Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ooo Shiny! (The Politics of Distraction)

Have you ever been distracted by something fascinating and then suddenly turned around to see something else was going on...something radically different than what you expected? Why did you allow yourself to be tricked into focusing on the pretty thing instead of the reality of the situation? Why did you think the  "Ooo shiny!" object was worth your while to begin with? Who led you down this wrong path? Why did you believe them in the first place? Our guest blogger takes a look at this all-to-human phenomenon in the realm of politics.

The Politics of Distraction
by Coast Watcher 

Social media is a great tool for spreading information, but it also serves as a distraction from important issues. 
Trump’s administration is responsible for so many disastrous policies. Through him the US is embroiled in a growing trade war with China. There’s crushing student debt and increasing poverty across the nation. Many Americans can no longer afford a car or to have one repaired. 
A burgeoning budget deficit breaks records every day. Crony capitalists who make their money from government handouts or connections are getting richer and richer. The country is suffering struggling job growth and increasing and blatant industrial plundering of the national parks. 
The environment is undergoing a terrible change for the worse with record heat and record flooding. Millions of Americans are threatened with losing their healthcare coverage. Many are dying from rationing their insulin because they can't afford it. ICE, a government agency, is perpetrating atrocities against immigrants that wouldn't look out of place in a history of the German Nazi regime…

…Yet we allow ourselves to be distracted by such things as the suspicious death of registered sex offender and accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.(Don't worry. The Clintons won't have to answer for anything. They never do.)

Before that was the removal of Confederate statues, or Trump’s frequent and often incoherent speeches and Tweets. Who can forget his famous "covfefe" Tweet or "hamberders?" 



Perhaps the best example of corporate media distraction is the Russiagate affair. How many times did MSNBC's Rachel Maddow pronounce on this piece of nonsense over the course of three years? ("Russia! Russia!") We lost count. 

And Trump's impeachment? At the rate it's going, pigs will fly first. Don't hold your breath the Senate will ever try him. But it's got you distracted from worrying about the immigrant children sleeping on concrete floors in cages along the borders, hasn't it? A magician couldn't wish for better sleight of hand!

To be fair, when Trump does commit an even greater piece of buffoonery or plain stupidity than usual--the prize example is a speech he gave wherein he claimed American soldiers captured airports during the Revolutionary War--we have to laugh. It’s either that or go insane from the relentless awfulness of his regime.

All I’m saying is, when a piece of news crops up that has everyone distracted, it pays to look around to see what else is going on that the government may not necessarily want us to know about. Are we dropping bombs anywhere? Starting World War 3?  It pays not to fall for the politics of distraction.
Bio: Coast Watcher isn't about to be distracted from the corruption happening in our government and in governments throughout the world. That's why he carries his binoculars wherever he goes. He suggests you do the same, keeping a close eye on your elected representatives at all times. Don't let them--Ooo shiny!


***
Do you ever feel like the corporate news channels just aren't getting it? They are  too slow in reporting what's really happening in the world when it's actually happening? Lee Camp in the following video shows us how many times he's gotten it right long before the mainstream media. You'll be impressed with how many times he's called it!

 
https://youtu.be/3R_MMge4H80
***
Coming soon: A movie based on a true story, exploring the high price paid by a whistle-blower who only wanted to stop a war and save lives...

 
https://youtu.be/CFNfdiIkdio
***
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
Jeremiah 7:5-8


One week ago, we were in El Paso at the invitation of the Border Network for Human Rights to highlight the violence that their community has been suffering. We heard stories of families separated, asylum seekers turned away and refugees detained like prisoners of war. We heard how their community has been militarized and how poor border communities have been especially targeted. We promised that we would do everything in our power to compel the nation to see this violence. Just a few days later, a terrorist opened fire in El Paso. And then another attack occurred in Dayton.

In reflecting on these outbreaks of violence, our hearts are broken. This moment demands a moral reckoning with who we are and who we want to become as a nation. 

The truth is that, while every generation has worked to push us toward becoming a more perfect union, we have also tolerated lies that beget violence. America’s founding fathers spoke of liberty, while drafting documents that called Native Americans savages, accepted the enslavement of Africans, and ignored the voices of women. This hypocrisy created space for slaveholder religion to bless white supremacy, pseudo-science to justify eugenics, a sick sociology to pit people against one another, and predatory policies to scapegoat non-white immigrants and blame poverty on the poor. 

Politicians who try to denounce the racism of an individual, but do not denounce racist policies refuse to deal with the depths of the problems we face. We cannot address the violence of white nationalism without stopping the policies of white nationalism and the lies that are told to justify them. In 1963, George Wallace began to spew racist rhetoric from the governor’s office in Alabama. By the end of that year, Medgar Evers was dead, four girls in a church were dead, and a President was dead because these words and these policies were a breeding ground for violence. It always has been that way. Whenever we've had these words and policies, they have also unleashed this kind of violence. 

For this reason, we call on President Trump, Members of Congress and Presidential Candidates, our people on the ground in movements and communities of struggle, people who have embraced the lies of white nationalism, and our religious leaders and people of faith and conscience to revive the heart and soul of this country.
 
Mr. President, we recognize that you are a symptom of our decaying moral fabric and you have ignited a modern day wildfire. The coals of white nationalism are always smoldering in our common life, and they have fueled the violence of indigenous genocide, slavery, lynching and Jim Crow. Stop stoking the fires of violence with racist words and policies. Mr. President, you must repent in word and deed if your leadership is to bring us together, rather than tearing us apart. 

To Members of Congress and our elected representatives, we ask you to ensure our domestic tranquility. You can take immediate action to stop the President’s racist attacks on immigrants. You can act to ensure voting rights, pass gun reform to keep weapons of war out of our communities, end federal programs that send military equipment to our local and state police departments, pass immigration reform that allows us all to thrive and build up the country, ensure good jobs and living wages and relief from our debts, and guarantee health care and social programs that meet our needs. The lies of white nationalism have prevented action on all of these issues, and those who have enabled the President or remained silent are culpable. 

As you return to Washington D.C., we call on Congress to honor the August 28 anniversary of the March on Washington and the murder of Emmett Till by passing an Omnibus Bill that offers a comprehensive response to the systemic racism that connects the issues facing 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this country. 
 
To all candidates running for President in 2020, we call on you to address both the violence of racism and the policies of racism and white nationalism in the public debates. We ask you to connect these policies of systemic racism to poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, militarism and a distorted moral narrative that accepts, justifies and perpetuates systemic violence. 

To our movements and organizations on the ground, do not go back to your silos; instead we must build a moral fusion movement. We have been organizing in separate streams, often along lines of race, issue area or geography, but we need much more than our own fights can win. This is not the time to become entrenched in those divisions. We need to come together across race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, issue, geography and other lines of division to make a fight for everything we need and make sure we are all in — nobody is out.  

To those who have embraced the lies of white nationalism and racism, we humbly recognize the power of fear. We live in a time when many people do not know if they will have work today or health care tomorrow. Many families do not know what agency is coming for them or their children. We do not know who to trust and have been left to fend for ourselves and whoever we believe to be on our side. Let us find strength in our pain, mourn our losses, and remember that we are all part of a common human family. Let us reject every attempt by politicians and corporate interests to pit us against one another. Let us confess that white nationalism is a myth that has not served most people, even those it claims to protect. Let us fight for each other and for a world where everyone can thrive. 

To our religious leaders and people of faith, we call on you to offer moral leadership in the public square. If you have condoned the lies of white nationalism or remained silent, you have failed to keep your sacred vows. We ask you to recall the struggles of our ancestors so we can work together to build up a more perfect union in our common life. 

We call on all people of faith and conscience to sign on to this letter and share it throughout your networks. Let us prevent this violence from defining who we are as a nation and people.
SIGN THE LETTER


Forward together, not one step back.
 
Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, President, Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Rev. Teresa Ward Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism
Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Red Letter Christians  

***
From Credo:

For Donald Trump, cruelty and corruption are virtues. He doesn't care if he's tearing children away from their mothers or promoting racism so long as he and his friends end up feeling powerful and benefiting financially.

No wonder he is on a mission to deny SNAP benefits – popularly known as food stamps – to millions of Americans. He's trying to change the rules and rob 2.5 million people of food security.1 It's not just SNAP benefits – Trump's proposal would sneakily steal free school lunches from 500,000 kids.2 It's unacceptable, and we need to make sure the administration knows it.

Tell the Department of Agriculture: Don't cut SNAP benefits. Click here to sign the petition.

Changing who is eligible for SNAP benefits would take school lunches off the trays of more than 500,000 children, in addition to robbing families and single adults of food security. These are the people crushed in the Trump economy of tax handouts for the rich and benefit cuts for everyone else, and now Trump wants to make it worse.

Currently, states have the leeway to allow people to access SNAP benefits while still building up some small savings for the future. The new Trump Department of Agriculture proposal would eliminate that flexibility and rip SNAP benefits away from people who rely on them for food security. When you factor in that SNAP is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reduce poverty and boost the economy from the bottom, Trump's proposal looks even more ridiculous.3

It's cruel – and that's the point. Trump and his puppets in Congress will make noises about fraud and spending while continuing to pour money into a Pentagon that cannot even pass an audit. They are fine with lighting money on fire if it benefits their rich and powerful pals, then use nickels and dimes as an excuse to beat up on lower-income people. 

The public comment period just opened – let's pour on the opposition and make it clear that Americans know what they are trying to do. When you sign the petition, we'll count your signature in our comment to the Department of Agriculture.

Tell the Department of Agriculture: Don't cut SNAP benefits. Click the link below to sign the petition:


https://act.credoaction.com/sign/food-stamps-comment-19?t=9&akid=33583%2E9999572%2EGzhQFO

Thank you for speaking out,
Heidi Hess, Co-Director CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►
References:

  1. Karen Dolan, "Opinion: Trump’s cuts to food stamps are indefensible, economically and morally," MarketWatch, July 31, 2019.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Actions of Other Human Beings


It's one of "those weeks" in America. You know the kind--one where people are mowed down in public places by racist shooters and even more are allowed to die because of lack of health care and income inequality. Typical week, really. If we're not watching our neighbor suffer, then what would we do for entertainment? CNN provides an answer:

https://youtu.be/M0lQ1XM30MY

Naomi Karavani in the above video covers some recent mainstream media stories that glorify the suffering of the poor. Why would any empathetic person think this is a good idea?  

The following further drives Naomi's point home:

Jon Sobrino, from Spirituality of Liberation: Toward Political Holiness--
The reality posed by the poor, then, is no rhetorical question. Precisely as sin, this reality tends to conceal itself, to be relativized, to pass itself off as something secondary and provisional in the larger picture of human achievements. It is a reality that calls men and women not only to recognize and acknowledge it, but to take a primary, basic position regarding it. Outwardly, this reality demands that it be stated for what it is, and denounced....But inwardly, this same reality is a question for human beings as themselves participants in the sin of humankind....the poor of the world are not the causal products of human history. No, poverty results from the actions of other human beings.

The Actions of Other Human Beings
by C.A. Matthews


From an early age we learn about the consequences of our actions. Or at least in theory we should.  You grab the squeaky toy from the toddler sitting next to you on the blanket, and she'll whack you hard and make you cry. You peek into your sister's diary--she's going to snitch on you to Mom.  You cheat on a math quiz, and you'll find yourself in the principal's office. 


For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction we hear in physics class. If this is true, what action other than a handful hoarding extreme amounts of wealth could explain the growing number of poor in the world?


The concept that the state of poverty was created to serve a purpose--to bolster the wealth of the elites--doesn't come naturally to most Americans. We want to believe that the poor deserve their lowly state. They're ignorant. They're lazy. They made bad decisions with their money and choice of profession. They're drunks and/or drug addicts. But to simply state the rich are "better" or "smarter" or more deserving of praise than the poor is to deny the reality of the Donald J. Trumps of the world and the harshness of life in 21st century America. 

Poverty is a weapon. It is wielded by those in power to control access to resources. The land, air and water of the masses aren't theirs as long as there are greedy men coveting these necessities of life. Your tiny house is on land they want to build a factory on? Eminent Domain is their tool. Their factory poisons your air and water? A well-placed lobbyist makes sure the laws are in their favor. 


By preventing universal health care for all Americans, poverty is inflicted by the one-percent through the means of life and death itself. It's no surprise that the majority of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills. It's what the system was designed to do. 
The gun lobby tells our elected officials that daily mass shootings are necessary to protect our Constitutional rights. What's another dead body when there are  gun sales to be made? A permanent underclass makes for many targets and much in profits.

The time has come to end the suffering of the poor and attack the selfishness of the elites. Choose your side. Choose wisely. Raising taxes on the wealthy never killed (or particularly inconvenienced) a rich person. Your neighbor living on Social Security, however, needs every single penny of it to keep the heat on in the winter.

The actions of other human beings are the source of all misery in this world. It's high time we took action against the misery bringers. It's time to build a new social order--one that doesn't allow the actions of the few to dictate the health, safety and happiness of the many.

Gustavo Gutierrez, from The Power of the Poor in History:

If I define my neighbor as the one I must go out to look for, on the highways and byways, in the factories and slums, on the farms and in the mines--then my world changes. This is what is happening with the "option for the poor," for in the gospel it is the poor person who is the neighbor par excellence....

But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.
These quotes come from a book worth reading:
Pathologies of Power, Dr. Paul Farmer, University of California Press, 2005.
www.ucpress.edu
***


Enlist Today!
Poor People's Army

We are building a force of our own to battle the rich and powerful. They have their armies and police, we need our own troops.

(Our side needs just as much training, education, experience, and discipline to fight for justice for poor and working people, though with different, emancipatory tactics.)

We are part of an international movement challenging poverty and capitalism.

Learn More/contact: ppehrcorg@gmail.com
215-869-4753
 ***
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Is Trying to Silence People Whose Communities Are Polluted. Stop This Now!

 

Sign Now


It's apparently time to rename the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the "Environmental Destruction Agency." Their new mission, under the deliriously corrupt Trump administration, seems to be to utterly wreck the planet as fast as they can.
The EPA currently issues "pollution permits" that entitles power plants and factories to emit specified levels of pollution into the nearby towns and natural environment. This means that the air or water that whole neighborhoods rely upon could end up contaminated.
For the past 25 years, though, members of the community have at least had some form of recourse. Individuals or advocates were able to appeal these pollution permits to a board of judges. Now they will not even have that small way of speaking out. Yet, of course, fossil fuel corporations still get a huge voice.
Everyday people are the ones who suffer directly from increased pollution. Meanwhile, these companies profit off of their suffering, with absolutely no interest in or regard for these individuals' imperiled health.
We cannot let the very agency meant to protect the environment actually work to completely destroy it. We have so little time to address climate change. We must be moving in the right direction — not hurting people while moving away from climate solutions. Sign the petition to ask the EPA not to silence the very people who will suffer from increased pollution!
Thank you for all that you do,

Miranda B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
 
P.S. The U.S. government wants to let corporations poison communities with more pollution, and then silence the very people who are affected. Sign the petition to tell the EPA not to pursue this terrifying policy!
 ***



Your voice is needed. For though the resistance at Standing Rock has been forcibly paused and oil now flows through the Dakota Access pipeline, the struggle to protect the health and safety of the tribe and people downstream isn’t over. Quickly and quietly, Energy Transfer Partners is planning to more than double the amount of oil DAPL carries, to more than a million barrels a day. And they’re doing this — once more — without the consent of the people.



Lakota Law Lakota leaders (clockwise from top left: Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney M. Bordeaux, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier, Phyllis Young of LPLP and Standing Rock, and Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner) have come together to call for a public hearing on a proposed expansion to the Dakota Access pipeline.


Big Oil assures us that increasing oil flow through pipelines isn’t dangerous, but U.S. regulators say their information doesn’t back that claim. And tar sands crude — the type of oil DAPL carries — is a special threat: corrosive to infrastructure, it caused a million-gallon spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not long ago. The United States suffers hundreds of liquid pipeline incidents every year. Why should we trust Big Oil’s word?


Between now and the deadline for input on Aug. 9, we will do everything we can to ensure a public hearing — the first step in stopping DAPL from becoming twice as dangerous. The Black Snake’s presence must not be allowed to fester and grow without pushback from every corner of Turtle Island. Will you stand with us once again to ensure the safety of our people and our sacred land and water?

Wopila Tanka — Thank you for making a difference! Mni Wiconi.

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People's Law Project

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Green Power 2019

Seen outside of the main gathering hall at Salem State University...

Green Power 2019
words and photos by C. A. Matthews 


Our first Green Party-US Annual Meeting has come and gone. As we made our way home, we contemplated what we've learned and experienced.The main impression we came away with as relative newbies to the national Green Party is how much of a "family" the party really is. And, like any family, it has its share of strengths and weaknesses. 
Voter Choice.org is working  hard to bring ranked choice voting to your state.

Perhaps its greatest strength is its commonality of purpose of saving the Earth from the ravages of capitalism. Eco-socialism is order of the day and was frequently mentioned during the weekend along with the importance of ranked choice voting laws. From championing the health of our citizens, land and water, to protesting the military industrial complex and demanding an end to all wars of colonization and imperialism, Greens do not hesitate to speak out singularly or communally. No matter what corporate propaganda the mainstream media spouts and what smears are directed at them, Greens will not swerve from their commitment to promote "people, planet and peace over profits."
Chris Blankenhorn gave a great talk on what eco-socialism means.

Hilary Tore presents how Toledoans for Safe Water took on BP and passed The Lake Erie Bill of Rights to protect the drinking water of millions.
It is this single-mindedness to save the world and all of its inhabitants and staying true to their principles that can also be construed as a weakness. Greens do not accept corporate money--which is a weakness when you read campaign finance reports and see how many millions of dollars the establishment parties have to advertise their candidates. It's amazing how well Green candidates actually do at the ballot box with so little money at their disposal. Ironically, this could be due to the fact that without huge campaign war chests Green candidates are forced to go door-to-door and talk to the voters in order to get their message out. Could real voter engagement be a more cost effective method than slick TV ads?
Ballot access challenges were addressed by Brendan Phillips and Tony Ndege.
Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins speak to the original "Green New Deal" espoused by Greens since 2010. The Greens' version calls for massive military spending cuts since it is the military that creates the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions.

Greens are egalitarians that will not allow one person or group of people to dictate terms to others without their consent; hence, there are many caucuses within the Green Party: Women's, Lavender (LGBTQ+), Youth, African-American, LatinX… If there is some way to categorize humanity, the Greens have a caucus for it--or are open to starting one. While this sounds great on paper and is truly something to be proud of, in the real world it can lead to "labels." Party members sometimes get into each other faces because of perceived or real slights by another who wears a different label. The temptation to produce a "learning moment" is often too good to miss, too. 
Diversity awareness panel led by G.P. co-chair Anita Rios.

Hard feelings don't exactly engender party unity or help create an atmosphere of trust. The family can become dysfunctional, and not happy or whole. Add to this the stress of stretched finances, and it's a miracle the "Green Family" has stuck together this long. It's a testimony to the awesome power of the Green Party's Four Pillars and Ten Key Values that Greens have weathered their storms. It's safe to say these guiding principles have prevented the party's members' weaknesses from overcoming its strengths.
 
Margaret Kimberly, editor of Black Agenda Report, and former G.P. presidential candidate Jill Stein moderate the presidential forum.

The countdown to the 2020 presidential campaign began in earnest with six presidential candidates at the forum table on Friday night. They answered questions about their platform positions and occasionally took a pot shot at the perceived front runner. These not-entirely-polite comments would seem tame in an establishment party debate, but at a Green Party candidate forum they come across about as pleasant as the sound of nails scratching across a blackboard.
G.P. presidential candidates fielding questions. From left to right: Howie Hawkins, Dennis Lambert, Ian Schlakman, Sedinam Moyowasiza-Curry, Dario Hunter, David Rolde.

"Hey, we're all family here, Greens!" you want to shout at the folks on stage. "Get along, please, for the sake of the people, planet and peace, will y'all?"


But it is exactly these outbursts of valued truths that demonstrate how well the Greens' unity in diversity strategy fares. There are no secrets or conspiracies kept hidden from other family members. Greens air their grievances and hopefully will work them out in time for the presidential election season with all hands on deck pulling together.
 
Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein, and Cheri Honkala

In the spirit of their four pillars of grassroots democracy, social justice, peace and environmental wisdom, the Green Party presses on. Ballot access fights and struggles in many states loom on the horizon, but the family members will not give up or give in. It is the planet we're talking about saving after all. We don't have the option to stop fighting for our future. Green Power shall prevail.

*** 
 

We can't allow Japan to kill hundreds more whales this year. Sign the petition.
 
It's whaling season again in Japan, but this year they've taken their annual massacre of whales to a new level. Rather than dodge the rules and exploit loopholes in the international ban on whaling, Japan simply left the International Whaling Commission altogether. Without this nominal oversight, their already legally dubious whaling operations will go unchecked.
Humans have already nearly hunted whales to extinction. That's why countries banded together 73 years ago to stop the industry before there were no whales left to kill. But Japan has lived on the edge. Each year, Japanese whaling vessels marked "RESEARCH" in all caps and English, have killed dozens of whales. This so-called "research" ends with whale meat being sold for profit, revealing itself for what it truly is: just another means of hunting.
Without the imprimatur of belonging to the International Whaling Commission, Japan has increased its commitment to kill whales. This year, they plan to kill 383 whales.
The international community can't allow Japan to put whales' survival at risk. Sign the petition to demand Japan end their annual whale hunts and recommit to a real ban on international whaling.
Thank you,
Emily V.
The Care2 Petitions Team

***

From Move to Amend:

As you may know, I have been in Washington, DC for the past few months, working to secure more support for the We the People Amendment

On Monday last week a friend let me know that the following day a group of brave young activists would be shutting down Congress to protest climate collpase inaction and calling on Congress to join the UK and Canada in declaring a Climate Emergency. 

But they were short one person because someone had a family emergency.
I decided to step up. 

I am terrified and so sorrowful for the world we are leaving for my 7 and 3 year old nephews. I am beside myself with grief at the extinction of animals and human suffering that climate collapse is already causing. 

And I am outraged that instead of protecting our future, Congress has spent the past 30 years doing the bidding of their corporate masters, at the expense of our planet.

So on Tuesday last week I joined 16 people affiliated with the climate action group Extinction Rebellion in supergluing ourselves to three underground tunnel entrances leading to the Capitol, blocking access to members of Congress who were heading to a regularly scheduled session.
Superglue has always really intimidated me, but my fear of a world wrought by climate collapse is much more terrifying. I was very afraid that police would rip our hands from the walls and cause us injury, and I knew that I would surely be arrested for the action -- but I am tired of inaction by our national leaders and I am tired of feeling powerless to save our planet!

It never occured to me that I should be more afraid of a member of Congress than the police! 


During the action Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH) ripped my glued hand from the glass and pushed past me. I'm relieved to say that his action didn't rip my skin off, but it sure did sting!

Capitol Police encouraged me to file charges and after input from a number of people I have decided to do so. 

Since 2009, Gibbs has received over $183,000 in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies including American Electric Power, FirstEnergy Corporation, Marathon Petroleum, and Murray Energy. 

Murray Energy is known for filing Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits against critics when they speak out against their positions, including comedian John Oliver as well as several labor and environmental leaders who are also active local Move to Amend volunteers in Ohio. 

Our Representatives are not serving the American people, they are serving multinational corporations. This assault is a physical representation of the assaults waged against communities and people across the country every day by Congress’s cold and irresponsible inaction. Our leaders refuse to act because they take orders from fossil fuel corporations and the billionaires that own them.

I don't want to let Congressman Gibbs get away with this, just like I don't want to let any member of Congress get away with their crimes of inaction in the face of this disaster that was entirely preventable but is now on fast forward. 
What you can do:
  • Share the video of Rep Gibb's assault so that no matter what happens with my charges, the public knows what happened.
     
  • Join me on Thursday via Facebook or Twitter Live and I'll tell you the full story, answer questions and talk about how the We the People Amendment is essential to stop climate collapse.
     
  • Find ways to take bold action in the face of climate change. I was honored to be part of this action, you will feel better if you act too. September 20-27 is the Global Climate Strike, called by children and young people who are demanding we fight for their future. Find an action near you and be as bold as possible. You don't have to be arrested and spend 22 hours in police custody like I did, but it is a small price to pay given the urgency of the climate situation.
And finally, if this action inspired you, please make a donation to support our work at Move to Amend. 

My civil disobedience was not official Move to Amend business, I was acting as a concerned civillian. But one of the most important reasons why we must pass the We the People Amendment is to reign in corporate power so that climate change can be addressed.

Yours for the planet,
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
National Director, Move to Amend


P.S. I again want to express my profound respect and admiration to the young people of Extinction Rebellion DC who organized this bold, strategic and critical action. We were covered in over 40 major media outlets and numerous Representatives have signed on to the Climate Emergency resolution since we told them to do so, face to face, as they passed us while we were glued to the walls.