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An Open Letter To All In Pursuit Of Truth

May 24, 2015

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Related Topic(s): Democracy; FISA; History; Media; Obama; Other; Presidency; Reporters; Trust; Truth; (more…) Add to My Group(s)
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The People Speak
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After a discussion that I had with a Canadian friend of mine, regarding this article — http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/michael-morell-bush-cheney-iraq-war — he later emailed me this question:

” If the article is reliable, why could not the Obama white house expose these guys as crooks or imbeciles to be more generous? Or, are they all the same?”

Being quite an astute observer of the US political environment, during our conversation he was alarmed that he hadn’t heard of this revelation and even more astounded that it wasn’t being used as a basis for serious legal action.

Fancying myself to be a student of contemporary history, I decided to delve into this question to a greater degree than I had in the past. Why is there not a demanding movement to prosecute our home-based war criminals? After all, we seemed to feel no compunction to avoid chasing down, trying and sentencing to death German and Japanese war criminals after WWII.

Could the blame again be placed on the media, specifically the corporate controlled Main Street Media? After all, it has been repeatedly pointed out that, as opposed to just three TV channels, we now have access to multiple news channels, the radio as well as the Internet and an array of social media. Rather than the majority of us all gathering around the information “campfire” every night to have our opinions formed en masse by trusted reporters like Edward R. Morrow or Walter Cronkite. Instead, we all slink off at various times to receive our self-selected voices of our own particular concept of reason in isolated privacy. These great new tools of communication are fragmenting us instead of unifying us. We are almost secretly delving deeper into the competitive modes of thought development, rather than the critical cooperative concepts related to unification. It seems as though we have forgotten the vital last part of the phrase, “United we stand …”

Additionally, I don’t think that we realize how infantile we are behaving in our rather primative use of these new communication tools. Instead of putting them to work, saving ourselves and our planet from ourselves, we are instead playing with them like children. Seeking entertainment instead of solutions. Using them to assuage our deep-seated fears, insecurities and lost sense of control; the same as our children, with their own addictions to video games.

Perhaps these rationalizations can be readily applied to the younger members of our crowd, but what about us older folks? What has happened to my generation? The ones who had our minds opened up and expanded by the likes of Bob Dylan, Howl, Woodstock, Civil Rights, Viet Nam, and yes — Timothy Leary? I have a sense that the bulk of my contemporaries feel beaten, since I certainly do! Looking back at my personal history, I believe that I started to object, resist, complain and fight back when, at some point, I was shocked into realizing that the vital bond of trust, between my government and myself, had been broken. Prior to that moment, from the time I was born, I had a yet unrealized sense of security that I could only appreciate after it was gone. That trust was shattered, the day I realized that my government was lying about this particular event:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqzJQE8LYrQ

Perhaps the only way to fully appreciate the mind-drilling degradation of a broken trust is to experience it. Similar to what is said about death — in that it tends to, “” focus the mind” — so it is with lost trust. It is like a sudden vacancy or painful hole where there was once a secure feeling. The compass is spinning and the previously clear path is now a maze of doubt and gnawing pain.

I almost immediately began to look for clues to the happy ending. Certainly the calvary will ride in with guns blazing to save the day and our country will come back to healthy life again. But the picture hasn’t ended that way. In fact, unlike the books and movies I was raised on, it has turned into a long, drawn out, accelerating descent into a darkening abyss. Not only was the trust shattered, but in the aftermath the shards are slowly being ground into my very psyche.

When, in December of 2000, the Supremes took away our failing attempts at democracy by selecting G.W. Bush (Shrub) as our Chief Executive Officer — I knew that the game was over. What REALLY slammed the Jackboot down was when Gore rolled over, handed it to them and then walked away to seek his fortune! What had been a dull but expanding ache, suddenly turned into panic as I looked around and suddenly realized that there wasn’t even any way out, as “They” had taken over the theater and locked all the doors! All that we can now do is watch “their” movie play out; other than being extras, there were no parts in this movie ” we are now only invested spectators — Consumer Units.

When Obama came on the scene, I got a bit of hope I could believe in. I started examining his trail and tracking his progress. During his duel with Hillary, the Senate was getting ready to vote on the FISA Bill that was going to pull some of the rug out from under the domestic spying. BO proclaimed at every opportunity that he was going to vote “no” on that bill. Finally, Hillary pulled out of the race and opened the door for Obama to walk into the Presidency.

The next weekend, after she quit her bid for President, she and Obama snuck off to Chantilly, VA for a quick, but very secret visit, with the members of the Bilderberg Group . After that visit, BO marched onto the Senate floor and voted to support the FISA Bill — in spite of the fact that it was going to pass without his vote, anyway. What that said to me, was that he received his pass into the White House from the Bilderberg bunch — but there would always be secret strings attached. Now, before you write this observation off, just keep in mind that not all “Conspiracy Theories” are JUST theories!

So, here we all sit. Some of the more fortunate ones of us get to prop ourselves up in front of our big flat screens, pack our gullet with more food than we need, play our games on our smart phones and chat among ourselves about ourselves and whatever else that doesn’t matter too much. The rest of us are scrambling around everyday trying to put enough energy together in order to KEEP putting enough energy together in order to just barely survive another day and keep out of the way of those who have the means to play — on our behalf but for their benefit — the only game that REALLY matters.

What can be done? How do we get out of this trap that was originally set in 1886 — when corporations began their long, slow legal liberation — and has been increasingly become more deadly ever since? How do we regain the massive power that the psycho/sociopaths have methodically taken from us? How do we extricate ourselves from the all encompassing and deadly embrace that apathy has wrapped around our majority? How do we all look at each other and deeply realize that it is us against “them” and NOT us against us? Don’t bother answering any of these questions I just poised in this paragraph until you can include an answer to the first question. There are wonderful answers to all of these puzzles. However, answers and solutions are useless without viable means of achievement and dedicated leaders to plot the way.

As I have already acknowledged, I feel beaten. Beaten, but not disengaged or completely without hope. While the sparks and ideas are still coming and I feel thwarted at every prospect of an actionable solution I believe that I now understand what the salve for broken trust is. It is so simple and obvious that I amaze myself for not having realized it sooner. The ONLY way to restore a broken trust is with truth. But only a certain kind of truth will work. It has to be truth that is in the forefront of a long train of previous valid truths. Truths with a broken record of truths are not valid truths. Truths that are not forthcoming and volunteer themselves may conceal untruths or half-truths and are therefore not REAL or valid truths, either.

So, when I look to our barely functioning political system and the various candidates who are offering their truths to me, who do I perceive to be the most truthful? So far, I only see one person who proffers a pure record of truth.

As for you, my patient reader, who do YOU perceive to be in pursuit of truth, do you see more than one? Perhaps, if we could match them up with a Movement Of Movements (MOM) , we could regain control of our country ” as well as our world!

(Article changed on May 23, 2015 at 23:31)

(Article changed on May 24, 2015 at 02:28)

(Article changed on May 24, 2015 at 08:18)

My father was a career military man and, while I was born in Texas, we moved six months later. In fact, we kept moving to the point where I lived in 38 states and several foreign countries, before I got out of high school. Since my father was a life-long Republican and my mother was a Democrat, there always seemed to be a political undercurrent going on in my family. My earliest political memories were trying to convince my father that Adlai Stevenson would be the better President ” both times that he ran.

In the late seventies I went into computers and haven’t come out, yet. When The Net went graphical, I learned HTML and the second website I ever put up (which is still going) had to do with what corporations are doing to degrade our existence. In the process of putting up that site, I found, what I believe to be, the ULTIMATE and worldwide source of all of our major problems — unidentified and unrestrained psychopathic/sociopathic people in extremely powerful positions of power.

I now live in Canada and relish every day that I’m not spending in the US. I’m amazed at how rapidly EVERYTHING around me seems to be deteriorating. However, I do what I can to alert, inform, educate and seek solutions to what I see quite clearly happening all around us. My latest thoughts lead to the formation of a singular movement of movements — with just one primary goal — to confront and subdue the insane people at the top, by the rest of us at the bottom.

http://www.sonic.net/~taryfast/us.html

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Saturday, May 23, 2015 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
An Open Letter To All In Pursuit Of Truth An exploration into the nature of contemporary public trust.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (4 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
How about having a FIT instead of a TPP? Discussion of the advantages of FIT over TPP.

Thursday, January 1, 2015 (18 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
An Open Letter To Anyone Seeking A MOM Using movements to counter the powers of the two party system.

Monday, December 8, 2014 (8 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
An Open Letter To All American Slaves Description of a new form of slavery in the US.

Sunday, November 30, 2014 (24 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
An Open Letter To Seekers For The Meaning Of Life Presentation of an answer to an ancient question.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Focusing On Not Focusing A Personal Evolution Into Attentive Non-Attention

Monday, May 19, 2014      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
An Open Letter To The Koch Brothers Attempt to change the minds of two sociopaths.

Thursday, November 7, 2013 (2 comments)      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Open Letter To A Failing Republican Through their highly effective use and control of what is referred to as the “Main Stream Media” and the various voting processes, a relatively small group of sociopathically insane, but excessively rich, individuals have been able to manipulate the thinking and votes of a large enough percentage of the public to achieve effective political control.

Nuclear Experimentation: Year 70 – Playing with M.A.D.ness

May 24, 2015

General News 5/23/2015 at 12:53:16

By Ethan Indigo Smith (about the author) Permalink (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): Atmosphere; Fascist; Madness; Nuclear Cover-up; Nuclear Energy Dev- Peaceful; Nuclear Fabrication; Nuclear Meltdown; Nuclear Pollution; Nuclear Power Plants In Iran; Nuclear Waste; (more…)

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4th May 2015

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

The recent “news” on the nuclear situation in Iran brings to light the madhouse of cards on which the postmodern world is built. Or rather, it would bring the madness to light if the major media outlets of the world were not bought up and sold out to the military industrial complex, and therefore completely misinformed on the actions and dangers of the nuclear experimentation industry.

The story is not just about how Iran wants to join the club of failed nuclear experimentation states, though that is certainly worthy of raising an eyebrow. This story is not just about the threat to nearby states, or the implications to global relations. The story is not just about how they could be so ill minded, and short sighted as to look for solutions in a dirty technology”
The real story is that playing with nuclear fire — the Pandora’s Box of nuclear experimentation — is a threat to all life on Earth, and yet today the rise of the nuclear state has become just another part of our collective ‘energy’ and ‘war’ narratives. The real story is that, in our collective madness, we fail to recognize that Iran’s engagement in nuclear experimentation is no different than our own — and that the sum total of all this nuclear madness is mutually assured destruction.

Total M.A.D.ness
Used to describe the inevitable outcome of any military nuclear action, the acronym M.A.D. stands for mutual assured destruction. The M.A.D. theory is that a balance of apocalyptic armament puts opposing nuclear nations in a stalemate, where it would be impossible for one to annihilate the other with nukes without facing annihilation themselves. If the accepted narrative is to be believed, the understanding of ‘mutually assured destruction’ on both sides is why the Cold War never went Hot.

Is it any coincidence that the industry acronym for the inevitable outcome of any military nuclear action is M.A.D.? By their own reckoning, mutual destruction is assured on all sides of the nuclear war machine in the event of a nuclear strike — yet nations continue to arm themselves, writing conventions to mitigate their liability while provoking other nations that arm themselves. In their ‘fight for peace’, they are scrambling down the rabbit hole to mutually assured M.A.D.ness.

If this M.A.D. balance was at all sustainable, one might even wish to see Iran armed, and believe that arming Iran would bring M.A.D. balance — because after all it is well known, though not officially recognized — that Israel already has nuclear weapons. But therein is the opening into the madness of the situation; the reality is already so twisted that one might see it as a “solution” that an individual or institution possesses a mechanism that instantly kills, maims and deforms en masse, and poisons ecosystems for countless generations to come, just because the institutions that threaten them have those same mechanisms, which kill and maim and deform and poison.

Make no mistake, this is a contrived polarity. The only way to end the M.A.D.ness is to disarm, not arm the opposition.

Critical Thinking
When we investigate the reality of M.A.D., and the propaganda that accompanies nuclear experimentation (both military and power generation) we soon realize it IS absolute madness.

Firstly, the notion that nuclear experimentation is regulated is a fallacy. While eight States have detonated nuclear weapons, only the five member nations of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China) are considered to be “nuclear-weapon states” under by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. [1] However three other States that were not parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty have conducted nuclear tests since the NPT was enacted in 1970 (India, Pakistan, and North Korea).

Meanwhile Israel remains the nuclear white elephant in the room. Widely believed to have nuclear weapons, Israel continues to deny its nuclear status, casting further unknowns into the nuclear mix.

According to the Federation of American Scientists’ report Status of World Nuclear Forces:

More than two decades after the Cold War ended, the world’s combined inventory of nuclear warheads remains at a very high level: approximately 15,700. Of these, around 4,100 warheads are considered operational, of which about 1,800 US and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.

Despite significant reductions in US, Russian, French and British nuclear forces compared with Cold War levels, all the nuclear weapon states continue to modernize their remaining nuclear forces and appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future. For an overview of global modernization programs, see this 2014 article:Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — Slowing nuclear weapon reductions and endless nuclear weapon modernizations: A challenge to the NPT.

The exact number of nuclear weapons in each country’s possession is a closely held national secret.

When it comes to nuclear weapons experimentation, transparency and accountability are non-existent — conditions in which corruption thrives.

While Israel defends its “strategic ambiguity”, its policy of denial has served not only as a misinformation tactic, it has inflamed tensions in the Middle East by highlighting obvious double standards in US policy in the region. While Israel denies being a “nuclear-weapon state”, and the US continues to turn a blind eye, the governments of both states are actively colluding to bypass a US ban on funding nations that proliferate weapons of mass destruction, ensuring Israel enjoys more than US$2 billion in aid from US taxpayers each year.

Israel, however, is not the only financial beneficiary of this nuclear deceit; the Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage are designed to protect US nuclear interests from liability in the event of an accident, allowing them to make uncapped fortunes through nuclear energy generation without liability for their (inevitable) failures.

Despite all the public non-proliferation rhetoric of the nuclear experimentation industry, the nuclear-weapons States are clearly committed to retaining and continuing nuclear weapons programs. The illusion of non-proliferation serves only to delay genuine non-proliferation action. Not surprisingly, when it comes to the true nuclear agenda, even those scientists working ‘behind the security fence’ are subjected to this deception.

According to former government scientist turned environmental activist (and Wake Up World contributing writer) Dr. Andreas Toupadakis:

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“[In 2000], I resigned from a permanent, highly paid, classified position in the Stockpile Stewardship Program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California. I went to LLNL believing that I would be helping to dismantle nuclear weapons and disposing of their deadly byproducts. That was my desire. Instead, very soon, I found myself expected to work on the maintenance of nuclear weapons. When I realized that within the Lab, environmental or nonproliferation work was but an illusion, I decided to resign. My conscience simply does not allow me to work for the development or maintenance of nuclear weapons.

“.. Purely academic projects are sustained in order to lure young scientists into the national labs. I heard this in plain language one Thanksgiving afternoon, sitting around the table with senior weapons scientists: “We need new blood to carry on our weapons research; we need new post-docs in purely basic research.” It was not a surprise that at that time a post-doc in academia was making around $18,000/year, but at Los Alamos National Lab I started with $35,000, certainly good bait to attract young scientists.”

Enshrined in secrecy even behind the security fence, the nuclear weapons and energy experiments are both conducted in the shadows, without transparency or accountability, at the expense of the Earth and all its inhabitants.
Nuclear Experimentation Year 70 — Playing With Madness
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Nuclear Energy Experimentation
Ongoing events at Fukushima have highlighted the uncontainable dangers of nuclear energy experimentation. There are now over four hundred nuclear power generation experiments in operation worldwide, and more are being built, each one representing another potential disaster.

In the 70 years since the first nuclear power generation experiment began at Oak Ridge in 1948, there have been countless (known) meltdowns at nuclear facilities around the world. The history of nuclear energy generation has proven itself to be equally as destructive (if not more) as nuclear arms programs. If one examines trends and contributing factors, there are bound to be more accidents, spills and ‘unprecedented events’ within the nuclear industry.

Now, over four years on from the first meltdown, the ailing Fukushima Daiichi facility in Japan is still spewing radioactive waste into our ocean’s and air, with no end in sight. In fact, reports of a fresh leak in February 2015 indicate a 70-fold increase in radiation levels. And while this disaster continues into its fifth year, the realities and failures of this and other nuclear experiments have become shrouded in propaganda and censorship, in an indefensible bid to protect the interests of the oligarchy — nuclear’s sole beneficiaries.

The Fukushima disaster has led to a practical elimination of free speech and free reporting of information from within Japan, with little to no opposition or indignation from global governments. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Designated Secrets Bill was written specifically to contain information about the Fukushima disaster; since authorities could not contain the radioactive leaks, the Japanese government instead enacted laws that subjected to punishment any individual who reports information about this undeniable disaster.

Again, the problem here is transparency and accountability. Like nuclear weaponry, nuclear energy experimentation cannot co-exist alongside freedom of speech or transparent access to information. It can only exist in a fascist state, which suppresses information and opposition.

But the ultimate truth of the nuclear energy experiment — the reason for the suppression and opposition — is that the nuclear experiment is operated without a complete plan. Although it is touted as a ‘clean’ technology, the nuclear industry has no mechanism for disposing of the radioactive waste it generates, only mechanisms for containing it, storing it for the million years it takes to break down, and accumulating more each day. And that’s when all goes well.

When it all goes wrong, as history has shown, the destruction is permanent. Radiation kills, maims and deforms. That is why nuclear is the oligarchy’s weapon of choice, and exactly why it should not be used for energy generation. Radioactivity creates so vast and deep an alteration of our ecology that now, as we reflect on ‘year 70″ of a million year waste cycle, it is obvious that the causal implications of continuing the nuclear experiment have not been considered by the scientific community entirely, if at all.

And yet, the world’s “nuclear weapon states” insist on marching toward M.A.D.ness, relying on faulty logic, one-eyed scientism and good old fashioned fear-mongering to justify it.

Their motive becomes clearer when we take into account the increasing amount of radiation, and the cumulative effect of radiation, electromagnetic pollution and geoengineering (chemtrails and HAARP) operations simultaneously contaminating our atmosphere. Interacting with radioactive and heavy metals in our atmosphere, electromagnetic energy has been shown to interfere with the human body and brain, which itself is electrical — in particular it disrupts cell growth, neural activity, cardiac function, hormone production and fertility

This toxic atmospheric cocktail creates the conditions for a global health crisis of unprecedented proportions. Enter the pharmacological industry to treat the symptoms but never the cause.

The effects of nuclear, chemical and electromagnetic programs amount to an assault on our health, our consciousness, and our very existence.

The Way Out
Considering the entirety of the nuclear experiment, one can’t help but to acknowledge the distorted modes of thinking, hidden agendas and damaging outcomes inherent in its operation.

It is time to get real. Power-brokers are playing political games with our planet and our health. As history continues to prove, the nuclear experiment cannot continue without dire physical and spiritual consequences, and we cannot consider ourselves at the peak of evolution or enlightenment on Earth while also being responsible for its ongoing devastation.

It’s time we start thinking outside the narrow confines of the political conventions and formality that led us here. What we need is a revolution.

We are not the 99% among the 1%, we are in fact the 99.99999999999999% — but we have been bullied into quietly observing the will of the bourgeois 0.0000000000000001% and accepting our biological and spiritual degradation as an unavoidable part of “postmodern living.”

It turns out that in order to solve the nuclear problem and stake a claim for our environmental future, we have to face the biggest bully on the block.

Nuclear experimentation is the biggest issue of our time, and of all time. Just as every piece of plastic we create will be with us for the next 10,000 years, every bit of radioactive waste we have ever produced and will ever produce (leak or no leak) will be with us for the next million years — that’s 40,000 human generations — poisoning everything it touches in perpetuity. That is a fact.

It is our collective ego that allows such a devastating program to continue unopposed; our unwillingness to examine the complex details facing us, our inability to see beyond our own lives and our own lifetime, and our ultimate decision to submit to the will of the nuclear/military industrial complex.

The greatest trick ‘the devil’ ever played was not tricking the world into thinking he doesn’t exist, but tricking the world into thinking he was not dangerous. Like all oligarchical power structures, this is also true of the nuclear war/energy oligarchy.

In his 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Eisenhower, the last military President of the U.S.A., warned us of the coming military industrial complex and, specifically, of the dangers of increased military spending, with government contracts being given to private military manufacturers. His warning went unheeded.
Unless we confront the complex reality of the military industrial complex, we will forever be stuck in a permanent state of war — a war on individuals, individuality, and consciousness itself. The “leaders” of nuclear nations have shown they have no intention to make peace but to make power plays and deals that profit their masters.

Nuclear arms cannot bring peace, and nuclear energy cannot bring sustainability. With the M.A.D.ness of nuclear experimentation constantly looming, there can be no peace.

The only way to stop the madness is to organize ourselves, and confront the institutions that run these programs. Until we begin to dismantle the nuclear arms and energy industries, nothing will change. Nothing will change but the radiation levels in our air and water, which will continue to go up. Nothing will change but the increased toxicity and degradation of our ecology. Nothing will change but the increased threat of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Radiation knows no bounds or borders. Until we all come together in a true brotherhood of humanity, where all colors and cultures, all hues of humanity, come together in clarity to save ourselves and our planet from the grim future we’re currently creating. We must demand that the institutions responsible for our energy, environment and security, that our policy, in word and deed, reflects our true role as custodians of the planet humanity calls home. It’s up to all of us.

Peace on Earth, only for real.

Ethan.

The Little Green Book of Revolution

The Little Green Book Of Revolution – Ethan Indigo Smith
The Little Green Book of Revolution
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Ethan Indigo Smith’s The Little Green Book of Revolution is an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans.
A pro-individual and anti-institutional look at the history of peaceful proactive revolution, it explores the environmental destruction inherent to our present energy distribution systems and offers ideas to counter the oligarchical institutions of the failing ‘New World Order’.

The Little Green Book of Revolution is available here on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Ethan/e/B0058V4P2U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

About Ethan Indigo Smith:
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book, The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics. His more recent publications include:

Tibetan Fusion a book of simple meditative practices and movements that can help you access and balance your energy
The Little Green Book of Revolution an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans
The Matrix of Four, The Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity on the subject of the development of individual consciousness
108 Steps to Be in The Zone a set of 108 meditative practices and steps toward self discovery and individual betterment, including techniques to develop balance, transmute sexual energy and better the self
and the controversial book, (more…)

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Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Obama’s Trade Deal In One Short Speech

May 24, 2015

Posted: 05/23/2015 5:56 pm EDT Updated: 05/23/2015 7:59 pm EDT

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) took to the Senate floor Friday evening to make a point-by-point analysis of why a trade deal being negotiated by President Barack Obama would harm the United States.

Merkley’s comments came as the Senate voted to give Obama “fast track” authority that will allow him to negotiate a deal that Congress can then approve with an up or down vote, but cannot alter.

While Obama has said that the deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is “the most progressive framework for trade” the United States has ever had, Merkley argued on Friday that the deal would hurt American workers, increase inequality and undermine American sovereignty.

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“We are creating a structure of a group of seven very poor nations with very low wages, five affluent nations with higher wages, and think about the difference between running an operation on the mound or Malaysia or Mexico, with a minimum wage of less than $2 an hour, and in Vietnam with a minimum wage of 60 to 70 cents depending on what part of the country you’re in,” Merkley said. “Think about the difference between that and the minimum wage in the United States. It is a 10-to-1 differential.”

While Obama has claimed that the agreement contains tough environmental and labor standards, Merkley said that simply wasn’t the case and that the TPP wasn’t any different than other free trade agreements.

“In order to have something that was fundamentally different, we would have to have something like snap-back tariffs. A situation where a country deeply violated its promises on labor standards, deeply violated its promises on environmental standards, but there would be some sort of quick and certain reversal of the benefits of the trade agreement,” Merkley said. “But there is nothing like that in this agreement. There is no change. So here we are repeating the same basic structure of the other agreements with no changes for America and therefore no improvement for the workers of the United States of America.”

Merkley also said that the United States had brought just one labor enforcement case against a free trade partner, Guatemala, which the United States filed in 2010 and was still pursuing last year.

The Oregon Democrat added that the trade agreement would undermine U.S. sovereignty by allowing foreign countries to challenge American laws — like labeling requirements on meat and other food safety requirements — that could negatively impact them. A spokesman for United States Trade Representative Michael Froman told The Huffington Post last week that the trade agreement would not change existing food safety laws.

Obama has accused critics of his trade agreement of misleading the public, and has said publicly that he would welcome a debate on the facts. Those facts, however, are nearly impossible to determine because lawmakers can’t share the details of the deal with the public until after a trade agreement is reached.

Senate Debate Reveals Absurd Level Of Trade Deal Secrecy

May 24, 2015
Posted: 05/21/2015 6:41 pm EDT Updated: 05/22/2015 8:59 am EDT
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WASHINGTON — A revealing conversation on the Senate floor Thursday showed precisely how secretive President Barack Obama’s pending trade deals are, and the absurdity of arguments to the contrary.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sponsored a bill that would have required the administration to post a “scrubbed” copy of the trade deals well before Congress gives the president fast-track authority to jam them easily through Congress.

However, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) objected to bringing the bill forward. In response, Manchin and Warren made a few telling observations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the vast trade agreement the U.S. is currently negotiating with 11 other nations.

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The pair noted that although legislators are allowed to look at the text of the TPP in a secure room, they are only allowed to do so under restrictions that make it nearly impossible to understand what they are reading.

First, they can’t bring expert staffers with them unless they have the right clearances, and the aides who have expertise in various relevant areas — for instance on the impacts on the environment or labor law — generally are not cleared.

Second, lawmakers can’t record anything, or take any notes from the room.

“They’ll give you a piece of paper if you want to take notes, but then you have to give them back the piece of paper,” Warren said.

The legislators can’t talk to anyone about what they’ve read, either.

“We are unable to take any notes or consider what we just saw unless we have a photographic memory and, unfortunately, I do not,” Manchin said. “I’ve tried to remember and look at things I knew I was looking for, but still it’s almost impossible to walk out of there having the ability to sit down and evaluate what you just saw.”

“I taught the uniform commercial code and the bankruptcy code. I am not afraid of hollow, technical language. But you’ve got to be able to dig into it, you’ve got to be able to spend time and figure out the cross-references and the terms of art,” Warren said. “It’s difficult, thick stuff to read, and it’s set up to minimize your capacity to track all the pieces about what’s happening.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, found the process so frustrating that he quipped recently, “Sometimes I feel — and I only say this half-jokingly — like we have more access to the Iran negotiations.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a recent interview that even with his more extensive staff, the clearance process was nearly impossible.

“Right now if you’re a staff member of the [Finance] Committee you can look at it. But if you’re one of my people who works for my intelligence staff that has clearance to see what’s going on with nukes or weapons anyplace in the world, or what’s going on with the CIA, they can do that, but they can’t look at that real precious agreement that they’ve drawn up,” he said.

Hatch admitted somewhat uncomfortably on Thursday that it’s hard to know what’s in the deal. “Look, I don’t know fully what’s in TPP myself,” he said. “And I’m going to be one of the most interested people on Earth when that comes.”

But, he argued that the bill moving through the Senate to give Obama his fast-track authority had plenty of transparency, since it requires any trade deal such as TPP to be made public 60 days before signing it with foreign partners, and another 60 days before Congress votes.

Hatch conveniently overlooked that fact that even if lawmakers find specific problems in a deal, there would be little they could do to stop it because fast-track allows no amendments and no filibusters.

The solution of posting a partially redacted version of a deal for everyone to see — before the president gets fast-track powers — isn’t a new idea, or even a Democratic one, Manchin said. He pointed out that President George W. Bush released the text of the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement.

“He did this months before he was granted fast-track authority,” Manchin said. “He wasn’t afraid to let us see. He wasn’t afraid of the American public to know what was in that … it didn’t squelch the deal. It didn’t harm anything.”

Confronted with those details, Hatch seemed somewhat bemused, but didn’t contradict them or back down and agree to a vote on the senators’ bill.

“We supported the president’s position, if I recall it correctly,” Hatch said when asked if he remembered Bush’s transparency.

Manchin and Warren had hoped to pass their bill as an amendment to the fast-track legislation, but it was clear after the Senate advanced the measure Thursday that they wouldn’t get the chance. Instead, they tried to get consent from Hatch to vote on it separately.

Ultimately, Hatch suggested the fast-track bill might not be great, but they were stuck with it.

“I think we’ve made this as palatable as we possibly can, under the circumstances,” Hatch said.

UPDATE: 8:41 p.m. — A spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is negotiating TPP, released this statement:

The Administration has taken unprecedented steps to increase the transparency of our trade negotiations. That includes working with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to make the full text of negotiations and easy to understand summaries of each chapter available to all members of Congress in the Capitol for the first time ever.

TPP negotiations are still ongoing. Once TPP is completed the public will have months to review the text online before it is even signed by the President and then more time before a vote is ever taken.

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May 20, 2015

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Bernie Sanders Has a Plan: Tax Wall Street and Make College Free
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Reprinted from The Nation

From flickr.com/photos/79684288@N00/16603911673/: Senator Bernie Sanders

From flickr.com/photos/79684288@N00/16603911673/: Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders
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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders keeps bending the rules of Senate service and presidential campaigning by offering up proposals that imagine America as the fair, functional, and prosperous country it could be. Instead of playing politics within the narrow lines prescribed by the partisans and pundits who police the political process in America, the recently announced contender for the Democratic presidential nomination is going big — this week with a plan to provide tuition-free higher education for students at four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

“We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world,” says Sanders. “That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt.”

The contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is, of course, right.

But the United States isn’t supposed to be able to do the right thing anymore.

According to the Republicans who are running Congress — and running for president — there’s just no money for free higher education. Or for other useful initiatives. In an age of austerity, as defined by House Rules Committee chairman Paul Ryan and his minions, we are told that all Americans have to look forward to are more cuts, more privatization, wage stagnation, and staggering income inequality.

 

Ryan and his ideological amen corner moan that there’s just no money for programs that might educate and employ and care for Americans.

Of course, there is money: trillions of dollars that can be freed up, at the drop of a hat (or a stock market), to bail out banks and fund wars. But Republicans like Ryan and the contenders for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination claim the country is damn-near broke — with just enough money left for one more tax cuts for one more billionaire campaign donor. And, too frequently, America’s “fair and balanced” media and compromised and compromising Democratic Party go along with the fantasy.

What has distinguished Sanders’s Senate service and his presidential bid is a refusal to buy into the lie of austerity. Instead, the senator is identifying problems that need to be solved and identifying where the money to solve them can be found.

Consider the legislation Sanders is sponsoring to provide tuition-free higher education for college students. This is not a new idea. As the senator notes, “Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people. They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same.”

“We used to lead the world in the percentage of our people who graduated college. Today we are in 12th place,” argues Sanders. “We used to have great universities tuition free. Today they are unaffordable. I want a more educated work force. I want everybody to be able to get a higher education regardless of their income.”

 
The case for eliminating undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities — and for substantially lowering student debt and bringing down interest rates on college loans — is sound. And popular.

So we have an appealing proposal that makes economic and social sense.

Cue the chorus of “we can’t afford that.”

But Sanders says we can.

At the same time that the senator is proposing to make higher education free he is also proposing that the United States follow the lead of other countries that have introduced a financial transactions tax. Under the comprehensive plan proposed by the senator — which would also overhaul student loan programs to eliminate profiteering and expand work-study options to keep costs down — “the federal share of the cost would be offset by [revenues raised from the] tax on Wall Street transactions by investment houses, hedge funds and other speculators.”

Specifically, Sanders is sponsoring Senate legislation to introduce a nominal financial transactions tax on speculative trading in stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other financial instruments. Parallel to the Inclusive Prosperity Act, a measure sponsored by Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the Sanders proposal would bring the United States up to speed with the dozens of other nations that have recognized the wisdom of establishing financial transactions taxes.

European nations have focused on financial transactions taxes because, as the European Commission explains, “Member States and their citizens want to ensure that the financial sector makes a fair and substantial contribution to public finances. Moreover, the sector should pay back at least part of what the European tax payers have pre-financed in the context of the bank rescue operations.”

In addition to raising revenues, financial transactions taxes have been embraced as tools to reduce the risks of high-speed and irresponsible speculative trading, explains the commission.

National Nurses United Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro, whose union has been outspoken in its advocacy for a “Robin Hood Tax” on the speculators, says that the Sanders plan can raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year to pay for higher education.

The financial transactions tax “is the perfect way to fund this program, as well as providing the resources we need for other vital humanitarian needs, including healthcare and good paying jobs for all, affordable housing, eradicating poverty and environmental justice,” said DeMoro. “It is the hallmark of a civilized society and a more just nation.”

More than 170 labor, civil rights, religious, environmental, community, consumer, and student groups have endorsed America’s campaign for a Robin Hood Tax, joining groups in countries around the world that have embraced the movement.

 
There’s a reason for this widespread interest in financial transactions taxes: economic realism.

“Income inequality is now at the center of our national political discourse, with politicians of every stripe recognizing it as a major problem of our time,” explains George Goehl, the executive director of National People’s Action. “What too few are willing to say is that we must demand more revenue from corporations and the one percent to level the playing field.”

Sanders, Ellison, and a handful of other members of Congress are saying it: arguing that the United States can recognize human and societal needs, come up with plans to address them, and find the resources to get the job done.

That’s a rejection of economic austerity. But it is also something else: a rejection of the political austerity — as practiced by Republicans and Democrats — that has prevented progress for too long.

Copyright – 2014 thenation.com — distributed by Agence Global

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about politics (more…)

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Elizabeth Warren Report: Decades of Failure to Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements

May 19, 2015

Senator Elizabeth Warren puts herself firmly in the labor camp Wednesday at a Capitol Hill rally against the trade legislation. (photo: John Shinkle/Politico)
Senator Elizabeth Warren puts herself firmly in the labor camp Wednesday at a Capitol Hill rally against the trade legislation. (photo: John Shinkle/Politico)

By Elizabeth Warren, Reader Supported News

18 May 15

 

Decades of Failure to Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements

he Senate will soon vote on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 – also known as “Fast Track.” President Obama has requested Fast Track authority from Congress to ease the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement with 12 countries that account for nearly 40% of the global economy. President Obama has repeatedly stated that the TPP is “the most progressive trade bill in history” because it has high labor, environmental, and human rights standards. The President claims the TPP will have “higher labor standards, higher environmental standards,” and “new tools to hold countries accountable.”

But proponents of almost every free trade agreement (FTA) in the last 20 years have made virtually identical claims:

    • In 1993, President Clinton claimed that “the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] is the first agreement that ever really got any teeth in environmental standards, any teeth in what another country had to do with its own workers and its own labor standards… There’s never been anything like this before.”
    • In 2005, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman claimed, “[t]he [Central American Free Trade Agreement] has the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated by the United States.”
    • In 2007, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab claimed that the Peru, Colombia, and Panama trade agreements contained “unprecedented protections for labor rights and environmental standards.”
    • In 2010, President Obama said that the South Korea agreement included “groundbreaking protections for workers’ rights.”
    • In 2011, the White House insisted that the Colombia trade agreement “include[d] strong protections for workers’ rights, based on the May 10, 2007, bipartisan Congressional- Executive agreement to incorporate high labor standards into America’s trade agreements.” President Obama said in 2012 that “this agreement is a win for our workers and the environment because of the strong protections it has for both – commitments we are going to fulfill.”
    • A few months later, the White House made nearly identical claims about the Panama Free Trade Agreements.

However, the history of these agreements betrays a harsh truth: that the actual enforcement of labor provisions of past U.S. FTAs lags far behind the promises. This analysis by the staff of Sen. Warren reveals that despite decades of nearly identical promises, the United States repeatedly fails to enforce or adopts unenforceable labor standards in free trade agreements.

Again and again, proponents of free trade agreements claim that this time, a new trade agreement has strong and meaningful protections; again and again, those protections prove unable to stop the worst abuses. Lack of enforcement by both Democratic and Republican presidents and other flaws with the treaties have allowed countries with weaker laws and standards and widespread labor and environment abuses to undermine treaty provisions, leaving U.S. workers and other interested parties with no recourse. This analysis finds:

    • The United States does not enforce the labor protections in its trade agreements. A series of reports by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as reports by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of State, document significant and persistent problems with labor abuses in countries with which we have FTAs. While GAO acknowledged progress by partners in implementing commitments and by agencies in tracking progress and engaging on problems, their analysis concluded that the USTR and DOL “do not systemically monitor and enforce compliance with FTA labor provisions,” and that the U.S. agencies generally have not been “identifying compliance problems, developing and implementing responses, and taking enforcement actions.”
    • The U.S. pursues very few enforcement actions. Prior to 2008, the Department of Labor had not accepted a single formal complaint about labor abuses in free trade agreements. Since then, the Obama administration has conducted in-depth investigations into complaints and issued fact-finding reports and recommendations. However, DOL has accepted only five claims against countries for violating their labor commitments, and it only agreed to restart the first ever labor enforcement case under any free trade agreement in 2014, six years after the initial claim was filed. This reveals both the cumbersome nature of complaint process and the overall enforcement problems with these agreements.
    • Widespread labor-related human rights violations. The United States has 14 free trade agreements with 20 countries. While some of these countries have made progress in improving labor conditions, problems with labor rights and other abuses are widespread. U.S. agencies or other investigators have identified significant problems with use of child labor or other labor-related human rights abuses in 11 of the 20 countries.
  • Failure to curb even the worst abuses . Case studies of several countries that have signed U.S. free trade agreements reveal continuing horrific labor abuses. Guatemala was named “the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists” five years after entering a trade agreement with the U.S. In Colombia, despite the existence of a special “Labor Action Plan” put in place to address long-standing problems and secure passage of the Colombia FTA, 105 union activists have been murdered and 1,337 death threats have been issued since the Labor Action Plan was finalized four years ago.

View the full text Here.

 

Gensov’t Experts: Hordes of jellyfish 10 blocks long off west coast of Seattle

May 15, 2015

ENENews


Gensov’t Experts: Hordes of jellyfish 10 blocks long off west coast of Seattle; So de it’s like you can just walk on them… Disturbing when all you pull up are huge masses of jellyfish — NPR: They seem to be replacing fish in food chain — Herring disappear, mysterious spike in salmon deaths (PHOTOS)

Posted: 14 May 2015 12:13 PM PDT

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The right gets Jesus all wrong: 9 reasons why everything you know about Jesus is a myth

May 14, 2015

THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015 05:00 AM CDT

His name. Marital status. Where he was born, how he died. The history of Jesus is loaded with falsities and myths
VALERIE TARICO
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The right gets Jesus all wrong: 9 reasons why everything you know about Jesus is a myth
(Credit: Jaroslav74 via Shutterstock)
AlterNet Jesus has been described as the best known figure in history, and also the least known. If you mentioned the name “Jesus” and someone asked Jesus who, you might blink. Or laugh. Even people who don’t think Jesus was God mostly believe they know a fair bit about him. You might be surprised that some of your most basic assumptions about Jesus are probably wrong.

We have no record of anything that was written about Jesus by eyewitnesses or other contemporaries during the time he would have lived, or for decades thereafter. Nonetheless, based on archeological digs and artifacts, ancient texts and art, and even forensic science, we know a good deal about the time and culture in which the New Testament is set. This evidence points to some startling conclusions about who Jesus likely was—and wasn’t.

1. Married, not single. When an ancient papyrus scrap was found in 2014 referring to the wife of Jesus, some Catholics and Evangelicals were scandalized. But unlike the Catholic Church, Jews have no tradition of celibacy among religious leaders. Jesus and his disciples would have been practicing Jews, and all great rabbis we know of were married. A rabbi being celibate would have been so unusual that some modern writers have argued Jesus must have been gay. But a number of ancient texts, including the canonical New Testament, point to a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. The Gospel of Phillip says, “[Jesus] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth.”
2. Cropped hair, not long. Jewish men at the time of Christ did not wear their hair long. A Roman triumphal arch of the time period depicts Jewish slaves with short hair. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses male hair length. “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14 NRSV). During the 1960s, conservative Christians quoted this verse to express their disgust against the hippy movement and to label it anti-Christian.

3. Hung on a pole, not necessarily a cross. For centuries scholars have known that the Greek New Testament word “stauros,” which is translated into English as cross, can refer to a device of several shapes, commonly a single upright pole, “torture stake” or even tree. The Romans did not have a standard way of crucifying prisoners, and Josephus tells us that during the siege of Jerusalem, soldiers nailed or tied their victims in a variety of positions. Early Christians may have centered on the vertical pole with a crossbeam because it echoed the Egyptian ankh, a symbol of life, or the Sumerian symbol for Tammuz, or because it simply was more artistically and symbolically distinctive than the alternatives. Imagine millions of people wearing a golden pole on a chain around their necks.

4. Short, not tall. The typical Jewish man at the time of the Roman Empire would have been just over five feet tall, which makes this a best guess for the height of Jesus. That he is typically depicted taller derives from the mental challenge people have distinguishing physical stature from other kinds of stature. Great men are called “big men” and “larger than life.” In ancient times they often were assigned divine parentage and miraculous births, and the idea that Jesus was uniquely divine has created a strong pull over time to depict him as taller than is likely. A good illustration of this is the Shroud of Turin, which is just one of many such Jesus-shrouds that circulated during medieval times and which bears the image of a man closer to six feet in height.

5. Born in a house, not a stable. The miraculous birth story of Jesus is a late, maybe second-century addition to the Bible, and it contains many fascinatingmythic elements and peculiarities. But the idea that Jesus was born in a stable was added to the Christmas story even later. In the original narrative, Joseph and Mary probably would have stayed with relatives, and the phrase “no room for them in the inn (gr: kataluma)” is better translated “no room for them in the upper room.” Later storytellers did not understand that people of the time might bring animals into their ground floor, as in Swiss housebarns, and they assumed that the presence of a manger implied a stable.

6. Named Joshua, not Jesus. The name Joshua (in Hebrew Y’hoshuʿa meaning “deliverance” or “salvation”), was common among Jews in the Ancient Near East as it is today. Joshua and Jesus are the same name, and are translated differently in our modern Bible to distinguish Jesus from the Joshua of the Old Testament, who leads the Hebrew people to the Promised Land. In actuality, the relationship between the two figures is fascinating and important. Some scholars believe that the New Testament gospels are mostly historicized and updated retellings of the more ancient Joshua story, with episodes interwoven from stories of Elisha and Elijah and Moses. A modern parallel can be found in the way Hollywood writers have reworked Shakespearean tropes and plot elements into dozens of modern movies (though for a very different purpose).

7. Number of apostles (12) from astrology, not history. Whether Jesus had 12 disciples who ranked above his other devotees is an open question, as their names vary from list to list. Since the Gospels echo the story of Joshua, the “12” apostles most immediately mirror the 12 tribes of Israel. But the number 12 was considered auspicious by many ancient people, including the Israelites, and the 189 repetitions of the number 12 in the Bibleultimately may derive from the same pre-historical roots as the 12 signs of the zodiac and 12 months of the year. Astrotheology or star worship preceded the Hebrew religion, and shaped both the Bible and world religions more broadly. One might point to the 12 Olympian gods or 12 sons of Odin, or 12 days of Christmas or 12 “legitimate” successors to the prophet Mohammed.

8. Prophecies recalled, not foretold. Even people who aren’t too sure about the divinity of Jesus sometimes think that the way he fulfilled prophecies was a bit spooky, like the writings of Nostradamus. In reality, Scooby Doo could solve this one in a single episode with three pieces of information: First, Old Testament prophecies were well known to first-century Jews, and a messianic figure who wanted to fulfill some of these prophecies could simply do so. For example, in the book of Matthew, Jesus seeks a donkey to ride into Jerusalem “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet” (Matthew 21:4). Second, “gospels” are a genre of devotional literature rather than objective histories, which means that the authors had every reason to shape their stories around earlier predictions. Third, scholars now believe that some Bible texts once thought to be prophecies (for example in the Book of Revelation) actually relate to events that were current or past at the time of writing.

9. Some Jesus quotes not from Jesus; others uncertain. Lists of favorite Jesus sayings abound online. Some of the most popular are the Beatitudes (blessed are the meek, etc.) or the story of the woman caught in adultery (let he who is without sin cast the first stone) or the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which, we are told, sums up the Law and the Prophets).

Which words are actually from Jesus? This question has been debated fiercely by everyone from third-century Catholic Councils to the 20th-century Jesus Seminar. Even Thomas Jefferson weighed in, but much remains unclear. The New Testament Gospels were written long after Jesus would have died, and no technology existed with which to record his teachings in real time, unless he wrote them down himself, which he didn’t.

We can be confident that at least some of the wise and timeless words and catchy proverbs attributed to Jesus are actually from earlier or later thinkers. For example, the Golden Rule was articulated before the time of Christ by the Rabbi Hillel the Elder, who similarly said it was the “whole Torah.” By contrast, the much-loved story of the woman caught in adultery doesn’t appear in manuscripts until the fourth century. Attributing words (or whole texts) to a famous person was common in the Ancient Near East, because it gave those words extra weight. Small wonder then that so many genuinely valuable insights ended up, in one way or another, paired with the name of Jesus.

The person of Jesus, if indeed there was such a person, is shrouded in the fog of history leaving us only with a set of hunches and traditions that far too often are treated as knowledge. The “facts” I have listed here are largely trivial; it doesn’t really matter whether Jesus was tall or short, or how he cut his hair. But it does matter, tremendously, that “facts” people claim to know about how Jesus saw himself, and God and humanity are equally tenuous.

The teachings attributed to Jesus mix enduring spiritual and moral insights with irrelevancies and Judaica and bits of Iron Age culture, some of which are truly awful. That leaves each of us, from the privileged vantage of the 21st century, with both a right and a responsibility to consider the evidence and make our own best guesses about what is real and how we should then live. A good starting place might be a little more recognition that we don’t know nearly as much as we’d like to think, and a lot of what we know for sure is probably wrong.

For Salon’s 20th anniversary, we’re republishing some of the most popular stories from our archives.

Seeds Planted for Bernie Sanders-Led Grassroots Revolution

May 13, 2015

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty Images)

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

12 May 15

 

ithin 24 hours of making his presidential bid official, Senator Bernie Sanders raised $1.5 million dollars from 35,000 donors. To put this in perspective, he raised more money than Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and maybe Hillary Clinton. Clinton did not release her first day totals. “Bernie,” as his supporters call him, out-raised every campaign that reported their first day totals. The average contribution to his campaign was $43.54.

On CBS’s Face the Nation, Sanders noted that, since he announced his candidacy at the end of April, 200 thousand people have pledged to volunteer and he has received nearly 90,000 donations. “I don’t think we’re going to outspend Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush or anybody else, but I think we are going to raise the kinds of money we need to run a strong and winning campaign,” said Sanders.

While touring the country on his “listening tour,” Sanders repeatedly said that he would not run if he didn’t think enough support was there for him to run an effective campaign.

Whenever he talks about his agenda, he says no president could achieve it without millions of people backing him in a grassroots revolution. It’s early in the campaign, but so far signs are the revolution he called for is starting to take shape.

Last Wednesday over 250 activists from around the country came together on a conference call to kick off a new grassroots organization called “People for Bernie Sanders.” People on the call were not your typical Democratic Party activists. They were veteran organizers who don’t generally get involved in electoral politics. Many came from the Occupy movement and would probably be organizing protests in candidates’ offices if a candidate hadn’t emerged that they could believe in. I’m not saying these folks have ruled out a protest or two, but for now they are jumping into the electoral arena. One thing that separates them from other candidates’ supporters is they are organizing outside of the official campaign. There won’t be a top down agenda that they all have to adhere to.  Local groups are encouraged to “be the campaign.”

Charles Lenchner, one of the conveners of “People for Bernie Sanders” explained it this way: “We want supporters of Bernie Sanders to build a broad movement to elect him and ‘just do it’; this is not the same as waiting for some entity (or email list) to give you specific instructions. Right now, at this moment, there simply is no Bernie campaign where most voters reside; the best antidote is for everyone to collectively bootstrap what they can. This is our advantage to counter the money power of the corporate candidates.” Lenchner said they are in communication with the campaign and want to coordinate their activities.

Shana East, the regional director for People for Bernie summed it up this way: “A grassroots movement is a homegrown movement. It’s from the bottom up, not top down. So, we don’t wait for someone in Washington D.C. to allow us to do something. We decide on a local level what needs to be done and then we do it. We call this a Do-ocracy!”

East, who said the core group involved in People for Bernie has been so busy that many have not slept in a week, helped organize 2 meetups already in Chicago. The first one drew 75 people with only one day’s notice. She described the events as very passionate, with people getting involved in the discussion and preparing to work. Activists around the country are organizing meetups in their communities.

One common theme at the meetups has been expressed in statements like Jake Kaufman’s in Chicago, who said, “This is my first campaign. because Bernie’s the first candidate I’ve ever been inspired by.”

People for Bernie is not the only grassroots effort working outside the official campaign. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) launched “Run Bernie Run” as far back as August, even before MoveOn launched “Run Warren Run.” Vermont Today reported in August: “If Bernie does run, we can definitely get resources to help him move forward in states like Iowa and New Hampshire,” said Conor Boylan, co-director of the Progressive Democrats of America. “We are going to continue to keep an eye on him because our base loves him; he is creating a lot of buzz.”

On

Facebook

there are multiple pages in many states with thousands of followers. One group, Bernie Sanders for President 2016, is doing their best to maintain a list of all the Facebook pages and even has formed a private group of administrators from the various pages to coordinate efforts.

With the Sanders campaign just getting started, the early response has to be encouraging. While the pundits continue to describe the race for the Democratic Party nomination as a “coronation” for Hillary Clinton, Sanders supporters are not going to concede. They know they have an uphill fight, but are a committed bunch. They come from movements that understand struggle. Bernie himself acknowledges that change does not come without a fight. He does however see a path to victory: “There is, in my view, massive dissatisfaction in this country today with corporate establishment and the greed of corporate America and the incredibly unequal distribution of wealth and income which currently exists.” Sanders also said his record on this issue over the past 25 years shows that he has led the way in standing up for working families and taking on “the billionaire class,” Wall Street, private insurance companies, and drug companies.

Sanders always concludes his stump speech by reminding people that progressives have been winning on many fronts. He gives examples ranging from an African American being elected president to the acceptance of gay marriage. He says that 30 years ago nobody would have believed these things possible.

Convincing people he can win is the biggest obstacle Bernie and his supporters have. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was the presumptive nominee. She wasn’t polling as strongly as this time, but with seasoned candidates like John Edwards and Joe Biden in the race, voters had options they were familiar with. Before Barack Obama won Iowa, the polls showed Hillary Clinton as the top choice of African Americans. They didn’t believe America was ready for a black man to win. After Iowa, they became believers. So it is possible to overcome the “I love Bernie but he just can’t win” mindset.

If the American people vote for the candidate who best represents their interests, they will vote for Bernie Sanders.


Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador’s slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush’s first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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ISD条項は外国投資家だけの訴訟権、民主主義の基盤を揺るがす制度。

May 10, 2015

孫崎享のつぶやき 2015-05-10
TPP貿易協定でない。
ISD条項は外国投資家だけの訴訟権、民主主義の基盤を揺るがす制度。

A:事実関係
4月30日ワシントン・ポスト紙論評「Battle rages over key Obama trade policy」
の主要点。

・多くのリベラルにとって、TPPの問題は職を失う恐れだけではなくて、TPPはも
はや貿易協定ではないということだ。その一番の罪は知的所有権と紛争処理である。

・特に左派の多くはISD条項(投資家国家紛争処理メカニズムで、ここでは、企業が
政府を訴え、企業が国家を訴えることが出来る。

・ハーバード大学でオバマを教えたLaurence Tribe,を含む法律専門家のグループはI
SD条項を米国の法的伝統に反するとしてISD条項に論点を集中させている。

これら法的指導者は議会指導者に対する書簡の中で、これら法的専門家は「民主的法律
基準を侵す“として法的問題点を指摘している。 Alliance for Justice が書簡を用意
した。

オバマとウォーレンの論争があり、ここでオバマ政権は米国は一度も裁判に敗れていな
いと指摘している。

・イエールのJudith Resnik,カリフォルニア大学Cruz Reynoso, 前連邦判事Lee Saroki
n,経済学者 Joseph Stiglitz参加の書簡では次を論じている。

我々の法的制度では富、権力などに関係なく、全ての個人は裁判に訴えることが出来る
との確信を前提としている。

法の支配を守るため、公平さと正義の理想は全ても場合、全ての人に平等に適用されな
ければならない。ISD条項は逆の前提にたっている。ISD条項は特定の投資家だけ
に適用される法的システムを用意し、彼らは米国の法的システムを離れる権限を与える
投資家だけが訴えることが出来る。

この選択は国家、国内投資家、市民グループなどには与えられていない。開国投資家だ
けが国内法的措置を逃れ、他の者に与えられない法的権利を享受する。

ISD条項は民主主義的規約を阻害する危険を持つ。法の公平な適用は我々法制度の致
命的重要な特徴である。下級裁判所の判決は上級審で再検討しうる。

ISDは別の法体系を持つ。ISDの仲裁裁判はさらなる裁判に訴えることが出来ない

ISDでの仲裁裁判官は公僕ではなく、私的な仲裁者である多くの場合、秀才裁判官と
弁護人とは、いったりきたりする、

なお、ハフィントン・ポストはヒラリー・クリントンの本、Hard Choices、困難な選択
を入手したが、そこにはISD条項に対する批判がある。

B:評価

TPP交渉が大詰めに来ている中で、米国法律関係者はISD条項に関心を集めてきて
いる。
ISD条項は国内の法律や裁判や行政を裁き、損害賠償を要求する。

憲法に違反する行為である。
日本の司法関係者、憲法学者などがこれに焦点を当てないのは職務の怠慢と言える。

MLホームページ: http://www.freeml.com/uniting-peace


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