Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Tea Party Matters

By John Kusumi

The United States is experiencing a year of political attack ads, knocking Communist China. America’s Mao-regime-friendly politicians and media have played out their hand, and they can no longer suppress the sound of American people, raising concerns about trade with Communist China.

The emergence of the Tea Party in U.S. elections is inspiring new hope for leading Chinese dissidents, including Wei Jingsheng.

Translated by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation, a recent article in the Chinese Epoch Times explored the newly vocal U.S. angst about Red China.

In part, Wei said: “In the past, Chinese and some U.S. politicians have made a partnership of scheming together….average people of both countries did not get benefit in return. The scheme is the so-called ‘China model’ that rose [out of private interests]. Many U.S. politicians supported granting China permanent Most-Favored-Nation (MFN) status….But this situation is not bilateral, not free trade. In fact, the U.S. unilaterally offered China the preferential treatment. The CCP did not give the United States an open market.”

As Wei sees it, “The result is that American workers lost their jobs, while China is in serious inflation. Now, the Chinese workers get less and less [purchasing power]. Both Chinese people and American people are put at a disadvantage.” He reiterated, “Capitalists can buy very cheap in China and sell high in the U.S. market, from which they earn large excess profits. The excess profits exploit the Chinese labor, while harming the American workers as well.”

“Then, the Communist regime uses these excess profits to buy Western politicians.”

The rise of the Tea Party matters. As Wei said, “the Chinese people cannot do much, they do not dare to speak. But the American people dare; they dare to say they that they do not believe in this gang of politicians anymore. So in this election, American politicians are trying to cleanse themselves.”

Wei expressed that, “Now people realize that this trade imbalance is the root cause of the depressed U.S. economy and American workers’ unemployment….the politicians of both political parties in the USA are responsible. The rise of the Tea Party in the United States is the result. Though not formal, it has been important. After people realized the politicians’ role, they began to organize a new faction.”

The situation at hand highlights the fact that U.S. and Chinese political systems are indeed different, even though under the ‘China model’, “the politics of Western countries increasingly lean toward the Chinese Communist Party.” The whole point in this season of China-bashing advertising is that the ‘China model’ is fracturing and is no longer a consensus for America’s powerful.

The Tea Party teaches us that “In the United States, money cannot buy everything the politicians want when the people recognize and agree on the nature of the problem. When the politicians lose votes, they have nothing.”
Wei Jingsheng concluded with a hopeful prediction: “This election has publicly exposed this problem….Through this election, there will be a change in policy

about China. Now as this information propagates, starting from the White House politicians will become increasingly hard-line against the Chinese Communist Party.”

Also translated were some reader comments from the Chinese blogosphere. They included, “The free American people, go!! Go!!!!” and, “Support the people, wish the success of Tea Party election.”

AFTERWARD:  Yes, the Tea Party matters and is crucial in the awakening of the People to the realities of our governmnetal fascism but DO NOT forget:  Electing these people to office would be a FATAL MISTAKE

Leaked trade agreements and hidden dangers of S 510: Corporations plan to end normal farming

By M. Gardner
Food Freedom

Canada’s National Farmers Union wants the Canada-EU trade deal scrapped. US farmers face the same assault by agribusiness and the biotech industry under S 510.

Epoch Times noted: “Under provisions in CETA [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement], using saved seed could result in a farmer’s land, equipment, and crops being seized for alleged infringement of intellectual property rights attached to plant varieties owned by corporations such as Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and Bayer.

“It includes the freezing of bank accounts too, so you couldn’t even defend yourself in court. And this is for alleged infringement,” says NFU president Terry Boehm. …

“These are the most draconian measures possible and they would literally create a culture of fear in the farm population where, I think, that ultimately farmers would end up buying seeds every year for every acre just to avoid prosecution or the threat of prosecution.”

The biotech industry is facing exposure of the health dangers of GMO/pesticide dependent crops, of attacks on scientists (even armed ones), and GMOs’ poor crop performance across different crops, public outrage at no labeling of GMOs, media scorn at its humiliatingly poor science, and falling stock value. Is the industry now attempting an end run around all this, by trying to criminalize and thus end normal (organic) farming – its increasingly sought after, healthy, higher-performing competition?

Given the “draconian property rights enforcement measures” the biotech corporations wish put into effect through the Canada-EU free trade agreement, one might wonder.

US farmers face the same assault by their own government on behalf of agribusiness and the biotech industry. S 510, a “food safety” bill waiting for the Senate return, would put the US fully under the WTO and thus harmonize with CETA. It is replete with means to do to American farmers what the EU/Canada CETA plan would do to Canadian ones – and potentially more, including surreptitiously arranging to criminalize agricultural water, manure, essential farming equipment, and seed storage.

41 words inside S 510 would make the US subject to CETA.

“Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.”

The significance of those words in S 510 is that they would end the Uruguay Round Agreement Act of 1994, which put US sovereignty and US law under perfect protection. Under S 510, US law would become subservient to the WTO, a corporate organization. Votes in the US would not matter. The decisions on food, energy, health, resources, and US economic policy would be made the very corporations responsible for contaminating food, oil spills, dangerous drugs, theft of common resources, and destroying the economy.
The enforcement powers created by S 510 (assuming it resembles other “food safety” bills) would be unlimited and apply to everyone in the country who “holds” food (does anyone not?).

S 510, a “food safety” bill, would (using sections from other food safety bills) set up a corporate court outside the constitutional court system. The expectation is that it would be run by Monsanto, just as “food safety” at the FDA is now, with Monsanto involved at every level. It would exist without Congressional oversight, with unlimited and unspecified remedies, “in addition to, and not exclusive of, other remedies that may be available

That upturning of all sense (orders that don’t have to be appropriate or valid) is a window into the extremity of power being sought by the corporations through S 510. That power would include total discretion to punish anyone they may wish. And in removing appropriateness and validity, their orders would not have to relate to food at all and could be used against anyone, applying any form of “remedy” they desire. Nothing whatever is excluded.

The merger of corporate and government power is defined as fascism.

LIMITATION ON REVIEW- In a civil action under paragraph (1), the validity and appropriateness of the order of the Administrator assessing the civil penalty shall not be subject to judicial review.
[Unless someone has died from a food related issue, which would put the case into a real criminal court, everything else would be "dealt with" as a civil penalty. S 510 includes long prison terms for mistakes in paperwork and "labeling" (to be defined at the discretion of those in charge), and from the leaked EU/Canada trade plans, seizures of farmers' crops and equipment and freezing of bank accounts are clearly sought.]

“Remedies Not Exclusive- The remedies provided in this section are in addition to, and not exclusive of, other remedies that may be available.”

While not listed as a civil “remedy” but treated as disease prevention, slaughter of their animals is another Orwellian measure within S 510 which goes well beyond seizures to military arrangements with the DOD and DHS. They would come onto farms and slaughter normal animals if any disease outbreak is announced, regardless of harmlessness. “Valid and appropriate” do not matter.

If you doubt this, consider all the raids on private food arrangements, where no contamination was found, or where the contamination was miniscule. All product has been seized or ordered destroyed, though no one became ill. S 510 would grant the FDA even more power than it already has.

This is not a “food safety” bill, as even a short overview of S 510 makes clear.

S 510 offers numerous ways for corporations to get rid of farmers and take their land. The astounding falsity of forcing farmers (or anyone with a farm animal) to sign onto a international contract in which they lose their rights to their property is transparent. Taking global coordinates of the size and shape of farmers’ land and feeding them into a corporate data bank, has nothing to do with tracing animal diseases. Farmers’ addresses are known.
But the USDA lie about wanting to stop animal diseases grows especially repugnant when one with awareness that the USDA is actually working against the vehement protests of cattle ranchers, to import potentially diseased animals from Brazil and to transfer an off-shore animal disease lab to Kansas, the heart of cattle country and the most tornado prone state in the country, while it’s well known that it was lab leaks in the UK which led to the slaughter of millions of cattle, whether ill or not.

Such mass slaughter of animals is structured by S 510 and is yet another gift to the biotech industry for without the extermination of normal animals, their investment in GE-animals and GMO meat is worthless.
The corporations, faced with public upset at ravages of industrial agriculture and the contaminated food coming out of it, are using fear of food, fear of minor animal diseases (including a faked H1N1 pandemic still promoted by government agencies), and lies and fraud to try to eliminate real farming in the US and to facilitate the theft of all US farmland.

The greed and hubris of S 510 pales in comparison to its unconstitutionality and danger to life.
The grassroots are saying no to S 510, each in their own idioms, whether by referring to the Constitution or to the Founding Fathers and to rights or to patriotism. Across the political spectrum, people are coming together to reject S 510 on constitutional and human rights grounds, and the plans of those behind this extreme corporate bill.
The corporate attempt to end US farming and set up their own court system over all Americans far outstrips the destruction of jobs, the forcing of millions from their homes, Citizens United, and the Wall Street theft. Now, through S 510, the corporations seek to remove all bounds on what they themselves do, on what they can do to any who oppose them, and on what they can seize. And this is only on the food side.

The threats to health are as profound. S 510 would remove the long sought cure for cancer as well as cures for an endless array of diseases, by removing access to supplements (one in particular). S 510 would suppress a medical revolution poised to free mankind from all fear of disease, leaving the country instead at the mercy of a pharmaceutical industry with a disturbing history and recent threatening actions with vaccines.
With S 510, those behind GMOs, vaccines, and drugs seek to remove access to normal farming, normal food and to nutrition (health) itself. They are seeking total dominance over what sustains life and over people.
S 510 is not a food safety bill. What is it, then? Is it a corporate enabling act? Does it open the door to corporate control over all Americans, all food supplies and health resources, and all US farmland?
Canada’s National Farmers Union is demanding that the draconian trade plans with the EU be scrapped. Will groups here demand the same of S 510?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

God has no place in Politics

 S. Paul Forrest

During every election period, we concerned citizens force ourselves to listen to the empty rhetoric and meaningless banter of another generation of up-and-coming political puppets as they try to convince the American public that they are the best candidate to lead us into the future.  Typically, the messages are sterile and filled with the same tired promises of a better tomorrow with less taxes, more jobs, etc.  In this particular election period, though, new tactics have been implemented to profit from current trends of dissatisfaction with our government and the growing movement toward global separatism that has become so prevalent in the disparate dysfunction of mass media and their purposeful drive toward public confusion.  

Driven by blind ambition and fed by a wanton disregard of truth, the least likely of all tactics has become the most effective talking point by representatives of a lost society. That tactic is what I like to call, God Talk.  The primary users of this tactic seem to be the Tea Party candidates; the people that increasingly seem to represent a world of mental mania run wild.  These candidates consistently tout American recovery, while enveloping their campaigns in images of a renewed purpose; one where we all go back to the past and reclaim the meaning of this country as first designed by our founding fathers.  In this delusionary state, we all will once again be free from the deceit and taxation that has so impaired our present government.  This is a welcomed message to many who live each day in a troubled world.  It has taken the public imagination to new heights of hope, even though in reality it is just another play in the grand old political game.  

One of the overwhelming aspects of this quasi-American reform seems to surround the idea of getting back to the morals of a bygone Era.  Many candidates on both the Right and the Left of the aisle have argued that modern politicians are infected with immorality including but not limited to extramarital affairs, gambling, taking bribes, corporate partisanship, and shady deals on their own behalves.  The irony of these statements is this will be one of the few times these people will actually be completely honest with those who will elect them to office.  

The most noticeable example of this confounding stance is Glenn Beck’s taking of the religious right’s hand and parading with them and the Tea Party like a prophet from God toward his personal version of salvation.  He and other political celebrities have led the charge by bringing God into the equation in an effort to assert their own moral standings, or lack thereof.  Though he has not proclaimed himself an official member of the Tea Party, Beck, in his almost schizophrenic ranting, has backed their efforts with his own brand of spiritual reclamation.  

In a recent episode of his show, Beck told viewers that only God is the source for our rights.  He has stated, “…if our rights come from man, then man is permitted to regulate or abolish those rights, and government's power over our lives therefore becomes absolute and unlimited.”  In his recent assault on the Capitol and on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Beck asserted that "this day is a day that we can start the heart of America again, and it has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with God.”

This sentiment has been readily accepted by the desperate masses in this, our modern age of growing unemployment, homelessness, and the daily reminders and examples of the corruption stemming from the corporate takeover of Washington.  The problem with these God statements is they have no bearing upon the modern reality of our governmental structure.  In fact, when God becomes the only “giver of rights,” which man has no power to take away or interpretively regulate, then anarchy is the result.  

Beck is also fond of quoting the English philosopher John Locke to back his arguments for a renewed America.  He has said that “Locke used the belief in Liberalism to further the concept of natural rights and to rally support for the protection of private property and the consent of the governed.”  He has used Locke’s philosophies to back his build-up to the rights granted by God and his advocating of governmental elimination.  As is typical of media celebrity, though, he has only given half the story.  

John Locke had frequently pointed out what he takes to be clear evidence of the hypocrisy in the combination of religion and government.  His central claims are that “government should not use force to try to bring people to a 'true' religion and that religious societies are voluntary organizations that have no right to use coercive power over their own members or those outside their group.  Those who are quick to persecute others for small differences in worship or doctrine are relatively unconcerned with much more obvious moral sins that pose an even greater threat to their eternal state.”  Beck had forgotten to mention that bit of information in his preaching.

Locke’s words are very poignant, though, considering the current condemnation of Islam by the Right and the bipartisan agenda to force “American” values upon the rest of the world.  The assertion that all Muslims are represented by the few that may or may not have been involved in the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers is an example of this forcing of a religious ideals upon the people.  Our forefathers and mothers came to this country to escape religious persecution.  Yet, in their drive toward their God, these politicians have advocated the same persecutions our founders sought to escape.  The constant mention of “The America our Forefathers envisioned” seems very much hypocritical in light of this contradiction.  

The reality of it all is that these politicians are only searching for a new way to sway the public opinion to their favor.  Vineeth Menon said is best in her article, Politicians & Religion: “The government is turning its sight to religion as the next powerful tool to control its people.  In a land where most of its population is obsessed with symbolism and idolism, religion is a very powerful tool to ignite a crisis between the various groups of people in the country.  Thus, we see our self-righteous leaders in various states scrambling for the honor to become holier than the leader of the next state.” This spiritual reclamation also acts as billows beneath the fires of religious prejudice.

Not to be outdone in the drive toward ignorance, Sharon Angle recently made this statement:  “We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government.  We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government."  This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.  Is God going to take care of the elderly citizens in their last days, or the poverty stricken mother of three in the ghetto, or the veterans of our wars when they come back with disabilities?  To me, that is the rightful responsibility of the moral government.  Is God going to ensure that corporations don’t poison our lakes, streams, oceans or our food?  Again, that is society's purpose and the government’s by extension, not God’s.

What bothers me the most about these incessant ramblings on faith and morality is that they are being delivered with a facade of honesty by some of the most dishonest people in our society.  Quite simply Mr. or Ms. Politician, I don’t want to know about your faith, your God or your quasi-Christianity.  I want to know what you are going to do to help my country; and, in the larger picture, the global community.  If anything, the stronger your Christian convictions are the less likely I am to vote for you.  I don’t want a leader with Christian leanings when the issue of relations with Islamic Nations has become so important and the right to abortion is still an issue.  

I believe in God, in faith, and in morality, but at the end of the day I want my representatives to be leaders not followers.  Keep the God concept and the personal promotion of your false integrity for the Sabbath.  During the other six days, I need to know that I am being represented in government and protected from those that will do harm to my family.  When it comes time to elect a man or woman to office this coming election please remember something:  God will not be the one depriving you of your rights, it will be those who use “His” name for their own advantage.  As far as I am concerned, God has no place in politics.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Genetically Modified Foods and the Monsanto Initiative

S. Paul Forrest

Deception, manipulation, propaganda and profit: These words have become the basis of the American corporate and political landscape without any seeming concern or guilt over their promulgation. One company in particular, which seems to be the iconographic example of this is Monsanto; or so go the claims today by the “conspiracy crowd” in reaction to the Genetically Modified (GM) food technology and its apparent governmental backing.

In order to understand the purpose of GM foods and the reasons stated for its implementation, the powers that be will tell us we need only look at the current global environment and the necessity of solutions to provide an adequate food supply to those in need in the global community. Farmable land and access to water, energy, and biological resources are not as plentiful in many countries as they are in many parts of America. These shortages equate to low crop yield, which means certain death and starvation to many people around the world each year.

Unfortunately, the facts surrounding these assertions are accurate. According to the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “1.02 billion people are undernourished, a sizable increase from its 2006 estimate of 854 million people,” indicating a combination of insufficient food, low incomes, and inadequate distribution of food. This is the largest number of hungry humans ever recorded in history. Likewise, reports from numerous other international organizations and reputable scientific researchers confirm the existence of these serious food supply problems. In the face of these realities, the U.S. Government will have us believe that we need GM foods to meet the demands of a modern world.

Arguments for the research into and implementation of GM foods claim to support the initiatives to combat these problems. Proponents tell us that GMO foods bring higher crop yields, allow farmers to use less pesticides and fertilizers, thereby decreasing environmental impact, while allowing the growth of crops in harsh environments. Though these all seem like ideal solutions to our present global dilemma, opponents tell us that these claims do not agree with much of the scientific research on the issue and are only creating an increased danger to consumers.

It seems that the biggest concern stemming from the GM process is generated mainly by ignorance of the process and the mounting threats that independent researchers say it poses to public health.

Currently, two particular genetically altered foods are at the forefront of the controversy. They are the appropriately named Franken Fish (genetically altered Salmon) and Bt corn. As far as I can tell, research has not yet been done to thoroughly examine the long-term effects of these foods; and that which has been done does not give much confidence for the consumption of these items. So far, this research has only uncovered a string of objections for the importation of them into many countries from the United States.

To date, several countries have banned the product based on their own research findings. The European Union has just recently done so, adding to a rising front against the questionable product despite U.S. threats of trade barriers. The United States, despite the mounting objections and research-based proof of their dangers to human health, is still refusing to ban the genetically manipulated products. It seems curious that our government is not heeding the warnings of so many other nations.

Studies that are conclusive to the effects of GM foods cannot be found from U.S. agencies to deem this technology safe. The little research that has been done, independent of our government, has not pointed to a very healthy outcome. In 2009, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for a moratorium on GMO Foods. They stated that "GM foods pose a serious health risk." Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes that "there is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects," and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

Another alleged advantage to this modern wonder of biological meddling has also come into question: higher crop yields to feed the population with less acreage. On this subject, the AAEM has stated that “over time GMO harvest yields were lower than conventional yields and required over time, more not less, highly toxic herbicidal chemicals such as glyphosate . . . with the exception of Bt corn." However, the slight yield gain for Bt corn they report was "largely due to traditional breeding improvements, and not to GMO.”

Backing up this claim, researchers at the University of Nebraska conducted controlled studies comparing the Roundup Ready soybean with non-engineered soybeans and found consistent yield decreases with the GE beans of between 5 and 10%. Likewise, claims that Round-up Ready crops will mean less herbicide in our ground water have been debunked.

To this effect, the Alliance For Bio-Integrity writes that “farmers who plant crops that are genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup are now applying more of it to their fields." They have noted that “research conducted by the Denmark and Greenland Geological Research Institution has discovered that the Roundup used in Danish agriculture is unexpectedly polluting the ground water with its active ingredient glyphosate at five times the acceptable level." One could easily dismiss these findings as the result of older data and the testing of emerging product rather that the product in use, but the evidence is just too abundant.

In addition to the debunking of initial claims to the benefits of this technology, the secrecy surrounding these precariously researched products seems to be only raising concerns rather than the additional crop it promises. GM crops have been produced for over 20 years, but solid evidence of its innocuous nature is quite difficult to find. It begs the question then: Why is GMO food being forced into our diet and why is our government so vehemently pushing it upon the global population even after it has been shown to not meet the standards by which they have promoted it?

There is a well-documented "revolving door" between Monsanto employees and officials from U.S. Government regulatory bodies. For example, the USDA secretary Ann Veneman is a former director of Calgene (swallowed by Monsanto and now part of Pharmacia). Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court Justice who presided over the recent case to decide whether to allow some farmers to plant Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds, was once a Monsanto attorney. These connections do not bode well for outcomes favoring the health of We the People. Add that to the initiative to control the global market of sterile seeds and there emerges great motivation to deceive the global population.

Seemingly, as a reaction to the growing skepticism and scientific research into the adverse effects of GMO foods and the demand for these foods to be labeled so that consumers can readily identify the product, our government made the following statement:

"There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food; There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health; There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract." ~ US Dept of Health & Human Services and US Food & Drug Administration, 2010.

This governmental stance on the voiced objections to GMO is not just addressed to us informed Americans, it also seems to serve as a premise by which the spread of GM Foods has become a global endeavor. The United States, under several administrations including Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush(2) and Obama, has introduced Monsanto seed stocks into several countries including the most recently invested country of Iraq, the safety for which we have charged ourselves.

The Agribusiness Examiner has reported about this initiative: “The seeds farmers are now allowed to plant -- 'protected' crop varieties brought into Iraq by transnational corporations in the name of agricultural reconstruction -- will be the property of the corporations. While historically the Iraqi constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new U.S. imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds.”

The greatest proof to the backing of GMO by American Government comes from the actions of the Bush Administration which “had been engaged in a running fight with a bloc of African countries who, on their own initiative, sought international rules to regulate GMOs through negotiation of a Biosafety Protocol. The Biosafety Treaty was completed despite U.S. administration attempts to undercut it. The treaty allows the sorts of policies Europe and many African countries and now major U.S. trade partners from China to Brazil are also enacting regarding the segregation and labeling of GMOs. By launching this attack, the Bush Administration had put the interests of its agribusiness supporters over many of the values it purports to seek for the world: democracy, accountability and openness.” The Administration, spurred on by the biotech and agribusiness industries, viewed the moratorium, as well as any regulations on tracking the origin of GM products or labeling, as “barriers to trade.”

There is a string of research findings to support the growing global concern to the dangers of GM foods. One example is a study commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Health, Family and Youth Affairs and The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, which has found time-related negative reproductive effects in mice fed GM maize. Likewise, the Italian National Institute of Research on Food and Nutrition showed how GM corn caused significant immune system changes in mice, related to allergic and inflammatory responses.

Haiti also has refused the seed despite their dire need for help. Japan, China, Germany . . . the list goes on and on. The U.S. still refuses to take appropriate action even in light of these countries' objections to the product. After all, when the GNP is at risk and a particular technology can offer an inventive solution to the need for renewed global dominance, choosing a rational approach and making a conscientious decision would be foolish, indeed.

In preparation for writing this article, I researched a long list of sources trying to understand the process of GM foods and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Before undertaking this research, I would laugh heartily when conspiracy theorists would begin talking of governmental secrecy; plots of the illuminati undoing the freedom of the world; and the idea of people digging bunkers to prepare for the impending World’s End. With the level of deceit coming to light with regard to Genetically Modified Foods, however, I am no longer so quick to laugh.

Unfortunately, I have decided that the naysayers of this technology are right when it comes to bigger issues of public health, destruction of smaller, organic farms and the growing monopolistic controls of the food industry currently allowed by our Government and pursued by corporations like Monsanto. It would seem that we have lost our voices and our choices in the hands of a government run by corporations that would serve their own interests before that of its citizens. Organic foods and supplements are currently under attack by H.R. 3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and now, our commercially produced dairy, grain, and meats are being manipulated without apparent concern for the health of the consumer.

A horrific feeling now comes over me when I walk down the grocery aisle searching for food to feed my children. As I look across the various selections, the same incessant questions keep echoing in my head: Why are they doing this to my food and why are they not being honest about the affects of it? I can only pray that this research has led to conclusions that are not true, and that my children will not be victims of the corporate greed and government deceit that is infecting modern America. As I patiently wait for the truth to surface, and this current proliferation of destruction to end, I can only write and hope that people will continue awakening to the Monsanto Initiative and that, eventually, those who are paid to protect us will do so with concern for our safety rather than that of their own personal enrichment.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Secret to FOX News' Success

by S. Paul Forrest

I love going to the beach with my children. Born four years apart, they constantly argue, complain, fight and insult one another. At times, the reality of it all becomes a bit too much to bear for me. This is about the time when I decide to take them to the beach. While splashing in the waves and making sand castles, they are blissfully happy together. It is like all the world has disappeared for them. They are at peace with each other and all seems right with the world. I too, forget the day, their fighting, the environment, the political circus, my work load, and just sit there, enjoying the warmth of the sand.

On our last trip to the beach, I began contemplating a question posed to me by one of my friends. She asked why so many people believe what is said on FOX News and other Right wing supported stations despite contradictory facts. With my eyes on my children and my stress slowly slipping away, I discovered the answer: It is because they offer a warm place in the sand for people to relax and simply forget the troubles of the day.

You see, the Right offers the American population a perspective that is deeply rooted in security and Sweet Tea. They claim there is no global warming, no climate change. They offer us solutions to multi-racial stress by proposing a simple wall. They condemn our President for wanting change based on the idea that he is not an American and doesn't truly appreciate "Our" way. They dismiss the destructive nature of corporate waste and tell us the life that we have all become comfortable in will remain as is. Further, they tell us the oil is gone, the food supply is safe and we have nothing to worry about other than a Marxist, Muslim, Non-American we call the President. Many in this Country who are facing the fears of the economic downturn, Muslim extremists threatening the world or recognition that we are doing irreparable damage to the environment can turn it on and tune out. Reality is much different than what is portrayed by FOX, however. Case in point: The Gulf Oil Hemorrhage of 2010.

While Millions of gallons of crude oil were venting from a ruptured reservoir pierced in an effort to lay claim to a black gold mine, the Right began to blame "extreme greenies" for making BP drill that far out at sea. The argument was based on restrictions for drilling in protected marshes and other wildlife areas put in place due to pressure from environmental groups. What FOX has not reported is the number of tax incentives and subsidies given to the oil companies to drill deep water.

In 2003, the Bush Administration offered incentives to Oil Companies to explore deep water reserves in an effort to increase our stockpiles to prepare for the impending oil peak outcome. The M.M.S. released a report on the subject calling for deep water drilling to be enhanced. In a 2004report -- titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is -- the MMS stated that "our best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." MMS reported that due to "declining production" in "near-shore, shallow waters" in the Gulf of Mexico, "energy companies have focused their attention on oil and gas resources in water depths of 1,000 feet and beyond." MMS estimated that "the deep water regions of the Gulf of Mexico may contain 56 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or enough to meet U.S. demand for 7-1/2 years at current rates."

The U. S. Energy Bill of 2002 had allocated significant resources to fund innovative industry, academic, and national laboratory research initiatives to develop the new technologies necessary to explore and produce these new ultra-deepwater reserves economically.

The Oil issue has been complemented and even enhanced by the non-global warming deceit fore fronted by FOX. The American people eat this stuff up because they don't want to know they are adding to the devastation. They don't want to give up the SUV, the big house, the gluttony. FOX allows them feel there is no threat. The bad news about the environment is attributed to the Extremists and quickly discounted. "There is no global warming so please, continue to live your life as usual", is the message here.
Ron Paul summarizes the Right's direction on the matter: "While the human right to produce and use energy does not extend to activities that actually endanger the climate of the Earth upon which we all depend, bogus claims about climate dangers should not be used as a justification to further limit the American people's freedom." (Campaign for Liberty; June 5, 2009)

I find this bipolar approach to current events quite disturbing. On one side we have the facts while on the other we have FOX and their agenda. I understand there are times when the kids, the job, the bills, economic insecurity and personal trials can become overwhelming but ignoring the problem does not make it go away. Piling our negative contribution to environmental damage onto the pressures of an already stressful life can easily become the straw that breaks the mental camel's back. Occasionally we all have to take a break from these things so as not to overload.

Many people in this society are already at a breaking point. The added knowledge of global damage and the implications of lifestyle changes to correct it can push them off the edge. Self-preservation is an interesting phenomenon where facts are easily dismissed when given the option of believing a dream and surviving. An escape to the beach is good from time to time but, eventually, you have to go home.

Sometimes, as I sit in the sand experiencing my own personal warm place, I see the world reflected in the water and feel that there is too much going on that is bad in it. I have developed my own defense mechanisms to combat the reality of it all but it doesn't involve self-imposed delusion propagated by an irresponsible media source. It involves action and activism as well as contributions that could make a difference.

The secret, as I have found it, to the success of FOX news is their ability to give some a particular type of defense mechanism. It involves a cozy little place where facts are fiction and fantasy is just what the doctor ordered. Stations like FOX and other republican conservative, tea party delusionists offer all a nice warm place in the sand to forget the day. Unfortunately, it is one where the head is completely covered.

A Liberal's Perspective of The Tea Party

by S. Paul Forrest

In reaction to the modern age of cynicism, media slander, and growing distrust in our government; new ideas, opinions, and political messages have begun to appear and grow with zeal as Americans clamor to restore a country that once offered great promise to all.  New movements are growing like weeds in the driveway of the American Dream in an attempt not only to navigate through the chaos of today’s social disarray, but also to create a venue of reason in an unreasoned environment.  One populist movement in particular, which stands today as the brightest star in the political sky, is the Tea Party.  

Widely misunderstood and radically misconstrued, it stands as the exemplification of the effects of financial perversion and ideological stratification that is currently inundating the political landscape.Some say the Tea Party Movement (TEA is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already) began in 2009 when Rick Santali let out a rant during a segment on CNBC calling for Americans frustrated with Obama’s mortgage bailout “solution” to stand up, make their voices heard and do something about it.  

Thousands of Americans answered his call for a new Tea Party, in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party, in a show of force that the country as a whole wasn’t in step with Obama’s plans.  Others claim it began when Ron Paul, during his campaign for President at an Austin, Texas rally in 2003, voiced his displeasure with the taxation of American business owners.  Voters and demonstrators expressed dissatisfaction at a proposal to raise taxes by chanting "no more taxes, no more taxes!”  Reacting as they thought was representative of the historic Boston Tea Party, protesters tossed tea bags at politicians who they thought represented the in-place establishment in hope of real change.

Ron Paul, who I personally believe to be the founder father of the Tea Party Movement, is America's leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies.  Paul has said, “The big challenge is taking on the establishment and the process that is so well entrenched.  But we can’t beat the entrenched elite without the alliance of all those who have been disenfranchised.”  As a Liberal, I applaud this philosophy.  I stand in great admiration of the way this man thinks and consistently behaves.  Unfortunately, the Tea Party movement seems to have been hijacked by radicals who have perverted these simple ideals and have used the platform to pursue their own personal agendas.

In a statement about governmental control over industry, Paul has stated, “In less than 200 years, the free market, property rights, and respect for the rule of law took this nation from a rough frontier to a global economic superpower. Today, however, our nation and our economy clearly are headed in the wrong direction . . . the best approach to our economic woes that will help the most people is simple: get back to the Constitution and demonstrate respect for free markets, private property, and the rule of law.”  The rule of law is set in place to protect America from greedy corporations, but it is supposed to be done without interfering with free-markets, while the Constitution is there to protect Americans from governmental abuse of power.  Unfortunately, not all Tea Party candidates hold the same consistency as Ron Paul.  Some, seemingly charting their own course on the Libertarian Sea, are muddying the waters of an otherwise clear course set by Paul.

The Tea Party, as it stands today, is so far from Paul’s straightforward vision that it physically pains me to listen to their comments.  In the hands of people like Palin and O’Donnell, and even the younger Paul, it seems to have become a platform for corporate entitlement in America.  Coupled with FOX News’ xenophobia-generating commentaries, and the radical imaginings of Beckism, the party floats from one confused soap box the next, never actually making a plan of action to combat what they have called the destruction of America.  Talking points are good for attention generation, but after the attention has been gotten, the Tea Party solutions remain unclear and somewhat unrealistic to me.

So many statements by the Tea Partiers have been about restoring the government of old by empowering corporations, and have denounced natural preservation and industry operation standards with slanderous statements about environmentalists or, as Palin called them, “the extreme Greenies."  These statements stand in direct conflict with one another.  The purpose of government, or rather, American government, is to protect the public's individual rights from all oppression -- including rampant crony capitalism.  I am deeply confused when the talking heads of the T.P. movement insist on returning to old government, but advocate the release of restrictions on mega-corporations.  To me, this seems to be a direct affront to the American system that has led the world for so long.

The most evident proof of this contradiction was seen when Palin stated that BP had been drilling deep because they were forced to by the Greenies.  This is so far from the truth that it frustrates most true environmentalists greatly.  The truth of BP’s drilling is something they don’t want us to know because it implicates not only the Bush Administration, but reveals that their policies of resource allocation have become detrimental to the health and safety of Americans.  It also stands as proof that she and others like her were wrong to keep touting “drill baby drill” and not offer any other solutions.

The truth of deepwater drilling is as follows:  In 2003, the Bush Administration offered incentives to oil companies to explore deep water reserves in an effort to increase our stockpiles to prepare for the impending oil peak outcome.  The MMS released a report on the subject calling for deep water drilling to be enhanced.  In a 2004 report -- titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is -- the MMS stated that "our best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." MMS reported that due to "declining production" in "near-shore, shallow waters" in the Gulf of Mexico, "energy companies have focused their attention on oil and gas resources in water depths of 1,000 feet and beyond." The MMS estimated that "the deep water regions of the Gulf of Mexico may contain 56 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or enough to meet U.S. demand for 7-1/2 years at current rates.

This deception from Palin uncovers the bigger issue of corporate hijacking of populist movements.  Shamus Cooke has stated in his article, Why Are Corporate Groups Funding The Tea Party?, “…does a “constitutionally limited government” allow the economy to be dominated by giant corporations? Does “fiscal responsibility” mean that the U.S. should spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on foreign wars? Does “free markets” mean that Wall Street should be allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants? The answers to these questions, according to the National Tea Party Federation, will all be YES!”  This is not restoring America to anything other than the days of Robber Barons and support of out-of-control business.  Sounds very much like the standards of the GOP to this liberal.

Greg Sargent says, “It’s striking: Tea Party supporters and Republicans are almost in lockstep agreement on what constitute the biggest threats to America's well-being: The size of the Federal debt; the power of the Federal government; terrorism; and illegal immigration. The percentages are almost the same on all those issues.”  Newt Gingrich has been quoted as saying that he hopes the Tea Party will become the militant arm of the Republican Party.  It appears that is exactly what is going on.  

In an effort to derail the policies and tactics of the Democratic majority, the Tea Party has been promoted as the extremist side of the GOP without detracting from its conservative base.  At the end of the day, it is really just political tactics without the radical backlash of the rational voters toward the Republicans.  One thing is for sure, the Tea Party isn't a unified front of angry Americans, but rather a confused collection of fringe groups that are increasingly being forced to share much of the same establishment GOP ideology that brought us George W. Bush.

Most recently, the movement has created a surge of anti-immigration sentiment which stands in direct conflict with the basic principles of this country’s Founding Fathers.  I agree that the immigration issues in the Southwest have become a problem, but their harsh "solutions" and rhetoric is a divisive attack on Mexican Americans in Arizona and elsewhere.  Also, the Christian Conservative fringe of the Tea Party personified by Palin and O'Donnell, have stoked hatred toward Muslims and a desire to continue the immoral wars.  

This is more than just national restoration methodology; it is a purposeful assault on entire cultures, taking America back 50 years in foreign policy.  The actions they undertake and the words they use are purposeful manipulations to feed off the frustrations of the American public and only serve to boost their poll numbers.  The long-term effects still do not seem to matter to them.

When I listen to Tea Party candidates like Palin and O’Donnell, I am reminded of my college days when a bunch of rich kids would sit in a dorm room filled with resinous smoke, dressed as hippie Dead Heads, expounding upon the injustices of the world without even (a) knowing what they were speaking about and (b) never actually having any clue as to how to do anything to change it or wanting to change it.  These Tea Party candidates are no different than the establishment GOP.  They expound upon the philosophy of American Governmental Restoration and make populist statements like “I am you” as talking points only.  When the smoke finally clears and graduation comes, or in this context, election to office, they'll settle into the same old corporate enabling and upper-class principles that they truly embody.  Americans should be aware of the dichotomy they are promulgating.

We as a Nation need to recognize the interests that the Tea Party candidates represent as well as their personal actions.  Some candidates seem to know nothing of a real America where unemployment has destroyed families and homeless numbers are beyond imagining.  They only seem to know what they are getting paid to know.  I applaud their ambition and efforts to profit in a free-market society but doing so by lying and deceiving the American public is not acceptable -- it's too late for that.

Ron Paul had a vision; a dream of a renewed America. Less government control and less taxes seem great to me, but not for the elite corporations who ship jobs overseas and catastrophically pollute our environment.  I, for one, support Ron Paul’s vision, but in the hands of the Tea Party this vision has become perverted to the point of posing a danger to our common goals of peace, social justice, fair and free markets, and personal liberty.

Some "Tea Party" candidates who have been promoted this election season seem to be trampling upon the platform Ron Paul built.  Their dream can quickly become America’s nightmare if allowed to proliferate.  My perspective is as simple as the original precepts of Ron Paul’s 2003 campaign: America deserves better than to be the playground for Tea Party ambitions and some of their exceptionalist ideals.  Real, plausible solutions are needed to bring back the greatness of America, but the reality is that (though I wish it did) the Tea Party, as represented by their crop of candidates, is not the movement that offers them.

A Look at Tea Party Sugar Daddies the Koch Brothers

By DJ Pangburn Thursday, October 14, 2010
In a recent “New Yorker” article, Jane Mayer looked into the corporate dealings of the Koch Brothers, the sugar daddies of the Tea Party movement.  The Kochs have contributed $100 million to a so-called movement of people that have no clue how well they’re being played by men whose only end is corporate profit.

This article will look at the Koch Brothers and their company, Koch Industries, oil barons who are manipulating a rabble of confused individuals in the bid to rid the country of Obama’s supposed socialist vision and lower taxes. If the Tea Partiers knew that Koch Industries does not pay corporate income tax, might they reconsider the money they receive from the Koch brothers when they themselves are taxed both by Democracts and Republicans alike? Ignorance truly is bliss for the Tea Party, or Reactionaries, as I like to call them.

A bit of history on the Kochs. In 1968, a year after the death of their father Fred Koch (an early member of the John Birch Society), Charles renamed his father’s company from Wood River Oil and Refining Company to Koch Industries. He then partnered with oil baron J. Howard Marshall II (Anna Nicole’s husband) in buying a controlling interest in Union Oil’s Great Northern Oil Company.  Great Northern had a subsidiary named Pine Bend Refinery (a Twin Cities refinery), which allowed Koch Industries to move into other industries such as ashphalt, heating fuels, jet fuels, chemicals, polymers, fibers and crop sprays. Money flowed into the Koch coffers.

Dating back to their father’s time as chief at Wood River Oil, the Kochs accelerated the acquisitions of oil pipelines until they controlled (privately) a 4,000 mile matrix of pipelines that transport, according to Koch Pipeline’s website, “crude oil and refined products, as well as natural gas, natural gas liquids and anhydrous ammonia (for fertilizer).”

Over the years, Koch Industries and its many subsidiaries have been fined for a number of environmental violations. According to EPA records, the Koch Petroleum Group paid the highest fine in Minnesota history. The company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging “aviation fuel into a wetland and an adjoining waterway.”  The EPA press release says Koch Petroleum Group did nothing to recover the discharged aviation fuel from the wetlands until 1997.

The same EPA press release also states:
“In a separate offense, Koch dumped a million gallons of wastewater with high ammonia content on the ground between November 1996 and March 1997 and also increased its flow of wastewater into the Mississippi River on weekends when Koch did not monitor its discharges.”  Must have been great news for the people living along the lands adjacent to the Mississippi River and the New Orleans delta.
Bill Koch, who attempted but failed to take over the company, claimed that Koch Industries was stealing oil from federal lands.  CBS News reported on the fraud, and received a letter from the company calling Bill Koch a “disgruntled family member.”  Ultimately, according to CBS News, Koch Industries reaped the whirlwind a bit:

“But in December 1999, the jury found that Koch Industries did steal oil from the public and lied about its purchases – 24 thousand times. The oil theft conviction was a heavy blow, but the troubles of Koch Industries don’t stop there. If the company was fattening its bottom line through theft – there is also evidence Koch was pinching pennies on safety and environmental protection – cutting costs with disastrous results… Former EPA administrator Carol Browner announced in 2000 that she was hitting Koch Industries with the largest civil penalty in the history of the federal Clean Water Act: a $30 million fine… She said, Koch Industries spilled over 3 million gallons of crude oil in six states.”

During the years of the Bush administration, Koch Industries’ criminal activities were exposed in court, where they were convicted and fined for dozens of oil spills, covering up environmental violations, again stealing oil from Native American lands, illegally exporting crude oil from Canada to the U.S., violations of the Clean Air Act and violations reported by Koch subsidiary Invista. Clearly the Koch Brothers do not give a shit about the environment and the human beings who make their homes around their industries. It stands to reason that they probably don’t care about the Tea Party either. They are merely a means to an end: the end being profit.  The ability to pollute land, water and air and conduct their business criminally with impunity.

The Kochs play around in other industries.  They own Matador Cattle, which, according to the “New York Observer,” utilizes a New Deal program which “allows ranchers to use federal land basically for free. Matador, one of the ten biggest domestic cattle ranching operations, has something in the neighborhood of 300,000 acres of grazing land for its cows—two-thirds of which belong to American taxpayers.”  So, we the taxpayers own that land.  Koch Industries grazes their cattle on it for free, and we see absolutely none of the profit. For a couple of Libertarians, they sure as hell have no reservations about profiting from the system.
“The New York Observer” covered seven such instances of the Koch brothers’ willingness to accept corporate welfare.  The only conclusion that can be made then about the Koch Brothers is that they are about as Libertarian as every other crooked corporate titan in the history of the United States and abroad.
As Mark Ames and Yasha Levine reported–later repeated by “The Washington Post”‘s Dan Eggen and Philip Rucker–the Kochs are behind the Tea Party cover group Americans For Prosperity, who are anti-tax and anti-regulation.  Whose prosperity?  The Kochs’ prosperity.

As G. K. Chesterton once noted, “The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”

That is the aim of the Koch Brothers.  None of us enjoying being governed, but the Koch Brothers only object to it because it might cut into their profit margins.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marching Toward the Death of the American Dream

by S. Paul Forrest 

It is astounding to me the level of xenophobic propelled action taking place in reaction to the development of an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero.  I have seen numerous postings on Facebook and Self-declared Righteous Politicians touting the immorality of it by using images of the 9-11 attacks as bait for the hate hungry.  When will we start acting like America again?

I remember growing up in a small community where the Pledge of Allegiance was said each morning without fail, and we were vehemently taught that America was the land of opportunity where even the poorest of men (or women) could become whatever they wanted.  As I grew up, I had visions in my head of the Statue of Liberty and that wonderful quote:

                 “”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
                   With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
                   Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
                   The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
                   Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
                   I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

To me, this quote was more than just an etching on a plaque in a place I would probably never go; it was a message, a beacon that meant all were welcome in this country no matter how poor or downtrodden. This held great significance for me. You see, I was born and raised in a hippie culture to parents who were immigrants.

Some of you probably are envisioning turban-wrapped Arabs or poor Slovenians, Cubans, Haitians paddling or smuggling themselves into this country type of immigrants.  No, they came over from England on the Queen Mary (Third Class, of course)  and established a life in America with great hope and anticipation that, someday, they would enjoy the famous American Dream.

I have watched the news, read the blogs, and participated in Facebook debates on this subject.  I have weighed the positives and negatives on all sides of the issue and still I cannot find rational thought.

Maybe I am an eternal pessimist, but I cannot seem to find where America is in these discussions.

On the Right we have the "Keep America Whole” statements where the argument turns to the Bush Era political paranoia based on the ideal that America is an Elitist State that should benefit only those who are worthy.  Then there is the Liberal side where the poor should get everything and the rich should carry the burden (both views are seriously misguided).  I hear the Christian argument where the Muslim invasion is a sin and we should arm ourselves to the hilt to prevent Jihad.  I also hear the Muslim side which is rarely reported by mainstream media.

Many may not be aware, and FoxNews does not help in this matter by spreading falsities about it, but the average Muslim-American does not support what Al-Qaeda is doing.  They did not support the 9-11 attacks and they do not think America is evil.  If they did, why would they fly flags at their businesses and homes?  Why would they come to this country?  If you answered because they are trying to infiltrate the US, you have much to learn and even more to remember about this Country.

These people are here for the same reasons my parents came here, to live and prosper under the cloak of the greatest country on Earth.  They are entitled to the same benefits we all are.  It is written in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
This is a moving and inspirational piece of writing.  It is the backbone of this, our country, the United States of America.  Who are we today to take that away?  Who are we to stand in protest of a religious institution sacred to an immigrant people at the base of the Statue of Liberty (and not a stone's throw from Philadelphia where the Declaration was written), stripping those people of that American Dream?

Which of you will stand in front of a classroom filled with starry-eyed children who believe that this country stands for all, and opportunity is there for them, one and all, no matter their race, creed or religion, and  tell them the American Dream is dead?  Which of you will stand and be so anti-human as to tell these children and those abroad suffering untold tragedy that this country is no longer the beacon of the world?  Which of you wants to do that?

When you stand against a people wanting to take advantage of all this country stands for, you do just that.  You are killing everything that this, My United States of America, is about.  We did not come this far through the struggles of war, slavery, womens' rights, and equal rights just to have a group of xenophobic zealots take it all away.  I believe in this country and it truly breaks my heart to see so many joining the slow march toward the Death of the American Dream

Hope Lost

S. Paul Forrest

"Children paint like geniuses, what is it we do to them that so quickly dulls this ability" ~Pablo Picasso

I love art. I love music. I love a world where both are inherent to existence. To understand the latter, one must fully encompass the former. I love science, mathematics, creativity and the exploration of my own and others' minds in an attempt to truly live by my personal credo: a day without learning is a day wasted.

I was blessed as a child with an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. I read, drew, wrote poetry, sang, participated in music programs and, in general, loved life. I have a good deal of appreciation for my genetic and environmental dispositions handed to me from my father and mother. More so, I was lucky enough to attend schools where these microcosms of wonder were emphasized on a daily basis. It has defined me, focused me, and even made me the dreamer and the realist I am today.

My children also have been blessed with the same. They know art, science, music, poetry and each have inherited intelligence and curiosity from their parents and the rest of their own personal peculiarities from life experience. They have a good, solid base to draw from as they march though this chaos we call life. Each has great talent, and each has amazed me with their own personal take on this world because of it.

It is sad, however, how many children are not so blessed to have enjoyed the same environmental initiatives. The schools have been cutting out art, music, and even the physical enhancements of recess in an effort to control the budget. The people making these decisions are depriving our children of the very thing that makes them free-thinking individuals able to explore their own existences outside of socio-economic boundaries, racism, violence and other social deterrents many of them face every day. We are slowly creating a world free of art and expression, free of thought, and free of any semblance of genius. In its place is financial greed.

In the introductory quote, Picasso was referring to the child who paints with feeling, passion and pure imagination. The lines animalistic; the colors primitive; and the depiction of life free of boundaries.

When a child paints, it is the wonderful expressions of nothingness that is expressed on the canvas. It is genius unbounded and alit with the passion of life. It is the pure solidification of imagination. Only when an adult comes upon the painting and asks what it is does the child begin to become defined in their art. In this same encounter, the adult begins to tell the child what a house, tree, or dog should look like. The imagination begins to become defined, controlled. The world becomes a bit more constricted, and the child’s expression starts to wither, hopelessly.

Many children have school to rekindle the flame that would otherwise be extinguished from the parent who just doesn’t seem to understand the expressive nature of creativity. They take art classes, are required to learn a musical instrument and, in the end, are more beautiful because of it. For my children and I, we explore our imaginations and reach toward the infinite in expression through reading, playing and painting. Those children who do not have parents that do this with them, however, are lost without school programs to rekindle the flame in their hearts. Slowly, without encouragement, their heart’s light dims and their inner Picasso, their melodic Bach, becomes dormant.

As I look around this world, I see many who have no spark left. They have no inner Picasso to paint a dream. They have no Bach to compose a sonata of Love; they have no hope to climb the mountain of life.

The level of violence and desperation in the world has risen beyond any pessimistic expectation; the dark has begun to take hold. Many people would not be so angry and afraid if they could have the child within them dream once more. If this were possible, maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place. They could dream once more of a life worth living and escape from the chains of hopelessness to soar in the clouds of imagination.

Today, in many parts of this world, our children are growing up in a violent and greedy environment. They now, more than ever, need us to give them hope. They need the dreams of a better place if this world is ever to improve. We, as a people, need our artists, our musicians, our poets to give us all hope. We need imagination and the fostering of all things artistic to once again become a focus of education. Without this to light the way, we will surely all be lost.

Where Has Journalism Gone?

S. Paul Forrest
Activist Post

This country is an amazing place. It is filled with wonders from natural to intellectual and everyday, when I leave my house, I straighten the flag flying at my door to ensure the eagle on the end is straight and pointing to the sky. I am proud to be an American, for there is no other place on Earth that ensures genuine freedom in all its aspects. There is, however, one thing that makes me wonder about my country’s future and brings a taint to my love of this Great Land. It lies within the educational and cultural depravity enhanced and enforced by a growing mental laziness and blinding devotion to ignorance perpetuated by irresponsible journalism.

We are all, in some aspect or another, ignorant of many things. If you consider the amount of information there is to absorb in the modern world, one cannot help but be so on one level or another. I am ignorant of many sports, forensics, genetics . . . the list goes on and on. Each day in an effort to quell this I venture to understand as much as I can, because I truly believe that a day without learning is a day wasted. The problem I’ve had in this endeavor is searching for relevant data. The ability to collect and distill information has become incredibly difficult, not only because of the sheer amount of it available, but because of the questionable content which is in the available sources.

Today, as I travel down the information highway, stopping along the way from time to time to enjoy the scenery, there are roads down which I travel that are dependable for factual information, then there are those meant to lead me to wander endlessly through mazes of distraction. Like the tourist attractions of old that dot the interstate system across this country, some of the sites along the inter-global system of information are loaded with contradiction and broken promises of historical accuracy, while the vendors who lay out their faux-merchandise reap the profits.

Today’s journalism is rather similar to these roadside vendors. There are places or providers that represent integrity, while there are those others who erect plaster dinosaurs to attract sales from a walk through fake history and manipulated facts. The latter of these two seem only to serve themselves; their own political agendas and their sacred profit margins. Some of these “journalists” are in the business of deception, of manipulation, rather than the delivery of real facts to allow the viewing audience some depiction of the real world around them.

One example of the aforementioned deceptions: In July of this year, Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign because a speech she made was butchered to emphasize a seemingly racist comment. A single part of the speech was taken out of context and distorted by an over-zealous reporter trying to discredit her in order to outline racism existing within the current White House administration. This simple 30-second clip was extracted and paraded as a statement of her personal beliefs, when it was quite obviously taken out of the context of her greater message of tolerance and personal growth. It was a purposeful manipulation of the facts to support a political agenda by the conservative media.

Similarly, the “facts” of the World Trade Center destruction have been used passionately to support a Neo-conservative Tea Party agenda of National Isolationism, Neo-Liberal Constitutionalism and the conspiracy theorist’s agenda of furthering the idea of a CIA cover-up to garner support for oil seizure in the Middle East. Within this particular media manipulation also has been the use of these quasi-facts to garner support of Islam phobia to encourage the continued isolation of America for the purposes of resisting the “One Global Community” desires by some groups in this country.

I find this all so deeply troubling. News used to mean something. The anchors of old would tell the story to inform the audience. They based their reports upon the unwavering devotion to journalistic integrity and a responsibility to report the news to the general public. These people prided themselves on reporting what occurred, and allowed the listener to form their own opinions. Today, the opinions are given to the listener. Facts are manipulated to include “snippets” of fact to purposely deliver the political or cultural message of the reporting corporation. Many “News” agencies weed through clips for information to back their story and intentionally lead the audience toward one side of an issue or the other.

What happened to the media of old? I understand the depth of a system more open to the public and the psychology of our leaders, corporations, and individual citizens being open to the gauging of their viability and devotion to actually helping American citizens, but the facts should not be manipulated as weapons to this effect. The facts should be held as their own form of information. Changing a statement by taking a snippet out of the whole of a speech is lying to the public. There is no integrity to be had in this act. There is no responsibility. It makes me wonder whether the people practicing journalism are so weak in their craft that this is the only way they can succeed in a system of higher intellect. It also makes me wonder how weak we as Americans have become to blindly follow like sheep and listen to these irresponsible people.

The world today is in a very great deal of trouble. We are reaching maximum human density, an oncoming shortage of food met with genetic manipulation, political deception and a direct assault on the education system in this country. As we head toward the next decade, we NEED responsible journalism to inform us all. We can no longer stand idly by and allow the journalism of the Great Country to lie to us for their own purposes. We MUST have the facts so we can stand together prepared for the future and the problems to come. Only in this way can we come up with the right solutions. We all, in one way or another, realize where journalism has gone. The real question is: How do we get it back?

A Liberal’s Awakening to the Reality of ObamaCare

S. Paul Forrest
On December 24, 2009, H.R. 3590 -- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law.  Liberals around the world rose up in appreciation that Health Care Reform was finally coming to America.  The Bill was touted as a major victory for Americans without health care coverage and was ushered through the legal process in an expeditious way.  As the Bill now moves into action, many peripheral Bills and Executive Orders are being issued to emphasize the underlying methodology of the Bill.  One action in particular -- the regulation of organic foods and supplements, is coming to the forefront, awakening many Liberals to the realities of this Bill’s damaging course.

Most Liberals have in the past hoped for health care reform.  In particular, Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy had a dream of decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.  He campaigned vehemently on a platform to create an America that cares for its own without having income as a barrier to quality of life.  Unfortunately, he died before seeing Obama’s Health Care Bill passed in Congress.  As it is now popularly known, ObamaCare was billed as the fulfillment of Kennedy’s dream but, in reality, even if the great Senator had been alive when it was ratified, he still would not have seen his dream come to fruition. The reality is that ObamaCare stands as an example of what happens when politics and blind ambition mix in a solution of two parts deception and one part ignorance.
In the flurry of debate on the value of ObamaCare, many opinions and statements were given by both the Right and the Left side of the aisle. The Right stated that the plan is an expansion of big government with too much control, and the long term cost will be crippling to the country’s economy.  The Left has stuck to quoting the statistics of 45,000 people dying prematurely in America each year because they can't afford proper care -- and touting Kennedy’s name to garner the support of their base.  Both sides have fueled the fight with their version of the facts in an attempt to propel the American public to see the “realities” of ObamaCare, but only one was actually telling us the truth.

Republicans relentlessly argued that the plan would saddle the nation with unaffordable levels of debt; leave states with expensive new obligations; weaken Medicare; and give the government a huge new role in the healthcare system. The Left said that affordability and the covering of pre-existing conditions were the important factors involved, and this plan was a step toward achieving care for uninsured Americans. 

As the media circus grew around this legislation, and accusatory fingers pointed toward both sides of the aisle, it seemed that no one had actually read the Bill.  This became clear when Nancy Pelosi, the Leader of the Left, made the statement: "Congress has to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of controversy." She was advocating the passing of this Economic Giant of a Bill without even taking the time to read it.  This was my first realization that something was very wrong beneath the streets of Obama Land.

Given this obvious attempt to pass this Historic Bill and advocating ignorance as the driving force for its acceptance, I decided to read the Bill to find the answers myself.  The opening sections outline a beautiful system for providing Americans with health care that is not only affordable, but complete in order to achieve the purpose of, “building on what works in today’s health care system, while repairing the aspects that are broken.”  In section (1) of the Bill, it states: "The purpose of this division is to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending."  This, I believe, is as far as most people decided to read, if they read it at all.  After digesting the complexities of this Bill and after some serious self-reflection and swallowing of my Liberal pride, I came to a disturbing conclusion: The Republicans were right.

The Bill’s foreword (a simplified version of what is supposedly in the Bill) painted a picture of the very hope I had been expecting.  The real purpose to the Bill, however, is quite different than that cryptically outlined in the foreword.  The reality is that this Bill gives the President the freedom to set up Health Care Commissions to oversee the Health and Welfare of the People.  The plan unfolding, generated by overzealous propaganda by the Left and now touted as the greatest health care reform of our time, is well beyond the imagination of even the most twisted, Marxist mind.  The Health Care Reform outlined in the text is a collection of the most controlling, government expanding piece of legislation I have ever read.  

The reality is that H.R. 3590 sets up a system of governmental oversight and control that boggles the mind.  The numbers of panels and departments under the general cloak of this Bill are astounding.  Commissioners, Administrators, Ombudsmen and Committees of all shapes and sizes are enacted to oversee the implementation and continuation of this Act.  This Bill doesn’t just redefine Health Care; it completely redefines the structure of it.   The Bill translates into a system that allows the creation and proliferation of programs like what is outlined in H.R. 875 and the Food Safety Administration.  It is the very thing that I have heard a flurry of frustration about from the Left:  control over organic supplements and foods without their first being checked and labeled by a government agency.  H.R. 875 essentially sets up a system where people will not be subjected to foods or supplements that could pose a threat to their health.  

Similarly, Senate Bill 425: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, performs the same control over our choices of foods.  This particular Bill plans to:  “Amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the establishment of a traceability system for food, to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspections Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for improved public health and food safety through enhanced enforcement, and for other purposes."  It is essentially the control and inevitable destruction of free organics in America, courtesy of the Lobbyists for corporations like Monsanto.  The irony is that these same people standing against organics are allowing genetic, antibiotic, and steroidal manipulation of our food without even a second thought.

The recent Bills and Executive Orders being implemented in the after-hours workings of the Obama Regime are all interconnected, purposeful moves to control the “health” of the population.  Our entire food system, and thus our health choices, are being decided without public knowledge in a land called Democratic; our vote has not been counted.  Unbeknownst to most Americans, H.R. 3590 specifically requires a committee to list the priorities for "lifestyle behavior modification" that the government will pursue.  This translates into control of our choices of diet.  Is this what Liberals were thinking of when we all together stood symbolically with Obama to bring Health Care to America?  Is this what we foresaw as the solution to our collective Health Care dilemma?  Control over choices?

According to Karl Marx, a defining characteristic of Capitalism is that it alienates man from himself, from the true nature of work, and from others.  This alienation may be partially moderated by consumption; by accepting the dominant ideas of what is the ‘good life.'  This philosophy is represented in the fabric of the Obama Plan.  Each day, he takes us one more step from freedom of choice toward a controlled environment.  In a 'pure' Marxist society, the State is a democratic system that manages all aspects of production -- essentially making the State the head of all industry.  The sad part of this is that we are allowing it to happen.I am proud to call myself a Liberal, and I have to say that when the Right first started their campaign against Obama, calling him a Marxist and attempting to defeat every plan of action introduced by him, I was deeply frustrated.  I couldn’t understand the hate and messages that seemed to drip with racism and ignorance.  Today, though, it is a different perspective and a different emotion I am feeling.  Today, I stand deeply hurt and disappointed by the deception of this man.  Obama stood in front of us all with silver tongue and pearly smile promising Change to America.  He has brought change all right, but it is a kind of change that will leave deep scars on the backs of this great nation.  It is the kind of change that has set us in turmoil and split the sides of the aisle with a seemingly irreconcilable divide.  

In the past few years, I have read and researched constantly in an effort to defend our President, trying to argue that he is good for this country.  In the recent months, however, I have realized how very wrong I was to do so.  After many months of sailing aboard the USS Obama, I am clamoring to find the lifeboats.  With my Awakening to the Reality of Obama Care, and so many more of his initiatives of “Change,” I have decided to abandon this ship sailing into the fog of deception and take my chances on the open political ocean with windblown waters in the desperate hope that eventually my little boat will once again find the free, teeming shores of America.