (AFP) A top Iranian official said on Wednesday that French energy giant Total will have no "active role" in developing a huge gas field in Iran and that a new partner had been found for the project. Total and Iran's National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) were to develop phase 11 of the offshore South Pars gas field in the Gulf. "Total has declared in talks with NIOC that because of sanctions against Iran it cannot have an active role in the project and so a partner has been chosen to transfer the company's stake to," NIOC managing director Seyfollah Jashnsaz was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency. He did not name the new company and also did not say whether Total is pulling out of the project completely. Jashnsaz had told the Mehr news agency last month that Total and Iran were set to sign the deal to develop the gas field by March 20.But he said on Wednesday that following an agreement with Total, "another partner will be added to the development of phase 11 of South Pars and the leading share will be transferred from Total to the new partner." Total had a stake of 50 percent plus one share in phase 11 of South Pars, which has total reserves of about 500 trillion cubic feet (14 trillion cubic metres) of gas -- or about eight percent of world reserves. Iran, OPEC's second largest oil exporter, also has the world's second largest natural gas reserves. The development of the gas field has been pending for nearly five years since an initial 2004 agreement between Total, the Iranian company and Petronas of Malaysia. The delay was caused by a rise in cost of the project and international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear drive, which the West suspects is a cover for ambitions to build atomic weapons. Western governments have put pressure on international firms to cut ties with Iran because of the nuclear standoff.
Iran violated arms embargo: UN committee (MARCH 10, 2009) http://www.canada.com/news/Iran+violated+arms+embargo+committee/1373949/story.html
UNITED NATIONS - A UN committee accused Iran Tuesday of violating a UN ban on importing or exporting arms by trying to ship weapons-related material in a vessel that was seized by authorities in Cyprus. Some diplomats believe the material may have been bound for Lebanon or Gaza.Japan's UN Ambassador Yukio Takasu, chairman of the Iran sanctions committee, told the UN Security Council the shipment of conventional weaponry constituted a "violation" of Security Council resolution 1737, passed in 2006 to put pressure on Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. In a letter to Iran, a draft of which was obtained by Reuters, Takasu said the Cyprus-flagged MV Monchegorsk, chartered by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, was carrying banned items, including bullet shells, high-explosive gun charges, items related to 125 mm armor-piercing guns and high explosive anti-tank propellant. It said the ship's documents indicated the material was headed for Syria, though council diplomats say its final destination remains unclear.Several diplomats have said it might have been headed for Lebanon though others suspect it was intended for the Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip. CLIP
Iran's Khatami May Withdraw From Presidential Race (16 March 2009) http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-16-voa12.cfm
A close aide says Iran's moderate former President Mohammad Khatami may soon withdraw from the June presidential election. Mr. Khatami's aide told several Western news agencies Monday that he expects an announcement soon. The news comes after the ex-president spoke to his supporters at a meeting late Sunday. News agencies quote Mr. Khatami as saying that another moderate candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, may face less resistance from some hardliners and so might be a better contender.He indicated that he may consider withdrawing to avoid dividing the pro-reformist vote. CLIP
If you want to know why Denmark is the world's leader in wind power, start with a three-hour car trip from the capital Copenhagen mind the bicyclists to the small town of Lem on the far west coast of Jutland. You'll feel it as you cross the 4.2 mile-long (6.8 km) Great Belt Bridge: Denmark's bountiful wind, so fierce even on a calm summer's day that it threatens to shove your car into the waves below. But wind itself is only part of the reason. In Lem, workers in factories the size of aircraft hangars build the wind turbines sold by Vestas, the Danish company that has emerged as the industry's top manufacturer around the globe. The work is both gross and fine; employees weld together massive curved sheets of steel to make central shafts as tall as a 14-story building, and assemble engine housings that hold some 18,000 separate parts. Most impressive are the turbine's blades, which scoop the wind with each sweeping revolution. As smooth as an Olympic swimsuit and honed to aerodynamic perfection, each blade weighs in at 15,400 lbs. (7,000 kg), and they're what help make Vestas' turbines the best in the world. "The blade is where the secret is," says Erik Therkelsen, a Vestas executive. "If we can make [a turbine], it's sold."
But technology, like the wind itself, is just one more part of the reason for Denmark's dominance. In the end, it happened because Denmark had the political and public will to decide that it wanted to be a leader and to follow through. Beginning in 1979, the government began a determined program of subsidies and loan guarantees to build up its nascent wind industry. Copenhagen covered 30% of investment costs, and guaranteed loans for large turbine exporters such as Vestas. It also mandated that utilities purchase wind energy at a preferential price thus guaranteeing investors a customer base. Energy taxes were channeled into research centers, where engineers crafted designs that would eventually produce cutting-edge giants like Vestas' 3-megawatt (MW) V90 turbine. (Read TIME's "Heroes of the Environment 2008.)
As a result, wind turbines now dot Denmark, the country gets more than 19% of its electricity from the breeze (Spain and Portugal, the next highest countries, get about 10%) and Danish companies control a whopping one-third of the global wind market, earning billions in exports and creating a national champion from scratch. "They were out early in driving renewables, and that gave them the chance to be a technology leader and a job-creation leader," says Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council. "They have always been one or two steps ahead of others."
The challenge now for Denmark is to help the rest of the world catch up. Beyond wind, the country (pop. 5.5 million) is a world leader in energy efficiency, getting more GDP per watt than any other member of the E.U. Carbon emissions are down 13.3% from 1990 levels and total energy consumption has barely moved, even as Denmark's economy continued to grow at a healthy clip. With Copenhagen set to host all-important U.N. climate change talks in December where the world hopes for a successor to the expiring Kyoto Protocol and the global recession beginning to hit environmental plans in capitals everywhere, Denmark's example couldn't be more timely. "We'll try to make Denmark a showroom," says Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "You can reduce energy use and carbon emissions, and achieve economic growth."
It's tempting to assume that Denmark is innately green, with the kind of Scandinavian good conscience that has made it such a pleasant global citizen since, oh, the whole Viking thing. But the country's policies were actually born from a different emotion, one now in common currency: fear. When the 1973 oil crisis hit, 90% of Denmark's energy came from petroleum, almost all of it imported. Buffeted by the same supply shocks that hit the rest of the developed world, Denmark launched a rapid drive for energy conservation, to the point of introducing car-free Sundays and asking businesses to switch off lights during closing hours. Eventually the Mideast oil started flowing again, and the Danes themselves began enjoying the benefits of the petroleum and natural gas in their slice of the North Sea. It was enough to make them more than self-sufficient. But unlike most other countries, Denmark never forgot the lessons of 1973, and kept driving for greater energy efficiency and a more diversified energy supply. The Danish parliament raised taxes on energy to encourage conservation and established subsidies and standards to support more efficient buildings. "It all started out without any regard for the climate or the environment," says Svend Auken, the former head of Denmark's opposition Social Democrat party and the architect of the country's environmental policies in the 1990s. "But today there's a consensus that we need to build out renewable power."
Denmark's dominance of wind power was born in the Riso National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy. Riso, founded in 1958 to focus on nuclear research, is easy to miss on the road to the university town of Roskilde; only the test turbines on its grounds give away the campus's purpose. Turbine manufacturers from around the world test at Riso, where researchers are so expert at honing the aerodynamics of a blade that they've helped turn wind turbines from backyard mills to multi-megawatt farms.
The focus on wind continues, but today Riso now part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a global leader in hydrogen fuel-cell research, which could eventually provide a viable storage technology to counter the challenge of intermittent renewables like wind. "Environmental technology is something that can drive industrial exports for Denmark," says John Christensen, head of the UNEP Riso Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development. "We can and should take advantage of this."
The key to turning that research into reality was not just generous government aid, but the fact that Denmark stayed with it. While countries like the U.S. let tax credits for renewable energy wax and wane, smothering infant green industries in the crib, Denmark looks to the long term. In the 1990s, the government inaugurated tariffs that required utilities to offer 10-year fixed-rate contracts for wind power. That sort of security led to a rapid expansion of wind power at home the country has more than 5,200 turbines producing in excess of 3,100 MW of electricity and helped firms like Vestas scale up and perfect their technology so they could dominate abroad.
And it's not just wind power. Denmark's energy efficiency has vastly improved in other areas such as the use of combined heat and power, where power plants recycle the waste energy from their operations as heat, which can be distributed to homes and businesses. Denmark last year was the first European nation to sign up for the innovative electric car model promoted by start-up company Better Place, which plans to construct a network of charging stations throughout the small country. Then there's the way Danes build. Denmark doesn't quite lead the world in green building, but it is expert in certain materials. Take VKR, founded during World War II as a window manufacturer. Through its subsidiaries the firm now markets efficient skylights and vertical windows, and in recent years has shifted into rooftop solar heating. Government policies and strict regulations have helped here too. "The mega-trend today is renewable energy and energy efficiency, and we're improving them both," says Leif Jensen, VKR's CEO.
The fruits of that investment and innovation are best tasted in an unlikely place that has emerged as the symbol of Denmark's greenness: Samso island. Located in the Kattegat Strait, Samso (pop. 4,300) was far from cutting-edge when, in 1997, it won a government competition to become a model for how a community can run on renewable energy. At the time Samso was entirely dependent on oil and coal, both of which it imported from the mainland. A little more than a decade later Samso is effectively carbon negative, producing more than 100% of the electricity it needs from renewable sources, chiefly wind and biomass. The architect of that transformation is Soren Hermansen, a former farmer and environmental studies teacher, who lobbied, cajoled and pushed his initially reluctant neighbors to go green.
A tour of Samso feels a bit like a greatest hits collection of Denmark's successful energy policies. The island features district heating plants fired by waste biomass such as straw. The plants provide heat to homes in lieu of more polluting oil-burning furnaces. When the sun is shining which, admittedly, is not often solar thermal panels provide hot water. Wind power is everywhere on land, where towering turbines shade cows on a dairy farm, and offshore, where 10 turbines greet the incoming ferries like a row of sentinels. Many of the turbines are owned collectively by resident associations, with members chipping in to buy a slice of wind power. ("If you let people become a part of the solution," says Hermansen, "it works better.") Others are owned by single investors like Jorgen Tranberg, a dairy farmer. Tranberg, who likes to spend his spare time watching his cows on closed-circuit TV ("It's better than the news"), believes Samso's success could be replicated elsewhere. "We're not special people here," he says.
But there is something special in the way that Samso's residents and Danes as a whole have adapted to 21st-century realities about energy and the environment. Hermansen credits the Danish tendency to organize in groups, which helps reinforce support for going green. "To us, going for lower energy use is like a sport," he says. That sense of communal competition is shared by Denmark's Scandinavian neighbors, and may help explain why countries like Sweden and Finland are also among Europe's greenest. On a regional level, cooperation is a necessary component of Denmark's success the Nordic nations share an electrical grid, and Denmark can take power from its neighbors when there's no wind and sell it when the breeze blows. But it also has something to do with the way people in the region think. "This is a place where people are highly motivated to address climate change," says Annie Petsonk, international counsel for the Washington-based Environmental Defense Fund. "Denmark says, 'We can do this, come join us.'"
Within Denmark, critics worry that the current government is squandering energy leadership. When Rasmussen's conservatives took power in 2001, they scaled back subsidies for wind and other renewables. New wind installations dropped precipitously, and between 2004 and 2006 CO2 emissions increased by 3%. "They stopped everything," says Auken. One high-ranking official admits the pullback was a mistake, and last year the government released a new policy that sets sharp targets for improving energy efficiency, increases the CO2 tax and promotes the development of new offshore wind turbines. Nonetheless, the Finnish consultancy Poyry argued in a recent report that the government's new plan doesn't ensure that Denmark will meet its Kyoto targets by 2012. (Denmark has to reduce CO2 emissions to 21% below 1990 levels, one of the most aggressive targets in the world.) The government says Denmark remains on track and they'll need to be, as the host of the climate summit. "We'll be ready for Copenhagen," says Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister for climate and energy, who will host the meeting.
Denmark's own challenges are small compared to the gargantuan task of trying to get more than 190 nations to agree on new carbon-cutting targets. (Rasmussen, an avid cyclist, compares the Copenhagen summit to the Tour de France's punishing Alpe d'Huez climbing stage which he tried for himself last summer.) But the country does have the power of its example, showing that you can stay rich and grow green at the same time. "Denmark has proven that acting on climate can be a positive experience, not just painful," says NRDC's Schmidt. The real pain could come from failing to follow in their footsteps.
Related website and articles:
Copenhagen Climate Council http://www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com/
The Copenhagen Climate Council comprises 30 global leaders from business, science, and policy dedicated to create awareness of the importance of COP15, the UN conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009 where world leaders will meet to agree on a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Scientists Deliver Politicians Key Messages for Copenhagen Climate Talks (March 13, 2009) http://www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com/get-informed/news/scientists-deliver-politicians-key-messages-for-copenhagen-climate-talks.html
Over three days, the world's top climate scientists discussed tha latest findings in their fields at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen. Yesterday, they delivered their conclusions to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the host of COP15. At the closing ceremony of the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change, which convened in Copenhagen over three days, March 10-12, the latest findings from more than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries were distilled into six key messages delivered to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Rasmussen, the host of COP15, the U.N. climate talks to be held in December in Copenhagen, will deliver the scientists' findings directly to the other heads of state who will negotiate the treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The key messages from the Congress will be written into a 30-page peer-reviewed, illustrated synthesis report tentatively scheduled to be published on June 1, 2009. CLIP
Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: Banking Comparisons
Posted on March - 17 - 2009
Fareed Zakaria - Feb 7, 2009
Canadian banks are typically leveraged at 18 to 1compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1.
The legendary editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, once held a Boring Headline Contest and decided that the winner was Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. Twenty-two years later, the magazine was rescued from its economic troubles by a Canadian media company, which should have taught us Americans to be a bit more humble. Now there is even more striking evidence of Canadas virtues. Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, its Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canadas banking system the healthiest in the world. Americas ranked 40th, Britains 44th.
Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasnt grown in size; the others have all shrunk.
So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense. Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers. Canadian banks are typically leveraged at 18 to 1compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1 and European banks at a frightening 61 to 1. Partly this reflects Canadas more risk-averse business culture, but it is also a product of old-fashioned rules on banking.
Canada has also been shielded from the worst aspects of this crisis because its housing prices have not fluctuated as wildly as those in the United States. Home prices are down 25 percent in the United States, but only half as much in Canada. Why? Well, the Canadian tax code does not provide the massive incentive for overconsumption that the U.S. code does: interest on your mortgage isnt deductible up north. In addition, home loans in the United States are non-recourse, which basically means that if you go belly up on a bad mortgage, its mostly the banks problem. In Canada, its yours. Ah, but youve heard American politicians wax eloquent on the need for these expensive programsinterest deductibility alone costs the federal government $100 billion a yearbecause they allow the average Joe to fulfill the American Dream of owning a home. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes. And the rate of Canadian homeownership? Its 68.4 percent.
Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position. The government has restructured the national pension system, placing it on a firm fiscal footing, unlike our own insolvent Social Security. Its health-care system is cheaper than Americas by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes. Life expectancy in Canada is 81 years, versus 78 in the United States; healthy life expectancy is 72 years, versus 69. American car companies have moved so many jobs to Canada to take advantage of lower health-care costs that since 2004, Ontario and not Michigan has been North Americas largest car-producing region.
I could go on. The U.S. currently has a brain-dead immigration system. We issue a small number of work visas and green cards, turning away from our shores thousands of talented students who want to stay and work here. Canada, by contrast, has no limit on the number of skilled migrants who can move to the country. They can apply on their own for a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal permanent residents in Canadano need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job. Visas are awarded based on education level, work experience, age and language abilities. If a prospective immigrant earns 67 points out of 100 total (holding a Ph.D. is worth 25 points, for instance), he or she can become a full-time, legal resident of Canada.
Companies are noticing. In 2007 Microsoft, frustrated by its inability to hire foreign graduate students in the United States, decided to open a research center in Vancouver. The companys announcement noted that it would staff the center with highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S. So the brightest Chinese and Indian software engineers are attracted to the United States, trained by American universities, then thrown out of the country and picked up by Canadawhere most of them will work, innovate and pay taxes for the rest of their lives.
If President Obama is looking for smart government, there is much he, and all of us, could learn from our quietOK, sometimes boringneighbor to the north. Meanwhile, in the councils of the financial world, Canada is pushing for new rules for financial institutions that would reflect its approach. This strikes me as, well, a worthwhile Canadian initiative.
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