Thursday, May 31, 2012

Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland ruled May 24 that the law legalized bigotry by withholding more than 1,000 federal benefits -- such as joint tax filing, Social Security survivor payments and immigration sponsorship -- from gays and lesbians legally married under state law.

Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco also declared DoMA unconstitutional and ordered the government to provide family insurance coverage to the wife of a lesbian court employee. White's ruling has been appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case in September.

- Appeals court: Denying federal benefits to same-sex couples is unconstitutional

Monday, May 28, 2012

Religion and Manonism

I will be writing a series of articles on money and religion.  The first one I'm offering deals with the nature of money and how various religious cultures, for our Heathen ancestors to Christianity and Islam, have treated money throughout history.

The Sacred Cow

In Luke 16:13, Jesus said One can't serve God and Manon (Money) at the same time.  Manonism, acting in service of money, being a banker where we work for the interests of money and against the interests of the fellow man, is considered immoral according to the Gospels.  The worship of money is arguably one of the main moral problems that humanity faces today. 

The first issue of the Occupy Wall Street Journal tapped into Biblical imagery of decadence when it refered to Wall Street as America's financial Gomorrah, and the worship of the golden calf was actually evoked when it was brought theatrically by Christian groups into the Occupy movement as a way of mocking the bull on Wall Street.

But the value, the dignity and the virtue of cattle is recognized even in the Bible.

Where no oxen are, the crib is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.
- Proverbs 14:4

Hinduism encourages Hindus to fulfil their duties, work hard and earn money to support themselves and their family.  Outside of that, it does not prescribe specific fiscal regulations but it does revere the cow, and as we will see cattle have always been considered currency and items of great value.

Jonah 4:11 concludes by mentioning that the city of Ninveh was saved, in part, by God's love for its cattle.  Later in Isaiah 66:3, this other prophet mentions that He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man.

Somewhere in history, cattle ceased to be considered sacred in spite of many traditions that revered cattle in many parts of the world. 

I have had many Hare Krishna acquaintances and am personally fond of cows.  Their explanation for why the cow is considered virtuous has to do with the fact that they're vegetarian, and have a natural tendency to practice non-violence.  They are also generous and magnanimous with anyone, including humans, who wishes to drink their milk, and are happy to feed everyone.

Their copious amounts of milk can be used to produce yoghurt, cream, butter and every kind of cheese that we can think of. Oxen also have been used for brute labor, and some theories of value and currency are based exclusively on how only labor produces value and how, without labor, value cannot be extracted from mines or from the land. In this sense, oxen have added value to human society during many periods in history through their enslavement, or donation of labor.

For all these reasons, there was esentially no difference between cattle and currency to our European ancestors, and in fact the English word fee originates in fehu, which means cattle.

I am not calling for a return to the fehu currency, however, as this implies commodification of a living entity and raises some modern ethical concerns.  But I do think we should ponder the qualities that cattle had that made it useful as a currency and what might replace cattle today.

A modern alternative to cattle might be any device that may exist now or may be invented in the future to produce ENERGY, perhaps a convenient, portable generator. In fact, energy (where the currency unit would be kilowatts per hour) has been discussed as a potential alternative currency.

The reason why I say that an energy generator might be the sacred cow of the future is because the products that are derived from cow are

1. always in demand and almost universally consumed
2. non-seasonal, that is, crops may come and go throughout the year but milk and its byproducts are always available wherever there are cows and it's possible that our ancestors survived the Ice Age thanks to them, at the very least cattle helped them to survived harsh winters

This explains why it was convenient for our ancestors to monetize cattle. In the same way, energy will always be in demand and its supply in turn generates other goods, services and products, regardless of the season.  Unlike crops, energy's value would not fluctuate with the seasons and, in a sense, the ability to generate our own energy would function as the sacred cow did in the past in terms of the consistent ability to produce value.

In his article Towards a Perfect Currency, environmentalist John Erik Meyer made the case for an energy-based currency and said:
There is only one commodity which is universally produced and consumed with both the scale and resolution to represent the full scope of any human endeavour. We already measure it in tremendous detail and it is central to every economy and process.

Energy based currency would represent real wealth creation potential and would not be subject to the shifting valuation issues to which every national currency is prone. Energy represents the value of work already done as well as the potential of work which can be done.

Some 800 years ago, the Mongols avoided inflationary pressures on their currency by performing inventories of their assets and matching the money supply to it. The Mongol empire did not suffer from the boom and bust cycle generated by the currency inflation which has plagued other monetary economies. Energy based currency would eliminate this cycle by representing constant real product and illuminating actual input costs.

Energy underwrites all commercial and environmental activity. It is the most widely measured, consumed and produced commodity on the planet. In contrast to the gold producing club, every nation produces energy from a wide variety of sources.

... No matter who champions it, no one nation will own energy based money. It will be the first truly international, non-political currency base. No nation will be able to manipulate it to avoid the consequences of its own economic mis-steps or to beggar its neighbours.

He then goes on to share various examples of units for an energy-based currency and reminds us of the stability and universality of the value of energy.

Notice that our current energy infrastructure depends heavily on oil, which has been called the devil's gold for the many evils and wars it has brought. Oil and its monopoly, the fight over its control, has to a great extent vilified humanity. If our communities enjoyed self-sufficiency in our ability to create our own energy, these wars and monopolies would cease to exist, as there would be less of an incentive to send our troops to infest the armpit of the world in a fight over resources that are available locally. Energy currencies would add pressure to the imperative of local energy self-sufficiency wherever they are implemented.

Energy is already a type of currency and currently foreign nations control much of the oil and energy that we consume, and we are in many ways at their mercy.

The importance of energy self-sufficiency will continue to become increasingly obvious as the years go by. Oil is already such a prevalent power in our modern global economy that Chris Cook in his article Banking on Energy argues that oil is not priced in dollars: dollars are priced in oil.  We can't escape the fiscal side effects of our energy policies.

Do the Gospels Call for Popularly-Controlled Currencies?

The film The Secret of Oz makes the case that it's not so much whether a currency is backed by gold or silver, but WHO CONTROLS THE QUANTITY that matters.

The documentary also argues that one of the few instances of Jesus acting violently in the Gospels was when he ranted against the money changers in the temple and turned their tables over. This, it is argued, was due to the private control by these lenders of the only currency which was allowed to be used for payment of the temple tax: a silver shekel. Animals to be sacrificed daily by the pilgrims had to be purchased also. The temple was a major center of commercial activity in Israel. Due to the scarcity of this currency, the lenders were able to charge whatever the market would allow. This was extremely profitable for the lenders and disastrous for the average poor Jew.

In the parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16), in addition to praising the shrewdness of a corrupt manager who forgives debts in order to save his reputation, Jesus mentions the use of gallons of olive oil and bushels of wheat as currency. His choice of a non-silver currency, where granaries and pantries might serve as banks, may or may not be another instance of criticism against, even a boycott of, the currency that the money lenders controlled in those days. At the very least, it points to debt forgiveness as a virtue and as a matter of common sense, and serves as an endorsement of complementary currencies in the Gospel.

Shari'a on Non-fiat Interest-free Currency

One of the aspects of shari'a law that is increasingly being praised in the West amid our current crisis is the monetary system where fiat currency is illicit. Money in Islam must have tangible value. The standard currencies, the dirham and dinar, are silver and gold based.

One of the criticisms of the gold and silver standard is that there is only so much gold and silver on Earth and that these two precious metals may not provide us with enough capital to finance a growing economy: that there is an inherent limit to economic growth. Another criticism is that most of the gold and silver might still be in the hands of a few, who may then control the amount available in the economy and create crisis that they can then profit from.

But just as in the Gospels, in Islam there are complementary currencies mentioned by Muhammad, who was quoted as saying: Gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates, and salt for salt. (When a transaction is) like for like, payment being made on the spot, then if anyone gives more or asks for more, he has dealt in Riba, the receiver and the giver being equally guilty.

Riba is charging of interest, which is illicit in Islam since it is considered an unequal exchange of similar goods. Here, we see that wheat, barley, dates and salt can be used as currency or means of exchange within Islam. In other words, in Islam gold and silver can function as a major component of a diversified currency system, where various crops and commodities are also used as currency just as we saw in Luke 16.

I will continue exploring the subject of Manonism, and issues of hoarding and of debt forgiveness, in future articles.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Homemade Sandalwood Deodorant and Pepermint Toothpaste Recipes

Most people would be shocked to find out about the toxic ingredients in commercial toothpaste and deodorant products.  We take many of the products we use daily for granted, and never stop to think that these products may be harming us.  But one out of every two people in the US will develop cancer at some point, and most commercial deodorant has an aluminum compound that has been tied to higher rates of cancer, particularly breast cancer.  The aluminum molecule is so small that it fits through the human pores and may enter the bloodstream.

One alternative to commercial deodorant is the so-called crystal, which is a colorless stone that is made of natural minerals.  It requires a bit of water to be applied, and has anti-bacterial properties.

Most toothpaste has fluoride, which some claim has been added to our drinking water to make the population more docile.  I'm not sure about these claims, have not researched them enough, but either way I think we should be more concerned with the toothpaste that we use everyday because we ARE already exposing ourselves to fluoride and we should all be alarmed to know that one drop of commercial toothpaste can kill a human infant.  This is a product that is in almost every household.

Our national cancer crisis is so pervasive that we take it for granted and never stop to think that THIS IS NOT NORMAL, we do not have to be dropping dead from cancer at these rates.  SOMETHING is making us sick.

But there is hope: the frugality movement, which calls for living within our means and avoiding consumerism as a result of the current economic crisis, has popularized the trend of making our own toothpaste and deodorant.  They're so easy to make that once you start making them at home, and knowing what you know, you most likely won't feel an incentive to buy them again - I've been making my own for two years now. 

Proponents of homemade deodorant argue that the body needs to sweat and that this is one of the ways in which we detox.  And so it is important to avoid antiperspirants, which inhibit the natural process of releasing toxins through sweat.  Instead, they say we should discourage the growth of bacteria which create bad odor in the underarm by using anti-bacterial soaps and deodorants.  

The basic deodorant recipe calls for half portions of baking soda and cornstarch and the addition of coconut oil, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Coconut oil can also be used to cook, to prepare kava kava or chocolate smoothies, and even to make homemade, all-natural shampoo.  I use it to make a garlic white rice recipe.  It can also add a tropical aroma to ginger rice or jasmine rice.  

Coconut oil can be used for much more than deodorants and people who are interested in moving away from chemical products should definitely research the properties of coconut oil and other natural oils, which are used on the skin and hair as well. has the standard deodorant recipe that I use, plus I add usually sandalwood oil for male deodorant fragrance.  Rose oil, or any other type of oil that a person likes, can be used to enhance the aroma of the deodorant. suggests the use of lavender oil.  I haven't used it, but lavender does have calming properties, is used frequently in aromatherapy and has always been used to make detergents.  In fact, the word lavender comes from the Latin root for clean.

Homemade deodorant is not harsh on the skin and has no synthetic chemicals, and it goes back to ancient traditions that have been lost.  It's what all of our ancestors did: the Egyptians used scented oils to mask body odor daily, and each culture used to have natural oils and even fruits for this: modern Rastafarians in Jamaica use akee as a soap and deodorant.

Applying homemade deodorant is a bit different from commercial deodorant, but again this is something we may easily get used to.  I usually moisten my underarms prior to application, and moisten the deodorant bar.  It then becomes easy to apply.

As for homemade natural toothpaste, here is a video with a recipe that is pretty similar to the one I make.  The basic idea is to use 5-6 teaspoons of baking soda to one teaspoon of salt, plus vegetable glycerine to create a pasty consistency.  A bit of water is usually added during the mixing.  In order to give it the refreshing, cooling toothpaste flavor that we're used to, between 8-15 drops of peppermint oil are usually added.  Another optional addition, which I personally like because it masks the saltiness and changes the flavor of the toothpaste, is a teaspoon of stevia as a sweetener.

I encourage everyone making homemade toothpaste and deodorant recipes to search online for guidelines and use them to develop your own recipes, since different people like different fragrances and tastes.  Another advantage of homemade products is their customization.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seneca's Adage

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

- Seneca
I've been trying to ignore for several days the news about the pastor who is calling for caging gay people behind an electric fence until, since they can't reproduce, they all die off.  Then I saw technoblix youtube commentary on this, and since he's one of the youtube vloggers that I respect and who often voices my own opinions on things, I realize that I do not wish to keep quiet.

I don't agree with Christopher Hitchens that religion poisons everything, but I do think it poisons many things.  I recenly read the news of Pakistani parents who murdered their own daughter over her Westernized lifestyle.  They asfixiated her right in front of their other daughter. These types of killings happen, apparently, all the time, and they're called HONOR killings.  A daughter may try to choose her own husband, or the clothes that she will wear.  Or she may seek emancipation.  Or simply speak her mind, or talk to the wrong guy.  And the honorable thing to do, these people believe, is to murder her.  Never mind the ties of blood and affection.

Carl Marx said religion is the opium of the masses, but some religions are so inhumane that they're more like crack.  I concur that the Bible orders the genocide of, among many other groups, gay people.
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.  
- Leviticus 20:13
I concur that the Bible IS homophobic, inhumane, anti-woman and generally hostile, and if that's what the Bible says, then that's what it says, and this is a testimony of the questionable caliber of character and of the agenda of its authors.

What I question is the intelligence of modern people who attribute moral authority to the primitive, superstitious, animal-sacrificing savages who authored the Levite code. Should we not be more civilized than that?

The idea that today the extinction of gays is being preached from pulpits in America should make us all repulsed and embarrassed of the credulity and ignorance that plagues America.

There's a funny picture that recently went viral of a guy who tatooed the other verse in the Levite code that speaks against homosexuality (18:22) on his arm, unaware that Leviticus 19:28 forbids tatoos.  It also says that women who menstruate are obligated to sacrifice two innocent doves ... every month until they reach menopause.  No one pays importance to this and there is ample consensus that these verses are irrelevant and obscure, but that's precisely one of my points, the other being that these verses have no moralizing value and, in fact, are mostly amoral or immoral.

Deuteronomy 22:19 tells us what the price of a woman is, in case we should want to sell our daughters or sisters. It's 100 pieces of silver.  Biblical laws treat women as commodities, objects that men may own, purchase or sell. This is why the commandment that says Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife continues with or his ass, or his oxen, etc.  The so-called sacred institution of marriage, in its origin, was a property deed.   Women were the property.  Not too different, as we see even in the Ten Commandments, from cattle.

I hope I have adressed, by these examples, how religion is true to the ignorant and false to the wise.  I couldn't end this article without adressing some of the many ways in which religions are useful to the powerful.  I wish to honor the memory of Seneca properly, as I feel that this is the most important point he was making.

Religion was useful to the powerful from the beginning, when the Levites wrote in the Levite code the instructions for every Jew to pay them a tenth of their salary and to surrender to them the firstborn of every animal that was fit to eat.  Christian churches to this day still deduct the tithe even from their poorest members and are able to amass great wealth and power.

But religion is also useful to those who hold office and to the true corporate powers whose puppets they are.  One recent case, during the Bush regime, was the prevalence of propaganda that benefited the oil cartel and the war profiteers in the guise of apocalyptic imagery drawn from the Bible, just as the Islamic tradition has been used by imams to advance military strategies in muslim countries.

The need to make supernatural claims to legitimize a war should have raised many questions about its legitimacy from the beginning.  During the war in Iraq, and in preparation for it, numerous end-of-days Christian preachers cited supposed Biblical prophecies that had to be fulfilled in order for Christ to return.  These prophecies were invariably filled with military imagery from the Old Testament and made frequent references to Babylon, where the modern state of Iraq is found today.  The war in Iraq was sold to the believers as an inevitable part of God's plan.

As he was preparing to invade Iraq, Bush even made a reference to the fact that he was carrying out a crusade in the Middle East - many of us think that he could not have found a more inappropriate word, but he was not speaking to many of us.  He used that word to appeal to the religious base within his audience.

The crusades were, of course, also inspired by the Bible and also useful to the powers that governed Europe during the Dark Ages, all of whom served the Roman Church.  Even the sacraments were for sale.  Indulgences were paid to the priests by those who could afford it for the forgiveness of sins.  Medieval religious folk were made puppets of the powerful by the same religion that turned the powerful into puppets of Rome.

No tribute of money was as heinous as the tribute of human lives that were taken when the Crusaders arrived in Jerusalem.  It is said that, in service to the Pope, there were rivers of blood and mountains of corpses of Muslim, Jewish and even Christian Arabs when the Crusaders took the city, since they had no clear way of distinguishing between them.

And in more recent times religion gave us, again, immoral incentives (by way of salvific theology) to carry out the theft of land in the Americas from people who had inhabited it for an estimated 14,000 years, then the occasional act of genocide of the natives, and then to enslave the Africans that were brought here.  Here again the Levite code (Lev. 25:44-46) acts as a property deed that allows humans to be commodified.  For if God ordered slavery, how can slavery be immoral?

Religion is, indeed, useful to the powerful.  Things that are immoral are moralized, legitimized, and even dignified through the trappings of faith.  Credulity, we can attest again and again if we scan through history, makes people docile and so easy to manipulate that they are willing to betray their own interests, their own families and wellbeings, and even give their lives for the interests of their ruling classes.

And so we should be careful and indignant whenever religious claims are used to legitimize public policy, foreign policy, or any other attempt to legitimize what immediately looks like a distorted view of human interests to anyone who has use of reason.

Please, help to keep America secular and protect your mind by staying educated and free from superstition. Seneca wasn't just speaking as a philosopher when he gave us his adage.  It's still relevant because in every age, we have had to deal with abuses of power and, almost invariably, with the religious pretenses that so often elevate these abuses to a level beyond reproach.  Seneca was giving us a warning.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Eclipse: NATO Protests, Mayan Prophecy, Global Awakening

The following article was originally published in


One of the major events that were expected as part of the Mayan 2012 prophecy happened today: an annular solar eclipse where the moon comes between Earth and the sun.

Meanwhile here in the city of Chicago, we hosted the NATO meetings this weekend. Nearly 15,000 people flooded the streets in protest. We also have reports of a bank run going on right now in Greece, foreshadowing the fall of the Euro, the disintegration of the continent’s monetary unit and Greece’s exit from the monetary union. This has the potential to create a domino effect, where later we may possibly see the exit of Spain, Portugal and even Italy from the Eurozone.

The banking cartel and the military industrial complex, in all likelihood, contemporary humanity’s two mortal enemies, face a serious crisis during this weekend’s eclipse.

Any gathering of NATO, a think tank for the global military industrial complex, would naturally inspire prophecies of evil forces battling good, but of course it shouldn’t take a prophet to understand that NATO is evil and at large.

The fact that parties in position of great authority work for them, from media to the police, makes the problem more obvious and more worrisome.

For years we’ve seen corporate-owned media spewing all kinds of propaganda paid for by war profiteers. Mainstream media has gone to great lengths in its efforts to place a burka around the inhumane and obscene realities of war and how a small, powerful group of people profit from it.  The discourse, which is wrapped in rhetoric of patriotism, uniformity, and loyalty, clouds people’s attention. Prominent media networks are known for accusing anyone of sedition who has the audacity to protest our intelligence being insulted and the persistent promulgation of lies. The “small wars” rather than the large of the previous administration are as insidious if not more so.

Yesterday a video and a picture was posted showing a police vehicle driving into a sea of protestors and almost running over citizens who were simply exercising their freedoms of assembly and of expression – guaranteed by the constitution. This was done randomly and for no reason in the midst of the Chicago protests against NATO.

This has received little to no coverage in mainstream media, and of course no independent investigation of the event has taken place because the perpetrators were in a place of authority. Clearly, the police see these peaceful, concerned citizens as the enemy, which can only mean that they’re not there to protect the citizens, but that they work for someone or something else. This is precisely why a larger number of people see both media and the monopoly of violence (police, military, etc.) as agents of a small ruling elite, the so-called “1%.” Their legitimacy is increasingly being questioned.

Also, the internet has democratized who gets to create news or be a commentator. It used to be that the small number of people who controlled mass media had the power to regulate reality, but we’ve seen how this power has been purchased by the powerful and, just as the decadence and dishonesty of mainstream media has become common knowledge, the internet has spawned numerous alternative media outlets that provide a populist slant and narrative of reality.

When people claim the identity of 99% of the population, and saying –as the online activist group Anonymous does– that they are legion, they’re affirming a new globalized, decentralized cosmovision and outlook. There’s even a new cube symbol that is being proposed for the Occupy and Indignado movements.

Some say the entire 2012 transition is an initiation into a higher plane of awareness, an evolutionary leap. Some say this is the dawn of the Aquarian Age of collectivism, cooperation, and interrelatedness. This webpage on the prophecies is one such source, and it calls our current 20-year calendar period or katĂșn, from 1992 – 2012, the Time of No-Time since they are the last years of the sun’s 5,125 year cycle in the Mayan calendar. It goes on to provide details about the prophecy of the reunion of the condor and the eagle, euphemisms for South and North America. It ends with:
This prophecy means that the Indigenous People of the North and the Indigenous People of the South, through those of the Center, will come together to strengthen the recovery of the ancestral science; recovery of our identity, art, spirituality and Cosmo-vision on life and death that the different Cultures have.
Those of the center are, of course, the Mayans from Southern Mexico and Guatemala whose calendar has become the main theme of our generation’s prophetic discourse. The Global Illumination Council, which is very much in solidarity with the Occupy movement, speaks of new beginnings and an alignment with the Pleiades.

I personally don’t see a reason to believe in supernatural claims, but I find all of it interesting in view of many recent and current historical developments. I see new populist discourses developing, many of them focused on our interrelatedness, and I see a mythmaking trend in our hemisphere, particularly among the native peoples but also in Westernized populations, which seeks to retell and propose history.

We’re all reinventing ourselves and re-contextualizing ourselves in the midst of more changes within one generation than any other group of humans has seen. The internet did not even exist when I was growing up. We were cast into the information era in an evolutionary blink of an eye.

The poetry it creates, the imagery of the eclipse –the light is temporarily eclipsed by darkness–, the idea that there is a cosmic battle, all of this resonates with the collective psyche of humanity at this junction and I think this is appropriate language to understand this world and the times we’re living in.

Thomas Jefferson once said ‘When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; When the government fears the people, there is liberty.’ There is a sign that you would see at the boundary of the autonomous territory of Chiapas, which endured a long-repressed indigenous insurrection more than a decade ago as a result of NAFTA and its neoliberal agenda. It says:

“You are in Zapatista Rebel territory.
Here, the People Command and the Government Obeys.”

Indigenous groups have always been community-oriented, collectivist cultures and in Chiapas today all decisions are made communally, by vote and by consensus, not too different from how the local assemblies at Occupy make their decisions. Chiapas has become one of the most revolutionary examples of decentralization of power and participatory democracy on Earth, and of course a huge challenge to the state’s power.

It is here that the Mayans originally made their home. Chiapas is the cradle of the 2012 paradigm.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"The banks--hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created--are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly OWN THE PLACE."

- SENATOR Dick Durbin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Water Wars ... Coming Soon to a City Near You

The continued commodification and privatization of public water resources ensures that they will be in private hands in the future, and that the process of making decisions regarding them will be based on their profitability.  The humanitarian crisis that is already unfolding in many countries due to lack of water will not weigh in as heavily as the bottom line.  This is how corporations work.

The companies that profit from water know that scarcity always translates into higher prices, and the water paradigm is one crisis that will be exceedingly profitable during the 21st century and beyond.

If water is entirely privatized and commodified, whoever owns the water will have the power to commit genocide, to choose who gets to have access to drinkable water in the very near future.  Things like water terrorism and water wars, and the increasingly frequent comparison of water to oil, sound like the stuff of science fiction. It is understood that these are some of the concerns that we leave as legacy to the future generations, but we already live in a world where Water Wars have taken place.

In the year 2000, the entire city of Cochabamba came to a halt as people fought and died on the streets defending their water resources.  The previous Bolivian regime, with strong neoliberal sympathies, had sold ALL of the water resources in the country to an American company from San Francisco, Bechtel.

It was made illegal to gather even rain water.  In a matter of months, the price of public water skyrocketed and poor and indigenous Bolivians began to take their children out of school in order to purchase water.  Retired citizens had to return to work to buy water.  Four months of riots ensued.

Corporate media in the US was too embarassed to cover the Bolivia case, as this eloquently described the most inhumane, greedy and dangerous face of American capitalism. Most Americans have never, to this day, heard of the Water Wars in Bolivia.

Meanwhile, bottled water has become big business in the US and made several corporations take notice of the huge profits that await them. The city of Los Angeles draws its water from hundreds of miles away, and according to the film-critique Last Call at the Oasis: Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water, the city of Las Vegas is already beginning to deal with serious problems related to their water resources.

Another documentary on water which diluscidates much of what we can expect is Flow, which specifically points fingers at companies such as Nestle, Vivendi, Thames, Suez, Coca Cola and Pepsi and provides us with a narrative of how these companies have slowly taken over public springs and water sources, how several communities have complained but been unable to stop the stealing of their resources by these private entities that takes place daily under their noses, and how business interests override public concerns whenever communities present a legal challenge against theft of water by corporations.

Perhaps the main culprit is the blind consumer. We have no right to criticize a powerful, wealthy industry whose interests are contrary to our humanitarian concerns when we are the ones who make it powerful and wealthy by voting with our money every day for the kind of planet we wish to live in. And there is plenty of information available today all over the internet on how phony bottled water products are. According to this ehow article,

... about 24 percent of the bottled water found on American shelves is actually purified tap water. In a televised investigation on the "20/20" news program, five bottles of water from leading national brands were sent to a microbiologist to be tested against tap water taken from the center of New York City to find which, if any, contained sickness-causing bacteria like E. coli. They found no difference at all between the tap water and bottled water. Bottled water is also significantly more expensive than tap water, ranging from 240 to 10,000 times more in price.

The film Flow recommends as a solution that we boycott bottled water. This is not a difficult chore at all. I personally have a water filter that I purchased at Walgreens for less than twenty dollars and, if I do go out and wish to stay hydrated, I filter tap water and carry it with me on a reused bottle. Better yet, I flavor it with yerba matĂ© or other nutritionally rich natural additives.

I realize that the issue hasn't hit home yet for most Americans because the humanitarian water crisis is not yet a threat to our lifestyle for most of us, but it will be soon.

We know what companies are privatizing our water --I mentioned them earlier--, and we can only surmise what their future plans are. Filter your own water and use it to stay hydrated when you leave home. Please do not support these companies or buy bottled water. Boycott the water cartel!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Endorses Marriage Equality

In a recent interview, President Barack Obama finally stated that he supports gay marriage ... Got a feeling he always favored gay marriage but was just waiting for the polls to indicate that most Americans also favored it.

Rev. Jesse Jackson has joined Rev. Al Sharpton in supporting President Obama’s call for support behind gay marriage. Jackson even went so far as to compare the gay marriage issue to the fight against slavery and laws that kept blacks from marrying whites.
“This is a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times.
Jackson then called for black preachers to address the issue with their congregations on Sunday. He even said that they are leading congregations within many black churches. He urged Americans to remember that gay marriage isn’t taking rights from anyone else, but rather, opening the door for everyone to have the same opportunities.
- From the Blacklikemoi website

“I salute President Obama’s statement today supporting same-sex marriage. This is not about mine or anyone’s personal or religious views. It is about equal rights for all. We cannot be selective with civil rights. We must support civil rights for everybody or we don’t support them for anyone.”
- Rev. Al Sharpton

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let Food Be Your Medicine

During the month of April of 2011, international Latin rock star Robi Draco Rosa announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Unlike most cancer patients in the U.S., he chose the non-traditional so-called Burzynski therapy and as of today, a bit over a year after his diagnosis, three of his four cancerous tumors are gone. The irony: the life-saving therapy that he chose has been the object of persistent litigation and persecution by the pharmaceutical cartel.

Your Money or Your Life!

Stanislaw R. Burzynski's revolutionary non-toxic Antineoplaston Therapy and has demonstrated to be 3 to 5 times more effective than conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments and is the only cancer therapy known to cure brain tumors in children. Prior to his therapy becoming available, a child's brain turmor was a death sentence. Yet, for over a decade the pharmaceutical companies that underwrite the laws that dictate what is and what is not considered legitimate cancer therapy in America tried, and failed, to jail Dr. Burzynski by means of legal technicalities even as they also tried, on the other hand, to appropriate his research and patent his therapies.

In spite of the success of his therapy, the FDA has tried to stop the popularity of his therapy from spreading in the United States. Your may learn more about the Burzynski Clinic and the ANP Therapy here.

Watching the Burzynski film reminded me of the lawsuit that was filed by unscrupulous drug companies from first world nations in South Africa some years back, which was later dropped. A total of almost 40 pharmaceutical giants used the legal resource of patented medicine to ask for exagerated amounts of money for their AIDS/HIV drugs when South Africa, in the midst of its worst health crisis in recent history, was trying to acquire cheaper versions of the meds from Brasil and India. Meanwhile thousands were dying because they could not afford their drugs in this relatively poor corner of the world.

Patent laws were originally crafted to protect inventors, musicians and writers from theft of their intellectual property. These days, powerful interests have rewritten patent laws to allow corporations to own the patents of genetically-modified seeds and of life-saving drugs and therapies, putting people's lives at risk whenever conflicts of profit arise that keep people from having access to the food or health care that they need.

As for conflicts of interests, we should explore the who's who of the cancer industry.
  • Richard L. Gelb was the Chairman of the Board of Bristol-Meyers Squibb, the company that accounts for nearly half of the chemotherapy sales in the world ... but he also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the world's largest private cancer treatment and research center.
  • Samuel Broder was the Senior Vice President for Research and Development at the IVAX Corporation, a prominent chemotherapy company after being the Executive Director of the National Cancer Institute.
  • Chicago-born John Shephard Reed has been a director of Philip Morris -a tobacco company- since 1975, and has been a member of the board of managers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at least since 1992. He has made money giving people cancer and then claiming to take it away.
Not only has chemotherapy been favored at the expense of other treatments by the entities that are supposed to be searching for the cure: these entities have made it all but impossible for patients to have access to life-saving information about alternative therapies and preventative dietary lifestyles, and for decades have had a profoundly detrimental effect in America's public health.

The Live Foods Lifestyle

Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.
- Hippocrates, Father of Medicine
In addition to the Burzynski film -which documents both the therapy and the trials and tribulations of the scientist who was almost not allowed to cure cancer-, another immensely important film is The Beautiful Truth: it follows the admiration of a young Alaskan for a 20th century Doctor who cured many people from cancer, and it also paints an alarming picture of what the movie calls the 'cancer industry'. The name of this Doctor is Max Gerson.

The Gerson therapy is illegal in the United States in spite of the fact that a terminal cancer patient has a 50 % rate of survival past five years if she submits herself to the Gerson methods. Chemotherapy's rate of survival past five years varies with the type of cancer but some cite it as low as 3% -and it's a toxic therapy that kills both the good and bad cells so that the patient will never be the same after it.

Big Pharma would make no money from cancer if the all-natural Gerson therapy became mainstream. There are no pills. No toxicity. It consists mainly of juicing vegetables and greens and using enemas to detoxify the colon.

Another documentary to watch is Simply Raw, where a group of diabetic patients sheds all the symptoms of their condition by only eating live foods for 30 days. Not one of the patients continued taking insulin shots after the raw foods experiment, although many of them had been obese and sick for many years. All it took was a lifestyle of greens, seeds, raw vegetables which were oftentimes juiced for digestive efficiency, and fruits.

This dietary lifestyle, which was made popular in the twentieth century by Ann Wigmore and is usually known as the live foods or raw foods movement, usually also incorporates fermented foods like kim chee, sauerkraut, and kombucha. These foods are praised for bringing into the stomach beneficial bacteria that help with digestion.

Most raw-foodists are vegan, but a small few are vegetarian -incorporating yoghurt and cheese into their diets- and a yet smaller minority of live-foodists eats raw fish or meat every now and then. Many raw-foodists only consume a percentage of their foods in raw form, claiming to be 30%, 50%, or 80% raw.

The philosophy behind this trend stems from the fact that enzymes and other nutrients in our foods begin to deteriorate when we cook food at a temperature of over 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Since cooking our foods kills the nutrients, proponents of live foods focus on eating nutritionally rich foods in their natural, raw state. Juicing them makes their nutrients even more easily available.

The success rates of the Gerson therapy suggest that Ann Wigmore was on to something. As of today, a cancer patient wanting to visit a Gerson Health Center would have to travel to Mexico since it's illegal in the U.S. to use his methods as a cancer therapy. However, anyone may become a live-foodist and follow or teach the juicing and colon-cleansing procedures described by Dr. Gerson ... so long as they're not sold as cancer therapy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ron Paul, for me, is a sort of funny guy. I mean, says a lot of good stuff. But for me, libertarianism is sort of a pre-industrial ideology. The idea that govt should be so diminished. Well, the problem is that the government is anemic in the face of corporations like Exxon Mobile, and Citibank, and Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America. And we need to find leverage by which these monopolies can be broken up and the monopoly of these corporations can be curbed. And so I think Ron Paul is pretty good in terms of empire, in terms of fiscal responsibility, in terms of constitutional rights, but the core of his message, which is essentially degut govt, is one that I think isn't gonna do anything to diminish the power of the state.
-Chris Hedges

oh the irony


1. thrifty management; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc.
2. an act or means of thrifty saving; a saving: He achieved a small economy by walking to work instead of taking a bus.
3. the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity.
4. the prosperity or earnings of a place: Further inflation would endanger the national economy seriously.
5. the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.
- from

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Iceland Forgives Entire Population of Mortgage Debt!

The government of Iceland has forgiven the mortgage debt for much of its population. This nation chose a very different way of stopping the crisis from the rest of European countries. It decided to hear the requests of the population and to put politicians and bankers on the bench of the accused three years after their financial excesses would sank one of the most prosperous economies in 2008.