Call on Congress to cease any U.S. funding for the ongoing war in Yemen

Dear Kevin,We are joining Daily Kos and Demand Progress on a multi-partner petition to call on Congress to cease any U.S. funding for the ongoing war in Yemen.
(Source: Reuters/Stringer)
 As a result of this war, Yemen is facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises ever. This crisis has only been exacerbated by attacks carried out by a Saudi-led coalition that is being wrongly backed by the United States.Just this past weekend, over 100 people were killed in the bombing of a detention center in Yemen’s southwestern city of Dhamar. And last August, it was discovered that the bomb that hit a Yemen school bus — killing 40 schoolchildren and wounding 56 others — was made by a U.S. military contractor and sold to Saudi Arabia by the United States. This complicity HAS to stop. By providing bombs, intelligence, and logistical support to this coalition, the U.S. is indirectly responsible for these deaths as well as other attacks that have terrorized innocent people throughout the region. America must stop supporting this Saudi-led coalition and help end this war. But it won’t happen on its own.The Trump administration has already vetoed FIVE bills this year — FOUR of which have dealt with U.S. support for the Saudi and UAE monarchies and their role in this unjust war.Congress’s next opportunity to stop this will come this month when the House and Senate will meet to finalize the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). But this legislation must include House amendments aimed at limiting America’s support of the Saudi-led coalition and prohibiting U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.Many in Congress understand and realize the need for U.S. accountability. Policymakers want to do what they can to take action on this issue. The NDAA provides that opening, and it’s now up to the champions inside and outside of Congress to fight for it.Today, call on Congress to preserve amendments in the NDAA to stop all funding for U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen.
  Add your voice,
Jasmine Peeples
Digital Field Organizer
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How has the World Responded?

The Amazon Burns, and the World Responds

  • SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
Photo credit: APIB
Photo credit: APIB

Today, vast fires continue to rage uncontrollably across the Amazon’s irreplaceable ecosystems. In Brazil alone, nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,500 square miles) of forests have been consumed in August, quadrupling the area burned last year. This is the equivalent of 4.2 million soccer fields, most of which were lit by criminal arson.

Approximately a third of today’s fires are raging in protected areas of the Brazilian Amazon – including indigenous territories – where more than 3,500 fires have been detected across 148 indigenous lands, with the Kayapó and Munduruku areas in Mato Grosso and Pará states among the worst hit. The legendary Kayapó Chief Raoni Metuktire spoke to how the fires are disproportionately impacting native communities in an op-ed entitled: “We, the peoples of the Amazon, are full of fear. Soon you will be, too.”

Meanwhile, Jair Bolsonaro’s immoral regime frantically scurried to appear as if it were taking action to address this global emergency. His flimsy edict banning the further setting of fires has gone unheeded, with almost 4,000 new fires set within two days of his order. While rejecting a G7 offer for firefighting support, he attacked France’s president (and insulted his wife) and further isolated his government diplomatically.

In a meeting with Brazil’s Amazonian state governors purportedly called to find solutions to the crisis, Bolsonaro launched into a hateful diatribe questioning the fundamental legitimacy of indigenous territories, stating: “Indigenous people don’t lobby, they don’t speak our language, and yet today they manage to have 14 percent of our national territory … One of their intentions is to hold us back.”

In response, the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB) countered: “While the Amazon is in flames, the anti-indigenous President Jair Bolsonaro continues spewing his ignorance and racism against ingidenous tribes in Brazil. Using the argument that we are protected by foreigners, he continues preaching his genocidal, ethnocidal, anti-ecological, and anti-indigenous politics.”

Far from a flippant statement, Bolsonaro’s hate-filled rhetoric aims to set the stage for a coordinated assault on indigenous land rights, as political representatives of Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector work to open native lands to industrial activities. Today’s catastrophe should therefore not be seen in isolation, but rather as one manifestation of a concerted campaign to destroy the human rights and environmental protections that keep the Amazon standing.

In this dire context, it is essential that Brazil’s vibrant resistance movement countering Bolsonaro continue to gain strength and momentum. As his popularity plummets nationally, Bolsonaro is rightfully considered to be a global pariah whose illegitimacy must be fashioned into a tool to undermine his toxic agenda.

Given the intrinsic connections between the objectives of the Bolsonaro regime and the worst actors within Brazilian agribusiness, one clear strategy is to encourage trade sanctions in key global markets like the European Union, while advancing global financial divestment from destructive industries and boycotts of agricultural commodities linked to illegal deforestation, rights abuses, and runaway forest fires. As consumers of these goods, we may be complicit in today’s disaster. It is our duty to become informed about how to leverage our influence to make a difference.

The global community must stand in solidarity with Brazil’s resistance at this critical moment. APIB has called for us to support their movement in tangible ways. “Just getting angry on social media is not enough to address the scale of Amazon destruction that we are witnessing,” said Sônia Guajajara of APIB. “We need to stop this absurdity. On September 5th, the Amazon is in the streets. There are more than 100 cities planning actions around the world. In Brazil alone, more than 70 cities will mobilize. We must get organized, get active, and join forces in defense of the Amazon and in defense of our future.”

Tomorrow’s Global Day of Action for the Amazon provides an opportunity to make our voices heard as part of a rising movement to oppose Bolsonaro and challenge the corporations that are enabling his regime’s rainforest destruction and human rights abuses. We are collectively facing a climate emergency of unprecedented proportions of which today’s Amazon fires are a burning symbol. In response, we need to exercise our collective power to extinguish these flames and build a future where this can never happen again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

800 Year-Old Trees Endangered

URGENT TONGASS ALERT: President Trump is opening the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest to logging and mining. If you care about the Tongass National Forest — and the 800-year-old trees that live there — there’s no time left to act. Rush your emergency monthly gift so we can support legislation to protect our remaining wild land in Alaska and across the US.DONATE MONTHLY >>Kevin -Last week, President Trump told the Forest Service to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule that has protected it — and millions more acres of National Forest System land — from road building and logging for 20 years.The impacts are staggering to consider. The Tongass is home to threatened species like the Alexander Archipelago wolf and Queen Charlotte Goshawk, which can’t sustain more assaults on their habitat. And further development would threaten sites sacred to Alaska Natives.And it gets worse: This could set a precedent for states across the country to exempt themselves from the Roadless Rule, opening up millions of acres of pristine wild land to development.Kevin, the good news is there’s still something we can do. Sen. Maria Cantwell has a bill to stop state-level exemptions to the Roadless Rule, keeping it in full force for all of our National Forests. We need to stop the destruction of Tongass and make Sen. Cantwell’s bill law so that none of our other natural lands come so close to the brink of destruction again. Will you pledge to join the fight now?Make your monthly donation to the Sierra Club today, so we can do absolutely everything possible to save these invaluable natural places.The Tongass is an essential carbon sink. It stores more atmospheric carbon than any other U.S. forest. Each tree that is cut down removes a piece of this invaluable resource that helps slow climate change. Just as we need Brazil to protect the Amazonian rainforest to help avert the climate crisis, we need to protect our own rainforest in Alaska for the same reason.If Trump and his allies succeed in Alaska, that won’t be the end of it. Their goal is to open as much of our public land to clearcutting and mining as they can. And they’ve made it clear they’re going to ignore everything the public wants: Last fall, Alaska’s First Nations activists, recreational and commercial fishermen, tourism operators, and others made their desire clear when they submitted 144,000 comments in favor of protecting the Tongass.At the Sierra Club, this is a matter of listening to those voices most affected by this decision. It’s a matter of preserving beautiful places so that we don’t need to tell future generations what the natural world used to be like. And it’s a matter of protecting the ancient carbon-rich forests that are one of our best tools for stopping the climate crisis, rather than destroying them.Become a monthly donor today to protect the Tongass, our national forests, and wild places across the country.Thank you for your vital support in building a better world.With determination,Lena Moffitt
Senior Director, Our Wild America
Sierra ClubPhoto: CC2.0/Andrew Malone.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bahamas Bombed?!!!

Bahamas Stunned as Hurricane Recedes: ‘It’s Like a Bomb Went Off’

 Kirk Semple, Frances Robles, Rachel Knowles and Elisabeth Malkin 10 hrs ago‘It’s hell everywhere’: Collecting Dorian’s dead in ravaged BahamasAnalysis: Johnson takes a wrecking ball to government and gets hit himselfClick to expandDorian leaves behind devastation in Bahamas

Video by Reuters

TREASURE CAY, Bahamas — The pilot was anxious to help: He had gathered generators, diapers, tuna fish and other supplies. The people living on the islands in the Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian needed them, immediately.

But he wasn’t sure if there was anywhere to land.

Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter

Flying over the hardest-hit areas — the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama — the pilot saw homes turned to matchsticks and boats piled in heaps.

Harbors, supermarkets, a public hospital, airport landing strips — all had been damaged or blown to smithereens, frustrating rescue efforts.

Slide 1 of 74: An aerial view of damage from Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 5 in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas.Next SlideFull screen1/74 SLIDES © Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian is barreling across the Atlantic, grazing Puerto Rico and slamming the Bahamas on its way toward the U.S. mainland.

(Pictured) An aerial view of damage from Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 5 in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas.

Slideshow by photo services

Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall on Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane and then lingered for days, not only left many residents in the most damaged islands without jobs or a place to live. It also stripped away the services required to meet their most immediate needs — like fresh water, food and medical care.

“It’s like a bomb went off, honestly,” said Julie Sands, who lives in Cherokee Sound, in the Abaco Islands.

The storm, barreling toward the Eastern Seaboard as a Category 3 hurricane late Wednesday night, could be close to the Carolinas from Thursday through Friday morning, with shore communities as far north as Virginia facing “a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water,” the National Hurricane Center said.

a plane sitting on top of a grass covered field: An airplane sat on the side of a road in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in the Pine Bay neighborhood of Freeport, Bahamas, on Wednesday.Next SlideFull screen1/3 SLIDES © Ramon Espinosa/Associated PressAn airplane sat on the side of a road in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, in the Pine Bay neighborhood of Freeport, Bahamas, on Wednesday.

[Hurricane Dorian could swamp the coast from Florida to Virginia.]

In the Bahamas, with floodwaters receding, the trail of devastation was slowly becoming clear as residents began tallying their losses.

As of Wednesday, said Dr. Duane Sands, the minister of health, at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was expected to rise.

In a late evening news conference, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis tried to strike a hopeful note, saying that aid efforts were getting underway in the Abacos and that “more help is on the way.” He said additional security would be deployed in both the Abacos and Grand Bahama to protect homes and businesses.

Around 70,000 people are in need of lifesaving aid on the affected islands, said the top relief official for the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, speaking to reporters by phone from the Bahamas.

Families picked through the ruins of their homes, many of them too overwhelmed to fathom next steps. Some aid groups figured nearly half of the homes on the two islands were either destroyed or severely damaged.

Some residents just wanted to know the fate of loved ones.

[Stories of survival in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian.]

Antonia Nixon, 19, stood at a private terminal where relief missions were concentrated in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, hoping that relatives would be among the passengers brought in on helicopter evacuation flights Wednesday morning.

They live in northern Abaco, she said, where there has been a practical communications blackout since the storm hit.

“My house is gone, and I’m in Nassau and I have no clue what my family is doing,” she said, breaking into sobs. “I just want help.”

Long lists of the missing circulated on social media groups, where families logged updates in real time.

“Mr. Atkinson contacted his son to let them know they are all alive,” read one entry for a family on Grand Bahama. Others were more worrying: “Have you seen or heard from my son Raynor,” wrote his mother, Sheron Johnson.

[Bahamian descendants in Miami are helping the storm-battered nation.]

The montage of grief and fear was matched in its intensity by the wreckage left behind. From the air, the scene in the islands was a grim study in contrasts.

In Marsh Harbour, the largest city in Abaco, residences lay in ruins, while the estates at Baker’s Bay appeared unscathed.

Only a handful of people could be seen walking around. One pair of bicyclists rode past demolished trees. The single road leading in and out of Marsh Harbour was still flooded in places.

The pilot conducting the flyover, Peter Vazquez, saw that several airports were still clearly under water, but a few runways looked like they could be usable within a few days. This was better than he had imagined, he said.

“Today’s flight, what it gave us was huge hope,” Mr. Vazquez said. “I thought it was going to be weeks, if not months, for the runways to get clear.”

Such hope, however, was in short supply Wednesday, as officials warned of an impending health crisis. The risk of contaminated water supplies loomed large.

“We have to assume that all of the ground water, all of the community water, is contaminated,” said Dr. Sands, the health minister.

In Marsh Harbour the threat was pronounced, especially in the predominantly Haitian shantytown known as the Mudd, which officials have said was demolished by the storm.

“We are incredibly concerned about the next phase, which is the risk of diarrheal diseases, the risk of rodents, the risk of mosquitoes, lack of access to proper medical care,” he added.

On Grand Bahama, the water had receded, revealing in its wake widespread decimation. Parts of Freetown were in shambles, and communications were spotty, leaving many to wonder about the fate of relatives and loved ones.

Rashema Ingraham, a resident of Freeport and the executive director of Save the Bays, a Bahamian environmental organization, struggled to grasp the extent of the damage.

“We’re just trying to wrap our minds around the recovery efforts,” she said. “Everybody is pretty much shellshocked.”

She had left her home on Sunday night as the water approached and a police officer came to the door to tell her family to leave immediately. The family has been staying with friends who live on higher ground.

“We definitely need water, and that’s drinking water,” she said. “We need cleaning supplies in terms of garbage bags, gloves, bleach. Foods that are easy to prepare like cereal.

“Monday was actually supposed to be the first day of school,” she said, and children who had prepared their school supplies may have lost them all.

Then Ms. Ingraham paused, stunned at the enormity of all the needs. “I don’t know, a lot, it’s a lot,” she said.

Much of Freeport was simply paralyzed. The airport was damaged. The harbor area was in the path of the main storm surge on the north of the island, Ms. Ingraham said.

The only public hospital was damaged and the two main supermarkets, along with their warehouses, were in an area of Freeport that was completely submerged.

Kimberly Mullings rushed to Freeport from North Carolina, where she studies communications, to be with her family.

Even on Wednesday, with the sun out and the waters subsiding, people were still waiting for rescue on the more remote parts of Grand Bahama, she said.

“People are going back and trying to clean up,” she said. “It’s important. The longer you stay displaced, the more you get discouraged.”

At the Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino, which housed some 700 people in Grand Bahama when other shelters and public buildings were damaged or flooded, most people had begun to head home. Only about 100 were left, said Jerry Davis, the hotel’s director of security.

“The majority were able to assess the damage and start cleaning up,” he said.

But the economic paralysis following the storm was another disaster waiting to unfold.

Ms. Sands, who lives in Cherokee Sound in Abaco, said her community suffered much less damage than did Marsh Harbour. But she feared mass unemployment in the aftermath of Dorian.

“Put it this way, most people that work who are not fishermen, they work in Marsh Harbour,” she said. “And I don’t think there’s a business that could just open up and say they’re in business.”

Kirk Semple reported from Treasure Cay, Bahamas; Frances Robles from Miami; Rachel Knowles from Nassau, Bahamas; and Elisabeth Malkin from Mexico City.Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bahamas will seek aid from China and anywhere while Trump’s racist policies continue in Caribbean and Elsewhere?

Bahamas aid could pit superpowers

The Bahamas soon will seek billions in post-Dorian foreign aid, and the Trump administration is considering the national security implications if China rushes to help.Why it matters: China has projected power around the globe through infrastructure spending, and this will create an opening for massive investments just off U.S. waters.Sources tell Axios’ Margaret Talev that the U.S. is working with Bahamian officials to help them navigate the bureaucracy to pursue avenues of assistance.Administration sources say it’s too soon for detailed conversations on how the China rivalry could play out in the hurricane’s aftermath.But officials involved in diplomacy, national security and foreign assistance understand that will be part of the equation after the initial response. The big picture: The official Bahamas tourism site has a whole page on “Our Proximity to the United States,” with one island “[j]ust 50 miles off the coast of Florida” and Nassau, the capital, a “45-minute plane ride from Miami.”Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative intertwines his nation with countries throughout Asia, Europe and Africa by investing in ports, railways, power grids, gas pipelines, oil pipelines and other massive infrastructure developments.President Trump’s approach to the Bahamas could be shaped by a foreign policy that includes supporting regime change in Venezuela; interest in buying Greenland from Denmark; trying to limit the reach of Chinese telecom giant Huawei into the U.S. and allies; and the trade war with Beijing.Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was among the Caribbean leaders who visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March after agreeing to stand with the U.S. in supporting Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.In exchange, Trump promised enhanced U.S. lending and investment. The White House previewed the summit by saying Trump is “working with countries in the region to strengthen our security cooperation and counter China’s predatory economic practices.”Between the lines: Huawei has already spent years been investing in telecom infrastructure and hardware in Caribbean nations, including the Bahamas. Large swaths of the Bahamas’ wiring has been wiped out and must be restored.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grace Again

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”-Galatians 6:18
Grace is a muscle that gives strength and vigor to our faith. Grace must be exercised. It’s not enough to hear the theology of grace dissected in a sermon. It’s not enough to sing about it. Grace must be exercised if we are to stay alive in Christ. To live in grace is to be committed to the work of remembering that we are God’s beloved children. Moreover, the exercise of grace is the work of continually reminding ourselves that every person around us is also dearly beloved.
Breanna Randall is a writer and a perpetual student of language and cultures. She lives in Myanmar with her family. Find more of her words at on her blog. You can follow her on Twitter at @randallbreanna 
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kiva’s Stories to Share

The Uplift

Stories from the field to make you smile. 

Cashew is the new cocoa for farmers in Ghana

Cashew is the new cocoa for farmers in Ghana

Cocoa is known as the main cash crop in Ghana – but cashews will soon surpass cocoa exports, says Samuel Gyasi of Advans Ghana, a Kiva Field Partner in the region. Check out this article to see how lending on Kiva is impacting the agriculture of the region. Read on

Kiva Protocol

Kiva’s next frontier: Kiva Protocol

We are excited to announce the launch of the National Digital Identity Platform — developed in partnership with Kiva, the Government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations Capital Development Fund, and the United Nations Development Programme.Read on

How lack of identity is blocking financial inclusion around the world

How lack of identity is blocking financial inclusion around the world

Globally, 1.7 billion adults are unbanked today – that is roughly 31% of the adult global population. Learn how identity (or lack thereof) plays a role in this global issue, and the ways in which Kiva is tackling the problem. Read on

Visit the Kiva store!

Your portfolio

Contact us

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Longtime beekeeper, Jeff says the picture is even grimmer if you look at bee losses across the entire year

Dear Kevin,

Jeff Anderson normally has around 3,000 honeybee colonies in the spring. This year he had 300.A longtime beekeeper, Jeff says the picture is even grimmer if you look at bee losses across the entire year, particularly when farmers are spraying pesticides.The truth is, it’s been a particularly terrible summer for bees and beekeepers alike. Recently, the U.S. EPA announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which provides critical information to farmers and scientists by tracking honeybee populations across the U.S.The Trump administration pushed for these two anti-bee actions, even though our nation’s honeybee populations are plummeting. Last winter, beekeepers reported a record 40 percent loss of their colonies.It’s not just bees that are suffering. Beekeepers are also feeling the sting of the Trump administration’s anti-bee and anti-science efforts. And consumers of healthy, fresh foods are next.Read Jeff’s story and learn more about how he is working with Earthjustice to protect these pollinators and his livelihood.Sincerely,
Jess Knoblauch
Senior Staff Writer
EarthjusticeGIVE MONTHLY
Kevin, thank you for being an Earthjustice Activist.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who invaded first?

Who Are the Real Invaders on Planet Earth?
By Tom Engelhardt

He crossed the border without permission or, as far as I could tell, documentation of any sort. I’m speaking about Donald Trump’s uninvited, unasked-for invasion of my personal space. He’s there daily, often hourly, whether I like it or not, and I don’t have a Department of Homeland Security to separate him from his children, throw them all in degrading versions of prison — without even basic toiletries or edible food or clean water — and then send him back to whatever shithole tower he came from in the first place. (For that, I have to depend on the American people in 2020 and what still passes, however dubiously, for a democracy.)

And yes, the president has been an invader par excellence in these years — not a word I’d use idly, unlike so many among us these days. Think of the spreading use of “invasion,” particularly on the political right, in this season of the most invasive president ever to occupy the Oval Office, as a version of America’s wars coming home. Think of it, linguistically, as the equivalent of those menacing cops on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, back in 2014, togged out to look like an occupying army with Pentagon surplus equipment, some of it directly off America’s distant battlefields.

Not that many are likely to think of what’s happening, invasion-wise, in such terms these days.

Admittedly, like so much else, the worst of what’s happening didn’t start with Donald Trump. “Invasion” and “invaders” first entered right-wing vocabularies as a description of immigration across our southern border in the late 1980s and 1990s. In his 1992 attempt to win the Republican presidential nomination, for instance, Patrick Buchanan used the phrase “illegal invasion” in relation to Hispanic immigrants. In the process, he highlighted them as a national threat in a fashion that would become familiar indeed in recent years.

Today, however, from White House tweets to the screed published by Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old white nationalist who killed 22 people, including eight Mexican citizens, in an El Paso Walmart, the use of “invasion,” or in his case “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” has become part of the American way of life (and death). Meanwhile, the language itself has, in some more general sense, has continued to be weaponized.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deaths of Immigrants in ICE Custody and more Wasting of USA taxpayer money

The Systems That Silence

What drove a 40-year-old Mexican immigrant to kill himself in ICE detention?

In a joint investigation by PRX/WNYC’s “The Takeaway” and The Intercept, José Olivares exposes the neglect that took place at Stewart Detention Center, operated by private prison company CoreCivic. The suicide came after 21 days in solitary confinement — which would be torture for anyone, but especially for detainees with mental health issues.

An accompanying video documents the final 18 hours of Efraín Romero’s life, narrated by the people who witnessed the events firsthand. It’s a harrowing but necessary look at “a system that sets people up to die.”And what doesn’t kill you will constantly surveil you: The U.S. borderlands, Will Parrish writes, have become a laboratory for new systems of enforcement and control.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has contracted the American division of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, to build high-tech surveillance towers on the Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation in Arizona — and it’s not clear that the eyes in the sky are there only for border control.

Ali Gharib
Senior News Editor
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment