Resistance Builds to NATO’s Threat of Permanent War and Nuclear Dominance

From Truth Out:

By Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn
Sunday, 18 March 2012

The leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the gently named but dangerous behemoth dominated by the United States – and history’s largest global military cohort – plan to meet in Chicago on May 20 and 21.

The tiny fraternity of concentrated wealth and power that calls itself the Group of Eight (G8) was to have met in Chicago in mid-May as well, overlapping with NATO. Fearing massive protests, the G8 cancelled, retreating to Camp David, Maryland, chased out of town by a coalition of dissidents, activists and agitators.

Isolated and inaccessible, Camp David is where the “leaders” of the planet’s eight wealthiest countries belong – sequestered and remote, barricaded and cut off in every imaginable way. The Camp David move illuminates the elite’s isolation from the people they pretend to represent.

By the same token, NATO – a military alliance of 28 countries, – is the only major intergovernmental body without a basic information disclosure policy. It’s a closed cabal with an active PR front and zero engagement with the public it claims to protect.

From their separate berths, NATO and the G-8’s heads of state, intelligence personnel, foreign ministers and generals, cabinet members and secret operatives, advisors and bureaucrats – the 1 percent of the 1 percent – will conspire to extend and defend their obscene wealth, to exploit the remaining fossil fuels, natural resources, human labor, and the living planet to the last drop, and to dominate the people of the global majority.

A People’s Primer on NATO

On NATO’s official web site, a white dove flutters across an elegant page, but soon enough, it moves to images of helicopters and fighter planes menacing the world under the facade of peace.

“NATO forces” are referenced constantly, and yet the reality of NATO is obscure and enigmatic.

US military spending alone accounts for nearly half of the world’s military spending; add NATO countries, and the figure jumps to three quarters.Under cover of NATO, 9,000 British troops were deployed to fight a US war in Afghanistan, offering a fig leaf presented as “coalition forces” to US military aggression.

Purportedly set up as a defensive organization, in 1999 NATO’s mission statement was rewritten to allow for offensive action across the Eurasian landmass. Since 1999, NATO has waged war in four countries on three continents, none of which are near the North Atlantic region: in Southeast Europe’s Yugoslavia, North Africa’s Libya and Central and South Asia’s Afghanistan and Iraq.

NATO retains hundreds of nuclear weapons in military facilities across Europe, an end-run around the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forbids the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear countries. England is required by the NPT to work toward nuclear disarmament; instead, its nuclear weapons system has been hidden under NATO since the 1960s, a set-up that means its nuclear weapons could be used against any country attacking, or threatening to attack, any of NATO’s member states.

Between 150 and 240 US nuclear weapons are sited in five European countries. These are B61 gravity bombs—tactical nuclear weapons—which are more flexible and easier to use in a battlefield and have a variable explosive power exceeding, at their upper limits, the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb by more than a factor of ten. NATO’s pre-emptive “first strike” doctrine is a menacing presence across the planet; its Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) is the latest successor to Reagan’s Star Wars plan. Russia recently signed on and will be on the US side of the space shield, erected against some other states – perhaps Iran, perhaps China – promoted to the status of “enemy.”   

Municipal Militarism Protects Global Militarism

A 1984-style national security dragnet is set to descend on Chicago in an attempt to lock the city down during the NATO summit. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made it clear that he will happily act as the host of NATO – and that the 99 percent are not welcome. Emanuel is concocting a culture of fear, suggesting that it is the growing human resistance to NATO  that represents danger, outside agitators, violence and invasion.

Universities and schools are being urged to close early in May; communities of color are told that NATO’s work is not their concern; merchants are preparing for assault from the dissenting masses. But NATO, and their G8 friends in hiding, are the real masters of war; it is they who are the greatest purveyors of violence on this earth.

It is unsurprising, then, that Emanuel has funding to further arm and mobilize the police and militarize the city. The Mayorl has announced plans to contain and suppress demonstrators. He has pushed through legislation that restricts and criminalizes free speech and assembly and requires costly insurance for public demonstrations. He is issuing a steady stream of pronouncements about a fabricated Chicago, which he says is under siege from ominous and dangerous outside forces.

The mayor, not the popular resistance, is creating conditions – once again – for a police riot in Chicago against people exercising their right to peaceful dissent. Emanuel can still change course, and he should; so far, he has chosen to frame the coming convergence of protesters and the powerful solely in military and security terms.

Join the Coalition/Come to Chicago

Chicago is big enough for all—it is after all a nuclear-free and cease-fire city, cradle of the Haymarket martyrs and the 8-hour day, labor and peace actions, vast civil rights and immigration rights manifestations, home of Ida B. Wells Barnett, Jane Addams, Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Studs Terkel.  Chicago is a vast public space with historic parks, monuments, neighborhoods and streets for popular mobilzations—Chicago belongs to all of us.  We underline the right—the moral duty—to dissent and demonstrate, to resist and to be heard, to participatory (not billionaire paid-for) democracy.

The festival of NATO counter-summits, protests, and family-friendly permitted marches planned for May are the next chapter. Organizers and supporters will use humor and music, art and play, civil disobedience and imagination to voice their rejection of permanent imperial wars and the many forms of violence that arise from the same paradigm: discrimination and hate based on race, gender and ethnicity; epic income disparity; mass incarceration; inadequate resources for education, health care and opportunities for meaningful work.

Music, dance, teach-ins and peoples’ tribunals will overflow the parks and theatres. The protests are in the spirit of the Arab Spring, Occupy and the Madison labor struggle, drawing equal inspiration from the work of many others: the Pelican Bay hunger strikers, teachers and nurses, the undocumented  DREAMers, returning veterans against the wars, women  insisting on reproductive dignity, people resisting foreclosures/take-back-the-landers,, those working for LGBTQ equality and more.

People from everywhere will bring their spirits and their creativity, pitch their tents and stake their claims. Join us!

Friday, May 18: National Nurses United Rally, Daley Center Plaza.

Sunday, May 20 (morning): Iraq Veterans Against the War Rally and March.

Sunday, May 20 (afternoon):  Coalition Against NATO-G8 Poverty Agenda (CANG8) Rally and March, Downtown Chicago.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys

From The New York Times:

The new economics of horse racing are making an always-dangerous game even more so, as lax oversight puts animal and rider at risk.

Published: March 24, 2012

RUIDOSO, N.M. — At 2:11 p.m., as two ambulances waited with motors running, 10 horses burst from the starting gate at Ruidoso Downs Race Track 6,900 feet up in New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains.

Nineteen seconds later, under a brilliant blue sky, a national champion jockey named Jacky Martin lay sprawled in the furrowed dirt just past the finish line, paralyzed, his neck broken in three places. On the ground next to him, his frightened horse, leg broken and chest heaving, was minutes away from being euthanized on the track.

For finishing fourth on this early September day last year, Jacky Martin got about $60 and possibly a lifetime tethered to a respirator.

The next day, it nearly happened again. At virtually the same spot, another horse broke a front leg, pitching his rider headfirst into the ground. The jockey escaped serious injury, but not the 2-year-old horse, Teller All Gone. He was euthanized, and then dumped near an old toilet in a junkyard a short walk from where he had been sold at auction the previous year.

In the next 24 hours, two fearful jockeys refused their assigned mounts. The track honored two other riders who had died racing. As doctors fought to save Mr. Martin’s life, a sign went up next to the track tote board: “Hang in there, Jacky. We love you.”

 On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Our Q and A with Rosalind Barnett on gender bias

From The Dallas Morning News:

23 March 2012

Men aren’t from Mars, and women aren’t from Venus. That’s the takeaway from a recent study examining the math performance of girls and boys. Points asked Brandeis professor Rosalind Barnett, who studies gender issues, to comment on the study and the similar achievements by males and females. Contrary to conventional wisdom, girls can make gains in the subject without boys suffering losses, she says.

A University of Wisconsin study shows that as girls do better in math, their gains don’t come at the expense of boys. Is that discovery new, or is that something educators have known but cultural biases have led people to think boys belong in math and the sciences more than girls?

This is a very strong stereotype. It gets picked up when kids are very young. But it seems to be dissolving. Girls are doing well in math. A French study shows that fifth- and seventh-grade girls and boys see girls as doing better in math than boys.

We are seeing some kind of shift. And boys are not doing badly. It’s that girls are doing better.

Why is that?

We’re seeing less discouragement of girls in math and the sciences. More girls in higher grades are taking math classes. And more girls are thinking of college, where they know they will need to do well in math. And more girls are joining the workforce, where understanding math is a gateway into a good job.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

An Apple a Day Might Just Cut Profits

From Common Dreams:

by Donna Smith
Published on Sunday, March 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

My mom said it. Her mom said it. I have even repeated it to my own children. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Yet as patients, healthcare professionals, and others who eat in our healthcare facilities around the country may notice, eating healthy fare – including apples – isn’t promoted among the food offerings in cafeterias or on patient food service trays. Often the most readily available foods in our healthcare facilities are laden partially or wholly processed foods with unhealthy levels of salt, sugar, and/or fat.

Why is it that healthy, nutrient rich foods are often more difficult to find at healthcare facilities when the rising levels of heart disease, Type II diabetes, and other serious health issues have at their core at least some component of nutritional trouble?

We are told bad food habits in America contribute to obesity and the health issues that often flow from our unhealthy eating habits, yet our health providers are complicit in making sure those bad eating habits are reinforced. What is that all about? Job security? Do our providers really want us to be healthier?

Another phrase my mom used to banter about was, “Do as I do, not as I say.” Well said, Mom. So when I recently saw a toddler reaching into the donut case as her breakfast choice at one of our leading hospitals, should I have blamed her mother for allowing her child to eat the high sugar, high fat, low nutrient offering? Or might I wonder why a leading hospital chooses to have a donut case at the front lines of the cafeteria like the candy counters at the grocery stores? Why encourage bad eating?

In that same hospital cafeteria where the toddler poked the donuts one by one with her index finger before finally choosing one (I am not making that up), the section with fresh fruit and whole grain cereals and other healthy choices was in the back, darkly lit section. Why wouldn’t we put the fresh fruit up front and remove the ice cream and other frozen, sugar treat coolers? Many hospitals and clinics also have big fried food stations, pizza counters, and their own burger stands. Why? Why sell saturated fat? Why sell processed foods?

For the life of me – really for my life and yours – I cannot imagine a good reason for our healthcare providers to serve unhealthy foods.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Republicans are desperate to kill health care reform – stop them.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Documents Show NYPD Infiltrated Liberal Groups

From The New York Times:

Published: March 23, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Undercover NYPD officers attended meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the country, according to interviews and documents that show how police have used counterterrorism tactics to monitor even lawful activities.

The infiltration echoes the tactics the NYPD used in the run-up to New York’s 2004 Republican National Convention, when police monitored church groups, anti-war organizations and environmental advocates nationwide. That effort was revealed by The New York Times in 2007 and in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit over how the NYPD treated convention protesters.

Police said the pre-convention spying was necessary to prepare for the huge, raucous crowds that were headed to the city. But documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the police department’s intelligence unit continued to keep close watch on political groups in 2008, long after the convention had passed.

In April 2008, an undercover NYPD officer traveled to New Orleans to attend the People’s Summit, a gathering of liberal groups organized around their shared opposition to U.S. economic policy and the effect of trade agreements between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When the undercover effort was summarized for supervisors, it identified groups opposed to U.S. immigration policy, labor laws and racial profiling. Two activists — Jordan Flaherty, a journalist, and Marisa Franco, a labor organizer for housekeepers and nannies — were mentioned by name in one of the police intelligence reports obtained by the AP.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Water wars between countries could be just around the corner, Davey warns

From The Guardian UK:

Energy secretary tells conference that growing pressure on water resources could worsen existing war and lead to new ones

, environment correspondent, Thursday 22 March 2012

Water wars could be a real prospect in coming years as states struggle with the effects of climate change, growing demand for water and declining resources, the secretary of state for energy and climate change warned on Thursday.

Ed Davey told a conference of high-ranking politicians and diplomats from around the world that although water had not been a direct cause of wars in the past, growing pressure on the resource if climate change is allowed to take hold, together with the pressure on food and other resources, could lead to new sources of conflict and the worsening of existing conflicts.

“Countries have not tended to go to war over water, but I have a fear for the world that climate instability drives political instability,” he said. “The pressure of that makes conflict more likely.”

Even a small temperature rise – far less than the 4C that scientists predict will result from a continuation of business as usual – could lead to lower agricultural yields, he warned, at a time when population growth means that demand for food was likely to be up by 70% by 2060. By the same time, he noted, the number of people living in conditions of serious water stress would have reached 1.8 billion, according to estimates.

“Climate change intensifies pressures on states, and between states,” he told the conference, gathered to discuss whether climate change and natural resources should be regarded as a national security issue. “[Its effects] can lead to internal unrest … and exacerbate existing tensions. We have to plan for a world where climate change makes difficult problems even worse.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Greek Bailouts and Default

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Sex trafficking: The Backpage dilemma

From Salon:

Is it possible to rid the online classified site of child trafficking without shuttering its adult section?

By Tracy Clark-Flory
Saturday, Mar 24, 2012

This week saw a renewed effort, led by the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, to pressure Village Voice Media’s online classified site to shutter its adult section. On Sunday, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist offered up a harrowing story about “Alissa,” whose pimp used the site to sell her for sex at the age of 16 and 17. A couple of days later, Kristof responded to a Village Voice article claiming that his original column contained factual errors with a rebuttal and a call for Backpage to “get out of carrying prostitution advertising” altogether.

For many progressives, there is a dramatic tension here: Horror at the existence of child trafficking, and a desire to see it disappear, and yet a belief that consenting adults should be able to do what they want sexually — maybe even if it involves the exchange of money. It’s not even a question of one concern trumping the other, because, while theories abound, it’s unclear what impact the shuttering of Backpage’s adult section would have on trafficking as a whole, let alone whether similar ads wouldn’t just pop up in the personals section; nor is it clear what impact the site’s screening measures have had on reducing trafficking ads.

It’s hard enough nailing down accurate figures on the number of children trafficked in the U.S. each year — the most commonly cited estimate is 100,000 to 300,000, but the Village Voice claims those figures are wildly inflated and “hatched without regard to science.” We do know that more than 50 cases of child trafficking (attempted or otherwise) on Backpage have been reported over a three-year period, which brings up another quandary: Do we castigate the site for failing to detect those ads or celebrate these as cases where traffickers were actually caught? Furthering the contradiction: Backpage is both friend and foe to traffickers. It’s an ideal advertising outlet, but it’s also one of the most, if not the most, relied upon tools for law enforcement to identify child trafficking victims.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Reporter Matt Taibbi Says Fraud and Bailouts Are the Secrets to Bank of America’s Success

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Another Hidden Bailout: Helping Wall Street Collect Your Rent

From Rolling Stone:

By Matt Taibbi
March 19, 2012

Here’s yet another form of hidden bailout the federal government doles out to our big banks, without the public having much of a clue.

This is from the WSJ this morning:

Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae…

While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties in bulk to large investors could require Fannie Mae to sell at a big discount, leading to larger initial costs.

In con artistry parlance, they call this the “reload.” That’s when you hit the same mark twice – typically with a second scam designed to “fix” the damage caused by the first scam. Someone robs your house, then comes by the next day and sells you a fancy alarm system, that’s the reload.

In this case, banks pumped up the real estate market by creating huge volumes of subprime loans, then dumped a lot of them on, among others, Fannie and Freddie, the ever-ready enthusiastic state customer. Now the loans have crashed in value, yet the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) are still out there feeding the banks money through two continuous bailouts.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Savage killing of Iraqi mother of five in California investigated as hate crime

From The Guardian UK:

Killer beat Shaima Alawadito death in family home and left note that said: ‘Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.’

in New York, Sunday 25 March 2012

California police say an Iraqi-born mother of five who was beaten to death may have been the victim of a hate crime. The killer of Shaima Alawadi, 32, left a note reportedly reading: “Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”

Alawadi, an immigrant, died on Saturday after the attack last Wednesday. Police said her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima, found her unconscious in the dining room of the family’s home in El Cajon, California at about 11:15am. Alawadi died soon after being taken off a hospital life support machine, police said.

Fatima told a local television station that her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tyre lever, and that the note said “go back to your country, you terrorist”. The police confirmed a note had been found but did not release the details.

The daughter had reportedly been sleeping upstairs. She found her mother in a pool of blood with a sliding glass door into the house broken.

According to El Cajon police lieutenant Mark Coit, the family told the police that another threatening note had been found earlier this month outside their home. But they told police that they had not reported it after dismissing it as a prank.

“During the initial stages of this investigation, a threatening note was discovered very close to where the victim was found. The victim’s family stated they had found a similar note earlier this month, however did not report it to authorities. Although we are exploring all aspects of this investigation, evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident. No additional information is being released at this time,” the police said in a statement.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Gloria Steinem Supports President Obama

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Portraying Men As Stupid to Undermine Women

From Slate:

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It’s a truism in feminist circles that no one hates men more than anti-feminists, and it’s a truism two recent items from the notoriously anti-feminist conservative rag Daily Mail demonstrate neatly. The Daily Mail has a tendency to portray men as hapless dogs who, being more beast than human, can no more be expected to respect women’s rights than Sparky can be taught to use the toilet. (Cats, on the other hand….) Unfortunately, other outlets tend to pick up the Daily Mail’s man-bashing anti-feminism as if it’s light-hearted fluff, and these two stories are no different.

Story number one portrays men as too stupid to dress themselves. No, literally. From the Yahoo coverage:

“Apparently two thirds of men rely on their wife or significant other to choose their work clothes for them. Half of those surveyed admitted to also being physically dressed by their partner, such as helping put on their tie.”

The story goes on to say that 30 percent of men are dressed by their mothers and another 17 percent by their mothers-in-law. But it’s worth noting that the study was conducted not by sociologists, but by a website whose purpose is to guide men’s fashion choices. Stylepilot wants to shame men into using their services. At least that goal is a teeny bit less offensive than the Daily Mail‘s usual hammering at women, telling us that we simply can’t have hopes and dreams of our own, because that cuts in to the time that we need to dress our overgrown man-children. Yes, I’m skeptical that the majority of grown men can’t dress themselves. It’s particularly insulting when you remember that men’s clothes tend to be simpler than women’s clothes, especially when it comes to what to wear to work.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

After A Lifetime Of Hard Work, The Indignity Of A Layoff

From Huffington Post:


Linda Hall of Spokane, Wash. has worked hard all her life but hasn’t earned any respect from the labor market. Laid off for the first time at age 62, Hall has no health insurance, not enough savings for retirement and almost no chance of getting hired again.

“A year ago I was absolutely certain that I had job security,” Hall said. “Change is a part of life. But, truthfully, until a few weeks before [getting laid off], I just didn’t see it coming and couldn’t imagine such a thing happening.”

Like many older workers, Hall is confronting America’s new economic reality.

“If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck and good benefits and the occasional promotion,” President Barack Obama lamented in his 2011 State of the Union Address. “That world has changed.”

Baby Boomers like Hall are more likely than previous generations to keep working, or at least looking for work, as they get older. Since hitting a low of 29 percent in the 1990s, the labor force participation rate for older workers (those who are 55 and up) has risen to 40 percent today. The increase is partly due to employers offering stingier retirement plans than they once did.

Hall said she had a poignant experience during her first visit to the local workforce center. “I saw so many sad, lost looking people and my heart just went out to them. There was such an air of bewilderment and despair,” she said in an email. “One lady had her teenage daughter helping her with paperwork; they were both struggling to be strong for each other, tears in their eyes.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Reproductive Rights and the Long Hand of Slave Breeding

From The Nation:

March 21, 2012  

I hate liberalism’s language of “choice.” I always have. Redolent of the marketplace, it reduces the most intimate aspects of existence, of women’s physical autonomy, to individualistic purchasing preferences. A sex life or a Subaru? A child or a cheeseburger? Life, death or liposuction? In that circumstance, capitalism’s only question is, Who pays and who profits? The state’s only question is, Who regulates and how much? If there is an upside to the right’s latest, seemingly loony and certainly grotesque multi-front assault on women, it is the clarion it sounds to humanists to take the high ground and ditch the anodyne talk of “a woman’s right to choose” for the weightier, fundamental assertion of “a woman’s right to be.”

That requires that we look to history and the Constitution. I found myself doing that a few weeks back, sitting in the DC living room of Pamela Bridgewater, talking about slavery as the TV news followed the debate over whether the State of Virginia should force a woman to spread her legs and endure a plastic wand shoved into her vagina. Pamela has a lot of titles that, properly, ought to compel me to refer to her now as Professor Bridgewater—legal scholar, teacher at American University, reproductive rights activist, sex radical—but she is my friend and sister, and we were two women sitting around talking, so I shall alternate between the familiar and the formal.

“What a spectacle,” Pamela exclaimed, “Virginia, the birthplace of the slave breeding industry in America, is debating state-sanctioned rape. Imagine the woman who says No to this as a prerequisite for abortion. Will she be strapped down, her ankles shackled to stir-ups?”

“I suspect,” said I, “that partisans would say, ‘If she doesn’t agree, she is free to leave.’ ”

“Right, which means she is coerced into childbearing or coerced into taking other measures to terminate her pregnancy, which may or may not be safe. Or she relents and says Yes, and that’s by coercion, too.”

“Scratch at modern life and there’s a little slave era just below the surface, so we’re right back to your argument.”

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 161 other followers