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June 2014

Cecily McMillan Leaves Prison Behind, But Won’t Forget Fellow Inmates

McMillan’s time in Rikers may have taken a toll, but it has not broken her. She describes the many indignities there as struggles endured in solidarity with comrades, not as personal complaints. She says that before Rikers, she didn’t know that placing your hands on your hips expressed defiance. In Rikers, she says, you have to keep your head down, your hands behind your back–postures of compliance, passivity. She sleeps in a dorm room with forty other women. There are invasive searches of your personal items, your body. Her phone calls are recorded. Contrary to the notion of inmates lazing about watching the clock tick, prison is endless activity, endless lines—the movieBrazil “on steroids,” she says. Still, her mind isn’t dulled or her spirit crushed. She is thinking, writing, planning, talking.

Wikileaks Cables: Ukraine Elected “Our Ukraine Insider”

There's not much point in staging a coup if you don't influence who is placed in power in the aftermath. Of course in order for a puppet government to be effective, they can't be perceived as such. You wouldn't want the natives to get restless would you? The evidence that the U.S. was behind the toppling of the Ukrainian government early this year is so overwhelming at this point that the subject really isn't up for debate, however initially it was unclear how the election of Petro Poroshenko fit in. The ecstatic response by Washington when he was declared the winner, and their unbending support in spite of his ongoing military assault against civilians in the east, made it clear that he was the chosen one, but the paper trail wasn't immediately obvious. As it turns out, the evidence that Poroshenko is in the pocket of the U.S. State Department has been available all this time, you just had to know where to find it. In a classified diplomatic cable from 2006 released by, U.S. officials refer to Poroshenko as "Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko". A separate cable also released by Wikileaks makes it clear that the U.S. government was considered Poroshenko corrupt.

Inequality Is Not Inevitable

AN insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this “shining city on a hill” become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality? One stream of the extraordinary discussion set in motion by Thomas Piketty’s timely, important book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has settled on the idea that violent extremes of wealth and income are inherent to capitalism. In this scheme, we should view the decades after World War II — a period of rapidly falling inequality — as an aberration. This is actually a superficial reading of Mr. Piketty’s work, which provides an institutional context for understanding the deepening of inequality over time. Unfortunately, that part of his analysis received somewhat less attention than the more fatalistic-seeming aspects.

Why It’s Way Too Soon To Give Up On The Arab Spring

Three and a half years ago, the world was riveted by massive crowds of youths mobilizing in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand an end to Egypt's dreary police state. We watched transfixed as a movement first ignited in Tunisia spread from one part of Egypt to another, and then from country to country across the region. Before it was over, four presidents-for-life had been toppled and the region's remaining dictators were unsettled. The young Arabs who made the recent revolutions are ... distinctive: substantially more urban, literate, media-savvy and wired than their parents and grandparents. - Some 42 months later, in most of the Middle East and North Africa, the bright hopes for more personal liberties and an end to political and economic stagnation championed by those young people have been dashed. Instead, some Arab countries have seen counterrevolutions, while others are engulfed in internecine conflicts and civil wars, creating Mad Max-like scenes of postapocalyptic horror. But keep one thing in mind: The rebellions of the last three years were led by Arab millennials, by young people who have decades left to come into their own. Don't count them out yet.

German Protests Against The Federal Reserve And For Peace

In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Ken Jebsen a former main stream media journalist in Germany and Lars Maehrholz a skydiver that became the main organizer of the massive Monday peace vigils in Berlin. The protests in Berlin are not a left or right movement but a social media movement against the establishment that have grown to over a 100 cities and 3 countries. They started with Lars 2 1/2 months ago and with the help of Ken fm have grown to a very large number which made the main stream media in Berlin slander and attack the movement. For those interested in the historic background: The German Monday Demonstrations (Montagsdemonstrationen) helped to bring down the repressive surveillance state GDR regime 25 years ago:

Protests Seek To Occupy Westminster Abbey Over Cuts To Disabled

Campaigners have tried to occupy the grounds of Westminster Abbey in protest against the Government's decision to axe a fund for the disabled. The move, reminsicent of the long protest occupation at St Paul's Cathedral in 2011, saw at least ten police vans were part of a heavy police presence, with officers at times three rows deep to deal with around 100 protesters. The Guardian reported the protestors had planned to occupy the space until July 22 but the police presence caused the number of protestors to dwindle to around 50. The BBC reported that the protest ended at around 9pm on Saturday. The group had sent a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, urging the Church of England not to forcibly remove them, The Guardian reported. Tents were erected on the grass and draped with banners against the planned closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) for severely disabled people. Protesters claimed their attempts to negotiate their presence on the Abbey's grounds with the Dean of Westminster, Dr John Hall, had been rejected and they had been advised by police to leave the grounds or face arrest. Many moved on but a group of disabled protesters, many in wheelchairs, stayed on to continue the protest.

Investors Beware: Enbridge Not As Safe As It Seems

For many investors looking for a safe and steady income, dividend-paying Canadian pipeline companies have been a natural choice. And with a yield of almost 3 percent, Enbridge (ENB.TO 50.66 0.06 0.12%) would seem to fit the bill. However, according to Toronto-based money manager, Patrick Horan, Principal at Agilith Capital, investors might want to look elsewhere. "Enbridge is actually quite a dangerous stock," Horan tells BNN. "Their growth strategy is at risk." For Horan, who is actively short Enbridge stock, the issue lies with the company's dividend policy. Enbridge has raised its dividend steadily about 7-10 percent a year over the past three years, he explains. However at the same time, they have been issuing new shares to raise equity. "This is a conflicting strategy," says Horan. "Why raise the dividend and then go issue shares?" According to Horan, Enbridge is using all its free cash flow to support the dividend. "There's nothing in the tank for growth," he says.

Enbridge Pipeline Symposium Fails To Convince Audience

Last Tuesday evening, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, an environmental advocacy organization in Northern Michigan, hosted representatives from Enbridge, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Coast Guard and several other agencies at a high school in Petoskey, Michigan to talk about Enbridge’s Line 5. Line 5 is probably the most noteworthy crude oil pipeline in Enbridge’s Lakehead system. It runs right underneath the Straights of Mackinac, which connects lakes Michigan and Huron. If line 5 were to spill into the Straights of Mackinac (and line 5 has spilled in the past in Michigan), it would devastate the water supplies of 30 million people in the US and Canada as well as essentially annihilate Michigan’s economy. Enbridge sent their best PR representatives to assuage the people of northern Michigan, to say that everything was alright, Enbridge has learned its lesson from Kalamazoo and that the pipes are now all safer. But they presented dubious claims which further cast doubt on their trustworthiness. Among some of the misleading things that Enbridge representatives said was that the portion of the line 5 that runs under the Mackinac Straits is comprised of seamless pipes. This ignores the fact that the 5-mile segments of line 5 under the Straits are obviously welded together, which Beth Wallace from Pipeline Safety Trust was quick to point out. In response the Enbridge representative gave a hurried reassurance that the welds are being regularly monitored.

Baltimore Police Department Struggles With Truth & Justice

Baltimore Police Chief Batts has taken up the task of swaying public opinion of the city’s law enforcement. This past Wednesday on June 25th, Chief Batts along with his top brass participated in a City Hall public hearing on law enforcement practices. This comes after several years of community activism against police brutality, including brutality against Anthony Anderson and Tyrone West. Joining the fight recently has been 36 year old Abdul Salaam. Both the West and Salaam families filed reports with internal affairs which that say they were ignored. Both the Anderson & West incidents had been clouded by conflicting reports by the police and witnesses. The Baltimore Police Department claimed Anthony Anderson died of a drug overdose, while the facts revealed by the medical examiner indicated that it had been a homicide by blunt force. Abdul Salaam had been severely beaten by police upon a routine seatbelt stop last July of 2013. It has been recently reported that both the Salaam and West families have taken their grievances to a civil court because the Baltimore PD have found no wrong doing of officers in either case.

Will Detroit’s Water Be Privatized Or Recognized As Commons?

When it comes to a person’s fundamental needs being met - nothing is more basic and human, than to share. Right now the people of Detroit are being attacked by an unelected regime that represents the interests of the banks and large corporations. Their latest campaign has been to turn residents’ water off. Approximately 300,000 people shut off from water, because this makes sense in their corporate model. Detroiters sharing with neighbors hits all-time high. Water is life. We are all 85% water. Water is a Human Right. Happening right now in Detroit, next to the Great Lakes (25% of the fresh water for the world), under the guise of bankruptcy; residents are being targeted and pushed out of their homes and subjected to unreasonable rate hikes, in a bid to ultimately privatize Detroit’s water. "We are not saying that the services of running water should be free, we are saying it should be affordable and accessible by all, and we have put forth the Water Affordability Plan to that end, which was approved by our city council," says Priscilla Dziubek, of the Peoples Water Board.

Unitarians Vote To Divest From Carbon Fuels

Delegates at the 2014 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) meeting in Providence, RI, today passed a resolution calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies in the UUA Common Endowment Fund (UUCEF). The resolution requires the UUA to: Cease purchasing securities of CT200 companies as UUCEF investments immediately Continue to divest its UUCEF holdings of directly held securities of CT 200 companies, reaching full divestment of these companies within five years Work with its current and prospective pooled-asset managers for the purpose of creating more fossil fuel-free investment opportunities, with the objective of full divestment of UUCEF indirect holdings in CT200 companies within five years Invest an appropriate share of UUCEF holdings in securities that will support a swift transition to a clean energy economy, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency-related securities Report, via the UUA President and the Treasurer, to each General Assembly from 2015 through 2019 on our Association’s progress on the above resolutions Following the vote, UUA President Peter Morales said, “The UUA has a long-standing history of fighting for our environment. I am proud that we are going to put our money where our values are on this issue.”

The Fight To Ban Gold Mining And Save El Salvador’s Water Supply

“For us, the mine is death.” Those words, spoken by the president of a rural grassroots organization, capture the intensity and urgency of the struggle against mining in El Salvador. Mining has reaped devastating consequences in El Salvador. Toxins from mining operations have made 90 percent of El Salvador’s water undrinkable. Lung and kidney diseases run rampant among miners. Community leaders and activists who resist are hounded and cut down. The 15-minute documentary Gold or Water: The Struggle Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador dramatically illustrates Salvadorans’ passionate efforts to ward off mining from aggressive multinational firms. You can watch it in full here: The film focuses on the fight against Pacific Rim, a Canadian/Australian company that seeks to extract gold near the head of the Lempa River, from which nearly 70 percent of El Salvadorans get their water. Opposition is so strong that two successive governments have declared a moratorium on metallic mining. Over 62 percent of the population supports a permanent ban.

FCC Internet Proposal: The Contemporary Pillage Of The Commons

Seething below the surface of citizens' outrage at the FCC proposal to create a tiered, pay-to-play internet structure lays a story people know so well, it could be encoded in our DNA. The rich and powerful are stealing the commons of the people. Comcast, Verizon and other telecom giants are the new Lairds of the Highlands, the Marie Antoinettes, the Robber Barons of the 1890s. The Commons are no longer large tracks of land or public grazing grounds or local self-governance - those have already been stolen. The Commons under assault is the internet. As with every achievement of humanity, individual sectors of the populace try to take credit and ownership of the internet, saying, "I created this" or "I provide the infrastructure for your access." This is akin to saying, "I built the Empire State Building" instead of "thousands of hardworking, impoverished Americans poured the concrete and scaled the steel trusses; countless educators and inventors passed the knowledge of engineering to the designers; and the banks financed the construction with funds from war profiteering that was made on the bloodshed of millions."

Japanese Man Self-Immolates In Pro-Pacifist Constitution Protest

On a weekend marked by many protests against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial collective self-defense law changes. At around 1-2pm a man sat on the girders above a pedestrian footpath near Shinjuku Station’s busy South Exit area with a megaphone and two bottles containing dark liquid. He wore a suit and sat on a small mat. He spoke into the megaphone, announcing that he was going to kill himself in protest at the government’s push to involve Japan more in war. He then apparently set himself on fire, as graphic pictures on social media are allegedly showing.

Nevada Students Protest Outrageous Clinton Speaking Fee

Hillary Clinton is in hot water over a $225,000 speaking fee she will reportedly receive for an upcoming appearance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNLV students are demanding Clinton to return what they see as an "outrageous" speaking fee for an October event and have criticized the school for paying her so much money at a time when tuition is scheduled to spike by 17 percent over the next four years. "We really appreciate anybody who would come to raise money for the university," UNLV student body president Elias Benjelloun told a Nevada television station. "But anybody who's being paid $225,000 to come speak, we think that's a little bit outrageous. And we'd like Secretary Clinton, respectfully, to gracefully return to the university or the foundation." Benjelloun said the potential 2016 presidential contender should donate her fee to the university. But this wouldn't be Clinton's biggest speaking fee. The Wall Street Journal reports Clinton received $300,000 for speaking to students at UCLA in March.
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