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    This is essential viewing.

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  • 09/09/12--18:32: Attica Is All Of Us
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  • 09/09/12--19:09: The Evolution Is Love
  • On September 17th, Imagine. Love. 

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    Nearly one year ago a bottom up protest movement erupted in New York City, calling attention to the role of Wall Street in robbing the 99% and wrecking the economy. It was a movement that inspired millions.

    But Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a global leader of the 1%, unleashed his ‘private army’ to pepper spray, beat, arrest, imprison and evict us. As we prepare for the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on September 17th, what will his response be this time?

    Tell Mayor Bloomberg to respect Occupy’s right to peaceably assemble.

    Occupy organizers from all five boroughs and from across the country are striving for a different kind of democracy. One where million$ and billion$ don't decide who gets elected and who gets arrested. Do you have our back?

    If so, tell Mayor Bloomberg, and join us in exercising our right to protest.

    Tell the Mayor of Wall Street to put away his violent white shirts, helicopters, guns, chemical agents, jail cells and undercover spying operations.

    Occupy is a nonviolent movement. And if Mayor Bloomberg hears all of our voices together and sees our collective power in the streets, we might just make it out of #S17 in one piece.

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  • 09/10/12--08:30: Logos Vs Leaves
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  • 09/19/12--19:06: Our Biggest Challenge

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    What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic

    Arctic sea ice extent dropped to the lowest level ever recorded, bottoming out at 3.41 million square kilometers on September 16 (49% below the average minimum recorded during the 1980s and 1990s).

    This is not just a problem for polar bears. The dramatic loss of ice contributes to more extreme weather in the US. Continued 

    [Image credit: NASA with 1979 boundary redrawn by NRDC]

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    Via Yes

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  • 09/22/12--08:12: The Egg Machine
  • Unusual vending machine filled with sixteen real chickens was installed in the city center of Frankfurt, Germany.

    People initially thought that they would be able to buy fresh eggs from it - but instead, they were confronted with the message: “68% of all the chickens in the world are treated like egg-laying machines”.

    Pedestrians were asked to only buy eggs from ethical egg farming.

    After a short demonstration for their right to a fair life, all chickens were safely returned to their organic farm.

    Via Defence Against Animal Cruelty

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    Dr. Jane Goodall's Video Message for the 2012 UN International Day of Peace from the Jane Goodall Institute on Vimeo.


    This is a video message from Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace on the 2012 UN International Day of Peace and their theme for this year, "Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future."

    2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Dr. Goodall's appointment as a UN Messenger of Peace. To learn more about Dr. Goodall's history as a Messenger of Peace visit:

    To learn more about how you can join Dr. Goodall in celebrating the 2012 UN International Day of Peace, please visit:

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  • 09/23/12--08:21: 14 With No Future
  • Image by Mickey Z

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    By Peter Rugh

    On the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, members of America’s wealthiest 1 percent were rounded up in New York’s Financial District and led away in handcuffs. The NYPD, whose hands were full chucking demonstrators into the back of paddy wagons yesterday — about a hundred total — seeded jurisdiction over the suits to a higher authority: gangs of polar bears roaming the narrow streets surrounding the global finance hub. Their suspects were wanted for embezzling natural resources, bribing politicians through campaign contributions, funding perjurious climate denial think-tanks, impersonating people, engaging in ecocide and attempting to foreclose on Earth.

    OWS Environmental Solidarity organizer Russell Lum provided the bears with information that led to the arrest of the 1 percenters. He explained that he was just doing his civic duty. “If people are going to build a world for the 99 percent, it has to be sustainable and attuned to the Earth.”

    Due to the symbiotic relationship between the exploitation of the planet and the exploitation of people, the bears formed a joint task force that included students indentured to thousands in student loans, teachers facing attacks on their union, droves of unemployed, nurses in green Robin Hood hats demanding a financial transaction tax and other rabble roused members of the 99 percent, who were on the hunt for Wall Street bankers as well.

    These polar bears were members of the 99 percent as well — literally. Their paws were painted socks; their hats, wool beanies with ears stitched on. They were members of the September 17 Eco-Block in costume. The activists donned the bear regalia like Mayan head-dresses to channel the spirit of the animal that has become symbolic of climate change. Meanwhile, the suspects in their custody were really their comrades chaffing in ties and toy cuffs to help them illustrate a point; Wall Street is bankrolling climate death. There’s an estimated $27 trillion worth of fossil fuels remaining on this planet, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the 1 percent plans on burning every last drop of it for the cash, causing our planet to heat-up exponentially.

    The bell that rings with each opening of the Stock Exchange tolls for Earth and tolls for all of us. That was the underlying premise of the Eco-Block, which I myself took part in on Monday. Flanked by police in riot gear much of the morning, we joined in common cause with activists challenging the reign of the 1 percent on a myriad of fronts, in their workplaces and communities. Our rallying cry: “All roads lead to Wall Street.”

    A radically green component

    Confronting the ecological crisis is not something fresh to the Occupy movement. Just as activists fighting mass incarceration can see the hidden hand of the market locking up blacks and Latinos in private prisons and AIDS activists have seen it driving up the cost of medication, we have seen the market’s index finger drilling wholes in the earth for oil, its smoke stacks thumb the sky, and its fists punch out the rainforest. The past year has been one of confronting nukers, drillers, greenwashers and climate change bankrollers, but this summer things have really heated up. Some are calling it the Summer of Solidarity.

    “The Summer of Solidarity is a term we are using to describe a phenomenon that is sweeping the country, putting environmentalists on the wheels of the machine,” said Lum. Coal plants, nuclear weapons facilities, drill sites and a mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia have all been temporarily shut down recently because activists stood in the way. Most recently, five comrades and I occupied the site of a fracked gas pipeline that is entering Manhattan’s West Village, shutting it down for an afternoon. We did so in solidarity with people in Pennsylvania — where the gas will be sourced from and has already caused much environmental destruction — as well as the people in upstate New York, who are being threatened with fracking, should Governor Andrew Cuomo decide to let drillers in.

    While the Summer of Solidarity has fed off of Occupy’s defiance and exuberance, Lum argues that OWS was itself a product of the environmental movement. “Don’t forget,” said Lum, “that during the summer of 2011 there were mass arrests at the White House against the Keystone XL Pipeline and Tim DeChristopher went to prison for an illegal purchase of federal land that was being auctioned to oil and gas developers.”

    Meanwhile, the people Russell has met, the networks he and other environmentalists are a part of today that span the country and spill out as far as South Africa, all formed through the nationwide Occupy insurgency. “September 17 has a radically green component” he added, “and that entails celebrating the environmental solidarity we’ve built up so far and looking each other in the face and promising more environmental solidarity to come.”

    Over at Wall and William Streets, an army of police in riot gear was on hand to make sure we didn’t get any further. Driven away from the Stock Exchange by a wave of blue, the sounds of those who had fallen into the arms of the storm troopers followed us toward the East River and along Water Street. We disbanded and set about putting the breaks on business as usual as best we could in roving packs — some as big as a hundred, some as few as three.

    All our pack of about 30 people had to do to shut down a Bank of America branch kitty-corner to the famous statue of the Bull was show up. We stood out front singing, “Wall Street bankers melting down, melting down, melting down / Wall Street bankers melting down our green planet.” With the bank’s glass doors firmly bolted by security personnel and its employees looking on, we sprawled out supine on the pavement. A blue and white helicopter roved overhead and the sound of police sirens going off on all sides told us that our comrades were everywhere.

    Eventually the NYPD moved in, rows of plastic handcuff bracelets looped round their haunches. We leapt to our feet, chanting, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible.” The chant seemed more appropriate than ever. If 30 people can really shutdown a bank simply by singing at its doors, imagine what the entirety of the 99 percent are capable of. Better yet, we managed to do so without going to jail and breaking our next appointment back near Zuccotti Park.

    The one year reunion

    Sock and beanie polar bears, faux 1 percenters and the rest of the Eco-Block regrouped down at Bowling Green. Across from us stood the Museum of the American Indian, a building shared with the Federal Debt Court. Rebecca Manski who helped orchestrate the day’s action pointed out to me the significance of the spot we occupied Monday. “The Lenape Indian Nation made a deal with the Dutch here,” said Manski, referencing the famous sale of Manhattan, today worth about about $800 billion in real-estate, purchased for the equivalent of less than $80 in 1626.

    “This exchange was based on a betrayal, defrauding native peoples of their land,” Manski said. “Later, Wall Street was where slaves were bought and sold. The foundations of capitalism laid here. They come from exploitation of workers and from slavery and from defrauding native peoples throughout the world and the process hasn’t stop. We’re seeing the culmination of that exploitation of this extreme economic stratification in climate change.”

    It was around 10 a.m. at this point and close to a thousand people were assembled at Bowling Green. We gathered in a circle around Reverend Billy Talen — a radical social justice preacher and longtime staple of the New York left, who has become Occupy’s unofficial minister. “Remember one year ago?” asked Reverend Billy, gesturing to the ground as if his arm were trying to draw a heavy chain from the bowels of the earth. The crowd was much larger than the previous year and growing as more and more flooded in from the surrounding streets.

    I thought back to when I first turned up that Saturday a year ago. Reverend Billy was on hand then too, walking around with his bobbing blond pompadour, testifying against Wall Street to all who would listen. He was accompanied by robed members of his Stop Shopping Choir — a confusing spectacle since there was a flock of actual Christians on hand in robes handing out literature. A more new-agey crowd was striking yoga posses in the center of the park. The various socialist sects of the New York left had dusted themselves off as best they could for the occasion and were waving placards proclaiming class politics left over from marches long past. There were “Truthers” too and even a smattering of Ron Paul devotees. But mostly it was people with a deep feeling of dispossession who wanted to do something about it. Aside from the novel idea of not being pushed home by the multitudes of police waiting in the lurch nearby, there was no hint of what would emerge. I wonder if Police Commissioner Ray Kelly lies awake at night regretting not finding some excuse to crack down on that first “sleepful” protest.

    Out of the tangled assemblage of that day movements were eventually born; movements to cast away debt, keep families in their homes, stop police violence and racism, strip money from politics, work toward healthcare for all and an ecologically sustainable planet.

    A year ago, I’d never spoken to more than 40 people at once, led a meeting, stopped traffic or shutdown a bank branch. I’d never been locked up for deliberately breaking the law, pushed against a steal barricade or pulled a protester over one out of the arms of a policeman. I’d never eaten lentils in the snow, so warm and delicious because each bite was a reminder of what we are capable of together. Threats and coercion failed to remove the occupation. We could only be evicted through violence and that has its limits. There are more of us than there are of them. The hope of Occupy is that the sirens activists sent ringing through the financial district on its first birthday will be overtures of the 1 percent’s eventual doom and that one day a just and sustainable world can kick down the barriers before it and occupy the planet.

    Image: John Duffy

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    Artist: Tammam Azzam

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  • 10/04/12--07:43: An Open Letter To Monsanto

  • Dear Monsanto,
    I wanted to write you this letter thanking you for all of your hard work leading the food industry towards the future. I have seen some incredible things as of late and I believe that your efforts have been the main reason I and others have been so fortunate. I have always cared about healthy food just as many of my friends and associates do. Your recent push as the number one financial backer of the anti-prop 37 movement has produced such amazing results that I barely have words to express my gratitude. Below I have outlined some of those incredible things. I thought you deserved to hear from a consumer, an American, a Californian just what you have done for us.

    1- My friends and family now pay much more attention to what is in
    their food and what they feed themselves and their children.

    2- I have seen people who would otherwise not be aware of each
    other working toward the common goal of food safety and
    health. I have personally interacted with people from Russia and
    South Africa regarding the food on their dinner tables and my
    own. I love new friends.

    3- Organic food sales have gone through the roof! The farmers
    markets in my home town have been growing at a magnificent
    rate. An entire new culture of caring about what our food really
    is has come into existence in places where people never really
    cared before.

    4- As a consumer I merely have to look at the list of donors looking
    to kill prop 37 to know who gives a shit about human beings and
    who only cares about money.

    5- The two larger community gardens in my town went from
    having a few volunteers each day to having anywhere from
    25 – 100 volunteers EACH DAY!!

    6- Local independent grocery stores are proudly starting to educate
    their customers as to which foods do not contain GMO’s.
    7- Some GMO foods were sneaking in “under the radar” but now
    this is on “everyone’s radar.”

    8- Farmers are realizing that they do not have to back down to big
    companies trying to bully them into submission so that they do
    not have choices.

    9- People from all different races, political affiliations, religions,
    cultures, and places in the world have banded together ala “The
    enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    10- Girls LOVE guys who make an effort to avoid fake food such as
    what you supply the world with. If I go out to any
    gathering and start talking about how terrible GMO’s are I
    inevitably meet lots of pretty girls.

    There are many more benefits I am realizing now thanks to you spending so many millions of dollars to defeat prop 37. So in summary thank you. It must be so frustrating to see your efforts backfiring on you and your friends Nestle, Bayer, Hershey’s, Abbott, Pepsi, Coke, and all the others. Thank you for your arrogance and lack of regard of the entire human species. It has served to bring us together and make us stronger.

    Your Friend
    Benjamin Lantz

    Image: TRAP

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  • 10/05/12--06:39: Banksy For British Petroleum

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  • 10/13/12--07:50: Elephant Hang Session
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    By Chris Hedges

    The next great battle of the Occupy movement may not take place in city parks and plazas, where the security and surveillance state is blocking protesters from setting up urban encampments. Instead it could arise in the nation's heartland, where some ranchers, farmers and enraged citizens, often after seeing their land seized by eminent domain and their water supplies placed under mortal threat, have united with Occupiers and activists to oppose the building of the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline. They have formed an unusual coalition called Tar Sands Blockade (TSB). Centers of resistance being set up in Texas and Oklahoma and on tribal lands along the proposed route of this six-state, 1,700-mile proposed pipeline are fast becoming flashpoints in the war of attrition we have begun against the corporate state. Join them.

    The XL pipeline, which would cost $7 billion and whose southern portion is under construction and slated for completion next year, is the most potent symbol of the dying order. If completed, it will pump 1.1 million barrels a day of unrefined tar sand fluid from tar sand mine fields in Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Tar sand oil is not conventional crude oil. It is a synthetic slurry that, because tar sand oil is solid in its natural state, must be laced with a deadly brew of toxic chemicals and gas condensates to get it to flow. Tar sands are boiled and diluted with these chemicals before being blasted down a pipeline at high pressure. Water sources would be instantly contaminated if there was a rupture. The pipeline would cross nearly 2,000 U.S. waterways, including the Ogallala Aquifer, source of one-third of the United States' farmland irrigation water. And it is not a matter of if, but when, it would spill. TransCanada's Keystone I pipeline, built in 2010, leaked 12 times in its first 12 months of operation. Because the extraction process emits such a large quantity of greenhouse gases, the pipeline has been called the fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet. The climate scientist James Hansen warns that successful completion of the pipeline, along with the exploitation of Canadian tar sands it would facilitate, would mean "game over for the climate."

    Keystone XL is part of the final phase of extreme exploitation by the corporate state. The corporations intend to squeeze the last vestiges of profit from an ecosystem careening toward collapse. Most of the oil that can be reached through drilling from traditional rigs is depleted. The fossil fuel industry has, in response, developed new technologies to go after dirtier, less efficient forms of energy. These technologies bring with them a dramatically heightened cost to ecosystems. They accelerate the warming of the planet. And they contaminate vital water sources. Deep-water Arctic drilling, tar sand extraction, hydraulic fracturing (or hydro-fracking) and drilling horizontally, given the cost of extraction and effects on the environment, are a form of ecological suicide.

    Appealing to the corporate state, or trusting the leaders of either party to halt the assault after the election, is futile. We must immediately obstruct this pipeline or accept our surrender to forces that, in the name of profit, intend to cash in on the death throes of the planet.

    Nine protesters, surviving on canned food and bottled water, have been carrying out a tree-sit for more than two weeks to block the path of the pipeline near Winnsboro, Texas. Other Occupiers have chained themselves to logging equipment, locked themselves in trucks carrying pipe to construction sites and hung banners at equipment staging areas. Doug Grant, a former Exxon employee, was arrested outside Winnsboro when he bound himself to clear-cutting machinery. Shannon Bebe and Benjamin Franklin, after handcuffing themselves to equipment being used to cut down trees, were tasered, pepper-sprayed and physically assaulted by local police, reportedly at the request of TransCanada officials. The actress Daryl Hannah, along with a 78-year-old East Texas great-grandmother and farmer, Eleanor Fairchild, was arrested Oct. 4 while blocking TransCanada bulldozers on Fairchild's property. The Fairchild farm, like other properties seized by TransCanada, was taken under Texas eminent domain laws on behalf of a foreign corporation. At the same time, private security companies employed by TransCanada, along with local law enforcement, have been aggressively detaining and restricting reporters, including a New York Times reporter and photographer, who are attempting to cover the protests. Most of the journalists have been on private property with the permission of the landowners.

    I reached climate activist Doug Weis nearly 1,000 miles from the blockade, in the presidential battleground state of Colorado by phone Friday. Weis is pedaling up and down the Front Range, hand-delivering copies of an open letter—signed by citizens, some of whom, like Daryl Hannah, have been arrested trying to block the XL pipeline—to Obama and Romney campaign offices. He has been joined by indigenous leaders, including Vice President of Oglala Lakota Nation Tom Poor Bear, and in Denver by members of the Occupy Denver community.

    Weis last fall rode his bright-yellow "rocket trike"—a recumbent tricycle wrapped in a lightweight aerodynamic shell—2,150 miles along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. He was accompanied by Ron Seifert, now a spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade. Weis' "Keystone XL Tour of Resistance" started at the U.S.-Canada border in Montana and ended 10 weeks later at the Texas Gulf Coast. He recently produced a 15-minute video in which he interviewed farmers, ranchers and indigenous leaders who live in the path of the project.

    "Keystone XL is being built as an export pipeline for Canada to sell its dirty oil to foreign markets," he said. "This is not about energy security; it's about securing TransCanada's profits."

    Weis cited a report commissioned by Cornell University that concluded that the jobs estimates put forward by TransCanada were unsubstantiated and that the project could actually destroy more jobs than it created.

    Barack Obama delayed, until after the election, a decision on permitting the northern leg of the pipeline after a series of civil disobedience actions led by Bill McKibben's in front of the White House a year ago, as well as fierce opposition from ranchers in states such as Nebraska. The president, by announcing the delay, put an end to the widespread protests. Obama, however, flew to Cushing, Okla., in March to call for the southern leg of the pipeline to be fast-tracked. Standing in a pipeline yard, he said, "I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done." Obama's rival for the presidency, Mitt Romney, was no less effusive in his support for Keystone XL, saying to a Pittsburgh audience in May: "If I'm president, we'll build it if I have to build it myself."

    Grass-roots organizing along the proposed pipeline has grown, especially as the project began to be put in place.

    If completed, the 485-mile southern leg, from Cushing to Nederland, Texas, would slice through major waterways including the Neches, Red, Angelina and Sabine rivers as well as the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which provides drinking water for some 10 million Texans. The southern section of the pipeline is now the focus of the Tar Sands Blockade.

    The invasive extraction of tar sands and shale deposits, as well as deep-sea drilling in the Arctic, Alaska, the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, has been sold to the U.S. public as a route to energy independence, a way to create millions of new jobs and a boost to the sagging economy, but this is another corporate lie. The process of extracting shale oil through hydraulic fracking, for example, requires millions of gallons of chemically treated water that leaves behind poisoned aquifers and huge impoundment ponds of toxic waste. The process of extracting oil shale, or kerogen, requires it to be melted, meaning that tremendous amounts of energy are required for a marginal return. The process of tar sand extraction requires vast open pit mining operations or pumping underground that melts the oil with steam jets. Tar sand extraction also releases significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil drilling, meaning an acceleration of global warming. Drilling in the Arctic, with its severe weather, costs as much as half a billion dollars per well. These processes are part of a desperate effort by corporations to make profits before a final systems collapse. Droughts are already sweeping the Midwest. The battle between farmers and fossil fuel corporations for diminishing water sources has begun. Yet our ruling elite refuses to face the stark reality of climate change. They ignore the imperative to find other ways of structuring our economies and our relationship to the environment. They myopically serve a doomed system. And, if left unstopped, the cost for all of us will be catastrophic.

    Weis, a former congressional staffer, expects the last section of the pipeline to be authorized by the president once the election is over.

    "It is critical that people understand that completion of the southern leg of Keystone XL—which President Obama and Gov. Romney both fully support—would give TransCanada a direct line from Alberta's landlocked tar sands mine fields to refineries in Texas for export overseas," Weis explained. "By tapping into Keystone I, which has already been built, the southern leg of Keystone XL would open the floodgates to tar sands exploitation in Canada. At a time when the climate is already dangerously destabilizing before our eyes, I can't believe we're even having this conversation."

    He described Obama's and Romney's "failure to stand up to this corporate bully" as a "failure to defend America."

    "It is unconscionable to put the interests of a transnational corporation before the health, safety and economic well-being of the American people," he said.

    Weis sees the struggle to halt the Keystone XL pipeline as a symbolic crossroads for the country and the planet. One path leads, he said, toward decay. The other toward renewal.

    "There comes a time when we must say to the ruling elite: 'No more,' " he said. "There comes a time when we must make a stand for the future of our children, and for all life on Earth. That time is here. That time is now."

    Support The Tar Sands Blockade

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