NOTE: This Forum is on January 9th at Local 2: note address (NOT Global Exchange!)
January 2nd’s OccupyForum will meet in Oakland at Omni Commons (see separate announcement).
Please spread widely!
Monday, January 9th 2017 from 6 – 9 pm at Local 2 SEIU
209 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102
Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!
Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue
on all sides of these critically important issues!
The Trump Presidency and the Crisis of United States Imperialism
Almost daily since the 2016 election, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party Establishment has intensified its anti-Russia propaganda – while President-elect Trump claims that he plans to normalize relations with Russia.
To explain the significance of that policy divergence,
Professor George Wright will, first, outline the current geo-political situation in relationship to the United States and Russia; second, contrast Trump’s proposed foreign policy to Obama and Clinton’s approach, with emphasis on Russia policy; third, analyze the (transparent) intra-ruling class struggle for control of United States foreign policy currently in play exhibited by the differences over how to relate to Russia; and, fourth, speculate on the political implications of that intra-ruling class struggle as it relates to the crisis of United States Imperialism.
George Wright’s professional experience includes teaching Political Science at California State University, Chico between 1969 and 2003. He also taught History at Skyline Community College between 2004 and 2013. His major research interests include: United States Politics, International Political Economy, and the Politics of International Sport. He has a Ph.D. from the Department of Politics at the University of Leeds (UK).
Time will be allotted for announcements.
Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!
During 2016 we can identify three major events signaling the current state of democracy in the world:
🇬🇧 A surprising Brexit referendum in the UK that led to Britain pivoting towards leaving the European Union.The pattern found on this referendum has been consistent along with every other large-scale election of this kind: the elder go out to vote while the young do not engage. Urban areas tend to support open borders, while rural areas want protection. “There is an intergenerational tyranny going on” I’ve heard whisper during the World Economic Forum meeting held in Dubai last November. We firmly believe that the gap between generations is due to fundamentally one thing: the internet. The so-called millenials are not defined by the year 2000 but by the digital technology that is shaping their worldview every single day. Statistics prove that the digital gap, even within developing nations, is no longer due to socio-economical factors but purely driven by age since the introduction of the smartphone.
🇨🇴 An unexpected No to peace in the Colombian referendum risking years of negotiation between the government & the marxist narco-guerrillas.We did our first public pilot of our new tech for this referendum. We got lobbied by think tanks to specifically avoid asking many questions in our pilot and keep the process using the same single question being asked by the government. We didn’t pay attention to that and did the referendum we would’ve liked to see happen: asking 7 questions, one for each aspect of the peace treaty being signed. Surprisingly, we where able to identify the deal breaker that led to a winning No in the official poll. “You got to prove what happens when you can seat the people at the negotiation table” Ernesto Dal Bo, head of the political economy faculty of UC Berkeley told us.
🇺🇸 A shocking US presidential election that had as a decisive factor hacked e-mails from the democrat party leadership.Every US election is a milestone that helps understand the impact of media: Roosevelt & the radio; Kennedy & TV; Obama & social media. This year has proven to be a time where crypto and information security mattered more than ever before. A Russian-led task force hacked into the DNC database & Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. The release of such e-mails from Wikileaks was perfectly timed to negatively impact Hillary’s campaign considering Julian Assange’s personal war with her. While the Clinton campaign relied on leaking scandalous material about Trump hoping for mainstream media repeated broadcast (and the media did respond to it); the Trump campaign kept doing constant, non-stop, softer but consistent blows throughout the whole campaign: e-mail revelations have proven to be a stronger kind of power display.
Right after the US election, Bitcoin’s price went from USD 710 per unit to a 3 year high of USD 920. An episode worth remembering is when Wikileaks released the US Embassy cables in 2011. Back then, such event led to credit card companies cutting ties with Assange’s organization in the hope to choke its funding but one line kept on working for them: Bitcoin. In 2014, we had the privilege of visiting US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, and during this meeting we specifically warned: Bitcoin will globalize politics.
So.. where do we go from here?
During election day, we released the source code of Sovereign. We have been working on it in stealth-mode during 2016 figuring how we can connect democratic governance to the security & accountability that is guaranteed by blockchains. Since then:
We have now a clear understanding on what are the technical & political requirements to enable governance for institutions in a digital context. Looking ahead for 2017 we’ll be increasing our efforts developing Sovereign and releasing new instances in critical contexts as we look at the electoral calendar of the globe.
A Post Nation-State World.
We are aiming to create an organization capable of reaching impact at a global scale and tapping into Silicon Valley-like growth variables. For that purpose we’ll be expanding our organization so we can explore profitable avenues that can help sustain our research and development. We want to deeply thank everyone that has been accompanying our mission and hope we can keep exchanging ideas in order to create a democracy that can connect humanity and help it solve the planetary challenges we face.
In a context where genuine fears of cyberwar & increasing distrust for established media keeps making headlines, we believe that the internet can provide the means for the voices of the many not only to be heard, but also ruled by its own will. By maturing the development of blockchains so they can be fit for governance, organizing and democratic decision-making at all scales, that power can be untapped.
After all, democracy is too good to fail.
Thank you for reading. Be well John, we wish you an extraordinary 2017 (or Year 9)!🌎
Founder & President
Democracy Earth Foundation
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit in San Francisco, California. democracy.earth
BERKELEY — Some homeless people evicted by police from an Adeline Street median have pitched camp anew, this time on the edge of the Gourmet Ghetto.
The campers, many of them affiliated with the group First They Came for the Homeless, started moving to the median strip of Shattuck Place near the Safeway store in North Berkeley on Christmas Eve. They were among a larger group evicted before dawn Dec. 21 from the grassy median of Adeline Street between Oregon and Russell streets near the Berkeley Bowl.
The Shattuck Place campers say they are there partly to protest the way Berkeley treats homeless people.
“We want to stop the criminalization of poverty and homelessness,” one, Clark Sullivan, said during an interview on Christmas Day.
City officials have said they are providing alternatives to encampments. On Dec. 14, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and continued it at least through Dec. 22. During the activation, Berkeley doubled its storm shelter capacity, from 65 to 130, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said. Additionally, there are 140 shelter spaces, funded by the city through community agencies, he said.
The city has published a list of Homeless Emergency Services that include daytime respite and meals, alcohol and other drugs programs, restrooms, showers and meal services.
There are two city winter shelters, one on Second Street, the other on Park Street. Winter shelter information is available here.
On Christmas Day, at the new Shattuck Place camp, Mike Lee of First They Came for the Homeless said the city shelters are inhospitable and dangerous, and that he and other community volunteers have offered to help the city “construct a shelter system that people can use, and that they will use.”
City spokespersons have not been available for comment over the holiday period.
This New Year’s Eve, be where the world needs you most…
In the Streets saying #NoFascist2017!
No Muslim registry
No White Supremacy
NO FASCIST USA!
Bring drums, pots and pans, noise-makers, candles, glow-sticks, posters that say “NO!” and everyone you know. Join thousands in cities and towns across this country, ringing in the new year in determination to STOP the fascist Trump/Pence regime BEFORE it comes to power.
Beginning list of CITIES HERE (if you don’t see your city, start your own!)
Mirrors are important. For a city council to see what actually happens in its meetings, more than “instant replay” is needed. One needs a mirror to at least see where one’s lipstick is smeared, and how visible one’s facial tics might be. One needs a longer-term replay, or re-presentation. To fabricate such a mirror for the Berkeley City Council meeting of Dec. 13, 2016, we shall have to make it out of dramatic performance.
The dramatic setting
The setting for this drama is the problem of homelessness in Berkeley. The city has made endless attempts to resolve it, including a Task Force, millions of dollars in services, and contracted with shelter providers. Yet all this has produced mainly resolve rather than resolution, and a continued paucity of shelters. Alternatively, the city has spent reportedly over $300,000 for police raids on a specific community of homeless people calling itself “First they Came For The Homeless” (FTCFTH). As an intentional community, organized and able to take care of itself and its members, FTCFTH exists as a political protest, placing itself (the collection of tents by which it withstands the elements) where it will call attention the fact that homelessness exists.
Though it is a form of protest, a political statement demanding a “redress of grievances,” this community has been assaulted by the police, and stamped out 12 times in the past year – its possessions seized and its members left by the city to lose their lives to exposure. Several constitutional rights have been trampled in the process.
Their demands are  housing (the long-term solution),  humane and respectful short-term solutions, such as shelters and toilets and showers, and  an immediate cessation to the police raids because their community is what is keeping them alive while the city develops and funds short-term solutions.
Scene one – the soliloquy
The agenda item on the homeless on Dec. 13, 2016, was Item 39. The new mayor wrote it, and opened the council discussion on it with an introduction explaining how it will initiate a resolution of the homeless crisis. [2:10:09 – these time markers refer to the city’s video of the meeting] And he reiterates that resolving the homeless crisis in a humane manner, aimed at getting everyone housed, is his first priority.
However, in his introduction, he makes two assertions that simply ignore the depth of the crisis. He withdraws two clauses from the original language of the measure, clauses that would have recognized and honored the political statement of FTCFTH. One would have directed the city manager to designate an area in which this homeless community could be emplaced while the city develops and funds short-term solutions. The other would have imposed a limited moratorium on police raids. Both could have been justified by the First Amendment, or humanitarian, or financial, or democratic, or even sociological grounds. Instead, he retreats from calling off the repression. “I want to clarify that this item [Item 39] does not allow a blanket moratorium on enforcement of lodging on public property throughout the city of Berkeley.” (2:11:48)
He doesn’t explain why he changed his mind, nor does he identify who convinced him to change it. Thus, he acts against his own heart-felt “priority.” And we (the audience) become aware that this drama will be a tragedy in the classical sense. Though dedicated to preserving the health and safety of people, the mayor acts to leave unleashed the major threat to health and safety for the homeless community, viz. the police who seize possessions needed to survive, and who thus become the source of non-safety themselves (calling it “law enforcement”). In truly tragic fashion, the mayor acts against himself.
And he reduces the three steps that the homeless know are necessary, an immediate means of survival, short-term solutions, and long-term solutions, to only two steps, short-term and long-term, substituting “short-term” eventuality for the immediacy of survival.
Scene two – the dualities of language
The drama begins. The mayor’s right-hand man, the honorable Kriss, steps forward and makes a proposal. (2:18:18) He is seizing the time out of turn, since public comment is supposed to come first. But he cannot hold himself back.
He proposes a series of amendments to Item 39, though no motion has been made yet on the item, nor has it been discussed. He seems to act on the assumption that the homeless community wants a place to “camp” permanently, and he will not allow that. Instead of substituting a short-term solution for immediacy (as had the mayor), the honorable Kriss goes “long,” and accuses the homeless demand for immediate surcease as being their long-term desire (to camp endlessly), which no one on the street had suggested.
Thus, he shows that those who do not live on the street speak a different and inept language. For them, a tent represents “camping,” as an instrument for living away from home, and enjoying nature. For a homeless person, a tent is an item of clothing essential for surviving the elements.
But why has the mayor’s right-hand man preempted the floor? Is it to obfuscate the language of debate? Is it to create confusion by offering a second motion where there was not yet a first one? Is he about to play Iago to the mayor as Othello, with Item 39 itself the innocent Desdemona?
Only Sophie, the fair maiden of the north, wants to know what Kriss is doing. (30:06)
And only the soft-spoken and keen-eyed Cheryl, with the soul of Minerva, asks for regulations that would assist people in retrieving what the police seize from them. (2:29:40)
Second Act – the animus of contradiction
When the mayor finally opens the floor to public comment, the play erupts in conflict, as the room rises in anticipation, and then outrage. (34:13) Concerned citizens come forward with eloquent statements, making strong arguments for calling off the harassment, and for listening more intently to the political statements of the homeless. They understand the contradiction between “health and safety” and the actions of the police. Indeed, Mike Zint went into the hospital shortly thereafter because he had lost so much of his clothing to past raids.
The mayor, bound by a tradition he does not know how to contest, is blind to the role of political structure in the conflict that ensues. Time itself becomes a repression, and thus an arena for revolt. The more people line up to speak, the less time they get. Speaking against the clock, they become aggressive, antagonistic, thrashing against retrictions on their freedom of speech. Against this, the council sinks into defensiveness, bombarded by monologues, and barred by that tradition from opening a conversation that would transform the heat of commentary into the fertility of broad participation.
As if to add insult to the repressiveness of time and distance, when “public comment” is closed, five people in suits take their seats before the council dias, and enter into discussion on Item 39. (4:03:42) Who are these people? They are not introduced. They don’t introduce themselves. The city manager had simply said, “our staff will be coming in shortly.” (4:02:49) Yet they enter into dialogue with the council. One of them explains: “The city has a contract with Dorothy Day House, a $30,000 contract that covers about 45 days or nights every winter, … currently we have several different locations that we can use. … [they will be opened] if the weather is 40 deg or below or has a 30% chance of rain in the forecast.” (4:04:18)
Then why are the police seizing property rather than transporting people on the street to these shelters? Something is rotten in Denmark.
What the audience has witnessed is that those who have a stake in solutions to the problem have no dialogic particpation in arriving at them, while those who have no stake participate through real dialogue in arriving at their own solutions.
Scene two – “Cry havoc”
Now the actors move into position. It opens with the honorable Kriss stepping forward to explain what he has done with his proposal, which he has read into the record. He abjures the camping, and bespeaks his desire for indoor beds for everyone. And with a subdued flourish, he makes his motion. Susan of the hills seconds it.
The fair Sophie turns her gentle frown into words, and speaks of the virtue of the original Item 39. Without ado, she proposes it whole and wholeheartedly, and makes it her own, though perforce a substitute motion, since there is one already on the floor. The soft-spoken and keen-eyed Cheryl seconds this one.
And thus dramatic chaos rolls onto the stage and begins its flowery dance. Two motions there are, vying for attention. The first one presents itself as an amendment to the second one, though the second one had not yet been made. And the second one presents itself as a substitute for the first one, though the second one is the original. Each one is thus procedurally subordinate to the other.
One is reminded one of that famous paradox, created by two written statements divided by a verticle line. The statement on the left side says “the statement on the right is a lie.” And the statement on the right says “the statement on the left is true.” If the left-side statement is true, then the right-side statement is lying when it says that the left side statement is true. Which means the left side statement is false. If the left-side statement is false, then it means that the right-side statement is true (not a lie), which means that the left-side statement is true (not false). In short, the left-side is false if it is true, and true if it is false.
If the honorable Kriss is only amending the mayor’s proposal, then the mayor’s proposal (as made into a motion by the fair Sophie) cannot be a substitute, and must be the main motion. If Sophie’s motion is a substitute, then Kriss’s motion is the main motion, and not an amendment.
Either Kriss, the veritable right-hand man, is trying to steal the mayor’s thunder by preempting him with the mayor’s own invention, or he and the mayor are in cahoots to create as situation of paradox. We discern the probable tragic outcome wherein nothing can get done by the council as it chases itself through substance and substitution. And the police campaign to destroy those who protest their poverty will then proceed unhindered. Again.
In the next act, all that is foreseen will indeed be seen.
Scene one – the Capoeira Circle
The council grinds on under the power of paradox, trudging through its structure-generated conflicts, though they be time-honored procedures. And things only get worse, as the paradox transforms itself into a circle, thanks to the morose genius of the City Manager.
But first, the brave Ben enters the fray, armed as he is with a new concept. (4:29:01) Ben wants a quick solution to the problem. He opts for the autocratic, a tsar, a knight in shining armor who can control all and fix everything.
The manager responds positively, offering to set up an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to expeditiously handle both immediate needs and enforcement. (4:31:30) As she puts it, it “puts us into an emergency situation where all hands on deck come into a process where we are all day working on this particular item and we can find resources both internally and externally.”
Ben likes it. He wishes to make a motion to accept this executive solution. But with two motions on the floor, he must offer a friendly amendment to one of them. He chooses the original item moved by the fair Sophie as a substitute to that of the honorable Kriss. And someone whispers in the audience, “hang onto your hats, folks; we’re in for a wild ride.” There are now five characters on stage, all moving in their own way – like five bodies fighting in Capoeira fashion, making motions toward each other without ever making physical contact.
The manager asks if Ben’s motion is to focus on shelters. Ben says yes. Kriss steps forward and offers to facilitate Ben’s proposal by removing his own. (4:33:12) Quite taken by it, he finds the EOC marks a better strategy than Item 39, one that seems somehow closer to his own (that is, to getting people off the street). He doesn’t explain why his and the mayor’s might be at odds, but Ben’s and Item 39 certainly are. They move by different rules.
When the honorable Kriss withdraws his motion, the mayor asks the others if they would accept Ben’s as “friendly.” And they agree. But it is short-lived friendship. Ben’s motion is to be a friendly amendment to motions that are to be withdrawn. (4:34:42) The manager then pronounces the need for a direct council decision on outcome, wishing to know what the EOC is to accomplish. The mayor turns it back and asks her what she would envision. She names storm and warming shelters, and refers to Kriss’s motion.
They are all just spinning the wheel. (4:38:24) Kriss has deferred to Ben, Ben has deferred to the manager, and the manager has deferred to Kriss. They all circle each other. And the mayor has deferred to the circle.
Scene two – centrifugal tearing of the fabric
The circle explodes when the soft-spoken and keen-eyed Cheryl brings up the critical issue that no one had wanted to hear about or address, namely, the cessation of the constant police raids. (4:38:38)
In her quiet way, she was the only one listening. But when she makes her own friendly amendment concerning the raids, the whole house of cards falls to the ground. Which motion is she to befriend with her forbidden idea? Struck by the possibility (or impossibility) of such friendliness, the mayor suggests that all motions be withdrawn.
To do so, the seconds must agree along with the motion-makers. Kriss agrees, and Susan of the hills agrees. Sophie withdraws hers. And everyone holds their breath. But the mayor moves on to consider passing the EOC. He thus fails to ask the keen-eyed Cheryl if she too agrees. Thus, they proceed to the business that the manager directs, leaving Item 39 open yet dead on the table, unwithdrawn yet discarded and disregarded, a victim of the whispered war between would-be suitors. Sophie tries to revive it, but to no avail. (4:47:40) Thus, all the mayor’s desire for Item 39, expounded in his soliloquy, comes to its tragic ending.
Council passes the EOC. Some of the short term issues ride along with it, because the manager has included them. In other words, it is she, the staff, who makes the EOC motion for the elected. And most of the veritable “short-term solutions” are then shunted to an adhoc subcommittee which will report back a month later. So much for the immediate problem.
On the winter solstice, the police raid the FTCFTH site and destroy it, taking most of the people’s possessions. For the police, though, once wasn’t enough. They raid the same people again that same afternoon over near city hall where they went after the first raid. In this second instance, the police even went so far as to grab possessions out of people’s hands.
The police of course report that they had received many complaints about the “encampment.” And of course, they do not divulge who complained. Whoever it was, it wasn’t the neighbors who lived nearby, and who had been seen supporting the encampment, bringing it food and other things.
Thus government officials end up playing with their constituent’s lives, as if they were children playing cowboys and indians, making up rules as they go along – or rather, making up roles. And ignoring the sadism that spices up the raids.
The city council clearly misconceived of itself. It has inherited a structure whose purpose is to prevent it from forthrightly dealing with critical issues, nor with public participation. That old structure is based on a hierarchy of discourse between public comment and council debate, and on the prevention of dialogue between the public and the council. Yet this council was elected through the influence of popular movements, not just by “getting out the vote.” By substituting pragmatics for democracy, the rules of “public comment” guarantee insularity from those movements. Thus, the council wallows in paradox, sorely needing a different relation between itself and the people. And having only insular executive solutions to the need.
Please read down this list of activities and plan to attend one or more of them. If you can attend one, please greet some of the other people there and talk to them. We need to form connections of concerned people. We need to be peaceful at all times and know that it is possible that great force may be used to ‘clear the streets’.
Our media feeds are echo chambers. And those echo chambers don’t just reflect our political beliefs; they reflect our feelings about human progress. Bad news is a bubble too.
“If it bleeds, it leads” isn’t a phrase coined by some cut-throat tabloid editor. It’s a potent truth that lies at the heart of the modern day media machine. It’s time for some balance. That’s why our team at Future Crunch spent the year gathering good news stories you probably didn’t hear about, and sent them out in our fortnightly newsletter.
Here’s our full list for 2016…
Some of the biggest conservation successes in a generation:
1. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear.’ Reuters
2. In February, Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca. HNGN
3. In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago. Guardian
4. After nearly 13 years of difficult negotiations, Malaysia established a 1 million hectare marine park that pioneers a mixed-use approach to marine conservation. Guardian
5. In 2016, more than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters
6. That included a new record holder for the world’s biggest marine reserve, off the coast of Antarctica. National Geographic
7. New research showed that acid pollution in the atmosphere is now almost back to the level that it was before it started with industrialisation in the 1930s. Science Bulletin
8. In 2012, the US and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented binational project to revive the Colorado River. By 2016, the results had astonished everyone. Audubon
9. In November, the Obama administration followed up its March announcements by banning offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic until 2022. Politico
Huge strides forward for global health
10. The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. WHO
11. In 2016, some of the world’s biggest diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, started declining in wealthy countries. New York Times
12. A new study from the world’s leading health journal reported that the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990. Guardian
13. Fresh evidence showed that public smoking bans have improved health in 21 nations. Wiley Blackwell
14. Uruguay won a major case against Philip Morris in a World Bank ruling, setting a precedent for other small countries that want to deter tobacco use. CS Monitor
15. Malawi achieved a 67% reduction in the number of children acquiring HIV, the biggest success story across all sub-Saharan nations. Since 2006, they’ve saved 260,000 lives. Al Jazeera
16. Child mortality rates came down by 12% in Russia. Article
17. Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, thanks to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to ARVs. Quartz
18. Mobile phones made significant inroads in the fight against rabies, a disease which kills more people annually than all terrorists combined. Ars Technica
19. Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. World Health Organisation
20. Harvard scientists created a new platform for antibiotic discovery that may help solve the crisis of antibiotic resistance. GEN
21. Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola, meaning there are now no known cases of the deadly tropical virus left in West Africa. Vanguard
So yeah. That didn’t happen.
22. The WHO announced that measles have been eradicated in all of the Americas, from Canada to Chile. It’s the first time the disease has been eliminated from an entire world region. NBC
23. The proportion of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012, a decrease of about a million people. Scientific American
24. The number of cigarette smokers in the US dropped by 8.6 million since 2005. That fall will be accelerated by a tobacco tax just passed in California. NPR
Political and economic progress in many parts of the world
25. 93% of kids around the world learned to read and write this year. That’s the highest proportion in human history. And the gender gap between girls and boys in school narrowed in 2016 too. Medium
26. In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid. Vox
We finally started responding seriously to the climate change emergency
42. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history. CBS
43. Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flatlined.Scientific American
44. Thanks to rapid technological innovation and political support from around the world, renewables now account for more newly installed capacity than any other form of electricity in the world, including coal.. Gizmodo
45. The Chinese government placed a ban on new coal mines, created new rules for grid access and doubled its renewables targets for 2020. WRI
46. India announced it won’t need any new coal plants for the next three years because it’s flush with generation capacity. Times of India
47. In April, the UK’s Chatham House released a report saying “Big Oil is screwed.” Chatham House
48. In the same month, 25% of European countries announced that they had quit coal. EcoWatch
49. The BRICS New Development Bank approved $1 billion in renewables investments in China, Brazil, South Africa and India. RT
50. In 2016 Costa Rica ran solely on renewable energy for over 100 days. Now it’s aiming for an entire year with no fossil fuels. The Independent
51. In July, the USA, Mexico and Canada committed to getting 50 per cent of their electricity from renewables by 2025. Their leaders also nailed the awkward handshake thing. Time
52. A new report showed that China reached peak coal in 2014. A landmark moment in the fight against climate change that was reported by every media outlet on the planet. Right? Guardian
53. China installed 20GW of solar in the first half of 2016, three times as much as during the same period a year ago. Reuters
54. In October, the International Energy Agency reported that half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world in 2015. It also drastically increased its five year growth forecast for renewables. IEA
55. In the same month, 197 countries agreed to drastically reduce their use of HFCs, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation agreed to measures to combat the impact of flying on greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific American
56. The world’s biggest offshore wind farm received the go ahead for its second phase. Guardian
57. Mexico announced $6 billion in renewables investments, Argentina $2.7 billion, Scotland connected underwater turbines to its grid for the first time, and solar energy generated more power than coal in the United Kingdom. Independent UK
58. In November, India unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant, and revealed that it is now on track to be the world’s third biggest solar market in 2017. Al Jazeera
59. And in the same month, the United Kingdom agreed to phase out coal by 2025, France said it would get there by 2023, and Germany promised to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050. Guardian
61. ISIS quietly started preparing its followers for the eventual collapse of the caliphate it proclaimed with great fanfare two years ago. New Yorker
62. In April, a new report revealed that for the first time ever, the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world’s countries. Article
63. Juarez, in Mexico, used to be the world’s most dangerous city. In 2016, crime came down and residents started losing their fear. National Geographic
64. Crime rates in Holland plummeted, with total recorded crime shrinking by 25% in the last eight years. One third of the country’s prison cells are now empty. Dutch News
65. Three years ago Honduras was the most dangerous place on earth. Since then community crime programs have achieved a remarkable reduction in violence. New York Times
66. Hellholes? Not according to US mayors, who in 2016 celebrated years of positive gains in US cities. Politico
Signs of hope for a life-sustaining economy
67. Good science and simple economics have started a reversal in overfishing in the United States. New York Times
68. Norway became the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. The Independent
69. In June, a new survey showed that the ozone hole has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometres since 2006. Scientists now think it will now be fully healed by 2050. Sydney Morning Herald
70. In July, more than 800,000 volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day. The country is planning on reforesting 12% of its land. National Geographic
71. Later that month, Israel revealed that it now makes 55% of its freshwater. That means that one of the driest countries on earth now has more water than it needs. Ensia
72. McDonalds announced it would be removing corn syrup from its hamburger buns and removed antibiotics from its chicken months ahead of schedule. CNBC
73. By August, every major grocery and fast-food chain in the US had pledged to use only cage-free eggs by 2025. Washington Post
74. The average number of large oil spills around the world has been drastically reduced, from an average of 24.5 per year in the 1970s, to just 1.8 a year in 2015. ITOPF
75. The citizens of Mumbai conducted the largest beach clean-up in human history, removing more than 4000 tonnes of rubbish. Washington Post
76. Plastic bag use plummeted in England thanks to the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015. BBC
77. The Italian government overwhelmingly backed a new set of laws aimed at cutting down the vast amounts of food wasted in the country each year. Independent
78. In December, four of the world’s biggest cities, Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City, agreed to ban diesel cars from their centres. Guardian
Endangered animals got a some well-deserved breaks
79. At this year’s CITES conference, 183 countries agreed to the strongest protections ever for endangered animals, with big wins for parrots, rhinos, porpoises, rays and elephants. Washington Post
80. In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the global manatee population is no longer endangered. Scientific American
81. Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River. Al Jazeera
82. In March, Yellowstone’s grizzly bears passed a major milestone, completing one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history. National Geographic
83. Fifty years ago, the Columbian white-tailed deer population was 450 animals. This year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service took it off the endangered list. CS Monitor
84. Green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico were taken off the endangered list. Huffington Post
85. Sea World agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales. NPR
86. Humpback whales were removed from the endangered species list, having fully recovered in the last 46 years. Science Mag
87. The US finalized new regulations to shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas. WWF
88. Mongolia created one of the world’s largest protected areas for snow leopards. Snow Leopard Trust
89. In September, giant pandas became the latest species to be taken off the endangered list. Guardian
90. And in 2016, for the first time, we heard that the number of tigers in the wild rose for the first time in 100 years. National Geographic
The world got more generous
91. At the beginning of the year, we heard that global spending on aid and development increased by 7%, and spending on refugees has doubled. OECD
92. In April, Pony Ma Huateng, the chief executive of the Chinese internet giant Tencent, donated $2 billion to charity. South China Morning Post
93. 2015 was America’s most generous year ever, with charitable donations from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reaching record highs. 2016 is on track to be even bigger. Associated Press
94. In 2016, charitable giving in China rose to $15 billion, a 10 fold increase from just a decade ago Bloomberg
96. Warren Buffett gave $2.9 billion to charity, again. And his son, a farmer and environmentalist, quietly continued to spend his billion dollar inheritance on sustainable agriculture and hunger eradication. The Atlantic
97. The Gates Foundation announced another $5 billion in charity for Africa. They also tweeted this video about progress on malaria.
98. Germany took in an additional 300,000 refugees in 2016, despite growing concerns about integration and a backlash from populists. Guardian
99. In Canada, hockey moms, poker buddies and neighbors took in Syrian refugees, one family at a time. New York Times
Future Crunch fosters intelligent, optimistic thinking for the future. We help people understand what’s on the frontiers of science, technology and human progress, and what it means for humanity
Tuesday, 1:30pm – 3:30pm, Hearing: POA vs. City of San Francisco
San Francisco Superior Court
400 McAllister St.
On December 21, 2016, the SF Police Commission unanimously adopted the Use of Force policy it had unanimously passed on June 22, 2016 including the ban on carotid restraint and shooting at moving vehicles recommended by the US DOJ.
The SF Police Officers Association (SFPOA) is now suing the City claiming that the Police Commission does not have authority to ban these practices in the Use of Force policy.
Tuesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, SFPOA IS BULLYING CITY WORKERS – POA BULLYING CITY WORKERS TO SEIZE PENSIONS – PRESS CONFERENCE / PROTEST
San Francisco Police Officers Association
800 Bryant St.
The SF POA wants the City worker pension fund to invest in hedge funds.
The racist San Francisco Police Officers Association SFPOA has a history of bullying the members of the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Labor Council, African American trade unionists in the ILWU and other unions. Now they are bullying San Francisco City Employees and retirees to remove the only non-police fire member on the pension board. Herb Meiberger is the only representative of the of the vast majority of SF City workers Now the POA along with Bob Muscat of IFPTE Local 21 and the MEA which represents city bosses wants to pack the SFERS board with police and firemen who want more hedge fund purchases
Tuesday, 6:30pm, SPOKESCOUNCIL MEETING FOR MLK WEEK OF ACTION
4799 Shattuck Ave.
Tuesday Dec 27th, 6:30pm orientation, 7pm meeting,
This year, Oakland’s Anti Police-Terror Project is calling on our Bay Area community to up the resistance level, as we reclaim the radical legacy of Martin Luther King and resist the fascist Trump agenda. This year the Reclaiming King’s Radical Legacy March on Monday (1/16) will launch 120 hours of direct action, culminating on #HellNawGuration Day (1/20). This year we are focused on immigrant rights, protection of our Muslim brothers and sisters, womens reproductive rights, loving our LGBTQ sisters, brothers and siblings, and the defense of Black life.