May 242012
 

 

* NATO PROTESTS – CHICAGO 2012

By Tall Tale Productions

Shot between May 18 – May 21 throughout the city.

I came in as an unbiased observer in attendance only to document. Footage is edited out of context for entertainment purposes only. Any assumptions on the motives or actions shown within are unintentional. Music is property of its creators and only the footage is considered copyright to Tall Tale Productions, LLC.

Music:
Viaggio Notturno – Balmorhea
A Familiar Taste & On We March – The Social Network OST (Trent Reznor)

VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/42578179

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* NATO TALKS A SHAM

By Dennis Kucinich, Reader Supported News

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not a benevolent organization. NATO is not about the North Atlantic and it’s not about our collective defense.

NATO is a cost-sharing organization that finances aggressive military action. By hiding behind the claim that the organization provides for ‘common defense,’ NATO allows us to wage wars of choice under the guise of international peacekeeping. The most recent example was the unconstitutional war in Libya where NATO, operating under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, instead backed one side in a civil war and pursued a policy of regime change.

Today, NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan. The talks are being billed as discussions of plans to end the war. The war in Afghanistan is not ending. These talks are simply about financing the next phase of the war. […]

READ @ http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/268-35/11554-nato-talks-a-sham

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KUCINICH: U.S. ‘SANCTION WARFARE’ MAKES REAL IRAN WAR INEVITABLE

Source: RT

War mentality has saturated Washington and arms merchants want to benefit, says Congressman (d) Dennis Kucinich. He opposes sanctions against Tehran that could lead to war, and is sure the US should forget about trying to conquer other countries.

VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SjSGFQYZAm0

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* INTER OCCUPY STATEMENT ON NATO PROTESTS

By Io Joan, InterOccupy

The protests in Chicago show that Occupy is a network committed to social change through direct action. Arguably,the policies of NATO benefit Americans the most, so to march against NATO in America is a very strong statement against war and how it perpetuates uneven capitalist development. At NATO, the rich and powerful decide which  countries will be unified, which they will ignore or refuse aid, and those they will invade.  NATO is both a military alliance and an instigator of severe repression as its policies ensure the reign of the global north over countries who adopt other economic systems. This history of NATO shows that it began as an arrangement to suppress communism, but it now endures to secure the profits of multinational corporations.

As for this weekend, perhaps mirroring the military strategy of NATO, the protests were over-policed and extremely violent.  Police beat and sprayed non-violent protesters with impunity. Those who were live streaming events were pulled over by police, detained, and harassed. Others had their homes invaded and have been accused of terrorism. Several participants in the Occupy movement who traveled to Chicago reported being followed by unmarked police vans as they moved about the city. In another instance, travelers who intended to camp in a backyard were met with police condemning the back porch and requiring them to move along. When real police oppression is happening, it becomes difficult to focus on the policies of NATO as the target of protest activities. But, those from the Occupy movement went to Chicago to support the Nurse’s Union’s call for a Robin Hood Tax, to support veterans’ calls to end all wars, and to raise awareness that NATO is the army of the 1%.

Moving forward, the more the Occupy movement converges at these large-scale protests, the more fundamentally influential we will become on setting the national political agenda. Practice makes perfect as the saying goes.  People that resist together form dense ties and begin to trust each other’s judgement.  These are the moments where movements crystallize and become strongly aligned in vision and goals. Those who met in Chicago will have ample opportunities to rally again as plans are in the works to protest the DNC and RNC as well as the November elections. In addition, an open and transparent national gathering in Philly is happening on July 4th.

READ @ http://interoccupy.org/interoccupy-statement-on-nato-protests/

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* NATO IN CHICAGO: PROTESTS ARE HERE TO STAY, AND THE WARMAKERS ARE AFRAID

By Mark Harris, OpEdNews

[…] The Chicago protests also highlight just how tense and repressive the political landscape has become. Every social protest in every American city now is met with a massive, militarized police mobilization. The Chicago police presence even included police brought in from other states, with the National Guard nearby in reserve.

Yet the large majority of the protesters were peaceful. As for the exception of the so-called Black Bloc, their justifiable ire toward the state is largely reduced to running infantile street skirmishes with police. They play into the hands of the mayor’s office, the police, and the alleged journalists in the local broadcast media, the latter of whom just can’t wait to congratulate the police on their “remarkable restraint” and a “job well done.” This they do when not busy reporting with solemn authority the latest dubious “terrorist” plot cracked by the local authorities. It’s at moments like this, when politics heats up, that we realize how much news is just propaganda, the gist of which in this case seems designed to persuade the locals that the crazed protestors are just not like the rest of us.

How skittish and insecure the moneyed political establishment has become. More evidence of this came from Mayor Emanuel’s last-minute effort to deny the permit for the nurses rally at Daley Plaza, moving it to Grant Park ostensibly on logistical grounds that popular musician Tom Morello would draw too big a crowd. Thanks to the nurses refusal to be cowed, that attempt at petty intimidation failed.

More folly was to be found in the paranoid response of some Chicago downtown corporate offices, which Crain’s Chicago Business (May 8) reports were advising employees to “dress like protesters” during the summit, lest they be targeted by crazed mobs of rampaging dissenters. There’s a certain Midwestern, middle-management mentality involved in that advice, one that views protesters as just wackos who don’t like “The Man,” which must mean anybody who dresses nicely and carries a briefcase.

The liberal Democratic mayors who methodically repressed the Occupy Wall Street encampments in city after city last fall, no doubt coordinated with federal assistance, understood something. A living, breathing round-the-clock protest against an unjust political and economic system is intolerable. It’s intolerable because, like their Republican counterparts, the liberal Democratic establishment has few answers to the bleak reality of how hard it has become to make an adequate living or find a decent job or expect a peaceful world or just have some damn hope for the future. Even at its best the “free market” capitalism espoused by both parties cannot offer stability and peace for the majority of the people. But no one in power wants to talk about alternatives.

The spontaneous explosion of the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall was the frustrated spirit of the grassroots organizing that swept Barack Obama into office in 2008 finally set free. Spend any time now with the young Occupy activists, watch their press conferences or read their statements, and it’s clear we’ve entered a new era of social activism, one defined by a lively and energetic resistance to social and economic injustices. Most important, it’s also an era of international social protest, as we are seeing from Egypt to Tunisia, Greece to Spain and elsewhere. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/articles/NATO-in-Chicago-Protests-by-Mark-Harris-120522-823.html

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* HOW PROTEST IS BEING OUTLAWED

Source: Democratic Underground

The narrative of public dissent is being rewritten with astonishing speed. As police continue to crack heads with impunity, peaceful protesters are handed down harsh deterrent charges. Ten defendants in the Fortnum and Mason trial were recently given six-month suspended sentences for aggravated trespass, essentially for standing around in a grocery shop with some leaflets. I was there at the time, and the worst I saw was some slogans against corporate tax avoidance being carefully wrapped on printed ticker-tape around large stacks of Earl Grey tea. For those swept up in last year’s riots, meanwhile, there hasn’t been a crumb of mercy. As I write, teenagers are still in prison for creating Facebook events.

Whatever we think about how these young people behaved, we should have the decency to call them what they are: political prisoners. That this government has run out of ideas for enforcing austerity beyond frightening people into compliance may be of little comfort to those whose young lives and job prospects will be blighted by deterrent jail sentences. […]

READ @ http://www.democraticunderground.com/101629072

ALSO READ @ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2012/03/police-protest-meadows-public

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* HOW TO BUY A POLITICIAN

Source: The Young Turks

How do politicians (both Republicans and Democrats) cash in after they leave office? How does this legalized bribery corrupt the American government? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks down examples showing of the influence of money on our political system.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0swbTrW5zEA

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* REVENGE OF THE WEEDS

Plant pests are evolving to outsmart common herbicides, costing farmers crops and money.

By Amy Coombs, The Scientist

In January, a hair-raising infestation of the kochia shrub was confirmed in Alberta, Canada. Originally introduced to desert climates as forage for cattle, the tenacious weed can now survive glyphosate, which targets an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of aromatic compounds. It can also withstand chemicals that inhibit the ALS enzyme, involved in the production of amino acids. At least 2,000 acres are now impacted, and “we expect more cases will be confirmed after a field survey this fall,” says Hugh Beckie of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the government department that manages farming policies.

The United States are also being taken by storm. Palmer amaranth recently developed resistance to the same two classes of chemicals in Tennessee. Since 2009, the tall, spindly weed has swept across 1 million acres of cropland, causing some farmers to abandon their fields. And in California, a plant named hairy fleabane recently crept into vineyards. It is now able to withstand both glyphosate and Paraquat—a chemical that hijacks photons from proteins involved in photosynthesis.

Worldwide, 23 weed species have developed glyphosate resistance, and at least 10 of these have also developed resistance to other herbicides, according to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. And Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Safety in Washington, DC, believes these numbers underestimate the problem. In order for a weed to be listed as resistant, it must survive four times the concentration used to kill susceptible plants. “Some weeds tolerate lower levels of glyphosate, and these also have a big impact in the field,” he says.

Weed infestations are more of a nuisance than a monstrosity—but they are biting into farmer’s pocketbooks. In Alabama, 61 percent of soybean fields are infested with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, costing farmers $71 million a year in lost yields, and 80 percent of the state’s cotton is also infested, with losses now totaling $10.9 million. […]

READ @ http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/20/revenge-of-the-weeds/

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* FRENCH BAN OF MONSANTO 

The EU’s food safety body ruled there is ‘no specific scientific evidence’ that the insect-resistant strain is harmful to health or the environment

By Adam Vaughan, Guardian UK

France’s attempt to ban the planting of a Monsanto strain of genetically modified maize was rejected by the EU’s food safety body on Monday.

In response to scientific evidence submitted by France backing its bid to ban the GM maize, the European Food Safety Authority ruled that “there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment” to support a ban.

In 2008, France banned the the strain MON 810 following public protests against the GM maize, but this was overturned by a French court in 2011. However, in March the French government reinstated the ban, with the then agricultural minister Bruno Le Maire saying the move was “to protect the environment”. […]

READ @ http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/20/revenge-of-the-weeds/ 

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* THE PITS OF HELL

Source: Common Wonders

[…] The likelihood is that he was exposed to the smoke emanating from burn pits. Most U.S. bases in Afghanistan, and until recently in Iraq, operate a burn pit 24/7. Everything no longer needed in the war effort is consumed in such pits. This includes medical waste, ammunition, amputated body parts, feces, paints and solvents, electronic equipment, old tires, plastics, lithium batteries, whole vehicles, jet fuel — and just about everything else under the sun, possbily including military equipment containing radioactive material.

“The American military will likely insist that it strictly controls the disposal of radioactive waste, but such assertions are not credible,” former U.S. Air Force Captain Matthew J. Nasuti wrote two years ago in an article published by the Kabul Press. “While there are strict regulations, the time and cost of complying with them in a war zone are such that base commanders in Afghanistan most likely ignored them, opting instead for throwing the waste into burn pits.”

While the Pentagon has continually denied there’s any evidence linking the burn pits with health problems, the website Danger Room recently obtained a 2011 Army memo stating that the pit at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan may cause “long-term adverse health conditions” for the troops there, increasing their risk of “reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases.” […]

READ @ http://commonwonders.com/world/the-pits-of-hell/

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* ITALY’S PRESIDENT WARNS OF A RETURN OF 1970s-STYLE VIOLENCE

Italy risks falling back into the kind of political violence that scarred the country during the 1970s, President Giorgio Napolitano said on Wednesday at a commemoration for anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone who was murdered 20 years ago.

By James Mackenzie, Reuters

Speaking days after a deadly bomb attack on a school named after Falcone’s wife, who died with him in a huge explosion set off by mafia killers on May 23, 1992, Napolitano said Italy faced a deadly threat to its future.

He warned that organized crime groups could try to profit from the widespread mood of uncertainty and discontent caused by the economic crisis to provoke a return to the kind of bloody upheaval seen in the 1970s “Years of Lead”.

“The mafia, Cosa Nostra and other forms of organized crime remain a serious problem for Italian society and thus for democracy,” he said at the Ucciardone prison in Palermo, Sicily, scene of a trial led by Falcone of hundreds of mafiosi in the 1980s. […]

READ @ http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/23/us-italy-mafia-idUSBRE84M0ZP20120523

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* EXPLODING THE MYTH OF THE FECKLESS, LAZY GREEKS

Stereotypes and untruths are everywhere, but this economic crisis is not the self-inflicted result of a lax Mediterranean work ethic

By Alex Andreou, NewStatesman

[…] Here is the first myth: This crisis is made in Greece. It is not. It is the inevitable fallout of the global crisis which started in 2008.

Are there features in the Greek economy which made it particularly vulnerable? Yes – there is rampant corruption, bad management, systemic problems, a black market. All this has been explored ad nauseam. There are other factors, too; rarely mentioned. The crisis came at particularly bad time for Greece – four years after this tiny economy overextended in order to put on a giant Olympics and prove to the world it had “arrived”. When the crisis came, the country lacked the monetary and fiscal mechanisms to deal with it, because of its membership of the single currency.

However, all of the above are contributing factors – nothing more or less. The catalyst was the behaviour of the financial sector after the crisis. Here is what Angela Merkel had to say in February 2010, when the “Greek problem” started to rear its head, as reported by Bloomberg:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized market speculation against the euro, saying that financial institutions bailed out with public funds are exploiting the budget crisis in Greece and elsewhere. In a speech in Hamburg, she hit out at currency speculators, who she said are taking advantage of debt piled up by euro-area governments to combat the financial crisis. “The debt that had to be accumulated, when it was going badly, is now becoming the object of speculation by precisely those institutions that we saved a year-and-a-half ago. That’s very difficult to explain to people in a democracy who should trust us.” […]

READ @ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/world-affairs/2012/05/exploding-myth-feckless-lazy-greeks

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