Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


How the Koch Brothers Celebrate Earth Day - and target Canada

How the Koch Brothers Celebrate Earth Day - Working In These Times
Before the words "Koch Brothers" became an epithet among labor activists everywhere, the oil industry barons were already persona non grata to Mother Earth. This Earth Day, let us celebrate the myriad ways Koch has touched the lives of flora and fauna alike.
The Brothers Koch are primarily known as chief financiers of the anti-union showdown in Wisconsin. ...As an oil mogul, Koch obviously has an interest in environmental deregulation (as seen in its battle against various anti-pollution policies . Nick Milroy at the Superior Telegram says the Governor wants to pull the plug on the budding green economy:
One of the governor’s first acts after being elected was to give federal train money to other states. He gave away $810 million in train money and 5,500 jobs to Illinois and other states. This action appears to be pay back to the oil, coal and gas industries that contributed $127,693 to Walker, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign,
Walker then proposed the most restrictive rules in the nation for wind energy. Wisconsin should be open to clean energy businesses like wind energy. The governor has already killed two projects and threatened 1,000 jobs.
In his budget repair bill, the governor attempted to sell state power plants with no bid contracts and canceled a biomass power plant that would have created jobs and helped wean us off fossil fuels. It makes no sense to sell these power plants and stop biomass when Wisconsin imports $16 billion a year in oil, gas, and coal each year, costing us over 300,000 jobs.
The New York Times reported in February that Koch Industries had relatively few workers in the state and thus “no direct stake in the union debate… The pending legislation would not directly affect its bottom line.” This gave the impression that Koch's attack on Wisconsin's labor movement was largely ideological—hence its connections to Americans for Prosperity, the faux-populist astroturf group behind the Tea Party.
However, by steamrolling labor, Koch—which has also poured millions into anti-science climate "skepticism" campaign groups—undermine the public's ability to resist ruthless profiteering. For big oil, any policy that disempowers public institutions—whether its the regulatory system, public unions, or the social programs and schools that nurture civil society—expands the corporate grip on our workplaces, neighborhoods, and governments.
The Koch team is quietly changing the political climate up north as well. Geoff Dembicki at the Tyee describes an intricate feedback loop in which Koch's profits from the horribly polluting Canadian tar sands indirectly feed into the anti-science, pro-corporate and anti-labor agenda on the other side of the border.
Together, America's fifth-richest citizens -- each worth $21.5 billion -- own Koch Industries, a refining, pipeline, chemical and paper conglomerate that manufactures common household products such as Brawny paper towels and Stainmaster carpets. They're also one of the biggest refiners of Alberta oil sands crude, handling an estimated 25 percent of all imports entering the U.S.
Anytime a clean energy law threatens to impact those operations, the Kochs fight back hard. Not content anymore to wage war from the sidelines, the brothers and their allies have now installed themselves at the heart of Republican power in Washington, D.C.
Earlier investigations by Dembicki have exposed other links between Koch and Canadian oil:
  • Minnesota-based Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources boasts of being “among the top processors of Canadian crude in the United States,” according to its website.
  • Incidentally, a pipeline that carries this oil runs straight into Wisconsin. So it's hardly surprising that Wisconsin lawmakers obediently scrubbed a low-carbon fuel standard from an energy bill in the face of heavy pressure from the Koch lobby last April.
  • Flint Hills was one of the biggest donors in the corporate opposition to the Proposition 23 ballot measure in California, which threatened to suspend the state's landmark climate change law. (The referendum, which was ultimately defeated, would have not only rolled back the state's emissions-reduction plan, but threatened major green job investments).
So lest you think that the Koch brothers are union-haters pure and simple, remember that stifling democracy, starving the government and smothering the ecosystem, are all bricks upholding Koch's oil empire.
This week, The Nation published an article co-written by In These Times Contributing Editor Mike Elk that revealed an audacious Koch-sponsored propaganda campaign last November in Washington State. 2012 will likely see the corporate-political nexus explode with even more Koch PR blitzes, now that the Citizens United ruling has unraveled political spending limits.


Lessons from Manning's transfer out of Quantico

Lessons from Manning's transfer out of Quantico - Glenn Greenwald -

Great essay by Glenn on how social media had an effect on the case of Bradley Manning.
A Pentagon official yesterday leaked word to the Associated Press that accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning was being transferred out of the Quantico Marine brig where he has been held under inhumane conditions for 10 months, and moved to the Army's prison facility in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon did not even bother to notify Manning's lawyer of the transfer; he had to learn of it through the media leak. As most media reports on this transfer note, the move takes place "in the wake of international criticism about his treatment." In particular, the AP story explains:
Manning's move to a new detention center comes about a week after a U.N. torture investigator complained that he was denied a request to make an unmonitored visit to Manning. . . . Two days later, a committee of Germany's parliament protested about Manning's treatment to the White House. And Amnesty International has said Manning's treatment may violate his human rights [ed.: actually, the Amnesty condemnation was far more emphatic than that].
Additionally, the British government formally raised concerns with the U.S. over the treatment of Manning (whose mother is a British citizen). State Department reporters had begun aggressively questioning officials about their refusal to allow unmonitored U.N. access to Manning (after all, even the Bush administration allowed unmonitored visits by human rights organizations to accused top Al Qaeda Terrorists held at Guantanamo).
Combine all that with the compelled "resignation" of State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley for his public denunciation of Manning's treatment -- and the forced defense by President Obama of this treatment when he was asked about it in a Press Conference by ABC News' Jake Tapper -- and it's obvious that this has exploded into a serious political and international scandal for the Obama administration. Add on to all that the fact that Manning's counsel was preparing to file a habeas corpus petition after brig officials just ruled that they would indefinitely continue Manning's oppressive treatment against the advice of the brig's psychiatric experts, and it's not difficult to see why this transfer was politically necessary...
For multiple reasons, the treatment of Manning has been a profound stain on the Obama administration. It isn't merely that the treatment is inherently inhumane, although that's true. It isn't merely that oppressive detention conditions are such a glaring betrayal of Obama's repeated signature vow to end detainee abuse, though that's also true. And it isn't merely that Manning has never been convicted of anything, rendering this obvious punishment (masquerading as protective detention) offensive on multiple Constitutional and ethical levels (not to mention a violation of the UCMJ), though that, too, is true. What makes it most odious are the purposes that likely drove it: a desire to break Manning in order to extract incriminating statements to be used against WikiLeaks and, worst of all, a thuggishly threatening message to future would-be whistleblowers about the unconstrained punishment they'd face if they, too, exposed government deceit, wrongdoing and illegality.
...But there is one positive aspect of all of this worth highlighting: namely, the mechanisms used to catapult this story into such prominence. Had this been 10 or even 5 years ago, I'm convinced that Bradley Manning's oppressive detention conditions would never have received any substantial attention and he'd wither away indefinitely in Quantico. Major media outlets would evince little interest in the conditions of an accused Army leaker. Republicans have long made clear their support for detainee abuse, and given that it's being carried out by a Democratic President, very few officials in the President's party would care either. It's long been the case that the only stories capable of generating any real media interest are ones raised by the leadership of one of the two parties, and Bradley Manning's detention conditions is of interest to neither.... (more to read, above)


Protect New York's Drinking Water from Fracking

Protect New York's Drinking Water from Fracking
New York is a battleground in the national debate about dirty gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". The gas industry is eager to drill, and some state leaders are hungry for potential revenue. But fracking jeopardizes the health and safety of our drinking water and communities.

From start to finish, fracking is an industrial process that threatens our water. In Pennsylvania, fracking has poisoned water with toxic chemicals and radiation. And fracking wastewater -- sometimes with radiation hundreds of times the safe limits for drinking water -- is going right back into the drinking water supplies of millions of people. We can't let this happen in New York.

Because everybody is a body of water, we must protect our health, water, and communities before we allow dirty gas drilling in New York State. Tell Governor Cuomo to choose the long-term health of our water and communities over short-term dirty gas profits.


Save Concord West - in Vaughan

Save Concord West! send an email to Dalton McGuinty before May 11th!

The Concord West Greenspace in Vaughan adjoins the eastern border of the Concord West community. Lying within the Don Watershed Plan, in a TRCA-regulated, ecologically sensitive area, and abutting the West Don River, it comprises part of the landscape habitat for the endangered Blanding's turtle, is home to numerous open-field, forest and wetlands birds species, is a feeding, staging and stopover site for numerous migratory birds, including the Special Concern Great Blue Heron, and for the monarch butterfly, now also protected by the Species at Risk Act. This greenspace is presently threatened by the Ministry of Transportation's plans to locate an intermodal transit hub on this land. Save Concord West is running an email campaign directed to Premier McGuinty and the Ontario Legislature. Go to


Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto

Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto | Center for Media and Democracy
Posted on FB by Jae Steele - veg author of "Fresh from Around Here" (Arsenal Press, 2010)
After 12 years of battling to stop Monsanto's genetically-engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's organic farmland, the biggest retailers of "natural" and "organic" foods in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market (WFM), Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm, have agreed to stop opposing mass commercialization of GE crops, like Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa. In exchange for dropping their opposition, WFM has asking for "compensation" to be paid to organic farmers for "any losses related to the contamination of his crop." Under current laws, Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not subject to any pre-market safety testing or labeling. WFM is abandoning its fight with biotech companies in part because two thirds of the products they sell are not certified organic anyway, but are really conventional, chemical-intensive and foods that may contain GMOs and that they market as "natural" despite this. Most consumers don't know the difference between "natural" and "certified organic" products. "Natural" products can come from crops and animals fed nutrients containing GMOs. "Certified Organic" products are GMO-free. WFM and their main distributor, United Natural Foods, maximize profits by selling products labeled "natural" at premium organic prices.


Bearing Witness, Creating Hope: 10 years of @ the Gladstone

Bearing Witness, Creating Hope: 10 years of @ the Gladstone
Here's an event of possible interest. Tickets are about $20, 10 for Rabble members.
Join moderator and rabble founder Judy Rebick, and special guests for a panel discussion on the state of Canadian politics, historical memory, and the upcoming federal election, and stay on after for a reception and party featuring Toronto's critically acclaimed LAL and dancing with DJ b#! Can't join in person? This event will also be streamed live:

Ten years ago, in April 2001 at the Summit of the Americas, the security walls came down in Quebec City as one of the largest gatherings of the anti-globalization movement showed its power in the fight against capitalist globalization and trade liberalization. The independent, progressive news website,, was born out of this sense of outrage - as well as hope for a different path, and for the potential the open internet to change the way news was reported and shared.

A decade later, in an increasingly militarized Canada and concentrated media environment, was out front covering the G8/G20 in Toronto. With you've traveled with Code Pink to Gaza and Tahrir Square in Cairo, read Margaret Atwood in rabble’s Book Lounge, and interacted in live-streamed significant Canadian events that are ignored by the mainstream. From union gatherings, to the G20 Shout Out for Global Justice, to left-inspired fundraisers, music, poetry, and laughter, rabble has been a part of it all.

Help rabble party its way forward to the next 10 years, in this first in a series of events to be held across the country as part rabble's 10th anniversary celebrations. Reserve a ticket now:

And here's a petition from rabble:
Canadians for Tax Fairness launch petition to stop corporate tax cuts
This Petition opposes additional corporate tax cuts which will give billions of dollars to the country's most highly profitable corporations, such as oil companies and banks.

Apple & Intel Pledge against Conflict Minerals: Ask Canada

Apple & Intel Pledge To Stop Using Conflict Minerals
Industry giants Apple and Intel have announced that they have stopped purchasing conflict minerals from war-torn Congo, a decisive move that some in the region have called "an embargo."

Rare earth elements like copper, tungsten, neodymium, dysprosium, coltan, and terbium are essential to the sophistication and battery life of advanced electronics. However, deposits of these elements are concentrated in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are at the root of many of the violent political conflicts there.

"Much of the fighting [in this area] has been funded by the extraction of these conflict minerals, and children have found themselves forced into the dirty and dangerous work required to ready these elements for export," reports Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit.

Seeing kids as young as five were spending up to 72 hours hunched over in narrow mine tunnels, was what prompted film director Frank Piasecki Poulsen to create documentary and awareness campaign called "Blood in the Mobile" to address the extreme disregard for human and animal rights that the large mobile phone providers displayed but purchasing these minerals.

Demands from consumers and organizations prompted a coalition of manufacturers, government agencies, and non-profits to launch the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) program last December. The CSF identifies smelters through independent third party auditors who can assess that raw materials did not originate from sources that profit off off the conflict in the Congo.

Many have congratulated Apple and Intel on their decision to participate in the program, but just a little digging reveals that alternatives were limited. As Triple Pundit reports: When the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed through the American Congress and won President Obama's signature last July, one section buried in the bill (revealing the brilliance or madness of how America churns legislation) issued regulations to prevent the purchase of conflict minerals, effective this month. The enforcement of this prevision has been left to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which in 2012 will require companies to audit their mineral supplies to verify that any purchases were not made from vendors that have any affiliation with the conflict in eastern Congo. While the U.S. seems to be on the right track concerning conflict minerals, other countries have yet to take a stand.

Encourage Canada to do the same by signing the petition below:

Use Conflict-Free Minerals In Canadian Electronic


Gay Rights Petition: Dallas Morning News: Same-Sex Marriage Announcements Belong in the Weddings Section

Gay Rights Petition: Dallas Morning News: Same-Sex Marriage Announcements Belong in the Weddings Section
Mark and Dante want to have their same-sex wedding announced in the Dallas Morning News, their home city's daily newspaper. But while the Dallas Morning News says they'll run an announcement in their "Commitments" section, they're unwilling to run the announcement in the "Weddings" section. For the Dallas Morning News, the "Weddings" section is off limits for same-sex couples, even though five states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.
The decision by the Dallas Morning News has prompted Mark and Dante to file a complaint with the city, suggesting that the paper is discriminating against gay couples. According to the Dallas Voice, the couple is using a city ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to make their case. Since wedding announcements are essentially paid advertisements, at least according to the couple, they ought to constitute a public accommodation and as such, the Dallas Morning News shouldn't segregate same-sex wedding announcements to a different section of the paper.
Send the Dallas Morning News a message that same-sex wedding announcements belong in the "Weddings" section.

An ecolabel on a fishery that catches endangered sharks and turtles. Really?! | Healthy Oceans Blog | David Suzuki Foundation

An ecolabel on a fishery that catches endangered sharks and turtles. Really? David Suzuki Foundation
By Dr. Scott Wallace, Sustainable Fisheries Analyst

Canada's Atlantic longline fishery for swordfish is about to receive an ecolabel from the Marine Stewardship Council. This fishery has been shown to kill about 35,000 blue sharks and catches over 1,000 endangered loggerhead turtles every year. Other species such as Bluefin tuna, porbeagle shark, shortfin mako, and leatherback turtles are also caught as bycatch. The public draft report has concluded that this fishery is worthy of the MSC ecolabel. This will be the first surface longline fleet in the world to receive MSC certification.

Globally, this gear type is associated with excessive mortality of sea turtles, sea birds and sharks. Given that this Canadian fishery has exceptionally high bycatch of these species and does not have even the minimal international best practices in place, this precedent-setting certification is deeply concerning. Express your concern by helping Hector the blue shark send a letter to the Marine Stewardship Council.


The Grand Canyon is threatened by uranium mining

Click here to tell President Obama to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.
Most of the claims filed are for uranium mining.  "Unfortunately, uranium mining can and often does harm soil, ground and surface water. It also leaves radioactive wastes that last for years -- wastes that can and have made people sick. The Grand Canyon is threatened because uranium mining, like other metals on public lands, is governed by the antiquated 1872 Mining Law -- a law which has no environmental standards; a law which makes mining a priority over all other uses of public lands.
In 2009, thanks in part to EARTHWORKS action list members like you, over 100,000 public comments caused the Department of Interior to create a two-year moratorium on mining around the Grand Canyon -- a moratorium that is about to end.
TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama -- "Don't Undermine the Grand Canyon"
The Obama administration is poised to issue a decision that will determine whether or not the sensitive ecosystems around the Grand Canyon will be protected for another 20 years.
We need your help to make sure that President Obama protects the treasured landscapes around the Grand Canyon by putting roughly one million acres of national forests and other public lands around its boundaries off limits to new mining claims"


Target Pledges Not to Sell Dirty Gold

Target Pledges Not to Sell Dirty Gold
Target, the third-largest retail chain in the U.S., has decided it will not sell "dirty gold." This refers to gold that is mined in a corrupt industry that often displaces communities, abuses workers and harms the environment.

To ensure retailers understand what standards to follow when buying gold from responsible miners, EarthWorks "No Dirty Gold" campaign has created a clear set of "Golden Rules:"

  • Respect basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law.

  • Obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of affected communities.

  • Respect workers' rights and labor standards, including safe working conditions.

  • Ensure that operations are not located in areas of armed or militarized conflict.

  • Ensure that projects do not force communities off their lands.

  • Ensure that projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value.

  • Refrain from dumping mine wastes into the ocean, rivers, lakes, or streams.

  • Ensure that projects do not contaminate water, soil, or air with sulfuric acid drainage or other toxic chemicals.

  • Cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites.

  • Fully disclose information about social and environmental effects of projects.

  • Allow independent verification of the above.

  • Target has taken a huge step by declaring they will not sell "dirty gold." Being such a large U.S. retailer, they will surely influence others to buy from responsible mining companies. Hopefully, soon we will have access to easy alternatives and the gold industry will no longer harm the lives of those involved.


    Columbia University Invites ROTC back

    University Senate voted 51-17 to bring ROTC back to Columbia
    Columbia University may see the return of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, which was forced off campus after the heated student protests during the 1960s sparked partly by the school's relationship with the Vietnam War. The University Senate voted 51-17 (with an abstention) to approve a resolution which states, "Columbia University welcomes the opportunity to explore mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps." Tao Tan, CC '07, Business '11 and the chair of the senate’s Student Affairs Committee, told the Columbia Spectator, " This is a great day for Columbia".
    ... and so the military-industrial kings of the earth march on... lucrative, isn't it, the Arms of Krupp...


    A Day for Democracy - rallies on April 6 for Voices-Voix Coalition Canada

    On Wednesday, April 6th 2011, in a number of cities across Canada, organizations  have come together as part of the Voices-Voix Coalition to organize a variety of events under the banner A Day for Democracy.  These events have the common purpose of encouraging Canadians to discuss democracy, free speech and transparency in Canada, and how we can defend these values and traditions, both in the short and long-term... and hold our elected representatives to account.

    TORONTO:  The Sandford Fleming Building, Room 1101 (10 King's College Road) 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Join Duff Conacher, Coordinator of DemocracyWatch, Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, and other speakers and organizations for a discussion on how we as citizens and civil society can defend democracy, free speech, and transparency in Canada – both in the short and in the long-term. Representatives of federal political parties are welcome to attend and explain how their party will act to defend democracy and human rights.  RSVP to

    OAKVILLE, Ontario:  Operating Engineers’ Banquet Hall, 2245 Speers Road (between 3rd Line and Bronte Road),  7:00 p.m
    Reclaim Our Democratic Canada is holding a rally and has invited speakers from all of the political parties to comment on the state of democracy in Canada. Other local groups will be joining us to help send the message that we want an open, transparent, accountable government.

    OTTAWA: The Human Rights Monument, heading to the Prime Minister's Office
    When: 12:30 pm - 1:30pm
    Pack a lunch and join us for a  march starting from the Human Rights Monument at 12:30, and heading a few blocks down to the Prime Minister’s Office for 1:00. Speakers from Amnesty International Canada, the CCIC, the CWP Advocacy Network and other organizations will address: (a) the undermining of democracy and human rights by the government in recent years; (b) what the Voices-Voix Coalition has recommended needs to be done to address these issues. Representatives from the five main federal parties have been invited to respond to these issues, and to have representatives at the rally to speak about their party's intentions should they form or help form the next government. Participants are asked to RSVP with Ashton at

    What to wear for SlutWalk, Sunday, 1:30, College Street

    Mallick: What to wear for SlutWalk -
    Heather Mallick's article on Slutwalk, this Sunday @ 1:30.

    “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,”
    Toronto police Const. Michael Sanguinetti told a class on rape at Osgoode Hall Law School. He then apologized and ran for cover, but the fact is, in the Sanguinetti world we live in, women are judged on their appearance.

    SlutWalk, a beautifully conceived and organized protest against this kind of women-hating, starts at central Queen's Park at 1:30 this Sunday and winds up at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College St. Wear anything you like, the organizers told me when I emailed them. Because it isn't what you're wearing that matters, it's that cops, and indeed rapists, will assess you whatever you wear. Their assessment will invariably be different from yours.

    SlutWalk will feature people in all sorts of garments and gear, dressed for the office, clubbing, yoga, walking the dog, whatever it is that people wear as they go about their lives not asking to be raped. It is a message of love and strength to all women (and men), especially those who have been assaulted at the core of their being... (read more above)