I heard a dispiriting conceit at yesterday’s 350.ORG whistestop rally at Denver’s Union Station to cheer climate activists bording the Amtrak Zephyr destined for the New York City #S21 People’s Climate March. This young, otherwise energetic and charismatic environmentalist told the crowd that she did not expect anything to come of the hoped-to-be-massive demonstration but would attend anyway. Ironically this was addressed to supporters who’d already decided not to join the march based I’m guessing on the same logic. Yet we cheered, chanted about the imperative to act, and applauded a successive speaker who added that if world leaders ignored this people’s march, there would follow another and another, ever larger. Hmm. I doubt it. Activism is already showing diminishing returns and drawing numbers to unsuccessful actions doesn’t help. I appreciate not wanting to seem to hold foolish expectations, but I’d rather accept defeat having believed it was not inevitable. The antiwar movement laments the election of Barack Obama because he herded the populist anti-Bush groundswell toward supporting the other corporate war party. But I blame Obama for a larger malpractice: innoculating Americans against hope. Extended generations of altruists lost their cherry to the hope-change-artist and while they wise up incrementally, I have yet to see hopefulness normalize the defeatism. This doesn’t mean that hopefuls don’t keep falling for smooth promises, but the promises are smaller, to be believable. Bill McKibben’s 350 march for example doesn’t even want to make demands, yet insists that your personal attendence will be the biggest impact you can make against climate change. And if the march doesn’t move UN leaders, come back and do it again. Until what? Until world leaders are convinced that the public is serious. Why are we not serious? Should McKibben admit that traveling to New York could be distracting activists from where their bodies really need to be, in front of coal plants, blocking pipelines, and organizing communities against fossil fuel extraction? Pressuring the UN is similarly immediate but we have to apply veritable pressure. If a march is meant to impress, even as a gesture, it must be more than a parade.
COMING TO DENVER for a repeat performance: on MAY 17 Keystone XL thugs will run a leaking pipeline through downtown Denver to give everyone a further taste of undemocratic, eminent domain abusing, profit driven, bullying.
BUMMER. I was thrilled a documentary would tell the world about Tim DeChristopher. You might think his achievement would be more widely know. It’s a testament of the power he’s up against, added to the meager support he has received, that even here I have to explain who he is and what he did. Tired of the futility of outdoor protests to prevent BLM land sales to the extraction industry, Tim DeChristopher attended an auction of particularly dubious legitimacy and successfully thwarted it by posing as a bidder and buying many of the lots. This happened at the close of Bush’s presidency, but Obama’s administration pursued a successful prosecution. DeChristopher has just been released after serving two years in federal prison. The documentary “Bidder 70” recounts the ordeal in a manner that provides neither encouragement nor inspiration, and leaves me to question how DeChristopher might have been better represented in court, publicized in actions, and celebrated in film. To say Bidder 70 reduces Tim DeChristopher to a number distorts the idiom. No mere number, DeChristopher is the important but solitary number one, among a casualty count always rising. In the sea of ineffectual activism that prompted his improvisational escalation, DeChristopher emerges more singular than when he started, but that’s to judge based on a flawed documentary. Hardly an surprising result.
DENVER, COLORADO- Score another success for Colorado Fractivists who crashed this weekend’s climate rally with their unequivocal anti-fracking message. The February 17 event was intended to urge President Obama “Forward on Climate”, to borrow his most recent campaign vagarity, but when official speeches began, and the prefab signs were distributed, it became unclear who might be trying to co-opt whom.
MANITOU SPRINGS- Idle No More organizers from Denver and Pueblo woke the sleepy local Native American community with a spirited gathering on Saturday, smack in the middle of Manitou, neath the town clock, only blocks from the CS Indian Center.
You know it’s GROUNDHOG DAY when newspaper weather forecasts read like articles in the Onion. The unseasonably warm winter that followed a record breaking hot summer has been declared by Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s mascot meteorologist to be an “Early Spring”. FOR NATURE. The rat.
Broomfield Police play rough game of Cowboys & Indians with Idle No More Native Americans, literally
BROOMFIELD, COLO.- Fellow Occupy members and I joined in a “round dance” flash mob at a local mall on Wednesday night, as part of the growing IDLE NO MORE actions whose First Nations grievances include the despoiling of indigenous treaty lands by tar sands extraction and the XL pipeline, and sovereignty issues about which Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is now on a 22 day hunger strike. Two previous round dances in Colorado had proceeded uneventfully but no sooner had we begun in the Flatirons Crossing Shopping Center, located between Denver and Boulder, that mall security and police began routing the round dancers out the door. It was a rather comical scene, peaceful dancers, many of them children, being blocked and herded straight out into the cold, no warning or explanation being given. Of course the round dance stopped in its tracks, people instead dancing in place, gently waving their signs, as security told them they had to leave or face arrest. Apparently, because we didn’t hear it. Drummers were let to finish the first song, after which they packed up to leave. Once the drumming stopped however, we were surprised to hear security and police officers relaying their instructions, that “anyone who looked Native American” should be made to leave.
DENVER, COLORADO- Indigenous activists paused only one day before assembling a second IDLE NO MORE gathering to perform a round dance at the Canadian Consulate in Denver today, to deliver a letter urging the Canadian government and the British Crown (the Queen!) to meet with Chief Theresa Spence and end her hunger strike over recent legislation which gutted First Nation treaty protections. After a rally of dance, song and orations, a delegation sought to enter the consulate but was denied. After filling the downstairs lobby, being told picture-taking was not allowed, and the building’s security crew receiving a squad of reinforcements from DPD, the activist were finally sent a representative to accept the letter without comment.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- This past Tuesday saw the largest demonstration yet against oil and gas drilling in Colorado Springs and the ugly practice of hydraulic fracturing. Several dozen fractivists allied with Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights (CSCCR) and Occupy were joined on the steps of City Hall by Colorado College students who’d marched from their campus with banners and posters denouncing fracking. You didn’t hear about it did you? After the rally everyone filled the council chamber to give 3-minute personal testimonials that ran for two hours. That too went unreported, in particular by the Gazette, who had two reporters in the room, one who’d conducted interviews, and both who took notes during the presentations. But neither produced a story — an odd dereliction of responsibility you might say. Even more odd was the role played by Gazette editorial page writer Wayne Laugesen who ultimately opined on the city council’s decision to postpone their vote, as “caving to anti-energy activists”, offering no details. Laugesen actually interjected himself into the rally outside as a lone counter-protester, interrupting interviews being filmed for TV stations KRDO and KKTV. When they asked Laugesen to let them do their job, the goon replied that he was doing his. So the Gazette was not satisfied to blackout reports of the community rally, but aimed to sabotage it as well.
From Lotus: The oil & gas industry is similar to the tobacco industry – almost everything it tells us is a lie. It has even hired the same PR firm as the tobacco industry used. The biggest lie, and one that the Colorado Springs City Council has accepted, is that local governments cannot legally stop oil and gas drilling.
Just in from Lotus: This is nuts. Not only is it nuts to allow a mostly unregulated, major polluting industry inside a city of half a million people, but also citizens are being largely gagged on this issue. Oil and gas drilling is dangerous! 60% of well casings in Pennsylvania leaked over a 20 year time span. A new study indicates that fluid migration into aquifers will occur, and faster than almost anyone thought. An increasing number of scientists are now coming forward with similar warnings.
The image was one frame of a photo essay by photojournalist Katie Falkenberg illustrating the human toll of mountaintop removal mining, but Colorado’s own Congressman Doug “Tar-Baby” Lamborn called it child pornography and disallowed the evidence from being seen by his energy subcommittee. The creepy unapologetic Lamborn has so far weathered local fallout from his ceaseless racist outrages, but will this porn slip prove terminally Freudian? Obscenity is in the eye of the beholder: where everyone else see a pitiable child of indeterminate sex suffering polluted bathwater that passes for indoor plumbing in locales around mountaintop removal, US Representative Lamborn gets an erection. Is this picture obscene? It depicts a humanitarian obscenity, but Doug Lamborn doesn’t see it that way.
Want to protest our corporate government’s determination to foist the catastrophic Keystone XL Pipeline unto our precariously climate? Here’s a great slogan: TAR SANDS = DIRTIEST OIL ON EARTH. More below:
OCCUPIED COLO. SPRINGS- Meet at Confluence Park on Friday 3PM.
My new favorite children’s book is a 1963 story by Marion Borden, about a little red tractor named Stubby who delays plowing the meadow until all of his wild animal friends have resettled to safety. It’s a comprehensive list, considering the reading level, of the biodiversity displaced by agriculture. How unwitting is the portrayal of man’s clueless arrogance? It’s suggested by the story’s presentation of farming as inherently natural as Manifest Destiny.
GARDEN OF THE GODS, COLORADO SPRINGS– Mountain bike X-tremists and thrillcraft eco-vandals Jason Memmelaar and Chris Heath weren’t apprehended by the El Paso County Sheriff or the CSPD, but interrupted by off-duty park ranger Stephanie Stover, who saw them cutting tree limbs to expand an illegal downhill run. When she scattered the limbs across the trail to ameliorate erosion, she later found a note which warned:
“Why would you do that? You will hurt my friends. If I see you do this I will hurt you and no one will hear you scream.”
Reached by the Gazette via Facebook, Heath denied he left the note, or that he’d built the mile-long trail across protected park land, though he did brag about using the trail “a bunch.” So there it is, CSPD, let the citations fly. Trail repairs won’t begin until May, so there’s still time if you want to make their downhill track a surprise obstacle course. Will screams go unheard? We can test that hypothesis.
The publishers of Car Busters have proclaimed every September 22 to be WORLD CAR-FREE DAY. Consider taking the bus, riding a bike or walking to work today. Where possible, the World Carfree Network suggests you walk in the middle of the street where the automobile-dependent will get the point. It’s not your fault the MSM hasn’t told everyone we have a chance today to rethink the sustainability of how to get around.
Oil and Dispersant filled crabs showing up on the Gulf seafood market.
BP is playing the jobs card here the same as they do on the Gulf. They’re wanting to re-open “extraction” of the oil shale beds near Guffey and Florissant CO.. Park County… near the non-fiction town of Southpark. To do it they’ll be basically mining the oil, taking rocks, crushing them and boiling the oil out. Using the really scarce water resources, every drop of which is claimed by people as far east as the Mississippi and all the way to the West Coast, Brownsville, and Mexico. The watersheds from here flow to everyplace lower than here, which means, everyplace in the Western two thirds of the United States. Which was why the Shale Oil enterprises were shut down before they could even get started back in 1974. We’ve got at least 8 candidates on the ballot who say that cost Colorado jobs.
James J. Lee, caricature eco-vigilante, assails Discovery Channel offices, puts his money and life where his Malthus
The plus side of eco-vigilante James Lee’s Falling Down routine at the Discovery Channel headquarters is that viewers might be prompted to wonder what’s there to protest. Will the media paint the 43-year-old Lee as a kook, without addressing to what in particular the would- be superhero took offense? Maybe that the cable propagandists purport to inform as they dumb their national audiences to adolescence? No, it turns out Lee’s message is even less palatable, but made to order.
Supposedly to ease the pressure. How about THIS supposition instead. BP trashed the ocean very thoroughly, the bottom-up killoff of marine life is in progress, the species that are being more than merely decimated provide the food for every other life form. There’s an investigation supposedly happening in the area of the well collapse. An investigation BP has stalled for months by “fumbling” around “trying” to stop the oil. Knowing full well that in doing so they were stomping all around the Crime Scene. Which is what it IS. Even cutting out the obvious crime of destroying what looks like the damn how to put this? OK so I’ll put it where a Far Right Profit-is-God Money Worshiper like Rush Limbaugh can understand. Economic crime in the theft of Trillions.
Tropical Depression Alex. If it stays out over the water it’ll become a Tropical Storm, which for the purposes of the Oil S(l)ick is a moot reference. It might as well be a hurricane.