June 2, 2000

Subject: About despair, an Undaunted & Undeterred friend, United Peoples Mobilizing to Obtain Fair Trade and Debt Cancellation, WWF Forest Corruption Report Covered Up: Wealthy Elites Destroying some of the Last Rainforests for Personal Profits, and the People/David's Battle Raging Against the Power Elite/Goliath

Hello everyone

I think the subject title says it all.

Taken from material received within the last 48 hours

Coincidence!...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


IN RESPONSE TO...

Subject: World-Action...... DEPRESSION
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000
From: "World-Action" <michaeli@globalnet.co.uk>

Someone who does a HUGE amount to help the world has just written to me telling me how depressed they get. I have replied saying I get very depressed too.

Last weekend several hundred World-Action e-mails of various types were zooming all over the world. My feeling was that these e-mails contained significant information and inspiration. In fact, very important information and inspiration.

Out of a possible 1,000+ people who read them, I received about four good responses. Quite frankly I feel depressed. Depressed because myself and Rory Winter put a lot of effort into sending these mailings about. And depressed because I am very concerned about the state of the world and I felt these ideas were important.

Now, I am wondering if others feel depressed too.

Do YOU feel overwhelmed by the world situation?

CLIP

Best wishes,

Michael

World-Action and Rainbow Dream Vision
http://www.world-action.com


MY GOOD FRIEND ANTARES FROM MALAYSIA WROTE:

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000
From: Antares <Antares@tm.net.my>
Subject: DEPRESSION (The Rainbow Dream Vision Revisited)

Dear Michael,

Of course we're all depressed, even I the Eternal Optimist, or we'd be zombies. The only ones who aren't depressed right now are either zombies or Zombie Masters (the ones who increase their own power by turning others into remote-control zombies!)

Someone I loved through and through turned into a zombie after the Grand Stellium... the hologram of heaven on earth, Magick River, is now a giant construction site... the tribe I married into has become hysterical and retreated into alcoholism and xenophobia... those who threaten the political status quo in Malaysia are still languishing in jail with zero hope of justice because all the honourable judges have been fired or retired... while the zombie-in-the-street continues to worry about "the next meal" and "the next pay rise" and "what the neighbours are going to say."

MY FRIENDS, WELCOME TO WORLD WAR THREE!!!

The battleground is your psyche. The weapons are ideologies, misconceptions, and constrictive thoughtforms. The enemy is invisible and lurks in Inner Space... is, in fact, your own hardwired circuitry, your tampered-with genomes, whatever makes you prone to depression, self-pity, and despair. I recommend that everyone re-read THE MIND PARASITES and PHILOSOPHER'S STONE by Colin Wilson (1968/1969): he foresaw that the Greatest Danger facing Humanity was an enemy that existed only in our wildest paranoid anxieties - but could so easily demoralize the visionary in each of us to the extent that we collapse, like Winston Smith, into an even deeper level of apathy and numbness, content to watch the screen (whether puter or telly) and sip our Victory gin...

How do we fight back??? What use is Shadow Boxing??? Can we possibly hope to destroy Evil forever??? Has the Dark Brotherhood emerged the victor in the aeons-old battle between Light and Dark???

Take it easy, Michael... take it easy, Dear Ones... take it easy, Antares!

Lao-tse, my once & future favourite sage, always advised: "If you don't know what to do, don't do anything."

Doing nothing is not apathy. It is the passive phase of a cycle that includes activity and festivity. We have been very active for several centuries... or at least decades. The seeds we planted and sowed on our journey are now germinating, but the seedlings are very tender yet.

The Shadow of Nothingness fears Oblivion and will do Everything Possible to delay or thwart the inevitable paradigm shift, the quantum jump, the ascension of Lady Gaia, the New Golden Dawn. We must allow it to exhaust itself, while responding instinctively, like veteran tennis players, to the to-and-froing of our mental focus. Meanwhile, the apocalyptic horrors will pile up around us. Let them. Just keep the Inner Light glowing within, remember we are Perfect Holograms of the One, of All That Is, and that means the Darkness, the Evil, the Disease are all within us too. They are the outward manifestations of our collective petty ego fears and jealousies. The shadow self that feels shame and guilt and profound unworthiness - that could buy an unlikely story like Original Sin - the traumatized inner child programmed to believe it will never be good until it has become Rich and Famous!

Yes, Michael, I am indeed troubled by the swift change in polarity that happened in the last two years: since June 1998 positive trends have turned negative. A powerful sign was the lack of funding interest in Jean Hudon's Earth Rainbow Concert 2000 Project. Now I ask myself: have I not experienced exactly the same sort of disappointment with my own visionary schemes? And is disappointment not due to expectation? But is it possible not to expect? Not to hope? Not to desire? Not to visualize a new heaven on a new earth?

We have to continue anticipating, desiring, hoping, visualizing. But we must let go of the outcome. We must surrender that to the Supreme Indifference of the Void. For that is indeed our Briar Patch - whence all Being originated, tha Infinite Potentiality out of which the Finite Universe actualized itself.

Whether we win or lose or draw... it's just another Cosmic Poker Game. True, this time the stakes are incredibly high. But whether you're playing in rand or rupiah, euro or US dollar, it's just Monopoly money!

Undaunted & Undeterred,
Antares

ANY MY COMMENT TO ANTARES WAS:

Hi dear brother

I just wanted to say I've been surprised to read that you think "A powerful sign (that positive trends have turned negative) was the lack of funding interest in Jean Hudon's Earth Rainbow Concert 2000 Project."

It is true that such a vision has created high hopes but I appreciated you made the rightful point that disappointment is mainly due to our own expectations.

I very much liked the rest of your comment to Michael and I'll run it in a coming ERN compilation. I'd like also to say that the vision I had of this Millennium Gathering has been fulfilled to a great extent in the Millennium Day Broadcast which I hope you saw. Many people felt a significant uplifting of humanity's vibes at the turn of the century.

As for feeling desperate and depressed at the seemingly never-ending string of bad news (I was saddened BTW to learn that the dam project is going ahead in your area), I'd say it's all a matter of perspective. Overall I don't think there is ground for such pessimism. Although the odds are great against saving our global environment, I see a continuous expansion of consciousness and a gradual heightening of the will to do good on Earth. There is certainly cause for concern but allowing oneself to fall into despair and depression is not going to help and shows only that one has attachments and is still distracted by the illusion of separation.

Love and Light

Jean




AND HERE IS AN EXAMPLE THAT WHEN PEOPLE UNITE IN SUPPORT OF A COMMON CAUSE, THEY CAN HAVE *SOME* LEVERAGE TO HELP CHANGE THINGS AROUND. BUT OF COURSE, SUCH A PEOPLE/NGO-DRIVEN MOVEMENT DOES NOT YET HAVE A COMMONLY-AGREED AGENDA TO IMPLEMENT - SOMETHING THEY HAVE DECIDED THEY ARE ALL *FOR* (A CLEAR VISION OF THE FUTURE THEY WANT) - BUT THERE IS CLEARLY AN EMERGING CONSENSUS AS TO WHAT THEY GENERALLY OPPOSE, THAT IS, A WORLD DOMINATED BY SPECIAL CORPORATE INTERESTS CORRUPTING AS MANY POLITICIANS AS THEY CAN AFFORD TO GET THEIR WAY WHICH IS USUALLY AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ON EARTH (ASIDE FROM A TINY PAMPERED MINORITY IN WESTERN COUNTRIES) AND AGAINST SAFEGUARDING THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT (DESPITE ALL THEIR GREENWASH POSTURING) -- AND THE FICTITIOUS DEBTS STRANGLING SO MANY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES THAT ARE FORCED TO CUT SOCIAL SPENDING AND DESTROY THEIR REMAINING FOREST COVER TO PAY BACK DEBTS THAT WERE OFTEN ACCRUED TO FINANCE MILITARY SPENDING TO UPHOLD PAST DICTATORIAL AND/OR CORRUPT REGIMES. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED YOU MAY WANT TO SUPPORT THE FOLLOWING INITIATIVE OF THE UNITED PEOPLES...

Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000
From: peoples@post4.tele.dk
Subject: Re: NGO / G-77 ALLIANCE !

Besides the vast majority of positive reactions, we have also received a few skeptical questions with regard to cooperating with corrupt regimes.

As many others may share this skepticism, answering these would seem appropriate :

1) Do you want the poor countries to stop paying their so-called "debts" without further so-called " structural adjustments " imposed by the IMF / WB / WTO ?

2) If you do, how do you foresee this to happen without the involvement of their governments ?

3) All governments in the North are corrupted by the corporations, either by direct bribery such as in the US or in any case by means of the mass media monopoly of the corporations.

Except for a minority, also the governments in the South are corrupt.

4) Therefore this project should have two phases:

a) First we help the G-77 governments with quitting their " debts ".

b) Then we help their populations with preventing their governments from stealing the saved revenue from the peoples.

5) The main contradiction of the planet today is the corporations, their mass media monopoly and their governments on one side and the peoples on the other side.

To cope with the corporate rule we have to exploit all contradictions within the castle of the robber barons by establishing the necessary alliances.

The decisive struggle will be among the corporations themselves.

But another major split is the North / South schism. And therefore the G-77 alliance is an obvious task.

When we have dealt with the corporations, the time will have come to deal with the residual corruption.

Ole Fjord Larsen Secretary, The United Peoples

ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE GLOBAL RESISTANCE MOVEMENT AND THE G-77 GROUP OF COUNTRIES !

As the main conclusions: fair trade and cancellation of the Third World's so called "debts", of the recent G77 summit in Havanna are identical with those of Mobilization For Global Justice, an alliance between the two parties would seem obvious.

We propose that the following letter to the Nigerian president who is the present chairman of G77, be signed by an adequate number of the Global Mobilization organisations:

Dear Mr. President,

Re: Proposal for cooperation between G77 and the NGOs.

With regard to the fundamental debt cancellation and fair trade issues, the G77 summit in Havanna once again confirmed the accordance between the views of the G77 and the new worldwide anti-globalization movement that protested WTO / IMF / WB in Seattle and Washington.

A cooperation between the two parties therefore would seem appropriate in order to achieve our common goals in the most efficient and speedy way.

The protest movement comprises thousands of organisations worldwide, but has no one permanently coordinating structure.

Therefore we cannot claim to speak on behalf of all of the movement. But in case you would be interested in our proposal, we shall work for the broadest possible backing.

With regard to debt cancellation, the Jubilee 2000's September 26th event in the UN, after collection of many million signatures worldwide, highlights a remarkable NGO contribution to morally pressure the Northern people in power to carry through the long overdue cancellation of the the debts of the poor countries.

But in case G77 countries without further delay in solidarity would decide to stop paying their "debts" to the rich countries and roll back the "structural adjustment programs", for example in connection with publication of the total amount for which the African countries are going to sue the colonial powers, we shall be happy to advocate this solution.

It must of course be foreseen that the consequence of such steps will be a stop for the aid rendered by some of the rich countries.

The total "debts" by far exceeding the total aid, the total balance however should be very favorable.

And the solidarity fund redistributing the sum of all of the saved "debt" payments will prevent a negative balance for any individual country.

Furthermore, we should be pleased to support any claim for a kind of new Nürenberg Court such as the International Crime Court.to prosecute the persons responsible for the IMF / WB / WTO crimes against humanity.

Another urgent issue of course is the corporate dumping in the South of poisonous waste materials and products that are forbidden or unsaleable in the North, such as for instance baby food and genetically modified seeds and food stuff.

To reinforce our work we would appreciate very much if the G77 countries in the future would financially support their citizens who want to participate in our activities but cannot afford the travel expenses.

Also we should appreciate renewed efforts by the G-77 Group to abolish the mandatory visas between the G-77 countries and between these and the Northern countries, or at least to reduce the prices of the visas.

Yours faithfully,

Please sign on and return the post.

Global Exchange http://www.globalexchange.org

Insaaf International http://www.geocities.com/insaafin

The United Peoples http://www.unitedpeoples.net




HERE IS ANOTHER TELLING EXAMPLE OF THE DESTRUCTIVE IMPACT THE WEALTHY ELITES (international and national ones) HAVE ON THE FAST-DWINDLING RAINFORESTS AROUND THE WORLD AS WELL AS THE BLATANT DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS SUCH AS THE WOLRD BANK AND THE IMF WITH REGARD TO THOSE FORESTS AND THE MILLIONS OF ENDANGERED SPECIES INHABITING THEM.

HERE IS A RELEVANT QUOTE FROM BELOW:

"In fact the World Bank and IMF make things worse by imposing monetary reform on the countries, the report says. These countries are urged to allow in multinational companies and governments are urged to sell their forests for cash to pay back debts."

GUARDIAN (London) Monday May 29, 2000

Forest corruption report covered up

Paul Brown, Environment correspondent

Governments, big business, World Bank and IMF named in investigation The European Commission: special report

A devastating report about the destruction of tropical forests by multinational companies has been suppressed for three years by the European commission and World Wide Fund for Nature.

The report named companies prepared to bribe and bully their way to lucrative logging concessions. It also blamed the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for inducing countries to sell their forests for a quick cash return to pay off debts to western countries.

The European commission, which paid the researchers nearly 200,000 for the work, was fearful of the repercussions if they named names and asked for a second version with the names taken out - but even this version was watered down.

A third version still makes clear that EU funds being poured into developing countries to ensure forests are carefully managed are frequently being wasted. Forest laws were enacted but no action taken.

The well-respected authors from the World Resources Institute and WWF said they were so disturbed by what they found that they recommended a moratorium on all further logging in 11 countries - Cameroon, Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa; Belize, Surinam and Guyana in the Caribbean rim; and Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific rim. This should last until bribery scandals had been investigated and proper environmental standards enforced, they said.

They also recommended an end to EU aid until these issues were addressed - but no action has been taken. The report says: "The new investments [by Asian multinational companies] have been concentrated in countries with generally weak or outdated environmental and social laws and little enforcement capacity. The governments of these countries are easy pickings to foreign investors as they have weak forest services, poor monitoring capacity, inefficient tax collection and auditing capacity, and in some cases widespread bribery and corruption.

"Many of the countries are suffering severe economic difficulties with large foreign debts, high inflation and unemployment. In the majority of countries studied, decision making is controlled by a small group of powerful people or clans within the government that look at primary forests of their country as a short-term source of personal revenue, not as a productive ecosystem which can generate social, economic and ecological benefits on the long term for the entire country and its people."

CORRUPTION

The Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon and Belize were all named as suffering large-scale corruption.

"In some countries administrative procedures facilitate widespread corruption. Senior officials in countries such as Papua New Guinea have been shown to be taking decisions to award logging rights in exchange for bribes."

The report says although European companies have in the past indulged in bad practices the scale of the new incursions was much larger and that: "The logging itself is often very careless, with high collateral damage to the surrounding forest. The roads built to extract the timber often hundreds of kilometres long create access to frontier areas that facilitate the entry of commercial hunts, farmers, miners and others who cause further environmental damage." The companies frequently end up in violent clashes with local people and native tribes.

It blames the main donors to these countries - the World Bank, Japan, the EU, France, Germany, the UK and the US - for failing to enforce their own rules to promote forest conservation and responsible management. In fact the World Bank and IMF make things worse by imposing monetary reform on the countries, the report says. These countries are urged to allow in multinational companies and governments are urged to sell their forests for cash to pay back debts.

The report says if substantial action is not taken soon by governments, donor agencies and investors, as well as environmental and social pressure groups, much of the remaining virgin primary forests in the Caribbean rim, Central Africa and Pacific will be lost within five to 10 years, due to the expansion of unsustainable logging operations.

The original report was completed in 1997 and the EU cleared a twice-revised version for publication, printing 5,000 copies. Its press launch in July last year was blocked by the WWF, some of whose employees had carried out the research. The organisation feared that some of the governments concerned, particularly Malaysia, would close down WWF offices.

A weaker version of the report has now been prepared and, because the European commission refused to foot the bill, the WWF pulped the original 5,000 copies and has paid to print 2,000 of the latest version. The organisation claimed in a statement to the Guardian that it had to correct some "inaccuracies" and hopes this new version will be published in July.

EXPERT AUTHORS

The Guardian has seen the first three versions of the report - including the original draft that details the names of companies and individuals involved in bribery scandals. The main authors of the report are Nigel Sizer, an expert for the World Resources Institute in Washington and Dominiek Plouvier, a forestry consultant who works for WWF in Belgium. All their work was peer-reviewed in the countries concerned and by other forestry experts before being submitted.

Mr Sizer said: "Of course I was deeply disappointed that the report was not published. A few things were corrected in the peer review process. We were very careful about the conclusions we drew in the report. The commission was concerned and asked some of the names to be removed but I stand by everything that appeared in the drafts. My reputation and that of the Institute depends on getting things right. Lack of accuracy was not the reason the report was withheld."

A commission spokesman said: "We asked originally for some of the names to be removed and for some revisions but were satisfied with the later versions of the report. It was WWF that intervened to prevent publication last year. The new version of the report has now been delivered by them and will be distributed to interested parties when a list had been drawn up." Officials of the commission would now consider the report's findings.

WWF's senior forest officer, Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, said WWF had been anxious to name names but was concerned that many of the companies were Asian and the organisation did not want to appear to be Asian-bashing. After the Asian financial crisis the report was held up for updating.

Papua New Guinea

If the forests were sustainably managed and harvested, it is estimated that the annual income to the country could be as much as 2bn. However massive corruption in the issue of timber permits, failure to monitor exports, and low royalties and taxes have reduced government returns. Environmental and social impacts have been serious and well documented.




AND IF YOU NEED PROOF THAT ONCE UNITED AS IN SEATTLE, THE PEOPLE/DAVID CAN SUCCEED IN INFLICTING A SEVERE BLOW TO THE POWER ELITE/GOLIATH, JUST READ THE FOLLOWING...

From: Glenn Ashton <ekogaia@iafrica.com>
Subject: Fw: TONY RUSHES IN WHERE BILL FEARS TO TREAD
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector,"

THE LANCET, April 2000

"When a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, it can cause a hurricane in New York."

Original Message -- From: Lorna Salzman <lsalzman@aba.org>

A wonderful amusing and brilliantly written analysis that captures a lot of political truths in a nutshell. No polemical posturing or airing of personal gripes, just the "straight story".

WTO Activist (wto-activist@iatp.org)
Posted: 05/31/2000 By nritchie@iatp.org

TONY RUSHES IN WHERE BILL FEARS TO TREAD - The Observer (UK)

Sunday May 21,2000

Clinton has 'wimped out' but the corporate big hitters are pleased with Blair 'the believer'

By Gregory Palast

For all you conspiracy cranks and paranoid anti-globalisers who imagine that the planet's corporate elite and government functionaries actually meet to conspire about their blueprint for rewriting the laws of sovereign nations... be advised that the next meeting of the New World Order will be held next Tuesday at the Swiss Hotel in Brussels, at 9am.

This is the mid-year meeting of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue - and you aren't invited.

In 1997, just after Labour's general election victory, US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley met privately with the new Trade and Industry Secretary, Margaret Beckett, to instruct her on the ways of the world.

According to the US Secretary's own briefing notes - obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act - Daley dictated a list of four changes in UK law and policy required to smooth the path of American corporations in Britain. In addition, further guidance would be provided by what Daley described as 'the most influential business group advising government on US-EU commercial relations', the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD). 'Your encouragement,' he admonished the Minister, 'would be helpful.'

As Butch said to Sundance, Who are these guys? TABD is a working group of the West's 100 most powerful chief executives. When presidents, prime ministers and other transitory heads of state meet at the World Trade Organisation, this more permanent grouping provides their agenda.

The TABD's system is masterfully efficient. One US bigwig is paired with one European for each sector grouping. For example, Monsanto's Robert Harness and Unilever's Huib Vigeveno are in charge of Agri- Biotech.

The US government and the EU each assign an official to each industry pair. TABD has privileged access not to small fry, but to top bananas such as Pascal Lamy, European Commissioner for Trade, and Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society.

Next week, the officials will report to their corporate duos on the headway they have made on the 33 items on the current TABD implementation table. This lists 33 environment, consumer and worker protection laws in selected nations which TABD wishes to defeat or water down.

The corporates will render their verdict on what TABD calls the scorecard. This will then be turned over, along with a new implementation table - including agenda items for the WTO - to Presidents Clinton and Prodi at their summit meeting in Portugal later this month.

The 1988 implementation table, one of the first documents obtained, grudgingly, from the EC under its access to information rules, makes good reading for those wanting to know what's planned for our brave new world.

For example, several of the 'tetra-partite groups' (the two-on-two government-business trysting sessions) seek expansion for something called the MRA. The initials stand for Mutual Recognition Agreement, or what the TABD describes as, 'approved once, accepted everywhere'. It is the globalisers' cruise missile.

Here's an example of how it works. Years ago the Pfizer company manufactured defective heart valves which cracked, killing 165 patients in whom they had been implanted. Understandably, this made Europe wary of accepting devices merely because they had been blessed by the US Food and Drug Administration. But the MRA brushes aside individual nations' health and safety regulatory reviews - including individual regulation of medical device manufacturing plants.

Given the ill-feeling in Europe about genetic modification, the MRA rules for GM products are devilishly complex and savvy, effectively applying only to the developing nations. Does Brazil have a problem with Monsanto's Bovine Growth hormone? Sorry, approval by the WTO's Codex Alimentarius committee means Brazil must accept the product or face WTO trade sanctions.

The US, too, is a target of TABD's contempt for consumer protection. TABD's products liability group, under the guise of eliminating 'non-tariff' trade barriers, takes aim at the unique right of American citizens to sue corporate bad guys. One TABD proposal would reverse the $5 billion judgment against Exxon in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case.

Recently, however, the TABD lobby locomotive has been slowed by lambs on the tracks.

The demonstrations in Seattle and Washington had, according to TABD members I interviewed, an effect far beyond anything the demonstrators themselves could have imagined. The first purpose of the WTO meeting was to launch a new round of cuts in import duties and a push to eliminate more of the rules covering imports, known as non-tariff regulatory barriers. That went up in tear-gas smoke. Sweating under the TV lights, the WTO shrank from voting a new 'comprehensive round'.

Worse, TABD's deregulation programme was publicly rejected by an erstwhile ally. The implementation table clearly told government officials, on page 17, that 'the basic purpose of an MAI [Multilateral Agreement on Investments] should not be undermined by language on labour policy and environmental policy', dicta adopted by the US and EC.

Yet there was Bill Clinton, spooked by opinion polls showing public support for the demonstrators' views, telling the Seattle audience weepy- eyed stories of the horrors of child labour in Brazil.

Business leaders were infuriated. Frustration with their former champion Clinton burst into the open two weeks ago when, at a meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce in Budapest, industrialists shouted down a proposal to 'dialogue' with non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International.

'I don't believe that those who were in Seattle represented somebody with a legitimate stake,' fumed Peter Sutherland, head of investment bank Goldman Sachs UK. Sutherland, who jumped to Goldman from his post as director of the WTO, prefers the company of his own kind. 'We have to be very careful on engaging in this debate, as those NGOs [non- governmental organisations] should not have a say with government!' (Interestingly, the Goldman bank chaired the TABD when Sutherland was running the WTO.)

Clinton had wimped out on business. But, just in time, the Chambers of Commerce have found a new knight errant.

'Tony Blair, he was great! He had guts! That's the leadership we need,' economist Jagdish Bhagwati, globalisation guru, told the disheartened suits in Budapest. He applauded the PM for speaking out, 'against anti-capitalist NGOs'.

When I spoke with Bhagwati this week, he contrasted Clinton's 'absurd, ignorant' pleas for Brazil's child labourers with the attitude of Clare Short. Bhagwati, who sat next to the International Development Secretary at the WTO in Seattle, described with giggly approval how she kept him in stitches, mocking a speaker from the African National Congress while the ANC man spoke of the connection between globalisation and child labour. 'No one in the Clinton administration would have done that.' No, they would not.

Businessmen lobbying their way into government offices is an old story, but the supercharged TABD version - infiltration by invitation - began only in 1995 as the brainchild of Ron Brown, Clinton's first Commerce Secretary.

Brown, who died in a 1996 air crash, was Clinton's Mandelson, architect of the scheme to turn Democrats into New Democrats, the party of business. When Brown died, Clinton's passion for pairing with business passed away too, not uninfluenced by the demolition of the New Democrats in the 1994 Congressional elections.

Clinton lopped off the 'New' label - take note, Tony - when his good buddies in industry, sensing his weakness, rushed back to their natural home in the Republican Party.

Clinton still goes through the motions of meeting TABD, as required by commercial realpolitik, but its leaders, such as Jim Wootten of the US Chamber of Commerce, tell me they doubt the President's sincerity.

But Blair is different. 'Blair really believes,' says Bhagwati admiringly

of Blair's globalising fervour. And TABD members agree. Unlike that scamp from Arkansas whose expressions of policy are as inconstant as his expressions of fidelity, Blair is a man of convictions. His heart leaps at visions of a flexible labour force, of entrepreneurs liberated from bureaucrats' rule-books, of a new economy relieved of the antique task of bending metal into Rovers.

In 1997, according to US documents, Blair personally stepped over Margaret Beckett to water down regulations permitting Americans to build gas-fired power plants in the UK. He also hopped about to accomplish the other three tasks on the US Commerce Secretary's favours list.

Don't dismiss this as just a series of tawdry fixes. The Prime Minister rolled out the golden doormat in Downing Street to American companies because he looks on these bold screw-the-rules operators as an entrepreneurial stud pool whom he hopes will breed with and revitalise the hoof-dragging local stock.

It's sad, really. Unlike Clinton, who wised up quickly, Blair confuses the TABD's self-serving wishlist with a programme of economic salvation.

He trusts his industry darlings will never leave his side. But as his re- election becomes ever more doubtful, he will find that, as they say in Arkansas, Tony's been kissed - but he ain't been loved.

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Humor: True Story

When Charles deGaulle decided to retire from public life, the British ambassador and his wife threw a gala dinner party in his honour. At the dinner table the Ambassador's wife was talking with Madame de Gaulle.

"Your husband has been such a prominent public figure, such a presence on the French and International scene for so many years! How quiet retirement will seem in comparison. What are you most looking forward to in these retirement years?"

"A penis," replied Madame deGaulle.

A huge hush fell over the table. Everyone heard her answer...and no one knew what to say next.

Le Grand Charles leaned over to his wife and said, "Ma cherie, I believe ze English pronounce zat word, 'appiness!'"







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