Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

04 March 2008

It's Time for the UN to Make Water a Human Right

By Maude Barlow
Movement Vision Lab

Thursday 21 February 2008
The global water crisis is evident. We need a global solution in form of a United Nations covenant on water.

Maude Barlow is currently in the US touring for her new book, "Blue Covenant: Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water." Visit Food and Water Watch to see a list of cities and dates.

All over the world, groups who are fighting for local water rights are championing an international instrument on the right to water. Due to over-development and climate change, fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce. In addition, in many communities across the globe, people cannot get access to whatever clean water does exist without paying private corporations. The global water crisis is evident. We need a global solution in form of a United Nation Covenant on water.

For the past 15 years, the World Bank and the other regional development banks have promoted a private model of water development in the global South. This model has proven to be a failure. High water rates, cut-offs to the poor, reduced services, broken promises and pollution have been the legacy of privatization.

At the March 2006 4th World Water Forum in Mexico City, the UN cited the failure of privatization and called for governments to re-enter the water services arena. Calls for a UN Covenant to re-assert the crucial role of government in supplying water to the poor increased dramatically at the Forum and new impetus was given to this campaign.

Why a UN Covenant?

The fact that water is not now an acknowledged human right has allowed decision-making over water policy to shift from the UN and governments toward institutions and organizations that favour the private water companies and the commodification of water. These institutions include the World Bank and other regional development banks, the World Water Council, the Global Water Partnership and the World Trade Organization.

Not only have these institutions vigorously promoted the interests of the private water companies in the global South, they have ceded much political control over water policy to them. Many nations-state governments have gone along with this trend, allowing creeping privatization with little or no government oversight or pubic debate.

Behind the call for a binding instrument are questions of principle that must be decided soon as the world's water sources become more depleted and fought over:

  • Is access to water a human right or just a need?

  • Is water a common good like air or a commodity like Coca Cola?

  • Who is being given the right or the power to turn the tap on or off - the people? Governments? Or the invisible hand of the market?

  • Who sets the price for a poor district in Manila or La Paz - the locally elected water board or the CEO of Suez?

What is the Practical Use of a Covenant?

Would a Covenant on water solve the world's water crisis? Of course not. Almost two billion people now live in water stressed parts of the world and the situation is getting worse, not better. But it would set the framework of water as a social and cultural asset, not an economic commodity. As well, it would establish the indispensable legal groundwork for a just system of distribution.

A Covenant on the right to water would serve as a common, coherent body of rules for all nations and clarify that it is the role of the state to provide clean, affordable water to all of its citizens. Such a Covenant would also safeguard already accepted human rights and environmental principles.

It would also set principles and priorities for water use in a world destroying its water heritage. The Covenant I envisage would include language to protect water rights for the earth and other species and would address the urgent need for reclamation of polluted waters and an end to practices destructive of the world's water sources.

At a practical level, a right to water Covenant gives citizens a tool to hold their governments accountable in their domestic courts and the "court" of public opinion, as well as seeking international redress.

A Covenant could also include specific principles to ensure civil society involvement for conversion into national law and nation action plans. This would give citizens an additional constitutional tool in their fight for water.

Why Should Activists in the United States Care?

No country needs to be held more accountable to this crisis than the United States. Many of the companies privatizing water are based in the United States and the United States is among the chief backers of the privatization strategy through the World Bank and other mechanisms. If we are to stop this crisis, the United States government must become part of the solution, not the problem.

In addition, water privatization is encroaching in U.S. communities, being fought back at every turn by citizens insisting that water is a basic right and should be free for everyone. A UN Covenant will help advance these struggles in the U.S. as well.

More broadly, it is essential that American activists push for greater recognition of international law and treaties in the United States. In the long run, this will not only help advance causes in the United States where the international community is leading and domestic lawmakers are lagging behind, but it will also help shift the political center of gravity away from the U.S. alone. U.S. policies should not be dictating the world's fate. We need robust international standards and communities of action so that the world's diverse peoples may, together, identify key problems and enact viable solutions.

Support among civil society groups around the world is growing rapidly and we are collecting the names of these groups for reference in the near future. For instance, a right to water convention has been adopted by Red Vida, the network of grassroots groups fighting for water justice all through the Americas. To become involved please go to the Blue Plant Project at the Council of Canadian's Web site.

The right to water is an idea whose time has come. Let us make sure no future generation ever again has to suffer from the horrors of living without clean water.


Maude Barlow is the Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of the new book: "Blue Covenant: Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water."


1 comment:

  1. Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. Cashing in on the PR and getting even richer the following year. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. Their bogus efforts to make the world a better place can not possibly succeed. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will be lost in another. EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. Now, there are commercial ties between nearly every industry and every public figure. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool. WAKE UP PEOPLE. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Vioxx. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of which concentrate the world’s wealth and resources and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘ good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. EXTREME WEALTH HAS MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

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