8 november 2002
Miscellaneous Subjects #161: Critical Issues in Urgent Need of Attention
As you'll see at the bottom of this compilation, I've fiddled a bit more with the Epilogue message that the listserver system includes at the bottom of each compilation. If you forward this compilation to others, would you be so kind as to please include along this segment from it:
If this material has been forwarded to you and you would like to become a subscriber, go at www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/ERNlist.htm
I may still make additional changes to it if the need arises.
I did not have much time to review many recent emails this week as I've been very busy setting up the listserver system, but here are some noteworthy articles I read and items I received for your consideration.
Finally, I'll do my best to prepare tonight and send in a timely manner tomorrow the next Meditation Focus - incidentally your suggestions are always welcomed as to what topic should be "covered" in these Meditation Focus.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2002/MiscelSubjects161.htm
"War is the only game in which both sides lose."
- Walter Scott
"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
- Benjamin Franklin
"War is the blackest villainy of which human nature is capable."
"If you had seen one day of war, you would pray to God that you would never see another."
- The Duke of Wellington
"There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."
- General Grant
Stan Penner <srp33@SoftHome.net> who sent those quotes added this comment on the last one above: "Hey, all wars could cease if this quote alone, was listened to. Let's remember that 150,000,000 people have been killed in wars in the past 5000 years. It's time we were peacefully radical; but that takes courage."
"A time has come when silence is betrayal. That time is now."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Take The Pledge to Oppose War with Iraq
"Humans who enslave, castrate, experiment on and fillet other animals have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, wear them, eat them-without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us."
- Dr. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
1. Worse Days
2. White House 'Bonesman' Leads Nation Into the Dark
3. Help Needed to Save A Nigerian Woman from Death by Stoning
4. Stop the slaughter of whales and dolphins
5. People take up most of the planet, U.S. study says
6. World's Mountains in Danger
7. Oil spills may linger indefinitely, say scientists
8. War on Terrorism - What needs to be done?
Bush Charts Course for GOP Rule (Nov 7) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=544&ncid=703&e=1&u=/ap/20021108/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush
President Bush, charting an agenda for the new Republican Congress, said Thursday that homeland security comes first and an economic-recovery plan with new tax cuts will wait until next year.
VOTERS SET REPUBLICANS LOOSE ON THE WORLD
A POST-WAR DISASTER IN IRAQ
Look out world, here come the Americans again (Nov 06) http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=834
Paul Harris explains the violent history of the United States; Harris brings up the new National Security Strategy of the United States of America document and warns of the future it may bring.
Downwinders: Learn about Americans who live with a lethal legacy.
Read about the dangers of fallout from nuclear testing, efforts to compensate victims of radiation exposure, and the future of nuclear testing in the U.S.
Near Real Time Earthquake List
For those who want to follow the earthquake activity worldwide.
The Madonna Frequency PLANETARY PEACE PROGRAM: A Practical and Joyous Proposal of Peace
Let's CHANGE OUR FOCUS & CHANGE OUR FUTURE!
(...) Do not underestimate people power, particularly when each person is focused on and radiating the Madonna Frequency. When we are in the Madonna Frequency Field we have the power, the love and the wisdom to unify and harmoniously change the course of history.
FULL details at the URL above of how you can pragmatically help co-create planetary peace
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday, 8 November, 2002
There have been worse days.
The day bullets flew in Dallas and virtually tore President Kennedy's head from his shoulders, spraying his wife with brain matter and bone meal, was worse. The day a bullet ripped through the throat of Martin Luther King, Jr., dropping him where he stood and silencing a voice for peace and justice, was worse. The day Robert Kennedy won the California primary and was rewarded with a bullet in the head and death on a dirty kitchen floor was worse. The day a partisan Supreme Court defied constitutional law to appoint a President who had not carried the vote was worse. The day commercial airplanes slashed the blue sky with ash and woe was worse.
There have been worse days, but not many.
For the first time in 17 months, the Republican Party controls every level of the Federal government. The Democrats lost incumbent Senate seats in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri, and failed to capture contested seats in North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire or Colorado. The dramatic defection of James Jeffords has been rendered null and void.
There have been worse days. There will be worse days to come.
George W. Bush now holds sole ownership of the power to make war across the globe. The Republican-controlled Congress will rubber-stamp every military decision he makes, and there will be no leavening hand even to modify the language of war-making resolutions. When the Bush resolution for war in Iraq came to Congress, the dangerously vague phrase "the region" - which would have offered legal justification for war on Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt to name a few - was expunged. That small breakwater is gone.
George W. Bush now holds sole ownership of the power to remake the Judiciary, from the Supreme Court on down. In this area, the Democrats had performed well. They had held off truly frightening nominees like Pickering, staunching Bush's desire to flood the courts with conservative activists. Now, virtually every nominee put forth will win a seat on the bench. With the impending retirement of a number of Supreme Court Justices, the implications of this free and open nomination process are profound. Consider well that this administration saw fit to nominate a religious extremist like John Ashcroft to the post of Attorney General. There will be more like him to come, and they will wear the black robe, and their word will be law.
A conservative version of the Cabinet-level Homeland Security Department will be created, sharpening the teeth of the PATRIOT Act. A conservative version of the vitally-necessary prescription drug plan will pass, favoring pharmaceutical corporations over the people who need medicine. A conservative overhaul of Medicare and Social Security will pass, further shredding the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. Business and environmental regulations will be further eroded. "Faith-Based" religious charities funded by the Federal government will pass, tearing down the vital wall between church and state. The disastrous $1.35 trillion tax cut will be made permanent, and the budget will dive deeper into deficit as even more pro-business tax cuts are pushed through. Corporations, awash in profits, will continue to enjoy full welfare status at the expense of lower- and middle-class taxpayers. The Alaskan national wildlife refuge will be plundered for its six-month supply of oil.
There have been worse days, but when the sun came up to shine on the Democratic bodies that litter the political battlefield, those days became difficult to remember with any clarity. That there have been worse days does not lend perspective in this moment. It is in this moment that the situation must be analyzed with a cold eye.
The leadership of the Democratic Party must bear the full burden of responsibility for this calamity. The incredible Democratic defeats that came during this midterm election did not happen because America is a conservative Republican nation. These defeats came because, in the absence of real leadership, the people will look to any fool who steps to a microphone. In the absence of real leadership, those wise enough to ignore fools will also eschew the polls. The policy of appeasement proffered by the Democratic leadership - go along with tax cuts, go along with the PATRIOT Act, go along with the Iraq war resolution, virtual silence regarding corporate criminality - stripped the leadership and the party of any ability to argue in favor of a Democratic vote.
When you support a ruinous tax cut, you cannot stand on fiscal responsibility. When you support invasive and contra-constitutional legislation, you cannot stand on the bill of rights. When you support an ill-conceived war, you cannot stand on responsible military leadership. When you stand silent on the subject of corporate corruption and thievery, because too many of your fellow officeholders are deeply implicit in the scandal, you cannot stand for the rights of the little guy over the powerful. In short, when you acquiesce to virtually every major piece of legislation and policy put forth by the opposition party, you offer no reason whatsoever for the existence of a separation of powers.
In this string of failures lies the dissolution of everything the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for. Without these basic issues to stand upon, the Democratic Party has no reason to exist. The leadership of the party has paved this road, and they must answer for it. As a real Democratic leader named Harry Truman once said, the buck stops here.
Dick Gephardt has already signaled that he will not seek the leadership of the party in the House. His position is currently being sought by Nancy Pelosi, a liberal-minded member from California, and Martin Frost, a centrist/conservative from Texas. Frost has argued that the Democrats need to move even further to the right to get anything done and supports Bush in word, thought and deed. Pelosi disagrees, and has the backing of Democratic House members who are sick and tired of compromising with the administration. This contest will likely be key in deciding the fate of the Democratic Party. Mr. Daschle and Mr. McCauliffe had better be watching very, very closely.
The Democrats must beg, borrow, build or steal a media machine that will deliver the Democratic message untrammeled to the people. The glee on the faces of the talking heads on CNN on Tuesday night was difficult to miss. For more than a year, what statements or policies offered by the Democratic leadership have been perverted or ignored by the mainstream news media. The weak message was entirely blotted out. This must change. Since the GOP now controls Congress, there is no hope of reinvesting power into the Fairness Doctrine, a common-sense rule meant to bring a balance of views and ownership to the media that was destroyed when Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act in 1996.
Another way must be found to create a media forum more friendly to moderate and liberal ideologies, and it seems the only way to do this is with money from the private sector. The Democrats must know some deep pockets somewhere. It is time for them to pony up. Stop wasting money on Senate races that cannot be won because the message is not delivered, and start building a way to deliver the message with clarity. The media is the high ground, and it is currently controlled by major corporations that would like to see much of the Democratic Party in hell with its back broken. If this high ground cannot be taken, the rest is fruitless.
Finally, the men and women who make up the spine and soul of the Democratic Party must stand up and make some noise. The streets beckon, nay, demand to be filled. Since Congress has been greased for all manner of Bush proposals, the only area of true resistance left stares back at you from your bathroom mirror. If you are not represented by the leadership, if the issues that concern you are not spoken of by those who purport to be on your side, then so be it. Your last, best option can be found on the far side of a lot of shoe leather.
There have been worse days, and the events of November 5th guarantee worse days to come. The next 24 months will be a frightening journey into territory this nation has never seen. In this time, and on this ground, is when the fighters come to the fore. It is not enough to stand in the ranks for a battle you feel confident of winning. You must now stand in the ranks for battles we are sure to lose.
From this point on, the issues must be the focus. The environment, the judiciary, the budget and economic policy, constitutional erosion, as well as war on Iraq and the rest of the world are all on the table. The resignation of Harvey Pitt demonstrates that this administration still struggles with coherence of policy, though they appear to have mastered the art of electioneering. The shop belongs to Bush now, but the people must be loud in demanding what is on the shelves. The Democratic party can be an important part of this, but only after they put themselves in order. In the meantime, the job falls to us.
William Rivers Pitt is a teacher from Boston, MA. He is the author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in April 2003 from Pluto Press.
Also available at http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/11.05A.robbins.bones.htm
White House 'Bonesman' Leads Nation Into the Dark
By Alexandra Robbins
25 September, 2002
"My senior year (at Yale University) I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society," President Bush wrote in his autobiography, "so secret, I can't say anything more."
He doesn't have to. He's practically turning the government into a secret society - an old-boy, throwback establishment that even holds its secret spy-court proceedings in an elaborately locked, windowless room that sounds similar to the Bones' elaborately locked, practically windowless "tomb," or campus clubhouse.
Bush, a loyal and particularly active member of Skull and Bones, a mysterious, historically misogynist Yale-based secret society, seems to have done almost all he can to promote a level of secrecy in government not seen since the Nixon administration:
* Last month, Bush-appointed Assistant Attorney General Robert McCallum, a member of Bush's 1968 Skull and Bones class, filed pleadings in U.S. District Court seeking to extend executive privilege to any government official in pardon cases; the move makes information on presidential pardons more secret than it has ever been.
* After 9/11, without initially telling Congress, Bush assembled a shadow government assigned to secret bunkers somewhere on the East Coast. He also tried to cut off some members of Congress from classified information about the anti-terrorist campaign.
* The USA Patriot Act Bush eagerly signed lets the FBI - with permission from a secret Washington "spy court" - view some customer records; store owners cannot reveal the review
* In October 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft released a memo encouraging federal agencies to withhold as much information as possible from the public.
* A month later, just before documents from the Reagan-Bush administration were to be released, Bush signed an executive order severely hindering public access to former presidents' records.
* Bush also signed legislation that jails or fines journalists who publish sensitive leaks, essentially reviving the Official Secrecy Act that President Clinton vetoed.
Bush has a "fetish for secrecy," Vanderbilt University professor emeritus Hugh Davis Graham, now deceased, told the National Journal earlier this year.
Granted, pressing issues of national security merit a level of secrecy. But security and secrecy are not always necessary companions, and some of these examples suggest secrecy for secrecy's sake, such as the pardons and the Reagan documents. Also, a government that operates in secret prevents its constituents from holding it accountable and so may be more prone to arbitrariness and ill-considered conduct. This administration may even be doing itself a disservice with its excess secrecy, which can cause people to conjure up much more malicious and elitist scenarios than may actually exist.
That is what has happened with Skull and Bones, which operates a powerful alumni network but, despite the lore, does not run a secret world government, collaborate with Nazis or require initiates to lie naked in a coffin.
Bonesmen have long helped Bush; he received a fair chunk of his early business financing from them and turned to them for help when he needed a job, investors and campaign assistance. Even his baseball-team purchase involved at least one Bonesman. As president, Bush has appointed fellow Bonesmen to high-level positions, such as Edward McNally, the general counsel of the Office on Homeland Security and senior associate counsel on national security. Yet, although one of his first social gatherings at the White House was a Skull and Bones reunion, Bush feigned ignorance when asked recently about Bones: "The thing is so secret that I'm not even sure it still exists," he replied.
Is it a coincidence that the federal government suddenly prioritizes secrecy when a Skull and Bones president is in power? Maybe. But there's no question that the Bush administration increasingly resembles the Bones' dark, locked tomb.
Alexandra Robbins is the author of Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power.
Forwarded by Ginette Lavoie <firstname.lastname@example.org> on November 7
Help Needed to Save A Nigerian Woman from Death by Stoning
Last Friday, the Oprah show covered a story of a Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, who has been sentenced to death by stoning because she had a baby out of wedlock. She has tried to appeal the decision but has been unsuccessful, thus far. The head of Nigeria disagrees with these stonings but has so far done nothing--partly because of the fear of not being re-elected. I should also note that the father of the baby denied fathering the child and, hence, has escaped any form of punishment. Amina Lawal's stoning will occur as soon as she is finished nursing Her child. She will be buried up to her neck in dirt and townsmen will throw stones at her head until they kill her--which has been known to take hours. I send out a plea to all the women receiving this e-mail and to all the men raised by women to join me and many others to help prevent this horrific and inhumane event from occurring.
All you have to do is visit the Oprah website: http://www.oprah.com
If you click on the Amina Lawal pop up screen and you will see a pre-written letter addressed to the Nigerian Ambassador. Just fill out your information on the bottom of the page and send it. It's as simple as that. You can even go one step further and forward this e-mail to your friends so they can be part of the mission to save Amina Lawal. It's your chance to save one woman's life. We can claim ignorance when doing nothing to stop vicious atrocities that we know nothing about from occurring but there is no justification if we standby and allow for these events to take place when we are fully aware of them.
A/ Legal Policy Analyst Policy and External Relations
Directorate - Status of Women - Canada
Phone: (613) 995-4049
Fax: (613) 947-0530
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002
From: LESLEY WHITING <email@example.com>
Subject: Stop the slaughter of whales and dolphins!!!
Japanese fishermen prepare to kill 1,000 dolphins and whales
An urgent appeal from Ted Danson!
"The reports from Taiji and Futo, Japan are absolutely terrifying. Over the next five months the fishermen will kill more than one-thousand dolphins, pilot whales and other cetaceans. Unless we take immediate action, the killings will continue. The lives of thousands of dolphins are at stake."
Please take action:
Sent by "Mark Graffis" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
People take up most of the planet, U.S. study says
October 23, 2002
WASHINGTON -- Humans take up 83 percent of the Earth's land surface to live on, farm, mine, or fish, leaving just a few areas pristine for wildlife, a report issued Tuesday said.
People also have taken advantage of 98 percent of the land that can be farmed for rice, wheat, or corn, said the report, produced by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network in New York.
Their map, published on the Internet at http://www.wcs.org/humanfootprint, adds together influences from population density, access from roads and waterways, electrical power infrastructure, and the area used by cities and farms.
The few remaining wild areas include the northern forests of Alaska, Canada, and Russia; the high plateaus of Tibet and Mongolia; and much of the Amazon River Basin.
"The map of the human footprint is a clear-eyed view of our influence on the Earth," Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist for the WCS, who led the report, said in a statement.
"It provides a way to find opportunities to save wildlife and wild lands in pristine areas and also to understand how conservation in wilderness, countryside, suburbs, and cities are all related."
World's Mountains in Danger
24 percent of the world's surface are mountain regions
The mountainous regions of the world are slowly succumbing to humanity, says a new United Nations report.
The impact of humanity on mountain ranges across the earth will have consequences for people across the world, a new United Nations report says.
First map-based assessment
The report, which was published by the United Nations Environment programme, Unep, last week, says current farming methods are leading to the loss of forests and lands all over the world, methods which speed up erosion and the increasing loss of soil.
This may have serious consequences for people living in mountain regions, but also those living far from any snowy height: One person in two depends on mountain water.
In addition, up to 25 per cent of the world's mountain areas could be seriously affected by roads, mining and pipelines by 2035, and global warming is expected to have further impact on the world's numerous icy peaks, which are already suffering under the climate's higher temperatures.
According to the report - the first map-based assessment of environment change in mountain regions - Africa is the continent worst affected by human pressures: Its mountain's have been seized for agriculture, at least 10 per cent for crops and a further 34 per cent for farming.
Greenland is expected to be hardest hit by global warming, with 98 per cent seriously affected by 2055.
In addition, parts of the Caucasus, California and the north-west Andes are among those most threatened mountain areas in the world.
"This new report highlights how, like so many parts of the world, some of these last wild areas are fast disappearing in the face of agriculture, infrastructure development and other creeping impacts", Former Environment Minister and current Unep Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, told the BBC.
"Behind all these is the spectre of climate change, which is already taking its toll on the glaciers and changing plant and animal communities in high altitude areas".
Back to tradition
Among those suggestions to preserve the world's mountain regions is the conversion to traditional farming methods. The report says traditional agricultural systems, like terracing, can be good for these areas, as they help to stabilise the soil.
But despite these suggestions, Unep demands change and especially awareness, fast. According to Fr. Andrei Iatsenia, the Uinted Nations Environment Programme's mountain programme coordinator, it is more than just a local issue. As around a quarter of the world's land surface are mountain environments, these "deserve the level of concern afforded to other global systems", he told the BBC.
Sent by "Mark Graffis" <email@example.com>
Oil spills may linger indefinitely, say scientists
October 24, 2002
LONDON -- Oil pockets have been found just below the sea bed off the coast in Massachusetts more than 30 years after a tanker ran ashore there, raising fears that spills could continue to pollute the environment indefinitely.
Scientists thought the ecosystem returned to normal more than 10 years ago and were surprised to discover the oil concentrations were about the same as in 1976, seven years after the ship, The Florida, ran aground.
The Florida spilled nearly 185,000 gallons of oil into the backyard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Christopher Reddy, a chemist at the institute who is conducting the longest study of a major oil spill, said oil levels in sediment 6 inches deep were so high you could probably smell it.
He was also amazed bacteria had not broken down the oil. "It still looks like run-of-the-mill diesel fuel. We were flabbergasted," he told the New Scientist magazine Wednesday.
Reddy and his team have monitored the oil spill's impact on the environment and had thought it had become little more than a distant memory.
Now the new findings have raised concerns that researchers may have underestimated the long-term environmental impact of events like the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez tanker, which spilled 60 times more oil than The Florida.
But Reddy pointed out that the Massachusetts coast is marshy, and other environments like rocky shorelines are more likely to be scrubbed clean by the wind and waves.
VERY INTERESTING PROPOSAL!
War on Terrorism - What needs to be done?
1. Eliminating starvation/feeding humanity - Abundant supplies of food for 100% of humanity
An International Famine Relief Agency could be funded with 32% of what just the US spends on candy each year. An Increased Fertilizer Availability Program could be funded with just 11% ofwhat Europe, Japan and the US spend on cosmetics. Coupling increased fertilizer availability with sustainable agricultural methods would help guarantee both local abundance and future productivity. Together, all three programs famine relief, fertilizer and sustainable agriculture total $19 billion per year for tenyears, which is 2.4% of the world's total annual military expenditures or 1.9% of the world's annual expenditures on illegal drugs.
2. Eliminating lack of health care/providing health care - Access to local health care for 100% of humanity
The total cost of implementing a Primary Health Care Program, which would provide basic health care to all those in the world who are currently in need would cost $15 billion per year or 1.9% of the world's total annual military expenditures (less than seven days worth), or less than 18% of what the United States spends on alcohol each year.
3. Eliminating homelessness/housing humanity - Adequate housing for 100% of humanity
The total cost of providing self-help housing to all of the inadequately sheltered and homeless people of the world-primarily in the developing world where the needs are greatest-would cost about $21 billion dollars per year for ten years.
4. Eliminating non-sustainability/regenerating the environment - Global warming slowed down, stopped, reversed
Such programs, not covered by other strategies listed, would cost about $8 billion per year for thirty years. This is about 6% of what developing countries are spending on subsidizing their electricity prices, or less than 17% of what the insurance industry paid out in the 1990s for weather-related damage (three times what they paid out in the 1980s).
5. Eliminating unhealthy water/providing clean water - Abundant supplies of clean water for 100% of humanity
Using $50 per person as the benchmark, an investment in water and sanitation materials, training and programs of $10 billion per year for ten years would ensure that all of the world's people were provided with enough water to meet their personal needs.
6. Securing our energy future - Abundant, clean, safe and affordable energy supplies for 100% of humanity
Total investment is only 13% of current subsidies to electricity prices in the developing world or about 2.2% of the world's total annual military expenditures. Benefits include a cleaner environment, less carbon emissions into the atmosphere and thereby less pressure on global warming, more stable energy supplies in price and in potential for political disruption, and more availability of energy in energy-needing parts of the world.
7. Making the world safe - Landmine-free world for 100% of humanity
The cost of stopping the manufacture and continuing use, and the removal of existing landmines from the world would be $2 billion per year for ten years a little less than the cost of a B-2 bomber, less than half what the US spends on perfume, 8% of arms sales to developing countries, and 0.25% of annual military expenditures, or less than half the cost of surgery and care for the amputation victims resulting from landmines. Benefits would include the halt to the loss of life and limb, arable land restored to its former productive uses, and higher food output as a result of bringing
more land into cultivation. Employment and income for mine-clearing personnel will provide an economic boost for the local and national economies.
8. Making the world safe - Access to democratic decision making processes for 100% of humanity
One of the most efficacious ways of setting in motion these processes is through democracy. Democracy has great value in controlling the worst impulses of ethnicity and nationalism. Coupled with a "Bill of Rights" that guarantees basic human freedoms and an independent judicial system, democracy has demonstrated an enormous capacity for furthering non-violent social change. History also discloses that democratic governments do not go to war against one another.
The combined total cost of the above projects is approximately 12% of the world's total annual military expenditures of $780 billion.
NOTE FROM JEAN: This above is an abridged version of a pdf poster someone sent me. Figures and statistics on all of the above can be viewed at http://www.osearth.com/resources/wwwproject/what-d.shtml#foot
An independent global community service announcement
For more information visit: http://www.osearth.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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