Archive | February, 2012

Corporate Rights and Human Rights – Room for Debate –

29 Feb

Five experts weight in:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum over whether corporations can be sued for human rights violations overseas. The plaintiffs filed suit in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute, a law enacted by Congress in 1789, that empowers the federal courts to hear cases by foreigners bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Should the Alien Tort Statute hold corporations liable for heinous crimes? Is there a more effective way to do this?

via Corporate Rights and Human Rights – Room for Debate –


Can Occupy pull off a general strike? – Occupy Wall Street –

29 Feb

General strikes are few and far between. The last “full-on” general strike in the US was in 1946 in, yes, Oakland. Now Occupy’s calling one for this May 1. Will it happen? and just WHAT will it be?

…the Occupy movement’s ability to defy expectations and undo assumptions should not be underestimated. This includes the subversion and reclaiming of terminology. After all, the very word “occupy” has come to signify a plethora of actions, interactions, groupings and sentiments, many of which are divorced from any traditional notion of a political occupation. Likewise, a brazen call for a nationwide general strike forces organizing groups and individuals to think about what striking could mean for them come May 1. The idea of a general strike, traditionally considered, assumes an outdated economy where essential industries can coordinate and bring a city or country’s economy to halt; it needs refiguring for the current context.

via Can Occupy pull off a general strike? – Occupy Wall Street –

Shut Down the Corporations!: Occupy Groups Target ALEC | Common Dreams

29 Feb

Over 70 cities are participating today in a national day of action called by Occupy Portland to “Shut Down the Corporations.” The group calls for non-violent direct action to “target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people.”

via Shut Down the Corporations!: Occupy Groups Target ALEC | Common Dreams.

Becoming Locavores, One Locally Grown Meal at a Time – Aliso Viejo, CA Patch

28 Feb

“Connections create resilience,” said Leeds, an Aliso Viejo resident. “We’re going to have to re-evaluate how we live our lives. When oil gets really expensive, food costs will rise. We are not sustainable at this point.”

In September 2011, Leeds started holding potlucks to raise awareness about “creating community through resilience.” With a steering committee of nine members, she introduced the Transition Movement to Aliso Viejo….

To help residents become locavores, people who eat food that is grown locally, members of Transition Aliso Viejo are helping each other install backyard gardens. Under the guidance of Karen Wilson, a master gardener with the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, a workgroup of 10 Transition members performs the labor for each garden.

Leeds admits that each homeowner can’t grow everything they need, so she is encouraging them to share or trade what they grow with their neighbors.

via Becoming Locavores, One Locally Grown Meal at a Time – Aliso Viejo, CA Patch.

The Limits to Growth

28 Feb

Dermit O’Conner, in association with the Post Carbon Institute, has made this cartoon illustrating the problems that are now piling up all around us: There’s No Tomorrow:

Well, there IS a tomorrow, but we’re going to have to change a few things to get there, hence Truth and Traditions. The cartoon was hatched by folks a Hubbert’s Arms, a discussion space for people transitioning to a post-carbon world.

Here’s the script for the film, along with references and links to further information.

Do Liberals Disdain the Disabled? –

28 Feb

Another area with liberals  and conservatives can work together:

Care for people with disabilities has quietly been one of the few causes in this country on which social liberals and conservatives could put aside their differences to get important work done. I fear this may be changing, and at the precise moment when budget crises and the knife fight over health care reform place the future of key disability services into doubt. . . .

Liberals and conservatives deserve credit for working together to promote genuine progress in these areas. It isn’t easy, because we have genuine differences regarding the size and role of government, abortion, separation of church and state. But Mr. Santorum wants to exploit these differences. Mr. Santorum faces an uphill political climb. But whatever happens with his candidacy, he can still tear this particularly delicate piece of our social fabric before he’s through. We can’t let him do that.

via Do Liberals Disdain the Disabled? –

A famous Chicago factory gets Occupied – Occupy Chicago –

28 Feb

Working alongside the union, Occupy Chicago gets results, in one-day, in a labor action:

Whether because of the right’s overreach, the rise of Occupy, or both, struggles like the Serious occupation seem to resonate with the general public. Fried says the existence of a large, easily mobilized Occupy movement made their 2012 action different. . . .

It’s that kind of Occupier/union synergy that has caught on in a few locales and has been given partial credit for union victories in places like Washington state, as well as pushing the labor movement more generally to take risks leaders are usually uncomfortable with.

In the case of Serious, Fried says Occupy’s participation changed the tone of negotiations with the company’s management in California. “When they heard that Occupy Chicago had moved in outside their company, they were alarmed,” she says.

via A famous Chicago factory gets Occupied – Occupy Chicago –

This American Warehouse Sounds as Bad as Foxconn – Technology – The Atlantic Wire

27 Feb

It’s useful to be reminded that American can treat labor as badly as China does. The Atlantic Monthly compares conditions in an American fulfillment warehouse (the kind of place the delivers goods you order online)  with conditions at Foxconn in China:

After hearing all about the horrible working conditions it takes to make our electronics at Foxconn, Mother Jones‘ Mac McClelland shows us what it takes to ship those products. It sounds pretty awful. And not just by American standards, but, in comparison to what happens in China, a developing nation without our fancy American worker protections. McClelland spent a short time as a temp worker in a shipping warehouse called Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide, during the busy Christmas season. After days of back-ache inducing labor, she confirms a scary reality happening right here in the good ole U.S. of A.

via This American Warehouse Sounds as Bad as Foxconn – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Activists challenge Japan’s “nuclear village” – Nuclear Power –

27 Feb

The Japanese government has been incompetent in response to Fukushima and the Japanese people have begun organizing and protesting,

…several community-based initiatives, protests and rallies have sprung up in the past year. Volunteers have set up a popular website where users crowd-source local radiation levels. Mothers are testing school lunches for radiation. And perhaps in a nod to the Occupy movement, antinuclear activists have camped out in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo for more than four months and refused orders to leave. Citizens are also becoming increasingly vocal toward public officials.

“You see people yelling and interrupting these bureaucrats, which I’ve never seen at public meetings,” said Aldrich. “What I’ve been seeing from Fukushima and elsewhere is ‘rituals of dissent’ — local people not willing to be talked down to, not willing to be ignored.”

via Activists challenge Japan’s “nuclear village” – Nuclear Power –

America’s endless apocalypse – History –

27 Feb

For some, the lack of drama or disaster that accompanied Y2K justified placing most discussions of Armageddon on the yonder side of the grassy knoll, in tinfoil-hat territory. This line of thinking has proven disastrous to efforts to address numerous pressing issues — global warming being chief among them. Yet for many others, Y2K turned obsessing about the apocalypse into a national pastime; by 2001, the expectation that a major event could lead to the rapid unraveling of modern society had moved firmly from the realm of the conspiracy into the suburban American living room, where it has stayed ever since.

via America’s endless apocalypse – History –