Category Archives: Video

A tale of two indigenous land protest movements


The Dakota Access Pipeline [DAP] is a 1,600-mile pipeline being built to carry high-grade petroleum from North Dakota’s fracked-up Bakken Shale proposed across North and South Dakota and on through Iowa to Illinois.

The only problem, besides all the environmental worries connected with oil, fracking, and constructing a pipeline that could leak into some of the nation’s most environmentally sensitive landscapes and waterways, the project is being driven through land considered sacred by several of the nation’s indigenous tribes.

Native American take a different view of land that do the statutes of states and the federal government, which see land as property, susceptible to “improvements” — usually those proposed by folks looking out to make a fast buck.

Indigenous people tend to see land different, as a living thing of which they are a small but significant part.

Mother Earth, in other words, is more than just as advertising slogan.

The DAP passes through landscape — a better term than the purely utilitarian land favored by legislators, banksters, and corporateers — considered sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux, and it was a woman, tribal Historic Preservation Officer LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who formally launched the protest movement against the project by opening the Sacred Stone Camp on April 1.

The protest has been joined by other indigenous groups, environmentalists, and scientists concerned about the ecological impacts and threats to endangered species.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that protesters blockading pipeline construction must end by 5 December or mass arrests would follow, and the Obama administration shows no sign of intervening as of this writing.

Which brings us to the story of another protest, and a successful campaign launched by women to thwart a housing development of scared landscape north of the U.S. border.

From the National Film Board of Canada, a 2009 documentary film by Sara Roque:

Six Miles Deep

Program notes:

A documentary portrait of a group of women who led their community, the largest reserve in Canada, Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, in an historic blockade to protect their land. On February 28, 2006, members of the Iroquois Confederacy [also known as the Haudenosaunee or People of the Longhouse] blockade a highway near Caledonia, Ontario to prevent a housing development on land that falls within their traditional territories. The ensuing confrontation makes national headlines for months. Less well known is the crucial role of the clan mothers of the community who set the rules for conduct. When the community’s chiefs ask people to abandon the barricades, it is the clan mothers who overrule them, leading a cultural reawakening in their traditionally matriarchal community.

Trump good for one NGO, but not its clients


The NGO is Planned Parenthood, and its clients are women facing the spectre of unwanted pregnancies in an administration headed by a President-elect who has threatened to criminalize abortion.

Here’s Trump making that very threat during a March 29 MSNBC forum:

With Trump’s impending electoral college triumph, women had been flocking to Planned Parenthood for help.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau reports:

The phone has been ringing off the hook at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, with women rushing to make appointments to get long-acting birth control.

In the two weeks since Donald Trump won the presidency, the number of appointments at the organization’s 12 clinics has jumped by 81 percent, according to spokeswoman Tiffany Harms.

Many women fear that President-elect Donald Trump will try to follow through on his promises to outlaw abortion and scrap the Affordable Care Act, which helps many poor women by providing birth control with no co-pays

The most popular requests: intrauterine devices, or IUDs, small plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus and left in place, and hormonal implants.

Planned Parenthood officials say it’s a similar situation across the country, with many women braced for the worst. They fear that Trump will try to follow through on his promises to outlaw abortion and scrap the Affordable Care Act, which helps many poor women by providing birth control with no co-pays.

Trump’s not Adolf Hitler, says Noam Chomsky


While Adolj Hitler was a sincere, dedicated ideologue, Donald Trump is a thing-skinned megalomaniac, firing off tweets at 3 a.m. when anyone angers him, says Noam Chomsky in this extended interview with Al Jazeera.

And in some ways he’s worse: “The most predictable aspect of Trump is unpredictability. I think it’s dangerous, very dangerous.”

And in many ways, he says, it’s the Republican Party itself that’s the greatest threat to humanity’s future.

Topics covered include the failure of the news media to cover real issues, climate change, Barack Obama’s assassination program, NATO and threats to peace in Eastern Europe, and more

From Al Jazeera English’s UpFront:

Noam Chomsky on the new Trump era

Fidel Castro is gone, the man the U.S. tried to kill


In the end, the killer was one that awaits us all, humanity’s finite lifespan.

From the New York Times:

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died Friday. He was 90.

His death was announced by Cuban state television.

In declining health for several years, Mr. Castro had orchestrated what he hoped would be the continuation of his Communist revolution, stepping aside in 2006 when he was felled by a serious illness. He provisionally ceded much of his power to his younger brother Raúl, now 85, and two years later formally resigned as president. Raúl Castro, who had fought alongside Fidel Castro from the earliest days of the insurrection and remained minister of defense and his brother’s closest confidant, has ruled Cuba since then, although he has told the Cuban people he intends to resign in 2018.

Fidel Castro had held on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II. He became a towering international figure whose importance in the 20th century far exceeded what might have been expected from the head of state of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people.

More from the Guardian:

Castro’s younger brother Raúl, who assumed the presidency of Cuba in 2006 after Fidel suffered a near-fatal intestinal ailment, announced the revolutionary leader’s death on television on Friday night.

“With profound sadness I am appearing to inform our people and our friends across [Latin] America and the world that today, 25 November 2016, at 10.29pm, Fidel Castro, the commander in chief of the Cuban revolution, died,” he said.

“In accordance with his wishes, his remains will be cremated.”

Raúl Castro concluded his address with the famous revolutionary slogan: “Onwards to victory!”

On Saturday, the Cuban government announced that Fidel Castro’s ashes will be interred at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba on 4 December. The cemetery is the resting place of 19th century Cuban independence hero José Martí and numerous other leading figures in the country’s torrid history.

Hundreds of assassination attempts foiled

Castro lived a charmed life, surviving hundreds of would-be assassins, many of them dispatched by a U.S. government outraged that a revolutionary regime could challenge its hegemony and flourish just 90 miles off its shore.

Powerful U.S. corporations had seen their lucrative Cuban assets nationalized, and the mob lost its casinos, infuriating syndicate heads in Chicago, Miami, and New Orleans, as well as notorious money launderer Meyer Lansky, who lost his own casino.

Other governments as well loathed Castro for his backing of revolutuonary regimes and dispatched their own killers.

And all of their attempts failed, as documented in this 2013 report from Britain’s Channel 4 News:

638 Ways To Kill Castro

A noteworthy legacy

So we bid farewell to Fidel, who created a national healthcare system that’s one of the world’s best [the island nation’s infant mortality rates are much lower than those of the U.S., a fact the CIA acknowledges], and where the U.S. sends troops to maintain its dominance over the globe, Cuba sends doctors to heal folks in some of the world’s poorest lands and assist when disaster strikes.

Barred by a trade embargo from importing food from the U.S., Cuba developed the world’s best system of agroecology, raising crops without pesticides and an over-reliance on synthetic fertilizers, while turning vacant lots into rich urban farms.

While the American right has long demonized Castro as a despot, the truth is that he accomplished much good for the Cuban people and countless numbers of the sick and the afflicted in other lands.

And now we bid him farewell, a man whose legacy is — like that of all of us — mixed, but one that is far better than so often portrayed in the U.S. media.

And now for something completely different. . .


For a moment of pre-holiday diversion, a short film from Ignas Meilunas:, and be sure to watch through the credits:

MR NIGHT HAS A DAY OFF

Program notes:

Why the night is changing the day? When you don’t like something, you change it.

A zero budget short story i was asked to do by “Nuits en Or 2016” festival. Done in 21 day in Summer 2016. Shot in Vilnius, Lithuania.

H/T to Metafilter.

Trump’s America and a 1946 educational film


Folks living in United States in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century might find a bit of irony in this short educational film shown in American schools starting in 1946, the year of esnl’s birth.

Produced in the immediate aftermath of the bloodiest war in history, the Encyclopedia Britannica educational film was created at the start of the most prosperous era in U.S. history, when labor unions boomed, the economy flourished, and the public could learn about their world through a diverse media landscape peopled with intelligent, young, and moderately well-paid journalists.

The film was created with the assistant of one of the nation’s greatest political scientists, Harold D. Lasswell of Yale University, who contributions to his field included a noteworthy study of propaganda and its uses by totalitarian regimes.

Much has changed since the film’s release, as we’re certain you’ll agree, yet its conclusions offer a chilling insight into political, economic, and media environment that has given us President-elect Donald J. Trump:

Despotism [1946, Encyclopedia Britannica Films]

H.T to Boing Boing.

Trump to kill TPP, coal & fracking regs on 1st day


The Trans-Pacific Partnership [previously], a multinational trade agreement eliminating barriers across the Pacific in an effort to contain China’s economic power, will be one of the first casualties of the Trump administration, the President-elect announced today.

Also on the chopping block will be regulations on coal and fracking, and a new policy mandating two regulations be struck down for each new one adopted.

Trump too the unusual step of making his announcement in the form of a video on his Transition 2017 website:

A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Program notes:

The President-elect shares an update on the Presidential Transition, an outline of some of his policy plans for the first 100 days, and his day one executive actions.