Last week, we were among a handful of organizations who received a letter signed by 13 members of Congress claiming that we may be violating Exxon’s right to free speech. They’re requesting that we divulge any communication we may have had with state officials and many private organizations with regard to looking into what Exxon knew about climate change and when. At face value this request is a threat to constitutional rights.
Guyana Golden Jubilee Logo 1966-2016
Photo Credit: Guyanese Online Blog
May 26, 2016, marks fifty years since my native land of Guyana gained its independence from Great Britain. I was privileged to have witnessed the birth of our nation and to have shared the euphoria of a battle fought and won. As a teenager at the time, I also cherished the aspirations for our future, as expressed in the chorus of one of our patriotic songs of the sixties: “Guyana the Free” by Valerie Rodway.
All hail to Guyana, our country now free,
One people, one nation, one destiny,
We pledge every effort, we’ll cherish this earth
And make here a paradise – Land of our birth.
Guyana’s birth as a nation was fraught with racial enmity and violence between the two major ethnic groups: descendants of African slaves and East Indian indentured laborers. Members of the minority groups—Chinese, Portuguese, Amerindian, and people of mixed ethnicity (like my family)—were caught in the crossfire. Supporting one side made you an enemy of the other. Over the past fifty years, that racial enmity has continued to retard the realization of our national motto to become one people, one nation, one destiny.
For more information about this conference, go to BreakingThroughPower.org
Ruth Conniff reports on Ralph Nader’s “Breaking Through Power” conference, which begins this Monday, May 23rd, in Washington D.C. The conference will address breaking through the media, war, and Congress. Nader says it only takes a small percent of citizens, “the other one percent,” to break through…
SOURCE: Common Dreams…
“Fifty years ago, Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, the book that exposed General Motors, changed the government’s approach to auto safety, and launched a thousand public-interest crusades. […] Persuading people that they can face down power, grab the levers of democracy, and make change is still Nader’s cause. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his groundbreaking book, Nader has organized a four-day Breaking Through Power conference of public interest advocates, experts, and citizens at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in the hopes of kick-starting a movement to revitalize civic life. The event runs May 23 through 26, and…
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News from the “Black Women of Brazil” blog about the new all white male interim government.
Interim President Michel Temer speaks at inauguration of his cabinet’s ministers
Note from BW of Brazil: It’s been nearly a week since President Dilma Rousseff was suspended for a period that could last up to 180 days while it is decided if she should be removed permanently. Rousseff’s suspension was approved after the Federal Government’s Lower House voted in support of impeachment procedures and then, last week, 55 of 81 senators also voted in favor of the process. But in a true example of Brazil’s history having been and continuing to be based on corruption, 12 of the 13 ministers nominated for interim President Michel Temer’s cabinet have been found to have accepted donations from companies involved in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the nation’s history, the so-called Lava Jato case. This besides the fact that yesterday, the STF (Supreme Court) initiated a process that…
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Are we ready to join our youth “to embrace a new vision and a new direction” for our nation and the world?
By Chris Hedges
The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly.
“Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Nader when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.”
This moment in American history is what Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”—the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place. There is no guarantee that what comes next will be better. But this space, which will close soon, offers…
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Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva
Photo Credit: Reuters
For some time now, as the political crisis in Brazil escalated, I have found it difficult to write about the shenanigans of Brazil’s corrupt political class and their Big Business collaborators to oust the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores).
Today, I mourn the death of democracy in Brazil and the triumph of Big Business. For those readers who only follow news reports from the West, I share with you an update of the situation from the leftist Latin American news media, TeleSUR.
Readers fluent in Portuguese can follow developments on the official website of the Workers’ Party at http://www.pt.org.br/
Social mobilization could be now the last resort to save Brazil’s democracy.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spent Friday speaking with leaders from Brazil’s social movement and trade union organizations in an effort to create a new “broad front” to resist the parliamentary coup that saw democratically-elected President Dilma Rouseff ousted from power.
Read complete article at TeleSUR.
“House of Eleven Windows” – Historic Center – 18th Century Architecture
Former residence of a sugar plantation owner
Belém – State of Pará – Brazil
Photo Credit: Brazil Ministry of Tourism
My Poetry Corner May 2016 features the poem “Eden Hades” by Brazilian poet Olga Savary. Born in May 1933 in Belém, capital of the State of Pará in North Brazil, she was the only child of a Russian father and a Brazilian mother. After her parents separated in 1942, she moved with her mother to Rio de Janeiro.
With the publication of twelve books of her poetry, more than fifty translations of renowned foreign poets, and anthologies of North and Northeast Brazilian poets, Savary has an impressive body of literary work.
“Eden Hades” is the final poem in Savary’s collection of the same name, published in 1994. Like the Biblical Garden of Eden, her Eden is a garden providing three essential ingredients for life: water, sunlight, and fruit.
Water gardens satisfy our thirst
sunshine swollen in veins
hanging like mango
Our human nature sets us up for failure. With our needs fulfilled, we feel deserving and in control of our destiny. Then, forgetful of the reason for our existence and the natural laws governing our lives, we unleash insecurity and chaos.
and I was like the owner of a ship
arrogant, deserving. Just like
an open vowel, I opened doors for the sand
in sudden loss of memory.
The new film Disobedience about the global movement to break free from fossil fuels is now available for free download and streaming at watchdisobedience.com!
The film is a powerful journey, featuring Break Free organizers in Canada, Germany, Turkey and the Philippines as they prepare to mobilize for major actions this May. It shows that the global movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is growing in size and courage.
Disobedience features author and activist Naomi Klein, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, as well as board member Lidy Nacpil and dozens of inspiring voices from front-line fights around the world.
It’s about 40 minutes long, and I think it makes for inspiring watching ahead of the Break Free wave of action starting a few days from now.
If you’re inspired by what you see — and I think you will be — then I hope you will both share the film, and join thousands of people across the planet in Break Free actions next month. Across the United States, people are standing up to the power and pollution of the fossil fuel industry — from the frack fields of California, to the tar sands networks of the Midwest, to the oil train rail lines in the Northeast. This is where you can go to join Break Free.
Onwards, to a future beyond fossil fuels,
“Ultimately, Brazil’s elite political and media classes are toying with the mechanics of democracy. That’s a dangerous, unpredictable game to play anywhere, but particularly so in a very young democracy with a recent history of political instability and tyranny, and where millions are furious over their economic deprivation.”
~ I’m pleased to see that the foreign press has awakened to the “legalized coup” (my description) underway in Brazil.
The real reason Dilma Rousseff’s enemies want her impeached
Corruption is just the pretext for a wealthy elite who failed to defeat Brazil’s president at the ballot box
The story of Brazil’s political crisis, and the rapidly changing global perception of it, begins with its national media. The country’s dominant broadcast and print outlets are owned by a tiny handful of Brazil’s richest families, and are steadfastly conservative. For decades, those media outlets have been used to agitate for the Brazilian rich, ensuring that severe wealth inequality (and the political inequality that results) remains firmly in place.
Indeed, most of today’s largest media outlets – that appear respectable to outsiders – supported the 1964 military coup that ushered in two decades of rightwing dictatorship and further enriched the nation’s oligarchs. This key historical event still casts…
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Our ignorance and shortsightedness as a species are incomprehensible.
By Robert A. Vella
Last night, Viceland aired the anti-fracking documentary Dear President Obama – written and directed by Jon Bowermaster and narrated by Mark Ruffalo. Although I’ve been closely following the use of hydraulic fracturing technology to produce oil and natural gas domestically in the U.S., the revelations presented in this extraordinary film were nevertheless quite shocking. I was most disturbed by the complicity of the American political, bureaucratic, and judicial establishment which enabled powerful energy corporations to callously destroy the lives of millions of citizens with little-to-no recourse. Their lands were seized or devalued, their vital water resources ruined, and the health and safety of their families were sacrificed all in the pursuit of short-term profit. In addition to the well-known association between Big Oil and Republican politicians, it was surprising to learn how involved and hypocritical the Democratic Party has been in this corporatist energy scheme –…
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