Wake-up Call

Resist the Corporate State

Archive for May 2014

The Responsibilities of Leadership and Citizenship

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I posted this on a local community blog- but the community could be yours, anywhere USA. It’s time to stand up, folks!

Claudia Woodward-Rice  May 30, 2014

The issue of leadership has come up on the Harbor again and again lately. While the people struggle to inform themselves about possible impacts from Crude-by-Rail, and a proposed change of GH Community Hospital structure from non-profit to public- we find that elected leaders (and some hoping to be elected) are uninformed and un-informing.

• Why did Port Commissioners rubber-stamp Crude-by-Rail?

• Why didn’t our state senators and representatives bring the hospital issue to our attention two years ago?

We elect people and pay them to do some of the jobs we don’t have time to do ourselves: fully research issues, and report their findings honestly; and engage public awareness about decisions that need to be made in a timely manner so there is no rush to judgment. At least that is what we should be able to expect from our elected officials.

Too often “leaders” don’t do their homework, and wait until issues are full-blown before they choose a position. Or they choose to ride the coattails of Corporate honchos even when this is detrimental to the communities they represent. This go-along-to-get-along attitude is the norm, but Grays Harbor can no longer afford it.

Citizens have responsibilities too. We elect leaders and sometimes we need to ask why more good people don’t run? We need to hold those in office accountable, and consider replacing them with the community-minded who would truly represent us. We need to go to city and county meetings, engage our neighbors and participate. The sacrifices made over the generations so we can be free citizens should not be taken lightly. They need to be paid for with our active participation: It really is Use-it-or-Lose-it.

Complacency and apathy are signs of defeat. But there is a new energy on the Harbor, people are meeting, researching, speaking out. Those who might not normally travel in the same circles are sharing information and finding common ground. We live here: it is up to us to make the decisions that affect our lives and community.

We don’t have to sit and wait for the powers-that-be to decide the conditions of our lives. Let’s take it into our own hands and be Democracy on the Harbor. It’s the path to success and it comes with a spirit of joy that might amaze you.

Claudia Woodward-Rice lives in Central Park outside of Aberdeen, WA.

 

Written by laudyms

May 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Organic Standards Under Fire

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WHAT’S AT STAKE       Organic Consumers Association

Organic Standards Under Fire:     SOS

Chemical and energy-intensive industrial food and farming poses a mortal threat to life on the planet.

Monsanto and Food Inc. are rapidly destroying the soil, contaminating water, reducing biodiversity, and destabilizing the climate.

Meanwhile consumers are being stuffed with junk foods that make us fat and sick.

Industrial agriculture’s fatal harvest includes trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and filthy, disease-ridden factory farmed animal products, laced with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, nano-particles and bacteria.

While a cornucopia of healthy food alternatives are available at the local level, from small organic farmers to urban gardeners to raw milk distribution networks and community supported agriculture projects, the USDA National Organic Program is the only system to provide certified national and global standards for organic food that is distributed regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Foods labeled “USDA Organic” are the gold standard for health and sustainability at the retail and wholesale level. Organics provide a beacon of light in grocery store aisles to guide consumers away from GMOs and chemical-tainted junk foods.

Consumer demand for healthy and eco-friendly food has built the organic market into a $30 billion a year powerhouse, and has forced even the largest retailers, wholesalers and brand names to get into organics.

While we oppose the “Walmartization” of organic, we are happy to see that even our adversaries are being forced to market and sell organic products.

While OCA’s campaigns against worker abuses, GMOs, factory farming, and the many poisons used in industrial food production, are aimed at tearing down a deadly system, our work to keep organic standards strong guarantees that even the big corporate players must “play by the rules” if they are to call their products organic.

Unfortunately the big players (Monsanto, Kraft, Wal-Mart, General Mills, et al) keep trying to change the rules, which means we’ve got to keep fighting them.

Read more: OCA’s Ongoing Campaign to Safeguard Organic Standards

Marching against Monsanto

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Marching against Monsanto

Mae-Wan Ho  The Institute of Science in Society   May 27, 2014

It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have been marching against Monsanto for close to 20 years now since GM crops were commercialized and I first warned of the dangers of GMOs and Roundup herbicides.

Unfortunately, all my predictions and more have come true. Over the years, farm workers and their families across the world have been seeing sharp rises in birth defects, cancers, allergies, lethal kidney disease and so on. Their livestock die, get diarrhoea, become sterile, cannot conceive, or give birth to dead and deformed animals.

Scientists had to get through tremendous hurdles and obstructions to do the research, not just from Monsanto, but also from corrupt and/or misguided governments, including the UK. For years, practically the only research on safety of GMOs was carried out by the companies themselves, and their raw data are kept from the public as commercially sensitive information.

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Reality check: Time To Get Crazy- by Chris Hedges

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A friend just sent me this, and I admit to being moved by the pure nature of Hedges narrative. On this Memorial Day we may mourn our own troops but we should grieve without ceasing for our nations victims: those we have obliterated, enslaved and left bereft. The foundation of America is built on their bones.

and re-posted today by Common Dreams

Time To Get Crazy

Native Americans’ resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed. And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront  how we will respond.

The ideologues of rapacious capitalism, like members of a primitive cult, chant the false mantra that natural resources and expansion are infinite. They dismiss calls for equitable distribution as unnecessary. They say that all will soon share in the “expanding” wealth, which in fact is swiftly diminishing. And as the whole demented project unravels, the elites flee like roaches to their sanctuaries. At the very end, it all will come down like a house of cards.

Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality. Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth. Karl Marx was correct when he called unregulated capitalism “a machine for demolishing limits.” This failure to impose limits cannibalizes natural resources and human communities. This time, the difference is that when we go the whole planet will go with us. Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.

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World Bank and aid donors accused of enabling land grabs

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by Ellie Violet Bramley    Guardian   May 21, 2014

Aid donors and international institutions including the World Bank and World Economic Forum (WEF) have been accused of promoting an environment that fuels land grabs through policies and initiatives that pave the way for large-scale private investment.

In a report published on Tuesday, the NGO ActionAid says public money and policy incentives such as tax breaks and cut-price loans are facilitating land deals that threaten the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in poor countries.

ActionAid warns that the consequences of such deals, which are too often happening behind closed doors and with little or no consultation with local communities, include “forced evictions, human rights violations, lost livelihoods, divided communities … rising food insecurity and, ultimately, increased poverty”.

A spokesman for the World Bank said it was also concerned about the risks of large-scale land deals and stressed that it did not support investments that took advantage of weak institutions in developing countries.

ActionAid’s report says weak governance and regulation of land use and agricultural investments have left millions of smallholder farmers and indigenous people in vulnerable situations “lack[ing] recognition over their land rights, even if they have resided in or used the area for generations”.

ActionAid’s campaign manager, Antoine Bouhey, said a “nexus of different policies” at the global level, which encourage private investment as a route to development, were also to blame.

“Governments are turning to private capital to fill the massive shortfall in public spending but too often this blind rush for investment is leading to land grabs which are leaving communities landless, homeless and hungry. Growth cannot be achieved at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.

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“System Change, Not Climate Change” -how to get there from here

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climate and capitalism

A Left Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is occurring with extreme rapidity. Recent news headlines warn us: “Earth Could Warm 11 Degrees by 2100,” “Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing,” and “Climate Change Risks Security and Wars.” — and this is just the beginning.

Had extreme measures been inaugurated worldwide 20 years ago to sharply curtail reliance on fossil fuels, much of what we are now experiencing — unwelcome temperature change, dangerous storms, droughts, floods, etc. — would have been minimized. But to this day Washington is among the tiny minority of countries that have refused to ratify the basic UN document on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.

The current stage of the climate crisis will afflict our Earth for innumerable generations to come, creating increasing havoc. Stage one will eventually transform to a crueler stage two later this century and other stages eventually unless severe measures are introduced immediately. We know the dire consequences for future generations if we fail to act immediately.

David Suzuki got it right when he said on the Bill Moyers PBS program this month: “Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness…. I think that we are being willfully blind to the consequences for our children and grandchildren. It’s an inter-generational crime.”

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Obama is sad about Climate Change- so he wants crude oil exports??

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5/19 ask him about how crude oil exports affect climate change! What are they thinking??

Written by laudyms

May 19, 2014 at 5:55 am