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Community fights massive drilling site planned near public school in low-income area

Community fights massive drilling site planned near public school in low-income area

Oil and gas company originally planned to drill in largely white, middle-class neighborhood.

An oil drilling operation near a subdivision in Weld County, Colorado. CREDIT: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
AN OIL DRILLING OPERATION NEAR A SUBDIVISION IN WELD COUNTY, COLORADO. CREDIT: HELEN H. RICHARDSON/THE DENVER POST VIA GETTY IMAGES
Residents of a city along Colorado’s Front Range are fighting the construction of a major oil and gas drilling site set to be completed next year near a public school attended mostly by low-income students of color.

Denver-headquartered Extraction Oil and Gas was originally awarded a permit in 2013 to drill up to 67 wells a few hundred feet away from Frontier Academy in Greeley, Colorado, a city with a population of over 100,000. The school is composed of children that come largely from white, middle-class families. The parents were not happy with the project and organized a movement against the project.

In 2014, in the face of the parents’ resistance, Extraction Oil and Gas opted to abandon the Frontier Academy site, in southern Greeley. The company instead turned its attention to a different site on the eastern side of the city. In May 2016, the company filed an application with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for the project.

This new location also was within a thousand feet of a school. The school, Bella Romero Academy, serves mostly working-class Latinx families. Nearly 90 percent of its children qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.

In June 2016, the Weld County board of commissioners unanimously approved a special use permit that would allow Extraction Oil and Gas to build a 24-well pad project, known as the Vetting site, near the Bella Romero Academy campus. The industrial project will be located about 1,350 feet from the school building but about 500 feet from the school’s playground and ball fields. In March 2017, the COGCC issued permits for the project. With all of its necessary permits, the company hopes to complete the project sometime in 2019.

Last spring, a group of residents joined environmental groups to file a lawsuit in Denver County (Colorado) District Court against the COGCC for approving the project. According to the lawsuit, Extraction Oil and Gas stated that the Frontier Academy was “not ideal” for oil and gas development because of its proximity to the school and playground. The playground at the Frontier Academy, however, was further away from the proposed development than the playground and ball fields at the Bella Romero Academy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Eleven Saudi Royals Arrested For Protesting Against Austerity

Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family have apparently learned nothing from their cousin’s authoritarian tendencies. To wit, Saudi authorities on Saturday detained 11 princes after they gathered at a royal palace in Riyadh to protest austerity measures imposed by their cousin and the state’s de facto leader: Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aka MbS.

Saudi

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

As part of the latest wave of cutbacks forced by still-low oil prices, bin Salman suspended payment of royals’ utility bills. The decision triggered a backlash among the royals who weren’t prosecuted during the Crown Prince’s “corruption crackdown”/cash grab from late last year, and they swiftly assembled at the Qasr a-Hokm, a historic royal palace, to demand the cancellation of a royal decree that stopped state payment of water and electricity bills for royal family members. The move was a rare act of defiance against the Saudi crown, per Reuters. They were also demanding compensation for a death sentence issued against a relative, local media  reported.

In light of recent “events” in Saudi Arabia, it was a rather poor decision.

The identities of the princes taken into custody have not been released. However, the leader of the group has been identified by the initials S.A.S.”Everybody is equal before the law and anyone who does not implement regulations and instructions will be held accountable, no matter who he is,” a local media website added.

Late last year, MbS imprisoned dozens of royals at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton until they agreed to fork over substantial chunks of their wealth in exchange for their freedom. The shakedown resulted in one former general being tortured to death after refusing to give in to MbS’s remunerative demands – the princes spoke up, and were promptly taken into custody.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brazil Deploys Troops To Protect Government Buildings As Protesters Set Ministries On Fire

Brazil Deploys Troops To Protect Government Buildings As Protesters Set Ministries On Fire

Update 2: Physical confrontation erupts in Brazil’s Congress between Temer’s supporters & opponents after he deploys the military against protesters.

Deputados da base e da oposição se agridem durante sessão após Presidência decretar Forças Armadas na rua para garantir a ordem


pdate 1: Reuters reports that Temer has deployed troops to protect government buildings::

  • BRAZIL DEFENSE MINISTER JUNGMANN SAYS PRESIDENT TEMER HAS ORDERED ARMY TROOPS TO PROTECT GOVT BUILDINGS FROM PROTESTERS

* * *


ERRATA: The protesters set on fire the Brazilian “IRS” federal buildings in Brasília th

rasília the capital of Brazil and the Ministry of Agriculture

Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-Protest Law Imposing Huge Fines on ‘Conspirator’ Organizations

A STATUTE AIMED at suppressing protests against oil and gas pipelines has been signed into law in Oklahoma, as a related bill advances through the state legislature. The two bills are part of a nationwide trend in anti-protest laws meant to significantly increase legal penalties for civil disobedience. The Oklahoma law signed this week is unique, however, in its broad targeting of groups “conspiring” with protesters accused of trespassing. It takes aim at environmental organizations Republicans have blamed for anti-pipeline protests that have become costly for local governments.

The statute Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin approved Wednesday was rushed into immediate effect under a provision that declared the situation “an emergency.” It will dramatically increase penalties against protesters who trespass on property containing a “critical infrastructure facility.”

Under the newly signed trespassing law individuals will face a felony and a minimum $10,000 fine if a court determines they entered property intending to damage, vandalize, deface, “impede or inhibit operations of the facility.” Should the trespasser actually succeed in “tampering” with the infrastructure, they face a $100,000 fine or ten years of imprisonment.

Significantly, the statute also implicates any organization “found to be a conspirator” with the trespasser, threatening collaborator groups with a fine “ten times” that imposed on the intruder — as much as $1 million in cases involving damage.

A section of the law defining “critical infrastructure” includes various types of fossil fuel facilities. Oklahoma is a center of the oil and gas industry and home of the self-styled “Pipeline Crossroads of the World” in Cushing. The state has seen a dramatic increase in earthquakes since the nation’s fracking boom began, as companies began pumping wastewater produced from hydraulic fracturing underground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a supporter of the legislation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Protest is Increasingly Becoming Criminalized in America

Protest is Increasingly Becoming Criminalized in America

The historical space available for Americans to engage in public protest has been declining for many years, and is a topic I covered on several occasions during the Obama administration. For instance in the post,  The War on Free Speech – U.S. Department of Justice Subpoenas Reason.com Over Comment Section, I noted:

Readers of Liberty Blitzkrieg will be well aware of the gradual erosion by the state of the civil liberties of the American public. Such attacks are typically sufficiently under the radar, so that the average citizen has no idea what is happening until it’s too late. I have written about such calculated assaults on many occasions, but the holy grail target of the status quo is the First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines a right to the freedom of religion, speech, the press, and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Many aspects of the First Amendment have been neutered in practice. For example, the right to assemble peacefully and effectively is often prevented in practice by the need to secure permits and other hindrances (see “free speech cages” and “protest zones”) . Meanwhile, on college campuses, where activism is historically most vibrant, many schools have embraced the Orwellian concept of “free speech zones” in order to prevent free speech.

Unfortunately, it appears this trend is about to get a lot worse following the DAPL protests and increased activism we’ve seen since Trump’s election. As The Hill reports:

Republican state legislators across the country are advancing bills that would criminalize or penalize some public protests just a month after millions of Americans took to the streets in opposition to President Trump.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Arizona Wants to be Able to Seize the Assets of Protesters

Arizona Wants to be Able to Seize the Assets of Protesters

From a February 22 article:

“Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.
“SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.

“But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated.”

Essentially, under this bill cops could arrest anyone at a demonstration that suddenly turns violent, however peaceful it might’ve started. They would even be able to target people who had nothing to do the property damage.

Stephen Lemons, writing for the Phoenix New Timescovered a hearing on S.B. 1142 by Arizona’s Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Highlighting that certain senate Democrats “noted the obvious: that public protests often involve different groups with varying tactics,” he pointed out that, hypothetically, peaceful protesters could be held responsible “for the violent actions of a different faction or of individuals who act out while others remain calm.”

But it gets even worse than that, as the Arizona Capitol Times pointed outWednesday: “By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events.”

Planning events. Meaning cops will have the authority to investigate activists before the demonstrations even take place.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The New Wave of Violent Protests is Exactly What The Elite Want — Here’s Why

The New Wave of Violent Protests is Exactly What The Elite Want — Here’s Why

Over the past 18 months, there has been a significant increase in the frequency and severity of riots conducted by the extreme left.  Their ranks are comprised of self-described anti-fascists,  anarcho-communists, radical 3rd wave feminists, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and other social justice warriors (SJWs).  They have attained great notoriety through their willingness to employ violence/intimidation, vandalize/loot private property, and engage in the very same behavior they accuse their ideological opponents of perpetrating.  Tragically, innocent and non-interested bystanders often get caught in the cross hairs whilst they throw their violent temper tantrums.  To add further cause for concern, these otherwise marginal groups are coalescing under the banner of “intersectionality” thereby effecting a swelling of their ranks, temerity, and menace.

However, there is cause for hope as Professor Matthew Feinberg of the University of Toronto recently published a study confirming “extreme protest tactics reduce popular support for social movements.” Violent and destructive protests render peaceful protestors inept and guilty by association.

The following summarizes the results of the study in greater detail:

“Social movements are critical agents of change that vary greatly in both tactics and popular support. Prior work shows that extreme protest tactics – actions that are highly counter-normative, disruptive, or harmful to others, including inflammatory rhetoric, blocking traffic, and damaging property – are effective for gaining publicity. However, we find across three experiments that extreme protest tactics decreased popular support for a given cause because they reduced feelings of identification with the movement. Though this effect obtained in tests of popular responses to extreme tactics used by animal rights, Black Lives Matter, and anti-Trump protests (Studies 1-3), we found that self-identified political activists were willing to use extreme tactics because they believed them to be effective for recruiting popular support (Studies 4a & 4b).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Do Ongoing Global Events Prove the World Is Ready for Revolution?

(ANTIMEDIA) Earth — Paralleling the increasingly draconian policies marking a worldwide descent into fascism, are massive protests — born in the Arab Spring, but arguably an angrier, more potent extension of the Occupy movement — indicative of an unprecedented tipping point.

We, the people of this planet, now stand together, gazing over the precipice whose murky depths of State repression demand we ask one imperative question: have we finally had enough?

“[W]e have lost the way,” Charlie Chaplin implores us to consider in his renowned and timeless monologue from The Great Dictator, because “Greed has poisoned men’s souls — has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.”

And now, 76 years after Chaplin cautioned us to scrutinize our collective humanity, that avarice — evidenced in imperialism championed by the U.S. government — has ossified a lazy apathy in the populace, of seeming impenetrable resolve. Until now.

Chaplin revolution

Though sparks of revolution have sporadically ignited people’s movements countless times before, our present tipping point most likely began with the self-immolation of a young fruit cart vendor in Tunisia in 2011. So incensed by an unjust law and a policewoman’s disrespectful public slap as she attempted to confiscate his only means of supporting a large family, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a government building  — and set off the tremendous wave of protests for democracy and human rights, which came to be monikered the Arab Spring.

Occupy followed shortly afterward in a moment many believed with certainty would force an unparalleled shift toward freedom. But the government, keen to maintain its maniacal chokehold of control, also knew this — and infiltrated the movement to impart divisive infighting and confusion to effectively quash the threat.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Is The Best Method Of Rebellion Against Tyranny?

What Is The Best Method Of Rebellion Against Tyranny?

I have heard it often said that there is no one right way to accomplish a goal. I agree. However, I would add that while there is no such thing as “one right way” to achieve an objective, this does not mean there aren’t numerous WRONG ways to achieve an objective.

Doing “something” is not always better than doing nothing if that “something” is based on terrible strategy. Unfortunately, there are people out there with otherwise good intentions, even in the liberty movement, that seem to think that taking action without planning is preferable to patience. They do not understand that there is such a thing as negative returns.

The reality is that action is easy. Patience and planning are difficult. Emotional reaction is simple. Quiet professionalism is complicated.

This is the dynamic that is plaguing the liberty movement today; the battle between our emotional drive to jump headlong into conflict with our progressively corrupt establishment, and the absolute necessity for intelligent strategy and proper timing.

The issue here is not “fighting.” Most of us know and accept the fact that a fight is coming whether we like it or not. I say by all means, let’s fight, but fighting is not enough. If we fight, we must fight TO WIN, and this requires fighting smart.

On the other side of the coin, the weak handed and weak hearted will argue that fighting in any respect is “useless” or “immoral” and will result in failure.  This is the pacifist camp, which never produces much in the way of practical solutions.  There are very useful and peaceful methods for non-participation and nullification, most of which I am happy to promote.  That said, non-participation is only part of the battle.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Enabled Saudi Arabia’s Crackdown on Pro-Democracy Protesters

US Enabled Saudi Arabia’s Crackdown on Pro-Democracy Protesters

saudi_arabia_man_execution_beheading_afp

Just days before Saudi Arabia performed a mass execution of 47 people, including four pro-democracy protesters; the US approved tens of millions in military contracts to the Saudi government. The contracts include $24 million to Raytheon Company for equipment relating to Patriot missiles, $12 million to Advanced Electronics Co. for electronics updates to F-15 fighter jets, and tens of millions of dollars to Boeing Co. for implementation of a laser guided, air-to-ground weapons system.

The Pentagon announced the contracts three days before the execution of four non-violent Shia protesters. The majority of the executions were carried out in the form of beheadings—the same form of execution favored by ISIS.

The weapons contracts draw attention to the US government’s continued arming of the Saudi government, which regularly engages in human rights abuses at home and abroad. Despite recent allegations of war crimes against Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen, the US continues to replenish Saudi’s arsenal with billions in weapons.

As a result, Amnesty International has accused the US of violating the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty prohibits the sale of arms if there is knowledge the weapons will be used against civilians. The International Committee of the Red Cross has documented 100 instances of the Saudi-led coalition attacking hospitals in Yemen.

Among those executed earlier this week was the Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, who was well known to Shia Muslims around the world. Al-Nimr was a leader of the 2011 Arab Spring protest in Saudi Arabia’s Shia region. His execution sparked protests in multiple countries including Iran, where protesters set the Saudi Embassy ablaze. In response to the embassy fire, Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming

Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming

The resistance will take the form of subverting the signifiers of wealth that exemplify the few who have benefited so greatly while everyone else lost ground.

It’s time to trade in your Jag, Mercedes, BMW (and maybe your Prius, Volvo, Lexus, etc.) before the Days of Rage start. As I’ve explained before ( As the “Prosperity” Tide Recedes, the Ugly Reality of Wealth Inequality Is Exposed), the rage of the masses who have been losing ground while the Financier Oligarchs, the New Nobility and the technocrat class reap immense gains for decades has been suppressed by the dream that they too could join the Upper Caste.

But once the realistic odds of that happening (low) sink in, the Days of Rage will begin. For those still who don’t know the facts of rising inequality, here’s what you need to know.

The top 1% skim 23% of all income:

While the top 5% has enjoyed substantial income gains over the past 45 years, adjusted for inflation, the bottom 90% have lost ground:

The last time there was mass unrest in America was the civil rights/Vietnam War era. The power of the civil rights movement arose from the core injustice of segregation (separate and unequal) and institutionalized racism/bias. This institutionalized injustice drew people from all classes and ethnicities into the streets, where they were promptly beaten by police.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Shell’s Renewed Arctic Drilling Campaign Faces Yet Another Setback As Key Ship Forced Back To Port

Is Shell finally “Arctic Ready” after its doomed 2012 campaign? The company is set to begin drilling in the Arctic within the week, and it’s already not looking good.

The MSV Fennica, an icebreaker vessel bound for the Chukchi Sea, had barely left its berth in Dutch Harbor, Alaska last Friday when it had to immediately turn around. The crew discovered a 39-inch long, half-inch-wide breach in the Fennica’s hull, FuelFix reports.

There is no word yet from Shell on how long the repairs are expected to take, or how the company intends to proceed in the event that the Fennica is taken out of service for a long period of time. Any significant change to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans could force a new review by the US Department of the Interior.

The Fennica was not only tasked with keeping ice from collecting around the company’s drill site, but also carrying the capping stack to be used in case of a well blowout or other emergency, in addition to the equipment for deploying it.

A Shell spokesperson told FuelFix that the incident does not “characterize the preparations we have made to operate exceptionally well.”

But that’s not going to stop comparisons to the company’s accident-prone and ultimately aborted attempt to drill in the Arctic three years ago.

“Shell’s terrible safety history around the world makes today’s news no surprise, but is nonetheless disturbing,” David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International, told DeSmog.

“For the sake of the Arctic and for our climate, the President should put a stop to Shell’s dangerous experiment today, before an even greater mishap inevitably comes.”

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Global Trade Corporatocracy Slams into Local Resistance

The Global Trade Corporatocracy Slams into Local Resistance

Not everything seems to be going according to script for the self-anointed architects of the new global order. For years lobbyists and representatives of the world’s largest corporations and banks have been meeting with government trade negotiators from Europe, North America and Asia to patch together what could soon be the world’s two biggest ever “trade” deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The problem is that as more and more people learn about them, public opposition continues to grow — and with good reason.

If signed, these new deals will enshrine into international law a new system of semi-global, technocratic governance for the exclusive benefit of the world’s largest, richest multinational corporations and private investors. What’s more, in the eternal words of the U.S. Trade Rep Michael Froman, once they are passed, agreements like TTIP will become “the global benchmark for standards in a globalized world.”

For the world’s uber-class of super wealthy individuals and corporations, this is great news.

A Two-Tier Global Justice System

Thanks to the inclusion of the investment protection charter – A.K.A. the Investor State Dispute Settlement (or ISDS) – foreign companies and big investors will be able to sue national governments in private arbitration tribunals for profits they might lose as a result of local or national laws or regulation.

As The Guardian columnist George Monbiot writes, “while the rest of us must take our chances in the courts, corporations across the EU, US and vast swathes of the Asia-Pacific region will be allowed to sue governments before a tribunal of corporate lawyers.” They will be able to challenge the laws they don’t like, and seek massive compensation if these are deemed to affect their “future anticipated profits.”

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Change the World Overnight

How to Change the World Overnight

Making a Difference

Mark Twain said:

If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.

In other words, if the government is not trying to stop something, it must not be very important.

On the flip side of the coin, the great historian Howard Zinn noted:

Protest always looks futile at the time it takes place, but protest mounts up.

If they thought protest is futile they wouldn’t send the police out every time there’s a demonstration. [Examples of what Zinn is talking about herehere, andhere.]

You  set up a picket line somewhere of 7 people, and 12 policemen show up. They must worry about protests.  Because they know that small protests lead to large ones.

We noted in 2009:

As MSNBC news correspondent Jonathan Capehart tells Dylan Ratigan, the main problem is that people aren’t making enough noise. Capehart says that the people not only have to “burn up the phone lines to Congress”, but also to hit the streets and protest in D.C.

Even though most politicians are totally corrupt, if many millions of Americans poured into the streets of D.C., a critical mass would be reached, and the politicians would start changing things in a hurry.

As [liberal] PhD economist Dean Baker points out:

The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….

A big turnout … can make a real difference.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Want to Change the Future? Pay Attention to the Past.

From Mandela to MLK to McKibben, history offers lessons aplenty for climate activists

We all know the plotline: Single-minded, passionate activists attempt to take on immense money and power, hidebound ideology and bureaucratic paralysis to turn the tide on the most important issue ever.

We could be talking about climate change. But we could also be talking about the abolition of slavery, marriage equality or countless other political struggles from history. Each of those other movements holds a bonanza of lessons for climate activists on how sweeping change succeeds or fails.

Abolition: Angels and Aloofness

No movement was ever more entitled to the moral high ground than abolitionism. What can climate activists learn from the anti-slavery movement?

First, being on the side of the angels may not matter. Abolitionists’ morality and common sense ran headlong into arguments of economic necessity and states’ rights in defense of slavery. Similarly, states’ rights and economic need are rhetorical refuges in climate debates today. So don’t wait for common sense to prevail. Abolitionists waited for decades, and it still took a catastrophic war to resolve things.

Second, smug aloofness doesn’t help. Abolitionists were viewed as effete and elite, eggheads and dilettantes. So much so that they even repelled one of their own. In his 1841 essay Self-Reliance, the existentialist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson called out abolitionist leaders for what he saw as their “incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off” while ignoring social ills in their own northern backyards.

If enviros made the rebirth of coal towns via renewable energy a priority, Appalachia’s coming Reconstruction Era could replace perpetual bitterness with prosperity.Today’s environmentalists are similarly perceived as being detached from the grim realities of coalfield towns, and that has opened up opportunities to blame green groups and regulators for the decades-long and inevitable market collapse of King Coal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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