Environmental Groups File Motion to Intervene in Defense of Denton Fracking Ban

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Just days after attorneys representing Denton, Texas submitted their initial responses to two legal complaints filed against Denton — the first Texas city ever to ban hydraulic fracturing ("fracking")  environmental groups have filed an intervention petition. That is, a formal request to enter the two lawsuits filed against the city after its citizens voted to ban fracking on election day.

Denton Drilling Awareness Group and Earthworks are leading the intervention charge, represented by attorneys from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and EarthjusticeThe drilling awareness group runs the Frack Free Denton campaign.

Those groups have joined up with attorneys representing Denton to fight lawsuits filed against the city by both the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Commission.

First Texas City to Ban Fracking Cites "Public Nuisance" in Lawsuit Response

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Attorneys representing Denton, Texas, the first city to ban hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in state history, have issued rebuttals to the two lawsuits filed against Denton the day after the fracking ban was endorsed by voters on election day. 

Responding to lawsuits brought by attorneys with intimate Bush family connections — with complaints coming from both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association — the Denton attorneys have signaled the battle has only just begun in the city situated in the heart and soul of the Barnett Shale, the birthplace of fracking. 

In its response to the Texas Oil and Gas Association, Denton's attorneys argued the Association did not provide sufficient legal evidence that the Texas constitution demarcates the Texas Railroad Commission or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as the only governmental bodies that can regulate or permit fracking.

"Nowhere in...the Petition as a whole, does Plaintiff identify what regulations have been passed by the Texas Railroad Commission or the Texas Commission or Environmental Quality that allegedly occupy the 'entire field' rendering the [ban] preempted and unconstitutional," wrote the attorneys. "City requests the Court to order Plaintiff to replead that claim with greater specificity to meet those fair notice requirements."

Industry-friendly Railroad Commission (RRC) chairman Christi Craddick is on the record stating that the RRC will continue to issue permits despite the fact Denton citizens voted for a ban.

The Denton attorneys also argued that fracking is a "public nuisance" and "subversive of public order" in defense of the fracking ban.

No more grand juries: Coercive 13th Century Relics, They Serve the Political Interests of DAs, not Justice

By Dave Lindorff

 

         In case people didn’t get it earlier, it’s time to recognize that the ancient institution of the grand jury has outlived its usefulness, and should be eliminated, as its only real purpose today is to give prosecutors political cover and an added cudgel with which to  intimidate witnesses.

 

Here's Statement Made to Judge Who Set Drone Protester Free

Last night Mark Colville was sentenced to a one year conditional release, $1000 fine, $255 court costs, and has to give a DNA sample for NY State.

"This sentence was a great departure from what Judge Jokl threatened to give Mark," said Ellen Grady. "We are relieved that the judge did not give him the maximum and we in the courtroom were very moved by Mark's powerful statement to the court.

"May the resistance continue!"

This was Colville's statement in court:

"Judge Jokl:

"I am standing here before you tonight because I tried to intervene on behalf of a family in Afghanistan whose members have experienced the unspeakable trauma of witnessing loved ones being blown to pieces, murdered by hellfire missiles fired from remote control aircraft like those flown from the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Airbase. I stand here, under judgement in this court, because a member of that family, Raz Mohammad, wrote an urgent plea to the courts of the United States, to our government and military, to stop these unprovoked attacks on his people, and I made a conscientious decision to carry Mr. Mohammad’s plea to the gates of Hancock. Make no mistake: I am proud of that decision. As a husband and father myself, and as a child of God, I do not hesitate to affirm that the actions for which I stand subject to punishment in this court tonight were responsible, loving and nonviolent. As such, no sentence that you pronounce here can either condemn me or deligitimize what I’ve done, nor will it have any impact on the truth of similar actions undertaken by dozens of others who are still awaiting trial in this court.

"The drone base within your jurisdiction is part of a military/intelligence undertaking that is not only founded upon criminality, but is also, by any sober analysis, allowed to operate beyond the reach of law. Extrajudicial killings, targeted assassinations, acts of state terrorism, the deliberate targeting of civilians- all of these crimes form the essence of the weaponized drone program that the United States government claims to be legal in its prosecution of the so called “war on terror”. Recent studies have shown that for every targeted person killed in a drone strike, twenty eight people of undetermined identity have also been slaughtered. The military admits to employing a mode of operation called “double-tapping”, in which a weaponized drone is directed back to strike a target a second time, after first responders have arrived to help the wounded. Yet never has any of this been subject to congressional approval or, more importantly, to the scrutiny of U.S. courts. In this case, you had the opportunity, from where you sit, to change that. You’ve heard the testimony of several trials similar to mine; you know what the reality is. You also heard the desperate plea of Raz Mohammad, which was read in open court during this trial. What you chose was to further legitimize these crimes by ignoring them. The faces of dead children, murdered by our nation’s hand, had no place in this court. They were excluded. Objected to. Irrelevant. Until that changes, this court continues to take an active, crucial role in condemning the innocent to death. In so doing, this court condemns itself.

"And I think it's fitting to end with the words of Raz that were sent to me this afternoon on behalf of his sister, widowed after a drone attack killed her young husband:

"'My sister says that for the sake of her 7 year old son, she doesn’t want to bear any grudges or take revenge against the U.S./NATO forces for the drone attack that killed his father. But, she asks that the U.S./NATO forces end their drone attacks in Afghanistan, and that they give an open account of deaths cause by drone attacks in this country.'"

Celebration erupts outside DeWitt Town Court when drone protester receives conditional release

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Luz Catarineau had to walk outside Wednesday to be heard above the cheering and singing in DeWitt Town Court. She punched in the phone number of her son, Justin, a college student in New York City. When he answered, she said:

"Your father is not going to jail."

For the Connecticut family, that was a big surprise.

Catarineau's husband Mark Colville, 53, is one of dozens of demonstrators arrested in recent years outside the gates of Hancock Air Base for protesting American drone attacks in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq.

READ THE REST AT SYRACUSE.COM.

 

UPDATE:

Surprise Conditional Discharge for Hancock Drone Resister Mark Colville

Mark Colville, a Catholic Worker from New Haven Connecticut was sentenced this afternoon in DeWitt Town Court on 5 charges stemming from a protest at Hancock Air National Guard Base on December 9 of last year, when he and two Yale Divinity School students presented flowers and a People’s Order of Protection for the children of Afghanistan and their families at the guard gate. In a surprise decision, Judge Robert Jokl sentenced Colville to a 1 year Conditional Discharge and $1000 fine.  He said that sending Colville to prison would not serve justice, nor would parole serve any good purpose, and he did not issue a permanent Order of Protection. 

Colville was facing 2 years in jail on 5 counts including Contempt of a Judicial Judgment and Obstructing Governmental Administration.

In his pre-sentencing statement Colville said that he had come to the base in response to an “urgent, personal plea” by Afghan youth Raz Mohammad on behalf of his family.     Mohammad’s brother in law was killed in a drone strike in 2008.   Earlier today Mohammad wrote to Colville   My sister says that for the sake of her 7 year old son, she doesn’t want to bear any grudges or take revenge against the U.S. NATO forces for the drone attack that killed his father. But, she asks that the U.S./NATO forces end their drone attacks in Afghanistan, and that they give an open account of deaths cause by drone attacks in this country.”

In his pre-sentencing remarks, Attorney Jonathon Wallace said that the law is like a sail; that without the wind of public morality, it is nothing more than a pile of cloth on the floor.   Colville called out the Judge, saying that nothing will change until someone sitting in his chair decides to apply the laws that are there to protect the innocent. 

Colville’s protest is part of a worldwide nonviolent movement against the use of weaponized drones. On July 10, 2014, Mary Anne Grady Flores from Ithaca was sentenced to a year in prison for violating an Order of Protection. She is currently free on appeal. Jack Gilroy from Binghamton was just released after two months in jail for his nonviolent protest on April 28, 2013. He faces three years on probation. On December 10, Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse will be tried for her act of civil resistance at the same April protest. There are 11 more trials scheduled for Hancock protesters in DeWitt between now and next July.  There are more 11 trials scheduled for Hancock protesters.

Hancock Air National Guard Base is a training site for pilots, technicians and sensor operators. Heavily armed Reapers piloted at Hancock fly lethal missions over Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere. Hancock pilots also fly test flights from Fort Drum over Lake Ontario.  Upstate Drone Action has been protesting the Drones at Hancock Base since 2009 with bimonthly vigils, annual rallies, educational events and nonviolent civil resistance.    For more information go to upstatedroneaction.org

" I can count on World Can't Wait"

“‘Unwavering’ and ‘ahead of the curve’ are how I describe this priceless organization and why I regularly join them in speaking out against the crimes of this government. I can count on World Can't Wait to stand with the people of the world; the most vulnerable, those whose lives are devastated by the crimes of this government.” Ray McGovern  former CIA analyst and current peace activist
Ray McGovern

 

World Can't Wait Fighting to Stop U.S. Government Crimes

What the world needs to see now!

A broad diverse and determined movement in this country to stop the crimes by our government committed in our name acting to:Our GoalStop the U.S. War Machine of Drones and Secret Operations; Close Guantanamo NOW and End Indefinite Detention; End Vast Surveillance of Whole Populations; Stop Mass Incarceration and Solitary Confinement; End The Global Destruction of Our Planet; Stand Up Against the Culture of Bigotry and Patriarchy

The biggest NEED is YOU.

Rep Barbara Lee Objects to $63 Billion Slush Fund for Illegal Wars

Congresswoman Lee’s Statement on the FY15 NDAA

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference bill:

“While I am pleased to see bicameral and bipartisan cooperation and certainly support several elements of the bill, I have grave concerns about the conference report.

This bill authorizes $63.7 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund. OCO funds are an accounting gimmick that allows the Pentagon to fight wars for which we have not paid.  I strongly oppose OCO and will continue to call for a debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria that is funded by this slush fund.

I hope my colleagues will join the bipartisan effort to ensure the audit-readiness of the Pentagon more than 20 years after Congress mandated it by supporting my Audit the Pentagon Act of 2014 (H.R. 5126). It is time to get serious about accountability, transparency and oversight.

###

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

Israel's Secret

Here in Virginia, U.S.A., I'm aware that the native people were murdered, driven out, and moved westward. But my personal connection to that crime is weak, and frankly I'm too busy trying to rein in my government's current abuses to focus on the distant past. Pocahontas is a cartoon, the Redskins a football team, and remaining Native Americans almost invisible. Protests of the European occupation of Virginia are virtually unheard of.

But what if it had just happened a moment ago, historically speaking? What if my parents had been children or teenagers? What if my grandparents and their generation had conceived and executed the genocide? What if a large population of survivors and refugees were still here and just outside? What if they were protesting, nonviolently and violently -- including with suicide bombings and homemade rockets launched out of West Virginia? What if they marked the Fourth of July as the Great Catastrophe and made it a day of mourning? What if they were organizing nations and institutions all over the world to boycott, divest, and sanction the United States and seek its prosecution in court? What if, before being driven out, the Native Americans had built hundreds of towns with buildings of masonry, hard to make simply disappear?

In that case, it would be more difficult for those unwilling to face the injustice not to notice. We would have to notice, but tell ourselves something comforting, if we refused to deal with the truth. The lies we tell ourselves would need to be much stronger than they are. A rich mythology would be necessary. Everyone would have to be taught from childhood onward that the native people didn't exist, left voluntarily, attempted vicious crimes justifying their punishment, and were not really people at all but irrational killers still trying to kill us for no reason. I'm aware that some of those excuses conflict with others, but propaganda generally works better with multiple claims, even when they can't all be true at the same time. Our government might even have to make questioning the official story of the creation of the United States an act of treason.

Israel is that imagined United States, just formed in our grandparents' day, two-thirds of the people driven out or killed, one-third remaining but treated as sub-human. Israel is that place that must tell forceful lies to erase a past that is never really past. Kids grow up in Israel not knowing. We in the United States, whose government gives Israel billions of dollars worth of free weapons every year with which to continue the killing (weapons with names like Apache and Black Hawk), grow up not knowing. We all look at the "peace process," this endless charade of decades, and deem it inscrutable, because we've been educated to be incapable of knowing what the Palestinians want even as they shout it and sing it and chant it: they want to return to their homes.

But the people who did the deed are, in many cases, still alive. Men and women who, in 1948, massacred and evicted Palestinians from their villages can be put on camera recounting what they did. Photographs of what was done and accounts of what life was like before the Nakba (the Catastrophe) exist in great volume. Towns that were taken over still stand. Families know that they live in stolen houses. Palestinians still have keys to those houses. Villages that were destroyed still remain visible in outline on Google Earth, the trees still standing, the stones of demolished houses still nearby.

Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Canadian journalist who covers Israel and Palestine for the Real News Network. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, the Soviet Union. When she was a child, her family moved to a settlement in the West Bank, part of the ongoing continuation of the process begun in 1948. She had a good childhood with a real sense of community in that "settlement," or what we would call a housing subdivision built on native farm land in violation of a treaty made with savages. She grew up not knowing. People pretended nothing had been there before. Then she found out. Then she made a movie to tell the world.

The film is called On the Side of the Road and it tells the story of the founding of Israel in 1948 through the memories of those who killed and expelled the people of Palestine, through the memories of survivors, and through the perspectives of those who have grown up since. 1948 was a 1984 year, a year of doublespeak. Israel was created in blood. Two-thirds of the people of that land were made refugees. Most of them and their descendants are refugees still. Those who remained in Israel were made second-class citizens and forbidden to mourn the dead. But the crime is referred to as liberation and independence. Israel celebrates its Independence Day while Palestinians mourn the Nakba.

The film takes us to the sites of vanished villages destroyed in 1948 and in 1967. In some cases, villages have been replaced with woods and made into national parks. The imagery is suggestive of what the earth might do if humanity departed. But this is the work of part of humanity attempting to erase another human group. If you put up a sign commemorating the village, the government removes it quickly.

The film shows us those who participated in the Nakba. They recall shooting the people they called Arabs and whom they'd been told were primitive and worthless, but who they knew had a modern literate society with some 20 newspapers in Jaffa, with feminist groups, with everything then thought of as modern. "Go to Gaza!" they told the people whose homes and land they were stealing and destroying. One man recalling what he did begins with an attitude almost bordering on the carefree heartlessness one sees in former killers in the Indonesian film The Act of Killing, but eventually he's explaining that what he's done has been eating away at him for decades.

In On the Side of the Road we meet a young Palestinian man from a permanent refugee camp who calls a place his home although he's never been there, and who says that his children and grandchildren will do likewise. We see him obtain a 12-hour pass to visit the place his grandparents lived. He spends half the 12 hours getting through check points. The place he visits is a National Park. He sits and talks about what he wants. He wants nothing related to revenge. He wants no harm done to Jews. He wants no people evicted from anywhere. He says that, according to his grandparents, Jews and Muslims lived together amicably before 1948. That, he says, is what he wants -- that and to return home.

Israelis concerned by their nation's open secret take some inspiration in the film from an art project in Berlin. There people posted signs with images on one side and words on the other. For example: a cat on one side, and this on the other: "Jews are no longer allowed to own pets." So, in Israel, they made signs of a similar nature. For example: a man with a key on one side, and on the other, in German: "It is forbidden to mourn on the Day of Independence." The signs are greeted by vandalism and angry, racist threats. The police accuse those who posted the signs of "disturbing law and order," and forbid them in the future.

At Tel Aviv University we see students, Palestinian and Jewish, hold an event to read out the names of villages that were destroyed. Nationalists waving flags come to try to shout them down. These properly educated Israelis describe cities as having been "liberated." They advocate expelling all Arabs. A member of the Israeli parliament tells the camera that Arabs want to exterminate Jews and rape their daughters, that the Arabs threaten a "holocaust."

The filmmaker asks an angry Israeli woman, "If you were an Arab, would you celebrate the state of Israel?" She refuses to allow the possibility of seeing things from someone else's point of view to enter her head. She replies, "I'm not an Arab, thank God!"

A Palestinian challenges a nationalist very politely and civilly, asking him to explain his views, and he swiftly walks away. I was reminded of a talk I gave last month at a university in New York at which I criticized the Israeli government, and a professor angrily walked out -- a professor who'd been eager to debate other topics on which we disagreed.

A woman who participated in the Nakba says in the film, in an effort to excuse her past actions, "We didn't know it was a society." She clearly believes that killing and evicting people who seem "modern" or "civilized" is unacceptable. Then she goes on to explain that pre-1948 Palestine was just what she says mustn't be destroyed. "But you lived here," says the filmmaker. "How could you not know?" The woman replies simply, "We knew. We knew."

A man who took part in killing Palestinians in 1948 excuses himself as having been only 19. And "there will always be new 19-year-olds," he says. Of course there are also 50-year-olds who will follow evil orders. Happily, there are also 19-year-olds who will not.

Catch a screening of On the Side of the Road:

Dec 3, 2014 NYU, NY
Dec 4, 2014 Philadelphia, PA
Dec 5, 2014 Baltimore, MD
Dec 7, 2014 Baltimore, MD
Dec 9, 2014 Washington DC
Dec 10, 2014 Washington DC
Dec 10, 2014 American University
Dec 13, 2014 Washington DC
Dec 15, 2014 Washington DC

Ukraine News - Dec 3, 2014

 

NATO foreign ministers meeting condemns Russia over Ukraine - The Globe and Mail


Official text: Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission - NATO


NATO to Create Interim Rapid Response Force to Counter Russia - NYTimes.com


NATO Chief Warns Ukraine Risks Spinning ‘Out of Control’ - Bloomberg


VIDEO: NATO Chief Says Russia Violating Ukraine Cease-Fire - rferl.org


TRANSCRIPT: Press conference by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg following the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission - NATO


VIDEO: NATO Secretary General - Doorstep Statement, Foreign Ministers Meeting - YouTube

 

NATO scrambles jets 400 times this year amid increased Russian air activity - TASS

 

Russian Military Aircraft Endanger Civilian Planes, Turn Off Transponders, US Ambassador To NATO Says - ibtimes.com

 

Norway Releases Video Showing Close Aviation Encounter Of Norwegian F-16 With Russian Fighter Jet (VIDEO) - International Business Times

 

Russia Should Conduct Reconnaissance Flights in More Responsible Way: NATO - Sputnik International

 

Germany wants NATO-Russia channel to avoid accidental escalation - Reuters

 

The US Army Plans to Send Abrams Tanks and Bradleys to Eastern Europe - Business Insider

 

Ukraine urges greater military aid from Europe, U.S.: minister - APA

 

---------------------------------------------------

Russia Accuses NATO of 'Destabilizing' Northern Europe - The Moscow Times


Russia Criticizes NATO for Military Drills in Baltics, Says Will Conduct 4,000 Exercises Itself in 2015 - hngn.com


Russia launches ‘wartime government’ HQ in major military upgrade - RT News


Russia's new military command center in the Arctic became operational Monday - Business Insider


Russia's Black Sea Fleet to Develop Bases in Crimea in 2015 - Sputnik International


Russian Air Force Sends 14 Advanced Su-27 And Su-30 Warplanes To Belbek Air Base In Crimea - ibtimes.com


NATO ‘very concerned' by Russian military build-up in Crimea, it would have an effect on "almost the entire Black Sea” - Defense News


After Ukraine, Black Sea Becomes Contested Zone for Russia, NATO - worldpoliticsreview

 

Crimea's New Russian Overlords Are Seizing Thousands Of Businesses - Business Insider

 

VIDEO: Ukrainian Businesses Seized by Crimea Government - YouTube

 

Russia preparing new batch of humanitarian aid for eastern Ukraine - TASS

 

NATO's top military officer questions Russian convoys to eastern Ukraine - Channel NewsAsia

 

Russian Foreign Ministry Sees 'No Need' For OSCE To Monitor Entire Border With Ukraine - Interpreter_Mag

 

Ukrainian Rebel Leader's Claim Of FSB Ties Omitted By Russian Media - rferl.org

 

25 Detained in Moscow for Attending Lecture on Ukraine's Maidan Movement - Democratic Underground

 

VIDEO: Video of Russian police arresting peaceful attendees at a Moscow lecture about Maidan - Ukraine Reporter on Twitter: 

 

Gorbachev warns of new cold war, calls to stop building fences around Russia - TASS

 

TRANSCRIPT: Interview with Gorbachev - Komsomolskaya Pravda

 

Russia abandons South Stream gas pipeline but not goal of bypassing Ukraine - Reuters

 

Russia Warns Of Recession In 2015 Amid Sanctions And Low Oil Prices - huffingtonpost

 

Ruble Sinks to Record as Auction Axed After Recession Warning - Bloomberg

 

Russia is experiencing another major brain drain - Business Insider

 

-----------------------------------------------------

Kiev and Eastern Ukraine Rebels Agree to Truce Again, Amid Continued Violence - VICE News


Reporters See No Truce In Northern Donetsk - Interpreter_Mag


Ukraine crisis: Donetsk shelling dashes ceasefire hopes - BBC News


VIDEO: "There is no ceasefire in Donetsk. It's an illusion" - BBC Nees


Ukraine says Russian special forces involved in attacks on airport in east - Reuters


Civilians Film Grad Rocket Launch Across The Street From Their Apartments (VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag


Another Video Shows Russian-Backed Militants Firing Grad Rockets In Residential Neighborhood of Donetsk (VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag

 

Report Analyzes Evidence Of Cross-Border Shelling Visible On Google Maps - Interpreter_Mag

 

How Ukraine’s arsenal matches up against the Russian-backed separatists’ - Reuters

 

Ukraine hands foreigners top government posts - Yahoo News UK

 

Saakashvili Says Rejects a deputy prime minister’s post in Ukraine - rferl.org

 

New 'Information Ministry' Another In a Series of Stumbles For New Government In Kiev - Interpreter_Mag

 

Ukrainian Journalist Declaration against establishing "The Ministry of Information Policy" - facebook.com

 

Deputy Director of the Anti-Corruption Committee of Maidan found dead in his flat in Kyiv - Life in Ukraine

 

Award winning journalist says truth is under fire in Ukraine, he narrowly escaped death after his muckraking reports revealed corruption and embezzlement in government circles - Toronto Star

 

One Year After Defying Putin, Ukraine Is Choking on Its Own Red Tape, Corruption - Businessweek

 

Why the Ukrainian economy is in deep trouble - The Economist

 

Yatsenyuk: Ukraine to Continue Budget Cuts on Welfare Spending, Army Funding to Increase - Sputnik International

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Talk Nation Radio: Stephen Nash on Climate Disruption in Virginia

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-stephen-nash-on-climate-disruption-in-virginia

Science now allows studies of climate change thus far and predictions of what is to come in specific areas. Stephen Nash's new book Virginia Climate Fever looks at the state of Virginia, and unless we radically change our ways it doesn't look good. Nash has reported on science, the environment, and other topics for The New York Times, The Washington Post, BioScience Magazine, The Scientist, The New Republic, and Archaeology. He is Visiting Senior Research Scholar at the University of Richmond, where he has taught in the journalism and environmental studies programs since 1980. He is the author of Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner’s Manual and Millipedes and Moon Tigers: Science and Policy in an Age of Extinction. More here: http://virginiaclimatefever.com

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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http://TalkNationRadio.org

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https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Hancock Drone Resister to be Sentenced Wed, Dec. 3

Press Conference at 3pm, Sentencing at 4 pm

Mark Colville of New Haven CT will be sentenced on Wednesday December 3, 2014 in DeWitt Town Court (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse).  On September he was convicted of charges stemming from a December 9, 2013 protest in which he and two others stood outside the closed gate of Hancock Air Base singing hymns and holding a sign that said “The People’s Order of Protection for the Children of Afghanistan and their Families from Reaper Drones.”    Colville was convicted of two misdemeanors, - Obstructing governmental administration and contempt of a judicial order, and three violations -trespass and two counts of disorderly conduct.   The contempt charge was for violating an Order of Protection held by the base commander, a man Colville had never met.

Colville, a Catholic Worker who has devoted his life to working with the poor and disenfranchised, has met a member of an Afghan family who live with drones, and who have lost a loved one to drones.  He came to the base on behalf of this family and the many others so threatened   According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism “Afghanistan is the most heavily drone-bombed country in the world” and “a 2013 study found that drone strikes are significantly more likely to kill non-combatants than those carried out by other aircraft.”                 

Colville’s protest is part of a worldwide nonviolent movement against the use of weaponized drones. Locally, on July 10, 2014, Mary Anne Grady Flores from Ithaca was sentenced to a year in prison for violating an Order of Protection.  She is currently free on appeal.  Jack Gilroy from Binghamton was just released after two months in jail for his nonviolent  protest on April 28, 2013.  He faces three years on probation. On December 10, Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse will be tried for her act of civil resistance at the same April protest, and faces a year in prison if convicted.  There are 11 more trials scheduled for Hancock protesters in DeWitt between now and next July stemming from the April 28 protest.

Hancock Air National Guard Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing, is a domestic hub for MQ-9 Reaper drone support.  It is a training site for pilots, technicians and sensor operators.    Heavily armed Reapers piloted at Hancock fly lethal missions over Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere.   Hancock pilots also fly test flights from Fort Drum over Lake Ontario. 

Upstate Drone Action has been protesting the Drones at Hancock Base since 2009 with bimonthly vigils, annual rallies, educational events and nonviolent civil resistance. 

For more information go to upstatedroneaction.org

Climate Change Challenges: Support the Environment or the U.S. Military?

By Kathy Kelly

Having lived through the 1991 Desert Storm bombing and the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, I tread carefully when speaking about any danger greater than war that children in our world might face.  I won’t forget children in Baghdadi hospitals whose bodies I have seen, wounded and maimed, after bombing campaigns ordered by U.S. leaders.  I think also of children in Lebanon and Gaza and Afghanistan, children I’ve sat with in cities under heavy bombardments while their frightened parents tried to distract and calm them.

Even so, it seems the greatest danger – the greatest violence – that any of us face is contained in our attacks on our environment. Today’s children and generations to follow them face nightmares of scarcity, disease, mass displacement, social chaos, and war, due to our patterns of consumption and pollution.

Ironically, one of the institutions in U.S. society which comprehends the disasters that loom is the U.S. military. 

In the past few years, the Pentagon has issued several reports which concur that the greatest threat to U.S. national security is posed by climate change and potential environmental disasters.   The reports show concern about how droughts, famines and natural disasters could cause conflicts leading to “food and water shortages, diseases, disputes over refugees and resources and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”

The reports don’t acknowledge that the U.S. military has commandeered vast resources, in terms of money and scientific “know-how,” that are acutely needed for use in solving our global crisis.  These resources are steadily directed toward developing more weapons and fighting more wars. 

What’s more, the U.S. military, with its more than 7,000 bases, installations, and other facilities, worldwide, is one of the most egregious polluters on the planet and is the world’s largest single consumer of fossil fuels.

Its terrible legacy of forcing its own soldiers and their families, over decades, to drink lethally carcinogenic water on  bases that should have been evacuated as contaminated sites is covered in a recent Newsweek story.

Civilians drinking from wells around hundreds of U.S. military bases abroad can fare little better. 

In January of 2004, I visited a former Iraqi Air Defense Camp in Baghdad. Following the US led invasion of Iraq, at least 400 families moved into this camp. It became one of several similar vacated and bombed areas that were “squatted" by desperate people who preferred eking out an existence amid the wreckage to whatever misery they had left behind.

The children in the camp were  among the most endearing human beings I have ever encountered. They were shy, but smiling, friendly, and incredibly well behaved. The collapsed buildings and mounds of debris didn't seem to faze them, any more than the rusted tubes of the missiles that had collapsed the buildings. Several of these little builders worked industriously atop hills of rubble, their tiny hands digging for intact bricks. They would bring the bricks to their parents who used them to build new housing walls.

At least a dozen of the children had large red spots covering their faces. It could be that they had been bitten by fleas or suffered from scabies.   But we couldn’t help but wonder if they had been affected by contaminants from the bomb parts. A proper needs assessment of this new housing area should have been undertaken right away.  The new "householders" needed access to clean water, medical care, a clinic and a school. They needed peace.

The world needs peace in order to address catastrophic changes that are fast approaching us.  Yet, the U.S. public is seldom encouraged to link actual security with cooperative, diplomatic efforts to promote fair exchanges of resources.

Consider, for example, the U.S. military’s Asia Pivot strategy which aims to encircle China with military bases and threaten China’s ability to import and export resources.   Any rational plan for changing human consumption and pollution patterns should surely view China as a foremost global partner in devising new ways to halt global warming and negotiate fairly over consumption of resources.

The Asia Pivot plan instead reflects U.S. insistence on competing with China by controlling the pricing and flow of valuable minerals and fossil fuels found in the region.  It also seems to motivate U.S. determination to maintain at least nine U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, all the while insisting that the U.S. must have complete legal immunity against any Afghan government claims that the U.S. military has poisoned Afghan air, soil, or water.

To “market” such a plan, U.S. politicians and military planners must encourage the U.S. public to feel fearful and competitive.  Our fears and the longing for comfort, for status, which drives our consumption, blend seamlessly, one into the other.  We want all the wealth, and we want all the security.

Huddled over candles in the  terrifying nights of the U.S. “Shock and Awe”  war to “liberate” Iraq, shuddering from the thudding roar of the war exploding around us, my companions and I had talked about how we must work, in the future, not only to help rebuild Iraq but, even more crucially, to rebuild ourselves, our way of life.  We wouldn’t try to live forever at the expense of neglecting or killing our neighbors, including their children.   We would find ways to prevent a shockingly undemocratic U.S. from maintaining a vast military machine in constant short-term pursuit of either our exclusive wealth or our exclusive security.  Guided by the earnest resolve of the hopeful children moving one brick at a time amid the rubble, we’d work to build and be a better world.  

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

What you need to know about terrorism and its causes: a graphic account


John Rees says it's the 'war on terror' that produces terrorism and the government exaggerates the threat and demonises UK Muslims to win acceptance for its war policies.

Car bomb attack in Baghdad

Car bomb attack in Baghdad October 7, 2013.


The UK government's ‘Counter-terrorism awareness week’ has just ended. A raft of new laws said to protect us from terror attacks have been announced and institutions and individuals have been encouraged to report to the police any person they think may be involved in terrorism.

This is only the latest round of such measures, part of an ongoing attempt to dragoon the population into seeing the world the government’s way.

There is however one central problem. The government story doesn’t fit the facts. Here’s why:

Fact 1: What causes terrorism? It's foreign policy, stupid

Figure 1: People Killed by Terrorists Worldwide

Figure 1: People Killed by Terrorists Worldwide

What this graph shows (Fig. 1) is the escalation of terror worldwide in the wake of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003. As Dame Eliza Manningham Buller, the former head of MI5, told the Iraq inquiry, the security services warned Tony Blair launching the war on terror would increase the threat of terrorism. And it has. The threat of terrorism cannot be eradicated until its fundamental causes are removed. No legal crackdown can remove historic drivers of terrorism on the scale of the crisis in the Middle East. Only a change of policy can do that.

Fact 2: Most terrorism doesn’t happen in the West

Figure 2: World risk map

Figure 2: World risk map

The people most at risk of terrorism are not in the West but often in the areas where the West fights its wars and proxy wars. North America and nearly all of Europe are at low risk (Fig. 2). Only France, a country with a long and colonial past (and one of the most active in and vocal about current conflicts) is at medium risk. Six of the countries most at risk - Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen - are the sites of Western wars, drone wars or proxy wars.

Fact 3: The 'war on terror' kills far more people than terrorism

The cure is more deadly than the disease. A moment’s thought will tell us why. Deploying Western military firepower, the most technologically sophisticated and destructive in the world, is always going to end up killing more civilians than a suicide bomber with a back pack - or even the 9/11 bombers in hijacked planes.

As this pie chart shows (Fig 3), the civilian deaths in Afghanistan alone are far greater than those caused by the 9/11 attacks. And if we add the civilian deaths caused by the war in Iraq and the terrorism it spawned during the occupation then the enterprise must rank as one of the most counterproductive in military history.

Figure 3: Casualties from the war on terror and invasion of Iraq

Figure 3: Casualties from the war on terror and invasion of Iraq

Fact 4: The real extent of the terrorist threat

Terrorist attacks are often ineffective, especially when carried out by ‘lone wolf’ extremists rather than military organisations like the IRA. Over half of terror attacks cause no fatalities. Even if we look at the period in which the IRA was involved in bombing and at the global picture (Fig. 4) most terror attacks did not kill anyone. This is not to minimise the loss of life that does take place. But it is to put it in perspective.

It is now nearly ten years since the 7/7 bus bombing in London. In that decade there has been one additional killing in the UK as a result of ‘Islamic’ terrorism, that of drummer Lee Rigby. That brings the 10 year death toll to 57 people. Last year alone the number of people killed in ‘normal’ murders in the UK numbered 500. And that was one of the lowest figures for decades.

There is of course no comparison between the level of the IRA campaign and today’s ‘Islamic extremism’. The IRA, after all, blew up a senior Tory inside the Houses of Parliament, killed a member of the Royal family in his yacht off the coast of Ireland, blew up the hotel in which the Cabinet were staying for the Tory party conference and fired a mortar into the back garden of 10 Downing Street. And that is to mention only a few of the more spectacular attacks.

Even in the period since 2000 there have been more actual (as opposed to planned) attacks by the Real IRA and Islamophobe Ukrainian student Pavlo Lapshyn, who conducted a murder and a series of attacks on mosques in the West Midlands, than there have been by ‘Islamic’ extremists.

Figure 4: Total fatalities per terrorist attack

Figure 4: Total fatalities per terrorist attack

But don’t take my word for it. Read what Foreign Policy, the house journal of the US diplomatic elite, had to say in a 2010 an article called ‘It’s the Occupation, stupid!’:

‘Each month, there are more suicide terrorists trying to kill Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim countries than in all the years before 2001 combined. From 1980 to 2003, there were 343 suicide attacks around the world, and at most 10 percent were anti-American inspired. Since 2004, there have been more than 2,000, over 91 percent against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries’.

And a Rand Corporation study concluded:

‘The comprehensive study analyzes 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006, drawing from a terrorism database maintained by RAND and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The most common way that terrorist groups end - 43 percent - was via a transition to the political process…Military force was effective in only 7 percent of the cases examined’.

The lesson of all this is clear: the war on terror produces terror. And the government exaggerates the threat in order to win acceptance of an unpopular policy. In doing so it demonises whole communities and ensures that a minority have additional motivation for committing terrorist attacks. This is the very definition of a counter-productive policy.

Source: Counterfire

Monday 12/1 #HandsUpWalkOut

by Debra Sweet      Years & thousands of miles apart, the same message sent to a government which brings death.

WRI: Prisoners for Peace Day

1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for those individuals and their movements, by writing to those whose freedom has been taken away from them because of their work for peace.

While WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.

Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression

In a recent article, full of insight, Professor Bill Quigley identified ten different illegal actions police often take ‘to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights’ to take nonviolent action to address a grievance. He noted that these police tactics are commonly used by law enforcement agencies in big protests across the US. See ‘10 Illegal Police Actions to Watch for in Ferguson’.

Syria News - Dec 1, 2014

 

ISIS Launches Attack On Syria's Kobani From Turkey: Activists - AP


VIDEO: An Islamic State sniper is seen shooting from a grain depot on the Turkish side of the border with Syria - Daily Mail Online


Witnesses: ISIS vehicle and members came from Turkish side - ANF


Kurdish forces call for Turkish investigation into ISIS Kobani attack - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


YPG statement on attack staged from Turkey by ISIS, and cross-border defensive actions taken - twitter.com


Geolocation of IS Attack on Kobane from Turkey: Open Source Analysis - Turkey Wonk


VIDEO (Arabic): FSA fighters fighting in Kobane border blame Turkey - LiveLeak.com


Rally in Turkish town of Suruc denounces ISIL attack on Kobani from Turkey (VIDEO) - PressTV


“Under the pretense of stopping an ISIS attack on Turkey the Turkish army bombarded the center of Kobane with tanks and artillery”: co-chair of the Kobane canton - Rudaw

 

Female Canadian-Israeli fighter said abducted by Islamic State near Kobane - The Times of Israel

 

VIDEO: Female Canadian-Israeli Fighter Allegedly Captured in Syria by ISIS - LiveLeak.com

 

VIDEO: Footage of clashes in Mürşitpınar area of Kobane - ANF

 

Belgian fighter admits that Islamic State is lacking manpower - emmejihad

 

Peshmerga Commander: ‘ISIS severely debilitated in Kobane’ - Kurdish Question

 

Iraqi Kurds to send Peshmerga replacement troops to Kobani - Worldbulletin News

 

Turkey's Erdogan calls for ground operation against Islamic State - Vestnik Kavkaza

 

Pope Francis fails to find common ground with Erdogan (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com

 

Pope Francis in Istanbul condemns ‘barbaric violence’ of Islamic State, says fighting hunger and poverty, rather than military intervention alone, are key to stopping it - Reuters

 

Pope calls on Muslim leaders worldwide to condemn terrorism - Yahoo News UK

 

30 coalition airstrikes pound IS stronghold Raqqa in Syria - The Seattle Times

 

Inside Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital: Red Bull-drinking jihadists, hungry civilians, crucifixions and air strikes - The Guardian

 

US flies roughly 85 percent of airstrikes against Islamic State, in complex mix of tactics, politics - Fox News

 

Islamic State has a 'dirty bomb' says British jihadi - Daily Mail Online

 

Islamists come out on top in new effort to unify Syrian rebel groups - McClatchy DC

 

Al Qaeda group Jabhat Al Nusra losing influence in southern Syria - The National

 

Al- Nusra Front kills 13 fighters from al- Ansar brigades in Idlib - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

 

VIDEO: Jabhat al-Nusra Move Into Southern Idlib Village After Reported Clash with Free Syrian Army Unit - YouTube

 

Flesh-eating maggot disease surfaces in Syria - Al Arabiya News

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Coming next -- Year-round worker protests at Walmart: Walmart Black Friday Strikes Become a Thanksgiving Holiday Tradition

By Jess Guh


Yesterday marked the third annual Black Friday protests and strikes at Walmart, the largest private employer in this country.  The Walton family, controlling owners of the company, is America’s richest family, with holdings valued at almost $150 billion dollars.  For decades, Walmart has remained an employer powerhouse based upon a business model of low wages, poor benefits and union busting.


Lawless Law Enforcer: Robert P. McColloch Personifies Misconduct by Prosecutors

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

When discredited Missouri prosecutor Robert P. McColloch recently defended his calculated manipulation of a grand jury which led jurors to free the policeman who fatally shot Michael Brown last summer, McColloch declared piously that eyewitness accounts must “always match physical evidence.”

McColloch, however, did not apply that ‘always match’ standard in the case of Antonio Beaver, a St. Louis man wrongfully convicted by in 1997 of a violent carjacking case tried by McColloch.

Campaign to Save Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo

by Debra Sweet     We Stand With Shaker is a new campaign calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, a legal British resident, with a British wife and 4 British children, who is still held at Guantánamo, even though he has twice been approved for release by the US authorities under President Bush in 2007 & 

Obama Expands U.S. Military Plans in Afghanistan

by Debra Sweet      Today Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was sacked. News analysts on MSNBC explained that the Obama administration feels they need a more “war-prepared” secretary to lead the mission, which has changed from a draw-down in Iraq & Afghanistan to a new expansion of bombing and increased troop deployments.  What has been secret and operational at least since summer 2014, is no longer secret.

Stand with the Ferguson Protesters

OUTRAGEOUS — the Grand Jury announces: no indictment on any of the possible charges against the cop who shot Michael Brown to death this summer. Protesters, we are with you! We need standards in our movement; no turning in or on protesters. We WILL defend your right to protest; and your just demands. We'll give you a platform to speak, and support your right to be on the scene of the state's crimes. 

Iraq/Syria News - Nov 27, 2014

 

Iraqi forces battle IS jihadists in Ramadi, Kirkuk - AP


Local Officials Say Iraqi Forces In Ramadi Repel 'Fiercest, Most Violent Attack Yet' From IS - rferl.org


Iraq says airstrikes are critical in the shifting battle for Ramadi  - CNN


ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province killed in Iraq’s Hit - Al Arabiya News


ISIS Militants Kills 25 Members Iraqi Tribesmen Near Ramadi - Daily Times


U.S. plans to arm Iraq’s Anbar tribesmen - Al Arabiya News


Iraq: Head of Anbar tribe calls on government to fulfil promises of providing weapons in fight against ISIS - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

Controversy Over Supporting Iraq’s Tribes In Anbar - MUSINGS ON IRAQ

 

Islamic State releases images from recent fighting in Ramadi (PHOTOS) - Threat Matrix

 

VIDEO: Iraqi MOD Releases Video of Counter Offensive Against Islamic State in Anbar - Yahoo

 

Iraqi officials say 2 bombings kill 10 people in Baghdad - Fox News

 

Islamic State attacks Iraqi border crossing with Jordan - Threat Matrix

 

TSG IntelBrief: War Against All: The Islamic State in Anbar - The Soufan Group

 

ISIS in the Southwest Baghdad Belts - Institute for the Study of War

 

The Islamic State’s Stalled Offensive in Anbar Province - warontherocks.com

 

-------------------------------------------------------

ISIS attack fails to take Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk, "they want to control the oil sites” says peshmerga general - Al Arabiya News


Australian Airstrikes Pound ISIS Underground Caves And Bunkers, Kill 100 ISIS Members Near Kirkuk - International Business Times


VIDEO: IS Attacks Close to Iraq's Oil City of Kirkuk - YouTube


IS poses threat to Iraq oil investment - FT.com


At least 43 ISIS jihadists killed in a failed bid to regain control of the Mosul dam - Latin American Herald Tribune


ISIS Militants Execute Two Female Parliamentary Candidates in Mosul - ibtimes.co.uk


IS Moves Prisoners from Iraq to Syria Fearing Attack on Mosul - Latin American Herald Tribune

 

Reports: ISIS militants causing massive damage of the convent in Mosul - CatholicHerald.co.uk

 

VIDEO: ISIS Blows Up Nun Monastery Jesus Heart in Mosul - LiveLeak.com

 

VIDEO: Islamic State releases footage showing fighters destroying a number of Shia Muslim shrines in Iraq,The video is titled Demolishing Idols - Yahoo UK

 

Islamic State imposes a reign of fear in Iraqi hospitals - The Washington Post

 

Iraqi generals Who Abandoned Mosul may be Executed - Bas

 

U.S. Central Command News Release: Airstrikes Target ISIL in Syria, Iraq - Defense.gov

 

Hezbollah arrives in Iraq - Al-Monitor

 

------------------------------------------------------

Islamic State beheads Ismaili man for 'apostasy' - THE DAILY STAR


PHOTOS: Onlookers in Homs, including children, watch as ISIS beheads an old man it says he was Ismaili “apostate” - Hassan Hassan on Twitter


Nusra Front executes Syrian for 'insulting prophet' - THE DAILY STAR


ISIS Video 'Blood Of Jihad 2' Trains Child Soldiers On How To Kill Infidels (VIDEO) - breitbart.com 


More jihadist training camps identified in Syria and Iraq - The Long War Journal


In New ISIS Video British Hostage John Cantlie Says He Will Likely Be Executed (VIDEO) - huffingtonpost.com


ISIS selling villages in Kobanê - ANF

 

Thousands of women gathered at border for Kobanê in solidarity with Kurdish fighters - ANF

 

Control of Syrian Oil Fuels War Between Kurds and Islamic State - WSJ

 

VIDEO: Christian militia fights Islamic State in northern Syria - DW.DE

 

UN: Islamic State group got up to $45M in ransoms - Stripes

 

Activists Say Syrian Airstrikes on Raqqa Kill 95 - VOA

 

As Syrian army closes in, Douma residents turn against rebels - Al-Monitor

 

Syria 'no-fly zone' not being considered: NATO general - THE DAILY STAR

 

Putin meets with Syria foreign minister for the first time - THE DAILY STAR

 

Syrian FM: Russia to Boost Relations With Assad - ABC News

 

Russia dispatched 30 planeloads of humanitarian aid to Syria over 18 months: Lavrov - TASS

 

Erdogan slams US 'impertinence' over Kobane - Al Jazeera English

 

CIA operation in eastern Libya was tracking the movement of weapons to Syria: Benghazi report - Fox News

 

Qatar runs covert desert training camp for Syrian rebels - Reuters

 

Pope Francis: Don't shut door to dialogue with Islamic State - theage.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

In combat, the killing of Michael Brown by Officer Wilson would have been called a war crime

By Dave Lindorff

 

What’s wrong Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of the unarmed 18-year-old black teenager, Michael Brown, and with a Grand Jury decision not to indict him for that outrageous slaying, is what is wrong with American law enforcement and American “justice” in general. 

 

Both actions were permeated not only with racism, which clearly played a huge rule in both the verdict rendered by a Grand Jury composed of nine whites and only three blacks, and in this tragic police killing by a white cop of a black child, but also by a mentality on the part of police -- and apparently by at least a majority of the citizen jurors on a panel evaluating Wilson’s actions -- that cops are authorities who must be obeyed without question, on pain of death.

 

There Goes Virginia's Climate

A snowstorm is the ideal time to write about climate disruption, as it allows us to immediately set-aside the cartoonish claim that if any spot on earth isn't warmer than it was yesterday then all is well. The following things we know:

There are giant snowflakes falling outside my window.

Five-year averages of temperature in Virginia began a significant and steady increase in the early 1970s, rising from 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit then to 56.2 degrees F in 2012.

The Piedmont area, where I live, has seen the temperature rise at a rate of 0.53 degrees F per decade.

At this rate, Virginia will be as hot as South Carolina by 2050 and as northern Florida by 2100, and continuing at a steady or increasing pace from there.

Sixty percent of Virginia is forest, and forests cannot evolve or switch over to warmer-weather species at anything like that fast a pace. The most likely future is not pines or palm trees but wasteland.

From 1979 to 2003, excessive heat exposure contributed to over 8,000 premature deaths in the United States, more than all deaths from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined, and dramatically more than all deaths from terrorism.

Between 1948 and 2006 "extreme precipitation events" have increased 25% in Virginia. Precipitation in Virginia is likely to increase or decrease dramatically overall, and is extremely likely to continue the trend of arriving in ever more intense bursts of storms interrupting droughts. This will be devastating to agriculture.

Acidity in the ocean has already increased by 30 percent and if current trends continue will hit a 100 to 150 percent increase by 2100 and continue to spiral upward from there. Oysters' shells in the Chesapeake Bay have grown thinner as a result. The oyster population is 98 percent gone. Shell fish are becoming and will entirely become extinct, if current trends remain unaltered. By 2100 we can expect 60 to 100 percent of the world's coral reefs to be gone.

Fish off the Virginia coast are moving north and east to survive, some species having already vanished from Virginia waters either by migrating or dying out. In Virginia 46 percent of fish species, 25 percent of birds, 46 percent of reptiles, 43 percent of amphibians, and 28 percent of mammals are listed as threatened or endangered.

Seventy-eight percent of Virginians live within 20 miles of the Chesapeake, the Atlantic, or tidal rivers. On the Eastern Shore and in the Hampton Roads-Norfolk area, flooding has already become routine. The sea level will rise, if current trends continue, between 3 and 18 feet by 2100. Already it has risen an inch every 7 or 8 years -- 12 inches in the last century. Some 628,000 Virginians live within 6.5 feet of sea level. Paul Fraim, Mayor of Norfolk since 1994, says the city may need to soon establish "retreat zones" and abandon sections of the city as too costly to protect. Real estate agents are discussing the need to require disclosure of sea level as well as lead paint and other defects when selling property.

The famous ponies of Chincoteague live among trees killed and grasses weakened by risen saltwater, and will not live there much longer.

The U.S. military, headquartered largely in Virginia, the world's largest Navy base in Norfolk, and the swamp-built Capital of the United States in Washington, D.C., face potential devastation directly contributed to by the endless wars for oil, and the consumption of that oil, despite the widespread belief that the results of the wars are distant. Just as ice melting in Greenland lifts water onto the streets of Norfolk, investment of trillions of dollars in pointless death and destruction not only diverts resources from addressing climate damage but heavily contributes to that damage. The U.S. military would rank 38th in oil consumption if it were a nation.

If any image can wallop someone with the need to adjust our priorities it is one of Wallops Island just south of Chincoteague but protected for the moment by a $34 million rock wall.  Wallops Island hosts tests for the $4 billion crash-prone Osprey helicopter, and all sorts of war training, plus a space port from which multi-billionaires can blow themselves up or launch themselves into space to starve in tin cans literally as well as subjectively above the rest of us.

There is no Planet B. Nobody has found anywhere for humans to live apart from earth, at least not remotely in the time frame of the current crisis.

Virginia has taken in thousands of refugees from Hurricane Katrina and can expect to take in many more and to create many refugees itself. The only thinking that says every future Hurricane Sandy will miss Virginia is wishful thinking.

The warming will bring the mosquito varieties (already arriving) and diseases. Serious risks include malaria, Chagas disease, chikungunya virus, and dengue virus. Look them up. The television won't explain them until they're here.

Virginians, like others in the United States, consume vastly more energy and produce vastly more warming per capita than do people in other countries, including countries in Europe that they don't look down on. Proposals to actually halt the climate catastrophe generally call for Americans to start living like Europeans (the horror!).

Virginia's Constitution requires the state to "protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment and general welfare of the people." In a decent court system, any member of the public could have that enforced through a massive emergency Marshall-Plan effort to preserve our climate.

Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality does not concern itself with climate change.

Virginia lags significantly behind Maryland and North Carolina in addressing climate change.

Numerous reasonable steps can be quite easily taken if the political will is found, but they get harder with each passing year.

The financial corruption of state governments is not nearly as advanced as at the federal level, although some states lag behind the national average in intellectual awareness and enlightenment. The possibility certainly exists for Virginia to compete with Germany and Scandinavia in renewable energy, recycling, and reduced consumption.

If the day after being thankful for things, Virginians rush out to stores and buy crap, rather than rushing out to organize actions to save the climate, we will need to all be thankful we are not our kids or our grandkids. "Here's a plastic toy. Glad I'm not you!"

Apart from the snow outside my window and a few odd remarks like "stop shopping!" everything stated above is well documented in a new book called Virginia Climate Fever by Stephen Nash, for which I am thankful and which I hope every Virginian reads before New Year's resolution time.

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