Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Price of Complacency

The Price of Complacency

by Coast Watcher

The British National Health Service (NHS) is rightly regarded as one of the jewels in the crown of public life. British people cherish their NHS service and will go to great lengths to avoid using it "unnecessarily." People have been known to take taxis to hospital when they are perfectly justified in using an ambulance, because they don’t want to "tie up an ambulance when somebody else could use it."

Founded in 1948, the NHS is administered by the government but is owned by the British people. It has provided healthcare for millions—yet its fate now hangs in the balance. The very government which is supposed to look after it on behalf of the nation is busily selling it off by stealth.

Yes. Much like the Republican Party of the United States, the Conservative (Tory) Party of Great Britain has never encountered a public asset it doesn’t want to sell off for private profit.

As someone with experience of healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic I can safely say the NHS is by far and away the better of the two. The first question asked in a British NHS hospital or doctor’s surgery (office) is "Where does it hurt?" and not "How are you paying for this?" There are waiting lists for procedures, but the patients will be treated, unlike the US, where they may be treated—if their insurance company gives the go-ahead.

In Britain ambulance journeys are free. Consultations are free. Decisions as to which treatment should be administered are entirely up to the medical professionals—not a death committee of insurance salespeople. Patients are not charged—let alone astronomical prices—for a single aspirin and boxes of Kleenex. Nobody in the UK goes bankrupt from medical treatment, unlike the US where 60% of all bankruptcies are due to unforeseen healthcare costs.

My elderly parents recently required the NHS to step up for them when my mother became ill with Alzheimer’s Disease. Carers were provided for her three times a day, every day, allowing my father to take a break. A special hospital bed was provided for her comfort and to make helping her easier for my father and the carers. Regular doctor’s visits took place throughout the course of my mother’s illness right to the end. And none of it cost my parents a penny.

Yet all this is slowly, subtly changing as the Tory government poison works its way through the British public healthcare system. There is even a small minority who advocate privatization of the NHS, presumably because they’ve been indoctrinated to think this way or stand to benefit from such an arrangement.

A friend of mine is an anesthetist at a university hospital in Britain. I was aware of his growing frustration at the insidious attack on the service so many Britons hold dear, so I wasn’t surprised when he wrote the following letter after witnessing a BBC attempt to whitewash the growing privatization of the NHS. His letter is as follows:

Dear Nikki Fox (BBC reporter),

I have just watched your feature on the above subject and have to tell you that you failed entirely to focus on the real cause of the massive increase in the NHS waiting times.

The NHS has been systematically underfunded for decades which has left it not only totally unable to deal with a pandemic but in a poor position to give patients the treatment they so desperately need.

While I realise that you have to edit such a feature, to have a Conservative MP say to viewers they have the right to choose their treatment but you did not mention that the voting record of Richard Bacon MP would show you that he has consistently voted against funding the NHS adequately, supported not paying its staff a proper and decent wage for what they do and promoted the government in its privatisation of the NHS.

To have this man, who has voted in such a way, to say it is people's choice in how they get their healthcare is galling considering that it is people like him that has forced members of the public to have to spend their pension and savings to get the treatment that they have already paid their National Insurance and should already expect such treatment.

The lack of funds to the NHS is not only due to inadequate funding but the stealth privatisation of the NHS by successive Conservative Governments has led to private companies making profit from patients suffering and ill health, money which could be better spent on treating patients in the first place.

Consistent poor pay rises, usually under that present rate of inflation, has led to not only some nurses needing to go to food banks, (the growth in the number of and use of food banks is another symptom of consistent Conservative Governments), but nurses and health professionals have left the NHS which has left the health service chronically understaffed and struggling even more to match the demands placed upon it.

The termination of the NHS bursary has also seriously affected recruitment in the NHS and the contract forced on junior doctors just increases the numbers leaving the country to practice in other countries.

Further to this the massive student debt incurred by nurses during their university education leaves them saddled with debt for decades and is not an incentive to enter the profession.

I would like to ask you, Nikki, directly why you do not cover any of these subjects in your features?

I have watched the John Pilger documentary The Dirty War on the NHS Why don't you cover the issues in that?

Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive has a long history working for massive private healthcare companies, as do many other people in the higher echelons of the NHS. Why do you not voice concerns about this?

NHS GP practices have been quietly sold to a private health care company, 37 NHS GP practices have been sold to a private US health company (Centene) yet little is mentioned of this in the BBC news. Could you report on this please?

I find that the BBC news frequently bashes the NHS but never actually explains the real causes of what is happening in the NHS.

I have not touched on:

The Naylor Report and its effects on the NHS, lack of PPE at the start of the pandemic, the investigation before the pandemic which showed the NHS had inadequate PPE to deal with a pandemic, the many examples of cronyism where the Conservative government gave untendered contracts to individuals and companies which have close contacts with the Conservative party, including having made donations to the party, refusing to increase NHS salaries after real terms pay cuts for a decade, the hypocrisy of clapping for the NHS during the pandemic and refusing proper investment and salary increase, the lack of attendance of the Prime Minister at the initial COBRA meeting, (while he "holidayed" at his residence at Checkers), spending massive amounts of money on an unnecessary refurbishment of the Downing Street press room and 10 Downing Street itself when NHS staff are struggling with debt and visiting food banks, the protection of Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules when the population of this country were suffering the loss of loved ones and abiding by the lockdown rules, ignoring any comparisons to death rates in other countries where despite a denser population their death rates have been far lower than ours, and reporting on the consistent lying of the Prime Minister during his time in Parliament.

I look forward to your reply about these points. The BBC is no longer viewed as impartial in its reporting of the actions of the government, and since the new chief executive of the BBC has close links to the Conservative Party, I do not see it improving.

I do not expect you to read this e mail out in future episodes of Look East however I would appreciate an answer as to why you do not report on such subjects and give them the attention they deserve. After all it is your taxes and the healthcare of you and your relatives that we are talking about. We will all need the help of the NHS during our lives, and this Conservative government is gradually taking it away from us while making profit from its demise for themselves, donors and colleagues.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen T.

"I am tired of the abysmal reporting of the BBC news concerning the NHS and really have had enough of listening to such misleading half truths and right wing bias. I doubt they will even bother to answer." --Stephen

Sobering, even sickening reading. The NHS, a much-loved institution is under direct threat from the very government that is supposed to administer it on behalf of the public.

Healthcare services the world over are under incredible strain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet publicly-owned healthcare services have shown time and again they are far superior to private systems such as that of the United States. 

The people of Britain are in imminent danger of losing their precious public asset because of typical Tory greed and insensitivity. After generations of agitating for a National Health Service, the British people got one in 1948. Please, people of Britain, do not let this wonderful service fall to pieces through your complacency. Stand up and demand the Tory government rescind all privatization measures and restore the service to what it should and must be.

BIO: Coast Watcher hasn't forgotten his fellow countrymen in the UK. He can see what the Tories are up to with their privatization schemes, and he knows how Big Pharma and the for-profit Health Insurance Industry works from his time in the US. His advice: Keep your eyes open. If there's some way for a corporation to make a profit at the public's expense, expect shenanigans. Fight complacency.



A taste of justice. Justice served on Derek Chauvin. Guilty on all three counts. Bail revoked. It was a quick verdict. Yet it is so rare that police officers are convicted -- one in 2,000 over the last 15 years for killings by police. It doesn’t bring George Floyd back. But, hopefully, it will give pause to some police who think they can kill with impunity. Six white jurors, six people of color, united on what they saw in those nine minutes of horrifying video. 
If it wasn't for the video, made by an outraged bystander, Chauvin would not be behind bars now. But not for Breonna Taylor, not for Tamir Rice, not for Rodney King, and not for the more than 135 unarmed Black people killed at the hands of police — 75 percent of them white — over the past five years.

Days before the verdict came down, police shot Daunte Wright in his car outside of Minneapolis. Hours before the verdict, police shot 16-year old Makiah Bryant in Columbus. Painful reminders that one conviction can never undo systemic racism or transform policing.

For millions of Americans, this trial put a spotlight on the terror that many people of color feel when a cop car cruises by them while walking. Or when red lights flash behind them while driving.
“Could this be it for me?

We're confronting racist policing, militarized forces in our communities, mass incarceration, and a massive racial wealth divide that has existed since slavery. Both corporate parties are responsible. Biden is arming police with more military weaponry than Trump did. States are passing anti-protest laws and building walls around government buildings. Pelosi responded to the verdict by thanking George Floyd for his sacrifice. He didn't choose to die. He was murdered.
The close-knit activist community in Minnesota can take pride in putting pressure on public officials to prosecute the case in a visible manner, giving them months to research and build their unequivocal case. 

Chauvin was convicted, but the biggest culprit is the system that produced him. We must demand a complete overhaul of our police departments and the academies that train them. We must divert funds from policing and military hardware toward services rooted in the community, like better schools, mental health, housing for all, and community policing. We must end the militarization of police and mass incarceration. 

A just verdict. But far from justice.

In Solidarity,

Nick Brana
National Coordinator
People's Party




The verdict is in: Derek Chauvin is guilty on all charges. We hold George Floyd’s family in our hearts and minds as they wade through the inescapable and seemingly insurmountable challenges this trial has presented. Although Chauvin has been convicted of murder, nothing will bring back George Floyd.

For weeks, we watched Chauvin’s defense lie, victim-blame, and rely on anti-Black tropes — doing everything possible to blame George Floyd for his own murder. It took over 40 witnesses and two weeks of testimony for a jury to prove what we all saw with our own eyes.

We also know that one conviction doesn't end violent policing or keep Black people safe. That's why Color Of Change immediately demanded a Dept. of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department and other police forces that threaten Black lives. Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.1

We're encouraged by this action, but we know that Minneapolis is not alone. The state-sanctioned murder of Black people by police must end. This is a national crisis, and we have to keep fighting to dismantle systems of oppression that threaten Black lives.

That’s why we’re demanding more. It’s time for an investigation into police forces that threaten the lives of Black people across the country. Because the issue of police violence is MUCH deeper than Derek Chauvin or one police department — it’s systemic.

The Justice Department has the power to investigate police departments across the country for civil rights violations and to examine their pattern and practice of inappropriate use of force, particularly targeting Black people. This is an important step forward to win structural change and defend Black lives.

The dept. of justice must investigate now

President Biden has already promised to address the “unbearable human costs of systemic racism,” and to rebuild the Department of Justice with a greater emphasis on racial justice and civil rights. Let’s make one thing clear: That vision must include investigations into systemic racism in policing, and court-monitored consent decrees to end anti-Black violence inflicted by local police departments in Minneapolis and across the country.

The fight for accountability starts with dismantling an entire police system that fails to keep Black people safe. We’re not safe to walk down the street, sit at a traffic stop, sleep in our own beds, go for a jog, or even ride a bike without fear that it might lead to a deadly police encounter. Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict will not change these material conditions for Black folks.

Join us as we make sure President Biden keeps his promise to Black voters by using the power of his administration to defend Black lives — in Minneapolis, in Toledo, and across the country.

Add your name now to call on the Biden DOJ to immediately investigate police departments across the country and demand safety for Black people.

We shouldn’t have to wait for the next tragedy for policymakers to enact tangible reforms. Since the Chauvin trial began on March 29, police in the U.S. have killed more than 3 people every single day. Police in Columbus, OH murdered a young Black girl named Ma'Khia Bryant just minutes after the Chauvin verdict was announced.2 That’s unacceptable. We can’t afford to sit silently while people in our communities are dying.

We need your help calling on the Biden administration to act NOW by initiating an investigation into racist police departments across the country.

Add your name: Demand a DOJ investigation of police departments in Columbus, Rochester NY, Louisville, and everywhere Black lives are threatened by militarized police departments.

Until Justice Is Real,

Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Megan, Ernie, Ariel, Madison, Ana, McKayla, Trevor, Palika, and the rest of the Color of Change team


  1. "Justice Department launches investigation into Minneapolis policing practices." NBC News. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/301756?t=7&akid=50586%2E3399430%2EsVXi_l
  2. "Throughout Trial Over George Floyd’s Death, Killings by Police Mount." NY Times. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/301233?t=9&akid=50586%2E3399430%2EsVXi_l


From Public Citizen:

I think it’s important to remember the initial statement by Minneapolis police after one of them killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

For starters, the statement is titled, absurdly, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.”

Then there’s this line:

“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

The gruesome death of George Floyd — as a police officer murdered him in broad daylight over a span of more than nine minutes — is reduced to “and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

If not for local residents who bravely stopped and took the cellphone video now seen by the entire world, that official police statement may well have been the final word on the murder of George Floyd by former, and now convicted, police officer Derek Chauvin.

Policing in America is broken — from rampant racial profiling to hyper-militarization to the fact that law enforcement has already killed 319 people this year. (We’re only 111 days into 2021, so that’s almost three police killings a day.)

Tell Congress:

It is long past time for comprehensive, structural changes to the way policing is conceived and carried out in America. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would take significant steps to combat misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in law enforcement. Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Now.

Add your name.

Thanks for taking action.

For justice,

- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021




How many Humvees and Tasers does an average police department need? How much pepper spray and teargas? If you have a reputation for killing persons of color, it seems you can never have too many army cast-offs or spend too much of your city's budget on obtaining weapons of war to use against your civilian population, in groups or individually.

How much is a child's life worth? If you're twelve-year-old Tamir Rice or thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo, not much. It's not even worth very much if you're sixteen or seventeen or twenty, especially if there's some money to be made in it for private prisons or immigrant detention centers.

Let's not deny the facts any longer. In a capitalist society neither children nor adults of color nor the poor and homeless of any color or gender identity are seen as having much worth in the eyes of those in power. Those of lesser worth  are seen as disposable commodities to the wealthy elites, things to be used and abused and then thrown in a landfill (grave) or cage (prison) at will.

Since testimony began in the Derek Chauvin trial on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of police nationwide. Black and Brown people represent more than half of those killed. With the re-opening of  public spaces as the world is declared "post-Covid," we should only expect more deaths by cops.

According to Marjorie Cohn:

 On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States, for which I am serving as a rapporteur, will release its report with findings of fact and recommendations addressed to national and international policy makers. The commission is examining whether police violence against Black people in the U.S. constitutes a gross violation of international human rights and fundamental freedoms. Testimony was presented to the commission by family members and attorneys about police killings of 43 Black people and the paralyzing of another, all of whom were unarmed or were not threatening the officers or others. --The Supreme Court Is Also To Blame For Daunte Wright's Death

So, it's not just Chauvin and his ilk who are at fault. We can't just lay the blame on "a couple of bad apples." Our human rights are being deliberately abridged. The corrupt system that runs our country is to blame for perpetuating this overtly military-style response against its own people.

You aren't seeing things. US policing budgets in total are greater than budgets for the Indian and Russian Armies. Take that Russiagaters! Why should anyone obsess over one poor country like Russia so much  when it can't even afford to spend for its actual army as much as we do on just our police?

Could conspiracies like Russiagate be just another way to deflect attention away from things that really matter? A method of keeping the public from dwelling on the number of deaths caused by the police and the fact that kids are still being held in cages along our border with Mexico?

So, why is the US police force the third wealthiest "army" on the entire planet? (We already have the world's largest conventional army by far.) The answer is clear: we're at war with our own citizens. People of color are being used for target practice, and all citizens are being forced to pay ever more taxes to cover up police malpractice, that is, police brutality.

When we say "demilitarize the police" it means it's time to take away their military-grade weaponry that is being used against civilians who are exercising their freedom of speech and right to assemble. When we say "defund the police" it's backed up by the above memes which demonstrate just how much money our government pumps into what is  one of the best customers of
the Military-Industrial Complex, your local police department.

"Demonetize the children" should be self-explanatory. Any cop killing anyone's child--including an adult child--should be charged with murder. Private prisons and detention centers should be closed because no one should be making billions of dollars off the suffering of others, particularly struggling drug addicts and refugees fleeing violence.  Compassion not cages should always be our goal.

Until we see money taken away from police departments, away from the Military-Industrial Complex, and away from the pockets of the for-profit prison/detention center industry, we will only see more innocents shot by the police, more protests, and more arrests to fill the prisons. 

There's really only one answer to this genocidal mess. Replace cops with social workers to answer calls dealing with people in mental/emotional crises. Take the guns off those who walk a beat much like the British bobbies who don't carry weapons. More empathy, more training, more psychological testing of police recruits. Zero hiring of white supremacists, zero military equipment, zero lethal force allowed.

Abolish the police and replace them with what we need, not what the gun manufacturers want.  And stop putting a price tag on human life.

Related Articles:







Live Video from the Daunte Wright protests: https://www.facebook.com/watch/unicornriot.ninja/  and  http://Twitch.tv/statuscoup

Found on Facebook:

"I need to drive my two-year-old to daycare tomorrow morning. To ensure we arrive alive, we won't take public transit (Oscar Grant). I removed all air fresheners from the vehicle and double-checked my registration status (Daunte Wright), and ensured my license plates were visible (Lt. Caron Nazario). I will be careful to follow all traffic rules (Philando Castille), signal every turn (Sandra Bland), keep the radio volume low (Jordan Davis), and won't stop at a fast food chain for a meal (Rayshard Brooks). I'm too afraid to pray (Rev. Clementa C. Pickney) so I just hope the car won't break down (Corey Jones). 
When my wife picks him up at the end of the day, I'll remind her not to dance (Elijah McClain), stop to play in a park (Tamir Rice), patronize the local convenience store for snacks (Trayvon Martin), or walk around the neighborhood (Mike Brown). Once they are home, we won't stand in our backyard (Stephon Clark), eat ice cream on the couch (Botham Jean), or play any video games (Atatiana Jefferson). 
After my wife and I tuck him into bed around 7:30pm, neither of us will leave the house to go to Walmart (John Crawford) or to the gym (Tshyrand Oates) or on a jog (Ahmaud Arbery). We won't even walk to see the birds (Christian Cooper). We'll just sit and try not to breathe (George Floyd) and not to sleep (Breonna Taylor)." 
These are things white people simply do not have to think about.
--- Author unknown



Common Defense

My name is Kyle Bibby and I served in the Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer for over six years. As a Black man who earned the uniform and served this country, I, along with many other Black veterans, am growing concerned with the military equipment being utilized by police departments across the country. 

Increasingly, the training, equipment, and ultimately philosophy of policing in the United States are being modeled to approach American civilians as threats. Police departments receive militarized vests, armored vehicles, weaponry, and training that they end up deploying against civilians in the streets — especially Black and brown civilians.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed a consistent and utterly unacceptable deployment of force by uniformed police, and a culture of violence that seeks to dominate communities rather than serve and heal them. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we can’t continue this war in our streets.

Yet, the trend of the military giving police combat gear is getting worse, not better — the police are on track to get more military hardware in 2021 than they did in 2020. Congress needs to act.

We must all come together as veterans and civilian supporters to condemn the use of war force in our streets. Sign this petition today to DEMAND that Congress pressure the Biden Administration and the Department of Defense to stop giving police combat gear.

Add your name »

I became a Marine in 2007, but I'll be Black my entire life, treated differently in and out of my uniform.

I know that any interaction with police could all too easily lead to detention, injury, or death. The police don’t care that I’ve gone to war to protect this country — I could be the next George Floyd, or Daunte Wright, solely due to the color of my skin.

While many are saying that our system is broken, I have to disagree. Our system is working the way it was designed — to oppress and disenfranchise the Black community while disguising it as “law and order”. The rot is to the core and to the roots.

Simple reform isn’t enough: We must dismantle the system brick by brick and push for transformative change together by standing strong and not allowing our justice system to stay the same any longer.

Unleashing the military on the people is not the solution and will not stop protests, it will only create more pain and death in our streets. Join us today by signing this petition to DEMAND that Congress and the Biden Administration end the flow of military weapons and training to our police.

Add your name »

We have the momentum to make real, lasting change — now we need your help to mobilize and organize passionate people ready to make a difference.

In solidarity,

Kyle Bibby
U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Afghanistan
Common Defense



The Movement for Black Lives and our supporters support the family and community of Daunte Wright who had his life ripped from him by former police officer Kim Potter. Daunte was a beloved son, brother and father to a two-year-old. We’re grieving alongside his family and community, and will continue fighting to defund the police in the pursuit of justice and Black liberation.

A police officer murdered Daunte just miles from where another officer murdered George Floyd last year. As Black people in Minnesota and across the country have been forced to relive George Floyd’s murder during the ongoing trial of his murderer, Derek Chauvin, the murder of Daunte Wright is a harsh reminder of the daily threat the police pose to Black lives, while police departments continue to be rewarded with outsized budgets and impunity.

Police killed 121 people in traffic stops in 2020, and Black people are pulled over at disproportionate rates with deadly consequences — Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and now Daunte Wright. A traffic stop should never be a death sentence. There is no excuse for the continued murders and terror inflicted by police.

As the Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, and broader Minnesota communities grieve, a militarized police force continues to perpetrate tremendous harm on a community in mourning, with police officers recklessly shooting tear gas at protestors and arresting and jailing people at protests for extended periods of time in an intentional effort to further terrorize and silence our communities.  

Charging Kim Potter is not enough to create real accountability for police or real safety for these communities. Ultimately only defunding and abolishing the police will stop this terror and bring about real safety. There is no ‘reforming’ this system—the time is now to divest from deadly policing and invest in a vision of public safety that protects us all.

We’re calling for all those who stand in defense of Black lives to support Black-led organizations in Minneapolis and across Minnesota as they continue to support and mobilize their communities in this moment. If you’re able, send donations to:

The Movement for Black Lives will continue to carry Daunte with us as we fight for the justice that Black people and communities deserve.

In Power,

The Movement for Black Lives



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Protecting Our Right To Protest



If you think billionaires and massive corporations aren't the problem, think again...

Protecting Our Right To Protest

by C. A. Matthews

Just when you think you can't fall down the rabbit hole into Alice's Wonderland any farther, your elected officials will come up with legislation to abridge your rights to protest and free speech.

I'm not kidding.

Who could joke about something so offensive and so entirely undemocratic? Who could come up with a law that would make even chalking a protest message on a sidewalk a felony? Who could come up with a way to make it legal for the cops to shoot unarmed protesters if they feel the least bit "threatened"?

Our elected officials can--and they have!

Ohio isn't the only state to introduce anti-protesting legislation, but it's the one I'm most familiar with. There are several bills currently in the Ohio legislature that focus on curtailing or restricting protesting and free speech. They are Senate Bills 33, 16 and 41 as well as House Bills 22 and 109. I recently encountered some protesters in Toledo who were speaking out (while we still can) about protecting our rights to protest. Here's my impression of where they were coming from and how it differs from my take.

Most of my fellow anti-protesting protesters (you go crazy just saying that!) weren't happy about their elected representatives supporting these measures, but they felt sure one thing could turn all of these bills around. And what one thing is that? Why, voting these naughty politicians out of office. 

The only reason these politcos created these anti-protesting bills in the first place, according to one of my fellow protesters, is because they belong to the Republican Party. It's that simple. To be a Republican is to be anti-free speech and against embarrassing protests, in his opinion. As soon as "good Democrats" can be put into office and take over these wayward politicians' seats, all threats to our rights to protest and free speech will simply evaporate like a light rain on a hot summer's day.

I wish I could be so optimistic.

Alas, I doubt that turning around the overwhelmingly Republican Ohio House and Senate will automatically kill these anti-protest bills. I wish it could be that simple. But it isn't.

Why isn't it? You only have to look at who or what is behind these pieces of legislation to see why they won't simply "go away" when all the bad, evil, wicked GOPers are voted out of office and replaced with the only other "recognized establishment party" (the Democrats) in the Buckeye State. (That's a whole other blog piece in the making. Ohio's current political establishment hates alternative parties so much that it makes it almost impossible for third parties to keep their "recognized" status from election to election.)

The real money and impetus behind Ohio's anti-protesting measures isn't because Republicans hate free speech. It's because the fossil fuel industry hates free speech and bad publicity more. Big Oil is terrified of protesters shouting, "People over pipelines!" over each and every mile of pipe they bury into our soil. The fracking industry doesn't care much for the bad press they get whenever one of their wells or collection ponds leak. Somehow, Ohioans are supposed to drink petroleum-laden well or river or lake water and like it and live happily ever after.

Uh-huh. Yeah, like who's really fallen down the rabbit hole here?

Big Agriculture plays a part in all this shutting down of free speech, too. But I suspect you already know something about that if you've followed this blog's coverage of the first Rights of Nature Law passed in the United States, The Lake Erie Bill of Rights.

Since both establishment parties--the Republicans and the Democrats--have been well-awarded by Big Oil, Big Ag,  and their lobbyist friends over the years, the chances that a flip in the Ohio House and Senate to a majority Democratic Party leadership would make any difference to how these new laws would be passed and enforced is slim to none.  Money talks--and politicians whose hungry campaign coffers love a big helping of Big Oil dollars aren't going to tell the fossil fuel industry to shut up and go away.

So we will have to do it.

Calling all activists! This spring and summer our voices must be heard and our signs and bodies must be seen before it is too late. And start raising your bail money now. Anti-protest laws mean more arrests. That's the purpose of them. But we have something Big Oil doesn't have--sheer numbers. They can't lock all of us away, all at the same time, can they?

Related Articles:

Ohio Passes Fossil Fuel-Backed Anti-Protest Legislation. https://drillednews.com/ohio-passes-fossil-fuel-backed-anti-protest-legislation/

Protecting the Right To Protest (video)  https://www.wtol.com/video/news/local/protecting-the-right-to-protest-toledo-church-holds-rally-against-proposed-anti-protest-legislation/512-266dcda9-5e4e-4fdd-81db-837610b8093e

Lawmakers, Activists Speak At Cleveland Protest Condemning Anti-Protest Bills in Ohio https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/lawmakers-activists-speak-at-cleveland-protest-condemning-anti-protest-bills-in-ohio/ar-BB1fvDhu

Stop Ohio Anti-Protest Bills https://www.facebook.com/takeactionforoh

Ohio Hearing Proposed Anti-Protest Law Draws Loud Protest https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/30/ohio-hearing-proposed-anti-protest-law-draws-loud-protest 

House Bill Would Impose Harsh New Penalties on Protesters and Their Organizations https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2020/11/16/house-bill-would-impose-harsh-new-penalties-on-protesters-and-their-organizations/

Our elected representatives in Washington DC are also trying to abridge our right to free speech. Watch this interview with a person who was intimidated by the police for a response to a tweet he posted--not his actual tweet (which wasn't threatening) but another person's response to it that was. He was questioned and scared essentially because the tweet wasn't exactly flattering to a certain Congressmember's recent performance. If your elected officials can't be held accountable and take responsibility for their actions, then are you really living in a democracy?



From Friends of the Earth:

Plastic is accumulating on our beaches and in our oceans. There could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. Take action now.

Corporations love plastic. Thanks to the fracking boom, it’s cheap for the fossil fuel industry to create. So oil and gas companies are pushing plastic consumption -- including the widespread use of one-use plastics -- to line their pockets.

But the plastic waste problem has become massive: in the United States 91% of plastic ends up being thrown away, never recycled. Some of it ultimately ends up in our oceans, where it harms or kills marine wildlife.

Call on Congress to protect our planet by supporting the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. 

Demand Congress address the plastic crisis before it overruns our planet.

Sign Now

Plastic pollution kills over a million marine creatures annually, including turtles, dolphins, whales, and sea birds. And plastics don’t disappear. They just break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they become microplastics. 

But plastic also impacts humans. On average, people ingest the equivalent of a credit card each week. That’s right -- if you’re an average person, you are likely consuming an average of 5 grams of plastic per week. Microplastics can be found in everyday foods and drinks -- like beer, salt, shellfish and even drinking water!  

Tell Congress you do not want to be exposed to more plastic in your food and water. Stop plastic polluters.

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Plastic production also worsens the climate crisis. More than 99% of plastic is created from fossil fuels. The emissions from creating plastic could soon reach the equivalent of 300 coal-fired power plants.

Finally, our country is one of the worst plastic offenders, which is why Congress needs to take action. The United States produces the most plastic waste per capita of any country -- then ships a large portion abroad to countries that are already struggling to maintain their own waste effectively.

Plastic is polluting our entire planet, from the beaches to the deepest depths of our oceans. Congress must address this crisis and stop Big Polluters from destroying our health, land, air, and sea.

Demand the United States break free from plastic and stop the pollution at its source!

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Standing with you,

Michelle Chan,
VP of programs,
Friends of the Earth


Common Defense

We're rapidly approaching the May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and President Biden still has not proposed a plan to fulfill his campaign promise.

War hawks in the foreign policy establishment are trying to dominate media coverage and claim nobody cares about ending the Forever War in an attempt to force President Biden to continue it.

But we have news for them — we care. There is an overwhelming consensus among veterans and civilian supporters that we must end the Forever War.

That's why Common Defense is calling on supporters across the country to write Letters to the Editor to hold President Biden accountable and show the media there is a grassroots movement calling for an end to the Forever War.

If you agree that we need to end the Forever War, will you write a Letter to the Editor using this tool that will send it directly to the newspapers closest to your home? It’ll just take 2 minutes. We’ve even included sample language you can use!

Write a Letter to the Editor »


The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for nearly 20 years, and it is time to do the right thing and end what veterans call the "Forever War." An entire generation has never known a country at peace, and this conflict has cost a trillion dollars and countless lives.

Pres. Biden has the chance to right this wrong. This conflict must end now, as he promised many times during his campaign. Our continued presence in Afghanistan is not making America safer. In fact, prolonging these conflicts is making us a target and putting our troops in harm's way unnecessarily. It's well past time, please, Mr. President, bring our troops home now.

Military withdrawal from Afghanistan will give our diplomats a chance to do the hard work of building a peace agreement, rather than continuing with a failed military strategy that cannot accomplish anything further, and which the "Afghanistan Papers" published by the Washington Post reveal top generals themselves do not even believe in.

America's veterans and military members deserve to have a government which advocates for them. We're counting on you to do the right thing.

Write a Letter to the Editor »

Writing a Letter to the Editor can have a real impact, especially if you include any applicable information about your military service or name your Representatives in Congress. Believe me, elected officials read these!

If we can get dozens of veterans to sign on, we can take a crucial step to defending our democracy. But we need your help.

Write a Letter to the Editor today — it only takes a few minutes — and send a message that we need to end the Forever War.

In Solidarity,

Alex McCoy
U.S. Marine Corps
Team Common Defense


 From CPDA:

 This week, we learned what happens after a multi-billion dollar company like Amazon spends a year intimidating, punishing, and suppressing workers in Bessemer, Alabama who were working to form a union to push back on unfair working conditions.


While this was not the result that we were hoping for, we are proud of the bravery and tremendous success the workers had in standing up to one the biggest corporations in the world, telling their story on the global stage, and demanding that they be treated with dignity and respect. 


Congress needs to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to make sure worker voices cannot be silenced. Unions are one of best ways to ensure fair working conditions and equity. And we need to break up these corporations through stronger antitrust laws that give the tools that regulators need to ensure that no corporation can make billions of dollars by profiting from the suffering of workers and the destruction of small businesses. 

If people keep organizing and coming together like the people of Bessemer, we will break Amazon’s stranglehold on our democracy. Sign the petition now to break up Amazon and other Big Tech giants like Google and Facebook!

This is only the beginning. Workers and communities have been standing up to Amazon's greed and abuses for years and we will soon see a time where those efforts will result in the power that workers need to break up Amazon's grip on our economy.


We need to remember that what’s happening in Bessemer is a result of Amazon’s unchecked corporate power and what corporations have done for decades to diminish the power of labor law so that they can get the most profit out of us as possible. 


Workers cannot be the only ones that carry the burden of these abuses. Add your name to demand meaningful antitrust reform that will break up Amazon and rein in its power!


In solidarity,

Ana Maria Archila

Co-Executive Director, CPDA