WHAT CAN WE DO? | LET’S DO SOMETHING! | How can we Organize the Human Community?

Democracy is Dying and it's Startling, Few Worried, Paul Mason

Democracy is Dying and it’s Startling How Few are Worried Paul Mason

I have been in France just under a month. I found out not even two hours ago through a conversation on skype with my sister who lives in England and France, that during the time we were back in the United States of Apathy, that ICE (i hadn’t know what this was, i thought ICE was simply In Case of Emergency) However I learned from my sister today about the other version. (ICE) Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I hadn’t known what ICE meant, I had to google it. http://www.newsweek.com/immigration-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-ice-donald-trump-628896

ICE had come into the town of Lebanon, PA into a catholic church on a Sunday, and rounded up dozens of people, probably mostly men, of darker skin, and packed them into a van to take to another town to sit in jail, awaiting trial, perhaps a 1 or 2 year wait.

Newsweek, ICE raid, Risk, Deportation

Newsweek ICE raid Who Is At Risk Deportation.

While visiting the USA just a month ago, my sister befriended a guy from El Salvador who stayed in the motel room next to her. He’s been in the USA for 25 years, has a green card and has several kids and a wife in Virginia. Presently he’s been in central Pennsylvania working in construction to support his family. He was one of the people rounded up and loaded into this van. My sister attempted to stay with him, holding his hand, went into the van, and the police officer warned her with a tone of reproach that she better get the hell out of there if she knows what’s good for her.

The El Salvadoran gave my sister his phone and the number of his wife to call in VA. My sister said that his wife was screaming when she heard the news. Her life support money-earner for herself and her kids, disposed of.

War Zone Desperate and Dead Mondediplio

War Zone Desperate and Dead Mondediplio

I knew nothing of this. I was just reading headlines last night about 500 people in Turkey under questioning or worse, for attempting to overthrow a dictator. I know nothing of this Turkey official and hadn’t read the story yet.

500 in court, Turkey Coup Attempt 2016, CNN

Nearly 500 in court Turkey Coup Attempt 2016 CNN

Yet I thought to myself, can not the world step in and change this situation? That was before I knew what was happening in the neighboring town while I was sleeping on a Sunday morning. WTF.

 

 

What can we do? Sit back, crack open a beer and hang out with friends, watch a TV show, get ready to arrange the schedule of picking up the kids from their practice…..when before our eyes a military dictatorship fascist embarrassment of a President is enforcing this sweep of people across the country who have been living and working here, taking jobs that Americans haven’t wanted, and who were brought here to do the dirty jobs that help our system to run efficiently, are suddenly afraid to leave their homes to go to the grocery store?

Stop Swooning over Justin Trudeau, Climate Disaster, Bill McKibben

Stop Swooning over Justin Trudeau Climate Disaster Bill McKibben

McKibben writes for the Guardian, “Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So let’s do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.

That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.”

Out of Wreckage, A New Politics, Age of Crisis, George Monbiot

Out of the Wreckage A New Politics for an Age of Crisis George Monbiot

Monbiot writes, “A toxic ideology rules the world – of extreme competition and individualism. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. Only a positive vision can replace it, a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better world.”

What are we going to do?

Immigrants from Syria and other parts of the world, war/climate immigrants are escaping deplorable situations to come to the West, which has been living amply, to be treated with hostility and turned away with barbwire. Black market money to stuff people on rickety over-loaded boats, taking peoples’ life savings, to flee situations, only to find that the rest of the world is not helping to organize their safe transport.

This is very, very wrong. We can use the money from the enormous profits from banks, international corporations who make millions and billions in profit, to set up communities, and renewable energy enterprises to re-esatablish safe havens.

This is not right. We can’t read news and do nothing like it isn’t our problem. In some countries people are having 12 to 16 babies. A large part of the problem of GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE IS due to over-population. We are sucking up the soil, destroying habitats of other animals who have a right to life.

Humans need to be accountable.

We need to be accountable for what is happening ALL OVER THE WORLD.

We Are Humanity Film, Jarawa documentary

We Are Humanity Film Jarawa documentary

We need to intercept. I’m sorry, but we need to educate and infiltrate, not remain passive, saying it’s not my problem. Not my problem if some people are cruel to other humans or animals or their actions are knowingly or unknowingly destroying the habitat and polluting some creatures’ environment.

I don’t think any living being can just sit back and let all this happen without having a conscience and wanting to help.

I don’t know where to begin, except for expressing this. I think the world needs leaders who will actually step in and shut Trump and other dictators down. People can divest – take their money out of banks and institutions that support dirty energy and dirty politics. There are numerous ways that people working together could SHUT DOWN OPERATIONS AS THEY ARE through organized actions like; those working in public transportation or truck drivers to not work for a day, or three…We can all work together, educate one another, demand new structures and create them together, IMMEDIATELY.

There are plenty of people with the wisdom and insights and contacts to know how to lead and guide a worldwide REVOLUTION. Not a violent one, a movement with people stepping out of their routines and giving a little time and effort and action to make their voice heard. We can’t let more dictators destroy peoples lives. We can’t let peoples religious beliefs just allow people to pop out 13 babies and pretend that it’s okay. We live in one world, one with limited resources. I refuse to just take on business as usual, and pretend that it’s okay for Mr. Orangehead Chump to push his grey suits around and whimsical notions of what he thinks needs to happen. It’s time for the fucking world intelligence, artists, teachers, scientists and leaders to step in. I still have to read about what’s happening in Turkey, or Venezuela, because I can’t keep up with all of it, but it just IS NOT OKAY ANYMORE, to think that “It’s not here next to me in my community, so it’s not my problem.” IT IS ALL OF OUR PROBLEM. WE NEED LEADERS WHO CAN STEP IN AND INTERCEPT, AGENCIES TO EDUCATE, GUIDE.

I thank all of the environmental, social, ecological groups who serve as watch dogs and educate the rest of us, but somehow, i think something much more brilliant has to take place to begin lighting up the whole world to working together. If we are the people – in a Democracy – choosing our leaders, then we should have the military industrial complex working with us, not in militarized suits, against us.

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol Keiter the blogger on return hitch from Taos to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Carol Keiter the blogger on return hitch from Taos to Santa Fe, New Mexico

carol keiter blogger card

carol keiter blogger card

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Climate Change | Disruption the film | People’s Climate March nYc September 21st 2014

Climate Change is real.

Greenpeace

Together We Can Do So Much

Coming up on the 21st of September on the autumnal equinox, is the Climate March in New York City organized by a number of global environmental organizations; 350.org, Avaaz, GoFossilFree.org, MoveOn.org, Greenpeace.org

Peoples_Climate_March September 21st in nYc

Peoples_Climate_March September 21st in nYc

The U.S. government (NASA) National Aeronautics and Space Administration describe in detail on their website the indicators of climate change.

Climate Change Disruption

Climate Change Disruption
the film

Climate. Change. Disruption” is a film by Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott. They ask you to be a part of the largest climate march in history.

Our actions matter!

And here’s a pic of Carol Keiter, the blogger, beneath one of the creatures featured by the photographer Joel Sartore, who is capturing photos of all the species, in his series, the photo ark.

Joel Sartore, animal catalogue

Picture of primate, compliments of Joel Sartore’s photo catalogue of species and me, Carol Keiter the blogger

Two sides to the (TPP) Trans-Pacific Partnership | Diplomatic Outreach or Corporate Steal

On the 21st of January, in the Southwestern corner of Berlin, Germany, I attended a lecture at the American Academy, an organization created to augment cultural and intellectual relations between the United States and Germany.

The American Academy in Berlin, Germany

The American Academy in Berlin, Germany

It was founded in 1994 by the U.S. Diplomat and Ambassador to Germany at the time Richard C. Holbrook, to encourage a transatlantic dialogue between the U.S. and German corporate, political, academic and cultural communities. This particular talk featured the American diplomat Richard N. Haass, who is the current President of the Council on Foreign Relations for the United States. Haass was formerly Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush (Sr.).

Haass spoke to a cozy room of diplomats, academics, journalists and students. His talk specifically aligned to foreign policy, outlining some of the points of his recently published book “Foreign Policy Begins at Home”. He stressed that the United States has had an over-reach abroad and under-performance at home. Perhaps suffering, In his opinion, from ‘intervention fatigue’.

Besides emphasizing the need to put diplomacy over military, he also stressed that our current biggest challenge is to come up with a political and intellectual consensus. He mentioned that quality of education is the most important investment. A proponent of ‘investment partnerships’, he prefaced his discussion of global trade agreements by saying that the United States has had a growth of isolationism. He talked of the need to develop partnerships, saying that Asia is the fastest growing region with which the U.S. should specifically concern themselves. With this in mind, he spoke favorably of the TPP as an obvious strategic tool, essential for strengthening ties. The (TPP) Trans-Pacific Partnership is an extension of the 2005 (TPSEP) Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement. As of August 2013, the countries included are: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – listed in alphabetical order, not by measure of the implicit hierarchical power structure.

Pacific Rim Countries

His words ‘made perfect sense’ in light of his persuasive argument. Following his talk, the Executive Director of the American Academy, Dr. Gary Smith closed with the profound words that “Ideas Matter” and “Ideas Migrate”. It was the following day that I noticed that quite a different perception of the TPP had migrated into my inbox. 350.org, an environmental action movement, was on ‘high alert’, corresponding with the onset of the 2014 World Economic Forum, fortressed within the mountains of Davos, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum 2014 Davos

World Economic Forum 2014 Davos

Mentioning that though they don’t typically speak out about political affairs, 350.org nevertheless could not disregard the need to send out their timely message ‘the TPP is shaping up to be the worst kind of corporate power grab’ imaginable, with grim repercussions for the earth’s environment. Wikileaks had just leaked documents confirming that the United States TPP negotiating team is walking away from supporting strong environmental safeguards; protections from land use, logging and climate pollution. According to 350.org – an environmental organization and international grassroots movement founded by Bill McKibben aimed to reduce the CO2 emissions to 350 ppm – “the TPP would empower corporations to directly sue governments over laws and policies that they claim would reduce their profits. Legislation designed to address climate change, curb fossil fuel expansion and reduce air pollution, could all be subject to attack as a result of the TPP, cloaked as a free-trade agreement. In response, 350.org assembled an online activist form enabling people to contact their representatives, encouraging them not to support this highly secretive and expansive free-trade agreement between the United States and eleven Pacific Rim countries.

Davos, Switzerland location of 2014 World Economic Forum

Davos, Switzerland location of 2014 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum taking place in the secluded mountains of Switzerland, even drew criticism from one of their speakers, referring to the forum’s inherent elitist exclusivity. Kavita Ramdas, stating the ‘Tiny Elite’ Shouldn’t Run an Inequality Discussion’. It was the butt of jokes, by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “the Daily Show”; referring to ‘Mountain Few’ and the ‘Money Oscars’, since Davos is not only elusive (to get to physically) but also exclusive, fabulously expensive.

And an even more scathing and hard-hitting idea migrated into my inbox from the Tomdispatch blog. With respect to the corporate grab, read the Tomgram by Greg Grandin about the “Terror of our Age” and “The Two Faces of Empire”. This view pretty much 180 degrees, diametrically opposed from the U.S. diplomat’s words that first alerted my ears to the TPP.

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Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

DoTheMath | 350.org | Bill McKibben | Global Climate Crisis | Washington D.C. |

Just attended and participated in the final day of Bill McKibben’s DoTheMath tour in Washington D.C.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/dothemath-350-org-bill-mckibben-global-climate-crisis-washington-d-c/

link to Carol Keiter’s blog re: DoTheMath on digesthis”>

Deafening Silence on Climate issue in U.S. Presidential Debates

There was no mention of the ‘climate’ issue by the U.S. presidential candidates nor their moderators, nor the media, during the debates.

Links re: mainstream media and political candidates not speaking about the climate

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now has featured Bill McKibben – founder of 350.org – (on the ppm of carbon dioxide acceptable in the atmosphere) .Bill McKibben was one of the featured speakers on Democracy Now, regarding the lack of anyone’s mention of the climate.

McKibben is staging a new tour in November of 2012 to inform the public about the terrifying math corresponding with the climate crisis. http://math.350.org/

More recently, Amy Goodman has featured Noam Chomsky on her program, discussing what topics were glossed over on the presidential debates.

As well, a recent tomdispatch blog features Rebecca Solnit writing about climate and the fact that it was not discussed whatsoever in the presidential debates.

Rebecca Solnit mentions that basically both candidates are keeping their mouths shut “After all, we made it through four “debates” with 60 million or more viewers each, and not a single one of the four moderators asked a question about climate change, nor did a presidential or vice-presidential candidate let the phrase pass his lips or bring the subject up.” I presume that they’re whipped by the corporate powers that feature the U.S. Government and the media. “Hundreds of thousands of words on events in Benghazi, Libya, and just that one sarcastic sentence on climate change. Someday people will surely look back on this election season with a kind of nightmarish wonder at the fear and denial our leading politicians (who knew better) exhibited in the face of the power and financial clout

of the

energy industry

and its lobbyists.”

Too Potent to Pass | TomDispatch feat. Peter Van Buren: What They Won’t Talk About in the Foreign Policy Debates

I’ve only recently been exposed to Tom DisPatch; self described antidote to the Mainstream Media. It was a referral from the online Utne Reader, an alternative press magazine which I’ve valued as a source of information for years. Peter Van Buren’s style of delivery and content emphatically blows open the doors of perception. I felt compelled to re post his blog, in awe of his insights and frankly, because I believe we all need to be shaken out of our presumptions.

re-post:

Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell
Six Critical Foreign Policy Questions That Won’t Be Raised in the Presidential Debates
By Peter Van Buren

We had a debate club back in high school. Two teams would meet in the auditorium, and Mr. Garrity would tell us the topic, something 1970s-ish like “Resolved: Women Should Get Equal Pay for Equal Work” or “World Communism Will Be Defeated in Vietnam.” Each side would then try, through persuasion and the marshalling of facts, to clinch the argument. There’d be judges and a winner.

Today’s presidential debates are a long way from Mr. Garrity’s club. It seems that the first rule of the debate club now is: no disagreeing on what matters most. In fact, the two candidates rarely interact with each other at all, typically ditching whatever the question might be for some rehashed set of campaign talking points, all with the complicity of the celebrity media moderators preening about democracy in action. Waiting for another quip about Big Bird is about all the content we can expect.

But the joke is on us. Sadly, the two candidates are stand-ins for Washington in general, a “war” capital whose denizens work and argue, sometimes fiercely, from within a remarkably limited range of options. It was D.C. on autopilot last week for domestic issues; the next two presidential debates are to be in part or fully on foreign policy challenges (of which there are so many). When it comes to foreign — that is, military — policy, the gap between Barack and Mitt is slim to the point of nonexistent on many issues, however much they may badger each other on the subject. That old saw about those who fail to understand history repeating its mistakes applies a little too easily here: the last 11 years have added up to one disaster after another abroad, and without a smidgen of new thinking (guaranteed not to put in an appearance at any of the debates to come), we doom ourselves to more of the same.

So in honor of old Mr. Garrity, here are five critical questions that should be explored (even if all of us know that they won’t be) in the foreign policy-inclusive presidential debates scheduled for October 16th, and 22nd — with a sixth bonus question thrown in for good measure.

1. Is there an end game for the global war on terror?

The current president, elected on the promise of change, altered very little when it came to George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror (other than dropping the name). That jewel-in-the-crown of Bush-era offshore imprisonment, Guantanamo, still houses over 160 prisoners held without trial or hope or a plan for what to do with them. While the U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraq — mostly because our Iraqi “allies” flexed their muscles a bit and threw us out — the war in Afghanistan stumbles on. Drone strikes and other forms of conflict continue in the same places Bush tormented: Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan (and it’s clear that northern Mali is heading our way).

A huge national security state has been codified in a host of new or expanded intelligence agencies under the Homeland Security umbrella, and Washington seems able to come up with nothing more than a whack-a-mole strategy for ridding itself of the scourge of terror, an endless succession of killings of “al-Qaeda Number 3” guys. Counterterrorism tsar John Brennan, Obama’s drone-meister, has put it this way: “We’re not going to rest until al-Qaeda the organization is destroyed and is eliminated from areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa, and other areas.”

So, candidates, the question is: What’s the end game for all this? Even in the worst days of the Cold War, when it seemed impossible to imagine, there was still a goal: the “end” of the Soviet Union. Are we really consigned to the Global War on Terror, under whatever name or no name at all, as an infinite state of existence? Is it now as American as apple pie?

2. Do today’s foreign policy challenges mean that it’s time to retire the Constitution?

A domestic policy crossover question here. Prior to September 11, 2001, it was generally assumed that our amazing Constitution could be adapted to whatever challenges or problems arose. After all, that founding document expanded to end the slavery it had once supported, weathered trials and misuses as dumb as Prohibition and as grave as Red Scares, Palmer Raids, and McCarthyism. The First Amendment grew to cover comic books, nude art works, and a million electronic forms of expression never imagined in the eighteenth century. Starting on September 12, 2001, however, challenges, threats, and risks abroad have been used to justify abandoning core beliefs enshrined in the Bill of Rights. That bill, we are told, can’t accommodate terror threats to the Homeland. Absent the third rail of the Second Amendment and gun ownership (politicians touch it and die), nearly every other key amendment has since been trodden upon.

The First Amendment was sacrificed to silence whistleblowers and journalists. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments were ignored to spy on Americans at home and kill them with drones abroad. (September 30th was the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s first acknowledged murder without due process of an American — and later his teenaged son — abroad. The U.S. has similarly killed two other Americans abroad via drone, albeit “by accident.”) [Here’s a link I’ve added for a quick view of the Amendments to the United States Constitution]

So, candidates, the question is: Have we walked away from the Constitution? If so, shouldn’t we publish some sort of notice or bulletin?

3. What do we want from the Middle East?

Is it all about oil? Israel? Old-fashioned hegemony and containment? What is our goal in fighting an intensifying proxy war with Iran, newly expanded into cyberspace? Are we worried about a nuclear Iran, or just worried about a new nuclear club member in general? Will we continue the nineteenth century game of supporting thug dictators who support our policies in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya (until overwhelmed by events on the ground), and opposing the same actions by other thugs who disagree with us like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad? That kind of policy thinking did not work out too well in the long run in Central and South America, and history suggests that we should make up our mind on what America’s goals in the Middle East might actually be. No cheating now — having no policy is a policy of its own.

Candidates, can you define America’s predominant interest in the Middle East and sketch out a series of at least semi-sensical actions in support of it?

4. What is your plan to right-size our military and what about downsizing the global mission?

The decade — and counting — of grinding war in Iraq and Afghanistan has worn the American military down to its lowest point since Vietnam. Though drugs and poor discipline are not tearing out its heart as they did in the 1970s, suicide among soldiers now takes that first chair position. The toll on families of endless deployments is hard to measure but easy to see. The expanding role of the military abroad (reconstruction, peacekeeping, disaster relief, garrisoning a long necklace of bases from Rota, Spain, to Kadena, Okinawa) seems to require a vast standing army. At the same time, the dramatic increase in the development and use of a new praetorian guard, Joint Special Operations Command, coupled with a militarized CIA and its drones, have given the president previously unheard of personal killing power. Indeed, Obama has underscored his unchecked solo role as the “decider” on exactly who gets obliterated by drone assassins.

So, candidates, here’s a two-parter: Given that a huge Occupy Everywhere army is killing more of its own via suicide than any enemy, what will you do to right-size the military and downsize its global mission? Secondly, did this country’s founders really intend for the president to have unchecked personal war-making powers?

5. Since no one outside our borders buys American exceptionalism anymore, what’s next? What is America’s point these days?

The big one. We keep the old myth alive that America is a special, good place, the most “exceptional” of places in fact, but in our foreign policy we’re more like some mean old man, reduced to feeling good about himself by yelling at the kids to get off the lawn (or simply taking potshots at them).

During the Cold War, the American ideal represented freedom to so many people, even if the reality was far more ambiguous. Now, who we are and what we are abroad seems so much grimmer, so much less appealing (as global opinion polls regularly indicate). In light of the Iraq invasion and occupation, and the failure to embrace the Arab Spring, America the Exceptional, has, it seems, run its course.

America the Hegemonic, a tough if unattractive moniker, also seems a goner, given the slo-mo defeat in Afghanistan and the never-ending stalemate that is the Global War on Terror. Resource imperialist? America’s failure to either back away from the Greater Middle East and simply pay the price for oil, or successfully grab the oil, adds up to a “policy” that only encourages ever more instability in the region. The saber rattling that goes with such a strategy (if it can be called that) feels angry, unproductive, and without any doubt unbelievably expensive.

So candidates, here are a few questions: Who exactly are we in the world and who do you want us to be? Are you ready to promote a policy of fighting to be planetary top dog — and we all know where that leads — or can we find a place in the global community? Without resorting to the usual “shining city on a hill” metaphors, can you tell us your vision for America in the world? (Follow up: No really, cut the b.s and answer this one, gentlemen. It’s important!)

6. Bonus Question: To each of the questions above add this: How do you realistically plan to pay for it? For every school and road built in Iraq and Afghanistan on the taxpayer dollar, why didn’t you build two here in the United States? When you insist that we can’t pay for crucial needs at home, explain to us why these can be funded abroad. If your response is we had to spend that money to “defend America,” tell us why building jobs in this country doesn’t do more to defend it than anything done abroad.

Now that might spark a real debate, one that’s long, long overdue.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Now in Washington and a TomDispatch regular, he writes about Iraq, the Middle East, and U.S. diplomacy at his blog, We Meant Well. Following the publication of his book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (the American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), the Department of State began termination proceedings, stripping him of his security clearance and diplomatic credentials. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department with his full benefits of service.

Copyright 2012 Peter Van Buren