Gila Wilderness

Gila Wilderness
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? …a proposal from Michael Moore
November 22, 2011
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
We Envision: [1] a truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.
The next step will be to develop a specific list of goals and demands. As one of the millions of people who are participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would like to respectfully offer my suggestions of what we can all get behind now to wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.
Here is what I will propose to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
10 Things We Want
A Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
Submitted by Michael Moore
1. Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street (where they currently pay 0%).
2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.
3. Require that all Americans pay the same Social Security tax on all of their earnings (normally, the middle class pays about 6% of their income to Social Security; someone making $1 million a year pays about 0.6% (or 90% less than the average person). This law would simply make the rich pay what everyone else pays.
4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.
5. Investigate the Crash of 2008, and bring to justice those who committed any crimes.
6. Reorder our nation’s spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.
7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.
8. Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.
9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can’t run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)
10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:
a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by 1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; 2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; 3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; 4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth; 5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.
b) A constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens. This amendment should also state that the interests of the general public and society must always come before the interests of corporations.
c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a “second bill of rights” as proposed by President Frankin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.
Let me know what you think. Occupy Wall Street enjoys the support of millions. It is a movement that cannot be stopped. Become part of it by sharing your thoughts with me or online (at Get involved in (or start!) your own local Occupy movement. Make some noise. You don’t have to pitch a tent in lower Manhattan to be an Occupier. You are one just by saying you are. This movement has no singular leader or spokesperson; every participant is a leader in their neighborhood, their school, their place of work. Each of you is a spokesperson to those whom you encounter. There are no dues to pay, no permission to seek in order to create an action.
We are but ten weeks old, yet we have already changed the national conversation. This is our moment, the one we’ve been hoping for, waiting for. If it’s going to happen it has to happen now. Don’t sit this one out. This is the real deal. This is it.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a National Treasure!!
I fully support his 10 points. A key element is removing all contributions from the election process. I would further add that we need to make lobbying illegal. Politicians should vote their conscience rather than with an eye to their re-election. We should remove all of our troops from foreign soil .Dis mantle the DEA and allow persons the liberty of personal choice , repeal the Patriot act and eliminate The Dept Of Homeland Security and make clean energy production a priority. Remove subsidies from oil producers ,farmers and ranchers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Verizon HeadquartersWith more than $100 billion in annual revenues and nearly $15 billion in operating profits, Verizon is a large and prosperous company. Yet, between 2008 and 2010, the company used a variety of tax avoidance techniques to receive $951 million in rebates from the federal government -- an effective tax rate of -2.9%. At the state level, Verizon paid just 2.6% in taxes compared to a 6.8% state average.
All of this is unsurprising from a company whose five highest executives took home $258 million in salary and benefits over the last four years. Without a doubt, Verizon represents not just the 1%, but the top one-tenth of 1% of  country. And they are shifting their tax bill to the 99%.
Verizon WorkersAnd while Verizon was becoming one of America's biggest tax dodgers, Verizon and Verizon Wireless were also seeking to cut benefits for its workers. The company is pushing a new contract that would eliminate sick days for workers hurt on the job, cut health coverage promised to retirees and force workers to pay thousands per year in healthcare costs -- on top of the fair share in taxes they already pay.
Verizon's antics are just another illustration of the destructive power of corporate greed.  
Fight back today by letting us know whose side you stand on.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Future

The immediate future of our race, the writer thinks, is indescribably hope
ful. There are at the present moment impending over us three revolutions,
the least of which would dwarf the ordinary historic upheaval called by that
name into absolute insignificance. They are: (1) The material, economic
and social revolution which will depend upon and result from the establish
ment of aerial navigation. (2) The economic and social revolution which
will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth at once of two immense
evils—riches and poverty. And (3) The psychical revolution of which
there is here question.
Either of the first two would (and will) radically change the conditions
of, and greatly uplift, human life ; but the third will do more for humanity
than both of the former, were their importance multiplied by hundreds or
even thousands.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sustainable Farming Can Feed the World?

The oldest and most common dig against organic agriculture is that it cannot feed the world’s citizens; this, however, is a supposition, not a fact. And industrial agriculture isn’t working perfectly, either: the global food price index is at a record high, and our agricultural system is wreaking havoc with the health not only of humans but of the earth. There are around a billion undernourished people; we can also thank the current system for the billion who are overweight or obese.
Yet there is good news: increasing numbers of scientists, policy panels and experts (not hippies!) are suggesting that agricultural practices pretty close to organic — perhaps best called “sustainable” — can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long term, become the norm.
On Tuesday, Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the Right to Food, presented a report entitled “Agro-ecology and the Right to Food.” (Agro-ecology, he said in a telephone interview last Friday, has “lots” in common with both “sustainable” and “organic.”) Chief among de Schutter’s recommendations is this: “Agriculture should be fundamentally redirected towards modes of production that are more environmentally sustainable and socially just.” (To access a press release about the launch of the report, click here (pdf). To read the full report click here (pdf).)

Agro-ecology, he said, immediately helps “small farmers who must be able to farm in ways that are less expensive and more productive. But it benefits all of us, because it decelerates global warming and ecological destruction.” Further, by decentralizing production, floods in Southeast Asia, for example, might not mean huge shortfalls in the world’s rice crop; smaller scale farming makes the system less susceptible to climate shocks. (Calling it a system is a convention; it’s actually quite anarchic, what with all these starving and overweight people canceling each other out.)
Industrial (or “conventional”) agriculture requires a great deal of resources, including disproportionate amounts of water and the fossil fuel that’s needed to make chemical fertilizer, mechanize working the land and its crops, running irrigation sources, heat buildings and crop dryers and, of course, transportation. This means it needs more in the way of resources than the earth can replenish. (Fun/depressing fact: It takes the earth 18 months to replenish the amount of resources we use each year. Looked at another way, we’d need 1.5 earths to be sustainable at our current rate of consumption.)
Agro-ecology and related methods are going to require resources too, but they’re more in the form of labor, both intellectual — much research remains to be done — and physical: the world will need more farmers, and quite possibly less mechanization. Many adherents rule out nothing, including in their recommendations even GMOs and chemical fertilizers where justifiable. Meanwhile, those working towards improving conventional agriculture are borrowing more from organic methods. (Many of these hybrid systems were discussed convincingly in Andrew Revkin’s DotEarth blog last week.)
Currently, however, it’s difficult to see progress in a country where, for example, nearly 90 percent of the corn crop is used for either ethanol (40 percent) or animal feed (50 percent). And most of the diehard adherents of industrial agriculture — sadly, this usually includes Congress, which largely ignores these issues — act as if we’ll somehow “fix” global warming and the resulting climate change. (The small percentage of climate-change deniers are still arguing with Copernicus.) Their assumption is that by increasing supply, we’ll eventually figure out how to feed everyone on earth, even though we don’t do that now, our population is going to be nine billion by 2050, and more supply of the wrong things — oil, corn, beef — only worsens things. Many seem to naively believe that we won’t run out of the resources we need to keep this system going.
There is more than a bit of silver-bullet thinking here. Yet anyone who opens his or her eyes sees a natural world so threatened by industrial agriculture that it’s tempting to drop off the grid and raise a few chickens.
To back up and state some obvious goals: We need a global perspective, the (moral) recognition that food is a basic right and the (practical) one that sustainability is a high priority. We want to reduce and repair environmental damage, cut back on the production and consumption of resource-intensive food, increase efficiency and do something about waste. (Some estimate that 50 percent of all food is wasted.) A sensible and nutritious diet for everyone is essential; many people will eat better, and others may eat fewer animal products, which is also a eating better.
De Schutter and others who agree with the goals of the previous paragraph say that sustainable agriculture should be the immediate choice for underdeveloped countries, and that even developed countries should take only the best aspects of conventional agriculture along on a ride that leaves all but the best of its methods behind. Just last month, the U.K.’s government office for science published “The Future of Food and Farming,” which is both damning of the current resource-intensive system (though it is decidedly pro-GMO) and encouraging of sustainable, and which led de Schutter to say that studies demonstrate that sustainable agriculture can more than double yields in just a few years.
No one knows how many people can be fed this way, but a number of experts and studies — including those from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the University of Michigan and Worldwatch — seem to be lining up to suggest that sustainable agriculture is a system more people should choose. For developing nations, especially those in Africa, the shift from high- to low-tech farming can happen quickly, said de Schutter: “It’s easiest to make the transition in places that still have a direction to take.” But, he added, although “in developed regions the shift away from industrial mode will be difficult to achieve,” ultimately even those countries most “addicted” to chemical fertilizers must change.
“We have to move towards sustainable production,” he said. “We cannot depend on the gas fields of Russia or the oil fields of the Middle East, and we cannot continue to destroy the environment and accelerate climate change. We must adopt the most efficient farming techniques available.”
And those, he and others emphasize, are not industrial but sustainable.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Climate Change: Silver City NM Land Use Code

Climate Change: Silver City NM Land Use Code: "December 15, 2010, the Silver City Town Council voted to adopt a revised Land Use Code. This progressive document is a vast improve..."

Silver City NM Land Use Code

December 15, 2010, the Silver City Town Council voted to adopt a revised Land Use Code.  This progressive document is a vast improvement over the previous version and incorporates three years of input from task forces, community organizations and individuals!  The Town also approved recommendations from Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities about farmers’ markets, community gardens, trails, and pedestrian and biking infrastructure.

Some highlights that are now in the Land Use Code that encourage healthy eating and active living in Silver City:

·         Article 5.2.1 was revised to include considerations for pedestrians, bicyclists and other forms of non-motorized transportation in street design and improvements.
·         Traffic impact analysis shall now require infrastructure capacity analysis and flow of vehicular and non-vehicular traffic.
·         A trail is defined as “a marked path used for recreation or transportation purposes.” Trails were not defined in the previous code.
·         Definition for a farmers’ market, farm product, producer and value-added farm product.  These definitions were also not in the previous code, but rather combined with the definition for a flea market.   
·         Farmers’ markets permitted in all zones, except residential zones.
·         Use-specific standards for farmers’ markets , which encourage acceptance of WIC and SNAP benefits and coordination with the Town.  The Silver City Farmers’ Market already accepts these federal benefits and HKHC encourages other markets to do the same to reach out to low-income residents.    
·         Community gardens are a permitted land use in all zones.
·         Community gardens have a formal definition and use-specific standards as well, which encourage ADA accessibility, utilization of sustainable growing practices and coordination with the Town on soil and water quality. 
·         Monies accepted by the Town in-lieu of conveyance for public facilities may be used for the creation of community gardens.  For each single-family housing unit, .01 of an acre may be set aside for a community garden in new subdivisions. 
Please thank your Town Councilor, Mayor James Marshall and Community Development Director Peter Russell for their support of policies that make a difference in our community: