Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holding the Establishment Accountable

We need to hold the establishment accountable. It's up to us, the 99%, ordinary Americans to do so. We can't trust anyone in power currently. We can only trust our own instincts.

Coast Watcher's article below shows us how Trump is destroying our country's standing in the world, all for his and his fellow billionaires' private gain. It's high time we hold the Cheeto-in-Chief accountable, isn't it?

Trump and the Death of Protocol
by Coast Watcher

Protocol exists in diplomacy for a reason. It forms the rules of the diplomatic road, smoothing out the awkwardness in engaging with different cultures and creating a path for dialogue. It can, literally, prevent wars.

Trump doesn’t believe in protocol. He’s the perpetual pig-headed bullying CEO, and his word goes, no matter the circumstances or situation. The world witnessed this witless fool’s take on diplomacy during his recent visit to the Far East.

Japanese culture is carefully structured with established protocols governing bowing upon greeting others. Trump gave Japanese Emperor Akihito, ruler of a nation far older than the US, a handshake and a nod. During a photo op where he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fed valuable koi carp, Trump lost patience with the slow, careful measuring out of food and instead dumped his entire box into the water. At a state banquet given in his honor, Trump demanded the Japanese food be taken away and a hamburger brought to his table in its place. He’s guilty not only of breaching protocol but of eating and behaving like a five year old.

His sturm-und-drang approach to North Korea toned down significantly while he was within range of the wayward regime’s artillery and missiles, only to pick up again when he was well away from the country. 

His campaign trail rhetoric against China, so full of threats and bluster, disappeared when he stood on Beijing’s doorstep. He even kowtowed (A Mandarin Chinese word that means "to show obsequious deference") to the Chinese politburo by acceding to their demand to not hold a press conference about their various meetings. No other US president has ever condoned such a restriction.

“But Donald Trump doesn't like talking things out, or principled beliefs, or people not kowtowing to him.” ~ Luke Darby, GQ, 23 September 2017.

Trump waited until he was safely in Vietnam before resuming his blustery rhetoric against China. He wants others to kowtow to him, yet he’s not above sucking up to a bigger bully when one comes along.

I wonder how his more racist, gun-waving gung-ho followers feel about that?
Oh, by the way – gung ho is another Mandarin word – gōng hé – meaning work together. Will those macho militarist types like knowing one of their favorite phrases is actually Socialist in origin?

I can’t help thinking there’s a White House protocol officer somewhere, crying into his or her cups because their boss is determined to do things his way. With the United States becoming increasingly isolated and even marginalized on the world stage, the need for diplomacy and proper protocol has never been greater. Yet Trump in his wisdom (stop laughing at the back!) thinks otherwise. 

And who do we really have to blame for Trump gaining the presidency? This meme says it all:

BIO: Coast Watcher keeps an eye out for any signs there will be a break in the hot-air gushing out from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. As a Brit living abroad, he wonders how long Americans will put up with the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast. He hopes it's not much longer.

 To our veterans...who don't always receive their due reward from a grateful government. Happy Veterans' Day.
Now some suggestions on how to hold the establishment 
accountable for their actions against the 99%.

From Rootstrikers:
After Wells Fargo fraudulently opened 3.5 million customer accounts without permission, you would think everyone would agree it’s time to crack down. 
Nope! Wall Street’s cronies in Congress and the White House just voted in the dead of night to protect banks like Wells Fargo from getting held accountable in court, killing the Consumer Bureau’s rule against banks’ forced arbitration “ripoff clauses.” 

We’re calling on bank regulators in Washington to step up. 
With the power to pull Wells Fargo’s bank charter or access to public FDIC deposit insurance, they can deliver real accountability for the crimes at Wells Fargo. They just need the courage to do it. 

Sign and share the petition to banking regulators: Cut off government support to Wells Fargo. 

Every major bank in the U.S. enjoys major public subsidies and benefits.
Bank charters are publicly granted, and the FDIC insurance for their deposit accounts is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
Wells Fargo’s regulators at the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) and FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) have a rule: Engage in “unsafe and unsound practices” like breaking the law and you can lose those public benefits.1 

Wells Fargo has repeatedly violated the law. Cutting off their public benefits could even force Wells Fargo to wind down, and send a clear message that banks can’t expect to get away with breaking the law. 

Sign and share the petition to banking regulators: Cut off government support to Wells Fargo. 

Wells Fargo got issued $185 million in fines last year for the fake accounts scandal, but that’s virtually a rounding error in a year they made $22 billion in profits.2 

Since then, news keeps coming out about more ways Wells has broken the law – illegal overdraft charges, bogus auto loans forced on 800,000 people, illegal student loan servicing.3 

It’s clear Wells Fargo won’t clean house on its own. Twelve out of 15 members on the board of directors today were overseeing the bank during the fake accounts scandal.4 Even the executives who left walked away with millions and no jail time.

Bank regulators have a big opportunity to do the right thing. Staff at OCC have already found unsafe and unsound practices at Wells Fargo and recommended tough enforcement action (even if the former Wells Fargo lawyer Trump installed to head the agency5 tries to cover it up).

And the situation is even more promising at the FDIC, where only one out of the four current members of the board of directors is a Trump pick. They just need to know the public is with them if they launch a serious investigation into Wells Fargo’s illegal behavior – and cutting off its public deposit insurance. 

Sign and share the petition to banking regulators: Cut off government support to Wells Fargo. 

Thank you,
The Team at Rootstrikers

1. Demand Progress, "Joint Letters: Key Consumer, Labor, and Financial Reform Groups Push Regulators to Revoke Wells Fargo’s Charter and Deposit Insurance," Oct. 4, 2017.
2. Wells Fargo, "Wells Fargo Reports $5.3 Billion in Quarterly Net Income," Jan. 13, 2017.
3. Demand Progress, "Joint Letters: Key Consumer, Labor, and Financial Reform Groups Push Regulators to Revoke Wells Fargo’s Charter and Deposit Insurance," Oct. 4, 2017.
4. Elizabeth Warren, "Warren Highlights New Evidence of Wells Fargo Misconduct, Renews Call for Federal Reserve to Remove Bank Board Members," Aug. 16, 2017.
5. The Intercept, "More Trump Populism: Hiring a Bank Lawyer to Attack CFPB Bank Rules," July 20, 2017.

Get Transphobic Professor Out of the Classroom

Playing a game called "Female or Shemale" sounds like something out of a terrible 1990s coming-of-age comedy. Unfortunately, this transphobic game took place in 2017, in a classroom, and was orchestrated by the professor himself.
State University of New York Professor David Sorbello thought he was being edgy and funny when he gave this quiz to his sociology students. They were shown photos of women and had to guess whether they were "real" women or not.
This behavior has no place in society, and it especially does not belong in a college course. As a group, trans women face higher rates of violence, and and the current statistics suggest the rates numbers aren't declining. Actions like this quiz dehumanize trans women and have dangerous implications.
Sorbello was hired to shape the minds of young students. Instead of helping them learn compassion and empathy, he's chosen to teach them it's OK to ostracize an entire group of people for a laugh.
Thank you for making a difference,
Angie L.
The Care2 Petitions Team



From Rainforest Action Network:

We have a chance right now to pressure two of the biggest banks on Wall St. to say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline — JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest on the planet — yet Wall Street banks, like JPMorgan Chase, continue to pour billions into this extreme fossil fuel. This December, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and 17 other major global banks face a crucial choice on Keystone XL, tar sands, Indigenous rights and the climate. 

On Dec. 15, two credit facilities totaling $1.5 billion will expire. This is the credit that would allow TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s up to these banks, with JPMorgan Chase in the lead, to decide whether or not to renew this critical funding.

JPMorgan Chase and the other big banks have a huge decision to make: Will they continue to profit off climate chaos? Will they continue to pour billions into the toxic tar sands oil sector? Will they continue to support projects that trample on Indigenous rights?

Or will they finally do the right thing and say NO to Keystone XL?

Add your voice: Tell JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and 17 other global banks to say NO to Keystone XL on December 15www.ran.org/chase_stop_kxl

Indigenous nations, ranchers, farmers, grassroots leaders and individuals — from the epicenter of tar sands extraction and along the pipeline route — have united in opposition to Keystone XL.

The time to turn up the pressure on JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo is now! A crucial decision from the Nebraska Public Service Commission is imminent— and that could determine the fate of the pipeline.There are three possible scenarios. The commission could reject, reroute or approve the pipeline. But even if the commission rejects the pipeline, TransCanada is likely to appeal. Regardless, TransCanada will need funds to construct KXL. 

JPMorgan Chase and Wall Street banks don’t want to be bothered with the inconvenient fact that funding Keystone XL means funding climate chaos and abuse of Indigenous rights. We need to tell them loud and clear: ”Business as usual” created this climate crisis — and “business as usual” is over!

Demand Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase defund TransCanada’s KXL pipeline. www.ran.org/chase_stop_kxl

We need to send a clear message to banks like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase that the funding of extreme fossil fuels like tar sands is no longer acceptable. We will not tolerate threats to our climate, health, land, and water.

Right now, at this year’s international climate conference in Bonn, Germany, countries and corporations are discussing how to put the Paris climate accord into practice. Stopping finance for expansion of tar sands oil would start to put big banks into alignment with climate stability. Continued funding of extreme fossil fuels means extreme weather. Climate change is not a threat of the future, but a critical challenge that is causing catastrophic impacts around the world and requires immediate action now.
We need your voice — today. Tell JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo that you expect banks to live up to their commitments to Indigenous rights and the environment. www.ran.org/chase_stop_kxl

For Indigenous rights and a climate stable future,


Ruth Breech
Senior Campaigner, Climate and Energy

My name is Bonnie Wright and I am very excited to be with Greenpeace on board The Arctic Sunrise. You may recognize me as Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter films, but for the last 24 hours I have been a deckhand. I am here to learn more about Greenpeace’s Ocean Plastics campaign and how we can end single-use plastics.

Every minute of every day the equivalent of one garbage truck load of plastic enters our oceans. Plastics are filling up our oceans and killing marine life around the globe. From straws to soda rings, these plastics choke or entangle species like seabirds, turtles, and whales.

We can no longer tolerate this cycle of destruction for so-called "convenience". I know you've already added your name to Greenpeace's petition demanding 
corporations come up with better designs and methods for the delivery of goods. Thank you. Will you take the next step? Before one more truck load of plastic enters the ocean, share this message with your friends and family and ask them to take action to end corporate plastic pollution.

You can simply forward this email or share the petition on facebook.

Yesterday, we trawled once just after departing from Freeport in The Bahamas and secondly when we were within The Gulf Stream. Trawling is like fishing, but unfortunately in this case for plastics. Greenpeace has been trawling, conducting beach cleanups and brand audits throughout their Atlantic Coast ship tour in order to gain a better understanding of just how much plastic we have polluting our waterways and connecting the waste back to the corporations responsible for it.

I was saddened to find lots of different types of plastic in our trawl, large pieces of soft plastic, fishing lines, and polystyrene. The turtles and fish that were on this planet long before us are now eating these plastics which clog up their organs and can cause death.

This should not be happening. Single-use plastic that we all use practically every day is what is harming ocean wildlife, but you can help stop plastic pollution. Share my message and ask your friends and family to sign the Greenpeace petition calling out the corporate polluters that are choking our oceans.

There is no planet B, so I believe it is our responsibility to think before we consume plastic that will eventually make its way into this beautiful ocean I am currently surrounded by.

I look forward to sharing more stories after my journey aboard The Arctic Sunrise.


Bonnie Wright

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Justice For... Just Some? (Happy Election Day 2017)


 Justice for... just some? Why not all? This week we're looking at how the 99% is being treated by the corrupt system that cares little for our economic or physical/mental health. Bern Notice debunks that popular myth of the Reagan era. "The Rational National" tells us how difficult the battle for universal health care was in Canada and how it could come about in the U.S. 

But first, it's Election Day and if you haven't already voted early, please get to the polls as soon as you can. Yeah, 2016 looked like this meme, but that's no reason for you not to turn out and vote in this "off year" for important issues on your state ballot and to decide local elections. Remember to vote your conscience. You're not stuck with just establishment candidates--vote third party or write in a name of a candidate you feel is worthy. We can't live in fear of the status quo forever. Let's take our democracy back!

by Bern Notice
Trickle-down economics. Reagan’s legacy, and the economic model espoused by the Republican Party. It is defined as:
A theory that financial benefits given to big business will in turn pass down to smaller businesses and consumers.
How much of the trickle have you felt from the enhanced prosperity of big business owners? For the vast majority of Americans, it has been very little. To demonstrate why, It is important to define another term so that we understand the point in its entirety.
Profit Margin:  The difference between the cost of buying or making something and the price at which it is sold.
The argument that money will trickle down fails in a case like McDonald’s. McDonald’s has had pretty good profit margins over the past 5+ years. At its lowest margin during that period, it was 36.94%. Currently, McDonalds profit margin is at its peak, at 48.96%. As of March, 2016 the profit margin was at 39.19%. Meaning, that at their lowest point, McDonald’s made 36.94% more capital than they spent.
The CEO of McDonalds, Steve Easterbrook brought in an income of $15.4 million last year, according to The Chicago Tribune. To be fair, please note his base salary is $1.3 million. Some of the rest was made from stock options. However, he received a performance bonus of $4.6 million
Income inequality
While the top 1% has flourished since the 1980’s under trickle down economics, the rest of the country has been stagnant. How will additional tax breaks to the top 1% help the rest of America prosper?
Now let’s look at the workers. According to Glassdoor, the average wage for a McDonald’s cashier is $8.60 per hour. A shift manager averages $10.41 per hour. Bear in mind that from their salaries, they have to pay for medical and other benefits if they need them, which further reduces take home salary. If you’re a sole bread-winner with a family, would you be able to afford benefits and save for retirement with those salaries?
I’m reasonably sure that some people may say “Those jobs aren’t meant for people supporting a family.” That may be true for years past, but after the recession and so many high paying jobs being sent overseas for cheaper labor, the pool of eligible workers has expanded. These same individuals are looking to put food on their table via an honest living. As a result, now you see increasing numbers of older adults working in these positions to try to stay afloat.
All the while McDonald is making their annual average 36 – 38% profits while keeping pay rates relatively stagnant. And again, if the argument is that the costs increased for doing business, remember we’re talking profit margins, not profits. So they still made 35% more than they spent. So while their spending on everything else has increased with the cost of inflation, their spending on their employees’ salary has not.
Meanwhile McDonalds and similar businesses get tax breaks for stock options given to executives as compensation, and then list them as an expense when filing taxes. Yet they do this while paying their employees as little as possible.
Now let’s look at the after effects. The cost of everything from gasoline to food and utilities has gone up and your salary hasn’t. You no longer have disposable income for luxuries. You are spending what you have on necessities. You may pass on going out to eat or getting a gadget that you need to make your life easier.
As spending decreases, profits for corporations and shareholders decrease. As a result, the corporation will lay off workers, thus adding to the pool of individuals who are unable to buy your product. Then the cycle starts all over again. It’s basic supply and demand. All the while, the CEO of that company will get a fat bonus for “increasing efficiency.”
Micky D's Replacement
If this cycle is allowed to continue, the only people who will have money will be the super wealthy business owner. Then you will have serfdom and feudalism. It’s obvious when you think the cycle through. The only way you don’t see it is if you completely ignore the facts.
At the end of the day, this model is inherently flawed because of one simple factor… human greed. If you offer someone a million dollars, and it is not stipulated that they have to share it with other people, most people would keep it and spend it on themselves. It’s just human nature.
With that being said, it may make more sense to offer tax breaks to people who make 100K or less, and new start up businesses than it does to grant further tax breaks for large well established businesses and multi-millionaires. Those who work paycheck to paycheck are the consumer. They are more likely to spend most of what they make than those who have tons of money.
Small start-up & Mom and Pop businesses are similar. The small businesses as they grow are also more likely to hire more people, thus adding more consumers to the market. As they grow they will invest in their infrastructure to expand and become the new big business, and offer consumers more options through genuine competition.
Make no mistake; I have no problem with businesses, shareholders and corporations making profits. CEO’s have to bear a lot of responsibility, and are likely the first to go when a business goes south. So they should be able to make more than the people they are responsible for employing. Shareholders should also be able to reap profits from smart investment strategies.
With that being said, economics can’t just serve the supply side. There must also be a demand. Most of the demand comes from the consumers who are the employees who work on the ground level of business. Until working class citizens’ salaries are able to keep up with the cost of inflation, they will not have disposable income. There is will be little to no demand. Then there will be practically no chance for upward mobility. Trickle-down economics has failed the working class citizen, and it’s time for people take their heads out of the sand and recognize that.

BIO: Bern Notice is making a difference by speaking out on issues that affect the 99%. Support him and his Seeing Through the B.S. blog and leave a comment thanking him for his invaluable service.

A must-watch video for all Americans, a Canadian gives us a history lesson into how difficult it was to fight for and establish universal health care in his country. We can learn a lot from our friends north of the border.


And now some more examples of how justice for the rich is at the expense of ordinary Americans. Support these causes with your time and resources. We're all in this together!
 From the Green Party of Pennsylvania:

It's been over six months since the special election in Philadelphia that saw widespread voter intimidation and election fraud. The people of the 197th have been waiting for any sign that justice will be served and their votes will be counted.

Today, the Pennsylvania Attorney General finally began filing charges. Four election workers at the Esperanza Health Center polling place were charged with election fraud.

Please donate  to our continued efforts to bring have a new election for the people of Philadelphia's 197th district.

And this is just the beginning. Reports of fraud happened not just at Esperanza but at over 20 other polling locations--and the scheme goes must deeper than the workers at the polling places. We look forward to further developments with Attorney General Shapiro's investigation.

We are also waiting to hear back about our federal court case regarding these election fraud charges. Democrats and Pennsylvania election officials brought forth a motion to dismiss in September. At the hearing our lawyers asked point blank--who is responsible for this election?

At best, this was a systemic failure of our election system and someone has to be constitutionally or legally responsible. At worst, this was an intentional scheme for widespread election fraud and those who organized it behinds the scenes must be held accountable for their criminal acts.

I need help to continue to pay my lawyers fees and office rent. I am continuing to fight for the people of the 197th district through all the delay tactics, the smoke and mirrors, that the corrupt officials are trying to pull. But my team and I need your help.

Click here to chip in $27 or whatever you can afford so that we can continue to pursue our court case and organize in our neighborhood.

If the court case precedes, there is precedent that Philadelphians could get a new, fairly-conducted election. That is what we and our lawyer are demanding and that's my team and I are organizing for in our neighborhood. If there's a new election, we will win because it will not be stolen again.


Thank you for your continued support.


Cheri Honkala
Candidate for State Representative
Former Green Party VP Candidate

P.S. Recently the Green Party gained it's first State Representative in Maine! If we win a new election in Pennsylvania's 197th, I hope to be the second! Please donate $27 or any amount you can today to help build this Green momentum through 2018.


Stand up to defend the right to peaceful protest.
Take Action
CALL 213-335-2077 NOW and tell your member of Congress that standing up for the right to clean water is peaceful protest, not terrorism.

Last year, thousands of people around the world raised their voices to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They stood in solidarity with Indigenous leaders and Water Protectors, who were fighting for clean water — and their right to make decisions about what happens on their land. The movement has spread, and local communities everywhere, inspired by Standing Rock, are building a groundswell of change across the U.S. and Canada to stop pipelines from being built.

Now 84 members of Congress — including your representative — have signed a letter suggesting that the brave people standing up to the big oil companies could be considered “terrorists.”1 They’re trying to criminalize free speech with a term intended to scare — and we need you to help speak out against them.

Call your representative now at 213-335-2077 to let them know you believe that peaceful protest is essential, and ask them to rescind their support of this fear-mongering letter. We have to show the oil and gas industry that strategies like this, which they hope will silence us, will backfire instead. When we work together, we’re stronger.

It’s no surprise that so many members of Congress would prefer to treat people fighting for their homes and the planet like criminals.2 Big Oil has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to guarantee Congressional support on its endless quest to turn a profit at any cost. The powerful movement inspired by Standing Rock scares them, and labeling the people around the country fighting for change as “terrorists” is easier than standing up to their corporate donors.

That’s why we need your help. We have to tell Congress that it’s unacceptable to put the greed of Big Oil above our basic rights: to protect our communities and precious water resources and to speak out against those that threaten them. Please call your members of Congress today at 213-335-2077 to let them know that corporate polluters don’t run our country.

Thank you for standing with us,

Diana Best
Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace USA

[1] https://buck.house.gov/sites/buck.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Protecting%20Energy%20Infrastructure.pdf.
[2] https://thinkprogress.org/criminalize-pipeline-resistance-sessions-40828c2cb1e6/

The details are out―and (surprise) the Republican tax plan is not tax “reform.” It’s a massive tax cut mostly for the richest 1% and wealthy corporations. It will result in deep cuts to healthcare, education and other critical services we all rely on.
Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans are trying to ram this sucker through the House before Thanksgiving. They figure if they move fast, and keep the American people in the dark, they can get it done. 

This is an absolutely critical time to take action to help us succeed in stopping this monstrosity. Phone calls are the single most important action you can take to stop it. There is no time to waste. If we block the bill in the House―which we can do with your help―our opponents are in deep trouble.
Call your U.S. Representative right now and tell them to OPPOSE the Republican tax plan:

Here’s a suggested call script:

My name is _______. I live in TOWN, STATE and I’m a constituent of the Representative’s.
I want Representative [NAME] to OPPOSE the House tax plan that delivers huge tax cuts to the richest 1% and wealthy corporations, funded by slashing Medicare, Medicaid and education. It’s wrong to give special tax breaks to the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working families.
Not only does this tax plan cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%―padding the pockets of CEO’s and shareholders―it’s also a job killer. By slashing the tax rate on foreign profits, the plan will encourage corporations to outsource jobs and shift profits offshore. 

Call your representative today to demand a tax system and an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. 

Thank you,
Craig Johnson
Digital Director
Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund