Obama losing war at home

SUBHEAD: Voters, it appears, are speaking out — and not in the direction that President Obama needs them to be.

By Michael Falcone on 6 September 2013 for ABC News -

Image above: Senator John McCain was jeered whilet presenting case for America attacking Syria. From (http://news.yahoo.com/crowd-mccain-town-hall-opposes-syria-action-005233144.html).

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat who has been deeply skeptical of a military strike against Syria, said he would listen to his constituents before making a decision. And at a town meeting Thursday night in Kansas City, he got an earful. For two hours Cleaver stood at the front of a crowded room and listened to one person after another urge him to oppose military action. He heard from the liberal left and the Tea Party right — all with the same message, which one man summed up succinctly: “My short answer to this is not no, but hell no.”

So what will Cleaver do? As of now, he’s one of many House Democrats poised to vote no. Has anything in the administration’s argument been persuasive? “No,” he told ABC News after the meeting. “I listened to an official from the administration yesterday and while he was certainly powerful in his statements about why we should go alone, in terms of striking targets in Syria, I don’t think he said anything compelling.” When it comes to Syria, Cleaver ultimately said he has to treat President Obama like he would President Bush: “It doesn’t matter who sleeps in the White House,” he said.

Meanwhile in Arizona, Sen. John McCain’s town hall yesterday in Tucson was interrupted by jeers and anti-war chants. According to a dispatch from the Arizona Republic, police removed some disruptors, and a veteran walked out in the middle of a McCain answer when he didn’t like the case he was making on Syria. Another data point is the anecdotal evidence of voters making their views known through congressional offices. Several are reporting opposition to the war running at 99 percent or more.

Voters, it appears, are speaking out — and not in the direction that President Obama needs them to be. If he plans on engaging the public on his effort to lobby Congress, he gave the other side (both the anti-war left and the anti-Obama right) a week’s head start.

President Obama is considering a high-profile address to the nation on the need for military intervention in Syria — a speech that could come as early as this weekend — according to top lawmakers and administration officials.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said today there is no speech planned at this point, but that Obama is looking at “multiple opportunities” to make the case directly to Congress and the American people. Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he has “no doubt” the president will make a speech from the Oval Office in the coming days. Obama is expected to return to Washington from Russia and the G-20 summit late tonight. His weekend schedule has not been announced.

The first test vote on whether the president can use military force against Syria could come early next week in the Senate. In a quick pro forma session at noon today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will place the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution on the calendar. This allows for preliminary debate of the resolution to begin on Monday or Tuesday and sets up the first vote on cloture for as early as Wednesday. Reid indicated earlier this week that he hopes to have the resolution voted on by the end of next week.

As Washington debates potential military action against Syria, we have full analysis and the latest details of where the vote in Congress stands, and what it will take for the Obama administration to win support for a Syria strike. This Sunday, George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with two key players in the debate – White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a vocal critic of U.S. involvement in Syria.

And our powerhouse roundtable tackles the debate over military action against Syria, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, co-founder of the Foreign Policy Initiative Dan Senor, The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren. Check the “This Week” page for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program.


Climate Change’s Silver Bullet?

SUBHEAD: An interview with one of the world’s top geo-engineering scholars, Clive Hamilton.

By Ari Philips on 6 September 2013 fo Think Progress -

Image above: Geoengineering cloud slow down the Earth's water cycles. From Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  (https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2008/NR-08-05-04.html). Click to enlarge.

Since coming to Australia almost two months ago I’ve heard about Clive Hamilton in the process of reporting just about every story I’ve done. Then I picked up his new book Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering and now I see what all the fuss is about.

In all of the debates over how to address climate change, climate engineering — or geoengineering — is among the most contentious. It involves large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s climate using grand technological interventions, such as fertilizing the oceans with iron to absorb carbon dioxide or releasing sulfur into the atmosphere to reduce radiation. While its proponents call geoengineering a silver bullet for our climate woes, its skeptics are far more critical. Joe Romm, for one, likens geoengineering to a dangerous course of chemotherapy and radiation to treat a condition curable through diet and exercise — or, in this case, emissions reduction.

According to the cover of Hamilton’s new book, “The potential risks are enormous. It is messing with nature on a scale we’ve never seen before, and it’s attracting a flood of interest from scientists, venture capitalists and oil companies.”

Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. Until 2008 he was the Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a progressive think tank that he founded in 1993. Now he’s Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint center of Charles Stuart University and the University of Melbourne.

His books include Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change, Scorcher: The dirty truth about climate change and Growth Fetish amongst others.

Hamilton’s next book will be about the anthropocene — a new geologic era in which human activities have had a significant impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. He took some time to talk with me about this new era, the future of geoengineering and what it all means for humanity. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

How has the environmental community responded to your book on geoengineering?

I remember back in late 1990s around Kyoto there was a great deal of resistance amongst environmentalists and climate activists, including myself, against any talk of adaptation. It was seen to be a capitulation to a kind of defeatism that we ought not to be talking about adaptation because that means that mitigation has failed. Eventually I think we all came around to view that some climate change is going to happen and therefore adaptation has to be considered. It’s better to have seat at the table, as it were, when adaptation is being discussed.

I think we’re in the same stage now with geoengineering. Most environmentalists don’t want to know about it. Most climate activists don’t want to talk about it. There is a sense that in doing so you are conceding that it could well be possible that geoengineering will be necessary because the world community will continue to fail, perhaps even more egregiously, at responding to scientific warnings.

But I wrote the book because I became aware in writing my previous book that the genie was out of the bottle: geoengineering was going to grow in importance. Therefore, climate campaigners and environmental groups sooner or later are going to have to engage in the issue. It’s a question of whether they start now or leave it for another five years, at which point the lobby backing geoengineering will be much more powerful and will have had an opportunity to frame it more inflexibly in the media and in broader public mind.

Did you come across any big surprises while writing the book?

There were a couple of big surprises. One was the extent of the geoengineering lobby and the links between the scientists and the investors. I developed a much stronger sense of the likelihood of a powerful geoengineering constituency emerging, which would — if it were not countered by a skeptical community of thinkers and campaigners — essentially take control of whole agenda. Plotting those links and laying them out was something that I go into quite a lot of detail over. At the same time it stimulated me to think about the military-industrial complex, the famous lobby group that help such sway in the U.S. in the middle of the 20th century.

One thing I noticed while doing this research and looking at scientists involved was the density of the linkages with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. So I investigated further and thought it’s really quite astonishing the extent to which many, if not most, prominent scientific researchers in geoengineering in the U.S. worked at Livermore or have close links with people there now or those who used to work there.

Then when I read Hugh Gusterson’s book on Livermore and it’s role in the cold war and nuclear weapons development, I started to think much more carefully about the type of mindset that is especially drawn to geoengineering as a technological response to global warming. I think it’s quite alarming in its implications. That lead me to further think about the geostrategic implications of climate engineering, which is something that’s received almost no attention, but we do know that people in the military and related strategic communities are starting to think about geoengineering and what it would mean for international relations and conflict.

What about the potential for financial gain?

A noble desire to save the world from climate change will attract less noble intentions. That’s just the way of the world. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Already we’re seeing it with Canadian oil sands billionaire Murray Edwards investing in geoengineering technologies.

I spend quite a bit of time talking about Bill Gates in the book. Earlier this year, I was talking about the scientific entrepreneurial lobby group that was emerging during a debate with Peter Singer (another Australian philosopher) and I mentioned Bill Gates. Singer said, “Well what’s wrong with Bill Gates? He’s well motivated. He does a lot of good charity work. If you’re going to have millionaires investing in geoengineering then Bill Gates would be one of the first.”

I made the point that yes, Bill Gates is now in philanthropic mode, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does praiseworthy work, but it’s not Bill Gates’ motives I’m worried about; it’s his worldview. That Silicon Valley, ‘we’ve-got-an-app-for-that’ kind of understanding. Joe Romm (Editor of Climate Progress) has been very critical of Gates for his dissing of renewable energy technology. Gates described solar energy as cute.

So Gates is drawn to big, new, shiny technological responses that clever people dream up. You know, brainstorming over pizza and coke. That’s where he comes from and that’s how he thinks. It’s one thing to think about computers and software that way, but it’s a completely different matter to think about the earth as a whole as in need of a snazzy new app that will solve the problem. I think that’s an extremely dangerous way to understand it for all sorts of reasons.

Perhaps the most important of which is that the climate change problem is not a technological one. It’s a social and political one. The more people focus on techno-fixes, the more they distract us from the real problems, which are the social and political difficulties of responding to climate change. We have the technology and have had it for many years. So arguing that the blockage is the absence of technology is extremely unhelpful and plays into the hands of the fossil fuel lobby.

In the book you say the slippery slope to a techno-fix promises a substitute for the slippery slope to revolution.

Revolutions take all different forms of course, from the industrial revolution to Tahrir Square to the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s, and it’s more along the lines of the latter that I was thinking of, and into which new forms of climate activism can feed. There’s often a sort of terror in environmental groups that if they do something radical or outrageous, they’ll alienate mom and dad in the suburbs.

But social movements that have radically changed the way our world works — think of the woman’s movement — have frequently started out being rancorous and difficult and attracting the derision of the conservative press and politicians. And indeed, mystifying and often alienating people living in the suburbs or high-rises. If people have to be shocked and outraged before they come around to seeing that some fundamental transformation is necessary, then so be it. I think that there’s a level of fear and complacency and unwillingness to shift to change on the part of our societies, and some kind of circuit breaker is necessary.

You talk about the acceptance of the “solution” of geoengineering even by people who don’t seem to think climate change is a problem in the first place.

That’s one of the, on the face of it, mystifying aspects of the geoengineering debate. Why conservative think tanks like The American Enterprise Institute, The Cato Institute and even The Heartland Institute, which have for years worked hard to deny climate science and block all measures to reduce carbon emissions, have come out in favor of geoengineering.

What it shows us is that the debate over climate change and the role of the deniers is not about the science. They want to make it about the science because that gives it an air of legitimacy, but it’s really about fundamental cultural and political values. So if geoengineering is the solution then they’re happy to concede that there’s a problem because geoengineering is a big, technological, macho, system-justifying response to climate change. And that’s the kind of response that fits with their political orientation.

 How does the “American Way of Life” factor into all of this?

Already we’re seeing what authorities in the U.S. need to do in order to protect people from massive hurricanes and monster wildfires and frequent floods. As the effects of climate change become even more severe we’ll see nations like the U.S. that are in a position to adapt start spending billions of dollars dong so.

And of course, the more the climate deniers persuade politicians that hurricanes and wildfires aren’t due to climate change, the less responsive authorities are likely to be and the more people will die, in effect. Eventually it will be impossible to continue to pretend that mitigation is not the first best option. It might take five years, it might take ten, let’s hope it doesn’t take twenty.

The sort of tragedy of all this is that if the world had become serious ten or so years ago that cost would have been vastly smaller than it’s going to be. But you know that’s in a perfect world where human beings are rational and take reasonable measures to protect themselves from the warnings of scientists. But we now know that the enlightenment conception of human beings as rational creatures who assess the evidence and take measures to protect themselves from harm, that has now collapsed before us. We can no longer maintain that belief.  

That feeds into this idea of the anthropocene and the ethical implications of living in a world with climate change.

I am writing a book about the anthropocene because it seems to me that when human beings become so powerful that they transform the fundamental cycles and processes that govern the evolution of the earth itself that we’re entering into an era, or we’ve reached an event, that’s as significant as the industrial revolution, or even the process of civilization itself.

It causes us to rethink pretty much everything. It certainly causes us to rethink what the relationship of human beings is to the planet, but in a harder way, what is a human being. The sort of modern conception of what a human being is is an isolated ego existing inside a body. And most of us think that’s just what we are. But in fact that’s a very recent and culturally specific understanding of what a human being is. And it’s the conception of a human being that’s consistent with an advanced consumer society.

Collectively though, we are the kind of creatures, like certain types of microbes, that can completely transform the nature of the planet on which we live. If this is so, then it causes us to rethink who we are and what the place of this strange, clever creature is on planet earth.

We can no longer think of the Earth as the passive and unresponsive backdrop to the human drama where we play out our parts in a kind of Shakespearean play and not worry about the backdrop. We now find that the backdrop, the stage scenery, has entered into the play and is disrupting the whole proceedings.

Something very profound has happened. Human history, which we think of as only being a few thousand years old and is the history of human actions, has converged with geologic history, which we always thought of as operating in a very distinct domain having nothing to do with us. But now we find that our history affects the history of the earth.

If there is no more human history distinct from earth history, then what does that mean?

Extaordinary Times & Challenges

SOURCE: Mike Shooltz (mshooltz@aol.com)
SUBHEAD: Together we can all be healthy, happy, abundant and peaceful in a clean, sustainable environment.

By Michael Shooltz on 6 September 2013 for Kauai Rising -

Image above: “The Garden of Eden” (1828), by Thomas Cole. From (http://seedbed.com/feed/how-artists-do-theology/).

Aloha Mr. Mayor and County Council Members,

Together, you and We the People, are facing extraordinary challenges in extraordinary times. These challenges are not going to go away and we must face them now. Unresolved they will destroy us.

You, and We the People, share a desire for a healthy, abundant, prosperous life for ourselves, our families and our beautiful island home. We struggle to achieve these visions within a system that has been corrupted, and gone astray and serves a powerful corporate elite at the expense of We the People.

We struggle within the illusion that there exists a government "of the people, by the people and for the people." When we zoom out for a broader context we see that the very laws governing the System are crafted by a Corporate Aristocracy striving to tighten their grip on every aspect of our society. We live in a System where

We the People can be thrown in prison, without charge indefinitely, and where it is now legal to assassinate American citizens at the whim of the President. We see a system where Truth Tellers are imprisoned and criminal banksters walk free.

Zoom in and we find ourselves on an island where the System says it is legal for multi-national chemical companies to come here at their whim and spray toxic chemicals which poison our children, our homes, our schools and our environment, and yet it is against the law for We the People to say no to such lethal abuse.

We are dealing with Chemical Companies claiming to be farmers while they must wear HazMat suits in the fields to spray their toxins and then, after spraying, must stay out of their "gardens" for 72 hours while the poisons have time to spread into the crops, the soil, the air, the water, the schools and the neighborhoods, thereby making the fields "safe" to re-enter.

Zoom out and we watch the Elite's System plan to go to war in Syria because of one or two days of an alleged spraying of toxic chemicals on the people of Syria. Zoom in to our island home and we observe our people being sprayed with lethal toxins daily for years and our governments doing nothing to stop it.

The system is corrupt and broken. We the People listen to the political discourse on every level of government and hear our elected officials talk about law. And all around the world people are rising up in recognition that within the Elite's System there exists no relationship between law and justice.

Zoom out and we see in every corner of the world the people rising up and finding ways to let their voices be heard demanding Justice. Zoom in to our island home and we see We the People rising up in a united voice, also demanding Justice.

If laws are not just, they must be overturned and replaced. When the law says that it is legal to poison the land, and We the People of Kauai, the laws are unjust.

You as our elected representatives are serving in a very difficult and challenging time and situation. The difficulty you face is recognized. Rightly or wrongly you are at times perceived in the following ways.

Here on Kauai when the people approach you, our elected officials, and plead for help because the toxins being sprayed are killing us and our land, and we hear your concerns about "points of order", and what's on the agenda, and who is allowed to speak, we are witnessing a crumbling system struggling to maintain its own existence in the face of a rising tide of greater awareness.

When a tearful mother or grandmother approaches the railing in the council chambers expressing her concern and grief over the children's asthma, or birth defects, or a relative's cancer, and the response is "Thank you, your three minutes are up" and nothing happens to stop the poisoning, the futility and unjust nature of the system is extraordinarily obvious.

You did not create this system. You inherited it with all of its flaws just as we all did. It is our shared responsibility to remedy these flaws.

We the People of Kauai watch our State Senate President appoint a Monsanto Lobbyist to a key position overseeing water rights, and watch our Governor on youtube assuring the Chemical Companies that, "You don't have to lobby me, you already have my full support!"; and we witness the flurry of laws being presented in our State Legislature that have obviously been written by the Chemical Companies. On the Federal level we watch the Monsanto Protection Act be passed, and the FDA and EPA headed by Chemical Company lawyers.

We see how corrupted the System is, and then we listen to members of our County Council say, "Oh, this is an issue that should be handled by the State or the Federal Government". Clearly these issues have not been, and in all probability will not be, handled by other levels of government. We have heard nothing from any of our state level elected officials addressing the poisoning of Kauai. It is only here on our island home that we have the ability, along with the responsibility, to address these issues.

We the People have also listened to some of our Kauai County Council members express concerns about violating their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. This concern rings a very hollow note. In these extraordinary times extraordinary actions are required. In the past the "law" stated that women, blacks, indigenous people, and white males who did not own land, did not have the right to vote or hold office.

If no one in the past had had the courage to stand up for justice against unjust laws it would still be illegal for some of our current elected officials to even vote, let alone hold elected office. In the past many courageous individuals took a stand for justice, against existing laws, which allowed you to hold the seats you now hold. In these times, that same courage and commitment is required.

When someone asks our State or County attorneys what we are "allowed" to do, they merely look at the laws that the Corporate Elite have made part of the system and come back and tell us what the Corporate Elite say we can do. The real question that is required in these times is, "What must be done in order for Justice to prevail?" We the People have seen no evidence that County or State attorneys get paid to ask that question, or that anyone is even asking them that question. They are not concerned with Justice, merely law.

In a just system it will not be legal for corporations to poison the people and the land of Kauai. (with over one hundred tons of toxic chemicals annually) In a just system the power of money and corporations will be subservient to the well being of the people and the environment. In a just system government will be of the people, by the people and for the people.

You, as our elected officials face the same daunting challenge that we all face, that of having to try to function within a corrupted, and crumbling unjust system while moving toward a system of Justice and well being for all. If you are unwilling to meet that challenge it will always be easier to say, "That's not my job, the state should handle it", or "it violates my oath", or "let the attorneys decide", or, "I'm afraid of lawsuits", or "give us more studies"........." Each of these approaches perpetuates the status quo of continued daily poisoning on Kauai and will insure our island's demise.

When the Naturopathic doctors, and the Pediatricians, and the Nurses, and the Teachers, and the parents, and the grandparents, and even the children all testify confirming the calamitous effects of the poisoning here on Kauai, it is clear to anyone who wants to see, that the well being of the people and the island is being assaulted, and that neither money nor unjust laws can ever justify these lethal practices.

In spite of the illusions of complexity presented by our corrupt, elitist system, the solution to the poisoning of Kauai is in reality quite simple. We the People just say "No", this poisoning will no longer be allowed on our island. Period.

Later we can dance through laws, or lawsuits, or whatever spasms the dying System tries to foist upon us. But when we the people join together, and just say "No." the poisoning will stop and the healing can begin. You, our elected officials, are a part of We the People unless you choose otherwise. We are all in this together. The toxins do not check to see what color t-shirt we are wearing before they inflict themselves upon us.

Together, we can successfully meet the extraordinary challenges of these extraordinary times. We are surrounded by extraordinary people with extraordinary gifts offering extraordinary solutions. The only way that we can fail is by denying these gifts and choosing to be the small sheeple that the Elite would like us to be, giving our inherent power and authority over to the corrupt system, while fearfully hoping that someone else will come to save us.

We the People did not elect you to save us. You were elected to represent us. Please hear our voices. We have significant challenges to face....jobs, health, economics, remediation. But first the poisoning must stop. The Ohana of Kauai are quite intelligent, creative, and resourceful people talking many wonderful initiatives. It is only fear and separation that can make us small.

Together we can all be healthy, happy, abundant and peaceful in a clean, sustainable environment. It has been a long time since we've actually seen that happen. But these are truly extraordinary times, and we have the very real possibility of creating that reality now, here on this extraordinary island we call home.

May each one of us be blessed with the Wisdom to know what is right, and the Courage to do what is right.

And may the poisoning of Kauai and it's people stop, now.

Mahalo to each one of you for addressing these serious and challenging issues.


Michael L.Shooltz
on behalf of Kauai Rising


The next ten billion years

SUBHEAD: The shortest-lived civilization lasted for less than 100 years while the longest endured for 8 millennia.

By John Michael Greer on 5 September 2013 for the Archdruid Report -

Image above: Screen shot of my computer after entering the Time Machine program. From Juan Wilson's desktop.

Earlier this week, I was trying to think of ways to talk about the gap between notions about the future we’ve all absorbed from the last three hundred years of fossil-fueled progress, on the one hand, and the ways of thinking about what’s ahead that might actually help us make sense of our predicament and the postpetroleum, post-progress world ahead, on the other.

While I was in the middle of these reflections, a correspondent reminded me of a post from last year by peak oil blogger Ugo Bardi, which set out to place the crises of our time in the context of the next ten billion years.

It’s an ambitious project, and by no means badly carried out. The only criticism that comes to mind is that it only makes sense if you happen to be a true believer in the civil religion of progress, the faith whose rise and impending fall has been a central theme here in recent months. As a sermon delivered to the faithful of that religion, it’s hard to beat; it’s even got the classic structure of evangelical rhetoric—the awful fate that will soon fall upon those who won’t change their wicked ways, the glorious salvation awaiting those who get right with Progress, and all the rest of it.

Of course the implied comparison with Christianity can only be taken so far. Christians are generally expected to humble themselves before their God, while believers in progress like to imagine that humanity will become God or, as in this case, be able to pat God fondly on the head and say, “That’s my kid.”

More broadly, those of my readers who were paying attention last week will notice that the horrible fate that awaits the sinful is simply that nature will be allowed to go her own way, while the salvation awaiting the righteous is more or less the ability to browbeat nature into doing what they think she ought to do—or rather, what Bardi’s hypothesized New Intelligence, whose interests are assumed to be compatible with those of humanity, thinks she ought to do.

There’s plenty that could be said about the biophobia—the stark shivering dread of life’s normal and healthy ripening toward death—that pervades this kind of thinking, but that’s a subject for another post. Here I’d like to take another path.

Once the notions of perpetual progress and imminent apocalypse are seen as industrial society’s traditional folk mythologies, rather than meaningful resources for making predictions about the future, and known details about ecology, evolution, and astrophysics are used in their place to fill out the story, the next ten billion years looks very different from either of Bardi’s scenarios. Here’s my version or, if you will, my vision.

Ten years from now:
Business as usual continues; the human population peaks at 8.5 billion, liquid fuels production remains more or less level by the simple expedient of consuming an ever larger fraction of the world’s total energy output, and the annual cost of weather-related disasters continues to rise. Politicians and the media insist loudly that better times are just around the corner, as times get steadily worse.

Among those who recognize that something’s wrong, one widely accepted viewpoint holds that fusion power, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration will shortly solve all our problems, and therefore we don’t have to change the way we live.

Another, equally popular, insists that total human extinction is scarcely a decade away, and therefore we don’t have to change the way we live. Most people who worry about the future accept one or the other claim, while the last chance for meaningful systemic change slips silently away.

A hundred years from now:
It has been a difficult century. After more than a dozen major wars, three bad pandemics, widespread famines, and steep worldwide declines in public health and civil order, human population is down to 3 billion and falling.

Sea level is up ten meters and rising fast as the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps disintegrate; fossil fuel production ground to a halt decades earlier as the last economically producible reserves were exhausted, and most proposed alternatives turned out to be unaffordable in the absence of the sort of cheap, abundant, highly concentrated energy only fossil fuels can provide.

Cornucopians still insist that fusion power, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration will save us any day now, and their opponents still insist that human extinction is imminent, but most people are too busy trying to survive to listen to either group.

A thousand years from now:
The Earth is without ice caps and glaciers for the first time in twenty million years or so, and sea level has gone up more than a hundred meters worldwide; much of the world has a tropical climate, as it did 50 million years earlier. Human population is 100 million, up from half that figure at the bottom of the bitter dark age now passing into memory.

Only a few scholars have any idea what the words “fusion power,” “artificial intelligence,” and “interstellar migration” once meant, and though there are still people insisting that the end of the world will arrive any day now, their arguments now generally rely more overtly on theology than before.

New civilizations are rising in various corners of the world, combining legacy technologies with their own unique cultural forms. The one thing they all have in common is that the technological society of a millennium before is their idea of evil incarnate. 

Ten thousand years from now:
The rise in global temperature has shut down the thermohaline circulation and launched an oceanic anoxic event, the planet’s normal negative feedback process when carbon dioxide levels get out of hand.

Today’s industrial civilization is a dim memory from the mostly forgotten past, as far removed from this time as the Neolithic Revolution is from ours; believers in most traditional religions declare piously that the climate changes of the last ten millennia are the results of human misbehavior, while rationalists insist that this is all superstition and the climate changes have perfectly natural causes.

As the anoxic oceans draw carbon out of the biosphere and entomb it in sediments on the sea floor, the climate begins a gradual cooling—a process which helps push humanity’s sixth global civilization into its terminal decline.

A hundred thousand years from now: 
Carbon dioxide levels drop below preindustrial levels as the oceanic anoxic event finishes its work, and the complex feedback loops that govern Earth’s climate shift again: the thermohaline circulation restarts, triggering another round of climatic changes.

Humanity’s seventy-ninth global civilization flourishes and begins its slow decline as the disruptions set in motion by a long-forgotten industrial age are drowned out by an older climatic cycle.

The scholars of that civilization are thrilled by the notions of fusion power, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration; they have no idea that we dreamed the same dreams before them, being further in our future than the Neanderthals are in our past, but they will have no more luck achieving those dreams than we did. 

A million years from now:
The Earth is in an ice age; great ice sheets cover much of the northern hemisphere and spread from mountain ranges all over the world, and sea level is 150 meters lower than today. To the people living at this time, who have never known anything else, this seems perfectly normal.

Metals have become rare geological specimens—for millennia now, most human societies have used renewable ceramic-bioplastic composites instead—and the very existence of fossil fuels has long since been forgotten. The 664th global human civilization is at its peak, lofting aerostat towns into the skies and building great floating cities on the seas; its long afternoon will eventually draw to an end after scores of generations, and when it falls, other civilizations will rise in its place.

Ten million years from now:  
The long glacial epoch that began in the Pleistocene has finally ended, and the Earth is returning to its more usual status as a steamy jungle planet. This latest set of changes proves to be just that little bit too much for humanity.

No fewer than 8,639 global civilizations have risen and fallen over the last ten million years, each with its own unique sciences, technologies, arts, literatures, philosophies, and ways of thinking about the cosmos; the shortest-lived lasted for less than a century before blowing itself to smithereens, while the longest-lasting endured for eight millennia before finally winding down.

All that is over now. There are still relict populations of human beings in Antarctica and a few island chains, and another million years will pass before cascading climatic and ecological changes finally push the last of them over the brink into extinction.

Meanwhile, in the tropical forests of what is now southern Siberia, the descendants of raccoons who crossed the Bering land bridge during the last great ice age are proliferating rapidly, expanding into empty ecological niches once filled by the larger primates. In another thirty million years or so, their descendants will come down from the trees.

One hundred million years from now:
Retro-rockets fire and fall silent as the ungainly craft settles down on the surface of the Moon. After feverish final checks, the hatch is opened, and two figures descend onto the lunar surface. They are bipeds, but not even remotely human; instead, they belong to Earth’s third intelligent species.

They are distantly descended from the crows of our time, though they look no more like crows than you look like the tree shrews of the middle Cretaceous. Since you have a larynx rather than a syrinx, you can’t even begin to pronounce what they call themselves, so we’ll call them corvins.

Earth’s second intelligent species, whom we’ll call cyons after their raccoon ancestors, are long gone. They lasted a little more than eight million years before the changes of an unstable planet sent them down the long road to extinction; they never got that deeply into technology, though their political institutions made the most sophisticated human equivalents look embarrassingly crude.

The corvins are another matter. Some twist of inherited psychology left them with a passion for heights and upward movement; they worked out the basic principles of the hot air balloon before they got around to inventing the wheel, and balloons, gliders, and corvin-carrying kites play much the same roles in their earliest epic literature that horses and chariots play in ours.

As corvin societies evolved more complex technologies, eyes gazed upwards from soaring tower-cities at the moon, the perch of perches set high above the world. All that was needed to make those dreams a reality was petroleum, and a hundred million years is more than enough time for the Earth to restock her petroleum reserves—especially if that period starts off with an oceanic anoxic event that stashes gigatons of carbon in marine sediments. Thus it was inevitable that, sooner or later, the strongest of the great corvin kith-assemblies would devote its talents and wealth to the task of reaching the moon.

The universe has a surprise in store for the corvins, though. Their first moon landing included among its goals the investigation of some odd surface features, too small to be seen clearly by Earth-based equipment. That first lander thus set down on a flat lunar plain that, a very long time ago, was called the Sea of Tranquillity, and so it was that the stunned corvin astronauts found themselves facing the unmistakable remains of a spacecraft that arrived on the moon in the unimaginably distant past.

A few equivocal traces buried in terrestrial sediments had suggested already to corvin loremasters that another intelligent species might have lived on the Earth before them, though the theory was dismissed by most as wild speculation.

The scattered remnants on the Moon confirmed them, and made it hard for even the most optimistic corvins to embrace the notion that some providence guaranteed the survival of intelligent species. The curious markings on some of the remains, which some loremasters suggested might be a mode of visual communication, resisted all attempts at decipherment, and very little was ever learnt for certain about the enigmatic ancient species that left its mark on the Moon.

Even so, it will be suggested long afterwards that the stark warning embodied in those long-abandoned spacecraft played an important role in convincing corvin societies to rein in the extravagant use of petroleum and other nonrenewable resources, though it also inspired hugely expensive and ultimately futile attempts to achieve interstellar migration—for some reason the corvins never got into the quest for fusion power or artificial intelligence.

One way or another, though, the corvins turned out to be the most enduring of Earth’s intelligent species, and more than 28 million years passed before their day finally ended.

One billion years from now:
The Earth is old and mostly desert, and a significant fraction of its total crust is made up of the remains of bygone civilizations. The increasing heat of the Sun as it proceeds through its own life cycle, and the ongoing loss of volatile molecules from the upper atmosphere into space, have reduced the seas to scattered, salty basins amid great sandy wastes.

Only near the north and south poles does vegetation flourish, and with it the corbicules, Earth’s eleventh and last intelligent species. Their ancestors in our time are an invasive species of freshwater clam. (Don’t laugh; a billion years ago your ancestors were still trying to work out the details of multicellularity.)

The corbicules have the same highly practical limb structure as the rest of their subphylum: six stumpy podicles for walking, two muscular dorsal tentacles for gross manipulations and two slender buccal tentacles by the mouth for fine manipulations. They spend most of their time in sprawling underground city-complexes, venturing to the surface to harvest vegetation to feed the subterranean metafungal gardens that provide them with nourishment.

By some combination of luck and a broad general tendency toward cephalization common to many evolutionary lineages, Earth’s last intelligent species is also its most intellectually gifted; hatchlings barely out of creche are given fun little logic problems such as Fermat’s last theorem for their amusement, and a large majority of adult corbicules are involved in one or another field of intellectual endeavor. Being patient, long-lived, and not greatly addicted to collective stupidities, they have gone very far indeed.

Some eight thousand years back, a circle of radical young corbicule thinkers proposed the project of working out all the physical laws of the cosmos, starting from first principles. So unprecedented a suggestion sparked countless debates, publications, ceremonial dances, and professional duels in which elderly scholars killed themselves in order to cast unbearable opprobrium on their rivals.

Still, it was far too delectable an intellectual challenge to be left unanswered, and the work has proceeded ever since. In the course of their researches, without placing any great importance on the fact, the best minds among the corbicules have proved conclusively that nuclear fusion, artificial intelligence, and interstellar migration were never practical options in the first place.

Being patient, long-lived, and not greatly addicted to collective stupidities, the corbicules have long since understood and accepted their eventual fate. In another six million years, as the Sun expands and the Earth’s surface temperature rises, the last surface vegetation will perish and the corbicules will go extinct; in another ninety million years, the last multicellular life forms will die out; in another two hundred million years, the last seas will boil, and Earth’s biosphere, nearing the end of its long, long life, will nestle down into the deepest crevices of its ancient, rocky world and drift into a final sleep.

Ten billion years from now
Earth is gone. It had a splendid funeral; its body plunged into stellar fire as the Sun reached its red giant stage and expanded out to the orbit of Mars, and its ashes were flung outwards into interstellar space with the first great helium flash that marked the beginning of the Sun’s descent toward its destiny. Two billion years later, the gas- and dust-rich shockwave from that flash plowed into a mass of interstellar dust dozens of light-years away from the Sun’s pale corpse, and kickstarted one of the great transformative processes of the cosmos.

Billions more years have passed since that collision. A yellow-orange K-2 star burns cheerily in the midst of six planets and two asteroid belts. The second planet has a surface temperature between the freezing and boiling points of water, and a sufficiently rich assortment of elements to set another of the great transformative processes of the cosmos into motion.

Now, in one spot on the surface of this world, rising up past bulbous purplish things that don’t look anything like trees but fill the same broad ecological function, there is a crag of black rock. On top of that crag, a creature sits looking at the stars, fanning its lunules with its sagittal crest and waving its pedipalps meditatively back and forth. It is one of the first members of its world’s first intelligent species, and it is—for the first time ever on that world—considering the stars and wondering if other beings might live out there among them.

The creature’s biochemistry, structure, and life cycle have nothing in common with yours, dear reader. Its world, its sensory organs, its mind and its feelings would be utterly alien to you, even if ten billion years didn’t separate you. Nonetheless, it so happens that a few atoms that are currently part of your brain, as you read these words, will also be part of the brain-analogue of the creature on the crag on that distant, not-yet-existing world. Does that fact horrify you, intrigue you, console you, leave you cold? We’ll discuss the implications of that choice next week.

So Long GMOs

SOURCE:  Ken Taylor (taylork021@hawaii.rr.com)
SUBHEAD: How genetically engineered foods will be eradicated from consumption and production.

By Dr Mercola on 1 September 2013 for Mercola.com -

Image above: Hungary torches more than 1,200 acres of GMO corn. From (http://www.hangthebankers.com/hungary-torches-500-hectares-of-gm-corn-to-eradicate-gmos-from-food-supply/).

We’re in really exciting times with regards to shifting the tide against genetically engineered (GE) foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As you know, I was a big supporter of the California GMO labeling campaign, and while we lost the vote by an incredibly narrow margin last November, Proposition 37 catalyzed an enormous amount of awareness across the US.

More people are now aware of GMOs than we could possibly have ever reached through educational efforts alone, investing the same amount of money that we invested in Prop. 37. It really marked the beginning of the end for GM foods in the US.

Jeffrey Smith, who is one of the leaders in educating people about the concerns and dangers of GMOs, has been at it for about 17 years. He believes we are now at the most critical stage in the history of GMO activism in the United States.
“We’ve now hit new stages of what I call the tipping point of consumer rejection,” he says. “And it follows very logically from Prop 37. Let me explain what I mean by a tipping point, and then I’ll explain exactly where we are in that process.
In January 1999, the biotech industry boldly predicted that within five years 95 percent of all commercial seeds in the world would be genetically modified and patented.
They did not anticipate the gag order of a scientist being lifted three weeks later in Europe. A firestorm of media reported on his results of a GMO-feeding study. Over 700 articles were written within a single month in the UK.
In 10 weeks, the tipping point of consumer rejection was achieved in Europe – heralded not by the European Commission banning GMOs, but by Unilever banning GMOs, then NestlĂ©, and then virtually everyone in Europe because they realized that using GM ingredients had become a marketing liability. This is what we call a tipping point.”

US Now Reaching the Tipping Point

In the US, we saw a tipping point against Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) when it got kicked out of Walmart, Starbucks, Yoplait, and Dannon.

This was not due to any action taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but occurred when mothers across the nation became aware of the cancer risks associated with milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone.

Now, the tipping point of consumer rejection of genetically engineered foods in the US is almost here.

A clear sign of this occurred last year, when the president of Whole Foods confessed that when a product becomes verified as Non-GMO or GMO-free, sales leap by 15-30 percent. Of all the categories of health and wellness claims, such as “gluten-free,” etc, “GMO-free” products have the most rapid growth in sales.
“This shows an enormous desire and demand for non-GMO products,” Smith says. “There are now 10,000 products in our NonGMOShoppingGuide.com database that are verified as non-GMO, and that’s expanding every day.”
“It’s actually happening in a big way. The next stage of the tipping point was heralded by a New York Times article1 on the 27th of May. If you were to read it from the perspective of a food product manager, you would realize the absolute need to make a decision.
I call it the stage of 'awake and scramble,' where they wake to the fact that the GMO movement is in place. It’s not going away. And if they want to participate, they got to scramble for non-GMO ingredients now because they may not be able to get it later.”

Signs of the Times

The article touched on a number of vital signs of progress in the movement against genetically engineered foods, including:
  • The March Against Monsanto in 52 countries by more than two million people
  • Labeling laws proposed in more than two dozen states, which subsequently passed in Connecticut and Maine. Washington State will probably pass a GMO labeling bill as well this fall
  • Hundreds of companies have enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, and some non-GMO companies fret they may lose their sources of non-GMO ingredients to the new-comers
  • Farmers now receive more non-GMO premiums
  • Some companies are already going overseas to get non-GMO ingredients

Besides that, Target has announced that its own brand will be non-GMO in 2014. Ben & Jerry’s will be non-GMO by the end of this year, and while Chipotle’s restaurants are working toward a non-GMO menu, they voluntarily started labeling in the meantime. There’s also been more news coverage on the dangers of GMOs. According to Smith:

“The next stage of the tipping point is coming up very soon. It is called the battle for market share.”

The Battle for Market Share—Ready, Set...

The battle for market share begins the moment a mainstream food company that is not just sold in Whole Foods or a natural food chain puts a “Non-GMO Project Verified” sticker on its package and places it on the shelf next to a popular GMO-containing counterpart.
“This could happen at any time. It’s expected as early as August. Once it happens, the stopwatch starts ticking,” Smith says. “If we can move the sales in the direction of the Non-GMO Project Verified product and the other one starts reducing market share, it becomes the sell signal for the entire industry. If there’s a delay, if there’s no change in there, then the tipping point may stall and companies may use that as an excuse to say, 'Well, maybe this will go away or be firewalled into the natural food space.'
The Institute for Responsible Technology began a massive campaign this summer to drive the non-health conscious shopper – the Walmart and Safeway shopper – into the non-GMO product category by focusing on the following four categories:
  1. Mothers. Moms may sometimes not switch their own diet for themselves but they’re dedicated when it comes to protecting their children, and there’s ample evidence showing that children are most at-risk from GE foods. An impressive 1.7 million people watched Jeffrey Smith’s film Genetic Roulette during free-showing weeks in 2012, and many of them were parents, who immediately acted on the information and saw the results for themselves. Says Smith:
  2. “I was speaking at MIT recently and someone from the audience said, 'We saw the film. Before that, my six-and-a-half-year old was violent and out of control. They wanted to take him out of school and actually label him retarded. After changing his diet, a month later, I had a new child. All of those problems went away.' We’re getting that information out to the moms.”
  3. The sick, and their doctors. Mounting research has linked GE foods to a number of diseases and disorders. Studies are also implicating two of the main toxins related to GE foods, Roundup and Bt toxin, to all sorts of diseases.
  4. “I go around the country and ask audiences, 'How many of you have significantly removed GMOs from your diet?' And then I say, 'Okay, tell us all what improvements you’ve noticed.' We hear: allergies; headaches; fatigue; gastrointestinal disorders; kidney and liver problems; diabetes; high blood pressure; skin problems; aggression; depression; infertility. Someone said, 'My client couldn’t get pregnant for five years, switched to a non-GMO diet, and was pregnant three weeks later.' Another woman said, 'My four-year-old started talking.' We hear from parents of autistic kids –even from an autistic person directly – who told me when they switched to a non-GMO diet, the symptoms alleviated. An autistic man in his 60s came up to me and said, 'I would never be able to come to this meeting with you had I not changed my diet, because these symptoms were preventing me from this type of social interaction...' A lot of people also lose weight when they get rid of GMOs. It’s another main feature that we have to highlight, which we haven’t done a good job at.”
  5. Religious groups. The Institute is also talking to people of various religious faiths, whose scriptures tell them to respect the natural way of things.
  6. “They realize when they look inside this technology of mixing and matching across kingdoms and species and forcing DNA into new species that have never been there before, that it is against their faith. And then when they see the evidence showing that it’s actually causing health problems, it confirms what they believe. Many of them are getting onboard to direct their congregations to avoid GMOs.”
  7. Pet owners. Many pet owners will tell you, their animals are just as much part of the family as any child is. And, as with children, animals are also among the most at-risk.
  8. “We are finding – based on the experiences of veterinarians and pet-owners – that animals that eat the byproducts of the human food supply are suffering from the same diseases and disorders that humans are suffering from. We have veterinarians saying that animals and livestock – pets and horses – are all suffering from eating GMOs and improve when they get rid of GMOs,” Smith says.
Vote Non-GMO with Every Purchase
The feedback Smith describes offers strong testimony to the fact that even though it may have looked like we lost the battle when Prop. 37 failed to pass, we really won the war because it triggered this process of rapidly mounting awareness. And with awareness, people are quickly shifting their purchasing habits.

The rapid and dramatic rise in sales of products that are Non-GMO Verified really demonstrates the power you have as a consumer. And this is how we will ultimately win, because most food companies don’t have a particular pro-GMO agenda. They’re just selling what people will buy, and by using the most inexpensive ingredients possible they can increase profits. But if their profits go down due to an undesirable ingredient, they will change it.

So, to keep the momentum going, I urge you to purchase Non-GMO Project Verified foods, and to tell your friends and relatives to do the same. Explain to them why, and point them toward resources if they’re skeptical, or they’re concerned that this is all some over-emotional response that has no basis in science.
“We know that the information that we’re presenting at the Institute for Responsible Technology2 has been tested to verify change in people’s diet very quickly,” Smith says.”I recommend getting involved in our materials—our free newsletter at ResponsibleTechnology.org, for example—and sharing that information with others.”

Results from Animal-Feeding Studies Correlate with Human Disease Patterns

According to Smith, there are definitive correlations between the results from animal-feeding studies and the patterns of human disease we’re now seeing. For example, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has done a number of animal-feeding studies on GMOs and specifically enumerated the particular categories of diseases and disorders found in these controlled environments:
Gastrointestinal problems Immune problems Reproductive problems
Organ damage Dysfunction and dysregulation of cholesterol Dysfunction and dysregulation of insulin

“You look at the three different corresponding factors: (1) what humans are getting better from, (2) what livestock is getting better from, (3) what afflictions are afflicting the lab animals fed with GMOs, and then you look at what diseases are really taking off in the United States – they’re the same categories,” Smith says.
For example, kidney problems have been demonstrated in 19 different animal-feeding studies, and kidney diseases are on the rise in the US. Could there be a connection? Smith and I both believe this to be the case. According to Smith:
“We heard from two people at a meeting in Arizona, someone whose husband was nearly on dialysis and someone else who had three kidney transplants – both situations reversed when they changed their diet.
You see things like the animal-feeding study out of Russia where the babies were a lot smaller after being fed GE soy, and you see the incidence of low-birth-weight babies is going up in the United States... Deaths from senile dementia moved along at a certain pace, and then when GMOs or Roundup were introduced, it shot up... So, you see these correlations between these four things now: (1) the animal-feeding studies, (2) people getting better [when removing GMO], (3) livestock getting better [when removing GMO], and (4) changes in the disease rates.”

Glyphosate Toxicity—Another Hidden Danger of GE Foods

There’s also another potent toxin associated with genetically engineered foods that is unrelated to the Bt toxin or the genetic alteration itself, and that is glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide, which is used on both GE crops and many conventional crops as well. The contamination appears to be greater in GE crops however, especially in so-called Roundup Ready crops. These are genetically altered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of the herbicide, and it’s important to realize that the glyphosate permeates the entire plant. It cannot be washed off.

In June, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfound mechanism of harm for Roundup. The finding suggests that glyphosate may actually be the most important factor in the development of a wide variety of chronic diseases, specifically because your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm.

Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals. The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease... As stated by Smith:
“Roundup is actually patented as a biocide. It’s an antibiotic, it kills bacteria. That affects not only the soil, killing the beneficial bacteria that provide the nutrients to the soil, but it also kills the beneficial bacteria in your gut... It kills the Bifidus. It kills the Lactobacillus. But it keeps alive the E.coli, salmonella, and botulism, which is not something we want to keep alive. When you kill the beneficial gut bacteria, it affects your immune system and digestive tract.”
This remarkable finding was immediately followed by tests showing that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,3 while yet another study revealed that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.4 This finding might help explain why rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year.

Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans. In fact, research5 has shown that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications. Liver, embryonic and placental cell lines are adversely affected by glyphosate at doses as low as 1 ppm. GMO corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, and Americans eat an average of 193 lbs of GMO foods annually.6
The Road Ahead...

There’s every reason to be optimistic when it comes to getting GMOs out of our food supply. First of all, realize that we don’t have to affect policy change in order to take GMOs out; we can do it based on personal empowerment and individual decision making. To find out which brands and products have been Non-GMO Project Verified, see NonGMOShoppingGuide.com, or use the iPhone application ShopNoGMO – both are free. Another alternative with which you cannot go wrong is to buy organic whole foods, ditching processed fare altogether. But there’s more good news:
“We’re seeing now that it’s a movement that has its own life,” Smith says. “[At a recent event] someone said to me, 'My dad saw the film Genetic Roulette, took GMOs out of his diet, sent us all a copy of the thing, and bought land so that he can produce food.'
What’s happening now is that there is a self-organizing and spontaneous uprising of people who have been maybe prescribed a non-GMO diet by the thousands of doctors who are doing so, or been inspired to remove it by watching our film or your materials, etc. This is a movement. The food industry now recognizes it. Those who are in a position to move quickly will take the most advantage of it. They’ll see an increase in sales in the US as happened in Europe and Australia in the early days when their tipping point happened.
Right now, in the 17 years that I’ve been working on this, when I was first alerted to the health dangers of GMOs by a genetic engineer, I have never seen a more potent window of opportunity. We know that we can’t ask the Obama administration for a bow out. We can’t wait for the FDA to become awake. We have to do it ourselves. The key is we are already doing it ourselves. There’s a momentum. Non-GMO products are growing faster than anything else right now in terms of categories, and the momentum is on our side.
The big test will be very shortly when we look inside the aisles of Safeway, Walmart, and Kroger – not the Whole Foods – to see if our message is moving the needle to win the battle for market share. If it does, every GMO-laden product, every product manager will realize it. It’ll become the industry sell signal. They will scramble to get their non-GMO products available quickly, and we will win.”
Join Us in Your Right to Know by Getting GMOs Labeled!

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. In the past few weeks, Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO-labeling bills, and 20 other states have pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. So, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and get labeling across the country—something 64 other countries already have.

I hope you will join us in this effort.

The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people's initiative 522, "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. Please help us win this key GMO labeling battle and continue to build momentum for GMO labeling in other states by making a donation to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

Could Obama make it worse?

SUBHEAD: Yes. Besides ignoring global warming, ecosystem collapse, and predatory capitalism he could start WWIII.

By Juan Wilson on 6 September 2013 for Island Breath -

Image above: Modern Philoppine skyscrapers in the distance contrast with a typical shanty town in Manila Bay. Is this the future of First World as well? Yes, but the skyscrapers From (http://guavascowsandcrocodiles.blogspot.com/2011/09/letter-to-pope-benedict-xvi.html).

First, I apologize for all the recent posts focusing on Obama's campaign for US military intervention in Syria. It's not really the core of our mission at IslandBreath. However, the combination of forces surrounding this proposed misadventure in the Middle East seems quite capable of spiraling out of control and leading quickly to catastrophic consequences.

Those consequences would include unrestrained exchanges of violence between the United States and other nuclear powers with regional interests. In other words WWIII. The nuclear powers with such interest include Russian, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan as well as America, England and France. Some line-up!

I've only felt that nuclear chill down my spine once before and that was as a young man in 1962 when the United States and the Soviet Union (led by Russia) played out a nuclear chicken fight with us over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fortunately for the world, the USSR backed down. I don't think Russia today will repeat that embarrassment.

We can only hope Obama is praying to back out of this mess by having the US Congress deny him the green light.. Although I am beginning to think the same fungus in the Oval Office yellow carpet that ate George Bush's brain has taken Obama's.

We have plenty of work to due preparing Kauai for the hammer coming down on us. We need to get self reliant and resilient fast. But several things threaten us achieving that goal.  Here's my top five clusters of evil affecting Kauai.
  1. Climate Change - Global Warming - CO2 Emissions - Ocean Death
  2. US Military - Navy PMRF - Weapons Development/Testing on Land & Sea
  3. GMO BigAg Chemical Corporations - Poisoned Soil & Ocean - Chem Laden Food
  4. Fukushima Diaichi China Syndrome - Radioactive Health Risks in Ocean & Atmosphere
  5. Post Peak Oil Collapse - Isolation, Lack of Food, Medicines, Communications, Etc.

Unfortunately, Barrack Obama is pushing us in the wrong direction on all these issues. He's still whining about jobs and growth in a world heading for universal 3rd World status. I suppose he thinks he's telling us what we want to hear - but that's not a leaders job.

I see a leader's role as a) Facing the truth and making it beareable, b) Finding an action to solve underlying problems and c) Taking on in the chest, if necessary, to save the followers.

Incidentally, our heritage Rhode Island rooster did that just yesterday. Two good size dogs got in our yard and went after our thirteen hens. Those dogs probably could have killed several. By the time I realized what was going on all that remained of the rooster were some ragged piles of feathers and blood. One dog took off with a hen, but that was about all they got. I interceded with other dog that was trying to carry off a hen. She's a bit chewed up, but alive.

I never liked that rooster much, but he knew his job and did it. I can't say that for Obama.

Could Obama make it worse? It seems he's trying.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: WWIII or Peace 9/4/13
Ea O Ka Aina: US Stumbling into Syria War 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: More on Obama's Retreat 8/31/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama backs down 8/31/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama's useless blow 8/29/13


Our Seed - Our Sovereignty

SUBHEAD: Indonesian Local farmers legal victory over corporate big-ag increases food security and resilience.

By Staff on 4 September 2013 for Grain.org -

Image above: What was an illegal plant breeder's bamboo greenhouse in East Java. From original article.

We don’t want to live as second class citizens anymore. We have always been discriminated against, but we are legal citizens of this country.

We had to breed our local seeds in hiding, since if government knew about this we wouldn't get any support from government.
This victory at the constitutional court gives us back our Dignity. Recognition and openness to continue our creativity is the dignity for farmers and breeders.
- Joharipin, a breeder from Indramayu , Kertasemaya, Indonesia)

Between 2005 and 2010, more than a dozen farmers from Kediri and Nganjuk regencies in East Java were prosecuted after seed companies accused them of stealing seed. But a judicial review by Indonesia's constitutional court has found several key articles of the legislation used to go after the farmers are unconstitutional.

The Plant Cultivation System Law, adopted in 1992, was meant to improve and expand diversification of crops to meet the needs for food, clothing, housing and health, as well as to support domestic industries and export; it was also intended to improve income and living standards for farmers and encourage the expansion and distribution of employment and business opportunities.

But the agricultural system it has enabled relies on industrially-produced seeds and other expensive inputs. Farmers are denied control over their basic means of production - seeds and soil - and their own techniques and technologies are disappearing.
"Do not be too creative. Do not breed your own seed, or you will be prosecuted."
This was the warning from the prosecution to East Java farmers who tried to breed their own seeds for corn. Tukirin, a 53-year-old corn grower in Nganjuk regency, was one of those hauled before the local court. A judge ruled he had violated Article 14(1) of the plant cultivation law, which states that seed certification is to be undertaken only by the government, or authorised individuals and legal bodies.

Tukirin explained to the court – he had no legal representation – how he had bred his own seed, and sold some to his neighbours. He insisted that he had not stolen seeds, copied breeding methods from PT BISI or marketed uncertified seed on a commerical basis (though he did sell some to his neighbours).

PT Bisi (a subsidiary of the Thailand-based agribusiness multinational giant PT Charoen Phokpand) accuses Tukirin and others of stealing parent seeds, though they have failed to prove this. An expert witness from the government's seed supervision and certification office told the court it would have been impossible to breed seeds using Tukirin's method.

Tukirin received a suspended six month sentence, a year's probation, and was prohibited from planting his own seed for a year. Three others from the Kediri regency were found guilty of similar offences. Slamet and Kusen also got suspended sentences and probation, while Djumadi, a seed vendor, got a month in jail. All three banned from planting or breeding corn seeds.

Asked why he had no legal representation during his trial, Tukirin said he didn't know he was entitled to a lawyer. "I do not know the law. I have rarely been out of my village and I simply do not understand the system," he said.

For poor farmers like Tukirin, appearing in court like a criminal to be subjected to questioning by strangers, while not understanding exactly what he has been charged with, may be a harsher penalty than imprisonment itself.

Local NGOs report many similar, but undocumented cases in these regencies and beyond, where farmers are afraid to talk to researchers or reporters about their prosecution. The cases put across one important message: "Buy your seeds from the companies or else…"

Pursuing imaginary pirates

Interviewed by IHCS (the Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice), a PT BISI staff member admitted that the company is struggling to control what it terms "seed piracy" by farmers.

"They (farmers) have more faith in local seeds that they breed [themselves]. It took us a long time and a lot of effort to persuade them to switch to our hybrid seeds," he said.

The Tukirin case, according to the staffer, was only the tip of the iceberg. He said farmers in Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi who bought BISI-produced seeds complained of low quality, poor performance and longer planting period. The company found that the seed in question had come from East Java, leading them to suspect a seed piracy network may be operating in the province. When asked for more details about who was involved in the seed piracy, he declined to respond. He just said that if farmers were allowed to breed their own seeds, the efforts of PT BISI would go to waste.
A coalition of groups brought the case to the constitutional court in September 2012, arguing that the Plant Cultivation Law unfairly treated small farmers and breeders as though they were large commercial enterprises.

The court agreed, ruling that articles 9, 12 and 60 are unconstitutional. This means that peasant farmers will no longer need permission from the government to collect local seeds, produce their own seeds, or to distribute it.

“This victory at the constitutional court is a victory for all struggles of farmers and local breeders, not only on Indonesia but for all peasants and local breeders that feed the world,” said Amalia Pulungan, a policy advisor for the Indonesia Peasant Alliance (API, Aliansi Petani Indonesia).

Knowledge and skill in breeding seed has always been the domain of farmers and this should be recognised and appreciated by the government, and given adequate legal protection. The country's 1945 constitution recognises the collective rights of special, or vulnerable groups - and small farmers should be protected.

In order to sustain its rich biodiversity, according to IHCS, Indonesia's government should pass and enforce laws designed to protect it. Measures should also protect farmers' pattern of life and local wisdom.

“We will continue our struggle by socialising this court decision," said Adit from the NGO FIELD.


Making the world safe for Banksters

SUBHEAD: Iraq and Libya have been taken out, and Iran has been heavily boycotted. Syria is now in the cross-hairs. Why?

By Ellen Brown on 4 September 2013 for Web of Debt -

Image above: Spider Banksters threatening the world. Illustration by David Dees. From (http://ozmic.org/content/making-world-safe-banksters-0).

In an August 2013 article titled “Larry Summers and the Secret ‘End-game’ Memo,” Greg Palast posted evidence of a secret late-1990s plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. To pull this off required the relaxation of banking regulations not just in the US but globally. The vehicle to be used was the Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization.

The “end-game” would require not just coercing support among WTO members but taking down those countries refusing to join. Some key countries remained holdouts from the WTO, including Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. In these Islamic countries, banks are largely state-owned; and “usury” – charging rent for the “use” of money – is viewed as a sin, if not a crime. That puts them at odds with the Western model of rent extraction by private middlemen. Publicly-owned banks are also a threat to the mushrooming derivatives business, since governments with their own banks don’t need interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, or investment-grade ratings by private rating agencies in order to finance their operations.

Bank deregulation proceeded according to plan, and the government-sanctioned and -nurtured derivatives business mushroomed into a $700-plus trillion pyramid scheme. Highly leveraged, completely unregulated, and dangerously unsustainable, it collapsed in 2008 when investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, taking a large segment of the global economy with it. The countries that managed to escape were those sustained by public banking models outside the international banking net.

These countries were not all Islamic. Forty percent of banks globally are publicly-owned. They are largely in the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—which house forty percent of the global population. They also escaped the 2008 credit crisis, but they at least made a show of conforming to Western banking rules. This was not true of the “rogue” Islamic nations, where usury was forbidden by Islamic teaching. To make the world safe for usury, these rogue states had to be silenced by other means. Having failed to succumb to economic coercion, they wound up in the crosshairs of the powerful US military.

Here is some data in support of that thesis.

The End-game Memo
In his August 22nd article, Greg Palast posted a screenshot of a 1997 memo from Timothy Geithner, then Assistant Secretary of International Affairs under Robert Rubin, to Larry Summers, then Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. Geithner referred in the memo to the “end-game of WTO financial services negotiations” and urged Summers to touch base with the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Citibank, and Chase Manhattan Bank, for whom private phone numbers were provided.

The game then in play was the deregulation of banks so that they could gamble in the lucrative new field of derivatives. To pull this off required, first, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the 1933 Act that imposed a firewall between investment banking and depository banking in order to protect depositors’ funds from bank gambling. But the plan required more than just deregulating US banks. Banking controls had to be eliminated globally so that money would not flee to nations with safer banking laws. The “endgame” was to achieve this global deregulation through an obscure addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization, called the Financial Services Agreement. Palast wrote:
Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas.  The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in “bads” – toxic assets like financial derivatives.
Until the bankers’ re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders.  The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives “products.”
And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives.
The job of turning the FSA into the bankers’ battering ram was given to Geithner, who was named Ambassador to the World Trade Organization.
WTO members were induced to sign the agreement by threatening their access to global markets if they refused; and they all did sign, except Brazil. Brazil was then threatened with an embargo; but its resistance paid off, since it alone among Western nations survived and thrived during the 2007-2009 crisis. As for the others:

The new FSA pulled the lid off the Pandora’s box of worldwide derivatives trade. Among the notorious transactions legalized: Goldman Sachs (where Treasury Secretary Rubin had been Co-Chairman) worked a secret euro-derivatives swap with Greece which, ultimately, destroyed that nation. Ecuador, its own banking sector de-regulated and demolished, exploded into riots. Argentina had to sell off its oil companies (to the Spanish) and water systems (to Enron) while its teachers hunted for food in garbage cans. Then, Bankers Gone Wild in the Eurozone dove head-first into derivatives pools without knowing how to swim–and the continent is now being sold off in tiny, cheap pieces to Germany. 

The Holdouts
That was the fate of countries in the WTO, but Palast did not discuss those that were not in that organization at all, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. These seven countries were named by U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.) in a 2007 “Democracy Now” interview as the new “rogue states” being targeted for take down after September 11, 2001. He said that about 10 days after 9-11, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

What did these countries have in common? Besides being Islamic, they were not members either of the WTO or of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That left them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland. Other countries later identified as “rogue states” that were also not members of the BIS included North Korea, Cuba, and Afghanistan.

The body regulating banks today is called the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and it is housed in the BIS in Switzerland. In 2009, the heads of the G20 nations agreed to be bound by rules imposed by the FSB, ostensibly to prevent another global banking crisis. Its regulations are not merely advisory but are binding, and they can make or break not just banks but whole nations.

This was first demonstrated in 1989, when the Basel I Accord raised capital requirements a mere 2%, from 6% to 8%. The result was to force a drastic reduction in lending by major Japanese banks, which were then the world’s largest and most powerful creditors. They were undercapitalized, however, relative to other banks. The Japanese economy sank along with its banks and has yet to fully recover.

Among other game-changing regulations in play under the FSB are Basel III and the new bail-in rules. Basel III is slated to impose crippling capital requirements on public, cooperative and community banks, coercing their sale to large multinational banks.

The “bail-in” template was first tested in Cyprus and follows regulations imposed by the FSB in 2011. Too-big-to-fail banks are required to draft “living wills” setting forth how they will avoid insolvency in the absence of government bailouts. The FSB solution is to “bail in” creditors – including depositors – turning deposits into bank stock, effectively confiscating them.

The Public Bank Alternative
Countries laboring under the yoke of an extractive private banking system are being forced into “structural adjustment” and austerity by their unrepayable debt. But some countries have managed to escape. In the Middle East, these are the targeted “rogue nations.” Their state-owned banks can issue the credit of the state on behalf of the state, leveraging public funds for public use without paying a massive tribute to private middlemen. Generous state funding allows them to provide generously for their people.

Like Libya and Iraq before they were embroiled in war, Syria provides free education at all levels and free medical care. It also provides subsidized housing for everyone (although some of this has been compromised by adoption of an IMF structural adjustment program in 2006 and the presence of about 2 million Iraqi and Palestinian refugees). Iran too provides nearly free higher education and primary health care.

Like Libya and Iraq before takedown, Syria and Iran have state-owned central banks that issue the national currency and are under government control. Whether these countries will succeed in maintaining their financial sovereignty in the face of enormous economic, political and military pressure remains to be seen.

As for Larry Summers, he went on to become president of Harvard, where he approved a derivative bet on interest rate swaps that lost over $1 billion for the university. He resigned in 2006 to manage a hedge fund among other business activities, and went on to become State Senator Barack Obama’s key campaign benefactor.

Summers played a key role in the banking deregulation that brought on the current crisis, causing millions of US citizens to lose their jobs and their homes. Yet he is President Obama’s first choice to replace Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. Why? He has proven he can manipulate the system to make the world safe for Wall Street; and in an upside-down world in which bankers rule, that seems to be the name of the game.

• Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.