Archive for October, 2015
Read this: There are many experts who believe that we actually can stabilize our climate if we could just get world leaders (particularly the big polluters) to act. The Nation Article, on the link below, by Robert Pollin says “a simple and viable path to climate stabilization is right before us” and there are many experts around the world who agree. The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference opens in Paris on November 30, where this issue will be paramount. Since the conference in 2009 global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have “increased by about 10%”, moving from “29 to 32 billion metric tons”. This is an amazing increase and yet world leaders have done very little to really make a difference. Yet Pollin’s article continues to suggest there is a chance. ” The global economy can bring global emissions down to the IPCC target of 20 billion tons within 20 years if most countries—especially those with either large GDPs or populations—devote between 1.5 and 2 percent per year of GDP to investments in energy efficiency and clean, low-emission renewable-energy sources. The consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas will also need to fall by about 35 percent over this same period—i.e., at an average 2.2 percent rate of decline per year.” These are not gigantic changes and would probably be readily accepted by people around the world if the urgency was effectively conveyed. There will obviously be propaganda against change coming from those with the greatest economic interests in maintaining the status quo. Read the full article below to get the complete picture and remain vigilant as you support leaders who have real priorities for climate change stabilization.
Sign the petition: Unless you are actively seeking information, you seldom hear about congressional bills that are often (maybe usually) not in your best interests. As a consumer it seems obvious that we should have the right to know what is in our foods. We could then make intelligent decisions whether or not we want to consume that food. Believe it or not, many in congress disagree. A current example is the “dangerous anti-GMO labeling bill dubbed the ‘DARK Act‘ – Denying Americans the Right to Know Act – (which) has hit a roadblock in the U.S. Senate.” The Republicans have virtually sold out to Monsanto on this one, so the only hope is “if Democratic Senators stand up to Big Food.” If it is not stopped, it would be devastating. “If signed into law, the DARK Act would block all state laws requiring mandatory GMO labeling, prevent the FDA from establishing a national mandatory GMO labeling program, block all state and local efforts to protect rural communities and farmers from the impacts of GMO crops, and prevent claims by food companies that non-GMO foods are better than GMO ones.” Read the short explanation on the link below that was put together by Credo Action, and then please sign the petition. We need to protect human rights as consumers, not the unlimited rights of fictitious persons (corporations).
Read this: There are a lot of reasons to think about climate change, maybe take it serious and become active. One of the ones that really can make it real is when you start to think about what the world will be like in 25 years or so for your children and grand children. Funny how our kids tend to give us a different perspective on so much in life. Often the “me stuff” gets pushed somewhere in the “not so important” file. The article in the link below from The Nation Magazine, by Frida Berrigan gives a good rendition of a parent making that mental journey. Ms. Berrigan says, “They say: enjoy your kids while they’re young; pretty soon they’ll be teenagers. Haha, right? Actually, I’m excited about each stage of my kids’ lives, but Madeline won’t be a teenager until 2027. According to climate scientists and environmentalists, that may already be ‘past the point of no return.’ If warming continues without a major shift, there will be no refreezing those melting ice shelves, no holding back the rising seas, no scrubbing smog-clogged air, no button we can press to bring water back to parched landscapes.” Read her article and then find a way to get involved on a regular basis so you can feel you did something. Do it for your kids and grand kids.
Watch this: Getting any political message across to American voters is an extreme challenge at best. There are many reasons for this and they are often very good ones. The dominant one often seems to be the amount of time they are willing to pay attention to any different idea. One of my favorite progressive political pundits, has found a way to deal with just that – short videos that attack popular myths. In the video link below, Robert B. Reich (Former United States Secretary of Labor, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator) worked with MoveOn.org to produce this short video “featuring four plain facts that debunk dangerous lies about immigration”. This is particularly relevant with all of the hot air emitting from the mouth of one Donald Trump. Remember, there are millions who want to believe everything he says on this topic, resisting each of these myths. Watch the video and try to arm yourself with facts for your next encounter with ignorance and prejudice.
Sign the petition: As you may know from my history, I believe corporations are the biggest threat to democracy worldwide and particularly here in the USA. Compounding this is the problem of steadily increasing inequality and the methodical disappearance of the middle class. As corporations continue to gain power and wealth they use various legalese to further enhance their grab for more power and money. And, of course, there is always the fictitious premise that they are persons, entitled to corresponding rights. This all makes it so absurd that most of us don’t know where to begin when looking for any solutions. One place to focus is to try to “end corporate tax havens” where corporations technically move portions of their money offshore, in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes on it. Essentially legally stealing money from the rest of us.
The petition below attempts to do just that by “clos(ing) tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs and hide profits offshore”. It would “raise hundreds of billions of dollars to reinvest in America” and make a little dent in the spread of inequality. It was sponsored by American Family Voices, Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund, Campaign for America’s Future, Courage Campaign, Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos, Deluge, Democracy for America, Economic Policy Institute Policy Center, Left Action, People For the American Way, Rep. Mark Pocan (WI), Progressive Congress, RootsAction.org, Silver Linings Action, The Agenda Project, and The Nation. Please sign and if you are a progressive, pay attention to some of these organizations as you try to wade through the political confusion.
Read this: If you believe corporations are people and should have the rights of people, then you need read no further.
The wealthy once ruled the world via monarchies and eventually oligarchies using their wealth and power to expand and conquer as far and wide as they could. As the world was settled and states became relatively stable those efforts became difficult. Power needed a different means to continue to expand and control. Around 1900 efforts focused on enabling fictitious entities, called corporations, to assume the rights of people and in the USA to eventually grant corporations the constitutional rights of personhood. “We The People” virtually became “We The Corporations” since real people (other than billionaires) had no way to really compete. Government and laws are now created by and for the wealthy and corporations are the primary controllers of that wealth. Step one complete.
The next logical step was to expand this corporate power (legal rights) worldwide and it is close to being complete. The goal is essentially to expand and conquer country after country, not physically (although force is often part of the equation) but legally. Multinational corporations, in the name of international trade agreements, have and are doing just that. Agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and now TPP are examples of trade agreements created to leverage and protect multinational corporations, at the expense of people (particularly poor and defenseless) by giving corporations the power to override laws and regulation that sovereign states create to protect the health, environment, labor and general welfare of their existence. These trade agreements whittle away at the ability of people to say “No” to any corporation’s ability to make a profit even when the result of that profit has devastating effects.
Read the article in the link below, found in The Nation Magazine, by John Nichols, where he goes into some detail on the pending TPP agreement and its’ real repercussions. Get angry and remember CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE. What they have become is a mechanism for the powerful to continue to invade and conquer. Check out MoveToAmend and maybe become a supporter. We need more than just reversing “Citizens United”.
Read this: The article in the link below is from The Nation Magazine, by James M. Larkin and Zach Goldhammer. It asks, is “our economy broken” and could New Deal like changes (a New New Deal) help to turn things around? It takes you to “the third of three installments in a podcast series on American work produced in partnership with Open Source with Christopher Lydon, a weekly program on WBUR.”
The 3 part radio podcasts are titled (links to Parts 1 & 2 can be found in Editors Notes within the third part on the link below.):
- Fate of the Union,
- What’s Working: 2 – 9 to 5 in 2015,
- What’s Working: A New New Deal
Read and listen to this 3rd part and if it catches you, go back to parts 1 & 2 and do the whole series. They are a great combination to listen too and make you think a little deeper about the scope of the problem we are in and some possible steps we could take to make the middle class less of a dying thing.
Read this: In 2007 350.org helped to organize “a day of creative events across the United States with a simple, and at the time, completely ‘radical’ message: calling for Congress to ‘Cut Carbon 80% by 2050’.” As the short article says “We also know now that 80% by 2050 isn’t nearly enough: we need to cut faster and further, and think much more deeply about how we don’t just reduce emissions, but address the root causes of the climate crisis.” We need to continue to act vigilantly and we need to keep the pressure on both the U.S. government and world wide commitments.
Read this: The following article found in CitizenVox, by Angela Bradbery, is well done and timely. Not particularly because Congress is starting again next week, but instead because these actions to “undermine the public interest” happen at all and we allow it to happen. Too many of us don’t seem to know this is how the game is played as multinational corporations and the super wealthy virtually own our governmental process. Read the article and check out some of the embedded links for more details on what really goes on.
Amid the chaos of House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, the Corporate Congress next week still will find time to undermine the public interest, with a particular emphasis on energy: At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will pick apart President Barack Obama’s efforts to make our air cleaner. According to …