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giovonni
23 posters

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future …

    giovonni
    giovonni

    Posts : 3066
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    Post  giovonni Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:47 pm

    this should come as no surprise to those here...

    __________________________________

    Peter Russell an SR reader, and a good friend, addresses here the fundamental question of consciousness, about which much of science is so curiously silent.
    This failure to honestly consider a post materialist view is part of the willful ignorance trend and, as with creationism, a denier movement actively works to undermine and occlude the facts.

    ***********

    Does Our Brain Really Create Consciousness?
    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 S-BRAIN-CONSCIOUSNESS-small

    From Peter Russell

    Posted: 06/ 9/11

    Western science has had remarkable success in explaining the functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind, it has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world. In a strange way, scientists would be much happier if minds did not exist. Yet without minds there would be no science.
    This ever-present paradox may be pushing Western science into what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift--a fundamental change in worldview.

    This process begins when the prevalent paradigm encounters an anomaly -- an observation that the current worldview can't explain. As far as the today's scientific paradigm is concerned, consciousness is certainly one big anomaly. It is the most obvious fact of life: the fact that we are aware and experience an internal world of images, sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Yet there is nothing more difficult to explain. It is easier to explain how the universe evolved from the Big Bang to human beings than it is to explain why any of us should ever have a single inner experience. How does all that electro-chemical activity in the physical matter of the brain ever give rise to conscious experience? Why doesn't it all just go on in the dark?

    The initial response to an anomaly is often simply to ignore it. This is indeed how the scientific world has responded to the anomaly of consciousness. And for seemingly sound reasons.
    First, consciousness cannot be observed in the way that material objects can. It cannot be weighed, measured, or otherwise pinned down. Second, science has sought to arrive at universal objective truths that are independent of any particular observer's viewpoint or state of mind. To this end they have deliberately avoided subjective considerations. And third, there seemed no need to consider it; the functioning of the universe could be explained without having to explore the troublesome subject of consciousness.

    However, developments in several fields are now showing that consciousness cannot be so easily sidelined. Quantum physics suggests that, at the atomic level, the act of observation affects the reality that is observed. In medicine, a person's state of mind can have significant effects on the body's ability to heal itself. And as neurophysiologists deepen their understanding of brain function questions about the nature of consciousness naturally raise their head.

    When the anomaly can no longer be ignored, the common reaction is to attempt to explain it within the current paradigm. Some believe that a deeper understanding of brain chemistry will provide the answers; perhaps consciousness resides in the action of neuropeptides. Others look to quantum physics; the minute microtubules found inside nerve cells could create quantum effects that might somehow contribute to consciousness. Some explore computing theory and believe that consciousness emerges from the complexity of the brain's processing. Others find sources of hope in chaos theory.

    Yet whatever ideas are put forward, one thorny question remains: How can something as immaterial as consciousness ever arise from something as unconscious as matter?
    If the anomaly persists, despite all attempts to explain it, then maybe the fundamental assumptions of the prevailing worldview need to be questioned. This is what Copernicus did when confronted with the perplexing motion of the planets. He challenged the geocentric worldview, showing that if the sun, not the earth, was at the center, then the movements of the planets began to make sense. But people don't easily let go of cherished assumptions. Even when, 70 years later, the discoveries of Galileo and Kepler confirmed Copernicus's proposal, the establishment was loath to accept the new model. Only when Newton formulated his laws of motion, providing a mathematical explanation of the planets' paths, did the new paradigm start gaining wider acceptance.

    The continued failure of our attempts to account for consciousness suggests that we too should question our basic assumptions. The current scientific worldview holds that the material world--the world of space, time and matter -- is the primary reality. It is therefore assumed that the internal world of mind must somehow emerge from the world of matter. But if this assumption is getting us nowhere, perhaps we should consider alternatives.

    One alternative that is gaining increasing attention is the view that the capacity for experience is not itself a product of the brain. This is not to say that the brain is not responsible for what we experience -- there is ample evidence for a strong correlation between what goes on in the brain and what goes on in the mind -- only that the brain is not responsible for experience itself. Instead, the capacity for consciousness is an inherent quality of life itself.

    In this model, consciousness is like the light in a film projector. The film needs the light in order for an image to appear, but it does not create the light. In a similar way, the brain creates the images, thoughts, feelings and other experiences of which we are aware, but awareness itself is already present.

    All that we have discovered about the correlations between the brain and experience still holds true. This is usually the case with a paradigm shift; the new includes the old. But it also resolves the anomaly that the old could not explain. In this case, we no longer need scratch our heads wondering how the brain generates the capacity for experience.

    This proposal is so contrary to the current paradigm, that die-hard materialists easily ridicule and dismiss it. But we should not forget the bishops of Galileo's time who refused to look through his telescope because they knew his discovery was impossible.

    Source;
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-russell/brain-consciousness_b_873595.html
    devakas
    devakas

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    Post  devakas Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:51 pm

    this should come as no surprise to those here...

    __________________________________

    Peter Russell an SR reader, and a good friend, addresses here the fundamental question of consciousness, about which much of science is so curiously silent.
    This failure to honestly consider a post materialist view is part of the willful ignorance trend and, as with creationism, a denier movement actively works to undermine and occlude the facts.

    ***********

    Does Our Brain Really Create Consciousness?

    Thanks for posting this giovonni!
    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:36 pm

    How would you feel sending your toddler off to kindergarten with a dosimeter pinned to their little chest? What do you do if they come home one day with a massive overdose registered? Not much, I'm afraid, just wait to see if cancer develops.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest we are now being told that we are probably breathing in 10 "hot" particles a day. These lodge in lungs, muscle tissue, and bones. How many cancers this will create no one seems to know.

    **********

    Japan city to give radiation counters to children
    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Japanchildrenplaying-afp

    By Agence France-Presse
    Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

    TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's Fukushima city said on Tuesday it would hand radiation dosimeters to 34,000 children to gauge their exposure from the crippled nuclear power plant about 60 kilometres (40 miles) away.

    The city will hand the measuring devices to all children aged between four and 15 for three months from September so that they can wear them around the clock, an official at the city's education board told AFP.

    The city is outside the government's 20-kilometre (12-mile) evacuation and no-go zone around the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but many residents are concerned about radiation, he said.

    "There have been fixed-spot radiation measurements but parents and citizens are concerned about individual exposure," said the official.

    "We also believe the distribution of dosimeters will help ease parents' worries if they confirm their children's exposure does not pose health risks."

    He added that radiation in the city had been below the official threshold for health risks, and said the children's dosimeters would be read out once a month to assess cumulative radiation exposure.

    Japan has struggled to bring the plant under control since it was hit by a tsunami that knocked out its cooling systems, leading to three reactor meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks into the air, soil and sea.
    ADGRPID:108050|SERVTYPE:1

    Since the March 11 disaster, Japan has raised the legal exposure limit for people, including children, from one to 20 millisieverts per year -- matching the safety standard for nuclear industry workers in many countries.

    Environmental activist group Greenpeace called on Japan last Thursday to evacuate children and pregnant women from Fukushima town.

    It said people were being exposed to 10 to 20 millisieverts per year through the air, not counting contaminants inhaled or ingested, a level Greenpeace considers unacceptable, especially for high-risk groups.

    Radiation experts agree that children are at greatest risk from cancers and genetic defects because they are still growing, are more prone to thyroid cancers, and because they will have more time to develop health defects.

    The city of Date just outside the no-go zone also plans to distribute dosimeters to all its 8,000 pre-school, elementary and junior high pupils.

    Embattled plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said this week that elevated levels of radioactive strontium had been detected in the sea and groundwater at the plant, aside from iodine and caesium isotopes.

    TEPCO also said that six more nuclear emergency workers had received more than the permitted annual radiation dose, a limit that was raised from 100 to 250 millisieverts amid the current crisis.

    Previously two male workers exceeded the limit, and two women workers topped the lower limit for females of five millisieverts in a three-month period.

    Health and labour minister Ritsuo Hosokawa said Tuesday he had ordered TEPCO to relieve workers of their duties if their preliminary radiation doses for internal exposure exceed 100 millisieverts, Kyodo News reported.

    Hosokawa also criticised the company's "extremely deplorable" delay in testing the thousands of workers and subcontractors at Fukushima Daiichi.

    The crews have for three months hosed water into the facility to cool the reactor fuel, creating more than 100,000 tonnes of highly radioactive runoff that has prevented them from carrying out crucial repairs.

    TEPCO has installed a water treatment system, using French and US technology, and plans to launch it Friday to process about 1,200 tonnes of water per day, with the aim of recycling it for reactor cooling.

    Amid the crisis, Japanese public support for gradually reducing the use of nuclear energy to zero in the future came to 74 percent, the Asahi Shimbun daily said after a nationwide weekend telephone poll.

    The poll also showed 64 percent of respondents believed renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power would replace nuclear power in the future.

    The survey covered 3,394 voters of whom 58 percent gave valid responses.

    Source;
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/14/japan-city-to-give-radiation-counters-to-children/
    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:05 pm

    Thought this (video) would fit in nicely here...

    if this is a (true) indicator and representation of all the nuclear testing...
    i'd say transmuting nuclear fallout has been the norm for modern mankind during the last 50 years
    (note This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade)....this is totally insane behavior !!!

    Gio

    ***********



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLCF7vPanrY&feature=player_embedded
    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:21 pm

    Finally !!!

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Corn-ethanol

    Here is some wonderful news. The corn lobby has been overcome and this will go a long way towards relieving the corn for energy, corn for food juxtaposition that has caused so much stress on the world's food supply. It will also reduce the massive pollution arising from the use of fertilizers in the cultivation of corn for energy that has been washing into the nation's waterways. Most who have looked at this issue believe that it was this runoff that was the cause of the algae blooms in the Gulf that were so damaging to that already heavily degraded eco-system.


    ***********

    Corn Ethanol: Senate Votes to End Credits, Tariffs


    Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
    San Francisco Chronicle June 17, 2011
    Friday, June 17, 2011


    Washington -- The Senate cracked Republican orthodoxy on taxes and undermined the once-impregnable political support for corn subsidies in an overwhelming vote Thursday to kill tax credits and tariffs for corn ethanol for the first time in more than three decades.

    A combination of record corn prices, which are damaging poultry, dairy, cattle and hog farmers, and rising alarm over the chronic $1.5 trillion deficit forced lawmakers to take a second look at how the nation spends its money.

    California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican, joined forces on an amendment to eliminate a 43-cent-a-gallon tax credit for corn ethanol that is paid to oil refiners and a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that blocks more energy-efficient sugar ethanol, mainly from Brazil.

    Gas mandate remains

    An additional federal mandate that refiners add a 10 percent blend of ethanol to gasoline would remain. The amendment passed 73-27.

    "If we're going to carry out the mandate of a prudent government, we've got to start making changes," Feinstein said, predicting more cuts ahead. The ethanol subsidy has cost $22.6 billion since 2005.

    Ethanol tax credits are a classic "tax expenditure," a tax break that is equivalent to a cash payment because it awards a direct financial benefit to a specific group.

    "We have to do what's in the best interest of the county, not what's in the best interest of special interests," Coburn said.

    The fight opened a rift in conservative circles. Coburn won support from Tea Party activists, the Club for Growth political action committee, Taxpayers for Common Sense and others.

    But on the eve of the vote, the influential Heritage Foundation weighed in against Coburn, arguing that Republicans are walking into a trap by not insisting that eliminating ethanol tax credits be accompanied by broader tax reform that reduces tax rates.

    Most Republicans, 33 in all, voted to kill the tax credits, including veteran conservatives John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, along with Tea Party-backed newcomers Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida. Most Democrats joined them. The 27 tax-credit supporters came from both parties, all hailing from the Midwest Corn Belt.

    'Can stand on its own'

    Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said ethanol "can stand on its own two feet" without tax credits and tariffs if the federal government provides loan guarantees to build ethanol pipelines and fuel tanks and mandates that all automakers build cars that are able to run on high ethanol blends."

    Democrats jumped on what they described as a major GOP concession on taxes. Third-ranking Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the vote a "a watershed moment" in deficit reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

    "It means tax expenditures are now fair game," Schumer said.

    Food activists and environmentalists also hailed the vote as a blow to corn subsidies and industrial agriculture. They say ethanol subsidies raise food prices and entrench corn production, which they blame for polluting the Gulf of Mexico.

    Sheila Karpf, a legislative and policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group, predicted the House will follow the Senate in killing the tax credit and tariff after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., weighed in against the subsidies Monday.

    Source;
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/16/MN5N1JUT5Q.DTL
    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:14 pm

    Could this be the next Fukushima...?

    ______________________________

    There is something funny going on. The mainstream media, controlled as it is by corporate interests, is not covering this story properly. However, it is clear that this is a situation teetering on the edge of a Fukushima style crisis. The next week may tell us which way it is going to go. Click through to listen to Arnie Gundersen's take on this. He is the most authoritative and reliable source of information readily available.


    ***********

    Airspace Over Flooded Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Still Closed

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Fort-calhoun-power-plant

    Ricky Kreitner | Jun. 15, 2011

    A fire in Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant briefly knocked out the cooling process for spent nuclear fuel rods, ProPublica reports.

    The fire occurred on June 7th, and knocked out cooling for approximately 90 minutes. After 88 hours, the cooling pool would boil dry and highly radioactive materials would be exposed.

    On June 6th, the Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) issued a directive banning aircraft from entering the airspace within a two-mile radius of the plant.

    "No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM," referring to the "notice to airmen," effective immediately.

    Since last week, the plant has been under a "notification of unusual event" classification, becausing of the rising Missouri River. That is the lowest level of emergency alert.

    The OPPD claims the FAA closed airspace over the plant because of the Missouri River flooding. But the FAA ban specifically lists the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant as the location for the flight ban.

    The plant is adjacent to the now-flooding river, about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, and has been closed since April for refueling.

    WOWT, the local NBC affiliate, reports on its website:

    "The Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Facility is an island right now but it is one that authorities say is going to stay dry. They say they have a number of redundant features to protect the facility from flood waters that include the aqua dam, earthen berms and sandbags."

    OPPD spokesman Jeff Hanson told Business Insider that the nuclear plant is in a "stable situation." He said the Missouri River is currently at 1005.6" above sea level, and that no radioactive fuel had yet been released or was expected to be released in the future.

    Asked about the FAA flight ban, Hanson it was due to high power lines and "security reasons that we can't reveal." He said the flight ban remains in effect.

    Here's a video from last week. The first forty seconds are video that Omaha's Action 3 News shot of the besieged plant, despite OPPD's requests that it not do so. The rest of the video is from a radio show in New York reporting on the unfolding events in Nebraska.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSvvmrB7qEg


    We'll keep you apprised of the situation as more details come to light.


    Source;
    http://www.businessinsider.com/faa-closes-airspace-over-flooded-nebraska-nuclear-power-plant-2011-6
    Arrowwind
    Arrowwind

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    Post  Arrowwind Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:30 pm

    Two very significant medical discoveries that are still moving to the forefront of people's awareness. These two products can change your life and keep you out of the control of the pharmaceutical industry and their death drugs. MMS and Vitamin C are not compatible and should not be used togeter as Vit. C inactivates MMS

    Liposomal Vitamin C.. watch the short video on this site.
    www.livonlabs.com ..... seems they renmoved the video from the conference but to go http://www.livonlabs.com/cgi-bin/start.cgi/lypo-spheric/liposomal-encapsulation.html and you can read all about lipsomal C

    and the ability to make lipsomal Vitamin C in your own kitchen giving you the ability to have the power of Intravenous vitamin C in your home without the cost or need of a physician.
    http://www.pdazzler.com/archives/62 or

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

    And then there is MMS

    www.jimhumble.biz

    for MMS testimonials visit www.HealthSalon.org
    and for mms support go to www.natmedtalk.com


    Last edited by Arrowwind on Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total
    giovonni
    giovonni

    Posts : 3066
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    Post  giovonni Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:05 pm

    Arrowwind wrote:Two very significant medical discoveries that are still moving to the forefront of people's awareness. These two products can change your life and keep you out of the control of the pharmaceutical industry and their death drugs. MMS and Vitamin C are not compatible and should not be used togeter as Vit. C inactivates MMS

    Liposomal Vitamin C.. watch the short video on this site.
    www.livonlabs.com

    and the ability to make lipsomal Vitamin C in your own kitchen giving you the ability to have the power of Intravenous vitamin C in your home without the cost or need of a physician.
    http://www.pdazzler.com/archives/62 or

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

    And then there is MMS

    www.jimhumble.biz

    for MMS testimonials visit www.HealthSalon.org
    and for mms support go to www.natmedtalk.com

    Thanks for posting this informational heads-up <Arrow> !

    i will definitely look into this... i was totally unaware of it Blink

    giovonni
    giovonni

    Posts : 3066
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    Post  giovonni Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:34 pm

    If you have friends in the West, as I do, you have probably been hearing for some time about the drought and, now, the fires. I believe there is going to be a migration out of the Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico because of heat, fires, and a lack of water. Years ago I did a remote viewing project in the Egyptian desert -- go to my personal website and download the Marea paper you will find there -- and learned a powerful lesson about heat. At 114° the Bedouin lay down their tools. People who have lived in the desert for millennia go inside.

    And that's just part of it. By the time water and electric bills get to $1,000 a month each I think you will be seeing a significant number of people moving out of those states.

    There is a kind of weird reality going on. Human mediated climate change is occurring and there is a collective expression of denial that it is not happening.

    ***********

    How the West Was Lost

    The American West in flames.
    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Wildfire425x320

    — By Chip Ward
    Thu Jun. 16, 2011

    Arizona is burning. Texas, too. New Mexico is next. If you need a grim reminder that an already arid West is burning up and blowing away, here it is. As I write this, more than 700 square miles of Arizona and more than 4,300 square miles of Texas have been swept by monster wildfires. Consider those massive columns of acrid smoke drifting eastward as a kind of smoke signal warning us that a globally warming world is not a matter of some future worst-case scenario. It's happening right here, right now.

    Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant on what is being called the Wallow fire in Arizona and firefighting crews have been mobilized from across the West, but the fire remained "zero contained" for most of last week and only 18% so early in the new week, too big to touch with mere human tools like hoses, shovels, saws, and bulldozers. Walls of flame 100 feet high rolled over the land like a tsunami from Hades. The heat from such a fire is so intense and immense that it can create small tornadoes of red embers that cannot be knocked down and smothered by water or chemicals. These are not your grandfather's forest fires.

    Because the burn area in eastern Arizona is sparsely populated, damage to property so far has been minimal compared to, say, wildfire destruction in California, where the interface of civilization and wilderness is growing ever more crowded. However, the devastation to life in the fire zone, from microbiotic communities that hold soil and crucial nutrients in place to more popular species like deer, elk, bear, fish, and birds—already hard-pressed to cope with the rapidity of climate change—will be catastrophic.

    The vastness of the American West holds rainforests, deserts, and everything in between, so weather patterns and moisture vary. Nonetheless, we have been experiencing a historic drought for about a decade in significant parts of the region. As topsoil dries out, microbial dynamics change and native plants either die or move uphill toward cooler temperatures and more moisture. Wildlife that depends on the seeds, nuts, leaves, shade, and shelter follows the plants—if it can.

    Plants and animals are usually able to adapt to slow and steady changes in their habitat, but rapid and uncertain seasonal transformations in weather patterns mean that the timing for such basic ecological processes as seed germination, pollination, migration, and hibernation is also disrupted. The challenge of adapting to such fundamental changes can be overwhelming.

    And if evolving at warp speed (while Mother Nature experiences hot flashes) isn't enough, plants, animals, and birds are struggling within previously reduced and fragmented habitats. In other words, wildlife already thrown off the mothership now finds the lifeboats, those remnants of their former habitats, on fire. Sometimes extinction happens with a whimper, sometimes with a crackle and a blast.

    As for the humans in this drama, I can tell you from personal experience that thousands of people in Arizona and New Mexico are living in fear. A forest fire is a monster you can see. It looks over your shoulder 24 hours a day for days on end. You pack your most precious possessions, gather necessary documents, and point your car or truck toward the road for a quick get-away. If you have a trailer, you load and hitch it. If you have pets or large animals like a horse, cattle, or sheep, you think of how you're going to get them to safety. If you have elderly neighbors or family in the area, you check on them.

    And as you wait, watch, and worry, you choke on smoke, rub itching eyes, and sneeze fitfully. After a couple of days of that omnipresent smoke, almost everyone you meet has a headache. You know that when it is over, even if you're among the lucky ones whose homes still stand, you will witness and share in the suffering of neighbors and mourn the loss of cherished places, of shaded streams and flowered meadows, grand vistas, and the lost aroma of the deep woods.

    Cue the Inferno

    These past few years, mega-fires in the West have become ever more routine. Though their estimates and measurements may vary, the experts who study these phenomena all agree that wildfires today are bigger, last longer, and are more frequent. A big fire used to burn perhaps 30 square miles. Today, wildfires regularly scorch 150-square-mile areas.

    Global warming, global weirding, climate change—whatever you prefer to call it—is not just happening in some distant, melting Arctic land out of a storybook. It is not just burning up far-away Russia. It's here now.

    he seas have warmed, ice caps are melting, and the old reliable ocean currents and atmospheric jet streams are jumping their tracks. The harbingers of a warming planet and the abruptly shifting weather patterns that result vary across the American landscape. Along the vast Mississippi River drainage in the heartland of America, epic floods, like our wildfires in the West, are becoming more frequent. In the Gulf states, it's monster hurricanes and in the Midwest, swarms of killer tornadoes signal that things have changed. In the East it's those killer heat waves and record-breaking blizzards.

    But in the West, we just burn.

    Although Western politicians like to blame the dire situation on tree-hugging environmentalists who bring suit to keep loggers from thinning and harvesting the crowded forests, the big picture is far more complicated. According to Wally Covington of Northern Arizona University, a renowned forest ecologist, the problem has been building towards a catastrophe for decades.

    Historically, Western forests were relatively thin, and grasses, light shrubs, and wildflowers thrived under their canopies. Fires would move through every few years, clearing the accumulated undergrowth and resetting the successional clock. Fire, that is, was an ecological process. Then, in the 1880s, cattle were brought in to graze the native grasses under the forest canopy. As the grass disappeared, fires were limited and smaller trees were able to mature until the land became overcrowded. Invasive species like highly flammable cheat grass also moved in, carried there and distributed in cow dung. Then, foresters began suppressing fires to protect the over-stocked timber that generated revenues and profits.

    All this set the stage for catastrophe. Next, a decade of drought weakened millions of trees, making them susceptible to voracious beetles that gnaw them to death. Warmer air carries more moisture, so winters, while wetter than normal, are not as cold. Typical temperatures, in fact, have become mild enough that the beetles, once killed by wintry deep freezes, are now often able to survive until spring, which means that their range is expanding dramatically. Now, thanks to them, whole mountainsides across the west have turned from green to brown.

    Finally, spring runoff that used to happen over three months now sometimes comes down torrentially in a single month, which means that the forests are dry longer. Even our lovely iconic stands of aspen trees are dying on parched south-facing slopes. Cue the inferno.

    If you live in the West, you can't help wonder what will burn next. Eastern Colorado, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas are, at present, deep in drought and likely candidates. Montana's Lodgepole Pine forests are dying and ready to ignite. Colorado's Grand Mesa is another drying forest area that could go up in flames anytime. Wally Covington estimates that a total of about half-a-million square miles of Western forests, an area three times the size of California, is now at risk of catastrophic fires. As ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger observed in 2008 when it was California's turn to burn, the fire season is now 365 days long.

    The Fire Next Time

    That may explain why "smoke season" began so early this year, overlapping the spring flood season. Texas and other Western states may be drying up and readying themselves to blow dust your way, but in Utah, where I live, it was an extremely wet winter. Watersheds here are at 200% to 700% of the normal snowpack ("normal" being an ever more problematic concept out here). Spring weather has become increasingly weird and unpredictable. Last year we had record-breaking heat and early monsoons in May. This year it was unusually cold and damp. The mountains held on to all that accumulating snow, which is now melting quickly and heading downhill all at once.

    So although skiers are still riding the mountain slopes of northern Utah, river-rafting guides in the south, famous for their hunger for whitewater excitement, are cancelling trips on the Colorado and Green Rivers because they are flowing so hard and high that navigating them is too risky to try. In our more sedate settings, suburbs and such, sandbags are now ubiquitous. Basement pumps are humming across the state. Reservoirs were emptied ahead of the floods so that they could be refilled with excess runoff, but there is enough snowmelt in our mountains this year to fill them seven times over. Utah Governor Gary Herbert went on television to urge parents to keep children away from fast-moving streams that might sweep them away. Seven children have nonetheless drowned in the past two weeks.

    The old gospel got it mostly right when God told Noah, "No more water, the fire next time." In the West we know that it is not actually a question of either/or, because they go together. First, floods fuel growth, then growth fuels fires, then fires fuel floods. So all that unexpected, unpredicted moisture we got this winter will translate into a fresh layer of lush undergrowth in forests that until very recently were drying up, ravaged by beetles, and dying. You may visit us this summer and see all that new green vegetation as so much beautiful scenery, but we know it is also a ticking tinderbox. If Mother Nature flips her fickle toggle switch back to hot and dry, as she surely will, fire will follow.

    When fire removes trees, brush, and grasses that absorb spring runoff and slow the flow, the next round of floods is accelerated. If the fire is intense enough to bake soils into a water-resistant crust, the next floods will start landslides and muddy rivers. The silt from all that erosion will clog reservoirs, reducing their capacity both to store water and to mitigate floods. That's how a self-reinforcing feedback loop works. Back in the days when our weather was far more benign and predictable, this dynamic relationship between fire and flood was predictable and manageable. Today, it is not.

    It may be hard to draw a direct line of cause and effect between global warming (or weirding) and a chain of tornadoes sawing through Joplin, while the record-breaking blizzards of 2011 may seem to contradict the very notion that the planet is getting hotter. But the droughts, pestilence, and fires we are experiencing in the West are logical and obvious signs that the planet is overheating. We would be wise and prudent to pay attention and act boldly.

    Biological diversity, ecological services like pollination and water filtration, and the powerful global currents of wind and water are the operating systems of all life on Earth, including humans. For thousands of years, we have depended on benign and predictable weather patterns that generally vary modestly from year to year. The agricultural system that has fed us since the dawn of history was based on a climate and seasonal swings that were familiar and expectable.

    Ask any farmer if he can grow grain without rain or plant seeds in a flooded field. Signs that life's operating systems are swinging chaotically from one extreme to another should be a wake-up call to make real plans to kick our carbon-based energy addictions while conserving and restoring ecosystems under stress.

    In the process, we'll need a new vision of who we are and what we are about. For many generations we believed that developing westward, one frontier after the next, was the nation's Manifest Destiny. We eliminated the Indians and the bison in our way, broke the prairies with our plows, dammed raging rivers, piped the captured water to make the desert bloom, and eventually filled the valleys with cities, suburbs, and roads.

    The Wild West was tamed. In fact, we didn't hesitate to overload its carrying capacity by over-allocating precious water for such dubious purposes as growing rice in Arizona or building spectacular fountains and golf courses in Las Vegas. We used the deserts near my Utah home as a dumping ground for toxic and radioactive wastes from far-away industrial operations. The sacrifice zones in the Great Basin Desert where we tested bombs and missiles helped our military project the power that underpinned an empire. The iconic landscapes of the West even inspired us to think that we were exceptional and brave in ways not common to humanity, and so were not subject to the limitations of other peoples—or even of nature itself.

    But whatever we preferred to think, the limits have always been there. Nature has only so much fresh water, fertile soil, timber, and oil. The atmosphere can only absorb so much carbon dioxide and stay benign and predictable. When you overload the carrying capacity of your environment, there is hell to pay, which means that monster fires are here to stay.

    After the American West was conquered, tamed, used, and abused, the frontier of our civilizing ambitions moved abroad, was subsumed by a Cold War, was assigned to outer space, and now drives a Humvee through places like Iraq and Afghanistan. On an overheating planet, if the West is still our place of desire and exception, then fire is our modern manifest destiny—and the West is ours to lose.

    Source;
    http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/06/growth-wildfires-american-west?page=1

    Note ~ A former grassroots organizer and librarian, Chip Ward, TomDispatch regular, writes from Torrey, Utah. He is the author of two books, Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land.
    Carol
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    Post  Carol Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:35 am

    Where will all of these people go?

    In a few word - FEMA Camps or north I suspect.


    _________________
    What is life?
    It is the flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

    With deepest respect ~ Aloha & Mahalo, Carol
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    Post  giovonni Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:17 pm

    A new study has found that some home entertainment systems eat more energy than refrigerators or central air-conditioning systems...

    Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop


    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Clearmaxxx-w-remote-top

    By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

    June 25, 2011

    Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems.

    There are 160 million so-called set-top boxes in the United States, one for every two people, and that number is rising. Many homes now have one or more basic cable boxes as well as add-on DVRs, or digital video recorders, which use 40 percent more power than the set-top box.

    One high-definition DVR and one high-definition cable box use an average of 446 kilowatt hours a year, about 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot energy-efficient refrigerator, a recent study found.

    These set-top boxes are energy hogs mostly because their drives, tuners and other components are generally running full tilt, or nearly so, 24 hours a day, even when not in active use. The recent study, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, concluded that the boxes consumed $3 billion in electricity per year in the United States — and that 66 percent of that power is wasted when no one is watching and shows are not being recorded. That is more power than the state of Maryland uses over 12 months.

    “People in the energy efficiency community worry a lot about these boxes, since they will make it more difficult to lower home energy use,” said John Wilson, a former member of the California Energy Commission who is now with the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation. “Companies say it can’t be done or it’s too expensive. But in my experience, neither one is true. It can be done, and it often doesn’t cost much, if anything.”

    The perpetually “powered on” state is largely a function of design and programming choices made by electronics companies and cable and Internet providers, which are related to the way cable networks function in the United States. Fixes exist, but they are not currently being mandated or deployed in the United States, critics say.

    Similar devices in some European countries, for example, can automatically go into standby mode when not in use, cutting power drawn by half. They can also go into an optional “deep sleep,” which can reduce energy consumption by about 95 percent compared with when the machine is active.

    One British company, Pace, sells such boxes to American providers, who do not take advantage of the reduced energy options because of worries that the lowest energy states could disrupt service. Cable companies say customers will not tolerate the time it takes to reboot the system once the system has been shut down or put to sleep.

    “The issue of having more efficient equipment is of interest to us,” said Justin Venech, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. But, he added, “when we purchase the equipment, functionality and cost are the primary considerations.”

    But energy efficiency experts say that technical fixes could eliminate or minimize the waiting time and inconvenience, some at little expense. Low-energy European systems reboot from deep sleep in one to two minutes.

    Alan Meier, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said of the industry in the United States, “I don’t want to use the word ‘lazy,’ but they have had different priorities, and saving energy is not one of them.”

    The Environmental Protection Agency has established Energy Star standards for set-top boxes and has plans to tighten them significantly by 2013, said Ann Bailey, director of Energy Star product labeling, in an e-mail. The voluntary seal indicates products that use energy efficiently. But today, there are many boxes on the list of products that meet the Energy Star standard that do not offer an automatic standby or sleep mode.

    “If you hit the on/off button it only dims the clock, it doesn’t significantly reduce power use,” said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist at the natural resources council.

    Energy efficiency is a function of hardware, software, the cable network and how a customer uses the service, said Robert Turner, an engineer at Pace, which makes set-top boxes that can operate using less power while not in active use.

    Sometimes energy efficiency can be vastly improved by remotely adjusting software over a cable, Mr. Turner said. In this way, Pace reduced the energy consumption of some of its older boxes by half.

    Cable boxes are not designed to be turned completely off, and even when in deep sleep mode, it takes time to reconnect and “talk” with their cable or satellite network, though that time is highly variable depending on the technology.

    Mr. Wilson said he routinely unplugged his set-top boxes at night and waited only 45 seconds for television in the morning. But Dr. Meier said that when he tried to power down his home system at night, it took “hours” to reboot because the provider “downloaded the programming guide in a very inefficient way.”

    Cable providers and box manufacturers like Cisco Systems, Samsung and Motorola currently do not feel consumer pressure to improve box efficiency. Customers are generally unaware of the problem — they do not know to blame the unobtrusive little device for the rise in their electricity bills, and do not choose their boxes anyway.

    Those devices may cause an increase of as little as a few dollars a month or well over $10 for a home with many devices. In Europe, electricity rates are often double those in the United States, providing greater financial motivation to conserve.

    Cisco Systems, one of the largest makers of set-top boxes, said in an e-mail that they would offer some new models this year that would cut consumption by 25 percent “through reduced power used in ‘on’ and standby states.” There will be no deep sleep or fully “off” setting.

    But Cisco said that taking advantage of the potential energy savings for a box would also depend on “how it is operated by the service provider.” Cable and satellite providers will have to decide whether the boxes can automatically go to standby, for example, and whether customers will be able to adjust their own settings. Currently, providers often do system maintenance and download information at night over the cable, so an ever-at-the ready cable box is more convenient for them.

    Cable companies can become Energy Star “partners” if they agree to install or upgrade boxes so that 25 percent to 50 percent of the homes they serve have “energy star qualified” equipment. The E.P.A. merely encourages providers to use units that can automatically power down at least partly when not in use.

    But as of Sept. 1, typical electricity consumption of Energy Star qualified products would drop to 97 kilowatt hours a year from an average of 138; and then by the middle of 2013, they must drop again to 29 kilowatt hours a year. Companies have fought the placement of the “Energy Star” seal on products and the new ambitious requirements, which may still be modified before enacted.

    Mr. Wilson recalled that when he was on the California Energy Commission, he asked box makers why the hard drives were on all the time, using so much power. The answer: “Nobody asked us to use less.”

    The biggest challenge in reducing energy use is maintaining the rapid response time now expected of home entertainment systems, Mr. Turner said. “People are used to the idea that computers take some time to boot up,” he said, “but they expect the TV to turn on instantly.”

    Source;
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26cable.html?_r=3&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2
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    Post  orthodoxymoron Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:39 am

    No one else seems to be posting. Maybe they're all hiding in their Deep Underground Military Bases! Or perhaps the Rapture has occurred, and I've been left behind! Anyway, has anyone read or re-read 'Megatrends' or 'Future Shock' lately, to see how things have played-out in relation to the forecasts and projections? Should I be reading Daniel and the Revelation in the Holy Bible, for the real-deal about the future? Should I try to change the future, or is it pretty-much already determined? Have the gods and goddesses made up their minds what they're going to do with us, or to us? Or, has the Creator God of the Universe decided what to do with the gods and goddesses - and with us? Is the ball in our court, or not? I guess I'm seeking a productive partnership of the Human and the Divine, whatever that really means. Where does the BS stop, and the truth begin? Which Heins 57 varieties of religion and philosophy do we embrace? How shall we then live? Should we just eat, drink, and be merry, as we prepare to die? Should I rent a Ferrari, and do my version of 'On the Beach'?
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:01 pm

    orthodoxymoron wrote:No one else seems to be posting. Maybe they're all hiding in their Deep Underground Military Bases! Or perhaps the Rapture has occurred, and I've been left behind! Anyway, has anyone read or re-read 'Megatrends' or 'Future Shock' lately, to see how things have played-out in relation to the forecasts and projections? Should I be reading Daniel and the Revelation in the Holy Bible, for the real-deal about the future? Should I try to change the future, or is it pretty-much already determined? Have the gods and goddesses made up their minds what they're going to do with us, or to us? Or, has the Creator God of the Universe decided what to do with the gods and goddesses - and with us? Is the ball in our court, or not? I guess I'm seeking a productive partnership of the Human and the Divine, whatever that really means. Where does the BS stop, and the truth begin? Which Heins 57 varieties of religion and philosophy do we embrace? How shall we then live? Should we just eat, drink, and be merry, as we prepare to die? Should I rent a Ferrari, and do my version of 'On the Beach'?

    Greetings Orthodoxymoron

    You are not alone in all this my friend, as you can see many of us are still here amongst you cheers
    But lets really hope more of the control freak elitist - will soon dissipate into the thin air !

    This is what i believe and do...As far as changing your future ( in the now), i suggest you begin with the thoughts you create from moment to moment...This might sound too simplistic, but it really has worked for me. i am consistently focusing now on allowing my higher intuitive self in taking (real) charge over my thoughts and desires. i am daily becoming more attentive too pushing away any negative thoughts and or intrusive energies from within my rattling monkey (surface) mind. A positive personal note from this process is- it has greatly lessened the stress within my body's physiological system. i am now able now to put greater effort in creating (imaging) a world - i would truly desire to experience and exist upon. For me though, it is a continuing and ongoing process, which has required lots of focus and daily practice...But note - it has gotten much easier as the perceived timeline has of late quickened. For i have increasing begun to withdraw from any desired expectations or attachments to this current very dysfunctional world system. It's nations, governments and leaders have demonstrated over and over no true respect for this (living) planet, or the lifeforms living upon. As i take in - discern and filter all that is now occurring around me, i can honestly say, i no longer wish to participate or perpetuate in its existence any longer.

    Blessing Gio


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    Post  giovonni Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:16 pm

    does everything have to be for a financial profit...

    "This story appalled me. The country that built the Golden Gate Bridge now buys its bridges from China. At a time when millions are out of work it is amazing to me that this was done.
    What does not surprise me is that little or nothing about this is appearing in national American media"

    ***********

    New San Francisco bridge built in China to be shipped to US

    First, China made cut-price clothes and knick-knacks. Then it learned how to make mobile phones and iPads. Now it is making a 2,050ft-long bridge spanning the San Francisco bay.

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 San-Francisco-Oakl_1932057c

    By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai

    28 Jun 2011

    Next month, four enormous steel skeletons, the last of the 12 segments of the bridge, will be shipped 6,500 miles from Shanghai to San Francisco before being assembled on site.

    The bridge, which will connect San Francisco to Oakland on the other side of the bay, is a sign of how China has moved on from building roads and ports in Africa and the developing world and is now aggressively bidding for, and winning, major construction and engineering projects in the United States and Europe.

    After building forests of skyscrapers in Beijing and Shanghai, showpiece buildings like the Bird's Nest stadium and the Guangzhou Opera House, and a high-speed rail network that is the envy of the world, Chinese construction companies are flush with cash and confidence. This week, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, lobbied David Cameron to give the contract for the UK's new high speed rail link to a Chinese company.

    According to Engineering News Record, five of the world's top 10 contractors, in terms of revenue, are now Chinese, with likes of China State Construction Engineering Group (CSCEC) overtaking established American giants like Bechtel.

    CSCEC has already built seven schools in the US, apartment blocks in Washington DC and New York and is in the middle of building a 4,000-room casino in Atlantic City. In New York, it has won contracts to renovate the subway system, build a new metro platform near Yankee stadium, and refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem river.

    In Europe, meanwhile, China has signed deals with Serbia for a bridge over the river Danube and a connecting road to Belgrade. A £215 million deal will see Chinese firms refurbishing and upgrading a Serbian coal-fired power plant, while China is building a new mobile phone network in Hungary and wants to sell Bulgaria a nuclear power plant, built from a French design.

    "The European construction market is huge and the Chinese are very interested in it," said Werner Buelen at the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, an umbrella organisation for Europe's construction trade unions. "At the moment, they seem to be running a pilot programme to decide whether to access the market directly by bidding on contracts or whether to buy European construction companies and then use those to access the market," he added.

    "They have a very clever mechanism, with several advantages. The first is financing, which they have better access to because Chinese companies are mostly state-owned. It is getting more and more difficult for European contractors to access financing, and you need to have a lot of finance in the construction industry," he said.

    "Then they have managed to transfer Chinese workers, who are cheaper.

    They can also use construction machinery they have built in China.

    Finally, because they can generate still profit despite their low bids, they use that money to hire famous architects and demonstrate they can deliver a project above the normal standard".

    However, earlier this month, China was fired from its first major prestige project in Europe, the new A2 motorway in Poland for the Euro 2012 football championships. After bidding 44 per cent lower than the Polish government had budgeted for the road, a Chinese state-owned building company found it was unable to pay its workers to finish the job.

    "It is difficult for Chinese companies," said Wang Shouqing, a professor at the International Engineering research department at the elite Tsinghua university. "They are not familiar with Western culture, law or standards. What happened in Poland was a very bad example for other Chinese companies. It could take another decade or even 20 years to put our footprint on Europe and the US." The embarrassment in Poland led China's State Council to publish a notice on Monday warning the heads of China's state-owned companies that they would be "punished" if their companies negligently lost money on overseas projects.

    Norman Haste OBE, an engineer whose projects include the second Severn crossing and the design of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, said he had encountered Chinese firms bidding aggressively in the Middle East and that he had a “high regard for what they have done in recent years".

    He said: “Their capabilities are second to none, and they are able to finance projects. There is a big demand for new investment in Eastern Europe and similarly in the United States and they will do well there.” But he added that the history of protectionism in the French, German and UK markets might be harder to break.

    Source;
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8602786/New-San-Francisco-bridge-built-in-China-to-be-shipped-to-US.html
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    Post  giovonni Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:48 pm

    is this the real trade off for being under China's world economic power ?

    ***********

    China warns U.S. officials not to meet Dalai Lama Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 ?m=02&d=20110707&t=2&i=454383450&w=460&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=2011-07-07T231225Z_01_BTRE7661SGX00_RTROPTP_0_USA

    BEIJING | Thu Jul 7, 2011

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry warned U.S. officials on Thursday not to meet with visiting exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, saying it hoped Washington "appropriately dealt" with Tibet-related issues.

    China reviles the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, saying he supports the use of violence to establish an independent Tibet. He strongly denies either accusation, insisting he seeks only true autonomy for the remote region.

    The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the United States and is due to give a public talk in Washington Saturday.

    The U.S. State Department said he met on Wednesday with Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, but that it remained to be decided whether he would have any meetings at higher levels.

    On Thursday, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other senior U.S. lawmakers also met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing's position on the Dalai Lama's foreign visits was clear.

    "We oppose the underhand visits of the Dalai Lama which he uses to engage in activities to split the motherland," Hong told a regular news briefing.

    "At the same time, we also oppose any foreign government or politicians supporting or abetting in such activities by the Dalai Lama," he added.

    "We hope that the United States strictly abide by its promises on the Tibet issue and ... cautiously and appropriately deal with relevant issues," Hong said.

    The Dalai Lama met U.S. President Barack Obama last year, drawing strong denunciation from Beijing.

    Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement saying Obama should also meet the Dalai Lama to make it "clear that the U.S. sides with the victims in Tibet, not the perpetrators in Beijing."

    "President Obama has an opportunity to make a strong statement about what we stand for by meeting with the Dalai Lama during his current visit, and I urge him to take it," said Ros-Lehtinen, a staunch critic of Communist governments.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said China had complained about the Dalai Lama's meeting with Otero, who is the State Department's coordinator for Tibet issues.

    "The Chinese always make their views known when the Dalai Lama is in Washington," she said.

    Source;
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/07/us-china-usa-dalailama-idUSTRE7667OI20110707
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    Post  giovonni Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:50 pm

    How did material wealth become more important than life itself ?

    ***********


    Breaking the Spell of Money
    To fix the economy, we first have to change our definition of wealth

    by Scott Russell Sanders

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmM3eZrN4MYoK4Dj1_jRe6KSbVfcuuJG-1gilo5OLDxTMaRk1b&t=1


    ANYONE WHO PAYS ATTENTION to the state of the planet realizes that all natural systems on which human life depends are deteriorating, and they are doing so largely because of human actions. By natural systems I mean the topsoil, forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers, lakes, oceans, atmosphere, the host of other species, and the cycles that bind them together into a living whole. By human life I mean not merely the survival of our species, but the quality of our existence, the prospects for adequate food, shelter, work, education, health care, conviviality, intellectual endeavor, and spiritual growth for our kind far into the future.

    So the crucial question is, why? Why are those of us in the richest countries acting in such a way as to undermine the conditions on which our own lives, the lives of other species, and the lives of future generations depend? And why are we so intent on coaxing or coercing the poorer countries to follow our example? There are many possible answers, of course, from human shortsightedness to selfish genes to otherworldly religions to consumerism to global corporations. I would like to focus on a different one—our confusion of financial wealth with real wealth.

    To grasp the impact of that confusion, think of someone you love. Then recall that if you were to reduce a human body to its elements—oxygen, carbon, phosphorus, copper, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, iodine, and so on—you would end up with a few dollars’ worth of raw materials. But even with inflation, and allowing for the obesity epidemic, this person you cherish still would not fetch as much as ten dollars on the commodities market. A child would fetch less, roughly in proportion to body weight.

    Such calculations seem absurd, of course, because none of us would consider dismantling a human being for any amount of money, least of all someone we love. Nor would we entertain the milder suggestion of lopping off someone’s arm or leg and putting it up for sale, even if the limb belonged to our worst enemy. Our objection would not be overcome by the assurance that the person still has another arm, another leg, and seems to be getting along just fine. We’d be likely to say that it’s not acceptable under any circumstances to treat a person as a commodity, worth so much per pound.

    And yet this is how our economy treats every portion of the natural world—as a commodity for sale, subject to damage or destruction if enough money can be made from the transaction. Nothing in nature has been spared—not forests, grasslands, wetlands, mountains, rivers, oceans, atmosphere, nor any of the creatures that dwell therein. Nor have human beings been spared. Through its routine practices, this economy subjects people to shoddy products, unsafe working conditions, medical scams, poisoned air and water, propaganda dressed up as journalism, and countless other assaults, all in pursuit of profits.

    When tobacco or pharmaceutical companies suppress research that shows their products are killing people, they may not single out particular human beings for execution, yet they deliberately sentence a large number of strangers to premature death. Likewise, when banks launder drug money, when the insurance industry opposes public health care, when the auto industry lobbies against higher fuel-efficiency standards, when arms manufacturers fight any restraint on the trade in guns, when agribusiness opposes limits on the spraying of poisons, when electric utilities evade regulations that would clean up smoke from power plants, when chambers of commerce lobby against efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are just as surely condemning vast numbers of people to illness, injury, and death.

    THE ECONOMIST MILTON FRIEDMAN stated flatly that “There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” The second half of Friedman’s sentence would place a curb on the first half only in a universe where enterprises motivated entirely by greed never engaged in deception or fraud. This may have seemed like a possibility in the rarefied atmosphere of the Chicago School of Economics, where Friedman held sway and helped to shape the free-market ideology that has dominated American society in recent decades. But in the world where the rest of us live, deception and fraud have been commonplace among corporate giants, from Enron to Exxon, from United Fruit to Union Carbide. Consider a short list of recent malefactors: Halliburton, Philip Morris, WorldCom, Wachovia, Arthur Andersen, Adelphia, Blackwater, Monsanto, Massey Energy, Tyco, HealthSouth, Wal-Mart, Global Crossing, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Countrywide Financial, AIG, and BP. These companies, and legions of others, have cooked the account books, misrepresented their financial condition with end-of-quarter window dressing, abused their employees, cheated their investors, sold lethal products, violated safety regulations, lied, bribed, swindled, or otherwise refused to stay within “the rules of the game.”

    In our country, when the rules become a nuisance or do not sufficiently favor their interests, big companies purchase enough support in the White House or Congress or regulatory agencies to have the rules revised or abolished. Examples of this abuse could be cited from all industries, but none are more egregious than those in finance. Until the mid-1980s, the U.S. financial sector never accounted for more than 16 percent of all corporate profits, but over the past decade it has averaged more than 41 percent, and it has done so while contributing only modestly to social needs, chiefly through local banks and credit unions, and while doing a great deal of harm, chiefly through the creation and trade of financial paper. Most of the economic advisors for President Obama, as for President Bush, have come straight from Wall Street, and, not surprisingly, they have shaped government policy to benefit the biggest Wall Street firms and the richest investors. The global economic meltdown was largely a result of such rigging of the system, which freed commercial and investment banks, trading companies, and rating agencies to gamble recklessly with other people’s money.

    In spite of the worldwide suffering caused by this casino capitalism, the financial reform bill passed by Congress in the summer of 2010 does little to rein it in. The managers of hedge funds, for example, have kept their operations essentially free of oversight, while preserving the loophole that treats their earnings as capital gains, taxed at 15 percent, rather than as regular income, which would be taxed in the top bracket at 35 percent. In 2009, when the CEOs of the twenty-five largest American hedge funds split over $26 billion, this cozy arrangement cost the Treasury, and therefore the rest of us, several billion dollars in lost tax revenue. When President Obama urged Congress to close this tax loophole, the billionaire chairman of one hedge fund responded by comparing such a move with the Nazi invasion of Poland.

    Now, why would a billionaire want more money, and why have some billionaires sought to increase their fortunes by purchasing television networks and newspapers, funding think tanks, hiring armies of lobbyists and propagandists, and setting up phony front groups, all to spread the gospel of no-holds-barred capitalism? You might say that such behavior is natural, because everybody wants more money. But consider: Suppose you keep a billion dollars under your mattress, where it will earn no income, and you set out to spend it; in order to burn through it all within an adult lifetime of, say, fifty years, you would have to spend $1.7 million per month, or $55,000 per day. If you took your billion dollars out from under the mattress and invested it in long-term U.S. Treasury bonds at current rates, you could spend $40 million per year, or $110,000 per day, forever, without touching your capital. It so happens that $110,000 is a bit more than twice the median household income in the United States. If you do the math, you will find that the twenty-five hedge fund managers who pulled in $26 billion last year claimed an income equivalent to roughly 500,000 households, or some 2 million people.

    What are Rupert Murdoch, David and Charles Koch, Adolph Coors, Richard Mellon Scaife, and other billionaire advocates of unbridled capitalism after? They certainly are not worrying about sending their kids to college or paying their medical bills. Then what are they seeking? A psychiatrist might be better qualified to answer the question, but let me offer an amateur’s hunch, which arises from six decades of watching our legislatures, regulatory agencies, judiciary, public lands, mass media, and schools come under the influence, and often under the total control, of the richest Americans. What the free-enterprise billionaires are greedy for is not money but power, and not merely the power to take care of themselves and their families, which would be reasonable, but the power to have anything they want and do anything they want without limit, which is decidedly unreasonable. Anyone who has shared a house with a two-year-old or a fifteen-year-old has witnessed such a craving to fulfill every desire and throw off every constraint. Most children grow beyond this hankering for omnipotence. Those who carry the craving into adulthood may become sociopaths—incapable of sensing or caring for the needs of other people, indifferent to the harm they cause, reacting aggressively toward anyone or anything that blocks their will.

    I’m not saying that all billionaires, or megamillionaires, are sociopaths. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett clearly aren’t, for example, for they are using their fortunes to serve the public good, including funding programs for those who dwell at the other end of the money spectrum. In June of 2010, Gates and Buffett invited the richest individuals and families in America to sign a pledge to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. As of this writing, fifty-seven have accepted the invitation, including Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York; Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook; Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft; and Ted Turner, founder of CNN. Perhaps they have signed the pledge out of pure altruism. But I would like to believe they also understand that they themselves did not create their financial wealth, however skillful and hardworking they may be; they amassed their money by drawing on the efforts of countless people, living and dead; by drawing on public resources, such as schools and courts; by reaping the benefits of madcap bidding on the stock market; and by drawing on the natural resources of the planet. I would like to believe that, having derived their riches from the commons, they feel obliged to return a substantial portion of those riches for the benefit of the commons.

    Whatever their motives, the signers of the Giving Pledge are following the example of Andrew Carnegie. Although he acquired his fortune by methods as ruthless as any employed by buccaneer capitalists today, having made his money, Carnegie gave it all away, except for a modest amount left to his family. We associate his name especially with the more than twenty-five hundred libraries he endowed, but he also funded many other public goods, including a university, a museum, and a foundation for promoting not free enterprise, but education and world peace. In an essay published in 1889 called “The Gospel of Wealth,” he argued that the concentration of great fortunes in the hands of a few was an inevitable result of capitalism, but also a dangerous one, because the resulting disparity between the haves and have-nots would cause social unrest. And so, he insisted, these great fortunes should be restored to society, either through philanthropy or through taxation.

    In view of the current efforts, backed by many of the richest Americans, to abolish the estate tax, it is striking to read Carnegie’s view of the matter:

    The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion.… Of all forms of taxation, this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death, the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life.

    That is not a passage you are likely to find cited by the Cato Institute, Free Enterprise Fund, Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, or any of the other strident opponents of the federal estate tax, a tax that under current regulations affects only the richest 1 percent of Americans—the very citizens, by coincidence, who fund the Cato Institute, etc., etc.

    Now let us return to pondering the richest of our fellow citizens who show no inclination to share their wealth, but rather seem intent on growing richer by hook or crook, regardless of the consequences for our democracy, the environment, or future generations. Unlike Andrew Carnegie, unlike Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, these individuals use their wealth only to increase their power, and use their power only to guard and increase their wealth, and so on, in an upward spiral toward infinity. Their success in this endeavor can be measured by the fact that the top 1 percent of earners now receives 24 percent of all income in the United States, the highest proportion since the eve of the Great Depression in 1929.

    Giant corporations operate in a similar way, using their wealth to increase their power over markets and governments, and using their power to increase their wealth. When I say giant, I am not referring to retailers, banks, factories, or other firms that operate on a modest scale and in one or a few locations. I am referring to the behemoths of business. Of the one hundred largest economies in the world, more than half are multinational corporations. Exxon alone surpasses in revenues the economies of 180 nations. These gigantic empires, spanning the globe, answer to no electorate, move jobs and money about at will, keep much of their operations secret, and oppose any regulation that might cut into their profits. Thus, over the past several decades, Exxon has used its enormous might to oppose higher fuel-efficiency standards, to resist safety regulations that might have prevented the catastrophic oil spill in Prince William Sound, to push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and to thwart legislation aimed at controlling carbon emissions. In doing so, the managers of Exxon have simply obeyed the logic of capitalism, which is to maximize profIts regardless of social and environmental costs. Through trade organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute and numerous front groups, Exxon, Shell, BP, and other energy titans have spent millions of dollars trying to persuade the public that the climate isn’t shifting dangerously, or if it is shifting then humans play no part in the change, or if humans do play a part then nothing can be done about it without stifling the economy.

    “Saving the economy” is the slogan used to defend every sort of injustice and negligence, from defeating health-care legislation to ignoring the Clean Water Act to shunning the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. But should we save an economy in which the finance industry claims over 40 percent of all corporate profits and a single hedge fund manager claims an income equivalent to that of twenty thousand households? Should we save an economy in which the top 1 percent of earners rake in a quarter of all income? Should we embrace an economy in which one in ten households faces foreclosure, 44 million people live in poverty, and 51 million lack health insurance, an economy in which the unemployment rate for African Americans is above 17 percent and for all workers is nearly 10 percent? Should we defend an economy that even in a recession generates a GDP over $14 trillion, a quarter of the world’s total, and yet is supposedly unable to afford to reduce its carbon emissions? Should we serve an economy that represents less than 5 percent of Earth’s population and yet accounts for nearly half of world military spending? A reasonable person might conclude that such an economy is fatally flawed, and that the flaws will not be repaired by those who profit from them the most.

    THE ACCUMULATION OF MONEY gives the richest individuals and corporations godlike power over the rest of us. Yet money itself has no intrinsic value; it is a medium of exchange, a token that we have tacitly agreed to recognize and swap for things that do possess intrinsic value, such as potatoes or poetry, salmon or surgery. Money is a symbolic tool, wholly dependent for its usefulness on an underlying social compact. It is paradoxical, therefore, that those who have benefited the most financially from the existence of this compact have been most aggressive in seeking to undermine it, by attacking unions, cooperatives, public education, independent media, social welfare programs, nonprofits that serve the poor, land-use planning, and every aspect of government that doesn’t directly serve the rich. For the social compact to hold, ordinary people must feel that they are participating in a common enterprise that benefits everyone fairly, and not a pyramid scheme designed to benefit a few at the very top. While the superrich often pretend to oppose government as an imposition on their freedom, they are usually great fans of government contracts, crop subsidies, oil depletion allowances, and other forms of corporate welfare, and even greater fans of military spending.

    Among those who have grasped the link between U.S. militarism and the cult of money was Martin Luther King Jr. In a speech entitled “A Time to Break Silence,” delivered a year to the day before he was assassinated, King went against the counsel of his friends and advisors by denouncing the Vietnam War. Like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, indeed like every U.S. military operation from the 1950s onward, the war in Vietnam was justified as an effort to promote freedom and democracy and to protect American security. What our military was actually protecting, King argued, were “the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.” For saying so, he was denounced as a communist or socialist by newspapers and self-proclaimed patriots nationwide, just as President Obama has been denounced as a socialist for proposing national health care.

    The slur is an old one, going back to the late nineteenth century when movements to organize unions or end child labor in factories or secure votes for women were decried as socialist by the robber barons and their henchmen in politics and journalism. Since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the labels communist and socialist have been used interchangeably by the superrich to condemn any cooperative efforts by citizens to secure basic rights or to serve common needs. These twin labels have been used to vilify the income tax, the estate tax, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, every major piece of environmental legislation, American participation in the UN, disarmament treaties, aid to the poor, humanitarian aid to other nations—any endeavor by government, in short, that might reduce the coffers or curb the power of those who sit atop the greatest heaps of capital.

    That power is steadily increasing, as witness the Supreme Court’s decision in early 2010, by a 5-4 vote, in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, which holds that corporate funding of political broadcasts during elections cannot be limited. The majority based their argument on the twin claims, never mentioned in the Constitution, that corporations are entitled to be treated as persons under the law and that money is a form of speech, and therefore any constraint on spending by corporations to influence elections would be a denial of their right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. The decision means that our electoral process, already corrupted by big money, will fall even more under the sway of corporations and their innocuous-sounding front groups, such as “Citizens United.” The nearly unanimous view among the nation’s leading First Amendment scholars, voiced at a meeting in March of 2010, was that the case was wrongly decided. But the only five opinions that count are those of the judges in the majority, who were appointed to the Supreme Court by administrations that have benefited most handsomely from corporate financing.

    MONEY DERIVES ITS MEANING from society, not from those who own the largest piles of it. Recognizing this fact is the first move toward liberating ourselves from the thrall of concentrated capital. We need to desanctify money, reminding ourselves that it is not a god ordained to rule over us, nor is it a natural force like gravity, which operates beyond our control. It is a human invention, like baseball or Monopoly, governed by rules that are subject to change and viable only so long as we agree to play the game. We need to see and to declare that the money game as it is currently played in America produces a few big winners, who thereby acquire tyrannical power over the rest of us as great as that of any dictator or monarch; that they are using this power to skew the game more and more in their favor; and that the net result of this money game is to degrade the real sources of our well-being.

    It is just as important that we shake off the spell of consumerism. In 1955, a retailing analyst named Victor Lebow bluntly described what an ever-expanding capitalism would require of us: “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption. The economy needs things consumed, burned, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever-increasing rate.” And so it has come to pass. Americans, by and large, have made consumption a way of life, and a prime source, if not of spiritual satisfaction, then of compensation for whatever else might be missing from our lives, such as meaningful work, intact families, high-quality schools, honest government, safe streets, a healthy environment, a nation at peace, leisure time, neighborliness, community engagement, and other fast-disappearing or entirely vanished boons.

    Advertisers maintain the consumerist illusion by appealing to our every impulse, from lust and envy to love of family and nature. The estimates for annual spending on advertising in the U.S. hover around $500 billion. This is roughly the amount we spend annually on public education. While taxpayers complain about the cost of schools, they do not protest the cost of advertising, which inflates the price of everything we purchase, and which aims at persuading us to view the buying of stuff as the pathway to happiness. A current ad for Coke, showing a frosty bottle, actually uses the slogan “Open Happiness.” The promise is false, and all of us know it, yet we keep falling for the illusion. We can begin to free ourselves from that illusion by reducing our exposure to those media, such as commercial television and radio, that are primarily devoted to merchandising. We can laugh at advertising. We can distinguish between our needs, which are finite, and our wants, which are limitless. Beyond meeting our basic needs, money cannot give us any of the things that actually bring happiness—family, community, good health, good work, experience of art and nature, service to others, a sense of purpose, spiritual insight.

    When we do spend money, so far as possible we should put it in the hands of our neighbors—local merchants, professionals, growers, craft workers, artists, chefs, and makers of useful things—and we should put as little as possible in the coffers of distant corporations and plutocrats, who know and care nothing about our communities. We should encourage efforts to restore local economies through small-scale manufacturing, sustainable agriculture and forestry, distributed energy generation, credit unions, public-access television and radio, nonprofits, and cooperatives. We should experiment with local currencies, as a number of cities across the U.S. have done. When possible, we should barter goods and services, avoiding the use of money altogether.

    As a nation, we need to quit using the flow of money as the chief measure of our well-being. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product is the dollar value of our nation’s economic output in a given period, without regard to the purpose of that output. So the cost of cleaning up an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico adds to the GDP, as does an epidemic of cancer, a recall of salmonella-laced eggs, a bombing campaign in Afghanistan, lawsuits against Ponzi schemers, prison construction, and every other sort of ill. The GDP does not reflect work done at home without pay, volunteer work in the community, or mutual aid exchanged between neighbors. It counts junk food you buy on the highway but not food you grow in your backyard. It counts the child care you purchase but not the care you provide. If you lead a healthy life, you contribute little to the GDP through medical expenditures, but if you smoke, become addicted to drugs or alcohol, become dangerously obese, neglect your health in any way at all, you’re sure to boost the GDP. War also swells the GDP, but peacemaking does not. We need to devise measures of well-being that take into account the actual quality of life in our society, from the rate of incarceration (currently the highest in the world) to the rate of infant mortality (currently thirty-third in the world), from the condition of our soils and rivers and air to the safety of our streets.

    One need not be an economist—as I am not—to see that our economic system is profoundly unjust in its distribution of benefits and damage, that it relies on violence toward people and planet, and that it is eroding the foundations of democracy. What should we do? Not as any sort of expert, but as a citizen, I say we need to get big money out of politics by publicly financing elections and strictly regulating lobbyists. We need to preserve the estate tax, for its abolition would lead to rule by an aristocracy of inherited wealth, just the sort of tyranny we threw off in our revolt against Britain. We need to defend the natural and cultural goods we share, such as the oceans and the internet, from those who seek to exploit the common wealth for their sole profit. We need to stop private-sector companies from dictating research agendas in our public universities. We need legislation that strips corporations of the legal status of persons. We need to restore the original definition of a corporation as an association granted temporary privileges for the purpose of carrying out some socially useful task, with charters that must be reviewed and renewed periodically by state legislatures. We need to enforce the anti-trust laws, breaking up giant corporations into units small enough to be answerable to democratic control. We need to require that the public airwaves, now used mainly to sell the products of global corporations, serve public interests.

    To recover our democracy, relieve human suffering, and protect our planet, we need to do a great many things that may seem unlikely or impossible. But they seem so only if we define ourselves as isolated consumers rather than citizens, if we surrender our will and imagination to the masters of money. Over the next few generations, we will either create a civilization that treats all of its members compassionately and treats Earth respectfully, or we will sink into barbarism. Whatever the odds, I say we should work toward that just and ecologically wise civilization, with all our powers.

    Source;
    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6343/
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:01 pm

    This is another aspect of what i believe is the gathering food crisis. It is a trend with horrible consequences, and entirely avoidable. We just have to place profit in its proper place, not the principal and premiere place it now enjoys.

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    The Same Financial Firms Responsible For Our Economic Crisis Are Driving Us Toward a Global Food Disaster
    Investors are involved in massive land grabs in Africa that may cause destabilization of food prices, mass displacement and environmental damage.


    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 Storyimages_picture7_1268180579



    June 9, 2011 - US and EU investors -- including US universities, pension funds and investment firms -- are involved in unprecedented land grabs currently taking place in Africa, according to a series of investigative reports released on Wednesday by the Oakland Institute.

    The Oakland Institute spent over a year working undercover to gather information on land deals in Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan.

    The reports show how land deals have a number of effects, including the destabilization of food prices, mass displacement and environmental damage.

    "The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial maneuvers are now doing the same with the world's food supply," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.

    "In Africa," she added, "this is resulting in the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss and further political instability."

    These deals are often presented as agricultural investment, providing much-needed economic funds, creating jobs and infrastructure in developing countries.

    Yet, the report argues, many of the deals have negative impacts. These include inadequate participation of local populations, misinformation, lack of adequate compensation, especially for women or indigenous populations.

    The intention of releasing the reports is not to curb agricultural investment but rather to ensure that the funding does what it promises to do and minimizes the deleterious effects.

    The "Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa" reports reveal that these largely unregulated land purchases are resulting in virtually none of the promised benefits for native populations, but instead are forcing millions of small farmers off ancestral lands and small, local food farms in order to make room for export commodities, including biofuels and cut flowers.

    So there is an inversion of small, local farming to industrialized agriculture.

    As farmers are forced to vacate ancestral lands, they and their families, who rely on the land for grazing cattle or planting crops, are left without sustenance.

    Frederic Mousseau, the Oakland Institute policy director, tells of land recently acquired, where "the investors were required to create 17 jobs. The village has 7000 people living on and surviving off of that land. We have spent time with these people. Seventeen jobs will not suffice. They need the land for the cattle and for the agriculture."

    In another instance, Mousseau says, "One thousand jobs were to be created for 100,000 acres acquired. But that is an area that could nurture 25,000 farmers and their families."

    Forced off the land, these farmers often find themselves struggling even more simply to survive.

    "In many East African countries," Obang Metho said, "we have customary rights. We have systems that can be turned around to take advantage."

    The reports charge that this acquisition is increasing in breadth and in speed. Mousseau stated, "in 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares -- an area the size of France -- were purchased or leased in these land grabs. It is estimated that 80 million hectares were acquired in 2010." By contrast, prior to 2008 the annual expansion of global agricultural land was less than 4 million hectares.

    Not only are these land grabs, the land acquired is often also located near water resources. The reports state that major African rivers, including the Nile, the Niger and the Zambezi, are tapped by these land grabs. Hence, these land grabs are actually often water grabs, intended to stabilize not only food supplies but also water access in other countries. Countries that often acquire the land include China, India and the Gulf States.

    According to Mittal, "Universities such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University are investing in hedge funds that are involved in these land grabs."

    These universities put their money into a direct investment fund, which then purchases the land. According to the Oakland Institute's reports, these are "investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan."

    When asked if these universities are aware of their implication in these land grabs, Mittal replied: "We would like to believe that these universities are not aware. But an educational institution also needs to be informed about the kinds of returns that these funds deliver, which are around 25 percent, 30 percent and more, and in this kind of economy, should raise some questions."

    "While countries such as China, India and Gulf States acquire the land, the financial sector involved also needs to be examined," Mousseau added. "There is a high level of fiscal incentives." These include exemption from VAT taxes. Moreover, the land is often acquired for very little compensation; some land parcels were even documented as being given away for free.

    Obang Metho underscores the financial motivations, stating "These people are not there to feed the Ethiopian people. They are here for the profit. If this is not allowed in the free world, it should not be allowed in Ethiopia."


    By Tina Gerhardt, an academic and journalist whose writing has appeared in Grist, The Huffington Post, In These Times and The Nation.
    Source;

    http://www.alternet.org/food/151250/the_same_financial_firms_responsible_for_our_economic_crisis_are_driving_us_toward_a_global_food_disaster_?page=entire
    lindabaker
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    Post  lindabaker Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:16 pm

    Excellent find, Gio! Thank you so much for posting this about the African land grabs. The hedge fund operators have very sneaky ways of hiding the true information from their clients. Now, what we need to do is name the names of the brokers promoting these hedge funds. Trouble is, the large brokerages handling these funds do not give out information to just anyone. To be a client, you have to prove that you have a certain amount of money in the first place. This keeps the players of the game in the game, and the riff raff on the sidelines. How are we going to crack this one? Who has a large enough net worth? I don't have that much liquid capital any more...or I would go straight to a brokerage and start playing the game. Hmmm. I will think on this one, it's a challenge. We must not sit still and let this happen to Africa. (Assuming that this report is totally true.)
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:05 pm

    Thanks ~ LB I love you

    This next story - i am sure you all are quite aware of in the Southeast area of the States Crying or Very sad
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:07 pm

    This is another of the extreme weather events we have seen with increasing frequency. Regions and locales are going to be experiencing more and more such developments, with a commensurately extreme impact on their lives. This is also part of the food crisis trend and, because our modern food system is international in nature, we will all be experiencing the effects of these regional situations at the grocery store no matter where we live...

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    Drought Spreads Pain From Florida to Arizona

    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 0710-nat-webDROUGHT



    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 DROUGHT-articleLarge
    Buster Haddock, an agricultural scientist at the University of Georgia, in a field where cotton never had the chance to grow. More Photos » http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/07/11/us/DROUGHT.html?ref=us

    By KIM SEVERSON and KIRK JOHNSON
    Published: July 11, 2011

    COLQUITT, Ga. — The heat and the drought are so bad in this southwest corner of Georgia that hogs can barely eat. Corn, a lucrative crop with a notorious thirst, is burning up in fields. Cotton plants are too weak to punch through soil so dry it might as well be pavement.

    Farmers with the money and equipment to irrigate are running wells dry in the unseasonably early and particularly brutal national drought that some say could rival the Dust Bowl days.

    “It’s horrible so far,” said Mike Newberry, a Georgia farmer who is trying grow cotton, corn and peanuts on a thousand acres. “There is no description for what we’ve been through since we started planting corn in March.”

    The pain has spread across 14 states, from Florida, where severe water restrictions are in place, to Arizona, where ranchers could be forced to sell off entire herds of cattle because they simply cannot feed them.

    In Texas, where the drought is the worst, virtually no part of the state has been untouched. City dwellers and ranchers have been tormented by excessive heat and high winds. In the Southwest, wildfires are chewing through millions of acres.

    Last month, the United States Department of Agriculture designated all 254 counties in Texas natural disaster areas, qualifying them for varying levels of federal relief. More than 30 percent of the state’s wheat fields might be lost, adding pressure to a crop in short supply globally.

    Even if weather patterns shift and relief-giving rain comes, losses will surely head past $3 billion in Texas alone, state agricultural officials said.

    Most troubling is that the drought, which could go down as one of the nation’s worst, has come on extra hot and extra early. It has its roots in 2010 and continued through the winter. The five months from this February to June, for example, were so dry that they shattered a Texas record set in 1917, said Don Conlee, the acting state climatologist.

    Oklahoma has had only 28 percent of its normal summer rainfall, and the heat has blasted past 90 degrees for a month.

    “We’ve had a two- or three-week start on what is likely to be a disastrous summer,” said Kevin Kloesel, director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

    The question, of course, becomes why. In a spring and summer in which weather news has been dominated by epic floods and tornadoes, it is hard to imagine that more than a quarter of the country is facing an equally daunting but very different kind of natural disaster.

    From a meteorological standpoint, the answer is fairly simple. “A strong La Niña shut off the southern pipeline of moisture,” said David Miskus, who monitors drought for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The weather pattern called La Niña is an abnormal cooling of Pacific waters. It usually follows El Niño, which is an abnormal warming of those same waters.

    Although a new forecast from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center suggests that this dangerous weather pattern could revive in the fall, many in the parched regions find themselves in the unlikely position of hoping for a season of heavy tropical storms in the Southeast and drenching monsoons in the Southwest.

    Climatologists say the great drought of 2011 is starting to look a lot like the one that hit the nation in the early to mid-1950s. That, too, dried a broad part of the southern tier of states into leather and remains a record breaker.

    But this time, things are different in the drought belt. With states and towns short on cash and unemployment still high, the stress on the land and the people who rely on it for a living is being amplified by political and economic forces, state and local officials say. As a result, this drought is likely to have the cultural impact of the great 1930s drought, which hammered an already weakened nation.

    “In the ’30s, you had the Depression and everything that happened with that, and drought on top,” said Donald A. Wilhite, director of the school of natural resources at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and former director of the National Drought Mitigation Center. “The combination of those two things was devastating.”

    Although today’s economy is not as bad, many Americans ground down by prolonged economic insecurity have little wiggle room to handle the effects of a prolonged drought. Government agencies are in the same boat.

    “Because we overspent, the Legislature overspent, we’ve been cut back and then the drought comes along and we don’t have the resources and federal government doesn’t, and so we just tighten our belt and go on,” said Donald Butler, the director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

    The drought is having some odd effects, economically and otherwise.

    “One of the biggest impacts of the drought is going to be the shrinking of the cattle herd in the United States,” said Bruce A. Babcock, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University in Ames. And that will have a paradoxical but profound impact on the price of a steak.

    Ranchers whose grass was killed by drought cannot afford to sustain cattle with hay or other feed, which is also climbing in price. Their response will most likely be to send animals to slaughter early. That glut of beef would lower prices temporarily.

    But America’s cattle supply will ultimately be lower at a time when the global supply is already low, potentially resulting in much higher prices in the future.

    There are other problems. Fishing tournaments have been canceled in Florida and Mississippi, just two of the states where low water levels have kept recreational users from lakes and rivers. In Texas, some cities are experiencing blackouts because airborne deposits of salt and chemicals are building up on power lines, triggering surges that shut down the system. In times of normal weather, rain usually washes away the environmental buildup. Instead, power company crews in cities like Houston are being dispatched to spray electrical lines.

    In this corner of Georgia, where temperatures have been over 100 and rainfall has been off by more than half, fish and wildlife officials are worried over the health of the shinyrayed pocketbook and the oval pigtoe mussels, both freshwater species on the endangered species list.

    The mussels live in Spring Creek, which is dangerously low and borders Terry Pickle’s 2,000-acre farm here. He pulls his irrigation from wells that tie into the water system of which Spring Creek is a part.

    Whether nature or agriculture is to blame remains a debate in a state that for 20 years has been embroiled in a water war with Alabama and Florida. Meanwhile, Colquitt has allowed the state to drill a special well to pump water back into the creek to save the mussels from extinction.

    Most farmers here are much more worried about the crops than the mussels. With cotton and corn prices high, they had high hopes for the season. But many have had to replant fields several times to get even one crop to survive. Others, like Mr. Pickle, have relied on irrigation so expensive that it threatens to eat into any profits.

    The water is free, but the system used to get it from the ground runs on diesel fuel. His bill for May and June was an unheard of $88,442.

    Thousands of small stories like that will all contribute to the ultimate financial impact of the drought, which will not be known until it is over. And no one knows when that will be.

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has already provided over $75 million in assistance to ranchers nationwide, with most of it going to Florida, New Mexico and Texas. An additional $62 million in crop insurance indemnities have already been provided to help other producers.

    Economists say that adding up the effects of drought is far more complicated than, say, those of a hurricane or tornado, which destroy structures that have set values. With drought, a shattered wheat or corn crop is a loss to one farmer, and it has a specific price tag. But all those individual losses punch a hole in the food supply and drive prices up. That is good news for a farmer who manages to get a crop in. The final net costs down the line are thus dispersed, and mostly passed along.

    That means grocery shoppers will feel the effects of the drought at the dinner table, where the cost of staples like meat and bread will most likely rise, said Michael J. Roberts, an associate professor of agricultural and resource economics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. “The biggest losers are consumers,” he said.

    Source;
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/us/12drought.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all
    lindabaker
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    Post  lindabaker Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:55 pm

    Yes, dust bowl conditions are here in Georgia. I stopped watering plants a month ago, after we had gone six weeks without rain. No sense in paying for water for plants that will never produce a crop. Isn't it a coincidence ? that the Dust Bowl of the Thirties was during the Great Depression? The only work left in these small towns is farm work, and we are too far in to the season to plant again. It's over for this growing season. We did have some fruit, but the vegetables are not going to be there. The cattle will have to be harvested early. They suffer too much in the heat, so it's to the slaughterhouse they go. I know some hungry young folks right now. No real work is available besides fast food service. The fast food corporations don't give enough work hours per day to offset the price of gas to drive to the workplace. Now we are getting into real and desperate need. It costs $6.00 to $14.00 to drive to work in rural areas, or more. The restaurants give two to three hour shifts at $7.25 per hour. After paying all of the taxes on income, these young people either lose money by working, or net about $4.00 per day. That's not enough to buy a meal. And the normal fallback, grandpa's garden, is dried up. In my local mostly poor rural county, there are thousands of families waiting to get help at the local charity food pantry. This is not making mainstream news. We have strong young men willing to work, and their ribs are showing. But, we have money for war. Oh me.
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:32 pm

    Thank you Linda for giving us all here that personal follow-up to this very critical weather situation. Crying or Very sad
    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:34 pm

    i offer up two stories here from the Schwartz Report that demonstrates how the insanity continues unfold upon this planet...

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Fracking is another nightmare technology developed with no reference to, or understanding of, the complex relationships that collectively we call Gaia. This is all about greed.

    ***********

    Fracking Water Killed Trees, Study Finds

    By MIREYA NAVARRO

    July 12, 2011,

    A study that argues for more research into the safe disposal of chemical-laced wastewater resulting from natural gas drilling found that a patch of national forest in West Virginia suffered quick and serious loss of vegetation after it was sprayed with hydraulic fracturing fluids.

    The study, by researchers from the United States Forest Service, was published this month in the Journal of Environmental Quality. It said that two years after liquids were legally spread on a section of the Fernow Experimental Forest, within the Monongahela National Forest, more than half of the trees in the affected area were dead.

    The researchers said that the disposal section was less than half an acre in size “to minimize the area of forest potentially affected by the fluid application.” About 75,000 gallons were applied over two days in June 2008.

    The study’s author, Mary Beth Adams, a soil scientist, said that if the same amount had been spread over a larger area, less environmental damage to the forest would probably have been resulted.

    She said that there was little information in the scientific literature about such impacts and that the study indicated that “there are potential effects of natural gas development that we didn’t expect.”

    Several states allow disposal of drilling fluids on land and issue permits for this. The Fernow Experimental Forest, used for research by the Forest Service, is also the site of a drilling operation by Berry Energy. Dr. Adams said that while the government owned the surface rights to the forest, the sub-surface mineral rights are privately owned and available for natural gas exploration there and in other forest lands.

    Although the exact composition of the fluids was not disclosed by the companies that manufactured them because they consider that information proprietary, her study noted, the main constituents appeared to be sodium and calcium chlorides because of their high concentrations on the surface soil.

    Almost immediately after disposal, the researchers said, nearly all ground plants died. After a few days, tree leaves turned brown, wilted and dropped; 56 percent of about 150 trees eventually died.

    The researchers said that studying ways to provide more protection to vegetation when drilling wastewater is disposed of, and developing a standard on doses of the wastewater, should be “a high priority.”

    Source;
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/fracking-water-killed-trees-study-finds/?hp

    ________________________________________________________________________

    We are destroying ourselves and the world we live on because we simply cannot seem to evaluate anything except on the basis of short term profit.

    ***********

    Huge demand for fish empties British waters in just six months

    By Lewis Smith

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Britain's coastal waters are so overfished that they can supply the nation's chip shops, restaurants and kitchens for little more than six months of every year, research has shown.

    Overfishing has caused so much damage to fish stocks across Europe that the quantity landed each year to satisfy the public appetite has fallen by 2 per cent on average every year since 1993.

    So great is demand that next Saturday, 16 July, has been dubbed Fish Dependence Day – the day on which imports would have to be relied upon because native supplies would have run out if only home-caught fish had been eaten since 1 January. Last year it fell on 3 August, almost three weeks later, and in 1995 it was six weeks later.

    Other European countries consume fish at an even greater rate and the EU as a whole reached its Fish Dependence Day on 2 July, compared with 9 July last year, with fishermen estimated to have landed 200,000 tonnes less than a year earlier. Spain became dependent on non-EU imports on 8 May, Germany on 27 April, Italy on 30 April and France on 13 June.

    The demands made on UK and European fisheries are making them less productive, and unless they are better managed the supply of fish will dwindle and thousands of jobs will be lost, the report shows. Aniol Esteban, of the think tank NEF and the author of the report, said: "Eating more fish than our oceans can produce is playing dangerous games with the future of fisheries and fishing communities. Unless we change course, the jobs and livelihoods of many people in Europe and beyond are at risk.

    "Our current appetite is putting our oceans under pressure. It's hard to understand why a country surrounded by potentially rich seas needs to import one out of every two fish that it eats."

    As Maria Damanaki, the European Fisheries Commissioner, puts the final touches to proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which she will announce on Wednesday, Mr Esteban urged that the long-term health of fish stocks be given priority over short-term gains by fishermen.

    "We need urgent action to ensure that jobs, revenues, food and the environment are protected from overfishing," he said. "Policymakers need to look beyond the short-term costs that could result from reform and give priority to the long-term benefits that healthy marine resources will provide for the environment, the economy and society. In a context of finite resources and growing populations, the current EU model is unsustainable."

    The report, Fish Dependence, highlights growing concerns that Europe can only feed its craving by exploiting the waters of poorer developing nations – which can leave their fisheries depleted and the human population unable to access a valuable source of nutrition.

    Source;
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/huge-demand-for-fish-empties-british-waters-in-just-six-months-2311656.html
    giovonni
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    Post  giovonni Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:11 pm

    The Right doesn't even bother to hide its fascism. It doesn't have to because the Murdoch papers and networks, scholar-for-hire think tanks, and the purchase of the Congress leads them to believe they no longer have to. This is how blatant it gets. It is of a piece with the state level "Executives" the Right has inflicted on communities, with the power to overrule elected representatives and civil officers.

    ***********

    Mitch McConnell: We Must Rewrite the Constitution Because "Elections" Haven't "Worked"

    Wednesday 13 July 2011
    by: Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress | Report

    peaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered what may be the most concise summary of conservative constitutionalism ever spoken — America must rewrite the Constitution to force conservative outcomes because we the people consistently elect lawmakers who disagree with McConnell:

    The time has come for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to balance its books. If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it’s that we can’t leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions that they need to get our fiscal house in order. The balanced budget amendment will do that for them. Now is the moment. No more games. No more gimmicks. The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.

    Watch it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nPCYT8A96g&feature=player_embedded

    It’s worth noting just what McConnell is asking the American people to choke down. Senate Republicans’ so-called “balanced budget amendment” does far more than simply requiring federal spending to equal federal revenues. It makes it functionally impossible to raise taxes by imposing a two-thirds supermajority requirement — a provision closely modeled after the California anti-tax amendment that blew up that state’s finances. It would also require spending cuts so steep that it would have made Ronald Reagan’s fiscal policy unconstitutional. Ezra Klein rightfully labeled this plan the “worst idea in Washington.”

    We need your help to sustain groundbreaking, independent journalism. Make a tax-deductible contribution to Truthout now, and your donation will be doubled by an anonymous foundation! Click here to donate.

    So there really isn’t any question why the American people refuse to elect a Congress that will force this agenda upon the nation, but McConnell simply doesn’t care. If the American people won’t vote for the kind of government he wants, then we must strip away the people’s ability to choose their own government. Elections haven’t worked.

    Sadly, McConnell’s deeply authoritarian plan to take away our ability to choose how we will be governed is part of a much larger conservative agenda to strip American democracy of any meaning and force conservative governance upon the American people:

    * Affordable Care Act Litigation: In 2008, elections didn’t work because we the people elected Barack Obama and gave him the majorities he needed to comprehensively reform the health care system. Conservatives immediately responded with an entirely fabricated constitutional argument against this law that relied on a constitutional theory that no one had ever even heard of before 2009. Even Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a former Scalia clerk and a leader of the conservative states rights movement, rejected this meritless attack on the Affordable Care Act.
    * Killing Medicare and Medicaid: In 1964, elections didn’t work, and the American people gave President Lyndon Johnson the congressional support he needed to enact Medicare and Medicaid. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) would take away the American people’s ability to benefit from this law as well. He claims that the Constitution must be reinterpreted so that the federal government can’t do anything at all about “health care.”
    * Bringing Back Whites-Only Lunch Counters: In 1962, elections didn’t work, and the American people gave Johnson enough votes to pass a ban on whites-only lunch counters. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) disagrees with this outcome, so he would reinterpret the Constitution to make the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unconstitutional.
    * Putting Children To Work: In 1936, elections didn’t work, and the American people reelected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and gave him an enormous supermajority in Congress. Roosevelt used this mandate to eliminate the exploitation of child labor. Sen. Lee also disagrees with this outcome, and would rethink the Constitution to make child labor laws unconstitutional.
    * Cutting Students Loose: Time and time again, elections haven’t worked because the American people elected a Congress that supports education programs. Numerous members of Congress believe that all federal education programs — from Pell Grants to federal student loans to public school funding — must be eliminated entirely because, in Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) words, “I don’t even think [education] is a role for the federal government, if you read the Constitution.”

    In other words, McConnell’s plan to strip we the people of our ability to govern ourselves is only the beginning. The right has a clear and comprehensive agenda to rethink the entire Constitution — and democracy has no part in their vision.

    Source;
    http://www.truth-out.org/mitch-mcconnell-we-must-rewrite-constitution-because-elections-havent-worked/1310579446

    giovonni
    giovonni

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    Post  giovonni Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:03 pm

    Another symptom of the illness profit system's negative influence on national health. From the point of view of Big Pharma each of us is a little valve from which they can extract money. Health, if it occurs is strictly a second tier consideration.

    This story comes via Al Jazeera

    ***********

    Mass psychosis in the US

    How Big Pharma got Americans hooked on anti-psychotic drugs.


    Trends That Will Affect Your Future … - Page 11 201173135029161371_20
    Drug companies like Pfizer are accused of pressuring doctors into over-prescribing medications to patients in order to increase profits

    James Ridgeway Last Modified: 12 Jul 2011 06:20

    Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

    Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.

    It is anything but a coincidence that the explosion in antipsychotic use coincides with the pharmaceutical industry's development of a new class of medications known as "atypical antipsychotics." Beginning with Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel in the 1990s, followed by Abilify in the early 2000s, these drugs were touted as being more effective than older antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine. More importantly, they lacked the most noxious side effects of the older drugs - in particular, the tremors and other motor control problems.

    The atypical anti-psychotics were the bright new stars in the pharmaceutical industry's roster of psychotropic drugs - costly, patented medications that made people feel and behave better without any shaking or drooling. Sales grew steadily, until by 2009 Seroquel and Abilify numbered fifth and sixth in annual drug sales, and prescriptions written for the top three atypical antipsychotics totaled more than 20 million. Suddenly, antipsychotics weren't just for psychotics any more.

    Not just for psychotics anymore

    By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. "Psychiatrists are particularly targeted by Big Pharma because psychiatric diagnoses are very subjective," says Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, whose PharmedOut project tracks the industry's influence on American medicine, and who last month hosted a conference on the subject at Georgetown. A shrink can't give you a blood test or an MRI to figure out precisely what's wrong with you. So it's often a case of diagnosis by prescription. (If you feel better after you take an anti-depressant, it's assumed that you were depressed.) As the researchers in one study of the drug industry's influence put it, "the lack of biological tests for mental disorders renders psychiatry especially vulnerable to industry influence." For this reason, they argue, it's particularly important that the guidelines for diagnosing and treating mental illness be compiled "on the basis of an objective review of the scientific evidence" - and not on whether the doctors writing them got a big grant from Merck or own stock in AstraZeneca.

    Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and a leading critic of the Big Pharma, puts it more bluntly: "Psychiatrists are in the pocket of industry." Angell has pointed out that most of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the bible of mental health clinicians, have ties to the drug industry. Likewise, a 2009 study showed that 18 out of 20 of the shrinks who wrote the American Psychiatric Association's most recent clinical guidelines for treating depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia had financial ties to drug companies.

    "The use of psychoactive drugs - including both antidepressants and antipsychotics - has exploded...[yet] 'the tally of those who are disabled...increased nearly two and a half times."

    Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine

    In a recent article in The New York Review of Books, Angell deconstructs what she calls an apparent "raging epidemic of mental illness" among Americans. The use of psychoactive drugs—including both antidepressants and antipsychotics—has exploded, and if the new drugs are so effective, Angell points out, we should "expect the prevalence of mental illness to be declining, not rising." Instead, "the tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 - from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling - a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children." Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are "simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one." Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, "Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people."

    Cost benefit analysis

    What's especially troubling about the over-prescription of the new antipsychotics is its prevalence among the very young and the very old - vulnerable groups who often do not make their own choices when it comes to what medications they take. Investigations into antipsychotic use suggests that their purpose, in these cases, may be to subdue and tranquilize rather than to treat any genuine psychosis.

    Carl Elliott reports in Mother Jones magazine: "Once bipolar disorder could be treated with atypicals, rates of diagnoses rose dramatically, especially in children. According to a recent Columbia University study, the number of children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003." And according to another study, "one in five children who visited a psychiatrist came away with a prescription for an antipsychotic drug."

    A remarkable series published in the Palm Beach Post in May true revealed that the state of Florida's juvenile justice department has literally been pouring these drugs into juvenile facilities, "routinely" doling them out "for reasons that never were approved by federal regulators." The numbers are staggering: "In 2007, for example, the Department of Juvenile Justice bought more than twice as much Seroquel as ibuprofen. Overall, in 24 months, the department bought 326,081 tablets of Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs for use in state-operated jails and homes for children…That's enough to hand out 446 pills a day, seven days a week, for two years in a row, to kids in jails and programs that can hold no more than 2,300 boys and girls on a given day." Further, the paper discovered that "One in three of the psychiatrists who have contracted with the state Department of Juvenile Justice in the past five years has taken speaker fees or gifts from companies that make antipsychotic medications."

    In addition to expanding the diagnoses of serious mental illness, drug companies have encouraged doctors to prescribe atypical anti-psychotics for a host of off-label uses. In one particularly notorious episode, the drugmaker Eli Lilly pushed Zyprexa on the caregivers of old people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, as well as agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. In selling to nursing home doctors, sales reps reportedly used the slogan "five at five"—meaning that five milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm would sedate their more difficult charges. The practice persisted even after FDA had warned Lilly that the drug was not approved for such uses, and that it could lead to obesity and even diabetes in elderly patients.

    In a video interview conducted in 2006, Sharham Ahari, who sold Zyprexa for two years at the beginning of the decade, described to me how the sales people would wangle the doctors into prescribing it. At the time, he recalled, his doctor clients were giving him a lot of grief over patients who were "flipping out" over the weight gain associated with the drug, along with the diabetes. "We were instructed to downplay side effects and focus on the efficacy of drug…to recommend the patient drink a glass a water before taking a pill before the meal and then after the meal in hopes the stomach would expand" and provide an easy way out of this obstacle to increased sales. When docs complained, he recalled, "I told them, ‘Our drug is state of the art. What's more important? You want them to get better or do you want them to stay the same--a thin psychotic patient or a fat stable patient.'"

    For the drug companies, Shahrman says, the decision to continue pushing the drug despite side effects is matter of cost benefit analysis: Whether you will make more money by continuing to market the drug for off-label use, and perhaps defending against lawsuits, than you would otherwise. In the case of Zyprexa, in January 2009, Lilly settled a lawsuit brought by with the US Justice Department, agreeing to pay $1.4 billion, including "a criminal fine of $515 million, the largest ever in a health care case, and the largest criminal fine for an individual corporation ever imposed in a United States criminal prosecution of any kind,''the Department of Justice said in announcing the settlement." But Lilly's sale of Zyprexa in that year alone were over $1.8 billion.

    Making patients worse


    People and Power: Drug Money

    As it turns out, the atypical antipsychotics may not even be the best choice for people with genuine, undisputed psychosis.

    A growing number of health professionals have come to think these drugs are not really as effective as older, less expensive medicines which they have replaced, that they themselves produce side effects that cause other sorts of diseases such as diabetes and plunge the patient deeper into the gloomy world of serious mental disorder. Along with stories of success comes reports of people turned into virtual zombies.

    Elliott reports in Mother Jones: "After another large analysis in The Lancet found that most atypicals actually performed worse than older drugs, two senior British psychiatrists penned a damning editorial that ran in the same issue. Dr. Peter Tyrer, the editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry, and Dr. Tim Kendall of the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote: "The spurious invention of the atypicals can now be regarded as invention only, cleverly manipulated by the drug industry for marketing purposes and only now being exposed."

    Bottom line: Stop Big Pharma and the parasitic shrink community from wantonly pushing these pills across the population.

    Source;
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/07/20117313948379987.html

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