Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Attack of the Corporate-Owned Government!

The Attack of the Corporate-Owned Government!
by Coast Watcher

It's more horrific than a 1950s monster movie.

Due process is supposed to protect citizens from the arbitrary imposition of laws upon their lives. It provides a clear set of guidelines by which government is supposed to operate—but what happens when government chooses to ignore due process, or change the laws so it doesn’t operate any more?

There was a referendum in the English counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire on the subject of fracking, and it passed by a decisive 99.2% vote against allowing fracking in their counties. However, the British government chose to ignore the result and allow fracking to go ahead anyway.

Another example is the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, introduced in Toledo, Ohio. After years of campaigning the initiative finally got on a special ballot and was passed by a sizable majority. Someone in the Ohio Chamber of Commerce made a phone call to a friend in the state legislature, who wrote a clause into an unrelated bill effectively banning citizens from suing on behalf of nature. Thousands of voters’ opinions were overturned by the action of just two men.
 In Pennsylvania, the state "Department of Environmental Protection" is suing Grant Township for voting in a Community Water Protection Law to protect their people from the danger of hazardous fracking wastes. Yes, the state is suing its own citizens for the "crime" of trying to protect their environment against the moneyed-interests of the fracking industry.

Again, in the UK the ongoing Extinction Rebellion movement has caused the already beleaguered government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson more headaches than he can handle—so it arbitrarily banned all Extinction Rebellion protests throughout London. In Washington, DC, Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested and held without charge for hours, sometimes days. As if this weren’t bad enough, bystanders including journalists have also been arrested and jailed just for being in the area.

The British government also has a lot to answer for over its treatment of Julian Assange. Assange is being held in prison awaiting extradition to the United States on trumped-up espionage charges. The conditions of his imprisonment are onerous and debilitating, all of which violates the UK Human Rights Act and various laws governing the treatment of inmates in UK jails.

In France the Gillet Jaune or Yellow Vests protests have drawn the ire of French President Macron. The police are firing baton rounds and tear gas directly into crowds of protesters, causing serious injuries.

So, governments across the Western world are turning against their citizens. This oppression is driven by Big Business working behind the scenes to control bought and paid for politicians. Even the case of Assange’s imprisonment is down to Capitalism punishing those who dare to expose the failings of its system and those same politicians who are but puppets in the great goal of making the billionaires even more money. 

But people across the world are gathering their forces and pushing back against oppression. Concessions are being won by grim determination, persistence and resourcefulness. Hopefully, for the sake of democracy and the environment, it won’t be too late to overthrow the oligarchy and restore the true government of the people instead of the rich.

This Halloween, the men in the rubber monster suits aren't the ones to be afraid of--it's the rich men in suits and ties.

BIO: Coast Watcher is keeping track of all the times the oligarchs have taken away our democratic right to due process. If the three strikes rule ever applied to these criminals, they'd be spending the rest of their lives in jail. Don't let them ever forget it, either!

The following is an excellent comment that was made on Facebook recently by a frequent blog guest. I just had to share it with a wider audience. We get  caught up at times with what all is "wrong" that we forget what all is "right." Are you connecting with others and seeing the good in them and the world-at-large? Why or why not? Listen to what Sean has to say.

by Sean Nestor

Many people I know actively celebrate and promote a culture of isolation and misanthropy. Count me out. I want to be more connected with people, not less. 

I think the solution to toxic social structures lies in the work (and I mean work) of developing healthier social structures, not the indulgence of our society's inclination toward abandonment and alienation. The reality is that we will always depend on each other to survive and to thrive and pretending otherwise is a vain and delusional fantasy.

I dread a future made up of a bunch of unhappy, atomized people wailing at each other from behind digital appliances, rarely stopping to break bread and bond with each other over the sharing of their life experiences.

I want a future of strong families, strong neighborhoods, and strong communities -- a future where the vulnerable among us are supported and cared for and where nobody who is different fears for their safety.

We can all cite countless atrocities committed by human beings against one another and against other life on this planet. But I really believe all of that is eclipsed by the volume of honest decent people who commit acts of love and justice every day. We don't pay as much attention to them -- but they are out there, and they deserve to be seen. I know lots of them, and I bet you do, too. People are beautiful, if you take the time to see them.

Humanity is redeemable. Don't give up the ship. Fight for something better.

BIO: Sean Nestor is an activist who has worked on many social justice and environmental issues, including the passing of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights.


National Audubon Society
Common Loon.
In case you missed it: there’s a bird emergency
Last week, Audubon released its new, groundbreaking report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink, the most detailed look at the impact of climate change on birds using the latest climate models and bird data available. Here’s what people are saying about our science:
“[The report] illustrates how thoroughly the avian world as we know it may be remapped if humans continue pumping greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” - The New York Times
"The existential threat to birds also impacts humanity. As canaries warned coalminers of invisible death in the industrial era, now birds of every shape and size can be life-or-death alerts in the age of global warming.” - CNN
“There may still be hope in bird conservation, and in the broader climate crisis, but only if urgent, difficult actions are taken to address rising greenhouse gas emissions.” - TIME
Yes, the news is troubling, but the call to action is clear: We must act now to protect the birds we love from climate change.

See for yourself. Explore the report and learn what climate change will mean for the birds in your community and exactly what you can do to stop it.
Read the Report

Amazon is more than a store. Amazon Web Services provides data storage for roughly 40% of the internet (including Netflix, Slack, Pinterest, and even the site that hosts this petition!), and it takes a LOT of energy to power.Competitors like Apple and Google have set up data centers with 100% renewable energy, but Amazon still sucks down fossil fuels.

The coming climate catastrophe is going to require action from all of us―even the world’s richest man.

TELL JEFF BEZOS: Get Amazon’s data centers off fossil fuels!   

Jeff Bezos says the changing climate is the reason he’s investing so heavily in space travel. But he can make a much bigger impact by protecting the planet we already have―putting his money into renewables!

John Sellers
Other 98%
Tell Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and Amazon Web Services:
"Take constructive action to address climate change. Given the dire global implications, I believe it is urgent that every corporation do all it can to measure and reduce its carbon footprint."

From March for Our Lives

Let's start with some background. During the September 12th debate, Congressman Beto O'Rourke expressed his support of mandatory buy-backs. Other candidates started to comment on the issue -- and it became a major topic during Tuesday’s debate. 

To be clear, we fully support a mandatory buy-back program. There are an estimated 256-393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, which means there are more guns than people in this country. As we lay out in our Peace Plan, a federal mandatory buy-back of assault weapons and an optional, but encouraged, buy-back program for other firearms would save lives. Australia's national buy-back program was associated with as much as a 57% reduction in firearms deaths.
That being said, boiling down the gun violence epidemic to a debate on one policy point misses the big picture. Although these solo plans would definitely help, we need a comprehensive plan. We need candidates around the country, from city hall to Capitol Hill, to introduce audacious, bold, and comprehensive plans as big as the problem they're trying to solve (or endorse ours). We need candidates who are unafraid to take on the NRA in their words *AND* their actions. We need candidates to step up and tell us their specific policies and plans to cut gun deaths by 50% in ten years, like our Peace Plan does. Or tell us how their proposed legislation and programs will end the epidemic altogether. 
The time for flowery metaphors and vague promises is over. The time to end gun violence is now.

Let's do this,
March For Our Lives

 From Friends of the Earth:
This summer, the Amazon was burning. Hurricanes ravaged the east coast. Californians experienced days without power as a way to prevent the next major fire. These extreme weather events show that climate change is already here.

But on August 29th, Trump’s EPA decided to roll back regulations on methane -- one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases that’s driving the climate crisis.

The good news: These disastrous rollbacks aren’t finalized. If engaged environmentalists like you show a groundswell of opposition to this plan, the EPA will have to change course. But we must act fast! 

How dangerous is methane? It’s a significant driver of climate change that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And it’s a threat to local communities and the air we breathe. But for the third time, Trump’s EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler is trying to gut methane regulations.

Methane pollution standards are basic safeguards that help keep our planet livable. Even Shell Oil and other industry producers think they’re common sense. Regardless, Donald Trump and Wheeler are trying to create loopholes to benefit their polluter friends at the expense of our climate by recklessly rolling back these protections. The proposed rollbacks would save the oil and gas industry between $17 million to $19 million a year.

If we’re serious about addressing climate change, we need to significantly cut methane from the oil and gas industry -- it’s one of the leading sources of this pollution. This rollback is the latest part of a scheme by Wheeler and Trump to do the opposite. Together, we can ensure the EPA protects our health and the environment, not Big Oil profits. 

Make no mistake: This is a blatant attempt to create loopholes that hinder federal oversight on the oil and gas industry. And fossil fuel executives will surely reap the profits of climate pollution for years to come. 

Maintaining strong methane pollution safeguards is crucial to protecting our communities as sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more common. Rather than selling our children and families out to the worst actors in the oil and gas industry, the EPA should be focused on enacting and strengthening regulations like the Methane Rule to fight the worsening impacts of the climate crisis. 

With your help, C.A., we’ve fought back Trump’s plans to slash our bedrock environmental protections before. But we need your help again to fight Trump’s latest giveaway to Big Oil polluters.

Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuel program manager,
Friends of the Earth

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