Good morning! Today is Tuesday, May 15th, 2012. Jamie Dimon faces his shareholders today. Oh, to be a fly on that boardroom wall!
Throughout human history, seeds have been treated as a common human inheritance. This sacred and vital means of survival and biodiversity, however, is today being systematically eradicated and privatized. Massive agro-chemical companies like Monsanto (Agent Orange) and Dow (Napalm) are feeding us genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have never been fully tested and aren't labeled in the United States, where they grow on over 70% of our farmland. This small handful of corporations is tightening their grip on the world's food supply—buying, modifying, and patenting seeds to ensure total control over everything we eat. Today in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves, we are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. We are the oblivious guinea pigs for the large-scale experimentation of modern biotechnology.
“Control the food, and you control the people.” - Henry Kissinger
This film by Jeremy Seifert demonstrates how little Americans truly know about the food they eat and the companies that alter it.
Today in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves, we unwittingly participate in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Massive agro-chemical companies like Monsanto (Agent Orange) and Dow (Napalm) are feeding us genetically-modified food, GMO’s, that have never been fully tested and aren't labeled. This small handful of corporations are tightening their grip on the world’s food supply—buying, modifying, and patenting seeds to ensure total control over everything we eat.
The GMO Film Project (Untitled) tells the story of a father’s discovery of GMO’s through the symbolic act of poor Haitian farmers burning seeds in defiance of Monsanto’s gift of 475 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds to Haiti shortly after the devastating earthquake. After a journey to Haiti to learn why hungry farmers would burn seeds, the real awakening of what has happened to our food, what we are feeding our families, and what is at stake for the global food supply unfolds in a trip across the United States in search of answers.
Are we at a tipping point? Is it time to take back our food? The encroaching darkness of unknown health and environmental risks, seed take over, chemical toxins, and food monopoly meets with the light of a growing resistance of organic farmers, concerned citizens, and a burgeoning movement to take back what we have lost.
We still have time to heal the planet, feed the world, and live sustainably. But we have to start now.
A film by Compeller Pictures
Directed by Jeremy Seifert
Produced by Joshua Kunau
Co-Producer, Elizabeth Kucinich
Associate Producer, Timothy Vatterott
Cinematographer, Rod Hassler
Filmmaker Bianca Smith captures Occupy Los Angeles as they come from the north, south, east and west to converge into a Workers' Day celebration. "We are babysitters, nannies, we're gardeners, janitors, security guards," a woman shouts at a union rally. "We're all kinds of workers, and we demand respect!"
Marchers also share their visions of a more just world. "My version of a perfect society would be someplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to live up to their potential," a young man says. "I think that's the ideal place to live in."
Smith explains, "We had been anticipating for the May 1 General Strike (M1GS) for several weeks. Once the date got closer we held a couple meetings to talk about how we could cover all bases throughout the day. We knew that M1GS planned to flood the city in four "winds" (north, south, east, west) until the marches and caravans converged in Downtown LA. We created a camera team for each wind, composed solely of film students from The Los Angeles Film School, and we interviewed the likes of every culture and walk of life we could. Los Angeles is a city full of diversity and we wanted to capture that. There are a multitude of different types of people with a multitude of issues at hand to be dealt with. We wanted to convey the spirit of people, and I think we're all very happy with the results. This is a beautiful movement with real momentum, and I believe the medium of film and internet can play a very important role in that.
From Jasiri X:
I was in Madison, Wisconsin when the citizens took over the statehouse and it was one of the most amazing events I've witnessed. I saw firsthand the power of regular people coming together in unity to fight back against corrupt politicians and corporate influence. I'm honored to add my voice to this historic campaign to recall Scott Walker and rebuild Wisconsin.
"You're Fired" was directed by Paradise Gray and stars Silas Russell as "Scott Walker"
Yeah, it's time for a Recall
Untied we stand divided we fall
We tired of being treated like we small
You forgot you work for us and we the boss
So let's tell Scott Walker you're fired
Go clean out ya desk cause you're fired
Cash that last check cause you're fired
You don't wanna show us respect now you're fired
Peter joins the Tea Party to get rid of the annoying government, only to find the "grassroots" organization run by his billionaire father-in-law Carter Pewterschmidt for his own evil ends. (SPOILER ALERT: After dispensing with their local government --and the ensuing chaos which results from that-- the residents of Quahog invent a new system which looks strangely familiar to their old one.)
As Steve Benen noted, on the heels of the $2 billion loss by JPMorgan Chase, here was the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' reaction on Meet the Press this Sunday -- RNC Chief: Leave Wall Street alone:
JPMorgan's reckless, $2 billion fiasco appears to have a silver lining of sorts: the bank's bad bets help demonstrate the need for safeguards in the system. In his new column, Paul Krugman thanks JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for offering "an object demonstration of why Wall Street does, in fact, need to be regulated."
And yet, somehow, some still don't see it that way. On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, common sense be damned, argued that the JPMorgan mess changes nothing.
Host David Gregory asked a straightforward question: "In light of the losses on Wall Street this week, you think we need less financial regulation rather than more?" In Preibus' mind, it's not even a close call: "I think we need less." The RNC chief added that Democrats have "made things worse" by approving new safeguards and adding new layers of accountability to the financial system.
It reminded me of an Upton Sinclair line: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
This really isn't that complicated. In 2008, Wall Street, left to its own devises, nearly collapsed the global financial system. Four years later, institutions like JPMorgan are still taking enormous risks in reckless schemes. It's hard to even conceive of a straight-face argument against sensible regulations in light of recent developments, but the chairman of the Republican National Committee was on national television anyway, arguing that policymakers should be doing less. Read on...
As Steve pointed out, this is Mitt Romney's position as well and they're counting on the public hating regulation as much or more than they hate Wall Street. That's the talking point they've been hammering home regardless of how reckless Wall Street and the bankers have been in the aftermath of the crash and ever since President Obama took office, so I don't expect them to change now. Forget about the fact that Wall Street took our economy down, regulations are terrible. I suspect our media doing a terrible job of explaining why their views are wrong and why we ought to keep the gambling separate from the banking industry has a lot to do with why Republicans have not suffered more greatly when it comes to public opinion on the matter. Interviews like this one with David Gregory sure aren't helping any.
Transcript below the fold.
Concerned citizens and members of FtheBanks.org deliver a letter to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on May 4th, demanding that he hold a public hearing regarding the federal bank fraud investigation he co-chairs. The NYPD arrive and naturally all are arrested.
[H/T to MountainMan23]
Moyers talks to RoseAnn DeMoro, who heads the largest registered nurses union in the country, and will lead a Chicago march protesting economic inequality on May 18th. DeMoro is championing the Robin Hood Tax, a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. The money generated, which some estimate could be as much as $350 billion annually, could be used for social programs and job creation, ultimately to people who, without a doubt, need it more than the banks do.
DeMoro and her organization, National Nurses United, have an inspiring history of defeating some of the toughest opponents in government and politics.
[Video of the brutal beating of 19-year old Jateik Reed during an NYPD "Stop and Frisk"]
The NYPD on Sunday spoke with glowing praise of their under-fire "Stop and Frisk" policy that allows them to throw anyone they please up against a wall, and sometimes worse (See Jateik Reed video above).
Comparing numbers from the first three months of 2012 to the same period last year, the number of such stops increased 10% while the number of illicit guns taken away went up 31%, according to a New York Police Department statement from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.
Meanwhile, New York's murder rate has plunged 21% year-to-date as of last Friday -- meaning, if the current trend continues, the yearly number of murders in the city would be the lowest since such statistics first were recorded, as such, in 1963.
"New York City continues to be the safest big city in America, and one of the safest of any size, with significantly less crime per capita ... than even small cities," the department said.
Police cited Operation Impact and the "stop and frisk" policy as key reasons for the improving crime statistics. But the policy has been criticized sharply by some as grounds for racial profiling.
The statement drew a harsh response from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as executive director Donna Lieberman accused the NYPD of trying to "massage the numbers to make this look like an effective and worthwhile program."
Just last Wednesday, the NYCLU released a report of their own based on the information cited by the NYPD in Sunday's statement from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne:
More young black men were stopped and frisked by police last year than actually live in the city, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
About 168,000 black men between the ages of 14 and 24 were stopped under the controversial NYPD program in 2011 -- compared to the 158,406 who live in the five boroughs.
The NYCLU report also revealed of five precincts with blacks and latinos comprising as little as 8 percent of the population, they still accounted for up to 77 percent of of the stops in those areas.
The NYPD denies any claims of racial profiling, and says that it targets only "those who commit crimes." Yet as was revealed in the case of Jateik Reed, claims by police that he was carrying drugs have been shown to be false, and that his arrest was unfounded and he shouldn't have even been stopped when an outdoor surveillance camera video surfaced.
The Yes Men, along with Occupy Dallas, have struck again:
Two dozen rogue "delegates" disrupted the corporate-sponsored welcome gala for the high-stakes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations yesterday with a fake award ceremony and "mic check." Other activists, meanwhile, replaced hundreds of rolls of toilet paper (TP) throughout the conference venue with more informative versions, and projected a message on the venue's facade.
The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala's keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as "Git Haversall," president of the "Texas Corporate Power Partnership," and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the "2012 Corporate Power Tool Award," which "Haversall's" partner held aloft.
The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and "Haversall" continued: "I'd like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right."
At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening's formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.
Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed "delegates" (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted "TPP! TPP! TPP!" for several minutes until Dallas police arrived.