Homelessness is like trying to tread water out in the middle of the ocean at the height of a storm with no land in sight and no rescue boat or helicopter on its way.
How did you get out there? Well, maybe your house burned down. Maybe you lived in a town which got destroyed by a hurricane and the poorly-maintained levees broke. Something like that could happen. Maybe it already has.
Or maybe there was a tornado. Or maybe either you or someone close to you got a bad illness, making it impossible to work. Maybe you lost your job along with thousands of others. Maybe you went into bankruptcy and your home went into foreclosure. Or maybe you were renting and working two different jobs in order to pay it, and then the landlord raised the rent, forcing you out with nowhere else to go.
Maybe you were a veteran, fighting for your country overseas and coming home badly injured and traumatized with not enough help and not enough housing.
But anyway, there you are in the middle of the ocean... treading water, exhausted, and watching the fins of sharks as they head towards you. And each shark has a different name- Pneumonia, Malnutrition, Hunger, Heat-stroke, Hypothermia .... Some of the sharks are teenagers with bats and bricks, and from the look in their eyes they're coming to beat you up, set you on fire, kill you- and you don't know what to do. But you know you want to live.
Suddenly you see a boat heading towards you and you think "Alright! At last! Someone to help!"
Unfortunately, when the boat draws closer you can see it's the Society Police Boat. And it's come not with help, but with tasers and tickets and fines.
Police Officer: "What are you doing out here? Don't you know it's all your fault? Lazy bum! We don't want your kind here. No, don't try swimming over there, you'd be illegal over there, too. I'm writing you out a ticket for illegally treading water. And is that a life-jacket I see on you? Well, I'm confiscating it. No, I'm not going to make restitution for that. Now just hand it over. What!!! You're resisting me? I sure don't like your attitude. George, put the handcuffs on him. Now see this? This is a taser."
And there you are... shocked and sinking.. in the middle of an ocean...
These days I am more and more busy with a new community network I've developed, called SpiritWeb. It's a revival of an old site, the former SpiritWeb, which was dissolved in 2002. Now I've revived it for all the former members who are still seeking one another on the Internet, and also for any one who is sincerely interested in matters of the Spirit.
While there is, as yet, no Chat, there are many other forms of interactive things, such as forum, groups, blogs, and the ability to upload videos, music, and pictures.
Started on July 6th of this year, it now has 63 members. Nonetheless, I am not in any hurry to see a huge increase in growth for growth's sake. Am more interested in people who enjoy SpiritWeb because it feels like "home".
(NaturalNews) Botanic Gardens Conservation International has warned that 400 medicinal plants around the world are at risk of extinction if current over-harvesting and deforestation practices continue.
The organization, which has member gardens in 120 different countries, surveyed more than 600 members and university experts to compile a list of threatened medicinal plants.
Among the most threatened are magnolias, with half of the world's species at risk due to deforestation. Magnolia has a 5,000-year history as a traditional Chinese medicine for cancer, dementia and heart disease.
Also at risk is the yew tree, source of the popular cancer drug paclitaxel, which is synthesized from the tree's bark. But the bark from six trees must be used to create a single dose, placing the yew at risk of over-harvesting. The medicinal properties of hoodia, a Namibian native, have also placed it at risk of over-harvest, with large quantities being "ripped from the wild," according to the report. Because the plant suppresses appetite, drug companies in search of miracle weight-loss medications are harvesting more than the species can bear.
In contrast, autumn crocus is being over-harvested mostly due to its ornamental appeal. But the plant is also a highly effective treatment for gout, and is being investigated for its leukemia-fighting abilities.
More than 50 percent of prescription drugs use chemicals originally derived from plants.
Even though many of the medicinal chemicals found in the 400 threatened plants can be synthesized in the laboratory, that does not mean the original plants no longer have medical benefit, the report emphasized. The vast majority of the five billion people on Earth still rely on traditional, plant-based medicine as their primary form of medical care.
"It is not an overstatement to say that if the precipitous decline of these species is not halted, it could destabilize the future of global healthcare," said report author Belinda Hawkins.
Approaching three years since the devastation of the US Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, a public health nightmare continues for thousands of survivors who were housed in government-supplied trailers.
Many of the 300,000 residents who were relocated into housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have developed serious respiratory problems because of excessive levels of the industrial chemical and known carcinogen formaldehyde, according to a report by Spencer Hsu published May 25 in the Washington Post.
Some of the most seriously affected are infants and children, who have developed chronic asthma and require lifelong medical care. The cancer rates will not be known for at least a decade, according to health experts.
While workplace exposure levels are regulated and the health risks associated with high levels are well known, there are no federal regulations on the level of formaldehyde in building materials. The chemical is emitted from glues and sealants used in construction materials such as particleboard, plywood, paneling, and laminated surfaces common in low-end housing units. Formaldehyde is released at the highest levels during warm weather and from newly constructed units.
The Washington Post noted that tests of many FEMA trailers revealed formaldehyde levels drastically exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) 15-minute workplace exposure limit of 100 parts per billion. This is the limit at which serious adverse health symptoms begin to appear, and California state health regulators estimate long-term exposure at this level raises cancer risk by 50 cases per 100,000.
More than four in five FEMA trailers tested by the environmental group the Sierra Club exceeded this limit in 2006. Sierra Club testers said formaldehyde concentrations were between 10 and 100 times higher in the trailers than in the worst smog conditions in Los Angeles.
The Sierra Club conducted another round of tests in April 2007 and found formaldehyde concentrations of more than 100 parts per billion in fully 96 percent of FEMA trailers. FEMA dismissed these tests and took counter-samples for its own tests from unoccupied trailers that were aired out for days in advance.
Testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found levels exceeding 100 parts per billion in 41 percent of the units it had tested in December and January; the average level was 77 parts per billion, and as high as 590 ppb. The CDC warned that because of the cold weather the results understated levels.
Citing chronic breathing disorders, dozens of deaths, mouth and nasal tumors, and cases of cancer, 17,000 Katrina survivors filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government and 64 manufacturers of the emergency housing units. Many of the plaintiffs in the present case, victims of government negligence on multiple levels, were among those who unsuccessfully filed claims against the federal Army Corps of Engineers over the levee failures that resulted in the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans.
In the past month, FEMA has moved to vacate all the remaining trailers. On June 1 the agency sent out deadline notices for the 24,600 residents still living in emergency units without proposing housing alternatives.
The problems with the trailers were long known by the federal government. Residents in the trailer park camps set up throughout Louisiana and Mississippi filed complaints over severe headaches, nosebleeds, and breathing difficulties in the months after they were relocated, but FEMA declined to systematically test the units.
After one resident, a pregnant mother with a young infant, complained repeatedly of conditions in her trailer, FEMA found formaldehyde levels 75 times the NIOSH maximum workplace exposure level. Yet, the agency did not widen its investigation or even issue a public advisory about the problem. In fact, FEMA continued auctioning off thousands of unoccupied emergency trailers on the commercial housing market, and systematically suppressed findings of toxicity in anticipation of litigation.
FEMA ordered the trailers for some $2.7 billion dollars as Katrina approached the Gulf Coast in 2005. At the time, manufacturers were hastily given specifications, which the Post said were spelled out in just 25 lines with little stipulation for safety standards. FEMA bought 54,000 trailers and mobile homes using a single page of specifications for $1.4 billion. According to the paper, the agency paid another billion dollars to produce 76,800 trailers with eight pages of specifications, but again there was no mention of formaldehyde, and very limited safety standards.
Joseph Hagerman, a scientist with the Federation of American Scientists involved in a government project to develop new emergency housing, commented to the paper: “I still can’t believe that we bought a billion dollars’ worth of product with a 25-line spec. There’s not much you can do in 25 lines to protect life safety. There’s over 20,000 parts in these homes.”
Two companies responsible for producing tens of thousands of trailers for FEMA, Fleetwood and Gulf Stream, have insisted they used only “higher-quality, low-emitting wood products.” The Washington Post quoted a letter to congressional investigators from lawyers from Gulf Stream saying the company “mostly met a ‘longstanding policy’ to buy components that comply with mobile home standards, but it acknowledged exceptions” and that Gulf Stream “did not conduct any testing on components or parts.”
Manufacturers of trailer components suggested that unregulated Chinese imports, some of which was said to reek of formaldehyde, were to blame. According to the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, the North American market share of Chinese imports ballooned from 4 to 40 percent since 2001 because of the housing construction boom in the US.
Robert Feldman, a spokesperson for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association—the trailer manufacturers’ trade group—absurdly suggested to the Post that formaldehyde levels in the trailers had nothing to do with illness among the evacuee population occupying them, and that more likely aggravators were “mold, Katrina-related chemical spills, smoking or local climate factors.” “There may be a rush to conclude formaldehyde is the issue when in fact the results seem to suggest the answer is a little more complex,” he said.
In a seemingly unwitting acknowledgment of the dangers of prolonged formaldehyde exposure and its ubiquitous presence in mobile home fabrication, a spokeswoman for Fleetwood commented to the paper, “You know, when something hasn’t been a problem, you often don’t suddenly consider that it will be. I don’t believe that anybody expected these people to stay in the trailers as long as people have stayed in them.”
The vague government specifications were for all intents and purposes a blank check for the industry to produce units without regard to human health. There can be little doubt that after receiving government orders, manufacturers sped up production and widened their profit margins by using substandard materials and cutting corners on safety. But in a broader sense, the extremely high percentage of trailers found in tests to have excessive formaldehyde levels suggest that the toxicity in the FEMA units are less an industry exception than a rule.
Manufacturers of trailers are not held to many of the basic safety standards required of home manufacturers because they are classified as vehicles and, as the Post notes, the industry insists that they are not intended to be used for more than a few days at a time, a few times a year. In reality, however, millions of poor families buy or rent trailers around the country because they cannot afford anything safer or more durable.
In one sense, the public health catastrophe now unfolding among the post-Katrina population is a concentrated expression of the plight of the poorest sections of the working class throughout the country, who live in substandard housing, suffer higher exposure to pollutants and toxins in their home and work environments, develop cancer at higher rates, are rebuffed by the courts, refused compensation and medical aid for illnesses, and die younger of preventable ailments. In innumerable instances they are victims of industry and a government incapable and unwilling to regulate it.
As CDC toxicology assistant director Christopher De Rosa commented to the Associated Press May 27, “It’s tragic that when people most need the protection, they are actually going from one disaster to a health disaster that might be considered worse.”
Congressman Kucinich has laid out an extensive indictment of the president. Here is the index of article titles:
Article I Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq
Article II Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression
Article III Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War
Article IV Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States
Article V Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression
Article VI Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114
Article VII Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Article VIII Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter
Article IX Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor
Article X Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes
Article XI Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq
Article XII Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources
Article XIIII Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries
Article XIV Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency
Article XV Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq
Article XVI Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors
Article XVII Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives
Article XVIII Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy
Article XIX Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture
Article XX Imprisoning Children
Article XXI Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government
Article XXII Creating Secret Laws
Article XXIII Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act
Article XXIV Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment
Article XXV Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens
Article XXVI Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements
Article XXVII Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply
Article XXVIII Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice
Article XXIX Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Article XXX Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare
Article XXXI Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency
Article XXXII Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
Article XXXIII Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Article XXXIV Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001
Article XXXV Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders
Statements on the Introduction of Congressman Dennis Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush:
"More than two centuries ago, the Founders of this country set forth a procedure for Congress to follow in the event of grave abuse of power by the Chief Executive. That process is impeachment. In the face of the monumental deceit and disregard for the Constitution that we have witnessed on the part of the President over the past seven years, Congressman Kucinich's initiation of this process is neither fanciful nor futile, neither vengeful nor vindictive; it is the sober fulfillment of his sworn duty as a Congressman to follow the law without regard to personal consequence and misguided political stratagem. It is, quite simply, an act of patriotism."
Elizabeth de la Vega, Former Federal Prosecutor and Author of United States v. George W. Bush et. al.
"This thick collection of impeachable offenses could be expanded dramatically and should be viewed as a sampling of the crimes and abuses of President George W. Bush and his subordinates. Bush has had many accomplices -- first and foremost Vice President Cheney. But our Founders created a single executive precisely so that we could hold that one person accountable for the actions of the executive branch. It is high time we did so, and millions of Americans will be urging their representatives to support the effort being led by Congressman Kucinich.
"These articles establish, and hearings would establish further, that President Bush was decidedly in the loop and effectively 'the decider' behind countless abuses of power. And, of course, his public comments have time and again advertised his indifference to the laws he is violating. Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush during a televised interview after the war was underway why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: "What's the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."
"What's the difference? Hundreds of thousands of corpses and a fatal blow to the rule of law among nations. That's the difference. Unless we remove impeachment from the Constitution by failing to exercise it, in which case truth will no longer matter any more than justice or peace."
David Swanson, creator of ImpeachCheney.org, Washington Director of Democrats.com and co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, of the Backbone Campaign, and of Voters for Peace, serves on the legislative working group of United for Peace and Justice.
"Overload is the main problem—I call it outrage fatigue. The sheer multitude, not to mention magnitude, of impeachable offenses tends to dull the senses. The opportunity to dig into just one or two provided some space and focused the mind.
"At the same time, the deeper one digs, the more unimaginable the dirt that comes up. Earlier, I had not taken the time to sift through the abundant evidence of the unconscionable ways in which George Bush and George Tenet teamed up—including, in Tenet’s case, lying under oath—to stave off charges of misfeasance/malfeasance before the attacks on 9/11.
"Since January 2003, my colleagues and I in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have felt duty-bound to turn our analytic skills onto the issue of how our country could have launched what the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal called the 'supreme international crime' — a war of aggression. 'Supreme,' said Nuremberg, because unlike other war crimes, this one 'contains the accumulated evil of the whole.' (Think torture, for example.)
"Intelligence officers take very seriously our Oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Our country's Founders, keen observers of the ways of power and human nature, anticipated there would be a time when a president would attempt to act like a king, and so they wrote into the Constitution an orderly way to remove a president and/or other high officials for high crimes or misdemeanors—impeachment in the House, conviction in the Senate.
"The Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to create a system in which we could protect ourselves from unbridled power. Today, we cannot let a 21st Century string of abuses and usurpations stand without challenge.
"But the experience of the past several years shows that there is a very high hurdle in our way: no Common Sense. I refer, of course, to the courageous independent journalism of the likes of Tom Paine who stirred the innate dignity of Americans toward sacrifice for independence and freedom. Tom Paine would be horrified to see what has become of his profession today—with browbeaten journalists and former general officers doing the bidding of the corporations that own/pay them.
"In my view, impeachment proceedings are essential to:
--Reestablish the separation of powers in our Constitution as a check on the so-called “unitary executive;”
--Prevent a budding—and catastrophic—U.S. attack on Iran by exposing it as yet another war of aggression against a country posing no threat to the U.S.;
--Call attention to the blood already drained from our civil liberties and stanch the bleeding.
"Impeachment proceedings may be the only way to force the captive media to inform normal citizens about what has been going on in our country. Thomas Jefferson underscored the importance of this when he said: 'Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.'"
Ray McGovern; former Army officer and CIA analyst; co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; writer/speaker with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington, D.C.
"All of these Articles of Impeachment together are only the tip of the iceberg of the High Crimes committed by the Bush-Cheney administration. Yet this administration remains in power and immune from prosecution. Congress must impeach Bush and Cheney now - before they issue themselves full pardons for all of their crimes."
Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com, Cofounder of AfterDowningstreet.org. _________
"President Bush, Cheney and other U.S. officials have violated numerous domestic and international laws governing crime of aggression, war crime, torture, etc., and they should be not only impeached by the US Congress but also be prosecuted by a special prosecutor, to the full extent of the law before or after impeachment. That is the best way to uphold the US Constitution and the rule of law at home and abroad."
John Kim, Esq., Attorney; participated in the World Tribunal on Iraq; and author of The Crime of Aggression Against Iraq.
"Americans are looking forward to an early end to the Bush administration, but unless we as a people force the current Congress to live up to its Constitutional duty to defend the Constitution against seven years of unremitting assault by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the gang of 'mob lawyers' who have abetted their crimes, the next administration, and the next Congress will inherit a government that would be unrecognizable to the Founders. The only way to re-establish the concept of a tri-partite government of checks and balances, of, by and for the people, a free nation dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal, and a country that again has the respect of the rest of the world, is to impeach those who have been trying to destroy those things."
Dave Lindorff, veteran investigative reporter from Philadelphia, co-author (with Barbara Olshansky) of The Case for Impeachment, working on a book about the Bush administration's war crimes.
"Impeachment is necessary. It is not a matter of politics, of right versus left, Democrat versus Republican. Rather, it is a matter of law. The current administration has repeatedly violated the Constitution and civil law. If there is no accountability for these violations, then why have a Constitution? Why have laws? The Constitution cannot protect itself. Nor can the Rule of Law. It is up to 'We, the People,' to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I therefore urge the House and the Senate to do their sworn duty and impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors."
Stephen Heller, formerly known as the "Diebold Whistle-blower," is an election integrity activist and a member of Velvet Revolution's Election Protection Strike Force team.
"The breadth of impeachable offenses committed by the Bush/Cheney administration is likely unparalleled in our nation's history. Equally unparalleled, and in many cases even more alarming and outrageous, is the lack of accountability brought to the perpetrators of these High Crimes and Misdemeanors. It is the Constitutional duty of members of Congress -- members from any political party -- to bring such accountability, particularly when the list of crimes began with the very acts that brought this administration into office during their elections, and right up through today when the same sort of crimes continue, and are in place to try and affect our next Presidential Election.
"This is not about politics, it's about the Constitutional duty of Congress. If a line in the sand is not drawn immediately and clearly in the face of such corruption and disdain for our American values, such as the Rule of Law, the historical bar for criminality in our Executive Branch will have been forever lowered, no matter who happens to serve in the White House in the future."
Brad Friedman, investigative journalist, creator/ editor of The Brad Blog, an expert in election integrity issues, and co-founder of the non-partisan watchdog organization VelvetRevolution.us.
"Our country was built upon the Constitution. It's the foundation of who we are as a free people. If Congress continues to disregard its relevance as a living document, and the Bush White House continues to shred it before they leave office, then we have lost everything precious that the Founders sacrificed and fought for. They fought for our future. They understood that there could be no peace without justice. They knew how fragile their republic would be without the Constitution as its anchor. Yet even with their farsighted wisdom, they couldn't have foreseen the numerous crimes that George W. Bush committed in just seven and a half years of his being in office.
"If we take our place in history seriously, if we want to heal our country and honor what the Constitution has given us, then the only prescribed remedy is impeachment of Bush and Cheney. In that way we will restore our nation to its rightful place in the world."
Sophie de Vries, National Impeachment Coordinator for Democrats.com and project manager for the articles of impeachment.
"I fully support Rep. Kucinich's efforts to uphold the Constitutional basis of our Democratic Republic. Absent accountability, the rule of law, and the other underpinnings of our system, we'll devolve into tyranny. We're seeking to halt and reverse the dangerous trends outlined in the articles of impeachment. Hopefully it's not too late."
Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America National Staff and Executive Director of HealthCareMaryland.org
"In Ohio's 2004 election, we witnessed unprecedented partisan purging of voters from the rolls, suppression of minorities at the polls, and voting machine irregularities -- all favoring Bush. These new high-tech Jim Crow tactics embraced by Bush and his campaign are impeachable offenses."
Robert Fitrakis, Ph.D., J.D., professor of political science, award-winning investigative journalist, editor of the Columbus Free Press and www.freepress.org, and an election rights attorney.
"In the past four years, my academic research has touched on many troubling areas of what appears to be a shining democracy in its waning years. I have investigated issues regarding federal surveillance on civilians, arrogation of unrestrained executive power, use of the military as a posse comitatus, the withholding of public information, and the aggressive dismantling of the system of checks and balances that holds our fragile system together.
"My research has taken me through a clandestine labyrinth of maneuvers led by an executive branch that will go down famously in history for its numerous crimes, not the least of which is its attempt to dismantle our democracy. Without impeachment hearings, the full spectrum of the crimes of the Bush administration may never be known, and many of the incursions it has made on our democratic society will be hidden in the legal and bureaucratic structures they have developed. Without holding this administration accountable, many of the victims of this administration will forever be forgotten to history. For the sake of all those who have been its victims, for the sake of the maintenance of our democracy, we must impeach this administration."
Barbara Bowley, Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Information Literacy at Woodbury University in Burbank, California. She is author of "The Campaign for Unfettered Power: Executive Supremacy, Secrecy and Surveillance" in Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, edited by Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips.
"Using impeachment to get Bush out of office is not what is most important since he is going out anyway. I want to see him impeached even if it happens on his last day in office because we need to set a precedent that this abuse of power will never be considered acceptable."
Richard Mathews, alternate member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee.
"Hundreds of innocent civilians die daily because of the US occupation of Iraq. Over a million have died since the US invasion and more will die if the Bush administration ignites a war with Iran. We cannot wait until January 2008 for a new president to decide to phase down the war. Impeachment is the only way to stop the on-going slaughter and end the war immediately. After Impeachment we must move to indict the US war criminals who lied us into this terrible period."
Peter Phillips, Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Director of Project Censored, editor of 14 books including Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, with Dennis Loo.
"The situation today is more serious than the conditions that provoked the American Revolution. If we stand by now and allow this government to openly torture, abrogate habeas corpus, carry out unjust, illegal and immoral wars, and spy on all Americans, may we be damned by history."
Dr. Loo, co-editor/author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona, serves on the National Steering Committee of the World Can’t Wait.
"Impeachment is the most important item on the national agenda. This moment in history determines whether our nation will be governed by the rule of law or not. The people of Washington State are honored to be counted among those who stand now to defend the laws and principles established in our constitution."
Linda Boyd Director, Washington For Impeachment
"For the last year and a half, I have somehow managed to balance work and a full time college course load with impeachment advocacy because I believe that this administration’s subversion of the Constitution is the single most important issue facing this country. The founders of the Republic and architects of its democratic tripartite form of government clearly intended impeachment to serve as the legal means to address executive aggrandizement and violation of the rule of law. I have been dismayed at Congress’ unwillingness to fulfill its oath of office to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. It has been particularly upsetting when my Congressional representative, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Sub-committee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, has intransigently refused to support the call for impeachment hearings even while acknowledging that the Bush administration has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” as specified in the Constitution. However, taking to heart former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman’s words that impeachment must come from the grassroots, I have steadfastly continued to lobby Congress to undertake impeachment hearings.
"I am deeply grateful to Congressman Kucinich for his admirable work to preserve and protect the Constitution and am honored to contribute to this effort. It is essential to the future of our country as a democracy that we hold a rogue executive in check and restore the balance of power. Only by putting this administration on notice through impeachment hearings will we reclaim our civil rights, restore the rule of law, extricate ourselves from the illegal occupation of Iraq, stop the killing, wounding and displacement of countless American and Iraqi lives, and prevent an illegitimate and unprovoked attack on Iran. Quite simply, without impeachment there is no democracy.
"Thank you, Congressman Kucinich, you are a true American hero."
Sharon Lynch, NY CD-08 Progressive Democrats of America Chapter Chair
"I believe impeachment of Bush/Cheney is not only the right thing to do for our national well-being, but it must be done if we truly are a nation of laws. The Bush regime has shattered any moral authority America may have had, and we should never again claim superiority to any other nation. I am ashamed of our country's brutality and of its global arrogance and ignorance. I'm ashamed that our elected representatives have not yet impeached this administration. It is unthinkable to have a president who calls the Constitution, the same one he sends our young men and women to kill and die for, 'just a goddamned piece of paper.' When our veterans' pleas to impeach their commander in chief continue to be disregarded, how can we possibly claim we support our troops?
"If this administration is allowed to leave office without answering for its illegal and immoral activities, America will forever forfeit its standing in the world, and citizens will never again be able to take pride in their country."
Tobi Dragert, Director Los Angeles Area Impeachment Center
"In light of the illegal war in Iraq, the systematic torture of prisoners in US custody, the illegal surveillance of Americans, and George W. Bush's refusal to carry out his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws, impeachment proceedings should be initiated immediately and a criminal investigation launched against the President of the United States."
Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild
"Good government requires constant maintenance. We must notice problems when they occur and to try to fix them. That is how we can best express our love for our country. We are at a critical time as a nation. The system of government brilliantly conceived by our Founding Fathers is crumbling. The Executive Branch is expanding its powers far beyond its Constitutional role and at the expense of Congress and the American people. Other nations, who once admired America, now watch with horror as we start preemptive wars and torture prisoners who are held without charge.
"According to the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach. The House must, therefore, fully investigate the various charges, well known to the public, and then fulfill their oath to protect the Constitution by impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. It is critical that this be done before Bush and Cheney leave office. Otherwise future Presidents will inherit these awful powers and the bar will have been set so high that it will be nearly impossible to impeach them."
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Authors Website: http://www.davidswanson.org
Authors Bio: DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.
Kia's World 'fighting the encroaching surveillance society'
Government & private companies are collecting personal information on each and every one of us - for them to exploit for their own ends. CCTV is on every street corner. RFID chips are starting to be implanted in clothing, packaging and electrical goods. The list goes on - all our freedoms - all of our privacy, eroded, and for what? Money? Power? Control? The world is now ran by large capitalist corporations - they write the law through their lobbying of the western governments. The governments no longer protect their people - only themselves, the banks, and the mass capitalists. Things need to change, but before they can be changed people need to wake up to the reality that our complacency has led to - that is one of the aims of Kia's World. We are a loose group of like-minded people discussing problems & ideas - feel free to join us.
Last Flight of The Honeybee? A bee-less world wouldn’t just mean the end of honey - Einstein said that if the honeybee became extinct, then so would mankind. Alison Benjamin reports on a very real threat
by Alison Benjamin
Dave Hackenberg’s bees have been on the road for four days. To reach the almond orchards of California’s Central Valley, they pass through the fertile plains of the Mississippi, huge cattle ranches and oilfields in Texas, and the dusty towns of New Mexico on their 2,600-mile journey from Florida. The bees will have seen little of the dramatic landscape, being cooped up in hives stacked four high on the back of trucks. Each truck carries close to 500 hives, tethered with strong harnesses and covered with black netting to prevent the millions of passengers from escaping. When the drivers pull over to sleep, the bees have a break from the constant movement and wind speed, but there’s no opportunity to look around and stretch their wings.Their final destination is some two hours north of Los Angeles. As the sun begins to fade over the vast, flat terrain, the convoy slowly snakes through orchards filled with row upon row of almond trees stretching as far as the eye can see. Every February, the valley plays host to billions of honeybees as trees burst into blossom, blanketing the landscape in a soft, pinkish hue which extends to the horizon.
The sandy loam and Mediterranean climate are perfect for the cultivation of almonds, but that’s where any comparisons to picturesque orchards of Spain or Italy end. Here, there are no verdant weeds, wild flowers or grass verges to please the eye, just never-ending trees that form what looks like an outdoor production line.
In the cool hours after sunset and before sunrise, more than one million hives are unloaded at regular intervals between the trees by commercial beekeepers such as Dave Hackenberg, who have travelled from the far corners of the US to take part in the world’s largest managed pollination event. The mammoth orchards of Central Valley stretch the distance from London to Aberdeen, and the 60 million almond trees planted with monotonous uniformity along the 400-mile route require half of all the honeybees in the US to pollinate them - a staggering 40 billion.
By February 16, National Almond Day in the US, the trees are usually covered in flowers and humming with the sound of busy bees. Attracted by the sweet nectar that each flower offers, the bees crawl around on the petals to find the perfect sucking position. As they do so, their furry bodies are dusted with beads of pollen. As they fly from blossom to blossom in search of more of the sweet energy drink, they transfer pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part, and so fertilise it. Not long afterwards, the plant’s ovaries swell into fruit, which by late August turn into precious, oval-shaped nuts.
Without this army of migrant pollinators paying a visit for three weeks every year, the trees would fail to bear the almonds that are California’s most valuable horticultural export. Last year, they earned the state more than $1.9bn, double the revenue from its Napa Valley vineyards. Moreover, 80% of the world’s almonds now come from this pocket of the planet. But the supply of almonds in confectionery, cakes and packets of nuts is now threatened by a mysterious malady that is causing honeybees to disappear.
Hackenberg was the first beekeeper to report that his bees had vanished. On a November day 18 months ago, he checked the hives in his Florida bee yard to find they were empty. “They weren’t dead, they were just gone,” he recalls.
Since then, close on two million colonies of honeybees across the US have been wiped out. The strange phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD), is also thought to have claimed the lives of billions of honeybees around the world. In Taiwan, 10 million honeybees were reported to have disappeared in just two weeks, and throughout Europe honeybees are in peril.
In Britain, John Chapple was the first to raise the alarm. In January 2007, he lost all of the 14 colonies in his garden in west London. “It’s too cold at that time of year to open the hives,” he says, “so I always check on the bees by giving the hive a thump and waiting for what sounds like a roaring sound to come back. But there was nothing, just silence.” When he opened the hives to see what had happened, he found them practically empty. Examination of a further 26 hives scattered across the capital revealed that two-thirds had perished.
“I was completely shocked,” says Chapple, who chairs the London Beekeepers’ Association. “I could attribute some losses to a failing queen bee or wax moths, but there were a few I could find no reason for. There was a healthy queen and a few bees, but nothing else.” Chapple’s inquiries as to whether the parks where he kept some of his hives had sprayed new pesticides also drew a blank.
He was not alone. Beekeepers in north-west London also reported strange losses. Chapple calls the disappearance the “Mary Celeste syndrome”. A year later, a survey of hives by government bee inspectors across Britain has found that one in five colonies has perished this winter.
There are some 270,000 honeybee hives in Britain run by 44,000 keepers, more than 90% of them amateurs. According to estimates by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), bees contribute £165m a year to the economy through their pollination of fruit trees, field beans and other crops. In addition, the 5,000 tonnes of British honey sold in UK stores generates a further £12m.
UK farming minister Lord Rooker, however, warned last year that honeybees are in acute danger: “If nothing is done about it, the honeybee population could be wiped out in 10 years,” he said. Last month, he launched a consultation on a national strategy to improve and protect honeybee health.
People’s initial response to the idea of a bee-less world is often either, “That’s a shame, I’ll have no honey to spread on my toast” or, “Good - one less insect that can sting me.” In fact, honeybees are vital for the pollination of around 90 crops worldwide. In addition to almonds, most fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are dependent on honeybees. Crops that are used as cattle and pig feed also rely on honeybee pollination, as does the cotton plant. So if all the honeybees disappeared, we would have to switch our diet to cereals and grain, and give our wardrobes a drastic makeover.
According to Albert Einstein, our very existence is inextricably linked to bees - he is reputed to have said: “If the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”
Bees are a barometer of what man is doing to the environment, say beekeepers; the canary in the coalmine. Just as animals behave weirdly before an earthquake or a hurricane, cowering in a corner or howling in the wind, so the silent, empty hives are a harbinger of a looming ecological crisis. But what is causing them to vanish - pesticides, parasites, pests, viruses? No one knows for sure. The more fanciful theories when CCD was first detected included an al-Qaida plot to wreck US agriculture, radiation from mobile phones and even celestial intervention in the form of honeybee rapture.
Scientists around the world are trying to pinpoint the culprit, but it is proving elusive. They have even set up an international network to monitor honeybee losses - a sort of Interpol for bees - which is operating out of Switzerland. Its coordinator, bee pathologist Dr Peter Neumann, blames a bloodsucking mite called varroa. Little bigger than a pinhead, it has preyed on honeybees in Europe and the US since its arrival 30 years ago. Under a microscope, the reddish-brown mite looks like a cross between a jellyfish and a Frisbee. It activates lethal viruses in honeybees and carries them from bee to bee when it feeds on their blood, like a dirty syringe spreading HIV/Aids. “It has to be the backbone of the problem,” Neumann says. “But it is probably not acting alone.”
In the US, where the genetic code of the honeybee was unravelled by scientists two years ago, they have been employing advanced technology to discover if a new virus is responsible for killing the bees. Genome sequencing techniques uncovered the DNA of a virus called Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) that was found in almost all of the hives suffering from CCD. The discovery, published in Science, was hailed as a major breakthrough in the investigation. But honeybees are riddled with latent viruses. They become a problem and cause disease only when the bee’s immune system is shot. Like humans, they are prone to illness when they are stressed and run-down. So the real question is, what is making the bees too weak to fight a virus?
The answer is probably overwork, coupled with various environmental factors that are the flipside of pollination on an industrial scale and intensified food production. After Hackenberg’s bees have pollinated the almonds in California, they head north to the apple orchards of Washington State, then east for the cranberries and pumpkins, before reaching Maine in May to pollinate blueberries. In a year, they can cover 11,000 miles. It’s a well-worn route that’s travelled by many of the 1,000 commercial beekeepers in America who between them own 90% of the country’s 2.4 million honeybee colonies. It is pollination, rather than honey production, that keeps US beekeepers in business. In 2007, honey production was worth $160m to the US economy, compared with pollination services that have been estimated at $15bn.
Joe Traynor is a California bee broker. From a small office in a quiet side street in downtown Bakersfield, on the southern tip of Central Valley, he runs a lucrative business matching almond growers with beekeepers. I put to him that surely all this moving around of bees, confined to their hives for long periods, must be stressful for them. He admits that too much travel is not good for their health: “When you’re trucking bees, they need sleep, just as humans do, and the bumping around in the truck for two to three days keeps them awake, and this lowers their resistance to pests and disease.”
Hackenberg, however, disagrees: “I’ve been doing this 40-odd years. We’ve done all the same things, but the rules have changed. Something’s messing up.”
Hackenberg, 59, wears cowboy boots, a checked shirt and blue jeans. He even has a hard hat in the shape of a Stetson, with netting attached that he wears when unloading beehives. He began his own investigations into what killed 2,000 of his honeybees at the end of 2006, by talking to growers and reading up on pesticide use and research into their effects on bees. “It’s those new neonicotinoid pesticides that growers are using,” he says. “That’s what’s messing up the bees’ navigation system so they can’t find their way home.”
Honeybees have a sophisticated dance language they use to communicate with each other in the hive. Until Karl von Frisch unlocked the mysteries of this dance - his discovery won him a Nobel prize in 1973 - we didn’t fully appreciate that bees returning to the hive laden with nectar and pollen will tell their sisters (all worker bees are female) where they got their supplies by doing a dance that points to the location of the flowers in relation to the sun’s position.
Tests have shown that the pesticides Hackenberg refers to can interfere with the bees’ communication and orientation skills, and also impair memory.
With innocuous brand names such as Gaucho, Assail and Merit, these pesticides are used worldwide, from sunflower fields to apple orchards, lawns to golf courses. The chemicals they contain are an artificial type of nicotine that acts as a neurotoxin that attacks insects’ nervous systems on contact or ingestion. Because it is systemic, the chemical moves throughout a plant, so if it is applied as a seed dressing, it will travel to the shoots, stem, leaves and flowers where bees can come into contact with small doses. Many of these widely used pesticides are classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as “highly toxic to bees” and come with a warning label intended to help prevent their exposure to the pollinators.
“It’s in such small print that the growers don’t see it,” Hackenberg says. He accuses farmers of “stacking” - or mixing - pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. “No one has ever tested what happens to the toxicity if they do mix, simply because the chemical companies are not required to by law, but this combination could be a thousand times more lethal than if the chemicals are applied separately.”
In Britain, beekeeping is very small-scale compared with the US. There are a few hundred professional beekeepers, who run an average of 100 hives each; only around 50 of them transport bees to orchards, usually over distances of 25 or so miles, rather than across a continent. Many orchards provide a year-round home for hives kept by amateur beekeepers, so there is no need for migratory beekeepers. But in this country, as in the rest of Europe, it is hard to escape pesticides and the varroa mite.
In France, beekeepers have for more than a decade waged a war against the chemical giant Bayer CropScience. They hold responsible the company’s bestselling pesticide, imidacloprid, trade name Gaucho, for killing a third of the country’s 1.5 million colonies. In 1999, the French government banned the use of Gaucho on sunflower crops after thousands took to the streets in protest. Two further pesticides were banned because of their potential link to bee deaths. It appeared to stem the massive bee die-offs for a time, even though the manufacturers’ own tests demonstrated there is no correlation, and a long-term study by the French food safety agency revealed no significant differences in death rates before and after pesticides were banned. This winter, bee deaths across France are reported to have shot up again to 60%.
Bayer is also being blamed by German beekeepers for the eerie silence along the Rhine valley, where the buzzing of bees is a common sound at this time of year. They say two-thirds of honeybees have been killed this month by the pesticide clothianidin, sold under the trade name Poncho, which has been widely applied on sweet corn. As a result of the bee deaths, eight pesticides, including clothianidin, have been temporarily suspended in Germany. Anecdotal evidence of pesticide-related bee deaths in Italy and Holland is also piling up.
European beekeepers accuse scientists and government agencies of being in the pocket of the chemical companies. It’s a similar story in the US, where scientists maintain that there is no correlation between the bees’ disappearance and pesticide use. According to Hackenberg: “Big Ag has control of the USDA [the US Department of Agriculture] from the secretary right down to the lowest guy on the totem pole.”
Jeff Pettis is not sure where he comes on the pole. The senior manager at the federal bee laboratory in Maryland, he’s the man responsible for coordinating the US government’s response to CCD. Pettis advises some beekeepers may do well to forgo the almond pollination and rest their bees. “You are getting them ready for February when the sunlight hours and the temperature are telling them it’s too early in the year to be foraging at full strength,” he says.
Deceiving bees is an essential part of the business. Beekeepers dupe them into thinking it’s already summer by moving them to warm locations in winter and feeding them an array of protein and energy supplements. The more food that comes into the hive, the more eggs the queen lays, to create more of the worker bees to go out and pollinate.
The bee broker Joe Traynor says the deception goes much further than trucking bees south. “We’re interfering with their natural cycle because we want strong colonies for almond pollination. We’re stimulating hives in August, September and October, and making the queens do a lot more laying. As a result the queens are suffering burnout. It used to be that a beekeeper could pretty much leave his bees alone during winter. That’s no longer the case.”
Moreover, scientists funded by the Almond Board of California are now experimenting with artificial pheromones that trick bees into thinking there are more larvae in the hive that need feeding, so they forage more, and in the process pollinate more almond blossom.
This is the Almond Board’s profit-driven response to a potential shortfall of honeybees: to work even harder those that remain. Bees are being treated as a machine with no consideration for their life cycle and downtimes. And any machine pushed to its limits and not well maintained will break.
Environmentalists argue for conservation measures on land planted with single crops that will both improve honeybee nutrition and attract wild pollinators that could shoulder some of the honeybees’ workload. Monoculture, the hallmark of modern agriculture, covers much of the world’s 1.5bn hectares of arable land. Single-crop plantations and orchards can stretch for hundreds of kilometres. The advantages for the farmer are manifold: the crop blooms at the same time, can be treated with the same pesticides and can be harvested together for maximum efficiency. But for honeybees, pollen collected from one crop does not provide a balanced, nutritious diet. Scientists agree that malnourished bees are more susceptible to disease and pesticide poisoning, while the best-fed are the hardiest.
Planting hedgerows of wild flowers would give honeybees a more varied menu. While this has happened in Europe, US almond growers have proved resistant to the idea, concerned that the bees would make fewer visits to the almond blossom if they had a choice. But hedgerows would also provide food and habitat for other pollinators such as butterflies, bumblebees and solitary bees. There are 4,500 wild bee species in North America that are capable of pollinating myriad fruits and vegetables - some more efficiently than honeybees.
Could they prevent a pollination crisis if honeybees become extinct? Only if they have somewhere to make a home in the orchards and fields, and something to eat after the single crop has bloomed. Monoculture deprives them on both counts.
The Xerces Society runs a pollinator conservation project in northern California. Farms in Yolo County receive a mixture of plants that flower throughout the year and nest blocks for wild bees, and they keep large areas of soil untilled for native bees to live on. They say they have seen the return of native bees and benefited from their pollination services. But final details being hammered out in a farm bill on Capitol Hill look like trimming conservation budgets and reducing financial incentives for farmers to manage their land in a more pollinator-friendly way.
So growers will continue to be increasingly reliant on honeybees to do a job once performed by a host of different insects. Their profits now hinge as much on honeybees’ availability to pollinate fields as they do on the sun and rain. This is why there is such urgency in solving the mystery of disappearing and dying bees.
This is not the first time that honeybees have disappeared. The first recorded unexplained loss was in the US 150 years ago and ever since large numbers have vanished at intervals throughout North America, Europe and Australia. An epidemic first reported on the Isle of Wight wiped out 90% of honeybee colonies in the UK at the beginning of the 20th century. Then, as now, the main suspects were deficiencies in the bees’ diet, pollution in the environment, pests and parasites and mismanagement by beekeepers, but the killer was never identified.
When bees die, beekeepers can restock their hives quickly by buying a new queen who lays 2,000 eggs a day at her peak. Across the world, most have chosen to fill their apiaries with a type of honeybee renowned for its gentle nature and prodigious honey production skills. This race of bee, originally from Italy, now dominates beekeeping. The downside is that the honeybee gene pool has been diminished and with it traits that may have helped bees fend off mites and other parasites, such as a new fungal bacteria, Nosema ceranae, that attacks its gut.
There are fears that mites are becoming increasingly resistant to chemicals administered by beekeepers to kill them. Pettis says we are controlling too many bee ailments with drugs and a more organic approach is needed that includes stocking apiaries with locally reared bees better adapted to local climate and environmental conditions.
Meanwhile scientists are hoping to use the mapping of the honeybee genome to engineer in the laboratory a super bee that has the resilience to withstand varroa but retains all the qualities of the Italian bee. Biologists will tell you, however, that it will be only a matter of time before a super bee breeds a super parasite. Geneticists also discovered that honeybees have fewer genes providing resistance to disease than other insects. In particular, the number of genes responsible for detoxification appear to be smaller, making it unusually sensitive to pesticides and poisons. Its large-scale disappearance across the US and high death rates in Europe are signalling that industrialised farming makes demands on honeybees that are not sustainable.
Central Valley has been described as a big brothel where billions of honeybees from all over the US can pick up a contagious illness and take it home. It’s spread by mites from infected to healthy colonies. And there are plans to expand Central Valley’s almond orchards to the point where, by 2011, they will require 1.6 million honeybee colonies for pollination.
Despite around a third of all US honeybees being wiped out last year, and again this year after beekeepers had restocked their hives, the almond pollination has yet to suffer. Why?
There are two answers. The shortage of honeybees has pushed up the price of hive rentals for almond pollination to an all-time high of $140 per hive, so more and more beekeepers are making the trip west, and the Almond Board’s requirement of two hives each containing 20,000-30,000 bees per acre to pollinate the almonds is excessive, but provides a buffer should some of the hives be empty.
As the sun rises over the almond orchards after another nocturnal delivery of east coast hives, Hackenberg says it’s only the money that brings him and his waning bees to California each year. “I’d rather be back in Florida with my bees. They’d be feeding on the maple and willow. It’s paradise down there. Why would anyone come to this godforsaken place? But something’s got to pay the bills. I’m here for a $150,000 cheque.”
Honeybees can communicate with others from far-off continents by learning to interpret their dance moves, scientists have found.
The world's nine species of honeybee separated about 30m years ago and have since developed their own diverse dances, which are used like languages.
One of the most important moves is the waggle dance, which foraging honeybees use to tell workers back at the nest how far away and in which direction they will find a new source of nectar. In the dance, bees shake rapidly from side to side as they move forward, before looping around and starting again.
As the bees perform, they warm up and release chemicals that are thought to cause nearby worker bees to pay attention and then follow the directions encoded in the moves.
A team of researchers from Australia, Germany and China decided to investigate whether bees from different continents could understand one another. To do so, they established a hive of the two most geographically distant honeybee species, the European and Asian honeybee.
Using high-speed video footage of the bees in their natural environment, the scientists were able to spot how the dances differed. Both used the same tactic to indicate direction. If bees of either species danced while pointing their head upwards, it meant fly towards the sun. Pointing downwards meant fly away from the sun. By changing their position relative to gravity, they could direct worker bees to fly in any direction necessary.
But the honeybees differed in how they danced out distance. In both species, longer dances indicated that food was further away, but Asian bees danced much longer to indicate the same distance. To European honeybees, a 1.5 second dance meant the food was 600 metres away, while Asian bees understood this to mean 400 metres.
In an experiment set up along the banks of the Da-Mei canal in Fujian province, China, the scientists trained European honeybees from the hive to visit one of six feeding stations, which contained dishes of sugary liquid. The stations were set at 400, 500 and 600 metres in front of and behind the hive. The bees then returned to the hive and danced out directions so worker bees could find where to feed.
Video footage showed that when the foragers returned and began dancing, other bees watched and later left the hive in search of the food. "At first, the Asian bees did not turn up, but later they found the right feeder," said Jürgen Tautz, a co-worker on the study and head of the bee group at the University of Würzburg in Germany. The research is published in the journal PLoS One.
The team then trained the European bees to visit a different feeding station and again let them return to the hive to dance out its location. "The second time around, the Asian bees turned up immediately. They had learned that the distance was different in these dances and recalibrated how far they had to fly."
The finding is the first to suggest that honeybees can learn to understand the dialects of other bee species.
"We believe that this is an important breakthrough in the study of honeybees, and that such mixed-species hives will open exciting new avenues of research into various aspects of this social insect's biology," the team wrote.
The scientists are conducting experiments to see if European honeybees are just as able to learn the dances of Asian honeybees. The importance of bee dances was first noted by the Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch, who was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in 1973.
In the tiny Appalachian town of Radford, Virginia, the First Summit of the World Prout Assembly, with the theme “Building a New World: Radical Visions,” took place from May 22-25th.Perhaps the one distinguishing feature of this conference was the inclusion of a new Declaration of Independence in every single conference tote bag.
Written just two weeks before the conference, discussed, revised and then endorsed by nine people, and further endorsed by two more people during the conference, the Declaration is intended to serve as a catalyst for change in America, along the same lines as David Swanson and other great activists began the impeachment movement several years ago. It was an idea ahead of the times, but today millions of Americans have accepted that impeachment of criminal politicians is a necessity.
In the same tradition, we offer a new Declaration of Independence, an idea also ahead of the times, as a vehicle to inspire every American, every town, and every state, to reject a government that has become wholly criminal in its actions.
This rejection of criminality is an essential part of the process to regain our moral integrity as a people and as a civilization that may once again be respected by other higher civilizations on this earth.
People wishing to endorse this Declaration may write to email@example.com.On the other hand, all towns and communities are encouraged to write their own Declaration of Independence from an empire – a serial killer of nations and peoples - now in its death throes.
Declaration of IndependencePresented at the “Building a New World” ConferenceMay 22, 2008
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, a decent respect for the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the entirety of humanity, the entire creation, constitutes one family in which no individual has been given the right to hoard wealth while the remainder of the family dies for lack of a handful of grain; in which no individual has been given the right to mass murder, in the name of perverse patriotism, for a small piece of this planet; in which no individual has been given the right to exterminate countless animal and plant species in the pursuit of profit. Rather, we affirm our commitment to fulfill our responsibility to every member of our family as part of our human family values.
We further hold that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable political and human rights – among them the right to free speech, free assembly, free press, free worship, trial by jury, andfreedom fromunreasonable searches and seizures. These are our most fundamental rights to life and liberty. We assert that as all human beings are created equal, there can be only one chosen people, and that is the entire human and ecological family. No member of this family can be considered an outcast, heathen, foreigner or exploitable natural resource.
We further hold that all human beings are endowed with the inalienable right to be provided with the five basic necessities of life – including food, clothes, housing, free health care and free education.Fundamental morality demands that no human being be denied these five basic necessities of life.
We further hold that all human beings are endowed with certain inalienable economic rights – among them the right to adequate purchasing power. These are our rights to economic security and economic independence – an absolute necessity in the pursuit of happiness.
Inalienable economic rights include the right to a useful and remunerative job; the right to earn enough to provide adequate food, shelter, and clothing; the right of every farmer to raise and sell his produce at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; the right of every person to join a business cooperative in their locality; and the right to full protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, with those governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government.
Prudence will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;experience has also shown that human beings are more disposed to suffer, so long as oppression is sufferable, than to abolish the systems to which they are accustomed and which are the source of their oppression.But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same goal, evinces a design to reduce the people under them to absolute despotism, it is the right of the people, it is their duty, to throw off such a government, and to bring strict moralists and lovers of humanity to positions of leadership for the welfare of all.
The history of the American Presidency has been one of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having as its direct object absolute tyranny over the common people. It is an unholy fusion of corporations, governments and organized crime networks. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to the oppressed Americanpeople. — The American Presidency is the single most dangerous institution in the world. The President has the power to murder, and obliterate by bombing, anyone, anytime, anywhere. The President is bound by no laws, domestic or international. To speak of obliterating other nations is to be a global tyrant. We are no longer a nation and planet of laws – we are at the mercy and whim of Presidential tyrants, for whom constitutions and the rights enshrined therein are mere pieces of paper. This cannot be reformed or controlled by the electoral process. — The Government has adopted a policy of serial, imperialist wars, for the sole goal of profit for members of the military-industrial complex.The cry of “terrorism” is a hoax and a fraud to hoodwink the people of America and the world.The US Government has long supported terrorists who are allies of the Empire. The government lures the people to fight its brutal and bloody wars and calls it patriotism. While committing such crimes against humanity, they propose to be our moral instructors.— The American president is now the Torturer-in-chief, who presides over a vast network of illegal torture prisons in the US and around the world, all the while piously presiding over prayer breakfasts.— The Government promotes covert military actions that include illegal drug trafficking, illegal weapons trade and assassinations. It maintains nearly 700 military bases in other countries, often against the wishes of the population. — The Government uses depleted uranium, napalm, phosphorous and laser weapons in direct violation of international law, hence relegating itself to the status of a renegade country, and rendering its leaders open to war crimes trials.— The President repeatedly subverts legislation with signing statements and uses presidential orders to override constitutional rights. It has built more than 600 new prison camps in the U.S. in order to imprison people who might be regarded as enemies of the Government.
— The Government has willingly allowed itself to be infiltrated and criminalized by corporate and elite regimes that now direct all branches of government to serve purposes wholly contrary to the true and proper purpose of government.— The Government promotes economic profit over humanity by failing to punish corporations that participate in sweatshop slavery, agricultural slavery and sex trafficking in America and around the world.It engages in economic wars to destabilize nations that resist corporate takeover. Millions have died due to US economic terrorism and genocide.
— The Government has carried out a campaign of heightened racism, evidenced by ruthless police brutality directed at minorities and the poor. It keeps inner cities in conditions of acute poverty, passes laws designed to incarcerate generations of African-American youth, whom corporations then exploit inside prisons. On their release, they are denied the right to vote, to be educated and to return to their families. They are forced back into a life of crime, and ultimately, back into prison. — The Government has turned over control of United States currency to private individuals, operating through the Federal Reserve, who manipulate it for their own personal gain rather than for the benefit of the world. — The Government supports corporate financial strangulation of the American masses who labor in poverty, often forced to work at two or more jobs and working up to 80 hours per week, only to profit those who do no labor.Furthermore it supports a judicial system that passes laws which serve to keep the working class perpetually chained in poverty, neglect, vice, disease and soon starvation. — The Government has made the word “democracy,” for which our ancestors fought and died, into a mockery, by giving corporations control over our legislators. Through this control, speculators have freed themselves from all regulatory controls and have made immense fortunes while bringing the global economy to its knees.It has blocked state governments from prosecuting criminals responsible for the current economic crisis and coming Great Depression. Instead, the Presidency has financed the survival of these corrupt financial institutions with the money of the American people. If a hungry man robs a store, he is jailed as a criminal, but if a financial executive robs millions of people of millions of dollars, he is bailed out by the Government and his debts are paid by the American public. This is the morality of our plutocracy. Those criminals who made money in the housing bubble now speculate on the prices of food and fuel, while people in this country face inflation and people in American economic colonies face starvation.
— The Government has created a global economic order in which countless people face starvation so that a few nations can monopolize the world’s resources. Developing countries, in the process of raising their own living standards, now keep their own raw materials out of the grasp of Western countries. It is the greatest threat to the American Empire, and hence the US Pentagon, in the name of democracy and freedom, bombs those who resist. — The Government has accrued a national debt of over one trillion dollars, potentially causing untold economic suffering to future generations.
— The Government forces struggling people to pay an inordinate share of the taxes, which are used to carry out the criminal activities of the Government, including wars, assassinations and domestic oppression.
— The Government has promoted a medical-industrial complex that provides obscene profits to pharmaceuticals, private hospitals, doctors and insurance companies, and has silenced development of far less profitable but often far safer alternative medical treatments. Senators and congressmen who vote to deny health care to millions, while provided their own health care at taxpayer expense, are complicit in the premature death, nay murder, of thousands of American citizens.
— The Government has intentionally promoted a system of education that keeps the people dumbed down rather than developing their vast intellectual potential. There is a total lack of accountability to parents and student and communities in the inner cities and a diluted accountability elsewhere. The Government has further allowed corporations and organized religions to control school curriculums.
— The Government has deliberately employed deceit and violence to rob the indigenous people of America of their lands and their resources. It has deliberately sponsored puppet leaderships in these communities so that their members continue to live in conditions of abject poverty and exploitation.— The Government has promoted an unsustainable culture of waste that multiplies corporate profits while devouring natural resources and producing mountains, rivers and seas of toxic wastes.It further allows corporations to carry out unbounded torture of cows, pigs and poultry, destroy groundwater and farmlands, carry out rampant deforestation, and create dependence on pesticides and fertilizers that eviscerate economies but rake in huge profits for those corporations.
— The Government colludes in the monopolization of the world’s media by a handful of corporations, which promote a culture of violence and vulgarity throughout the world. These corporations first debased American culture and now market that pseudo-American culture to the rest of the world. They encourage their minions in other countries to debase their own cultures. While criminalizing dissent, the Government allows criminal networks to globalize pornography, which promotes violence against women.— The Government, in an unholy nexus with corporations, promotes the infiltration of GM organisms into the general food chain, for the express profit of those corporations and potential endangerment to humanity.
— The Government, in an unholy nexus with other governments, promotes the rise of a global police state in which every person will be monitored with cameras, ID cards, thumb prints, retina scans and microchips. Much dissent is either criminalized, suppressed or punished in any number of ways.
— The Government consistently legislates in favor of a petro-based economy that multiplies corporate profits while causing ecological havoc in the form of greenhouse gases, to the point that entire humanity is threatened with the dire effects of global warming and consequent climate change. The Government has bound us to filling our gas tanks with oil laced with Iraqi blood or ethanol made from food taken from the mouths of the starving in Haiti, Egypt and the Philippines.
In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by newer and greater oppressions. The American Presidency, when characterized by acts of tyranny, is unfit to rule the people.We have warned the government repeatedly regarding their flaunting of the constitution. We have reminded them repeatedly of the fundamental rights of all human beings as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other treaties and conventions of international law.We have appealed repeatedly to their sense of justice and magnanimity, but have been met only with inhuman injustice.The government has been deaf to the call for equity and justice by millions of Americans and our brothers and sisters around the world who have suffered the most from its crimes.While our government builds concrete walls at home and abroad, we the people assert that our hearts recognize no borders, because we believe that to live is to love without limits.
If we define evolution as gradual change and revolution as accelerated change, then we the people declare that the time has come for radical, accelerated change – a revolution - in America and in the world. The criminal nature of the present government leaves the moral, law-abiding citizens no alternative. The network of global tyranny mandates that the multitudes of humanity must unitedly resist and remove the dictatorship of multinational corporations and the governments they own. We start this process today by facing the corporate government of America with this Declaration of Independence.
We, therefore, the people of the United States of America, having the sanctity of all life as the basis for our intentions, do, in the name and authority of fundamental human decency and dignity, declare that we the people are absolved from all allegiance to the present government, as well as to any future government that continues to deny the people their political and economic rights; that all political connection between the government and the people is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as interdependent states, we will endeavor to promote economically sovereign and sustainable bioregions.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.Signed: William Blum, Mitchel Cohen, Tom Feeley, Garda Ghista, Stephen Lendman, Larry Pinkney, Ralph Poynter, Lynne Stewart, Charles Sullivan, Clark Webb, William Woodward**************************************************For those wishing to join us as endorsers, please fill out the following information and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.Name __________________________________________________________________Street __________________________________________________________________Town/State_____________________________________________________________Zip Code _______________________________________________________________Telephone Number _______________________________________________________Email Address __________________________________________________________
Authors Website: www.worldproutassembly.org
Authors Bio: Garda Ghista is a freelance journalist, author of The Gujarat Genocide: A Case Study in Fundamentalist Cleansing, and Founding President of the World Prout Assembly, a movement that aims to shift political and economic power from corporations to the common people. She is also organizing the "Building a New World Conference," to take place May 19-25, 2008 at Radford University, Radford, Virginia. For further information, please visit www.wpaconference.org.
Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=7521
May 27, 2008
9/11: Cover For A Coup D'Etat?
By Ed Encho
"A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder."
On Memorial Day, a day that is intended to be one of somber remembrance and the recognition of our nation's war dead although it is perversely come to be more associated with boozing barbecues, silly NASCAR races and the inevitable retail extravaganzas at the shopping emporiums throughout the land it is no longer necessary to most Americans to pay tribute. They are the type who just wear those stupid assed American flag pins as though they were some sort of star spangled merkin, festoon their gas guzzlers with yellow ribbon stickers that in and of themselves are gauche take offs on a lousy country western song and wrongly believe that they are being truly patriotic. Such garbage only serves to dishonor those who have sacrificed and perished in past conflicts and will continue to do so in the new American century due to the illegal wars of aggression and conquest that have been thrust upon us due to the criminal Bush regime and it's neocon policy makers who conspire in secret to launch their schemes of global conquest all justified by that one great and fortuitous 'terrorist' attack that tore open a hole to a parallel universe where up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery, war is peace and most importantly: ignorance is strength.
September 11th 2001. The day that will forever live in infamy as the day when the reset button was hit on over two centuries of American history and allowed for the new doctrines of preemptive war, the domestic police state and the codifying of torture into the law of the land. The real meaning as well as the cause of 9/11 continues to resonate and be debated throughout the alternative media and the blogosphere despite the sanctimonious reverence given to it by the corporate, state controlled mainstream media where those who dare to even suggest that it was blowback are shouted down by angry demagogues standing atop their electronic soapboxes. That one single day more than anything else has been used as the justification the rise of the new American fascist state and the illegal wars of aggression that feed the colossus that is the military industrial complex.
Since that horror filled, pristine Tuesday morning that was abruptly shattered as no other day in the history of our republic had ever been prior to it (I omit Pearl Harbor for the obvious reasons that it was a military target and Hawaii in 1941 was not yet an official state) we as a society have been changed forever and changed for the worse. We now torture as a matter of official policy. We allow ourselves to be spied upon by a rogue government that increasingly views dissent as sedition and treason. We have seen Habeas Corpus which had been a bedrock principle of law since the days of the Magna Carta rendered null and void. There has been an unprecedented consolidation of power in the Executive Branch and the neutered Congress has been reduced to a chattering club of irrelevant partisans with no real power or the intestinal fortitude to reassert itself as per the intentions of the founders as put forth in The Constitution.
There has sprung up a permanent and highly lucrative industry of institutionalized surveillance that has rendered privacy a quaint thing of the past. Our national airports have become Soviet style checkpoints where citizens are treated as criminals by ill tempered and poorly trained goons and thugs. Our domestic police are becoming increasingly more aggressive and militarized with instances of brutality and bullying becoming commonplace, the saying “if you’re not cops you’re little people” has gone from a line in a dystopian science fiction movie to reality. Deaths by Taser have been steadily increasing with no oversight, our fascist packed courts are now ruling in favor of the manufacturer of this dangerous weapon. The United States has in the most perverse Orwellian way been transformed into something as antithetical to what America was supposed to have always stood for that is strangely called “The Homeland which conjures up memories of a certain mid 20th century European land gone insane.
I am not going to go into a further litany of all that has gone terribly wrong in the land of Jack Bauer and extremist right-wing apple pie authoritarianism but suffice it to say that NONE of what has been visited upon us would have been possible were in not for the events of that terrible Tuesday in September 2001. Hitler had his enabling act and the ‘terrorist’ attacks of 9/11 gave us the USAPATRIOT Act and both were made possible by a false flag attack, in 1933 in was the Reichstag Fire and in 2001 it was the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks. While some may cringe at the comparison to history’s most infamous totalitarian regime’s actions to those of the neocon junta and the Bush-Cheney administration the comparison has merit in that both events forever changed societies for the worse in their aftermath. There has never been a legitimate, objective and conflict of interest free investigation of 9/11 despite the growing suspicion among the American and international communities that the official government story is riddled throughout with lies, propaganda, omissions and obfuscations.
With any crime it is imperative to look at who benefited or Cui Bono for those familiar with Latin and there have been many beneficiaries of 9/11, first and foremost there is the by now infamous Project For The New American Century, a policy organization for global/full spectrum U.S. military dominance whose members and contributors are a who’s who of fifth columnist fascist filth including none other than Richard B. Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. The PNAC’s reference to the need for a “New Pearl Harbor” to allow for their plans to be implemented should have been ample circumstantial evidence for major players to be subpoenaed and put under oath in front of the Kean-Hamilton Commission but any questioning of this most blatantly arrogant statement was as absent from the report as the collapse of WTC 7 or what Sibel Edmonds may have stumbled upon while translating communications while she was employed by the FBI.
While the official pocket press and what passes for government in this sham democracy has continued to ignore any serious investigation into 9/11 it has been investigated by thousands of citizen journalists and investigators who have used the internet as a resource and an organizing tool. The most success at working to get at the truth of the day when the fascist switch was tripped has been the so-called ‘9/11 Truth Movement’, a loosely affiliated and diverse group of activists which despite their progress is often impeded by factions or segments whose focus on differing highly controversial theories (missiles not planes, explosive pods, ghost flights etc) are often easily mocked or are intentional pieces of disinformation. In this essay for the purpose of clarity I do not seek to at this time address any of these theories on how the event was actually pulled off but rather the serendipitous happenstance that allowed for rogue elements of the intelligence community, the military industrial complex and the government itself to implement their plans for world domination starting in the Middle East.
Given that I have immersed myself in reading and research over the past five years since the day when an ugly little idea turned into a blow that hit me like a sucker punch to the solar plexus that something was terribly amiss with the official story I have slowly been working at doing an end around on the obviously corrupt corporate media that lies through omission to protect the oligarchy by assembling the pieces to the puzzle myself as I am certain that many readers of this particular essay of mine have also done. Suffice it to say that the official story as put forth by the Bush administration and their government is hogwash and the Kean-Hamilton Commission that was eventually seated despite protestations by the Bush-Cheney junta was a classic whitewash along the lines of the Warren Commission which also was used to cover up involvement by a government within a government or as President John F. Kennedy called it “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy”.
A while back I found a piece of information that really gave credence to my strongest suspicions that the ‘terrorist’ attacks of 9/11/01 were used as cover for an actual coup d’etat by a rogue network of fifth columnists and their multi-national foreign allies who then utilized the (C.O.G) Continuity Of Government infrastructure to effectively seize control of the United States which would effectively render the actual attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as not even the greatest crimes of that particular day. I discovered this piece on Edward Luttwak while plowing through the massive tome Neo-Conned! Again: Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq which is the second volume of a great collection of essays on the neoconservative pox on America that run the ideological gamut from Pat Buchanan to Noam Chomsky but all are consistently antiwar. The particular piece that I refer to is one that was written by Italian journalist Maurizio Blondet on neocon Edward Luttwak that references his seminal 1968 book Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook. In the essay (a postscript to Chapter 3) Blondet draws comparisons to the Luttwak blueprint and the ascension of the neocons by using 9/11 as a basis for their rise to power.
The necessary pieces were already in place within the bureaucracy, having slowly been installed ever since the heady days of the Iran-Contra affair where a shadow government was set up under the nose of the doddering and out of touch 'roduct as president' Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s administration was an incubator for dangerous right-wing extremists and the neocons who had been steadily asserting their influence within the government since the Cold War Team B days (a great resource on this along with other lies of the mythical 'war on terror' is Adam Curtis’ excellent documentary for the BBC: The Power Of Nightmares) on through the exploits of cowboys like Colonel Oliver North and his cohorts with their plan to subvert congress, trade arms with Iran and secretly supply the Contras in Latin America (by many accounts also trafficking in illegal narcotics which is a story for another time) to brutally crush resistance to the right-wing governments that used torture and death squads to protect American business interests.
Iran-Contra was exposed and while sending tremors throughout the system and resulting in many indictments and convictions which were then eventually largely covered up with some of the worst felons like Elliot Abrams (who figures prominently in Dick Cheney’s rogue shop of horrors to this day) were pardoned by George H.W. Bush, a man with a very sordid history of participation in covert and black ops himself as well as a long affiliation with the CIA which has long been a veritable secret police/paramilitary organization that exists largely for the benefit and protection of the interests of the oligarchy and American corporations. Many of the same players reemerged during this second Bush administration and this time they were going to ensure that their delusions of grandeur as exemplified through the neocon manifestos and white papers A Clean Break and the Project For A New American Century be implemented even if it they had to infiltrate and wait for their opportunity to overthrow the existing government in order to make it happen.
The essay by Mr. Blondet to which I refer may be interpreted to go some places that I choose not to go and before I get into this I want to make it perfectly clear up front that I by no means intend to imply that Luttwak was in any way tied to the actual plotters of the coup or of those who used the events of September, 11 2001 as a cover for their nefarious deeds. I do however assert that Luttwak's playbook for a successful coup d'Etat was a major inspiration to the neocons who were obviously impressed enough to follow it with the same vigorous attention to detail that Karl Rove quite obviously devoted to the teachings of Joseph Goebbels who himself was inspired by American father of Public Relations (propaganda) Edward Bernays. Luttwak was no more personally responsible for the actions on 9/11 than Judas Priest was after some drug addled teen commits suicide after listening to their music or David Berkowitz' dog was responsible for his Son of Sam killing spree. I just wanted to get that out front because some of the more imaginative bloggers/writers on the internet have made such a connection and it serves no use in addressing the very real problems of a regime run by madmen and are merely an unwelcome distraction. Now some excerpts first from a piece that ran in Time magazine back in 1969 entitled How To Seize A Country:
Unlike a revolutionary assault from the outside, Luttwak notes, a coup is an inside job, done by a government's own members. It involves minimal manpower and bloodshed. As in judo, the secret is to use leverage and make a state overthrow itself. Bureaucracy facilitates this by severing the loyalties that once personally bound rulers and their servants. A modern bureaucrat follows impersonal orders; if his immediate boss is subverted, the bureaucrat tends to obey orders blindly, even orders designed to topple his own government. According to Luttwak, a coup requires three preconditions: 1) a highly centralized government with a seizable seat of power, 2) a passive people not likely to react to a takeover and 3) the assurance that no foreign power will intervene.
Now from Blondet's piece:
The target State must have a political centre. If there are several centres these must be identifiable and they must be politically, rather than ethnically, structured. If the State is controlled by a non-politically organized unit [like the CFR, the representative of business] the coup can only be carried out with its consent or neutrality.
Already in the Preface, Luttwak underlined as essential the fact that the perpetrators of a coup must be able to count upon "the absence of a politicised community," upon the apathy of the public. "The dialogue between the rulers and the ruled [upon which democratic legitimacy is founded] can only take place if there is a large enough section of society which is sufficiently literate, well fed and secure to 'talk back.'" But "without a politicised population, the State is nothing other than a machine.
Then the coup d'état becomes feasible because, like every machine, one can take control of everything by grasping the essential levers." [Now Luttwak identifies this "machine" in the Bureaucracy.]
The growth of modern bureaucracy has two implications which are crucial to the feasibility of the coup: the development of a clear distinction between the permanent machinery of State and the political leadership [which changes], and the fact is, like most large organizations, the bureaucracy has a structured hierarchy with definite chains of command....
The importance of this development lies in the fact that if the bureaucrats are linked to the political leadership, an illegal seizure of power must take the form of a 'Palace Revolution,' and it essentially concerns the manipulation of the person of the ruler. He can be forced to accept policies or advisers, he can be killed or held captive, but whatever happens the Palace Revolution can only be conducted from the 'inside' and by 'insiders' [in these pages, we have seen nothing but the work of insiders surrounding a weak President].
The State bureaucracy has to divide its work into clear-cut areas of competence, which are assigned to different departments. Within each department there must be an accepted chain of command, and standard procedures have to be followed. Thus a given piece of information, or a given order, is followed up in a stereotyped manner, and if the order comes from the appropriate source, at the appropriate level, it is carried out.... The apparatus of the State is therefore to some extent a 'machine' which will normally behave in a fairly predictable and automatic manner.
A coup operates by taking advantage of this machine-like behaviour; during the coup, because it uses parts of the State apparatus to seize the controlling levers; afterwards because the value of the 'levers' depends on the fact that the State is a machine.
With detailed planning, there will be no need for any sort of headquarters structure in the active stage of the coup: for if there is no scope for decision-making there is no need for decision-makers and their apparatus. In fact, having a headquarters would be a serious disadvantage: it would constitute a concrete target for the opposition and one which would be both vulnerable and easily identified.... We should avoid taking any action that will clarify the nature of the threat and thus reduce the confusion that is left in the defensive apparatus of the regime....
The leaders of the coup will be scattered among the various teams. [As we can see Luttwak is theoretically discussing an invisible coup d'état: the infiltrated coup participants speak with the voice of the legitimate government, of that which they have seized. On September 11, let's remember, the immediate entourage of President Bush were not thinking of an Arab attack, but of a military coup d'état. It is for this reason that the President was taken to a secure location for 10 hours].
The masses have neither the weapons of the military nor the administrative facilities of the bureaucracy, but their attitude to the new government established after the coup will ultimately be decisive. Our immediate aim will be to enforce public order, but our long-term objective is to gain the acceptance of the masses so that physical coercion will not longer be needed.... Our far more flexible instrument will be our control over the means of mass communication.... In broadcasting over the radio and television services our purpose is not to provide information about the situation, but rather to affect its development by exploiting our monopoly of these media. [This is exactly what the American mass media has done since September 11.]
[The action of the media] will be achieved by conveying the reality and strength of the coup instead of trying to justify it [the emotional blow of the collapse of the World Trade Centre was presented with plenty of "reality" and "force" by CNN]. We will have fragmented the opposition so that each individual opponent would have to operate in isolation. In these circumstances, the news of any further resistance against us would act as a powerful stimulant to further resistance by breaking down this feeling of isolation. We must, therefore, make every effort to withhold such news. If there is in fact some resistance...we should strongly emphasize that it is isolated, the product of the obstinacy of a few misguided or dishonest individuals who are not affiliated to any party or group of significant membership. The constant working of the motif of isolation, and the emphasis on the fact that law and order have been re-established, should have the effect of making resistance appear as dangerous and useless.
There will arise, Luttwak says, "the inevitable suspicions that the coup is a product of the machinations of the Company [American slang for the CIA]. This can only be dispelled by making violent attacks on it...and the attacks should be all the more violent if these suspicions are in fact justified.... We shall make use of a suitable selection of unlovely phrases [for example, anti-Americanism? Anti-Semitism?]. Even if their meanings have been totally obscured by constant and deliberate misuse, they will be useful indicators of our impeccable nationalism."
So who really runs America? The elected government or a parallel/shadow government that has existed in some shape or form essentially since the end of WW II? The evidence is beginning to strongly support the latter. Most importantly and absolutely essential to the successful execution of a hostile takeover is the secret/shadow government apparatus itself. Author Peter Dale Scott recently alluded to the execution of the C.O.G. plans that subvert the Constitution (originally implemented during the Cold War in the event of a Soviet decapitation strike) in both this easy to read Counterpunch article and in much more depth in his outstanding new book on the "Deep State" entitled: The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America. It is naive and childlike for thinking Americans to ignore the deep politicsthat represent the true power base in this and other countries for it not only exists but thrives in darkness and through it's existence makes the ability to subvert the traditional processes possible.
Then there is that matter of inconsistent reports of what exactly was Dick Cheney up to while he was in the PEOC tunnel on the morning of the attacks. The history of Rumsfeld and Cheney’s involvement in Continuity of Government has been documented in articles in The Atlantic entitled The Armageddon Plan, Andrew Cockburn’s recent book on former SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld (Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy) and in James Mann’s The Rise of the Vulcans. Alpfonso Chardy of The Miami Herald did a hard to find piece back in 1987 entitled Reagan Aides and the ‘Secret Government’ which talked of Colonel North’s REX 84 program that has been updated recently with the Bush administration’s revisions of C.O.G. plans in National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD 51) and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 to facilitate the declaration of martial law if and when it becomes necessary. This all unfortunately gets little to no play in the corporatist media but it is far out of the realm of the ‘tin foil hatters’ that critics of such secretive actions are so easily dismissed as by professional debunkers and others who are simply in denial that such things just can't happen here. I would like to recommend this piece by Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg of The San Francisco Chronicle that I find to be worth reading entitled Rule By Fear or Rule By Law.
The evidence strongly suggests that a rogue faction has seized control since 9/11 and may have even in some way been complicit in allowing the attacks to occur. There are just too many little inconsistencies, procedural changes (NORAD intercepts), multiple war games on 9/11 including simulated hijacks, a war game called Global Guardian that happened to utilize the same B4B Doomsday Planes that were used for C.O.G., the knowledge of the alleged hijackers by the government in Able Danger, the immediate information available to the news media on the 'hijackers' (could be that they were being tracked and monitored but for what exact purpose?) those mysterious Israeli art students who were thrown out of the country (why were they here? To prevent the attacks or ensure that the plan was going accordingly), the immediate availability of the USA PATRIOT Act to implement the police state, the unsolved military grade Anthrax attacks that only were targeted against influential Democrats and news anchors and the list goes on much longer than I can list here although I do want to mention the possibility that 9/11 may have been aided and abetted by the same nuclear blackmail ring that Sibel Edmonds spoke of in those three stories in the London Times earlier in 2008 (For Sale, West's Deadly Nuclear Secrets , FBI Denies File Exposing Neclear Secrets Theft and Tip Off Thwarted Nuclear Spy Ring Probe) and while this is purely speculative may be connected to security of breaches in association to 9/11 as well as raises questions as to exactly who the recently suicided D.C. Madame Deborah Jeane Palfrey may have had on her client list and what they were being used for . It all adds up though to JFK's "monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" and the neocons are as guilty as hell in all of it and especially those with ties to a traitor named Richard B. Cheney who did after all select himself as Vice President and then proceed to consolidate power in his office.
Especially telling was the award winning Washington Post series on Dick Cheney entitled Angler. Cheney has in the past unequivocally stated that his office is NOT a part of the executive branch and presumably functions as some sort of unaccountable fourth branch of the government. This is entirely consistent with the concept of the coup per Luttwak: "A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the State apparatus". Power has been consolidated in Cheney's shop since the beginning, Seymour Hersh in his great piece for the New Yorker entitled The Redirectionwrote the following:
Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.
And of course the Iran-Contra network survived to rise through the bureaucracy, the key players either pardoned by 'Poppy' Bush or let off the hook by the Clinton administration they were only hiding in the background like cockroaches couched in fetid dankness and awaiting their opportunity to feed. A key player who keeps turning up is none other than the son in law of ideologue Norman Podhoretz (the godfather of neoconservatism) Elliot Abrams a dangerous man who is connected with virtually every influential neocon and virtually every dirty deed undertaken during the Reagan years and thereafter. A veteran of secret government operations it would be highly unlikely if he were not a key component of the neocon coup and is another who stands to lose much if the Cheneyites were to be exposed and held accountable. With so much at stake they will throw everything but the kitchen sink into the works to ensure that 1: the plot is never exposed 2: that legitimate investigations into 9/11 and the decidedly anti-American assault on civil liberties are never undertaken 3: that come hell or high water that Iran will be the next stop on the neocon world destruction tour.
I mean when you really think about it there is not much of a reach in looking at 9/11 as an actual coup d’etat, I am not going to get into how the attacks actually were pulled off and who was involved but the neocon cabal and Cheney’s C.O.G. experience were sure as hell ready and waiting to put their own plans into action using the attacks as an opportunity. Rather than focus on such things as controlled demolition, missiles hitting buildings, ghost flights or any of that other happy horseshit, it is essential to look at exactly who benefited and why. Perhaps we should all be asking the other real question that is why do so many Americans doubt the official story on 9/11 to the extent that they would blame a government that holds the laws of the land in the utmost of contempt and cloaks every decision in a shroud of secrecy.
The real problem is that this neocon government is so pathologically psychotic, anti-American and criminally negligent in EVERY act that they engage in gives reason to believe that they would be capable of murdering 3,000 + American citizens in order to further their nefarious plans for global hegemony, the conquest of the Middle East through a war of civilizations in which the religious right shock troops could get behind and ultimately culminate in the encirclement of China. These guys think ahead, according to an insider named Stanley Hilton who just happened to go to school with neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith such radical plots were discussed frequently. I think that any of us who went to school during the 60’s and 70’s know the type of little world leader pretends who gathered over their Avalon Hill board games and conjured up doomsday scenarios. The neocons are just those kids grown up and in highly influential foreign policy positions.
Stealing the 2000 election was essential, the neocons needed a useful idiot in George W. Bush to piggyback into the White House where Cheney and Rumsfeld could set up their shops in order to allow for the coup to be executed. Once Bush's installation was ensured by the requisite political chicanery, black ops, a massive psyops media campaign and the assistance of the Federalist Society stooges on the Supreme Court all the pieces were in place. A weak and easily manipulated president who appealed to a certain segment of the population, a self-selected V.P., the necessary bureaucratic appointments and the stage was set for the catalyzing event that would set the plan into motion and the ensuing quashing of dissent when the power grab came. I wonder why any serious investigation of those nasty little anthrax letters has never taken place, and why the only recipients were influential media figures and key Democrats who could have potentially stopped the USA PATRIOT Act.
The neocons have too much to lose if they are removed from the White House, the implications of real investigations would be devastating, shocking and could very likely result in convictions on charges of treason and not that silly dittohead talking point style ‘treason’ which has become a common euphemism for dissent and criticism in the reich wing media but REAL treason.
Our immediate aim will be to enforce public order, but our long-term objective is to gain the acceptance of the masses so that physical coercion will not longer be needed.... Our far more flexible instrument will be our control over the means of mass communication.... In broadcasting over the radio and television services our purpose is not to provide information about the situation, but rather to affect its development by exploiting our monopoly of these media.
The shameful abrogation of the media is even more responsible for America’s tragic present and ugly future than even the neocons themselves and they spit on the graves of every American serviceman or woman who is killed in Iraq and Afghanistan every time that they cue up the saturation coverage of Paris Hilton, the missing white teenager of the week, the pervert of the day or the latest brushfire that is deemed worthy of national coverage. The media is despicable and the charlatans along with every big-haired, addle-brained bimbo with nice tits who can read a teleprompter like Paula Zahn or Katie Couric is a disgrace to truly dedicated journalists who once viewed their profession as that of integrity rather than of opportunity for career ladder climbing shills and corporate whores who are nothing more than charlatans masquerading as journalists.
About a week ago I was away for a trip with no access to the internet, satellite radio or any foreign news sources. All that I had was the network 'news' and CNN and it was quite a shocking experience. I really do not watch that crap when I am at home and the unbelievable spin, fixation on one story ad nauseum (for example Ted Kennedy) at the expense of anything at all meaningful and the complete disappearance of any thing at all on Iraq is stunning. It was travelling into some sort of bizarre parallel universe and yet the majority of Americans are trapped in that world with no way of knowing what is really going on. While understanding the problem with a population kept enshrouded in a cloaking device of enforced ignorance I am just in a state of disbelief of what life is like for those who aren't online and informed on the real issues while the country goes fascist and the economy goes bankrupt.
As Orwell said:
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"
It's no wonder that Dick Cheney, Joseph Lieberman and the rest of America hating neocons are trying to crack down on the internet by levelling scurillous 'terrorist' accusations to lock in their gains before the matrix of fear and ignorance is penetrated. The dumbing down of America has worked to perfection at least until now but the peasants are growing restive and the movements behind Barack Obama and Ron Paul are if nothing else encouraging first signs of a real resistance that is growing in this country against the neocon executors of the coup d'etat that stole away our legitimate government under the cover of the black smoke of burning jet fuel and the stench of scorched human flesh. Let us all begin the call for a REAL investigation of the events of 9/11, the day when our history was stolen from us by a pack of ruthless thugs who rightfully belong swinging at the end of a rope.
It’s far past time for that something very loud (In the words of William Rivers Pitt) to take place and a damned good start would be in pulling the chain and flushing the neocon toilet and then turning the hoses on Cheney's office. Then how about a coup d'état using the existing bureaucracy to take over the government through the democratic processes that have been stolen from his country over the past seven and a half years by a power crazed anti-American junta that belongs in the dock at The Hague instead of in the White House, The Congress and The Pentagon.
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