• Ocasio-Cortez Takes Aim at Crowley and Kennedy For Challenge to Green New Deal Co-Champion Ed Markey
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/08/ocasio-cortez-takes-aim-crowley-and-kennedy-challenge-green-new-deal-co-champion-ed
    Eoin Higgins, staff writer

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday took aim at her former rival, Joe Crowley, in an email to supporters that presented the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts between incumbent Ed Markey and challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III as an unlikely battle between their party's progressive and establishment wings.

    "While Ed Markey is fighting for the Green New Deal in the Senate, Joe Kennedy is getting campaign support from Crowley hosting a high-dollar fundraiser on October 15th," Ocasio-Cortez's team wrote in an appeal for donations that would be split between her and Markey.

    "Joe Kennedy thinks that with the backing of the establishment and the old guard of the Democratic Party that he can beat a progressive champion for justice," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Let's show Kennedy that he's wrong."

    Emma Vigeland ✔ @EmmaVigeland
    Amazing.

    Team @AOC sends out a scathing email blast about Joe Kennedy's big money fundraisers on behalf of Green New Deal co-author Ed Markey.

    See, establishment types? It's not about primaries for the sake of primaries. It's about the *policy.* Not that hard to grasp!
    View image on Twitter
    1:30 PM - Oct 7, 2019

    Crowley, the New York Democrat who lost a primary election to Ocasio-Cortez in 2018, is listed as a "host" for an October 15 fundraiser for Kennedy hosted by lobbyist Tracey Spicer.

    The event, according to reporting from The Boston Globe, asks attendees from different tiers to donate to the the Kennedy effort to depose Markey:

    According to the invitation, hosts for the fund-raiser are asked to give $5,600 to Kennedy's campaign—the maximum amount an individual can give for the primary and general election, combined. The invitation asks "co-hosts" to pony up $2,800, "supporters" to give $1,000; and "friends" to contribute $500.

    The timing of Crowley's insertion into the race comes weeks after Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Markey, her Senate co-sponsor for the Green New Deal.

    A Kennedy campaign official, speaking on background, told Common Dreams that Crowley and Kennedy's friendship is longstanding and that Crowley's presence in the race has nothing to do with Ocasio-Cortez.

    "They are genuinely close friends and have been for a long time," said the campaign official.

    As Sludge pointed out on October 4, Crowley's post-Congress career has set him up nicely to raise cash and wield influence:

    Crowley is not just the guy whom AOC beat; he is now senior policy advisor at Squire Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. lobbying firm that represents large corporations such as oil company Royal Dutch Shell, Management and Training Corp.—the third largest private prison company in the U.S.—and insurer UnitedHealth Group.

    The juxtaposition of Ocasio-Cortez, the political upstart whose primary challenge upset the national political order, endorsing the incumbent Markey with her establishment opponent backing Kennedy, who is running on a message of change, was not lost on Boston-based political activist Jonathan Cohn.

    "Some pundits have drawn comparisons to Ayanna Pressley's challenge to Mike Capuano last year, with Kennedy invoking rhetoric akin to Pressley's 'Change can't wait,'" said Cohn. "But the dynamics of the race are very different."

    Sarah Ferris ✔ @sarahnferris
    Joe Crowley hosting fundraiser for Joe Kennedy.
    ....Meanwhile, AOC has endorsed Markey.
    That guy who AOC beat? He’s hosting a fund-raiser for Joe Kennedy - The Boston Globe
    Former congressman Joe Crowley of New York is listed as a host on an invitation for an Oct. 15 “DC Kickoff” fund-raiser for Joe Kennedy’s Senate campaign.

    bostonglobe
    1:50 PM - Oct 3, 2019
    The Globe's reporting appears to bear out that perception of the race's dynamics.

    The paper gave a rundown of a who's who expected at the October 15 fundraiser:

    Former (Ted) Kennedy staffers listed on the invitation include Stephanie Cutter, who went on to serve in the Obama administration and as deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, among other roles; David Bowen, who served as staff director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions when the elder Kennedy was its chairman, and played a major role in drafting and steering the Affordable Care Act through the Senate; and Tom Lopach, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who is currently working on Montana Governor Steve Bullock's presidential campaign.

    In her email to supporters, Ocasio-Cortez said that the stakes for the Massachusetts primary are clear.

    "We need to help keep Markey in the Senate where he has a proven record of fighting for transformative change," said Ocasio-Cortez.
    Ocasio-Cortez Takes Aim at Crowley and Kennedy For Challenge to Green New Deal Co-Champion Ed Markey https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/08/ocasio-cortez-takes-aim-crowley-and-kennedy-challenge-green-new-deal-co-champion-ed Eoin Higgins, staff writer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday took aim at her former rival, Joe Crowley, in an email to supporters that presented the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts between incumbent Ed Markey and challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III as an unlikely battle between their party's progressive and establishment wings. "While Ed Markey is fighting for the Green New Deal in the Senate, Joe Kennedy is getting campaign support from Crowley hosting a high-dollar fundraiser on October 15th," Ocasio-Cortez's team wrote in an appeal for donations that would be split between her and Markey. "Joe Kennedy thinks that with the backing of the establishment and the old guard of the Democratic Party that he can beat a progressive champion for justice," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Let's show Kennedy that he's wrong." Emma Vigeland ✔ @EmmaVigeland Amazing. Team @AOC sends out a scathing email blast about Joe Kennedy's big money fundraisers on behalf of Green New Deal co-author Ed Markey. See, establishment types? It's not about primaries for the sake of primaries. It's about the *policy.* Not that hard to grasp! View image on Twitter 1:30 PM - Oct 7, 2019 Crowley, the New York Democrat who lost a primary election to Ocasio-Cortez in 2018, is listed as a "host" for an October 15 fundraiser for Kennedy hosted by lobbyist Tracey Spicer. The event, according to reporting from The Boston Globe, asks attendees from different tiers to donate to the the Kennedy effort to depose Markey: According to the invitation, hosts for the fund-raiser are asked to give $5,600 to Kennedy's campaign—the maximum amount an individual can give for the primary and general election, combined. The invitation asks "co-hosts" to pony up $2,800, "supporters" to give $1,000; and "friends" to contribute $500. The timing of Crowley's insertion into the race comes weeks after Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Markey, her Senate co-sponsor for the Green New Deal. A Kennedy campaign official, speaking on background, told Common Dreams that Crowley and Kennedy's friendship is longstanding and that Crowley's presence in the race has nothing to do with Ocasio-Cortez. "They are genuinely close friends and have been for a long time," said the campaign official. As Sludge pointed out on October 4, Crowley's post-Congress career has set him up nicely to raise cash and wield influence: Crowley is not just the guy whom AOC beat; he is now senior policy advisor at Squire Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. lobbying firm that represents large corporations such as oil company Royal Dutch Shell, Management and Training Corp.—the third largest private prison company in the U.S.—and insurer UnitedHealth Group. The juxtaposition of Ocasio-Cortez, the political upstart whose primary challenge upset the national political order, endorsing the incumbent Markey with her establishment opponent backing Kennedy, who is running on a message of change, was not lost on Boston-based political activist Jonathan Cohn. "Some pundits have drawn comparisons to Ayanna Pressley's challenge to Mike Capuano last year, with Kennedy invoking rhetoric akin to Pressley's 'Change can't wait,'" said Cohn. "But the dynamics of the race are very different." Sarah Ferris ✔ @sarahnferris Joe Crowley hosting fundraiser for Joe Kennedy. ....Meanwhile, AOC has endorsed Markey. That guy who AOC beat? He’s hosting a fund-raiser for Joe Kennedy - The Boston Globe Former congressman Joe Crowley of New York is listed as a host on an invitation for an Oct. 15 “DC Kickoff” fund-raiser for Joe Kennedy’s Senate campaign. bostonglobe 1:50 PM - Oct 3, 2019 The Globe's reporting appears to bear out that perception of the race's dynamics. The paper gave a rundown of a who's who expected at the October 15 fundraiser: Former (Ted) Kennedy staffers listed on the invitation include Stephanie Cutter, who went on to serve in the Obama administration and as deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, among other roles; David Bowen, who served as staff director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions when the elder Kennedy was its chairman, and played a major role in drafting and steering the Affordable Care Act through the Senate; and Tom Lopach, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who is currently working on Montana Governor Steve Bullock's presidential campaign. In her email to supporters, Ocasio-Cortez said that the stakes for the Massachusetts primary are clear. "We need to help keep Markey in the Senate where he has a proven record of fighting for transformative change," said Ocasio-Cortez.
    Ocasio-Cortez Takes Aim at Crowley and Kennedy For Challenge to Green New Deal Co-Champion Ed Markey
     "Joe Kennedy thinks that with the backing of the establishment and the old guard of the Democratic Party that he can beat a progressive champion for justice. Let's show Kennedy that he's wrong."
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  • Make America Greta Again
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/30/make-america-greta-again
    Tom Engelhardt

    Look what Greta started and what she did to me! I took part in the recent climate-strike march in New York City -- one of a quarter-million people (or maybe 60,000) who turned out there, along with four million others across all seven continents. Then I came home and promptly collapsed. Which tells you one thing: I'm not 16 years old like Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who almost singlehandedly roused a sleeping planet and is now described as “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” Nor am I the age of just about any of the demonstrators I stopped to chat with that afternoon, however briefly, while madly scribbling down their inventive protest signs in a little notebook.

    But don’t think I was out of place either. After all, the kids had called on adults to turn out that day and offer them some support. They understandably wanted to know that someone -- other than themselves (and a bunch of scientists) -- was truly paying attention to the global toilet down which their future was headed. I’m 75 and proud to say that I was walking that Friday with three friends, two of whom were older than me, amid vast crowds of enthusiastic, drum-beating, guitar-playing, chanting, shouting, climate-striking kids and their supporters of every age and hue. The streets of downtown Manhattan Island were so packed that sometimes, in the blazing sun of that September afternoon, we were barely inching along.

    It was impressive, exuberant, and, yes, let me say it again, exhausting. And that sun, beautiful as it was, didn’t help at all. At one point, I was so warm that I even stripped down to my T-shirt. I have to admit, though, that I felt that orb was shining so brightly at the behest of those young school strikers to make a point about what planet we were now on. It was about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during that march, which fortunately was to a park on the tip of Manhattan, not to somewhere in Jacobabad, Pakistan, now possibly the hottest city on Earth (and growing hotter by the year) with a temperature that only recently hit 124 degrees Fahrenheit.

    That night, back in my living room, I slumped on the sofa, pillows packed behind me, and turned on NBC Nightly News to watch anchor Lester Holt report on the breaking stories of that historic day in which climate strikers and their supporters had turned out in staggering numbers from distant Pacific islands to Africa, Europe, the Americas, and -- yes -- Antarctica. Even -- bless them -- a small group of young Afghans in that desperately embattled land was somehow still capable of thinking about the future of our planet and risked their lives to demonstrate! “I want to march because if I don't survive this war,” said Sarah Azizi, one of those Afghans, “at least I would have done something for the next generation that they can survive." (Where, though, were the Chinese demonstrators in a country that now releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other, though the U.S. remains by far the largest emitter in history?)

    Let me add one thing: I’m a religious viewer of Lester Holt or at least what I can take of his show (usually about 15 minutes or so). The reason? Because I feel it gives me a sense of what an aging slice of Americans take in as the “news” daily on our increasingly embattled planet. If you happen to be one of the striking school kids with a certain perspective on the adults who have gotten us into our present global fix, then you won’t be shocked to learn that those “Fridays for Future” global demonstrations proved to be the sixth story of the day on that broadcast. But hey, who can blame Lester Holt & Co? (“Tonight, several breaking headlines as we come on the air!”) After all, not far from Chicago, an SUV (“Breaking news! Shocking video!”) had busted ever so photogenically into a mall and rambled around for a while knocking things over (but hurting no one) before the driver was arrested. No comparison with millions of human beings going on strike over the heating of a planet on which life forms of every sort are in increasing jeopardy.

    Then, of course, there was story number two: the “deadly tour bus crash” in Utah (“Also breaking, the highway horror!”) that killed four people near a national park. Hey, no comparison with a planet going down. Then there was the obvious crucial third story of the night, the “surprise move” of football’s New England Patriots to drop Antonio Brown, “the superstar facing sexual misconduct allegations,” from their roster. Fourth came an actual weather emergency, “the growing disaster, a new round of relentless rain on the Texas coast, the catastrophic cutting-off of communities, the death toll rising!” And staggering downpours from Tropical Depression Imelda, 40 inches worth in the Houston area, were indeed news. Of course, Lester offered not the slightest hint, despite the demonstrations that day, that there might be any connection between the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history and climate change. And then, of course, there was Donald Trump. (“Allegations President Trump pressured Ukraine’s leader eight times in a single phone call to investigate the son of rival Joe Biden!”) He’s everywhere and would probably have been bitter, had he noticed, to come in a rare and distant fifth that night. He was expectably shown sitting in his usual lost-boy pose (hands between legs, leaning forward), denying that this latest “whistleblower firestorm” meant anything at all. And finally, sixth and truly last, at least in the introductory line-up of stories to come, was humanity’s “firestorm” and the children who, unlike the grown-ups of NBC Nightly News, actually grasp the importance of what’s happening to this planet and so many of the species on it, themselves included. (“...And walking out of class, millions of students demanding action on climate change...”)

    As I’ve written elsewhere, this sort of coverage is beginning to change as, in 2019, the climate crisis enters our world in a far more obvious way. Still, it’s fairly typical of how the grownups of this planet have acted in these years, typical of what initially upset Greta Thunberg. Admittedly, even that day and the next, there was far better coverage to be found in the mainstream media. The Guardian, for instance, impressively streamed climate-crisis news all day and, that evening, the PBS NewsHour made it at least a decently covered second story of the day (after, well, you-know-who and that secret whistleblower). Meanwhile, a new initiative launched by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation magazine to heighten coverage of the subject has already drawn at least 300 outlets globally as partners. (Even Lester Holt has begun giving it a little more attention.)

    And though it may not be timely enough, change is coming in polling, in the media, and elsewhere, and those children I saw marching in such profusion that day will indeed help make it happen. Opinion will continue to change in the heat of the oncoming moment, as in the end will governments, and that will matter, even if not as fast as would be either useful or advisable.

    "Don’t Be a Fossil Fool"

    Let me stop now and look back on that New York demonstration, more than a week gone, where, at one point, people all around me waving hand-made blue signs visibly meant to be ocean waves were chanting, “Sea levels are rising and so are we!”

    To understand what’s happening on this planet of ours from the bottom up, what our future might truly hold in a post-Trumpian world (that’s still a world), I wish you could have spent a little time, as I did that day, with those marchers. But I think there’s a way you still can. As I mentioned, I spent those hours, in part, feverishly jotting down what was written on the endless array of protest signs -- some held, some pasted onto or slung over shirts, some, in fact, actual T-shirts (“No More B[oil], Leave it in the ground”). Some had clearly been professionally printed up. (Perfect for the age of Trump, for instance: “The universe is made of protons, neutrons, electrons, and morons.”) Many were, as participants told me, not original but slogans found online and turned into personal expressions of feeling, often with plenty of decoration. That would, for instance, include the mock-Trumpian “Make America Greta Again” and “There Is No Plan[et] B. Green New Deal!”).

    Many of the signs were, however, clearly original, some done with ultimate care, others scrawled wildly. Some were profane (“Fuck Trump, the Earth is Dying!” from a 14-year-old boy or “Clean the Earth, it’s not Uranus”); some were starkly blunt (“Act now before the show is over”); some politically oriented (“We’re not red or blue, we’re green”); some pop-culturally on target (“Winter is not coming”); some wry (“Don’t be a Fossil Fool”); some politically of the moment (“Real science, Fake president,” “Less AC, More AOC”); some critiques of capitalism (“If we can save the banks, we can save the world,” “We can’t eat money, we can’t drink oil”); some wise (“The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”); some culturally sly (“#MeToo, said Mother Earth”); or clever indeed (“This sign is reusable, STOP AND THINK”).

    There were those two kids I ran into. The younger, a girl of 10, was carrying a homemade sign that said, “Dear Donald, Hate to break it to you, but climate change is real. XOXO Love, Earth”; her brother, 14, held up a two-word sign all his own that simply said, “Mulch Trump.” Touché! A college student’s sign read, “I am studying for a future that is being destroyed.” A 20-year-old woman held one that said, pungently enough in our present American universe, “Eco not Ego.”

    A boy, 8, was blunt: “Save our future.” An 11-year-old girl no less blunt: “If you won’t act like adults, we will.” A 10-year-old boy had written plaintively: “I’m too old 2 die,” while another, a year older, offered this mordant message: “I don’t want to live on Mars. I want to live in Manhattan 30 years from now.” Many signs were, in their own way, upbeat, but some were deeply dystopian as in one woman’s that said: “Don’t think of this summer as the HOTTEST summer in the last 125 years. Think of it as the coolest summer of the NEXT 125 years.”

    There was the woman with a sign that read “Science is not a liberal conspiracy.” When my friend congratulated her on it, she responded, “I wish I hadn’t been wearing this sign for seven years!” There was the woman carrying a sign that proclaimed, “Here for my son’s future.” Mounted on it was a photo of a bright-looking baby boy. When asked, she assured me with a smile that he was indeed her child whom she had given this line: “Mom, why didn’t you do more?”

    And if you don’t think this -- multiplied by millions across the planet -- is hopeful, despite heatmongers like Donald Trump and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro now being in power, think again.

    Let me assure you, I know what it feels like when a movement is ending, when you’re watching a nightmare as if in the rearview mirror, when people are ready to turn their backs on some horror and pretend it’s not happening. That was certainly what it felt like as the streets emptied of demonstrators in 2003 -- and there had indeed been millions of them across the planet then, too -- in the wake of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. It will not, however, be as easy to turn away from climate change as it was from the Iraq War and its consequences (if, at least, you didn’t live in the Middle East).

    The new climate crisis movement is, I suspect, neither a flash in the pan (since global warming will ensure that our “pan” only gets hotter in the years to come), nor a movement about to die. It’s visibly a movement being born.

    There was the 63-year-old grandmother carrying a sign that said: “I want my granddaughter to have a future! She’s due on February 1, 2020.” My heart went out to her, because the afternoons I spend with my own grandson are the joys of my life. (He was marching elsewhere that day in a self-decorated T-shirt that said, "Plant more trees.") Yet there’s seldom one of those afternoons when, at some unexpected moment, my heart doesn’t suddenly sink as I think about the planet I’m leaving him on.

    So, even at my age, that march meant something deep and true to me. Just being there with those kids, a generation that will have to grow up amid fossil-fuelized nightmares whose sponsors, ranging from Big Energy companies to figures like Donald Trump, are intent on committing the greatest crime in human history. It’s certainly strange, not to say horrific, to have so many powerful men (and they are men) intent on quite literally heating this planet to the boiling point for their own profit, political and economic, and so obviously ready to say to hell with the rest of you, to hell with the future.

    So, yes, there’s always the possibility that civilization as we know it might be in the process of ending on this planet. But there’s another possibility as well, one lodged in the living hopes and dreams of all those kids across a world that is already, in a sense, beginning to burn. It’s the possibility that something else is beginning, too. And it’s never too late for something new. Increasing numbers of the young are now starting to make demands and, in the wake of that march, I have the feeling that the demanding won’t stop until they get at least some of what they want -- and the rest of us so desperately need.

    In the end, I’m with the eight-year-old boy who had clipped (quite literally) to the back of his T-shirt what may have been my favorite sign of the march. Begun by him but obviously partially written out by an adult at his inspiration (and then decorated by him), it said: “I’m not cleaning up my room until the grownups clean up the planet -- and I mean it!”

    As well he should!
    Make America Greta Again https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/30/make-america-greta-again Tom Engelhardt Look what Greta started and what she did to me! I took part in the recent climate-strike march in New York City -- one of a quarter-million people (or maybe 60,000) who turned out there, along with four million others across all seven continents. Then I came home and promptly collapsed. Which tells you one thing: I'm not 16 years old like Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who almost singlehandedly roused a sleeping planet and is now described as “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” Nor am I the age of just about any of the demonstrators I stopped to chat with that afternoon, however briefly, while madly scribbling down their inventive protest signs in a little notebook. But don’t think I was out of place either. After all, the kids had called on adults to turn out that day and offer them some support. They understandably wanted to know that someone -- other than themselves (and a bunch of scientists) -- was truly paying attention to the global toilet down which their future was headed. I’m 75 and proud to say that I was walking that Friday with three friends, two of whom were older than me, amid vast crowds of enthusiastic, drum-beating, guitar-playing, chanting, shouting, climate-striking kids and their supporters of every age and hue. The streets of downtown Manhattan Island were so packed that sometimes, in the blazing sun of that September afternoon, we were barely inching along. It was impressive, exuberant, and, yes, let me say it again, exhausting. And that sun, beautiful as it was, didn’t help at all. At one point, I was so warm that I even stripped down to my T-shirt. I have to admit, though, that I felt that orb was shining so brightly at the behest of those young school strikers to make a point about what planet we were now on. It was about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during that march, which fortunately was to a park on the tip of Manhattan, not to somewhere in Jacobabad, Pakistan, now possibly the hottest city on Earth (and growing hotter by the year) with a temperature that only recently hit 124 degrees Fahrenheit. That night, back in my living room, I slumped on the sofa, pillows packed behind me, and turned on NBC Nightly News to watch anchor Lester Holt report on the breaking stories of that historic day in which climate strikers and their supporters had turned out in staggering numbers from distant Pacific islands to Africa, Europe, the Americas, and -- yes -- Antarctica. Even -- bless them -- a small group of young Afghans in that desperately embattled land was somehow still capable of thinking about the future of our planet and risked their lives to demonstrate! “I want to march because if I don't survive this war,” said Sarah Azizi, one of those Afghans, “at least I would have done something for the next generation that they can survive." (Where, though, were the Chinese demonstrators in a country that now releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other, though the U.S. remains by far the largest emitter in history?) Let me add one thing: I’m a religious viewer of Lester Holt or at least what I can take of his show (usually about 15 minutes or so). The reason? Because I feel it gives me a sense of what an aging slice of Americans take in as the “news” daily on our increasingly embattled planet. If you happen to be one of the striking school kids with a certain perspective on the adults who have gotten us into our present global fix, then you won’t be shocked to learn that those “Fridays for Future” global demonstrations proved to be the sixth story of the day on that broadcast. But hey, who can blame Lester Holt & Co? (“Tonight, several breaking headlines as we come on the air!”) After all, not far from Chicago, an SUV (“Breaking news! Shocking video!”) had busted ever so photogenically into a mall and rambled around for a while knocking things over (but hurting no one) before the driver was arrested. No comparison with millions of human beings going on strike over the heating of a planet on which life forms of every sort are in increasing jeopardy. Then, of course, there was story number two: the “deadly tour bus crash” in Utah (“Also breaking, the highway horror!”) that killed four people near a national park. Hey, no comparison with a planet going down. Then there was the obvious crucial third story of the night, the “surprise move” of football’s New England Patriots to drop Antonio Brown, “the superstar facing sexual misconduct allegations,” from their roster. Fourth came an actual weather emergency, “the growing disaster, a new round of relentless rain on the Texas coast, the catastrophic cutting-off of communities, the death toll rising!” And staggering downpours from Tropical Depression Imelda, 40 inches worth in the Houston area, were indeed news. Of course, Lester offered not the slightest hint, despite the demonstrations that day, that there might be any connection between the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history and climate change. And then, of course, there was Donald Trump. (“Allegations President Trump pressured Ukraine’s leader eight times in a single phone call to investigate the son of rival Joe Biden!”) He’s everywhere and would probably have been bitter, had he noticed, to come in a rare and distant fifth that night. He was expectably shown sitting in his usual lost-boy pose (hands between legs, leaning forward), denying that this latest “whistleblower firestorm” meant anything at all. And finally, sixth and truly last, at least in the introductory line-up of stories to come, was humanity’s “firestorm” and the children who, unlike the grown-ups of NBC Nightly News, actually grasp the importance of what’s happening to this planet and so many of the species on it, themselves included. (“...And walking out of class, millions of students demanding action on climate change...”) As I’ve written elsewhere, this sort of coverage is beginning to change as, in 2019, the climate crisis enters our world in a far more obvious way. Still, it’s fairly typical of how the grownups of this planet have acted in these years, typical of what initially upset Greta Thunberg. Admittedly, even that day and the next, there was far better coverage to be found in the mainstream media. The Guardian, for instance, impressively streamed climate-crisis news all day and, that evening, the PBS NewsHour made it at least a decently covered second story of the day (after, well, you-know-who and that secret whistleblower). Meanwhile, a new initiative launched by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation magazine to heighten coverage of the subject has already drawn at least 300 outlets globally as partners. (Even Lester Holt has begun giving it a little more attention.) And though it may not be timely enough, change is coming in polling, in the media, and elsewhere, and those children I saw marching in such profusion that day will indeed help make it happen. Opinion will continue to change in the heat of the oncoming moment, as in the end will governments, and that will matter, even if not as fast as would be either useful or advisable. "Don’t Be a Fossil Fool" Let me stop now and look back on that New York demonstration, more than a week gone, where, at one point, people all around me waving hand-made blue signs visibly meant to be ocean waves were chanting, “Sea levels are rising and so are we!” To understand what’s happening on this planet of ours from the bottom up, what our future might truly hold in a post-Trumpian world (that’s still a world), I wish you could have spent a little time, as I did that day, with those marchers. But I think there’s a way you still can. As I mentioned, I spent those hours, in part, feverishly jotting down what was written on the endless array of protest signs -- some held, some pasted onto or slung over shirts, some, in fact, actual T-shirts (“No More B[oil], Leave it in the ground”). Some had clearly been professionally printed up. (Perfect for the age of Trump, for instance: “The universe is made of protons, neutrons, electrons, and morons.”) Many were, as participants told me, not original but slogans found online and turned into personal expressions of feeling, often with plenty of decoration. That would, for instance, include the mock-Trumpian “Make America Greta Again” and “There Is No Plan[et] B. Green New Deal!”). Many of the signs were, however, clearly original, some done with ultimate care, others scrawled wildly. Some were profane (“Fuck Trump, the Earth is Dying!” from a 14-year-old boy or “Clean the Earth, it’s not Uranus”); some were starkly blunt (“Act now before the show is over”); some politically oriented (“We’re not red or blue, we’re green”); some pop-culturally on target (“Winter is not coming”); some wry (“Don’t be a Fossil Fool”); some politically of the moment (“Real science, Fake president,” “Less AC, More AOC”); some critiques of capitalism (“If we can save the banks, we can save the world,” “We can’t eat money, we can’t drink oil”); some wise (“The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”); some culturally sly (“#MeToo, said Mother Earth”); or clever indeed (“This sign is reusable, STOP AND THINK”). There were those two kids I ran into. The younger, a girl of 10, was carrying a homemade sign that said, “Dear Donald, Hate to break it to you, but climate change is real. XOXO Love, Earth”; her brother, 14, held up a two-word sign all his own that simply said, “Mulch Trump.” Touché! A college student’s sign read, “I am studying for a future that is being destroyed.” A 20-year-old woman held one that said, pungently enough in our present American universe, “Eco not Ego.” A boy, 8, was blunt: “Save our future.” An 11-year-old girl no less blunt: “If you won’t act like adults, we will.” A 10-year-old boy had written plaintively: “I’m too old 2 die,” while another, a year older, offered this mordant message: “I don’t want to live on Mars. I want to live in Manhattan 30 years from now.” Many signs were, in their own way, upbeat, but some were deeply dystopian as in one woman’s that said: “Don’t think of this summer as the HOTTEST summer in the last 125 years. Think of it as the coolest summer of the NEXT 125 years.” There was the woman with a sign that read “Science is not a liberal conspiracy.” When my friend congratulated her on it, she responded, “I wish I hadn’t been wearing this sign for seven years!” There was the woman carrying a sign that proclaimed, “Here for my son’s future.” Mounted on it was a photo of a bright-looking baby boy. When asked, she assured me with a smile that he was indeed her child whom she had given this line: “Mom, why didn’t you do more?” And if you don’t think this -- multiplied by millions across the planet -- is hopeful, despite heatmongers like Donald Trump and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro now being in power, think again. Let me assure you, I know what it feels like when a movement is ending, when you’re watching a nightmare as if in the rearview mirror, when people are ready to turn their backs on some horror and pretend it’s not happening. That was certainly what it felt like as the streets emptied of demonstrators in 2003 -- and there had indeed been millions of them across the planet then, too -- in the wake of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. It will not, however, be as easy to turn away from climate change as it was from the Iraq War and its consequences (if, at least, you didn’t live in the Middle East). The new climate crisis movement is, I suspect, neither a flash in the pan (since global warming will ensure that our “pan” only gets hotter in the years to come), nor a movement about to die. It’s visibly a movement being born. There was the 63-year-old grandmother carrying a sign that said: “I want my granddaughter to have a future! She’s due on February 1, 2020.” My heart went out to her, because the afternoons I spend with my own grandson are the joys of my life. (He was marching elsewhere that day in a self-decorated T-shirt that said, "Plant more trees.") Yet there’s seldom one of those afternoons when, at some unexpected moment, my heart doesn’t suddenly sink as I think about the planet I’m leaving him on. So, even at my age, that march meant something deep and true to me. Just being there with those kids, a generation that will have to grow up amid fossil-fuelized nightmares whose sponsors, ranging from Big Energy companies to figures like Donald Trump, are intent on committing the greatest crime in human history. It’s certainly strange, not to say horrific, to have so many powerful men (and they are men) intent on quite literally heating this planet to the boiling point for their own profit, political and economic, and so obviously ready to say to hell with the rest of you, to hell with the future. So, yes, there’s always the possibility that civilization as we know it might be in the process of ending on this planet. But there’s another possibility as well, one lodged in the living hopes and dreams of all those kids across a world that is already, in a sense, beginning to burn. It’s the possibility that something else is beginning, too. And it’s never too late for something new. Increasing numbers of the young are now starting to make demands and, in the wake of that march, I have the feeling that the demanding won’t stop until they get at least some of what they want -- and the rest of us so desperately need. In the end, I’m with the eight-year-old boy who had clipped (quite literally) to the back of his T-shirt what may have been my favorite sign of the march. Begun by him but obviously partially written out by an adult at his inspiration (and then decorated by him), it said: “I’m not cleaning up my room until the grownups clean up the planet -- and I mean it!” As well he should!
    Make America Greta Again
    "Sea levels are rising and so are we!".. Look what Greta started and what she did to me!
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  • 'Total Massacre' as U.S. Drone Strike Kills 30 Farmers in Afghanistan
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/19/total-massacre-us-drone-strike-kills-30-farmers-afghanistan
    Eoin Higgins, staff writer

    A U.S. drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the "war on terror" enters its 19th year.

    The farmers had just finished work and were sitting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul.

    "Some of us managed to escape, some were injured, but many were killed," said farm laborer Juma Gul.

    Reuters reported that there may be more farmers missing:

    Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.

    A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.

    In a statement, Colonel Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, said the attack was aimed at "Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar" province.

    "We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts," said Leggett.

    However, Leggett said, the blame for the massacre is squarely on IS and the Taliban—not U.S. forces.

    "We are fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of noncombatant casualties as propaganda weapons," Leggett said.

    Human rights group Amnesty International, in a statement, said that the strike was "unacceptable and suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life."

    "U.S. forces in Afghanistan must ensure that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties in military operations," said Amnesty.

    In a tweet, journalist Emran Feroz said his reporting from the region indicates that the reality of U.S. policy with respect to attacks in Nangarhar is different than Leggett's claims.

    "Seems that recent drone strikes in Nangarhar's Khogyani district ended in a total massacre killing far more than 30 civilians," said Feroz. "When I visited Khogyani in 2017, locals told us that drone strikes against farmers and other civilians are taking place regularly."

    Rita Siemion, the director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First, told Common Dreams that the U.S. military cannot allow strikes to kill innocent civilians.

    "Mistakes can happen, but this strike is part of a pattern that suggests that there are serious flaws in the Pentagon's targeting processes that need to be addressed," said Siemion. "Knowingly using a process that fails to adequately distinguish between civilians and combatants would violate the laws of war and be detrimental to the overall mission."

    In a tweet, The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan noted just how little attention the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. military was likely to receive.

    Amnesty International said bombing "suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life."

    MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted Thursday that Americans should pay attention to the attack and try to put themselves in Afghan shoes.

    "It is so easy to read this and be upset or shake your head and still see it as an abstraction," said Hayes. "But take a second to play through a missile from, say, Iran landing in Iowa and killing 30 farmers and what that would do to domestic politics."
    'Total Massacre' as U.S. Drone Strike Kills 30 Farmers in Afghanistan https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/19/total-massacre-us-drone-strike-kills-30-farmers-afghanistan Eoin Higgins, staff writer A U.S. drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the "war on terror" enters its 19th year. The farmers had just finished work and were sitting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul. "Some of us managed to escape, some were injured, but many were killed," said farm laborer Juma Gul. Reuters reported that there may be more farmers missing: Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured. A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened. In a statement, Colonel Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, said the attack was aimed at "Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar" province. "We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts," said Leggett. However, Leggett said, the blame for the massacre is squarely on IS and the Taliban—not U.S. forces. "We are fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of noncombatant casualties as propaganda weapons," Leggett said. Human rights group Amnesty International, in a statement, said that the strike was "unacceptable and suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life." "U.S. forces in Afghanistan must ensure that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties in military operations," said Amnesty. In a tweet, journalist Emran Feroz said his reporting from the region indicates that the reality of U.S. policy with respect to attacks in Nangarhar is different than Leggett's claims. "Seems that recent drone strikes in Nangarhar's Khogyani district ended in a total massacre killing far more than 30 civilians," said Feroz. "When I visited Khogyani in 2017, locals told us that drone strikes against farmers and other civilians are taking place regularly." Rita Siemion, the director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First, told Common Dreams that the U.S. military cannot allow strikes to kill innocent civilians. "Mistakes can happen, but this strike is part of a pattern that suggests that there are serious flaws in the Pentagon's targeting processes that need to be addressed," said Siemion. "Knowingly using a process that fails to adequately distinguish between civilians and combatants would violate the laws of war and be detrimental to the overall mission." In a tweet, The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan noted just how little attention the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. military was likely to receive. Amnesty International said bombing "suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life." MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted Thursday that Americans should pay attention to the attack and try to put themselves in Afghan shoes. "It is so easy to read this and be upset or shake your head and still see it as an abstraction," said Hayes. "But take a second to play through a missile from, say, Iran landing in Iowa and killing 30 farmers and what that would do to domestic politics."
    'Total Massacre' as U.S. Drone Strike Kills 30 Farmers in Afghanistan
    Amnesty International said the bombing "suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life."
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  • Chilling PSA Highlights School Shooting Realities
    WARNING: Video maybe to graphic for some viewers. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.
    A new PSA video from Sandy Hook Promise begins as a cheery and often-familiar back-to-school ad but slowly unfolds to highlight students using everyday back-to-school items to survive a shooting.

    The students are featured using their new sneakers to run from gunshots, skateboards to break windows to escape the school shooting, scissors and pencils as knives, and – possibly most heartbreaking – a cell phone to text their mom a final “I love you” as they hid in the bathroom.

    Warning: The video contains graphic content related to school shootings & may be upsetting to some viewers.

    If you feel this subject matter may be difficult for you, you may choose not to watch.

    “So far this year there have been over 22 school shootings, and with students heading back to school, it seems sadly probable that we will see more incidents. This is unacceptable, given that we have proven tools to prevent these acts from occurring. We cannot accept school shootings as the new normal in our country. Our goal with this PSA is to wake up parents to the horrible reality that our children endure. Gone are the days of viewing back-to-school as just a carefree time, when school violence has become so prevalent. However, if we come together to know the signs, this doesn’t have to be the case. I hope that parents across the country will join me to make the promise to stop this epidemic,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, in a press release.

    Sandy Hook Promise is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut led by family members whose loved ones were killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

    Their mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization before happening by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.
    #SandyHookPromise #NOGunsForMentallyIll #BanAssaultRifles #TYTNetwok
    https://youtu.be/-zT7tni4gu4
    The Young Turks 9/18/19
    Chilling PSA Highlights School Shooting Realities WARNING: Video maybe to graphic for some viewers. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. A new PSA video from Sandy Hook Promise begins as a cheery and often-familiar back-to-school ad but slowly unfolds to highlight students using everyday back-to-school items to survive a shooting. The students are featured using their new sneakers to run from gunshots, skateboards to break windows to escape the school shooting, scissors and pencils as knives, and – possibly most heartbreaking – a cell phone to text their mom a final “I love you” as they hid in the bathroom. Warning: The video contains graphic content related to school shootings & may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel this subject matter may be difficult for you, you may choose not to watch. “So far this year there have been over 22 school shootings, and with students heading back to school, it seems sadly probable that we will see more incidents. This is unacceptable, given that we have proven tools to prevent these acts from occurring. We cannot accept school shootings as the new normal in our country. Our goal with this PSA is to wake up parents to the horrible reality that our children endure. Gone are the days of viewing back-to-school as just a carefree time, when school violence has become so prevalent. However, if we come together to know the signs, this doesn’t have to be the case. I hope that parents across the country will join me to make the promise to stop this epidemic,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, in a press release. Sandy Hook Promise is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut led by family members whose loved ones were killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Their mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization before happening by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others. #SandyHookPromise #NOGunsForMentallyIll #BanAssaultRifles #TYTNetwok https://youtu.be/-zT7tni4gu4 The Young Turks 9/18/19
    Chilling PSA Highlights School Shooting Realities
    WARNING: Video maybe to graphic for some viewers. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. MORE TYT: https://tyt.com/trial Read...
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  • Quebec's New Totally Awesome New Law Is Upsetting Radical Leftists!
    Bill 21 in Quebec: You CAN'T wear religious symbols if you are a public.
    VIDEO: https://www.bitchute.com/video/H8Y6vs4kk2OT/

    #Quebec
    #Bill21
    #Religion
    #Canada
    #Canadian
    #NewLaw
    #Left
    #Leftists
    Quebec's New Totally Awesome New Law Is Upsetting Radical Leftists! Bill 21 in Quebec: You CAN'T wear religious symbols if you are a public. VIDEO: https://www.bitchute.com/video/H8Y6vs4kk2OT/ #Quebec #Bill21 #Religion #Canada #Canadian #NewLaw #Left #Leftists
    Kevin J. Johnston
    Quebec's New Totally Awesome New Law Is Upsetting Radical Leftists
    WWW.BITCHUTE.COM
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  • Liberal snowflake has a mental meltdown in "Trader Joe's" after a man dares to wear a Trump 2020 t-shirt

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/09/liberal-snowflake-melts-down-after-man-in-trump-2020-t-shirt-walks-in-traders-joes-so-upset-she-writes-letter-to-editor/
    Liberal snowflake has a mental meltdown in "Trader Joe's" after a man dares to wear a Trump 2020 t-shirt https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/09/liberal-snowflake-melts-down-after-man-in-trump-2020-t-shirt-walks-in-traders-joes-so-upset-she-writes-letter-to-editor/
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  • As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert 'Astronomical' Impacts to 'Life on Earth'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/25/new-fires-rage-amazon-global-calls-urgent-action-avert-astronomical-impacts-life
    Andrea Germanos, staff writer

    Brazil on August 25 deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest. The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. (Photo: Lula Sampaio/AFP/Getty Images)

    Brazil's army on Sunday deployed aircraft to battle the raging fires in the Amazon as global concern and outrage over the potential consequences—and the destructive causes—of the disaster grow.

    The military operations involving C-130 aircraft to put out fires came after Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro triggered global protests over his government's policies and failure to take swift action to combat the flames.

    Official data released Saturday backs up the call for swift action. Agence France-Presse reported, "Some 1,130 new fires were ignited between Friday and Saturday, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE)." So far this year, the country has witnessed 79,513 fires, more than half of which occurred in the Amazon, according to the agency. That marks an 82 percent increase from 2018.

    The fires were discussed by global leaders meeting in Biarritz, France for the G7 summit. French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday, "We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible."

    "Our teams are making contact with all the Amazon countries so we can finalize some very concrete commitments involving technical resources and funding," said Macron.

    The French leader and Bolsonaro last week sparred on Twitter over the fires. "Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest—the lungs which produces 20 percent of our planet's oxygen—is on fire," tweeted Macron. Bolsonaro then accused Macron of using the fires "for personal political gains" and said the French president had a "sensationalist tone."

    Pope Francis on Sunday added his voice to the chorus of concern.

    "We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon," he said, speaking to the public in St Peter's Square. "That lung of forests," the pontiff added, "is vital for our planet."

    Bolsonaro—who previously asserted there weren't resources to battle the fires—has baselessly suggested the fires could have been started by NGOs upset with his policies. But environmental campaigners say his policies promoting deforestation and other manifestations of Amazon exploitation are the main culprits.

    As NBC reported Sunday

    In less than a year, Bolsonaro has dismantled the country's agencies tasked with protecting the environment and indigenous peoples. Consequently, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has surged so much scientists warn the Amazon could begin transforming into a savannah incapable of serving any longer as one of the world's greatest carbon sinks responsible for helping stabilize the global climate. In July, around 860 square miles of rainforest were destroyed according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, resulting in a total loss of forest coverage bigger than the size of Los Angeles and New York City combined.

    Bolsonaro's administration has attempted to brush off such data, saying that the rate is not that high and, according to Reuters, has "distributed a 12-page circular to its foreign embassies, outlining data and statistics that diplomats are meant to cite to defend the government’s position on the crisis."

    For Amnesty International, it's clear the Bolsonaro regime set the stage for the disaster.

    "The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government," Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of the organization, said in a statemnt last week. "They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis."

    "We must stand together behind the Indigenous communities and leaders across the Amazon region—from Brazil to Ecuador and beyond," said Naidoo. "For them the Amazon is more than the lungs of the world, it is their home."

    A recent video from Reuters amplified those communities' determination to protect their land.

    Reuters Top News ✔ @Reuters
    'Until my last drop of blood': The Mura indigenous people vow to protect the Amazon

    video: https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1164926519791296512
    10:45 AM - Aug 23, 2019

    In another video from Bloomberg, a representative of the Xingu peoples denounces environmentally destructive policies and says her community joins with the world "all standing together for the Amazon." She said, "We are going to resist for the forest, for our way of living [...] for the future of our children and grandchildren, for the planet."

    Bloomberg TicToc ✔ @tictoc
    “No to the mining in our lands. No to deforestation. No more invasions and disrespect.”

    Brazil’s indigenous people demand urgent action for the #AmazonFires and an end to mining in the Amazon as world leaders are set to discuss the blaze at the #G7Summit

    Embedded video: https://twitter.com/tictoc/status/1165541454539833345
    3:28 AM - Aug 25, 2019

    As conservation group WWF said in a tweet Friday, further loss and destruction of this key carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot will affect us all.

    "If this vital ecosystem continues to burn," said WWF, "the implications for life on Earth will be astronomical."
    As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert 'Astronomical' Impacts to 'Life on Earth' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/25/new-fires-rage-amazon-global-calls-urgent-action-avert-astronomical-impacts-life Andrea Germanos, staff writer Brazil on August 25 deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest. The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. (Photo: Lula Sampaio/AFP/Getty Images) Brazil's army on Sunday deployed aircraft to battle the raging fires in the Amazon as global concern and outrage over the potential consequences—and the destructive causes—of the disaster grow. The military operations involving C-130 aircraft to put out fires came after Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro triggered global protests over his government's policies and failure to take swift action to combat the flames. Official data released Saturday backs up the call for swift action. Agence France-Presse reported, "Some 1,130 new fires were ignited between Friday and Saturday, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE)." So far this year, the country has witnessed 79,513 fires, more than half of which occurred in the Amazon, according to the agency. That marks an 82 percent increase from 2018. The fires were discussed by global leaders meeting in Biarritz, France for the G7 summit. French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday, "We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible." "Our teams are making contact with all the Amazon countries so we can finalize some very concrete commitments involving technical resources and funding," said Macron. The French leader and Bolsonaro last week sparred on Twitter over the fires. "Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest—the lungs which produces 20 percent of our planet's oxygen—is on fire," tweeted Macron. Bolsonaro then accused Macron of using the fires "for personal political gains" and said the French president had a "sensationalist tone." Pope Francis on Sunday added his voice to the chorus of concern. "We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon," he said, speaking to the public in St Peter's Square. "That lung of forests," the pontiff added, "is vital for our planet." Bolsonaro—who previously asserted there weren't resources to battle the fires—has baselessly suggested the fires could have been started by NGOs upset with his policies. But environmental campaigners say his policies promoting deforestation and other manifestations of Amazon exploitation are the main culprits. As NBC reported Sunday In less than a year, Bolsonaro has dismantled the country's agencies tasked with protecting the environment and indigenous peoples. Consequently, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has surged so much scientists warn the Amazon could begin transforming into a savannah incapable of serving any longer as one of the world's greatest carbon sinks responsible for helping stabilize the global climate. In July, around 860 square miles of rainforest were destroyed according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, resulting in a total loss of forest coverage bigger than the size of Los Angeles and New York City combined. Bolsonaro's administration has attempted to brush off such data, saying that the rate is not that high and, according to Reuters, has "distributed a 12-page circular to its foreign embassies, outlining data and statistics that diplomats are meant to cite to defend the government’s position on the crisis." For Amnesty International, it's clear the Bolsonaro regime set the stage for the disaster. "The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government," Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of the organization, said in a statemnt last week. "They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis." "We must stand together behind the Indigenous communities and leaders across the Amazon region—from Brazil to Ecuador and beyond," said Naidoo. "For them the Amazon is more than the lungs of the world, it is their home." A recent video from Reuters amplified those communities' determination to protect their land. Reuters Top News ✔ @Reuters 'Until my last drop of blood': The Mura indigenous people vow to protect the Amazon video: https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1164926519791296512 10:45 AM - Aug 23, 2019 In another video from Bloomberg, a representative of the Xingu peoples denounces environmentally destructive policies and says her community joins with the world "all standing together for the Amazon." She said, "We are going to resist for the forest, for our way of living [...] for the future of our children and grandchildren, for the planet." Bloomberg TicToc ✔ @tictoc “No to the mining in our lands. No to deforestation. No more invasions and disrespect.” Brazil’s indigenous people demand urgent action for the #AmazonFires and an end to mining in the Amazon as world leaders are set to discuss the blaze at the #G7Summit Embedded video: https://twitter.com/tictoc/status/1165541454539833345 3:28 AM - Aug 25, 2019 As conservation group WWF said in a tweet Friday, further loss and destruction of this key carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot will affect us all. "If this vital ecosystem continues to burn," said WWF, "the implications for life on Earth will be astronomical."
    As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert 'Astronomical' Impacts to 'Life on Earth'
    Pope Francis urges protection of "that lung of forests" and French President Macron says G7 nations pledged help at summit
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  • The New York Post yesterday blasted Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry.

    They were upset about a video we did about a cop who was shot while chasing a fella through the hood. We asked a cop to write a commentary about what was really happening and it got a ton or reaction.

    So much so that the head of a New York Police Union sent it to its members saying it was the best video of its kind he had ever seen!

    And his union members should listen to “every word of it.” https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1008440704307486720
    The New York Post yesterday blasted Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry. They were upset about a video we did about a cop who was shot while chasing a fella through the hood. We asked a cop to write a commentary about what was really happening and it got a ton or reaction. So much so that the head of a New York Police Union sent it to its members saying it was the best video of its kind he had ever seen! And his union members should listen to “every word of it.” https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1008440704307486720
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  • Q&A: 'Machine Gun Preacher' star Gerard Butler doesn't want to kick your ass

    By BY MATT PAIS
    REDEYE MOVIE CRITIC |
    SEP 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM

    Q&A: 'Machine Gun Preacher' star Gerard Butler doesn't want to kick your ass

    "I'm actually not as intimidating as I look." (Lenny Gilmore / RedEye)
    "Machine Gun Preacher" star Gerard Butler won't name specific movies, but he recognizes that he's made some stinkers.

    "There without a doubt have been movies that I've watched and went, 'What a waste of time that was,'" says the Scottish actor, 41, who may or may not have been referring to "The Ugly Truth," "The Bounty Hunter," "Law Abiding Citizen," "P.S. I Love You" and others. "I can say that now and maybe kind of smile about it, but I gotta tell you, when that happens it's really depressing because it's months out of your life."

    Clearly Butler (who doesn't mind being called Gerry) had no qualms about diving into "Machine Gun Preacher," opening Sept. 30. In the film Butler plays Sam Childers, a real-life Pennsylvania activist who transformed from a violent, dangerous drug dealer into a religious, self-described freedom fighter. He built an orphanage in Sudan and took down murderous Sudanese rebels by any means necessary. Yes, that means through violence.

    Butler worked with a dialect coach, bikers, contractors and plumbers to nail all facets of Sam's life. He frequently referred to a book featuring photos of mutilated African children in order to bring himself to the necessary emotional place for the role. Of course, Butler already owns a Harley, so it's not as if becoming a leather-clad bad boy was that much of a stretch.

    At the Four Seasons Hotel, the primarily L.A.-based actor—who swore off alcohol a long time ago, by the way, but indulged me in a chocolate milk chugging contest you can watch above—talked about fake mustaches, public urination and a fan who wanted a swift kick to the chest.

    Can you sense a movie you're making is going to be bad at the time or only after you see it?

    Both. Normally you can tell. There was a movie that I did that I didn't like and I knew from the first take. And I was relatively inexperienced at that point and I was just so excited that I got the role and I only assumed that the movie was going to be great. I was very naïve. And literally from the first "Action!," a few people in the scene we all started talking and I went, "Oh God, this is going to be crap."

    Can you give me one title that made you feel that way?

    No.

    First letter?

    No.

    Rhymes with?

    [Laughs.] Rhymes with "no."

    For "Machine Gun Preacher," was there any point at which you tried to grow a mustache like Sam's?

    [Laughs.] No, we talked about it. We talked about it quite a lot, and actually I did grow out a beard and mustache but you know what, it's a little too much of a gamble. For instance, in "300" it worked great. We all said, "We're going to stick with this ridiculously long beard," and that worked because it was more stylized. It seemed after the conversation it's a little too much to ask people to take. A lot of people would find it fine; we're already going on a heavy enough-journey without this big mustache. It also looks great on Sam, but it didn't look so good on me.

    You don't think so?

    No, I know so.

    It would take me six years to grow it like him.

    There's the other thing. It would have had to have been a false mustache; I could never get to that length. "Really, I'm going to spend a whole movie with this big false mustache?" When it's not in truth important enough to the story, and it's just taking a kind of gamble that wasn't really necessary.

    What was the hardest part of this role, and what went through your head the first time you touched down in Africa?

    The hardest part of the role without a doubt was dealing with the tragedy of Sam's life. Other people in most movies, perhaps in your more dramatic moments life got a little depressing, you struggled with love or something. His journey is so intense that his downs were downs that most people will never experience—the intensities of drug addiction and acting out on that addiction almost to the point of death and extreme violence. Then basically a mental breakdown, witnessing the horrors that he witnessed. That extreme, extreme emotion and physical destruction, having to go to those places was intense. But touching down in Africa was surely exciting for me 'cause I knew this whole movie was a great adventure. Much as it took a lot out of me, it also gave me so much.

    Did you ever doubt that you could do it?

    I always doubt myself. I swing between thinking, "I'm going to knock this out of the ballpark" to, "This is gonna suck so bad." Even "300," there'd be times that I was going, "OK, this is amazing" to other times when I was thinking, "This is so ridiculous, I can't believe we're standing here looking at nothing, talking nonsense." And I definitely had that with this. "Am I pulling it off? Am I pulling off the accent? Am I pulling off the character? Is it too melodramatic? Am I representing this man well?" So definitely you get that a lot.

    How do you think Sam's badassness compares to your badassness?

    I think he is truly a badass. I think I'm a little puppy Labrador compared to him.

    You've played a lot of masculine characters. What do you think people expect out of you when they meet you?

    It's interesting you say that because I've tried to get past thinking about that because it never really leads you anywhere good when you think people have expectations of you. I try to be decent with people. My feeling is generally most people appreciate that, that you can stay grounded and warm and friendly towards 'em. But I have no doubt that sometimes people go, almost, "He's real, he's normal. What a disappointment."

    Do you recall something someone said on the street, when they were trying to bring a character out of you?

    Oh, all the time. I constantly have people asking me to quote lines from movies, especially "300" of course. Or give 'em one of those kicks. Literally somebody asked me recently to kick him in the chest as hard as I could. They were like, "Go!" I'm like, "Are you kidding me?" "Kick me! Kick me!"

    "I won't be angry, it's OK."

    I'm thinking this is funny and I went, "[Laughs] No," and [he said], "Go! Kick me!" And I'm like, "This is so stupid. No, I'm not going to do it." So I hit him in the head with a baseball bat, and then we were fine.

    What's something you think reflects a softer side of you that might surprise people? Sam talked about how much he loves cologne.
    Maybe I'm a bit of a crybaby. I'm the kind of person that I can I have a little tear in my eye when I watch movies. Sometimes even just somebody tells me a story and if it's powerful I'll tear up.

    What's a movie that made you cry? Disney stuff?

    What would be a movie that made me cry? Oh my God, a lot of my movies made me cry. "Life is Beautiful." That made me cry. It also made me laugh. You can't beat a movie that makes you laugh and cry at the same time.

    How upset were you when you heard about Gerard Depardieu's public urination incident and the careless way he's dishonoring the name Gerard?

    [Laughs.] It didn't cross my mind. I'm all for public urination. You should be able to relieve yourself whenever you feel like it.

    This is from personal experience?

    Absolutely. I just did it earlier on today. Out on the street. Just close to the hotel.

    Plus:

    On Chicago: "I think this city's great. It has all this great architecture and it's a big city but it doesn't feel like a big city. It feels very small town. Really good people. I love walking about this city. It's got a good energy about it … I made a bit of a movie here. I had a girlfriend from here; I came visiting with her. I've been in and out a few times."

    On picking roles: "I have always had this feeling to keep it open and see where it leads me and never get stuck into one genre. I remember when I took on 'Phantom' Andrew Lloyd Webber said to me, 'This is going to change your life, and it's going to change the path of your career.' And inside I was thinking, 'No, it's not. I'm still going to keep doing what I'm doing which is everything I can.'

    Perhaps ['Machine Gun Preacher'] will lead to slightly more dramatic roles, but that was where I was going anyway. But I don't ever want to stop doing comedies or whatever. I want to keep changing it up."
    A role he wouldn't want: "I wouldn't want to jump in on a number 5 or a number 6 of any movie. I think it's more fun to create roles than jumping in on the sequel of something."

    On his iPod: "Oh my God. Sigur Ros is one of my favorites. Mogwai. Windy and Carl. I love kind of weird music. I love a bit of Radiohead. Massive Attack. LCD Soundsystem."

    Watch Matt on "You & Me This Morning," Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

    mpais@tribune.com

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/redeye-qa-gerard-butler-of-machine-gun-preacher-20110922-story.html
    Q&A: 'Machine Gun Preacher' star Gerard Butler doesn't want to kick your ass By BY MATT PAIS REDEYE MOVIE CRITIC | SEP 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM Q&A: 'Machine Gun Preacher' star Gerard Butler doesn't want to kick your ass "I'm actually not as intimidating as I look." (Lenny Gilmore / RedEye) "Machine Gun Preacher" star Gerard Butler won't name specific movies, but he recognizes that he's made some stinkers. "There without a doubt have been movies that I've watched and went, 'What a waste of time that was,'" says the Scottish actor, 41, who may or may not have been referring to "The Ugly Truth," "The Bounty Hunter," "Law Abiding Citizen," "P.S. I Love You" and others. "I can say that now and maybe kind of smile about it, but I gotta tell you, when that happens it's really depressing because it's months out of your life." Clearly Butler (who doesn't mind being called Gerry) had no qualms about diving into "Machine Gun Preacher," opening Sept. 30. In the film Butler plays Sam Childers, a real-life Pennsylvania activist who transformed from a violent, dangerous drug dealer into a religious, self-described freedom fighter. He built an orphanage in Sudan and took down murderous Sudanese rebels by any means necessary. Yes, that means through violence. Butler worked with a dialect coach, bikers, contractors and plumbers to nail all facets of Sam's life. He frequently referred to a book featuring photos of mutilated African children in order to bring himself to the necessary emotional place for the role. Of course, Butler already owns a Harley, so it's not as if becoming a leather-clad bad boy was that much of a stretch. At the Four Seasons Hotel, the primarily L.A.-based actor—who swore off alcohol a long time ago, by the way, but indulged me in a chocolate milk chugging contest you can watch above—talked about fake mustaches, public urination and a fan who wanted a swift kick to the chest. Can you sense a movie you're making is going to be bad at the time or only after you see it? Both. Normally you can tell. There was a movie that I did that I didn't like and I knew from the first take. And I was relatively inexperienced at that point and I was just so excited that I got the role and I only assumed that the movie was going to be great. I was very naïve. And literally from the first "Action!," a few people in the scene we all started talking and I went, "Oh God, this is going to be crap." Can you give me one title that made you feel that way? No. First letter? No. Rhymes with? [Laughs.] Rhymes with "no." For "Machine Gun Preacher," was there any point at which you tried to grow a mustache like Sam's? [Laughs.] No, we talked about it. We talked about it quite a lot, and actually I did grow out a beard and mustache but you know what, it's a little too much of a gamble. For instance, in "300" it worked great. We all said, "We're going to stick with this ridiculously long beard," and that worked because it was more stylized. It seemed after the conversation it's a little too much to ask people to take. A lot of people would find it fine; we're already going on a heavy enough-journey without this big mustache. It also looks great on Sam, but it didn't look so good on me. You don't think so? No, I know so. It would take me six years to grow it like him. There's the other thing. It would have had to have been a false mustache; I could never get to that length. "Really, I'm going to spend a whole movie with this big false mustache?" When it's not in truth important enough to the story, and it's just taking a kind of gamble that wasn't really necessary. What was the hardest part of this role, and what went through your head the first time you touched down in Africa? The hardest part of the role without a doubt was dealing with the tragedy of Sam's life. Other people in most movies, perhaps in your more dramatic moments life got a little depressing, you struggled with love or something. His journey is so intense that his downs were downs that most people will never experience—the intensities of drug addiction and acting out on that addiction almost to the point of death and extreme violence. Then basically a mental breakdown, witnessing the horrors that he witnessed. That extreme, extreme emotion and physical destruction, having to go to those places was intense. But touching down in Africa was surely exciting for me 'cause I knew this whole movie was a great adventure. Much as it took a lot out of me, it also gave me so much. Did you ever doubt that you could do it? I always doubt myself. I swing between thinking, "I'm going to knock this out of the ballpark" to, "This is gonna suck so bad." Even "300," there'd be times that I was going, "OK, this is amazing" to other times when I was thinking, "This is so ridiculous, I can't believe we're standing here looking at nothing, talking nonsense." And I definitely had that with this. "Am I pulling it off? Am I pulling off the accent? Am I pulling off the character? Is it too melodramatic? Am I representing this man well?" So definitely you get that a lot. How do you think Sam's badassness compares to your badassness? I think he is truly a badass. I think I'm a little puppy Labrador compared to him. You've played a lot of masculine characters. What do you think people expect out of you when they meet you? It's interesting you say that because I've tried to get past thinking about that because it never really leads you anywhere good when you think people have expectations of you. I try to be decent with people. My feeling is generally most people appreciate that, that you can stay grounded and warm and friendly towards 'em. But I have no doubt that sometimes people go, almost, "He's real, he's normal. What a disappointment." Do you recall something someone said on the street, when they were trying to bring a character out of you? Oh, all the time. I constantly have people asking me to quote lines from movies, especially "300" of course. Or give 'em one of those kicks. Literally somebody asked me recently to kick him in the chest as hard as I could. They were like, "Go!" I'm like, "Are you kidding me?" "Kick me! Kick me!" "I won't be angry, it's OK." I'm thinking this is funny and I went, "[Laughs] No," and [he said], "Go! Kick me!" And I'm like, "This is so stupid. No, I'm not going to do it." So I hit him in the head with a baseball bat, and then we were fine. What's something you think reflects a softer side of you that might surprise people? Sam talked about how much he loves cologne. Maybe I'm a bit of a crybaby. I'm the kind of person that I can I have a little tear in my eye when I watch movies. Sometimes even just somebody tells me a story and if it's powerful I'll tear up. What's a movie that made you cry? Disney stuff? What would be a movie that made me cry? Oh my God, a lot of my movies made me cry. "Life is Beautiful." That made me cry. It also made me laugh. You can't beat a movie that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. How upset were you when you heard about Gerard Depardieu's public urination incident and the careless way he's dishonoring the name Gerard? [Laughs.] It didn't cross my mind. I'm all for public urination. You should be able to relieve yourself whenever you feel like it. This is from personal experience? Absolutely. I just did it earlier on today. Out on the street. Just close to the hotel. Plus: On Chicago: "I think this city's great. It has all this great architecture and it's a big city but it doesn't feel like a big city. It feels very small town. Really good people. I love walking about this city. It's got a good energy about it … I made a bit of a movie here. I had a girlfriend from here; I came visiting with her. I've been in and out a few times." On picking roles: "I have always had this feeling to keep it open and see where it leads me and never get stuck into one genre. I remember when I took on 'Phantom' Andrew Lloyd Webber said to me, 'This is going to change your life, and it's going to change the path of your career.' And inside I was thinking, 'No, it's not. I'm still going to keep doing what I'm doing which is everything I can.' Perhaps ['Machine Gun Preacher'] will lead to slightly more dramatic roles, but that was where I was going anyway. But I don't ever want to stop doing comedies or whatever. I want to keep changing it up." A role he wouldn't want: "I wouldn't want to jump in on a number 5 or a number 6 of any movie. I think it's more fun to create roles than jumping in on the sequel of something." On his iPod: "Oh my God. Sigur Ros is one of my favorites. Mogwai. Windy and Carl. I love kind of weird music. I love a bit of Radiohead. Massive Attack. LCD Soundsystem." Watch Matt on "You & Me This Morning," Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U mpais@tribune.com https://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/redeye-qa-gerard-butler-of-machine-gun-preacher-20110922-story.html
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