vUSPA Home Page
DOP Campaign .Org
Related Site Links
Introducing The v. U.S. Peace Academy (vUSPA)
Resource Links & Site Search Engine
Some Highly Suggested Studies & Activities,
including 3 Easy Steps for Documentation of Intentions in Conscientious Objection
are listed in the James George Peterson Library of the Virtual us Peace Academy.
Health Care Related (Petro-Pharmaceutical) Economics -
- Considerations in the cause of Seeking Accountability and Solutions - both nationally and internationally
[economic related excerpts from]
For more than a year, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting Digging Deeper,’ a Monday night book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle around a group of books, copies of which participants read, pass around, and discuss. Topics have included peak oil, climate change, and the corporation, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, and social change. Continuing in this tradition, on September 12, 2005, Digging Deeper IX will begin a four-week study circle examining a number of diverse works touching on this theme: The hidden connections among forces whose interaction is not always apparent but which may be crucial in determining outcomes.
George Lakoff, Don´t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate ― The Essential Guide for Progressives (Chelsea Green, 2004; orig. ed. 2002). Publisher´s Weekly: Lakoff, a cognitive scientist and linguist at Berkeley, believes he knows why conservatives have been so successful in recent years and how progressives like himself can beat them at their own game. This slim book presents a simple, accessible overview of his theory of ‘moral politics´ and a call to action for Democrats mourning November´s election results. Lakoff´s persuasive argument focuses on two ideas: what he calls ‘framing,´ and the opposition of liberals´ and conservatives´ concepts of the family. . . . In Lakoff´s view, conservatives adhere to a ‘strict father´ model of family, in contrast to liberals ‘nurturant parent´ view, and he sees this difference as the key to understanding most of the two sides´ clashes.
William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, revised ed. (Pluto Press, 2004). Back cover: This book is a gripping account of the murky world of the international oil industry and its role in world politics.’ ― William Podmore of London, England: This fascinating book examines the huge role that oil played in the 20th century. The rival empires' struggle for the Middle East's oil was one of the causes of the First World War. Control of this resource was one of World War Two's great prizes. The oil price rises of the 1970s made the North Sea and Alaska fields profitable and led to the petrodollar monetary system, based on speculation not investment, profit not production. Oil money has always funded the environmental and anti-nuclear movements.’ William Engdahl is a freelance economics journalist who has written on energy, politics, and economics for more than thirty years and has contributed regularly to publications like Japan´s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Grant´s Investor.com, and European Banker.
Matthew R. Simmons, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (Wiley, 2005): Wall Street Journal: The Saudis claim to have huge oil reserves. Do they really? . . . Matthew R. Simmons, a Texas investment banker with a Harvard Business School degree and 20 years' experience in oil, has his doubts. . . . Mr. Simmons argues that the Saudis may be deceiving the world and themselves . . . First, Mr. Simmons notes, all Saudi claims exist behind a veil of secrecy. In 1982, the Saudi government took complete control of Aramco (the Arabian American Oil Co.) after four decades of co-ownership with a consortium of major oil companies. Since then Aramco has never released field-by-field figures for its oil production. . .. Mr. Simmons became suspicious of Saudi claims after taking a guided tour of Aramco facilities in 2003. To penetrate the veil, he turned to the electronic library of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, which regularly publishes technical papers by field geologists.
MEETING SCHEDULE -- Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on September 12, 19, & 26, and October 3 at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA. PPJH's website is located at http://www.tacomapjh.org/ -- join by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Books are available for borrowing or purchase; there is no charge for participation (but a purchase from the Mandolin Café is graciously expected). Contact Mark Jensen at email@example.com or 253-756-7519, or Ted Nation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-983-8997.
United for Peace of Pierce County meets at 7:00 p.m. on 1st and 3rd Thursdays at First United Methodist Church, 423 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, WA
Digging Deeper, UFPPC´s book discussion series, has been meeting weekly since July 2004. We have considered these books bearing on matters related to UFPPC ´s mission statement: "We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy":
* Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Back Bay Books, 2000)
* Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf, The Selling of Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-1960 (University of Illinois Press, 1994)
* David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, 2nd ed., (Berret-Koehler, 2001)
* Elliott D. Sclar and Richard C. Leone, You Don´t Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization (Cornell University Press, 2001)
* Ted Nace, Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy (Berret-Koehler, 2001)
* P.W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press, 2003)
* Roland Marchand, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business (University of California Press, 1998)
* Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Waking Up to Personal and Global Transformation (Three Rivers Press, 1999)
* Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (Simon & Schuster, 1991)
* Michael T. Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004)
* Ross Gelbspan, Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis -- and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster (Basic Books, 2004)
* Richard Heinberg, The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society, 2003)
* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Hubbert´s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage (Princeton UP, 2001)
* Amory Lovins et al., Winning the Oil Endgame: Innovation for Profit, Jobs, and Security (Rocky Mountain Institute, 2005)
* Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Free Press, 2004)
* John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Berrett-Koehler, 2004)
* Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich (Broadway Books, 2002)
* Paul Roberts, The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
* Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004)
[ Top of Page ]
November 2, 2006 (Pre Jan 2009 was "Coop America", URLs Updated 2011, also see bordered/bold section further below)
News: Starbucks Seeks Rights to Ethiopian Coffee Names
Each year, coffee companies make billions of dollars. Starbucks alone earned nearly $6 billion in net revenue during the first three quarters of 2006, and yet for every cup of coffee Starbucks sells, farmers in coffee-growing countries like Ethiopia earn only about three cents.
Now, Starbucks has begun to pursue trademark rights for its Ethiopian coffees Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, and Harrar despite those names describing geographic regions of Ethiopia that have been producing coffee for hundreds of years. The Ethiopian government has objected to this, asking Starbucks to sign a licensing agreement that will allow Ethiopia to control the names of its coffee. That way, Ethiopia can help determine an export price that makes sure farmers see a larger share of the profits enabling them to feed their children, send them to school, and get better healthcare.
In partnership with Oxfam, Co-op America is calling on Starbucks to sign this agreement with Ethiopia. According to Oxfam, control of the names could increase Ethiopia's coffee exports by more than 25 percent, or $88 million annually, which could help lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty. Sign on to Oxfam's Starbucks [updated 2011]
Resources: From Real Money - How to Buy the Greenest Appliances (http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/)
According to the Department of Energy, US consumers purchase nearly one million dollars worth of electricity every minute. By choosing high-efficiency appliances over conventional models, however, US consumers saved $12 billion on their energy bills last year, and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equal to 23 million cars.
This popular article
Federal Employees Help Support Co-op America: If you are a federal government employee taking part in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), you can support Co-op America. Our CFC number is 1011. Tell your friends or family who are federal employees that they can support Co-op America through the CFC as well. It's an easy way to support our work for people and the planet all year long.
Are You a Biter Yet? Get free, short, sassy eco-living ideas delivered each weekday to your inbox. A bite a day keeps global warming at bay.
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Co-op America members are a much-needed force for change in the world. Energy corporations like ExxonMobil reap windfall profits from other people´s suffering as a result of increasing oil prices from last season´s hurricanes and unrest in the Middle East.
Corporations like Wal-Mart are cheating the system by denying health care to their employees and allowing sweatshops in their supply chain. As a result, more and more wage earners can't provide for their families, and poverty in communities around the world is on the rise.
Something can be done to turn our economy around so that it works for people and the planet. That´s where you come in. As a member you'll be supporting our cutting-edge work to stop corporate irresponsibility and grow the green economy. As a member, you'll get the information and resources you need to vote with your dollars for a better world and a greener marketplace. And, you'll be joining forces with other caring and committed people to expand the movement in the US for a socially just and environmentally sustainable economy.
If you find this article helpful, and you're not already a supporting member, please join us today.
FAS Military Analysis Network (9/9/03)
FAS Military Analysis Network
The FAS Website http://www.fas.org/index.html
Makes research, analysis, and hard-to-find archival data available without charge. Provides free access to all FAS publications, bulletins, and databases. Consolidates vast amounts of information, links from across the WWW and is updated daily in response to research and world events.
Resource/Links at FAS
DOD 101 -- An Introduction to the Military:
* Defense Contractor Directory
* Military Industry and Procurement
* Peace, Security, Analysis
* Other Information Sources
* Smedley Butler on Interventionism
[ Top of Page ]
An effective collection can be found forResponsible Shopping & Investment, Corporate Reform, & Economic Fairness Issues at RadDad's Political Reference Page.
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
Complete 911 Timeline
for example begins with:
1991-1997: Oil Investment in Central Asia Follows Soviet Collapse
October 5, 2001: Study Reveals Significant Oil and Gas Deposits in Afghanistan
October 9, 2001: Afghan Pipeline Idea Is Revived
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
<> Major Defense Systems
"Dirtiest Dozen" list kept by the Reaching Critical Will people --
Federation of American Scientists:
DoD's list of top 100 defense contractors:
Data on arms transfers from SIPRI:
<> Small arms and light weapons
Small Arms Survey, Geneva: http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/
Profiling the Arms Industry, from the World Policy Institute:
<> US Government Statistics on Military Expenditures
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
Rich & Poor -- Widening Gap & Related Issues
*Rich Media, Poor Democracy - Communication Politics in Dubious Times* by Robert W. McChesney (also author of *Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-35*). "Combining historical sweep with unprecedented detail on current events, McChesney chronicles the waves of media mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990's. He reviews the corrupt and secretive enactment of public policies surrounding the Internet, digital television, and public broadcasting. He also addresses the gradual and ominous adaption of the First Amendment ("freedom of the press") as a means of shielding corporate media power and the wealthy. The book exposses several myths about tthe media -- in particular that the market compels media firms to "give people what they want." If we value our democracy, McChesney warns, we must organize politically to restructure the media in order to reaffirm their connection to democracy." Available through http://www.press.uillinois.edu University of Illinois Press (800-545-4703) and at your library -- ISBN 0-252-02448-6...
Spoken of Highly by Bill Moyers (comparing McChesney to Thomas Paine and Paul Revere), Barbara Ehrenreich, author of *Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class,* Ralph Nader, Noam chomsky, and Howard Zinn; Neil Postman, author of *Technopoly : The Surrender of Culture to Technology,* Mark Crispin Miller, author of *Boxed In: The Culture of TV,* U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, Jeff Cohen, co-author of *Wizards of Media Oz,* Danny Schechter, TV producer and author of *The More You Watch, the Less You Know,* Thomas Frank, author of *The conquest of Cool,* Victor Navasky, Publisher and Editorial Director of *The Nation,* Jim Hightower, radio comentator and author of *There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos,* Bill Kovach, former ditor-in-chief of *New York Times* Washington bureau and author of *Atlanta Journal and Constitution,* Ben Bagdikian, author of *The Media Monopoly,*
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
Campaign Finance Corruption Erodes Citizens' Human Right to Freedom of Expression and Undermines the Public Interest: Four Case Studies (August, 2000) Old stuff but it's a most excellent article! http://www.globalexchange.org/democracy/statement.html
PAC Hard Dollar Contributions Made By Industry Groupings Over Several Election Cycles (in the U.S.) http://www.tray.com/cgi-win/x_sic.exe?DoFn=
Bankers Sued for Slave Reparations http://www.bankindex.com/read.asp?ID=1228 Despite all the media hype about reparations for African-Americans, one major lawsuit involving reparations has not received much publicity. Find out why. Neither ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN nor Fox - all owned by families connected to the Rothschilds have reported this!
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
CostCo vs Wal-Mart & HomeDepot
Subj: Support stores that support your politics
Bush-Mart vs Kerry and Costco --Executives at Wal-Mart Stores and Costco Wholesale, competitors in the $76 billion (R446 million) US warehouse-club market, have taken their rivalry to a new level: national politics. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and owner of Sam's Club warehouse stores, gives more money to Republican candidates than any other company...
<> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <> = <>
"By income taxes we strive to redress the balance and at the same time make the builders of great fortunes pay proper toll to the society which has made their success possible." ~~ George Lorimer, 1934
[ Top of Page ]
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
The task of our Institute is to conduct research on questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security, with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solutions of international conflicts and for a stable peace.
* SIPRI YEARBOOK 2003
* The Iraq War: Impact on International Security
* Iraq and Arms Control
* Anti-terrorism and Peace-building During and After Conflict
* Executive Policing: Enforcing the Law in Peace Operations
* The Future of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms
* Armament and Disarmament in the Caucasus and Central Asia
* Transparency in Nuclear Warheads and Materials: The Political and Technical Dimensions
* 'Women and Security' conference
* Recently added documents Added Pocket-size Summary Edition of SIPRI Yearbook 2003: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security added 03-SEP-2003 by
* Added the SIPRI 2003-2004 publications catalogue from Oxford University Press added 02-SEP-2003 by
* Added announcement for SIPRI's activities at the Gothenburg Book Fair (Bok och Biblioteksmdssan), 25-28 Sept. 2003 added 02-SEP-2003 by
* Added documents for Taiwan to the index of countries of nuclear strategic concern added 08-AUG-2003 by Nuclear Arms Control
* Updated information on nuclear technology and arms control, including nuclear forces developments. added 25-JUL-2003 by Nuclear Technology and Arms Control Project
* The military expenditure and arms production project web pages have been updated with information from the SIPRI Yearbook 2003. added 17-JUN-2003 by Military expenditure and arms production project
* Women and Security conference pressrelease 7 June 2003 Press release 7 June 2003 First Nordic Network "Women in Security" to be launched in Sweden added 07-JUN-2003 by Sipri IT dept
* Added proceedings from the SIPRI/NUPI meeting on Strengthening cooperative threat reduction in the Northern Region, Stockholm, May 20 2003 added 02-JUN-2003 by Nuclear Arms Control
* Government and industry data
* Added information from SIPRI/NUPI seminar on Strengthening cooperative threat reduction in the Northern Region, Stockholm May 20 2003 added 22-MAY-2003 by Nuclear Arms Control
* Any reproduction of text and data is authorized only by permission http://freja.sipri.se:7020/sipri_whats_new_disp 10-SEP-03
[ Top of Page ]
12 Things to Do Now About Corporations
Americans know that corporate excess is about more than flawed accounting. It corrupts democracy, drives a wedge between rich and poor, degrades the environment, and disrupts communities. So what might we the people do?
1. Give it back
The first step in any rehabilitation is to take responsibility for wrongdoing and make amends. In sentencing corporate executives, judges should consider how much of their ill-gotten gains they voluntarily returned. States should seek to recoup ill-gotten gains on behalf of pensioners, ratepayers, taxpayers, and investors. To set an example of the "new ethic of personal responsibility in the business community" President George W. Bush called for in his July 9 speech, he and Vice President Cheney should give back any gains they have earned through questionable accounting and insider trading. (See "Give it Back, Mr. President," http://www.alternet.org)
2. Three strikes, you're out
Why not a corporate death penalty; three criminal convictions and your corporate charter is history. The town of Wayne is one of several Pennsylvania towns that prohibit corporations with repeated violations from setting up shop. So far, the law has been used to keep out hog farms that have repeatedly broken the law.
3. Personhood for people
Corporations were first chartered to serve the public good. POCLAD (Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy) is developing a model charter based on that idea; it includes time limitations on corporate charters, incorporation only for specific purposes, charter revocation for violations, prohibitions on one corporation owning another. It would also require that corporations refrain from infringing on the health, dignity, and rights of employees and refrain from damaging such commons as air, water, and wildlife habitat.
The legal fiction giving corporations legal personhood was a result of an interpretation of the 14th amendment by an 1886 Supreme Court decision (Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.). But there has never been a vote of the people on corporate personhood nor on bestowing on corporations the rights contained in the Constitution. We should be clear: The rights of persons are reserved for real people. (See http://www.poclad.org)
4. Favor local
From the town council up through the UN, rules, incentives, and subsidies should favor locally owned enterprises that serve local needs. (See the Institute for Local Self-Reliance http://www.ilsr.org)
5. No deals for lawbreakers
Let's quit rewarding corporate law breakers with lucrative government contracts. White-collar crime is costing America an estimated $200 billion per year, about 50 times the cost of street crime. According to Business Ethics editor Marjorie Kelly, Lockheed Martin has 63 violations and alleged violations, yet its 1999 government contract awards totaled $14 billion. Companies with more than one criminal conviction or civil judgment in three years should face contract suspensions or debarments, says the Project on Government Oversight (http://www.pogo.org)
6. Quit exporting Enron
According to the Institute for Policy Studies, Enron-related projects have received more than $4 billion in federal financing since 1992 and $3 billion from the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and other public sources. Now Enron wants more; the company is after a $125 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to expand a Bolivian gas pipeline through ecologically sensitive areas and the lands of indigenous people. Of course, Enron is not the only one. Public money should not subsidize exploitation. (See http://www.ips-dc.org)
7. Clue in the public
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. All those with a stake in a corporation-employees, communities, customers-should have access to information about its practices and impacts. (See page 19.) Here's one example: Studies by EPA and others show that many corporations under-report environmental liabilities. Get real about costs; report them honestly.
8. Serve all stakeholders
Corporations are required by law to maximize profits for shareholders. Robert Hinkley, a corporate lawyer, is pressing for a law that prohibits making profit at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the welfare of the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees. Groups in several states have taken up this Code for Corporate Citizenship. (See http://www.citizen works.org or call 202/265-6164)
9. Tax the casino
Every day, $1.5-$2 trillion is exchanged on world currency markets; over 95 percent of that is speculative. The Tobin tax, a proposed small tax on currency transactions, would calm financial markets, protect developing countries, and generate billions of dollars to address global poverty. (See http://www.waronwant.org.) A similar tax on stock transactions could slow stock speculation.
10. End corporate welfare
After working hard to get impoverished mothers and children off public assistance, Congress should turn its attention to CEOs. To start, we could help executives learn self-reliance by sunsetting corporate giveaways; eliminating tax breaks for companies that move off shore; and doing rigorous, independent assessments of tax incentives and subsidies to see which, if any, work.
11. Hands off public assets
Those who propose privatization of public assets or services carry the burden of proof to show that long-term public benefits outweigh the costs.
12. Restore democracy
Lord John Browne, CEO of British Petroleum, announced in February a halt to BP political contributions anywhere in the world. "We mustn't confuse our role," he said. "We must be particularly careful about the political process-not because it is unimportant-quite the reverse-but because the legitimacy of that process is crucial both for society and for us as a company working in that society." We can hope that other corporations will follow BP's example.
Realistically, though, we need to enact clean-election reform of the kind that is helping to restore democracy in Maine, Arizona, and Massachusetts. (See http://www.publicampaign.org)
Reprinted from Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, PO Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Subscriptions: 800/937-4451 Web: http://www.yesmagazine.org
[ Top of Page ]
Subject: Help Gas prices go down!
I don't normally deal with subjects like this, but I've had about all I can take of the "right out in front of God and everybody" price-gouging, rip-off while the petroleum companies thumb their noses at us and smile - because they are convinced, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Well, think again! A gentleman by the name of Phillip Hollsworth has offered an idea much stronger than any that's been tried in the past. The message below is the result of applying his idea to my personal mailing list. Do yourself a favor and invest a moment or two in something that could have a major impact on your wallet - and the nation's economy.
Rev. Charles Stanley
Subject: RE: Gas prices
I hear we are going to hit close to $3.00 a gallon in some parts of the country before the year is over. Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action.
This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy gas on a certain Day" campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, this is a plan that can really work. Please read it and join with us!
By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $1.97 for regular unleaded in my town. (California) Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have Conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50-$1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace--not sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a Price war.
Here's the idea:
For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from The two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.
But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do!! Now, don't wimp out on me at this point--keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!
I am sending this note to 1826 people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (1826 x 10 = 18,260) and those 18,260 send it to at least ten more (18,260 x 10 = 182,600) and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND consumers! . .
If those people get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, just one more time, then we will have reached nearly TWO BILLION PEOPLE. WE CAN HAVE AN IMPACT!!! But, in order to do so, you have to keep the ball rolling by sending this to 10 people. That's all. How long would all of this take? If each person follows through within one day of receipt, conceivably, within the next 8 days EXXON and MOBIL would be at the point of utter desperation!!!
I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you? Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK. YOU KNOW THEY LOVE HOLIDAYS AND SUMMER TRAVELERS
I live in a small town of only 573 people. In addition to sending this out, I am going to start talking to my computer-less friends about supporting this effort. Now what is next? PLEASE COPY AND PASTE--NOT FORWARD (it makes it hard to read after several forwards)
[ Top of Page ]
Challenge Market Fundamentalism
Ruth Rosen is a historian and journalist who teaches public policy at UC Berkeley. She is a senior fellow at the Longview Institute.
Women have gained the potential for enormous power in D.C. with Nancy Pelosi's election as speaker of the House. The Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues will grow to become perhaps the largest in Congress, but the question remains: How will these newly empowered women use their power?
Among the issues on the wish list of newly elected women, according to Women's eNews, are women's health, educational equity, sex trafficking, women in prison and international domestic violence.
All are important but will go nowhere if women leaders don't challenge market fundamentalism, the exaggerated and quite irrational belief in the ability of markets to solve all problems, an economic fundamentalism that has dominated our national political debate for a generation. Without directly challenging market fundamentalism, they will ultimately fail to improve the lives of ordinary American women and their families.
Put it this way: What do catastrophic climate change, the widening gulf between the wealthy and the poor, America's obesity epidemic, and our society's lack of care for the young and the elderly have in common? Each has powerful special interests who insist that we need to let the market work its private magic and that government action would create more problems than it would solve.
These interest groups also block any effort to enlist the government by invoking the arguments of market fundamentalism: Privatize everything, rely on yourself and expect nothing from your government.
Market fundamentalism has become like the air we breathe; we hardly notice it. Every time George W. Bush argues for more tax cuts, he relies on the unquestioned assumption that we all embrace market fundamentalism. Like religious fundamentalism, it is based more on faith than on reason. Through constant repetition, however, the American public has been bullied into believing that private spending is rational and efficient, while public spending is always wasteful and unproductive. (Tell that to people in New Orleans.)
Progressives and liberals have assumed that Americans would eventually turn against these ideas, much as they become disillusioned with the Iraq war. But the truth is, neither the women in Congress nor progressives outside of D.C. challenge market fundamentalism directly. Two decades of the reign of market fundamentalism have impoverished both the language and aspirations of progressive Democrats.
Instead, they dance around market fundamentalism; they try to gain support for their cause without directly attacking the 800-pound gorilla that sits in Congress, in our deteriorating schools, and at the bottom of the gulf between those who hold stocks and those who wait for their next minimum-wage paycheck.
Ideas that are not challenged or questioned become even more deeply entrenched. We have private "security guards" who are doing the work of soldiers in Iraq, but who are not accountable to the military. When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans, many of us imagined that the Bush administration's callous and incompetent failure to rescue the people of New Orleans and to provide the leadership to rebuild the city would lead to massive disillusionment with the administration's market-oriented rhetoric.
But has it? I'm not sure. Many people saw Bush's incompetence, but they also viewed it as one more example of the government's incapacity to solve problems.
This is a huge problem for liberals and progressives. Even if a decent Democrat wins the White House in 2008, his or her ability to offer compelling leadership and to propose new progressive solutions will be limited if market fundamentalist ideas remain unquestioned. Ditto for the women in Congress who think they will push women's issues on to the national agenda.
So, it's necessaryno, urgentthat we immediately challenge market fundamentalism every chance we get. Between now and the 2008 election, we need take every opportunityon blogs, among political progressivesto explain to others why this exaggerated faith in markets is so dangerous and misplaced.
Fortunately, there is now a resource to help us make these arguments. The Longview Institute, a progressive think tank with which I am affiliated, has just launched a market fundamentalism resource page, designed to help people recognize and refute these arguments. Longview's Fred Block, a sociologist at the University of California at Davis, has long been articulating the dangers of market fundamentalism. The plan is to steadily add new arguments and new material, but what is already there provides plenty of fodder for a collective assault on the irrational ideas that support market fundamentalism.
Market fundamentalism is what prevents us from having universal health care, mass transit, affordable housing, trains that cross the nation, subsidized care for the young and elderly and government efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The list, of course, is endless.
Aside from ending the war in Iraq, there is nothing more important we can do to improve our domestic future. Ending the reign of market fundamentalism is a precondition for every kind of progressive cause.
For a quarter of a century, conservatives have tried to convince us that we, rather than the government, should be responsible for what is know in other industrialized nation as the "common good." If we don't attack the effort to privatize every public service that belongs to this common good, we will ultimately fail to move this nation in any progressive direction.
[ Top of Page ]
[for links at bottom see webpage - F:\My Docs\_4 Political\_REF\AFD-PrinciplesEtc.html]
Humboldt County Ordinance To Protect Our Right To Fair Elections & Local Democracy
The People Of Humboldt County Ordain As Follows:
To Protect Our Right To Fair Elections And Local Democracy We Prohibit Non-Local Corporate Contributions To Elections
Section 1. Name.
Section 2. Authority.
(a) The California Constitution, Article I, Section 1, which states: All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.’
(b) The California Constitution, Article II, Section 1, which states: All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.’
(c) The people´s historical memory of Article XII, Section 8, found in the California Constitution for almost a century, from 1879 to 1972, which stated: ...the exercise of the police power of the State shall never be so abridged or construed as to permit corporations to conduct their business in such a manner as to infringe the rights of individuals or the general well-being of the state.’
(d) The United States Constitution, and the 9th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which recognize and secure the fundamental and inalienable right of people to govern themselves.
Section 3. Findings and General Purpose.
2) Only natural persons possess civil and political rights. Corporations are creations of state law and possess no legitimate civil or political rights.
3) Courts have illegitimately defined corporations as "persons," allegedly vesting corporations with constitutional protections and rights. The unconstitutional doctrines of corporate personhood’ and corporate constitutional rights’ illegitimately deny the people of Humboldt County the ability to exercise our fundamental political rights.
4) Corporate contributions in electoral politics interfere with the right of the people to create and maintain the institutions needed for democratic self-governance.
5) The people of Humboldt County make the affirmative legislative finding that corporate contributions in elections are imminently undermining our democratic processes, and are denigrating rather than protecting First Amendment interests.
6) The people of Humboldt County make the affirmative legislative finding that corporate contributions in elections pose a genuine threat to the confidence of the citizenry of Humboldt County in our government.
7) The people of Humboldt County make the affirmative legislative finding that non-local corporate contributions are undermining our democratic processes, creating the appearance of impropriety and corruption, and are causing the people of Humboldt County to lose confidence in the integrity of our elections and in our government.
8) Corporations whose owners and employees reside in our local community are more accountable to the people who live here. People who do not live in Humboldt County should not be allowed to use their positions of corporate control and ownership to influence or undermine local elections through their corporate financial resources. This outside influence is unfair and undemocratic, and it is causing the people of Humboldt County to lose confidence in the integrity of our elections and in our government.
Section 4. Specific Purpose.
Section 5. Prohibitions.
a) Promoting or defeating the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office within the jurisdiction of Humboldt County; or
b) Promoting or defeating any initiative, referendum or recall election within the jurisdiction of Humboldt County, California.
Section 6. Statement of Law.
Statement 7. Statement of Law.
Section 8. Statement of Law.
Section 9. Statement of Law.
Section 10. Exemptions.
1) Local corporations shall be specifically exempted from the prohibitions in Section Five of this Ordinance.
2) Local labor organizations shall be specifically exempted from the prohibitions in Section Five of this Ordinance.
3) Local nonprofit organizations shall be specifically exempted from the prohibitions in Section Five of this Ordinance.
Section 11. Definitions.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and phrases in this Ordinance shall have the following meaning:
CORPORATION: An organization incorporated under the laws of the State of California or holding a Certificate of Authority to do Business within the State of California; or an organization incorporated under the laws of any state in the United States; also includes limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies; also includes organizations operating as nonprofits as defined by the Internal Revenue Service Code and Regulations, with the exception of political parties.
LOCAL CORPORATION: A corporation in which all employees reside in Humboldt County, and has its primary place of business in Humboldt County, and has its corporate headquarters located in Humboldt County, and all shares of stock (if any) are owned by individuals residing in Humboldt County, and no portion of the corporation is owned by another corporation.
LOCAL LABOR ORGANIZATION: A labor organization as defined by the National Labor Relations Act in which at least one member resides in Humboldt County. Also includes labor unions and trade unions with at least one member who resides in Humboldt County.
LOCAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION: An organization classified as a nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Service Code and Regulations in which all members of the board of directors reside in Humboldt County.
NON-LOCAL CORPORATION: Any corporation or organization that does not meet the above definition of Local Corporation’ or Local Labor Organization’ or Local Nonprofit Organization.’
PERSON or PEOPLE: Human beings.
Section 12. Enforcement. Any non-local corporation found to have contributed directly or indirectly any money, property, compensated service of its officers or employees, independent expenditures, or any other thing of value to political campaigns, initiatives, referendums shall pay to the County of Humboldt ten (10) times the amount the corporation inappropriately contributed.
If any non-local corporation is found to have contributed (directly or indirectly) more than $25,000 to any political campaigns, initiatives or referendums in violation of this Ordinance, the Humboldt County District Attorney shall petition the California Attorney General to:
a) Initiate a charter revocation proceeding against the corporation if the corporation is chartered in California, or
b) Initiate a proceeding to revoke the corporation´s Certificate of Authority to do Business in California if the corporation is not chartered in California.
Any violation of this Ordinance shall give rise to a mandatory duty on the part of the District Attorney to enforce this Ordinance. If the District Attorney fails to bring an action to enforce this Ordinance, any natural person residing in Humboldt shall have standing before the Court for enforcement as described in Section 13.
Section 13. Citizen Suits. This Ordinance creates and vests in every citizen of Humboldt County the right to sue to compel compliance with this Ordinance. All actions shall be brought in the Superior Court of California, County of Humboldt.
Citizen-Plaintiffs shall notify the District Attorney in writing of their intent to sue, and the District Attorney shall have fourteen (14) days following receipt of the notice to initiate an action to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance. Action by the District Attorney following that notice shall supplant the ability to file a citizen suit, but if the District Attorney does not diligently pursue the litigation, the right of the Citizen-Plaintiffs to initiate a suit shall not be impaired.
Section 14. Severability. The provisions of this Ordinance are severable. If any section or provision of this Ordinance is determined to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision of the court shall not affect or invalidate any of the remaining sections or provisions of this Ordinance. It is the express intent of the people of Humboldt County, California that this Ordinance would have been adopted if such illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional section or provision had not been included.
Section 15. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall take effect thirty (30) days after adoption by the voters.
Section 16. Interpretation. In the event this Ordinance requires interpretation (by courts, county officials, or anyone else), it is the express intent of the people of Humboldt County that this Ordinance be construed in such a manner to carry out the original intent of this Initiative, which is to eliminate non-local corporate influence from the Humboldt County electoral process.
3) * * * Citizens 1, Corporations 0 * * *
By John Nichols, The Nation, June 6, 2006
In states across the country Tuesday, primary elections named candidates for Congress, governorships and other important offices. But the most interesting, and perhaps significant, election did not involve an individual. Rather, it was about an idea.
In Northern California's Humboldt County, voters decided by a 55-45 margin that corporations do not have the same rights -- based on the supposed "personhood" of the combines -- as citizens when it comes to participating in local political campaigns.
Until Tuesday in Humboldt County, corporations were able to claim citizenship rights, as they do elsewhere in the United States. In the context of electoral politics, corporations that were not headquartered in the county took advantage of the same rules that allowed individuals who are not residents to make campaign contributions in order to influence local campaigns.
But, with the passage of Measure T, an initiative referendum that was placed on the ballot by Humboldt County residents, voters have signaled that they want out-of-town corporations barred from meddling in local elections.
Measure T was backed by the county's Green and Democratic parties, as well as labor unions and many elected officials in a region where politics are so progressive that the Greens -- whose 2004 presidential candidate, David Cobb, is a resident of the county and a active promotor of the challenges to corporate power mounted by Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County and the national Liberty Tree Foundation -- are a major force in local politics.
The "Yes on T" campaign was rooted in regard for the American experiment, from its slogan "Vote Yes for Local Control of Our Democracy," to the references to Tuesday's election as a modern-day "Boston Tea Party," to the quote from Thomas Jefferson that was highlighted in election materials: "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
Just as Jefferson and his contemporaries were angered by dominance of the affairs of the American colonies by King George III and the British business combines that exploited the natural and human resources of what would become the United States, so Humboldt County residents were angered by the attempts of outside corporate interests to dominate local politics.
Wal-Mart spent $250,000 on a 1999 attempt to change the city of Eureka's zoning laws in order to clear the way for one of the retail giant's big-box stores. Five years later, MAXXAM Inc., a forest products company, got upset with the efforts of local District Attorney Paul Gallegos to enforce regulations on its operations in the county and spent $300,000 on a faked-up campaign to recall him from office. The same year saw outside corporations that were interested in exploiting the county's abundant natural resources meddling in its local election campaigns.
That was the last straw for a lot of Humboldt County residents. They organized to put Measure T on the ballot, declaring, "Our Founding Fathers never intended corporations to have this kind of power."
"Every person has the right to sign petition recalls and to contribute money to political campaigns. Measure T will not affect these individual rights," explained Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a resident of Eureka who was one of the leaders of the Yes on T campaign. "But individuals hold these political rights by virtue of their status as humans in a democracy and, simply put, a corporation is not a person."
Despite the logic of that assessment, the electoral battle in Humboldt County was a heated one, and Measure T's passage will not end it. Now, the corporate campaign will move to the courts. So this is only a start. But what a monumental start it is!
Sopoci-Belknap was absolutely right when she portrayed Tuesday's vote as nothing less than the beginning of "the process of reclaiming our county" from the "tyranny" of concentrated economic and political power.
Surely Tom Paine would have agreed. It was Paine who suggested to the revolutionaries of 1776, as they dared challenge the most powerful empire on the planet, that: "We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation similar to the present hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of the new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the events of a few months."
It is time to renew the American experiment, to rebuild its battered institutions on the solid foundation of empowered citizens and regulated corporations. Let us hope that the spirit of '76 prevailed Tuesday in Humboldt County will spread until that day when American democracy is guided by the will of the people rather than the campaign contribution checks of the corporations that are the rampaging "empires" of our age.
* Find out more about Measure T and support Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County's ongoing work - http://www.DUHC.org
A summary of the Ordinance
The full Ordinance
Seven Reasons Why Local Businesses Should Support the CVO
Seven Reasons Why Local Neighborhoods Should Support the CVO
Caucus Resolution Supporting CVO
A letter to city council supporting the ordinance
The Thurston County Living Wage Study
Links to Newspaper Editorials and Articles on the CVO:
Jettison proposed ordinance & Community has a Right to Self-Determination
The Community Values Ordinance: Holding Wal-Mart Accountable to Community Values and Vision
[ Top of Page ]
Public Citizen's Financial Security Strategy, Clean Up Washington Campaign, & Links for Hot Issues, Taking Action, getting published via your local editor, researching Public Citizen's wealth of documents : http://www.chalicebridge.com/BushEnronTangledWeb.html
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
See further below for
<> <> <>
"Were you aware of Bush purchasing a big spread recently in Paraguay (make that 310 square miles) ? ...We hate to bring up the Nazis, but they fled to South America too"
May 17, 2002
In this writer's February 27th article this year, "Enronitis, A Communicable Disease" the following statement was made. "If the Enron practices are as widespread in other companies, as some believe, we may be seeing a domino effect with Enron and Global Crossing only the beginning."
At that time, only Enron and Global Crossing, along with their mutual auditor/consultant Arthur Andersen, were under the microscope of public and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) scrutiny. At this writing there are at least thirty (and counting) companies that have admitted "accounting irregularities" and/or which are the subject of formal investigations by the SEC.
These disclosures should by no means be considered "voluntary mea culpas." The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) along with the SEC seem to have awakened from a decades long slumber and are giving the perception of vigorously pursuing accounting irregularities and other questionable corporate practices. The FERC compiled a list of suspect practices gleaned from testimony by Arthur Anderson and Enron officials and sent out a questionnaire to 150 energy companies. The companies were required to answer, under penalty of perjury, whether or not they were engaging in any of those practices. Ergo, a flood of disclosures.
Wall Street analysts estimate that over one trillion dollars in the value of those companies stocks has vanished and that doesn't count the billions (perhaps hundreds of billions) of dollars in bonds for which an accounting is yet to be made. Enron has notified the SEC that it may have overstated its assets last year by as much as $24 billion and that its financial statements as far back as 1997 are not reliable. The company did not even attempt to file the required reports for the quarter ended in March.
The "problems" are not limited to energy producing and trading companies. Implicated in the scandals are retailers like K-Mart (a FBI criminal investigation), security analysts, brokerage houses, insurance companies, auditors and consultants, large investment banks and even bond rating services. Banks like CitiGroup, Credit Suisse First Boston and J. P. Morgan Chase find themselves victims of their own greed in participating in the scams as well as targets of lawsuits and investigations by hapless investors and regulatory agencies. It almost seems like a game of musical chairs where there were not enough chairs when the Ponzi schemes collapsed. Companies like Enron and Global Crossing, although in bankruptcy, ended up with most of the money for which an accounting has not yet been made.
The maze of sham transactions has set insiders against each other in a scramble to cut losses and point fingers. We are treated to the spectacle of a subsidiary of the Rockefeller controlled CitiGroup (Travelers Insurance) suing its own parent company for losses on transactions it insured between CitiGroup and Enron. CitiGroup is refusing to pay claiming it was misled.
Along with the regulatory agencies, corporate boards of directors seem to have been asleep at the switch. Some very powerful and well-connected directors are now claiming they were misled by company executives and/or auditing firms. Many are members of the premiere U.S. organization pushing world government, The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Others are associated with one of the CFR s many spin-offs or organizations controlled by CFR members i.e. The Trilateral Commission (TLC) and the Business Roundtable.
Boards of directors are not necessarily controlled by their chairmen. If the chairman himself does not fill the role, we usually find on the board someone from an investment bank or a high-powered law firm. What counts is who controls or influences the voting stock of the company.
So let's take a brief tour of some of those powerful men (and women) on boards of companies who were so easily "misled." We shall start and end with Enron. Enron's (former) Chairman and CEO, Ken Lay, was a close associate of both Bill Clinton and the George Bushes. He is a member of Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission
Wendy Gramm is a member of the audit committee of Enron s board. Just prior she was a Reagan appointee as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the powerful regulatory agency which oversees the nation's commodities and futures exchanges. Her husband is Senator Phil Gramm who sponsored legislation providing partial protection of professional firms like Arthur Andersen from class action suits. Gramm has decided not to run for reelection.
In our neighbor to the north a large bank got caught with huge losses when the Enron music stopped. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) has on its board Lord (Conrad M.) Black. An unabashed globalist, Black on his official biography lists memberships in the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderbergers (evidently that s what they call themselves).
Canada's largest energy company EnCana, which engaged in sham "round trip" transactions with Reliant Energy lists on its board T. Don Macy. Macy is the former Chairman and President of Amoco Eurasia Petroleum Co. In 1996 he signed an oil development deal with the Azerbaijan government joining a consortium for exploitation of Caspian Sea oil. Amoco and Unocal control 55.5% of the consortium.
Returning to the U.S., Rockefeller controlled CitiGroup (including subsidiaries CitiBank and Traveler s Insurance) is a major player in the Enron scandal. Director Robert Rubin (CFR) is chairman of the firm's executive committee that runs the group between annual board meetings. Rubin is the former U.S. Secretary of Treasury and a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.
CitiGroup director C. Michael Armstrong (CFR) is chairman and CEO of AT&T Corporation. He is the former chairman and CEO of Hughes Electronics. During his tenure there, Hughes and Loral illegally furnished classified rocket technology to the Communist Chinese government.
Another CitiGroup director is John M. Deutch (CFR), former head of the CIA. Deutch resigned his CIA position after he was caught with unauthorized classified information on his laptop computer. He is also a director on the board of CMS Energy, which has admitted to sham transactions with several other energy companies.
CitiBank was caught laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in cocaine money through the private account of the brother of the Mexican president. The only consequence was the resignation of a vice president.
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) played a large role in enabling the Enron scams. Arthur Levitt, the New York Democrat fund-raiser was appointed chairman of the commission by Bill Clinton. During his tenure, the SEC granted Enron huge exemptions from security laws. Although Levitt claims he can t recall the exemptions, a former SEC regulator told Insight Magazine Levitt was involved in the decision. Experts say the exemptions allowed Enron to set up its sham offshore partnerships that played such a large role in the meltdown. Levitt is now a senior analyst for the Carlyle Group.
A book could (and probably should) be written about corporate governance through former government officials and titans of industry on corporate boards, of which most are committed globalists. Space considerations have only permitted a brief sampling of the phenomenon here.
No list would be complete without examining the connections of Herbert S. (Pug) Winokur, not exactly a household name. Winokur was chairman of the Enron finance committee. He is a former chairman and CEO of Dyncorp and currently chairs its compensation committee.
Catherine Austin Fitts has authored a devastating expose of Winokur and his influence. Fits is a former managing director of the Wall Street firm Dillon, Reed & Co., a former assistant secretary of HUD and president of the Hamilton Securities Group. The following information (some of it paraphrased) is from her expose titled, "Damage Control at Dyncorp Harm at Harvard."
Winokur (a Harvard graduate) is a director of the Harvard Corporation and Harvard Management Company. His investment firm, Capricorn Holdings, is a lead investor in Dyncorp.
Winokur claims he and other Enron directors were mislead by Arthur Anderson and Enron management and it legal counsel as to the true nature of its financial structure. Yet Highfields Capital which manages a large portion of Harvard s $19 billion endowment, reaped a quick profit of somewhere between $50-120 million through short sales (puts) of Enron stock. Fitts suspects insider trading.
In addition to its contracts with the CIA and State Department, Dyncorp manages, under contract, much of the financial data and other electronic records of the SEC, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (including the FBI), and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Between just two of those departments, DOD and HUD, over $3 trillion dollars cannot be accounted for by auditors since 1997. Fitts asks the question, "Could it have moved through the 300-plus subsidiaries that Enron operated in the Cayman Islands?"
And who are the auditors? Dyncorp, DOD and HUD all use Arthur Andersen. In a letter directed to Winokur, Fitts asks him how he can allow Dyncorp to continue to us Arthur Andersen while he claims the auditors misled (lied to) him at Enron.
In closing, Fitts laments (justifiably)," Still worse yet, while most activists are trumpeting the dog and pony show being given by Congress, the SEC and the General Accounting Office (GAO), full of blustery rhetoric and convenient outrage, what the government and Congress are really doing is giving the bad guys all the time they need to destroy evidence, transfer assets, and hide the money."
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
'Ken Lay guilty. George Bush guilty.'
The man who paid many of the biggest bills for George Bush's political ascent, Enron founder Kenneth Lay, has been found guilty of conspiracy and fraud almost five years after his dirty dealings created the greatest corporate scandal in what will be remembered as an era of corporate crime.
On the sixth day of deliberations following the conclusion of a long-delayed federal trial, a Houston jury found Lay guilty on six counts of fraud and conspiracy. In a separate decision, US District Judge Sim Lake ruled that Lay was guilty of four counts of fraud and making false statements.
The same jury that convicted Lay found Enron's former chief executive, Jeffrey Skilling, guilty on 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy, making false statements and engaging in insider trading.
Lay, who President Bush affectionately referred to as "Kenny-boy" when the two forged an alliance in the 1990s to advance Bush's political ambitions and Lay's business prospects, contributed $122,500 to Bush's gubernatorial campaigns in Texas. Lay would later explain to a PBS "Frontline" interviewer that, though he had worked closely with former Texas Governor Ann Richards, the Democrat incumbent who Bush challenged in 1994, he backed the Republican because "I was very close to George W."
Needless to say, once Bush became governor, Lay got his phone calls returned. A report issued by Public Citizen in February, 2001, months before the Enron scandal broke, identified Lay as "a long-time Bush family friend and an architect of Bush's policies on electricity deregulation, taxes and tort reform while Bush was Texas governor."
No wonder Lay had Enron give $50,000 to pay for Bush's second inaugural party in Austin in 1999 -- a showcase event that was organized by Karl Rove and others to help the Texas governor step onto the national political stage.
After Bush gave Enron exactly what it wanted in 1999, by signing legislation that deregulated the state's electrical markets, Lay knew he had found his candidate for president.
When Bush opened his campaign, Lay opened the cash spigots.
As a "Bush Pioneer" in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, Lay was a key member of the Bush campaign's fund-raising inner circle. Under Lay's leadership, Enron ultimately gave Bush $550,025, making the corporation the Texan's No. 1 career patron at the time the 2000 election campaign began, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Lay personally pumped almost $400,000 into Republican hard- and soft-money funds, while Enron slipped another $1.5 million into the GOP's soft-money cesspool.
But that was just the beginning. Lay sent a letter to Enron executives urging them to contribute to Bush's campaign. More than 100 of them -- including Skilling, a major Bush giver since 1993, when he cut his first $5,000 check to GW's gubernatorial campaign -- did just that. Dozens of spouses wrote, including "homemaker" and frequent $10,000 donor Linda Lay, gave as well, making the Enron "family" a prime source of the money that gave Bush his early advantage over Republican rivals such as Arizona Senator John McCain.
All told, it is estimated that, over the years prior the company's bankruptcy, Lay, his company and its employees contributed close to $2 million to fund George W. Bush's political rise.
Lay found other ways to help, as well. He put Enron's corporate jets at the disposal of the Bush campaign in 2000. He kicked in $5,000 to pay for the Florida recount fight, while a top Enron "consultant," former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, ran the Republican's recount effort. He even paid for his own bookkeeping, chipping in $1,000 to help the Bush-Cheney campaign comply with campaign-finance laws. And Lay and Enron gave $300,000 to underwrite the Bush-Cheney inauguration festivities in 2001.
Did all that giving pay off? You bet!
Lay cashed in even before Bush was sworn in as president, entering into the inner circles of the new administration and using the access he had paid for to craft its agenda on the issues that mattered most to Enron.
Bush took good care of his contributor-in-chief, appointing the Enron founder as one of five members of the elite "Energy Department Transition Team," which set the stage for the Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force and administration policies designed to benefit corporations such as Enron A report on "Bush Administration Contacts with Enron," compiled at the request of Congressman Henry Waxman, D-California, by the minority staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, found evidence of at least 112 contacts between Enron and White House or other Administration officials during the month prior to the corporation's very-public collapse in late 2001. At least 40 of those contacts involved top White House officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential advisor Karl Rove, White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey, White House personnel director Clay Johnson III, and White House energy task force director Andrew D. Lundquist.
As Waxman explained in a 2001 interview, "The fact of the matter is that Enron and Ken Lay, who was the Chief Executive Officer of Enron, had an extraordinary amount of influence and access to the Bush Administration. Lay was called a close friend by both the President and the Vice President. When the Vice President chaired an Energy Task Force, Ken Lay had an opportunity to meet privately with the Vice President and to have a great deal of influence in their recommendations."
Bush and his aides have worked hard since the Enron scandal broke to suggest that Lay was just another generous Texan. But the attempts to deny linkages to the now-convicted corporate criminal never cut water with Lone Star-state watchdog Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice.
"President Bush's explanation of his relationship with Enron is at best a half truth," McDonald said after Bush first tried to distance himself from Lay and other Enron executives. "He was in bed with Enron before he ever held a political office."
As governor and president, Bush maintained that intimate relationship.
Now that his strange bedmate have been convicted of fraud, isn't it time for the president to end the fraud of claiming that he was ever anything less than a political partner of Lay and the Enron team?
Copyright © 2006 The Nation
Source: The Nation
[ Top of Page ]
Manifesto "A Global Economy for the Benefit of the World Community"
PLEASE SEE MY PERSONAL NOTE IN A SEPARATE EMAIL
Believe it or not Mr. Jecklin, almost a year after you sent this to me, I finally just read it - it had been waiting, undeleted, at the top of my now 27+ megs and 2000+ items-packed Inbox which I was, by sheer coincidence, exploring a bit today during a lull in my work.
I will not even try to apologize for my tardiness since no words of apology could cover for such an incredible delay in responding to you.
So I want to hereby acknowledge and convey to you how much I value what you wrote and how strongly I believe you succeeded in conveying within this very well crafted document your vision, knowledge-gained-from-experience and understanding on both the perils (if they remain unadressed) and potential boon of the current globalization trend for our planet and for all humanity.
Of course to properly grasp where you want to lead us when reading it, one has to be highly focussed and to carefully thread the path you are opening so as to avoid missing a step and falling off the cliff you are asking us to ascend towards a towering understanding-it-all position, to the very wide perspective you offer us - which is an outstanding reward in itself.
Reading your document, I saw many concepts and notions that have been an integral part of my personal paradigm for a number of years and recognized ideas that now form part of an emerging global consensus on what we are all in and where we are headed. I also recognized, dressed in different words, the analogy of humanity forming an emerging global brain and being the next major evolutionary leap of Life, as presented by British scientist Peter Russell years ago.
Not only is your style concise and "percussive" - such as in "Visions breed resolutions leading to measures and actions which ultimately crystallize in the shape of the material world", but the breadth of your subject covers most of the essential ground that needs to be covered to properly evaluate the ways and means out of our persistent conundrum about "How shall we succeed to survive into the 22nd century?"
But then, once it is all read and grasped, one may still ask, "How do we translate such an understanding into a renewed commitment to assert the multiple tasks at hand and efficiently dedicate ourselves, each according to our unique and vital skills and gifts, in furthering the goal of redeeming this world and all life upon it from the abyss into which we are all plunging headlong right now?"
In my view, you hinted at part of the solution when you talked about the "acceleration of the consciousness expansion", but then fell short of developing this quintessential subject. You seem to favor the adoption of yet another set of rules to somehow guide and coerce people(s) and nations towards protecting the environment, creating a shared sense of social responsibility and limiting the power of giant monopolies, the likes of which have been plaguing this world for most of the 20th century. Of course, I understand that you choose to explore "the problem we face" mainly from the economic angle and that within this context, rules are necessary - and this choice is most appropriate considering your personal background as a businessman. Yet it leaves unadressed whole areas of the human experience and reality that are also essential components in the equation for a successful survival into *and beyond* the 21st century.
Others might decide to add their contributing perspective to this excellent start for an interesting discussion when I'll share your text and my comment with the 1155 recipients on the Earth Rainbow Network emailing list on this coming May 1st - exactly one year after you emailed it to me!
As for me I'd like also to contribute a particular perspective that might likewise prove interesting to many through these 2 documents (see below) written many years ago and entitled "Earth People... Awake!" and "Mutation... What Mutation?", hoping this will be a positive complement to your excellent writing.
All my best to you
NOTE TO EVERYONE: These 2 documents mentioned above have been posted on my site for quite a long while now and you may review them at: http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/medcorner.htm http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/Mutation.htm
AND HANS RESPONDED ON 29 Apr 1999:
Thank you for your message. I am glad that you finally read the text.
I very well understand your questions. Let me for the moment say two main things:
1. The object of the brochure is to come from a vision of the continuous evolution of the creation being "God at work" and defining the role of economy within this larger concept. An economy that rather serves the community than using others of a means to get more for oneself.
2. My trust in the evolution says that we are to evolve into the consciousness of community and that we don't have to DO it. On the other hand the human consciousness has the freedom of choice which means that we can hold against evolution and thereby create tremendous suffering. Therefore I have trust on one side and think at the same time that the world at present needs a frame of regulations to avoid misuse of freedom by those who have not understood yet: Evolution from one side - the minimum of regulations from the other side.
3. I even believe - and feel confirmed by what happens in the Balkan right now - that the world needs a reformed UN which is based on democratic and federalistic principles. It should not only set a frame order but also have the means of power to stop those who misuse.
4. Economy is only one aspect of the whole; but I personnally feel called to bring my energy towards the healing of its spirit. I do this in the form of courses, writing and meditative work (the latter based on the old traditions of the Shaivism of Kashmir and its practices to transform old personal and collective Karma).
I realize that my English is not great for these spontaneous reactions but I hope that you will nevertheless understand.
Dear Jean Hudon
From Confinement of Misery to Freedom of Vision
A Global Economy for the Benefit of the World Community
The immediate experience of misery and poverty may open eyes for a new perception of our planet and its state of health which is characterized by serious disharmony. We have the pull of the evolution of consciousness towards ever increasing integration on the one hand, and on the other the resistance of old patterns of consciouseness based on a destructive kind of individualism resulting from isolation and fear. Within the evolutionary process of globalization where individuals are meant to increasingly merge into a community of humanity and planet, the economy has very quickly isolated certain aspects and reduced them, unfortunately, to merely another opportunity for material gains. This has lead to even more harmful conflicts. The true meaning of the latest acceleration of evolution still remains to be discovered. To prevent an even deeper global crisis, the expansion of consciousness into a global dimension is imperative for humankind and nations. Moreover, the responsibility of the economy towards environment and society has to be channeled into the policies of a global governance.
Some time ago, I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in a slum in the Philippines. For a businessman living in well-off Switzerland this might seem an unexpected destination but the decision to go was not too difficult for me. "Sister Pia's Greenhouse School' in Ibayo, a slum in the greater metropolitan area of Manila was founded by Pia Gyger. It is a school for global consciousness and turned out to be a perfect greenhouse for touching (indelible) experiences and lasting insights. There was no way to avoid existential experiences in the slums: the crying misery in its most concentrated form, the squalor of tightly packed space, as well as hunger, bad smells, respiration problems caused by heavy smoke from the adjacent burning mountains of civilization garbage. The false promises of affluence provided by loudspeakers and screens, as well as gambling and drinking cannot dull the hopelessness of the situation. Anger and fury express themselves in violence and abuse of children and women. But nothing is there which cannot also be seen in our part of the world where it is only more hidden, less blatant. The pitiless confrontation with this continuous display of misery caused immediate pain, over and over again. I had to understand that external images open up internal wounds, and that my own pain had to be nursed before anything else. Only then I was able to tear the veil apart and release feelings of compassion, as an act of looking at this naked reality just as it was at that point in time, with an open heart and free of fear. The next step was a deeply moving vision of community as genuine solidarity with the human being, with humankind in its diversity of nations and cultures, solidarity also with all creatures, with the whole creation in its miraculous wealth of manifestations. Finally the image of the earth and its inhabitants evolved as a living organism. The slum appeared like an abscess, as they develop in the weak parts of sick bodies. The symptom points towards the underlying illness and ultimately even indicates its deeper origins in the realm of spirit and mind. If a symptom is thus taken serious and seen in its whole context, it can become the starting point for a holistic healing process. Soothing pain and bandaging wounds are, of course, needs to be first met, but the origin of the sickness has to be dealt with as well. Otherwise the illness will continue to spread and cover the body with festering sores.
Genuine solidarity with suffering fellow human beings raises questions. Does their misery not very clearly demonstrate the sickness of our planet and its inhabitants? How long should their agony continue? How many more of such festering sores will we allow to develop on the global organism?
Evolution and Global Consciousness
To understand the concept of humanity and earth as an interdependent organism, we should perhaps take a closer look at the history of the evolution of the universe. It is an evolution from the chaos of unorganized energy particles into higher and ever more complex forms, from sub-atomic particles to atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, leading to the whole variety of plants, animals and humans. This evolution also includes the unfolding of human consciousness, the awakening of a creature still archaically embedded in nature, which most probably needed millions of years to cultivate an ego and evolve into the individual of today with its highly differentiated consciousness and all its amazing (miraculous) possibilities. The expansion of the faculty to perceive spatial and social relationships is part of this development. The human range of experiences, once confined to narrow circles of family and tribe in its immediate surroundings, now includes the diversity of peoples and nations. Various signs indicate that our perception of the interdependence of humans and planet is heading towards an integration into the cosmic order. If we understand the history of evolution as a forceful, irresistible unfolding of living existence into ever more differentiated manifestations of an all-embracing field of consciousness, we can see many of the disturbing phenomena of today. e.g. globalization, liberalization, deregulation and unemployment in a new light. They hold a liberating potential which could be very beneficial for the human race in its advancement to a new level of consciousness. So far we only know those aspects of the latest evolutionary development which quickly translate into economic profits, but that is not enough.
Globalization is a fundamental expression of the evolution of human consciousness transcending the limitations of nations and peoples, in order to enter new dimensions involving our planet and the whole human race. Therefore, the possibilities of networking among all people and peoples through the new means of communication is not surprising. However, the new technologies, as useful and fascinating as they are, should not be allowed to obscure the spiritual dimension whose material manifestation they represent. Without link to this back-ground, they and their users pervert into instruments of manipulation in the service of ultimately illusiory self-interests.
But globalization has an even wider implication, i.e. the expansion of consciousness of the highly developed individual emerging from isolation to unite with the global community of evolved individuals. In this process, the new communication technologies can be a boon; decentralization of work and investment through the modern media promotes the participation of a wider segment of humankind in the support system of goods and services. Diminishing of local poverty and reduction of transportation are some of the benefits of the information network. When telephone offices were installed in the Indian half-state Himachal Pradesh, e.g., the farmers started to make inquiries about the market price of apples in the big cities, thus liberating themselves from the exploitation of middle-men and increasing their prosperity.
Liberalization and deregulation are thus means of liberation from mechanisms and barriers which protect privileges and indolence thereby preventing change. Impulses only materialize within such free space. Flexible and vital organisms have to replace rigid structures in private as well as community life, in the economic as well as governmental sector, and in public institutions, too. In the past, closed systems have given us an illusion of security, but they cannot survive the ever accelerating exponential transformations of our times. And what about unemployment? Given the present circumstances, it is a very painful ordeal for those concerned. But in the long run, it may turn out to be a gift of evolution presented to humankind. The amount of labor necessary for the supply of goods and services is diminishing. Our energy is not exclusively needed for our survival anymore. It is as if we were offered space for the next step in our development of consciousness which touches a new dimension necessary for life on this planet. But a new strategy for the distribution of productivity gains is essential. Considering that such gains are resulting from the reduction of human labor, they have to serve communal interests.
How many more Crises do We Need?
80 years ago already, Rudolf Steiner cautioned against the exploitation of the globalization process through unbridled economic forces only, without the corresponding developments in ethics and politics. He predicted a profound crisis, should that happen.
Most probably we have reached that point. Many experts still keep their eyes closed and place their stakes on a misinterpretation of Adam Smith, believing that maximal profits of the individual benefit everyone. They almost deliberately fail to notice that Adam Smith's moral philosophy, founded on benevolence, clearly saw the well-being of the community as a prerequisite for economic activity.
70 years ago, Teilhard de Chardin wrote about the population explosion of the present times and the corresponding strain on the planet. In his understanding of the evolutionary course, the paleontologist and philosopher saw the existential curtailing of survival space as a chance for a spontaneous breakthrough of compassion on a planetary scale, as a gate into the consciousness of the community and a means to unite billions of humans to humankind.
As Rudolf Steiner and Teilhard de Chardin predicted, however, the new elements of consciousness will drag us into an ever deepening crisis, into hopelessness and despair unless we understand that the benefit of such advancements can only develop in a spirit of solidarity. The worldwide electronic communication web, an essential feature of the global village, allows local independence and a better distribution of the growing prosperity among the global population. The beneficial effect, however, can turn into its reverse, if companies select their sites in countries where people in dire poverty will accept the most degrading working conditions, where toxic emissions are tolerated for the sake of economic development and where taxes, the symbols of solidarity are evaded through clever fiduciary manipulations.
To pursue one's own advantage is socially acceptable, or at least tolerable, if no harm is done to others. In the past, this rule of conduct was enforced by the social framework of family and tribe, as well as the nation state. In the global village, we are still without a corresponding authority, even though the transnational companies have left the realm of the nation state a long time ago.
A positive feature of global competition of prices is the undermining of tightly guarded privileges. If the companies are forced to streamline their cost structures due to the price war and if the fixed costs can be distributed on a larger amount of units thanks to quantitative growth, the community will enjoy certain benefits. Forced quantitative growth, however, leads to overproduction and unnecessary environmental strain, especially since low-priced goods are usually of rather ephemeral nature. In saturated markets, quantitative growth often translates into a fierce survival struggle for market shares. Bankruptcies and fusions result in a lower number of market participants who also fully utilize the benefits of rationalization thereby increasing the pressure on the employment situation. In the mostly free-for all atmosphere of the global economic space, monopolies presuppose a responsible attitude towards economic power. But its representatives often do not measure up to the challenge. With the intensified pressure, opposition towards measures of control is mounting. Resistance towards environmental concerns, not promising short-term profits, is rising. In addition, willingness to make a contribution of solidarity to the community through taxes and tariffs is waning.
Besides, productivity gains always imply a substitution of labor through capital. The stock-market remunerates progress in productivity in its prognostic stage already and favors shareholders who have not lifted a finger for the prosperity of the enterprise except to give signals which seduce the management of the company to take extreme measures to increase the shareholder value which is not in line with the interests of the community.
The widening gap between the rich and the poor of many countries, the rift between north and south, and the increasing stress on the biosphere are consequences of the above constellations whose components propell each other foreward.
Humanity will become more and more entangled in this fatal spiral, should the economy be allowed to move forward on its own in the globalization process. A corresponding development in the collective consciousness and appropriate political and legal measures are of utmost importance.
Otherwise we will be left with the choice between far-reaching social unrest and a stupefying consumer craze ending in the collapse of the environment.
On the positive side, we have the still unrecognized promise of evolutionary history to progress from the individual to the global community of humanity and earth. Paradoxically, those aspects of the new consciousness based on material benefits only are directing people into even deeper isolation. It is as if the individualistic possibilities had to be enjoyed to the fullest and tested to their limits before the fascination will fade in order to let a comprehensive field of consciousness collect the precious individual parts and merge them into a higher unit.
Supposedly such dead-ends are part of the halting progression of evolution. The old traditions of spiritual paths admonish their adherents not to cling to the phenomena of a new stage of development since that could hinder advancement on the journey. Seen in that light, the persistent evolutionary thrust visible in painful globalisation could be understood as an expression of grace which prevents us from straying deeper into isolation and also serves as a spring-board for the next step of evolution. The amount of suffering would, consequently, depend on our readiness to jump -but jump into what direction?
If we have properly understood that evolution wants to unite many particular parts into a higher unified entity, we will see how humans merge into humanity, and nations into a global community. When cells unite to form an organism, they do not lose their function. On the contrary, their peculiar features correlate with the functions necessary for the performance of the organism.
Similarily, the community resulting from the globalisation process consists of complete parts whose particularities ensure the viability of the newly emerged organism.
One of the obstacles of evolutionary development is the inability of the old consciousness to entirely grasp the importance of the new phenomena. But it is safe to say that in the transformative process of people and peoples into the higher consciousness of the global community, the particular roles and functions of individuals will be defined exactly on the basis of diversified and unique contributions to the benefit of the higher entity each can make. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, a distinction has to be made between community of unique individuals as defined above and the regression of individuals into the anonymity of a group. Twice this century we have witnessed how individuality was forced to drown in mass movements. The approaching transformation unquestionably needs global citizens with an authentic sense of responsibility and the motivation to volunteer when the well-being of the individual is dependent on the well-being of the community.
A Global Economy for the Benefit of the World Community
Visions breed resolutions leading to measures and actions which ultimately crystallize in the shape of the material world. It is, therefore, meaningful to explore as far as possible the idea of community of billions of individuals merging into humanity. Visions are fields of consciousness which have the power to create forms. A refined delineation stimulates the potential for realization on the material level.
Keeping the above in mind, we will now cautiously try to sketch some essential features of the role the economy will play as a part of the new organism.
Prerequisite for the community, and its foundation too, is the understanding that the well-being of the individual - the human being, enterprise, region, state - is dependent on the well-being of the community.
This means that each individual, according to talents and possibilities, has to make his/her contribution to the (smooth?) functioning of the entire organism.
The purpose of each enterprise is, therefore, defined as a (the?) service which it performs for the community, through production and distribution of goods and services. Production, marketing, employment and profits are prerequisites for this service or its consequences, respectively. They are not justified as an end in itself.
No individual advantage justifies undue stress on the community, or its damage. The use of common goods, from resources to water and air, has to be regulated within the framework of community interests.
The enterprises should aim at profits because they are necessary to counterbalance short -and medium- term changes. Profits are also a prerequisite for the preservation and restauration of enterprise capital as well as for the contributions of solidarity serving the well-being of the community. Taxes help to finance those services which are necessary for the whole community even though they do not create any surplus value. The investors allocate (devote) their capital on a medium- to long-term basis to a purpose which serves the interest of the community. In return, they receive an appropriate share of the acquired surplus value. Such allocations of capital are not to be traded as short-term convertable assets.
As inconceivable as the conditions for such a development seem at present, and as little as we can imagine the higher organism whose well-being would be of top priority to the economy, we have to admit that the epoch-making changes of this century could very well be followed by other very fast-paced transformations. The acceleration of the consciousness expansion is exemplified in the increasing speed of the great liberation movements of this century, e.g., the prohibition of slave-trade, the end of colonialism, and the collapse of the East-block.
The Economy Needs Global Governance
Understanding for the increasing speed of transformation and confidence in the wisdom of the irresistible force of the spiritual dimension must be followed by concrete action. Otherwise, the situation will turn into violence between the advantaged and the disadvantaged, or it will begin to directly endanger the foundations of our lives. The responsibility of the economy towards environment and social duties has to be channeled into global policies requiring as little red tape as possible. In addition, the economy has to protect its own interests through a system of federalist world governance on a subsidiary basis, with a global center of control and enforcement. The required minimum of rules should lead to the above vision of a global economy for the benefit of the world community and cover the following areas:
Enforcement of international standards for the protection and preservation of common goods such as air, water, soil, food (internationalization of costs); Increase of efficiency in the use of energy and non-renewable ressources (steering taxes?).
Enforcement of international standards for the protection of human dignity (fundamental needs); International enforcement of solidarity for the financement of common tasks on the national and international level (taxes).
Limitation of power:
Prevention of global monopolies and the abuse of their power, respectively. Prevention of short-term speculation on the stock and foreign exchange markets (Steering taxes, e.g. Tobin-tax).
An integrated vision requires additional adjustments. Most important among them would probably be global disarmament and the formation of an international intervention task force for the preservation of peace.
Everyone will be a winner
It goes without saying that responsible participants of the economy should have an enormous interest in a global economic order. Actually, very few have realized how substantial its rewards would be, especially in terms of quality of life:
- Protection from social and environmental dumping among competitors;
The understanding that all participants of the economy can profit from an economic order as described above, would act as a counterpoint to the fatal perspectives resulting from continuation on the well-trodden path of today. Yet, an economy for the benefit of the world community cannnot be built by economic forces only. A collective understanding has to support the passage of the community of planet and humanity into the global dimension. Each and everyone is part of this community as a mature human being, aware of his/her potential and limitations, and not afraid to also give the right signals to the companies as a customer. A global order is vital, too, protecting behaviour that benefits the community and drawing the line at behaviour that harms it.
The widening of our focus from immediate personal gain to the benefit of the world community promises happiness for each and everyone. If a sufficient number of people and peoples share this conviction, the world will transform itself. A dream I had years ago seems to link this conviction with the existential experiences of the businessman in the greenhouse of Ibayo where he regained his authentic self in a spirit of reconciliation:
"I'm sitting in the shade of trees,
Sister Pia's Greenhouse School
An institution of the St.-Katharina-Werk, this school for global consciousness in Ibayo, a slum in the greater metropolitan area of Manila, was founded by Pia Gyger. Inhabitants of the slum and visitors stimulate each other's development towards global citizenship which requires authentic personal responsibility and the capacity to act for the common good.
Information: Pia Gyger, Winkelriedstr. 23, CH-6003 Luzern, Switzerland, Tel. ++41 (0)41, 210 65 83, Fax ++41 (0)41 210 35 94 or:
Dr. Anna Gamma, Bildungshaus Fernblick, CH-9053 Teufen, Switzerland, Tel. ++41 (0)71 333 11 48, Fax ++41 (0)71 333 00 56 E-Mail: email@example.com
Institute for Spiritual Development of Consciousness in Politics and Economy, ISPW
ISPW is part of the Lassalle-House in Bad Schoenbrunn, Edlibach ZG. It's objective is the unification of the inward journey with the development of active life in society. It addresses politicians and company executives as well as other persons of responsibility in society. The institute organizes conferences and seminars with spiritual, political or economic, as well as interreligious themes. Persons interested in global responsibility and spirituality are welcome.
ISPW was established by Niklaus Brantschen, Jesuit, and Pia Gyger, member of the St.-Katharina-Werk. As its executive team they assure the unconventional, interspiritual character of the institute and advocate the connection between spirituality and global responsibility.
Information: ISPW, Lassalle-House Bad Schönbrunn,
Manifesto "A Global Economy for the Benefit of the World Community"
The understanding that all participants of the economy can profit from a global economic order, is a counterpoint to the fatal perspectives resulting from the continuation on the well-trodden path of today. The manifesto "A Global Economy for the Benefit of the World Community" aims to strenghten this message by acting as a focus for farsighted personalities of the economy and politics. Through the power of thought, the proclamation of the manifesto by international economic organizations will help prepare the path the economy has to take in its new role of being a part of an entity.
Hans Jecklin is in charge of the project within the ISPW framework. The Institute for the Spiritual Development of Consciousness in the Economy and Polititcs offers a forum for discussions, talks, workshops and seminars dealing with the topic.
Information: Hans Jecklin is an entrepreneur (Jecklin Music Company, Zurich). Besides, he accompanies individuals and groups in their development of consciousness and search for meaning in their personal and business life. He is an independent collaborator of the ISPW.
Address: Hans Jecklin, Au Village, CH-1742 Autigny, Switzerland,
[ Top of Page ]
HUMOR: ‘Supply side spirituality: Be more supplying and less demanding´
Dear Swami: The war in Iraq drags on. More than 600,000 civilians have died in Iraq since our invasion, as have more than 2,800 of our troops. Private companies are making money hand over fist, yet the Iraq people don´t even have basic services. Our fearless leader has instituted a stay the (inter)course policy, and no one seems able to stop him. I could go on.
My question is, where are the religious leaders in this country? I don´t mean those in the thrall of the Religious Right. I mean those ministers in mainstream denominations, rabbis with a conscience, Evangelicals who believe in Jesus´ actual teachings, New Thought ministers, etc. Where are these people, and why aren´t they standing up and speaking out? Is it about losing their nonprofit status, or something deeper?
--Ann Sadat, Putney, Vermont
Dear Ann: Regardless of what our religious leaders are or aren´t doing, most Americans are waking up to the sad realization that our President laid an egg in Iraq, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Once again, we´ve had to learn that every war that starts out as a just war’ ends up as . . . just war. The entire notion that we went there to keep the peace has been shattered, as more and more people begin to suspect that we´re there to keep the pieces instead.
I too have been curious about the whereabouts, whatabouts, and howabouts of our mainstream religious leaders. We hear all this religious outcry about how two men lying together is an abomination, but when a whole bunch of men lie together to bomb a nation, the silence is deafening. I can understand not wanting to jeopardize nonprofit status, but you cannot forget that REAL Bottom Line is their For-Prophet status. No matter what the religion, the founding Prophets offered up some version of the Golden Rule. While spiritual text is always open to interpretation, not even the most dyslexic translation has Jesus saying, Doo-doo unto others before they can doo-doo unto you,’ blessed are the war makers,’ or the guys with the biggest army shall inherit the earth.’
If churches really are worth all those taxes they don´t pay, then the real service they can perform is to have faith in their faith and stand by their stand. And maybe be less concerned with Armageddon and Judgment Day and more focuses on bringing about Disarmageddon and Nonjudgment Day, when indeed a peacemaker is planted in the heart of every nation and we the people sit on the seat of power instead of it sitting on us.
Maybe we can encourage our religious leaders to be less concerned with the hereafter (or, in the case of those who believe in reincarnation, the here-before) and make the world a better place in the here-now. Maybe we can help them move past the Ten Commandments to the One Suggestion: That we´re all one with the same One, the Inescapable Oneness. The Universe has us surrounded! Might as well surrender.
Might as well surrender to using the spiritual power in our own hearts rather than waiting for a Higher Power to magically come down and intervene. We can´t expect to be fed intravenously forever, can we? It´s called supply side spirituality: Be more supplying and less demanding. For indeed we are not here to earn God´s love, we´re hear to spend it! Time for all denominations to go for the highest common denominator instead of the lowest and see the world from a God´s-eye view for a change: We´re all in it together, and we´re here to re-grow the Garden from the grassroots up -- and have a heaven of a time doing it.
Dear Swami: We have been exploring our sexuality for several years now. We´ve been through tantra, and now we´re considering polyamory. What´s your take, Swami?
--Rich Ewall and Sara Mony
Dear Rich and Sara: Never, never, never! Not with a parrot. Ever.
[ Top of Page ]
Subject: Re: Muhammand Yunus, Grameen Bank, & "Museum of Poverty
exerpted from "We Can Create a Poverty-Free World," COE Frontier Economics Lecture, University of Tokyo;
-----Brief [edited, bcp]:
"Muhammand Yunus, Grameen Bank, & "Museum of Poverty": since his successful establishment of a collateral-free micro-credit project for the poor after the Bangladesh famine of 1974, more than one hundred academic articles have been published in the field of micro-credit, explicitly mentioning the success of Grameen Bank. Top academic journals ... have published academic studies which analyze the success of Grameen Bank. Professor Yunus once mentioned that in the future children will not know what poverty is, so we will have to take them to the museum of poverty.
Professor Muhammand Yunus was born in 1940 in Chittagong, Eastern Bengal (now Southern Bangladesh). After graduating from Chittagon University, he went to the US to study as a Fulbright scholarship recipient. Professor Yunus has received an Economics Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University under the supervision of Professor Nicholas Georguescu-Roegen in 1971. His thesis was entitled, ’Optimal Allocation of Multi-Purpose Reservoir Water: A Dynamic Programming Model.’ Then Professor Yunus returned to newly independent Bangladesh in 1972 and became the head of the Economics Department at Chittagong University.
COE Frontier Economics Lecture, University of Tokyo
The Research Center for the Relationship between Market Economy and Non-market Institutions (CEMANO), Center-of-Excellence (COE) program in the Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo
Center for International Research on the Japanese Economy (CIRJE), Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
The POVERTY DRAFT is turning our kids into Corporate Cannon Fodder.
[ Top of Page ]
Also see Articles for Understanding the Philosophical & Pragmatic Differences between Republicans and Democrats. Professor Alan Wolfe uses fascist philosopher Carl Schmitt to help us understand contemporary politics & the eerie relevance to the current moment in American history. Includes "How The Democrats Were Betamaxed" by Laurie Spivak (possibly the easiest to help make practical sense of the matter). -- cp">
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Eric Johansson
Well, whatever you want to call BUSH, he is not a CONSERVATIVE.....
Neither are the Republicans....
I am partly conservative of the Libertarian variety, aka, a true conservative... I am also partly progressive...
Hence I am a progressive-libertarian, aka, a liberal-conservative, aka, a centrist.
But Bush is alot of things but he is no conservative and neither are the Republicans.. They look more fascist by the day
...Neoliberalism is promoted as the mechanism to allow global trading that would see all nations prospering and developing fairly and equitably, which is probably what most people would like to see. Margaret Thatcher's TINA acronym suggested that There Is No Alternative to this. But what is neoliberalism, anyway?
This section attempts to provide an overview. First, a distinction is made between political and economic liberalism. Then, neoliberalism as an ideology for how to best structure economies is explained. Lastly, for important context, there is a quick historical overview as to how this ideology developed.
This web page has the following sub-sections:
* Political versus Economic Liberalism
--- Political versus Economic Liberalism ---
There is an important difference between liberal politics and liberal economics. But this distinction is usually not articulated in the mainstream.
As summarized here by Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia:
Liberalism’ can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Rightwing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate liberals’ -- meaning the political type -- have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.
-- Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia, What is Neo-Liberalism’?
The web site, Political Compass
Charting this, they describe left and right as an economic position, while from a political axis, there is a scale from authoritianism to libertarianism, and these can all cross over:
<> <> <> <>
This is a pretty good article below about how Bush is NO CONSERVATIVE, but he is a
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Was Clinton More Conservative Than Bush?
Veronique de Rugy is a fiscal policy analyst at the Cato Institute.
President Bush may be repeating the sins of his father. Although elected on a Reaganesque, tax-cutting platform, the White House has veered to the left.
President Bush has signed a bill to regulate political speech, issued protectionist taxes on imported steel and lumber, backed big-spending education and farm bills, and endorsed massive new entitlements for mental health care and prescription drugs. When the numbers are added up, in fact, it looks like President Bush is less conservative than President Clinton.
It makes little sense to discourage one's core supporters prior to a mid-term election. Yet that is the result when a Republican president expands government, which Bush is doing. Also, academic research on voting patterns shows that a president is most likely to get re-elected if voters are enjoying an increase in disposable income. Yet making government bigger is not a recipe for economic growth. After all, there is a reason why Hong Kong grows so fast and France is an economic basket case. But you can't tell that to the Bush administration.
Administration officials privately admit that much of the legislation moving through Congress represents bad public policy. Yet they argue either that everything must take a back seat to the war on terror (much as the first Bush administration treated the war against Iraq) or that compromises are necessary to neutralize issues such as education. But motives and rationalizations do not repeal the laws of economics.
In less than two years, President Bush has presided over more government expansion than took place during eight years of Bill Clinton. For instance:
- The education bill expands federal involvement in education. The administration originally argued that the new spending was a necessary price to get vouchers and other reforms. Yet the final bill boosted spending and was stripped of almost all reform initiatives. And there is every reason to believe that this new spending will be counter-productive, like most other federal money spent on education in the past 40 years. Children and taxpayers are the big losers.
- The farm bill is best characterized as a bipartisan orgy of special interest politics. Making a mockery of the Freedom to Farm Act, the new legislation boosts farm spending to record levels. Old subsidies have been increased and new subsidies created. Perhaps worst of all, the administration no longer has the moral credibility to pressure the European Union to reform its socialized agricultural policies. Taxpayers and consumers are the big losers.
- The protectionist decisions on steel and lumber imports make free traders wish Bill Clinton were still president. These restrictions on world commerce have undermined the productivity of U.S. manufacturers by boosting input prices and creating massive ill will in the international community. American products already have been targeted for reciprocal treatment. Consumers and manufacturers are the big losers.
- The campaign finance law is an effort to protect the interests of incumbent politicians by limiting free speech rights during elections. The administration openly acknowledged that the legislation is unconstitutional, yet was unwilling to make a principled argument for the Bill of Rights and fair elections. Voters and the Constitution are the big losers.
- New health care entitlements are akin to throwing gasoline on a fire. Medicare and Medicaid already are consuming enormous resources, and the burden of these programs will become even larger when the baby boom generation retires. Adding a new prescription drug benefit will probably boost spending by $1 trillion over 10 years. A mandate for mental health coverage will drive up medical costs, making insurance too expensive for many more families.
Those policy decisions make government bigger and more expensive. They also slow the economy and hurt financial markets - read the headlines lately? For all his flaws, President Clinton's major policy mistake was the 1993 tax increase. Other changes, such as the welfare reform bill, NAFTA, GATT, farm deregulation, telecommunications deregulation and financial services deregulation, moved policy in a market-oriented direction.
Perhaps most importantly, there was a substantial reduction in federal spending as a share of gross domestic product during the Clinton years. Using the growth of domestic spending as a benchmark, Clinton was the second most conservative president of the post-World War II era, trailing only Ronald Reagan.
To be sure, much of the credit for Clinton's good policy probably belongs to the Republican Congress, but that is not an excuse for bad policy today. And on one positive note, President Bush has "promised" to fight for partial privatization of Social Security. Yet, so far, President Bush has not vetoed a single piece of legislation. Needless to say, this means it will be rather difficult to blame "big-spending" Democrats if the economy continues to sputter.
[ Top of Page ]
see further below
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
We The People....
The Alliance for Democracy
THE ALLIANCE is part of a new non-partisan Populist movement --- not a political party --- setting forth to end the domination of our economy, our government, our culture, our media and the environment by large corporations.
WE AIM TO PROMOTE true democracy in our country and help achieve a just society with a sustainable, equitable economy. We work together with other organizations that share these goals. We work locally for reforms that enhance citizen participation and empower average citizens in the political arena. We advocate for truly representative democracy within our republican form of government -- a goal that is unattainable when corporations wield direct power over elections, government and civic society.
WE ARE PEOPLE from every walk of life who have come together from across the country, listened to each other, and united to end corporate rule. We are committed to true democracy, with focus for the voice and will of the people; to social and economic justice for all people; and to the building of alternative democratic, human-sized economic systems. WE PURSUE THESE GOALS with respect for the dignity of all people and, in a nonviolent way, seek linkages with similar groups to form a new people's movement, both in the United States and around the world.
WE SEEK FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE to the political power structure. Piecemeal reform isn't enough anymore-- the corporate system will not permit us to win anything fundamental by politics as usual. We see our unique role as seeking the deep systemic change we'll need to win our independence from corporate rule and replace it with true democracy. We work to establish the conditions that will allow citizens to effectively advocate for a more just and free nation that can yield a higher quality of life for all inhabitants.
This comes from the home page at http://www.sounddemocracy.org/
* Alliance Educates Community About Real Impacts of Corporate Personhood
* Related article "Corporate Personhood Outlawed in Humbolt County, CA"
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
By What Authority
A publication of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.
BWA is a tool for democracy proponents to rethink and reframe their work. To that end we encourage readers to engage us with comments, questions, and suggestions.
A Publication of the PROGRAM ON CORPORATIONS, LAW & DEMOCRACY
By What Authority (ISSN: 524-1106) is published three times a year by the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy. The title is English for quo warranto, a legal phrase that questions illegitimate exercise of privilege and power. We the people and our federal and state officials have long been giving giant business corporations illegitimate authority. Today, a minority directing giant corporations and backed by police, courts, and the military, define our culture, govern our nation, and plunder the earth. By What Authority reflects an unabashed assertion of the right of the sovereign people to govern themselves.
First in POCLAD´s Real Democracy Pamphlet Series now available...
<> <> <>
The Rule of Property by Karen Coulter
In The Rule of Property, POCLAD principal Karen Coulter offers a groundbreaking perspective on the rise of private property over the public sector by linking two streams of understanding: the legal history of the rise of corporate power developed by POCLAD, together with new thinking about corporate encroachment on the ecological and social commons.
POCLAD is a group of 11 people instigating democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern. Our analysis evolves through historical and legal research, writing, public speaking, and working with organizations to develop new strategies that assert people´s rights over property interests.
[ Top of Page ]
Quotations from the book Rich Media, Poor Democracy
"The United States spends a fortune on the military for no publicly debated or accepted reason. But it serves several important purposes to our economic elite, not the least of which is as a lucrative form of corporate welfare. Since no element of the economic elite is harmed by military spending, and nearly all of them benefit by having an empire to protect profit making worldwide, it rarely gets criticized - unlike federal spending on education or health care or environmental improvements. If a reporter pursued the story of why we are spending $300 billion on the military, he or she would appear to have an axe to grind and therefore to be unprofessional, since top official sources are not critical of the spending."
"By 1998, discounting home ownership, the top 10 percent of the population claimed 76 percent of the nation's net worth, and more than half of that is accounted for by the richest 1 percent. The bottom 60 percent has virtually no wealth, aside from some home ownership; by any standard the lowest 60 percent is economically insecure ..."
"In the crescendo of news media praise for the genius of contemporary capitalism, it is almost unthinkable to criticize the economy as deeply flawed. To do so would seemingly reveal one as a candidate for an honorary position in the Flat-Earth Society. The Washington Post has gone so far as to describe ours as a nearly "perfect economy.""
"The corruption of journalistic integrity is always bad, but it becomes obscene under conditions of extreme media concentration as now exist."
"Blue collar" crimes generate harsh sentences while "white collar" crime -almost always for vastly greater amounts of money - gets kid gloves treatment by comparison. In 2000, for example, a Texas man received sixteen years in prison for stealing a Snickers candy bar, while, at the same time, four executives at Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd. were found guilty of conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition in the vitamin industry, in what the Justice Department called perhaps the largest criminal antitrust conspiracy in history. The cost to consumers and public health is nearly immeasurable. The four executives were fined anywhere from $75,000 to $350,000 and they received prison terms ranging from three months all the way up to ... four months.'
"The corrupt nature of U.S. communication policy making continues on course. Vital decisions are made all the time concerning the future of our media system, but they are made behind closed doors to serve powerful special interests, with nonexistent public involvement and minuscule press coverage ... the commercial broadcasters have effectively stolen control of digital television from the American people, with the support of their well-paid politicians. The one sop thrown to the public, the Gore Commission, which was to recommend suit able public-interest requirements for commercial broadcasters in return for the free gift of some $50-100 billion of public property, was a farce."
"... the corporate media system ... generates a depoliticized society, one where the vast majority of people logically put little time or interest into social or political affairs."
"We are in precipitous times. The corporate media system is consolidating into the hands of fewer and fewer enormous firms at a rapid rate, providing a hypercommercialized fare suited to wealthy shareholders and advertisers, not citizens. At the same time, there is a budding movement for media reform which is part and parcel of a broader anti-corporate movement."
More quotes at http://www.bankindex.com/read.asp?ID=1213
[ Top of Page ]
Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:13 a.m. PT Feb 20, 2007
MCKEESPORT, Pa. - Edward "Willie" Carman wanted a ticket out of town, and the Army provided it.
Raised in the projects by a single mother in this blighted, old industrial steel town outside Pittsburgh, the 18-year-old saw the U.S. military as an opportunity.
"I'm not doing it to you, I'm doing it for me," he told his mother, Joanna Hawthorne, after coming home from high school one day and surprising her with the news.
When Carman died in Iraq three years ago at age 27, he had money saved for college, a fiancee and two kids -- including a baby son he'd never met. Neighbors in Hawthorne's mobile home park collected $400 and left it in an envelope in her door.
For a year after his death, Hawthorne took a chair to the cemetery nearly every day, sat next to his grave and talked quietly. Her vigil continues even now; the visits have slowed to once a week, but the pain sticks.
Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.
Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small, they're poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.
Some are old factory towns like McKeesport, once home to U.S. Steel's National Tube Works, which employed 8,000 people in its heyday. Now, residents' average income is just 60 percent of the national average, and one in eight lives below the federal poverty line.
On a per capita basis, states with mostly rural populations have suffered the highest casualties in Iraq. Vermont, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Delaware, Montana, Louisiana and Oregon top the list, the AP found.
A 'basic unfairness' There's a "basic unfairness" about the number of troops dying in Iraq who are from rural areas, said William O'Hare, senior visiting fellow at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which examines rural issues.
Diminished opportunities are one factor in higher military enlistment rates in rural areas. From 1997 to 2003, 1.5 million rural workers lost their jobs due to changes in industries like manufacturing that have traditionally employed rural workers, according to the Carsey Institute.
Rural communities are "being asked to pay a bigger price for this military adventure, if I can use that word, than their urban counterparts," O'Hare said.
As a result, in more than a thousand small towns across the country -- from Glendive, Mont., to Barnwell, S.C., to Caledonia, Miss., and from Hardwick, Vt., to Clinton, Ohio -- friends and families have been left struggling to make sense of a loved one's death in Iraq. It's a struggle that hits with a special intensity in tight-knit, small towns.
"In a small community, even if you don't know somebody's name you at least know their face, you've seen them before, talked to them maybe," said Chuck Bevington, whose 22-year-old brother Allan, from Beaver Falls, Pa., died in Iraq, after volunteering for a second tour. "A small community feels it a lot tighter because they've had more contact with each other."
Even strangers come up and hug his mother, he said.
Military tradition and patriotism run deep in rural America, and for some the drive to serve goes well beyond economics. Sometimes, the call is something even their parents don't completely understand.
When a Marine recruiter came to Ryan Kovacicek's two-story house outside Washington, Pa., off a mountain rural road surrounded by cattle pastures, his father, a Marine veteran of Vietnam, turned to his college student son and said, "You don't really understand what you're getting into."
"Yes, I do," he stubbornly told his father before signing the papers.
Their son was a jokester, easy going and popular. He loved golf and vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C. But there was a serious side too, and his parents said he believed in serving his country. As a bonus, he thought military service would help him one day get a job with the FBI or CIA.
Before leaving for Iraq, he took his girlfriend to a car dealership along I-79, pointed to a giant American flag flying overhead, and declared, "This is why I joined the Marines."
When his body was brought home, the hearse passed the same flag.
The day of Kovacicek's funeral, people lined Route 19, holding signs with his name. Little kids waved flags and men held their hands over their hearts to pay respect to the procession of more than 300 cars. His parents say they've been overwhelmed by the support of the community with tributes and phone calls from his friends and fellow Marines.
In Iraq, they later learned, he used to serenade his buddies with a song his father learned in boot camp and taught him as a boy. His voice choking, Joe Kovacicek recalled the words: "You can have your Army khaki, you can have your Navy blue, but here's another fighting man I'll introduce to you."
Staying out of politics Among his belongings returned to the family was a tiny worn-out Bible he carried in his pocket.
His mother, Judi, said she didn't watch President Bush's recent address on the war because they try to stay out of the politics of Iraq.
"If God was going to take him at 22, if he didn't take him like he did, how was he going to do it? I feel a lot better losing him this way because there was a lot of meaning behind what he did," his father said.
Death isn't the only burden the war has visited on the nation's small towns.
Entrepreneurs in many small communities have lost their businesses after deploying in the Guard and Reserves, said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. More federal dollars also are needed to ensure that returning troops have easy access to veterans health centers, he said.
"It's an issue of fairness that these folks are willing to go over and fight wars and put their lives on the line and really back this country up the way they have ... we owe it to them to live up to our obligation of benefits," Tester said.
Another fairness issue, raised by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., is the Pentagon's practice of transporting the remains of military personnel killed in Iraq only to the nearest major airport. Stupak said it "imposes a burden on the family and friends when they should instead receive our support." He has introduced legislation to require the DOD to deliver the remains to the military or civilian airport chosen by the family.
Sharp decline in support While support for the war in rural areas initially was high, there has been a sharp decline in the past three years. AP-Ipsos polls show that those in rural areas who said it was the right decision to go to war dropped from 73 percent in April 2004 to 39 percent now. In urban areas, support declined from 43 percent in 2004 to 30 percent now.
Marty Newell, chief operating officer of the Whitesburg, Ky.-based Center for Rural Strategies, said rural areas supported the war early on because so many of their young men and women were fighting it.
"The reason that support is dwindling now is the same reason that support would've been strong before, and that is that we know a lot more about it," he said. "We know what the real costs are and we know what the real story is. ... Every day there's another small town that has one of their own come home less than whole, and there are a lot of small towns like that."
As the war drags on into its fourth year, Vietnam war historian Christian Appy said the burden it has placed on smaller communities -- just as it did in Vietnam -- can be a very "embittering experience."
"I think people in many of those towns are deeply patriotic and want to support the country, but as time goes on, it's becoming increasingly clear to those people that their country and its security is not at stake in this war and in Vietnam," Appy said.
One who's conflicted about the U.S. role in Iraq is Marilyn Adams, 37, of Wexford, Pa. Her 3-year-old son opened the door in 2005 when an officer came to tell her of the death of her husband, Pennsylvania National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Brent Adams, 40, in Iraq.
"I'm torn," she said. "Should we finish the job? And then I go to the funerals of the local guys and I'm like, this is just stupid ... I don't think we're going to finish it there. I don't think there's a finishing point. They're getting more efficient at killing us, that's a direct quote from the president."
Long before football great Joe Namath put Beaver Falls on the map, the Pennsylvania mountain town was known for its cold-drawn steel. But like much of the Steel Belt, it's had a decline in population and jobs.
Allan Bevington, who enjoyed heavy metal music and loved to fish, talked to his older brother, Chuck, about his time in the Army, and eventually decided it was a way for him to get and education and support his country.
In his first tour in Iraq, he worked as a combat engineer dismantling roadside bombs. He believed he was saving American lives and helping the Iraq people. After returning home, he volunteered for a second deployment, only to be killed by a roadside bomb.
"He really felt what he was doing was helping the Iraqi people. He had a lot of bad experiences the first time, but he had just as many good experiences," Bevington said. "He was very proud of what he was doing. He would never tell you that to your face, but you could see it in his eyes."
Ford Mustang left behind Before his second deployment, Bevington purchased a 2002 cobalt blue Ford Mustang. Now, it sits in his brother's driveway because neither he nor his mother have the heart to move it.
Chuck Bevington doesn't like what he calls the politicizing of the troops.
"The last thing these men need are people second guessing what's going on," he said. "That's something for the history books to decide whether it's right or wrong."
"If they end it right now, they're going to make it worse then it ever was."
Hawthorne isn't waiting on history's verdict. She's bitter about a military she said enticed her son with promises of money, then sent him to a war based on a lie.
"When they came and told me he was gone, oh my God, it just crushed me," Hawthorne said. "There was actual pain in my heart. It felt like someone was in there just ripping it apart."
When her son's first enlistment was nearing an end, before the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks, Hawthorne said he decided to re-enlist, partly because the signing bonus of more than $10,000 would help pay his bills. At the time, he was facing $600 in monthly child support payments from his failed first marriage.
When he deployed to Iraq, his sister said, he had money saved and planned to go to college when he got out of the military in 2005.
Instead, he died in Iraq in 2004 when his tank overturned.
Hawthorne said the military gave her $4,000 for his funeral, but it wasn't enough to cover the $14,000 expense. The funeral home forgave the rest, and neighbors collected $400 to help her get by.
"You don't see anyone who has money putting their children into the military," she said. "I'm all for our soldiers. Without them our country wouldn't be where we are today, but this war just doesn't seem right. Like the Vietnam one. It's not right."
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
© 2007 MSNBC.com
[ Top of Page ]
Subj: [Firmage.org List] The Coming Singularity
It's been a long time since I last sent a message to you. So much has transpired in the past 3+ years, it's hard to know where to start. I'll be sending a few messages to you in coming months, exploring several vital issues and a fascinating, compelling project I'm leading that is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2005.
But on the day of an election almost universally seen as a key inflection point for the United States and the world, I'd like to share some thoughts on issues bigger than those talked about by either candidate for President.
A Forcing Function for a New Civilization
Since the paradigm-shattering attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. has declared a "war on terror that will not end in our lifetimes". The Bush administration has established a new pre-emptive National Security policy, radically expanded budgets for defensive and offensive military operations, invaded two countries, only one of which -- even according to the official story now -- harbored real threats to our nation, and cracked down on civil liberties at home.
The results so far: the Muslim world is inflamed toward the U.S. like never before in the history of our nation. Afghanistan remains significantly in the control of warlords, yet is struggling to achieve stability amidst hopeful elections, resistant fundamentalists and a record-setting, exploding heroin trade that remains central to its economy. And the primary objective of that war -- Osama bin Laden -- remains at large.
For the moment, at least, Iraq appears to be spinning out of control. Daily attacks on troops, contractors and Iraqi officials are rising. Beheadings of hostages are horrifying a world that relied upon pronouncements of Bush and Blair that a different kind of outcome would follow from their attempt at liberation. As a result of the chaos unleashed in Iraq, it seems painfully likely that new Osama bin Ladens are being minted every time Iraqis witness the dismemberment of their family members -- now numbering at least in the tens of thousands.
In Iraq we can see the inevitable Newtonian reaction to unilateral occupation by a foreign culture, reaffirming laws of social physics we should have learned many wars ago.
Meanwhile, the central vortex of Middle-East conflict between Israelis and Palestinians remains largely ignored by Washington. And its temperature continues to rise. In the past three years, thousands have died, a new 20-foot-high Biblical Wall -- unthinkable in 2000 -- is now racing towards completion, and politics on both sides of that wall continue to polarize.
In this context, it is essential that people around the world explore whether the objectives of U.S. foreign policy are actually that same as those officially declared by the Bush administration. For it is possible that the real objectives are quite different than those you know about. It is possible that the real objectives have a lot to do with an epochal crisis facing human civilization, an event likely known best to oil men. It is an event that will challenge every aspect of our modern life, an event that is just now breaking into public view: Peak Oil.
The Energy Crisis
If you have followed my writings in the past five years, you know that I have supported efforts to discover new solutions to this epic challenge of our time: developing new, non-polluting energy and propulsion technologies for the growing appetites of modern society.
In the past six months, it has become clear to me that we are running out of time to respond to this challenge, much more rapidly than I previously expected. It is increasingly clear that our world will soon experience an event called Peak Oil. The implications are beyond serious. The implications are almost beyond description. The implications are urgent, perhaps even more so than the problems of terrorism or global trade or domestic social contracts.
Why? Peak Oil is the moment in time when humanity has consumed half or more of the oil cheaply available for exploitation. Thereafter, the aggregate production of oil begins a permanent decline, its price begins a permanent climb, and the global economy begins to destabilize.
Oil doesn't just propel our cars. It lights, heats, cools and powers our homes. It makes every piece of plastic, prints every computer chip, carves every beam of steel and wood, prepares every bite of food we eat, and delivers every drop of water we drink. It enables you to read this email.
With this in mind, consider the following quotes. First, from one of the most highly regarded energy analysts in the investment banking world, Matthew Simmons (http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/default.asp):
"The situation is desperate. This is the world's biggest serious question... If you read The Perfect Storm , where a freak storm materializes out of the convergence of three weather systems, our energy crisis results from the same phenomenon.
"It is past time. As I have said, the experts and politicians have no Plan B to fall back on. If energy peaks, particularly while 5 of the world's 6.5 billion people have little or no use of modern energy, it will be a tremendous jolt to our economic well-being and to our health greater than anyone could ever imagine."
Asked if there is a solution to the impending crisis, Simmons responded:
"I don't think there is one. The solution is to pray. Under the best of circumstances, if all prayers are answered there will be no crisis for maybe two years. After that it's a certainty."
In May 2004, Simmons explained that in order for demand to be appropriately controlled, the price of oil would have to reach $182 per barrel. With oil prices at $182 per barrel, gasoline prices would likely rise to $7.00 per gallon.
Matthew Simmons has been sounding this alarm for years. For a long while, he was a lone "voice in the wilderness." In the past year or so, however, many experts have begun echoing his sentiments. Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, the vice-president of the Iranian National Oil Company has stated:
"The crisis is very, very near. World War III has started. It has already affected every single citizen of the Middle East. Soon it will spill over to affect every single citizen of the world."
The assertion that the world is about to enter Peak Oil is not just the view of its partisans. The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek and National Geographic have all covered this emerging crisis in recent months.
Given this context, I recommend that you check out four important books released in the past few months. They explore Peak Oil and its possible connections with the events of 9/11 and the foreign policy of the United States. While I don't agree with everything reported in these books, these authors' basic hypotheses deserve serious consideration by every citizen of this country.
The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, by Richard Heinberg,
The New Pearl Harbor, by David Ray Griffin, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1566565529/qid=1098693705/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-6897556-1841456?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
Crossing the Rubicon, by Michael Ruppert, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0865715408/qid=1098693960/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/103-6897556-1841456
The Terror Timeline, by Paul Thompson, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060783389/qid=1098693857/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-6897556-1841456?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
Tomorrow's Integral Revolution, Broadcasting Today at IntegralNaked.org
For these reasons and many others, people around the world are coming to realize that we are experiencing a very unique moment in history. When the trends of our energy supply, international crises, globalizing economy, world environment, pharmaceutical pollution, social conditions and technology advances are overlaid upon a chart of time, a startling pattern becomes plainly visible: lots of exponential curves all heading toward infinity or zero in a short period of time. This pattern foretells of something both frightening and strangely exciting at once. It reveals that in the next few years, humanity will experience a transformation like none other in our history -- a transformation that some of us now call "The Singularity".
"Singularity" is a concept from physics and mathematics that describes a condition in which things go so "non-linear" that they are totally unpredictable. Not just in practice, but in theory. When we enter a singularity, our imperfect ability to predict the future becomes not just more imperfect, but it nearly vanishes altogether, and whatever may emerge on the other side of imminent events is concealed by complexities far beyond our grasp. In other words, over the next few years -- at most, over the next couple of decades -- we will experience profound changes in our ways of life, yet we cannot really predict what those changes will be or how they will unfold.
If this perspective is accurate, and I believe it is, then people all over the world will soon be paying more and more attention to deeper and deeper questions. Questions about the challenges we all face. Questions about how to overcome them. Questions about what matters most. Questions about the future. Questions about the meaning and nature of life. Even questions about our destiny.
I've studied these kinds of questions for many years, and I'd like to share with you one of the most potent sources of insight and wisdom I've encountered.
Ken Wilber is perhaps the world's leading expert studying the deepest thread in the tapestry of life: the evolution of consciousness and its expressions in society and Nature. He is also one of the most insightful philosophers living today. I believe his work represents one of very few visions that are rugged enough and true enough to span across the coming singularity. In other words, I believe his life work represents one of the few visions that will guide us through the transformations that lie directly ahead.
Ken Wilber is the pioneer of the "Integral Model" -- a breakthrough theory describing how the subjective and objective aspects of our lives and our world interrelate. The Integral Model is rapidly becoming recognized as an essential intellectual tool for deeper understandings of evolution, human experience, human history and possible futures.
In 2000, I had the distinct honor of helping to sponsor the inception of Ken Wilber's Integral Institute -- a multi-disciplinary think tank tapping some of the brightest minds alive to apply the Integral Model to business, politics, art, spirituality, psychology, and other everyday domains of our lives. By 2004, two of the key objectives of Integral Institute have been achieved: establishing a leading destination on the Web for the captivating conversations occurring at the frontier of social evolution (http://integralnaked.org), and establishing the first-ever accredited university-level educational program in Integral Studies (http://www.integralinstitute.org/iu.htm).
IntegralNaked is a series of unedited, uncensored, live, and taped live conversations among the most influential, provocative, and important thinkers and leaders in today's world. These intense, raw, straightforward discussions -- delivered by audio streaming -- cover a comprehensive sweep of issues relevant in today's world -- from business to personal growth, from public education to meditation, from politics to ecology, from sexuality to spirituality.
One of Ken's most recent hits is his commentary with Larry Wachowski on the meaning of the paradigm-shattering film, The Matrix. Somewhere in the archives, you can also listen to my recent interview with Ken.
If you'd like to set your mind on fire with ideas that are changing your world, check them out at http://integralnaked.org.
A Vision of the Third Millennium
For several years, I've been working on projects intended to help address the deepest crises we all face. I invite you to check out drafts of some of my writings, available at http://firmage.org. Some are easy to read, others are more difficult to absorb. Right or wrong, they all reflect my view of the potential solutions we must explore.
Stay tuned for some important announcements about these efforts.
Joseph P. Firmage
[ Top of Page ]
Daybreak Star's Phil Lane delivers international document outlining new world path
Former North End resident Phil Lane talks about the vision behind his 42-page document The Fourth Way,’ presenting a plan for world peace and prosperity. Colville tribal member Mel Tonasket (background) advised Lane on the project. photo/Bradley Enghaus
Phil Lane has a vision - one that is complex, expansive and founded in basic humanitarian principles. Though it contains applications in the realm of international politics, it is not meant for politicians; it is meant for the people.
Lane - CEO of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF), headquartered in Discovery Park's Daybreak Star Cultural Center - is the brains behind "The Fourth Way," a 42-page document that lays out a plan for global peace and prosperity in the 21st century.
Broadly populist in nature and ideologically grounded in aboriginal folk wisdom, the document is subtitled, "An Indigenous Contribution for Building Sustainable and Harmonious Prosperity in the Americas."
"The Fourth Way" is an urgent cry for unity among indigenous peoples everywhere, with the message that such a collective bonding carries social, spiritual, economic and political implications for a worldwide demographic that largely has existed on the margins of mainstream society.
"We believe the timing is right," said Lane, who recently delivered "The Fourth Way" to an international conference on endogenous development and biocultural diversity in Geneva, Switzerland.
The former North End resident said that a confluence of recent developments - the advent of communication technologies such as e-mail, the shakeup and realignment of many nation-states, growing political activism among indigenous populations, the threat of terrorism, economic upheaval - has brought about a dynamic international arena primed for change.
He added that world leaders such as Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez have opened the door for positive change by creating strong democratic institutions and economic empowerment in countries traditionally hobbled by poverty and political oppression.
"There's a whole new geopolitical relationship developing around the world," he said. "All of these factors together provide us with a very outstanding opportunity to do this. We have to move forward."
A link between past, present
To advise and guide him in getting out word of "The Fourth Way," Lane has enlisted the help of Colville tribal member Mel Tonasket, a Navy veteran with a long and distinguished history of leadership in Native American affairs.
Besides serving his own tribe in varying capacities over the years, Tonasket was president of the National Congress of American Indians from the mid-'70s and into the '80s. As such, he had close contacts with the federal government, including several official appearances at the White House.
Lane said he tapped Tonasket not only for his friendship but for his sophistication and savvy in negotiating the many opportunities and crises that have confronted Native Americans in recent years.
"I was around the big stuff," Tonasket said of his myriad experiences.
He said that when Lane contacted him and explained his ideas, he experienced a flash of recognition: In Tonasket's view, "The Fourth Way" is a link between past and present and achieves a kind of continuity with the sort of projects he was engaged with in the past.
"This is opening the door," he said.
At the recent Geneva gathering, Lane had the ear of representatives from many nations, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Poland, France, Netherlands, Ghana, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. He sees speaking before such a diverse audience as a way to start channeling his message to indigenous populations worldwide. (One of Lane's mottos is "people to people, not nation to nation.")
At the same time Lane delivered his paper, a press conference presenting "The Fourth Way" took take place stateside, and key political figures - including a representative from the White House - received a copy of the document.
"It will all come together at one moment," Lane said, adding that such timing plays a huge part in sending the message that needed change is on its way.
"The patience [for change] is running out," Lane said. "Not only here, but around the world."
The Fourth Way
"The Fourth Way," which Lane also refers to as a "strategic security document," received its first public airing at an April 22 Earth Day gathering at Daybreak Star. According to Lane, the document was shared with a handful of "trusted relatives" (figurative, not literal) and simultaneously sent via e-mail to three other spiritual gatherings around North America.
"All our tribes and nations talked about dialogue, about creating a future," Lane said of the genesis of the document.
That document's beginnings trace back to October 2001, when Lane started consulting with indigenous leaders and communities worldwide in a search for solutions to "ending escalating cycles of poverty and violence" that afflict marginalized populations.
What he found, he said, was a desire among many to tap into the ancient wisdom of native cultures, to use the spiritual and cultural traditions of the ancestors in confronting the future.
"This goes way, way back," Lane said, adding that what's needed now is a workable combination of folk wisdom and hard-won diplomatic savvy. "We walk the spiritual path with practical feet."
In this sense, Tonasket noted, the history of Native Americans' political relations vis-à-vis the U.S. federal government offers a cautionary lesson on how to proceed. Yet, he said such experiences ultimately will prove useful in getting word out about "The Fourth Way" and its message of peaceful unification.
"The history of what we've gone through shows us that we can do that," Tonasket said.
In the second part of this story, which will appear in next week's issue, Phil Lane talks more about his plan for global peace and prosperity outlined in "The Fourth Way."
Rick Levin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
========== Sources ============
========== Related Articles ============
Mapping the Healing Journey’ and Community Healing and Aboriginal Social Security Reform’ available at www.fourworlds.ca
* Everyone who receives a copy of The Fourth Way is empowered with good Prayers, ... General Co-ordinator of the Otomi National Council, and Phil Lane Jr.: http://www.unitedindians.com/fourthway/pdf/The_Fourth_Way_Stage1.pdf
* Men With a Vision and a Plan - The Fourth Way' (Part II), By Rick Levin, Global Healing News, http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:6KRb_j3t8JoJ:homepage.mac.com/WebObjects/FileSharing.woa/wa/Global_Healing_NewsNovember.pdf.pdf-zip.zip%3Fa%3DdownloadFile%26user%3Dglobalhealing%26path%3D/Public/Global%2520Healing%2520NewsNovember.pdf+Phil+Lane+Levin+%22The+Fourth+Way+%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a
* THE FOURTH WAY: AN INDIGENOUS CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR ON TERRORISM http://www.homeplanet.org/fw/fway.doc
* Comprehensive Health Education Foundation: Northwest Wellness: Phil is the brains behind "The Fourth Way," a document that lays out a plan for global peace and prosperity in the 21st century. Broadly populist in nature and ideologically grounded in aboriginal folk wisdom, the document is subtitled, "An Indigenous Contribution for Building Sustainable and Harmonious Prosperity in the Americas." ... Lane believes the "timing is right," and stated so recently at an international conference on endogenous development and biocultural diversity in Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.fuel.chef.org/programs/waha.php
* Taking measure: Forum examines political impact of American Indians By Russ Zabel
* Taking measure: Forum examines political impact of American Indians, By Russ Zabel, 11/09/2006: The Daybreak Star Center played host to a circled gathering last week to gauge American-Indian contributions to politics based on "The Fourth Way" concept. http://www.zwire.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=17442790&BRD=855&PAG=461&dept_id=517907&rfi=8
* The Fourth Way (esoteric treatise by the Awaken Foundation: "There are many things that you should know about the Fourth Way, its source, its meaning and its real value. For the Fourth Way is actually much more than esoteric psychology. It is the key component in a complete spiritual path leading to consciousness and superconsciousness .." http://www.awakenfoundation.org/tfw.htm
[ Top of Page ]
[Included for Discussion of Radical Ideas]
November 13, 2006
WTO Announces Formalized Slavery Market For Africa Us Trade Representative To Africa, Governor Of Nigeria Central Bank Weigh In At Wharton
Text, photos, video:
Philadelphia - At a Wharton Business School conference on business in Africa, World Trade Organization representative Hanniford Schmidt announced the creation of a WTO initiative for "full private stewardry of labor" for the parts of Africa that have been hardest hit by the 500 years of Africa's free trade with the West.
The initiative will require Western companies doing business in some parts of Africa to own their workers outright. Schmidt recounted how private stewardship has been successfully applied to transport, power, water, traditional knowledge, and even the human genome. The WTO's "full private stewardry" program will extend these successes to (re)privatize humans themselves.
"Full, untrammeled stewardry is the best available solution to African poverty, and the inevitable result of free-market theory," Schmidt told more than 150 attendees. Schmidt acknowledged that the stewardry program was similar in many ways to slavery, but explained that just as "compassionate conservatism" has polished the rough edges on labor relations in industrialized countries, full stewardry, or "compassionate slavery," could be a similar boon to developing ones.
The audience included Prof. Charles Soludo (Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria), Dr. Laurie Ann Agama (Director for African Affairs at the Office of the US Trade Representative), and other notables. Agama prefaced her remarks by thanking Scmidt for his macroscopic perspective, saying that the USTR view adds details to the WTO's general approach. Nigerian Central Bank Governor Soludo also acknowledged the WTO proposal, though he did not seem to appreciate it as much as did Agama.
A system in which corporations own workers is the only free-market solution to African poverty, Schmidt said. "Today, in African factories, the only concern a company has for the worker is for his or her productive hours, and within his or her productive years," he said. "As soon as AIDS or pregnancy hits--out the door. Get sick, get fired. If you extend the employer's obligation to a 24/7, lifelong concern, you have an entirely different situation: get sick, get care. With each life valuable from start to finish, the AIDS scourge will be quickly contained via accords with drug manufacturers as a profitable investment in human stewardees. And educating a child for later might make more sense than working it to the bone right now."
To prove that human stewardry can work, Schmidt cited a proposal by a free-market think tank to save whales by selling them. "Those who don't like whaling can purchase rights to specific whales or groups of whales in order to stop those particular whales from getting whaled as much," he explained. Similarly, the market in Third-World humans will "empower" caring First Worlders to help them, Schmidt said. (http://www.policynetwork.net/main/article.php?article_id=505
One conference attendee asked what incentive employers had to remain as stewards once their employees are too old to work or reproduce. Schmidt responded that a large new biotech market would answer that worry. He then reminded the audience that this was the only possible solution under free-market theory.
There were no other questions from the audience that took issue with Schmidt's proposal.
During his talk, Schmidt outlined the three phases of Africa's 500-year history of free trade with the West: slavery, colonialism, and post-colonial markets. Each time, he noted, the trade has brought tremendous wealth to the West but catastrophe to Africa, with poverty steadily deepening and ever more millions of dead. "So far there's a pattern: Good for business, bad for people. Good for business, bad for people. Good for business, bad for people. That's why we're so happy to announce this fourth phase for business between Africa and the West: good for business--GOOD for people."
The conference took place on Saturday, November 11. The panel on which Schmidt spoke was entitled "Trade in Africa: Enhancing Relationships to Improve Net Worth." Some of the other panels in the conference were entitled "Re-Branding Africa" and "Growing Africa's Appetite." Throughout the comments by Schmidt and his three co-panelists, which lasted 75 minutes, Schmidt's stewardee, Thomas Bongani-Nkemdilim, remained standing at respectful attention off to the side.
"This is what free trade's all about," said Schmidt. "It's about the freedom to buy and sell anything--even people
[ Top of Page ]
An effective collection can be found for
Responsible Shopping & Investment, Corporate Reform, & Economic Fairness Issues
at RadDad's Political Reference Page.
The below table (moved from Christopher's Political page) was first published at in 1997;
is included here for comparison between then and now, as well as for some good references.
Fair Economy Related Programs & Publications and Alternative Radio:
Alternative Radio (at www.Freespeech.org)
The Growing Divide"
a talk by Chuck Collins (9/27/97) Co-Director of United for a Fair Economy (http://www.stw.org), the Boston-based national organization which addresses issues of economic inequality.
"The reality is, and this will sound very strange, given the wonderful economy reports, three out of four workers in the U.S. have lost ground in the last fifteen to twenty years... So there are and more people within jobs or multiple jobs without benefits on a contract basis where they could be out the door tomorrow...most workers don't really feel like they have any leverage to push for higher wages. That's creating a sense of insecurity and keeping wages down... What's interesting, though, is that even twenty years ago the gap between highest-paid and lowest paid workers was about forty to one. Today  it's about 215 to one... in Germany and Japan, for various reasons... The gap there is closer to twenty to one. So something has run amok...
...there's been a fundamental power shift in America... So the institutions that represented everybody other than corporations and the wealthy have weakened, and the institution that benefit the powerful have gotten more powerful...That shift in power then has led to changes in the rules governing our economy... If you liked GATT, you'll love the Multilateral Agreement on Investment...It's another green light for corporations to move around the world, to challenge the sovereignty of local governments that try to protect their own local interests... The MIA [can] make [laws giving more incentive to local businesses than national or international corporations] challengeable in the World Trade Court... How do we get the power back from the powerful money interests? Clearly, campaign finance reform... is a piece of the puzzle... We have to look at the way in which the media and the powers that be have made it extremely difficult to organize unions in this climate...
Responsible Resource Management
The World Economy and (vrs) the WTO and crew
Some Reports from the World Trade Organization (WTO) expose``
and it's notorious meeting in Seattle, week of November 28th, 1999.
This issue is still one of the best opportunities to be a member of the 'true government' [see text of article around this block] in direct confrontation with the "corporate economic globalization" (Ralph Nadar's phrase). Ralph Nadar Dared -- on behalf of International Organization for Globalization (http://www.ifg.org) -- to Debate -for 5 hours- any WTO rep before WTO-partisan audience on the topic(S) of NAFTA/WTO issues. The challenge was accepted based on the disagreement regarding Mexican Corn harvest and NAFTA.
(see www.alternativeradio.org for Tapes & Transcripts or call 1-800-444-1977)
Section VI, "Responsible Shopping & Investment, Corporate Reform, & Economic Fairness Issues"
on the Political Reference Page.
Available on This Topic include:
"The Myth of the Free Market" by Noam Chomsky, "Ending Corporate Welfare" by Chuck Collins/Felice Yeskel, "The End of Caring" by Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism" by William Greider, "Revoking Corporate Charters" by Richard Grossman, "Wall Street" by Doug Henwood, When Corporations Rule the World" by David Korten, "Beyond Politics As Usual" by Ralph Nader, and "The Economics of Greed" by Holly Sklar.
...And for (Related?) Media Issues
If want to be amazed, perhaps disheartened, but enlightened, first Check through the below paragraphs (for copy as needed), but be sure to read the much more current "FREEDOM TO BE HEARD," By Norman Solomon, in the MoveOn Bulletin for Wednesday, November 6, 2002 at Moveon.Org.
Related Publications FYI:
"Combining historical sweep with unprecedented detail on current events, McChesney chronicles the waves of media mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990's. He reviews the corrupt and secretive enactment of public policies surrounding the Internet, digital television, and public broadcasting. He also addresses the gradual and ominous adaptation of the First Amendment ("freedom of the press") as a means of shielding corporate media power and the wealthy. The book exposes several myths about the media -- in particular that the market compels media firms to "give people what they want." If we value our democracy, McChesney warns, we must organize politically to restructure the media in order to reaffirm their connection to democracy." Available through University of Illinois Press at http://www.press.uillinois.edu (800-545-4703) and at your library -- ISBN 0-252-02448-6...
The above title is spoken of Highly by Bill Moyers (comparing McChesney to Thomas Paine and Paul Revere), Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class, Ralph Nader, Noam chomsky, and Howard Zinn; Neil Postman, author of Technopoly : The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Mark Crispin Miller, author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV, U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, Jeff Cohen, co-author of Wizards of Media Oz, Danny Schechter, TV producer and author of The More You Watch, the Less You Know, Thomas Frank, author of The conquest of Cool, Victor Navasky, Publisher and Editorial Director of The Nation, Jim Hightower, radio commentator and author of There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos, Bill Kovach, former ditor-in-chief of New York Times Washington bureau and author of Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Ben Bagdikian, author of The Media Monopoly
Links to Special Sections O'Kelly McCluskey's Dedication Page
Memorial Address "Green Crow" Stories Quotes About O'Kelly Photo/Video Links
vUSPA Administrative Staff
In Memory of
To TOP of PAGE