Who’s Systematically Murdering Iranian Nuclear Scientists?

Who’s bumping off Iranian nuclear scientists?

Cui bono? (Who benefits?)

Who, besides the U.S. and Israel, has been obsessing about the purported development of Iranian nuclear weapons?

Glenn Greenwald comments:

In January, 2010, a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle killed Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, who “taught neutron physics at Tehran University.” In November, 2010, two separate car bombs exploded within minutes of each other on the same day, one that killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriar and wounded his wife, and the other which wounded another nuclear scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, along with his wife. Then, in July of last year, Darioush Rezaei, 35, was shot dead and his wife was wounded by two gunmen firing from motorcycles outside of their daughter’s kindergarten; Rezaei “did his doctorate in neutron transport – which lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in reactors and bombs” and “was a member of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the country’s official atomic energy commission.”

And now, yet another Iranian scientist has been killed. According to Iranian media, a 32-year-old university professor, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, died when an assailant riding on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car, which then detonated and killed him. According to The Washington Post‘s Thomas Erdbrink, a conservative news outlet in Iran reported that the young scientist “was believed to be involved in procuring materials for Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.”

As Greenwald points out, no matter who’s doing it, the murder of civilians on foreign soil meets the definition of terrorism. He quotes Kevin Drum:

“After all, killing civilian scientists and civilian leaders, even if you do it quietly, is unquestionably terrorism. That’s certainly what we’d consider it if Hezbollah fighters tried to kill cabinet undersecretaries and planted bombs at the homes of Los Alamos engineers.”

Greenwald concludes:

If, as is widely assumed, the Israelis are responsible, does that mean that Israel is a Terrorist state, and if U.S. agencies are complicit in some way, does that mean President Obama is a Terrorist, a state sponsor of Terrorism or, at the very least, a supporter of Terrorism?

Read Glenn Greenwald’s full post here.

APPLE Center Slated to Close After 2 1/2 Years of Sustainability Education

Editor’s Note: The following press release was issued today by APPLE  (Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy):

Nevada City – In the coming weeks, there will be big changes for the Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE), Nevada County’s leading sustainability education non-profit organization. The organization is shifting gears to focus more on grassroots organizing while simultaneously reducing overhead costs.

“Closing the APPLE Center is not the decision we wanted to make, but it is the fiscally responsible decision we had to make” shares Elaina Breen, APPLE Board member.

The History

The APPLE Center for Sustainable Living opened September 20th, 2009 at 412 Commercial Street following 3 months of volunteer and donation-driven building improvements. The 800 square foot space, owned by Nevada City, was transformed into a model for green and energy efficient building practices. Twenty descriptive plaques mounted around the Center recognize the local business and professionals who contributed to the unique features, which make the building function so well.

“Visitors often comment that the building feels good and smells good, right when they walk in” comments Mali Dyck, APPLE’s executive director who has managed the daily operations of the Center since its conception. “It’s a real testament as to why building ‘green’ is as good for the occupants as it is for the environment.”

The APPLE Center was mainly funded by the Private Industry Council (PIC) of Butte County, from June 2009 through February 2011, when PIC unexpectedly closed its own doors. For the last year, APPLE has tried a number of fund raising approaches to keep the Center open including applying for grants, an APPLE-a- Day donation program, expanding the retail aspect of the Center, and collecting E-waste.

The APPLE Center will end its regular public hours on January 28th.

Message from the Board of Directors

We are deeply grateful to you, dear community members, who have supported\ the APPLE Center as members, customers, participants, volunteers, and donors\ over the last 2 1/2 years. We are sad to leave the Center, but want to assure you that APPLE’s mission and programs will continue to serve our community, just as it did before the Center opened. APPLE will remain an active 501c3 non-profit and we look forward to engaging new volunteers, community organizers and participants to continue this good work.

Upcoming Events:

Book Club Launch Reception: January 12, 2012 6:30 at the APPLE Center. Everyone is welcome to join APPLE’s new book club, learn about the first book and meet the other participants at this event.

Discussion Group Planning Meeting: February 15th 6:30 – 8pm at the APPLE Center. All are welcome to hear reports from the first 6 discussion groups launched and start new groups on topics such as NC -Transition Town, local sustainability policy opportunities, shared ownership of tools/equipment, or starting a local food buying club.

Closing Reception to Celebrate the Center: February 18th, 2012 7pm-10pm at the APPLE Center. Come celebrate and share stories and memories with us. Light hors d’oeuvres and local wines will be served.

APPLE’s Highlights from 2011 include:

Backyard chicken ordinances passed in both Nevada City and Grass Valley allowing residents to grow their own source of protein at home.

Gorilla Love Project built and distributed 40 micro-homes for the homeless.

Gold Country Gleaners harvested over 3500 pounds of otherwise wasted fruit and delivered it to people in need.

• A.P.P.L.E. premiered at the Nevada County Home Show and County Fair with educational demos and booth displays resulting in over 1000 new contacts. Thanks to the Strong Foundation for the outreach grant which paid for these booth fees and outreach materials.

Mannafest 2010 chose A.P.P.L.E. as its beneficiary, raising almost $3000 through sponsorships, silent auction, raffles, and vendor fees, not to mention fun and further exposure for A.P.P.L.E.

Homesteading Demo Day welcomed 75 participants for 8 educational demos and 2 homestead tours, inspiring dozens to convert their homes into homesteads.

The APPLE Center gift shop generated $6800 in sales revenue for local and regional makers, authors, farmers, and artists.

To learn more about APPLE and the APPLE Center, visit APPLECenter.org.

What a Totally Honest Politician Would Say

Special Nevada County Screening of Documentary, “THRIVE”

By Reinette Senum

Click for Larger View

The Special Nevada County Screening of the documentary, THRIVE, has just hit gold. The creators and hosts, Foster and Kimberly Gamble, of the riveting film have agreed to attend IN PERSON rather than via Skype as originally planned. Nevada County has the remarkable opportunity to come together utilizing the most talked about documentary since ‘Zeitgeist’ and ‘What the Bleep Do We Know.’ THRIVE explores the challenge of surviving vs. thriving in the current and future global crises.

This screening of THRIVE will take place Friday, January 20th, 5:30pm to 10pm, at the Alpha Building, 210 Broad St. Nevada City. An unconventional documentary, THRIVE lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream.

This community screening will also include special guest via skype, renown physicist, Nassim Haramein. Audience Q and A periods will be available throughout the screening with Foster and Kimberly Gamble as well as Nassim Haramein.

Questioning “worldviews” throughout, this two-hour long documentary dives into the global consolidation of money and power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

The film includes interviews with former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, physicist Adam Trombly, Steven Greer M.D., Deepak Chopra M.D., Bill Still producer of the Money Masters, Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of H.U.D., David Icke author of The Biggest Secret, Elizabeth Sahtouris Evolutionary Biologist, Paul Hawken of Natural Capital Institute, and Amy Goodman host of the Democracy Now.

In order to successfully meet our current global challenges, we need to ask hard questions in order to find solutions that go beyond just ‘getting by.’ This Special Nevada County Screening and IN PERSON presence of Foster and Kimberly Gamble is a tool for that process. Monthly meetings will follow allowing deeper discussion into the dozen different topics that THRIVE addresses.

It’s not about surviving. It’s about thriving.

Doors open at 5pm with opening music, 5-5:30pm, provided by Anni McCann.  Tickets $18 at the door, $15 in advance at The BriarPatch, The Fix, and the APPLE Center. For more information call 530-264-6048 or visit ThriveOn.org on Facebo

Op-Ed by Sharon Delgado: “Occupy Moves to Amend”

By Sharon Delgado

In December, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show featured a segment on Occupy Nevada County, which had held a rally to protest foreclosures and had successfully intervened to postpone an eviction.  Since then several realtors and people facing foreclosure have contacted the local Occupy group with offers and requests for help.  The public has been largely supportive.  With the high rates of foreclosures, evictions, and homelessness in Nevada County, the issue’s relevance is easy to understand.

While continuing these efforts, Occupy Nevada County’s primary focus in January is the less familiar issue of “corporate personhood,” the legal doctrine giving corporations constitutional rights similar to those of natural persons. Since the late 19th century Supreme Court rulings have bestowed and gradually expanded the rights of corporations as “persons” under the law.

For-profit corporations are state-created vehicles for producing wealth for their stockholders, but the “legal fiction” of corporate personhood gives them constitutional rights originally designed for human beings.  This creates a huge power imbalance on the political playing field.  Transnational corporations can marshal resources far beyond those of most people.  They can relocate to anywhere, change nationalities, span continents, and exist in many places simultaneously.  Their only conscience is the bottom line.  Criminal corporations can pay token fines and still do business; there are no corporate three strikes laws and they cannot go to jail because they are non-corporeal. Corporations have no natural death—they can span centuries.  For these and other reasons, “corporate persons” have a huge political advantage over limited human beings.

In 2010, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission decision worsened this power imbalance by ruling that the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act violated the First Amendment rights of corporations and unions. As a result,  campaign finance laws in many states were overturned, and corporations and unions were allowed to pour unlimited funds into election campaigns.  There are organizing efforts underway to get all concentrated money out of elections through public financing of elections.

The Citizens United decision has been described as “money equals speech.” In the case of corporations, corporate “speech” is tax-deductible!  When corporations are given the same constitutional rights as people, large corporations come out ahead, since they can afford more “free speech” and political power than human beings.  These powerful entities now control more wealth than do many countries, and they dominate cultures, economies, and governments.  Corporations are now able to spend massive sums to create a megaphone so big that their message drowns out the voices of actual human beings.

How does this abstract political doctrine of “corporate personhood” and the resulting distortion of democracy relate to concrete issues, such as the rising rates of foreclosures and evictions?  The answer is simple.  When money equals speech, it is harder for those without money to be heard.  It is no wonder, then, that public policies are often skewed to favor large corporations, big banks, and the wealthy at the expense of poor, working, and middle class people.

In the case of the foreclosure crisis, in 1999 big banks successfully lobbied to overturn the Glass-Stegall Act, which had separated investment banks from commercial banks.  This enabled system-wide speculation, the development of complex “financial instruments,” and a housing bubble that finally (and predictably) burst, taking the economy down with it.  Insiders got rich by betting that the mortgage derivatives they marketed would collapse in value.  As the documentary “Inside Job” explains, profit-driven big banks and financial institutions caused the economic crisis.  The government then bailed out these “too big to fail” banks, while the equity that millions of Americans had invested in their homes evaporated.  Citizens United allows these banks and other corporations, including those from the “foreclosure servicing” sector, to pour unlimited funds into campaigns to elect candidates who will enact policies that favor profits over people.

Occupy Nevada County has scheduled meetings, workshops, rallies, and other events leading up to January 21, the second anniversary of Citizens United, when there will be a festival and teach-in in Nevada City.  The goal of these actions is to raise awareness and build support for the nationwide Move to Amend campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and overturn Citizens United.   To find out more go to http://ga.occupywallstreetnc.org.

Someone said, “If it doesn’t breathe, it doesn’t deserve free speech.”  If it’s only conscience is the bottom line it doesn’t deserve to determine public policy.  Democracy is not for corporations.  Democracy is for people.

The Reverend Sharon Delgado is an ordained United Methodist minister and co-founder and Executive Director of Earth Justice Ministries. She is available to preach and to present seminars, workshops, and lectures on peace, justice, eco-justice, and economic globalization. She has had many articles published on these themes. She is author of Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization (Fortress Press, 2007).

Why Entrepreneurs Flourish More in Welfare States (and Not so Much in U.S.)

Mike Kimel, co-author of Presimetrics, has a good blog post over at Angry Bear. He looks at evidence that entrepreneurial risk-taking is enhanced in societies that backstop such risks with a basic high-level of social support (“welfare states”). This is completely contrary to the laissez-faire myth of rugged individualism. It may also help explain why things haven’t been going too well here for the last several decades (ever since the advent of “Reaganomics,” an economic philosophy named after a B-movie actor).

The US is not, for many, the land of opportunity it is touted to be, and is now being beaten out by countries like Denmark and Canada. Big government countries, countries where Americans seem to believe people aren’t motivated to get off their duff, are actually quite entrepreneurial and offer offer their citizens a lot of opportunity.

Meanwhile, one other thing to note… growth, real economic growth, has been slowing for decades in the US. George W Bush’s term, even prior to the start of the Great Recession, compares unfavorably with the 1970s. The highly touted Reagan years, for instance, saw much slower growth than, say, the big government LBJ administration or the even bigger government New Deal years.

What is going on here? Is it really the catch-up effect, whereby wealthy countries like the US necessarily grow more slowly than other countries? Or is there a Great Stagnation going on? And if so, why?

I think one explanation for this is the Peltzman effect. Sam Peltzman once noted that, in response to some types of regulation, people can have a tendency to change their behavior in ways that counteracts the intended purpose of the regulation. For instance, some bicycle and motorcycle riders will take greater risks when forced to wear helmets, assuming that the helmets make them safer and more impervious to accidents.

Now, economic advance depends on creative destruction, and creative destruction requires people to take risks. Come up with a great idea for a super duper new widget and it has zero effect on anything if you don’t go out and try to market the thing.

But take two people, both of whom independently came up with the same idea for that super duper new widget. One lives in the US, the other in Denmark. Which one gives up his/her job to start a new company? The American or the Dane? My guess is the Dane will, precisely because the Dane, unlike the American, retains a safety net.

Read Kimel’s full post here.

The Soul Hides in Plain Sight

« Previous Page