Hosted by Dr.G., Minister of Information of the Northbay MDS.
Tune in Thursdays 4 to 5pm (PST), at 89.5FM in the northeast San Pablo Bay Area, or on a Smart Phone [link], Desktop U-stream [link], Live Mp3 (.pls) stream [link], Netbook [link].
Be a Community Journalist with our Community Journalist's Notebook [link]. Send news & info to [NorthbayMDS@) gmail.com]! Northbay Uprising News scripts [link]. Archived webpages at (archive.org) and at (archive.is) are available even if the original is taken down. News links are provided for educational purposes only, and do not constitute an endorsement of political tendencies, or, of foreign governments. Circumvent "Error 451" [archive.is/WOZXx] by using the proxy server at [webproxy.to] or, by using Tor Browser [http://is.gd/r18EVD].
A list of gatherings, workshops, and educational events in the greater Bay Area region
April 23 Earth Day Creek Cleanup
The Vallejo Watershed Alliance will participate with Solano County, the Solano RCD, Recology Vallejo, VSFCD, and the City of Vallejo to organize a creek cleanup along Blue Rock Springs Creek, staged on the upper end of the park. It will take place from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Small groups of volunteers will spread throughout the entire corridor, using buckets instead of bags, and dragging trash or yard waste bins with them. Trash and blackberry piles will be targeted.
FREE KEVIN COOPER! LIVE FROM DEATH ROW!
PHONE CALL FROM KEVIN COOPER FROM SAN QUENTIN !
WHEN: SATURDAY, APRIL 16TH AT 7 PM SHARP
WHERE: OMNI COMMONS, 4799 SHATTUCK AVE, OAKLAND
Free this innocent man! END the Death Penalty NOW!
For more info [FreeKevinCooper.org].
Please contact us via email. For info: contact: [FreeKevinCooper@)gmail.com] Facebook: FreeKevin Cooper
Join Mark Clements to hear about the VICTORY fight to win reparations from the city of Chicago for the torture of African American and Latino men by Chicago police.
At the young age of 16, Mark Clements was wrongfully convicted for murder in Chicago when he was tortured into a false confession by the corrupt police precinct of Jon Burge. After serving 28 years toward the sentence of Life Without Parole, Mark was finally exonerated and released from prison. Mark is on a tour across the country to highlight cases of the wrongfully convicted in the fight to end the death penalty.
Please come and join Mark Clements at a gathering organized in Oakland to bring attention to the case of Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on death row in California.
Featuring: the movie about the Police Torture in Chicago Organizations welcome to come and table.
Rock Against Racism - All Ages Show!
Saturday, May 7, 2:30 to 10 PM
At the Colonial Theatre [3522 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, California 95820]
ANTIFA SACRAMENTO PRESENTS
***ROCK AGAINST RACISM***
A Benefit for Community Dinner Project
Saturday, May 7th 2:30pm - 10:00pm
Colonial Theatre - 3522 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento
All Ages Show - $12 Presales Available/ $15 Door
$12 PRESALES AVAILABLE NOW!!!
Live Performances by...
- The Sacramento Storytellers - Reggae/Ska [facebook.com/The-Sacramento-Storytellers-52260199371/]
- The Bar Fly Effect - Punk Rock [facebook.com/thebarflyeffect]
- Brutha Smith - Hip Hop [facebook.com/BruthaSmithMusic]
- Urban Wolves - Punk/Hardcore [facebook.com/theurbanwolves]
- Recorded Freedom - Progressive Hip Hop [facebook.com/RecordedFreedom]
- Lights and Sirens - Alternative Prog Rock [facebook.com/lightsandsirensmusic]
- Paul Willis - Hip Hop
- Special Guest Speaker: Tom Bibiyan, an activist, antifascist and was one of the three people stabbed by the Ku Klux Klan in Anaheim on February 29th. Tom is also a Green Party candidate running for Los Angeles City Council's 26th District.
- Sound Provided and Donated by Climax Studio
- Food Truck by Fuzion Eatz w/ vegetarian options on site!!!
Beer available for 21+ w/ ID next door at Cafe Colonial
Local Sponsor Organizations:
- Women's Health Specialists Sacramento [womenshealthspecialists.org]
- WEAVE, Inc. (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) [weaveinc.org]
- Community Dinner Project of Sacramento
NO DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR WEAPONS!!!
NO RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC OR OTHER BIGOTED ATTITUDES, CLOTHING OR TATTOOS WILL BE TOLERATED AND YOU WILL BE DENIED ENTRY OR REMOVED IMMEDIATELY BY SECURITY.
Antifa Sacramento is part of the International Anti-Fascist Action Network and is a decentralized organization who strongly and actively oppose all forms racism, sexism, homophobia, oppression and exploitation. We are against capitalism and police brutality while support the working class and abortion rights. We believe that a multi-faceted approach to combating hate through confrontation, education and culture is necessary and a moral duty.
Antifa Sacramento has no leaders or "official members" and each individual chooses their own own level of participation. We are not a political organization, a gang nor are we affiliated with any religious organization.
Anti-Fascist Action started in London in the mid 1980's and over the past 30 years hundreds of chapters have organized throughout the world on every continent.
For more information about Antifa Sacramento and to read our "Points of Unity" please visit our website: [antifasac.weebly.com].
This show is to benefit Antifa Sacramento and the Community Dinner Project's #Right2Rest. All profits of this show will be split 50/50 between both organizations.
About the Community Dinner Project:
Since December 8th 2015 a group of activists, both homeless and housed, have been occupying Sacramento City Hall in protest of the Cities "Unlawful Camping" ordinance (12.52.030). The first three weeks were pleasant. We had established a safe zone for people to rest. We also had a food and donation table up every day. This allowed us to help distribute food and essential items like blankets, tarps, jackets, clothes, and toiletries.
During this time we started to help people stay warm in sub freezing temperatures, get much needed rest, feed the hungry, and connect them with services. This was all done by volunteers, mostly homeless, and was a part of our protest. On January 2nd, just after midnight, that all changed. The City responded to our peaceful demonstration with over 50 police officers, mostly in riot gear, to raid our protest encampment and arrest protesters.
From that day on we have been under constant assault by Sacramento PD 's constant "sleep sweeps" and confiscation of personal property. There have been nearly 60 arrests, with some of them resulting in injuries to protesters. This has lead to full and emotionally charged city council meetings every Tuesday at 6pm.
Community Dinner Project of Sacramento sets up outside Sacramento City Hall every Tuesday at 4:30pm to feed the homeless in defiance to local laws followed by occupying the City Council to address homeless and police brutality issues. If you would like to help out, donate food or voice your opinion to city leaders, we encourage you to come!!!
* SHUT DOWN! Panel of Mothers
Stories are reviewed and provided by Northbay MDS Committees and Affiliates
BAY AREA SOLIDARITY
Updates on campaigns for Peace, Justice, & Freedom across the greater Bay Area, Norcal, and Socal
* An outstanding video from this weekend actions, "#ReclaimMLK - Bay Area 96 Hours of Direct Action" [youtube.com/watch?v=M0PhZtRfMkM]
Sunday, April 10, 3- 5:00 PM
Santa Rosa Food Not Bombs returns!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or contributing in another way, please come to this event with your questions ready. The training/meeting will be facilitated by two former long-term, local volunteers/organizers. We're hoping to create another dedicated, radical group of FNB participants to address the escalating housing crisis, food insecurity, capitalism, racism and sexism (including transphobia) and more.
Arlene Francis Center, 99 6th St, Santa Rosa
* "Berkeley Post Office Occupation Raided This Morning, Dismantled, Hauled Away" (2016-04-12, from Mike Wilson, Berkeley Post Office Defenders organizer): At 5:00AM this morning, US Postal Police and Inspectors, with support from the Berkeley Police Dept., arrived at the Main Berkeley Post Office, 2000 Alston Way, and literally dragged protesters out of their tents, seized all their belongings, and tore down the information tent, the shelter for our 17-month occupation. While trespassing was given by Postal Police as reason for the raid, no protesters were cited for any infraction.
Two groups of activists – First They Came for the Homeless and Berkeley Post Office Defenders – have occupied the grounds of the Main Berkeley Post Office continuously since late November, 2014. For most of that time – from Feb, 2015 to Feb, 2016 – we have been told by the Postal Police, repeatedly, that they had no intention of enforcing trespassing rules against us; yet, this morning they put their hands on sleeping protesters, dragged them from their tents, and confiscated all their belongings.
* (2016-04-07, SisNyese JX) [archive.is/Uk2C8]:
An Amazing Life Begins with Love for Your Fellow Human Being.
Tonight the Black Brown Symbiotic Marriage Coalition and Community of Supporters for Justice Came Out in Force in an Amazing Night of Unity.
San Francisco is in a Historical Moment that is Not Going Away by Those Who Would Try to Present the Same Old Past Time Messaging to Quell the People. The Veil is Off.
After The Town Hall Meeting at Horace Mann School and Sanctuary Site The People in Force of Unity Led By The Nation of Islam's Student Ministers Christopher and Keith Muhammad and the FOI Walked to the Now Added Site of Yet Another Obsessive Murderous Act of Violence Against The Least of These upon Our Brother Luis Jose who was Gunned Down on the Morning of 4/7/16.
The Walk Continued Down 18th Street Ending at The Mission Police Station.
Tonight was Personal for Me and Had A Tremendous Effect. I lived on 18th Street 3 buildings in from Guerrero for Years before Moving to Bayview Hunters Point.
This Walk Became Surreal as We Passed 18th Street at Mission where The Doggie Diner was in the 70s.
I Flashed on Being 5 or 6 years old at that Bus Stop at Night The Moon Appeared So Close and Huge and was Dark Orange Red as I Stared Mesmerized I Heard a Voice Say I Am God I want You to Know Me.
The SFPD is Caught in the Web of Its Own Implosion. There are Officers who are so Happy to See This Fight for Justice because They Themselves are on Lock Down from that Serpico Syndrome remember Al Pacino's Character Just Wanted to be a Good Cop but His Own Ranks were His Worst Enemy. SFPD needs Whistleblowers to Save Itself.
God is Watching He Will Not Be Mocked. Untie The Millstone SFPD The Mayor is Not Exempted You Can Not Hide From The Creator of Truth and Justice.
Watch the Weather.
* "Nobody’s Fooled by Big Pharma! Pharmaceutical Corporations Targeted World Wide; Activists around the world demonstrated against the devastations of Big Pharma, April 1st 2016; In the corporate backwater of Foster City California, the Oasis Clinic of Oakland and the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal joined them to protest the outrageous price gouging of Gilead Sciences, manufacturer of the cure for Hepatitis-C..." (2016-04-08, (report prepared by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, laboractiionmumia.org) (.pdf) [http://is.gd/hVJUD5], art by Ralfka Gonzalez:
The Oasis Clinic, a Hepatitis-C facility in Oakland CA, and the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (LAC) staged a demonstration on Gilead Sciences’ front doorstep, at its headquarters in the Silicon Valley corporate haven of Foster City California, at 12 noon on April 1st, 2016.
This was no “April Fools” event!
Big Pharma corporations have been raising prices of essential medications to outrageous levels in recent years, and Gilead Sciences is right down there with the worst of them. Gilead is the manufacturer--but not the original developer--of the drug Harvoni, which is a vast improvement over previous treatments for Hepatitis-C (HCV). One pill per day for 8 to 12 or so weeks is a cure (in 95 percent of cases) for the potentially deadly HCV virus. But Gilead charges $1,000 per pill, or $75,000 to $84,000 or more for a full course of treatment!
A report on our Foster City demonstration appears in the April 7th edition of the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco-based weekly. See: http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=71446.
A Die-In At Gilead’s Door -
This price-gouging--at least 100 times above the actual cost of production--has threatened death to prisoners, veterans and other poor and working people who cannot afford it, or whose insurers deny it due to its high cost. Gilead’s price is exacerbating a financial crisis in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a funding logjam at the Veterans’ Administration, and prison administrations across the US.
Several of our number--their faces painted yellow to denote the deadly effects of untreated Hep-C--conducted a die-in in front of Gilead’s HQ. We chanted “Public Health, Not Corporate Wealth,” and “Gilead’s Stocks are Rising--Hep-C Patients are Dying!”
Demonstrations Around the World
Our demonstration was timed to join up with actions by Act-Up affiliates and other LGBT activists against Big Pharma in Paris, London, New York and numerous other cities around the world on the same date.
The Labor Action Committee was joined in this effort by Doro Chiba, the militant Japanese railway workers union, which demonstrated against these sky-high prices at Gilead’s sky-scraper offices in Tokyo.
Gilead’s Concern Is Their Profits -
Gilead’s profits topped $18 Billion in 2015, and it’s stock is now considered an “undervalued” investment by some analysts; so, from a capitalist viewpoint, Gilead’s pricing extravaganza is a smashing success. Not so much for the rest of us, however. The interests of big capital inevitably conflict with those of the working masses. This should come as no surprise to anyone.
As Jack Heyman of the LAC and ILWU (retired), and the chief organizer of our protest mentioned, Gilead purchased the company Pharmasett in order to obtain the rights to what is now known as Harvoni, the signature cure for HCV. Harvoni was originally developed under the name Sofosbuvir by Dr. Michael J Sofia. Having purchased his company and the rights to the drug, Gilead in true capitalist practice more than doubled the projected price, in order to re-coup their 11 billion dollar investment. This alone is a devastating crime of capitalism: the financial interests always have the upper hand.
But having paid off their initial investment, Gilead now continues their pay or die policy, why? Because they can. The US is the only developed capitalist country that has no price controls on essential medications. In this capitalist paradise, their bottom line comes first, and everyone else can just get in line.
Gilead tries to lay the blame on insurers for the lack of accessibility of the drug, but, as Dr Diana Sylvestre of the Oasis Clinic points out, “insurers do not print money.” Corporate suppliers like Gilead, together with insurance companies and government agencies such as prison and veteran administrations are all pointing their fingers at each other while increasing numbers of working people and poor are being forced to go without adequate treatment for this deadly disease.
Prisoners Are Denied Treatment -
We called attention to the plight of the growing number of prisoners in the US with Hepatitis-C, such as innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who are being denied the curative treatment Harvoni. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), of the 2.2 million inmates of jails and prisons in the US, some one third, or over 730,000 prisoners are infected with Hepatitis-C! This is an important part of a now exploding epidemic, which derives from the fact that the Hepatitis-C virus has a long incubation period.
All those who used dirty needles in the 1970’s or 80’s, or who got tattoos back then, or who had blood transfusions which were tainted with the virus, are just now coming down with this dreadful disease. This clearly effects a huge proportion of prisoners, mostly people of color, as well as veterans and other working and poor people.
Mumia Abu-Jamal: Framed, Infected and Mistreated -
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and award-winning journalist who writes social/political commentaries from behind bars, was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. He is one of the foremost political prisoners in the world. He was infected with HCV in a blood transfusion he received in a hospital in 1981 after having been shot by a cop at a crime scene in which a cop was shot by someone before Mumia arrived on the scene. Another man, Arnold Beverly, confessed to the crime, but his evidence, like so many other indications which prove Mumia’s innocence, has been ignored or summarily dismissed by the courts. Having served years on death row, Mumia is now doing life without the possibility of parole at a super-max prison in Western Pennsylvania.
Having been infected by the blood transfusion, Mumia now, like so many others, has come down with several serious symptoms derived from HCV, such as diabetes and a horrific skin malady. While being treated for some of these symptoms--and that only after mass protests had insisted on it--Mumia is still refused the medically recognized treatment for Hep-C, even though his HCV infection has now been diagnosed and is known to be the root cause of all the afflictions from which he suffers.
The LAC has organized protest letters from trade unions around the world to be sent to Pennsylvania state officials demanding treatment by Harvoni, as well as his immediate release from prison.
Mumia’s Case, and the Secret Protocol -
Mumia’s court case demanding proper treatment brought to light a hitherto secret protocol by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) which prohibits treatment for HCV for prisoners until they are at death’s door, if then! The DOC’s lame excuse for not providing him the cure: Its cost! A decision on this case is expected in April 2016. There is also another case on behalf of all prisoners with HCV in Pennsylvania. Mumia supports that case, and sees his appeal as setting a precedent for all prisoners lacking needed medical treatment.
Go to; http://abolitionistlawcenter.org/2016/03/14/media-release-federal-court-to-decide-if-mumia-abu-jamal-has-right-to-hepatitis-c-treatment/ for more information on Mumia’s case for proper treatment for Hep-C.
Big Pharma Protested at Foster City ...
Some 40 people from various organizations, including Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a globe-spanning non-profit; the SF Labor Council, various unions, left organizations and gay activists joined the LAC and Oasis for this demonstration. A UAEM representative, Julia Rohrabaugh, came all the way from UC Davis to join us, and to speak. This was her first protest demonstration.
Other speakers included Dr Diana Sylvestre and Orlando Chavez of the Oasis Clinic, Bob Price of the Freedom Socialist Party, Stan Woods for the Peace and Freedom Party, Charles Minster of the Partisan Defense Committee, Dave Welsh from the SF Labor council and Workers World organization, Bob Wells from Oakland Teachers for Mumia, and Gerald Sanders of the Oscar Grant Committee and LAC. Jack Heyman, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) retired and LAC, was our rally chairperson.
As we marched around and held a die-in in front of Gilead’s main entrance in Foster City, security guards could be seen many yards away observing from the sidelines. As visitors or employees approached the main entrance where we were demonstrating, security guards motioned them away from us, directing them to a back entrance, so that they wouldn’t have to come in contact with us. Perhaps they were afraid of a political infection from the public outrage for which Gilead hasn’t yet devised a cure! When approached however, most of these people took our flyers.
... And Around the World -
We salute the participants in the other actions called by Act-Up around the world. Activists in New York demonstrated against Big Pharma giant Pfizer Corporation, while the Yes-Men managed to fool the Washington Post into printing a fake press release that said Pfizer was holding the lid on drug prices--an assertion that the real Pfizer readily denied! Hm-m.
London activists held a nude-in at Gilead in that City to protest lack of availability of a crucial HIV medication, which is deemed too expensive to be funded by the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS was originally designed to provide free health care for all, but is now unravelling due to corporate pressure for privatization, and Conservative government connivance.
Demonstrations also took place in Sydney, Johannesburg, Brasilia, and Washington DC. All of us were united in taking a stand against the rapidly increasing prices--and profits--of Big Pharma.
Capitalism Is the Problem -
Capitalism is at the heart of the problem of inadequate health care in the US, and around the world. The US--the only developed country that lacks a government plan to provide for people’s right to health care--is a paradise for profiteers to thrive off of the needs of the poor and sick, Obama Care notwithstanding. And in Europe, social-democratic health-care reforms are under attack by big corporations. Putting profits before human need comes naturally in a system based on the rampant exploitation and oppression of the working and oppressed masses of the world.
We have a different idea. In Foster City, at the headquarters of Gilead Sciences, we took one small step. We said: “Health care is human right, it’s for this that we will fight!”
- US: Protestors at Gilead’s Corporate HQ, April 1st (Photo by Jane Cleland, Bay Area Reporter)
- Die-in at Gilead HQ: “Gilead’s stocks are rising,-- Hep-C patients are dying”
- Tokyo: Responding to a call from the LAC, Doro Chiba, a militant Japanese railway union, demonstrated at Gilead offices on April 1st, against high drug prices, and for health care for prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Demonstrators march up to Gilead Science’s front door in Foster City
- Demonstrators came from Oasis Clinic, Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), and other organizations, to protest Big Pharma & Gilead Price Gouging
- Big Pharma, the Face of Greed: Act-Up Demonstrations in New York City against Pfizer, and with a nude-in in London, inside Gilead Sciences’ offices [archive.is/ehyG2].
* (2016-04-09, by Steven Argue) [archive.is/Fuk4I]:
I see Brent Adams is now being harassed repeatedly with jaywalking tickets by the Santa Cruz Police. They repeatedly did the same thing to me in the 90's. They even gave me some jaywalking tickets when I wasn't even jaywalking. One time when the cop asked me for ID, I said, "You don't need any ID, you wouldn't be stopping me if you didn't know who I am".
The cop replied, "That's true, I just need to know if you spell "Steven" with a "v" or a "ph".
This was about my 5th jaywalking ticket. I was so fed-up. Not just with that, but also with some other harassment that was far worse. So I took a stand. I told him I wouldn't sign the ticket. He of course replied, "You can sign the ticket or go to jail".
"If you want to take me to jail, that's your decision, but I'm not signing the ticket", I replied. I continued, "But you better call for backup because I will not make the arrest easy."
The cop called for backup. They never came. Eventually his superiors replied over the radio that he was only adding fuel to the fire and that he should back off. I didn't get that ticket and they never tried to give me another again.
I am not saying this is the best move. Cops have beaten me up for a lot less. Still, sometimes it is better to call their bluff and stand your ground, especially when they know their actions and escalations are likely to bring them unwanted bad publicity.
I have my differences with Brent, but I stand with him against police harassment by a police force well known for their brutality and violations of human rights.
Santa Cruz Police:
Stop Harassing Activists For the Poor!
Hands Off Brent Adams!
-Steven Argue for the Revolutionary Tendency [facebook.com/RevolutionaryTendency]
BAY AREA SOLIDARITY: Updates on campaigns across the Nation!
* "400+ arrested as Democracy Spring calls for fairer elections, no more money in politics" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/VBPMs]
* "Arrests made as hundreds of elderly Americans protest at 2nd ‘Democracy Spring’ sit-in" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/LjhLF]
* "RT’s ‘Redacted Tonight’ host Lee Camp arrested at Democracy Spring protest" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/bnO20]
Apr 2 - 18: Democracy Spring (democracyspring.org) [archive.is/tLQ3d]
March: Apr 2-11
Sit In: Apr 11-18
The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the U.S. Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore.
* "New pardon push for Kansas City Black Panther founder; Pete O'Neal living in exile in Africa" (2016-04-05, kshb.com) [archive.is/VN9gt]
TOWARDS REVOLUTIONARY SOLUTIONS
* "The Cult of Individualism; We are all in it" (2012-12-13, adbusters.org) [archive.is/rbNZm] [begin excerpt]: God died. The seas of metaphysics were limitless again. A new horizon of possibility opened for all beliefs and ideals. Values were re-evaluated, re-molded, re-constructed – and each new value was made in the image of its creator: the individual self.
We were “freed” to think whatever we want, say whatever we want and believe whatever we want – more or less, that is. What we got: apparent freedom, inalienable “individual” rights and in America, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Later came the prevalent I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude – with all its cool and edgy indifference. But I-don’t-give-a-fuck really means I-don’t-give-a-fuck-because-it-doesn’t-affect-me – this is the prevalent attitude of non-judgmentalism meets moral relativism. Sociologist Charles Smith found, after interviewing 230 young Americans, that the common response to standard moral questions (about rape, murder, theft) was one of bafflement. Young people lacked anything substantial to say about even extremely generic ethical questions. The default attitude was that moral choices are a matter of individual taste, where one’s morality is just a small piece of a carefully crafted individual self that one fashions at whim. “It’s personal,” many interviewees responded: “It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say? Who am I to judge?”
When beliefs, aesthetic preferences and moral proclivities are all left to personal style, we have the hipster mentality, where nonchalant nihilism is cool. Indeed, the word “moral” itself is a dirty word amongst anyone outside the realm of conservatism. But the cult of individualism transcends politics: we are all in it. We’ve all had its invisible lens pulled over our eyes such that we perceive the world through a myopic tunnel vision. Aiming to find and remove this lens is as futile as trying to bite your own teeth – for it is built into us.
We were all inculcated into the cult of individualism – by our families, who tell us we are special; by the vision of the American Dream; by schools, who demand that we specify fields; by advertising which compels us to carve out who we are by consuming certain commodities; by capitalism which teaches us that to succeed is to win in a competition of yourself against all others; and by the ever-growing new-age and pop psychology œuvre which tells us to create our own realities…
But if everyone were to believe themselves as the center of their own universe in which they create their own world, values and all meaning – civilization would quickly deteriorate into solipsism, narcissism, megalomania and/or collective insanity. So it comes as no surprise that “we” are in decline – for what is really wrong with the united “us”? There is no “we,” no “us,” just me, myself and I. This nation is not a unified whole but a cacophony of atoms, each spinning alone to their own idiosyncratic rhythm – and frequently colliding. The Declaration’s axioms are relinquishing their sacred aura, for the glue that holds us together is… well, it isn’t there.
The marriage of this egoism to rationality – the hubris that comes with our self-awarded status as the sole “rational animal” – this may be the fatal flaw of Western civilization, we just don’t know it yet… or do we?
With discoveries in neuroscience that expose us as primarily social beings, the ecological crisis which demands global cooperation in spite of differences, and amidst the peril of capitalism, which reveals the limits of a “survival of the fittest” social philosophy – the fabric of who-we-thought-we-were is being unravelled. It is like waking up from a long hallucination… disorienting, frightening, yet epiphanic… for what we are facing is nothing other than an identity crisis, one that forces us to create a new account of what it is to be human. [end excerpt]
archive.is/WUMEF] [begin excerpt]:
[Arthur DeGrave]: Back in 2011, you were among the initiators of the Occupy movement. Several similar social movements have happened since, but it seems none of them managed to stay alive long enough to reach their objective. Why such failures?
[David Graeber]: I don’t think social movements failed. I have a theory about that: it’s called the “3.5 years historical lag”. After the financial crisis hit, back in 2008, security forces all around the world started gearing up for the inevitable protest movements. Yet, after a year or two, it felt like nothing was going to happen after all. And suddenly, in 2011 – though nothing particular had happened that year — it started. Like in 1848 or in 1968, the social movements are not about seizing power right away: it’s about changing the way we think about politics. And at this level, I think there has been a profound change. Many expected Occupy to take a formal political form. True, it did not happen, but look at where we are 3.5 years later: in most countries where substantial popular movements happened, left parties are now switching to embrace these movements’ sensibilities (Greece, Spain, United States, etc.). Maybe it will take another 3.5 years for them to have an actual impact on policy making, but it seems to me like the natural path of things.
You see, we live in a society of instant gratification: we expect that we are going to click and that something will happen. That’s not the way social movements work. Change does not happen overnight. It took a generation for the abolitionist or the feminist movement to reach their objective, and both managed to remove institutions that had been around for centuries! [end excerpt]
LUCHA PARA LA NUEVA AZTLAN!
* (2016-04-06, Coatlaxopeuh Popocatepetl):
I was informed that the the Border patrol is posted on campus at San Diego state they have one right in front of the MEChA room... How do you feel about this?
Al Rojas writes: Demand a meeting with the Chancellor and ask why does a "Federal Border Patrol" have Jurisdiction on "State Jurisdiction" when the University has a State police Force ?
SOLIDARITY WITH THE NEW AFRICAN NATION!
Black Power! Revive the Community! Defend the Nation!
* " ‘Threat and shooter bias’: Study shows US police fatally shoot unarmed black men in greater numbers" (2016-04-08, rt.com) [archive.is/lEU0S]
* "Baltimore police use Tasers mostly on poor, black residents" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/4Ky0I]
* "A racist stereotype is shattered: Study finds white youth are more likely to abuse hard drugs than black youth; The 12-year study highlights the incongruence between drug use and incarceration rates along racial lines" (2016-04-06, salon.com) [archive.is/hdpD9]
* "Bill Clinton: ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters Are Defending Murderers and Drug Dealers" (2016-04-07, usuncut.com) [archive.is/lziNy], attached video [https://youtu.be/-LwBMnZrCUc]
* "Bill Clinton to Black Lives Matter: ‘You Are Defending the People Who Kill the Lives You Say Matter’ " (2016-04-07, latinorebels.com) [archive.is/66wrt], attached videos [https://youtu.be/xRrVI5gHVyo] [https://youtu.be/9snRQ9VAnyo]
* (2016-04-08, Charles Rachlis): Clinton doubles down on his racist program for the black community in the 90's. Yesterday he lectured the youth on how he was helping with 10,000 new cops on the street, with his family embracing the racist sloganeering about the super predators that landed the innocent youth in the NY Central Park Rape case in jail and unleashed a war against the poor by cutting social services ending "welfare as we knew it". What Clinton did not say and HRC will not say is that the destruction of the black community was not because of gang youth but because first the FBI and its COINTELPRO wiped out the black leadership killing and jailing the most advanced leaders in the 60's and 70's and then the CIA swamped the communities with Heroin from the the Iron Triangle during the Vietnam war and then followed up with the Cocaine and Gun trade between Oliver North, Raygun and the Bushies that turn the White House into the Crack house in the Contra wars where imperialism attacked the revolution in central America while destroying the black community at home. Imperialism is the super predator and Democratic and Republican parties are imperialisms political expression.
* "Bill Clinton Knew Exactly What He Was Doing With That Tirade Against Black Lives Matter; It was not just a moment of him losing his cool" (2016-04-08, cosmopolitan.com) [archive.is/JEY7u]
* "Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True" (2016-04-08, huffingtonpost.com) [archive.is/6akuL]
* "Michelle Alexander Just Responded to Bill Clinton" (2016-04-08, usuncut.com) [archive.is/gTFF3] [begin excerpt]: Ohio State University law professor Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, took the former president to task in a scathing Facebook post [archive.is/2SttD] on Friday, starting off by thanking Clinton for revealing his true colors.
“Thank you, Bill, for giving the nation a ten-minute tutorial on everything that was wrong (and apparently remains wrong) with the ‘New Democrats’ and their approach to racial politics,” Alexander wrote.
She then went on to talk about how Clinton’s strategy to win the White House was based on a racist appeal to white independent voters by convincing them that he could take even more of a hardline approach to crime than his Republican predecessors — something Clinton and his surrogates in the media argue was supported by the black community.
"It is a gross distortion to suggest that black people wanted billions of dollars slashed from child welfare, housing and other public benefits in order to fund an unprecedented prison building boom. It was Bill Clinton’s deliberate political strategy — one he championed along with the “New Democrats” — to appeal to white swing voters by being tougher on struggling black communities than the Republicans had been, ramping up the drug war and gutting welfare." [...]
That strategy of “getting tough” while at the same time eviscerating the federal social safety net was NOT supported by many of the black politicians he seeks to use as cover. Rep. John Lewis (who Clinton referred to yesterday as the “last remaining hero of the civil rights movement”) fiercely opposed welfare reform, accurately predicting that it would thrust more than a million more kids into severe poverty.
John Lewis said back then: “How can any person of faith, of conscience, vote for a bill that puts a million more kids into poverty? What does it profit a great nation to conquer the world, only to lose its soul?” [end excerpt]
* "Off-color: Hillary Clinton and NYC mayor spoof ‘Colored People Time’ joke, backlash ensues" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/Fq3MV]
information collected by the Committee to Defend Public Education!
* "Survey: Majority Of College Students Afraid To Speak Freely Because They Might Be Offensive" (2016-04-06, by Jan Jankowski) [http://is.gd/wrSfk4]
HANDS OFF OUR HOMES!
* "Clarifying Richmond's Rent Protection Measure" (2016-04-09, Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin) [Gayle@)definingourdestiny.net]:
Last Sunday, April 3, Mayor Butt circulated one of his E-Forums presenting concerns he has with the Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance for which many of us are gathering signatures for placement on the November 2016 ballot. I am one of the proponents of the initiative and feel strongly that this measure addresses important issues for the well-being of our community, including stabilization of our neighborhoods and protection for renters. I am providing this response because I feel strongly that muddying the waters with misinformation is not in the interest of our community. Here is a link to Mayor Butt's E-Forum statement: http://www.tombutt.com/forum/2016/16-4-3a.html
Perhaps Mayor Butt did not have time to read carefully the whole ordinance, but I have clarified below the points of misinformation that he presented.
Composition of the Rent Board -
Mayor Butt seems to be worried about the make-up of the Rent Board. Well, this 5 member Board will be appointed by the current mayor and future mayors - with the concurrence of a majority of the City Council. It will be up to Mayor Butt to put forward appointees for this Board. Any member of the Board can also be removed by the mayor - with the concurrence of a majority of the City Council.
The only things that the ordinance mentions in terms of the Board composition is that all appointees need to be Richmond residents and that no more than two of the 5 board members shall "own or manage any rental property or are realtors." We originally had thought of having an elected rent board, but because of the added expense on the City to hold additional elections, we decided to go along with an appointed board to save the City money.
Mayor Butt is also misinformed that the Board can be funded "from the General Fund as they see fit." In fact the very opposite is true. The Ordnance clearly states that the budget of the rent board shall be funded by the Rental Housing Fee, which will be paid by the landlords. The City Council will set the amount for this fee, after a recommendation of the Rent Board. There is a statement that also says: "The Board is also empowered to request and receive funding when and if necessary from any available source for its reasonable and necessary expenses." The purpose for including this is so that the Board, if desired, can request money from federal or state grants and programs. Potentially, they could request funds for rehabbing of rental units that would be available to landlords.
Again, this ordinance DOES NOT state that the Rent Board has independent access to the General Fund. It is the City Council that determines what comes into and goes out of the General Fund. The reason for keeping the Board independent of the City of Richmond budget and to give the Board control over their own budget (with landlord fees approved by the City Council) was to put a firewall between the Rent Board's budget and the City Council's budget. If the Board was part of the City of Richmond budget, then there would be legitimate concerns about General Fund money potentially going to fund the Board. We wrote this ordinance specifically so that the Rent Board would be separately funded by landlord fees.
Mayor Butt address the fact that violation of this ordinance is a misdemeanor which could result in up to 6 months imprisonment in county jail. California Penal Code Section 19 addresses how misdemeanors are handled and all ordinances of the City are held to California Penal Code. It is up to the courts to determine the penalty for specific misdemeanors. Most result in fines. However, a state court always has the discretion - perhaps if there were repeated violations - to require up to 6 months in jail. Again, this is state law.
Base Rent Roll-back -
Another point I want to clear up is about the base rent that will roll back to the amount charged on July 21, 2015, which was the date included in the original ordinance passed by the City Council. However, as the ordinance states, there is the allowance of one annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase, since one full year will have ensued by the time this will go into effect. Also, landlords can petition the Board if they feel they are not getting a reasonable return to get a further adjustment of the rent. The Board will enact rules and regulations regarding hearings and appeals.
Mayor Butt expresses concerns about sub-tenancy. This subject is addressed in the Just Cause for Eviction section of the ordinance.
As most of us know, there are many rental units in which roommates live and share the rent. A three-bedroom unit, for example, may have 3 roommates sharing the rent. Should one of the roommates move out, the remaining tenants often cannot carry the rent without subleasing to a new roommate. As the ordinance states, the landlord must be notified in writing about a proposed new occupant. The landlord has a right to a reasonable refusal of the Tenant's written request. But the main point of this section is that the landlord cannot evict a tenant if the original tenant(s) finds a subtenant or subtenants to replace one or more departed roommates on a "one-for-one basis" and as long as the landlord has been notified and has not reasonably withheld the right to sublease.
There is also protection for families in this section. Perhaps a tenant marries or child is born to a family or a grandparent moves in. There is protection for such additional tenants, although the maximum number of occupants per California Uniform Housing Code, even in these family situations, cannot be exceeded.
There is no reason for concern by landlords in situations of "just cause" evictions for any tenants - including subtenants - since landlords can evict for reasons of failure to pay rent, breach of lease, nuisance (such as noise and/or non-maintenance of the property), failure to give access, temporary vacate orders, owner move-in, withdrawal from rental market, and temporary tenancy.
Landlord Repairs -
Another concern that Mayor Butt addresses is in regard to landlord repairs. It is NOT true that any repair or improvement done to a rental unit must be pre-approved by the Board. The ordinance states that "The Board shall promulgate regulations for the repair and improvement of Rental Units to ensure the least amount of disruption for the Tenant." The rules and regulations have not been worked out yet. That will be one of the first tasks the Rent Board will undertake. Emergencies and non-emergencies will be addressed in the regulations. It is noteworthy that pro-tenant cities such as Berkeley and Santa Monica have never had a situation where a landlord has been denied the right to make needed repairs (emergency or otherwise).
Mayor Butt also takes issue with the landlord's obligation to offer another unit to the tenant during repair work that temporarily displaces the tenant. The ordinance states that if the landlord has another unit (that is vacant) he/she must offer temporarily that unit to the tenant at no more than the lawful rent of the unit that is being repaired. This is only for a period of up to 90 days or less (if the repair takes less time). This time-frame is a protection for the landlord so that the landlord can indeed evict the tenant after the 90 days (or less) from the vacant unit, requiring them to move back into the original and now repaired unit.
Owner Move-In -
Mayor Butt also expressed concerns about the timeframe for an owner move-in, so let me clarify.
For an eviction that is allowed due to the owner, or his/her spouse, children, parents or grandparents, moving into the unit, the ordinance states that: "The Landlord or enumerated relative must intend in good faith to move into the Rental Unit within ninety (90) days after the Tenant vacates and to occupy the Rental Unit as a primary residence for at least Thirty-Six (36) consecutive months. The Board may adopt regulations governing the determinations of good faith." This is a protection against the circumvention of rent control. Landlords should not be able to say they are moving in, just to evict a tenant and circumvent the reasonable limits put on a rent-controlled unit. This is a protection for families who get unreasonably evicted, so the landlord can raise the rent. Mayor Butt states that an owner will not be able to do major repairs before moving in, but again this section mentions a "good faith" intention and the Board may adopt regulations governing the determination of good faith.
Rent Board regulation of adjustment of rents -
Mayor Butt is concerned about the Rent Board making adjustments in rent increases and decreases. The ordinance states clearly that the rent can be increased up to 100% of the CPI on an annual basis. This must be adhered to. However, there is a provision that states that landlords have a right to a reasonable return, and there is a petition process through the Rent Board by which a landlord can request an additional upward adjustment. This is an individualized situation and on a case by case basis, the Board will look at such requests. A tenant may also request a downward adjustment - for example, for a reduction in services. Open hearings will be conducted for these individual adjustments of the Maximum Allowable Rent.
Withdrawal from Rental Market -
Mayor Butt refers to the section regarding a landlord wanting to withdraw from the rental market. He states there is a contradiction or conflict in the ordinance regarding the timeframe given tenants to vacate a unit based on a withdrawal from the Rental Market. The ordinance states as follows: "Tenants shall be entitled to a 120-day notice or one (1) year in the case tenants are defined as senior or Disabled under Govt. Code Section 7060.4 (6). Mayor Butt sees a contraction in that our City code has permits for substantial repairs or demolition expiring in 6 months. The fact is that for the most part, tenants will have to leave the unit within 4 months (120 days) once they have been notified of a landlord's intention to withdraw from the rental market . However, a senior or a disabled tenant is provided by state law 1 year to vacate. State law is what the City must follow, and it is very reasonable to give senior and/or disabled tenants more time to vacate.
Written Warning Notice Requirements -
Mayor Butt states there is a contradiction in regard to the ordinance requiring 1) the landlord to first give a written notice to the tenant to cure a breach of lease, nuisance or refusal to give access to the landlord, and 2) the fact that the ordinance also disallows a landlord to threaten to terminate a tenancy verbally or in writing. There is no contradiction in this. The ordinance states that any written notice in regard to these problems "shall be served by the Landlord within a reasonable period prior to serving a notice to terminate tenancy and shall inform the Tenant that a failure to cure may result in the initiation of eviction proceedings." Informing a tenants of his/her right to cure a problem is different from threatening a tenancy verbally or in writing.
Retaliation is Barred (for lawful non-payment of rent) -
There is a section in the ordinance to prevent eviction as retaliation for the tenant reporting violations. The ordinance disallows the landlord to take possession of the unit "if it is determined that the eviction is knowingly in retaliation for the Tenant reporting violations of this Chapter." Mayor Butt seems to think that that the tenant can withhold rent for repairs, even if the reason is unjustified. This is not true. The Rent Board will determine if the landlord is in compliance or not by a "preponderance of the evidence submitted." In regard to decisions decreasing rents, the ordinance states: "Upon a determination of compliance the Landlord shall be entitled to reinstatement of the prior Rent level, retroactive to the date that the Landlord corrected the defect which warranted the decrease." But it is an important tenant protection against retaliation that a landlord cannot evict during the compliance determination process.
Hearing examiner decisions -
Mayor Butt is concerned that there is a contradiction in the ordinance in its stating that: 1) a decision of the hearing examiner will not be stayed on appeal to the Rent Board, and 2) a decision of the Board shall not go into effect until thirty (30) days have expired to allow for a potential "judicial review." These are two different things. One is an appeal to the Rent Board and the other is an appeal to the appropriate court. There is no contradiction there.
In the case of an appeal to the Rent Board, if a decision of the hearing examiner is reversed or modified, the Landlord or Tenant "shall be ordered to make retroactive payments."
In conclusion: This ordinance is a sound and much-needed measure that will allow our community to grow and flourish in a healthy and stable way. As I have stated repeatedly, this measure is but one tool - albeit an important one - in our toolbox for addressing the ongoing housing crisis we face. We must also continue to build new affordable housing and address the needs of the homeless.
Our community deserves stable neighborhoods, our renters deserve protection, and the passage of this initiative will provide displacement protection for many.
Signature gathering to put this on the November ballot will continue until the beginning of June. Please come to 1021 Macdonald Ave. on Saturdays (10-4) and/or Sundays (12-4) to participate...or call (510) 621-7566.
Let's continue to build a better Richmond together!
information collected by the Committee to
DEFEND THOSE WITHOUT HOMES!
* "New LA Law: Homeless People Can Only Own A Trashcan’s Worth Of Belongings" (2016-04-08, by Brianna Acuesta) [http://is.gd/cpk2Ky]
Documenting human-rights abuse by domestic security agencies
[NorthbayCopwatch.blogspot.com] [copblock.org] [wecopwatch.org] [filmingcops.com]
* "SF police shooting unfolded in 30 seconds, video shows" (2016-04-08, sfgate.com) [archive.is/SaXe5]
* (2016-04-09, Jee Bee) [archive.is/keNGQ]:
Front page headline on the SF Chronicle today is about Jose Luigi Gongora being killed by police "within seconds" of their arrival on scene. A far cry and a much better headline from what we've seen in the past when SFPD kills.
The larger public and press now know -- SFPD kills and then lies about it.
The Police Officers Association went on record saying that one of the cops attempted to de-escalate the situation and use his crisis intervention training. That was before release of the video, which proved this an absolute lie. 20 seconds after exiting the car, they were firing beanbags at him, and a few seconds after that, they began shooting bullets.
No one believes the BS anymore. San Francisco Chronicle even ... Wow.
Al Osorio writes: SFPD murder innocent man, make show of CPR after blowing unarmed mans brains out. the two officers have been rewarded for killing a Mexican with paid vacation.
* (2016-04-07, Adriana Camarena, posted at the page "JUSTICE 4 JOSE LUIS, Mexican immigrant killed by SF MIssion police, 4-7-16") [archive.is/REB0T]:
I talked to an eyewitness at the homeless encampment tonight. She, who I will refer to as *S*, said José Luis (aka Luigi) was sitting next to her when the cops arrived asking "Where's the knife? Where's the knife?" Luigi did not speak English, so he was confused by the commands. They forced him to lie down on the ground, even though he was already sitting down. He picked up a metal cake spatula with rounded tip and straight sides that was close to him and showed it to officers attempting to comply with what they wanted. Officers started shooting bean bag rounds at him. *S* says Luigi was in so much pain that he got up to run away from the pain. As soon as he got up and started running AWAY from the officers, they shot at him seven times, shooting him immediately in the head. *S* said, "I should know because his brains were flying out." Officers attempted to provide CPR. This infurated *S*, who said it was all a sham, because he was obviously already dead.
Jose Luis' Shotwell Street community wants our help to take his body back to Yucatán, Mexico. Many of his friends are grieving and crying hard tonight. There was a lot of pain out there. It's a bilingual, multicultural, multiracial community at the encampment and we all need to be at our best around providing culturally competent support.
Any of you who helped with the repatriation of Amilcar's body to Guatemala could be of great help now in sharing knowledge.
(Additional by Ruth Jeanette Sakheim) [archive.is/sHGBG]: I also talked to a witness at the encampment who also said Jose only spoke Spanish and didn't understand the cops' orders. She also said he was a good guy; people in the encampment called him "grandpa". He was not behaving erratically and certainly posed no threat. Suhr's standard line has become "officers feared for their safety" and "he lunged at police with a knife." Suhr and his police are LIARS, using this line because it makes killings "justifiable" by police conduct manuals. WE are the ones who fear for our safety and more than that are ENRAGED by racist brutal murdering police.
* "Police brutality and homelessness collide in aftermath of San Francisco killing; The story of Luis Gongora, shot dead by police this week, reflects city’s twin crises and raises alarming questions about the official and witness accounts of the shooting" (2016-04-09, theguardian.com) [archive.is/ggSPz]
* "SF mayor plans crackdown on homeless camps citywide" (2016-04-08, sfchronicle.com) [archive.is/s5x2f]
* "SFPD Raid Homeless Camp at the Site of Thursday's Police Killing of Jose Luis Gongora; At approxamately 11:45 p.m. on Saturday Night, members of the San Francisco Police department raided and harassed the homeless community on Shotwell betweend 17 and 18th Streets, the site of Thursday's killling of Jose Luis Gongora" (2016-04-10, by Frank Sosa, Indybay.org Newswire) [archive.is/dlE6F], with 7 photos: On Saturday night, approximately 6 members of the San Francisco Police Department raided the encampment on Shotwell Street between 17th and 18th Streets, the site of Thursday's police killing of Jose Luis Gongora. Witnesses, including us, gathered in response to a call from The Alex Nieto Coalition spokespeson Adriana Camarena on social media who received a phone call alerting her of the sudden police presence . Witnesses told The Anti Police-Terror Project that police officers knocked over objects with sticks, including several memorial candles that lined the front of Gongora's tent which is still at the scene. The officers were not keen on us filming their actions as they shined their flashlights directly into our camera lens as we tried to capture them dismantling several tents. Witnesses also saw them slashing into shelters with a knife.
"This is retaliation for witnessing a police shooting" stated Camerena at the scene. Her sentiment rang true as the police did not completely destroy or remove the encampment. After several more witnesses arrived, they got in their vehicles and left, leaving several tents and various scattered objects completely intact. Residents of the encampment did not know what to expect next, but nonetheless began to clean up their belongings, while some went back to bed.
* (2016-04-10, Al Osorio): SFPD attacks homeless encampment in retaliation for witnesses coming forward to the SFPD murder of 45 year old Jose Luis Gongora this Thursday morning. the eyewitnesses all dispute police story that Mr Gongora had a knife and police tried to de escalate the situation, firing only in self defense. surveillance video shows Mr Gongora was shot dead within 30 seconds of SFPD arrival, including their shooting him with beanbag rounds. he apparently was shot in the back and back of head.
SFPD also destroyed the small shrine.
#FTP #JoseLuisGongora #DigaSuNombre #SayHisName
* (2016-04-08, Police The Police, facebook.com/policethepoliceACP) [archive.is/XLKJz]: The worst criminals hide behind an image. All over America we ignore crimes by some people because of that fact. If we can't trust the TOP COPS how can we trust any of them? The fact is they hire the wrong people, give them immunity and allow them to abuse, lie, cheat and even murder. It's time we ignore the image and question everything and everyone based on what America was built on, equality. No more free passes out of jail, no more biased "we investigated ourselves". No more "we feared for our lives" excuses. No more paid vacations or the ability to resign to keep benefits and PO standards. Just because they got away with it for so long is no reason to go easy on them. Full story on America's top cops who hid behind an image: [http://www.uglyjudge.com/worst-criminals-hide-behind-image/].
* "Seattle’s ‘man in tree’ is charged; mom says he’s ‘sick’ " (2016-03-29, AP Newswire) [archive.is/3jRsx]
* (2016-04-09, Congressman Tim Murphy PA-18) [archive.is/Uy7X6]:
Friends, you really can't make this stuff up. Schizophrenic #ManInTree who desperately needs psychiatric care is brought in shackles before a judge because he's been charged with first-degree malicious mischief and third-degree assault. What was the outcome? The judge ordered him to stay away from the tree..but he first needs to make his $50,000 bail. Just look at this picture and tell me our system isn't a mess. It's unbelievable! Recall that for 24 hours last week, Cody Lee Miller remained atop a giant sequoia tree in downtown Seattle. Since that time, there's been a greater outpouring of concern over the tree than the plight of this young man who is so clearly in the throes of a psychotic break. He's ordered to have “no unwanted contact” with a sequoia, yet no concern over getting him into treatment. Such a sad indictment against an abusive system that would order no contact with a tree, yet remains silent on getting the mentally ill into care. Cody's mom talks about his downward spiral and has made it her mission to be a voice for families who desperately want to help their loved ones but are blocked by federal & state laws that make it impossible to help mentally ill family members. Meanwhile, Congress is still stalling my Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.
* "Chicago ‘black site’ so secretive most police didn’t know who they were holding – report" (2016-04-13, rt.com) [archive.is/Q5VWT]
NORTHBAY COPWATCH: Domestic Security Agencies and private-sector partners
* "Panama Papers: Spy agencies widely used Mossack Fonseca to hide activities" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/bEMEg]
* "Redux: Pickering vs. the USA" (2016-04-06, dailypublic.com) [archive.is/rrCFK]:
On March 18, the Buffalo News ran a fine story by reporter Phil Fairbanks, the details of which readers of the region’s alternative press (both The Public and Artvoice) have known for some time. It’s the story of how the FBI spent two years and as yet unnumbered resources tracking the activities of the owners and habitués of Burning Books, a shop on Connecticut Street on Buffalo’s West Side that specializes in radical history, talks and films about radical movements, and workshops on such treacherous subjects as Freedom of Information laws and how the average citizen can apply them.
Page scan from FBI files documenting the two-year investigation into Burning Books and its owners:
Fairbanks covered the basics:
- In February 2012, a confidential source told agents from the FBI’s Buffalo office that the shop’s owners—Leslie James Pickering and his wife, Theresa Baker, along with Nate Buckley, an activist who garnered headlines in the News when he was pepper-sprayed and arrested by NFTA police during a rally in front of M&T Bank’s downtown Buffalo Main Street branch—were inciting violence in workshops and talks at Burning Books. As a result, the FBI initiated regular surveillance of the shop and Pickering and Baker’s home on Fargo.
- At least one more confidential source eventually began to cooperate with the investigation.
- The FBI’s surveillance included regular drive-bys by agents at both the shop and the Fargo residence of Pickering, Baker, and their daughter. It included confidential sources sent by the FBI to attend events at the shop. It included a “mail cover,” whereby the addresses on mail coming to and from Pickering and and Baker’s house were recorded and presumably investigated. It included interviews with an ex-girlfriend of Pickering, who is a lightning rod for this kind of scrutiny because in the late 1990s he served as spokesman for (though he insists he was never a member of) Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmentalist group that made its name during that era with a series of dramatic arsons and other actions in the Pacific Northwest. The surveillance ultimately embraced a “cell” of nine locals: Pickering, Baker, Buckley, and six others still unnamed, because only the three shop owners agreed to let their names go unredacted in the files Pickering and his lawyers received from the federal government after numerous requests and appeals.
- Pickering and his family were placed on a travel watch list, resulting in his detainment at airports.
- The FBI dropped the investigation in January 2014, a full year after one of the confidential sources recanted. The documentation of the investigation Pickering and his lawyers have received so far also suggests that the investigation was dropped because it yielded no activity that warranted keeping it going.
There are several elements that the News’s article underplayed:
- First, the article notes that the two easily indentifiable confidential sources were disgruntled tenants in the apartment above the shop who had an antagonistic relationship with their landlords. Their names are Amy Upham and Selena K. Lloyd. Upham, who responded to inquiries by a reporter following this story, has since moved out of town; the more mercurial Lloyd’s whereabouts are unknown.
- While the article includes Pickering’s suggestion that both sources struggled with mental illness, it does not pursue that suggestion. As it turns out, one tenant, Lloyd, likely the initial source, had been hospitalized for mental illness; the other tenant, Upham, has written about her struggles with mental illness. Upham has also described Lloyd as mentally ill, abusive, and potentially dangerous.
- Upham has told mutual friends that her relationship with Lloyd was fraught with violence and threats of violence, and that she may have felt compelled to cooperate with her partner’s vendetta against the shop’s owners in order to keep her partner from more dangerous reactions to their disagreements with their landlords. (Upham feared and perhaps suffered violence herself.)
- Indeed, Lloyd allegedly threatened to kill Nate Buckley—a threat that Buckley duly reported to the Buffalo Police Department, and which was reported to Buckley after Lloyd was released from ECMC’s mental health unit, where she apparently reiterated the threat. That first death threat occurred in November 2001, just three months before the FBI’s confidential source—most likely Lloyd—came forward to impugn Pickering and Buckley.
- Finally, the frequency with which the shop and its owners were surveilled. Pickering and his lawyers, Mike Kuzma and Daire Irwin, are waiting for new documents to be released by the end of this month. There are 633 pages so far, but the FBI has suggested many times that number remain to be vetted before they are released. After this month, the lawyers have been told, the feds will clamp down on further releases. But what Pickering and company have seen and read so far suggest that cars came by more than once a week in the initial stages of the investigation. Informants were sent to events at the shop, and Pickering says that those informants could not have been Upham or Lloyd, as the antagonism between landlords and tenants would have made their presence notable.
All this raises three questions:
- Why would the FBI spend two years on an investigation spurred by sources who were clearly compromised, both in terms of objectivity and mental balance? Did they fail to investigate the credibility of the sources? Or did they simply not care?
- What resources were expended on this fruitless investigation? How many man-hours? What surveillance techniques were brought to bear, and what did they cost?
- Who are the other six in the nine-person “cell”? To what degree were they investigated or surveilled? Who else, locally and farther afield, is subject to such scrutiny?
On Saturday, April 9, 7-10pm, there will be a fundraiser and talk at 1526 Main Street (at the corner of Ferry), where Pickering and others will discuss the investigation and display some of the related documents they’ve retrieved from federal authorities through Freedom of Information requests. Proceeds will help pay continuing legal costs.
* "Bookstore owner turns tables, questions why he was target of FBI probe; Bookstore owner was target of 2-year investigation" (2016-03-17, buffalonews.com) [archive.is/khtow]
* "FBI investigated Buffalo bookstore owner for over two years" (2016-03-21, mhpbooks.com) [archive.is/tX9y7]
* "Not Even Police Were Told About This “Active Shooter” Drill…" (2016-04-06, by Mac Slavo) [http://is.gd/76CunE]
CIA PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS IN GUERRILLA WARFARE
A tactical manual for the revolutionary. First published by the Central Intelligence Agency and distributed to the Contras in Central America. (.pdf) [http://is.gd/fN84ZO]
NORTHBAY COPWATCH: Five-Eyes, and other transnational partners
* "'State-Assisted Slaughter:' German Intelligence Hired Neo-Nazis; The revelation is the latest to show cooperation between security and intelligence services and neo-Nazi groups" (2016-04-07, telesurtv.net) [archive.is/LyxFB]
* "GCHQ spies worked their ‘magic’ to prevent Harry Potter book leak" (2016-04-10, rt.com) [archive.is/MeW3B]
from the Committee to
FREE 'EM ALL!
End the Drug War! Stop Jim Crow! Close the Torture Chambers! [solitarywatch.com] [facebook.com/incarceratedworkers] [supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org] [denverabc.wordpress.com] [prisonlegalnews.org] [prisonbooks.info] [nycabc.wordpress.com] [powmedicaljustice.com] [sacprisonersupport.wordpress.com]. Become a Human Rights Pen Pal! [link].
* "Strike Roundup Day 1: Texas Prisons Shook by IWOC Initiated Strikes" (2016-04-05, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee IWO), a committee of the Industrial Workers of the World IWW, iwoc.noblogs.org) [archive.is/9mKpu]
* "Prisoners in multiple states call for strikes to protest forced labor" (2016-04-08, sfbayview.com) [archive.is/pHCiE] [begin excerpt]: Prison inmates around the country have called for a series of strikes against forced labor, demanding reforms of parole systems and prison policies, as well as more humane living conditions, a reduced use of solitary confinement and better health care.
Inmates at up to five Texas prisons pledged to refuse to leave their cells today. The strike’s organizers remain anonymous but have circulated fliers listing a series of grievances and demands and a letter articulating the reasons for the strike. The Texas strikers’ demands range from the specific, such as a “good-time” credit toward sentence reduction and an end to $100 medical co-pays, to the systemic, namely a drastic downsizing of the state’s incarcerated population.
“Texas’s prisoners are the slaves of today, and that slavery affects our society economically, morally and politically,” reads the five-page letter announcing the strike. “Beginning on April 4, 2016, all inmates around Texas will stop all labor in order to get the attention from politicians and Texas’s community alike.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state’s prisons, “is aware of the situation and is closely monitoring it,” spokesperson Robert Hurst wrote in a statement to The Intercept. He did not comment on the prisoners’ grievances and demands. Prisoner rights advocates said at least one prison – the French Robertson Unit in Abilene – was placed under lockdown today, but Hurst denied any prisons in Texas were on lockdown because of planned strikes. [end excerpt]
* "Discrimination in Parole Hearings Keeps Trans Prisoners Behind Bars, Advocates Say" (2016-04-05, truth-out.org) [archive.is/R4H5G]
* "Florida sued over allegations of sexual, physical, mental abuse at women's prison" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/bjf9e]
articles recommended by the
SAN PABLO BAY ECOLOGICAL PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION
Campaigns, info, and more [SanPabloBayEPA.blogspot.com]. Science [discardstudies.com]
* "Rekindling The Old Ways The Amah Mutsun and the Recovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge" (2016-04-06, baynature.org) [archive.is/WLfVl]
* "Restoring ecosystems: How to learn from our mistakes; Ecologists have issued a warning of underdocumented results of ecological restorations. The researchers show that continuous and systematic evaluations of cost-efficiency, planning, implementations and effects are necessary in order to make use of experiences in future projects" (2016-04-08, Umea University) [archive.is/znuN6]
* "Can urban gardeners benefit ecosystems while keeping food traditions alive?" (2016-04-05, news.aces.illinois.edu) [archive.is/GNtrH]
* "Microbes take center stage in workings of 'the river's liver' ; Scientists explore climate impact as rivers ebb and flow" (2016-04-07, pnnl.gov) [archive.is/8doN5]
* "Moss is useful bioindicator of cadmium air pollution, new study finds" (2016-04-06, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest, Research Station, fs.fed.us) [archive.is/EpqlX]
* "The Native Plants of the Quiroste Valley" (2016-04-01, baynature.org) [archive.is/S4k48]
* "Nevadans sue Obama, alleging politics at play over grouse protection laws" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/E7eBm]
* (2016-04-10) [archive.is/DlWCh]: this can go a long way in helping cut down on clear cut logging!!!
* "Massive deforestation found in Brazil's Cerrado; Agricultural expansion in Brazil's Cerrado is quickly chewing up rainforests and savannas -- even altering the region's water cycle, a new study finds. The study shows that dramatic deforestation, previously prevalent in the Amazon, has shifted to the neighboring Cerrado, where cropland is rapidly replacing native vegetation" (2016-04-01, University of Vermont) [archive.is/w7otm]
SAN PABLO BAY EPA: Health and the Human Ecology
Monopolists enforce a regime that does not recognize the natural right to health and life. Info [detoxproject.org].
* "Combat 'Burn Pits' ruin immune systems, study shows" (2012-05-23, wired.com) [archive.is/WJiXt]
* "US soldiers burned their waste in the Mideast wars — and now it’s killing them" (2016-04-09, nypost.com) [archive.is/v3jxq] [begin excerpt]: Thousands of U.S. military personnel who served on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan recall the dense black smoke from burn pits where everything from IEDs to human waste was incinerated.
Now many have died, and more are gravely ill. Those battling a grim menu of cancers, as well as their loved ones and advocates, trace their condition to breathing in the toxic fumes they say could be the most recent wars’ version of Agent Orange or Gulf War Illness.
“The clouds of smoke would just hang throughout the base,” Army Sgt. Daniel Diaz, who was stationed at Joint Base Balad, in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle from 2004-2005, told FoxNews.com. “No one ever gave it any thought. You are just so focused on the mission at hand. In my mind, I was just getting ready for the fight.”
Diaz returned from duty in 2008. A year later, he started developing health problems including cancer, chronic fatigue and weakness, neuropathy and hypothyroidism. Nearly every base he was stationed at during his four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan had burn pits nearby – and pungent smoke everywhere.
“When I was stationed at Camp Wright, there was one 20-30 feet from our rooms,” he says. “No one ever questioned whether it was dangerous having it so close. Not even once.”
During the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the burn pit method was adopted originally as a temporary measure to get rid of waste and garbage generated on bases. Everything was incinerated in the pits, say soldiers, including plastics, batteries, appliances, medicine, dead animals and even human waste. The items were often set ablaze with jet fuel as the accelerant.
Joint Base Balad, where Diaz was partially stationed, burned up to 147 tons of waste per day as recently as the summer of 2008, according to The Army Times.
The incineration of the waste generated numerous pollutants including carbon monoxide and dioxide—the same chemical compound found in Agent Orange, which left many Vietnam vets sick after it was used as a defoliant.
“It’s killing soldiers at a much higher rate than Agent Orange did in the Vietnam Era,” Rosie Torres, founder of Burn Pits 360, an advocacy group for service members who have fallen ill, told FoxNews.com. “Soldiers from that war were seen dying in their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. Now with the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are seeing them die in their early 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.” [end excerpt]
* "16,000 Cincinnati Residents Receive Warning About Lead Pipes, Water Contamination" (2016-04-08, Cassius Kamarampi) [http://is.gd/uNn2ap]
* "Hundreds of US schools test positive for unsafe lead levels in water" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/UovNy]
* "Michigan Gov. blames staff for lead contamination of Flint water" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/9xLjp]
* "Boom: Another Vaccine Whistleblower Steps Out Of The Shadows" (2016-04-07, by Jon Rappoport) [http://is.gd/bsuP9A]
* "The Insane Censorship Of Vaccination Truths" [https://youtu.be/4e0KVwYPmg8]: In this video Luke Rudkowski goes to the premier of Vaxxed in NYC and interviews the main producer of the film Del Bigtree. The controversial film was pulled from the Tribeca film festival by Robert De Niro after a media backlash, but was able to premier at another theater. The film is currently playing in limited theaters in NYC to find out more check out [vaxxedthemovie.com].
* "Mayor’s Office In Houston Shut Down VAXXED" (2016-04-08, by John Rappoport) [archive.is/YTHRq]
* "Keep Your Eyes On Africa’s Latest Virus Outbreak" (2016-04-08, by Maggie Martin) [archive.is/VkvXm] [begin excerpt]: High global vaccine prices -
Although the cost of the yellow fever vaccine is less than $1, it still represents an increase of 68 times the cost that it was in 2001, and is now a prohibitive amount for poorer countries, as noted by Doctors Without Borders. This has reportedly been the impetus behind the partnership subsidies with organizations like GAVI. [end excerpt]
* "Merle Haggard Dies At 79, Outspoken Opponent Of War And Chemtrails In Later Years" (2016-04-08, by Brandon Turbeville) [http://is.gd/HcEV0N]
articles recommended by the
NO NUKES! campaign
[StopNuclearDeath.blogspot.com] [nuclear-news.net] [nukeresister.org] [nukefree.org]
* "Another kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States" (2016-04-09, pressenza.com) [archive.is/r18sc]
* "The Marshall Islands vs the world’s nuclear powers: questions and answers" (2016-04-09, pressenza.com) [archive.is/5wM4V]
articles recommended by the
SAN PABLO BAY SOVEREIGNTY Think-tank
* "Penn Researchers Move One Step Closer to Sustainable Hydrogen Production" (2016-03-29, news.upenn.edu) [archive.is/zchJq]
UNITED STATES FASCISM WATCH
Documenting the process of fascism and for whom it benefits. [UnitedStatesFascism.blogspot.com] [exposefacts.org]
* "The Fed’s Policy Nightmare: How to Raise Rates Without Killing the Big Banks" (2016-04-07, wallstreetonparade.com) [archive.is/MLPeH]
* "Goldman Sachs, US settle for $5b over bunk mortgages sold in run-up to 2008 crisis" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/0IoLz]
* "Senator Elizabeth Warren Asks Jack Lew, Who Owned an Offshore Account at Citigroup, to Investigate Panama Papers" (2016-04-08, wallstreetonparade.com) [archive.is/G4I7a]
* "Baker Hughes, Halliburton merger under scrutiny" (2016-04-06, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/mIHSB]
* "The Blue State Model; How the Democrats Created a 'Liberalism of the Rich' " (2016-03-29, by Thomas Frank, with an introduction from tomdispatch.com) [archive.is/Px7IF]
* "Kerry glosses over Bahrain’s human rights record" (2016-04-07, presstv.ir) [archive.is/vblUK]
* "US needs Bahrain’s help to continue Mideast policies: Analyst" (2016-04-07, presstv.ir) [archive.is/t8GT3]
* "Dark money group spends $200,000 on ads opposing Puerto Rico debt relief bill" (2016-04-06, sunlightfoundation.com) [archive.is/TsbrR]
* "Atheist Mom Forced Into Court-Ordered Christian Counseling" (2015-09-15, patheos.com) [archive.is/HGAhn]
* meme (2016-04-09) [archive.is/h7PrM]:
* "Are Right-Wing Libertarian Internet Trolls Getting Paid to Dumb Down Online Conversations? There are daily attempts to control and influence content in the interests of the state and corporations: attempts in which money talks" (2010-12-14, alternet.org) [http://is.gd/xBpYmk]
* "10 Reasons Why the Mafia is Better than the State" (2015-01-17, notbeinggoverned.com) [archive.is/CsEhP]
* "Why do we like mafia films?" (2013-11-06, mccaine.org) [archive.is/gf1YU] “Bolshevism is knocking at our gates, we can’t afford to let it in… We must keep America whole and safe and unspoiled. We must keep the worker away from red literature and red ruses; we must see that his mind remains healthy.” – Al Capone
* #ResistCapitalism [archive.is/3eMXP], because nothing would exist without workers, who need an end to exploitation and fascism.
When confronted with Libertarian propaganda...
USA FASCISM: Military State
* "Boeing wins $275M Air Force contract for space superiority capabilities" (2016-04-06, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/t73hZ]
* "Private equity firm acquires iRobot defense business" (2016-04-04, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/APed8]: The Defense and Security business of iRobot has been acquired by Arlington Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
iRobot, the largest provider of ground-based robots to the Department of Defense, will operate independently under the name Endeavor Robotics.
"We are proud to form Endeavor Robotics and honored to continue delivering robotics that protect those in harm's way," said Sean Bielat, chief executive officer of Endeavor Robotics. "Our team is developing exciting new technology and we are actively reviewing acquisition opportunities that will propel our growth."
iRobot's -- and now Endeavor's product line -- is comprised of four classes of robots for warfighters and first responders: FirstLook, SUGV, PackBot and Kobra.
"As an independent company dedicated to tactical robotics, Endeavor Robotics will have new flexibility to meet the needs and protect the lives of our customers serving on the frontline and in dangerous environments," said Tom Frost, president of Endeavor Robotics. "We've always done our best work when we worked closely with our customers. Our new structure enables us to double down on that strategy.
"We believe that the future is in open architecture and collaborative solutions and we look forward to making that a reality."
Frost is the former senior vice president and general manager of iRobot's Defense & Security business. Bielat is the former iRobot Defense & Security executive officer.
The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
USA FASCISM: Two Party Dictatorship
* " 'Disqualify' and 'Defeat': Clinton Campaign attacks intensify to halt Sanders' winning streak" (2016-04-06, shadowproof.com) [archive.is/RM0A3]
* "How Sanders Exposes the Democratic Establishment's Neoliberal Underbelly" (2016-04-06, commondreams.org) [archive.is/Bmmru]
* "In 1983 Clinton teamed with Walmart to attack public education" (2016-03-23, liberationnews.org) [archive.is/4uUnp]
* "Clinton Faces New Challenge from Fractivists After 'Insulting' Comments; As presidential campaigns head to New York, an anti-fracking epicenter, climate activists say they won't give their votes to Clinton so easily" (2016-04-04, commondreams.org) [archive.is/KRzAS]
* "Naomi Klein Explains Why Clinton's 'Corporate Worldview' Cannot Be Ignored Clinton's historically 'pro-corporate ideology" shows she does not have the willingness to take on "fossil fuel companies and the banks that finance them' " (2016-04-07, commondreams.org) [archive.is/co9D3]
* "Report: Hillary Clinton Used Static Noise Machine to Prevent Reporters from Hearing Fundraising Speech" (2016-04-08, gawker.com) [archive.is/0OYoZ]
* "Clinton campaign taps ex-Goldman Sachs partner for Asian fundraisers" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/JuVlx]
The following quote is an example of the manner of speech for "well to do" politicians trained in emulating the psychological trigger words of propaganda experts.
USA FASCISM: State Media Watch
Documenting propaganda issued by the monopolist media and members of the state security regime that uphold the economic dictatorship, imperialist wars, and the "New Jim Crow" regime [mediamatters.org]
* "A Media Unmoored from Facts; Mainstream U.S. journalism has completely lost its way, especially in dealing with foreign policy issues where bias now overwhelms any commitment to facts, a dangerous development" (2016-04-07, by Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com) [archive.is/b4hOV]
* "Vice, A $2.5 Billion Media Company, Sends Cease-And-Desist Letter To Indie Band Struggling To Pay Rent; The media behemoth says ViceVersa’s name is causing 'consumer confusion' " (2016-04-08, huffingtonpost.com) [archive.is/pDY49], attached video [https://youtu.be/a1acMmYFsQA].
Vice is employed and subsidized by the USA CIA and DIA for clandestine intelligence gathering.
* "Canadian Judge Orders VICE Journalist To Hand Over Communications With ISIS Fighter" (2016-04-08, by Derrick Broze) [archive.is/pJWyc]
* "CNN Just Got Called Out for Manipulating Bernie Sanders’ NY Daily News Interview" (2016-04-07, usuncut.com) [archive.is/3Q9IY]
* "Bernie Wins Wisconsin on Honesty and Inspiration; Gets Shamed on Cover of New York Paper" (2016-04-06, wallstreetonparade.com) [archive.is/b3wzA]
* "How media manipulation works" (2016-04-09, facebook.com/telesurenglish) [archive.is/sesZ3]:
This is a photo that was widely circulated by the corporate media and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela to discredit the left-wing government for chaos and shortages of goods.
Guess where the photo was taken? At a Stop and Shop in New York.
* "CBC News’ top journalist in Moscow: Bringing you the latest sex scandals" (2016-04-12, by Roger Annis, newcoldwar.org) [archive.is/FFelm]
USA FASCISM: Artificial Poverty and Starvation
* "9 Big Pharma rip-offs 'worse than Martin Shkreli' " (2016-04-09, rt.com) [archive.is/kuchT]
WORLD FASCISM WATCH
Documenting the global economic dictatorship
* "Oxfam slams World Bank for investing in firms using tax havens" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/62VJv]
Panama Papers -
* "Confessions of a Panama Papers Hit Man" (2016-04-12, by John Perkins) [archive.is/Uzdzq]
* "The Journalist Who Blew the Whistle on Mossack Fonseca 18 Months Before the Panama Papers" (2016-04-06, vice.com) [archive.is/XnfoO]
* "The "Cherry Picking" Leaked Documents: A US Central Intelligence Agency Art Form" (2016-04-08, by Wayne Madsen) [archive.is/czGYZ]
* "CIA behind Panama Papers leaks, says 'most significant financial whistleblower of all time' " (2016-04-13, rt.com) [archive.is/CfPcS]
* "Complete List of people named in the Panama Papers" (2016-04-10, voicehindi.com) [archive.is/OJeeU]
* "If Putin’s not in it, he’s behind it: Western media’s new spin on Panama Papers" (2016-04-10, rt.com) [archive.is/TLxsi]
* "WikiLeaks: US Gov't Behind Panama Leaks to Attack Putin; Along with the anti-Kremlin Soros Fund, Washington funded the Panama leaks to discredit Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to WikiLeaks" (2016-04-06, telesurtv.net) [archive.is/ZH9v1]
* "US government, Soros behind Panama Papers leak to ‘target’ Putin: WikiLeaks" (2016-04-07, presstv.ir) [archive.is/1nnsC]
* "Putin’s a pauper, his friends are rich" (2016-04-04, by Leonid Bershidsky, bloombergview.com) [archive.is/VtEI1]
* "Behind the Curtain: Who is Really Managing the Panama Papers Leak; Who is behind the Panama Papers leak and who is funding the coverage of the issue? There is something fishy about the Western media campaign that has been triggered by the disclosure, experts say" (2016-04-08, sputniknews.com) [archive.is/UMtpH]
* "The Panama Papers Problem" (2016-04-05, blackagendareport.com) [archive.is/zg2p6] [begin excerpt]: The Panama tax haven leaks reveal a lot about the lawlessness of the rich, as well as the ideological bias of the western press. “Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere, but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story.” Americans are conspicuous by their absence from the story. That’s because rich people in the U.S. can avoid taxes “legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.” [end excerpt]
* "Panama Papers: huge tax leak exposes Putin aides, world leaders" (2016-04-04, AFP Newswire) [archive.is/RPH8h]
* "Panama Papers: Family of China's President Xi implicated" (2016-04-04, AFP Newswire) [archive.is/pcSut]
* "The Panama Papers: Why Iceland?" (2016-04-08, gearoidocolmain.org) [archive.is/nev4a]. The Commonwealth of Iceland recently signed a Free Trade agreement with the SCO member state of the People's Republic of China, and another agreement with the Eurasian Union member state of the Federation of Russia, which threatens the total blockade of the EEU/SCO by the USA.
* "One Day After The Panama Papers Were Leaked, IRS Headquarters Closes Then Catches Fire" (2016-04-07, by John Vibes) [http://is.gd/1hnJaP]:
As we have been covering this week, the release of the Panama Papers has created a panic among world governments, by exposing some of their darkest secrets.
In the leak, 11.5 million documents were stolen from Mossack Fonseca and were leaked to Suddeutsche Zeitung, who then turned to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to examine the documents. In the time since, media organizations have been scrambling to sift through a large number of documents, in hopes of finding stories that they can spin to fit their narrative.
So far, most of the information to be released through the mainstream media has been directed at foreign governments and leaders, with a passing mention of several hundred American citizens who store their money offshore without reporting it to the IRS. Ironically enough, at the height of the Panama Papers publicity, a fire broke out in the basement of the IRS headquarters, leading to a full closure of the headquarters for over a week.
According to a short report from the Associated Press [archive.is/AMonE] [begin excerpt]:
IRS headquarters in Washington will remain closed for the rest of the week while repairs are made after a basement fire in the building.The agency said in a news release Tuesday that Monday afternoon’s fire affected the air handling system. No one was hurt in the fire. The IRS says telework-ready employees are expected to telework from their approved location. Officials say tax returns are not processed at headquarters; taxpayers should continue to file their returns. [end excerpt]
The timing of the fire and the closure have led many to speculate that perhaps the fire is an inside job, and created intentionally for the purpose of destroying records, which could possibly be evidence that correlates to Panama Papers revelations.
The building was closed and workers sent home approximately 45 minutes before flames engulfed the basement “due to electrical issues with the air-conditioning system,” an IRS spokesman said. He said that about 2,000 people work there but that “a few hundred” were still in the building when the fire broke out.
So far, there has been no indication from local authorities or representatives at the IRS as to whether the fire was an accident or an act of arson, and it is likely that this news will never be revealed. However, it is important to point out that the IRS headquarters is one of the most secure buildings in the country, which would make it nearly impossible for someone to start a fire in the basement unless they had authorized access to the area.
Aside from the mention of some Americans’ use of so-called “tax havens,” there have been no reports of the IRS being implicated in the Panama Papers through the mainstream media. But the mainstream media has yet to report on the full scope of the 11.5 million documents that were released. It is, however, possible that the IRS is expecting some sort of fallout from sensitive information, and is taking protective measures to safeguard their secrets.
It is also possible that they are somehow connected or complicit in the offshore tax avoidance that has been practiced by some American citizens. It is also yet another possibility that this is just a mere coincidence; but when there is smoke, there is usually fire.
Attached video: "Fire Breaks Out At IRS Headquarters In Washington DC, No Injuries" (America's Newsroom, Fox News) [http://is.gd/Yr2r2b]
* "While Clinton Backed 2011 Trade Deal, Sanders Foresaw Panama Papers Fiasco; 'Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes,' Sanders told Congress in 2011" (2016-04-05, commondreams.org) [archive.is/poTei]
* "Forget Panama: it's easier to hide your money in the US than almost anywhere; The term tax haven may evoke images of exotic locales, but Panama actually ranks as the 13th most attractive spot for hiding assets, while the US lies third" (2016-04-06, theguardian.com) [archive.is/OsMeA]
* "Here Is Rothschild's Primer How To Launder Money In U.S. Real Estate And Avoid 'Blacklists' " (2016-04-07, zerohedge.com) [archive.is/uFCWE]
* "Rothschild Humiliates Obama, Reveals That 'America Is The Biggest Tax Haven In The World' " (2016-04-06, zerohedge.com) [archive.is/cikme]
* "Retailer Zara tells biracial worker her braids are ‘too extreme’, could face human rights complaint" (2016-04-11, rt.com) [archive.is/ezIYW] [begin excerpt]: An employee at a Zara store in Canada may file a human rights complaint against the multinational clothing chain owned by the world’s second richest man after her bosses said her braids were “too extreme”.
Cree Ballah, who describes herself as biracial, works at a Zara store in Toronto’s Scarborough Town Centre. [end excerpt]
WORLD FASCISM WATCH: #OPDeathEaters
A study of the personal ideologies and social practices of those who benefit from the global capitalist regime. [WorldFascists.blogspot.com]
* "Former House Speaker Hastert facing jail over sex abuse cover-up" (2016-04-10, rt.com) [archive.is/SkkZa]
information collected by the
SOLANO PEACE, JUSTICE, AND FREEDOM COALITION
[SolanoPeaceJustice.blogspot.com], for justice, dignity and human rights, and an end to the USA's endless wars, in harmony with Principle 1 & 6 of International Law [archive.is/tmncz], the 5 protocols of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) [archive.is/LhUTj], and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [archive.is/U1Ota].
* "Recovering From Militarism" (2016-03-30, popularresistance.org) [archive.is/tT1Ow]
* "Cindy Sheehan: Mother of a Soldier, Mother of a Movement" [http://is.gd/l608J5] [begin excerpt]:
After graduating from high school, Casey enlisted in the U.S. Army, with hopes of becoming a chaplain's assistant, but he was instead put into an infantry unit and given the job of mechanic. Casey died in Sadr City in Iraq on his second tour of duty, along with several other soldiers, all of whom had reportedly volunteered to take part in an operation to aid other soldiers who had been wounded in a firefight. Sheehan credits the following poem written by her daughter Carly with saving her from her grief that resulted from Casey's death and with putting her onto the road toward becoming a peace activist. Carly's poem is entitled, "A Nation Rocked to Sleep":
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep signs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
* "Successful Week at SHUT DOWN CREECH! 25 Activists Arrested in Two days of Nonviolent Blockades at Gates to Creech AFB; Activists from over 20 states participated in week-long Mass Mobilization to End Drone Warfare" (from Code Pink):
Democracy Now, April 4, 2016 (At 11.50) [http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2016/4/1?autostart=true]
Democracy Now, April 1, 2016 (At 11.27) [www.democracynow.org/shows/2016/4/4?autostart=118.0]
Brian Terrell (on right) with fellow Iowans, Frankie & Rene at Shut Down Creech. Brian was released from jail late Mon. nite, April 3, after spending 3 grueling days in a holding cell (no bed), because Brian chose not to pay a fine for a bogus charge left over from last year's SHUT DOWN CREECH. All other activists were released by late evening of their arrest date.
Videos of action by Holly Severson:
1- Full Length kids action: [http://smallworldradio.net/doubletap.mov]
2- Edited shorts from the action: [http://www.smallworldradio.net/DN.mov]
(More Photos Below)
Anti-drone protesters executed waves of multiple non-violent peaceful actions at Creech Air Force Base throughout the morning last Friday, April 1, with the intent of interrupting the drone killing activities that take place there. Creech AFB, in southern Nevada, is the primary Command Center for the CIA's and President Obama's Drone Assassination program. At the most heavily used eastern gate, a total of 13 people were arrested in 4 separate actions. After military personnel re-opened the main base gate in the later morning after the 1st action there, three more waves of blockades occurred. The 3rd and 4th waves breeched a barricade near the gate and continued to block the road, ultimately stalling gate operations for nearly an hour totally, counting all actions at that gate. Another 4 were arrested at a 2nd gate.
The first incident at the eastern gate occurred at approximately 7:00 AM when a group of six children and eight adults all dressed as angels, performed a mock drone attack on a funeral. The activists were demonstrating the gruesome U.S. practice of firing drone missiles into funerals for victims previously killed by U.S. drone attacks, with hopes that militants might also be killed. A ballerina led the procession, laying red roses on the entry road of the main gate, followed by the other children carrying a casket. The funeral procession was interrupted by a simulated drone attack that killed and injured many of the mourners. Ultimately seven adults were arrested after they refused to leave the roadway after a 5 minute warning.
At approximately the same time, actions took place at the other two base gates, leading to more arrests. The blockade at the 2nd gate focused on the criminal aspects of the U.S. drone assassination program. Activists stretched yellow crime scene tape around the base sign and across the entrance to the gate, preventing vehicles from entering. One protester laid across the roadway to portray a drone victim. And at the seldom used most western gate a small group held a silent meditation vigil for peace. Activists successfully delayed Air Force personnel (and presumably some drone pilots and technicians), from entering the base throughout the morning.
"Many Creech personnel arrived to the base before the normal 6-8am rush hour on Friday, presumably to avoid the protest. Activists who participated in this collective effort consider even that a success because the protest is having a direct impact on daily drone operations. These sustained actions are forcing the military to change their daily routines, and potentially stimulating more discussion about the drone policies in question and the growing national opposition to drone killing," says Toby Blomé, one of the organizers. "We deeply hope that our voices will one day soon be heard, and the expanding use of these deadly and destabilizing weapons against the most vulnerable people in the world will cease."
On Thursday, the day before Friday's gate blockades, 8 activists, including 7 veterans were arrested in a earlier blockade at the heavily used eastern gate, blocking morning traffic as well.
The two days of actions were part of a week-long protest at the base, culminating in a total of 25 arrests during the 2nd Annual National Mass Mobilization against Drone Warfare known as SHUT DOWN CREECH. Activists from over 20 states converged at "Camp Justice," the peace camp directly across from Creech AFB, for daily rush hour vigils,
nonviolence training workshops, and strategizing meetings to prepare for these nonviolent blockades to impede drone killing.
These activities were done to highlight the Obama administration's drone killing program that leads to many civilian deaths and violates international law.
(Photos by Holly Severson and Toby Blome)
* "The US Just Declared Russia A Greater Threat Than ISIS — Paving The Way For Deadly Perpetual War" (2016-04-06, by Matt Agorist) [http://is.gd/tAQoYP]
* "Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria; They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil" (2016-02-23, politico.eu) [archive.is/LtER4]
* "Evidence of US war crimes in Iraq recorded by 100s of organizations" (2016-04-10, rt.com) [archive.is/DZS3C] [begin excerpt]: This month sees the 13th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to US forces on April 9, 2003 – an invasion initiated by the Bush administration in breach of international law and aimed at “disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction” that were never to be found.
When Saddam’s statue was toppled, it was a huge milestone after more than 20 years of his rule. But that feeling would soon be replaced by mounting questions as to the real reason for the US presence in Iraq – especially after anywhere between half a million and a million people had to die for us to find out that the key pretext for the invasion was trumped up. This doubt only escalated as the War on Terror progressed elsewhere, before we finally arrived at its baby – Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), standing on the shoulders of Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra Front.
All these years later, a modest 40 percent of Iraqis believe the US worked to destabilize Iraq and claim its natural resources. And almost a third believe Washington actively supports terrorism to achieve its ends, according to the Office of the Inspector General. This particularly concerns Islamic State, according to the survey.
“As soon we approach the problem from the legal grounds, we immediately realize that the war in Iraq was illegal,” Taher Bourmedra, former UN human rights chief in Iraq and a UN secretary general special representative for Iraq, told RT in an interview.
He stressed that the US-led military operation, dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, was an act of direct aggression towards a sovereign country, as the US failed to obtain a mandate from the UN Security Council. [end excerpt]
* "What it will cost to rebuild Iraq" (2016-04-01, al-monitor.com) [archive.is/Y3olH]
* "The Neocon Recipe For Iraq -- How to Completely Ruin a Country in 13 Years; When are we going to do in Iraq what we did in Europe after war destroyed that continent?" (2015-02-20, alternet.org) [http://is.gd/io0Wvg]
Weapons for a New World Order
* "Record-breaking steel could be used for body armor, shields for satellites" (2016-04-05, jacobsschool.ucsd.edu) [archive.is/J4HwK]
* "USC scientists follow the bouncing metallic glass; The revolutionary material is incredibly hard but also elastic, making it potentially useful for things from drill bits to body armor to meteor-resistant casings for satellites" (2016-04-05, news.usc.edu) [archive.is/N56wy]
* "Low-cost and Lightweight; Strongest titanium alloy aims at improving vehicle fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions" (2016-04-01, pnnl.gov) [archive.is/zb7iu]
* "DARPA Director to Christen ACTUV Prototype Vessel; Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and senior U.S. Navy leadership to join the Agency in celebrating highly autonomous unmanned ship that could revolutionize U.S. maritime operations" (2016-04-07, darpa.mil) [archive.is/d4F2I]
* "Mind Control Microscope Changes Behavior Of Mice: Scientists Say They Will Soon 'Treat The Brain As The Keyboard Of A Piano' " (2016-04-06, by Joe Jankowski) [http://is.gd/ekEAVY]
* "CMU announces research project to reverse-engineer brain algorithms, funded by IARPA; A Human Genome Project-level plan to make computers learn like humans" (2016-02-05, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/yA4Rg] [begin excerpt]: Carnegie Mellon University is embarking on a five-year, $12 million research effort to reverse-engineer the brain and “make computers think more like humans,” funded by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) [archive.is/DYPmd]. The research is led by Tai Sing Lee, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).
The research effort, through IARPA’s Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) research program [archive.is/51Ykp], is part of the U.S. BRAIN Initiative [archive.is/fpVqE] to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain. [end excerpt]
* "DARPA Wants EEG Brain Readers In Every Classroom In America" (2016-04-09, by Melissa Dykes) [http://is.gd/UEjPsr]
* "Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM build brain-inspired supercomputer; Focusing on cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and sensory processing, chip-architecture breakthrough may accelerate path to exascale computing" (2016-03-29, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/5RwSV] [begin excerpt]: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased IBM Research’s supercomputing platform for deep-learning inference, based on 16 IBM TrueNorth neurosynaptic computer chips, to explore deep learning algorithms.
IBM says the scalable platform processing power is the equivalent of 16 million artificial “neurons” and 4 billion “synapses.” The brain-like neural-network design of the IBM Neuromorphic System can process complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips, says IBM.
The technology represents a fundamental departure from computer design that has been prevalent for the past 70 years and could be incorporated in next-generation supercomputers able to perform at exascale speeds — 50 times faster than today’s most advanced petaflop (quadrillion floating point operations per second) systems.
The TrueNorth processor chip was introduced in 2014 (see "IBM launches functioning brain-inspired chip" [archive.is/ABCYw]). It consists of 5.4 billion transistors wired together to create an array of 1 million digital “neurons” that communicate with one another via 256 million electrical “synapses.”
Like the human brain, neurosynaptic systems require significantly less electrical power and volume. The 16 TrueNorth chips consume the energy equivalent of only a tablet computer — 2.5 watts of power. At 0.8 volts, each chip consumes 70 milliwatts of power running in real time and delivers 46 giga synaptic operations per second.
TrueNorth was originally developed under the auspices of DARPA’s Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program in collaboration with Cornell University (see "IBM simulates 530 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses on supercomputer" [archive.is/z5qUZ]).
“The delivery of this advanced computing platform represents a major milestone as we enter the next era of cognitive computing,” said Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM Fellow, chief scientist, brain-inspired computing, IBM Research – Almaden. “Prior to design and fabrication, we simulated the IBM TrueNorth processor using LLNL’s Sequoia supercomputer. This collaboration will push the boundaries of brain-inspired computing to enable future systems that deliver unprecedented capability and throughput, while helping to minimize the capital, operating, and programming costs.” [end excerpt]
Photo caption: Lawrence Livermore’s new supercomputer system uses 16 IBM TrueNorth chips developed by IBM Research
Photo caption: IBM TrueNorth neuromorphic supercomputing processor chip
* "Largest network of cortical neurons mapped from ~100 terabytes data set; 'Functional connectomics' research bridges gap between function and wiring in the brain --- a major step in an IARPA project to create a roadmap for reverse-engineering the brain" (2016-04-01, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/kLv6Z] [begin excerpt]: The largest network of the connections between neurons in the cortex to date has been published by an international team of researchers from the Allen Institute for Brain Science [archive.is/ekNQ9], Harvard Medical School, and Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) [archive.is/bZV9K].
In the process of their study, the researchers developed new tools that will be useful for “reverse engineering the brain by discovering relationships between circuit wiring and neuronal and network computations,” says Wei-Chung Lee, Ph.D., Instructor in Neurobiology at Harvard Medicine School and lead author of a paper published this week in the journal Nature. [end excerpt]
* "Meet Deep Learning Robot" (2015-12-25, facebook.com/iamautonomous) [archive.is/QWjeo]: Built for advanced research in Robotics and Deep Learning. Pre-installed Google TensorFlow, Robot Operating System (ROS), Caffe,Torch,Theano, CUDA & cuDNN.
* "Second Quantum Revolution a Reality with Chip-Based Atomic Physics" (2016-03-30, ou.edu) [archive.is/Eg6Zg]
* "NASA engineers to build first integrated-photonics modem; A step toward revolutionary integrated photonics on a chip" (2016-02-02, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/c8ouG]: A NASA team plans to build the first integrated-photonics modem, using an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing to national defense.
The cell phone-sized device incorporates optics-based functions, such as lasers, switches, and fiber-optic wires, onto a microchip similar to an integrated circuit found in all electronics hardware.
The device will be tested aboard the International Space Station beginning in 2020 as part of NASA’s multi-year Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). The Integrated LCRD LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) User Modem and Amplifier (ILLUMA) will serve as a low-Earth-orbit terminal for NASA’s LCRD, demonstrating another capability for high-speed, laser-based communications. [end excerpt]
Photo [archive.is/KfwfU] caption: NASA laser expert Mike Krainak and his team plan to replace portions of this fiber-optic receiver with an integrated-photonic circuit (its size will be similar to the chip he is holding) and will test the advanced modem on the International Space Station
* "Unraveling truly one dimensional carbon solids" (2016-04-04, medienportal.univie.ac.at) [archive.is/CUyfw]
* "Light helps develop programmable materials; A proof-of-concept recently published in Science Advances shows how light of a certain wavelength can put be used to put so-called active materials into motion" (2016-04-04, lunduniversity.lu.se) [archive.is/7LbIl] [begin excerpt]: Light of a certain wavelength can be used to put so-called active materials into motion and control their movement. In the future, this discovery can become significant in widely different areas such as environmental protection, medicine and the development of new materials which can be programmed.
Joakim Stenhammar at Lund University in Sweden led the study where he, together with colleagues from universities in Düsseldorf, Edinburgh and Cambridge, developed a model in which patterns of light control the movement of active particles. The light makes synthetically produced particles as well as microorganisms, such as bacteria and algae, spontaneously form into something that can be compared to a pump.
In previous research, this type of “pump” has been produced artificially. What’s new about this study is that it uses light to make active particles construct their own pump to move themselves around. By adjusting the light, it is possible to steer the particles in a different direction.
This is a relatively new research field, but there are many ideas for its future areas of application. Active particles can move with the help of fuel, for example sugar. One possible application is to have active particles deliver pharmaceutical substances or nanosensors to specific parts of the body. Within environmental science, the active particles could be compared to targeted robots that can locate oil spills and then release chemicals to break down any contamination. [end excerpt]
* "Scientists program microbots to clean polluted water" (2016-04-11, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/Ypm4K]
* "Artificial molecules; A new method allows scientists at ETH Zurich and IBM to fabricate artificial molecules out of different types of microspheres. The researchers would like to one day use such tiny objects in micro-robots, for photonics and basic biochemical research" (2016-04-01, ethz.ch) [archive.is/5PlIl]
* "New acoustic-tweezer design allows for 3D bioprinting; Makes possible 3D multicellular architectures for applications in biomanufacturing, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, and cancer metastasis research" (2016-01-28, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/tOYFM]
* "UGA researchers use single molecule of DNA to create world’s smallest diode" (2016-04-04, UGA researchers use molecule of DNA to create world's smallest diode; Study advances search for silicon chip replacement" (2016-04-04, news.uga.edu) [archive.is/Xbkyr]
* "Craig Venter’s team designs, builds first minimal synthetic bacterial cell; New record for the least number of genes needed for independent cell growth" (2016-03-28, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/S2RGf], attached video [https://youtu.be/giEJK5zHJmw] [begin excerpt]:
Just 473 genes were needed to create life in a new synthesized species of bacteria created by synthetic biologists from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. [...]
Another major outcome of the minimal cell program will be new tools and semi-automated processes for synthesizing the DNA sequence needed for whole organisms, according to Daniel Gibson, PhD, an associate professor at JCVI.
“This paper signifies a major step toward our ability to design and build synthetic organisms from the bottom up with predictable outcomes,” he said. “The tools and knowledge gained from this work will be essential to producing next-generation production platforms for a wide range of disciplines.”
This work was funded by SGI, the JCVI endowment, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Living Foundries program.
* The research at JCVI leading to this report began in 1995 with DNA sequencing of the first free-living organism, Haemophilus influenza, followed by the DNA sequencing of Mycoplasma genitalium. [end excerpt]
Photo caption: A cluster of cells of a new synthetic species known as JCVI-syn3.0, showing spherical structures of varying sizes (scale bar, 200 nm).
* "Creating custom drugs on a portable refrigerator-size device; A breakthrough for responding quickly to disease outbreak and producing small quantities of custom drugs needed for clinical trials, treating rare diseases, or use as personalized 'orphan drugs' " (2016-04-01, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/wxwiY]
* "Technicolor stores Hollywood history in a bottle" (2016-04-05, AFP Newswire) [archive.is/R8gLH] [begin excerpt]: A Technicolor scientist surrounded by the latest virtual reality technology inspects a vial containing a few droplets of water -- and one million copies of an old movie encoded into DNA. [...]
"We are bigger today in LA than we were 70 years ago or 50 years ago," Technicolor chief Frederic Rose said at a recent ceremony where he accepted a "star of recognition" from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Rose used the occasion at Technicolor's Sunset Boulevard studios to showcase the company's latest jaw-dropping innovation -- the encoding of movies into artificial, "non-biological" DNA.
Jean Bolot, vice-president for research and innovation, held up a vial barely bigger than a bullet containing a million copies of 1902 French silent film "A Trip to the Moon," the first movie to use visual effects.
DNA is almost unimaginably small -- up to 90,000 molecules can fit into the width of one human hair -- so even such a large library is totally invisible to the human eye. All you can see is the water in the tube.
"This, we believe, is what the future of movie archiving will look like," Bolot said.
Scientists have been experimenting with DNA as a potential storage medium for years but recent advances in modern lab equipment have made projects like Technicolor's a reality.
The company's work builds on research by scientists at Harvard University, who in 2012 successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data -- around 700 terabytes -- in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a factor of one thousand. [...]
Bolot's team digitized the "A Trip to the Moon" into data in the form of zeros and 1s in computing's binary code, and transcribed it into DNA code, which was then turned into molecules, using lab-dish chemicals.
The contents are "read" by sequencing the DNA -- as is routinely done today in genetic fingerprinting -- and turning it back into computer code.
Converting movies into man-made DNA brings huge advantages, said Bolot, who points out that the archives of every Hollywood studio, currently taking up square kilometers of floor space, could fit into a Lego brick.
Another problem overcome by DNA storage is that the format for reading it doesn't become obsolete every decade or so, unlike celluloid, VHS, DVD and every other medium in the history of filmmaking.
"If I gave you a movie in the form of these floppy discs from the beginning of the IBM PC, you would not even know how to read the movie because there are no more floppy disc readers," Bolot said.
"The guys at Harvard told me if you left this (vial) on a hot Arizona pavement with trucks running over it, and you come back in 10,000 years, it will still be readable."
"A Trip to the Moon" took six weeks and tens of thousands of dollars to convert, but Bolot's team is working on streamlining the technology into something that would be genuinely commercially viable.
"We don't know yet if that's going to work but if it does -- and we'll know, we expect, within a year -- then this will really unlock a new age for archiving," he said. [end excerpt]
Articles reflecting the views of war planners
* "Congress should use the NDAA to begin rebuilding the military" (2016-04-16, by Justin T. Johnson) [archive.is/dvCZa] [begin excerpt]: Years of budget cuts have resulted in a smaller and weaker military. The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength graded the U.S. military’s capability, capacity, and readiness and found that as a whole it is only “marginal.” In fact, both the Army and the Air Force dropped in their ratings from the previous year due to capacity and readiness cuts. In short, our military today is not able to adequately provide for America’s national security needs. [end excerpt]
* "Weathering the Storm: Civil-Military tension during Presidential transitions" (2016-04-07, by Kathleen Hicks) [archive.is/IqVVc]
* "Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Defends US Military Alliance In Rebuff To Trump" (2016-04-06, ndtv.com) [archive.is/rJ0cf]