Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Are WE The Refugees?

We start this week out with a song...

The Chorus of This Land is My Land 

(Reworked for the Modern Age)
by Coast Watcher

This land is your land, this land is my land. From California…

Er, no, sorry.


California has decided it's had enough of the United States. It got together with Oregon, Washington state, Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia to form a new nation called Pacifica. It now has one of the largest economies in the world. Hawaii is making noises about joining it too.

Huh. Okay. To the New York island…

Ah, again, sorry.

What now?

Due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, the New York Island no longer exists. It's all underwater.

Good grief! Okay then. From the redwood forests?

Er, no. Trump sold the redwood forests to Georgia Pacific. They were used to make seven billion toilet rolls and a nice desk for David Koch.

Seriously? What about the rolling Gulf Stream waters?

Ah, er, sorry, no. They're heavily polluted by agricultural run-off mixing with all the oil spills. Nowadays the Gulf waters don't so much roll, as gloop.

(Singer tosses the song sheets over her shoulder and walks away muttering)

Bio: Coast Watcher often waxes comically poetic to deal with the stress of living in the modern world.
Are We the Refugees?
by Still Bernin'

Human beings are being displaced in record numbers. Climate change, drone bombings, wars for oil, land grabs, natural disasters, economic disparities--the list goes on and on. Indigenous peoples are pushed off their lands or killed so others can steal and profit from their resources. Employment opportunities dry up and cause many to leave their homes and head to where they hope the jobs are. The one-percenters grow richer at others' expense. Misery is the order of the day.

If everyone is "on the move," then those who wish to remain rooted in one place are old fashioned. Americans who try to live in a world patterned after
the eighteenth or nineteenth century, while denying the reality of the twenty-first, are destined to be disappointed. Like the rest of humanity, they must move on. "Make America Great Again" says their red baseball caps. Doesn't the tag in the hat's interior that says "made in China" tell you the world has moved on and left America in the dust?
If rising ocean levels and the futility of endless wars for the remains of dead

dinosaurs doesn't convince those stuck in the past that we must move on or die as a people, then what will? It's the basic problem with Trump's vision of America--it's locked into a timewarp. Sadder still, it's not even the real past.
When was the United States ever "great" for all of its people? Slavery for African-Americans existed until the 1860s, and, when comparing current wages of whites and people of color with the same level of training and education, it could be argued slavery continues to this very day. Women couldn't vote until 1920. Children worked in dangerous jobs in factories until little over a hundred years ago. Gays and lesbians couldn't legally marry in most states until a few years ago. The indigenous peoples of the Americas have never felt things were "great" for them since Europeans landed in 1492.

The Trump version of America is an imaginary one where rich, white males are forever on top and everyone else is happily jitterbugging away, gladly giving up their civil liberties. And for what? It's not like an average American will profit off the tax breaks for billionaires, and it appears social programs will continue to be slashed, leaving many working poor, elderly and disabled persons in the lurch. Can any sane person truly consider that a happy scenario?
America has moved and is still moving, but where are we moving to? Are we moving away from the slavery that is capitalism and toward an egalitarian utopia that democratic socialism can provide? Away from the consumerism that eats our souls and rots our sense of compassion? Away from placing the price on a human life at a mere $1.05 (activist David Hogg's estimation derived from the amount of money Senator Marco Rubio received from the NRA divided by the number of Florida students)? Away from the idea that health care is a privilege only the wealthy can enjoy?
Will Americans who want to oppress those who are different from them be forced to become refugees instead? If we don't force these immoral types out of our society, will we all suffer for their lack of compassion? The more our elected officials treat the homeless, the displaced and the poor with impunity, the more likely Americans will get a taste of our own medicine. We could be denied sanctuary when we need it because of rising oceans. The wall that Trump wants to build around our country could be used to contain us from others who have had enough of our rotten attitude. 

We will become the unwanted people among peoples. We will be the refugees nobody wants.

I have a strong feeling that the cliche, "You can dish it out, but you can't take it," is going to be heard by Americans a lot more in the near future. It serves us right if we continue to support the current regime's policies toward the environment, refugees and the poor.

Articles to make you think:
The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death https://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/the-gig-economy-celebrates-working-yourself-to-death

An End to Protections for Undocumented Youth

Weapons for Anyone--Donald Trump and the Art of the Arms Deal
Bio: Still Bernin' is moving on and marching toward a better future for all peoples. It's time we put capitalism to rest and embrace democracy through democratic socialism.
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Power to the people and not the corporations!


Win Without War

Donald Trump and his army of anti-immigrant forces are tearing apart the United States’ refugee resettlement program. Call and ask Congress: #WhereRTheRefugees? >>

In September, the Trump administration set the lowest ever refugee admissions goal: 45,000 refugees for this fiscal year. Now, they’re not even meeting their own pathetically low standard. Halfway through the fiscal year, the Trump administration has resettled under 10,000 refugees into the United States — WAY less than half of their underwhelming goal.
This is not who we are as Americans.

Thousands of refugees are now in life-threatening limbo while the Trump administration continues its heartless and xenophobic agenda. What’s more, many refugees are fleeing American bombs devastating their countries or American-fueled climate change and famines destroying their homes and livelihoods. America has a black-and-white moral responsibility to open its doors, not slam them shut. 

So Win Without War is joining a coalition of refugee and humanitarian activists to flood phone lines today — and we need your voice. If we can drive enough calls to Congress in one day about the Trump administration’s historic failure on refugee admissions, we can pressure our Members of Congress to hold the Trump administration accountable for admitting the refugees they promised.

Call and ask your Members of Congress: #WhereRTheRefugees? 

The United States refugee resettlement program is reserved for only the most vulnerable populations fleeing war, climate change, inequality, and persecution. They undergo the most extensive selection, security vetting and medical screening processes of any travelers to the United States. But the Trump administration continues to spread their hateful agenda by refusing to accept refugees who have already been promised resettlement, imposing refugee bans disguised as “extreme vetting,” and choosing dangerous anti-refugee advisors like John Bolton.

Make no mistake: the Trump administration’s actions directly threaten the lives of thousands of refugees, devastate families, and undermine our American values. What’s more, they make a mockery of our responsibility to welcome those fleeing horrors--- many of which are the direct result of America’s endless wars in their home countries. But together, we can fight against these unjust, cruel policies and work towards an America where all are welcome.

Tell Congress: This country was built from the contributions of refugees and immigrants. Don’t let Trump wash our legacy away. The US must honor its promises to accept refugees fleeing life-threatening situations.

Thank you for working for peace,
Aubrey, Mariam, Cassandra, and the team at Win Without War

No no no no no.

1,400 Palestinians were injured and 18 were killed in Gaza - nonviolent protesters shot by Israeli soldiers during the #MarchForReturn on Friday

The Israeli military evidently believes that any time Palestinians assert their basic rights in any way, they will be considered violent, and met with deadly violence. This cannot stand.

It feels impossible that this should be true. Like Sharpeville, Selma, or Kent State, again and again into 2018. 

Because I know in my heart that the right to peaceful protest is sacrosanct. The biggest and boldest mobilizations of my lifetime are rolling into the streets. It’s a truly beautiful thing.
These protesters - people just like you and me - prove that there’s another way, one we have to recommit to today.

I think the only way truly forward is to recognize that there is a root cause: 70 years of Nakba.

After all, that’s the reason 15,000 people were marching in the first place. 

The catastrophe of Palestinian dispossession and expulsion by the Israeli government has gone on 70 years too long. And the #MarchForReturn is about making good on the undeniable, basic right of Palestinians, and all people, to live freely in their homelands. 

Please sign here and share - as widely and quickly as you can.

It was difficult to sit through a Passover seder Friday night with family that doesn't yet share my outrage at Israel’s aggression. But that’s what makes this community at JVP all the more important to me today as a place I can bring my full heart - and where we’re all working together for real and lasting peace.

Rabbi Alissa Wise
Deputy Director

From Rainforest Action Network:

The numbers are in, and they are infuriating.

In spite of deadly impacts to communities and climate, big banks actually increased their financing to extreme fossil fuels last year. And they are hoping you won’t notice.

See the findings from our new report, and let the banks know that we won’t let them get away with this.

Each year, RAN and our partners grade the world’s big banks, and calculate how much money they are funneling to extreme fossil fuels — some of the most climate-intensive and destructive energy sources, which must be phased out quickly. Many of the dirtiest, riskiest projects wouldn’t happen without billions in bank funding.

In 2017, some banks, especially in France and the Netherlands, started to wake up to reality, and made policy improvements. But unfortunately, overall financing for extreme fossil fuels still went up. 

It’s simple. Without funding, these projects would never happen. Click here to take action and demand banks stop funding destructive projects and companies.

Here are just some of the findings of the new report, titled Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2018:

  • JPMorgan Chase (Chase Bank) was already the biggest financier of extreme fossil fuels on Wall Street, but now the bank has doubled down, increasing that amount by over $4 billion last year. Chase is making a quick profit instead of supporting communities and the planet.
  • All of the Canadian banks increased their shameful financing, sending more money to destructive tar sands oil extraction and pipelines. Together, they more than doubled their financing.
  • While some have announced exciting oil and gas policies, most European banks are heading in the wrong direction on coal. Combined, their financing to the deadly, climate-polluting coal sector was $2 billion higher than the previous year.
With news like this, it’s time to step up the pressure. I hope you’ll join me in sending a clear message to JP Morgan Chase and its friends that we will not stand for funding the past. 

Alison Kirsch
Climate and Energy Program and Research Coordinator
Rainforest Action Network

Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) caved to corporate interests and voted to strip internet users of their rights to choose what they do, where they go and whom they connect with online. Without these Net Neutrality protections, large phone and cable companies are now able to block, throttle and slow access to sites and services at will.

The FCC's massively unpopular decision has sparked a national movement to demand the return of real Net Neutrality. Millions of people across the political spectrum are taking action in the streets, at their statehouses, outside the FCC and before Congress.

Mayors are taking action, too. Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York, Ted Wheeler of Portland and Steve Adler of Austin recently called on all other U.S. mayors to join them in a Cities Open Internet Pledge, which requires all internet providers with whom they do business to follow a strong set of Net Neutrality principles. Within a week, more than 20 mayors took the pledge (see below)!

Urge your mayor to stand for Net Neutrality. Send an email to your mayor, asking them to sign the Cities Open Internet Pledge -- and join the national movement for an open internet!

In solidarity,
Andrea Miller
Executive Director

In just 2 weeks, thousands of people will gather around the world in support of science.  Are you ready? 

If you’ll be joining us in Washington D.C., the day will start at 9 am with teach-in and expo tents on the National Mall at 15th and Constitution NW.  Then it’s time to get your signs ready for the 12:30 pm rally and 3 pm march! All this week we’ll be announcing speakers and musical guests leading up to the big event.
April 14 Checklist
Joining a local event? Check out marches around the world at marchforscience.com/2018

To support the March for Science, visit us here. Help drive this movement forward!

Science Not Silence

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