Climate crisis mural
Climate Crisis

The U.S. Military Is Driving Environmental Collapse Across the Planet

By Sam Carliner, CODEPINK

While capitalists are doing their part to fuel global disaster, the Pentagon, one of the bastions of the imperialist state, deserves a notable mention for its role in the climate crisis. The U.S. military — with its 800 foreign bases planted around the globe to enforce the will of the U.S. empire — is a bigger polluter than 100 countries combined.

Read More

Line 3 protest with Stop Sign placard in foreground
Stop Line 3

Nearly 70 People Arrested for Resisting Line 3 Outside MN Governor's Mansion

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Environmental justice campaigners expressed solidarity over the weekend with nearly 70 people who were arrested Saturday by Minnesota law enforcement as they assembled outside Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s home, demanding the governor take action to stop the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Protesters were loaded into buses after police threatened dozens with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) for peacefully protesting the pipeline, which violates the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people as well as threatening water safety in northern Minnesota.

Read More

Treaties Not Tar Sands
Photo: Treaties Not Tar Sands

Stop Line 3: Water Protectors to Gather at MN State Capital, Aug. 25

By Olivia DiNucci

Enbridge is racing to complete Line 3, and aims to finish construction and have oil flowing by the end of the year. By allowing Enbridge to build Line 3, our state leaders and agencies are violating treaties, preventing Anishinaabe communities from exercising their rights to hunt, fish and engage in cultural practices. They are ignoring the fact that Line 3 would release 50 coal power plants’ worth of greenhouse gases, even as the newest IPCC report shows time is running out to stop the worst effects of climate change.

From Monday, August 23 through Thursday, August 26, Indigenous water protectors and allies will hold space at the Minnesota State Capitol — with a big gathering (all welcome!) on Wednesday the 25th to welcome the Treaty People Walk for Water as they reach the end of their 256 mile journey from the Mississippi Headwaters. Some may choose to hold space at the capitol starting the night of the 25th and beyond — for as long as it takes for elected leaders to hear our call and finally #StopLine3.

Sign up for the MN action and solidarity actions: https://www.treatiesnottarsands.com/

Read More

Haiti after earthquake

Haiti's Earthquakes Require a Haitian Solution

By K. Jessica Hsu, Mark Schuller, Common Dreams

Haiti is making headline news again, which seems to happen only during periods of crisis, a scandal, a disaster, or violence. These narratives dominate the imaginations of most people outside of Haiti. Since 2010, for many, Haiti has been synonymous with “earthquake.” As for people in Haiti, they need not be reminded of January 12 –and the international aid response, as the country is still scarred by the humanitarian aftershocks, what Raoul Peck called “Fatal Assistance.” Haiti is a graveyard of failed NGO projects scattered across the land, tattered signs like tombstones. Perhaps no better a symbol of the crumbling of Haitian sovereignty is the national palace, still unbuilt.

Read More

Vietnam War plane into Afghanistan

Anti-War Activists: End Endless Wars and the Military Industrial Complex

By Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

Amid the lightning collapse of Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government and the all-but-certain return of Taliban rule, anti-war activists on Monday stressed that diplomacy, not bombs or the military-industrial complex, is the only path to lasting peace.

The stunning but predictable Taliban reconquest of Afghanistan marks the end of the nearly 20-year U.S.-led war that cost the lives of more than 200,000 Afghans, displaced over five million more, and diverted at least $2 trillion in American taxpayer funds that progressive critics said could have been better spent on programs of domestic and international social uplift and well-being.

Read More

>> TAKE ACTION BELOW <<

Afghanistan Congressional Call Script


Instructions for call script (google doc)

Find your Senators and Representatives:


https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm

8/18 IMMEDIATE PRIORITY


Hello, My name is ____ and I live at _______ in ______. My number is _____.

I am calling to urge my representative to support the immediate evacuation of women, civil society activists, LGBTQ+, religious and ethnic minorities, and other vulnerable groups from Afghanistan.

The US must supply government-run evacuation flights for these vulnerable Afghans. US military aircraft evacuating US personnel left the tarmac at Kabul airport and Afghans clung to its wheels, desperate to leave the country, and fell to their deaths. The US must use its influence to keep the Kabul airport safe and operational for Afghans — including both evacuation and commercial flights.

The government should also set up a centralized crisis line to assist in the evacuations of US citizens, green card holders, and other vulnerable Afghans who ought to be evacuated.

We must also broaden visa eligibility and expedite processing for SIV, P1, and P2 visas. Particularly, expand the P2 program to include designation for Afghan nationals and their immediate family members who worked to further democratic ideals, with focus on women activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and persons dedicated to gender equality. The US must also leverage its diplomacy to ensure that third-party processing countries drop visa requirements for those fleeing Afghanistan. These requirements are difficult to meet in the best of times, let alone during a humanitarian disaster and political collapse of a country.

Further, the Department of Homeland Security must designate Afghans for Temporary Protected Status to prevent deportations or other returns to Afghanistan, which would be almost certain death sentences. USCIS must also expedite the adjudication of pending affirmative asylum cases of Afghan nationals.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the forceful resurgence of the Taliban is deplorable, and a disgrace upon the United States. After pursuing 20 years of failed policies that have engendered a humanitarian crisis, the absolute least the US can do is provide refuge to those seeking it. I implore you to act now. Thank you.


ADDITIONAL / ON-GOING DEMANDS


We continue to urge the Biden Administration to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable by using diplomacy to pressure the Taliban into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire. The only solution to Afghanistan’s crisis is peace. We are continuing our call on all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire.

Support H.R. 4736, the Improving Access for Afghan Refugees Act, and acts akin to the same including the Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act, Afghan Allies Protection Act, Save Our Afghan Allies Act, Hope for Afghan SIVs Act.

Dedicate additional funding to be made immediately available to the remaining NGOs, especially those focused on protecting Afghan women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities.


(RE)SOURCES


Updated, compiled list of resources
Mobilize 4 Change Congressional petition
Afghans For A Better Tomorrow urgent message (8/14)
Congressional letter and links to established emergency aid orgs working in Afghanistan
Pathways to migration to the US, UK, EU and Canada 
Afghanistan Relief Card (helpful for sharing on social profiles)
Resources on Afghanistan - for finding Afghan perspectives, donating, volunteering, and learning more  

Refugees welcome here in window

US Lawmakers and Human Rights Advocates Urge Open Doors for Afghan Refugees

By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

While the world watched with alarm Monday as multiple people were reportedly killed at Kabul’s international airport as U.S. Embassy personnel evacuated Afghanistan and the Taliban took over the capital city, progressive American lawmakers and human rights defenders continued to call for accepting Afghan refugees.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) urged putting people first no matter where they are born, starting with “opening our country to shelter refugees fleeing the consequences of our actions.”

Read More

Afghanistan Congressional Call Script


Instructions for call script (google doc)

Find your Senators and Representatives:


https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm

8/18 IMMEDIATE PRIORITY


Hello, My name is ____ and I live at _______ in ______. My number is _____.

I am calling to urge my representative to support the immediate evacuation of women, civil society activists, LGBTQ+, religious and ethnic minorities, and other vulnerable groups from Afghanistan.

The US must supply government-run evacuation flights for these vulnerable Afghans. US military aircraft evacuating US personnel left the tarmac at Kabul airport and Afghans clung to its wheels, desperate to leave the country, and fell to their deaths. The US must use its influence to keep the Kabul airport safe and operational for Afghans — including both evacuation and commercial flights.

The government should also set up a centralized crisis line to assist in the evacuations of US citizens, green card holders, and other vulnerable Afghans who ought to be evacuated.

We must also broaden visa eligibility and expedite processing for SIV, P1, and P2 visas. Particularly, expand the P2 program to include designation for Afghan nationals and their immediate family members who worked to further democratic ideals, with focus on women activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and persons dedicated to gender equality. The US must also leverage its diplomacy to ensure that third-party processing countries drop visa requirements for those fleeing Afghanistan. These requirements are difficult to meet in the best of times, let alone during a humanitarian disaster and political collapse of a country.

Further, the Department of Homeland Security must designate Afghans for Temporary Protected Status to prevent deportations or other returns to Afghanistan, which would be almost certain death sentences. USCIS must also expedite the adjudication of pending affirmative asylum cases of Afghan nationals.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the forceful resurgence of the Taliban is deplorable, and a disgrace upon the United States. After pursuing 20 years of failed policies that have engendered a humanitarian crisis, the absolute least the US can do is provide refuge to those seeking it. I implore you to act now. Thank you.


ADDITIONAL / ON-GOING DEMANDS


We continue to urge the Biden Administration to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable by using diplomacy to pressure the Taliban into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire. The only solution to Afghanistan’s crisis is peace. We are continuing our call on all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire.

Support H.R. 4736, the Improving Access for Afghan Refugees Act, and acts akin to the same including the Afghan Allies Protection Extension Act, Afghan Allies Protection Act, Save Our Afghan Allies Act, Hope for Afghan SIVs Act.

Dedicate additional funding to be made immediately available to the remaining NGOs, especially those focused on protecting Afghan women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities.


(RE)SOURCES


Updated, compiled list of resources
Mobilize 4 Change Congressional petition
Afghans For A Better Tomorrow urgent message (8/14)
Congressional letter and links to established emergency aid orgs working in Afghanistan
Pathways to migration to the US, UK, EU and Canada 
Afghanistan Relief Card (helpful for sharing on social profiles)
Resources on Afghanistan - for finding Afghan perspectives, donating, volunteering, and learning more  

protest sign that reads

US Founders Demonized Indigenous People While Coopting Their Political Practices

By George Yancy, Truthout

When spending your next $20 bill, take a good look at President Andrew Jackson’s face on the cover. Remember the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was authorized by President Andrew Jackson, and the resulting brutal Trail of Tears experienced by Indigenous peoples — and the structural and ideological terror that results from efforts to preserve white “purity,” white “civilization” and white “superiority.” Keep in mind that Jackson was an enslaver of Black people and engaged in genocidal practices against Indigenous peoples, which isn’t to reject the genocidal implications of Black enslavement.

Read More

An oil rig appears in the middle of the ocean offshore Alaska's coast

Pelosi Flips on Student Loan Cancellation, Urged from Billionaire Power Couple

By Ken Klippenstein and Ryan Grim, The Intercept 

The drive to persuade President Joe Biden to cancel student debt took a major hit last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned Congress with a surprise statement in opposition. The move may put her at odds with much of the public and the Democratic Party, but it aligns her with Democratic megadonors Steven and Mary Swig, the billionaire scions of the Bay Area’s oldest real estate dynasty who have deep ties to the California representative. Steven Swig has also long served as a treasurer for Pelosi in her fundraising efforts.

Read More

the sun in an orange sky

Knowing Humanity’s End is Near and Staying Sane

By David Swanson, RootsAction

I read Daniel Sherrell’s Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World sitting on the edge of what was left of the Shenandoah River after a summer of very little rain. Six inches is enough to canoe in but it’s less than that in many places. Fish are few and far between, yet humans are out there in canoes, dragging them over rocks, casting their lines, luring the last fish to their doom. I know the fish murders are not the problem, not at this scale. The problem is the power lines hanging low across the water, the 12-foot American Flag hung up on the shore, the massive actions of corrupt governments and industries — but also the cabin my family’s in and the car that drove us to it — not to mention the airplanes audible from great distances and tricking the mind into hoping for thunder.

Daniel Sherrell’s book refers only to “the Problem,” never using other words for it. We know what it is, even from the book’s title: “warmth.” The problem is in pretending that increasingly corrupt institutions will reverse themselves and try to lessen the damage of global heating, when massive fires and floods and storms and crop failures wash right over them. The problem is in the endless effort to imagine what’s happening into the future in order to pretend that in that future people will come to their senses.

Sherrell was born in 1990, when I was 20. By the time he was 20, he was well aware, and he wasn’t terribly interested in pretending. He was very interested in trying, and still is, in trying his best to change things. He was a key part of a campaign that moved the State of New York to commit to ending fossil fuel use in the future. But he didn’t imagine it was enough. He was, incidentally, up against the indifference to human death and destruction that is Governor Andrew Cuomo, now facing possible impeachment for outrageous behavior that — like everything else — just doesn’t measure up to the destruction of life on the planet, the criminal behavior of all of the Pruitts.

Sherrell refers to those most responsible for the collapse of the Earth’s climate as Pruitts, in honor of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Of course it isn’t true that Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know or didn’t know, or that he bears no responsibility, or that the State of New York doesn’t matter, or that there are too many people responsible for any of them to be responsible, but the accumulation of such thoughts is overwhelming and characteristic of the Problem.

Of course it’s also not true that there aren’t two problems. The risk of nuclear apocalypse has grown greater than ever before. It’s just not fashionable to mention it. But does fashion free us of responsibility for recognizing both of the two Problems? Within the singular problem of climate, it is my understanding that livestock is a significant contributor, although it is highly unfashionable to mention it. But does that free us to focus only on the oil, gas, and coal polluters as Sherrell does? Does it matter? If a few percent of people would focus on any aspect of any problem — as Sherrell has done — the problems would be solved. The problem is not whether every activist is aware of every avenue for activism. The problem is the greater than 99 percent who are inactive.

Much of that inactivity comes from mentally avoiding the existence of the problems. Even those focused heavily on dealing with a problem must, as Sherrell recounts, find ways not to think about it constantly, ways to act almost as if it isn’t there if only to stay sane enough to work on addressing it. Humans have had endless practice at pretending a problem isn’t there, of course — so much that we’re far too skilled at it. Ignoring individual future death is a constant daily exercise in the life of a human being, and ignoring ecocide is easily accommodated into that model.

Of course it goes beyond ignoring to pretending, pretending that death doesn’t end life or that ecosystems aren’t imploding or that people can move into outerspace or into some sort of computerized existence or into billionaires’ bunkers and survive. Sherrell opens his book with an account of the 2018 suicide of David Buckel who issued a warning about fossil fuels. Sherrell accuses himself and others of pathological adaptiveness to the problem, yet he is devastated by the ability of society to roll right along after Buckel’s suicide because it removes the possibility of Sherrell usefully killing himself for the cause. If you cannot kill yourself for the cause, and you cannot successfully advance it through living, and you cannot of course — by the very nature of the thing — pass the task along through your family any more than you can pass down a healthy ecosystem, what can you do?

I suppose you could write a great book. That’s what Sherrell has done. In it he sometimes addresses his thoughts in the second person to his imaginary child, although he’s fairly firmly decided against having children. In the absence of a longed-for family that might keep him sane, Sherrell tries therapy and meditation, though they don’t seem to work as well as working. The most effective means of staying cheerful always seems to be actually working to address the cause of the grief or outrage (even with very little success), and yet people resist admitting to the existence of the Problems because they think that will abolish cheerfulness. I even think awareness of the Problems can make you appreciate nature all the more, despite and because of the tragedy of its loss.

Here’s something you can do: http://cop26.info


nancy pelosi, joe biden, and chuck schumer

Corporate Liberalism Is No Match for Trumpism

BY NORMAN SOLOMON, COMMON DREAMS

An affirmative program for progressive change—to substantially improve the economic and social conditions of people’s daily lives—will be essential for mobilizing voter turnout and preventing the Republican Party from seizing control of the federal government.

Jane Mayer’s article in The New Yorker last week, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,” starkly illuminates how forces aligned with Donald Trump have been upping the ante all year with hyperactive strategies that could enable Republican leaders to choke off democracy, ensuring that Trump or another GOP candidate captures the presidency in 2024. The piece runs close to 10,000 words, but the main takeaway could be summed up in just a few: Wake up! Core elements of U.S. democracy really could disappear soon.

Anti-democratic ducks are being lined up in Republican-run state legislatures to deliver the White House to the party nominee. Driven by Trumpian mindsets, it’s a scenario that could become a dystopian reality.

In early June, the New America organization issued a Statement of Concern, signed by 199 eminent “scholars of democracy” in the United States, warning that “Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.”

The statement included a sentence that flagged an ominous, even fascistic, cloud on the horizon: “Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes.”

New America, which calls itself “a think and action tank,” deserves praise for issuing the statement. Yet, overall, the organization typifies a political establishment that arguably does more to fuel Trumpism than hinder it.

The CEO of New America, Anne-Marie Slaughter, did her part to oil the Democratic Party’s machinery of neoliberalism as the State Department’s director of policy planning for the first two years of the Obama administration. Later, she wrote and spoke widely to call for U.S. warfare in Libya and in Syria. Like Hillary Clinton, who was her patron as secretary of state, Slaughter has been a prominent promoter of what is sometimes glibly labeled a “muscular” foreign policy.

Slaughter’s zeal for U.S. military intervention—boosting Pentagon budgets that enrich war contractors while shortchanging domestic social programs—fits neatly with an overall neoliberal model of reverence for maximizing corporate profits. It’s a sensibility that Slaughter presumably brought to her stint on the board of directors of the McDonald’s Corporation before getting to the State Department.

Members of New America’s board of directors, such as media foreign-policy darling Fareed Zakaria and ubiquitous pundit David Brooks, have long echoed pro-war conventional wisdom. But hawkishness from elites has worn thin for working-class communities in the wake of combat deaths, injuries and psychological traumas. Research indicates that Clinton’s militaristic persona helped Trump to defeat her in 2016, with “a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.” More than four years later, the liberal establishment’s support for endless war is unabated as the U.S. continues to routinely bomb several countries.

As for the ongoing class war at home, the current Democratic brand of mild liberalism still refuses to forthrightly answer a pivotal question: “Which side are you on?” The party’s usual answer, in effect, is “both sides”—or, more commonly, to pretend that class war isn’t really happening. (“Can’t we all just get along?”)

Certainly the Biden administration has taken some important steps—such as expansion of the child tax credit and regulatory moves against corporate monopolies—to reduce extremes of economic unfairness. And it’s true that Biden has turned to Keynesian public investment. But the structures of neoliberalism are still largely in place, and the inroads against it have been incremental. With a closely divided Congress and a very likely GOP takeover of the House in 17 months, the advances are temporary and precarious.

An affirmative program for progressive change—to substantially improve the economic and social conditions of people’s daily lives—will be essential for mobilizing voter turnout and preventing the Republican Party from seizing control of the federal government. GOP obstructionism on Capitol Hill is no excuse when Democratic leaders, as happens all too often, fail to clearly set imperative goals and go all-out to achieve them in tandem with grassroots movements. A prime example is Biden’s refusal to use his authority to cancel student loan debt.

Meanwhile, Trump and associates are raising plenty of cash. During the spring, some news reports claimed that Trump was losing his hold on devotees—a Washington Post headline in May flatly declared that “Trump is sliding toward online irrelevance”—but such wishful thinking has been eclipsed by recent information. Trump’s online fundraising brought in $56 million during the first half of this year, and his political committees report having $102 million in the bank. Those figures “underscore the profound reach of Trump’s fundraising power,” Politico reported as this month began. Trump is maintaining “a massive online donor network that he could lean on should he wage a 2024 comeback bid.”

A vital challenge for progressives is to not only block Republican agendas but also to effectively campaign for policy changes that go far beyond the talking points of current Democratic leaders offering to tinker with the status quo. Merely promising a kinder, gentler version of grim social realities just won’t be enough to counter the faux populism of a neofascist Republican Party.