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Providing Context for the People’s Climate March Sunday

By: Saturday September 20, 2014 9:05 am

On Sunday, Sept. 21, thousands will march in New York City in advance of the U.N. Climate Summit next Tuesday, where nations will meet to discuss potential solutions to curb carbon emissions.

However, the talks scheduled for Paris next year is when the finalized rules and regulations will be implemented.

In fact, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said last year she was hopeful for a combined effort of nations to address climate change after the failure of an agreement at Copenhagen in 2009.

What is very different is that we all went to 2009 having made our own decision that governments had to come to an agreement. But there was actually no commitment of governments to come to an agreement.

The memory of the Copenhagen talks is still in the minds of environmentalists, the talks were deemed a significant failure with the United States more interested in employing its surveillance equipment than providing a framework to curb carbon emissions.

Roz Savage, an environmentalist well known for rowing across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was present at the Copenhagen talks in 2009. However, as she documented in her book Stop Drifting, Start Rowing, she too felt disappointed by a lack of an agreement, perhaps most telling when she recounted meeting with Kiribati President Anote Tong.

While the climate talks were in their final throes, I was having dinner with President Anote Tong and the rest of the Kiribati delegation in a curry restaurant in downtown Copenhagen. The President was open about his feelings: ‘We are trying to maintain our composure, but I am very sad … We were naive and vulnerable … I wish I was so much more ruthless.’ That evening the negotiations ended in failure.

Since 2009, there has barely been any efforts to contain carbon emissions. Rather, nations like the United States or Mexico decided to offer oil and natural gas to private companies, which will certainly goes against curbing climate change.

There is more in terms of the effects of climate change since 2009, yet one of the most alarming pieces of information is how Limits to Growth, a book from 1972 predicting the collapse of civilization, was found to be correct so far in its hypothesis. The scarce nimber of resources, combined with an unsustainable system built on consumption, would eventually spell doom if nothing is done.

It is what makes such talks important, yet preparations for the Paris conference next year might as well be considered over, as Chris Williams argued in a recent piece in The Indypendent titled “Why U.N. Climate Talks Continue to Fail.” The failure of previous agreements only reinforce how the following summit will provide no solution.

[Conference of Parties] 21 will be held in Paris in 2015 and is meant to finalize a global deal to replace Kyoto with real and significant pledges on carbon reductions. However, according to participants in the process, COP 21 is already dead in the water. There will be no specific limits on emissions or targets for doing so; nothing will be legally enforceable; and whatever happens will be merely voluntary, as the United States — the world’s largest economy — has long insisted.

Thus, thousands will be in New York City on Monday to show how important it is to reach an agreement and implement solutions. Certainly there will still be the clamor for reform within the UN as some environmentalists still hold on that view. Yet the paradigm may be shifting with Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything, providing the lead example .

The question of capitalism is now on the table and how it connects with the idea of cutting carbon emissions. As Klein told John Tarleton of The Indypendent, current calls for cutting carbon emissions are incompatible with the capitalist system’s desire to continue to profit. Indeed, when the ice in the Arctic started to melt and exposed valuable natural resources, nations did not worry about what caused this. Instead, they are fighting one another to gain control of these resources for themselves.

Over the next few days activists will speak in panels on specific environmental issues, motivate others to join the march, actually march on Sunday and even flood Wall Street the following day.

Firedoglake will provide coverage for most of these events surrounding this monumental convocation for whatever happens in the next few days will be significant for the environment movement today and the future of our planet.

The Roundup for September 19th, 2014

By: Friday September 19, 2014 2:08 pm

It’s Friday folks. A busy weekend ahead for me, but just one day of class on Monday! Have a wonderful weekend!

Today is Kit O’Connell’s last day, he was a dedicated colleague and member of Firedoglake. We’ll miss him for sure.

Don’t forget tomorrow is the FDL Book Salon with Mark Shapiro on carbon and climate change (how fitting) featuring journalist Steve Horn as host. There is no salon on Sunday.

International Politics


- When the U.S. launches air strikes in Syria, they will not notify anyone of when they will begin or end.

- The UN called for all nations to unite against the Islamic State in Iraq to stop their barbaric acts

Middle East

- The Israeli-Palestinian issue in Israel cannot be talked about without the economic context of labor, globalization and fierce militarization

- A shell fired during the Israeli bombings on Palestine exploded killing three Palestinians (it was a dud when it landed)

- While Syrian rebels continue to deny a truce was made with the ISIL, there are still efforts to do so

- Bombings throughout Iraq left 31 people dead and at least 51 wounded

Asia and Oceania

-  Sectarian infighting in Yemen left at least 120 people dead


- Nigeria sent $9.3 million to South Africa to obtain weapons. However, it is probably not with the government, but with the black market in South Africa.


- 55 percent of those who voted in the referendum on Scottish independence decided not to separate from the UK

- Alex Salmond, first minister of the Scottish National Party, announced his resignation after the results were announced

- The shutdown of a news television company in Greece is the tip of the iceberg in corruption, dirty politics and censoring those of the press who do not follow the country’s bottom line; Sounds like a corporation

- Speaking of corruption in Greece, a former cabinet member of Prime Minister Antonio Samaras told Golden Dawn officials how to vote in parliament

Surveillance Planet

- After hackers successfully broke into Home Depot’s security, they were able to steal data from 56 million customers

- An NSA official is married to a defense contractor involved with intelligence, which means the link between public and private just keeps getting stronger

- U.S. officials note spying by the CIA in Europe is paused due to recent events such as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations. Kevin Gosztola has more.

Financial Matters

- A new study found non-profits operating in wealthier areas in California have a larger budget compared with non-profits operating in poorer areas

- The world is in chaos and in need of weapons, which arms dealers are happy to supply

- The Financial Minister of Greece rejected any future bailouts for the country by Europe

Labor’s a-Brewing

- As health workers continue orking tirelessly to stop Ebola from spreading, the issues of low wages and little protective gear spring up

Politics US

Washington USA

- Progressive Democrats in Congress are split whether to go along with the Obama administration in supporting Syrian rebels or going against it

- David Sirota: “Is Obama Going Easy On Banks That Break the Law?“; Yes.

- Supreme Court Justice John Roberts: The atmosphere of partisanship in Washington wouldn’t allow for Antonin Scalia to be nominated today; Aren’t you a contributor to that atmosphere?

Anytown USA

- Pew: Out of all the ethnic groups, only Hispanics had a drop in their poverty rates and a growth in their income

We Don’t Need No Education

- With education reform still considered a profitable business venture to help struggling students, the real issues involved are neglected

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Good news as Philadelphia, Penn., decriminalized marijuana, which is just the first step in ensuring marijuana is not treated as a vice

- While the White House called for a federal investigation into abuse of antibiotics by industrial farms, we must ask why it took so long?  This was known for decades

The Second Sex

- Sexism is harder on black women; for example, consider the awful racism and sexism they face online

- In what reveals the bullying nature of the pro-life movement, the new Miss America faced vicious online attacks from these reactionary organizations for her ties to Planned Parenthood

- Vice President Joseph Biden: Young men need to speak out against domestic violence on campuses

Planet Earth

- With the People’s Climate March in New York City just two days away, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers talk with The Real News about the implications of this event

- California faces a grim future with global warming only fueling more devastating droughts

- After efforts by student and faculty to force Stanford University to divest from fossil fuels succeeded, it provided a valuable lesson on what works

Mixed Bag

Salon interviews Terry Gilliam, former Monty Python member and a director, about his latest films, the state of Hollywood and the state of society itself

- In New York City, a bunch of anti-Muslim bigots purchased ad space on MTA transportation to promote their hate-filled message amid an increase of attacks against Muslim; I tried my best to objectively report the situation in case anyone was wondering

Break Time

- Gold Guns Girls [Metric]

1 In 4 Americans ‘Open To Secession’

By: Friday September 19, 2014 10:12 am

Though Scotland just voted to stay in Britain it seems secession as an idea still has some appeal. According to Reuters, 1 in 4 Americans are open to idea of their states seceding from the union.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted between August and September found that about 24% of those surveyed “strongly supported or tended to support” their state seceding form the union. The reason for the widespread antagonism towards the federal government was linked to disgust with gridlock and dysfunction in DC.

Even though a student of American history might reasonably think the south would be the only place such views would find a home, the poll revealed that interest in secession crossed party lines and regions. Though Republicans and western states polled higher, it appears more and more Americans are fed up with the federal government

Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.

The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.

While the idea of secession seems absurd on some level, the revulsion is real. Polls have continually show that the American people – in all regions – hate the way Washington operates and do not trust nor approve of the federal government, including institutions like Congress which, in theory, is supposed to be one of the most inclusive and representative of the population as a whole.

Given the consequences the last time states tried to secede from the union it seems unlikely any states – even Texas – will go further than vociferously noting their displeasure with DC and calling for more federalism. But there surely will be a price to pay for so many Americans – from so many different backgrounds – hating the federal government and losing confidence it can function effectively.

Photo by Jeff Kubina under Creative Commons license.

Secret Emails Show Lack Of Support For Hillary Clinton Among Democratic Activists

By: Friday September 19, 2014 7:58 am

According to secret emails reviewed by The Hill, some influential Democratic Party members are less than enthused about the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming president. The Google group called “Gamechanger Salon,” hosts 1,500 Democratic Party aligned operatives in activism and media. A years worth of emails revealed “significant dissatisfaction” with Hillary Clinton. The group includes [...]

Senate Votes To Give Weapons And Training To ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels

By: Friday September 19, 2014 5:38 am

Senate votes 78-22 to fund President Obama request to arm, train Syrian rebels. Recall that Senate vote authorizing Bush on Iraq was 77-23. — John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) September 19, 2014 Following the House, the Senate voted yesterday to approve President Obama’s plan to arm and train the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels. They vote was 78-22 [...]

The Roundup for September 18th, 2014

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 1:52 pm

It’s Thursday folks. As we approach the end of the week, what’s on your mind today? International Politics Overall – Former U.S. officials warned the U.S. government, in terms of the fight against the Islamic State, all options must be placed on the table – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: We need supplies to defeat the [...]

Strike Debt Announces Abolishment Of Student Debt On Occupy Anniversary

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 6:59 am

Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, announced yesterday that it has abolished $4 million worth of student loan debt as part of its Rolling Jubilee program. The group was able to purchase the debt for around $100,000. The announcement came on September 17th, which is the anniversary of the beginning of [...]

New York Times Public Editor Says Off-The-Record Meeting Raises Concerns

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 6:15 am

New Gallup poll: "Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low." — Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 17, 2014 With an increasing number of Americans distrustful of the mainstream media you would think the establishment would try to be on their best behavior. Not so. As was revealed late last week, numerous members of the [...]

House Votes To Give Weapons And Training To ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 5:07 am

President Obama’s self-described “fantasy” got some help from Congress yesterday as the House of Representatives passed a bill pushed by both Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to arm and train rebels in Syria. The vote was 273 to 156 and appropriated no funds yet proved controversial as both Democrats and Republicans opposed [...]

The Roundup for September 17th, 2014

By: Wednesday September 17, 2014 6:47 pm

Hey there folks, what are you doing today? International Politics Overall                          – Russia and Egypt agree on a new $3.5 billion weapons deal to arm Egypt – A U.S. Senate investigation found China hacked into the Pentagon a few times – Russia called for a UN Security Council hearing on the MH17 flight after a recent [...]

Poverty Unchanged By Wall Street Recovery

By: Wednesday September 17, 2014 9:19 am

Though the federal government and Federal Reserve moved heaven and earth to ensure the 1% were made whole after the financial crisis, those unable to buy influence in Washington remain frayed. According to the Census Bureau over 14% of Americans remain below the poverty line while financial markets have made a considerable recovery from 2008 [...]

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