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Revealed: How Big Oil Got Expedited Permitting for Fracking on Public Lands Into the Defense Bill

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The U.S. Senate has voted 89-11 to approve the Defense Authorization Act of 2015, following the December 4 U.S. House of Representatives' 300-119 up-vote and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.

 Photo Credit: C-SPAN Screenshot

The 1,648-page piece of pork barrel legislation contains a provision — among other controversial measures — to streamline permitting for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on U.S. public lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a unit of the U.S. Department of Interior.

Buried on page 2,179 of the bill as Section 3021 and subtitled "Bureau of Land Management Permit Processing," the bill's passage has won praise from both the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and comes on the heels of countries from around the world coming to a preliminary deal at the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru, to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

"We applaud the Senate...and are hopeful the president signs this measure in a timely fashion," said Dan Naatz, IPAA lobbyist and former congressional staffer, in a press release

Alluding to the bottoming out of the global price of oil, Naatz further stated, "In these uncertain times of price volatility, it’s encouraging for America’s job creators to have regulatory certainty through a streamlined permitting process.”

Streamlined permitting means faster turn-around times for the industry's application process to drill on public lands, bringing with it all of the air, groundwater and climate change issues that encompass the shale production process. 

At the bottom of the same press release, IPAA boasted of its ability to get the legislative proposal introduced initially by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) as the BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014 after holding an "educational meeting" with Udall's staffers. Endorsed by some major U.S. environmental groups, Udall took more than $191,000 from the oil and gas industry during his successful 2014 re-election campaign.

IPAA's publicly admitted influence-peddling efforts are but the tip of the iceberg for how Big Oil managed to stuff expedited permitting for fracking on U.S. public lands into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.

We're Not Exceptional, We're Isolated

This weekend I participated in an interesting exercise. A group of activists staged a debate in which some of us argued that peace and environmental and economic justice are possible, while another group argued against us.

The latter group professed to not believe its own statements, to be dirtying itself with bad arguments for the sake of the exercise — in order to help us refine our arguments. But the case they made for the impossibility of peace or justice was one I hear often from people who at least partially believe it.

A core of the U.S. argument for the inevitability of war and injustice is a mysterious substance called “human nature.” I take belief in this substance to be an example of how thoroughly U.S. exceptionalism pervades the thinking of even those who oppose it. And I take exceptionalism to mean not superiority over but ignorance of everybody else.

Let me explain. In the United States we have 5 percent of humanity living in a society dedicated to war in an unprecedented manner, putting over $1 trillion every year into war and preparations for war. Going to the other extreme you have a country like Costa Rica that abolished its military and thus spends $0 on war. Most nations of the world are much closer to Costa Rica than to the United States. Most nations of the world spend a small fraction of what the United States spends on militarism (in real numbers or per capita). If the United States were to reduce its military spending to the global average or mean of all other countries, suddenly it would become difficult for people in the United States to talk about war as “human nature,” and going that last little bit to complete abolition wouldn’t look so hard.

But isn’t the other 95 percent of humanity human now?

In the United States we live a lifestyle that destroys the environment at a far greater pace than do most human beings. We flinch at the idea of radically reducing our destruction of the earth’s climate — or, in other words, living like Europeans. But we don’t think of it as living like Europeans. We don’t think of it as living like South Americans or Africans. We don’t think about the other 95 percent. We propagandize them through Hollywood and promote our destructive lifestyle through our financial institutions, but we don’t think about people who aren’t imitating us as humans.

In the United States we have a society with greater inequality of wealth and greater poverty than in any other wealthy nation. And activists who oppose this injustice can sit in a room and describe particular aspects of it as part of human nature. I’ve heard many do this who were not faking their beliefs.

But imagine if the people of Iceland or some other corner of the earth got together and discussed the pros and cons of their society as “human nature” while ignoring the rest of the world. We’d laugh at them, of course. We might also envy them if we listened long enough to catch on to what they supposed “human nature” to be.

IPB: JOIN OUR NEW CAMPAIGN ON THE ECONOMY OF WAR!

                                   

10 December 2014. After many months of preparations, the IPB is delighted to announce the launch of the all-year-round Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS). Today is Human Rights Day, so the timing is very appropriate! Today's launch sees the unveiling of our new Campaign website - at the same address as the GDAMS one: www.demilitarize.org. Check it out!  See the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) brochure for a full description.

The new campaign was announced today at the Future of Human Rights Forum event entitled 'Divest from War: Invest in Our Future' at the UN in Geneva. You may check out Global Day for specific information about the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS).

What you can do:

  • Disseminate this info through your networks--website, newsletter, social media, e-groups
  • Start planning your group's events/actions -- for the next Global Day (April 13, 2015) or at any other time.
  • Consider longer-term plans for involvement in the GCOMS World Congress, to be held in BERLIN on 23-25 Sept 2016. You may wish to join the 'prepcomms' before that.
  • Send us your news, proposals, pictures, videos, comments.... let's make this an ongoing festival-of-protest against the militarism of our times!
  • Please write to: mailbox@ipb.org


Like Canada's Harper Government, Obama Administration Muzzling Its Scientists

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In recent years, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for disallowing scientists working for the Canadian government to speak directly to the press

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State

An article published in August by The New Republic said "Harper's antagonism toward climate-change experts in his government may sound familiar to Americans," pointing to similar deeds done by the George W. Bush Administration. That article also said that "Bush's replacement," President Barack Obama, "has reversed course" in this area.

Society for Professional Journalists, the largest trade association for professional journalists in the U.S., disagrees with this conclusion. 

In a December 1 letter written to Gina McCarthy, administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the society chided the Obama administration for its methods of responding to journalists' queries to speak to EPA-associated scientists. 

"We write to urge you again to clarify that members of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and the twenty other EPA science advisory committees have the right and are encouraged to speak to the public and the press about any scientific issues, including those before these committees, in a personal capacity without prior authorization from the agency," said the letter.

"We urge you...to ensure that EPA advisory committee members are encouraged share their expertise and opinions with those who would benefit from it."

UNAC Conference Planned for May

UNAC is the major national antiwar coalition in the U.S. today.  The existence of a United National Antiwar Coalition is vital and we need your financial support to continue our work and to expand.
 
With U.S. wars today accelerating and expanding globally in various forms – from drone attacks on Yemen and Pakistan, never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support to neo-fascists in Ukraine, and proliferating Africom forces to threats of war for regime change in Syria – we have an obligation to do whatever is possible to educate the public and to take action to stop the carnage.
 
The wars abroad are connected to global warming with most wars fought over energy resources with the U.S. war machine as the largest polluter.
 
At home, we see hugely growing income inequality, a militarized and racist police force, mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, and a massive police state apparatus that includes global surveillance and laws to quell dissent.
 
In spite of the trillions spent by the U.S. corporate war government and its controlled media propaganda machine to keep us in check, the people are fighting back.  We’ve been inspired and strengthened by the hundreds of thousands of new activists taking to the streets of this country to stop police brutality, to build Occupy encampments, to fight for decent wages, to demand full rights for immigrants, to win marriage equality, to end global warming, to demonstrate solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza, and to protest unending U.S. wars.
 
UNAC has played an active, often leadership role, in all of the antiwar and social justice movements of our time.  While most activists are focused on their particular issues, the most vital role we can play is to connect the issues to their source.  All of the injustices and crimes we protest, stem from the imperialist insatiable drive for expanding profit and control – and the U.S. is the largest imperialist power militarily and economically.  When there should be plenty for all, only the obscenely wealthy benefit while the rest of the 99% struggle just to survive.
 
Some of our recent major accomplishments:

·        Initiated protest against NATO and 15,000 marched in Chicago in 2012.
·        Called for immediate actions against threats of war and coups directed at Libya, Iran, No. Korea, Africa, Latin America, Ukraine, and maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
·        Organized a national tour for Afghan leader Malalai Joya.
·        Sent representatives to international NATO protests and conferences.
·        Serve on the Board of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms to act against Islamophobia , racist attacks on Muslims, and attacks on our civil liberties.
·        Participated in national efforts to organize anti-drone actions.
·        Campaigned to defend victims of government repression who speak out and expose Washington’s crimes, including Rasmea Odeh, Mumia abu Jamal, Lynne Stewart, Chelsea Manning, and the Midwest activists targeted by the FBI.
·        Produced national educational conference calls featuring experts on topics such as U.S. intervention in Africa, the destruction of Libya, the developing wars in Syria, and others.
·        Built an antiwar contingent in the massive New York City Climate Change march and built Climate Change action in other cities around the country.
·        Helped organize protests against Israel’s attack on Gaza
·        Helped organize protests against the murder of Blacks by white police and the militarization of the police forces in the U.S.
 
UNAC has a history of bringing hundreds of activists together at large national conferences to learn about the issues of the day, to discuss the way forward and to vote on an Action Program for the coming period.
 
The UNAC conference next May will bring activists from all the movements in motion to cross-fertilize these struggles.  We are particularly dedicated to bringing young activists together to support and learn from each other.  For this, we need your help to offer subsidies to leaders from Ferguson, from the border wars in the southwest, from the Native Americans who are fighting against the pipelines ruining their lands, from the Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others.
 
Please give generously so that we can continue our work to bring harmony and justice to the peoples of this earth.

You can send a check to UNAC at PO Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054 or click the button below to contribute on-line with your credit or debit card.

Rising Tide World Can't Wait 2015

All of us witnessed the great hope that people felt six years ago as many believed that this country had turned a corner and the tenets of the Bush Doctrine would be dismantled. The crimes, however, continued as halting them was not up for a vote. What has outraged people before has become the new status quo; now, with a renewed war and virtually no anti-war movement.

What the world needs to see now!

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.

" 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.

Monday 12/1 #HandsUpWalkOut

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

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 & 

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. 

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.

 

DC Response to Ferguson

TAKE TO THE STREETS:  Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Day­After Verdict Rally/March -- 7:00 p.m. Mt. Vernon Square Park
 
The Hands Up CoalitionDC will peacefully assemble at the Justice Department every Monday at 4:00 PM, beginning December 1, 2014 to deman 
Hands Up CoalitionDC Condemns Ferguson Grand Jury Findings
Calls on Justice Department to Intervene and Adopt 6 Urgent Demands
 
November 24, 2014, Washington, D.C.The Washington-based Hands Up CoalitionDC condemned the findings of the Ferguson Grand Jury that exonerated white Police Officer Darren Wilson for his August 9, 2014 shooting and killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. "The entire Grand Jury process was abused from day one in this case," said coalition spokesperson, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. "The system is anti-black, the policies are anti-black, shooting first and asking questions later is anti-black and slandering slain black men and women in choreographed leaks to the press after these people are dead and can no longer speak for themselves is anti-black."

 
The Hands Up CoalitionDC calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to stand with the people of Ferguson—and every other community in the United States where white police routinely slaughter black citizens—and intervene in this case. Coleman-Adebayo continued, "The local DA in Missouri hid behind the Grand Jury so he wouldn't have to face political consequences. It's way past time for someone—whether the Attorney General, or the President, but someone—to declare a state of emergency: not because of what the citizens of Ferguson may do, but rather, based on the demonstrated assault the police department has waged against Ferguson citizens for decades."
 
communique released earlier this week by the young people of Ferguson made clear that they are not asking for Officer Wilson to be killed, or to be shot and left in the street, or to be lynched. Rather, they are asking that a white police officer, who shot an unarmed black teen in front of witnesses be brought to trial in a system that was created and is maintained daily to provide justice. They want Officer Wilson brought into that system—not shielded from it by the Grand Jury.
 
TAKE TO THE STREETS:  Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Day­After Verdict Rally/March -- 7:00 p.m. Mt. Vernon Square Park
 
The Hands Up CoalitionDC will peacefully assemble at the Justice Department every Monday at 4:00 PM, beginning December 1, 2014 to demand:
 
1) The demilitarization of local law enforcement across the country.
Strict limits on the transfer and use of military equipment to local law enforcement and the adoption of the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2014. The federal government should discontinue the supply of military weaponry and equipment to and immediately demilitarize local law enforcement, including eliminating the use of military technology and equipment.
 
2) A comprehensive review of systemic abuses by local police departments, including publication of data on racially biased policing and the development of best practices.
 
A comprehensive review by the Department of Justice into systematic abuses by police departments and the development of specific use of force standards and accompanying recommendations for police training, community involvement and oversight strategies and standards for independent investigatory/disciplinary mechanisms when excessive force is used. These standards must include a Department of Justice review trigger when continued excessive use of force occurs. A comprehensive federal review of police departments' data collection practices and the development of a new comprehensive data collection system that allows for annual reporting of data on the rates of stops, frisks, searches, summonses and arrests by race, age, and gender. These standards must also include a DOJ review trigger when departments continue discriminatory policing practices.
 
3) Repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community based alternatives to incarceration and the conditioning of DOJ funding on the ending of discriminatory policing and the adoption of DOJ Best Practices.
 
The repurposing of DOJ funds to create grants that the support and implementation community oversight mechanisms and community based alternatives to law enforcement and incarceration—including community boards/commissions, restorative justice practices, amnesty programs to clear open warrants, and know-your-rights-education conducted by community members.
 
The development of a DOJ policy to withhold funds from local police departments who engage in discriminatory policing practices and conditioning of federal grant funds on the adoption of recommended DOJ trainings, community involvement and oversight strategies, standards for use of force and for independent investigatory/disciplinary mechanisms.
 
4) Congressional hearings to investigating the criminalization of communities of color, racial profiling, police abuses and torture by law enforcement.
 
Congressional hearings to investigate the criminalization of communities of color and systemic law enforcement discriminatory profiling and other abuses, especially at the local level—including an examination of the systemic structures and institutional practices. The hearings will explore how to elevate the experiences and voices of those most impacted. Congressional hearings will allow for a continuation of the national discussion about police abuse and its underlying causes.
 
5) Support the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act.
 
Support for the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) codifying the prohibition of the use of profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion by law enforcement agencies.
 
6) The Obama Administration develops, legislates and enacts a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice.
 
The development and enactment of a Plan of Action for Racial Justice by the Obama Administration. The 'Plan' should be a comprehensive in addressing persistent and ongoing forms of racial discrimination and disparities that exist in nearly every sphere of life, including: criminal justice, employment, housing, eduction, health, land/property, voting, poverty and immigration. The Plan would set concrete targets for achieving racial equality and reducing racial disparities and create new tools for holding government accountable to meeting targets.
 
The Hands Up CoalitionDC encourages everyone concerned about police brutality, mass incarceration and justice denied to black communities terrorized by modern day Slave Patrols disguised as police officers to join the national text network. Text "HANDSUP" to 90975. This will enroll people in a nationwide database to be engaged in future mobilizations.
 
 
TAKE TO THE STREETS:  Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Day­After Verdict Rally/March
7:00 p.m. Mt. Vernon Square Park
 
In the event Ofc. Darren Wilson is not indicted in the killing of Michael Brown the #DCFerguson Movement will be holding a march and rally in response beginning at 7pm at Mt. Vernon Square Park. In our view this case needs to be decided in front of a jury. There is more than enough evidence to indict Ofc. Wilson. Grand Juries indict people for far less on an everyday basis all around this country. There has been a remarkable double standard when police officers kill. They are allowed to take long paid vacations while the “facts” are determined and more often than not face no charges or at best low level charges that don’t reflect their actual actions. These double standards must end as must the impunity with which the police kill and brutalize people, in particular young Black males.

Audio of Katherine Gun on What People Can Do About War

Here is audio (mp3) of Katherine Gun answering a question at a forum in London. She was asked what people should do. Of course, we love her answer. We also recommend listening to the entire forum which included some great friends and heroes:

  • Matthew Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and former US embassy representative in Afghanistan who became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce policy in Afghanistan in 2009.
  • Coleen Rowley, an attorney and former FBI special agent who was among the first to expose some of the agency’s pre-9/11 failures, and was one of three whistleblowers named as Time Magazine’s persons of the year in 2002.
  • Norman Solomon is the coordinator of ExposeFacts.org and the author of a dozen books on media and public policy including *War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death*.
  • J. Kirk Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for 36 years until October 2001. Since then, he has made several key public disclosures regarding the NSA’s massive surveillance programmes.
  • Katharine Gun is a former translator for the GCHQ who leaked a top secret memo in 2003 revealing NSA spying operations at the UN. Gun was subsequently charged under the Official Secrets Act but the case was dropped after the prosecution offered no evidence. Given the backdrop of impending war with Iraq at the time, Daniel Ellsberg called Gun’s leak “the most important and courageous” he had ever seen.

Listen to the whole thing here.

Are there 100 people on Planet Earth who believe all of these 10 truths?

  1. World Peace is highly desirable.
  2. World Peace is possible.
  3. There’s a law against war.
  4. Everyone should know the law against war.
  5. The public is almost totally ignorant of the law against war.
  6. Ignorance of the law is unacceptable.
  7. I can do my part in educating the public.
  8. The pen is mightier than the sword.
  9. An informed public can demand accountability.
  10. I can write a peace essay.

If you are one of these 100 people please join the WSFPC Peace Essay Contest before the end of 2014.  The Rules are attached.  Winners will be given cash awards up to $1,000 and will be announced on August 27, 2015.

Also. PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW WEB ADDRESS: www.faithpeace.mennonite.net

Frank Goetz
WSFPC Peace Essay Coordinator
frankgoetz@comcast.net
630-653-0597

West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition

$1,000 for First Place Peace Essay

The West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. As in the previous year’s contest, essays will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1. To enter the contest send a Peace
Essay Request email to coordinator Frank
Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]

2. In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2015 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3. By May 15, 2015 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

Some examples of impact:

  1. The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
  2. A member of congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
  3. The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
  4. A newspaper includes a KBP story.
  5. A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
  6. A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.

Act now: We may have to limit the number of contestants and it takes time to get responses. We will announce the Winners at a festive event honoring the 87th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2015.

faithpeace.mennonite.net

David Swanson to Speak in Michigan


PCM_logo
 Coming Events!
Announcing our 2015 Annual State Conference
WAR NO MORE,
 
WAR NEVER AGAIN!:

PEACE AS POLICY
featuring

DAVID SWANSON

 Author and activist

 

David Swanson has written several books, including War Is a Lie (2010), When the World Outlawed War (2011) and War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013).  He serves as the director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org

 

                                      

Saturday April 11, 2015 

St. John Fisher in Auburn Hills

 
Don't Miss It!!!

SAVE THE DATE!
 
 

Saving The Internet: How the Impossible Shifted to the Inevitable

Originally posted a AcronymTV

When President Barack Obama appointed venture capitalist and former Verizon and ATT lobbyist Tom Wheeler as chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it sent shudders down the spines of anyone concerned with the concept of net neutrality.

Last spring, it may have seemed an impossible task for activists and the Internet itself to defend net neutrality, but to date, they have.

Gloriously so.

Dear White People: Our State of Emergency

Originally posted at AcronymTV

As you know, a pre-emptive State of Emergency has been called in Ferguson, Missouri as the country waits to hear if officer Darren Wilson will be charged with the murder of Michael Brown.

Let’s focus on another State of Emergency for a moment.

Humor, Humanity from Guantanamo Prisoners

by Debra Sweet         Vice, the youth-oriented news/culture site, has broken new ground this week in featuring a series on Guantanamo. Extradordinary, because it gives voice to prisoners and disaffected former guards.  See "What Happens When I Try to Give My Guantánamo Guards Presents" by prisoner Enad Hassan, and My Time as a Guantanamo Bay Guard by Terry Holdbrooks.

Would you think it was the job of psychologists or journalists to expose criminal activity?

by Debra Sweet           After many years of protest from within the organization, the American Psychological Association says it will review the organization's role in facilitating “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA and the U.S. military.Or as the world knows it — torture.

Justice for Michael Brown

On Monday, Missouri Governor Nixon declared a “State of Emergency” — mobilizing the National Guard, and authorizing violent suppression of protest — even before there is an announcement from the Grand Jury on whether they will indict Ferguson cop Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown more than 100 days ago.
 
People seeking justice for Michael Brown, and hundreds of others killed by police every year, widely expect no indictment of Wils

Watch Schooling the World, Stop Schooling the World

It's becoming slightly more common in the Western industrialized world to propose radical cultural change away from consumerism and environmental destruction. It's not hard to find people making the case that in fact nothing else can save us.

But we should have one eye on what our governments and billionaires are doing to educate the rest of the world with the way of thinking that we are beginning to question.

What if the United States were to radically reform and abandon its role as leading destroyer of the environment and leading maker of war in the world, and we were to discover that U.S.- and Western-funded institutions had in the mean time created billions of teenagers around the globe intent on each becoming Bill Gates?

The remarkable film Schooling the World brings this warning. It is not an overly simplistic or dreamy argument. It is not a rejection of the accomplishments of Western medicine or a pitch for adopting polytheistic beliefs. But the film documents that the same practice that "educated" thousands of young Native Americans into second-class U.S. citizens through forced boarding schools is running its course in India and around the world.

Young people are being educated out of kindness and cooperation, and into greed and consumerism, out of connections to family and culture and history, and into a deep sense of inferiority of the sort created in the U.S. by the separate-but-equal educational system of Jim Crow. People whose families lived happily and sustainably are being taken away from their villages to struggle in cities, the majority of them labeled as failures by the schools created to "help" them -- many of them cruelly introduced to a modern invention called poverty.

Eliminated in the process are languages -- referred to in the film as ecosystems of the mind -- and all the wealth of knowledge they contain. Also eliminated: actual ecosystems, those that once included humans, and those simply damaged by heightened consumption rampaging around the globe. Young people are not taught to care for local resources as their parents and grandparents and great grandparents were.

And much of this is done with the best of intentions. Well-meaning Westerners, from philanthropic tourists to World Bank executives, believe that their culture -- that of industrial extraction, competition, and consumption -- is good and inevitable. Therefore they believe it helpful to impose an education in it on everyone on earth, most easily accomplished on young people.

But is a young person's removal from a sustainable healthy life rich in community and tradition, and their arrival in a sweatshop in a crowded slum, as good for them as it looks in the economic statistics that quantify it as an increase in wealth?

And can we see our way out of this trap while screaming hysterically about the glories of "American exceptionalism"? Will we have to lose that stupid arrogance first? And by the time we've done that, will every African nation have its own Fox News?

DC Book Event: Locked Down, Locked Out, With Maya Schenwar

Sign up here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/934711959890012/

Thursday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m.
Southern Hospitality, 1815 Adams Mill Road NW, Washington, DC 20009

Join us to celebrate the release of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better! by Maya Schenwar.

Maya will read from her book and discuss the impacts of prison on families and communities -- and how people around the country are taking action to create a world beyond prison.

Event is cosponsored by Truthout and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

What people are saying about Locked Down, Locked Out:

"This book has the power to transform hearts and minds, opening us to new ways of imagining what justice can mean for individuals, families, communities, and our nation as a whole. I turned the last page feeling nothing less than inspired."
--Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

"Maya Schenwar's stories about prisoners, their families (including her own), and the thoroughly broken punishment system are rescued from any pessimism such narratives might inspire by the author's brilliant juxtaposition of abolitionist imaginaries and radical political practices."
--Angela Davis, author of Are Prisons Obsolete?

When expediency calls for principles: Obama on Net Neutrality: Principle or Politics?

By Alfredo Lopez

 

The week before last, our President made a pronouncement on Net Neutrality that pleasantly surprised activists and won him favorable coverage in the newspapers: both rare outcomes these days.

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