Jan 19, 2014

Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its poetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause people everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. People far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight."
(From a sermon published under the title ""Why Jesus Called A Wise Man A Fool" and in two books of King's sermons as "A Knock at Midnight" -- in Strength to Love, 1963, and later in a book with the title, A Knock at Midnight.  The sermon appears on page 51 and 61 respectively.  The reference of the final words is King's text, Luke 11:5-6.   An annotated version of King's notes was compiled for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, as well as a brief description of its writing and the first time King preached it for the Youth Sunday Services of a Baptist convention in Sept., 1958. It also includes footnotes on many of King's references. Here's the link:
King used all or parts of it in other settings and later expanded it for publication in his book of sermons, Strength to Love as noted above.) Audio excerpts are available at:

From the LPF website:

Now Online: Martin Luther King's Works -- talks, sermons, letters (including early drafts & mark-ups) etc. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change has opened an online digital archive of Dr. King's works.  http://www.mlkonline.net/

Two great articles:

Occupy: Resurrecting Rev. King's Final Dream
by Leo W. Gerard
International President, United Steelworkers

How to Learn Nonviolent Resistance as King Did
by Mary Elizabeth King
also distributed by Common Dreams

Jan 16, 2014

Fast Tracking of the TPP

The little known Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens to surrender our national, state and local sovereignty to corporate interests. This past Friday, legislation for Trade Promotion Authority, known as Fast Track, for the TPP was introduced in the House and Senate.  The Executive branch has negotiated the TPP in meetings that have been secret to the general public and even most members of Congress, but open to transnational corporations who are deeply crafting it with an eye to increase their profits and protect their interests.

The Fast Track legislation being debated eliminates the time needed for Congress to fully discuss the agreement and their freedom to amend in any way. Fast Track forces Congress to merely rubber stamp the TPP unread, and also takes away citizen and advocacy groups' opportunity to engage in the decision making.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently being negotiated between 12 countries around the Pacific Ocean including several of the world's largest economies. The TPP has the potential to extend the negative consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to nearly 40% of the world's economy. Despite promises of the 90's that NAFTA would improve the economy and provide jobs, history reveals that it forced more people in Mexico to migrate North as it destroyed small-scale farmers' ability to survive, had massively negative effects on labor rights everywhere, and removed environmental regulations deemed to be inconvenient impediments to free trade. Today the Obama administration is reportedly preparing to undermine strong environmental safeguards and critical regulations in order to secure the TPP deal. These include legally binding requirements for pollution limits, logging, and fishing standards.

The TPP is known as "NAFTA on steroids" because it goes much further than trade issues by threatening democratic decisions on laws governing  food safety, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, and establishes new powers for corporations. It is also known as "SOPA on steroids"  because of its threat to internet freedom.

If you are concerned about how any of our laws governing the environment, health and safety, workers rights, etc. could be altered outside the democratic process, then we need to act. In fact, we have every reason to be alarmed about allowing big corporations to use a non-public process to overturn or change democratically-decided rulings and safeguards based on their assertion that it must be done to protect their trade interests, e.g. competitiveness... And it is particularly offensive to allow this to happen with so little public discussion and involvement. We all need to contact our representatives in Congress and let them know that Fast Tracking the TPP is outrageous, especially given its potential impact and all the ways it subverts democratic process. And please consider sharing this with others who can join us in acting soon, before it’s too late. Together we can do something!

Learn more:

Secretive Corporate Deal in the Works Could Establish Special Closed Door Courts for Big Business

TPP--the 1% solution to democracy--government by corporate dictates

If You Thought What ALEC and the Koch Brothers Are Doing Was Bad ...


TPP: A Worldwide Corporate Power Grab of Enormous Proportions

Monsanto, the TPP and Global Food Dominance

TPP coverage on Democracy Now