Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Just Not That Into Politics?

You say you're just not that into politics? Maybe you should be. 
Still Bernin' gives us the score.


So...You Say You're Just Not Into Politics?
by Still Bernin'

 I was a different person three years ago.

Three years ago, I hadn't met Bernie Sanders yet or seen the light of a future to believe in. I can't say my life has improved materially much in the last three years since I "got into politics," but at least I know the why of how things got so screwed up in our country and a little more on what we should be doing to fix things.


Things got messed up big time for America because of the greedy people called the one-percent and their kiss-ups, the corporate-owned politicians of the so-called "two major parties." Four years ago, I wouldn't have known how practically identical the Democratic and Republican Parties are. Now I see them as they really are--as henchmen for the billionaires and wannabe millionaires. 

Neither "party" really cares who wins the White House. That's not their game. All you have to do is look back at the elections featuring Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. They both gave in easily when the actual vote count might have said otherwise. They couldn't be bothered contesting the outcome because they knew they'd receive their reward if they didn't cause a fuss. 

Don't know what I mean? Al and Hill are not hurting for money nowadays, are they? Obviously, they did as they were told by their super-wealthy puppetmasters in the one-percent. And the $400,000 speeches to Wall Street banksters just keep rolling in, and the laws get changed to benefit those very same banksters...

If I hadn't gotten into politics with Bernie, I might have acted like I did four years ago--I might have played into the duopoly's hands and voted for one of their rotten candidates for president. But the 2016 DNC primary demonstrated they're not the people's candidates, and our input isn't wanted or needed. The party bosses pick the candidates, not the people. The bosses just want our money and our volunteer time. Unless we write those big, fat checks for hundreds of thousands we know where were supposed to go in these corporate-owned parties--quietly to the back of the bus.

Three years on in my "awokeness," I know exactly what sort of games these politicos are playing--and I want nothing to do with them. I want to support only progressive candidates who have ordinary Americans' needs and interests at heart.

I've discovered the very active world of third parties since I got into politics. I've found a party that aligns well with my personal beliefs and morality--the Green Party. I have faith that the candidates the Greens sponsor care about everyday folks like us and want to create a cleaner, greener, safer and saner world. I like their Four Pillars of Social Justice, Peace, Democracy and Ecology. 

Added bonus: Greens don't accept corporate cash. They're not into running for office in order to land a gig  later making millions giving speeches to Wall Street banksters--they just want to be "public servants" and actually serve the public. What a refreshing concept!

So, Mr. or Ms. "I'm-Just-Not-That-Into-Politics" this is what I've got to say to you:  You're living in denial if you think you will continue on at the same standard of living for much longer. 

The weather isn't going to "normalize" without drastic change in our lifestyles and energy usage choices and  the massive clean up of our environment. The water isn't going to magically appear in the desert or become cleaner just because you close your eyes and wish it so. You might not have the right to marry to person you love or find a decent public school for your children if you continue to close your eyes and hum. You might actually (gasp!) lose your private health care coverage someday and become part of the growing number of Americans who can't afford to go to the doctor. What will you do then?
It's too late to roll over and play possum. It's time for you to wake up and get out there and make your voice heard with the rest of us. If you don't let the one-percent and their puppets know how much you despise their blatant greed and manipulation of our elections, the you'll get what you deserve--a world and future not worth living in. 

See how lame your excuse for not becoming involved in what's happening in politics is now?
BIO: Still Bernin' feels like there's not enough "woke up" voters in America yet to bring about the political revolution we need. It's up to us progressives to keep waking them up and giving them coffee--not covfefe!



P.S. This meme is my response to those who wonder why I don't go along with "Let's clean up the Democratic Party from the inside" rationale. It just doesn't work for me. It's irrational to think a corrupt organization making billions of dollars from the corporatocracy will ever change or even want to change. I'm sure progressive individuals within the party would like it to change and keep hoping it will. But the overall DNC doesn't appear too open to change, and those with control of the money will always trump any outliers who want to do differently, so it's a losing battle.  I say join the "rebellion," progressive Dems! You'll be glad you did. --Still Bernin'  #DemExit #GoGreen


***

Other ways to "get into politics" this week...
From Friends of the Earth:

The Trump Administration is trying to open up large swaths of public lands in the Western U.S. to Big Oil.

Standing in its way are protections for an imperiled species -- the sage grouse. So now it wants to gut those protections and clear the path for the fossil fuel industry to drill.

The Forest Service wants to know what you think about this plan. So we need you to speak up now!
Help us reach 30,000 comments: Tell the Forest Service not to hand over our public lands to Big Oil!

The sagebrush habitat sits on top of fossil fuel resources that the oil industry is desperate to get its hand on.

Drilling in this area could wipe out an entire ecosystem of species -- not just the sage grouse, but the golden eagle, elk, pronghorn and mule deer. What’s more, it would pollute our environment and bring us closer to climate chaos.

The Forest Service should protect our wild places over Big Oil’s profits. We can’t let it strip protections for the sage grouse and open the door for oil companies to destroy our environment!

Take action NOW: Stop Big Oil from destroying the sagebrush ecosystem!

Trump wants to open up millions of acres of our public lands -- places that belong to you and me -- to Big Polluters and other special interests. They’re more concerned with the fossil fuel industry’s profits than with protecting wildlife, public health and a safe climate.

Our public lands belong to the American people, not Big Oil. They should be preserved for the wildlife that call them home. And we should be able to explore them without seeing and smelling coal mines and oil wells.

Public pressure has stopped the Trump Administration from handing over our public lands before. After Friends of the Earth members like you sent in more than 300,000 comments, you stopped the Trump Administration from rolling back protections for Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients, Idaho’s Craters of the Moon and Washington’s Hanford Reach. Now, we need your help to do it again.

Stop Trump from destroying our wildlife and our climate: Add your comment now!
Standing with you,
Ben Schreiber,
Senior political strategist,
Friends of the Earth


 ***
From Sum of Us:

This is outrageous: A judge just ruled that Nestlé can keep taking more water from the tiny township of Osceola, Michigan -- against the wishes of Osceola’s elected leaders.

But if Nestlé thinks this brave community of 2,000 is ready to give up, it’s wrong.

They just reached out to SumOfUs to ask for help to fund this crucial appeal of the court’s decision -- and they can’t do it without your support. Legal appeals are expensive and time-consuming, but if a few of us chip in a few dollars, we can help - or entirely cover - the town’s legal fees.

Can you chip in help stop Nestlé’s greed?

If you've saved your payment information with SumOfUs, your donation will go through immediately:



Donate a different amount
Osceola Township is a tiny community of under 2,000 people, just up the road from Flint, Michigan where residents still don’t have access to clean water after one of the most notorious water crises of the century.

And when Osceola Township voted against allowing Nestlé to set up a pumping station, Nestlé sued the township and challenged their democratic right to decide what to do with their water.

Unfortunately, the judge ruled against Osceola Township and granted Nestlé a special land use permit to build a pumping booster station along a water pipeline that feeds a tanker loading dock in Evart even though it violates the township zoning ordinance.

But the fight isn’t over. With our help, they are going to fight this appeal until they win.

SumOfUs members from around the world have already donated an amazing $30,000 USD to cover legal fees for the township. Without this critical money, the township would’ve likely had to declare bankruptcy and they would have had to drop the lawsuit. Instead, they have been able to defend their democratic right to protect their water and have just appealed.

Your critical support can ensure they can continue the fight. Will you make a donation now to cover legal fees to take on Nestlé and keep fighting this awful decision?

SumOfUs has shown, time and again, that when we fight water giants, like Nestlé, we win. This fight isn’t over. With your donation, we can cover the legal costs of this appeal and make sure that we finally stop Nestlé from stealing this community’s water.




Donate a different amount
Thanks for all that you do,
Emma, Angus, Amelia and the team at SumOfUs


More information:
Michigan township votes to continue court battle with Nestle, MLive, 4 January 2018
Osceola Township will appeal Nestle decision, Cadillac News, 3 January 2018
***
From Our Dream:
Last night a federal judge in San Francisco took a stand against the Trump administration. Issuing an injunction against the executive order made by Trump that would end DACA the federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This ruling is a huge step forward because courts are reaffirming what we already know: Dreamers shouldn’t hang in limbo. Undocumented youth need permanent protection and cannot continue to wait on broken partisan politics and reckless back and forth legal strategy. Congress has the overwhelming support of voters and the time is now to resolve this issue once and for all. 

Democrats must use this ruling as a springboard for action. They have the leverage and ability to ensure permanent protected status for DACA recipients is included in the budget by Friday, January 19.

This isn’t a choice for Dreamers: we either pressure Democrats to include DACA in the spending bill or we lose our status by March. Democrats hold the power to shut down the government if a clean DREAM act is left out of the spending bill, the rest is up to us. Join us as we continue the fight for permanent protection for undocumented youth.
 
We cannot let the lives of Dreamers be swept under the rug - we must escalate and take action now! In the first week of December the Fight for Our Dream campaign organized more than 30 successful actions across the country, and in D.C.. We saw lawmakers across the country respond to the pressure we brought upon them, but a continuing resolution was passed to extend the deadline for the spending bill.

Last month, seven courageous Dreamers and one ally were arrested for peacefully sitting in at congressional offices in DC. They risked detention and deportation by holding a jail strike.Thanks to efforts like this and the events held in solidarity nationwide, we were able to radically influence key Senate votes. Just a month before, in November, we only had four Senators committed to vote no on any spending bill that didn't include a clean Dream Act. On the December 21st vote, 30 Dems voted against it. 

Join our growing coalition effort as we tell key Senators #NoDreamNoDeal. We NEED 11 more Senators to take a stand to bring a clean Dream Act closer to being a reality, but we cannot do this without your voice and you taking action. We expect a vote by Friday, Jan. 19th, and we are calling organizations and individuals across the country to join us by organizing a local action.
 
We can win this, we’ve done it before! But only if undocumented youth & allies across the country rise to the challenge and, once again, use the power of nonviolent direct action, which won DACA in the first place. We are going to the offices of as many Representatives and Senators as possible to demand they make a choice: stand tall with Dreamers or be part of the deportation machine that will target 800,000 young immigrants. 

It's been a long struggle to secure safety, peace of mind, and the American Dream for so many. Please take action in whatever way you can now and let’s make history on January 19th

In solidarity,
Erika Andiola 

***
From the UCC:

Take a Stand Against Human Trafficking

Across the globe and right here at home, millions of people are being exploited for profit. Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, affected some 24.9 million people in 2016 and is estimated to be one of the most profitable forms of transnational crime. Traffickers prey on those who are in vulnerable communities and then force them into labor, exploit them in commercial sexual enterprises, and/or move them across national or state borders against their will.

human-trafficking-by-Kay-Chernush-for-the-US-State-Department.jpgIn 2009 the UCC’s General Synod passed a Resolution which urges congregations to engage in action to end human trafficking and to recognize January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
We have two opportunities to stand with the victims of human trafficking as we observe Human Trafficking Awareness Day this year:

  • Call on the House to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) - The Senate passed this important bill in September 2017 and it now sits in the House awaiting action.The TVPA establishes and reauthorizes critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims, and increase federal coordination to enhance the federal government’s response to the crisis of exploitation.
  • Stand with Native Women - Native women and girls are especially at risk of violence, abduction, and human trafficking. Savanna’s Act will provide federal resources so Tribal Law Enforcement can address the problem head-on.
Trafficking in persons is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Act now - Urge your elected officials to fight human trafficking by supporting these bills.

***
President Donald Trump's bigotry was on full display again yesterday. Meeting in the Oval Office, he once again slandered the Haitian people, their country, and the people of African nations with no regard for the dignity, respect, and compassion that the office of president demands. Our Revolution rejects his claims, made out of personal ignorance and insecurity, and will oppose any effort to create division between the American people and our sisters and brothers in Haiti and countries across the world. There is no place in the political conversation for the words being reported on in the media.




Eight years ago today an earthquake ripped through Haiti, leaving more than 300,000 people dead and over 1.5 million displaced in the most calamitous natural disaster ever to befall the island nation. It is an American value to welcome people fleeing strife, turmoil, and tragedy into our country, and that is what Temporary Protected Status does.


There are 46,000 Haitian people in the United States with TPS status—a fraction of the people who lost everything in the Haiti earthquake. In addition to Haitian residents in the United States on TPS, there are hundreds of thousands more from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nepal, Syria, and Yemen. Over the course of our nation's history, we have answered the call to be a refuge to those whose homes have been lost to natural disaster or human strife.




The tragedy of this presidency can only be reconciled by a reinvigorated American people who will fight discriminatory immigration policies with a renewed dedication to justice. We need you in this fight.


In solidarity,

Nina Turner
President
Our Revolution

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Kind Of World Are We Building?


This week, we take a look at the most vulnerable in our society. How does it define us as a people if we treat those who are powerless or without privilege with contempt? How are we made "great" by in turn making others "small"?

"The Doctor" from the BBC's Doctor Who hits the nail on the head with his above comment. How much value do Americans place on a human life? Even more unsettling, why have we allowed ourselves to become so mercenary? Why can't we show our fellow human beings compassion?

Your thoughts and feedback are required. Leave them in the comments below and share this blog with others to get the dialogue going. Start out by asking yourselves the following question:

What Kind of World Are We Building 
For Future Generations?
by C.A. Matthews 

The little revolutionary in the photo above was present at last January's Unity March. The day itself wasn't half cold, and the numbers of marchers were great and enthusiastic.  As this year's planned Unity March is coming together, I wonder what kind of a turnout can be expected. The weather will probably be colder and snowier than last year, but will the events of 2017 have an even greater dampening effect on the hearts and minds of progressive marchers and tempt them to stay home?

This beautiful photograph of a tiny marcher got me thinking about the new grandbaby in our family. My brother and sister-in-law have recently become grandparents. As I enjoy looking at photos of their little bundle of joy, a sadness comes over me. What sort of world are building for my great-nephew and his friends? Will there even be potable water or breathable air by the time he reaches adulthood? Will he and his friends curse us for the gutted and polluted planet we've left to them? Will they shake their heads at our selfish stupidity for burning fossil fuels until they ran out, wasting valuable time we could have used for transitioning to green energy systems?

If we allow nuclear brinkmanship to continue, will there even be a world left for anyone to worry about? I'm told I take a lot of things too seriously. But I have to ask myself over and over again, "How have we become so complacent and flippant about these potential horrors? What do we gain as a people by remaining silent? Why do we place so little value on human life itself?"

Our children are our future. Why are we okay with bankrupting their futures through our selfish and destructive behaviors? Why do some scream "Don't kill the babies!" outside of women's clinics, yet do little to nothing to take care of the needs of these children once they're brought into the world? Is it all some sort of horrible game to them, a game of who can yell the loudest but make the least amount of difference in the lives of the very young and vulnerable? Why is sentencing children to a life of poverty and hunger preferable to providing everyone with free access to birth control? Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., sums up the hypocrisy in the so-called "pro-life" movement in this statement:
 I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
What does it say about a country that cannot provide even the bare minimum in health care for its little ones? It's bad enough we have an orange buffoon in the White House bragging about his "big nuclear button" like a spoiled toddler, but we can't deny we've also elected a legislative branch made up of members willing to accept millions in corporate cash from the health insurance industry and Big Pharma lobbyists while allowing our children to go without health care. Are Americans saying children aren't important in the scheme of things?

That's something to be real proud of, huh?

A recent U.N. survey gives the U.S. the lowest marks in the
modern world for how it addresses the needs of its most vulnerable populations.  Sorry, but we don't get any points for how good the top 1% have it at the expense of the remaining 99%. We are the laughingstock of the planet for giving wealthy corporations "welfare" instead of our own people who are homeless and hungry. 

I know I'm not laughing.

That's the kind of world we are building. How can some shout "We're making America Great Again!" while allowing it to fall into an abyss of greed? It makes no sense. If greed is our country's creed, we were never truly "great" in the first place.

I'm sorry to express such dark and depressing thoughts, but a very long, cold winter and a very dark, cold outlook for ordinary Americans has something to do with it. I'd like to help build a better world for my great-nephew to live in. I want our children to be loved, well-fed, well-taken care of (health care for all) and have a chance to make something of their lives without falling into massive college loan debt like their poor parents' have. Their parents' generation deserves a break, too.

We can't continue to sit at home, trying to keep warm this winter. We're all needed in the streets, in the town halls, in the vaulted halls of our state houses and Congress, pressuring those in power by telling them we will not allow our children's future to be stolen by mostly older, super-rich, white males. We need to march, unite, call, write, and fight back against the immorality of our current culture.  Agreed, the stakes are high, but the end will be worth it.

After all, a child--a whole generation of children--is a terrible thing to waste.
Some related articles that might be of interest:

https://talkpoverty.org/2017/12/12/u-s-eliminate-child-poverty-cost-senate-tax-bill/

https://www.nationofchange.org/2018/01/05/f-35-jet-program-budget-exceeds-406-billion-yet-universal-healthcare-costly/


https://splinternews.com/time-to-make-life-hard-for-the-rich-1821384779


http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21228-americas-real-welfare-queens


***
Ways you can help to build a better world this week...

From 314 Action:


We need your immediate attention:


4.9 million children are about to lose their healthcare. 4.9 MILLION.

Congress refuses to permanently fund the critical Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

And unless they do something by the end of the month, states will have no choice but to cancel the healthcare of millions of kids.


SIGN HERE: Tell Congress to fund Children’

Top medical groups -- including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians -- say funding CHIP is absolutely imperative.

Healthcare that kids need and deserve hangs in the balance. It’s despicable that Congress would play politics with something as fragile as children’s lives.

That’s why we’re launching this petition to Congress. As pro-science activists committed to ending attacks on healthcare, it’s up to us to stand up for children everywhere and ensure they get the care they need.
 

If you’re with us, sign our petition right away and help us reach 25,000 signatures to SAVE children’s healthcare:

SIGN HERE → https://secure.314action.org/Fund-CHIP

Your help is needed,

314 Action
 ***
From Friends of the Earth:
 As families gathered to celebrate the holidays, Trump was busy making it easier for Big Oil to attack the environment.
Trump’s administration overturned regulations to protect communities from fracking. It weakened rules that were designed to prevent another Deepwater Horizon spill. And it announced that it will no longer hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for harming protected migratory birds -- all while Congress was standing by.

Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter to mock climate change after a record-breaking year of hurricanes and wildfires. And EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is ramping up his efforts to destroy our protections for the air, water and climate.

2017 may have seemed like a long year. But Trump’s advisors say that 2018 is when he will really pursue his radical agenda. We need your Senators to stand up, not stand by, as Trump increases his attacks this year. As Senators return to Washington to start the new year, we need your help to push them to act! 

Scott Pruitt is a climate denier who has spent his career suing the Environmental Protection Agency. Now that he’s leading that same agency, he’s spent his first year in office remaking it to the benefit of Big Oil.

Pruitt pushed out more than 700 agency staff and started monitoring the emails of anyone who expressed concerns with the agency’s direction. He took steps to gut the Clean Power Plan. And he is spending more time courting fossil fuel industry executives than holding them accountable for destroying our air, water and climate.

Together Trump and Pruitt pose the gravest threat to our environment and public health that we've ever seen. We need your help to fight back.

Tell your Senators to stand up to Trump’s attacks on our environmental protections!

Trump has stacked his government with anti-science extremists, billionaires and fossil fuel industry shills. Now, they’re using their positions to advance their corporate interests -- not the interests of the American people.

Trump is already poised to further gut our environmental protections in 2018. Congress could stand up and stop him, but instead, it’s standing by while he destroys our environment to help corporate polluters.

We need you to urge your Senators to do their jobs and stand up to Trump!

Tell your Senators: Stop Trump’s anti-science, anti-environmental agenda!

Standing with you,
Ben Schreiber,
Senior political strategist,
Friends of the Earth

 ***

Win Without War

Donald Trump is at it again. On Tuesday night Trump took to Twitter to threaten North Korea and, by consequence, most likely the rest of the world, with nuclear annihilation:

This rhetoric is extremely dangerous. This is not how the person controlling our nuclear arsenal should speak -- we don’t know how the North Koreans or our allies will perceive Trump’s reckless tweet, and it undermines the diplomatic efforts being made by our own State Department.
 
We should all be extremely worried and concerned about what the President will do next. It is time to act.

Urge your Members of Congress to take steps to prevent Trump from launching a nuclear war. 

Right now, two members of Congress, Rep. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey, have introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. president from launching a nuclear war without a declaration of war by Congress. While the President would still be able to defend from an attack against America, he or she could no longer launch the deadliest weapons ever invented just because they wanted to.

We can not overstate the destruction of a nuclear war, and we are closer to that horror today than we have ever been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to take action now to step back from the brink of nuclear war.

No one person - and definitely not someone as erratic and reckless as Donald Trump - should ever be able to single-handedly start such a deadly war. Please sign today.


Thank you for working for peace,
Erica, Ben, Amy, and the Win Without War team
 ***
Yellowstone grizzly bear
Center for     Biological     Diversity   
In June the Trump administration took Yellowstone-area grizzly bears off the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. But there's been a big problem with the legality of that decision that's at last being addressed — and it could save these bears from dying in cruel, state-sponsored trophy hunts.
Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to act on this evidence and reverse its earlier decision to stop protecting grizzlies.

The Service is asking the public to weigh in on the legality of its delisting rule because of a recent case in the D.C. Court of Appeals. The D.C. court rightly voided a rule stripping protections from Great Lakes wolves because of the harm that rule would cause other recovering wolf populations. The flaws are identical to those in the grizzly bear rule.


Take a minute to tell the Service it can't paper over these legal flaws and must restore protection to Yellowstone's grizzlies.  

***

EMERGENCY: In a matter of days, the House will vote on whether to turn the internet into a massive spying tool for the Trump administration. This is not a drill: Click here to demand Congress close the "backdoor search loophole" in S. 139.

We’re only just days into the new year but already, Congress is moving to turn the internet into a giant spying tool for Trump to snoop on Americans.

And both Republicans – and some Democrats – are on board with this.


This is not a drill. Last year, Congress had a deadline to re-authorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act that uses the internet as a massive spy tool to snoop on Americans without a warrant or probable cause. Activists just like you signed petitions and called Congress to block this and push for strong reforms to protect our privacy from the prying eyes of government.

Now Trump-aligned Republicans – and some turncoat Democrats – want to force this through in the new year. There’s a not a lot of time to fight back. We need to use our voices now and tell Congress not to turn the internet into a giant spy tool for an unstable Trump administration.


Thanks for taking action,

Reuben and the team at Demand Progress