Fractivists Bust Up Aquifer Exemption Workshop

"In California, the burgeoning movement to shut the two remaining nukes at Diablo Canyon has run parallel with the powerful grassroots opposition to fracking," Wasserman says. (Photo: Mary Crandall/flickr/cc)

We were twenty minutes into one of the most boring Power Point presentations I have ever seen. While we looked at “shaded areas of cross-sections of multiple productive zones of oil fields,” the regulator was droning on and on. You’d think I’d be nodding off. But no, my heart was beating and my palms were sweating. I was about to do one of the boldest actions I have done since becoming an activist three and a half years ago. Professionally dressed in a sedate gray dress and heels, I was seconds away from disrupting something called an “aquifer exemption workshop” led by DOOGR, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the very state agency that recently had been exposed for illegally allowing oil companies to inject toxic fracking wastewater into 2500 wells near California aquifers.

Digital Rights Activists Use Jumbotron To Pressure Wyden

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Fight for the Future parked a truck adorned with a Jumbotron on Capitol Hill for an impromptu “film festival” as part of the group’s ongoing campaign to pressure Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to drop legislation that would fast track the multi-national Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade deal between countries in Asia, Australia and the Americas would boost U.S. trade, but activists fear it would jeopardize transparency due to issues of internet censorship. “Senator Wyden has built his career on a platform of government transparency and support for Internet freedom,” Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer said.

Newsletter: Private Affluence, Public Squalor

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Alnoor Ladha and Martin Kirk of The Rules write in “Capitalism is Just a Story and Other Dangerous Thoughts” that our system of neo-liberal capitalism is one story that is told about the way the world works. In this story, natural resources are turned into commodities so they can be monetized. As in the feudal age, the wealthy few are taking more and more, cutting the rest of us off from the treasures we once shared and expanding the wealth divide so that more of us become ‘serfs’. 1neofeudalLadha and Kirk go on to say, “our only absolute limitation is our collective imagination, expressed through our will to change the mythologies that hold this house of cards together.” For once we see neo-liberalism and its related “isms” of colonialism, imperialism and racism for what they are and what they do, we are closer to being free of their grip and creating a new story.

Wyden Shows Connection Between Rigged Trade & Rigged Government

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This week Congressional Quarterly reported that Senator Wyden was holding a fundraiser at Bistro Bis, an upscale restaurant near Capitol Hill. The invitation said “Friends of all industries are welcome to attend.” The day before the event we called for a protest in order to highlight that Wyden was fundraising for industries that would profit from fast track. After our call for a protest, he moved the fundraiser to a still undisclosed location. It was interesting to see how quickly he moved to hide his actions at the big bribe-fest. He’s being tight-lipped not only about where it was held but who attended and how much money was raised. What’s he hiding?

Global Capital Has A Lot Riding On The TPP

A policewoman removes a man protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership as U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (right) testifies at a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington on Tuesday. | Photo: Reuters  This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:  http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/TPP-Trade-Negotiations-At-Critical-Juncture-20150324-0034.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

The TPP-Free Trade USA push goes back even further, however, to at least 2010. That’s when Obama put Jeff Immelt, the CEO of the giant U.S. global corporation, General Electric, in charge of a special Presidential Committee tasked with coming up with recommending future USA trade initiatives. TPP was one of them. But before acting on Immelt’s 2010 recommendations, Obama had to first wrap up the loose ends of the several bilateral free trade agreements still on the table between the USA, South Korea, Colombia, Panama and other countries. Then there was the 2012 presidential elections. Obama and Democrats knew trying to push the TPP through before would risk their re-election chances. So they waited. Then came the November 2014 midterm Congressional elections.

Wikileaks Publishes Controversial Investment Trade Chapter

Wikileaks The Truth Will Always Win

The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can “sue” states and obtain taxpayer compensation for “expected future profits”. These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country’s laws or policies affect the company’s claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more.

Ron Wyden, Progressives And The TPP

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In recent months, progressives have been voicing their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And they might try and make an example out of Sen. Ron Wyden over it, even though he’s been a reliable ally for years. The free trade agreement, which would involve 12 Asia-Pacific countries—including the U.S. along with countries like Mexico, Japan and Canada—could account for 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of all world trade. Progressive groups say that the deal is no good: it could ship more jobs overseas, undercut environmental and labor standards, and increase Internet censorship. The deal’s future may rest with Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and his support for the partnership has some progressives thinking about going after one of their own in their fight against the deal.

Newsletter: Praise For The Radicals

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In his recent article, “The Dance of Liberals and Radicals”, the liberal Robert Kuttner writes, “No great social change in America has occurred without radicals, beginning with the struggle to end slavery. Causes that now seem mainstream began with radical, impolite and sometimes civil disobedient protest.” We at Popular Resistance share the view that there need to be people and groups who see the bigger picture, who fight for what is not on the table and who are willing to put their bodies on the line to make change. Those are the people we try to lift up in our daily coverage of the movement because they are rarely recognized and are usually lacking in resources. Yesterday we marched in Washington, DC for Spring Rising with our friends in the peace and Black Lives Matter movements.

Flood Congress – No TPP, No Fast Track!

Photo by Eleanor Goldfield, artkillingapathy.com

Earlier today, activists lead by Popular Resistance flooded Congress in a silent protest against TPP and Fast Track. Starting in the Dirksen building, activists put on vests noting all the facets of our lives and rights that would be “Silenced” by the TPP and Fast Track. Along with the vests, blue tape was also used to physically silence the groups as we flooded through the halls of Congress. Split into two groups, activists walked by Congressional offices in the Hart building, accompanied by Press and supporters. Police intervened after a banner drop after which the activists headed to Senator Ron Wyden’s office to drop off personally written letters and occupy his office.

The Plan Behind The TPP To Destroy National Sovereignty

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The TransPacific Partnership is labelled as a “free trade” magic elixir that will cure all ills – Jobs! Prosperity! World Peace! – but in fact it’s a toxic brew that weakens the American body politic and the Constitution. And when you look at how it came about you see that those are design features, not bugs. The historical record is clear: what are misleadingly called “free trade agreements” were never really about trade. Their goal is to render independent nation states null and void, and hand power over to unaccountable, transnational corporatist authorities. This sounds like a plot lifted from a Bond supervillain, yet it is precisely what a powerful State Department official told a Congressional hearing in 1967. And much of what he laid out nearly 50 years ago has come to pass under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Thursday: Flood Congress To Stop Fast Track For TPP

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Across the country people are rising up against corporate free trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnerhsip (TTIP). Through continuous organizing and creative action we have shown that we have the power to stop the world’s largest corporations, to end their assault on our communities, workplaces, democracy, and environment. But we still have a big fight on our hands, the fight of a lifetime, and no one will lead this battle but us. Join us next week as we “Flood Congress” to express our collective disillusionment with the corporate “free trade” agenda. We will gather next Thursday, March 19, at 11:30 AM in the downstairs food court in Union Station (Washington D.C.) for lunch and training before we head to Congress. Please RSVP to mackenzie@popularresistance.org so that we can keep in touch with you if details change.

Newsletter: Redefining The 21st Century

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In his story about how he became aware, Marcus Godwyn writes, “I don’t know about you but when it comes to this 21st century, so far, I’m distinctly not a fan!” It is up to us to redefine what the 21st century ultimately means. To that end, here is what happened this week and what is coming up. The Internet in the 21st Century The new net neutrality rules were published this week and the good news from our friends at Free Press is that the Internet as a common carrier has been restored. Matt Wood says, “These rules are an all-too-rare example of Washington actually working for the people.” This only happened because people organized and mobilized to make it happen. The result was an unexpected one and would not have occurred without a people’s intervention.

Wyden’s Internet Freedom Allies Fret He’ll Abandon Them

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Sen. Ron Wyden was greeted Friday morning at his Umatilla town hall meeting by a 30-foot-long blimp urging him to oppose an upcoming trade pack that critics say could curb internet freedom. Activists from Fight for the Future — a Boston-based nonprofit that works on a variety of open internet issues — planned to tote its rented blimp around to three other Wyden town halls Friday and Saturday in La Grande, Baker City and Ontario. For grassroots groups like Fight for the Future, the Oregon Democrat has always been one of their biggest champions in Congress. He’s been with them on everything from fighting government electronic surveillanceto playing a key role in blocking anti-piracy legislation sought by Hollywood and other big content producers.

Over 100 Legal Scholars Warn About TPP Dangers

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Over 100 law professors sent an open letter to Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) saying they need to “protect the rule of law and the nation’s sovereignty” in trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While TPP is still secret, leaks and precedent indicate that it will contain provisions allowing giant, multinational corporations to bypass our country’s legal system. These provisions will allow these multinational corporations to sue governments, including ours, in “corporate courts” if they decide to pass laws and regulations that restrain the profits of these giant corporations, such as efforts to help citizens quit smoking.

Fast Track: We're Winning, Phony Group Created, Repubs Say No

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People across the political spectrum are recognizing that past claims about trade and jobs have been false and it is more accurate to call these agreements “job-killing trade agreements.” As the Coalition for Prosperous America writes: “While it’s been too slow, the country is now beginning to see that the deals they supported in the past have not produced the growth and job creation that were promised. America was lied to. The promotional trade treaty arguments of today are simply re-runs of past arguments that turned out to be false.” Reuters reports: “Nearly 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs — one in four — have been lost since NAFTA and the various post-NAFTA expansion deals were enacted through fast track.” And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports: 3 out of 5 displaced workers who found a job are earning less money and one-third took a pay cut of 20% or more.