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Strange story of US paranoia run amuk

June 15th, 2009

 

Paranoid Authorities Wouldn’t Let My Plane Fly Over U.S. Territory — Was It Something I Wrote?

 

By Hernando Calvo Ospina , Progreso-Weekly. Posted May 4, 2009.

 

An AirFrance flight was forced to divert a plane thousands of miles because a journalist was considered a national security threat.

 

 

     

Air France Flight 438, from Paris, was to land at Mexico City at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. Five hours before landing, the captain’s voice announced that U.S. authorities had prohibited the plane from flying over U.S. territory. The explanation: among the passengers aboard was a person who was not welcome in the United States for reasons of national security.

 

A few minutes later, the same voice told the startled passengers that the plane was heading for Fort-de-France, Martinique, because the detour the plan needed to take to reach its destination was too long and the fuel was insufficient.

 

The stopover in that French territory in the Caribbean would be only to refuel the plane. Exhaustion was becoming an issue among the passengers. But the central question, spoken in undertones, was the identity of the “terrorist” passenger, because if the “gringos” say it, “it must be because he must be a terrorist.”

 

Looking at those of us sitting in the back of the plane, two passengers said no terrorist could be there because “nobody there looks like a Muslim.”

 

Again in the air, and preparing for another four hours of travel, a man who identified himself as the copilot came to me. Trying to look discreet, he asked if I was “Mr. Calvo Ospina.” I told him yes.

 

“The captain wants to sleep, that’s why I came here,” he said, and he invited me to accompany him to the back of the plane. There, he told me that I was the person “responsible” for the detour. I was astonished.

 

My first reaction was to ask him: “Do you think I’m a terrorist?” He said no, that’s the reason I’m telling you this. He also assured me that it was strange that this was the first time it happened on an Air France plane. Shortly before we landed in Martinique, a stewardess had told me that, in her 11-year career, nothing like that had ever happened to her.

 

Finally, the copilot asked me not to tell anybody, including the rest of the crew. I assured him that I hadn’t the slightest intention of doing so.

 

I returned to my seat. Perhaps through nervousness, I began to notice that the members of the crew walked by me more frequently, looking at me with curiosity.

 

After landing, before the plane even reached the airport building, a woman’s voice asked for “Mr. Calvo Ospina” to meet with a member of the crew as soon as the plane stopped. I did so. The young man picked up a phone and called someone. After hanging up, he told me I was no longer needed and could debark. He told me he knew about my problem and wished me luck.

 

In an instant, on two pieces of paper I ripped from a newspaper, I wrote the telephone number of my home and gave them to two passengers with whom I had chatted, telling them I was “the problem guy.” They assured me they would phone my home, but didn’t — or they couldn’t read my numbers.

 

A few yards from the plane, at the entrance to the terminal, we were awaited by several civilians who asked for our documents. My throat was drying up, due to nerves. I submitted my passport and was allowed to enter. While I waited on line at the immigration desk, I saw several men looking for someone. They stood behind a glass partition, a few steps away from the immigration agents but at a higher level.

 

The line moved slowly. I was moving, without any choice, to where I felt the worst might happen. But what could I do? The scandal of a man designated as “a terrorist” by the United States could not gain me any supporters. I had to go on. Nothing weighed on my conscience; nothing weighs still.

 

Then I saw that the three or four men behind the glass partition had identified me. They looked at a computer screen and then at me. I feigned indifference. The man who looked like (and was) the leader, went down to the main floor to talk to the immigration agents. He pretended not to assume that I was “the culprit” but clearly he thought so. And the immigration agents looked into my eyes, unable to conceal that they knew I was the man they were waiting for.

 

My turn came. I greeted the man politely and he responded in like manner. He looked at the computer, wrote something and told me to wait a minute, said he needed to “verify” something in my passport. He asked me to follow him. I did. He led me to a room next to the glass-enclosed one. A uniformed agent was sitting next to the door, writing something. As soon as I put down my two valises, I told him I needed to go to the bathroom. He pointed me in its direction. I walked through two large semi dark rooms; I saw two people sleeping on the floor, on mats. The bathroom lights didn’t work. I urinated without worrying if I hit the toilet seat or not. I couldn’t see a thing.

 

I returned and sat down. I fumbled for a book, displaying tranquility, but my throat remained dry. A few minutes later, the same man who watched me from the glass enclosure returned and politely asked me to follow him. We walked into the glass-enclosed room, he sat behind a desk and asked me to sit in one of two chairs. As I did, I noticed that a man was standing behind me, to my left. A woman checked a computer and documents, paying no attention to us.

 

The first thing the man told me was that I shouldn’t worry, that they only wanted to verify a few things. He said that “five information sources” in data bases had shown some information about me. He said they “simply” needed to make a “summary.” He showed me a package that contained about 200 sheets of paper, stapled together in five booklets.

 

I calmed down, forgot about my dry throat and told him: “Ask whatever you want. I have nothing to hide.” He repeated that it was a simple, brief matter and that I could leave later. Knowing the police, I had my doubts.

 

I asked him if those many sheets of paper said that I was guilty of something. The man who was standing answered that I was there at the request of U.S. authorities. He said I should know that, after Sept. 11, 2001, the Americans had stepped up their “cooperation” work.

 

Then I asked them: “So, am I to blame for the plane’s rerouting?” They said no, they understood it had been a mere technical stopover. I told them they knew it wasn’t so, that the plane’s captain had told everyone that the stopover was due to a passenger. They smiled, looked at each other, and resumed the questions. They asked me for my name, date of birth, residence, etc. Nothing special, nothing that wasn’t already in my documents. The seated officer kept repeating that I could leave without any problem in a few minutes. The standing officer posed the more “remarkable” questions.

 

“Are you a Catholic?” he asked. I answered no, but I am not a Muslim either, knowing how “dangerous” this religious belief has become to certain policemen.

 

“Do you know how to handle firearms?” I told him that the only time I held one I was very young; it was a shotgun and I was knocked down by the recoil. I never even went through military service, I said. In fact, I added, “my only weapon is my writing, especially to denounce the American government, whom I consider terrorist.”

 

They looked at each other, and the seated man said something I already knew: “That weapon sometimes is worse than rifles and bombs.”

 

They asked me why I was traveling to Nicaragua the following day, and I explained that I had to write a story for Le Monde Diplomatique. They asked me for my personal address, as well as the home phone and cell phone numbers, which I gave them without hesitation. They asked me if I had children. A girl and a boy, I answered. The standing man, who by then had sat down next to me, said calmly: “How nice that you have a boy-and-girl couple. That’s nice.” He sounded almost sincere.

 

That was basically the interrogation, which seemed more like a chat. The notes made by the seated man did not fill a page. The notes made by the other man did not fill a notepad page. It seemed to me that the latter worked for a more specialized intelligence agency. At no time did either official speak aggressively or threateningly. They were very courteous and proper.

 

Finally, they returned my identification papers after photocopying them. And we parted with a handshake. It was almost 2 a.m., Sunday, April 19, 2009. At 10:30 a.m. I boarded a plane for Managua without any difficulty. But I still think that it was a dream bordering on a nightmare. I still don’t believe that I was “guilty of detouring an Air France 747 because of the ‘fears’ of U.S. authorities.”

 

How much did it all cost? Only Air France knows. It had to pay for hotel rooms and food for at least half the passengers, who missed their connections. I witnessed the other passengers’ exhaustion, especially the children, some of whom began to vomit, fearing that among them was a “terrorist.” I also saw the tranquility of the crew members in my presence. Later I learned that all of them were aware of the situation, but it didn’t seem to me that they believed I was guilty of a crime.

 

How far will the U.S. authorities’ paranoia go? And why do Air France and the French authorities continue to keep silent about it all?

 

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Doctors Call for Ban on Genetically Modified Foods

June 11th, 2009

I thank Richard Diehl for keeping up on these important bits of news:

 

On May 19, 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) released a landmark position paper signed by physicians across the U.S. calling for a moratorium on GE foods:

 

“Avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible… Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food… There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

 

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Silk Soymilk Packaging Scam

 

“I was very involved in the creation of Silk Organic Soymilk when it was first designed and manufactured. Steve Demos was very committed to Silk being Non-GMO, Organic and Vegan. Suddenly, when buying Silk at Whole Foods, I discovered that none of the Silk flavors in half gallon containers were certified organic. The cartons look exactly the same as before with the exception/removal of the USDA Organic Seal and the word “organic” before soybeans in the nutritional panel. This is a very sneaky way for a manufacturer to discontinue Non-GMO Organic soybeans in the manufacture of their product. I also wonder why Whole Foods continues to sell this product without a warning sign.”

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Chomsky! speaks out with noble integrity

May 21st, 2009

 

 

American Amnesia: We Forget Our Atrocities Almost As Soon as We Commit Them

 

By Noam Chomsky, Tomdispatch.com. Posted May 20, 2009.

 

Historical amnesia is a dangerous social phenomenon because it lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead.

 

Also in Rights and Liberties

 

 

 

 by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so.

 

For one thing, even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law — a place, incidentally, that Washington is using in violation of a treaty forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons were, of course, alleged, but they remain hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for the Bush administration‘s “black sites,” or secret prisons, and for extraordinary rendition, and they were fulfilled.

 

More importantly, torture has been routinely practiced from the early days of the conquest of the national territory, and continued to be used as the imperial ventures of the “infant empire” — as George Washington called the new republic — extended to the Philippines, Haiti, and elsewhere. Keep in mind as well that torture was the least of the many crimes of aggression, terror, subversion, and economic strangulation that have darkened U.S. history, much as in the case of other great powers.

 

Accordingly, what’s surprising is to see the reactions to the release of those Justice Department memos, even by some of the most eloquent and forthright critics of Bush malfeasance: Paul Krugman, for example, writing that we used to be “a nation of moral ideals” and never before Bush “have our leaders so utterly betrayed everything our nation stands for.” To say the least, that common view reflects a rather slanted version of American history.

 

Occasionally the conflict between “what we stand for” and “what we do” has been forthrightly addressed. One distinguished scholar who undertook the task at hand was Hans Morgenthau, a founder of realist international relations theory. In a classic study published in 1964 in the glow of Camelot, Morgenthau developed the standard view that the U.S. has a “transcendent purpose”: establishing peace and freedom at home and indeed everywhere, since “the arena within which the United States must defend and promote its purpose has become world-wide.” But as a scrupulous scholar, he also recognized that the historical record was radically inconsistent with that “transcendent purpose.”

 

We should not be misled by that discrepancy, advised Morgenthau; we should not “confound the abuse of reality with reality itself.” Reality is the unachieved “national purpose” revealed by “the evidence of history as our minds reflect it.” What actually happened was merely the “abuse of reality.”

 

The release of the torture memos led others to recognize the problem. In the New York Times, columnist Roger Cohen reviewed a new book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, by British journalist Geoffrey Hodgson, who concludes that the U.S. is “just one great, but imperfect, country among others.” Cohen agrees that the evidence supports Hodgson’s judgment, but nonetheless regards as fundamentally mistaken Hodgson’s failure to understand that “America was born as an idea, and so it has to carry that idea forward.” The American idea is revealed in the country’s birth as a “city on a hill,” an “inspirational notion” that resides “deep in the American psyche,” and by “the distinctive spirit of American individualism and enterprise” demonstrated in the Western expansion. Hodgson’s error, it seems, is that he is keeping to “the distortions of the American idea,” “the abuse of reality.”

 

Let us then turn to “reality itself”: the “idea” of America from its earliest days.

 

“Come Over and Help Us”

 

The inspirational phrase “city on a hill” was coined by John Winthrop in 1630, borrowing from the Gospels, and outlining the glorious future of a new nation “ordained by God.” One year earlier his Massachusetts Bay Colony created its Great Seal. It depicted an Indian with a scroll coming out of his mouth. On that scroll are the words “Come over and help us.” The British colonists were thus pictured as benevolent humanists, responding to the pleas of the miserable natives to be rescued from their bitter pagan fate.

 

 

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Obama reversing nuclear cold war strategy?

April 6th, 2009

The 52 Minutes of Obama Magic That Changed the Nuclear Rules

Monday 06 April 2009

by: Ian Traynor  |  Visit article original @ The Guardian UK

photo
Obama in Prague, where he delivered a second call to rid the world of nuclear weapons. (Photo: Getty Images)

Two presidential speeches in two days signal end of cold war strategic thinking.

In his whirlwind debut European tour of summits in Britain, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, Barack Obama has delivered two speeches, both exactly 26 minutes long.

On Friday, in Strasbourg, he was rapturously applauded by French and German students when he said he wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In Prague yesterday, he spelled out his hopes, outlining a host of means to that end and denouncing fatalism in the face of the nuclear threat as a “deadly adversary.”

Also see below:
Remarks by President Obama in Prague

The world’s estimated arsenal of 24,000 nuclear warheads – all but 1,000 in the US and Russian armouries – was the worst legacy of the cold war, Obama said. If the risk of all-out nuclear war had faded, the danger of nuclear attack had increased, he added.

Disarmament

The president pledged a drive on nuclear disarmament, possibly bigger than any ever attempted. He spelled out how he would accelerate arms control agreements with Russia, following his first summit meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev last week. The deal to conclude a new arms reduction treaty with Moscow, which would slash stockpiles by about a third was a beginning, setting the stage for further cuts.

Building on the momentum of a new agreement with the Russians, Obama said he wanted to cajole the other nuclear powers into agreeing international arms cuts.

This would include Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent as well as France’s force de frappe and could run into resistance.

John Hutton, the defence secretary, said at the weekend “there would have to be a very significant breakthrough in international nuclear weapons negotiations” before Britain’s arsenal could be put on the table.

Nuclear Testing

“It is time for testing of nuclear weapons to be banned,” Obama said. He called for a resuscitation of the 1996 comprehensive test ban treaty outlawing all nuclear tests. Obama’s Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, signed the treaty, but then gave up on it after running into resistance from the Republican-controlled Senate which refused to ratify it a decade ago. George Bush did not pursue the issue.

America is the most important country that has not ratified the treaty, although other nuclear countries such as China, Israel and Pakistan, as well as Iran have also declined to ratify.

Obama said he would pursue US ratification “immediately and aggressively”.

Proliferation

As well as supporting the test ban treaty, Obama pledged to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which dates from 1968 and is the cornerstone of the effort to try to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

He specified two ways of reinforcing the NPT regime – banning the production of fissile material used for nuclear warheads and establishing an “international fuel bank” which would supply and keep tabs on low-enriched uranium for peaceful nuclear purposes in electricity generation for countries that need it.

This is aimed at keeping countries, such as Iran, from developing their own fuel enrichment programmes and at restricting the growth of nuclear knowhow.

Low-enriched uranium is used in power plants. High-enriched uranium is used for warheads. The material can be diverted for weapons use and once you have mastered the fuel cycle for power generation, it is relatively easy to produce bomb-grade material.

Obama also insisted on greater resources and authority for international inspections – and “real and immediate consequences” for countries that violate the treaty.

Loose Nukes

Over the past 15 years there have been various efforts, mainly by the US, to secure and store nuclear materials stemming from the collapse of the Soviet Union to offset the dangers of “loose nukes”, nuclear contraband, and black market trading in radioactive materials.

Obama said he wanted to re-energise this campaign to get all “vulnerable” nuclear materials in secure storage within four years.

He also said he would convene a world summit on nuclear security in the US within a year. The agenda and participants for such a conference remain unclear.

But the spread of nuclear knowhow and technology had to be stopped, he said, since it would become increasingly easy to “buy, build or steal” a nuclear bomb. The risk of terrorists being able to obtain a nuclear device was “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.”

National Security

Obama also promised to rewrite American military and national security strategy to downgrade the centrality of nuclear weapons, reversing a tendency among some senior former military officials to argue in favour of an increased reliance on nuclear weapons and a commitment to embrace preemptive nuclear strikes as an option.

The Timetable

The president conceded the nuclear challenge was daunting, would be a long haul, and could fail. “This goal will not be reached quickly – perhaps not in my lifetime. It would take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change.” But he said it was time for a new, more robust international regime. “Rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something.”

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Remarks by President Obama in Prague
Hradcany Square
Prague, Czech Republic

Sunday 05 April 2009

President Obama: Thank you so much. Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Prague. Thank you to the people of the Czech Republic. (Applause.) Today, I’m proud to stand here with you in the middle of this great city, in the center of Europe. (Applause.) And, to paraphrase one of my predecessors, I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague. (Applause.)

To Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, to all the dignitaries who are here, thank you for your extraordinary hospitality. And to the people of the Czech Republic, thank you for your friendship to the United States. (Applause.)

I’ve learned over many years to appreciate the good company and the good humor of the Czech people in my hometown of Chicago. (Applause.) Behind me is a statue of a hero of the Czech people – Tomas Masaryk. (Applause.) In 1918, after America had pledged its support for Czech independence, Masaryk spoke to a crowd in Chicago that was estimated to be over 100,000. I don’t think I can match his record – (laughter) – but I am honored to follow his footsteps from Chicago to Prague. (Applause.)

For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any other city in any other place. You’ve known war and peace. You’ve seen empires rise and fall. You’ve led revolutions in the arts and science, in politics and in poetry. Through it all, the people of Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their own destiny. And this city – this Golden City which is both ancient and youthful – stands as a living monument to your unconquerable spirit.

When I was born, the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become the President of the United States. (Applause.) Few people would have predicted that an American President would one day be permitted to speak to an audience like this in Prague. (Applause.) Few would have imagined that the Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, a leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as dreams.

We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change.

We’re here today because of the courage of those who stood up and took risks to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like.

We are here today because of the Prague Spring – because the simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the will of a people.

We are here today because 20 years ago, the people of this city took to the streets to claim the promise of a new day, and the fundamental human rights that had been denied them for far too long. Sametová Revoluce – (applause) – the Velvet Revolution taught us many things. It showed us that peaceful protest could shake the foundations of an empire, and expose the emptiness of an ideology. It showed us that small countries can play a pivotal role in world events, and that young people can lead the way in overcoming old conflicts. (Applause.) And it proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.

That’s why I’m speaking to you in the center of a Europe that is peaceful, united and free – because ordinary people believed that divisions could be bridged, even when their leaders did not. They believed that walls could come down; that peace could prevail.

We are here today because Americans and Czechs believed against all odds that today could be possible. (Applause.)

Now, we share this common history. But now this generation – our generation – cannot stand still. We, too, have a choice to make. As the world has become less divided, it has become more interconnected. And we’ve seen events move faster than our ability to control them – a global economy in crisis, a changing climate, the persistent dangers of old conflicts, new threats and the spread of catastrophic weapons.

None of these challenges can be solved quickly or easily. But all of them demand that we listen to one another and work together; that we focus on our common interests, not on occasional differences; and that we reaffirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart. That is the work that we must carry on. That is the work that I have come to Europe to begin. (Applause.)

To renew our prosperity, we need action coordinated across borders. That means investments to create new jobs. That means resisting the walls of protectionism that stand in the way of growth. That means a change in our financial system, with new rules to prevent abuse and future crisis. (Applause.)

And we have an obligation to our common prosperity and our common humanity to extend a hand to those emerging markets and impoverished people who are suffering the most, even though they may have had very little to do with financial crises, which is why we set aside over a trillion dollars for the International Monetary Fund earlier this week, to make sure that everybody – everybody – receives some assistance. (Applause.)

Now, to protect our planet, now is the time to change the way that we use energy. (Applause.) Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part. And I pledge to you that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead. (Applause.)

To provide for our common security, we must strengthen our alliance. NATO was founded 60 years ago, after Communism took over Czechoslovakia. That was when the free world learned too late that it could not afford division. So we came together to forge the strongest alliance that the world has ever known. And we should – stood shoulder to shoulder – year after year, decade after decade – until an Iron Curtain was lifted, and freedom spread like flowing water.

This marks the 10th year of NATO membership for the Czech Republic. And I know that many times in the 20th century, decisions were made without you at the table. Great powers let you down, or determined your destiny without your voice being heard. I am here to say that the United States will never turn its back on the people of this nation. (Applause.) We are bound by shared values, shared history – (applause.) We are bound by shared values and shared history and the enduring promise of our alliance. NATO’s Article V states it clearly: An attack on one is an attack on all. That is a promise for our time, and for all time.

The people of the Czech Republic kept that promise after America was attacked; thousands were killed on our soil, and NATO responded. NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is fundamental to the safety of people on both sides of the Atlantic. We are targeting the same al Qaeda terrorists who have struck from New York to London, and helping the Afghan people take responsibility for their future. We are demonstrating that free nations can make common cause on behalf of our common security. And I want you to know that we honor the sacrifices of the Czech people in this endeavor, and mourn the loss of those you’ve lost.

But no alliance can afford to stand still. We must work together as NATO members so that we have contingency plans in place to deal with new threats, wherever they may come from. We must strengthen our cooperation with one another, and with other nations and institutions around the world, to confront dangers that recognize no borders. And we must pursue constructive relations with Russia on issues of common concern.

Now, one of those issues that I’ll focus on today is fundamental to the security of our nations and to the peace of the world – that’s the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that existed for centuries, that embodied the beauty and the talent of so much of humanity, would have ceased to exist.

Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point where the center cannot hold.

Now, understand, this matters to people everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city – be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague – could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be – for our global safety, our security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival.

Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked – that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.

Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. (Applause.) And as nuclear power – as a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly – perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.)

Now, let me describe to you the trajectory we need to be on. First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies – including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.

To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year. (Applause.) President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding and sufficiently bold. And this will set the stage for further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.

To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. (Applause.) After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.

And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade materials that create them. That’s the first step.

Second, together we will strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation.

The basic bargain is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them, and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy. To strengthen the treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause.

And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. And no approach will succeed if it’s based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules. We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance peace opportunity for all people.

But we go forward with no illusions. Some countries will break the rules. That’s why we need a structure in place that ensures when any nation does, they will face consequences.

Just this morning, we were reminded again of why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat. North Korea broke the rules once again by testing a rocket that could be used for long range missiles. This provocation underscores the need for action – not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.

Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response – (applause) – now is the time for a strong international response, and North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. All nations must come together to build a stronger, global regime. And that’s why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the North Koreans to change course.

Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon. My administration will seek engagement with Iran based on mutual interests and mutual respect. We believe in dialogue. (Applause.) But in that dialogue we will present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically. We will support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections. That’s a path that the Islamic Republic can take. Or the government can choose increased isolation, international pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will increase insecurity for all.

So let me be clear: Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. (Applause.) If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed. (Applause.)

So, finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said it seeks a bomb and that it would have no problem with using it. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.

So today I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.

We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. Because this threat will be lasting, we should come together to turn efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international institutions. And we should start by having a Global Summit on Nuclear Security that the United States will host within the next year. (Applause.)

Now, I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true international cooperation is possible, given inevitable differences among nations. And there are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it’s worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve.

But make no mistake: We know where that road leads. When nations and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also a cowardly thing to do. That’s how wars begin. That’s where human progress ends.

There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart but by standing together as free nations, as free people. (Applause.) I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together. (Applause.)

Those are the voices that still echo through the streets of Prague. Those are the ghosts of 1968. Those were the joyful sounds of the Velvet Revolution. Those were the Czechs who helped bring down a nuclear-armed empire without firing a shot.

Human destiny will be what we make of it. And here in Prague, let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. (Applause.) Together we can do it.

Thank you very much. Thank you, Prague. (Applause.)

»


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Comments

This is a moderated forum.  It may take a little while for comments to go live. Be civil and on-topic, don’t threaten or advocate violence, please keep it under 300 words. Thanks for participating.

Perhaps Israel will reduce

Perhaps Israel will reduce its nuclear arsenal? I would support this initiative only if Israel is included in the deal. Otherwise we (US, China Russia, EU etc) might be facing Nuclear Israel and have nothing in our arsenal to respond with.

If Obama means what he said

If Obama means what he said in the speeches, why is he pushing Russia into a new era of development in nuclear weapons by putting anti-ballistic missiles in Poland? Why is he whetting Iran’s appetite for nukes by threatening Iran with attack? It seems his actions belie his words.

What “magic”? The talismanic

What “magic”? The talismanic mojo emanating from each and every word of the Great One seems to have eluded me. Major changes in nuclear policy have been proposed before, accompanied by declarations that the abolition of nuclear weapons is a worthy goal. Nothing earth-shaking here, folks, “rapturous” students notwithstanding. BO is the POTUS, the current face of the permanent government and its interests, not the herald of the Age of Aquarius. Really, this stuff is getting sillier by the day.

45 years ago Amitai Etzioni

45 years ago Amitai Etzioni published a little-noticed book: The Hard Way to Peace. In it he delineated what the process of unilateral, gradualist, disarmament from nuclear weapons might look like. JFK endorsed the ideas in the book, even if he was too cautious to follow them with action. It seems and feels clear that too many weapons exist and we cannot afford not to at the least begin the dismantling of them. Obama can start this but he needs support. That, as they say, is us.

America has never kept a

America has never kept a treaty. Why would you ever believe the US would ever bring their huge imperial arsenal to zero. Our “manifest destiny” mentality seems to allow us to lie, cheat, steal, deceive, and invade anyone we wish… if it goes against our “national interest.” I no longer trust Obama because of the people he’s put in his cabinet. Why should another country? When he takes back the monetary system from the Fed’s, helps other countries do the same, stop the theft of Wall Street, redistribute the wealth to the working class, and pass bills to help “we, the people” then I will begin to trust.

Nothing will happen so long

Nothing will happen so long as we continue to put negotiation ahead of action. We (the United States) have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, far larger than we need to maintain a deterrent. We can declare significant unilateral reductions and then invite other countries to match us. Once that process begins, then we can compel not-NPT nuclear states (India, Pakistan, Israel) to join. Then the UN can negotiate a binding roadmap to zero, with inspections in all countries. The point is, someone has to act first, and, as we are the strongest power, that someone should be us. “We must think anew, and act anew, and then we shall save our world.”
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President Obama Seeks Russia Deal to Slash Nuclear Weapons

February 4th, 2009

GOOD NEWS!

President Obama Seeks Russia Deal to Slash Nuclear Weapons Wednesday 04 February 2009 » by: Tim Reid, The Times UK photo A spokesman has stated that President Barack Obama will seek an agreement with Russia to significantly reduce the two countries’ nuclear weapons stockpiles. (Photo: Senior Airman Javier Cruz Jr. / af.mil) The radical new treaty would reduce the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each. Washington – President Obama will convene the most ambitious arms reduction talks with Russia for a generation, aiming to slash each country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons by 80 per cent. The radical treaty would cut the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each, The Times has learnt. Key to the initiative is a review of the Bush Administration’s plan for a US missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, a project fiercely opposed by Moscow. Mr Obama is to establish a non-proliferation office at the White House to oversee the talks, expected to be headed by Gary Samore, a non-proliferation negotiator in the Clinton Administration. The talks will be driven by Hillary Clinton‘s State Department. No final decision on the defence shield has been taken by Mr Obama. Yet merely delaying the placement of US missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic – which if deployed would cost the US $4 billion annually – removes what has been a major impediment to Russian co-operation on arms reduction. Any agreement would put pressure on Britain, which has 160 nuclear warheads, and other nuclear powers to reduce their stockpiles. Mr Obama has pledged to put nuclear weapons reduction at the heart of his presidency and his first move will be to reopen talks with Moscow to replace the 1991 US-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expires in December. Under that pact, the two countries have cut their respective stockpiles from roughly 10,000 to 5,000. “We are going to re-engage Russia in a more traditional, legally binding arms reduction process,” an official from the Administration said. “We are prepared to engage in a broader dialogue with the Russians over issues of concern to them. Nobody would be surprised if the number reduced to the 1,000 mark for the post-Start treaty.” Efforts to revive the Start talks were fitful under Mr Bush and complicated by his insistence on building a missile defence shield. “If Obama proceeds down this route, this will be a major departure,” one Republican said. “But there will be trouble in Congress.” The plan is also complicated by the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which launched its first satellite into space yesterday, and North Korea, which is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking the US. Mr Obama views the reduction of arms by the US and Russia as critical to efforts to persuade countries such as Iran not to develop the Bomb. » IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THIS MATERIAL IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. TRUTHOUT HAS NO AFFILIATION WHATSOEVER WITH THE ORIGINATOR OF THIS ARTICLE NOR IS TRUTHOUT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED BY THE ORIGINATOR. “VIEW SOURCE ARTICLE” LINKS ARE PROVIDED AS A CONVENIENCE TO OUR READERS AND ALLOW FOR VERIFICATION OF AUTHENTICITY. HOWEVER, AS ORIGINATING PAGES ARE OFTEN UPDATED BY THEIR ORIGINATING HOST SITES, THE VERSIONS POSTED ON TO MAY NOT MATCH THE VERSIONS OUR READERS VIEW WHEN CLICKING THE “VIEW SOURCE ARTICLE” LINKS. Comments This is a moderated forum. It may take a little while for comments to go live. 

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January 19th, 2009

MONDAY 19 JANUARY 2009 Signup for updates * * * * * * * * * * * * Opinion Olbermann | Bush Years: 8 in 8 Minutes Friday 16 January 2009 » by: Keith Olbermann,

George Walker Bush. 43rd president of the United States. first ever with a criminal record. our third story tonight, his presidency: eight years in eight minutes. early in 2001 the U.S. fingered Al Qaeda for the bombing of the USS Cole Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke had a plan to take down Al Qaeda. instead by February the NSC had already discussed invading Iraq, and had a plan for post-Saddam Iraq. by March 5 Bush had a map ready for Iraqi oil exploration and a list of companies. Al Qaeda? Rice told Clarke not to give Bush a lot of long memos. not a big reader. August 6, 2001 a CIA analyst briefs Bush on vacation: “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” Bush takes no action tells the briefer – quote all right, you’ve covered your ass now. next month Clarke requests using new predator drones to kill Bin Laden the Pentagon and CIA say no. September 11th Bush remains seated for several minutes to avoid scaring school children by getting up and leaving. he then flies around the country and promises quote a full scale investigation to find those folks who did it Rumsfeld says Afghanistan does not have enough targets we’ve got to do Iraq. when the CIA traps Bin Laden at Tora Bora it asks for 800 rangers to cut off his escape Bush outsources the job to Pakistanis sympathetic to the Taliban Bin Laden gets away in February General Tommy Franks tells a visiting Senator Bush is moving equipment out of Afghanistan so he can invade Iraq. one of the men who prepped Rice for her testimony that Bush did not ignore pre 9-11 warnings later explains quote we cherry picked things to make it look like the president had been actually concerned about Al Qaeda they didn’t give a bleep about Al Qaeda July and Britain‘s intel chief says Bush is fixing intelligence and facts around the policy to take out Saddam January 03 Bush and Blair agree to invade in March Mr. Bush still telling us he has not decided telling Blair they should paint an airplane in UN colors fly it over Iraq and provoke a response a pretext for invasion the man who said it would take several hundred thousand troops fired the man who said it would cost more than a hundred billion fired the man who revealed Bush’s yellowcake lie smeared his wife’s covert status exposed the White House liars who did it and covered it up not fired one convicted Bush commutes his sentence then in Iraq, stuff happens: Iraq’s army, disbanded the government de-Baathified 200,000 weapons, billions of dollars just lost foreign mercenaries immunized from justice political hacks run the Green Zone religious cleansing forcing one out of six Iraqis from their homes Abu Ghraib the insurgency Al Qaeda in Iraq other stuff does not happen: WMD post-war planning body armor vehicular armor the payoff? oil and billions for Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies while Mr. Bush denies VA healthcare to 450,000 veterans tries to raise their healthcare fees blocks the new G.I. Bill and increases his own power with the USA PATRIOT Act with the Military Commissions Act public orders exempting himself from a thousand laws and secretly from the Presidential Records Act The Geneva Conventions FISA sparking a mass rebellion at the Justice Department secret star chambers for terrorism suspects, overturned by Hamdan v Rumsfeld. denying habeas corpus, overturned by Boumediene v Bush. 200 renditionings sleep deprivation abuse Rumsfeld warned in 2002 that he was torturing that it would jeopardize convictions out of 550 at Gitmo hundreds ultimately go free with no charges dozens are tortured eight fatally three are convicted on U.S. soil twelve hundred immigrants rounded up without due process without bail without court dates without a single charge of terrorism it wasn’t just Mr. Bush no longer subject to the rule of law he slashed regulations on everyone from banks to mining companies appointed 98 lobbyists to oversee their own industries weakening emission standards for mercury and 650 different toxic chemicals regulators shared drugs and their beds with industry reps the Crandall Canyon mine owner told inspectors to back up because his buddy, Republican Mitch McConnell was sleeping with their boss McConnell’s wife is Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao her agency overruled engineer concerns about Crandall Canyon and was found negligent after nine miners died in the collapse there Mr. Bush’s hands off as Enron blacks out California doubling electric bills after months of rejecting price caps Mr. Bush bows to pressure the blackouts end Mr. Bush further deregulates commodity futures midwifing the birth of unregulated oil markets which just like Enron jack up prices to an all time high until Congress and both presidential candidates call for regulations and the prices fall deregulating financial services and lax enforcement of remaining rules created a housing bubble creating the mortgage crisis creating then a credit crisis devastating industries that rely on credit from student loans to car dealers firms that had survived the Great Depression could not survive Bush those that did got seven hundred billion dollars no strings, no transparency no idea whether it worked unlike the auto bailout which cut workers’ salaries. a GOP memo called it a chance to punish unions but Bush failed even when his party and his patrons did not stand to profit investigators blamed management cost cutting communication for missed warnings about Columbia Bush administration convicts include sex offenders at Homeland Security convicted liars every kind of thief in the calendar and if you count things that were not prosecuted the vice president of the United States actually shot a man in the face the man apologized. Mr. Bush faked the truth with paid propaganda in Iraq on his education policy tried to silence the truth about global warming rocket fuel in our water industry influence on energy policy politicized the truth of science at NASA, the EPA, the National Cancer Institute, Fish and Wildlife and the FDA his lies exposed by whistleblowers from the cabinet down “complete BS” the treasury secretary said of Mr. Bush on his tax cuts. Rice’s mushroom cloud Powell’s mobile labs Iraq and 9-11 Jack Abramoff Jessica Lynch Pat Tillman Pat Tillman again Pat Tillman, again. the air at Ground Zero most responders still suffering respiratory problems. global warming carbon emissions a Clear Skies initiative lowering air quality standards the Healthy Forests initiative increasing logging faith based initiatives the cost of medicare reform fired US attorneys politically synchronized terror alerts the surge causing insurgents to switch sides that abortion causes breast cancer that his first recession began under Clinton that he did not wiretap without warrants that we do not torture. that American citizen John Walker Lindh’s rights were not violated that he refused the right to counsel heckuva job Brownie some survivors still in trailers New Orleans still at just two-thirds its usual population the lie that no one could have predicted the economic crisis except the economists who did no one could have predicted 9-11 except one ass-covering CIA analyst or thirty no one could have predicted the levee breach except literally Mr. Bill in a PSA that aired on TV a year before Katrina Bush actually admitted that he lied about not firing Rumsfeld because he did not want to tell the truth. look it up. all of it all of it and more leaving us with ten trillion in debt to pay for 31% more in discretionary spending the Iraq War a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut median income down two thousand dollars three-quarters of all income gains under Bush going to the richest one percent unemployment up from 4.2 to 7.2 percent the Dow, down from ten thousand five hundred eighty seven to eighty two hundred seventy seven six million now more in poverty seven million more now without health care buying toxic goods from China deadly cribs outsourcing security to Dubai still unsecure in our ports and at our nuclear plants more dependent on foreign oil out of the international criminal court off the anti ballistic missle treaty military readiness and standards down with two unfinished wars a nuclear North Korea disengaged from the Palestinian problem destabilizing eastern european diplomacy with anti missile plans and unable to keep Russia out of Georgia 2000 miles of Appalachian streams destroyed by rubble from mountaintop mining at his last G-8 summit, he actually bid farewell to other world leaders saying quote – goodbye from the world’s greatest polluter consistently undermining historic American reverence for the institutions that empower us education, now “academic elites” and the law, “activist judges” capping jury awards and Bin Laden? living today unmolested in a Pakistani safe haven created by a truce endorsed and defended by George W. Bush and among all the gifts he gave to Bin Laden the most awful, the most damaging not just to America but to the American ideal was to further Bin Laden’s goal by making us act out of fear rather than fortitude leaving us with precious little to cling to tonight save the one thing that might yet suffice: hope.

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take on Zeitgeist: The Addendum (IMPORTANT)

October 30th, 2008

1) Is the Federal Reserve Engaged in Acts of Economic Warfare Against America?

“If the actions pursued by the Federal Reserve were being masterminded by Al-Qaeda, they would be denounced as acts of war. In World War II, such actions were deliberate acts of war. Targeting the economy for destruction by flooding the money supply with counterfeit currency is, by any measure, a threat to any nation.”

http://www.naturalnews.com/024427.html

2) Meet the World’s New Reserve Currency: The Chinese Yuan

“Surely, the present financial malaise which has its roots in Wall Street and at the Federal Reserve, has demonstrated that the dollar must be replaced as the world’s “reserve currency” and that America must be deposed as the de facto steward of the global economic system. Leadership implies responsibility and the US must be held to account for its failings. It’s time for a change.”

http://www.prisonplanet.com/meet-the-worlds-new-reserve-currency-the-chinese-yuan.html

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3) Zeitgeist: The Addendum

“Zeitgeist: Addendum, attempts to locate the root causes of this pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution. This solution is not based on politics, morality, laws, or any other “establishment” notions of human affairs, but rather on a modern, non-superstitious based understanding of what we are and how we align with nature, to which we are a part.”

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

————————–

If people’s beliefs are invested in lies and delusions, how will they know the truth when they hear it? And how do you inform people when they refuse to believe the truth?

———-

IT’s TIME FOR an ECONOMIC COLLAPSE!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to watch ‘”Zeitgeist: The Addendum”

- the follow-up to the “Zeitgeist” video. Though the 2-hour video is

freely available on their web site, I purchased the DVD for $7.00 (which

includes postage) and after watching it – purchased an additional 10

copies for friends and family. Even if you haven’t yet seen the initial

“Zeitgeist” video – be sure to check out the sequel for a superb

behind-the-curtain look at how and why the current monetary system is in

reality a crime against humanity. And though I still believe that

technology is the product of a cosmic virus infecting our program – after

watching “The Addendum” – I can now see a theoretical cure for the

contamination. But the bottom line is still the same: All the old corrupt

institutions need to totally collapse before any new spiritual programming

can begin. And the only way to insure this result is for everyone to stop supporting these activities by refusing to pay taxes.

Cheryl

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