Documents

http://www.ohioyearlymeeting.org/documents/

 

Il Signore passò davanti a lui, e gridò:
“Il Signore! Il Signore!
Il Dio misericordioso e pietoso,
lento all’ira,
ricco di bontà e fedeltà,
che conserva la sua bontà fino alla millesima generazione,
che perdona l’iniquità, la trasgressione e il peccato,
ma non terrà il colpevole per innnocente;
che punisce l’iniquità dei padri sopra i figli e sopra i figli dei figli, fino alla terza e alla quarta generazione!”
(Es. 34, 6-7)

Aderisci come noi alla Lega contro la caccia
http://www.abolizionecaccia.it/ vai sul sito e fai la iscrizione 2019 con 20 Euro. Con Bonifico, bollettino postale come ho fatto io o carta di credito.

Un segno tangibile di nonviolenza anche contro gli animali. Come animatore nazionale sono entusiasta della cosa e purtroppo non avendo un auto non posso dare un aiuto concreto per gli spostamenti degli animali. Siamo soci  dal 24 aprile  anche della http://www.lav.com contro la vivisezione. 

La prima decisione fu con acquisto a parte del loro calendario è avvenuta due anni fa. La Lega è membro della EFAH, dice testualmente la tessera LAC. Sono Iscritto 2019 anche ad Emergency, sebbene non sia entusiasta del gruppo locale di volontari. Troppo fissati sul capo locale.

Maurizio

PS: Puoi donare per confermare i domini di 6 nostri siti e le due pec. Non abbiamo fondi 8 per mille come gli altri o contributi pubblici come i cattolici e valdesi (anche per le scelte indirette! Un vero scandalo dei protestanti e cattolici).

Aiutaci con un bonifico bancario dunque

Ecco IBAN di Maurizio Benazzi, animatore blogger QUACCHERO CRISTIANO CONSERVATIVE IN ITALIA,:
IT 22W0305801604100571954856 di Che Banca!

For Europa as Sepa system: MICSITM1 (XXX optional only if request)

For USA and World (except Europe): MICSITM3 (XXX optional only if request)

Info point – Telefono/fax 0039 0331 641844 o 392/1943729 anche Whatsapp
Indirizzo postale: via Luigi Tovo 3, I 21057 OLGIATE OLONA VA
skype maurizio.benazzi email quaccheri@quaccheri.it o pec quacchericonservative@pec.quaccheri.it

17.11.2019 – From somewhere in Bolivia – Redacción Argentina

This post is also available in: Spanish

Bolivia: Free Voices against the Police Civic Coup

“…and that the seditious ones that promote the instability of the Government be taken care of….He who tries to make sedition, from tomorrow, let him take care of himself”…

These were some of the warnings that Arturo Murillo, the new Minister of Government of the coup regime, transmitted to the population a few minutes after being positioned on Wednesday 13th in the evening hours.

Unfortunately, they were not simple warnings, as we painfully noted again on Friday, November 15, with the murder of eight other people and at least 33 confirmed wounded of the estimated 70, all sisters and brothers cocaleros peasants of the Tropic of Cochabamba.

They were massacred with weapons of war by police and military, thus halting their decision to reach the central plaza, the 24th of September, in the city of Cochabamba to protest against the Civic Police Coup and demand the restitution of the violated constitutional order.

These deaths are in addition to those already produced in other regions in resistance in the country, such as Yapacaní and Montero in Santa Cruz, the city of El Alto and the slopes of the city of La Paz, among many others. In this context, the coup d’état process and its new authoritarian government is estimated to be responsible for at least 18 deaths, more than one hundred wounded, and almost half a thousand detainees. It is the purest style of the military dictatorships of the last century, only with the difference that today they are presented with a pseudo-democratic discourse.

In parallel with this situation there has been the alignment with the Civic Police Coup of the country’s main media networks and the silencing of alternative and / or popular community media.

This situation intends to provoke the invisibilization of the popular uprising in the country. But also the manipulation and distortion of the facts, when for example, although it was confirmed that the deaths were caused by ammunition for military use, it has also been suggested that they were self-inflicted by the peasants themselves to generate a social explosion of greater magnitude or, as it has been written that they were the result of crossfire confrontations.

In this context, and in different corridors and almost clandestine spaces, several journalists, anonymously, are denouncing having been victims of threats against their lives and that of their families. A journalist in Cochabamba has even denounced that she was the victim of an explosive device attack on her home, in retaliation for reporting the excessive violence of the forces of law and order against the popular and peasant sectors in this city in the centre of the country.

Faced with this reality, the use of social networks has become an alternative information and communication tool to the controlled formal media system. The networks are breaking with the traditional media verticality, exercising a democratic and horizontal practice of the right to communication and information.

For example, days ago, when the political centre of the city of La Paz was occupied by more than 15,000 Aymaras demanding respect for Wiphala and the restitution of constitutional order, the channels of the country’s main television networks made this fact invisible. They showed out of place content such as films and series, and then highlighted in their news the shameful self-appointment of Jeanine Añez as president, with a filter of “democratic transition” and not of coup d’état.

Only social networks break this manipulation of information, so they have also become the target of the coup installed, attacking Internet connections and closing dozens of pages.

Thus, in these moments of acute political and social crisis, the entire population has somehow exercised the role of journalists and communicators to reflect their own reality thanks to the tools provided by new technologies. In conclusion, Social Networks have allowed us to break with the informative siege of what is happening in Bolivia.

(Crying) “…we just wanted to give our opinion… People have been killed. Please help us, the police cannot kill us. Why don’t they take care of us, like they took care of the lords of the centre (the opponents of the city when they were blocking). Why have they released the military to kill their own people? Aren’t the people of the Tropics your people, Madam President? Tell me, isn’t this your town to send us to kill?” (Words of a peasant woman from the Cochabamba Tropics during the conflict in Sacaba)

These words reflect the true reality of what Bolivia is currently experiencing. But of course, the voice and the image of pain and despair shown in the hundreds of videos recorded with simple home cell phones will not be broadcast by any of the country’s television networks. However, they were taken by the people and now they are being shared and will reach thousands and we expect millions of people in spite of the media and informative siege that the coup process is implementing.

Along these lines, let us remember that the new Minister of Communication, Roxana Lizárraga, threatened to expel and prosecute foreign and Bolivian “journalists or pseudo-journalists” “who are making sedition. We should note that it is the second national authority as minister to use the word SEDITION, which refers to the idea of an uprising of a group of people against a government in order to overthrow it.

Do we wonder if the word sedition should be used to reflect the uprising and mobilization of the Bolivian people?

At this point in time, there is not the slightest doubt that a Civic-Political Coup was planned and activated in Bolivia. But unlike the military coups d’état of this century (Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil), it is worrying because it is presented with an enormous fascist, racist and macho charge against the indigenous, the peasant, the original peoples and women.

We therefore call on the international community to denounce this fact and to activate all legal and juridical mechanisms to protect human rights and people’s lives. And especially the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as to defend the progress made in these more than 13 years of the Process of Change.

Finally, we call for the precaution of the population’s right to communication and information so that the truth is reflected. Guaranteeing the exercise of journalists, popular and indigenous communicators is an essential right for a democratic society.

From somewhere in Bolivia, 16/11/2019

Translation Pressenza London

Video Player

16.11.2019 – US, United States – Pressenza New York

Why Striking Teachers Across America Are Fighting for Much More Than Their Paychecks
Milwaukee public school teachers and supporters picket outside Milwaukee public schools administration building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Date: April 24, 2018. (Image by Charles Edward Miller)

After their successful strike earlier this year, Oakland teachers are still fighting off charter schools and changing the narrative of public education.

By Jeff Bryant

While national news outlets hail the conclusion of a historic teacher strike in Chicago, another important story often overlooked by national reporters is the ongoing struggle to defend public education in the months that follow successful strikes. In Oakland, California, where teachers won important concessions from the district as a result of their strike earlier this year, the community is nevertheless still seeing their students’ education undermined by lack of resources and disrupted by school closures and further privatization from charter schools.

Recently, when Oakland teachers, joined by contingencies of parents and students, showed up at a school board meeting to voice their opposition to a decision to close a beloved elementary school, they were met with barricades and a phalanx of police officers who roughed up peaceful protesters.

The ongoing struggle that continues in Oakland after teachers held a successful strike illustrates why advocacy for public education can no longer settle for labor-friendly contracts that make life better for teachers and students, but has to challenge more widespread political and societal conditions that undermine schools, as Chicago teachers just did. Calling for these deeper structural changes means taking on an economic and political agenda and a hierarchy of policy leaders that choose to give public funds and tax breaks to an array of beneficiaries other than public schools.

Advocating for this more ambitious goal can result in real change not only in local communities, as teachers have been proving in Chicago, but also on the national stage where leading presidential candidates in the Democratic Party are finally turning away from the decades-long narrative that public schools are failed institutions and the solution is to withhold funding from them and subject them to competition from a parallel charter school industry.

‘Shocked and Appalled’

Teachers and public school advocates in Oakland and elsewhere are showing that strikes don’t end systemic forces undermining public education as much as they signal the next phase in the struggle.

When their recent strike concluded, Oakland teachers had won a salary increase and bonus, more school support staff, a pause on school closures and consolidations, and a resolution from the board president to call on the state to stop the growth of charter schools in the city.

While those were significant accomplishments, the core problem remaining is that policy leaders in the city continue to take actions that “hurt students,” Oakland Education Association president Keith Brown told me in a phone conversation.

“Students continue to experience pain and trauma in our schools due to lack of resources, over-policing, and continuing threats of school closures,” Brown said.

Despite gains from the recent strike, teachers and public education advocates have continued to show up at school board meetings to press their cause.

The coalition recently formed the group Oakland Is Not for Sale, which seeks to extend the moratorium on school closures and consolidations to summer 2022, institute financial transparency in the district, end the district’s policy of expanding charter schools, and redirect money for school police and planned construction of a probation camp for juveniles to pay for a rollout of restorative discipline practices in schools.

The board’s recent announcement to close higher-performing Kaiser Elementary and merge the students and teachers into an under-enrolled and struggling Sankofa Academy raised yet more agitation in the community, especially when news emerged that students from Kaiser would receive an “opportunity ticket” giving them priority to attend schools ahead of neighborhood students not already enrolled in those schools. In other words, the district’s rationale for merging the two campuses for the sake of fiscal efficiency was being undermined by its own proposal to make transferring to Sankofa optional and, thus—as Zach Norris, a parent leader of Kaiser parents resisting the move, told California-based news outlet EdSource—keep Sankofa under-enrolled and thereby also an eventual target for closure.

Protests at board meetings have grown in intensity, Brown explained, leading to the decision by the district to erect barricades and add police. But although demonstrations have grown more vocal, they’ve remained peaceful, Brown insisted, and he maintained police tactics at the recent board meeting conflagration were unprovoked and extreme.

“I was shocked and appalled to see a first-grade teacher attacked by a police officer with a baton,” Brown said, “and then to see a parent hospitalized” with a severe knee injury after the parent said an officer pushed her to the floor.

“Students are the ones most hurt by [the forceful police response],” Brown argued, “because protesters were there to demand more investments in schools” rather than shut them down. Further, students witnessing the event were seeing the trauma they experience in school—a fight for resources, a punitive culture of over-policing, and threats of school closures—writ large in the actions of adults in the community.

Crux of the Conflict

At the crux of the conflict, as Brown sees it, is the district’s determination to follow a model emphasizing increased privatization with charters, despite the agreement the district made with the teachers to increase support for public schools rather than expand charters. Indeed, the group Oakland Is Not for Sale was thus named as a barb against threats to privatize the city’s public schools.

While no new charters have opened since the strike, the district continues to uphold a “portfolio management” policy that intends to close or merge as many as 24 public schools in the next five years, EdSource reports. Accompanying the closures are plans to increase the number of charter schools and merge them into a citywide enrollment system, similar to one pioneered in New Orleans, that raises the profile of charters in the mix of schools parents have to choose from.

The push to implement the portfolio model—whose name derives from a stock investing analogy—is more of an ideological pursuit than a practical plan, as there is little to no research base to justify educational reasons for it.

As Bill Raden reported for Capital and Main in 2016, “The Oakland charter expansion scheme has been quietly driving policy under the political radar for a number of years.” Raden quoted expert sources who stated that an objective of those pushing the portfolio agenda is to have 50 percent of students in Oakland enrolled in charters. The current percentage is 27, enrolled in 45 charters, the highest proportion of any district in California. As Raden pointed out, losing half the district’s students to charters is a 50 percent cut in funding to public schools.

“As students are siphoned from a neighborhood school to the charter down the street,” he explained, “the building overhead and paychecks to teachers, nurses, librarians and custodians at the non-charter do not go down correspondingly. It costs the district the same to open the doors of a classroom whether it is full or at 75 percent capacity. The emptier the classroom, the more the economies of scale that allow California districts to educate a student at the rock-bottom annual price of $9,794 collapse.”

In the 2016–17 school year, Oakland Unified School district lost over $57 million in revenue to charter schools, according to a report by In the Public Interest.

The Costs of Charters

But the costs of charter schools to the district go beyond lost funds due to drops in student enrollment. As the district explained in its own detailed presentation to a state-appointed panel charged with informing the governor on problems posed by charter schools, additional costs of charters include the negative financial impact when charter schools close, the costs to house charter schools in existing public school campuses (a practice known as colocation), and the ongoing burden of repairing and maintaining charter school facilities.

There are also costs to the public due to widespread charter school financial malfeasance. In an overview of charter frauds in Oakland that education historian Diane Ravitch posted on her personal blog, Jane Nylund, a parent activist in the city, pointed to numerous examples, including a charter that is still allowed to operate even after its founder and former owner was incarcerated for money laundering and mail fraud and used his own leasing company to charge the school exorbitant rents totaling $3.8 million; a charter run by Turkish teachers and a Turkish school board whose principal was forced out but fled to Australia with $400,000 in school funds; and a charter school of the arts that violates state law by making students audition for the school before they can enter the school’s enrollment lottery.

District officials and board members insist closing schools is a fiscal necessity to keep budgets balanced but seem little disposed to address the crippling loss of funding due to charter expansions.

The lack of concern for the fiscal threat charters pose to public schools isn’t lost on teachers and public school advocates who are ratcheting up their demands not just for more resources and school personnel but also for an end to systemic policies that are hollowing out their schools.

Brown noted their effort was aided recently when the California legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB1505, which, for the first time, allows local districts to reject new charters and charter expansions based on their financial and academic impact on the district or neighborhood. Charters can still appeal to county boards, but the state can no longer overrule local decisions. (In the past five years, all charter school applications Oakland denied were approved either at the county or state level.)

It’s Also About Race

Brown also argued that the rush to charters aligns with the increasing gentrification of the city that is pushing out black and Latinx families. Oakland’s most diverse schools, already threatened by the city’s increasing gentrification, will be further undermined by the portfolio model.

He pointed to data showing that as 18 public schools have been closed since 2004, 14 of those campuses were turned into charters. Of the 18 closed public schools, 16 had student populations that were over 60 percent black, while charter schools that replaced public schools enrolled 62 percent fewer black students.

The decision to close Kaiser Elementary and merge students with the struggling Sankofa Academy is a telling example of the threat that the district’s portfolio approach poses to diversity and racial integration.

As Julia McEvoy reports for Oakland news outlet KQED, Kaiser has higher test scores, more affluent parents, and more racial diversity than Sankofa. Thirty-one percent of Kaiser students are white in a district in which white students make up only 11 percent of public school enrollment, but 70 percent of all white kids are concentrated in only 10 schools. Sankofa, in comparison, has poor academic outcomes and a student population that is majority African American with 90 percent qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, a common measure of poverty. But the district’s decision to give Kaiser students tickets to enroll in any of the district’s schools lets students who are already better off have greater opportunity in the system.

Alienating black families through racist education policies, along with an ongoing housing crisis, has been forecasted to result in the flight of half of Oakland’s black population, if trends hold, declining from roughly 35 percent of the city’s total population in 2000 to 16 percent by 2030.

‘Corporate Dems Complicit in Privatization’

Addressing these structural problems in cities like Oakland requires a political movement, and signs abound that teachers and public education advocates are intensifying their efforts to push their agenda into organizing and elections.

At the national level, public education advocates have succeeded in pushing two front-runners in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, to propose policies that back traditional public schools and teachers and not charter schools.

In the 2018 midterm elections, voters largely rejected candidates and efforts that favored the privatization agenda. From New York to California, new candidates ran and won on platforms supporting public schools, big-money backers of charter schools suffered humiliating losses, and voters trounced efforts to expand voucher programs that drain public schools of the funding they need.

At local levels, the political headwinds are more difficult to navigate. “We still have too many corporate Democrats complicit in privatization,” said Brown, “and a school board bought by outside billionaires that continue to push the portfolio model.”

In the 2016 school board race, local alternative news outlet East Bay Times reported that more than $825,000 in political donations flooded the contest, mostly to support three pro-charter candidates. The “vast majority” of the donations came from pro-charter independent expenditure organizations backed by out-of-town funders, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Silicon Valley investor Arthur Rock, James and Alice Walton of Wal-Mart, and Reed Hastings of Netflix.

In the next school board election in 2018, Bloomberg’s name emerged again as a big funder of another pro-charter candidate in the race, EdSource reported. Bloomberg’s contribution was funneled through an independent expenditure organization funded by GO Public Schools Advocates that gets most of its money from a “handful” of outsider billionaires, according to an analysis in East Bay Express.

Recently, the board and superintendent announced they were “sticking to their plans” to push forward with the portfolio plan and close more schools, including closing Kaiser and merging it with Sankofa. Regarding the escalating protests, there will be “an inquiry into the use of force” at the contentious board meeting, but a list of more schools to close, merge or expand is in the works for the spring.

‘We Changed the Narrative’

Facing odds this daunting, Brown remains nevertheless upbeat in the chances of changing the makeup of the school board when the next election comes in November 2020. Four of the seven seats will be contested, and with a presidential election and three popular bond initiatives—including one that raises education funds by increasing taxes paid by commercial and industrial property owners—voter turnout should be higher than in previous board elections and voters more motivated to support public schools.

But Brown’s optimism is also buoyed by what teachers achieved in the 2019 strike. Circling back to that event, he recalled, “The strike united the community and built the conditions that can win in 2020.”

Brown believes that building a coalition that can endure beyond a strike can lead to electing candidates who are more apt to reflect the values of the community rather than the interests of billionaires who have antipathy toward public schools.

There’s evidence from elsewhere in the country that Brown is right.

In the recent school board election in Denver, candidates running with the teachers’ union’s support behind them scored at least two victories and flipped the board to the side opposing the district’s longstanding policy of closing public schools and expanding charters. Colorado-based news outlet Chalkbeat reported, “‘Flip the board’ became a rallying cry among some parents and activists following February’s Denver teacher strike.”

Building a coalition with a strike not only likely helped Brown and his Oakland union create more political power, he said, “We changed the narrative.”

To learn more about school privatization, check out Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education, a free ebook published by the Independent Media Institute.


Jeff Bryant is a writing fellow and chief correspondent for Our Schools, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is a communications consultant, freelance writer, advocacy journalist, and director of the Education Opportunity Network, a strategy and messaging center for progressive education policy. His award-winning commentary and reporting routinely appear in prominent online news outlets, and he speaks frequently at national events about public education policy. Follow him on Twitter @jeffbcdm.

Helena Cobban I was born into a very traditional (Church of England, Conservative-voting) family of the British upper middle class. Helena CobbanI was 14 when the Israeli-Arab war of 1967 broke out. As I recall it, just about all the news coverage on our grainy black-and-white television and in the two newspapers my father took,…

via “Passing The Torch” Authors Speak #3: “I utterly and humiliatingly lost my nerve. . . .” — A Friendly Letter

15.11.2019 – Los Angeles – Robert Hunziker

Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness
Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Climate change is a nagging issue for many people because it is so big, diverse, and overwhelming, as big as the planet itself. So, how to explain climate change?

Sociologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and even anthropologists and economists have tackled the phenomenon of Climate Weltschmerz, meaning people experience angst as the enormity of climate change overrides sensibilities, and sanity, and sadly some go insane.

Not only that, but dishearteningly, it’s been reported that couples refrain from having children because of the overbearing threat of global warming spoiling a child’s transcendent (hopefully) future. Also, there are abundant reports throughout the world that the uncertainties surrounding climate change inhibit hopes, dreams, and wishes for a bright future, as tinges of impending darkness supplant fantasies of buoyant cheerfulness.

Well, relief can be found in Mark Jaccard’s The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success (Cambridge University Press, 2020):
https://www.amazon.com/Citizens-Guide-Climate-Success-Overcoming/dp/1108742661/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

He tackles the world’s biggest issue head-on, while implicitly making the assumption that “we still have time,” a subjective comfort factor. Of course, there are scientists that wonder if “we still have time,” but that’s for another time, another story, and certainly worth pondering.

Mark Jaccard, professor of Sustainable Energy at the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, offers relief for citizens that feel overwhelmed by the complexities and overarching enormities of global warming. After all, by all appearances, it’s way too big to wrap one’s arms around all by oneself. But, that does not inhibit professor Jaccard, who astutely separates myth from reality, a problem that’s found all over creation, making it so much easier to come to grips with one of the most complex existential threats of all time.

He not only takes a lot of the mystery out of the climate change imbroglio, but he also tackles the myths that drive, and divide, public discourse, while proffering novel answers for citizens that want to “make a difference.”

The Citizen’s Guide belongs on the bookshelves of people who (1) search for answers (2) want to separate truth from fiction, and (3) want to sleep nights without bolting up in the midst of the night, screaming!

Jaccard’s book is an antidote to the global warming heebie-jeebies, so, don’t jump off that steep ledge until first reading it. It’ll soothe rattled nerves. Bury your nose in his wonderful, easy-to-read, yet academically oriented book filled with everything you should know but don’t know about climate change, thereby, inspiring a great sense of even greater relief!

In professor Jaccard’s words: “Think strategically about how to apply one’s efforts to greatest effect. This book is for these people. Drawing on leading independent research, I provide guidance for citizens seeking to act more effectively as consumers, neighbors, investors, participants in social and conventional media, voters, and political and social activists.”(pg. 22)

Additionally and usefully, it’s nice to know some of the interesting facts about global warming such as when and how Jean-Baptiste Fourier, a French mathematician and physicist, discovered the “atmosphere’s greenhouse effect” way back in the mid 19th century.

As follows, Jaccard does not miss a beat in providing the reader a self-educating manual of academic standing from A-to Z, as for example, the Irish scientist John Tyndall’s calculation in 1859 of the heat-absorptive properties of the greenhouse gases, these being (1) water vapor, (2) carbon dioxide, (3) nitrous oxide, (4) methane, and (5) ozone. Really! Most people only know about Carbon Dioxide (CO2) with little or no knowledge of other greenhouse gases.

Thus, assorted tidbits of critical knowledge scattered throughout the book give the reader a strong sense of understanding, smartness and swagger. For instance, global warming was intricately involved in the strengthening of Hurricane Katrina. Jaccard explains how that happened in easy to understand terms.

Indeed, the book covers the basics. After all, most people don’t even know what “albedo” means, which, by the way, is not surprising as it’s “shop talk” verbiage for science-heads. Still, it’s a must-know term for climate activists.

He also goes behind the scenes to explain the towering immensity of dark money with consequential sneaky, underhanded gimmickry by the “denial camp,” and how they use “the honesty of scientists” to “confuse the public.” For example, scientists by training cannot be 100% certain about when and how events will transpire. By definition, science is all about probabilities, which creates openings for deniers to “cheery pick facts” to create doubt in the public mindset. Once their tactics are understood, it is much easier to combat their endless streams of blah, blah, blah!

And, Jaccard goes behind the scenes of international negotiations and climate change conferences among leading nations where he personally participated, providing a peek behind the curtain of intricacies of negotiation, including his personal involvement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”). Of interest: “In 1992, I (Jaccard) was appointed to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development as one of the six ‘foreign experts’ on its energy subgroup.” (pg. 69)

Jaccard’s chapter on “We Must Change Our Behavior” addresses both the simplicity as well as the complexities of “changing our behavior.” It is an eye-opener for uninitiated “Greenies” as well as those who feel they are experts, or so they think? Read the chapter… you’ll discover why an automobile is really a “PMD – Personal Mobility Device” which has direct bearing on how people do or don’t “change their behavior” to adapt to climate change.

More to the point “changing our behavior” really should focus on universals rather than individual behavior, as individual acts/behavior in the background serve as catalysts for change, to wit: “The next time someone tells you we must change behavior to reduce GHG emissions, ask them how they changed behavior to reduce emissions that were causing acid rain, smog, dispersion of lead, and destruction of the ozone layer. You will get a blank stare. No one changed behavior. Instead, we changed technologies, with considerable success. We did this with compulsory policies, especially regulations.” (pg. 154)

And, he puts some fire in the belly of conscientious activists by warning: “The fossil fuel industry and insincere politicians would like nothing better than to delay compulsory policies by claiming that we need behavioral change. We must not play into their hands…”

Unfortunately, when individuals are left to “change behavior” on their own to help lessen the carbon footprint, here’s what experience tells us: “With climate change, everyone has had the option over the last three decades of changing their behavior. We know the result. On average, we built larger houses and transported more goods and people – and even produced more emissions….” (pg. 156)

In point of fact, changing behavior is “good news, but more likely bad news” story. The bad news is that unless ‘everybody lives like a monk’ to reduce the carbon footprint, those few that do ‘live like a monk’ encounter the bad news that the world’s energy system is still dominated 80% by fossil fuel usage, regardless of their individual heroics. Thus, it’s far better, and more rewarding for the individual, to focus attention/effort as an “activist pushing for technological and regulatory change of 80% fossil fuel usage.” Otherwise, it’s not going away.

Jaccard’s The Citizen’s Guide is full of surprises in a balanced approach to the climate change issue. He looks at both sides while focusing on the necessity of getting off fossil fuels. Interestingly, back in 2012 Jaccard upstaged today’s Extinction Rebellion notoriety for rambunctiousness, as explained in his book: “So 13 of us blocked a coal train as a public wake-up action in May 2012. We were arrested and jailed for a few hours.” (pg. 263)

He discusses important issues that help citizens know how to achieve powerful activism, as well as personal peace of mind, including chapters on (a) How Energy Efficiency is Profitable (b) How Renewables Have Won (c) We Must Abolish Capitalism – Fans of Naomi Klein will find this chapter intriguing, as Jaccard wrote a highly critical review of her wildly popular book: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, and he closes with (d) The Simple Path to Success.

The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success is an excellent easy-to-read and politically balanced book (with one foot in the moderate camp). It also serves as an important fact-checking resource. And, as for relevancy and timeliness, it’s indispensable as a solid source. Don’t leave home without it.

14.11.2019 – US, United States – David Swanson

What Does the Pelosi Posse Want?

By David Swanson

If the purpose of the current Trump impeachment hearings were simply to fulfill Congress Members’ oaths of office and do their jobs, it would be difficult to explain the past many years. Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Judiciary Committee for the past 11 months, has known since inauguration day that Trump was in egregious violation of the emoluments clauses, and has since declared other Trump actions impeachable without moving to impeach him. Impeachable offenses by Trump, Obama, Bush, and on back have been ignored on an epidemic scale by Nancy Pelosi and hundreds of her colleagues. Public polls and public demand (as well as the count of indisputable substantive grounds) for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney were about as high as for Trump — and that was in the absence of media support or Congressional action. Numerous illegal wars are opposed by almost the entire U.S. public, and the House makes a halfhearted pretense of trying to end a single one of them every few years or so.

If the purpose were to remove Trump from office, the House would have long since impeached him for numerous abuses that are beyond dispute, things like the emoluments violations, incitement of violence, interference with voting rights, discrimination on the basis of religion, illegal wars and threats of wars, abuses of the pardon power, obstruction of justice, politicization of prosecutions, drone murders, support of coup attempts in Venezuela and Bolivia, intentional exacerbation of climate collapse, collusion with Israel against the United States, separation of children from families, tax fraud, repression of freedom of the press, unconstitutional declarations of emergencies, etc.

Some of these charges could include double-headers adding in the impeachment of Mike Pence and his removal. But there is no evidence that the Democratic “leadership” wants to see anyone removed from office. As the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2007, John Conyers, made clear, nothing takes priority over the next election, and the strategy for winning the next election is always to keep quiet, avoid being seen, and hope people vote against the other guy.

Which brings us to one of the actual purposes of the Trump Impeachment Follies, namely, to make Donald Trump look bad. But even this is hard to make sense of without the other two main purposes: to blame the 2016 election on Russia, and to make Joe Biden look good.

That last one seems even harder to make sense of. Why focus on Ukraine, when it opens up a can of worms about Joe Biden? Well, first of all nobody cares about the coup in Ukraine. Nobody even knows it happened. Second, the Democrats believe they can explain away any alleged wrong-doing, and that someone’s son getting paid a fortune for nothing is pretty routine. Third, Democrats think that Biden’s hawkish war fever directed at Russia is a good thing. And fourth, they think that people will sympathize with Joe “No Empathy for You” Biden because Trump was trying to dig up or manufacture dirt on him.

But it’s blaming Russia for the last election that remains the overriding delusion driving decision making in Washington. That’s why the Judiciary Committee isn’t even leading the impeachment efforts. This is an impeachment hearing dressed up as a war against an evil empire. Trump is being depicted as stalling in the provision of “lethal aid” (in plain English, deadly weapons) to be used against the dark forces of the Kremlin hordes, and doing so in order to enlist foreigners who are almost like Russians against the Capitalist Christian Savior from Delaware. We’re to forget that Russiagate fizzled out and to suppose that Ukrainegate has been piled onto Russiagate as additional evidence of malevolence and Russianness.

Also, the people pushing this PR campaign actually believe in it, which means that they believe it makes Trump look worse to accuse him of withholding “lethal aid” from the Ukrainian military — which has practically no Nazis in it! — than to accuse him of being bought and paid for by corrupt interests mostly in the United States and to be engaged in a wide range of destructive and abusive activities.

11.11.2019 – Barcelona, Spain – Raquel Paricio

This post is also available in: SpanishFrenchItalianCatalan

Spanish elections: “we’re all going to hell”

The bitter taste of the defeat of possible progress.

The Spanish Socialist Party has won the elections again, but has lost seats, its faithful have not supported it. Podemos, the left-wing alternative to governing with PSOE, still lost more seats.

The dream of favouring budgets that would have been the best in Spanish democracy for the majority of the population, and the triumph of a left that defeated a worn-out Partido Popular was dashed in the April elections, by not reaching a consensus between the winning forces of the left (PSOE and PODEMOS), paralyzing the country for half a year and leading it to new elections, which have worsened the results of the left and favoured the rise of the right represented by the Popular Party, but above all disadvantaged by the rise of the extreme right, represented by VOX.

The so-called (dubious) centre forces, represented by Citizens, have been the biggest losers of this new opportunity.

The fragmentation of the parties has been accentuated and the votes have been redistributed in a more territorial way, with new parties appearing representing geographical areas rather than ideologies.

The possibility of governing is greatly complicated and made more difficult than in previous elections. The weariness of fights between parties and leaderships has produced a rebound effect on citizens. 52 extreme right-wing deputies add up to too many votes to talk about future rights for the population.

Catalan independence has won a good portion of the electoral cake, the historical maximum in a general election, although it will not be represented by the increase in seats, but by votes. Despite the fact that the independentist majority has been won by the left-wing independentism, the pact with PSOE is going to be an impossible or difficult struggle between prisoners and liberties, between independentism and nationalism.

Tomorrow we should begin to talk about pacts, pacts that with the taste of a progressive defeat, return to plunge into misery the citizens’ rights for which many of us fight.

And as Colau says, “We’re all going to hell”.

Ada Colau

@AdaColau

Ninguna persona demócrata y progresista puede estar contenta hoy. La extrema derecha avanza por la incapacidad de la izquierda. Pedro, tus elecciones han fracasado. Y en general, o las izquierdas hacen un frente amplio, o nos vamos todas a la mierda

18.8K people are talking about this

“Nobody democratic and progressive can be happy today. The right wing is advancing due to the inability of the left. Pedro, your elections have failed. And in general, either the left wing parties for a wide front or we are all going to hell” Ada Colau [Barcelona’s `mayoress]

11.11.2019 – Redacción Chile

This post is also available in: SpanishFrenchItalianGreek

Facing the resignation of President Evo Morales and the coup d’état in Bolivia
(Image by ABI)

By José Gabriel Feres*

The resignation of Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, and of Vice-President Álvaro García Lineras is undoubtedly a regrettable fact, not only for Bolivia, but for all democratic processes on the continent and in the world. The international rejection has been categorical to the coup d’état that has been consummated this Monday, November 10, in our brother country.

This happens after the decision of Evo Morales and his government to call for new elections as a way of resolving the crisis that was brewing. It was a decisive response that did not accept calculations, but privileged what was best for its people. A response that arises without a doubt from Evo Morales’ profound humanist sensitivity, as well as his forced resignation at this moment, which responds to avoid the bloodshed of his people, who were already victims of the persecution and murder of sectors of the police and paramilitary gangs promoted and financed by facist groups in eastern Bolivia.

Several of the President’s political actions may have been the object of discussion, even on the part of his own adherents and his support suffering the wear and tear of 13 years of government, but his decision to call new elections undoubtedly magnified him and serves as an exemplary referent in showing that conflicts of this magnitude can only be resolved with more democracy.

The fact that the coup d’état was consummated, even after the call for new elections made by Evo Morales, can only be explained by the clear intention of ending his government and not being willing to risk being able to do this democratically. How can we not take advantage of the moment to ensure his overthrow by force!

Unfortunately, once again we have to live in Latin America the violence of anti-humanist sectors that are not willing to abandon their privileges and for whom procedures such as lies, boycotts, the purchase of politicians and social leaders, the complicity of the judiciary, etc., are not enough and who finally resort to sectors of the Armed Forces to promote coups d’état and impede the advance of democracy.

I am certain that these situations, which will undoubtedly have a high cost in suffering, are the last breathes of a dying system before its total disappearance, since finally the peoples will recover their stolen freedom and will take their destiny in their hands, enabling a better future for all.

Finally, the refusal of the Chilean government – as well as the governments of Peru, Argentina and Brazil – not to allow Evo Morales and Alvaro García Lineras (according to journalistic sources in Bolivia) to enter the airspace of the plane in which they were flying is inexplicable, since in doing so they have made their right to seek asylum more difficult and have left them exposed to the political violence expressed today by their coup opponents.

*Vice-president of the Humanist Party

Translation Pressenza London

Barbara Berntsen, left, with her siblings.I went looking for interesting Quakers with interesting lives and stories for the new book Passing the Torch, which is now out. Barbara Bernsten certainly qualifies. She has lived in Norway for many years. But she’s American born, and I first heard of and from her more than ten years…

via “Passing The Torch” – The Authors Speak (First in a series) — A Friendly Letter

11.11.2019 – Los Angeles – Robert Hunziker

Ignoring Climate Catastrophes
The image was taken in High Arctic from a helicopter. It shows the crack pattern in permafrost. The image was sent to Professor Hallet for interpretation. Here’s what he writes about the image: “…these look like very fresh contraction crack polygons, probably ice-wedge polygons and mostly likely they developed on beach sediments that were recently under water. Striking patterns!”

The planet is coming apart at the seams right before the eyes of scientists at work in remote fringe areas of the North where permafrost crumbles and collapses. It’s abrupt climate change at work in real time, but the governing leaders of the world either don’t care or don’t know. If they did, there would already be a worldwide Climate Marshall Plan to save civilization from early warning signals of utter chaos.

“Across 9 million square miles at the top of the planet, climate change is writing a new chapter. Arctic permafrost isn’t thawing gradually, as scientists once predicted. Geologically speaking, it’s thawing almost overnight.” (Source: Arctic Permafrost Is Thawing Fast. That Affects Us All, National Geographic, September 2019 Issue)

After all, collapsing permafrost is the leading edge of cataclysmal global warming as it precedes additional catastrophes that follow one after another, and then another. All of which happen unannounced, known as abrupt climate change events.

The modern world’s First Near-Catastrophe, the Ozone Hole (1980s), was luckily avoided 40 years ago, more on this fascinating story later. It was the planet’s closest brush with nearly total extinction ever since the Permian-Triassic event took down 95% of all life 252 million years ago.

Meanwhile, the concern is whether cascading permafrost will end up as the world’s Second Near-Catastrophe, meaning it gets attended to, or will it lead to something much worse, as in “catastrophes that follow one after another, and then another?”

Cherskiy, Russia, which is home to the Northeast Science Station at 69°N, far above the Arctic Circle, is a year-round base for an international research station that studies Arctic biology and climate change. It is 60 miles inland from the East Siberian Sea (another high-risk area in the Arctic).

In January of 2018 something unheard of happened at Cherskiy. The topsoil that has maintained frozen permafrost for eons was not refreezing like it had every year for as long as records were kept. Whereas, January in Siberia is normally so brutally cold that human breath can freeze with a “tinkling sound” that locals refer to as “the whisper of stars.”

“Three years ago, the temperature in the ground above our permafrost was minus 3 degrees Celsius (-27 degrees Fahrenheit),’ Sergey Zimov (an ecologist) said, ‘Then it was minus 2. Then it was minus one. This year, the temperature was plus 2 degrees,” Ibid.

The aforementioned example of abrupt climate change in Siberia is a beckoning out of the North, warning that the past 10,000 years of the Holocene era, earmarked by a Goldilocks Wonder World “not too hot, not too cold,” has ended, as excessive heat tears apart regions of the planet, piece by piece. Thereby sounding the alarm and threatening comfy lifestyles in every country in existence today, but is it a warning signal with a short fuse or a long fuse?

Human-generated greenhouse gases have kicked nature into high gear, competing with humanity by emitting tons of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, even in the winter in Siberia above the Arctic Circle. It’s earth-shattering news that should cause sleepless nights for world leaders, but it doesn’t alarm them. Otherwise, they’d already be taking emergency measures. They’re not!

As it happens, world leadership is sacrificing their constituencies on the altar of fossil fuel profits and a brand of capitalism that recklessly consumes everything in sight. Therefore emphasizing consequences such as Alaska’s North Slope has seen temperatures spike 11°F in 30 years as temperatures hit 90°F 240 miles above the Arctic Circle, challenging Florida’s balmy weather.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change struggles to keep up with ever-faster climate change disaster scenarios that unfold right under their noses, the world’s leadership looks like a herd of deer frozen in headlights. Meanwhile, the risks of excessive global warming, or heat, is not properly understood by the public in the following ‘double-scary’ context:

“Large abrupt climate changes have repeatedly affected much or all of the earth, locally reaching as much as 10°C change in 10 years.” (Source: Alley, Richard B. Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises, Washington D.C. National Academy Press, 2002)

That description of abrupt climate change (10°C in 10 years) by Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State University, is based upon paleoclimate data. However, that same risk is not considered by the IPCC or included in scientists’ models, thus it qualifies as one of the least expected climate events. But, it has happened in the past… more than once!

Frankly, society can’t handle 10°C in 10 years, whether “locally,” as stated by Dr. Alley, or universally.

Which prompts the daunting notion of what happens when nature is “goosed up” by the sudden advent of the Human Heat Machine: 7,500,000,000 people, 1,400,000,000 cars, 22,500,000 commercial vehicles, 3,500,000 heavy trucks, 425,000 buses, 39,000 commercial and military airplanes, 62,500 power plants, 996,000,000 cattle all simultaneously emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as CO2 emissions set new records year after year after year?

In all, 80-90% of the above-listed statistics occurred in only 70 years, whereas it took modern humans nearly 200,000 years to reach two billion in population. Today, it’s the Great Acceleration at work as post-WWII 5.5 billion newbies forage the planet, all within one lifetime. Amazing!

As a result, we are the biggest experiment the planet has ever encountered. Meanwhile, scientific knowledge that establishes “a firm link” between (1) carbon dioxide emissions and (2) excessive global heat brings forth far-reaching unknowns for today’s carbon dioxide-fueled world. As such, the climate status/integrity of the planet has become a gamble, a crapshoot.

For example, the temperature/CO2 relationship over the past 400,000 years is saw-toothed, as demonstrated so clearly in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006): When CO2 hits a high of 280 ppm, temperatures, like clock-work, increase by 5°C (hot cycle) and when CO2 hits a low of 180 ppm, like clock-work, temperatures decrease by -5°C (cold cycle) every 100,00 years over the past 400,000.

Although temperature change (the wild card) is all about timing, meaning does it take centuries or decades or years for the temperature to react to CO2 levels in the atmosphere? In that regard, Dr. Alley’s “10°C in 10 years” is not encouraging, but nobody knows for sure what will happen tomorrow.

Speaking of which, today’s CO2 at 410+ ppm has powered through nature’s rhythmic cycles of 180 (low) to 280 (high) over the past 400,000 years. Now what?

Assuming global warming reacts accordingly, one possible scenario: “In a 4°C world, in which local temperature increases of 5 to 10 degrees will affect many areas, the impact on food production may be catastrophic.” (Source: Angus, Ian, Facing the Anthropocene, Monthly Review Press, 2016, pg. 102)

Today’s collapsing permafrost is eerily similar to the circumstances that surrounded the world’s First Near-Catastrophe, the notorious Ozone Hole, as explained in chapter 5 “The First Near-Catastrophe” of Ian Angus’ profoundly brilliant and indispensable book. The world has already faced that First Near-Catastrophe and luckily got through it.

Similar to ignoring abrupt climate change today, back in the 1970s-80s, no one predicted the speed and magnitude of the steep decline in levels of ozone because of damage by CFCs produced by DuPont ever since the 1930s. In fact, back in the day, NASA had predicted that ozone levels might decline 5 to 9 percent by 2050. But, surprise, surprise, surprise! Ozone levels dropped by 60% by the mid-1980s. Scientists were dumbfounded! And scared!

Without the protective ozone layer, 10-20 miles above Earth, which absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, life literally burns to a crisp.

In a masterful-less stroke of good luck, a handful of scientists brought the impending disaster of the ozone hole to the attention of the world community. If not for the British Antarctic Survey that worked on a shoestring budget of $18,000/year, the world wouldn’t have known of the threat to all humanity. Since 1957, they monitored the ozone layer from the Halley Bay Observatory in Antarctica but never suspected human-generated chemicals would attack and destroy the ozone layer.

For 50 years the CFC industry was able to avoid a ban on sales of CFCs due to an absence of hard scientific data showing a decline in ozone levels. In 1979, DuPont officials said: “No ozone depletion has ever been detected despite the most sophisticated analysis… All ozone depletion figures to date are computer projections based on a series of uncertain assumptions,” Ibid, pg. 84.

Similar to CO2 in the atmosphere today, “CFCs had been entering the atmosphere in ever-increasing amounts since the early 1930s. The pre-1980 measurements from Halley Bay undoubtedly included their effect on the ozone layer above Antarctica, but in 1979, what had been a gradual linear process crossed a tipping point, becoming rapid and nonlinear,” Ibid, pg. 85.

Thus, giving birth to an Abrupt Climate Change event that could have destroyed life on Earth. Thankfully, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. It saved the world from sure-fire destruction, blind-sided by its own chemical devices.

After reviewing the history of CFCs and the ozone layer, Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist) commented: “I can only conclude that mankind has been extremely lucky,” Ibid, pg. 87.

Now: Is permafrost collapse the Second Near-Catastrophe or something worse?

Hopefully, the answer is not “something worse” because dissimilar to the Ozone Hole crisis, which was solved by a handful of companies and industries implementing a technical fix and banning CFCs, the process of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions is universal, requiring decades of transforming the global economy, a gargantuan task when compared to civilization’s First Near-Catastrophe.

Similar to the Ozone Hole, which hit a tipping point 40 years after CFCs began emitting, collapsing permafrost first happens by inches, then by feet, then by portions of miles, when it is finally recognized as exceeding a tipping point, likely what’s happening today in Siberia, and throughout the far reaches of the Northern Hemisphere where massive levels of permafrost cover 25% of the hemisphere buried in frozen soil for eons, holding more than twice the amount of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere.

Permafrost collapse is as alarming, maybe more so, as the Ozone Hole threat, but only a handful of scientists see it and believe it. Sound familiar?

09.11.2019 – Redacción Barcelona

This post is also available in: Spanish

ICAN organisations meet at the Peace Boat in Barcelona

On the occasion of the arrival of the Peace Boat in Barcelona on Tuesday 5 November, several ICAN organisations met in an event that brought together initiatives and proposals relating to world peace.

The Peace Boat, Japanese ship of Peace, is an active part of the campaign ICAN (International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons). It aims to create an awareness of Peace, as it travels around the world, promoting human rights, respect for the environment and publicizing the consequences of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

This campaign is made up of a coalition of international civil society non-governmental organizations that promote the adherence and full implementation of the TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) at the global level.

Pictures by René Gómez

The documentary “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons” was screened. The documentary, directed by Álvaro Orús and produced by Tony Robinson of Pressenza, explains the history of nuclear weapons, their consequences and aims to raise awareness of the need to eradicate them.

The documentary promotes the signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and that the population becomes aware of the danger in which they live and builds a citizen’s movement for a change of planetary paradigm without nuclear weapons.

Prior to the broadcast of the film, the cruise director Maria Yosida welcomed the attendees, explained the objectives of the Peace Boat and the ICAN Campaign.

The Hibakusha, Noriko Sakashita, began the act reciting a poem “The life of this morning”, accompanied by the cello of Miguel Lopez, playing the “Cant dels Ocells” by Pau Casals, which tuned the audience in an emotional atmosphere.

The documentary was followed by presentations by:

-David Llistar, director of Global Justice and International Cooperation of Barcelona City Council, representing his Department and the mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

-Tica Font, from the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau.

-Carmen Sunyé, vice-president of Fundipau.

-Alessandro Capuzzo, representative of World Without Wars in the Bamboo (ship adhered to the 2nd World March that sails through the Mediterranean with the Campaign: “Mediterranean, Sea of Peace and free of nuclear weapons”).

-Rafael de la Rubia, coordinator of the 2nd World March and founder of World without Wars and without Violence.

-Federico Mayor Zaragoza, president of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and former director general of UNESCO (through video).

We also had the assistance of Pedro Arrojo, former deputy of Podemos, as one of the protagonists involved in the documentary.

Josep Mayoral, mayor of Granollers and vice-president of Mayors for Peace in Spain, excused his absence.

Pictures by Antonio Meda and Javier Belda

At the end of the event, information was updated on the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence, which began on 2 October in Madrid, and which has already travelled to some countries in Africa and is on its way to America. It will continue its journey through Asia and Europe, ending on 8 March 2020.

Translated by Pressenza London (a rough translation of the videos is available on the YouTube site)

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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