A Look At Freedom's Currents

A Look At Freedom's Currents
Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others. . .they send forth a ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy

21st Century's Priority One

1) Implementation of: The Promise of New Energy Systems & Beyond Oil ___________________________________________ #1 Disolves the Problem of the ill designed "Corporism: The Systemic Disease that Destroys Civilization." through simple scientific common sense ___________________________________________ _________ Using grade school physics of both Newtonian and Nuclear models, does anyone foresee counter currents of sufficient size to minimize/change direction of the huge Tsunami roaring down on us, taking away not only our Freedom, but our Lives? Regardless if our salaries are dependant on us not knowing the inconvenient truths of reality (global warming, corporate rule, stagnant energy science) portrayed by the rare articles in the news media? I know only one - a free science, our window to Reality - that easily resolves the Foundational Problem of Quantum Physics and takes E=MC2 out of Kindergarten

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"contagious shooting"

Contagious shooting emphasises the dangers of
"Dumbing Us Down" by NY Teacher of the year, John Taylor Gatto. Dumbing us down, freedom without responsibility breeds a climate of fear, power, greed, belief in lies and denials. The 'street' in its own wisdom, coins it 'anal retentive retardation', 'I just couldn't control myself'.

Guns don't kill people; people kill people.
Contagious shooting blows that argument away. If cops fire reflexively, there's no moral difference between people and guns. They're both machines, and based on recent shootings, we should limit clips or firing speed to control their damage.
No responsibility, no freedom.
Alternatively, we could reassert that police are free agents, to be trusted with weapons and held responsible—not excused with mechanical metaphors—when they abuse them. You can't have it both ways.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

"contagious shooting"

Human Nature - Catch and Shoot -The perils of "contagious shooting."By William Saletan
Fifty bullets fired at three unarmed men last Saturday. Forty-three fired at an armed man last year. Forty-one fired at Amadou Diallo. All by New York police; all cases fatal.
Why so many bullets? " ........... full text

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Giant Sunshades in Space? Monster Bugs? for Global Warming

Lack of fundamental progress in science does seem to create helpless fantasy for Global Warming solutions. Anyone for a sneak preview of possibilities in advanced energy systems?


Weird Science Getting New Respect, Just in Case
Giant Sunshades in Space? Monster Air Scrubbers? Far Fetched Plans for Controlling Earth's Fever
Nov. 16, 2006 — - Some weird science is getting serious looks by leading climate experts who say it would be folly not to prepare emergency measures to try to stop global warming in its tracks. This is going on despite the well known risk of unintended consequences whenever humans meddle with nature. ..... full text

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Russia To Deliver Arms to Iran

Russia To Deliver Arms to Iran
Defense Official: Russia Has Begun Air Defense Missile System Deliveries to Iran
ABC News - The Associated Press 11/25/06
MOSCOW - Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism. ....full text

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Income Soars on Wall St., Widening Gap

The Accumulated Financial Wealth of the Top One Percent of Households Exceeds the Combined Wealth of the Bottom 95 Percent
So...who is going to handle global warming and the traffic nightmare?
November 23, 2006
Income Soars on Wall St., Widening Gap
In Manhattan’s boom-or-bust financial businesses, the good times are rolling with no end in sight.
The average weekly pay for finance jobs in Manhattan was about $8,300 in the first quarter of 2006 The pay gap between them and the 1.5 million other workers in Manhattan continues to widen.. ....see full Text

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who should be held accountable for global economic disequilibrium?

relationships, relationships - halt scientific advances in energy and it backfires on economic disequilibrium - untold wealth & freedom for the few, untold wealth in corporate coffers - as traffic nightmares, global warming and resource wars accelerate and quality of life deteriorates

Who should be held accountable for global economic disequilibrium?
The global supply of deposits exceeding demand constitutes a basic phenomenon for the global economic disequilibrium at present. .....full text

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Global Warming Said Killing Some Species

Inconvenient Truth of Global Warming - Consequence of a Stalemate in Physics, particularly Energy & E=MC2; As another Physicist, Lee Smolin questions in his book titled "The Trouble with Physics"

Global Warming Said Killing Some Species
Global Warming Already Killing Some Species, Causing Adaptations in Others, New Analysis Says
The Associated Press 11/21/06
WASHINGTON - Animal and plant species have begun dying off or changing sooner than predicted because of global warming ......full text

Attending to Sick Children Along a Gulf Coast Still in Tatters

How much was donated for Katrina?

November 21, 2006 NYT
A Conversation With Persharon M. Dixon
Attending to Sick Children Along a Gulf Coast Still in Tatters
PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. — For most Americans, Hurricane Katrina is a distant nightmare, nearly 15 months in the past. But for Dr. Persharon M. Dixon, a pediatrician and the director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Children’s Health Project, .....see full text

Monday, November 20, 2006

Of Rubber and Blood in Brazilian Amazon

Freedom at What Price Around the World?
November 23, 2006
Of Rubber and Blood in Brazilian Amazon
RIO BRANCO, Brazil — Alcidino dos Santos was on his way to the market to buy vegetables for his mother one morning in 1942 when an army officer stopped him and told him he was being drafted as a “rubber soldier.” Men were needed in the Amazon, 3,000 miles away, to harvest rubber for the Allied war effort, he was told, and it was his patriotic duty to serve.
Mr. dos Santos, then a 19-year-old mason’s assistant, protested that his mother was a widow who depended on him for support, but to no avail. He would be paid a wage of 50 cents a day, he recalls being told, and receive free transportation home once the conflict was over, but he had to go, that day.
More than 60 years after the end of World War II, Mr. dos Santos and hundreds of other poor Brazilians who were dragooned into service as rubber soldiers are still in the Amazon, waiting for those promises to be fulfilled. Elderly and frail, they are fighting against time and indifference to gain the recognition and compensation they believe should be theirs.
“We were duped, and then abandoned and forgotten,” Mr. dos Santos, who never saw his mother again, said in an interview at his simple wood house here in Acre, a state in the far west of the Brazilian Amazon that has the largest concentration of former rubber soldiers.
“We were brought here against our will,” he said, “and thrown into the jungle, where we suffered terribly. I’m near the end of my life, but my country should do right by me.”
The program originated in an agreement between the United States and Brazil. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had cut the United States off from its main source of rubber, in Malaya, and President Roosevelt persuaded Brazil’s dictator, Getúlio Vargas, to fill that strategic gap in return for millions of dollars in loans, credits and equipment.
According to Brazilian government records, more than 55,000 people, almost all of them from the drought-ridden and poverty-stricken northeast, were sent to the Amazon to harvest rubber for the war effort. There are no official figures on how many of them succumbed to disease or animal attacks, but historians estimate that nearly half perished before Japan surrendered in September 1945.
“Some of the guys died of malaria, yellow fever, beriberi and hepatitis, but others were killed by snakes, stingrays or even panthers,” recalled Lupércio Freire Maia, 86. “They didn’t have the proper medicines for diseases or snakebites there in the camps, so when someone died you buried him right there next to the hut and kept right on working.”
The work was exhausting, dangerous and unhealthy: rubber soldiers rose just after midnight, tramped through the jungle in the dark to cut grooves in the trees and returned later in the day to collect the latex that dripped into cups.
They would then toast the white liquid into solid balls weighing up to 130 pounds, a process that generated so much smoke that many were left blind or sight-impaired.
Though many of the rubber soldiers were forced into service, a few enlisted, hoping for adventure and riches. José Araújo Braga, 82, described himself as “a rebellious kid who wanted to see the world” and thus was easily swayed by government propaganda that spoke of the Amazon as an El Dorado where the “Rubber for Victory” effort could earn a hard worker a fortune.
“I could have joined the army and gone to Europe,” where Brazilian troops fought alongside American forces in Italy and are now honored as heroes, he said. “But I chose the Amazon because, foolish me, I thought that I could make a lot of money.”
Once the men reached the Amazon, though, their wages ceased and they were herded into cantonments, with no visitors allowed.
When the war and American interest ended, the people profiting from the arrangement were not about to let their free labor go. The rubber camp bosses “feared an exodus if the news got out, and so many rubber soldiers were still there in the jungle years later, unawares,” said Marcos Vinícius Neves, a historian who is director of a government historical preservation foundation here.
Mr. Maia said: “It wasn’t until 1946 that I learned that the war was over. We didn’t have any radios, and we were completely cut off from the outside world.”
But those who heard the news right away also encountered problems in leaving and collecting their wages. Many were told that they owed money to the rubber camp bosses for food, clothing or equipment, and would have to remain until their debts were paid off.
“Oh, I was so happy the day the war ended, because I thought, ‘Now I can finally go home,’ ” Mr. dos Santos recalled. “But when I went to talk to the boss about leaving, he said, ‘Who are you kidding?’ and told me to get back to work.”
With no money and no transportation, most of the rubber soldiers resigned themselves to remaining in the Amazon. They married, had families and continued to work in the rubber camps or became rural homesteaders, ignored and anonymous.
“How do you suppose Brasília was built?” said José Paulino da Costa, director of the Retirees’ and Rubber Soldiers’ Union of Acre. “The United States paid money to Brazil, but it went to other projects instead of the rubber soldiers, which was a terrible injustice.”
In 1988, though, Brazil ratified a new Constitution with an article that called for the rubber soldiers to receive a pension valued at twice the minimum wage, or $350 a month currently. But many who served here found themselves ineligible because they could not supply the required documents. Their original contracts had been lost, destroyed by rain or handed over to rubber plantation bosses and never returned.
Those who have qualified receive a pension that is barely one-tenth of the amount paid to Brazilian soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II. In 2002 a member of Congress from the state of Amazonas introduced a bill to pay rubber soldiers “who are living in misery” the same amount, but the bill remains stalled in committee.
“When I watch the Independence Day ceremonies on television and see the soldiers who fought in Europe parading in their uniforms I feel sadness and dismay,” Mr. Maia said. “We were combatants too. Everyone owes us a big favor, including the Americans, because that war couldn’t have been won without rubber and us rubber soldiers.”

Alarm over China's arms pursuit - in space

from the November 20, 2006 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1120/p02s01-usmi.html
Alarm over China's arms pursuit - in space
A report presses for US-China talks over space weaponry.
Peter N. Spotts Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
New alarms are sounding over signs that China may be developing space weapons, reinforcing suspicions that the People's Liberation Army is increasingly interested in the final frontier as a theater of war.
The latest alert came Thursday from an independent panel - created by Congress to assess the economic and security situations in China - that questions Chinese intentions and urges lawmakers to lean on the Bush administration to talk with Beijing about curtailing space militarization.
Specifically, the annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission urges the US to emphasize to China the merits of "strategic warning and verification measures" - in essence, the value to both sides of leaving early-warning and spy satellites unharmed.
To be sure, space has been militarized since the United States and the former Soviet Union launched the first reconnaissance satellites during the cold war. Nowadays, US intelligence services are intent on teasing out information on China's military space program, and their findings are a staple of Pentagon reports to Congress on threats to US security.
Concerns about China's intentions rose in September, with a report that China in recent years has tested a ground-based laser against US reconnaissance satellites. The presumed aim: to be able to blind them, temporarily or permanently. The report, published in Defense News, suggested that the Bush administration has been mum on the issue because it needs China's help in dealing with North Korea's nuclear-weapons program.
A mysterious incident of concern
In addition, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have taken note of a recent incident "that has them very concerned," says Gregory Kulacki, a China specialist for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program. Members wouldn't disclose details, he continues, so "we're not sure what it is, but they said it didn't involve lasers."
The incident might involve tests of a solid-fuel rocket the Chinese are developing, Dr. Kulacki speculates. China tested an early model, dubbed the KT-1, in 2002 and 2003. The tests reportedly failed. But China has pressed ahead, developing a follow-up KT-2. It's a three-stage rocket designed to loft nearly 1,800 pounds into low-Earth orbit. Such a rocket would be capable of launching minisatellites aimed at disabling US satellites, he adds. Moreover, perfecting solid-fuel, multistage motors could also allow China to build smaller, antisatellite rockets that could be launched from a jet fighter - similar to the three-stage weapon the US tested in 1985.
Some specialists argue that China's efforts require the US to forge ahead with its own antisatellite weapons and space-based defenses against nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Others suggest that Chinese space-weapons programs are nascent - in some cases residing only in the imaginations of young officers in the People's Liberation Army writing for military journals. Thus, they say, the US can still try to influence the direction of China's programs through diplomacy and greater cooperation between the two space programs.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue, "we should view this very seriously," says Larry Wortzel, chairman of the US-China Commission.
US prowess: a motivator for China?
China's moves may be motivated in large part by US capabilities and policies. US military successes in the first Iraq war, the Balkans, and the early stage of the current war in Iraq were not lost on Chinese military planners, who noted the key role of US spy and navigation satellites in planning and precision bombing. If China ever confronted the US military, they saw, it would need a way to offset the Pentagon's high-tech advantage on orbit.
In August, the White House issued a new national space policy that puts more emphasis on "unhindered US operations in and through space to defend our interests there." The policy also opposes any international pact that would limit US space research or operations. China and Russia are part of a group of countries that supports a global ban on weapons in space.
Divining Chinese intentions is tough, analysts agree, and the difficulty of piercing the bamboo curtain can lead to misinformation. Kulacki, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, recalls efforts to track down reports that China was developing a "parasitic" satellite that could sidle up to another satellite and explode or jam it. The "program" was listed in some Pentagon reports, but he and a colleague tracked it to a blog maintained in China by someone professing an interest in the Chinese military's use of space.
One way to try work around the lack of information, Dr. Wortzel says, is for the two militaries to agree on rules for behavior in space and for addressing suspicious events. During the cold war, he notes, the US and the Soviet Union agreed to keep hands off each other's reconnaissance and early-warning satellites - even as they researched antisatellite weapons. That's still the practice, he says. The Chinese have approached the State Department on this issue, with no success so far, he adds.
Starting a dialogue on military-space issues, however, "will be very difficult in the absence of scientific, educational, and commercial cooperation," cautions Kulacki. Until those exist, he says, prospects for agreement on the military use of space will remain slim.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Big Conference on Warming Ends, Achieving Modest Results

Global Warming Conference biggest achievement this year was agreeing to review the Kyoto Protocol next year. The progress is Fantastic!!!

November 18, 2006
Big Conference on Warming Ends, Achieving Modest Results
In a sign of how incremental the progress was, conference organizers said one of the biggest achievements this year was agreeing to review the Kyoto Protocol next year.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 17 — The yearly United Nations conference on climate change ended Friday with only modest results after delegates failed to establish a timetable for future cuts on pollution linked to global warming.
Despite nearly two weeks of meetings, which drew 6,000 participants to Nairobi from around the world, the delegates could not agree on a number of issues, especially how to move beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which requires cuts in emissions by most industrialized countries but expires in 2012.
Two persistent problems were American reluctance to agree to any mandatory emissions limits and increased stubbornness by China and India, two of the world’s fastest-growing polluters, which face no penalties under the Kyoto agreement for all the heat-trapping gases they pump into the atmosphere.
Even under conservative projections, scientists predict several degrees of warming this century, and possibly much more, which could shift precipitation patterns, disrupt agriculture and wildlife and eventually melt ice sheets, raising the level of the oceans and submerging low-lying coasts. Delegates from outside the United States expressed growing frustration with the Bush administration’s environmental policy, saying that without clear signals from the world’s largest source of air pollution, other countries would hesitate to move ahead. The United States is one of the few countries that has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
But Paula J. Dobriansky, the top American official at the conference, stood firm, saying that the best way to battle global warming was a mix of voluntary partnerships between developing and wealthy countries that foster economic growth while limiting pollution.
“The most effective strategies on climate change are those that are integrated with economic growth, with energy security, and reducing air pollution,” said Ms. Dobriansky, under secretary of state for global affairs and democracy.
Jennifer Morgan, who directs energy and climate programs for E3G, a London-based environmental group, said that a letter sent to President Bush from three influential Democratic senators on Wednesday — and widely distributed in the conference halls — provided at least a hint that a shift might be possible in Washington.
The letter, from
Barbara Boxer of California, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, said Democrats would push to pass binding restrictions on greenhouse gases, starting in January when they take control of Congress. “If we are to leave our children a world that resembles the earth we inherited, we must act now,” they wrote.
“The senators’ letter was very influential and welcome here,” Ms. Morgan said.
Another central theme at the conference, reflecting its African site, was the importance of increasing aid to the world’s poorest countries to help them adapt to climate changes.
Many African communities are already feeling the effects of a shifting climate, from increased droughts to more desertification to spreading malaria, one of the continent’s biggest killers. The irony is that these countries most vulnerable to climate change are the least responsible for it, because they have little industry and produce a relatively small amount of pollution.
Though delegates began to discuss the ins and outs of an adaptation fund to aid developing nations, key decisions for the fund were postponed until next year.
World Bank economists estimate that it will cost billions of dollars to help the developing world deal with climate change, but right now the adaptation fund stands at only $3 million.
“The conference has let Africa and the rest of the developing world down,” said a statement from Oxfam, a large aid and advocacy group.
In a sign of how incremental the progress was, conference organizers said one of the biggest achievements this year was agreeing to review the Kyoto Protocol next year.
Jeffrey Gettleman reported from Nairobi, Kenya, and Andrew Revkin from Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, November 13, 2006

U.K. Report: Warming Will Destroy Economy

Adapt to it, Big Brother has told us. I often muse, if educators, teachers were compensated like football, baseball players...

U.K. Report: Warming Will Destroy Economy
CBS LONDON, Oct. 30, 2006
(CBS/AP) Unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression, a British government report said Monday, as the country launched a bid to convince doubters that environmentalism and economic growth can coincide. Britain hired former Vice President Al Gore, who has emerged as a powerful environmental spokesman since his defeat in the 2000 presidential election, to advise the government on climate change — a clear indication of Prime Minister Tony Blair's dissatisfaction with current U.S. policy. Blair, President Bush's top ally in the Iraq war, said unabated climate change would eventually cost the world between 5 percent and 20 percent of global gross domestic product each year. He called for "bold and decisive action" to cut carbon emissions and stem the worst of the temperature rise. "It is not in doubt that, if the science is right, the consequences for our planet are literally disastrous," he said. "This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime." The report emphasized that global warming can only be fought with the cooperation of major countries such as the United States and China, and represents a huge contrast to the Bush administration's wait-and-see global warming policies. Sir Nicholas Stern, the senior government economist who wrote the report, said that acting now to cut greenhouse gas emissions would cost about 1 percent of global GDP each year. He recommended a "low-carbon global economy" through measures including taxation, regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon trading. Pay now or pay a lot more later — that's the report's stark conclusion, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips. President Bush kept America — by far the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming — out of the Kyoto international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases, saying the pact would harm the U.S. economy. The international agreement was reached in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and expires in 2012. Blair made his displeasure with U.S. environmental policy clear when he signed an agreement this year with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to develop new technologies to combat the problem. The measure imposed the first emissions cap in the United States on utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants in a bid to curb the gases that scientists blame for warming the Earth. The prime minister and the report also said that no matter what Britain, the United States and Japan do, the battle against global warming cannot succeed without deciding when and how to control the greenhouse gas emissions by such fast-industrializing giants as China and India. Stern's 700-page report said evidence showed "that ignoring climate change will eventually damage economic growth." "Our actions over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century," he said. The British hope this new economic argument can do what environmental arguments haven't: convince skeptical governments in China and the United States to act now as well, reports Phillips. The report said at current trends average global temperatures will rise by 3.6 to 5.4 degrees within the next 50 years or so, and the earth will experience several degrees more of warming if emissions continue to grow. It said such warming could have effects such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, declining crop yields, drinking water shortages, higher death tolls from malnutrition and heat stress, and widespread outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever. Developing countries often would be the hardest hit. The report acknowledged that its predictions regarding GDP relied on sparse data about high temperatures and developing countries, and placed monetary values on human health and the environment, "which is conceptually, ethically and empirically very difficult." Treasury Chief Gordon Brown, who is expected to replace Blair as prime minister next year, said Britain would lead the international effort against climate change, establishing "an economy that is both pro-growth and pro-green." He called for Europe to cut its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and 60 percent by 2050 — and Blair's government on Monday said it would propose a British law to that effect. Under the 1997 Kyoto accord, 35 industrialized nations committed to reducing emissions by an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. But Britain is one of only a handful of industrialized nations whose greenhouse gas emissions have fallen in the last decade and a half, the United Nations said Monday. The U.N. said Germany's emissions dropped 17 percent between 1990 and 2004, Britain's by 14 percent and France's by almost 1 percent. Overall, there was a 2.4 percent rise in emissions by 41 industrialized nations from 2000 to 2004, mostly because former Soviet-bloc countries, whose emissions declined in their economic downturn of the 1990s, increased emissions during the recent four-year period by 4.1 percent. The British government is considering new "green taxes" on cheap airline flights, fuel and high-emission vehicles.

Potential risks for "nuclear" dominoes to fall

Evolution, in Science and in Humans, Matters in the Survival Game - News article "smart aleky cars for dummerer people" and E=MC2 petrified as in stone still in its initial defined state for 100 years - is NOT the way to Survival
Potential risks for "nuclear" dominoes to fall
By People's Daily Online 11/13/06

The United States successfully tested the world's first atom bomb in July of 1947 and the humankind has since entered the age of nuclear weapons. A leading scientist involved in the research and development of the first global nuclear test, R. Oppenheimer, then in a complex state of mind, reminded people of the Bhagavad Gita, an Indian epic poem: "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."
At present, some people are anticipating that the world is now entering into the second nuclear age. Mohammed M. El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said recently he believes that many countries see nuclear weapons as 'instant' national security. In addition to nine nuclear powers, he noted, another 20 to 30 would have the capability to develop nuclear weapons in a very short time.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the outstanding outcome the humanity had scored in curbing the nuclear proliferation, has become effective for 36 years. Then, why is it that the development of nuclear weapons has become "instant" today? Taking a panoramic view of changes in the world setup and the historical process of anti-nuclear proliferation effort, three major reasons are self-evident.
First of all, major changes have taken place in the world security structure. The absolute uni-polar advantage and unilateralism policies of the United States have imbued some nations hostile to the U.S. with survival concerns and they are therefore resolved to acquire nuclear weapons, an extreme guarantee for their national security. The U.S. and the former Soviet Union, in a heated nuclear armed race, maintained a terror balance on the fringes of war in the cold war era, constraining the nuclear impulse of other countries. After the fall or disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the United States showed its uni-polar superiority. In recent years, it has all the more resorted to its unilateral policies to seek absolute security and spared no effort to subvert the political power of other nations, so that those nations hostile to it feel terrified and turn to nuclear weapons as their "indispensables".
Secondly, though a total of 188 nations acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signify the self-control of the humanity to distance itself from nuclear weapons and acknowledgement for collective security. But the treaty, without any mandatory power, could not do anything with those nations which kept themselves aloof or detached from the treaty. India and Pakistan "broke down barriers" to acquire nuclear weapons in 1998, and Israel had a de facto possession of nuclear weapons, and the international community acquiesced in nevertheless. The poly-standards of the United States on this issue, in particular, have become an object of public condemnations. It winks at Israel, imposes punitive measures against India first and then shifts to nuclear cooperation with the nation, and it brings Iran under the threat of force.
Thirdly, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty explicitly demands nuclear nations to stop their armed race, and spur their nuclear disarmament process. But as a matter of fact, few individual nuclear powers have kept on researching and developing new-type nuclear weapons, with an implication that they would launch preemptive nuclear strikes when necessary. So Baradei said, "It is difficult to maintain the logic that for some countries' reliance would be made on nuclear weapons or even trying to develop new nuclear weapons while telling every body else that is not good for you."
Looking around the world today, in East Asia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a nuclear test, which made general public in Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) fretful and agitated, and some people in Japan even claim that they will publicly debate whether they should develop nuclear weapons. In the Middle East, Iran still perseveres in an ambitious nuclear program. Once it owns nuclear weapons, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will follow suit. The international community is now faced with risks for "nuclear" dominoes to fall, with a possible merging of nuclear weapons and terrors to further dim the perspectives. As far as the whole world is concerned, it is crucial for few major individual nuclear powers to reduce their nuclear weaponry arsenal in a sustained and effective way, revoke the threat of military force and establish an anti-nuclear proliferation system.
In the post-World War II days, someone once asked the top scientist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) what weapons would be used during the possible ensuring world war, Einstein replied: "I don't know what kind of weapons will be used in the third world war, assuming there will be a third world war. But I can tell you that the fourth world war will be fought with--stone clubs." It suggested that nuclear weapons will surely bring people back into wilderness, and this reply of Einstein's seems merciless but makes people clear-headed.
By People's Daily Online 11/13/06

What’s Wrong With Profit?

A fresh look at government, our tax dollars, and Philanthropy 1.0 deciding what is good for us

November 13, 2006
A Fresh Approach
What’s Wrong With Profit?
“More and more people are asking who else is going to finance doing good if government isn’t,”
THIS year, as never before, the line between philanthropy and business is blurring. A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward, for the most part young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity. They are “philanthropreneurs,” driven to do good and have their profit, too.
Among them are eBay’s founder, Pierre Omidyar, who wants to use investment capital as well as donations to expand the microloan industry, and Stephen M. Case, the co-founder of America Online, who is investing $250 million in companies that help consumers gain control of their health care.
Young companies are involved, too: when Google announced its philanthropic effort this year, it unveiled a venture-capital fund rather than a foundation.
The approach of these philanthropreneurs reflects the culture of the business that brought them their wealth: information technology, with its ethos that everyone should have access to information. By their way of thinking, the marketplace can have the same level-the-playing-field impact, and supply the world’s poor with basic needs like food, sanitation and shelter.
“More and more people are asking who else is going to finance doing good if government isn’t,” said Alan Abramson, director of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy program at the Aspen Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington. “These guys have firsthand knowledge of the market’s power, and they’re asking themselves why they can’t make money and tackle some of the problems once addressed primarily by government at the same time.”
It sounds simple, but the idea of such hybrid philanthropy is upsetting long-held conventions. These new philanthropists view the current foundation model, built on the fortunes of earlier industrial titans like Carnegie and Rockefeller, as hidebound and often ineffective. They have an urge to change the world, and argue that in some cases only the speed of capitalism is fast enough.
“We need to be open to bigger, bolder reform because the hard truth is Philanthropy 1.0 hasn’t worked well enough,” Mr. Case told a group of foundation executives in January. “If you’ll forgive the computer metaphors, our system needs an upgrade.”
An upgrade had been in the works courtesy of Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, who had already leveraged the power of the information technology industry in creating the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with its tens of billions of dollars in assets from him and, more recently, from the investor Warren E. Buffett. The Gates Foundation has led the way in focusing on problems of the underdeveloped world, like disease. But its impact is as much from its size as its way of doing business: it is mostly a traditional philanthropy, writ large.
What the philanthropreneurs have in mind is something different, and it is producing some confusion, as evidenced by an exchange in September on “Late Show With David Letterman” between Mr. Letterman and Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and a man who knows something about melding business and philanthropy.
Mr. Letterman asked his guest about a plan announced earlier that day by another philanthropreneur, Sir Richard Branson, to “donate,” as Mr. Letterman put it, $3 billion to develop greener fuels.
Mr. Turner cut him off: “It’s not a donation.”
Rather, he said, it was an investment. “He’s probably going to make more off that investment than he has in everything else,” he said.
Experts in philanthropy are not so confused, but they are not bowled over, either — at least not yet.
“I come at this from at least a wonderment of what are the advantages the melded or hybrid model brings,” said Mark Rosenman, a professor at the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati and an expert on nonprofit matters. “Though I have no problem with philanthropy and socially responsible business being joined, I do have one with a for-profit enterprise being called philanthropy.”
“I see no clear reasons to begin to develop corporate structures that need to consider themselves more closely aligned with philanthropic purposes,” Mr. Rosenman added.
He said such structures already exist, citing businesses like the Body Shop, which uses its stores and products to inform consumers about human rights and environmental issues and trades with indigenous peoples for supplies and materials.
Mr. Case points to the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit group that is sustained by sales of everything from magazines to toys.
“It has basically become a billion-dollar business set up as a nonprofit,” he said. “It doesn’t have to focus on collecting money or holding black-tie balls to raise money because its sales are sustaining its mission of educating the world about the world.”
So far, there is little criticism of the hybrid proponents, perhaps because they seem to have little interest in capitalizing on the tax benefits of their philanthropy. Google, for example, will pay taxes should its new fund produce returns, and Mr. Omidyar foregoes about $1 million in tax benefits by mixing his philanthropy with business.
Mr. Turner is a relatively old hand at ground-breaking philanthropy, having stunned the world in 1997 with a $1 billion pledge to the United Nations, the largest single pledge ever at the time. But he shares the philanthropreneurs’ impatience with the lines drawn by legal, regulatory and tax regimes between business and philanthropy.
“There’s no way you can invest in polio vaccines and make money,” he said. “But developing solar panels, that has profit potential and it’s good for the environment. Certain areas of making the world better do lend themselves very comfortably to for-profit operations. Why should we be afraid of that?”
Here are profiles of four who are not afraid.
Jeffrey S. Skoll
Almost every philanthropreneur starts with a foundation, and Jeffrey S. Skoll, the 41-year-old former president of eBay, was no exception. He worked on the creation of the eBay Foundation, which introduced him to a “certain breed of nonprofit leader that really appealed to me,” and creating a foundation to back them with his own money just made sense, Mr. Skoll said.
“I had gone from living in a house with five other guys and eating leftovers to all of a sudden having financial resources beyond belief,” he said. “It seemed like a good way to put it to productive use.”
He said his dream as a youth was to become a writer who would inspire people and inform them about the world’s problems, but he got sidetracked and became a billionaire instead. So he created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 and over time has put $613 million into it, some $90 million of which has been committed to social entrepreneurs and their nonprofits, like the Institute for OneWorld Health, a nonprofit drug company, and KickStart, a nonprofit business that develops low-tech agricultural machines.
A year later, he started a personal investment fund, Capricorn, and in 2004, he started a film production company, Participant, that has quickly gained prominence for films like “Syriana,” “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “An Inconvenient Truth.”
He also has a social networking affiliate, participate.net, which offers users ways to participate in various social movements by helping them send letters to Congress, obtain coupons for low-energy lighting and compare the fuel efficiency of cars, among other things.
“The heart of eBay, what made it so successful, wasn’t so much the buying and the selling, which was its economic side, but the facilitation of these relationships in its public forums and question-and-answer areas,” Mr. Skoll said. “I think these days, people want to join with other people to make change. It’s about leverage.”
His nonprofit and for-profit ventures leverage and support each other in the same way. “An Inconvenient Truth” examines global warming and climate change, and his foundation supports Ceres, a nonprofit group that works to persuade investors to factor environmental stewardship into their analysis of businesses.
Through Capricorn, Mr. Skoll has invested in Falcon Waterfree Technologies, maker of a waterless urinal and known among the Skoll entities as the “yuck investment.” Falcon says that one of its urinals saves 40,000 gallons of water a year and reduces wastewater treatment costs. The urinals can be found everywhere from schools in Florida to the Taj Mahal in India.
“The idea is that everything, all the resources I have, go into doing good,” Mr. Skoll said. “Ultimately, most of the money I make through Capricorn or Participant will go to the foundation, but in the meantime, there’s no reason they can’t do good, too.”
Stephen M. Case
One would think Stephen M. Case, who is 48, would avoid anything blended or hybrid after the experience he had as part of the team that knit America Online and Time Warner together, one of the messiest mergers in corporate history.
But he has become one of the biggest proponents of hybrid philanthropy. “I think where the lines blur is where it’s most interesting,” Mr. Case said.
The Case Foundation recently put $5 million into PlayPumps International, a nonprofit group that has developed a new approach to increasing access to clean water in African villages. In a nutshell, a merry-go-round installed in a schoolyard pumps water from the ground into a holding tank, and families draw water from the tank.
Like any charity, PlayPumps raises money to buy the equipment. Governments contribute by handing over boreholes and wells. A for-profit company, Roundabout Outdoors, places ads on the sides of the water tanks, which generates the money needed to maintain the system.
“There have been many well-intentioned projects related to water in Africa, but what typically happens is that after the initial investment is made, no money comes in to sustain them and they break down and that’s that,” Mr. Case said. “If all PlayPumps did was install 10 million water pumps by 2020, it would be a great accomplishment, but we’ve gone the extra step and created Roundabout to build a revenue stream that will ensure those pumps keep working.”
Seeking to replicate the model in another area, he founded Revolution in 2005. Its mission is to invest in companies that give consumers more choice and control over everything from health care to car ownership.
One such company is FlexCar, which links consumers who want to share a car rather than own one. A member signs up for one of FlexCar’s plans and then can reserve a car for pick-up at a specific time and place. Started in 1999 as a public-private partnership involving the city of Seattle and King County, Wash., FlexCar has expanded to Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta.
The attractions for Mr. Case are twofold. FlexCar gives consumers an alternative to car ownership at the same time it helps reduce traffic, pollution and energy consumption.
The company is turning a profit in its most-established markets, and revenues are growing, according to a spokesman for Mr. Case.
Then there is Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, or abc2, a nonprofit the Case family started six years ago in hopes of accelerating research to find a cure for brain cancer, which killed his brother Daniel in 2002. Abc2 has underwritten research on brain cancer therapies and fostered collaboration between researchers, companies and government.
Mr. Case has also created a venture capital fund, Braintrust Accelerator, to invest in companies working to develop brain cancer cures. A share of any profits it realizes will go to abc2.
“I’m aiming for a more flexible tool box, not just looking at things through the prism of philanthropy or the prism of business but a fresh creative approach that uses the best of both,” Mr. Case said.
Pierre Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar is just 39, but in some ways, he is the granddaddy of philanthropreneurs.
Dissatisfied with the momentum and impact of money he distributed through a traditional foundation created in 1999, Mr. Omidyar all but yanked the plug on it in 2004, when he started the Omidyar Network. The Network is the vehicle through which he runs his for-profit investments and nonprofit gifts, as well as a place where the online public can network.
“We tried what I would call active philanthropy, where we were working through the foundation with nonprofits to improve their ability to execute, provide guidance, help with professional development,” Mr. Omidyar said, “and we learned a lot of lessons, some good and some not so good.”
As he worked through that process, he began to see eBay and the 200 million people using it in a new way.
“I could see regular people coming in and saying, ‘eBay changed my life because now I feel I contribute to the household’s finances,’ ” Mr. Omidyar said. “There was a sense of empowerment even in those early days, and it increasingly became clear to me that eBay has had a huge social impact in the process of running its core business, and it wasn’t a philanthropy.”
He has turned his foundation into a roughly $200 million fund to invest in nonprofit ventures and paired it with a similar amount of money dedicated to investment in for-profit ventures. About $21 million in philanthropic money has been invested so far in organizations like Rare, which trains local conservationists around the globe who it hopes to link online, and Youth Noise, a social network for young people interested in social causes.
While those organizations are structured as charities, in many cases they are similar in feel to some of the companies in which the Omidyar Network has made investments, like Prosper, an online person-to-person lending business, and the Enthusiast Group, which works to build online communities of fans of sports and other activities.
Nowhere is the distinction between Mr. Omidyar’s for-profit and nonprofit activities more muted than in the area of microfinance, where he has invested more than $33 million, half of it philanthropic.
“If you look at the Grameen Bank, that is a business, you can’t call it anything else,” he said, referring to the bank that makes small loans to the poor in Bangladesh. “Its revenues are greater than its expenses, and it is tremendously effective in pulling people out of poverty. It is proof that you can have it both ways.”
In addition to putting $4 million into Grameen’s nonprofit arm, the Grameen Foundation, Omidyar Network has supported nonprofit groups like Unitus, which works to develop microfinance institutions and the International Development Law Institute, for its work on developing law to support the growth of the microfinance industry.
On the for-profit side, it has invested in BlueOrchard Microfinance Securities, which packages loans made by microfinance institutions and sells them to institutional investors, and the Global Commercial Microfinance Consortium, an investment fund aimed at increasing the ties between banks and microfinance groups.
On top of that, Mr. Omidyar and his wife, Pam, gave Tufts University $100 million that must be spent on developing microfinance. Thus, private capital, philanthropic capital and investment capital are directed toward a single over-arching goal, the creation and expansion of microfinance. “We’re trying to take what a physicist might call a systems-level view and look at how all the sectors, government, business, nonprofit, are interacting and how they can work together for social benefit,” he said.
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson, who is 56, has long mixed it up, building his Virgin Group business empire to encompass airlines, cellphones, record stores, credit cards and pet insurance. In that context, his announcement that he would invest $3 billion in the development of alternative fuels was par for the course, right down to the hubbub that surrounded it.
“We have two separate arms, Virgin Unite, the charitable foundation, which is pure giving, and then this hybrid thing, which is our venture capital-charitable unit,” Sir Richard said. “It may be giving, it may not be giving, depending on how things turn out.”
The promised investment in alternative energy is an example of what that venture-capital unit is doing, deploying the entrepreneurial flair and skills that have made Sir Richard a billionaire to tackle major global issues like poverty and climate change. “Although it’s very risky capital, hopefully it won’t be wasted,” he said.
He considers Virgin Nigeria, the airline he started in 2004 to serve West Africa, another example of such a for-benefit business because, he said, an airline is crucial to wealth creation. “We may fall flat on our face,” he said, “but we’re trying to do good and make money.”
Sir Richard was on the way to Mozambique to explore the possibility of extending the sugar production so abundant across the border in South Africa to that war-scarred country. His idea is to rid the fields of mines planted during Mozambique’s civil war from late 1970s to the early 1990s and plant sugar that could be converted into ethanol, tasks that would in turn put thousands of people to work.
“There are number of challenges all rolled in to one, but that’s why I like it,” he said.
Virgin is also working to create businesses that have the socially beneficial aspects of a charity but produce income to sustain themselves, perhaps with a little help from philanthropy. It has teamed up with Anglo Coal, a subsidiary of the big South African conglomerate, Anglo American PLC, and the United States government, to open a clinic in South Africa that provides basic health care for a fee — and drugs to treat H.I.V. and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria free. The hope is that the fees generated will cover the costs of the basic services.
“The hospital cost $1.5 million,” Sir Richard said. “If it saves 60,000 lives, that’s good entrepreneurialism as well as good charity work.”
He said he would not try to defend Virgin’s efforts from charges that they are really thinly veiled marketing tactics.
“If I’m 90 years old and people look to the Virgin brand and say that’s the brand they respect most in the world, I would be happy,” he said. “Now, if we can in my lifetime come up with a fuel that is a clean fuel and does something to help save the world from global warming, that will be good for the brand, something everyone who works for Virgin can be proud of, but it will also be a good thing for world, too.”

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Great Warming Opens Nationwide 11-5-06

"You can choose to be part of the
solution, or do nothing and be part
of the problem”
Troy Helming, creator of the Freedom Plan,
author of The Clean Power Revolution

The Great Warming Opens Nationwide
Climate change film narrated by Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette opens. Podcast released featuring an interview of the film's producer and creator. Moviegoers eligible for a free home energy review.

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA -- The Great Warming, the new climate change documentary opened nationwide November 3rd in select Regal theaters, celebrates its opening with the release of a podcast featuring the film’s producer and creator, Karen Coshof from Stonehaven Productions, and leading clean energy advocate Troy Helming, who CEO of Krystal Planet and a founding member of the New Energy Congress and author of The Clean Power Revolution.
The podcast is hosted at
The Freedom Plan blog and is available for download from iTunes and for streaming to mobile devices from Pod2Mobile.
The podcast addresses a myriad of topics, including the making of the film, its unprecedented ability to unite seemingly disparate organizations, such as evangelical groups and democrats, what it was like working with Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette, and how the average citizen can take their first step in going green and helping to curb global warming, among others.
“The Great Warming was intended to be an agent of constructive change and not simply preach to the choir or become mired in politics, which is why we felt it was so important to form a pact with Stonehaven and demonstrate that real world solutions are available today,” said Troy Helming, CEO of Krystal Planet.
Krystal Planet eliminated the film's carbon footprint with FutureWind green certificates and hosted The Great Warming’s Midwest premiere in Kansas.