Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club Announce Intent to Take Gov. Hogan to Court for Unlawfully Blocking Clean Air Protections

Breaking News!

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club Announce Intent to Take Gov. Hogan to Court for Unlawfully Blocking Clean Air Protections
Unlawful actions on first day in office put 5 million Marylanders living with unhealthy smog at greater risk

BALTIMORE, MD – Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, announced today that they will hold Governor Hogan, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Division of State Documents accountable for failing to implement new clean air protections to clean up coal-fired power plants that had been finalized and adopted prior to Gov. Hogan taking office. The public health and environmental groups submitted a 30-day notice of their intent to file a lawsuit Wednesday, as mandated under Maryland law, to require the publication and enforcement of the adopted clean air protections.

Currently, five million Marylanders live in areas that have been designated as having unhealthy levels of smog in the air. The clean air protections at issue would reduce smog in areas including Baltimore and surrounding counties which were assigned the worst smog designation east of the Mississippi River by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The safeguards would reduce pollution by requiring coal-fired power plants in Maryland to install and use the same types of modern pollution controls that are more prevalent on coal plants in states throughout the country, including traditional coal states such as West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. Less than half of the coal units in Maryland are equipped with such modern controls.
Doris Toles, who lives in Baltimore and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma, said, “Smog pollution puts me at risk, and at a disadvantage. Whatever I do and wherever I go, I have to measure and calculate what kind of activities I can engage in due to Baltimore’s poor air quality. Cleaning up pollution from coal plants will help people like me stay alive. I pray that Gov. Hogan will finally unblock these actions.”

“This rule would have resulted in fewer new cases of asthma in children, fewer heart attacks in adults and fewer deaths from respiratory illness. It would have allowed those suffering from this pollution to breathe a little easier,” said Gwen DuBois, an internist at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, a member of the board of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a member of the public health committee of The Maryland State Medical Society.

After a lengthy stakeholder process that garnered the support of public health advocates, Maryland’s independent air quality advisory council, The Maryland State Medical Society, and the owner of three large coal plants in the state, the MDE finalized the standards, known as the nitrogen oxide (NOx) Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) rule. That rule was adopted by the agency on

January 16, 2015 and submitted that same day for publication in the Maryland Register.

On Gov. Hogan’s first day in office, however, he issued a directive to the Division of State Documents blocking publication of the rule. In their 30-day notice of intent to sue letter, Sierra Club and CPSR make clear that the Governor lacked the authority to block these safeguards, and that the Division of State Documents is legally required to publish the rule so that it can be enforced.

“By blocking these critical public health protections, Gov. Hogan has acted contrary to both public opinion and the law,” said Shannon Fisk, Managing Attorney at Earthjustice. “We urge the Governor to allow these protections to be published and enforced, and stand ready to take appropriate legal action if he fails to do so.”

On Friday, Gov. Hogan’s MDE announced a plan to move forward with a dramatically weakened version of the regulations through a non-public “emergency” rulemaking process.

“Gov. Hogan’s attempt to circumvent public opinion and a public process by ramming through weakened ‘emergency’ regulations while blocking lawfully enacted public health protections is unlawful and a disservice to Marylanders. These protections are critical for public health, and provide the time and flexibility for Maryland businesses to make the best decisions for the future of their operations,” said Josh Tulkin, Executive Director of the Maryland Sierra Club. “The safeguards that Hogan is trying to gut say, simply, ‘if you’re going to burn coal in Maryland, you need to install and run modern pollution controls by the end of the decade for the sake of our health.’ With today’s suit we are acting in the interest of all Marylanders, to make sure they can breathe healthier air.”

Read the 30 day notice to intend to sue here.

If you tweet, please tweet the following

Physicians, Sierra Club taking Gov.@LarryHogan to court 4 unlawfully blocking clean air protections #MDPolitics

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EIGHT CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED ON EARTH DAY AT THE PENTAGON

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2015

EIGHT CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED ON EARTH DAY AT THE PENTAGON

Contact: Max Obuszewski 410 366-1637 or 727-543-3227 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

WHO: Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have been active in challenging U.S. invasions and attacks of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Frequently NCNR members have been arrested, and then in court speak out against such U.S. policies. On May 23, 2013, for example, members of NCNR filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia against the CIA’s use of drone strikes to assassinate people in various countries, including Pakistan. The citizen activists never received a response.

WHAT: More than thirty activists gathered at the Environmental Protection Agency on EARTH DAY in a protest organized by NCNR. The purpose of the demonstration was to urge the EPA to challenge the Pentagon for its role in contributing to climate chaos, environmental destruction and threatening all life on the planet. A letter was sent to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, seeking a meeting with her or a representative to discuss what NCNR members perceive to be ecocide being committed by the Pentagon. Beth Adams, an activist from Western Massachusetts, expressed her grave concern for what is happening to Mother Earth. Ed Kinane, a peace activist from Syracuse, read a powerful statement by Patricia Hynes indicting the military enterprise as a global polluter. And Marsha Coleman-Adebayo's, an EPA whistleblower, told the crowd of her travails inside the agency which she detailed in her book “No Fear: The Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA.” Eventually an EPA functionary came out to accept a copy of the letter sent to McCarthy. NCNR representatives were told a response would be forthcoming.

Later thirty people gathered in Virginia for a march to the Pentagon. Then Hendrik Voss, an organizer from SOA Watch, delineated the awful role our government has played in supporting undemocratic governments in Latin America. For example, he highlighted U.S. support for the coup government in Honduras. Then Paul Magno, a D.C. peace advocate with forty years of experience, reminisced about all of the years protesting U.S. warmongering. Finally, a Pentagon official in the office of Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, came out to accept a copy of a letter sent to his boss requesting a meeting to discuss the Pentagon’s role in climate chaos.

However, while he accepted the letter, he could only promise it would be delivered to Carter’s desk. Since there was no indication that a meeting would actually take place, eight citizen activists refused to depart. They were moved to remain, as they perceived that the Pentagon is unwilling to end its activities which threaten the planet. All eight were arrested and charged with failure to obey a lawful order.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 10:15 to 11:30 AM & from 1:30 to 3:30 PM

WHERE: EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, & at the Metro entrance at the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

WHY: The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations. The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet!

The letter sent to Ashton Carter made this point: “As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, ‘The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.’” The activists still hope for a meeting with Pentagon officials to address the climate crisis.

NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. The arrestees, Steve Bush, from Virginia, Felton Davis and Trudy Silver, from New York City, Joy First and Phillip Runkel, from Wisconsin, Malachy Kilbride, Maryland, Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, and Manijeh Saba, New Jersey, are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on June 4. The planet is in grave danger. Unless the citizenry take further action to stop the Pentagon’s warmongering, Mother Earth is doomed.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS ON EARTH DAY TO DEMAND THE EPA FORCE THE PENTAGON TO END ECOCIDE

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2015

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS ON EARTH DAY TO DEMAND THE EPA FORCE THE PENTAGON TO END ECOCIDE

Contact: Max Obuszewski 410 366-1637 or 727-543-3227 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

WHO: Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have been active in challenging U.S. invasions and attacks of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Frequently NCNR members have been arrested, and then in court speak out against such U.S. policies. On May 23, 2013, for example, members of NCNR filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia against the CIA’s use of drone strikes to assassinate people in various countries, including Pakistan. The citizen activists never received a response.

WHAT: Join NCNR members on EARTH DAY to confront our government representatives responsible for causing climate chaos, environmental destruction, and threatening all life on the planet. A letter was sent to Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Administrator, seeking a meeting with her or a representative to discuss what NCNR members perceive to be ecocide being committed by the Pentagon. Gathering at the EPA, the National Campaign has invited speakers, including a former EPA whistleblower. Eventually a group will take of a copy of the McCarthy letter inside to renew a request for a meeting.

Then participants will take the Metro to the Pentagon City Mall food court for a brief meeting. This will be followed by a march to the Metro entrance of the Pentagon where speakers will expound on the climate crisis. A letter was sent to Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, requesting a meeting with him or his representative: “As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, ‘The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.’ The article states ‘. . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.’” Visit http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon. After the speeches conclude, some citizen activists will take a copy of the letter to see if a meeting could be arranged. The climate crisis demands urgent action.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM & at 1:30 PM

WHERE: EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, & later at the Metro entrance at the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

WHY: The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations. The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet!
NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. Moreover, the Nuremberg trials pointed out that citizens must act to prevent their government from further illegal activities. The planet is in grave danger. Unless citizenry take action to stop the Pentagon’s warmongering, Mother Earth is doomed. Earth Day is an opportunity to demand that the EPA use its mandate to force the Pentagon to renounce its warmongering so that ecocide ceases.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - April 22, 2015

52] Rally to Stop Fast Track – Apr. 22
53] EPA to the Pentagon – Apr. 22
54] Support BWI workers – Apr. 22
55] Gardening & detox workshops -- Apr. 22 & Apr. 25
56] “Greening Africana Studies” – Apr. 22
57] Criminal Justice Reform – Apr. 22
58] Bernie Sanders town hall – Apr. 22
59] BADDAWI – Apr. 22
60] SOA Watch in D.C. – Apr. 22
61] "Why Natural Gas Is Not The Alternative Stories from South Central – Apr. 14

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52] – Go to the Dirksen Senate Office Building, First St., NE, and Constitution Ave., NE, WDC on Wed., Apr. 22 from 9 to 10 AM to Rally to Stop the Fast Track to......Off-Shored Jobs! ...Lower Wages! ...Unsafe Food! It’s one of today’s greatest threats to middle class jobs, a living wage, the environment, digital rights, food safety, and democracy as we know it. It’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Free Trade” Agreement. And it could become a reality this year. Unless you do something to stop Fast Track NOW. Right now, GOP leaders are trying to pass Fast Track, a Nixon-era scheme that bulldozes our constitutional checks and balances system to make it easier to ram through damaging NAFTA-style trade pacts like the TPP. See https://www.facebook.com/events/804803102940387/.

53] – Use the Federal Triangle Metro Station (Orange, Blue, and Silver lines) on Wed., Apr. 22 at 10 AM and gather at the EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW & later at 1 PM at the Pentagon City Mall Food Court. HOW CAN WE SAVE OUR PLANET? WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER IF WE ARE TO SAVE MOTHER EARTH! The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations.

The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet! Join the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance on April 22/EARTH DAY to confront our government representatives responsible for climate chaos, environmental destruction, and threatening all life on the planet. There will be a risk arrest action at the Pentagon, as activists will seek a meeting with Pentagon representatives to discuss its role in ecocide. If you will be risking arrest or have any questions about the action, email joyfirst5@gmail.com. Those who want to participate, but are not able to risk arrest are welcome, and there will be a place you can be without risking arrest. Call 608-239-4327 to get involved in EPA to the Pentagon. See https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Campaign-for-Nonviolent-Resistance-NCNR/184398124955311?ref=br_tf.

54] – Support the workers at BWI, 7062 Friendship Rd., Glen Burnie on Wed., Apr. 22 at 12:30 PM. Stand up for justice for all food and retail workers at the airport! Meet outside on the sidewalk on the upper departures level near the entrance for JetBlue. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/375608989306997//.

55] – There is a SATTWIC GARDENING WORKSHOP on WED., Apr. 22 from 1 to 4 PM with ROSE (MIRABAI) LORD, and then there is an AYURVEDIC SEASONAL DETOX WORKSHOP on SAT., Apr.25 from 7:30 AM to 1 PM with GAYATRI (BRIGID RAUCH). Both events take place at SHANTI YOGA ASHRAM, 4209/4217 East West Hwy., Bethesda/Chevy Chase. The first workshop which show that growing your own vegetables and herbs is an exciting and rewarding endeavor that will enhance your physical and spiritual health as well as helping to protect and preserve the environment. In addition to planting technique, get guidance on soil preparation, use of biodynamic preparations, watering, mulching, pest control, composting, etc. Learn how "backyard gardens" can make a positive difference in your life! There is no charge for this event. To register, email shantiyoga2@earthlink.net.

The detox workshop will assist the body to gently release toxins at the change of seasons and can help support optimal health, prevent seasonal colds, relieve allergies, assist in making dietary and lifestyle changes, and -when practiced regularly- may prevent the development of chronic conditions. Handouts, recipes and a shopping list will be provided to assist in continuing the cleanse at home. To register, contact Gayatri at 312-593-6904 or email yogamamadc@gmail.com. The workshop fee is $80 and includes lunch and triphala powder for the cleanse.

56] – Come to the Howard University Bookstore, 2225 Georgia Ave. NW, WDC on Wed., Apr. 22 from 5 to 7 PM. Dr. Rubin Patterson (Sociology) will be signing copies of his book, “Greening Africana Studies.” In his original work, Patterson demonstrates the ways in which black communities are harmed by local environmental degradation and global climate change. Arguing that such communities are not aggressively engaging in environmental issues, Greening Africana Studies also provides examples of how Africana Studies students as well as members of black communities can prepare for green careers. Rubin Patterson is Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is also a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Contact him at rubin.patterson@howard.edu.

57] – On Wed., Apr. 22 at 6:30 PM, catch an excellent lineup of the leading authorities on criminal justice reform and police accountability for a year-end panel discussion at 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW, the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Moot Courtroom (Rm. 518). Angela J. Davis is a leading authority on prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Jonathan Smith is the former Department of Justice Chief of the Special Litigation section. His section was responsible for the report on Ferguson. Dr. Phil Lee has an extensive background in critical race theory and history of the police in America. Come early seating is limited. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1081663348514227/.

58] – Bernie Sanders will host a town hall meeting at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, WDC 20010 on Wed., Apr. 22 at 6:30 PM. The topic of the meeting is: "How do we build a federal budget that will create millions of decent-paying jobs, provide healthcare for all, make college affordable, and address the needs of low- and moderate-income Americans?" Go to
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-launches-national-budget-town-hall-meeting-series.

59] – On Wed., Apr. 22 from 7 to 8 PM, Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine, Georgetown University - Walsh Building room 394, WDC welcome you to a presentation and conversation with Leila Abdelrazaq, author of her recent graphic novel, “Baddawi.” It is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the thousands of Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-based Palestinian artist and organizer. She is a recent graduate of DePaul University where she double majored in Theatre Arts and Arabic Studies. During her time at DePaul, Leila served in her chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), helping to pass the DePaul Divest referendum. She is also a member of the National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee. When not drawing comics, studying Arabic, or working with SJP, Leila enjoys carpentry, painting, breaking things, and making a mess. Her website is lalaleila.com and she tweets @lalalaleila. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1613900445491073/.

60] – On Wed., Apr. 22 at 8 PM, the SOA Watch movement is coming together at Haydees Restaurant, 3102 Mount Pleasant St. NW, WDC. Music has been integrated into all the national SOA Watch gatherings as a rich source of challenge and inspiration to us all. In Pete Seeger's words, "SOA Watch is the singingest movement since the Civil Rights movement." This will be the kick off of the SOA Watch Spring Days of Action, and your chance to join into this rich tradition of music and resistance. If you've got a song in your heart and the ego to want to sing it in front of other movement activists, it's a great opportunity to have fun while showing off how well you can read words from a screen. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1587455841525992/.

61] – Now is the time to register for the PSR April CHAT webinar. Discuss why natural gas is not a solution but just another dirty fossil fuel. The webinar is scheduled for Wed., Apr. 22 from 8 to 9 PM EST--"Why Natural Gas Is Not The Alternative." For specific information, email partazaregan@psr.org or call 202-587-5251. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4382482188389982209.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS ON EARTH DAY TO DEMAND THE EPA FORCE THE PENTAGON TO END ECOCIDE

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2015

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS ON EARTH DAY TO DEMAND THE EPA FORCE THE PENTAGON TO END ECOCIDE

Contact: Max Obuszewski 410 366-1637 or 727-543-3227 or mobuszewski at Verizon.net

WHO: Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have been active in challenging U.S. invasions and attacks of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Frequently NCNR members have been arrested, and then in court speak out against such U.S. policies. On May 23, 2013, for example, members of NCNR filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia against the CIA’s use of drone strikes to assassinate people in various countries, including Pakistan. The citizen activists never received a response.

WHAT: Join NCNR members on EARTH DAY to confront our government representatives responsible for causing climate chaos, environmental destruction, and threatening all life on the planet. A letter was sent to Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Administrator, seeking a meeting with her or a representative to discuss what NCNR members perceive to be ecocide being committed by the Pentagon. Gathering at the EPA, the National Campaign has invited speakers, including a former EPA whistleblower. Eventually a group will take of a copy of the McCarthy letter inside to renew a request for a meeting.

Then participants will take the Metro to the Pentagon City Mall food court for a brief meeting. This will be followed by a march to the Metro entrance of the Pentagon where speakers will expound on the climate crisis. A letter was sent to Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense, requesting a meeting with him or his representative: “As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, ‘The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.’ The article states ‘. . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.’” Visit http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon. After the speeches conclude, some citizen activists will take a copy of the letter to see if a meeting could be arranged. The climate crisis demands urgent action.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM & at 1:30 PM

WHERE: EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, & later at the Metro entrance at the Pentagon, Arlington, VA

WHY: The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations. The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet!

NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. Moreover, the Nuremberg trials pointed out that citizens must act to prevent their government from further illegal activities. The planet is in grave danger. Unless citizenry take action to stop the Pentagon’s warmongering, Mother Earth is doomed. Earth Day is an opportunity to demand that the EPA use its mandate to force the Pentagon to renounce its warmongering so that ecocide ceases.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The Shroud of Secrecy Around US Drone Strikes Must Be Lifted

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/29722-the-shroud-of-secrecy-around-us-drone-strikes-must-be-lifted

Timm writes: "It's been over two years since President Obama promised new transparency and accountability rules when it comes to drone strikes, yet it's become increasingly clear virtually no progress has been made."

Secrecy surrounding US drone strikes must be lifted. (photo: Leslie Pratt/EPA)

The Shroud of Secrecy Around US Drone Strikes Must Be Lifted

By Trevor Timm, The Guardian UK

20 April 15

The Texas-born Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh narrowly escaped a strike and is now standing before an American court. Others are not so lucky

It’s been over two years since President Obama promised new transparency and accountability rules when it comes to drone strikes, yet it’s become increasingly clear virtually no progress has been made. The criteria for who gets added to the unaccountable ‘kill list’ is still shrouded in secrecy – even when the US government is targeting its own citizens.
We know because a Texas-born man named Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh recently captured overseas was arraigned in federal court this week, but he’s actually lucky to be able to have his day in court. It turns out, as the Times reported, that in 2013 “his government debated whether he should be killed by a drone strike in Pakistan.”

The CIA and military - and bizarrely, the House intelligence Committee, which is supposed to be conducting oversight of drone strikes, not cheering them on - were reportedly pushing hard to send drones to kill Al Farekh, but the Justice Department didn’t think there was enough evidence to meet the supposed threshold, that required him to be an “imminent” threat and “senior” member of al-Qaeda. (It’s also worth noting that the definitions of both “imminent” and “senior” have been quite warped beyond recognition in past drone strikes).

In the terrorism charges against Al Farekh he is accused of neither, which strongly suggests, as law scholar Brett Max Kaufman writes, that the Pentagon and the CIA “are willing to push to kill an American citizen based on information so unreliable (or perhaps so tainted by violations of al-Farekh’s constitutional rights) that it could not be put into a criminal complaint.”

Despite the Attorney General’s aversion to constitutional due process when it comes to killing Americans overseas, at least he was able to hold strong in this particular instance. Keeping the military from launching strikes, even with such guidelines, isn’t easy. Former Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson told 60 Minutes last week about that, when it comes to approving or rejecting the military’s request for drone strikes, “to say no is like stepping in front of a 90-car freight train.”

An important new report released by the Open Society Justice Initiative this week also shows that - despite the Obama administration’s internal requirements for drone strikes that supposedly require a “near certainty” that civilians won’t get killed - the government quite often just disregards its own rules, which has led to the death of dozens of civilians in Yemen in the past two years.

Though without Open Society’s study, the public would have no clue, since the Obama administration still steadfastly refuses to officially release any information on drone strikes in Yemen.
The success of the Al Farek case, along with interviews from witnesses in the drone study, raises huge questions as to why the military hasn’t attempt to capture more suspects so they can justice in court before sending drones to kill them. The administration has said for years it prefers capturing to killing – but the data indicates that they practice the opposite, as Micah Zenko detailed in Foreign Policy.

What’s also disturbing is that the Obama administration continues to launder the details of its drone policy and programs through the media to avoid accountability. In the drone study story, for instance, the Times quoted from an anonymous “American official” who would only speak “about the classified operations on the condition of anonymity.” The Times’ story on Al Farekh was based on “interviews with more than a half-dozen current and former senior American law enforcement, intelligence, military and counterterrorism officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the pending criminal case.”

In other words, the reporting is all based on leaks that are – in the government’s interpretation of the law – illegal, but which it’s clearly happy to overlook. The administration’s willingness to tolerate drone leaks when it suits their interest is just another example of the government sanctioning – with a wink and a nod – leaks of classified information for which they often prosecute others.

But in an ironic twist, these are the exact types of leaks that forced the government to reveal one of its legal rationales for killing Americans overseas in the first place. The US court of appeals for the second circuit ruled last year that the Obama administration had itself leaked classified information so many times to the media that it could not possibly claim that its legal rationale for killing Americans aboard should stay secret, and forced them to release it. (A previous judge had referred to the government’s convoluted and hypocritical secrecy policy around killing Americans as something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”)

As you might expect, this didn’t stop the government from fighting tooth and nail from releasing any of the other legal opinions regarding secretly killing Americans. And last week, their argument took a turn for the even-more-absurd. Buried in a bland footnote in a court filing recently was a government argument that ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer characterized as “truly remarkable – unreal, one might even say.” Though the court forced the government to release its targeted killing memo to the public (which you can read here), the government still somehow considers the memo officially classified.

On the bright side, at least this means there is one point in which all sides can agree on: reality has nothing to do with the government’s extreme position on secrecy.

© 2015 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, April 20, 2015

Murders of Earth's Defenders: The Deadly Trend Continues

commondreams.org/news/2015/04/20/murders-earths-defenders-deadly-trend-continues

Monday, April 20, 2015

Murders of Earth's Defenders: The Deadly Trend Continues

'The world is standing idle whilst people on the frontline of the struggle to protect the environment are getting killed'

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The "overarching theme" of the killings last year, which averaged more than two a week, involved disputes over control and use of land, but they also included incidents involving pollution, wildlife conservation, and illegal fishing. (Photo: Global Witness)

"How many more people will die before the world takes notice?"

That's a question posed by the organization Global Witness, whose new report, How Many More?, exposes what it calls a "hidden crisis" of murders of those who defend the earth from environmental destruction.

The "overarching theme" of the killings last year, which averaged more than two a week, involved disputes over control and use of land, but they also included incidents involving pollution, wildlife conservation, and illegal fishing. This year's report also found a spike in the deaths of those protesting hydroelectric dams.

The organization, which campaigns for transparency of global resource extraction, states that in 2014, 116 environmental and land defenders were killed—40 percent of whom were Indigenous. The report states that lack of accessible information makes that a likely conservative figure.

As one member of the Panamá community from the Bajo Aguán valley in Honduras states, according to the report: "Here the police, the military, prosecutors, judges, all of them are ready to defend the owners of the big farms, while we are the ones who are dying."

"Environmental defenders are fighting to protect our climate against ever-increasing odds." —Billy Kyte, Global Witness

The report reflects the continuation of a deadly trend, as last year's figures reflect a 20 percent increase from those documented in 2013.

The report documents killings in 17 countries, though roughly three-quarters of them took place in Central and South America. The country with highest number of killings was Brazil with 29, followed by Colombia with 25, and the Philippines with 15.

Honduras has the dubious distinction of being the country with the most such killings per capita. The Central American county is home to one of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winners, Berta Cáceres, who's been involved in a years-long campaign to stop a dam that threatens to displace her Indigenous community off their ancestral land. "They follow me. They threaten to kill me, to kidnap me, they threaten my family. That is what we face," Cáceres is quoted as saying in the report.

Among the deadly incidents noted in report:

On 24 October 2014, Henry Alameda, an indigenous Lumad leader from the Southern Philippines, was dragged from his house, taken to a forested area and shot dead by a paramilitary group. Alameda was an active council member of MAPASU, an organization strongly protesting against mining operations and plantations in Caraga region."

Global Witness emphasizes the challenges of finding the perpetrators of these crimes, though in some cases it has been able to point to paramilitary groups or private security guards. Yet, the report states, "The true authors of these crimes—a powerful nexus of corporate and state interests—are escaping unpunished."

Unless real action is taken to protect these often invisible eco-defenders, agreements at the UN climate talks (COP21) taking place in Paris later this year "will ultimately ring hollow," Global Witness declares.

It's time, the report states, for governments to take action—and for civil society to exert pressure on governments to protect these land defenders.

"Environmental defenders are fighting to protect our climate against ever-increasing odds," Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness, said in a media statement.

"Now more than ever we need to start holding governments and companies to account for the rising death toll on our environmental frontiers," Kyte continued. "The secrecy around how natural resource deals are made fuels violence and must end. It’s time for the international community to stand up and take notice."

The report adds: "The world is standing idle whilst people on the frontline of the struggle to protect the environment are getting killed. The time for action on these killings is now."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

How Syrians Saved an Ancient Seedbank From Civil War

Published on Portside (https://portside.org)

How Syrians Saved an Ancient Seedbank From Civil War

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/syrians-saved-ancient-seedbank-civil-war/

Lizzie Wade

Friday, April 17, 2015
Wired

When Civil War erupted in Syria, Ahmed Amri immediately thought about seeds.

Specifically, 141,000 packets of them sitting in cold storage 19 miles south of Aleppo. They included ancient varieties of wheat and durum dating back nearly to the dawn of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, and one of the world’s largest collections of lentil, barley, and faba bean varieties—crops that feed millions of people worldwide every day. If these seeds were decimated, humanity could lose precious genetic resources developed over hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of years. And suddenly, with the outbreak of violence, their destruction seemed imminent.

Amri is the director of genetic resources at the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas [1] (ICARDA), one of 11 international genebanks charged with conserving the world’s most vital crops and their wild relatives. Each center has a speciality—you’ll find the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, for example, while the International Potato Center is based in Peru—and this one focuses on preserving and protecting crops from arid regions, mostly in developing countries. The Center’s crown jewel is its genebank, where its samples are identified and stored for future use, either by the center’s scientific staff or plant breeders around the world.

Despite the high-tech sheen of the word genebank, the concept draws on basic agricultural principles people have used to improve their crops since the beginning of farming. Let’s say you’ve got two plants, one that grows well without much water, and another that produces a particularly large amount of the stuff you want to eat. Breed the two together and you’ve got a high yield, drought-tolerant version of your crop.

That’s the idea, anyway. In the long run, this conventional breeding process is wildly effective. It’s not only created every variety of the crops we grow and eat, but in many cases it’s created the crops themselves. Maize, for example, was created by ancient Mesoamericans by painstakingly breeding more and more appetizing teosinte, a stubby grass with tiny, tough kernels that has so little in common with modern maize that archaeologists dismissed it as a possible wild ancestor until genetic tests revealed the surprising truth. The problem in the short run is that conventional breeding can be s…l…o…w. Teosinte was domesticated in central Mexico between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago, but farmers only managed to create a variety that tasted good a mere millennium ago [2].

The genebank at the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas. ICARDA

Genebanks aim to preserve crop varieties that already have been created, as well as speed up the process of making new ones. Between the 11 international crop genebanks, more than 700,000 varieties [3] of the world’s 17 most important crops [4] are preserved. Why so many? You never know when an old crop—or more likely, the genes it contains—might come in handy. A type of maize that no one plants anymore could be the one that contains exactly the genes the crop needs to become, say, more drought tolerant. Preserving those seeds preserves those genes.

The banks routinely make their collections available to farmers and breeders the world over so those genes can be bred into modern varieties as needed. And they also have their own scientific teams working to identify the primary traits of the seeds they’ve collected and create new varieties of crops that may come in handy. For example, genes from fast-growing varieties of maize are helping breeders create corn crops that can cope with a shorter rainy season in Mexico, an effect of climate change.

Destroy a seedbank, though, and those helpful genes can be wiped out before anyone can discover them, much less put them to use. That’s why Amri was so worried about the fate of the seeds at his agricultural research center. Although crop varieties and their wild relatives are at risk of disappearing every day as farmers switch to monocultures or abandon fields all together, no international genebank had ever faced so immediate a risk from war.

At the beginning of Syria’s civil war, the fighting was concentrated in the south, far from the Center’s headquarters in the north. But Amri knew it wouldn’t take guns or bombs to destroy the genebank. All it would take was a power outrage that knocked out the facility’s air conditioning. The seeds, preserved in cold rooms for decades, would warm quickly and become unusable. The bank had backup generators, but how long would they last? What if it became impossible to buy fuel? What if the generators were stolen, or commandeered by soldiers?

Collecting seeds for the genebank. ICARDA

Luckily, the Center had been preparing for its own destruction since day one. It already had sent emergency backups of about 87 percent of its collection to genebanks in other countries. Even under the best political conditions, “you worry about fire, you worry about earthquakes,” the Center’s director general Mahmoud Solh says in this video interview [5]. Creating emergency backups is standard practice for international genebanks, from Mexico to Nigeria.

But that left 13 percent of the Syrian collection—more than 20,000 samples—that hadn’t been backed up. As soon as the fighting started in the spring of 2011, the genebank’s staff switched gears from collecting and distributing seed samples to devising a rescue plan. People there became very familiar with northern Syria’s back roads as they drove the seeds out of the country.
Importing seeds and other agricultural materials can be difficult—just think of that half-eaten apple you had to throw away during your last trip through customs. The Center’s employees milked every connection they had to get the job done. When they evacuated half of the vulnerable samples to Turkey, the Turkish agricultural minister drove to the border to escort the seeds into his country, Solh remembers. (The other half went to Lebanon, with much less fuss.) Today, “99.9 percent of the holdings are all outside Syria,” Amri says.

A year and half after the war began, the fighting drew close enough to Aleppo that the Center’s international staff was advised to leave Syria. That left about 50 Syrian staff members responsible for completing the second round of the evacuation: shipping as many samples as possible to the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway. That’s the “backup to the backup,” the genebank designed to outlast all other genebanks from its location in the Arctic Circle and come to the rescue in case of worldwide, catastrophic crop destruction, explains Luis Salazar, communications manager for the Crop Trust, which oversees the Svalbard collection.

Even as the area around the genebank fell under the control of two competing armed groups and the remaining staff reckoned with several kidnappings, they managed to backup 80 percent of the center’s collection in Svalbard. The last shipment arrived at Svalbard in March 2014—nearly two years after Amri and much of the rest of the international staff had relocated to Rabat, Morocco. Last month, the Center won the Gregor Mendel Innovation Prize [6]—coveted among plant breeders—for its rescue and preservation of the genebank. And amazingly, the Aleppo site continues to be operational. The Syrian staff has managed to keep the electricity on and the genebank intact through four years of war.

Now comes the hard part: planting the seeds the team sent away and regenerating those crops far from home. Usually, genebanks store about a pound of each kind of seed they collect, but the “safety duplicated” samples stored at other genebanks are only about half an ounce, says Thomas Payne, the head of the genebank at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center [7] outside of Mexico City, which stores many of ICARDA’s emergency backups.

Half an ounce isn’t enough to share with farmers, one of a genebank’s central missions. “What is the value of having all that material secured but not accessible?” Payne says. The Center has granted Payne and his team permission to open their duplicated wheat samples and start planting them at the Mexican center, both to help bulk up the collection and make sure the samples are still viable. After all, “just because something’s in the refrigerator, it doesn’t mean it’s alive,” Salazar points out.

“What happened in Syria was a good eye-opener” for international genebanks, Solh says. Despite the emergency backups, the Center was too centralized in Syria. Now, it’s running major initiatives in Morocco, India, and Ethiopia. Those centers will continue to operate as part of the new, decentralized center, even if international staff can eventually return to Aleppo, Solh says. Genebanks are not isolated treasure troves and shouldn’t be treated as such. Their power comes from the connections between them, and the worldwide network of genetic resources those connections create.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2015-04-19/how-syrians-saved-ancient-seedbank-civil-war

Links:

[1] http://www.icarda.org/
[2] http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2015/01/how-corn-became-corn
[3] https://www.croptrust.org/genebank/international-livestock-research-institute-ilri/
[4] https://www.croptrust.org/what-we-do/supporting-the-global-system/global-genebank-partnership/
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWviRiK8rNc
[6] http://www.icarda.org/update/icarda-receives-gregor-mendel-innovation-prize-ensuring-safekeeping-its-genebank-collection
[7] http://www.cimmyt.org/en/

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, April 19, 2015

American violence from Ferguson to Fallujah

http://thebulletin.org/american-violence-ferguson-fallujah8220

COLUMNISTS

04/15/2015 - 15:17

American violence from Ferguson to Fallujah

Hugh Gusterson
gusterson.jpeg

Hugh Gusterson is a professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University. His expertise is in nuclear culture, international security, and the anthropology of...

“The choice of weapons is important because it radically affects what we are, and at stake in that choice is the risk of losing our soul.” —Grégoire Chamayou

I was reading the book A Theory of the Drone by the French philosopher Grégoire Chamayou when I heard that yet another American black man had been killed by a white police officer, this time in South Carolina. Actually, “killed” is too generic a word. In the video of the incident, the police officer leans forward a little, raises his gun to eye level to make his aim more precise, and shoots Walter Scott in the back as he runs away. Scott was executed. Anyone who has watched the video, which was taken by a bystander, can only be disturbed by the professional methodical coldness with which Scott is taken out with eight bullets.

It is the same professional methodical coldness with which the drone operator kills. In his book, Chamayou argues that assassination, combat, and law enforcement have become jumbled together in US counterinsurgency programs. He wants to re-separate them. He points out that the Obama administration has defended drone strikes as justified by both the laws of war and the norms of law enforcement, even though the legal frameworks regulating war and policing are quite different, indeed often opposed. Under the laws of war, combatants are excused from the usual prohibition against killing, but on condition that they kill in carefully circumscribed ways. The killing is of and by combatants, and must take place in a declared war zone, within which soldiers are free to kill their enemy counterparts at will, even shooting them in the back, unless the target is trying to surrender. Those engaged in law enforcement, on the other hand, can hunt criminals more freely across space, but killing them is considered a last resort, justified only by exceptional circumstances. Quoting UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, Chamayou writes that in law enforcement, “the use of lethal force should remain the exception … it is permissible only if it is the sole available means in the face of a threat that is ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.’”

Whichever set of norms the United States chooses, according to Chamayou, US drone strikes are illegal. The civilian CIA employees killing people in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, countries against which the United States has not declared war, are violating the laws of war: They are not combatants and they are killing outside a warzone. At the same time, given that drones can only kill their targets or let them go free, the personnel operating them are violating the fundamental axiom of law enforcement that one apprehend suspects with the least possible amount of force, killing only in exceptional circumstances.

In its use of drones for counterinsurgency, then, the United States has melded the paradigms of war and law enforcement to its convenience and given itself an overly generous license to kill. Meanwhile at home, US domestic police forces are also increasingly integrating the paradigms of law enforcement and counterinsurgency with the result that people like Scott, stopped for a tail-light violation, end up dead. According to the New York Times, under a program that transfers military equipment to local law enforcement, US police departments—often serving communities of less than 100,000— have since 2006 taken possession of $4.3 billion worth of military equipment, including over 800 armored vehicles, 50,000 night-vision pieces, 94,000 machine guns, and 530 airplanes and helicopters. Over 100 campus police departments have also taken military equipment, including grenade-launchers. Montgomery County, Texas, bought a drone it wants to equip with tasers and rubber bullets. While in the past only major cities had SWAT teams, now 80 percent of US towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 have them, and there are 50,000 SWAT team raids a year in the United States. Some raids that have made the news have been on barber shops and animal shelters guilty of code violations. (To see how absurd this has become, watch this police force recruitment video for Springdale, Arkansas, population 70,000, playing up its SWAT team.)

US policing, in other words, is increasingly seen by the police themselves as a form of counterinsurgency, designed to control hostile populations whose lives lack value. As if they were operating in Iraq or Afghanistan, US police infiltrate and spy on adversary networks, stop and search people at will, and bust down doors in the middle of the night with guns drawn. Recently the Guardian revealed that Chicago has been operating “the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site”—a detention facility where arrestees, some of them minors, are held off the books, with no recourse to legal advice, and are often shackled for long periods and even beaten during interrogation. Just as US soldiers have killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians for not stopping at checkpoints—which are often poorly marked—so Scott lost his life for running away from a traffic stop.

For people of color and the poor, the United States is becoming a war zone. Anyone skeptical should consider the numbers. Estimates of how many insurgent and civilian foreigners the United States has killed by drone vary; the highest estimate, roughly 5,241 over 13 years, comes from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. That is 403 deaths a year. In the United States, a recent government report revealed that over eight years (2003 through 2009 plus 2011), police killed an average of 928 people each year. That’s more than twice as many as the highest estimate of drone deaths in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan combined. (Details of individual deaths can be found at Killedbypolice.net.)

The four American security contractors working for Blackwater Worldwide, who were just sentenced by a US federal judge for randomly killing 14 innocent civilians in Baghdad, claimed to be acting in self-defense, until their story broke down. Likewise, after North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shot Scott in the back as he ran away, Slager reported that they had struggled and that he was acting in self-defense. Had a witness not made a video of Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran away, we would not have known the truth.

But the people at ground zero, African-Americans at home and Muslims abroad, don’t need videos to know the truth. The truth is that the American deployment of violence has gone badly off the rails. Violence is always described in carefully crafted official statements as discriminate or unavoidable; wrongful deaths as regrettable and unusual errors of judgement. The truth, though, is that violence is now often the first resort. Acting under cover of law, weaponized Americans have become a lawless force.

Another French philosopher, Michel Foucault, argued that imperial powers experiment with new techniques of social control in their colonies and then use them at home. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have become laboratories for new techniques of order and control that, it is now clear, have definitively failed. Chamayou quotes the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as saying, “I spent three months trying to recruit and got only 10 to 15 persons. One US attack and I got 150 volunteers.” David Kilcullen, Gen. David Petraeus’ special adviser on counterinsurgency, made the same point in 2009 testimony to Congress: “The drone strikes are highly unpopular. They are deeply aggravating to the population. And they’ve given rise to an anger that coalesces the population around the extremists.”

When counterinsurgency fails, we can leave Iraq and Afghanistan. But we cannot leave Ferguson, Missouri and all the other American cities like it, where racially vindictive, militarized policing is costing the authorities what counterinsurgency theorists have always identified as the prize: the hearts and minds of communities. When entire communities believe that their lives do not matter to the state, the nation is in peril.

Copyright © 2015 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Americans are Spending $153 Billion a Year to Subsidize McDonald's and Wal-Mart's Low Wage Workers; Is $15 an Hour a Realistic Goal for Fast-Food Workers?

Published on Portside (https://portside.org)

Americans are Spending $153 Billion a Year to Subsidize McDonald's and Wal-Mart's Low Wage Workers; Is $15 an Hour a Realistic Goal for Fast-Food Workers?

Ken Jacobs; Eric Morath

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Americans are Spending $153 Billion a Year to Subsidize McDonald's and Wal-Mart's Low Wage Workers
By Ken Jacobs

April 15, 2015
Washington Post [1]

How the minimum wage hurts us all.

The low wages paid by businesses, including some of the largest and most profitable companies in the U.S. - like McDonald's and Wal-Mart - are costing taxpayers nearly $153 billion a year [2].
After decades of wage cuts and health benefit rollbacks, more than half of all state and federal spending on public assistance programs goes to working families who need food stamps, Medicaid, or other support to meet basic needs. Let that sink in - American taxpayers are subsidizing people who work - most of them full-time (in some case more than full-time) because businesses do not pay a living wage.

Workers like Terrence Wise, a 35-year-old father who works part-time at McDonald's and Burger King in Kansas City, Mo., and his fiancée Myosha Johnson, a home care worker, are among millions of families in the U.S. who work an average of 38 hours per week but still rely on public assistance. Wise is paid $8.50 an hour at his McDonald's job and $9 an hour at Burger King. Johnson is paid just above $10 an hour, even after a decade in her field. Wise and Johnson together rely on $240 a month in food stamps to feed their three kids, a cost borne by taxpayers.

The problem of low wages and the accompanying public cost extends far beyond the fast-food industry. Forty-eight percent of home care workers rely on public assistance. In child care, it's 46 percent. Among part-time college faculty-some of the most highly educated workers in the country-it's 25 percent.

Ebony Hughes is paid $7.50 an hour as a home care worker in Durham, N.C., and has a second job at a local KFC. While the home care industry has the fastest growing number of jobs in America, these workers are some of the lowest paid in the country - earning, on average, $13,000 a year. To get enough hours to pay the bills, Hughes works from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. But she and her daughter still rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

UC Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, which I chair, has analyzed state spending for Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and federal spending for those programs as well as food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

We found that, on average, 52 percent of state public assistance spending supports working families (defined as working for at least 26 weeks a year and 10 hours a week) - with costs as high as $3.7 billion in California, $3.3 billion in New York, and $2 billion in Texas.
In recent months, the substantial public cost of low wages has prompted elected officials to take action. Legislators in California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, and Washington are considering increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour. In Connecticut, a proposal currently moving through the state legislature would fine large companies that pay low wages in an effort to recoup the costs imposed on taxpayers.

When 73 percent of people who benefit from major public assistance programs live in a working family, our economy isn't operating the way it should - and could - be. From 2003-2013, inflation-adjusted wages fell for the entire bottom 70 percent of the workforce. Over the same time period we have also seen a large decline in the share of Americans with job-based health coverage.
When 73 percent of people who benefit from major public assistance programs live in a working family, our economy isn't operating the way it should - and could - be. From 2003-2013, inflation-adjusted wages fell for the entire bottom 70 percent of the workforce. Over the same time period we have also seen a large decline in the share of Americans with job-based health coverage.

The events were organized by the union-backed Fight for $15 campaign, which is demanding that McDonald's Corp. and other fast-food chains raise their minimum wages to $15 and let workers unionize. Photographer Joe Raedle/Getty Images // Bloomberg Business

Today - on Tax Day - underpaid workers are striking and protesting in cities across the country and around the globe to call for $15 an hour and the right to form a union. Their success would increase family incomes for tens of millions of adjunct professors, fast-food, home care and child care workers, among other underpaid workers. Raising wages would also generate significant savings to state and federal governments, and allow them to better target how our tax dollars are used.

Public assistance programs provide a vital support system for American families. But when Americans like Wise, Johnson and Hughes are working as hard as they can and are still paid too little to get by without public support, we need action to raise wages. On Tax Day it is a good time to take a hard look at the high public cost of low wages in the United States.

Ken Jacobs is the Chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and co-author, with Jenifer MacGillvary and Ian Perry, of "The High Public Cost of Low Wages."

Is $15 an Hour a Realistic Goal for Fast-Food Workers?

By Eric Morath

April 15, 2015

Wall Street Journal [3]

Wal-Mart employee David Coulombe participates in a rally seeking a $15 an hour minimum wage in Boston as part of nationwide Fight for $15 events.
Credit: Bryan Snyder/Reuters // Wall Street Journal

Fast-food workers in dozens of cities are rallying Wednesday, demanding a $15 hourly wage for their work.

They're joined in some cases by home-care aides, retail clerks and other low-wage workers who often earn closer to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour than their stated goal.

But is $15 an hour a realistic demand?

At first blush, it seems a real stretch.

Source: U.S. Labor Department // WSJ.com

A $15 an hour federal pay floor would represent a 107% increase in the minimum wage. The largest-ever one-time increase to the minimum wage was 88%. That occurred in 1951 when the federal minimum jumped to 75 cents an hour from 40 cents.

The last minimum-wage increase, phased in over three years through 2009, was a 41% increase to the current rate from $5.15 an hour.

At $15 an hour, protesters are also demanding a 57% increase from the $9.53 an hour wage a non-manager, fast-food worker averaged in February.

Source: U.S. Labor Department // WSJ.com

To put that in perspective, it took 18 years for fast-food workers to see a similar percentage from the $6.10 an hour they earned at the start of 1998, according to the Labor Department.
So who currently makes $15 an hour?

In 2014, brickmasons earned an average wage of $15.12 an hour, according to the Labor Department. Pharmacy technicians averaged $14.95 an hour, and various categories of assemblers and production workers-typical factory jobs-earned between $14.78 and $15.25 an hour. Each of those jobs would generally require more skill and training that an entry-level position at a restaurant.

If all workers earned at least $15 an hour, there would be a ripple effect through hundreds of occupations. Some workers would likely see raises. Others could lose their jobs to automation or overseas competitors.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would cost the U.S. about 500,000 jobs [4]. Many economists believe the impact of $15 an hour would be much larger.

And while restaurant workers wages are rising faster than pay increases in the broader economy [5], wage gains have generally been muted. Average hourly earnings for all workers was $24.86 last month, up a mild 2.1% from a year earlier.

But there are several reasons that $15 an hour may not be such a reach.

San Francisco, Seattle and the airport suburb of SeaTac, Wash., have already established minimum wages of $15 an hour, though it will take a few years to reach that rate in the larger cities.
If lawmakers and voters in those places view $15 as a living wage, other cities could soon follow.

Source: National Employment Law Center / WSJ.com

The cost of living in Seattle is about 21% higher than the rest of the country [6], according to the Census Bureau.

But a number of large cities are similarly as expensive, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and San Diego. And Seattle is a comparative deal versus Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
Some, including Chicago and Washington, have established higher minimum wages, but lawmakers there stopped short of $15 an hour.

There is also clear momentum for a higher minimum wage at the state level. Less than half of states still follow the federal wage. Last year, 14 states acted to raise their minimum wages [7], with Massachusetts setting the nation's highest rate at $11 an hour by 2017.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures / WSJ.com

Several more states, including Colorado, New York and Oregon, are considering changes to their pay-floor laws. A proposed ballot initiative in Oregon [8] would seek to raise that state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018, from the current $9.25 an hour rate.

Beyond law changes, large employers, including McDonalds [9], Wal-Mart and Target have all pledged to increase starting pay for workers to well above the federal minimum wage.
While promises to lift workers to $10 an hour is far short of the $15 goal, it suggests the federal mandate is no longer sufficient to attract workers even for the lowest-skilled jobs.
Other companies have already established pay floors above $15 an hour.

The health insurance company Aetna Inc. said in January that it would raise wages for its lowest-paid employees to at least $16 an hour [10].

Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company in Seattle, announced this week that it would pay all its workers at least $70,000 annually [11], which breaks down to about $35 an hour.

Eric Morath covers the economy from The Wall Street Journal's Washington Bureau. He reports on major economic data and the Federal Reserve, Treasury and Commerce departments.]

Source URL: https://portside.org/2015-04-17/americans-are-spending-153-billion-year-subsidize-mcdonalds-and-wal-marts-low-wage

Links:

[1] http://http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/15/we-are-spending-153-billion-a-year-to-subsidize-mcdonalds-and-walmarts-low-wage-workers/
[2] http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/the-high-public-cost-of-low-wages/
[3] http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/04/15/is-15-an-hour-a-realistic-goal-for-fast-food-workers/
[4] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304675504579391201355442502
[5] http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/03/02/whats-behind-restaurant-workers-faster-rising-paychecks/
[6] https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0728.pdf
[7] http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2015/01/20/5-things-to-know-about-the-minimum-wage-ahead-of-the-state-of-the-union/
[8] http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/increasing_the_minimum_wage_ba.html
[9] http://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-to-raise-hourly-pay-for-90-000-workers-1427916364
[10] http://www.wsj.com/articles/aetna-to-boost-incomes-of-lowest-paid-workers-1421105445
[11] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/business/owner-of-gravity-payments-a-credit-card-processor-is-setting-a-new-minimum-wage-70000-a-year.html

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Imagine a World Where Borders Are Based on Nature and Culture, Not Politics and War

Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)

Imagine a World Where Borders Are Based on Nature and Culture, Not Politics and War

By Rachael Stoeve [1] / YES! Magazine [2]
April 14, 2015

There’s little natural about the boundaries that divide states and countries. They’re often imaginary lines that result from history, conflict, or negotiation. But imagine what the world would look like if borders were set according to ecological and cultural boundaries.

Bioregionalism says that’s the only logical way to divide up territory: Let watersheds, mountain ranges, microclimates, and the local knowledge and economies that exist in them guide the way we set boundaries. That way, life within those boundaries is tied together not by arbitrary decisions but by common interests. For instance, in the United States, there are many cases where ecologically and economically distinct areas are encompassed in one state, which makes for political difficulty.

Oftentimes, no matter who wins in elections or policy, someone is left out or disenfranchised. Governing ourselves in smaller, naturally-bounded regions might ease those tensions.
Bioregionalism was first advanced in the early 1970s by poet-ecologist Allen Van Newkirk and popularized by thinkers and activists, such as environmental advocate Peter Berg and conservation biologist Raymond Dasmann.

Today, bioregional thinking is expressed in the many climate justice groups that organize on a local or regional scale, such as Tar Sands Blockade and Rising Tide. These groups are community-based efforts that empower local residents to take action on the environmental issues that directly affect their lives. Big environmental nonprofits typically fight for laws to limit or mitigate environmental destruction, while treating our current political and economic systems as legitimate. But bioregional thinkers see those systems as part of the problem—and suggest that restructuring our society along smaller ecological lines will empower communities and help shift our relationship to the Earth to one that is sustainable.

One way to begin that shift involves recognizing the rights of nature. On August 30, 2012, the Whanganui River in New Zealand was granted legal standing as an entity with rights. New Zealand is only the third country in the world to grant rights to nature, after Bolivia and Ecuador. Under an agreement between the New Zealand government and Maori tribal groups, the Whanganui is recognized as “an indivisible and living whole, from the mountains to the sea, incorporating its tributaries and all its physical and metaphysical elements.”

The agreement is a step in ongoing negotiations between the Maori and the government to resolve longstanding grievances related to the Treaty of Waitangi. This treaty helped establish British control over New Zealand. But there is disagreement between the Maori and the British about the interpretation of the treaty, and many Maori have made claims for redress. The New Zealand government has gradually been addressing these claims.

The 2012 agreement also mandates the development of a “Whole of River Strategy” to integrate input from all of the groups that use the river, including the Maori, the local and federal governments, and recreational and commercial users. In a press release, New Zealand Attorney General Christopher Finlayson wrote that “the goal of the strategy will be to ensure the long-term environmental, social, cultural, and economic health and wellbeing of the river.”

Almost exactly two years later, on August 5, 2014, a second agreement was signed, reaffirming the first agreement and including a financial settlement of $80 million for the tribes and $30 million for improving the river’s health. In addition, the Maori and the government will each appoint an advocate for the river’s rights. James Christmas, senior advisor to the Attorney General, said in an email that legislation enacting the settlement is expected early in 2015.

The Whanganui settlement process reflects bioregionalism at work. In this agreement, the river is seen not as a natural resource to be apportioned among its various users, but as an integral part of both the cultural and material life of the communities that interact with it. Maori beliefs and lifeways figure prominently in the language of the agreement, which involved a high level of consultation with tribes.

There are signs of a shift toward bioregionalism in U.S. policy as well. In November 2012, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement aimed at changing how the two countries co-manage the Colorado River. The New York Times reported that “the two countries will share in both surpluses and water shortages.”

Most importantly, in a bioregional sense, the agreement mandates that the United States, Mexico, and participating environmental organizations will all set aside water to reconnect the river to the Gulf of California, which will help restore habitat for birds and native plants. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit that works on water and sustainability issues, highlighted the many people and organizations who worked hard to make the agreement happen. Though it took 20 years of advocacy for the Colorado River, and though the agreement is only in effect for five years (after which it can be renewed), it is still a big step for two nations to manage a shared resource as a whole system, instead of dividing it up at a border.
Reorganizing our political structures around ecological regions and the cultures within them could enable us to live a more sustainable, decentralized lifestyle that prioritizes participatory democracy and local knowledge over corporate control and the exploitation inherent in multinational free trade agreements. Bioregionalism is one possible vision of a future that works for people and for the Earth.

Rachael Stoeve is a writer living in Seattle. Her work can be found at www.rachaelstoeve.wordpress.com [3].

Report typos and corrections to 'corrections@alternet.org'. [4]
[5]
________________________________________
Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/environment/watersheds-mountains-what-if-we-based-our-borders-nature

Links:

[1] http://www.alternet.org/authors/rachael-stoeve
[2] http://www.yesmagazine.org
[3] http://www.rachaelstoeve.blogspot.com/
[4] mailto:corrections@alternet.org?Subject=Typo on Imagine a World Where Borders Are Based on Nature and Culture, Not Politics and War
[5] http://www.alternet.org/
[6] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - April 19 - 22, 2015

24] Climate Engineering Assessment – Apr. 19
25] See HIT AND STAY – Apr. 19
26] Holocaust Observance – Apr. 19
27] Explorations in Black Leadership Project – Apr. 19
28] Pentagon Vigil – Apr. 20
29] "Politics of a Nuclear Deal: Former U.S. and Iranian Officials Debate" Apr. 20
30] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Apr. 20 – Apr. 24
31] Housing rally – Apr. 20
32] "Bike Away the Atomic Bomb" – Apr. 20
33] Supposed “war on drugs” – Apr. 20
34] Film DIVINE LOCATION -- Apr. 20
35] Sexual violence in Guatemala – Apr. 20
36] Combat human trafficking in the Philippines – Apr. 20
37] Pledge of Resistance/FOC meeting – Apr. 20
38] Syrian Humanitarian Crisis – Apr. 21
39] IS THE AMERICAN CENTURY OVER? -- Apr. 21
40] “Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future” – Apr. 21
41] "Toward Disarmament Securely: Relating Nuclear Security to Disarmament" – Apr. 21
42] Washington’s Evolving Policy Toward Israel and Palestine – Apr. 21
43] The Republic of Estonia & cybersecurity - Apr. 21
44] Peace vigil – Apr. 21
45] March2Justice – Apr. 21
46] No JHU Drone Research -- Apr. 21
47] Exploring Islam in America – Apr. 21
48] “Getting Back to Abnormal” – Apr. 21
49] Welcoming and Listening to Diverse Perspectives on Israel – Apr. 21
50] Hundredth Anniversary of the first use of chemical weapons – Apr. 22
51] EPA to the Pentagon – Apr. 22

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24] – Come to American University, SIS 300, WDC on Sun., Apr. 19 from 2 to 4 PM as SIS Professor Simon Nicholson will discuss his work with the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1580647245545334/.

25] – The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, the Social Action Clearinghouse and Peace Action Now! (PAN!) present “Hit and Stay” by Joe Trapeo and Skiz Skizzik, followed by an inclusive discussion with activists involved in the film, current members of the First UU, the Social Action Clearinghouse, PAN! and YOU! This is happening on Sun., Apr. 19 from 1 to 3 PM in the Parish Hall. This documentary focuses on Baltimore peace activists opposed to the Vietnam War who because famous worldwide as the “Catonsville Nine” and the “Baltimore Four.” Catholic priests Daniel and Phillip Berrigan are featured prominently in the documentary as well as other local activists. During the discussion following the film, special guests will include several of the film’s activists including Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham from Viva House, Baltimore.

With this event, Peace Action Now! hopes to take the first small step toward building a movement within our church to follow in the footsteps of these courageous Baltimoreans who were willing to act for peace in the 1960s. Using them as an example, we hope to begin the discussion about the kind of Peace Action we can take Now! First Unitarian Joe Brady will lead the presentation and subsequent discussion. Donations gratefully accepted. Contact Joe Brady at brady at hood.edu.

26] – The 2015 Northern Virginia Holocaust Observance reflects upon "The Psychology of Scapegoating," which will be held on Sun., Apr. 19 at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax 22031-3123. There is a teen program from 4:30 to 7 PM. It is titled "The Other Doctor Seuss: Reinterpreting the WWII Political Cartoons of Theodor "Seuss." RSVP athttp://www.jcouncil.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=109461. From 6 to 7 PM, there is a Seminar on "The Psychology of Scapegoating, featuring David Friedman, Washington Director for the Anti-Defamation League. Then from 7 to 8:30 PM there is a Community Observance. Go to www.jcouncil.org/VAShoa. Call 703-893-4007.

27] – At Busboys & Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE, WDC on Sun., Apr. 19 from 6:30 to 8 PM hear from Julian Bond and Phyllis Leffler. Co-directors of the University of Virginia Explorations in Black Leadership Project, Bond, long-time activist, former chair of the NAACP, first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and former Georgia State Legislator, and Leffler, UVA history professor and director of the school’s Institute for Public History, profile a wide range of black leaders, using the stories of individuals including John Lewis, Angela Davis, Amiri Baraka, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and many others to paint a wider picture of how leadership grows from socio-cultural tensions and the historic struggle against racism and inequality. See http://www.busboysandpoets.com/events/event/julian-bond-and-phyllis-leffler.

28] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop. The next vigil is Mon., Apr. 20, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Email artlaffin@hotmail.com or call 202-882-9649. The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

29] – On Mon., Apr. 20 from 9:30 to 11 AM, Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush; Ali-Akbar Mousavi, former member of Iran's parliament; former Rep. Jim Slattery (KS); former Rep. Howard Berman (CA); and Michael Singh, former Director for Middle East Affairs, National Security Council, will discuss "Politics of a Nuclear Deal: Former U.S. and Iranian Officials Debate." The event, sponsored by eight organizations, takes place at the U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/politics-of-a-nuclear-deal-former-us-iranian-officials-debate-tickets-16341521932.

30] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at www.weaa.org. The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to steinershow@gmail.com. All shows are also available as podcasts at www.steinershow.org.

31] – Go to the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC on Mon., Apr. 20 at noon and join Empower DC for a rally against the displacement of public housing residents and in support of full funding for repairs and maintenance. After the rally, visit each Councilmember's office to educate them on the need for traditional public housing. They want them to ensure no public housing resident is displaced in the name of redevelopment and to allocate money for repairs. Contact Schyla at housing@empowerdc.org or 202-234-9119 x.101.

32] – On Mon., Apr. 20 from 5 to 7 PM, Kairat Umarov, Kazakh ambassador, and other speakers will take on "Bike Away the Atomic Bomb." The discussion, sponsored by the Kazakh Embassy and SAIS, will be happening at SAIS, Rome Auditorium, 1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/bike-away-the-atomic-bomb-tickets-16540435889.

33] – Catch a talk with journalist and filmmaker Simon Sedillo on current events in Mexico and the U.S. at American University School of International Service 300, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC 20016 on Mon., Apr. 20 at 6 PM. Sedillo is an independent journalist and a documentary film maker. Sedillo has contributed to a growing archive of community based investigative research backed up by a wide variety of documentary films and articles. These diverse projects focus primarily on the effects of neoliberalism and militarism on indigenous communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color in the US and Mexico.

Sedillo will be presenting an insightful breakdown on the supposed “war on drugs” with updates from Michoacán and Guerrero as well as a broader analysis of the effects of the U.S. military political economy on Mexico and the Mexican people. The story in the news today is about Mexican crime and corruption, but what about the role of crime and corruption in the USA? Sedillo’s presentation includes community based video productions. See https://www.facebook.com/events/718030488318835/.

34] – See the film “Divine Location (Göttliche Lage) Forging the Future” on Mon., Apr. 20 at 6:30 PM at the Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 7th St NW, WDC. Tickets are $7. Call (202) 289-1200 or email info@washington.goethe.org. Go to http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/ver/en14147168v.htm.

35] – On Mon., Apr. 20 from 7 to 8:30 PM at La Casa, 3166 Mount Pleasant St. NW, WDC, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission is hosting Gabriela Rivera who will speak about the legacy of sexual violence in Guatemala. Gabriela works at the Association of Women Transforming the World (MTM), a part of the Alliance for Breaking the Silence and Ending Impunity. This Alliance was formed to pursue justice for Q'eqchi women who have suffered sexual violence, including acts of violence committed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. Gabriela and the team at MTM are currently litigating a case of sexual slavery of Q'eqchi' women at a military outpost in Sepur Zarco in Izabal between 1982 and 1988. RSVP to Andrew at afandino@ghrc-usa.org.

36] – On Mon., Apr. 20 from 7 to 8:30 PM, join a discussion with Columban Fr. Shay Cullen and Marlyn Capio-Richter, social worker and trafficking survivor, about their efforts to combat human trafficking in the Philippines at 1600 St. Camillus Dr., Silver Spring 20903. Fr. Shay Cullen is the founder of the Preda Foundation, Inc. and member the Columban Fathers. Originally from Ireland, he has been a human rights defender in the Philippines since 1969. In addition to serving the needs of trafficked women and children, Fr. Shay is a leading voice in the anti-military base movement, calling for economic and environment justice for the Filipino people. Recently, he appeared on the Australian weekly television news program 60 Minutes. See http://www.preda.org/news/newsitems/watch-fr-shay-talks-to-australian-tv/.

Marlyn Capio-Richter first came to the PREDA Foundation as a victim of human trafficking and now serves as a social worker, empowering women and children to break the chains of oppression. The discussion is co-sponsored by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach and the Mid-Atlantic Coalition Against Modern Slavery, a chapter of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

37] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings take place at Max’s residence. The next meeting will be on Mon., Apr. 20. The proposed agenda will include anti-drone activities, lobbying John Sarbanes, Tax Day, David Swanson speaking at the PSR dinner, diplomacy with Iran, a march from the EPA to the Pentagon, May Day and the MUPJ conference. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at verizon.net.

38] – You are invited to the 80th Capitol Hill Conference on Tues., Apr. 21 from 9:30 AM to noon for The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis: What Is to Be Done? The speakers are Karen AbuZayd, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, Denis J. Sullivan, director, Boston Consortium for Arab Region Studies, Susan M. Akram, clinical professor, Boston University School of Law, and Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University. Hear them in the Springwood Room of the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave. NW, WDC 20001. Refreshments will be served. RSVP at (202) 296-6767 or info@mepc.org. Take the METRO Red Line to Judiciary Square. Exit the station and take E St towards New Jersey Ave. Walk three blocks and turn left on New Jersey Ave. The Washington Court Hotel will be on the right. Visit www.mepc.org .

39] – Get over to the Wilson Center, 6th Floor, Flom Auditorium, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC on Tues., Apr. 21 from 10 to 11 AM for a conversation with the author of IS THE AMERICAN CENTURY OVER?, Joseph S. Nye argues that America's superpower status may be tempered, but is definitely not over. For more than a century, the United States has been the world's most powerful state. Now some analysts predict that China will soon take its place. Does this mean that we are living in a post-American world? Nye, a political scientist, and former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, will be in conversation with Aaron David Miller, Vice President, New Initiatives, the Wilson Center. Visit http://pages.wilsoncenter.org/04.21.15JoeNye_SpecialEventInvitation.html.

40] – Robert Galucci, Georgetown University, Henry Sokolski, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, and Dov Zakheim, Center for Naval Analyses, are doing a book launch of “Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future” on Tues., Apr. 21 from 11 AM to 1:30 PM at the Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut St. NW, WDC. RSVP at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1252zEYXst5Kgrft0AhPuXcuX227qVgFQg56QjnWZMns/viewform?c=0&w=1.

41] – Deepti Choubey, Foreign Policy Institute, will tackle "Toward Disarmament Securely: Relating Nuclear Security to Disarmament" on Tues., Apr. 21 from 1 to 2:30 PM at SAIS, Rome Building, 1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/toward-disarmament-securely-clarifying-the-nuclear-security-disarmament-link-tickets-16148478534?aff=Disarmament.

42] – On Tues., Apr. 21 from 1 to 2 PM at the Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037, there will be a panel discussion: Washington’s Evolving Policy Toward Israel and Palestine. Hear from Laila El-Haddad, author and political analyst, William Quandt, Professor Emeritus of Politics, University of Virginia, and Joshua Ruebner, policy director, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. In light of Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent reelection and his pronouncement about Palestinian statehood, many in Washington are reexamining U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine. President Obama commented, "...we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region." This panel discussion will try to elucidate what these options might be and assess their short term and long term implications on Washington’s evolving policy in the region. What will be the impact on the U.S.-Israeli "special relationship"? Are profound changes possible? What kinds of pressures on Israel might be effective? How has the regional context changed, and how does it influence U.S. policy objectives? What are the implications for the Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership? What is the role of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement? RSVP at http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/RegisterForEvent/i/51454. Call 202-338-1958 or email info@thejerusalemfund.org.

43] – Get over to the Wilson Center, 6th Floor, Flom Auditorium, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC on Tues., Apr. 21 from 1 to 2 PM to welcome Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves for a keynote address on the state of cybersecurity, privacy, and the digital economy. After regaining independence in 1991, the Republic of Estonia built a new government from the ground up. The result was the world's most comprehensive and efficient 'e-government': a digital administration with online IDs for every citizen, empowered by a free nationwide Wi-Fi network and a successful school program--called Tiger Leap--that boosts tech competence at every age level. While most nations still struggle to provide comprehensive Internet access, Estonia has made major progress towards a strong digital economy, along with robust protections for citizen rights. E-government services have made Estonia one of the world's most attractive environments for tech firms and start-ups, incubating online powerhouses like Skype and Transferwise.

An early adopter of information technology, Estonia was also one of the first victims of a cyber-attack. In 2007, large-scale Distributed Denial of Service attacks took place, mostly against government websites and financial services. The damages of these attacks were not remarkable, but they did give the country's security experts valuable experience and information in dealing with such incidents. See http://pages.wilsoncenter.org/04.21.15PresidentofEstonia_DirectorsForumEvent.html.

44] – Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine. The next vigil is Apr. 21. Call 215-426-0364.

45] – Gather on the West Lawn Of The United States Capitol on Tues., Apr. 21 at 5 PM as marchers will arrive in Washington, DC after an historic 8-day, 250 mile journey through 5 states carrying The Justice Package - three pieces of legislation calling for an end to racial profiling, stopping the militarization of our local police forces, and demanding the government invest in our youth and communities. This People MARCH is in solidarity with their elders, their youth, their incarcerated brothers and sisters, and the families and communities of those impacted by police brutality: Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Jesse Hernandez, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, London Colvin, John Crawford III, Miriam Carey, Anthony Baez and Ramarley Graham.

They NEED YOU on the WEST LAWN of the US Capitol. They will have a program with legendary civil rights leaders, hip hop artists and the marchers themselves! After 250 miles, they want the DC/VA/MD area to welcome the #March2Justice marchers. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/436409463199092/.

46] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Apr. 21 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Call Max at 410-366-1637.

47] – On Tues., Apr. 21 from 7 to 9 PM in the Perry Auditorium, Washington National Cathedral find out about Islam and Politics in the U.S.
How does Islam fit in the American landscape? This session, led by Khaled Elgindy, fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, will consider the rise of Islamic groups that preach Islamic exceptionalism and the growth of Islamophobia, Shariaphobia as well as dialogue among religious traditions. Space is limited. RSVP at www.cathedral.org/islam.

The news is filled with stories about Muslims. But what do these stories have to do with Islam? Join Dr. Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Georgetown University, for this three-week exploration of the Muslim faith and its history in the U.S. At each session a distinguished guest joins to help you to better understand this important branch of the Abrahamic faith tradition. Visit http://www.cathedral.org/events/exploringislam3.shtml?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=IslamSeriesMailing%2020150401%20(1)&utm_content=#.VSPv7_zF9Ft.

48] – At Bloombars, 3222 11th St. NW, WDC 20010, on Tues., Apr. 21 from 7 to 9 PM, BloomScreen presents another unique story, that only New Orleans could provide! See “Getting Back to Abnormal” (2013, 90 min), by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Peter Odabashian and Paul Stekler. Race, politics and culture collide in post-Katrina New Orleans as Councilwoman Stacy Head -- a self-styled corruption fighter -- fights to maintain her seat in a black majority district. See http://tinyurl.com/ab-normal-trailer. The screening will be followed by audience discussion and Q&A with Khalil Shahyd, a PhD candidate in Urban Political Ecology and a Program Manager in the Urban Solutions program with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The suggested donation is $10, and proceeds support BloomBars. Savor free organic popcorn. BloomScreen Indie Film Night is a weekly series of independent and foreign films, accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, experts and other guests. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/878487005549086/.

49] – On Tues., Apr. 21 at 7:30 PM at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, participate in Welcoming and Listening to Diverse Perspectives on Israel: A Jewish Community Town Hall Meeting. How can Jews engage in principled disagreements in a way that doesn't rip our community apart? How can we best support Israel and voice criticism of the policies of the Israeli government? Is there room for an open conversation without censoring divergent views in the American Jewish Community? This Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Community will tackle these critical questions and more. Join Ilan Sztulman, Head of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel; Alan Elsner, Director of Communications of J Street and Ruti Kadish, Director of Foundations for the New Israel Fund for a discussion, moderated by Cherie Brown, Director of the National Coalition Building Institute, followed by questions and statements from members of the community. RSVP at http://act.jstreet.org/signup/dc_042215/?t=1&akid=3833.10478.HxjxHl.

50] – April 22 is the 100th anniversary of the first successful use of chemical weapons in World War I at Ypres, Belgium. The use of poison gas performed by all major belligerents throughout World War I constituted war crimes as its use violated the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which prohibited the use of "poison or poisoned weapons" in warfare.

51] – Use the Federal Triangle Metro Station (Orange, Blue, and Silver lines) on Wed., Apr. 22 at 10 AM and gather at the EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW & later at 1 PM at the Pentagon City Mall Food Court. HOW CAN WE SAVE OUR PLANET? WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER IF WE ARE TO SAVE MOTHER EARTH! The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels globally, has a nuclear arsenal that can destroy ALL LIFE on the planet, already used depleted uranium with lethal and drastic effects on human life and the environment in places like Iraq, and used chemical agents in Latin America in waging of the “war on drugs.” This war has destroyed livelihoods and inflicted lethal and life altering health effects on poor people in South America and brought profits to the large multinational corporations.

The waging of and planning for war is destroying our planet! Join the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance on April 22/EARTH DAY to confront our government representatives responsible for climate chaos, environmental destruction, and threatening all life on the planet. There will be a risk arrest action at the Pentagon, as activists will seek a meeting with Pentagon representatives to discuss its role in ecocide. If you will be risking arrest or have any questions about the action, email joyfirst5@gmail.com. Those who want to participate, but are not able to risk arrest are welcome, and there will be a place you can be without risking arrest. There will be a planning meeting for those who are risking arrest, those providing support, and others who are interested on the evening of April 21. Please contact malachykilbride@yahoo.com for time and location. Call 608-239-4327 to get involved in EPA to the Pentagon. See https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Campaign-for-Nonviolent-Resistance-NCNR/184398124955311?ref=br_tf.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs