Billion People March

 

Is Occupy coming back?

Billion People March – Tactical Briefing #2

Hey all you wild cats, dreamers and redeemers out there,

It’s been a few years since Occupy Wall Street came and went. Conventional wisdom says it fizzled — but all of us who participated know better. Occupy took the world by surprise, then it needed to go underground and regroup.

Now the revolutionary spirit is stirring again. This time we know exactly what we want.

During the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in December, the streets of Paris will explode. Then, one week after the conference ends, we will take to the streets with a protest unlike any the world has ever seen: the #billionpeoplemarch. A few months later, we’ll do it again. And then again. And then once more.

In a series of global big bang moments, each loosely organized around one strategic demand, we will transform the way our global system is run.

On December 19, we call for a 1% tax on all stock market transactions and currency trades. We slow down fast money in the global casino.

On April 1, 2016 or some other date of our choosing, we march again. This time our one demand is a three-strikes-you’re-out law for corporate criminals. We begin to shift the power balance between civil society and corporations.

On September 17, 2016 – the fifth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street – a multitude of us will rise up to demand sunshine laws against secrecy. In country after country and at the United Nations, we open up secret political processes and let the light shine in.

Then, on December 19, 2016, we’ll pull off one more massive, globally coordinated march. This time we demand a transition toward a true-cost global marketplace in which the price of every product tells the ecological truth. We shift the theoretical foundations of economic science.

Please note Dear Leaders: Today power lies in the swarm. We can create havoc at a global level – we’ll make business as usual impossible until our demands are met. After centuries of top-down rule by tyrants, kings and corporations, we the people will take charge of our own destiny and start calling the shots from below.

billionpeoplemarch.org

The People’s Climate March

People are gathering all over the globe on Sept 21, 2014! The call has gone out to make this the largest climate mobilization in history, with people flooding the streets of thousands of cities and towns around the globe, just as world leaders arrive in New York City for an Emergency Climate Summit at the U.N. Let’s make this a massive action!!

We are gathering on the corner of North Palm Canyon Drive & East Alejo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262 at 1 p.m.

More info, here:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/event/climate/Peoples_Climate_March_1331

Recent Environmental Wins

Due to pressure from members of People Over Pollution and OCV, a pollution monitor has been put in place by the SCAQMD near the Sentinel Power Plant in Desert Hot Springs.  Though we remain somewhat skeptical as to the effectiveness/availability of collected data, etc., this is a positive step towards being able to track what is happening to the air quality.  For more information, see:

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2014/05/30/sentinel-monitor-desert-hot-springs/9784181/

In concert with this, over 95% of the candidates endorsed by the California League of Conservation Voters have successfully navigated the Top Two primary yesterday, June 3, 2014, and will be on the ballot in November, though some of CLCV’s picks may be questionable, especially in view of far more progressive third-party choices that were on the ballot.  But for what it is worth, you can find their summary here:

http://www.ecovote.org/page/endorsements

The fact remains, however, that according to Food & Water watch, “Despite thousands of emails, hundreds of calls and a new poll showing that 68% of Californians support a moratorium on fracking, the California Senate failed to pass a bill to do just that. Now, it’s up to Jerry Brown. The Governor has the power to stop fracking, but he has turned a blind eye to the real impacts that this toxic industry has on our state.”

Food & Water Watch is working with 350.org to get Governor Brown to visit Kern County to meet with impacted community members. Here’s how you can help:

1. If you haven’t already, sign this petition to tell the Governor to meet with Kern County residents who have been personally affected by fracking.

2. Share this action with your friends and networks to help us amplify this message far and wide.

Our Air Quality is Not Improving!

Check out this opinion piece in the Desert Sun Valley Voice by Robert Terry of People Over Pollution about the air quality in the Coachella Valley due to the pollution of the Sentinel Power Plant.

As long as corporate interests exert a corrupting influence on government, the needs and health of people will be put in jeopardy.

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201402272012/OPINION04/302270010

The Salton Sea Revisited

According to the Desert Sun, on Thursday, February 27, 2014, Washington DC Congressional leaders requested renewable energy designation for Salton Sea, and Imperial Irrigation District and Imperial County officials are working to advance a plan that would develop geothermal resources there.

Earlier that same day, the Department of the Interior and the Salton Sea Authority also signed a 10-year memorandum of understanding in which both parties agreed to collaborate and exchange technical and scientific information necessary for improving conditions in the area. For more information, see the following links:

http://www.mydesert.com/article/20140227/NEWS0701/302270016/salton-sea-renewable-energy?nclick_check=1

http://palmdesert.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/gov-brown-signs-salton-sea-restoration-bill

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/oct/24/restore-historic-salton-sea-with-energy-plan/

http://www.kesq.com/kesq/historic-salton-sea-agreement-helps-restoration-effort/-/232254/22620858/-/ctd4vvz/-/index.html

http://www.saveoursea.info/SaveOurSea.info/Welcome.html

OCV Marches with VFP in Gay Pride Parade

Members of Occupy Coachella Valley joined Veterans for Peace in the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Palm Springs, California, carrying signs “Free Chelsea Manning,” rainbow flags and a rainbow Occupy Coachella Valley banner, and chanting “We are the 99%,” “YOU are the 99%,” and “Free Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning” while flashing peace signs to the crowd who occasionally joined in the chanting.

Pride Parade3 11-3-13Pride Parade photo 3Pride Parade photo 4Pride Parade photo 5Pride Parade photo 2Pride Parade photo 1Pride Parade2 11-3-13Pride Parade1 11-3-13

As Occupiers went by, announcers mentioned that OCV has been working on illegal foreclosure, stopping the TPP, and protesting the Sentinel power plant and announced our website.  Check out the picture of the parade on the Desert Sun at:   Pride Parade 2013

Energy Summit 2013 Palm Springs: An Occupy Perspective

photo 2

In what looked to be an obvious subterfuge to appear eco-friendly and whitewash the image of polluters like the Sentinel, the Summit promoters had invited Daryl Hannah to be a keynote speaker as she is a known environmental activist opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline, a member of the World Future Council, the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, and sits on the boards of Mission Blue, Environmental Media Association, and Action Sports Environmental Coalition. Her activism is nothing new to those of us concerned about environmental and social issues.  An interesting side note is that one of our occupiers marched with her in 1992 to try to stop the war in El Salvador.  The march took place in Los Angeles from Pershing Square to City Hall and Hannah took his young daughter backstage to meet Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson who were performing at the protest rally.

The Palm Springs Life magazine article/interview prior to the event stated that the conference was about “the future of energy policy, advances in green building, innovative technologies, and the role of natural gas and bio fuels,” and quoted Hannah as saying that “we need to focus on sustainable energy sources,” that she remarked that agriculture has “the potential to be as big a part of the solution as energy does,” and that she stated that tends to focus much of her work now on energy issues as “energy is something that touches everybody,” explaining that we are “poisoning our life-support systems – water, air and soil – through our inefficient energy-sourcing methods.”  See:  http://www.palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/October-2013/Daryls-Web/

The Summit was reported by the Desert Sun as about “renewable energy” (See:  http://www.mydesert.com/article/20131004/BUSINESS0302/309300041/Southern-California-Energy-Summit-focuses-valley-s-role-renewable-energy?nclick_check=1 and there was some information about solar, etc. but there was also prominent presence of big polluters like Southern California Edison and CPV Sentinel, sponsors of the event. 

OCV and People Over Pollution protest the fossil fuel industry in general and specifically CPV Sentinel Power Plant as it is a major polluter and poses a grave threat to health in our local area. The plant is NOT within state guidelines for emissions and is NOT being overseen and monitored by the CEC & SCAQMD.  In addition, the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors has been unwilling to press the Sentinel to install modern technology to cool the turbines & clean the smokestacks.  In an effort to protect their investors rather than the public, Sentinel’s owners have not revealed the truth regarding the hazard it poses to people’s health.

The newly constructed 850 MW natural gas peaker plant, CPV Sentinel, is a platinum sponsor of the Energy Summit. This plant is the largest of its kind in the world and will dump ONE MILLION TONS of CO2 a year for 30 years in our mountain-ringed valley!  It will spew 112,000 pounds of PM2.5, a deadly metallic particle formed by combining ammonia and water (our drinking water) to the burnt fuel.  This material (1/30 the size of human hair) has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, according to the EPA.

photo 1In stark contrast to Hannah, other Keynote speakers at the Summit were from the California Energy Commission (who licensed the plant and excused it from an Environmental Impact Report) and the California Independent Systems Operator who purchases the power from Sentinel and will not tell us how many hours the plant is operating. Last year we presented the Energy Summit keynote speaker, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, with 2,000 signatures of valley residents against the plant going on line but never heard back from him.  We at OCV and POP had planned to protest the pollution of the Coachella Valley by the Sentinel plant again this year at the Summit, and knowing Hannah to be an ally, contacted her in order to make her aware of why we would be demonstrating at the Palm Springs Energy Summit.  She responded positively to our overture.

During her talk, occupiers inside the convention center reported that Hannah referred several times to the “dedicated people out front” (meaning Occupy and POP) who are concerned about the environment, that she said that we should try to make the world a place where we could all live, not pollute, and that if it turns out that the Sentinel plant is not living up to the EPA standards that it should be shut down.  It was observed that 6 or 8 people would applaud when she made these remarks, but that many in the audience were unenthusiastic, likely disconcerted by her unwillingness to go along with the sponsors’/promoters’ attempts to mislead the public/whitewash the image of the polluters in question.  One person in fact was overheard to sarcastically comment, “I wonder when her plane leaves!”  Kids were seen wearing Sentinel shirts in the various booths and when informed by Occupiers about the Sentinel, were shocked to learn that it is a big polluter, as they had clearly been led to believe it was environmentally friendly.

Specifically, Daryl Hannah covered the following points we had asked her to mention:

  • People have a right to clean air and water.
  • Communities have a right to be involved in the decision process when their air and water are at stake.
  • Representatives should listen to the people they represent.  Newly elected Congressman Raul Ruiz was also scheduled to be a Keynote speaker but cancelled due to the government shutdown.
  • Residential Rooftop Solar (DG) is far superior and should have first consideration vs. Big Solar and fossil fuel plants.
  • The regulatory agency charged with protecting our air, South Coast Air Quality Management District (also a sponsor of this Summit) should respond to the will of the people and place high quality air quality monitors where they are needed: one in Desert Hot Springs, one near the Salton Sea, and one in between.  They have been repeatedly asked to do so, and have not responded.  These monitors would show the air quality on an hourly basis and be accessible by the public.

photo (2)The protest was filmed by mainstream media who interviewed some of the protesters, but reports were predictably lacking in any critical assessment of the Sentinel’s impact, appearing to buy into the corporate public relations tactics.  It was a success regardless, largely due to Hannah’s integrity.  It is clear that she not only cares about the environment but is a down-to-earth and warmly personable woman as well, even hugging one of our members when he identified himself as the person who called her about the Summit action. We are very thankful to Daryl Hannah for standing up for the people of the Coachella Valley alongside People Over Pollution and Occupy Coachella Valley, instead of being a tool of the corporate polluters, and helping us make this protest a success!

DRAW the LINE on CPV SENTINEL: JOIN THE FIGHT TO END THE WAR ON MOTHER NATURE

This Saturday, 09.21.13, is the International Day of Peace as well as the national day of action called “Draw the Line on Keystone XL Pipeline” organized by 350.org and Friends of the Earth.  Our local event focuses on our ongoing battle with the mega-multinational corporate war-mongers who are determined to make huge profits with their CPV Sentinel fossil fuel-/natural gas-burning power plant.  Sentinel is the delivery system of weapons of mass destruction as lethal as any the US military still hopes to use against Syria, but they are in the form of chemical pollutants, tons of them, aimed insidiously, relentlessly at us, here in the Coachella Valley, every day.  Presenters will speak on CPV Sentinel’s deadly impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink, our farmland, thus the food we eat. 

 RSVP @:

http://civic.moveon.org/event/moveonaction/139953 and/or

http://act.350.org/event/draw_the_line/6225/signup/?akid=&zip=92253

WHAT:  DRAW the LINE on CPV SENTINEL – JOIN the FIGHT to END the   WAR on MOTHER NATURE

WHEN:  SATURDAY, 09.21.13

TIME:    12:00 NOON

WHERE:   The Marilyn Statue Park, Palm Canyon @ Tahquitz Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262

BRING:  Signs, Banners, Costumes, Props, Parasols, Water, Friends, Energy, Camaraderie

Sentinel Update

Desert Sun newspaper, August 3, 2013 headline reads:

“Sentinel Funds Slow to be Dispensed to Groups”

In the Desert Sun article, K. Kaufmann reports on the newly-built natural gas power plant near Desert Hot Springs (CPV Sentinel), stating that Sentinel officials promised to offset toxic emissions with grant money for local projects and that this money has been slow to materialize.

OCV’s position is that the toxic air pollution generated by the plant is unacceptable, that no amount of offsetting makes up for it, that it contributes to climate change, and that the plant should not have become operational and should be shut down.

We hope members of the community will stand with OCV in our effort to: STOP SENTINEL! and will read this article and make comments.

http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130803/BUSINESS0302/308030036/Sentinel-funds-slow-dispensed-groups

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act!! Join the International Day of Protest May 25!!

There will be worldwide protests this Saturday, May 25th, and right here in the desert against Monsanto Corporation and GMO’s. These events are a response to Monsanto’s hand in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), AKA Frankenfood, and other horrific practices they perpetrate. Join in to take part of the Occupy Monsanto/March Against Monsanto actions, right here in Coachella Valley, as we show our international solidarity!

It begins this Sat May 25th, in Indio at 7am on the corner of Madison and Hwy 111 (outside Stater Bros.) Then at 8am walk together to Food 4 less Monroe and Hwy 111 and lastly at 9am Rubidoux and 111 (outside Cardenas).  This is a chance to let the public know about Monsanto’s many dirty tactics, such as forcing farmers to use Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready”, which is a line of designer genetically-modified seeds … farmers are thus forced to continually line Monsanto’s pockets.

To get energized the night before, come see the film “The Future of Food” at Crystal Fantasy in downtown Palm Springs on Friday at 6pm.

Corporate corruption in Congress has led to legislation that allows Monsanto to evade any legal consequences for harm that may result from their GMO’s.  Please sign on at the link below in support of Senator Jeff Merkley’s effort to repeal what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”!

http://www.jeffmerkley.com/petition/monsanto-reverse/

Tour de Peace Palm Springs Visit a Success

Cindy Sheehan embodies the Occupy spirit of principle over party and holding power accountable regardless of political affiliation.  As such, she has been equally critical of Obama as she was of George W. Bush as a perpetuator of war and indefinite detention, and how Obama is even worse than Bush in prosecuting (and persecuting) whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning, the “kill list,” and drone warfare.

Like Cindy Sheehan, Occupy demands a peaceful society, a realignment of basic values, and an end to war for profit.  In order to achieve this, more people need to follow her example, reclaim their principles, realize how corrupt the two-party system has become, and demand a level playing field for all political parties, such as the Peace and Freedom Party on whose ticket Cindy ran in 2012 with Roseanne Barr, by insisting that the debates be opened to all third-party and independent candidates, that they be moderated again by a neutral party such as the League of Women Voters, and that all political parties be granted ballot access and proportional representation.

We wish Cindy all success in raising the public’s awareness of the important issues of peace and non-violence vs. war and a shift from a fossil-fuel-based war economy to a peaceful and sustainable green economy, on her bicycle trek across the country to Washington D.C. to speak truth to power!  Next stop 29 Palms!

For more information on this event, see: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130409/LIFESTYLES/304090046/Cindy-Sheehan-brings-Tour-de-Peace-valley

Townhall with Congressman Raul Ruiz: One Occupier’s Impressions

I recently went to a town hall meeting in Banning that Ruiz was scheduled to attend.  I had been alerted to it by an email from the progressive caucus in Congress who were wanting people to go and ask representatives to sign on to the pledge to vote against any cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  So I went in order to do that and to bring up two other pressing issues, even though it was raining cats and dogs and I still had to get my trash out.

Ruiz began the meeting by telling a little “story” about his “humble beginnings,” then opened up the discussion for the city councilmembers, then to the audience.  Several people spoke up about the social safety net, jobs, VAWA, etc. (and one crazy individual who urged him to vote for the Keystone Pipeline of all things (!) at which I groaned audibly). I had my hand up for a long time but he ended the discussion with only two of us waiting to be called upon.

I had chimed in earlier with regard to the social safety net letting him know I had a letter for him to sign pledging that he would vote against any cuts to SS, Medicare, or Medicaid, to which he was dismissive, offering to “shake our hands” and “look us in the eye” instead of signing a pledge, so I think he was trying to avoid being pressed on it or any issue because he rather pointedly skipped over me, choosing instead to spend the remaining time telling another anecdote from his childhood about a mango and how it “taught (him) an important lesson.” I was a little too annoyed to pay much attention, so the lesson was lost on me–something self-congratulatory about how unselfish he is. . . (though obviously not when it comes to self-promotion over hearing from his constituents).

At the end of the meeting, I walked up and said, “Since you didn’t let me speak I am leaving you these documents” and he made excuses about time constraints, asking me what organizations I was with.  I answered “several” mentioning the email alert as well as Occupy, at which he took almost a visible step backward and directed me to leave my papers with his Head of Staff, Greg Rodriguez, who took down my name and email address.  The documents consisted of that pledge letter, along with the question I was going to ask regarding the TPP letting him know I am outraged at the way our government and  the corporations have been conducting negotiations in secret, urging him to get the TPP documents and look at them, along with a copy of the “We the People Amendment” which has just been introduced into congress—the one we need to get behind because it is the one that MTA has sponsored which addresses both corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.”

I don’t have much confidence in Ruiz—I first met him at a fundraiser when he was running for office and I find him self-aggrandizing and evasive and my experience at this townhall meeting confirmed this impression.  Hopefully he will come through on issues like Social Security, corporate “personhood,” and the TPP, but personally I don’t think he is much of a leader–I think he will roll over to whatever the White House wants in the end.  I get the strong vibe that he doesn’t want to be associated with anything too “controversial;” if he was that slippery with regard to making a firm commitment about Social Security to a room full of older adults, I think he would have been speechless regarding the TPP.

We will have to make sure he really feels the pressure and see how he votes—hopefully he won’t turn into another Joe Baca/Barack Obama who says one thing and does another.  I’m glad at least he voted for VAWA, but WE NEED TO LET HIM KNOW HE NEEDS TO JOIN THE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS along with Grayson, Mark Takano, Raul Grijalva, and the few others who have spine enough to take on not only the Republicans but the White House over issues that count.

Cindy Sheehan Comes to Palm Springs in Tour de Peace

 LOCAL RESIDENTS HOPE CINDY’S VISIT WILL NOT SPARK CONTROVERSY AND PROTESTS LIKE HAPPENED IN APRIL 2007

by Tom Swann, VFP

Cindy Sheehan’s bicycle tour known as “Tour de Peace” will stop in Palm  Springs on Tuesday April 9.  The event is free and open to the public.  It will be held at 6:00 PM at Crystal Fantasy 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

I first met Cindy Sheehan in the spring of 2005 when she spoke at the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit in Palm Springs.  This was an exhibit of shoes from deceased Iraqi civilians and combat boots of our deceased soldiers.  Cindy donated her son’s boots (Casey Sheehan) an Army Specialist who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Cindy’s appearance in Palm Springs was a few months before she began the “Camp Casey” protests near the President George W. Bush ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  The bike tour begins on April 4 at Casey Sheehan’s grave at Vacaville, California.

During Easter week in 2006 Tracy Turner of Palm Springs and I went to Camp Casey,Texas in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan.  I spoke onstage with other peace activists like Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg.  Later that year I became the founding Commander of the Casey Sheehan American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 19 in Rancho Mirage.  Many of the state AMVETS officials were unhappy we were naming a post after Cindy Sheehan’s son. I received five obscene and harassing phone calls from people who disagreed with Cindy Sheehan.   Former Palm Springs radio talk show host Marshall Gilbert added to the controversy by calling Sheehan “anti-Semitic.”  Cindy Sheehan’s sister Dede Miller of Los Angeles visited the desert in May 2006 and did a KMIR TV-6 interview about the formation of the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post.  The Desert Sun reported on this controversy.

In 2007 the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post and Veterans For Peace planned to hold two events with Cindy Sheehan.  One event was to be held at the Episcopal Church in Palm Springs. Father Andrew Green approved the event but when the story appeared in the Desert Sun members of the church’s parish council objected to hosting Cindy.  Father Green issued a press release to the Desert Sun indicating the church had changed its mind and would not host the Sheehan speech.

Cathedral City council member Greg Pettis arranged that Cindy would speak in the Cathedral City council chambers.  Mayor Kathy De Rosa and other council members became upset and this was reported in the Desert Sun. A reception to raise funds for an educational scholarship was planned for a private home in Palm Desert. Andy Grow, a Navy Vietnam Veteran who supported the Iraq War felt that Cindy’s anti-war activities were harming the morale of U.S. troops.  Grow organized a pro-war motorcycle veterans club known as “Gathering of Eagles” to park near the private home in protest.  The day before this event Cindy became sick from food poisoning and had to cancel her visit to the Coachella Valley. The reception was held anyway and the motorcycle protesters were present but did not cause a disturbance since Sheriff deputies were at the scene.  The Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post lasted three years but disbanded because of the lack of support from the AMVETS state officers.

Now we are preparing for Cindy Sheehan to come to Palm Springs.  We hope this visit on April 9 will not be as controversial as her planned visit in 2007. Recently I mentioned that Cindy was coming to Palm Springs at a Christian men’s retreat in Palm Desert.  One of the participants remarked that Cindy was “evil.”  I have attended Good Friday and Easter services with Cindy at Camp Casey.  Cindy was a Catholic church youth minister for eight years.  Casey was an altar server at the Palm Sunday Catholic Mass at his Army base on the same day he was killed in an ambush.  I feel Cindy is very spiritual.  Recently she wrote to me about the U.S. drone attacks overseas and asked “Who would Jesus bomb”?

Ten years after the start of the Iraq War we are learning that the Bush administration lied about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Sheehan believes the Iraq War was immoral and illegal.  She has spoken truth to power. In polls the majority of Americans believe the Iraq War was a mistake so Cindy has been vindicated.   I feel Cindy is a very important person that is serving God who is Love.  I agree with Cindy and I invite her supporters to attend our program on April 9.  For more information you can call me at (760) 324-5670 or write to me at tomswann@earthlink.net

Cindy Sheehan explains the “Tour de Peace” in the following article.

Why We’re Bicycling Through Palm Springs on Our Way From Coast to Coast by Cindy Sheehan

We often hear that those who protested abuses of power by President George W. Bush censor such criticisms of Obama.  And with many people that’s true; some of them openly admit as much.

But those who have not compromised their activism, those who oppose wars and civil liberties violations today, just as they did several years ago, do exist even if they don’t always have a microphone.  A cross-country event this spring is aimed at amplifying their voices.

The Tour de Peace is a bicycle ride from the Vacaville, California, grave of Casey Sheehan (killed in Iraq in 2004) to Washington, D.C.  Much of the ride follows the historic Route 66, a road that John Steinbeck called the Mother Road in his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

We’re riding because, while we may have a Nobel peace prize laureate in the White House, we do not have peace.  We have expanded presidential war powers, a new type of war fought with flying robots, and biweekly meetings in the White House to check names off a “kill list.”  We have expanded powers of warrantless spying, imprisonment without trial, and retribution against whistleblowers.

We objected to these practices when George W. Bush was president; why shouldn’t we object now?

The U.S. military presence abroad is expanding into new nations with troops and drones.  Military spending is draining our economy dry, as every dollar spent on it could have produced more jobs if spent more wisely, such as on education, infrastructure, or green energy.  Is $170 billion a year for foreign bases among the priorities of people in Palm Springs and across the country?

We talk about a war in Afghanistan as if it’s ending, while planning to lengthen its duration from 11 years to 13.  Most wars didn’t take 2 years from start to finish.  Our new Secretary of State once asked how you could ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.  We don’t hear enough people asking such questions about Afghanistan.

We’re riding because, while we have a president who admits that climate change exists, we still have a president and a Congress that work to exacerbate rather than to alleviate it.  Fossil fuel corporations are given massive subsidies, and carbon is still not taxed.  We’re riding for serious sustainable policies, and for government accountability to the people.

We hope to meet many new and old friends along the way, to talk to them about their concerns, and to carry those concerns with us to Washington.  “This is the beginning,” Steinbeck wrote, “from ‘I’ to ‘we’. If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I’, and cuts you off forever from the ‘we’.”

That pessimistic analysis looks ever more accurate, as wealth and power grow ever more concentrated.  But we who care about our future together will work to build a broad nonviolent movement among those who do understand the fundamental injustice of a government that does not answer to its people, even while assaulting other people abroad in the name of democracy.

We are extending an open invitation to those who would like to join the Tour de Peace (TourDePeace.org) for all or part of the route.  We plan to arrive at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3rd and to proceed from there to the White House.

Admirable bike rides are often held to oppose terrible diseases.  We believe that war, plutocracy, and environmental destruction are diseases with the potential to turn fatal.  Ride with us, or talk with us when we stop for a breather in Palm Springs.

Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.  In 2005 she began a widely-reported protest at then President Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas.

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19771950

CPV Sentinel’s Threat to Our Water Supply

We may never know the whole truth about CPV Sentinel and our drinking water because the California Energy Commission granted the plant owners’ request that the “entirety of the enclosed information” regarding water negotiations “be kept confidential indefinitely in order to ensure protection of the confidential trade secrets and to ensure that ongoing negotiations are not hampered.” We still do not know why they did not use Colorado River water instead of award-winning Mission Springs Water District water, despite being advised by MSWD that it would be inexpensive and simple to run a pipe, downhill, from the aqueduct to the plant.

Here’s what we do know:

  • CPV Sentinel used the “bait and switch” technique with the claim that they would use “reclaimed water” in their early promotions.
  • CPV buys ad space in our local newspapers, and reports as “news articles” a series of lies and half-truths, among them that they are giving us a “two-for-one” replacement on our water. This is based on 108% recharge of toxic water, (the eight percent is to account for the evaporation and loss before it actually reaches the aquifer) and their paying $300,000 to Desert Water Agency to run a 900-foot extension of a 12-inch water pipe to a bankrupt golf course.
  • CPV has received permits for 1100 acre feet a year of MSWD drinking water. That comes to 10.75 billion gallons over the life of the contract. This is in the desert in an ongoing drought.
  • CPV is replacing MSWD water with Colorado River water, putting it into our aquifers. We know that the Colorado is polluted. It has been found to have many toxins including chromium 6 and ammonium perchlorate (from a rocket fuel plant in Nevada), and will likely soon be contaminated by 12 million tons of radioactive waste from an abandoned uranium mill on the banks of the Colorado at Moab, Utah.
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District granted $3.3 million from Sentinel’s pollution mitigation funds to MSWD. Since then, there has been no resistance from MSWD to the CPV Sentinel plant.

Climate Change

While Congress drones on about the deficit and engages in stand-offs about the so-called fiscal cliff with Republicans willing to derail negotiations by their obdurate determination to oppose tax increases for the ultra-wealthy1%, the real emergency of global warming and the continued burning of fossil fuels is being ignored. In the Coachella Valley, the imminent threat is the Sentinel Power Plant, due to go online before the end of the year.

In view of Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Change Summit in Doha, Qatar going on as we write, we are offering the following links as sources for more information.  In striking contrast to Washington, people like Bill McKibben of 350.org offer real world solutions to climate change. We invite everyone to join OCV in protest of the Sentinel, a local example of corporate dirty energy trumping the will of the people, by attending local actions and by contacting your local representative and making your voices heard.  See these articles:

http://wp.me/p1Tioi-bO

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/fiscal-cliff-worries-overshadow-qatar-climate-talks-84588.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-cope/president-obama-to-attend_b_2114201.html?utm_hp_ref=climate-change

http://news.yahoo.com/climate-change-threatens-long-term-sustainability-great-plains-130100922.html

To Fight Climate Change, College Students Take Aim at the Endowment Portfolio – NYTimes.com

http://www.350.org/nyt?akid=2535.725965.OzWAg4&rd=1&t=4

http://gofossilfree.org/companies/