Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The following is an article by Science Columnist Steven Milloy criticizing the World Health Organization for concering its energy and resources with obesity, cell phones and 'economy class syndrome' while at the same time acknowledgeing that 5,500 children die every day from the consumption of bacteria contaminated food and water. Its truly sad when organizations capable of doing so much concern themselves with such comparatively trivial concerns of the post-industrialized west.


What is WHO doing?
By Steven Milloy, Fox News
May 17, 2002

The World Health Organization reported last week that 5,500 children die every day from
consumption of food and water contaminated with bacteria.

So why is the WHO worrying about obesity, French fries, cell phones,
"economy class syndrome" and - worst of all - augmenting its own
bureaucratic sprawl?...

The full column is at,2933,52981,00.html

Monday, June 24, 2002

A friend and fellow list member, Will, speaks frequently about Vietnam. A point he has emphasized much recently is the fact that the US military evacuation from the area directly lead to the mass murder of 3 million people. We have all heard large numbers and statistics like these, and the sheer enormity of the values of dead make it difficult for us to comprehend. We, as citizens in a democratic government, generally view government as a beneficial and positive thing. And rightfully so, in a democracy most things a government does generally are good, while some things are stupid, some could be done better or more efficiently, most is good.

Never has a democratic nation slaughtered any significant portion of its citizenry. Libertarians frequently promote a policy of military non-intervention, as do liberals and many academic intellectual elites. Recent events in the world have led me to change my position on this aspect of libertarianism, and I do firmly believe that in a globally connected society one can not sit idly by and let such actions continue. Intervention can even be in the best interest of the interveners, as the unabated expansion of an aggressive oppressor state will eventually affect every country.

During the height of the Vietnam conflict, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were present in South Vietnam, defending that nation, a mercantile market based nation against the North Vietnamese attempts at invasion. The North Vietnamese were being supplied weapons and resources by the communist Soviet Union to support the invasion and attempted expansion. The United States, fearing communist aggression and the tendency for communism to continue to spread, intervened in this conflict. The tide of public opinion supported the Vietnam excursion when Nixon was elected. Soon after, however, people such as Noam Chomsky, Jane Fonda, John Lennon, people from various walks of life, celebrities, intellectual elites, pacifists, and extreme liberals began vehemently protesting the involvement in Vietnam, saying that it was not our war. The star of the recent Vietnam film 'We were soldiers' Mel Gibson, even went to far as to say 'We were invading them'. Nixon, well known for his taped conversations, specifically stated in the late 60's that if we pulled out of this conflict and stopped supporting South Vietnam millions would be slaughtered. The public was not persuaded and unfortunately he was right . The tide of public opinion was continually being influenced by the media, criticizing the 'Christmas day bombings' them mining of Russian supply lanes as 'escalating the war' and the bombing of the North Vietnamese supply lines through Cambodia as 'attacking' Cambodia.

We are all familiar with the number of US casualties in the Vietnam war, a figure around 57,000. Lost in the annals of revisionist history is the fact more people of South Vietnam were killed by the communist North Vietnamese in the six months following the US withdrawal then in the entire ten year conflict. And this was after the North had already "won" the war. When the Watergate 'scandal' hit, all media attention was focused on Nixon, and he quickly lost the ability to run the nation, and resigned. US troops were rapidly pulled out of Vietnam and all supply to Cambodia and South Vietnam was cut off. The North Vietnamese general leading the aggression, upon hearing of the resignation of Nixon, stated on record that he knew they would now win the war. Soon south Vietnam fell to the communist north invaders, 600,000 south Vietnamese residents took flight in make shift rafts into the south China sea fearing the communist invaders. Most of them drowned. An additional 1,000,000 (1 million) South Vietnamese residents were executed. I would like to see these 1.6 million names added to the Vietnam memorial. Neighboring Cambodia fared much worse

The Khmer rouge under the loose rule of Pol Pot took power with support from the North Vietnamese armies and supplies from the Soviet Union, easily defeating the pro western Lon Nol, who now had no support from the US thanks to the US congress decision to end aide and 'not intervene' The Cambodians "need peace, not guns" was the pacifist rallying cry. Unfortunately what they actually needed was guns. The Khmer Rouge proceeded to forciblye evacuate all cities in Cambodia, as they were symbols of capitalism. Patients were thrown from hospitals while undergoing surgery, the Doctors and medical staff were executed, anyone with money was executed, anyone who could speak English or French was executed. The forcible evacuation marched millions of people into the peasants lands, under Pol Pot's collectivization plan everyone was to be a peasant farmer. Witnesses (the ones who survived) reported that the marching lines stretched as far as the eye could see, the sick and the infirm crawled and dragged themselves. The population was forced to farm. If you showed affection for a loved one, expressed any affectionate sentiments, or even expressed sorrow at the loss of a child, you were executed, as this was a reflection of your criticism of the state. All told, the Khmer rouge executed 2.5 to 3 million of the Cambodian people, an event that was directly possible because of the US's abandonment of the south east Asian region.

Even today academic elites chastise the US for pushing its western values on communist people when the US still had problems with racism and discrimination. Journals often place communist aggression in quotes, and the domino theory of communist expansion is referred to with disbelief and disdain. How one can associate a government that does such comparatively trivial things as not meet racial quotas in hiring with one that executes fully one third of its population is beyond me. Radical feminists chastise the US for pushing western values on the women in Afghanistan, stating that women are not treated fairly in the US (for example, the alleged wage gap). Lost on them is the fact that in Afghanistan under the taliban women were not even ALLOWED to work, or get an education, or speak in public, let alone use a computer to write online articles to complain about their treatment, as the taliban had banned the internet. Is this comparable to the alleged wage gap? Hardly. Yet this post modern relativist critique persists today and grows in prevalence. You will be hard pressed to find sincere disdain for communist these days, but it will be easy to find criticisms of' evil corporations' and greedy capitalists.

The following article, which I have presented in HTML format to include graphs and figures is take from the Freedom, Democide, and War home page at If you can not view HTML and have trouble reading this article, please visit the referenced page.

This account focuses on the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia, it is the single most emotional and sobering article I can ever remember reading. Please take the time to read it.

Thank you.


The Cambodian Democide (government sanctioned mass murder) -
Rwanda represents a clear case of genocide by a government trying to maintain power. The incredible killing that took place in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 is different. First, it is an example of large-scale, nongenocidal mass murder, and only secondarily of genocide. Second, this democide was part of an attempt by communists to impose a revolution on the country. They tried to abolish its religion; eradicate its culture; totally remodel its economy; communize all social interaction; control all speech, writing, laughing, and loving; exterminate anyone with any ties to Western nations, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand; and eliminate all who had any connections to the previous government or military. Because of all this, it is necessary to focus on the intended revolution itself to explain how and why this one government, in four years, could and would murder more than one-quarter of its population.

A little smaller than Oklahoma, Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia,b ordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia's population in 1970 was about 7,100,000, slightly smaller than Rwanda's, and almost wholly Buddhist (see the contemporary map and statistics, and world map).

The devastating history of Cambodia during the 1960s and 1970s is intimately bound up with the Vietnam War. Communist North Vietnamese provided military aid and soldiers to Cambodia's own communist guerrillas, the Khmer Rouge or Red Cambodians. Cambodia was an avenue for war supplies from North Vietnam to the Viet Cong guerrillas fighting under their command in South Vietnam against South Vietnamese and American troops. As a result, the United States systematically bombed Khmer Rouge guerrillas and Viet Cong supply routes, and in a final attempt to destroy these routes, invaded Cambodia from South Vietnam. But, American Congressional and public opinion hostile to the invasion soon forced American forces to retreat back to South Vietnam.

In proportion to its population, Cambodia underwent a human catastrophe unequaled by any other country in the twentieth century (see Figure 1.2 of my Death By Government). It probably lost slightly less than 4,000,000 people to war, rebellion, manufactured famine, and democide--genocide, nonjudicial executions, and massacres--or close to 56 percent of its 1970 population. Between 1970 and 1980, from democide alone, successive governments and guerrilla groups murdered almost 3,300,000 men, women, and children, including 35,000 foreigners. Most of these, probably as many as 2,400,000, were murdered by the communist Khmer Rouge, both before and (to a much greater extent) when they took over Cambodia after April 1975. These statistics ares hown in Table 6.2 here.2

The United States had supported and supplied the Cambodian military government of General Lon Nol. But the American Congress ended all aid to him with the withdrawal of the United States from the Vietnam War in 1973. After successive retreats, Lon Nol could no longer even defend the capital, Phnom Penh, against the Khmer Rouge guerrillas. The Cambodian army then declared a cease-fire and laid down its arms. On April 17, 1975, a rag-tag bunch of solemn, black-pajama-clad teenagers with red scarves and Mao caps, carrying arms of all descriptions, walked or were trucked from different directions into Phnom Penh. They were part of an army of 68,000 Khmer Rouge guerrillas that had achieved victory for a Communist Party of only 14,000 members against an army of about 200,000 men.

At first, the people hardly knew what to make of these victorious guerrillas. After all, the war was over, the killing had stopped, and people who had chafed under the Lon Nol government were relieved and happy. Many intellectuals and middle-class Cambodians were disgusted with the everyday corruption of the government, and were willing to try anything that brought change, even Communism. The Khmer Rouge was cheered, and there were public and private celebrations.

But before the people could settle down and enjoy a few days of peace, the Khmer Rouge began doing the unimaginable: they turned their weapons on the 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 inhabitants of the capital and with angry yelling, shouting, hand-waving, threats of immediate death, and actual shooting, demanded that everyone get out of the city. In this and all other newly occupied cities and towns, their order to evacuate was implacable. Including those in other cities and towns elsewhere, the Khmer Forge kicked into a largely unprepared countryside near 4,240,000 urban Cambodians and refugees, even the sick, infirm and aged. Even for those on the operating table or in labor with child, the[matus] order was absolute: "Go! Go! You must leave!"

Families evacuated any way possible, carrying what few possessions they could grab. The wealthy or middle-class rode out in cars, soon to be abandoned, or stolen from them by the Khmer Rouge. Some left on heavily loaded motor scooters or bicycles, which would also soon be confiscated. The vast multitude of pathetic urbanites and refugees only had their feet, and formed barely moving lines extending for miles. Some ill or infirm hobbled along; some thrown from hospitals crawled along on hands and knees. According to a British journalist who, from the safety of the French embassy, watched the slowly moving mass of evacuees, the Khmer Rouge was "tipping out patients [from the hospitals] like garbage into the streets.... Bandaged men and women hobbled by the embassy. Wives pushed wounded soldier husbands on hospital beds on wheels, some with serum drips still attached. In five years of war, this is the greatest caravan of human misery I have seen."

Failure to evacuate meant death. Failure to begin evacuation promptly enough meant death. Failure of anyone in the mass of humanity that clogged the roads out of a city and in the neighboring countryside to obey Khmer Rouge orders meant death. Failure to give the Khmer Rouge what they wanted--whether car,[matus] motor scooter, bicycle, watch, or whatever--meant death.

The direction the people exited the city depended on the side they were on when they received the evacuation order. The Khmer Rouge told refugees to return to their home village; but for the mass and particularly the urbanites, where they went after evacuation and what village the Khmer Rouge eventually settled them in depended on the whim of the soldiers and cadre along the way. People were jumbled together, trudging along for days or weeks, usually with whatever clothes, covering, and provisions they could snatch at the last moment. Many had minimal supplies, since they had believed the Khmer Rouge who, to minimize disorder, told them that the evacuation would only be for a few days. The very young and old, and those already sick, injured, or infirm soon died on the roads or trails. One of these trudging millions, a medical doctor named Vann Hay, said that every 200 meters he saw a dead child.

Including those killed outright, the toll from this outrageous and bloody evacuation is in dispute. Whether 40,000 to 80,000 evacuees were murdered or died, as one scholar sympathetic to the Khmer Rouge claimed, or 280,000 to 400,000 as the CIA estimated, the sheer horror of this urban expulsion is undeniable.

Primarily, this was done as a matter of ideology. The Khmer Rouge saw the city as the home of foreign ideas, capitalists, and their supportive bourgeoisie intellectuals; and as thoroughly corrupt and requiring a thorough cleansing. And those the Khmer Rouge believed the city had corrupted, its professionals, business people, public officials, teachers, writers, and workers, must either be eliminated or reeducated and purified. And to the Khmer Rouge, the best way of remaking those "corrupted minds" that they allowed to survive was to make them work in the fields along side pure peasants. Consider the slogans broadcast over Radio Phnom Penh and given at meetings at the time: "what is infected must be cut out.... What is rotten must be removed.... What is too long must bes hortened and made the right length.... It isn't enough to cut down a bad plant, it must be uprooted." This inhuman expulsion was an opening salvo in the Khmer Rouge campaign to utterly remake Cambodian culture and society, and to construct pure Communism forthwith. Pol Pot and a few henchmen, who organized and loosely commanded the Khmer Rouge, planned all this. (Pol Pot was a Cambodian communist revolutionary who had received his higher education and radical ideas in France, and helped found the Khmer Workers party--Khmer Rouge--in 1960, which he then headed. He subsequently organized and led the guerrilla attacks on Prince Sihanouk's Western oriented government in the 1960s, and against the American supported General Lon Nol government that overthrew it in 1970.)

As the pitiful evacuees reached their homes or assigned villages, there was usually no relief from the horrors already suffered. The situation was just different in kind. However, it should be noted that under Khmer Rouge rule, Cambodia was not one totalitarian society dictated by one set of doctrines or rules, except at the most abstract and general level. How the Khmer Rouge applied such abstractions, under what rules, and with what punishment for violations, varied from one district or region to another. This is why I write that Pol Pot "loosely" commanded.

Nonetheless, Pol Pot and his henchmen managed to hold the initiative, establish control throughout the country, and create the surprising uniformity in most regions shown here in Table 6.3.3 They collectivized peasantse verywhere--95 to 97 percent of the population eventually forced into collective farms--and expected evacuees and peasants to work solely for the communist revolution. They forbid all political, civil, or human rights. They prohibited travel without a pass from village to village. They forced Cambodians to eat and sleep in communes, and ordered even young children to work in the fields. In some regions, they made peasants work from about 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 or 10:00p .m., with time off only for "political education." They closed permanently all primary, secondary, and technical schools, as well as colleges and universities. They shut down all hospitals and automatically murdered Western-trained medical doctors. They prohibited sex between the unmarried, and in some places, they threatened boys and girls with death for as little as holding hands. Also at risk of death, unauthorized contact was forbidden even between those married. The Khmer Rouge allowed no appeals, no courts, no judges, no trials, and no law. They eliminated all money, businesses, books, and newspapers. They banned music. They eliminated practicing lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists, and all other professionals, because whatever truths these professions contained, the peasant could pick up through experience.

This is all incredible and some details on this may help its digestion. Just consider how the Khmer Rouge controlled personal relations. They made showing love to a relative or laughing with them dangerous, since they might perceive this as showing less dedication to, or poking fun at, the Great Revolution. It was even dangerous to use some term of endearment, such as "honey," "sweetheart," or "dearest," for a loved one. The doctor Haing Ngor tried to so refer to his wife, for example, and a spy overheard and reported him for this, as well as the fact that he had eaten food he picked in the forest, instead of bringing it into the village for communal eating. The local head cadre interrogated him about these sins, and told him, "The chhlop [informers] say that you call your wife 'sweet.' We have no 'sweethearts' here. That is forbidden." Soldiers then took him to a prison where cadre severally tortured him, cut off his finger, and sliced his ankle with a hatchet. He barely survived.

This deadly communist revolution created pitiful human dilemmas. Think about what this same doctor Haing Ngor went through when his wife suffered life-threatening complications during childbirth. To help her deliver her baby would mean death, since the Khmer Rouge forbid husbands from delivering their wive's babies. In any case, to use his medical skills to save her would in effect tell the cadre that he was a doctor, and would result in his death, and possibly that of his wife and newborn child. To do nothing might mean their death anyway; still, if he did nothing, the wife might pull through. He chose to do nothing, and perhaps he could do nothing anyway since he had no proper medical instruments. Mother and baby soon both died, then, leaving a gaping wound in his heart that never healed. (He subsequently came to the United States after the defeat of Vietnam to be noted below, became an actor, and received an Academy Award for his performance in "The Killing Fields," the movie about the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. In 1996 he was murdered for money as he arrived home in Los Angeles, for which three members of the Oriental LazyBoyz street gang were subsequently tried and convicted).

But even if Ngor's child had been born, he could not have kept it for long The Khmer Rouge took children away from their parents and made them live and work in labor brigades. If the children died of fatigue or disease, the cadre were good enough to inform their parents; then, what emotion the parents showed could mean their life or death. If they wept or displayed extreme unhappiness, this showed a bourgeois sentimentality--after all, their children had sacrificed themselves for the Great Revolution and the parents should be proud, not unhappy. Similarly, a wife expressing grief over an executed husband--an enemy of the Great Revolution--was explicitly criticizing the Khmer Rouge. This unforgivable act of bourgeois sentimentality could mean her death.

Throughout Cambodia, fear was a normal condition of life. The Khmer Rouge systematically massacred people because of past positions, associations, or relatives. When the cadre discovered someone who had been a top military man under a previous government, a former government official or bureaucrat, a business executive or high monk, they and their whole families, including babies, were murdered, sometimes after extended torture. This root-and-branch extermination of the tainted even reached down to cousins of cousins of former soldiers. For instance, Khmer Rouge cadre came to believe that the villagers of Kauk Lon really were former Lon Nol officers, customs officials and police agents. Troops then forced every villager--about 360 men, women, and children--to march into a nearby forest. As they walked among the trees, waiting soldiers ambushed and machine-gunned them all down. Similar slaughter often awaited those who had had any relations with the West or Vietnam, even sometimes the Soviet Union, or who had ever opposed the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge even might execute those found with Western property, such as books, or those who spoke French or English--even those who had been schooled beyond the seventh grade. Even in some areas wearing glasses was a capital offense.

Then there was the killing of people for laziness, complaining, wrong attitudes, or unsatisfactory work. I will give only one example of this, but as a teacher, it is for me the most hideous of all the accounts I have read. This is the Buddhist monk Hem Samluat's description of an execution he witnessed in the village of Do Nauy:

It was. . . of Tan Samay, a high schoolteacher from Battambang. The Khmer Rouge accused him of incompetence. The only thing taught the children at the village was how to cultivate the soil. Maybe Tan Samay was trying to teach them other things, too, and that was his downfall. His pupils hanged him. A noose was passed around his neck; then the rope was passed over the branch of a tree. Half a dozen children between eight and ten years old held the loose end of the rope, pulling it sharply three or four times, dropping it in between. All the while they were shouting, "Unfit teacher! Unfit teacher!" until Tan Samay was dead. The worst was that the children took obvious pleasure in killing.4

The scale of these murders can be gauged from the admission of Chong Bol, who claimed that as a political commissar at the end of 1975 he had participated in the killing of 5,000 people. Think about this for a moment. If this murderer had been a citizen of a democracy and had admitted killing even one-tenth this many people in cold blood, historians would record him as history's most monstrous murderer. As an officer of a government, as with the Nazi SS, soldiers, Soviet death camp managers, and Chinese commissars, who also exterminated thousands, these will be noted as acts of their respective regimes, and history will forget the individual murderer. Such heinous crimes are depersonalized, their horror lost among general abstractions. They are just statistics.

Not only did the Khmer Rouge run amok massacring their people, but also everywhere the Khmer Rouge tried to destroy the very heart of peasant life. Hinayana Buddhism had been a state religion, and the priesthood of monks with their saffron robes was a central part of Cambodian culture. Some 90 percent of Cambodians believed in some form of Buddhism. Many received a rudimentary schooling from the monks, and many young people became monks for part of their lives. The Khmer Rouge could not allow so powerful an institution to stand and therefore set out with vigor to destroy it. They exterminated all leading monks and either murdered or defrocked the lesser ones. One estimate is that out of 40,000 to 60,000 monks only 800 to 1,000 survived to carry on their religion. We do know that of 2,680 monks in eight monasteries, merely seventy were alive in 1979. As for the Buddhist temples that populated the landscape of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge destroyed 95 percent of them, and turned the few remaining into warehouses or allocated them for some other degrading use. Amazingly, in the very short span of a year or so, the small gang of Khmer Rouge wiped out the center of Cambodian culture, its spiritual incarnation, its institutions.

This was an act of genocide within the larger Cambodian democide, and it was not the only one. In most if not all the country, simply being of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, or Lao ancestry meant death. As part of a planned genocide campaign, the Khmer Rouge sought out and killed other minorities, such as the Moslem Cham. In the district of Kompong Xiem, for example, they demolished five Cham hamlets and reportedly massacred 20,000 that lived there; in the district of Koong Neas only four Cham apparently survived out of some 20,000. The cadre threw the Cham Grand Mufti, their spiritual leader, into boiling water and then hit him on the head with an iron bar. They beat another leader, the First Mufti, to death, tortured and disemboweled the Second Mufti, and murdered by starvation in prison the Chairman of the Islamic Association of Kampuchea (Cambodia). Overall, the Khmer Rouge annihilated nearly half--about 125,000--of all the Cambodian Cham.

As to the other minorities, the Khmer Rouge also slaughtered about 200,000 ethnic Chinese, almost half of those in Cambodia--a calamity for ethnic Chinese in this part of the world unequaled in modern times--additionally, they murdered 3,000 Protestants and 5,000 Catholics; around 150,000 ethnic Vietnamese (over half); and 12,000 ethnic Thai out of 20,000. One Cambodian peasant, Heng Chan, whose wife was of Vietnamese descent, lost not only his wife, but also five sons, three daughters, three grandchildren, and sixteen of his wife's relatives. In this genocide, the Khmer Rouge probably murdered 541,000 Chinese, Chams,Vietnamese, and other minorities, or about 7 percent of the Cambodian population.

As though this was not enough, by threat of death the Khmer Rouge forced ordinary Cambodians to labor to the point of life-endangering exhaustion, and fed them barely enough to keep them alive while further weakening their bodies through extreme malnutrition. The Khmer Rouge fed their hard laborers an average of 800 to 1,200 calories per day, where as for even light labor a worker requires an average of 1,800 calories at a minimum. Nor did the Khmer Rougep rovide them with protection against the dangers of exposure and disease. Even Pol Pot admitted in 1976 that 80 percent of the peasants had malaria. In many places people died like fish in a heavily polluted stream. The horror is that people are not fish, but thinking, feeling, loving human beings.

As one would expect, in this hell the Khmer Rouge did not spare each other the fear of death either, but often executed their soldiers and cadre for infractions of minor rules. More important, as the Pol Pot gang maneuvered to consolidate its rule over Cambodia, the struggle for power at the top, and the paranoia of top leaders increased. Not only was there the usual despot's fear of an assassin's knife in the night, but an intensifying fear that dissident Khmer Rouge might destroy the communist revolution. Increasingly, the Pol Pot gang saw sabotage, and CIA, KGB, or Vietnamese operatives, behind all production failures and project delays.

Purge after purge of high and low Khmer Rouge followed. They increasingly filled the cells of the major security facility in Phnom Penh, Tuol Sleng, with communist officials and cadre. Pol Pot's gang had these people tortured until they fingered collaborators among higher-ups, who were then executed. Confessions were the aim of most torture, and the gang would even arrest, with all the lethal consequences, interrogators who were so crude as to kill their victims before getting a confession. On the suffering of the tortured, one such interrogator reported.

I questioned this bitch who came back from France; my activity was that I set fire to her ass until it became a burned-out mess, then beat her to the point that she was so turned around I couldn't get any answer out of her; the enemy then croaked, ending her answers....5

The sheer pile of confessions forced from tortured lips must have further stimulated paranoia at the top. The recorded number of prisoners admitted to Tuol Sleng was about 20,000, suggesting how many were tortured and made such confessions. Only fourteen of them survived this imprisonment--fourteen. And this was only one such torture/execution chamber, albeit the

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A while back I was talking to a friend about a coffee that starbucks was forced to carry that came from companies that treat farmers 'better', but it tasted like crap, and activists were trying to force starbucks to sell more of it. NPR did a story on it, relaying that the farmers didnt have to go the through corporation middleman (who also cleaned, processed, and brewed it) Unfortunately the farmers were new to all these things, and are not very good at making good coffee. This article mentions the stuff, its 'Fair Trade' coffee. Apparently someone in Berkeley Calif is trying to petition for a law that says all brewed coffee sold MUST be organic, fair trade, or shade grown. "Young, a Colorado native who graduated last year from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, said his plan isn't extreme and only restricts brewed-coffee sales. Customers would still be able to purchase regular beans, ground or not, in bags or cans." Gee thanks! Perfect example of regulating behavior and criminilizing free choice.


Berkeley to mandate PC coffee?
Contra Costa Times
A Berkeley lawyer has secured enough signatures to put a novel initiative on the city's November ballot: only politically correct coffee would be allowed to be brewed to sell.

All, this is an article summarizing the recent farm aid pill that passed through Washington. It has an obvious bias against the aid, but it is a good source of information for what was contained in the package and to what extent. People concerned with global poverty and the well being of all people on the planet should take note that subsidies, quotas and tariffs are a form of protectionism. They isolate US markets against cheap imports and isolate developing countries against exporting cheaply. Many third world countries have farming as their own revenue generating system, and when western nations subsidies domestic crops, they flood the market with tax payer funded food that can be sold cheaper than if the food was produced in a 3rd world country. Without this aid, many US exported goods would be more expensive and would not be able to compete in a global market. The justification for these actions is usually in the form of protecting American jobs, but humanists and compassionate people should be concerned with all the world people and their jobs, not just people in the United States. The agriculture subsidies in post-industrialized west nations (e.g. the US, Britain, Sweden, Australia) have a combined annually subsidization program that exceeds the Gross National Product of the bottom half of the world nations, and this is just subsidies. These trade barriers and forms of isolationism are argued to prevent economic growth in poor nations, perpetuate economic imbalances between rich and poor nations, and stall the increase in the global standard of living.


Article -

Thursday, June 13, 2002

All, this is an interesting article that describes a possible future for humanity thanks to biotechnology, medicine, nanotechnology, and many other scientific disciplines, and relates these possibilities to the fanciful descriptions of comic book superhero powers. Reinfrocing a somewhat rare positive view of the future. - Matus

Slashdot reported today on an interesting article in the Washington Post about posthumanity by Joel Garreau,

from -
Here is an interesting article re-inforcing the negative aspects that prohibition itself creates, unsafe products with no regulation (private or otherwise). - Matus

Smell of Death

"Nineteen people are reported dead and 17 more hospitalized in Saudi Arabia due to a cologne drinking binge. The concoction contained poisonous methanol, and authorities have arrested its sellers. The sale and consumption of drinkable alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia and punishable by lashings, fines, and jail."