- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Sept. 25, 2006 issue - Followers of New Age spirituality have long
turned to indigenous religions for wisdom and inspiration, so it has
not escaped their notice that something big happens in 2012: the
ancient and complex Mayan calendarstudied by astrology,
spirituality and history buffs alikehas chugged along for 1,872,000
days, and its cycle stops (and restarts) on Dec. 21, 2012.
Speculation over the 2012 cycle change has spurred a growing cottage
industry. Amazon.com shows more than 100 books on the subject, with
titles like "Doomsday 2012" and "2012: You Have a Choice!" A number
of spirituality conferences are already convening. This month in New
Mexico, spiritual seekers will gather for a "2012 Ascension
Symposium," which promises to "offer humanity global reassurance and
change the Consciousness of the world"; metaphysics author Geoff
Stray is giving a series of lectures on 2012 throughout 2006 and
2007, including at the UFO Conference in Nevada in February and
a "Healing Conference" in Jericho, Israel, in May.
To add to the frenzy, it just so happens that the years building up
to 2012 mark an unusual astronomical alignment, one so rare it
occurs only in 30 out of every 26,000 years. During this period, the
Sun will make its annual crossing of the galactic equatorthe plane
that bisects the Milky Way as it appears in the skyon the same day
as the winter solstice. So what does all this mean? A small group of
doomsayers believe a life-ending cataclysm is on the horizon.
Patrick Geryl, a Belgian researcher, says he believes the alignment
will trigger a reversal in the magnetic fields of the Sun, causing
it to get 10 or 20 times hotter, which will reverse the Earth's
rotation on its axis and flood its inhabitants (mainstream
astronomers don't agree).
Meso-American scholars are far less concerned. In Mayan cosmology,
time proceeds in cyclesnot in a straight line. "The world
collapses, but then it gets reborn," says Davíd Carrasco, professor
of Latin American religions at Harvard University. (The Maya believe
the same thing happens when the Sun rises and sets each day.)
Literary-magazine editor Daniel Pinchbeck, author of "2012: The
Return of Quetzalcoatl," sees the new cycle as an opportunity for
personal and spiritual growth. Instead of looking at the completion
of the 5,125-year cycle as "the end," Pinchbeck suggests that
2012 "could be more like the birth of the world."
Holly Lebowitz Rossi
At U.N., Chavez Calls Bush 'The Devil'
Wednesday September 20, 2006
By IAN JAMES
Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took his
verbal battle with the United States to the floor of the U.N.
General Assembly on Wednesday, calling President Bush ``the devil.''
``The devil came here yesterday,'' Chavez said, referring to Bush's
address Tuesday. ``He came here talking as if he were the owner of
The leftist leader, who has joined Iran in opposing U.S. influence,
accused Washington of ``domination, exploitation and pillage of
peoples of the world.''
``We appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt
this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head,'' he said.
He also said the U.N. ``doesn't work'' in its current system and is
``antidemocratic.'' He called for reform, saying the U.S.
government's ``immoral veto'' had allowed recent Israeli bombings of
Lebanon to continue unabated for more than a month.
``Venezuela once again proposes today that we reform the United
Nations,'' he said. He drew tentative giggles at times from the
audience, but also some applause when called U.S. ``imperialism'' a
Chavez lambasted Washington for trying to block Venezuela's campaign
for a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council. He said if chosen
over U.S.-favorite Guatemala in a secret-ballot U.N. vote next
month, Venezuela would be ``the voice of the Third World.''
The U.S. government warns that Chavez, a close ally of Iran, Syria
and Cuba, would be a disruptive force on the council.
Mother of Missing Boy Commits Suicide
Sep 13, 2006
By TRAVIS REED
Associated Press Writer
LEESBURG, Fla. - Two weeks after telling police that her son had
been snatched from his crib, Melinda Duckett found herself reeling
in an interview with TV's famously prosecutorial Nancy Grace. Before
it was over, Grace was pounding her desk and loudly demanding to
know: "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that
A day after the taping, Duckett, 21, shot herself to death,
deepening the mystery of what happened to the boy.
Police have refused to say whether she left a suicide note, and said
nothing they have found so far in their investigation of her death
has shed light on the whereabouts of her 2-year-old son, Trenton.
Investigators have stopped short of calling her a suspect but have
focused increasing attention on her movements just before the boy
vanished and the notes, computer, camera and other items seized from
Duckett's family members disputed any suggestion that she hurt her
son. They said that the strain of her son's disappearance pushed her
to the brink, and the media sent her over the edge.
"Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end,"
Duckett's grandfather Bill Eubank said Tuesday. "She wasn't one
anyone ever would have thought of to do something like this. She and
that baby just loved each other, couldn't get away from each other.
She wouldn't hurt a bug."
Janine Iamunno, a spokeswoman for Grace, said in an e-mail that
Duckett's death was "an extremely sad development," but that the
program would continue covering the case.
"We feel a responsibility to bring attention to this case in the
hopes of helping find Trenton Duckett, who remains missing," Iamunno
Duckett had told police that after she finished watching a movie
Aug. 27, she went to check on Trenton in his bedroom, and all she
found was an empty crib _ and a 10-inch cut in the window screen
above it. At the time she was living her son, wading through a messy
divorce with the boy's father and trying to get her life back on
track after getting laid off from her job with a lawn care company.
The boy's disappearance in this town of 19,000 people about 45 miles
northwest of Orlando stretched the 75-member police force to its
limits. Fliers were posted on gas station doors around town, asking
for information from anyone who might have seen the boy, a brown-
haired youngster wearing denim shorts and a diaper.
Trenton's father, 21-year-old Josh Duckett, was closely questioned
after the boy disappeared. Newspapers reported that his wife had
taken out a temporary restraining order against him. But Josh
Duckett took a polygraph test and has answered all police questions
satisfactorily, Capt. Ginny Padgett said.
On Sept. 7, Melinda Duckett gave a telephone interview to CNN
Headline News' Grace, a former prosecutor known for practically
cross-examining her guests. Duckett stumbled over such questions as
whether she had taken a polygraph _ she said she refused on the
advice of her divorce lawyer _ and where, exactly, she was shopping
with the boy before his disappearance.
Hours before the interview aired, Duckett shot herself Friday with
her grandfather's gun at her grandparents' house, up the road from
where she was living.
Investigators are still trying to piece together a timeline of where
she and Trenton were 24 hours before she reported him missing. On
Tuesday, they released the make and model of her car, a 2000
Mitsubishi Eclipse, and asked anyone who might have seen it during
that period to call them.
Also on Tuesday, a newspaper reported that she bought a shotgun from
a pawn shop two days before Trenton vanished. Padgett said police
could not confirm that.
On Monday, agents used dogs and digging equipment to search an
outlying area that someone had called about, but found nothing.
Investigators continued to field tips.
"We're following up," Padgett said. "Hopefully they'll bring in
something to help us firm up the timeline."
On the Net:
FBI missing persons page on Trenton Duckett:
A reply to Joseph Farah
From Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 14, 2006
Yesterday, Joseph Farah wrote and published an article, "Kill the
Christians," on his WorldNetDaily website. He was allegedly
attacking an article I'd written (as a private citizen) for Online
Journal, but he completely ignored the article's argument and
substance: the need for equality legislation to address the fact
that "nearly one-fifth (17.6 percent) of students had been
physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a
tenth (11.8 percent) because of their gender expression." Instead he
launched into a vicious personal attack and professional assault,
replete with childish name-calling and a vocabulary foreign to all
Aside from calling me a little rat, Mr. Farah insulted Penn State's
60,000-plus students "the unsuspecting skulls full of mush who
attend Penn State" as well as institutions of higher education
nationwide "the sewers that are America's universities."
The title of Mr. Farah's article defined yellow journalism. No where
in my essay or in my life have I ever called for anyone to be
killed, unlike some who have a problem with gay people:
At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, Cameron
announced to the attendees, "Unless we get medically lucky, in three
or four years, one of the options discussed will be the
extermination of homosexuals." According to an interview with former
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the
extermination option as early as 1983. Mark E. Pietrzyk, News-
Telegraph, March 10, 1995.
Paul Cameron's "studies" are frequently cited by the Christian Right
in their theo-political attacks on the LGBT community.
Mr. Farah based his erroneous claim that I advocated killing
Christians on the article's last lines:
A very wise woman recently asked me "Who will rid us of the evil
We will. We must. Public education and a civil, civilized society
depend upon it.
Aside from being taken out of context, when did "rid" become "kill"?
To be sure, I would like to "rid" the U.S. Senate of politicians
such as Rick Santorum, but certainly wish the man no physical harm.
And yes, I do believe those who openly advocate discrimination
against fellow citizens in the public arena are "evil."
Not surprisingly, wanting to inflict physical harm was the forte of
this WND reader who sent me the following e-mail:
It is truely [sic] a shame that dualing [sic] is no longer allowed
in our country, because I would love to call you out and put a round
right between your eyes.
Have a miserable day.
John XXXXXX [last name redacted]
And then there was this vulgar, pro-discrimination missive from
another WDN reader with a desire to bump me off:
You're one radical little queerbait.
Joe Farah has you pegged at Worldnetdaily.com. I'd love to bump into
you on the street sometime.
It's filthy little sodomite trash like you that fuck up our kids and
destroy a once-great nation.
May you and your panty-wearing, rainbow flag waving queerfellows
roast in Hell.
Suck my cock, freak!
James M. XXXXXX [last name redacted]
Mr. Farah accused me of wanting to squelch debate and opposition,
and seemed particularly offended by my statement that he "lorded
over" WND. He conveniently forgot to include the links provided
for "lorded over" and "Joseph Farah." The first link was to
Exhibit 24: Joseph Farah, Crusher of Dissent
By Terry Krepel
How can Joseph Farah top himself after advocating the murder of
adulterers? Why, bring back the Hollywood blacklist, of course!
Set off by an article in which Johnny Depp allegedly called the
United States a "dumb puppy that has big teeth" (though he said
later his views were misrepresented and insisted he wasn't trying to
be anti-American) Farah called for that draconian solution in a
Sept. 4 column. Farah's reasoned reaction to Depp? "I say we should
make certain this scumbucket never works in America again." . . .
The second, "Joseph Farah" link was background to the first:
Exhibit 22: The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Adulterers
By Terry Krepel
It's not often you find people who are not Ann Coulter endorse
killing people who haven't broken any laws in articles printed in
major publications, but that is indeed what WorldNetDaily's Joseph
Farah does in a Jan. 30 column. . . .
Again not surprisingly, Mr. Farah concluded his ad hominem attack
with a call for McCarthy-like purging of all those who hold opinions
other than those with which he agrees.
As the two e-mails from WND readers above cited above (and there
were plenty more using antigay vulgarity and expressing a similar
desire to "kill" me), Mr. Farah succeeded in inciting violence,
which is precisely the reason SB 1437 and similar legislation is
needed, and why the rhetoric of the Christian Right is anything
but "Christian" or "right."
Feds Lower Boom on Alternative Money
By Barbara Hagenbaugh, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON (Sept. 15) The government Thursday warned consumers and
businesses that it is illegal to use alternative money known
as "Liberty Dollar" coins, which organizers promote as a competitor
to the almighty dollar.
"We don't want consumers to be fooled," U.S. Mint spokeswoman Becky
Bailey says, noting U.S. Attorneys offices across the USA have
noticed a marked increase in inquiries about the coins.
The coins' producers vowed to fight the government's decision.
Evansville, Ind.-based National Organization for the Repeal of the
Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code, otherwise known
as NORFED, has been making the Liberty Dollar coins for eight years
and claims $20 million is in circulation. The group says the money,
unlike official U.S. cash, has a hedge against inflation because it
is made almost entirely of silver and is backed by stocks of silver
and gold in a vault in Idaho.
The coins are then spent by the group's 2,500 Liberty Associates in
stores run by fellow supporters or are accepted unknowingly by
clerks who are unaware they are not receiving real money.
The Justice Department has determined that use of Liberty Dollars,
which come in varying denominations, "is a crime," according to the
Mint, which issued a rare public warning Thursday.
"The United States Mint is the only entity that can produce coins,"
The Mint notes the coins share some resemblances to real money, such
as the term "Trust in God" instead of "In God We Trust" and use of a
torch in the design. Such similarities may confuse people into
thinking the money is real, the Mint says.
But NORFED says it will challenge the government, arguing it has
never claimed Liberty Dollars were official money and that it has a
right to offer an alternative.
"The designs and verbiage ... are original and are not copies of any
U.S. Mint currency," NORFED Executive Director Michael Johnson said
in a statement.
It's unclear how many people or businesses are unknowingly holding
Liberty Dollars, which cannot be exchanged for real money at banks.
In a case in Buffalo, a man and his son are set to go on trial next
month after they knowingly tried to buy beer at a Buffalo Sabres
hockey game with Liberty Dollars.
The Mint did not say if government officials will seek to prosecute
individuals or NORFED after its warning.
Reed Runk, part-owner of Kendall Funk & Bismark Jewelers in
Chambersburg, Pa., says the store has been accepting Liberty Dollars
for about a year and has sold a few as well. Runk says the store
will continue to accept and sell the coins.
"We just feel that they are something that educates people as to
what the monetary systems are like in the world, that they are a
fiat system, that if people lose faith in them, they will collapse,"
he says. Besides, "They are a good-looking coin."
Ten anti-Castro "journalists" in South Florida on US government
By Luciana Bohne
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 15, 2006
During the Mercosur summit in Argentina, WJAN-TV South Florida
reporter, Manuel Cao, asked Cuban President Fidel Castro why his
government didn't allow a prominent doctor and dissident to leave
the country. Quick as lightning, Castro shot back, "Who pays you?"
Now we find that Cao's paymaster was the US government: he received
$10,400 in payments so far this year. Cao is one among 10 South
Florida journalists to have been found accepting money in exchange
for touting propaganda intended to undermine the Cuban government
via Radio and TV Marti (both bankrolled by the US government to the
tune of $37 million to broadcast anti-Cuban propaganda from the
States onto Cuban soil).
The news mercenaries' covert employer was exposed by documents
obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Three were fired
from El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister paper of the Miami
Herald: columnist Pablo Alfonso, staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio and
freelancer Olga Connor.
Pablo Alfonso, who wrote an opinion column, received $175,000 since
Perusing Alfonso's columns in Spanish, I found them to be concerned
with trivial and titillating gossip of possible interest only to
resentful exiles. The columns whispered about an alleged dairy farm,
maintained solely for private catering to Castro's taste for the
freshest strawberry yogurt and camembert cheeses.
Other fluff items included speculations on the "secrecy" -- perhaps
nepotism -- surrounding the professional activities of Castro's
tribe of grandchildren (all apparently respectably employed in Cuba
or abroad in various non-subversive scientific fields).
Another provocation to outrage included Castro's alleged failure to
effect a promised "energy revolution" because a power outage of four
hours had crippled three provinces in June. My hunch is that
Castro's "energy revolution" might have been referring to the one
promised by ongoing off-shore, deep-sea explorations for oil and gas
effected through an agreement with an Indian oil exploration company.
The most ironic of Alfonso's silly charges was the one stating that
the newspaper, Granma, acted as a stenographer for Raul Castro's
recent "declarations" and "interviews," upon assuming leadership of
the Cuban nation, absent the convalescing Fidel Castro.
Of the bribed journalists mentioned by the US national media this
morning (11 September 2006) -- the names of all 10 were reported by
the Miami Herald. El Nuevo Herald's Olga Connor, a freelance
journalist, received $71,000 from the US Office of Cuba Broadcasting
since 2001; Nuevo Herald staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla
received $15,000 for the same period. Additional US news mercenaries
were opinion page editor for Diario Las Americas Helen Aguirre Ferre
and reporter/columnist Ariel Remos.
What struck me about this news coverage, however, was the absence of
detailed coverage for Carlos Alberto Montaner, surely one of the
most world-prominent of the Miami 10. A militant anti-Castroist,
sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the Cuban revolutionary
government in 1960 for "conspiring against the power of the state,"
Montaner has lived two-thirds of his life in exile. Now residing in
Spain, he's founder and president of the Unión Liberal Cubana (Cuban
Liberal Union). In Spain, he writes for ABC (the former mouthpiece
for Francisco Franco, the Falangist Spanish dictator). An admiring
website claimed that "his syndicated column is read by six million
readers. His opinions make politician[s] in Spain and Latin America
tremble. . . . He maintains his position as one of the regions most
Perhaps, but now he'll have to maintain it in the face of this
recent exposure of his being in the pay of the US government. When
he claims that Fidel Castro's "cancer will deliver justice," as he
does in his columns, the alleged cancer's war on Fidel might suggest
that it is diagnosed by a close collaborator of the US government.
If Caracas indeed "will shiver with Castro's death," as Montaner
predicts, readers might wonder with whom this drivel of wishful
thinking is intended to curry favor. "The [Cuban]army's loyalty ends
with Fidel's life" makes you wonder if another Bay of Pigs US
debacle fueled by anti-revolutionary, out-of-touch, diehards in
exile is in the offing -- or if the myth of a military coup is the
result of too many years of mojito drinking, coupled with frustrated
hopes among US-supported Cuban exiles' intriguers and illusionists.
"Democracy can arrive on the island via a pact with reformists,"
Montaner opines. Which "reformists"? The former Cuban estate
landlords and clients of US multi-national exploiters in Miami? Or
the "reformists" generated and proliferated by the $10 million
initiative to foment "dissidence" in Cuba by the US Special
Interests Office in Havana?
Actually, Cuban government officials have been arguing for decades
that Montaner is far from a liberal paladin of human rights and
democracy. They say that he's very close to known international
terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch,
responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. He's an agent of
the CIA, the Cubans insist. He has ties to the NGO, Reporters
without Borders, which, last year, admitted it is financed by the
Reporters without Borders mounted a campaign in 2002 characterizing
the trial and imprisonment in Cuba of more than two dozen
journalists, among 75 "dissidents," as a violation of human rights.
The Cuban government insisted that the accused were mercenary
agitators paid by the US to pose as "independent journalists." As
Granma reported, "none of them even passed through a journalism
faculty or school of journalism and never wrote a single line of
Now whom are we to believe, in this matter of human-rights
violations by Cuba? The Cuban officials or the purveyors of
democracy in the "free press" paid for by the US government -- not
exactly distinguished by its regard for truth?
"Cuba after Fide1," Le Monde Diplomatique, 1 Sept. 2006
Luciana Bohne teaches film and literature at Edinboro University of
Pennsylvania. She can be reached at lbohne@....
Unfinished Tolkien work to be published
NEW YORK (AP) An unfinished tale by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited
by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring,
the U.S. and British publishers announced Monday.
Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on The
Children of Hurin, an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later
abandoned. Excerpts of The Children of Hurin, which includes the
elves and dwarves of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and other
works, have been published before.
"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for
presenting my father's long version of the legend of the Children of
Hurin as an independent work, between its own covers," Christopher
Tolkien said in a statement.
The new book will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the United
States and HarperCollins in England.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy has sold more than 50
million copies and was also adapted into a blockbuster, Academy
Award-winning trio of films. A stage version is scheduled to open