Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Baltimore Activist Alert -- December 1 - 2, 2021

22] PG County Climate Action Plan -- Dec. 1

23] Make calls for the Freedom to Vote Act. – Dec. 1 - 2

24] India-U.S. Partnership – Dec. 1

25] Team Lierman Virtual Organizing Meeting -- Dec. 1

26] How Greenwashing Big Chicken Hurts Us All – Dec. 1

27] Equity Rises – Dec. 1

28] The War on Cuba documentary series -- Dec. 1

29] World Orders and Catastrophic Change – Dec. 1

30] Hanukkah Against Apartheid – Dec. 1

31] Midterm Endorsements Process Review – Dec. 1


22] – Lore Rosenthal of the Greenbelt Climate Action Network is reminding you that comments are needed by Wed., Dec 1 on the PG County Climate Action Plan. According to Lore, the most important comment you can give is that the County Council should adopt and implement this plan. The draft Climate Action Plan for Prince George’s County was released for public comment on Mon., Nov. 1.  The draft plan provides recommendations on how the County can invest in green infrastructure and programs, such as renewable energy, smart growth communities, low-carbon transportation, and resilient water systems. To view the plan and submit comments, visit mypgc.us/climateactionplan.

23] – Join Common Cause activists around the country at a virtual phonebank to urge voters in key states to demand their senators’ support the Freedom to Vote Act, and to eliminate the filibuster. These phone banks are subject to change based on variables. Our democracy is in crisis: with redistricting around the corner and hundreds of voter suppression laws being introduced in states across the country, we do not have time to wait. Call on Wed., Dec. 1 from 4 to 6 PM and 6 to 8 PM ET: Connecting VA voters to Sen. Warner to ask that they do everything possible to pass the Freedom to Vote Act including fixing the filibuster and Thurs., Dec. 2 from 6 to 8 PM ET: Connecting DE voters to Sen. Coons to ask that they do everything possible to pass the Freedom to Vote Act including fixing the filibuster. Register at https://www.mobilize.us/dfadcoalition/event/376178/?followup_modal_context=newsletter.

24] – On Wed., Dec. 1 from 6 to 7 PM ET, tune into India-U.S. Partnership: Quad, Indo-Pacific and Beyond sponsored by the Institute for Corean-American Studies.  Hear from Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's Ambassador to the United States. Sign up at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/icas-fall-symposium-special-shanti-tickets-206135967227.

25] – There is a Team Lierman Virtual Organizing Meeting, hosted by Brooke Lierman for Comptroller on Wednesdays, Dec. 1, 8 and 15  from 6 to 7 PM EST. Join Team Lierman and learn how you can help Brooke become the next comptroller! Gather over Zoom to discuss phone banking, knocking doors, attending events and all the other ways you can get involved!  Sign up at https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/398376/.

26] – Lily Hawkins, Food & Water Action [act@messages.fwaction.org] wants you to join a webinar on Wed., Dec. 1 from 6 to 7 PM -- Reclaiming Renewable Energy - How Greenwashing Big Chicken Hurts Us All. Did you know that Maryland counts methane from factory farm poultry waste as renewable energy?  Instead of funding this greenwashed technology and other polluting energy sources, Maryland should be using its renewable energy program to incentivize real clean energy, like solar, wind, and geothermal. Join us for a webinar to learn why factory farm gas is so harmful and what you can do to help clean up Maryland's renewable energy program! RSVP at https://secure.foodandwateraction.org/act/webinar-factory-farm-biogas-has-no-place-mds-renewable-energy-program?j=1339953&sfmc_sub=5823356&l=35&mid=100001791&utm_source=MarketingCloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2021-12-01_FWA_c4_MD_Food_Biogas-RPS-Webinar_Event_em_GL_O_LH&ms=onor-em-11302021-2021-12-01_FWA_c4_MD_Food_Biogas-RPS-Webinar_Event_em_GL_O_LH&oms=onor-em-11302021-2021-12-01_FWA_c4_MD_Food_Biogas-RPS-Webinar_Event_em_GL_O_LH&eml_name=2021-12-01_FWA_c4_MD_Food_Biogas-RPS-Webinar_Event_em_GL_O_LH&eml_id=1339953&gs=GxlJbkxjcq%2B8UZOd9mKlA%2FrUqmVv9Bhub1uCcnoOsk%2FAQ6T%2FAXyET%2BMg3cRAarznEzHCt2OjmsdtrlSDEDixGGAEUZALOZueWujWnmqqAL6EdUG%2FrkG9nV1e1aPSVG%2Br&af=RA1%2BJp3N228aRV69knhQi6HdXOURCg1a8LjFy%2FqVNQ3Po1gpJ2TWtaez2njMlOuEAnWCHkgEsbpWshTz9SyXZHZ4ZBqwHCVVpKJ%2BZXlAWLZyR%2BzfO2QzqSyd2JPeL%2BzCwsk6jgcMJb7Pj3wbBih8ImqkfiHWDev%2BgezUDN3cgbh1mDCeaXiPKbkB9fKqQpGU.

27] – Emma Belcher, Ploughshares Fund <president@ploughshares.org> is announcing Equity Rises and a Request for Proposals. To commit further to equity in the field of US nuclear policy, Ploughshares Fund is evolving and expanding the name and approach of the Women’s Initiative to Equity Rises. The Fund wants to challenge the hold that racism, militarism, and inequity have on nuclear policy. To do this, new voices that provide bold and provocative ideas are needed. The first project under Equity Rises is a $1 Million Request for Proposals (RFP). Through this RFP the hope is to build a stronger community of advocates, activists, researchers, and creative thinkers working together across identity, sector, and geography to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. There are three one-hour webinars during the RFP submission window for anyone who wants to learn more about applying for grants and working with foundations. These will include a Q&A about this RFP. Register for one of the three options held December 1 at 7 PM ET, January 14 at 9 AM ET, and February 7 at 1 PM ET at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jNOBuuyYT4O19JtOVntFzw.

28] – The Solidarity Collective [pao@solidaritycollective.org] is indicating that on Wed., Dec. 1 at 7 PM ET you should watch The War on Cuba documentary series, a virtual screening event. This is Season Two of the documentary series, which will be followed by virtual interviews with Marilín Peña Pérez, a popular educator and member of the steering committee of the Martin Luther King Center, the Cuba team of Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective, and journalist Liz Oliva Fernández, all based in Havana, Cuba. REGISTER at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-screening-the-war-on-cuba-tickets-214317849457?link_id=2&can_id=4b9d4061aec5469758759317ac0f5285&source=email-tonight-tomorrow-colombia-solidarity-screening-honduras-zedes-event-3&email_referrer=email_1365893&email_subject=next-week-the-war-on-cuba-screening-event.

29] – On Wed., Dec. 1 at 7 PM ET, get with The Rise and Fall of World Hegemonies with Alfred McCoy. Empires rise and empires fall. With the benefit of hindsight this is easy to see. It’s far more difficult to identify the trends of history when you’re living through it. This is the subject of To Govern the Globe, by Alfred McCoy, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of several books including Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation and In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power. His newest book, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, was released on Nov. 16.

 McCoy’s academic interests include US foreign policy, colonial empires in Southeast Asia, and CIA covert operations. He has received the Wilbur Cross Medal from the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association and the Hilldale Award for Arts & Humanities from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His latest book focuses on the rise and fall of empires and world orders from the 1300s to the present, as well as offering predictions on what may happen next. Register https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pfuGvrz4jEtB2Svm5Q4oW7rd6rhnOINoA.

 30] – Melissa Nussbaum Freeman [info@jewishvoiceforpeace.org] invites you to Hanukkah Against Apartheid on Wed., Dec. 1 from 8 to 9 PM ET. Hanukkah means rededication. Visit jvp.org/hanukkah-against-apartheid for more details. On Dec. 1, there is a TRAINING SERIES: HOW TO TALK ABOUT PALESTINE IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Register at https://act.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/a/jvp-action-fall-training-series-canvassing?emci=0faf84bb-8550-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&emdi=ded030d2-8b50-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&ceid=237778. Learn how to build people power in 2022.

31] – Our Revolution [info@ourrevolution.com] will be hosting on Wed., Dec. 1, 8 and 15 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM ET Midterm Endorsements Process Review. Register at https://www.mobilize.us/ourrevolution/event/427396/?akid=2309.8252965.kaH7Xm&rd=1&t=11. There is a need to unite to make sure we identify strategic campaigns in which to engage. In order to submit 2022 endorsements for OR National consideration, all Our Revolution chapters need at least one member to join in for one of these sessions in December. Discuss best practices for making endorsements, what to do once an endorsement is made, and how we can best work together to win in 2022! Progressives scored some important wins in the general election, but there are frightening portents of a red-wave that could retake control of Congress next year if we are not well organized. Our Revolution endorsed 222 candidates in 2021 and won 68% of those races! If you have any questions or need to find an alternative date to meet, reach out to Aaron Chappell at aaron@ourrevolution.com.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  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

Monday, November 29, 2021

Being part of the Outside Strategy to promote the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act

 The Global State of Democracy report, recently released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), indicated that Donald Trump's questioning of the election results in 2020 is "a historic turning point" both for U.S. democracy and the world, as officials in several countries are emulating his Big Lie.

Being part of the Outside Strategy to promote the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act

 On a brutally hot July 18, 2019 in Washington, D.C., we gathered outside the Russell Senate Office Building to express our disgust with the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents. We moved inside and gathered in the building’s rotunda where seventy of us were arrested.

 Note the building is named after Senator Richard Russell from Georgia, a notorious racist.  He successfully filibustered an anti-lynching bill in the 1930s, and vehemently tried to block historic civil rights legislation in the 1960s.  

 My next arrest would not happen until November 17, 2021 at the White House with easily many more than a hundred other voting rights activists, including the Rev. William Barber of the Poor Peoples Campaign.  I had to be there as I fear that our fragile electoral system is close to being beyond repair. January 6 should be a wake-up call for all who believe in a multiracial, inclusive, and radical movement to make our political system democratic. Today we are threatened by Trump’s Storm Troopers with automatic weapons and Lincoln’s political party which is now a cult. White supremacists in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Brunswick, Georgia and Charlottesville, Virginia used deadly force. These times call for a significant mobilization against the reactionary and racist forces. However, even before the rise of Trump’s cultish movement, real democracy was somewhat lacking.

Donald Trump and George W. Bush were the most recent presidents who failed to win the popular vote.  The Electoral College is a farce and a major flaw in the Constitution.

 Wyoming has less people than Washington, D.C., but has two senators as does California with 39 million citizens.  This is another flaw in the Constitution. Residents of D.C. pay taxes, but are denied representation in Congress.

 The filibuster in the Senate allows a minority of 41 senators to determine what legislation gets passed.  Unlike the story in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the filibuster is used to prevent progressive For the People legislation to become law.

  Gerrymandering across the country has been used to lessen the voting power of minorities, a majority of whom are registered Democrats. An average of 49% of adults age 18 and older reported Democratic Party affiliation or said they are independent with Democratic leanings in the first quarter of 2021, according to a Gallup poll, while 40% of adults identified as Republican or Republican-leaning. Nevertheless, gerrymandering has locked in one-party control in many states.

In 2010, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission enabled corporations and other outside groups to spend unlimited funds on elections. In 2013 the right wing Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Before marching to the White House, we gathered at the Capitol Hilton and heard repeatedly that the elders after a long struggle were able to convince a president and most members of Congress to enact civil rights legislation.  Unfortunately, the retrenchment of civil rights is now happening, so the struggle goes on to convince legislators to protect the vote, get money out of politics, end the filibuster, and give voting rights to D.C. residents.

As we marched in resistance to voter suppression, we chanted and heard speakers say the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act must be passed. I really fear that fascism could take over this country, so I had to be at the White House on November 17.

I have lots of experience in risking arrest, but this one was a bit peculiar.  The arrestees were not handcuffed, and were given an option – accept a citation and then pay $50 or walk away without a charge.  I opted for a citation, and then asked for my day in court.  It seems that within 15 days of the arrest, I must appear at a Park Police office and request a trial date. Failure to pay the $50 could result in a warrant for my arrest.  Nevertheless, I am duty-bound to appear before a judge in order to cry out for Help.  Democracy is on life support, and all believers in the sanctity of one person, one vote should step forward. A civil rights-era song asks this question, “And how many years can some people exist, Before they're allowed to be free?”   It seems the answer in Blowing in the Wind.

Max Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center


Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  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

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Baltimore Activist Alert – November 29 – December 2, 2021

Baltimore Activist Alert – November 29 – December 2, 2021

"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 www.baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com

If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to Max Obuszewski, BNC, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net.

1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation

3] Get involved with NCNR   

4] Volunteer with a Catholic Worker house  

5] Max is looking for tips on a garage or a storage suggestion.

6] Welcome an Afghan Family to Baltimore!

7] Support Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

8] A friend needs a house or an apartment to rent

9] See the film FALSE ALARM – through Nov. 30

10] Protest at the Pentagon – Nov. 29

11] Make calls for the Freedom to Vote Act.  – Nov. 29 – 30

12] Emergency Election Protection Coalition -- Nov. 29

13] Stop $650 million in Raytheon Missiles to Saudi Arabia – Nov. 29

14] Slavery by Another Name – Nov. 29

15] Oxford Union Debate on Human Security -- Nov. 30

16] "Inflation Truths: Why Build Back Better Will Help, Not Hurt" -- Nov. 30

17] Say No to weapons research at JHU – Nov. 30

18] Phone Bank for Brooke Lierman – Nov. 30 & Dec. 2

19] Conversation with local journalists -- Nov. 30

20] Read and discuss Mansoor Adayfi's new Gitmo memoir – Nov. 30

21] Maccabees vs the Torah of Nonviolence – Nov. 30


1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

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

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 U.S. wars.

  To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

4] - Suzanne Fontanesi and Jeff Ross are in the beginning stages of renovating the basement of their house for purposes of bringing in a volunteer (targeting young adults in discernment mode), starting next fall. They are trying to grow a Catholic Worker House in Irvington (West Baltimore). In a nutshell, there is a lot that a volunteer could do in that neighborhood/Baltimore, in addition to prayer and daily community living and in addition to plugging into all the good work that people are already doing in and around Baltimore (and beyond).  If you think you might know of anyone who might be interested in starting a conversation with them about becoming such a volunteer/community member, please contact Jeff/Suzanne at 443-690-6872.

5] – Max is in need of a garage or a storage space.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

6] – St. Matthew, Blessed Sacrament, and the IOSC are partnering to welcome an Afghan Family to Baltimore! Are you interested in serving our new immigrant family? If you are interested, you will be trained in how you may serve, you will be guided and scheduled at your convenience by the Lead volunteer coordinator, you may also make donations through the IOSC to assist the family in the transition process in order to: Purchase food & Purchase clothes for winter and other necessities. Contact the IOSC at info@IOSCbaltimore.org, call the office at 410-323-8564 and leave a message for Nathalie.

7] – There is a Call to Action to support Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale. He was transferred to horrific prison:  abuse, silencing and continued punishment for being a truth-teller. Please write letters and organize something in your community. See what JOHN KIRIAKOU has written about this travesty: Drone Whistleblower Thrown in Pen with Terrorists -- https://consortiumnews.com/2021/10/19/john-kiriakou-drone-whistleblower-thrown-in-pen-with-terrorists/. The Daniel Hale Support Team @TeamDanielHale indicated he was placed in the Communications Management Unit at Marion, IL. Please send him letters: Daniel Everette Hale, 26069-075, USP Marion, U.S. Penitentiary, P.O. Box 1000, Marion, IL  62959.

8] – A friend, Brendan Walls, has to move out of a rented home on March 1.  So he is looking for housing and wants to live south of the Baltimore beltway, east of US 95 and north of Route 214.  Do you know of a house or apartment in the Annapolis area with as much peace and quiet as I can get for no more than $1800 a month? He does not mind pet sitting, house sitting, keeping someone company or community living.  Let me know if you have a lead on a home or apartment for Brendan to rent.  Thanks for giving this your consideration.

9] – Nick Lyell <njlyell@gmail.com> will released his new documentary, False Alarm on Mon., Nov. 1 for one month only. The focus of the documentary is the 2018 false alarm that people in Hawai'i received about an imminent nuclear attack, and it explores both what that experience was like and the larger system that makes things like that possible.  See it on Vimeo On-Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/falsealarm. The film chronicles the surreal, traumatic, and revelatory fallout from the morning when everyone on Hawai'i thought a nuclear missile was imminent.

10] – 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 Nov. 29 and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email artlaffin@hotmail.com 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.  

11] – Join the Freedom to Vote Act Phonebank with Common Cause on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Work together to demand bold changes to our alleged democracy to create a government that represents all of us, not big corporations or special interests. Call voters in targeted states and connect them to their Senators to support the Freedom to Vote Act and eliminate the filibuster. These phone banks are subject to change based on variables outside of our control (i.e. a Senator's mailbox is full). On Mon., Nov. 29 from 4 to 6 PM and 6 to 8 PM and 6 to 8 PM EST connect AZ voters to Sen. Kelly to ask that they do everything possible to pass the Freedom to Vote Act including fixing the filibuster. On Tues., Nov. 30 from 4 to 6 PM ET, connect AZ voters to Sen. Sinema to ask that they do everything possible to pass the Freedom to Vote Act including fixing the filibuster.  Register at https://www.mobilize.us/dfadcoalition/event/376178/?followup_modal_context=newsletter.

12] – The Emergency Election Protection Coalition is hosting a symposium: Defending Democracy and Voting Rights on Mon., Nov. 29 at 5 PM ET with the Honorable Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, Andrea Miller, Executive Director, Center for Common Ground, and Raymond McClendon, Political Action Chair, Atlanta NAACP. Register for the Zoom meeting in advance: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYldumtrjIiH9L7_KfcFV1n8ynuO3anTGwp. Please submit any questions to: Solartopia@gmail.com. Progressive Democrats of America are part of the coalition.

13] – Block the Sale! Stop $650 million in Raytheon Missiles to Saudi Arabia. Joe Biden pledged to stop U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Now he's selling them missiles and missile launchers made by Raytheon Technologies.  Congress has a chance to block these sales. As early as Tuesday, November 30th every US Senator will vote on whether they support or oppose this weapons deal. Join in on Mon., Nov. 29 at 7 PM ET to hear from policy experts, journalists, and an expert eyewitness reporting back on the conditions in Yemen.

 The Biden Administration's approval of $650 million worth of Raytheon air-to-air missiles is a betrayal of President Biden's promise to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia during its war on Yemen. The war and blockade have created manmade famine and disease, the world's worst humanitarian crisis according to the U.N.  While the State Department and the Pentagon are classifying these weapons as "defensive" in nature, the difference between offensive and defensive weapons depends on how you use them. These missiles have very clear offensive uses. The blockade of Yemen isn't just by sea, it's an air blockade as well. These missiles can be used to shoot down aircraft flying into Yemen, including planes carrying food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid.  Do you sell pariahs missile launchers?  Prominent Democratic Senators are buying into this false narrative from the White House. It's time to find Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sdumqqT4uHdUItUjStvWVxSPit46Io2tc?emci=a87b88cc-8950-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&emdi=84a79800-9c50-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&ceid=269591.

14] – Maryland Public Television (MPT) <outreach@mpt.org> is doing Standing against Racism - Programming in November. On Mon., Nov. 29 at 9 PM ET, watch Slavery by Another Name, a Sundance Film Festival selection for 2012. This documentary is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon, and explores the little-known story of the post-Emancipation era and the labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South that persisted well into the 20th century. 

To engage in a deeper conversation, please contact us at standingagainstracism@mpt.org.

15] –UNFOLD ZERO [info@unfoldzero.org] wants you to know on Tues., Nov. 30 at noon ET there will be an Oxford Union Debate on Human Security. Humanity faces critical challenges for which national responses are too narrow. New levels of cooperation are required for success. Every person is impacted by issues relating to the climate, biodiversity, nuclear weapons, the health of the oceans, equitable sustainable development, wildlife trafficking and pandemics, for example. Dr. Jane Goodall DBE– ethologist and conservationist - is one of the world's most influential scientists and inspiring humanitarians, known for her groundbreaking research into wild chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace.  Jonathan Granoff is President of the Global Security Institute and Representative to the United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates. He serves as Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, and received their 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.  They will debate about a feasible and necessary alternative to security based on the threat or use of force and in particular the morally indefensible nuclear weapons.  Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tGmbqu1dRQuTlvPEeEDYHg.  This webinar is for users with a Zoom account. New to Zoom? Sign up free at https://us02web.zoom.us/signup.

16] – Nicolai Haddal, Coalition on Human Needs [info@chn.org] is telling us about a Webinar: "Inflation Truths: Why Build Back Better Will Help, Not Hurt" on Tues., Nov. 23 at 2 PM ET.  Rising prices on food and essential goods affect everyone, but they have a disproportionately high impact on people with low incomes. With recent inflation higher than it’s been in decades, some have pointed the finger at government spending and worry President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda will contribute to further price increases. But the facts tell a different story. Join the Coalition on Human Needs for a webinar that explains the inflationary moment we are in now: its causes, solutions, and government actions to alleviate current hardships. Hear from Jared Bernstein, an economist for President Biden who is serving on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Josh Bivens, Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute, and Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative. You'll learn how we can address concerns over inflation as we continue the push for truly transformational investments in health care, housing, child care, protecting against climate change, and much more. RSVP at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7ZBXD2moQieEPxuR7nO-xw?link_id=1&can_id=4b9d4061aec5469758759317ac0f5285&source=email-chn-webinar-inflation-and-build-back-better-the-straight-story&email_referrer=email_1365956&email_subject=chn-webinar-inflation-and-build-back-better-the-straight-story.

17] – Join us in challenging Johns Hopkins University -- Say No to Weapons Contracts at 33rd and N. Charles Sts. on Tues., Nov. 30 from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607.  You may consider contacting President Ron Daniels and telling him that the university should reject all military contracts, including those for killer drone and nuclear weapons research.  The president’s mailing address is Office of the President, 242 Garland Hall, The Johns Hopkins University, and 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Maryland 21218.  You can also reach his office by Phone: (410) 516-8068, Fax: (410) 516-6097 or email: president@jhu.edu.

18] – Phone Bank for Brooke Lierman by canvassing the community and share Brooke's vision to transform the Comptroller's office to work for every Marylander. Once you sign up the team will follow up with everything you will need to phone bank! Phone bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 PM ET. Participate on November 30 and December 2 by signing in at https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/397560/.

19] – The University of Maryland, Baltimore County will host a conversation with local journalists on Tues., Nov. 30 from 6:30 to 8 PM ET at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, 1225 Cathedral Street, Baltimore.  As local news continues to undergo a crisis, newsrooms throughout the U.S. are working on ways to reimagine local media.  Discuss how local media outlets can reimagine journalism and work with scholars to provide information to the public.  Two Baltimore-based journalists, Lisa Snowden and J. Brian Charles, will participate, along with two journalists based in Detroit and Chicago. Snowden is an independent journalist in Baltimore and the founder of the Baltimore Beat. J. Brian Charles is a Baltimore-based reporter for The Trace, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to reporting on gun violence in the U.S. He has recently written about the defund the police movement in Baltimore and the city’s recent investment in the Department of Recreation and Parks. The conversation will also include Sarah Alvarez, founder of Detroit-based Outlier Media, and Andrew Herrera, director of network growth at City Bureau, a Chicago-based journalism lab. RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scholarly-reportage-and-the-end-of-extraction-tickets-207886954477.

20] – Join Witness Against Torture to read and discuss Mansoor Adayfi's new memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo.   This is happening at 7 PM ET on Tuesdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 14 and 28 and Jan. 4. Order the book from your library, independent bookstore or online. It was published by Hachette Books for $15.99; hardcover, EBook and audio. Sign up by emailing witnesstorture@gmail.com with the subject line "Mansoor Book Group." 

21] – Get with Rewriting Hanooka: Maccabees vs the Torah of Nonviolence WEBINAR on Tues., Nov. 30 from 8 to 9 PM ET.  On this third night of Hanukkah, join Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb for an interactive conversation that envisions Hanooka beyond Zionism and gendered violence. Unpack Zionist and rabbinic uses of the Festival of Lights. Narratives matter. Narratives determine how communities self-define: are we porous or exclusionary? Do we invest in stories that glorify militarism or nonviolence as a force more powerful? 

Lynn Gottlieb is “a visionary” rabbi, human rights advocate, master storyteller, educator, and visual artist. Next year will be her rabbinic Jubilee year! She is on the rabbinic council of Jewish Voice for Peace, board chair of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, organizing team member of Grassroots Reparations Campaign, and founder and director of BackYard Mishkan. She is very funny. Find out Rabbi Lynn's radical spin on Hanooka (her spelling!)  Register at https://act.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/a/rewriting-hanooka?emci=0faf84bb-8550-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&emdi=ded030d2-8b50-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&ceid=237778.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  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


Monday, November 22, 2021

To Govern the Globe: Washington’s World Order and Catastrophic Climate Change


  The US Empire is in decline.  But our politicians with blinders on continue to just whistle as they go through the graveyard,  McCoy points out our government has been wasting trillions of tax dollars on warmongering, while China has focused on development projects in Asia and Africa. This is a recipe for a US collapse. Kagiso, Max

- CounterPunch.org - https://www.counterpunch.org To Govern the Globe: Washington’s World Order and Catastrophic Climate Change


By Alfred W. McCoy on Nov. 19, 2021

When the leaders of more than 100 nations gathered in Glasgow for the U.N. climate conference last week, there was much discussion about the disastrous effect of climate change on the global environment. There was, however, little awareness of its likely political impact on the current world order that made such an international gathering possible.

World orders are deeply rooted global systems that structure relations among nations and the conditions of life for their peoples. For the past 600 years, as I’ve argued in my new book To Govern the Globe, it’s taken catastrophic events like war or plague to overturn such entrenched ways of life. But within a decade, climate change will already be wreaking a kind of cumulative devastation likely to surpass previous catastrophes, creating the perfect conditions for the eclipse of Washington’s liberal world order and the rise of Beijing’s decidedly illiberal one. In this sweeping imperial transition, global warming will undoubtedly be the catalyst for a witch’s brew of change guaranteed to erode both America’s world system and its once unchallenged hegemony (along with the military force that’s been behind it all these years).

By charting the course of climate change, it’s possible to draw a political road map for the rest of this tempestuous century — from the end of American global hegemony around 2030, through Beijing’s brief role as world leader (until perhaps 2050), all the way to this century’s closing decades of unparalleled environmental crisis. Those decades, in turn, may yet produce a new kind of world order focused, however late, on mitigating a global disaster of almost unimaginable power.

The Bipartisan Nature of U.S. Decline

America’s decline started at home as a distinctly bipartisan affair. After all, Washington wasted two decades in an extravagant fashion fighting costly conflicts in distant lands, in part to secure the Middle East’s oil at a time when that fuel was already destined to join cordwood and coal in the dustbin of history (though not faintly soon enough). Beijing, in contrast, used those same years to build industries that would make it the world’s workshop.

In 2001, in a major miscalculation, Washington admitted Beijing to the World Trade Organization, bizarrely confident that a compliant China would somehow join the world economy without challenging American global power. “Across the ideological spectrum, we in the U.S. foreign policy community,” wrote two former members of the Obama administration, “shared the underlying belief that U.S. power and hegemony could readily mold China to the United States’ liking… All sides of the policy debate erred.”

 A bit more bluntly, foreign policy expert John Mearsheimer recently concluded that “both Democratic and Republican administrations… promoted investment in China and welcomed the country into the global trading system, thinking it would become a peace-loving democracy and a responsible stakeholder in a U.S.-led international order.”

 In the 15 years since then, Beijing’s exports to the U.S. grew nearly fivefold to $462 billion annually. By 2014, its foreign currency reserves had surged from just $200 billion to an unprecedented $4 trillion — a vast hoard of cash it used to build a modern military and win allies across Eurasia and Africa. Meanwhile, Washington was wasting more than $8 trillion on profitless wars in the Greater Middle East and Africa in lieu of spending such funds domestically on infrastructure, innovation, or education — a time-tested formula for imperial decline.

 Then a Pentagon team assessing the war in Afghanistan interviewed Jeffrey Eggers, a former White House staffer and Navy SEAL veteran, he asked rhetorically: “What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth a trillion? After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.” (And keep in mind that the best estimate now is that the true cost to America of that lost war alone was $2.3 trillion.) Consider it an imperial lesson of the first order that the most extravagantly funded military on Earth has not won a war since the start of the twenty-first century.

 Donald Trump’s presidency brought a growing realization, at home and abroad, that Washington’s world leadership was ending far sooner than anyone had imagined. For four years, Trump attacked long-standing U.S. alliances, while making an obvious effort to dismiss or demolish the international organizations that had been the hallmark of Washington’s world system. To top that off, he denounced a fair American election as “fraudulent” and sparked a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, functionally making a mockery of America’s long history of promoting the idea of democracy to legitimate its global leadership (even as it overthrew unfriendly democratic governments in distant lands via covert interventions).

 In that riot’s aftermath, most of the Republican Party has embraced Trump’s demagoguery about electoral fraud as an article of faith. As it happens, no nation can exercise global leadership if one of its ruling parties descends into persistent irrationality, something Britain’s Conservative Party demonstrated all too clearly during that country’s imperial decline in the 1950s.

After his inauguration last January, Joe Biden proclaimed that “America is back” and promised to revive its version of liberal international leadership. Mindful of Trump’s battering of NATO (and that he, or someone like him, could take the White House in 2024), European leaders, however, continued to make plans for their own common defense without the U.S. “We aren’t in the old status quo,” commented one French diplomat, “where we can pretend that the Donald Trump presidency never existed and the world was the same as four years ago.” Add in Biden’s humiliating retreat from Afghanistan as Taliban guerrillas, wearing tennis sneakers and equipped with aging Soviet rifles, crushed an Afghan military armed with billions of dollars in U.S. gear, entering Kabul without a fight. After that dismal defeat, it was clear America’s decline had become a bipartisan affair.

 Global leadership lost is not readily recovered, particularly when a rival power is prepared to fill the void. As Washington’s strategic position weakens, China has been pressing to dominate Eurasia, home to 70% of the world’s population and productivity, and so build a new Beijing-centric global order. Should China’s relentless advance continue, there will be serious consequences for the world as we know it.

Of course, the current order is, to say the least, imperfect. While using its unprecedented power to promote a liberal international system based on human rights and inviolable sovereignty, Washington simultaneously violated those same principles all too often in pursuit of its national self-interest — a disconcerting duality between power and principle that has afflicted every global order since the sixteenth century.

As the first hegemon that didn’t participate in any way in the fitful, painful process of forging just such a liberal world order through six centuries of slavery, slaughter, and colonial conquest, China’s rise could ultimately threaten the current system’s better half — its core principles of universal human rights and secure state sovereignty.

The Coming of Climate Change

 Beyond Washington’s strategic failings, there was another far more fundamental force already at work eroding its global power. After seven decades of the profligate kind of fossil-fuel consumption that became synonymous with the U.S. world system, climate change is now profoundly disrupting the whole human community.

As of 2019, following years of bipartisan evasions and compromises (along with partisan Republican denials of the very reality of climate change), the U.S. still reliedon fossil fuels for 80% of its total energy; renewables, only 20%. The situation was even worse in China, which depended on fossil fuels for 86% of its power and renewable sources for only about 14%. As energy expert Vaclav Smil explained, the underlying global problem was 150 years of embedded inertia that made the “production, delivery, and consumption of fossil fuels… the world’s most extensive, and the most expensive, web of energy-intensive infrastructures.”

 If there is ever to be a true transition beyond fossil fuels, the world’s two largest economies will have to play a determinative role in it. In the meantime, the picture is anything but cheery.  Global carbon dioxide emissions rose by a staggering 50% from 22.2 gigatons in 1997 to a peak of 33.3 gigatons in 2019 and, despite a brief drop at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, are still rising. Significantly, China accounted for 30% of the world’s total in that year, and the U.S. nearly 14% — for a combined 44% share of all global greenhouse gasses.

At the 2019 Madrid climate conference, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned that, if current emissions continue, global warming will reach as high as 3.9° Celsius by century’s end, with “catastrophic” consequences for all life on the planet. And at Glasgow two weeks ago, he renewed this warning, saying: “We are digging our own graves… Sea-level rise is double the rate it was 30 years ago. Oceans are hotter than ever — and getting warmer faster. Parts of the Amazon rainforest now emit more carbon than they absorb… We are still careening towards climate catastrophe.”

In the 600 years since the age of exploration first brought the continents into close contact, 90 empires have come and gone. But there have been just three new world orders, each of which survived until it suffered some version of cataclysmic mass death. After the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, wiped out an estimated 60% of medieval Europe’s population, the Portuguese and then Spanish empires expanded to form the first of those world orders, which continued for three centuries until 1805.

The devastation of the Napoleonic wars then launched the succeeding British imperial system, which survived a full century until 1914. Similarly, Washington’s hegemony, along with its current world order, arose from the devastating destruction of World War II. Now, climate change is unleashing cataclysmic environmental changes that could soon enough overshadow such past catastrophes, while damaging or destroying the global order that has pervaded the planet for the past 70 years.

As wildfires worsen, ocean storms intensify, megadroughts spread, flooding increases drastically, and the seas rise precipitously, many millions of the world’s poor will be uprooted from their precarious perches along seashores, flood plains, and desert fringes. Recall for a moment that the arrival between 2016 and 2018 of just two million refugees at the borders of the United States and the European Union unleashed a surge of populist demagoguery, which led to Britain’s Brexit, Europe’s increasing ultranationalism, and Donald Trump’s election. Now, try to imagine what kind of a world of political upheaval lies in a future in which climate change generates anywhere from 200 million to 1.2 billion refugees by mid-century.

As at least a million refugees start to crowd America’s southern border every year, while storms, fires, and floods batter coasts and countryside, the U.S. is almost certain to retreat from the world to cope with growing domestic crises. Include in that the inability of its two political parties to agree on just about anything (other than spending yet more money on the Pentagon). Similar and simultaneous pressures worldwide will certainly cripple the international cooperation that has long been at the core of Washington’s world order.

 China’s Short Reign as Global Hegemon

So, when might shifting geopolitics and climate cataclysm converge to fully cripple Washington’s current world order? Beijing plans to complete the technological transformation of its own economy and much of its massive trans-Eurasian infrastructure, the Belt and Road Project, by 2027. That projected date complements a prediction by the U.S. National Intelligence Council that “China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030.”

By then, according to projections from the accounting firm PwC, China’s gross domestic product will have grown to $38 trillion — more than 50% larger than a projected $24 trillion for the American one. Similarly, China’s military, already the world’s second largest, should by then be dominant in Asia. Already, as the New York Times reported in 2019, “in 18 of the last 18 Pentagon war games involving China in the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. lost.” As China pushes its maritime frontier farther into the Pacific, Washington may well be faced with a difficult choice — either abandon its old ally Taiwan or fight a war it could well lose.

Weighing Beijing’s global future, it seems safe to assume that, minimally, China will gain enough strength to weaken Washington’s global grip and is likely to become the preeminent world power around 2030. Count on one thing, though: the accelerating pace of climate change will almost certainly curtail China’s hegemony within two or three decades.

As early as 2017, scientists at the nonprofit Climate Central reported that, by 2060 or 2070, rising seas and storm surges could flood areas inhabited by 275 million people worldwide and, suggests corroborating research, Shanghai is “the most vulnerable major city in the world to serious flooding.” According to that group’s scientists, 17.5 million people are likely to be displaced there as most of the city “could eventually be submerged in water, including much of the downtown area.”

Advancing the date of this disaster by at least a decade, a report in the journal Nature Communications found that 150 million people worldwide are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by 2050 and that rising waters will “threaten to consume the heart” of Shanghai by then, crippling one of China’s main economic engines. Dredged from sea and swamp in the fifteenth century, much of that city is likely to return to the waters from whence it came, possibly as early as three decades from now.

Meanwhile, increasing temperatures are expected to devastate the North China Plain, a prime agricultural region between Beijing and Shanghai currently inhabited by 400 million people. “This spot is going to be the hottest spot for deadly heat waves in the future,” according to Professor Elfatih Eltahir, a specialist on hydrology and climate at MIT. Between 2070 and 2100, he estimates, the region could face hundreds of periods of “extreme danger” when a combination of heat and humidity will reach a “wet bulb temperature” (WBT) of 31° Celsius, and perhaps five lethal periods of 35° WBT — where a combination of heat and high humidity prevents the evaporation of the very sweat that cools the human body. After just six hours living in such a wet bulb temperature of 35° Celsius, a healthy person at rest will die.

If the “Chinese century” does indeed start around 2030, barring remarkable advances in the reduction of the use of fossil fuels on this planet, it’s likely to end sometime around 2050 when its main financial center is flooded out and its agricultural heartland begins to swelter in insufferable heat.

A New World Order?

Given that Washington’s world system and Beijing’s emerging alternative show every sign of failing to limit carbon emissions in significant enough ways, by mid-century the international community will likely need a new form of global governance to contain the damage.

After 2050, the world community will quite possibly face a growing contradiction, even a head-on collision, between the foundational principles of the current global order: national sovereignty and human rights. As long as nations have the sovereign right to seal their borders, the world will have no way of protecting the human rights of the hundreds of millions of future climate-change refugees.

By then, facing a spectacle of mass global suffering now almost unimaginable, the community of nations might well agree on the need for a new form of global governance. Such a supranational body or bodies would need sovereign authority over three critical areas — emissions controls, refugee resettlement, and environmental reconstruction. If the transition to renewable energy sources is still not complete by 2050, then this international body might well compel nations to curb emissions and adopt renewable energy. Whether under the auspices of the U.N. or a successor organization, a high commissioner for global refugees would need the authority to supersede state sovereignty in order to require nations to help resettle such tidal flows of humanity. The future equivalents of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank could transfer resources from wealthy temperate countries to feed tropical communities decimated by climate change.

Massive programs like these would change the very idea of what constitutes a world order from the diffuse, almost amorphous ethos of the past six centuries into a concrete form of global governance. At present, no one can predict whether such reforms will come soon enough to slow climate change or arrive too late to do anything but manage the escalating damage of uncontrollable feedback loops.

One thing is becoming quite clear, however. The environmental destruction in our future will be so profound that anything less than the emergence of a new form of global governance — one capable of protecting the planet and the human rights of all its inhabitants — will mean that wars over water, land, and people are likely to erupt across the planet amid climate chaos. Absent some truly fundamental change in our global governance and in energy use, by mid-century humanity will begin to face disasters of an almost unimaginable kind that will make imperial orders of any sort something for the history books.

This essay was distributed by TomDispatch.

Article printed from CounterPunch.org: https://www.counterpunch.org

URL to article: https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/11/19/to-govern-the-globe-washingtons-world-order-and-catastrophic-climate-change/

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  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