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Fear and Irrationality in the Oil Patch Profit-taking and stock prices rise and fall, but fears seem to be unfounded. Is the oil shortage real? Facts are hard to come by, and philosophical arguments rage. - The “Peak Oil” argument is based on the concept that oil is a limited “fossil” fuel, and that the supply will decline and the price will rise dramatically as demand outstrips supply – long before we actually run out of it. However, oil is not disappearing right away. The United States continues to fill its reserve wells, and some apparently-drained oil fields are refilling at a faster rate than expected. (Ref.) How? This is also hotly debated among the abiotic oil and biotic generation of oil theorists. Whatever the cause, the planet appears not to be running out of this form of energy resource in the immediate future. (Pure Energy Systems News)
The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means: The G8 must seize the opportunity to address the wider issues at the root of such atrocities I have rarely seen the Commons so full and so silent as when it met yesterday to hear of the London bombings. A forum that often is raucous and rowdy was solemn and grave. A chamber that normally is a bear pit of partisan emotions was united in shock and sorrow. Even Ian Paisley made a humane plea to the press not to repeat the offence that occurred in Northern Ireland when journalists demanded comment from relatives before they were informed that their loved ones were dead.
The immediate response to such human tragedy must be empathy with the pain of those injured and the grief of those bereaved. We recoil more deeply from loss of life in such an atrocity because we know the unexpected disappearance of partners, children and parents must be even harder to bear than a natural death. It is sudden, and therefore there is no farewell or preparation for the blow. Across London today there are relatives whose pain may be more acute because they never had the chance to offer or hear last words of affection.
It is arbitrary and therefore an event that changes whole lives, which turn on the accident of momentary decisions. How many people this morning ask themselves how different it might have been if their partner had taken the next bus or caught an earlier tube? (London Guardian)
Fluoride water 'causes cancer' Boys at risk from bone tumours, shock research reveals - New American research suggests that boys exposed to fluoride between the ages of five and 10 will suffer an increased rate of osteosarcoma - bone cancer - bet-ween the ages of 10 and 19 (London Guardian)
Our Sad Neglect of Mexico Whether you believe Mexican immigrants help or hurt the United States, there is one truth you have to accept: Work here pays much, much better. A low-skill Mexican worker earns five to six times as much in this country as back home, assuming he or she could find a comparable job there.
This truth is so obvious it seems a cliche and yet it remains mostly absent from the debate on how to reform U.S. immigration. For all the talk around the country of border enforcement, guest-worker programs, employer sanctions and driver's license restrictions, the sad fact is that none of these "solutions" addresses the root of the problem: a persistent and large income disparity between the United States and Mexico.
Even the most comprehensive and progressive immigration reform proposal in years, introduced this month by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), is more concerned with making U.S. immigration policy more humane than dealing with this income disparity. The bill crafts a guest-worker program -- creating new visa categories and quotas and a secure identification system for employers -- but provides only a vague indication that income disparity might be a problem or a responsibility to take on. (Washington Post)
Task Force Urges Measures to Strengthen North American Competitiveness, Expand Trade, Ensure Border Security North America is vulnerable on several fronts: the region faces terrorist and criminal security threats, increased economic competition from abroad, and uneven economic development at home. In response to these challenges, a trinational, Independent Task Force on the Future of North America has developed a roadmap to promote North American security and advance the well-being of citizens of all three countries.
When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States met in Texas recently they underscored the deep ties and shared principles of the three countries. The Council-sponsored Task Force applauds the announced "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America," but proposes a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 and specific recommendations on how to achieve it.
Pointing to increased competition from the European Union and rising economic powers such as India and China in the eleven years since NAFTA took effect, co-chair Pedro C. Aspe, former Finance Minister of Mexico, said, "We need a vision for North America to address the new challenges." The Task Force establishes a blueprint for a powerhouse North American trading area that allows for the seamless movement of goods, increased labor mobility, and energy security.
"We are asking the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada to be bold and adopt a vision of the future that is bigger than, and beyond, the immediate problems of the present," said co-chair John P. Manley, Former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. "They could be the architects of a new community of North America, not mere custodians of the status quo." (Council on Foreign Relations)
Authors of "Building a North American Community" by the Council on Foreign Relations
John P. Manley
William F. Weld
Thomas P. D'Aquino
Robert A. Pastor
Publisher: Council on Foreign Relations Press
- Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales.
North America is vulnerable on several fronts: the region faces terrorist and criminal security threats, increased economic competition from abroad, and uneven economic development at home. In response to these challenges, a trinational, Independent Task Force on the Future of North America has developed a roadmap to promote North American security and advance the well-being of citizens of all three countries.
When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States met in Texas recently they underscored the deep ties and shared principles of the three countries. The Council-sponsored Task Force applauds the announced “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” but proposes a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 and specific recommendations on how to achieve it. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Building a North American Community Report of an Independent Task Force;
Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales - America’s relationship with its North American neighbors rarely gets the attention it warrants. This report of a Council-sponsored Indepen- dent Task Force on the Future of North America is intended to help address this policy gap. In the more than a decade since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect, ties among Canada, Mexico, and the United States have deepened dramatically. The value of trade within North America has more than doubled. Canada and Mexico are now the two largest exporters of oil, natural gas, and electricity to the United States. Since 9/11, we are not only one another’s major commercial partners, we are joined in an effort to make North America less vulnerable to terrorist attack.
This report examines these and other changes that have taken place since NAFTA’s inception and makes recommendations to address the range of issues confronting North American policymakers today: greater economic competition from outside North America, uneven develop- ment within North America, the growing demand for energy, and threats to our borders.
The Task Force offers a detailed and ambitious set of proposals that build on the recommendations adopted by the three governments at the Texas summit of March 2005. The Task Force’s central recommen- dation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter. - More than a decade ago NAFTA took effect, liberalizing trade and investment, providing crucial protection for intellectual property, creating pioneering dispute-resolution mechanisms, and establishing the first regional devices to safeguard labor and environmental standards. NAFTA helped unlock the region’s economic potential and demon- strated that nations at different levels of development can prosper from the opportunities created by reciprocal free trade arrangements.
Since then, however, global commercial competition has grown more intense and international terrorism has emerged as a serious regional and global danger. Deepening ties among the three countries of North America promise continued benefits for Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That said, the trajectory toward a more integrated and prosperous North America is neither inevitable nor irreversible.
In March 2005, the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States adopted a Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), establishing ministerial-level working groups to address key secu- rity and economic issues facing North America and setting a short deadline for reporting progress back to their governments. President Bush described the significance of the SPP as putting forward a common commitment ‘‘to markets and democracy, freedom and trade, and mutual prosperity and security.’’ The policy framework articulated by the three leaders is a significant commitment that will benefit from broad discussion and advice. The Task Force is pleased to provide specific advice on how the partnership can be pursued and realized.
To that end, the Task Force proposes the creation by 2010 of a North American community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity. We propose a community based on the principle affirmed in the March 2005 Joint Statement of the three leaders that ‘‘our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary.’’ Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly, and safe. Its goal will be to guarantee a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America.
- A North American Advisory Council. To ensure a regular injection of creative energy into the various efforts related to North American integration, the three governments should appoint an independent body of advisers. This body should be composed of eminent persons from outside government, appointed to staggered multiyear terms to ensure their independence. Their mandate would be to engage in creative exploration of new ideas from a North American perspective and to provide a public voice for North America. A complementary approach would be to establish private bodies that would meet regularly or annually to buttress North American relationships, along the lines of the Bilderberg or Wehrkunde conferences, organized to support transatlantic relations. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Is America Preparing for Martial Law? The Department of Homeland Security recently carried out an extensive anti-terrorist exercise entitled TOPOFF 3 (April 4-8, 2005). The "drill" was described by officials as "a multilayered approach to improving North American security" (Global Research)
Israel honors 9 Egyptian spies After 50 years, President Katsav presents three surviving members with certificates of appreciation at Jerusalem ceremony - Israeli hoped the attacks, which caused no casualties, would be blamed on local insurgents collapsed when the young Zionist bombers were caught and confessed at public trials. Two were hanged. The rest served jail terms and emigrated to Israel. (Ynet News)
Hands Across North America FOR all its bureaucratic faults, the European Union represents an important advance in the relations between nations, transforming once bitter and war-prone rivals into a model of cooperation, prosperity and community. The United States, on the other hand, blessed with two stable and peaceful neighbors, has no need for such a tight regional alliance. Or does it?
The meeting last week among the three North American leaders -- President Bush, President Vicente Fox of Mexico and Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada -- at Mr. Bush's Texas ranch may have represented the beginning of serious discussion of that question. In their joint statement, the participants said their goal was a ''security and prosperity partnership'' for the continent. This shows a recognition that an absence of military conflict is not a good enough reason to avoid tighter regional alliances, particularly in a globalizing world where competition comes not only from other nations, but increasingly from other blocs of countries.
The idea that political stability could be a building block of economic prosperity and improved quality of life was something that Jean Monnet, the architect of the European Union, understood when he brought his long-term vision out of the ashes of a bitter war. And in 50 years, what was once simply a trade area has turned into a real political community, fostering peace and advancing the economic development of all its members.
By the time North Americans got serious about even limited continental cooperation, at the end of the cold war, it was enough to think solely in economic terms. Thus the North American Free Trade Agreement seemed sufficient to bring about prosperity and draw our countries closer together. But 11 years after it came into effect, Nafta is clearly an insufficient response to the 9/11 attacks, the strengthening of the euro, the rise of China as an economic and political power, and many other major challenges. We need to shut off the automatic pilot under which the countries of North America have been flying for the last decade. - We must move beyond just managing trade and into constructing a new relationship that has four principal goals: enhancing security cooperation; further strengthening economic ties; closing Mexico's development gap; and, certain to be the most controversial, building an institutional architecture to bring a North American community closer to reality.
First, security: the attacks of Sept. 11 and the rise of global terrorism show the need for a safety perimeter around the continent. The Mexican and the United States governments are deeply troubled by intelligence reports that Al Qaeda might be laying plans for an attack across America's southern border. But simply putting more guards and towers in the Arizona desert won't keep America safe. In place of the inefficient borders between the countries today, we need a policy on a strong external continental border.
Each country would of course keep sovereignty over the edges of its own territory, but each would have to meet border security requirements agreed upon by all three parties to ensure there are no weak links. This wall around the continent would, in turn, allow us to make internal North American crossings more flexible; the European model, with its uniform visa requirements, is worth following. - Finally, the key to achieving all these goals is creating permanent three-party institutions. Meetings like the one last week should be made annual, and the nations' defense, justice and intelligence chiefs should also meet every year to develop a common plan to fight terrorism, drug trafficking and immigrant smuggling. In time, the idea would be to create a permanent North American commission with cabinet-level representatives from each country; it would be charged not only with firming up nuts-and-bolts agreements on trade and security, but also with working toward an eventual goal of a true North American union.
Undoubtedly, this level of cooperation would be a hard sell to Americans, who would assume they would have the most to lose. But simply maintaining the status quo will not help the United States maintain its dominance in a changing world. Just as the Bush administration has articulated a radical strategy of military pre-emption in its national security strategy, it needs a similarly bold approach for defending the country's economic future.
Maybe, just maybe, the men gathered at the Crawford ranch could some day be seen as the Jean Monnets of their age, the founding fathers of the North American Community. (New York Times)
What Trumps What in the White House? President Bush's hasty embrace of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case -- followed by yesterday's partial retreat -- has some folks trying to ascertain the relative importance to the White House of such factors as the "culture of life," state's rights, activist judges, the gun culture, global catastrophes and brute political calculation.
Here's how one reader put it in my Live Online discussion yesterday: "Now we learn that the Republicans have a trumping order of issues. The sanctity of marriage trumps the rights of gays and state's rights, but the 'culture of life' trumps the sanctity of marriage and state's rights. . . . (Washington Post)
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was a region-level dialogue with the stated purpose of providing greater cooperation on security and economic issues. The Partnership was founded in Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005 by Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, and George W. Bush, President of the United States. It was the second of such regional-level agreements involving the United States of America following the 1997 Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean (PPS). Since August 2009 it is no longer an active initiative of any of the original dialogue partners. (Wikipedia)
The Jamestown Foundation: A News Agency Made to Measure Created by the CIA to publicly unveil the communist rogues of Reagan’s times, the Jamestown Foundation has resumed its services in the Bush Administration. It publishes specialized bulletins on both the post-communist world and terrorism, which serve as reference for Washington’s think tanks. University scholars and journalists are dedicated to depict a ghost-filled world whose very same hostility justifies the U.S. empire. - More and more often, neo-conservative think tanks / [Center For Investigation, Propaganda and Dissemination of Ideas - generally political N del T.] such as the Center for Security Policy  quote the publications by the Jamestown Foundation.
This association created in 1983 was practically inactive until revived on the occasion of the September 11 Attacks to join the abruptly changing apparatus from the Cold War to the War Against Terrorism. During Reagan’s first term, a number of communist rogues complained not to have had in the West a career comparable to that they had left in the East. The then CIA Director William J. Casey had the idea of satisfying some of them by publishing their testimonies. That way he was killing two birds with one stone : on the one hand, the rogues would recover the public positions they had lost and on the other hand, their declarations would fuel the espionage agency’s anti-communist campaign.
William J. Casey
That was how the Jamestown Foundation was created. Its direction was entrusted to William Geimer. This man would publicly unveil two top political figures from the East, who had asked for political asylum in the United States: one of the old Romanian Seniors of the information - General Ion Pacepa, and above all the former UN undersecretary - Soviet diplomat Arkady Shevchenko, who had defected on April 1978 and fallen into a depressive state. (Voltaire Network)
Transcript: Bush, Fox, and Martin Joint Press Conference: The following is a transcript of the joint press conference by President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin BUSH: Thank you all for coming. It's my honor to welcome two friends to Baylor University.
First, I want to thank the Baylor University family for providing these facilities for us. Your hospitality is awesome.
I appreciate the meetings we've just had. Our relationships are important today. We intend to keep our relationships strong. Our relationships will be equally important for the years to come.
And so we had a good discussion about prosperity and security. Turns out the two go hand in hand. It's important for us to work to make sure our countries are safe and secure in order that our people can live in peace, as well as our economies can grow.
We've got a lot of trade with each other. We intend to keep it that way. We've got a lot of crossings of the border, and intend to make our borders more secure and facilitate legal traffic.
BUSH: We've got a lot to do. And so we charged our ministers with the task of figuring out how best to keep these relationships vibrant and strong. (Washington Post)
Trilateral Summit News Conference Baylor University welcomed President George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on March 23 for meetings the leaders said provide a framework for the next generation of trilateral relations between the North American countries. (Baylor University)
MI5 'helped IRA buy bomb parts in US' A FORMER British Army mole in the IRA has claimed that MI5 arranged a weapons-buying trip to America in which he obtained detonators, later used by terrorists to murder soldiers and police officers (London Times)
Air India chronology: A chronology of the Air India case. 1978 to May 1984 - Sikh leaders in India and abroad start talking about separatism. They are led in England by Dr. Jagjit Singh Chouhan and in Punjab by the charismatic Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who begins to amass arms and supporters in the Golden Temple complex, Sikhism's holiest shrine, in Amritsar.
1978 - In Vancouver, suspected Air India mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar starts the militant separatist group Babbar Khalsa at the urging of Bhai Jiwan Singh, a leader of the fervently religious Akhand Kirtani Jatha.
June 29, 1983 - Parmar is arrested in Germany on an Interpol warrant saying he is wanted for murder in India in 1981. With assistance from two friends in Canada, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Surjan Singh Gill, he wins his release in July 1984. (Canada.com)
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