Archive for September, 2011

Keystone XL Oil Pipline – Disaster in the making…

The Keystone XL pipeline would pass over the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions of Americans and supplies 30% of our nation’s agricultural water.

Stop Tarsands Pipeline

Additionally, an oil spill along the pipeline – which would cut through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas – would be potentially disastrous to our environment and our economy, especially since the Keystone XL pipeline would pass over a number of environmentally-sensitive areas. Read the rest of this entry »


18 Billion Dollars just to Plant Grass Over What Used to Be a Forest— Stop Tar Sands.

Large numbers of protesters were recently arrested in Washington, D.C., in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, earning them the record for the largest act of non-violent civil disobedience since the Vietnam War.

The more than 1,700-mile pipeline would cut through the Ogallala aquifer, the nation’s largest, and through Texas’ Corrizo-Willcox aquifer among other waterways between Canada and the Texas Gulf Coast. As any engineer could tell you, no pipe is 100-percent leak-proof. The existing pipeline has had 13 leaks since June 2010, and the “extra-large” pipeline extension poses extreme risks to our freshwater resources and croplands. Additionally, tar sands — the crude product being transported — involves tearing down many acres of pristine forestland so it can be tediously strip-mined, leaving a wrecked ecosystem and vast amounts of toxic waste that goes into tailings lakes that can be seen from space. Read the rest of this entry »


Civil disobedience becomes a moral imperative in times of great injustice

Recent protests against the proposed Tar Sand Pipeline have been suprisingly successful. Based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of non-violent civil disobedience, there are strong parallels between the fight for civil rights and our current fight for a future that is safe from the ravages of climate change. In August, thousands of people risked arrest in a sit-in protest at the White House against the Keystone XL.

tar sands disaster

Eighty per cent of tar sands deposits in Canada are so deep that the Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) method is necessary for extraction.

These protesters were ordinary citizens; teachers, doctors, and stay-at-home moms who all realized that when faced with great injustice, we all have a moral imperative to quite literally stand up and be heard. Many have been spurred by the entreaties of Tim deChristopher, an activist who was recently sentenced to two years in prison for disrupting a federal land auction that he felt was illegal and immoral. In a speech he gave at his sentencing, he calls on others to stand with him in holding the government accountable, saying that when legal means of challenging the status quo have failed, it is time to turn to illegal, nonviolent means. In his words, “…those who write the rules are those who profit from the status quo. If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don’t make any substantial change.” Read the rest of this entry »


Over 100 arrested as tar sands civil disobedience spreads to Canada


If we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.”

After two weeks of sustained protesting at the US White House against the Keystone XL pipeline, with 1,252 people arrested, civil disobedience has now spread to Canada, home of the tar sands. Yesterday, around 500 people protested in Ottawa against Canada’s controversial tar sands; 117 were arrested as they purposefully crossed a barrier separating them from the House of Commons in an act of civil disobedience.

Stop construction of a massive tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Texas.

The tar sands, dubbed by the industry as ‘oilsands’, is vociferously supported by Canada’s conservative government under Stephen Harper, who has been pushing the US to accept the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline would bring tar sands oil through six US States to refineries in Texas, crossing one of the US’s most important freshwater sources, the Ogallala Aquifer.

Last month US activists staged a two week-long protest at the White House against the Keystone XL Pipeline and are planning another action in early November.

The tar sands has become a target for activists because it has a significantly higher carbon output than normal sources of oil. The Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) estimated the greenhouse gas emissions of the tar sands was 5-15 percent higher than conventional sources, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that emissions were 20 percent higher.

Renowned climatologist, James Hansen, raised awareness of the issue when he wrote that if the tar sands are exploited along with coal reserves “it is essentially game over” for the climate.

Extracting oil is not just carbon-intensive but water-intensive as well: the oil—which exists in the form of bitumen and is mixed with clay, water, and sand—must be extracted from the ground with hot water and upgraded by using a high energy process. To make a single barrel of oil requires two tons of tar sands and three barrels of water. The tar sands have been blamed for despoiling fresh water sources, cutting vast tracts of boreal forest, poisoning wildlife, and spreading cancer in indigenous communities.

“The tar sands represent a path of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in the international community,” Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a press release. First Nation communities have been fighting the industrial juggernaut for years.

In many ways the tar sands has become a focal point for climate activists in North America after years of frustration with governments they view as doing next-to-nothing to mitigate climate change. In response, the tar sands industry has rolled out a massive PR blitz in the US. Supporters of the pipeline in the US argue it will provide jobs and make the US less reliant on the Middle East for oil.

The civil disobedience in Ottawa occurred without drama by all accounts. A step stool was placed before the barrier and protestors were even said to be joking with cops as they were arrested. One protestor in a wheelchair was lifted over the barricade by others. Those arrested were charged around $65 and banned from the House of Commons for a year.


The Gangsterism of Wall Street Must End.

Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.

Noam Chomsky

I Am Not Moving from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.


‘Dirty oil’ pipeline to cut into US heartland: 20870 gallons leaked and counting…


In Washington, at least 275 protesters have been arrested oppossing a pipeline which they say will damage ecosystems, increase oil dependency and worsen global warming

AUGUST 2011 | Hundreds converge in Washington for civil disobedience against a massive oil pipeline.

Some 275 environmentalists have been arrested since protests began August 20 against TransCanada’s proposed 2,700 km Keystone XL pipeline. Currently, TransCanada operates the Keystone line which can carry 591,000 barrels of tar sands oil to Oklahoma and Illinois.

The $7bn project aims to expand daily capacity to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil travelling from Alberta, Canada, through America’s heartland, to refineries on the Gulf coast.

“For me, from day one, it has always been about safety issues,” Daniel said, as he drove to Washington to rally opposition. “They are disrespecting the safety of our water supplies. They lied to me about permitting, payments and damage systems,” Daniel told Al Jazeera in reference to TransCanada. “I don’t want my family to be a lab rat for a foreign oil company.”

Leaky lines

Although only operational for a year, the Keystone pipeline has already had 11 leaks in the US – including one that sent a geyser of oil shooting 20 meters into the air in South Dakota, spilling 79,000 liters. Barack Obama, the US president, must decide if the pipeline can proceed by November 1, a ruling that may pit jobs against the environment.

Read the rest of this entry »


Occupy Wallstreet:

“People, when they’ve had enough, aren’t going to take it anymore. And much better to deal with it nonviolently now…” – Michael Moore


A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe

Chris Hedges’ Columns
A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe

I arrived in Times Square around 9:30 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A large crowd was transfixed by the huge Jumbotron screens. Billows of smoke could be seen on the screens above us, pouring out of the two World Trade towers. Two planes, I was told by people in the crowd, had plowed into the towers. I walked quickly into the New York Times newsroom at 229 W. 43rd St., grabbed a handful of reporter’s notebooks, slipped my NYPD press card, which would let me through police roadblocks, around my neck, and started down the West Side Highway to the World Trade Center. The highway was closed to traffic. I walked through knots of emergency workers, police and firemen. Fire trucks, emergency vehicles, ambulances, police cars and rescue trucks idled on the asphalt.

The south tower went down around 10 a.m. with a guttural roar. Huge rolling gray clouds of noxious smoke, dust, gas, pulverized concrete, gypsum and the grit of human remains enveloped lower Manhattan. The sun was obscured. The north tower collapsed about 30 minutes later. The dust hung like a shroud over Manhattan.

I headed toward the spot where the towers once stood, passing dazed, ashen and speechless groups of police officers and firefighters. I would pull out a notebook to ask questions and no sounds would come out of their mouths. They forlornly shook their heads and warded me away gently with their hands. By the time I arrived at Ground Zero it was a moonscape; whole floors of the towers had collapsed like an accordion. I pulled out pieces of paper from one floor, and a few feet below were papers from 30 floors away. Small bits of human bodies—a foot in a woman’s shoe, a bit of a leg, part of a torso—lay scattered amid the wreckage. Read the rest of this entry »


Fox News? John Ellis, George Bush’s cousin… Wake Up

Who was in charge at Fox News back in 2000 when Gore won the popular vote? George Bush’s cousin – John Ellis – jumped in and called Bush the winner of Florida and all the other networks crumbled….


What would Jesus do? Reflections on 9/11

Sept 19, 2001
City View -DM IA
“What would Jesus do?”

Last Tuesday, Father Frank Cordaro turned on the television and saw
planes flying into the World Trade Center. He saw the Pentagon on
fire. He saw “this awful, awful thing.” And then he did what he does
every day. He prayed — “for all the people suffering, for this country
and for the people of the world.” … Cordaro was horrified at the
carnage in New York — and at the rhetoric of war, “beating the drums
for war and revenge. War is not the answer. War is the problem. War is
the enemy.”

For three decades, Cordaro has been seeking and preaching peace. He
committed his first act of civil disobedience on August 9, 1977, when
he poured blood on the Pentagon, what he calls “that bloody place.”
… Cordaro has lost count of the number of times he has been
arrested; he has served 38 months in prison for breaking the law to
make his witness for peace. Behind bars is the right place to be, he
says, “because it’s where Jesus was, among the murderers and thieves.”

Cordaro disagrees with those who compare last week’s attacks with
Pearl Harbor. “It isn’t Pearl Harbor,” he says. “It’s Hiroshima.”
Cordaro makes the point that the Pearl Harbor attack was a strategic
attack by a military force against another military force, whereas on
September 11, some guys with plane tickets and box cutters tore apart
the lives of folks who were going to work or on the job. That, he
says, is more akin to Hiroshima, “where we set a moral climate that
makes collateral damage acceptable.”

Cordaro is delivering a message many Americans, many Iowans may not
want to hear right now: “Human beings did this. Human beings like us.
These were not Martians. It’s a desperate cry – ‘we’re bringing to
your land what you brought to ours.’ ” But he believes he’s on solid
ground here and cites the Sermon on the Mound: “But I say to you, love
your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you… When someone
strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.”

What do we do now? … “We don’t say we’ll smoke them out,” Cordaro
says. “We don’t vow to wage war on those who attacked America…To get
to the heart of it, we have to look at ourselves, Our signature is on
this. In Biblical terms, we sow what we reap. We created this.
Hiroshima is very much like what these people did. If we don’t try to
understand why people hate us, we’ll just get caught up “in a
whirlwind of hate and self-righteousness,” he says.

He doesn’t expect this to be a popular point of view, “It’s hard to
hear what we have to say,” he admits. “The best way to honor those who
died on September 11, is to mourn what happened that horrific day, to
grieve with those throughout the world who have lost loved ones to
terrorism and violence and to work to make sure that these are the
last lives lost to violence.”

Frank Cordaro
Phil Berrigan CW House
713 Indiana Avenue, Des Moines, IA  50314
(515) 490-2490

Link to DMCW brochure:

Link to posted Via Pacis issues from Sept 2007 to Summer 2011: