Marching for Mother Earth

March for Science: Rallies worldwide to protest against political interference


Scientists and supporters participate in a March for Science in Washington DC, 22 April 2017

Scientists and supporters participate in a March for Science in Washington DC, 22 April 2017

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People marched in Washington DC against President Trump, who is cutting funding for scientific research

Thousands of scientists have taken part in demonstrations around the world in protest against what they see as a global political assault on facts.

The first-ever March for Science, which was timed to coincide with Earth Day, was aimed at promoting action to protect the environment.

Organisers said it was a celebration of science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.

The main event was held in Washington DC.

The event’s promoters said the march in the US capital was not aimed against President Donald Trump, while adding that his administration had “catalysed” the movement.

March for Science demonstrators rally in Washington DC, 22 April 2017

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Protesters carried placards that read “Science belongs to everyone” and “Science, not silence”

At the demonstration in Washington DC, Dr Jonathan Foley, the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences, said that research was being irrationally questioned, adding that attacks from politicians “amounted to oppression”.

“They’re specifically targeting science that protects our health, our safety and the environment. Science that protects the most vulnerable among us,” he said.

“Some people will suffer, some could even die,” Dr Foley added.

From climate change and pollution to medicine, men and women who support science were motivated on Saturday by the coverage of the recent Women’s March and are mobilising to make their concerns heard.

Supporters of science and research gather for the March for Science protest in Sydney, 22 April 2017

Supporters of science and research gather for the March for Science protest in Sydney, 22 April 2017

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Protesters hold placards and banners as they participate in the March for Science rally on Earth Day, in Sydney, Australia, 22 April 2017

Protesters hold placards and banners as they participate in the March for Science rally on Earth Day, in Sydney, Australia, 22 April 2017

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Demonstrators are rallying against what they see as a global political assault on facts
Demonstrators hold banners before the March for Science in front of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, 22 April 2017

Demonstrators hold banners before the March for Science in front of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, 22 April 2017

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Protesters in Berlin, Germany, held placards in support of the scientific community
People gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate in support of scientific research during the March for Science in Berlin, Germany, 22 April 2017

People gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate in support of scientific research during the March for Science in Berlin, Germany, 22 April 2017

Image copyright GETTY IMAGES

Thousands of protesters around the world have taken part in the first-ever March for Science

Organisers of the March for Science Vienna, in Austria, earlier said on the group’s Facebook page that it was encouraging people to turn out to join a movement that began shortly after Mr Trump entered the White House.

Mr Trump has previously called climate change a hoax and his views have raised concerns among the scientific community that the public are beginning to doubt the facts provided as scientific evidence.

A woman holds a sign as she participates in the March for Science in Vienna, Austria, 22 April 2017

A woman holds a sign as she participates in the March for Science in Vienna, Austria, 22 April 2017

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Large crowds in the Austrian capital Vienna joined the worldwide protest
People holding placards during the March for Science day at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva, Switzerland, 22 April 2017

People holding placards during the March for Science day at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva, Switzerland, 22 April 2017

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Marchers turned out in Geneva, Switzerland

In London, scientists and science enthusiasts marched from the Science Museum to Parliament Square.

Many were protesting against what they consider to be an “alarming trend” among politicians for discrediting their research.

Scientists and science enthusiasts gather for the March for Science outside the Science Museum in central London, 22 April 2017

Scientists and science enthusiasts gather for the March for Science outside the Science Museum in central London, 22 April 2017

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES

A large crowd of enthusiasts turned up at the Science Museum in central London
Scientists and science enthusiasts participate in the March for Science in central London, 22 April 2017

Scientists and science enthusiasts participate in the March for Science in central London, 22 April 2017

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES

Thousands marched in London, from the Science Museum to Parliament Square

The aim of the March for Science was to bring scientists and their research closer to the general public.

Organisers are of the view that it can be challenging for scientists to communicate with the public and are even actively encouraging scientists to become politicians so that their voices can be effectively heard.




It’s Earth Day and I always try to celebrate.  I support the importance of Science, especially in a world where the EPA is being defunded and “Alternate Facts” (i.e. LIES) are in vogue.


As Neil DeGrasse Tyson says: “The good thing about Science is that it’s true whether you believe it or not.”


I couldn’t agree more.  We must all encourage the next generation to not only embrace the truth in science, but to go into the sciences and study STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).  Science will lead us to a safe, prosperous future; lies will destroy us all.




International Women’s Day

These schools are closed because of the women’s strike today



‘This Kind of Strike Is Really Something New’

L.A. Kauffman, a historian of radical protest in America, fits the “Day Without a Woman” into history.

Protesters gather at a rally for International Women’s Day in Los Angeles.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

L.A. Kauffman may have the best-timed book release in years.

For the past quarter century, Kauffman has been researching and writing a chronicle of post-1960s protest on the American left. She has found and interviewed the participants of Mayday 1971, a forgotten D.C. blockade that triggered the largest mass arrest in U.S. history; she has identified the origins of affinity groups and consensus-based decision-making; and she has detailed the actions of ACT UP, the anti-AIDS group that she calls “the most innovative, influential, and effective radical organization of the late-20th century.”

The fruits of that labor—a concise and comprehensive book called Direct Actioncame out late last month. It is her luck that it was released during the most fervent period of progressive mobilization since 1968. Many of the tactics that Kauffman details, previously on the margins, are now being deployed for the first time at a massive, nationwide scale.Wednesday is one of those deployments. “The Day Without a Woman,” a “general strike” led by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, calls for American women to give up their labor at work and at home for 24 hours. I was curious: How did Kauffman understand the strike? How does it compare to other major, post-1960s actions? And how should interested Americans think about the efficacy of protest?
I spoke with Kauffman about how protest movements become popular and how she has come to think change actually happens in the United States. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Robinson Meyer: My sense is that general striking is not a tactic that has been successfully executed, really, since the 1960s in the United States. Is that right?

L.A. Kauffman: It has not. There occasionally have been calls issued by small organizations that don’t have any traction. But there really has not been something that looks anything like a general strike in decades.

I’m not really a labor historian, so I can’t answer in detail about some of the earlier attempts at broad general strikes. But those were so long ago, and so different in character from what people are talking about now, that it’s really apples and oranges. In particular, earlier general strikes were an attempt to leverage the power of labor unions and oppositional organizations, and they were met by very violent crackdowns.

The whole dynamic is very different now. The model that’s being used is the “Day Without an Immigrant” model. It’s sectoral—the framing is a “general strike,” but in fact it’s coming from a particular sector and looking to demonstrate a level of collective power through mass noncompliance. It’s an approach that people have not used as much.

People have used various tactics of mass noncompliance; they’ve used boycotts; but this kind of strike is really something new. And it’s particularly new in that it’s redefining the general strike for an era in which organized labor is not going to be front and center. It’s redefining the general strike without the sense of it being led by a labor movement. What I find so compelling about it is that it shows a level of innovation, of people stretching the limits of the question: What can we do in this moment?

Meyer: You’ve written this history of protest tactics after 1970 in Direct Action.Are we seeing some of the largest-ever deployment of those exact tactics right now?Kauffman: Yes, absolutely. People are trying these tactics in a way, and on a scale, that we simply haven’t seen before. And having that perspective [of the last 40 years] is important because, I think, a lot of people are going to be looking to compare what happens on Wednesday with the numbers on January 21. And that’s not really the point of comparison. The point of comparison is the absence of walkouts and sectoral strikes like this in the past, and that these tactics are being tried on a national scale for the first time.We’ve had boycotts, we’ve had divestment campaigns, but outside of the immigrant-rights movement—which has been doing these Days Without an Immigrant for a while, this is hearkening back to the extraordinary mobilizations in 2006—[this kind of strike is] a tool that’s been used much more in other countries than here.And it’s kind of appropriate that they would have this more global perspective on what tactics we might use in this moment. The immigrant-rights movement is composed of many people who had experience responding to authoritarian regimes in their own countries before they came here.

Meyer: What does success look like for those tactics in the United States?

Kauffman: There’s many different kinds of protests and mobilizations, and gauging the success of them is always contextual. It depends on what arena you’re struggling in, and what the objectives are, and what the time frame for evaluating the success is.

At this moment, the first and foremost job of the broad resistance is to continue to keep the Trump administration in a state of crisis, to contribute keeping them off balance and on the defensive. [Day Without a Woman] has the potential to be one of many moves that are contributing to that. I think it’s important—the organizers of the Women’s March have been very thoughtful and intentional trying to harness the incredible energy of January 21 and think about how to move forward and transform that mobilizing work into new kinds of organizing.
Meyer: What does that kind of mobilization and organization work entail?
Kauffman: Mobilizing is getting people to show up. Organizing is building groups, amassing collective power within some kind of organizational entity that’s going to follow an agenda over time.So the “Day Without a Woman” is getting a lot of attention, but there hasn’t been as much attention to the fact that in the wake of January 21, the Women’s March called for—and people organized—5,000 small-group meetings all around the country to talk about this moment, to think about what steps people might take, and to take the self-mobilizing energy that made January 21 so massive and powerful and figure out how to put down deeper roots. You don’t keep it going by just calling for march after march.
Meyer: It was interesting reading about the late 60s in your book, which was another moment of mass mobilization. There, it did get to a point where people were tired of going to protests, and it seemed like that prompted some of the factionalization of the 1970s. People would go to demonstration after demonstration against the Vietnam War, and then they were eventually like, well, what are we demonstrating for?
Kauffman: There’s certain tactics during that specific period, the late 60s, that are pretty much off the table now. People were like, “Well, our marches and our demonstrations aren’t working, so maybe we need to go to street fighting. Or maybe we need to go to armed struggle.” And all those attempts backfired so spectacularly that those tactics are—and I expect will continue to be—off the table.But this is a moment where people are looking very thoughtfully at what tools we have at our disposal that we haven’t used as much, like going to town-hall meetings. The left hasn’t particularly done that kind of organizing on a large scale, in the way that we saw during the “resistance recess” [last month]. Part of that is people thinking about running for office and engaging with the electoral process in a different way. We’re seeing a lot of interest in engaging with the Democratic party at a grassroots level in a way that… you know, the left has mostly defined itself against that party for decades.
Meyer: Why is that different now?
Kauffman: I think part of [the erosion of that divide] has been the decline of the ideological left and the rise of the many identity and issue-based movements, many of which have understood that they need to engage liberals and progressives in order to push forward their agenda. They may stand in oppostion to the corporate liberalism of the establishment Democratic party, but there’s not that same sense of a big ideological divide that there was for a time [during the ’60s].

Meyer: After surveying the long sweep of post-1960s protest on the left, is there a movement or story in your book that you hope people now would know about?

Kauffman: The one I always cite first and foremost is ACT UP, which managed to accomplish an absolutely staggering amount despite never having had very large numbers compared to, say, the anti-war movement. It’s always much smaller than other movements that we’ve had. It was always socially and culturally on the margins and proud of that. It was disruptive, and rude, and in your face, and very bold and aggressive. And it succeeded—through its persistence, and its willingness to use controversial tactics—in transforming the drug testing and approval process and saving literally millions of lives.

As people are experimenting now with the ways that we can be a check on the Trump administration policies, the lesson there is that we should be willing to be unpopular, to do things that are controversial, to use tactics that are going to be criticized—all within the broad framework of nonviolence. There’s a lot of evidence that when you step outside of strictly nonviolent tactics, the negative reactions outweigh the positive gains.

[People have said,] “Well you’re not going to be reaching Trump voters if you do this, you’re not going to be reaching that broad middle.” I mean, that’s not how change happens in this country. There are kinds of change that happen that way, but the kind of change that has led us to have progress for LGBT folks across a period of mostly conservative governance, for instance, comes from bold, outsider activism that has been sustained and persistent and usually controversial in the moment.Meyer: There’s been this discussion among writers on The Atlantic: Should protesters be bold and uncompromising and disruptive, or should they be visibly patriotic, and think about how their actions will play on TV in Ohio and Michigan? What’s an example of a disruptive and controversial but ultimately successful tactic like that from, say, ACT UP?Kauffman: You can go to something that people know better than they know ACT UP, which is the movement to end racial segregation in the South in the Fifties. At the time, if you go back and look at public-opinion data from the period, the Civil Rights Movement was very unpopular. And its actions were consistently criticized as being polarizing and not reaching this mythical person in Ohio. “People are turned off by this. Why do you have to sit at the lunch counters? Isn’t there a way to do this that’s less disruptive? Did you really have to put everybody on that bus together and cross state lines? Look at the violence you provoked!”
There’s a way in which people fail to see that the consensus in favor of the changes that movement wrought—they always come after they’ve won. Nothing makes a movement popular like winning. And to get to winning, you almost always have to do things that are controversial and unpopular. That doesn’t mean you have to be rioting and burning American flags—people will criticize you just for marching on Washington. But particularly when the odds are long, it’s in those stronger tactics that you’re able to create the crisis that forces decision makers to move your way, to accede to your demands.Meyer: You just alluded to this, but I want to get your I’ve-been-working-on-a-book-for-25-years-and-here’s-the-answer-I-finally-came-up-with answer. How does change happen in this country?Kauffman: I think, in a way, it’s kind of how Trumpism happened.Change happens slowly and unevenly over time, but it usually starts at the margins. It usually starts with people who are putting forth a vision that is dramatically at odds with the existing reality, whether their vision is women being able to vote, or black and white folks being able to live together in harmony and share public accommodations and schools. It’s been, time and time again, the actions of unpopular trailblazers that have over time catalyzed change, persuaded many others, rallied them to their pole of action by standing strong with a vision of something different—rather than watering [that vision] down with some idea that you’re going to get more adherents by doing so. That’s the great mistake of neoliberalism and Clintonism and the Democratic Party, and it’s why the Democratic party lost.

A gift of taking 25 years to write a book is that, by the time I finally got around to finishing it, I was able to take a long view of what has worked and what hasn’t worked. [You can] evaluate what movements did on a long horizon, so that you’re not just saying, “Well, the occupation of Seabrook Nuclear Plant [in 1976] kind of fell apart, and the movement dissolved into infighting, and they weren’t able to mount another protest.” Instead, you say, you know what? Not another nuclear plant was built for decades after Seabrook.

You have to have the long view and say, what that [protest] did was that it threw a monkey wrench into a process that was otherwise going to just unfold smoothly. With the longer time frame, you’re able to see that these protest movements—that appear marginal and unpopular in the moment—are often what succeed in catalyzing changes that the broad majority goes on to cherish and value.



Women’s Strike brings paid leave supporters to D.C. by the thousands

by  Alan Pyke

They’re saying Trump’s paid leave plan is a sham.

Participants in Wednesday’s Women Workers Rising rally at Labor Department headquarters. CREDIT: Screenshot/V-Day

A quarter-century ago, Safiyyah A. Muhammad almost lost her job.

The, her oldest son threw up in a trash can in front of her boss.

“I had called three hours before my shift to say, ‘my son has a 100-degree fever and he’s vomiting.’ And they said ‘well if you aren’t coming in today then don’t come back at all,’” Muhammad, now 47, said in an interview.

Then a 22-year-old single mother, Muhammad decided to bring her son with her to the retail store where she’d just been threatened with termination for trying to stay home with the boy. Two bus rides and two hours later, she plopped him down behind the register in his school uniform and went to work.

“Right as the manager walked by,” she said, “he keeled over and threw up in the trash can. My manager said, ‘He can’t be here! You have to take him home.’ That’s what I’m trying to tell you!”

On Wednesday, Muhammad and 2,000 other working women like her rallied outside the Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to get serious about paid sick leave legislation.

Convened by the national Family Values @ Work organizing network, Wednesday’s demonstration is just one of dozens being staged for International Women’s Day. These “A Day Without a Woman” protests and strikes are a direct response to the misogynistic shadow President Donald Trump now casts across American politics.

“It’s a blessing that business owners understand the value of having healthy workers.”

FV@W’s rally is a bit more delicate, politically speaking, than many of the other protests and rallies Wednesday, such as the large demonstration against Trump’s devastating “global gag rule” on abortion services. Where many of the causes bound up in Wednesday’s gender strike face outright opposition from Trump and his allies, the new president has at least claimed to support the idea of paid leave laws for working families.

The Trump team’s lip service to paid leave “was a testament to the power of our movement. But the devil’s in the details, and the details we’ve seen so far from the administration are devilish,” FV@W head Ellen Bravo told ThinkProgress.

Trump’s version of paid family leave — which the president is entrusting to daughter Ivanka, much as he did during the campaign — would be too small and too restrictive to help most of the people who need it, she said, and would be paid for with money from the already underfunded unemployment insurance system.

“It’s not just that it doesn’t go far enough. It’s that it’s a step in the wrong direction,” Bravo said.

Paid sick and family leave laws have spread rapidly in the past few years, in part because they don’t fall into the same oppositional political polarization that so often leads conservatives to oppose anything they perceive as liberal in intent. Business owners are often among the most fervent advocates for the laws, out of the recognition that a healthy workforce is far more valuable than one worked to the edge of sanity and ill health.

Big business is far from perfect here — especially on family leave laws — but corporate sympathy to these ideas gives groups like FV@W a powerful conduit to conservative politicians. And enough cities and states have adopted paid sick days or paid family leave policies that economists can now confidently debunk apocalyptic right-wing predictions about their impact.

A tentative alliance with the business community and a mountain of real-world evidence in favor of the laws could could have made it tougher for Bravo, Muhammad, and everyone else at Wednesday’s rally to connect their cause with the broader liberal and feminist backlash against Trump. Antagonizing an impulsive misogynist with the power of the federal government at his fingers could threaten the trans-ideological power of the paid leave idea.

Bravo isn’t worried.

“Our coalitions are great places to build bridges,” she said. “In many places we have people who signed a petition for paid leave and then voted for Trump. Maybe they have been fed the story that immigrants are the reason they are losing their farm or their job, but our coalitions are a venue for breaking down that lie.”

“We have people who signed a petition for paid leave and then voted for Trump.”

Besides, she added, Trump’s broader agenda is so objectionable that FV@W “can’t look at things piecemeal. When you say you’re going after ‘bad dudes’ and in fact you arrest a dad who’s taking his kid to school, when you have a president who demonizes an entire group of people based on their religion or where they come from,” Bravo said, “we have to oppose that in the strongest possible way.”

All else equal, Wednesday’s rally participants trust that the bleedingly obvious economic logic of the paid leave idea will eventually steamroll any petty partisanship or stick-in-the-mud tribalism from Trump allies.

Muhammad has seen for herself how math can triumph over ideology. Back home in East Orange, New Jersey, city leaders passed a paid sick leave law in 2014 — about 20 years after the day her oldest son threw up in front of her boss.

“This was brought up by our city’s Chamber of Commerce. It’s a blessing that business owners understand the value of having healthy workers,” she said. “We really hope that this administration comes on board, because we can see they are driven by economics, by big business.”

Today, Muhammad’s oldest son is 30 years old with two kids of his own and a third on the way. She’s had four other kids — three sons on the autism spectrum, and a daughter who’s about to graduate high school — and married again.

Now, she works as a peer support counselor for special-needs caregivers like herself. She works part-time so she and her husband don’t have to spend big bucks on child care, on top of the expensive support and care her three younger sons need.

“I get so excited when I look at my pay stub and see those sick days being accumulated,” Muhammad said. “Now I can say, ‘You know what, I’m not feeling well, I need a sick day.’ And I can take one.”



“A Day Without Women” aims to put an economic price on women’s political power.


Fresh off the success of the Women’s March, which drew 3 million to 4 million protesters in the United States alone, activists are urging women across the world to go on strike Wednesday, turning the annual International Women’s Day into “A Day Without Women.” The organizers of the day of action, which include a team orchestrating protests in dozens of countries around the world, are calling on women to take whatever action their lives allow for, including taking the day off from work; refraining from doing both paid and unpaid labor like childcare or household duties; attending 1 of the 50 rallies happening in cities across the country; declining to shop at male-owned or corporate businesses; or even just wearing red in solidarity.

The Women’s Strike, as the event is being called, is a way of leveraging women’s labor and spending to put an economic price on women’s political power. The goal, organizers say, is to recognize “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system—while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

The idea of a general strike is foreign to many Americans. The labor movement in 2017 is far weaker than it once was, and general strikes haven’t been popular in the U.S. since the 1940s, though activists hope to change that. Unlike a strike against a company, in which workers pressure their employer for improved work conditions or better pay, a general strike has less specific goals. A Day Without Women—which takes place during a work day—is a more aggressive kind of protest than a Saturday afternoon march. It’s a means of reintroducing the concept of a strike into the political consciousness of the everyday American.

Specifically, in the case of the Women’s Strike, it’s a way to translate protest into economic impact. The goal is to make the absence of women and their labor felt, and in the process, make mainstream the concepts of striking and labor issues so that a day of action has lasting impact. “A lot of what people are trying to do is start to rebuild a muscle,” Janice Fine, a professor of labor studies at Rutgers University, told Bloomberg. “They are trying to get people to think about how they might participate.”

The strike is the latest in a series of mass protests that have taken place since President Donald Trump began rolling back his predecessor’s progressive agenda, energizing the left in opposition. The “Grab Your Wallet” boycott, started by anti-Trump activist Shannon Coulter after the election to educate consumers about companies selling Trump products, has called on participants to contact stores like Macy’s and Amazon to urge them to stop selling Trump-made goods. Since Coulter’s boycott began, companies like Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx have started to phase out their Trump-related inventories. In February, hundreds of Yemeni-owned bodegas shut their doors for one business day in protest of Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. Next week, Silicon Valley’s tech workers plan to walk out from their jobs in protest of the president. The group’s goals include urging “our tech leaders to stand up and speak out for our users when the current administration enacts policies that negatively affect our community,” according to its GoFundMe profile.

Some writers have criticized the Women’s Strike, saying that it requires some amount of privilege to join a day of action, particularly for women who take care of young children at home or work hourly jobs they can’t afford to miss. But this criticism fails to take into account both the diverse means by which people can participate in Wednesday’s day of action, and the fact that the Women’s Strike has the support of domestic workers, restaurant workers, the bodega owners who went on strike in New York last month, and immigrant groups. In recent years, it has actually been groups with the least privilege—and the most to lose—that have often been at the forefront of social-justice protests and strikes. The Fight for $15 and other labor protests have seen thousands of fast-food and other low-wage workers go on strike for a higher minimum wage over the past two years. In 2016, Black Lives Matter supported prison strikes in 24 states, the largest coordinated effort in U.S. history to protest forced labor.

Both President Trump and his daughter Ivanka co-opted the message of the Women’s Strike on Wednesday, perhaps attempting to defuse some of its political power. “On International Women’s Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world,” the president tweeted, adding, “I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.” His daughter wrote, “Today, we celebrate women and are reminded of our collective voice and the powerful impact we have on our societies and economies.”

Few are likely to be persuaded by the effort. Although the Women’s Strike is not explicitly aimed at protesting Trump, some of the organizers’ goals—abortion rights, for example—are a direct rebuke of the president’s policies. Under the House G.O.P.’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood, which provides women’s health care and abortion services, would effectively be defunded. The Women’s Strike on Wednesday will invariably draw comparisons to the widely attended Women’s March, and unlike the march on Washington, the optics of a general strike are less likely to include impressive aerial crowd shots and photo ops with witty protest signs. But if Wednesday can introduce the concept of a general strike to Middle America, organizers believe it will be a success in its own right.


This is Why We Stand With Standing Rock

Pipeline Spills 176,000 Gallons of Oil Into Creek 150 Miles From Dakota Access Protests

A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, as well as environmentalists from around the country, have fought the pipeline project on the grounds that it crosses beneath a lake that provides drinking water to native Americans. They say the route beneath Lake Oahe puts the water source in jeopardy and would destroy sacred land.

North Dakota officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek. State environmental scientist Bill Suess says a landowner discovered the spill on Dec. 5 near the city of Belfield, which is roughly 150 miles from the epicenter of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps

The leak was contained within hours of the its discovery, Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the Belle Fourche pipeline, told CNBC.

It’s not yet clear why electronic monitoring equipment didn’t detect the leak, Owen told the Asssociated Press.

Owen said the pipeline was shut down immediately after the leak was discovered. The pipeline is buried on a hill near Ash Coulee creek, and the “hillside sloughed,” which may have ruptured the line, she said.

“That is our number one theory, but nothing is definitive,” Owen said. “We have several working theories and the investigation is ongoing.”

Last week, the Army Corp of Engineers said it would deny Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners the easement it needs to complete the final stretch of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline. United States Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy said the best path forward was to explore alternative routes for the pipeline, something Energy Transfer Partners says it will not do.

Energy Transfer Partners says the Dakota Access pipeline would include safeguards such as leak detection equipment and that workers monitoring the pipeline remotely in Texas could close valves within three minutes if a breach is detected.

Republican President-elect Donald Trump has voiced support for the Dakota Access Pipeline. About 5,000 people are still occupying land near the planned construction site.

Image: Sioux From Standing Rock Reservation Claim Victory Over Dakota Pipeline Access Project

Military veterans march in support of the “water protectors” at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 5 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Scott Olson / Getty Images

The 6-inch steel Belle Fourche pipeline is mostly underground but was built above ground where it crosses Ash Coulee Creek, Suess said. Owen said the pipeline was built in the 1980s and is used to gather oil from nearby oil wells to a collection point.

Suess said the spill migrated almost 6 miles from the spill site along Ash Coulee Creek, and it fouled an unknown amount of private and U.S. Forest Service land along the waterway. The creek feeds into the Little Missouri River, but Seuss said it appears no oil got that far and that no drinking water sources were threatened. The creek was free-flowing when the spill occurred but has since frozen over.

About 60 workers were on site Monday, and crews have been averaging about 100 yards daily in their cleanup efforts, he said. Some of the oil remains trapped beneath the frozen creek.

Suess says about 37,000 gallons of oil have been recovered.

“It’s going to take some time,” Suess said of the cleanup. “Obviously there will be some component of the cleanup that will go toward spring.”

True Cos. has a history of oil field-related spills in North Dakota and Montana, including a January 2015 pipeline break into the Yellowstone River. The 32,000-gallon spill temporarily shut down water supplies in the downstream community of Glendive, Montana, after oil was detected in the city’s water treatment system.

True Cos. operates at least three pipeline companies with a combined 1,648 miles of line in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, according to information the companies submitted to federal regulators. Since 2006, the companies have reported 36 spills totaling 320,000 gallons of petroleum products, most of which was never recovered.

DEC 13 2016, 7:20 AM ET

Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill ‘Validates Struggle’


A man takes part in a march with veterans to Backwater Bridge just outside of the Oceti Sakowin camp during a snow fall near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016.(C) Lucas Jackson / Reuters / REUTERS

A major oil spill just 150 miles from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota has validated the concerns of those who spoke out against the project for months, activists said.

State officials estimate that more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil has leakedfrom the Belle Fourche Pipeline over the past week into the Ash Coulee Creek in western North Dakota. A landowner discovered the spill near the town of Belfield on Dec. 5, according to Bill Suess, an environmental scientist with the North Dakota Health Department.

The leak was contained within hours of its discovery, Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the Belle Fourche pipeline, told CNBC.

But when news of the spill reached the Oceti Sakowin Camp — where thousands have protested the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for months — activists said they felt vindicated.

One of the protesters’ central arguments for months has been that, despite assurances from Energy Transfer Partners — the Dallas-based company funding the $3.7 billion project — an oil spill would be inevitable.

And the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe believes that a spill would devastate the Missouri River, which is the main water source for the tribe.

For Tara Houska, a Native American environmental activist who has resided at the camp since August, the oil spill was “yet another example of what happens when you have lax regulations written by oil companies and their patrons.”

“The spill gives further credence to our position that pipelines are not safe,” said Houska, National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, a nonprofit organization focused on raising awareness and financial support for indigenous environmental justice. “Oil companies’ interest is on their profit margins, not public safety.”

In an interview last month, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren told NBC News that he could not assure the tribe that an oil spill could not potentially occur. Warren would only say that the Dakota Access Pipeline was prepared to withstand such an event.

Warren said the pipeline would cross 90-115 feet below Lake Oahe, a large Missouri River reservoir, with double walled and remote-controlled shutoff valves on each side of the crossing.

A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners declined to comment for this article.

“They can say they have all the latest technologies to safeguard against a leak,” Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II told NBC News. “But when that leak happens, and it will, all those safeguards will go out the window.”

Archambault said he relayed his concerns to North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday night, their first one-on-one meeting since the protests began last summer.

Dallas Goldtooth, a member of the Dakota Nation who has been at the camp off-and-on since August, told NBC News that the pipeline spill upstream “shows everyone the necessity to examine not only the Dakota Access Pipeline but all fossil-fuel energy infrastructure development.”

“This should spur us to act,” said Goldtooth. “This should encourage everyone who believes in protecting Mother Earth that we need to examine and critique every fossil fuel project that’s being put on the table.”

Allison Renville, an activist from the Lakota nation, was less circumspect. “We’re winning,” she told NBC News.

“The spill at Bel Fourche, again, is proof that we’re right,” said Renville. “It validates our struggle.”

The Army earlier this month denied ETP the easement needed to continue their path under Lake Oahe, but many activists fear that the decision could be reversed when President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House.



For all of the naysayers who have ridiculed the native people and their concern about the water, here is just what they have been trying to avoid. Another pipeline leak and one near their camp. A couple of months ago there was one in Alabama. After the initial announcement, we didn’t hear any more about it.

What about our water in both of these situations? Talking to the EPA and finding out about about your water may be something you want to do before the Inauguration. Trump will probably destroy the agency. We are at a serious impasse with our environment here on our planet and here in America. Here it is made more dangerous by Trump and his denying of science. Yet we have the entire city of Flint, Michigan that has not had clean drinking water for at least the last two years. Congress is just now appropriating money for Flint.


We need to continue to give the native people our support and prayers that this stand off at Standing Rock comes to an appropriate end for the people and the land. I stand with Standing Rock.




U.S. considering rerouting N Dakota Pipeline

Obama says U.S. mulling alternate routes for N. Dakota pipeline

By Valerie Volcovici | WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama said the U.S. government is examining ways to reroute an oil pipeline in North Dakota as it addresses concerns raised by Native American tribes protesting against its construction.

Obama’s comments late on Tuesday to online news site Now This were his first to directly address the escalating clashes between local authorities and protesters over Energy Transfer Partners’ $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline project.

“My view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline,” Obama said in the video interview.


On Wednesday, protesters on the banks of the Cantapeta Creek confronted law enforcement, as they attempted to build a wooden pedestrian bridge across the creek to gain access to the Cannon Ball Ranch, private land owned by ETP, according to a statement from Morton County officials.

The U.S. Justice and Interior Departments along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted construction on part of the pipeline in September due to protests by Native American tribes who contend the pipeline would disturb sacred land and pollute waterways supplying nearby homes. The affected area includes land under Lake Oahe, a large and culturally important reservoir on the Missouri River where the line was supposed to cross.

Construction is continuing on sections of the pipeline away from the Missouri River, one of the owners of the pipeline and a U.S. refiner Phillips 66 said.

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline, being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners, would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

North Dakota officials are girding for a long fight. The state’s emergency commission on Tuesday approved another $4 million loan to support law enforcement during the protests.

David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, in a Wednesday statement lauded Obama’s comments and called on the administration and the Army Corp of Engineers to issue a stop-work order on the pipeline on federal land. He also called for a full environmental impact study.

“The nation and the world are watching,” he said. “The injustices done to Native people in North Dakota and throughout the country must be addressed. We believe President Obama and his Administration will do the right thing.”


Obama said government agencies will let the situation “play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of First Americans.”

Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz, in response to Obama’s statement regarding the pipeline, said that letting the situation play out “affords the opportunity to the out-of-state militant faction of this protest to keep escalating their violent activities.”

The Now This video, however, suggests that Obama was talking about the review process, not the protests. The president later in the interview says that he wants to make sure that both protesters and law enforcement are “refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.”

The fight against the pipeline has drawn international attention and growing celebrity support amid confrontations between riot police and protesters. More than 140 people were arrested when a protest was broken up by law enforcement nearly a week ago.

Some have said an alternative pipeline route could be a way to get over the impasse.

In North Dakota, gubernatorial candidate Marvin Nelson, a Democratic state representative, said in an interview with Reuters last week that moving the route 10 miles north could make a difference.

“It would take some time to do that, but it seems to me to be a much safer route and it wouldn’t need to cross culturally sensitive land,” he said.

Environmental group urged Obama to reject the federal permit for the entire project.

“There’s no reroute that doesn’t involve the same risks to water and climate,” said Sara Shor, a campaign manager for

“President Obama breaking the silence on Dakota Access is a testament to the powerful resistance of Indigenous leaders, but he shouldn’t sit back while people are facing violent repression from militarized law enforcement on the ground.”

This is an improvement. President Obama needs to stop big corporations from building the pipeline at all. It puts the environment at risk. Yesterday we saw an explosion of the pipeline in Alabama. Stop the pipeline! Save American land. Save our environment! Stand with the Native Peoples who are courageously protesting the immoral stealing of their sacred land. Write to President Obama and tell him what you think. America for our Native People.



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Labor if you aren’t in the 1%




Striking photos of America’s child laborers reveal what work was like a century ago

The bloody origins of Labor Day — a holiday carved out from the post-Civil War clashes between workers and employers — have largely faded from public memory.

The day off is still a good time relax, but it’s worth remembering the grueling conditions faced by workers before the arrival of protections we often take for granted, like weekends off or 40-hour workweeks.

The first Labor Day was Tuesday,September 5, 1882, in New York City.

The American labor force has continued to evolve since then, but one of the biggest differences may be who is doing the work.

Lewis Hine, a photographer forthe National Child Labor Committee, captured photos of some of the children who made up the US labor force between 1908 and 1924.

Hine traveled throughout the US, documenting children working in factories, fields, and at home insupport the NCLC’s mission to promote the “rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working.”

The photos below, compiled by the Library of Congress, are the result of Hine and the NCLC’s work.

The descriptions come from NCLC caption cards, edited for clarity and length.

A Glassworks at midnight, taken in Indiana in August 1908.

Lewis Hine/Library of Congress


Jewel and Harold Walker, 6 and 5 years old, pick 20 to 25 pounds of cotton a day. Father said: “I promised ’em a little wagon if they’d pick steady, and now they have half a bagful in just a little while.” Location: Comanche County–[Geronimo], Oklahoma, October 1916.

Vance, a trapper Boy, 15 years old. He had trapped for several years in a West Virginia coal mine for $0.75 a day for 10 hours work. All he does is open and shut this door: Most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed. Taken in September 1908.

Manuel, the young shrimp-picker, 5 years old and a mountain of child-labor oyster shells behind him. He worked the year before. Understands not a word of English. Dunbar, Lopez, Dukate Company. Location: Biloxi, Mississippi, February 1911.

Freddie Kafer, a very immature little newsie selling Saturday Evening Posts and newspapers at the entrance to the State Capitol. He did not know his age, nor much of anything else. He was said to be 5 or 6 years old. Nearby, Hine found Jack who said he was 8 years old, and who was carrying a bag full of Saturday Evening Posts, which weighed nearly 1/2 of his own weight. The bag weighed 24 pounds, and he weighed only 55 pounds. He carried this bag for several blocks to the car. Said he was taking them home. Sacramento, California, May 1915.

This little girl, like many others in this state, is so small she has to stand on a box to reach her machine. She is regularly employed as a knitter in a hosiery mill. Said she did not know how long she had worked there. Location: Loudon, Tennessee, December 1910.

Group of Breaker Boys in #9 Breaker, Hughestown Borough, Pennsylvania Coal Co. Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania, January 1911.

Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day and tends the baby when not working. The boss said that next year Mary will work steady as the rest of them. The mother is the fastest shucker in the place. She earns $1.50 a day. Works part of the time with her sick baby in her arms. Dunbar, Louisiana, March 1911.

Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills. Her sister (in photo) said, “Yes, she he’ps me right smart. Not all day but all she can. Yes, she started with me at six this mornin’.” These two belong to a family of 19 children. Taken in Fayetteville, Tennessee, November 1910.

Young cigarmakers at Englahardt & Co., Tampa, Florida. These boys looked under 14. Work was slack and youngsters were not being employed much. Youngsters all smoke. Witness Sara R. Hine. Taken January 1909.

The interior of a tobacco shed, Hawthorn Farm. Girls in foreground are 8, 9, and 10 years old. The 10-year-old makes $0.50 a day. Twelve workers on this farm were 8 to 14 years old, and about 15 are over 15 years. Location: Hazardville, Connecticut, August 1917.

A spinner takes moment’s glimpse of the outer world. She said she was 10 years old and had been working over a year. Lincolnton, North Carolina, November 1908.

The “Manly art of self-defense” Newsboys’ Protective Association, in Cincinnati, Ohio, taken around 1910.

Messenger boy working for Mackay Telegraph Company, said to be 15-years-old, Waco, Texas, September 1913.

Street gang, corner of Margaret & Water Streets – 4:30 p.m. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, June 1916.

Nan de Gallant, 4 Clark Street, Eastport, Maine, a 9-year-old cartoner, Seacoast Canning Co., Factory No. 2. Packs some with her mother. Mother and two sisters work in factory. One sister has made $7 in one day. During the rush season, the women begin work at 7 a.m., and at times work until midnight. Brother works on boats. The family comes from Perry, Maine, just for the summer months. Work is very irregular. Nan is already a spoiled child. Location: Eastport, Maine, August 1911.

A “colored school” at Anthoston. Census 27, enrollment 12, attendance 7. Teacher expects 19 to be enrolled after work is over. “Tobacco keeps them out and they are short of hands.” Location: Henderson County, Kentucky, September 1913.

Boys picking over garbage on “the Dumps.” Location: Boston, Massachusetts, October 1909.





French police fire teargas at labor reform protesters

By Brian Love

PARIS (Reuters) – Riot police fired teargas and water cannon at protesters marching on Thursday in France against labor reforms in what unions say will likely be the last demonstrations to try to overturn the law.

Scuffles broke out in Paris and the western city of Nantes. Hooded youths hurled bottles, beer cans and on occasion makeshift firebombs on the fringes of marches against the law that will make hiring and firing easier.

As turnout fades after six months of protests, the head of the Force Ouvriere union signaled that the focus of opposition would now shift to legal challenges against the application of the new law, and that street marches were at an end.

“We are lifting our foot off the pedal for now. We are not going to do this every week,” Jean-Claude Mailly told reporters at a rally in Paris’s Place de la Bastille square.

Seven months from a presidential election, Mailly said that the unions would not let Socialist President Francois Hollande and his government off the hook.

“This law will be the chewing gum that sticks to the soles of the government’s shoes,” he told France 2 public television.

Mailly and Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, said they hoped legal challenges would force the withdrawal of the new law. They intend to challenge application decrees that will spell out exactly how the law applies on the ground.

The new law, forced through parliament in July, is designed to make France’s protective labor laws more flexible, in part by allowing firms to tailor pay and work terms to their needs more easily.

Martinez said the law could be exploited by employers to trim overtime pay from a 25 percent markup to 10 percent.

At their peak, the street protests brought close to 400,000 people into the streets last March but turnout has waned over time and was in the low thousands in most cities on Thursday according to early readouts from police.

Police said between 12,500 and 13,500 marched in Paris. More than a dozen people were arrested. Police representatives said about five police were injured.

The government hopes the law will help lower a jobless rate stuck close to 10 percent.

Unions say it will undermine high standards of labor protection as well as their ability to represent workers, notably in small firms where it will give employers more muscle to strike lower-standard deals on issues such as overtime pay.

(Additional reporting by Simon Carraud, Claude Canellas and Jean-Francois Rosnoblet; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Richard Lough and Alison Williams)



 To the governments of the world:  You must treat your laborers fairly or your corporations will come down around you. In any country, workers banning together can bring a government down. Walk away from the greed and the feeling that you are better than the human beings working for you. We all deserve a decent roof over our heads, clean food, clean water to drink. We deserve educations and time in our lives to be people, the people we were created to be.
It is not fair to look at workers just as a means to an end; the end being you get to live well, while the workers are still living below the poverty line. Every human being has a right to a decent life and to dream dreams. Have things improved? Yes. Do they need to improve more? Yes. Do workers have a right to protest? Yes. They do if no one is listening to their demands and requests. They do not deserve to be attacked by police. Workers need to be treated with respect. The 1% wouldn’t get far without the rest of us.


Protests against Cologne Sex Attacks

Violence and fear are the way some people try to control others.  Woman are often the victims of male hatred. Rape has no connection to sex. It is a political weapon in times of war. In the everyday, it is all about power and control. It is also part of the global war against women. Middle Eastern countries often want complete control of women and that is what they are trying to accomplish.

When a woman is raped she feels violated, humiliated and shamed. Some are angry and some feel that they are dirty. Some will report a rape and some are too ashamed. Some don’t want to be near even a husband or a boyfriend.

All are victims and not to be blamed. None of them should have to hear “you shouldn’t have been there” or “your skirt was too short” or “a group of women out like that, in the night, are just asking for it”. She shouldn’t be shamed, must not be blamed for the power hungry cowardly acts of the men who treat women like possessions and do not recognize that women are people to be treated with respect. The women raped in this story will need time and support to heal from this trauma.




Police clash with protesters angry about Cologne sex attacks

Updated 6:55 PM ET, Sat January 9, 2016

Berlin (CNN)German protesters angry about the New Year’s Eve mob sex attacks and muggings in Cologne, Germany, clashed with police on Saturday.

Cologne police responded with tear gas and water cannons after right-wing groups threw beer bottles, firecrackers and stones at officers in riot gear. Several officers and a freelance journalist were injured, police said, though the extent of their injuries were not known.

About 500 of the approximately 1,700 demonstrators supported Pegida, an organization that opposes immigration of Muslims from the Middle East, police said. A counter protest against Pegida was also held.

Fifteen people were arrested but that number may grow as videos are viewed, police said.

Many of the protesters were angry at police response to the attacks as well as the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe.

“Where were you on New Year’s Eve?” one protester yelled at police “Why didn’t you protect those women?”

Thirty-one people, most of them North African or Middle Eastern countries, have been charged in the attacks. Of those, 18 have been identified as asylum-seekers.

Cologne police said they received a total of 379 complaints about New Year’s Eve in Cologne, with about 40% being investigated as sex crimes. Other European cities reported similar rashes of sex crime reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the attacks in Germany as “disgusting, criminal acts” deserving of a decisive response. But she did not back down on her commitment to welcome refugees who obey German laws and pledge to integrate into German society.

In Cologne, where many of the attacks took place, a police spokesman confirmed that Chief Wolfgang Albers was fired Friday. Albers’ dismissal came amid criticism of his department’s handling of the violence.

One victim of the Cologne violence told CNN there were too few police on the streets to prevent attacks.

“We ran to the police. But we saw the police were so understaffed,” the victim said. “They couldn’t take care of us and we as women suffered the price.”

Spiegel Online reported that groups of men prevented officers from reaching those crying out for help.

“The events of New Year’s Eve like a spotlight once more highlighted the challenge we face in a new aspect that we had not really looked at before,” Merkel said Saturday in Mainz, at a meeting of her conservative CDU Party.

Merkel garnered international acclaim for her decision to welcome many of the hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners who have made the journey to Europe this year in search of safety, food, work and a better life.

But Merkel stressed Saturday that Germany’s welcome was not unconditional.

“We, of course, expect from the refugees who come to us, those seeking protection, that they have the will to integrate, that they strive for integration,” she said.

Her response showed a determination to avoid repeating what are broadly viewed within Germany as the mistakes officials made with regard to Turkish “guest workers” after World War II. Because it was assumed that arrangement was temporary, virtually no attempt was made to learn (or teach) the language, customs and mores of the new home country.

The mistakes of that era echo through Germany to this day. Generations later, some families of Turkish origin living in Germany do not speak German, and forests of satellite dishes are all aligned to receive Turkish TV broadcasts. Many young third- or fourth-generation Turks lack a sense of belonging, a sense of being German, even though their grandparents were born in the country.

Cologne mayor criticized for advice to avoid men

And Merkel continued to say the newcomers were welcome.

Tough prosecution of wrongdoing, she said, “is in the interest of citizens of Germany, but it is just as much in the interest of the large majority of refugees who are here with us and, therefore, it is absolutely right.”

Those who break German laws may forfeit their right to residency and to asylum, she said.

Germany is going through experiencing recriminations over who should have prevented the attacks and whether someone was asleep at the wheel.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has criticized the response of Cologne police, and German Justice Minister Heiko Maas was among many who expressed disapproval of Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker for advising women to keep “more than an arm’s length” away from unknown men.

Reker later said the comments had been taken out of context.

Cologne police spokeswoman Christoph Gilles told reporters Friday that 170 criminal complaints had been filed related to the apparently coordinated attacks, “at least 120 of which have a sexual angle.”

An 80-person investigative team is looking at 250 videos with about 350 hours of footage, Gilles said.

The 31 suspects charged include nine Algerian nationals, eight people from Morocco, five from Iran and four from Syria, German interior ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said. Two are German citizens, while one each comes from Iraq, Serbia and the United States.

Other German cities experienced similar attacks the same night, including the northern city of Hamburg, where more than 50 incidents were reported.

Cleveland to Overhaul Police Department

I saw this at, and felt that I should share, as this is my town at least for now. This problem is everywhere and must be fixed. Protests have been peaceful so far and I hope that continues but the investigation into Tamir Rice’s death is ongoing. He was twelve and playing with a toy gun and the police shot and killed him.

Cleveland to Overhaul Police Department in Agreement With Justice Department

An 18-month investigation by the Justice Department concluded that the Cleveland Police Department exhibited a pattern of “unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force.”

Posted: May 26 2015 7:18 AM

People march in protest May 23, 2015, to the Cuddell Recreation Center in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police. The march was in reaction to Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo’s acquittal on manslaughter charges in a separate case in which he shot two people in a fatal 2012 incident during which police officers fired some 137 shots at the pair.RICKY RHODES/GETTY IMAGES

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 5:45 p.m. EDT: Specifics of the agreement between the Department of Justice and the city of Cleveland over abusive and excessive use of force by police have been released, according to Yahoo News, and they include a substantial overhaul of police procedures and policies.

An independent monitor will oversee changes in the Cleveland Police Department, which include community policing and getting officers more involved in their neighborhoods; modernizing technology; training to avoid racial stereotyping; and implementing new procedures to investigate misconduct allegations.

According to the website, Mayor Frank Johnson says that he hopes the agreement will be a model for other cities. Groups, including the NAACP and the police union, are still reviewing its details.


The Justice Department has reached a settlement with the city of Cleveland after an 18-month investigation into the city’s Police Department found “a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force,” the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, specifics of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the investigation, which ended in December 2013, was prompted after a 2012 shooting involving several officers who fired more than 130 shots at two unarmed people—Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams—inside a vehicle.

News of the settlement comes just days after Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo was acquitted for his role in the 2012 shooting. The Times notes that while several officers fired some 137 shots into the vehicle after a high-speed car chase, Brelo was charged with manslaughter for reportedly waiting until the car came to a stop and then jumping onto the hood and firing another 15 shots into the car’s windshield. Both Russell and Williams died from gunshot wounds.

Some 71 demonstrators were arrested after hundreds of people gathered Saturday to protest the officer’s acquittal.

According to the Times, the most damning portion of the Justice Department’s investigation cited several incidents during which officers used excessive or deadly force.

“Investigators said officers unnecessarily used deadly force; used excessive force against mentally ill people; and inappropriately resorted to stun guns, chemical sprays and punches,” the Times reports.

The investigation was concluded before the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by police while he played with a toy gun in a Cleveland park near his home.

The Times notes, “The Justice Department has opened nearly two dozen investigations into police departments under the Obama administration. Federal investigators found patterns of unconstitutional policing in cities including Seattle, Newark, Albuquerque and Ferguson.” An investigation has been launched in Baltimore in the wake of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from injuries suffered while in police custody.

We Are Going Into the Future – With Positive Energy

I have been listening to people, what they write and what they say. I have looked around me at the people in my life and the acquaintances. When people talk, there is a flow of negativity. If one person does not make themselves clear, the other assumes the worst.

Now, it occurs to me that these threads of negative thought and speech are influencing more and more of the energy of our communities. People hurt others’ feelings, there is a lack of respect of others, of the elderly. Everyone seems to be on a hair-trigger. This trigger seems ready to go off and escalation is the result. My confusion comes from the fact that many of the angriest people have everything they could want. Yet it isn’t enough. Then I began thinking about how if friends and neighbors can’t have conversations without hurt feelings, there is something going on.

Times are changing. There is a lot of negativity in our cities, our country and all the countries of the world.  There is an outcry across the world by the people who have been living under dictators, who live amidst bombs and fear. We human beings are committing terrible crimes against each other. Racism, sexism, greed and power are bringing out the worst in humanity.  Not that we historically have had any difficulty torturing or causing pain to our fellow sentient beings.

Genocide is happening yet again. We have made it a purpose  in life to try to wipe out races of people who are different. Their skin color, religion, education, natural abilities all have worked together to sound the battle cry to kill…the “others”. Some countries are keeping women and girls from receiving an education. This leaves them in perpetual poverty and controlled by the males in their families. They are owned by fathers, brothers, and husbands. They never even have a chance to figure out who they are. They never get to experience themselves as a child of the Universe. They are stuck having to always do what they are told. They don’t know how to protect their daughters because no one protected them.

Girls are being married off at as young as 10 years old. Their bodies are not even completely formed yet. In my mind, only a pedophile could or would do something like this. IN some cultures, if a man wants a woman and she doesn’t want him, he has the right to throw acid in her face. This is done to save his family shame. Also no one will ever want her. I have seen such horrible pictures of young beautiful women who are scarred so much their families are shocked. Little girls disappear. Mothers cry and pray, but the girls are gone and have been sold into sexual slavery. Their life is essentially over. Very few governments will search for them, so they are used until they commit suicide or are thrown away like garbage. In many countries, when girls reach puberty and their menses begin, the mother takes her to the midwife for genital mutilation. This practice is what will make them marriageable. It is done to decrease sexual pleasure and to ensure virginity. Some men have their wives sewn closed while they are away on business so their labia is sewn together to prevent sexual intercourse. A small opening is left so they can pee.

All of this adds to the negativity which is swirling around our world.  Every time a girl or woman is saved and educated, we decrease the negative energy. It takes getting involved and understanding that every woman who is injured, is a sister.

Here in America, Domestic Violence is not stopping but increasing according to the FBI statistics. A woman who is married is not owned. She is not required to obey. She is not the reason he hits her. We  started building Domestic  Violence shelters and giving hope to abused women and their children in the 1970’s. We taught them to do the Activities of Daily Living so they could escape and survive in the world. Legal advice and assistance was provided. We saved lives. In those days, we were grass-roots organizations. Hard work, prayers and tenacity is what we lived on while we counseled, loved, fed and sheltered millions of women and their children. We just saw a need and began to do something to change lives.

This is exactly what we need to do to go forward into the future. We need to form grass-roots groups of dedicated men and women to stop the violence and negativity, of all kinds. Righting wrongs is an important aspect of our journey here on our World. Stopping negative energy and gut reactions is necessary to take us forward into the future. Caring is good, it is important. Volunteering a few hours a month would do much to create  positive energy. People need to just think and act positively. Get out and give the Universe a few of the hours of your life and we will feel the energy brighten and we will feel joy within us. This must be a present and the future and we all can participate.

Bloggers 4 Peace

Bob Marley said it so well. One World, One God, One life. Do what you can do to add positive energy to our world.

Darren Wilson resigns

Copyright NPR 2014

Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns

November 29, 2014 6:46 PM ET

Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, shown during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown, has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, the AP reports. Wilson has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting.


Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown nearly four months ago, is resigning, according to his attorney.

Wilson’s resignation was announced Saturday by Neil Bruntrager, who says his client’s resignation is effective immediately. Wilson had been on administrative leave since Aug. 9.

In his resignation letter, Wilson writes that he hopes his resignation “will allow the community to heal.” The Ferguson Police Department has not confirmed that it has received this letter.

A grand jury spent more than three months reviewing evidence in the shooting incident before deciding that the 28-year-old police officer would not be charged in the case. The confrontation and grand jury decision sparked continuing protests in the St. Louis suburb and across the country.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted the full text of Wilson’s resignation letter:

“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”




I am sharing this article with you because not only am I a feminist, but I am a humanist. I believe in certain actions that make up civilizations. I am not writing about the grand jury decision. I am writing about a man, it could be any man, who is capable of killing someone and going on with their life as they always did.


Darren Wilson spent his time between the murder of Michael Brown and the verdict moving from house to house. He feared for his life. He feared for his life…as Michael Brown must have at those last few moments of his life. Hands up. No longer running. He turned to face the officer who was chasing him. He was doing the right thing and he was shot in the head and killed for his effort.


Darren Wilson said he feared for his life. That seems very cowardly to me. Police officers are supposed to be men of rational thinking and bravery. This officer running after a kid who may have stolen some Cigarillos and walked in the street. Was Michael’s behavior without fault? No it wasn’t. He exhibited the behavior of a teenager with raging hormones. Mouthy, not listening to adults and breaking rules. I have four teenage grandchildren and I have stood toe to toe when they got angry.


But angry they were, for about 20 minutes then the kid I knew returned. Should they have been murdered for their actions? No. They get grounded and there is a talk about anger management.


Now, there is Officer Darren Wilson who got paid administrative leave for being a coward and shooting at Michael’s head knowing he was going to kill him. They say he got death threats and he had to move around for safety. He also got married. In a very quiet, under the radar ceremony, he married a fellow officer.


People protesting and grieving around the country and then even in the world. I have tried to imagine what Michael Brown’s parents must feel like but I can’t. Not really. I have lost a husband and it was the most horrible experience. I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child. Both of his parents have done their best to mourn in public, to try to receive justice from our country and from the world.


They are so very courageous in my mind. They are not the only parents in America that are dealing with grief, sorrow, injustice and pain because their child has been shot in the bloom of his life.


Thousands if not millions of people are grieving in the world for their children who do not have justice. Officer Darren Wilson is celebrating his nuptials and starting a new life. He is not grieving and he has denied being remorseful. A civilized man would not be living in joy after taking a life, even in the call of duty. Shame on you Darren Wilson and shame on your bride for celebrating your joy when you are responsible for the pain of Michael’s family and friends.

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