Action Alert: Oppose exemption for corporate hog farming

From BOLD Nebraska:

Our tradition of family farming in Nebraska is under attack right now. A bill (LB 176) that could come up for a vote any day now in the Nebraska Legislature would allow meatpackers — like the Chinese-owned meatpacking company Smithfield — to own pork in Nebraska. This would put family farmers out of business.

If the meatpackers own our livestock, corporate-raised pork will dominate our grocery store shelves. This means less care for the animal, more water pollution, and lower-quality food. LB 176 also gives the vertically-integrated corporate “factory farming” system more economic power over Nebraska’s family farmers.

Read more and sign the online petition.

Two upcoming events with Open Harvest Co-op Grocery in Lincoln

KZUM Donation Day

  • Wednesday, January 27, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • At Open Harvest Co-op Grocery, 1618 South Street, Lincoln.

Did you know KZUM started in Open Harvest’s basement many years ago? On Wednesday, January 27th, we are sending some noise their way by organizing our first ever KZUM Donation Day. It’s really simple: at the end of the day, 5% of the store’s net sales will be donated directly to KZUM. You don’t have to do anything, except stop by Open Harvest and pick up the food that you love. Come shop with us on this special day, and support two long-standing community organizations at the same time. It’s a win-win. Please help spread the word.

Seed Swap

  • Saturday, January 30, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • At 2 Pillars Church, 1430 South Street, Lincoln.

The Open Harvest Co-op Grocery and Community Crops Annual Seed Swap falls on National Seed Swap Day, January 30th. We will be hosting a space for the Lincoln gardening community to bring their seeds saved from last year and swap them. This is a great opportunity to see what everyone has been growing and maybe branch out and try planting something new. Hope to see you there!


Elevating agriculture in the city

From the Lincoln Journal Star and written by Tim Rinne, Nebraskans for Peace State Coordinator:

After all the fine cooking we just feasted on over the holidays, I’m probably not the only one carrying around some unwanted extra pounds. It’s hard to restrain yourself when the food’s right in front of you, smelling and looking heavenly, just crying to be sampled.

And yet, with all these calories having gone straight to my waistline, there’s something about this annual rite of indulgence that more and more leaves me mystified.

How is it we so utterly relish the food but evince such little regard for the farm? (Because you can’t have the one without the other.)

Yet that’s what we do. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I oftentimes stuffed myself so much I felt bloated, but couldn’t have told you where a single one of those calories came from.

We never think about the farm being the source of our food. We city dwellers, pulling up at the drive-thru or pushing our carts down the grocery aisle, are so barricaded from the process of food production that the closest most of us ever get to a farm anymore is driving past one on I-80. We prefer not to think about our grains, vegetables, nuts and fruits having grown in dirt or that our meat came from animals that pee, poop and bleed. We like our food attractively packaged, without any of the actual backstory.

The corn and soybean operations we see outside our car window, though, don’t give an accurate picture of where all that food we eat originates.

Read the full column.

Dr. Jill Stein: People’s State of the Union


The Precarious State of Our Union: A Bipartisan Disaster We Can Fix

From the viewpoint of everyday Americans, the State of our Union, in point of fact, is not strong. In reality, we are in a state of historic crisis – for our economy, ecology, democracy and security.

Thankfully, these crises are still eminently solvable. With a majority of Americans disapproving of both establishment parties, there is unprecedented momentum for a new way forward, based on principles of democracy, justice and peace, towards an America and a world that works for all of us.

Republicans have long been recognized as unabashed servants of the economic elite, leading the charge against the public interest. But they have not been alone.

Democratic priorities were clear when President Obama had two Democratic Houses of Congress to support him, as the party went to bat for trillions in Wall Street bailouts, tax cuts for the rich, job-killing corporate trade agreements, austerity budgets, health care reform that locked single payer out and private profits in, mass deportations of hardworking immigrants, privatization of schools, expanding wars for oil and regime change, climate-killing “all of the above” energy policies, and unprecedented assaults on privacy and press freedoms.

As a result of this bipartisan assault, we have not had a recovery by any measure.

Read the full People’s State of the Union.

TransCanada sues U.S. and files NAFTA claim for KXL rejection

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

TransCanada has filed a lawsuit and a $15 billion NAFTA claim seeking to recover costs and damages in response to President Barack Obama’s rejection of a permit for its Keystone XL pipeline.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Houston and says Obama’s November decision to deny a cross-border permit for the $8 billion pipeline violated his power under the Constitution.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company spent $3.1 billion trying to bring the project to fruition. The $15 billion figure takes into account what it says is the lost value of its investments and its lost economic return.

Read the full story.

War veteran and state senator team up to support medical marijuana bill

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

Ben Marksmeier has shown bravery in a number of ways, including his service in Iraq with the Army National Guard.

This is another way: He has chosen to talk openly about his use of an illegal drug, medical cannabis, to ease the extreme pain he inherited when part of his right leg was blown off and the left one mangled by a roadside bomb that hit his convoy south of Baghdad.

Marksmeier, 30, of Fremont, went with Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue last fall to press conferences and media interviews in several Nebraska towns to help promote the need for Garrett’s bill (LB643).

People of Nebraska need the opportunity to choose, he said. He’d like to have the option to choose cannabis rather than oxycodone or methadone or other powerful, addicting, full-of-chemicals drugs for his pain.

Read the full story.

Jill Stein: Update from the Campaign Trail


Season’s greetings from the campaign trail!  After the whirlwind of the last 2 months, including 7 states and 2 international gatherings, it’s clearer than ever that the peaceful rebellion is gathering steam.

I’ve never seen so many people ready to break free of the corrupt two-party system, and work together to build an independent political movement for people, planet, and peace over profit.

As urgently as we need this movement – it’s also clear that it will only happen if people like you and me make it happen together. We are now on the verge of qualifying for federal matching funds, which will massively increase our campaign’s ability to reach the millions of Americans who are looking for a new political home!

To clarify the historic opportunities ahead, let me share some excitement from the campaign trail.

Read the full state-by-state update at

Lincoln activists head to Paris

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

Two Lincoln climate activists, Kyria Spooner and Matthew Gregory, are part of a wave of humanity that has inundated Paris to show solidarity in calling for diplomats from across the world to reach a meaningful agreement to address climate change.

Negotiations for what could be the globe’s most significant environmental accord are being sponsored by the United Nations. Originally expected to conclude Friday, the Paris talks have been extended to Saturday.

Spooner, a trainer with a software company, and Gregory, the office manager for the Nebraska Farmers Union, shared news of their work by video from Paris with supporters who gathered Thursday afternoon at the Single Barrel in downtown Lincoln.

Read the full story.

McKibben: Paris climate pact is a new tool for activists

From The New York Times:

… That we have any agreement at all, of course, is testament to the mighty movement that activists around the world have built over the last five years. At Copenhagen, world leaders could go home with nothing and pay no price.

That’s no longer true.

But what this means is that we need to build the movement even bigger in the coming years, so that the Paris agreement turns into a floor and not a ceiling for action. We’ll be blocking pipelines, fighting new coal mines, urging divestment from fossil fuels — trying, in short, to keep weakening the mighty industry that still stands in the way of real progress. With every major world leader now on the record saying they at least theoretically support bold action to make the transition to renewable energy, we’ve got a new tool to work with.

And we’ll try to keep hoping that it adds up fast enough to matter.

Read the full op-ed.

People’s Film Festival Dec. 15: ‘Consumerism & the Limits to Imagination’

The People’s Film Festival (now monthly) will be held next Tuesday, Dec. 15th at 7 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 3114 Harney St., Omaha. This month’s film is described below, and as always, there will be an opportunity for discussion after the showing.

The December film will be Consumerism & the Limits to Imagination.

Consumer capitalism dominates our economy, our politics, and our culture, even though a growing body of research suggests it may be well past its sell-by date. In this illustrated presentation based on his latest critically acclaimed book, media scholar Justin Lewis makes a compelling case that consumer capitalism can no longer deliver on its promise of enhancing quality of life, and argues that changing direction will require changing our media system and our cultural environment. After showing how consumer capitalism has become economically and environmentally unsustainable, Lewis explores how our cultural and information industries make it difficult to envision other forms of human progress by limiting critical thinking and keeping us locked in a cycle of consumption. And he argues that change will only be possible if we take culture seriously and transform the very way we organize our media and communications systems.