One of the under appreciated hazards of fracking is its effect on democracy. Fracking is a big, intrusive process - one that sucks up lots of water, creates enormous amounts of traffic and an ungodly amount of noise, etc. Setting aside the environmental dangers and health effects (!), the heavy industrialization involved in fracking guarantees that communities will be abundantly aware of it. Read below the fold...
On Wednesday communities held Freedom From Toxic Fracking Waste rallies to raise awareness on one of the largest environmental risks from fracking: dealing with the waste it produces. Read below the fold...
One of the biggest threats fracking poses to the environment is the way it endangers the water supply. It does so in several ways, one of which has large-scale implications. Global impact like that is a little unusual; environmental issues are more likely to be local. Whether it's fracking, lead paint/asbestos in old buildings, or a Superfund site, once you get a few miles away from it the greatest hazard is usually mitigated.
Fracking permanently removes water from the hydrological cycle, though, at which point it may as well be on the far side of the moon for as much use as it is. This goes beyond competition for scarce resources during a dry season, though the oil and gas industry is well positioned to elbow everyone else aside (via) if it comes to that. It is about the slow draining of the amount of water available for human use. Read below the fold...
Thursday's post on Hiram's public fracking meeting mainly covered residents' interaction with local officials. The bigger part of the meeting, though, featured two speakers with ties to the oil and gas industry. Read below the fold...
On June 17th the Catholic social justice lobbying group NETWORK launched a 15 day Nuns on the Bus tour. (As befits their budding rock star status, they are selling a tour shirt as well.) They are speaking out against the House Republican budget because, as they write: "When the federal government cuts funding to programs that serve people in poverty, we see the effects in our daily work. Simply put, real people suffer. That is immoral." Read below the fold...
Yesterday I looked at Bruce Murphy's article about the Wisconsin recall, and how Murphy thought Democrats and unions brought defeat on themselves. There is one point he made that fits in with a purely political analysis, which is what I'm focusing on today. He writes: "Had Tom Barrett — or any Democrat — offered an alternative, some approach that would eliminate the abuse of public benefits without crushing unions, while protecting the many public workers who are not overpaid, this could have carried the day against Walker." Read below the fold...
Since the recall was run as a conventional political campaign, instead of one grounded in the turmoil of last year, it's fair to ask how the latter might have looked. Doug Henwood offered these thoughts:
Suppose instead that the unions had supported a popular campaign - media, door knocking, phone calling - to agitate, educate, and organize on the importance of the labor movement to the maintenance of living standards? If they'd made an argument, broadly and repeatedly, that Walker's agenda was an attack on the wages and benefits of the majority of the population? That it was designed to remove organized opposition to the power of right-wing money in politics? That would have been more fruitful than this major defeat.
It seemed like the Barrett campaign never bothered to make the case for unions in general or collective bargaining in particular. I kept thinking, did last winter just go down the memory hole? Why isn't anyone bringing up the unjust law that was the catalyst for all this? Read below the fold...
Kickstarter here PLEASE support this - these words need to get out and everyone who's read it LOVES it. I just have no more money to make any copies other then the ones that are already made.
A reminder of what you are supporting:
I will use the funds to make copies and distribute the zine far and wide. I want to put it in every info shop (activist bookstore) around North America and possibly every English speaking country around the world. This zine includes:
This week I have been enjoying a few days off by reading about Community Led Development, sending out emails to try to get people interested in something like community led development within Occupy, and listening to Slavoj Zizek. I like the juxtaposition of the three and thought I would share them.
First some snippets from MISEREOR booklet on people led development in India:
These are organisations which had been working with the local
population for many years, and had been following participatory approaches. Yet they all felt that they were not being as successful as they
had expected to be. An analysis of their work showed that, in spite of their interest and commitment, their efforts to “be participatory” were
No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Tuesday's recall elections in Wisconsin were a stunning rebuke to the Republican party. As Craig Gilbert wrote back in March: "History tells us that most of the 16 recall attempts under way in Wisconsin are likely to fail. It also tells us that if three or four succeed, it would be entirely without precedent." Read below the fold...
No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
When the protests in Wisconsin erupted over the winter I remember having an exchange with Athenae. She had been holding her breath every single day because she was sure at any moment it would fall apart. There was good reason to believe that! Despite their unprecedented size the protests were informally but widely boycotted by corporate media. (Curiously, media outlets owned by multinationals tend to not have very robust coverage of union and labor issues.) There were the usual strategies to discredit the movement - including the heretofore reliable tactic of telling a whopping lie, getting the wingnuts to jump all over it and turning it into a zombie lie. Read below the fold...
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This video is the first in a series -- intended to generate independent progressive activism in the run up to the 2012 Presidential election and beyond.
RootsAction is part of a growing grassroots movement to push the President and Congress to address pressing economic and war issues -- and to invest in jobs, green energy, schools, housing and education.
We will not be silent as Congress and the President continue to squander billions of dollars on foreign wars, causing destruction and hatred overseas while failing to meet the needs of the vast majority of people in our country.
We will not stand by as people lose their jobs and homes due to Wall Street schemes abetted by both major parties.
We will not give the Obama administration a pass as it continues many of the same policies that sparked loud protests under the Bush White House. We will take action -- independent of both party leaderships.
RootsAction has been strongly endorsed by such respected, independent-minded progressives as Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and Coleen Rowley.
I think Harry Belafonte found useful historical perspective this week when he told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
And when you ask me about Barack Obama, it is exactly what happened to Kennedy. We, the American people, made the history of that time come to another place by our passion and our commitment to change. What is saddened -- what is sad for this moment is that there is no force, no energy, of popular voice, popular rebellion, popular upheaval, no champion for radical thought at the table of the discourse. And as a consequence, Barack Obama has nothing to listen to, except his detractors and those who help pave the way to his own personal comfort with power -- power contained, power misdirected, power not fully engaged. And it is our task to no longer have expectations of him, unless we have forced him to the table and he still resists us. And if he does that, then we know what else we have to do, is to make change completely. But I think he plays the game that he plays because he sees no threat from evidencing concerns for the poor. He sees no threat from evidencing a deeper concern for the needs of black people, as such. He feels no great threat from evidencing a greater policy towards the international community, for expressing thoughts that criticize the American position on things and turns that around. Until we do that, I think we’ll be forever disappointed in what that administration will deliver.
AMY GOODMAN: And to those who say, "If you want President Obama re-elected, you will undermine him if you criticize him; and consider the alternative"?
HARRY BELAFONTE: I think we will not only undermine him, but undermine the hopes of this nation, if we don’t criticize him. Absence of protest in the times of this kind of national crisis -- Theodore Roosevelt once said, "When tyranny takes over the national agenda, it is that time that the voices of protest must be awakened. And if you don’t raise your voice in protest, you are a patriotic traitor." And I believe that patriotism is betrayed by those voices that are not heard. Those who would detract you from that fact are those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Nothing will happen but good for Barack Obama and the United States of America, and indeed the world, if everybody stepped to the table and said, "This is the course we must be on."