One of my fellow citizens is being extradited to your country to serve 5 years in maximum prison for selling the seeds of a certain plant species... After a 30 day tour, we saw a major tearful goodbye at the courthouse... http://anar.zone.free.fr/illu/marc_emery.jpg
The Cannabis Sativa industry in my Province annually grosses over a billion dollars, literally. Over 80% of this goes to gangs like the 'Hells Angels' due to our own fucked up botanical prohibition laws. However, what Marc has done, selling seeds, is hardly a crime here. However, he also sold some seeds medicinally over the border, to ill Americans. (Something that happens often within your own borders.) Your government is asking that he serve 5 years in a prison where repetitious violent criminal offenders serve less time. His crime: selling the seeds of a plant. To this day, there is not one person who can stand up and say, 'What Marc Emery has done has hurt me.' On the contrary, he is a bookstore owning businessman who has provided the ill in Vancouver with medicinal house calls. The rapists in the prison he'll go to will serve less time, as he's being made an example of. This is how terrified and frail your dominator government is: They can't even handle medicine.
I can tell you that people in my community are fucking pissed. (To the point of gun ownership, and a hatred towards the U.S.' patriarchal dominion that is unprecedented...) People are fucking PISSED about this.
It's an echo of a few years ago, when the majority (over 80% of the people in my province) voted for full decriminalization of Cannabis Sativa. Our then Prime Minister, Chrétien, though 'Liberal,' had to bend our government over to the USA when your government actively threatened annexation and trade restrictions if we decriminalized. Many of us sought MORE than decriminalization, more that legalization! We sought LEGITIMATION, an open cultural admittance that yes, Cannabis is a gateway drug. But not in the way the patriarchal dominators spin it - It is a gateway drug because it serves as a cognitive doorway to realms of imagination, in addition to being a catalyst for memetic introspection.
I'm no journalist, I've too many morals, but I can objectively report that people in my community are asking, "How many stoner Americans are going to take their hands out of the bag of cheetoes, get off the couch, and write their congresswomen about this...!?"
I am even shocked to see our main provincial papers so biased! People are fucking outraged!
The 'Vancouver Sun' article - "Marc Emery's sentence reeks of injustice and mocks our sovereignty."
Mathematician Donald Saari last week criticized ranked choice voting (also known as instant runoff voting), which will be used this November in Minneapolis municipal elections.
He prefers a method known as the Borda Count, in which voters also rank candidates in order of choice, but their first choice receives a certain number of points, their second choice a smaller number of points, and so on.
Professor Saari is not alone in favoring a particular voting method. Princeton's Eric Maskin zealously advocates Condorcet voting. NYU's Steven Brams promotes approval voting, and so on. That scholars fail to agree on the meaning of the same facts reflects the truth that there is no "perfect" voting system.
There is no objective means to weigh competing values in areas such as rewarding breadth of support or core support, or the balance between upholding majority rule and achieving consensus.
Most politically engaged reformers focus on instant runoff voting (IRV) instead of other alternatives, because it improves the status quo in ways that are easy to see and is more reflective of voters' expectations of fairness.
Political and civic leaders like President Obama, Sen. John McCain, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and the League of Women Voters of Minnesota agree on the value of IRV. Compared to plurality voting, IRV diminishes the "spoiler" impact of third party and independent candidates. Compared to traditional two-round runoffs, IRV saves taxpayer dollars, reduces the influence of money in politics and maximizes turnout.
IRV also nicely balances the value of first choice support with the value of broad support. Plurality voting rewards only core support.
In contrast, the Borda Count tilts toward rewarding broad support by allowing votes to count for more than one candidate at a time. As a result, Borda can elect candidates who might come in dead last in our current system, but be many voters' second or third choice.
Borda also could defeat a candidate who under today's rules would earn an absolute majority of 51 percent of the vote. Many voters would react skeptically to such results.
Worse, Borda makes it easy for voters to game elections. Nicolaus Tideman, author of "Collective Decisions and Voting," includes Borda in his list of voting methods that "have defects that are so serious as to disqualify them from consideration." The system's inventor, Jean-Charles de Borda himself, stated that the system should be used only for situations where voters are disinterested judges.
Consider Borda and a famous example of the "spoiler dynamic," the 2000 presidential election in which Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore by 537 votes in the halted Florida recount, even as more than 97,488 people voted for Green Party nominee Ralph Nader. Given that more Nader backers supported Gore than Bush, it's clear that under instant runoff voting, Gore would have won Florida and the presidency.
But there's no way to know what would have happened with Borda. With Borda, ranking a second choice counts directly against the chances of your first choice. Some Bush voters might tactically have ranked Nader and other independent candidates ahead of Gore. If more Gore voters honestly chose to rank Bush as one of their top choices, then Bush would have won simply due to his voters engaging in better tactical voting.
Instant runoff voting avoids this problem because your ballot never counts for more than one candidate at a time. Unlike Borda and most other alternative voting methods, ranking additional choices never hurts your first choice. As with every voting method, there are cases where candidates might benefit from insincere voting, but with IRV such situations are too convoluted to be an effective tactic.
That IRV has fair results and isn't prone to gaming explains its successful track record in thousands of hotly contested elections -- from nearly a century of elections for Australia's House of Representatives to decades of elections in Irish presidential races. Professor Saari's examples of its theoretical flaws may interest fellow mathematicians, but they are irrelevant for those wanting to improve American democracy.
Rob Richie is executive director of FairVote, a national nonprofit organization that says it works "to transform our elections to achieve universal access to participation, a full spectrum of meaningful ballot choices and majority rule with fair representation for all."
1. Henry David Thoreau: "What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"
Thoreau's eco-cred is well established but this line sums things up as succinctly as any HDT ever uttered. The average size of an American home three decades ago was 1,000 square feet. Today: 2,400 square feet. So, not only do our oversized abodes need an extreme makeover, so do our eco-systems if we want what Thoreau calls a "tolerable planet."
2. Carl Sagan: "The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition."
As they say in South Florida: bingo. Whether we like it or not, humans are merely part of a larger eco-system. If we sought harmony instead of control, we'd be shaping a far more inspiring planetary legacy. What greater goal could anyone ever have than to leave the planet better off than how we found it?
3. Rachel Carson: "It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself."
Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Sinister enough for ya?
Nancy R. Cohen/Getty Images
4. William Shakespeare: "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
While the Bard was not talking green here, another way to read this quote is to line it up alongside these lyrics from Sting: "We share the biology regardless of ideology."
5. Vandana Shiva: "Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates."
A healthy eco-system cannot exist within the current economic culture. Growth, in this sense, is inherently anti-nature.
6. Edward Abbey: "Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris."
Every time we flick on a light switch, we play a role in valley fills, strip mining, coal ash, and more. The good news is we can do something about it.
7. David Suzuki: "We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit."
Sort of a variation on the Titanic/deck chair line, Suzuki is merely trying to return our gaze to the big picture.
8. Bob Marley: "The bad people trying to make the world worse never take a day off, so why should I?"
The green life is both a full-time commitmentand a labor of love. Stick with it.
9. Arundhati Roy: "To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."
(Media-Newswire.com) - Nine years have passed, but many Democrats are still sore at Ralph Nader for his maverick candidacy in the 2000 election that many believe was the reason George W. Bush beat Al Gore.But new research from a marketing professor in the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business suggests that while that claim is true, it also suggests that Nader's candidacy actually helped Gore. "Many people would have come in supporting Nader but eventually voted for Gore, and that might not have happened if Nader had never entered the race," said William Hedgcock, assistant professor of marketing at UI. Hedgcock's findings were recently published in the Journal of Marketing Research. His paper, "Could Ralph Nader's Entrance and Exit Have Helped Al Gore?" was co-authored with Akshay Rao of the University of Minnesota and Haipeng Chen of Texas A&M University.In an experiment, Hedgock showed one group of test subjects two hypothetical candidates -- A and B, standing in for Bush and Gore -- and asked them to select one after providing a sample of political attributes of each. In the two-way race, Bush's stand-in won 81 percent of the vote while Gore's received 19 percent.Another test group was shown three candidates, with a third candidate, C, to represent Nader. In the three-way race, Nader's proxy won 72 percent, Bush 28 percent and Gore didn't get a single vote.Finally, the subjects in the second group were told that the Nader candidate was no longer available and were asked to select from the Bush or Gore stand-ins. This time, Gore received 39 percent and Bush received 61 percent.How did Gore's share of the vote go from zero to 39 percent in the second group, even though nothing happened beyond a third candidate dropping out? Hedgcock said it's called the principle of self-identification. That's when undecided people make a decision about something, whether it's a political candidate or a brand of soda, and identify with that decision. When their original choice becomes unavailable, they select an alternative option with the most similar attributes."Selecting Nader defines a person, it makes those people think of themselves as that kind of a person, so when you can't make that choice anymore, you go to the next closest Nader type," Hedgcock. "In the 2000 election, that was Gore."As a result, the Gore proxy went from 19 percent in a two-way race to 39 percent after Nader joined and then dropped out, or a 20-percentage point increase in vote count.He said the experiment showed that in 2000, there was no guarantee that Gore would have won the votes of Nader's supporters had Nader never entered the race. He said many people who voted for Gore or Nader might have voted for Bush without a Nader candidacy. In that case, he said Nader's presence on the ballot might have helped make the election closer than it would have otherwise been.During the 2000 campaign, many Democratic leaders actively wooed Nader voters and asked him to quit the race so as not hurt Gore's chances in what was shaping up to be a close race. Hedgcock's experiment suggests the party leaders were right, and Gore would have received the votes of most of Nader's supporters. Hedgcock said the self-identification results were confirmed when he and Rao ran the same experiment using consumer goods, such as beer and vacations, rather than political candidates.Hedgcock said his research applies to undecided voters who claimed no party or ideological affiliation and who could have voted for either Bush or Gore in a two-man race. Most political scientists put that number at only about 20 percent, but in a close race like the 2000 election, only a few votes made the difference.STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 ( office ), 319-541-8434 ( cell ), email@example.com
There is a scene in “Othello” when the Moor is so consumed by jealousy and rage that he loses the eloquence and poetry that make him the most articulate man in Venice. He turns to the audience, shortly before he murders Desdemona, and sputters, “Goats and monkeys!” Othello fell prey to wild self-delusion and unchecked rage, and his words became captive to hollow clichés. The debasement of language, which Shakespeare understood was a prelude to violence, is the curse of modernity. We have stopped communicating, even with ourselves. And the consequences will be as extreme as in the Shakespearean tragedy.
Those who seek to dominate our behavior first seek to dominate our speech. They seek to obscure meaning. They make war on language. And the English- and Arabic-speaking worlds are each beset with a similar assault on language. The graffiti on the mud walls of Gaza that calls for holy war or the crude rants of Islamic militants are expressed in a simplified, impoverished form of Arabic. This is not the classical language of 1,500 years of science, poetry and philosophy. It is an argot of clichés, distorted Quranic verses and slogans. This Arabic is no more comprehensible to the literate in the Arab world than the carnival barking that pollutes our airwaves is comprehensible to our literate classes. The reduction of popular discourse to banalities, exacerbated by the elite’s retreat into obscure, specialized jargon, creates internal walls that thwart real communication. This breakdown in language makes reflection and debate impossible. It transforms foreign cultures, which we lack the capacity to investigate, into reversed images of ourselves. If we represent virtue, progress and justice, as our clichés constantly assure us, then the Arabs, or the Iranians, or anyone else we deem hostile, represent evil, backwardness and injustice. An impoverished language solidifies a binary world and renders us children with weapons.
How do you respond to “Islam is the solution” or “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior”? How do you converse with someone who justifies the war in Iraq—as Christopher Hitchens does—with the tautology that we have to “kill them over there so they do not kill us over here”? Those who speak in these thought-terminating clichés banish rational discussion. Their minds are shut. They sputter and rant like a demented Othello. The paucity of public discourse in our culture, even among those deemed to be public intellectuals, is matched by the paucity of public discourse in the Arab world.
This emptiness of language is a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture. Manufactured phrases inflame passions and distort reality. The collective chants, jargon and epithets permit people to surrender their moral autonomy to the heady excitement of the crowd. “The crowd doesn’t have to know,” Mussolini often said. “It must believe. ... If only we can give them faith that mountains can be moved, they will accept the illusion that mountains are moveable, and thus an illusion may become reality.” Always, he said, be “electric and explosive.” Belief can triumph over knowledge. Emotion can vanquish thought. Our demagogues distort the Bible and the Constitution, while their demagogues distort the Quran, or any other foundational document deemed to be sacred, fueling self-exaltation and hatred at the expense of understanding. The more illiterate a society becomes, the more power those who speak in this corrupted form of speech amass, the more music and images replace words and thought. We are cursed not by a cultural divide but by mutual cultural self-destruction.
The educated elites in the Arab world are now as alienated as the educated elites in the United States. To speak with a vocabulary that the illiterate or semiliterate do not immediately grasp is to be ostracized, distrusted and often ridiculed. It is to impart knowledge, which fosters doubt. And doubt in calcified societies, which prefer to speak in the absolute metaphors of war and science, is a form of heresy. It was not accidental that the founding biblical myth saw the deliverer of knowledge as evil and the loss of innocence as a catastrophe. “This probably had less to do with religion than with the standard desire of those in authority to control those who are not,” John Ralston Saul wrote. “And control of the Western species of the human race seems to turn upon language.”
The infantile slogans that are used to make sense of the world express, whether in tea party rallies or in Gaza street demonstrations, a very real alienation, yearning and rage. These clichés, hollow to the literate, are electric with power to those for whom these words are the only currency in which they can express anguish and despair. And as the economy worsens, as war in the Middle East and elsewhere continues, as our corporate state strips us of power and reduces us to serfs, expect this rage, and the demented language used to give it voice, to grow.
The Arabic of the Quran is as poetic as the intricate theology of Islam. It is nuanced and difficult to master. But the language of the Quran has been debased in the slums and poor villages across the Middle East by the words and phrases of political Islam. This process is no different from what has taken place with Christianity in the United States. Our mainstream churches have been as complacent in fighting heretics as have the mainstream mosques and religious scholars in the Middle East. Demented forms of Christianity and Islam have largely supplanted genuine and more open forms of religious expression. And they have done so because liberal elites were cowed into silence.
Corruptions of Islamic terms and passages are as numerous in the militants’ ideology as in the ideology of the Christian right. The word jihad for the militants means the impunity to kill, kidnap, hijack and bomb anyone they see as an infidel, including children and other Muslims. Jihad, however, does not always mean holy war, or even war, in the Quran. According to Islamic tradition, the “great jihad” is the battle within one’s self to live in accord with God’s will. A jihad, for the prophet Muhammad, is often the struggle to achieve inner-worldly asceticism, in accord with his call “to command the good and forbid evil with the heart, the tongue and the hand.” And the Quran condemns the use of violence to propagate the faith. “There is no compulsion in religion,” it states. The Quran also denounces forced piety and conversion as insincere. Calls to martyrdom, presented by militants as a direct path toward eternal life, conveniently eschew the Quran’s rigid ban on suicide. But theological nuance is beside the point for zealots. The fantasies peddled by the Christian right, from the Rapture, which is not in the Bible, to the belief that Jesus, who was a pacifist, would bless wars in the Middle East, injects our own version of sanctified slogans into the vernacular.
Our crisis is a crisis of language. Victor Klemperer in his book “Lingua Tertii Imperii” noted that the distortion of language by the Nazis was vital in creating fascist culture. He was repeatedly perplexed by how the masses, even those who opposed the Nazis, willingly ingested the linguistic poison the Nazis used to perpetuate collective self-delusion. “Words may be little doses of arsenic,” he wrote. “They are consumed without being noticed; they seem at first to have no effect, but after a while, indeed, the effect is there.”
Chris Hedges is the author of “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”
AP / Mohammed Ballas
A Palestinian boy aims a toy gun as he stands next to a mural of militants in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. The Arabic graffiti reads: “Many people held weapons but few used them against their enemies.”
The G20 in Pittsburgh showed us how pitifully fearful our leaders have become. What no terrorist could do to us, our own leaders did.
Out of fear of the possibility of a terrorist attack, authorities militarize our towns, scare our people away, stop daily life and quash our constitutional rights.
For days, downtown Pittsburgh, home to the G20, was a turned into a militarized people-free ghost town. Sirens screamed day and night. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies. Gunboats sat in the rivers. The skies were defended by Air Force jets. Streets were barricaded by huge cement blocks and fencing. Bridges were closed with National Guard across the entrances. Public transportation was stopped downtown. Amtrak train service was suspended for days.
In many areas, there were armed police every 100 feet. Businesses closed. Schools closed. Tens of thousands were unable to work.
Four thousand police were on duty plus 2500 National Guard plus Coast Guard and Air Force and dozens of other security agencies. A thousand volunteers from other police forces were sworn in to help out.
Police were dressed in battle gear, bulky black ninja turtle outfits: helmets with clear visors, strapped on body armor, shin guards, big boots, batons, and long guns.
In addition to helicopters, the police had hundreds of cars and motorcycles , armored vehicles, monster trucks, small electric go-karts. There were even passenger vans screaming through town so stuffed with heavily armed ninja turtles that the side and rear doors remained open.
No terrorists showed up at the G20.
Since no terrorists showed up, those in charge of the heavily armed security forces chose to deploy their forces around those who were protesting.
Not everyone is delighted that 20 countries control 80% of the world’s resources. Several thousand of them chose to express their displeasure by protesting.
Unfortunately, the officials in charge thought that it was more important to create a militarized people-free zone around the G20 people than to allow freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or the freedom to protest.
It took a lawsuit by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU to get any major protest permitted anywhere near downtown Pittsburgh. Even then, the police “forgot” what was permitted and turned people away from areas of town. Hundreds of police also harassed a bus of people who were giving away free food — repeatedly detaining the bus and searching it and its passengers without warrants.
Then a group of young people decided that they did not need a permit to express their human and constitutional rights to freedom. They announced they were going to hold their own gathering at a city park and go down the deserted city streets to protest the G20. Maybe 200 of these young people were self-described anarchists, dressed in black, many with bandanas across their faces. The police warned everyone these people were very scary. My cab driver said the anarchist spokesperson looked like Harry Potter in a black hoodie. The anarchists were joined in the park by hundreds of other activists of all ages, ultimately one thousand strong, all insisting on exercising their right to protest.
This drove the authorities crazy.
Battle dressed ninja turtles showed up at the park and formed a line across one entrance. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Armored vehicles gathered.
The crowd surged out of the park and up a side street yelling, chanting, drumming, and holding signs. As they exited the park, everyone passed an ice cream truck that was playing “It’s a small world after all.” Indeed.
Any remaining doubts about the militarization of the police were dispelled shortly after the crowd left the park. A few blocks away the police unveiled their latest high tech anti-protestor toy. It was mounted on the back of a huge black truck. The Pittsburgh-Gazette described it as Long Range Acoustic Device designed to break up crowds with piercing noise. Similar devices have been used in Fallujah, Mosul and Basra Iraq. The police backed the truck up, told people not to go any further down the street and then blasted them with piercing noise.
The crowd then moved to other streets. Now they were being tracked by helicopters. The police repeatedly tried to block them from re-grouping ultimately firing tear gas into the crowd injuring hundreds including people in the residential neighborhood where the police decided to confront the marchers. I was treated to some of the tear gas myself and I found the Pittsburgh brand to be spiced with a hint of kelbasa. Fortunately, I was handed some paper towels soaked in apple cider vinegar which helped fight the tears and cough a bit. Who would have thought?
After the large group broke and ran from the tear gas, smaller groups went into commercial neighborhoods and broke glass at a bank and a couple of other businesses. The police chased and the glass breakers ran. And the police chased and the people ran. For a few hours.
By day the police were menacing, but at night they lost their cool. Around a park by the University of Pittsburgh the ninja turtles pushed and shoved and beat and arrested not just protestors but people passing by. One young woman reported she and her friend watched Grey’s Anatomy and were on their way back to their dorm when they were cornered by police. One was bruised by police baton and her friend was arrested. Police shot tear gas, pepper spray, smoke canisters, and rubber bullets. They pushed with big plastic shields and struck with batons.
The biggest march was Friday. Thousands of people from Pittsburgh and other places protested the G20. Since the court had ruled on this march, the police did not confront the marchers. Ninja turtled police showed up in formation sometimes and the helicopters hovered but no confrontations occurred.
Again Friday night, riot clad police fought with students outside of the University of Pittsburgh. To what end was just as unclear as the night before.
Ultimately about 200 were arrested, mostly in clashes with the police around the University.
The G20 leaders left by helicopter and limousine.
Pittsburgh now belongs again to the people of Pittsburgh. The cement barricades were removed, the fences were taken down, the bridges and roads were opened. The gunboats packed up and left. The police packed away their ninja turtle outfits and tear gas and rubber bullets. They don’t look like military commandos anymore. No more gunboats on the river. No more sirens all the time. No more armored vehicles and ear splitting machines used in Iraq. On Monday the businesses will open and kids will have to go back to school. Civil society has returned.
It is now probably even safe to exercise constitutional rights in Pittsburgh once again.
A Colombian hitman recently disclosed to the Venezuelan government that over 2,500 paramilitary fighters are in the country, each chasing a $25 million bounty on the life of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, according to Arab news network Al Jazeera.
The man, who is reportedly in the custody of Venezuelan officials, said the bounty was offered by Manuel Rosales, Chavez’s most prominent political foe, during a secret meeting 10 years ago.
Rosales allegedly said “that he would give $25 million to kill [Chavez], but that he himself would not give the money directly,” the man said, as translated by Al Jazeera.
Rosales fled into Peru in April after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He protested in the media, calling the corruption charges a political lynching.
“Right now, there are two thousand, five hundred paramilitaries from Colombia inside Venezuela with one objective: with the objective of taking down Chavez, with the objective of destabilizing him” a translator says on the video.
The network was unable to obtain comment from Rosales, and the Venezuela attorney general’s office would not confirm nor deny the veracity of the man’s claims.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, speaking to a South American newspaper recently, claimed the United States may have been involved in an attempted overthrow of Chavez’s regime.
“I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved,” he told El Tiempo last week.
Carter told El Tiempo that he believed Chavez was elected in a “fair” vote in 1999, had carried out necessary reforms for Venezuela and ensured that “those who are traditionally excluded are able to get a larger share of the national wealth.”
But he also said he was worried by the Venezuelan leader’s drift towards “authoritarianism.”
In August, Colombian officials announced a deal with the United States that will allow U.S. troops to be stationed at Colombian military bases, which will serve as a hub for remote surveillance in the region. Their mission will allegedly use advanced Predator drone technology to aid in fighting the drug trade and to combat terrorism, according to published reports in August.
In Venezuela, officials bristled at the news. Chavez warned: “The winds of war [are] beginning to blow.”
Chavez has already accused Colombian troops of making an incursion over the border and regional tensions are running high.
This video is from Al Jazeera English, broadcast Sept. 26, 2009.
Truths and Other Truths
A Comparison of Channelings From Spirit Guides
By Linda Pendleton
Are you among the eighty-two percent of Americans who believe in an afterlife? In recent times, the numbers have been increasing for those who believe they have had communication from a loved one on the Other Side.
And what about angels and spirit guides? Nearly seventy percent of Americans believe in the existence of angels as messengers of God, and nearly half believe they have their own guardian angels or angels. Are you aware of your angel or guide? If so, do you communicate or receive signs from them?
It would seem the religious/spiritual instinct is innate within humankind, as though a template for the experience had been programmed into our genetic structures that govern human expression. Within the innate religious or spiritual instinct are experiences that might be classified as miraculous. But, are many of the events or experiences actually miracles or no more than ordinary occurrences?
Reports of extraordinary and astonishing events attributed to a supreme being or a divine power will be found in virtually every world religion, every culture, and probably within every human mind from primitive times right up into the modern age. Many cultures do not regard miracles or paranormal events as anything extraordinary but merely the natural workings of a natural world. Most cultures who share that idea have well-formulated spiritual beliefs that have been carried forward from generation to generation, throughout history, and many of these cultures have evolved highly sophisticated belief systems.
When one reads the history of cultures, it is very apparent that there has always been a “knowing” within mankind that evolves into understandings that we are, indeed, spiritual beings and that life does not end with the death of the physical body. Mankind has always looked to the heavens in a search for answers. I have often wondered why that is and the answer I have come up with is, no matter our religious upbringing or belief system, we have an innate knowledge within, a knowledge that we are much more than a physical body having a life experience. We are temporarily using a physical body for an ongoing spiritual life.
So in taking those ideas of an innate spiritual connection it should appear absolutely normal for one to have communication with the Other Side, with angels, spirit guides, and loved ones who have left this physical dimension.
Channeling spirit is the receiving of messages from the Other Side – the spirit world, through the various classic psychic avenues such has mediumship, trance-channeling, clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and intuition. The receiver is an open line, a conduit, similar to what one could consider an open telephone line or radio receiver. Although channeling or mediumship has always been with us, in recent years it has gained more attention through various movies, literature, and television shows, featuring psychic mediums such as John Edward, James Van Praagh, Char Margolis, Rosemary Altea, and others.
Shirley MacLaine was one who helped to get the idea of mediumship, past lives, and even UFO phenomena out of the “psychic closet” and into the mainstream with her book, Out On a Limb, the resulting movie and other books, and her many television appearances. Even though there were often overdone jokes about her spiritual experiences, it did open the “closet” door, and for many, it was a “new” look at what was possible—and within the norm of the human experience.
We all have intuition, and for some it is more pronounced, such as it might be with the aforementioned psychic mediums. But all of us have the capability of communicating in various ways with those on the Other Side. Sometimes, all it takes is trusting in our intuition and being open to the possibility of contact.
I’ve put together a collection of quotations from various spirit guides through their channels/mediums. It is very noticeable how they “ring” of similar ideas, wisdom, and truths.
Probably of these listed spirit guides or the mediums who work with them, it would be Edgar Cayce who probably stands out as the most profound and the “clearest connection” to information coming from the Other Side.
I have noticed that many people either began or enhanced their spiritual journey by reading the fascinating story of Edgar Cayce and his psychic gift, There is a River, The Story of Edgar Cayce written by Thomas Sugrue, and published more than sixty years ago.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D., best-selling author and frequent guest on Oprah, had this to say about Cayce: "The story of Edgar Cayce has inspired me from the time I was 12 years old. As one of the first well-studied medical intuitives, his work and his life helped blaze the path for the future of medicine."
Not only did he blaze the path of future medicine, but he gave understanding and acceptance of mediumship, and also of reincarnation, as his readings focused very much on past lives. And with his work in that area, and several other books written about him, he awakened America to reincarnationist thought.
Truths and Other Truths
A Comparison of Channelings From Spirit Guides
By Linda Pendleton
“The Three Principles: Loving Allowance for all things to be in their own time and place, beginning with yourself. Increased Communication with all of life everywhere and with respect. Self Responsibility, for you are the eternal creator, never the victim.” –Spirit Guide, Dr. Peebles
"For, each soul enters with a mission . . . we all have a mission to perform.” –Mediumship of Edgar Cayce
“Each of us has the opportunity to consciously decide who we wish to become as well as how long it's going to take us to get there.”–Mediumship of Edgar Cayce
“Mankind is growing beyond many of its leaders in willingness to find alternate solutions, alternates to war that is. Meaningful understanding between polarized religious systems and compassion has become imperative. And, bridges between the modern world and the third world countries must be built: in education, technology, science, delegating food sharing without (economic) financial motivation, and finally medical sharing that is sincerely caring for one's fellow man.” –Spirit Guide Gilgamesh of the Understanding Ones, Shawn Randall
"A journey into the NEW is always a journey into more of YOU."–Spirit Guide Torah, Shawn Randall
"Process is simply the amount of time for some reason you deem it necessary to take until you finally give yourself permission to see the obvious." –Spirit Guide Bashar, Darryl Anka
“Create the effect of being happy, and you will attract into your lives all of the causes to support the happiness you have created...just because you want to. And just because you say so. Because you are the creators of your reality, there doesn’t need to be any other why or how. What you say goes!” –Spirit Guide Bashar, Darryl Anka
“You have free will, and you can create any reality you desire; that is being made in the image of God. Act as such and you will have heaven on your Earth–guaranteed.” –Spirit Guide Bashar, Darryl Anka
“Nothing can match or even come near the miracle of who you truly are. Let this be the mantra of your life. A Being of Indescribable wonder has, has again, become a bearer of the Light on Earth. Let nothing dissuade you from this truth.” –Spirit Guide Emmanuel, Pat Rodegast
“Come home to your Selves. The journey is no more than a breath in time, no more than a heartbeat in distance.” –Spirit Guide Emmanuel, Pat Rodegast
“Every moment of your life you are offered the opportunity to choose–love or fear, to tread the earth or to soar the heavens.” –Spirit Guide Emmanuel, Pat Rodegast
"You must learn to listen to the voice of the inner self and work with it." –Spirit Guide Seth, Jane Roberts
"You create your reality according to your beliefs and expectations, therefore you should examine these carefully. If you do not like some aspect of your world, then examine your own expectations." –Spirit Guide Seth, Jane Roberts
“Choice is focused intent, and as such, it is critical to changing intent and thus the function and form of energy. It is critical to changing action and image. Choice is essential to all learning.” –Spirit Guide Lazaris, Jach Pursel
“In order to understand that you carry with you only an illusion of separation, to reach that spiritual truth, you have to first allow yourself to love God and then to love yourself. Only then, when you are comfortable with the truth of that love, can you then reach out to life around you.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Linda Pendleton
“Never be afraid. The greatest enemy of humanity is fear. Be confident in the love and wisdom of God, and remember if you go into shadow, darkness will not touch you if you are radiating light.” –Spirit Guide White Eagle, Grace Cooke
“Three things: You ask; the Universe gives; you let in. That's all there is to it. And if you're not living it, it's not because you're not asking. You are. And it's not because the Universe is not yielding. It is. It's because you are not in the receiving mode.” –Spirit Guide Abraham, Esther Hicks
“We are here to remind you that pain and fear are not the only methods of growth; that you can more elegantly grow through joy and love. . . that you can create your own reality . . . that there is a God/Goddess/All That Is who loves you, who knows your name. . . and that you love good enough.” –Spirit Guide Lazaris, Jach Pursel
“No longer technicians, you are the masterful magicians of the current and future age, the masterful magicians of the mysteries and the mysticism. And this is the dawning of your day. It is time to find your voice and then to lift that voice, heroic, lyrical, or celestial, so that you can be heard...so that your world can hear you. It is time to rise to the new dawn. Oh, we love you; we love you so.” –Spirit Guide Lazaris, Jach Pursel
“Humanity is gradually moving beyond the narrow concept of isolationism and secular ‘religion’ into the expanded and cohesive truth of spirituality whereby you turn inward and connect to your own Divine Source for Creator truth and universal laws to guide you, instead of turning to someone you think is more knowledgeable and powerful than you.” –Archangel Michael, Ronna Herman
“What gives you your Divine essence is that you have the freedom to embrace and experience whatever thoughts you desire. And that divine essence, called free will, is love. It is the gift of love from God to each of you. Each of you has the divine essence of will so that you have the freedom to create uniquely whatever ideal you envision through thought.” –Spirit Guide Ramatha, J.Z. Knight
“You did not come to earth to become perfect. You came to the earth to stop condemning yourself for not being perfect.”–Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Athena Demetrios
“There's no higher energy or power on Earth than you. There's no higher power or energy in the Universe than what exists and flows through you in a divine way.” –Spirit Guide Kryon, Lee Carroll
“You are never separate dear ones from the source of love, abundance, and joy. It is an illusion that you could ever be separated from your angels or God. You are like drops of water in an ocean, part of something so much greater and yet individual as well.” –The Angels, Ann Albers
“If one believes that he alone creates his life, all his experiences, his thoughts, his actions—and reactions—and takes full responsibility for that, then he can never be a victim. Fear, resentment, anger and hate fall away like the petals of a daisy caught up in the wind.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Linda Pendleton
“The entire universe is a loving and living experience of divine thought...a fabric that is intermeshed with all things.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Thomas Jacobson, To Dance With Angels by Don and Linda Pendleton
“Allow your fear, if only for a moment. Acknowledge the fear that the terrorists have created in you, and move through it, and then let it go, and know that there is nothing to fear. As you move within your own mind, and move to understand that separation is the factor that motivates fear, then you can recognize that you are never alone, and are never the victim, unless you choose to be a victim.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Linda Pendleton
“As you welcome change, as the creator that you are, you have the ability to move with that change in whatever way you wish. If you deny it, you will have pain. You will feel victimized, helpless. But if you embrace it then you have the opportunity to have a creative dance with it. And in that creative dance you can mold it, fashion it, to your own liking. If you want it to be an opportunity for new experiences, so be it. If you want it to be adventurous, so be it. If you want it to be mysterious, so be it. And if you want it to be denied, so be it. It is your ballet slippers that move across the stage, it is your melody that is strummed on the musical instruments, and it is your audience who experiences your song and dance. You are the choreographer, the composer, the arranger, the director. It is your show and you decide how you want to present it. But might I suggest, dear friends, that you hold no expectations of how others will receive it—just present it with an open mind and loving heart. And present it with joy!” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Linda Pendleton
“Peace and healing will come when you take action to diminish the illusion of separation within the self. Only then.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Linda Pendleton
“Find something to feel good about and get out of the way, and allow the cells to receive what they’ve been asking for. That is the key to healing.” –Spirit Guide Abraham, Esther Hicks
“You can’t fill up anyone else’s cup until yours is runneth over.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Summer Bacon
“You are spirit. The real you, the consciousness, is spirit. As you strengthen this realization through meditation and worship of your Creator your spirit will begin to dominate the physical atoms, until your body becomes irradiated with life, and every particle obeys the direction of spirit, the real you.” –Spirit Guide White Eagle, Grace Cook
“You are Beings who intend to come forth and to continue to expand and grow and change. What is the perfect age? “Well, it is the age where I finally understand my freedom, and I finally understand that I am free to create, and it’s the age that I am at my most beautiful.’ And we say, by whose standard? In other words, who gets to decide the perfect age? And we say, rather than determining what the perfect age is, why not decide what the perfect state of being is–and then discover that you can find the perfect state of being at any age.” –Spirit Guide Abraham, Esther Hicks
“Pain is a divine messenger. Your soul calls upon pain to help you locate your resistance to this and to that.” –Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles, Athena Demetrios
"Your thoughts are powerful creators, and your words are even more powerful than your thoughts, but your actions are more powerful than your words or your thoughts." –Spirit Guide Abraham, Esther Hicks
“To increase your connection to your guide, you can consciously think of your guide or your guide’s name. You need not do more that [than] this to bring your guide’s light and love to you. You can also learn to call in your guide for brief moments by closing your eyes and asking for guidance and getting simple yes or no impressions instantly. You can do this whether you are standing in the grocery store line, driving your car or walking down the street. You can bring the essence of your connection to your guide through at any given time for however long you want–be it thirty seconds or three minutes. This type of connection does not need to be a lengthy one.” –Spirit Guides Orin and DaBen, Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
“Every decision you make—every decision—is not a decision about what to do. It’s about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do.” –Spirit Guide “God,” Neale Donald Walsch
“Death is only passing through God's other door.”–Edgar Cayce
"There is no death, there is only change." Spirit Guide Dr. Peebles
From: http://missangellcain-abstractions.blogspot.comThis insightful woman claimed to have been possessed by a being named Seth. Through Jane's body, Seth discusses the nature of humanity and how we can find peace and contentment in our lives...
A musical tribute to two great men of science. Carl Sagan and his cosmologist companion Stephen Hawking present: A Glorious Dawn - Cosmos remixed. Almost all samples and footage taken from Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Stephen Hawking's Universe series. Lyrics:[Sagan]If you wish to make an apple pie from scratchYou must first invent the universeSpace is filled with a network of wormholesYou might emerge somewhere else in spaceSome when-else in timeThe sky calls to usIf we do not destroy ourselvesWe will one day venture to the starsA still more glorious dawn awaitsNot a sunrise, but a galaxy riseA morning filled with 400 billion sunsThe rising of the milky wayThe Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truthsOf exquisite interrelationshipsOf the awesome machinery of natureI believe our future depends powerfullyOn how well we understand this cosmosIn which we float like a mote of dustIn the morning skyBut the brain does much more than just recollectIt inter-compares, it synthesizes, it analyzesit generates abstractionsThe simplest thought like the concept of the number oneHas an elaborate logical underpinningThe brain has it's own languageFor testing the structure and consistency of the world[Hawking]For thousands of yearsPeople have wondered about the universeDid it stretch out foreverOr was there a limitFrom the big bang to black holesFrom dark matter to a possible big crunchOur image of the universe todayIs full of strange sounding ideas[Sagan}How lucky we are to live in this timeThe first moment in human historyWhen we are in fact visiting other worldsThe surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic oceanRecently we've waded a little way outAnd the water seems inviting
With the greatest understanding and compassion, let me mention that Western medicine is in its way one of the most uncivilized hypnotic devices. The most educated Western doctors will look with utter dismay and horror at the thought of a chicken being sacrificed in a primitive witch doctor’s hut, and yet will consider it quite scientific and inevitable that a woman sacrifice two breasts to cancer. The doctors will simply see no other way out, and unfortunately neither will the patient.
A modern Western physician – granted with the greatest discomfiture – will inform his patient that he is about to die, impressing upon him that his situation is hopeless, and yet will react with scorn and loathing when he reads that a voodoo practitioner has put a curse upon some innocent victim.
In your time, medical men, again with great superiority, look at primitive cultures and harshly judge the villagers they think are held in the sway of witch doctors or voodooism; and yet through advertisement and organization, YOUR doctors impress upon each individual in your culture that you must have a physical examination every six months or you will get cancer; that you must have medical insurance because you WILL become ill.
In many instances, therefore, modern physicians are inadequate witch doctors who have forgotten their craft – hypnotists who no longer believe in the power of healing, and whose suggestions bring about other diseases which are diagnosed in advance.
You are told what to look for; you are as cursed – far more – as any native in a tiny village, only you lose breasts, appendixes, and other portions of your anatomy. The doctors follow their own ideas, of course, and in that system they see themselves as completely justified – as humane.
In the medical field, as in no other, you are faced directly with the full impact of your beliefs, for doctors are not the healthiest, but the least healthy. They fall prey to the beliefs to which they so heartily subscribe. Their concentration is upon disease, not health.
This is an excerpt from the Nature of Personal Reality, channelled by Jane Roberts
Costa Rica renamed its justice ministry the Ministry of Justice and Peace on September 14, 2009, an act in a long line of peaceful government initiatives that includes abolishing the army in 1948 and peace education in schools. Here, children from two public schools in Costa Rica dressed up, sketched and wrote down their wishes and thoughts about peace in conjunction with a CISV International program in 2006.
On Monday, September 14, the Costa Rican legislature passed a law changing the name of the country’s justice ministry to the Ministry of Justice and Peace, making the department the first of its kind in Latin America and only the third in the world.
Costa Rica’s justice ministry was created to oversee the country’s penitentiary systems and supervise research on criminal behavior, but had no responsibility for crime prevention. A 1998 executive decree addressed this lapse by creating the National Directorate for the Prevention of Crime. The recent legislation takes crime prevention in a new direction, replacing the old directorate with the newly formed Directorate for the Promotion of Peace and the Peaceful Coexistence of Citizens.
“While we talk about prevention of violence, we are experiencing its effects every day. Changing the language and speaking about ‘promotion of peace’ lead[s] us to the roots of the problem,” states the legislation.
The ministry will take on new responsibilities, including peace promotion, violence prevention (for example, by targeting a recent increase of juvenile offenders), and an emphasis on conflict resolution.
Days after the official creation of its Ministry of Justice and Peace, Costa Rica hosted an international summit for others working to create similar ministries. The Dalai Lama wrote a letter endorsing the summit:
“Peace is not something which exists independently of us, any more than war does. Those who are responsible for creating and keeping the peace are members of our own human family, the society that we as individuals participate in and help to create. Peace in the world thus depends on there being peace in the hearts of individuals. Peace based merely on political considerations or prompted by other compulsions will only be temporary and superficial.”
“With this change in name, the focus on prevention of violence has been shifted to promotion of peace,” says Kelly Isola of the Rasur Foundation, the Costa Rican nongovernmental organization that proposed the law in 2005. Having a department of peace, she said, will enable Costa Rica “to benefit from international experiences, which demonstrate that a culture of peace has positive effects in the reduction of violence and crime.”
Although campaigns for peace-oriented government departments are underway in 32 countries, including the United States, only Nepal and the Solomon Islands have similar ministries.
“This Ministry was not born out of war and conflict, but rather through the commitment to a culture of peace,” Isola says. “Costa Rica has a long history of being aligned with peace.”
The country’s tradition of peace-oriented firsts dates back to 1877, when President Tomás Guardia abolished the death penalty. In 1948, Costa Rica became the first country to formally abolish its armed forces; the Constitution still forbids a standing military. President Oscar Arias won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership on the Esquipulas II Peace Accords, which promoted regional reconciliation, democratization, free elections, and arms control in Central America. In 1997, Costa Rica passed a law requiring that peace education be offered in every school and created a place for peaceful conflict resolution in the legal system, which endorses mediation.
In 2004, the National Directorate of Alternative Conflict Resolution was created, and two years later the National Commission for the Prevention of Violence and Promotion of Social Peace was established. The newly overhauled Ministry of Justice and Peace will work with both.
Legislation for the new law was passed just in time for the fourth annual Global Alliance Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace, held in Costa Rica September 17-21. The Global Alliance comprises organizations, citizens, and government officials from 35 countries, who work together to establish governmental structures that support a culture of peace.
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - The Guantanamo war crimes court has become "a headless chicken" that still operates under the old rules even as the Obama administration issues new ones, the lawyer for an accused Saudi boat-bomb plotter said on Wednesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to shut down the Guantanamo detention camp for terrorism suspects by January 22, and his administration has said it will decide by November 16 whether to move the 10 pending prosecutions into the regular U.S. courts or try them in revised tribunals.
The Obama administration also is pushing legislation in Congress that would stop the military tribunals from using evidence obtained through brutality.
But a military judge in Guantanamo refused on Wednesday to drop the charges against Saudi prisoner Ahmed al Darbi, a case that defense lawyer Ramzi Kassem said was built on confessions obtained through torture.
"Either the Obama administration is duplicitously saying one thing to the public and the media and doing another here or, you know, Guantanamo and the military commissions are like a headless chicken that just keeps on moving after it's been decapitated," Kassem told journalists after the hearing.
The chief prosecutor, Navy Captain John Murphy, called the comparison unfair and said, "Our mission is to operate under the current law."
Torture-derived evidence is banned but the current law permits the use of coerced statements in some cases. The judge, Army Colonel Jim Pohl, scheduled a January hearing to decide whether 119 statements al Darbi gave interrogators can be used at his trial -- if his trial goes forward.
Obama first asked the military to freeze the Guantanamo trials in January, then his administration sought further delays through mid-November to decide whether and how to continue with the prosecutions.
Despite the freeze, military judges have convened three tribunal sessions to try to resolve pretrial motions, and more are planned in October. They say that does not violate Obama's order since they are not holding trials or filing new charges.
DEFENSE ALLEGES TORTURE
Al Darbi, 34, is charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, and he faces life in prison if convicted.
The charges allege he bought a boat and global positioning devices and shopped for crewmen as part of an unrealized plot to ram an explosives-laden boat into an unidentified ship in the Strait of Hormuz. He is also accused of teaching at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and meeting Osama bin Laden there.
Al Darbi has said his boat was used only to ferry sheep across the strait. The defense says the case rests on confessions al Darbi gave after U.S. troops strung him up by his arms, beat him, blasted loud music at him, deprived him of sleep and threatened to rape him while he was held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
Prosecutor Frank Rangoussis said there is ample evidence beyond al Darbi's own words, including corroborating witnesses, but he did not elaborate.
Al Darbi was captured in Azerbaijan in 2002 and has been held at Guantanamo since 2003.
"They've had seven years to assess the evidence against Mr. al Darbi," said Kassem, the defense lawyer. "They should either fish or cut bait."
The judge refused his request to drop the charges, and granted a prosecution request to freeze the case until after the November 16 decision by the administration.
Thanks to Duke University, you can now access a digital archive of vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. Eventually, this collection will feature close to 12,000 digitized commercials, and it will let you see how America’s traditional brands (IBM, Maxwell House, American Express, Avis, etc) evolved through the medium of mainstream commercial television. You can learn more about this collection called Adviews with this introductory video or via the Adviews website, and you can watch the vintage commercials through iTunes. (Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to access these clips via other means. Sorry about that.) Via @LibrarySecrets.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has made a dramatic return to his country nearly three months after the military coup that forced him into exile. On Monday, Zelaya reappeared in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, taking refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Speaking from the embassy’s roof, Zelaya said he had arrived after a lengthy trip, traveling sometimes by foot to avoid detection.
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I had to travel for fifteen hours, sometimes walking, other times marching in different areas in the middle of the night, because I wanted to celebrate the country’s independence day with the Honduran people. Those who believe that governing was something easy have made a mistake. To govern is something serious. Governing requires talent, dedication and love for the people.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Zelaya wouldn’t provide specifics, but it’s unlikely he could have returned without help from elements of the Honduran military or intelligence services. That prospect could signify a further setback for the Honduran coup regime, which has relied on military support to defy internal unrest and global isolation.
The head of the coup regime, Roberto Micheletti, initially dismissed reports of Zelaya’s return as, quote, “media terrorism.” But as thousands of Zelaya supporters descended on the Brazilian embassy, Micheletti imposed a national curfew and took to the airwaves. Flanked by his cabinet and top military leaders, Micheletti called on Brazil to hand over Zelaya for arrest.
ROBERTO MICHELETTI: [translated] It is not clear why Mr. Zelaya has returned to Honduras at this time. Only he knows this. But I cannot reach another conclusion other than he is here to continue hampering the celebrations of our elections next November 29th, as he has done so far, as well as his followers, for a few weeks now.
I made a call to the government of Brazil so that they respect the judicial order against Mr. Zelaya and hand him over to the authorities of Honduras. The state of Honduras is committed to respecting the rights of Mr. Zelaya to the mentioned process. The eyes of the world are placed on Brazil and also on Honduras. Let’s not allow passions of a few stain the reputation and image of our people.
AMY GOODMAN: Zelaya’s supporters are reportedly planning to march on the palace later today. Here in the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged both sides to engage in dialogue.
HILLARY CLINTON: It’s imperative that dialogue begin, that there be a channel of communication between President Zelaya and the de facto regime in Honduras. And it’s also imperative that the return of President Zelaya does not lead to any conflict or violence, but instead that everyone act in a peaceful way to try to find some common ground. Once again, the Costa Ricans will be using their good offices to try to encourage that to occur.
AMY GOODMAN: Clinton was speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where she met with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. After the meeting, Arias said he’d be willing to travel to Honduras to resume his efforts at brokering a negotiated solution.
PRESIDENT OSCAR ARIAS: I think this is the best—the best opportunity, the best time, now that Zelaya is back in his country, for the two parties to sign the San José accord. It’s all we have on the table. There is no B plan. And when we wrote this San José accord, it was after listening to everybody. We took suggestions from each of the parties.
I would be willing to go, but if both sides—if both parties ask me to—to go to Tegucigalpa, I certainly would be more than pleased to go and see what I can do.
AMY GOODMAN: The Nobel Peace laureate, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
We now go directly to the Brazilian embassy, inside, in Tegucigalpa to Andres Conteris, who works with us at Democracy Now! and on the Program on the Americas director for Nonviolence International.
We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Andres. What’s happening right now?
ANDRES CONTERIS: Amy, good to talk with you.
About forty minutes ago, there was a very violent removal by the military and police of over 500 protesters who were outside the embassy dancing and rejoicing and celebrating all night. I was able to see them in their incredible, incredible spirit of jubilation as they expressed that since the news arrived that President Zelaya was returning to the country. Then, about forty minutes ago, there was a massive, massive tear gas attack and a violent removal of all of the over 500 people in front of the embassy.
I’m inside the embassy with about 150 people who are inside. There was no direct attack against the embassy itself, but the tear gas did enter, and it affected every single one of us inside the embassy. I’m now in the room where the President slept, and I’m with the First Lady nearby. Everyone, everyone was affected by this tear gas attack. But fortunately, there are no permanent injuries. We’re not aware of any injuries, but I’m sure there were many of those who were protesting and celebrating outside the embassy.
AMY GOODMAN: Andres, can you tell us how did President Zelaya return to Honduras?
ANDRES CONTERIS: Reports are, Amy—and he was asked directly, and he answered in a very general way, but the reports are that he flew from Nicaragua to El Salvador and then reached the border there at a place called El Amatillo and there entered into the trunk of a car and crossed about fifty—I’m sorry, about twenty police barricades and was never detected. He drove straight to—his driver took him straight to the Brazilian embassy.
Initial reports were that the President was in Honduras and that he was at the United Nations headquarters. So the initial rally of celebration went there to the United Nations. There were thousands and thousands of people there rejoicing. And then the word came that he was at the Brazilian embassy. And then we transferred that celebration here.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Andres, why did the Brazilians take him in, have him have refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa?
ANDRES CONTERIS: It’s very clear that Brazil has been a very strong advocate of President Zelaya during this entire crisis. And because of the power and the symbolism of the strength of South America and Brazil being the strongest and largest of those countries, it’s clear that I think President Zelaya decided that this was the place that it was best to come to. And when he arrived, they of course opened the doors. The Brazilian authorities report that they did not know ahead of time that he was coming here, but he was welcomed when he came. And his family was reunited here in the embassy for the first time after eighty-six days of being separated.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And the President—the head of the coup regime, Roberto Micheletti, has continued his call for Zelaya’s arrest. What does President Zelaya say right now about that?
ANDRES CONTERIS: President Zelaya speaks very positively, in a very reconciling mode. He does not even take seriously what coup regime leader Micheletti is saying. Micheletti is saying that there’s a jail space waiting for President Zelaya. However, President Zelaya is really focusing on the way to truly resolve this crisis by seeking mediation.
Today, it’s hopefully expected that Mr. Insulza, the head of the OAS, will arrive. However, they have closed the airports, and it’s not certain if they will allow the plane to land with Mr. Insulza from the OAS.
AMY GOODMAN: Andres Conteris is speaking to us from inside the embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Brazilian embassy. Roberto Micheletti says that he wants Brazil to hand over the ousted president. Andres, is there a response from Zelaya on that request?
ANDRES CONTERIS: In terms of that request, no, there was no direct response. It’s really treating this coup regime as a nonentity, so much as possible, and not recognizing their authority. Many who were in the streets heard about the curfew that was imposed at 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon and held—and was enforced all night, and they did not respond to it, because they believe that President Zelaya is the one president, and he is the only one who can give an order for a curfew. And so, they continued to celebrate in the streets.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Andres is joining us from inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. We’re also joined from Washington, DC by Mark Weisbrot. He’s co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy. He’s written extensively on the Honduran crisis and is a longtime analyst of Latin American affairs.
Mark, could you explain the significance of Zelaya’s return, particularly coming on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly?
MARK WEISBROT: Yes. Well, I think it will make a big difference. You know, there’s been a big gap from the beginning, since the coup on June 28th. There’s been a big gap between the United States and the rest of the world on this situation. You know, the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the UNASUR, the Union of South American Nations, they all said right away that they wanted an immediate and unconditional return of the elected president, Zelaya. And the United States has never really said that. In fact, the Arias accords put all kinds of conditions on his return, including incorporating the people who led the coup into his government and moving the elections forward. And in fact, as Andres mentioned, you know, Brazil has been a strong supporter of Zelaya, and the foreign minister of Brazil said a couple months ago—he complained to Hillary Clinton that these conditions were placed in the Arias agreement, that, you know, this was not what the Organization of American States wanted or the United Nations or anyone else. So he said this publicly. And so, there’s always been this big gap, but the administration has been able to paper it over, because there hasn’t been much attention on Honduras.
And so, now, with the General Assembly and the attention focused by Zelaya’s dramatic return, Obama is going to have to choose sides more than they have in the past. They’ve been very—this administration has been very ambivalent. They’ve gone back and forth, you know, between saying that, you know, he should be restored and then saying really almost the opposite. And on August 4th, they sent a letter, for example, to President Lugar [Senator Lugar], where they backed off quite a bit from supporting Zelaya.
And, you know, Zelaya has been here six times since he was overthrown, here in Washington, and President Obama has not met with him once, even though he’s gotten requests from people who are very close friends and allies of his and Democratic members of Congress.
And so, these are the kind of signals, mixed signals, that this government has sent to the leaders of the coup, and that has strengthened their resolve all the way along. And they’re very stubborn right now, for example. It’s going to take a lot more pressure to get them out of there, a lot more, both international and domestic, from within the United States. There’s going to have to be a lot more pressure on the Obama administration to actually force them to leave.
AMY GOODMAN: And exactly what could the Obama administration do if it was committed to preserving the democratically elected leader Zelaya? What is the relationship the US has with Honduras?
MARK WEISBROT: Oh, there’s quite a bit more they could do. First of all, on August 11th, sixteen members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and asking them to freeze the assets of the coup leaders, and even the government—they can also freeze their assets. You know, when Aristide, President Aristide of Haiti, was overthrown the first time, George Bush, the first, actually froze some of the assets of the dictatorship and gave it to the government in exile, to President Aristide. And this was, you know, a Republican president who actually—that government actually supported the—or was involved in the coup initially. And so, this is—so this is a minimum they could do.
They could—you know, they could put all kinds of pressure that they haven’t put. And again, you see our Secretary of State, she’s trying to say, well, both sides should do this, both sides—she even said last night that she supported the curfew that this government has put, you know, on people to prevent them from peacefully assembling. And so, this is the kind of thing.
And, you know, there has not been one word from this administration about the human—the massive human rights violations committed by this dictatorship, the thousands of arbitrary arrests and detentions, the beatings. People have been shot and actually killed at demonstrations. These human rights abuses have been denounced by Human Rights Watch, by Amnesty International, by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States, by Honduran human rights groups, by Europe. And nothing—nothing—has come out of this administration. I think that really says a lot. That tells you how much this government has not wanted to undermine the dictatorship in Honduras. That’s what’s going to have to change. And I think there’s going to be more international pressure, and hopefully domestic pressure, as well, to change that.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Weisbrot, to the surprise of the coup regime, Zelaya’s return to Honduras, he’s now in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. But if he were in New York and wanted to speak, address the UN General Assembly, what would happen at the United Nations? Who would they recognize?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, they would recognize him, and he would get enormous support. And that was, I’m sure, his other plan: if he hadn’t gone back to Honduras, he would have spoken there. But this, I think, is much more powerful. I mean, that would have gotten maybe, you know, a few lines here and there in the news. This now forces it to the world attention. You’re going to see a lot of support in the United Nations and from various heads of state for Zelaya, a lot more pressure—and here in Congress, too, by the way.
And if your viewers want to do anything, they can contact their members of Congress, and they—you know, there’s another letter going to come from members of Congress stating that Zelaya should return. And also, you know, the School of the Americas Watch has asked for people to write to and call the State Department. So, you know, there’s going to be more and more pressure on them.
And the question is, you know, will they really do what needs to be done to get rid of this government? Because the government there still has their friends here. You know, you had Lanny Davis on the show. They have influential people. They have the Republicans, and they have, you know, a lot of interest in this government, including the military, wants to keep their base there, you know? And there’s all these forces here that don’t really want Zelaya to go back, or if they’re willing to have him go back, they don’t want him to go back as a victor. You know, that’s another thing that they’re very worried about, that he comes off winning, and their friends in the government, in the de facto regime, end up losing. So, again, it’s going to take a lot of pressure, but that pressure has definitely gone up quite a bit with Zelaya’s return.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Weisbrot, I want to go back to Andres in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Andres Conteris, who’s with Democracy Now! en Español, Democracy Now! in Spanish, he is right near the President now, who’s talking with reporters. Andres, describe what’s happening.
ANDRES CONTERIS: Yes, Amy, I’m right here with the President, and he is speaking. I’m going to let you hear his voice and try to interpret a little bit.
[translating President Zelaya] He “will obligate this dictatorship to enter into dialogue with us. Just the way that they attacked my house and they brutally kidnapped me, this is the way that they are attacking us now even today.”
The President is taking a drink of water now, and we’re going to ask him a question. It’s not possible to get a question in right now, but we will just listen to his response to other questions.
AMY GOODMAN: Andres Conteris is asking President Zelaya a question.
ANDRES CONTERIS: [translating President Zelaya] “That the US should respond and respect the OAS charter. The United States should call for a meeting, an emergency meeting, of the United Nations Security Council. The United States should take every type of trade sanction measure in order to pressure this regime now in power in Honduras.”
That’s the questions I was able to ask Mr. President.
AMY GOODMAN: Andres Conteris, thanks so much for being with us. We will continue to follow this story, bring you more on this tomorrow.
Again, the latest news is that the President, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, has returned to Honduras after three months, not exactly clear how he made it over the border, but he said he walked, he traveled, not clear who aided him in this, and then ended up within the Brazilian embassy. The coup regime leader, Roberto Micheletti, is demanding of Brazil to turn over Zelaya so that he can arrest him.
Andres Conteris, with Nonviolence International and Democracy Now! en Español, is standing next to the President right now in the Brazilian embassy.
AlJazeeraEnglishSeptember 21, 2009The ousted Honduran president has returned to his country nearly three months after being forced from power and into exile by a military-backed coup.
Manuel Zelaya took refuge at the Brazilian embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa, on Monday, prompting Roberto Micheletti, the man who replaced him, to declare an overnight curfew and demand that Brazil hand him over.
Thousands of Zelaya supporters gathered outside the embassy as helicopters flew overhead and a small group of police stood nearby.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, called for dialogue between Zelaya and the de facto government and urged everyone to "act in a peaceful way to try to find some common ground".
Monica Villamizar reports.
Sheena, una leopardo africana que vive en un Zoo británico, suspiró al ver un ratoncillo intentando comerse un trozo de su comida. Como cuenta la noticia, al final no le hizo nada más que eso, una caricia de curiosidad. La imagen es súper dulce ^-^
Vía Cute Overload
I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.
Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.
From: http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com"In the cozy den of the large but modest house in Omaha where he has lived since he started on his first billion, Warren Buffett watched the horrors of Hurricane Katrina unfold on television in early September 2005. . . . On the fourth day, he beheld in disbelief the paralysis of local, state, and federal authorities unable to commence basic operations of rescue and sustenance, not just in New Orleans, but in towns and villages all along the Gulf Coast. . . He knew exactly what he had to do. . ." So begins the vivid fictional account by political activist and bestselling author Ralph Nader that answers the question, "What if?" What if a cadre of superrich individuals tried to become a driving force in America to organize and institutionalize the interests of the citizens of this troubled nation? What if some of America's most powerful individuals decided it was time to fix our government and return the power to the people? What if they focused their power on unionizing Wal-Mart? What if a national political party were formed with the sole purpose of advancing clean elections? What if these seventeen superrich individuals decided to galvanize a movement for alternative forms of energy that will effectively clean up the environment? What if together they took on corporate goliaths and Congress to provide the necessities of life and advance the solutions so long left on the shelf by an avaricious oligarchy? What could happen? This extraordinary story, written by the author who knows the most about citizen action, returns us to the literature of American social movements -- to Edward Bellamy, to Upton Sinclair, to John Steinbeck, to Stephen Crane -- reminding us in the process that changing the body politic of America starts with imagination.
While the DaVinci Code's Dan Brown is on the task to uncover national secrets, he might expose the one that has kept the Democratic Party together. It is not so much a big tent as it is a sprawling concentration camp of all sorts of candidates for a eugenicist's social purification campaign: yes, of course, Jews; yes, of course, LGBTQs; yes, of course, Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians ... the poor, single mothers, single fathers, grandparent/guardians, the elderly, the disabled, felons.
But the inmates don't run this camp. We are mistreated. The camp is run by Lehman Brothers and its surviving money-changers. They have most cynically gathered us together, like an arranged marriage made in the Dark Ages.
I am truly curious what drug has been put in the water supply to keep these inmates under the throes of these madmen of Commerce - white, blue eyed ones, according to a rather frank president of Brasil.
In 1984, the federal government dismantled the iconic Ma Bell - aka, AT&T, in an anti-trust assault on bringing free enterprise, commerce, and profit opportunities to the nation. These three are the hidden holy trinity of the United States of America. I await Brown's made-for-TV narrative of the nation's true religion.
But more: I hope the federal government will do to the Democratic Party what it did over a generation ago to Ma Bell: break it up.
Pres. Obama's recent rations to the camp inmates was his continuation of the antiquated blockade against Cuba. There has been plenty other poison: slapping the LGBT community in the face by defending the Defense of Marriage Act. He cleverly employed the term "universal health care," but did not mean universal health care but rather more reforms, more mandates, then the public option, which he is rather quickly taking off the table. He began his first week in the White House by bombing soft targets in the Mideast war.
He is, in short, an effective and competent head of a capitalist party.
Thinking of Pres da Silva's white, blue eyeds who caused the financial crisis, Obama seems bent on channeling those of his white ancestors in his treaty-making skills. Of the 300-odd treaties made with the various AmerIndian nations, the white man broke them all. All. Obama continues this infamous record.
Rather than suffer the irritation of watching Obama continue to break promises, as recent democrats have been wont to do, let him break away and lead a party of wanna-be progressives who make touchy-feely commercials, and steel your money, water rights, land rights, and bomb your soft-targeted neighborhoods. Much of the agony suffered by the working class right now was neatly set up not by Richard M Nixon but by William "Welfare Reform" Clinton, a presidency which literally drove me from this country in an unsuccessful and sloppy attempt to live exotically abroad.
Obama can have his own party, with Bill and Hillary. Ralph Nader perhaps another. Dennis Kucinich another. Cynthia McKinney her constituents. US Senator Olympia Snow might find better lodgings than the present Republican Party. US Senator Bernard Sanders can finally admit to being a socialist, because along with the Democratic Party there will be a Socialist Party, a Socialist Workers Party, a Socialist Labor Party, a Democratic Socialist Party, led by Cornell West and Barbara Ehrenreich.
One would hope this break up would not follow the course of the scattered AT&T, which has been reunited, or those disparate political parties go the course of the UK's New Labour in making a deep and gracious bow to the Iron Lady and taking public ownership off its platform.
The US needs a socialist, worker party, and it will never have one in this internment camp.
AROUND 30 ISRAELI SOLDIERS TESTIFY ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES IN OPERATION CAST LEAD – A NEW BOOKLET BY "BREAKING THE SILENCE":
"You feel like an infantile little kid with a magnifying glass looking at ants, burning them."
Fifty-four testimonies of Israeli combat soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead reveal gaps between the reports given by the army following January’s events; the needless destruction of houses; firing phosphorous in populated areas and an atmosphere that encouraged shooting anywhere.
Half a year after Operation Cast Lead, the organization "Breaking the Silence" is announcing the release of a new booklet today (Wed. 7/15) that includes numerous testimonies by soldiers who participated in the operation. The testimonies expose significant gaps between the official stances of the Israeli military and events on the ground.
Among the 54 testimonies are stories revealing the use of "accepted practices," the destruction of hundreds of houses and mosques for no military purpose, the firing of phosphorous gas in the direction of populated areas, the killing of innocent victims with small arms, the destruction of private property, and most of all, a permissive atmosphere in the command structure that enabled soldiers to act without moral restrictions. The booklet compiles the testimonies of about 30 reserve and regular combat soldiers from various units that participated in the fighting. The testimonies demonstrate that the soldiers were not given directives stating the goal of the operation and, as one soldier testifies, "there was not much said about the issue of innocent civilians."
Many soldiers said that they fought without seeing "the enemy before their eyes." "You feel like an infantile little kid with a magnifying glass looking at ants, burning them," one of the soldiers testified that "a 20-year-old kid should not have to do these kinds of things to other people."
"The testimonies prove that the immoral way the war was carried out was due to the systems in place and not the individual soldier," said Mikhael Mankin from "Breaking the Silence." What was proven yesterday is that through the IDF the exception becomes the norm, and this requires a deep and reflective discussion. This is an urgent call to Israel's society and leadership to take a sober look at the foolishness of our policies."
From: Democracy Now!LINK TO Full Goldstone Committee ReportA United Nations fact-finding mission has found Israel “punished and terrorized” civilians in its three-week assault on Gaza earlier this year and cited strong evidence that Israeli forces committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions. More than 1,400 Palestinians—about a third of them women and children—were killed in the assault.We get analysis from author and Israel-Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein.
Norman Finkelstein, author of several books, including The Holocaust Industry, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah. His forthcoming book about Israel’s assault on Gaza is due out on December 27th, the first anniversary of the attack.
AMY GOODMAN: A United Nations fact-finding mission has found Israel, quote, “punished and terrorized” civilians in its three-week assault on Gaza earlier this year and cited strong evidence that Israeli forces committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions. More than 1,400 Palestinians, about a third of them women and children, were killed in the assault. Thirteen Israelis died.
The 575-page report came at the end of a six-month inquiry and was based on dozens of interviews and investigations. The inquiry was led by Judge Richard Goldstone, the former chief prosecutor of the international courts for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Judge Goldstone said Israel deliberately attacked civilians and failed to take precautions to minimize loss of civilian life.
JUDGE RICHARD GOLDSTONE: We came to the conclusion, on the basis of the facts we found, that there is strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law, both humanitarian law and human rights law, were committed by Israel during the military operations in Gaza. The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity were committed by the Israel Defense Force.
AMY GOODMAN: Judge Goldstone also said there was evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes by firing rockets into southern Israel.
JUDGE RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Turning to the Palestinian armed groups, there is no question that the firing of rockets and mortars was deliberate and calculated to cause loss of life and injury to civilians and damage to civilian structures. The mission found that these actions also amount to serious war crimes and also possibly crimes against humanity.
AMY GOODMAN: Judge Goldstone’s report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council later this month. The investigators recommended that the UN Security Council should call on Israel and the Palestinian authorities to launch their own investigations into the conflict within three months. If either side failed to do that, the council should refer the matter to the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague within six months.
Israel, which had refused to cooperate with the investigation, claimed Goldstone’s investigation was biased against Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held consultations with top government officials last night. A senior Israeli staffer told Ha’aretz newspaper, quote, “The goal is to avoid a slippery slope which would lead Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”
Well, Norman Finkelstein joins us here in our firehouse studio, the author of a number of books, including The Holocaust Industry, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah. His forthcoming book about Israel’s assault on Gaza is due out at the end of the year, on the first anniversary of the attack.
We welcome you to Democracy Now! Now, this report has just really come out hours ago. Perhaps you’re among the few people outside those who have written the report who have actually read the majority of its contents. Talk about the significance of this.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, the report is the last in a large number of reports that have been issued on the Gaza massacre. There were two significant reports issued by Amnesty International, five reports issued by Human Rights Watch, and a whole slew of Israeli-based human rights organizations have issued reports. But this was the most awaited report of all of them. It was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council. And Richard Goldstone, as you mentioned in your own introductory remarks, is a significant international figure, legal figure.
So the report basically is consistent with the findings of the other human rights organizations, that Israel targeted civilians, Israel targeted civilians who were carrying white flags, Israel systematically targeted the Palestinian infrastructure. The findings were consistent with those of the other human rights organizations: Israel is guilty of a very significant number of war crimes. And also, the findings which were—other reports, the same conclusions, that the Palestinians were not using hospitals to hide Hamas officials. There’s no evidence that the ambulances Israel targeted were carrying Hamas militants or ammunition. And most significantly, in terms of the coverage during the Gaza massacre, the report found, as did Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there’s no evidence whatsoever—and I would want to underline that—there’s no evidence whatsoever that Hamas was guilty of human shielding. But on the other hand, there is significant evidence, actually copious evidence, that Israel was guilty of human shielding.
AMY GOODMAN: But on other issues, of Palestinian militants committing crimes against humanity.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The report found that the Palestinians were guilty of war crimes because of its indiscriminate and intentional firing on civilians in Israel. I’m not trying to make any apologies, but I want to get the facts right. The Goldstone report, like the Amnesty report and the others, you have to look carefully at the proportions. About nine-tenths—literally, about nine-tenths of the Goldstone report, like the Dugard report, like the Amnesty report, about nine-tenths was devoted to Israeli war crimes; about one-tenth was devoted to Palestinian war crimes. And you have to understand why, because you have to look at the comparable damage. The ratio of killings was about a hundred to one: about—exactly thirteen on the Israeli side, about fourteen hundred on the Palestinian side. If you look at the damage, the damage is actually quite astonishing. Israel just systematically blasted everything in sight and reduced it to rubble, whereas on the Israeli side they say that several houses were damaged and one was almost completely destroyed. So if you look at the facts, the facts on the ground, the proportions in the reports, including the Goldstone report, are correct. It’s about ten to one.
And that’s why yesterday’s—or today’s headline in the New York Times is so misleading. It’s like a Pravda headline. It says the Goldstone report finds both sides guilty of war crimes. Well, that’s technically true, but an accurate headline would have read, “Goldstone reports Israel guilty of massive war crimes and also faults Hamas.” That’s what a true headline would have read.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation and has claimed the UN Human Rights Council that ordered it was biased against Israel. This is some of what the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor had to say about the inquiry.
YIGAL PALMOR: This fact-finding mission was established in sin. This is why Israel was unable to cooperate with it. The resolution, in virtue of which the commission was established, was so extreme in its phrasing and in its prejudging of any conclusion that all European countries and other democratic countries did not support it. It was adopted with the support of human rights models such as Libya, Bangladesh, Cuba. This, of course, has no moral value whatsoever. So we didn’t feel that this was binding in any way.
In spite of everything I’ve just said, Israel is going to study this report and to examine it very carefully, as we have with all the national and international human rights reports. We are taking this seriously, and we are committed, as always, to abide by international law.
AMY GOODMAN: Israel’s response to the Goldstone report. Your response, Norman Finkelstein?
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, Richard Goldstone is a very respected jurist, and he also has a long record of being very supportive of Israel. If I’m not mistaken, he sits on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem board of directors.
Now, when the UN Human Rights Council asked Goldstone to chair the mission, originally his mandate was just to investigate Israeli crimes. He himself said he couldn’t fulfill that mandate, unless it was modified and included crimes on all sides. The Human Rights Council said, “Fine. We’ll modify the mandate, and we’ll accept your terms.” At that point, Richard Goldstone accepted to head the mission.
So you have to ask yourself the question: if what the gentleman said were true, why did Goldstone accept? If it were so biased, he always had the option of saying no. Why would a well-known supporter of Israel have accepted that mandate if it were biased against Israel?
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think, Norman Finkelstein, are the limitations of the report?
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The main limitation of the report is it’s all cast in the language of violations of the laws of war. And the fundamental fact about what happened in Gaza is it wasn’t a war. There was no war in Gaza. That’s the main misunderstanding about what happened there. In fact, one of Israel’s leading strategic analysts, he said—after what happened in Gaza, he said the one mistake Israelis are making is that there was a war there. He said there was no war. There were no battles in Gaza.
The picture is fairly clear. Israel flew about 3,000 sorties over Gaza. Every plane came back. None was damaged. None was downed. There was no fighting in Gaza. If you read the reports that were issued by the—the testimonies of the Israeli soldiers, the one consistent theme in all of the testimonies was they never met any Hamas militants, they never engaged in any battles. Some of the Israeli soldiers expressed exasperation: “We came here to fight. We’re not fighting anyone.” There was no—there were no battles. There were no Hamas militants in the field. The basic fact was, as a couple of Israeli soldiers said—one of them said, “This was like PlayStation, a computer game.” Another Israeli soldier said, literally—I’m quoting exactly, almost word for word—he said, “It was like a child with a magnifying glass burning ants.” That’s what Gaza was like.
One soldier after another, literally—I wish listeners would just bring up the report. It’s called “Breaking the Silence.” And then, under—enter under the search mechanism, just enter the word “insane.” One soldier after another after another after another said Israel used insane amounts of firepower. Insane amounts of firepower. There were no soldiers, no battles, but they’re using insane amounts of firepower. One soldier said—two soldiers, actually, talked about how the ground was trembling because of all the bombing and all of the missiles and all of the rockets. Another said that “We were told—even though we were firing in the distance, we were told to evacuate the houses we were in, because the shaking from the distance was going to cause the house to collapse over our heads.”
It was a massacre in Gaza. And you don’t really see that, because they’re measuring everything against what they call the laws of war. But you’re applying laws of war to a massacre. There was no war there.
AMY GOODMAN: Israel called the attack Operation Cast Lead. It’s interesting, Judge Goldstone’s daughter was interviewed on Israeli army radio. She spoke in Hebrew. And she responded about her father. She described him as a Zionist who loves Israel. She said that “My father took on this job, because he thought he’s doing the best thing for peace for everyone and also for Israel.” The significance of this report now? The UN Human Rights Council will meet the day after Yom Kippur—
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
AMY GOODMAN: —in about two weeks, to meet specifically in a special session on this report.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Mm-hmm.
AMY GOODMAN: And what does this mean for Israel? The quote of the Israeli official to Ha’aretz, saying, “We don’t want to be put into the International Criminal Court.”
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I personally don’t think that’s yet going to go very far, because the US has effective power to block it.
What’s significant about the report, in my opinion, and what’s significant about what happened in Gaza, I think it marks a major turning point. It’s like the Sharpville massacre in South Africa. Now, Sharpville is not Soweto, but Sharpville was a turning point. Richard Goldstone is a liberal. Richard Goldstone is very supportive of Israel. And it’s now marking the breakup of liberal Jewish support for Israel. And as we both know and as all of your listeners know, Jews are overwhelmingly liberal in their sentiment. Seventy-nine percent of Jews in the last election voted for Obama. And what you’re seeing now is the breakup of Jewish support for Israel.
You saw during the Gaza massacre you had some of the old-timers like Alan Dershowitz, Michael Walzer, characters—Martin Peretz, characters like that, you know, kind of comical figures coming out supporting Israel. But if you looked at the younger Jewish—the younger Jewish constituency—bloggers like Matt Yglesias, Glenn Greenwald and so forth—they all opposed the Gaza massacre from almost like day one or day two. And then you had significant defections, like Andrew Sullivan, who—not Jewish, but still a significant figure, who also came out against the Gaza massacre.
So I think now what you’re seeing, especially with the Goldstone report, especially with his stature, especially because he’s Jewish, especially because he’s a liberal, what it’s signaling now, is the breakup of Jewish support and liberal support—and those are basically the same thing—the breakup of liberal Jewish support for Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: Norman Finkelstein, I want to thank you for being with us, just recently back from Gaza, visited in June. Norman Finkelstein has written a number of books—among them, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah. His forthcoming book about Israel’s assault on Gaza is due out on the first anniversary of the attack, on December 27th.
By Michael VossBBC News, Havana US President Barack Obama has extended the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba for another year.In a statement, Mr Obama said that it was in the US national interest to extend the Trading With The Enemy Act which covers the trade embargo.It is largely a symbolic step because the final decision rests with Congress.Under legislation from 1996, the Helms-Burton Act, the embargo can only be lifted when Cuba is deemed to have begun a democratic transition.Cuba has been under a financial, trade and travel ban since 1962 - one of the last surviving remnants of the Cold War.Critics see it as a missed opportunity to signal a further willingness to ease relations between the two countries.Mr Obama has lifted some of the restrictions allowing Cuban-Americans to visit relatives whenever they want and send money home.The two sides are once again holding direct talks on immigration and later this week US officials travel to Cuba to discuss resuming direct mail services.The Cuban authorities have described these changes as little more than a cosmetic coat of paint, but the US administration continues to demand that Cuba must first show signs of reform before lifting the embargo.
Austin Osman Spare, with Introductions by Kenneth Grant & Ernest H. R. Collings. The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love). The Psychology of Ecstasy. Montreal, Canada: 93 Publishing, 1975. First Edition Thus. Hardcover, folio, xii + 60 pp, black cloth, white title, etc. to spine and front cover, white dust jacket, many black and white illustrations, . Edition limited to 1,000 numbered copies . The Book of Pleasure was first published in 1913 - probably at around the time that Spare ended his association with Aleister Crowley. Although Crowley suggested that Spare had "imitated" his own works, the magical system which Spare outlines in The Book of Pleasure is one of startling originality, and the book must rate as one of the most important and innovative occult works of the twentieth century.
Peter Camejo, Socialist Workers Party candidate for US President, 1976.
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Peter Camejo’s death. He had been battling cancer (lymphoma) for over a year. It was in remission then came back suddenly and killed him.
I spoke to Peter the last week of his life, in fact, just a couple of days before his death while I was in Ohio campaigning with Ralph Nader. Nader and I took turns talking with Peter by telephone. It was apparent that he was going to die, so there were many heartfelt words exchanged. I made sure to tell him that he had much to be proud of, that we loved him greatly, and that we would miss having him at our side.
Most people know Peter Camejo as a three-time Green Party candidate for Governor of California and for his run with Ralph Nader in 2004. Others recall his days with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), when he ran for US President in 1976 (with running mate Willie Mae Reid) against both Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
Peter was also an author. He wrote about post-American Civil War politics (Racism, Revolution, Reaction 1861-1877, The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction) and about progressive financial investing (The SRI Advantage: Why Socially Responsible Investing Has Outperformed Financially).
Many of his speeches from his period with the SWP were published by Pathfinder press in pamphlet form including: Who Killed Jim Crow?; Allende’s Chile: Is It Going Socialist?; Liberalism, Ultraleftism, Or Mass Action; How to Make a Revolution in the US; and Cuba and the Central American Revolution.
Peter marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and participated in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, culminating in his expulsion from the University of California and subsequent run for mayor of Berkeley. It was during this era when then Governor Ronald Reagan declared Peter “one of the 10 most dangerous men in California”.
It is without question that Peter was one of the important members of the American Left of the last half-century. He had combated injustice his entire life and helped plant the seeds for many progressive ideas that are popular now.
None of the things we fight for today: gay marriage, equal rights for women, fair wage laws, immigrant rights, universal health care, would exist had there not been men and women like Peter pushing from one side — agitating and making people uncomfortable. It amazes me how once these ideas are commonplace, we celebrate the politicians who joined the effort at the last moment, when victory was all but assured. There’s little credit given to how we got on the beachhead in the first place.
What does it mean to stand up against something that won’t budge, long before it’s poised to be the majority sentiment?
Peter knew the system would crumble someday. Politics as we know it will someday buckle under the pressure of human desires for a more egalitarian and democratic world. And when it happens, the “successful” politicians will not be remembered. They were the ones that took the easy path. Worked for change on the margin. Wanted the winner’s circle at all cost. Even if it meant denying what they knew to be the truth.
Peter believed the two-party system was a failure, pure and simple. He mused how years from now historians will scratch their heads and wonder how was it that people put up with its oppressiveness? Its days are numbered. Just as slavery was, just as the overt subjugation of woman was, just as concentrated capital’s refusal to pay decent wages and give human beings the benefits they deserve cannot be sustained for much longer.
Peter stood up to say that both parties defended corporations such that the differences, we’re told matter, hardly alleviate any true suffering.
Peter wanted to live in a democracy. He wanted an economic system that produced for human needs not profits. He often said that the only reason someone hires you when you’re looking for a job is that they decide you can make them more money than what they’re going to pay you. He dared to say this was wrong.
He noted that the wealthy mistakenly believed they had earned their wealth and that they believed the poor just didn’t work hard enough. He pointed out that the notion that people should be allowed to do as they please with their earnings overlooked that the manner in which this wealth was invested and enjoyed often meant whether you and I would have a job, whether there would be pollution in the air, and what wars we would be fighting.
Many disparaged Peter’s electoral efforts. The press often refered to the “perennial candidate”, as if to say “here we go again, this candidate doesn’t have a chance”. In their minds they’d say, he barely registered, in terms of percentage of the vote, when he ran for president (91,000 votes or 0.1% of the vote in 1976) or governor (in his best showing, 400,000 votes or 5.3% of the vote in 2002) so why should they cover his efforts?
But Peter wasn’t discouraged by these election results because he understood that the things we fight for today will come to pass, if only by the sheer strength of the logic and decency of the principles we advocate. He was very aware of Latin American examples of minor parties becoming ruling parties in a matter of a single generation.
Peter spoke of Hugo Blanco who led a peasant revolt among the Quechua in Peru in the early 1960s. He was nearly killed by the government and ultimately was given a 25-year jail sentence. Peter visited him at the prison on the Island of El Fronton, during the period of his “exile”. 15 years later in 1978, Blanco was elected to Parliament, as a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party.
There are many stories like this one, where political efforts are totally marginalized, before becoming the dominant strand. Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva helped found the Brazilian Workers Party in 1980. He ran three times for the presidency unsuccessfully, finally winning the 4th time in 2002.
It only took two decades, Peter would have said.
Peter placed his vision of what was possible in the context of these struggles. He couldn’t be dissuaded of his politics just because they weren’t in fashion yet.
Our society has a way of romanticizing past radicals. We don’t think twice when we see Che Guevara on a t-shirt. Many hold up the agrarian revolution that Emiliano Zapata participated in, and think romantically that they would have fought at his side, but the truth is far from that. How many of these people condemn the efforts of politicians like Peter Camejo? How many would have said the timing isn’t right? How many wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help?
Peter Camejo was a beautiful man. He was unreasonable. He thought the timing was right now. He didn’t capitulate like so many of his contemporaries did. He was a socialist.
Peter Camejo’s memoir, North Star, will be published in 2010 by Haymarket Books.
The Esoteric Book Conference is an annual international event to bring together authors, artists, publishers and bookmakers working in the field of esotericism. In addition to presentations by notable authors and scholars, the conference opens it doors to publishers and booksellers showcasing new & used books as well as rare and hard-to-find esoteric texts. For two days the conference hosts the largest selection of esoteric books under one roof. Contemporary esoteric publishing, finepress book arts and antiquarian texts are offered to augment the libraries of readers, scholars and collectors alike.
This multi-disciplined conference will feature presentations by contemporary authorities researching and working in esoteric currents both East & West. Western Esotericism, Gnosticism, Theosophy, Mythology, Shamanism, Rosicrucianism, Sacred Sciences, Occulture and World Religions are among the subjects to be represented. An esoteric book fair and art show will also be on site allowing education, vending and networking in a unique field of literary, historical and cultural arts.
This conference will offer several opportunities for promotion, networking and exhibition for publishers, authors and artists who work in the esoteric publishing field. There will be two days of presentations wherein authors and scholars may present lectures as well as a book fair with scheduled book signings.
Andrew Weil, M.D., a leader in alternative medicine, appeared yesterday on CNN’s Larry King Show.
Weil discussed his new book “Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future.”
Weil brought out a number of important issues that have been missing from the loud and long health care reform debate.
He said the entire medical system in America is based on disease management with costly interventions.
Low-tech, less expensive solutions – such as diet, exercise, and mind-body connections – should be emphasized, Weil added.
He recommends integrative medicine be taught in medical schools and used throughout America, adding integrative medicine has outcomes as good or better then conventional medicine.
In addition to taking over the education in medical schools, the pharmaceutical companies have power over members of Congress, Weil said. They’ve blocked discounts for prescription drugs for those with Medicare.
The drug companies have changed the American medical system so that people think the only way to treat disease is with drugs, he said. In the mid 20th century, health care got mixed up with big money, and health care is seen as an industry. It belongs to people who don’t want to see it changed, he said, adding they’re making “rivers” of money.
US State Department Bankrolls Young Venezuelans to Slander against Chávez in the USA
By Eva Golinger. Translated from Spanish into English for Axis of Logic by Iris Buehler and revised by Les Blough
Axis of Logic (English); Rebelión (Spanish)
Thursday, Sep 10, 2009
In the midst of an international campaign launched against President Chávez, carried out by the extreme Right from Colombia and supported by Washington, the US State Department has organized and financed the trip of eight young Venezuelan politicians to the USA in order to denounce the Venezuelan government and to strengthen the links between young US Republicans and the Venezuelan Right. The eight young Venezuelan men and women have been selected by the US State Department as part of the program “Democracy for young political leaders”. It is a project of the interchange program “International Visitor Leaders - Venezuela”, which is being used by the Washington administration to recruit and train political actors who would later on promote the North American agenda in Venezuela.
The trip to the USA, during which the young Venezuelans were accompanied by US State Department representatives, lasted three weeks, from August 17th to September 4th. They visited different US cities, meeting with political groups and institutions apart from meetings with the communication media and Washington agencies. The US State Departments' International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) (1) was created by Washington as part of a propaganda initiative aimed at recruiting spokespersons and international political actors willing to promote the imperial agenda. During the program, the participants attended training workshops conducted by political representatives of the USA on representative democracy, freedom of the press (à la USA), and reinforcement of political parties and leadership, amongst other topics.
However, this trip in particular takes place at a moment when the international Right, together with Washington, is carrying out a smear campaign against the Venezuelan government and the Bolivarian Revolution, with emphasis on the figure of President Chávez. In this context, the young Venezuelan men and women, paid and accompanied by the US State Department during their visit, issued statements to the US press, attacking, accusing, and trying to discredit President Chávez and the policies of the Venezuelan government. One of the Venezuelan students, Gabriel Alejandro Gallo Garrido, Director and Coordinator of the National Students Parliament of the capital district, declared to the US press that “We [in Venezuela] don't know how a democracy works... the socialist model of President Hugo Chávez is a joke, and he [Chávez] is lying when he says that he guarantees medical assistance and health for all citizen... The Cuban doctors are no specialists and only provide preventive care”.
Also José Igancio Cayetaño Güedez Yépez, the young vice-president of the political party Un Nuevo Tiempo in the State of Lara, declared to the US press that “the United States has the world's best model of democracy…at least [the USA does] have a system…in Venezuela for someone like me who opposes Chávez, we don't have anything…”.
The visit of the young Venezuelans supported by the US State Department takes place exactly at a moment when the Venezuelan opposition is once again trying to promote destabilization in the country in order to attract international attention. They carried out various violent demonstrations against the recently passed Education Law (Ley Orgánica de Educación, LOE) and a rally titled “No more Chávez” (“NO MÁS CHÁVEZ”) aimed at inciting hatred, violence, destabilization, and the assassination of President Chávez.
It is extremely worrisome that by now the US State Department would overtly finance young men and women who belong to the Venezuelan opposition to make them go to the United States to slander their country and their president. In fact, this is an act that converts these eight men and women into Washington's agents, carrying out a US State Department-funded, destabilization campaign against the Venezuelan government. The young Venezuelans have also been promoting the NO MÁS CHÁVEZ-rally from the USA during their visit. This link doubtlessly confirms that Washington actually is behind the international campaign aimed at vilifying President Chávez and promoting hatred and violence against him as well as his assassination. In addition, this confirms that the US State Department continues to actively finance the opposition's student movement in Venezuela and the political party Un Nuevo Tiempo. These two organizations are the main promoters of destabilization in the country.
The eight young Venezuelan men and women who are being financed by the US State Department on this occasion include:
Zaimar Yulieth Castillo Carvajal, Secretary of Inter-Institutional Affairs of the Venezuelan Law Students Federation (Secretaria de Asuntos Inter-Institucionales de la Federación de Estudiantes de Derecho de Venezuela, FEDEVE);
Gabriel Alejandro Gallo Garrido, Director and Coordinator of the National Students Parliament for the capital district (Director y Coordinador del Parlimento Nacional Estudiantil por el Distrito Capital);
José Ignacio Cayetano Guedez Yépez, Vice-President of the political party Un Nuevo Tiempo in the State of Lara;
Angel de Jesús Paredes Monsalve, member of the Students Council of Political Science, Universidad de Los Andes;
Victor Martin Pérez Moreno, Founding Member, Leader and Coordinator of the Students Movement of the Universidad de Oriente (Líder Fundador y Coordinador del Movimiento Estudiantíl en la Universidad de Oriente);
Anais de los Ángeles Plaza Izquierdo, Coordinator of the National Student Movement, Un Nuevo Tiempo (Coordinadora de Organización del Movimiento Estudiantil Nacional, Un Nuevo Tiempo);
Danny Alejandro Ramirez Contrera, Advisor, Special Security Program of the city of San Cristobal, in the State of Táchira; and
Aimara Tibisay Rivas Palacios, Assistant President of the Federation of University Centers of the Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida (Asistente Presidente de la Federación de Centros Estudiantiles Universitarios of the Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida).
(1) T.n.: See the information provided at the US State Department's website: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: International Visitor Leadership Program.
Original Source in Spanish: Rebelión El Departamento de Estado financia jóvenes venezolanos para hablar mal de Chávez en EEUU; published on September 4th, 2009.
This article has been translated from Spanish into English for Axis of Logic by Iris Buehler and revised by Les Blough, who are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity.
[I've never been able to completely forgive Kucinich for so prematurely, and unnecessarily tossing his voters to Obama during the 08 election..but still...]Correspondent Jack Rice speaks with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) following President Obamas address to Congress.
Many of the people pictured in the cover were personal heroes of the Beatles or people they admired.Who's Who
1. Sri Yukteswar (Indian Guru)
2. Aleister Crowley (black magician)
3. Mae West
4. Lenny Bruce
5. Stockhausen (modern German composer)
6. W.C. Fields
7. Carl Jung (psychologist)
8. Edgar Allen Poe
9. Fred Astaire
10. Merkin (American artist)
12. Huntz Hall (Bowery Boy)
13. Simon Rodia (creater of Watts Towers)
14. Bob Dylan
15. Aubrey Beardsly (Victorian artist)
16. Sir Robert Peel (Police pioneer)
17. Aldous Huxley (philosopher)
18. Dylan Thomas (Welsh poet)
19. Terry Southern (author)
20. Dion (American pop singer)
21. Tony Curtis
22. Wallace Berman (Los Angeles artist)
23. Tommy Handley (wartime comedian)
24. Marilyn Monroe
25. William Buroughs (author)
26. Mahavatar Babaji (Indian Guru)
27. Stan Laurel
28. Richard Lindner (New York artist)
29. Oliver Hardy
30. Karl Marx
31. H.G. Wells
32. Paramhansa Yogananda (Indian Guru)
33. Stuart Sutcliffe
35. Max Muller
37. Marlon Brando
38. Tom Mix (cowboy film star)
39. Oscar Wilde
40. Tyrone Power
41. Larry Bell (modern painter)
42. Dr. Livingstone
43. Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan)
44. Stephen Crane (American writer)
45. Issy Bonn (comedian)
46. George Bernard Shaw
47. Albert Stubbins (Liverpool footballer)
49. Lahiri Mahasaya (Indian Guru)
50. Lewis Carol
51. Sonny Liston (boxer)
52 - 55. The Beatles (in wax)
57. Marlene Dietrich
58. Diana Dors
59. Shirley Temple
60. Bobby Breen (singing prodigy)
61. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
Missing In Action
Several people who were intended to be included on the cover never made it, including Elvis, Hitler and Jesus.
In addition, two people who were included were later removed by photographic retouching.
In these pics from alternate shots of the cover photo, you can still see Leo Gorcey, who was removed because he requested a fee, next to his fellow Bowery Boy pal Huntz Hal, and Ghandi, who was removed because EMI felt his inclusion might offend record buyers in India.
“I Want To Hold Your Hand”
“I Feel Fine”
“Don't Let Me Down”
“Please Please Me” (1963)
“I Saw Her Standing There”
“Do You Want To Know A Secret”
“Twist and Shout”
“With the Beatles” (1963)
“I Wanna Be Your Man”
“A Hard Day's Night” (1964)
“A Hard Day's Night”
“Can't Buy Me Love”
“Beatles For Sale” (1964)
“Eight Days a Week”
Ticket To Ride
Rubber Soul (1965)
Drive My Car
I'm Looking Through You
If I Needed Someone
“And Your Bird Can Sing”
“Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967)
“Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”/”With a Little Help From My Friends”
“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
“Good Morning Good Morning”
“Magical Mystery Tour” (1967)
“I Am The Walrus”
“The White Album” (1968)
“Back In the U.S.S.R.”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“Yellow Submarine” (1969)
“Abbey Road” (1969)
“I Want You (She's So Heavy)”
“Here Comes the Sun”
“Let It Be” (1970)
“Dig a Pony”
“I Me Mine”
“I Got a Feeling”
“Within You Without You”/”Tomorrow Never Knows”
Alice Tangerini got her job illustrating plants for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History straight out of college in 1972. Her boss, botanist Warren Wagner, thinks she's now the best botanical illustrator in the U.S. — even with just one good eye.
The Art Of Science And The Science Of Art
Credit: Ted Robbins/NPR
Wagner has asked the slender, dark-haired artist not to retire, calling her "irreplaceable." She says she absolutely loves her job: Hours can go by, she says, as she draws the long, smooth lines that capture the nature of a leaf or a branch. After nearly four decades on the job, Tangerini is still trying to get it just right.
"Every drawing is that attempt to reach perfection," says Tangerini, who is also the curator of the Smithsonian's 5 million plant drawings. "The attempt to really make that one line that you say, 'That's exactly the way I wanted to make that line.'"
Botanical illustrator Alice Tangerini's right eye was injured, so she wears an eye patch to help her focus with the left.
Botanical illustrator Alice Tangerini's right eye was injured, so she wears an eye patch to help her focus with the left.
Tangerini's work appears in scientific journals such as The Flora of the Guianas. She is as much scientist as artist. Her office several floors above the museum's exhibits is filled with old pens, fine brushes, even surgical tools she uses to dissect tiny plants such as the grain-sized flowers of the sandpaper tree from Guyana. She works from dried brown specimens collected in the 1990s and sewn to a large piece of acid-free paper. She must rehydrate the flowers, then look at them under a microscope. Then she makes sketches of the hairs on the magnified flower.
A New Way Of Looking At Things
But it's getting tougher for Tangerini to see things. Her right eye was injured four and a half years ago.
"They don't have a diagnosis for it, they just say it's bad luck. You just worked so many years and one eye gave out," she says. "And in this field, you can't have any distortion. You can't put up with it."
Tangerini had surgery, but it left her with double-vision in her right eye. So she faced a potentially career-ending obstacle. Her boss tried to help. Wagner suggested she use only her good eye and wear an eye patch over her injured eye.
"I gave her my son's pirate patch," he says, "so she can cover one eye and she still focus in and see things. So she's figured out ways to go past her disability with her eye and still do first-rate art."
That's not the only accommodation Tangerini had to make to stay on top of her game in a field that demands detail, skill and patience. She recently began using a large graphics tablet, a monitor she can draw directly on. The software program Photoshop makes the small drawings larger. It's especially useful for techniques like stippling — using dots to create a shadow effect.
"It's a little bit of an eye relief for me to be able to enlarge the drawings on a monitor to where I don't have to really strain my eye," she says.
It works. But wearing an eye patch and using only one eye for as much as 10 hours a day is tiring. So, little by little, Tangerini is being forced to go digital. She doesn't mind if it will keep her on the job.
"As long as my eyes hold out," she laughs. "As long as I can still use my good eye I will still be drawing here."
[Note: I disagree with what he writes about Amy. I have a feeling Amy didn't actually vote for Obama...but I really don't know...I do know she is no mouthpiece for the Obama Admin.]Liberal Hypocrisy & the Complicity of the Leftby Larry Pinkney September 7, 2009, BlackCommentator.comIt’s time to stop pretending.The deafening silence and hypocrisy of liberals and many so-called progressives, and the concomitant complicity by much of the left, in their tacit support for the criminal, smoke & mirror economic policies and ongoing war strategies of the Obama / Biden administration is absolutely indefensible. Moreover, those who espoused so-called “critical support” of the empire’s Barack Obama were intrinsically wrong a year ago and they are wrong now.There will be no sorely needed single payer universal health care in this nation because fundamentally Barack Obama, and his administration, are pandering to the private profit oriented pharmaceutical and insurance company executives and their avaricious corporate cohorts. The needs and desires of the people be damned, as Barack Obama demonstrated by his reprehensible support for the outrageous bail-out of the gluttonous Wall Street robbers a few short months ago. No one should be surprised, but everyone should be incensed.It is the very height of absurdity and hypocrisy to be gleeful about the Obama attorney general, Eric Holder’s, announcement that some kind of supposed limited review / investigation will be conducted into U.S. torture interrogations, in view of the fact that Barack Obama has himself has extended and in fact broadened the illegal, amoral, and self-defeating international U.S. program of kidnapping and torture, known as “rendition.” It’s time to stop pretending.Even as innocent civilians continue to increasingly die, and body bags with the remains of dead soldiers steadily come back from the bloody U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, nothing has changed. Amazingly, some of the rhetoric is beginning to sound eerily similar to that of the previous administration. Going on a year into the Barack Obama presidency, essentially the same inane and insane justifications and policies of the G.W. Bush administration are being used now by Obama to continue the bloodletting that is being horribly paid for by the peoples of the aforementioned nations, and by the economically poor of this nation, who are the cannon fodder for Obama’s policies of continued U.S. empire abroad.The corporate media of course continues to play its insidiously important role of distraction, obfuscation, omission, and disinformation. It acts essentially as the propaganda organ of the Obama administration, just as it did for the previous G.W. Bush administration.One is reminded of the recent arrogantly contemptuous August 18th, 2009, remarks by ABC ‘news’ anchor Charles Gibson about Cindy Sheehan’s valiant planned action at Martha’s Vineyard to draw attention to the rising death tolls due to Barack Obama’s continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Gibson whimsically said “Enough already,” inferring that Obama should be unaccountable and politically untouchable, and that Cindy Sheehan should just go away. To Charles Gibson I say: “‘Enough already’ of you and the insidious corporate media establishment of talking heads that you are a part of and represent!” Yes, enough already! Enough death, destruction, and subterfuge. Enough empire!And by the way, where were the bulk of mealy-mouthed, hypocritical liberals and the god damn pious-assed left?!! They should have been there at Martha’s Vineyard standing massively with Cindy Sheehan, if not in physical presence, then at least with strong and uncompromising words of support. As a long time leftist myself, it is disgusting to witness this shameful complicity and collaboration with U.S. empire, especially by those who know better.Then of course there are those, masquerading as so-called progressives, including the clever, closet-Zionist liberal Amy Goodman, of the Democracy Now show. That’s right, Amy Goodman, whose Democracy Now show gave regular and inordinately favorable coverage to the pro apartheid Zionist, militarist, Wall Street-backed candidacy of then presidential candidate Barack Obama; with relatively minimal coverage to the very important third party candidacies of Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente and Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez. The Democracy Now show’s coverage of McKinney and Nader was pathetic. The historical McKinney and Nader candidacies and campaigns should have been enormously and consistently at the front and center, but instead were relegated to the side lines compared to Democracy Now’s coverage of the Wall Street-backed Obama. But this is how the foxy liberals play their game. In the Summer of 2007, I telephoned the Democracy Now Show in New York about the show’s bias in favor of Obama. When I asked the Democracy Now representative on the other end of the telephone line “why” Amy Goodman was giving such overwhelming time and coverage to the “pro-apartheid Zionist, militaristic, Wall Street-backed Barack Obama,” the Democracy Now representative told me that my question was “out of line” and somehow “disrespecting” Amy Goodman and then abruptly hung up on me. This prompted me to write and send a letter to Amy Goodman, which was and remains, unanswered by Goodman or the Democracy Now staff, though it was published elsewhere.It is ridiculous to believe that liberals such as Amy Goodman and the producers of Democracy Now were unaware that then candidate Barack Obama was the Trojan Horse war candidate of the U.S. power elite. Liberals are adept at playing the game of two ends against the middle or bait and switch, and thereby fostering the de facto continuance of the status quo of empire. It is September, 2009, and this nation now has Barack Obama as head of the U.S. empire; with the U.S. wars continuing and expanded by him. And as previously mentioned, the illegal and outrageous program of kidnapping citizens from other nations, known as “rendition,” has also been extended and expanded by Barack Obama and his administration. So much for the bogus hope and change rhetoric. It’s time to stop pretending.Last, but by no means least, is the stomach turning sell out by the black elite of the populous Black underclass in this nation. The quoted words of Chicago Green Party activist LeAlan Jones bear paying close attention: “The selflessness of leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Harold Washington and Medgar Evers has produced selfishness within the elite African-American leadership….” As Chris Hedges insightfully wrote pertaining to the observations of author and historian Houston A. Baker Jr.: “Baker excoriates leading public intellectuals including Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Shelby Steele, Yale law professor Stephen Carter and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter, saying they pander to the powerful…These elite African-American figures, Baker argues, long ago placed personal gain and career advancement over the interests of the black majority…” Hedges elaborates by writing that “The most prominent faces of color, such as Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, mask an insidious new racism that, in essence, tells blacks they have enough, that progress has been made and that it is up to them to take advantage of what society offers them. And black politicians and intellectuals, including Obama and Gates, are the delivery systems for the message. We blame the victims, those for whom jobs and opportunities do not exist, while we orchestrate the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history.” Jones, Baker, and Hedges are absolutely correct. In fact, the black elite (working in conjunction with the white elite) are key linchpins for the deepening unemployment, economic oppression and disenfranchisement of the masses of everyday Black people, and indeed all economically oppressed and disenfranchised people. None of this is mere happenstance. It is ever so deliberate.“Principles are not subservient to opportunism or political expediency, nor should they be. However, principles are the one thing that Barack Obama and his Democratic and Republican colleagues overwhelmingly lack.” [Reference 'Barack Obama: The Empire Strikes Back,' The Black Commentator, March 27, 2008.]I know that some are uncomfortable with these observations. However, comfortable people do not make change, and real systemic change is precisely what this nation, and world must have. None of us should be comfortable with the empire’s status quo. None of us!Onward sisters and brothers! Onward…BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A. The only way to both control costs and have universal comprehensive coverage is a single-payer system — a nonprofit, single-payer system. Nothing else will work. All other advanced countries have some form of a single-payer system, and they pay less than half as much per person as we do. We should be asking, why is that so? It’s not because we provide more basic services. We do provide more tests and procedures for those who can pay, but not more basic services — and we don’t cover everybody. So why is it so? We are the only advanced country that delivers health care in a system that’s set up to generate profits, not to provide care.
Q. If a single-payer system isn’t feasible politically, aren’t the current proposals at least better than doing nothing? Isn’t half an aspirin better than none?
A. I think not. As costs continue to soar, people will not say, “That didn’t work. Let’s try a single-payer system.” Instead, they’ll try to pay for the costs in piecemeal ways, by increasing co-pays and deductibles, by limiting services, by making the system less equitable and less comprehensive. I’m afraid the lesson they’ll draw is that universal care is impossible.
But I’m not convinced that getting a single-payer system now is politically infeasible. The public would be happy with Medicare for all. Polls have shown that the public loves Medicare. The problem isn’t the public. It’s Congress, which caves in to special interests.
Q.If Congress is reluctant to cut out the insurance companies, is that partly because they, like the major banks, are too big to fail?
A. A nonprofit, single-payer system would lead to job losses in this sector, which constitutes 17 percent of the economy. But what about the other 83 percent of the economy? They’re being bled to death. Businesses can’t compete globally because the cost of providing coverage to their workers is so exorbitant. Whatever loss of jobs you might see would be more than offset by benefits and job gains in the rest of the economy.
[As for the insurance companies,] you could introduce the program incrementally. You could do it state by state. Or probably better, you could do it decade by decade. Medicare kicks in at age 65. In the first stage, you could take it down to 55. Between 55 and 65, people are vulnerable. They’re losing jobs, losing health care. They’re starting to have more medical needs. After a few years, you could drop it to 45, then 35. It would give insurance companies time to adjust....
The difference between parties and movements is simple: Parties are loyal to their own power regardless of policy agenda; movements are loyal to their own policy agenda regardless of which party champions it. This is one of the few enduring political axioms, and it explains why the organizations purporting to lead an American progressive "movement" have yet to build a real movement, much less a successful one.
Though the 2006 and 2008 elections were billed as progressive movement successes, the story behind them highlights a longer-term failure.
During those contests, most of Washington's major labor, environmental, antiwar and anti-poverty groups spent millions of dollars on a party objective -- specifically, on electing a Democratic president and Congress. In the process, many groups subverted their own movement agendas in pursuit of electoral unity.
The effort involved a sleight of hand. These groups begged their grassroots members -- janitors, soccer moms, veterans and other "regular folks" -- to cough up small-dollar contributions in return for the promise of progressive movement pressure on both parties' politicians. Simultaneously, these groups went to dot-com and Wall Street millionaires, asking them to chip in big checks in exchange for advocacy that did not undermine those fat cats' Democratic Party friends (or those millionaires' economic privilege).
This wasn't totally dishonest. Many groups sincerely believed that Democratic Party promotion was key to achieving progressive movement causes. Additionally, during the Bush era, pushing progressive causes and helping Democrats was often one and the same, because those causes primarily indicted Republican obstructionists.
But after the 2008 election, the strategy's bankruptcy is undeniable.
As we now see, union dues underwrote Democratic lawmakers who today block serious labor law reform and ignore past promises to fix NAFTA. Green groups' resources elected a government that pretends sham "cap and trade" bills represent environmental progress. Health care groups, promising to push a single-payer system, got a president not only dropping his own single-payer promises, but also backing off a "public option" to compete with private insurance. And anti-war funding delivered a Congress that refuses to stop financing the Iraq mess and an administration preparing to escalate the Afghanistan conflict.
Of course, frustrated progressives might be able to forgive the groups who promised different results, had these post-election failures prompted course corrections.
For example, had the left's preeminent institutions responded to Democrats' health care capitulation by immediately announcing campaigns against these Democrats, progressives could feel confident that these groups were back to prioritizing a movement agenda. Likewise, had the big anti-war organizations reacted to Obama's Afghanistan escalation plans with promises of electoral retribution, we would know those organizations were steadfastly loyal to their anti-war brand.
But that hasn't happened. Despite Democrats' health care retreat, many major progressive groups spent the summer cheering them on, afraid to lose access and, thus, Beltway status. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that MoveOn.org has "yet to take a clear position on Afghanistan" while VoteVets' leader all but genuflected to President Barack Obama, saying, "People (read: professional political operatives) do not want to take on the administration."
In this vacuum, movement building has been left to underfunded (but stunningly successful) projects like Firedoglake.com, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and local organizations. And that's the lesson: True grassroots movements that deliver concrete legislative results are not steered by marble-columned monoliths, wealthy benefactors or celebrity politicians -- and they are rarely ever headquartered in Washington. They are almost always far-flung efforts by those focused on real-world results, not partisan vanity -- those who don't care about congressional cocktail parties or White House soirees they were never invited to in the first place.
Only when enough progressives realize this truism, will any movement -- and any significant change -- finally commence.
[Thanks to tonid's Ya Think for this link]Thoughts on Healthcare: For the Right to Live
One aspect of the debate on healthcare here in the US, is a debate on what role government should have, and what purposes it should serve.
It is probably helpful that we decide on a definition for "government"... Particularly democratic government. It can mean different things to different people.
A Participatory Conception of Democracy
My own idea on democratic government, is that it should be a participatory instrument of the people to do what they cannot do on their own. Think of it less as a traditional government, that is an elite authoritarian body, and more as a participatory organization of the people themselves from the ground up.
Some might call this direct democracy, or radical democracy, or socialism. Some might even call it "tyranny of the majority." Admittedly it's not perfect, I don't think much in the soft (or social) sciences is, even among anarchists and radical democrats there are various points of disagreement. However, I think power is better off in the hands of the people, working for the people, than concentrated in the hands of an elite for pursuing their own interests, however grievous the result on others. I think a society based around democratic, libertarian, and socialist values could negate many of the negatives some might associate with participatory (or genuine) democracy. I think the only real answer to some form of oligarchy, is some form of consensus. A lesser of two evils.
On Wolves, Lambs, and Capitalism vs Democracy
I'm sure you've heard the saying "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." I think it was a Benjamin Franklin quote. This framing is interesting because it portrays the elite minority as the benign lambs, prey of the poor majority, or wolves. It's a pretty paranoid, elitist, and self-serving perception. I think it would be as realistic, or more realistic, to state that "Democracy is two lambs and a wolf voting on what to have for lunch." Here the wolves represent the wealthy elite, who live by consuming others, the lambs (or sheep?) represent the poor majority who keep their heads down, do all of the hard work, and reap little of the reward for it.
The wolf might not like eating grass. If he has absorbed enough right-wing talk radio, he may even convince himself he is being persecuted with great indignation. The lambs on the other hand get to live at least.
Wolves are predators who live by consuming others, just as the minority of the opulent swell themselves with wealth earned by the sweat of others. That is essentially how capitalism works, and why historically it hasn't been viewed as being all that different from slave labor. We, the working class, are owned. We are forced to sell ourselves. The alternative is starvation. It's a great lie to call this freedom. "Freedom" to own and boss others, is not a freedom. It is a control, which by definition, is the opposite of freedom. The wealthy capitalists sure feel free, as they rake in money off the labor of subservients. Their employees on the other hand...not quite so free. It is truly a success of the propaganda system that people can spend the majority of their lives taking orders to survive, and believe they are free.
I tend to chuckle when I hear the Walmart slogan “Save money. Live better.” An appeal to individual greed in other words. Whenever you hear this, imagine working at a Walmart. Read about some of the disputes they've been involved in over their labor practices. The idea one can “Live better” by saving money at Walmart pretty much falls apart when followed through to it's natural conclusion, which is everyone decides to “save money” shopping at Walmart to “live better”... Walmart becomes the world's largest employer, and these people who wanted to “live better” end up on the receiving end of their sketchy labor practices. If you think about what it might be like working for a Walmart, it's hard to believe the overall effect is “Living better.”
Anyway, back to democracy. You could call that first idea of it the participatory conception of democracy. The elite and prevailing conception is quite different. The elite conception of democracy is that the majority are meddling troublesome outsiders who must be confined to being spectators. A “bewildered herd” in the words of one of the leading thinkers on democracy. “Wolves” to Benjamin Franklin. To you and me, the people. In this (elitist and anti-democratic) “democracy”, which for the sake of this article I will refer to as “spectator democracy,” leading democratic thinkers believe authority should rest with “a specialized class” because the average man is too stupid to understand things. So the public must be indoctrinated, marginalized, distracted and fragmented. Where it is useful, the people's consent is manufactured, often issues are off the table entirely.
If you think this form of democracy sounds a bit like the Leninist ideal, you aren't alone. Chomsky has frequently critiqued the Fascist/Stalinist character of the American intellectual community, and their subservience to power.
Another aspect of the healthcare debate is the idea that people should have a basic human right to live. The right-wing end of the spectrum seems to be composed of fairly social-darwinistic, market-fundamentalist, "ultra-capitalists." Who essentially believe you have no right to live unless you can earn it: either by competing against your fellow man to sell your life on the labor market, or becoming a capitalist yourself, oppressing others, and perpetuating the system of domination. When you read the Declaration of Independence, they state quite clearly that we have certain unalienable rights, including the right to life. By some estimates about 18,000 people a year die because they can't afford medical insurance or services. That is the equivalent of about six 9/11s a year. Many of the victims of 9/11 were financially well off though, and it was an attack on the heart of the US's global financial empire, so it matters. The victims of our healthcare system are the poor though, so they warrant hardly a mention...
Universal Single-Payer or a Public Option
Ok. Now we are thinking about government as a participatory instrument of the people. Not even a government in the traditional sense. We are thinking about healthcare being a basic human right, inherent in our unalienable right to life.
I personally am an advocate for a universal single-payer national healthcare system. I believe for-profit healthcare is a crime against humanity. I believe with our natural advantages in wealth and influence, there is no reason we can't have healthcare for all. Hell, Cuba can do it, and they've been on the receiving end of US foreign policy in the form of economic warfare for 50+ years. In spite of that they have an infant mortality rate that is by some measures, lower than ours is. If a relatively impoverished country like Cuba can make it work, make it cheaper, and have comparable outcomes to our own, you can't tell me the richest nation on Earth couldn't do it. Universal single-payer isn't even being seriously considered, unfortunately.
What is being proposed, is at least giving people a “public option.” I don't think it goes far enough but it is at least an improvement. Unfortunately even this is receiving only tepid support from some of the Democrats, including Obama.
The opposition arguments tend to come down to one of the following:
1.It'll be expensive. It'll have to be paid for somehow.
My response to this is... so?...Do people need to live any less when it's expensive? Cuba is impoverished and suffering from 50+ years of foreign policy and economic warfare at the hands of arguably the greatest power on Earth, and they can afford it. There is no reason the wealthiest country in the world cannot afford it.
The right-wing reactionaries, so called “conservatives” have been complete hypocrites on this. They have little problem with spending a trillion dollars to kill Iraqis and secure middle-east oil, but you talk about using some of this tax money to help the disadvantaged and ill and suddenly there are fascist Tea Parties springing up everywhere protesting taxes and spending.
As I mentioned earlier, I think the only just government isn't a government at all, but a participatory organization for decision making that allows us to do collectively what cannot be done easily on our own. This includes things like maintaining our roads, libraries, fire departments, and funding the research and development that has given us computers and the internet, for example. Well, I think a national healthcare system could (and should) be another example. If we were a civilized society this wouldn't even be a debate.
2. It's like the Nazis!
Really? I read a book by a jewish guy who spent some time with them, and he didn't really seem to have any healthcare...Quite the opposite... (The book is "Night," by Elie Wiesel, for the curious.)
This is the crap coming out of Rush Limbaugh and others I'm sure... They have it exactly wrong.
The Long Slow Genocide of the Underclass
What we have in place is a system of slow genocide against the lower classes, the minorities, those deemed "undesirables." It's not precisely eugenics, but it doesn't seem much different to me. Is tossing someone in to an oven that much worse than knowingly leaving someone to suffer and die from a treatable illness? (The Nazis did quite a bit of both, actually.)
Nazi rhetoric had far more in common with Rush Limbaugh in my opinion. Scapegoating societies problems on to the poor, the minorities, the immigrants, and other undesirables, and megaphoning the message that it is all being left up to the god-fearing white working man to pick up the burden and pay the tab...
To hear Chomsky tell it, (who happens to be old enough to actually remember Nazi speeches) the rhetoric was very much the same.
Another thing this makes me think is, if it's true that even Nazi Germany had a universal healthcare system, it's that much more appalling that we don't. Do we really want to be falling short of the moral standards of Nazi Germany?
How does giving the uninsured healthcare equate to killing 6-12 million jews, gypsies, homosexuals and others?
I don't see it, though I do see how denying 50,000,000 people healthcare because they are economically disadvantaged has some similarities.
If you believe as I do that people should have a basic right to live, that healthcare is a human-right, that the purpose of government is to help the people, then in my opinion we should work toward universal healthcare, not with such ideological rigidity that we reject anything else on principal, but taking any positive steps we can, including supporting a public option.
P.S. If you find yourself thinking "If Cuba is so great why don't you go there..." or "If America is so bad, why don't you leave..."
I don't want to move because then I would be a victim of US foreign policy.
September 2, 2009By Cynthia McKinneyI never want you to take the journey that I'm currently on. So, I want to tell you about it.It starts on the front of the refrigerator. "The Healthiest Foods on Earth." A two-page primer from apple to watermelon, touting immunity to male fertility support. Inside the refrigerator, natural and organic foods only. On the countertop is the Jack LaLanne juicer, the Magic Bullet, the handy food chopper plus, the food saver vacuum sealer--all items familiar to us because they are constantly hawked on the midnight cable channels. Hanging from the kitchen cabinet door are plastic bags for recycling: one for plastics, the other for aluminum cans. The house and car are filled with reusable shopping bags made of recycled materials. By the way, a new car was in the works, and not because of the cash for clunkers program of the Federal Government. An American-made hybrid was preferred--keeping U.S. workers working. In the back seat of her Ford Focus is a booklet, "Living in a Healthy Body: A New Look at Health & Weight." What I'm trying to describe is someone working very hard at changing a typically indulgent "American" lifestyle into one more respectful and healthy for the body, healthy for our earth.So, in an act of preventive medical care, my aunt Hazel went to the doctor to have a colonoscopy. We are all bombarded with television commercials advising us to have a colonoscopy. I know in the black media, those ads abound. And so, dutifully, my aunt abided by those suggestions for healthy choices and had her first colonoscopy. What the family knows is that her colon was perforated. That's when our journey took us on a wrong turn.Unfortunately, the facility that performed the colonoscopy had told my aunt not to call before the results were published and that would take up to two weeks!!! When my aunt called them because she was feeling so bad, they told her that she'd be ok overnight and that they would call her in the morning. The hospital talked to her and her daughter. The hospital told my aunt to go to sleep overnight and they'd call her back in the morning. But my aunt-tee continued to deteriorate so badly that her daughter called 9-1-1 and by the morning, my aunt-tee was already in surgery at another hospital that was not too busy to care for her. This is when the perforation was discovered and repaired.While my aunt was recovering in the second hospital, in intensive care, a letter was sent from the hospital where the colonoscopy was performed stating that they were the insured's provider and that the hospital performing the emergency surgery would not get paid. The hospital performing the mal-colostomy demanded my aunt-tee back. So, against the desires of the hospital providing the emergency surgery, my aunt, while still in intensive care, was forced to be transferred to the hospital that, in my opinion, committed a capital crime.My aunt-tee deteriorated after the transfer, but fought like heck to live. Unfortunately, her body had been so poisoned by the doctor's failure to recognize that he had perforated her colon that her body became toxic. The third affront to my aunt-tee's health and life occurred when morphine was administered, ostensibly for pain and gave her such a blow to her vital statistics that the family objected to a second administration of morphine. But guess what!!! She was given morphine again, despite her children's complaints!! !! My aunt never recovered from that.My aunt, a divorced mother of two, struggled to live righteously. Those of you in southern California know that she accompanied me almost everywhere I went. She was a hard-working woman, a proud homeowner in Watts, a student working on her Social Work degree, finally able to achieve her dreams after deferring them for so long in order to help her children realize theirs. She also took to the campaign trail too many times, traveling to Georgia to help my father and me realize ours. I can't even believe that she's gone--through no fault of her own--and I'm still wondering how the heck my aunt ended up in this place. Despite all the care she took of herself this is unfathomable to me. And sadly, too many families are arriving at this same place. Iraqi families devastated by U.S. occupation; Afghani families devastated by U.S. war; U.S. families also devastated by U.S. policy makers. Why?For the last four years, I've spouted off the racial quality-of-life disparities that exist in our country. I've said it so much, it's as if no one heard me. Because even during my tenure in Congress, I gave floor speeches, but the policy change never came. I spoke at banquets and conventions about it, but the policy changes never came. Two steps forward always seemed to end with one step backward. If we got the money appropriated, in too many instances, black institutions couldn't be in charge of it, so only a trickle at best reached the community. I found that the "plantation" was alive and well in patterns of federal spending. So when Dr. David Satcher, President Clinton's Surgeon General, found in a 2005 study that over 83,000 blacks die unnecessary and premature deaths each year due to their treatment after they arrive in a doctor's office, among other factors, I added that datum to my panoply of quality-of-life stats. And now, my aunt factors in Dr. Satcher's numbers...I have seen such betrayal and lack of principle in the current "health care" debate, I had no intention of getting into it. In our Power to the People campaign, I wrote a platform that included policy recommendations to eliminate all disparities still extant in our society, including for health care. A single-payer system is so obviously needed, it should be too politically costly for our Democratic majority in the Congress and our Democratic White House to do anything else. I recommended an end to war. I advocated public ownership of the Federal Reserve. I even anticipated the skullduggery of the bailouts and recommended that if the "powers that be" were intent on forcing Congress to give these bailouts to institutions that conducted what I would call criminal behavior, then at a minimum, a credible person like David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller, should audit all corporations and institutions receiving such funds. I suggested that Senator Obama use the power of his Senatorial pen to amend the bailout legislation to this effect. It didn't happen.My aunt-tee had a policy of rarely voting for an incumbent. She understood that just as she was trying to change herself into a lifestyle that she could believe in, she wasn't going to get political, social, and economic change that she could believe in by voting like everyone else, for the same special interest candidates. Once she decided that it was necessary to step outside of the box of political conformity, she discovered that there were Independent, Green Party, Libertarian, and other political party candidates on her ballot that she had long ignored. She began to listen to them and learned to explore the totality of her options. It was glorious to watch my aunt-tee's liberation.So why is she in the morgue now?Not enough people took that journey with her. Not enough people saw her example. Not enough was done to change policy. At a time when the policy makers have never been so divorced from the reality borne by the average citizens that they govern, the American people have shown an amazing ability to accept graft, corruption, death, and destruction while continuing to believe that hope alone can produce real change. Why did Cindy Sheehan protest without thousands in front of President Obama's $50,000 a week vacation home?I've tried to walk my talk. Just last week it came out that one "journalist" who called for my lynching was on the FBI payroll at the time of his comment. He claims to have been paid to say provocative things. I've withstood a lot--for the people. But now, I really don't know how much more walking or talking I'm able to do. I just wonder, how many more will have to experience this before more people write their own Declarations of Independence from this political disorder.The phone just rang and it was the hospital that performed the botched colonoscopy on my aunt, that ignored her call for help, that demanded that she be transferred while she was in intensive care, that administered morphine twice, despite objections from the family and from which her vitals never recovered. They wanted to know how my aunt would rate their service. I told them poor on every count.Thank you for reading this with empathy and I thank you all for your support. I apologize for any appointments that I've missed while I've been on the road to this place I'm in now.P.S. My friend, David Josué, wrote a beautiful notice that I include in this message. Please click on the link at the end of his message because "dying while black" is real. My aunt is just the latest victim. The highlights are mine:Cynthia McKinney lost a family member . . .100,000 Unnecessary Black Deaths Per Year![09/01/09] It is with a heart full of sorrow that I have to inform you of the death of Cynthia's maternal aunt. Hazel was not sick and took all preventive measures to live a long life. She went to have a colonoscopy and her colon was punctured. What else went wrong during the procedure is still unknown to the family. Hazel survived Jim Crow but could not survive the health care system.Cynthia is deeply affected by this tragic event. She was very close to her aunt and Hazel loved her niece. Hazel was a fervent supporter of Cynthia's six terms in Congress and was so happy to see her niece run for President of the United States in 2008. Only last July the 4th she was in Atlanta with us while we were working around the clock to secure Cynthia's release from an Israeli jail. It is hard to accept that she is no more.Please visit Professor Vernellia Randall's site http://www.dyingwhileblack.org/book.htmThank youDavid Josué-- http://www.livestream.com/dignityhttp://dignity.ning.com/http://www.twitter.com/dignityactionhttp://www.myspace.com/dignityactionhttp://www.myspace.com/runcynthiarunhttp://www.twitter.com/cynthiamckinneyhttp://www.facebook.com/CynthiaMcKinney
South of the Border is Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone's record of a trip to Venezuela to meet the president, Hugo Chávez. Ahead of the film's premiere at the Venice film festival on Monday, Stone writes about his hopes for the film, and the future of US foreign policy in the region
Watch a world exclusive trailer from Oliver Stone's South of the Border Link to this video
I've been fortunate to be able to make several films about North America's neglected "backyard" – Central and South America.
The low-budget, independently-shot Salvador, about the US involvement with the death squads of El Salvador, and starring James Woods in an Oscar-nominated performance, was released in 1986; this was followed by Comandante in 2003, and Looking for Fidel in 2004, with both of these documentaries exploring Fidel Castro in one–on–one interviews.
Each of these films has struggled to be distributed in North America. I was invited to Venezuela to meet President Hugo Chávez for the first time during his aborted rescue mission of Colombian hostages, held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), during Christmas of 2007.
As is often the case, the man I met was not the man I'd read and heard about in the US media. I was able to return in January 2009 to interview President Chávez in more depth. Was Hugo Chávez really the anti–American force we've been told he is? Once we began our journey, we found ourselves going beyond Venezuela to several other countries, and interviewing seven presidents in the region, telling a larger and even more compelling story, which has now become South of the Border. Leader after leader seemed to be saying the same thing. They wanted to control their own resources, strengthen regional ties, be treated as equals with the US, and become financially independent of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
South of the Border … Oliver Stone with President Hugo Chavez. Photograph: Jose Ibanez
Based on our experiences in Iraq, Americans must question the role of our media in demonising foreign leaders as our enemies. The consequences of this can be brutal.
This is a continuing story. It is going on right now with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Hopefully, in our film, you'll get to hear a far different side of the "official" story.
[h/t Greeks]"The Greeks had two words for time. Chronos is the time we usually keep an eye on. Kairos was our participation of time. Time that moves us so that we lose our sense of time; timeless time; moments at which the clock seems to stop; feeding, renewing, more motherly time. It's the time with which we feel one instead of outside of it, the self, the tao, the love that connects us to others." -Jean Shinoda Bolen*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TimeTime is a component of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.
By James Suggett September 02, 2009 "venezuelanalysis" --- Mérida, August 27th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) --U.S. author, dissident intellectual, and Professor of Linguistics at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Noam Chomsky met for the first time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and analyzed hemispheric politics during a nationally televised forum on Monday.Chomsky is well known in Venezuela for his critiques of U.S. imperialism and support for the progressive political changes underway in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in recent years. President Chavez regularly references Chomsky in speeches and makes widely publicized recommendations of Chomsky's 2003 book, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance."Hegemony or survival; we opt for survival," said Chavez in a press conference to welcome Chomsky. He compared Chomsky's thesis to that of German socialist Rosa Luxemburg in the early 1900s, "Socialism or Barbarism," and referred to Chomsky as "one of the greatest defenders of peace, one of the greatest pioneers of a better world."Through an interpreter, Chomsky responded, "I write about peace and criticize the barriers to peace; that's easy. What's harder is to create a better world... and what's so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela is that I can see how a better world is being created."During Monday's forum, which was broadcast on the state television station VTV, Chomsky pointed out that the ongoing coup in Honduras, which began on June 28th, is the third coup the United States has supported in Latin America so far this century, following the coup against Chavez in 2002 and Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.The nearly finalized deal to allow the U.S. to increase its military presence on Colombian bases "is only part of a much broader effort to restore Washington's capacity for intervention," said Chomsky.According to Chomsky, the region has the capacity to unite and form a "peace zone" in which foreign militaries are forbidden to operate. "Venezuela can help to advance this proposal, but it cannot do it alone," he said."The transformations that Venezuela is making toward the creation of another socio-economic model could have a global impact if these projects are successfully carried out," said the renowned author.Aporrea.org, a popular Venezuelan news and pro-revolution analysis website, described Chomsky as oriented toward "libertarian socialism" and "vehemently anti-Stalinist" in an introduction to a recent interview in which Chomsky said U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy will be similar to that of the second administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.Chomsky addressed this issue during Monday's conference as well, commenting that Obama "could have much to offer Latin America if he wanted to, but hasn't given any signals that he does." He cited the U.S.'s indecisive posture toward the coup in Honduras as evidence.Chomsky also addressed the media and freedom of expression in the U.S. "In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large corporations... and the result is that the financial interests of those groups are always behind the so-called freedom of expression," he said.Chomsky said the growing disappointment with the Obama administration in the U.S. was predictable because the corporate media marketed Obama's presidential candidacy on the slogan of "Change We Can Believe In" but omitted concrete proposals for effective changes, and the Obama administration has since shown an incapacity to institute such changes.Chomsky was accompanied in Caracas by the co-founder of South End Press and ZMagazine and system operator of ZCom, Michael Albert, and the co-founder and editor of Venezuelanalysis.com, sociologist Gregory Wilpert.
Satan commenced his deception in Eden. He said to Eve, Thou shalt not surely die. This was Satan's first lesson upon the immortality of the soul; and he has carried on this deception from that time to the present, and will carry it on until the captivity of God's children shall be turned. I was pointed to Adam and Eve in Eden. They partook of the forbidden tree, and then the flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, and they were driven from the Garden, lest they should partake of the tree of life, and be immortal sinners. The tree of life was to perpetuate immortality. I heard an angel ask, Who of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and have partaken of the tree of life? I heard another angel answer, Not one of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and partaken of that tree; therefore there is not an immortal sinner. The soul that sinneth it shall die an everlasting death; a death that will last forever, where there will be no hope of a resurrection; and then the wrath of God will be appeased.
It was a marvel to me that Satan could succeed so well in making men believe that the words of God, The soul that sinneth it shall die, mean that the soul that sinneth it shall not die, but live eternally in misery. Said the angel, Life is life, whether it is in pain or happiness. Death is without pain, without joy, without hatred.
A great first guest for a great first show - The Master of the Roasts, comedian Jeff Ross. With his new book set to hit stores, Jeff and Marc talk about the finer art of the comedic roast, as well as how a roast led to one of the worst nights of Marc's life, and how one of the worst night's of Jeff's life was salvaged by Tom Cruise.
Also, in his WTF moment of the day, Marc tells us how an act of crime led to his liberation from Whole Foods Market.
The subject of the newest comic-strip sensation, though, might still raise eyebrows: it's the story of the quest for the foundation of mathematics, starring and narrated by Bertrand Russell, the British logician, philosopher, mathematician, reformer, pacifist, activist, jailbird and chronic womaniser. It's set 50 years ago on 4 September, 1939, when Russell arrived at an American university to lecture on "The Role of Logic in Human Affairs" before a sceptical audience, just after Britain had declared war on Germany. The book delves into Russell's past, his childhood and the first inklings of his search for the certainties upon which maths, and therefore all science, ultimately rest.
It's an extraordinary piece of work: the arid title, Logicomix, seems to suggest a genre of brisk, strip-cartoon guides to hard philosophy, like the popular Icon series (eg Introducing Aristotle) instead of an absorbing 350-page narrative about how the search for logic and first principles drove most of its practitioners round the twist and threatened to do the same to the 3rd Earl Russell in the early 20th century.
Early reactions have been positive: "Logicomix is highly original," enthused Posy Simmonds, doyenne of the intelligent literary strip cartoon (Gemma Bovery, Tamara Drewe), "a rich and enthralling encounter with myth, maths, theatre and the giants of 20th-century philosophy."
The book is the brainchild of two Greek men. Apostolos Doxiadis, 55, is hell-bent on bridging the gap between science and the arts: he's a mathematician but also a translator, actor, writer and movie director. His third novel, Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture, was an international bestseller, published here by Faber & Faber. He once devised a shadow-puppet musical about Jackson Pollock, and wrote a play called Seventeenth Night about the theorems of Kurt Godel. His collaborator on the Russell project is Christos Papadimitriou, a professor of computer science at Berkeley, California; Bill Gates is among his former pupils.
It's an unusually personal project, this five-year labour of love. You can tell because the co-authors portray themselves in the book, drinking coffee, arguing and joshing in their shared offices. Once the script was complete, the artists, Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna, prepared for their mammoth feat of drawing and colouring by going location-hunting across Europe for three weeks, taking thousands of photographs and meeting Russell fans who could describe what it was like to meet him at his time of intellectual turmoil. And it really was turmoil. Russell's mother and sister died when he was two, his father when he was four. He was brought up by his austere Scots Presbyterian grandmother in an atmosphere of repression and religiosity. His bitterly lonely childhood (he contemplated suicide) was enlivened, he said later, by thoughts of sex and glimpses of a totally logical world available through Euclidian mathematics. But even Euclid's maths rested on shaky assumptions and unproven "axioms", so how could it lead to certain knowledge of the world?
Through GE Moore at Cambridge, he discovered Leibniz and Boole, and became a logician. Through Alfred Whitehead's influence, he travelled to Europe and met Gottlob Frege, who believed in a wholly logical language (and was borderline insane) and Georg Cantor, the inventor of "set theory" (who was locked up in an asylum) and a mass of French and German mathematicians in varying stages of mental disarray. Back home he and Whitehead wrestled with their co-authored Principles of Mathematics for years, endlessly disputing the foundations of their every intellectual certainty, constantly harassed by Russell's brilliant pupil Wittgenstein.
If the subject matter seems a little arid, with its theories of types, paradoxes and abstruse language (calculus ratiocinator?), and if its recurring theme of how logic and madness are psychologically intertwined seems a touch gloomy, don't let that put you off. Logicomix tells its saga of human argumentation with such drama and vivid colour that it leaves the graphic novel 300 (Frank Miller's take on the Battle of Thermopylae) looking like something from Eagle Annual.
Its great subject is the historical desire to make the world totally understandable by reason, and it itches us inside the debate. Doxiadis and his team make us feel how cataclysmic was the moment when Kurt Godel, the mathematician, in a lecture, announced: "There will always be unanswerable questions," and proved that arithmetic is "of necessity incomplete" – pulling the rug from under the study of logic. ("It's all over," remarked Russell's friend Von Neumann at the conference, meaning the whole of philosophical reasoning.) By the end, Russell tells listeners: "Take my story as a cautionary tale, a narrative argument against ready-made solutions." It's heartening that such sophisticated dialectics can survive a transition to the idiom of Batman and The Simpsons.
'Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth' is published by Bloomsbury on 7 September (£16.99). To order a copy for the special price of £16.15 (free P&P) call Independent Books Direct on 08430 600 030, or visit www.independentbooksdirect.co.uk