The Bernie Sanders Revolution Grows As 250,000 People Donate $15 Million To His Campaign

July 5, 2015

more from Jason Easley
Thursday, July, 2nd, 2015, 1:21 pm

bernie sanders fundraising

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign announced that Sen. Sanders has raised $15 million from 250,000 Americans since April 30. The Sanders message is spreading, and supporters are opening up their wallets to take their country back.

In a statement, the campaign said:

Altogether, Sanders’ campaign brought in some $15 million since April 30, when he launched his bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Ninety-nine percent of the almost 400,000 contributions by some 250,000 individuals were for $250 or less.

The average donation was $33.51.

Counting all sources of campaign revenue – including the sale of T-shirts, bumper stickers and other merchandise – nearly 87 percent of the total amount raised during the quarter came from the donors who contributed $250 or less

At his speech in Madison, WI, Sanders said, “I am more than aware that my opponents will be able to outspend us. But we are going to win this election. They may have the money but we have the people. And when the people stand together, we can win.”
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Hillary Clinton has raised three times more money from individual donors, but Sen. Sanders is drawing record-setting crowds and surging in the polls. The Sanders momentum has gone from something that supporters discussed on the Internet to a legitimate buzz in the political world. Recent polling revealed that Democrats give Hillary Clinton high marks on honesty, leadership, and trustworthiness, but Bernie Sanders has captured their imaginations with a message of revolution.

Sen. Sanders is leading a grassroots movement of the people whose goal is bigger than a presidential election. Bernie Sanders is out to defeat the billionaires and return the American government back to ordinary Americans. The message is revolution, and the Sanders revolutionaries are opening their wallets to fund their candidate.

The Bernie Sanders Revolution Grows As 250,000 People Donate $15 Million To His Campaign was written by Jason Easley for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Thu, Jul 2nd, 2015 — All Rights Reserved

BBC: People taken from movie theater by police, forced to go in reactor and deal with burning fuel rods

July 4, 2015

ENENews


BBC: People taken from movie theater by police, forced to go in reactor and deal with burning fuel rods — TV: Military picked men off street to battle meltdown — Women, minorities, homeless, and prisoners used by nuclear industry for most dangerous work (VIDEO)

Posted: 03 Jul 2015 06:57 AM PDT

Obama Admin’s TPP Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks

July 4, 2015

General News 7/3/2015 at 00:54:45

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Reprinted from http://www.republicreport.org

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

From youtube.com/watch?v=iwYirTxIupQ: Stefan M. Selig

From youtube.com/watch?v=iwYirTxIupQ: Stefan M. Selig
Stefan M. Selig
(image by YouTube) License DMCA
, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.
Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as part of multiple exit payments when he left CitiGroup to join the Obama administration. Froman told Senate Finance Committee members last summer that he donated approximately 75 percent of the $2.25 million bonus he received for his work in 2008 to charity. CitiGroup also gave Froman a $2 million payment in connection to his holdings in two investment funds, which was awarded “in recognition of [Froman’s] service to Citi in various capacities since 1999.”

Many large corporations with a strong incentive to influence public policy award bonuses and other incentive pay to executives if they take jobs within the government. CitiGroup, for instance, provides an executive contract that awards additional retirement pay upon leaving to take a “full time high level position with the U.S. government or regulatory body.” Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, the Blackstone Group, Fannie Mae, Northern Trust, and Northrop Grumman are among the other firms that offer financial rewards upon retirement for government service.

Froman joined the administration in 2009. Selig is currently awaiting Senate confirmation before he can take his post, which collaborates with the trade officials to support the TPP.

The controversial TPP trade deal has rankled activists for containing provisions that would newly empower corporations to sue governments in ad hoc arbitration tribunals to demand compensation from governments for laws and regulations they claim undermine their business interests. Leaked TPP negotiation documents show the Obama administration is seeking to prevent foreign governments from issuing a broad variety of financial rules designed to stem another bank crisis.

 

A leaked text of the TPP’s investment chapter shows that the pact would include the controversial investor-state dispute resolution system. A fact-sheet provided by Public Citizen explains how multi-national corporations may use the TPP deal to skirt domestic courts and local laws. The arrangement would allows corporations to go after governments before foreign tribunals to demand compensations for tobacco, prescription drug and environment protections that they claim would undermine their expected future profits. Last year, Senator Elizabeth Warren warned that trade agreements such as the TPP provide “a chance for these banks to get something done quietly out of sight that they could not accomplish in a public place with the cameras rolling and the lights on.”

Others have raised similar alarm.

“Not only do US treaties mandate that all forms of finance move across borders freely and without delay, but deals such as the TPP would allow private investors to directly file claims against governments that regulate them, as opposed to a WTO-like system where nation states (ie the regulators) decide whether claims are brought,” notes Boston University associate professor Kevin Gallagher.

This article originally appeared on Republic Report

 

http://thinkprogress.org/author/lee-fang

LEE FANG Lee Fang is a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He covers money in politics, conservative movements and lobbying. Lee’s work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the (more…)

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Noam Chomsky: Greece Faces “Savage Response” for Fighting Against Austerity

July 3, 2015
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Noam Chomsky. (photo: Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty)
Noam Chomsky. (photo: Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty)

By Democracy Now!

03 July 15

 

ALSO SEE: Ninety Percent of Greek Bailout Has Gone to Banks – Not to Help Greek People

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/blog/2015/7/1/chomsky_greece_s_syriza_spain_ss Greece defaults and faces a referendum this Sunday on a new bailout package, watch Noam Chomsky on Europe’s “savage response” to the pushback against austerity demands. He spoke to Democracy Now! in March.

Click here to watch Monday’s segment, “As Greece Heads for Default, Voters Prepare to Vote in Pivotal Referendum on More Austerity.”

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about Syriza in Greece, a movement that started as a grassroots movement. Now they have taken power, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. And then you have Spain right now. We recently spoke to Pablo Iglesias, the secretary general of the group called Podemos, that was founded, what—an anti-austerity party that has rapidly gained popularity. A month after establishing itself last year, they won five seats in the European Parliament, and some polls show they could take the next election, which would mean that Pablo Iglesias, the 36-year-old political science professor and longtime activist, could possibly become the prime minister of Europe’s fifth-largest economy. He came here to New York for just about 72 hours, and I asked him to talk about what austerity measures have meant in Spain.

PABLO IGLESIAS: Austerity means that people is expulsed of their homes. Austerity means that the social services don’t work anymore. Austerity means that public schools have not the elements, the means to develop their activity. Austerity means that the countries have not sovereignty anymore, and we became a colony of the financial powers and a colony of Germany. Austerity probably means the end of democracy. I think if we don’t have democratic control of economy, we don’t have democracy. It’s impossible to separate economy and democracy, in my opinion.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Pablo Iglesias, the head of this new anti-austerity group in Spain called Podemos, which means in English “We can.” The significance of these movements?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s very significant. But notice the reaction. The reaction to Syriza was extremely savage. They made a little bit of progress in their negotiations, but not much. The Germans came down very hard on them.

AMY GOODMAN: You mean in dealing with the debt.

NOAM CHOMSKY: In the dealing with them, and sort of forced them to back off from almost all their proposals. What’s going on with the austerity is really class war. As an economic program, austerity, under recession, makes no sense. It just makes the situation worse. So the Greek debt, relative to GDP, has actually gone up during the period of—which is—well, the policies that are supposed to overcome the debt. In the case of Spain, the debt was not a public debt, it was private debt. It was the actions of the banks. And that means also the German banks. Remember, when a bank makes a dangerous, a risky borrowing, somebody is making a risky lending. And the policies that are designed by the troika, you know, are basically paying off the banks, the perpetrators, much like here. The population is suffering. But one of the things that’s happening is that the—you know, the social democratic policies, so-called welfare state, is being eroded. That’s class war. It’s not an economic policy that makes any sense as to end a serious recession. And there is a reaction to it—Greece, Spain and some in Ireland, growing elsewhere, France. But it’s a very dangerous situation, could lead to a right-wing response, very right-wing. The alternative to Syriza might be Golden Dawn, neo-Nazi party.

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Totalitarian End-game of the Global Elite

July 2, 2015
tpp

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a global corporate noose around U.S. local, state, and national sovereignty – narrowly passed a major procedural hurdle in the Congress by gaining “fast track” status. … “fast track” is a euphemism for your members of Congress … handcuffing themselves, so as to prevent any amendments or adequate debate before the final vote … TPP is another euphemism that is used to avoid the word “treaty”, which would require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate.

The corporate-indentured politicians keep calling this gigantic treaty with thirty chapters, of which only five relate to traditional trade issues…. The other twenty-five chapters, if passed as they are, will have serious impacts on your livelihoods as workers and consumers, as well as your air, water, food, and medicines.

Only corporations … are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in open courts. Ralph Nader

Last week was a landmark week for President Obama and his administration. It was so important that last Friday’s PBS Washington Week program couldn’t find room for the slightest mention of what is arguably the most disastrous and most secretive anti-democracy, pro-corporate legislation since the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Acts were passed at the beginning of the late, lamented Cheney/Bush administration. Similarly – and astonishingly – nobody in the 2001 Congress actually read either of those bills (except for Ohio Democratic House member Dennis Kucinich); and, soberingly, the same is true of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s fast-track legislation. So congressional members are relying on what the lobbyists are telling them about TPP and again, shamefully voting on something that they haven’t read!

Washington Week only had space for the Supreme Court’s legalizing same-gender marriage, Obamacare, the massacre in Charleston and Obama’s powerful eulogy there.

As important and newsworthy as those items were, not a word was mentioned about what might have been the most important and onerous development in DC, the progress of the secretive, anti-democratic, pro-corporate legislation, the TPP.

Fair-minded, critical thinking, wide-awake persons who are capable of changing their minds when new information is revealed to them (AKA, resistance to cognitive dissonance) have come to understand that anything that happens in the ‘hallowed halls” of the Global Corporate Congress in DC is bad news for democracy, the middle class, the working class and the poor and good news for democracy’s amoral enemies in the multinational corporations, the Pentagon, the war industries and the national security state apparatus..

Any time that the “dirty trick” gridlock masters in the GOP (exemplified so well by the evil visages of Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and 1840s-era Senator John C. Calhoun) can get the equally co-opted, pro-corporate Democrats to agree to any major legislation (such as going to war), you will know that workers, consumers and democracy – are all going to get screwed.

The euphemistically-labeled TPP is a late Obama administration payback to investors (AKA “return on investment”). Obama’s campaigns were heavily funded by Wall Street, Big Banks, Big Pharma and multinational corporations, and it is now payback time.

The Cynics View of Corporate-controlled American Elections

Corporations fully expect that their campaign “contributions” (AKA “bribes”) will lead to some return on that investment. And, in order to hedge their bets, they willingly spend money on the campaigns of both NeoConservatives in the GOP and NeoLiberals in the Democratic Party that their lobbyists and shills (including the US Chamber of Commerce) have previously vetted/screened and then approved as fit candidates that will support the agendas of their paymasters. These anointed candidates – that only represent the far right wings or center-right wings of our One Party system – are the ones that we bamboozled voters will be fooled into voting for (usually against our best interests) when the next billion-dollar election cycle mercifully comes to an end.

The choices we voters are given when political campaigns come around have been getting more and more frustrating for thinking voters since the paranoid and hysterical pro-war, pseudo-patriotism emerged after 9/11/01.

That hysteria was orchestrated, in part, by the NeoConservative Bush administration insiders that were in the secretive Project for the New American Century (for more on the PNAC, see http://www.911hardfacts.com/report_04.htm).

It is obvious to many scholars and investigative journalists that the PNAC played a major role in orchestrating the catastrophic events of 9/11/01. The PNAC agenda was furthered – and actually cemented into place – by the anti-democratic Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, not to mention the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision (seehttp://movetoamend.org/).

The TPP may be the End Game for the Global Corporate Elite

TPP, which has the bipartisan support of both the bribed pro-corporate Republicans and the bribed pro-corporate Democrats, probably represents the final solution to the global capitalist’s problem of providing stock market growth (and stability), the continuation of the privatization of public investments, the continued predatory lending system that destabilizes nation-states, the despoiling of the finite resources of our already corporate-poisoned planet, and the comforting march onward of the meaningless Dow-Jones Industrial Averages (only 30 companies involved).

The amoral and deceptive Wall Street and War Street hucksters will be laughing all the way to their off shore tax evading banks when TPP passes. Obama may not be fully aware of what he is a part of.

I can no longer trust anything that happens in the “hallowed halls” of the Global Corporate Congress which seems to have the blessings of both the “dirty trick” gridlock masters in the GOP and the often co-opted and the apparently well-meaning but sometimes naïve Democrats. The ruling elites, their amoral lobbyists, their non-human, sociopathic corporations and their bought-and-paid-for lapdog politicians operate as if they have no shame; they know who they are and it is our patriotic duty to identify them and put them out of office.

TPP Represents the Anti-democracy End-game of the Global Elite

It looks like the TPP is the economic end-game that the corporatists and corrupt capitalists have been played so cunningly, with behind the scenes support from their transnational corporate partners in the once-honorable

1) US Chamber of Commerce (see http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/06/27/un-american-coc.html),

2) the Koch brothers (see http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/alec-exposed-koch-connection),

3) the American Legislative Exchange Council (seehttp://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed),

4) large majorities in America’s Global Corporate Congress and

5) most every brain-washed (or brain-dead) greedy private “free market” investor with a 401K.

The desperate little guy investor with his mutual fund-loaded stock portfolios and 401Ks can be justifiably accused of being accomplices in the corporate exploitation – and the inevitable despoiling – of the air, water, soil and food  (AKA “man-made” climate change) and the militarization of the upper atmosphere by the Pentagon and the lethal weapons industries.

Of course, these investors, suppressing the ethics they learned in Sunday School, know that their portfolios may temporarily increase in value after TPP gets passed, but they may not know that they and their children will likely be permanently disadvantaged when their loved ones lose their jobs or see wages and benefits disappear in the race-to-the-bottom competition from exploitive foreign competitors – all for the long-term benefit of the cunning multinational TPP manipulators at the top.

The TPP vs the Emancipation Proclamation? Democracy Loses

And here is where the “un-mentioned” juxtapositions of last week’s major events come in.

Obama scored a lot of points with his pro-democracy, anti-racist, anti-discrimination rhetoric last week, but he should have lost many of those points by simultaneously pushing the bi-partisan and radically anti-democracy TPP. Time will tell. One wonders if his speechwriters saw the irony.

Obma’s speechwriters certainly haven’t pointed out the obviously evil Dick Cheney-style dark side of the TPP’s union-busting, anti-worker, anti-jobs, pro-corporate, pro-BigPharma, pro-Wall Street agenda. It is a virtual certainty that Obama has never read all of the secret 30 chapters in the treaty agreement. No one in Congress has been even allowed to adequately study all the secret provisions.

After considering all of the above, I realized that if the TPP had been the law of the land before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the tyrannical, apartheid-style (AKA, fascist) plantation slavery system in the South could have successfully sued the Lincoln administration and then fined the government hefty amounts of money for harming its economic bottom line and its future profits if it ever tried to end the highly lucrative business.

It would have been a no-brainer for the shyster lawyers (“shyster” is the term my father always used when referred to corporate lawyers) employed by any corporate-funded New World Order courts like the TPP, NAFTA or World Trade Organization to prove that the bottom lines of any slave holding (or sweat shop, or unionized) company would have been negatively affected if their profit-based system was outlawed. This would have been especially true if the proclamation had been issued by a despised, intellectual, educated, “liberal”, “nigger-loving”, uppity president who was also an eloquent speaker.

If the slaves were set free, allowed to vote or allowed to have their own churches, what would happen to the profits of pro-slavery, racist tyrants like South Carolina’s US Senator John C. Calhoun (see below)?

Any corporate-controlled court of law that was approved by the anti-democratic TPP rules would easily see that future profits of the plantation system would be severely and negatively impacted by the Emancipation Proclamation, and thus the humanitarian aims of president Lincoln would have been declared illegal and contrary to the  treaty. The US government would have lost the case or more likely, the case would have been thrown out of court before the Star Chamber tribunal even reached for its gavel.

Dylann Storm Roof, Mother Emanuel, FOX NEWS and Us

And so, if TPP had been the law of the land, slavery would have been reinforced; black Christian churches like the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church would never have been built; and there would have been no need for a humiliated, unemployed, drugged-up, loner, white supremacist (believing that “the South will rise again”) like Dylann Roof to feel threatened enough to terrorize and murder innocent black folks who were in an innocuous bible study group (whose members – true to the gospel nonviolence teachings of Jesus and Martin Luther King – didn’t ask for retaliation and even offered forgiveness to the killer).

Ironically, 110 Calhoun Street is the street address of Mother Emanuel, where last week’s terroristic “lynchings” took place. This time a lynch mob was unnecessary. Pulling a trigger on a semiautomatic handgun is so much easier and quicker than using a hanging rope.

We can be certain that the unrepentant hard-liners in the CCC and KKK are saying thank you to the lobbying efforts of the NRA and the merchants of death in the weapons industries. And they are probably purchasing more weapons and ammo to boot.

John C. Calhoun and the 1920 Duluth Lynchings

Calhoun Street was named in honor of long-term pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun (who also had a Minneapolis lake named after him, apparently because of Calhoun’s support for the legislation that created Fort Snelling).

Calhoun was a South Carolina US Senator, who was twice Vice President of the United States (first under John Quincey Adams and then under the notorious racist Andrew Jackson). He had been raised in a wealthy, slave-holding, Southern Presbyterian family and was acknowledged to be well-versed in conservative Christian theology (a theology that is still the norm in Southern Baptist circles, which infamously ignores the ethics of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teachings – teachings upon which Martin Luther King based his theology, politics, social justice ideology and antiwar activism).

Calhoun was an early advocate for slave-holding states to secede from the Union. He obviously saw no contradiction in being a white supremacist and a Christian simultaneously, and neither did Dylann Roof, who, incidentally, is said to be on the roster of an ELCA Lutheran church in South Carolina.

Calhoun was a Chicken Hawk (a vigorously war hawk politician who never saw combat war, sort of like Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and Ashcroft – and most of the PNAC).

Calhoun, despite his inexperience in war, served as President Monroe’s Secretary of War, and advocated for a large navy, a standing army and war with Britain.

If Calhoun was alive today, he would have been pursued by FOX NEWS as a commentator or at least a frequent interview guest, and the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck shows would have applauded his politics. The pro-eugenics Adolf Hitler would have appreciated Calhoun’s racist, Aryan supremacist and militarist agendas.

In his 1937 “Slavery a Positive Good” speech, Calhoun said:

…the relation now existing in the slaveholding States is, instead of an evil, a good–a positive good. I feel myself called upon to speak freely upon the subject where the honor and interests of those I represent are involved. I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other. Broad and general as is this assertion, it is fully borne out by history. …it would not be difficult to trace the various devices by which the wealth of all civilized communities has been so unequally divided, and to show by what means so small a share has been allotted to those by whose labor it was produced, and so large a share given to the non-producing classes.

Calhoun foreshadowed some of the radicalized agendas of America’s current religious opponents of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. Some of them apparently are trying decide if they should leave America or if they should stay and fight to the death because of their “beliefs”. One talk show host even said that some radicalized conservative clergymen are seriously considering self-immolation as a sign of protest against same-gender marriage.

Calhoun said that “two peoples so different and hostile” could not “exist together in one common Union”. Dylann Roof resonated with those fighting words, as did the lynch mob in my hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, whose ignorance about race, politics and theology (like Roof) and whose susceptibility to unfounded rumors (like Roof) prompted the lynching of 3 young black male “suspects” in an “alleged” rape on June 20, 1920, exactly 95 years ago this month.

The poison of bigotry, brain-washing, blind hatred and discrimination against “the other” obviously has staying power.

Fooling Some of the People all of the Time

Sociologists understand how racism, homophobia and bigotry arise and thrive (partly through the misbegotten conservative religious beliefs in the now-disproven “biblical inerrancy”, repeated propaganda and poisonous parenting). Abraham Lincoln intuitively knew about the power of propaganda when he said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” 

Honest Abe was probably thinking of the misbegotten “true believers” in the ultraconservative, ignorant and unthinking anti-black racist crowd that have historically been so well represented in the Red states, the US Congress and by others in the flourishing homophobic crowd.

Addendum:

It has been very interesting to note that, in connection to the revelations about Dylann Roof and the AME church shootings, many Republican politicians have knowingly taken campaign “contributions” from Earl Holt, the head of the Council of Conservative Citizens (another one of the many iterations of the notorious KKK and the White Citizens Councils), whom Dylann Roof says, in his manifesto, inspired him to engage in the mass murder.

Holt is an admitted white supremacist, a self-proclaimed slumlord, and a frequent Republican Party campaign contributor. He has so appreciated the politics of many conservative Republican politicians that his organization has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to them.

The CCC/KKK money, suddenly politically toxic, has, unfortunately for the totally conservative Republican recipients, already been cashed, deposited and spent by the following short list, most of whom are pretending to be contrite by promising to ”return” the money..

Holt’s CCC even contributed to the campaigns of two prominent Minnesotans, retired Republican US Congressperson and failed ex-presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann and Republican state House member and ex-gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

A short list of other prominent conservative GOP politicians receiving money from the CCC included Iowa US House member Steve King, Arkansas US Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Republican Senators and presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, the presidential candidacies of Republicans Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, Allen West and George W. Bush.

Other recipients include Arizona’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake; Utah’s Rep. Mia Love; Iowa’s Rep. Steve King, and former Missourian Rep. Todd Akin, Paul Ryan’s PAC,  the Tea Party Express, George Allen and Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

This is just a short list of 50 or so Republican politicians that the white supremacist wanted to be elected. Obviously there was something in those candidate’s political views that resonated with the CCC. After Roof’s revelations about the CCC in his manifesto, some of the above politicians have lamely announced that they will “return” the money, despite the fact that the checks have been cashed and the money is no longer in their bank accounts.

The complete FEC list of Republican politicians that took CCC money is at:http://mic.com/articles/121121/ted-cruz-among-politicians-with-donations-from-white-supremacist-earl-holt

Dr Kohls writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of his columns are archived athttp://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn. Since approximately 9/11/01, Dr Kohls has been a (at first a spiritual but now an official) member of the Green Party of Minnesota. 

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People and Planet First

July 2, 2015

Photo from outside the climate conference at the Vatican. (photo: CIDSE)
Photo from outside the climate conference at the Vatican. (photo: CIDSE)

By Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything

02 July 15

 

aomi delivered the following remarks at a press conference introducing “People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course,” a high-level meeting being held at the Vatican this week to explore Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ recently-released encyclical letter on ecology. The gathering will take place on July 2-3, and is being convened by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Alliance of Catholic Development Organisations (CIDSE).

Here is video of the full press conference, followed by the prepared text of Naomi’s statement. Other speakers included Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Bernd Nilles, Secretary General of CIDSE.

Thank you. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and to CIDSE for hosting us here, and for convening this remarkable 2-day gathering that I’m very much looking forward to.

It’s also a real honour to be here supporting and indeed celebrating the historic publication of the Pope’s encyclical.

Pope Francis writes early on that Laudato Si’ is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for “every person living on this planet.” And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me.

“We are not God,” the encyclical states. All humans once knew this. But about 400 years ago, dizzying scientific breakthroughs made it seem to some that humans were on the verge of knowing everything there was to know about the Earth, and would therefore be nature’s “masters and possessors,” as René Descartes so memorably put it. This, they claimed, was what God had always wanted.

That theory held for a good long time. But subsequent breakthroughs in science have told us something very different. Because when we were burning ever larger amounts of fossil fuels—convinced that our container ships and jumbo jets had leveled the world, that we were as gods—greenhouse gases were accumulating in the atmosphere and relentlessly trapping heat.

And now we are confronted with the reality that we were never the master, never that boss—and that we are unleashing natural forces that are far more powerful than even our most ingenious machines. We can save ourselves, but only if we let go of the myth of dominance and mastery and learn to work with nature—respecting and harnessing its intrinsic capacity for renewal and regeneration.

And this brings us to the core message of interconnection at the heart of the encyclical. What climate change reaffirms—for that minority of the human species that ever forgot—is that there is no such thing as a one-way relationship of pure mastery in nature. As Pope Francis writes, “Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.”

For some who see interconnection as a cosmic demotion, this is all too much to bear. And so—actively encouraged by fossil-fuel funded political actors—they choose to deny the science.

But that is already changing as the climate changes. And it will likely change more with the publication of the encyclical. This could mean real trouble for American politicians who are counting on using the Bible as cover for their opposition to climate action. In this regard, Pope Francis’s trip to the U.S. this September could not be better timed.

Yet as the encyclical rightly points out, denial takes many forms. And there are many across the political spectrum and around the world who accept the science but reject the difficult implications of the science.

I have spent the past two weeks reading hundreds of reactions to the encyclical. And though the response has been overwhelmingly positive, I have noticed a common theme among the critiques. Pope Francis may be right on the science, we hear, and even on the morality, but he should leave the economics and policy to the experts. They are the ones who know about carbon trading and water privatization, we are told, and how effectively markets can solve any problem.

I forcefully disagree. The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom. They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth.

That warped value system is how we ended up with ineffective carbon markets instead of strong carbon taxes and high fossil fuel royalties. It’s how we ended up with a temperature target of 2 degrees which would allow entire nations to disappear—simply because their GDPs were deemed insufficiently large.

In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it.

That doesn’t mean gambling the future on the boom and bust cycles of the market. It means policies that directly regulate how much carbon can be extracted from the earth. It means policies that will get us to 100 per cent

renewable energy

in 2-3 decades—not by the end of the century. And it means allocating common, shared resources—like the atmosphere—on the basis of justice and equity, not winners-take-all.

That’s why a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fueling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that if we don’t want runaway climate change, then we need system change.

And because our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to the climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once. In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the same time.

This growing understanding is why you are seeing some surprising and even unlikely alliances. Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, Indigenous, faith and green groups working more closely together than ever before.

Inside these coalitions, we don’t agree on everything—not by a long shot. But we understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task is so large that we cannot afford to allow those differences to divide us. When 400,000 people marched for climate justice in New York last September, the slogan was “To change everything, we need everyone.”

Everyone includes political leaders, of course. But having attended many meetings with social movements about the COP summit in Paris, I can report this: there is zero tolerance for yet another failure being dressed up as a success for the cameras. Until a week later, when those same politicians are back to drilling for oil in the Arctic and building more highways and pushing new trade deals that make it far more difficult to regulate polluters.

If the deal fails to bring about immediate emission reductions while providing real and substantive support for poor countries, then it will be declared a failure. As it should be.

What we must always remember is that it’s not too late to veer off the dangerous road we are on—the one that is leading us towards 4 degrees of warming. Indeed we could still keep warming below 1.5 degrees if we made it our top collective priority.

It would be difficult, to be sure. As difficult as the rationing and industrial conversions that were once made in wartime. As ambitious as the anti-poverty and public works programs launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War.

But difficult is not the same as impossible. And giving up in the face of a task that could save countless and lives prevent so much suffering—simply because it is difficult, costly and requires sacrifice from those of us who can most afford to make do with less—is not pragmatism.

It is surrender of the most cowardly kind. And there is no cost-benefit analysis in the world that is capable of justifying it.

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

We have been hearing these supposedly serious-minded words for more than two decades. For the entire lifetime of today’s young climate activists. And every time another UN summit fails to deliver bold, legally-binding and science-based polices, while sprinkling empty promises of reshuffled aid money, we hear those words again. “Sure it’s not enough but it’s a step in the right direction.” “We’ll do the harder work next time.” And always: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

This, it must be said inside these hallowed walls, is pure nonsense. “Perfect” left the station in the mid-1990s, after the first Rio Earth Summit. Today, we have only two roads in front of us: difficult yet humane—and easy yet reprehensible.

To our so-called leaders preparing their pledges for COP 21 in Paris, getting out the lipstick and heels to dress up another lousy deal, I have this to say: Read the actual encyclical—not the summaries, the whole thing. Read it and let it into your hearts. The grief at what we have already lost, and the celebration of what we can still protect and help to thrive.

Listen, too, to the voices of the hundreds of thousands who will be on the streets of Paris outside the summit, gathered simultaneously in cities around the world. This time, they will be saying more than “we need action.” They will be saying: we are already acting.

We are the solutions: in our demands that institutions divest their holdings from fossil fuel companies and invest them in the activities that will lower emissions.

In our ecological farming methods, which rely less on fossil fuels, provide healthy food and work and sequester carbon.

In our locally-controlled renewable energy projects, which are bringing down emissions, keeping resources in communities, lowering costs and defining access to energy as a right.

In our demand for reliable, affordable and even free public transit, which will get us out of the cars that pollute our cities, congest our lives, and isolate us from one another.

In our uncompromising insistence that you cannot call yourself a climate leader while opening up vast new tracks of ocean and land to oil drilling, gas fracking and coal mining. We have to leave it in the ground.

In our conviction that you cannot call yourself a democracy if you are beholden to multinational polluters.

Around the world, the climate justice movement is saying: See the beautiful world that lies on the other side of courageous policy, the seeds of which are already bearing ample fruit for any who care to look.

Then, stop making the difficult the enemy of the possible.

And join us in making the possible real.

 

Gov’t Experts: Fukushima radiation affected telescopes used to detect space weather; Thought to be related to decay of plutonium

July 2, 2015

ENENews


AP Photographer: I could fell “buzzing” in air when in Fukushima, how do you show that in a picture? — Gov’t Experts: Fukushima radiation affected telescopes used to detect space weather; Thought to be related to decay of plutonium (VIDEO)

Posted: 01 Jul 2015 07:21 PM PDT

Most mothers I’ve met from Tokyo and Fukushima are suffering thyroid problems, eye problems, nose bleeds…

June 29, 2015

ENENews


Nonprofit Group: “Every single person” we hosted from Japan has had health problems… Blood stains found in almost all of their beds — Japanese Mom: Most mothers I’ve met from Tokyo and Fukushima are suffering thyroid problems, eye problems, nose bleeds… It’s been very surprising (VIDEO)

Posted: 28 Jun 2015 07:52 PM PDT

Abe’s ratings slip amid doubts over his security policy

June 29, 2015

Abe's ratings slip amid doubts over his security policyPrime Minister Shinzo AbeAP photo

TOKYO —

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is slipping in the face of doubts about his security policy, a newspaper survey released on Monday showed, amid concerns Abe’s ruling party wants to muzzle its media critics.

Abe has promised key ally Washington that he would enact bills to implement a historic defence policy shift this summer. But in a sign that goal looked tough, his ruling bloc last week extended the current session of parliament to Sept 27.

The percentage of voters opposing Abe’s cabinet rose to 40%, the highest since he took office in December 2012 promising to reboot the economy and bolster Japan’s defense, according to a survey by Nikkei business daily and broadcaster TV Tokyo. Support slipped three points to 47%.

A majority – 56% – opposed Abe’s plan to end a self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or militarily aiding a friendly country under attack, a move that could allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since Tokyo’s defeat in World War Two 70 years ago.

Echoing other surveys, the poll showed 81% feel the government’s explanation for the change has been insufficient.

Abe’s push to enact the bills in parliament, where his ruling bloc has a comfortable majority, has run into glitches.

On Saturday, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sought to limit fallout from remarks by lawmakers backing Abe that critics said threatened press freedom.

One lawmaker was stripped of his post as head of the LDP’s youth division and three others reprimanded. Abe had declined to apologise for the lawmakers’ remarks at a study group, including a suggestion that corporate sponsors should be pressured to withdraw advertising from media critical of the government.

That flap followed another blow earlier this month when a respected constitutional scholar speaking at a parliamentary panel shocked his LDP hosts by saying the security legislation would violate Japan’s pacifist constitution, a view shared by the majority of academics.

Abe’s ruling coalition can push the bills through parliament given its majority, but any perception it had done so without enough debate could further dent his support rates even as he eyes re-election as LDP president in a party poll in September.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

Constitutional scholars demand retraction of security bills – Update on “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution”

June 28, 2015

Global Article 9 Campaign just posted an update on the petition you signed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution.

Constitutional scholars demand retraction of security bills

Jun 27, 2015 — As the ruling coalition has extended the current Diet session by a postwar record 95 days in hopes of passing the highly contentious legislation, a group of constitutional experts… Read more
Read more

The 99% of the constitutional scholars claim the bills violate the Peace Constitution. Abe’s supporters and friends proposed to punish the journalism against Abe and destroy two Okinawa papers at the gathering at the Liberal Democratic Party building.  The Abe cabinet and the LDP ignore the academism and journalism, saying that they decide the policy against majority of scholars, journalists, and general public as polls show.


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