Mittwoch, 19. April 2006

Monsanto-Kampagne der Attac AG Globalisierung und Ökologie

Monsanto-Kampagne der AG Globalisierung und Ökologie ---- Erstes Kampagnentreffen am 22.04.06 von 10-17h in Göttingen, Geiststr. 2

Für Kurzentschlossene zur Erinnerung: Am 22.04.06 um 10h findet in Göttingen das erste Treffen der Monsanto-Kampagnengruppe der Attac AG Ökologie statt. Wir möchten alle Interessierten einladen, mit uns gemeinsam zu planen, wie wir den Gentechnik-Riesen Monsanto am besten stoppen können.

Zum Hintergrund: Die Auseinandersetzungen über die Einführung der Gentechnik spitzen sich zu. Wenn in diesem Jahr auf immer mehr Feldern genetisch veränderter Mais ausgesät wird, entscheidet sich damit auch die Zukunft der Agro-Gentechnik in Deutschland und Europa. Höchste Zeit also, etwas zu tun! Der Saatgut-Konzern Monsanto ist eine der treibenden Kräfte hinter dem Anbau von genetisch verändertem Saatgut. Er nimmt eine Schlüsselposition ein: Zum einen bietet Monsanto selbst gv-Saatgut unter der Marke Dekalb an. Gleichzeitig werden aber auch die genetisch veränderten Eigenschaften der meisten in Europa angebauten Sorten von Monsanto entwickelt. Zudem zeigt sich der Konzern führend, wenn es um die einseitige Information von LandwirtInnen geht, und betreibt massives Lobbying bei Bundesregierung und EU-Kommission, um eine lasche Gentechnik- Gesetzgebung zu erreichen. Wollen wir also die Einführung der Gentechnik in Europa und dem Rest der Welt verhindern, müssen wir Monsanto stoppen! Weitere Infos unter //www.attac.de/aktuell/termine/monsanto-kampagne.php

Die Attac AG Globalisierung und Ökologie startet eine Kampagne gegen Monsanto und lädt ein zum

ersten offenen Kampagnentreffen am 22.04.06 von 10-17h in Göttingen, Geiststr. 2 (Nähe Hauptbahnhof)

Ziel des Treffens ist: - Ziele und Rahmen der Kampagne festzulegen - erste Aktionsideen zu entwickeln - Aufgaben zu verteilen - und erste organisatorische Fragen zu klären

Wir freuen uns über alle, die Lust haben mitzumachen, Ideen einzubringen und Pläne zu schmieden, wie wir die unsägliche Praxis von Monsanto stoppen können.

Bitte gebt kurz Bescheid ( methmann@attac.de ), wenn Ihr kommt, dann ist einfacher zu planen.

Chris Methmann
für die Monsanto-Kampagnengruppe

Next-up News Especial Espana - Spécial Espagne

//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/next_up_news_especial_espana_special_espagne.htm

Aktionsbündnis Sozialproteste

//www.die-soziale-bewegung.de/

Bush's 5-year administration has been an abysmal failure

"There is one clear standard by which President Bush has asked, over and over, to be judged: his ability to keep us safe from rogue nations or terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction," Robert Scheer writes. "Unfortunately, by any rational definition of that standard, his 5-year administration has been an abysmal failure."

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906D.shtml

Whose Spring? Our Spring!

"It is essential, critical, that those of us who have been against the Iraq war since before it started, as well as those who have turned against it since, all those who understand that we need to turn this country around in a fundamental way - we need to speak out, stand up, and march together," writes Ted Glick. "As the powerful wave of the past month's immigrant rights actions have shown us, mass demonstrations do have an impact. April 29th in New York City is the time and place where we can send a powerful message to elected officials, to the country and to the world."

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906C.shtml

Rumsfeld Linked to Guantanamo Torture

A leading international human rights group is calling for the Bush administration to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged involvement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials in the torture of a prisoner at Guanatanamo Bay some three years ago.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906A.shtml

Durbin: Rumsfeld Should Go as Iraq Goes "From Bad to Terrible"

US Senator Dick Durbin called Tuesday for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to be replaced and said he hopes Congress will debate the issue next week.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906O.shtml

UN Torture Panel Presses US on Detainees

The United Nations committee against torture has demanded that the United States provide more information about its treatment of prisoners at home and foreign terrorism suspects held in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906K.shtml

FBI Wants Jack Anderson's Papers

The FBI is seeking to go through the files of the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson to remove classified material he may have accumulated in four decades of muckraking Washington journalism.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906J.shtml

Cindy Sheehan: Welcome Home

Cindy Sheehan writes: Camp Casey is the home of everyone and anyone working for peace and justice. It is where we all gather together in solidarity, confident in the fact that what we are doing is transforming the future and sowing the seeds of developing a more peaceful world, where the people who promote war are considered the deranged and dangerous traitors and are shunned from polite society.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906Q.shtml

Please sign these animal petitions

A message from Thomas:

People please look these petitions over & if you have not signed any yet,Please do !! All these "Causes" need more signatures so anything you can do to increase the signatures & keep this circulating would be appreciated. Forward to your Networks,Cross-Post Widely, share books, etc...

Thank You for Caring as I do very much so,

K. C.


Justice MUST be served for brutally tortured and murdered Yorkie ! Stabbed, beaten and gagged with beer bottle! THE STORY: The RSPCA has launched an urgent appeal for information after the mutilated body of a one-year-old Yorkshire terrier was discovered by police on the morning of Saturday, 8 April.....(cont'd below signatures) //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/318186701

Dog beaten to death by Thomas Fong A 24-year-old Manhattan stock trader was charged Thursday with beating his girlfriend's 14-year-old Shetland collie to death. //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/808412342

ELLE...STOP ADVERTISING PAIN!!! //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/125025630

Save Highlands Ranch Open Space Native Wildlife //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/589867250

Save Wildlife on Shea Homes Property //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/592096877

Help Stop the Dolphin Slaughter at Taiji (Started Aug 9th "ONLY" 164 Signatures as of April 15th) //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/258461869

Stop Horse and Seal Slaughtering Now! (Started July 9th "ONLY" 51 Signatures as of April 15th) //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/393716758

Stop Delisting of Wolves in Wyoming! //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/274160839

Trap/Neuter/Return I'm part of this program in a 25 mile radius that had over 100 feral cats.About 4 years ago we did this with 162 feral cats and it was a miracle before our eyes in less than a year.We have the typical 4/5 left in our area that we all take care of & not one of us has seen one litter in at least 3 years.We look and I'm sure there have been a few hiding but this "works" and is very easy to do. We actually ended up finding homes for many of the "feral" cats. All it took was some time & love but we still need to Trap/Neuter/Release. (PLEASE SIGN...!!) //www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/159856180

Hartz IV ist offener Strafvollzug

"Hartz IV ist offener Strafvollzug": Dm-Chef Werner schlägt Mehrwertsteuer von 50 Prozent vor (19.04.06)

In ungewöhnlich scharfer Form hat der Chef der Drogeriekette dm, Götz Werner, die Arbeitsmarktreform "Hartz IV" kritisiert. Im Magazin "Stern" bezeichnete Werner "Hartz IV" als "offenen Strafvollzug". "Es ist die Beraubung von Freiheitsrechten. Hartz IV quält die Menschen, zerstört ihre Kreativität", sagte der dm-Chef. Werner schlug eine Mehrwertsteuer von 50 Prozent und die Abschaffung aller anderen Steuern vor.

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet: //www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht.php?Nr=13398

USA sollen Gefangene mit Elektroschockern foltern

"Westliche Sicherheitskreise": USA sollen Gefangene mit Elektroschockern foltern (19.04.06)

Nach Darstellung "westlicher Sicherheitskreise" haben die USA im Gefangenenlager Guantanamo als "Stun Belts" bekannte Elektroschocker eingesetzt, schreibt die Nachrichtenagentur ddp. Diese gürtelähnlichen und in Nierenhöhe mit zwei Elektroden versehenen Geräte können offenbar mindestens acht Sekunden lang Stromstöße mit 50.000 Volt abgeben und enorme Schmerzen hervorrufen. Den Angaben zufolge sollen die Elektroschocker auch zur Standardausrüstung an Bord der CIA-Flüge gehören, die im Rahmen der Operation "extraordinary rendition" im Auftrag Washingtons weltweit als gefährlich erachtete Islamisten zu Verhören fliegen, berichtet die Nachrichtenagentur ddp. Ebenso eingesetzt worden seien sie bei Häftlingen im Irak und im Hochsicherheits-Gefangenenlager Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan. In einem Bericht dazu heißt es, das amerikanische Vorgehen stehe "nicht in Einklang mit internationalen Konventionen".

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet: //www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht.php?Nr=13403

MAYORS TAKE THE LEAD TO SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING

Common Dreams
April 18, 2006

//www.commondreams.org/news2006/0418-15.htm

WASHINGTON - Global warming is an especially hot topic this Earth Day, and all over America, mayors are flexing their muscle to demonstrate what they can do to help solve the problem.

"There are many reasons to be hopeful this Earth Day," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "Right now, the real leaders on global warming solutions can be found in America's cities and town halls. And these local energy solutions -- like hybrid fleets, solar and wind power, and energy efficiency -- are not only better for our environment, they save taxpayer dollars at the same time."

The Sierra Club has launched a "Cool Cities" Campaign, encouraging mayors to take decisive action to curb global warming, lower energy bills, save taxpayer dollars, and protect our environment. Beginning with Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, more than 220 mayors representing 43 million Americans have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce global warming carbon-dioxide pollution in their cities. A complete map of all the cities is available at:

//sierraclub.org/coolcities/

The mayors have promised to cut global warming emissions by taking three bold steps -- switching their municipal fleets to hybrid cars, employing energy efficient technologies in the delivery of city services and raising the percentage of energy they use from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Mayors are taking action in every region of the country, with steps as varied as they are inspiring. Charlotte, North Carolina is converting its municipal fleet to hybrid cars. Salt Lake City is upgrading its traffic lights with more efficient bulbs, saving 500 tons of heat trapping gas, and over $50,000 a year on the city's energy bill. In Twin Falls, Idaho local officials are making the city's 11 schools more energy efficient and saving $3.5 million in the process. The local utility in Waverly, Iowa is paying farmers to install wind turbines on their land. And there are even more examples at:

//sierraclub.org/coolcities

"This Earth Day, there is a better way. The Cool Cities program is proving that we can stop global warming one city at a time," added Pope.

AVAILABILITY: To speak with some of the Mayors who are shaping this national trend, please contact Orli Cotel at (415) 977-5627


Informant: NHNE

Verde Makes America's Most Endangered Rivers List!

Take Action on this Issue:
//actionnetwork.org/campaign/Verde_Endangered

Today Arizona's Verde River was named one of America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2006.

The Verde made the list because the City of Prescott and Town of Prescott Valley plan to build a pipeline and divert water from its supporting aquifer, paving the way for further development. But the inclusion of the Verde River on the America's Most Endangered Rivers list presents a unique opportunity to change the course of the river's future.

Please take a moment to join thousands of others who are contacting decision-makers and spreading the word about the Verde River. Action by citizens like you could make the difference for its future.

Please help spread the word about the Verde by forwarding this email to your friends, family and neighbors!

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): Branch Chief David Castanon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Region 2, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Protect the Verde River in Arizona!

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

As a concerned citizen, I urge you to fully evaluate all of the potential impacts of the Big Chino pipeline proposal in central Arizona through an Environmental Impact Statement. This unique riparian ecosystem will wither if the Big Chino aquifer is depleted, and with it, the economic and recreational opportunities it provides for so many.

The Verde River's pristine waters, clean air, scenery and wildlife are invaluable assets for nearby communities. The Verde River has thus far managed to thrive while playing dual roles: those of critical municipal resource and natural paradise. The Verde provides crucial irrigation and drinking water to Phoenix and irrigation water to many other communities in the Middle Verde. It also contains the only section of river to carry the national Wild and Scenic river designation in the state, and supports an outstanding display of riparian wildlife such as the bald eagle, roundtail chub, southwestern willow flycatcher, javelina and Arizona toad. Likewise, the Verde has long been a popular destination for recreational opportunities such as boating, hiking, fishing and bird watching, which have generated stable economic benefits for local communities.

Rapid urban growth, combined with the lack of comprehensive water use planning, threatens Arizona's rivers and groundwater supplies. The Big Chino Water Ranch project will exacerbate this water supply management problem on the Verde River. A reduction in the volume of water in the Upper Verde would reduce the availability of clean water in downstream communities and farms in the Verde Valley, diminish the recreational opportunities on the river, and threaten the health of many native fish and wildlife species.

Before any final decisions are made on the Big Chino Water Ranch project, I urge you to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement that not only addresses the impacts to species located on the lands that the pipeline will cross, but also the species that rely on the flows of the Verde River and its associated riparian areas. A "No Action" alternative should be included in this EIS, and all proposed alternatives should include appropriate mitigation for impacts to Upper Verde River flows and its associated riparian habitat.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


cc: Asst. Field Supervisor Brenda Smith, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chief Cindy Lester, Army Corps of Engineers Field Supervisor Steve Spangle, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Mayor Harvey Skoog, Town of Prescott Valley Mayor Rowle Simmons, City of Prescott

Economic inequality matters because it results in political inequality

One Dollar, One Vote

by Bradford Plumer, Mother Jones

//www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/04/19/one_dollar_one_vote.php

How Immigrants Contribute

by Derrick Z. Jackson, The Boston Globe

The evidence refutes the widespread belief that undocumented immigrants cost the nation more than they give.

//www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/04/19/how_immigrants_contribute.php

Republican v. Republican

by Paul Waldman, TomPaine.com

How ongoing corruption scandals -- Abramoff, New Hampshire, DeLay -- are eroding GOP unity.

//www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/04/19/republican_v_republican.php

The Bush administration abuses its lawful powers

Send a Letter to the Editor
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=YSj2MsXzT2Z8yFNOYONhtg..
SPEAK OUT IN YOUR LOCAL PAPERS
Send a letter to the Editor and help reach Congress today, before new legislation whitewashes illegal spying.

TONIGHT ON "THE COLBERT REPORT" Tonight at 11:30 PM ET, I'll be appearing on "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central (visit their web site for more show times). //action.aclu.org/site/R?i=uXJpVptjgthuJlIbaCmZ7w..

WATCH OUR TOWN HALL Watch or listen to our second National Town Hall on Spying, Secrecy and Presidential Power.
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=VYQ0jA8WGifOON1yMj5wcA..

Learn more about illegal government spying on Americans
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=yCL8LCiCBCA_YD1fp6hOeg..

The State of Our Union Cannot Be Strong if the President Continues to Violate the Law

Since the Bush administration began to abuse its lawful powers, the ACLU has fought in the courts, at the Capitol and in the court of public opinion to check these abuses, hold our leaders accountable and correct the mistakes that are sadly inevitable when leaders misuse the power granted them.

Though public alarm over illegal spying continues to grow, our voices must be louder if we hope to reach lawmakers before they pass troubling new legislation that would excuse and expand the government’s assault on the Constitution.

We need your help amplifying our message in your community this week, today, and we’ve created a new way for you to speak out: a web tool to help you write your local newspapers and defend the values of freedom and fairness in your own words.
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=0F60aQsIcM3_D84H9n1O5Q..

Rather than standing up to the White House and pushing for a full investigation of the president’s warrantless surveillance program, the Senate is now considering two bills that would reward the administration’s stonewalling of Congress, whitewash numerous violations of the Constitution, and effectively ratify NSA spying on Americans after the fact.

Congress should be enforcing our system of checks and balances. The laws we elected Congress to uphold mean nothing if the president is allowed to break them without consequence.

The debate is not over yet. As officials return home for the Congressional recess, these two dangerous bills await committee discussion in the Senate. By writing to your local papers now, you can help bring our message not only to your neighbors, but directly to the offices of your Members of Congress, where staffers and lawmakers themselves follow opinions from home with an especially watchful eye.

Please try our Letters to the Editor tool right now. It makes it easy to submit a personal message to your local news outlet. To help get you started, we’ve provided simple talking points on spying, the law and presidential power.
//action.aclu.org/site/R?i=94chv5_ZVWgAUnklWM2_2w..

Join the ACLU and its allies and send a forceful message to Congress. Our representatives must in the president’s abuses of power and stand up to defend our fundamental freedoms.

You and I know that our leaders must stand up for the America that we all believe in. We must not remain on the sidelines while the president runs roughshod over the law and extinguishes the light of our most fundamental freedoms.

To compose your Letter to the Editor, go to: //www.aclu.org/lte

To learn more about our ACLU v. NSA lawsuit, go to: //www.aclu.org/nsaspying

Thank you for being an active part of this fight.

Sincerely,
Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

This Land is My Land, Really

Write: USDA Forest Service SRS comments, Lands 4S
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 1124 Washington, D.C., 20250-0030 or e-mail: SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us.

* * * *

*This Land is My Land -- Really*
*Bush wants to sell my property--acres I pay taxes on*

by JANE BRAXTON LITTLE - posted 04.18.06 //www.tidepool.org/original_content.cfm?articleid=189165

President Bush wants to sell my land to fund rural schools. I mean my land -- not the vast tracts of federal forests and grasslands I co-own with the proverbial New York cabbie, the Seattle widow and all other American citizens. My private land -- the 12 acres I own with my husband. We bought it through a Forest Service land exchange in 2000 and have paid taxes on it ever since. Yet there it is, a tiny green polygon on the maps described in the Feb. 28 Federal Register. There it is, part of the president's plan to sell 304,370 acres of Forest Service land to raise $800 million to fund the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, a popular county payments program established in 2000.

If our speck of land in rural northeastern California were the only mistake in the president's funding plan, we could all laugh it off as another bureaucratic blunder. But the proposal is replete with errors. Some are like the inclusion of our property, mere slip-ups in a sloppy process done in haste. Others are far more troubling, suggesting a strategy that veers from simply incompetent to irresponsible.

Take California's Plumas National Forest, where agency officials have listed 700 acres that are already under contract to the Maidu stewardship project. This first-of-a-kind program was approved by Congress to demonstrate traditional Native American management techniques on national forest land. At best, the listing is a thoughtless error. At worst, it is a cynical response to an innovative undertaking.

Forest Service officials say the lands proposed for sale nationwide are difficult and expensive to manage. They insist the parcels are not environmentally sensitive or protected scenic areas. But the list includes 730 acres in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Washington and Oregon, archaeological sites in Alaska, and two parcels at the head of Swan Lake within a wildlife refuge in Montana.

A mile-long roadless area near Eagles Nest Wilderness is among the 21,000 acres for sale in Colorado. So are two popular rock-climbing areas in Boulder Canyon and a snowboarding site around St. Mary's Glacier. For spelunkers, Pluto Cave in California is part of a sale tract with spectacular views of Mount Shasta.

The list includes 1,300 acres of a rare low-elevation old growth forest in Washington's Sultan River Canyon. In Montana's Bitterroot Valley, Bush wants to sell the Willoughby 40, an outdoor classroom painstakingly restored to native pines and sagebrush and maintained by the Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee, Forest Service employees and Lone Rock school kids. So much for collaboration.

Agency spokesmen admit they threw the parcel list together in a rush aimed at producing enough property value to come up with the funding commitment in the president's budget. They acknowledge that they used computer data that looked primarily at the size of the tracts and whether they were separated from the main body of the forest, not whether they played a role in recreation or other forest uses.

Clearly, no officials at any level went out on the ground to review the properties they have proposed to abandon. It they had, they would have discovered the wildlife, watershed and aesthetic legacy they are sacrificing for a pot of cash. They would have confronted a funding scheme that values maximizing short-term income over preserving public treasures. They might even have realized that the tiny 12-acre parcel listed for sale in the remote Sierra Nevada is in private ownership -- mine.

The president's proposal to sell national forest land to raise revenue for a one-time payment is the land-management equivalent of his strategy for leaving Iraq. It shows a profound lack of foresight. Resolving the mistaken listing of my land will likely require little more than a telephone call. It will take Congress to resolve the more significant errors of this foolish proposal.

The Forest Service has extended the comment period on the administration's land-sale proposal to May 1.

Write: USDA Forest Service SRS comments, Lands 4S
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 1124 Washington, D.C., 20250-0030 or e-mail: SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us.

Jane Braxton Little lives in Greenville, California, and writes about forests and natural resource issues.


Informant: Teresa Binstock

Party in search of a notion

The American Prospect
by Michael Tomasky

04/18/06

The Democrats are feeling upbeat these days, and why not? The Republican president and vice president have lost the country's confidence. The Republican-controlled Congress is a sump of corruption, sycophancy, and broken principle. Races in the midterm election that Democratic leaders wouldn't have dreamed of a few months ago are in play (the Senate seat in Tennessee!). A recent poll showed Democrats with a gaping 16-point lead over Republicans this fall. Seizing on the issues of corruption and incompetence, the party might even take back the House or the Senate -- or both. The prevailing conventional wisdom in Washington -- that the Democrats have no idea what they stand for -- has recently been put to the test in persuasive ways...

//www.prospect.org/web/view-web.ww?id=11424


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Sweet land of liberty?

Foundation for Economic Education
by Robert E. Hood

(written 02/80; posted 04/18/06)

How does one sing praises to a government that, having taxed its citizens to the bearable limit, proceeds to inflate the currency in order to finance its grandiose schemes? How does one applaud a government whose principal function has become the redistribution of the wealth and property of its citizens? How does one extol the virtues of a government which preaches human rights while it condones by its actions the most flagrant violations of human rights all over the world and consistently abrogates the individual rights of its own people? How does one glorify a government which at every turn takes steps to reward slothfulness, indolence, and conformity at the expense of industry, initiative, and creativity? How does one honor a government which places political expediency above the very principles upon which it was founded?"

//tinyurl.com/l5mwz


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

One-woman protest helps halt huge Indian dam project

Independent [UK]

04/19/05

From a hospital bed, a starving woman has brought the biggest infrastructure project in a booming India to its knees. The Supreme Court has ruled that work on a massive dam on the Narmada river cannot be completed unless thousands of people whose homes will be flooded are relocated and rehabilitated. It was a victory for protesters who included the Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy and the Bollywood movie star Aamir Khan. But mostly it was a victory for a woman who went on hunger strike for 20 days to draw attention to the plight of those living in the shadow of the dam. Medha Patkar is the most famous human rights activist in India. But when she and fellow activists began a hunger strike in Delhi in March, it was dismissed as just a publicity stunt...

//news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article358576.ece


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Gore revs up campaign on global warming

Bradenton Herald

04/18/06

Al Gore has a major campaign under way -- to change policies on global warming. The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee has hired longtime political associate Roy Neel to aid in his effort to raise awareness about global warming, a problem Gore calls 'a planetary emergency.' Gore's movie and book about the issue, both called 'An Inconvenient Truth,' are set for widespread release in May. ... Gore has warned about the dangers of global warming for years, arguing that without dramatic changes in the emission of greenhouse gases, the planet is likely to experience a dramatic increase in violent storms, infectious disease, deadly heat waves and rising sea levels that will force the evacuation of low-lying cities...

//tinyurl.com/z4fm7


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Protect Bristol Bay salmon from mining

American Rivers Names Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed as one of America's 10 most endangered rivers -- due to proposed mining development.

Please take action to oppose these mining projects under:
//www.omega-news.info/save_the_worlds_largest_salmon_fishery_from_mining.htm

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan Resigns

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday he is resigning, continuing a shakeup in President Bush's administration that has already yielded a new chief of staff and could lead to a change in the Cabinet.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041906Y.shtml

Grève de la faim d'un de nos membres

Dernière minute : un de nos membres, électrosensible vient de commencer une "grève de la faim", ce jour, suite à l'installation d'antennes 2G et 3G près de son habitation 29/03/06.

Cordialement,
Pour Teslabel Coordination, asbl
Claude HERION
info@teslabel.be
//www.teslabel.be
info@electrosensibles-victimes.be
//www.electrosensibles-victimes.be
info@claude-herion.be
//www.claude-herion.be

Next-up News 19 Avril 2006

//www.omega-news.info/next_up_news_19_avr_2006.htm

Diagnosing the U.S. ‘national character’: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

We are 5 percent of the world’s population and consume about a quarter of the world’s energy. This state of affairs is clearly unjust, made possible by coercion and violence, not some natural superiority of Americans.

//tinyurl.com/ontpt



We are globalised, but have no real intimacy with the rest of the world:

We live in a world that we are much more intimate with and yet, at the same time, also much more intolerant of - unless, that is, it conforms to our way of thinking.

//www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329458822-103677,00.html



From Information Clearing House

If We’re at War, President Bush Should Limit Oil Profits

Maybe we are engaged in a global war. If that’s the case, then there is ample precedent for Mr. Bush to limit oil profits. Americans expect the president to do something that will lower the cost of gasoline.

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12781.htm

Countdown Over Iran

Prominent U.S. Physicists Send Warning Letter to President Bush

Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12769.htm



Countdown Over Iran

It’s both fascinating and dismaying watching the manufactured `crisis’ over Iran reach new intensity each week. Iran poses no real military threat to anyone, but listening to the Bush Administration or the US media one would think that that Tehran was about to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world.

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12768.htm



Lieberman: US could attack Iran's nukes

The US is probably incapable of completely destroying the Iranian nuclear program, but as a last resort it could attempt to knock out "some of the components" in order to "delay and deter it," Senator Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate and a serving member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has told The Jerusalem Post.

//tinyurl.com/og989



Fallout: The human cost of nuclear catastrophe

Flash presentation
//www.guardian.co.uk/flash/page/0,,1748554,00.html


From Information Clearing House



Congressman Ron Paul: Sanctions against Iran

We cannot underestimate the irrational, almost manic desire of some neoconservatives to attack Iran one way or another, even if it means crippling a major source of oil and destabilizing the worldwide economy.

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12773.htm

Busting empty bunkers

Military planners told the White House that if they wanted to be sure to destroy the underground uranium-enrichment bunker at Natanz – which is to eventually hold those 50,000 gas-centrifuges, but is now empty – they'd have to nuke it.

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12766.htm

U.S. refuses to denie report of Iran strike plans

The Pentagon declined to comment Monday on a report that US military planning for Iran began in 2002 and has been continually updated since.

//www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=119385


From Information Clearing House

US Bases in Iraq

The deliberate obfuscation of permanent bases in Iraq by the US and UK governments illustrates the myth of "freedom of information." Many of the US bases in Iraq already have, or are now building, facilities which will keep the US government happy for the foreseeable future.

//indexresearch.blogspot.com/2006/04/us-bases-in-iraq-part-i-baghdad.html


From Information Clearing House

Robbery, not reconstruction, in Iraq

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12770.htm

President Bush Now Caught In The Tangled Web He Spun

//informationclearinghouse.info/article12783.htm

EXPERT ATTEMPTS TO CALM PHONE MAST STORM

//www.emfacts.com/weblog/index.php?p=437

Science-for-Hire Hazardous to Health

//www.commondreams.org/views06/0417-21.htm

CHERNOBYL DEATH FIGURES 'TOO LOW'

By Damian Grammaticas
BBC News
April 18, 2006

//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4917526.stm

The health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine 20 years ago have been grossly under-estimated, says an environmental charity.

Official UN figures have predicted 4,000 extra cancer deaths attributable to Chernobyl's radioactive fallout.

But Greenpeace says in a report released on Tuesday that recent studies estimate there will be 100,000 extra cancer deaths.

Many of them will be in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, the report says.

Increased illness

Doctor Oxana Lozova, who works at a children's hospital in Rivne district,
300km (190 miles) west of Chernobyl, said many generations appeared to be affected.

"I think the fallout from Chernobyl has affected the immunity of those who were young children at the time of the disaster," she said.

"We now have to deal with people who are a lot weaker than their fathers and grandfathers were. They're falling ill at an age when they really should still be quite fit."

'Gross simplification'

The explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in April 1986 was the world's worst nuclear accident.

It spread a cloud of radioactive particles across a huge swathe of western Europe. Several million people still live in contaminated areas.

In its new report, Greenpeace says recent studies suggest the radiation from Chernobyl will cause 100,000 extra cancer deaths, and that official figures compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency of just a few thousand casualties are a gross simplification of the breadth of human suffering.

The charity says that radiation affects the immune, circulatory and respiratory systems, and causes an increase in foetal abnormalities and birth defects.

They are controversial claims. But Greenpeace acknowledges that it is impossible to know the final impact on human health without more research.

...........

CHERNOBYL DEATH TOLL GROSSLY UNDERESTIMATED
Greenpeace
April 18, 2006

//www.greenpeace.org/international/news/chernobyl-deaths-180406

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE - A new Greenpeace report has revealed that the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancers cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers.

Our report involved 52 respected scientists and includes information never before published in English. It challenges the International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl Forum report, which predicted 4,000 additional deaths attributable to the accident as a gross simplification of the real breadth of human suffering.

The new data, based on Belarus national cancer statistics, predicts approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000.

The report also looks into the ongoing health impacts of Chernobyl and concludes that radiation from the disaster has had a devastating effect on survivors; damaging immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated ageing, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosomal aberrations and an increase in foetal deformations.

Complete Report: //www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/chernobylhealthreport.pdf


Informant: NHNE



//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=Chernobyl

Bush Tax Cuts Saved President $26,000, Cheney $1.1 Million in 2005

//www.commondreams.org/news2006/0418-10.htm

House Response to Lobbying Scandal: Maintain the Status Quo

//www.commondreams.org/news2006/0418-12.htm

Court Case to Determine Rights of Online Journalists

//www.commondreams.org/news2006/0418-07.htm

Karl Rove's Early Machinations

//www.commondreams.org/views06/0418-26.htm

Lock Him Away to Stop the Next War

//www.commondreams.org/views06/0418-28.htm



//omega.twoday.net/search?q=impeach
//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=impeach

UK Scientists Attack Oil Firms' Role in Huge Arctic Project

//www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0418-02.htm

The Very Rich In America: "The Kind Of Money You Cannot Comprehend"

By David Walsh
19 April 2006

"Let me tell you about the very rich," F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote in a 1926 story, "They are different from you and me." But even Fitzgerald could not have imagined how different "from you and me" the very rich would become in America eight decades later.

The sums that the very wealthy have at their disposal in the U.S. are almost unimaginable: Oil executive Lee Raymond receiving some $400 million in a retirement package; the 2005 compensation of bank chairman Richard Fairbank totaling some $280 million; Omid Korestani, head of Google's global sales, exercising stock options providing him with $288 million last year.

The accumulation is brazen. What once would have been considered a somewhat discreditable fact of social life, the proliferation of billionaires, is now hailed as a sign of America's success. The demise of the Soviet Union and the supposed absence of any alternative to capitalism, the putrefaction of the AFL-CIO trade unions, the ignominious collapse of American liberalism and the lack to this point of broad-based, organized political opposition to the ruling elite and its two parties have rendered the American financial aristocracy "dizzy with success." These people have lost their heads.

In the face of public outrage over oil company profits and soaring gasoline prices, Exxon arrogantly defended Raymond's hundreds of millions, arguing that they were rewarding the executive's "outstanding leadership of the business, continued strengthening of our worldwide competitive position, and continuing progress toward achieving long-range strategic goals." The company added that it considered Raymond's compensation package "appropriately positioned."

In a study published in October 2005, three accounting professors reported that negative, even occasionally scathing press coverage, "does not substantively change corporate behaviour with regard to pay packages."

The American establishment is all but impervious to the sentiments of the broad masses of the population. In response to a recent report detailing the immense and growing social gap, a spokesman for New York state's Business Council told a reporter that the incomes earned by his state's rich were "something that everybody who cares about New York should be pleased about."

An insulated world of immense wealth exists as never before, at least in modern US history. The number of Americans with assets of $1 million or more reached 7.5 million in 2004, according to a survey conducted by the Spectrem Group.

Beyond that, however, are those who possess "Ultra High Net Worth"
(a mellifluous term invented by Merrill Lynch circa 2001): individuals in households with $5 million or more in net worth. In a country of 300 million people, the UHNW form a very small percentage of the population, but a not insignificant number in absolute terms. Economic, political and cultural life in America is to an enormous extent organized for their benefit.

This is not simply obscene or unjust, it is socially irrational and immensely destructive.

How is it possible to allocate resources, repair and renew the infrastructure, carry out any type of long-term economic planning, cure any social ills, when the official guiding principle is the ability of an oligarchic elite to accumulate ever-greater personal wealth? The gravitational pull of such wealth asserts itself in every aspect of life.

The New York Times reported last year on a relatively new phenomenon, magazines oriented entirely toward the very wealthy.

Absolute Publishing, the Times noted, had just started up a publication called Absolute, "for distribution to New Yorkers with an estimated annual household income of at least $500,000."

The editor of Absolute, Ernest J, Renzulli, is aiming for an audience of only 60,000 New York residents. He found his target readership "by winnowing databases of the most affluent New York ZIP codes with people who have bought houses for more than $2 million and people who have registered cars, boats or planes that cost more than $75,000."

"It's a small number," the Times quoted Mr. Renzulli as saying. "But this is not a magazine that's about mass reach. It's about reaching the tip of the pyramid."

The Times take note of Michael Silverstein, an executive with the Boston Consulting Group and co-author of Trading Up: The New American Luxury. Silverstein estimates that by 2010 Americans will spend $1 trillion on luxury goods. The Times continues: "In an ever more fragmented media world, the rich are becoming their own niche. They may be diverse connoisseurs of fashion, yachting or jewelry, but they share one important trait: a seemingly bottomless supply of disposable income."

It must indeed be a predicament to be saddled with tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, or more- how is one to spend such sums? Those "awash in cash" (the Times' phrase) must rack their brains and devote hours to the problem. How could one ever rest? Would not a person require a certain degree of inventiveness to come up with ways of spending such a fortune?

Judging by the results in published reports-no, not particularly.

By and large, the fabulously wealthy have derived their fortunes from inheritance, the stock market, the real estate bubble, fortunate investments in technology or, perhaps, American militarism: in short, from semi-automatic economic and social processes associated with the lowering of living standards for millions in the US and the super-exploitation of masses of people in impoverished countries in other parts of the world.

They are not startling or outstanding in any fashion, except perhaps in the depth of their greed and shortsightedness.

So we learn that Microsoft's Paul Allen owns a $250-million, 414-foot "gigayacht," with seven decks, two helicopter landing pads, a swimming pool, a basketball court, an infirmary, a garage for Land Rovers, a movie theater, a concert space for 260 and a recording studio.

Not to be outdone, Larry Ellison of software giant Oracle had his giant yacht built 452 feet long. Ellison's vessel has five stories, 82 rooms, "a wine cellar the size of most beach bungalows, a dozen yacht-length tenders, and a generator capable of providing enough electricity for a small town in Idaho or Maine... Final cost: $377 million."
(Associated Press)

The wealthy elite are also purchasing their own widebody airplanes, reports Business Week- Airbus A340s and Boeing 777s, which list for over $100 million-as "airborne penthouses." Customized outfitting may add $25 to $30 million to the cost.

The "supercar" business is also thriving. Ocean Drive, one of the new magazines aimed at the affluent, carries a piece on Michael Fux, whose Sleep Innovations manufactures Memory Foam products. Fux has collected some 50 luxury cars. He recently took possession of a $2 million Ferrari FXX, one of only 20 in the world.

USA Today, in a piece describing the new "super-rich supercar fanatics" who collect Ferraris and Maseratis and Bugattis, cites the comments of one auto broker in southern California, "There's a whole new breed of collector that has emerged in the last three-four years. Almost all make the kind of money you cannot comprehend."

Yet great unease persists in these circles. A yacht broker told Associated Press that "a sea change in attitude among America's superrich" has taken place in the wake of September 11. "Clients are telling me, 'Hey, I could have been in the Twin Towers. That could have been me jumping out a window.' The thinking among wealthy people now is, you can die anytime. Nobody can protect you. So you might as well spend your money now and enjoy it."

Likewise, in its analysis of the trends driving the purchase of jumbo jets by wealthy individuals, Business Week notes: "Because of increased concern over security, especially post-September 11, some businesspeople now use their aircraft as a base of operations on overseas business trips. Rather than going to a hotel or office after landing, they just stay onboard... "

The term "conspicuous consumption," coined by Thorstein Veblen in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), hardly does justice to the current situation.

There is a considerable element of recklessness, even desperation, in the obsessive spending. Throwing money to the wind hardly speaks to a sense of historic optimism or confidence among the elite in its own future or the general health of the American social order.

At the height of US global economic hegemony, in the 1950s, corporate directors were expected to lead rather sedate lives, modestly tending to the nation's economy. Of course they lined their pockets, but they were not expected to live like pharaohs.

In 1957, Fortune magazine reported that some 250 or so individuals in the US were worth $50 million or more. The wealthiest of them, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, stood all alone in the $700 million to $1 billion category. The equivalent of $50 million today-some $350 million-would not place an individual anywhere near the richest 400 people in the US, according to Forbes's 2005 list (which begins at $900 million). Getty would find himself somewhere between 31st and 42nd on the list.

The roll call of the wealthiest Americans a half-century ago included famous names-Rockefeller, Harriman, Mellon, duPont, Astor, Whitney and Ford, along with a quartet associated with General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan Jr., Charles F. Kettering, John L. Pratt and Charles S. Mott. These were all ruthless capitalists, but their fortunes were based, directly or indirectly, on the growth of the productive forces.

Today, the list of the super-rich reveals an extraordinary growth of parasitism.

One indication is Forbes' listing of the "400," which includes an extraordinary number of people whose wealth, according to the publication, is derived from "Investments," "Hedge Funds," "Leveraged buyouts," "Real estate," "Fashion," etc. The "captains of industry" of old are few and far between.

A perusal of publications such as Ocean Drive, or Gotham, or Los Angeles Confidential sheds some light on the current tastes and opinions of these very rich.

Real estate expert Steven Gaines told Gotham in a recent interview, "where you choose to live [in New York City] defines you more than in any other city.

There's a right side and a wrong side of the tracks in every city; but in New York, what floor you live on, which direction your apartment faces, whether you move one block in either direction, says a tremendous amount about who you are and your personal sense of adventure."

Asked about co-op boards rejecting celebrities, Gaines replied, "I haven't heard of any juicy rejections lately. Celebrity rejections are very 90s; they don't really happen anymore. People are very impressed by money; that's all it takes now.

Also-and this is the most important thing-they're not building any more [co-ops]. We don't need any more because people don't really care who their neighbors are. [Most people] figure that if a guy can afford a $12 million apartment in the Time Warner building, he's cool enough to live next door."

This theme-money is absolutely everything-recurs again and again in studies of the contemporary American elite.

The Times reporter, Katharine Q. Seelye, in her piece on magazines for the affluent, described the publications in these words: "Most of the magazines rely on a similar formula: extravagantly lush photography on heavy paper stock, flattering feature articles on prominent local personalities and snapshots of those personalities hobnobbing with each other... The magazines also make it easy for readers to buy what they see on the page, whether it appears in an advertisement or an article-and it is often difficult to tell the difference, as the magazines have elevated commercial product placement to an art form."

The magazines appear at first glance to be nothing but expensive advertisements for clothes, watches, condos and automobiles-hundreds of pages of them (Los Angeles Confidential runs to 350 pages, Ocean Drive an astonishing 530!). The table of contents, gossip columns and articles, such as they are, do little to distinguish themselves. They humbly give way to the full-color photos of handbags and bracelets and motorcars.

Such a magazine is merely a scaffolding for the marketing of highly expensive products. It is a relatively convenient means of making known to a specific clientele what is available for them to purchase this month. And this is not something that those involved would be ashamed to admit. No, we have moved far beyond that.

Gotham appears to specialize in real estate gossip, appropriate in Manhattan, which has been ruined by the Trumps and their ilk. Tales of apartment and co-op buying and selling are recounted with relish, with the sort of sensual zest that others might take in relating stories of sexual improprieties. In a recent issue, one piece excitedly recounts that "the penthouse apartment of the late philanthropist Enid Haupt has sold-at least three times. The nine-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue, with two principal bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, has an accepted offer for its asking price of $27.5 million, with two backup bids-in case the famously persnickety co-op board decides to reject the winning bidder."

In another column, we learn that "Out in the Hamptons [on Long Island], entrepreneur Linda Wachner is listing her seaside estate [a summer house] for a sky-high $62.5 million, the highest price ever asked for a Southampton Village home. The ocean- and bay-front Southampton estate on Meadow Lane features a 16-room, two-story shingled traditional mansion measuring nearly 10,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, several public rooms, a wine cellar, and staff quarters. The property includes several hundred feet of beachfront, a rose garden, a putting green, a pool with spa, and a tennis court with a pavilion. 'I think it's an exciting property,' Wachner told the New York Post. 'We've had a lot of fun here.'"

Unique Homes reports that the Stanhope, on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, is currently being renovated into 26 luxury residences. "The space is divided into half-floor residences of approximately 4,000 square feet (starting at $10 million) and full-floor residences measuring 8,000-plus square feet ($30.5 million and up)." The old Plaza Hotel is also being transformed by a developer into private residences, 182 of them. The one- to five-bedroom units will be priced between $2.5 million and $33 million-plus.

The wealthy pockets of south Florida are targeted in Ocean Drive. The size of a small telephone book, the magazine seems desperate to please and impress. It takes the most ridiculously self-serious attitude toward trivial people and circumstances. Page after page of attractive but glum models dominate the publication, a cornucopia of expensive consumerism.

Stiff competition between real estate projects is very much in evidence here. Three operations, Donald Trump's "Trump Hollywood" (i.e., Hollywood, Florida), St. Regis Resort & Residences, Bal Harbour and Icon Brickell, with "breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay," have included their own elaborate, pull-out brochures in the magazine.

The St. Regis is especially noteworthy for its quite conscious effort to evoke an imaginary aristocratic past. It employs butlers. Here is the advertisement for that service, a disgusting passage over which some wretched soul expended a great deal of effort:

"The St. Regis Butlers are adept at executing your requests while anticipating your every need with consummate style. Every preference is committed to memory. Dinner for two on the beach at seven-thirty? Shirt collars heavily starched? A car to retrieve your business partner from the airport tomorrow morning? It's a pleasure. Your St. Regis Butler, always on call, is your household manager, your link to St. Regis services and your master of conveniences. All embrace the authority to go to any lengths to ensure you the utmost in comfort, down to the most particular request." A butler...or an indentured servant, a serf, a slave?

One could go on, but the outlines are clear. A type of aristocracy rules America, which has more than one feature in common with the ancien régime that presided over pre-revolutionary France. This vast accumulation of wealth at one pole of society is incompatible, in the long run, with even the trappings of democracy. The super-rich own everything in the US, including the political parties and the political process.

They allow the population to vote at this point, more or less. But for how long? As resistance to the policies of the elite mounts and the two-party monopoly threatens to crumble, why should the riffraff be permitted a say in such important affairs as elections?

See Also: CEO pay in US continues its relentless climb in 2005 [12 April 2006] //www.wsws.org/articles/2006/apr2006/ceos-a12.shtml

Federal Reserve report documents widening inequality in US [2 March 2006] //www.wsws.org/articles/2006/mar2006/ineq-m02.shtml

Financial Times columnist warns about social inequality in US [24 February 2006] //www.wsws.org/articles/2006/feb2006/ftim-f24.shtml


The WSWS invites your comments.
//www.wsws.org/articles/2006/apr2006/rich-a19.shtml


"They were careless people, they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

--F. Scott Fitzgerald


Informant: Friends

The campaigner's version of 'Desiderata'

I had this sent to me by a campaigner and love a bit of humour in my day, so thought I would pass it on. The beautiful original version is below it.

Sandi


The Druid Desiderata

Go Noisily amid the complacence and waste, and Remember what peace can be had without Television.

Never Surrender and always attempt to undermine authority, which will put you on good terms with most people.

Speak your truth as loudly and as clearly as possible, especially to the dull and ignorant.

Avoid meekness and subservience like the plague, for they are murderers of Humankind's soul.

If you compare yourself with others, you are wasting time and living in a world of illusion.

Wake UP!

Enjoy your achievements, but enjoy your plans more.

Keep interested in your livelihood, it is the only one you will ever have, and is an ongoing thing.

Do not allow others to define your livelihood, or your currencies.

Exercise generosity in your business affairs, because what ever you have, will not be yours again, someday.

There is virtue and trickery in this world, light and darkness, thinking, and ignorance, something, and nothing.

One mans perceptions may be another mans hell.

Be aware of the true solitude you inherit with your existence, and treasure it.

The only thing you can take with you from this world is what you have learned.

Love is a conditioned response born of reproductive imperative, and a subconscious survival instinct.

Do not put pretty labels on it, you are just fooling yourself. Loyalty, and true care for your fellow human beings goes far beyond love, and is not hard to see.

Grow old gracefully, but do not fall into the pit of wishing immortality. No number of drugs, or physicians care can keep your body on this Earth forever.

To want that is base selfishness and simple animal fear. Do not indulge it, you are truly better than that.

You are the embodiment of Light, the most refined form of matter that can be. You are meant to be here, and you will be here again.

You are a traveller in space, and eternal in your identity. Do not restrict yourself, or you will be sorry, over and over again.

Be cheerful when possible, boldly courageous when necessary, and thoughtful always. Learning is what you are here for, and the world is just the classroom for the soul. Strive To Be Free.

--------

Max Ehrmann

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann,
Desiderata,
Copyright 1952

Vermögensfreibeträge gehen in den Keller, Sanktionen werden verschärft...

+++ Pressemitteilung 19.04.2006 +++

Ministeriumsliste mit zahlreichen Änderungsplänen deutet auf weitere drastische Einschnitte und Verschärfungen beim Arbeitslosengeld II hin.

Im Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales laufen die Vorbereitungen für ein so genanntes SGB II-Optimierungsgesetz auf Hochtouren. Ein Arbeitspapier des Ministeriums beschreibt 56 vorgesehene erneute Änderungen des Arbeitslosenrechts, die noch vor der Sommerpause in den Bundestag eingebracht werden sollen.

Etliche Änderungen werden bewirken, dass noch weniger Erwerbslose als bisher überhaupt Arbeitslosengeld II (Alg II) bekommen. Unter anderem wird das frei verfügbare Vermögen, das die Betroffenen besitzen dürfen, von 200 auf 150 Euro pro Lebensjahr reduziert. Das bedeutet, dass weitere ca. 10 000 Bedarfsgemeinschaften erst von ihren Ersparnissen zehren müssen, bevor sie einen Anspruch auf Alg II haben. Dass im Gegenzug das für die Altersvorsorge festgelegte Vermögen um 50 Euro auf
250 Euro pro Lebensjahr erhöht wird, kann höchstens für die kleine Zahl von Alg II-Betroffenen ein schwacher Trost sein, deren Ruhestand bereits finanziell gesichert ist. Für die meisten Alg II-Bezieher bedeutet ein etwas höheres Altersvorsorgevermögen lediglich, dass ihr Anspruch auf Grundsicherung im Alter gar nicht oder erst später eintreten wird.

Das Arbeitspapier hält außerdem eisern am Vorhaben der Bundesregierung fest, die Beweislast zur Entscheidung der Frage, ob zwei Menschen in einer eheähnlichen Gemeinschaft leben, umzukehren. Das heißt, künftig sollen Personen, die zusammen wohnen, beweisen, dass sie keine eheähnliche Gemeinschaft bilden und damit nicht zum gegenseitigen Unterhalt herangezogen werden können. Dies soll auch gelten, wenn sich zwei Männer oder zwei Frauen eine Wohnung teilen. Im Ministerium wurde dafür der Begriff der „gleichgeschlechtlichen lebenspartnerschaftsähnlichen Gemeinschaft“ kreiert. Eine Bedrohung der Existenz bedeutet die geplante Ausweitung der Zählwirkung einer Sanktion von drei Monaten auf ein Jahr. Wird Alg II-Beziehenden nun innerhalb dieses verlängerten Zeitrahmens eine wiederholte Pflichtverletzung zur Last gelegt, kann die Leistung im zweiten Schritt sofort um 60 Prozent der Regelleistung, im dritten um 90 Prozent usw. gekürzt werden. Auch Leistungen der Kosten für die Unterkunft dürfen nach den vorliegenden Plänen bereits im ersten Sanktionsschritt reduziert werden. Die Verschärfung der Sanktionen trifft Erwerbslose umso härter, als die rechtlichen Möglichkeiten, sich dagegen zu wehren, sehr begrenzt sind. Widerspruch gegen einen Sanktionsbescheid nach dem zweiten Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB II) hat keine aufschiebende Wirkung.

Das ministerielle Arbeitspapier offenbart die Regierungspläne, den Zugang zum Arbeitslosengeld II weiter zu erschweren. Zudem enthält es zahlreiche entwürdigende Kontrollinstrumente gegenüber Leistungsbeziehern. Die Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Erwerbslosen- und Sozialhilfeinitiativen sieht darin eine weitere drastische Verschlechterung der materiellen und rechtlichen Lage von erwerbslosen und mittellosen Menschen. Das Ministeriumspapier ist im Internet unter //www.bag-shi.de/sozialpolitik/arbeitslosengeld2/sgb2-opti zu finden.

Anne Ames
Frank Jäger
(für Rückfragen: 069 - 27 22 08 96)


BAG-SHI Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Erwerbslosen- und Sozialhilfeinitiativen e.V. Geschäftsstelle Moselstraße 25 --- 60329 Frankfurt am Main Fon: 069-27 22 08 98 - Fax: 069-27 22 08 97 email: info@bag-shi.de - Internet: //www.bag-shi.de

--------

SGB II – Optimierungsgesetz

Ein neues, umfangreiches Special im LabourNet Germany: //www.labournet.de/diskussion/arbeit/realpolitik/hilfe/sgb2opti.html


Aus: LabourNet, 20. April 2006

Mobile coverage for London Underground

//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/mobile_coverage_for_london_underground.htm

Just asked my local councillors (London Borough of Haringey) and local MP (LibDem Lynne Featherstone) for advice and support on this issue. All Londoners on this list must get together to organise a London wide campaign. We need to try and get the London Press behind us asap. (Locals, and most importantly, The Evening Standard). The Transport Unions might be worth a go as well.

First ideas for a list of arguments:

Installing a mobile network in the tube would be a massive blow against the human rights of electrohypersensitive passengers (circa 3% of the population) who would no longer be able to use the tube.

It also poses a security poblem with regards to terrorrists being able to remotely detonate bombs.

It also poses a health and safety risk to all employees, especially drivers, who would be continuously exposed to a strong high frequency electromagnetic field, which is not only likely to reduce their concentration on the job and make them more accident prone, but will also cause all the known long term effects such as cardio-vascular illnesses, neurological illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimers and of course, cancer.

Andrea

--------

I know before I realised the risks posed by mobile phone antennae...there were loads of complaints about how unsociable it was to be around people talking on their mobiles...comedians complained quite hilariously taking the mickey out of people pretendiong to be important, hanging on their mobiles...it was considered a real dweeby thing to do to be forever on a mobile having a private conversation in a really public place...

Perhaps a plea could be placed that for the half hour most people spend on the tube, they could have some relief from their mobiles...and those of everyone else!

I think a much wider audience would be sympathetic to the proposal that the underground is simply not the place to be forced to listen to peoples' private mobile conversations....(worse than second hand smoke!)...than would be sympathetic to the health risks posed by antennae and the phones.

Ruth

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I wonder if a certain level of emissions would breach ICNIRP - I know this has been suggested as a possibility at pop concerts, etc. (and I know ICNIRP is inadequate) but some phones have higher SAR rates than others, so in a worst-case scenario, could a frenzy of calls create an unlawful environment?

Sylvia

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Yes, Sylvia, German studies in buses have shown that even ICNIRP guidelines will be breached by the hotspots created in the carriages' faraday cage.

Andrea

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Calling for a phone signal? Do you love or loathe mobile phones?
//freepage.twoday.net/stories/1884726/

Terrorists explode base station in Ingushetia

//www.cellular-news.com/story/17003.php

SENATE HEARINGS ON BUSH, NOW

By Carl Bernstein Vanity Fair April 17, 2006

//www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/articles/060417roco03

In this VF.com exclusive, a Watergate veteran and Vanity Fair contributor calls for bipartisan hearings investigating the Bush presidency. Should Republicans on the Hill take the high road and save themselves come November?


Worse than Watergate? High crimes and misdemeanors justifying the impeachment of George W. Bush, as increasing numbers of Democrats in Washington hope, and, sotto voce, increasing numbers of Republicans -- including some of the president's top lieutenants -- now fear? Leaders of both parties are acutely aware of the vehemence of anti-Bush sentiment in the country, expressed especially in the increasing number of Americans -- nearing 50 percent in some polls -- who say they would favor impeachment if the president were proved to have deliberately lied to justify going to war in Iraq.

John Dean, the Watergate conspirator who ultimately shattered the Watergate conspiracy, rendered his precipitous (or perhaps prescient) impeachment verdict on Bush two years ago in the affirmative, without so much as a question mark in choosing the title of his book Worse than Watergate. On March 31, some three decades after he testified at the seminal hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee, Dean reiterated his dark view of Bush's presidency in a congressional hearing that shed more noise than light, and more partisan rancor than genuine inquiry. The ostensible subject: whether Bush should be censured for unconstitutional conduct in ordering electronic surveillance of Americans without a warrant.

Raising the worse-than-Watergate question and demanding unequivocally that Congress seek to answer it is, in fact, overdue and more than justified by ample evidence stacked up from Baghdad back to New Orleans and, of increasing relevance, inside a special prosecutor's office in downtown Washington.

In terms of imminent, meaningful action by the Congress, however, the question of whether the president should be impeached (or, less severely, censured) remains premature. More important, it is essential that the Senate vote -- hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties -- to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Committee's investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.

How much evidence is there to justify such action?

Certainly enough to form a consensus around a national imperative: to learn what this president and his vice president knew and when they knew it; to determine what the Bush administration has done under the guise of national security; and to find out who did what, whether legal or illegal, unconstitutional or merely under the wire, in ignorance or incompetence or with good reason, while the administration barricaded itself behind the most Draconian secrecy and disingenuous information policies of the modern presidential era.

"We ought to get to the bottom of it so it can be evaluated, again, by the American people," said Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on April 9. "The President of the United States owes a specific explanation to the American people Š about exactly what he did." Specter was speaking specifically about a special prosecutor's assertion that Bush selectively declassified information (of dubious accuracy) and instructed the vice president to leak it to reporters to undermine criticism of the decision to go to war in Iraq. But the senator's comments would be even more appropriately directed at far more pervasive and darker questions that must be answered if the American political system is to acquit itself in the Bush era, as it did in Nixon's.

Perhaps there are facts or mitigating circumstances, given the extraordinary nature of conceiving and fighting a war on terror, that justify some of the more questionable policies and conduct of this presidency, even those that turned a natural disaster in New Orleans into a catastrophe of incompetence and neglect. But the truth is we have no trustworthy official record of what has occurred in almost any aspect of this administration, how decisions were reached, and even what the actual policies promulgated and approved by the president are. Nor will we, until the subpoena powers of the Congress are used (as in Watergate) to find out the facts -- not just about the war in Iraq, almost every aspect of it, beginning with the road to war, but other essential elements of Bush's presidency, particularly the routine disregard for truthfulness in the dissemination of information to the American people and Congress.

The first fundamental question that needs to be answered by and about the president, the vice president, and their political and national-security aides, from Donald Rumsfeld to Condoleezza Rice, to Karl Rove, to Michael Chertoff, to Colin Powell, to George Tenet, to Paul Wolfowitz, to Andrew Card (and a dozen others), is whether lying, disinformation, misinformation, and manipulation of information have been a basic matter of policy -- used to overwhelm dissent; to hide troublesome truths and inconvenient data from the press, public, and Congress; and to defend the president and his actions when he and they have gone awry or utterly failed.

Most of what we have learned about the reality of this administration -- and the disconcerting mind-set and decision-making process of President Bush himself -- has come not from the White House or the Pentagon or the Department of Homeland Security or the Treasury Department, but from insider accounts by disaffected members of the administration after their departure, and from distinguished journalists, and, in the case of a skeletal but hugely significant body of information, from a special prosecutor. And also, of late, from an aide-de-camp to the British prime minister. Almost invariably, their accounts have revealed what the president and those serving him have deliberately concealed -- torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, and its apparent authorization by presidential fiat; wholesale N.S.A. domestic wiretapping in contravention of specific prohibitive law; brutal interrogations of prisoners shipped secretly by the C.I.A. and U.S. military to Third World gulags; the nonexistence of W.M.D. in Iraq; the role of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's chief of staff in divulging the name of an undercover C.I.A. employee; the non-role of Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the events of 9/11; the death by friendly fire of Pat Tillman (whose mother, Mary Tillman, told journalist Robert Scheer, "The administration tried to attach themselves to his virtue and then they wiped their feet with him"); the lack of a coherent post-invasion strategy for Iraq, with all its consequent tragedy and loss and destabilizing global implications; the failure to coordinate economic policies for America's long-term financial health (including the misguided tax cuts) with funding a war that will drive the national debt above a trillion dollars; the assurance of Wolfowitz (since rewarded by Bush with the presidency of the World Bank) that Iraq's oil reserves would pay for the war within two to three years after the invasion; and Bush's like-minded confidence, expressed to Blair, that serious internecine strife in Iraq would be unlikely after the invasion.

But most grievous and momentous is the willingness -- even enthusiasm, confirmed by the so-called Downing Street Memo and the contemporaneous notes of the chief foreign-policy adviser to British prime minister Tony Blair -- to invent almost any justification for going to war in Iraq (including sending up an American U-2 plane painted with U.N. markings to be deliberately shot down by Saddam Hussein's air force, a plan hatched while the president, the vice president, and Blair insisted to the world that war would be initiated "only as a last resort"). Attending the meeting between Bush and Blair where such duplicity was discussed unabashedly ("intelligence and facts" would be jiggered as necessary and "fixed around the policy," wrote the dutiful aide to the prime minister) were Ms. Rice, then national-security adviser to the president, and Andrew Card, the recently departed White House chief of staff.

As with Watergate, the investigation of George W. Bush and his presidency needs to start from a shared premise and set of principles that can be embraced by Democrats and Republicans, by liberals and centrists and conservatives, and by opponents of the war and its advocates: that the president of the United States and members of his administration must defend the requirements of the Constitution, obey the law, demonstrate common sense, and tell the truth. Obviously there will be disagreements, even fierce ones, along the way. Here again the Nixon example is useful: Republicans on the Senate Watergate Committee, including its vice chairman, Howard Baker of Tennessee ("What did the president know and when did he know it?"), began the investigation as defenders of Nixon. By its end, only one was willing to make any defense of Nixon's actions.

The Senate Watergate Committee was created (by a 77 to 0 vote of the Senate) with the formal task of investigating illegal political-campaign activities. Its seven members were chosen by the leadership of each party, three from the minority, four from the majority. (The Democratic majority leader of the Senate, Mike Mansfield, insisted that none of the Democrats be high-profile senators with presidential aspirations.) One of the crucial tasks of any committee charged with investigating the Bush presidency will be to delineate the scope of inquiry. It must not be a fishing expedition -- and not only because the pond is so loaded with fish. The lines ought to be drawn so that the hearings themselves do not become the occasion for the ultimate battle of the culture wars. This investigation should be seen as an opportunity to at last rise above the culture wars and, as in Watergate, learn whether the actions of the president and his deputies have been consistent with constitutional principles, the law, and the truth.

Karl Rove and other White House strategists are betting (with odds in their favor) that Republicans on Capitol Hill are extremely unlikely to take the high road before November and endorse any kind of serious investigation into Bush's presidency -- a gamble that may increase the risk of losing Republican majorities in either or both houses of Congress, and even further undermine the future of the Bush presidency. Already in the White House, there is talk of a nightmare scenario in which the Democrats successfully make the November congressional elections a referendum on impeachment -- and the congressional Republicans' lockstep support for Bush -- and win back a majority in the House, and maybe the Senate too.

But voting now to create a Senate investigation -- chaired by a Republican -- could work to the advantage both of the truth and of Republican candidates eager to put distance between themselves and the White House.

The calculations of politicians about their electoral futures should pale in comparison to the urgency of examining perhaps the most disastrous five years of decision-making of any modern American presidency.

There are huge differences between the Nixon presidency and this one, of course, but surprisingly few would appear to redound to this administration's benefit, including even the fundamental question of the competence of the president.

First and foremost among the differences may be the role of the vice president. The excesses of Watergate -- the crimes, the lies, the trampling of the Constitution, the disregard for the institutional integrity of the presidency, the dutiful and even enthusiastic lawbreaking of Nixon's apparatchiks -- stemmed from one aberrant president's psyche and the paranoid assumptions that issued from it, and from the notion shared by some of his White House acolytes that, because U. S. troops were fighting a war -- especially a failing one against a determined, guerrilla enemy in Vietnam -- the commander in chief could assume extraordinary powers nowhere assigned in the Constitution and govern above the rule of law. "When the president does it that means that it is not illegal," Nixon famously told David Frost.

Bush and Cheney have been hardly less succinct about the president's duty and right to assume unprecedented authority nowhere specified in the Constitution. "Especially in the day and age we live in Š the president of the United States needs to have his Constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national-security policy," Cheney said less than four months ago.

Bush's doctrine of "unimpairment" -- at one with his tendency to trim the truth -- may be (with the question of his competence) the nub of the national nightmare. "I have the authority, both from the Constitution and the Congress, to undertake this vital program," Bush said after more than a few Republican and conservative eminences said he did not and joined the chorus of outrage about his N.S.A. domestic-surveillance program.

"Terrorism is not the only new danger of this era," noted George F. Will, the conservative columnist. "Another is the administration's argument that because the president is commander in chief, he is the 'sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs' Š [which] is refuted by the Constitution's plain language, which empowers Congress to ratify treaties, declare war, fund and regulate military forces, and make laws 'necessary and proper' for the execution of all presidential powers."

A voluminous accumulation of documentary and journalistic evidence suggests that the policies and philosophy of this administration that may be unconstitutional or illegal stem not just from Bush but from Cheney as well -- hence there's even greater necessity for a careful, methodical investigation under Senate auspices before any consideration of impeachment in the House and its mischievous potential to create the mother of all partisan, ideological, take-no-prisoners battles, which would even further divide the Congress and the country.

Cheney's recognition of the danger to him and his patron by a re-assertion of the Watergate precedent of proper congressional oversight is not hard to fathom. Illegal wiretapping -- among other related crimes -- was the basis of one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon passed by the House Judiciary Committee. The other two were defiance of subpoenas and obstruction of justice in the Watergate cover-up. "Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970s, served, I think, to erode the authority Š [that] the president needs to be effective, especially in the national-security area," Cheney has observed. Nixon did not share his decision-making, much less philosophizing, with his vice president, and never relegated his own judgment to a number two. Former secretary of state Colin Powell's ex-chief of staff, retired army colonel Larry Wilkerson, has attested, "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."

Here it may be relevant that Powell has, in private, made statements interpreted by many important figures in Washington as seemingly questioning Cheney's emotional stability, and that Powell no longer recognizes the steady, dependable "rock" with whom he served in the administration of George W. Bush's father. Powell needs to be asked under oath about his reported observations regarding Cheney, not to mention his own appearance before the United Nations in which he spoke with assurance about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and insisted that the United States was seeking a way to avoid war, not start it.

Because Powell was regarded by some as the administration "good guy," who was prescient in his anxiety about Bush's determination to go to war in Iraq ("You break it, you own it"), he should not be handed a pass exempting him from tough questioning in a congressional investigation. Indeed, Powell is probably more capable than any other witness of providing both fact and context to the whole story of the road to war and the actions of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the others.

One of the similarities between Bush and Nixon is their contempt, lip service aside, for the legitimate oversight of Congress. In seeking to cover up his secret, illegal activities, Nixon made broad claims of executive privilege or national security, the most important of which were rejected by the courts.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their colleagues have successfully evaded accountability for the dire consequences of their policies through a tried-and-true strategy that has exploited a situation in which the press
(understandably) has no subpoena power and is held in ill repute
(understandably) by so many Americans, and the Republican-controlled Congress can be counted on to ignore its responsibility to compel relevant, forthright testimony and evidence -- no matter how outrageous (failure to provide sufficient body armor for American soldiers, for example), mendacious, or inimical to the national interest the actions of the president and his principal aides might be.

As in Watergate, the Bush White House has, at almost every opportunity when endangered by the prospect of accountability, made the conduct of the press the issue instead of the misconduct of the president and his aides, and, with help from its Republican and conservative allies in and out of Congress, questioned the patriotism of the other party. As during the Nixon epoch, the strategy is finally wearing thin. "He's smoking Dutch Cleanser," said Specter when Bush's attorney general claimed legality for the president's secret order authorizing the wiretapping of Americans by the N.S.A. -- first revealed in The New York Times in December.

Before the Times story had broken, the president was ardent about his civil-libertarian credentials in such matters: "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so," Bush said in a speech in Buffalo, New York, in April 2004.

Obviously, Bush's statement was demonstrably untrue. Yet instead of correcting himself, Bush attacked the Times for virtual treason, and his aides initiated a full-court press to track down whoever had provided information to the newspaper. "Our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk," he declared, as if America's terrorist enemies hadn't assumed they were subject to all manner of electronic eavesdropping by the world's most technologically sophisticated nation.

As in the Nixon White House, the search for leakers and others in the executive branch who might be truthful with reporters has become a paranoid preoccupation in the Bush White House. "Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country," Bush added. (The special prosecutor's revelation that Bush himself -- through Cheney -- was ultimately behind Scooter Libby's leaking to undermine Joseph Wilson has ironically caused Bush more damage among Republican members of Congress than far more grievous acts by the president.)

The irony of the Valerie Plame affair, like the Watergate break-in itself, is its relative insignificance in terms of the greater transgressions of a presidency that has gone off the tracks. The "third-rate burglary," as it was famously dismissed by Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler, was actually the key to unlocking the rest of the White House secrets and their cover-up by the President and his men. Absent the knowledge of those other illegal activities of the Nixon presidency, the vehemence with which Nixon, Mitchell, Haldeman, Ziegler, Colson, et al. denied any knowledge of the Watergate break-in, or even its tangential connection to the White House, never made such sense.

As in the case of the Watergate break-in and the Nixon White House, it is now evident that the Plame investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has opened the door to larger questions of transgression: at minimum giving clarity to how far this president and his men and women have been willing to go to protect their knowledge of the false premises and pretenses on which they went to war and sold it to the Congress, the people, the press, the United Nations, and the world.

Contrary to all the denials of the President's spokesman, Scott McClellan, the White House sought "to discredit, punish, or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson," according to the special prosecutor. And, Fitzgerald told the U. S. District Court, "It is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to punish Wilson."

Lost in most accounts of the complicated Plame backstory is its relevance in terms of Bush's 2004 re-election, and hence the obvious concern by Rove and other presidential deputies: that if Wilson's credentials and information were not undermined they would serve as confirmation during the presidential campaign that Bush had knowingly used false claims (that Saddam Hussein had been trying to seek nuclear materials from Niger) in his 2003 State of the Union address to publicly justify going to war.

The parallel with potential damage from Watergate to Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign is almost eerie (and equally complicated): if the insistent denials about White House involvement in the Watergate break-in had been proven false at the time, or the door opened on the other illegal activities of the President and his men, Nixon might have been a far more vulnerable candidate for re-election in 1972.

Literally dozens of investigations have been ordered at the C.I.A., the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, and elsewhere in the executive branch to find out who is talking to the press about secret activities undertaken in Bush's presidency. These include polygraph investigations and a warning to the press that reporters may be prosecuted under espionage laws.

Bush's self-claimed authority to wiretap without a court order -- like his self-claimed authority to hold prisoners of war indefinitely without habeas corpus (on grounds those in custody are suspected "terrorists") -- stems from the same doctrine of "unimpairment" and all its Nixonian overtones: "The American people expect me to protect their lives and their civil liberties, and that's exactly what we're doing with this [N.S.A. eavesdropping] program," asserted Bush in January.

When Nixon's former attorney general John N. Mitchell was compelled to testify before the Watergate Committee, he laid out the sordid "White House horrors," as he called them -- activities undertaken in the name of national security by the low-level thugs and high-level presidential aides acting in the president's name. Mitchell, loyal to the end, pictured the whole crowd, from Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Colson down to Liddy and the Watergate burglars, as self-starters, acting without authority from Nixon. The tapes, of course, told the real story -- wiretapping, break-ins, attempts to illegally manipulate the outcome of the electoral process, routine smearing of the president's opponents and intricate machinations to render it untraceable, orders to firebomb a liberal think tank, the Watergate cover-up, and their origin in the Oval Office.

In the case of the Bush administration's two attorneys general, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, there are indications that -- as in the Nixon White House -- they approved and/or promulgated policies (horrors?) that would appear intended to enable the president to circumvent the Constitution and the law.

Ashcroft expressed reservations as early as 2004 about the legality of the wiretapping authority claimed by Bush, according to recent disclosures in the press, but Ashcroft's doubts -- and the unwillingness of his principal deputy attorney general to approve central aspects of the N.S.A. domestic eavesdropping plan -- were not made known to the Congress. Gonzales, as White House counsel, drew up the guidelines authorizing torture at American-run prisons and U.S. exemption from the Geneva war-crimes conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners. (His memo to the president described provisions of the conventions as "quaint.")

"Let me make very clear the position of my government and our country," said Bush when confronted with the undeniable, photographic evidence of torture. "We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture. The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being." The available facts would indicate this was an unusually evident example of presidential prevarication, but we will never know exactly how untruthful, or perhaps just slippery, until the president and the White House are compelled to cooperate with a real congressional investigation.

That statement by Bush, in June 2004, in response to worldwide outrage at the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs, illustrates two related, core methodologies employed by this president and his cadre to escape responsibility for their actions: First, an Orwellian reliance on the meaninglessness of words. (When is "torture" torture? When is "ordered" "authorized"? When is "if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration" a scheme to keep trusted aides on the payroll through a legal process that could take years before adjudication and hide the president's own role in helping to start -- perhaps inadvertently -- the Plame ball rolling?)

"Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information," the president was quoted saying in Time magazine's issue of October 13, 2003. Time's report then noted with acuity, "Bush seemed to emphasize those last two words ['classified information'] as if hanging onto a legal life preserver in choppy seas."

The second method of escape is the absence of formal orders issued down the chain of command, leaving non-coms, enlisted men and women, and a few unfortunate non-star officers to twist in the wind for policies emanating from the president, vice president, secretary of defense, attorney general, national-security adviser to the president, and current secretary of state (formerly the national-security adviser). With a determined effort, a committee of distinguished senators should be able to establish if the grotesque abuse of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo was really the work of a "few bad apples" like Army Reserve P.F.C. Lynndie England wielding the leash, or a natural consequence of actions and policies flowing from the Oval Office and office of the secretary of defense.

In a baker's dozen of hearings before pliant committees of Congress, a parade of the top brass from Rice to Rumsfeld, to the Joint Chiefs, to Paul Bremer has managed for almost three years to evade responsibility for -- or even acknowledgment of -- the disintegrating situation on the ground in Iraq, its costs in lives and treasure, and its disastrous reverberations through the world, and for an assault on constitutional principles at home. Similarly, until the Senate Watergate hearings, Nixon and his men at the top had evaded responsibility for Watergate and their cover-up of all the "White House horrors."

With the benefit of hindsight, it is now almost impossible to look at the president's handling of the war in Iraq in isolation from his handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Certainly any investigation of the president and his administration should include both disasters. Before 9/11, Bush and Condoleezza Rice had been warned in the starkest of terms -- by their own aides, by the outgoing Clinton administration, and by experts on terrorism -- of the urgent danger of a spectacular al-Qaeda attack in the United States. Yet the first top-level National Security Council meeting to discuss the subject was not held until September 4, 2001 -- just as the F.B.I. hierarchy had been warned by field agents that there were suspected Islamic radicals learning to fly 747s with no legitimate reasons for doing so, but the bureau ultimately ignored the urgency of problem, just as Bush had ample opportunity (despite what he said later) to review and competently execute a disaster plan for the hurricane heading toward New Orleans.

There will forever be four indelible photographic images of the George W. Bush epoch: an airplane crashing into World Trade Tower number two; Bush in a Florida classroom reading from a book about a goat while a group of second-graders continued to captivate him for another seven minutes after Andrew Card had whispered to the president, "America is under attack"; floodwaters inundating New Orleans, and its residents clinging to rooftops for their lives; and, two days after the hurricane struck, Bush peeking out the window of Air Force One to inspect the devastation from a safe altitude. The aftermath of the hurricane's direct hit, both in terms of the devastation and the astonishing neglect and incompetence from the top down, would appear to be unique in American history. Except for the Civil War and the War of 1812 (when the British burned Washington), no president has ever lost an American city; and if New Orleans is not lost, it will only be because of the heroics of its people and their almost superhuman efforts to overcome the initial lethargy and apparent non-comprehension of the president. Bush's almost blank reaction was foretold vividly in a video of him and his aides meeting on August 28, 2005, the day before Katrina made landfall. The tape -- withheld by the administration from Congress but obtained by the Associated Press along with seven days of transcripts of administration briefings -- shows Bush and his Homeland Security chief being warned explicitly that the storm could cause levees to overflow, put large number of lives at risk, and overwhelm rescuers.

In the wake of the death and devastation in New Orleans, President Bush refused to provide the most important documents sought by Congress or allow his immediate aides in the White House to testify before Congress about decision-making in the West Wing or at his Crawford ranch in the hours immediately before and after the hurricane struck. His refusal was wrapped in a package of high principle -- the need for confidentiality of executive-branch communications -- the same principle of preserving presidential privacy that, presumably, prevented him from releasing official White House photos of himself with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff or allowing White House aides to testify about the N.S.A. electronic-eavesdropping program on grounds of executive privilege.

The unwillingness of this president -- a former Texas governor familiar with the destructive powers of weather -- to deal truthfully ("I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees," he said in an interview with Good Morning America three days after the hurricane hit) and meaningfully with the people of the Gulf Coast or the country, or the Congress, about his government's response ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job") to Hurricane Katrina may be the Rosebud moment of his presidency. The president's repeated attempts to keep secret his actions and those of his principal aides by invoking often spurious claims of executive privilege and national security in the run-up to the war in Iraq -- and its prosecution since -- are rendered perfectly comprehensible when seen in relation to the Katrina claim. It is an effective way to hide the truth (as Nixon attempted so often), and -- when uncomfortable truths have nonetheless been revealed by others -- to justify extraordinary actions that would seem to be illegal or even unconstitutional.

Is incompetence an impeachable offense? The question is another reason to defer the fraught matter of impeachment (if deserved) in the Bush era until the ground is prepared by a proper fact-finding investigation and public hearings conducted by a sober, distinguished committee of Congress.

We have never had a presidency in which the single unifying thread that flows through its major decision-making was incompetence -- stitched together with hubris and mendacity on a Nixonian scale. There will be no shortage of witnesses to question about the subject, among them the retired three-star Marine Corps general who served as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war's planning, Gregory Newbold.

Last week he wrote, "I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat -- Al Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy." The decision to invade Iraq, he said, "was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results." Despite the military's determination that, after Vietnam, "We must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it.Š We have been fooled again."

The unprecedented generals' revolt against the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is -- like the special prosecutor's Plame investigation -- a door that once cracked open, cannot be readily shut by the president or even his most senior aides. What outsiders long suspected regarding the conduct of the war has now been given credence by those on the inside, near the top, just as in the unraveling of Watergate.

General Newbold and his fellow retired generals have (as observed elsewhere in the press) declared Rumsfeld unfit to lead America's military at almost exactly the moment when the United States must deal with the most difficult legacy of the Bush presidency: how to pry itself out of Iraq and deal with the real threat this administration ignored next door, from Iran.

Rumsfeld appeared Friday on an Al Arabiya television broadcast and said, "Out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round." This kind of denial of reality -- and (again) Orwellian abuse of facts and language -- to describe six generals, each with more than 30 years military experience, each of whom served at the top of their commands (three in Iraq) and worked closely with Rumsfeld, is indicative of the problem any investigation by the Senate must face when dealing with this presidency.

And if Rumsfeld is unfit, how is his commander-in-chief, who has steadfastly refused to let him go (as Nixon did for so long with Haldeman and Ehrlichman, "two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know"), to be judged?

The roadblock to a serious inquiry to date has been a Republican majority that fears the results, and a Democratic minority more interested in retribution and grandstanding than the national weal. There are indications, however, that by November voters may be far more discerning than they were in the last round of congressional elections, and that Republicans especially are getting the message. Indeed many are talking privately about their lack of confidence in Bush and what to do about him.

It took the Senate Watergate Committee less than six months to do its essential work. When Sam Ervin's gavel fell to close the first phase of public televised hearings on August 7, 1973, the basic facts of Nixon's conspiracy -- and the White House horrors -- were engraved on the nation's consciousness. The testimony of the president's men themselves -- under oath and motivated perhaps in part by a real threat of being charged with perjury -- left little doubt about what happened in a criminal and unconstitutional presidency.

On February 6, 1974, the House voted 410 to 4 to empower its Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation of the president. On July 27, 1974, the first of three articles of impeachment was approved, with support from 6 of the 17 Republicans (and 21 Democrats) on the committee. Two more articles were approved on July 29 and 30. On August 8, facing certain conviction in a Senate trial, Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became president.

In Watergate, Republicans were the ones who finally told Richard Nixon, "Enough." They were the ones who cast the most critical votes for articles of impeachment, ensuring that Nixon would be judged with nonpartisan fairness. After the vote, the Republican congressional leadership -- led by the great conservative senator Barry Goldwater -- marched en masse to the White House to tell the criminal president that he had to go. And if he didn't, the leadership would recommend his conviction in the Senate.

In the case of George W. Bush, important conservative and Republican voices have, finally, begun speaking out in the past few weeks. William F. Buckley Jr., founder of the modern conservative movement and, with Goldwater, perhaps its most revered figure, said last month: "It's important that we acknowledge in the inner counsels of state that [the war in Iraq] has failed so that we should look for opportunities to cope with that failure." And "Mr. Bush is in the hands of a fortune that will be unremitting on the point of Iraq.Š If he'd invented the Bill of Rights it wouldn't get him out of this jam." And "The neoconservative hubris, which sort of assigns to America some kind of geo-strategic responsibility for maximizing democracy, overstretches the resources of a free country."

Even more scathing have been some officials who served in the White House under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush's father. Bruce Bartlett, a domestic-policy aide in the Reagan administration, a deputy assistant treasury secretary for the first President Bush, and author of a new book, Impostor: How George Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, noted: "A lot of conservatives have had reservations about him for a long time, but have been afraid to speak out for fear it would help liberals and the Democrats" -- a situation that, until the Senate Watergate Committee hearings, existed in regard to Nixon. "I think there are growing misgivings about the conduct of the Iraq operation, and how that relates to a general incompetence his administration seems to have about doing basic things," said Bartlett.

After Nixon's resignation, it was often said that the system had worked. Confronted by an aberrant president, the checks and balances on the executive by the legislative and judicial branches of government, and by a free press, had functioned as the founders had envisioned.

The system has thus far failed during the presidency of George W. Bush -- at incalculable cost in human lives, to the American political system, to undertaking an intelligent and effective war against terror, and to the standing of the United States in parts of the world where it previously had been held in the highest regard.

There was understandable reluctance in the Congress to begin a serious investigation of the Nixon presidency. Then there came a time when it was unavoidable. That time in the Bush presidency has arrived.


Carl Bernstein is a Vanity Fair contributing editor. His biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton will be published by Knopf next year.


Informant: NHNE



//omega.twoday.net/search?q=impeach
//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=impeach

ONLY OUR VOICES CAN STOP AN EVEN BIGGER DISASTER THAN IRAQ IN IRAN

The good news is that some key members of Congress are now speaking out for talks and diplomacy, instead of war as a first resort. So your personal messages are having an impact. Even Tony Blair has declared that Great Britain will NOT participate in an attack on Iran. The bad news is that credible voices are reporting that the Bush administration has ALREADY decided to do just that. Well, maybe they'll just have to UN-decide.

It is time for Congress to reassert their authority under the Constitution as the controlling voice on the declaration of war, and tell this administration that an attack on Iran is NOT on the table, and especially not a nuclear one. We cannot stand idly by while the Bush administration plunges us deeper into a quagmire we never should have entered in the first place.

ACTION PAGE: //www.clearwaterforcongress.com/petitions/pnum248.php

JOIN GRETCHEN CLEARWATER IN STANDING UP FOR YOU ON THIS AND ALL OTHER ISSUES

This alert is brought to you through the activism of Gretchen Clearwater, Democratic candidate for the U.S House from the 9th district of Indiana. Gretchen needs your help in the next 2 weeks to win her primary election. How many times have you felt helpless and wished you could influence the votes of representatives in other districts to prevail on a critical vote in Congress, but thought you could not do so effectively because you were not one of their own constituents? How much more would you support Gretchen if you do live in her district?

Here we have a courageous candidate who will fight for all the issues you care about, if only she is given the chance to make the run. Please donate whatever you can to help Gretchen get on the radio to recruit and mobilize even more people to speak out so we can have a real impact on these policy decisions now and for the future. What would you give to have a whole legislature of people like Gretchen Clearwater? Won't you give her your support now to make that a reality?

ACTBLUE DONATIONS: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/entity/8688?refcode=cwt2

We have been valiantly speaking out with action alerts based on one fundamental premise --- either our representatives in Congress would listen to and heed the voices of their people --- or else we would work to replace them in the next election.

The time for the replacement action is NOW.

If each of us will just contribute what we can, to the most worthy candidates we can find, it will make a real difference in the kind of Congress we will all have to deal with in 2007. Most importantly, strong showings NOW by candidates who DO have a backbone, and WILL stand up and fight, can send a powerful message to the rest that they better start shaping up or we will ship them out too. Make your donation today and it will have cascading positive effects in many other races for months to come.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.

Powered by The People's Email Network Copyright 2006, Patent pending, All rights reserved

Benjamin Rush’s Peace Office

//www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance76.html

'My Government Is Not of This World'
//www.livelogcity.com/users/omega/496659.html

Boykottieren: Druck auf Multinationale

Praktisch Boykottieren: Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, AEG – Druck auf Multinationale

Wilfried Schwetz befasst sich mit aktuellen Boykottaktionen aus unterschiedlichen Zusammenhängen: der »Send Wal-Mart Back to School Campaign« in den USA, dem internationalen Coca Cola-Boykott und dem Boykott von Electrolux-Haushaltsgeräten im Zuge der AEG-Standortschließung in Nürnberg. Gemeinsam ist den drei Beispielen, dass sie ihren Ausgangspunkt in Arbeitskonflikten haben. Artikel von Wilfried Schwetz //www.labournet.de/diskussion/gewerkschaft/erfahrung/schwetz3.html


Keine vorübergehende Krise - über alternative Arbeitskampfformen

Rüdiger Timmermann, Landesbezirksleiter in ver.di Nord, machte in seinem Beitrag zu der Tagung, der hier als gekürzter Vorabzug zur in Kürze erscheinenden Tagungsdokumentation veröffentlicht wird, deutlich, dass und wie die Entwicklung neuer Arbeitskampfformen und eine politische Debatte über die Ursachen der gewerkschaftlichen Krise zusammen hängen. Artikel von Rüdiger Timmermann //www.labournet.de/diskussion/gewerkschaft/erfahrung/timmermann.html

Aus dem Text: „…Warum gibt es Formen der Beteiligung, der Demokratisierung, des Kampfes – und es kommt immer wieder zu dem Punkt, an dem unsere Führung sagt: Jetzt müssen wir aber aufpassen, jetzt sind wir weit genug gegangen, jetzt müssen wir zurück zur Partnerschaft, zur Stellvertreterpolitik, zum Korporatismus? (…) Man kann eine politische Kampagne über Menschenrechte und Menschenwürde nur machen, wenn man sie klar und konfliktorientiert anlegt. Man kann solche Kampagnen nicht in Partnerschaft mit Herrn Schwarz von Lidl führen…“


Aus: LabourNet, 19. April 2006

UMTS-Mast im Landschaftsschutzgebiet

Ich bin Sprecher der "Bürgerinitiative gegen Handymasten vor unserer Haustür" in Hagen am Teutoburgerwald. Ich bin im Moment mit der Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung in der Lage sehr starken Widerstand gegen "Vodafone" und unseren Bürgermeister gegen einen UMTS-Masten im Landschaftsschutzgebiet aufzubauen. Bitte, seit 14 Monaten kämpfen wir gegen die Baugenehmigung und diese ist immer noch nicht erteilt!!!!, aber wir möchten dieses unbedingt ins Netz stellen, da dieses von sehr großer Tragweite für andere Standorte seien wird. Im Anhang sehr wichtige Unterlagen.

//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/noz_bericht_vom_10_april_2.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/noz_bericht_vom_11_april_2001.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/noz_bericht_vom_11_april_2.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/umts_initiative_will_auklaerung_10_04_06.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/umts_initiative_will_auklaerung_antwort_landkreis.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/untere_naturschutzbehoerde001.tif
//www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/untere_naturschutzbehoerde_osnabrueck001.tif

Gutes Gelingen für alle, und über einige Rückmeldungen würde ich mich freuen.

Georg Hehemann
Sprecher der BI

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