There are many facets to the conflict in Ukraine that have been overlooked by most media outlets. The role of western biotech firms is just one of them. (Image: via Natural Society)
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game.
Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover.
Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine.
In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday.
In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over.
As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute:
“Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.
There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.”
The nation WAS Europe’s breadbasket – and now in an act of bio-warfare, it will become the wasteland that many US farmlands have become due to copious amounts of herbicide spraying, the depletion of soil, and the overall disruption of a perfect ecosystem.
The aim of US government entities is to support the takeover of Ukraine for biotech interests (among other strategies involving the prop-up of a failing cabalistic banking system that Russia has also refused with its new alignment with BRICS and its own payment system called SWIFT). This is similar to biotech’s desiredtakeover of Hawaiian islands and land in Africa.
The Ukraine war has many angles that haven’t been exposed to the general public – and you can bet that biotech has their hands in the proverbial corn pie.
For this MLK Day and 50th anniversary of Selma, much inspiring action intent on reclaiming what Cornel West proudly deems “the Radical King” – anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-war, democratic socialist – and his “revolutionary witness.” Protests from Ferguson to Oakland, updates from #ReclaimMLK and #MLKalsoSaid, Selma’s “bottom-up” history, and King’s fierce Letter From Birmingham Jail “because injustice is here…(and) injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
How Often are Unarmed Black Men Shot Down By Police?
Aug 24, 2014 9:26am PDT by Frank Vyan Walton
We stand today, two weeks after the shooting Death of UnarmedJohn Crawford, a week and a half after the Police Shooting Death of Unarmed Michael Brown, about a week after the shooting of Death of Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, in the wake of the Choke-Hold Death of Eric Garner in New York, years after the shooting death of unarmed Sean Bell and Amadour Diallo also in New York, years now after the Shooting Death of Unarmedand Hand-cuffed, Face DownOscar Grant in Oakland, years after the shooting death of unarmed Kendrec McDade in Pasadena, a decade after the asphyxiation of unarmed Johnny Gammage in Pittsburgh, more decades after the choke-hold police Murder cover-up of Ron Settles in Signal Hill, the Police shooting of Eula Love over a $22 water bill payment in 1979, and of so many others.
We are told these are isolated incidents. We are told that they are simply the Officers procuring their own safety and if only the “suspects” had surrendered or obeyed they would still be alive today.
Every time. In each case. Police never get it wrong. They never make a mistake, are never in a bad mood, have a short temper, may have been overly fearful and may have overreacted. Because in nearly all these cases that’s what we’re initially told by Police sources and their supporters.
“It was a good shoot”.
It’s a familar broken record.
How often does that record get put on in the iPad when Police want to drown out the cries of an outraged public, until they forced to find out what really happened and it’s not anything like the Police initially claimed? How often do Police shoot and kill unarmed suspects who pose no real threat to them? How often does this happen to Black People? How often does it happen to White People? Or anyone?
The truly frightening thing is that we apparently don’t know. We have no idea. Not even a clue. We’ve been tracking the statistics about Crime for decades at individual police agencies and in the FBI Uniform Crime Report, But those reports don’t document exactly when Cops become Murdering Criminals. This fact – which has sparked police riots and racial unrest going all the way back to the 1960’s – is still a mystery.
Efforts to keep track of “justifiable police homicides” are beset by systemic problems. “Nobody that knows anything about the SHR puts credence in the numbers that they call ‘justifiable homicides,’” when used as a proxy for police killings, said David Klinger, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri who specializes in policing and the use of deadly force. And there’s no governmental effort at all to record the number of unjustifiable homicides by police. If Brown’s homicide is found to be unjustifiable, it won’t show up in these statistics.
Is being shot down by a cop in the street something that’s just as likely to happen to White Suspects as a Black person, or do those who’ve sensed a decades long pattern here actually have a point? Why don’t we have this information? Could it be intentional?
If we want to know how many Justifiable Homicides occur by Police or Private Citizens we can get those number easily. This is them.
But if we want to know how many Law Enforcement Shootings are “Unjustified” – we get no answer from the FBI. None.
One source, in a report called “Operation Ghetto Storm” says that in 2012 that of the 739 “Justified” shootings shown above from 2012, 313 of them were Black. 44% of them or 136, were unarmed. 27% of them (83) were claimed by Law Enforcement to have Gun at the time of the shooting, but that could not be later confirmed or the “gun” was in fact, a toy or other non-lethal object. 20% of them (62) were confirmed to have been armed with a gun, knife or cutting tool.
This report, which was gathered by searching media reports, obituaries and even facebook pages of deceased persons includes the following table as an example.
91% of the people killed by Police in Chicago in 2012 were Black? 87% in New York? 100% in Saginaw and Rockford? I gotta admit even after focusing on this subject for over 30 years, since Ron Settles was killed, I find that kind of shocking.
The report goes on to say that 47% of these killings (146 cases) occurred not because of the person brandishing a weapon (as noted above less then 30% of them HAD a weapon, or were even thought to have a weapon), it’s because the Officer or Citizen – “felt threatened” and were in “fear”. In only 8% (25 cases) did the suspect fire or discharge a weapon that wounded or killed Police or others while Officers were on the scene.
Only eight (8) Officers were Charged with Murder, Manslaughter or use of excessive force in these case.
Is this report comprehensive? Is it fully accurate? I don’t know, it’s gone through several revisions and updates as none of the data is being officially compiled anywhere and some things can be missed that way.
This summer ColorLines and The Chicago Reporterconducted a joint national investigation of fatal police shootings in America’s 10 largest cities, each of which had more than 1 million people in 2000. Several striking findings emerged.To begin, African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated.
The contrast was particularly noticeable in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.
They analyzed the data from the Ten Largest Cities and in Every City – every single one – had double the number of black shooting victims than their proportion in the population.
And it’s not just happening to Black People.
Starting in 2001, the number of incidents in which Latinos were killed by police in cities with more than 250,000 people rose four consecutive years, from 19 in 2001 to 26 in 2005. The problem was exceptionally acute in Phoenix, which had the highest number of Latinos killed in the country.Despite these persistent problems of disproportionate police force in communities of color, a disturbing lack of accountability plagues several of the cities examined.
In Chicago, for example, an examination of media accounts shows that only one shooting out of the 84 fatal police shootings occurred since 2000 has been found unjustified. Monique Bond, spokeswoman at the Chicago Police Department, said that more than one shooting had been determined to have been outside department guidelines, but could not provide specific numbers.
But it’s not all Bad News.
After five consecutive years of more than 200 reported incidents of fatal police shootings in cities with more than 250,000 people during the early 1990s, the numbers for these cities fell during most of the decade, dropping as low as 138 in 1999 before resuming a general upward climb to 170 in 2003. These figures may be low due to underreporting by some departments to the federal government.Washington, D.C., which had the nation’s highest rate of police shootings during the 1990s, has cut the rate of shootings dramatically through a combination of training and accountability. Others point to a small but growing number of police departments like Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. that are looking not so much at whether the shootings are justified or not, but about the decisions police and supervisors took that led up to the shootings.
And beyond scanning press accounts, which to be honest are incomplete when only focusing on the larger cities, there is some information available on this from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (pdf).
o The most common reason for contact with police in 2008 was being a driver in a traffic stop (44.1%)o Black drivers were about three times as likely as white drivers and about two times as likely as Hispanic drivers to be searched during a traffic stop.
White New Yorkers make up a small minority of stop-and-frisks, which were 84 percent black and Latino residents. Despite this much higher number of minorities deemed suspicious by police, the likelihood that stopping an African American would find a weapon was half the likelihood of finding one on a white person.
So why then, exactly, are they doing it? If stopping twice the Black people only generates half the guns or drugs, why does this happen?
The table shows that the percentage of Blacks that are arrested during traffic stops is twice (4.7% to 2.4%) as high as White Drivers. And similarly their likelyhood of being ticketed is greater (58% to 53%) – although Latinos top them both at 62% – and their likelyhood of receiving a written warning (14.8% to 17.7%) or a verbal warning (6.0% to 11.2%) are consistently lower.
A similar differential can be seen when it comes to Officer Uses of Force against persons of different Races and Ages.
You can see that consistently from 2002 through 2008 that Black citizens encountering police received threats of force, or use of force at least Three Times More Often than White citizens. Latinos citizens were threatened with force, or had force used on them about Twice as Often.
If we are to use the example provided by Chicago as a rough guide, about 95% of these instances are being deemed “Justified” by the Police but that’s not how the citizens feel about it.
o Among persons who had contact with police in 2008, an estimated 1.4% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, which was not statistically different from the percentages in 2002 (1.5%) and 2005 (1.6%).o A majority of the people who had force used or threatened against them said they felt it was excessive
So I wonder when it comes to that majority who felt that force used against them was “excessive”, would it be accurate to say that black people – who as shown above received about three times the threats and uses of force against them – doth complain too much about it?
Nope, not so much.
The highest complain level is Latinos at 78%, then Whites at 72% and Blacks are Dead Last with only complaining about use of excessive force 70% of the time. Now this may be because they feel their complaints would be falling on deaf ears, and the fact that the percentage of incidents for each group would tend to be the exact inverse tends to bear that out, but I find it also interesting, as noted by fivethirtyeight.com, that the issue that has brought the entire subject up – excessive use of deadly force – isn’t even included in the BJS report.
Wow, ain’t that somethin’?
If the use of kicking, punching, tasering and pointing guns at citizens is felt to be excessive an average of 74% of the time – and is Three Times Higher for Black People – just what would the percentages of unjustified, excessive uses of deadly forcereally be like if we had those numbers?
Could it be as high as 80%, 90%?
Could it be so bad that the obviousness of it all would be plain for all to see? Just how bad is it? Maybe that’s why, with all this number crunching already being provided by the BJS and Police Departments and the FBI – we still don’t have that. one. strategic. figure.
Somehow I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
That’s why we have people marching in the Streets in Ferguson, and Los Angeles, and New York this week. People are marching for the truth. For Justice. What we all used to not cynically laugh and call “the American Way…”
Maybe we should start to solve the problem by defining and quantifying the problem. Then we can measure if things are getting better, or if they’re getting worse, if we’re going the right direction or we’re going the wrong way. Body cams or not, if we don’t have raw data – we don’t really know what’s going on, do we? None of us.
But I think we now have a clue, and it doesn’t look good.
The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.
I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time.They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.
The second biggest thing I learned is that bad journalism colludes with police to hide this information. The primary reason for this is that police will cut off information to reporters who tell tales. And a reporter can’t work if he or she can’t talk to sources. It happened to me on almost every level as I advanced this year-long Fatal Encounters series through the News & Review. First they talk; then they stop, then they roadblock.
Not exactly worthy of the “blind trust” of the public, are they?
In part this is satire, but it is also in a sense quite realistic. I was taught how to behave to avoid problems with police and other authorities as a child. My Mom grew up in the South in the era of Jim Crow with ‘might pass for white, or not’ skin so she was well aware of how things DO work whether they are fair, right or we like them.
My skin is light and I am physically quite small and fragile looking so combined with what I was taught I have rarely had problems with police violence-with one notable and deeply horrifying exception where my brother and I were almost killed in front of my Mom.
That very personal example of how some police officers over-react virulently to a young, healthy, muscular man with dark skin impressed me deeply with the reality of the danger.
Despite the permanent injury and scars I don’t regret at all violating the rules I was taught in order to get in the way of an incompetent officer who was trying to shoot my brother.
I’m just so grateful every time I feel the pain, or notice the scar that my brother is very alive and well.
Significantly to me at least-both officers involved in that nightmare were subsequently fired for totally unrelated issues of general incompetence.
It is my belief that structural racism is enforced and encouraged by the system of “good ole boy” corruption and”white privilege” allowing incompetent jerks to rise to positions of power.
I feel that it will change very quickly when that system of “assholes in charge” is dismantled.
Sure there are crappy cops who use their position to abuse people but I strongly believe that MOST people who choose law enforcement as a career do so primarily from good, higher motives.
They genuinely want to help others, improve the world and stop the bad guys. It doesn’t really help us to perceive or depict all police officers as evil, racist or fascist.
The majority are people just like you and I who simply have to work to survive. Most likely chose their profession because it was available to them with the background, education and skills they had.
Unfortunately for the process of change, police departments are like military groups in that solidarity and support of their fellows is necessary to do their job-even when some of their fellows are execrable scum.
So, take the ironic humour of this piece for a chuckle but note the real warning as well and make sure to impress these concepts on all the children in your life.
I was the typical rebellious, politically activist, crazy colored hair “punk rock” teenager skateboarding and cussing like a sailor-except when dealing with police officers.
Then I was polite, quiet and completely respectful and compliant. I might not have been “cool” for that, but it is better to be alive and a dork than a cool corpse.
I pray for all the children to recognize that manners might save their lives-whether that is right or fair, I just hope they know.
Everything You Need To Know To Keep You From Being Justifiably Shot By The Police.
Oct 04, 2014 5:20pm PDT by bluntbit
The reality that African-American and other minorities must realize is that depending on the time of day, or the mood of the officer you encounter, you could end up justifiably shot by the police. If not shot, then you might get roughed up a little bit and sent on your way. If that happens consider yourself lucky because it could have been much worse. With the worldwide attention being paid to the recent events in Ferguson and little to none being paid to the other instances that have happened before and after it, it’s time to give a guideline, or lifeline if you will to the people who need it the most.
How this will work is, I will give you a rule and then apply that rule so that you understand exactly when and how it should be applied so that there is no confusion. We don’t need you out there hesitating on the next traffic stop or stop and frisk because the results, well, you know what they could be. Before we get started we need to clear up a few misconceptions about how to avoid becoming a target. If you believe that doing nothing wrong can save you from being targeted then you need to stop believing that. Stop thinking in terms of right and wrong, instead, factor in if you look like you’re doing or have done something wrong. That look is a judgment call and we know the track record of those judges of character. That look as Charles Belk found out has little to do with how you’re dressed. One might argue that if you’re dressed too nice, in too nice of a neighborhood, that might cause problems too.
The next thing you have to realize going forward is that it doesn’t matter what school you went to. It doesn’t matter how many culturally diverse friends you have. It does matter what kind of car you drive but it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Unless you plan to carry around a framed diploma of your highest completed level of education, a pay stub, a passport, 2 bills with proof of address on it and a notary public in the backseat to sign the statement you’ve just made to the police about everything you just presented, what you’ve accomplished doesn’t mean a thing. The only thing that matters is the now. So throw all of the “This can’t be about me because I..” talk out of the window. This is information you need too.
1. Do exactly what the police tell you to do but don’t do it too fast or too slow.
This one requires some practice and you might need a partner to do it right. When you are stopped in any fashion be it on the street, or in a car the police will give you clear commands. Get over the fact that you may or may not have been doing anything to get their attention, that’s irrelevant, you have it now. You need to focus on doing what they tell you in a synchronized manner so that they won’t perceive your actions as threatening. To practice this, you will need a stop watch and someone giving you the most likely commands that you will receive. For starters, have your partners ask you for your license, registration and proof of insurance and then start the stop watch. The correct response time to this command is the amount of time it takes the reporter in the field to answer the question asked by the news anchors in the studio. After your partner gives the command, put your hand up to an imaginary ear piece (only do this in practice, do not do this in real life situations, this is just to get you familiar with the speed you need to respond) count 1 don’t shoot me, 2 don’t shoot me, 3 don’t shoot me and then proceed to comply with the orders. You should practice this twice before leaving the house just to be crisp and ready. If you move too quickly you might startle the officer and they’ll have no choice but to rely on training and use an escalation of force because of imminent danger. If you move too slow then that could be interpreted as disobeying an order and again relying on training must mean you have something to hide or you’re a trouble maker and they know what to do with trouble makers.
2. Whatever you’re carrying is a weapon.
This is just a fact of life when dealing with the police. If you are eating a sandwich drop it immediately. If you have a soda can or bottle then you better slowly discard it before guns are drawn and you’re in a standoff, too late to do anything. Cell phones, wallets, gameboys, laptops, fanny packs and cigarettes can all be considered weapons that could easily be mistaken for a gun or knife and thus making the force used justifiable by the police. Assume that you are James Bond and MacGyver able to make that peppermint you have in your hand into a nuclear weapon because that is what they see when you hold it.
3. If you do not have anything in your hand then you must also realize that your hand is also a lethal weapon.
Every single minority in this country has their hands registered as lethal weapons. I know that you did not know this but judging how the police respond to unarmed black men it must be true. So when you have your hands up and open in the air, to the police you’re getting ready to attack. If you have your hands to your side then you are getting ready to execute a death grip and must be met with a proper deterrent. Understand that even if you are simply walking past and get confronted by someone else and forced to defend yourself, the perceived threat will more than likely be you.
4. If you are asked to get out of the car, automatically put your hands behind your head.
This is in case your license, proof of insurance and the notary public was not good enough. If you are asked to get out of the car by the police this is exactly how it should be done. The first thing you need to realize is that they are not asking you to get out so they can get to know you better. They are not asking you to get out of the car so that they can shake your hand and commend you on doing so well in life. They are more than likely going to handcuff you while they do whatever it is they’re going to do. Cut the middle man out of the situation. Get out of the car slowly. Move at the exact speed that a cartoon character would tip toe in any given situation. Skip the formality of being asked to put your hands behind your back and in one slow steady motion turn around facing the car and put your hands behind your back. If you’re unlucky and get a cop already on edge who loves giving commands this might backfire but research shows most will be pleasantly surprised as if you were reading their mind. Speed is also crucial here. Don’t move fast, it might look like you’re about to run from them and you know what happens next. If you do it too slow, then they will wait and take you to jail because obviously you’re high.
5. Questions you need to be prepared to answer.
Each encounter might vary but most will go something like this. The 1st question if you’re driving will be, if you know why you were pulled over. Play this cool, this is just like every other motorist that gets pulled over. The next question is where you need to be prepared and not caught off guard, thus admitting your guilt through some cosmic vibes you give off that police can pick up on. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you are driving, they will likely ask if this is your car. If it isn’t your car, shit… If it is your car don’t be offended. Calmly answer that it is and move on. Another question you might encounter is asking if you have any warrants for your arrest. Whether you’ve ever been arrested or not, you probably have been to police officers so answer honestly. If you do, shit… if you don’t just answer truthfully. That question applies whether you’re walking, driving, or sitting down in your own house. Have you been drinking will come up. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3am or 10am it will be asked and you need to be prepared to answer. The last question you’ll surely encounter is one that is designed to check on your well being as a concerned friend. Where are you going? It should not matter where you are going but it absolutely does to the police. Even if you’re going to the store to get some milk answer quickly because if you answer quickly it automatically means you’re telling the truth. It may not make sense to you but it does not have to, this is how you play the game and keep yourself from unintentionally threatening the police with the possibility of you heading somewhere you don’t belong.
6. The correct volume to speak and accent to have when answering questions asked by the police.
You’re wondering how can this help? It makes a world of difference. If you sound like Laverne Hooks from Police Academy the officer could become incredibly frustrated because they can’t understand you. If you sound like Samuel Jackson in Die Hard 3, you could be looked at as defiant and therefore threatening, making lethal force necessary. The accent you have makes a big impact as well. If you have a southern drawl, unfortunately this means that you’re up to something. If you have a heavy east coast accent, unfortunately this means you’re up to something. If you sound like you’re from the west coast, unfortunately this means you’re up to something. If you have an island accent or an accent like someone from Europe or Africa then this ultimately means that you’re up to something. It’s a tough spot to be in. For women, the best volume, tone and accent to speak in is the calm Claire Huxtable or the Calm Jessica Pearson. Strong but not too strong. Polite but not nervous and most of all graceful. You need to put their minds at ease. Any other tone of voice means that more than likely there is a body in the trunk and you’re trying to hurry up and get to Home Depot to buy acid and other things needed to dispose of it. For men there is only one correct voice to use and that is the calm Braxton P. Hartnabrig. Aha! No voice can soothe like Braxton’s. It isn’t threatening. It isn’t too strong. It quivers just enough so that the police can feel as if they are in charge and all of your words will be enunciated to perfection. It is the absolute best choice to use in order to get through the encounter as smoothly as possible.
7. Good answer vs bad answer.
Now that you know what to do and how to do it. You know what you should have and shouldn’t. You also know what questions to expect and the proper tone of voice and accent to answer them in, it’s time to go over what’s a good answer and what’s a bad answer. Your answer will save your life. The key to a good answer is that it must never sound like a question. Questions mean that you feel you have a right to ask the officer something as if you’re a peer. Questions, question authority and it’s never good to question an officer’s authority. Questions mean that you have something to hide since you didn’t give a direct answer. If you have something to hide it is the officer’s job, well, it’s the officer’s civic duty to get to the bottom of it at all costs. Direct answers that bend to the will of the officer is good. Anything else is extremely bad and can set things off that end up with you being on the wrong end of justifiable force.
In conclusion, the threat you pose is real people. You could be a terrorist or a thug. You could be on your way to ruining someone else’s day even if you’re just simply walking to the store or out enjoying the sun. You could be gathering people up to join a group that is planning to overthrow the government, like voters. There is no telling what you’re up to so the officers out to protect the communities have no choice but to engage you and figure out if you’re one of the good ones. Even if you feel you’re one of the good ones they still need to keep verifying your good status every now and again, don’t worry it’s just part of the protocol. The only way to ensure a safer encounter is to understand why it is happening and to be prepared when it does. These 7 keys when executed to perfection, wait, that phrase might not be appropriate right here. These 7 keys when followed correctly, will drop your chances of being harmed and or shot by the police a whopping 2%. You just can’t do any better than that. Remember your training and good luck.
Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Ill., are working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields in July 2006. (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times) Monsanto controls our food, poisons our land, and influences all three branches of government.
Forty percent of the crops grown in the United States contain their genes. They produce the worlds top selling herbicide. Several of their factories are now toxic Superfund sites. They spend millions lobbying the government each year. Its time we take a closer look at whos controlling our food, poisoning our land, and influencing all three branches of government. To do that, the watchdog group Food and Water Watch recently published a corporate profile of Monsanto.
Patty Lovera, Food and Water Watch assistant director, says they decided to focus on Monsanto because they felt a need to put together a piece where people can see all of the aspects of this company.
It really strikes us when we talk about how clear it is that this is a chemical company that wanted to expand its reach, she says. A chemical company that started buying up seed companies. She feels its important for food activists to understand all of the ties between the seeds and the chemicals.
(this is only the intro!Please click the link below to read the article on Truthout-
This is an excerpt from the middle of the article-because these are the paragraphs I most wished to highlight. This is worth reading and sharing-finding out how we are being tricked, what is REALLY going on is very helpful to changing it.
The expanded reach of politics in this discourse of distraction shrinks, and in doing so separates private troubles from public considerations, while undermining any broader understanding of the confluence of socio-economic-cultural interests and interrelated issues and problems that characterize a particular age. For instance, the debate on gun control says little about the deep-rooted culture of symbolic and structural violence that nourishes America’s infatuation with guns and its attraction to the spectacle of violence. Similarly, the mainstream debate over taxing the rich refuses to address this issue through a broader analysis of a society that is structurally wedded to producing massive inequities in income and wealth along with the considerable suffering and hardships produced by such social disparities.
In this denuded notion of politics, the connection between facts and wider theoretical frameworks and the connection between politics and power disappear just as the relationship between private troubles and larger social realities are covered over. Under such circumstances, politics is cleansed of its extremist elements and informed modes of dissent are not only marginalized but also actively suppressed, as was obvious in the FBI surveillance of Occupy Wall Street protesters and the police’s ruthless suppression of student dissenters on campuses across the country.
Blind Publics in an Authoritarian Age
What is missing in the current debates dominating Washington politics is the recognition that the real issues at stake are neither the debt ceiling nor the state of the economy, however important, but a powerful and poisonous form of authoritarianism that poses a threat to the very idea of democracy and the institutions, public values, formative cultures and public spheres that nourish it.5 The United States occupies a critical juncture in its history, one in which the forces of extremism are not just on the rise but are in the midst of revolutionizing modes of governance, ideology and policy. The politics of disconnect is just one of a series of strategies designed to conceal this deeper order of authoritarian politics. In a society that revels in bouts of historical and social amnesia, it is much easier for the language of politics and community to be stolen and deployed like a weapon so as to empty words such as democracy, freedom, justice and the social state of any viable meaning. Arundhati Roy captures the anti-democratic nature of this process in the following insightful comment. She writes:
This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the czars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language to voice their critique and dismiss them as being “anti-progress,” “anti-development,” “anti-reform,” and of course “anti-national” – negativists of the worst sort. To reclaim these stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span, and too expensive in an era when Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing. 6
This undoing of democracy to which Roy refers, and the dystopian society that is being created in its place, can be grasped in the current subordination of public values to commercial values and the collapse of democracy into the logic and values of what might called a predatory casino capitalism where life is cheap and everything is for sale. More specifically, from the ailing rib of democracy there is emerging not simply just an aggressive political assault on democratic modes of governance, but a form of linguistic and cultural authoritarianism that no longer needs to legitimate itself in an idea because it secures its foundational beliefs in a claim to normalcy;7 that is, Americans are now inundated with a pedagogy of cultural authoritarianism whose ideology, values, social practices and social formations cannot be questioned because they represent and legitimate the new neoliberal financial order. This is a mode of predatory casino capitalism that presents itself as a universal social formation without qualification, a social form that inhabits a circle of ideological and political certainty and cultural practice that equates being a citizen with being a consumer – in other words, predatory capitalism is transforming into a universal ethic that has exhausted all political differences, economic alternatives and counter readings of the world in the service of benefitting a financial and corporate elite and a savage form of economic Darwinism.
We get hints of the current mechanisms of diversion and its hidden order of politics in Robert Reich’s claim that the debate over the fiscal cliff should not only be about the broader issue of inequality but also must ask and address crucial political questions regarding the increasing concentration of power and “entrenched wealth at the top, and less for the middle-class and the poor.” 8 We also see it in Frank Rich’s insistence that the endless debate conducted largely in the mainstream media about Washington being dysfunctional misses the point. Rich argues that beyond media’s silly argument that both parties are to blame for the current deadlock, lies a Republican Party strategy to make the Federal government look as dysfunctional as possible so as to convince the wider American public that the government should be dismantled and its services turned over to for-profit private interests. In fact, a number of recent critics now believe that the extremist nature of the current Republican Party represents one of the most difficult obstacles to any viable form of governance. Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, two prominent conservative commentators, recently have argued that moderates not only have been pushed out of the Republican Party but they are for all intents and purposes “virtually extinct.” They go even further in stating that:
In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges. 9
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has gone further and has characterized the Republican Party and its “corporate-centric super-PACs as treasonous.” He states that Americans “are now in a free fall toward old-fashioned oligarchy; noxious, thieving and tyrannical” and that given the role of the most corporate-friendly Supreme Court since the Gilded Age with its passage of the Citizens United decision, “those who have the money now have the loudest voices in our democracy while poor Americans are mute.”10
More radical critics like Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Sheldon Wolin, Stanley Aronowitz, Judith Butler, Robert Scheer, Jeffrey St. Clair, Matt Taibbi, Angela Davis and David Theo Goldberg, among others, have long recognized the transformation of the United States from a weak democracy to a spirited authoritarian state. All of these theorists have challenged the permanent war economy, the erosion of civil liberties, the power of the corporate state, the moral bankruptcy of the liberal intelligentsia, the corporate control of the media, the criminal wars of repression abroad, the rise of the torture state and the increasing militarization of everyday life.
However extremist the Republican Party has become with its ongoing war on women, immigrants, young people, the welfare state, voting rights and all manner of civil rights, this should not suggest that the Democratic Party occupies a valued liberal position. On the contrary, policy in the United States is now being shaped by a Democratic Party that has become increasingly more conservative in the last 30 years along with a Republican Party that now represents one of the most extremist political parties to ever seize power in Washington. And while the Republican Party has fallen into the hands of radical extremists, both parties “support shifting the costs of the crisis and the government bailouts of banks, large corporations and the stock market, onto the mass of the citizens.”11 Both parties support bailing out the rich and doing the bidding of corporate lobbyists. Moreover, both parties reject the idea of democracy as a collectively inhabited public space and ethos that unconditionally stands for individual, political and economic rights. President Obama and his Wall Street advisors may hold onto some weak notion of the social contract, but they are far from liberal when it comes to embracing the military physics of the corporate warfare state.