The Enemy Is Not Donald Trump or Steve Bannon—It Is Corporate Power
In a recent speech titled “After Trump and Pussy Hats” delivered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges tells the audience that “resistance must also be accompanied by an alternative vision of a socialist, anti-capitalist society.”
After a fierce indictment of what he calls the kleptocracy that rules the United States, Hedges urges organizing “with lightning speed” because this is our “last chance” to do so.
“This resistance must also be accompanied by an alternative vision of a socialist, anti-capitalist society. Because the enemy in the end is not Trump or Bannon—it is corporate power,” Hedges says. “And if we do not stop corporate power, we will never dismantle fascism’s seduction of the white working class and unemployed.”
“Hope comes from the numerous protests that have been mounted in the streets, in town halls,” he continues. “We must engage in these battles on a local and on a national level … we will have to build new radical movements and most importantly, new parallel institutions that challenge the hegemony of corporate power. It will not be easy; it will take time.”
“Community Choice Energy” gives customers a choice in their energy provider. With Community Choice Energy, cities and counties contract with a licensed energy service provider to purchase energy in bulk, build renewable energy generating facilities, and implement energy efficiency programs. This efficient public/private partnership makes it possible to get the greenest energy at the best rates. This is how we should be able to purchase energy.
But PG&E doesn’t like competition. We saw that when they spent 45 million dollars to change the California constitution to eliminate the competition to stop Marin County and other Community Choice Energy projects.
I followed the Marin Supervisors when they pushed their Marin Clean Energy concept through. Thanks to some very bright people, Marin County can now purchase greener energy at lower rates and 100% solar is available.
Sonoma County saw the success of Marin Clean Energy and created their own Community Choice Energy and yes, it works too.
After seeing these non profit companies make this work, this should be a no brainer: Greener and cheaper and the money stays somewhat local.
Shawn Marshall, who spoke to many in Mendocino County recently, was a main force for Marin Clean Energy. As she has said; “The accomplishments of cheaper cleaner energy proves MCE is a sound business model.” She is correct. I watched it happen. Sonoma County now has Sonoma Clean Energy also and It works.
Sonoma County has offered to let Mendocino County energy users a chance to buy into this setup. Sonoma County’s power has a higher renewable content than PG&E’s. CleanStart is 80% carbon free — 37% from sources considered renewable under California’s regulations, like wind, biomass and geothermal, and 41% from large hydropower facilities.
I don’t think Mendocino County has the money to create its own public power agency. So let’s go with Sonoma County.
Mendocino County Supervisors: Please vote to give us a choice. It’s a good deal.
[Bernie’s new group will make sure Hillary becomes a real progressive, and help elect progressive House and Senate candidates to back it up… ds]
From Bernie Sanders
Our campaign has always been about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”
I just finished speaking at the Democratic National Convention, where I addressed the historic nature of our grassroots movement and what’s next for our political revolution.
I hope that I made you proud. I know that Jane and I are very proud of you.
Our work will continue in the form of a new group called Our Revolution.The goal of this organization will be no different from the goal of our campaign: we must transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families.
We cannot do this alone. All of us must be a part of Our Revolution.
Join Our Revolution and help continue our critical work to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice. Add your name here.
When we started this campaign a little more than a year ago, the media and the political establishment considered us to be a “fringe” campaign. Well, we’re not fringe anymore.
Thanks to your tireless work and generous contributions, we won 23 primaries and caucuses with more than 13 million votes, all of which led to the 1900 delegates we have on the floor this week at the Democratic convention.
What we have done together is absolutely unprecedented, but there is so much more to do. It starts with defeating Donald Trump in November, and then continuing to fight for every single one of our issues in order to transform America.
We are going to fight to make sure that the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party becomes law. This means working for a $15 federal minimum wage, fighting for a national fracking ban, and so many more progressive priorities.
The political revolution needs you in order to make all this happen and more.
Thank you for being a part of the continued political revolution.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.
I can see what you’re doing right now. You’re shaking your head wildly – “No, Mike, this won’t happen!” Unfortunately, you are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president. You alternate between being appalled at him and laughing at him because of his latest crazy comment or his embarrassingly narcissistic stance on everything because everything is about him. And then you listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy because that is what the American people clearly want! Yes! Four more years of this!
You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts – “77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them!” – or logic – “people aren’t going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests!” – is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from trauma. Like when you hear a loud noise on the street and you think, “oh, a tire just blew out,” or, “wow, who’s playing with firecrackers?” because you don’t want to think you just heard someone being shot with a gun. It’s the same reason why all the initial news and eyewitness reports on 9/11 said “a smallplane accidentally flew into the World Trade Center.” We want to – we need to – hope for the best because, frankly, life is already a shit show and it’s hard enough struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. We can’t handle much more bad news. So our mental state goes to default when something scary is actually, truly happening. The first people plowed down by the truck in Nice spent their final moments on earth waving at the driver whom they thought had simply lost control of his truck, trying to tell him that he jumped the curb: “Watch out!,” they shouted. “There are people on the sidewalk!”
The Hotline Project is expanding to include a new, Live Chat Line. Now, people all across the world can connect with a Hotline Agent through an instant chat client.
Think about it… Anybody who may risk being outed because someone overhears their call can now get help using their computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Our tentative launch date is March 1, 2016. In order to meet that deadline, we need volunteers to work as chat line agents. We’ll provide the training and mentoring so you are well prepared and confident in your work.
We also need your financial support. Even a small donation will go a long way to helping us get the chat line operational.
I’m offering you this personal invitation to join us as we make history…again!
The Hotline Project
Recovering From Religion
From Flush The TPP
TPP text is released and activists call for major protests in Washington DC from November 14-18.
Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It’s Worse Than We Thought, With Limits on Food Safety and Controversial Investor-State System Expanded, Rollback of Bush-Era Medicine Access and Environmental Terms
Pact’s Fate in Congress Uncertain at Best; Long-Awaited Text Reveals Gaps Between Administration Claims and Actual TPP Terms On Key Congressional, Public Concerns
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today’s long-awaited release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) reveals that the pact replicates many of the most controversial terms of past pacts that promote job offshoring and push down U.S wages while further expanding the scope of the controversial investor-state system and rolling back improvements on access to affordable medicines and environmental standards that congressional Democrats forced on the George W. Bush administration in 2007.
“Apparently, the TPP’s proponents resorted to such extreme secrecy during negotiations because the text shows TPP would offshore more American jobs, lower our wages, flood us with unsafe imported food and expose our laws to attack in foreign tribunals,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “When the administration says it used the TPP to renegotiate NAFTA, few expected that meant doubling down on the worst job-killing, wage-suppressing NAFTA terms, expanding limits on food safety and rolling back past reforms on environmental standards and access to affordable drugs.”
On some key issues, the text reveals provisions that will cost TPP support from members of Congress who supported the narrow passage of Fast Track trade authority this summer, and affirm for the many members of Congress who backed past trade deals but opposed Fast Track that the TPP must be stopped.
From Els Cooperrider
It is inevitable that there will be another wildfire. It is part of the redwood ecology. As with the 2008 Lightning Complex fires, it will be high intensity and difficult to fight. Decades of overcutting and fire suppression have resulted in proliferation of forest fuels.
Timber companies are currently poisoning hardwood trees using a method called “Hack & Squirt”, leaving the trees to die and eventually decompose. As a result, our coastal forests now have as many as 15 million intentionally killed hardwood trees left standing. Add to that a tinder-dry forest in its fourth year of drought and we have—a ticking time bomb!
Even if you don’t live near the forest and are not in danger of losing your life or property, you care about our brave volunteer and professional firefighters.
A Cal Fire Incident Commander cautions his firefighters about the dangerous snags and dead trees which can fall and spread a fire. “He wanted to be sure that the firefighters paid attention carefully to each and every snag. It only takes one to cause injury or death.”
I asked our Mendocino County Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Scaglione about the smoke from these poisoned trees when they burn. He wrote: “… the main ingredient, isopropylamine salt of Imazapyr…indicates that when thermally decomposed, may release hazardous and/or toxic fumes. and may release irritating or toxic fumes if burned.” He went on: Just as in “treated” lumber, I would whole heartedly recommend NOT burning wood that has been treated with any other EPA registered herbicide or pesticide.
Scaglione continued: “As to your question concerning protection of you and your family in case of fire, let me state the obvious; the most healthy option is not to remain in smoke laden areas if at all possible.”
You may not be in danger of burning in the next forest fire, but most of us will be breathing that toxic smoke when those poisoned trees burn. Think of our firefighters, putting themselves in harm’s way. They are the first line of defense and the first to be harmed by this misguided practice of intentionally killing and leaving standing millions of trees every year.
I hope you’ll give your firefighters and neighbors a fighting chance by signing the petition to place this important initiative on the ballot. MRC’s Mike Jani recently told a reporter that when this initiative becomes law they’d stop hack & squirt. Please help us defuse this time bomb.
For info contact:
The AVA calls Mendocino County Health Services a “stinking pile of privatized administrative manure”…
WE’RE AMAZED that no one in Official Mendocino County seems upset in the least about Mental Health Director Tom Pinizzotto — a former Ortner executive — negotiating billing rates and Mental Health contracts with his old pals at Ortner Management Group.
WE HAVE Supervisor Dan Gjerde pointing out that Ortner is overcharging for administration.
WE HAVE Ortner’s bill showing that they’re overcharging for case management (and probably more, buried deep in their nearly unreadable bills).
WE HAVE the Grand Jury’s report from last year pointing out in chapter and verse that Mr. Pinizzotto has an obvious “appearance” of a conflict of interest, i.e., an actual conflict of interest if not a technically illegal one.
SINCE Pinizzotto oversees Ortner’s Mental Health activities and acts as gatekeeper for information to the Board of Supervisors and the public, and since he’s a former Ortner employee who negotiated privatization of roughly half of Mendocino County’s mental health services (valued at $7 to $ million annually) with Ortner and then went to work as an administrator with the unprivatized part of Mendocino County’s mental health services, how could this NOT be an illegal conflict of interest?
WE HAVE a Mental Health Advisory Board that doesn’t interest itself in finances or actual delivery of services, which causes us to wonder how that board views its function. What is its reason for being?
WE STILL HAVE a bloated County Mental Health department — also overseen by Pinizzotto — in spite of most of the work supposedly having been farmed out to Ortner Management Group, a private for-profit business, and Redwood Children’s Management Company, another private business.
WE HAVE A Board of Supervisors (well, four of them anyway — Hamburg is either oblivious or complicit) who seem interested in looking into some aspects of the Mental Health Department’s finances but never gets around to actually doing it.
WE HAVE a small army of free-range nuts and drug-addled Mendolanders who get no “service” and cause a lot of trouble and expense because a huge chunk of the Mental Health money is not going anywhere near them. Instead, we have the Ortner people offering alleged services like Tai Chi and Geezers Talking To Each Other (“Senior Peer Counseling”) being charged out by the minute as a “Mental Health Service.”
WE HAVE this private contractor, Ortner, in business to make a profit for its owners deciding who gets what mental health service based largely on ability to pay or insurance coverage.
AND WE HAVE Ortner (via a subcontractor) about to move in to the Old Coast Hotel in downtown Fort Bragg where they will surely expand their admin services even more because Ortner has yet to bill at his full spending authority rate rubberstamped by the supervisors.
WE HAVE HHSA Director Stacey Cryer saying — admitting, really, after more than two years of privatization experience — they have a lot to learn about the process, and admits that the County and Ortner are still performing duplicate administrative functions.
WE HAVE AN ongoing multi-million dollar mental health deficit caused by state denials of mental health service reimbursement claims, which drains money away from other important county programs, including law enforcement which has become Mendocino County’s de facto mental health services provider although we’re paying a private provider between $7 and $8 million annually to care for this county’s adult walking wounded.
AND WE HAVE the Board of Supervisors throwing even more money at this badly broken and corrupt mess via two recent $500k Mental Health contract amendments and the pending $150k “Stepping Up” initiative as if any real good is being done for the bulk of the Mentally Ill with these wasted tax dollars.
HOW BAD DOES THIS HAVE TO GET before somebody at least audits this stinking pile of privatized administrative manure?
CALLING DA EYSTER: Is fraud still a crime? Isn’t Pinizzotto’s position illegal?
On the orders of George Washington the Continental Army burned the village of Coreorgonel in what is now Ithaca in September 1779. The town was occupied by Tutelo people, who had fled the British and were taken in by the Cayugas of the Six Nations. Washington’s orders to lay waste and devastation to the tribes of the Six Nations, burn their villages and destroy their crops with the objective being “their total destruction and devastation and the capture of as many persons of every age and sex as possible.” Painting by Glenn Norris; image provided by the History Center of Tompkins County.
In the US, as the country celebrates the 4th of July, more are understanding that the so-called “founding fathers” have taken credit for a mass movement of colonists who sought independence, where nearly 100 “Declarations of Independence” were written before the Jefferson version; and where the issues of racism, sexism, and ethnic cleansing of the Indigenous were not recognized. Rather than celebrating the slave-owning plutocrats who hijacked this country we celebrate those who continue the struggle for self-determination here and around the world.
The struggle, as we can see in Greece, is against the plutocratic bankers who profit while the 99 percent suffer the consequences of their wealth extraction. True independence is a worldwide struggle that is ongoing.
It is essential that we understand the true history of the United States and how it plays out today in order to transform the world to be more just and sustainable. Bill Bigelow of the Zinn Education Project provides excellent references in “Celebrating the Fourth of July is a Cartoon in Miseducation.”
For a better understanding of the utter brutality used to take land and fund the founding of the US, read “Indigenous Peoples History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. She describes the roots of the “American Way of War” that means total annihilation – destroying food crops, terrorizing women, children and the elderly and killing all potential fighters without concern for the non-fighters of any age or sex that die with them. That brutality continues today in subtler but still violent ways beginning with economic embargoes and sanctions to shock and awe aerial bombardments and constant drone attacks.
The Indigenous Peoples of the United States continue to be mistreated, for example the taking of Indigenous land, including Sacred Sites, and giving it to corporations so they can extract its wealth as is happening in Arizona. Tomorrow the Apache Stronghold convoy begins its journey to Washington. Click here to learn more about their struggle and how you can support them. This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the long practice of exploitation of Indigenous Nations.
White Supremacist Violence
Bree Newsome describes why she scaled the flag pole in Charleston after the massacre to take down the confederate flag. She says: “I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015….”
Newsome is active with the growing Freedom Side movement of black and brown youth working to build more inclusive, economically just and democratic institutions. United We Dream, also a member of Freedom Side, held an action outside the White House this week to protest the detention of LGBTQ immigrants and their mistreatment.
A part of the increasing awareness of injustice is the role of structural violence, which comes in many forms, and its roots in a hierarchical social order where a few exploit the many for profit. This is explored in depth by Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree in “The Hidden Structure of Violence.”
There are many current examples. The Obama administration is moving forward with the triad of treaties, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in Services Agreement (TiSA). Recent leaks of the TPP and TiSAreveal the harm they will cause by driving a global race to the bottom in worker rights, wages, health and destruction of the planet. The TiSA leak should enrage every local government as Wikileaks reports their loss of control over their local ecoomy: “The draft Annex aims to reduce procurement regulation to ensure that TiSA governments will not favour local services over services supplied by foreign multinationals.”
Walden Bello tells us that the TPP is the economic arm of Obama’s Asian Pivot to surround China and he urges us to rise up together and resist it. Popular Resistance will continue to organize to stop the triad of treaties. Take the pledge to join the TPP Resistance.
That pivot also has a military arm which includes building more US military bases and running military drills in ecologically sensitive areas in South Korea, Okinawa, the Maldives and the Philippines where there are strong community opposition. This week during a commemoration of the battle of Okinawa, the audience heckled Japanese Prime Minister Abe for his support of increased militarization and a new base in Henoko. A protest of the Asian Pivot was also held in Manila.
The struggle in Peru over the Tia Maria Copper Mine demonstrates what our future will be like if the triad of treaties passes. It includes more land grabs, environmental degradation and militarized oppression of those who resist.
The US and Global Elites Block Struggles for Independence
Another new book, “Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq” by Ali Issa shows more hidden history of the vibrant nonviolent movement that was working to oust Saddam Hussein before the US occupation violently disrupted it.
An international coalition, Freedom Flotilla III, attempted once again to end the blockade of Gaza. As the four boats approached Gaza, the Israeli military intercepted the lead boat, used violence against the peaceful passengers and jailed them in Hebron. The other boats turned around to avoid the fate of the Freedom Flotilla II in which nine passengers were killed by the Israelis but Israel was never prosecuted.
Greece is at a critical crossroads this weekend after being the first developed country to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tomorrow Greek citizens will vote on a referendumover whether or not to accept bailout conditions, which include severe austerity measures, imposed by the European Union.
Historical context is essential to understand the situation in Greece as since World War II the US, United Kingdom and Germany have repeatedly abused Greece and pushed it toward neoliberal oligarchy. The IMF intentionally acted to provide inadequate support to Greece after its economic collapse and to protect investors and elites.
There is a strong movement to vote “No” on the referendum which has held massive protests recently, including the largest crowd last night since 1974 when the dictatorship ended. But the elites are doing all they can through their control of the media to convince the people to vote “Yes.” Seumas Milne of the Guardian writes that the EU is using this as an opportunity for regime change in Greece and to end the rise of Leftist governments such as Syriza and Podemos.
A Few Victories to Celebrate
There are active movements in the US and abroad working for justice and gains are being made. Reclaim the American Dream reports that 16 states and 500 cities have voted to repeal Citizens United.
A Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma this week opened the door to lawsuits against oil companies for damage caused by fracking earthquakes.
Also this week, a court in Washington State ruled in favor of youth who petitioned for limits to carbon emissions.
So let’s celebrate the global movement to stop the violent neoliberal agenda and transform the world to a place where all people are treated equitably with peace and social, economic and environmental justice for all. And let’s understand our true history so we don’t repeat it. Today, let’s celebrate the ongoing struggles of millions around the globe for true independence and not the founding myths on which the United States is built.
And please share this message WIDELY.
Our country was born in revulsion to hereditary family rule. Yet we’re supposed to accept that 2016 will be the 8th presidential election out of 10 since 1980 with a Bush and/or a Clinton on a major party presidential ticket.
Both the Bushes and the Clintons — sometimes with different approaches and rhetoric — have presided over national decline, especially the corporatization and militarization of our society. In the decades of domination by these two families and their corporate friends, our country has experienced:
- middle-class decline
- ever-increasing corporate control of politics and economics
- “free trade” pacts like the TPP that hurt workers and the environment
- near-constant war and erosion of civil liberties
- government bailouts for Wall Street but not homeowners
- structural poverty and a racially-biased “drug war”
- ever-rising costs of a college education
If you believe our country needs a total change of direction — not just rejecting the Bushes and the Clintons, but any candidates who propose to continue their corporatist policies — please click on the following. . .
The reality is that corporate elites can’t lose with another Bush or Clinton. In a Politico article revealing Hillary Clinton’s support among Republican financiers, a “top Republican-leaning Wall Street lawyer” said the following: “If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine.”
Good news is that Hillary Clinton faces growing progressive opposition in the Democratic race.
Please spread this message to friends and relatives who are fed up with the status quo.
This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.
— The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
After all this time, CalTrans still insists on seeking criminal restitution fees from Will Parrish for his occupation of the “wick drain stitcher” in Little Lake Valley, which occurred in the early summer of 2013! After countless delays, the restitution hearing is scheduled for Friday, October 10th at 9:30 a.m. at Mendocino County Courtroom “B” in Ukiah.
CalTrans seeks $154,733 in restitution fees from Will, down from their original claim of $490,002. This is in spite of the fact that Will already settled the criminal charges related to his non-violent action in Jan. 2014, with the Mendocino County DA agreeing to two misdemeanors, which become infractions on Will’s record in Jan. 2016, and 100 hours of community service (which Will has already completed).
Your presence at the hearing helps make a powerful statement. This case provides a measuring stick for the validity of CalTrans’ utterly absurd claims that protesters caused $12 million in taxpayer burden by delaying the project in 2013. Let’s stand behind someone who has stood up for all of us! Let’s put CalTrans’ greed on trial!
– Live in Willits? Carpool by meeting at Bountiful Gardens in Evergreen Shopping Plaza at 8:30
– Restitution Hearing at 9:30
– Rally at noon on the courthouse steps
From Els Cooperrider
Okay, you Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, listen up. I know you’re tired, disgusted, and thoroughly pissed off by the Gigolos running this country. You and I know almost all politicians are for sale to the highest bidder and we know the highest bidders are getting richer every day on the backs of us wage slaves. And, it seems there’s nothing we can do about it. Or is there?
Yes, there is actually. And it doesn’t just mean lifting our sharpened pencil and voting the bums out of office. There is hope even beyond that. Sometimes a bunch of common folks get so fed up that they decide to get it together, even here in Mendoland, to put something on the ballot that will knock your socks off. Something that will benefit us, our kids, and their kids, for a long time to come.
If you do nothing else this fall, at least peruse your election ballot and go to the very end where you’ll see Measure S. Then take your pencil or pen and fill in the box that says YES. What have you done? You may prevent your tap water from catching fire. Not only is such tap water not fit to drink for you or your kids. It’s not fit to drink for your cats and dogs and it will probably kill any plants you’re trying to grow.
Measure S is a citizens initiative, like Measure H, the GMO ban was, seeking to prevent something bad from happening in our county. That ‘bad’ would be fracking. Measure S puts the people’s will before the will and greed of the corporate giants who want to make still more money, even it means contaminating your water source. Measure S, if passed, won’t let them do that.
Sure, it isn’t perfect and there will probably be a battle with the Big Boys when it is passed. However, ‘Bring them on’, I say. Let’s get this fight and the disparities between the Haves, and Have Nots out in the open. If the People have spoken, is anyone listening? You bet! There is Hope. It’s my favorite four letter word (in spite of Bill Clinton). You can have it too, It will bring a bounce to your step. Try it.
From Jamie Lee
In less than six weeks, Mendocino County has a chance to make significant history.
This November 4th, if passed into ordinance, Measure S will become the first county in California, and only the 2nd county in the country, to establish a Community Bill of Rights asserting our inherent right to clean water through banning the banning of any and all fracking activities in the county. (You can read about Measure S at Yesons.me.)
For over a decade now there has been a fast growing grass roots movement across the country where counties, communities and cities are exercising their rights to local self-governance. Over 160 communities across the United States have now passed local ordinances declaring their rights. The ordinances have included the banning of fracking, disallowing toxic corporate sludge waste dumping on private and community lands, halting continued toxification of local ecosystems and water streams and denying corporations the same rights as human beings, also known as corporate personhood.
From WILL PARRISH
I’ve “put myself out there,” as the young folk like to say nowadays, by launching a public fundraising campaign via the site Indiegogo. Being that I am not in a position to make a full living as a journalist otherwise, I’ve turned to The People to support me financially. Overall, I’ve been really happy about the results! As of this writing, I’ve received $3,297 in donations.
I’ve just learned that someone will give me $1,000 within the next day or two! That will bring me to just $1,200 shy of my goal of $5,500. My deadline is this Saturday. If I receive an average of $300 in donations in the next four days, I’ll be all the way there.
From WILL PARRISH
Journalists who challenge power structures and investigate deeply into the causes of social ills scarcely get funded in the contemporary media marketplace. Please support me in bringing these stories of optimism and determination in the face of destruction to broader audiences…
No other place of equivalent size in the world has altered its watersheds as dramatically as California. The Golden State is home to a staggering infrastructure of dams, reservoirs, power plants, pumping plants, canals, aqueducts, gates, tunnels, and other installations that are all about controlling where water goes and who receives it.
The year 2013 was California’s driest on record. The first six months of 2014 have been the hottest half-year on record. Reservoirs are drying up. Groundwater basins are diminishing at an alarming pace. Yet, the water demands of the state’s gargantuan agribusiness empire, its sprawling metropolises, and its extractive industries (such as, increasingly, fracking) are only growing.
Politicians and business leaders are seizing on this crisis by pushing for the largest dam- and canal-building binge since the State Water Project of the 1960s and ’70s. The best known of these, the Delta Twin Tunnels, is just the tip of the spear for all manner of new schemes that would further constipate California’s waterways and destroy much of what remains of its aquatic life…
See Will’s Indiegogo Project here…
Update: Hearing Postponed… Support Willits Bypass Activist Will Parrish in Court Thursday Morning 7/17/14…
From WILL PARRISH
New details have come to light regarding the US Army Corps of Engineers’ June 20th decision to suspend the Willits Bypass’ US Clean Water Act permit (404 permit): the first time the Corps has ever suspended a northern California project on Clean Water Act grounds.
The timing of the suspension was linked to CalTrans’ efforts to resume importing soil from the Mendocino Forest Products (ie, Mendocino Redwood Company) mill site north of Willits, which is Big Orange’s preferred source of fill to create the massive berm on which the freeway would be perched north of its roughly one-mile viaduct past Hearst-Willits Road.
From Grange Farm School
The crucially important purpose of the Grange Farm School is to help aspiring farmers learn the skills they need to pursue their dreams as small farmers and to provide healthy local food to their communities.
You know the bad news:
America’s farmers are aging, and their children are not replacing them on the farm. American commercial agriculture is good at producing huge quantities of mono-crops laden with GMOs and chemicals; but wholesome, healthy food is hard to come by. And conventional agriculture gulps fossil fuels and water and depletes the topsoil at alarming rates.
Here’s the good news:
Yesterday we saw intense, behind-the-scenes, shady lobbying tactics from Monsanto and the biotech industry in Sacramento as they fought to kill GMO labeling in California. Yesterday there was a floor vote on SB 1381 and it needs just 2 more votes to pass – but we need your help today!
The vote late last night was 19 to 17 in favor SB 1381, but the bill NEEDS 21 VOTES to pass! Senator Noreen Evans has called for a reconsideration vote of the bill and we will have a FINAL VOTE TODAY.
From David Suzuki
Ever wonder how your tiny carbon footprint really impacts the big picture of climate change? Though you might feel like your lifestyle is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day life — how we get around, what we eat, how we live — play a major role in slowing climate change.
Here’s a list of 10 ways you can join in the fight to reduce our carbon footprint. Whether you save it on your desktop, share it with friends, or stick a copy on your fridge (PDF), this quick reference guide breaks down what you can do today to protect the planet for future generations.
1. Green your commute
Transportation causes about 25 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take transit whenever you can. You’ll save money and get into better shape! If you can’t go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.
The Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, Ohio are pioneering innovative models of job creation, wealth building, and sustainability. Evergreen’s employee-owned, for-profit companies are based locally and hire locally. They create meaningful green jobs and keep precious financial resources within the Greater University Circle neighborhoods. Worker-owners at Evergreen earn a living wage and build equity in the firms as owners of the business.
See Also The Mondragon Experiment
The movement to end the violence through the decriminalization of drugs has never had so much momentum. And it’s never been easier to get involved.
On Saturday, May 10, the third annual “National Dignity March” converged in Mexico City, with hundreds of marchers having walked for a full month from cities and towns all over Mexico. Most of the marchers had lost family members or friends in drug-trafficking violence.
May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries
On May 24, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries,with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states. A comprehensive list of marches can be accessed at http://www.march-against-monsanto.com.
Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM), was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”
Salmon and Sovereignty: Indigenous perspectives on water and cultural survival in California this Saturday 4/19/14 Ukiah…
From WILL PARRISH
“We were born from water, we are of the water, and we fight to protect it.”
—Chief Caleen Sisk
Saturday, April 19th
Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse
107 S. Oak St., Ukiah
$5-20 donation; no one turned away
Proceeds will benefit the Winnemem Wintu tribe
*Dinner will be provided*
* Chief Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Strongly rooted in their traditional practices, the Winnemem Wintu of Northern California are engaged in ecological, cultural, and spiritual restoration, including bringing salmon back to their home river, the McCloud. Chief Sisk will speak about the tribe’s struggle for survival and their current work of restoring natural water systems and stopping disastrous proposed megaprojects such as the Delta Twin Tunnels and the Shasta Dam raise that would flood large portions of sacred Winnemem land—for the second time. Sisk is also an outspoken opponent of fracking.
ALERT! U.S. Navy Escalates Warfare Testing in the Pacific, Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico in 2014 — PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE APRIL 15, 2014 – Action Items from Rosalind Peterson…
From ROSALIND PETERSON
Public Comment Due by April 15, 2014, on U.S. Navy NWTT Website for Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Alaska. Read the Northwest Training & Testing EIS/OEIS Draft EIS/OEIS on the U.S. Navy Website & Make Your Public Comments or Ask Questions:
U.S. Navy Website: http://nwtteis.com/
“…In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of its exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur, and virtually every coastal state will be affected. Some exercises may occur in the nation’s most biologically sensitive marine habitats, including National Marine Sanctuaries and breeding habitat for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. In all, the Navy anticipates more than 2.3 million takes (significant disruptions in marine mammal foraging, breeding
High above the Bowling Green town dump, a green energy revolution is being won. It’s being helped along by the legalization of marijuana and its biofueled cousin, industrial hemp.
But it’s under extreme attack from the billionaire Koch Brothers, utilities like First Energy (FE), and a fossil/nuke industry that threatens our existence on this planet.
Robber Baron resistance to renewable energy has never been more fierce. The prime reason is that the Solartopian Revolution embodies the ultimate threat to the corporate utility industry and the hundreds of billions of dollars it has invested in the obsolete monopolies that define King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas).
The outcome will depend on YOUR activism, and will determine whether we survive here at all. Four very large wind turbines in this small Ohio town are producing clean, cheap electricity that can help save our planet. A prime reason they exist is that Bowling Green has a municipalowned utility.
From Big Oil Brown
Fracking is already happening in some parts of California, but if Jerry Brown and Big Oil get their way, it could explode in the state. In many parts of the country, fracking operations are digging up natural gas – which has its own problems – but in California, this dangerous process will largely be used to dig up dirty oil. The Governor is forgetting that his first priority is the well-being of his constituents, not oil industry profits. Jerry needs to pick a side: either he’s the climate champion he says he is, or he’s Big Oil Brown, champion of fracking and the oil companies.
There’s no question that we need to leave oil in the ground, and using fracking to get it out makes that no brainer even clearer. Fracking is extremely energy intensive, and has also been seen to encourage methane leakage, which can contribute massively to global warming as well.
Fracking uses roughly 4 million gallons of water and 80,000 gallons of proppants and chemicals per fracturing. In a state like California where water is so precious, every gallon counts.
From CAL WINSLOW
Will Parrish needs your support. He now faces eight years in prison; in addition, $490,000 in fines, “restitution”. And for what? For delaying a freeway, the “Redwood Highway” – the California 101.
Parrish is a journalist here in Willits, in Mendocino County. He is also an activist and a teacher. His trial is scheduled for the County Courthouse in Ukiah, at 8:30 AM, on January 28th.
Will’s crime must be peculiarly Californian, a crime against a freeway. It must, from the grave, be raising Ronald Reagan’s hackles, jolting his memory. We’re told, incessantly in the media, this delay also enrages our ordinary travelers; drivers, it seems, now delayed five minutes (or so) along the main street of Willits on the trip to Eureka.
Willits, Eureka, Mendocino, Humboldt, why here? In this wildest corner of the state? “California’s transportation infrastructure – once the freeway wonder of the world – now lags hopelessly behind…”, Mike Davis tells us this, and quite rightly, but you can’t say they’re not trying. The issue here is a bypass.
Mike’s down south, where the people are. Things are different here.
We need to call out the planners of the Ukiah Valley slaughterhouse group on their true, long-range plans… which are, in my opinion, to expand and supply large amounts of meat to the Bay Area after getting approval of a small local operation right here in our Ukiah population center. And they are going to use the so-called “Right To Industry” County ordinance proposal to help force it on us.
Right To Industry? What’s next, “Right To Retail” so we can’t protest Walmart expansion? There is hardly precedence for this type of ordinance anywhere in the country. Why Mendocino County? Why now? This is nothing but a Chamber of Commerce / Employers Council / Realtors / Builders Exchange sucker punch.
Rather, as citizens, we need to maintain our own “Right to Democracy” that this would destroy. Becoming the Harris Ranch North meat processing center for the Bay Area is not what local citizens will accept. The slaughterhouse long-range plan to grow big is obvious because they want it near the Russian River, with sewer hookups for water and waste management, and close to 101 for shipping to the Bay Area.
Rather, to supply meat to our local, northern California region, we need appropriate, decentralized, small-scale, USDA inspected, mobile slaughter… on the ranches themselves. This approach is successful in several areas of the country.
From AVA PETERSON
[Further to her previous letter]
It has come to my attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors intends to vote on a Mendocino County “Right to Industry” Ordinance on December 10, 2013. This ordinance has now been revised by “County Staff” and will be presented to the Board for a vote on December 10th.
The Mendocino County CEO just initiated a 6-Day Public Comment Period which ends on December 10, 2013. The CEO lists various “Stakeholders” forgetting to include Mendocino County Residents, the major stakeholders, in his quest for public comments.
This “Right to Industry” Ordinance (which reads like an “Industry Protection Racket), would protect current and future industrial operations from complaints by neighbors for a wide variety of problems that should be addressed on the local level by our supervisors who are elected to represent the interests of all the people of Mendocino County. In addition there is no definition for many terms within the ordinance including the word “nuisance”. Thus, many interpretations may be used due to lack of clear definitions.
This “ordinance” unleashes all current and future industrial operations to pollute our air, water, soil, negatively impact our roads, sewage treatment plant, local wells, and would increase noise, night lights, chemical releases, excessive use of ever-larger billboards, lower property values without county compensation, lower quality of Russian River Water (along with tributaries), and also impact neighboring industries who may not appreciate having a dusty, dirty, noisy, polluting neighbor.
This “ordinance” has the potential to reduce the quality of life throughout Mendocino County. And it could impact future businesses and residential properties in the Ukiah Valley and other areas by undermining the quality of life and health of the residents of Mendocino County. It should be noted that changes take place in zoning areas in Mendocino County from time-to-time which could impact more and more residents of our county as these changes occur.
[We need to call out the planners (and ranchers, even though we love every last one of them) of the Ukiah Valley slaughterhouse group, on their true plans… which are, in my opinion, to expand and supply large amounts of meat to the Bay Area after getting approval of a small local operation right here in our Ukiah population center. And they are going to use the so-called “Right To Industry” proposal to help force it on us.
Becoming Harris Ranch North is not what local citizens will accept. Otherwise, to supply our local, northern California region with appropriate, decentralized, small-scale mobile slaughter, on the ranches, will suffice. Their long range plan to grow big is obvious because they want it near the Russian River with sewer hookups for water and waste management, and close to 101 for shipping to the Bay Area… even though it will be in our largest population area.
The argument against mobile units here is that California law does not permit the burying and composting of waste on ranch land as other states’ ranchers, who are successfully using mobile meat processing, are able to do.
C’mon, it’s not that hard! Gather up Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and a few chef celebrities and small ranchers, go to Sacramento, and get the law changed!
If a Ukiah Valley slaughterhouse is approved now, there will no longer be an incentive for ranchers to pursue this small-scale, greener, localized, humane, on-ranch solution. Stop The Slaughterhouse Now! -DS]
[Previous Slaughterhouse blog posts, going years back, here.]
Times are tough for small livestock and poultry producers.
[This is how they will try and prevent us from opposing the population-center slaughterhouse… What’s next, “Right To Retail” so we can’t protest Walmart expansion? Hardly any precedence for this anywhere in the country. Why us? Why now? This is nothing but a Chamber of Commerce / Employers Council / Realtors / Builders Exchange sucker punch. -DS]
From AVA PETERSON
It has come to my attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors intends to vote on a Mendocino County “Right to Industry” Ordinance on December 10, 2013. This ordinance has now been revised by “County Staff” and will be presented to the Board for a vote on December 10th.
The Mendocino County CEO just initiated a 6-Day Public Comment Period which ends on December 10, 2013. The CEO lists various “Stakeholders” forgetting to include Mendocino County Residents, the major stakeholders, in its quest for public comments.
This “Right to Industry” Ordinance (which reads like an “Industry Protection Racket”), would protect current and future industrial operations from complaints by neighbors for a wide variety of problems that should be addressed on the local level by our supervisors who are elected to represent the interests of all the people of Mendocino County.
The information below was forwarded to me on December 4, 2013. I am making the assumption from the information below that the “Public” is not considered a “Stakeholder” by the Mendocino County Executive Office or the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
Please note that your feedback or public comments should also be directed to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
From RON EPSTEIN and JAN ALLEGRETTI
If you are genuinely concerned about the prospect of a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, and have time and energy to devote, please come to our meeting Saturday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the MEC.
As you may know, there’s a very active ongoing effort to build a slaughterhouse in Ukiah. The Economic Development Corporation (EDFC) is spearheading the effort, and we’ve heard that at least one wealthy investor has expressed an interest in financing the facility. We’d like to update you on what we know and what we’ve heard—you’ll find the details below.
Also, we’re planning a meeting of people who have concerns about this effort—those who do not want any slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, as well as those who want to put restrictions on its location, size, economic, environmental, public health, and social impacts. If you are one of those people, and have time and energy to contribute over the coming months—or longer—please consider attending. If you can’t attend, please contact us by return email to let us know how you’d like to be involved.
To create a thriving, community-centered cowork space and business incubator that supports Ukiah and Mendocino County entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Ukiah Share Space will be a place for people to:
* share space, resources and skills,
* incubate new businesses and projects,
* foster and celebrate our entrepreneurial spirit, and
* create new local jobs.
Communities across the country are in need of a new type of economic revitalization — a type that is based on delocalization of basic needs and essential goods.
Localizing food production, reviving local manufacturing and reintroducing cooperatives are all pieces of this puzzle. The Share Space is a central location where these things can happen under one roof. It is a hub for sharing resources, learning new skills, finding sustainable solutions and incubating the new local economy.
The Ukiah Share Space Cowork and Local Economy Center will be organized as a public-private partnership between the City of Ukiah, EDFC and its partners.
Elements of the Center will include:
* Cowork Space
* Start-up Office Space
* Incubation Services
* Local Investment Opportunities
* Green Design Lab
* North Bay Made
* Reuse, Repair & Share Resources
Benefits to the community include:
* Incubation of new businesses and jobs
* A gathering place to support the local economy
From COMMON DREAMS
Over the past two decades, communities across the world have been working to build more just, sustainable and locally based alternatives to the global corporate economy. As a result, pro-local initiatives have grown by leaps and bounds, including farmers markets, food cooperatives,“buy local” and “move your money” campaigns, small business alliances, and local renewable energy projects. However,“free“ trade treaties are a mortal threat to local economies worldwide. Like trade treaties before them, the TPP and TTIP facilitate a race to the bottom that favors large, mobile corporations at the expense of local producers, small businesses, and workers. What’s more, these treaties subordinate local democracy to corporate interests, and hamstring the ability of communities to shift direction toward more prosperous local economies. To continue the inspiring success of their movements, localists need to join the global resistance against these treaties.
Ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was proposed more than 20 years ago, critics have warned about the negative implications of “free” trade treaties and other efforts to deregulate global trade and investment. Today, after two decades of deregulation, the impacts are exactly as feared: endemic unemployment and economic ‘precarity’, massive social dislocation in the global North and South, a widening gap between rich and poor, financial instability, growing hunger and food insecurity, and the weakening of public interest laws meant to protect people and the environment. Meanwhile, global corporations and big banks have grown larger and ever more powerful.
Thanks to “free” trade treaties, corporations have become unfettered and less rooted to place: in a global “race to the bottom” they can move wherever wages and benefits are low, and where tax rules and social and environmental laws are weak. This race imposes a downward pressure on wages, and compels every level of government to reduce sorely needed taxes and protective regulations, or risk losing businesses and jobs.
From MADGE STRONG
Willits City Councilwoman
Save Little Lake Valley
There’s a better than fair chance the US Army Corps of Engineers might end up agreeing with us on this point: No Caltrans Bypass of Willits.
Willits City Councilwoman Madge Strong wrote the following for the Willits Economic LocaLization Newsletter. She wrote it before the Army Corps of Engineers’ chief regulator for the North Bay/North Coast, Laura Monarres, announced that ACE is close to shutting down Bypass construction.
Many people think the bypass is a “done deal” given the amount of construction already completed. Maybe so; maybe not…
The latest obstacle or opportunity is that the lowest bid for constructing the mitigation infrastructure (grading, fencing, planting) came in at $39 million – three times the Caltrans estimate of $$13 million. Caltrans does not have funding for this shortfall.The $39 million is only part of the price tag. Once “constructed,” the wetland mitigation lands also require monitoring and corrective measures (estimated at another $13 million), and then long-term management in perpetuity (under-estimated by Caltrans at $11 million).
Mitigation is a requirement of both the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and Water Board permits, due to the 68+ acres of wetlands being destroyed in Phase 1 of the project.
From Moyers & Co
In our nation’s capitol, calls for cutting Social Security benefits and shifting the ever-rising costs of health care from Medicare onto the backs of American seniors are ubiquitous. But context matters, and these ideas are nothing short of perverse given the depths of the massively painful retirement crisis that working America faces today.
Social Security was never designed to provide real retirement security. It was conceived as one leg of a three-legged stool, supplementing pensions and personal savings. But traditional pensions are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by 401(K) plans — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the share of private sector workers responsible for their own retirement savings increased nearly four-fold between 1980 and 2008. And while Americans socked away almost ten percent of their incomes back in 1970, decades of stagnant middle-class wages has made saving up for retirement much harder – by 2010, we were only saving around four percent of what we made.
Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, says that, as a result of these trends, “75 percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts.” Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 rely on Social Security for over half their income, and for over a third of all seniors, those checks make up more than 90 percent of their income. “The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers,” says Ghilarducci, and “almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.”
This sorry state of affairs isn’t only hurting America’s seniors. It’s forcing many of them to remain in the workforce longer than they would otherwise, which is, in turn, hurting the job prospects of younger workers, who face a sky-high unemployment rate.