Voices from Russia

Saturday, 16 September 2017

16 September 2017. A Thought from John Muir… Needful in This Time of Corporate Buccaneering Rapine

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In a day when the Trump slimesters are looking to rape our natural heritage for the sake of the Almighty Dollar, let’s listen to a man who put Almighty God in front of profit and greed…

BMD

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters

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New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/business/201705081053369767-us-state-law-silences-protest/

Sunday, 19 January 2014

VOR Best of the Blogs. 16 January 2014

00 inflatable rat moneybags

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Editor’s Note:

I must admit that I dislike most people who call themselves “progressives”. I’m a no-holds-barred leftist. I’ve walked a picket line or two, I’ve been on public assistance (no longer, but I was on it due to America‘s nasty-ass parsimonious UIB laws), I’m proud that I belonged to the CWA, and I’ve worked in unregulated non-union shops. Therefore, I know a thing or two about the pressures facing most ordinary folk first-hand. I’ll be blunt… I hate “limousine liberals” and their cockamamie notions. They’re going to tell us what to do as they know so much better than we do, dontcha know, their oh-so-“caring” condescension just oozes out all over the place. Please, do spare me. It’s also why I have no respect for the so-called “Pro-Life” movement. They wave placards and support the most feral GOP politicians of the lot… those who favour perpetual warmongering and brutal union-busting. No way for this gal! I won’t support a movement that supports the most vicious members of Congress. That’s that.

We need a real discussion between the various classes in America… we don’t need nostrums from the Upper Middles (who see themselves as Saviours, whether from the right or from the “left”). I don’t see that happening. Until it does, we’re heading for a train wreck. I don’t want to see that, but that’s what I see. Shall we avert it? God alone knows…

BMD

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Unemployment Insurance Fails In the US Senate

Arthur Delaney and Sam Stein wrote on the Huffington Post that legislation to bring back unemployment insurance for over a million long-term jobless Americans failed to clear the US Senate. Benefits lapsed for 1.3 million workers on 28 December due to congressional inaction. Each week since the lapse, another 70,000 laid off workers reach the end of their state benefits, which in most cases last six months, and find that the federal benefits that previously helped millions of workers won’t help them. Lawmakers knew about the looming deadline for a whole year but did nothing until it was too late. Marcia Carroll, 43, of Staunton VA, one the people whose benefits stopped last month, said, “None of them care about the working person”.

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”Worse than Bush”: Green Groups Sound Alarm over Obama’s Trade Deal

Citing a report by WikiLeaks, Jacob Chamberlain, writing for Common Dreams, reported that the draft environmental chapter of the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal renders any potential environmental protections “toothless”, as it lacks enforcement mechanisms between countries, such as penalties or criminal sanctions, and is largely “a public relations exercise”. A joint statement issued by the Sierra Club, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Natural Resources Defense Council, who analysed the document, stated, “Instead of committing TPP countries to ‘adopt, maintain, and implement’ the laws, regulations, and all other measures to fulfil its obligations under [Multilateral Environmental Agreements] and subject those obligations to dispute settlement, each TPP country is merely committed to ‘affirm its commitment’ to implement the MEAs to which it is a party”.

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Congressman’s New Jobs Plan: Deny Women Access to Abortion So They Can Make More Babies

According to Tara Culp-Ressler writing on ThinkProgress, US Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) suggested that Republicans support restricting access to abortion because it’d ultimately benefit the economy if women have more children. During a debate over an anti-abortion bill currently advancing in Congress, he said, referring to the bill that he’s promoting, that carrying pregnancies to term “very much promotes job creation. It very much promotes job creation for all the care, and services, and so on that need to be provided by a lot of people to raise children”. The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act would dramatically restrict women’s access to affordable abortion care by imposing restrictions on insurance coverage and tax credits for the procedure.

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Leaked Walmart Documents Reveal Propaganda Campaign to Fight Workers Attempting to Organise

According to Aaron Cantú writing on AlterNet, Walmart is attempting to win the hearts and minds of its employees by scaring them out of joining OUR Walmart, a Walmart workers’ collective that has organised strikes on behalf of all the company’s most vulnerable employees. The propaganda campaign is aimed at Walmart’s managerial staff, the corporation’s last line of defence in barring its low-wage workers from organizing for higher pay and better conditions. Walmart, the largest employer in the country, racked up 447 billion USD (15 billion Roubles. 490 million CAD. 590 million AUD. 330 million Euros. 272 million UK Pounds) in revenue in 2011, yet its workers’ wages are so low the taxpayers actually have to pay a significant amount each year for workers’ public assistance.

16 January 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_16/Blog-digest-January-16-Jobless-Deal-with-it-says-US-Congress-1944/

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