Sharing countercultural history. Investigating ideas on how to co-create sustainable community outside the box. Establishing said online resources content in one place. Thereby, mirroring the long process of what it takes to raise social justice, political and cultural consciousness collectively. Your mission, should you decide to join us, is to click on the yellow daisy on the left! All the best to you, in a world-wide affiliation!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Breakthrough for International Peacebuilding Structures in our Federal Government! Exciting Update from D.C.!

Foreign Assistance Act Reform
Major Milestone: Strong potential to include significant peacebuilding funding and infrastructure

After years of advocacy, our efforts are helping to change the conversation!

Advocating for peacebuilding in Washington D.C. has never been an easy task, as many of you know. Last week at the Dirksen Senate building, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. But for once the emotion stemmed from deep appreciation rather than frustration.

Recently, Washington D.C. has seen a breakthrough for the field of international peacebuilding. As part of the Foreign Assistance Act Reform (the legislation that put USAID into place), there is a brand new section on peacebuilding and conflict mitigation. Members of Congress, specifically House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), now recognize the integral relationship between development and peacebuilding, as violence can be considered development in reverse. As such, Rep. Berman requested that leaders of the international peacebuilding community, led by Chic Dambach of Alliance for Peacebuilding and Lisa Schirch of 3D Security, draft a concept paper on what the peacebuilding section of the bill should include. Aaron Voldman and I, representing The Peace Alliance and Student Peace Alliance in D.C., were asked to contribute to the concept paper.

This concept paper provided the opportunity to place a peacebuilding framework into our foreign affairs policy and gain recognition of peacebuilding as a national priority. An opportunity brought about in many ways by our collective continued persistence and commitment to furthering peacebuilding within our federal government.

Last month the concept paper was handed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee who used it in developing a joint peacebuilding discussion paper with the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. This discussion paper's first page reads like our messaging of the last six years. I have never seen a document from the government so clearly lay out the problems of our current foreign policy approach and also offer solutions that are aligned with what we have advocated for since the beginning of our work. Here are some important highlights:

1) A joint USAID-State Council with the mandate to foster a unified and clear peacebuilding approach within the State Department and USAID that will enable these agencies to assume meaningful responsibility for peacebuilding policy and programming, including crisis management, contingency operations and conflict prevention, and provide the capacity to effectively mobilize and target resources. There exists a strong contingent of advocates calling for this Council to be named the Peacebuilding Council.

2) The Director of the Council would be nominated by the President.

3) The new Council would conduct conflict and risk assessments on an annual basis.

4) Training in conflict prevention and mitigation would be required of certain Foreign Service Officers.

5) The President would be directed to establish a standing interagency coordination mechanism specifically to address early action and preventive measures.

You can find both the concept paper and the Committees' discussion paper online at our website. You can also join me in a discussion on DoPeace. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and will be happy to answer any questions.

Last week the Committees held an open meeting for feedback on the discussion paper and over 75 representatives from the peacebuilding field attended! The staffers answered questions, provided some insight and most importantly of all, listened. It was clear by the end that they really get it. When I went up to shake the hand of the main drafter of the discussion paper I nearly cried as I shared with her my appreciation for all that she has done and all that she continues to do to move this forward.

These changes represent the growing commitment of our government to peacebuilding. The committee staffers, along with those in the peacebuilding field, also recognize the need for the Administration to come forward with a mission and strategy for security that will provide a framework for these possible changes. We still have questions and some concerns about the discussion paper (such as the lack of coordination with civil society) and many organizations (including Alliance for Peacebuilding and 3D Security) have submitted response papers to the Committees to help strengthen it.

We are honored that The Peace Alliance and Student Peace Alliance have been a part of this process, and are excited to see what makes it into the final bill. Regardless, the bottom line is that the peacebuilding conversation is happening in Washington D.C. The conversation we have been working for, of how to make peacebuilding a true federal priority and central to our policy-making, is actually occurring at the highest levels of government, even more than we know. There remain a lot of questions as we work towards consensus on the solutions to the problems articulated in the discussion paper. These discussions, and the proposed new structures, represent a huge step for the field of international peacebuilding.

We will keep you updated about the progress of the legislation and possible opportunities for support. Be proud of the influence The Peace Alliance and Student Peace Alliance has had on the role of peacebuilding in our federal government. We continue to have a measurable impact in the nation's capital.

I am proud to represent The Peace Alliance and Student Peace Alliance in Washington D.C. Now is finally our time!

Thank you for your continued commitment to this cause,

Julia Simon-Mishel
D.C. Staff of The Peace Alliance
Student Peace Alliance Managing Director

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Compassion is the Thought & Deed for Earth Day, 2010

***This article is posted in its entirety, unedited or changed in any way, and as it was originally posted, including all functioning links as originally posted. Except for the word "Originally" which is added in the sentence by the name of this article's author, on the Immanent Frame

Rethinking secularism Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong

Originally posted by Nathan Schneider

A former Catholic nun, Karen Armstrong has written more than 20 books on comparative religions, including A History of God, The Great Transformation, and, most recently, A Case for God. In 2008, she received the TED Prize, which granted $100,000 to support her proposal—her “wish,” as it’s called—for a Charter for Compassion “based on the fundamental principle of the Golden Rule.” Since then, she and TED have parlayed the Charter into a movement of political and religious leaders, as well as, through its website, thousands of people around the world.

This interview was conducted in conjunction with the SSRC’s projects on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life and Religion and International Affairs.—ed.

* * *

NS: Was it surprising to you that TED, by awarding you their annual prize, would choose to make such a serious commitment to religion?

KA: It was very surprising indeed. I had never heard of TED, which at that time was little-known in the UK. When friends of mine who did know TED heard the news, they were astonished, because they had always thought of it as a remarkably secular organization, many of whose members were skeptical about religion. I realized that TED was going out on a limb in giving me the prize, and I have been inspired by the generosity, creativity, and sheer energy that everybody at TED has put behind my wish.

NS: Tell me about the collaborative process by which you developed the text for the Charter for Compassion. What did that process enable you to accomplish?

KA: First of all, Chris Andersen and Amy Novogratz at TED helped me refine and word my “wish” in a way that would appeal to the TED community. I had been a little diffident about my idea, but their immediate enthusiasm energized me. After I made my acceptance speech at the TED Conference in Monterey in late February 2008, there was a lunch meeting for all the TEDsters who were interested in helping me with my wish and they all made very valuable suggestions. My initial idea had been to have the Charter composed by a group of leading thinkers representing each of the major religions, but TED persuaded me first to put a draft Charter up on a multi-lingual website, so that members of the broader public would have a chance to contribute and feel that they “owned” it, that it was not simply something imposed on them by yet another group of people behind closed doors. This is something I would never have thought of and that is the terrific thing about the TED prize. It brings together people with different kinds of expertise who might never have met otherwise.

Next, we started to build a network. We now have about 150 partners representing many different faiths in nearly every inhabited region of the globe. We met with many of them in Vevey, Switzerland in February 2009. They had all read with great care and attention the contributions made by the public. The meeting included the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who is one of the most authoritative clerics in the Muslim world, John Cheyne, Bishop of Washington, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Salman Ahmed, a Pakistani rock star who is also a practicing Sufi, and Jean Zarou, a Palestinian Quaker from Ramallah. All the Council members have been engaged in practical compassionate initiatives. The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, who chaired the meeting, for example, worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. Peter Storey had worked alongside Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu (who is another of our Council members, though he could not come to Switzerland) during the apartheid years. The excitement, enthusiasm, and deep thought that pervaded the meeting were wonderful. Afterward, we corresponded electronically for about three months until, finally, we had a text for the Charter that everybody really liked.

At a time when religions are generally considered to be at loggerheads, the composition of the Charter was a demonstration of cooperation, showing that it is really possible for us to work together because, despite our interesting and revealing differences, we all know that compassion and the Golden Rule—“Do not treat others as you would not wish to be treated yourself”—is at the core of every single one of our traditions: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian.

NS: Do you anticipate that the Charter will eventually translate into meaningful social change?

KA: All religious teaching must issue in practical action. This is something that has become very clear to me during the last twenty years, which I have devoted to the study of world religions. The doctrines and stories of faith make no sense at all unless they are translated into action. This is one of the essential themes of my latest book, The Case for God, which was being written at the same time as we were composing the Charter. We were all convinced that somehow the Charter must be a call to action. There was no point in us all embracing one another on the day of the launch if there would be no practical follow up. We need compassion—the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, to “experience with” the other—in politics, social policy, finance, education, and media. Unless we can learn to treat all nations and all peoples as we would wish to be treated ourselves, we are unlikely, in these days of global terror, to have a viable world to hand on to the next generation.

The last section of the Charter, for instance, demands that we learn to refrain from inaccurate, bigoted speech about others (even those with whom we are at war) and that young people are given respectful and impartial information about other traditions and cultures. A small planning group will meet soon to formulate a practical strategy for this. But exciting things are already happening. In Australia, our partners are going to launch the Charter in Parliament and are currently working to get it included in the educational curriculum. A TEDster from the UAE has been introducing the Charter to the rulers and imams of the Arab world, and they are beginning to sign up. In April, I shall be making a visit to the Gulf to talk about the Charter with leaders and educators there to see how we can integrate it into curricula. In Malaysia, the former prime minister has formed an organization devoted to implementing the Charter, and there are similar motions afoot in Singapore. We need to overhaul textbooks—in the East and the West—and revise those that speak in a prejudiced manner of others.

NS: There is also a very personal component to the Charter’s website, where people can send in and share their own acts of compassion. What role does this play?

KA: It is no use urging other people to be compassionate if we do not practice it ourselves, “all day and every day,” to quote Confucius. This is hard, because, as the Charter says, it demands that we dethrone ourselves, habitually and reflexively, from the center of our worlds and practice putting others there. On our website we are going to set up a space in which Council members and I will write a piece every week reflecting on the meaning and practice of compassion. I would like it to become “cool” to be compassionate; I would like people to become sensitive to uncompassionate speech, in the same way as we have become sensitized to the language of race and gender. I envisage “compassion clubs” in colleges and schools, where people might follow a twelve-step program that will help them to live more compassionately and see what a difference it can make to their spiritual and emotional lives.

NS: Your books appeal to people interested in exploring world religions in ways that their own traditions oftentimes don’t readily allow for, which can make for a very individualized mode of spirituality. Do you think people in this position—and perhaps you can speak from your own experience—are at a disadvantage when trying to organize for social and political change?

KA: Yes, my books are read by people on lonely quests, but they are also read by people who are firmly established in their own traditions. Community is crucial to the religious life. It is the training ground for compassion; even in the strongest communities, there are people we find uncongenial, and learning to behave with sympathy and respect for them is a dress rehearsal for the challenging task of addressing people who are strangers or foreigners. I myself am at a disadvantage as a “freelance monotheist” in not having a ready-made religious community, though on my travels I have found a global community of like-minded people across many faiths. My experience with the Charter has, so far, shown me that this has not been a problem. In fact, because my work is read by so many people from different traditions, it has been an advantage. People might be unwilling to come to something organized by a leading representative of Christianity, say, or Islam, but people do not feel that I have a particular axe to grind.

NS: By the same token, does an independent initiative like the Charter challenge the authority of conventional religious authorities?

KA: Some religious authorities may take the Charter as a challenge because we’ve designed it as a grassroots movement, something that happens from the bottom up. But a lot of religious leaders and organizations are eager to contribute. Traditional communities should be working for social and political change, but some of them are not doing so. The Charter is an attempt to step in and see if we can encourage them. It is not saying anything new or heretical; it is simply saying what the traditions themselves have been saying for centuries. But sometimes the compassionate ethos gets lost in institutional goals, dogmatic priorities, or the internal politics of organized religions.

NS: What about atheism, which you take on in your latest book, or the growing number of people who identify as ‘not religious’? Can they participate in the Charter? Do their outlooks have access to the kind of compassion that you’re advocating?

KA: Of course, the religions don’t “own” the compassionate ethos! While drafting the text, we were very concerned that it be inclusive and not confined to people of faith. It says that compassion lies at the core of all religious and ethical traditions; it is the basis for morality and is deeply enshrined within our human nature. The fact that all the major world faiths have formulated their own version of the Golden Rule shows us something important about the structure of our humanity, that this is how human beings work. But even though compassion is natural to us, we have to cultivate it assiduously, just as we cultivate our capacity for language, dance, or music. At their best, religions help people with that cultivation, but they have also failed, often spectacularly, as the Charter admits. Compassion is an ideal that can bring us all—religious (whether we belong to the “new” or “old” faiths) and secular—together.

NS: If that is the case, why is it necessary to orient the Charter around religions?

KA: Well, I am a religious historian, so it was natural for me to think in religious terms. I had become frustrated that the religions, which should be making a major contribution to global harmony, are often seen as part of the problem. The compassionate voice of religion has been drowned out by the strident voices of extremism. I wanted to restore compassion to the heart of the religious life. But after I had made my acceptance speech, I was surrounded by secularist and atheist TEDsters who insisted that they wanted to take part in this endeavor. Quite frankly, I was astonished. In the UK, which is an extremely secular country, I get such hostility from secularists and atheists who think that it never occurred to me that they would be at all interested in the project. But it is, of course, absolutely thrilling to me that people of no religious faith are enthusiastic about the Charter.

NS: The Charter declares, “Any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate.” Can we be so sure of the meaning of these ancient texts? Could it be that an ethic of comprehensive compassion such as you propose requires us to look beyond those texts, to hold something else as a higher authority?

KA: The quick answer would be to read my book The Bible: The Biography. While researching it I found that when Judaism and Christianity became “religions of the book” during the first and second centuries CE, they both insisted that compassion was the key to the interpretation of scripture. The rabbis who composed the Talmud all insisted that “Love of God and neighbor” was the central principle of the Torah and that any other exegesis was illegitimate. When he formulated the Golden Rule, Rabbi Hillel, the older contemporary of Jesus, said that it was the Torah and that everything else was merely “commentary.” In the same spirit, St. Augustine, one of the great authorities of the Western tradition, insisted that if a biblical text seemed to teach hatred, it must be interpreted allegorically and made to speak of charity. And every reading of the Qur’an begins with an invocation of the Compassion and Mercy which is God. We need to get together and get back to these principles. We should also decide what to do with those difficult texts that are used by extremists in all traditions to justify hatred and even atrocity. We might not have the same taste for allegory as Augustine, but we need to find a way of making these more rebarbative scriptures speak of charity—in a twenty-first century way.

NS: Who are some of the theorists that have most informed how you think about comparative religions?

KA: Wilfred Cantwell Smith almost single-handedly turned my thinking around and helped me appreciate what religion was really about. In particular, I was struck by his insight that faith was not the same thing as belief, and that our Western preoccupation with doctrinal orthodoxy was a very peculiar religious development. He was a Christian minister, but when he taught Islamic studies at McGill, he used to make his students live like Muslims, observing the prayers, fasts, and rules of Islam, because religion only makes sense when you practice it. I have also been hugely indebted to the work of Tu Wei Ming, a great Confucian scholar, who is one of our Council members. He taught me to love and admire Confucianism, with its emphasis on compassion, practically expressed, all day and every day. I was also massively inspired by the work of Herbert Fingarette on Confucius. The work of Michael Fishbane has been important to me too; he helped me enter into the rabbinical mindset and explore the richness of the Talmudic methods of interpretation. Seyyed Hussein Nasr’s books taught me to appreciate the Islamic tradition. And I have been greatly indebted to the work of Joseph Campbell. I like to think that I have done for the monotheisms what he did so brilliantly for the Native American and other indigenous traditions.

NS: Though you insist that the Charter does not declare all religions to be the same, could identifying such common values perhaps still cause us to overlook important differences between them—differences worth treasuring as the inheritances of unique traditions?

KA: Each tradition has its own particular genius, so each will have its own particular “take” on compassion. The Charter does not say that all faiths are the same. But it does say that in every single faith, compassion represents the test of true spirituality; it is what brings us into relation with what we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. My books have continually explored the differences between the faiths, and these differences are absolutely precious.

It was very revealing that people around the table at the Vevey meeting, who represented six different traditions, all had their own particular way of expressing the compassionate ideal, but they were also in absolute agreement that the compassionate ideal was crucial. They could all recognize that our present policies—political, financial, environmental—were no longer sustainable, and that if any faiths do not emphasize the compassionate ethos, they will fail the test of our time.

Tags: Charter for Compassion, comparative religions, Deathless questions, ethics, international affairs, spirituality, TED

AMA citation:
Schneider N. Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong. The Immanent Frame. 2010. Available at: Accessed April 22, 2010.

APA citation:

Schneider, Nathan. (2010). Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from The Immanent Frame Web site:

Chicago citation:

Schneider, Nathan. 2010. Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong. The Immanent Frame. (accessed April 22, 2010).

Harvard citation

Schneider, N 2010, Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong, The Immanent Frame. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from

MLA citation:

Schneider, Nathan. "Making compassion cool: an interview with Karen Armstrong." 27 Jan. 2010. The Immanent Frame. Accessed 22 Apr. 2010.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ten Things You Can Do to Help Progressive Journalism

April 1, 2010 This article appeared in the April 19, 2010 edition of The Nation.

This monthly feature was conceived by writer and Nation editorial board member Walter Mosley as a kind of do-it-yourself opinion and action device. Most often "Ten Things" will offer a brief list of recommendations for accomplishing a desired political or social end, sometimes bringing to light something generally unknown. The purpose of the feature is to go to the heart of issues in a stripped-down, active and informed way. After getting our visiting expert--or everyday citizen--to construct the list, we will interview that person and post a brief online version of "Ten Things," with links to relevant websites, books or other information. Readers who wish to propose ideas for "Ten Things" should e-mail us at or use the e-form at the bottom of this page.

What's wrong with this picture? Air America vanishes into the ether, while Glenn Beck indoctrinates 2.7 million daily viewers with his histrionic brand of right-wing lunacy. Independent news agencies must continuously solicit donations from readers to stay afloat, while hate-filled shock jock Rush Limbaugh makes $50 million a year.

On the other hand, there's still a lot of great progressive media on the airwaves, including Democracy Now!, which airs on more than 800 TV and radio stations worldwide, along with radio shows by Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. The Nation and are part of a progressive journalistic community that is challenging the right in every medium. ZP Heller, a writer (HuffPo, OpenLeft, AlterNet) who is working on a novel lampooning corporate media, lists ten steps you can take to help keep progressive journalism alive:

 1 Check it. Media Matters and Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) have been dogged in holding Fox News accountable for spewing gross misinformation on a near daily basis. Get the facts about how Fox's right-wing agenda still oozes on the air, even when Beck, O'Reilly and Hannity aren't on-screen. Go to and

 2 Read it. AlterNet just underwent a major overhaul, with renewed emphasis on hard-hitting content and investigative reporting. The site also features a Progressive News Wire, which sifts through more than two dozen sources. And AlterNet encourages readers to play a more active role, either by contributing to SoapBox, user-generated blogs that post directly to the homepage, or in its Take Action section.

 3 Watch it. Former Air America host and current Nation contributor Laura Flanders brings the heat with her free daily show, GRITtv, as does Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks. And Brave New Films just released the groundbreaking documentary Rethink Afghanistan. Get a DVD and host a screening for people in your community.

 4 Post it. Facebook just passed Google as the most visited US website, which means friends' recommendations can be a huge force in effecting social change. So use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to post that riveting article you just finished and spark dialogue and action on the issues.

 5 Click it. Even when you can't make a financial donation to your favorite site, you can still help it thrive by posting or voting for a story on Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Reddit, BuzzFlash and Delicious. Not only will helping a story go viral garner attention for a progressive issue; it will also improve the odds of a news outlet successfully approaching larger donors. Go here for an explanation of how they work.

 6 Sign it. After you're done reading and clicking, take action by signing petitions, which have become an effective means of rallying support for good causes. Many progressive sites, like encourage readers to take easy steps like this because online petitions have become an effective means of rallying support for good causes..

 7 Tweet it. With you can use Twitter to take action. This viral tool, developed by activists Jim Gilliam and Jesse Haff, enables users to create and sign petitions by tweeting. Unlike with other online petitions, the target of your petition will see the signatures pile up in real time via Twitter, which makes them difficult to ignore. These petitions have already prompted replies from such big names as Microsoft's Bing, Google and Rick Warren. Some of the petitions currently on fire were created by American Rights at Work, Governor Mike Huckabee, and PETA.

 8 Change it. Firedoglake is using its influence in the blogosphere to fire up readers. In its inaugural round of voting, FDL selected Representatives Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner as its top three Fire Dogs, for whom the site is raising $10,000 and identifying 500 voters apiece for GOTV activities.

 9 Say it in español. Brave New Foundation recently launched Cuéntame, a bilingual Facebook project dedicated to discussing and raising awareness on issues affecting the Latino community. Watch the introductory video and join the bilingual discussion on Facebook.

10 Enjoy it. After reading, posting, clicking and signing, kick back with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. These endlessly entertaining shows have their fingers on the pulse of the progressive community, and unlike the hosts of other news shows, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert aren't afraid to confront politicians and corporate media alike.

CONCEIVED by WALTER MOSLEY with research by Rae Gomes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thursday deadline: Protect net neutrality

UPDATE: On April 6, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued a ruling that has made this cause more urgent. See below for more information on how this action relates to the court decision.

One of Glenn Beck's latest conspiracies involves a "gang of communists" who want to turn the Internet into a "Marxist utopia." That dangerous gang of communists he's warning Fox News viewers against? They're net neutrality supporters.

Glenn Beck has it all wrong: Net neutrality protects -- not threatens -- free speech online. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet users, not Internet service providers, should be in control. It ensures that Internet service providers can't speed up, slow down, or block Web content based on its source, ownership, or destination.

The FCC is accepting public comments until Thursday on a proposed regulation that would protect net neutrality. Will you say that you won't be fooled by scare tactics and that you support an open Internet?

We've made it easy to submit a public comment in support of net neutrality. Just use the sample comment at right to craft your own personal comment.

When the FCC initially took comments in January, pro-net neutrality submissions vastly outweighed comments from opponents of Internet freedom. As a result, big telecom companies are running scared. They're worried that the FCC might agree with us and prohibit them from inspecting and filtering the Internet content you access, blocking Web sites and applications they don't like, and overcharging you for using the Web. Out of the 120,000 comments submitted, 98,000 of them - a whopping 74 percent - were from CREDO Action members like you.

The FCC has opened a second round in the comment period. So we need to repeat that performance and beat back the media monopolists once again.

You can help us dominate the second round, too. Submit your comment today!

The big telecom companies have deployed hundreds of lobbyists and pushed outrageous lies. Their goal? Overcome our voices by duping the public into believing their net neutrality myths.

We have only two days to debunk these lies and protect the free-flowing Web, as the FCC is only accepting the second round of comments until April 8. We've made it easy for you to submit your comment on our site -- but we'll need it by 10 a.m. Pacific time on April 8 in order to get it into the docket by the deadline.

Without strong net neutrality rules, we might have to rely upon the good will of large telecoms to protect our access to the diversity of political perspectives. We might have to trust companies like Comcast, which actively and secretly interfered with users' ability to access popular video, photo and music sharing applications; AT&T, which censored anti-Bush comments made by Pearl Jam's lead singer during a concert; and Verizon Wireless, which interfered with NARAL Pro-Choice America's ability to send text messages to its members.

Without net neutrality, the Internet would cease to be a public platform for free speech, political organizing, and equal opportunity.

Speak out against the corporate lies. Submit your public comment today.

Update in reference to Court of Appeals ruling:

In 2002, the FCC, working in alliance with the Bush administration and its corporate backers, went on a deregulation binge. The FCC decided to classify and treat broadband Internet service providers outside of the legal framework that traditionally applied to the companies that offer two-way communications services.

On April 6, the court held that as long as that Bush-era reclassification stands, the FCC lacks the authority to impose on broadband providers certain important regulations, including net neutrality. Because both the D.C. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court are consistent allies of corporations over citizens, it is unlikely that this will be overturned.

Despite the ruling, the FCC can still impose net neutrality rules. But first the FCC must reclassify broadband companies as telecommunications carriers. The FCC has the ability to do this, but it needs to see strong public support to justify revisiting the Bush-era decision. It is now even more urgent that we speak out in support of net neutrality before Thursday's deadline.

For more information, check out articles in the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post and a Huffington Post blog from Free Press.

George Soros Commits $5 Million for Oxford Economics Institute

Posted on April 6, 2010

Billionaire financier George Soros has committed $5 million to help create a new economics institute at the University of Oxford, the London Times reports.

As yet unnamed, the new institute is the first to be funded by the New York City-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (Inet), which Soros launched with a $50 million pledge last fall to stimulate debate about the role of government regulation in the economy and financial markets.

The funds for the new institute will be directed to Oxford's James Martin 21st Century School, which is matching the gift. The institute will be headed by professor Sir David Hendry, a fellow of Nuffield College.

Both Inet and the Oxford institute reflect Soros's frustration with the prevailing wisdom that global financial markets can be left to their own devices. Inet director Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, said that Britain was chosen for the new institute because it appears to be more open to broadening the economic debate than the United States. "We want to go to a climate where the minds are open," said Johnson. "We find the climate in the UK to be much more conducive to change. In the US the orthodoxy is a little bit more embedded."

Frean, Alexandra. “George Soros Backs Oxford to Refresh Economics.” London Times 4/05/10.

David C. Korten & Paul Krugman, PLEASE help the forward-thinking Americans of the USA to take action now to close this gap! We the open-minded, do NOT want to be economically left behind!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Welcome To The New American Independents Movement!!/Independent.Voters?v=app_109302975758164&ref=mf

The new polling interface is all set to go just as soon as we hit 5,000 fans! Click on the menu link above, "Statement of Priorities", and invite all your friends to vote too so it'll be a true consensus of what we the people want.

Our programmers are turning out dramatic new political mobilizing tools for Facebook at such an astonishing rate, we created this "Home" page tab to organize it all so you could have an overview of the forming structure. These extraordinary additional capabilities ALREADY make this resource the most powerful of its kind on Facebook or perhaps anywhere, and the best part is we are SHARING all these tools with any other Facebook profile page that wants to use them! We have 300 million people to mobilize. Let's get to it.

You can of course click on the standard Facebook Wall or Discussion tabs to participate in the lively discussions going on there. But please take a moment to read on and we will tell you where we see this going, and give you some ideas about what you can do RIGHT NOW so that we all get there faster.

The most critical thing right now is to blow as many of the "Corporations Are NOT The People" bumper stickers out the door as we possibly can. There is no donation required, though it is only those who are donating who are keeping this going. We need everyone reading these words to go click on the Stickers tab, and then click on the menu link there that says "Share This Page". This will open up a Facebook multi-friend selector, and you can send all your friends a direct invitation to come to this page and get their own stickers.

And when they come, it will also be an introduction to this movement and they will become fans, and we will quickly build the largest assembled base of independent voters in the history of American politics. What will we do with this base? Why, rally behind and support worthy independent candidates for office of course, and get them actually elected.

Who will decide who is worthy? YOU WILL!!! The plan is . . . as an election approaches our participants in each congressional district will VOTE to decide which ONE independent candidate (which might be an existing third party candidate, your call) to jump behind, and then we will get that person elected.

Very shortly now (when we hit 5,000 fans) we will put it up to YOU what the Statement of Principles of this resource for INDEPENDENTS should be. There are hundreds of posts in the discussion topics on this. We will put the proposals there up for a vote, and YOU will decide what direction we will take. That this is happening in the first place is because YOU were asking for it.

We want this to be a bottom up organization. We want to be inclusive, not exclusive. We have a vision of autonomous leadership developing in each state and each congressional district, ultimately down to the most local level, developing our own candidates if necessary at the grass roots level. We will have our own transparent elections for administrators and everything else. We are not afraid of democracy. We embrace it. It is time for the interests of the PEOPLE to be served. We will make it so.

But most of all we must be respectful of each other's ideas. Let us speak candidly, but politely, among ourselves. In doing so, the few whose agenda might be to sow dissension will make themselves clearly known and will thereby eliminate themselves. Let us teach, not attack each other.

The "Hub" application is just in its first iteration. While we are working on the ranking engine to compile the daily lists, please get your links submitted. If you are an independent or third party candidate, if you have an independent political activist web site, or if you represent an existing third party interested in a civil debate, submit the links to your sites on the first page of the Hub tab.

The social media resources have now matured to a point, on Facebook in particular with their huge participant base and the power boosting enhancements we are building on top of that, where we can get to any citizen of the United States with no more than about 1 degree of separation FROM those who are engaged here already. It is possible to do now what could never have been dreamed of before.

We are just getting started in this. We have mobilizing concepts in the development pipeline that are beyond your wildest imagination. USE the vehicles we have already deployed. Take them where YOU want them to go. Click on the new application tabs and explore their menus. Use them, talk about them, promote them. Add them to your own profiles whether it is your own personal page or you have your own organization page on Facebook. And encourage all your own friends to use them as well.

We now understand that hope alone is NOT sufficient to make change happen. For that there must be ongoing and robust mass activism. And if anybody tries to tell us we won't prevail, we have a NEW slogan in our lives . . . "Oh yes, we WILL!"

Copyright 2010 The People's Email Network, Patent Pending