Monday, July 31, 2006

This is Important Information From a Conservative Webzine

President Quietly Creating 'NAFTA Plus'
by Jerome R. CorsiPosted May 24, 2006

Without announcing his intentions to do so, President Bush has decided to support the creation of a North American Union through a process of governmental regulations, never having to bring the issue before the American people for a clear referendum or vote.

The Bush Administration has decided to "back-door" the creation of a North American Union political entity that would effectively erase our borders with Mexico and Canada and create several super-regional governing bodies that would have jurisdiction over the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.

This analysis has been advanced by economist Miguel Pickard at the Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (CIEPAC) in Chiapas, Mexico. Writing for the International Relations Center in New Mexico, Pickard explains how what he calls "NAFTA Plus" is being put in place by political elites in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, largely without explanation to or understanding by the public in any of the three countries:

Contrary to NAFTA, whose tenets were laid out in a single negotiated treaty subjected to at least cursory review by the legislatures of the participating countries, NAFTA Plus is more the elites’ shared vision of what a merged future will look like. Their ideas are being implemented through the signing of "regulations," not subject to citizens' review. The vision may initially have been labeled NAFTA Plus, but the name gives a mistaken impression of what is at hand, since there will be no single treaty text, no unique label to facilitate keeping tabs. Perhaps for this reason, some civil society groups are calling the phenomenon by another name, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA), an official sobriquet for the summits held by the three chief executives to agree on the future of "North America."

We have previously discussed the March 2005 summit in Waco, Tex., where President Bush, President Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Martin made their joint statement announcing the formation of "The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" (SPP). The Department of Commerce documents the extensive working agenda undertaken by the U.S. government to implement the SPP directive.

Miguel Packard goes on to note that Bush has signed onto the North American Union agenda:

After initially rejecting it, the idea of a "North American community" has come of age among U.S. government strategists and a convinced George W. Bush is now vigorously pushing it forward.

We have also pointed to the Council on Foreign Relations' (CFR) task force report entitled "Building a North American Community" that contains the blueprint for creating a North American Union by 2010. The CFR task force report makes clear that a fundamental goal of the contemplated North American Union would be to redefine boundaries such that the primary immigration control will be around the three countries of the North American Union, not between the three countries.

Packard argues that a driving reason Bush has embraced the idea of creating the North American Union is to secure natural resources -- Canadian water as well as oil and natural from both Canada and Mexico. Regarding water, Packard notes that "Bush declared that Canada’s water was part of the United States' energy security." As evidence, he cites "mega-projects" proposed by the U.S., such as a "Grand Canal" that would transport "plentiful water from Canadian rivers and lakes to the Great Lakes." Regarding oil and natural gas, Packard comments that a North American Union would "guarantee a relatively cheap flow of oil," making the idea of creating a single North American space suddenly "not so ludicrous."

Packard documents the extensive work the CFR independent task force (ITF) took to create their blueprint report. ITF had three meetings, in Toronto (October 2004), New York (December 2004), and Monterrey (February 2005), before releasing their final report (May 2005), just after the Waco trilateral meeting. A key adviser to ITF was Robert Pastor, director of the Center for North American Studies at American University. Even though Pastor supported John Kerry for President in 2004, he ends up having a major impact on Bush as the current administration moves forward to implement the CFR plan to form a North American Union.

Even before joining the ITF as vice chair, Pastor was preaching the need for the North American Union to have a political agenda. In a speech titled "A Modest Proposal" in snide homage to Jonathan Swift, Pastor told the Trilateral Commission in 2002 that the North American Union needed to implement a series of political proposals which would have authority over the sovereignty of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Specifically, Pastor called for the creation of North American passports and a North American Customs and Immigrations, which would have authority over U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security. A North American Parliamentary Group would oversee the U.S. Congress. A Permanent Court on Trade and Investment would resolve disputes within NAFTA, exerting final authority over the judgments of the U.S. Supreme Court. A North American Commission would "develop an integrated continental plan for transportation and infrastructure."

Pastor also advocated the creation of a new currency, the "Amero," to replace the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso, much as the Euro replaced the currencies of the individual participating countries. The creation of the Amero had first been proposed by economist Herbert Grubel in a 1999 report to the Canadian Fraser Institute calling for a "North American Monetary Union."

Bush's determination to press for a North American Union may well be a key reason the Bush Administration has not secured our border with Mexico. Since 1986, important law enforcement provisions of our various immigration laws have been largely ignored, while "amnesty" provisions have grandfathered millions of illegal aliens to stay and gain citizenship.

The Bush Administration has supported adding enforcement to the Kennedy-McCain bill (S. 2611) currently being debated in the Senate. Are provisions to build a 370-mile wall and to send the National Guard to the border being added merely to look tough, with the real goal being to legalize the 12 million illegal aliens the administration admits are already in the country? Conservatives in the Senate and the House must demand be answers before final votes are taken and a conference committee sets to work.

What is your goal, Mr. President, to establish a North American Union where the border with Mexico is erased, or to secure the border once and for all, such that the invasion of Mexico's underclass into America stops?

Copyright © 2006 HUMAN EVENTS. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Current Invasion of Lebanon Awakened a Question I Have Always Held: Was the Invasion of Iraq a Jewish Conspiracy?

There are kooks and cranks and conspiracy nuts out there who think George Bush, from the moment he took office, had some kind of secret plan to invade Iraq and grab control of its oil. They’re wrong. There were two plans. I’ve got them both. One is 323 pages long, the other 101 pages. How I got them, I’ll explain later.

But first, let’s try to answer a more pressing question. Did the Jews do it? I mean, after killing Jesus, did the Elders of Zion manipulate the government of the United States into invading Babylon as part of a scheme to abet the expansion of Greater Israel?

The question was first posed to me in 2004 when I was speaking at a meeting of Mobilization for Peace in San Jose. A member of the audience asked, "Put it together—Who’s behind this war? Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams and the Project for a "Jew" American Century and, and, why don’t you talk about that, huh? And …."

But the questioner never had the full opportunity to complete his query because, flushed and red, he began to charge the stage. The peace activists attempted to detain the gentleman—whose confederates then grabbed some chairs to swing. As the Peace Center was taking on a somewhat warlike character, I chose to call in the authorities and slip out the back.

Still, his question intrigued me. As an investigative reporter, "Who’s behind this war?" seemed like a reasonable challenge—and if it were a plot of Christ-killers and Illuminati, so be it. I just report the facts, ma’am.

And frankly, at first, it seemed like the gent had a point, twisted though his spin might be. There was Paul Wolfowitz, before Congress, offering Americans the bargain of the century: a free Iraq—not "free" as in "freedom and democracy" but free in the sense of this won’t cost us a penny. Wolfowitz testified in March 2003: "There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money."

And where would these billions come from? Wolfowitz tells us:

"It starts with the assets of the Iraqi people....The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the next two or three years."

This was no small matter. The vulpine Deputy Defense Secretary knew that the number one question on the minds of Americans was not, "Does Saddam really have the bomb?" but "What’s this little war going to cost us?"

However, Wolfowitz left something out of his testimony: the truth. I hunted for weeks for the source of the Pentagon’s oil revenue projections—and found them. They were wildly different from the Wolfowitz testimony. But this was not perjury. Ever since the conviction of Elliott Abrams for perjury before Congress, neither Wolfowitz nor the other Bush factotums swear an oath before testifying. If you don’t raise your hand and promise to tell the truth, "so help me, God," you’re off the hook with federal prosecutors. How the Lord will judge that little ploy, we cannot say.

But Wolfowitz’s little numbers game can hardly count as a Great Zionist conspiracy.

That seemed to come, at first glance, in the form of the secret 101-page document, the plan for the occupation of Iraq, devised, I later learned, in late 2001. Notably, it wasn’t written by Iraqis; rather, it was promoted by the neoconservatives of the Defense Department, home of Abrams, Wolfowitz, Harold Rhode and other desktop Napoleons unafraid of moving toy tanks around the Pentagon war room. And the godfather of the plan? Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand

The neocons’ 101-page confidential document, which came to me in February 2001, just before the tanks rolled, goes boldly where no U.S. invasion plan had gone before: the complete rewrite of the conquered state’s "policies, law and regulations." A flat-tax cap on the incomes of Iraq’s wealthiest was included as a matter of course. And this was undoubtedly history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws. Once the 82nd Airborne liberated Iraq, never again would the Ba’athist dictatorship threaten America with bootleg dubs of Britney Spears’s "...Baby One More Time."

It was more like a corporate takeover, except with Abrams tanks instead of junk bonds. It didn’t strike me as the work of a Kosher Cabal for an Imperial Israel. In fact, it smelled of pork—Pig Heaven for corporate America looking for a slice of Iraq, and I suspected its porcine source. I gave it a big sniff and, sure enough, I smelled Grover Norquist.

Norquist is the capo di capi of right-wing, big-money influence peddlers in Washington. The devout Christian Norquist channeled a million dollars to the Christian Coalition to fight the devil’s tool, legalized gambling. He didn’t tell the Coalition that the loot came from an Indian tribe represented by Norquist’s associate, Jack Abramoff. The tribe didn’t want competition for its own casino operations.

I took a chance and dropped in on Norquist’s L Street office, and under a poster of his idol ["Nixon—now more than ever"], Norquist took a look at the confidential 101-page plan for Iraq and practically jumped over my desk to sign it, filled with pride at seeing his baby. Yes, he promoted the privatizations, the flat tax, and the change in "intellectual" property rights law, all concerns close to the hearts and wallets of his clients.

"The Oil" on Page 73

But there was, without doubt, one notable item in the 101-page plan for Iraq which clearly had the mark of Zion on it. On page seventy-three the plan called for the "privatization....[of] the oil and supporting industries," the sell-off of every ounce of Iraq’s oil fields and reserves. Its mastermind, I learned, was Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

For the neocons, this was The Big One. Behind it, no less a goal than to bring down the lynchpin of Arab power, Saudi Arabia.

It would work like this: the Saudi’s power rests on control of OPEC, the oil cartel which, as any good cartel, withholds oil from the market, kicking up prices. Sell-off Iraq’s oil fields and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq will crank out six million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would fall to its knees.

"It’s a no-brainer," Cohen told me, at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be the mastermind of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well...pathetic.

And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes, and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neo-con oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari?

"Arab economists," he hissed, "hired by the State Department...the witches brew of the Saudi Royal family and Soviet Ostblock."

Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in confident, wry accents mixing desert and Oxford. But their authority only reflects the royal families of Houston petroleum.

Wolfowitz Dammerung: Twilight of the Neocon Gods

After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute under the strict guidance of Big Oil’s minions, the culmination of a committee including Ken Lay, key players from the Council on Foreign Relations (who began their work in December 2000), a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, California, in February 2001, and the gathering of oil chiefs with Dick Cheney in March 2003, where the map of the oil fields of Iraq was carefully reviewed.

Once discovered, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of a couple, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without a wire). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neocon monkey business in our newest oil fields. It had been a very good war for Big Oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Cohen’s oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi "no-brainer."

"I would agree with that statement" Caroll told me, " privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brains."

Bush world is divided in two: neocons on one side, and the Establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the Establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq’s oil with agreements between a new state oil company under "profit-sharing agreements" with "IOCs" (International Oil Companies). The combine could "enhance [Iraq’s] government’s relationship with OPEC," it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.

So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neocon clique—bookish, foolish, vainglorious—had their asses kicked utterly, finally, and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis.

Between the neocons and Big Oil, it wasn’t much of a contest. The end-game was crushing, final. The Israelites had lost again in the land of Babylon.

And to make certain the arriviste neocons got the point, public punishment was exacted, from exile to demotion to banishment. In January 2005, neocon pointman Douglas Feith resigned from the Defense Department; his assistant Larry Franklin later was busted for passing documents to pro-Israel lobbyists. The State Department’s knuckle-dragging enforcer of neocon orthodoxies, John Bolton, was booted from Washington to New York to the powerless post of U.N. Ambassador.

Finally, on March 16, 2005, second anniversary of the invasion, neocon leader of the pack Wolfowitz was cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank, moving from the testosterone-powered, war-making decision center to the lending office for Bangladeshi chicken farmers.

"The realists," crowed the triumphant editor of the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, "have defeated the fantasists!"

So much for the Big Zionist Conspiracy that supposedly directed this war. A half- dozen confused Jews, wandering in the policy desert a long distance from mainstream Jewish views, armed only with Leo Strauss’ silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates with a throw weight of half a trillion barrels of oil.

Investigative Reporter Greg Palast is the author of the bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. This essay is adapted from his new book, Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War (Dutton, 2006).

Please consider subscribing to Tikkun because without that financial support we won't have enough money to print the magazine and provide you with these exciting writers and thinkers. You can subscribe online or by calling (510) 644-1200.

( From Tikkun Magazine)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Election Reform

Scratch 'N Win Ballots To Debut In November

July 19, 2006 Issue 42•29 (The Onion)

WASHINGTON, DC—In an effort to increase voter participation while generating additional revenue, several state election boards announced plans Monday to introduce new Scratch 'N Win ballots in November, giving citizens the chance to win the right to vote in the 2006 elections.

The ballots, which will retail for $1 and go on sale the morning of Nov. 7, are small three- by two-inch cards with a "prize area" obscured by a thin silver coating. Voters will scratch off this area and can win by matching three vote amounts, which will range from one to 1 million.
If the voter scratches off the "wild card" symbol—an elephant silhouette—they instantly win 10,000 votes for their state's Republican candidate.

"These new ballots will appeal to groups that don't ordinarily get to the polls, such as our disabled and lower-income citizens," said Gloria Weinstein, chairman of California's Board of Elections. "All you need is a dollar and a dream, and your voice may finally be heard."
"You can't vote if you don't play!" Weinstein added.

If the state trials are successful, a nationwide Powerballot drawing will be held for the 2008 presidential elections. The grand prize will be 250 million votes.

Nevada has been using this system since the 2000 elections with mixed results. That year, Sen. John Ensign (R–NV) defeated his Democratic opponent by over 30 million votes, a result he called "an amazing stroke of luck."

While the Scratch 'N Win ballots have produced several heartwarming stories of big vote-winners, Boston University political-science professor Paul Sherwood claims that many who have won hundreds and even thousands of votes "just end up wasting them."

"People always say that if they win a lot of votes, they're going to use them for a good cause, or share them with others," Sherwood said. "But in many cases, they blow them all impetuously on something like the county-coroner election."

"In one particularly sad instance, a man from Carson City used all 420,000 of his votes to elect himself Elko County sheriff, a position from which he resigned two weeks later to resume his job as a car salesman," Sherwood added.

The scratch-off voting system has worked well since its initiation, though naturally there have been some complications. In 2002, election results had to be overturned in December when an unidentified man with a decisive 750,000 votes found his unscratched, unredeemed ballot underneath a pile of change on his dresser.

Sherwood cited several other cases of Scratch 'N Win voting mishaps, including hundreds of ballots that had not been scratched all the way through and could not be read by the electronic vote-counting machines in convenience stores across the state; a Reno man who requested a lump sum of votes after winning the full million, only to have nearly half of them taken out in poll taxes; and a group of four friends who pooled their money to buy 100 ballots and won a total of 3,200 votes, but could not agree on a candidate.

Despite the risks and challenges presented by changing over to Scratch 'N Win voting, Nevada Board of Elections chairman Mark Hossler said there are many distinct benefits to these point-of-purchase polls.

"Our research shows that citizens over the age of 55 had traditionally found our ballots confusing and disorienting, but ever since we introduced Scratch 'N Win ballots, they seem to enjoy and understand voting more than ever," Hossler said. "Oftentimes, they'll buy up to 20 ballots at once."

Those who play and fail to win any votes may not be completely disenfranchised, as many states are implementing a mail-in program in which the losing ballots will be entered into a drawing to win a possible three-fifths vote, redeemable at next year's county-level elections.

Officials at the U.S. Federal Election Commission stressed that voting should be used for entertainment purposes only, saying that the actual odds of a citizen making a difference are 1 in 440,000.

© Copyright 2006, Onion, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

More Children Died of Hunger on 9/11/01 Than The Number of People Who Died in The Twin Towers

12 Myths About Hunger
Summer 2006
Updated by Holly Poole-Kavana

Why so much hunger? What can we do about it? To answer these questions we must unlearn much of what we have been taught. Only by freeing ourselves from the grip of ­widely held myths can we grasp the roots of hunger and see what we can do to end it.

Myth 1: Not Enough Food to Go Around

Reality: Abundance, not scarcity, best describes the world's food supply. Enough wheat, rice and other grains are produced to provide every human being with 3,200 calories a day. That doesn't even count many other commonly eaten foods­vegetables, beans, nuts, root crops, fruits, grass-fed meats, and fish. Enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person a day worldwide: two and half pounds of grain, beans and nuts, about a pound of fruits and vegetables, and nearly another pound of meat, milk and eggs­enough to make most people fat! The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Even most "hungry countries" have enough food for all their people right now. Many are net exporters of food and other agricultural products.

Myth 2: Nature is to Blame for Famine

Reality: It's too easy to blame nature. Human-made forces are making people increasingly vulnerable to nature's vagaries. Food is always available for those who can afford it­starvation during hard times hits only the poorest. Millions live on the brink of disaster in South Asia, Africa and elsewhere, because they are deprived of land by a powerful few, trapped in the unremitting grip of debt, or miserably paid. Natural events rarely explain deaths; they are simply the final push over the brink. Human institutions and policies determine who eats and who starves during hard times. Likewise, in America many homeless die from the cold every winter, yet ultimate responsibility doesn't lie with the weather. The real culprits are an economy that fails to offer everyone opportunities, and a society that places economic efficiency over compassion.

Myth 3 Too Many People

Reality: Birth rates are falling rapidly worldwide as remaining regions of the Third World begin the demographic transition­when birth rates drop in response to an earlier decline in death rates. Although rapid population growth remains a serious concern in many countries, nowhere does population density explain hunger. For every Bangladesh, a densely populated and hungry country, we find a Nigeria, Brazil or Bolivia, where abundant food resources coexist with hunger. Or we find a country like the Netherlands, where very little land per person has not prevented it from eliminating hunger and becoming a net exporter of food. Rapid population growth is not the root cause of hunger.
Like hunger itself, it results from underlying inequities that deprive people, especially poor women, of economic opportunity and security. Rapid population growth and hunger are endemic to societies where land ownership, jobs, education, health care, and old age security are beyond the reach of most people. Those Third World societies with dramatically successful early and rapid reductions of population growth rates­China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Cuba and the Indian state of Kerala­prove that the lives of the poor, especially poor women, must improve before they can choose to have fewer children.

Myth 4: The Environment vs. More Food?

Reality: We should be alarmed that an environmental crisis is undercutting our food-production resources, but a trade-off between our environment and the world's need for food is not inevitable. Efforts to feed the hungry are not causing the environmental crisis. Large corporations are mainly responsible for deforestation­creating and profiting from developed-country consumer demand for tropical hardwoods and exotic or out-of-season food items. Most pesticides used in the Third World are applied to export crops, playing little role in feeding the hungry, while in the U.S. they are used to give a blemish-free cosmetic appearance to produce, with no improvement in nutritional value.
Alternatives exist now and many more are possible. The success of organic farmers in the U.S. gives a glimpse of the possibilities. Cuba's success in overcoming a food crisis through self-reliance and sustainable, virtually pesticide-free agriculture is another good example. Indeed, environmentally sound agricultural alternatives can be more productive than environmentally destructive ones.

Myth 5: The Green Revolution is the Answer

Reality: The production advances of the Green Revolution are no myth. Thanks to the new seeds, millions of tons more grain a year are being harvested. But focusing narrowly on increasing production cannot alleviate hunger because it fails to alter the tightly concentrated distribution of economic power that determines who can buy the additional food. That's why in several of the biggest Green Revolution successes­India, Mexico, and the Philippines­grain production and in some cases, exports, have climbed, while hunger has persisted and the long-term productive capacity of the soil is degraded. Now we must fight the prospect of a ‘New Green Revolution' based on biotechnology, which threatens to further accentuate inequality.

Myth 6: We Need Large Farms

Reality: Large landowners who control most of the best land often leave much of it idle. Unjust farming systems leave farmland in the hands of the most inefficient producers. By contrast, small farmers typically achieve at least four to five times greater output per acre, in part because they work their land more intensively and use integrated, and often more sustainable, production systems. Without secure tenure, the many millions of tenant farmers in the Third World have little incentive to invest in land improvements, to rotate crops, or to leave land fallow for the sake of long-term soil fertility. Future food production is undermined. On the other hand, redistribution of land can favor production. Comprehensive land reform has markedly increased production in countries as diverse as Japan, Zimbabwe, and Taiwan. A World Bank study of northeast Brazil estimates that redistributing farmland into smaller holdings would raise output an astonishing 80 percent.

Myth 7: The Free Market Can End Hunger

Reality: Unfortunately, such a "market-is-good, government-is-bad" formula can never help address the causes of hunger. Such a dogmatic stance misleads us that a society can opt for one or the other, when in fact every economy on earth combines the market and government in allocating resources and distributing goods. The market's marvelous efficiencies can only work to eliminate hunger, however, when purchasing power is widely dispersed. So all those who believe in the usefulness of the market and the necessity of ending hunger must concentrate on promoting not the market, but the consumers! In this task, government has a vital role to play in countering the tendency toward economic concentration, through genuine tax, credit, and land reforms to disperse buying power toward the poor. Recent trends toward privatization and de-regulation are most definitely not the answer.

Myth 8: Free Trade is the Answer

Reality: The trade promotion formula has proven an abject failure at alleviating hunger. In most Third World countries exports have boomed while hunger has continued unabated or actually worsened. While soybean exports boomed in Brazil­to feed Japanese and European livestock­hunger spread from one-third to two-thirds of the population. Where the majority of people have been made too poor to buy the food grown on their own country's soil, those who control productive resources will, not surprisingly, orient their production to more lucrative markets abroad.

Export crop production squeezes out basic food production. So-called free trade treaties like NAFTA and WTO pit working people in different countries against each other in a ‘race to the bottom,' where the basis of competition is who will work for less, without adequate health coverage or minimum environmental standards. Mexico and the U.S. are a case in point: since NAFTA we have had a net loss of over a million jobs here in the U.S., while Mexico has lost 1.3 million in the agricultural sector alone and hunger is on the rise in both countries.

Myth 9: Too Hungry to Fight for Their Rights

Reality: Bombarded with images of poor people as weak and hungry, we lose sight of the obvious: for those with few resources, mere survival requires tremendous effort. If the poor were truly passive, few of them could even survive. Around the world, from the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico to the Landless People's Movement in South Africa, wherever people are suffering needlessly movements for change are underway. People will feed themselves, if allowed to do so. It's not our job to ‘set things right' for others. Our responsibility is to remove the obstacles in their paths, obstacles often created by large corporations and U.S. government, World Bank and IMF policies.

Myth 10: More U.S. Aid Will Help the Hungry

Reality: Most U.S. aid works directly against the hungry. Foreign aid can only reinforce, not change, the status quo. Where governments answer only to elites, our aid not only fails to reach hungry people, it shores up the very forces working against them. Our aid is used to impose free trade and free market policies, to promote exports at the expense of food production, and to provide the arms that repressive governments use to stay in power. Even emergency, or humanitarian aid, which makes up only eight percent of the total, often ends up enriching American grain companies while failing to reach the hungry, and it can dangerously undercut local food production in the recipient country. It would be better to use our foreign aid budget for unconditional debt relief, as it is the foreign debt burden that forces most Third World countries to cut back on basic health, education and anti-poverty programs.

Myth 11: We Benefit From Their Poverty

Reality: The biggest threat to the well-being of the vast majority of Americans is not the advancement but the continued deprivation of the hungry. Low wages­both abroad and in inner cities at home­may mean cheaper bananas, shirts, computers and fast food for most Americans, but in other ways we pay heavily for hunger and poverty. Enforced poverty in the Third World jeopardizes U.S. jobs, wages and working conditions as corporations seek cheaper labor abroad. In a global economy, what American workers have achieved in employment, wage levels, and working conditions can be protected only when working people in every country are freed from economic desperation.

Here at home, policies like welfare reform throw more people into the job market than can be absorbed­at below minimum wage levels in the case of ‘workfare'­ which puts downward pressure on the wages of those on higher rungs of the employment ladder. The growing numbers of ‘working poor' are those who have part- or full-time low wage jobs yet cannot afford adequate nutrition or housing for their families. Educating ourselves about the common interests most Americans share with the poor in the Third World and at home allows us to be compassionate without sliding into pity. In working to clear the way for the poor to free themselves from economic oppression, we free ourselves as well.

Myth 12: Curtail Freedom to End Hunger?

Reality: There is no theoretical or practical reason why freedom, taken to mean civil liberties, should be incompatible with ending hunger. Surveying the globe, we see no correlation between hunger and civil liberties. However, one narrow definition of freedom­the right to unlimited accumulation of wealth-producing property and the right to use that property however one sees fit­is in fundamental conflict with ending hunger. By contrast, a definition of freedom more consistent with our nation's dominant founding vision holds that economic security for all is the guarantor of our liberty. Such an understanding of freedom is essential to ending hunger.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm Still Here

I'm on a lakeside in Michigan getting some R & R for the soul. I've been on the road and away from internet access. I will be in Ohio tomorrow and will post and fix the formatting, which seems to have gotten skewed.

Peace and Joy to you all.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth CommunityJuly 13, 2006

By David Korten,Yes! (from Utne Reader)

A choice awaits between potential crisis and positive transformation

With the constant chatter about global warming, peak oil, and an ever-expanding economic divide, it's easy to want to stick your head in the sand as a million Chicken Littles rave about the falling sky. David Korten, however, manages to write about society's predicted imminent demise without sending readers over the edge to despair.

In an essay for Yes! drawn from his recently published book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, Korten -- the co-founder of the magazine's publisher, the Positive Futures Network -- outlines the crossroads humanity faces. Our present actions have concrete, profound effects on people's future experience on Earth, he writes. We can forge ahead with decadent lifestyles that we and future generations will someday regret, or make drastic changes and look back on this time as a seized opportunity to plan and live within natural planetary boundaries.

Korten frames a brief history of human existence with his concepts of "Empire" and "Earth Community." While the former -- marked by domination and oppression -- comprises most of our written history, the latter, much older model functions through partnership and sharing. As Empire reaches the limits of exploitation and unequal allocation of resources, Earth Community stands ready for its second wave. This would require a change in values from material excess to spiritual fulfillment, and the health of people and the environment. Such a change in values would be reflected in the leadership chosen to galvanize and effect change. What's more, Korten believes that putting the emphasis on family, nature, and spirituality could bring conservatives and liberals together and elevate the general population to a higher level of consciousness.

Idealistic? Yes. It won't be easy to overcome the psychological and physical control that Empire sustains, but Korten argues that breakthroughs in communication that overcome geographical barriers and resist censorship, such as the internet, have made such a shift possible. He cites the 2003 protest in the days before the Iraq war, which rallied more than 10 million people worldwide, as an example of impressive organizing without a center, budget, or charismatic leader. The challenges ahead may seem overwhelming, but Korten, at least, is optimistic that change is possible. -- Suzanne Lindgren

Go There>>The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
Related Links:Featured Work: The Great Turning
Related Links from the Utne Archive:Off the GridThe Beginning of the End of Oil

Monday, July 10, 2006

As I Leave Ohio I Draw This Card

Osho Zen Tarot

39. Possibilities

Zen Tarot Card

Mind can accept any boundary anywhere. But the reality is that, by its very nature, existence cannot have any boundary, because what will be beyond the boundary? - again another sky.

That's why I am saying skies upon skies are available for your flight. Don't be content easily. Those who remain content easily remain small: small are their joys, small are their ecstasies, small are their silences, small is their being. But there is no need! This smallness is your own imposition upon your freedom, upon your unlimited possibilities, upon your unlimited potential.


The eagle has an overview of all the possibilities contained in the landscape below, as he flies freely, naturally and effortlessly through the sky. He is really in his domain, very grand and self-contained.

This card indicates that you are at a point where a world of possibilities is open to you. Because you have grown more loving towards yourself, more self-contained, you can work easily with others. Because you are relaxed and at ease, you can recognize possibilities as they present themselves, sometimes even before others can see them. Because you are in tune with your own nature, you understand that existence is providing you with exactly what you need.

Enjoy the flight! And celebrate all the varied wonders of the landscape spread before you.

Copyright © 2006 Osho International Foundation

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Recess Was My Favorite Subject In Elementary School

Junior Knows Best

June 29, 2006

By Rachel Anderson,

Sudbury schools let kids learn what they want

Public, private, parochial, charter, magnet, small-by-design, homeschool. With the array of educational options for kids these days, it can be overwhelming to decide who the right people to teach your children are. The Sudbury Valley School (SVS) in Framingham, Massachusetts, insists that the best educators are actually children themselves. Hara Estroff Marano, writing for Psychology Today, finds that kids doing what they do best -- playing -- is a highly effective teaching method. Writes Marano: "Psychologists believe that play cajoles people toward their human potential because it preserves all the possibilities nervous systems tend to otherwise prune away." The school, which has served as the model for some three dozen others, encourages play, as well as other activities that facilitate children taking control of their own academic destinies and enjoying the resulting confidence.

With 25 hours of mandatory attendance each week, staff members (not "teachers") on hand to help interested children, and textbooks available, the Sudbury schools are equipped to help the students map their own courses of learning. Nathan Conz of the Hartford Advocate, encapsulates the tack this way: "There's no need to force material down a kid's throat, especially when it's a subject the kid isn't interested in. In time, a student will learn what he or she needs to know." Conz visited the Mountain Laurel Sudbury School (MLSS) in New Britain, Connecticut. Upon observing two playful students, he declares: "They're free-range children. And that's not a knock. The model seems to have served them well."

Conz points to MLSS's first graduate, Nick Marshall-Butler, a 16-year-old whose SAT scores are in the 90th percentile and who plans to take preparatory classes at Harvard Extension. Marano finds that while only about half of the students at SVS go directly to college, most get there eventually, echoing the Sudbury philosophy of bucking tradition and finding one's own path to educational goals. Many of the 800 graduates of SVS have been successful in the gamut of professional options, with 42 percent going on be entrepreneurs. If there's anything to laud, says Marano, it's that most graduates "are unusually resilient," "feel that they are in control of their [destinies]," and "lead deeply satisfying lives."

Despite such successes, it's still tough to convince parents to do away with teachers, classes, homework, and grades. Students may come to a Sudbury school for a number of reasons: failure to adhere to test-intensive schools, lack of social interaction in traditional schools, or a propensity for kinesthetic learning. And Sudbury's model is not an option for all. With tuition at $6,000 per student, parents may be taking a leap of faith on a school system that doesn't teach reading. "The youngest and longest-term students are largely from well-educated families that have the confidence to buck convention," writes Marano.

Whatever their reasons, some parents are fully embracing the Sudbury model. Jeffrey Hohl, a father of six, sold his house to move closer to SVS. "You don't realize until you're an adult how natural it is to learn, how interesting the world really is. We adults think we know how to do it and that children don't and therefore we have to teach them how," he says. "After spending many years in the business world, it dawned on me that you learn best what you really want to learn."

Go there >> Class Dismissed
Go there too >> Free-Range Kids
Related Links:A Study In Size
Related Links from the Utne Archive:Human-Scale EducationFree to Be Me

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why Forgiving Ourselves and Each Other is the Path to Global Justice

By John Bunzl

Articles / Spirit in Business
Date: Jun 28, 2006 - 04:20 PM

When we protest against transnational corporations, politicians and unaccountable global institutions such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank; when we protest against those we regard as causing or exacerbating global warming, ecological destruction, pollution or the widening gap between rich and poor, we inevitably blame them. Often, we go further to blame individuals who may shop at supermarkets, or who fail to buy Fair Trade or organic foods and so on.

In protesting against them, or in decrying their behaviour, we inevitably point our fingers at them: “YOU are the ones who are destroying our world!” In fact, it's not too much of an exaggeration to say that the Global Justice Movement's principal mode of action is protest; a mode which inescapably implies the blaming of one section of society or another, or one institution or another, for our global ills. And to be fair, there's a lot to protest about and without protest these important issues would never come to wider public attention.

But dire as our global problems undoubtedly are, should not the question be asked as to whether, in some sense, we are not all to blame for our present predicament, NGOs and global justice activists included? After all, who amongst us is so utterly de-linked from the global economy as to be able to honestly claim not to be contributing in some way to present problems, be it by driving when we might walk, by buying the products of transnational corporations when something more eco- or socially friendly might be better, or by failing to buy organic food when cheaper non-organic alternatives better suit our budgets - or by flying to holiday or conference destinations and thus contributing disproportionately to global warming emissions? Because for any of us to pretend that we are beyond reproach is not only likely to be untrue, it leads inexorably to a kind of “eco-fascism” whereby self-styled “eco-warriors” vilify and victimise the rest of us who, for one reason or another, apparently fail to live up to their criteria for what is required to “save the planet”. Indeed, the reality is that through our individual and collective choices, lifestyles and socio-economic system, all of us play a part, to a greater or lesser extent, in exacerbating our increasingly dire global predicament. So to pretend otherwise is not only divisive and untrue, it ultimately serves only to divert us from what should be a common effort to find solutions and instead leads us into an endless loop of factional, 'us and them' blame and counter-blame.

And if we are all to blame, perhaps we should take the further step of asking ourselves whether the corporate executives or market traders we commonly regard as being in positions of power are really in any position to significantly alter their polluting or socially irresponsible behaviour? It should after all be clear that in a competitive global market any corporation single-handedly taking on a greater measure of social or environmental responsibility - and thus increasing its costs in the process - would only lose out to its competitors causing a loss of its profits, a reduction in its share value, a consequent loss of jobs and, ultimately, the prospect of it becoming the target of a hostile takeover. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that, in a global market, corporations can generally only afford to behave as responsibly as the aggregate behaviour of their major competitors permits and, since they cannot reliably count on them to simultaneously take on higher standards, it is virtually impossible for one or a restricted number of market players to make the first move. So while it's clear that corporations could take some small steps towards more responsible behaviour and should be encouraged to do so, we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that they have the power to make the really substantive and fundamental changes needed to solve our global problems. Indeed, they manifestly don't.

As George Soros points out, the same goes for global investors and fund managers. With respect to his own role he explains that: “As an anonymous participant in financial markets, I never had to weigh the social consequences of my actions. I was aware that in some circumstances the consequences might be harmful but I felt justified in ignoring them on the grounds that I was playing by the rules. The game was very competitive and if I imposed additional constraints on myself I would end up a loser. Moreover, I realised that my moral scruples would make no difference to the real world, given the conditions of effective or near-perfect competition that prevail in financial markets; if I abstained somebody else would take my place.” So it's not corporate execs or fund managers who are destroying our world, it's the system in which they - and we - are all implicated. WE – all of us – are destroying our world.

After all, do global justice activists really think business leaders are any less aware of our environmental crisis than anyone else? Of course they're not! But they're caught in a vicious circle of destructive global competition which systematically prevents them from behaving in the way activists – and they themselves - would like. In his book, “When Corporations Rule the World”, David Korten astutely observed that “With financial markets demanding maximum short-term gains and corporate raiders standing by to trash any company that isn't externalizing every possible cost, efforts to fix the problem by raising the social consciousness of managers misdefine the problem. There are plenty of socially conscious managers. The problem is a predatory system that makes it difficult for them to survive. This creates a terrible dilemma for managers with a true social vision of the corporation's role in society. They must either compromise their vision or run a great risk of being expelled by the system.”

That's not to say, of course, that some corporations or CEOs aren't greedy or careless, or that we should become apologists for poor corporate behaviour. But more often than not, it is destructive competition and the fear of losing out, rather than pure greed for profit, which daily drives the socially and environmentally detrimental decisions of business executives. For as they rightly point out: “If we don't do it, our competitors will” – and in a globally de-regulated market, they're right! So what is the point in blaming them when they're caught in a system which effectively prevents them from behaving otherwise? And are global justice activists and NGOs in any position to point fingers when, were we in the shoes of corporate executives and subject to the same competitive demands, we'd likely be behaving in much the same way? So it is not corporations or their CEOs at whom we should be directing our primary fire, but at the destructively competitive global market system of which they are merely its most high-profile prisoners.

And what about governments; the institutions who are responsible for “the system”; our leaders who are supposed to regulate markets to balance social and environmental interests with those of business? In a world where capital and employment quickly move to any country where costs are lower and profits therefore higher, what chance do governments have to impose increased regulations or taxes on business to protect society or the environment when doing so will only invite employment and investment to move elsewhere? Environmentalists commonly decry government laxness in properly regulating corporations but what choice do governments have when they cannot count on other governments doing likewise? Any government making any significant move to tighten environmental or social protection regulations would face the prospect of uncompetitiveness, capital flight, a loss of jobs and a resulting loss of votes. Again, that's not to say that governments are powerless to do anything at all to improve matters or that we should stop pressuring them. But it does mean that their room for manoeuvre is extremely curtailed to the point where they, too, are largely caught in the same vicious circle like everyone else. So, governments of whatever party are now constrained to pursuing only those narrow policies they know will not displease world markets; a pathetically narrow range of policies which reduce democracy to a hollow kind of pseudo-democracy; an electoral charade in which whatever party we elect, and whatever the party's manifesto may have stated, the policies actually delivered inevitably conform to market demands and to each country's need to maintain its “international competitiveness”.

So activists should ask themselves whether they would act greatly differently were they to be sitting in government instead of our politicians? When significant strides to protecting society or the environment mean losing jobs and votes, would we really behave much different to the politicians we so commonly decry?

As I have hinted, at the root of the present world predicament lies a vicious circle of destructive competition which no-one can be said to be in control of and no-one can therefore be held wholly responsible for. Furthermore, the global institutions of the WTO, IMF and World Bank whom we might expect to be in control of the global economy are, in fact, operating under the delusion that competition is always a beneficial phenomenon; a delusion forced upon them by their understandable inability to control the free movement of capital and corporations. For in having no control over their free movement, and thus in accepting that state as a “natural given”, they are necessarily lead to prescribe yet more competition (i.e. more structural adjustment, more privatisation, more tax cuts, more fiscal austerity, etc) as the cure to our global ills and not less. In failing to realise that economic competition becomes destructive when it fails, as at present, to occur within the framework of adequate global regulations that protect society and the environment, the WTO, WB and IMF serve only to exacerbate the very problems they think they're solving. Those in charge of the institutions we expect to exert beneficial control over the global economy and whom we commonly believe to be “in power” are, therefore, relatively powerless to influence its out-of-control competitive forces.

So, by blaming governments or corporations or international institutions, we actually accord them far more credit than they really deserve. For in blaming them and in holding them responsible, we imply that they have the power to substantially change the system when we should instead be recognising that the lunatic herd mentality of global markets has already taken over the asylum. Disconcerting though that realisation may be, all those we think of as “in power” are in fact as much prisoners of the system as the rest of us. And were the leaders of the Global Justice Movement to take their place, would they be in any better position, given the radical and global free movement of capital, to take greatly different decisions? I think not. Of course this should not mean that our protests should stop – far from it! But what it does mean is that we should not fool ourselves into thinking that protest or other conventional forms of NGO action can ever be adequate to bringing about lasting, substantive and beneficial solutions; it means that each of us who truly cares about this world must earnestly seek for another way.

Surely, therefore, the greatest mistake we can make in our fight for global justice is to blame others for our sorry global predicament as if we ourselves were blameless or as if we could do any better? All the while we fail to recognise that we are all to blame, or that we would ourselves likely behave in much the same way as those we presently vilify, we perpetuate division, discord and resentment; we build adversarial barriers instead of removing them and we thus make impossible the atmosphere of cooperation, understanding and forgiveness needed to foster an atmosphere of global community; an atmosphere in which the productive negotiation necessary to finding appropriate solutions could evolve.
When - finally – we take all this on board, far from being overcome by a feeling of desperation and despair, paradoxically we reach a crucial and fundamentally important intellectual and spiritual turning point. A point at which we can move to a new and liberating level in our thinking and being. We move from what the prominent American philosopher, Ken Wilber, calls 'first tier' thinking to 'second tier' thinking; from nation-centric thinking to world-centric thinking; from what he calls 'flatland reductionism' to integral holism.

So once we stop blaming others, we start to see that, in reality, no single person, group, organisation, country, religion or culture can be singled out. We start to see that even those who benefit hugely from the status quo are in no position to actually change the system and we start to see that we are all caught – to a greater or lesser extent – in the vicious circle of globally destructive competition: a “prisoner's dilemma” from which there is, ordinarily, no way out. In short, we start to see – finally - that we are all in the same boat.

From a collective realisation such as this, we would have gone a long way to creating the pre-conditions for building a genuine global community: the conditions of forgiveness and non-judgemental acceptance of ourselves and each other; the inclusiveness necessary to beginning our collaborative search for global solutions. After all, it is upon such a state of genuine Global Community that any properly functioning global democracy must surely depend. In short, we would have created the conditions in which we could recognise the reality that we are ALL ONE; all one in the recognition of our common human fallibility and 'brokenness'; all one in the celebration of each others' differentness, all one in the brother/sisterhood of humanity and all one in the eye of our respective God.

Fortunately, this latest and most essential of humanity's evolutionary journeys has already begun through the work of a number of organisations around the world whose perspective has moved beyond the 'first-tier' mode of protest, blame and 'either/or' thinking to the 'second-tier', non-judgemental, world-centric, 'both/and' thinking needed to solve global problems. For as Einstein rightly suggested, “no problem can be solved with the same thinking that created it”.

One organisation that seeks to embody this new thinking is the International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO) which offers us all – activists and business executives alike – a means by which we can firstly take back control of our present, hollowed-out pseudo-democratic processes and, secondly, how we can co-create the policies necessary to achieving environmental sustainability and global justice. Finally it offers the crucial means for citizens the world over to bring our politicians and governments to implement them without any nation, corporation or citizen losing out. It thus turns the destructive, competition-led politics of globalisation on its head by offering global citizens a practical and peaceful way out of the 'prisoner's dilemma'; a veritable way for all of us to take back the world with a new politics of citizen-led, international co-operation for our emergent - but yet-to-be-born - sustainable global society.

1. The Crisis of Global Capitalism – Open Society Endangered, George Soros, Little, Brown and Co. 1998.

2. When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten, Kumarian Press & Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995.

John Bunzl is Founder & Director of International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO), a peaceful, yet revolutionary political tool that empowers voters everywhere to compel our politicians to commit our nations to implement global solutions simultaneously. The Simultaneous Policy has as its ultimate aim the transformation of the international economy such that it operates in harmony with the global natural environment and with the needs of human nature.

More info can be find on the Simultaneous Policy website:

This article comes from Integrative Sprituality

The URL for this story is:

Monday, July 03, 2006

You Are What You Eat?

By Lakshmi Sandhana
June 21, 2006

(From New Haven Earth News)

What if the next burger you ate was created in a warm, nutrient-enriched soup swirling within a bioreactor?

Edible, lab-grown ground chuck that smells and tastes just like the real thing might take a place next to Quorn at supermarkets in just a few years, thanks to some determined meat researchers. Scientists routinely grow small quantities of muscle cells in petri dishes for experiments, but now for the first time a concentrated effort is under way to mass-produce meat in this manner.

Henk Haagsman, a professor of meat sciences at Utrecht University, and his Dutch colleagues are working on growing artificial pork meat out of pig stem cells. They hope to grow a form of minced meat suitable for burgers, sausages and pizza toppings within the next few years.

Currently involved in identifying the type of stem cells that will multiply the most to create larger quantities of meat within a bioreactor, the team hopes to have concrete results by 2009. The 2 million euro ($2.5 million) Dutch-government-funded project began in April 2005. The work is one arm of a worldwide research effort focused on growing meat from cell cultures on an industrial scale.

"All of the technology exists today to make ground meat products in vitro," says Paul Kosnik, vice president of engineering at Tissue Genesis in Hawaii. Kosnik is growing scaffold-free, self-assembled muscle. "We believe the goal of a processed meat product is attainable in the next five years if funding is available and the R&D is pursued aggressively."

A single cell could theoretically produce enough meat to feed the world's population for a year. But the challenge lies in figuring out how to grow it on a large scale. Jason Matheny, a University of Maryland doctoral student and a director of New Harvest, a nonprofit organization that funds research on in vitro meat, believes the easiest way to create edible tissue is to grow "meat sheets," which are layers of animal muscle and fat cells stretched out over large flat sheets made of either edible or removable material. The meat can then be ground up or stacked or rolled to get a thicker cut.

"You'd need a bunch of industrial-size bioreactors," says Matheny. "One to produce the growth media, one to produce cells, and one that produces the meat sheets. The whole operation could be under one roof."

The advantage, he says, is you avoid the inefficiencies and bottlenecks of conventional meat production. No more feed grain production and processing, breeders, hatcheries, grow-out, slaughter or processing facilities.

"To produce the meat we eat now, 75 (percent) to 95 percent of what we feed an animal is lost because of metabolism and inedible structures like skeleton or neurological tissue," says Matheny. "With cultured meat, there's no body to support; you're only building the meat that eventually gets eaten."

The sheets would be less than 1 mm thick and take a few weeks to grow. But the real issue is the expense. If cultivated with nutrient solutions that are currently used for biomedical applications, the cost of producing one pound of in vitro meat runs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

Matheny believes in vitro meat can compete with conventional meat by using nutrients from plant or fungal sources, which could bring the cost down to about $1 per pound.

If successful, artificially grown meat could be tailored to be far healthier than any type of farm-grown meat. It's possible to stuff if full of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, adjust the protein or texture to suit individual taste preferences and screen it for food-borne diseases.

But will it really catch on? The Food and Drug Administration has already barred food products involving cloned animals from the market until their safety has been tested. There's also the yuck factor.

"Cultured meat isn't natural, but neither is yogurt," says Matheny. "And neither, for that matter, is most of the meat we eat. Cramming 10,000 chickens in a metal shed and dosing them full of antibiotics isn't natural. I view cultured meat like hydroponic vegetables. The end product is the same, but the process used to make it is different. Consumers accept hydroponic vegetables. Would they accept hydroponic meat?"

Taste is another unknown variable. Real meat is more than just cells; it has blood vessels, connective tissue, fat, etc. To get a similar arrangement of cells, lab-grown meat will have to be exercised and stretched the way a real live animal's flesh would.

Kosnik is working on a way to create muscle grown without scaffolds by culturing the right combination of cells in a 3-D environment with mechanical anchors so that the cells develop into long fibers similar to real muscle.

The technology to grow a juicy steak, however, is still a decade or so away. No one has yet figured out how to grow blood vessels within tissue.

"In the meantime, we can use existing technologies to satisfy the demand for ground meat, which is about half of the meat we eat (and a $127 billion global market)," says Matheny.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I'm Laughing at the Committee

One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.

Eckhart Tolle