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Video of U.S. Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff



The First Church of Common Sense originated as a comic relief to the rigid dogma of so-called "Christianity", with its foul-tempered and capricious bogey-man God. We oppose religious compulsion in all of its' insidious forms, from cults led by psychopathic "gurus" to fundamentalist "Christianity" and the anal-retentive oafs who lead it.

The First Church of Common Sense has taken off on its own power and evolved into a community of kindred spirits seeking to bring about positive, healthy change, while searching for truth, invoking the spirit of play and humor.

We are an organization of freethinkers, spiritual seekers, social activists, environmentalists, artists, poets, musicians, journalists, scientists, philosophers, survivalists, healers, mystics and more. We are people from diverse backgrounds and different walks of life, but we are united by common goals and a shared vision of a sustainable future for our planet, and an end to the cycle of dysfunctional abuse. We seek to share our gifts and strengths with others and to provide creative outlets for truly inspired artists and thinkers.

The First Church of Common Sense stems from the belief that the Creator has an incredible sense of humor, as evidenced by the utter folly played out daily all over the Earth. The potential for this absurdity to reveal itself in spite of (or because of) Man's best efforts to "make a better world", reveals to us a Divine Sense of Humor. The Creator is playing a Grand Joke, and once we get the Joke we are "saved".

While society is spiraling out of control on an inevitable course of self destruction, the "American Evolution" is gaining momentum. Discerning, open-minded and intelligent people are connecting in ever increasing numbers, seeking creative solutions to our common dilemmas in this perplexing world.

The First Church of Common Sense is for those who are secure in their beliefs and courageous enough to set about the task of disabusing themselves of the illusions that hold them captive; however, no illusions are offered to replace illusions being shed. What is offered is an avenue for sharing humor, strengths, talents and gifts while seeking solace during these confusing times.

The winds of change are blowing and the truth has a ring that can be heard in the dark of the deepest night. All it takes is a commitment for truth, a sense of humor and some common sense.

Those of us who are able to truly perceive reality beyond the veil of illusions, do not like what we see. We see society for what it is, and it is SICK. This society is nothing more than an oversized dysfunctional family in an abusive relationship with a fictional "God the Father", who grants us His approval for our folly as we appease His seemingly voracious appetite for adulation and human sacrifice.

Our leaders are nothing more than enablers who reinforce our collective denial and allow us to continue to destroy our planet as we feed our insatiable lust for consumer goods and other trappings of "the good life." Actually, there is nothing good about it, the damage done to our planet, our psyches, and Life on Earth itself, is becoming obvious to all except those who are in the deepest denial. It's time for us to wake up, it is time for action. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to stop the cycle of abuse and destruction.

We can no longer allow our laziness and complacency to lull us into a false sense of well-being. We can no longer close our eyes to what is going on around us. We can no longer allow ourselves to live lives of despair and defeat as we willingly participate in the madness and sickness that is "Society."

Margaret Mead said - "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." With that in mind, let us join forces and work together to bring about positive and healthy changes to our planet, in our lifetime. We can do it!

In these days of "Big Brother" and the "War on Terror", our civil liberties are rapidly disappearing as the Government increasingly intrudes into the lives of American citizens. Freedom loving Americans of all political and religious persuasions are now beginning to realize that we must put aside our differences. We must find the common ground we all stand upon, and unite, if we hope to preserve our beloved Freedom!

Are you tired of "New Age" charlatans, snake oil salesmen and pseudo-spiritual hucksters? Are you tired of rabid preachers who rant & babble about the Book of Revelation?

Are you looking for a place to share your ideas and talents?

Do you feel alone, alienated, overwhelmed and outnumbered?

Are you looking for a support group of conscientious and dedicated people who are on your wave-length?

Do you strongly suspect that the world is in deeper trouble than our "leaders" are telling us?

Are you tired of giving up your precious freedoms so that this increasingly paranoid and passive-aggresive society can have a false sense of security?

Have you had enough of the arrogant, avaricious, puritanical and short-sighted oafs who make the decisions and pass the laws that will decide our fate?

Have you lost patience with the cowardly, passive citizens who blindly go along with the status quo as long as their extravagant life-styles aren't inconvenienced?

Do you agree that is time for responsible social action and a return to sustainable living practices?

Are you ready to do something about it?


it's like something right out of a movie!

What are you thinking?


E-mail the Pope-About-Town



911 visibility project

As the so-called 9/11 Commission continues its investigation of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the U.S., a new book bringing together many of the previously published alternative theories (some of which we've linked to at Indymedia) and unanswered questions on 9/11 is stirring up controversy. "The New Pearl Harbor : Disturbing questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11" by David Griffin, a reputable scholar, lays out some striking and credible information indicating U.S. government complicity in the attacks.

From a skeptical vantage-point, but also taking to heart the classic idea that those who benefit from a crime ought to at least be investigated, Griffin, an eminent philosopher and theologian, brings together an account of the national tragedy that is far more logical than the one we've been asked to believe. Gathering stories from the mainstream press, reports from other countries, the work of other researchers, and the contradictory words of members of the Bush administration themselves, Griffin presents a case that leaves very little doubt that the attacks of 9/11 need to be further investigated.

Sadly, ever since the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 many progressives and progressive media outlets in the U.S. have bought into the fear of being labeled crazy "conspiracy theorists" and have either avoided the issue of a potential government conspiracy or worse, condemned those who have dared to raise the issue. Such fears are, of course, prayed on by rightwing operatives in the media and elsewhere seeking to bolster the faltering Bush regime, its disastrous occupation of Iraq, and its quest for empire.

December 13, 2001: The Bush Administration released a so-called "authentic" videotape of Osama bin Laden confessing to being responsible for the 911 attacks. The video, which was supposedly shot on November 9, 2001, had one minor flaw: THEY USED THE FAKE OSAMA!

The video of "Osama" taking credit for 9/11 is a fake! The real Osama is on the right.

Osama's face is wider at the eye level.
Osama has a much taller and narrower nose.
Osama is less "well-nourished." - Fake Osama video

http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/12/13/ret.bin.laden.videotape
--"' The tape's release is central to informing people in the outside world who don't believe bin Laden was involved in the September 11 attacks,' said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 'I don't know how they can be in denial after they see this tape.'"

--" The Bush administration hopes the tape will convince skeptics, particularly in the Muslim and Arab worlds, of bin Laden's complicity in the attacks."

Published on Friday, November 19, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Smedley Butler, Meet John Perkins
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
 

Remember Smedley Butler?

He was perhaps the most decorated Major General in Marine Corps history.

In the early part of this century, he fought and killed for the United States around the world.

Butler was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor.

Then, when he returned to the United States he wrote a book titled “War is a Racket” which opens with the memorable lines: “War is a racket. It always has been.”

“I was a high class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers,” Butler said. “In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

In a speech in 1933, Butler said the following:

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”

Smedley Butler, meet John Perkins.

Perkins has just written a book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Barrett Koehler, 2004).

It is the War is A Racket for our times.

Some of it is hard to believe.

You be the judge.

In 1968, after graduating from Boston University, Perkins joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Ecuador. There, he was recruited by the National Security Agency (NSA) and hired by an international consulting firm, Chas. T. Main in Boston.

Soon after beginning his job in Boston, “I was contacted by a woman named Claudine who became my trainer as an economic hit man.”

Perkins assumed the woman worked for the NSA.

“She said she was sent to help me and to train me,” Perkins said. “She is extremely beautiful, sensual, seductive, intelligent. Her job was to convince me to become an economic hit man, holding out these three drugs –- sex, drugs and money. And then she wanted to let me know that I was getting into a dirty business. And I shouldn’t go off on my first assignment, which was going to be Indonesia, and start doing this unless I knew that I was going to continue doing it, and once I was in I was in for life.”

Perkins worked for Main from 1970 to 1980.

His job was to convince the governments of the third world countries and the banks to make deals where huge loans were given to these countries to develop infrastructure projects.

And a condition of the loan was that a large share of the money went back to the big construction companies in the USA – the Bechtels and Halliburtons.

The loans would plunge the countries into debts that would be impossible to pay off.

“The system is set up such that the countries are so deep in debt that they can’t repay their debt,” Perkins said. “When the U.S. government wants favors from them, like votes in the United Nations or troops in Iraq, or in many, many cases, their resources – their oil, their canal, in the case of Panama, we go to them and say – look, you can’t pay off your debts, therefore sell your oil at a very low price to our oil companies. Today, tremendous pressure is being put on Ecuador, for example, to sell off its Amazonian rainforest -– very precious, very fragile places, inhabited by indigenous people whose cultures are being destroyed by the oil companies.”

When a leader of a country refuses to cooperate with economic hit men like Perkins, the jackals from the CIA are called in.

Perkins said that both Omar Torrijos of Panama and Jaime Boldos of Ecuador -– both men he worked with – refused to play the game with the U.S. and both were cut down by the CIA -– Torrijos when his airplane blew up, and Roldos when his helicopter exploded, within three months of each other in 1981.

If the CIA jackals don’t do the job, then the U.S. Marines are sent in –- Butler’s “racketeers for capitalism.”

Perkins also gives lurid details of how he pimped for a Saudi prince in the 1970s, in an effort to get the Saudi royal family to enter an elaborate deal in which the U.S. would protect the House of Saud. In exchange, the Saudis agreed to stabilize oil prices and use their oil money to purchase Treasury bonds, the interest on which would be used to pay U.S. construction firms like Bechtel to build Saudi cities.

For years, Perkins wanted to stop being an economic hit man and write a tell-all book.

He quit Main in 1980, only to be lured back with megabucks as a consultant. He testified in favor of the Seabrook Nuclear power plant (“my most infamous assignment”) in the 1980s, but the experience pushed him out of the business, and he started an alternative energy firm. When word got out in the 1990s that he was starting to write a tell-all book, he was approached by the president of Stone & Webster, a big engineering firm.

Over seven years, Stone & Webster paid Perkins $500,000 to do nothing.

“At that first meeting, the president of the company mentioned some of the books that I had written about indigenous people and said –- that’s nice, that’s fine, keep doing your non-profit work,” Perkins told us. “We approve of that, but you certainly would never write about this industry, would you? And I assured him that I wouldn’t.”

Perkins assumes the money was a bribe to get him not to write the book.

But he has written the book.

You be the judge.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter, http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org. They are co-authors of the forthcoming On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; http://www.corporatepredators.org).

© 2004 Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman



Internationally known Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier has been victimized and brutalized since being transferred to U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Pennsylvania on January 14. Shortly after arrival he was jumped and brutally beaten by gang members, none of whom he knew. He was subsequently put in solitary confinement in the hole and on restricted meals, endangering his diabetic condition, and is being allowed only one telephone call per month. He is being prevented from meeting face-to-face with his lawyers.

Please submit the Hands Off Leonard Peltier - Release Him Now!t ONLINE PETITION to let President Obama, Attorney General Holden, the Federal Prison System, the warden at Canaan penitentiary, congressional leaders and the media know YOU WILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR LEONARD'S SAFETY AND WELL-BEING and you demand his release.

Take them out, dude: pilots toast hit on Iraqi civilians
Oct. 7, 2004

By Andrew Buncombe in The Independant

The Pentagon said yesterday it was investigating cockpit video footage that shows American pilots attacking and killing a group of apparently unarmed Iraqi civilians.

The 30-second clip shows the pilot targeting the group of people in a street in the city of Fallujah and asking his mission controllers whether he should "take them out". He is told to do so and, shortly afterwards, the footage shows a huge explosion where the people were. A second voice can be heard on the clip saying: "Oh, dude."

The existence of the video, taken last April inside the cockpit of a US F-16 fighter has been known for some time, though last night's broadcast by Channel 4 News is believed to be the first time a mainstream broadcaster has shown the footage.

At no point during the exchange between the pilot and controllers does anyone ask whether the Iraqis are armed or posing a threat. Critics say it proves war crimes are being committed.

Download the video The US pilot laughs and says "Oh dude" after killing a crowd of people, as if it were just another violent video game.

The CIA 'old guard' goes to war with Bush
Oct. 10, 2004 - Telegraph, UK

A powerful "old guard" faction in the Central Intelligence Agency has launched an unprecedented campaign to undermine the Bush administration with a battery of damaging leaks and briefings about Iraq.

The White House is incensed by the increasingly public sniping from some senior intelligence officers who, it believes, are conducting a partisan operation to swing the election on November 2 in favour of John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, and against George W Bush.

Jim Pavitt, a 31-year CIA veteran who retired as a departmental chief in August, said that he cannot recall a time of such "viciousness and vindictiveness" in a battle between the White House and the agency.

There is anger within the CIA that it has taken all the blame for the failings of pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes.

Former senior CIA officials argue that so-called "neo-conservative" hawks such as the vice president, Dick Cheney, the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and his number three at the defence department, Douglas Feith, have prompted the ill-feeling by demanding "politically acceptable" results from the agency and rejecting conclusions they did not like. Yet Colin Powell, the less hardline secretary of state, has also been scathing in his criticism of pre-war intelligence briefings.

The leaks are also a shot across the bows of Porter Goss, the agency's new director and a former Republican congressman. He takes over with orders from the White House to end the in-fighting and revamp the troubled spy agency as part of a radical overhaul of the American intelligence world.

Bill Harlow, the former CIA spokesman who left with the former director George Tenet in July, acknowledged that there had been leaks from within the agency. "The intelligence community has been made the scapegoat for all the failings over Iraq," he said. "It deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. People are chafing at that, and that's the background to these leaks."

Fighting to defend their patch ahead of the future review, anti-Bush CIA operatives have ensured that Iraq remains high on the election campaign agenda long after Republican strategists such as Karl Rove, the President's closest adviser, had hoped that it would fade from the front pages.

In the latest clash, a senior former CIA agent revealed that Mr Cheney "blew up" when a report into links between the Saddam regime and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist behind the kidnappings and beheadings of hostages in Iraq, including the Briton Kenneth Bigley, proved inconclusive.

Other recent leaks have included the contents of classified reports drawn up by CIA analysts before the invasion of Iraq, warning the White House about the dangers of post-war instability. Specifically, the reports said that rogue Ba'athist elements might team up with terrorist groups to wage a guerrilla war.

Critics of the White House include officials who have served in previous Republican administrations such as Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA head of counter-terrorism and member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan.

"These have been an extraordinary four years for the CIA and the political pressure to come up with the right results has been enormous, particularly from Vice-President Cheney. "I'm afraid that the agency is guilty of bending over backwards to please the administration.

George Tenet was desperate to give them what they wanted and that was a complete disaster."

Pope John Paul II Said to be Concerned Bush is the Anti-Christ: Journalists Close to the Vatican

Wayne Madsen writes, "Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs, and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations - the anti-Christ. People close to the Pope claim that amid these concerns, the Pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations... According to journalists close to the Vatican, the Pope and his closest advisers are also concerned that the ultimate acts of evil - the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon - were known in advance by senior Bush administration officials. By permitting the attacks to take their course, there is a perception within the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy that a coup d'etat was implemented, one that gave Bush and his leadership near-dictatorial powers to carry out their agenda......Whether Bush represents a dangerous right-wing ideologue who couples his political fanaticism with a neo-Christian blood cult (as I believe) or he is either the anti-Christ or heralds one, the Pope should know he has fought the good battle and has gained the respect and admiration of many non-Catholics around the world." - Entire article

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.


Lori Haigh, a North Beach district gallery owner, bears a painful reminder of the nation's unresolved anguish over the incidents at Abu Ghraib - a black eye delivered by an unknown assailant who apparently objected to the painting that depicts US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners, San Francisco, Calif., May 29, 2004. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Gallery Owner Attacked for Iraq Abuse Art
Artists Beware in Bush's America!

May 29, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco gallery owner bears a painful reminder of the nation's unresolved anguish over the incidents at the Abu Ghraib prison — a black eye delivered by an unknown assailant who apparently objected to a painting that depicts U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners.

The assault outside the Capobianco gallery in the city's North Beach district Thursday night was the worst in a string of verbal and physical attacks directed at Lori Haigh since the artwork was installed at her gallery on May 16.

San Francisco police are investigating and have stepped up patrols around the gallery. But Haigh decided to close the gallery indefinitely, citing concern for the safety of her two children, ages 14 and 4, who often accompanied her to work.

Guy Colwell's painting, titled "Abuse," depicts three U.S. soldiers leering at a group of naked men in hoods with wires connected to their bodies. The one in the foreground has a blood-spattered American flag patch on his uniform. In the background, a soldier in sunglasses guards a blindfolded woman.

Two days after the painting went up in a front window, someone threw eggs and dumped trash on the doorstep. Haigh said she did not think to connect it to the events at Baghdad's notorious prison until people started leaving nasty messages and threats on her business answering machine.

"I think you need to get your gallery out of this neighborhood before you get hurt," one caller said.

She removed the painting from the window, but the gallery's troubles received news coverage and the criticism continued. The answering machine recorded new calls from people accusing her of being a coward for moving the artwork.

Last weekend, Haigh said a man walked into the gallery, pretended to scrutinize the painting for a moment, then marched up to her desk and spat in her face.

On Thursday, someone knocked on the door of the gallery, then punched Haigh in the face when she stepped outside.

"This isn't art-politics central here at all," Haigh said. "I'm not here to make a stand. I never set out to be a crusader or a political activist."

Haigh has received some expressions of support since closing the gallery. Her favorite: an e-mail whose writer said, "I'm sure that a few and dangerous minds don't understand that they have only mimicked the same perversity this painting had expressed."

The Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism


Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
The Observer


Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Climate risk 'to million species'
Jan. 7, 2004
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

BBC VIDEO: "This is an alarming predicition of a disappearing world"

Climate change could drive a million of the world's species to extinction as soon as 2050, a scientific study says.

The authors say in the journal Nature a study of six world regions suggested a quarter of animals and plants living on the land could be forced into oblivion.

They say cutting greenhouse gases and storing the main one, carbon dioxide, could save many species from vanishing.

The United Nations says the prospect is also a threat to the billions of people who rely on Nature for their survival.

In a report, Extinction Risk From Climate Change, the scientists describe their study of the six biodiversity-rich regions, representing 20% of the Earth's land area.

The study used computer models to simulate how the ranges of 1,103 species - plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, butterflies and other invertebrates - are expected to move in response to changing temperatures and climate.

The scientists considered three different possibilities - minimum, mid-range and maximum expected climate change, on the basis of data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They also assessed whether or not animals and plants would be able to move to new areas.

Mission improbable

They concluded that from 15 to 37% of all the species in the regions studied could be driven to extinction by the climate changes likely between now and 2050.

Some species will no longer have any climatically suitable habitat left, and others may be unable to migrate far enough to reach hospitable surroundings.

The authors say: "Many of the most severe impacts of climate change are likely to stem from interactions between threats, factors not taken into account in our calculations, rather than from climate acting in isolation."

They single out as examples habitat fragmentation and loss, and competition from new invasive species.

But they have some encouragement as well. They say the minimum expected climate change scenarios for 2050 - the change they regard as inevitable - would mean about 18% of the affected species would vanish.

Reversing the trend

The medium projections suggest an extinction rate of 24%, and the highest one of 35%.

They conclude: "Minimising greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering [storing] carbon to realise minimum rather than mid-range or maximum expected climate warming could save a substantial percentage of terrestrial species from extinction."

John Lanchbery, of the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has studied the science and diplomacy of climate change for many years.

He told BBC News Online: "It would appear there is really nothing we can do to avoid at least some extinctions. We are bound to be near to the study's minimum scenarios, even if we can avoid the higher ones."

Dr Klaus Toepfer, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: "If one million species become extinct... it is not just the plant and animal kingdoms and the beauty of the planet that will suffer.

"Billions of people, especially in the developing world, will suffer too as they rely on Nature for such essential goods and services as food, shelter and medicines".


In this video you will see an American serviceman shooting an Iraqi insurgent dead. Needless to say, this video is for MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

You will clearly see that the Iraqi is crawling AWAY from the source of fire. He is obviously wounded, and is no threat to the American soldier who subsequently kills him, from dozens of yards away.

This, by definition, is a war crime, under the Geneva Convention regarding the wounded and captive.

VIDEO, CNN Presents: Fit To Kill

Transcript:

Aired October 26, 2003 - 20:00 ET

CANDY CROWLEY: Wounded, another Iraqi writhes on the ground next to his gun. The Marines kill him -- then cheer.

RIDDLE: Like, man, you guys are dead now, you know. But it was a good feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah!

RIDDLE: I mean, afterwards you're like, hell, yeah, that was awesome. Let's do it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After we killed him, there was a question of was this guy a hostile person. Read entire transcript

Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.


UPDATE Dec. 3, 2003: An interesting visitor to this page, osis.gov.

I did a Google search and found:
[rohrpost] FBIS.GOV / OSIS.GOV - a job for you.

in current vienna papers, FBIS has jobs for people to monitor web-sites [social, economic, tech, science, etc..] and to translate and report to FBIS / OSIS [FBIS collects and translates current political, economic, technical, and military information from the media world- wide for the U.S. government and its agencies]

Here's the screenhot I took today:

More screenshots that show some VERY interesting visitors, including the Office of the President of the U.S., the U.S. Dept. of State, the Office of the sec. of Defense and more!
Why the hell are they so interested in the site of a Hippie Artiste??? Maybe real news is verboten nowadays.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

The Vatican visited too:


PHOTO: Many Vietnamese children still suffer consequences of Agent Orange.

Between 1962 and 1971, an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicides, including Agent Orange, were used in Vietnam.

Vietnam says about three million of its people suffer from birth defects and diseases linked to the chemical.

Study: Agent Orange Lingers in Vietnam Food
August 11, 2003

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange continues to contaminate livestock and fish eaten by Vietnamese decades after it was used, a study released on Monday showed.

A 2002 study in Bien Hoa city, about 20 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, showed residents and food had high levels of dioxin, the August issue of The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine said.

The report said about 95 percent of blood samples taken from 43 people in Bien Hoa "were found to have elevated TCDD levels," referring to the most toxic of the dioxins.

"Although the spraying ended over three decades ago, in certain areas of Vietnam food is clearly a present-day route of intake of dioxin from Agent Orange," the study said.

Tests on 16 food samples of chickens, ducks, pork, beef, fish and a toad from the city's markets, a lake and a nearby air base where Agent Orange had been stored found "markedly elevated" dioxin levels in six samples.

Vietnam estimates more than one million of its people have been exposed to Agent Orange, used from 1962 to 1971 to strip trees and plants and deny communist fighters cover and food.

The dioxin-containing Agent Orange, the spraying of which was stopped in 1971, got its name because of the colored stripes on its containers.

U.S. embassy officials in Hanoi did not immediately have a comment on the report.




This file photo dated 01 June 2003 shows Vietnam War agent-orange victim Thai Thi Ha, 13, from the central province of Nghe An, clapping and singing during a fund-raising meeting for agent-orange victims in Hanoi. Ha's father was a Northern Vietnamese soldier fighting in Southern Vietnam. Her skin is napped of black marks.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)







THE VIETNAM INVASION

Herbert Hoover, later to become President of the United States did a study that showed that one of the world's largest oil fields ran along the coast of the South China Sea right off French Indo-China, now known as Vietnam.
- Denny, Ludwell, We Fight of Oil, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1928.




A US Air Force C-123 plane drops Agent Orange, code name for a herbicide developed for the military, on jungle during Vietnam war, 3 March 1967.(AFP/UPI-HO/File)

US analyst Ludwell Denny in his book "We Fight for Oil" noted the domestic oil shortage and says international diplomacy had failed to secure any reliable foreign sources of oil for the United States. Fear of oil shortages would become the most important factor in international relations, Denny said.

"That empire in Southeast Asia is the last major resource area outside the control of any one of the major powers of the globe....I believe that the condition of the Vietnamese people, and the direction in which their future may be going, are at this stage secondary, not primary." (Senator McGee, D-Wyo., in the U.S. Senate, Feb. 17, 1965)

In a 1965 speech in Asia, Richard Nixon argued in favor of bombing North Vietnam to protect the "immense mineral potential" of Indonesia, which he later referred to as "by far the greatest prize in the southeast Asian area."

To protect its prizes, the US eventually killed over four million people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos between 1965 and 1975. In South Vietnam alone, the war resulted in a million widows and 879,000 orphans. It destroyed 9000 out of 15,000 hamlets, almost 40,000 square miles of farmland and 18,750 square miles of forest. - Read more about the U.S./Big Oil invasion of Vietnam

Ruben Israel, left, of Los Angeles, and Stephen James, right, of Somerset, Penn., heckle anti-war demonstrators as they march in Washington to protest the U.S. troops presence in Iraq on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2003. The tens of thousands strong march, labeled 'Bring the Troops Home Now, End the Occupation of Iraq,' was organized by the groups A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now To Stop War And Racism) and United For Peace And Justice. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Bush says God chose him to lead his nation

Book reveals how President's religious and political beliefs are entwined - and claims he did pray with Blair

Paul Harris in New York
Sunday November 2, 2003
The Observer


President George W. Bush stood before a cheering crowd at a Dallas Christian youth centre last week, and told them about being 'born again' as a Christian.

'If you change their heart, then they change their behaviour. I know,' he said, referring to his own conversion, which led to him giving up drinking.

Behind Bush were two banners. 'King of Kings', proclaimed one. 'Lord of Lords', said the other. The symbolism of how fervent Christianity has become deeply entwined with the most powerful man on the planet could not have been stronger.

Few US Presidents have been as openly religious as Bush. Now a new book has lifted the lid on how deep those Christian convictions run. It will stir up controversy at a time when the administration is keen to portray its 'war on terror' as non-religious.

The book, which depicts a President who prays each day and believes he is on a direct mission from God, will give ammunition to critics who claim Bush's administration is heavily influenced by extremist Christians.

Bush is already under fire for allowing the appointment of General William Boykin to head the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Boykin, who speaks at evangelical Christian meetings, once said the war on terror was a fight against Satan, and also told a Somali warlord that, 'My God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.'

Bush has also been accused of a 'creeping Christianisation' of federal government programmes. In September, the government made more than $60 billion available for religious charitable groups. Critics say the groups will be able to use the cash to promote their religion. One group that benefited from previous grants was an Iowa prison project that entitled inmates to televisions, private bathrooms and computers - in return for Christian counselling.

Now Bush is likely to face intense scrutiny. The book, The Faith of George W. Bush, was written by Christian author Stephen Mansfield. It details numerous incidents where Bush's faith has been shown to be at the centre of his political thinking.

Among Mansfield's revelations is his insistence that Bush and Tony Blair have prayed together at a private meeting at Camp David. Blair has previously denied this.

Mansfield, however, says that, while there were no witnesses, aides were left in little doubt as to what had happened. He told The Observer: 'There is no question they have shared scripture and prayed together.'

The book also shows that in the lead-up to announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Bush told a Texan evangelist that he had had a premonition of some form of national disaster happening.

Bush said to James Robison: 'I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.'


In a book by the late Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War, published in 1986, Ms. Halsell quotes TV evangelist James Robison:

"'There'll be no peace until Jesus comes. Any preaching of peace prior to this return is heresy; it's against the word of God; it's Anti-Christ,' says TV evangelist Jim Robison, who was invited by President Reagan to deliver the opening prayer at the 1984 Republican National Convention."


Shrinking ice in Antarctic sea 'exposes global warming'

Frozen oceans that affect currents such as the Gulf Stream have decreased dramatically, say scientists

David Fickling in Sydney
Saturday November 15, 2003
The Guardian


Australian scientists yesterday revealed new evidence of global warming, suggesting that sea ice around Antarctica had shrunk 20% in the past 50 years.

The research published in the journal Science traced the pattern of sea ice in the Southern Ocean as far back as 1840.

"Between 1841 and 1950 there was very little change but there is a marked decline in sea ice distribution since 1950 of around 20%," said the lead author, Mark Curran.

The change is important because sea ice - the area around the poles where seawater is frozen into layers no more than a few metres thick - is regarded as a crucial indicator of climate change.

Unlike the ice caps over Greenland and Antarctica and the icebergs they spawn, the size and thickness of the sea ice have little direct effect on worldwide temperatures and sea levels.

But scientists believe it is responsible for the movement of global ocean currents which ensure land masses such as Britain (via its warming Gulf Stream) are kept at certain temperatures.

In winter, pack ice covers an area of more than 7 million square miles around Antarctica, shrinking to 1.5 million square miles during the southern hemisphere summer. At its greatest extent, the ice field is bigger than Russia.

Several studies in recent years have shown that sea ice around Antarctica has increased since the 1970s, but Dr Curran said that the short timescale of those studies failed to take longer-term trends into account. "Until now, records have relied to a large degree on satellite observations since the 1970s. Thirty years is a very short time over which to draw any conclusions," he said.

A Nasa satellite study released last week showed that the growth of pack ice since the end of the 1970s was preceded by a period of shrinkage between 1973 and 1978. The break-up of the Arctic pack ice in recent years has also highlighted concerns about the implications of sea ice decline.

The evidence is taken from ice cores bored out of the Law Dome, a mound of compressed snow from the Antarctic mainland more than half a mile deep, which carries a climate record stretching back 90,000 years.

Compacted snowfall forms annual layers in the ice similar to tree rings. The scientists worked out the extent of past sea ice by measuring the amount of methane sulphonic acid (MSA), produced by marine algae, in the ice cores. MSA-producing algae is linked to sea ice, so the quantity of the chemical in any year's snowfall gives a clue to the extent of that year's pack ice.

"We have only just scratched the surface of this so far," said Dr Curran. "It's only when we start going back into the earlier layers that we'll start to find out whether the changes since 1950 are the norm or an exception."

The new findings are startlingly similar to contentious research published in 1997 based on whaling records. Before the banning of commercial whaling in 1987, ships often moored close to the Antarctic pack ice while taking their catch, allowing researchers to retrace the extent of the pack ice by examining the positions of whaling ships.

Scientists see Antarctica as a barometer of climate trends, with many of the indicators pointing towards global warming. Average temperatures on the Antarctic peninsula have risen 3C in the past 50 years, and the Antarctic ice shelves have retreated dramatically.

B15, which at more than 4,000 square miles was as big as Jamaica and the world's largest iceberg when it calved from the Ross ice shelf in 2000, split apart during storms last month, giving rise to two smaller bergs .

Special report
Antarctic

Antarctic ice shelf is melting rapidly, scientists warn

Tim Radford
Friday October 31, 2003
The Guardian


A giant ice shelf the size of Scotland is melting rapidly in the Antarctic, scientists have warned today.

Two sections of the Larsen ice shelf collapsed in 1995 and 2002. Now satellite measurements have confirmed that it has thinned by as much as 18 metres more than usual in the past decade, because of a warmer ocean.

The report comes a day after a University College London report in the journal Nature confirmed a 40% thinning of the ice in the Arctic Ocean in the past 30 years.

Andrew Shepherd of Cambridge University and colleagues from University College London, Bristol, and the Antarctic Institute of Argentina, report in the journal Science that they have been mapping changes in the Larsen shelf, on the east of the Antarctica peninsula, since 1992.

The shelf covers approximately 27,000 sq miles and is on average 300 metres deep. Its faster rate of melting is releasing an extra 21bn tonnes of icy water into the oceans each year. This is equivalent to eight times the annual flow of the river Thames.

Warmer oceans, as well as warmer air, are now thought to play an important part in the process.

The scientists used radar from a European satellite, accurate to within 20cm, to track the slow changes in the thickness of the shelf.

"We have shown that the Larsen ice shelf has progressively thinned due to the combined effects of surface and basal ice melting," Dr Shepherd said.

"The previously undetected imbalance may provide a simple link between the regional climate warming and the successive disintegration of of Larsen ice shelf sections, and suggests that fluctuations in the surrounding ocean should be considered in any future assessment of climate change."

The area of summer sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking for decades. The thickness of the ice - originally about three metres - has been steadily declining.

The melting of the Arctic has been firmly linked with the pattern of global warming - rising air temperatures, thawing glaciers and longer northern summers - but the evidence in the Southern Ocean has been much more ambiguous.

"The ocean temperature rise parallels global temperature rises, whereas the atmospheric warming of the peninsula was 10 times greater," Dr Shepherd said. "In the Arctic, it has been fairly unequivocally related to atmospheric temperature changes. The Larsen shelf is much, much thicker, and had previously been thought to be disintegrating because of the atmosphere.

"It has always been difficult to see why the atmosphere should have such a great effect. But now it seems more likely that it is the ocean that is causing the change."

Special report
Climate change

Arctic warming up faster than ever, NASA data show

Scientists note reduction in sea ice, say loss will speed temperature rise

October 23, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The Arctic is warming at an accelerating pace, scientists say, and the consequences won't be limited to the top of the world.

A new report on NASA satellite observations over the past 20 years says average summertime temperatures in the Arctic have climbed about 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit each decade since 1981.

By comparison, it has taken global temperatures a century to increase about 1 degree.

And the pace is quickening.

The Arctic warming has been eight times faster in the past two decades than it was over the past century, according to the study by Josefino Comiso, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. His paper on Arctic warming will appear next week in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

The warming trend has been strongest in northern Alaska and Siberia -- the same areas where previous studies have reported sharp reductions in the extent of year-round sea ice.

The area of sea ice that survives the Arctic summer has dwindled by 9 percent per decade, reaching a record low last year, according to a NASA-funded study last year by Mark C. Serreze, a research scientist at the University of Colorado.

Serreze said scientists might continue to debate how much of the warming is the result of human activity and how much is natural climate change. But "the fact is that the climate is changing, and the Arctic is changing rapidly."

"We should recognize that change is occurring, and we will need to adapt to it," he said.

Once Arctic warming begins, he said, complex interactions of ocean, sea ice and the atmosphere tend to make it self-sustaining. As the perennial ice retreats, it reflects less solar energy back into space. More energy is absorbed by the sea water, warming it. And as the ocean warms up, the year-round ice retreats even farther.

The new temperature data were gathered by NASA's infrared satellites, giving scientists their first comprehensive and reliable view of Arctic warming trends. Comiso said previous studies were limited by the scarcity of Arctic weather stations and the lack of long-term continuity in their records.

Some Arctic populations are already grappling with warming trend. Native people, seals and polar bears living along the Arctic Ocean have always used the perennial sea ice as a platform for hunting marine animals. As that platform retreats from the shore, they face a loss of access to their food supplies.

The broader expanses of open water exposed to Arctic winds in summer are also creating stronger surf. "That effect, cou pled with other effects such as melting permafrost, are creating a really serious coastal erosion problem," said Michael Steele, an oceanographer at the University of Washington in Seattle. Some coastal communities have been forced to move inland.

Towns and cities built on permafrost are seeing damage to buildings and utilities as the soil thaws.

"Changes in the Arctic actually have big implications elsewhere, including here in the continental United States," said David H. Rind, of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

But a total loss of Arctic sea ice could alter U.S. temperature and rainfall. For example, Rind said, computer models suggest Kansas could see a 4-degree increase in winter temperatures and a 40 percent reduction in snow cover. Some might welcome that, but it would reduce winter wheat crops and dry the soil.

Melting Arctic permafrost will release trapped carbon dioxode and methane - - both gases that contribute to global warming.

Arctic warming could also shift ocean circulation patterns, displace fisheries and melt glaciers in coastal Greenland, accelerating the rise in global sea levels, scientists say.

The most important message from the new findings on Arctic temperature increases, said Rind, is that global warming "is happening now."

"We can't afford to wait for long periods of time for technical solutions," he said. "Change is in the air, literally."

Senate Rejects Global Warming Measure
Thursday October 30, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate voted on Thusday 55-43 to reject a plan to curb global warming,

Proponents said global warming is a real phenomenon, and tackling it head-on will help the economy in the long run. But the White House and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the bill's biggest opponent, said the measure would eliminate jobs and drive up electricity prices.

``The science underlying this bill has been repudiated, the economic costs are far too high, and the environmental benefits are nonexistent,'' said Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

One of President Bush's first environmental decisions after taking office in 2001 was to reverse a campaign pledge to regulate industrial carbon dioxide emissions. He also withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto treaty, which was signed in 1997 by Vice President Al Gore but never ratified by the Senate. The treaty has not yet been implemented because not enough countries have ratified it. United States Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) said, "The world might be better off with global warming", "CO2 is a fertilizer, we need to be producing more of it, not less."


Although Republicans are not concerned about global warming, they do support a war against Satan:

Conservatives Back General in Fight Against Satan

Oct. 20, 2003
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Religious conservatives in Congress are defending a Pentagon general who referred to the war on terror as a Christian fight against Satan.

In remarks many consider demeaning to Islam, Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has told church audiences his mission is "a battle with Satan." The struggle, Boykin said, is "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan."

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., drafted a letter Monday asking Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld not to discipline Boykin, saying that elected officials and military leaders have talked about God and spiritual matters throughout U.S. history.

"As elected officials serving in the United States Congress, we recognize the vital importance our personal faiths play in helping us make decisions," Tiahrt wrote. "We ask that any actions taken in response to Lt. Gen. Boykin's remarks not, in any way, intimidate the free religious exercise of his faith."

Boykin, a three-star general, is deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. He's also told audiences that President Bush is in the White House "because God put him there for a time such as this," and he once said after a 1993 battle with a Muslim warlord in Somalia, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war
Knight Ridder Newspapers Oct. 02, 2003

A majority of Americans have held at least one of three mistaken impressions about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to a new study released Thursday, and those misperceptions contributed to much of the popular support for the war.

The three common mistaken impressions are that:

  • U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

  • There's clear evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein worked closely with the Sept. 11 terrorists.

  • People in foreign countries generally either backed the U.S.-led war or were evenly split between supporting and opposing it.

    Overall, 60 percent of Americans held at least one of those views in polls reported between January and September by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, based at the University of Maryland in College Park, and the polling firm, Knowledge Networks based in Menlo Park, Calif.

    "While we cannot assert that these misperceptions created the support for going to war with Iraq, it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions," said Steven Kull, who directs Maryland's program.

    In fact, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. U.S. intelligence has found no clear evidence that Saddam was working closely with al-Qaida or was involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Gallup polls found large majorities opposed to the war in most countries.

    PIPA's seven polls, which included 9,611 respondents, had a margin of error from 2 to 3.5 percent.

    The analysis released Thursday also correlated the misperceptions with the primary news source of the mistaken respondents. For example, 80 percent of those who said they relied on Fox News and 71 percent of those who said they relied on CBS believed at least one of the three misperceptions.

    The comparable figures were 47 percent for those who said they relied most on newspapers and magazines and 23 percent for those who said they relied on PBS or National Public Radio.

    The reasons for the misperceptions are numerous, Kull and other analysts said.

    They noted that the Bush administration had misstated or exaggerated some of the intelligence findings, with Bush himself saying in May: "We found the weapons of mass destruction … and we'll find more as time goes by."

    The Bush administration has also been a factor in persistent confusion.

    Last month, for example, Bush said there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the Sept. 11 attack after Vice President Dick Cheney suggested a link. Cheney, in a "Meet the Press" interview, had described Iraq as "the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9-11."

    Why some news audiences had more accurate impressions than others was less clear.

    Kull cited instances in which TV and newspapers gave prominent coverage to reports that banned weapons might have been found in Iraq, but only modest coverage when those reports turned out to be wrong.

    Susan Moeller, a University of Maryland professor, said that much reporting had consisted of "stenographic coverage of government statements," with less attention to whether the government's statements were accurate.

    The study found that belief in inaccurate information often persisted, and that misconceptions were much more likely among backers of the war. Last month, as in June, for example, nearly a quarter of those polled thought banned weapons had been found in Iraq. Nearly half thought in September that there was clear evidence that Saddam had worked closely with al-Qaida.

    Among those with one of the three misconceptions, 53 percent supported the war. Among those with two, 78 percent supported it. Among those with three, 86 percent backed it. By contrast, less than a quarter of those polled who had none of the misconceptions backed the war.

    To review the study, go to http://www.pipa.org

    God help America

    US law insists on the separation of church and state. So why does religion now govern?

    Gary Younge
    Monday August 25, 2003
    The Guardian


    Montgomery, Alabama, is no stranger to stand-offs. The gold star embedded into the marble at the front of the state capitol marks the spot where Jefferson Davis stamped his foot and declared an independent Confederacy and where former governor George Wallace promised "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". From that very point you can make out the bus stop where Rosa Parks took her seat and the church where Martin Luther King made his stand, launching the bus boycott that sparked a decade of civil rights protest.

    Stand on the star today and you can witness the city's latest confrontation as the Alabama supreme court house plays host to prayer circles and television trucks in a showdown between the state's most senior judge and the country's highest court.

    This particular dispute is cast in stone. Two-and-a-half tonnes of granite, displaying the 10 commandments, which was placed in the rotunda of the courthouse two years ago by Alabama's chief justice, Roy Moore. The US supreme court told him to remove the monument, which violates the separation of church and state. Moore refused, saying that Christianity forms the bedrock of the American constitution and his conscience.

    Since the deadline passed at midnight on Wednesday, Christian activists have descended on the town from all over the country, keeping a 24-hour watch to make sure the monument is not moved and establishing phone trees to rally the faithful if it is. Many have T-shirts with slogans every bit as intolerant as the south's reputation. "Homosexuality is a sin, Islam is a lie, abortion is murder," says one. (It is difficult to imagine how many more people you could offend on one piece of summerwear.)

    They appear as dotty as they do devout and determined. "What you're watching is that the socialist, communist elements are attempting to push out God from the public domain," Gene Chapman, a minister from Dallas, told the Montgomery Advertiser. Those subversive elements include the national rightwing Christian coalition and the seven southern, Republican judges.

    On Thursday afternoon, Moore vowed his undying opposition to the removal of the commandments; by Friday he had been suspended and his lawyers announced he was prepared to relent. Yesterday, the monument was still there and the crowds of believers kept coming, determined to martyr themselves before a lost cause.

    It would be easy to deride the defenders of the monument or to dismiss the whole charade as the latest illustration of the scale of degradation in America's political culture. However, Britons would do well to remove the mote in their own eye before resorting to ridicule. The only reason America can have these disputes is that it has a constitution that separates church and state (which we don't).

    For, while the spectacle is certainly ridiculous, its symbolism is significant. The US is at one and the same time one of the most fiercely secular and aggressively religious countries in the western world. The nation's two most sacred texts are the constitution and the Bible. And when those who interpret them disagree, the consequent confusion resonates way beyond Montgomery.

    This is a country where 11 states, including Alabama, refuse to give government money to students who major in theology because it would violate the constitution, and where nativity plays are not allowed in primary schools. It is also a country where, a Harris poll showed, 94% of adults believe in God, 86% believe in miracles, 89% believe in heaven, and 73% believe in the devil and hell.

    These two competing tendencies produce some striking contradictions. The supreme court and both houses of Congress all invoke God's blessing before they start work. But children are not allowed to say the words "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag at the start of school.

    So while there is a constitutional, albeit contested, barrier between church and state, there is almost no distinction between church and politics. Indeed, when it comes to elections, religion is the primary galvanising force and the church the central mobilising vehicle.

    This is one of the few truths that transcends both race and class. White evangelicals and black Protestants are the two groups most likely to say that their religion shapes their votes at least occasionally, according to a survey by the non-partisan Pew research centre. Since these two constituencies form the cornerstone of both major parties, it would be impossible for either to win an election without them and inconceivable that they could do so without the support of the church.

    But the influence of religion goes beyond domestic politics or social issues such as abortion and gay rights to crucial areas of foreign policy. Another Pew poll revealed that 48% of Americans think the US has had special protection from God for most of its history. Moreover, 44% believe that God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people, while 36% think that "the state of Israel is a fulfilment of the biblical prophecy about the second coming of Jesus".

    At this point America's internal contradictions become an issue on the world stage: the nation that poses as the guardian of global secularity is itself dominated by strong fundamentalist instincts. There are two problems with this. The first is that, as became clear in Montgomery last week, there is no arguing with faith. Fundamentalists deal with absolutes. Their eternal certainties make them formidable campaigners and awful negotiators - it is difficult to cut a bargain with divine truth.

    The second is that America's religiosity is not something it shares with even its few western allies, let alone the many countries that oppose its current path. Yet another poll shows that among countries where people believe religion to be very important, America's views are closer to Pakistan's and Nigeria's than to France's or Germany's.

    These differences go all the way to the top and explain much of the reason why the tone, style, language and content of America's foreign policy has been so out of kilter with the rest of the developed world, particularly since September 11. For these fundamentalist tendencies in US diplomacy have rarely been stronger in the White House than they are today. Since George Bush gave up Jack Daniels for Jesus Christ, he has counted Jesus as his favourite philosopher. The first thing he reads in the morning is not a briefing paper but a book of evangelical mini- sermons. When it came to casting the morality play for the war on terror he went straight to the Bible and came out with evil. "He reached right into the psalms for that word," said his former speech writer, David Frum.

    Bush speaks in the name of the founding fathers but believes he is doing the work of the holy father. He cannot do both and condemn fundamentalism. But if he feels he must try, he might start with the sixth commandment: "Thou shalt not kill."

    Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan
    President of the United States of America, George W. Bush


    (Photo by Agence France-Presse)

    "You can fool some of the people all of the time and those are the ones you want to concentrate on."
    - President Bush, speaking at the Gridiron Dinner, Washington, DC March 31, 2001

    Partial list of Bush regime lies about Iraq,
    UPDATED August 25, 2003 - Several more lies revealed

    "According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East." - Read the entire article: Haaretz, Jerusalam,

    From JVIM, Jack Van Impe Ministries , August 11, 2003

    Q: Do you think that President Bush, apparently a Christian man, believes and knows he is involved in prophetic events concerning the Middle East and final battle between good and evil?

    A: I believe he is a wonderful man. They say he is a prayer warrior. He was born again through Billy Graham's visit a few years ago when he was having problems with alcohol.

    I am not sure whether he knows all of the prophecies and how deep of a student he has been in God's Word, but I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September, but it’s in his hands. He will know exactly what is going to happen in the Middle East and what part he will have under the leading of the Holy Spirit of God"
    - Dr. Jack Van Impe.the man known as the "Walking Bible" and "one of the world's foremost prophetic scholars"

    Watch "Jack Van Impe Presents" online | Jack Van Impe "end-time prophecy" movies.

    Bush Defends Intelligence As 'Darn Good'
    July 14, 2003 Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - President Bush defended the quality of intelligence he receives as "darn good".

    (Too bad the intelligence wasn't "damn good". You'd think "damn good" would be the minimum standard required to start a war.)

    Not just warmer: it's the hottest for 2,000 years
    Widest study yet backs fears over carbon dioxide

    Monday September 1, 2003
    The Guardian

    The earth is warmer now than it has been at any time in the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive study of climatic history has revealed. Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to sceptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity.

    Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

    The study reinforces recent conclusions published by the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC). Scientists on the panel looked at temperature data from up to 1,000 years ago and found that the late 20th century was the warmest period on record. - Entire article


    Tuesday, June 24, 2003

    The Burning Bush Bush aide Tim Goeglein recently told the Christian-right magazine World: "I think President Bush is God's man at this hour, and I say this with a great sense of humility."

    'Bring Them On,' Bush Says to Iraq Attacks
    July 2, 2003

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bush told reporters at the White House: "My answer is bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."


    The Bushist regime was warned before the war that an invasion of Iraq would increase terrorism:

    CIA veterans' warning on Iraq war
    Published 2/9/2003 UPI article

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- CIA veterans have warned the Bush administration not to go to war against Iraq, saying that doing so would further widen the divide between the Western and Islamic worlds and increase the incidence of terrorism.

    In a statement sent to media organizations earlier this week, the retired CIA officials also referred to an agency assessment report last fall, which, they said, opposed a military offensive against Iraq.

    They urged the Bush administration to "re-read" the CIA report that pointed out: "The forces fueling hatred of the United States and fueling al Qaida recruiting are not being addressed" and that "the underlying causes that drive terrorists will persist."

    That CIA report cited a Gallup poll last year of almost 10,000 Muslims in nine countries, in which respondents described the United States as "ruthless, aggressive, conceited, arrogant, easily provoked and biased."

    Terrorism, the CIA veterans said, is like malaria. "You don't eliminate malaria by killing the flies. Rather you must drain the swamp. With an invasion of Iraq, the world can expect to be swamped with swamps breeding terrorists. In human terms, your daughters are unlikely to be able to travel abroad in future years without a phalanx of security personnel."

    Challenging the perception that Iraq is a grave threat to the United States, the veterans urged the administration to reconsider its Iraq policy, as presenting Iraq as a threat to the world's only superpower did not sound very convincing.

    The veterans refer to an Oct. 7, 2002 letter the CIA sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee in which the agency said that the probability is low that Iraq would initiate an attack with weapons of mass destruction or give them to terrorists. That was so unless: "Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would be come much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions."

    They added: "It is our view that an invasion of Iraq would ensure overflowing recruitment centers for terrorists into the indefinite future. Far from eliminating the threat, it would enhance it exponentially."

    Study: Another 9-11-Style Attack Likely
    August 17, 2003 Associated Press

    LONDON - The London-based World Markets Research Center ranked Colombia, Israel, Pakistan, the United States and the Philippines, in descending order, as the five countries most likely to be targeted in a terrorist attack in the next 12 months, Guy Dunn, author of the company's World Terrorism Index, said in a telephone interview.

    "Another Sept. 11-style terrorist attack in the United States is highly likely," the report states. "Networks of militant Islamist groups are less extensive in the U.S. than they are in Western Europe, but U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has exacerbated anti-U.S. sentiment."

    "We will rise up and fight the Americans. We have just moved from one dictatorship to another."

    Chaos reigns in Afghanistan

    The Vested Owl, taking a look at U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world

    "We are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or, if necessary, kill them until we have imposed law and order upon this country," - U.S. Viceroy Paul Bremer



    'People are taking potshots at us,'' said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Kenneth Molina,'There are a lot of bad guys here."

    "U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here, I say that seriously. We have no business being here... All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks." - 43 year old reservist from Pittsburgh with the 307th Military Police Company, Washington Post, July 1, 2003

    Pentagon Hides True Gulf War Casualty Count
    CNN Survey: 94% Say Bush's Iraq War a "Quagmire"
    Pentagon Conceals Experimental Vaccine-Related Deaths
    "Gulf War II" Pneumonia Affecting More Than 100 US Soldiers
    US army admits Iraq suicides
    Many Deaths Left Out of Iraq Story

    Cheney's ENERGY task was looking at Iraqi oilfields

    Judicial Watch reports that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, as a result of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts." The documents are dated March, 2001, 6 months before 9/11/2001.

    The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates documents likewise feature a map of each country's oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.


    The evil, lying, larcenous Big Oil robber baron regime hates our freedoms: Published: Thursday, July 3, 2003

    Village Voices
    By Carol Henderson

    Imagine this: A true story

    You're a young man standing in line at Caribou Coffee waiting to buy your pre-work morning cup of java, minding your own business. You get your coffee and head to work. It's a day, like any other.

    Three days later, your mother calls you at your job. "The FBI are here looking for you," she says. You assume she's joking though she's not exactly the funny type.

    Turns out, she's dead serious. But it must be a mistake. Or that somebody you know is under consideration for a government job and they've put you down as a reference. That's it.

    Minutes later, two looming beefy guys show up at the independent bookstore where you work and produce their badges. They want to sit down and talk with you. After reassuring you several times that "you're not in trouble," the guys make it very clear that it's YOU they want to question.

    Now, you're beginning to sweat. Me? You say to yourself. I haven't done anything that I know of. But they know a lot about you. They know the car you drive and that you buy morning coffee at Caribou. They want to know if you saw anybody suspicious on a particular morning. Phew. They're looking for somebody else. That's it. When you tell them no, they still probe. Did you have anything with you that morning?

    A cell phone, maybe, you volunteer. The guys aren't happy with this answer. They ask if you were reading something. You think, Well probably. They ask what? You can't remember. You're always reading something.

    One of the guys finally levels with you: Someone in Caribou Coffee told them you were reading something "suspicious" and called the FBI.

    Gulp. You can't remember what you were reading. Maybe it was an article your dad had printed off the Internet.

    The guys want more. Title, author, content. But you read a lot of this stuff and can't remember. They search your car looking for it. No luck. You think maybe you threw it out at work. They search the trash. No luck. You can't remember details. You call your dad at work, the agents watching. Your dad freaks, knowing FBI agents are questioning you. He can't remember either.

    You shrug. Can't find it. Can't remember what it was about. The lead agent pulls out his card and tells you to call if you remember anything. They leave. You phone your dad again, and finally the two of you piece it together. You were reading a downloaded article called "Weapons of Mass Stupidity" by columnist Hal Crowther, about how Fox News and other corporate behemoths have contaminated mass media and about how stupid people are to believe this shrill brand of so-called "reporting."

    You call the agent and leave a message, telling him some of this. You want to know, Was somebody in line at Caribou reading over your shoulder? One of your co-workers is actually pleased the FBI takes this kind of thing seriously. What kind of thing? you wonder. Reading? Turning in fellow Americans for what they're reading? Sounds like the McCarthy era all over again. But this really happened, right here where we live.

    Here's what you don't realize. You're lucky. Under the Patriot Act, a sweeping violation of privacy and human rights that was rammed through Congress six weeks after 9/11, the Feds could have locked you up until the War on Terror was over -- whenever that will be -- and not even tell your parents where you are.

    Sounds like totalitarianism, doesn't it? Why are Democrats and moderate Republicans afraid to speak up? Maybe it's because they know that in this new Big Brother climate, everything is fair game. Their e-mails. Their phone calls. Sites they visit. Their privacy.

    Will my computer be bugged for researching this column? Maybe. It's legal now.

    Just yesterday I heard a report about how community- minded, business-owning Pakistanis are leaving America in droves because, as one businessman put it, I never know when the government is going to come in and freeze my assets and detain me. People are disappearing. It's not safe to live in America anymore.

    I think of lines from "The Second Coming," a poem by W.B Yeats, written during the ominous pre-World War II years:

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst

    Are full of passionate intensity.

    And we're celebrating Independence Day?

    Carol Henderson teaches journal writing at the ArtsCenter and is program coordinator at the N.C. Writers' Network.

    A Kind of Fascism Is Replacing Our Democracy

    By Sheldon S. Wolin

    Sheldon S. Wolin is emeritus professor of politics at Princeton University and the author of "Politics and Vision: The Presence of the Past" and "Alexis de Tocqueville: Between Two Worlds."

    July 18, 2003

    Sept. 11, 2001, hastened a significant shift in our nation's self-understanding. It became commonplace to refer to an "American empire" and to the United States as "the world's only superpower."

    Instead of those formulations, try to conceive of ones like "superpower democracy" or "imperial democracy," and they seem not only contradictory but opposed to basic assumptions that Americans hold about their political system and their place within it. Supposedly ours is a government of constitutionally limited powers in which equal citizens can take part in power. But one can no more assume that a superpower welcomes legal limits than believe that an empire finds democratic participation congenial.

    No administration before George W. Bush's ever claimed such sweeping powers for an enterprise as vaguely defined as the "war against terrorism" and the "axis of evil." Nor has one begun to consume such an enormous amount of the nation's resources for a mission whose end would be difficult to recognize even if achieved.

    Like previous forms of totalitarianism, the Bush administration boasts a reckless unilateralism that believes the United States can demand unquestioning support, on terms it dictates; ignores treaties and violates international law at will; invades other countries without provocation; and incarcerates persons indefinitely without charging them with a crime or allowing access to counsel.

    Americans are now facing a grim situation with no easy solution. Perhaps the just-passed anniversary of the Declaration of Independence might remind us that "whenever any form of Government becomes destructive ..." it must be challenged. - Entire article

    Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

    Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve

    Julian Borger in Washington
    Wednesday August 13, 2003
    The Guardian


    A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

    As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

    All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".

    Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

    The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

    "This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

    One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

    The authors, presumably aware of the outrage they were likely to trigger, added a disclaimer that their study "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false".

    Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

    Special report
    United States of America


    The Lingering Effects of Exxon Valdez
    Dec.19, 2003 - Los Angeles Times
    By Kenneth R. Weiss, Times Staff Writer

    Hidden pools of oil left over from the Exxon Valdez spill 14 years ago continued to damage the Alaskan coastal environment for a decade, killing pink salmon eggs and retarding the population growth of sea otters, harlequin ducks and other wildlife, a new study says.

    The 14-year study published today in the journal Science points out that the effects of the 11-million gallon spill into Prince William Sound extended well beyond the initial deaths of 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 otters and 300 harbor seals.

    The residual oil became particularly toxic and continued to harm the coastal environment for far longer than expected, the study said. These oily pockets are still tucked beneath boulders or buried below gravel and mussel beds and have escaped sunlight, oxygen and waves that normally would break them down, researchers say.

    "Because the Exxon Valdez spill happened in a biological wonderland of sea otters and harlequin ducks, there has been a huge amount of research," said Charles H. Peterson, the paper's lead author and a University of North Carolina marine biologist. "Things we have dismissed as sub-lethal effects actually translate into significant decline in wildlife."

    For instance, the study compared the recovery of sea otters on the heavily oiled shores of northern Knight Island with another island in the region that was not coated during the catastrophic spill. The population of sea otters that forages around Knight Island remains half of what it was before the spill, while the population at the other island doubled from 1995 to 1998.

    Otters suffer chronic exposure to toxic oil residue by eating contaminated clams and by digging around with their paws into contaminated sandy ocean bottoms, according to the study.

    Written by seven university and government scientists, the report was attacked as a bunch of "cartoon depictions" by Exxon Mobil Corp. officials before its release.

    The study, which included representatives of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, notes that "disagreements exist" between scientists funded by Exxon and those funded by the government.

    "Nevertheless," the study's authors wrote, "these uncertainties do little to diminish the general conclusions: oil persisted beyond a decade in surprising amounts and in toxic forms and had long-term impacts at the population level."

    The study focused on harlequin ducks, because they are known to remain true to particular stretches of coastline and feed largely on snails and clams. The authors found that far more adult females died during the winters of 1995 to 1998 on shores that had once been covered with oil than did female ducks on shorelines untouched by the spill. They also found evidence through a detoxification enzyme in the ducks' bloodstream that they were still showing signs of exposure nine years later.

    One particularly disturbing finding in the study was that partially weathered oil appeared to be more toxic to fish than when it was fresh.

    Combining lab experiments with field work, the scientists found that this highly toxic residual oil killed the embryos of pink salmon for at least four years after the spill. Pink salmon, which lay about half their eggs near the mouths of streams, are a key part of the food web in Alaska, including a prominent part of the diet for resident killer whales.

    "Oil is different over time," Peterson said. "The stuff that is left over is extremely toxic, even at very low levels."

    He said that when scientists assess the risks of spills in the future, they will have to give greater thought to the long-term effects, because oil's lasting toxicity can cause significant harm even in small amounts. Decades of devastation ahead as global warming melts the Alps

    A mountain of trouble as Matterhorn is rocked by avalanches

    Robin McKie, science editor
    Sunday July 20, 2003
    The Observer


    Mountain guide Victor Saunders and his companion Craig Higgins had reached the Solvay bivouac hut on the Matterhorn's Hornli ridge last week when their balmy morning climb turned into a nightmare.

    'An enormous avalanche hurtled down the mountain's east face,' said Saunders, one of Britain's leading climbers. 'I have never seen so much rock falling at one time.' The pair survived by cowering under an overhang as a rain of boulders ricocheted past them.

    It would have been a remarkable enough incident on its own. But within a couple of hours, another massive rockfall thundered down the Matterhorn - this time from its north face. 'Even then we still did not realise what kind of a day we were going to have,' said Saunders, for a mere hour later, distant thunder and billowing dust betrayed the triggering of yet another avalanche.

    In the end more than 70 climbers had to be hauled from the slopes of the Matterhorn, in Switzerland, on Monday - one of the biggest mass rescues in mountaineering history - as rockfalls battered its ridges and valleys. Those climbing its slopes could have been forgiven for thinking the crown jewel of the Alps had started falling apart under their feet.

    And they would not have been far wrong - for scientists now believe global warming is melting the Alps, threatening widespread devastation over the next two decades.

    The great mountain range's icy crust of permafrost, which holds its stone pillars and rockfaces together, and into which its cable car stations and pylons are rooted, is disappearing. Already several recent Alpine disasters, including the avalanches which killed more than 50 people at the Austrian resort of Galtur four years ago, are being blamed on the melting of permafrost.

    And in future, things are likely to get much worse - as scientists will point out tomorrow at the opening, in Zurich, of the International Permafrost Association conference. Held every four years, the meeting provides climatologists, civil engineers, and geologists with a chance to exchange research data about the icy layers that coat the ground in the world's coldest regions. Rarely has a scientific meeting been so timely.

    'I am quite sure what happened on the Matterhorn last week was the result of the Alps losing its permafrost,' said civil engineer Professor Michael Davies of Dundee University, and a conference organiser.

    'We have found that the ground temperature in the Alps around the Matterhorn has risen considerably over the past decade. The ice that holds mountain slopes and rock faces together is simply disappearing. At this rate, it will vanish completely - with profound consequences.'

    Part of the problem, engineers and geologists have discovered, is that air temperature increases - the result of climate change - are being magnified fivefold underground. A test borehole, dug in Murtel in southern Switzerland, has revealed that frozen sub-surface soils has warmed by more than a degree Celsius since 1990. In addition to general air temperature rises that are heating up the ground, increased evaporation caused by warmer summers is also triggering thicker falls of snow which insulate the soil and keep it warm in winter.

    The trouble is not just that ice is disappearing, however. Research by Davies - to be outlined this week at the Zurich conference - has discovered that ice as it warms, but before it actually melts, may actually be more unstable than ice that is turning into water. The key to this work has been Davies's work with a seven-metre centrifuge in his laboratory. 'When you spin things round very quickly, you create very powerful gravitational fields, and when you place objects in these fields the effects of gravity are speeded up,' he said. 'We have built model slopes and peaks and put them in our centrifuge to study what happens when soil and rock is warmed up and the permafrost, which holds the ground together, is degraded. Essentially, we are simulating landslides.'

    The aim is to find out how to spot early signs of the imminent collapse of buildings and valleys, he said. 'Cracks and strains, the first evidence that cable stations and other buildings are under threat, may be easy to spot. This gives engineers an opportunity to put things right.'

    That is the theory. The abrupt disintegration of the Matterhorn last week reveals how tricky life in the Alps - one of the world's top tourist destinations - is going to be. As Davies said: 'We are going to see a lot more of this sort of devastation.'



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    "Learning to Be Stupid in the Culture of Cash"

    By Luciana Bohne

    You might think that reading about a Podunk University's English teacher's attempt to connect the dots between the poverty of American education and the gullibility of the American public may be a little trivial, considering we've embarked on the first, openly-confessed imperial adventure of senescent capitalism in the US, but bear with me. The question my experiences in the classroom raise is why have these young people been educated to such abysmal depths of ignorance.

    "I don't read," says a junior without the slightest self-consciousness. She has not the smallest hint that professing a habitual preference for not reading at a university is like bragging in ordinary life that one chooses not to breathe. She is in my "World Literature" class. She has to read novels by African, Latin American, and Asian authors. She is not there by choice: it's just a "distribution" requirement for graduation, and it's easier than philosophy -she thinks.

    The novel she has trouble reading is Isabel Allende's "Of Love and Shadows," set in the post-coup terror of Pinochet's junta's Nazi-style regime in Chile, 1973-1989. No one in the class, including the English majors, can write a focused essay of analysis, so I have to teach that. No one in the class knows where Chile is, so I make photocopies of general information from world guide surveys. No one knows what socialism or fascism is, so I spend time writing up digestible definitions. No one knows what Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" is, and I supply it because it's impossible to understand the theme of the novel without a basic knowledge of that work - which used to be required reading a few generations ago. And no one in the class has ever heard of 11 September 1973, the CIA-sponsored coup which terminated Chile's mature democracy. There is complete shock when I supply US de-classified documents proving US collusion with the generals' coup and the assassination of elected president, Salvador Allende.

    Geography, history, philosophy, and political science - all missing from their preparation. I realize that my students are, in fact, the oppressed, as Paulo Freire's "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed" pointed out, and that they are paying for their own oppression. So, I patiently explain: no, our government has not been the friend of democracy in Chile; yes, our government did fund both the coup and the junta torture-machine; yes, the same goes for most of Latin America. Then, one student asks, "Why?" Well, I say, the CIA and the corporations run roughshod over the world in part because of the ignorance of the people of the United States, which apparently is induced by formal education, reinforced by the media, and cheered by Hollywood. As the more people read, the less they know and the more indoctrinated they become, you get this national enabling stupidity to attain which they go into bottomless pools of debt. If it weren't tragic, it would be funny.

    Meanwhile, this expensive stupidity facilitates US funding of the bloody work of death squads, juntas, and terror regimes abroad. It permits the war we are waging - an unfair, illegal, unjust, illogical, and expensive war, which announces to the world the failure of our intelligence and, by the way, the creeping weakness of our economic system. Every man, woman, and child killed by a bomb, bullet, famine, or polluted water is a murder - and a war crime. And it signals the impotence of American education to produce brains equipped with the bare necessities for democratic survival: analyzing and asking questions.

    Let me put it succinctly: I don't think serious education is possible in America. Anything you touch in the annals of knowledge is a foe of this system of commerce and profit, run amok. The only education that can be permitted is if it acculturates to the status quo, as happens in the expensive schools, or if it produces people to police and enforce the status quo, as in the state school where I teach. Significantly, at my school, which is a third-tier university, servicing working-class, first-generation college graduates who enter lower-echelon jobs in the civil service, education, or middle management, the favored academic concentrations are communications, criminal justice, and social work--basically how to mystify, cage, and control the masses.

    This education is a vast waste of the resources and potential of the young. It is boring beyond belief and useless--except to the powers and interests that depend on it. When A Ukranian student, a three-week arrival on these shores, writes the best-organized and most profound essay in English of the class, American education has something to answer for--especially to our youth.

    But the detritus and debris that American education has become is both planned and instrumental. It's why our media succeeds in telling lies. It's why our secretary of state can quote from a graduate-student paper, claiming confidently that the stolen data came from the highest intelligence sources. It's why Picasso's "Guernica" can be covered up during his preposterous "report" to the UN without anyone guessing the political significance of this gesture and the fascist sensibility that it protects.

    Cultural fascism manifests itself in an aversion to thought and cultural refinement. "When I hear the word 'culture,'" Goebbels said, "I reach for my revolver." One of the infamous and telling reforms the Pinochet regime implemented was educational reform. The basic goal was to end the university's role as a source of social criticism and political opposition. The order came to dismantle the departments of philosophy, social and political science, humanities and the arts--areas in which political discussions were likely to occur. The universities were ordered to issue degrees only in business management, computer programming, engineering, medicine and dentistry - vocational training schools, which in reality is what American education has come to resemble, at least at the level of mass education. Our students can graduate without ever touching a foreign language, philosophy, elements of any science, music or art, history, and political science, or economics. In fact, our students learn to live in an electoral democracy devoid of politics - a feature the dwindling crowds at the voting booths well illustrate.

    The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote that, in the rapacity that the industrial revolution created, people first surrendered their minds or the capacity to reason, then their hearts or the capacity to empathize, until all that was left of the original human equipment was the senses or their selfish demands for gratification. At that point, humans entered the stage of market commodities and market consumers--one more thing in the commercial landscape. Without minds or hearts, they are instrumentalized to buy whatever deadens their clamoring and frightened senses--official lies, immoral wars, Barbies, and bankrupt educations.

    Meanwhile, in my state, the governor has ordered a 10% cut across the board for all departments in the state - including education.

    Luciana Bohne teaches film and literature at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

    Amazon Destruction Jumps, Shocks Environmentalists
    June 26, 2003

    BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) - The deforestation rate in Brazil's Amazon, the world's largest jungle, has jumped 40 percent, sparking alarm on Thursday among environmentalists and a promise by the government to launch emergency measures.

    "This is shocking," said Mario Monzoni, a project coordinator for Friends of the Earth group in Brazil. "The rate of deforestation should be falling, instead the opposite is happening."

    Preliminary figures from the Environment Ministry, released late on Wednesday, showed deforestation in the Amazon jumped to 9,840 square miles last year -- the highest since 1995 -- from 7,010 square miles in 2001.

    "We are going to take emergency action to deal with this highly worrying rise in deforestation," Environment Minister Marina Silva told reporters on Thursday, promising the announcement of measures next week. The area cut down was slightly smaller than Haiti.

    A former maid who comes from the Amazon, Silva said the government is considering real-time monitoring of deforestation and, for the first time in Brazil, to force all ministries to consider the environment when enacting policies.

    The Amazon, an area of continuous tropical forest that is larger than Western Europe, has been described as the "lungs of the world" because of its vast capacity to produce oxygen.

    Environmentalists fear its destruction because it is home to up to 30 percent of the planet's animal and plant species and is an important source of medicines.

    Most of the deforestation takes place due to burning and logging to create farms, and the jump in 2002 suggests soy farming is growing rapidly in the area.

    "It was a long, dry season, but the deforestation figures are at least 30 or 40 percent higher than historical trends," said David Cleary, director of the Amazon program at the Nature Conservancy in Brazil.

    Because of the size of the Amazon it is virtually impossible to control deforestation, which is carried out by farmers, illegal loggers and miners. The poor are often drawn to the Amazon from other parts of Brazil and take part in illegal logging which is extremely lucrative, especially in the trade of rare tropical timber species like mahogany.

    Richest's Share of Income Grew Bigger (NY Times) - June 27, 2003 - The 400 wealthiest taxpayers accounted for more than 1 percent of all the income in the United States in the year 2000, more than double their share just eight years earlier, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. But their tax burden plummeted over the period. The data, in a report that the I.R.S. released last night, shows that the average income of the 400 wealthiest taxpayers was almost $174 million in 2000. That was nearly quadruple the $46.8 million average in 1992.

    Critic Accuses Media of Aiding U.S. War Propaganda
    Thu May 1, 2003 ET
    By David Morgan

    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - It is one of the most famous images of the war in Iraq: a U.S. soldier scaling a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and draping the Stars and Stripes over the black metal visage of the ousted despot.

    But for Harper's magazine publisher John MacArthur, that same image of U.S. military victory is also indicative of a propaganda campaign being waged by the Bush administration.

    "It was absolutely a photo-op created for (U.S. President George W.) Bush's re-election campaign commercials," MacArthur, a self-appointed authority on U.S. government propaganda, said in an interview. "CNN, MSNBC and Fox swallowed it whole."

    In 1992, MacArthur wrote "Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War," a withering critique of government and media actions that he says misled the public after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

    In MacArthur's opinion, little has changed during the latest Iraq war, prompting him to begin work on an updated edition of "Second Front." U.S. government public relations specialists are still concocting bogus stories to serve government interests, he says, and credulous journalists stand ready to scarf up the baloney.

    "The concept of a self-governing American republic has been crippled by this propaganda," MacArthur said. "The whole idea that we can govern ourselves and have an intelligent debate, free of cant, free of disinformation, I think it's dead."

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied the existence of any administration propaganda campaign and predicted the American public would reject such notions as ridiculous.

    In fact, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that Americans were happy with Iraq war coverage, though many wanted less news coverage of anti-war activism and fewer TV appearances by former military officers.

    But MacArthur insists that both Gulf wars have been marked by phony tales calculated to deceive public opinion at crucial junctures.

    BABIES AND BOMBS

    On the eve of the 1991 Gulf War, Americans were asked to believe that Iraqi soldiers tossed Kuwaiti infants from hospital incubators, leaving them to die. Not true, he says.

    This time, MacArthur says the Bush administration made false claims about Iraqi nuclear weapons, charging Baghdad was trying to import aluminum tubes to make enriched uranium and that the country was six months from building a warhead.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency found those tubes were for artillery rockets, not nuclear weapons. And MacArthur says a supposed IAEA report, on which the White House based claims about Iraqi weapons-making ability, did not exist.

    "What's changed is that there's no shame anymore in doing it directly," MacArthur, 46, said of what he views as blatant White House and Pentagon propaganda campaigns.

    Cynthia Kennard, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, said the Bush administration has mastered the art of building favorable public images and shaping messages to suit its own interests.

    "It's put the journalism profession in somewhat of a paralysis," said Kennard, a former CBS correspondent who covered the 1991 Gulf War. "This is not a particularly glowing moment for tough questions and enterprise reporting."

    As Harper's publisher, MacArthur oversees a 153-year-old political and literary magazine he helped save from financial ruin 20 years ago with money from the foundation named for his billionaire grandparents, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur.

    While MacArthur accuses news outlets generally of avoiding opposition stands, his own magazine has been vitriolic toward Bush, describing the president in its May issue as a leader who "counts his ignorance as a virtue and regards his lack of curiosity as a sign of moral strength."

    MURDOCH'S CIRCUS

    But MacArthur is not troubled by the thumping patriotism displayed by cable TV news outlets like Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, which leads CNN and MSNBC in viewer ratings.

    "All that means is that Murdoch knows how to run a circus better than anyone else. War and jingoism always sell. But the real damage was done by the high-brow press," MacArthur said.

    "On the propaganda side, the New York Times is more responsible for making the case for war than any other newspaper or any other news organization."

    He blames the Times for giving credence to Bush administration claims about the aluminum tubes. And when Bush cited a nonexistent IAEA report on Iraqi nukes, he says, it was the conservative Washington Times -- not the New York Times or Washington Post -- that wound up refuting the assertion.

    The New York Times also reported an Iraqi scientist told U.S. officials that Saddam destroyed chemical and biological equipment and sent weapons to Syria just before the war.

    The only trouble, MacArthur says, is that the Times did not speak to or name the scientist but agreed to delay the story, submit the text to government scrutiny and withhold details -- facts the Times acknowledged in its article. "You might as well just run a press release. Let the government write it. That's Pravda," he said.

    Times spokesman Toby Usnik dismissed MacArthur's claims regarding the Times' war coverage as a whole: "We believe we have covered the story from all sides and all angles."

    Fox had no comment on his remarks.

    Editors across the nation also worked hard to avoid the grisly images of war, especially scenes of dead Iraqi civilians and Americans, while Europeans saw uncensored horrific images.

    The Pentagon's decision to embed journalists with U.S. forces produced war footage that the 1991 war sorely lacked. But the coverage rarely rose to the standard MacArthur wanted.

    "Ninety percent of what we got was junk ... I think probably 5 or 10 percent of it was pretty good," he said.

    MacArthur says the character of the news media, and the government's attitude toward it, was best summed up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon "town hall" meeting.

    Asked by an audience member what could be done to reverse the media's "overwhelmingly negative" war coverage, Rumsfeld said: "You know, penalize the papers and the television ... that don't give good advice and reward those people that do give good advice."

    MacArthur said that translated as: "You punish the critics and you reward your friends. That's what he means. That's the standard currency of Washington journalism ... To show reality becomes unpatriotic, in effect."


    How the Evening Standard Doctored a Photo

    This photo appeared in the evening edition of the Evening Standard, Wednesday, April 9, 2003

    The front page had this photo on it with the heading 'Jubilation on the streets of Baghdad FREEDOM'

    The photo is a still taken from BBC News 24. This massive image has been very obviously doctored in a program such as Photoshop. The image features a massive crowd of Iraqi's celebrating in the streets, HOWEVER in the mid and background it is possible to see how numerous photo's have been cut and pasted together to create the illusion of there being a massive crowd present.

    In the background there is a white object (very possibly a turban) that appears three times. In the background exactly the same bent tubular object (possibly an arm in a white shirt) appears twice. In the mid to background section (to the right hand side) a man in a white shirt appears facing the camera, further on to the left the man appears with his head facing the left. This man has been photographed twice, one shortly after the other.

    In the background it is possible to see a 'blurring tool' has been used to blur the cut and pastes used to doctor the photograph. It is also possible to see the usage of numerous photographs (as least 2) as they have been taken at slightly different angles and strange lines of sight appear in the image.

    The repeated elements are circled, colors indicating the separate elements. Additionally the green line shows the obvious 'seam' there appears to be in the image where the entire area has been constructed as a composite of other elements. There is a definite repetition of one element on the right side too (purple), the elements that have been circled are those which are obvious and definitely matching.


    Saturday, April 12, 2003

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush evoked upbeat images of Iraqis celebrating their freedom from Saddam Hussein on Saturday even as looting and lawlessness swept through major cities and threatened humanitarian relief efforts. Bush made no reference to the rampant looting in his radio address.

    Recalling television pictures of a giant statue of the Iraqi president being toppled in the heart of Baghdad, Bush said the world this week witnessed a nation released from 24 years of iron rule by Saddam.

    The capture of Baghdad has boosted President George Bush's popularity at home, with a new Newsweek poll showing his popularity rating at 71 per cent.

    That is 18 percentage points higher than the 53 per cent approval rating he had on the eve of the war – the result, in part, of the poll's timing as television images were showing Saddam Hussein's statue brought down in central Baghdad to cheers from the crowd."

    Why wasn't this the shot that was seen around the world?

    Does the scene below look like the fall of the Berlin Wall?

    The area circled in red is where U.S. marines, the press, and a small group of Iraqis gathered to pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein. No more than 150 people were involved.
    The plaza was empty and sealed off by the Marines. It all occurred just opposite the Palestine Hotel where the international media are based. This was a carefully staged media event.
    The pro-American Iraqis involved were members of Ahmed Chalabi’s Free Iraq Forces Militia... recently flown into Iraq by the Pentagon. Chalabi is a Washington favorite to head the new government.
    The toppling of the statue was promoted as a massive uprising... does this event look massive to you?

    Above Left: Chalabi and his “Free Iraqi Forces” militia are flown into Nasiriyah by the Pentagon on Sunday April 8th. Above Right: Same miltia member seen with Chalabi contingient greets US Marines in center of Baghdad moments before Saddam's statue is pulled down on April 9th.

    "As people throughout Iraq celebrate the arrival of freedom, America celebrates with them," President Bush said, recalling the moment that symbolized U.S. victory -- a giant statue of the Iraqi president being toppled on Wednesday in the heart of Baghdad.

    See the huge crowd of Iraqi people celebrating:

    Another view, showing almost as many US Marines and reporters as Iraqis in the crowd:

    U.N. Human Rights Body Criticizes Israel
    April 15, 2003

    GENEVA - The United Nations' top human rights body overwhelmingly condemned Israel's human rights record on Tuesday, accusing the country of "mass killings of Palestinians" and a host of other violations.

    The United States, Israel's main ally, was alone in voting against all four resolutions. The American delegate said the criticism was one-sided and unfair.

    The resolutions came after impassioned arguments earlier in the commission's annual session, during which Palestinian delegate Nabil Ramlawi claimed Israel used methods of killing and torture that "were worse than the practices of Nazism." The comments sparked an outcry among Jewish groups.

    By a 50-1 vote, the commission passed a resolution put forward by European countries voicing "grave concern" because Israel has not halted settlements of Palestinian territory. It criticized restrictions on the movements of Palestinians and a barrier Israel is building to separate it from the Palestinian territories.

    Agence France Presse
    March 10, 2002

    According to Jerusalem police spokesman Kobi Zarhad, Salah was 'wearing an explosive belt on his stomach and detonator to his chest,' AFP said. Neither the belt nor the detonator could be seen in the pictures. According to the initial version given by the Israeli police, Salah was wearing a large overcoat and policemen opened fire when he refused to take it off, although the pictures clearly show that Salah was shot after being stripped of his clothes.

    Mohammed Salah was executed in the street without going on trial. His alleged crime was never proven and no evidence was submitted for any wrongdoing.

    4 Israeli Police Held in Youth's Death
    Friday Apr 18, 2003

    JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - In a case that prompted an outcry from human rights groups and Palestinians, four Israeli border police accused of killing a detained Palestinian youth were arrested Friday after a four-month investigation into the killing.

    The police allegedly detained 18-year-old Imran Abu Hamdia in the West Bank city of Hebron on Dec. 30 and dumped his body about an hour later, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said.

    An autopsy concluded he died from a sharp blow to the skull, the Haaretz newspaper said.

    Police spokesman Gil Kleiman confirmed arrests had been made.

    On the eve of war, military brass listened intently as Michael Drosnin expounded the Bible code

    Decoding Bible's 'cryptogram'
    Will Saddam Hussein be overthrown? Where is Osama bin Laden hiding? For answers, see the Good Book

    "Ron Csillag, National Post

    Among the hundreds of meetings and briefings that took place in the Pentagons bowels in the months leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, one earned the fleeting disdain of The New York Times, whose columnist, Bill Keller, sniffed that "several man-hours of valuable intelligence-crunching time" had been "consumed [by a writer] who claims -- I am not making this up -- that messages encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provide clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

    "Maybe were all a little too desperate these days for a simple formula to explain how our safe world came unhinged," Keller said.

    The gathering, which reportedly took place Feb. 21, was said to have been convened by Paul Wolfowitz, the hawkish U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence, and attended by 10 top military intelligence officials, including Vice Admiral Lowell "Jake" Jacoby, director of the massive Defense Intelligence Agency, and Wolfowitz's deputy, Linton Wells, who is in charge of the Pentagon's nerve centre, known as 3CI (Command, Control, Communications).

    On the eve of war, the military brass listened intently for a full hour as Michael Drosnin expounded on his two brisk-selling volumes on the Bible code.

    Drosnin argues the Hebrew Torah -- the first five books of the Old Testament -- were intentionally encrypted, by a higher power, with prophetic warnings that have accurately predicted the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Kennedy assassinations, the moon landing, Watergate, and 9/11 -- and foretell the fall of Saddam Hussein and the precise location of bin Laden.

    The Americans "took it very seriously," Drosnin says. "They're practical people and I wanted to give them something of practical use."

    As a result of the meeting, Drosnin says U.S. and Israeli intelligence forces are hot on bin Laden's trail in that very place the Bible mentions, "right as we speak." Of course, he would not divulge where that place is.

    As for Saddam Hussein, the Bible's embedded code ponders, "Who is destroyed?" and then, in the same matrix, answers, "Hussein," with the following number crossing his name: 5763, the Jewish year that corresponds to 2003. "That foretells the outcome of this conflict," Drosnin says confidently. "It might be obvious now, but it wasn't when I told them."

    It could be that the U.S. defence establishment is grasping at straws, or that more and more people in Washington are motivated by a White House that frequently invokes God and religious imagery. Drosnin discounts the religious angle.

    "This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."

    Drosnin is a secular Jew, a former police reporter for the Washington Post and former writer for The Wall Street Journal. To be sure, his books, The Bible Code (1997) and last year's sequel, Bible Code II: The Countdown have been used by various fundamentalists, prophets of doom and supermarket tabloids as sure signs the Good Book knows all and that the end is nigh. Detractors point out the code violates the Bible's own ban on soothsaying.


    Global warming evidence mounts
    Flurry of reports show a withering ice cap
    David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor
    Monday, December 23, 2002
    ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle

    From the tropics to the poles, evidence is growing stronger than ever that Earth's climate is warming dangerously.

    In the Arctic Ocean, floating masses of sea ice are shrinking and splitting apart, and the massive Greenland ice cap melted more this past summer than ever before. Meanwhile, warming ocean temperatures are endangering coral reefs in the tropics.

    At the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco earlier this month, a flurry of new reports examining evidence of global climate change all tell the same story.

    If the trends continue unchecked, scientists say, rising sea levels will drown coastlines. Droughts in some regions -- and increased rainfall in others -- will alter harvests drastically. And other climate disruptions will destabilize regional ecologies and global economies.

    Some of these alarming phenomena may be due to the natural climate variability that the planet has seen over millions of years. But most scientists agree, after years of debate, that humans and their addiction to fossil fuels are at least partly to blame.

    "It is humans who are clearly forcing the abrupt climate change we see right now," said Richard B. Alley of Pennsylvania State University, who recently chaired a National Research Council committee looking specifically at climate change.

    So-called greenhouse gases trap the sun's radiation much the way glass windows trap heat inside a home or a greenhouse. The most powerful of those gases is carbon dioxide, which comes primarily from burning fossil fuel, while other gases include methane, sulfur dioxide and ozone.

    THE BUSH REPORT

    A recent NRC report, which the Bush administration requested last year when scientists criticized the White House for its slow response to growing evidence of global warming, concluded that "human-induced warming" will continue through the 21st century.

    While it conceded great uncertainties in the many models of climate trends that experts have produced, the report predicted that the planet's climate would warm by 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the century's end due to human activity.

    Signs of the striking pace of that trend came in reports from many scientists who monitor the ice of the globe's far north.

    The Arctic's sea ice -- large masses of snow-covered ice that float everywhere around the polar latitudes -- usually covers 2.4 million square miles of the ocean north of Canada, Greenland and Russia in September, the height of the ice season.

    This past summer, however, measurements showed that the sea ice had decreased by nearly a half-million square miles. The flat ice floes left wider sections of open water between them and became extremely thin in many areas, reported Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

    It marked the most abrupt change in the ocean's ice cover that scientists monitoring the region have seen in 24 years, said Mark Serreze of the data center. Records kept by Icelandic fishermen indicate the cover may not have been so low for centuries.

    "I was really surprised by the change," Serreze said. "This was the craziest summer season I've ever seen up there."

    MELTING FASTER THAN EVER

    Equally ominous was a report by Konrad Steffen, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, on Greenland's vast ice cover, second only in size to Antarctica. It was melting faster this year across nearly 265,000 square miles than at any period in recorded history, Steffen said.

    The ice sheet is a mile and a half thick in some places. As meltwater from the surface seeps through crevices in the ice, it loosens the edges of the sheet and causes the ice to flow more swiftly to the sea, where it breaks off into icebergs.

    If the entire Greenland ice sheet were to completely melt -- admittedly an unlikely event, at least in the near future -- then scientists calculate that sea levels would rise by a globally disastrous 23 feet.

    Steffen had a firsthand experience of the dangers of melting ice. He and his colleagues were camped on the normally hard-frozen Greenland ice last June when their camp and equipment were flooded under a foot of meltwater and they had to be rescued by helicopter.

    The high Arctic is by no means the only part of the world where climate change is becoming more dramatic. Scientists are equally concerned about the impact of changes on tropical oceans.

    KILLING CORAL

    Coral reefs are living creatures. As they die, their calcite skeletons build up the reefs over millions of years. They are a crucial part of the world's marine ecosystems, vital to the productivity of many tropical fisheries.

    Most reefs are in shallow waters near continental and island coasts, where human-caused destruction is widespread from coastal pollution, from tourists trampling the reef organisms, from fishermen ravaging them, and from the hulls of ships grinding over them.

    But five years ago, the corals in many parts of the world were afflicted by a mysterious episode of bleaching that slowed their growth and in many regions killed them outright. Researchers note that the bleaching has coincided with increasing ocean temperatures.

    "There is growing agreement that doubling of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means a 15 percent decline in the coral population," said Robert W. Buddemeier, a senior chemist with the Kansas Geological Survey, who has studied the impact of climate change on coral reefs.

    "By the end of the century, with the effects of increasing levels of carbon dioxide on temperature and on ocean chemistry, the corals will be in the worst shape we've seen in the past 50 million years. Things are really dicey," he added.

    NO TOUGH MEASURES

    The growing evidence of damage from climate change has goaded the Bush administration to push its own research program, although the president does not support any tough measures to control greenhouse gas emissions, including the Kyoto Protocol agreed to by most industrialized nations.

    Earlier this month, Assistant Secretary of Commerce James Mahoney, an atmospheric physicist who is Bush's point man on global warming, staged a "workshop" in Washington where 1,500 people from industry, government, academic and environmental organizations worked on plans for a "strategy for climate change research."

    "There are still any number of science questions to be resolved," Mahoney told reporters at the AGU meeting in San Francisco. He conceded, however, that already "we will most likely need profound changes in greenhouse gas emissions. "

    But to many analysts, time is wasting. Global warming will cause "major political instabilities in the developing world that could disrupt the global economy," said Lester R. Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute and a noted environmental analyst who spent 10 years as a policy adviser in the Department of Agriculture.

    FOOD SUPPLY IMPACT

    If measures aren't taken soon to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the changes in climate will force rapid changes in the way the world's food crops are grown. That has important implications for feeding the world's growing population, expected to increase to at least 9 billion by 2050.

    "The vast corn belt of the Northern Hemisphere, for example, will become hotter and dryer, and that change can't be resolved merely by creating new corn belts further north, because the soils further north are not the same at all," Brown said.

    "Each global increase of 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) around the world will reduce grain yields like rice and wheat, as well as corn, by at least 10 percent," he said.

    And because aquifers are being tapped at an increasing pace throughout the world and water tables are falling, the outcome will soon mean a devastating blow to agriculture -- particularly in the developing world, he said.

    "This disruption by a combination of climate change and water shortages has the potential for creating political instabilities on a scale that we can't even foresee," Brown declared.

    ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle


    The 21st Century Blues

    By Kenny Ausubel, AlterNet
    January 9, 2003

    I've got the 21st Century Blues.

    Amid rumors of war, threats of terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction stalk our national security. But in fact, perhaps the greatest security menace over the coming years is going to be the deteriorating environment. Or so say CIA analysts.

    They warn that the wars of the future – the near future – will be fought over water, not oil. Water tables are sinking faster than the stock market, and unlike oil, there's no substitute for water. They caution against the global pandemic of AIDS and other deadly infectious diseases. They see tidal waves of desperate environmental refugees on the horizon. They anticipate widespread political destabilization and cascading financial crises.

    The skid marks of industrial civilization are everywhere to be seen. Let's take the scenic route.

    These are biblical times indeed, but it's no longer a miracle to walk on the water of the Sea of Galilee. Its level has dropped to the lowest ever recorded. Over in Mexico City, a plummeting aquifer is making the famed National Cathedral "bend and droop like a reflection in a funhouse mirror."

    Which might remind locals up in Alaska of their "drunken trees" sagging into the once-upon-a-permafrost. Alaska got ahead of the global warming curve. Roads are buckling. Rupturing sewage lines are spawning a return to the old reliable outhouse. But even citizens grateful for those oil royalties are speechless at the death of four million acres of spruce forest, the biggest loss ever of trees to insects in North America. Nobody much wants to talk about the thawing tundra beneath the 800-mile Trans-Alaska pipeline either.

    2001 was the second hottest year in 140 years of record-keeping, which might help explain why they were mowing the grass in December at the NY Botanical Garden, or those massive multi-billion-dollar floods raging across Europe. Moaned one of Prague's 50,000 evacuees, "We were prepared for a hundred-year flood, but this was a thousand-year flood." Then again, those epic forest fires sure coulda used some of that rain in the 29 US states strangled by long-term drought.

    Even Rip Van Bush's EPA woke up to smell the climate change. Yup, it's for real and it's caused by fossil fuels. But hey, now that we've waited so long, there's nothing to do about it. It's inevitable; get used to it, and say adios to Rocky Mountain meadows and coral reefs. This is about economic growth.

    Of course the insurance industry isn't buying it. The global giant Munich Re sets the price tag for global warming at $300 billion a year down the pike.

    But for now the climate suits West Nile virus just fine. In the blink of an eye, it hitched a ride with mosquitoes up to the Northern Hemisphere and clear across the country. So we sprayed the little suckers good. Problem is, when researchers did an autopsy of dead birds in New York, they found lots more birds dying from pesticides than the virus.

    And now it turns out global warming is going to blow out the ozone hole all over again, just when we thought we had it licked. Those UV rays are already mutating nasty new viruses we've never seen before; they're feeding on all that sewage and farm runoff in those algal blooms off the coasts.

    But I dare you to prove the connection, because then there's also the 26 million pounds of antibiotics washing off those factory farms.

    Let's not jump to conclusions. The first-ever government report on drugs in the water says those antibiotics are competing for ecological shelf space with prodigious amounts of hormones. Could be that $2.7 billion estrogen-replacement industry too. But then there's all the other meds – anti-cholesterol, antidepressants, chemotherapy, Viagra, and caffeine (lots of caffeine) – that are showing up in 80 percent of US streams.

    Maybe this pharmaceutical pollution has something to do with all those intersex fish. Seems to be feminizing them, and I don't mean that in a Robert Bly kind of way. Alligators with shrinking penises, sperm counts dropping 50 percent, four in 10 men at risk from a new syndrome called Testicular Dysgenesis.

    Same deal in water taps from the bayou to Berlin. Pretty soon those number-crunching drug companies will be inserting special charges in your water bill.

    Which doesn't sound all that outlandish if you're Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer who got busted by Monsanto for illegally growing its genetically engineered canola without a license. The thing is – he didn't plant it. Must've volunteered when some seed fell off a farmer's truck, or pollen drifted over and contaminated his fields. Monsanto won the first two rounds in court, so now it's suing farmers across the Midwest and Canada after this toxic trespassing enlarged its failing market.

    Which brings us to other hot potatos, the ones in the Moscow farmers' markets where Geiger-counter-toting officials are confiscating radioactive produce, being as Chernobyl's only 400 miles down the road. Or the three Japanese nuclear plants that temporarily closed after the companies admitted falsifying safety data about cracks in their aging reactors. But folks just didn't believe the government when it said there's no relationship between aging and accidents.

    It's a terrible thing when trust in government breaks down. Just ask the guards at US nuclear reactors. They know why half the country's nuke plants have failed mock terrorist attacks. What do you expect with wages the same as custodians? And those floodlights management installed – heck, they shine on the guards instead of on the terrorists! But hey, it's those whining workers again; I mean, where is Homer Simpson when you really need him?

    Homer's probably gorging himself on junk food, and calling in sick with the 76 million Americans who get food poisoning every year from a food supply more dangerous than it was 50 years ago. Or maybe he's at Weight Watchers with the 60 percent of Americans who are overweight. All that super-size fat and sugar has gotta be what's behind the diabetes epidemic, too.

    Unless the scientists are right who now say air pollution causes diabetes. So we'll have to study that two-mile-thick, brown cloud hovering over south Asia, which might help explain the half-million people dying from respiratory problems in India every year. Or what about that bubble-gum pink haze showering record amounts of pollutants over Hong Kong? Not great for business either. It's hurting tourism and making Honda shrink-wrap their cars so they don't all look that same weird yellow color in the showroom.

    It's enough to make a government delete all this anxiety-inducing data off official web sites, and plug up the Freedom of Information Act. I mean, what if it fell into the wrong hands! Could be dangerous. Italy's Prime Minister, media magnate Sylvio Berlusconi, he's got the right idea. His company just bought up all the country's TV stations. No news is good news. He must've taken a pointer from Bush Lite who quipped: "You can fool some of the people all of the time – those are the ones to concentrate on."

    It's got to send you lunging for the Prozac. Lots of Wall Street traders did, even before that market bubble burst into a national depression. Jim Cramer, the MSNBC pundit and former hedge fund manager, knows first-hand why Wall Streeters never saw it coming. He said, "Prozac and all those other drugs banish the 'This is the end of the world' thoughts. Which means you are not as anxious as you should be about an obvious down side."

    Hey, things could be worse. At least he's not one of the 3 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Let 'em eat placebos. Which are proven to work just as well anyway.

    But if Prozac doesn't make you feel more secure, try war. Let's take out Iraq! More cheap oil for our national security. So what if improving fuel efficiency by 2.7 miles a gallon would eliminate the need for Gulf oil. Grab the sunscreen and relax. Relax environmental standards, that is, and get with the program. National security. Economic growth. Banish those "This is the end of the world thoughts."

    Hmm. Drunken trees. Sinking cathedrals. Thousand-year floods. Intersex fish. Dysgenesis.

    Welcome to the 21st century blues.

    I don't know about you, but I don't feel real secure. Neither do Gregory Foster and Louise Wise from the National Defense University in Washington DC. Here's what they concluded a few years ago.

    "The environment is the most transnational of all transnational issues. It respects neither national boundaries, nor traditional conceptions of sovereignty and territorial integrity."

    They say we must confront two questions of fundamental strategic import: Whether humanity's role is to be nature's master, servant, or steward; and whether nature's commons, in affecting us all, demands sustained collective international attention and tending.

    They envision the military becoming an environmental exemplar, turning its attention to disaster relief, ecological restoration, and the vigorous enforcement of environmental law.

    They see the biggest factor in the environment's future as the universalization of democracy. The environment demands global, multilateral cooperation.

    In other words, cleaning up the environment depends on cleaning up politics.

    The good news is that for the most part the solutions to our problems are already present. Even where we don't know exactly what to do, we have a pretty good idea what directions to head in. The models percolate up from the deep wisdom of the natural world. Extraordinary human creativity focused on problem solving is exploding the mythology of despair. Over and over, it's the story of how an individual can make a difference.

    Biomimicry master Janine Benyus observes with elegant simplicity that what life does is to create conditions conducive to life. That is perhaps the essential mission of the Bioneers. The Bioneers have peered deep into the heart of living systems to see what we can learn from four billion years of evolution. What they are unearthing is a revolution from the heart of nature, following in the footsteps of ancient indigenous traditions. There is great hope in how little we know, and in the little that we do know. The solutions residing in nature consistently surpass our concept of what's even possible.

    I propose to you that the tide is already turning. Global society has begun reversing directions into an Age of Restoration. Though this movement remains relatively small today, it's growing by leaps and bounds. It's a matter of when, not if.

    But we do not know how much time we have.

    There was a paradigm shift this year that exploded the conventional scientific thinking that ecosystems respond slowly and steadily to degradation, that we will see the line coming before we cross it. A new study concludes that humanity's assault on the environment has left many ecosystems in such a fragile state that the slightest disturbance may push them into catastrophic collapse, causing them to shift abruptly with little or no warning. Despite appearing viable, there comes a tipping point once their resilience has been sufficiently undermined. Such changes can be irreversible.

    We do not know how close we are to the tipping point. Precaution is the byword, moving from managing harm to preventing it. The Precautionary Principle being adopted around the world echoes grandma's time-tested common sense: Better safe than sorry; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; look before you leap. As Carolyn Raffensperger said last year, maybe we should call it the Duh Principle.

    "What were they thinking?" future generations will ask. A recent book from Yale University Press called, "Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid" suggests that stupidity is not the opposite of smartness. The opposite of stupidity is wisdom, defined as the ability to apply knowledge to achieve the common good. Duh.

    The antidote to the 21st Century Blues is a Declaration of Interdependence. We have a pretty good idea how to lighten our footfall, by 90 percent or more. The enterprise of restoration promises an unparalleled economic boom and global jobs creation, starting with a Marshall Plan for clean energy.

    Ecological medicine teaches us that human health security depends on restoring the health of our ecosystems.

    Societal security hinges on cultural diversity and mutual aid. The Gulf war to resolve is the gulf between rich and poor.

    And democracy is breaking out all over, and it's coming from the bottom up. This is where we will find sustainable security.

    It's time to repair our relationship with the living world and with each other. We can take our place – not as masters, servants, or perhaps even stewards – but as citizens in the democracy of all life. If we let our hearts guide us, we won't go wrong.

    Time is of the essence. The worst failure we could have is a failure of the imagination.

    Kenny Ausubel is the founder of the Bioneers Conference.


    Western Consumer Demand Fuels Resource Wars in Poor Nations

    Fri Oct 18,2002

    Jim Lobe,OneWorld US

    Consumer demand in Western industrialized countries for sophisticated electronic equipment and luxury goods earned at least US$12 billion last year for rebels groups, rapacious governments, and warlords in resource-rich developing nations around the world, according to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

    The 91-page report, 'The Anatomy of Resource Wars,' found that local conflicts over control of diamonds, tropical hardwoods, and other minerals like coltan, which is used in the production of cell phones and other electronic equipment, have killed or uprooted more than 20 million people, most of them in Africa, over the past decade.

    "From Colombia to Angola to Afghanistan people are dying every day because consumer societies import and use materials irrespective of where they originate," according the author, Michael Renner.

    "If you purchase a cell phone, you may very well be paying to keep the war going in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where rival armies fight for control over deposits of coltan, a commodity that just over a decade ago had little commercial value, but is now vital for the one billion plus cell phones in use today."

    But the biggest resource looter over the past decade, according to the report, was the UNITA rebel group in Angola which finally collapsed after its founder and long-time leader, Jonas Savimbi was killed in combat earlier this year. Between 1992 and 2001, according to the report, the insurgency sold an estimated $4-4.2 billion in diamonds mined by its forces in the northeastern part of the country.

    Diamonds were also a leading source of money and arms for rebels in Sierra Leone who gained international notoriety during the latter part of the 1990s by hacking off the limbs of unarmed civilians to terrorize surrounding populations.

    Such groups have benefited from economic globalization, according to Renner. "The enormous expansion in global trade, coupled with lax or corrupt customs officials, has made access to key markets relatively easy for warring groups," he said.

    "Companies and rich nations that benefit from cheap raw materials have long turned a blind eye to the destruction at their source, and most consumers don't know that a number of common purchases bear the invisible imprint of violence," he added.

    Although rebel and government armies battle for control of the resources, most of the violence in such conflicts are directed against civilians.

    In addition to the violence used to maintain control of local populations, fighting groups often forcibly recruit boys into their ranks and girls as sex slaves for older commanders. The same armies also draft civilians, including children, to extract resources without compensation.

    Resource wars also tend to take place in or near areas that are of significant environmental value, according to the report, which cited conflicts over mineral and timber resources in ecologically highly sensitive forests in the DRC, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Colombia as major examples. In many cases, indigenous populations are also threatened.

    While diamonds fed conflicts in Angola and Sierra Leone, control over timber has played a major role in conflicts in Liberia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar (formerly Burma), while drugs have fueled wars in Afghanistan and Colombia. Ownership disputes over oil fields and pipelines have also contributed to conflicts in Colombia and Sudan, according to the report.

    Recent media attention about resource-driven conflicts has spurred growing calls for global rules to ban goods acquired in this way from being traded on global markets. Among the most important efforts is a certification system that would track individual diamonds from their source through international commercial channels in order to assure the eventual buyer that they are not purchasing "blood diamonds."

    In addition to endorsing a strong certification system, Worldwatch is calling for the adoption of corporate codes of conduct in resource extraction industries; support for activist campaigns that "name and shame" companies that profit from illicit commerce; and new regulations that would require companies to become more transparent in their dealings in resource-rich countries.

    Renner also urges stronger efforts to reduce the availability of small arms, a major feature of resource conflicts, by adopting stricter export regimes, regulating arms brokers, and better marking and tracing of weapons.

    More generally, the report calls for development aid to promote greater diversification of resource-rich developing economies in order to reduce their dependence on the resources which have spurred so much conflict.


    In "Fear and Favor in the Newsroom", journalists from The New York Times, NBC, PBS and other respected news organizations reveal how they have been censored, squelched or fired for aggressively reporting on the wealthy and the powerful. After seeing the hidden wreckage of spiked stories, damaged careers and firings unearthed in this expose', the notion of freedom of the press takes on a whole new meaning. As former New York Times reporter Frances Cerra tells viewers, "I came to understand that freedom of the press is only guaranteed when you own the press. This is something I learned from The New York Times."


    "Today Christians ... stand at the head of Germany ... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past ... (few) years." - Adolph Hitler - The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872.
    "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'. - Jerry Falwell, 9/13/01, appearing with Pat Robertson, explaining the reasons for the attacks on 9/11.

    "Our goal has been achieved. The Religious Right is solidly in place, and religious conservatives in America are now in for the duration" - Jerry Falwell

    Onward, Christian Soldiers 2003

    Louise Witt, Salon, January 3, 2003

    One can't blame Jerry Falwell for feeling invincible these days. Religious conservatives fasted and prayed that antiabortion candidates would win in November; Falwell believes their prayers were answered when the Republicans won control of the 108th Congress.

    Christian conservatives believe they tipped the close Senate elections to the GOP in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri (though they lost a heated run-off in Louisiana). And Falwell gives much of the credit to fierce campaigning by President Bush, himself a born-again Christian, in the final days before the election. "His work brought out the religious conservative vote, which elected the people we want to have in office," Falwell says. "No one in the world would deny that the religious conservatives certainly played a major role in regaining Republican control of the Senate. It's encouraging to think that if we get people out, we can make a difference every time, just like in the election of Ronald Reagan."

    Former President Bill Clinton and other Democrats may blame voters' preoccupation with terrorism and the impending war with Iraq for their party's midterm loss, but the Christian fundamentalists weren't distracted. With messianic zeal, they focused on a plan to control the nation's political agenda by securing the Senate. Many give credit to political strategist Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition who is now chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. Now, as the 108th Congress readies to begin its work, it's clear that the religious right will press the most conservative agenda in recent American history -- and it's clear, too, that Falwell and other conservatives have faith they will achieve their goals.

    The agenda is so controversial that it has created deep divisions even in Bush's White House. Though such internal dissent is usually hidden, it flared into the open late last year when John DiIulio, a top policy adviser who departed in frustration, ripped the influence of the religious right on Bush. Thus far, however, the president has done little to discourage the troops of the religious right from their radical mission to make the government and judiciary agents for the moral cleansing of America. In their vision, churches would be given government funds to carry out social services. Prayer would be allowed -- and encouraged -- in public schools. Israel would be backed virtually without question in its conflict with the Palestinians because that would fulfill a prophecy portending the second coming of Christ. Foreign countries would have to pass a moral litmus test to receive U.S. aid.

    Falwell bearing false witness

    Jerry Falwell, appearing on CNN, claimed, "global warming is a myth. .. I can tell you, our grandchildren will laugh at those who predicted global warming. We’ll be cooler by then, if the Lord hasn’t returned..."

    At the end of the spot, Falwell said, "I urge everyone to go out and buy an SUV today."

    Hospitals Burdened by Obese Patients
    Dec. 18, 2003

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. hospitals are buying expensive new equipment such as reinforced toilets and oversized beds to treat the growing number of severely obese patients, according to a survey released on Thursday.

    Novation, a group-purchasing organization for hospitals and other health-care institutions, found that hospitals are seeing more severely obese patients, people who are overweight by at least 100 pounds.

    The group quoted 80 percent of hospitals as saying they had treated more severely obese patients in the last year than ever before, with 17 percent saying they had remodeled to accommodate the largest patients.

    "We are finding that hospitals across the country are buying more large-size beds, larger blood pressure cuffs, wider, reinforced wheelchairs and larger versions of other basic supplies to adjust to patient needs," Jody Hatcher, senior vice president of Novation, said in a statement.

    More than 30 percent of U.S. adults are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This translates to 59 million people.

    Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more. BMI is a measure of weight versus height, and serious health implications such as heart disease kick in at BMIs of 30 and above. This can mean being as few as 30 pounds above desired weight. But as obesity becomes more common in the United States, so does extreme obesity.

    Web sites such as http://fatcities.com offer furniture to accommodate people weighing 500 pounds and more, while http://funeraldepot.com has a line of oversized caskets.

    Wausau Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, told Novation it spent $200,000 this year to remodel rooms, order special equipment and train staff to deal with extremely obese patients.

    "We've had to buy special, longer surgical gloves and even needles and syringes," said Kent Demien, director of materials management at Wausau. "Standard equipment becomes obsolete on many of our larger patients."

    Demien said many patients or hospital visitors are too heavy for a wall-mounted toilet, which can handle up to 300 pounds. The hospital plans to replace them with pedestal commodes that can support 2,000 pounds.

    The Novation survey polled administrators from 69 U.S. hospitals representing small, rural hospitals and large urban centers.


    Bumper Mentality

    A review of Keith Bradsher's High and Mighty: SUVs
    By Stephanie Mencimer

    Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

    According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

    Most SUV customers over the past decade hail from a group that is the embodiment of American narcissism: baby boomers. Affluent, and often socially liberal, baby boomers have embraced the four-wheel-drive SUV as a symbol of their ability to defy the conventions of old age. In their attempt to appear youthful and hip, SUV owners have filled the American highways with vehicles that exact a distinctly human cost, frequently killing innocent drivers who would have survived a collision with a lesser vehicle.

    To illustrate the kind of selfishness that marks some SUV drivers, Bradsher finds people who rave about how they've survived accidents with barely a scratch, yet neglected to mention that the people in the other car were all killed. (One such woman confesses rather chillingly to Bradsher that her first response after killing another driver was to go out and get an even bigger SUV.)


    The conservative Baptist minister Jerry Falwell said "I think Muhammad was a terrorist" in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, October 6, 2002 on the CBS' "60 Minutes." Falwell was widely criticized after 9/11 when he said on Pat Robertson's TV show that pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals and civil liberties groups had secularized the nation and helped the Sept. 11 attacks happen. Falwell later apologized. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

    The key leaders of the fundamentalist religious right in America are counted among President Bush's closest political allies. Their reactionary views are a noxious mix of religious bigotry, intolerance, and anti-Muslim demagoguery,

    Fundamentalist religious conservative leaders count Mr. Bush as one of their own. There is the Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son and successor and a participant in the president's inauguration, who has declared Islam a "very evil and wicked religion."And there is Christian Coalition founder and television evangelist Pat Robertson, who said that "to think that [Islam] is a peaceful religion is fraudulent."

    Robertson, in full attack mode, called the prophet Muhammad "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer." And, in an appearance on the CBS program "60 Minutes", the Rev. Jerry Falwell completes the demonization of a religion by smearing the prophet of Islam as "a terrorist."

    These are not just the words of a fringe movement. The speakers are leaders among the religious right in America, a movement close to a president who speaks their language. Their embrace is mutual. It therefore falls to the president to break his silence on their gross distortion and to put some distance between their rhetoric and his own professions of tolerance. To avert his gaze from their actions is to permit the Falwells, Robertsons and Grahams to legitimize their own perverse teachings through their association with the president of the United States.

    The Rise and Fall of the Holy Roller Empire

    Fundamentalist Christians are in control of the White House,
    and U.S. foreign policy. God help us all!


    The American "Christian Right" is firmly entrenched in the White House and the Pentagon. They have succeeded in creating hell on Earth by shaping world events to conform to their distorted and erroneous beliefs about the Bible, bringing about a self-fulfilling prophecy of Armegeddon

    The conflict in the Middle East, and the "War on Terrorism", have their roots in British religious fanaticism. There would be no modern state of Israel if not for the "British Israel theory", a belief that the British, Americans and several other European nations are the lost 10 Tribes of Israel. British Israel theory is based on so-called "Bible prophecies" concerning Israel in "the last days", after which Jesus Christ is supposed to return to earth in a murderous, vengeful rage in the battle of Armageddon, rewarding his true believers, while punishing "evildoers".

    BRITISH LITERALIST FOREIGN POLICY

    The British Literalists--strong among the Anglican Evangelicals and in various Nonconformist churches--were not about to abandon their hopes of converting Jews and sending them to Palestine to meet their Messiah, especially not around 1840, when the current British policy of offering protection to Jews living in Palestine raised great expectations among the the premillennialists. Indeed, Literalist influence was unofficially helping to shape that policy. An ardent Literalist, Lord Ashley (later the Earl of Shaftesbury), was stepson- in-law and confidant of Lord Palmerston, the British foreign secretary. Ashley had private hopes of bringing about, through British action, the restoration of Israel to Palestine in preparation for the Second Advent. In 1840 he prodded Palmerston, by adducing political reasons, into seeking international backing for Jewish migration to Palestine, while he confided to his diary his own very different motives, which were distinctly religious:

    Dined with Palmerston. After dinner left alone with him. Propounded my scheme, which seemed to strike his fancy . . . . Palmerston has already been chosen by God to be an instrument of good to His ancient people; to do homage, as it were, to their inheritance, and to recognise their rights without believing their destiny . . . . I am forced to argue politically, financially, commercially; these considerations strike him home; he weeps not like his Master over Jerusalem, nor prays that now, at last, she may put on her beautiful garments.[1]

    Ashley's influence was likewise behind the establishment of a consulate in Jerusalem in 1838, also the creating of an Anglican bishopric there in 1841 and the appointment to it of a Jewish Christian bishop. On October 16, 1841, he wrote in his diary: "Where would the Sultan's permission [to build the bishop's church] have been without Palmerston's vigour in consequence of my repeated and earnest representations?"[2]

    But Ashley's dream of a British-sponsored and treaty-protected Jewish migration to Palestine did not materialize. The four-power treaty of 1840 ignored the matter. Even the Jews themselves showed little interest; more than half a century passed before Zionism arose.

    [p. 4] Nevertheless, 20th-century British policy in the Middle East owed something to the prophetic interpretation of the Literalists of the 1830s and 1840s.

    As one recent writer has put it:

    Lord Shaftesbury's adventure marks the point when events began leading logically toward the [Palestine] Mandate. . . .

    Palmerston['s Middle Eastern policies] mark the beginning of official British intervention on behalf of the "Jewish nation" and of its resettlement in Palestine. . . .

    Ashley had not labored in vain. . . . All these events centering in the Holy Land [including "the visionary prospects aroused by the Evangelical craze for conversion of the Jews and the Jerusalem bishopric"] combined to create almost a proprietary feeling about Palestine. The idea of a British annex there through the medium of a British-sponsored restoration of Israel began to appeal to other minds than Ashley's.[3]

    [1] Anthony Ashley, Earl of Shaftesbury, Diary entries, quoted in Edwin Hodder, The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, vol. 1, pp. 310, 311. Ashley was the one referred to, but not named (in London Times, Aug. 17, 1840, p. 3, col. 5), as the promoter of western-sponsored Jewish migration to Palestine.

    [2] Hodder, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 377 (cf. pp. 370, 374). See also Harold Temperley, England and the Near East: The Crimea (1936), p. 443, note 275; Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword (1956, 1968), chap. 10.

    [3] Tuchman, op. cit. (1968 ed.), pp. xi, 197, 208.


    Israeli Extremists and Christian Fundamentalists: The Alliance

    The Christian Zionists Message

    What is the message of the Christian Zionist? Simply stated it is this: Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us.

    "Never mind what Israel does," say the Christian Zionists. "God wants this to happen." This includes the invasion of Lebanon, which killed or injured an estimated 100,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of them civilians; the bombing of sovereign nations such as Iraq; the deliberate, methodical brutalizing of the Palestinians-breaking bones, shooting children, and demolishing homes; and the expulsion of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from a land they have occupied for over 2,000 years.

    My premise in Prophecy and Politics is that Christian Zionism is a dangerous and growing segment of Christianity, which was popularized by the 19th-century American Cyrus Scofield when he wrote into a Bible his interpretation of events in history. These events all centered around Israel-past, present, and future. His Scofield Bible is today the most popular of the reference Bibles.

    Scofield said that Christ cannot return to earth until certain events occur: The Jews must return to Palestine, gain control of Jerusalem and rebuild a temple, and then we all must engage in the final, great battle called Armageddon. Estimates vary, but most students of Armageddon theology agree that as a result of these relatively recent interpretations of Biblical scripture, 10 to 40 million Americans believe Palestine is God's chosen land for the Jews.


    Paul Crouch, President of Trinity Broadcasting Network, Meets Attorney General John Ashcroft


    "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..."

    God is opening many wonderful new doors in America, too! I had the joy of greeting ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT, at the inauguration of our President last January. We actually attended the same church as boys, in Springfield, Missouri! Please especially keep the Attorney General and the President in your prayers during this difficult time in our nation’s history. As God’s people, we are commissioned to "PRAY for kings and ALL OTHERS who are in authority, so we can LIVE IN PEACE and in quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for He wants EVERYONE to be SAVED and understand the TRUTH"


    At first I thought this site was a parody, but like most religious fundamentalism, it is way beyond parody. The following info is from the "Rapture Ready" website:

    The rapture is going to strike without warning. The rapture is going to happen suddenly. The rapture is going to be one of the most astonishing events to ever occur.

    The Rapture Index, Gauging the progression of end time prophecy

    The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.

    You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

    Rapture Index of 85 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
    Rapture Index of 85 to 110: Moderate prophetic activity
    Rapture Index of 110 to 145: Heavy prophetic activity
    Rapture Index above 145: Fasten your seat belt

    Book and tapes to help you prepare for the Rapture

    The Rapture Study Kit
    by Lamb and Lion Ministry
    This kit contains a video tape, cassette tape, a manual, and a copy of of the book 'Living For Christ in the End Times.'

    According to the Rapture Index, among the signs that the Apocalypse is upon us:

    20 Tribulation Temple:
    A new poll finds 53% of Israelis want to see the Temple rebuilt.


    Faith-based educational material explains dinosaurs:

    Ken Ham:
    DINOSAURS OF EDEN: A BIBLICAL JOURNEY THROUGH TIME

    Listen to Ken Ham explain more about this book

    The book was originally written for middle elementary to junior high school level. But younger children will also love the artwork, and teens and adults will find the storyline as interesting as children will. It is one of those unique publications that is actually suitable for the entire family!

    Another exciting aspect of this new book is that the illustrations also include the names and pronunciations of the numerous dinosaurs and other creatures—and many other fascinating facts are also included with many of the illustrations. All of this makes this publication a great teaching tool for home, school or church.

    We can see this book being used heavily as a home school or Christian school text—or the basis for Sunday school lessons. AiG will also be providing a free study guide downloadable from the Web in a couple of months.

    The summary on the back of the book reads:

    Readers of all ages will take a thrilling ride in a time machine to the past when dinosaurs lived—a ride not through millions of years, but to a time not so long ago.

    Filled with stunning artwork, this fun family book will transport you on a breathtaking journey through the "Time-Gate" of the Bible, the true History of the Universe!

    This captivating adventure by popular writer Ken Ham projects you back to the Garden of Eden and to the real world inhabited by dinosaurs—and to the exciting days of Noah’s Flood and the Tower of Babel. You’ll be there watching…traveling through the centuries…learning the true history of the Earth, and along the way discovering the very meaning and purpose of life!

    'Join us on this journey to the very beginning of time, when dinosaurs roamed Eden.

    With the movie 'Jurassic Park III' just around the corner, what a wonderful time to order this God-honoring publication and not only teach children the truth about dinosaurs and the history of the world, but teach them the Gospel message based in true history.

    It is our prayer that many will be saved as a result of this new publication that stands on the authority of the Word of God.


    Just One Seminary Left in Ireland

    Thu Aug 29, 2002
    By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer

    DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, whose network of theological schools once exported priests worldwide, closed another hallowed institution Thursday, leaving just a single seminary in this predominantly Catholic country.

    The directors of St. Patrick's College in Thurles, County Tipperary in southwest Ireland said that their few remaining seminarians would transfer immediately to the church's flagship seminary, Maynooth College near Dublin, which is struggling to produce enough priests for the next generation of Irish Catholics.

    St. Patrick's closing, along with others, is indicative of a declining observance of the Catholic faith in Ireland and growing public anger at church authorities' mishandling of decades of sexual abuse within the church.


    The power of accurate observation is called cynicism by those who have not got it. - G. B. Shaw

    In 1919 Joseph Schumpteter described ancient Rome in a way that sounds eerily like the United States in 2002.

    "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest -- why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours...The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs."

    The ancient Roman Empire appointed proconsuls, military commanders, to rule the lands it had conquered. It's no surprise that a country that has troops flung wide across the globe that have a habit of "digging in for the long haul" should have proconsuls itself, the name the Pentagon confers on US generals who head the US military commands Washington has carved the world into.

    Consider this quote from Hermann Goering, president of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief:

    "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

    Military Interventions by the U.S. since 1890.

    U.S. military spending ($343 billion in the year 2000) is 69 percent greater than that of the next five highest nations combined. Russia, which has the second largest military budget, spends less than one-sixth what the United States does. Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, and Syria spend $14.4 billion combined; Iran accounts for 52 percent of this total.


    A Conservative/Libertarian coalition opposed to the bombing which brings retaliation from enemies that we ourselves create, turning our free Republic into a military empire.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins." - H.L. Mencken


    I had a girlfriend in Connecticut who is an antique dealer, she was handling the estate of a wealthy Jewish woman, among the belongings was a "human skin" lampshade. My girlfriend got the creeps, and didn't know what to do with it. The lampshade was displayed in a glass case, as a monument to German cruelty. My girlfriend believed it was made of human skin, even I believed it, just like we are taught to believe those stories from "history textbooks" in American schools.

    A large university tested the lampshade, and it turned out to be made of pig skin!

    I searched for info about "human skin lampshades" and found this site about a court reporter who covered the Dachau War Crime Trials:

    Dachau War Crime Trials

    "The trials at Dachau brought some of the worst traits of mankind to light. But, as I found out, at Dachau and from the case records years later, those trials served neither historical truth, nor justice." - Joseph Halow, Dachau court reporter, 1992, "Innocent at Dachau"

    "And that was introduced in court, where it was absolutely proven that the lamp shades were made out of goat skin."

    The Trial of Else Koch, the "Bitch of Buchenwald"

    The most notorious war criminal, of all those who were brought before the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, was unquestionably Ilse Koch, the wife of Karl Otto Koch, the infamous former Commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and an SS-Aufseherin (female overseer) in the camp herself. The two photographs above show the 41-year-old "Bitch of Buchenwald" in the courtroom at Dachau. Ilse Koch was charged with the horrific crime of selecting Buchenwald prisoners to be killed by her alleged lover, Dr. Waldemar Hoven, in order to have lamp shades made from their tattooed skin.

    After the war, American investigators tried to get Konrad Morgen to sign an affidavit that Frau Koch had ordered prisoners killed to make human lamp shades, but he refused, even after several beatings. The following quote is from a footnote in John Toland's book, entitled "Adolf Hitler":

    "Morgen also did his best to convict Ilse Koch, the wife of the Buchenwald commandant. He was convinced that she was guilty of sadistic crimes, but the charges against her could not be proven. After the war Morgen was asked by an American official to testify that Frau Koch made lampshades from the skin of inmates. Morgen replied that, while she undoubtedly was guilty of many crimes, she was truly innocent of this charge.

    According to Jean Edward Smith in his biography, "Lucius D. Clay, an American Life, "the general maintained that the leather lamp shades were really made out of goat skin. The book quotes a statement made by General Clay years later:

    "There was absolutely no evidence in the trial transcript, other than she was a rather loathsome creature, that would support the death sentence. I suppose I received more abuse for that than for anything else I did in Germany. Some reporter had called her the "Bitch of Buchenwald," had written that she had lamp shades made of human skin in her house. And that was introduced in court, where it was absolutely proven that the lamp shades were made out of goat skin."

    According to the Buchenwald Report, there was a factory at Buchenwald, which produced leather goods out of animal skins, but it caught on fire during an Allied bombing raid on the camp on August 24, 1944.


    A rumor having to do with soap made with human fat circulated in Europe during World War II. It was one of several rumors which had ghoulish behavior of Nazis as the central theme. This rumor was a variation on a black propaganda story concocted by the British about the Germans during World War I. During that war a story appeared in the German press that the Germans were taking dead horses and rendering the fat from them to be used in soap. Germany is a country of shortage during wartime and nothing is let go to waste. The British altered the story and fed it back into Germany that dead German soldiers were being rendered for their fat for soap production instead. After the war was over, Great Britain apologized for this and other atrocity stories it spread during the war.

    This story was resurrected during World War II in a Germany again beset by war shortages. There are at least three versions of the human soap story as it relates to Nazi Germany. The first and one most widely circulated was that soap was made using fat rendered from the bodies of murdered Jews. This soap was stamped with the initials "RJF" which allegedly meant the soap was made from pure Jewish fat. Actually, the stamp on the soap was "RIF" which stood for Reichsstelle Industrielle Fettversorgung, the organization that made the soap.




    Minister of Propaganda Rush Limbaugh, sermonizing on his show, December 16, 1994:
    "We have alcoholics and drug addicts in our society, don't we? And what do we say about them? Well, they can't help it. Why, it's genetic. Why, they have a disease.

    We totally exempt them from any control over their lives, do we not? Some athlete will spend two years snorting lines of coke. He can't help it.' You know, it's--it's just--it's not--it's--it's genetic. These people--they're predisposed to having this addictive syndrome."

    "Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentleman, a worthless shred of human debris."
    - Rush Limbaugh, the day after the lead singer of Nirvana committed suicide due to a drug problem.

    Rush Limbaugh, October 5, 1995:
    "There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

    Limbaugh Says He's Addicted to Painkillers
    October 10, 2003

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh announced during his radio program Friday that he is addicted to painkillers and is checking into a a rehab center to ``break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me.''

    ``You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life,'' Limbaugh said. ``So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.''

    Limbaugh gave up his job as an ESPN sports analyst Oct. 1, three days after saying on the sports network's ``Sunday NFL Countdown'' that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

    The reports of possible drug abuse surfaced at about the same time, first in the National Enquirer. The tabloid had interviewed Wilma Cline, who said she became Limbaugh's drug connection after working as his maid. She said Limbaugh had abused OxyContin, hydrocodone and other painkillers.

    Law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to The Associated Press that Limbaugh was being investigated by the Palm Beach County, Fla., state attorney's office.

    ``At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete,'' Limbaugh said Friday.

    CONSUMER WARNING POSSIBLE PERMANENT HEARING LOSS FROM EXTENSIVE USE OF PAINKILLERS

    In a retrospective observation conducted at the House Ear Clinic (HEC) in Los Angeles, physicians have found a possible correlation between permanent hearing loss and a commonly prescribed painkiller medication that combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen. This combination medication is distributed under various names including the brands Vicodin®, Hydrocet®, Lorcet®, Norco® and their generic counterparts. Over the past two years HEC physicians have identified as many as 29 patients with moderate to profound hearing loss possibly resulting from extensive use of these painkillers. This unusually high incidence prompted the physicians to report their observations of this side effect to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to alert consumers."


    From FAIR writers Jeff Cohen and Steve Rendall, authors of "The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error"

    "As a young broadcaster in the 1970s, Limbaugh once told a black caller: "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." A decade ago, after becoming nationally syndicated, he mused on the air: "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"

    In 1992, on his now-defunct TV show, Limbaugh expressed his ire when Spike Lee urged that black schoolchildren get off from school to see his film Malcolm X: "Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater, and then blow it up on their way out."

    In a similar vein, here is Limbaugh's mocking take on the NAACP, a group with a ninety-year commitment to nonviolence: "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

    When Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) was in the U.S. Senate, the first black woman ever elected to that body, Limbaugh would play the "Movin' On Up" theme song from TV's "Jeffersons" when he mentioned her. Limbaugh sometimes still uses mock dialect -- substituting "ax" for "ask"-- when discussing black leaders.

    Such quotes and antics -- many compiled by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) for our 1995 book -- offer a whiff of Limbaugh's racial sensibility. So does his claim that racism in America "is fueled primarily by the rantings and ravings" of people like Jesse Jackson. Or his ugly reference two years ago to the father of Madonna's first child, a Latino, as "a gang-member type guy" -- an individual with no gang background.

    In 1994, Limbaugh mocked St. Louis for building a rail line to East St. Louis "where nobody goes." East St. Louis is home to roughly 40,000 residents -- 98 percent of whom are African-Americans.

    Once, in response to a caller arguing that black people need to be heard, Limbaugh responded: "They are 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"

    He offered this theory as to why Salvador Garcia, a Mexican, won the 1991 New York City Marathon: "an immigration agent chased him for the last 10 miles."


    Cowboys and Idiots - The Reagan Administration

    Like everything spawned in Hollywood, the Reagan myth is nothing at all like the reality of what really went on behind the scenes. Learn the God-awful truth about the Reagan-Bush administration, and how Reagan's "brave freedom fighters" became Bushs' "Evildoers" who "hate our freedoms."

    NEXT ALMANAC PAGE


    Championing Psychological Freedoms in
    Cults, Corporations, Nations, and Families

    The Natural Law Party

    Including insider secrets, personal stories,
    scandals, news archive, and more

    The Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin did begin his career in physics with great promise. He now claims, however, to be the primary author of one of quantum physic's hottest theories. Superstring theory seeks to explain all physical laws in terms of one, neat system. Hagelin, however, was not the primary author on the foundational superstring papers, but co-wrote them with John Ellis, director of the eminently prestigious CERN, and others. (Authors on scholarly papers are traditionally listed in order of their contribution to the paper's contents.) And as you can read below, his co-authors and other noted scientists now distance themselves from -- and sometimes outright ridicule -- Hagelin's current theories linking Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi's teachings with quantum physics. Meanwhile, his publications have gradually dwindled -- with no new publications since 1994.

    Hagelin & Quantum Theory: Holding on by a Superstring
    from Nature, Vol. 359, Christopher Anderson, Sept. 10, 1992

    Physicist running for president is accused of distorting science to fit guru's ideas

    To those who want science to play a larger role in politics, John Hagelin is a reminder that such a development may be a mixed blessing.

    Hagelin, a quantum physicist trained at Harvard University, is running for U.S. president as the candidate of the Natural Law Party, whose motto is "bringing the light of science into politics." He and a supporting cast of local candidates will appear on the ballot in at least 35 states. (More than 300 people ran unsuccessfully under the party's banner in the British parliamentary election in June.)

    He is by all accounts a gifted scientist, well-known and respected by his colleagues. He is a co-developer of one of the better-accepted unified field theories, known as the flipped SU(5) model. In May, he received an award for young innovators named after Jack Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit. And his political platform is eminently sensible: practise only those social and economic policies that are supported by scientific data.

    However, there is another side of Hagelin that disturbs many researchers. Hagelin is a follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, best known as the guru who taught the Beatles about transcendental meditation (TM), and is on sabbatical from Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, where students practise mass meditation as a way to ease many of the world's ills, from crime to stress. The home of the Natural Law Party is near the university and most of its members embrace the Maharishi's teachings.

    Hagelin has been investigating a scientific mechanism to explain how TM can influence world events. The answer, he believes, lies in extending the grand unified theories of physics to human consciousness.

    In the past several years, Hagelin has worked on integrating the SU(5) model, which does not include gravity, into the four-dimensional heterotic superstring model, which is currently considered one of the better prospects for a grand unified `theory of everything.' Everything, in this case, may even include human consciousness. Two-page advertisements, with row after row of partial differential equations, appear regularly in U.S. newspapers describing how the theoretical physics work of Hagelin and others explains the impact of TM on distant events. Hagelin often lectures on SU(5) and other unified field theories to both scientific and nonscientific audiences, mixed in with a lengthy discussion of TM.

    Not surprisingly, the linkage of SU(5) with TM infuriates his former collaborators. It is hard enough, they complain, to win scientific support for any type of unified theory. "A lot of people [Hagelin] has collaborated with in the past are very upset about this, " says Jorge Lopez, a Texas A&M University physicist. "It's absolutely ludicrous to say that TM has anything to do with flipped SU(5)."

    John Ellis, director of CERN's theoretical physics dept., has asked Hagelin to stop mixing TM and SU(5). "I was worried about guilt by association," Ellis explains. "I was afraid that people might regard [Hagelin's assertions] as rather flaky, and that might rub off on the theory or on us."

    Physicists are not the only scientists to take issue with Hagelin's mix of science and politics. One plank of his party platform calls on presidential candidates to undergo an electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scan that would purport to reveal their neurophysiological qualifications to hold office.

    EEG scans, in use since the 1930's, "show the orderliness of the brain," he explains. "Science correlates that to intelligence, creativity, moral stability and broad comprehension." He says that he has had his own brain scanned (he claims an exceedingly orderly brain, in the top 1 per cent of those tested) and will release the results when his competitors do. EEGs, he says, "give us a look under a candidate's hood."

    Jonathan Pincus, chairman of the neurology dept. at Georgetown University, says that researchers once hoped the results of EEG tests might somehow correlate to intellectual qualities. Although EEGs have remained an important tool for spotting neurological disorder, he says, "they have nothing whatsoever to say about a person's moral fibre."

    Hagelin himself cites work by E. Roy John, director of the Brain Research Lab at the NYU Medical center, to back his claims. But John says that Hagelin is "overselling" the technique. EEG brain scans have been shown to correlate to "a large number of subtle malfunctions," from senility to substance abuse, he says, "but qualities like moral stability and intelligence are simply not measured."

    Even the Kilby award is a bit of a mystery. Few have heard of it, perhaps because it was created 3 years ago by the N. Dallas Chamber of Commerce to draw attention to the area. Truman Cook, a chemical engineer who is a member of the selection committee, says that a member of the selection committee who practises TM proposed Hagelin for the award.

    Meditation and Its Side-Effects in Therapy

    This article, by Alberto Perez-De-Albeniz and Jeremy Holmes, reviews 75 scientific selected articles in the field of meditation, including Transcendental Meditation among others. It summarizes definitions of meditation, psychological and physiological changes, and negative side-effects encountered by 62.9% of meditators studied. While the authors did not restrict their study to TM, the side-effects reported were similar to those found in the "German Study" of Transcendental Meditators: relaxation-induced anxiety and panic; paradoxical increases in tension; less motivation in life; boredom; pain; impaired reality testing; confusion and disorientation; feeling 'spaced out'; depression; increased negativity; being more judgmental; feeling addicted to meditation; uncomfortable kinaesthetic sensations; mild dissociation; feelings of guilt; psychosis-like symptoms; grandiosity; elation; destructive behavior; suicidal feelings; defenselessness; fear; anger; apprehension; and despair.


    Sri Chinmoy, unmasked

    Chinmoy is just one of the many pale imitators and dark imposters who have come out of the woodwork since the 60's, preying on their credulous followers like so many spiritual vampires. According to many of his former disciples, Chinmoys' "super human" feats of strength have been revealed to have been faked, and are completely unverifiable.

    Links to information and testimonials regarding
    sexual misconduct and spiritual abuse by Sri Chinmoy


    The Times , London, one of the most respected and conservative newspapers in the world , has come out with three leading stories on Sai Baba and the sexual abuse by Sai Baba.

    Millions of people worship Sai Baba as God incarnate. More and more say the Indian guru is also a pedophile.

    Read the Salon article about Sai Baba: Untouchable?


    The Dalai Lama, that glorified, romanticized pope-substitute:

    "Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicize any unethical behavior of which there is irrefutable evidence. This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one's spiritual commitment to that teacher" - Dalai Lama

    From the Salon article, His material highness

    Supporters of the Dorge Shugden deity -- a "Dharma protector" and an ancient object of worship and propitiation in Tibet -- have been threatened with violence and ostracism and even death following the Dalai Lama's abrupt prohibition of this once-venerated godhead. A Swiss television documentary graphically intercuts footage of His Holiness, denying all knowledge of menace and intimidation, with scenes of his followers' enthusiastically promulgating "Wanted" posters and other paraphernalia of excommunication and persecution.

    While he denies being a Buddhist "Pope," the Dalai Lama is never happier than when brooding in a celibate manner on the sex lives of people he has never met. "Sexual misconduct for men and women consists of oral and anal sex," he has repeatedly said in promoting his book on these matters. "Using one's hand, that is sexual misconduct." But, as ever with religious stipulations, there is a nutty escape clause. "To have sexual relations with a prostitute paid by you and not by a third person does not constitute improper behavior." - - more about the Dalai Lama, , that idealized and romanticized glorified substitute pope figure for rebellious children of American Christian parents. He's just as clueless as Jerry Falwell.

    A Review of "Orphans of the Cold War":

    The U.S. for years, during the 1950s and 1960s, backed the Tibetans with arms, military training, money, air support and etc. The operation failed. Tibetans were killed, but China's hold over Tibet was never shaken. By the end of the 1960s, the effort ended, leaving the Tibetans embittered and abandoned. CIA provided an annual subsidy of $180,000 to the Dalai Lama from late 1950s through the 1960s. A new book "Orphans of the Cold War" by John Kenneth Knaus, a former CIA operative, says in 1951 the Truman administration tried to persuade the Dalai Lama to leave Tibet for exile. Later his flight into exile wasn't voluntary. Knaus found that the CIA's subsidies to the Dalai Lama lasted, from about 1951 until 1974. By 1969, "the decision had already been made to abandon Mustang [the headquarters in Nepal for the Tibetan guerrillas] for operational and not geopolitical reasons." CIA misled the Tibetans into thinking they had American support for an independent Tibet. - Los Angeles Times 6/16/99


    "The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages."

    "No one ever went broke over-estimating the vulgarity of the American people". - H. L. Mencken


    New Age Old Wives Tales


    The Pope-About-Town

    Advaita.be: non-dualism in Belgium

    Citizens For Legitimate Government
    is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush coup d'etat,
    and to oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.



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    Gary Null's Natural Living Website
    When Smoke Ran Like Water
    Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution
    by Devra Davis
    "Finally, scientific answers about
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