Tuesday, January 28, 2020

While You Were Being Distracted...

February is Black History Month. This MLK quote tells us what's wrong with our world today.
While you were being distracted by the political street theater in Washington, D.C., several important things were happening in the real world this past week that you should know.

Our wetlands, rivers and streams are in mortal danger along with our entire drinking water supply, for that matter. https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2020/trump-administration-announces-scheme-to-make-americas-waters-burn-again


The Supreme Court allows the Trump administration to deny Green Card holders government aid. (These are legal residents, many married to American citizens.) https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/5-4-ruling-supreme-court-allows-trump-plan-deny-green-n1124056

Freedom of the press is under attack with new developments in the mistreatment of imprisoned journalists Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald (video). https://youtu.be/Doq971L7Rjw

There were worldwide peace protests about possible war with Iran and many more climate strikes.
Trump says he's open to cutting  Social Security and Medicare--and, in fact, he already has (video). https://youtu.be/-iKWJgr4EmI

Children of US troops born overseas while their parents are serving won't automatically become US Citizens. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-us-troops-kids-born-overseas-dont-get-automatic-citizenship-2019-8

The oil and gas/fracking industry has been polluting our soil and ground water for decades with their radioactive wastes, studies recently reveal. https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/60922-americas-radioactive-secret

And, of course, the Queen of Distraction made yet another rude comment about a candidate running for the White House in order to... grab headlines? Because she honestly believes Bernie Sanders shouldn't hang out with the "popular kids" in high school? Who really knows? But her lies distracted you once again from knowing anything about the vital things happening in our world, and that's all that matters to the mainstream media and the establishment. 

Our guest blogger takes a closer look at this latest attempt at distraction made by the Queen so you don't waste your time trying to decipher the madness behind it. Instead, you can concentrate your energies on tackling important problems like saving the planet from endless wars for oil, the coming climate catastrophe, and corporate polluters. 

You do realize that if all life on Earth is nuked by hydrogen bombs or poisoned by chemicals in our water or wiped out through a series of natural disasters and forest fires that it won't make a bit of difference if Trump is found guilty of any paper-pushing crimes or not, don't you? Priorities, people!

The Voice from the Tomb
by Coast Watcher

“Help! I lost and I can’t shut up!” 

That was the text of a popular meme making the rounds of social media not long after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. The target of the meme was, of course, Hillary Rodham Clinton whose nomination for president was decided by the Democratic Party central committee weeks before she’d even declared her candidacy.

Clinton’s incessant cries along the themes of “It’s my turn!” and “Vote for me because I’m a woman!” permeated the whole media spectrum during that long campaign season. Her
Hillbot followers added to the cacophony by insisting that anyone who didn’t vote for Clinton was misogynistic. “Blue no matter who?” Their sense of entitlement is mind-blowing.

Now Clinton’s back, emerging from the crypt like some ghastly Shakespearean

revenant, wailing and gnashing her teeth in fury as she fulminates against front-runner Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton never does anything without reason, and it’s obvious she’s trying to suppress the burgeoning popularity of Senator Sanders whose steady record of saying the same socially-pertinent things for over forty years is finally beginning to penetrate mainstream media and the public consciousness. Such a strong socialist message is, of course, anathema to Clinton and the capitalist philosophy she supports.

Early poll results ahead of the primary season show Sanders has a strong lead in several states. Some counts show him leading by as much as twelve points. Since there’s an ugly rumor making the rounds which claims the DNC will yet again fly in the face of public opinion and select rather than elect the nominees for president and vice-president, Sander’s popularity becomes a matter of concern for the Democratic Party—if it still chooses to appear functionally democratic.

Apparently Joe Biden is the Chosen One this time with Elizabeth Warren as his running mate. Given the seriously messed up nature of the Democrats' politics it’s not entirely beyond the bounds of reason to suppose that Clinton may be substituted for Warren, even though Clinton has not campaigned this electoral season; hence, another reason for her noisy public showing ahead of the primary races. If the DNC’s rumored scheme should indeed be real, it remains to be seen how Bernie Sanders and his followers will react to being denied yet again, especially if the Sanders faction arrives in Milwaukee on July 13 with a sizable majority of the delegates.

Almost certainly it will result in the Democratic Party fragmenting. Few 

voters will trust it again, and third parties will probably benefit from this situation. It’s highly unlikely that the impeached Trump will be convicted by the Senate, but with the opposition in such disarray, he’ll get yet another term of office in which to inflict yet more damage to the lives of ordinary people and the environment both in America and around the world. Some claim Trump will even declare himself "President for Life," although if it does happen—and it’s a big if—it’s likely to spark either an army coup d’etat or a second civil war. And let’s face it: Even if Trump is convicted, it’s practically guaranteed he’ll be pardoned by a shiny new President Pence.

Bernie Sanders isn’t the only target for Clinton’s ire. HRC has claimed that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian plant and a traitor to her country. This outrageous lie is leveled at an honorable Member of Congress and a reserve officer in the United States Army who served two tours in Iraq. Congresswoman Gabbard has responded by launching a lawsuit against Clinton for libel and defamation of character, claiming damages of $50 million. Aside from being a justified lawsuit, Gabbard’s action will likely draw Clinton’s fangs and render any attacks she might launch against Sanders ineffective.

Will a third party—perhaps the Greens—attract and unite the Left in effective
opposition to the world-destroying capitalist state? I sincerely hope so. In any event there will be no place in any Left-leaning party for Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’ll be reduced to a mere shadow, muttering from the whitened sepulcher within which lies the Democratic Party. 


Bio: Coast Watcher doesn't kid himself any when it comes to the Dems' motives. They're not big fans of the democratic-socialist from Vermont and will do whatever it takes to install their corporate puppet as their nominee. The time has come to take corporate cash out of America's  electoral processes and send any candidates who accept lobbyists' bribes straight to the doghouse.

Related Video on Gabbard's lawsuit against HRC:


Tulsi Gabbard for President
In 2016, when I stepped down from my position as Vice Chair of the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton, they threatened it would be the end of my political career.

They said Hillary and her elite and powerful friends will “make sure you are destroyed.”

They failed. Hillary calling me a “Russian asset” is not only intended to smear my reputation and derail my campaign for president, it’s also intended to silence any voice that dares to speak out against the establishment status quo. Your voice.

That’s why today, I sued Hillary Clinton for defamation. Hillary Clinton’s high priced attorneys and friends in high places won’t make it easy, but we cannot let the establishment elite sideline the will of the American people. Will you stand with me today and help me hold Hillary Clinton accountable for her lies?

We tell our kids to walk away from bullies. Ignore them. But what if that bullying behavior is not just about harm to the individuals involved? What if it’s a deliberate attempt to corrupt our democracy? What if its effect is to silence and sideline the will of the American people?

You stand up. You call it out, and then you hold the bully accountable.

Hillary Clinton and her establishment friends are playing high school popularity politics instead of serving the American people.

And when a warmonger responsible for getting us into no-win wars that make our country less safe accuses me — a soldier, a veteran, a sitting member of Congress — of treason, I will defend against it.

Will you take a stand with me?

In solidarity,
From Friends of the Earth:

From the raging bushfires in Australia to the utter destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, climate chaos is devastating communities worldwide. Now, we have just 10 years to take action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and revitalize our planet’s resources.
We cannot afford small steps forward. Just last week, scientists confirmed the last decade was the hottest ever recorded. If we continue with business as usual, it will only get hotter.
The good news: Last year, progressive Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer alongside Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution to declare a climate emergency. The resolution recognizes the scale of this crisis and is an important first step in addressing this unprecedented emergency. But we need your help convincing Congress to take bold action on climate NOW!
Trump’s desire to sell out our environment, wildlife, and communities couldn’t be any clearer. From attempting to rollback clean water standards to gutting Endangered Species Act protections, Trump has shown he’s all in for Big Polluter profits. While Trump is the climate denier-in-chief, the science is with environmentalists like you, C.A..
More than 11,000 leading climate scientists around the world decided that they could no longer stay silent and released a paper calling on the governments of the world to declare a climate emergency. It’s time for the U.S. to catch up.
Our legislators in Congress must acknowledge this crisis and pass a Climate Emergency Resolution! But our Representatives will only act if they feel pressure from constituents like you. Can we count on your support?
Over 1,000 local governments and more than two dozen nations have declared a climate emergency. The United States government should too!
Trump and the Big Polluter cronies he’s placed throughout our government are holding us back from taking climate action. But they aren’t stronger than the groundswell of grassroots support for bold climate action that includes people like you and me!
We must be loud and fast! And we need you with us.
Standing with you,
Karen Orenstein,
Director of climate and energy,
Friends of the Earth Action


Thanks to activists like you, we’ve sent thousands of emails to Congress demanding that they rein in Trump’s warmongering with Iran. Because of you, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s (D-Mich.) war powers resolution — a bipartisan House majority made it clear that it opposes war with Iran.

But we can’t stop now. We need a chorus of voices across the country rising up to say we don’t want war. Write a Letter to the Editor saying #NoWarWithIran using our quick and easy tool.

The American people do not want to be dragged into another decades-long, costly war. The cost of war with Iran could easily cover Medicare for All, universal pre-k, or free college educations. We don't want another bloody and expensive war. We want people and peace to be put first.

We can get this message out through Letters to the Editors (LTEs)! LTEs are a particularly powerful form of activism: they get out ideas that the paper may not have covered, bring new facts to light, and, typically, represent the community’s opinion, meaning that our representatives keep a close eye on them. And LTEs are short and so easy to write! Read our resource on writing an LTE before submitting yours.

Write a Letter to the Editor Now!
Thanks for all you do,
Tristan and the Beyond the Bomb Team

P.S. Did you catch the debate last night? Tensions in Iran took up the first half hour but we need every voice across the nation saying NO to war with Iran and now is the time.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Why Are The Rich So Scared Of Socialism?

Why Are The Rich So Scared Of Socialism?
by C. A. Matthews

Do you remember as a child in school or scouts or some other social situation being taunted? Usually your tormentors chose their word—yes, singular—well. They went to the heart of your deepest, darkest fears and discovered the one thing that haunted you more than anything else in your existence. It could have been “four-eyes” or “fatty” or “freak.” It could have been a combination of those and more, but there was one word that really hit you in the solar plexus of your soul and did the most damage. That was the word your tormentors repeated endlessly until you ran crying from the playground, the meeting hall, or the birthday party.

The Left has one such word. “The S Word.” I shall type it out in its entirety here, fully expecting that I will receive unkind comments and possibly a death threat or two. 

That word is socialism.

There I said it. Let the bullying begin! Oh, no, I’m not going to shame or threaten anyone else with the S Word, but I will explore why members of both the Right and the Left political persuasions tend to have trouble with this word, often using it as a curse or a taunt of last resort.

One such sub-group that spans the spectrum of political identification is the rich. How do I define rich? It includes the infamous “one percent” of the world’s billionaires, but it also includes the majority of persons reading this sentence. If you have a place to hang your hat at night, secure in sleeping and waking up to find yourself in one piece with food in your fridge and possibly your own mode of transport to get you to work (or at least decent access to public transportation), then you qualify under my definition of rich. (Note that rich doesn't imply how one votes, be it Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or otherwise. The rich are simply rich.)

There are many hundreds of millions in the world who don’t even come anywhere close to this definition of having a safe place to sleep. If you qualify as rich, you, my friend, have been blessed.  You're not only blessed with material wealth and security, but also with mental wealth and security. The vast majority of your day doesn’t involve simply surviving—finding a place to sleep tonight or your next meal. You are indeed rich.

Which is why it’s all the more confusing why some of you who practice the religion of Neo-liberalism are terrified of the infamous S Word. You have the “new sport car,” and yet you resent helping your fellow human beings find and maintain a place to live, receive free health care, and  have access to food to fill their empty stomachs. The Cookie meme speaks to this dilemma. You are blessed undoubtedly with material wealth, yet  your neighbor with much less is more than willing to share his cookie with you.  

Sharing the cookie is socialism pure and simple. The world is not a “pie” where the minority rich hogs three-quarters of the pie and all the rest have to divvy up the last thin slice. No, the world is a cookie, and your neighbors freely share what they have, when they have it, so that you and yours do not go without and in hopes that they will receive the same kindness in return one day when they need help.

And that’s where the trouble (and usually the taunting) begins. The rich
who have no fear of starvation or privationseem to not be able to handle the idea that everyone on the planet can be free of the fear of starvation and privation. The rich seem to want—or even demand—that only they can be free of these fears and everyone else must be afraid in order for the rich to feel secure in their material wealth or perhaps just feel good about themselves.

So, why is the idea of everyone being taken care of and receiving enough “cookie” so scary for the rich? Do the rich believe that those currently with less material wealth are mean-spirited and won’t share if the time ever came when the rich needed help? Maybe. Why is that? Could it be because the rich are scared of sharing in the first place? That they believe the myth of artificial scarcity and somehow that when everyone is well fed they're going to go hungry?

Who could have put such a terror of sharing the cookie with others—that is, socialism—in rich persons' hearts? Why do the rich consider sharing with others to be such an unspeakable horror that they shout things like, “You libtards are all socialists!” whenever providing universal health care or ending student debt is mentioned? After all, they would stand to gain from free access to health care and being out of debt, too.

My guess is that this unfounded fear of socialism was taught to many from a young age by those who want to keep humanity at odds with each other for these nefarious individuals’ gain. Only by keeping the world in terror and the materially wealthy and non-wealthy at each others’ throats can these villains prevail.

Who are these villains? I call them Capitalists. 

Capitalists are those who drive the wedge between factions of humanity by causing war and strife and destroying the planet through exploitation of resources and its resulting pollution. Capitalists engage in these nasty activities simply for material profit
—theirs. When the world is in a perpetual chaotic state, when the bombs are dropping and the forests are burning, rich and poor alike, black and white alike, are unable to join forces to stand together and take on their villainy.

If there’s a word we all need to be scared of, we all need to use as a taunt, it’s not socialism. It’s the C Word: capitalism.

It’s time to teach ourselves
that “sharing cookie” is a good thing, that socialism is a good thing, and that capitalism is a disease that needs to be eradicated as soon as possible in order for humankind to survive. No one should ever be afraid of sharing the basic necessities of life with their fellow human beings. 

It's time we heal the wounds capitalism has inflicted upon our world and each other and vow to create a planet where all can thrive at nobody's expense.

Here's a great insight on the terms equality and equity:
Nothing destroys one’s empathy for others more completely than seeing them as “less than.” ... Equality is often understood as everyone getting exactly the same. But because everyone has a different social, economic, or political starting point, simply giving everyone the same thing would not necessarily create the goal of everyone having enough to thrive. Some would still have more than they need, while others would not. When everyone is different, fairness and success also differ. ... Equity means making sure each person has enough to thrive, and that may look different for different people.
Some may cry unfair when others receive more, yet if this “more than” is based on what they need is more than what others may need to thrive, then fairness takes on a more holistic, less shallow definition.
In liberation theology, scholars refer to the deference given to those on the margins as a “preferential option for the oppressed.” It is a choice to center those who are pushed to the edges and undersides of our society, and to place these people and their communities on equal ground with others. The preferential option is required to bring about equality. ...
Equity doesn’t have to feel like inequality if we choose to see our differences and how these differences are treated. Equality doesn’t have to feel like oppression even if you are used to privilege. We are all in this together. What lessens one, lessens us all. We are connected to one another. As the adage goes, equality doesn’t mean less for you: it’s not pie.  [Editor's note: Or a cookie.]
  --Herb Montgomery, When Equality Means Some Are Given More Than Others. (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/socialjesus/2020/01/when-equality-means-some-are-given-more-than-others)

Related Articles:
Keeping Homeless Families Homeless

Economic Update: Answering Our Critics. Economist Richard Wolff explains Socialism and the myths against it. (video) https://youtu.be/k_F36XKS_KU 


From Alliance for Retired Americans  & Union Veterans Council:

We believe it should be easier for veterans and working people to claim the Social Security benefits they’ve earned with every paycheck, not harder. But the Trump administration is trying to rip benefits away from hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities by putting up needless hurdles.

Social Security is best known as a retirement program -- but earned Social Security disability and survivor benefits are just as essential to millions, including 600,000 of our veterans.

This cruel policy does not work. We know because it’s been done before. President Reagan implemented a similar benefit cut back in the 1980s -- and nearly 200,000 Americans with disabilities lost benefits they needed. Massive public outcry eventually caused Reagan to reverse course -- but people were hurt.

The Administration’s proposal requires millions of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries to re-prove their eligibility for benefits as often as every six monthsfar more frequently than is currently the case.

There is no justification for this policy. The United States already has some of the strictest eligibility criteria for disability benefits in the world. More than half of all disability claims are denied already!

We have 15 days to try to stop the Trump administration’s plan. The Social Security Administration is collecting comments on the proposal until January 31.

Thank you for fighting back against attempts to undermine and destroy our Social Security system.

Richard Fiesta                                                      Will Attig
Executive Director                                              Executive Director
Alliance for Retired Americans                     Union Veterans Council,