Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where the Truth Lies

John Sherffius, copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate from

Pre-existing Conditions - RJ Matson

Enjoy this and many other excellent political cartoons at

State of the Nation - revised.

Thanks always to Mark Fiore....

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Note to Clueless Climate Deniers

Let It Snow
By Dr. Phillip Neches
As the East digs its way out of another massive snow storm, some are led to wonder how so much snow is possible when we're supposed to be having global warming. Some people just don't want to believe in global warming. Others are just struck by the seeming incongruity. To see how it works, try this little catechism:

What is snow? Frozen water falling from the sky.

How does water get into the sky? It evaporates, mostly from the ocean.

What makes water evaporate from the ocean? Heat from the sun.

What is global warming? More heat from the sun is trapped near the Earth's surface.

Would global warming cause more or less water to evaporate from the ocean? More, obviously.

And that, in short, is why global warming causes more snow, as long as there is enough cold Arctic air to freeze the water. Otherwise, it would be flooding rain.

Climate scientists love to discuss their theories, observations, and models, which give more richness and detail to a terribly complex subject. But this little catechism is, as they say, "good enough for government work." At least, it's good enough for voters to understand which politicians espouse policy based on how the real world works, and which are talking from what they would like to believe, true or not.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Noam Chomsky On Corporate Propaganda

Local Democracy Under Siege

With the recent ruling on Citizens United vs. the F.E.C., the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates on corporate cash, allowing the titans of industrial energy, agriculture, extraction and development to pump even more money into the election system. What to do?

At Bioneers we've long showcased solutions for local democracy. Last year at the conference we featured Mari Margil of the Community Environmental Defense Fund. We've also heard from her partner Thomas Linzey about the "Democracy School" movement to empower local say in environmental and development issues.

Marine biologist, and Bioneers alum Riki Ott, author of Not One Drop - Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, has issued an impassioned call to action for local communities to take a stand against corporate personhood. You can join Riki's efforts at

Another friend of Bioneers, Jeffrey Clements, is giving his time to serve as general counsel to Free Speech to the People, a grassroots organization working to return the First Amendment to its rightful place, empowering individual citizens.

Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel has spoken out about the threat of corporate speech to local democracy before. Read what he's had to say, and check out this useful list of how corporate consolidation is increasingly putting the power in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals.

Grassroots Mobilization:
A Call for Communities to Defy the Court

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a radical undermining of our sovereign self-governance. It ushers in government of, for, and by The Corporations. It goes well beyond stolen elections -- which can now legally be bought elections.
But that's not the worst of it. This decision actually goes far beyond the circular legal argument that, since the court has ruled previously that free speech equals money, limiting corporations from spending money to influence elections has a chilling effect on free speech (money). If this is confusing, don't worry it's not you. The court had to reach for this.
Citizens United is merely the last straw in a haystack of (successful) corporate attempts to extend corporate constitutional "rights" to corporate persons ever since the U.S. Supreme Court blurred the distinction between "natural persons," or real living human beings, and "artificial persons" -- corporations -- in 1886.

Since the 1886 Santa Clara decision, literally hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of local, state, federal, and international laws that attempt to protect our environment, our elections, our safety and health, and our right to organize have been overturned as a result of this doctrine. Armed with human rights and legal privileges, corporations have amassed enormous wealth and power and disabled democracy on all three branches of our government. Even a partial list shows the range of regulations falling to the new corporate rights doctrine, from those concerning clean and fair elections; to environmental protection and energy; to tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and health care; to consumer protection, lottery, and gambling; to race relations - and more!
Our Republic and democratic process has been hijacked by corporations through illegitimate usurpation of rights intended for human persons. This is a call to action! It is time to change the rules.

What can people do? When Congress passed the USA Patriot Act that undermined civil rights and civil liberties, hundreds of communities, some counties, and at least three states adopted Anti-Patriot Act measures. Similarly, but on a bigger scale, we could start a grassroots movement at the local level to pass municipal legislation or resolutions that defy the Court and strip corporations of their personhood (human rights) status. We could strike any corporate personhood language from State law -- or State constitutions, a harder process.
It is fine that for-profit corporations and other business entities exist, but they should exist to serve people. Corporations are not people and they should not be guaranteed the rights of people. A legislature can give corporations whatever privileges deemed appropriate, but granting corporations the legal status of living, breathing, and eventually dying, natural persons is a grave mistake. Their huge wealth, coupled to human rights, makes corporations far more powerful than people.

Action to abolish corporate personhood (e.g., artificial persons with human rights) in a municipalities, counties, and states could be the forefront of a movement to push this issue right back to the federal level and force Congress to consider amending the U.S. Constitution to do the same.

People could also join the largest and most politically, geographically, and racially diverse coalition to respond to the Citizens United case. The Campaign to Legalize Democracy aims to amend the U.S. Constitution to end the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves. First and foremost, the campaign will move to amend that only human beings are entitled to constitutional rights.

Within one day of the decision's release, over 20,000 Americans had signed on to the Motion to Amend the Constitution. This campaign aims to fix the root of the problem - corporate personhood - not only the symptoms like campaign financing, election financing, and free speech issues that were raised in the Citizens United case.
The main thing is to get involved with the grassroots movements to protect democracy from unchecked corporate power. 

It cannot be overstated: The ruling in Citizens United leaves ordinary citizens little power to keep corporate influence out of democratic decision making. We must unite to reverse this outrageous ruling -- and the underlying morally wrong premise that corporations and other artificial persons are entitled to real human rights.

All aboard for democracy!

Riki Ott is director of Ultimate Civics, a co-organizer of the Campaign to Legalize Democracy. She lectures nationally on the democracy crisis. Learn more and sign the motion to amend the Constitution to affirm rule by the people, not corporations!

Constitutional Amendment Heating Up

Outside, Washington, D.C. is smothered in near-record amounts of snow. But inside - inside the halls of government, to be specific - things are heating up.

What sparked the fire?

The Supreme Court ruled last month that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections.

You already joined the fight to defend our democracy from a corporate takeover by signing Public Citizen's petition for a constitutional amendment to counteract this radical ruling.

I'm asking you to help grow the resistance by forwarding this email to 10 friends and family members and asking them to sign the petition, too.

We must preserve First Amendment rights for actual people and the press. The First Amendment was never intended to apply to artificial constructs like profit-hungry corporations.

Many members of Congress are introducing amendments and signaling their support, including Representatives Donna Edwards, John Conyers, Marcy Kaptur, Leonard Boswell and Dennis Kucinich, and Senators John Kerry, Arlen Specter and Chris Dodd.

A real movement is taking shape.

Our petition is already 45,000 citizens strong. People instinctively recognize the Supreme Court's decision for the disaster that it is.

But constitutional amendments do not come easy. We need a groundswell of support from every corner of the nation. We need hundreds of thousands of people to drive the legislative push in Congress.

The first step is building our petition.

Please forward this letter to at least 10 friends and family members today. Ask them to visit and sign the petition, too.

Thank you,

Robert Weissman, President

Monday, February 8, 2010

Overcoming Corporate "Personhood"

How'd you like to attend a class that teaches community persons how to overcome corporate "persons"? The following outline itself offers some outstanding history and educational empowerment for regular persons like us. Be the Change.

Democracy School Curriculum Outline

Section “A” – Our Work Within the Regulatory System:
What is Law and
How is it Used?

  1. The regulatory system guarantees that the environment will be damaged, that the system actually permits it to occur, and that the system is built to recognize certain constitutional constraints.
  2. Our “engaging in the regulatory system”, while limiting some of the harms done by corporations, cannot achieve the types of change we need, and that our minds are colonized to believe that the untruth that we can create change by these means.
  3. Our thinking is colonized not only by the law – which establishes certain constraints that deny us the goals of our activism – but that our thinking is colonized by a culture that is  created by those who benefit from the way that the system operates.
  4. On the issue of land application of sewage sludge, we’ve been colonized that a bad is a good, through language used to frame the issue.
  5. On the issue of the corporatization of agriculture, we’ve been colonized that a bad is a good, through language used to frame the issue.
  6. Both the regulatory system of law and the culture produce a system of activism that cannot stop a corporate minority from governing community majorities, and that the regulatory system of law and culture effectively drives us like cattle down to a point of activism where we cannot win the issue that we’re working on.
  7. A regulatory system of law governs employer-employee relationships, and that regulatory system of law codifies the rights of the employer over the employee law codifies the rights of the employer over the employee.
  8. Regulatory systems of law were created not to protect health, safety, and welfare, but as a governmental barrier to prevent majority governance by the people.
  9. The traditional use of the regulatory system of law, and the operation of today’s regulatory agencies, are not mistakes or errors, but a logical use of the law to assert minority control over majorities.
  10. Law itself has a long history of being used by a minority to govern, that it was used by William the Conqueror to create an English structure of law; and that the mere existence of Constitutions does not guarantee democratic government.
  11. Throughout history, there have always been people who have seen the illegitimate structure of governance, and demanded something else, like the English Levelers and Diggers in the 1600’s. 


Section “B”- Colonialism:  Replicating the English Structure of Law and Culture Across the Globe and in the American Colonies

  1. Western Europeans colonized other countries through various means of legally sanctioned violence and terror.
  2. The English colonized the Caribbean through various means of violence and terror.
  3. The Church intervened repeatedly to legalize and authorize state colonialism.
  4. The English colonized America through the use of corporate charters which transferred full governing authority to one or several men, and that charters are, in reality, instruments of exclusion.
  5. The English Structure of Law was positioned to recognize the legality of colonizing “discovered” lands, and that the American Indians were dispossessed of lands through that legal sanction.
  6. The English Structure of Law viewed nature as a resource to be used, and thus, that it was man’s rightful role to subjugate, dominate and manage nature; and that through colonialism, the English imposed that view and forcibly eliminated those cultures that sustainably used natural systems.
  7. The English Structure of Law treated African-Americans as property, leading to a system of slavery as the dominant economic institution both north and south, and that imposition of that understanding led to thousands of slave revolts prior to the Civil War in the United States.
  8. The English Structure of law treated women as property.

Section “C” – The American Revolutionaries Rebel Against the English Structure of Law and Culture

  1. Early colonists understood that English colonialism, carried out by multinational trading corporations chartered by England, resulted in the actions taken by Parliament against the American colonies.
  2. Some revolutionaries understood that solving their problem meant replacing the English structure of law and culture, and transforming the chartered corporate colonies from property to constitutionalized states, and that the corporate form must be subordinated to the governance of the people.
  3. That understanding led to the declaration of a new theory of governance, expounded as part of the Declaration of Independence, that people have inherent rights and create governments to secure and protect those rights, and that when government fails to secure and protect those rights, is the duty of people to abolish that government.
  4. The authorship and release of the Declaration of Independence was illegal.
  5. The colonists drafted a First Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and those Articles envisioned a decentralized confederation of the States that retained local governing authority.
  6. Lack of a centralized, preemptive federal government created delays for those engaged in multi-state commerce, and that Washington’s incorporation of the Potomac Company spotlighted those problems.
Section “D”- Betraying the Revolution: A Minority Replicates the English Structure of Law Through the Adoption of the U.S. Constitution

  1. The Mount Vernon Conference was convened to solve the problems encountered by the Potomac Company, and the Conference led to the Annapolis Convention, which sent a report to Congress urging for a broader meeting to be held in Philadelphia.
  2. Delegates to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention were a select group representing property-owning white males, that the proceedings were secret and sentries were positioned at the doors, that Madison and Randolph presented the Virginia Plan on the first day, and that minutes of the Convention were not released for over 53 years.
  3. Most of the delegates viewed democracy as rule by the rabble, and called for the crafting of a Constitution that enabled a minority to govern, and which protected the property of the minority from majority governance.
  4. There were a group of people called the anti-federalists who understood what the delegates were attempting, and attempted to stop the ratification of the Constitution.
  5. The Constitution is an anti-majoritarian, slave document that established a minority-rule, slave state.
Section “E” – The Second American Revolution: Abolitionists and Women’s Rights Agitators Lead a Revolt Against the Constitution

  1. The Abolitionists launched a frontal attack on the Constitution as a slave document, and that the Abolitionists used the Declaration of Independence as the foundation for that attack.
  2. The Abolitionists were forced to dismantle the popular American Colonization Society, which called for the expatriation of slaves to slave colonies, because their goals were not the goals of the Abolitionists.
  3. The Abolitionists and Radical Republicans drove the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments into the Constitution following the Civil War.
  4. The Abolitionists saw those Amendments as the beginning of a constitutional revolution, to replace a slave Constitution with a rights Constitution.
  5. Southern and northern business interests reunited after the Civil War, and with the election of Hayes, pulled the federal troops out of the south and brought them north to put down labor uprisings.
  6. The United States Supreme Court concocted legal theories that withdrew the protections of the Amendments from African-Americans in the South.
  7. That women attempted to enforce the guarantees of those Amendments and were denied, and that suffragists broke the law as part of their efforts to drive universal suffrage into the Constitution.
Section F:  Building a Corporate State: A Minority Uses the Constitution to Override Community Self-Government

  1. Accumulations of property and capital, in the form of the corporation, have been given constitutional "rights" and protections over the past one hundred and thirty years.
  2. As early as 1819, corporations were recognized as being protected by the Contracts Clause of the Constitution, making their corporate charters exempt from unilateral authority exercised by the State seeking to change the charter.
  3. Even though private corporations and municipal corporations are both corporations, separate sets of law have evolved which empower private corporations but keep municipal corporations under very strict State control.
  4. The system of law guarantees that the rights of private corporations and their decisionmakers will almost always trump the rights of communities, even though municipal corporations ostensibly represent “we the people.”
  5. The system of law does not recognize a right of local self-government, but that municipalities are wholly controlled by State governments, as a parent/child relationship.
  6. The Commerce Clause has been used by corporations and the courts to strip state and municipal governments of lawmaking in the area of commerce, and that major environmental, labor, and civil rights laws were passed under the authority of that Clause.
  7. The accumulation of rights for corporate minorities combined with the corporate grip on culture, has resulted in the creation of a Corporate State.

Section “G” – Shaping a Movement: Communities Assert Local Self-Governance in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia and Beyond

Kid with sign at uranium forum.jpgDAY THREE

Optional - offered to Communities that are ready to organize a Rights-Based campaign to assert Self-Governing Rights through their Municipal government

Getting a Local Campaign Started

The Curriculum, Themes, and Structure for this Optional portion of the Course will be Tailored Specially for Each Community

Friday, February 5, 2010

Plutocracy = Kleptocracy, continued....

See more political cartoons at McClatchy

"Heterosexuals" the Greatest Danger to Children
We know that campaigners for Prop 8 were claiming gays are12 times more likely than straights to molest children. This is the most vicious sort of lie told about the gay community. This video is meant to arm people with the truth to combat this evil.

Repugnant Republicans on Call

A Republican for every kind of oppression (not to mention several Democrats).

Monsanto - Criminal of the Decade

Has Forbes Gone Psychotic or Taken the Blue Pill? 
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
Forbes has declared Monsanto “Company of the Year,” calling criticism of the notorious company “vicious” attacks against a company that “has been working to make humanity better fed.”
What’s more, Forbes claims that the attacks come because Monsanto has close to a monopoly in some seed markets, which Forbes argues is because they are making “seeds that are too good.”
You read that right. Apparently, Monsanto’s decades-long attempt to control the seed market -- which has led it lawsuits against small farmers and genetically modified plants that never regerminate, forcing farmers to buy seeds year after year -- is apparently just a result of their being “too good.”
I encourage you all to BOYCOTT Forbes and cancel any subscription you may have.

For anyone who knows anything about the business of Monsanto, the news that this ominous company has been named “Company of the Year” by renowned Forbes magazine is simply shocking.
This follows on the heels of other oxymoronic honors, such as
  • President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize while firmly entrenched in a seemingly never-ending war spread across two countries, and
  • Time magazine naming Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke “Man of the Year,” supposedly for “saving” the US from “an even worse” financial collapse than what Bernanke himself helped create.
  • Even more ironic are the media efforts to convince you that the unsustainable situation created by printing of billions of dollars to bail out failing banks and companies can be sustained indefinitely.
So, who is responsible for these strange decisions? And perhaps more importantly, why?
Through the lens of these examples, a rather bizarre picture is taking shape. I can’t say exactly what the message is, but I believe I can say this: Beware, because deception is taking place through coordinated media manipulation.
If you know anything about how conventional media is being used on a mass scale, you realize that typically someone is trying to sell you on something – an idea, an ideology, a certain mindset, in order to eventually produce a certain behavior.
The question is, what are they trying to convince you of now?
Are We Living in Some Alternative Reality?

When reading the news these days, I often feel like I’m getting information from some alternate Universe where up is down, and left is right. Because they surely aren’t reporting reality on this planet. It’s gotten so blatantly bizarre lately, it’s as though they don’t even bother to come up with a decent cover story to shroud their attempts at manipulating your mind.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that there are still many who have not figured this game out yet, who will swallow just about anything that magazines like Time and Forbes put in print – like the story that Monsanto is a world class do-gooder.
Unfortunately, there are still those who are unaware of the many improprieties and outright crimes committed by Monsanto, such as:
This is but a short list of examples, but it should give you a clue as to why I question the rationale behind giving them this honor.
Monsanto – Company of the Year?

Anyone who has studied the devastating effects of the unrestrained release of genetically modified crops into the environment will see the insanity in declaring Monsanto “Company of the Year.”
What the world needs is a return to saner, more sustainable farming practices, not mass cultivation of crops infused with “suicide genes” that prevent regermination the year after, or food crops that have been contaminated with GM seeds used for pharmaceutical production.
I truly believe that letting Monsanto lead us down the garden path is nothing short of suicidal.
It’s time for people to realize that while the declared motive behind GM food is an altruistic one -- to alleviate hunger, poverty and malnutrition worldwide – in reality, the ruthless propagation of GM crops are intended to create previously unimaginable profits above anything else.
Despite their assurances, we’re already beginning to see the real price of all that tinkering with Mother Nature: unnatural crop combinations that can harm your health and potentially cause generational DNA changes, for example.
Not only that, but contrary to promises, GM crops are FAILING MISERABLY all across the world. The reality simply isn’t living up to the hype of increased yields of healthy crops.
After 30 years of GMO experimentation, we have the data to show:
  • No increase in yields; on the contrary GM soya has decreased yields by up to 20 percent compared with non-GM soya. Up to 100 percent failures of Bt cotton have been recorded in India. And recent studies by scientists from the USDA and the University of Georgia found that growing GM cotton in the U.S. can result in a drop in income by up to 40 percent.
  • No reduction in pesticides use; on the contrary, USDA data shows that GM crops has increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the U.S., and the use of glyphosate went up more than 15-fold between 1994 and 2005, along with increases in other herbicides to cope with rising glyphosate resistant superweeds.
  • Roundup herbicide is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells. Roundup is used in more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted in the world.
  • GM crops harm wildlife, as revealed by UK and U.S. studies.
  • Bt resistant pests and Roundup tolerant superweeds render the two major GM crop traits useless. The evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented.
  • Vast areas of forests, pampas and cerrados lost to GM soya in Latin America.
  • Epidemic of suicides in the cotton belt of India. 100,000 farmers between 1993-2003, and an estimated 16,000 farmers a year since, have committed suicide since Bt cotton was introduced.
  • Transgene contamination is completely unavoidable, as science has recently revealed that the genome (whether plant, animal or human) is NOT constant and static, which is the scientific base for genetic engineering of plants and animals. Instead, geneticists have discovered that the genome is remarkably dynamic and changeable, and constantly ‘conversing’ and adapting to the environment. This interaction determines which genes are turned on, when, where, by what and how much, and for how long. They’ve also found that the genetic material itself has the ability to be changed according to experience, passing it on to subsequent generations.
  • GM food and feed linked to deaths and sicknesses both in the fields in India and in lab tests around the world. For example, in April 2006, more than 70 Indian shepherds reported that 25 percent of their herds died within 5-7 days of continuous grazing on Bt cotton plants.
Forbes on a Roll – But Where?

But Forbes doesn’t just throw your intelligence for a loop by hailing the success of a destroyer like Monsanto. Oh, no. There’s more.
Tellingly, in the same issue, Forbes also lashes out against chelation therapy, and derides anyone who thinks there may be a connection between vaccines and autism.
So what is this all about, really?
I have to seriously wonder why we are being urged to imagine we live in a world where no bad deed goes unrewarded; a place where what’s bad for you is somehow beneficial, and where lack of integrity, reason and logic is applauded.
What is this type of media coverage saying to you? What is this saying to your children?
This is not what America used to stand for, if I remember correctly. And it’s not what America should stand for now, or in the future.
Quite frankly, it’s all wrong. It’s all upside-down and backwards.
The only good thing about these blatantly bizarre media displays is the fact that they are just that – blatantly bizarre. And hopefully that will shake more people from their slumber and cause them to ask some basic questions about what’s really going on in this world.
Important Questions Only You Have the Answer to

  • Who taught you what you know?
  • Who do you listen to? What messages are you receiving from conventional media? How do you determine what’s real and what’s not?
  • When was the last time you turned OFF the television and really pondered some issue at length, on your own, looking at it from all sides, including the sides you’ve been told to ignore? Heck, when was the last time you asked WHY you are being told to ignore it in the first place!
Other questions may be even more important than the preceding ones, as they involve really tuning into yourself:
  • Where do you fall within the scheme of nature?
  • Do natural laws apply to you?
  • Where does science fit in? How far can science take you? Are you willing to gamble the future of your children on the assurances of mega-companies like Monsanto, who have tremendous responsibility to their shareholders to turn a profit in a crumbling market?
  • To what degree do you think man-made chemicals can improve your health? What IS health, really? What does your body really need in order for all those trillions of cells to thrive in harmony?
Folks, I encourage you to open your mind; think deeply and clearly, and avoid jumping to preconceived conclusions based on what you think you “know,” without first challenging yourself to discern who fed you that “knowledge” in the first place.
Personally, I’m fed up with the brainwashing that conventional media dishes out, and if you too have had enough, I suggest you boycott Forbes and cancel any subscription you may have to their magazine. Unless you simply don’t want to live in a right-side-up world, that is.
Congressman Ron Paul said the following in one of his speeches before Congress earlier this year, and it sums up my sentiments exactly:
"Is this a dream or a nightmare? Is it my imagination or have we lost our minds? It is surreal. It is just not believable. A grand absurdity. A great deception. A delusion of momentous proportions based on preposterous notions and ideas whose time should never have come.
Insanity passed off as logic. Evil described as virtue. Ignorance pawned off as wisdom. Slavery sold as liberty. The philosophy that destroys us is not even defined. We have broken from reality, a psychotic nation. Ignorance with a pretense of knowledge replacing wisdom."