Archive for April, 2015

Tar Sands Oil Is Still A Possibility In The USA – Say NO, Sign the Petition

 Keystone XL - Stop It
Sign the petition:   Believe it or not, the final decision on bringing the Canadian Tar Sands Oil (the filthiest oil known) through the US mid west to be exported to other nations via the XL Pipeline, is still pending.  All the biggest lobbyists are applying continuous pressure to President Obama to give in and give it the old “green” light (more likely a black light).  “Imagine a ‘tar sands invasion’ of epic proportions in California: a sprawling network of pipelines, a navy’s-worth of supertankers and barges up and down our rivers and coasts, and an enormous fleet of explosive railway tank cars. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the danger zone.”  No matter what you may see or hear on TV or elsewhere, this is not inevitable and it can be stopped.  It is not safe and there will be accidents, some devastating.  “Tell President Obama to stop Big Oil’s assault and protect our natural heritage, our communities, and our climate from the dangers of filthy tar sands oil.”
 

 

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Too Often Their Two Eyes $ $ Just Don’t See What It’s Like

 Inequality - Ignorance
Read this:  Inequality abounds in the US and the obscene degrees of inequality are expanding rapidly.  This Daily KOS article, by RationalSouthCarolina, explores some of the ways the wealthy display total ignorance regarding their very privileged position and all that comes with it.  This lack of awareness can often come across like a slap in the face to the poor as the wealthy carry on day to day in oblivion.  Minimum wage workers struggle in every aspect of daily life.  As one worker said “I am happy, usually. I just roll with the poverty thing and I think most people think of me as plucky and strong and wry, which is how I’m getting through this. I do not need to be rescued. I am not alone.”  But it wears on you and she added “I’m tired of the million slights that go along with poverty and how hard it is to meet my basic needs, the degradations and the humiliations that happen every day. And it’s not just me, there are millions of us and we are suffering.”  And finally, she sums it up beautifully “This has to change, this obscene inequality.”
 

 

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How About Allowing Cities and Municipalities to Provide Fast Internet Access

 Community Broadband
Sign the petition:  In most places your only Internet options are through your cable or telephone providers.  Often very few choices and often tied to purchasing other products or bundles.  Many states and municipalities already have that option (though they may not be utilizing it yet), “but local governments in 19 states don’t have that option due to anti-consumer state laws that ban or restrict municipal broadband.”  We need to put pressure on congress to change this and prioritize what would be best for “we the people”.  Sign the petition to Congress: Pass the Community Broadband Act now.
 

 

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Re: the World – What Responsibility Do You Feel Toward Your Grandchildren?

 News
Read this:  It is really nice when you stumble on someone fighting the same battle of conscience as you do.  This blog is titled “aguiltyprogressive” because I feel a lot of guilt for how my generation has allowed the political situation in the US, and the world for that matter, to be heading so rapidly down paths that are largely negative, if not devastating.  Instead of expounding further here, read the attached article in The Nation Magazine, by Tom Engelhardt.  He uses a beautiful technique to convey his message, maybe get the reader to listen and maybe even reevaluate.  He conveys his guilt (very close to mine), via an apology letter, to his grandson, for handing his generation a world in very dire straights.  I, for one, am truly ” a guilty progressive” and thank Tom for stating things so well.  Now what can we do about it?
 

 

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Coal Mines in National Forests? Say No To This

 Coal - Keep it in the ground
Sign the petition:  Bet you never heard of this and you’re getting pretty tired of it too.  It just never stops.  This is what we have to realize when dealing with the large carbon producing industry.  They never stop.  They look for loopholes in our laws and regulations and if they can’t find them they try to influence Congress to create them.  The worst part is they do all of this as silently as possible.  The media seldom reports on it.  Sign the petition saying NO TO COAL MINING IN NATIONAL FORESTS.
 

 

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Compromise And Patience Are No Longer Options For Some Things – THE ENVIRONMENT

Earth Day

This is an Earth Day picture

Read this:  Today is Earth Day, which for too many of us has become just another day to party.  Another “important day” that pops up on our electronic calendars, which has a multitude of events to go to and products to buy, with neat logos or slogans abounding.  Most of us are pretty comfortable today.  Sadly this is a bad thing for democratic participation.  This article in The Nation Magazine, by Zoë Carpenter, emphasizes this point, how worthwhile causes / policies often get lost in our daily lives.  Ms. Carpenter notes that “In The Nation in 1970, the journalist Gene Marine argued , ‘The American people, … are waiting for someone to notice that ecology is an issue that brings us all together.’”  This was the “zero year for the environmental movement”.  Vietnam, Civil Rights, Communism and the atomic bomb were the main focus.  But the first “Earth Day” soon followed.  All kinds of things suggested an unstoppable movement.  Marines’ reports were “brimming with optimism”, but he also noted “we do not, when we are put together in groups, fight about ecology”.  We occasionally participate and are, too often, willing to compromise or look the other way.
     Today, groups like 350.org profess the dire warning of a short window wherein we can hope to halt and maybe reverse the CO2 buildup in our atmosphere.  “Fear of extinction still animates the environmental movement—though carbon dioxide has taken plutonium’s place in the narrative.”  Sadly, “Obama maintains his long-standing commitment to an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that is irreconcilable with the goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.  Republicans “won’t even acknowledge the implications of climate change”.  And many Democrats follow a similar script.  Ms. Carpenter notes some other impediments to environmental policy changes:
  • “the flood of corporate money that now greases the American political system”,
  • “the rise of fact-optional right-wing media, that has had devastating implications for a movement that must ‘attack some mighty profit makers'”,
  • the demise of the idea of “investment in the collective good—which is what environmental action is”,
  • “Most Americans still feel insulated from the slow violence of climate change, and therefore, as in 1970, care more about immediate crises. We still have trouble imagining that an economic system not dependent on endless consumption is possible, and therefore worth fighting for.”
There is a lot more in the article.  I have only picked out pieces to get you to read, think and get serious.
 

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The Laws of Corporate Rule vs. Earth and The Environment

 Thoughts
My Thoughts:  A recent Move To Amend email from Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap kindled this post.  I admit, I have a soft spot in my heart relating to Rachael Carson.  She was a marine biologist and conservationist who in 1962 wrote the environmental classic Silent Spring, where she “challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.”  The book primarily looked at the flagrant agricultural uses of DDT and caused widespread controversy over that practice and the uses of pesticides in agriculture generally.  This book led me on a path to which I have stayed to date – being a vegetarian.  Interestingly, that choice continues to periodically be re-justified as yet another miracle pesticide or artificial product is found to be significantly harmful to man, the environment or both.  Often this is after corporations have push it on the public as fast and as hard as possible.  So where are we?
  • “An environmental awakening occurred following Rachel Carson’s book … an awakening that held no partisanship and quickly became a movement. This country was absolutely filthy; our air, water, and land polluted by unregulated corporations.”
  • “In 1970 and over the next few years, Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other environmental laws and regulations were enacted under the Nixon Administration and Republican leadership, with huge bi-partisan support on the wave of support Carson and her followers built. Those safeguards were really quite effective, and continue to protect us today — in a dwindling sort of way.”
  • “‘Corporate persons’ didn’t sit idly by and let our right to clean air and water bite into their profits. They simply assaulted their friends in government with huge sums of money and began a propaganda campaign against science.  The cycle repeated itself until ‘Corporate Persons’ gained enough seats on the Supreme Court to undo any gains ‘We the People’ and the environment had made. It’s called Corporate Rule, and the Supreme Court doctrines of corporate Constitutional rights and money as speech make it possible.”

I believe “Corporate Person-hood” is the single most powerful and destructive principle impeding the application of democracy in the USA and around the world.  It permeates every aspect of the governing process and feeds directly into the spreading of inequality and the inability of our governments to function for “We The People”.  However, the problems are much more that just environmental, but this is as a good a place as any to start.

In celebration of EarthDay, please sign the Move to Amend petition below and keep this concept in mind, only supporting policies and candidates that believe and act accordingly – “CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE”.
 

 

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Taking A Fresh Look At Hillary – Things I Didn’t Know or Forgot

 Hillary - sketch
Read and watch:  This article and video in The Daily KOS, by BlankBeat, provides a diversity of looks at Hillary Clinton from the eyes of a varied group of people and in a wide ranging settings.  It begins with an intro by Meryl Steep and ends with Hillary outtakes in a variety of settings and issues.  It is well worth watching, whether you are a pro Hillary or con Hillary.  Getting past our own biases, positive or negative, is a rather advanced skill and it takes overt effort.  Please read and watch the video.  There is a lot there.
 

 

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Make Voting Easy – Expand Voting Rights

 Voting Rights - Oregon
Sign the petition:  Name someone in congress who suggests expanding voting rights.  Most of us couldn’t.  But, believe it or not there is a push to do just that and at least one state has moved forward with a truly progressive idea about voting rights.  “Oregon passed a bill automatically registering all eligible voters as soon as they get their driver’s license.”  Wait for the backlash, the voting fraud, you may be thinking.  I for one doubt there will be any just like there has been almost no voting fraud to justify the recent rash of voter restricting legislation across the country.  Laws like: “Cutting off early voting in Ohio. Burdensome voter ID laws in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Texas. The list goes on and on!”  Sign the petition and join “Senate Democrats in calling for measures to vastly increase the amount of eligible voters in America, and open the democratic process to all.”
 

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It’s The Supreme Court Stupid – That’s You and Me!

 Supreme Court bought and paid for
Read this:  This article from The Daily KOS, by Mark E Andersen, shows where our focus should really be in the 2016 race for the Presidency of the United States.  Talk is already rampant as to the Pros and Cons of this candidate or that candidate.  The Democrats say Hillary is too … or not … enough.  The media is busy making these issues much bigger than they deserve and many issues really have no place in a presidential campaign at all.  But the message is controlled by roughly 4 giant media corporations and unless you spend a little time, to find other sources, that is all you will hear.  But “None of that matters. If she is the nominee, we must support her whether or not we think she is the establishment candidate or the corporate candidate. Why? The U.S. Supreme Court. The next president will likely nominate several Supreme Court justices.”  If the Democratic candidate (assumng Hillary) loses, “the Supreme Court will tilt right for the foreseeable future.”  If the court becomes more conservative the climate is in big trouble, inequality will jump to the next level and “We The People” will continue to shrink as the all important “Corporations” rape and pillage unchecked, writing their own laws and rewarding the powerful.  This is truly something that should not be ignored.  This is the time to put on your Populist hat and do the right thing.
 

 

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