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.

Thursday - NYC Fast Food Workers Strike - NYC Fast Food Workers Strike
Emile Brolick, the CEO of Wendy's, is probably sitting at his desk having his morning coffee right now. By lunch time, he will have earned more than $11,009.95. That's more than I take home in a year as a regular Wendy's employee.

That's why I am walking out of the Wendy's at 125th and Lexington in New York City. Hundreds of my coworkers are doing the same, demanding higher wages and the right to form a union without interference.

Fast food workers like me barely scrape by on minimum wage while corporate executives take home millions. And despite the stereotype, most of us are not teenagers working after school. We're grown adults with kids of our own and bills to pay. Many people have worked in fast food for years and never received a raise from $7.25 an hour.

Going on strike is a big deal—and to win we need the support of the general public. If we can get 50,000 people to sign the petition by our Day of Solidarity on December 6th, we'll hand deliver your signatures to CEO headquarters all over the country. We know this is a David vs Goliath battle—workers against a $200 billion industry—but we can win if Americans from all walks of life stand in solidarity with us.

I am only one of more than 50,000 New Yorkers working in the fast food industry. With average annual incomes as low as $11,000, many fast food workers must turn to public assistance to make ends meet. We are striking today because we believe fast food companies should pay workers enough to be able to pay for basic needs like food, clothing, and rent.

Companies like McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Pizza Hut reap huge profits and shower CEOs with exorbitant compensation while many of their employees qualify for food stamps—and it's time to do something about it.

Don't stand for the minimum wage. Stand for something greater. Sign the petition today.


Secretary of State Candidate Has a Major Financial Stake in Canadian Tar Sands | OnEarth Magazine

Secretary of State Candidate Has a Major Financial Stake in Canadian Tar Sands | OnEarth Magazine
Susan Rice, the candidate believed to be favored by President Obama to become the next Secretary of State, holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline. If confirmed by the Senate, one of Rice’s first duties likely would be consideration, and potentially approval, of the controversial mega-project.
Rice's financial holdings could raise questions about her status as a neutral decision maker. The current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Rice owns stock valued between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada, the company seeking a federal permit to transport tar sands crude 1,700 miles to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, crossing fragile Midwest ecosystems and the largest freshwater aquifer in North America.
Beyond that, according to financial disclosure reports, about a third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel -- including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil. Rice and her husband own at least $1.25 million worth of stock in four of Canada’s eight leading oil producers, as ranked by Forbes magazine. That includes Enbridge, which spilled more than a million gallons of toxic bitumen into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 -- the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.
Rice also has smaller stakes in several other big Canadian energy firms, as well as the country’s transportation companies and coal-fired utilities. Another 20 percent or so of her personal wealth is derived from investments in five Canadian banks. These are some of the institutions that provide loans and financial backing to TransCanada and its competitors for tar sands extraction and major infrastructure projects, such as Keystone XL and Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would stretch 700 miles from Alberta to the Canadian coast.
In 2010, for instance, when Rice and her husband held at least $1.5 million in Royal Bank of Canada, the institution was labeled Canada's most environmentally irresponsible company by the Rainforest Action Network for its support of tar sands development. Public pressure from environmentalists and Canada’s First Nations tribes convinced the bank to stop funding tar sands projects earlier this year....
On the banking side, Rice has investments totaling at least $5 million and up to $11.25 million in Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, and Toronto Dominion. A report by the Dutch consulting firm Profundo Economic Research says several of these same banks are largely responsible for underwriting the expansion of Canada’s tar sands industry. “Investment in tar sands infrastructure now surpasses that of manufacturing across all of Canada,” according to the report.
Which means that regardless of Keystone XL’s fate, Canadian companies will continue to seek ways to pump bitumen from northern Canada to coastal refineries and ports, where it can be shipped to Europe, China, and other overseas markets. NRDC and other environmental groups have presented evidence that Enbridge is making plans to reverse a pipeline that currently carries regular crude from the New England coast to Montreal, and use it to ship tar sands oil in the other direction instead.
Since it crosses the U.S.-Canadian border, that plan would also require State Department approval.

One-third of Members of European Parliament vote against fracking

One-third of Members of European Parliament vote against fracking |
On November 21, 262 Members of the European Parliament -- more than one-third of MEPs -- voted in support of a moratorium on fracking in Europe.
Food & Water Europe comments, “While it is disappointing that a majority of the Parliament did not agree that an appropriate response to the documented risks of fracking is a moratorium, the reports and moratorium vote were only the first skirmish in the long-term battle to permanently ban fracking from Europe. Food & Water Europe -- together with civil society groups across Europe -- will continue to work with MEPs to increase awareness of the risks and negative impacts associated with large-scale unconventional gas activities.”
While MEPs express concern about fracking, the Canadian embassy and corporate interests have actively been promoting this controversial practise in Europe.

Stephen Harper: Palestinian Statehood Bid To Get 'No' Vote

Stephen Harper: Palestinian Statehood Bid To Get 'No' Vote
[though UK and FRANCE are voting yea....] OTTAWA - Canada affirmed its steadfast opposition to Thursday's vote at the United Nations to confer statehood on Palestine, saying it would not support any "shortcuts" to peace with Israel.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed the decision on Wednesday with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird bound for New York to cast Ottawa's vote and register Canada's disappointment with the latest Palestinian move at the UN for recognition.
The Harper government's support of its close friend Israel was unbowed by reports that its trusted international ally, Britain, had offered to abstain from the vote in return for a pledge from the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis.
Asked Wednesday during a rare press conference, this time to mark the visit of the incoming Mexican president, Harper brushed aside all talk of the British move, and reiterated his firm support for the Israeli line on the resumption of peace talks without preconditions.

Amnesty Write for Rights - Gao Zhisheng

Write for Rights - Sign an e-petition
Gao Zhisheng is one of China’s most respected human rights lawyers.
In December 2006, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended by five years, for ‘inciting subversion’. He was allowed to return home but was kept under illegal house arrest together with his wife and their children. He was tortured and humiliated, and in 2009 his family fled China because of constant harassment.
Gao Zhisheng disappeared on 4 February 2009, when police took him from his family home. He reappeared more than a year later, in late March 2010, and gave an interview describing his ordeal, which included further torture. He said he was beaten so badly on one occasion that “for 48 hours, my life hung by a thread”.
In April 2010, just days after giving the interview, he disappeared again. Twenty months later, in December 2011, state media announced that he had been sent to prison for violating the conditions of his suspended sentence. This shocked his family and friends, who had not known whether he was dead or alive.
Gao Zhisheng is currently being held in Shaya county prison in northwest China.

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, thousands of people all over the world will be writing to governments to show their support to victims of human rights abuse, including Gao Zhisheng.  Join us as we remind our leaders that their actions really do make a difference and that every life matters. Click here ( to learn how you can get involved.


Stop the War on Science: Save the Experimental Lakes Area

[27-Nov-12] Stop the War on Science: Save the Experimental Lakes Area
Winnipeg – Scientists, activists, and concerned citizens alike are uniting to send a clear message to the Harper Government: it is time to stop the war on science. One of the most devastating losses to Canada’s science capacity is the defunding of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research center and the dismantling of its scientific team. The Coalition to Save ELA released a new video today about the Harper government’s war on science to urge Canadians to join the fight to defend public science and save Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area.
“Cutting the ELA – the only research center capable of providing a solid science basis for freshwater policy – is extremely short-sighted,” insists award-winning, world-renowned freshwater expert Dr. David Schindler, Killam Memorial Chair in Ecology, University of Alberta.
Since the Harper Government came into power, Canada has been subjected to an unprecedented, ruthless assault on its environmental science capacity. This attack has been systemic and strategic, targeting science that seeks to understand the impacts of industry on our freshwaters – information the current government considers inconvenient to its economic agenda. This will result in the significant and widespread degradation of our country’s natural waters and fishery resources.
“The Harper government is gutting all and any tools, rules, and science projects that stand in the way of corporate abuse of our freshwater heritage,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “No ELA means that the damage done to water from extractive industries will forever be hidden.”
The cancellation of federal funding for the ELA “reaches beyond basic cost-cutting measures and is a targeted strike against environmental researchers producing results the government considers incompatible with government policy,” according to Dr. Jules Blais, President of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.
“This is the only place in the world where lakes have been set aside to build a research base to save our planet’s threatened freshwater – and so we must save ELA,” concludes Dr. Jon Gerrard, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.
“The crippling of Canada’s public science capacity under the guise of austerity measures, coupled with the weakening of federal environmental laws in the absence of open debate, is a blatant desecration of science, nature, and democracy,” asserts Diane Orihel, Director of the Coalition to Save ELA. She adds “We need to stop this war on science, and let’s start by saving the ELA.”
The new video, ‘Stop the War on Science – Save the Experimental Lakes Area’ is available on-line at here, and will be officially released today in Winnipeg at a press conference at the University of Winnipeg (12:30 pm CST), and a public rally in support of ELA at the Fort Garry Hotel hosted by the Boreal Forest Network (7:00 pm CST).
Diane Orihel, Coalition to Save ELA
Tel: 204-979-2395, Email:
The Coalition to Save ELA is a nonpartisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area. Our mission is to promote awareness and support for the Experimental Lakes Area, and to advocate in the interest of all Canadians for the continuation of this essential research program. Our vision for ELA is as a world-class public research program generating sound, scientific evidence for the development of effective public policy, management strategies, and stewardship activities to ensure the health of Canada’s freshwaters and fisheries.
Website:, Facebook: , Twitter: @SaveTheELA, #SaveELA.

UN passes first resolution condeming female genital mutilation

UN passes first resolution condeming female genital mutilation | The Raw Story
NITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly on Monday passed its first resolution condemning female genital mutilation, which opponents say more than 140 million women worldwide have had to endure.
Though outlawed in most nations, the measure represents the first time the traditional practice in African and Middle East nations has been denounced at such a high level in the United Nations.
More than 110 countries, including more than 50 African nations, co-sponsored the resolution in the General Assembly’s rights committee, which called on states to “complement punitive measures with awareness-raising and educational activities” to eliminate female genital mutilation.
About 140 million women worldwide are believed to have been subjected to the practice in which a young girl’s clitoris and labia are removed, in the belief that this will reduce libido and keep a woman chaste. About three million women and girls each year are said to be forced to undergo the procedure.
“We will continue to spare no efforts with a final objective: ending female genital mutilations in one generation. Today, this goal appears closer than ever,” said Cesare Ragaglini, UN ambassador for Italy, which has played a leading role in international efforts to eradicate the practice.
He called the UN resolution a “powerful tool” against widespread resistance because it would take condemnation and calls for new measures to another level.
“It is up to us now to exploit it in a more effective way,” Ragaglini said.


The Tyee – Stephen Harper's Endless Campaign for Mining Profits

The Tyee – Stephen Harper's Endless Campaign for Mining Profits
his is the second of two pieces drawn, with permission, from Chapter 2 of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy by Yves Engler, newly published. The first part is here. Engler's next author's event is Nov. 27 at Carleton University, 2:45 p.m., Room A220, Loeb Building, Ottawa.]
Time and again Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used diplomatic trips to support controversial mining projects. Canada-based Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold producer, gained important support for its Pascua Lama operations, which spurred large-scale protests, during his July 2007 trip to Chile. The prime minister visited the company's Chilean office and said: "Barrick follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility." He was greeted with signs from mine opponents stating, "Harper go home" and "Canada: What's HARPERing here?"
During a Nov. 2007 visit to Tanzania Harper once again met representatives of Barrick, which had more than $1 billion invested in the East African country. Days before meeting the prime minister, Barrick officials claimed a strike at one of its Tanzanian mines was illegal and looked to replace a thousand striking miners. To protect its North Mara mine Barrick employed 300 security officers -- and paid part of the salary for two dozen police officers -- linked to seven violent deaths from July 2005 to late 2008. The Oct. 2011 Globe and Mail Business magazine reported on a Tanzanian lawyer organization's claim that 19 villagers were killed by police and security guards at the North Mara mine between Jan. 2009 and June 2010. The victims were usually searching for gold.
Under Harper all levels of Canadian diplomacy have promoted mining. Anthony Bebbington, director of the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in February 2012 that a "sub-secretary in a [Latin American] ministry of energy and mines" told him "as far as I can tell, the Canadian ambassador here is a representative for Canadian mining companies." The Massachusetts-based academic also quoted an unnamed Latin American environment minister, who complained about Canadian lobbying and mining, saying: "I don't know if Canada has been quite so discredited in its history."

BBC -Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill: MPs drop death penalty

BBC News - Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill: MPs drop death penalty

A committee of Ugandan MPs has endorsed the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill but dropped the death penalty provision, an MP has told the BBC.
MP Medard Segona said "substantial amendments" had been made to the bill but said he was not allowed to reveal further details.  Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga recently said the bill would be passed as a "Christmas gift" to its advocates.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda - this bill increases the penalties.Foreign donors have threatened to cut aid if gay rights are not respected.
The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances. In its original form, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender" - faced the death penalty. Such offences would now be punished with life imprisonment, it is understood.
The original bill also prohibited the "promotion" of gay rights and called for the punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality".
Mr Bahati has previously said that the death penalty provision would be dropped but this has not been confirmed until now.Mr Segona, who is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda's parliament, told the BBC: "I can confirm it has been dropped.""Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty," he said.
The next step is for parliament to debate the bill. Mr Segona said he thought this would happen before the Christmas break but said he could not be more precise.The BBC's Ignatius Bahizi in the capital, Kampala, says that the bill has broad support in parliament.  But he notes that President Yoweri Museveni would have to sign it before it comes law - and the president may come under intense international pressure not to do so. The bill was strongly condemned last year by Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama who described it as "odious".

Big developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Goma falls to Rwanda

Big developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Goma falls to Rwanda |
Rebels, called the M23, have taken Goma, the main city of North Kivu, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s eastern provinces. Their plan is to march to Bukavu, the main city of South Kivu, and from there, they say, across the massive country to Kinshasa, the Congo's capital.
{this article is a rather helpful geographical analysis of the past 2 decades of conflict)


H&M: forced labour - Cotton Crimes

Take Action | International Labor Rights Forum

H&M: End Cotton Crimes

Photo by Uzbek-German Forum for Human RightsEvery year the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilizes over a million children, teachers, public servants and private sector employees for the manual planting and harvesting of cotton. The Uzbek government requires farmers to grow cotton and local government offices to forcibly mobilize adults and children to harvest cotton to meet assigned quotas. The Uzbek government enforces these orders with threats and violence; detains and tortures Uzbek activists seeking to monitor the harvest; and continues to refuse to allow international monitors to observe the cotton harvest.
Although H&M has pledged to stop sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan, the fashion giant refuses to put safeguards in place to completely ban companies from its supply chain that profit from Uzbek cotton.
Please take action and tell H&M to ban companies from its supply chain that profit from slavery.


Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women | The Raw Stor

Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women | The Raw Story
RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.
Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.
The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.
“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.
The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter — a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom — with critics mocking the decision.
“Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post.
“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa.
“Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another.
“If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham.
“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.  “It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.
Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, and is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.


In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid | Common Dreams

In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid | Common Dreams
Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative told (Amy Goodman), “It is very hard to think about Israel calling what it is doing defending itself when it is occupying Palestinian territory. It’s collective punishment. We cannot support punishing an entire population because of the policies and attacks of Hamas. It’s illegal.”

Union asks suppliers to stop handling goods for Walmart |

Union asks suppliers to stop handling goods for Walmart | The Raw Story
An international trade union has asked ship operators handling goods in Walmart‘s global supply chain to raise concerns with the company about how it treats its US workforce.
Walmart has been affected by a series of walkouts and protests by several union-supported groups seeking to highlight what they say are low pay, poor benefits and retaliatory measures against those employees who speak out.
A series of high-profile protests are now planned to highlight “Black Friday” this week, which is the busiest single shopping day in the US calendar.
Organisers behind the OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmartgroups say up to 1,000 actions are planned and several walkouts have already happened.
Now the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has written to shipping owners and ship captains who carry Walmart goods and asked them to contact the gigantic global company and express support for the protesting workers. “Walmart workers taking industrial action know that their jobs are at risk. The least we can do to help is use our expertise at sea and relations with the shipping industry to back them in any way we can.”
ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton told the Guardian: “We’re talking to captains and the ship operators moving Walmart goods, and asking them to register their concerns with the company about its treatment of staff – and the impact that could have on trade.”

‘Mega quarry’ proposal dropped in Dufferin County -

‘Mega quarry’ proposal dropped in Dufferin County -
The company behind the proposal for a massive quarry in Melancthon Township has withdrawn its application to build what would have been one of the largest quarries in North America.
The Highland Companies announced that it will also cease efforts to restore a rail corridor through Dufferin County, and that Highland president John Lowndes has resigned.
“While we believe that the quarry would have brought significant economic benefit to Melancthon Township and served Ontario’s well-documented need for aggregate, we acknowledge that the application does not have sufficient support from the community and government to justify proceeding with the approval process,” said John Scherer of the Highland Companies in a statement released today.
The statement said the company would continue to focus on its farming operation.
Highland is currently the largest producer of potatoes in the province.
A massive grassroots opposition had formed against the quarry proposal in recent years, with two major food protests organized by local farmers, celebrity chefs and a large contingent of Torontonians.
Last year, the provincial government announced the application would have to go through an environmental assessment, the first for an Ontario quarry.


Christian publisher wins court battle over contraception mandate

Christian publisher wins court battle over contraception mandate | The Raw Story
A federal court on Friday blocked the enforcement of the so-called contraception mandate for a large Christian book publisher.
Tyndale House Publishers alleged that being required to provide contraceptives like Plan B, ella, and intrauterine devices to female employees violated the owners’ religious liberties. The company was represented in court by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group.
The contraception mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act, requires employers to provide their employees with health insurance plans that cover contraceptive drugs and devices at no cost.
Conservative and religious groups have claimed the contraception mandate violates the religious liberties of employers who are morally opposed to the use of contraception. Illinois-based Tyndale House Publishers opposed being required to cover Plan B, ella, and intrauterine devices, claiming the contraceptives prevented fertilized eggs from implanting on the uterine wall and thereby induced abortions.s)

Community Corridor: Resisting industrial infrastructure and pipelines from Kitimat to Texas |

Community Corridor: Resisting industrial infrastructure and pipelines from Kitimat to Texas |
China does not have direct investment in Northern Gateway and Pacific Trails, although much of that oil and gas will be going to Chinese markets. It is, however, invested in a consortium of companies called LNG Canada including Shell Canada, KoreaGas, Mitsubishi corporation and PetroChina for an LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) processing plant in Kitimat, B.C., and a pipeline called the Coastal Gas Link project to be built by the now notorious TransCanada corporation, the same company contracted to build the Keystone XL.
Through FIPA and other measures, the Canadian government is building justification in the name of economic stability and the rule of law, and setting the framework for the increased criminalization and repression of internal dissent. Under this new set of draconian measures the government guarantees itself the right, the privilege and the obligation to suppress environmental and Native resistance to extraction projects and industrial infrastructure.
The Canadian state is further institutionalizing the rights of profit-making and corporations over the rights of people and the environment. The increased militarization of the state worldwide, therefore, is not a measure of security against outside threats, but rather a very deliberate act to exert force and control within its own borders.   


Council of Canadians calls for ban on fracking in Ontario

NEWS: Council of Canadians calls for ban on fracking in Ontario
The Council of Canadians has called for a ban on fracking in Ontario.
The Chatham Daily News reports, “A national citizens organization has raised concerns about shale gas drilling after a recent provincial government report. The Council of Canadians is also calling for a ban on the practice … citing environmental and public health concerns. ‘I urge the Ontario government to follow Quebec’s lead and ban fracking,’ said Maude Barlow, national chairperson.” adds, “The Council’s Emma Lui says this could have serious long term effect on water resources. Lui says there is not a safe way to dispose the wastewater and sometimes it is injected back into the ground which has been linked to earthquakes in British Columbia.”
And the Fort Erie Times reports, “‘We really have to get the pressure on to the Ontario government to ban it,’ said John Jackson of Great Lakes United. Jackson was one of three speakers talking about the dangers of fracking at the St. Catharines Centennial Library Thursday night at a meeting sponsored by the St. Catharines and District Council of Women. The public meeting came on the same day the Council of Canadians called on the Ontario government to ban fracking.”
The Chatham Daily News article is at The BlackburnNews report, which includes an 18-second audio clip from Emma, is at The Fort Erie Times report is at
More about our campaign against fracking at

Pipeline: COC and Maude Barlow, UofT, Nov. 17 10-5

Resistance, education and alternatives

Sat. Nov 17, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St., University of Toronto
Lunch provided, building is accessible

Special guests will include Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), Art Sterritt (BC Coastal First Nations, Executive Director), Wes Elliott (Haudenosaunee land defender) and Vanessa Gray (Aamjiwnaang First Nation) as well as resource people on labour and environmental justice issues.


Apple Censors Drone War - Action

Apple Censors Drone War

Apple Censors Drone War

Apple Inc., which has received over $9 million in Pentagon contracts in recent years, has rejected from its App Store, and therefore from all iPhones, a simple informative application.
Drones+ is an application that shows no depictions of the carnage of war and reveals no secret information.  It simply adds a location to a map every time a drone strike is reported in the media and added to a database maintained by the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Apple has rejected the app as "objectionable and crude." 
Drone wars continue because the U.S. public is unaware what is being done in our name with our money. We are interested in knowing where our government is using drones and has killed people, not in celebrating that killing.
The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere living under the drones can't ignore what's being done to them.  Neither should we, as it's done with our money and in our names.

A recent study by Stanford and NYU found that drones traumatize innocent populations, who have no way of knowing how to protect themselves from drone strikes. Further, only 2% of victims of these strikes are high-level targets. The drones kill civilian men, women, and children, are being used to target rescuers, schools and funerals, and create significant anti-U.S. hostility -- exactly as the Pakistani and Afghan governments have said they do.
Ask Apple to stop hiding the simplest of facts.

Leadnow | Stop the secretive and extreme Canada-China FIPA

Leadnow | Stop the secretive and extreme Canada-China FIPA
At any moment, Prime Minister Harper could pass the most secretive and sweeping trade deal of a generation.
This deal would pave the way for a massive natural resource buyout and allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government in secret tribunals, restricting Canadians from making democratic decisions about our economy, environment and energy.1
Most Canadians have never heard of FIPA, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, because Prime Minister Harper is trying to sneak it through without a single vote or debate in Parliament.2,3
Canadians have a right to determine our future, but this agreement will undermine our democratic rights and lock us into an inescapable path of foreign-ownership and resource extraction until at least 2040.
The Canada-China FIPA could be approved as soon as November 2nd unless we get the word out now that the Harper Conservatives are trying bypass Parliament and sneak this deal by Canadians. That’s why we partnered with on this campaign – if enough of us raise our voices now, we can create a massive public outcry to stop this devastating deal in its tracks.


Corporations Are Not People in Montana, Colorado |

Corporations Are Not People in Montana, Colorado | Common Dreams
In a landslide victory Tuesday night, Montana voters approved an initiative stating "that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings" -- corporations are not people.
The initiative directly challenges the now infamous Citizens United SCOTUS decision, which allows corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money for campaign groups know as super PACS and 'shadow money' organizations. Initiative 166 will win roughly 75 percent to 25 percent, according to the likely, but not yet final, results, Montana's Billings Gazette reports.
The initiative states:
"Ballot initiative I-166 establishes a state policy that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings, and charges Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, to implement that policy. With this policy, the people of Montana establish that there should be a level playing field in campaign spending, in part by prohibiting corporate campaign contributions and expenditures and by limiting political spending in elections..."
The measure, proposed by the group Stand with Montanans, will determine state policy on prohibiting corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections, and will charge state lawmakers with furthering the state's policy on the matter, asking congressional delegates to support efforts to overrule the Citizens United decision by amending the U.S. Constitution.

Ari Fleischer's Post-Election Lament

Ari Fleischer's Post-Election Lament
Whatever you think of former President Bush's propaganda mouthpiece, Ari Fleischer, he knows his party's supporters. And he was surprisingly blunt about stating that Republicans will always be against LGBT rights and women's rights. Why? Because they are the party of people who will never accept that LGBT people are real human beings deserving of equal rights under the law. And they are also the party of Christian fundamentalists who want to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

After a stinging election night defeat, President George W. Bush’s former White House secretary still says that the Republican Party will never support LGBT rights and reproductive rights for women. “The big issue that Republicans are going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue,” Ari Fleischer explained after President Barack Obama’s defeat of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney made it clear that the country was more liberal than he had expected.
“It’s not the social issues,” he insisted. “You’re not going to make the party pro-choice and pro-gay rights and think you’ve made the Republican party the party that’s the popular party. We have a party like that. It’s the Democratic Party.”
“But the Republican Party used to be against abortion,” CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted. “In the past year, they have become identified with opposition to contraception. That is, you know, moving backwards at a pace that is astonishing and politically disastrous.”
Yes, being against contraception is incredibly stupid, and having the Pope of Conservative Talk Radio, Rush Limbaugh go off on an extended months long and extraordinarily nasty (even by his standards) rant against one women for daring to claim the pill should be covered by health insurance plans was a clear demonstration that the Republican party doesn't see women as fully human either. They are lesser beings in the eyes of Republicans whose fate is to bear and raise children and obey their husbands and fathers. How often were women demonized by Republican candidates this year? From Rick Santorum to Richard Mourdoch to everyone on the right you can possibly imagine women were blamed for rape, told that incest is "rare" so don't make such a big deal about it, blamed for being single parents and called "sluts" by a three times divorced fat man in a radio booth who took Viagra unlawfully on a vacation in the Dominican Republic, a known destination for sex tourists.
Now, Ari also said the Republican party needs to find a way to attract more Hispanic voters to their party? One question Ari? How are you planning to do that? Your party opposes the Dream Act. Its losing presidential candidate believes in self-deportation, even of children who have lived most of their lives in America, many of whom speak no Spanish, and that was the "moderate" position of your party. It re-elects time and time again, stated bigots and racists such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who believes that the only good Latino is one rotting away in his jail, and Steve King who called Latinos "dogs" and claimed that a compliment. No Ari, all the Rubios in the world aren't going to cover up the stink that reeks from your party's default position that Latinos are worthless, illegal scum, criminals and thugs, and carriers of disease who take jobs away from real Americans (i.e., white males). They hate Hispanics.
Yet, the most telling thing about Ari Fleischer's analysis of his party was what he didn't say. He said not one word about the need to attract more African Americans to the Republican party. I guess even he knows that Republicans = the party of bigots, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and "Confederate Heritage" lovers. He knows that Republicans abandoned African Americans shortly after the Civil War. He knows that the South is solidly Republican because they chose to pursue a "Southern Strategy" under Nixon that attracted bigoted Southern whites (and many Northern whites as well) to their party by opposing civil rights for African Americans. A strategy Ronald Reagan honed to perfection. He knows there is no room under the Big White Tent that is the Republican Party for anything more than a few token blacks. Why else would they go to such great lengths to disenfranchise and suppress the votes of that community?
Yes, Ari Fleischer knows his party well. There's a saying that a tiger doesn't change its stripes. Well, Ari, you and your fellow Republican operatives created this monster that feeds on fear, prejudice and hate. You had a major hand in developing the careers of powerful Republicans for which hate and fear is their middle name: Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Ron and Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and even Mittens Romney, to name but a few. You can lament that fact all you want, but there is no silver bullet to slay the monstrous beast that is the present day Republican Party. It's grown too large, too fast, and too powerful to just slither away and die. It's not a phoenix that will erupt in flames and re-arise in a new more palatable form from the ashes. Its a Hydra-headed Gorgon covered with deadly poisonous snakes.

Malawi Immediately Suspends Arrests of Gay Citizens |

Malawi Immediately Suspends Arrests of Gay Citizens |
The small east African nation of Malawi made a giant leap toward equality Monday, as the minister of justice called for an immediate moratorium on arrests and prosecutions of gays under the existing penal code.
The nation's parliament is currently reviewing the constitutionality of antigay laws, which criminalize anyone who is LGBT. But in the interim, the minister said no one else will be arrested for being gay.
"If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional, it would be an embarrassment to government," Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara told Reuters.
The nation's president, Joyce Banda, recently expressed her intention to dismantle the colonial-era laws, though she later reneged a bit.

Same-Sex Marriage Upheld in Maryland:

Same-Sex Marriage Upheld in Maryland: DCist
Maryland became the one of the first two states to approve same-sex marriage by a public vote, upholding a law passed in March that made the Old Line State the seventh state to offer full marital rights for all couples.
With 86 percent of precincts reporting at 12:20 a.m., Maryland became the eighth state to offer full marital rights to all couples regardless of sexual orientation. Earlier in the evening, voters in Maine upheld a similar law.
"This is a milestone night for the simple truth that when Americans are presented with the real lives of their friends and neighbors, they have no choice but to vote for their equality," Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a news release embracing the result.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the marriage equality bill into law on March 1, but his approval was swiftly followed by a petition that forced the issue to a statewide referendum. In the last few weeks before Election Day, O'Malley barnstormed the state on behalf of Question 6. Other high-profile supporters included former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who contributed $100,000 to uphold the law, and Baltimore Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo.