May. 1st, 2011

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Its a subterranean fire

ON MAY 1, 1886--125 years ago this month--hundreds of thousands of workers were taking the streets of cities around the U.S. to demand an eight-hour day.

The epicenter of this great labor struggle was Chicago, where the eight-hour movement inspired defiant protests and strikes--and inspired fear and repression from bosses and their loyal servants in law enforcement.

Two days after the massive May 1 actions, Chicago police fired on a protest of workers at a South Side factory, killing four people. A protest demonstration was called the next day for Haymarket, just west of downtown. The rally was peaceful, but as it was nearing a close, police waded into the crowd. At this point, a bomb was thrown into the ranks of police--and this became the excuse for a deadly rampage by the authorities.MORE

More Than 100 US May Day Protests Planned, International Activists Arrested

Most Americans are familiar with Labor Day, but they may not have heard of the international day of worker solidarity known as May Day. At the height of the Cold War, May Day parades were associated with socialism, and in a quest to distance itself from the dirty deeds of the Soviet Union, Congress instead designated May 1 as “Loyalty Day.” Today, we celebrate workers’ struggles on Labor Day, the first Monday in September.

It’s unfortunate that many Americans lost the memory of May Day because in failing to celebrate the holiday, U.S. workers are deprived of the spirit of solidarity they used to share with international workers. However, that doesn’t mean that May Day is completely forgotten within the United States.MORE


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May Day and its challenges

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Tracing the roots of Berlin's May Day violence

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Only minor unions protest during May Day

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Workers Demand Better Jobs, Pay On May Day

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Tens of thousands march for May Day across globe

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Maldives police break up opposition protest

Dozens reportedly injured as police violently disperse activists staging protest over worsening economy

Police in Maldives have used tear gas and batons to break up an anti-government protest in the island country's capital Male, reportedly injuring dozens of activists.

About 400 supporters of the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom gathered in Male on Saturday night, demanding the resignation of incumbent President Mohamed Nasheed over Maldive's recent currency depreciation and worsening economy, Nasheed's office said Sunday.

The demonstration began peacefully but turned into a riot when demonstrators began trashing the streets, the Maldives police said.

Protesters gave a different account, saying about 5,000 people attended the demonstration and that dozens were "crushed brutally", DRP spokesman Mohammed Shareef told the Associated Press news agency by phone.

Nasheed was elected president in the country's first multi-party election in 2008, ending Gayoom's 30-years of one-party rule, but the country has recently struggled with soaring food prices and unemployment.

Gayoom leads the DRP, which accuses the Nasheed administration of wasteful spending and financial mismanagement.

The Maldivian currency has recently depreciated after the rufiyaa's peg to the dollar became unstable, affecting food and import costs.MORE
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Sources: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, is dead, and the U.S. is in possession of his body, a person familiar with the situation said late Sunday.

President Barack Obama was expected to address the nation on the developments Sunday night.

Two senior counterterrorism officials confirmed that bin Laden was killed in Pakistan last week. One said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation, not by a Predator drone. Both said the operation was based on U.S. intelligence, and both said the U.S. is in possession of bin Laden's body.

Officials long believed bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak ahead of the president.MORE
\ETA: I'm thinking he's gonna be hard to beat in 2012. And I look forward to GOP spinning on this. POPCORN. And the excuses for staying right where they are in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq and Yemen.
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Food Sunday: Food Fairy Tales You Can Use

Once Upon A Time, there was this organization in Los Angeles which wanted to promote kids’ growing organic gardens at their schools. Let us call this Organization A and it has people such as Rosario Dawson and Ed Begley Jr. working with it to promote this worthy cause. And because there is Organization A, there must, per force, be an Organization B, which is a company which produces fertilizers and compost products which are labeled as organic and which are described as “products you can trust.” A high level manager (and it would seem family member) of Organization B is on the Board of Directors of Organization A (you’re hearing the scary “Jaws” music too, right? Me, too.).

Organization A is: Environmental Media Association. Organization B is Kellogg Garden Products, the chief sustainability officer of which is Kathy Kellogg Johnson, who sits on EMA’s Board. The problem is that 70% of their fertilizer mixes contain (cue scary organ riff) UNLISTED treated sewage sludge from city of Los Angeles and as we all know by now, this is toxic stuff filled with heavy metals, chemicals, broken down plastics and so on.
Now, Kellogg has the right to put anything they want into their products, but you can’t call something with heavy metals ‘organic’ and you can’t call something with heavy metals in it ‘safe’ or ‘products you can trust’, especially if you don’t list it as an ingredient.

And the reason this has come out is that Organizations C and D, The Food Rights Network and The Center for Media and Democracy, blew the whistle on Organization B to Organization A. EMA 1
This is making Organization A extremely uncomfortable and the saga rolls out here.
It gets worse

WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any Euroxpean Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

"The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the Dallas/Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.MORE

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis

Demand and supply certainly matter. But there's another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there's value, there's money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).MORE


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