Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 – The Year That Will Shape the Future of the Democratic Party


Our guest blogger shares his well-researched reasoning on why he supports the senator from Vermont. What do you say about The Independent Reformist's insights on the future of the Democratic Party? Is it a "make or break" year for them if they don't nominate Bernie Sanders? For the US as a whole if Bernie isn't allowed to run for the White House?
  

2020 – The Year That Will Shape the Future of the Democratic Party: Why I Support Bernie Sanders
by The Independent Reformist

https://bernnoticepolitics.wordpress.com/2020/02/05/2020-the-year-that-will-shape-the-future-of-the-democratic-party-why-i-support-bernie-sanders/

Let me preface this article by stating a couple of things for the sake of clarity:
  1. I have no intention of slandering or disrespecting other candidates or their voter base. I believe it is counter-productive and a good way to alienate those whom you may potentially bring to your side in the general election.
  2. I understand that some may support different candidates. That is your right and I respect it. That said, please note that this is my opinion and I hope that you will at least consider what is being said in a fair and honest manner, regardless of where your allegiance lie afterwards.
With this out of the way, I would like to outline the reasons why I support Sanders in 2020, as I did in 2016.

I think that the summation of the campaign slogan “Not Me, Us!” encapsulates why I am a Sanders voter. I am voting for a future that is comparatively of less consequence to me than it is to younger voters. With that being said, we must think beyond our own individuality and consider the countless others who are not in our shoes.

Income Inequality & College Debt
It is hard enough to try to get ahead in this world. We all have to work to put food on the table, and ensure that basic needs are met. Now imagine trying to get a start in life where most jobs that pay a decent wage require a college degree.  Sure, you can get a scholarship, if you make the cut for the limited scholarships available. If you don’t, then you have to take out a loan.

The common answer from older voters is “Well, I had to do it too,” but have you considered that the cost for a college education has skyrocketedeven when compared to the cost of living?
College_tuition_1978-2010 Wikicommons

Just to get a decent start in life, the current generation has to take on debt that has inflated 2.5 times the value of a home and basic cost of living between 1978 to 2010. This effectively puts them in a massive hole that they will need to work their way out of.

To make matters worse, according to an article written by Abigail Hess from CNBC:
As 2019 comes to a close, for many doing a review of their finances, the decade will likely be defined by student debt.
Today, some 44 million Americans collectively hold nearly $1.6 trillion in student debt. Given that there are approximately 242 million Americans over the age of 18, that means that roughly 18% of American adults are paying off student loans.
These rates are even higher among young people. According to the Federal Reserve, over half of young adults who went to college in 2018 took on debt.
At the end of 2009, Americans held roughly $772 billion in student loans. By the end of 2019, that total had spiked to nearly $1.6 trillion — that’s an increase of roughly 107%.
Reference: Student debt increased by 107 this decade, Federal Reserve data shows – by Abigail Hess – https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/30/student-debt-totals-increased-by-107percent-this-decade.html
To make matters worse, they are still looking at an income rate that has largely been stagnant since the 1970s. Yet the top 5 percent of earners income has gone up dramatically in comparison. In light of all of these facts, how can we expect them to simply accept things as they are? Better yet, why do we as a society continue to accept it?
512px-Income Gains - CPBB

Also as a result of the bad trade deals like NAFTA, the American manufacturing base, especially in the Midwest (Rust Belt) is virtually non-existent. Automation is also eating into low skilled and redundant work, so the pool of jobs is getting smaller. As direct result, the pool of competitors for jobs rises and the employers can pay employees less.

In summary, if the young average worker has to spend a good chunk of their lifetime working out of debt because of college loans, they are already going to have less disposable income. If there is no upward mobility in wages as cost of living increases, they have even less. How can an economy not be stagnant when the working class has no disposable income (if they even have an income) to buy products? This matters because the consumer, not the business person, is the gas that fuels the economy.

The $15 an hour minimum wage that Sanders dragged into the mainstream is a start. There still have to be opportunities, and they need to have real relief from crushing loan debt. The only solutions, other than “We can’t do that,” has come from Senators Sanders and Warren and Andrew Yang. Sanders' goal, in my opinion is more ambitious where it forgives college loan debt and makes state run colleges and universities tuition free. The latter alleviates the burden on future generations.

Include Senator Sanders federal jobs initiative and you have more of a pool of opportunities for workers. It will have the additional impact of decreasing the pool of employees which can force private industry to offer more competitive wages for talent.

The Future of Humanity is at Stake
The worst effects of climate change are still to come, but half measures will get us nowhere. If we don’t take serious action, we could leave future generations a planet that is hostile to human life. Being in the pockets of the fossil fuel lobby via campaign donations risks watering down efforts to aggressively change to more sustainable energy.
1987_yearly_temperature_anomalies_from_1880_to_2019

Our effects on our ecosystem is no longer debatable. There is scientific consensus that humanity’s effect on the ecosystem is measurable and evident.
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.1
Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.
The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.
Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.3
Reference: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
The role of adults in society is to try guide the next generation in a manner that gives them a chance at a better future than the previous generations had. We also owe them and subsequent generations a habitable world that they can pass on to their progeny. This isn’t just an United States thing. This is an “all of humanity” thing. It’s global.

Just one campaign cycle ago, Senator Sanders declared the top threat to national security being climate change. At the time, many laughed. Now in 2020 more people are parroting the line. Once again showing Senator Sanders was out front, before most of the rest of our leaders in Washington D.C.

The time for half-measures is over. If we are to be good custodians of our world, and the future of humanity we must be serious about climate change. I believe that Sanders is as serious about combating climate change as they come.

Racial and Social Justice
It is easy to look at the current field and note that they are all white people. The News media certainly reminds us enough. What it doesn’t mention is that Senator Sanders is Jewish. Both of his father's parents were lost in the Holocaust.

He is not the kind of person to go out of his way to bring it up, but when asked about it in a 2016 CNN interview the exchange went as follows:
Sanders could be the first Jewish U.S. president ever elected, though he has repeatedly described himself as a secular Jew without strong ties to organized religion. 
Jewish political activists, historians and pollsters have said Sanders’ minority faith has also been overlooked because the national attitude toward Jews has evolved to the point where there’s no stigma attached to the religion or culture. 
Sanders’ comments on his Judaism were in response to CNN’s Anderson Cooper asking him if he is intentionally keeping his Judaism in the background , after an audience member asked Sanders whether he believed God to be relevant, to which Sanders responded, “yes.” 
Reference: CNN Politics, Bernie Sanders: ‘My fathers family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust’ by Daniella Diaz
Understanding these facts can help understand why Bernie took the stand that he did during the civil rights movement. It’s easier to relate to other ethnic groups and marginalized communities when you are a descendant of a marginalized community yourself.

Without going into all of the details in this article (which is lengthy enough), I will reference a Mother Jones article about Sanders in the Civil Rights Era.
During Sanders’ first year in Chicago, a group of apartment-hunting white and black students had discovered that off-campus buildings owned by the university were refusing to rent to black students, in violation of the school’s policies. CORE organized a 15-day sit-in at the administration building, which Sanders helped lead. (James Farmer, who co-founded CORE and had been a Freedom Rider with Lewis, came to the University of Chicago that winter to praise the activists’ work.) The protest ended when George Beadle, the university’s president, agreed to form a commission to study the school’s housing policies... He continued his activism with CORE and SNCC. In August of 1963, not long after returning to Chicago from the March on Washington, Sanders was charged with resisting arrest after protesting segregation at a school on the city’s South Side. He was later fined $25, according to the Chicago Tribune:
Reference: Mother Jones, Here’s What Bernie Sanders Actually Did in the Civil Rights Movement” by Tim Murphy
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/bernie-sanders-core-university-chicago/
He has also taken a stand for LGBTQ rights in the 1970s. Politifact referenced Chuck Todd’s comment about Senator Sanders stance as follows:
Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, focused on same-sex marriage during an interview with Clinton on Sept. 27, 2015.
“Bernie Sanders has been where you are on these issues,” Todd said. “Bernie Sanders was there when it came to marriage 20 years ago. Do you think one of the reasons he’s doing well right now is some progressives think, ‘Well, you know what? He was there when it wasn’t popular.’”

Todd said Sanders was “there” on same-sex marriage 20 years ago, but we found evidence pointing back even further.
In the early 1970s, Sanders ran for governor of Vermont under the banner of the Liberty Union party, a coalition of leftist groups. The party platform called for making taxes tougher on corporations and lighter on families, an end to the Vietnam War and a number of measures to get government out of people’s private lives.
“The Liberty Union believe that there are entirely too many laws that regulate human behavior,” Sanders wrote in an open letter. “Let us abolish all laws which attempt to impose a particular brand of morality or ‘right’ on people. Let’s abolish all laws dealing with abortion, drugs, sexual behavior (adultery, homosexuality, etc.).”
Reference: Politifact, “NBC’s Chuck Todd: Bernie Sanders was there on same-sex marriage 20 years ago” by Jon Greenberg – https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2015/sep/29/chuck-todd/nbcs-chuck-todd-bernie-sanders-there-same-sex-marr/
There is a reference to the original letter, but unfortunately it is a broken link. However, the same platform can be found here:
Bernie's 1972 Lette Liberty Union Platform - The New Republic

Some might argue that he didn’t perfectly meet the modern bar. Perhaps so. But there are many who were around in that era who didn’t even meet his bar.  I think a fan made video sums it up nicely, using the speech given by Killer Mike:

Video by GoodNightProductions – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikgh4JbAWUU

I would rather have someone who at least will honestly take a stand when times are hard, than someone who only says the right things when it is convenient or politically expedient.

A Candidate Who Means What He Says and Says What He Means
I often say that “You can’t possibly mean what you say, if you don’t say precisely what you mean.” Words have meaning, and how you use them have consequences. We currently live in a time where “Doublespeak” is the norm. Where being duplicitous is completely expected, especially when it comes to politics.

There was a time where speaking openly and honestly was refreshing and welcomed. Yet our jaded sensibilities have allowed us to give up of honesty. You can look at what Senator Sanders says and compare it to his track record in life and politics to find he is remarkably consistent. He has stood for these policies for decades, most notably in the decades when it was not popular, and he was one of the lone voices in the wilderness.
640px-Bernie_Sanders_by_Gage_Skidmore
When Bernie said, “We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour,” in 2016 everyone in the establishment said we can’t do it. Now it’s mainstream. When Bernie said, “We need to have Medicare for all,” in 2016, the establishment said that’s crazy. Now it’s mainstream. When Bernie said, “I am going to run on a grassroots funded campaign without big donors,” in 2016 the media said it would never work. Now he is a fundraising juggernaut rivaled only by Trump and Bloomberg, but the difference is Bernie is running solely on small dollar contributions from working class people like us.

I could continue on with health care and the need to bring the Democratic Party back to FDR principles. I could go on about how the power brokers in the party have ignored the Midwest until election time and then forgets them just as quickly. I can talk about how the Flint Water Crisis still needs resolution, and how the DNC hasn’t addressed it outside of campaign talking points, but this article is quite long enough. The bottom line is we need and frankly deserve a leader who works for us!

Make no mistake, he’s not perfect. No one is. But when compared to the numerous other candidates his rhetoric and actions, few (if any) have been more consistent than Senator Sanders. It’s easy to say something when things are popular. It’s easy to fight for something when everyone, including entrenched power is on your side. The true mettle of a person is measured when they take a stand when an idea is well outside of the mainstream.

I stand with the candidate who fights for the the alienated, the discriminated and the decimated. Say what you will, but in my opinion that is Senator Bernie Sanders. Unbossed. Unbought. Unbroken.

References:
Image, Not Me Us Rally picture, by Mark Dixon – https://www.flickr.com/photos/9602574@N02/25300155296
Image, College Tuition vs Home Prices vs CPI – Wikicommons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:College_tuition
Student debt increased by 107 this decade, Federal Reserve data shows – by Abigail Hess – https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/30/student-debt-totals-increased-by-107percent-this-decade.html
Image Graph Real Family Income between 1947 and 2018, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/a-guide-to-statistics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality
Image, Temperature Anomaly Common Baseline 1951-2019,  NASA – https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
Climate change references,  NASA, Global Clmate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet – https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
CNN Politics, Bernie Sanders: ‘My fathers family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust’ by Daniella Diaz – https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/07/politics/democratic-debate-jewish-bernie-sanders-cnn-flint-michigan/index.html
Mother Jones, “Here’s What Bernie Sanders Actually Did in the Civil Rights Movement” by Tim Murphy https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/bernie-sanders-core-university-chicago/
Politifact, “NBC’s Chuck Todd: Bernie Sanders was there on same-sex marriage 20 years ago” by Jon Greenberg – https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2015/sep/29/chuck-todd/nbcs-chuck-todd-bernie-sanders-there-same-sex-marr/
Image, “A Letter from Bernie Sanders”, The New Republic, “Bernie Sanders Was Just Another hippie Rummaging Through My Mom’s Fridge” by Chelsea G. Summers – https://newrepublic.com/article/122005/he-was-presidential-candidate-bernie-sanders-was-radical
Video by: GoodNightProductions, Bernie Sanders Ad (Killer Mike Speech) The Time is Now – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikgh4JbAWUU
Image, Bernie Sanders, Wikimedia Commons by Gage Skidmore – – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernie_Sanders_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg







Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What Did You Expect? Part 2--The Iowa Caucus Chaos Edition

What Did You Expect? (Part 2)
by Coast Watcher

In last week’s article my colleague Redd Phlagg nailed it by defining the United States for what it is—a system of government set up by rich, property-owning white men for future rich, property-owning white men to prosper in. Trump’s gift of tax breaks to billionaires practically as soon as his ass hit the seat in the Oval Office was a clear indicator that it was business as usual for the wealthy. As for the rest of us, we can go… quite.

Like Redd, I was amazed and not a little despairing at the mob mentality displayed by the left-leaning portion of the population salivating at the prospect of Trump’s impeachment and conviction. God knows the man has committed enough crime in his lifetime for him to be locked away for the rest of his natural span. It should’ve been easy for the House and then the Senate to follow the legal process and convict him. That it did not is down to the fact the Republican-dominated Senate had no intention of convicting Trump. In fact, many of them said so in loud voices before the event. Therefore, why is everyone on the Left so surprised and outraged at the result? What, indeed, did they expect?

They gained a little bit of recompense from Speaker of the House Pelosi when she tore up the transcript of Trump’s State of the Union speech. As a piece of political theater it came across as asinine and juvenile. Pelosi is capable of inflicting far more damage to the Orange Tyrant if she wishes—but she doesn’t wish so, because she’s another rich person in a rich person’s nation.

Likewise, those on the Right cheered to the skies when their Beloved Führer—sorry, president—escaped conviction. It appears they were genuinely

concerned that those ''libtards'' would bring their man down. Are they so ignorant of the status quo that they feared he might be convicted? Are they really so enamored of the damage their Glorious Leader is inflicting on them and theirs? Of his threats to dismantle the social security and Medicaid they’ve paid into all their lives as "a fun second term project?"

And it doesn’t stop with the antics in Congress. It’s primary season once again, and once again we’re treated to the disgusting sight of the so-called Democratic Party trying to rig the results of a primary. Iowa was a shambles, an utter debacle. The now notorious "Shadow" app used by the Democrats to tally and codify the results of caucuses across the state instead caused massive disruption. In one instance, it flipped 200 votes to candidate Pete Buttigieg before a single vote had been cast at that caucus. In another instance of Democrat corruption, a caucus captain flipped a coin several times before getting the result he wanted and awarding delegates to Buttigieg. Further, at another caucus even though voting showed a clear winner in candidate Bernie Sanders, Buttigieg was awarded an equal number of delegates.

That any accurate and reliable information came out of the Iowa farce is down to the Sanders team. Using their own app, they checked and collated everything in many caucuses. Once bitten in 2016, twice shy, I think. After the sheer duplicity shown by the Democrats last election, Sanders is determined it won’t happen to him again—and if it does, it’ll all be on record.

Would it surprise the reader to know that the Shadow app was developed by a company with close ties to Buttigieg? That development of the app was financed by contributions from a PAC related to Buttigieg, along with donations from candidate Joe Biden and others? Buttigieg served in US Navy intelligence and is said to have close ties with the CIA dating from that time. The Democratic Party didn’t even have their caucus counting app checked for cybersecurity before putting it to use it appears, in spite of their previous claim that Russian hackers influenced the 2016 election.


https://blackagendareport.com/2016-revisited-electronic-balloting-favored-clinton-paper-balloting-sanders

Who's fooling who here, DNC?

Buttigieg claimed victory in Iowa with suspicious speed, a claim which was immediately disputed by the other candidates, especially Senator Sanders who was shown to be leading by a clear majority in pre-primary polling. Buttigieg withdrew his claim, and Sanders claimed victory through his clear majority, 6,000+, of the popular vote. However, thanks to the arcane and unnecessarily complicated DNC rules, Buttigieg and Sanders will receive more or less equal numbers of delegates at the national level.

Sanders is now said to be lawyering-up ready to launch a lawsuit over the farcical handling of the Iowa primaries. Word has it that even Biden is considering a similar lawsuit because his poor showing in the primaries could well be down to the very app he sponsored. Irony of the highest order, here.


[Editor's note: As of Sunday, February 9, the DNC has officially given Pete Buttigieg more state delegates than Bernie Sanders, in spite of Sanders' plurality of votes. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/iowa-officially-gives-buttigieg-the-largest-delegate-count-followed-closely-by-sanders/ar-BBZOPbw]

Whatever the actual result of the primaries, the Iowa debacle served to kill some of Sanders' momentum, which suits the rich and powerful—his natural
targets—just fine. Sanders will probably pick up that momentum again in New Hampshire, a primary he won handily in 2016.

I can only speculate as to why Buttigieg would pursue such a reckless strategy, unless it was under a covert promise issued to him by the DNC of greater things to come. He certainly won’t win the presidency this time without major manipulation of the political system. Too many accusations of corruption and racism, mostly associated with his tenure as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, taint Buttigieg’s prospects. As an openly gay male, it’s highly unlikely Buttigieg will do well in the notoriously homophobic Southern states, and without those he’s going nowhere fast.


But really, what did you expect in this election? You really believed the Democratic Party would really change its spots and actually play fair? It promised that everything would be above board for the 2020 elections, yet already it’s been shown to cheat in the most blatant fashion through use of the Shadow app. Following negotiations with the Sanders team following the last election, the so-called Superdelegates were to be confined to operating at the secondary level of polling at the convention in Milwaukee. Yet already there’s talk of rules changes allowing them to participate in the first round in an obvious attempt to head off the popular candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.

It remains to be seen what happens this year. It’s possible that Bernie Sanders will show up at Milwaukee with an undeniable large majority of delegates, only for the DNC to engineer matters to nominate their preferred candidate—possibly Pete Buttigieg or even billionaire Mike Bloomberg. It’s possible that the DNC will face facts and allow Sanders the nomination as the only candidate capable of beating Trump.

 
Given Trump's recent displays of power mania, it's possible he may decide to cancel the elections and declare himself President for Life as it’ll be "in the public best interest." If that happens, there’s no doubt in my mind his rabid supporters will cheer and take to the streets with their precious guns to support their Beloved Führer—sorry, president. There’s no shortage either of big business types who’d also support a dictator in the same way major businesses such as Tyssen Steel and Krupps in Germany supported Adolf Hitler’s rise to absolute power. After all, that nasty democracy does get in the way of making a decent profit.

If it happens that way—and I sincerely hope it doesn’t—then I’ll say once again: What did you expect?



BIO: Coast Watcher is keeping a close eye on the caucuses and shaking his head. Cheats will use all manner of underhanded shenanigans to get their way.  His advice? Don't be taken in by the mainstream media corporate lies. Trust no one in the establishment. Keep your own count.

Related Articles:

Senate Acquits Trump, Ending Historic Trial
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/us/politics/impeachment-vote.html


New Details Show How Deeply Iowa Caucus App Developer Was Embedded in Democratic Establishment
https://theintercept.com/2020/02/04/iowa-caucus-app-shadow-acronym/ 

Sanders Reportedly Finished 1st, Biden 4th in Unreleased Iowa Poll
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/61167-sanders-reportedly-finished-1st-biden-4th-in-unreleased-iowa-poll

Bernie Got The Most Votes In Iowa Which Means He Won Iowa
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/61240-focus-bernie-got-the-most-votes-in-iowa-which-means-he-won-iowa

Bernie Campaign App Caught DNC Red Handed (video)
https://youtu.be/tcMe2H3mIKk  

Nevada Democratic Party Hiring of Buttieg Ex-Staffer Raises Concerns
They're Going To Try to Steal California from Sanders (Again)
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/theyre-going-to-try-to-steal-california-from-sanders-again/ 

DNC Rules Committee Members Working on Bloomberg Campaign Is a 'Conflict of Interest'
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/61201-rashida-tlaib-dnc-rules-committee-members-working-on-bloomberg-campaign-is-a-conflict-of-interest

Former Heads of Lobbying Firms, Military Contractors and Fossil Fuel Interests Host Buttigeig Campaign Fundraiser
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/61200-former-heads-of-lobbying-firms-military-contractors-and-fossil-fuel-interests-host-buttigieg-campaign-fundraiser 

More About Pete
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/02/more-about-pete/ 

Iowagate (contains many video commentaries) https://beanstocksworld.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/iowagate-feb-2020/comment-page-1/

Bernie Wins Iowa, But Tom Perez Calls for "Re-Canvasing" (video)
https://youtu.be/ctasK3oslN4

DNC caught flipping votes from Bernie to Buttigeig (video)
https://youtu.be/VX4_RyfedBU

Buttigeig Smiles Creepily Instead of Talking to Reporters (video)
https://youtu.be/AIWBIOtX3Rk

***
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...If you can give us a little help here. Yes, we need you to help us spread the world that The Revolution Continues is still going strong in spite of the opposition blocking and trolling us. Every time you share the blog link with a friend, we get a little stronger in the fight. (Plus, we make a new reader!)

And if you can help us pay a little on the internet bill, that would be appreciated, too. Here's the link where you can send your donation:


Thank you and keep spreading the truth! 
***
From Friends of the Earth:
Our public lands and precious wildlife are under attack! Trump’s Bureau of Land Management plans to sell off thousands of acres of land in Montana for new drilling while selling out the local wildlife.
The lands for sale are close to the sage-brush -- important nesting grounds for Greater Sage Grouse, which is at risk of extinction. If these areas are leased for fracking and drilling projects, the pristine ecosystems and habitats could be destroyed.
The science is clear: We must keep all fossil fuels in the ground. The BLM can still cancel this sale. But we must act fast! Now, is the time to make your voice heard to protect Montana’s lands and wildlife.
The Trump Administration wants to hand over Montana’s sensitive landscapes to Big Oil and Gas. But our planet can’t handle any more fracking and drilling projects.
Fossil fuel extraction would pollute this landscape’s air and water, while endangering its delicate ecosystems.
Moreover, the fracking technique used in Big Oil and Gas projects will be devasting to the health of local communities. Extracted fracking wastewater can be radioactive, and its disposal through injection wells has proven to increase earthquakes.
We can’t let Big Oil destroy these ecologically rich landscapes just so it can increase its profits.
In short, the BLM’s proposed leases will pose a safety and health threat to the people who live on the surrounding land, and alter the quality and nature of this pristine landscape forever.
The solution is simple: No more lease sales to Big Oil and Gas. Not in Montana. Not anywhere. But we need your help to send that message.
Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuels program manager,
Friends of the Earth
***

From UltraViolet:

A mansplaining conference promises to "make women great again" by having men teach them how to be admired by men, get fit, "raise your femininity by 500%," have "unlimited babies," and reject "unhealthy militant feminists."1 Really.

It sounds like a joke, right? But the scary thing is that the conference organizers are 100% serious. The conference was started by a man who identifies as a leader of the "Manosphere," a collection of ultra-sexist blogs and social media platforms often associated with the alt-right.2 Will you take action right now to help stop these bloggers from spreading their violent, misogynistic views?
The Manosphere claims that the world is biased against men and spreads misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and fat-shaming messages, using Reddit as its online home base.

Some of these men even believe that women want to be raped. And that survivors of domestic violence belong in prison.Disgusting.

Reddit has shown that it will listen to complaints about sexist and violent pages on its site. It already placed content warnings on some of the most vile Manosphere pages in response to a public outcry. It even shut down one men's rights group for inciting violence against women after a petition and negative publicity.4 This shows that with enough petition signatures from UltraViolet members and our allies, we can force Reddit to shut down the sexist sites behind the Manosphere and stop the spread of violent misogyny.


Sign the petition to demand that Reddit immediately ban Manosphere sites and stop the spread of violent misogyny.
Sign the petition
The so-called men's rights havens that make up the Manosphere, like Red Pill on Reddit, have been repeatedly linked to the alt-right. Former Breitbart contributor Milo Yiannopoulos claims to be a member of Red Pill and hosted a Q&A session on the platform.5 The Manosphere has also been linked to deadly shootings and attacks. When six people were murdered at University of California, Santa Barbara, it was revealed that the shooter was a men's rights activist on Reddit and had posted a disturbing video detailing his plans to kill women.6 As long as Reddit continues to allow violent, sexist groups to have a home on its website, it is complicit in promoting violence against women and other oppressed groups. Add your name to demand that Reddit stop letting men use its platform to glorify sexual assault and harassment.
 
Thanks for speaking out!

--Shaunna, Kat, Kathy, Anathea, Sonja, Melody, Lindsay, Pam, Maria, Kimberly, Katie, JoEllen, and Sy, the UltraViolet team
 
Sources:
1. 'Make Women Great Again' convention hosted by MEN will teach attendees how to be 'ideal women' for $2,000 per ticket, The Daily Mail, December 30, 2019
2. Mansplaining conference hopes to "Make Women Great Again", The New York Post, January 2, 2020
3. Popping the Red Pill: Inside a digital alternate reality, CNN, November 10, 2017
4. Reddit Bans 'Incel' Group for Inciting Violence Against Women, The New York Times, November 9, 2017
5. What is r/TheRedPill, the infamous men's rights subreddit?, The Daily Dot, June 6, 2018
6. Inside the 'manosphere' that inspired Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger, The Washington Post, April 27, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

What Did You Expect?

Our guest blogger asks the obvious question after the fiasco in DC this past week. No, it's not, "What happened?" or even "What now?" but it's a great question. See if you don't agree with Redd's question and answer.
What Did You Expect?
By Redd Phlagg

The amount of whining and groaning emanating from social media platforms this past week has been beyond measure.  Even when I stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly I can still hear: “We need witnesses! Why aren’t they allowing witnesses to be called? You can’t have a trial without evidence or witnesses, can you?”

And the worse moan of all: “I thought we were going to get rid of Trump. I believed this impeachment stuff was really going to work. Checks and balances, right? Why doesn’t the system work the way it’s supposed to?”


Taking my fingers out of my ears, I will now reply to your cries of bewilderment. My dear children, the system is working the way it’s supposed to. It has protected one of its own—a rich, white, cisgender male who owns lots of property. The system was created to protect these individuals and not the community as a whole.  


The system is working perfectly as it was designed because it’s fooled you into thinking it was “fair” and “balanced” all along. Am I right? If it were a system of fairness and balance, then ten years ago we wouldn’t have had the Citizens United ruling that states in effect, “Money is speech,” because that would mean the poor have no voice whatsoever in the affairs of our governance, and a “fair” system wouldn’t allow that sort of thing to happen. But it did, and it still does.

 
We are a nation of property laws. Property owners have rights. The more property you own, the more rights you have to use and abuse it as you see fit. The more money you have, the more influence you have on those who make and defend the property laws. Thus, you can mold and bend the law to work in the way that’s in your best interests. 

What does the Trump trial in the Senate have to do with property and wealth? Everything! Those senators didn’t get elected without a lot of money to campaign on, most of which came from Super PACs and billionaire donors. Most of those billionaires inherited their wealth from their family’s property or business and then used that seed money to buy even more property/natural resources and businesses to become even wealthier and more powerful. 


After all, if  “Money is speech” then billionaires have the most powerful speech on earth. These billionaires (and their boot-licking supporters) want to keep things the way they are so they can continue to prosper financially and have things their way. To allow the system to become “fair” overnight in order to punish a wrong-doer such as Trump would mean they could be next. And they can’t have that.


We poor folks might actually expect a “fair system” of government to hold billionaires hiding behind corporation logos accountable for not telling us about the climate warming potential of burning fossil fuels or the radioactivity caused by drilling and fracking for oil and gas. We poor folks might tell these “citizens with rights” that it’s their responsibility to clean up their messes and stop polluting our lakes and rivers with animal factory effluence and chemicals because we drink the water and we live here. 

But we can’t tell them that—we’re speechless without vast sums of money, remember? And it wouldn’t matter much if we could speak anyway. The current system of laws tells property-owners they don’t have to listen to us whiny poor folks. We can’t threaten their right to use and abuse their “property” such as our lakes, rivers and streams as they wish unless we want to be thrown into jail—which essentially what Ohio House Bill 33 and similar laws in nineteen other states say. It says that by protesting “infrastructure” (as defined by the property-owners and our property laws) we can be deemed “terrorists” and thrown into jail for a very long time. 

If laws like HB33 don’t shut down the speechless, this will: the federal Environmental Protection Agency loosened its laws recently that protected our waterways in order to help the property owners to use and abuse their property. Face it, everything belongs to the billionaires because they say so. Their puppets in the White House, courts, and statehouses do as they’re told with no questions asked because they’re salivating at the chance to own a piece of that property alongside their billionaire friends.


We have the right to sit in silence and take it up the backside if we agree to continue living under this system. We have the right to sit and moan about how “unfair” it is for our elected representatives to not allow a trial to go forward in the Senate against a corrupt president. But there’s one thing we don’t have the right to, and that is, we don't have the right to act ignorant that this was going to be the outcome all along.


What did you expect? A democracy? Wake up, America! You’ve never lived in one!


A democracy is where everyone’s rights are equal—the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the male, the female, the gay, the straight, the young, the old… Under our current laws and system of government, billionaire property owners are definitely “more equal” than either you or me.

As long as the corrupt duopolists remain in power, we will have more of the same. It’s why both establishment parties keep protecting the system at all costs and won’t allow any third parties to have a say so in it because—heaven forbid!--these independent-minded people might just want to institute democratic reforms, such as ranked choice voting.

But now is not the time to sit and moan—now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their fellow countrypersons, to save the planet from the impending climate emergency, and to stop wishing for a different or “fair” outcome from the same corrupt system. 

Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome… You do realize that’s the definition of insanity, don’t you? 


Act sane. Act differently. Think outside the box. Create a better world.


BIO: Redd Phlagg's crystal ball predicts the future. No one believed Redd's prognostication that Trump would serve out the full length of his term outside of a prison cell, but once again Redd has been proven right. It's tough being right all the time says Redd, especially when it comes to how the corrupt system will reward people like Trump and his cronies, but there you go. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, evil always wins.

Related articles:

Corporations Would Literally Kill You To Turn a Profit
https://jacobinmag.com/2020/01/corporations-profit-values-murder-culture-boeing

The United States is a Nation Under Minority Rule, a Perversion of Democracy
https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/the-united-states-is-a-nation-under-minority-rule-a-perversion-of-democracy

Dems Getting Republicans to Run as Dems (video): https://youtu.be/S2e4H03lXIY

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Freedom of Speech Isn't Free!

It's getting tougher with each passing day to express and share an opinion that doesn't jive with the status quo. Anti-progressive algorithms actively block this site and others like it from being found in online Google searches or posting widely on Facebook. Hence, readers can't find us or share us like they have in the past.

So, please share this blog with others and encourage them to do the same. Thank you. And if you're able, a donation to the cause would be appreciated. You can use the link below to do so swiftly and painlessly.


We'll keep speaking out and sharing progressive news and views until they lock us up, and it's great to know you have our backs. Thanks again for your help in these trying times. Power to the people!

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We should be making it easier for workers to claim the Social Security benefits they’ve earned with every paycheck, not harder. So why has the Trump administration proposed a new rule that’s designed to rip benefits away from hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities?


That’s the Republican strategy. Uphold capitalistic greed at the expense of working people.


While Social Security is best known as a retirement program, disability and survivor’s benefits are equally essential. That’s why we’re rallying with our allies across the country to fight back against this proposed rule change and save the lives of thousands of Americans.






We know what the effects of the Trump proposal would be, because Ronald Reagan implemented a very similar benefit cut back for over 200,000 Americans in the 1980s. 


The New York Times reported that during the Reagan administration “people with obvious physical and mental disabilities” lost their benefits “without having been interviewed” by the Social Security Administration. This led to the loss of 21,176 lives of people who relied on their Social Security benefits to survive.


And, while Reagan was eventually forced to reverse his attack on Social Security after massive public outcry, the Trump administration is bringing back this cruel policy with no regard for history or human life.


The Trump administration proposal would require millions of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries to re-prove their eligibility for benefits as often as every six months—far more frequently than is currently the case.


Join CPD Action and allies like Social Security Works, the AFL-CIO, Demand Progress and more to fight back against the Trump administration’s brazen cruelty. Submit an official comment to the Social Security Administration to oppose the proposed rule change that will result in hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries losing their earned Social Security benefits.


We must stop Trump’s plan. The Social Security Administration is collecting comments on the proposal until January 31, at midnight. Click here to submit your official comment now.


Thank you for fighting back against attempts to undermine and destroy our Social Security system.

In solidarity, 

Jennifer Epps-Addison
Network President & Co-Executive Director, CPDA


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We’re only a month into 2020 and it’s already been a crazy year. Between Trump almost taking us into a war with Iran, deploying Easy Fire Nukes, and circumventing diplomacy with nuclear-armed countries in favor of antagonistic threats — all while he has his finger on the nuclear red button — our small but mighty team is just as busy as ever. We can’t stress enough that activists like you are what keeps us going and why we will be successful in the fight to prevent nuclear violence. Here are your monthly actions to help win that fight.

Your a
ction steps on No First Use:
Our main priority in 2020 is driving momentum toward No First Use legislation in Congress. There’s some easy steps you can take to show your representatives that you support No First Use and want them to as well.


1) Sign the petition for No First Use;
2) Share the petition with a friend;

3) Click to tweet in support of No First Use!

How you can prevent war with Iran
:


On January 3, the U.S. killed the top Iranian commander, Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike, representing a major escalation of a crisis manufactured by Trump. Then, Iran predictably retaliated against the U.S. by launching missile strikes at Iraqi bases housing American forces. While it’s good news that we have avoided a war thus far, our work is not yet over. Here’s what you can do to prevent an Iraq 2.0:


1) Sign and send the petition to call on Congress to not allow the U.S. to enter into a war with Iran;

2) Share the petition with a friend;

3) Follow our friends at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), who are doing incredible frontline work to fight for the rights of Iranian-Americans and stop a war with Iran;

4) Click to tweet in support of #NoWarWithIran!


Uplifting the v
oices of impacted communities:

New year, same focus on centering the voices of frontline communities.
Rachel Traczyk, Fellowship Associate and former BombSquad fellow, has been focused on uplifting the forgotten stories of those directly impacted by nuclear weapons testing. In November, she visited the Trinity test site to bear witness to the damage done to the people and the planet by the first nuclear test to ever occur. Rachel also wrote this piece in Inkstick Media on the story of Cecilia Romero, a New Mexican Downwinder.


We will win through intersectional organizing
:
We again joined the Women’s March as partners to raise our voices against war, nuclear weapons, and the patriarchy. Partnerships Manager Yasmeen Silva represented Beyond the Bomb at the Poor People’s Campaign day of action in Washington, D.C. this week to challenge the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. And don’t forget to join us for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington June 20, 2020!


2020 is going to be a big year
:


A reimagined anti-nuclear movement for the 21st century — led by young people and giving voice to those most impacted by nuclear violence — is rising. We need your help more than ever this year to fight for justice and raise awareness of the dangers of the undemocratic nuclear system.


This is why we’re starting off 2020 with a Make Love Not War campaign during the month of February! As we get closer to the 2020 election, we need to make sure every candidate and representative knows we’re putting our #FutureFirst, and breaking up with nuclear weapons. Stay tuned next week to see how you can get involved!



Donate to Beyond the Bomb
In solidarity,
The Beyond the Bomb team