There are lots of "springs" happening across the world, following Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. A "spring" is not just another protest, it gets to the heart of what's wrong with that particular country and regime. It exposes the historical reasons for needing a regime chance, and articulates the possibility of spring, a different kind of future beginning now. #Idlenomore pricks at the vital nerve of Canada's foundational and ongoing colonialist enterprise. This movement stands for everything about Canada that ought to be defended. It's significance cannot be overstated.
This video captures the spirit of #Idlenomore. It was produced before Harper agreed to meet with a delegation of First Nations Chiefs. This upcoming meeting (Friday January 11th) will discuss treaty rights. Chief Spence will be joining, continuing her hunger strike until then and potentially afterwards, depending on the outcomes of the discussion. As Spence says, "we'll see what the results are, if there's really a positive result, because there are a lot of issues that we need to discuss."
Over the past decade, the Greenland ice sheet has been getting darker, and less reflective, absorbing more solar energy. This past summer a record breaking melt extended over the entire surface area of the ice sheet.
Greenland expert Jason Box has been studying and publishing about this phenomenon, and has become concerned about the possible role of increasing wildfires worldwide, and increased darkening of the ice sheets.
The only way to nail the science is to go to the top of the ice sheet and take samples - Dr Box, along with Bill Mckibben, and videographer Peter Sinclair, are kicking off the Dark Snow project to raise funds for for such an expedition, the first crowd-sourced scientific expedition to the arctic.
A Bennington, Vermont math and science teacher is home on administrative leave after being briefly hospitalized for a mental evaluation on the recommendation of police officers last week. Police became concerned after becoming aware of disturbing videos posted to Youtube and Facebook, and calls from concerned neighbors who witnessed the teacher carrying a rifle, a Bushmaster AR-15, to his car. There were also emails sent to some of the other school staff that caused alarm.
The Bushmaster is the same type of rifle that was used in the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, and other recent mass shootings.
The teacher, Steven Davis, willingly handed over his weapon to police along with two high-capacity magazines. During a search of his home, police seized another 500 rounds of ammunition.
Davis' online postings had included angry rants about his job. In one Youtube video, Davis said he had plans for retribution.
"This is all planned and very well thought out," Davis said in another video clip. "I've studied military tactics and this is the way to go. it's all going to hit so hard, so fast and shut that school system down til they get things straight."
Davis' wife said she was unaware that he owned the firearm. Police say that she left the home with the couple's small children, and obtained a restraining order against Davis.
In the most recent Youtube video, recorded from his hospital bed, Davis pleaded, "Is there any way to get a lawyer? For you guys to find me a lawyer right now?"
In a revealing interview with The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker John Boehner discussed the conversations he had with President Obama during closed-door fiscal-cliff negotiations. Appearing to have a case of battle fatigue after weeks of negotiations, at one point in the interview Boehner said "I need this job like I need a hole in the head." He says he was most shocked by Obama saying that Washington doesn’t have a spending problem. The speaker, just entering his second term, also explained his notorious “Go f--k yourself” snap at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I was in Ohio, and Harry’s on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don’t lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me,” he said. Boehner also discussed his decision to vote for the Senate tax package, saying a "no" vote would do "serious damage to the economy.”
"What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.' "
"I am talking to Mr. Boehner in his office on the second floor of the Capitol, 72 hours after the historic House vote to take America off the so-called fiscal cliff by making permanent the Bush tax cuts on most Americans, but also to raise taxes on high earners. In the interim, Mr. Boehner had been elected to serve his second term as speaker of the House. Throughout our hourlong conversation, as is his custom, he takes long drags on one cigarette after another."
"Mr. Boehner looks battle weary from five weeks of grappling with the White House. He's frustrated that the final deal failed to make progress toward his primary goal of "making a down payment on solving the debt crisis and setting a path to get real entitlement reform." At one point he grimly says: "I need this job like I need a hole in the head."'
"The president's insistence that Washington doesn't have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called "a health-care problem." Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—"They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system"—he replied: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem." He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that."'
"With the two sides so far from agreeing even on the nature of the country's fiscal challenge, making progress on how to address it was difficult. Mr. Boehner became so agitated with the lack of progress that he cursed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Those days after Christmas," he explains, "I was in Ohio, and Harry's on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don't lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me. I came back to town. Saw Harry at the White House. And that was when that was said," he says, referring to a pointed "go [blank] yourself" addressed to Mr. Reid."
"Mr. Boehner confirms that at one critical juncture he asked Mr. Obama, after conceding on $800 billion in new taxes, "What am I getting?" and the president replied: "You don't get anything for it. I'm taking that anyway."'
Over 100 Tar Sands Blockaders participated in a round dance lead by Choushatta organizer Ben Yahola in solidarity with Idle No More on land immediately adjacent to a KXL Pipeline construction site.
We arrived on the land, resided on by A family of Alamaba-Coushatta tribal members reside on the land, and when we arrived at 5pm on January 4th, we began setting up for the dance. Workers were milling about at the end of their work day and immediately noticed our banners. Police showed up shortly thereafter, but we were not disturbed in our peaceful demonstration of solidarity with Idle No More, Hunger Striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, and all affected by toxic tar sands exploitation.
This 2-minute story is about a powerful new solution that will help feed starving people in every city, town and village in America as told by Howard G. Buffett, Eva Longoria, Bono and Ben Afflect. This is a message funded by the Howard G. Buffett foundation and directed specifically to the world's most productive, hard-working men and women -- America's farmers.
In a recent Parademagazine article, Buffet (Son of Warren Buffet) was asked what made him turn his attention from global hunger to hunger in America:
"Before, I never understood how difficult things were in this country, and how they were getting worse. In America, hunger is hidden; people are ashamed of it. I was in Tucson at a food distribution [center] and noticed a woman walk in with three kids. She looked around and then walked back out. I later found out it was the first time she had ever asked for help, and she was embarrassed."
"Last year I attended a Thanksgiving dinner at Harris Elementary School right here in Decatur, where I learned that 92 percent of the kids are on free or reduced-cost lunches. I spoke with some parents who told me that school lunch is the best meal their kids get all day. That shocked me because the school sits in a community that has the largest food-processing facility in the world for corn and the second largest for soybeans; 1,500 to 2,000 train cars roll out of those plants and through these kids' neighborhoods every day. The irony of that is unbelievable."
"In this country, the number of people who are living on the edge, who exist paycheck to paycheck, who have been foreclosed on, has exploded. If you're choosing between medicine or food, between school supplies for your kids or food, between paying the electric bill or food, those are tough choices—and they happen every day. Yet I have hope, because the single biggest difference between fighting global hunger and fighting hunger in this country is that I don't believe we can get global hunger down to zero. There will always be conflicts and infrastructure challenges [abroad]. But there's no reason we cannot put hunger out of business in America."
Here are the ways Howard Buffett is trying to achieve his goal of putting hunger out of business in America:
Map the Meal Gap: Feeding America first published the Map the Meal Gap project in early 2011, with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, to learn more about the face of hunger at the local level. In August, 2011, with the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, child food insecurity data was added to the project.
At the link you can interact with their map, which reflects data from 2009 and 2010, to begin learning how the residents in your community are struggling with hunger and what the anticipated needs will be to meet future goals. There is a donation link, a food bank locator, a "Tell Congress" take action link and further information about the project.
2014 Hunger in America Study: Hunger in America, also known as the Hunger Study, is the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. Hunger in America 2014 is the most recent in a series of Hunger Studies, which are conducted every four years. Feeding America is the primary sponsor of this study, with generous funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
The purpose of the Hunger in America 2014 study is two-fold. First, it will collect information on the current work of the Feeding America network of food banks. This includes talking to agencies that get food and grocery items from food banks (agency survey) and from the clients they serve (client survey). The information collected from this study will help Feeding America, and its network of food banks, to better understand the agencies they work with to provide hunger relief. Second, it will also identify issues faced by both the agencies and the clients they serve. Findings from this study will give Feeding America the information they need to fight hunger in America for the next several years. Feeding America will use the data to advocate for government assistance such as TEFAP, CSFP, and SNAP. The findings will also support fundraising efforts by helping to educate donors and the public about the scope of services provided by food banks.
Invest an Acre :The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has established Invest An Acre, an innovative partnership that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.
Through Invest An Acre, farmers are able to invest the proceeds from one acre or more of their crops in Feeding America to support their local food bank. This is the first effort to mobilize farmers on a national scale to support hunger relief.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food assistance to people in every county through a network of more than 200 food banks.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation brings resources to support this vital work by creating an opportunity for every U.S. farmer doing business with ADM to invest a portion of proceeds at the point of sale, either when the farmer signs a contract or delivers the crop.
ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world. It operates the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 75 countries. ADM transforms oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses.
Feeding America has 53 food banks operating in communities near ADM locations.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is underwriting all Feeding America costs as well as a public awareness campaign. ADM is managing the accounting and transactions with farmers and the local food banks. All of the proceeds from Invest An Acre will go towards helping the hungry in the local community.
Due out on newstands January 17th, Matt Taibbi's latest expose on the Big Banks, Big Government, and Wall Street is available online now. As always, it's another "Must Read" if you haven't yet done so. Here's a snippet...
It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you'd think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?
It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform
But the most appalling part is the lying. The public has been lied to so shamelessly and so often in the course of the past four years that the failure to tell the truth to the general populace has become a kind of baked-in, official feature of the financial rescue. Money wasn't the only thing the government gave Wall Street – it also conferred the right to hide the truth from the rest of us. And it was all done in the name of helping regular people and creating jobs. "It is," says former bailout Inspector General Neil Barofsky, "the ultimate bait-and-switch."
The bailout deceptions came early, late and in between. There were lies told in the first moments of their inception, and others still being told four years later. The lies, in fact, were the most important mechanisms of the bailout. The only reason investors haven't run screaming from an obviously corrupt financial marketplace is because the government has gone to such extraordinary lengths to sell the narrative that the problems of 2008 have been fixed. Investors may not actually believe the lie, but they are impressed by how totally committed the government has been, from the very beginning, to selling it.