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The QueQue

The QueQue: Occupy San Anto! (sort of), Tar sands = human rights?, Castro redirects VIA streetcar plan

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Occupy San Anto! (sort of)

Taking a cue from the ambitious, ongoing protest in New York City aimed at shaking the foundations of the corporatocracy, a group of local activists have been gearing up for the past week hoping to catch a fire in San Antonio. Occupation? We’re getting there. After nearly a week of planning, kicked-off with a packed meeting at Southwest Workers Union headquarters last week, organizers with Occupy San Antonio are planning for a rally Thursday in Travis Park, with defined hours between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. In a statement this week, the group said, “Although this meeting is a rally against corporate and governmental corruption, it will be a celebration for people to appreciate the gift of human life, share the love that we all feel for those around us, and raise awareness that there is hope for a better tomorrow.”


Tar sands = human rights?

The proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to pump Canadian tar-sands crude down to Houston-area refineries represents a no-brainer for lovers of freedom everywhere. So said Perry-appointed Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman who popped into a public hearing on the project in Austin last week, promptly skipping a long line of folks waiting a chance to speak to offer a glowing endorsement. Naming a select few OPEC countries (the scary ones like Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia), Smitherman concluded: “If you believe in democracy and human rights and freedom, you will take whatever necessary step we can to facilitate the development of this project.”

And while supporters of the TransCanada line claim its construction will pump sorely needed jobs and cash into local economies along the route, a blunt report out of Cornell University last week challenges the assertions, reporting that TransCanada’s job figures are inflated and unsubstantiated, while also hammering energy-security claims, saying Keystone XL is “driven by global interest” and primed for the export market. “Clearly, Tar Sands oil and energy independence do not really belong in the same sentence,” the report states. Some landowners joined a protest outside the State Department’s hearing, angered by TransCanada’s use of eminent domain. Tea Party favorite Debra Medina even helped lead the protest, saying, “Imminent domain is the club that is used to beat private property owners into submission.”

Julia Trigg Crawford of Lamar County was questioned the company’s own archaeological assessment approving a 30-acre stretch of her property for use — a site, she claims, is rich with indigenous artifacts. Crawford commissioned a subsequent test that dug up stone tools and ceramics, items she’s now having tested to confirm their origins. “Needless to say, we are very glad we took a second look.”

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