Archive for protest

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

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Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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Saturday Links

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Ukraine Kiev links

Ukraine Offices Abandoned By Police / links

Saturday Links from The Political Carnival

Ukraine Crisis: President's Kiev Offices Abandoned by Police (BBC).

Ukraine crisis: Opposition takes control of presidential compound as Viktor Yanukovych 'flees Kiev'

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych decries 'coup', refuses to quit

Pussy Riot Sochi

Pussy Riot Sochi

Russian deputy PM dismisses assault on Pussy Riot

Venezuela says CNN can stay, a day after saying 'get out'

Union appeals Volkswagen workers' rejection in South

Ole Miss Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity Suspended, Noose Suspects from Georgia Kicked Out

Six attorneys general won’t defend their own state’s gay-marriage bans

This Adorable Home Isn't What You Think It Is (PHOTOS)

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Seventh grade student spoke out, got kicked out. "My school is run by fear."

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Maia Wu student speaks out, kicked out of school

Having taught all grade levels in a couple of school districts, and having been a huge student advocate at those schools, when I hear about a story that starts out with this, I listen:

"My name is Maia Wu. I am 13 years old, in the 8th grade and I'm student body president of my school carrying a 4.0 GPA.... As a 7th grade student, I couldn't understand what there was to fear. ... I stood up for I believed was right... I decided to step up and help students shake off their fear and find their voices. The administration didn't seem to like this too much. I guess you could say this is where things fell apart."

That sure got my attention.

Now it's time for you to give Maia Wu some attention. (Added: She was "too outspoken" about a decision to build a fence around the school without parents and students being told first. The video explains everything, please watch, you won't be sorry.)

What happened here is an outrage and it's time to publicize her story as widely as possible. The district is all that really mattered to the district, certainly not the students, not the parents, not fairness, not open, honest, civil discourse.

Please share this post.

Via Maia Wu:

On January 17, 2014, my mom received a letter informing her that our permit to attend school has been revoked. My brother, sister, and I were kicked out of school. This is my open letter in response to the letter we received.

I was kicked out because my mom asked questions that needed to be asked.

I was kicked out because I am a free-thinker and can think for myself.

I was kicked out because I am not afraid to be heard.

I have a vision of a school that will embrace student voice and student participation in civic matters. I want to learn in an environment that welcomes free-thinkers and welcomes opposing view points as a positive means to perpetuate the democratic process.

If this is the current environment, we will produce children who live in fear of authority and not have the ability to think for themselves and will only use ideals given by higher authorities rather than trying to formalize their own.

This is the number one threat to democracy in our country. I am 13 years old, not afraid to let my voice be heard and all I wish is to return back to my school.

Wow.

But come on, Maia, protest? Peacefully? Moms attempting to communicate? Kids "think for themselves"? Don't you realize this is today's America? We are no longer encouraged to do those things here. Oh, but I kid. Sort of.

Here are a few excerpts. Transcript via EdWeek.org:

I decided to step up and help students shake off their fear and find their voices. The administration didn't seem to like this too much. I guess you could say this is where things fell apart....

Based on these flimsy, weak and ridiculous points, my brother, sister and I had our permits revoked, which essentially meant we were kicked out of our school. When we first found out, we had an overwhelming amount of support from teachers, students, friends, and family. We also immediately set up a meeting in order to organize our appeal. We were told to wait five days. The fifth day rolled along and there was no letter. My mother called the district at 4:00pm but was told the specific person we were looking for was in a meeting. She then called again at 4:40, that person was still in the meeting. Finally, at 4: 58 she called, and was told that that person had gone home. On Chinese New Year's Eve, we finally received the letter denying our permit, and our last day being the following day, Chinese New Year's. Not only had we been strung along until the last minute, but kicked out on Chinese New Year Day. That's comparable to kicking a child out on Christmas.

The letter they wrote and their revocation can easily be seen as childish retaliation to a parent standing up for her first amendment rights. My mother is a responsible, caring responsible adult who the principal and the school district is trying to paint as a deranged woman who doesn't seem to have a clue about anything. If my mother and I are guilty of fighting for our rights as American citizens and guilty of wanting America to be America, so be it. Monterey Highlands and Alhambra Unified School District are obsessed with control and are no longer thinking about students when they make choices such as revoking permits from children like my siblings and I.

I have a vision of a school that will embrace student voice and student participation in civic matters.  I want to learn in an environment that welcomes free-thinkers and welcomes opposing view points as a positive means to perpetuate the democratic process.  If this is the current environment, we will produce children who live in fear of authority and not have the ability to think for themselves and will only use ideals given by higher authorities rather than trying to formalize their own. This is the number one threat to democracy in our country. I am 13 years old, not afraid to let my voice be heard and wish to return back to my school.

These words were spoken by one remarkable seventh grader. Maia is clearly brilliant, reasonable, and rational, certainly more reasonable and rational than the "adults" in charge. You'd think any school would be honored to support and encourage Maia, her voice, and her family.

Those so-called educators could learn a lot from that 13-year-old.

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Overnight: Pete Seeger - Wasn't That a Time?

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PeteSeegerWasntThatATimeORIG

Pete Seeger was asked about the song 'Wasn't that a time?' during the McCarthy hearings. Here is a video of the song. The lyrics to it appear below.

Wasn't That a Time? (Lyrics by Lee Hays and Walter Lowenfels.)

Our fathers bled at Valley Forge.
The snow was red with blood,
Their faith was warm at Valley Forge,
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time,
A time to try the soul of man,
Wasn't that a terrible time?

Brave men who died at Gettysburg
Now lie in soldier's graves,
But there they stemmed the slavery tide,
And there the faith was saved.

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time,
A time to try the soul of man,
Wasn't that a terrible time?

The fascists came with chains and war
To prison us in hate.
And many a good man fought and died
To save the stricken faith.

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time,
A time to try the soul of man,
Wasn't that a terrible time?

And now again the madmen come,
And should our vic'try fail?
There is no vic'try in a land
Where free men go to jail.

Isn't this a time!
Isn't this a time!
A time to try the soul of man,
Isn't this a terrible time?

Our faith cries out we have no fear
We dare to reach our hand
To other neighbors far and near
To friends in every land.

Isn't this a time!
Isn't this a time!
A time to free the soul of man!
Isn't this a wonderful time!

(Two additional verses written by Lee Hays and sung at the 1980 Weavers reunion:)

How many times we've gone to kill
In freedom's holy name.
And children died to save the pride
Of rulers without shame.

Informers took their Judas pay
To tell their sorry tale
And gangs in Congress had their way
And free souls went to jail.

Here's Pete's testimony before the HUAC where he's asked about this song.

HUAC Peter Seeger Testimony

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Overnight: Pete Seeger - 'This Land Is Your Land' - Farm Aid 2013

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PeteSeegerFarmAidW398H216I hate to think that we have lost such a wonderful man as Pete Seeger to the next great adventure, but we have. Here he is at Farm Aid: 2013:

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Pete Seeger Dies at 94

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Photo: Econosmith vrom this page: http://www.npr.org/artists/15869924/pete-seeger

Photo: Econosmith from this page: http://www.npr.org/artists/15869924/pete-seeger

Pete Seeger passed on this morning at 94 after 6 days in the hospital. He was a crusader for peace, a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, and a champion of environmental causes.

In tribute, please listen to him sing 'Waist Deep in the Big Muddy'

From NPR:

Photo: Wiqan Ang from this page: http://www.npr.org/2009/08/02/111338784/pete-and-tao-seeger-and-friends-sunday-night-singalong-newport-folk-festival-200

Photo: Wiqan Ang for NPR

Pete and Tao Seeger and Friends'Sunday-Night Singalong: Newport Folk Festival 2009

Pete Seeger Tribute from The Washington Post

Pete Seeger Wiki

Pete Seeger sings 'Union Maid' - from YT

Pete Seeger sings 'Union Maid' - from YT

Pete Seeger: Union Maid

Politicus USA's tribute to Pete Seeger

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"Well Shut My Mouth," Scott Brown Is Told In New Hampshire

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Ethan Allen

Well, well, well. Looks like former Senator Scott Brown, defeated by Senator Elizabeth Warren in the last Senate elections in Massachusetts has been stirring up quite a controversy in neighboring state, New Hampshire.

Scott Brown, a Massachusetts resident is about to go carpet bagger. He's planning on running for the US Senate but from the Granite State just north of his legal residence.

People move all the time. Some even do it for political reasons, say, Liz Cheney. There's an election for the senate in Wyoming so she decided to carpet bag herself there to run against Mike Enzi. She doesn't stand a chance, but she needed some place to run and her family does have some tangential connection to the state. Her father was a congressman there before he became Vice President and creator of an illegal war. So perhaps an argument can me made for her choice.

But then you get to Scott Brown. He was once the darling of the Senate, a GOP newbie who had star written all over him, until he opened his mouth and Elizabeth Warren slammed it shut. But you can't keep a determined ex-centerfold nude model down for too long. So he's openly stated his interest in running as the GOP candidate against first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). He's going to do it, take my word for it. And if you want to know my record at predictions like this, I called both Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren's runs six months before they each announced. I'm a New England boy, I know these things in my backyard.

You may be wondering how well the Republican golden boy's future announcement is going over? Not well. Not well at all. But the outspoken opponents are not the Democrats who think he's border jumping just to upset the apple cart. Brown's opposition is coming from his own party. And they're mad.

How mad? If I were Scott Brown I'd start wearing a bullet proof, Kevlar vest.

Huffpo reports:

During an interview with conservative podcast Granite Grok's GrokTalk on Saturday, New Hampshire state Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Merrimack)suggested that it may some day be necessary to use "firearms and ammo" against the government if its policies continue to be shaped by elected officials like former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Yikes, that's pretty scary. There's already too much gun violence, so to start putting out hints that guns and ammo might be necessary is outrageous.

Hoell was discussing plans to protest outside a state GOP fundraiser that is scheduled to feature Brown, who is rumored to be considering a run for one of New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seats. Hoell has characterized Brown as too liberal for the state, and accused him of supporting laws that encroach on the Second Amendment. Hoell then invoked the armed uprisings of the Revolutionary War.

Progressive thinking in New Hampshire does go back to the Revolutionary War and Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. And sadly, that's the last time they had any sort of solid footing alongside contemporary thought or forward thinking. It's been a march backward in time since then.

When asked whether protesters should bring weapons to the rally, Hoell responds: I'm never going to tell a person not to carry a firearm ... I will recommend people carry firearms concealed. Tactically it's a better solution; it doesn't make you out to be a target.

The message needs to get out that Scott Brown does not represent New Hampshire. If things continue the way they are, there may be a day or a time where firearms and ammo are necessary. It happened in the Revolutionary War. I'd like to think we're not there yet, but as things continue to unravel, that may be the next step.

Protestors. Guns. Ammo. Concealed weapons. Targets. Revolutionary War. Firearms. Tactics. New Hampshire. Next step. Does this sound like peaceful discourse to you or a trip back down Memory Lane to 1776?

You can follow me on twitter: @Linzack

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