As soon as I finished writing Dance and Music, I had planned to start a second book about the responsibilities of dance teachers, at the end of which I wanted to add a completely unrelated chapter about things that get my dander up. Somehow I have temporarily lost the impetus to get going on the book, so I decided to put that chapter here.
Maybe it's just plain self-indulgence to get these things off my chest. Heaven knows this tiny website probably won't make much of a difference; I am writing these things because, as you will read later (if you get that far), I am ever hopeful that, if enough people commit themselves to a particular value or wish, it might become a reality.
IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG
WITH THESE PICTURES?
TOOLS FOR KILLING
BOOKS THAT TOUCH MY HEART
EVERY CLICK HELPS
POLITICS AS USUAL
BIG BUSINESS AS USUAL
BIG BUSINESS NOT AS USUAL
IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG
WITH THESE PICTURES?
From www.eonline.com, 7/16/00:
... O.J. Simpson makes $25,000 a month in NFL pension, untouchable under federal law. ...
This has nothing to do with whether O.J. is guilty or innocent; it has everything to do with the obscenity of receiving so much money for having become a media idol. I shudder to think what Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson get from the NBA. For some reason, I feel compelled to quote the 1999 federal poverty level for a 3-person family: $13,290. That's a yearly income, versus $25,000 a month. One out of six American children lives in poverty.
From the Guardian Weekly, 9/13-19/01:
...This month the United Nations will have a special session on the rights of children, which will be attended by more than 50 heads of state or government. One issue will be whether children enjoy the rights supposedly guaranteed under the 1989 convention on the rights of the child, one of which is "access to services such as education". Only Somalia and the US have not ratified the convention: Somalia because it has no recognised government and the US because, as Unicef says, "it will consider only one human rights treaty at a time"--currently, the convention on the elimination of all discrimination against women. ...
TOOLS FOR KILLING
From the Guardian Weekly, 1/11-17/01:
... In 1998, there were 10,976 firearms murders in the USA. In Canada, there were 151. ...
And I don't want to hear about how much smaller Canada's population is; it's not THAT much smaller to have such an immense discrepancy.
From the Denver Rocky Mountain News, 8/12/99:
A lot of lawmakers listen to the NRA, which ranks as one of the top two or three most powerful lobbies in America. Between 1988 and 1999, the NRA, which boasts more than 3 million members nationwide, has spent about $14.3 million for political contributions. Republicans received more than four times as much support from the NRA as Democrats, according to Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that tries to affect national policy. "When the NRA takes aim at legislation to protect the public interest in Congress," said Scott Harshbarger, president of Common Cause, "their ammunition is nearly $15 million in political contributions. It's very hard for Congress to ignore that kind of money."
In the last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA-led gun lobby has provided candidates with about $275,000 from political action committees. About 82 percent of that money went to Republicans. At the same time, pro-gun-control groups contributed a total of $5,500, all but $500 of which went to Democrats. The NRA's Baker dismisses statements by Common Cause and gun-control advocates that the big contributions sway lawmakers. That's what people on the other side say when they lose rather than (win). ...
Why are political lobbies ALLOWED, anyway? "Oh, Harriet," you say, "don't be so naïve." Well, if I'm being naïve, I'm proud of it: somebody please tell me why ANYBODY should be allowed to throw money around to buy--yes, BUY--Congressional votes.
For more information on campaign contributions, consult The Center for Responsive Politics' website at www.opensecrets.org.
It is probably true that America's current moral decline and violence in movies and television, not just guns, are responsible for the unspeakably horrible carnage of the past couple of years. However, the bottom line is that, if guns were less accessible, there would be less carnage.
The older I get, the more--what? Some people say cynical, other people, myself included, say realistic. I firmly believe that experience is the best teacher, and experience has taught me that a lot of men of the world don't really want peace. When has there ever been worldwide peace for longer than a couple of days? After all, war is great for the economy. And America has no right (I was going to say, "no business"--heh heh) promoting peace anywhere as long as we continue to sell massive amounts of arms to nations around the world. How incredibly hypocritical! Consider the latest possibility (a month from now, the following information may be obsolete; the salient point is that it is even a possibility):
From Reuters over the Internet, 4/22/01, 8:31 AM ET:
... Taiwan, which Communist China considers a renegade province, has asked for four $1 billion Arleigh Burke Class destroyers equipped with Aegis defense systems designed to detect and attack dozens of missiles, aircraft and ships at once.
In an annual (ANNUAL!) military package from Washington, Taiwan also wants diesel-electric submarines of German or Dutch design with U.S. technology, an advanced Patriot antimissile defense known as PAC-3 and Lockheed Martin Corp. P-3 maritime search and anti-submarine aircraft. ...
But there is still a tiny shred of me that believes that, if enough people really commit themselves to peace, it could happen.
I questioned my inclusion of the following article simply because many people think lions are infinitely less important than people. Whether one agrees with that or not, I find this move absolutely appalling.
Guardian Weekly, 5/3-9/01:
...The former American president, George Bush senior, and his old Gulf War ally, General "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf, are pleading with the government of Botswana to lift a ban that was slapped on trophy hunting of lions in February. Mr Bush is among prominent members of Safari Club International (SCI), ...which describes itself as the largest hunting organisation in the world ... and a "charitable" (!) "organisation of hunter conservationists" with 33,000 members across the globe. ...
Rich Americans, Europeans and Japanese pay about $30,000 a time to kill a lion in Botswana. The government usually permits the shooting of about 50 lions a year by trophy hunters, but decided to impose the ban in part because American shooters favour lions with thick manes for their walls, leading to a disproportionate killing of mature males.
The shortage of such beasts is now so great that hunters have been making use of a mane-extension service back in the United States where fake hair is weaved in to give their trophies an extra flourish before they hang the heads. (Ed. note: no mention is made of the fewer the mature males, the faster the species dies out.)
Among those who campaigned for a ban on lion hunting in Botswana is Derek Joubert, the country's leading chronicler of big cats. ..."There's no reason to shoot a lion other than ego. As a hunter you want to feel great so you can hang it on the wall and your mates say: 'Wow, what a man'," Mr Joubert said.
There is still something of the hunt left in Botswana. South Africa offers the "canned lion" service in which a trapped animal is virtually delivered to the barrel of a gun. Many of the lions are bred in captivity solely as bait for hunters. They are released into what are no more than fields surrounded by fences and "hunted". They have no chance of escape. ...Tales of horrendous suffering by the animals abound. Some supposed hunters are so inexpert with guns that they take a dozen shots to kill a lion. ...The state-run South African tourist board even advertised "canned lion" hunts. "Go for the ultimate trophy and score in South Africa," said one advert. "It is always in season in South Africa, where the world's finest hunting is in the bag."
Opponents of the ban in Botswana say it will damage the local economy. Lion hunting is estimated to be worth about $4m a year, but most of the profits go to hunting operators. The government earns just over $2,000 for each lion bagged, a fraction of what the hunter pays, even though all hunting takes place on state-owned reserves and the animals are government property. ...
A letter I received today (5 October, 2005) from the Humane Society Legislative Fund says that 28 states in this great country of ours allow canned hunting. From their letter: "Every month thousands of 'hunters' are flocking to these states to buy an opportunity to shoot an animal at point-blank range, such as a cape buffalo, or trophy elk, or even a zebra or giraffe, who is fenced in a small area and has no chance of escape. ..." How utterly barbaric. You can find more information, if you have the stomach for it, at www.cannedhunts.com.
BOOKS THAT TOUCH MY HEART
There must be thousands of books these days (I hope) about environmental issues, but I would like to mention a few that have made a special impact on my life lately.
Jane Goodall's Reason for Hope is both a condensed autobiography (condensed in that it speaks more about her life than about her dedicated, inspired, and lengthy research of chimpanzees in Africa) and a deeply personal account of her spiritual path and commitment to Nature. (You might want to check out her website: www.janegoodall.org.)
Bill McKibben's Hope, Human and Wild speaks, among other things, of two model cities--Curitiba, Brazil, and Kerala, India--whose citizens have put their money where their mouths are and have developed, amidst grinding poverty, livable cities that consider its residents AND Nature to be equal priorities.
Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest, by Charles and Andy Russell, touched my heart not only because of the subject--a rare subspecies of black bear that produces a pure white animal approximately every ten births, and lives in a rainforest wilderness in British Columbia--but because of the tangible reverence for Nature with which the book was written. You can find more information about the Spirit Bear at www.spiritbearyouth.org. The website www.savebiogems.org was partially responsible for spearheading the action that saved this bear's home; on it you will also find other places in the western hemisphere that are endangered and which you can help save.
We have to stop thinking of people like the above authors as nature freaks or greenies or wacky environmentalists. The only way we and this planet will survive is by understanding the interconnectedness of all things and committing ourselves to consume less.
Three books by the same author, David Pelzer, are testimonials to the triumph of the human spirit. That may be an over-used phrase these days, but I can think of no other to describe the hell of his childhood from which he emerged a caring, giving human being. Read them in their chronological order: A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive; The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family; and A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness.
EVERY CLICK HELPS
There are three websites where I click daily: thebreastcancersite, thehungersite, and therainforestsite. Each click provides a minuscule amount of money at no cost to me. These clicks are mere drops in the bucket, I know, but I think they're better than nothing. Maybe you will, too; please check them out. (If you are a shopper, you will be able to contribute even more to these organizations.)
POLITICS AS USUAL
Our Senators and Congressmen don't pay in to Social Security, and, of course, they don't collect from it. The reason is that they have a special retirement plan that they voted for themselves many years ago. For all practical purposes, it works like this. When they retire, they continue to draw their same pay, until they die, except that it may be increased from time to time, by cost of living adjustments. For instance, former Senator Bradley and his wife may be expected to draw $7,900,000, with Mrs. Bradley drawing $275,000 during the last year of her life. This is calculated on an average life span for each. This would be well and good, except that they paid nothing in on any kind of retirement, and neither does any other Senator or Congressman. This fine retirement comes right out of the General Fund: our tax money. While we who pay for it all, draw an average of $1000/month from Social Security. Imagine for a moment if you can structure a retirement plan so desirable that people have extra deducted so that they may increase their own personal retirement income. A retirement plan that works so well, that railroad employees, postal workers, and others who aren't in it, are clamoring to get in it. That is how good Social Security could be, if only one change were made, and that change is to jerk the Golden Fleece retirement out from under the Senators and Congressmen, and put them in Social Security with the rest of us, and watch how fast they fix it. If enough people read this, maybe one or some of them along the way might be able to help.
In my experience, the Guardian Weekly comes the closest to being an unbiased, global newspaper. It comes in my mailbox every Friday or Saturday, includes articles from around the world, and once a month includes articles from Le Monde Diplomatique (in English), a highly respected French periodical. Below are excerpts from two recent articles. Again, by the time you read them, they won't be so recent, but I think it is just as important to remember how dangerous President Bush's cavalier attitude is towards issues most of the rest of the world thinks are vital, as it is to remember the pronouncements themselves.
Guardian Weekly, 4/5-11/01, Martin Kettle, Washington Diary:
... To the outside world, and to many Americans, the most striking of these radical policy changes was the decision to abandon the Kyoto protocols on global climate change. But this is just one in a succession of moves in which the president has revealed his very different concerns from those of the Clinton years.
In foreign affairs there has been the spurning of North Korea, the demonisation of China, the contempt towards Russia and even the aloofness towards Europe. At home the administration has abandoned a succession of environmental safeguards. In addition to Kyoto, protections over arsenic levels in drinking water have been abandoned, small mining projects no longer have to clear up after themselves, and controls over road-building in national forests are to be "restudied". ...To say, as (NY Times columnist Anthony) Lewis does, that the Bush administration is "making radical changes that will have long-term consequences" for the US and the world is true. It is also true that, for the moment, there appear to be few checks and balances in the American system that can impede the fundamental policy reversals in which Bush is engaged. ...
Guardian Weekly, 4/5-11/01, Comment and Analysis:
...But most appalling of all is the message, taken alongside similarly short-sighted, self-centred actions in the fields of defence and diplomacy, that this Taliban-style act of wanton destruction sends around the world. Instead of leading the community of nations, Bush's United States seems increasingly intent on confronting it. From a nation that began by trumpeting its belief in values common to all mankind comes a devastatingly different, divisive and nationalistic jingle: we do what we want, for ourselves, regardless of the consequences for you. And if you don't like it, well, tough.
Is this message sent on purpose? Does the Bush administration actually understand what it is doing? For look at the record so far. It has dangerously upset the strategic balance by proposing a new national missile defence system. It has attacked Iraq while signalling elsewhere, notably in the Balkans, that it will reduce its commitment to shared security, especially through the United Nations. It has gone out of its way to antagonise Russia and done much to convince China that it must ready itself for war. And for now at least, Bush's US has all but abandoned its leading role in the Middle East. Its economic policy has meanwhile stoked fears of a US-exported recession.
If Mr Bush does not intend the alarm all this is causing internationally, then he is even more inept than commonly believed. In the end, the US needs friends. But that friendships have limits is a lesson Mr Bush has yet to learn. Humility is another. Wisdom may be too much to hope for.
(Ed. note: It is precisely these actions and attitudes that, I feel, were behind the tragic national catastrophe of 9/11. We MUST become partners in this global village, not the dictatorship.)
To subscribe to the Guardian Weekly:
Visit their website: www.guardianweekly.com
From the International Herald Tribune,
Now that the job market is softening, you're probably asking yourself: What does it take to become a U.S. ambassador in a country with a nice climate and no cultural tradition of hostage-taking?
There are a number of excellent job opportunities available in the Bush administration. Just recently, Clay Johnson, the White House director of presidential personnel, told Marc Lacey and Raymond Bonner of The New York Times what questions the president asks himself when he screens ambassadorial candidates: "Is the person a longtime friend? How close does he feel to the person? Has the person really gone out of their (sic) way to help him become president?"
... The definition of "help" is a little hazy. It is against the law to take campaign contributions into consideration when picking ambassadors. Mr. Johnson must have been referring to people who gave the president rides to the airport in inclement weather.
The law also says ambassadors should speak the language of the countries to which they are posted.
... Howard Leach, an agricultural business investment banker who does not speak French, has been nominated to be ambassador to France, a nation famous for its patience and tolerance in dealing with Americans who don't know the language. But Mr. Leach, whose helpfulness involved a stint as chairman of the Republican National Committee, is said to be taking lessons.
The Bush administration planned to make Rockwell Schnabel, a California businessman, the ambassador to Italy. Mr. Schnabel, who has been helpful to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars, was all but on the plane when Italian-American groups rose up in outrage. ".As the fifth-largest ethnic group in our country, we feel it's important to have one of our own in Italy," said Max DiFabio, spokesman for the Columbus Citizens Foundation. ...
Guardian Weekly, 5/10-16/01, Editorial from The Washington Post ("Familiar Odor in the White House):
... President Bush and his party campaigned on a promise of restoring honor to the Oval Office. That was taken as a reference to President Clinton's affair with a White House intern, but also of his offering coffees in the office and overnights in the Lincoln Bedroom to major contributors. Wouldn't happen under his watch, Mr. Bush made clear, and so far as we know it hasn't. But should we be happy that the president, instead of renting out his residence, is renting out his Cabinet officers?
Later this month, couples who donate at least $15,000 to a Republican campaign committee will be invited to a "private reception" and photo opportunity with Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Big donors are promised briefings from Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services, and from Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. They'll have the "exclusive opportunity to dine with diplomats and embassy officials", not to mention access to many of the GOP's most influential senators, who so routinely rent themselves out that it's hardly news. (For only $5,000, you can go play golf with Majority Leader Trent Lott this weekend in Hilton Head.)
I just happened to log on to www.alternet.org for the first time during the aftermath of the Enron scandal. What I read there (on January 20, 2002) gave me the slightest bit of hope that campaign finance reform finally might become a reality. But I'm not holding my breath.
It's not just because I like Robert Redford's looks AND his politics that I am including the following; it's primarily because I think this subject is VITAL. He puts it very eloquently, simply, and with a lot of heart. (His motivation to communicate is identical to mine. The monumental difference, of course, is that his celebrity enables his message to be read by a LOT more people than mine--or YOURS. We must stop thinking that any action we take won't make a difference!) Please read what he has to say.
Dear BioGems Defender,
I wanted to pass along to you the following message describing my feelings about President Bush's plan to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the urgent need for us to fight back. I know you've visited the SaveBioGems.org website and, most likely, already taken action on behalf of our priceless Arctic wilderness -- and I thank you. Now, please do me the great favor of forwarding my message to everyone you know -- your friends, family, co-workers, discussion groups -- encouraging them to join us in this critical battle.
I've never circulated this kind of email before. But I am so appalled by President Bush's plan to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to massive oil development that I feel I must do whatever I can to help stop it.
To me, the Arctic Refuge represents everything spectacular and everything endangered about America's natural heritage: a million years of ecological serenity . . . vast expanses of untouched wilderness . . . an irreplaceable sanctuary for polar bears, white wolves and 130,000 caribou that return here each year to give birth and rear their young. For 20,000 years -- literally hundreds of generations -- the native Gwich'in people have inhabited this sacred place, following the caribou herd and leaving the awe-inspiring landscape just as they found it. Our own presidents going back to Eisenhower have kept a bipartisan promise to safeguard this world-class natural treasure. But not THIS president. It is a sad day indeed when our president and congressional leaders would sacrifice America's largest wildlife refuge for the sake of a possible six-month supply of national energy. A six-month supply! We could save that little oil by improving the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks by a mere one mile per gallon.
Only one group of Americans will benefit from the destruction of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge: the oil giants. Everyone else loses. Arctic wildlife populations will decline, the Gwich'in people will see their land marred by pipelines and poisoned by oil spills, you and I will become even more dependent on oil, and the planet will suffer catastrophic global warming from the burning of even more fossil fuel.
Unless we get millions of Americans to lodge a protest right now, this nightmarish scenario may well come to pass in the next two months. The Republican energy bill, which would fulfill the president's promise to drill the Arctic Refuge, is moving through Congress today. House and Senate leaders may also try to sneak through the Arctic drilling provision by attaching it to a "must-pass" appropriations bill. These votes will be decided by the moderates in both parties. We must reach those moderates and hold them accountable.
Here's what you can do: go to http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has set up this new website to make it extremely easy for you to send messages of protest to your senators and representative. It will take you only a minute.
I've been on NRDC's board for 25 years, so I know how effective they are at waging and winning environmental campaigns. Last year, NRDC used web activism to help generate a million messages of protest to Mitsubishi and stopped the company from destroying the last unspoiled birthing ground of the Pacific gray whale.
We'll win this time too if each of us does our part for the Arctic Refuge. Please visit http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic right now. And forward my message to your family, friends and colleagues. Congress cannot ignore millions of us.
If we let them plunder our greatest wildlife refuge for the sake of oil company profits, then no piece of our natural heritage is safe from destruction. Please go to http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic and help keep the Arctic wild and free.
, 5/10-16/01, Washington Diary, Martin Kettle:
Defying environmental opinion at home and abroad, the Bush administration will tell Americans later this month that conservation is for wimps and that they can go on guzzling the world's energy resources as if there were no tomorrow. These are the only conclusions that can seriously be drawn from Dick Cheney's speech in Toronto on April 30 in which he said that the solution to the United States' energy problems lies not in reducing demand but in doing everything possible to increase supply.
...Cheney "is getting good input from industry," boasted Conoco's Archie Dunham, the oil industry's top fundraiser for the Republican party (the industry gave $25.6 million to the party last year, peanuts compared with the returns it is now expecting). Among Dunham's key aims are more drilling, more constructions and an end to oil sanctions against Iran, Iraq and Libya. Cheney's report will not only advocate drilling in Alaska. It is also being pressed to loosen restrictions in parts of the Montana Rockies, as well as to extend offshore drilling ... and will endorse the building of the first new nuclear power plants in the US since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. ... Not a single new nuclear plant has been built in nearly quarter of a century, and the issue of nuclear waste remains wholly unaddressed. ...
BIG BUSINESS AS USUAL
I worked for eight years in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, in the city theater, which was kitty-corner from the beginning of "the old city"--a cobblestoned main street with many little alley-like lanes winding off it, and crowned by the Zeitglocke--an ancient, huge, and still-functioning chiming clock in a picturesque (well, the whole city is picturesque) tower. I used to have lunch regularly next to the Zeitglocke at Merkur, a comfortable restaurant with a great salad bar that certainly had no problem attracting customers. On my last trip to Bern (which, along with Vienna, was voted one of the two best world capitals to live in in terms of greenness), I learned that this Merkur (one of a chain of restaurants and confectioneries that doesn't feel like a chain) will be replaced by a McDonald's. WHY? Is it Bern's fault, for allowing it (there are already two McDonald's in Bern)? Is it Merkur's fault, for being so money-grubbing (they must have gotten an unbelievably huge settlement to have abandoned such an attractive site)? Who is going to stop this global epidemic? Or doesn't anybody want to?
, 5/10-16/01, Outlook:
... When the European Union tried to ban synthetic hormones from beef on the basis of strong evidence that they could cause cancer, reduce male fertility and in some cases result in the premature onset of puberty in young children, it found itself unable to do so thanks to a WTO ruling that put the interests of Monsanto, the US National Cattlemen's Association, the US Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation first. Time and again the WTO has intervened to prevent governments from using boycotts or tariffs against companies that they find to be acting in ethically or environmentally unacceptable ways.
(Ed. note: perhaps its name should be changed to the United States Trade Organization.)...
Wouldn't it make more sense for designer mega-corporations like Nike to be paying all of us (not just Tiger Woods) for displaying their logos all over the world, instead of for US to be paying THEM for the "privilege" of advertising their products?
BIG BUSINESS NOT AS USUAL
My favorite magazine is what I think of as the thinking person's Reader's Digest: the Utne Reader. I was absolutely stunned to read an article (in the March-April 2001 issue) about the great-grandson of Henry Ford (of Model-T fame). Below is an excerpt.
... William Clay Ford Jr. has spent his first year as Ford chairman dropping a series of small bombshells on the American auto industry. He has warned that it risks becoming a pariah on the scale of Big Tobacco if it doesn't clean up its act, and he has invited everyone from Greenpeace to Amnesty International to come in and help him do just that. He has pulled Ford out of the steadfastly anti-environment Global Climate Coalition and made the case for a 50-cent a gallon rise in gas taxes. ...
Can you believe it?! Big business actually taking an environmentally responsible stance? I frankly never thought I'd see the day. (I live in Germany, so I am out of the mainstream of American news, and can imagine--read hope--that there are other corporations committed to environmental issues. I just have never heard of such an up-front commitment by a mega-corporation.)
On the same subject, I received an e-mail a few days ago exhorting us all to stop buying two certain brands of gasoline until they bring their prices down. I am assuming it was either pure greed or OPEC pressure that raised the prices in the first place; the excessive profit would NOT be going anywhere but in someone's pocket. What we must accept, as Bill McKibben's book states so graphically, is that an environmentally responsible lifestyle is going to cost money (especially if Americans INSIST on remaining the out-of-control consumers that we are). I assume this is what Mr. Ford's projected $.50-per-gallon rise would be aimed at.
It may not be completely fair to say that anyone who can afford a car can afford to pay for offsetting the pollution it causes. I DO think it's fair to say, though, that we "haves" are just going to have to accept the fact that we need to pick up the slack in this department. There are far too many "have-nots" in this country who are already at their financial limits. And I have never minded being called a "bleeding-heart liberal", if that's what you think I am.
There's always something of interest in every Utne issue, and I highly recommend it. To subscribe to the Utne Reader: www.utne.com/info
There are a lot of other issues that bother me, too, such as:
||women's rights (the illiteracy rates for people over 15 years of age in Togo: men 27%, women 60%);
||the resumption of whaling by Japan and Norway in defiance of the International Whaling Commission's ban;
||banning overseas aid for organizations offering abortion services (there are 6 billion souls on this earth, which is actually not too many if you don't mind that millions die every year of starvation and poverty);
||the underfunding of AIDS research;
|racism/bigotry (from the SPLC [Southern Poverty Law Center] Report, May 2001: ... In its annual count, the Center's Intelligence Project identified 602 hate groups operating in 48 states and the District of Columbia in 2000, up from 457 the year before. [No hate groups were identified in Rhode Island and Vermont.] ...The number of hate sites on the Web early this year was 366, up 20 percent from the 305 counted a year earlier. ... Check out the SPLC website at www.splcenter.org);
|clear labeling of genetically modified food;
||the United States's debt to the United Nations ($1.7 billion [approximately--the figures vary, give or take a million]--how unbelievably arrogant that this still has not been paid!);
||global warming (only Big Business and scientists
in the pockets thereof deny its reality);
|the power-abusing arrogance of some American corporations (from the Guardian Weekly, 7/19-25/01: Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, may have the answer to the nightmare problems that beset every government when it tries to balance the budget. A report it has just sent to the Czech Republic suggests the country could save more than $140m a year in healthcare and pension costs because people who smoke die early. Philip Morris took over the state tobacco company, Tabak, nine years ago and now has 80% of a lucrative market. It produces and sells Marlboro cigarettes, alongside local brands. The company commissioned a Massachusetts-based firm of consultants, Arthur D Little International, to investigate the Czech market. ... Its calculations suggest that in 1999 the government saved up to 1.29 koruna ($32m) on healthcare, pensions and housing for the elderly thanks to premature deaths from cigarettes. The savings outweigh the costs of caring for sick smokers and the loss of income taxes from deceased wage earners. The net benefit to the government from its smoking population in 1999 was 5.82 koruna ($143.5m), the report claims. The finding is striking given that the tobacco industry has resolutely refused in the past to admit that cigarettes cost lives. ...Robert Kaplan, spokesman for Philip Morris in New York, said the report was given to Czech officials only when the government announced its own view that the costs of tobacco outweighed the benefits. The shortened lives of smokers was "just one point" in the report, he said. "That was not the point we were emphasising."); and
||oil spills (I won't bore you with any all-too-well-known statistics).