On Monday, RT’s Breaking the Set host Abby Martin, an American journalist based in Washington, ended her show by saying something “from [her] heart about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s military occupation of Crimea.” What followed was a short monologue that may have surprised the channel’s mostly pro-Russian viewers:
"Just because I work here, for RT, doesn’t mean I don’t have editorial independence, and I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations’ affairs. What Russia did is wrong," said Martin, shaking her papers with emphasis. "I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression."
Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, 1896 by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Crisis reportage in the twenty-first century has evolved into an independent discipline — almost a science. The money, the technology, and the orchestrated mass hysteria that goes into crisis reporting has a curious effect. It isolates the crisis, unmoors it from the particularities of the history, the geography, the culture that produced it. Eventually it floats free like a hot-air balloon, carrying its cargo of international gadflies — specialists, analysts, foreign correspondents, and crisis photographers with their enormous telephoto lenses.Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (via khilaaf)
What the Fuck Is NAFTA?
Since it was first introduced in 1994, NAFTA has been opposed by labor and student organizations in Mexico, the US, and Canada, the three signatories to this ‘agreement.’
Roughly, NAFTA is an economic law that deregulates capital movement through all three countries. It gives corporations the freedom to move entire operations untaxed, the ability to arbitrate as if they were citizens from those respective countries and, ultimately, the power to dictate the economy. For example, if Intel decides it is cheaper to manufacture processors in a facility in Guadalajara, NAFTA allows them to do so unopposed by the US government. It does not matter that this corporate freedom kills the Mexican IT sector, NAFTA is the law.
When Intel operates in Mexico, the Mexican government is forced to treat Intel as a Mexican corporation and affords them the same right to property as state enterprises. Intel is also not required to pay tariff dues as they used to be decades ago and, in fact, it receives subsidies from the Mexican government. This has effects the Mexican population through diminished tariff revenue for public services and infrastructure, a neoliberal trend present in all three countries.
NAFTA basically dictates that all three governments support corporate control of the economy.
The effects of NAFTA are also felt across economic sectors. For example, the movement of automobile manufacturing to Mexico, where labor laws are rarely enforced, has left large areas of the midwestern United States desolate; the area is referred to as the ‘rust-belt’ due to its abandoned manufacturing facilities.
Mexico’s maquiladoras, then, are obviously no good for Mexicans because they are economic production used to undercut the US worker. The way to undercut US workers is to neglect labor rights somewhere else. As a result, workers living on either side of the border are made more ‘competitive’ but competition within the NAFTA framework is narrowly defined as a demeanor and capacity to work for more time with less pay. NAFTA formally imposes a ‘race to the bottom’ as all workers are forced to participate in an economic competition they cannot possibly survive.
Through NAFTA, US corporations also manipulate the agricultural sector of Mexico. Remember, Mexico is still largely agrarian and many people survive through their own small scale farming operations. US corporations destroy this capacity by exporting lower quality products to Mexican firms and do so with the political protection and subsidies from the US government.
Monsanto, for instance, owns many acres of farm land and receives a federal subsidy for every bushel of corn planted regardless of quality. The subsidy is also given despite it being well known that Monsanto has near monopolistic control over corn and is consolidating control over publicly subsidized research in US universities as well. Monsanto’s federally subsidized corn is dumped into Mexico where Monsanto ‘fixes’ the price of maize - Monsanto and its Mexican subsidiaries raise the price of corn based products at will.
The effect is obvious: In Mexico, tortillas, corn and corn maize have all increased in price. Smaller farming operations are now unviable which displaces Mexican workers, forcing them to seek work in the United States.
Submitted by Ricardo Lezama
RT America’s Liz Wahl resigns live on air
The demise of the Soviet Union left 25 million Russians stranded in 14 newly independent states, in such countries as Belarus, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. These new countries had to scramble in order to create the trappings of national identity virtually overnight. They designed new flags, composed national anthems and printed new currency. To instill a sense of loyalty and patriotism, the governments of many of the freshly-minted republics resorted to rank nationalism. Nationalism isn’t just about what your country is. It’s also about what it isn’t. This requires defining some things — some people — as outsiders. Unwanted. Scapegoats. Enemies of the state.What the US Media Won’t Tell You About Ukraine (via azspot)
Batman: The Cult
Book One: Ordeal (1988)
Art by Berni Wrightson & Bill Wray
Story by Jim Starlin
NEW YORK — Michael Ighodaro slowly rose to his feet, his bloodshot eyes scanning the room for support. The young man, who is HIV-positive, is a regular at these meetings, where he works with advocates of New York City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to address issues of HIV education. Tonight, he invited those in attendance to participate in an international protest against Nigeria’s anti-gay legislation to be held on Friday, drawing encouraging comments from the audience.
“We want to get the world to know what’s going on in Nigeria,” he said. “Make it more aware that it’s a serious issue and that they should do something about it.”
In his native Nigeria, participation in such a protest would get the 27-year-old Ighodaro jailed for 10 years or possibly even killed.
(Photo: Elizabeth D. Herman for Al Jazeera America)
LAST PUBLIC EXECUTION BY GUILLOTINE, 1939
In the early morning of 17 June 1939, Eugène Weidmann bowed down before the blade of the guillotine, the last person to do so publicly.
Weidmann was the last person to be executed before a crowd in France. He had been convicted of multiple kidnappings and murders, including that of a young American socialite. His trial was a sensation in that tense summer of 1939; the Frankfurt-born Weidmann was quickly dubbed “Teutonic Vampire” by the tabloids. His execution outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles was a noisy affair.
In the days following the execution, the press was especially indignant at the way the crowd had behaved. Paris-Soir denounced the crowd as“disgusting”, “unruly”, “jostling, clamoring, whistling.” Among the sins the lofty paper found unforgivable was the crowd “devouring sandwiches”. More shockingly for the authorities, the unruly crowd delayed the execution beyond the usual twilight hour of dawn, enabling clear photographs — and one short film! — to be taken. The government regretted that public executions which were intended to have a “moralizing effect” now produced “practically the opposite results.” President LeBrun signed an order to hold executions only behind closed doors. (Via Iconic Photos)
Albert Bierstadt. Giant Redwood Trees of California, 1874.
Joe Rogan Experience #464 - Robert Greene, Aubrey Marcus
Robert Greene is an American author and speaker known for his books on strategy, power and seduction. He has written five international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and Mastery. Aubrey Marcus is writer, entrepreneur, and adventurer. Some of his writings and experiences can be found on his website, WarriorPoet.us, as well as links to his latest venture, Onnit Labs.