Thursday, February 22, 2018

REFORMING MD.’S RENEWABLE ENERGY LAW

Feb. 22 -- MARYLAND MATTERS

GUEST COMMENTARY: REFORMING MD.’S RENEWABLE ENERGY LAW
By Tim Whitehouse
Maryland’s General Assembly will make some crucial decisions this session on the future of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Tim Whitehouse
Tim Whitehouse
Currently, the legislature is considering two bills to increase the amount of renewable energy that utilities must purchase under the state’s RPS. The RPS is the primary law that requires Maryland utilities to purchase renewable energy or renewable energy credits to reduce the state’s dependence on electricity produced from fossil fuels and to diversify our energy mix.
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility supports only one of these bills, the 100% Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act, because it is the only bill that would reform Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard law. Our review of a January 2018 Public Service Commission report on the RPS indicates that a significant overhaul of Maryland’s RPS is necessary. We reach this conclusion despite being strong supporters of the RPS in the past.
Our main concern is that Maryland’s RPS allows utilities to buy “unbundled RECs” from a geographic area that encompasses about one-third of the U.S. An unbundled REC means the utility buys only the certificate, not the underlying energy.
In 2016, these RECs accounted for up to 80 percent of Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. Unbundled RECs do little to address the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, impose unnecessary costs on Maryland ratepayers and are used to make Maryland’s energy mix look is greener than it is.
The exception to this practice of purchasing unbundled renewable energy credits is the in-state solar and offshore wind in the RPS. However, by 2020, under the current RPS, solar and offshore wind will account for no more than 5 percent of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Under a new bill introduced to raise the RPS to 50 percent, the use of unbundled RECs in Maryland’s RPS will continue to grow at a rapid pace, while in-state solar and offshore wind requirements grow far more slowly than they would under the “100 percent bill.”
What Is a Renewable Energy Credit?
A REC is a document that certifies one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from a renewable energy resource as defined by Maryland law. Maryland’s current RPS requires utilities to purchase renewable energy credits equal to a percentage of their energy sales. Under the RPS, utilities must derive 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Renewable energy credits are bought and sold like commodities, and their prices are set on the open market. In 2016, the average non-solar REC price was in the Maryland RPS program was $12.53.
RECs can be either bundled or unbundled. A utility that sells renewable energy can “bundle” the electricity and the REC together. That means the buyer gets both the energy and the REC. Once a REC is bought and used toward an RPS, it must be retired, meaning that it cannot be used again.
If the energy and RECs are “unbundled,” the developer can sell the electricity to one utility and the REC to another – and this is generally the case. That allows an North Dakota wind developer, for example, to sell its electricity to a local utility in North Dakota, but the REC to a utility in Maryland. The Maryland utility can then use the REC to count toward Maryland’s RPS requirements.
Where do these out-of-state RECs come from? About 38 percent came from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Over 40 percent came from states outside of Maryland that are not even contiguous to the state. Many come from as far away as North Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.
Maryland ratepayers pay tens of millions of dollars per year for these unbundled RECs without any guarantee that any additional clean energy is being added to our grid, or any grid, for that matter.
Because the Public Service Commission does not in its annual report release the costs of individual renewable energy credits purchases, the buyers of the RECs, or whether the utility purchased any energy with the REC, we do not know exactly how much Maryland ratepayers paid for unbundled RECs. However, we know that in 2016 Maryland utilities paid over $135 million for more than 9 million RECs. About 80 percent purchases were from outside of Maryland, many from installations that were already producing electricity and selling it to their local utilities.
To make matters worse, Maryland’s RPS does not require that energy sources be new. That means, for example, that if a Maryland utility buys unbundled RECs from a hydropower plant or a wind farm, these RECs will show up as a new source of renewable energy in Maryland’s RPS, even if they are not.
Fossil+Fuels+Press+Conference
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility supports the 100% Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act.
Other states do not allow these types of shenanigans.
New York’s new 50 percent RPS, for example, limits almost all new renewable energy credits purchases to resources that came into operation after Jan. 1, 2015, and has strong in-state requirements. Likewise, Illinois requires that the energy source come from within the state, or adjacent states, if it is in the public interest.
In reviewing the Public Service Commission reports over the past 10 years, it has become clear that many of Maryland RECs are doing little – if anything — to increase our renewable energy production. Instead, our purchases of these renewable energy credits are likely rewarding existing out-of-state renewable energy producers and their parent companies with some short-term revenue.
Below are some examples to highlight this point. In these examples, the utilities, companies and brokers who are buying and selling these RECs are doing what the law allows them to do. These are not examples of bad behavior by the companies; they are examples of why the way we buy renewable energy under the RPS needs to be changed.
Not New Clean Energy
Maryland’s RPS allows the purchase of renewable energy credits from small-scale hydropower. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of RECs purchased from small-scale hydroplants for Maryland’s RPS increased over 2,500 percent, from 54,414 to 1,450,307, for a total of just over 7,300,000 RECs during this 10-year time period.
At first glance, this would appear to be a great success story in Maryland’s RPS.
In reality, Maryland ratepayers probably got very little energy for their investment. Between 2007 and 2016, capacity and generation from small hydropower facilities have remained relatively steady both regionally and nationally. Many of the dams that generate RECs for Maryland’s RPS are far removed from Maryland’s electrical grid and have been producing hydropower for decades, some for over a century. In 2016, only two of these projects were in Maryland, accounting for just 2.2 percent of the renewable energy credits purchased from small hydropower facilities. Thirteen were in Virginia, five in West Virginia, five in Pennsylvania, 10 in New York, one in New Jersey and three in Illinois.
Here are examples of the problem with the use of unbundled renewable energy credits for small-scale, out-of-state hydropower.
§  Over the years, one or more Maryland utilities has purchased RECs from a series of small, historical dams along the Black River in upstate New York. These dams sell power into New York’s electrical grid.
§  In 2016, a utility purchased 16,983 RECs from energy produced by the Lockport Powerhouse Dam outside of Chicago. This transaction appears to be the first time that a utility bought RECs from this dam to meet its Maryland’s RPS requirements. The dam, built in 1907, produced 35.6 million kWh of electric power and generated $990,097 in revenue in 2016.
Onshore wind is another important part of Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. In 2016, onshore wind accounted for about 30 percent of Maryland’s Tier 1 RPS. Like hydropower, wind would appear to be a great success story of Maryland’s RPS. The number of wind RECs in Maryland’s RPS has grown from zero in 2007 to 2,339,596 in 2016.
Where did these RECs come from? In 2016, almost one half came from Illinois. Twelve percent came from North Dakota, 11 percent from Pennsylvania, nine percent from West Virginia, almost 7 1/2 percent from both Missouri and Iowa, 2 percent from Indiana, and close to 1 percent from Maryland and Ohio.
Many of these renewable energy credits come from wind farms that have been producing wind for many years.
Take the Tatanka Wind Farm in North and South Dakota that went online in 2008. In 2016, a Maryland utility purchased 282,055 RECs from the wind farm to meet the state’s RPS obligations. Or the Farmer City Wind Farm in Missouri, which came online in 2009. In 2016, a Maryland utility bought 171,742 RECs from this wind farm.
Both of these wind farms are subsidiaries of larger international corporations. It is fair to ask why Maryland ratepayers are subsidizing the Midwestern assets of international corporations, especially when the price of wind from large developments in the Midwest is equal to or lower than the price of electricity from fossil fuels.
In other words, these wind farms are being built because market forces in that region already favor wind development. Why are Maryland ratepayers paying for this instead of incentivizing new clean energy closer to home?
Not New Dirty Energy
One problem with Maryland’s RPS – that has been extensively reported on — is that Maryland’s RPS allows utilities to purchase RECs from facilities that that burn trash, biomass, pulp and paper, and other energy sources that are as bad or worse for human health and the climate than burning fossil fuels.
In 2016, almost half of Maryland’s RPS came from these high-polluting energy sources.
Although we believe these types of fuels should not be in Maryland’s RPS because they are not clean, renewable energy, a less obvious, but as serious a problem is that we may not be getting any return on our investment.
Take the burning of biomass. Biomass is the burning of wood waste as an energy source. In 2016, the burning of biomass accounted for 7.4 percent of Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard. Facilities selling credits to Maryland were in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina.
One Kentucky company sells credits from a biomass co-generation plant on the site of its mill. The co-generation facility has been in operation since 1994. The plant burns wood waste to produce steam and electricity that is used at the company’s facility. The excess electricity is sold to East Kentucky Power.
Looking at the PSC reports, it is difficult to tell a lot about these biomass facilities. But the Kentucky plant is probably not an isolated example. It is quite likely that other plants use or want to use biomass as cogeneration at their facilities.
Black liquor is another example of this problem. Black liquor accounts for 23.4 percent of Maryland’s RPS. Black liquor is a waste product of the pulp and paper industry and has been used to produce energy at pulp mills long before Maryland RPS existed. The use of black liquor as an energy source makes these mills mostly self-sufficient for their electricity needs.
Environmentalists and health advocates have failed in past efforts to remove black liquor from the RPS because of concerns by legislators about the economic impact this would have on the Luke Paper Mill in Western Maryland. However, the Luke Paper Mill accounted for only 4.07 percent of black liquor RECs sold to Maryland in 2016. The rest came from facilities in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Maryland ratepayers, through the purchase of out-of-state black liquor RECs, are supporting internal plant operations, not the production of renewable energy for the regional grid.
In our opinion, the states where these facilities are located should decide upon and manage these types of subsidies, not the unbundled REC market that supports Maryland RPS, in other words, Maryland ratepayers.
Why We Support the 100% Bill
Under Maryland’s current RPS and proposals to expand it, the problem of Maryland ratepayer money leaving the state to purchase what is essentially paper or electronic certificates will continue to grow.
In the PSC report, of the renewable facilities that are eligible to participate in the Maryland RPS Program, 37 percent are in the mid-Atlantic states. The locations of the remaining eligible resources come from 11 states and contribute the other 62.8 percent of the state’s eligible renewable resource capacity. The report indicates that states that stand to gain the most from Maryland’s growing RPS include Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana.
As previously mentioned, in the past, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility has been a strong supporter of increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard. This time, instead of offering our blanket support, we decided to look for ourselves and see if the RPS was working in the way we thought and hoped it would be working.
The answer is: it has not.
That is why Chesapeake PSR supports the 100% Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act.
It ends the subsidy system underpinning Maryland’s current RPS. It requires utilities to enter into long-term power purchase agreements for the actual purchase of clean renewable energy, it incentivizes investments in distributed solar, it recognizes the need to plan for a more resilient and agile grid system for the near future, and it creates a feasible and affordable pathway to a truly clean renewable electricity system for our state.
Tim Whitehouse is the executive director of the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"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



Close Down Gitmo demo/Trump's Jabs at North Korea Build on Long History of Treaty Violations

Friends,

   Our government has consistently engaged in a foreign policy aimed at enriching the Empire.  Besides its mistreatment of North Korea, we must acknowledge what various administrations have done to Cuba. Possibly the most egregious example of a treacherous treatment of Cuba is the confiscation of Guantanamo.  Consider joining us in this demonstration to call attention to the U.S. occupation of Cuban territory.
    
As part of the Global Day of Action Against U.S. Occupation of Guantanamo, the Baltimore Nonviolence Center will hold a Close Down Gitmo demonstration on Fri., Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at 33rd and N. Charles Sts. February 23rd marks the 115th anniversary of the U.S. seizure of the area of Guantanamo, Cuba in which the Navy built the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The Coalition Against Foreign US Military Bases is organizing demos around the U.S. View the resolution at http://noforeignbases.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Resolution-on-Guantanamo.pdf.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

Kagiso, Max


Trump's Jabs at North Korea Build on Long History of Treaty Violations
Thursday, February 22, 2018

By T.J. ColesTruthout | News Analysis

President of North Korea Kim Yong-nam and Kim Yo-jong, sister of President of North Korea Kim Jong-un (above), and Mike Pence, Vice-President of USA and wife Karen Pence (below) during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo: Jean Catuffe / Getty Images)
Kim Yong-nam and Kim Yo-jong, sister of president of North Korea Kim Jong-un, sit with Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence during the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo: Jean Catuffe / Getty Images)

In recent days the Trump administration has continued to scupper reconciliation efforts made by its ally South Korea and its enemy North Korea. On Feb. 9, Vice President Pence reportedly refused to applaud the two nations' carrying of a united Korea flag at the recent Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that any potential US-North Korea negotiations must be contingent on North Korea's willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal -- an arsenal which US intelligence reports cite as a "deterrence" against potential US aggression.
But Trump's stance is not unusual. Ever since the US split Korea between 1945 and 1948, and then killed several million Koreans in a war unofficially ending in 1953, the US has violated treaties, both bilateral and multilateral, concerning North Korea. Both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations have violated these treaties, including the administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Bush the Elder and Clinton
report by the right-wing Heritage Foundation notes that until the late 1980s and early '90s, the US "refused even casual contact with [North Korean] officials." In 1990, the US claimed that it had satellite proof that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons. Following presentation of the images to the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sprang surprise visits on North Korea, which North Korean leaders rejected. This is because North Korea was not legally obliged to permit surprise inspections. The regime feared that UN inspectors could gain access to their non-nuclear related weapons and thus pose a security risk. Also in 1990, North Korea announced that it would accept IAEA inspections on the condition that the US withdraw its nuclear forces from the region. By the end of the year, Hans Blix, the head of the IAEA, confirmed that North Korea was seeking assurances that the US would not attack it. The US rejected the offers.
In 1992, North and South Korea signed the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This involved joint and mutually-agreed inspections of the other's nuclear systems. Initially, North Korea lived up to its promises in the agreement, halting plutonium reprocessing and eventually allowing IAEA inspectors into the country. North Korean leadership even invited US government officials and the IAEA to inspect its reactors. The offer was rejected by the hard-line George H.W. Bush administration, though former President Carter visited in 1994. Writing in the respected Arms Control Association journal in 1997, specialist Leon V. Sigal notes:
For a country supposedly intent on obtaining nuclear weapons, that self-restraint seems difficult to explain. One possible explanation is that, starting in 1990 or 1991, North Korea was trying to trade in its weapons program for what it thought it needed more -- security, political and economic ties with the United States ... Washington entered into talks only with extreme reluctance, and even then it was unwilling to specify what it would give North Korea in return for abandoning its nuclear arms program. When it did make promises, they were not always kept, often because Washington was dependent on others to fulfill them. As a consequence, the United States very nearly stumbled into war [in 1994].
Under the US-North Korea Agreed Framework of 1994, the US, now led by President Bill Clinton, was obliged to replace North Korea's graphite nuclear reactor with light-water plants. It never did.
After the start of the Agreed Framework, the US helped establish the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) in 1995. International funds were raised to transport oil to North Korea and 8,000 spent fuel rods from North Korea's Yongbyon reactor were removed and sealed. The US never lived up to its obligations under the Agreement and failed to dismantle the reactors and replace them with light water ones.
From Clinton to Bush the Younger
In 1998, North Korea fired a long-range missile over Japan. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, this was designed in part to force the US back to the negotiating table; a move that worked. Between 1999 and 2000, the Clinton administration re-entered talks with North Korea.
In his state of the union address in January 2002, President George W. Bush called North Korea part of an "axis of evil," along with Iran and Iraq. Three scholars writing for the Woodrow Wilson Center said at the time: "Faced with such a clear and present danger," i.e., the United States, "Pyongyang did what most countries [sic] under similar circumstances would do," namely it turned to developing weapons of mass destruction. They go on to note that " 'evil' is something to be destroyed, not something to negotiate with. Indeed, the Bush administration ... boxed itself -- and North Korea -- into a corner."
In 2002, the US initiated the Proliferation Security Initiative with allies in the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea and Indian Ocean. In October 2002, US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly claimed that North Korea "confessed" to him an illicit uranium enrichment weapons program. North Korea denied this. As a result of the allegations, Bush suspended heavy oil supplies delivered under the Agreed Framework.
In January 2003, following Bush's axis of evil speech, North Korea announced its intention to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows countries to develop nuclear technologies for civilian usage, but not nuclear weapons or technologies for use in nuclear weapons programs. The implication was that North Korea would begin work on developing a nuclear weapon to deter US aggression. Following the withdrawal, the US requested China take a role in mediating talks over North Korea's nuclear program.
The Bush administration entered into talks with China on the issue, and North Korea was persuaded by China to attend the talks and informed both parties that the matter is between North Korea and the US.
North Korea requested direct talks with the US, but the Bush administration refused. At one of the trilateral talks mediated by China, the Bush administration made a fateful decision in rejecting North Korea's proposal to freeze nuclear development in exchange for economic assistance and so-called security guarantees from the US, South Korea and Japan. The Bush administration said that the "military option" was "on the table" and also "not off the table." The language confused the Chinese- and Korean-speaking delegates, who asked, "Then where is it now?"
The result was the establishment of Three-Party Talks with the US, China and North Korea in 2003. The aim of the talks was to get North Korea to denuclearize on terms acceptable to the regime, i.e., with guarantees that the US won't attack. These became Six-Party talks when South Korea, Russia and Japan joined in. The talks failed for several reasons. First, at the first and second Joint Statement 2005, in which all parties voiced their concerns, Bush prohibited US delegates from negotiating bilaterally with North Korea. North Korea responded by withdrawing from the talks.
Second, the third Joint Statement was held in collaboration with the Six Parties (the US and North Korea, plus China, Russia, South Korea and Japan). South Korea agreed to not develop nuclear weapons, and North Korea agreed for the first time to abandon its nuclear weapons program. In September 2005, the US threatened sanctions on banks doing business with North Korea. North Korea responded by boycotting the Six-Party Talks. The US responded by not only slapping sanctions on North Korea for the first time, but also accusing the country of having accounts in Macao used for money laundering in support of terrorism. The US froze $25 million of North Korea's assets and blacklisted eight North Korean companies. North Korea responded by reverting to its nuclear and ballistic missile developments.
Finally, at the Six-Party talks in late 2006 and early 2007, North Korea agreed to the Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement. This plan outlined closing North Korea's nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and abandoning future nuclear programs. In exchange, the Bush administration would remove the country from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
From Bush to Obama
In February 2007, North Korea's vice foreign minister met with Bush administration officials in the US. This was the first time that diplomacy had been so warm. One of North Korea's prerequisites for denuclearization was ending the US embargo. The Bush administration refused. By July, the US was still freezing North Korea's foreign assets under spurious pretexts, but did deliver 6,200 tons of oil via South Korea, as agreed in the previous decade. North Korea permitted the arrival of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to verify the closing of the Yongbyon station.
By the start of 2008, US reciprocation had declined. The remaining oil promised to North Korea never arrived, new equipment for power plants never came and material assistance for denuclearization was not forthcoming. Despite this, North Korea achieved 75 percent denuclearization unilaterally. In June 2008, North Korea agreed to provide reports to the US concerning its production of plutonium. But the very moment that North Korea supplied the information, the Bush administration announced that it wanted an explanation of the report and failed to honor its commitment to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea reacted in kind, expelling the UN inspectors and announcing its intention to re-nuclearize.
Also, in June 2008, North Korea publicly demolished its Yongbyon cooling tower. The US briefly lifted sanctions, but Japan refused to oblige the Six-Party agreement and supply North Korea with 200,000 tons of heavy oil. When US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill visited North Korea and promised to remove it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, North Korea signaled willingness to reinstate the inspectors.
By then, Obama had come to office and was scoring points at home by portraying North Korea as the bogeyman of Asia. In March 2009, two US journalists were caught operating in North Korea without a permit near the Chinese border and were returned to the US. In April, North Korea announced its intention to launch a satellite (Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2) and then withdrew from the Six-Party Talks, following the election in South Korea of the hard-line President Lee Myung-bak. In May, North Korea launched its second nuclear test. Following UN Security Council Sanctions on North Korea (UNSCR 1874), China encouraged North Korea to rejoin the Six-Party talks.
By January 2010, North Korea had agreed to a peace treaty with the US, including denuclearization, on the condition that sanctions are removed. The US refused the offer and instead conditioned talks on the sanctions remaining in force until North Korea rejoined in the Six-Party negotiations. North Korea's second, this time bilateral offers with the US on January 11 were met with ridicule by Japanese media. Tensions mounted again in March 2010, when a South Korean warship (Cheonan) exploded and sank, killing 46 people. North Korea denied responsibility, but the US and South Korea immediately accused the country of torpedoing the vessel.
In April 2010, according to the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative nonprofit group, North Korea not only "renewed its calls for a peace treaty," but also "released a memorandum stating that it would limit the number of nuclear weapons it produced [and] rejoin denuclearization efforts in exchange for being recognized as a nuclear arms state." The US rejected the offer.
Trump's Policies Toward North Korea
North Korea does not have the ability to reach the continental US with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) carrying a nuclear warhead. Business Insider reported in November 2017 that the Hwasong-15 ICBM would be weighed down significantly if it carried a nuclear warhead. In December, CNN quoted unnamed US "officials" as saying that North Korea's longest-range ICBM likely broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere.
US citizens must recognize that President Trump's policy toward North Korea is merely a continuation of US regional designs in the Asia Pacific. All over the region, there are networks of dedicated peace activists, including Japanese citizens opposing the presence of US military bases on Okinawa, South Korean activists opposing US bases on Jeju Island, and many, many more, such as Women Cross the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) -- an organization of women from around the world who march in solidarity with both North Koreans and South Koreans. If these resistance networks do not come together in a globalized movement strong enough to force the US to pursue peace, North Korea might one day develop a weapon capable of hitting the US, and the US might start yet another war, this time perhaps a terminal nuclear one.
This article has been adapted from Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (Clairview Books).
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
T.J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several political books, including President Trump, Inc: How Big Business and Neoliberalism Empower Populism and the Far-Right and Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books titles).
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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"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 - February 23 - May 6, 2018

49] Baltimore Hunger Project – Feb. 23
50] Peace vigil at White House – Feb. 23
51] WIB peace vigils – Feb. 23
52] Attend the film “Between Earth and Sky” -- Feb. 23
53] Black Lives Matter vigil – Feb. 23
54] Public Interest Gala & Auction – Feb. 23
55] Close Down Gitmo demo – Feb. 23
56] Global Day of Action Against U.S. Occupation of Guantanamo -- Feb. 23
57] Candidates Forum – Feb. 23
58] Cutting School -- Feb. 23
59] Film HACKSHAW RIDGE – Feb. 23
60] Healthcare is a Human Right Happy Hour -- Feb. 23
61] Ballroom Dancing – Feb. 23
62] Worker Cooperative Jumpstart – Feb. 24
63] WORKING PEOPLE'S DAY OF ACTION – Feb. 24
64] Moss Workshop – Feb. 24
65] Progressive Canvassing – Feb. 24 - 25
66] Support the Oakland Mills Young Democrats – Feb. 24
67] West Chester peace vigil – Feb. 24
68] Greater Baltimore Democratic Gubernatorial Forum – Feb. 24
69] Students Helping Honduras Benefit Gala – Feb. 24
70] Skeleton Crew Fundraiser for GLCCB Youth Programs -- Feb. 24
72] Catonsville Nine Commemoration – May 4 – 6
73] JONAH HOUSE NEEDS WORKERS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
74] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
75] Do you need any book shelves?
76] Join the Global Zero campaign
----
49] –  On Fri., Feb. 23 from 10 AM to noon, help out at an Open Packing Session for 20, hosted by the Baltimore Hunger Project at 2305 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218-5128. What happens to the children who receive daily school meals when they go home for the weekend? Baltimore Hunger Project seeks to bridge that gap between Friday afternoon and Monday mornings. Eliminate the growing problem of weekend childhood hunger. Every Friday, volunteers take weekend provisions to local elementary schools who have families in crisis. The food packs are discreetly slipped into children’s backpacks on Friday by their guidance counselor, so they can return to school Monday nourished and ready to learn! See https://www.facebook.com/events/397116457395377/.

50] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! This vigil will take place at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contract Art @ artlaffin@hotmail.com or at 202-360-6416. 

51] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from noon to 1 PM, join a Women in Black peace vigil. A vigil will take place in McKeldin Square at the corner of Light and Pratt Sts.  STAY FOR LUNCH.  Warm-up, dry off, and enjoy a vegetarian chili lunch and lots of good conversation. Bring a side or topping for the chili.  There are still places at the table; invite a friend to come along with you.

  Another vigil is at Roland Park Place, 830 W. 40th St, Baltimore. 21211. However, if weather is iffy, contact Anne at awyattbr@gmail.com.  Lunch will take place at 1 PM at the RPP Café, 830 W. 40th St., Baltimore 21211.

A third vigil will be in Chestertown, Kent County at Memorial Park at Cross Street and Park Row.  This vigil is looking for more peace bodies on the Eastern Shore.  Welcome to the network, Chestertown Women in Black.

Wear black. Dress for who knows what kind of weather.  Peace signs will be available. When there are others to stand with, you don't need to carry the burden alone. Do this to be in solidarity with others....when everything around us says “Be afraid of the stranger.” Carpool and parking available. Just send an email that you need a ride to: wibbaltimore@peacepath911.org.

52] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from 5 to 8 PM, attend “Between Earth and Sky,” and participate in the discussion after the screening. The event is hosted by the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences - Univ. of Maryland in the Hoff Theater, 0110 Stamp Student Union, College Park 20742. Tickets are available at www.securelb.imodules.com. RSVP at www.go.umd.edu/earthandsky. This groundbreaking film is the first of its kind to explore global climate change through the lens of soil science. This research-based film tells the story of global climate change by shining a light on arctic soils and ecosystems and the livelihood of Alaskan-Americans.

Following the film will be a discussion with the film’s executive producer, David Weindorf. Dr. Weindorf is the associate dean for research and the BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology in the Department of Plant and Soil Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University. Contact Barret Wessel at bwessel@terpmail.umd.edu.

53] – There is usually a silent vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends Meeting, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  The next scheduled vigil is on Feb. 23. Black Lives Matter.  

54] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 10:30 PM, get over to the 2018 Public Interest Gala & Auction, hosted by University of Baltimore Students for Public Interest (UBSPI), 1420 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21201.  Tickets are available at www.biddingforgood.com. This is the 24th Annual Public Interest Gala & Auction, which raises summer grants for UB law students working for public interest organizations like the Office of the Public Defender of Baltimore City, Freestate Justice, Senior Legal Services and many more.  Student tickets are $20, and General Admission tickets are $40. Tickets must be purchased at the link above.   

Cash donations of any amount go a long way to support UBSPI grants! You can donate online at https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/communicate/donatecash.action?auctionId=306657045&otherAmount&edit=Donate. Contact Michelle Junot at mjunot@ubalt.edu.

55] – As part of the Global Day of Action Against U.S. Occupation of Guantanamo, the Baltimore Nonviolence Center will hold a Close Down Gitmo demonstration on Fri., Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at 33rd and N. Charles Sts. February 23rd marks the 115th anniversary of the U.S. seizure of the area of Guantanamo, Cuba in which the Navy built the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The Coalition Against Foreign US Military Bases is organizing demos around the U.S. View the resolution at http://noforeignbases.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Resolution-on-Guantanamo.pdf.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

56] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 6 PM, join the Global Day of Action Against U.S. Occupation of Guantanamo, hosted by Workers World Party at the corner of North Avenue and Charles Street. February 23rd marks the 115th anniversary of the U.S. seizure of the area of Guantanamo, Cuba in which the Navy built the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. At 6 PM, walk a block over to the Harriet Tubman Solidarity Center for refreshments and the showing of a short Cuban film “All of Guantanamo is Ours.” The film interviews Cubans who live nearby the base and shows the negative impact of the base. The Coalition Against Foreign US Military Bases is organizing demos around the U.S. View the resolution at http://noforeignbases.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Resolution-on-Guantanamo.pdf.  If you are interested in attending the 2018 May Day Brigade to Cuba, come over to the Center before the demonstration for information about how to sign up to go. See https://www.facebook.com/events/765367806999753/.

57] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from 7 to 10 PM attend a Candidates Forum for those seeking to become PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY EXECUTIVE, hosted by United People for African Congress (UPAC) at "The House of Champions" / Victory Temple, 13701 Annapolis Road, Bowie 20720.  The African community in Prince George’s County is thriving and desires to be more engaged in the decision-making process in our County. The community hereby invites you to join us during this Candidates Forum to hear directly from County Executive Candidates regarding their priorities and plans while in office. Email Africavotespgc@gmail.com.

58] – On Fri., Feb. 23 at 7:30 PM at Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, hear from Nolike Rooks about CUTTING SCHOOL: PRIVATIZATION, SEGREGATION, AND THE END OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.  Public schools are among America’s greatest achievements in modern history, yet from the earliest days of tax-supported education—today a sector with an estimated budget of over half a billion dollars—there have been intractable tensions tied to race and poverty. Now, in an era characterized by levels of school segregation the country has not seen since the mid-twentieth century, cultural critic and American studies professor Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.

59] – On Fri., Feb. 23 at 7 PM as part of the Pacem Film Series, the first movie is “Hacksaw Ridge,” under the theme of nonviolence in a violent world.  It will be shown at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington, DE.  This is the true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon. He was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. How can you stick to your values in a world where peer pressure to be different is intense and unrelenting?  Is it possible for people of faith and conscience to live with integrity in a world of evil and oppression?  At St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington, DE, 7:00 pm. Visit http://depaceminterris.org/fw-event-slug/hacksaw-ridge/.

60] – On Fri., Feb. 23 from 7 to 10 PM, get involved in a Healthcare is a Human Right Happy Hour at the Sweet27 bar, 123 W. 27th St., Baltimore 21218.  This is the first Happy Hour of 2018 at which you will hear about the launch for Baltimore Students and Healthcare Professionals for Single Payer! Every healthcare worker in Baltimore has firsthand stories about health injustice in our city. However, many providers are isolated from one another and prevented from speaking out on these issues at a public level. 

Baltimore Students and Health Professionals for Single Payer is a new, sliding scale membership group aimed at bringing students and workers from diverse disciplines who support the cause together. BSHPS will offer networking opportunities, a chance to meet like-minded people who share your values, guest lectures, workshops and other special events.   Have a drink with non-alcoholic options. A portion of the bar proceeds for the evening will be donated to Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland.  Go to www.hchrmd.org.

61] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at  8 PM.  Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St.  Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be on Feb. 23. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

62] – On Sat., Feb. 24 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, come to the 2018 Worker Cooperative Jumpstart, hosted by the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) at St. John’s, 2640 St. Paul St. , Baltimore 21218.  This will be the second Worker Cooperative Jumpstart! It will be a day long series of workshops focused on establishing and running worker cooperatives. So whether you've been a worker-owner for years, are thinking about starting a co-op, or just want to learn more this event is for you! Organizations and individuals welcome! There is a suggested donation of $1 to 25 per person to cover the cost of the event and lunch. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/worker-cooperative-jumpstart-2018-tickets-42494668698.  Email info@baltimoreroundtable.org. The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is a coalition of Maryland-based worker cooperatives, advocates, and technical assistance providers committed to building a robust cooperative ecosystem. BRED supports democratically-controlled economic institutions with loans and technical assistance. Visit the website at https://baltimoreroundtable.org/. 

63] –  On Sat., Feb. 24 at 10 AM, while FIGHTING FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY, come to Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; WDC 20004, and join Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC. and allies for a WORKING PEOPLE'S DAY OF ACTION.   In late February, the Supreme Court will hear a court case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.  This case is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people by corporate CEOs, the wealthiest 1% and the politicians that do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. It's meant to destroy the ability of people who work in the public sector, including over 100,000 CWA members, to join together in unions to negotiate better wages, benefits and protections that improve work conditions and set standards for everyone. The potential effects of a negative decision will be felt at every level of CWA and the labor movement as a whole.  Go to www.cwa-union.org. Email action@itsaboutfreedom.org.

64] – On Sat., Feb. 24 from 10 AM to noon, attend the Moss Workshop with Linda Davis and Charlie Davis from The Natural History Society of Maryland at the Banneker Historical Park & Museum, 300 Oella Ave., Catonsville, in the conference room.  The cost is $10.  If mosses intrigue you when you hike but you wonder exactly what you are seeing, this is your chance to figure it out in a fun environment. On the last Saturday of each month, take a closer look at a moss or two and work together to identify them. Get introduced to the vocabulary and work through moss keys together. A walk down your street will never be the same!  Register and pay online at http://marylandnature.org/events.

65] – On Sat., Feb. 24 and Sun., Feb. 25, Progressive Maryland will hold its second MONTHLY MASS CANVASSES all over the state! The canvassing will be for progressive values and to elect endorsed candidates, including Gubernatorial Candidate Ben Jealous.  No matter where you live, there's an opportunity for you to join in! For example, on Sun., Feb. 25 from 2 to 4 PM join the Howard County Canvass at the Long Gate Shopping Center. Montgomery Road, Ellicott City 21043.  CONTACT Meagan Braganca at 443 739 5598. 

For other areas in the State, go to http://www.progressivemaryland.org. On Sat., Feb. 24 at 10 AM there is a canvass in Silver Spring.  On Sat., Feb. 24 at 10 AM there is a canvass in Frederick. On Sat., Feb. 24 at 10 AM there is a canvass in Annapolis at Ceremony Coffee Roasters. On Sat., Feb. 24 at 11 AM, join the canvass at Seat Pleasant in Capitol Heights, MD. On Sat., Feb. 24 at noon be at Salisbury Canvass Launch in Salisbury. On Sat., Feb. 24 at 1 PM meet at the Greenbelt Library for the canvass.  On Sun., Feb. 25 at 2 PM, meet at the C. Burr Artz Public Library in Frederick to canvass.

66] – On Sat., Feb. 24 at 10:30 AM, meet outside Oakland Mills High School to support the Oakland Mills Young Democrats.  Go to http://www.ydhc.org/crats.  Canvass the neighborhood around the high school, register voters, and pass out flyers for the Young Democrats' upcoming County Council Debate on March 8 at 6:30 PM. 

67] – 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 www.ccpeace.org. Email ccpeacemovement@aol.com.

68] – On Sat., Feb. 24 from 2 to 5 PM, come out for the Greater Baltimore Democratic Gubernatorial Forum, hosted by United For Maryland PAC at 101 N. Gay St., Baltimore 21202.  All seven Democratic candidates will attend: Rushern Baker, Ben Jealous, Kevin Kamenetz, Rich Madaleno, Alec Ross, Jim Shea and Krishanti Vignarajah.  The moderator is Ms. Phylicia Porter, and the concluding speaker is Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.  From 4 to 5 PM, there will be a Candidate Meet & Greet. Visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ufm4 to get your tickets!  If you want to submit a question for the candidates, use this Google form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdUY1DXOxlE7weH2is4zSj2_OgfczxbQAJgaU2xnddnbv1_YQ/viewform.

69] – On Sat., Feb. 24 from 5 to 9:30 PM, come to the Students Helping Honduras Benefit Gala, hosted by the University of Maryland Students Helping Honduras at the Stamp (Adele H. Stamp Student Union), 3972 Campus Dr., College Park 20742.  Join the first annual SHH Benefit Gala in the Colony Ballroom! Doors open at 5 PM and dinner starts at 6 PM.  Dress code: Black tie optional.  Parking is available in Lot Z and Lot 1, next to Cole Field House, is free on the weekends! It is 5 minute walk from these lots to Stamp Student Union building. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/571752706511157/.

70] – On Sat., Feb. 24 from 6 to 10 PM, be at Night OUT: Skeleton Crew Fundraiser for GLCCB Youth Programs, hosted by GLCCB and Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21202. Join a pre-show happy hour and fundraiser. Use promo code 18OUTSC to receive 25% off of a ticket to Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau when you call the Box Office or buy online. Tickets are available at www.centerstage.org.  $10 of that ticket will directly benefit the GLCCB’s Youth Programs. Baltimore Center Stage members are also welcome to exchange into this performance at no extra cost.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/544461359267021/.

71] – On Sat., Feb. 24 at 6 PM at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, turn out for DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS WITH NANCY MACLEAN.  Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. “Democracy in Chains” names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

  In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us. Call 443-602-7585. RSVP at http://www.redemmas.org

72] – Save the Dates.  The fiftieth anniversary of the Catonsville Nine draft board raid will be commemorated  There will be a CATONSVILLE NINE SYMPOSIUM on FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018 from 4 to 10 PM at the Shriver Center, University of Maryland – Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Cir, Catonsville, MD 21250. Enjoy Films, Lectures, Discussion Panels and Dramatic Readings.  There will be more CATONSVILLE NINE COMMEMORATION ACTIVITIES on SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 from 9 AM to 2 PM at the Baltimore County Public Library Catonsville Branch, 1100 Frederick Rd., Catonsville, MD 21228.  Enjoy more Films, Lectures, Discussion Panels and Dramatic Readings.  On Sun., May 6 there will be an opportunity to engage in direct action and later participate in a prayer service.  Go to http://www.catonsville9.org/50th-anniversary-commemoration/.

73] – JONAH HOUSE NEEDS WORKERS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

After 44 years of resisting weapons and war, Jonah House is Baltimore is in danger of shutting down. Two of the three core members have announced their intention to leave the community as of May 2018. That leaves one core member, Joe Byrne, who will remain to recruit and re-form intentional community. But if no one steps forward, Jonah House will have to close.

Jonah House was founded by Phil Berrigan, Liz McAlister, and others, in 1973, during the Vietnam War. It was a center of resistance to that war. When the war ended, the focus of resistance became the nuclear arms race. This resistance blossomed into the Plowshares movement. Jonah House members have spent years in jail for Plowshares disarmament actions. Other members have spent years supporting them, and doing the work of the community in their absence. Resistance to weapons and war continues at Jonah House. More recently, Jonah House has also become involved in racial justice efforts in Baltimore, and the environmental justice movement.

Jonah House is planted in the middle of a 22-acre, mostly-wooded cemetery in West Baltimore called St. Peter’s. Maintaining and slowly restoring St. Peter’s Cemetery is the work that pays the bills for the community. Jonah House also uses the property to serve the living as well as honor the dead. Our gardens and orchards feed the Jonah House community, and the surrounding neighborhood community, via a food pantry and weekly food distribution to low-income neighbors. We envision the cemetery—particularly the 11-acre forest patch—as a haven for the people of the neighborhood, international peace activists, and numberless living beings.

Jonah House is also an interfaith spiritual community. We pray or meditate together daily, and our spiritual practice informs and empowers everything we do, whether in the fields or in the streets.

To continue the vision, Jonah House is looking for a few new core members willing to commit to a two-year stint. We are also open to short- and long-term interns (3 months to a year). The work of radical peacemaking, direct service to the poor, and stewarding the land requires workers. We pray that God will send laborers to the vineyard (yes, we have that too) and that Jonah House will continue to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable for another 44 years!  For more information, call 443-804-3410, or email us at engage@jonahhouse.org

74] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs, records, tarps and table cloths, contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at comcast.net.

75] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at verizon.net.

76] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: http://www.globalzero.org/sign-declaration. 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.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

“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