Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Billionaires-in-Spaaaace!


“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won.” -- Billionaire Warren Buffet, 2011

Last week's blog, No War But Class War, didn't seem to reach as many people as usual, and perhaps this week's blog subjects are the reason behind the shadow banning. After all, even capitalists are scared sometimes. They can't have workers and poor folks educated about who their real enemies are, can they?  They genuinely want to be viewed as "heroes," and soulless oligarchs who want to keep you slaving in an underpaid job with the hopes of health care coverage can't be seen as heroic if the truth of how they rarely (never) pay taxes is told.

 But all is not lost! Strap in and get your jet-packs ready... Are you ready to experience (for real) Billionaires-in-Spaaaace


Billionaires-in-Spaaaace!

by Coast Watcher

Big Money has always ruled space exploration and development. First it came from the public purse. US taxpayers funded various space missions culminating in the Apollo Project geared toward President John F. Kennedy’s order to "put a man on the moon and bring him safely back to Earth before the decade was out."

As everyone knows it was mission accomplished. The Soviet Union was beaten to the prize, American honor post-Sputnik was saved, and prestige established. What everyone doesn’t know is that the Apollo program was entirely funded, with the equipment and expertise in place, up to and including Apollo 20. In a spectacular exercise in wastefulness, politicians eager to score brownie points with the voting public then did that public a huge disfavor by canceling the program after Apollo 17.

Some component parts were used in the Skylab program on the 1970s, and it did good science—but it wasn’t as sexy as a moon-shot. Most of the component lifting bodies and lunar modules wound up as museum exhibits. At its height the space program employed over 400,000 people, thousands of educational institutions, and thousands of manufacturers. All those employed spent their money like anyone else—on rent/mortgage payments, food, clothing, education for themselves and/or their children, and so on. The money wasn’t wasted. It really was spent here on Earth.

NASA entered something of a doldrums in the following decade. Although various highly successful missions to other planets and space probes beyond our solar system were launched, their main focus was on the "space-going truck," a.k.a. the Space Shuttle, and there’s nothing sexy about space trucking.

Forward to the 1990s, and the rise of private space ventures. Companies came and went with various projects involving space development usually focused on Earth orbital projects. Some prospered; others fell by the wayside. The field divides into three categories: Cargo transport, suborbital, and orbital.

SpaceX has the highest profile of all the private space ventures. Owned by Elon Musk, it was recently awarded the contract to provide hardware for the Artemis project which is scheduled to take humanity back to the moon beginning this year.

Blue Origin is owned by multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos. His company failed to win the contract for the Artemis project, so as "compensation" for losing out in the bidding war the government awarded Bezos’ company $10 billion in taxpayers money.

Bezos himself and his brother are due to lift into orbit aboard the Blue Shepherd rocket soon. It will reach an altitude of 60 miles where it’ll spend about 11 minutes before returning to Earth.

Rival multi-billionaire Sir Richard Branson plans to usurp Bezos’ private venture by a matter of days, aiming to beat him to orbit aboard his own Spaceship Two vehicle.

I’m old enough to have watched Apollo 11 lift off on its way to the moon, and remember that grainy footage of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the lunar surface coming in live. That was excitement, and the knowledge that humanity had witnessed a new dawn in human endeavor. What I see now smacks of rats deserting a sinking ship. 

I’m all for space exploration and development. I really want to see humanity expand into space. We should mine asteroids and build factories in orbit instead of mining our poor suffering Earth for ever dwindling resources and displacing yet more people from their homes to make way for polluting factories, pipelines, and strip mines. I’m just not convinced billionaire space enthusiasts really have the public interest at heart. You only have to look at the recent exposure of American billionaire tax returns to see what’s wrong here.

I believe there’s a case to be made to nationalize private ventures and use them for space development in an effort to help the human race instead of providing the means by which billionaires will reach Mars and establish their own empires free of any rules and laws bar their own. Somehow I doubt it’ll happen, and we’ll all be the sorrier for it.


BIO: Coast Watcher looks to the skies, and he doesn't always like what he sees. The heavens should belong to the people--not to elitist country club members. It's time we get the stars out of our eyes and search out those who are keeping us grounded and distribute the benefits of life in this century to all human beings. Power to the people!

 


Related Articles:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/why-does-jeff-bezos-want-to-go-to-space/ar-AAL20hG

https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69805-the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax

https://www.citizen.org/article/the-price-of-zero/ 

https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/69833-doj-vows-to-hunt-down-whoever-let-the-public-know-how-little-billionaires-pay-in-taxes

 

*** 

 

Protesters holding signs that say Honor our Treaties and Stop Line 3.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)


The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is dead. TC Energy, the company behind KXL, officially cancelled the project after the Biden administration revoked key permits that were rushed through under former-President Trump.

I'm proud to say that this would not have happened without the vision, tenacity, and unflagging optimism of NRDC supporters like you who fought this hard-won battle with us over the last 12+ years.

This victory is proof that together, we can break the fossil fuel industry's iron grip on our energy supply. But there are a slew of dangerous pipeline projects around the country that still threaten our climate and clean energy progress, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the Line 3 and Line 5 oil pipelines, and the Pacific Connector and Mountain Valley gas pipelines.

These projects were championed by former-President Trump — and now President Biden must make sure these dangerous pipelines never see the light of day.

Send an urgent message to President Biden right now: STOP THE TRUMP FOSSIL FUEL PIPELINES. The only way forward is towards a future free from dirty fossil fuels.

NRDC and our members and supporters were part of the movement against Keystone XL from Day One. We stand with the Indigenous and frontline communities who are fighting to protect their lands and waterways from other dirty, dangerous pipelines that violate decades-old land treaties, circumvent bedrock environmental laws, and derail our path towards the 100% clean energy future we need to continue life on Earth.

The Biden administration shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, and they have the power to shut down DAPL, the Line 3 and Line 5 oil pipelines that would pass through large swaths of the Midwest and under the Great Lakes, the Pacific Connector gas pipeline that would cut across nearly 500 waterways in Oregon, the Mountain Valley gas pipeline that would pass from West Virginia to North Carolina, and every other climate-busting fossil fuel pipeline greenlit under the Trump administration. In this moment, our voices must be louder than the fossil fuel industry as it desperately attempts to cling to the status quo.

Send your message to President Biden today. Every Trump pipeline, including the DAPL, Line 3, Line 5, Pacific Connector, and Mountain Valley pipelines must be stopped — for communities, for the climate, and for the future. And the Biden administration MUST block any new pipelines from being developed.

Thank you — for everything you've done to help stop Keystone XL, and for fighting alongside us now to ensure these remaining fossil fuel pipelines meet the same fate.

Sincerely,

Anthony Swift
Canada Project Director, NRDC

DAPL Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Line 3 Photo: Lorie Shaull


The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

Charity Navigator 

*** 

From Friends of the Earth:

Monarch butterfly populations in the West are being pushed to the brink of extinction. Take action now.

What was once a dazzling display of monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico each year has become barely a trickle. This past winter, only 1,914 monarchs were recorded -- the lowest number in history.

Monarchs are running out of time. I need your help to push for stronger conservation efforts to save these crucial pollinators.

Demand stronger protections for monarch butterflies.

Sign Now

Our most iconic pollinator is nearing population collapse. The decline of monarchs could have a ripple effect throughout already fragile ecosystems.  

Congress could help monarch populations recover. It could provide funding for on-the-ground conservation projects and habitat protection. This would give every state the resources to stop monarch butterflies from declining further.

These precious pollinators are fading before our eyes. C.A., your voice is needed to help save the monarchs. 

Tell Congress to save these iconic pollinators.

Sign Now

Big Ag is a significant driver in the decline of monarch butterflies. Glyphosate -- the key ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup -- kills milkweed, the only food source for young monarch caterpillars. As the use of glyphosate has increased, monarch populations have dropped.

Researchers recently found that neonic pesticides produced by companies like Bayer-Monsanto and Syngenta reduce the number of monarch eggs that hatch and survive. Millions of monarch larvae are dying each year because of these pesticides.

Every day that Congress refuses to act, monarchs are pushed closer to extinction by companies like Bayer-Monsanto. We need your help to show legislators that a groundswell of activists support protecting monarchs!

Tell Congress to stop Bayer-Monsanto from wiping out the monarchs.

Sign Now

Standing with you,
Jason Davidson,
Senior food and agriculture campaigner,
Friends of the Earth

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

No War But Class War

 

No War But Class War

by C. A. Matthews

Bourgeoisie (in Marxist thought) the ruling class of the two basic classes of capitalist society, consisting of capitalists, manufacturers, bankers, and other employers. The bourgeoisie owns the most important of the means of production, through which it exploits the working class  --The Free Dictionary

It's a funny word, but it's been receiving a lot more airtime lately. Is it because Americans are becoming more sensitive to income inequality, or is it because they themselves are suffering deprivations due to the pandemic? Either way, more people are openly discussing what they find unfair or unjust in our society and aren't afraid to use either bourgeoisie or the "C word."

No, not that "C word"--although often a discussion of communism comes after the mention of this particular C word. (And not that C word, either, for those who have their minds in the gutter.) The word I'm referring to is simply "class." And before you go off on a rant about how America is a "class-less society," let me ask you one question:

Where did you go to high school?

I learned the awesome power of this particular question when I lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Here's the scenario: You're introduced to someone in a conversation and then about nine times out of ten in the St. Louis area you are then asked, "So, where did you attend high school?" I found it an odd question as an adult long since graduated from high school, but I'm friendly so I shared the name of the high school I attended in Ohio. This threw the conversation for a loop usually, and I often got cross looks or simply ignored for the rest of the evening. But all too soon I learned why they asked me, a total stranger, this question, and why the answer was vitally important for the questioner to ask.

Americans tend to dress and speak alike no matter where or how they grew up. I'm not talking about regional dialects or accents. I'm talking about how difficult it is to tell what side of town a fellow American comes from if they dress similarly and use similar terminology to yours. So, we have to figure out another way to discover what "C word" another American belongs to without seeming too obvious. In St. Louis, it's as easy as asking which high school you went to since this gives the questioner the neighborhood you grew up in (true of both public and parochial schools there) and the approximate value of the home you grew up in, and, therefore, how much money your parents made to support your family.

Of course, if you admitted to attending a working class area high school, you could be shunned by those who attended schools in wealthier neighborhoods. That is the true power of the question. It helps separate Americans by class in a relatively quick and painless way. You didn't attend the "right" high school? Then the questioner knows that you're probably not going to fit in well with their bridge club or even know what golf is, let alone how to play it. For recent immigrants and people of color this question is a double insult, as the wealthier high schools are almost certainly populated with a majority of white, native-born students.

Please don't get hot under the collar when I tell you that America displays just as many classes as a Downtown Abbey episode. We all know it's true. Americans don't like to think of themselves as snobs, but we're as human as the rest of the world, and we like to put our inferiors in their place. We've just agreed among ourselves to pretend that we're not capable of such vulgarities as class consciousness.


American might be unique in the fact that there is such a thing as poor snobs as well as rich snobs here. I know because I am one. My favorite tale of how I first realized how much of a poor snob I am comes from my high school days. (Funny how secondary education keeps popping up, isn't it? Possibly this is where most of us first learn how we're "different" from the others who go on from there to attend Ivy League schools and drive luxury cars.)

There was only one high school in our city, one large public high school. This lead to some interesting interactions among students. I remember talking to a classmate at the end of an English class about where we were both planning on working in the summer. Most kids from our side of town worked part-time in the school year and full-time in the summer months. It's how we were able to afford new shoes, winter coats, and save up for college or trade school. 

Anyway, a third classmate entered our conversation and said something along the lines of, "Oh, I don't know what I'm doing this summer, too. Should I go to horse riding school or tennis camp?" The first classmate and I exchanged knowing glances of the variety of, "Yeah, wouldn't it be nice if the summer months were actually a time to have fun and go on vacations, right?"  We then returned to discussing the benefits of working at the local ice cream shack versus looking for more underpaid big chain fast food work located closer to the highway.

It was then that I realized how much I hated rich people--not necessarily my well-to-do classmate since she was a nice enough person, but how this idea of class kept us separated and how it kept working people from ever enjoying a life that our rich classmate took for granted that everyone else in our high school enjoyed.

Had she ever been to our side of town? Possibly not. Why would she leave her side? She had everything she needed on her wealthier side of town and could go out of town to the big city whenever she or her parents wanted to go. Working class kids just had to make do with what we had and stay put. That was our lot in life. End of story.


I take some hope in the fact that more and more Americans seem free to talk about class and income inequality and the lack of universal health care in 2021, but we still have a ways to go. We still need to discuss what concrete steps we're willing to take to destroy this system that condemns those without what our society calls "wealth" to a life of poverty, hunger, possible homelessness, and an early preventable death. If the founders were willing to risk it all for the "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" why aren't we?

"No war but class war" says the bumper sticker slogan. I think that's what it's going to take--an all out assault against the institutions that propagate the evil capitalistic class system in this country and the world. Voting out the corrupt billionaire supporters has proved impossible. The Citizens United ruling has taken away our voices since money is speech according to it. We will never be able to outspend the billionaires and their lackeys. We'll have to outsmart and out-fight them in the streets.

In other words, it's time for the pitchforks, folks. 

We can't keep pulling our punches. Speak out, speak loudly, and never give in to those who say it's not a fight worth winning. It is. Our planet is dying because of capitalism. We don't need to maintain the classes to survive. The system is killing us all. We need each other without these artificial divides.

All is not lost for the rich according to this short video--they can be taught to empathize! https://youtu.be/Pg5QFOuMoN8

***

Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, candidates for the Green Party nomination for president and vice president
 

Over 300,000 immigrants were deported in Biden’s first 100 days — a rate of deportations higher than any period under the openly anti-immigrant Donald Trump or under the “Deporter-in-Chief,” Barack
Obama.

The deportation machine of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues unabated. ICE and CBP defied Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations.
Predictably, these agencies targeted Black and Latino immigrants for deportation.

Biden partially rescinded Trump’s “Return to Mexico" policy for asylum seekers, but only for Latin Americans. Reflecting the longstanding anti-Black racism of US immigration policies, Haitians and Africans were excluded.

Black people have been flown by ICE without due process of their asylum requests to countries like Haiti, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the political violence means they may face death.

More Haitians were deported to Haiti in Biden’s first 100 days than in the last year of the Trump administration.

Biden has the legal authority to bring ICE and CBP into compliance with the law and his administration’s policies. These rogue agencies’ unions and members campaigned in uniform for Trump in open defiance the Hatch Act. ICE and CBP must be dismantled and replaced with a new agency that will uphold the law.

But Biden shows no appetite for that fight.

Instead, Biden submitted a moderate immigration bill to Congress on his first day in office, the U.S. Citizenship Act, which would leave ICE and CBP in place. It would provide immigrants in the U.S. before
2021 with a path to legal status and, after eight years, to citizenship. But it reinforces the racial biases in the criminal justice and national security systems toward Black, Latino, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern,
and South Asian people, who remain targeted for criminal and national security surveillance, discrimination, and arrest that would render them ineligible for legal status and citizenship.

In any case, if the Democrats in the U.S. Senate don’t eliminate the filibuster, no immigration reform will happen. 800,000 Dreamers and more than 20 million undocumented immigrants will continue to live
their lives in constant fear of deportation.

Meanwhile, Biden has continued Trump's "Title 42" public health authority to immediately expel people seeking asylum without due process.

The only exception is allowing the entry of unaccompanied minors, tens of thousands of whom are now stuck in some 200 facilities across two dozen states. Most of these detentions centers are unlicensed and riddled with neglect, abuse, covid, lice, and failure to help connect children with their families or vetted care providers.

While Biden has said he will not build more border wall, his administration is in the courts pursuing eminent domain proceedings that were initiated by the Trump administration against landowners at the border where more wall could be built.

Nor has Biden stopped the policy of co-opting local police into federal immigration enforcement, which has made racial profiling worse and undermined the trust and cooperation of immigrant communities
with local police in solving crimes.

The rule-or-ruin intransigence of the Republicans make them irrelevant to immigration reform—or any other reform. The Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and presidency are negotiating with themselves. They may try to blame the Republicans, but it is the Democrats who could but will not eliminate the filibuster by a simple majority vote in the Senate.

That is why we need the Green Party now more than ever.

We are working to help Greens build that alternative and advance the agenda we advocated during the presidential campaign, from immigration reform and student debt relief to Medicare for All and the Ecosocialist Green New Deal.

Please help us carry on this fight for justice, peace, and the environment with a donation today!

In Solidarity,

Howie Hawkins

***



 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Government Would Do That

The Government Would Do That 

(Evidence collected by C.A. Matthews)

Perhaps the propaganda most Americans were indoctrinated in while growing up is starting to wear thin, but it still amazes me how many adults still believe the US government wouldn't do certain things that we attribute exclusively to the "bad guys" (e.g., "the Communists" or "Russia!"). 

"It can't be true!" some might say when confronted with an uncomfortable fact about our government, but there's plenty of evidence that proves it can be. Here are some examples of what the US government would do, has done, and will (more than likely) continue doing in our names.

On the historical front, we'd like to think that America is a land of "equal opportunity" and that all are treated well and have nothing to complain about. There are many who deny that slavery in the United States was all that "bad," and I've even heard arguments given on the "benefits" of slavery by whites. Some Americans might think "the Jim Crow laws" have something to do with migratory birds and that racism in America is not systemic, just personal. If so, how do we explain the destruction of Tulsa's Black Wall Street, and our government's lack of response to it and their denial of reparations to this day?

https://youtu.be/gIx668roluA

 

We'd like the US government to stop putting immigrant kids in cages, to stop preventing asylum seekers from entering the country, and to stop using archaic laws and scare tactics to prevent lawful immigration, but it's not happening. Here are some articles to prove it:

https://truthout.org/articles/immigrant-advocates-are-worried-about-threats-to-due-process-in-new-biden-policy/

https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/69546-the-real-root-cause-of-central-american-migration

https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69409-border-policy-is-getting-more-and-more-convoluted-thats-creating-false-hope-for-migrants

https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69330-revealed-biden-administration-holding-tens-of-thousands-of-migrant-children 

https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/69372-documents-show-trump-officials-used-secret-terrorism-unit-to-question-lawyers-at-the-border

 

https://www.rokfin.com/post/42302?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Campaign&utm_campaign=New+Post+Email https://www.rokfin.com/post/42302?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Campaign&utm_campaign=New+Post+Email

We'd like our government to tax the rich, and share those proceeds with the majority of working Americans for the good of all, but it's not happening. In fact, just the opposite happens on a regular basis as the following video attests.

 

https://www.rokfin.com/post/42302

We'd like our government to be fair and honest and not lie about hijacking dissidents or cooperating with such nefarious activities, but they do. Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald tells us about several incidents of our country's regime change tactics in the following video.

https://youtu.be/-NgI4v2BMPk

We'd like to think the US is always on the "good guys" side of violent conflicts, but how do we explain what's happening in Gaza? This excellent documentary (below) shows you where our tax dollars have been going for years... to the Military-Industrial Complex and then on to the Israeli army in order to wipe out the Palestinian people.

https://youtu.be/HnZSaKYmP2s

Well, it's not like the US government has ever intentionally committed genocide before, right?

It's time to wake up the rest of the people who still believe the crap they learned from their fifth grade American history textbook.

https://www.rokfin.com/post/42302?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Campaign&utm_campaign=New+Post+Email

*** 


I’ve just returned to the Cheyenne River Nation from the frontlines of the Stop Line 3 movement in Minnesota. An incredible and growing coalition — led largely by Indigenous women — has formed to put an end to this pipeline, a grave threat to sacred lands and water. Like Keystone XL would have, Line 3 is slated to carry huge quantities of ultra-toxic tar sands oil through the homelands of Indigenous communities. I genuinely hope you’ll join me and the rest of the Lakota Law team in supporting this critical fight.
 
Please stand with the Anishinaabe Peoples and sign onto our petition to President Biden. Tell him to Stop Line 3 right now. Every pipeline forced through our treaty territories — always, it seems, without our consent — is an affront to our way of life and a danger to our culture, our women and children, and the future for our next seven generations.

stop line 3My sister, Mabel Ann, joined me at the Line 3 protests this past week. We are ready to fight.

From a climate crisis standpoint alone, it’s a no-brainer that Line 3 should be a nonstarter. Line 3 would run more than 1,000 miles from Canada to Lake Superior, and its carbon impact would be equivalent to 50 new coal plants! It also directly threatens the water supply of 18 million people and the sacred manoomin (wild rice) fields of the Anishinaabe People. 

If that weren’t bad enough, the pipeline is already perpetuating the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW). So far, two contractors working on Line 3 have been charged with sex trafficking — no surprise considering that pipelines and the mancamps that house oil workers typically lead to increased sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and murders of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit People.

These are some of the many reasons why I, accompanied by my sisters, daughters and great granddaughters — and supported by a wonderful organization called 1000 Grandmothers — went to Minnesota to show solidarity. I’m so glad we did. We protested in front of the governor’s mansion and met with energized people in two camps, including some young activists from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. They were grateful to receive our support as elders. When my daughter arrived at their camp, they told her, “Welcome home.”

I left for Cheyenne River with a resolve to do more. Now, our Lakota Law team is researching and reaching out to see how we can best assist. We’ll offer media support and organizing help — whatever is needed. We grandmas stand proudly alongside the young ones, our sisters on the frontlines, and everyone in this growing coalition. 

We hope you will, too. If you feel called, I encourage you to join the fight in Minnesota for a week of action against Line 3, June 5-8. In the meantime, please tell the president: Stop Line 3 now.

Wopila tanka — thank you for your action and care!
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People's Law Project






***


Let’s be real. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of tenants across the country to reckon with the violence of our housing system in new and profound ways. Thousands of us have been forced from our homes or to accrue devastating amounts of rental debt. And things weren't great for many of us, even before the pandemic.

One thing is clear: We as tenants don't have the power we need, especially compared to the people who own our homes.

That’s why we’re launching a campaign for a National Tenants’ Bill of Rights, a critical stepping stone on the path to our North Star vision, a Homes Guarantee. Our campaign will set the stage for a century of radical tenant organizing— establishing tenants as a political class, building the power of the tenant movement to win federal demands, and ultimately transforming the landscape of tenant organizing by enacting a National Tenants' Bill of Rights.

Will you join our mass organizing call on June 10 to launch this historic campaign for a National Tenants Bill of Rights?

We know that the people closest to the problems are closest to the solutions, so our campaign will begin a period of radical imagination, engaging over one million tenants to write our own rights into law. That's where you come in.

Join us as we forge ahead to build the world we deserve. R.S.V.P. HERE.

In solidarity,

The Homes Guarantee Team