Thursday, October 30, 2008

From Benecia to Sutterville

This is a somewhat atypical article from me. Pardon the lack of citation and links. I have much to do today. Yet I wrote this after doing a bit of research over the years, and in a burst of Wikibraining. Amazing what changed in the world in such a short amount of time, based on the lives of so few people in the geographic region. -Pete.
Gregg Valley said:
> benicia is a cool little place. quaint, lots of history... did you know it is a former state capitol? building still stands... 1854 i think.
That's news to me. Checking out Wikipedia... here it is! From Feb 3, 1853 til Feb 24, 1854.

What I did know was, following the 1848 Mexican-American War, when California was made a state, the U.S. government was keen to move their power away from Monterey, where the Spanish and Mexican governments had held sway.

Let's perfect my fuzzy memory of California history.

Monterey as Capitol
• 1776 - 1822 - Spanish capitol of Alta California
• 1822 - 1846 - Mexican capitol of Alta California
• 1846 - 1849 - Capitol of the quasi-independent California Republic during Mexican-American War; HQ of US military governorship; til US State Constitutional Convention

In 1849, they voted to move to San Jose, then kept moving upstate further from the traditional capitol.

• 1849 - 1850 - San Jose; California as state ratified
• 1850 - 1853 - Vallejo
• 1853 - 1854 - Benecia
• 1854 - Today - Sacramento

You've got to wonder why move? Who owned the Sacramento land? Because they really got sway over the placement of the state capitol. Part of this was purposeful racism and nationalism, to back away rapidly and purposefully from the historic presence of the Spanish-Mexicans Californios. Basically, the desire to have a "white" capitol.

So who was it?

John Sutter. Yes, the same French-speaking Swiss immigrant that the Gold Rush mill is named after. He's the one that got his way.

In 1841, he created a settlement called New Helvetia (New Switzerland). Though he tacitly became a Mexican citizen the year before to get the land grant, as soon as it was established, he threatened to put the land under the protection of the French.

His dream came true when the U.S. government took an interest in his fortified settlement in 1847, during the progress of the war. And then, he hit paydirt, literally, when men working for him at his sawmill at Coloma struck gold in 1848. Within one year, the "miner forty-niners" were racing from all over to be near Sacramento, Sutter's Fort, and Sutter's Mill. All of which he founded.

Got to credit the man for trying to land grab. A Squatter's Rights group eventually had most of his claims quashed. The US government began to rule out of his favor, and refused to do much to respond to his lawsuits or ownership claims. He eventually had to move back east to Pennsylvania.

Thus, the Benecia capitol was a make-shift home, as Sutter consolidated power. It was the height of his influence over the world, and his lasting legacy. Though it disappointed his father immensely. He had wanted the city to be called Sutterville. Instead, the son named his town after the Sacramento River which flowed beside it.

9/11 to 11/11 - From Tragedy to Truce

The Global Understanding movement wishes to bring people together to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day: 11/11, 2008.

For November, 11, 1918 was the Armistice of the Western Front of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles specified the Great War's end at 11:00 AM Greenwich time.

Around the world, this day is still recalled as Armistice Day: "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." In the United States, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include veterans of World War II and the Korean Conflict.

By changing to Veterans Day, we alter the intent from commemorating the final cessation of hostilities, and the cause for world peace, to a personal homage soley to those who saw uniformed service. We indeed must honor and remember veterans. Yet we must focus on the causes they fought for, and what they hoped to achieve: a better and lasting peace.

How may millions also served their nations without benefit of weapon, training, or formal recognition? For every unknown soldier, how many unknown civilians were wounded or buried in rubble?

How can we measure what true bravery is? The soldier in a tank, or the mother whose only arms are her own, which she uses to hold her dear children to her chest as mechanized death rains all around?

By focusing on the original intent—Armistice—the commemoration of the truce that followed the fighting, we honor all who survived and all who died, during most terrible conflict. The concept of Armistice is universal. It may stand for the cessation of any war, at any time, anywhere in the world.

Therefore, the Global Understanding movement calls for the return to original intent of 11/11, as Armistice Day, to focus on global peace. We may broaden the charter of the commemoration of the First World War to honor all those affected by the ravages of war in their lifetime up to the present day.

Problems with Global Understanding Audio Files

Dear Interested & Concerned Citizens of the World,

You have my personal sincere apologies for the problems experienced while trying to listen to the Roz Savage and Dest (Grant Pollock) interviews. Apparently, after the files are successfully uploaded, after a few days the files are deleted from the site. They have been uploaded a few times, and after each upload they have been tested to work.

However, within a certain indeterminate period (a day? a few days? a week?) the files disappear, as does the /audio directory where they were placed. Because of this, the link has been broken.

Further, due to a technical problem in the URL from the Dest In Nation web page to the audio file, it was a non-functioning link. This resulted in the following issues:

Roz Savage Rows (Posted: 18 Sep)
September 2008
• .html Program Web Page 28
• .mp3 Successful Plays: 9
• .mp3 Broken Links (404): 12
October 2008
• .html Program Web Page 167
• .mp3 Successful Plays: 127
• .mp3 Broken Links (404): 37

Dest In Nation (Posted: 21 Sep)
September 2008
• .html Program Web Page 22
• .mp3 Successful Plays: 18
• .mp3 Broken Links (404): -
October 2008
• .html Program Web Page 24
• .mp3 Successful Plays: 2
• .mp3 Broken Links (404): 1

At this time, the .mp3 files have been re-uploaded and should now work. File permissions have also been set so that nothing should blow the files away in the future. Please contact me ASAP if you find a broken link. Thank you!

-Peter Corless.
650-906-3134 (mobile)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

2008 US Presidential Debate Analysis

A new study was posted on analyzing the debate between the two nominated candidates for the United States President, Barack Obama and John McCain. However, the results of the analysis may not be what you expect.

Please read over the report and then tell us what you think below in the comments. Enjoy!

-Peter Corless.
Founder, Global Understanding Institute
650-906-3134 (mobile)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

9/11 to 11/11 - From Tragedy to Truce

This year in November will be the 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day: 11/11 at 11:00 AM (Greenwich Time) will be the exact moment of the truce that ended the Great War. Anywhere around the world where we may each be that day, we can personally or collectively celebrate and commemorate this event at 11:00 am local time.

So many people forget, or only ironically recall, it was supposed to be the “War to End All Wars.” Yet here we are 90 years later, and around the world, wars are being prosecuted between nationstates and between nations and non-state actors. What is now called “Fourth Generational Warfare.”

Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day?

As Wikipedia cites, the original commemoration of the day of November 11 began in 1919, one year after the armistice on the Western Front of the Great War. In the United States, it was made an Act of Government on 13 May 1938, even as Europe slipped closer and closer to the Second World War, as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In the United States, the move to rename Armistice Day as “Veteran’s Day” occurred between 1953—1954 during the height of the Cold War, and in the shadow of the Korean Conflict. The renaming of the holiday, ideally to encompass World War II and the Korean conflict, fundamentally shifted the appreciation of the day.

For Armistice can be enjoyed by civilian, soldier and veteran alike. When we alter it to “Veteran’s Day,” we forget the original intent — the commemoration of peace following war — and we likewise minimize the appreciation of civilian contribution and sacrifice of those who survived such terrible armed conflict. For those who would put less thought into the holiday, it relegates it to a day to appreciate soldiery.

For those who do not condone military service or military action, it becomes a day for protest and dispute. For those who served with honor, it becomes a more lonely vigil. For those who were civilians or children survivors, it can be an day wherein their contribution and experience is under-appreciated or utterly forgotten.

Soldiers at least are issued weapons to defend themselves. How can we measure who is braver? The soldier bearing his weapon in the heat of battle, or the unarmed mother huddling with her children in her arms? Or the traumatized and maimed children most of all? It is disrespectful to attempt to compare one or the other as more or less honorable.

We can simply honor them all when we regard armistice — the peace that follows conflict — as the commemoration of them all.

The Season of Change: 9/11 to 11/11

From the tragic commemoration of 9/11 to the respectful regard for armistice on 11/11, we can set aside thoughts for establishing a new global movement for peaceful redress of grievances and resolution of differences.

We cannot go back in history and undo heinous crimes and shocking losses of life. We can, however, focus on the century ahead and work towards avoiding the repetition of destructive wars. To find new ways to achieve our ends without falling back to violence and destruction.

Between 9/11 and 11/11 each year, can we close the gap between our ideals and reality? How can we change global dialogue and politics, to escape from war as the solutions to political and economic problems in the 21st Century?

The stakes are enormous. World War I had over 40 million casualties: 21 million wounded and 20 million dead. World War II had approximately 72 million deaths, and tens of millions more wounded.

In the 21st Century, we stand to lose tens or hundreds of millions more to warfare, both internal and international. Yet if a global war were to occur in the present environment of nuclear and conventional technology, clashes of cultures, pressured by politics, economic, health and security crises, and exacerbation of conflicts through xenophobia and zealotry, the globe could see a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe unprecedented in history.

Casualties could very likely soar to 100 million or more, and even exceed 1 billion persons given effects to global economies for food and water, fuel and power, manufactured goods and natural resources.

A Moment for Armistice, 90 Years Later

This 11/11 at 11:00 AM in your local time zone, take a moment to pray for Armistice. Truce. Peace in our time.

We’re 90 years into the advent of the age of Armistice, as called for by those who survived the First World War. The Great War. The War to End All Wars. For the sake of those who lived and died, and in honor of the hard-won lessons passed on to the world, let us pray for peace in our time, good will towards all humankind, and stability for the environment which sustains us all.

Prayer Cycle for Peace in our Time

Each morning at 11:11 AM, recall those who have made peace in the past, and pray for the peace of the soul for those who have been troubled and harmed by armed conflict and violence. This is the moment of Armistice that marked the end of the First World War, on November 11, 1918. 11/11 @ 11:00 AM. Commemorate 11:11 AM each day with prayer. Let it be a thankful recognition of the enjoyment and establishment of peace in our past. Honor the past, with sober mindfulness of the sacrifices of those millions who sought to establish and maintain peace in our present time.

Each evening at 11:11 PM, recall those who are doing the work of peacemaking for the planet. The brokers, arbiters and advocates for peace. The workers for social justice, healthcare, and humanitarian rights. The survivors and the casualties, and those who bear arms for defense of the innocent. Pray that they all find peace in the future. Pray too for the politicians and community leaders who seek peace and reconciliation, that they may be able to withstand those who first seek to wage cruel war. Pray for those who presently wage cruel war to find enlightenment to achieve their aims and to declare armistice with their enemies without causing further human suffering and misery. Saint Augustine said war was waged to achieve a better peace. Let us pray for the best peace possible starting now, to allow it to blossom and bear greater fruition over time in future days ahead.

How Will You Commemorate Armistice Day?

Tell us your plans and thoughts.
  • What do you wish to do for this 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day?
  • What do you hope to achieve in the world over the next 10 years as we approach the Centennial Anniversary of the Great War?
  • Can we achieve “Peace in Our Time,” a century after we had first promised it?
Share your opinions and ideas below.


-Peter Corless.
Global Understanding Institute
12:21 AM
October 8, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Rehearsal

The American Dream is an ongoing thematic development in the film career of Franklin Pham. I met Franklin in Mountain View, California, on Castro Street in this summer, during the early phase of development of the Global Understanding Institute.

As he develops The American Dream, his longer-run-time film vision, he meanwhile is quite busy. For a short-term contest deadline, he rapidly wrote, compiled, edited and wholly created The Rehearsal as a way for us to understand the post-9/11 in a whole new light.
I invite you to watch it, and comment on how the video made you think and feel differently, or, if it reinforces your beliefs, how it echoes with your understanding. Negative feedback is valid too. If something jarred with your thoughts and expectations, what was dissonant to you?

Best wishes, Franklin! And my thanks to all who helped make this short film possible. For making movies is Franklin’s dream come true.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

• End Poverty & Hunger
• Universal Education
• Gender Equality
• Child Health
• Maternal Health
• Combat HIV/AIDS
• Environmental Sustainability
• Global Partnership

Welcome to the 21st Century

The United Nations convened a Millennium Summit, 6-8 September 2000, eight years ago. The summit was the flowing together of streams of thought which had been around for a long while. It became a meeting of the minds and highest ideals for human progress in the 21st Century.

Thus ten days later, on 18 September 2000, in the Fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, resolution 55/2 was adopted: the United Nations Millennium Declaration (pdf).

This nine-page document expressed the values and principles, and specific goals which were desired to be achieved during this new millennium of human existence. Then again, it was only passed by the U.N. General Assembly, and who listens to them anyway, right? I mean, it’s only the United Nations. Feh. Who cares?

Thus five years later, from 14-16 September 2005, they got together the 2005 World Summit. This was a forum for 170 heads of state and governments. You’d hope people would listen to the assembly of the leaders of the vast majority of the nations on Earth, right?

Maybe. If you haven’t heard or thought of these goals before, maybe the time to start is right now.

Please Care

Kofi Annan said thusly, and one can still read on the 2005 World Summit page:

The 2005 World Summit is a one-in-a-generation opportunity for the world to come together to take action on grave global threats that require bold global solutions.

It is also a chance to revitalize the United Nations itself.
It is, in short, an opportunity for all humankind.

What have we done with the past three years in response to this opportunity? For my own part, I travelled to Croatia to see what causes global conflict, examining the wars of independence in the West Balkans as a starting point to understand the drives for violent conflict. Later in 2006-2007, I worked on Wikipedia to record the war and the peacemaking in Somalia and East Africa, and recorded in great detailed articles various issues regarding the clash of cultures between the Islamic and western worlds, and created charts about Energy Intensity.

This year, in August, I began the Global Understanding Institute, and joined Karl John to form the international Global Understanding movement. Others are joining the discourse and now people are pro-actively contacting me. My personal thanks to the support and friendship of Jeffery Tibbets, Franklin Pham, Carlos Suarez, Harshi Lanjewar, Michael Walsh, Steve Alston, Robert Narkun (Czycz), and others. If your name is not specifically mentioned here, you have my apologies for my oversight. Speak up and add your name below to the cause! Some have also offered help, but wish not to be publicly identified at this time.

Those who joined support this cause instinctively, intuitively, with their intelligence and with specific intent to address the critical issues of this moment, in our time on Earth. Thus we have collectively committed ourselves for the sake of my fellow.

I’ll be bringing up more about the MDGs in the days ahead. The GU Institute fully supports these goals. They are just the “top tier” of problems facing humankind today. Even “solving” these issues may cause unintended harm, produce unexpected consequences and unleash other problems. So we must be quite careful for what we ask, and how we wish to see our future evolve.

For now, please give me your feedback on the Millennium Development Goals. How would you sort-order them in terms of priority? Which do you believe you are already helping to address? How specifically do you do so? If you could add only one more cause to the list, what would it be?