Tuesday was a national day of action urging congress to pass a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) rejecting the FCC's new rule that ends net neutrality. Numerous advocacy groups (including Popular Resistance and our Protect Our Internet campaign), individuals, corporations and websites participated. Reddit, Slashdot, Change.org, Sonic, Sonos and Etsy and were among about 1,500 websites who participated. We are one vote away from passing the resolution in the Senate. As a result, the Internet coalition organized the #OneMoreVote national day of action. People used the Battle for the Net’s #OneMoreVote campaign to encourage their Senators to support the CRA. In the House, Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) has 150 co-sponsors on his CRA bill. A majority of House members are needed to move forward.
It is astonishingly rare for any kind of direct action to be truly spontaneous. Most of the major marches or pickets you see on the news were weeks or months in the planning and organizing, and this is no exception. Best case scenario at the time of writing is that you have three weeks to plan if you are walking out on March 14. That’s short notice, but very far from impossible. The longer time horizon of April 20 is going to allow you to potentially do more publicly facing actions, like teach-ins, or arrange for speakers. Either way, the steps you need to follow are the same, how much time you have to do them is the only difference. First, your strongest shield is numbers. The bigger the walkout, the harder it will be for administrators and teachers to retaliate against you for taking action.
As the price of renewable energy drops, more cities are cutting the cord with fossil fuel-based electricity. A new report released Tuesday by the environmental group CDP finds that more than 100 cities worldwide now get the majority of their power—70 percent or more—from renewables. That's up from 42 in 2015, when countries pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement. CDP notes that more than 40 of those cities are now powered entirely by renewables, including Burlington, Vermont, which gets its electricity from a combination of wind, solar, hydro and biomass. Burlington will have more company within the next 20 years—58 U.S. cities, including Atlanta and San Diego, having announced plans to do the same. London-based CDP, which tracks climate-related commitments by corporations and governments, looked at 570 cities across the globe for the report.
If a low-income mom gets a $10/hour raise, that’s good news for her family, even if her boss gets an extra $100, right? Maybe not. Looking at children’s wellbeing in rich countries like the U.S. in 2007, Kate E. Pickett and Richard G. Wilkinson found that inequality may matter a lot more for kids’ lives than absolute income level. Pickett and Wilkinson started their study by looking at UNICEF data for 23 relatively wealthy countries, including Australia, Japan, the U.S., and much of Europe. For each country, they looked at a variety of child wellbeing measures, including infant mortality rates, immunizations, academic achievement, bullying, and loneliness. Only a few of these measures turned out to be related to a nation’s average income. Kids in the richest countries were more likely to pursue advanced education, less likely to live in single-parent or step-parent families, and more likely to eat fruit every day, but that was about it.
The Bayou Bridge pipeline will be the last leg of the Dakota Access, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. The final stretch of the project, if built as proposed, will span 162.5 miles from Lake Charles to St. James, cutting through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area and the country’s largest swamp. The lawsuit Earthjustice filed in federal court on January 11 against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West, Gulf Restoration Network, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club, alleges that the Corps acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” when it issued a permit for the pipeline. The plaintiffs were relieved by the judge’s ruling, and look forward to presenting their case in court, which they are confident will show cause to stop any new pipeline from being built until non-complaint companies fix existing problems.
Israeli occupation forces raided the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in the predawn hours of Monday in the latest episode of Israel’s premeditated revenge campaign against the Tamimi family. They detained Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, the 15-year-old boy shot in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet at close range and seriously injured by Israeli forces in December. Bassem Tamimi, the father of detained teenager Ahed Tamimi, wrote on Facebook Monday morning that a large force of Israeli soldiers armed with weaponized bulldozers and skunk water raided homes in the village during the night and detained 10 people. Six of those arrested were children, the youngest aged 14, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society. They included Muhammad’s 17-year-old brother Tamim. Bassem said that Muhammad Fadel Tamimi’s detention put the child’s life at risk.
People living near the docking platform of the Dominion Cove Point terminal were alarmed on Sunday afternoon to see an LNG tanker headed toward the shallows of their beach. The Shell liquefied natural gas carrier Gemmata arrived February 25–three days early–at the vicinity of the docking platform for the Cove Point LNG export terminal, which is in the commissioning process before starting full operations. About 4pm, the 290-meter-long Gemmata left the Chesapeake Bay’s northward shipping channel and entered the cove just before its final destination at the LNG terminal’s offshore platform. Then the tanker pulled back out and anchored off the point. It’s still not clear why the Gemmata’s pilot took this course. He either performed a spectacular three-point parking maneuver–with a ship weighing thousands of tons–or simply took a wrong turn.
In our deeply unequal age, we’ve become accustomed to talking about concepts like income and wealth, affluence and poverty. Researchers at the OECD, the developed world’s official economic research agency, would like to toss another concept into the inequality mix: economic vulnerability. Why do we need to talk about vulnerability? Wealth and income stats alone, a new OECD study points out, often don’t tell us the whole story about who’s prospering and who’s not. One example: Households with decent incomes often don’t have much in the way of assets. In these asset-poor households, any serious disruption — a sudden job loss, a family breakdown, a disability — could bring economic disaster. How many households are living at the precipice of this disaster? The OECD’s new economic vulnerability study has an alarming answer. The study covers the United States and 27 other major developed nations.
The United States is immersed in a political St. Vitus’s dance typical of empires in convulsion. The confident colossus that watched its arch-rival disintegrate from 1989-1991 now has its highest office occupied by a malevolent clown enabled by supporters befitting a casting call for a Hieronymous Bosch panel. The liberal class gnashes its teeth and blames Trump, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party. But the shock is hardly credible. The current political trap befits a country that internalized its own Cold War propaganda campaign from 1945-1991. The unrelenting flow of messages aimed at keeping Americans fearful and accommodating debased our public discourse and political process. The campaign was so successful that the most persuasive and enduring lies came to be those we told ourselves.
The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny. “Second Amendment cultists truly believe that guns are political power,” writes Mark Ames, the author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.” “[They believe that] guns in fact are the only source of political power.
Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot, an Indigenous lawyer, writer and activist, has a new book, "Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change," which explains her personal journey to activism and both how our societies have arrived at this time of grave threats and what we can do to create change. Some of our tasks are to recognize that colonization has not ended, the ways it manifests itself and how to begin the process of decolonization. We can do that, in part, by working to protect water sovereignty. Sherri talks about the mobilization at Standing Rock and the rise of Water Protectors. Then we speak with RaeLynn Cazelot, United Houmi and Pointe-au-Chien, who is a Water Protector working to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP).
Our knowledge of what the denizens of the animal kingdom are up to, especially when humans aren’t around, has steadily increased over the last 50 years. For example, we know now that animals use tools in their daily lives. Chimps use twigs to fish for termites; sea otters break open shellfish on rocks they selected; octopi carry coconut shell halves to later use as shelters. The latest discovery has taken this assessment to new heights, literally. A team of researchers led by Mark Bonta and Robert Gosford in northern Australia has documented kites and falcons, colloquially termed “firehawks,” intentionally carrying burning sticks to spread fire. While it has long been known that birds will take advantage of natural fires that cause insects, rodents and reptiles to flee and thus increase feeding opportunities, that they would intercede to spread fire to unburned locales is astounding.
A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer – a vast subterranean water reserve lying beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last over 100 years. Named after the Guarani indigenous people, the Guarani Aquifer is the world’s second largest underground water reserve and is estimated to be capable of sustainably providing the world’s population with drinking water for up to 200 years.
Thousands of teachers and other school personnel rallied outside in the West Virginia Capitol on Monday, where union officials announced that the first-ever statewide walkout underway would continue for a fourth day. "Our teachers and our public employees are getting less in pay per year every year, and people are fed up and fired up about it," said Morgantown High School art teacher Sam Brunett at a candlelight vigil Sunday outside the Capitol. The strike, which began Thursday, is indeed historic. (A nearly statewide strike took place in 1990.) The current action is taking place throughout the state's 55 counties, which means roughly 20,000 teachers are taking part.