Monday, September 15, 2014

US Threatened Yahoo With $250,000 Daily Fine if They Didn't Use PRISM

Yahoo attempted to refuse user data to the NSA and filed suit in the secretive Fisa court. (photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

US Threatened Yahoo With $250,000 Daily Fine if They Didn't Use PRISM
By Craig Timberg, The Washington Post
12 September 14

The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications — a request the company believed was unconstitutional — according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program.

The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the NSA extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.

The ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review became a key moment in the development of PRISM, helping government officials to convince other Silicon Valley companies that unprecedented data demands had been tested in the courts and found constitutionally sound. Eventually, most major U.S. tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL, complied. Microsoft had joined earlier, before the ruling, NSA documents have shown.

A version of the court ruling had been released in 2009 but was so heavily redacted that observers were unable to discern which company was involved, what the stakes were and how the court had wrestled with many of the issues involved.

“We already knew that this was a very, very important decision by the FISA Court of Review, but we could only guess at why,” said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University.

PRISM was first revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year, prompting intense backlash and a wrenching national debate over allegations of overreach in government surveillance.

Documents made it clear that the program allowed the NSA to order U.S.-based tech companies to turn over e-mails and other communications to or from foreign targets without search warrants for each of those targets. Other NSA programs gave even more wide-ranging access to ¬personal information of people worldwide, by collecting data directly from fiber-optic connections.

In the aftermath of the revelations, the companies have struggled to defend themselves against accusations that they were willing participants in government surveillance programs — an allegation that has been particularly damaging to the reputations of these companies overseas, including in lucrative markets in Europe.

Yahoo, which endured heavy criticism after The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper used Snowden’s documents to reveal the existence of PRISM last year, was legally bound from revealing its efforts in attempting to resist government pressure. The New York Times first reported Yahoo’s role in the case in June 2013, a week after the initial PRISM revelations.

Both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, an appellate court, ordered declassification of the case last year, amid a broad effort to make public the legal reasoning behind NSA programs that had stirred national and international anger. Judge William C. Bryson, presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, ordered the documents from the legal battle unsealed Thursday. Documents from the case in the lower court have not been released.

Yahoo hailed the decision in a Tumblr post Thursday afternoon. “The released documents underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the U.S. Government’s surveillance efforts,” Ron Bell, the company’s general counsel, wrote in the post.

The Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published their own Tumblr post Thursday evening offering a detailed description of the court proceedings and posting several related documents. It noted that both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the appeals court sided with the government on the main questions at issue, and added that a subsequent law added more protections, making it “even more protective of the Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. persons than the statute upheld by the [appeals court] as constitutional.”

At issue in the original court case was a recently passed law, the Protect America Act of 2007, that allowed the government to collect data for significant foreign intelligence purposes on targets “reasonably believed” to be outside of the United States. Individual search warrants were not required for each target. That law has lapsed but became the foundation for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which created the legal authority for some of the NSA programs later revealed by Snowden.

The order requiring data from Yahoo came in 2007, soon after the Protect America Act passed. It set off alarms at the company because it sidestepped the traditional requirement that each target be subject to court review before surveillance could begin. The order also went beyond “metadata” — records of communications but not their actual content — to include the full e-mails.

A government filing from February 2008 described the order to Yahoo as including “certain types of communications while those communications are in transmission.” It also made clear that while this was intended to target people outside the United States, there inevitably would be “incidental collection” of the communications of Americans. The government promised “stringent minimization procedures to protect the privacy interests of United States persons.”

Rather than immediately comply with the sweeping order, Yahoo sued.

Central to the case was whether the Protect America Act overstepped constitutional bounds, particularly the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant. An early Yahoo filing said the case was “of tremendous national importance. The issues at stake in this litigation are the most serious issues that this Nation faces today — to what extent must the privacy rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution yield to protect our national security.”

The appeals court, however, ruled that the government had put in place adequate safeguards to avoid constitutional violations.

“We caution that our decision does not constitute an endorsement of broad-based, indiscriminate executive power,” the court wrote on Aug. 22, 2008. “Rather, our decision recognizes that where the government has instituted several layers of serviceable safeguards to protect individuals against unwarranted harms and to minimize incidental intrusions, its efforts to protect national security should not be frustrated by the courts. This is such a case.”

The government threatened Yahoo with the $250,000-a-day fine after the company had lost an initial round before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court but was still pursuing an appeal. Faced with the fine, Yahoo began complying with the legal order as it continued with the appeal, which it lost several months later.

Stewart Baker, a former NSA general counsel and Bush administration Department of Homeland Security official, said it’s not unusual for courts to order compliance with rulings while appeals continue before higher courts.

“I’m always astonished how people are willing to abstract these decisions from the actual stakes,” Baker said. “We’re talking about trying to gather information about people who are trying to kill us and who will succeed if we don’t have robust information about their activities.”

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded Thursday’s move to release the documents but said it was long overdue.

“The public can’t understand what a law means if it doesn’t know how the courts are interpreting that law,” said Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

US Empire and Nationalist Illusions

Monday, September 15, 2014

US Empire and Nationalist Illusions
Lawrence Wittner

A U.S. Marine covers the face of a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with a U.S. flag in Baghdad, on April 9, 2003. (File)

After thousands of years of bloody wars among contending tribes, regions, and nations, is it finally possible to dispense with the chauvinist ideas of the past?

To judge by President Barack Obama’s televised address on the evening of September 10, it is not. Discussing his plan to “take out” ISIS, the extremist group that has seized control of portions of Syria and Iraq, the president slathered on the high-flying, nationalist rhetoric. “America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth,” he proclaimed. “Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it's been in decades. . . . Our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. . . . I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day -- and that makes me more confident than ever about our country's future.”

This rhetoric, of course, is the lead-in to yet another American-led war in the Middle East. “American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world,” he stated. “It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression. . . . It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria's declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people—or the world—again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.”

America’s greatness, he added, carries “an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia—from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East —we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding. Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform.”

Can anyone acquainted with American history really take this nationalist drivel seriously? When contemplating the “freedom,” “justice,” and “dignity” that “have guided our nation since its founding,” is there no recollection of slavery, the seizure of a continent from its native people, lynching, child labor, the flouting of civil liberties, the exploitation of workers, legalized racial discrimination, and the war crimes committed by U.S. troops, most recently in Iraq?

Furthermore, all of this forgotten history is topped off with the ritualized “May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.” God, apparently, is supposed to ride shotgun for the U.S. military. Or is it really that the U.S. military and the nation are the emissaries of God?
In fairness to the president, it could be argued that he doesn’t actually believe this claptrap, but—like so many of his predecessors—simply dons a star-spangled uniform to sell his foreign policy to the American public.

But, in fact, the policy outlined in Obama’s speech is almost as nationalist as the rhetoric. Although the president promised that the United States would participate in a “broad coalition to roll back” ISIS, this would be a coalition that “America will lead.” Yes, there would be “partners” in American efforts “to address broader challenges to international order,” but not all the time—only “wherever possible.” In short, Americans should get ready for another Coalition of the Willing, led by the United States and, sometimes, limited to it alone.
Ironically, American “leadership” of military operations in the Islamic world has not only done much to spark the creation of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist groups, but has destabilized and inflamed the entire region. American-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya—coupled with U.S. military meddling in Syria, confrontations with Iran, arming of Israel, and drone strikes in many nations—have left the region awash with anti-Americanism, religious strife, and weapons (many now directed against the United States).

Against this backdrop, the U.S. government would be well-advised to adopt a very low profile in the Middle East—and certainly not “lead” yet another war, particularly one against Muslims. This restraint would mesh nicely with the U.S. government’s signature on the UN charter, which prohibits the use of force by any nation except in self-defense.

The current situation provides a particularly appropriate time for the U.S. government to back off from yet another military crusade in the region. After all, ISIS is heartily disliked by a large number of nations. At the moment, it seems likely that the governments of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, and other lands would welcome the demise of ISIS and support UN action against it. Furthermore, this action need not be military. The United Nations could play an important role in halting the flow of financing and weapons to this terrorist group. The United Nations could restrict the movement of militias and foreign fighters across borders. The United Nations could resume negotiations to end the civil war in Syria. And, particularly in light of the hostility toward the United States that has developed in recent years among many Muslims, the United Nations could demand the disarmament and dismantling of ISIS with far greater effect that would similar action by the U.S. government.

But can a nation shed its belief that it is uniquely qualified to “lead” the world? It can, if its citizens are ready to cast aside their nationalist illusions and recognize their interdependence with the people of other nations.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Lawrence Wittner

Lawrence S. Wittner is professor of history emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about the corporatization of higher education, 'What Going On at UAardvark?'

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

"Receiving Mothers and Children Traumatized by Border Experience"

"Receiving Mothers and Children Traumatized by Border Experience" by Caroline Hedel,
Houston CW, Sept 14, 2014

This summer, there has been an unprecedented increase in the numbers of women with children and unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central and South America. At Casa Juan Diego, we are often asked how this change has affected us. Although we are not able to house children traveling alone, we do accept mothers with children and currently have three families living with us who were part of this recent surge. There was, however, another woman who passed through our house over a month ago, and her short stay was one we will never forget.

She had three children and was from an indigenous community in Guatemala. Her husband had been living in Seattle and had sent for his family. With her young children in tow, she had made her way across Mexico, somehow navigating the trails and the weather and the people lying in wait for vulnerable travelers. We never found out how long it took her or the specifics of the trials she must have endured on that journey. Upon crossing the U.S-Mexico border, she was apprehended by immigration officials and placed in detention with her children, like thousands of families and children in recent weeks.

After a wait there, they were put on a bus, presumably headed for Seattle. It was here, under circumstances alien to her and speaking not a word of English and very little Spanish, that she lost her way.

The bus stopped in Houston and she did not know how or when to get back on. She was found wandering in the street with her children under the midday sun, holding their bags. Someone called the police, who called us at Casa Juan Diego and attempted to get her into the police car to take her to the house. Terrified of police due to her experiences in Guatemala, and speaking only her indigenous language, it took her over an hour to get into their car.

She showed up at Casa Juan Diego just after noon on a Sunday with her children clinging to her legs. She was frightened of everything – of me and the other Catholic Workers, of the house, and of the street, where she said she had seen a man walking earlier. Several times she attempted to run away from us into that same street. After at least 30 minutes, with the police-men and myself pleading with her in Spanish and her husband on the phone urging her in their language, she walked through the door and sat in our entrance area. We were told that the husband was boarding a flight from Seattle and would arrive later in the afternoon.

The family looked hot and tired, so we brought some food- which they refused to touch- and tried to move them to the library, just ten feet away. At this point, she broke down completely. The children sobbed while their mother cried and repeated religious phrases over and over in Spanish- probably most of the Spanish that she knew. Madre, Jesús, ¿por qué murió?

W e managed to move her into the comedor, the dining room. One of our guests, a woman from El Salvador who had been through a harrowing border crossing herself, happened to be there and took the woman into an embrace on her lap, comforting her. This woman held the newcomer, along with her three children, for several hours and never moved or said a word about the discomfort.

The mother alternately clung to our hands and gripped her children so tightly that their shirts strained tightly around their necks. Her smallest boy, 4 years old, began sliding to the floor with his eyes rolling back in his head and closing. We tried to give him water, food, anything, but he wouldn’t take it and the mother only pushed it away from him. Not knowing when they had last eaten or had something to drink, we began to fear for his immediate health. He was so small and seemed to be fading. For this reason, Louise called 911 for medical attention, explaining that the mother was hysterical and could not be calmed.

Not only paramedics and firemen arrived, but several police officers as well. We think they must have been from the mental health unit of the HPD because they were helpful and appropriate, not forceful, in this difficult situation. It was quickly established that the mother was not thinking or behaving rationally, that she had been so traumatized by her trip and her experiences in the detention facility that she simply could not hold herself together any longer. The journey had been too exhausting, the detention stay too foreign and cold and miserable. The officers tried to ask her for the names and ages of her children, but she would only say “Saber, saber…” (Who knows?) and return to her religious phrases. The only break in those words came when she suddenly switched to her native language and spoke rapidly and intensely for almost ten minutes, looking directly at us.

Although none of us could under-stand her, we felt that she was telling us her story of all that she had been through in arriving here. I wondered what her children thought, hearing it all again.

Finally, the officers decided to peel the children off her, one by one, and sit them at the table. I brought some beans and rice, but the youngest boy was the only one who ate. He spooned food into his mouth so fast that he vomited after only a few minutes. The police asked again for the children’s information, and her middle son, only 6 years old, summoned bravery that many little boys could not have found in his situation. He told the policeman, in Spanish, his name and age and those of his sister and brother.

By this time hours had passed, and the mother continued to be unrespon-sive to any attempts at interaction and seemingly unaware of her children’s suffering. After discussion with the officers and medical team, they decided that the best decision was to have the mother placed in the hospital for psychiatric observation. The children would wait for her at Child Protective Services (CPS) until she could be evaluated further.

Bilingual police women came to join in the effort. The officers wanted to remove the mother first for fear that if she saw her children being taken away, she would become even more upset. This meant that we had to carry the children into a side room as they screamed for their mother. She was put into an ambulance and CPS workers came for the children. The middle boy was emotionless and nodded when asked if he was okay; the girl, 9 years old, had not stopped crying since she arrived at the house and kept asking for her papá. One of the police-women promised to contact the husband and father with information on his family’s whereabouts. The CPS car drove away, and the house was quiet but for the lady from El Salvador, weeping as the woman’s pain reminded her of her own.

Impossibly enough, this story turned out as well as it could have. The father arrived in Houston that evening and the next day picked up his wife (now calm) from the hospital and his children from the CPS office, and then came to Casa Juan Diego to collect their bags and papers. The father seemed overjoyed to be with his family, as they were with him. They were given food and clothing for the trip, and they went on their way to Seattle.

This family was a tiny piece of the flood of women and children who are mentioned daily on the news in alternately kind and disparaging terms. Please remember, when you hear these reports and read the numbers, that each person has a story – and please pray for them.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, September-October 2014

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

Published on Portside (

Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

Naomi Klein, John Tarleton

Friday, September 12, 2014
The Indypendent

The fact that global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says best-selling author Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Klein’s much-anticipated new book, is both surprisingly hopeful and deeply personal as she deftly weaves in her story of struggling to conceive her first child while researching the potential collapse of the natural world. In the book, Klein challenges everyone who cares about climate change to strive for a seemingly impossible redistribution of political and economic power. This, she argues, is both necessary and offers the prospect of living in a more just and humane society than the one we know today.

John Tarleton: When it comes to the climate crisis, capitalism is often the elephant in the room that goes unacknowledged. Yet you zero in on it, starting with the title of your book. Why?

Naomi Klein: I put the connection between capitalism and climate change up front because the fact that the life support systems of the planet are being destabilized is telling us that there is something fundamentally wrong with our economic system. What our economy needs to function in a capitalist system is continuous growth and continuous depletion of resources, including finite resources. What our planet needs in order to avoid catastrophic warming and other dangerous tipping points is for humans to contract our use of material resources.

The science of climate change has made this fundamental conflict blindingly obvious. By putting that conflict up front, it breaks a taboo. And sometimes when you break a taboo, there’s sort of a relief in just saying it. And that’s what I’ve found so far: This is something that people know. And it’s giving permission to just name it. It’s a good starting point, so now we can have a real discussion.
Why has that taboo of talking about capitalism and climate change in the same breath become so entrenched here in the United States?

I think it’s primarily because capitalism is a religion in the United States. But also because the Left in the United States is extremely Keynesian, though Keynes himself questioned economic growth. But the translation of Keynesian thought we are seeing in this historical moment is a debate about the distribution of the spoils of economic growth. It’s not about some of the core facts about blanket economic growth.

In the book I talk about selective de-growth. There are schools of thought on the Left that dismiss all forms of growth. What I’m talking about is managing the economy. There are parts of our economy that we want to expand that have a minimal environmental impact, such as the care-giving professions, education, the arts. Expanding those sectors creates jobs, well-being and more equal societies. At the same time we have to shrink the growth-for-growth’s-sake parts of our economy, including the financial sector, which plays a large role in feeding consumption.

You say that the Left needs its own project for addressing climate change in a systematic and transformative manner that breaks with free-market orthodoxy. What would that look like?

The industrialized nations have to start cutting their emissions by about 8 to 10 percent per year, which is incompatible with capitalism. You cannot reconcile that level of emission reduction with an economic system that needs continual growth. The only time we have seen emissions reductions on that level was during the Great Depression of the 1930s. How we transition from our current status quo sets the parameters for how we want to organize society. A healthy transition would entail huge investments in the public sphere, public transit, housing, all kinds of infrastructure and services in order to prepare for the extreme weather that’s already locked in and also to lower our emissions.

Progressives should seize the reins of this project because it’s an opportunity to make this transition equitable and to have a better economy on the other side. You could also allow your economy to crash and burn, which is a terrible idea and would hurt enormous numbers of people.
The latter option would make a good starting point for a Hollywood movie.

It’s striking to me that when we envision the future it’s just a more brutally cleaved world between haves and have-nots than the one we have now. This is so much a part of our culture that we think all we’re capable of doing is becoming like the societies portrayed in Snowpiercer, Elysium or The Hunger Games. It’s actually not controversial to say this is where we are headed. The question is, can we imagine another way of responding to crisis other than one of deepening inequality, brutal disaster capitalism and mangled techno-fixes, because that seems to be where people agree we’re headed.

The alternative project you have in mind envisions a large role for the state. Yet, many on the Left have deep qualms about holding power of any kind, much less “seizing the reins,” as you say, to affect systemic changes.

There has been a backlash in our generation of leftists against the centralized state socialism of previous generations. This is for obvious and understandable reasons. Since the 2008 economic crash, I see more appetite among the younger generation to engage with policy and to try to change power. You see it with the Indignados movement in Spain forming its own party and running in elections, in Iceland post-crisis, with outsiders going inside on their own terms. You see it at the municipal level with the minimum wage in Seattle.

Where the pendulum swung really hard against any sort of engagement with formal politics, I see it swinging back where it’s like, “No, we’re not going to replicate those centralized structures but things are too urgent and too dire to ignore institutions of various kinds, including lawmaking. But we’re going to try to change it and build our belief in decentralization into the way we engage.“

Has this approach made a significant impact anywhere on energy and climate-related policies?

A really great example is the energy transformation that has been going on in Germany. Thirty percent of the electricity produced there is now coming from renewable resources, mostly wind and solar and mostly through decentralized, community-controlled ventures of various kinds, including hundreds of energy co-ops. You also have large cities like Munich voting to reverse their electricity privatizations and become part of this energy revolution.

What’s interesting about Germany is it really shows how you need strong policy to make a transition like that happen. It’s not about, “Hey, let’s start an energy co-op.” No. That kind of fetish for very small-scale initiatives won’t get us where we need to go. What Germany has is a bold national policy. That’s how you get to 30 percent renewable electricity in such a short time, and they may very well get to 50 to 60 percent by 2030.
It also shows you can design smart policy to systematically decentralize.

What got you started on this book? Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to write a book on climate change?

I decided that I was going to immerse myself in this subject in 2009 when I was covering a U.N. antiracism conference in Geneva. An earlier conference held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001 saw a growing debate about whether the United States and Europe should pay reparations to African nations for the harm done by the slave trade and colonialism. The issue vanished from public discussion after 9/11 and it was clear by 2009 how much ground had been lost.

At that 2009 conference I met Angélica Navarro, a trade negotiator from Bolivia who was doing some really interesting work about climate and reparations and how to really push the concept of climate debt within the U.N. climate negotiations. And I had a moment in which I realized that the science is so clear on the historical responsibility for climate change that it could be used as a tool for realizing justice goals for which social movements had been fighting for a very long time.

Your book strikes a hopeful note on what can be a grim topic.

I find it really hard to write when I feel hopeless. It took me five years to write this book in part because initially I didn’t feel so hopeful. Then, there really started to be an explosion of resistance to extractive projects such as fracking and oil pipelines and coal export terminals. It’s being done in a truly global and networked manner that reminds me of the early days of the so-called anti-globalization movement.

That shift made me really excited that there is a growing movement and that the book can be part of that movement. I feel like we’re on the verge of a coming together of economic justice movements and a new sort of kick-ass grassroots anti-extractivism movement. When people are fighting fracking or they’re fighting a big pipeline, generally they’re not driven by concerns about climate, they’re driven by a love of place. Often the protection of water is the primary motivation, as well as concerns about the health of their kids. But climate change definitely adds another layer of urgency to keeping carbon in the ground and not putting it into the atmosphere.

You became a parent for the first time a couple of years ago. How did that experience affect the way you see climate change? Did the prospect of dire climate change taking effect in this century cause you to be hesitant about becoming a parent?

I was 38 when I decided I wanted to have kids and to start trying. That’s pretty late. I would have this conversation with my husband where I’d say that the more I read about climate change, the more I felt that having a child was condemning this kid to a Mad Maxian future of fighting with their friends for food and water. This was the sort of dystopic future that I was imagining. And I was having trouble imagining anything else.

I think that seeing some of these signs of hope were part of the process of me deciding to become a parent: being able to imagine other futures than the one playing on repeat at the moment. But I’m really wary of this sort of, “I care more about the future because I have a baby” thing. As somebody who didn’t have kids for a long time and had trouble getting pregnant, I really hated when people did that, because it felt really exclusionary to me. I understand, as a parent, why people say that, because when you hear that we’ll be at x degrees warmer by 2050, you can’t help but do these mental calculations of, “Okay, how old will he be then?” But I cared about the future before my son Toma was born just as some of the most caring people that I know don’t have kids. So I want to be careful about that.

There’s a tremendous organizing effort taking place here in New York for the People’s Climate March. Why do you think this particular protest matters, and what are the chances it will have an enduring impact?
Climate change has gone from being an issue that will affect our grandchildren to a right-now issue. The difference over the past few years is that the climate movement has jettisoned its astronaut’s “eye in the sky” view of a shimmering blue-and-white dot set against the darkness of space in which no people are visible, and it has come down to earth.

It’s connecting with people who are driven by basic justice demands such as clean air for their kids and water they can drink. The People’s Climate March will be much more diverse and it’s going to be angrier than previous climate protests. That anger is a really important and powerful tool. So I think we’re going to see a different kind of climate movement. It’s already there. I think Seattle 1999 was a coming-out party for the global justice movement, and I think this will be a coming-out party of sorts for a new climate movement.

There have been other moments over the past two decades, from the Rio Earth Summit to Al Gore’s movie to Hurricane Sandy, that have seen climate change briefly capture the public imagination only to fade out again.
In the past the climate movement was incredibly elitist. There really was a belief that you did not need a grassroots movement if you had all the celebrities and the billionaires and a former vice president like Al Gore on your side. I think that is what has made the issue so ephemeral. If your strategy is just to get a bunch of celebrities and billionaires on your side, guess what? They change their minds, and they move on to other things. Vanity Fair launches their annual green issue and it lasts for two years. Fashions change.

This is the first time climate change has had a grassroots movement behind it in North America. And that’s what is going to give it staying power. The whole point is that it has roots now. The problem with the top-down strategy is that it has no roots. And when you don’t have roots, you can blow away.

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Harvard Business School's Role in Widening Inequality

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)

Harvard Business School's Role in Widening Inequality
By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
13 September 14

No institution is more responsible for educating the CEOs of American corporations than Harvard Business School – inculcating in them a set of ideas and principles that have resulted in a pay gap between CEOs and ordinary workers that’s gone from 20-to-1 fifty years ago to almost 300-to-1 today.

A survey, released on September 6, of 1,947 Harvard Business School alumni showed them far more hopeful about the future competitiveness of American firms than about the future of American workers.

As the authors of the survey conclude, such a divergence is unsustainable. Without a large and growing middle class, Americans won’t have the purchasing power to keep U.S. corporations profitable, and global demand won’t fill the gap. Moreover, the widening gap eventually will lead to political and social instability. As the authors put it, “any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American.”

Unfortunately, the authors neglected to include a discussion about how Harvard Business School should change what it teaches future CEOs with regard to this “profound stake.” HBS has made some changes over the years in response to earlier crises, but has not gone nearly far enough with courses that critically examine the goals of the modern corporation and the role that top executives play in achieving them.

A half-century ago, CEOs typically managed companies for the benefit of all their stakeholders – not just shareholders, but also their employees, communities, and the nation as a whole.

“The job of management,” proclaimed Frank Abrams, chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey, in a 1951 address, “is to maintain an equitable and working balance among the claims of the various directly affected interest groups … stockholders, employees, customers, and the public at large. Business managers are gaining professional status partly because they see in their work the basic responsibilities [to the public] that other professional men have long recognized as theirs.”

This view was a common view among chief executives of the time. Fortune magazine urged CEOs to become “industrial statesmen.” And to a large extent, that’s what they became.

For thirty years after World War II, as American corporations prospered, so did the American middle class. Wages rose and benefits increased. American companies and American citizens achieved a virtuous cycle of higher profits accompanied by more and better jobs.

But starting in the late 1970s, a new vision of the corporation and the role of CEOs emerged – prodded by corporate “raiders,” hostile takeovers, junk bonds, and leveraged buyouts. Shareholders began to predominate over other stakeholders. And CEOs began to view their primary role as driving up share prices. To do this, they had to cut costs – especially payrolls, which constituted their largest expense.

Corporate statesmen were replaced by something more like corporate butchers, with their nearly exclusive focus being to “cut out the fat” and “cut to the bone.”

In consequence, the compensation packages of CEOs and other top executives soared, as did share prices. But ordinary workers lost jobs and wages, and many communities were abandoned. Almost all the gains from growth went to the top.

The results were touted as being “efficient,” because resources were theoretically shifted to “higher and better uses,” to use the dry language of economics.

But the human costs of this transformation have been substantial, and the efficiency benefits have not been widely shared. Most workers today are no better off than they were thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. Most are less economically secure.

So it would seem worthwhile for the faculty and students of Harvard Business School, as well as those at every other major business school in America, to assess this transformation, and ask whether maximizing shareholder value – a convenient goal now that so many CEOs are paid with stock options – continues to be the proper goal for the modern corporation.

Can an enterprise be truly successful in a society becoming ever more divided between a few highly successful people at the top and a far larger number who are not thriving?

For years, some of the nation’s most talented young people have flocked to Harvard Business School and other elite graduate schools of business in order to take up positions at the top rungs of American corporations, or on Wall Street, or management consulting.

Their educations represent a substantial social investment; and their intellectual and creative capacities, a precious national and global resource.

But given that so few in our society – or even in other advanced nations – have shared in the benefits of what our largest corporations and Wall Street entities have achieved, it must be asked whether the social return on such an investment has been worth it, and whether these graduates are making the most of their capacities in terms of their potential for improving human well-being.

These questions also merit careful examination at Harvard and other elite universities. If the answer is not a resounding yes, perhaps we should ask whether these investments and talents should be directed toward “higher and better” uses.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Can you sign on to the letter to Rep. Sarbanes? Can you help deliver it on Sept. 17 at 4:30 PM?


Let me know if you can sign on to the letter to Rep. Sarbanes. Can you help deliver it on Sept. 17 at 4:30 PM? Thanks.



Rep. John Sarbanes
600 Baltimore Ave.
Suite 303
Towson, MD 21204

September 17, 2014

Dear Representative Sarbanes:

This month, we celebrated Labor Day—honoring the contributions of working people, as well as Constitution Day—commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. Members of the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore are voters and supporters of Progressive Democrats of America, and we ask you to join us celebrating these holidays by cosponsoring the following legislation, (if you haven't already):

HR 5280: the Employee Empowerment Act, to strengthen protections under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), desperately needed by hard-working Americans. Please direct your staff to contact Rep. Keith Ellison’s office: 202-225-4755 to cosponsor.

HJ Res 44: a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to protect the right to vote. As Election Day approaches, this basic right is at risk. Please direct your staff to contact Rep. Mark Pocan’s office: 202-225-2906 to cosponsor.

HJ Res 113: a joint resolution to remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and help end discrimination on account of sex. Please direct your staff to contact Rep. Jackie Speier’s office: (202) 225-3531 to cosponsor.

HR 1010: the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, legislation to phase in stepped increases to the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and then link it to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Please direct your staff to contact Rep. George Miller’s office: 202-225-2095 to cosponsor.

HR 292: the New Columbia Admission Act, legislation that to set forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia, including elections to Congress of two Senators and one Representative. Please direct your staff to contact Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office: (202) 225-8050 to cosponsor.

HJ Res 119: a joint resolution proposing the Democracy for All Amendment to the Constitution, to restore Congress’ and the states’ ability to address unlimited, clandestine campaign donations. Please direct your staff to contact Rep. Ted Deutch’s office: 202-225-3001 to cosponsor.

Finally, we are seeking an end to the use of killer drone strikes, which we believe to be illegal and unconstitutional. We ask you to speak out against this assassination program, which ignores any veneer of due process. Consider as well a request for the full, unclassified release of information surrounding the administration’s drone policy.

We look forward to your response. And when you are ready, we would like to meet with you, preferably in Baltimore. But if necessary, we will travel to your D.C. office. We thank you for your consideration regarding these critically important issues, and look forward to ongoing discussion and engagement with you in the coming months.


Max Obuszewski, on behalf of Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore/Fund Our Communities
Apt. 206, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Baltimore 21212

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Israeli Intelligence Veterans Refuse to Serve in Occupied Territories

Published on Portside (

Israeli Intelligence Veterans Refuse to Serve in Occupied Territories

Peter Beaumont

Friday, September 12, 2014
The Guardian

Forty-three veterans of one of Israel’s most secretive military intelligence units – many of them still active reservists – have signed a public letter refusing to serve in operations involving the occupied Palestinian territories because of the widespread surveillance of innocent residents.

The signatories include officers, former instructors and senior NCOs from the country’s equivalent of America’s NSA or Britain’s GCHQ, known as Unit 8200 – or in Hebrew as Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim.

They allege that the “all-encompassing” intelligence the unit gathers on Palestinians – much of it concerning innocent people – is used for “political persecution” and to create divisions in Palestinian society.
The largest intelligence unit in the Israeli military, Unit 8200 intercepts electronic communications including email, phone calls and social media in addition to targeting military and diplomatic traffic.

The signatories say, however, that a large part of their work was unrelated to Israel’s security or defence, but appeared designed to perpetuate the occupation by “infiltrating” and “controlling” all aspects of Palestinian life.

Written in uncompromising language the letter states: “We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.”

They add: “The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed.”

Accompanying the letter – published in the Israeli media on Friday, and organised several months before the recent Gaza war – are a series of testimonies provided by the signatories to Yedioth Ahronoth and shared with the Guardian.

A common complaint, made in both the testimonies and in interviews given by some of the signatories, including to the Guardian this week, is that some of the activities the soldiers were asked to engage in had more in common with the intelligence services of oppressive regimes than of a democracy.

Among allegations made in the statements are that:

• A significant proportion of the unit’s Palestinian objectives “are innocent people unconnected to any military activity. They interest the unit for other reasons, usually without having the slightest idea that they’re intelligence targets.” According to the testimonies those targets were not treated any differently from terrorists.

• Personnel were instructed to keep any damaging details of Palestinians’ lives they came across, including information on sexual preferences, infidelities, financial problems or family illnesses that could be “used to extort/blackmail the person and turn them into a collaborator.”

• Former members claim some intelligence gathered by the unit was not collected in the service of the Israeli state but in pursuit of the “agendas” of individual Israeli politicians. In one incident, for which no details have been provided, one signatory recalls: “Regarding one project in particular, many of us were shocked as we were exposed to it. Clearly it was not something we as soldiers were supposed to do. The information was almost directly transferred to political players and not to other sections of the security system.”

• Unit members swapped intercepts they gathered involving “sex talk” for their own entertainment.
The letter has been sent to the chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces and also the head of military intelligence.

Unit 8200 is one of the most prestigious in the Israeli public’s mind, with many who serve in it going on to high-flying jobs after their military service, many in Israel’s hi-tech sector.

According to an article this year in Haaretz, former unit members include a supreme court justice, the director general of the finance ministry, an internationally successful author, the chief executive of one of Israel’s largest accountancy firms and the economy ministry’s chief scientist.

Operating a signals interception base, the unit is also at the front of Israel’s cyberwar capabilities. According to some reports – never confirmed – it was involved in developing the Stuxnet virus used to attack Iran’s nuclear programme.

Most of those who signed the letter have served in the unit in the last decade – as recently as three years ago in full-time military service – with the majority still on the active reserve list, meaning they can be called up at any time.

All of those who spoke to the Guardian said they were “highly motivated” to join the unit and had volunteered to serve extra time in it beyond their national service.

Although there have been “refusenik” letters before – most famously more than a decade ago when a group of reserve pilots refused to participate in targeted assassinations – such detailed complaints from within Israel’s intelligence services are highly unusual.

Three of those involved, two sergeants and a captain who gave interviews to the Guardian and a handful of other foreign media before the letter was released this week, were at pains to make clear they were not interested in disclosing state secrets. They had engaged a high-profile lawyer to avoid breaking Israeli law – including by identifying themselves in public. Copies of the letter sent to their unit commander, however, use their full names.

Those involved told the Guardian they were proud of some of the work they had done, which they believed had contributed to Israel’s security.

In their interviews, they described a culture of impunity where soldiers were actively discouraged in training lessons from questioning the legality of orders, and of being deliberately misled by commanders about the circumstances of a case in which one member of their unit refused to cooperate in the bombing of a building with civilians in it in retaliation for an attack in Israel.

They added that there were in effect “no rules” governing which Palestinians could be targeted and that the only restraint on their intelligence gathering in the occupied territories was “resources”.

“In intelligence – in Israel intelligence regarding Palestinians – they don’t really have rights,” said Nadav, 26, a sergeant, who is now a philosophy and literature student in Tel Aviv. “Nobody asks that question. It’s not [like] Israeli citizens, where if you want to gather information about them you need to go to court.”

He said: “The intelligence gathering about Palestinians is not clean. When you rule a population that does not have political rights, laws like we have, [then] the nature of this regime of ruling over people, especially when you do it for many years, [is that] it forces you to take control or infiltrate every aspect of their life.”

“D”, a 29-year-old captain who served for eight years, added: “[That] question is one of the messages that we feel it is very important to get across mostly to the Israeli public.

“That is a very common misconception about intelligence … when we were enlisting in the military [we thought] our job is going to be minimising violence, minimising loss of lives, and that made the moral side of it feel much easier.”

He added: “What the IDF does in the occupied territories is rule another people. One of the things you need to do is defend yourself from them, but you also need to oppress the population.

“You need to weaken the politics. You need to strengthen and deepen your control of Palestinian society so that the [Israeli] state can remain [there] in the long term. We can’t talk about specifics … [but] intelligence is used to apply pressure to people to make them cooperate with Israel.

“It’s important to say, the reason I decided to refuse – and I decided to refuse long before the recent [Gaza] operation. It was when I realised that what I was doing was the same job that the intelligence services of every undemocratic regime are doing.

“This realisation was what made me [realise] personally that I’m part of this large mechanism that is trying to defend or perpetuate its presence in the occupied territories.”

The last major refusenik episode in Israel to grab the public’s attention was in 2002 when 27 reserve pilots published a letter refusing to fly assassination sorties over Gaza after 14 civilians, including children, were killed alongside Salah Shehade, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, in a bombing.

Nadav made a reference to the killing – and the outcry that surrounded it. “When you look at what happened this summer, when building after building were destroyed and the inhabitants and hundreds of innocent people were killed and no one raised an eyebrow, as opposed to just one decade ago when the killing of a family of a commander of Hamas shocked people. It was a huge story in Israel.”

Replying to the refusenik letter and the allegations, a spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces criticised the soldiers for making their complaints public, and attempted to cast doubt on the claims.

“The intelligence corps has no record that the specific violations in the letter ever took place. Immediately turning to the press instead of to their officers or relevant authorities is suspicious and raises doubts as to the seriousness of the claims.

“Regarding claims of harm caused to civilians, the IDF maintains a rigorous process which takes into account civilian presence before authorising strikes against targets.”

Peter Beaumont is the Guardian's Jerusalem correspondent. The winner of the George Orwell Prize for his reports from Iraq, he is the author of The Secret Life of War: Journeys Through Modern Conflict.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - September 14 - 16, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert September 14 – September 16, 2014

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center. Go to If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]

Tune into the Maryland Progressive Blog at

1] Books, buttons & stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] Food drive – through Nov. 8
6] “Relationships Through Bars” – Sept. 14
7] Peace and Pancakes – Sept. 14
8] Film DISRUPTION – Sept. 14
9] Community discussion about Palestine and apartheid Israel's most recent bombing of Gaza – Sept. 14
10] SodaStream Boycott Day of Action – Sept. 14
11] NRA Gun Violence Prevention Vigil – Sept. 14
12] Hear from a Green Party candidate – Sept. 14
13] Get Money Out Maryland phone calling – Sept. 14
14] Jews United for Justice Community Meeting – Sept. 14
16] Pentagon Vigil – Sept. 15
17] Support El Salvador, and challenge the World Bank – Sept. 15
18] Iranian Nuclear Circle: Defining Uranium Enrichment Capacity – Sept. 15
19] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Sept. 15 – Sept. 19
20] "Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges" – Sept. 15
21] Congressional hearing on D.C. Statehood – Sept. 15
22] Protest the annual U.S. Air Force Association Annual Arms Bazaar – Sept. 15
23] GMOM conference call – Sept. 15
24] Pledge of Resistance/Fund Our Communities meeting – Sept. 15
25] Support a Just Peace ad in the National Catholic Reporter – deadline Sept. 15
26] "Nuclear Security and the Future" – Sept. 16
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available. “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR]. It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed. It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq. To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net. Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe. It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing. To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale. For more details and to download the order form, go to The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month. Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered. Send it to Francine Sheppard at 5639B, Harpers Farm Rd., Columbia 21044. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Francine at 410-992-7679 or

5] – The Men and Families Center, 2222 Jefferson St., Baltimore, continues its food drive through Sat., Nov. 8. The organization is collecting canned and unperishable goods so that food pantries in the center are stocked for the holidays! Call Quandra or Rodney at 410-614-5353 or email

6] - Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On Sun., Sept. 14, hear about “Relationships Through Bars” with Hugh Taft-Morales, BES leader. Due to reactionary tough-on-crime politics and the over-criminalization of drug use, the U.S. penal population has grown from 300,000 to over 2 million over the past three decades. The retributive model of criminal justice is inhumane and ineffective. It has become a cultural cancer eating away at our social fabric, devastating families and neighborhoods. Most poignantly it denies children opportunity for relationships with incarcerated parents. Taft-Morales continues to advocate reform of our system, in particular a recognition that family connections should be nurtured so as to bring out the best in those who are incarcerated, those who love them, and us all. Call 410-581-2322 or email

7] - Join the Kadampa Meditation Center for Peace and Pancakes on Sundays at 10:30 AM at KMC Maryland, 2937 North Charles St. All are invited to participate in guided meditation and chant praying for world peace. There will be a talk based on Buddhist thought followed by brunch. Call 410- 243-3837. Brunch is $5.

8] - See the film “Disruption” -- a brand new movie about the science, politics, and movement around climate change. It will be screened on Sun., Sept. 14 at 11:30 AM at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, Columbia, MD. RSVP at This is a movie by and for the movement. It could galvanize a new wave of climate action and leadership this fall -- starting with the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st.

9] – The Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, 5301 N. Capitol St. NE, WDC, will host a community discussion about Palestine and apartheid Israel's most recent bombing of Gaza on Sun., Sept. 14 at 1:15 PM. RSVP at

10] – There is a SodaStream Boycott Day of Action on Sun., Sept. 14 from 2 to 3:30 PM in front of the Columbia Heights Mall, at the Columbia Heights Metro Station on 14th St. and just north of the intersection with Irving St. Help educate D.C. area shoppers about the injustice of the Israeli occupation, and call for an end to the siege of Gaza. Ask shoppers to refuse to buy SodaStream products, and call on local store managers to tell their corporate headquarters to stop stocking the products. SodaStream manufactures its products in an illegal Israeli settlement. Email or call 240-425-7581. Visit DCMetro. Sign the national Boycott Soda Stream petition at "Join" the action on Facebook at and spread the word!

11] – On Sun., Sept. 14 at 2 PM there is a monthly NRA Gun Violence Prevention Vigil in remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings on Dec. 14, 2012 and in front of the NRA Headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030.

12] – Hear from Tim Willard, Green Party candidate for County Council at Large on Sun., Sept. 14 from 2 to 4 PM at 2305 Gold Mine Rd.,
Brookeville, MD. Tim is running on a platform of making Montgomery County into a sustainable community: take stronger action to reduce global warming emissions, create a sustainable development plan, and ensure that all citizens have access to affordable housing and first class schools. These issues will require community pressure on the Council which has often been all too ready to follow the wishes of out-of-state developers and big corporations. RSVP at

13] - Get Money Out - Maryland ( will be calling people who are supporters in the Annapolis / Baltimore area to let them know about a Town Hall on Mon., Sept. 22 with author, constitutional law professor, and MD State Senator Jamie Raskin, possibly the best speaker there is on How to Get Money Out of Politics. People attending the Town Hall will learn that there is a way to beat corruption in the U.S. Congress - by working at the state level! Spread the word by RSVP-ing on the Facebook Event page--

On Sun., Sept. 14 at 2 PM you can be a caller by coming to Mark Patro's house in Nottingham (Baltimore County, near the corner of Joppa Road and Belair Road). RSVP to Mark at or 443-255-1484, and he will give you the address. You will have a script, and no experience is needed. You’ll need a cell phone and charger. If you bring a laptop, you will be taught how to update each person’s information on the online database, if you want. Even if you can't attend this phone bank - or the September 22nd event - please reply and let them know you're interested. You can call GMOM at 410-849-0670 or email

14] – On Sun., Sept. 14 from 4 to 6 PM, there will be a Jews United for Justice Community Meeting at Temple Shalom, 8401 Grubb Rd., Chevy Chase. The group brings the local Jewish community together to take action together to win on social justice issues. Sign up for the meeting, and help select the next campaign. RSVP at Contact Maryland organizer Katie Ashmore at

15] – On Sun., Sept. 14 at 4:30 PM, the Brandywine Peace Community Monthly *Potluck Supper and Program begins at University Lutheran Church, 3637 Chestnut St., Phila. 19104 (37th & Chestnut Sts.). Bring a main dish, salad, or dessert to share. After dinner, Mike Merryman-Lotz will discuss AFTER GAZA: MOVING BEYOND PARTITION, looking at what events led up to the brutal bombing, what its impact has been, and what the future might hold. As a part of the discussion Mike will offer some of his thoughts on the radical changes that need to occur in order to move beyond the failures of the 20 year old US led Oslo Peace Process so that a just and lasting peace can be realized in Palestine and Israel. He is the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Palestine-Israel National Program Director, working closely with AFSC’s offices in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the US. See

16] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop. The next vigil is Mon., Sept. 8, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Email or call 202-882-9649. The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

17] – Gather in Edward R. Murrow Park in front of the World Bank, 1818 H St. NW, Room MC C1-110, WDC on Mon., Sept. 15 at noon, join the Institute for Policy Studies’ Global Economy Project, International Allies against Mining in El Salvador, Oxfam, the AFL CIO, Casa de Maryland, Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), and other groups on the Day of Independence for El Salvador to protest at the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) hearing of a lawsuit against the Salvadoran people! At issue is whether the government and people of El Salvador should be punished for not allowing a foreign corporation to operate a mining project that threatens to poison the country’s drinking supply. The fate of millions of Salvadoran people is being debated behind doors at the World Bank’s ICSI--a tribunal that few know exist- on Sept. 15, ironically El Salvador’s independence anniversary day. Oceana Gold/Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government of El Salvador for over $300 million because El Salvador is refusing to let it mine gold. At least four anti-mining community members were slain under suspicious circumstances as the conflict over mining deepened.

Also join pre-protest leafleting of the area at 8, 9, 10 and 11 AM. Go to

18] – On Mon., Sept. 15 from 9:30 to 11 AM, Squaring the Iranian Nuclear Circle: Defining Uranium Enrichment Capacity and Other Key Issues will be discussed at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC 20036. Next week, negotiators from the United States, other world powers, and Iran will resume talks in New York to try to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal. While significant progress has already been made on a number of key issues, negotiators remain far apart on how to define the size and scope of Iran's uranium enrichment program. But a win-win formula is possible, if both sides are willing to be creative and move beyond maximalist positions.

At this briefing, three leading experts will outline the key issues, the major hurdles, the political dynamics inside Iran, and realistic options for getting to "yes" -- including a new Arms Control Association/International Crisis Group proposal on how to define Iran's uranium enrichment program under a comprehensive deal. Panelists include Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation analyst, Arms Control Association, Paul Pillar, nonresident senior fellow, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University, James Walsh, research associate, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Daryl G. Kimball, (moderator), executive director, Arms Control Association. RSVP at Call 202-463-8270 or email

19] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to All shows are also available as podcasts at

20] – On Mon., Sept. 15 from 12:30 to 5 PM, Energy Secretary Ernest Monix, Rose Gottemoeller, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Frank Klotz, administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Lassina Zerbo, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and other speakers will address "Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges." The event, sponsored by the Kazakh Embassy and other organizations, will take place at the U.S. Institute for Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW, WDC. Register at

21] – The first Congressional hearing on D.C. Statehood in 20 years will be on Mon., Sept. 15 at 3 PM in Room 340 Dirksen Senate Office Building - Homeland and Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), who co-introduced the bill in the U.S. Senate. It's critical to be at the hearing!

22] – On Mon., Sept. 15 from 6 to 7:30 PM, join Dorothy Day Catholic Worker outside of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745, to protest the annual U.S. Air Force Association Annual Arms Bazaar being held in the hotel. The protest is co-sponsored by Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore. Contact Art Laffin at 202-882-9649. Visit

23] – Get Money Out of Maryland has a MONDAY EVENING CONFERENCE CALL. The CALL STARTS at 7 PM--1-619-326-2772, code #1136243. On Sept. 15, the call will focus on the Sept. 22 town hall in Annapolis. Go to

24] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings take place at Max’s residence. The next meeting will be on Mon., Sept. 15. The proposed agenda will include anti-drone activities, including the trial of the NSA Three and getting a drone resolution passed in Baltimore’s City Council, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, Climate Chaos march in NYC, the Sept. 23 action at the White House, and lobbying Rep. John Sarbanes. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at for directions.

25] – Pax Christi Metro D.C.- Baltimore is sponsoring an ad in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) about moving the Catholic Church beyond the “just war” doctrine (or just war teaching (JWT)) to a “just peace” teaching. The sign on ad will run in the NCR this October (prior to the annual US bishops’ meeting in November in Baltimore). The ad will exemplify that it’s time for the Church to reject “just war” as inconsistent with the teaching and example of Jesus. To see the text of the ad, along with a short paper providing more information for NCR readers who see the ad, go to website,

The hope is to get at least 300 signatories. The sign on suggested donation is $20 for each person or couple, and $25 for each organization. Donations can be made online at the Pax Christi Metro D.C. website- Click on the “Donate” button on the left. On the next screen, enter the dollar amount of your donation and log in to PayPal if you have a PayPal account. If you don’t have a PayPal account, click on the “Review Donation and Continue.” On the NEXT screen, click on the “Add special instructions to the seller” link, and in that box that opens, type “Just War Theory” Ad or just “JWT” Ad. Also, state exactly how you would like your name(s) to appear in the ad. Then, click on the “Donate” button at the bottom of your screen. All donations for the sign on ad (by online donation) must be received no later than Mon., Sept. 15.

26] – On Tues., Sept. 16 from noon to 1:30 PM, Amb. Bonnie Jenkins will talk about "Nuclear Security and the Future" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Ninth Floor Board Room, WDC. Register at

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Saturday, September 13, 2014

'They're Right': Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

'They're Right': Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

'Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced,' said Bristol County DA Sam Sutter. 'In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking.'

Jon Queally, staff writer

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

A local district attorney in Massachusetts surprised parties on all sides on Monday after he sided with two climate justice activists who employed a "necessity defense" to justify their use of a small lobster boat to block the path of an enormous coal freighter trying to dock at the Brayton Point Power Station in the town of Somerset last year.

“I do believe they’re right, that we’re at a crisis point with climate change.” —Bristol County DA Sam Sutter

Several serious charges were brought against two men, Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward, for their attempt to wedge their boat, theHenry David T., between the dock and an approaching coal freighter, the Energy Enterprise, on May 13, 2013. (Read Common Dreams original reporting on the action here.)

For the brazen act of civil disobedience both O'Hara and Ward faced many thousands of dollars in fines and as much as two years in jail, but it was Bristol County DA Sam Sutter who decided that all charges in the case would be dropped after he determined that their expressed purpose—to put an end to the carbon-spewing pollution directly related to the current climate change crisis—was an adequate and defensible position. Sutter dropped all charges against the two.

And he did more than that. Following an agreement between his office and O'Hara and Ward which would see the most serious charges—including conspiracy—dropped and fines replaced with orders of restitution (both men agreed to pay $2,000), Sutter emerged from the local court house to express why he thought the two activists were ultimately justified in their creative protest.

“Because of my sympathy with their position, I was in a dilemma,” Sutter told the crowd of approximately 100 people outside. “I have a duty to go forward to some extent with this case and to follow the applicable case law, but they were looking for a forum to present their very compelling case about climate change.”
He added: “I do believe they’re right, that we’re at a crisis point with climate change.”

Journalist and climate activist Wen Stephenson, who was present when Sutter stepped onto the courthouse steps, described the DA's delivery of his remarks and their possible implications as "truly remarkable." In a piece for The Nation, Stephenson first quoted Sutter at length, who said:

The decision that Assistant District Attorney Robert Kidd and I reached today was a decision that certainly took into consideration the cost to the taxpayers in Somerset, but was also made with our concerns for their children, and the children of Bristol County and beyond in mind.

Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced. In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking. I am heartened that we were able to forge an agreement that both parties were pleased with and that appeared to satisfy the police and those here in sympathy with the individuals who were charged.

The crowd "went wild," Stephenson reports and then describes how the moment "got better," adding:
When the cheering settled down, someone asked. “Will you be a model for across the country?”

“Well,” Sutter said, “I certainly will be in New York in two weeks,” referring to the much-anticipated People’s Climate March on September 21, just ahead of the UN climate summit convened by Ban Ki-Moon. “How’s that?”

The crowd thought that was pretty swell, too.

He added: “I’ve been carrying around Bill McKibben’s article in Rolling Stone”—and brandished the magazine (Jack White and all). [...]

Still, I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did. A reporter then asked if he was sending a message condoning this kind of action violating the law. He said no, that’s not the message. “I’m sending a message that this was an act of civil disobedience, that we had to reach an agreement. I’m not at all disputing that the individuals were charged, but this was the right disposition, it was reduced to a civil infraction.” (To be precise, there were four charges: conspiracy, disturbing the peace, failure to act to avoid a collision, and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Sutter dropped the conspiracy charges and reduced the other charges to civil infractions. Ken and Jay will also pay $2,000 each in restitution, not fines, to the Town of Somerset).

“Just to be clear,” the reporter asked, “what would you say if people say in fact you’re encouraging other people to blockade tankers?”

“This is one case, one incident, at a time,” Sutter responded. “I think I’ve made my position very clear. This is one of the gravest crises the planet has ever faced. The evidence is overwhelming and it keeps getting worse. So we took a stand here today.”

In an interview with the Boston Globe following the news, Bill McKibben himself also called Sutter's stance simply "remarkable."

“I was moved in a way that I can’t remember being moved by a public official in a long time,” McKibben said. “It’s easy to get cynical about politicians, and then one of them shows a real maturity and grace.”
For their part, both Ward and O'Hara expressed being pleased by the outcome but acknowledged that their victory is only a small sliver of what must be done to truly avert the climate crisis that compelled them to take action in the first place.

As Boston Magazine reports:

“This decision by the District Attorney is an admission that the political and economic system isn’t taking the climate crisis seriously, and that it falls to ordinary citizens, especially people of faith, to stand up and take action to avert catastrophe,” O’Hara said.

Although the most severe charges against O’Hara and Ward were dropped by the DA, who said he would march with climate change activists in an upcoming protest in New York City, their work is far from done. Following the non-violent action in the harbor last year, the activists said their point wasn’t merely to make a statement about the impacts coal burning has on the environment, but instead a call to have the Brayton Point plant completely shut down.

In a way, they’re getting what they wanted—the plant is set to close in 2017. But for Ward and O’Hara, that’s not soon enough.

“Protest works, indeed protest may be the only thing that can save us,” said Ward.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Carbon Bomb Blows Up Near West Point

Carbon Bomb Blows Up Near West Point

By Tarak Kauff, Katherine Ball

On Tuesday morning, a 30-foot carbon bomb blew up in the airspace over the Hudson River in front of West Point Military Academy.

An inflatable bomb pressurized with carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen contained in outer shell of silver radiant barrier foil, the carbon bomb was manufactured as part of a research program coordinated by the inflatable fabrication group Tools for Action.

Lettering on the side of the bomb read, "US Military: Largest consumer of oil, largest emitter of CO2."
The carbon bomb was transported down the river by a flotilla of canoes midway through a two-week journey traversing the Hudson River down to New York for the upcoming climate mobilization. At West Point, the Sea Change Flotilla was joined by former military service members from Veterans For Peace, who plan to carry the carbon bomb in the Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming contingent at the Peoples Climate March on September 21.

"The primary culprit in all this heating the planet is not you or I because we don't recycle quite enough. It is the US military, the biggest user of fossil fuels and the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet – not to mention its ongoing wars waged for resources and power – wars of destruction to people, life and the environment," said US Army veteran Tarak Kauff.

As the United Nations prepares to meet in New York on September 23 to discuss climate change, one subject that will not be on the negotiating table is the emissions of the US military. Although the US military is assumed to be the largest emitter of CO2, the military is not required to report their emissions to the UN. While the Pentagon refuses to release fuel usage data, it has been estimated that the US military is responsible for five percent of total global greenhouse emissions.

"In the dialogue around stopping climate change, too much emphasis is being put on ethical consumerism," said Katherine Ball of Tools for Action. "Does it really matter if we try to fly less if the US Air Force continues to burn one-fourth of the world's jet fuel? We have to address the systemic causes of climate change: the most eco-friendly thing you can do is be anti-war."

For decades, the US military has been fighting wars to secure oil resources — and in the process, the US Department of Defense has consumed more energy and emitted more carbon than any other institution on Earth. In 2003, as the military prepared for the Iraq invasion, the Army estimated it would consume more gasoline in only three weeks than the Allied Forces used during the entirety of World War II. The Guardian estimates that throughout the entire Iraq War, the US military’s carbon footprint was between 250-600 million tons.

"Military interventions for oil are just the tip of the iceberg. The military is gearing up to fight 'climate wars' over resources destabilized by climate change: water, arable land, food. It is a vicious cycle: In fighting these climate wars, the military will release emissions, which will cause more climate change, which further destabilize resources and cause more climate wars, which will cause more emissions..." Artúr van Balen of Tools for Action said.

The US military itself has long warned of the reality of climate wars, “The projected impacts of climate change will be more than threat multipliers; they will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict," explains the US Military Advisory Board Report National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.

“We are actively integrating climate considerations across the full spectrum of our activities to ensure a ready and resilient force,” John Conger, the Pentagon’s Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, said in a statement following the 2014 report. Global weapons manufacturers are also planning for these climate wars, predicting that there will be increased demand for their products as climate change accelerates.

Katherine Ball concluded: "Is military force the US government's plan for dealing with climate change?"
David Swanson wants you to declare peace at His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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Baltimore Activist Alert - September 13 - September 23, 2014

68] Feeding the Hungry: The Needs and Root Causes – Sept. 13
69] Protest CIA Drone Strikes – Sept. 13
70] Olney Peace vigil – Sept. 13
71] West Chester, PA demo – Sept. 13
72] Silent peace vigil – Sept. 13
73] Edward Said Memorial Lecture – Sept. 13
74] See the movie “PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes” – Through Sept. 18
75] "Model cities" in Honduras – Sept. 13
76] Report back from Ferguson – Sept. 13
77] Evening of Solidarity with the Cuban Five – Sept. 13
78] Constitution Day – Sept. 17
80] People’s Climate March – Sept. 21
81] At the White House – Sept. 23
82] Ronda Cooperstein on social media
83] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
84] Join Fund Our Communities
85] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
86] Do you need any book shelves?
87] Join Global Zero campaign
88] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale
89] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
68] – On Sat., Sept. 13 at 9:30 AM, the Peace and Justice Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington invites you to a forum titled Feeding the Hungry: The Needs and Root Causes. Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World, will talk about the biblical basis for advocacy against hunger and suggest what each of us can do — today, right now — to help end hunger in the United States and around the world. He will also share Bread for the World’s ambitious but achievable goal to end extreme hunger by 2030. Then several leaders will share their perspectives about how we can respond to hunger through service and action for justice. The forum will be happening at St. Anthony Catholic Church, St. Anthony Gym, 3305 Glen Carlyn Road, Falls Church, VA 22041. Arrive at the church by 8:30 AM for Mass with Bishop Paul S. Loverde.

Registration is on-site, and the event is free and open to the public. Contact

69] – On Sat., Sept. 13 from 10 to 11:30 AM, join a CIA Drone Protest (bus transportation to and from available), 900 Dolley Madison Blvd., Langley, VA. Oppose CIA & U.S. Military drones used in extrajudicial killings. US killer drone strikes are illegal, immoral, and must stop now! The protest is supported by Pax Christi Metro DC, Northern Virginians for Peace & Justice, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker of DC, Code Pink, Nova Catholic Community, Peace & International Outreach Committee of Langley Hill Friends, Washington Peace Center, Peace Action Montgomery, Little Friends for Peace and Maryland United for Peace & Justice.

70] – Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. [Route 97] in Olney, MD. The next vigil is Sept. 13. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167.

71] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

72] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sat., Sept. 13. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It.--Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to or email

73] – On Sat., Sept. 13 from 12:30 to 2 PM, catch the 2014 Edward Said Memorial Lecture "What is the value of Palestinian lives?" with Dr. Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature & Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley, at The Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037. The bombing of civilian targets in Gaza has raised the question of whether Israel has committed massacres in clear violation of International law. But to prosecute such a crime, it is necessary to establish that there are civilian lives in Gaza. The argument that Hamas has turned its civilian population into human shields promotes the view that civilians have become instruments of war. What are the best ways to counter this view, given the differential value accorded to Palestinian and Israeli lives? Against what forms of racism and demonization must the value of Palestinian lives be asserted? Register at Call 202.338.1290.

74] – Through Thurs., Sept. 18, the movie “PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes” will be screened at the Angelika Pop-up, 550 Penn St. NE (just off New York Ave.), WDC. Driven to make the world a better place for his newborn daughter, John Ennis looks for ways out of our system of pay-to-play politics. Along the way, he journeys through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make. The film is the layperson’s guidebook to returning the United States government to its People, and features Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, Jerry Springer, John Nichols, Van Jones, Marianne Williamson, Jack Abramoff, Thom Hartmann and Bob Edgar. See a trailer at

75] – At 1809 Monroe St. NW, WDC on Sat., Sept. 13 at 5 PM, Beth Geglia will be giving a report-back at her house on the research she did this summer in Honduras. She will be taking a look at the development of "charter cities" or "model cities" in Honduras, formally called Special Economic Development and Employment Zones (ZEDE's). After the coup, these zones became a major project of the Honduran oligarchy and foreign (mostly U.S.) economists and investors interested in controlling parts of Honduran territory with greater autonomy. The original law was struck down by the Honduran Supreme Court in 2012, changed form, passed again, and is now being implemented with an enormous amount of secrecy. Beth first joined up with a National Lawyers Guild delegation and then spent two months on her own in the regions where the first two ZEDEs are being planned in order to get a better sense of what is going on.

76] – A report back from Ferguson will be happening at the Peace House, 1233 12th St. NW, WDC on Sat., Sept. 13 from 5 to 7 PM. This will be an open forum discussion with a Q&A to follow.

77] – On Sat., Sept. 13 from 6 to 8 PM at 1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC, participate in an Evening of Solidarity at SEIU featuring the opening of a new art exhibit ‘Absolved by Solidarity,’ paintings by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5. At 7 PM hear the panel discussion with Jose Ramon Cabañas, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., Yeidckol Polevnsky, former Vice President of the Mexican Senate, Ann Wright, anti-war activist, former United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official and others. Local artists will recite poetry. Visit

78] – On Wed., Sept. 17, the ACLU of Maryland and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) present “One Nation Under Watch: Surveillance, Privacy and National Security in America” for Constitution Day 2014. Reserve your FREE ticket for Constitution Day at This year’s annual symposium will center on the trade-off between government surveillance and civil liberties, one of the most complex and controversial issues facing society today. It takes place at the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 1301 W. Mt. Royal Ave., Baltimore. Speakers are Daniel Ellsberg, author, former U.S. military analyst and one of the most prominent political whistleblowers in U.S. history; Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty project at the ACLU of Massachusetts; and Dr. Hasan Elahi, interdisciplinary artist whose work has explored the implications and consequences of surveillance. The moderator is Aaron Henkin, producer of The Signal on 88.1 FM WYPR.

79] – On Sat., Sept. 20 at 3:30 PM, the Committee for Palestinian Rights invites you to the Howard County East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045, for GAZA: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Discussion themes are Israel’s Assault – the Role of the United States – How We Can Take Action. The featured speakers are Laila El-Haddad, Palestinian author, blogger, political analyst and social activist, and Mark Gunnery, Jewish Voices for Peace, activist and reporter. Email

80] – Join an historic march for climate action on Sun., Sept. 21 in New York City. Next month, President Obama, along with hundreds of other heads of state from around the world, will attend the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York City. Demand that our leaders commit to bold action to address the climate crisis. The People’s Climate March on Sept. 21 will be the largest mobilization to date for climate action. There will be a bus from Baltimore. To reserve a seat contact Regina at rminniss at

81] – ANOTHER WAY IS POSSIBLE! On Tues., Sept. 23 at 1O AM at the White House, concerned citizens will seek a meeting with President Obama or a member of his staff about such concerns as climate chaos and environmental degradation, militarism and poverty. This action IS JUST one OUT OF 150 ALL AROUND THE US! SOME OF the CONCERNS are as follows, climate change/chaos, environmental degradation, poverty, militarism, a living wage for all, a new Middle East Policy, NSA-US Government-corporate spying, TORTURE, Shutting down Guantanamo, and ending the US drone program NOW!

We, the people, have been excluded from the decision-making about how our resources have been used, and ignored when we speak out. As a result we are faced with the destruction of our environment and the continued influence of the fossil fuel industry, the continuing wars of aggression and the bloated Pentagon budget, the profiteers of war and torture and the violations of human rights. We have been dismissed while poverty grows and human need is ignored at the expense of the wealthy corporate financial interests. ANOTHER WAY IS POSSIBLE! Email or mobuszewski at Verizon dot net, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.

82] -- Ronda Cooperstein has taken to social media, and is recording her opinion pieces on You Tube. Check out her latest essay - THE WASHINGTON POST WITH TOAST:

83] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

84] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget. Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures. Go to

85] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

86] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

87] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees. This is an historic window of opportunity. With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

88] -- WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5. To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

89] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan