Some holidays are political. The 4th of July. Presidents' Day. Even Christmas, at least to hear Bill O'Reilly tell it. But Valentine's Day?
Well, for Barack Obama and John Kerry, Valentine's Day just got political. Because quite a few of these are headed their way:
Something big is happening. It may prove to be a game changer in the fight against climate change. A turning point. Something your grandchildren will read about in history books. And you have an opportunity to help lead it.
I'm talking about the nearly 66,000 people who have pledged to engage in civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from being built. That's the pipeline that would carry tar sands oil, some of the most carbon-intensive fuel on the planet, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. In the words of top climatologist James Hansen, if those tar sands are burned it will mean "game over" for the climate.
Those 66,000 people are ready to act to make sure this doesn't happen. Imagine regular people - grandmothers, office workers, homemakers - standing up together across the nation, peacefully but firmly, risking arrest to to save our future. This will be like nothing this country has ever seen. And it has the potential to change not only the mind of the President, but the national conversation on climate change.
This afternoon Governor Scott Walker gave his budget address, in which he presented his proposed budget for the next two years. This comes on the tail of the union-busting bill that has had hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites out in the streets and occupying the Capitol for the past two weeks.
Walker seems to like to pick a fight with the people of Wisconsin, but like many tyrants he goes to great lengths to pretend that the public is on his side. I thought folks might be interested in the reports I heard from the few members of the general public let into the chamber where the address was given.
Last night in Madison was amazing. The noon rallies protesting Scott Walker's union-busting bill have drawn the largest crowds each day, but the protests are going on 24/7. I wish everyone across the country could be here to see this.
If we need any more evidence that Governor Walker's "budget repair bill" isn't about fiscal responsibility at all, but really about busting Wisconsin's unions, here it is. It turns out that the "deficit" the bill is supposed to fix was created by... none other than Governor Scott Walker.
Wisconsin is in the middle of a massive popular uprising. Last Friday, our newly elected Tea-Party governor, Scott Walker, introduced a "budget repair bill" clearly aimed not at fixing our budget at all, but at eliminating public sector unions in Wisconsin.
This is a naked power grab designed to make the current right-wing control of our state government permanent. It's telling that the only unions exempted from the sweeping provisions are firefighters, police and state troopers - all of which endorsed Walker in the elections. In true dictator style, Governor Walker has threatened to call in the National Guard to suppress resistance if necessary.
This is an unprecedented assault on worker's rights, and the working people of Wisconsin are fighting back. I'm furious about what is happening, but also incredibly inspired by the passion and grit of the people all around me.
Absolutely unbelievable. In Wisconsin, our newly elected Tea Party governor is about to announce an unprecedented attack on public employees. No, it's not a vague "sometime in the future" kind of thing. The legislature is supposed to vote on it next week.
Lots of people seem to think that elections don't have consequences. That both parties are "the same". That the corruption that permeates our system (thank you Citizens United!) affects both parties equally.
Well, it doesn't. And the hundreds of thousands of union members in Wisconsin, at least, are about to learn that lesson the hard way.
Yesterday, in a victory for democracy, Rene Preval was declared the official winner of Haiti's presidential election.
This was despite the best efforts of the Bush Administration-backed Haitian elites. Preval is seen as the candidate of the poor, and was elected president once before under the banner of Lavalas, the party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Like our own dear Republicans this past November and in 2000, Preval's opponents fought hard to keep him out of office by disenfranchising the poor. They even used many of the same tricks: keeping polling locations out of poor districts, polls opening late, ballot shortages, an unusually high number of blank and spoiled ballots, twisting the rules surrounding vote counting to favor their candidates, and the outright destruction of votes.
Representative Maxine Waters speaks out today on these abuses.
The free and democratic nature of the internet is under attack
by big telecom companies who want to wring more profits out of it. Two days ago, the Senate held a hearing
on whether service providers should be allowed to restrict people's choice of internet content. Congress will be deciding how to treat this issue later this year in the course of telecom reform.
I don't usually post about the campaigns of individual nonprofits on this site, but I thought you might like to know about what one organization is doing to fight back, and how you can help. The organization, Common Cause, is one I respect and feel does good work.
Just last week the National Association of Evangelicals stated
that it would not take an official position against climate change. This was quite a disappointment for many of us who care about the future of our planet, because of the weight such a statement would carry. However, it seems that the internal debate was not settled after all - today over 80 evangelical leaders will break with the Association to take their own stand
Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."
Among signers of the statement, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, are the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges, leaders of aid groups and churches, like the Salvation Army, and pastors of megachurches, including Rick Warren, author of the best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."
Noam Chomsky hits the nail on the head, again. Various nails, in fact, all in the course of one interview. Though this has been posted on WorkingForChange
for a few weeks now, I just stumbled upon it and would like to share some of the choicest parts.
On the Dems:
Geov Parrish: Is George Bush in political trouble? And if so, why?
Noam Chomsky: George Bush would be in severe political trouble if there were an opposition political party in the country. Just about every day, they're shooting themselves in the foot. The striking fact about contemporary American politics is that the Democrats are making almost no gain from this. The only gain that they're getting is that the Republicans are losing support. Now, again, an opposition party would be making hay, but the Democrats are so close in policy to the Republicans that they can't do anything about it. When they try to say something about Iraq, George Bush turns back to them, or Karl Rove turns back to them, and says, "How can you criticize it? You all voted for it." And, yeah, they're basically correct.