Monday, March 30, 2009

Innovative cars for today - NOT MADE in the USA

Future cars - from Germany and India

US carmakers deserve to fold having lost the plot decades ago. The Big 3, Chrysler, GM and Ford could have produced these cars and be on top - if they didn't have their collective heads up their corporate arses. And they have the cheek to ask for bailout money. Guess it's another case of American know-how - yep - know-how to bankrupt the US economy. Good work lads.

VW - 2 passenger car - 258 mpg

This is not a toy, not a concept car. It is a newly developed 2-seater car in highly aerodynamic tear-shape road-proven real car. It is ready to be launched as a single-seater for sale in Shanghai in 2010 for a mere RMB 4,000 = US $600 .00 ! Interested? Wait till you learn that it will cruise at 100-120 Km/Hr with an unbelievable 0.99litre/100Km =(258 miles/gallon) !! Impressed? Totally, after you have read all the details below about the hi-tech and space-age material input into this care !!! Truly the most Economic Car in the world . Must see and read to the end and please comment !!!! The Most Economic Car in the World will be on sale next year....

Tata Nano from India

The Tata Nano is a rear-engined, four-passenger city car built by Tata Motors, aimed primarily at the Indian market. It was first presented at the 9th annual Auto Expo on 10 January 2008, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, India.

Tata Motors commercially launched Nano on March 23, 2009, with bookings from April 9 to April 25.The sales of the car will begin in July 2009, with a starting price of Rs 1,15,000 Rupees, cheaper than the Maruti 800, its main competitor and next cheapest Indian car priced at 1,84,641 Rupees. It also has an 8 percent smaller exterior size and a 23 percent larger interior space compared to Maruti 800. Tata had sought to produce the least expensive production car in the world — aiming for a starting price of Rs.1,00,000 (approximately US$2,000 in March 2009).

In early 2008 the news magazine Newsweek identified the Nano as a part of a "new breed of 21st-century cars" that embody "a contrarian philosophy of smaller, lighter, cheaper" and portend a new era in inexpensive personal transportation — and potentially, "global gridlock" The Wall Street Journal confirmed a global trend toward small cars, which includes the Nano.

"Nano" means "small" in Gujarati, the language of the founders of the Tata Group. In English, the prefix "nano-" is often used to mean small. This derives from the Greek root 'nanos', meaning dwarf.

Enjoy a fractal

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Humpty Dumpty and the G20

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There is wisdom in this old nursery rhyme for the G20 summit: one which will most likely go unheeded as those invested in capitalism try to glue the pieces back together. Anyone pinning their hopes on the G20 summit for relief from this Fat Cat, Big Dog economic meltdown of capitalism, had better keep their money in their pockets. Getting even three countries to agree on anything would be a minor miracle - 20 would require a cosmic reconstruction of the universe.

No doubt, the focus of the G20 Summit will be how to restore the capitalist system. But some things broken cannot not be fixed. We have all experienced such consequences: ever had to deal with infidelity of a partner? how about a car involved in a head on collision? Chances of repairing the damage of such events is close to nil. Sometimes the consequences of our destructive are irrevocable.

People of the world know this and are demonstrating and rioting in countries all over the world.
The big lie of capitalism has been revealed to all now and the international clamour for a system which puts people before profits is deafening. The fairy tale smokescreen has been blown away and nasty greed and callousness of an economic order designed for the benefit of the rich to become richer is laid bare for everyone on earth now. Yet, like addicts who seek to clean up and get healthy, we will suffer the painful withdrawal cleansing us of our illusions:change will come only after blood, tears and determination.

The words of the evil genius of our times, George Soros
, may be the writing on the wall.

The G20 summit in London next week is, he says, the last chance to avert disaster. “The odds would favour that it fails because there are such differences of opinion. It’s difficult enough to get it right in your own country let alone with 20 governments coming together, but if it’s a failure I think then the global financial and trading system falls apart.”

If the G20 is nothing but a talking shop then he thinks we are heading for meltdown. “That could push the world into depression. It’s really a make-or-break occasion. That’s why it’s so important.” The chances of a depression are, he says, “quite high” – even if that is averted, the recession will last a long time. “Look, we are not going back to where we came from. In that sense it’s going to last for ever.”

There is only one way out for us, trite tho it is: worker's of the world unite. And before our internet freedoms are curtailed by those who wish to retain control of people as labour commodities for their own benefit. The article below details the efforts of Europeans to begin the painful fight to take back planet earth from the Fat Cats who feel entitled to use the rest of us for their own purposes of power and greed.

Read and feel empowered: this process will take much courage.

G20 demonstrators march in London
Source with video and links

Tens of thousands of people have marched through London demanding action on poverty, climate change and jobs, ahead of next week's G20 summit.

The Put People First alliance of 150 charities and unions walked from Embankment to Hyde Park for a rally.

Speakers called on G20 leaders to pursue a new kind of global justice.

Police estimate 35,000 marchers took part in the event. Its organisers say people wanted the chance to air their views peacefully.

Protesters described a "carnival-like atmosphere" with brass bands, piercing whistles and stereos blasting music as the slow-paced procession weaved through the streets.

Police said one man was arrested during the march for being drunk and disorderly.

Unite union, general secretary Derek Simpson said: "I think it's an important message but whether it will get through to the people meeting in London I don't know. Anyone who sees the numbers on this march should realise how important it is."

G20 march in London
Protesters came from across the UK and around the world

Families with children in pushchairs were among those marching along the 4.2-mile route under banners with slogans including 'capitalists - you are the crisis' and 'justice for the world's poor'.

As protesters passed the heavily-policed gates of Downing Street, there were chants and jeers with one person shouting "enjoy the overtime".

BBC News reporter Mario Cacciottolo said people were clearly angry, but the atmosphere was not tense.

Milton McKenzie, 73, from Essex, told him: "How the hell can we have a situation here in Britain where we have people out of work and the bankers just cream it off and are helped by the government."

World leaders will meet next week in London to discuss measures to tackle the downturn. See our in-depth guide to the G20 summit.
The G20 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the US and the EU.

Italian trade unionist Nicoli Nicolosi, who had travelled from Rome, said: "We are here to try and make a better world and protest against the G20."

Glen Tarman, chairman of the Put People First co-ordination team, said: "An exciting alliance has been born today. We will keep up the pressure on world leaders and the UK government to address our demands and put people first."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said he wanted to see G20 leaders agree a plan of action to deal with the financial downturn.

"Where I hope we will see a consensus emerge is in the recognition that unless they act together, then the problems are only going to get worse.

"This, unlike any other recession, is a recession right across the world."

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said it was important for the G20 to make commitments on helping the environment as well as the economy.

"There are some people who will say you can either tackle the economic crisis or the climate crisis.

"But the truth is that both come together with this idea of a Green New Deal, of investing in the jobs of the future, which are going to be in the green industries of the future."

The director of the the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, said governments have caused the economic crisis.

Protesters with a model made out of money
Many protesters were calling for social justice

"The world market economy is actually a very moral system that raised a billion people out of poverty in the last 10 years," he said.

A huge security operation is under way in the run-up to the G20 summit, at which world leaders will discuss the global financial crisis and other issues.

There have been fears that banks and other financial institutions could be the focus for violent protests.

Commander Simon O'Brien, one of the senior command team in charge of policing security, said: "It's fair to say that this [the march] is one of the largest, one of the most challenging and one of the most complicated operations we have delivered.

"G20 is attracting a significant amount of interest from protest groups. There is an almost unprecedented level of activity going on."

Saturday's march will be followed by a series of protests on Wednesday and Thursday by a variety of coalitions and groups campaigning on a range of subjects, from poverty, inequality and jobs to war, climate change and capitalism.

Berlin march

Ahead of the summit, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been visiting a number of countries seeking support.

On Friday, during a visit to Chile, he said people should not be "cynical" about what could be achieved at next week's summit, saying he was optimistic about the likely outcome.

However, in an interview with Saturday's Financial Times, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dampened expectations of a significant breakthrough.

She said one meeting would not be enough to solve the economic crisis and finish building a new structure for global markets.

In Berlin, thousands of protesters have also taken to the streets with a message to the G20 leaders: "We won't pay for your crisis".

Another march took place in the city of Frankfurt. The demonstrations attracted as many as 20,000 people.

Banners accused the Germany government of being too willing to spend billions bailing out financial institutions and too slow to protect ordinary workers, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg said from Berlin.


Rescuing Socialism

Chinadaily BBS - World Affairs Today - Is Capitalism dying?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

News you WANT to read - Bankers beware!

Hooray for the British, the French, the Irish and every country in which the citizens now rise up against the greed of the capitalist gluttons. Best news I have read in weeks. Much success to all who put their lives on the line to change the world. Put people first.

Bankers told keep low profile as public anger rises

Fri Mar 27, 2009
By Olesya Dmitracova

LONDON (Reuters) - Leave the flash car at home, spend the night in a hotel, hire a bodyguard. This is the kind of advice security experts are giving bank executives who fear attacks from people angered by the financial crisis.

In London, where leaders of the world's largest economies will gather for a G20 summit next Thursday, the discontent may spill out into protests starting with a rally on Saturday that police expect will draw 40,000 demonstrators.

In France there have been cases of workers holding bosses hostage over layoffs and shut downs, while in Scotland a prominent banker's home was attacked. With these incidents in mind, police and security providers are getting ready for busy times.

One company, Control Risks, has seen its workload in Europe rise by 20 to 25 percent since November, director Sebastian Willis Fleming said, including more work with financial institutions.

Control Risks, like its competitor Kroll, helps companies plan security measures, including when they have to announce unpopular decisions, such as mass layoffs or office closures.

"Usually companies come to us in crisis," said Eden Mendel at Kroll. "The type of work that we are getting is much more geared as a response to the financial crisis."

Beyond advice, Kroll can provide bodyguards with background in specialist police forces.

"It will be interesting to see if, following the G20 and following the Fred Goodwin attack, we start seeing more and more financial services calling us," she added.

On Wednesday vandals smashed windows and damaged a car at the Edinburgh home of the 50-year-old former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland who refused to give up an estimated annual pension of about 700,000 pounds ($1 million) after the government rescued his bank.

Bankers in the United States also have reasons to take extra care after death threats were sent to some executives of American International Group, which paid out $220 million in bonuses despite being kept afloat by taxpayers' money.

British police say they are likely to deploy about 2,500 officers on London's streets during the G20 summit in reaction to intelligence suggesting the City of London financial district is one of the areas targeted by protesters.

Businesses have been advised to cancel non-essential meetings, stagger staff arrivals and departures and to warn staff "not to antagonize protestors."

The Times newspaper also reported police were suggesting bank employees not wear suits or carry bags with company logos. Both the City of London police and London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment.


London echoes of 1933 in G20 summit

Spoof FT hits London ahead of G20
Mar 27 - A group of anti-capitalism protesters have distributed a mock copy of London's famous Financial Times newspaper. This is hilarious....don't miss it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

There goes net freedom! We C U - legally and internationally.

Worried about the economy? No time to pay attention to civil rights concerning privacy? Well, don't be surprised when you have no privacy on your PC or with any of your data held electronically, data shared globally. Want to know who let this happen? Find your nearest mirror.

Big Brother: what's on your PC?

Call it treason! Naomi Wolf does

Are citizens of the US paying attention? YET???!!! This is really old news to those who have been paying attention. To those who haven't, read and weep.

Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

By Naomi Wolf
March 25, 2009.
Legal expert Michael Ratner calls the legal arguments
made in the infamous Yoo memos, "Fuhrer's law."
In early March, more shocking details emerged about George W. Bush legal counsel John Yoo's memos outlining the destruction of the republic.

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

It was as if Milton's Satan had a law degree and was establishing within the borders of the United States the architecture of hell.

I thought this was -- and is -- certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate -- which scandalized the nation -- seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.

The memos are a confession. The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.

As a non-lawyer, was I completely off base in my reading of what this meant, I wondered? Was I hallucinating?

Astonished, I sought a reality check -- and a formal legal read -- from one of the nation's top constitutional scholars (and most steadfast patriots), Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of defending the detainees and our own liberties.

Here is our conversation:

Naomi Wolf: Michael, can you explain to a layperson what the Yoo memos actually mean?'

Michael Ratner: What they mean is that your book looks moderate in respect to those issues now. This -- what is in the memos -- is law by fiat.

I call it "Fuhrer's law." What those memos lay out means the end of the system of checks and balances in this country. It means the end of the system in which the courts, legislature and executive each had a function and they could check each other.

What the memos set out is a system in which the president's word is law, and Yoo is very clear about that: the president's word is not only law according to these memos, but no law or constitutional right or treaty can restrict the president's authority.

What Yoo says is that the president's authority as commander in chief in the so-called war on terror is not bound by any law passed by Congress, any treaty, or the protections of free speech, due process and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The First, Fourth and Fifth amendments -- gone.

What this actually means is that the president can order the military to operate in the U.S. and to operate without constitutional restrictions. They -- the military -- can pick you or me up in the U.S. for any reason and without any legal process. They would not have any restrictions on entering your house to search it, or to seize you. They can put you into a brig without any due process or going to court. (That's the Fourth and Fifth amendments.)

The military can disregard the Posse Comitatus law, which restricts the military from acting as police in the the United States. And the president can, in the name of wartime restrictions, limit free speech. There it is in black and white: we are looking at one-person rule without any checks and balances -- a lawless state. Law by fiat.

Who has suspended the law this way in the past? It is like a Caesar's law in Rome; a Mussolini's law in Italy; a Fuhrer's law in Germany; a Stalin's law in the Soviet Union. It is right down the line. It is enforcing the will of the dictator through the military.

NW: The mainstream media have virtually ignored these revelations, though it seems to me this is the biggest news since Pearl Harbor.

MR: I think that's right. We had a glimmering of the blueprint for some of this -- when they picked up Jose Padilla, the military went to a prison and snatched an American citizen as if they had a perfect right to do so.

Now we can see that these memos laid the legal groundwork for such actions. We knew the military could do this to an individual. We did not know the plan was to eliminate First Amendment constitutional rights for the entire population.

NW: If Bush only wanted these powers in order to prosecute a war on terror, why does he need to suspend the First Amendment? Isn't that the smoking gun of a larger intention toward the general population?

MR: Part of this plan was actually implemented: for instance, they tried to keep people like Padilla from getting to a magistrate. They engaged in the wiretapping, because according to these memos there was no Fourth Amendment.

They had to be planning some kind of a takeover of the United States to be saying they could simply abolish the First Amendment if the president believed it was necessary in the name of national security. It lays the groundwork for what could have been a massive military takeover of the United States.

Here they crept right up and actually implemented part of the plan, with Padilla, with the warrantless wiretapping. Yet they are saying in the White House and in Congress that it is looking backward to investigate the authors of these memos and those who instructed Yoo and others to write them.

But investigation and prosecutions are really looking forward -- to say we need the deterrence of prosecution so this does not happen again.

NW: What about the deployment of three brigades in the U.S.? How should we read that?'

MR: With terrorism as less of a concern to many, but now with the economy in tatters there is a lot more militant activism in U.S. -- the New School and NYU student takeovers, protests around the country and strikes are just the beginning. I think governments are now concerned over people's activism, and people's anger at their economic situation. I don't think those brigades can be detached from the idea that there might well be a huge amount of direct-action protest in the U.S.

There could have also been a closer election that could have been stolen easily and then a huge protest. Those troops would have been used to enforce the will of the cabal stealing the election.

NW: As a layperson, I don't fully understand what powers the memos actually manifest. Are they theoretical or not just theoretical? What power did the memos actually give Bush?

MR: They were probably, in fact almost for sure, written in cahoots with the administration -- [Karl] Rove, [Dick] Cheney -- to give them legal backing for what they planned or wanted to carry out.

What I assume happened here is people like Cheney or his aides go to the Office of Legal Counsel and say, "We are going to need legal backing, to give a face of legality to what we are doing and what we are planning." When the president then signs a piece of paper that says, "OK, military, go get Jose Padilla," these memos give that order a veneer of legality.

If you are familiar with the history of dictators, coups and fascism (as I know you are), they (the planners) prefer a veneer of legality. Hitler killed 6 million Jews with a veneer of legality -- getting his dictatorial powers through the Reichstag and the courts.

These memos gave the Bush administration's [lawless] practices the veneer of legality.

NW: So are you saying that these memos actually created a police state that we did not know about?

MR: If you look at police state as various strands of lawlessness, we knew about some of this lawlessness even before this latest set of memos.

But the memos revealed how massive the takeover of our democracy was to be -- that this wasn't just going to be a few individuals here or there who suffered the arrows of a police state.

These memos lay the groundwork for a massive military takeover of the United States in cahoots with the president. And if that's not a coup d'etat then, nothing is.

NW: Can I ask something? I keep thinking about the notion of treason. In America now, people tend to read the definition of treason in the Constitution as if they are thinking of a Tokyo Rose or an American citizen acting as an agent for an enemy state -- very much a World War II experience of the traitor to one's country.

But I've been reading a lot of 16th and 17th century history, and it seems to me that the founders were thinking more along the lines of English treason of that era -- small groups of Englishmen, usually nobility, who formed cabals and conspired with one another to buy or recruit militias to overthrow the crown or Parliament.

The notion that a group might conspire in secret to overthrow the government is not a wild, marginal concept, it is a substantial part of European, and especially British, Renaissance and Reformation-era history and would have been very much alive in the minds of the Enlightenment-era founders. (I just visited the Tower of London where this was so frequent a charge against groups of English subjects that there is a designated Traitor's Gate.)

So clearly you don't have to act on behalf of another state to commit treason. The Constitution defines it as levying war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies. It says nothing about the enemy having to be another state.

When the Constitution was drafted, the phrase "United States" barely referred to a singular country; it referred to a new federation of many united states. They imagined militias rising up against various states; it was not necessarily nation against nation.

Surely, when we have evidence Bush prepared the way to allow the military to imprison or shoot civilians in the various states and created law to put his own troops over the authority of the governors and the national guard of the various states, and when the military were sent to terrorize protesters in St. Paul, [Minn.], Bush was levying war in this sense against the united states?

Hasn't Bush actually levied war against Minnesota? And if our leaders and military are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, and there is clear evidence now that Bush and his cabal intended to do away with it, are they not our enemies and giving aid and comfort to our enemies? Again, "enemy" does not seem to me to be defined in the Constitution as another sovereign state.

MR: You are right. Treason need not involve another state. Aaron Burr was tried for treason. I do think that a plan to control the military, use it in the United States contrary to law and the Constitution and employ it to levy a war or takeover that eliminates the democratic institutions of the country constitutes treason, even if done under the president of the United States.

The authority given by these memos that could be used to raid every congressional office, raid and search every home, detain tens of thousands, would certainly fit a definition of treason.

This would be the president making war against the institutions of the United States.

Expert says Yoo memos instigate “Law by fiat”, “Fuhrer’s law”, “constitutes treason”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.....

The headlines stream in over the net, one more unbelievable than another. Together they read like some well-written sci-fi novel that exceeds the horrific society of 1984. I am caught like a deer in the headlights, bewildered by all the lies I have swallowed whole my entire life.

None more so than those of the irregular warfare carried out over the years by the CIA and the fabric of lies media has fed us to convince the public that black is white. Pity we don't find out till decades later of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of 'freedom' or 'democracy': double plus good newspeak.

Case in point: the 'atrocities' of
Slobodan Milosevic. Even more disturbing is the new expansion of US foreign policy of 'irregular warfare'. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Death squad leader ‘was top CIA agent’

SERBIA: Gabriel Ronay

THE LATE President Milosevic's secret police chief and organiser of Serb death squads during the genocidal ethnic cleansing of disintegrating Yugoslavia was the United States' top CIA agent in Belgrade, according to the independent Belgrade Radio B92.

The claim that from 1992 until the end of the decade, Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia's murderous DB Secret Police, was regularly informing his CIA handlers of the thinking in Milosevic's inner circle has shocked the region. Stanisic is said to have loyally served his two masters for eight years. He is facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. advertisement In the terrifying years of Yugoslavia's internecine wars, he acted as the willing "muscle" behind Milosevic's genocidal campaigns in Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia, including Sebrenica.

According to the charges he faces, Stanisic was "part of a joint criminal enterprise that included former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbian politicians".
Dermot Groome, The Hague's chief prosecutor, has specifically accused him of sending in the Serb Scorpion and Red Beret death squads into the states seeking independence from Belgrade. Stanisic has pleaded not guilty.

Like in a Cold War spy thriller, Serbia's secret police chief met his CIA handlers in safe houses, parks and boats on the river Sava to betray his master's action plans. He provided, it is claimed, information on the whereabouts of Nato hostages, aided CIA operatives in their search for Muslim mass graves and helped the US set up secret bases in Bosnia to monitor the implementation of the 1995 Dayton peace accord.

This has raised awkward questions for Washington. With Stanisic providing chapter and verse of the genocidal slaughter of Croats, Bosnians and Albanians from the early 1990s, should President Clinton have cut a deal with Milosevic at Dayton, Ohio, ending the Bosnian war on such equitable terms for the Serbs? Or, using Stanisic's evidence, should the Americans not have unmasked Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, the then head of Republika Srpska, as genocidal war criminals and demanded their surrender?

From his prison cell at The Hague, Stanisic countered the charges facing him with an aide memoir portraying himself as "a person who had sought to moderate Milosevic and had done a great deal to moderate the crisis".

In an unusual move, the CIA has submitted classified documents to the court that confirm Stanisic's "undercover operative role in helping to bring peace to the region and aiding the agency's work. He helped defuse some of the most explosive actions of the Bosnian war."
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, William Lofgren, his original CIA recruiter and handler, now retired, said: "Stanisic provided valuable information from Milosevic's inner circle. But he never took money from the CIA, worked with the agency on operations or took steps that he would have considered a blatant betrayal of his boss."

Thus the judges at The Hague are having to judge a man who allegedly sent the Scorpion death squads to Srebrenica to "deal" with men and boys fleeing the UN-protected Muslim enclave, while working with the CIA trying to end Milosevic's ethnic wars.
The way the CIA apparently viewed their Belgrade "asset" is revealed in an interview with Balkan Insight, a little known south-east European publication.

The emerging picture is a quaint reflection from a hall of mirrors. Greg Miller of the Los Angeles Times, writing about the links between the CIA and the Serb secret police chief, is quoted as saying: "As I said in the LAT story, the CIA do not see Stanisic as a choirboy. When you talk to people who work in espionage, this is often the case.
"Because of the nature of that job, of that assignment, they are working with people who do not have unblemished records, it would be difficult for them to be effective if they only worked with people who had unblemished records.

"People in Belgrade who have been following the career of Jovica Stanisic would say that this was a guy who was an expert in his field; he was a highly-trained and highly-effective spy. His motivation may have been that he wanted to know what the United States was up to.

"He did not believe that Milosevic was taking the country in the right direction - so he wanted to influence events. He saw himself as an important guy who could pull strings behind the scenes to make things happen in Belgrade."
Stanisic apparently did so on his own terms, while trying to remain a loyal Serb. He did not succeed. Now he is having to account for his actions as Milosevic's loyal lieutenant at The Hague.

©2009 newsquest (sunday herald) limited. all rights reserved

Monday, March 23, 2009

Economic class-rape - ENOUGH!

I love Keith Olbermann's commentaries. This one is directed at the corporate bailout of the USA banks, but could well apply to any other country, especially Ireland. The suggestions Olbermann makes about removing 'person' status legally for corporations, making corporate executives personnally accountable for fraud and returning control of media ownership diversity to a government regulatory agency (FCC in US) are all exquisitely lucid solutions to the fiasco of bankers raping the working class.

I am glad there is Keith Olbermann. His ideas here apply universally to corporations run amuck with greed. Indeed, the pitch forks and torches of ordinary people who have suffered from the unforgivable corruption and great Big Dogs and Fat Cats may still be in the dealing of the cards.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We have met the enemy; and he is us.

There is a great outcry now from the 'people' globally that governments have been letting them down on oh so many ways. Naturally, this outcry of dissatisfaction focuses its hostility on our elected leaders - I suppose the logic of this is that if we replace our leaders, things will change.

Wrong! Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

Those who are controlling and creating so many of the injustices that 'people' are so infuriated about are not in government - they are in business, BIG business. Big business (define this anyway you like but most certainly include all those corporations involved in globalisation, outsourcing and trans national operations) runs the world. And it is unregulated by 'we the people', whichever people you happen to identify with.

As long as people identify government as the source of the problem and create headlines and chaos towit, the real masters of the universe can operate without transparency and with impunity carrying on the ethic of 'it's just good business' alliances with the more horrid human rights abusers and war-mongering countries of earth. The distraction of our misdirected anger blinds us to what is going on in every continent of the globe, which if brought to center stage, would indeed cause a revolution.

Case in point Eircom of Ireland, biggest communication provider on the island: now has struck a multimillion deal with Israel: Isreal, the country our entire Island protested as it bombed women and children in Gaza like it was shooting fish in a barrel. Yet all of Eircom's customers are Irish.

'Good business', in big business, has no morality, only profit.

You might think this is a bad thing which we can do nothing about. Not so. It is precisely the leverage the 'people' (of Ireland in this case) need to change their government's policies (read multi-national legally pleasant climate established to encouragement foreign investments.)
Profits are derived from one source ultimately: consumers. And we the people are the consumers. This gives us control, if we can only join together and use it.

If even 25% of a corporation's comsumers would boycott its products and services because of practices contrary to the 'will of the people', (such as polluting our environment, or violating human rights standards, or doing business with rogue nations guilty of international war crimes), if 25% would simply keep their money in their pockets, people would rule corporations.

Sounds too simple, doesn't it? And yet the most effective tools are often the simplest. Corporations cannot exist without profits...if they sustain losses, their stock price drops, then the corporation loses. Study business theory for years and you will find no more critical principle for 'good business' practices that this one, used to guide today's corporate strategy. When profits decrease, corporations scramble to find out why. If the why is a boycott, the offending practice will soon be eliminated from their business strategies.

So while the Irish people are busy protesting the government, Eircom quietly signs a contract with Israel. Perhaps this argument for boycott activism is not sufficiently convincing yet.

Here is another dimension. Eircom is now required to hold every text and email (and various other electronic communications) for at least a year, but up to 4 years for every person using its service in Ireland. Any idea how much data storage that is? Will Eircom be building new data retention facilities in Ireland which would provide jobs and stimulus to our economy; Irish people do afterall provide all of Eircoms profits!? Or will it be outsourcing this function to places which cost less?

Outsourced functions employ low wage employees in whichever country they are located. Are lower wage foreign workers likely to treat your electronic personal data with the care and duty you would expect from your government? Who will be able to access all our data and what assurances do we have our information is kept private and safe?

Eircom has an abiding interest in its shareholders only; unfortunately the Irish people are not a priority.

This is but one example of how the corporatocracy dictates how the world runs. If 'we the people' disagree, we will have to demonstrate that if self-regulation does not give business practices some ethic for the good of common consumers, then perhaps some profit shock-therapy will be more persuasive.

If people feel that 'good business' should actually have some 'good' meaning to the benefit of of a civilised world, then people must redefine this term for corporations. This can be accomplished by a boycott of at at least 25% of a company's clients. It is this simple.

Getting a boycott going is actually not all that difficult; only two things are required:
  1. Keep your money in your pocket for products from offending corporations.
  2. Talk about why you are doing this, to neighbours, market owners and write a letter to the corporation itself. Email anyone you can think of.
Yep. That's it. Demonstrations and protests are absolutely necessary; together with a boycott they can be much more effective. For those of you who are Eircom customers and cannot disrupt your service, I recommend withholding payment (25% of clients will do the job) until all questions on data security and Israeli contracts are fully and satisfactorily answered.

If only 1/4 of consumers would implement this simple protest which requires no marching, sign-painting, driving to Dublin and parking, we could change not only the policies of Eircom, but the policies of all multinational corporations.

And it is the corporations controlling our laws, whether that is obvious or not. The movie Network was released in 1976.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What have we done?

'What have we done?' I do not believe that there is a worse feeling in the world than to believe what you were doing was the right thing, only to find out that you contributed to the spread of misery and destruction."
Regret is the seed of a compassionate consciousness: it is an emotion which requires the courage of awareness and the humility of accepting responsibility. It is served cold and once tasted permeates every other flavour in life. Those who know this meal often have nothing for dessert but more of the same; actions have consequences and many cannot be undone or forgiven.

Regret may be the only hope for changing the world which we ourselves have created, if that is even possible at this point. But first, there must be the courage to look at what we have done, the courage to tell the truth and to admit it in front of all those we wish to receive admiration from. And those people must be listening.

So once again, the Winter Soldiers tell their truth. It is but one truth from which regret grows: there are many others which will become painfully obvious to even those who have buried their heads in the sand. Sometimes looking at truth requires the most courage the human sould can muster. Yet from such bravery, compassion and morality grow.

Winter Soldiers Speak Out in Europe

US veterans march from Philadelphia to Valley Forge before
the Winter Solider hearings last March. (Photo: Susie Husted)
Tuesday 17 March 2009
Maya Schenwar

Last March, a group of soldiers and veterans gathered in Washington, DC, to recount their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. They spent three days testifying, confessing and mourning. They revealed atrocities never before spoken of - the brutal murders of civilians, the destruction of homes and villages, the rape and sexual assault of both civilians and US military women - and displayed photos and video footage to back up their claims. The event was titled "Winter Soldier," harkening back to the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation, in which veterans gathered in Detroit to give testimony about war crimes they had committed or witnessed in Vietnam. Both Winter Soldiers zeroed in on the US military policy's devastating effects, straight from the mouths of those charged with carrying out that policy.

On Saturday, March 14, a third Winter Soldier conference unfolded - this time, overseas. In the leadup to NATO's 60th summit next month in Strasbourg, France, Winter Soldier Europe took place in Freiburg, Germany. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from Germany, the UK and the US testified, revealing the impact of the occupations on civilians and service members alike. The event was organized by the nonprofit Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), in an effort to amplify the voices of soldiers - voices that are often drowned out by military leadership and political commentators, according to Zack Baddorf, one of Winter Soldier Europe's organizers.

"We've all heard American generals on TV," Baddorf told Truthout. "We've all heard the talking heads. We've all heard the politicians. But by hearing voices of troops who were on the ground, who experienced the reality of combat, the event hopefully inspired resistance and true change. We've served our country by joining the military; now, we're serving our nation by opposing this war."

For Chris Capps-Schubert, head of IVAW's Europe chapter and the originator of Winter Soldier Europe, the event represented an intertwining of the personal and political effects of the "war on terror." The testifiers' words issued a vivid warning to the leaders converging in Strasbourg in April, urging them to consider the human toll that inevitably follows militarized policy decisions. On a broader scale, the event called out to the international public, reminding them that even though the global economic crisis has shifted attention away from the "war on terror's" consequences, the bloodshed continues. And, on a personal level, Winter Soldier Europe allowed service members to bear witness to the shocking, sad, sometimes torturous experiences with which they wrestle long after returning home.

Capps-Schubert served in the Army in Iraq from November 2005 to September 2006, then went AWOL, refusing to deploy to Afghanistan. He now lives in Germany and counsels prospective deserters.

"The idea to have a Winter Soldier in Europe came about soon after I learned that President Obama would be visiting the French-German border region, and using the NATO meeting as a possible opportunity to pressure European allies in NATO to commit more troops to Afghanistan," Capps-Schubert told Truthout. "I couldn't easily accept that, and I thought it was very important for the public and hopefully world leaders to hear the truth of what is going on in the 'Global War on Terror' before they decide to commit more fully to it."

Thus, the testimonies focused on eyewitness accounts: the intimate details of war that often go unnoticed by the general public, though they best convey its horror. Testifiers ranged from a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard, to an active-duty member of the German armed forces, to a clinical psychologist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder. American veteran Andre Shepherd, who worked as an Apache helicopter airframe mechanic near Tikrit, spoke of his agonizing deployment to Iraq, followed by a decision to go AWOL.

"It is no secret that the Apache is a devastating weapon," Shepherd testified. "When I looked at the videos of suspected insurgents being shredded by machine guns or blown to bits by the missiles, I [saw] the results of my handiwork. After combining that with the damage to the infrastructure, widespread poverty and disease, accidental deaths and millions of refugees, I thought to myself, 'What have we done?' I do not believe that there is a worse feeling in the world than to believe what you were doing was the right thing, only to find out that you contributed to the spread of misery and destruction."

Shepherd described his change of heart, and of consciousness, his realization that he could no longer continue to go about his "handiwork." Now, he speaks out against the war and has made his choice to leave the military a public example of the deserter's cause.

"We set down our stakes, and proceeded to run the country like it was a colonial property even to this very day," Shepherd told Truthout. "We have killed, tortured and bombed the civilians into submission, so much so that many people have fled their homes. I made up my mind to never again support the evil mechanisms of our foolish leaders there, and in April 2007 I made good on that promise."

Shepherd is currently seeking asylum in Germany, and is the first Iraq War veteran to apply for refugee status in Europe. His application cites Nuremberg Principle IV, which states that a person is not exempted from international law simply because he or she was following orders while committing crimes.

Christian Neumann, a member of the German armed forces who served in Northern Afghanistan, testified about the German role in the war - a topic, he said, that few Germans know much about.

"I will get new information from the testifiers to tell our German soldiers," he told Truthout previous to the event, pointing out that elections are coming up in Germany, and Winter Soldier Europe's revelations could prove eye-opening to German voters. "Although a majority of our inhabitants don't support violent military operations, our governments - European, federal and state - try strongly to keep the foreign military missions out of the election campaigns."

Neumann mentioned that the German government hopes to legalize the use of security contractors like Pretoria, which he compared to Blackwater. Contrary to the wishes of the German people, prominent forces in the government hope to "involve the Germans more and more in the fight against an enemy, who we can't see," he said.

The testimony of former Guantanamo Bay prison guard Chris Arendt, an American, touched on a similar theme of underinformation. Arendt testified that he and his fellow guards - mostly young, low-ranking officers, who'd received very little training - operated on the principle of dehumanizing the "enemy" as much as possible. He described the process used to "extract" prisoners from their cells for interrogations.

"First they're going to get sprayed with ... an oil-based irritant, like Mace, but military grade," Arendt testified. "Then five men in riot gear storm into the cell, and are free to beat this detainee for however long they want to, however they please. This happens multiple times daily, this is something the soldiers in Guantanamo Bay oftentimes take pride [in]. This is something we mark on our helmets. This is something we talk about when we get home. This is something people look forward to - it's a sport; it's a score; it's a number; it's something that you've chalked up while you're down there. We didn't ever think that these people were human beings. We were told that Muslims wiped their asses with their left hands, so we shouldn't touch their left hands, and that was our cultural training for dealing with detainees."

American Eddie Falcon, who served in the air force in Iraq and Afghanistan, described the dehumanization process further in his testimony, noting that diminishing Iraqis' and Afghans' humanity not only makes individual acts of violence more palatable; it also makes the war as a whole easier for soldiers - and the public - to digest.

"If you don't identify with your enemy as a human, it makes it easier to kill them; it makes it easier to torture them; it makes it easier to raid their houses, to blow up their communities," Falcon testified. "People would be saying things like, 'These people are crazy around here; they're Muslims; they don't even have Jesus, you know.' They'd be saying, 'We should just blow the whole fucking place up.'"

In exposing the distorted thought processes and misinformation that both governments and soldiers live by in the "war on terror," the Winter Soldier Europe testifiers challenged the official picture of a morally sound and strategically necessary mission. Their stories painted a scene of confusion and uncertainty, in which destruction happened in response to dehumanization and faceless orders, not out of patriotism or an overarching sense of purpose.

As he relives his experience in the US Army and waits for the verdict on his asylum plea in Germany, Andre Shepherd hopes that Winter Soldier Europe's message will reach both of the populations he is tied to.

"Too many people have the misconception that these conflicts are something noble and just, when the exact opposite is happening right under their noses," Shepherd said. "Our aim is to shatter those myths, tell the people what is really going on down there and to ask them to help stop this madness. I pray that our efforts will not be in vain."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

All your info - now available to Gov't thru your ISP

I was quite relieved when Australia citizens managed to quash their government's proposal to make all Internet Service Providers spies for the government, ISPs Give Rudd Government Two Finger Salute. It appears that Europeans and Americans have not managed to live up to the Aussies in political fervor to protect citizen privacy rights on the internet.

So I guess we shall get what we deserve.
Yes it now is legal for your ISP to keep every stroke of yourkeyboard for a year or longer. And, thanks to Mr. Sarkozy, the new team cheerleader for team USA, all data electronically held on EU citizens can be shared with the National Security Agency of the US, even if you are not a criminal, even if you are not a suspected terrorist, even if you are the re-incarnation of Mother Theresa. EU Privacy Rights to be Taken Away

OK? Well it even gets better. This effectively means that private commercial companies hold all sorts of personal data about every email, SMS or electronic communication make by every EU citizen. And in this day of grand outsourcing, who knows even in which country our data could be held. We are not yet sure about the security arrangements on this data to prevent its misuse, but what do we have to worry about if we have nothing to hide? I have blogged on this subject until I am sick inside of the complacency of the general population on the issue. Getting the word out is half the battle: getting people to pay attention to the seriousness of these incremental controls on every aspect of our private lives is the other half of the battle.

We must use word of mouth and tell each other about directives such as the one below if we are to be a democratically responsible citizenry.
This goes for all countries...the Aussies did it. So can we. But we must start talking about it and keep on until this issue is addressed to our satisfaction. The writing is on the wall.

EU Data Retention Directive provokes
widespread condemnation
Critics speak out against law forcing ISPs
to record every email and SMS from 15 March

Ian Williams
Fri, 13 Mar 2009


UK internet service providers will have to all store communication information from customers for a full year starting on 15 March, as part of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive (PDF).

Under the directive, details of every email, phone call and text message sent or received, including information such as IP address and time of use, will have to be recorded.
Police and security experts will be able to request access to the information to help combat terrorism and cyber crime, but only with a court order.

Nonetheless, the move has sparked serious concerns from privacy groups, IT security firms and legal experts.
Susan Hall, an ICT and media partner at law firm Cobbetts LLP, maintained that such a database is "the antithesis of what the whole internet is about". "There have been regular and well known cases when the police criminals' record database has illegally been accessed by 'insiders', using it to vet employees and do favours for friends," she said.

The directive has provoked criticism from EU member states over the cost of the operation, which is estimated at £46m over an eight-year period, as well as fears of privacy violation.
"Given the numerous data breaches of late, it is hardly surprising that concern has been raised over these proposals," said Jamie Cowper, director of EMEA marketing at security firm PGP Corporation. "With public confidence about data security at an all time low, it is absolutely essential that ISPs take their obligations seriously.

If privacy violation is to be avoided, and the huge cost of this operation is to be justified, the security of the public's data must be watertight.
"If the EU plans to roll out similar legislation to other sectors, they are going to have to demonstrate to the public that every step is being taken to defend their data.

If not, it is fair to say that we are just one data breach away from a major public backlash."
Hall went on to ask: "The government is trying to impose liabilities on service providers, and for what? The theoretical possibility that it will stop terrorists?

"People applying for access to the database will, on the basis of what we've already seen happen with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, use a slippery slope argument: first arguing for using the information for sex offenders and other serious criminals, but ultimately using it to worry about parking tickets or whether children are entitled to be enrolled in the school they've applied to, as in the recent Poole Council case."

Hall also believes that these measures will have little discernable impact on the fight against terrorism, as the criminals involved will just find ways of bypassing the checks by using other people's unsecured Wi-Fi connections, hotspots or pay-as-you-go 3G modems.
"It is also very interesting to note that the European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that a similarly sweeping DNA database, which contained genetic samples from thousands of citizens who had not been convicted of any crime, violated privacy rights," she said.

"Looking at the comments made in this recent case, the ISP database will run the UK government foul of the European Convention on Human Rights, and on this basis alone should be reconsidered. " Thus far, ISPs that have attempted to stop these laws being implemented, such as in Ireland and Slovakia, have been unsuccessful. With the deadline looming, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers' Association claimed that most firms are prepared for the directive's implementation.

"We have made our members aware of what is required and, as far as we know, they will all be compliant," he said.

Related articles:
Are YOU a terrorist? Better check.
Bloggers: 1 step from censorship?
Cyber Eyes, Net Cops and Pleasure Chips
Internet freedom: Heads up bloggers
Barack Obama's 'Black Widow' : The Super Spy Computer
More Evidence of Pentagon War Against the Internet
Shhhhh - Cyber censorship sleeping

Friday, March 13, 2009

“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more Toto”

I am laughing but I guess it is not funny. Sometimes one must laugh if one is not to cry. Ever been in a bad relationship you just couldn't give up? You knew all the bad signs were there but were mesmerised by the object of your affections and just couldn't give up 'hope'. Of course, after the relationship tanked big time, you sat there and contemplated why you didn't listen to and act on all the clues that were given for years afterwards.

Ever wonder why the elite seem to survive generation after generation while the poor folk fight the same battle over and over in time? Read the above paragraph again.

The world has changed during this tornado of capitalist corruption...but I fear the road ahead is fraught with danger. Whether or not we will make it to the Emerald City will depend on our capacity for courage and wisdom. One thing is sure: Kansas is gone.

Western military forces turning inward
in anticipation of domestic unrest

Old-Thinker News
March 10, 2009

By Daniel Taylor

As the growing world-wide economic crisis deepens, military forces from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom are preparing to meet angry citizens on the street. The economic crisis - and the public outrage it is causing - is at the forefront of intelligence agencies and military forces in the western world.

Prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente has been sounding the alarm for years, warning that riots and tax revolts are coming to America. The Pentagon, U. K. Ministry of Defense, and Canadian military apparently agree. In November of 2008 the United States Army War College released the report Known Unknowns: Unconventional "Strategic Shocks" in Defense Strategy Development. The report identifies economic collapse as a reason for the defense establishment to conduct domestic operations. The report states,

"Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security. Deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction or other catastrophic capabilities, unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency..."

The CIA and MI5 are both watching the economic situation for signs of unrest and political instability. As the Washington Post reports, the CIA has added an economic situation report to its threat assessment for the White House. A further sign that the United States government is anticipating widespread unrest comes with the domestic stationing of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. The Army Times reports,

"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack."

Canadian military forces have been given a nearly identical domestic mission in a synchronized move with the United States. Canada's National Post reports that,

"The Canadian military has embarked on a wide-ranging plan to turn its reserve soldiers into focused units trained and equipped to respond to a nightmarish array of domestic threats, including terrorist "dirty bomb" attacks, biological agent containment, Arctic catastrophes and natural disasters."

David Bercuson, director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary admits that contingencies exist that "...envisioned scenarios that might require a form of constabulary or policing function for reserves in civilian containment and security."

Overseas, the United Kingdom's MI5 is also anticipating widespread unrest in response to economic downturn. The Daily Express reports that the U.K. Army is "on standby" in the event of unrest during a "summer of discontent."

The United Kingdom's own Ministry of Defense foresaw middle class revolution two years ago in the 2007 The DCDC Global Strategic Trends report. "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class...," the report states. "The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite."

Ominously, legislation was recently introduced to Congress that would authorize “national emergency centers” on military installations that will provide “temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster." The National Emergency Centers Act can be read here.

As new taxes - like paying by mileage and carbon taxes meant to send "price signals" to consumers - are imposed and more money is demanded from debt laden citizens to save failing banks there is little doubt that resistance will grow. Just how far the bankers can go remains to be seen, but the military is ready when we've had enough.

Related urls:

Seeds of its own destruction

The End of History and the Clash of Civilizations

Death Spiral of Capitalism

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cull: to reduce the size of the herd

Cull: to reduce or control the size of (as a herd) by removal (as by hunting) of especially weaker animals ; also : to hunt or kill (animals) as a means of population control Source

Population growth is the elephant in the room no one wants to discuss. The demographic calculations are there for all to see; humans are a cancer on earth which will eventually kill the host organism. Yet we go on and on about bailouts and arms trading, protectionism and media propaganda - as though this elephant does not exist, casting its shadows over all our meager plans for species salvation on earth.

If you are not here to experience the effects of increasing population on a planet of decreasing resources, your sons and daughters will be. By ignoring it, we pass the problem to those we wish to inherit the earth.

I remember having discussions with 'hunters' about the act of killing animals. How many times the rationalisation was used, 'but we are doing deer a favor by killing them - if we didn't shoot them, they would starve to death.', I cannot count. I guess that makes hunting OK then.

What if the elites who wish their young to inherit the earth use the same argument?
Is the thought too horrible to comprehend or consider? I don't think so. The population of earth will be culled: how is anyone's guess: starvation, bioweapons, pandemic, meteor, nuclear war, climate change, either made by man or made by Mother Nature, a cull will occur.

We Are Breeding Ourselves to Extinction

By Chris Hedges
March 09, 2009

All measures to thwart the degradation and destruction of our ecosystem will be useless if we do not cut population growth. By 2050, if we continue to reproduce at the current rate, the planet will have between 8 billion and 10 billion people, according to a recent U.N. forecast. This is a 50 percent increase. And yet government-commissioned reviews, such as the Stern report in Britain, do not mention the word population. Books and documentaries that deal with the climate crisis, including Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," fail to discuss the danger of population growth. This omission is odd, given that a doubling in population, even if we cut back on the use of fossil fuels, shut down all our coal-burning power plants and build seas of wind turbines, will plunge us into an age of extinction and desolation unseen since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared.

We are experiencing an accelerated obliteration of the planet's life-forms-an estimated 8,760 species die off per year-because, simply put, there are too many people. Most of these extinctions are the direct result of the expanding need for energy, housing, food and other resources. The Yangtze River dolphin, Atlantic gray whale, West African black rhino, Merriam's elk, California grizzly bear, silver trout, blue pike and dusky seaside sparrow are all victims of human overpopulation. Population growth, as E.O. Wilson says, is "the monster on the land." Species are vanishing at a rate of a hundred to a thousand times faster than they did before the arrival of humans. If the current rate of extinction continues, Homo sapiens will be one of the few life-forms left on the planet, its members scrambling violently among themselves for water, food, fossil fuels and perhaps air until they too disappear. Humanity, Wilson says, is leaving the Cenozoic, the age of mammals, and entering the Eremozoic-the era of solitude. As long as the Earth is viewed as the personal property of the human race, a belief embraced by everyone from born-again Christians to Marxists to free-market economists, we are destined to soon inhabit a biological wasteland.

The populations in industrialized nations maintain their lifestyles because they have the military and economic power to consume a disproportionate share of the world's resources. The United States alone gobbles up about 25 percent of the oil produced in the world each year. These nations view their stable or even zero growth birthrates as sufficient. It has been left to developing countries to cope with the emergent population crisis. India, Egypt, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba and China, whose one-child policy has prevented the addition of 400 million people, have all tried to institute population control measures. But on most of the planet, population growth is exploding. The U.N. estimates that 200 million women worldwide do not have access to contraception. The population of the Persian Gulf states, along with the Israeli-occupied territories, will double in two decades, a rise that will ominously coincide with precipitous peak oil declines.

The overpopulated regions of the globe will ravage their local environments, cutting down rainforests and the few remaining wilderness areas, in a desperate bid to grow food. And the depletion and destruction of resources will eventually create an overpopulation problem in industrialized nations as well. The resources that industrialized nations consider their birthright will become harder and more expensive to obtain.

Rising water levels on coastlines, which may submerge coastal nations such as Bangladesh, will disrupt agriculture and displace millions, who will attempt to flee to areas on the planet where life is still possible. The rising temperatures and droughts have already begun to destroy crop lands in Africa, Australia, Texas and California. The effects of this devastation will first be felt in places like Bangladesh, but will soon spread within our borders.

Footprint data suggests that, based on current lifestyles, the sustainable population of the United Kingdom-the number of people the country could feed, fuel and support from its own biological capacity-is about 18 million. This means that in an age of extreme scarcity, some 43 million people in Great Britain would not be able to survive. Overpopulation will become a serious threat to the viability of many industrialized states the instant the cheap consumption of the world's resources can no longer be maintained. This moment may be closer than we think.

A world where 8 billion to 10 billion people are competing for diminishing resources will not be peaceful. The industrialized nations will, as we have done in Iraq, turn to their militaries to ensure a steady supply of fossil fuels, minerals and other nonrenewable resources in the vain effort to sustain a lifestyle that will, in the end, be unsustainable. The collapse of industrial farming, which is made possible only with cheap oil, will lead to an increase in famine, disease and starvation. And the reaction of those on the bottom will be the low-tech tactic of terrorism and war. Perhaps the chaos and bloodshed will be so massive that overpopulation will be solved through violence, but this is hardly a comfort.

James Lovelock, an independent British scientist who has spent most of his career locked out of the mainstream, warned several decades ago that disrupting the delicate balance of the Earth, which he refers to as a living body, would be a form of collective suicide. The atmosphere on Earth-21 percent oxygen and 79 percent nitrogen-is not common among planets, he notes. These gases are generated, and maintained at an equable level for life's processes, by living organisms themselves. Oxygen and nitrogen would disappear if the biosphere was destroyed. The result would be a greenhouse atmosphere similar to that of Venus, a planet that is consequently hundreds of degrees hotter than Earth. Lovelock argues that the atmosphere, oceans, rocks and soil are living entities. They constitute, he says, a self-regulating system.

Lovelock, in support of this thesis, looked at the cycle in which algae in the oceans produce volatile sulfur compounds. These compounds act as seeds to form oceanic clouds. Without these dimethyl sulfide "seeds" the cooling oceanic clouds would be lost. This self-regulating system is remarkable because it maintains favorable conditions for human life. Its destruction would not mean the death of the planet. It would not mean the death of life-forms. But it would mean the death of Homo sapiens.

Lovelock advocates nuclear power and thermal solar power; the latter, he says, can be produced by huge mirrors mounted in deserts such as those in Arizona and the Sahara. He proposes reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide with large plastic cylinders thrust vertically into the ocean. These, he says, could bring nutrient-rich lower waters to the surface, producing an algal bloom that would increase the cloud cover. But he warns that these steps will be ineffective if we do not first control population growth. He believes the Earth is overpopulated by a factor of about seven. As the planet overheats-and he believes we can do nothing to halt this process-overpopulation will make all efforts to save the ecosystem futile.

Lovelock, in "The Revenge of Gaia," said that if we do not radically and immediately cut greenhouse gas emissions, the human race might not die out but it would be reduced to "a few breeding pairs." "The Vanishing Face of Gaia," his latest book, which has for its subtitle "The Final Warning," paints an even grimmer picture. Lovelock says a continued population boom will make the reduction of fossil fuel use impossible. If we do not reduce our emissions by 60 percent, something that can be achieved only by walking away from fossil fuels, the human race is doomed, he argues. Time is running out. This reduction will never take place, he says, unless we can dramatically reduce our birthrate.

All efforts to stanch the effects of climate change are not going to work if we do not practice vigorous population control. Overpopulation, in times of hardship, will create as much havoc in industrialized nations as in the impoverished slums around the globe where people struggle on less than two dollars a day. Population growth is often overlooked, or at best considered a secondary issue, by many environmentalists, but it is as fundamental to our survival as reducing the emissions that are melting the polar ice caps.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."

© 2009

Related: Human Rights Cartoon (82): Overpopulation?


All blogs are really just small snapshots of a person's mind, heart and soul as they evolve together through life....

Small bits of the thread of life we weave together into the fabric of ourselves, in the hope we will make sense of our existence, individual and collective.

On this page, is the cloak I have fashioned from my fabric to warm myself in a universe which often makes little sense.

Inside my cloak, it is warm enough to face the blistering cold winds of the insane world in which I find myself.

If you find some a bit of 'the good stuff' here, it has been my pleasure.