Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Our Children Are Paying Attention


Lake Erie by Mirek/Photo by his mom Stefania/Meme layout by Crys
We say "Power to the people!" but do we really mean it? Do we really believe it? How can We the People, the 99%, the average guys ever hope to exert any power over those who oppress us when so much power rests in the hands of the few, the 1%, the elite classes?

There are no easy answers, but we can't afford to give up now. Our children are paying attention. They learn from our example.
Painting signs to promote the Lake Erie Bill of Rights
It's tempting to throw in the towel and walk away, but quitters never win and winners never quit. Fortunately, there will always be some small group of individuals willing to risk it all for the good of the public. This week we catch up once again with the ongoing story of one such activist group, Toledoans for Safe Water. Their mission? To ensure clean drinking water for millions and to hold the corporate polluters accountable for their actions.

Ambitious? Yes, but our children are paying attention. We can't live in fear forever. We have to act boldly while we can. We can't let our children down!

Toledo Voters Go To The Polls February 26

Toledo voters will be asked to vote on two charter amendments during a
special election on February 26. One of these charter amendments, the Lake
Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR), is the first proposed rights of nature law to
advance in the United States that focuses on a distinct ecosystem. If
adopted, the measure will secure Lake Erie’s rights to exist and flourish.


This citizens' initiative was inspired by the 2014 water crisis in the
Toledo metropolitan area when a blue-green algal bloom poisoned the city's
water supply and left 500,000 people without drinking water for three days.
(Over 11 million in both the US and Canada obtain their drinking water from
Lake Erie.)


After months of delaying tactics from the Lucas County Board of Elections,
Toledo City Council and spurious legal challenges in the Ohio Supreme
Court, the measure is on the February 26 special election ballot, and early
voting has already begun. This citizens' initiative would not have happened
without the enthusiastic engagement of local activists from Toledoans for
Safe Water (TSW) and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie (ACLE), as well as
moral and legal support from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).


How do those who live in neighborhoods near the lakeshore view this issue?
Point Place resident and TSW organizer Markie Miller stated, "The lake may
not be in everyone's backyard--but it's in our kitchens! The lake and the
communities that rely on her are powerless to the corporate driven harms
that burden taxpayers, the ecosystem, and the economy."

Photo by Stefania Czech

Her Point Place neighbor C. Jankowski agrees. "You can sue your neighbor if something they do harms you, but you can't sue the people dumping chemicals (in the lake) without permission. Hint: you won't get permission. That's what LEBOR is for."


LEBOR is opposed by Big Agriculture interests, especially concentrated animal feedlot operations, known as CAFOs, and over a dozen related lobbyist organizations. It is also opposed by a local construction trades union that has worked lucrative contracts at the nearby Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. These anti-LEBOR groups have used scare tactics such as saying taxes will have to be raised to enforce the law and that cleaning up Lake Erie could cost local jobs, but they offer no proof for their claims. In fact, the algae-filled lake has cost the local economy billions of dollars in tourism revenue and caused water bill rates to be raised in order to
cover the costs of making the water for safe for human consumption. Many
well-paying jobs could be created cleaning and maintaining the health of
Lake Erie for all to enjoy for generations to come.


LEBOR activists have pressed on despite the setbacks, as Ohio law states a
citizens' initiative that receives the required number of signatures must
be put before the voters. These determined citizens realize democracy
doesn’t come cheap, and they feel that the loss of our Great Lake's
environment--and the Toledo area's drinking water--will cost us all dearly.


You can learn more about LEBOR and CELDF at their web sites:

http://lakeerieaction.org 

https://celdf.org/

The pro-pollution/anti-clean water forces are out and spreading their malicious lies, of course.  And many will ask, "Why don't you just use the existing laws to prosecute the polluters and get them to clean up their mess?" The following article will show you why that tactic no longer works (if it ever did).

Complete Wiping Away of Clean Water Act: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/12/07/complete-wiping-away-clean-water-act-trump-epa-rule-would-free-corporations-pollute

Here's a letter to the editor refuting the spurious claims of a corporate lackey.


Tom Troy in his column uses a specious argument in an attempt to trick voters into believing their votes don't count, and therefore, they should not bother to vote on February 26. To whit, he claims that because a turnout to a special election is historically "low" then somehow the issues presented on that election ballot are not as "worthy" as those on an election ballot that traditionally gets a larger voter turnout (such as a presidential election). 

If this is the case, then the next logical argument Mr. Troy could make is "Why do we have elections every year--why not only have them every four years or more?" One could further argue from his proposition that why should we bother having elections at all since they cost the taxpayers money. Let's just appoint a dictator of Toledo to make all the decisions for its citizens, shall we? It's "less costly" than having a special election, correct? 

 Since I'm assuming Mr. Troy isn't advocating for a dictatorship and the end of the democratic process in Toledo, one has to question his motives for using such weak and outright duplicitous claims that the special election is costing Toledoans an outrageous sum of money. 

Can we put a price on democracy, Mr. Troy? 
Besides, the special election would not have been necessary if the city of Toledo, the Lucas County Board of Elections and the state Supreme Court hadn't been under the influence of moneyed interests such as the Big Ag lobbyists and the trade union member, Josh Abernathy, who filed a frivolous lawsuit in a vain attempt to overturn the Ohio constitution which gives citizens the right to create and pass citizens initiatives with a mandate of the people. 

Mr. Troy is obviously on the side of the corporations who have bribed and paid off our local, state, and perhaps even national politicians to such a  point that these "public servants" seem willing to risk our health and safety--and the lives of our children and grandchildren--by allowing further toxic contamination of our drinking water in Lake Erie. 

Shame on you, Mr. Troy, for insinuating that our children's lives and our very democracy have a price tag!

More on the Lucas County Board of Election and their shenanigans to keep LEBOR off the ballot:

Column Ignored the Malice of the Election Board.
http://opinion.toledoblade.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2019/02/10/tom-troy-column-ignored-malice-of-elections-board/stories/20190208097

Head of Lucas County Dems Appoints Self to Scandal-Ridden B.O.E.
https://www.toledoblade.com/opinion/editorials/2019/02/11/new-hope-for-lucas-county-elections-board/stories/
***

Are you paying attention? You can bet our opposition is!

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Power to the people--not the corporations!

***
From Friends of the Earth:
As you read this, hundreds of Friends of the Earth members are showing up at Congressional offices across the country as part of the Green New Deal week of action. These supporters, along with thousands of our progressive allies, are turning out to deliver more than 100,000 signatures urging Congress to transform our economy and energy systems through a Green New Deal.

But for our movement for a Green New Deal to succeed, we need to demand our Representatives’ attention both online and offline. Which is why we’re counting on you to support today’s in-person action takers with a social media action of your own.

Can you take two minutes to back up fellow volunteers in the fight for a Green New Deal with a simple Tweet?


Our movement for a Green New Deal is powerful, but so is our competition. Right now, dirty energy companies are doing everything they can to water down or block any plans for a Green New Deal in Congress. And if you tuned in to the State of the Union earlier this week, you probably noticed that Donald Trump failed to even mention climate change -- demonstrating yet again his commitment to fossil fuels and polluters over people and our planet.

Meanwhile, environmentalists like you know that in order to avert the worst impacts of climate chaos, we need a strong Green New Deal that must:

  1. Halt all new fossil fuel extraction, transitioning us to 100% renewable energy;
  2. Rapidly decarbonize our agriculture and transportation sectors;
  3. Ensure a fair and just transition led by impacted workers and communities;
  4. Uphold Indigenous rights; and
  5. Pass a national jobs guarantee.

With so much at stake, it’s truly up to us to keep the pressure on Congress for real solutions that match the urgency of the climate crisis. Sharing a Tweet is really quick, but it makes a huge impact -- just at the moment when we need it most. Will you take action to defend communities and our environment today?


Throughout this week, thousands of people signed and delivered petitions, made phone calls, and took to the streets to support a Green New Deal that lives up to our demands for justice and climate action.

Now, we’re in the final stretch of our week of action -- and we need your help to create a level of public pressure that Congress can’t ignore. By adding your voice, you can play a critical role in the fight against climate chaos and for a Green New Deal.

This is a quick and simple way you can help tell Congress that we need robust climate action and renewable energy NOW. All you have to do is click the link below, login in to Twitter, and hit “Tweet” to post your message. What are you waiting for?


Standing with you,
Liz Butler,
VP of organizing and strategic alliances,
Friends of the Earth

*** 
Right now, two of the world’s biggest mining companies want to mine Apache sacred lands just an hour east of Phoenix in Oak Flat, Arizona.

If Congress lets them get away with it, they will be violating indigenous people’s rights and creating a toxic trash dump that will release airborne chemicals for miles around the site.
SIGN THE PETITIONActivists and indigenous people had successfully stopped companies from mining Oak Flat for a decade before Congress snuck the sale of the lands into a bill funding the military.

After so many votes rebuffing pro-mining interests when the deal was debated openly, Congress sneakily put Oak Flat up for sale.
But the sale can still be stopped.
Sign our petition to tell Congress you condemn the immoral and unconstitutional seizure and sale of Oak Flat and you don’t want the site to be built as planned in 2020.

On Saturday, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival joins the Apache Stronghold in Arizona on their Fifth Annual March to Oak Flat. Because:

  • The Apache Stronghold’s struggle is the struggle of families in Detroit whose water was shut off.
  • The struggle of disenfranchised people in Kentucky, where 9% of the state can’t vote.
  • The struggle at the border, where federal workers are pawns in a battle for a wall while land is secretly sold off to multinational corporations on the other side of the fence.
Corporate America has shown it is willing to ignore the needs of the poor in almost every way, including by dumping toxic chemicals on the poor and indigenous people again and again.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government acts unaccountable to its own treaties with native and indigenous people. From the Doctrine of Discovery that was used to justify the takeover of indigenous lands to the ongoing attempt to undermine tribal sovereignty and steal native people’s resources, the U.S. has been assaulting the very right of indigenous people to exist.

We are all people of conscience -- Apache, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, people of other faiths and not of faith -- who refuse to be silent while Congress and corporate interests attempt to destroy indigenous people’s right to political independence and their very right to exist. 

We can’t afford to waste another moment: Sign the petition to demand Congress protect Oak Flat.
We stand in solidarity with the Apache Stronghold. Our fight is one.
Forward together, not one step back!

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

***
From Good Jobs Nation:

BREAKING NEWS: General Motors laid off 4,000 salaried employees starting last week. This is only part of an overall plan to lay off 15% of their American workforce and close down many plants altogether.

Here’s the bottom line: Trump has rewarded companies who have offshored jobs with $115 billion in federal contracts (over $700 million of which went to GM) — on top of a massive tax break — without doing anything to prevent top executives from pocketing the money and betraying American workers.

Trump could have acted to save thousands of jobs if he cared to do so. He doesn’t.

Add your name here to demand that Trump publicly take responsibility for his betrayal of GM workers, and sign an executive order to prevent public money going to companies that offshore our jobs

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

If You Have The Oil...


If You Have The Oil... We Have The Democracy?
(Observations on the Advanced Symptoms of Late-Stage Capitalism)
by C. A. Matthews

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. (I Corinthians 13:11, NRSV)

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away I believed that all wars served a noble purpose. You know what I mean. I believed that no country or group of people would ever start a war if it wasn't for a sound reason. My idea of sound reasons include a country could start a war because another country had invaded their territory, or a rogue group had threatened genocide against another group of human beings, and we couldn't in all good conscience stand by and let them do such an immoral thing.



I've grown up in the past few years in my "woke adulthood." I don't believe in childish things like you have to have a noble purpose behind every act of aggression in the world. In fact, the more I've studied and observed recent military interventions around the globe the more I've come to the conclusion that noble and moral intentions in warfare just get in the way.


It really all boils down to this rather Pythonesque statement: It's nothing personal--we just want your resources. Its corollary: We'll do anything we have to in order to get them.


Take America's recent interest in Venezuela. I'm far from being an expert on South American/USA affairs, but it doesn't take a Harvard PhD in political science to see what's going on. Venezuela sits on top of the world's largest reserves of petroleum. We want their oil. It's that simple.


"Oh, no, it can't be that obvious," many mainstream pundits protest. "We want to promote freedom and democracy in Venezuela. They have a socialist for a president and the people don't want him."

The reality? Nicolas Maduro won the presidency in May of 2018 with 67.8% of the vote--an election that the opposition boycotted. Juan Guaido received 0 votes in the last election, yet he is now considered the legitimate president of Venezuela?

It's hard to argue with the fact that Mr. Maduro is a very popular president, socialist or not, and by "promoting democracy" the US is helping stage a coup d'├ętat to install a right-winger who never even ran for the office. Our chosen puppet Guaido would have never won the support of the majority of Venezuelans if he did. 

What do you call a government that attempts to install a person into a high office he wasn't even elected to according to his country's own laws?  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn't call a government that practices such crimes a democracy. Would you?

The echoes of our recent forays in Syria, where an oil pipeline was to be built--don't forget a good location is a resource to grab, too--only adds credence to the fact that the United States of America is simply an oil company with an army. When our Big Oil CEOs want more oil to sell, they tell our government to go a warring to get it if necessary. The war against Native Americans and their allies at Standing Rock demonstrates that hiring private mercenaries and drafting state troopers to shoot rubber bullets and tear gas into peaceful crowds isn't above (or is it below?) our puppet government's reach.

The US has ceased to be a nation of laws. It's transformed itself into a privately owned corporation ruled by oil-loving tyrants. The parasites called capitalists have almost taken over their host in its entirety now, and if they continue to feed on the greed, fear and ignorance of the populace the host will soon be no more. It may only take one more "war for oil" to do it.
You don't have to take my word for it. There are many experts to back me up, the incomparable Chris Hedges being one of them. In his article, The World to Come (https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-world-to-come/) he states: 

The nation’s isolation by its traditional allies and its inability, especially in the face of environmental catastrophe, to articulate rational and visionary policies have shattered the mystique that is vital to power. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” George Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Our elites have exhausted fraud. Force is all they have left.

But all is not lost--we can cure the illness of late-stage capitalism, according to Hedges:

We must carry out organized civil disobedience and forms of non-cooperation to weaken corporate power. We must use, as in France, widespread and sustained social unrest to push back against the designs of our corporate masters. We must sever ourselves from reliance on corporations in order to build independent, sustainable communities and alternative forms of power. The less we need corporations the freer we will become. This will be true in every aspect of our lives, including food production, education, journalism, artistic expression and work. Life will have to be communal. No one, unless he or she is part of the ruling elite, will have the resources to survive alone.

The longer we pretend this dystopian world is not imminent, the more unprepared and disempowered we will be. The ruling elite’s goal is to keep us entertained, frightened and passive while they build draconian structures of oppression grounded in this dark reality. It is up to us to pit power against power. Ours against theirs. Even if we cannot alter the larger culture, we can at least create self-sustaining enclaves where we can approximate freedom. We can keep alive the burning embers of a world based on mutual aid rather than mutual exploitation. And this, given what lies in front of us, will be a victory.

Even in the face of defeat in the latest resource grab conflict we can declare victory--but only if we're not afraid to create the "self-sustaining enclaves where we can approximate freedom…based on mutual aid rather than mutual exploitation" that Chris Hedges describes.


To be cured of this hideous disease of capitalism that drives countries into committing despicable acts, we'll have to be creative and courageous in our efforts. Always, we have to be moral and noble in promoting our cause. And, in the end, we can't let the bastards grind us down.

Related articles/video:

Trump's Efforts to Out Maduro Are Illegal and Will Kill More Venezuelans.
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/54778-trumps-efforts-to-oust-maduro-are-illegal-and-will-kill-more-venezuelans

Lee Camp exposes the three factors all countries that have suffered recent coup d'├ętats sponsored by the US have in common.   
https://youtu.be/h-8nT_OD0MU
 

Beanstock's World blog's Political Awakening Video Weekend has lots of good video links about Venezuela and other progressive topics.  https://beanstocksworld.wordpress.com/2019/02/03/political-awakening-video-weekend-02-03-2019-13-videos/#like-7161

*** 

Freedom isn't free--and neither is running a blog!

The Revolution Continues has been targeted by anti-progressive trolls and hackers. It's difficult to fight against their blocks to prevent readers from sharing our web site link since these trolls/hackers have access to corporate cash. But you can help us out by donating to keep the blog ad-free and functioning. The editor pays for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket, and she would like to be able to pay her contributors, so your generous monetary gifts are appreciated. 


Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $20--any amount you can give to keep this progressive site going. Help us become a strong alternative voice protesting against the corrupt establishment and its paid-off corporate mouthpieces. Give to TRC today. Thank you.

You can donate via Paypal at http://paypal.me/camatthews 

And thanks to a generous reader, we have a  domain name. Please share the link: http://therevolutioncontinues.com  


Power to the people--not the corporations!


 ***
 From Credo:

Two years is too long. It's time for Congress to repeal the Muslim ban.

Donald Trump began separating and terrorizing Black and Brown families as soon as he took office. His Muslim ban was one of the first racist policies he enacted to attack our communities.

Over the summer, five justices on the Supreme Court failed to put checks on Trump and refused to strike down the ban.1 Now, it's up to Congress to take the lead. Democrats just reintroduced legislation to block the Muslim ban.2 Congress needs to pass it now.

Tell Congress: Two years is too long. Pass legislation to repeal Trump's hateful Muslim ban. Click here to sign the petition.

No family should ever be torn apart because of their religion or place of birth – but that's exactly what Trump will continue to do if Congress doesn't stop him.

Trump is nothing if not persistent in his crusade to institutionalize his white nationalist agenda. Two of his signature policies – the Muslim ban and asylum ban - stem from a bigoted desire to divide and keep out communities who threaten the white supremacy at the core of his administration. 

His Muslim ban is dividing many American Muslim families, but it's a more hidden crisis than family separation at the border. Some people locked out by the ban qualify for waivers that would allow them to re-enter the country and reunite with their families, but reports of the government denying people's waiver application even though they meet every criterion are growing.3 The Trump administration is tearing apart Muslim families at U.S embassies scattered around the world – and out of sight of most Americans. We must put a stop to this now.

Two years ago, thousands of us were in the streets and at airports welcoming Muslims and refugees and demanding that Congress intervene to block Trump's Muslim ban. We must keep up the fight and use that same grassroots power to force Congress to act now.

Rep. Judy Chu and Sen. Chris Murphy just reintroduced legislation that would declare Trump's Muslim ban unconstitutional and bar him from using federal funds to enforce it.4 This bill moves the fight to repeal the ban one huge step forward. Congress should approve it and work to pass legislation that would completely strike it down.

Tell Congress: Two years is too long. Pass legislation to repeal Trump's hateful Muslim ban. Click the link below to sign the petition.

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/no-muslim-ban-2019?t=7&akid=31438%2E9999572%2E55MxR4

Thank you for all you do,
Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Rachel Brown and Georgia Travers, "The Muslim ban expands the cruel policy of family separation," The Washington Post, July 3, 2018.
  2. Niels Lesniewski, "Democrats want to defund President Trump's 'Muslim ban,'" Roll Call, Jan. 29, 2019.
  3. Brown and Travers, "The Muslim ban expands the cruel policy of family separation."
  4. Lesniewski, "Democrats want to defund President Trump's 'Muslim ban.'"
***
From California Clean Money Action Fund:

"For the People Act" has 230,000 Signatures
— Help us reach 250,000!
There's an exciting new federal bill that stands with the People and against Big Money dominating our politics and government.

HR-1, the For The People Act, is a much needed and potentially massive overhaul of money in politics, voting, and ethics laws — all to make our democracy work for us, not special interests.

Sign the Coalition Petition now! 230,000 people have already signed — help us reach 250,000!


Sign the Coalition Petition!


This is a great opportunity stand for a powerful package of national campaign finance and voting reforms to prevent Big Money from continuing to dominate politics and shut people out of the process..

HR-1 has strong new disclosure rules to force Dark Money non-profits to report their secret funders, like we do in California. It would set up small-donor citizen-funded elections for Congress so candidates don't have to rely on Big Money donors. And it has numerous ethics reform measures, such as slowing the revolving door between government and lobbyists and strengthening the Federal Elections Commission.to enforce violations.

HR-1 will also protect and expand voting rights and election security, through measures like same day voting registration, making election day a federal holiday, ending gerrymandering, and requiring the use of paper ballots and risk-limiting audits. We're also pushing for it to include funding for publicly-owned Open-Source Paper-Ballot Voting Systems, as we have been in California.

Now is the time to stand together and force Congress to pass a package of strong and specific reforms for a real democracy that serves We the People and not Big Money or special interests.

Please sign the Coalition Petition now! Tell Congress we demand the For The People Act!

The petition is direct and specific. It says:


To Congress — " We want a government that works for all of us — that gives us all a say and puts our needs ahead of special interests.

We want our elected officials to support the For The People Act (H.R. 1) and make sure it's a bold, comprehensive package of democracy reforms including: independent redistricting commissions, citizen-funded elections, closing the revolving door between government and corporate interests, and protecting voters against discrimination."

Sign the Coalition Petition!

Thank you for standing with us in the fight for fair elections. We're based in California so we can make sure it sets a good example, but we take action with our national coalition partners everywhere. Sometimes California needs the help of other states and sometimes other states' need ours!

Please stay tuned for more ways you can fight and win against Big Money in politics everywhere.

Trent Lange
President and Executive Director, California Clean Money Action Fund


Want to fight Big Money by becoming a Clean Money member?  Clean Money supporters like you help us achieve historic victories like passing the California DISCLOSE Act, the strongest disclosure law in the nation. Now we must expand it throughout the country! Will you stand with us against Big Money?

Yes, I'll become a Clean Money member by giving $5 a month or more! (Thanks if you already are!)

Not now, but I'll make a one-time donation of $3 or more!