Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Mr. T Comes To Town

Photo by Hexen Photography

This is the smile you'd expect when someone important comes to town, isn't it? But behind this innocent's bright countenance lies a darker reason why she and her family were out protesting on the streets that day. Our guest blogger shares his impressions of the event.

Mr. T Comes To Town
words and photos by Coast Watcher 

President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the Huntington Center in the heart of downtown Toledo on January 9, the venue for their first rally of the 2020 campaign season. They got a warm reception in more ways than one, getting heartily booed as the motorcades passed by demonstrators en route to the hockey arena and cheered by their followers once they took the stage. Mainstream media reported a gathering of “hundreds” of protesters and fifteen thousand Trump supporters present. Surprise, surprise—the rally attendees waiting on line appeared to be all white and mostly male.

From my estimate taken on the ground, the Trumplings were at most half that number.
(Others also estimated the protester count to be higher and the rally attendance lower, as the Huntington Center only sits 8,000 maximum according to their website.)  Television footage taken within the Huntington Center showed a half-empty arena in one shot with most people pushed toward the stage to make it look as if more were present. The number of
protesters fluctuated throughout the day, as groups of people arrived and departed. Unlike the Trumplings, who appeared to be financially able to take time off to travel a distance to worship their admired leader, the protesters were mostly local and had jobs and family demands to attend towhich makes it difficult to spare much time to protest. Yet protest they did, on a not-so-warm day in early January.

The demonstrators represented a variety of causes, from factory-standard Democrats through (Bernie) Sandernistas, the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, the Lucas County Greens, union workers, Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio
and even a few outright Communists. A single-issue group identifying itself as No Vape, No Vote contained especially noisy members. One anti-fascist group down from Detroit,#OutNow, wore orange and used megaphones to outshout the other demonstrating parties. An anti-Trumper was spotted carrying a gallon of milk, presumably to wash away tear gas from people’s eyes should the need arise. (It did not.) 

A retired hook-and-ladder firetruck drove repeatedly around the block, its Trumpling crew sounding the siren as they jeered, waved Trump flags, and flipped off  demonstrators. Questions were asked whether such a vehicle was legal, since it still had its red paintwork and horn, but none of the law officers present seemed to know or cared to stop and ticket the driver.
Overall the event was peaceful.
The police were out in force. When asked, some officers were well aware of the Trump campaign’s propensity for not paying police security bills at numerous cities across America. Jaded by the knowledge, probably many were not expecting Toledo PD to receive any better treatment. 

The police were universally tolerant of both sides, keeping the parties apart via barriers to prevent trouble, so I find it a shame to report that one officer stationed by the main library branch rallying point abused his position. He snatched a PA speaker unit from the hands of a man I know to be a Vietnam veteran, threw it to the ground, and shoved him violently. The veteran, a leader of Veterans for Peace, didn’t respond to this flagrant bullying. Instead he moved onto the sidewalk and led protesters away.

Trumplings made a point of flipping off the demonstrators while waiting to enter the venue. One fan of the
president spotted a protester’s sign reading Love thy neighbor and shouted out how, while he didn’t love his neighbor, he really did love his 401K. Wonder if this guy knows that his orange-faced idol recently said that dismantling Social Security would make for “a fun second term project.” Wonder if he couldn't care less, just as long as he can hoard his wealth.

Another Trumpling shouted, “America comes first!” She was quickly shut down by a tart response from a savvy protestor with a British accent: “The world must come first. America’s not the only nation on this planet, madam.” It seems to be something that many Trumplings forget.

A Trumpling vendor selling camouflage MAGA hats and shirts demanded to know what we demonstrators would do if America was attacked. Hmm, let’s see... 9/11 was the last time America was
attacked (and we all know that debate still rages over who the true instigators of that heinous crime were). Since then the US has attacked several countries, both militarily and through sanctions, usually to gain control of their oil and mineral depositsand occasionally to destroy a socialist government. And although the hijackers who flew those airplanes back in 2001 were Saudi Arabian in origin, America did not see fit to launch a counter attack against their mega-wealthy oil-rich country, possibly because they happen to be a good customer for the American military-industrial complex.

Post-rally, the area where the Trumplings had queued to enter the arena was a
After the Trump rally photos courtesy Natalie Renee
total mess. Mounds of litter strewn along the fenced-off line necessitated hours of Toledo taxpayer-funded hours to clean up. Much like the cost of policing a Trump event, the taxpayer will more than likely not be reimbursed for the costs. This gives evidence to support many people’s opinion that the vast majority of Trump’s supporters came from out of town. Although given Trumplings' general contempt for the environment, it’s entirely possible the litterers were locals with lower than average civic pride.

Toledo has a lot of unemployment and a lot of empty houses courtesy of the first NAFTA that wrecked the Rust Belt. Trump recently signed up the US to NAFTA  2. With income taxes lowered for the one-percent, ordinary citizens are forced to pick up the slack for social programs (that haven't been cut already). Lake Erie, Toledo's water supply, has serious problems with the annual toxic algae bloom, and Trump has gutted the EPA and killed the Clean Water Act. Toledo is home to a large Muslim community and a large mosque. Trump seems bent on starting yet another war for oil in Iran and encouraging religious bigotry among his followers. Large immigration raids by Trump's ICE have happened in the NW Ohio area, leaving children without parents and local churches and agencies desperately trying to reunite families, yet the GOP declares itself the party of
family values.”  Yeah, sure they are.

Given all the damage Trump and his government have inflicted and still inflicts on cities like Toledo and Americans in general, it’s a wonder he dares shows his five-dollar, fake-tanned visage anywhere.
BIO: Coast Watcher finds his first experience of standing across the street from the "leader of the free world" to be both humbling and completely humbug. The following short video is how he sees the president's supporters:

David Doel from The Rational National podcast gives a brief analysis of this video clip and what it really says about Trump supporters:  https://youtu.be/RH8YISd6w-o 

Question: Can you spot one Trump voter who isn't white and of Anglo-Saxon heritage in this photo?  Answer: You can't because there weren't any.

Today we joined faith leaders, including denominational and national leadership, with moral advocates across the country in requesting that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights hold our government accountable for violating the UN Charter and escalating us toward war with Iran. This afternoon we formally requested a meeting with High Commissioner Bachelet. As the request began:

"We write gravely disturbed, indeed outraged, by the death that is occurring because of our President's rogue actions in the Middle East. His willingness to bypass congressional approval, violate international law, pardon convicted war criminals, implement harsher sanctions and abandon existing peace deals, sets a dangerous precedent that can have continued lethal and destabilizing results.

The US President's order to carry out a lethal drone strike violated the UN Charter's prohibition on the use of force. The assassination of General Qassim Suleimani represented an act of war against a country with whom the United States was not at war. Trump’s claim of imminent danger from Suleimani is unfounded and must be investigated.
The threat to add new sanctions to Iran, and to involve the NATO military alliance, all indicate that the threat of war remains very real. Furthermore, we know that the majority of impact from these sanctions will be on the poor."
We know that in the words of Rev. Dr. King "war is the enemy of the poor."  We must say no to war and militarism.

Join us in our request. Sign here. Share it widely as we humbly and whole-heartedly work to keep our country from war and our world from the dangerous precedence of immoral and unaccountable leadership. Our people across the world are hurting, and it's gone on far too long.

We know that together we can and must revive the heart and soul of this nation.

Join our signatures here.

Forward together,
Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of Repairers of the Breach
Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center
Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Jeff Bezos Will Ring in the New Year by Leaving These Employees Out in the Cold

Nearly 2,000 part-time Whole Foods employees may not be celebrating at all. On January 1st, these workers were stripped of their healthcare benefits and left to fend for themselves.Tell Jeff Bezos to do the right thing — use his billions to help his employees, not his bottom line.
Any employee who works less than full-time but at least 20 hours per week will now have to find their own healthcare. The extra cost is substantial: healthcare across the nation is staggeringly expensive, even for full-time workers with a middle-class salary. For a part-time employee making anything less, the cost could be crippling.
The company now says they will help some of these employees transition into full-time jobs so they can qualify for continued benefits or help them find care in the private market, but this won't help everyone. One employee who had been with Whole Foods for 15 years explained that in order to work full-time hours, she would need to pay for daycare, which is sometimes even more expensive than healthcare.
The high-end supermarket is owned by Amazon, which is, in turn, owned by Jeff Bezos, who is the second-wealthiest person on Earth. If he wanted to, he could easily afford to provide healthcare — after all, he is personally worth $112 billion dollars. His company earns billions of dollars a year, but when it comes to his employees, this billionaire is a penny-pincher.
Tell Jeff Bezos this is unacceptable. His part-time employees depended on their company-provided healthcare. Snatching it away right after Christmas is something only a Grinch would do.

Lauren W.
The Care2 Petitions Team

P.S. Whole Foods must not treat its employees so cruelly. Healthcare is a human right. Please sign the petition.


Tell Congress:
"Demand our lawmakers put human rights above corporate profits by guaranteeing housing for all."

Americans spent more on Christmas decorations in 2012 than researchers say it would cost to completely end homelessness in America.1

Is that the country we want to live in? Where big banks and corporate developers push over 3 million families into homelessness and others into poverty?

Everyone living in the United States should have safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing. Period.

Mike Phelan
Progress America
1 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/homelessness-christmas-decorations_n_2276536 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Whole World Is Burning

The Whole World is Burning
--and It's High Time We Did Something About It
(Before It's Too Late)
by C.A. Matthews

Armageddon sells. Red and orange hellish visions of burning fields and forests. Billowing black-gray smoke and horribly injured wildlife. Escaping humans cowering before flames. All these fiery nightmares littered our screens this past week. Australia is burning. 
But so has California, the Congo, Siberia and the Amazon. Outside of a few independent journalists covering the Congo and Siberia, most Americans are  only familiar with the wildfires in California and Brazil. Apparently the suffering in Africa and  the remote areas of Asia aren’t photogenic enough for the mainstream media to report on. Or maybe it’s because we just don’t care about the people and wildlife that live there. It’s not like ordinary Americans ever take fun-filled vacations to Siberia or sub-Saharan Africa, right? Only rich white hunters like Trump's sons go on safari to shoot giraffes and lions these days.

Scared koalas and sad kangaroos capture people’s imagination. They sell papers and make for  poignant television commercials, but will they wake up those who have denied the horrendous effects of climate change for so long? Will they bring about charges against those who have committed crimes against humanity, such as the fossil fuel industry lying to us for years about greenhouse gases and CO2? 

There are fires burning on every single continent. The whole world is burning. If these images of the end times don’t inspire action to take positive steps to stop the burning, then what will? We need to do something to bring about radical change in how we heat our homes, how we get to work, what kinds of foods we eat, what kind of textiles we clothe ourselves in, what ways we interact with nature... Let's douse the actual flames but stoke the fires of genius and creativity and cooperation, shall we?

As the Australian bushfires burn, another conflagration is taking place in the war room of the White House. Trump is starting a war with Iran, a possible nuclear power. Why? Oil, of course! The Iranians recently announced they had another 50 billion barrels in oil reserves. We can’t allow anyone other that the US to have access to that oil, can we? Tempting nuclear winter is an acceptable risk in the oligarchs’ collective mind and possibly the minds of gas-guzzling SUV owners.

But wait… Isn’t it the fossil fuel industry that is fueling our climate crisis? The self same climate crisis that is causing Australia to burn? Destroying whole ecosystems and killing a half billion animals? Why would any sane person allow a suspect industry such as Big Oil to start a war to obliterate everything that is currently being burned to a crisp?

Oh, yeah... It’s Trump and his advisors who decided to assassinate a high-ranking Iranian general as an excuse to steal more oil and generate endless stock splits for Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. We’re not exactly talking strong examples of sane individuals here!

Until we eliminate those in power who hold their fellow man
and indeed life itselfin such contempt, we are all at risk.

The people and the planet can’t take much more of this ill treatment. We don’t appreciate the beautiful blue globe we live on, obviously, but is that any reason to allow warhawks to irradiate it by starting World War III? The squeamish and the cowardly need to buck up—things are going to get nastier and uglier before they get better.  No matter what a 1950s' Civil Defense propaganda film tells you, there's no safe way to survive a nuclear holocaust.

There is no “gray zone” where you can just ignore what’s happening and stare at your phone screen wondering what happened to Instagram once the cell towers fall over.  Sorry, folks.  It’s a black or white decision.  You'll have to make it without the assistance of Twitter or Wikipedia, too.

Pick a side—Planet or Profits, People or Plutocrat Power-trip—and stick to it. Let everyone know where you stand on this issue so we can take appropriate measures to either: 1) Help you in your endeavors to save our beloved Earth, or 2) Do all we can to derail your homicidal/genocidal destruction of our world.

Now is not the time for indecision. Now is the time for action. Which side are 

you on? 

This Parody Project music video will help you make your decision.

Related Articles & Videos to Contemplate:

Zambia on the brink of famine due to climate change (video):

Chart: Shocking Size of the Australian Bushfires

Australia Bushfires Are So Big They're Generating Their Own Weather

Inferno Threat Continues North of Perth

Nearly Half a Billion Animals Feared Dead in Australian Wildfires

Mourning a Disappearing World as Australia Burns
Scientists Want to Make Harming the Environment a War Crime https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/harming-environment-war-crime/

Iran Discovers New Oil Field with Over 50 Billion Barrels 

The beauty we'll lose once we can no longer see the skies through all the smoke of wildfires and battles:

Fabulous photos of space


No War With Iran Peace Protest
January 4, 2020 -- Toledo, Ohio
photos by Cindy & Adrian Matthews 

Over 80 U.S. cities, and others elsewhere, held demonstrations on Saturday against war on Iran.

Senator Tim Kaine has introduced a privileged resolution in the Senate, and Representatives Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar have introduced it in the House, to force a vote on ending U.S. war on Iran.

Click here to email your Senators and Representative.

We, the people, have been preventing a war on Iran for many years, including stopping major efforts to start one in 2007 and 2015.

Congress needs to reverse course. This Congress has refused to impeach for wars and threats of nuclear war, has stripped out of the National Defense Authorization Act the ban on war on Iran that was contained in the House version, and has given Trump even more military funding than he asked for.

Numerous Congress members of both parties, during the days leading up to Trump's assassination of Iran's top military commander, accused Trump of weakness toward Iran.

We need Congress members to speak out for peace, for an end to threats and punishing sanctions, for a removal of U.S. troops from the region, and for the restoration of diplomacy.

Then please share on:

>> Kaine Files War Powers Resolution to Prevent War With Iran
>> Reps Ilhan Omar and Barbara Lee Announce War Powers Resolution
>> Matthew Hoh: The Killing of General Soleimani: Hail Mars! Hail Pluto!
>> David Swanson: Don't Iraq Iran
>> Common Dreams: In Old Tweets, Trump Warned a President Would Attack Iran in 'Desperate' Attempt to Win Reelection
>> Common Dreams: Amid Murky Intel, Experts Say Time to Be Clear: Threat of War With Iran "Solely and Unequivocally" Trump's Fault

World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement – support our work for a culture of peace.

Do you ever worry that you'll wake up and discover it's not just winter--it's actually "nuclear winter?"

Do you ever want to scream and shout about how unjust and unfair our system of health care is? How screwed up our judicial system or jails are? How unlikely you'll ever be out of debt with the current crop of morons in charge?

If any of this resonates with you, why not write about it and submit your article to The Revolution Continues? We'd love to hear from you! Send it to us at: thebernieblog2016@gmail.com

If you're not a writer, but you're one of the few on the left gainfully employed, why not share a little of your monetary wealth with those of us slaving in the trenches of indie journalism. We'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Keep fighting for justice in 2020!