Greek police are battling accusations of brutality after their own films taken on mobile phones became public.
Public outrage has even prompted the leader of the opposition party PASOK, former foreign minister George Papandreou, to call them "videos of shame" that have created "a legacy of ... Greek Guantanamo camps."
The controversy was sparked on June 16 when a video of two immigrant youths in police custody, beaten and forced to slap each other in punishment after an alleged bag-snatching, was posted on the Internet by a blogger.
Five days later, footage showing an Asian migrant allegedly beaten by police was aired by the private TV channel Alpha, while the To Vima daily published details of another video which it said showed two prostitutes forced to strip to escape arrest.
Two of the videos were apparently shot at a central Athens police station specialising in narcotics and prostitution cases, and all were reportedly shot and shared by police themselves.
A single hydrogen atom has been snipped off a molecule and then added back on again, marking the first time a single chemical bond has been broken and reforged in a controlled, reversible way.
The researchers used a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) for their cutting tool, which works by manoeuvring a sharp metal tip close to an object, applying a small voltage, and measuring the trickle of electrons that flow between the two.
The team first used their STM to locate a methylaminocarbyne (CNHCH3) molecule that was fixed to a platinum surface.
Then they turned up the voltage, increasing the flow of electrons. That was enough to break one bond – between the molecule's nitrogen and hydrogen atom – but not to disturb any of the other bonds, leaving a molecule of methylisocyanide (CNCH3).
To reverse the process, the group simply bathed the sample in hydrogen gas. The platinum surface catalysed the splitting of the hydrogen molecules into their hydrogen atoms, which reacted with nitrogen in the methylisocyanide molecule to re-form methylaminocarbyne.
This kind of reversible alteration could be used in molecular electronics, says Yousoo Kim at the Surface Chemistry Laboratory in Wako, Japan, who carried out the experiment with colleagues.
Changing the bonding of a molecule like this also changes its electrical contact with the metal surface – if it could be reversibly changed from conducting to insulating, it would become a molecular switch.
But it is not yet clear how to extend this result to other systems. When researchers have attempted molecular surgery with an STM in the past, it has usually either broken other bonds (often completely destroying the molecule), or resulted in a chemical change that cannot readily be reversed.
The key to the new experiment was in the choice of methylaminocarbyne, which turned out to be a much more stable subject.
The team calculates that electrons added by the STM tend to hover relatively closely to the nitrogen-hydrogen bond in the molecule, although they are still unsure why that makes the bond break so neatly.
"We've done a cute experiment and found a nice effect, but we don't fully understand why" says Michael Trenary of the University of Illinois at Chicago, another member of the team. "To a large extent we just got lucky."
I am traveling on a bright-white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, and 500 readers of National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success." Global warming is not happening. Europe is becoming a new Caliphate. And I have nowhere to run.
From time to time, National Review--the bible of American conservatism--organizes a cruise for its readers. Last November, I paid $1,200 to join them. The rules I imposed on myself were simple: If any of the conservative cruisers asked who I was, I answered honestly, telling them I was a journalist. But, mostly, I just tried to blend in--and find out what conservatives say when they think the rest of us aren't listening.
The next morning, I warily wander into the Vista Lounge--a Vegas-style showroom--for the first of the trip's seminars: a discussion intended to exhume the conservative corpse and discover its cause of death on the black, black night of November 7, 2006.
There is something strange about this discussion, and it takes me a few moments to realize exactly what it is. All the tropes conservatives usually deny in public--that Iraq is another Vietnam, that Bush is fighting a class war on behalf of the rich--are embraced on this shining ship in the middle of the ocean. Yes, they concede, we are fighting another Vietnam; and this time we won't let the weak-kneed liberals lose it. "It's customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who's 'we'?" Dinesh D'Souza asks angrily. "The left won by demanding America's humiliation." On this ship, there are no Viet Cong, no three million dead. There is only liberal treachery. Yes, D'Souza says, in a swift shift to domestic politics, "of course" Republican politics is "about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers."
The panel nods, but it doesn't want to stray from Iraq. Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan's one-time nominee to the Supreme Court, mumbles from beneath low-hanging jowls: "The coverage of this war is unbelievable. Even Fox News is unbelievable. You'd think we're the only ones dying. Enemy casualties aren't covered. We're doing an excellent job killing them."
Then, with a judder, the panel runs momentarily aground. Rich Lowry, the preppy, handsome 38-year-old editor of National Review, announces, "The American public isn't concluding we're losing in Iraq for any irrational reason. They're looking at the cold, hard facts." The Vista Lounge is, as one, perplexed. Lowry continues, "I wish it was true that, because we're a superpower, we can't lose. But it's not."
No one argues with him. They just look away, in the same manner that people avoid glancing at a crazy person yelling at a bus stop. Then they return to hyperbole and accusations of treachery against people like their editor. The aging historian Bernard Lewis declares, "The election in the U.S. is being seen by [the bin Ladenists] as a victory on a par with the collapse of the Soviet Union. We should be prepared for whatever comes next." This is why the guests paid up to $6,000. This is what they came for. They give him a wheezing, stooping ovation and break for coffee.
June 27, 2007: Sometimes you can't believe your eyes. This weekend is one of those times.
On Saturday night, June 30th, step outside at sunset and look around. You'll see a giant moon rising in the east. It looks like Earth's moon with the usual craters and seas, but something's wrong. This full moon is strangely inflated. It's huge!
You've just experienced the Moon Illusion.
Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. Cameras don't see it, but human eyes do; it's a genuine illusion.
Above: A time-lapse sequence of the moon rising over Seattle. To the camera, the moon appears to be the same size no matter what its location on the sky. Credit and copyright: Shay Stephens. [More]
This weekend's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full moon of 2007, so the Moon Illusion is going to be strong. What makes the moon so low? Consider the following: The sun and full moon lie on opposite sides of the sky. They are like a see-saw: when one is high, the other is low. Because the summer solstice was just last week (June 21st), the sun is near its highest point in northern skies. The full moon is correspondingly low.
When you look at the moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot. So why does your brain think one is bigger than the other? After all these years, scientists still aren't sure of the answer.
A similar illusion was discovered in 1913 by Mario Ponzo, who drew two identical bars across a pair of converging lines, like the railroad tracks pictured right. The upper yellow bar looks wider because it spans a greater apparent distance between the rails. This is the "Ponzo Illusion."
Right: The Ponzo Illusion. Image credit: Dr. Tony Phillips. [More]
Some researchers believe that the Moon Illusion is Ponzo's Illusion, with trees and houses playing the role of Ponzo's converging lines. Foreground objects trick your brain into thinking the moon is bigger than it really is.
But there's a problem: Airline pilots flying at very high altitudes sometimes experience the Moon Illusion without any objects in the foreground. What tricks their eyes?
Maybe it's the shape of the sky. Humans perceive the sky as a flattened dome, with the zenith nearby and the horizon far away. It makes sense; birds flying overhead are closer than birds on the horizon. When the moon is near the horizon, your brain, trained by watching birds (and clouds and airplanes), miscalculates the moon's true distance and size.
Below: The "flattened sky" model for the Moon Illusion. [More]
There are other explanations, too. It doesn't matter which is correct, though, if all you want to do is see a big beautiful moon. The best time to look is around moonrise, when the moon is peeking through trees and houses or over mountain ridges, doing its best to trick you. The table below (scroll down) lists moonrise times for selected US cities.
A fun activity: Look at the moon directly and then through a narrow opening of some kind. For example, 'pinch' the moon between your thumb and forefinger or view it through a cardboard tube, which hides the foreground terrain. Can you make the optical illusion vanish?
Stop that! You won't want to miss the Moon Illusion.
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 25, 4:55 PM ET
The poet Rahim al-Maliki wrote about his dreams of Iraqi unity in a place where such appeals are drowned out by daily bombings. One of them took his life on Monday.
Al-Maliki — whose fame grew by hosting two shows on state-run television — was among 13 people killed in a suicide attack at a Baghdad hotel, where he was filming tribal leaders about their decision to join U.S.-led forces in the fight against factions linked to al-Qaida. Four of the tribal sheiks from the western Anbar province were among the victims.
In one of his shows, "The Guesthouses of our People," the 39-year-old al-Maliki visited Sunni and Shiite groups and used his poetry to open dialogue about ways to end Iraq's sectarian bloodshed. In Anbar, many tribal elders have agreed to help U.S.-Iraqi troops fight groups linked to al-Qaida in an alliance that the Pentagon considers an important blow to the insurgency.
Al-Maliki's other show on the state-run Iraqiya television was "Feelings," which examined love poetry written in the style he favored: the ordinary Iraqi dialect rather than classical Arabic.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite who is not related to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, received several honors in recent years, including the top prize for patriotic poetry in 2006, colleagues said.
Under Saddam Hussein, he was imprisoned twice on accusations of criticizing the government and expressing sympathy for fellow Shiites who suffered widespread crackdowns after a failed uprising in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. He did not publish his work during Saddam's regime, but he read his poems at gatherings — and they were passed along by admirers who memorized the verses.
Al-Maliki became well-known across the country after his shows were aired by Iraqiya.
In one episode of "Guesthouses," he was shown wearing Arab traditional dress among tribal chiefs and policemen in Ramadi, the main city of Anbar, calling for all Iraqis to be united. He also wrote poems praising Anbar tribes for taking up arms against al-Qaida.
Al-Maliki lived in the Baghdad district of Sadr City with his wife and four children.
In one of his poems, he called upon all Iraqis to understand their shared stake in the country.
Hey, Janeane Garofalo. Girl, where have you been? I’ve missed you. It’s so great to see you again. Plus, damn, you look fantastic. Look at your cute little wave. Look at your adorable glasses. Look at your killer tattoos. Seriously, damn.
Last Friday, the 42-year-old actress, comic and political activist attended the premiere of the Disney Pixar animated feature Ratatouille. Janeane voices the part of French chef Colette in this culinary comedy about a rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who dreams of Cyrano de Berger–cooking his way to the top of the Parisian food world with the help of a young bus boy. Rodent issues aside, the movie looks cute and comes from Brad Bird, the Oscar-winning writer-director of both The Incredibles and The Iron Giant.
I couldn’t be happier to see Janeane working and looking so great. She has always been one of my favorite comics. Her acerbic wit warms the cockles of my ink-black heart. Plus, she was the best “My Sharona” dancer ever in Reality Bites (not to mention her friend’s coming out speech practice partner — to this day, when I’m joking around I call PFLAG “Pah-flag.”)
Her early film career suffered from Hollywood’s lack of imagination when it comes to dealing with funny women. She got stuck in toothless romantic comedies like The Truth About Cats & Dogs and The MatchMaker or cult indie projects like Wet Hot American Summer and 200 Cigarettes. Speaking of the latter, who couldn’t relate to Janeane’s in-transit, post-breakup cab rant? Say it with me: “These matches are disappointing me!” (Yes, that is a pre-Chappelle ShowDave Chappelle as the disco cabbie.)
What I admire about Janeane is not only her humor (or her penchant for slacker casual), but also her willingness to put herself out there politically. She has been an ardent liberal advocate, speaking out against the Iraq War since before it started, supporting the Democratic candidate in the last two presidential elections and co-hosting the Air America talk show “The Majority Report.” Of course, those very same outspoken views made her a favorite target of the right wing. Heaven forbid a famous liberal woman be allowed to express her views.
For a while she was Fox News' favorite kicking bag (a role now reserved for Rosie O’Donnell), but Janeane has no problem wearing her bleeding heart on her sleeve today. Well, actually, on her skin. Check out her left-leaning tats. Instead of a heart with “Mom,” hers says “Liberal.” And instead of a pinup gal, she has Rosie the Riveter.
In a recent interview with Dark Horizons, Janeane said she has quit drinking, which might be the reason for her fantastic-at-40-something-ness of late. She also said, sadly, that she won’t be as active in the next election. But I understand her reasoning.
"No I don't think it's helpful. I worked very hard on the Dean campaign and it became an object of derision, myself and some of the other people who happened to be in entertainment — we're tax paying citizens first and foremost. ... And in any town we would do our little tours across the country, the critics couldn't resist bashing myself and the other actors who happened to be there working on the campaign. And they lose focus from what is important and it just doesn't help because there's too many hacks writing about it that love to waste our time mocking people in the entertainment industry. You know what I mean? And it takes away space from important stuff about the candidate."
She and Rosie would have a lot to talk about. Speaking of which, that seat on The View is still empty. Hey, Janeane, how do you feel about getting up early in the morning?
The global network of networks that President George W. Bush calls “the Internets” represents the first major communicative revolution since the publication in 1962 of Jürgen Habermas’ influential historical work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. In that work Habermas described a moment in the social and political history of Europe in which a rising bourgeoisies was able to gather in salons and cafes to discuss matters of public concern.
The public sphere represented a set of sites and conventions in the 18th century in which (almost exclusively male) members of the bourgeoisies could forge a third space to mediate between domestic concerns and matters of state. It was a social phenomenon enabled by a communicative revolution: the spread of literacy and the rise of cheap printing in Europe. Habermas asserts that such a space had not existed in Europe in a strong form before the 18th century and that by the end of the 19th century it quickly underwent some profound changes.
The democratic revolutions in the United States and France, parliamentary reform efforts in England, and the unsteady lurches toward republics in Germany and other parts of Europe eventually codified many of the democratic aspirations of the public sphere: openness, inclusiveness, and fairness.
I use the word “revolution”cautiously. It is far too early in the 20-year history of the Internet to assess its effects in a balanced and sober manner. Hype and fear still dominate the discussions of the effects of the Internet on culture, societies, politics, and economics.
In addition, the Internet hype may have distracted scholars from another revolution.
I believe that the proliferation of the magnetic cassette tape and player in the 1970s has had a more profound effect on daily life in all corners of the Earth than the Internet has so far.
Hitachi has developed a technology to allow users to control devices by thinking. The system is currently being used to move a toy train back and forth, but the company and other manufacturers see a future for it in TV remote controls, cars and artificial limbs. A key advantage to Hitachi's technology is that sensors don't have to physically enter the brain.
Any brain-machine interface device for widespread use would be "a little further down the road," Koizumi said.
He added, however, that the technology is entertaining in itself and could easily be applied to toys.
"It's really fun to move a model train just by thinking," he said.
Re-incarnate There was a cat in my bedI wonder why she was thereWhat is there about a catthat makes it felineI equate her to the feminineDoes macho have somethingto do with itWalks and crouches, pads aboutAl the parts seem to rythmnLike woman in motionStill, I discriminateNot againstFor heaven's sakeWhy on earthA cat in my berthshimon weinroth
Millions of Internet Radio Listeners Urged to Defend the Future of Net Radio
Thousands of U.S. webcasters plan to turn off the music and go silent this Tuesday, June 26, to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that, if implemented, would lead to the virtual shutdown of this country's Internet radio industry.
"The arbitrary and drastic rate increases set by the Copyright Royalty Board on March 2nd threaten the very livelihood of thousands of webcasters and their millions of listeners throughout the country," said Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio coalition. "The campaign to save Internet radio -- a genuine grassroots movement comprised of hundreds of thousands of webcasters, artists and independent labels, and Net radio listeners -- has quickly brought this issue to the national forefront and the halls of Congress, but there is still more to be done before the approaching deadline of July 15th. On Tuesday, thousands of webcasters will call on their millions of listeners to join the fight to save Internet radio and contact their Congressional representatives to ask for their support of the Internet Radio Equality Act."
Many webcasters are planning to shut off access to their streams entirely, while other webcasters plan to replace their music streams with long periods of silence (or static or ocean sounds or similar) interspersed with occasional brief public service announcements on the subject.
Internet-only webcasters and broadcasters that simulcast online will alert their listeners that "silence" is what Internet radio may be reduced to after July 15th, the day on which 17 months' worth of retroactive royalty payments - -- at new, exceedingly high rates -- are due to the SoundExchange collection organization, following a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.
WHAT: National Day of Silence
WHEN: Tuesday, June 26, 2007
WHO: The following is a partial list of participants; it is not a
KCRW (Santa Monica, CA),
Born Again Radio,
WGLI (Bablylon, NY),
WMUK (Kalamazoo, MI),
Head-On Radio Network,
monkeygrip music cafe,
KFCF (Fresno, CA),
Blue Power/Guitar Speak,
WPNA (Oak Park, IL),
60's Chicks Radio/Seasons & Celebrations Radio,
Puregold Rock 'N Roll,
KDUN (Reedsport, OR),
KQLZ (Los Angeles, CA),
KXPR/KXJZ (Sacramento, CA),
Pure Pop 24/7,
Smooth Jazz and More,
WCH Radio/The Wave,
WYGS Southern Gospel Radio Network,
WRAJ Internet Radio
To learn more about Day of Silence events and the SaveNetRadio coalition, contact email@example.com or visit http://www.savenetradio.org/
A walk down Main Street in this New England town calls to mind the pictures of Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby and chronicled small-town American life in the mid-20th Century.
BerkShares, a currency adopted by towns in western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains, is seen in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, June 4, 2007. [Reuters]
So it is fitting that the artist's face adorns the 50 BerkShares note, one of five denominations in a currency adopted by towns in western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains.
"I just love the feel of using a local currency," said Trice Atchison, 43, a teacher who used BerkShares to buy a snack at a cafe in Great Barrington, a town of about 7,400 people. "It keeps the profit within the community."
There are about 844,000 BerkShares in circulation, worth $759,600 at the fixed exchange rate of 1 BerkShare to 90 U.S. cents, according to program organizers. The paper scrip is available in denominations of one, five, 10, 20 and 50.
In their 10 months of circulation, they've become a regular feature of the local economy. Businesses that accept BerkShares treat them interchangeably with dollars: a $1 cup of coffee sells for 1 BerkShare, a 10 percent discount for people paying in BerkShares.
Named for the local Berkshire Hills, BerkShares are accepted in about 280 cafes, coffee shops, grocery stores and other businesses in Great Barrington and neighboring towns, including Stockbridge, the town where Rockwell lived for a quarter century.
"BerkShares are cash, and so people have transferred their cash habits to BerkShares," said Susan Witt, executive director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, a nonprofit group that set up the program. "They might have 50 in their pocket, but not 150. They're buying their lunch, their coffee, a small birthday present."
Great Barrington attracts weekend residents and tourists from the New York area who help to support its wealth of organic farms, yoga studios, cafes and businesses like Allow Yourself to Be, which offers services ranging from massage to "chakra balancing" and Infinite Quest, which sells "past life regression therapy."
The BerkShares program is one of about a dozen such efforts in the nation. Local groups in California, Kansas, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin run similar ones. One of the oldest is Ithaca Hours, which went into circulation in 1991 in Ithaca, New York.
About $120,000 of that currency circulates in the rural town. Unlike BerkShares, Ithaca Hours cannot officially be freely converted to dollars, though some businesses buy them.
Stephen Burkle, president of the Ithaca Hours program, said the notes are a badge of local pride.
"At the beginning it was very hard to get small businesses to get on board with it," said Burkle, who also owns a music store in Ithaca. "When Ithaca Hours first started, there wasn't a Home Depot in town, there wasn't a Borders, there wasn't a Starbucks. Now that there are, it's a mechanism for small businesses to compete with national chains."
U.S. law prevents states from issuing their own currency but allows private groups to print paper scrip, though not coins, said Lewis Solomon, a professor of law at George Washington University, who studies local currencies.
"As long as you don't turn out quarters and you don't turn out something that looks like the U.S. dollar, it's legal," Solomon said.
The BerkShares experiment comes as the dollar is losing some of its status on international markets, with governments shifting some reserves into euros, the pound and other investments as the U.S. currency has slid in value.
But the dollar is still the currency that businesses in Great Barrington need to pay most of their bills.
"The promise of this program is for it to be a completed circle," said Matt Rubiner, owner of Rubiner's cheese shop and Rubi's cafe. Some local farmers who supply him accept BerkShares, but he pays most of his bills in dollars.
"The circle isn't quite completed yet in most cases, and someone has to take the hit," Rubiner said, referring to the 10 percent discount. "The person who takes the hit is the merchant, it's me."
Meanwhile, Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., a western Massachusetts bank that exchanges BerkShares for dollars, is considering BerkShares-denominated checks and debit cards.
"Businesses aren't comfortable walking around with wads of BerkShares to pay for their supplies or their advertising," said Melissa Joyce, a branch officer with the bank, which has 25 branches, six of which exchange BerkShares. "I do hope that we're able to develop the checking account and debit card, because it will make it easier for everyone."
Come, my child: over there, guarded by an angel,
Treasurer of the secrets of forbidden Knowledge,
There bleeds, for corrupted hearts, a strange vine,
Twined with the hissing snake of Paradise Lost.
The angel sleeps when I wish. Come,
My beautiful child, eat with wanton teeth
The clusters where my mouth has bitten:
Tomorrow you will know the cost of the wine
And the power of the vintage your elder has sold you.
You will watch yourself act and think and live,
You will be at once the reader and the book,
The obscure writer of that hideous book.
And you will die very old, cultivating your pain,
For having abdicated the scepter of your ignorance,
Which raised you to the height of heroes and the gods.
~"Initiation" from "Hors du Siecle" by ALBERT GIRAUD~
One of the largest UFOs ever seen has been observed by the crew and passengers of an airliner over the Channel Islands.
An official air-miss report on the incident several weeks ago appears in Pilot magazine.
Aurigny Airlines captain Ray Bowyer, 50, flying close to Alderney first spotted the object, described as "a cigar-shaped brilliant white light".
Aurigny Airlines captain Ray Bowyer, 50, described what he thought to be a UFO as 'a cigar-shaped brilliant white light', similar to the image supplied by Dennis Plunket of the British Flying Saucer bureau
As the plane got closer the captain viewed it through binoculars and said: "It was a very sharp, thin yellow object with a green area.
"It was 2,000ft up and stationary. I thought it was about 10 miles away, although I later realised it was approximately 40 miles from us. At first, I thought it was the size of a [Boeing] 737.
"But it must have been much bigger because of how far away it was. It could have been as much as a mile wide."
Continuing his approach to Guernsey, Bowyer then spied a "second identical object further to the west".
He said: "It was exactly the same but looked smaller because it was further away. It was closer to Guernsey. I can't explain it. This was clearly visual for about nine minutes.
"I'm certainly not saying that it was something of another world. All I'm saying is that I have never seen anything like it before in all my years of flying."
The sightings were confirmed by passengers Kate and John Russell. John, 74, said: "I saw an orange light. It was like an elongated oval."
The sightings were also confirmed by an unnamed pilot with the Blue Islands airline.
The Civil Aviation Authority safety notice states that a Tri-Lander aircraft flying close to Alderney spotted the object.
"Certain parts of the report have not been published. I cannot say why," said a senior CAA source.
Earlier this year, however, the MOD declared its intentions to open its UFO files to the public.
this is not a poem. poems are dull,
they make you sleep.
these words force you
to a new
you have been blessed, you have been pushed into a
blinding area of
the elephant dreams
the curve of space
-excerpts, Splash, by C. Bukowski
Surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings and cushy fraternity houses, the Emma Goldman Cooperative at 625 N. Frances St. might be seen as a throwback to the Madison of the 1960s.
The three-story wood and stucco house is home to activism and casually dressed, relatively young people, who eat communal vegetarian meals and pay low rents near the shore of Lake Mendota.
Those looking downtown for a different and inexpensive living experience are finding that places like the Emma Goldman house and other unique co-ops are attractive alternatives to traditional apartments.
Alison Brooks, for instance, moved to the Goldman co-op last summer because she wanted to live in a place that supported her activism against racism. She likes the mutual support of communal living and believes it helps create a strong sense of community to counter the isolation of modern life.
"This is a warm, comfortable living space. We work together instead of in opposition," said Brooks, 21, a junior at UW-Madison. She grew up in Milwaukee and Boulder, Colo.
The Emma Goldman Co-op is one of 11 co-ops in the Madison Community Cooperative network, which provides low-rent housing -- usually less than $400 per month -- at various locations close to campus and on the near east side. About 200 residents are part of the Community Cooperative, and the city also boasts numerous independent cooperatives.
In the Community Cooperative network, each house has its individual personality, goals and ideals. And people who want to live in one of them must attend dinners and a Sunday night meeting before residents decide whether they would fit in and whether they are sufficiently committed to the ideals of the cooperative.
Goldman's goals: The aim at the Goldman household is to work toward a sustainable and socially just society. Members support feminism, anti-racism and fair treatment of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
Goldman was a famous anarchist, feminist, unionist and anti-war activist who was imprisoned and then deported by the United States and sent to Russia in 1919 after J. Edgar Hoover called her "one of the most dangerous women in America."
But she also didn't like post-revolutionary Russia and ended up living in Europe and Canada.
A quote from the free-spirited Goldman adorns the front of the co-op: "If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution."
Like Goldman, the 16 activists who live in the house stand up for their principles, and house decisions are made by "group-modified consensus." Community dinners are vegetarian with a vegan option. The kitchen boasts large labeled bins of bran flour, raisins, kidney beans, brown rice and brown sugar. Organic foods are sought, and produce comes from a community supported agriculture farm. A typical meal might include tofu, rice with broccoli, biscuits or muffins, and soy milk or juice.
It's an animal-friendly house with ample common space, and a great view of Lake Mendota from the living room.
'Environment of activists': During warm weather, the residents of the non-air-conditioned abode often gather for dinner on the front porch, where they notice they aren't overly popular with some nearby residents.
"Our neighbors don't complain, but we're not bringing cookies to each other's houses," said Brooks, who is the co-op's representative on the board of the Madison Community Co-op.
Christopher Sims, 33, saw a flier about the Goldman co-op. Its statements about social justice, respect and diversity appealed to him. He joined the household in June.
Sims is a writer and performance poet who hopes to be teaching a creative writing course at a community center this summer.
"Everybody here is kindred and supporting one another," said Sims, who is from Rockford.
Josh Healey, who lived at other Madison co-ops before moving to the Emma Goldman household last summer, works at the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiative. Now 23, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in sociology and political science in 2005.
"I chose this co-op for political and practical reasons. It is an environment of activists and artists and people who want to live out their ideals. The community gets to make the decisions on how we live -- where we buy food, the types of products we use and so on," he said.
"And affordable housing is hard to come by, especially downtown."
Healey enjoys living with a diverse group of students and working people, and he likes coming home every night to share a meal that the residents themselves prepare.
Summer Wilken, 20, has lived in the house less than a year and plans to take a semester off in the fall and go to Chicago with a friend. But she enjoys the co-op and believes in its principles.
"I heard the Emma Goldman Co-op was into social justice and anti-racism. The people here are mostly activists," said Wilken, who is from Connecticut and is majoring in English and creative writing.
She noted that some co-ops tend to be white middle class, something the Goldman cooperative is not.
"We cook together. Two people cook every night. It's like cooking Thanksgiving dinner every day. It's really nice to talk to people. We clean together and play music," Wilken said. "It seems like a family."
The nuts and bolts: Organizing the communal living arrangement depends on discussions, and residents meet every Sunday evening to talk about upkeep, finance and how they can improve the co-op. The meetings, according to the Goldman house Web site, "can last anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours."
As of Aug. 15, rental cost for a room is $319 to $376 per month. Everyone in the house pays $90 a month for bulk food purchases. Additionally, four people do not live at the co-op but pay $90 a month to eat there. People make their own lunches.
House members contribute from four to six hours of their time each week for jobs such as cooking, washing dishes, cleaning common spaces, paying bills, grocery shopping and serving on Madison Community Cooperative communities.
Of course, things don't always go smoothly, but members work together to solve problems such as nonpayment of rent, failure to do required work or disruptive behavior.
Housing co-op network: The Madison Community Cooperative is an umbrella organization that owns the 11 properties.
"Our organization is a tax-exempt benevolent organization. We had to take the city to court to argue that point," said Tony Anderson, maintenance coordinator.
"We are a nonprofit corporation that provides low-cost housing to low- or moderate-income people."
The Community Co-op started in 1968 when some co-op houses decided to work together. Over the years, additional houses were purchased. The Goldman co-op was purchased in 1996 for $320,000, assessor's records show.
Most of the 11 households are within one-half mile of the UW-Madison campus. They range in size from five to 34 members.
"Every house has its own flavor and personality," Anderson stressed, though all appreciate a diversity in members' backgrounds, occupations and interests.
Most of the houses focus on certain types of residents: One is family-oriented, one is all women and another focuses on international students or well-traveled people.
Each house has an inexpensive meal plan that is usually vegetarian and features home-cooked dinners prepared by house members.
Those interested in joining should ask for the membership coordinator at the office at 1202 Williamson St., or phone 251-2667 to find out if there are openings. The Web site also lists available housing.
The University of Iowa Press is publishing an anthology of poetry by Guantanamo detainees, says WSJ today. Prisoners, denied paper and pens until 2003, wrote poems with toothpaste on the walls, and scratched them into styrofoam cups with spoons and rocks. Link to article here, a really interesting read. Excerpts of poems, and quotes from officials on why this has taken so long:
"U.S. authorities explained why the military has been slow to declassify the poems in a June 2006 letter to one of Mr. Falkoff's colleagues. 'Poetry...presents a special risk, and DOD standards are not to approve the release of any poetry in its original form or language,' it said. The military says poetry is harder to vet than conventional letters because allusions and imagery in poetry that seem innocent can be used to convey coded messages to other militants."
It's 2045 and nerds in old-folks homes are wandering around, scratching their heads, and asking plaintively, "But ... but, where's the Singularity? " Science fiction writer Vernor Vinge--who originated the concept of the technological Singularity- -doesn't think that will happen, but he explores three alternate scenarios, along with our "best hope for long-term survival"--self- sufficient, off-Earth settlements.
Given the title of my talk, I should define and briefly discuss what I mean by the Technological Singularity:
It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future, create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond this event—call it the Technological Singularity—are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.
The preceding sentence, almost by definition, makes long-term thinking an impractical thing in a Singularity future.
However, maybe the Singularity won't happen, in which case planning beyond the next fifty years could have great practical importance. In any case, a good science-fiction writer (or a good scenario planner) should always be considering alternative outcomes.
I should add that the alternatives I discuss tonight also assume that faster-than-lightspace travel is never invented!
Important note for those surfing this talk out of context :-) I still regard the Singularity as the most likely non-catastrophic outcome for our near future.
There are many plausible catastrophic scenarios (see Martin Rees's Our Final Hour), but tonight I'll try to look at non-singular futures that might still be survivable.
A plausible explanation for "Singularity failure" is that we never figure out how to "do the software" (or "find the soul in the hardware", if you're more mystically inclined). Here are some possible symptoms:
Software creation continues as the province of software engineering.
Software projects that endeavor to exploit increasing hardware power fail in more and more spectacular ways.
Project failures so deep that no amount of money can disguise the failure; walking away from the project is the only option.
Spectacular failures in large, total automation projects. (Human flight controllers occasionally run aircraft into each other; a bug in a fully automatic system could bring a dozen aircraft to the same point in space and time.)
Such failures lead to reduced demand for more advanced hardware, which no one can properly exploit—causing manufacturers to back off in their improvement schedules. In effect, Moore's Law fails —even though physical barriers to further improvement may not be evident.
Eventually, basicresearch in related materials science issues stagnates, in part for lack of new generations of computing systems to support that research.
Hardware improvements in simple and highly regular structures (such as data storage) are the last to fall victim to stagnation. In the long term, we have some extraordinarily good audio-visual entertainment products (but nothing transcendental) and some very large data bases (but without software to properly exploit them).
So most people are not surprised when the promise of strong AI is not fulfilled, and other advances that would depend on something like AI for their greatest success—things like nanotech general assemblers— also elude development.
All together, the early years of this time come to be called the "Age of Failed Dreams."
It's 2040 and nerds in old-folks homes are wandering around, scratching their heads, and asking plaintively, "But ... but, where's the Singularity? "
Some consequences might seem comforting:
Edelson's Law says: "The number of important insights that are not being made is increasing exponentially with time." I see this caused by the breakneck acceleration of technological progress—and the failure of merely human minds to keep up. If progress slowed, there might be time for us to begin to catch up (though I suspect that our bioscience databases would continue to be filled faster than we could ever analyze).
Maybe now there would finally be time to go back over the last century of really crummy software and redo things, but this time in a clean and rational way. (Yeah, right.)
On the other hand, humanity's chances for surviving the century might become more dubious:
Environmental and resource threats would still exist.
Warfare threats would still exist. In the early years of the 21st century, we have become distracted and (properly!) terrified by nuclear terrorism. We tend to ignore the narrow passage of 1970-1990, when tens of thousands of nukes might have been used in a span of days, perhaps without any conscious political trigger. A return to MAD is very plausible, and when stoked by environmental stress, it's a very plausible civilization killer.
Suppose humankind survives the 21st century. Coming out of the Age of Failed Dreams, what would be the prospects for a long human era? I'd like to illustrate some possibilities with diagrams that show all of the Long Now—from tens of thousands of years before our time to tens of thousands of years after—all at once and without explicit reference to the passage of time (which seems appropriate for thinking of the Human Era as a single long now!).
Instead of graphing a variable such as population as a function of time, I'll graph the relationship of an aspect of technology against population size. By way of example, here's our situation so far.
It doesn't look very exciting. In fact, the most impressive thing is that in the big picture, we humans seem a steady sort. Even the Black Death makes barely a nick in our tech/pop progress. Maybe this reflects how things really are—or maybe we haven't seen the whole story. (Note that extreme excursions to the right (population) or upwards (related to destructive potential) would probably be disastrous for civilization on Earth.)
Without the Singularity, here are three possibilities (scenarios in their own right):
(Like many people, I'm skeptical about the two preceding references. On the other hand, there's much uncertainty about the effects of a maximum nuclear exchange. The subtle logic of MAD planning constantly raises the threshold of "acceptable damage", and engages very smart people and enormous resources in assuring that ever greater levels of destruction can be attained. I can't think of any other threat where our genius is so explicitly aimed at our own destruction.
There are trends in our era that tend to support this optimistic scenario:
The plasticity of the human psyche (on time scales at least as short as one human generation). When people have hope, information, and communication, it's amazing how fast they start behaving with wisdom exceeding the elites.
The Internet empowers such trends, even if we don't accelerate on into the Singularity. (My most recent book, Rainbows End, might be considered an illustration of this (depending on how one interprets the evidence of incipiently transhuman players :-).)
The decline in population (the leftward wiggle in the trajectory) is a peaceful, benign thing, ultimately resulting in a universal high standard of living.
On longest time horizon, there is some increase in both power and population.
This civilization apparently reaches the long-term conclusion that a large and happy population is better than a smaller happy population. The reverse could be argued. Perhaps in the fullness of time, both possibilities were tried.
So what happens at the far end of this Long Now (20000 years from now, 50000)? Even without the Singularity, it seems reasonable that at some point the species would become something greater.
A policy suggestion (applicable to most of these scenarios): [Young] Old People are good for the future of Humanity! Thus prolongevity research may be one of the most important undertakings for the long-term safety of the human race.
This suggestion explicitly rejects the notion that lots of old people would deaden society. I'm not talking about the moribund old people that we humans have always known (and been). We have no idea what young very old people are like, but their existence might give us something like the advantage the earliest humans got from the existence of very old tribe members (age 35 to 65).
The Long Now perspective comes very naturally to someone who expects that not only his/her g*grandchildren will be around in 500 years—so may be the individual him/herself.
And once we get well into the future, then besides having a long prospective view, there would be people who have experienced the distant past.
I fear this scenario is much more plausible than The Golden Age. The Wheel of Time is based on fact that Earth and Nature are dynamic and our own technology can cause terrible destruction. Sooner or later, even with the best planning, megadisasters happen, and civilization falls (or staggers). Hence, in this diagram we see cycles of disasters and recovery.
What would be the amplitude of such cycles (in loss of population and fall of technology)?
What would be the duration of such cycles?
There has been a range of speculation about such questions (mostly about the first recovery):
A frequent catchphrase in this talk has been "Who knows?". Often this mantra is applied to the most serious issues we face:
How dangerous is MAD, really? (After all, "it got us through the 20th century alive".)
How much of an existential threat is environmental change?
How fast could humanity recover from major catastrophes? Is full recovery even possible? Which disasters are the most difficult to recover from?
How close is technology to running beyond nation-state MAD and giving irritable individuals the power to kill us all?
What would be the long-term effect of having lots of young old people?
What is the impact of [your-favorite- scheme-or- peril] on long-term human survival?
We do our best with scenario planning. But there is another tool, and it is wonderful if you have it: broad experience.
An individual doesn't have to try out every recreational drug to know what's deadly.
An individual has in him/herself no good way of estimating the risks of different styles of diet and excercise. Even the individual's parents may not be much help—but a Framingham study can provide guidance.
Alas, our range of experience is perilously narrow, since we have essentially one experiment to observe. In the Long Now, can we do better? The Golden Age scenario would allow serial experimentation with some of the less deadly imponderables: over a long period of time, there could be gentle experiments with population size and prolongevity. (In fact, some of that may be visible in the "wiggle" in my Golden Age diagram.)
But there's no way we can guarantee we're in The Golden Age scenario, or have any confidence that our experiments won't destroy civilization. (Personally, I find The Wheel of Time scenarios much more plausible than The Golden Age.)
Of course, there is a way to gain experience and at the same time improve the chances for humanity's survival:
This message has been brought back to the attention of futurists, and by some very impressive people: Hawking, Dyson, and Rees in particular.
Some or all of these folks have been making this point for many decades. And of course, such settlements were at the heart of much of 20th century science-fiction. It is heartwarming to see the possibility that, in this century, the idea could move back to center stage.
(Important note for those surfing this talk out of context: I'm not suggesting space settlement as an alternative to, or evasion of, the Singularity. Space settlement would probably be important in Singularity scenarios, too, but embedded in inconceivabilities. )
"Chasing after safety in space would just distract from the life-and-death priority of cleaning up the mess we have made of Earth." I suspect that this point of view is beyond logical debate.
"Chasing after safety in space assumes the real estate there is not already in use." True. The possibility of the Singularity and the question "Are we alone in the universe?" are two of the most important practical mysteries that we face.
"A real space program would be too dangerous in the short term." There may be some virtue in this objection. A real space program means cheap access to space, which is very close to having a WMD capability. In the long run, the human race should be much safer, but at the expense of this hopefully small short-term risk.
"There's no other place in the Solar System to support a human civilization— and the stars are too far."
Asteroid belt civilizations might have more wealth potential than terrestrial ones.
In the Long Now, the stars are NOT too far, even at relatively low speeds. Furthermore, interstellar radio networks would be trivial to maintain (1980s level technology). Over time, there could be dozens, hundreds, thousands of distinct human histories exchanging their experience across the centuries. There really could be Framingham studies of the deadly uncertainties!
From 1957 to circa 1980 we humans did some proper pioneering in space. We (I mean brilliant engineers and scientists and brave explorers) established a number of near-Earth applications that are so useful that they can be commercially successful even at launch costs to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of $5000 to $10000/kg. We also undertook a number of human and robotic missions that resolved our greatest uncertainties about the Solar System and travel in space.
From 1980 till now? Well, launch to LEO still runs $5000 to $10000/kg. As far as I can tell, the new Vision for Space Exploration will maintain these costs. This approach made some sense in 1970, when we were just beginning and when initial surveys of the problems and applications were worth almost any expense. Now, in the early 21st century, these launch costs make talk of humans-in-space a doubly gold-plated sham:
First, because of the pitiful limitations on delivered payloads, except at prices that are politically impossible (or are deniable promises about future plans).
Second, because with these launch costs, the payloads must be enormously more reliable and compact than commercial off-the-shelf hardware—and therefore enormously expensive in their own right.
I believe most people have great sympathy and enthusiasm for humans-in-space. They really "get" the big picture. Unfortunately, their sympathy and enthusiasm has been abused.
Humankind's presence in space is essential to long-term human survival.
That is why I urge that we reject any major humans-in-space initiative that does not have the prerequisite goal of much cheaper (at least by a factor of ten) access to space.
There are several space propulsion methods that look feasible—once the spacecraft is away from Earth. Such methods could reduce the inner solar system to the something like the economic distances that 18th century Europeans experienced in exploring Earth.
The real bottleneck is hoisting payloads from the surface of the Earth to orbit. There are a number of suggested approaches. Which, if any, of them will pay off? Who knows? On the other hand, this is an imponderable that that can probably be resolved by:
Prizes like the X-prize.
Real economic prizes in the form of promises (from governments and/or the largest corporations) of the form: "Give us a price to orbit of $X/kg, and we'll give you Y tonnes of business per year for Z years.
Retargeting NASA to basic enabling research, more in the spirit of its predecessor, NACA.
A military arms race. (Alas, this may be the most likely eventuality, and it might be part of a return to MADness. Highly deprecated!)
An Hour with Michael Moore on "Sicko," his Trip to Cuba with 9/11 Rescue Workers, the Removal of Private Healthcare Companies & Clinton's Ties to Insurance Companies: "They're into Her Pocket and She's Into Their Pocket And I Don't Expect Much From Her"Listen to segmentAMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore is on the move. On Wednesday, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker will testify on Capitol Hill. He then heads to New Hampshire to challenge presidential candidates -- Democrat and Republican -- over the nation’s healthcare system.Oh, and his latest documentary, SiCKO, is being released in thousands of theaters next week. The film is a seething indictment of the US healthcare system. It focuses not on the more than 40 million people who don’t have health insurance, but on the more than 250 million who do, many of whom are abandoned by the very health insurance industry they’ve paid into for decades.Yesterday I sat down with Michael Moore at the Tribeca Cinema here in New York, just after he’d done a sneak preview for 9/11 workers who fell ill after working in the toxic environment at Ground Zero. He was then doing a fundraiser for the Center for Justice and Democracy, a tort reform group. I began by asking Michael Moore what inspired him to make the film. MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I actually -- I had a TV show on back in the ’90s called TV Nation, and one day I just -- I thought it would be interesting to have like a race. So we sent a camera crew to an emergency room in Fort Lauderdale, a camera crew to an emergency room in Toronto, and then one to Havana. And they would each wait until someone came in with a broken arm or a broken leg. And then they were going to follow that person through and see how good the quality of the care was, how fast it was and how cheap it was. And I convinced Bob Costas and Ahmad Rashad, sportscasters, to do the play-by-play of what we called the Healthcare Olympics. And so, it was a race between the US, Canada and Cuba. And to make a long story short, Cuba won. They had the fastest care, the best care, and it cost nothing. We turn the show in to NBC that week, and we get a call from the censor. They’re not called “the censor,” they’re called Standards & Practices. And so, this woman calls. She’s the head of Standards & Practices -- Dr. Somebody. I don’t know they -- she actually had a “Dr.” before her name, but I forget her last name now. But she calls, and she says, “Mike, Cuba can’t win.” I said, “What?” “Cuba can’t win.” “Well, they won. What do you mean they can’t win? They won.” “No, we can’t say that on NBC. We can’t say that Cuba won.” “Well, yeah, but they won! They provided the fastest care. They were the cheapest. And the patient was happy, and the bone got fixed.” “No, it’s against regulations here.” I said, “Oh, well, I’m not changing it.” Well, they changed it. They changed it. Two days later, when it aired, they changed it so that Canada won. And Canada didn’t win. Canada almost won, but they charged the guy $15 for some crutches on the way out. So it’s bugged me to this day that anybody who saw that episode, you know, where it said, you know, “and Canada won the Healthcare Olympics,” and in fact it was Cuba, but that couldn’t be said on NBC, because God knows what would happen. So, anyways, I first started thinking about this issue then, and then when I had my next show, The Awful Truth, we followed a guy who had health insurance, but his health insurance company would not approve this operation he needed, which would save his life. So we took the guy to the headquarters of Humana, the HMO down in Louisville, Kentucky, took him in to see the executives there. They gave us the boot. So we went out on the lawn and conducted the man's funeral, with him present. So we had a priest and a casket and pallbearers, bagpipes and, you know, “Amazing Grace” and the whole deal. And the executives are looking down from the top floor at this and horrified this is going to air on national television. Three days later, they call and tell the guy, “We’ll approve the operation.” And the man is alive today. And I thought at the time, geez, you know, a ten-minute piece, we saved a guy's life; what could we do if we did a two-hour movie? And so, that was the sort of the genesis of this, though the movie didn’t end up being a bunch of stories about, you know, saving individual people’s lives, because as I got into this, I figured there’s a much, you know, sort of bigger story to tell about the actual system itself. AMY GOODMAN: Well, tell us about the 9/11 workers and how you got involved with all of these people who have gotten sick. We just came from one of your first showings before the premiere of the film, with 9/11 emergency responders who are sick. MICHAEL MOORE: Right. Well, as you know, those of us who in New York here, where, you know, since 9/11, a lot of these workers who ran down there to help on 9/11 who were not city employees or state employees, but were just volunteers -- I mean, some people got across from New Jersey and came and helped. They were maybe volunteer firefighters from New Jersey, some were EMT volunteers, and they went down there to help. Some of them stayed there for months in the recovery effort. And they got all these illnesses, respiratory illnesses and things like that, from breathing, you know, the whole, you know -- while the EPA was saying, Giuliani was saying everything’s fine down there. You know, go ahead and breathe away. In fact, as we now know, it was very toxic down there. And hundreds, perhaps even thousands, have suffered as a result of the toxicity in the air at the time. And then to find out that our own government and all these 9/11 funds won’t provide any help to these volunteers, because they weren’t employees of the city. So they’ve been going through all these illnesses -- and some of them not even seeing a doctor or can’t afford the operations or the things that they need, the medicines they need, because they don’t have health insurance. And they can’t work now, so they’re disabled, and then they have to go through a whole rigmarole to try and get Medicaid. It’s just -- I mean, making them go through hoop after hoop, very sad thing to see. And so, we got to know some of them. And at the same time, I saw this thing on C-SPAN, where Senator Frist had gone down to Gitmo, because they wanted to show how, you know, we’re taking good care of the detainees, you know, where they’re getting all top-of-the-line prisoner treatment. And one of the things that he wanted to remark on -- Mr. Frist -- was how good the healthcare was -- AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Frist. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, excuse me. Yes, of course, Dr. Frist. There’s another doctor. He then presented this list of, you know -- here’s all the colonoscopies that we’ve been doing, you know. And, of course, the first thing I thought when I heard that, I thought, “Colonoscopies? Hey, most of these detainees are, you know, in their twenties and thirties. You know, you’re not really -- you don’t necessarily have a colonoscopy ’til you’re fifty.” So that should have been your first clue right there something was amiss at Gitmo. But he has this whole list, Amy, of how many teeth cleanings they’ve done of the detainees, how many root canals. They do nutrition counseling. AMY GOODMAN: Do they talk about the force-feedings of fasting prisoners? MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, well, of course. That’s what’s called “nutrition counseling.” And so, he made this as part of this big, you know, thing about how wonderful they’re treated there, and we shouldn’t worry at all about them. Well, of course, irony built upon irony here, you know. And I thought, well, you know, here we have the 9/11 rescue workers who can’t get any healthcare. Here they are trumpeting how they have free universal healthcare, dental care, eye care, nutrition counseling, for the detainees. And I thought, well, why don’t we just take our 9/11 workers down to Gitmo and see if we can get some of that free healthcare they’re bragging about? And so, essentially, when you see the film -- I don’t want to give the whole thing away -- but that’s essentially what we go to do. AMY GOODMAN: How did you get there? MICHAEL MOORE: Geez, I wish I could tell you. You know, I’m being investigated now by the Bush administration for this trip I took, which they said that we went to Cuba, but my point is, no, we were going to Guantanamo Bay, which you claim as American soil, so we never really left America. I mean, we pulled out of Miami in the boat, and we ended up in Guantanamo Bay, which you claim as American waters. And so -- but, of course, you know, we ended up then in, you know, the actual nation of Cuba. And you’ll see in the film the wonderful treatment that the 9/11 rescue workers and the others I took got from the Cuban doctors and the Cuban healthcare system. But, so now they’re investigating me. And I mean, you’ve been there. Have you ever received this letter threatening civil and criminal action against you? Or -- AMY GOODMAN: I did not. MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, see? Well, it’s not fair! You’re Amy Goodman. You should get the first letter. What are you picking on me for? Anyway, so yeah, so I’m in the midst of this, so I’m not really -- I don’t want to say publicly yet how we actually got there, but I actually do have a boat in the movie, you see, and we are actually in Guantanamo Bay. And you probably have never seen anybody actually sail into Guantanamo Bay. You will, when you see the movie, see this, you know, for the first time. And, you know, and I’m the skipper. AMY GOODMAN: Were you afraid of the mines or what you thought might be mines? MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. Actually, I was more afraid of what they were pointing at us in the guard tower there on the US side of this demarcation line that’s in the bay. And I have to say -- I want to tell you -- I think I can say this much: the Cuban government was not exactly happy with my idea here of sailing into Guantanamo Bay, because they did not want an incident that would provoke the Americans or give them an excuse to do something against Cuba. And especially because it was me, you know, the Cubans perceive that Mr. Bush doesn’t like me very much, and so here I am suddenly, you know, tweaking their nose in Guantanamo Bay, and anything could happen. So we had to really actually talk quite a bit to the Cubans to letting us use their waters to get up close to the American waters there in the bay. AMY GOODMAN: Is that area mined? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, that’s what they say, yes. Yes, yes. Well, they believe the Americans have mined it, you know, so that no Cubans can get in there. I don’t know what the Cubans -- AMY GOODMAN: Cubans trying to break into Guantanamo to the prison? MICHAEL MOORE: Sneak into -- yeah. Hey, don’t ask me to explain the actions of the US military. I, you know -- I don’t know what the Cubans -- I hate to say this, but, you know, when we were there, it doesn’t look like there’s a huge Cuban defense force, should the Americans ever decide to actually invade again, at least that route. But I’m sure they’ve got something planned if the Americans ever did that. AMY GOODMAN: The emergency workers who you took to Cuba, talk about the healthcare system there. MICHAEL MOORE: Well, you know, when they say that there’s a doctor in every block, that’s not a cliché. I mean, they’re really -- Cuba, per capita, has so many more doctors than we have. You know, there’s been a doctor shortage in America for a long time, and it’s been pretty much because the AMA doesn’t want anymore students in medical schools here, because they believe that if they keep the number of doctors low, those doctors get more money, as opposed to if we had a whole bunch of doctors, you have to share the pie a little bit more, so… But the Cuban doctors, the Cuban healthcare system, I was very impressed with it. All the people we took down there were extremely happy with the treatment that they received. But they focus a lot on prevention, and because they do that, they end up not having to spend a lot of money on their healthcare. They don’t have the money. It’s a very poor country, as you know. And I was very impressed. And, you know, with what little they have to use with their healthcare system, they end up living longer than we do. They have a better infant mortality rate than we do. On a number of issues, they’re the same or better than us.AMY GOODMAN: Oscar Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. When we come back, he talks about the candidates, the Democratic candidates for president, and their position on healthcare.[break]AMY GOODMAN: We return to our interview with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. His new film SiCKO is being released in thousands of theaters next week. I asked Michael about the United States being ranked thirty-seventh in the world for its quality of healthcare. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. We’re behind Costa Rica, but ahead of Slovenia. And that’s according to the World Health Organization. It’s pretty pathetic when the richest country on earth is ranked number thirty-seven. AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, you look at three -- really four -- places: France, Britain, Cuba, you spend time in, and then you go visit your relatives in Canada. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Talk about these places and what each one has. You talk to, for example, Tony Benn, the parliamentarian, the MP in Britain. Talk about what they have and how they originated. Then we’ll talk about how we got what we have here. MICHAEL MOORE: OK. Well, the Canadians, they have a very good system that covers everyone, and the people there are very happy with it. Basically, you pay for nothing. You choose your own doctor. You need to go to the hospital, you choose your own hospital. There’s freedom of choice. And, you know, you’ll hear the critics of the Canadian system here talk about, “Oh, the Canadians, you have to wait in line, you know, before you can get a knee replacement, or you have to wait x-number of number of weeks, you know, where you don’t have to wait in America.” You know, when I hear that, I think, well, that’s what you do when you have to share the pie. Sometimes you have to wait. You know, it’s like, I guess that’s not in our American mentality, where, you know -- to wait. You know, I want it now! Well, you know, sometimes when you -- like I said, when you’re sharing the pie, you get the first slice, you don’t have to wait; sometimes you get the third slice; sometimes you get the last slice. But the important thing to remember is, everyone gets a slice. That’s not the way it is here in this country. Now, the British system is really government-owned, in the sense that the government owns and runs the hospitals, the government employs the doctors. And so, they work for the government, so it’s very much a government-owned and -run and -controlled program in Britain. And again, you know, everything is free. And you see the hospitals in the film. People are very happy with it. And, you know, if you know anybody that’s ever traveled to these countries, that’s had an experience of having to go into a Canadian hospital or British hospital -- I mean, like the one woman says in the film, you know, she thought it was going to be some dingy, horrible -- you know, like out of a Dickens novel or the old Soviet Union or something. And she went in there, and it was like, “Wow! This is incredible!” France, though, is probably, if not the best, near the best of what we saw. AMY GOODMAN: Still on Britain, I want to just play a clip. MICHAEL MOORE: This guy broke his ankle. How much will this cost him? He’ll have some huge bill when he’s done, right? NHS HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATIVE WORKER: Here, no. Just everything is free. MICHAEL MOORE: I’m asking about hospital charges, and you’re laughing. Even with insurance, there’s bound to be a bill somewhere. What did they charge you for that baby? NEW FATHER: No, no, no. Everything was on NHS. NEW MOTHER: This is NHS. NEW FATHER: It’s not America. MICHAEL MOORE: So this is where people come to pay their bill when they’re done staying in the hospital. NHS CASHIER: No, this is the NHS hospital, so you don’t pay that bill. MICHAEL MOORE: Why does it say “cashier” here if people don’t have to pay a bill? NHS HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATIVE WORKER: …place, you have -- it just means get the traffic expenses reimbursed. MICHAEL MOORE: So in British hospitals, instead of money going into the cashier’s window, money comes out. MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, they look at me like I’m from Mars when I’m asking the Brits, you know, how much they paid for this, that or whatever. AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Michael Moore. Let’s talk about how we arrived at the system we did in this country. MICHAEL MOORE: Well, you know, my grandfather was a country doctor, actually. He was from Canada. He went to medical school in the late 1800s, which was a year then. You know, it’s pretty much what they knew back then. They could teach it in a year. And so, the little village where, you know, I was raised, because my mom was from there, too, because he was there, you know, he was paid with eggs and milk and chickens, and things like that. He didn’t do it to make any big money. They didn’t make big money then. They were comfortable -- the local doctor -- but they weren’t the rich man in the community. We got away from the concept of treating people because it was the right thing to do. The nuns ran the hospital that I was born in. The nuns weren’t doing this to turn profit and invest in Wall Street. You know, I mean, they did it because they thought that was their duty to serve God and to serve mankind by opening hospitals and delivering babies. We’re a long ways from that now. Somewhere we let profit and greed enter into this. And in the film, I peg a certain date when the HMOs really got their start. And I got very lucky. I had a twenty-three-year-old researcher in my office who worked on the film, who was actually someone I believe that was recommended by Jeremy Scahill, so there’s a Democracy Now! connection to this moment in the movie. But he found this Watergate tape -- has nothing to do with Watergate, it’s one of the Nixon tapes -- at the Archives, National Archives, where Nixon and Ehrlichman are discussing whether or not to support this HMO concept. And Ehrlichman says to Nixon, “You’re going to love this, because this is private enterprise. This isn’t like some freebie thing.” Nixon goes, “Oh, I like that. Tell me about it.” And then Ehrlichman says, “Well, this is how it’s going to work, these HMOs. They’re going to make more money by providing less care. The less care they give them, the patients, the more money the company makes.” Nixon goes, “Ooh, not bad!” And it’s all there on tape. AMY GOODMAN: And they’re talking about Kaiser Permanente MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: And Nixon says he met Kaiser. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, yes. Edgar Kaiser. AMY GOODMAN: He brought him in to explain it. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, brought him in to explain the whole thing and the whole -- how the scheme would work. And Ehrlichman and Nixon are just kind of rubbing their hands, going, “Oh, this is great.” And the very next day, Nixon announces his new healthcare program, which is, of course, going to include these HMOs that Kaiser Permanente wanted to have included. And there it begins. And it’s all in the movie. And so, when he -- when George first brought this in, I thought, “Boy, do all roads lead back to Nixon?” I mean, I know we lay a lot of stuff at Nixon’s feet, but the HMOs, too? I mean, is he ultimately responsible for this modern-day profit-greedy mess that we’re in? And the answer is yes. And these health insurance companies are -- they’re just -- they’re the Halliburtons of the health industry. I mean, they really -- they get away with murder. They charge whatever they want. There’s no government control. And frankly, we will not really fix our system until we remove these private insurance companies. I mean, they literally have to be eliminated. They cannot be allowed to exist in this country. AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the American who gave the finger to his health insurance company -- I mean, gave his finger. MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, literally the finger. MICHAEL MOORE: This is Rick. RICK: I was ripping a piece of wood, and I grabbed it right here, and I hit a knot. MICHAEL MOORE: He sawed off the tops of two of his fingers. RICK: And it just zipped, and it was that quick. MICHAEL MOORE: His first thought? RICK: I don’t have insurance. How much is this going to cost? MICHAEL MOORE: The hospital gave him a choice: reattach the middle finger for $60,000 or do the ring finger for $12,000. Being the hopeless romantic, Rick chose the ring finger for the bargain price of $12,000. The top of his middle finger now enjoys its new home in an Oregon landfill. RICK: I can do that thing, where, you know, the old man used to like pull the finger off. MICHAEL MOORE: I mean, if he lived a few hours north in Canada, that question would never be asked of him. He would never have to make that decision. And, in fact, later in the film, we show a Canadian who has five fingers sawed off, and he gets them all reattached immediately, and it doesn’t cost him a thing. But it’s one of many examples of this kind of ironic situation that we live in the wealthiest country on earth, and yet people have to go through this. AMY GOODMAN: Why don’t people understand in this country what is offered in other places and that this situation isn’t a natural -- you know, just the way things should be, that there is a way to change? What is it about the way the government and the media and the insurance companies work that keeps people so isolated from alternatives? MICHAEL MOORE: It’s an enforced ignorance. It’s called keeping the American people stupid. Whether it’s our educational system or whether it’s the mainstream media, it’s all about making sure people don’t know what’s going on in other countries. We know nothing about the rest of the world. I mean, until recently, when they said if you travel to Canada or Mexico you had to have a passport, until then it was 80%-plus didn’t even have a passport in this country. So people don’t travel. They don’t know much. I point out in the film that our high school graduates, when asked where Great Britain is on the globe, 65% couldn’t find it. 65% couldn’t find Great Britain on the globe. 11% couldn’t find the United States on the globe -- 11% of eighteen to twenty-five-year-olds, according to National Geographic. It’s like, OK -- you know, we have a problem in this country. We don’t want to know about the rest of the world. And, I mean, ask most Americans who the prime minister of Canada is. I mean, seriously. And I don’t mean -- and I’m not saying this -- you know, let’s go ask a bunch of dumb hicks out in, you know, Whereverville. I’m saying, if I just looked around this room right now and asked this crew, which I would say this is a more aware crew of people who, you know, follow the news and, you know, they work with you. But, you know, is there anybody that can tell me -- do you know the prime minister of Canada? JOHN HAMILTON: Harper. MICHAEL MOORE: Whoa! That’s good! AMY GOODMAN: And you didn’t even ask the Canadian here. MICHAEL MOORE: No, I was avoiding the Canadian’s eyes. Don’t ever look directly in the eyes of the Canadians, by the way, OK? No, but I’m sure that anybody listening to this on the radio or watching this on TV right now just sitting there were probably going, oh, you know, we don’t really -- most Americans don’t know who lives next door to us, and so if they don’t know simple things like that, they don’t know about their healthcare system. And what we do know about it are all the lies we’ve been told about the Canadians and the Brits and the French. AMY GOODMAN: You do talk about Hillary Clinton and what she tried to do under Bill Clinton as president. Explain what she attempted. MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I think she attempted a very brave thing fourteen years ago. She came in and said there should be healthcare for all; there should be no pre-existing conditions; everyone’s covered, no matter what you make, what job you have, or whatever. It was a very bold move on her part. And she was destroyed as a result of it. I mean, they put out I think well over $100 million to fight her. AMY GOODMAN: And yet, the big insurance companies liked it, because she wanted to preserve the big five. And others said if she had gotten rid of the insurance companies altogether, single payer, it would have been more clearly explainable to the American people. MICHAEL MOORE: And that was her fault, that she didn’t go the whole hog, the whole nine yards of what needed to happen with this. I mean, it was the same problem really -- I mean, just to give you another example, this is where the Democrats -- you know, it’s like you want to go in there sometimes with a drill and get their -- ’cause kind of their heart is kind of on the right track, you know. It’s kind of like I think Hillary’s heart is in the right place. You know, she wants all Americans covered, but, hey, we can’t really get rid of the insurance companies, so let’s try and work out a little deal, kind of like what Edwards is proposing now. It’s like Al Gore with the 2000 election: you know, instead of asking for all of Florida to be recounted, which he would have won then, you know, they only want to recount the Democratic counties, where they thought they’d get their votes. And it was like, you know -- it’s like, come on! You know, why do you only -- they take these half-step measures, and we’re all the worse for it. So -- but to jump ahead here with Hillary, you know, she’s now -- or at least last year, in last year’s congress -- was the second-largest recipient of health industry money, next to Rick Santorum. He’s gone now. So she may be number one at this point, for all I know. It’s very sad to see that she’s very much -- they’re into her pocket, and she’s into their pocket. And I don’t expect much from her. AMY GOODMAN: Are there presidential candidates that you do feel are putting forward an alternative? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, yes. I mean, there’s -- well, first of all, nobody is being very specific, other than Edwards, in terms of an actual plan, and his is not a good plan. You know, Obama’s plan is not as specific, and certainly it’s full of the same flaws that the Edwards and the Hillary old plan had. Kucinich is closest to the right idea, and, of course, he keeps, you know, saying “nonprofit,” or whatever. But I kind of don’t want to use that word anymore, and I wish that Dennis wouldn’t use that, because Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit. Blue Cross is a nonprofit. AMY GOODMAN: In fact, the Sacramento Bee that criticized you said, “Don’t you understand that Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit? So why say this is a for-profit industry?” MICHAEL MOORE: Well, no. Well, right, yeah. It’s not just the for-profit. That’s why I say that essentially you don’t want any private insurance companies involved and that whether they’re for private or nonprofit, because -- but when I say “profit,” you have these huge nonprofits that are under the guise of nonprofit, but they’re all about profit. They’re all about making money for themselves and for their executives, and what they make is obscene. And so, I favor the removal of all private insurance companies. I don’t know if Kucinich goes that far. I don’t know really if any of the legislation that I’ve read goes that far, because they all have a component where they will allow the private insurance companies to still be involved. AMY GOODMAN: So you’re talking about single payer. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a distinction between single payer and universal coverage? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, yes. Of course there’s a distinction, because first of all, let me tell you, they’re all going to say universal coverage. By the time of the election -- by the primaries, I’m sure all the Democrats are going to be using that word: universal coverage for everyone, coverage for everyone. Listen, a lot of their plans, all they’re going to do is they’re going to take our tax dollars and put them into the pockets of these insurance companies. We need to cut out the middleman here. The government can run this program. They do it quite well in these other countries. You know, if you take the top twenty-five countries, and if we were the only one not doing something of the twenty-five, are we trying to say that the other twenty-four are just screwing up and we’re the smart ones here? I don’t think so. I think it’s -- you take a country like Canada. Their overhead, their administrative cost to run their national program takes up about 1.7% of their whole budget. The average insurance company in this country will spend anywhere from 15% to 30% on overhead, administrative costs, paperwork, bureaucracy. That can be brought way down when the government does it. But, of course, the Republicans and even some of the Democrats have done a good job convincing the American people that government is bad, government will just mess it up. And as Al Franken said a few weeks ago -- I heard him say -- they run on that platform of the government is bad, will mess things up, then get elected and spend the next four years proving themselves right.AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, his new film is SiCKO. When we come back, he goes to a British hospital and visits a doctor's home, and he talks about what he’s doing as this film is released, working with Oprah and YouTube and MoveOn and testifying before Congress, and more. Stay with us.[break]AMY GOODMAN: As we conclude our interview with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, in this segment, well, we play a clip of SiCKO. Michael visits a British doctor in his office at the NHS -- that’s National Health Service -- hospital and at his home. MICHAEL MOORE: You have like a family practice? NHS DOCTOR: Yeah, it’s an NHS practice. We have nine doctors within that practice. MICHAEL MOORE: You’re paid for by the government? NHS DOCTOR: Paid for by the government, yeah. MICHAEL MOORE: So you work for the government. NHS DOCTOR: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. MICHAEL MOORE: You’re a government-paid doctor. So working for the government, you probably have to use public transportation? NHS DOCTOR: No, so I have a car that I use and, you know, I drive to work. MICHAEL MOORE: And old beater. You live in a kind of a rough part of town, or…? NHS DOCTOR: I mean, I live in a terrific part of town. It’s called Greenwich. It’s a lovely house. It’s a three-story house. MICHAEL MOORE: How much do you pay for that? NHS DOCTOR: 550,000, yeah, so – MICHAEL MOORE: Pounds? NHS DOCTOR: Yeah. MICHAEL MOORE: So, a million dollars. NHS DOCTOR: Yes, absolutely. MICHAEL MOORE: So doctors in America do not necessarily have to fear having a universal healthcare? NHS DOCTOR: No, I think if you want to have two or three million-dollar homes and four or five nice cars and six or seven nice televisions, then maybe, yeah, you need to practice somewhere where you can earn that. MICHAEL MOORE: Well, the AMA, the AMA in this country, has, you know, got all the doctors convinced, if we go to socialized medicine, you know, they’re going to be in the poorhouse. And that just isn’t true. The doctors we met in Canada, the doctors we met in Britain, in France, are living quite well. And I even go to the home of one of them in Britain, as you mentioned. He’s living in a million-dollar home. He’s driving an Audi. You know, he’s living the yuppie life. I hope the doctors that go to see my movie will walk out of there going, “Oh, at least our good life can be protected under socialized medicine.” Nobody wants to take away their big house. AMY GOODMAN: “Skid row,” Michael Moore? MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, the opposite of the big house doctors live in. Well, as you know -- I mean, I think you’ve covered this -- patients in Los Angeles who can’t pay their bill at the hospital, hospitals have been dumping them on skid row for some time now. They just get them out of the hospital, sometimes right in their hospital gown, put them in a taxi and tell the taxi, “Take them to skid row and drop them off.” And sometimes the taxi drivers are having to push them out of the car. And -- AMY GOODMAN: You got videotape. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. We have actual security-cam footage of a Kaiser patient being dumped on the side of the curb by the taxi that Kaiser hired to bring this woman and just dump her with no shoes out in the middle of the street in her hospital gown, very sad. And you sit there and you watch this, and you can’t believe this is the United States of America. This is what we -- this is how we treat people. I mean, I just -- I think when people see this movie, they’re going to go, OK, this has gone too far, and these people are going to have to be stopped. AMY GOODMAN: Michael, in the film, you talk about the AMA, you talk about the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry. On your website, you feature there preparations for this film coming out. How are they dealing with SiCKO? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, they, at first -- I mean, they’ve been -- I’ll go -- I’ll jump back to just before we started making the movie, where no insurance company would insure me or the film, because they knew it was going to be about insurance. So I had a difficult time just, you know, getting insurance for this thing. Then they started a number things internally that they did to warn their employees: do not talk to Michael Moore; if you talk to Michael Moore, you’re going to be in serious trouble. And, in fact, they did training sessions on how to deal with me, should I show up at their company. They had a -- Pfizer had a Michael Moore hotline. You dial this number if you see him. I mean, this is all this crazy stuff -- AMY GOODMAN: Have you dialed it? MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, yeah. In fact, last year I put it on -- a couple years ago I put it on the internet, just so -- I told people just dial this number, it’s the Michael Moore hotline at Pfizer. Just call them up and just say: “He’s in the building. He’s in the building!” you know, just to -- they eventually had to shut the line down, because so many people were messing around with them, but… AMY GOODMAN: So what do they say? How do they say to deal with you in these memos? MICHAEL MOORE: Don’t run, don’t flea, don’t put your hand over the camera. They hired a psychological profiler at one of the companies to tell the CEO how my mind ticks -- so, in other words, like how to get me off on the subject. So if I happen to show up with a microphone, you know, the psychological profiler said, we’ve determined if you can just get him to talk about Detroit sports teams, he’ll stop talking to you about the HMOs. And I read that, and I thought, that’s good. That’s pretty good. So, anyways -- but, see, they missed the whole point, because this film was never going to be about me going after a General Motors or a Pfizer, that I wanted to do something much larger here and not just -- not just go after one company as if, oh, geez, if we just fixed one company, everything would be fine. There’s something much bigger that we need to fix in this country. And, actually, it’s bigger than the healthcare situation. It’s about how we structure ourselves as a society, how we treat each other, and this American mentality of every man for himself, how that has to stop -- this kind of “me” society that we live in has to go to the “we” that the rest of the world lives in. AMY GOODMAN: You have a man in the film who’s hired by the health industry to challenge people who are filing claims. Explain exactly what he does, how he investigates people. MICHAEL MOORE: The health insurance industry does not like to pay out claims, because they don’t make money. The only way they can make a profit is if they don’t pay for your operation. If they pay for your operation and your doctor’s appointment and your pharmaceuticals, they don’t make any money. So their goal is to try and pay out as little as possible, which right away, that just tells you right there, there can’t be any room in this healthcare thing for insurance companies, because all it -- health should be about helping people. And the decision should never be based on whether or not, hey, we should -- how can we save our money here, how can we deny that operation? So they hire these hit men, what we call insurance company hit men, who, after, let’s say -- let’s say you had to go in, you know, for a broken ankle or whatever, and they get that bill and they go, “Wow, that’s like $5,000 for a broken ankle. That shouldn’t have cost more than $1,000. We don’t want to pay all that.” So they hire -- they have these investigators, they have investigative units at the insurance companies, and they say, “You know what? Go dig into Amy Goodman’s past. Go find out if maybe on her health insurance application she didn’t tell us about something that she had maybe ten years ago.” And they literally will go and get these records, and they’ll do this incredible research on your health history to where they can then come and say, “You know what? You didn’t tell the truth here. You had a pre-existing condition. You know, we didn’t know about this. You didn’t tell us. And so, therefore, we want the money back from that operation, or we’re not going to pay for it. AMY GOODMAN: One of the most powerful parts of this film are the people who are coming forward, like the guy who says he couldn’t do it anymore, and he hasn’t been investigating people for a long time. And then you have Linda Penno. MICHAEL MOORE: Right, the whistleblowers in the film, especially Linda Penno. She’s a doctor from Kentucky. She worked for Humana. She was a medical reviewer there. And it was her job as a doctor to go through claims and approve or deny them. And she tells in the film and in testimony before Congress how she was expected to deny a certain percentage of claims that would come in from patients, even regardless of whether they were true or not. They expected, say, a 10% denial rate. The doctor at the insurance company, the doctor, medical reviewer, who denied the most got like a big Christmas bonus. I mean, it’s absolutely, again, crazy that -- AMY GOODMAN: Her salary increased from a couple hundred dollars a week to six figures. MICHAEL MOORE: To six figures, because she kept denying. She couldn’t take it any longer. Her conscience got to her, and she resigned, and then went and blew the whistle to Congress, and that testimony is in the film. It’s very powerful, and she’s a very brave soul for coming forward. AMY GOODMAN: How many more people responded in that way? You said 25,000 people responding about all the terrible problems they have had with health insurance, and then you have these people. MICHAEL MOORE: Right. I’d say we had a couple hundred people within the industry -- pharmaceutical industry, hospital corporations, health insurance industry -- that wrote to us, wanting to share with us different things. Some wanted to be on camera, some didn’t. Some sent us files, some -- I mean, it was really amazing how many people were -- whose consciences were bothering them, essentially. They just couldn’t take it any longer. AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Michael Moore, Oscar Award-winning filmmaker. How does this connect to Fahrenheit 9/11? How does SiCKO link to your previous films and Bowling for Columbine? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, that’s a good question. It does -- there is a thread, actually, that goes from Bowling for Columbine through Fahrenheit into this film. Part of it is the use of fear. The reason we don’t have a better system is because we’ve been made afraid of socialized medicine, the Canadian system, whatever, and trying to scare the American people, using ignorance as a way to increase the level of fear in the country. It’s these films -- and I’ve been doing this really since Roger & Me” -- are films about -- ultimately about our economic system. We have an economic system, as I’ve said before, it’s unjust, it’s unfair, it’s not democratic. And until, ultimately, that changes, until we construct a different form of economy in a way that we relate to capital, I don’t think that -- I think we’ll continue to have these problems, where the have-nots suffer and the haves make off like bandits. AMY GOODMAN: So how are you organizing? As you release this film in thousands of theaters around the country in the next few weeks, you’re also working with unions, you’re working with YouTube, with Oprah, you’re testifying before Congress. Explain. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. Yeah, it is kind of a weird convergence. But you know what? It’s because this issue affects all Americans. And I’m being contacted by all kinds of groups and people now that want to get involved in this. And so, we are going to have a very strong organizing effort through the California Nurses Association, through Physicians for a National Health Plan. MoveOn is going to be very active and involved in this. So, many of the groups and unions that are on the left are organizing around it. But there’s also, you know, things, like you said, like YouTube, people like Oprah, who has decided to make this a very important issue, in terms of something that she’s very concerned about. I was on her show a couple weeks ago, and she has asked her fans to post their healthcare horror stories on her website when the film opens. She’s going to do a town hall on this issue in the fall. So I -- AMY GOODMAN: YouTube? MICHAEL MOORE: YouTube, again, is asking for people to videotape their stories and put them on YouTube, and there’s going to be a whole section on YouTube of people telling what the insurance company did to them or a family member or a friend, or the hospital or the pharmaceutical company, where they have to pay for drugs or drugs they can’t get. So I think this will have what they call a viral effect, in the sense -- and I hope it does -- that people, that these people, are given a voice. And people otherwise are sitting in their homes all across the country suffering and not wondering how can I ever be heard. I hope through my website, through the California Nurses Association, through YouTube, through Oprah’s site, through others that are going to be coming into this, and I think that we’re going to hear what Americans are really going through. And I’ve got to believe something good is going to come out of this. And we’re going to hold the candidates' feet to the fire on this issue, especially the Democrats. AMY GOODMAN: Are you going to be doing a second film dogging them? Are you going to have a man in a chicken suit following them? MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, you’re referring to our corporate crime-fighting chicken on our old TV show. Oh, it’s so nice you remember that chicken. No, but we are actually going up to New Hampshire at the end of this week. And we are going to release information to the public about just how bought and paid for the candidates are that are running for president and for public office. AMY GOODMAN: How bought and paid for are they? MICHAEL MOORE: Well, you’ll have to wait ’til the end of the week to hear the answer to that. But let me just say it won’t be pretty. I hate to say that, but you know what? And again, I mean, I like a lot of the candidates, for a lot of reasons, that are running. But, you know, if we all throw in with them too soon on this without forcing them to take good positions on these issues, I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere. The Democrats have already proven that since the November election, that, you know, they will drag their feet if at all possible. And so -- and, you know, we’ve already seen what Hillary’s position is on this, and, of course, with her position on the war, this makes it very difficult for people who otherwise would like to vote for her, would like to see our first woman president, but simply can’t support somebody who supported the war for so long and who is taking such large contributions from the health industry. AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, were you surprised by anything you found in making this film? MICHAEL MOORE: Yes, I was constantly -- here’s one thing that really struck me. When I was interviewing that British doctor and I was asking how much money he makes -- you know, he makes like a little under $200,000 a year -- and he said, “But my pay is based on how good of a job I do. If I get more of my patients to stop smoking this year or if I bring their cholesterol down or their blood pressure or their sugar down, I’ll make more money. So it’s actually based on how healthy my patients are. So I have an incentive to actually do good work here to make money.” And I thought, geez, it’s like just the opposite here. It’s like the more people that smoke or don’t eat well or whatever, who end up with illness and disease, that means more money for the pharmaceutical companies, more money for the doctors, more money for the hospitals. Everybody gains, when you get sick. And it got me thinking a lot about just myself, personally, because when I was there and I said, you know, maybe one way I should say to people, one way to beat the system, at least this system, is that we should all try to take a little better care of ourselves, and starting with number one here, myself. And so, I started eating fruits and vegetables. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these things, but they come in different colors and they’re crunchy, and, you know, they’re very good for you, if you haven’t tried them. You know, your mother is sitting over there. I don’t know if I should point this out, but your mom is sitting over there, and she looks like she did a good job teaching you the importance of fruits and vegetables. AMY GOODMAN: She did a great job. MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. And she said that you were an excellent child, by the way. We missed that off-camera here, but I want your viewers and listeners to know that mom pretty much approves of how you’ve turned out. And the other thing is, I started going for a walk every day. So I go for a walk for like a half-hour to an hour a day, and I just -- I feel 100% better. I’ve like lost thirty pounds. Don’t worry, I’m not going to -- you’re not going to see the Jane Fonda workout video from me or anything. I’m just saying, though, that if we just -- each of us -- if we all just do a couple things just to take better care of ourselves, we can avoid this crazy healthcare system. And you know what? I think it’s better for the planet, too. Again, we’re over-consumptive on so many things as Americans, and we all need to kind of think about that a little bit in how we behave. So -- and I say that for myself, start with me.AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker. His newest film, SiCKO, is going to be in theaters next week, thousands of theaters around the country. This week, he heads to Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress to challenge the healthcare system in this country, calling for single-payer insurance, and then he goes to New Hampshire to challenge the presidential candidates.To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877.
If your eyes were not the color of the moon,
of a day full [here, interrupted by the baby waking -- continued about 26
of a day full of clay, and work, and fire,
if even held-in you did not move in agile grace like the air,
if you were not an amber week,
not the yellow moment
when autumn climbs up through the vines;
if you were not that bread the fragrant moon
kneads, sprinkling its flour across the sky,
oh, my dearest, I could not love you so!
But when I hold you I hold everything that is --
sand, time, the tree of the rain,
everything is alive so that I can be alive:
without moving I can see it all:
in your life I see everything that lives.
I swear to you, she's a tyrant To be with her I have to speak of metaphysics (I'd rather speak of sex)
-Voltaire, to Abbe de Sade (uncle of the notorious marquis), referring to
Emilie du Chatelet
The Divine Émilie
Here's a portrait of my Émilie:
She's both a beauty and a friend to me.
Her keen imagination is always in bloom.
Her noble mind brightens every room.
She's possessed of charm and wit,
Though sometimes shows too much of it.
She has, I assure you, a genius rare.
With Horace and Newton, she can compare.
Yet, she will sit for hours and hours
With people who bore her
And card-playing gamblers.
A Description of Émilie du Châtelet
by Mme du Deffand--
an acquaintance and occasional houseguest
Picture, if you will, a tall, unfeeling female with a flushed complexion, a sharply angled face, a pointed nose. That's the face the fair Émilie presents, a face which so delights her that she will stop at nothing to show it off--curling her hair, wearing gaudy ornaments, gems, and baubles--everything in excess. But since she wants to be beautiful in spite of her natural looks, and magnificent in spite of what fortune has bestowed upon her, she must do without necessities, like undergarments and other trifles, in order to afford her luxuries.
She was born with enough intelligence, but in her desire to appear smarter than she is, she has chosen to study science instead of far more pleasant subjects. She believes that by such odd behavior, she will acquire a greater reputation and an advantage over all other women.
She hasn't limited herself to this goal, however. She wants to be a princess, and she has become one, not by the grace of God or that of the king, but by her own say-so. She became obsessed with this notion like everything else. Now everyone's become so used to her royal charade, they've nearly forgotten that she's actually a woman of some social standing.
Madame goes to such trouble to appear to be what she is not that no one knows what she really is any more. Her flaws may not be innate. Perhaps they are linked to her pretensions: her aloofness to playing the part of a princess, for example, her coldness to playing a scientist, and her giddiness to playing a pretty woman.
No matter how well-known Madame du Châtelet may be, she will be unhappy unless she is talked about. She has achieved this by becoming the friend of Monsieur de Voltaire. He's the one who brings glamour to her life. It is to him that she will owe her immortality.
On the Nature of Fire
In 1736, the Academy of Sciences in Paris announced a competition. Scientists were invited to conduct experiments on the nature of fire and submit their results and conclusions. Entries had to be received by September 1, 1737.
Voltaire made plans to enter this scientific contest. He began his research at Cirey, Émilie du Châtelet's chateau. He weighed many kinds of materials before and after they were burned to see if he could measure the weight of fire.
Émilie observed her friend's experiments and came up with her own ideas. Secretly, she wrote down these ideas, working late at night while everyone else was asleep. It was hard to stay awake. She sometimes paced up and down, and always kept a container of ice water nearby so she could jar herself awake by putting her hands into it when she got drowsy.
Just before the deadline, she submitted her own essay on what fire is made of. Neither Voltaire nor Émilie won the prize, but when the prize winner was finally announced and the list of names of all those who had entered the competition was published, Émilie admitted to her secret.
Here's a portion of a letter Émilie wrote to Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, a mathematician and friend:
21 June 1738
My Dear Sir--
I bet you were astonished that I had the nerve to write a report for the Academy competition. I wanted to test my skills without anyone knowing it was my work. My husband was the only one I told and he kept my secret so well that he said nothing to you in Paris.
I was unable to do any experiments because I was working without Monsieur de Voltaire's knowledge and it would have been impossible for me to hide them from him. I didn't think of starting this project until just a month before the competition deadline. I was only able to work at night and everything about it was completely new to me.
Voltaire's own work was nearly finished by the time I started on my own. What he was doing filled me with ideas and the desire to carry out my own investigations. I set myself to work not knowing if I would send in my own report.
I said nothing at all to Voltaire about what I was doing because I did not want to be embarrassed by an undertaking that I feared would displease him. What's more, I argued against almost all his ideas in my work. I only confessed after I saw in the gazette that neither of us had won a share in the prize.
The Fable of the Bees
In 1705, an anonymous pamphlet titled The Grumbling Hive was circulated in England. It contained a set of satirical fables written both to entertain and to expose the hypocrisy and greed of society. In 1723, a new edition of the pamphlet was published under the title The Fable of the Bees. This time the author revealed his name. It was the essayist Bernard Mandeville. Everyone who read these fables had an opinion about them. The result was a lot of argument and discussion.
After she learned to read English, Émilie du Châtelet enjoyed reading Mandeville's fables, too. She decided to translate them from English into French so more people could read and learn from them.
When she had finished this difficult task, Émilie wrote an essay to explain to the reader why and how she had made her translation. In it, she included an impassioned plea for the rights of women. Émilie believed women, like men, should be encouraged to develop their natural talents and improve their minds. She recognized the importance of education in preparing women to trade their roles as decorative observers of worldly affairs into active and creative participants. Her words were written in 1735. What can we learn from them today?
"The Translator's Preface"
by Émilie du Châtelet (1735)
The prejudice that excludes us women so universally from the sciences weighs heavily on me. It has always astonished me that there are great nations whose laws permit us to control their fate, but there is not a single place where we are brought up to think. This is one of the great contradictions of our times.
The theater is the only profession requiring some study and some cultivation of wit in which women are allowed to participate. At the same time, it is a profession that has been declared an improper one.
Just think for a moment. Why is it that for so many centuries not a single good tragedy, fine poem, valued story, beautiful painting, or good book on physics has been produced by the hand of a woman? Why do these creatures--whose understanding appears to be similar in every way to that of men--seem to be held back by an insurmountable force? Let someone give me a reason for it, if they can. I leave it to the naturalists to find a physical reason for it, but until they have found one, women have a right to speak out for their education.
I confess that if I were king, I would conduct the following experiment. I would correct this abuse that has cut short a full half of the human race. I would get women to participate in all the privileges of humanity, especially those of the mind.
It's as though women were born only to flirt, so they are given nothing but that activity to exercise their minds. The new education I propose would do all of humanity a great deal of good. Women would be better off for it, and men would gain a new source of competition.
All too often, the way we currently conduct our daily affairs weakens and narrows women's minds rather than improves them. With men and women as equal partners, such interactions would serve to extend everyone's knowledge.
I'm convinced that most women are either ignorant of their talents, or they cover them up. Everything I've experienced myself confirms this opinion. I've been lucky to know men of letters who have included me in their circle. I saw with extreme astonishment that they held me in high esteem. I then began to believe that I was a thinking creature.
by Madame Émilie du Châtelet
A body that is at rest will never start to move on its own because even though all matter is endowed with passive force, by which it tends to preserve its present state, a body which is at rest is unable to cause itself to move. For movement to occur, there must be a cause for that movement: thus all bodies at rest will stay at rest forever unless a cause puts them into motion, as, for example, if I remove a support on which a rock is resting, or if a billiard ball pushes another.
When a body in motion encounters an obstacle, it makes an effort to disturb that obstacle. If that effort is overcome by an invincible resistance, the body's force is a called a dead force or passive force, that is to say, it can produce no immediate or obvious effect, but has a tendency to produce one.
If the resistance is not invincible, the force is called a living force, because it is able to produce a real effect.
The quantity of living force makes itself known by the number and the size of the obstacles that the moving body is able to disturb in exerting this force.
There are great disputes among philosophers to determine if living force and dead force must be estimated differently.
Using mass times virtual velocity has always worked well for situations involving simple machines and statics, but it doesn't work with living force, that is to say the force in a moving body that acquires a velocity that is ever so much larger than its initial velocity.
Without entering into the difficulties of measuring this living force, one easily sees that it is another dimension of dead force, that it is to dead force as a line is to a point, or a surface to a line.
Mr. Leibnits who discovered the first true measure of living force has taken great trouble to distinguish these two forces, and has explained their differences so well that it is impossible to mistake or confuse them, if instead of reacting negatively against this discovery, one has examined it.
It is demonstrated by the theory of Galileo that the distance a body falls in equal times by virtue of gravity is proportional to the square of the body's velocity, thus the living force that bodies acquire in falling are also proportional to the squares of their velocities, since the force is proportional to the distance.
This assertion appears at first as a kind of heretical physics. Where does the square relationship come from, you ask? But you see by what has just been said that it is easy to deduce it from the accumulation of all the pressures that have acted on the body over small increments of time.
All experiments have confirmed and shown in all cases that the force of moving bodies is proportional to the square of their velocities multiplied times their mass, and this estimation of force is based on one of the most fruitful principles of mechanics.
Philosophers agree on the experiments that prove this estimation of living force and they all agree that the displaced materials, the extended springs, the pressed cloth, the transmitted forces, etc.,--all the effects of moving bodies--are always proportional to the square of their velocities multiplied by their masses.
It would seem at first that there is no need for any dispute at all on this matter. Since everyone agrees that all force is equal to its effect, and that uncontested experiments prove that the effects of moving bodies are as the squares of their velocities multipled by their masses, it would seem necessary to conclude that the forces of these bodies are also in that same category.
The adversaries of living force believed they could escape this conclusion by taking into consideration time, which, they said must always be the common measure of two forces that one wishes to compare. But to be able to produce greater effects, and act during more time, a body needs to have more force. And the measure of this force must be that based on what the body can do from the time it begins to move until it exhausts all its force, regardless of the time it takes. Time doesn't have to enter into consideration any more than the measured wealth of a man depends on whether he spends it all in a day, a year, or a century.
To measure a body's force requires being able to observe its effect. If a body meets others that make it move, then I will be able to estimate its force by the quantity of effects it produces in using up that force. The force destroyed is always equal to the effect that it produces, regardless of the time in which it was produced.
Memories of Émilie du Châtelet
In the year 1733, I met a like-minded young lady who invited me to spend time at her country chateau where we could cultivate our minds far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This lady was none other than the Marquise du Châtelet. She had the most capable scientific mind of all the women in France. Her father had taught her Latin. She could recite from memory the most beautiful passages of all the ancient poets. But she was most interested in mathematics and metaphysics. Few other individuals have possessed such keen perception, elegant taste, and desire for knowledge.
She loved to socialize and play, but she decided to set that all aside to pursue her studies. She beautified her old chateau with pretty gardens. I built a small museum to house a rather nice natural history collection. We also had a good library. Many visitors came there to learn and share ideas.
I taught her English. In about three months, she understood it as well as I did. She read Newton and other English writers. She learned Italian just as quickly.
In this, delightful place, we devoted ourselves to learning. We focused all our energy on the ideas of Leibniz and Newton. Madame du Châtelet was first attracted to the ideas of Leibniz. She wrote an excellent book about them titled, Institutions de Physique. Her style is clear, precise, and elegant.
She soon applied herself to the discoveries of the great Newton as well. She translated his whole book, Principia, from Latin into French. Newton's ideas are very difficult for the average person to understand, so she later added her own helpful explanations to make them easier to follow.
On the Death ofMadame la Marquise du Châtelet
(adapted from his preface to Émilie's translation of Newton's Principia)
Gabrielle Émilie de Breteuil, wife of the Marquis du Châtelet-Laumont, lieutenant-general of the King's army, is the author of this translation of Isaac Newton's Principia. It is a work which France's greatest scholars should have undertaken and which all others should study if they wish to learn the science the world owes to Newton
It is unusual for a woman to know simple geometry, let alone the sophisticated mathematics needed to understand the ideas in Newton's immortal work. Clearly, Mme la Marquise du Châtelet has mastered the teaching of that great man. We have seen two miracles: one, that Newton wrote this work in the first place; the other, that a lady has translated and explained it.
It is not her first work. She had previously written an account of Leibniz, titled Institutions de physique, which she addressed to her young son.
Mme du Châtelet has rendered a double service to future generations of scholars in both translating the book Principia and in enriching it with her own explanations. It's true that Principia was written in Latin, a language which is understood by all scholars, but it's exhausting to read about abstract matters in a foreign language. Besides, Latin does not have the words and phrases needed to express modern ideas in mathematics and physics.... French, a language used by people all over Europe, doesn't have this problem. Because it contains a more up-to-date vocabulary, it's more suitable than Latin for spreading this new knowledge throughout the world....
The remarkable nature of her great accomplishment makes her premature death all the more deplorable. She had not finished writing her explanations when she foresaw that death would carry her off.... From that time on, her one thought was to make use of the little time she had left to finish what she had started and to deprive death of what she regarded as the best part of herself. Overwork and lack of sleep when rest might have saved her finally brought about the death she had foreseen.
She felt the end approaching with mixed feelings that seemed to struggle with one another. On the one hand, she regretted leaving life and yet she looked boldly on death. Her sorrow and her firmness at this time can be crudely likened to the image of a man sadly tearing himself away from his distressed family while calmly making preparations for a long journey. Those who witnessed her last moments felt her loss doubly through both their own distress and her regrets. Still they admired the strength of her spirit.
Mme du Châtelet died at the palace of Luneville, on 10 September 1749, at the age of forty-three years and six months. She was buried in the neighboring chapel.
Perhaps the most depressing story (among many) this week is the report of De Paul University's refusal of tenure to its distinguished scholar Norman Finkelstein (Report, June 12). First, because the decision makes a mockery of academic freedom. In my view, Finkelstein' s writings and arguments have never failed to meet the criterion of academic quality, although many have disagreed with them. Second, because 9/11 really does seem to have revivified McCarthyism in the US. Finkelstein has been vilified by those who have simply smeared the arguments with which they were unwilling to engage. Everyone familiar with Alan Dershowitz's responses to those who have attempted to reasonably debate the allegations Dershowitz made in response to Finkelstein' s reviews of his The Case for Israel can have little doubt about the stronger argument.
And third, because while we have Finkelstein always ready to debate openly, on the other hand, we have his chief prosecutor, Dershowitz, declaring that any attempt by UK universities, or their employees, to advocate a boycott of Israeli academic institutions will be met with legal action. Finkelstein' s very livelihood is casually dismissed. I hope a British (or European) university steps forward to prove that we retain values the US has found all too dispensable.
Professor Wade Mansell
University of Kent
· Controversial Finkelstein' s scholarship may be, but few academics have suffered so many ad hominem attacks. It's clear the boycott tactic is alive and kicking in the US. The UCU should take no lessons on the subject from that source.
Professor Pól Ó DochartaighAldergrove, Co Antrim
In a letter to the Board of Regents, University of Colorado President Hank Brown has called for the dismissal of tenured Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill. His recommendation goes beyond that of the faculty investigative committee that examined charges of research misconduct; and of the faculty Privilege and Tenure (P&T) committee that recently heard Churchill's appeal. Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado joined Brown in calling for the firing of Churchill, as his predecessor Bill Owens did two years earlier. The Board of Regents is expected to make a final decision in this case at a public hearing some time in July.
A growing number of scholars see CU's investigation of Churchill's scholarship as completely illegitimate and a dangerous precedent threatening dissent and critical thinking in the universities. The CU - Boulder chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has written that "we believe that the investigation now is widely perceived to be a pretext for firing Churchill when the real reason for dismissal is his politics." The investigation was launched in the wake of controversy provoked by an essay Churchill wrote after 9/11.
Churchill noted in response to Brown's letter that "the University had received no formal or written complaints about my scholarship when it initiated this 'investigation.' All of the allegations investigated were either solicited or brought directly by University administrators." He also noted that "The Investigative Committee charged with conducting a 'fact-finding, nonadversarial' investigation was chaired by law professor Mimi Wesson, who - in February 2005 - had compared me to 'charismatic male celebrity wrongdoers' like O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton, and had already come up with the faulty 'traffic stop' analogy the Committee used to justify its conclusions." The committee included no American Indians or experts in American Indian Studies, and scholars that had used Churchill's research in their own work were removed from the committee.
The report of the committee hearing Churchill's appeal found that Churchill proved by a "preponderance of the evidence" that "but for" his exercise of his protected first amendment rights, the subsequent investigation of his scholarship would never have been initiated.
In a recent open letter to colleagues around the country Dr. Margaret LeCompte, President of the Boulder AAUP Chapter, wrote: "What has happened at the University of Colorado makes a mockery of both due process and academic freedom protections, AND what faculty believe. It is a cruel violation of the delicate balance between faculty rights and administrative responsibilities. The entire process was a sham---imitating the form, but not the intent, of due process and fair, objective, scholarly investigation."
Two faculty groups that have examined the report of the investigative committee claim that the report is seriously flawed. In an unprecedented action, both have now filed formal charges of academic misconduct against the members of the faculty committee. The most recent group to do so, made up of principally Indigenous scholars from around the country and Canada, documented "many instances of fraud, fabrication, plagiarism and/or serious deviation from accepted scholarly practices" which "demonstrate a consistent pattern of deliberate misrepresentation intended to discredit Professor Churchill's larger body of scholarship." Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at CornellUniversity, has found "the Report turns what is a debate about controversial issues of identity and genocide in Indian studies into an indictment of one position in that debate."
The implications of this case go beyond the threat to Churchill's reputation and career, as serious as those are. The attack on Churchill is seen by many in academia as part of a much broader attack on academic freedom and critical thinking and dissent. Dr. LeCompte notes, "It is not limited to Colorado. In fact, it is a test case by the US right wing to emasculate faculty rights in US universities."
This is illustrated by the recent denial of tenure for DePaulUniversity political scientist Norman Finkelstein. Though he was supported by his department, Finkelstein was denied tenure after an intense campaign spearheaded by HarvardLawSchool's Alan M. Dershowitz, who called Finkelstein "worse than Churchill." Many DePaul faculty and others were alarmed at Dershowitz's heavy-handed tactics and saw them as an attempt to punish one side of a controversial debate. Finkelstein said that DePaul's decision was based on "transparently political grounds" and was an "egregious violation" of academic freedom.
Churchill noted in his response to Brown's letter that "President Brown, his new VP Michael Poliakoff, and Regent Tom Lucero, like Bill Owens, are key players in Lynne Cheney's American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). ACTA and similar neoconservative groups have received generous funding [from] Castle Rock (Coors), Scaife, Bradley and Olin foundations to eliminate Ethnic, Gender and Peace Studies Programs and to purge higher education of those who think critically, challenge historical orthodoxy, or otherwise threaten the status quo."
Opposition to this impending firing has been increasing nationally, as more and more academics recognize the stakes involved in the Churchill case. An open letter signed by numerous prominent scholars, including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Derrick Bell and Immanuel Wallerstein was published in the New York Review of Books in April. Scores of others have written letters of support, and there was a recent Emergency National Forum in Boulder of academics and supporters. The Society of American Law Teachers has written a letter arguing against a firing.
Richard Falk, visiting Distinguished Professor at University of California, Santa Barbara recently wrote: "All of us who value academic freedom should now stand in full solidarity with Ward Churchill. The outcome of his case at the University of Colorado is the best litmus test we have to tell whether the right-wing's assaults on learning and liberty will stifle campus life in this country. Never in my lifetime have we in America more needed the sort of vigorous debate and creative controversy that Ward Churchill's distinguished career epitomizes. We all stand to lose if his principled defense fails."
# # #
Matthew Abraham - Department of English, De PaulUniversity.
William Ayers - Distinguished Professor of Education and SeniorUniversity Scholar, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Derrick A Bell - Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law, New YorkUniversitySchool of Law.
Timothy Brennan - Departments of English and Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota.
Renate Bridenthal - Emerita Professor of History, BrooklynCollege, The CityUniversity of New York.
Bob Buzzanco - Department of History, University of Houston.
Dana Cloud - Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas (Austin).
Drucilla Cornell - Professor in the Departments of Law and Political Science at RutgersUniversity.
Sandi E Cooper - Professor of History, College of Staten Island and the GraduateSchool, The CityUniversity of New York.
Richard Delgado - University Distinguished Professor of Law and Derrick Bell Fellow, University of Pittsburgh. Richard A Falk - Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice at Princeton University; Visiting Distinguished Professor (since 2002), Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Seth Kahn - Assistant Professor of English, West ChesterUniversity of PA.
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Middle East Institute, ColumbiaUniversity.
Vinay Lal - Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles.
Gary Leupp - Professor of History at TuftsUniversity, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion.
Henry Silverman - Professor and Chairperson Emeritus, Department of History, MichiganStateUniversity.
Immanuel Wallerstein - Senior Research Scholar, YaleUniversity.
Tim Wise - Author of "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son," and "Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White."
Only days after the end of the G8 summit, German police conducted new raids against left-wing and anarchist organisations in northern Germany. Early on Wednesday morning the federal prosecutor’s office and police carried out surprise searches of a total of 11 premises in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.
The operation involved several hundred police and officials, who confiscated computers and documents from offices and private dwellings. The raids were carried out under Paragraph 129a of the German penal code, which makes it an offence to establish or support a criminal organisation. The police arrested no one and reported that no warrants for arrest had been issued.
Petra Kneuer, spokesperson for the German prosecutor’s office, immediately denied that the raids had anything to do with the G8 summit. Instead she claimed that the coordinated action was connected to alleged arson attacks on property and vehicles carried out by groups and individuals going back as far as 2002. She also said that the latest raids were unconnected with those already carried out by police against left-wing groups prior to the G8 summit.
On May 9 German police carried out a series of raids, planned long in advance, against anti-globalisation and left-wing organizations across Germany. On that occasion nine hundred police searched a total of 40 locations in northern Germany—also on the basis of suspicion that the organizations raided were involved in the “creation of a terrorist organization.” At that time the prosecutor’s office argued that it had indications that terrorist attacks were being prepared in connection with the G8 summit.
The claim by the prosecutor’s office that its current raids have nothing to do with the G8 summit is absurd. The raids on Wednesday can only be understood as part of a systematic offensive by the German government and interior ministry aimed at criminalising left-wing and anarchist organisations and systematically undermining basic democratic rights.
The connection between the raids on Wednesday and the G8 summit is made by a number of leading German newspapers (including Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung), which begin their accounts of the police action by noting the outbreaks of violence and the clashes between police and demonstrators on the eve of the mass demonstration held in Rostock June 2. In its own report on the raids, Die Welt features prominently a picture of ominous, black-garbed anarchist demonstrators from the “black bloc” at the anti-G8 demonstration.
While seeking to use the clashes that erupted in Rostock as a justification for the latest round of police raids on left organisations, none of these newspapers report that considerable evidence now indicates that police provocateurs and undercover agents were active in initiating the violence in Rostock and at other events surrounding the summit.
During the summit last Wednesday, a police provocateur was unmasked by protesters in the course of a blockade by G8 opponents of the security fence surrounding the conference hotel and premises. The undercover police agent was dressed in ‘anarchist’ gear and aroused the suspicion of demonstrators with his loud appeals to throw stones at the police. Demonstrators unmasked the man and handed him over to police who showed little interest in apprehending or dealing with their colleague.
Following the incident, the head of police responsible for enforcing security in Heiligendamm conceded that officers were active in an undercover role amongst protesters. This was normal procedure, he claimed. While it may well be ‘normal procedure,’ such infiltration contravenes the right to assembly. What remains entirely unclarified by the police officer’s admission is the precise role played by his officers in the violent clashes in Rostock, which resulted in the injury of several hundred opponents of the G8 summit.
Equating protest with terrorism
The latest raids on left-wing organisations can only be understood as part of the campaign by the German Interior Ministry led by Wolfgang Schäuble to equate demonstrations, protests and the activities of left-wing organisations with terrorism.
Following the initial “anti-terror” raids May 9, Schäuble and the German chancellor Angela Merkel (both Christian Democratic Union) stressed that they respected the right of assembly and peaceful protest. At the same time the German government stepped up its repressive measures in preparation for the G8 summit.
Soon after the May 9 raids, it emerged that the “evidence” confiscated by investigators and police included samples of odor from the clothing of those persons raided. In a sinister homage to the methods of the notorious East German Stasi secret police, the human odors were to be given to sniffer dogs at a later date to allow the detection of “suspects.”
Schäuble pointedly refused to denounce such a practice and also announced plans for the “preemptive” arrest of demonstrators to prevent any disruption at the G8 summit—another measure which patently violates the basic right to assembly stipulated in the German constitution. Police then called for a ban on all demonstrations within a 40-square kilometer area around the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm and the Rostock airport. Following appeals by organizers of the planned demonstration, this decision was recently upheld by Germany’s highest court—the Constitutional Court.
Parallel to the unprecedented security operation surrounding the summit, which involved the use of 16,000 police officers (the biggest domestic mobilization in Germany since the end of the Second World War), police and security services have conducted widespread and intrusive sweeps of private mail and online raids of computers and Internet sites in its efforts to obtain information about the activity of protesters and left-wing organizations. Once again such measures make a mockery of the basic constitutional right to privacy.
In another unprecedented move, German fighter planes were mobilized to spy on demonstrators in the course of the anti-summit protests. Following complaints from protesters, the German defence ministry confirmed on Tuesday that two of its jets, currently deployed for reconnaissance flights in Afghanistan, were reassigned to monitor the area surrounding the G8 security fence.
Following the recent controversial decision to send German military aircraft to participate in “anti-terror” operations in Afghanistan, Defence Minster Franz Josef Jung has now permitted the use of the same aircraft to help harass and suppress domestic opposition.
For his part, Interior Minister Schäuble has been campaigning for some time for permission to use German military forces to combat “terrorism,” in which category he lumps anti-capitalist protesters and left-wing organisations. The latest police raids in the wake of the G8 summit represent a flagrant breach of constitutional norms.
The sun has set on Bilderberg 2007. After a sumptuous lunch on this warm and sunny June 3, most Bilderbergers will return to their countries of choice freshly armed with precise instructions from the Steering Committee on how to proceed in covertly expanding the powers of One World Government. Amongst this year’s luminaries in attendance were Henry Kissinger; Henry Kravis of KKR; Marie Josee Kravis of Hudson Institute; Vernon Jordan; Etienne Davignon, Bilderberger President; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, daughter of one of the founders, Prince Bernhard and the Queen and King of Spain.
As a rhetorical question, can someone please explain to me how is it that progressive liberals such as John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as well as do-gooder humanitarians with multiple social projects on the go such as Rockefeller and every Royal House in Europe can perennially attend Bilderberger meetings knowing that the final objective of this despicable group of hoodlums is a World Fascist - One World Empire?
How could it be orchestrated? The idea is to give to each country a political constitution and an appropriate national economic structure organised for the following purposes: (1) Place the political power into the hands of chosen people and eliminate all intermediaries. (2) Establish a maximum concentration of industries and suppress all unwarranted competition. (3) Establish an absolute control of prices of all goods and raw materials. [Bilderbergers make it possible through their iron grip control of the World Bank, IMF and the World Trade Organization] (4) Create judicial and social institutions that would prevent all extremes of action.
Not private but secret
Although participants emphatically attest they attend the Club’s annual meeting as private citizens and not in their official government capacity, that affirmation is dubious—particularly when you compare the Chatham House Rule to the Logan Act in the United States, where it is absolutely illegal for elected officials to meet in private with influential business executives to debate and design public policy.
Bilderberg meetings follow a traditional protocol founded in 1919 in the wake of the Paris Peace Conference held at Versailles for the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) based in Chatham House in London. While the name Chatham House is commonly used to refer to the Institute itself, the Royal Institute of International Affairs is the foreign policy executive arm of the British monarchy.
According to RIIA procedures, “when a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed; nor may it be mentioned that the information was received at a meeting of the Institute.”
The Logan Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. However, there have been a number of judicial references to the Act, and it is not uncommon for it to be used as a political weapon.
Among those who have attended Bilderberg Club meetings over the years and flaunted the Logan Act have been: Allen Dulles (CIA); Sen. William J. Fulbright (from Arkansas, a Rhodes Scholar); Dean Acheson (Secretary of State under Truman); Nelson Rockefeller and Laurence Rockefeller; Gerald Ford (former President); Henry J. Heinz II (Chairman of the H. J. Heinz Co.); Thomas L. Hughes (President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Robert S. McNamara (Kennedy’s Secretary of Defence and former President of the World Bank); William P. Bundy (former President of the Ford Foundation, and editor of the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs journal); John J. McCloy (former President of the Chase Manhattan Bank); George F. Kennan (former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union); Paul H. Nitze (representative of Schroeder Bank—Nitze played a very prominent role in matters of Arms Control agreements, which have always been under the direction of the RIIA); Robert O. Anderson (Chairman of Atlantic-Richfield Co. and head of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies); John D. Rockefeller IV (Governor of West Virginia, now U.S. Senator); Cyrus Vance (Secretary of State under Carter); Eugene Black (former President of the World Bank); Joseph Johnson (President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Henry Ford III (head of the Ford Motor Co.); Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster (former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and later superintendent of the West Point Academy); Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Adviser to President Carter, founder of the Trilateral Commission); Gen. Alexander Haig (once European NATO Commander, former assistant to Kissinger, and was later Secretary of State under Reagan); James Rockefeller (Chairman, First National City Bank).
Bilderberg 2007 conclusions
Thanks to our inside sources at the conference, we have compiled what we believe to be an accurate and a credible model of Bilderberger 2007 conclusions.
Robert Zoellick and the World Bank nomination
The US delegation is standing unanimously behind Robert Zoellick´s candidacy as the next President of the World Bank. Zoellick is a 53 year old Wall Street executive, former administration official and a free-market fundamentalist. During the meeting he pledged “to work to restore confidence in the bank.”
“We need to put our differences aside and focus on the future together. I believe that the World Bank's best days are still to come,” Zoellick said.
The chances of Zoellick not being approved for the chair of World Bank Presidency are slim to none. The final decision is to be made by the end of June by the bank's 24-member board of directors.
The United States and Europe have a tacit agreement between them that the bank's president should always be a US national while its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, is headed by a European.
Nevertheless, according to our sources at the conference, European Bilderbergers are not at all pleased with continuing the status quo, in which the US nominates a single candidate after informal consultations with bank members.
The nomination also appears to short-circuit burgeoning calls for reform of this selection process at the bank, one of the cornerstones of the global financial architecture as designed by the victors of World War II.
One Belgian Bilderberger proposed “a merit-based selection process, without regard to nationality,” something which will obviously be discarded by the inept Bush administration. What is rather quite remarkable is that on several occasions European Bilderbergers have openly rejected the current model saying “the nomination reeks of double standards,” especially because both the US and the World Bank preach accountability and transparency to developing countries, the main clients of the bank.
But with IMF under the control of a Spaniard, Rodrigo Rato, European central bank, a Frenchman, Jean Claude Trichet, it was a difficult undertaking to imagine that the USA would give up control of the World Bank. Only the US Federal Reserve would remain in the hands of the Americans.
“Replacing one Bush appointee with another will not resolve the fundamental governance problems of the World Bank,” said one Scandinavian. “Member governments should reject a back-door deal that leaves the bank's governance structure intact, and should press for an open, merit-based selection process,” he said.
Zoellick's name also raised eyebrows among development groups for his close ties to the US establishment and corporate interests.
One of the attendees, I have not had the confirmation as to who this individual is, asked Zoellick how he was planning to patch up relationships with third and forth world nations when he is best remembered during his tenure as the USTR, for arm-twisting poor nations' governments to adhere to US-imposed intellectual-property laws that make medicines, for example, unaffordable to the developing world?
Zoellick has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the bilateral trade agreements he has negotiated effectively block access to generic medication for millions of people.
However, what has really riled up both the US and European delegates is the fact that World Bank´s dirty linen is being washed in public, thanks in great part to Paul Wolfowitz´s ineptness which incidentally he has blamed on the press.
What is IMF and the World Bank?
It is widely, but mistakenly, believed that the purpose of the World Bank [controlled by the U.S. Federal Reserve] and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [of which the U.S. is the principal donor and the only nation with the veto power] is to “encourage development and relieve poverty in the third world, but in practice these organizations have added to the impoverishment and destitution of millions” through the loans scheme called "Structural Adjustment Programmes" (SAPs) that have succeeded in adding to the country´s burden of debt and stagnation.
The obvious result of the SAPs from the World Bank and the IMF is that the money lent to the destitute nations were used to make immediate interest payments to western banking institutions, something that both Jim Tucker and I have been saying for years. Furthermore, by ordering Third World economies to focus on production for export purposes, the World Bank and the IMF channelled $178 billion of the Third World financial resources between 1984 and 1990 into servicing dollar-denominated foreign debt.
These programs are being implemented in over 70 Third World and Eastern European countries from Nigeria to Jamaica, from Hungury to Ethiopia, Lesotho, Kenia, Ghana, Uganda subjected to 566 IMF and World Bank stabilization and SAPs with devastating results. SAPs involve the liberalization of African economies which means that foreign companies are encouraged to take over designated sectors of the economy.
The World Bank's own study titled, "Adjustment Lending: An Evaluation of Ten Years of Experience" (1988) has demonstrated that the SAPs undertaken by 15 Sub-Saharan African countries failed utterly in every measurable criteria.
Despite global adjustment, “thirty-six of Africa's 47 countries, according to the bank´s secret study, have been subjected to structural adjustment by the Fund and Bank, yet the total external debt of the continent is now 110 percent of its gross national product.”
Additionally, African states, unable to compete with Western multinationals, have been forced to withdraw from the health sector as part of free market economy. This has put African children at the mercy of unscrupulous international organizations and pharmaceutical transnational corporations, who are thus at liberty to use them as guinea pigs for testing various drugs and vaccines. As a case in point, in January 2001, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical TNC Pfizer used an experimental drug on 50,000 children suffering from meningitis in Kano, Nigeria without official authorization. As a result of the epidemic, 15,000 people died while many others became deaf and blind.
Relations with Russian
Another issue of great concern to both American and European Bilderbergers is Russia’s current muscle flexing on the issue of energy. The TNK-BP license, BP´s Russian venture, is just one of the many signs causing anger amongst the globalist elite. After years of economic stagnation, said one American Bilderberger, “Russia is acting against unipolarity's accommodating ideologies and politics, against its recently resurgent manifestations and machinations, and against the instruments of its perpetuation, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).” Bilderberg 2007 served as a consensus building to decide on a common policy and strategy to deal with Russia’s resurgence.
In particular, Bilderberg is not at all happy with Russia’s current strategy of actively dismantling what remains “of the atmosphere of acquiescence to America's will,” in the words of one Bilderberger, that arose in the post-Soviet period and that was absolutely crucial to the thriving of US-led unipolarity.
That was in the beginning of the 1990s. The early stages of the Yeltsin reign.
With the wholesale looting of Russia in the 1990s through shock therapy and the loans-for shares scheme, engineered by the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, such as Sachs, Andrei Schliefer, David Lipton, and Jonathan Hay, the country was brought into the dawn of the XXI century capitalist economy. As a result, Russia eventually toppled into anarchy, its population rendered desperate; its ability to support a world-class military establishment smashed which then made it as inevitable that colonial behaviour would occur. Isn´t that something? That is exactly what George Ball was proposing during Bilderberg 1968 meeting in Canada. I will get back to Ball in a minute.
Incidentally, the term «shock therapy» refers to the sudden release of price and currency controls, combined with the withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, all the necessary ingredients for impoverishment of the society, in this case, Russian.
In Zbigniew Brzezinski´s 1997 The Grand Chessboard: American primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, “Russia” and “vital energy reserves”, as it turns out, is mentioned more frequently than any other country or subject in the book. Brzezinski is Carter´s former National Security Adviser, founder of the Trilateral Commission, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Bilderberg Club and a close associate of both David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. He is the proverbial insider’s insider.
Global U.S. and thus Bilderberg hegemony passes through complete control of Russia’s vital energy reserves in Central Asia. As long as Russia remained strong, it remained a threat – a potential block to the complete imposition of Bilderberg-led economic and military will.
Bilderberg energy imperatives and geopolitical control, once again, are coming to play a key role in the lives of hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people.
Brzezinski spelled out the compelling energy issue driving American policy: “A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world´s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world´s central continent. About 75 percent of the world´s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world´s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprise and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world´s GNP and about three-fourth of the world’s known energy resources.”
The history of mankind has always shown that controlling the heart of Eurasia was the key to controlling the entire globe. Azerbaijan, containing the riches of the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia, is a case in point. From the U.S. perspective, the independence of the Central Asian states can be rendered nearly meaningless if Azerbaijan becomes fully subordinated to Moscow's control.
To the Bilderbergers, energy imperatives are the end game.
The energy theme appears again later in Brzezinski´s book, written four years before 9-11: “The world’s energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the US Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy.”
Clearly, to Bilderberg, Russia was the beginning of the end game.
During a presentation titled Internationalization of Business to the April 26-28, 1968, Bilderberg meeting at Mont Tremblant, Canada, George Ball provides a far more truthful and insightful glimpse into the Club’s economic orientation. Ball, who was the Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs under JFK and Lyndon Johnson, a Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Club as well as a Senior Managing Director for Lehman Brothers and Kuhn Loeb Inc., defined what the new Bilderberger policy of globalization was going to be, and how it would shape the Club’s policy.
Ball presented an outline of the advantages of a new-colonial world economic order based on the concept of a world company, and described some of the obstacles that needed to be eliminated for its success. According to Ball, the first and most important thing that had to be eliminated was the archaic political structure of the nation state.”
In other words, Ball is calling for a return to the old colonialism system but this time built on the concept of a world company. “To be productive,” Ball said, “we must begin our inquiry by explicitly recognizing the lack of phasing between development of the world company – a concept responding to modern needs – and the continued existence of an archaic political structure of nation states, mostly small or of only medium size, which is evolving only at glacier pace in response to new world requirements of scope and scale.”
Pierre Beaudry in Synarchy Movement of Empire concludes, “For Ball, the very structure of the nation state, and the idea of the commonwealth, or of a general welfare of a people, represented the main obstacle against any attempt of freely looting the planet, especially the weak and poor nations of the world, and represented the most important impediment to the creation of a neo-colonial world empire. The priority of the world company is obviously based on international free trade without restraint; that is, trade measured by the British standards of profit of buying cheap and selling dear. The problem is that national governments have priorities, which are different than and contrary to those of a looting company.”
On page 39 of a Bilderberg transcript from the 1968 meeting at Mont Tremblant, Ball self-assuredly stated the following: “Where does one find a legitimate base for the power of corporate managements to make decisions that can profoundly affect the economic life of nations to whose governments they have only limited responsibility?”
In other words, Mssr. Rockefeller and Davignon, what Mr. Ball would like to know is how does one establish a Halliburton type of world company, which would greatly surpass, in authority, any government on the Planet? Isn’t that what World Company, run by the ruling class stands for?
Not according to Bilderberg president and Belgian multi millionaire, Etienne Davignon. During his 2005 BBC interview Mr. Davignon said: “I don’t think a global ruling class exists. Business influences society, and politics influences society—that’s purely common sense. It’s not that business contests the right of democratically elected leaders to lead.”
Is that so, Mr. Davignon?
Current parliamentary democracy works on the basis of an ‘elected’ Head of State, a parliament, which can be dumped, any time you decide to orchestrate a crisis and a third branch of government in charge of its financial system, called, an ‘independent central banking system.’
In the United States, this ‘independent’ banking system is known as the Federal Reserve, a privately owned Bank interlocked with the Bilderbergers. In Europe, the independent banking system is run through the European Central Bank, whose monetary policies are put together by the leading members of the Bilderberger elite such as Jean Claude Trichet.
In Britain, this independent system is run by the Bank of England, whose members are also full time members of the Bilderberger inner circle. The independent central banking system controls the emission of currency; controls national credit and interest rates; and, any time the government displeases it, it uses its power to orchestrate the overthrow of the government. Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, was overthrown because she opposed the wilful hand over of British sovereignty to the European Super State designed by the Bilderbergers.
This is what Kuhn Loeb and Lehman Brothers have been building worldwide, by ways of merger and acquisitions, from the 1960s until today. In the past decades, the entire deregulation policy of U.S. industries and banking was precisely set up in response to this blueprint scenario for creating giant corporations for a new empire whose intention is nothing short of perpetual war.
Could the eventual dismemberment and weakening of Russia to the point it could not oppose U.S. military operations that have now successfully secured control of the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia been part of a multi-decade plan for global domination?
Most credible senior analysts definitely believe so. In a 1997 symposium held in Bonn, Dr. Sergei Glazyev, chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation explained how this colonial behaviour would occur: This colonization, masked as reforms, destroyed the basic institutions of Russian society along the following basic lines: (1) “Destruction of the financial system of the state, by means of an endless build-up of the state debt pyramid, shrinking of the tax base, deepening of the non-payments crisis, and disorganization of the monetary system. (2) Destruction of the scientific and technological potential of the country, achieved by means of a many-fold reduction in state financing of science, the collapse of technological cooperation and scientific production integration, in the course of mass privatization, and the refusal of the government to have any scientific and technical, industrial, or structural policy at all." (3) Sale of controlling blocs of shares in the leading and most valuable Russian firms, in industry, electric power, and telecommunications, to foreign companies. (4) Transfer of the right to exploit the most valuable Russian raw materials deposits, to transnational corporations. (5) Establishment of foreign control over the Russian stock exchange. (6) Establishment of direct foreign control over the shaping of Russian domestic and foreign economic policy.”
The Bilderberg conclusions are striking in its candidness: “The US can no longer ride roughshod over, nor bully, nor simply ignore resurgent Russia, rising China, or the globe's regimes that supply the vital oil that fuels the US economy.” Something must be done and urgently in order to cut deeply into Russia's mounting global energy leverage. The US-Russia strategically deteriorating relations are one victim of this geopolitical struggle for energy supremacy.
One Finnish delegate expressed an opinion that “no US-Russia military confrontation is likely no matter how tense things should get” is increasingly an unsafe one as a more desperate US pushes back against a much more aggressive Russia. Dr. Henry Kissinger added that “aggressive, unilateralist US foreign policy has forced "axis of evil" states to accelerate their pursuit of nuclear weapons to immunize themselves against US military strikes.”
Richard Perle pointed out that in response to aggressive US tactics across the globe, Russia has undertaken asymmetric steps to undermine the ability of the US to project its military power effectively into their neighbourhoods and into those of their partners and allies. When one American Bilderberger tried to object, European delegate brought up China's recent response to US intentions to weaponize space - a simple and relatively inexpensive demonstration of destruction of its satellite. The example produced snickering in the room, much to the chagrin of the Americans.
Another subject under discussion dealt with Afghanistan. It was commonly agreed by the attendees that the US-led NATO alliance and mission is in a state of quagmire and “that the situation in the country is getting worse.”
The problem can be defined, in the words of one British Bilderberger as “one of the unreal expectations.” He went on to explain that the duopoly of clamouring for democratic reform while simultaneously propping up Pashtun warlords without delivering serious progress, “has managed to discredit a lot of our basic notions in the eyes of the Afghans.”
Bilderbergers, however, aren’t the only ones left scratching their heads as to how Western governments and their carefully chosen Afghan partners have managed to spend billions of dollars in development assistance with little to show for it.
The price of treason
Catastrophe is good for business, always has been. Without suffering, there would be no humanitarian assistance. And without humanitarian assistance, there would be no room for undercover intelligence network operations as a part of western imperatives of geopolitical control.
The worse it looks the better it sells. While the American people were getting their daily diet of ubiquitous images of repression and suffering, burka clad bodies of Afghani women glossy propaganda campaign was being sureptiously launched on the pages of magazines and newspapers or beamed into every living room in America. The New York Times and The New Yorker were greasing the gears of the misery machine by urging the U.S. government, the United Nations and anyone who would listen to "do something" amid the jewellery advertisement. Terror and horror, like expensive jewellery became commodities. But taking a picture of sick and dying and depraved Afghanis is quite simple, a concentration of misery and backwardness that [is] indeed shocking. You just need to be there. It is all around you. Was something done?
Today, Afghanistan and its African cousins of Sudan and Ethiopia and Eritrea and Congo and Rwanda and the rest of the blessed with western humanitarian help nations are all basket cases going to hell in a bucket with a snowball’s chance in hell in getting out alive. How is it possible that a humanitarian mission of such scale and magnitude could have failed so miserably, Bilderbergers seem to be asking?
Is it a case of good-intentioned exercise going bad due to corruption, greed and lack of oversight? Or it is the merciless dismemberment of yet another foreign land, culture and people exercised stealthily through humanitarian aid agencies tied to the larger apparatus of the government? Furthermore, the U.S. government support for known Afghani drug warlord adds another vital clue to the puzzle.
The amount of profit generated annually by the drug trade, according to the United Nations, is somewhere around $700 billion in tax free cash flow per year. Seven hundred billion dollars a year is too much money to hide in a sock. You need a lot of experience and expertise to move that kind of funds stealthily. Does anyone doubt that Afghanistan is about drugs? Does anyone doubt that the CIA is involved?
For example, the CIA financed the Muslim Brotherhood in 1977, and trained Mujaheedin in preparation for the campaign of collusion between Washington and right wing Islam: The Afghan War. The roots to the Afghan conflict can be traced to al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, the centre of Muslim Brotherhood’s activity. Airline hijacker Mohammed Atta was ID´d as a Muslim Brother shortly after the September 11 attacks in several western publications, such as the Washington Post´s September 22, 2001 edition, the Observer´s September 23, 2001 article and a lengthy piece in Newsweek from December 31, 2001. Other Muslim Brothers involved were Khalid Shaik Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden´s right hand man, an Egyptian by the name of Ayman al-Zawahiri is also a life-long member of the Brotherhood.
Robert Dreyfuss, in an extremely important book, Devil´s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam explained it thus: “They returned to Afghanistan and formed a branch of the Brothers, the Islamic Society. Later, these same `professors,´ as they were known, would form the backbone of the afghan mujaheedin who waged a U.S. backed decade-long war against the Soviet occupation. The three leading “professors” were Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” Sayyaf and Hekmatyar, two big time Pashtun drug traffickers and CIA assets were backed by the Pakistani Intelligence and funded with Saudi money as well as Pakistan’s own “branch” of the Brotherhood.
There is yet another link between the Brotherhood and the super secret Bilderberg Club. In the early 1980s, Bilderberger Michael Ledeen of the ultra conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Bilderberger Richard Perle used Hekmatyar as a poster boy of anti Soviet resistance at the time when Hekmatyar was actively working with Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) terrorists to undermine America’s influence in Afghanistan.
Does anyone reading this doubt that it is hardly a coincidence?
First came the "humanitarian relief" through non-government organization (NGO). In short order that was followed by the U.S. military that came to the rescue out of the goodness of their heart for "purely humanitarian objectives." Once on the ground it became an exercise in "nation-building." In the end it morphed into the hunt for a terrorist dictator.
During an animated discussion at Bilderberg 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, one Italian asked if “the U.S. led NATO forces had the will to stay the course?”
When the US military led the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the commanding general, Tommy Franks, stated that “it was not his intention to get embroiled in a Soviet-style long-term engagement.” Now, however, American Bilderberg representatives are pressuring its NATO allies to provide larger troop contributions to the cause.
Kissinger insisted that “the will” is lacking and so “we must now begin to acknowledge our limits.”
“The choices facing us are very difficult,” reflected one European Royal full-heartedly agreeing with Kissinger-made assessment on the lack of commitment and will. NATO representative at the conference categorically stated that the West had neither the political intelligence nor the understanding to fight a protracted decade long counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
by alma.c Rostock showed us the system is rotten, the planet is ailing, neo-liberalism is struggling to survive, alternatives have taken a toehold in Latin America but still have to metamorphose from the pages of philosophers into real life elsewhere. By Uli Schmetzer (www.uli-schmetzer.com) in ROSTOCK, June 2007 Future generations of propagandists will be offered the anti-G8 demonstrations this month as a text-book example how globalization crudely manipulated public opinion by demonizing demonstrators and labeling opponents terrorists. On the other side future protesters will see Rostock as a symbol of civil disobedience, of determined resistance to the few power brokers who have usurped the democratic rights of the many and make decisions for all behind closed doors. It is true stones were hurled. It is true black-clad masked youths, the Black Blocks, clashed with police. It is true cars burned and a number of windows shattered. But how puny were these incidents compared to the bloody, unprovoked wars and destruction the G8 members have launched or supported? Did these incidents justify demonizing 80,000 protesters who had trekked to remote Rostock to oppose the way the world is run by members of the exclusive G8 club, a club whose main task has been likened to ‘ironing out inconveniences for the world’s major business corporations,’ a club whose political-economic strategies have made the rich richer, the poor poorer and caused death, destruction and misery across the world. The lies and exaggerations ‘deployed’ to discredit protest at Rostock resembled the fake information strategy that led to war in Iraq. It also illustrated how desperate our power cliques have become. As usual the orchestrated smear campaign was conducted by the mass media, the serfs of power, which regurgitated amazing statistics about mayhem the police and politicians pulled out of their magic hats. It is true a few people were injured in the clashes. The original statement said a dozen before the dozen turned into a hundred, then five hundred and ended up a thousand. For those of us who were on the spot the battle should have left bodies scattered everywhere. It didn’t. For those of us present the infamous Black Block did not run amok, Rostock was not devastated. We saw two cars burning. ‘Four hundred and forty policemen wounded’ the headlines cried, ‘fifty of them seriously’. Yet no one saw wounded cops. Rostock hospital reported some forty people sought first aid treatment during June 2 for minor injuries, two thirds more then during an ordinary day. All were sent home after treatment, except one police woman kept for observation. Four days later the Rostock fire brigade reported total damage to the city was ‘around 50,000 euros ($65,000) mostly in torn up pavements, damaged traffic and street lights, a pittance for a major demonstration, a pittance compared to the tens of million of euros the German Government spent to host and feed the G8. The worst was yet to come. The mass media, quoting statements by ‘officials’ and ‘expert’ commentators (who apparently are more trustworthy then non-officials) demanded the ban on rubber bullets be lifted so they could be used by security forces against ‘radical elements.’ ‘Officials’ clamored for special European laws to identify troublemakers. Others warned of the imminent use of police firearms and the deployment of troops after declaring a state of emergency. A minister called for a ban on all black clothing during demonstrations to neutralize the ‘Black Block’. Police claimed protesters had stuck razor blades into fruit they hurled and had launched, with the help of rubber catapults, stones ‘the size of baby heads.’ For the ordinary citizen the official hysteria conjured visions of a German State in the pangs of revolution by masked barbarians. Shopkeepers barricaded their show windows, residents locked their doors. Among protesters the official reaction rekindled memories of the Berufsverbot four decades ago when tens of thousands of German dissidents were placed on black lists –‘not to be employed.’ After a few days the more sober of he mass media admitted the tales of chaos and mayhem had been grossly exaggerated, there was even suspicion some of the trouble had been started by plainclothes police as part of a diabolical plot to alienate the population against ‘demonstrating rabble’ and pave the way for more repressive laws. But who reads these row-backs on the back pages days later? The whipped-up terror talk resulted in special courts rescinding already granted permits for demonstrations at Rostock and declaring off-limits the zone around Heiligendamm (Dam of the Saints) where the G8 met. Anyone entering could and was prosecuted. And that is when the Rostock protests really took off. PROTESTS TAKE TO THE FIELDS Dr Vandana Shiva, a physicist, eco-feminist and one of the world’s leading anti-global activists summed up the sentiment that has made Rostock a watershed for future action: If laws are repressive they must be broken, she argued then added: “the fight for our future is the fight for human life on earth.” By then nearly ten thousand had trekked knee-deep through hops-fields to outfox a police cordon around the G8 meeting site. The strategy was called the five-finger attack. The crowd advanced towards the police cordon in the form of a tight fist. Then a ‘middle finger’ column went face to face with police forcing security forces to close in from all sides to oppose the column. This police concentration allowed the four remaining ’fingers’ to spread and outflank the police chain, now weakened by the concentration towards the center. Suddenly thousands of demonstrators appeared behind the outflanked police lines. The scheme was repeated again and again. Eventually some 400 of the ‘middle finger’ were sacrificed (arrested) before the protesters reached the barricade around Heiligendamm and camped there for three nights in defiance of the court rulings, a token victory for the right to say ‘no.’ When police used water cannons the drenched protesters moved further along the fence, blocking access roads to the G8 site, accompanied by musical bands and an army of clowns whose antics kept everyone entertained. When police ordered Black Bock protesters to take off their ski masks men and women stripped naked (a national German pastime known as FKK) and danced in front of the police contingent. The tide was turning. In spite of the massive anti-protest propaganda the people of Rostock supplied demonstrators with water and food and generously ferried many back to their tent-and-van camps. Rostock, despite the heavy presence of 33,000 police and a 12 km long security fence around the G8 site at Heiligendamm, is being hailed today as a symbol of civil disobedience, the essence of future protests. Then there was the academic side. WORKSHOPS AND PANEL DEBATES: The city simultaneously hosted the ‘alternative summit’ with 150 workshops held in stately city churches or the dinghy holds of moored ships. The organization was amazingly efficient, with maps, brochures, summaries and guides. Once again (and surely not the last time) some of the world’s foremost experts warned time is running out on slowing down climatic changes, time is running out on a halt to environmental ravages, on rescuing an ailing war and corruption-riddled Africa before a massive exodus of African boat people floods Europe, on implementing fairer trade and on ending the brutal exploitation of developing nations by multinationals that have no intention to curb their vast profits even if it costs millions of lives. While the G8 came up with an ineffective call for the U.N. to look at ways to stop carbon emissions and an even more ridiculous proposal to allow only a two degree temperature rise by 2050 environmental experts at the Alternate Summit warned that within ten to twenty years life on our planet will already be unbearable for the great majority of the human race unless we do something ‘now.’ “The G8 is a façade for democracy, an economic dictatorship by corporations,” Vandana Shiva told five thousand people gathered for the final declaration at the Church of St Nicholas: “Who gave seven to eight governments the right to decide about the world? This democracy is dead!” Bologna professor and author Sandro Mazzadra argued the protesters are labeled ‘radicals because we question the capitalism of today.’ He advocated more alternative institutions to explain new ways of thinking to a public preconditioned by prejudices perpetuated by the mass media. Like many others Mazzadra addressed the phenomenon of the African boat people trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, a sea he said had been turned into “a cemetery with a thousand drowned every day.” (7,000 alone drowned on the way from Africa to the Canary Islands) While the G8 heralded its pledge of $60 billion aid for Africa cynics warned the pledge would remain on paper as happened on previous occasions. In the meantime corporations from the European Union and the U.S. would continue to strip Africa of its remaining resources, dump their surplus products on the black continent and negotiate one-sided deals like the European Union’s EPA (Economic Partnership Agreements) the near secret trade pacts which allow the EU to dump subsidized products on third world countries. (In India many farmers have committed suicide, deprived of their livelihood because they could not compete against the flood of subsidized U.S. cotton on the world market.) A workshop on immigration was told in Ghana subsidized European chicken (EPA) forced the once booming national poultry industry into bankruptcy as Europe undercut local prices by half. Once the local industry was forced off the market the price of the imported goods steadily rose. In Mauritania (population three million) an EPA agreement allowed fifty European trawlers to fish in local waters in a country where 53 per cent of the nation’s income is derived from fishing. As usual the money for this sweetheart deal went into the pockets of the elite. In Nigeria Ike Okorie reported oil spills have destroyed the most fertile parts of his country and exterminated coastal sea life. He said all oil is in the hands of foreign (U.S, Dutch and Italian) companies. Their foreign workers live in luxury, one reason why armed gangs now kidnap oil workers for ransom. Okorie saw Africa’s main hope is an already fledgling regional commercial cooperation, trading each others goods, if necessary by barter trade, rather then relying on imports from industrialized nations. African delegates said Pakistani U.N. soldiers sell weapons and gasoline for gold and diamonds while a continent where 80 per cent of the population worked as farmers can no longer feed itself because wars have ruined harvests, a phenomenon, so the Africans said, Palestinians can verify. The Palestinians lost their crucial olive groves when Israeli raids bulldozed them into oblivion as punishment. At the root of Africa’s problems is the tragedy of a past that allowed no rival democratic movement to emerge after independence. This left African nations in the hands of greedy native elites that substituted the colonial masters and pocketed the money that should have been set aside for social services. In turn this led to the proliferation of diseases, among them AIDS, and the explosion of wars waged by those eager to grab power – and its spoils. Flagellated by exploitation, then wars, greed, disease and hunger Africa today resembles a graveyard. “But we are not going to lie down and die. Expect us to come to you in ever greater numbers,” Gyeke Tanoh, of the African Trade Work in Ghana told a cheering meeting on immigration from Africa, a meeting entitled: “We are here because you are there”. Across town in the hold of a small cargo freighter a workshop on militarization by U.S. bases found a new phenomenon: Growing civil mobilization against base extensions. The most virulent are protests against the planned U.S. base at La Molin in Vicenza, Italy and in Japan against the planned Henoko base on already base-crowded Okinawa Island. Tadaaki Kawata of Japan’s Peace Committee reported local anti-base protest movements had found support across Japan which now hosts 135 U.S. military bases with 54,000 soldiers, a network Washington intends to expand even further. “We are being joined by trade unions, social organizations, resident committees, mayors and municipal councilors. We have protested against naval bases with canoes and formed human chains around other bases. One referendum around a proposed base near Tokyo showed 43,000 voters were against the base only 5,000 in favor,” Kawata reported. He and others advocated pressure on governments to refuse financial contributions to U.S. bases, one of the anomalies of the U.S. global base networks which are partially paid for by the taxpayers of countries ‘occupied’ by Washington’s military installations. Author and activist Walden Bello argued the U.S. military presence in South East Asia to contain China prevented an alliance for peace in the region in 1990 because Washington objected to a proposed multi-structure in South East Asia to resolve conflicts. The U.S. argued unilateral protection by the U.S. through its military bases was a superior solution. The U.S. argument obviously found converts among the region’s leaders. “Normal relations between neighboring countries are impossible until we get rid of the U.S. military presence,” Bello argued. The emphasis at the Alternate Summit was on change. A much applauded prediction also came from Bello, an expert on global finances, who sees the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) institutions on their way out. He said the Bank has been discredited, bad loans have hurt the Fund and no country in their right mind wants to borrow from either. Bello felt it was now obvious the economies of countries that had not pursued the neo-liberal policies of the Bank or the Fund, including China and Malaysia, did well while the economies crashed in those third world countries that loyally followed the American-spawned neo-liberalist policies of the Bank and the Fund, mainly the privatization of their resources. Arguing that neo-liberalism has had its day he added on economic issues “I personally would rather go with (Hugo) Chavez’ instincts then even leftwing economists”. Public indignation is growing over trade deals that favor the powerful and punish the weaker economies. Mexico’s Anna Esther Cecena, Professor of sociology at Mexico’s Autonomous University, lamented the U.S.-Mexican Free Trade accord (1994) had ruined diversity and the economy in her country. But Bello pointed out the successful mass protests in Thailand recently not only led to the suspension of the Thai-US Free Trade talks but precipitated the demise of Thailand’s billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin, a fierce advocate of the trade accord. “Globalization is in serious trouble,” Bello predicted: “The world is moving away from corporate globalization. We need something very different.” In fact the motto of the Alternative Summit was: “Another World is possible!” But those who came to listen may well ask: “What kind of world will that be? Obviously criticism is far easier then solutions and many of the ‘experts’ offered interesting ‘historic lectures’ for students of the past as well as articulate hindsight. But as some of them admitted it is time to promote the new ideas rather then dwell on the errors of the past. One tentative suggestion tabled was based on regional cooperation between neighboring countries, small blocks or ‘unions’ trading with one another, if necessary by barter trade rather then cash. This system has already been applied by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. He bartered cows from Argentina for Venezuelan oil, imported Cuban doctors to boost his backward rural health institutions in return for oil, traded oil for Bolivian soybeans and instituted the first non-cash exchanges of goods, an idea beyond the logic of traditional capitalism. The idea at Rostock has been to bring the market back into society, ensure diversity, ban genetically modified seeds (a multi-trillion dollar business for the U.S. seed giant Monsanto) ban monoculture and remain skeptical against all doctrinaire gurus preaching a one-way solution to problems. Speakers argued the principles of alternatives to outdated neo-liberalist models already exist. And when neo-liberal gurus like Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stieglitz abandon their philosophies it means the legitimacy of neo-liberal economic models is in trouble. There was also general consensus Latin America, once the problem child of the globe, had taken the lead in adopting some of these alternatives – Chavez in Venezuela, Kirchner in Argentina, Morales in Bolivia and the revolutionary indigenous Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico. As expected the official G8 summit was a dismal failure spun-off as a success story by the spin doctors. At the G8 every member, especially the United States, tenaciously safeguarded their own interests. On the other side of the 12-kms long security fence the Alternative Summit also brought together people with diverse ideas but one common ambition – to create a more just world, one that will survive the ravages of G8-protected greed.
I plan to demonstrate publicly but without violence this coming Sunday (June 17, 2007) against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Rome for condoning the actions of one of its subordinate units De Paul University in Chicago, Illinois, USA in denying tenure for Dr. Norman Finkelstein because of the latter,s criticism of the policies of the government of Israel and the government of the United States in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
My strong belief is that Dr. Finkelstein is an honest and highly competent scholar who seeks justice for and an end to oppression of the Palestinian people, who live in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in Israel itself, and in many other parts of the world in refugee camps and as exiles. My belief also is that he was denied tenure because of these views and because a massive campaign was launched against him by the Israel lobby in the United States a campaign that those Catholic officials who presently dominate the management of De Paul University were unwilling to stand up against.
This demonstration in Santa Fe, New Mexico will begin at 9:00 a.m., June 17, across the street from the main entrance of St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, on one of the corners of Cathedral Place and San Francisco St. I will be there alone if necessary but hope others will join in, as long as they are willing to accept that the demonstration must be peaceful, and that they not cross the street and go onto the grounds of the Cathedral or block anyone from entering the Cathedral or say anything critical of those entering. I am personally not a Catholic, but my sign will urge people planning to go to the 10:00 a.m. Mass to boycott that Mass instead, and join us in the demonstration. I do not intend to say anything derogatory to anyone while I am demonstrating, although I will give anyone who expresses interest in me a brochure explaining the Finkelstein tenure issue. I will stay until 10:00 a.m. and then leave.
I not only hope that others will join me in this demonstration. I hope that yet others, reading this message, will organize similar demonstrations near other Catholic churches. I further hope that we can carry on similar demonstrations on future Sundays, all around this country and abroad, until the hierarchy of the Catholic church in Rome takes note of us, and until that hierarchy compels its subordinates at De Paul University to reverse the unjust decision on Dr. Finkelstein.
If anyone reading this thinks I am overreacting, that is unfortunate. The Israel lobby simply should not be allowed to win this round. There is little doubt that some will argue that the Catholic hierarchy in Rome had nothing to do with the decision against Finkelstein. But there is also little doubt that the hierarchy can overrule that decision if it wishes. And it says something that, to me, is utterly despicable if the hierarchy of the church refuses to overrule its own underlings at De Paul.
Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan McLaughlin gave up on trusting the independence of the mainstream media years ago.
Then she saw journalists from the New York Times and independent Web logs go to jail to protect their sources from federal investigators.
Now the Passaic resident and blogger said she believes that a proposed federal law to shield journalists from divulging their confidential sources in most circumstances could help shore up the eroding integrity of media outlets large and small.
"This shield law, should it be enacted, is the single most important (thing) our government can do to protect democracy in this century," McLaughlin said Tuesday.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee will consider the "Free Flow of Information Act" that will stipulate when courts, special prosecutors and grand juries can compel reporters to testify about secret sources.
The idea has been trotted through Congress' halls hundreds of times in the past four decades, always unsuccessfully.
But the recent incarcerations of journalists and bloggers have added impetus to this push for a law to protect journalists from betraying the confidence of those they rely on for information.
In the 1990s, McLaughlin grew so weary of what she saw as the news media's failings that as an artist she began calling herself a faux journalist, arguing that she'd be better than the real ones. Today she posts her works on a blog she calls "Vlog of a Faux Journalist," sharing her photographs and films on the Internet.
Although she does not think her blog would ever make her a target for prosecution, she does sympathize with those independent "citizen journalists" who have faced pressure to hand over their unpublished works. San Francisco blogger Josh Wolf spent nearly seven months in federal prison for refusing to give prosecutors his raw video of an anti-globalization protest.
"I always carry a camera and an audio recording device," McLaughlin said. "That could put me at risk."
The bill is intended to cover federal courts that aren't protected under present state shield laws. New Jersey has one of the strongest shield laws in the country, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Opponents of past versions of the federal bill saw it as an absolute protection for journalists, setting them above the law. The current proposal creates exceptions in which journalists must testify.
It also protects anyone engaged in collecting and disseminating news, a clause that could cover freelance reporters and some bloggers -- not just those employed by major news groups.
Local congressmen -- including Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, and Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn - are already signing on to the legislation.
"I think the limits seem reasonable. A number of important problems have come to light because of people who only spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity," Rothman said in a statement.
While Americans were being distracted by the tears and fears of Ms Paris Hilton, brave American soldiers were dying in Iraq. While Americans are watching television, the events in Iraq are dividing the Middle East. While Americans are watching television the Bush administration is assisting the multi-national oil giants in the attempt to privatize Iraq’s vast oil reserves, an effort that will destroy Iraq’s economy, will leave the people of Iraq in poverty and will weaken the existing government.
Stewart A. Alexander for President Peace and Freedom Party June 12, 2007 The first weekend of June 2007 was another deadly weekend for American troops in Iraq; America lost 14 troops in a civil war that appears to be without end. The previous month, the month of May, was one of the deadliest months for US troops since the beginning of the Iraq War in March of 2003. During this deadly weekend the American media focused the attention of America on other matters of national importance; the countdown to Paris Hilton surrendering to Los Angeles County authorities, coverage for the Democratic and Republican celebrities campaigning for president, the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup for hockey, millions of Americans waited to see another exciting Nascar race before it was canceled due to rain. America was able to focus on a slight drop in gasoline prices; there was continuing coverage on the Phil Spector trial, and millions of Americans were able to keep up on the latest developments in the case of Mary Winkler, the convicted 32-year-old Tennessee woman that was accused of killing her minister husband. On television there was the usual programming with a possible interruption to cover a police pursuit. While America was being distracted by the tears and fears of Ms Paris Hilton, brave American soldiers were dying in Iraq. American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are now more than 3,900, and the Iraqi deaths are now more than 1,000,000 according to recent scientific data. The Iraqi people have suffered more than 1.5 million serious injuries since the beginning of the war and the Iraq refugee crisis has become so severe that the US government is now arranging to bring thousands of Iraq refugees to the US; this news was also pre-empted to cover Ms Hilton. If there was nothing of interest, or of importance, to watch on CBS, NBC or ABC, there was always MTV, BET, ESPN, VH1, Entertainment News, Fox News, and I Love Lucy. The timing of the immigration debates is another diversion from the Iraq War. The issue of immigration has become a major cover-up for the events that are occurring in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. It stands to reason that 12 million illegal immigrants did not arrive in the US within the past few months or few years; and at the same time that the immigration issue is being discussed, the Democrats and Republicans are joining with Bush to push a “Fast Track” bill that will force additional migrant workers to the United States; this news was pre-empted to cover entertainment news and sports. While Americans are watching television, the events in Iraq are dividing the Middle East. While America is watching television the Bush administration is assisting the multi-national oil giants in the attempt to privatize Iraq’s vast oil reserves, an effort that will destroy Iraq’s economy, will leave the people of Iraq in poverty and will weaken the existing government. Americans need to be aware of several important issues that will never be covered on America’s corporate news services; Americans need to support our troops and demand that we bring the troops home immediately. Americans need to understand that the Iraq Civil War will not be won with bombs, guns and tanks; to bring peace to the region will require international diplomacy. The Iraq oil belongs to the Iraqi people; U.S. Labor Against The War (USLAW) and Peace and Freedom Party support the rights of the Iraqi people and their rights to control their own natural resources. It is not the right of foreign multi-national corporations or foreign governments to control any amounts of Iraq’s oil reserves. America is the most technologically advance nation in the world with the capabilities to cover the four corners of the globe; yet Americans are less informed about world events than most people in the industrial nations. The Democrats and Republicans support America’s corporate media because it keeps the nation in the dark and their candidates in the spotlights. For Americans to receive the best coverage about the war, the Middle East, immigration, trade, labor, education, human rights, civil rights, world events and other important news, Americans must rely on the Independent Media coverage around the world. For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Presidential Candidate: Senator Reid was Right, the War is Lost; Alexander: PFP Setting Tone for 2008. http://banderasnews.com/0705/edop-demsretreat.htmhttp://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.htmlhttp://www.salt-g.comstewartalexander4paf [at] ca.rr.com
Prisonblogs.net is devoted towards empowering those behind bars and providing a means for them to get their reports, their stories, and their artwork out to the world. As a volunteer organization, prisonblogs.net works by pairing a prisoner with a sponsor who will transcribe their messages and put them up on a personal blog site set up for each participant.
In order for the project to be a success we’re going to need sponsors though, so if you have any interest in helping to get these perspectives out where they are accessible, then please sign up. Also, there are many artists in jails and prisons across the world, so if you have a scanner and can digitize someone’s artwork for the web your help is especially needed.
And even if you’re not interested in becoming a sponsor please visit Prisonblogs.netbecause every voice deserves to be heard.
Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.
But silence is impossible.
Silence is a message,
just as doing nothing is an act.
Let who you are ring out & resonate
in every word & every deed.
Yes, become who you are.
There's no sidestepping your own being
or your own responsibility.
What you do is who you are.
You are your own comeuppance.
You become your own message.
You are the message.
My Dear Supporters, I want to thank all of you for standing by me for the past 4 years through the trial, conviction and my bout with breast cancer. Now I am preparing for sentencing on September 25, 2006. I have been fortunate to have gained strength through your support and although the strength of the "all mighty" government seems overwhelming we know we are on the right side of history.
Since the day in April 2002 when I was arrested, the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee was formed. We have accomplished great things through the committee and managed to raise awareness of my case and the issues it has raised. We have made connections to a broad base of people united at this time by the Bush/ Cheney attack on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
I am going to provide you below with excerpts from my sentencing submissions which are directed to the sentencing Judge, of course, but give you a real sense of the posture of the government towards me. That is, that I must be made an example of to deter attorneys. For this they are asking for 30 years. I am to be 67 in October.
I hope that you will continue to do what you can to support the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee. The fight is far from over and the isolation that is prison will only be pierced by the good of people who continue to fight for justice and bring attention to the excesses of the U.S. Government. At this time we would like to send a mailing which will incorporate my sentencing papers and some of the hundreds of letters that have been written on my behalf as well as report to you from the Govt's response to my sentencing memorandum which should be filed later this summer.
My Defense Committee will continue to work on my behalf through the long struggle ahead as well as work in solidarity with many other groups and individuals fighting against this government's policies and for peace and justice. Of course this takes funds and although it is very hard for me to ask, I implore you to contribute as much as you can. What follows are excerpts from the sentencing memorandum filed on my behalf.
On the evening of July 5, 2006 attorneys for Lynne Stewart filed a Sentencing Memoranda on her behalf asking for a non-custodial sentence.
The memoranda contain and refer to many of the scholarly and impassioned letters written to the Hon. John G. Koeltl on Lynne's behalf also asking for a non-custodial sentence.
The following are excerpts from the Affirmation of Elizabeth M. Fink, Esq. filed in support of Ms. Stewart's Presentencing submissions:
"...........The most chilling and horrendous aspect of Ms. Stewart's PSR (Pre-Sentence Report by U.S. Probation) is the stated justification for the 30 year sentence. 'We hope that this sentence of 30 years will not only punish Stewart for her actions, but serve as a deterrent for other lawyers who believe that they are above the rules and regulations of penal institutions or otherwise try to skirt the laws of this country.'
"......Ms. Stewart violated prison rules and, among other things, issued a press release in violation of the SAMs. Nothing happened. The recommendation of a 30-year sentence for 66-year-old women with cancer and a lifetime of service to the community is not reasonable. It is not justice. It is tyranny."
"..........As this Court can see, for decades, Ms. Stewart lead an exemplary life, a life based on community service. She changed the lives of thousands and as a lawyer, she was the finest representative of our profession. Using her skills and compassion, she restored faith in America and its justice system to thousands of people. She was a symbol of the best of the system. Working tirelessly, for little or no money, she brought light and hope to thousands and was an example to everyone who knew and knows her. Justice and mercy require that this Court examine all of the factors that apply to Ms. Stewart: her decades of selfless dedication to her profession and to her clients, friends and neighbors, her precarious medical situation, the lack of any gain to her by her actions, her mis-guided but compassionate motivations, the lack of harm caused by her actions, and the effect on present and future member of the criminal Bar of a draconian sentence. I pray that your examination will compel you to find that justice and reason mandate a non-custodial sentence."
Contributions to the defense committee can be made to The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee 350 Broadway, Suite 700, New York, NY 10013. Tax deductible contributions can be made payable to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation with Lynne Stewart on the memo line. Send to the same address above. You can also contribute through pay pal at our website: www.lynnestewart.org
[Thanks to Nicky Rose on the Sam Seder Show Blog]
A letter to The New Republic
05.31.2007 | The New Republic
By Noam Chomsky
It is always intriguing to see just how far Alan Dershowitz will go in his efforts to conceal the fact that Norman Finkelstein exposed him as a vulgar and fraudulent apologist for Israeli human rights violations -carefully, judiciously, with extensive documentation. Knowing that he cannot respond, Dershowitz is reduced to a torrent of slanders and deceit about Finkelstein's alleged misdeeds - which would, transparently, be irrelevant if there were a particle of truth to his easily-refuted charges. The latest chapter in Dershowitz's efforts at self-protection is a campaign to undermine Finkelstein's tenure appointment, actions that are utterly without precedent, even reaching to an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal.. In an attempt to obscure what he is up to, along with other little fibs that I'll ignore, Dershowitz has now invented a new fairy tale: that he is following my course when I "led [my] own jihad" to deny Kissinger a faculty position at Columbia ("Cambridge Diarist," TNR, May 21).
As reported in such exotic sources as the national press (e.g., Washington Post, May 27, 1977), when Henry Kissinger left the government, the Columbia administration created a special endowed chair for him, apparently without faculty consultation or normal reviewprocedures. That elicited widespread opposition on campus, including a front-page denunciation in the student newspaper, protests signed by hundreds of faculty and students, and much more. My role in this was precisely zero, as Dershowitz knows, with one exception: I was invited by Columbia faculty members to speak at one of the events they organized. So much for the precedent Dershowitz invents to try to defend his disgraceful efforts to block Finkelstein's tenure.
Why does he drag me into this? For the same reasons as his Finkelstein rampage. I have been the target of a deluge of Dershowitz deceit and inventions since 1973, when I responded to his slanders about the Israeli League of Human Rights, even gross falsification of Israeli court records as he sought to defend serious violations of elementarycivil rights that the court barred - exactly contrary to his claims Boston Globe, April 29, May 17, May 25, June 5, 1973, available online). As always when his performances are exposed, Dershowitz knows he cannot respond, and makes no effort to do so, instead resorting to the device that comes naturally to him: a torrent of vilification and deceit, of which his "Cambridge Diarist" submission is the most recent. As of today.
32D 808, MIT
Cambridge MA 02139
Alan Dershowitz responds:
06.01.2007 | The New Republic
It is not surprising that Noam Chomsky would leap to the defense of his ideological soul mate Norman Finkelstein. He always supports the academic freedom of those with whom he agrees, never those with whom he disagrees. But even Chomsky cannot actually cite any scholarly contributions that Finkelstein--who admits that he has never had an article published in a peer-reviewed journal--has made. What passes for Finkelstein-scholarship is charging me, and virtually every other pro-Israel writer, with plagiarism for citing material to their original rather than secondary sources. Anti-Israel as well as pro-Israel scholars use the same citation method because it is the one preferred by the Chicago Manual of Style and other authoritative sources. For example, Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer repeatedly cite primary sources for material they found in secondary sources. I proved this and challenged Finkelstein to level the same charge against these anti-Israel writers as he did against pro-Israel writers. He refused, because his is not scholarship; it is propaganda.
Finkelstein's other claim to scholarship is to cite the conclusions of anti-Israel human rights organizations as proof that I and other pro-Israel writers must be wrong when we come to independently researched conclusions that are different. He never provides independent research and when asked why not, he replied: "Why should I interview people?"
Finkelstein's only contribution to public discourse is to coarsen the level of debate about the Middle East. In a recent speech, Finkelstein called for all "monsters and freaks in the White House and their collaborators in Tel Aviv" to "drop dead." When Irshad Manji, the Canadian Muslim dissident, was subject to death threats, Finkelstein supported those threats and wrote to a website that was collecting petitions against the death threat the following: "Is there a petition supporting the death threats?" He has also supported, he claims in jest, my assassination. Some of his followers did not understand his humor and have made threatening phone calls to me. He has called me a moral pervert, a Nazi and commissioned a cartoon showing me masturbating in ecstatic joy to dead Lebanese civilians.
That is what passes for scholarship on Planet Chomsky. I challenge Chomsky to cite specific pages of Finkelstein's writings that warrant the grant of tenure. Since Finkelstein writes only for popular audiences and never for scholarly ones, his work can easily be evaluated by lay readers. The pages please!
Chomsky characterizes my input into the Finkelstein debate as "disgraceful." Yet he admits that he, as an MIT professor, spoke at a rally against Columbia University granting an academic position to Henry Kissinger. He claims that he was invited to speak by Columbia faculty members. I too was invited to write about Finkelstein by a DePaul faculty member. Moreover, my comments about Finkelstein have mostly been responsive to attacks by him against me. Would Chomsky deny me my freedom of speech when attacked? Has Chomsky ever remained silent in the face of criticism?
In addition to distorting the record with regard to Finkelstein's scholarship Chomsky distorts the history of my criticism of him. It began when he endorsed a notorious neo-Nazi Holocaust denier named Robert Faurisson by writing an introduction to his book. He also legitimated his falsification of history by characterizing Faurisson's fabrications--he claimed that Hitler's gas chambers never existed and that the Holocaust "never took place"--as having been based on "extensive historical research". Chomsky also legitimated Holocaust denial by writing that he saw "no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust." Chomsky once told a group of people that he himself was "agnostic" on whether the Holocaust occurred. When professor Robert Nozick, who was part of the group, confronted Chomsky with this outrageous statement following a debate at Harvard Medical School, Chomsky shoved Nozick, saying, "How dare you quote an off-the-record remark I made to a small group at Princeton." He did not deny making the statement.
Chomsky then championed another anti-Semite, this time a Jewish one named Israel Shahak who has written that Jews worship the devil and that Israel is comparable to Nazi Germany. Shahak, like Chomsky, was a phony civil libertarian who believed in defending only the rights of the left, tried to hijack an Israeli human rights group.
Now Chomsky is once again championing an anti-Semite who has made a career out of rewriting the history of the Holocaust and denying the reality of Holocaust survivors. Chomsky and Finkelstein deserve each other. The DePaul community deserves better.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard and author of Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways. NOAM CHOMSKY is a professor of linguistics at MIT and author, most recently of Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
The major problem with Michael Moore's new movie "Sicko" is that the movie is right on; the movie takes aim at America's healthcare system and how profit and cost has taken priority over patient care. Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
June 11, 2007
The major problem with Michael Moore's new movie "Sicko" is that the movie is right on; the movie takes aim at America's healthcare system and how profit and cost has taken priority over patient care.
Today America has more than 46 million people that are presently without health insurance and that number is growing rapidly as millions of baby boomers are now becoming seniors and many businesses and corporations are replacing full time positions with part time or temporary labor.
The US is among the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations in the world however the US ranks among the lowest of the industrial nations for health care services. Today the US healthcare system has a ranking close to many third word nations and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the US ranks only two positions above Cuba.
Stewart Alexander, a presidential hopeful with the Peace and Freedom Party, says "What we learn from capitalism is that a capitalistic system is only for the capitalists; the capitalists only exploit the working class, suppressing wages, with little or no benefits. What this system has produced here in the US is the world's most expensive healthcare system, affordable to less that 10 percent of all Americans."
The Peace and Freedom Party is presently urging the labor movement and all those seeking single payer to support putting a single payer initiative on the ballot in California on November 2008. This would give Californians an opportunity to vote to remove the insurance companies from controlling the state's healthcare and to provide healthcare for all the people.
Alexander says,"I hope once people see Sicko they will understand who the real sickos are in the US, they are in Washington; the Democrats, Republicans, and the capitalists that put corporate greed above human needs.
Sicko opens in theaters June 29. For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Alexander: PFP Setting Tone for 2008.
http://email@example.com (YES you can email a presidential candidate directly)
I know. I know. It’s okay. I know. Breathe… We at AltSearchEngines are actually asking everyone to go one day (6 am - midnight), this Tuesday, without using one of the major search engines; Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, or Ask.
Instead, try one of the alt search engines. The list of the most recent Top 100 is here. Then on Wednesday, please leave a detailed comment describing how it went, and share your experience with other readers.
Some ground rules:
1. All day Tuesday, June 12th, don’t use any of the 5 major search engines.
2. Avoid Meta search engines, since most of them include the major search engines.
3. Likewise, the specialized vertical search engines may be too narrowly focused.
4. Consider changing your homepage or downloading their toolbar. You can always uninstall everything and change back on Wednesday.
5. On Wednesday, leave a detailed comment under this post and share your experience with the rest of us. Which alt search engine did you chose? How would you rate the experience?
It’s only one day. It’s only one day. It’s only…
Seriously, this is a real experiment. I didn’t think of it, I read an article by Larry Dignan from Between the Lines , which gave me the idea of trying it here. These alternative search engines have worked very hard to get your attention; please try one -just for Tuesday- and leave your supportive feedback. Good Luck!
It's a bad privacy day for Google, with Privacy International first accusing the company of having the worst privacy performance of any internet service company in a study it has just released and then accusing Google of conducting a smear campaign against it. But if you actually read the report, Privacy International itself comes off bad for putting out a haphazard condemnation of Google.
Let's do the smear campaign accusation first. An Open Letter to Google from the group says that Google is talking to journalists and implying that Privacy International favors Microsoft:
Two European journalists have independently told us that Google representatives have contacted them with the claim that "Privacy International has a conflict of interest regarding Microsoft". I presume this was motivated because Microsoft scored an overall better result than Google in the rankings....
According to our sources, your representative or representatives made particular reference to one member of our 70-member international Advisory Board. This man is a current employee of Microsoft. I can confirm that he joined our Advisory Board well before he was headhunted by Microsoft. At the time he was the director of a leading UK non-governmental organization and had more than six years extensive involvement in the work of Privacy International. He is a decent, skilled and honorable man who upon his appointment with Microsoft offered us his resignation. We refused to accept it, and he continues to serve on the Board in a private capacity. As an exceptionally skilled IT and security expert he is a superb resource in our day-to-day work across many fields of privacy. To infer that he in any way influences our decisions with regard to Microsoft is not just inaccurate but it is also insulting.
Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia has won the Tony Award for Best Play.
The American premiere of The Coast of Utopia, which was performed by a company of over 44 actorsled by Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle, Josh Hamilton, David Harbour, Jason Butler Harner, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Brían F. O'Byrne and Martha Plimpton, was directed by Jack O'Brien. The trilogy is comprised of Voyage, Shipwreck and Salvage.
"Beginning in mid-19th century Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I, Tom Stoppard's sweeping epic spans a period of thirty years as it tells the panoramic story of a group of Russian intellectuals, headed by the radical theorist and editor Alexander Herzen, the novelist Ivan Turgenev, the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky, the poet Nicholas Ogarev, and the aristocrat-turned-anarchist Michael Bakunin, who lead a band of like-minded countrymen in a revolutionary movement in which they strive to change and fix a political system by using their minds as their only weapon."
The action of The Coast of Utopia, which premiered at London's National Theatre in 2002, begins in 1833 with Part One – Voyage, set in the Russian countryside as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Part Two - Shipwreck, begins thirteen years later outside Moscow and follows the characters' exile to Paris, Dresden, and Nice. Part Three - Salvage, takes place over a period of twelve years in London and Geneva. The other two parts will be presented in 2007.
For further information, visit www.coastofutopia.com.
Sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that US security men tested German security by trying to smuggle C4 plastic explosive past a checkpoint at Heiligendamm.
German surveillance machinery detected the tiny stash in a suitcase in a car and the Americans in plainclothes then identified themselves. German police declined comment.
PLAINFIELD, N.H. -- Federal officials say they had no plans to raid the hilltop home owned by a couple convicted of tax evasion and insist the show of force was just a precaution.
Ed and Elaine Brown, however, say a raid was imminent and was foiled by a man walking a dog near their 110-acre compound Thursday morning.
Ed Brown said Friday that U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier was not being honest when he claimed federal agents were merely conducting surveillance.
"He's lying through his teeth about several things," Brown said. "Did I think the raid was imminent? Yeah. I was notified that they were on their way."
The Browns claim the federal income tax is not legitimate and have drawn support from so-called "patriot" and militia groups. Ed Brown declined to say whether more supporters had arrived at their home Friday.
"I am a United States Constitution Ranger for real. I have more law enforcement authority and lawful jurisdiction than any of these law enforcement agencies do. Hello. We are officers of honor. ... We protect your rights, your guarantees of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness," he said. "They're conducting sedition and treason.
In a video clip posted on a Web site supporting the Browns' cause Thursday night, a man identifying himself as Danny Riley, of Albany, N.Y., said he spotted a man in camouflage in the woods near the end of the long driveway while walking the dog.
"I yelled to him, 'What are you doing, turkey hunting?"' he said. "All of a sudden a guy stood right up in front of me with a full camouflage suit on and yelled, 'Freeze!' At that point I turned around and ran for my life."
Riley, who said he was yelling that he was unarmed, claimed he heard two shots whiz past him as he ran, then more men in camouflage popped up out of the woods on either side of him and told him to freeze. He stopped, and they shocked him and handcuffed him, he said.
They first asked him to try and negotiate the Browns' surrender, then strip-searched and questioned him for hours at a police station in Lebanon, he said. They asked about the Browns' compound, the number of people there and the weapons in the house, he said.
They asked him to return to the Browns' house and tell them only two men had arrested him -- but when he got there, the Browns and their supporters already knew what had really happened, he said. While he was driving home, Riley said he picked up a message on his cell phone from another Brown supporter who said he was arrested when he left their compound to buy groceries.
Monier said the marshals had not arrested anyone else. He said a man walking a dog had been detained, but declined to identify him because he was not arrested. Asked whether shots had been fired, he said no deadly force was used.
"No lethal force was ever employed yesterday -- none," he said Friday morning.
But shows of potential force were employed on Thursday as deputy U.S. marshals seized the office where Elaine Brown was a dentist in neighboring Lebanon. A judge had ordered the property forfeited as part of the couple's sentence for scheming to hide $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003.
The Browns have described the federal courts as a "fiction" unworthy of their attention and stopped attending their trial partway through. They also were convicted of using $215,890 in postal money orders to pay for their residence and for the dental office seized Thursday. The money orders were bought in amounts just below the tax-reporting threshold.
They were convicted in January and sentenced in April to begin serving more than five years in federal prison immediately. They did not attend their sentencing hearing and have returned government mail unopened. An appeal they filed earlier has been forwarded to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
Monier said the show of force Thursday was because of threats Ed Brown made previously. Brown has said he would die defending himself and his property.
"You know Ed Brown has made a number of statements. We needed to know where he was. We needed to know where his supporters were," he said. "We have no wish to have a violent encounter with either one of them."
The home has a watchtower, concrete walls and the ability to run on wind and solar power. Ed Brown, who has at least one gun, has said he has stockpiled food and supplies and would resist arrest.
Monier said U.S. marshals have negotiated daily with the Browns since January and will continue doing so in hopes of persuading them to surrender peacefully.
On Thursday, the Browns spoke with their supporters by telephone before their phone, cell phone and Internet service were cut off, neighbors were evacuated and police and federal vehicles blocked roads near their home. Their main telephone number was working again Friday.
Monier said officials cut the phone to prevent supporters from flocking to the Browns. They have developed an online following of fellow anti-tax activists, Ron Paul supporters and others who believe in a federal government conspiracy to deprive Americans of their liberties.
Monier made it clear that anyone helping the Browns avoid authorities could be charged.
"Anyone aiding and abetting in their obstruction of justice is subject to arrest," he said.
A year ago the international Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, which I chaired, presented its unanimous report, “Weapons of Terror,” to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The report urged governments to wake up from what Annan has called their “sleepwalking” and revive arms control and disarmament. We often hear warnings that the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the global instrument through which states committed themselves against the acquisition of nuclear weapons and for nuclear disarmament—now risks collapse. The good news is that the world is not replete with would-be violators. The overwhelming commitment to the treaty remains tremendously valuable: Libya and Iraq were both found to be in violation and brought back into observance. In two other cases—North Korea and Iran—the world is actively seeking solutions. For now, at least, there appear to be no other problematic cases.
Still, the dangers are real, and the treaty is under strain. The global process of arms control and disarmament has stagnated in the last decade; it needs to be revived and pursued in parallel with efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to more states and to terrorist movements. Preventing further proliferation is essential, but it is not a recipe for success to preach to the rest of the world that it must stay away from the very weapons that nuclear states claim are indispensable for their own security. Perhaps it would be a little less difficult to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and accept far-reaching verification if the nuclear states negotiating with Iran were ready to do the same.
What means of persuasion are available to prevent further nuclear proliferation? New strategies must start from the sensible premise advanced by the late Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh in early 2003: a skeptical attitude toward military action against violators is not enough; positive policies are required as well. Later that year she and her colleagues in the European Union declared that the best solution to the problem of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was to ensure that countries no longer felt that they needed them; and that violators should be encouraged to walk back and rejoin the international community. Such efforts will require the United States and other nuclear-weapon states to take the lead in moving toward nuclear disarmament rather than developing new ones or new means of delivery. Arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation, along with broader issues of regional and global security, are pieces of a single puzzle.
Some might argue that global disarmament and arms-control is already taking place, pointing to the reduction in nuclear arsenals—from an estimated 50,000 weapons to 27,000, including a dramatic reduction in or withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons—under the 1991 Bush-Gorbachev Presidential Nuclear Initiative. Another reduction, though unverified, is expected by 2012 under the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty. While these reductions are very much welcome, they only concern what the states involved consider “surplus” weapons. What remains is more than sufficient to destroy our planet.
Moreover, many new developments are taking us in the wrong direction. Several nuclear-weapon states no longer give pledges against a first use of nuclear weapons. The United States is developing a missile shield, an effort that China and Russia perceive as a way for the United States to threaten them without repercussions. The U.S. government, with the support of influential American groups, wishes to develop new types of nuclear weapons. In the United Kingdom, the government has decided to renew its nuclear-weapon program, stretching it far beyond 2020. The United States is also considering space-based weapons; if it launched such a program, other states might follow, thus threatening the world’s peaceful uses of space and the enormous investments made in them. All of these developments are deeply worrisome because they increase the risk that nuclear weapons will be used.
The history of efforts to regulate weapons of mass destruction provides guidance for today. The international community’s early approach was simply to ban their use—as, for example, in the 1925 Geneva Protocol against bacteriological and chemical weapons. With the appearance of nuclear weapons and the horrendous effects of their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, two new avenues were pursued. First, Article 2.4 of the UN Charter prohibited the threat or use of force—any force—against a state’s territorial integrity or political independence. The charter permitted two exceptions to the rule: Article 51 preserved a right to self-defense when an armed attack occurred, until the Security Council acted; and armed force was also permitted in situations constituting a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.” While this category is broader than a response to an “armed attack,” the use of force in these cases is subject to decision by the Security Council.
A later approach was based on the idea that the best way to guarantee against a weapon’s use is to assure that it is not produced, or if it is produced that it is not acquired, or if it is produced and acquired that it is not stockpiled. Thus, in 1946 the General Assembly declared its determination to eliminate the production of “atomic weapons” and other weapons of mass destruction. But this approach faced problems of monitoring and enforcement: while violations of a ban on use would, in all likelihood, be visible, a violation of a ban on production and stocking could be hidden. To be reliable the new approach required inspection. The authors of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 did take an important step beyond the 1925 Geneva Protocol and prohibit the production and stocking of biological weapons, but they were not able during the Cold War to agree on machinery for verification and inspection. The Soviet Union and Iraq were later able to violate the ban without being detected.
We have not been able to achieve a convention specifically banning the production, stocking, and use of nuclear weapons. Nor did the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1996 completely outlaw their use. But a fragmentary approach has achieved important results, including a ban on deployment in various environments (the Antarctic, the sea bed, and outer space); treaty bans on testing; limits on possession through the Non-Proliferation Treaty and treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones; mandatory good-faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament for the nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the NPT; and conditional guarantees that nuclear weapons will not be used against states that forego developing their own.
When considering the current threat of nuclear weapons, it is important to remember both basic approaches that the world has taken—a general prohibition on the use of force and the elimination of the weapons. The two are related. In most cases of nonadherence to and noncompliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the report of the WMDC observes, “perceived threats to security have been the incentive for the acquisition of nuclear weapons and security guarantees of various kinds have offered disincentives.” I would add that convincing states that they do not need weapons of mass destruction would be significantly easier if all UN members practiced genuine respect for the existing restraints on the threat and use of force.
In all cases of noncompliance the WMDC stressed the need to understand why states seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction and work to remove the incentives. Among the motivations, demands for recognition seem important, in addition to perceived security needs. Recognition and status may be important to governments that, for various reasons, have been isolated: for example, Libya, North Korea, and Iran. Libya divested itself of its nuclear program following negotiations that led to enhanced official recognition and the lifting of UN sanctions. In the case of North Korea, President Jimmy Carter’s visit to President Kim Il Sung in 1994 opened the door to an agreement, and a current offer of normalization of relations with the United States and Japan may be an incentive helping to finalize it. In the case of Iran, diplomatic relations exist with all the negotiating parties except the United States. Although an American offer to normalize relations could carry great weight, no such offer has been extended.
What will convince a state that its security will be served by a credible renunciation of nuclear weapons? One approach taken by the Bush administration (with both North Korea and Iran) has been to convey the message that moving toward nuclear weapons will actually jeopardize security—that it will result in increased isolation and vulnerability and may trigger preventive counterproliferation action or Security Council intervention.
One difficulty with this approach is that recipients may seek to move faster to nuclear weapons in the belief that this will help to deter counterproliferation. Another lies in the field of legality and legitimacy: a state’s technological progress toward nuclear-weapon capability does not constitute an “armed attack” that justifies the use of armed force under the UN Charter. The Security Council, although entitled to authorize military action against a “threat to the peace,” seems unlikely to go that far to eradicate alleged or apparent WMD programs that are not actively used as threats. Hence, especially in the wake of the horrendous consequences of military action in Iraq, both the council and member states are likely to avoid military action in favor of political, diplomatic, and economic measures.
If military action is ruled out, can the opposite—positive guarantees about security—be persuasive as an incentive to stop or forego nuclear programs? In the case of North Korea, the Bush administration seems to think so. As a part of a deal, and perhaps to meet North Korea’s stated concern about the “hostile attitude” of the United States, guarantees against attack from the outside appear to be offered. For Iran, however, security guarantees have not been on the table, although it is hard to believe that such guarantees would have no useful effect, given U.S. military presence in the region and the Bush administration’s policies of regime change.
Security is of central importance to all Middle Eastern states. Thus, attempts to verify the claim that Iran’s enrichment program aims only to produce fuel are pointless. Aims can change over time, and the cold fact is that the very existence of an industrial-scale enrichment plant in Iran that could potentially produce weapon-grade uranium would likely increase tension in the region. Practically all would want to see a negotiated agreement under which Iran suspended the enrichment program and was ensured inter alia of support for its program to use nuclear power.
However, the UN Security Council’s current demand that Iran suspend its enrichment program as a precondition to talks is humiliating, and it is not a surprise that Iran has rejected it. Failure in the case of Iran could create serious risks of escalation and long-term domino effects. Can new approaches be taken?
Several options are available.
A zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, first proposed by Egypt and Iran in 1974, has universal support in the region. But while such a zone may well be an indispensable part of a broader peace settlement, it is not realistic in the present political and security climate.
Arrangements to limit the number of enrichment and reprocessing plants in particularly sensitive areas might be an alternative option. In the denuclearization declaration of 1992 the two Korean states agreed between themselves that neither would have enrichment or reprocessing plants on its territory. Any new nuclear arrangement for the peninsula is expected to include this feature.
Could the Korean model be followed by the states of the Middle East? In the past year several have voiced interest in developing nuclear power, and some fear that sensitive nuclear-fuel-cycle facilities may also be contemplated. Such facilities would surely increase tension. Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) characterized the elimination of Iraq’s capability to enrich uranium as a step toward a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Perhaps commitments could be made by all states in the region to forego the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of plutonium for a prolonged period of time in exchange for being guaranteed fuel-cycle services from elsewhere. Such an agreement would not touch existing quantities of enriched uranium or plutonium, whether in laboratories, stores, or Israeli weapons. But if such an agreement were subject to effective international inspection, it might constitute a practical and confidence-building first step on the long and difficult road to a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
Negotiations with Iran will not be easy under any circumstances, but I suspect that they might be somewhat less difficult if the nuclear-weapon states could show that they were leading the world toward nuclear disarmament by moving toward it themselves. While the WMDC pleaded for a convention “outlawing” nuclear weapons similar to the conventions outlawing biological and chemical weapons, there are many more modest steps that could and should be taken without much delay.
What would a broad program of global disarmament look like? Let me sketch some of the recommendations of the WMDC, starting with three system-level measures.
The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the principal international forum for negotiation on issues related to WMDs, has been unable to adopt an agenda for almost a decade. As a result, during this time no substantive issues have been discussed or negotiated in the conference. This is the unsatisfactory result of a consensus requirement that has its roots in Cold War practices. The conference should be able to make administrative and procedural decisions, including the adoption of a program of work by a qualified majority of two thirds of the membership present and voting.
Given the setbacks in arms control and disarmament at the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference and the UN summit in 2005, we need to set the stage for a credible multilateral disarmament and nonproliferation process. The General Assembly should convene a new World Summit on disarmament, nonproliferation, and the use of WMDs by terrorists. Because thorough preparations would be necessary, planning should start as soon as possible.
Alongside these system-level measures, the commission proposes many substantive measures to reduce the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons and the dangers of existing arsenals.
No measure could be more urgent—important in substance and as a signal that arms control and disarmament are again on the world agenda—than the signing and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by states that have not yet done so. If the treaty were seen to lapse, there would be an increased risk that some state might restart weapons tests. Demanding in negotiations with North Korea that the country should deposit its ratification of the treaty—which is necessary for the treaty to enter into force—would be easier if all the states participating in the six-power talks had themselves ratified the treaty.
Next-most urgent is to negotiate without further delay a treaty prohibiting the production of fissile material for weapons. A continued reduction in the number of existing nuclear weapons and a verified closing of the tap for more weapon-fissile material would gradually reduce the world inventory of bombs. A draft of a cutoff treaty has been presented in Geneva. It has crucial weaknesses—notably, the absence of a provision on international verification—but it should be welcomed as a draft and discussed.
In addition, steps taken by all nuclear-weapon states to reduce strategic nuclear arsenals would be significant as confidence-building measures. The United States and Russia, which have the most weapons, should take the lead. With increasing cooperation between Russia and the EU, Russian nuclear weapons should be withdrawn from forward deployment to central storage, and American nuclear weapons should be withdrawn to American territory.
All states that have nuclear weapons should commit themselves categorically to a policy of no first use, and the United States and Russia should reciprocally take their nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.
If reliance on nuclear power increases, as is expected, the need for a greater production of low-enriched uranium fuel and for the disposal of spent fuel can be anticipated. This must occur in a manner that does not increase the diversion of material and the risk of proliferation. Various proposals are on the table, and the possibilities should be explored for international arrangements to ensure the availability of nuclear fuel for civilian reactors while minimizing the risk of weapon proliferation. The International Atomic Energy Agency is the most suitable forum for such exploration. The production of highly enriched uranium should be phased out.
Regional approaches will also be needed, especially in sensitive areas. It would be desirable, as suggested above, to obtain commitments from the states on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East (including Iran and Israel) to accept a verified suspension for a prolonged period of time of the production of enriched uranium and plutonium while obtaining international assurances of the supply of fuel for civilian nuclear power.
Lastly, international professional inspection, such as it has been practiced under the UN, the IAEA, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, is an important and effective tool for verification. Such inspection does not conflict at all with national means of verification. Rather, these two fact-finding methods supplement each other. Many states have no national means that they can use and should not have to be dependent upon the intelligence of other states. States that do operate such intelligence may, in one-way-traffic arrangements, provide information to the international verification systems. These reports offer governments a chance for a quality check on their national systems and corroboration of their conclusions.
In all of this, the United States has decisive leverage. If the United States takes the lead by bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force and by accepting a verified ban on the production of fissile material for weapons, the world is likely to follow. If it does not, the result could well be more nuclear testing and new nuclear arms races.
Hans Blix is the chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. He served as the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1981 to 1997 and as the executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from March 2000 to June 2003.
Originally published in the May/June 2007 issue of Boston Review.
So the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany is winding down, and again the world’s most developed countries have agreed to help the world, they just won’t say when. The fight against greenhouse gas emissions and AIDS in Africa are coming but no deadlines have been agreed upon. To honor this great meeting of heads of state we’ve assembled a vid picks series of G8 viral moments.
In response to this comment thread, I found this video, which appears to be created by an anarchist in germany and details instances of European police brutality and resistance to that brutality. (I could be wrong in guessing this, I don’t know much at *all* about anarchists/anarchist movement in Germany, and the video blurb doesn’t give much clarification, so somebody correct me, please, if i’m wrong!!!!)
(P.S. Video has LOTS of disturbing images and has been flagged by the youtube community, so watch at your own risk)
Vancouver's best-known sex-trade activist, Jamie Lee Hamilton, is
promising to create an international controversy if the city creates
no-go zones for sex-trade workers. No-go zones were mentioned in a new
community-based report on the sex trade, which was unveiled at the
Vancouver Public Library's Central Branch on June 4.
"I, for one, will make this an international issue when they're talking
no-go zones," Hamilton told the Georgia Straight. "We already had a
no-go zone with the 1984 West End injunction."
Hamilton said that in the early 1980s, she was street soliciting on
Davie Street and felt she was part of a "cultural community" of sex
workers. But a group of West End residents, including future city
councillor Gordon Price, complained about the impact of the sex trade on
the neighbourhood. The attorney general of the day, Brian Smith,
obtained a court injunction, moving the sex trade south of Seymour Street.
Hamilton said she ended up working in industrial areas of Mount
Pleasant. Others moved to the Downtown Eastside. "The message was sent
out to the predators that it was open season," Hamilton said, drawing a
link between the 1984 injunction and the waves upon waves of sex-trade
workers who later went missing on the Downtown Eastside.
Susan Davis, a veteran sex worker and spokesperson for the BC Coalition
of Experiential Women, told the audience at the library that no-go zones
and a proposed "code of conduct" are ways of communicating to sex
workers what behaviours are not acceptable to the rest of the community.
She said people in neighbourhoods don't want to see sex workers "all
sketched out" beside schools, for example.
"So if you opt to turn a trick in a school ground, there is a condom
there," Davis said. "Somebody is going to be upset."
The Living in Community project steering committee includes
representatives of neighbourhood associations, sex workers, the police,
the aboriginal community, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the Hastings
North Business Improvement Association. Its report includes 27
recommended actions, ranging from the creation of a sex workers
cooperative to developing a standardized curriculum in the school system
to prevent sexual exploitation of youth.
"For instance, 'no-go zones', where sex work activity would be
disallowed, such as in schools and parks, could be established," the
report states. "The process of developing these guidelines would provide
an opportunity to educate sex workers about their impacts on the
community, and residents and businesses about how to better communicate
with sex workers. This process would be undertaken on a
neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis to ensure guidelines are specific
to the needs of each individual community."
Amanda Bonella, a former sex worker, told the Georgia Straight that she
strongly supports the report's call for a sex workers cooperative, which
would provide safe indoor workspaces, a code of conduct, education, and
training for the most vulnerable sex workers.
"I really like the idea of there being a cooperative where women can
work," Bonella said. "That's a really good idea. People should be able
to make a living safely. Safety should be the first priority, and then
deal with other issues."
David Bornman is an East Vancouver pastor with a long history of
involvement in community issues, including an unsuccessful fight to keep
slot machines out of Hastings Park. In a phone interview with the
Straight, he likened a sex workers cooperative to a brothel, which is
illegal under the Criminal Code.
"I would definitely oppose it," he said. "I can tell you that."
Vancouver Police inspector Scott Thompson told the audience at the
library that police must enforce laws currently in place. "I think it's
imperative, as we have been doing, to put safety first as opposed to
nuisance being the first issue," he said. "Certainly there is a history
to this [dealing with nuisance issues], but I think our enforcement in
the more recent past has been very much focused on safety."
I am dancing
on the cusp of dreams and reality;
A fractal being
caught in spacetime
between cocoon and butterfly;
the borderlands between two dimensions;
the edge of chaos.
The view is pretty from here.
Look! Mandelbrot's Set!
What is real in my dreams
and what are dreams in the real
I no longer know.
And so I just dance
in the dreamscape of my desires.
Posted by J A G U A R I T O (Marco Hewitt)
By Noam Chomsky
Introduction by Peter Hart
City Lights Books Open Media Series
234 pages | $15.95
ISBN ? 13: 978-0-87286483-2
For those of us who know the name Noam Chomsky, our familiarity flows from having read (or read about) his many books on political or foreign affairs. Perhaps his best-known are 9-11, Manufacturing Consent (written with Ed Herman), and thanks to the promotion at the United Nations by Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez recently, Hegemony or Survival. That said, when (or if) we think of Chomsky, it's in the context of a critic, an author, or a scholar.
Who knew that he is a gifted, concise columnist?
Chomsky has been writing and distributing his op-ed pieces for years; unfortunately, American newspapers rarely carry them. In fact, as Chavez has demonstrated, Chomsky's readership of both books and columns may be more plentiful abroad than here, in the States.
That may change with the publication of his newest book, a collection of columns called Interventions (City Lights Books/ Open Media Series, San Francisco, 2007). Interventions? offers over forty of Chomsky's columns; insightful, crisp and well-researched pieces on news events of the day. From 9-11 to the Iraq War, from the "non-crisis" of social security to the leveling of Lebanon, Chomsky provides informed opinion and critical analysis.
The real kicker is, why is it easier to read him in Mexico's national daily, La Jornada, or in Britain's Guardian, than say, the Washington Post or the New York Times? The reasons are simple and undeniable: Chomsky doesn't buy the "Washington consensus" that is the bread and butter of most U.S. newspapers, and his pen slants to the left.
For example, in "Disarming the Iran Nuclear Showdown," Chomsky writes:
"A near meltdown seems to be imminent over Iran and its nuclear programs. Before 1979, when the shah of Iran was in power, Washington strongly supported these programs.
"Today, the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power and, therefore, must be pursuing a secret weapons program. 'For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources,' Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post last year (2005).
"Thirty years ago, however, when Kissinger was secretary of state for President Gerald R. Ford, he held that 'introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.' "
Chomsky, a leading linguist and scholar, peppers his columns with such insights.
In an age when the nation's mass media knowingly betrayed its customers into this disaster of a war, based on a lie, Chomsky's musings could have been a valuable and necessary corrective. Unfortunately, millions of Americans never got that opinion; instead they were fed the lies of privilege, profit and war-mongering that led this nation into the mess it now finds itself.
A timely intervention might have changed things.
2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal
There are presently 38 states in the US that have continued the practice of capital punishment and 37 of those states use the controversial practice of lethal injection. Within recent years lethal injecting and the death penalty have come under heavy attacks from human rights organizations and the Peace and Freedom Party due to continuous botched procedures and the flagrant violation of the US Constitution. Presidential hopeful Stewart A. Alexander and the Peace and Freedom Party are committed to abolishing the death penalty in the United States.
Candidate Alexander has been an outspoken opponent of capital punishment because it is a violation of human rights and it is a violation of the US Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Alexander has also criticized how capital punishment has remained an instrument for big business in America and is a multi-billion dollar enterprise for the prison industrial complex and the criminal justice system.
Within recent years public attitudes regarding capital punishment has waned dramatically. Just over a decade ago US juries were sentencing over 300 individuals to death every year; and within recent years that number has decline to slightly above 100. Many jurors are refusing to buy into state sponsored murder and are choosing life sentences over death. Also many juries are choosing to side with more lenient sentences.
In January 2003 Governor George Ryan of Illinois commuted the conviction of all 167 inmates on death row in the State of Illinois before he left office. In a speech Governor Ryan said he had concluded that capital punishment was applied unfairly and risked executing persons who where innocent.
A prominent example of innocent persons on death row is political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. In December 1981 Mumia was framed for the murder of Philadelphia police office Daniel Faulkner and the State of Pennsylvania has used every means at its disposal, a staged crime scene, evidence that was fabricated, and a hand picked jury, to convict an innocent man and to put Mumia to death.
Millions of people around the world have call for the release of Mumia; however in the face of overwhelming evidence that pointed to Mumia’s innocence the State of Pennsylvania is moving ahead in an attempt to have him executed.
Alexander has charged that the US criminal justice system is racist and continues a practice of discrimination; he also charges that the death penalty has been carried out in an arbitrary manner, inflicted on ethnic minorities, the poor and the most vulnerable in this society.
Killing prisoners has become big business in America and every person on death row will cost US tax payers as much as $10 million a year, or as much as a quarter of a billion dollars for the many years they will spend on death row, most often exceeding 20 years, for housing the inmate and for the heavy cost of appeals.
As president of the United States Alexander will fight for a constitutional ban on the death penalty; he will also direct his attorney general to investigate the cover-up in the Mumia case by the state officials in Pennsylvania, potentially charging these officials with obstruction of justice for covering up the frame-up.
Alexander says, “It is important for Americans to understand that America has a political system and a criminal just-us system that is broke; its a system that is being run by two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, and they are out of touch with the will of the majority of Americans.”
The Peace and Freedom Party has been a strong opponent to the death penalty since the establishment of the party in 1967. The organization has remained a strong advocate for the working class, the poor, and for human and civil rights.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Death Penalty, $250 Million Tax Burden; “Worse Than We Thought” by Human Rights Watch.
Note: The United States is the only major western nation that still employs the death penalty.
Is Josh Wolf, one-time martyr for journalistic integrity, setting himself up for corporate censorship?
Just weeks after Josh Wolf finished spending 226 days in prison protecting his journalistic work product, he's signed a contract allowing a single corporate sponsor to censor a new blog he’ll write, in event the sponsor finds his contributions objectionable.
Wolf, you’ll recall, filmed a Mission District G-8 protest two years ago, and was subpoenaed by a grand jury to hand over his tapes in connection with an inquiry into the injury of a police officer. He refused, and was jailed for contempt. He was released from a Dublin detention facility April 3, after agreeing to post all his video recordings of the protest onto the Internet.
Wolf was a fortunate ex-con. Not long after tasting freedom, he got a paying gig. Wolf has inked a for-pay blogging contract with a single as yet unnamed corporate sponsor, with the blog Media Sphere scheduled to go live June 12.
Wolf will be the sole contributor, writing about issues relating to the flap that brought him fame. Items he's pondering include opinions about citizen journalism and corporate control, and thoughts on Michael Moore getting in trouble for going to Cuba, Wolf says.
The sponsor is "a big tech company. If you guess which one, you'll probably get it right," Wolf said, explaining that his new contract’s terms don’t make him an employee of the corporation, but do allow the sponsor to censor any material it deems objectionable.
Wolf’s new arrangement is different than a journalist being edited by an magazine or newspaper editor. His arrangement is more along the lines of early television, where shows had a single sponsor, and had a free hand dictating content, such as requiring characters to smoke Chesterfield cigarettes.
Josh doesn’t expect the censorious contract language he signed to create a censorship problem.
“At this point I’m not concerned about it. I don’t anticipate it happening. I think they know that if I’m willing to go to jail over protecting my work product, that I’m also probably willing to lose a contract to protect my integrity as well,” Wolf said. --Matt Smith
Only 50 of the thousands of protestors were permitted in the area around the Rostock airport Tuesday to protest the arrival of US President George W. Bush in Germany for the Group of 8 Summit.
Bush was taken amid strong security measures and protests to the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm, which will be the host of the G-8 Summit starting Wednesday.
The German government only permitted 50 of the thousands who descended around the airport, and those were individually searched and authorized.
Bush came from the Czech Republic, where he talked with top authorities of plans to install an anti-radar shield in Bohemia to complement the interceptor rocket base projected in Poland.
This project is strongly rejected by Russia, which believes it threatens its borders, so Bush said the project is purely defensive, but in another speech criticized alleged lack of democracy in Russia.
Bush will meet with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday to discuss their differences on the measures to avoid climatic changes.
“My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inaminate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. […] Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any many, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master is. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Grant me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers. And so on down the line. But, of course, the fatal weakness of all that — after all only the fatal weakness of all good natural things in a bad corrupt unnatural world — is that it works and has only worked when all the world is messing along in the same good old inefficient human way. […] There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamating factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal”
J. R. R. Tolkien. The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. ed. Humphrey Carpenter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981), 63 -4.
[Thanks to Toni for this link]
For the fourth straight month, the number of people identifying themselves as Republicans has decreased. For the third straight month, the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats has also decreased (see history).
A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 15,000 adults in May found that just 30.8% now say they’re Republicans. That’s down slightly from last month and down more than six percentage points from the GOP peak of 37.3% during Election 2004. The number of Republicans has been falling fairly steadily since the middle of 2005.
However, the survey also found that the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats has fallen to its lowest level in seventeen months (since January 2006). Democrats gained about two percentage points of support during 2006 and peaked at 38.0% in December of last year. Since actually taking control of Congress, Democrats have given back most of those gains. Today, 36.3% say they belong to Nancy Pelosi’s party.
As a result, the number not affiliated with either major party has jumped to another all-time high—32.9%. That’s up nearly nine percentage points since Election 2004 and means that there are now more politically unaffiliated adults than Republicans (see related stories on the possibility of an independent White House bid by Michael Bloomberg and the how a successful independent campaign could deadlock both the Electoral College and House of Representatives).
These results are based upon tracking surveys of 15,000 adults per month. The margin of sampling error is less than one percentage point, with a 95% level of confidence. Please keep in mind that figures reported in this article are for all adults, not Likely Voters. Republicans typically do a bit better among Likely Voters (in fact, the two parties ended up even among those who showed up to vote in 2004).
The Democrats' net advantage over Republicans is now 5.5 percentage points, unchanged from a month ago. That’s down slightly from the peak advantage of 6.9 points following Election 2006. However, the Democratic edge remains larger than at any point prior to the fall of 2006.
Once upon a time business in the industrialized world needed its citizen laborers as customers, as consumers, which implied they be paid at least enough to buy the products of the businesses and corporations that beat their asses into submission along America's assembly lines and hog slaughtering plants. That was called American opportunity and prosperity and it looked pretty damned good to millions of war ravaged Urpeen furiners trying to decide whether to eat a wharf rat or the neighbor's cat for dinner. As for the Third World, they could eat dirt and do native dances for what few tourists existed then (otherwise called the rich), but mainly they should stay out of the way of "our" natural resources in their countries.
At any rate, when the citizen labor force, by their sheer numbers, held most of the dough in their calloused mitts, there was no avoiding them by the business classes. But now that so much of not just this nation's, but the world's wealth, has become concentrated in the hands of so few, that is no longer a problem for the rich. People are cheaper than ever and getting more plentiful by the minute. So work'em to death, kill'em, eat'em if you want to. Who the fuck cares? The international rich, the managers and controllers of the new financial globalism and the world's resources and the planet's labor forces, whether they be Asian "Confucian capitalists," masters of Colombian Narco state fortunes or Chinese Tongs, New York or London brokerage and media barons, or Russian oligarchs, hold increasing and previously unimaginable concentrated wealth. They look to be a replacement for the mass market, indeed even a better one with fewer mass distribution problems, higher grade demand and at top prices.
Until then however, the real dough is still in the energy game, the big suckdown of hydrocarbons, that plus convincing Americans to burn up their own seed corn. Academics, economists and scientists offer "free market solutions," such as ethyl alcohol from corn — which most readers here know requires more petroleum to grow than energy it produces, and will deprive the rest of the world of much needed food — just so Americans may continue motoring the suburban savannah lands, grazing on Subway Cold Cut Combos and Outback's Kookaburra Chicken Wings.
But even when the last Toyota Prius is forever moldering in the globally warmed deserts of Minneapolis, we proles will not be totally unprofitable creatures. Yesterday I read a gem of an economic paper asserting that in the emerging information, amusement, service, and "experience and attention economy," it is vital that "private business capture ownership and control of the public's knowledge and its attending rent streams." Apparently it's not bad enough that we become a third rate gulag of impoverished nitwits. They are going to charge us for the privilege.
The United States has the most obsessive business class in the world. This would be no big deal if it did not direct the minds of the nation's population thorough its public relations indoctrination industry. This is a matter of life and death for the financial pickle vendors, sub-prime mortgage shysters and CitiBank, Morgan Stanley and other high financiers who have come to actually own this country. There is only one threat to their empire of debt: people acting in the interests of ordinary society — which in the rest of the world is known as socialism. Consequently, we have no socialist politicians and no socialist journalists in our entire press and media, which is simply unimaginable in most civilized places like Europe. It is important that the working class thinks it has the self-determination they learned about in high school civics classes designed in the universities, that they feel any kind of individual power at all, which basically comes down the tepid power of consumer choice, which makes them malleable, and intolerant of any voice that suggests otherwise. But if even one iota of class awareness were allowed to flourish here, well, much of the American business class and the entire YaleUniversity faculty would be hiding out in Argentina.
Without class interests and class awareness there can be no genuine politics or political parties. So, to the everlasting relief of the business classes, and with thanks to our university system's poli-sci, history and social science departments, we have neither. Despite all the media's political white noise, we have a depoliticized society. It may be that the Internet is changing things. It surely is the most refreshing opportunity to come along maybe in all of modern American history, and it does put heat on some political campaigns. No arguing that it influences certain influencers in society, to the degree that anything besides advertising influences anybody in the consumer republic. Problem is though, how do you create critical political mass in a depoliticized society? Most people don't vote and when it comes to actual participation in politics, opportunity is zilch. If you are not from the relatively privileged political and business segments, what the hell access is there for the individual to participate, except in one of the two business based and supported parties offered? Even at the local level. Anyone who has tried to affect one of these parties locally knows you either play entirely by the party line or stand isolated, over in the corner of the Holiday Inn meeting room with your paper plate of stale salami and Triscuits and keep your mouth shut and let the Rotary Club's big dogs bark. "Save the class dissidence bullshit for your next Al-Qaeda cell meeting, buddy!"
From Well, CNN and the rest of the media (that have the power to decide who you will or won't see on the boob tube or read about in print) that's who.
After last night's democratic presidential debate, "Senator Chris Dodd criticized CNN for giving far more time to Senators Obama and Clinton. Obama spoke for 16 minutes. Dodd, Kucinich, Gravel and Senator Joe Biden were each given less than nine minutes."*
So apparently, while you're trying to decide who you'd prefer to represent the left wing of the republican party in the '08 presidential election, CNN already has, giving Obama and Clinton twice as much exposure.
Unless one's an Obama or Clinton lover, this should be very upsetting to those who might support one of the lesser, "unknown" candidates like a Kucinich or a Gravel. (WTF is a Gravel?)
Oh well, Dada just can't wait for the Peace and Freedom Party's debates on CNN.
*Attribute: Democracy Now!
With Contributions From Our Readers
The editor's Top Ten list:
1. A nationalized U.S. energy industry required by law to develop alternative non-fossil fuel energy sources. Federal compensation to oil industry shareholders not to exceed 25 percent of their holdings.
2. British Prime Minister George Galloway and British Foreign Secretary Ken Livingston. A King Charles III who is committed to stemming and reversing global warming.
3. An International Criminal Court trial in The Hague with indicted George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and all their neo-con advisers and facilitators in the docket.
4. A new Middle East map with a free Republic of Lebanon devoid of foreign troops, an independent Syria (including the Golan Heights), the independent Republic of Palestine with the right of free transit between Gaza and the West Bank, the Confederation of Iraq devoid of foreign troops, an independent Republic of Kurdistan in northern Iraq internationally prohibited from expanding its borders, a denuclearized and wall-less State of Israel with international security guarantees, the International Territory of Jerusalem (Old City) governed by the United Nations in association with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian local authorities, the Republic of Hejaz and Nejd replacing the corrupt and Bush-connected Saudi Arabia, and a nuclear weapons-free Iran with a fully-functioning U.S. embassy in Tehran.
5. A Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and a Canadian Prime Minister Jack Layton re-negotiating NAFTA that favors labor, small business, and farmers. Dissolution of NATO and the US Northern Command. Cuban membership in the new NAFTA without pre-conditions regarding its government and leadership.
6. Universal health care for all Americans. Nationalization of certain sectors of the pharmaceutical industry. Legalization of marijuana.
7. Universal and improved public education for all Americans. Dissolution through nationalization and carefully-vetted resale of the media empires of Rupert Murdoch, Silvio Berlusconi, and other media barons. Restoration of the FCC's Fairness Doctrine for radio and TV. Federal regulations requiring corporations that own news organizations to spin them off to private journalistic cooperatives. No corporate or government control of the Internet. A total ban on dual nationality for U.S. citizens.
8. Federal taxation of all religious-connected businesses and mega-properties. Retroactive repeal of tax exempt status for all foundations and institutes connected with the Bush administration's war policies. Requirement that all organizations that represent foreign countries and interests register as foreign agents with the Department of Justice.
9. Repeal of all Bush administration anti-constitutional laws and administrative orders.
10. Progressive Executive and Legislative Branches in the United States that will begin the process of impeachment of Bush-appointed federal judges, cut the bloated defense budget (replacing the Department of Defense with the Department of Peace and the Department of Homeland Security with the Department of Civil Defense), repeal tax cuts for billionaires, and restore America's image in the world. Dissolution of the Directorate of National Intelligence. Place the Central Intelligence Agency under the Department of State.
Stewart A. Alexander for President
Peace and Freedom Party
June 3, 2007
The Democratic control Congress recently passed a minimum wage increase tied to a Bush-Iraq War spending bill for $120 billion; within the next two years America’s lowest paid wage earners will receive a $2.10 pay increase. Presidential hopeful Stewart A. Alexander says, “It’s not enough.”
Minimum wage earners have not received a pay increase since 1997, during the Clinton administration, when it was increased to $5.15 per hour. The pay increase will add .70 cents to minimum wage checks by September of this year; however the $2.10 pay increase fall extremely short of what is needed for America’s working class to maintain a living with the increase cost of living.
The recent gasoline price increases have already consumed the initial .70 cent increase before the first dime will show on a pay check. Within the past seven months gasoline prices have climbed more than $1.00 per gallon and Congress is allowing the petroleum giants to give themselves billion dollar pay increases weekly.
Besides gasoline prices the cost is rapidly increasing on everything; food, housing, utilities and transportation (auto expenses and auto insurance). Five individual earning a minimum wage would need to live under one roof just to make ends meet under the new federal minimum wage standards.
Stewart Alexander, with the Peace and Freedom Party, wants more for America’s working class. Alexander wants to increase the federal minimum wage by $5.10 per hour, or to $10.25 per hour, effective 2007 with cost of living adjustments. This would almost double the minimum wage; a campaign promise Alexander made when he was campaigning in the race for California lieutenant governor in 2006.
Alexander says, “The Democrats have sold out the American working class for pennies; pennies aren’t worth anything, neither are the promises of the Democrats.”
The Peace and Freedom Party has been an advocate for working people since 1967; when the organization was established. The PFP demands a guaranteed dignified income for everyone and for those who cannot work, and a Universal Basic Income to alleviate poverty and homelessness.
Alexander notes that the Democrats are out of touch with America’s working class. Recently Senator Edward Kennedy spoke regarding the $2.10 minimum wage increase saying, “No one who works hard for a living should have to live in poverty,” yet the senator added his vote with other Democrats to keep minimum wage earners living in poverty.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Millions Struggling to Survive on Low Wages; Alexander wants Students Tips Tax Exempt; Alexander: PFP Setting Tone for 2008.
http://peaceandfreedom-sjv.org/home/http://www.salt-g.comstewartalexander4paf [at] ca.rr.com
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
A federal judge yesterday ordered the military to temporarily refrain from awarding the largest security contract in Iraq. The order followed an unusual series of events set off when a U.S. Army veteran filed a protest against the government practice of hiring what he calls mercenaries, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The contract, worth about $475 million, calls for a private company to provide intelligence services to the U.S. Army and security for the Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction work in Iraq. The case, which is being heard by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, puts on trial one of the most controversial and least understood aspects of the Iraq war: the outsourcing of military security to an estimated 20,000 armed contractors who operate with little oversight.
Brian X. Scott, a 53-year-old Colorado man, filed the complaint in early April. He argues that the military's use of private security contractors is "against America's core values" and violates an 1893 law that prohibits the government from hiring quasi-military forces.
Scott's challenge set off a domino effect, prompting the Government Accountability Office to dismiss protests brought by two major private security contractors the Army had removed as potential bidders -- Erinys Iraq, a British firm, and Blackwater USA of North Carolina.
Survivalism meets the counterculture in a riveting new documentary.
by Jesse Walker
June 1, 2007
Somewhere in the northern New Mexico desert, a grizzled gardener called
Robbie is praising the prickliness of his home. "The cops don't like to
come out here," he says proudly, "and this place is built on being left
alone by the authorities. People say to the government, 'Fuck you.
Chinga tu madre. We don't want your government, and you can get out of
Robbie is a folksinger, a self-described "middle-aged hippie," and one
of the rich cast of characters who populate Off the Grid, a film now
playing the festival circuit that will make its New York debut at
Lincoln Center on August 16. Jeremy and Randy Stulberg, a brother and
sister team, originally set out to make a documentary about U.S.
citizens living abroad. Then they discovered a tribe of expatriates here
at home, fleeing the American mainstream in a way that only deepened
their American identity. The Stulbergs filmed them instead, with
In 15 square miles of abandoned land, about 400 misfits -- aging
hippies, disillusioned veterans, teenage runaways -- have built a
community where no one cares if you smoke pot, fire your rifle all day,
let your kids drive your car, or walk around naked in the desert heat.
It's a landscape of beat-up old trailers, shacks jerry-rigged from
recycled materials, solar panels, little farms, greenhouses, and at
least one tipi. "Where I live is the last remaining land of America that
is left," says Dreadie Jeff, another Mesa resident. "You can do what you
fucking want there."
The local culture defies easy stereotypes. "Going into this community
with this traditional mainstream liberal ideology," Jeremy says, "we
realized all our preconceived notions were bullshit. These people were
extremely into their Second Amendment rights, and they were also into
marijuana legalization. They don't fit into these molds." There's a
touch of madness to the place as well. Mama Phyllis, a Mesa woman who
used to be a psychiatric nurse ("I couldn't do that anymore," she says,
and leaves it at that), calls it "the largest outdoor insane asylum."
The governing philosophy is a mix of anarchism, patriotism, New Age
stoner wisdom, and a militia-style distrust of the state. Early in the
film Dreadie Jeff, a veteran of the first Gulf War, exclaims that his
military oath was not "to defend this land, it's not to defend the
people, it's not to defend the motherfucking asshole president of the
United States. My military oath goes, 'I solemnly swear to defend the
Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies, foreign
and domestic.'" The Constitution's "biggest enemy," he adds, is "this
fucking government that is in place right now."
The government in question mostly keeps out of his way. Hardly anyone
seems to want the Mesa people's land -- the Stulbergs heard several
mutually exclusive explanations for who, if anyone, technically owns it
-- and the citizens of the closest town, 25 miles away, seem willing to
stay out of the Mesa's hair if the desert folk will stay out of theirs.
But the authorities do fly helicopters over the area, scouting for
marijuana growers, and if they think they spot some pot they'll send in
the cops. According to Dreadie Jeff, they don't always bring warrants.
A more intimate enemy soon emerged as well. Shortly before the
filmmakers arrived, a cultish group of runaways called the Nowhere Kids
settled in. "They were extremists," remembers Randy. "They were
stockpiling weapons. They had X's tattooed across their face." The new
kids' brand of anarchy didn't sit well with the other desert dropouts.
"They act like a bunch of revolutionists," snarls one, a pig farmer who
frequently takes in teen runaways. "They cuss the system, and yet
they've got their hand out . . . for everything they can get."
Before long, the Nowhere Kids were stealing food from their neighbors.
"We don't want to call the cops," Robbie tells the Stulbergs. "But we've
got to do something about this. Some people already got their guns." The
film cuts to Moonbow, a man who sees no contradiction in talking like a
vigilante while wearing a tie-dye. "If you're not a good neighbor," he
says, "then we'll band together and chase you out of here."
The rhetoric escalates. The Nowhere Kids declare that they have a right
to take anything they please as long as no one is using it at the
moment. They also refuse to be filmed, telling the Stulbergs they'll
"put bullets" in their heads if they don't keep their cameras off. The
other Mesa residents start counting their bullets as well. An informal
group of local leaders meets to plan a response to the thefts. At this
point, a cynic might accuse the Mesa anarchists of forming a regime of
But a funny thing happens: The standoff ends with no shootout, no
bloodshed, and no new government. The desert residents may approve of
vigilantism in principle -- "we don't dial 911," says one, "we dial
.357" -- but they prefered to address the conflict by sending a
delegation of unarmed women to reason with the runaways. The Nowhere
Kids backed down, and so far the peace has held.
The Mesa, says Randy, represents "everything about America we loved and
feared." The love, in her brother's words, is for "that pure sense of
American democracy. Even though they were disillusioned with the
government, they still loved the concept of America." The fear reflected
the constant potential for violence, which at one point led the
filmmakers themselves to think about getting armed. (In the end, Jeremy
says, they decided their "camera was enough of a weapon.") It's telling,
though, that the movie's big confrontation is resolved nonviolently. For
all their fearsome rhetoric, the Mesa men aren't nearly as violent as,
say, the visitors from the drug squad.
Even as it melds different subcultures -- "it's the crossroads," Jeremy
says, "between utopian idealism and a post-apocalyptic world" -- the
Mesa also represents a subculture of its own. At the end of the picture
there's a hint of a larger network hidden somewhere in the folds of the
map: One of the film's characters, we learn, has moved to a similar
community in Hawaii. "There's a circuit," says Randy. "There's a whole
off-grid underground." The members of that world range from relatively
wealthy environmentalists trying to make a statement about
sustainability to poorer people in places like the Mesa, people whose
central interest isn't going off the grid so much as it's getting off
the radar. (Some of them really aren't off the grid. There's a group of
Mesa residents who regularly drive to town, get produce from local food
banks, and distribute the goods to neighbors who aren't able to fend for
But whether it's liberty or ecology that drives them, all those little
villages have something in common, something they share with
brotherhoods ranging from monasteries to biker gangs to suburban
subdivisions. They are what John Stuart Mill called "experiments of
living," what Robert Nozick called "a wide and diverse range of
communities which people can enter if they are admitted, leave if they
wish to, shape according to their wishes." The Mesa merely stands at the
far end of a spectrum, rejecting almost any attempt to impose an order
It isn't the only American place that eschews formal rules. The watermen
of Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, for example, have lived for three
centuries with no cops, jails, or local taxes. But the Mesa is not a
close-knit community bound by history, custom, and religious faith. It
stands at the extreme end of the American voluntary tradition: a
transient society of misfits and madmen, united only by their desire to
be left alone. In the desert, Dreadie Jeff tells us, "I feel like I'm
really in America. There's a real sense of freedom out there."
This is one of the greatest and best things in the world. Filipino Librarian writes "The title says it all: Sex Advice From Librarians. Take a look at the Lipstick Librarian's reply to "What's the worst pickup line someone has used on you in the library?" And if you happen to be a single-willing-and-available-but-too-shy librarian, you may want to check out Eric's reply to "Everyone says I'm the 'librarian' type — shy and quiet. As a result, I don't have any romantic prospects. What can I do to put myself out there?" More..."
The heart also thinks but not in the same way as the mind.. the heart thinks holistically… holographically.. it thinks in pictures.. symbols.. the beam of light between a man and woman’s gaze.. the heart consciousness operates at a greater magnitude of speed than does the mind.. glance at a painting .. ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. The mind would need considerably more time to process that amount of information than that which is conveyed to the heart in a trice.
It is because symbols communicate with the heart that they are used to sway human minds… That explains nicely why our rulers make such good use of symbols for example the Union Jack … the flag of Britain raises much patriotic feeling amongst Britons.
The national flag in other nations must do the same. Men march to War behind a flag .. so we may understand it is a very powerful symbol.. Just as the Cross is for Christians.. and the Koran is for Muslims.. So having the knowledge of symbols is to know your own heart.. What sways it, and what does not … its an instinctive thing.. a feeling that either attracts us or repels.. for every symbol tells a story. in the context in which it is used.
The venerable I-Ching has this to say about instinct as it relates to innocence and the heart:
Ch’ien, heaven, is above; Chen, movement, is below. The lower trigram Chen is under the influence of the strong line it has received from above, from heaven. When, in accord with this, movement follows the law of heaven, man is innocent and without guile. His mind is natural and true, unshadowed by reflection or ulterior designs. For wherever conscious purpose is to be seen, there the truth and innocence of nature have been lost. Nature that is not directed by the spirit is not true but degenerate nature. Starting out with the idea of the natural, the train of thought in part goes somewhat further and thus the hexagram includes also the idea of the unintentional or unexpected.
INNOCENCE. Supreme success. Perseverance furthers. If someone is not as he should be, He has misfortune, And it does not further him To undertake anything.
Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to guide him in all his movements. By devotion to this divine spirit within himself, he attains an unsullied innocence that leads him to do right with instinctive sureness and without any ulterior thought of reward and personal advantage. This instinctive certainty brings about supreme success and “furthers through perseverance.” However, not everything instinctive is nature in this higher sense of the word, but only that which is right and in accord with the will of heaven. Without this quality of Rightness, an unreflecting, instinctive •way of acting brings only misfortune. Confucius says about this: “He who departs from innocence, what does he come to? Heaven’s will and blessing do not go with his deeds.”
Under heaven thunder rolls: All things attain the natural state of innocence. Thus the kings of old, Rich in virtue, and in harmony with the time, Fostered and nourished all beings.
In springtime when thunder, life energy, begins to move again under the heavens, everything sprouts and grows, and all beings receive from the creative activity of nature the childlike innocence of their original state. So it is with the good rulers of mankind: drawing on the spiritual wealth at their command, they take care of all forms of life and all forms of culture and do everything to further them, and at the proper time.
Power always makes use of symbols to further its own ends and that of Mammon .. in our written history billions must have died for the Symbols of the powerful … For every area of ones life the power holders have a Symbol to influence us with .. unless one is awake and understands.
I have been speaking of a Negative use of symbols where in general they are used to coerce us against our better natures e.g. War or Conspicuous Greed.. but the most important symbols that the authorities use are the ones that are used to evoke fear.. because it is fear distilled by rulers on a national scale that leads to war.. It is fear that coerces us into unnatural medical procedures and a pill for every ill.
The authorities also manufacture symbols when trying to evoke sufficient hatred to justify war.. for example the word ‘Islamofacist’.. evokes pictures of the Swastika, and all that it implies in popular thought.. Whereas and speaking from the personal experience of living in an Islamic Country for more than a year.. the symbol evoked is a gross lie.. a most foul slander. but its use furthers the aims of our masters.. We may see the black power behind the symbol word by the images it evokes and the rabid robotic response from certain segments of the community.
But what of those symbols that advance the common cause of humanity.. and here let us leave religious symbols to one side.. because the intolerance or continual proselytizing by one religion to another is divisive, insensitive and not in common cause.. All religions believe in God or a Chief God. One would have thought that was enough to quell the bickering.
The good symbols awakens the goodness in ones heart.. the good symbols convey a library of philosophy at the speed of light.. the good symbols emanate hope … the good symbols show our connectedness to the whole. The good symbols show that as a specie in all of our Rainbow diversity that we are one under the skin.
When I first began my serious studies in metaphysics I was drawn to a particular author, Jane Roberts who wrote the Seth books. Here is a lesson on how thoughts form matter from Seth Speaks.
"Every thought or emotion exists as an electromagnetic energy unit or as a combination of these under certain conditions, and often with the help of coordinate points,they emerge into the building blocks of physical matter. This emergence onto matter occurs as a neutral "result" regardless of the nature of any given thought or emotion. Mental images, accompanied by strong emotions are the blueprints therefor upon which a corresponding physical object, or condition or event, will appear.
The intensity of a feeling or thought or mental image is, therefore, the important element in determining its subsequent physical materialization.
The intensity is the core about which the electromagnetic energy units form. The more intense the core, the sooner the physical materialization. This would apply whether the mental image was a fearful one or a joyful one. Now there is a very important problem here; if you turn your of mind is highly intense and you think in vivid mental emotional images, there will be swiftly formed into physical events. If you are also of a highly pessimistic nature, given to thoughts and feelings of potential disaster, then these thoughts will be quite faithfully reproduced in experience.
The more intense your imagination and inner experience, the more important it is that you realize the methods by which this inner experience becomes physically real. Your thoughts and emotions begin their journey into physical actualization at the moment of conception. If, on the other hand, your feelings and subjective experience are fairly well balanced, fairly optimistic and creative in a constructive manner, then it will seem to you that you have been blessed with unusual luck."
(Seth Speaks, Jane Roberts)
So what this means in a short simple explanation is this...your thoughts are an energy that goes out into the atmosphere to be manifested in some form, Depending on the emotion behind the thought it is manifested in either something constructive or something destructive. If these thoughts are toward another individual, such as in healing, the individual receiving the healing thoughts will, in most cases, heal a little faster due to your directing that energy their way.
If we send out destructive thoughts, they go out into the atmosphere and manifest in some form. If they are directed towards an individual, bad luck may present itself in some manner to that individual. If we send destructive thoughts to ourselves, we have destructive things happen within our lives. Therefore it is very important to be aware of the thoughts we project towards ourselves and others.
This may all sound like hocus pocus but it is backed by science through methods of bio-feedback and others.
So often we go through the day hardly aware of what we have projected outward through our thoughts. Once you become more aware of just how powerful this thought energy is, you pay much more attention.
I teach a class on this subject and I tell my students that we can't help but have destructive thoughts every now and then, it's natural especially when we see so much destruction in our lives and in the world we live in. But there is a way to handle unhealthy thoughts, you nullify them. What I mean is, when you catch yourself having an unhealthy thought about yourself or a situation, or another person... you catch it and tell yourself that you that you didn't mean it, and you replace it with something healthy/positive. If you wait too long then it won't matter because it only takes a few seconds for it to start its journey towards manifestation.
We are electromagnetic in nature. What we think and feel goes out and then comes back. It's not supernatural and it's not a power given to a chosen few. Everyone has thoughts and feelings that they project outward constantly and often unaware. While it is impossible to always think positive, it is not impossible to be aware of when we are not.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we need help with turning the negatives into positives, and as strange as this may sound, there are times when we need to get down into the darkness, no one should hide from their shadow self, that's self-deception. But, if this becomes chronic, it's time to reach out to someone who can help.
Life should be a balance; not all positive, for then no lessons would be learned; and not all negative, for then the true purpose of your earthly experience has been wasted. Try to seek a balance in the way you live, think and feel. Do a daily check on yourself, exam what your thoughts have been throughout the day, how you reacted to other people, what feelings occurred, and how your body feels at the end of the day. And remember, what you think and feel is what you are manifesting for yourself and others on a daily basis. If you feel you are the target of negativity, learn how to shield yourself against it. There's even ways to have it bounce off of you and return back to its owner. If you are the source of negativity, try to discover why that is.
It's all in the power of your thoughts.