Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Second American Revolution Looks Like This

Democracy School online




Democracy School - Part I from Mari Margil on Vimeo.

The Daniel Pennock Democracy School is a stimulating and illuminating course that teaches citizens and activists how to reframe exhausting and often discouraging single issue work (such as opposing toxic dumps, quarries, factory farms, etc.) in a way that we can confront corporate control on a powerful single front: people’s constitutional rights.

Democracy School explores the limits of conventional regulatory organizing and offers a new organizing model that helps citizens confront the usurpation by corporations of the rights of communities, people, and the earth. Lectures cover the history of people's movements and corporate power, and the dramatic recent organizing in Pennsylvania by communities confronting agribusiness, sewage sludge, and quarry corporations. Included with enrollment in the Democracy School is a 300 plus-page notebook of background reading material. For a historical review of the Pennsylvania work through the end of 2003, see a feature article that appeared in Orion Magazine.

Created by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and Richard Grossman, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD), Democracy Schools were launched with five weekend sessions at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 2003. Since then, the number of schools has grown rapidly. In 2006, there are over a dozen locations across the country offering Democracy Schools, so peruse our list and find a school near you!

The Schools are built around carefully designed readings, clear presentations and group discussions.

* Each School reveals how it came to be that the law enables corporate managers to dictate their values, and impose their projects on communities.
* Includes an intense, comprehensive history of the judicial bestowal of constitutional rights of persons on corporations.
* Learn the secret of how People’s Movements have cut to the essence and won their struggles to be “found” in the constitution.

* The Anti-Federalists
* The Abolitionists
* The Suffragists
* The Populists
* The Labor Movement

* And learn about earlier Movements, including the Levelers and the Diggers.
* Experience the story of Pennsylvania communities, and New England Town Meetings, as well as North Western city battles – in the ongoing struggle to take the power to govern out of the Corporate Boardrooms and put it back in our communities where it belongs.
* For people of all ages, interests and occupations
* Classes consist of small groups of 10-15 people like you.


"If you take no other training this year, do the Democracy School. It is a superlative unfolding revelation of how corporations have hijacked democracy. It meticulously deconstructs the historical arc that brought us to this precipice. But most importantly, it then departs into the highly pragmatic and inspiring work now underway that is slowly turning the tide . . . This Second American Revolution may be the most important political work going on anywhere in the country or the world."

-Kenny Ausubel ‘05, Founder and Co-Executive Director, Bioneers

"Democracy School was a mind-blowing experience. During the School, I was forced to come to grips with the understanding that I really knew very little about the true structure of law that controls our activism. Democracy School is a must for everyone who seeks to be liberated from our defensive, after-the-fact reactive organizing strategies."

Featuring Thomas Linzey Esq. and Mari Margil -- WATCH PARTS II - VI HERE

Monday, March 14, 2011

Twelve Unsustainable Collapsing Systems

(NaturalNews) 


If you look around what's really happening in our world today, there's an inescapable pattern that curiously emerges: Much of what's going on is simply unsustainable. It can't go on for much longer, in other words. And it must collapse due to the laws of economics or physics.

Here, I've put together a collection of twelve systems that are utterly unsustainable on our planet. Each of these twelve is scheduled for some sort of collapse or shut down in the coming years. They range from economics to medicine, population and the environment. And interestingly, the collapse of just one of these twelve would have devastating consequences across human civilization. What happens when two, three or ten of these things collapse?

This article doesn't cover the consequences of the collapse of these unsustainable things, but we'll work on covering that in future articles. Here are the twelve:

1) Debt-based banking and economic systems

There's little question that our global fractional reserve banking system is headed for a catastrophic collapse. It's a system based on debt rather than sound money principles, and the laws of economics dictate that the global multiplication of money and debt is entirely unsustainable.

This system will collapse, and when it does, it will be so large that the economic devastation will be global. Governments have actually made this worse, of course, by bailing out the dishonest investment institutions that have made the situation worse. The coming financial collapse will teach humanity some hard lessons about honest money.

When it comes to money, banking and debt, Ron Paul has always been right, after all.

2) Conventional agriculture and "rape the planet" farming

The current agricultural system that feeds the planet is simply unsustainable. It is a "rape the planet" model that clear-cuts forests to grow GMO soybeans that feed factory cattle which are turned into processed meat. Even the plant crops grown through conventional agriculture depend on chemical fertilizers from sources that are running out (fossil fuels, phosphate mines, etc.).

Furthermore, the mass application of chemical pesticides, fungicides and Monsanto's Roundup chemicals is destroying the viability of soils while polluting the world's farms, rivers, streams and oceans. This system is unsustainable. When it collapses, humanity will learn (the hard way) that only sustainable agriculture can sustain human life on our planet.

3) Mass-consumption economies based on buy-it-and-trash-it behavior

When children are raised to be good little Americans (or Canadians, or Australians, etc.), they're taught to consume more stuff. In America, it was even called "patriotic" by former President George Bush. To support your local economy, you're supposed to go out and buy stuff that you don't need, then chuck it into the trash after you use it, then go out and buy more!

Virtually the entire first-world economy is based on this idea that people need to consume more stuff, then throw it away, then consume more. That's what all the corporate advertising is for, to convince people that they are inadequate unless they buy and consume more high-priced cars, designer jeans, electronic gadgets and throwaway home cleaning supplies. This system is insane. And it cannot continue indefinitely.

4) The accelerating loss of farming soils

There's a great documentary you need to see on this calledDirt.(www.DirtTheMovie.org) It explains the value of dirt (soil) and why conventional agriculture methods are destroying the dirt upon which our civilization depends. We even wrote about the movie here: http://www.naturalnews.com/031597_D...

No dirt = no food. Get it? And the dirt is disappearing at an alarming rate, thanks to the unsustainable practices of conventional agriculture, with all its tilling, soil destruction, poisons and GMOs. I wonder what the people will plant their seeds in when all the cropland dirt is either dead or gone?

5) The mass poisoning of the oceans and aggressive over-fishing

Oceansecosystemsare collapsing. This isn't some future prediction, it's happening right now. Ocean acidification is destroying the coral reefs and mollusks all across the globe. At the same time, human civilization treats the oceans as giant planetary toilets into which all the toxic chemicals of modern civilization are flushed: Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, hormone-disrupting chemicals and a whole lot more.

Massive fish die-offs are becoming increasingly common (http://www.naturalnews.com/031645_d...), and fish populations are plummeting across several species. We are beginning to see the results of mankind's ongoing poisoning of the oceans.

6) Mass genetic pollution of the planet through GMOs

It will be the great, dark legacy of our modern civilization: The widespread genetic contamination of the planet through the use of GMOs.

Genetically engineered seeds are spreading their altered genetic code all across the world. The DNA of GMO crops is now detectable in soils, foods and water systems. What's the upshot of all this? It's a big unknown, of course, and that's the frightening part: No one before has ever "played God" with the planet, right out in the open, and then observed what happens after a few years (or decades). Thanks to companies like Monsantowe are the experiment, and no one know if it might ultimately lead to something like a widespread crop failure or even the alternation of natural web-of-life interactions across multiple ecosystems.

And if genetic pollution causes problems, how do you "clean" that pollution? You can't! Genetic pollution endures. Once crops become infected with GE seeds, it's all but impossible to eliminate the DNA contamination.

7) The drugs-and-surgery conventional medical system

Big Pharma's days are numbered -- based on economics if nothing else. The monopolistic pricing, the deadly side effects and the corrupt, criminal operations of the industry make it all utterly non-sustainable.

Big Pharma and the whole chemical approach to medicine is bankrupting companies, cities, states and nations. No nation can economically survive in the long run if it keeps spending its money on Big Pharma sick care schemes. Ultimately, those nations that hope to survive will need to ditch Big Pharma and return to natural medicine and preventive nutrition.

That day is coming. Sooner that you think, probably.

8) Widespread pharmaceutical contamination of the human population and the environment

Until the day comes that Big Pharma collapses into ruin, the pharmaceutical pollution of the planet will continue. Right now, pharmaceutical factories in India (which export their pills back to the states to be sold as brand-name drugs) are dumping untold thousands ofgallonsof dangerous chemical drugs into the waterways there (http://www.naturalnews.com/025415_w...).

In the U.S. and Canada, the water near every major city is heavily contaminated with pharmaceuticals. (http://www.naturalnews.com/025933.html)

The situation is so bad that Big Pharma's chemical runoff threatens the future of life on our planet! (http://www.naturalnews.com/029314_w...)

Fortunately, this sad chapter in human history will soon come to an end.

9) Runaway human population growth

Here's the one nobody wants to talk about. But make no mistake: The human population growth we see right now is entirely unsustainable. The available of cheapfoodand fossil fuels over the last century has contributed to an unprecedented population explosion that is now nearing its end. There are only so many acres of farmland, after all, and only so many acre-feet of water to irrigate it.

Don't misinterpret this, however, of thinking that I support some sort of population reduction measures a la Bill Gates and his quote about reducing the world population by 10 - 15 percent through the use of vaccines and health care (http://www.naturalnews.com/029911_v...).

Unlike some of the truly evil world leaders, I don't believe in killing off human beings just to reduce global population. Rather, it makes more sense toteach sustainable living practicesalong with good parenting and well-considered parenthood. Strangely, most of the new children brought into the world today are not the result of stable, well-prepared parents choosing to have children, but rather the unintended consequences of casual copulation.

10) Fossil water consumption for agriculture

We just published a story on this issue, talking about how the Ogallala Aquifer is running dry, threatening the agricultural output of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and even parts of Colorado and Texas (http://www.naturalnews.com/031658_a...).

This is a global issue, affecting India, China, North America, South America and nearly every nation that produces any significant agricultural yields. Fresh water is running out all across the world, and while additional water supplies can always be created through desalination, for example, that's a very expensive way to replenish the water, and it's almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels (see below). Even if you could build enough desalination plants to irrigate the world's croplands, the resulting food prices would still result in mass starvation by those who couldn't afford the food which might cost ten times the current price.

Imagine paying $20 for a loaf of bread and you get the idea of what's coming.

11) Fossil fuel consumption

I realize this is a highly contentious issue, with some people claiming that there's an "unlimited supply of oil" in our planet because it's replenishing itself all the time. This idea simply doesn't square with what we know: The Earth is a finite object, occupying finite space. Inside it can only be a finite amount of fossil fuels. The recharge rate of fossil fuels is on the scale of millions of years, meaning we can't simply wait around for more fuel to reappear if we use up the current reserves.

There is convincing evidence right now that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, has been lying about its output capacity for at least the last decade. It can't reach its production targets, and there is reasoned speculation that its own best-producing oil wells are approaching their end. Even if oil remains available for a few more decades, it still becomes increasingly expensive oil, meaning that everything else down the supply chain becomes more expensive, too: Food, fuel, consumer goods, etc.

The era of cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end. Although fossil fuels will no doubt be around for several decades more, the cheap stuff is long gone, it seems. The citizens of Earth will soon need to find an alternate way to power their cities, cars and businesses in the 21st century.

Oh, and by the way, solar probably isn't the answer, as solar panels depend on rare earth metals that are entirely dependent on Chinese mining operations (http://www.naturalnews.com/028160_r...). Wind energy also hasn't panned out as it should have. And the governments of the world continue to suppress free energy technologies such as Cold Fusion, which has now been proven to work by even the U.S. Navy (http://www.naturalnews.com/025925_c...).

12) The widespread destruction of animal habitat

Here's one that drives some people nuts. What? We can't keep clear-cutting the rainforests to plant genetically engineered soybeans?

Not if you want the planet to survive, actually. There's a delicate web of life on our planet upon which human life ultimately depends. The more animal habitat we destroy, the more it ultimately comes back to haunt us.

Now, I'm not in favor of the insane green police and the UN's freedom-stealing efforts to pigeon-hole human beings into centrally-controlled behavior boxes. The key here is finding ways for people to live in balance with nature while still maintaining their freedoms.

And that depends on education. We need to continue to teach people how to make sound decisions about where they buy their wood furniture (to avoid the slashing of old-growth forests). We need to teach people who eat meat to buy truly free-range, grass-fed meat rather than factory-farmed meats that depend on soybean mega-farms. And of course, we also need to make people aware of the benefits of getting more plant-based foods into their diets where possible, because when properly prepared, plant foods provide a lot of nutrients with a smaller ecological footprint than most meats.

I'm not against those who eat meat, by the way. I just think that people need to consider where their food comes from no matter what they're eating, and then take steps to reduce the ecological footprint of the food they're choosing to consume. The best answer to this is to buy local food. In fact, I would argue that eating some beef steaks from a local farmer is more ecologically sound than juicing up organic fruits and vegetables grown and imported from Chile (unless you live in Chile, of course).

That's an arguable point, of course, and opinions differ sharply on this, but I believe that we really need to focus on eating local foods just as much as we do onwhat we're eating. Personally, I don't eat cows, but even for the plants I consume, I'm working hard right now on growing more of my own so that I'm acting with integrity -- "walking the talk" so to speak -- to be aligned with what I'm advocating for others.

While we're at it, one of the best ways to reduce the destruction of animal habitat is to grow your own food by turning your yard into a garden. Reduce your demand for store-bought food and you unquestionably reduce your ecological footprint on the planet.

And reconsider how much seafood you eat. Most seafood is extremely damaging to ocean ecosystems. I don't have space to discuss it all right here, but we'll cover it more on NaturalNews in the near future.

Life is on the line

So those are 12 of the biggest things that are entirely unsustainable on our planet right now. Human life depends on most of them. It makes you wonder: How will humans survive when these systems and resources upon which we depend have run out or collapsed?

That is a question we'd all better be asking ourselves right now. Because the age of cheap fuel, cheap money, cheap water and cheap food is fast ending. The future of life on our planet will require something far more evolved than the infantile, selfish and self-destructive mindset that humanity has so far demonstrated.

Debt-based money systems don't cut it. Burning up all the fossil fuels is only a fool's abundance. Medicating the humans and animals with toxic, synthetic pharmaceuticals is a form of medical insanity. These things will all come to an end.

The question is: Who will survive the end of these things and be around to help shape the next society which must operate with far greater humility and wisdom?

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/031669_life_on_earth_unsustainable_agriculture.html#ixzz1GdM2ZOWl

Monday, March 7, 2011

Plutocracy - A No-Love Story


America Is NOT Broke...the Madison speech
by Michael Moore


Delivered in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 5th, 2011. Video available here.

America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined. 


Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'├ętat, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.



And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:
1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day -- this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart -- because you -- yes, you, too! -- might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.


2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!" 


The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.



Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois -- whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more -- something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job -- their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here to Madison today. He told me he's stopped hoping for a pay increase. All he's asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport. That's how despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep. They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it. After all, he's just another slob, isn't he?

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold?" I mean, there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you ...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.