Moms Clean Air Force Goes to D.C.

Climate Moms Clean Air Force

Saving Water

Water ConservationA good page at SFWater.ORG with some ideas about water saving.  Clearly, home use of water is a small part of the problem.  Psychologically, however, doing everything we small users can do helps organize the necessary pressure against the big wasters.


Rice’s Role in Iraq Invasion Returns to Bite Her

Donald Sterling utters racial comments to his girlfriend and is shamed and punished.  Why is it that those whose actions are far more heinous — Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger– are feted and lionized?

Not so much at Rutgers, where students took to the halls to protest an invitation and $35,000 fee to Condoleezza Rice for a graduation speech, forcing her to withdraw.

Students sit in @ President Barchis office to protest invitation to Rice

Students sit in @ President Barchis office to protest invitation to Rice

Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state and adviser to President George W. Bush, has withdrawn her decision to deliver the commencement address at Rutgers University on May 18 because of protests from students and teaching staff objecting to her role in the Iraq War.

“No honors for war criminals,” “War criminals out” and “RU 4 Humanity?”

After the protests began, university officials declined to withdraw the invitation to Rice, who is now a professor of political science at Stanford University. Rutgers officials had defended the decision to invite Rice and pay her a $35,000 speaking fee, saying the university is a place of debate. WaPo

More and More and

Racism and homophobia have been rolled back significantly in recent years.  War mongering, not so much.  Let the education go on….

Goldman Environmental Prize Winners 2014

What a great bunch of people!  Doing what needs to be done.

Goldman Prize 2104


Thailand “Shallow News in Depth” Tries to Lance the Boil of Conflict

Nice article by Thomas Fuller in Bangkok, in the NY Times, about a new YouTube distributed show in the Jon Stewart Daily Show style, taking on the ironies and dangers of Thailand’s current problems.

“If you take seriously everything happening in Thai society, you will go mad,” said Winyu Wongsurawat, the co-host of the show.

Irony is in plentiful supply in Thailand today: A billionaire tycoon is praised as the champion of the poor. A scandal-tainted politician leads a mass movement against corruption. Protesters declare that they need to block elections to save democracy.

Good for them — and we all hope oppositional forces can find a way to answers that don’t involve the suffering of thousands.


Fukushima Cattle as Enduring Testimony

Fukushima cattle farmer, Masami Yoshizawa, has come up with a seldom used means of protest, a reverse strike as it were. Instead if shutting something down he is keeping alive animals the government wants killed

“These cows are living testimony to the human folly here in Fukushima,” said Mr. Yoshizawa, 59, a gruff but eloquent man with a history of protest against his government. “The government wants to kill them because it wants to erase what happened here, and lure Japan back to its pre-accident nuclear status quo. I am not going to let them.”

Cambodians Get Oppositional

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators marched through Phnom Penh on Sunday in one of the biggest acts of defiance against the nearly three decades of rule by Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen.

The procession, which was peaceful and stretched for several miles through a commercial district of Phnom Penh, the capital, brought together protesters with a diverse list of grievances: Buddhist monks, garment workers, farmers and supporters of the main opposition party.


NY Times

Pitchfork Protests All Across Italy

Pitchfork Protests All Across Italy

Pitchfork Protests All Across Italy

“As anti-government protests gathered steam across Italy this week, galvanising diverse groups under the banner of the Pitchforks movement, one image above all shook the establishment: a phalanx of riot police holstering their truncheons and removing their helmets in a gesture of sympathy.

The episode in Turin, following clashes with a small number of extremists, was explained away by the authorities as being ordered from on high to defuse tension. No one believed them – not least because the policemen involved and Felice Romano, leader of the SIULP police union, declared that both sides had common cause in their anger at government-imposed austerity policies.”

Financial Times

Italy’s “pitchfork” protests spread to Rome on Thursday when hundreds of students clashed with police and threw firecrackers outside a university where government ministers were attending a conference.

Truckers, small businessmen, the unemployed, students and low-paid workers have staged four days of rallies in cities from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south in the name of the “pitchfork” movement, originally a loosely organized group of farmers from Sicily.


Citizens Demand — from Kiev to Singapore

When we look back on what the past five years has brought,  and which is perhaps only starting, we’ll see a marked turn in the course of human history — much as that of the late 18th century with the diminishmen and in some cases destruction of absolute monarchies.  What we are seeing now is the rise of popular resistance to entrenched political overl0ards, whether the military dictatorship in Egypt or the new, elected, leadership in the Ukraine.  The rise in the youth demographic, in symbiosis with new technologies which enable great individual knowledge and wider and easier sharing of ideas and calls to action means that youthful dreams have gotten leverage on the elders in power, and bent on protecting it.

The problem is, of course, that youth and enthusiasm are no guarantee of right results. One thing is certain, without long-term organizing and shared values, spontaneous movements will find charismatic leaders to give them direction — which can be in any direction, forward in dignity and mutual aid, backward in scapegoating, resentment and retribution.  No known way to make sure the Mandelas get the call.

KIEV, Ukraine —Public protests thundered into a full-throttle civil uprising in Ukraine on Sunday, as hundreds of thousands of protesters answered President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s dismissiveness with their biggest rally so far, demanding that he and his government resign.

At the height of the unrest on Sunday night, a seething crowd toppled and smashed a statue of Lenin, the most prominent monument to the Communist leader in Kiev. The act was heavy with symbolism, underscoring the protesters’ rage at Russia over its role in the events that first prompted the protests: Mr. Yanukovich’s abrupt refusal to sign sweeping political and free-trade agreements with the European Union.  NY Times

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, which was toppled by protesters during a rally organized by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Maks Levin

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Maks Levin


BANGKOK — A call for new elections by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand on Monday failed to quell antigovernment demonstrations, as tens of thousands of protesters massed outside her office and vowed to expel her powerful family from the country.

… Among the heaving mass of protesters on Monday were employees of the national carrier, Thai Airways; a large contingent of graduates from the country’s most prestigious universities; members of an ascetic Buddhist sect; ultra-royalists; and many people from southern Thailand, a stronghold of the opposition.

The problem is that the government is very popular in parts of the country,

Because of the deep affection that the governing party has in the north and northeast of the country, scholars say, it would be very difficult for the Democrat Party to reverse its two-decade losing streak in national elections.

In the last elections, held in July 2011, the governing party received 15.7 million votes, compared with 11.4 million for the Democrats.  NY Times


In Singapore — yes, Singapore!– the equation is somewhat different.  The unrest is not among the citizen, but the large numbers of foreign, exploited, workers.

SINGAPORE — A crowd set fire to vehicles and clashed with the police in the Indian district of Singapore late on Sunday, a rare outbreak of violence in the city-state.

According to various reports, the disturbance began after a private bus struck and killed a foreign worker in the Little India area….

Little India is usually crowded on Sundays, with construction workers from Bangladesh and India gathering on their day off.

The disturbance is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. Last year Singapore had its biggest outbreak of labor unrest in years when bus drivers from China went on strike illegally. NY Times

And in India, though not seen in street protests (yet) an earthquake shook up the governing Congress Party, which lost the majority in 4 states, to the ultra-nationalist BJP.  In Dehli, a brand new party, Aam Aadmi (Common Man,)  spun off from the widely reported anti-corruption campaign (India Against Corruption), picked up a good number of seats, 23 of 70, and just behind BJP which had 27.

“It is a substantial defeat for Congress,” the historian Ramachandra Guha said as results were announced on Sunday morning. “Congress itself may learn nothing; they firewall their senior leadership from criticism even internally. But what we are learning is that the charisma of the Gandhi family is basically more or less gone,” he said, referring to the family that has dominated Indian political life for decades.

The results, he added, represented the voice of “a much younger group of voters who do not remember the contributions or sacrifices, real or imagined, of Indira Gandhi, the martyrdom of Rajiv Gandhi.”  NY Times

The AAP is so knew no track record exists.  Those who ran on its slate, and its announced goals make it look very interesting.

Many of its candidates – some of whom defeated Congress and BJP heavyweights Sunday – were first-time politicians with a background in public service, journalism and teaching. In a country where a third of lawmakers have criminal cases pending against them, the AAP vowed party candidates wouldn’t be allowed to run for office if evidence of wrongdoing against them was presented to the party.  WSJ

Immigration Activists End Fast

Follow up on Eliseo Medina fast in Washington D.C. trying to get the Republicans to respond to the actual problems of America.

“Longtime labor leader, Eliseo Medina,  and two other advocates of an immigration overhaul ended their water-only fasts on Tuesday in a tent on the National Mall, the 22nd day of an effort to press the House to take up legislation on the issue.

Cristian Avila, 23, a student from Arizona, and Dae Joong Yoon, 43, the executive director of a Korean immigrant organization in Los Angeles, also ended their fasts. Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, a religious group, ended a three-week fast in which she had been drinking juice.

In a statement, the activists said they had “succeeded in raising awareness about families being ripped apart by deportation.” But they acknowledged that the protest had not produced any action in the House. They said Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio had not responded to invitations to meet with them.”

Immigration Medina

From Miriam Pawel at the SF Chronicle:

…the lessons of the farmworkers’ struggle illustrate the strategic importance of Medina’s fast.

Medina’s fast has forced the immigration debate back into the public discourse just as the issue was slipping out of sight. Over the past three weeks, political, labor and civic leaders have stopped by the tent where Medina fasts, a stone’s throw from the Capitol. On Friday, the president and Michelle Obama dropped in for a 40-minute chat.

The contrast between the sacrifice of the fasters and the intransigence of their adversaries generates outrage that helps build public support. When you sacrifice, Chavez often said, you inspire others to help