22] PG County Climate Action Plan -- Dec. 1
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Monday, November 29, 2021
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
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.
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
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.
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
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/
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
"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
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!
Monday, November 22, 2021
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Article printed from CounterPunch.org: https://www.counterpunch.org
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