Archive for the ‘Rights Based Ordinances’ Category

“Each Other” Includes All Colors

December 12, 2014

“I just did my job. I did what I was paid to do.” These words sent a wave of horror through many of us. Psychologist Martha Stout in her book, The Sociopath Next Door, best describes their impact.

Stout asks us to “Imagine – if you can- not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members…. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs.”

ABC paid close to a million dollars to Darren Wilson for his interview by George Stephanopoulos. William Boardman called the interview “forty-five minutes of fawning deceit and thruthlessness.” We learn that an unarmed black student was killed and his killer is rewarded for, “Doing what I was paid to do.”

Had a black officer pumped 16 bullets into an unarmed white student, there would have been hell to pay and no ABC interview. Protesters gave a long litany of similar senseless events: the black father who was shot dead at his front door as he attempted to bring dinner home to his family, the black 12-year-old shot dead because he was seen playing with a toy gun, and on and on.

Ferguson, MO seems far away but this kind of treatment happens closer to home. Five years ago, police arrested Harvard Professor Henry Lewis Gates because someone saw him fumbling with the front door lock to his own house in Cambridge.

This holiday season symbolizes our yearning to experience light, often described as an ability to love that overcomes all darkness. Choristers sing about how ancient “people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” We are also a people walking in darkness today. We know we have blind spots and each year at midwinter, we pledge to begin again and do better.

May consciously seeing holiday lights remind and inspire each of us to figure out how we can truly love this earth and each other, so that every person of every color has a fair chance to celebrate life. This is all about keeping each other well

Claiming Rights to Health in the Holiday Season

December 18, 2013

While people the world over are distracted by many observances of the holiday season, filled with hope and cheer for the coming year, yet another rug is being pulled out from us as world negotiators work to put the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in place. The TPP has all the earmarks of the final lynchpin in George Orwell’s 1984.

 For a sneak peek at the TPP potential to undermine community and national rights, look at what Eli Lilly’s NAFTA backed suit against Canada is all about. Eli Lilly is looking to grab $500 million in compensation after the company lost its Canadian patents on 2 drugs. The patents expired in 2011. Eli Lilly is challenging Canada’s patent laws because they differ from EU or US norms.

 Basically, the TTP would simply ensure that corporations aimed at attacking everything from affordable medications, water, food, energy, and environmental protections to Internet freedoms, will continue to bleed the whole world.

 It would be interesting to know how many of our legislators are invested in Big Pharma, which is sure to continue to thrive even with Obamacare. Canada has a single payer system, which Canadians are generally happy with, despite reports of people having to wait for needed care. It would also be interesting to note just who is promulgating those reports since it doesn’t seem to be the Canadians.

 Canadians put their funding into providing basic health care for all of their citizens. Even with Obamacare, Americans will still be challenged if they lose their job or fall through the cracks for Medicaid. This week, Veteran’s benefits are slated to be cut for those under 62 years of age. At the same time, the US came up with $80 million to give to Vietnam for Military Aid. What about our commitment to veterans for care they have earned?

 With the backing of the TPP, corporations, now considered to have “individual rights”, will have a field day challenging any country’s laws that get in their way. We experienced that power when Monsanto and BigAg literally prevented US food labeling because with GMO on the label, people would be less apt to buy the product. Why should BigAg have that right? We struggle with drug abuse problems stemming from continual brainwashing by drug companies that get people started as children and continue to seduce teens and adults, while at the same time suppressing research debunking their claims. Why should BigPharma have that right?

 If we as humans simply want to be happy, we can’t really be happy unless others are also happy. What rights need to be in place for that to happen?

Health: For seven generations

December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela, universally proclaimed as one of the great souls of all ages, leaves me in sheer awe of the magnitude of his contribution and pledge when he became president of South Africa that, “never, never, never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another.

This season, we prepare for the coming light. Whatever our spiritual orientation, as December blows in, we light more candles and put up extra lights to weather the darkest month of the year. Choral concerts generate a sense of wonder about this season of light and joy of renewal in a fresh new year in the hope that oppression will cease and all beings may be happy.

 However, historically, small numbers of people have managed to oppress large numbers of people and if we want to change that equation, we would do well to look at what keeps us happy and well. Is happiness having more? Or is happiness assuring everyone’s right to have enough? Can we be happy when we know other neighbors are stressed with not enough of anything? We hear the comparative figures daily in the news.

 Will the decisions we make today benefit seven generations into the future? This question is said to have originated with the Iroquois Nation as they cautioned their people to “listen for the welfare of the whole people of the future nation.” The Mohawk Nation added, “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”Of note, today’s happiest countries all demonstrate the same attitude of generosity for all of their citizens.

 We cannot blissfully sing about peace on earth without taking responsibility for our part in bringing peace about and caring for all of our citizens. Two books that call us to action are The Lonely Soldier: The private war of women serving in Iraq, by Helen Benedict, and They Were Soldiers: How the wounded return from America’s wars, by Ann Jones.

The majority of our people in Congress have never been to war, and have obviously not developed a distaste for war. Continuing Health Care for veterans, which ethically, should be activated at the time of discharge, currently is contingent on a veteran’s ability to document that the problem originated during their tour of duty. Meantime, 20 veterans commit suicide each day while they wait.

How might congress respond to a landslide of letters registering our yearning that never, never, never again shall it be that this beautiful land will experience oppression of one by another. How might we activate an attitude of generosity for all citizens?

 Contact information can be found at http://Senate.gov, and http://House.gov.

Blues for the Moratorium

March 7, 2013

 I was stunned to see the Moratorium Bill rolled back down the hill. NH  HB 580 required that there be a Moratorium on wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan. This week, despite hundreds of protesters at the Feb.19 hearing in Concord, the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee voted to postpone dealing with this and other energy bills.

 The news report read like something out of Jared Diamond’s, Collapse. So many civilizations have met their demise by ignoring the management of their natural resources, with towns and states pitted against each other for bigger pieces of the pie. Step one is the top drawer greed and apparent political stagnation in the face of environmental destruction. Step two is the general poverty of the masses leading to disease. Step three is the final starvation of whoever is left.

 Last week, when a tree fell on lines at the Thornton Power station, the area blackout caused Waterville Valley Ski Area to lose thousands of dollars. We all are so dependent on energy that it’s not just the lifts, but the kitchen, the toilets, the internet, and all that must be running well to accommodate over a thousand skiers. Those are recreational dollars lost. Yet the legislators, with few exceptions, want to have more time to think about whether they want time to think about advance planning for future provisions of renewable energy that can be safely transmitted. They want more time to think about burying new lines along state transportation rights of way to avoid such disasters.

 Meantime, energy projects are moving right along, with a third contract for another wind farm in the Groton area. People in the North Country have to regularly ask police to remove trespassers scoping out their land for the Northern Pass Project. Yet these intruders are carrying illegal permission slips from the Department of Energy.

 At this point, if we want to protect the health and safety of people in New Hampshire, we need to support the work of our one true ally: the Society for the Protection of NH Forests. To help stop HQ’s latest Northern Pass bullying attempts, please send your contribution to Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Trees Not Towers campaign, 54 Portsmouth St, Concord, NH 03301; or on line at www.forestsociety.org/np; or call 603-224-9945 and ask for Suzanne Kibler-Hacker at the Forest Society.

 Please also attend your town meeting and support your town’s Rights Based Ordinances. If we want to leave our grandchildren and all children a legacy they will appreciate and continue to honor, we have to come together, and not risk being another chapter in Collapse.

Small Group of Concerned Citizens Changes the World!

February 17, 2013

Margaret Mead advised us to, “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In the towns of Nottingham and Barnstead, NH, such a group passed a Rights Based Ordinance (RBO), and stopped USA Springs Corporation from draining their towns’ shared aquifer.

 The world watches what happens in the US. People in India were inspired by Nottingham’s model, and have organized to stop pollution of the Ganges. In India, their focus is on building a national campaign to recognize the river’s rights. Their campaign slogan is, “Ganga’s Rights are our Rights.”

 I was certainly educated to believe that the US was a democracy, governed by, for and of the people. Yet, I have come to realize that our government was never set up as a democracy in practice. Instead, it assigned states the parent role and citizens as children who must obey their parents. When the state is feeling indulgent, it provides hearings for citizens to express their concerns but rarely seems to feel an obligation to make significant changes based on citizen input.

 It seems incredulous that we citizens have to, at our own expense, organize to put Rights Based Ordinances in place in order to protect our water, land, health, livelihood, and wildlife. All this to protect ourselves and our land from self-serving ‘parents’.

 At this point in time, denial of costly long range harmful effects continues to be the hallmark of corporations as they take advantage of small towns. Our lack of self-governance leaves corporations open to get state permits for what amount to sting operations. The plan seems to be to use up natural resources, destroy habitats of species, including humans, slash real estate values, destroy livelihoods, raise the cost of living, and move on.

 Hydro Quebec has already plundered it’s own province, including Newfoundland, and now wants to ‘move on’ through New Hampshire. Iberdola slid into Groton with the state’s approval. After the fact, residents are reeling as they realize the total impact the wind farm will have on this area. At first, there were a few wind towers and none of them were spinning up a racket. Suddenly, there are many, like a disease defoliating our ridges, and they won’t be able to generate much electricity from our average 6 mph winds. Iberdola’s big plan is to cut a 3000 mile swath over our ridges in addition to an above ground grid that looks like a massive cobweb over our state.

 Burying the transmission lines costs no more than installing above ground lines, especially when you add in the long term cost of maintaining above ground lines due to wind, ice, and snowstorm damage.

The whole point of establishing a chain of Rights Based Ordinances in our towns is that collectively, we can pool our efforts to save our communities, our forests, land, and water from continued corporate onslaught.

 Instead of giving corporations rights as individuals, we need to give rivers rights to flow freely, to be healthy and thrive.  In 2011, Ecuador became the first country to try the first Rights of Nature constitutional case and ruled in favor of the plaintiff, the VilcabambaRiver. Ecuador stopped a highway construction project that was harming the river.

 Trees need rights to breathe in carbon dioxide for themselves and to exhale oxygen for humans and wildlife. Our land needs the right to breathe free from debilitating pesticides and fracking.  Sustainability is measured, not by people’s loss of use of the ecosystem, but by damage inflicted on the ecosystem itself and the cost of bringing the ecosystem back to its pre-damaged state.

 On February 27, Thornton RBO citizens’ Opposition to the NorthernPass group is holding a public hearing from 5-7 PM at the Mad River Coffee Roasters in Campton.

Here’s an opportunity be informed and express your concerns.