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On October 26, a Globe and Mail columnist wrote how during a recent concert at Vancouver’s Hollywood Theatre, “a band member said something about a free Palestine. This, according to attendee Hanah Van Borek, led to a few shouts from the audience: ‘Fuck the Jews!’
“It was clearly audible in her area of the crowd, a person who was with her confirms, but nobody around them shut this down. There were some cheers of support, though. ‘My whole body went into shock,’ says Ms. Van Borek, who is Jewish.
“Ms. Van Borek left the venue and explained why to security staff. She says a worker encouraged her to go back inside and reassured her she was safe. ‘Nobody will be able to tell that you’re Jewish,’ he said, according to Ms. Van Borek. (Oy.)
She did return to the show, but Ms. Van Borek was — and is — rattled. She supports the band’s right to make political statements. It was the shouts from this group — and the silence around them — that were alarming.”
For many years I’ve been and likely will continue to be a critic of the maltreatment of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel [i.e. its government and security/defense agencies] and, with few exceptions, Western mainstream news-media’s seemingly intentional tokenistic (non)coverage of it. By doing so, that media, whether they realize it or not, have done a disservice to its own reputation and the Israeli/Jewish people themselves. The road to hell, after all, is also paved with good intentions.
Having said that, I still never expected the level of anti-Semitic attacks in Canada and the U.S. since the initial Oct.7 Hamas attack on Israel. For one thing, the Jewish people in Israel and especially around the world must not be collectively blamed for the acts of Israel’s government and military, however one feels about the latter’s brutality in present Gaza. It’s blatantly immoral for them to be mistreated, if not terrorized, as though they were responsible for what is happening there.
Of course, diaspora Palestinians and Western Muslims similarly must not be collectively blamed and attacked for the acts of Hamas violence in Israel or Islamic extremist attacks outside the Middle East.
There seems to have been much latent animosity towards Jewish people in general, perhaps in part based on erroneous and disproven stereotype thus completely unmerited. Also, incredible insensitivity was publicly shown towards Jews freshly mourning the 10/7 victims, especially considering that young Israelis and Jews elsewhere may not be accustomed to such relatively large-scale carnage (at least not as much as is seen in other parts of the Middle East) in post-9/11 times.
Meantime, there also were/are the ugly external politics. Particularly with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one can observe widespread ideological/political partisanship via news and commentary. Within social-media, the polarized views are especially amplified, largely involving (I believe) non-Jews and non-Palestinians. As well, the conflict can and does arouse a spectator sport effect or mentality.
Many contemptible news trolls internationally decide which ‘side’ they hate less thus ‘support’ via politicized commentary posts. I anticipate that they may actually keep track of the bloody match by checking the day’s-end death-toll score.

[Cont.] Having the top-mentioned (in The Globe and Mail) ugly and scary occurrence playout in my mind’s eye and ear left me disgusted. Also scary is the real possibility that this public outpour of blind hatred may lead some young children to feel very misplaced shame in their heritage. …
The world is on fire, literally and figuratively. I myself have been inexplicably angry over the last few years.
Collectively, we humans are hopelessly prone to the politics of scale and differences, both real and perceived, especially those involving color, nationality, race and religion.
It’s quite plausible that if the world’s population was somehow reduced to just a few city blocks of seemingly similar residents, there’d sooner or later be some form of notable inter-neighborhood hostilities.
Still, as individuals we can resist this from within ourselves.
In regards to seriously flawed yet normalized human/societal nature thus behaviour, the late sociologist Stanley Milgram [of Obedience Experiments fame/infamy] stated: “It may be that we are puppets — puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Frank Sterle

Here is the link to the statement of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:

https://documents.unoda.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/TPNW.MSP_.2022.CRP_.8-Draft-Declaration.pdf

Thank you Metta for convening the Town Hall meetings. My email address is alyn@pnnd.org

After yesterdays’s monthly Town Hall, I would like to connect with Alezey Prokhkrenko directly to discuss options for non-violent resistance in the war zone to force a cease fire.

Alexey Prokhorenko (sorry for typos)

Please see the website of the Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace, http://www.cwwpp.org and my and our Facebook pages. If you want to become a “barefoot therapist”/”peer supporter” or to associate with us in other ways, please write to us at cwwppsummer@gmail.com. We are working online without charge to give education and supervision on psychological trauma. We look forward to hearing from you.

On Jul 28, 2021, at 1:37 PM, abraham Weizfeld PhD <saalaha@fokus.name> wrote:

JPLO Note:    Key to the determination of actual Antisemitism is the conflation made of the Jewish People with the Zionist movement and State. To consider that the Jewish People as a whole are guilty of the sin of Zionism arose from the mind of an Israeli-raised soldier who projects his own personal guilt, during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982-1985, onto the Jewish People as a whole. In consequence, Atzmon calls Israel the Jewish State and rates the Occupation and Siege as ‘Jewish Supremacy’. This of course coincides with the Zionist claim to represent the Jewish People as a whole, in order to claim the right to self-determination. This coincidence demonstrates how the Jewish blame game fails to undermine the ideology of Zionism. 
 
           In the actuality of Jewish political culture there is no mandate to designate the Zionist State as a Jewish State. This was not even previously written into Israel’s Basic Law. The Jewish Nation-State law was voted on by the Knesset/Legislature representing less than a majority of the entire Jewish people – a majority of whom do not have an electoral vote in the first place. The current subjective views of the Jewish communities show a serious opposition of Anti-Zionism to the extent of 25%. To deny the Jewish People is to deny and alienate this very opposition. 
 
The further contention that the Jewish People is not a Nation, is another argument employed to differentiate from Zionism so as to deny the right of self-determination of the Jewish People, as claimed by the Zionist movement. Here again the pretention to Anti-Zionism denies this right to self-determination of the Jewish People and becomes Antisemitism since this denies the same rights to one Nation that are accorded to other Nations. However the Zionist claim to self-determination is self-contradictory since it denies the very same right to the Palestinian Nation. The same argument is then used by Zionism to assert that the Palestinian Nation does not exist just like the populist mind that denies that the Jewish Nation exists. Of course we are a Nation and different from other Nations by being composed of various internal Nations like the Sephardim, the Mizrachim, the Hebrew Nation, the Ashken’azim, as well as each of the international homelands of the Jewish communities. But we are a Nation and do indeed have the right to self-determination together with other Nations, even though we are a non-territorial Nation. In reciprocity we prefer the term auto-determination.

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Last edited 1 year ago by Project Save The World

But when you stop growth, people get poor. Is that what you want? Maybe we can let some kinds of occupations and institutions grow — the ones that don’t pollute or exhaust material resources — while shutting down others.

Right. We cannot starve ourselves into reaching net zero. We have to get there by improving efficiency.

The New Cold War Is Financial: Banks and Financial Infrastructure are Emerging as an Expanding Front in Geopolitics

Tom Keatinge | RUSI | 21 September 2020

But now a new front is emerging. Not only is the use of sanctions mushrooming, multiplying the risk for financial actors, creating an increasingly complex landscape for businesses to navigate and the risk that they might inadvertently trigger an unseen violation. The financial institutions themselves are also being directly targeted. Whereas in the past, financial actors might become collateral damage as countries exchange financial sanctions, today they are themselves in the crosshairs, threatened by geopolitical rivalries, most recently between China and the US.”

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Link: https://rusi.org/commentary/new-cold-war-financial

“People Love Their Dictators,”

By Metta Spencer

January 2021 issue of Peace Magazine. http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v37n1p09.htm

“People love their dictators,” Gene Sharp remarked casually, as if stating some obvious fact. I was shocked, for it had never occurred to me that people in general—ordinary, normal people—ever prefer dictatorships. Instead, I had considered that a sign of some rare, grave pathology.

But lately I’ve been thinking back on our conversation, especially after watching the US election, when almost half of the American voters showed their allegiance to the most anti-democratic president in history. And the US is not unique; look around the world and you’ll see adoring voters supporting Putin, Xi, Duterte, Modi, Orban, Kaczynski, Bolsonaro, Erdogan…the list goes on. Something is happening on a global scale that threatens civilization itself. We cannot suggest a solution unless we understand it, and everyone seems baffled.

When half or more of any population seems irrational, we can’t call them all crazy, so what’s the explanation? Gene is gone and I never asked him about his theory, so instead I find myself mentally re-playing old sociological debates. One of them, inevitably, is between Karl Marx and Max Weber. And on that point at least, the evidence looks conclusive: today’s worldwide polarization is not about money.

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Last edited 1 year ago by Project Save The World

Interesting perspective. What do you think needs to be done to address this?

Biden, are you listening?

Personally, I supported Andrew Yang’s platform for Universal Basic Income. I wish Biden would implement something like that should he be elected President of the United States in 2020…

After all, income distribution in the United States is incredible inequitable. Here’s a figure from 2017.

Do Nuclear Weapons Profits Count Too?

Nuclear weapons are truly the most idiotic thing to spend money on, throwing money out in space would be a better use. How infuriating!

But somehow the Global Compact does not specifically mention nuclear weapons as a type of investment that responsible businesses should reject. The ten principles that the Compact proposes are excellent but should be more explicit in outlawing the trade in weapons (especially nuclear) and fossil fuels. Do you agree?

I feel that the Canadian government has been doing a pretty decent job in supporting people through CERB, and CESB programs so far! I’m glad they’ve done it, given how so many people have lost their jobs.

Climate change truly is the real enemy of the 21st century. The survival of humankind depends on it, yet so few people seem to recognize it.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly more obvious to me that we MUST revitalize the idea of “one-world”, and all work together. At the end of the day, pandemics don’t discriminate- anyone can get sick, and we all need to work together to find a cure.

How might we be able to build more solidarity and cooperation? I feel like as much as grassroots organizations try, when global leaders attack others and other countries and blame other countries for problems, it’s so hard to work together.

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Strong Centralized Government is the Way to Go

This is a fair point, but I believe a stronger central government could accomplish the same – in fact, more efficiently. If there are set regulations coming from the top, subnational governments would just have to follow, thereby eliminating another decision-making step.

Law-Enforcement Workers Abusing Power

With respect to the law-enforcement majority who don’t abuse their position of authority, the recent police shooting death of a young Toronto person should yet again raise concern about law-enforcement officials who behave gratuitously aggressive with some civilians.

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“We Need a New Economic Model, the Planet is Overburdened” – Mikhail Gorbachev

Reprint of Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Creative by Nature, 28 January 2015

Article Excerpt(s):

“We badly need a new economic model… We cannot continue living by ignoring environmental problems. The planet is overburdened… We do not have enough fresh water for the people.. Billions of people are subject to hunger today. So the new model must consider all these needs. This model must be more human and more nature oriented… We are all interconnected but we keep acting as though we are completely autonomous.” ~Mikhail Gorbachev

The following is a partial transcript for a recent video interview with former Soviet president and Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev on “The urgent need to save the planet,” presented by his non-profit organization Green Cross.

“The most important point is to ensure that our complex, quickly changing and developing world lives in peace. Otherwise we won’t be able to deal with any other problem. We must block any revival of the arms race, new militarization… Without peace there will be nothing.

In terms of the international community, we have gone through a very difficult period, with the financial crisis that struck the world in 2008-2009, and I feel we have not yet come out of this global crisis.

It has been described as a financial crisis, but in my [view] its been a comprehensive global crisis, and it demonstrates that the economic model that has been underlying all systems in practically every nation, but specifically the biggest countries like the United States… has failed.

This model has essentially brought us to the current crisis, so therefore, we need to change this economic model. We badly need a new economic model… that is not based on hyper profits and hyper consumption, but a model that takes into account the depletion of natural resources. It should not ignore the problems of social development, poverty and the social contradictions that exist in the world…

The main point is this model will fail if it does not consider the demands of the environment. This is not a requirement for tomorrow. It is a must for today. We cannot continue living by ignoring environmental problems. The planet is overburdened.

In 2011 the global population [reached] 7 billion. At the beginning of the 20th Century we were just 1.9 billion people on the planet, and now we are 7 billion and by 2050 there will be 9 billion. The planet’s capacity is already over extended.

We do not have enough fresh water for the people. Water shortages will give rise to various military conflicts, which I am sure will happen if we do not resolve the water problems. Same for energy and other challenges, including food security.

Billions of people are subject to hunger today. So the new model must consider all these needs. This model must be more human and more nature oriented, so the relationship between man and nature can respond to the challenges of the modern world.

Last but not least, we have not learned how to live with globalization. We are all interconnected but we keep acting as though we are completely autonomous… We need this new model. We must consolidate all our resources to create such a new model. And we need to finance research into all these problems. We must consolidate all the resources that human kind has to answer these questions.”

~ Mikhail Gorbachev ~”

Full interview is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1xOtxwIaKc
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/we-need-a-new-economic-model-the-planet-is-overburdened-mikhail-gorbachev

Is NATO Still Necessary?

By Sharon Tennison, David Speedie, and Krishen Mehta
The National Interest, 18 April 2020
Probably the most divisive issue in some peace movements today deals is a dispute about whether any decent country should get out of NATO or stay in it and use their voting power to demand that it give up all plans to use nuclear weapons. The Platform for Survival insists only that we shift into a system of sustainable common security, with a UN peace force serving to protect against aggression. The new factor in the discussion is the additional point that the pandemic requires a new set of global solutions.

Article Excerpt(s):

“The coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the world brings a prolonged public health crisis into sharp focus—along with the bleak prospect of a long-term economic crisis that can destroy the social fabric across nations.

World leaders need to reassess expenditures of resources based on real and present threats to national security—to reconsider how they may be tackled. A continuing commitment to NATO, whose global ambitions are largely driven and funded by the United States, must be questioned.

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Why the Response to COVID-19 Should Include Universal Basic Income

By John Rose

John Rose argues that universal basic income should. (and he hopes WILL) be adopted as a by-product of COVID-19.

We already know capitalism is failing in the face of COVID-19; it has been failing for generations. The latest crisis simply elucidates this fact. Canadians have been signaling their impending plight–ranging from unemployment, to mounting debt, to accessing essential services.

Meanwhile, bailouts are the talk of the town. The Alberta energy sector is asking for one, while the provincial government led by Jason Kenney decided a multi-billion dollar investment was a prudent economic decision to keep the dream of the Keystone XL pipeline alive. One must wonder if he is aware that the value of Alberta WCS oil is less than that of a barrel of monkeys.

From airlines, to cruise lines, to auto-makers, to Bombardier and banks, it seems as though most major corporations or capitalist institutions beg for bailouts when times are tough. It is remarkably ironic how often these groups demand governments to keep their meddling hands out of the private sector and reduce regulation, and yet when the slightest crisis hits, they come begging for state intervention. How very laissez-faire of them.
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Ceasefire While We Fight the Virus

Warring Parties Must Lay Down Weapons To Fight Bigger Battle Against COVID-19
By Douglas Roche
Pugwash Canada (originally The Hill Times). 6 April 2020

Article Excerpt(s):

“UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s plea to ‘silence the guns’ would create corridors for lifesaving aid and open windows for diplomacy in the war-torn zones in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the central areas of Africa.”
— The Hill Times, 6 April 2020

EDMONTON—”The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.” In one short sentence, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the door to a new understanding of what constitutes human security. Will governments seize the opportunity provided by the immense crisis of COVID-19 to finally adopt a global agenda for peace?

In an extraordinary move on March 23, Guterres urged warring parties around the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19 the common enemy now threatening all of humanity. He called for an immediate global ceasefire everywhere: “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”

His plea to “silence the guns” would create corridors for life-saving aid and open windows for diplomacy in the war-torn zones in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the central areas of Africa.

But the full meaning of Guterres’s appeal is much bigger than only suspending existing wars. It is a wakeup call to governments everywhere that war does not solve existing problems, that the huge expenditures going into armaments divert money desperately needed for health supplies, that a bloated militarism is impotent against the new killers in a globalized world.

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Pipeline, Mine Work Sites Deemed Essential Services Worry Some Canadians

By Brandi Morin
Huffington Post (HuffPost Canada) 21 April 2020

Article Excerpt(s):

“People who live in remote and Indigenous communities across Canada are questioning the classification of industrial projects like mines and pipelines as essential services, especially when it appears the “business as usual” approach goes against advice to physical distance as much as possible during the pandemic.

Delee Nikal, a Wet’suwet’en band member of the Gitdumt’en clan from the Witset First Nation, travelled to Houston, B.C. for a grocery run last weekend. It’s in the Bulkley Valley, population 3,600, close to construction for Coastal GasLink’s liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline project.

She noticed a lot of trucks in a hotel parking lot and was appalled at what she saw.

“There were guys all over there. Some were standing outside, shirtless, drinking beer with each other,” Nikal told HuffPost Canada. Their out-of-province licence plates and heavy-duty gear led her to suspect they were pipeline workers. “It’s scary because they have no connection to us locals — they don’t care.”

Her uncle, Chief Dsta’hyl, whose English name is Adam Gagnon and is a wing chief of Sun House of the Laksamshu Wet’suwet’en clan, wants the pipeline work shut down. He disagrees with authorities defining industrial projects as essential services, a designation determined by provincial and territorial governments.

“They’re committing economic treason,” said Gagnon.

In Valemount, about 600 kilometres east of Houston, CN is shipping in over 100 workers next month to complete annual maintenance on its railway tracks, according to “John,” a CN maintenance worker. He requested anonymity due to job security concerns. The influx would increase Valemount’s population of 1,000 by 10 per cent.

“I’m trying to follow protocols as much as I can,” he said. “But it’s business as usual for the big industry players. Physical distancing is impossible to impose in certain working conditions here.”

John said that during morning safety meetings, at least 25 workers are tightly packed into a small space and move through a narrow hallway, often touching shoulders while walking. He can’t keep two metres from his main co-worker because they travel in the same vehicle and eat their meals in it.

“[Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau and health ministers are telling people to stay home and not touch their face — so how does that work? Because this whole industry world isn’t abiding by the same rules.”

In such rural areas, temporary workers and locals shop in the same stores, or employees live with others in the community, so the risk of transmission cannot be avoided.

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What Is the Shadow Economy and Why Does It Matter?

Unlicensed construction or illegal sales by food vendors–it all has an impact on the real economy
By Simon Constable, The Wall Street Journal, 6 March 2017

Note: Article may be behind a paywall. See “article excerpt(s)” here:

“The shadow economy is perhaps best described by the activities of those operating in it: work done for cash, where taxes aren’t paid, and regulations aren’t strictly followed.

Most of the businesses operating in the shadow economy aren’t what most people would think of as criminal enterprises, says Cristina Terra, professor of economics at Essec Business School in France, and author of the book “Principles of International Finance and Open Economy Macroeconomics.”

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The Pacific’s New Market: Trading Aid for Votes: Nikki Haley was “making a list”

By Gregory B. Poling
Center for Strategic and International Studies, 9 February 2012

The US made it clear that aid would be withheld from countries in the UN that opposed its move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. The opposition measure was adopted anyway. However, some countries are obviously more vulnerable to economic pressure than others.

Article Excerpt(s):

“One should not be surprised when Nauru, a nation of less than 10,000, is offered $50 million from Russia. Nor should the opening of diplomatic missions from Georgia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates in the South Pacific be remarkable when considering what is at stake. An economist might say that a market has emerged for purchasing votes at the United Nations.

As an unintended consequence of the UN system, at least 11 independent Pacific Island nations have found themselves in a unique position: they each have a vote at the United Nations and yet, because of their isolation, have little or no national interests in many of the distant disputes that fill the UN’s agenda. With what is effectively a surplus of ‘unused’ votes, a market has been created where the service of voting at the UN is exchanged for monetary assistance.

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A New Canadian Peace Centre Could Make A World Of Difference

By Peter Langille and Peggy Mason
Canadian Pugwash Group / The Hill Times, 29 January 2020

Article Excerpt:

“Who isn’t concerned about our shared global challenges? It’s hard to miss overlapping crises, many fuelled by militarism, marginalization, and inequality.

Canada provided pivotal leadership and ideas in the past and it could definitely help again. The recently announced Canadian Centre for Peace, Order, and Good Government therefore is a much-needed step in the right direction.

The details have yet to be finalized, but this much is clear: the new Canadian Centre is part of an effort to “lead by example and help make the world a safe, just, prosperous, and sustainable place.” Mandate letters to cabinet ministers suggest an interdepartmental centre (i.e., within government) is proposed “to expand the availability of Canadian expertise and assistance to those seeking to build peace, advance justice, promote human rights and democracy, and deliver good governance.”

While this is promising, three concerns need attention: is the scope sufficiently broad to address our urgent global challenges; should the centre be within government or independent; and is there a better Canadian model?

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The EU is budgeting for a Green Deal

by Samuel Petrequin
AP News [14 January 2020]:


“The European Union plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and to work to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in investment toward making the EU’s economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.” …

“Another 7.5 billion euros from the 2021-2027 EU budget is earmarked as seed funding within a broader mechanism expected to generate another 100 billion euros in investment. That money will be designed to convince coal-dependent countries like Poland to embrace the Green Deal by helping them weather the financial and social costs of moving away from fossil fuels.

“This is our pledge of solidarity and fairness,” said Frans Timmermans, the Dutch politician tapped as executive vice president of the European Green Deal.

The plan would allocate the money according to specific criteria. For example, regions where a large number of people work in coal, peat mining or shale oil and gas would get priority.” …

“In order to qualify for the financial support, member states will need to present plans to restructure their economy detailing low-emission projects. The plans will need the commission’s approval.”
[/read]
Link: https://apnews.com/5d4db8ffda58f03f090a04c35f0a2dc8

The City Insider Proving that Mayors Can Lead on Climate

By Nicole Greenfield
Natural Resource Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC), 11 February 2020

Article Excerpt:

“Chris Wheat doesn’t know exactly how he became a self-described “weird political geek,” but it happened early on in life. At five years old, he was reading newspapers, watching C-SPAN, and begging his parents for an encyclopedia set for their Little Rock, Arkansas, home. By age 10, he’d scored an interview with his governor, Bill Clinton, and the following year joined the volunteer corps for the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign, making copies and sending faxes in the War Room. In high school, Wheat was a two-time state champion debater and, after graduation, became the first in his family to go to college.

Later, Wheat would go on to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago, and after a brief stint in the consulting world, reignited his passion for politics. He joined the staff of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office in 2012, first as part of Chicago’s Innovation Delivery team, then as chief sustainability officer, and, finally, as chief of policy. “I left the private sector a lot earlier in my career than I thought I would, but I knew that I needed my work to be about more than what I was doing,” Wheat says. “I needed it to be about something larger.”

Flash forward to January 2019, when—after Mayor Emanuel announced he would not seek reelection for a third term—Wheat would harness that experience to become director of city strategy and engagement for the American Cities Climate Challenge. The two-year, $70 million program is currently helping 25 U.S. cities meet their near-term carbon reduction goals.

It was a natural fit for Wheat, whose work in the Chicago city government had included a host of sustainability initiatives, from tightening recycling ordinances to getting a disposable bag tax passed to overseeing energy efficiency projects. He’d seen how these efforts made a big impact not just on the city itself but also in the lives of individual Chicagoans. He remembers one grandmother on the South Side who was excited to have her house retrofitted because it would finally be warm enough for her grandkids to play there in the winter months. “That’s not something that shows up in an emissions inventory or a press release,” he says. “But it is something that manifests itself directly in that woman’s life and really shows the cross benefits of this work.”

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What Russia’s $300B Investment In Arctic Oil And Gas Means For Canada

CBC published an interesting article on 15 February 2020 about the Canadian impacts of Russia’s $300 billion investment in the Arctic – specifically within the realm of gas and oil. These investments would encourage development of and increased traffic in Northern sea routes. What impacts these activities will have on locals – including Indigenous (Chukchi, Nenets, etc.) peoples? Gas and oil drilling in this ecologically sensitive region may result in long-term, environmental damage.

Moreover, the Soviet Union formerly used the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, and areas around Novaya Zemlya as a nuclear waste dump. These areas abut and/or intersect the Northern Sea Route. Some of these $300 billion in investments could go towards cleaning up these sites. Several gas and oil companies proposed drilling the Kara Sea due to its large gas and oil reserves – but shifted plans about 5 years ago.

Environmental groups – indicated concern of drilling activities in close proximity to a nuclear waste dump. In recent years, Russia additionally has developed floating nuclear reactors which can be moved along the Northern Sea Route to supply power to remote regions – with a particular focus on resource extraction activities.

Article by John Last (CBC News, 15 February 2020)

“Last month, the Russian government pushed through new legislation creating $300 billion in new incentives for new ports, factories, and oil and gas developments on the shores and in the waters of the Arctic ocean.
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New York City Plans To Divest From Nuclear Weapons!

In January 2018, New York City decided to divest the city’s $189bn pension funds from fossil fuel companies within the next five years. Now the city looks set to also divest from the nuclear weapons industry.

The Council held public hearings on draft Resolution 0976 which calls on New York City to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and divest from the nuclear weapons industry, and on Initiative 1621 to reaffirm New York City as a nuclear weapons-free zone and establish an advisory committee to implement this status.

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New York City’s Pension Funds: How to Invest them?

Basel Peace Office, Jan 28. 2020

Last Tuesday, the New York City Council held public hearings on two measures (draft Resolution 0976 and Initiative 1621) which if adopted would oblige the city to divest its city pension funds from the nuclear weapons industry and establish an advisory committee to develop city action to further implement its status as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

New York City pensions have approximately $480 million invested in the nuclear weapons industry. The divestment of this amount would probably not make any financial impact on the weapons manufacturers. However, it would serve as a positive example of an action that can be taken by cities and other investors to align their investments with their ethical values. And it would give support to federal initiatives to cut nuclear weapons budgets, such as the SANE Act introduced into the U.S. Senate by PNND Co-President Ed Markey and the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by PNND Member Eleanor Holmes-Norton.

The adoption of the two measures could also pave the way for New York to become a member of Mayors for Peace, a global network of over 8000 cities working for global nuclear abolition (see Mayors for Peace, below).

Actions to support the two measures:

The two measures, which were introduced to the Council in June 2019 by Council members Daniel Dromm, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, have been supported by local peace and disarmament campaigners and by Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, a global campaign co-sponsored by the Basel Peace Office to cut nuclear weapons budgets, end investments in the nuclear weapons and fossil fuel industries and reallocate these budgets and investments to support peace, climate and sustainable development.

Jackie Cabasso

Actions to promote the draft measures have included an Open Letter to New York City Council endorsed by representatives of over 20 New York peace, disarmament and climate action organizations, and a count the nuclear weapons money action in front of city hall.
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That’s great news. How do you suppose it came about? Did someone go lobby them or did some of the bank executives see the light themselves?

Do you have specific examples of these organizations’ involvements?

Risk of Nuclear War Rises as U.S. Deploys a New Nuclear Weapon for the First Time Since the Cold War

And Interview of William Arkin by Amy Goodman
7 February 2020, Democracy Now!
Article Excerpt:


The Federation of American Scientists revealed in late January that the U.S. Navy had deployed for the first time a submarine armed with a low-yield Trident nuclear warhead. The USS Tennessee deployed from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019. The W76-2 warhead, which is facing criticism at home and abroad, is estimated to have about a third of the explosive power of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called the news “an alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.” We’re joined by William Arkin, longtime reporter focused on military and nuclear policy, author of numerous books, including “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.” He broke the story about the deployment of the new low-yield nuclear weapon in an article he co-wrote for Federation of American Scientists. He also recently wrote a cover piece for Newsweek titled “With a New Weapon in Donald Trump’s Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going Nuclear.” “What surprised me in my reporting … was a story that was just as important, if not more important, than what was going on in the political world,” Arkin says.

Transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: As the nation focused on President Trump’s impeachment trial, a major story recently broke about a new development in U.S. nuclear weapons policy that received little attention. The Federation of American Scientists revealed in late January the U.S. Navy had for the first time deployed a submarine armed with a low-yield Trident nuclear warhead. The USS Tennessee deployed from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia in late 2019, armed with a warhead which is estimated to have about a third of the explosive power of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima.

The deployment is facing criticism at home and abroad. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, called the news “an alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.” On Capitol Hill, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said, quote, “This destabilizing deployment further increases the potential for miscalculation during a crisis.” Smith also criticized the Pentagon for its inability and unwillingness to answer congressional questions about the weapon over the past few months. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded by saying, quote, “This reflects the fact that the United States is actually lowering the nuclear threshold and that they are conceding the possibility of them waging a limited nuclear war and winning this war. This is extremely alarming,” he said.

We’re joined now William Arkin, longtime reporter who focuses on military and nuclear policy. He broke the story about the deployment of the new low-yield nuclear weapon in an article he co-wrote for the Federation of American Scientists. He also wrote the cover story for Newsweek, which is headlined “With a New Weapon in Donald Trump’s Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going Nuclear.” He’s the author of many books, including Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.

Bill Arkin, it’s great to have you back.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Thanks for having me on, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: So, to say the least, this has been an explosive week of news in Washington, D.C., and your news, which has hardly gone reported, is — should really be one of the top news stories of these last weeks.

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, during the very time when the Iran crisis was at its highest, the United States, last December, deployed a new nuclear weapon, the first new nuclear weapon to be deployed, Amy, since the end of the Cold War. So here we have not just a momentous occasion, but a weapon which is intended explicitly to be more usable — and not just more usable against Russia and China, but to be more usable against Iran and North Korea, as well. It seemed to me that looking more deeply at this weapon, looking more deeply at the doctrines behind it, and then, really, what surprised me in my reporting, looking more at Donald Trump and the role that he might play in the future, was a story that was just as important, if not more important, than what was going on in the political world.

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Lucifer for President!

The blind, even illogical, reactive Western hostility towards effective fiscally progressive measures is formidable … As a somewhat humorous example of such anger (albeit on a fortunately small scale): Just the concept of socialists having any power anywhere on the planet causes distress to a local man here who’s vocally vehemently opposed to liberalism. On a couple occasions he became so narrow-mindedly enraged that he, with his tightened fist trembling before him, uttered to me, “I’d vote for the devil himself if that’s what it took to keep those Godless socialists out of office!”

No more big-business-as-usual Democratic Party

Blindly voting for the establishment-forwarded Democratic candidate no-matter-what, regardless of his/her neo-liberalist corporate-interest ideology, should no longer be expected of an increasingly financially struggling electorate. Therefore, before such vast progressive electorate support is given, there most notably needs to be genuine progress on the socio-economic inequity/inequality file, which apparently is only getting worse.

When I vote in a federal election and/or write a letter, I do my best to make them state, No More Big Business As Usual!

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Christian Peacemaker Teams have succeeded in Columbia, Iraq, Mexico, Palestine, and Canada.

EU to unveil trillion-euro ‘Green Deal’ Financial Plan

By Frédéric Simon
[EURACTIV: 14 and 15 January 2020]

“The European Commission will propose on Tuesday (14 January) how the EU can pay for shifting the region’s economy to net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 while protecting coal-dependent regions from taking the brunt of changes aimed at fighting climate change.

The EU executive is to unveil details of its Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, aimed at mobilising investment of €1 trillion over 10 years, using public and private money to help finance its flagship project – the European Green Deal.

The “Green Deal” is an ambitious rethinking of Europe’s economy, transport and energy sectors aimed at turning the EU into a global leader on the clean technologies that will shape the coming decades.

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The Freud-Einstein Correspondence: Theories of War

In 1931 Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein engaged in an exchange of letters comparing their theories about the sources of warfare. This article by Norrie MacQueen, “The Freud -Einstein Correspondence of 1932 Theories of War,” discusses the debate. The two men did not think alike.

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Banks promise not to spend $47 on fossil fuels

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Under pressure from investors, regulators, and climate activists, 130 big banks have acknowledged the role lenders will need to play in a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy. In September 2019 the banks, which include Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, and Barclays, adopted UN policies and agreed to shift their assets of $47 trillion away from fossil fuel loans. This change aligns their lending practices to the UN Global Compact, which requires that businesses protect the environment. The Compact does not specifically mention climate change as an issue, but any reading of the term “environment” would surely cover restrictions on loans to companies exploiting fossil fuels.

Canada to triple its flow of bitumen

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal MPs declared a climate emergency recently, while his inner circle went ahead reapproving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This will see a tripling of the flow of diluted bitumen—the world’s dirtiest oil—and a seven-fold increase in waterway crude-shipping traffic.

As Noam Chomsky has noted, while the mainstream news-media will report on climate change and related extreme weather events, it will then go to business-as-usual reporting that seems to encourage stronger fossil fuel markets and by extension its consumption.

Especially NONVIOLENT non-state actors

Don’t forget nonviolent actors such as Peace Brigades International, Christian Peacemaker Teams, etc, and the important role they play in nonviolent accompaniment / mediation in conflict zones.

Corporate Social Responsibility Society (CSRS)

Facebook has lots of interesting groups, and I’ve just discovered one that is apparently based at York University’s Schulich School of Business. Check out their Facebook page if you live in Toronto, especially if you’re a student at York U or any other business faculty. They seem to have lots of activities during the academic year.

Green New Deals

On February 7, 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York introduced in the United States House of Representatives a Resolution: Recognizing the Duty of the Federal Government to Create a Green New Deal. It demanded benefits Americans in the twenty first century lack that North West Europeans enjoyed back in the 1960s, and Americans seemed to be on track toward getting during the Roosevelt years. It demanded high wages, paid vacations, increasing life expectancy and universal access to high quality health care.

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Are Lockheed Martin’s Nuclear Weapons Fueling Your Retirement?

BY TOBY A.A. HEAPS July 25, 2019 in Corporate Knights
Think you’re not invested in this weapons maker? Canada Pension Plan, Ontario teachers among those banking on nukes.

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Given the current world situation in 2020, this will likely have to be revisited and revised accordingly in order to be feasible.

A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security

November 24, 2016:

Eleven leading civil society organizations today publicly launched their submission to the Defence Policy Review, entitled “A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security.”

All members of Parliament and the Press Gallery received copies. The launch also featured an Op Ed in the Toronto Star entitled Why UN Peacekeeping is worth the risks (Peggy Mason, 23 November 2016).

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New Bill Aims to Compel Companies to Disclose Climate Risks to SEC

July 17, 2019 | By Karen Savage

A bill that would require public companies to disclose the risks posed to their business by climate change passed a crucial committee vote in the House on Wednesday. The House Financial Services Committee passed the Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2019, which was introduced by Illinois Rep. Sean Casten in 2018. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop and implement guidelines for companies on disclosing climate risks. The SEC would be required to make the information available to the public on its website.

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Civil Society Report Provides Insight on Global Events


The annual State of Civil Society Report analyses how contemporary events and trends are impacting on civil society, and how civil society is responding to the major issues and challenges of the day. This is the eighth edition of our report, focusing on actions and trends in 2018.

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Human Rights in Egypt: CSO’s Letter to the African Union Commission

We write to you in your capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the secretariat of the continental organisation responsible for driving the political agenda and development of the people of Africa.
As Chairperson of the AU Commission, we are assured of your mandate to promote the objectives of the AU. The undersigned organisations work to advance human rights in Africa and write to express deep concerns about the situation of human rights in the Republic of Egypt.

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What Local Governments Need to Know

On 25 September 2015, the Member States of the United Nations agreed on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals, the global agenda that was pursued from 2000 to 2015, and will guide global action on sustainable development until 2030.

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“Subnational” Governments!

Over the last 25 years, the relevance of local governments (states, provinces, municipalities, etc.) in Latin America has been constantly increasing.

The process started with a wave of decentralization, particularly in the education and health sectors, followed by the increasing of other responsibilities of local governments (with the accompanying budget!), and most recently topped off by the allocation of additional investment resources fueled by the commodities boom of the mid-2000s. Currently, in some countries, half of the national budget is now allocated to lower levels of governments .

Subnational Governments cont’d

(Photo: Municipality of Guatapé in Colombia. Adrienne Hathaway / World Bank)

What are we talking about when we talk about “subnational” governments? [2]

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The Tobin Tax

The case for a tax on international monetary transactions.
AUTHOR(S): James Tobin
April 1, 2011

This article is based on a speech delivered in 1995 at a CCPA conference in Ottawa by U.S. economist James Tobin, who died in 2002 at the age of 84. A prominent supporter of Keynesian economics and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1981, Prof. Tobin is now widely known for his suggested imposition of a tax on foreign exchange transactions. Such a tax, he argued, would reduce speculation in the international currency markets, which he saw as dangerous and unproductive.

Some people have reacted to my proposal for an international tax on currency exchange transactions as if it were some kind of quack medicine – particularly the people who might have to pay the tax. So let me explain, in as close to lay language as possible, what it’s all about.

Economists, bankers, central bankers, exporters and importers have been dissatisfied with the international monetary system for a long time, particularly since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971-73, and the shift to flexible, floating exchange rates among the major currencies.

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Spain obstructs agreement on ‘Tobin tax’

By Jorge Valero | EURACTIV.com .

Photo of James Tobin

Revenue sharing among member states appears as the main outstanding issue in order to reach an agreement on the financial transaction tax (FTT), as Spain still opposes the redistribution of resources, European officials told EURACTIV.

Sources close to the dossier said that Italy has also made an alternative proposal to share the revenues.https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/spain-obstructs-agreement-on-tobin-tax/ . (Photo German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire arrive to hold a joint news conference after a Special Eurogroup Finance Ministers’ meeting in Brussels. [Julie Warnand/EPA])

Elizabeth Warren’s Tax Wealth Proposal

By Michael Hitlzik, Los Angeles Times

How much would Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax raise? Economists battle over the number .

One of the most pointless exercises beloved of our policymakers is nitpicking at a novel proposal in its earliest stages, as though the details are vastly more important than the concept.

That’s what seems to be happening with the tax on “ultra-millionaires” proposed in January by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as part of her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Warren’s plan is to impose a 2% tax on household net worth above $50 million, with an additional 1% on fortunes over $1 billion. “This small tax on roughly 75,000 households,” she said, “will bring in $2.75 trillion in revenue over a 10-year period.”

Critics promptly declared the idea unconstitutional (we examined that issue here), and have since followed up with calculations questioning whether it would really produce revenue that high. The critiques of the plan are important because Warren proposes using the money for some of her social policy proposals, such as eliminating student debt and making public higher education free.

More broadly, the inequities built into the federal tax structure have begun to give pause to its richest beneficiaries, 18 of whom recently issued a call for a wealth tax on the top 1%, including themselves.

“This revenue could substantially fund the cost of smart investments in our future, like clean energy innovation to mitigate climate change, universal child care, student loan debt relief, infrastructure modernization, tax credits for low-income families, public health solutions, and other vital needs,” they said in an open letter this week.

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the UC Berkeley economists who helped Warren craft her wealth tax, have just published their response to the quibbling over the numbers. It’s worth examining, not because it nails down their revenue estimate as indisputable (it doesn’t), but because they take point-blank aim at the odd notion in American politics that the wealthy — especially the ultra-wealthy — are somehow impossible to tax.

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Most millionaires support a tax on wealth above $50 million, CNBC survey says

By Robert Frank
CNBC, JUN 12 2019

KEY POINTS
A majority of millionaires support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on large wealth, according to the CNBC Millionaire survey.
Fully 60% of millionaires support Warren’s plan for taxing the wealth of those who have more than $50 million in assets.
Warren’s proposal calls for a tax of 2% on wealth over $50 million and 3% on wealth over $1 billion.
The presidential candidate estimates it would apply only to 75,000 of the richest families and would raise $275 billion a year.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/12/most-millionaires-support-tax-on-wealth-above-50-million-cnbc-survey.html

Oscar Mayer heir: It’s time for a 100% tax on billionaire estates

By Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins is the great grandson of the meatpacker Oscar Mayer and the author of Born on Third Base and, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes. He is a founding member of the Patriotic Millionaires.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/24/its-time-for-a-100percent-tax-on-billionaire-estates-oscar-mayer-heir-says.html

These Major Banks are the Biggest Investors in Fossil Fuel Projects

(From Sum of Us)

A major report released today has found that three of Canada’s largest banks, Scotiabank, TD, and RBC, are amongst the top ten banks in the world funding climate change.

The effects of climate chaos will be far worse than previously predicted. To keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees, by the year 2030, just over a decade away, governments and corporations will need to make drastic changes to reduce carbon emissions to 45% of 2010 levels. Despite the immense scope and magnitude of the climate crisis, these three Canadian banks continue to pour billions of dollars into fossil fuels — even after the Paris Accord was signed.

But it doesn’t have to be this way — these banks could fund clean, green energy projects instead, and stop bankrolling projects that endanger our future. It’s time for TD, Scotiabank and RBC to phase out funding in fossil fuels, and ensure that the rise in global temperature does not exceed 1.5 degrees!

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Now here’s a proposal that should be considered as part of this plank: Create public banks. These would be stronger than credit unions, but accountable in a democratic way, and oriented toward the public good.

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Americans celebrated Independence Day on July 4, 2019 in different ways. In Washington, D.C. Donald Trump ordered tanks to decorate the streets and mall and fighter planes to streak across the sky. In Liberty, Ohio there was the usual parade of vintage tractors down main street.

Which celebration better illustrates the meaning of sustainable common security?

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Secretary General Kofi Annan had his own way of dealing with corporate giants. He allocated a portion of his office to setting up a Global Compact, which would supposedly tame the bad actors. He never said whether he felt he had achieved his goal. Certainly the Global Compact has influenced capitalist business practices to some degree, though it is entirely voluntary and not especially well-known. There is no official mechanism for enforcement, or even shaming firms that do not accept its ten (rather vague) principles. We need a much stronger instrument. Yet the organization does function. The photo shows its CEO, Lisa Kingo, in a meeting with business executives.

Municipalities and provincial government matter too. Imagine being in charge of keeping order on Mulberry Street in New York when it looked like this.

The World Social Forum is probably the most woke gathering on earth.

Some people consider it bad manners to complain about inequality. Strange.

I think there’s a shift towards using the Tobin proposal as a template for a variety of sin taxes to generate revenue. In the end the goal is to shift funds from the wealthiest; it is a redistribution project. Remember that Tobin’s goal was not revenue generation but calming speculation. This is pointed out in the plank essay.

His facts are indisputably correct — or were, so long as Trump was in power. It’s his recommendations that are questionable. WHAT multilateral institutions should be promoted? And HOW can they be democratized? And finally, would we be better off if they were? Very vague.

Select the Videos from Right

We produce several one-hour-long Zoom conversations each week about various aspects of six issues we address. You can watch them live and send a question to the speakers or watch the edited version later here or on our Youtube channel.