* ADBUSTERS CALLS FOR 50,000 PROTESTERS TO MEET AT CHICAGO’S G8
By Allison Kilkenny, InTheseTimes
Adbusters, the group credited with inspiring the Occupy Wall Street movement, has once again put out a call for tens of thousands of protesters to flock to Chicago in early May and “set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month,” according to the official statement.
And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.
And when the G8 and NATO meet behind closed doors on May 19, we’ll be ready with our demands: a Robin Hood Tax … a ban on high frequency ‘flash’ trading … a binding climate change accord … a three strikes and you’re out law for corporate criminals … an all out initiative for a nuclear-free Middle East … whatever we decide in our general assemblies and in our global internet brainstorm – we the people will set the agenda for the next few years and demand our leaders carry it out. […]
* CHICAGO G8/NATO – VIDEO
Source: Chicago Tonight
* MAYOR 1%’s NEW RULES TRY TO THWART PROTEST WHILE GROUNDSWELL OF DISSENT GROWS
By Kevin Gosztola, FireDogLake.com
[…] To help folks separate spin from fact, we’ve put together this analysis to help you understand how local rules have changed in ways that undercut protest and political speech. While these revisions will not deter us from speaking out and protesting, they do change the excuses the police may use to try to prevent us from protesting.
It’s also important that we understand these changes so we can educate our friends and neighbors – and fight for meaningful change that puts people’s rights and the greater good ahead of the fear-mongering and greed that drove Mayor 1%’s push for these changes.
City Hall made only token changes to “improve” these revisions, and the worst of Mayor 1%’s proposed revisions remain. While the old protest ordinance was pretty terrible in its own right, the changes approved this week make it even worse. How? Because the revisions give the police more excuses to target protesters they don’t like and speech they oppose with greater fines and penalties. The revisions also give police more excuses to try and censor the tools we use to speak out – sound equipment, signs, banners and whatnot. […]
* FIDEL CASTRO CALLS REPUBLICAN RACE ‘COMPETITION OF IDIOCY AND IGNORANCE’
By Paul Haven, HuffPo
HAVANA — Fidel Castro lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of “idiocy and ignorance” the world has ever seen in a column published Wednesday, and also took shots at the news media and foreign governments for seizing on the death of a Cuban prisoner to demand greater respect for human rights.
Castro’s comments came in a long opinion piece carried by official media two days after Republican presidential hopefuls at a debate in Florida presented mostly hard-line stances on what to do about the Communist-run island, and even speculated as to what would happen to the 85-year-old revolutionary leader’s soul when he dies.
Cuba has become an important issue as the candidates court Florida’s influential Cuban-American community in an effort to win the biggest electoral prize so far in the primary season.
Castro said he always assumed the candidates would try to outdo each other on the issue of Cuba, but that he was nonetheless appalled by the level of debate.
“The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is – and I mean this seriously – the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,” said the retired Cuban leader, who has dueled with 11 U.S. administrations since his 1959 revolution. […]
* IS OBAMA’S ‘ECONOMIC POPULISM’ FOR REAL?
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
There is a lot to digest in a recent series of events on the Prosecuting Wall Street front – the two biggest being Barack Obama’s decision to make New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the co-chair of a committee to investigate mortgage and securitization fraud, and the numerous rumors and leaks about an impending close to the foreclosure settlement saga.
There is already a great debate afoot about the meaning of these two news stories, which surely are related in some form or another. Some observers worry that Schneiderman, who over the summer was building a rep as the Eliot Ness of the Wall Street fraud era, has sold out and is abandoning his hard-line stance on foreclosure in return for a splashy federal posting.
Others looked at his appointment in conjunction with other recent developments – like the news that Tim Geithner won’t be kept on and Obama’s comments about a millionaire’s tax – and concluded that Barack Obama had finally gotten religion and decided to go after our corruption problem in earnest. […]
* OBAMA’S FAUX POPULISM SOUNDS LIKE BILL CLINTON
By Robert Scheer, CommonDreams
[…] if Obama meant what he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address about holding the financial industry responsible for its scams, why did he appoint the old Clinton crowd that had legalized those scams to the top economic posts in his administration? Why did he hire Timothy Geithner, who has turned the Treasury Department into a concierge service for Wall Street tycoons?
Why hasn’t he pushed for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, which Clinton’s deregulation reversed? Does the president really believe that the Dodd-Frank slap-on-the-wrist sellout represents “new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again”? Can he name one single too-big-to-fail banking monstrosity that has been reduced in size on his watch instead of encouraged to grow ever larger by Treasury and Fed bailouts and interest-free money?
When Obama declared Tuesday evening “no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas,” wasn’t he aware that Jeffrey Immelt, the man he appointed to head his jobs council, is the most egregious offender? Immelt, the CEO of GE, heads a company with most of its workers employed in foreign countries, a corporation that makes 82 percent of its profit abroad and has paid no U.S. taxes in the past three years. […]
* “HE SAYS ONE THING AND DOES ANOTHER” RALPH NADER RESPONDS TO OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS – VIDEO
Source: Democracy Now!
* HOW SWEDES AND NORWEGIANS BROKE THE POWER AXIS OF THE ‘1 PERCENT’
By George Lakey, CommonDreams
While many of us are working to ensure that the Occupy movement will have a lasting impact, it’s worthwhile to consider other countries where masses of people succeeded in nonviolently bringing about a high degree of democracy and economic justice. Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle. They “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and created the basis for something different.
Both countries had a history of horrendous poverty. When the 1 percent was in charge, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to avoid starvation. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment. Unlike the Norwegians, the Swedes didn’t find oil, but that didn’t stop them from building what the latest CIA World Factbook calls “an enviable standard of living.” […]
* DOW AND MONSANTO TEAM UP ON THE MOTHER OF ALL HERBICIDE MARKETING PLANS
By Tom Philpott, MotherJones
During the late-December media lull, the USDA didn’t satisfy itself with green lighting Monsanto’s useless, PR-centric “drought-tolerant” corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto’s rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all-too useful.
Dow has engineered a corn strain that withstands lashings of its herbicide, 2,4-D. The company’s pitch to farmers is simple: Your fields are becoming choked with weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As soon as the USDA okays our product, all your problems will be solved.
At risk of sounding overly dramatic, the product seems to me to bring mainstream US agriculture to a crossroads. If Dow’s new corn makes it past the USDA and into farm fields, it will mark the beginning of at least another decade of ramped-up chemical-intensive farming of a few chosen crops (corn, soy, cotton), beholden to a handful of large agrichemical firms working in cahoots to sell ever-larger quantities of poisons, environment be damned. If it and other new herbicide-tolerant crops can somehow be stopped, farming in the US heartland can be pushed toward a model based on biodiversity over monocropping, farmer skill in place of brute chemicals, and healthy food instead of industrial commodities.
The USDA, for its part, is buying what Dow is selling. Its Draft Environmental Assessment (PDF) offers no critique of Dow’s claims, and recommends that the product be deregulated. The agency is currently seeking public comment on the matter; the comment period ends Feb. 27. Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told me that when the USDA brings a GMO product to the comment stage after having recommended deregulation, it “almost always” greenlights the product. “The only times I’ve seen the USDA hold off at this stage is when there’s a lot of public pushback,” Gurian-Sherman says. […]
* WHAT MONSANTO DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW – VIDEO
* USDA IGNORES PESTICIDE RAVAGING BEE POPULATION, THREATENING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
By Mike Barrett, Truthout
It has recently been reported that certain research was suppressed concerning the bee decline which has been occurring over the past few years. It seems that the large sum of money raked in by Bayer, a maker of pesticides, was enough to kick research under the carpet that linked the company’s pesticide to the massive bee decline.
USDA Ignores Pesticide Ravaging Bee Population
There has been a great deal of cover up and secrecy regarding the ongoing bee deaths, enraging environmentalists and activists alike. About one year ago I reported on how the USDA and EPA knew why a series of ‘mysterious’ downfalls were occurring with crops, birds, and bees. Although technological products like cell phone towers and cell phones are hurting the bee population, it was actually the pesticide brought to you by Bayer which was causing the damage, and the USDA knew of it all along. In my article, I reported:
Just as many potential explanations arose over the mysterious bird deaths, many different theories have been proposed to explain the bee decline. Electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate have all taken the heat of critics looking for answers. Recently, however, a document was leaked revealing that a bee-killing pesticide put in use by the EPA may be to blame. Adding to the controversy, more records have emerged showing that the USDA was fully aware of the pesticide’s threat to not only bees, but humans…Neonicotinoids, the particular type of pesticides used, are absorbed systemically into plants, including the pollen and nectar. Once the bees begin to pollinate, they also absorb the insecticide, and die. […]
* FUKUSHIMA: A NUCLEAR WAR WITHOUT A WAR. THE UNSPOKEN CRISIS OF WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR RADIATION
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research
The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.
The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:
“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”
Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.
While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, which resulted in almost one million deaths (New Book Concludes – Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer Global Research, September 10, 2010, See also Matthew Penney and Mark Selden The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima, Global Research, May 25, 2011)
Moreover, while all eyes were riveted on the Fukushima Daiichi plant, news coverage both in Japan and internationally failed to fully acknowledge the impacts of a second catastrophe at TEPCO’s (Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc) Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant.
The shaky political consensus both in Japan, the U.S. and Western Europe is that the crisis at Fukushima has been contained.
The realties, however, are otherwise. Fukushima 3 was leaking unconfirmed amounts of plutonium. According to Dr. Helen Caldicott, “One millionth of a gram of plutonium ingested causes cancer”.
An opinion poll in May 2011 confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the Japanese population do not believe the government’s information regarding the nuclear crisis. (quoted in Sherwood Ross, Fukushima: Japan’s Second Nuclear Disaster, Global Research, November 10, 2011) […]
The Online Interactive I-Book Reader on Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War
In view of the official cover-up and media disinformation campaign, the contents of the articles and video reports in this Online Interactive Reader have not trickled down to to the broader public. (See Table of contents below)
This Online Interactive Reader on Fukushima contains a combination of analytical and scientific articles, video reports as well as shorter news reports and corroborating data.
Part I focusses on The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: How it Happened? Part II pertains to The Devastating Health and Social Impacts in Japan. Part III centers on the “Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe”, namely the cover-up by the Japanese government and the corporate media. Part IV focusses on the issue of Worlwide Nuclear Radiation and Part V reviews the Implications of the Fukushima disaster for the Global Nuclear Energy Industry.
In the face of ceaseless media disinformation, this Global Research Online I-Book on the dangers of global nuclear radiation is intended to break the media vacuum and raise public awareness, while also pointing to the complicity of the governments, the media and the nuclear industry.
We call upon our readers to spread the word.
We invite university, college and high school teachers to make this Interactive Reader on Fukushima available to their students.
Michel Chossudovsky, January 25, 2012
* HOUSE DEMOCRATS SPELL KEYSTONE ‘K-O-C-H’
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill
House Democrats are using the billionaire Koch brothers to score political points in their fight against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) suggested at a hearing Wednesday that Koch Industries — the Kansas-based conglomerate helmed by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch — could benefit financially from approval of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline.
By linking the Keystone XL pipeline to the Koch brothers, who have supported a slew of conservative causes, Democrats are hoping to raise questions about Republicans’ motives in supporting the project.
It’s the latest tactic in Democrats’ campaign against the pipeline, which they say would increase greenhouse gas emissions, expose the country to higher risks of oil spills and do little to improve the economy. […]
* DEMS WANT KOCH REPS TO TESTIFY ON KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/01/23-3
* EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT OFFICIAL IN CHARGE OF ACTA QUITS, AND DENOUNCES THE ‘MASQUERADE’ BEHIND ACTA
By Mike Masnick, TechDirt
This is interesting. Kader Arif, the “rapporteur” for ACTA, has quit that role in disgust over the process behind getting the EU to sign onto ACTA. A rapporteur is a person “appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue.” However, it appears his investigation of ACTA didn’t make him very pleased:
I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.
As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.”
Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.
This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade. […]
* AT DINNER WITH THE HOMELESS IN ATHENS, GREECE
By Diana Farr Louis, HuffPo
[…] Here we’re all volunteers. We rely on donations but they are never enough. One of our big problems is that there is no formal recognition of the homeless status. We need to know who they are in order to provide the right help. And now we are dealing with a new category — “normal” people who up to recently had an organized way of life. They had no psychological problems, they were not illegal.
The new homeless are between 30 and 40 years-old or just below retirement age. They were construction workers, shop owners, people involved in the tourism business. Often they have families, but they’re ashamed to reveal their situation and they don’t want to be a burden. Greeks are nothing if not proud. Or their relatives, too, may barely be able to make ends meet.
We have multiple missions. The first is keeping people in their own homes. Second, we try to restore them to normal life as fast as possible. We’d like to run our hostel on the American model, as a base where you can spend the night safely, have a shower and go out in the morning and face the world, look for a job. And finally, of course, we have to care for those who are permanently homeless. […]
* THIS IS AMERICA TODAY, PART I
By Gonzalo Lira, gonzalolira.com
A true story: A fifty-ish woman I know was diagnosed with breast cancer. Dutifully, she and her husband contacted their insurance company to start the process of paying for her medical bills.
But lo and behold, the insurance company started dragging its feet—then tried to claim the woman’s breast cancer was a “pre-existing condition”.
That she had breasts in fact was a “pre-existing condition”—a “pre-existing condition” she had had since she was fourteen.
But the cancer? That was brand new.
The woman and her husband started the usual, insurance company-designated complaint process—which they quickly realized was a deliberate rigamarole, designed to get them spinning their wheels without receiving any money from the insurance company. […]
* THIS IS AMERICA TODAY, PART II
By Gonzalo Lira, gonzalolira.com
These facts are from the CIA—and they are undisputed:
• Infant mortality rate in the United States: 6.06 per 1,000 live births.
• Infant mortality rate in France: 3.29 per 1,000 live births.
• Average life expectancy in the United States: 78.37 years (75.92 for men, 80.93 for women).
• Average life expectancy in France: 81.19 years (78.20 for men, 84.54 for women).
• Total expenditure on health care in the United States: 16.2% of GDP (2009).
• Total expenditure on health care in France: 3.5% of GDP (2009).
• Expenditure on health care in the United States per capita: $7,517 per year (2009).
• Expenditure on health care in France per capita: $1,148 per year (2009).
So . . . to make it clear: France has a Socialist-Commie health care system, while the United States has “the best health care system in the world”— […]