Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The US Police State Has Spoken | If You're a Person of Color, WATCH OUT!!!

It's no laughing matter. It's not a joke. If Michael Brown was white. If Tamir Rice was white. If Eric Garner was white, would these three people be alive today? How have the police officers who took the lives of these innocent people not been punished?  While there is a thread to be sown here, it's unapologetically clear, racism is still alive and well in the US. In a recent piece by Democracy Now! Vince Warren speaks about how the police are getting away with killing people of color in the US.

Sustainability and peace are unachievable when justice is not served. After watching/reading Mr. Warren's piece take some time to read the articles accessible from this page. 

There's a reason the President is starting to get involved in issues of domestic police brutality. It's as sickening as it is disturbing for a nation that prides itself the way the US does to not only allow these injustices to continue, but to fail to understand how these acts ripple out into communities instilling fear into folks who are simply not white. Is it fair that black youth are 21x more likely to get shot by a police officer than non black youths? Please click on this link to hear what one kid had to say.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Ban Upheld in 4 U.S. States | WTF is Wrong with America?

Is it really that hard to understand that members of the LGBT community are continuing to be oppressed for their sexual identity in 2014?

Do people not understand that the only thing holding back justice in this current civil rights movement is conservative views on marriage, and outdated ideology attached to religion? While what's happened is likely heading to the Supreme Court, the sheer fact that it must go that far is disgusting to say the least. Nevertheless, it's what the broken system demands and hopefully justice will prevail.

What happened recently is a federal appeals court in Ohio upheld the right of four completely backwards states (Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan) to ban same-sex marriage. That basically means their right to oppress was upheld. From a legal standpoint, the decision contradicts other rulings that have been issued by similar courts that support marriage equality. As much as the U.S. justice system continues to uphold unjust rulings to folks based on flawed precedent, such as rulings related the protection of sacred sites for Indigenous people, last month, the Supreme Court rejected appeals from five states that also wanted to ban same-sex marriage. Perhaps as a sign of the times, in an incremental view, this hate-filled move by these backwards states helped same-sex marriage become legal in more than 30 states as a response.

That's pretty cool, except for the fact that is still has to be some horrific act that plays out as a response rather than something layered in justice from the beginning. As much as states have the right to dictate their own reality away from certain federal parameters, and as much as the current economic/political/judicial systems are so violently broken (and have been for decades) the hope is that the Supreme Court can make a ruling that is absolute and uniform, so that one state can not oppress communities of people based on sexuality.

Read up more on this issue and act in solidarity for peace, justice and sustainability ALWAYS!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Must Watch Video for a Voice on Dissent and Justice

This is not this first time we've highlighted the words and wisdom of Noam Chomsky. Yes he's an intelligent white man. But don't let that hold you back:) He's a man in solidarity with what it means to support peace, justice and sustainability in the now, and it's people like Noam that have helped other white folks to see that that they can indeed check their privilege and act in solidarity with those who face disproportionate burdens because of their race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, age, ethnicity, and culture.

Watch the video here.

This is the beginning of his words as shared from Democracy Now! 

"It’s a pleasure to be here to be able to talk with you and discuss with you afterwards. Many of the world’s problems are so intractable that it’s hard to think of ways even to take steps towards mitigating them. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not one of these. On the contrary, the general outlines of a diplomatic solution have been clear for at least 40 years. Not the end of the road—nothing ever is—but a significant step forward. And the obstacles to a resolution are also quite clear.

The basic outlines were presented here in a resolution brought to the U.N. Security Council in January 1976. It called for a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border—and now I’m quoting—"with guarantees for the rights of both states to exist in peace and security within secure and recognized borders." The resolution was brought by the three major Arab states: Egypt, Jordan, Syria—sometimes called the "confrontation states." Israel refused to attend the session. The resolution was vetoed by the United States.

A U.S. veto typically is a double veto: The veto, the resolution is not implemented, and the event is vetoed from history, so you have to look hard to find the record, but it is there. That has set the pattern that has continued since. The most recent U.S. veto was in February 2011—that’s President Obama—when his administration vetoed a resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy opposition to expansion of settlements.

And it’s worth bearing in mind that expansion of settlements is not really the issue; it’s the settlements, unquestionably illegal, along with the infrastructure projects supporting them. For a long time, there has been an overwhelming international consensus in support of a settlement along these general lines. The pattern that was set in January 1976 continues to the present. Israel rejects a settlement of these terms and for many years has been devoting extensive resources to ensuring that it will not be implemented, with the unremitting and decisive support of the United States—military, economic, diplomatic and indeed ideological—by establishing how the conflict is viewed and interpreted in the United States and within its broad sphere of influence."
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Obama is Championed for New Proposed Executive Order| A Real Reason to Celebrate? Or Another Climate Measure Without Teeth?

Check out his speech here.

The media has been celebrating Obama's specch amidst more than 300,000 protesters that took to the streets of NYC recently demanding more attention and work is necessary with regards to climate change. The new executive order was announced at the United Nations meeting on climate change last Tuesday.

It asked federal agencies to consider climate change in all international development programs. As much as I do believe in incremental acts leading to cumulative change, in 2014, is that enough?

Spokespeople from White House said the order will require agencies to "factor climate resilience into the design of their international development programs and investments."  Part of the order announcement was also accompanied by tools that the U.S. plans to make available to other countries to "help vulnerable populations around the world strengthen their climate resilience" as more pressure has been placed on the U.S. and other developed countries to commit more funding to climate aid for poorer nations.

Speaking of the UN meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the goal of the meeting was "to mobilize political will" for a new global climate agreement and "to catalyze ambitious action on the ground" in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

What do you think? Is this enough? More of the same media attention of big words placed next too big ideas without anything actually happening? Or is this something worthy? For a much better read try this and think about what you would do in a position or power. Or better yet, in obliterating the current power hierarchy, what do you see would be actual progressive steps forward to combatting climate change on the ground? I sure wouldn't be advocating for business as usual absolving critique of those who perpetuate the impacts across the globe to the highest degree...
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

So Much Trouble In The World (Again)

It's both true and overwhelming. The amount of activity scattered across the globe related to peace, justice and sustainability is as mind blowing now as it's ever been. Sometimes it feels like the train of bad news will never stop. One of the most important things you can do is to take a breath and make sure you're as good as you individually can be to check in with local, regional and global happenings. It's not the first time I've offered this thought, and while it may come off as selfish, self preservation is important to all who wish to play a contributing role in this world. Those who are forced to confront lived oppression every moment or every day must do just that-fight for their dignity and well being daily. If you do not live that reality hopefully you're in solidarity to play a supporting role.

Once "WE" are feeling ready to be activated, progress for people and the planet continues to be a matter of eduction, organization and action. I continue to support the work of democracy as a useful place to plug into what's going on in the world.

Over the past few weeks, from the continuing war between Israel and Palestine, to the domestic turmoil and injustice in Ferguson, Missouri, it feels like the train of oppression, brutality and violence just keeps building momentum.Don't let it crush you. Don't let it consume you. That's what the systems wants-for you to be so self interested that you don't care about anyone but yourself or your immediate family. The trick is to find your own health and balance, and when you do, then look outward, respectfully.

As we approach Labor Day let us remember now and always the work of great people like Cesar Chavez, and how activists and organizers have changed labor relations for the betterment of all people, not just themselves. Work within the labor-justice movement and in all walks of life remains troubled. Just remember to take that breath for yourself. Look to your immediate family, friends and local community to offer support. Slowly branch out from there and then get activated, allowing yourself to go where your drawn the most. The topics page from Democracy Now is a good place to go when you're ready to tap back in, and just keep in mind when you're ready, there's an issue and a movement that's ready for you and whatever unique gifts you bring to the table.
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Duty to Warn: Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July by

The fourth of July in indeed an "interesting" time intellectually, morally and spiritually for those who don't give into bling nationalistic forms of so called patriotism. When you read the following, think about where the voice is coming from-those who have actually put their lives on the lines to defend the freedom everyone in the U.S.A. enjoys. "We" know that not everyone is free, and while we should give respectful thanks to the fact that we do have the right to speak up and foster dissent, ignorance is truly not bliss.

This article was written by VFP member, Dr. Gary G. Kohls, MD. Dr. Kohls is a member of VFP Chapter 80 in Duluth MN.

Since the assassinations of Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King (and the Vietnam War that had much to do with both), it has been hard for historically-literate and open-minded Americans to generate much patriotic fervor on the Fourth of July. But they should have been skeptical long before those idealism-shattering events. My own seriously deficient high school education in world and American history has necessitated decades of catch-up reading and research in order to find the truth about the dark underbelly of America.

My high school textbooks totally ignored the real histories of the conquistadores, the genocide of Native Americans and their cultures, and the truth about the actual brutality of the enslavement of Black Africans. My history books glorified America’s wars, and never mentioned America’s use of propaganda or how it was involved in fascist movements world-wide. The cold realities of sexism, militarism, poverty, corporate abuse, the banking system, etc. were glossed over. Sadly, my relative ignorance about the (obviously censored out of our consciousness) painful and unwelcome truths about what really happened in history is probably the norm. I have tried to do some of the catching-up by reading the relatively hidden alternative literature, starting with books like Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States and also the writings of historically-literate truth-tellers like Martin Luther King, Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges.

Anyone who honestly reads those author’s books can’t help but become disillusioned with America’s history and the massive propaganda by which the vast majority of us Americans have been duped into sometimes very sincerely believing that the US is the new shining light of the world, working courageously and endlessly for justice and peace. <<>> And the flag-waving propaganda is getting thicker and smellier with every move that our nation’s sociopathic mega-corporations, their unelected, over-privileged ruling elites, their well-paid lobbyists, their hordes of cunning, shyster lawyers, their five right-wing bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court justices, their thousands of bribed state and federal legislators, the entrenched bureaucracy, and their corporate-controlled media - all of whom are complicit in the demise of American democracy. Anyone who is paying attention is watching their democracy wither and die while the conscienceless uber-wealthy and their corporations bloat up, heading for the next bust. 

The connections between wealth, power, violence and injustice should be obvious. Judge Louis D. Brandeis nailed that concept when he said: “We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” With regards to American history as Zinn expressed it in his writings and speeches, all one has to do is list a few events that have contributed to the disillusionment and the reason so many find it hard to fake patriotism on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Veterans Day or Columbus Day (or to pretend that the Christian religious holidays of Christmas or Easter have much to do with the original, pacifist, unconditionally-loving, enemy-loving, compassionate teachings and actions of the original form of Christianity). Many of the progressive thinkers of my generation were irretrievably disillusioned by the government-backed conspiracies (and the resultant cover-ups) that orchestrated the political murders of the leftist heroes (and perhaps the only hope for the American Dream) JFK, MLK, RFK and Paul Wellstone. And the pain is re-experienced every time one realizes that the real unindicted conspirators behind those assassinations are still at large, and therefore remain unpunished and free to kill again. (One could say the same thing about the hidden power elites who were behind the planting of the controlled demolitions that so dramatically brought down the three WTC towers on 9/11/01 an event that allowed them to start the homicidal and suicidal wars for oil in the Mideast. And, similarly unpunished and free to exploit again, are the known financial and political elites that caused the Crash and start of the Great Recession of 2008. They not only got bailed out, but were rewarded for their crimes rather than going to jail where they belonged.) 

Those folks who have done the necessary catch-up research and reading that revealed what the right-wing censors had taken out of our history books have understandably become disillusioned about America’s status in the history of the world. 

Please visit: 

to read the rest of the deeply patriotic piece. 

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Whether you think he's a genius or not, these are wise words....

"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor-not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production-that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods-may legally be, and for the most party are, the private property of individuals." - Albert Einstein

 Here's a link to the full article:

The thing is, once you learn about the basics that make capitalism what it is, unless it singularly benefits you, and you're of the upbringing/environment/lack the ability to think critically even if the critique impacts you "negatively", how can you support such a force when there is so much injustice in the world because of it?

How can you support government, insurance, banking, and all other practices that reinforce an inherently flawed system that only favor a few, while dominating the majority of people on the planet and all other non human members of the global biotic community? Ask yourself, do you really want to make a difference in the world?

Do you really care about your species and life on this planet? If so, how could you ever support capitalism? Just because "that's the way"? The dismantling of capitalism as it's been known since the industrial revolution is simply at the roots of a majority of humanity's ills. Period.

Combined with socially constricted forms of oppressions-hate-things people choose to abide by whether they're taught it or not, this is what's hold human back from actualized progression, sustainability and well-being.
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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Occupy Wall Street Activist on Trial. What's the Underlying Message to Activists?

Reflecting on issues of social media shut downs, net neutrality and the brutality handed down to protesting activists around the world, is it no coincidence that Cecily McMillan is facing several years in prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer?

The issue speaks to the fact that while the U.S. must be held accountable, and show a great sense of responsibility for its role in fostering unsustainable economic, political, and environmental decision-making across the world, at least in theory, the people are allowed to voice dissent.

Now we all know spying, terror lists and the like have been in place for decades meant to keep a watchful eyes on those who choose to actively show their disdain for war, oppression and unsustainable actions. It seems in the spirit of the law, that those in the U.S. can protest, write advocacy letters, and seek various ways to make their perspectives heard in an attempt to better craft policy and provide critique where its needed. But in reviewing this case, thoughts of suppressing the basic core of the democratic right to offer such dissent in clearly alive and well. Are there other motives at hand with this case? A message to the 99%, capitalism can't be shaken? Your voice will not break down the confines of the systems that organize U.S. hegemony? Don't Occupy? Don't Protest?

From Democracy Now:

An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of assaulting a New York City police officer in a trial that critics say should have been about the police assaulting her. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park, six months after Occupy began. McMillan was convicted of deliberately striking Officer Grantley Bovell with her elbow, leaving him with a black eye. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. To support this claim, defense lawyers showed photos of bruising to her chest during trial. In addition to her injuries, McMillan says she went into a seizure as officers pinned her down. She was later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. After a four-week trial, the jury took just three hours Monday to deliver a verdict. The judge in the case rejected defense pleas to allow her release on bail. McMillan was placed in handcuffs and taken to Rikers Island, where she’ll remain until sentencing in two weeks. She faces up to seven years in prison.

We speak to McMillan’s attorney Martin Stolar and her friend Lucy Parks, field coordinator for the Justice for Cecily Support Team.

AARON MATÉ: An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of assaulting a New York City police officer, but critics say the trial should have been about the police assaulting her. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park six months after Occupy began. McMillan was convicted of deliberately striking Officer Grantley Bovell with her elbow, leaving him with a black eye. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. To support this claim, defense lawyers showed photos of bruising to her chest during trial. In addition to her injuries, McMillan says she went into a seizure as officers pinned her down. She was later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

AMY GOODMAN: But prosecutors rejected Cecily McMillan’s claims and suggested she may have even caused the bruises to her body herself. After a four-week trial, the jury took just three hours Monday to deliver a verdict. The judge in the case rejected defense pleas to allow her release on bail. As outraged supporters chanted "Shame," McMillian was placed in handcuffs and taken to Rikers Island. She’ll remain there until sentencing in two weeks, when she faces up to seven years in prison. In a moment, we’ll be joined by her attorney and a friend, but first I want to turn back to our interview we did in 2012 that we did in 2012 with Cecily McMillan when she joined us on Democracy Now! just six days after her arrest. This is part of that interview.

AMY GOODMAN: We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Cecily, you limped in here. You’re very bruised. You have a bruise over your left eye. And I can see, with your—the scoop neck of your T-shirt, you are scratched and it is black and blue. It is— CECILY McMILLAN: A handprint. AMY GOODMAN: —the shape of a hand. Black and blue, the shape of a hand. CECILY McMILLAN: Yeah. AMY GOODMAN: That is above your right breast. And then your arms. Your arms are black and blue around both elbows. You’ve got finger marks of black and blue on both arms. And you’re clearly— CECILY McMILLAN: My back. AMY GOODMAN: —in a lot of pain on your back, and we can’t show those bruises now. Your ribs—what happened? CECILY McMILLAN: My ribs are really bruised. AMY GOODMAN: What happened to you? You went out on Saturday, six-month anniversary of Occupy, with hundreds of other people to Zuccotti. And what took place? CECILY McMILLAN: Like I said, I haven’t seen any of the videos yet. I ended a 40-something-hour stay in jail and ended up with all these bruises. I mean, that’s—I have an open case, so I can’t talk more about it, and I’m sure you can tell that it would be difficult for me to remember some things. But I have these.

Read the rest and watch video here:
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Friday, April 18, 2014

#Not1More, The Deportation Campaign

After 19 people were arrested for protesting, the #Not1More deportation campaign has launched a hunger strike outside of the White House.

Here's a link to the group's website:

Here's a link to the news brief from

About the struggle: is a project of NDLON meant to foster collaboration between individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.
As the immigration debate continues, #Not1More enters the discussion from the place that touches people in concrete ways and can offer tangible relief. By collectively challenging unfair deportations and inequality through organizing, art, legislation, and action, we aim to reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.
Growing from organizing with day laborers whose self expression is a form of self defense, from the global call of AltoArizona to condemn institutionalized racism, and from the courageous No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice (aka Undocubus), #Not1More accompanies and galvanizes the determination of millions of immigrants who have endured suffering and now are exercising the right to remain in the place they call home.
In recent years, the terms of the immigration debate have been poisoned and a crisis created as deportations, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrant communities has escalated at unprecedented rates. But at the same time record numbers of people are refusing to be victims and instead are drawing an entirely different picture by taking a stand for themselves, for their families, for our communities, and for all of us.
#Not1More weaves together all of our voices in a central location so that local efforts to stop deportation and build community are strengthened and accompanied by cultural creations that illustrate the ugliness of criminalization and the beauty of our communities.
Together we say: not one more family destroyed, not one more day without equality, not one more indifferent reaction to suffering, not one more deportation.

No human being is illegal. Educate yourself and act in solidarity for all people and the planet!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why is No One Covering the Violence in Venezuela?

Dear International Editor: Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden. What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood. Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

Courtesy of: Caracas Chrionicles

Read the rest here:

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Struggle to Protect the Sacred San Francisco Peaks Continues

After years of battle, The Arizona Snowbowl recently set United States precedent by becoming the first ski resort in the country's history to make fake snow out of reclaimed wastewater. Disregarding environmental and deep social concerns, the USFS continued a long legacy of federal entities marginalizing ecosystem health and American Indian belief systems when they ok'd the plan. It seems the case was in a poor state after the final ruling, until this most recent news out of Flagstaff. This is a definitive opportunity for actualized sustainability across justicew driven grounds socially, environmentally, economically and politically. That is, if this newest lawsuit can take root, and bring the spotlight back on the foul play and further oppression facilitated by the action's of the Arizona Snowbowl.

From the AZ Daily Sun:

The Hopi Tribe can proceed with its legal bid to halt snowmaking with reclaimed wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks after the Arizona Supreme Court sided with it Tuesday. In a procedural victory, the tribe has won the right to proceed with its lawsuit against the city of Flagstaff challenging the city’s 2002 decision to sell reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl ski area, on assertions that the water sale works against the public’s interests. Judges at the Arizona Court of Appeals last April had overturned a 2011 ruling by former Coconino County Superior Court Judge Joe Lodge.

The city had asked the supreme court to review the appeals court ruling, but the petition was denied Tuesday. The Appeals Court ruled that the tribe can raise questions about whether making snow causes a public nuisance — or something that “interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood or by a considerable number of persons,” in the eyes of the law. Further, the court found the tribe was actually a little too early in filing its lawsuit against the city of Flagstaff in 2011 (before snowmaking had started in December 2012), and that it was raising new arguments not heard before in other lawsuits intended to bar snowmaking.

“The Hopi Tribe, as well as many others, has always maintained that snowmaking with reclaimed wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks is simply wrong. Using wastewater harms the use and enjoyment of these areas and degrades the pristine nature of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness Area,” said Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa last April.

“We look forward to presenting our environmental and public health evidence to the court.” Previous lawsuits raised questions about whether snowmaking would harm Native American religious ceremonies and whether the U.S. Forest Service had adequately weighed the environmental impacts of using reclaimed wastewater on mountains feeding two Arizona watersheds. This lawsuit seeks to persuade judges that the city of Flagstaff’s 2002 decision to sell reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl was not in the public’s best interest. Lodge ruled in December 2011 that these issues had already been considered and that the tribe was too late in raising them.

“The plaintiff was clearly on notice in March 2002 that the city of Flagstaff intended to contract with Snowbowl to purchase reclaimed wastewater to be used for snowmaking at the Snowbowl ski area,” Lodge wrote in his 2011 ruling. Separately, the Appeals Court stated that this case shouldn’t have any bearing on another long-running legal case bearing on tribal water rights.

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