Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jesus Is A Progressive

Jesus Is A Progressive
by Cindy A. Matthews

Peace of Earth says the Christmas card that comes in the mail alongside a multitude of shopping flyers screaming Buy! Buy! Buy! 

 Something is wrong with this picture.

Something is very wrong with a society when we say Peace of Earth, Goodwill to All Mankind on our Christmas cards, yet our law enforcement officers are protecting a private oil company's pipeline and terrorizing peacefully praying water protectors with concussion grenades and pepper spray. You know what I'm going to say next, don't you?

What would Jesus do? 

One thing, Jesus sure as heck wouldn't want people wasting money (they may or may not have) buying things they could probably do without while their fellow man is going hungry,  homeless, or is being shot at with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas simply because he wants clean water for his children and grandchildren.  

After all, Jesus was overheard saying such progressive phrases as:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  (Matthew 5:9 NIV)

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31 NIV)
And the real kicker:
'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25: 35-40 NIV)

No self-respecting, self-serving, military-industrial-complex-loving capitalist oligarch has ever been quoted saying anything remotely this socialistic, right? 

The baby born in Bethlehem whose birthday we celebrate every December 25th is a true progressive. He's always looking out for the ordinary people and telling the oligarchs to stop pretending they care as they exploit the masses. (Dig the way Jesus laid into the teachers of the law--he called them whitewashed tombs, no less.) He's always going to put the health and safety of humanity and our  planet before the private profits of a handful of obscenely wealthy oil barons.

This holiday season let's take back Jesus' besmirched reputation from "Corporate Jesus" once and for all. Boycott stores, banks and corporations such as Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, and Energy Transfer Partners. Avoid doing business with all who make dirty profits at the risk of the Earth's climate and our water supplies and/or refuse to pay their employees a living wage. Give whatever funds you can to organizations who are fighting for our neighbors' rights to have clean water, unadulterated food, adequate shelter and access to healthcare. Share your time and energy to help those in need at a local shelter, soup kitchen or at Standing Rock if you can travel there. (Click here for a page full of links on how to help the#NoDAPL water protectors. More links in the Climate Hawks announcement below.)

Together, we  can make it a brighter holiday season for all. Let's do it! Let's tell Corporate Jesus where to get off and save the planet. Progressive Jesus would be proud.

1912 Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs

Economic Models: Capitalism vs. Socialism
by Bern Notice

This has been an interesting year. For the first time in recent memory, we've had a presidential candidate who was not afraid of the term socialist (precisely "Democratic Socialist"). Historically, the term was considered taboo. It was not uncommon to be called a Russian sympathizer if you even uttered the term. The fact that it can be discussed is healthy and allows for a more robust discussion about what the ideal economic model is.

At the same time, capitalism has been America's darling for decades. Countless innovations have been attributed to the capitalist model. The free market model is based on it and is the standard used around the world.

Both economic models have their supporters, some more die hard than others. This piece will show the flaws in both models in their purest senses.

Let's start with socialism. Socialism is defined as follows:

1: Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

2a : A system of society or group living in which there is no private property.
b : A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.

3: A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism

In summary, socialism is the collection of all wealth that would be equally

distributed to all. The flaw in this model is it assumes that all work and effort is equal and, as a direct result, minimizes reward for achievement. It removes rewards entirely for efforts beyond or below the basic required effort or hours beyond the standard work day/week.

A simplified example is as follows:

Jane is a farmhand. She and her co-workers plant and harvest to feed their community. Let's assume the standard work week to get things done and meet their quota is 30 hours.

Jane works 30 hours for week one. As a result, Jane gets $300.

Jane works 60 hours on week two. As a result, Jane gets $300.

Jane works 20 hours on week three. As a result, Jane gets $300.

Regardless of how much or how little time or effort Jane puts in, she still makes $300. This model relies on the honor system because there are no rewards or consequences for doing more or less than required.

Those who are less motivated will do less and collect the same amount of income as those who put in more hours or work. This will also lead to frustration with other co-workers who may be picking up the extra work. Eventually, their productivity may drop, and there will be less food to distribute to the community.

Granted, there will always be those who do less even under capitalism. However, there is no potential reward structure in place for those who do more than their counterparts. The purest model of socialism isn't sustainable. It potentially leads to totalitarianism.

Next, let's look at capitalism. It is defined as follows:

1: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

In essence, the purest form of capitalism is all about private ownership and maximizing profit. The problems with this model is that it assumes all things are best run using a for-profit model. Because the profit motive is always first, the well-being and best interest of those whom it takes advantage of is not a concern.

Here's a simplified example:

Joe builds a business from scratch and makes a healthy profit for his investment in his new enterprise. He commands an income of well over $1,000,000 per year. His employees are payed well above minimum wage and are happy. He expands his business to where its footprint is in all 50 states.

A year later Joe's income doubles, his employees that run his operation on the ground level are making a little over minimum wage and morale starts to decline.

Six months later, Joe and his share holders want to increase profits. They cut pay to minimum wage while the executive staff grants themselves a pay hike.

One year later, Joe and the board of directors feel that it's too expensive to make things in the United States. They fire all of their employees, move to a third world nation and hire cheaper labor. They also grant themselves a pay raise for increasing profitability.

As outlined here, the profit motive isn't always the best answer, either. The profits will go to those who have the control while everyone else suffers from the lack of upward mobility and likely loss of work due to cheaper labor being found elsewhere in the world. In other words, pure capitalism potentially leads to oligarchy.

Great, so what is the optimal form of government? The optimal form of government is one that blends the two together. Neither should have complete domination of our economic system. Capitalism should be kept in check by socialism and vice versa.

Police, roads, the military, national disaster relief, social security, education

and the government itself are all funded by all tax payers and provide services from the pools of money collected from its citizens. Few would have a problem with these services being granted by the state as they would be too expensive/impractical to be executed on our own. That's socialism.

Banks, supermarkets, 401Ks, and the vast number of employers all run on the capitalist model. The rewards they offer for making profits and putting in the extra time to make deadlines can be a net positive.

It is a good thing to have government oversight and unions (ones that aren't corrupt) in place to keep the for-profit motive in check from abusing its employees. It's good to have business in place that can offer certain services that government institutions do. This keeps that state itself from having 100 percent control of everything, and offers an alternative to those who may not want to use the public option.

In short, the best economic model is the one that utilizes the best parts of both. The difficulty in doing so is making sure that one doesn't have more power than the other. That job falls to us. It is our responsibility to not just vote for who we want in power but to take an active part in it and possibly be part of it.

What are your thoughts? What economic model do you think would make the most sense? Why? (Write your comments in the comments section below.)

BIO: Bern Notice shares his insights on Google+ and leads the political revolution through his wise words.


 Update on the DAPL 
and Other Related Oil-Abominations

This blog was set to publish before the recent announcement by the Army Corp of Engineers to stop work on the DAPL so an environmental assessment could be done. This is great news, but it doesn't mean the Standing Rock Sioux and the Missouri River are safe. When Donald Trump takes office in little over a month's time, we could find ourselves right back where we started from. The pipeline building and the "oil police" brutality against the water protectors could start all over again. Now is not the time to become complacent. Remain vigilant. Stay informed. Be alert to sudden changes and actions taking place in North Dakota.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is only one of many scheduled to be built in the coming days in the US. In Ohio we are currently fighting the building of the Nexus Pipeline. It is planned to cross under the Maumee River, which is a water supply to many cities in the area before it empties into Lake Erie (yet another water supply for millions). But concerned citizens aren't taking this lying down. 
 A record-breaking 150 showed up to a Bowling Green city council meeting Monday night to air their views on the Nexus Pipeline's crossing  the Maumee River close to the city's water supply--which includes Bowling Green State University. The city council voted unanimously to decline the Nexus builder's offer to pay for an easement on city property next to the  water treatment plant. One small victory in what is sure to be a long battle.

Recently another pipeline has been proposed to start in this area as well--the Rover Pipeline. It's to be built by none other than Energy Transfer Partners, the builders of DAPL, and is already threatening to obtain farmland by means of eminent domain. 

To make matters worse, Ohio's only national forest, Wayne National Forest, is under attack by the fracking industry. The Forest Service wants to auction off leases to the frackers. Guess where all the toxic fracking wastewater will wind up? In our rivers, streams and ponds--including the great and beautiful Ohio River. What a legacy to leave our children and grandchildren!

We can't close our eyes for a second, folks. The fossil fuels barons want to make the most of these dwindling resources, and they don't seem to care about the negative impact it will have on our environment or our health. So, stand up, be counted and shout out, "People over pipelines! Keep it in the ground!"


From Climate Hawks:

The tribes of the Camp of Sacred Stones are calling on allies across the world to take action every day in December.



The water protectors are calling for direct actions, demonstrations and other disruptions targeting the banks behind the pipeline. In August, a group of banks agreed to lend $2.5 billion to Dakota Access. But $1.4 billion of this loan is still on hold until the Army Corps grants the final permits for the pipeline. This means that there is still time for the banks involved in this loan to cut their line of credit.

If you want to set up your own action, drop us a line - we’re happy to help. Email rlm@climatehawksvote.com with your action idea and we’ll get it on the map.


We are also encouraging people to close their accounts with these banks. The 17 banks financing the pipeline include most of the large, national banks in the US, Europe, and Japan.


Sheriff departments and police departments from across the Midwest have sent officers to violently attack and suppress water protectors. We are calling on these departments to permanently withdraw their officers from Standing Rock. We can win: The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office withdrew after facing protests in Minneapolis.


The tribes are inviting all people of conscience to join the encampments at Standing Rock by December 5. Conditions are harsh, and only those who are ready and able should make the journey.


On November 20th, the police and National Guard violently attacked the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, sound grenades, and sprayed them with water cannons in subfreezing conditions, hundreds of people were injured. The next day, the police assault continued, leading to further casualties, including climate activist Sophia Wilansky’s catastrophic injury when a concussion grenade exploded by her left arm.

We're grateful to be able to report that the Climate Hawks Vote community responded with an outpouring of support for Sophia’s recovery - over $34,000 has been raised from more than 1,100 contributors.

Sophia is out of intensive care but requires further major surgery to reconstruct her shattered arm. She still has not recovered any sensation in her fingers, though she and her family continue to hope. At her request, the funds raised by Climate Hawks Vote members will be divided equally between her medical fund and the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council, the indigenous organization working to protect the health of the water protectors.

In addition to contributing our thoughts to the prayers for Sophia and the other water protectors, we must also turn our bodies to action.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

American Hubris

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Letter to the Folks at Energy Transfer Partners

Dear Sirs:

This is probably one of thousands of emails regarding The Dakota Access Pipeline you have received and will receive, so I will keep it short and to the point.

Shut the pipeline down. Now. Forever.

You are infinitely wealthier than most ordinary human beings on the planet, so you have no worries about where your next meal is coming from. You can afford to be generous and shut the Dakota Access Pipeline down once and for all.

Your children's and grandchildren's future are at stake. Whether or not you believe in climate change or that fossil fuels are a finite resource, leaking oil from your pipelines can and does pollute our water supplies. Just ask the folks along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and recently in Alabama and Pennsylvania, among many others in this country and around the globe.

Yes, I know you personally will never worry about having enough clean water to drink or food to eat, but the vast majority of human beings do worry about these basic needs. Can you not find it in your heart to be compassionate and considerate of their needs?

The Standing Rock Sioux have suffered long enough due to our government's racist and genocidal policies. Why do you wish your name to be listed in the history books alongside these horrendous deeds? What satisfaction will you gain from having your reputation sullied by association with the violence perpetrated against peaceful water protectors praying over their sacred lands and water?

It makes me cry knowing that a 21 year old young woman, Sophia Wilansky, could lose her arm because of your lust for more profit. 

Vanessa suffered a detached retina because your militarized "oil police" shot rubber bullets into water protectors' faces. 

It's some trade-off--the lives and health of Sophia, Vanessa and millions of others for you to make millions of dollars in profits to buy yet another mansion, yacht, golf course, etc. (How many luxury items do you really need?)

You have forever transformed the public's perception of our police officers from being defenders of the weak to one of acting as paid bullies for the oil barons. Covering for your cupidity, your bought-and-paid-for politicians, especially in the statehouse of North Dakota as well as the presidency, have destroyed our sense of fairness and justice.

Try to look at it from the ordinary human being's point of view for a change. Try to think what God (or your Higher Power) would want you to do--to show mercy, to practice compassion, to act justly and to care for those who have little and will have even less because of your greed.

Shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline today. The human race might not have a tomorrow if you don't.

C.A. Matthews

Click on our Standing Rock (#NoDAPL) Helps page link on the sidebar for contact info and ways you can help the water protectors.


by Adrian J. Matthews

We’re witnessing the aftermath of one of the most contentious presidential elections in United States history. Donald Trump's election led to an immediate outcry from all across the nation and a sense of deep mistrust and even stunned disbelief from the governments of other countries. Protesters took to the streets in most major cities in America to denounce Trump’s stance on a host of issues, including LGBTQ rights, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the infamous "Wall." These protests are still ongoing. 

It’s a matter of fact that Trump would not be president-elect without the spectacular example of hubris enacted by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

To the Greeks, hubris referred to extreme pride, especially pride and ambition so great that they offend the gods and lead to one’s downfall. Hubris was a character flaw often seen in the heroes of classical Greek tragedy, including Oedipus and Achilles. The familiar old saying, “Pride goeth before a fall,” is basically talking about hubris. From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

Definition of HUBRIS: a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence 

Early last year a mid-ranking official in the Democratic Party of New York recounted how he and other officials were gathered together for a special announcement. They were told the party was going to nominate Hillary Clinton for the 2016 election to the exclusion of any other candidate – and this weeks before she even announced her candidacy. His revelation is all of a piece with what has since been learned about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s long-term efforts to take over the Democratic Party and make it their own. People were in place, the mainstream media bought off in her favor, the game-plan written for the election. The stream of data from Wikileaks recounts the whole sorry story.

When Independent US Senator Bernie Sanders announced he intended to run as a Democrat, he was treated as no threat. The fix was in for Clinton, courtesy

of her wholly-owned party. The other contenders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee, Professor Larry Lessig and Jim Webb were held to be no threat, either. They were there merely to make it look like the primaries were contested. Mainstream media paid scant attention to Sander’s campaign, a lack of attention at serious odds with their previous willingness to invite him on the air to present the left-wing position on many issues. The number of televised debates was kept at a ridiculously low level compared to previous elections thanks to the sterling efforts of  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chair of the DNC, another example of the Clinton machine running interference for their principal. Clinton’s health may have been a key factor in this decision. Apparently she has a number of serious medical issues arising from the stroke she suffered in 2012, and perhaps her people didn’t want to risk an event on live TV.

Then it became obvious Senator Sanders had tapped the anger felt by ordinary people against The Establishment. He called it as he saw it, and people listened in their millions. Suddenly Clinton found herself facing a challenger who had yuge popular support and was raising money hand-over-fist, mostly from small donations – the now-famous $27. Suddenly Clinton was faced with the need to make the primary process look like the real contest it’s supposed to be. 

Instead of being wafted into the nomination on rose petals and clouds of scent to her supporters’ cries of adulation, Clinton found herself needing to work hard. Suddenly her war chest looked inadequate for the purpose, so she sought further donations from her Wall Street sponsors. She also took all but a pittance of  funds intended for down-ticket Democratic candidates’ campaigns, leaving them high and dry. What did she do with the money? She released a host of attack ads against Sanders who’d pledged to run a clean campaign and who’d kept to his word. Clinton’s super PACs also weighed in against him, running a smear campaign and fouling Sander’s followers’ Facebook and Twitter pages with child pornography. There is evidence of co-ordination between Clinton’s campaign HQ and her Super PAC, which is illegal.

Social media broke out into open warfare between the supporters of Senator

Sanders and Clinton. Time and again Sanders supporters were bombarded with demands to "pledge to support Hillary when he loses." Friendships and relationships were broken by the millions.

The primaries see-sawed back and forth. In those states where Diebold machines were used, the results looked seriously skewed. For instance, one county in West Virginia showed Senator Sanders winning 6,000 votes. An hour later his tally had been cut to 3,000. Hundreds of thousands of voters, including an entire city block in Sanders’ birthplace of Brooklyn, New York, vanished from the electoral roll. Could it be the Clinton machine wanted to ensure Bernie lost his hometown?

The majority of states that still relied upon conventional balloting methods went to Sanders. By the time the primaries were finished, the results were close, with Senator Sanders holding 45% of the delegates. All of a sudden it looked like Clinton would not gain the nomination.

But of course, the fix was in.

Although I was in Philadelphia, I will gloss over the convention debacle. What I found interesting was the utter failure of Clinton to gain the usual post-convention "bounce" in the polls the following week. Normally this bounce indicates a rise in interest in the nominee from the electorate who doesn’t bother following the primaries. In Clinton’s case its failure to materialize spoke of serious trouble to come.

And so the election rumbled on with a rising crescendo of acrimonious debate raging across social media. The nominees themselves went through the motions on the three televised debates, spitting criticisms at each other and generally behaving like bad actors. They resisted the temptation to address any serious issues. 

Bernie Sanders was co-opted to act as a Clinton surrogate in an attempt to win over his millions of supporters – many of them new voters – to her cause. It failed. They expected us all to fall into line behind her. We didn’t. What I found particularly nasty was the time soon after the convention when Clinton dragged Sanders to speak in New Hampshire, a place where he did particularly well and she badly. It was a modern take of a barbarian chief holding up the severed head of his enemy to show the enemy’s followers who was now boss.

Poll after poll taken prior to the Democratic Convention showed Senator Sanders beating Trump by double digits, enough to translate to an election landslide of epic proportions. Clinton on the other hand fared poorly against Trump, her figures being within the margin of error on more than one occasion and often below. Yet to her followers she was the Anointed One, there to lead them to glory.

Come election night, things did not look at all rosy for Clinton. As the evening wore on in her campaign HQ, the televisions showing election coverage were turned off. A fearful silence fell. Trump was winning. The celebratory firework show in NYC was canceled. The champagne remained unopened. At 2:30 A.M. Wednesday morning Clinton phoned Trump to concede the election. In their sure confidence of winning, nobody on her staff had written a "just in case" concession speech.

For the first time since 1928 Republicans will hold the House, Senate, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and most state legislatures and governorships. Is it coincidence that the Wall Street Crash occurred in 1929, barely a year later?

One cannot help but mourn the golden opportunity we had to elect the one man who would have worked for all Americans – Bernie Sanders. All this because

Clinton, in her pride, rejected the one person who could have beaten Trump in a landslide. She failed to engage with ordinary American voters or to discover and speak for what they really wanted. In fact, she insulted and marginalized them, calling them “a basket of deplorables” and “basement dwellers.” For the sake of her pride and burning ambition to become president, she forfeited the chance to enact genuine social change in the United States.

Hubris has claimed her.

BIO: Adrian J. Matthews is an author, artist, armchair historian and concerned citizen of the world.

Another example of American hubris--a Congress that can't even be bothered to consider a Supreme Court nominee.

Appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court Now
by Hugh J. Campbell

President Obama is petitioned in We the People Appoint Garland Now (Senate Has Waived Its Rights) to act now and make his Supreme Court appointment as a recess appointment, since the Senate’s inaction is a waiver of it right to consent. The legal basis for this petition is outlined in the Washington Post op-ed Obama can appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing.

Right-wing obstructionists are desperately trying to dissuade Americans from signing this petition by questioning the legal grounds of the waiver of rights argument, but their bias on this issue is indisputable.

Even though the We the People Appoint Garland Now (Senate Has Waived Its Rights) petition has the minimum 100,000 signatures to get an official update from the White House within 60 days, please sign the petition anyway, to communicate to the White House the urgency of this matter to the American People.

A 2016 SCOTUS recess appointment by President Obama should be effective through the end of the 115th Congress ending January 3, 2019 and will, in all likelihood, result in a case brought before our current eight member Supreme Court. The waiver of rights and other legal arguments including prior Supreme Court rulings on the substance over form doctrine can be put forth when and if this case is heard.

BIO: Hugh Campbell is a seasoned financial professional, currently providing subject matter expertise on a variety of regulatory topics, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and overall compliance monitoring. Hugh has previously held positions as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Director of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Challenges We Face

The outcome of this election will leave a strong mark on the course of young lives. This week on the blog, millennials speak out about the challenges we all will face in the coming years and what they plan on doing to confront them

As we enter this holiday season, let us not forget the challenges being confronted by our brave water protectors at Standing Rock. Read my holiday greetings--and a challenge of sorts--to you at my personal blog.

The Challenges We Face
 by Catherine Whittington

It's taken me a few days to really get to the bottom of what I want to say about this election, and here it is: I have friends and family who voted for Hillary; I have friends and family who voted for Trump. I have friends and family who voted for neither. And I want to say something to all of you, no matter who you voted for.
I've lived my life split across two very different communities. I've spent about half of my life living in liberal cities with strong immigrant and LGBT populations. I've spent the other half of my life in the suburbs of a largely Catholic midsize Midwestern city. I've learned that there is a huge culture divide in this country.
Hillary Clinton was an extremely weak candidate for president. But ultimately, I think there were two large factors at play that contributed to her loss on Tuesday night: She dismissed youth voters, and she dismissed the working class Midwest. Honestly, I cannot stand Hillary Clinton's past transgressions, particularly when it comes to gay rights. But disliking Hilary is not a reason to vote for Trump. 

I can see why Trump is appealing, particularly when running against an establishment candidate. He primarily held tent-revival style rallies rather than $20,000 a plate benefits. He addressed the corruption inherent in our current political system. But the fact is, even if you voted for Trump for positive reasons, your vote is going to hurt people. 

Why? Because a vote for Trump gives sudden legitimacy to the voices of white supremacists, sexual abusers, and radical homophobes. Suddenly, they're in the right. Even though you might not have voted for Trump because he says Mexicans are rapists, there are people out there that do believe just that, and like it or not, your vote legitimizes their ideas. 

It is extremely likely that President Trump and Vice President Pence (and the Republican-controlled Congress) will strip me of some of my very own civil rights--I am a woman, and I am gay. To be honest, I am luckier than a lot of my friends. I am white, an American citizen, college-educated, and come from a supportive family. I have reliable employment and benefits. I am cisgender.
To those of you who claim that the protesters are simply sore losers, I can tell you from firsthand experience, that it could not be anything further from the truth. They are afraid. They are afraid that they, their friends, and their family could lose basic human rights under a Trump presidency. Suicide hotline traffic has spiked, and it's been reported that up to eight young people have already taken their lives as a direct result of this election. Can you imagine? The results of an election being so bad for you as a person that you would prefer to end your own life.
To those of you who are afraid right now, I am so sorry. There is nothing I can say here that will make your fears go away. But I will fight for you, and I will fight for me, too.
And to those of you who voted Trump, I won't cut you off; I won't unfriend you. You are my family, my friends--no election could change that. That being said, over the next four years, I want you to know that life for me will likely change drastically because of your choice in the ballot booth. I will ensure that you know the challenges that I face and the challenges my friends face.

BIO: Catherine is an artist currently living in the Chicago area. Originally hailing from St. Louis, MO, she firmly believes that cultural education is the key to tolerance across party lines. 

Here's another young voice telling us to Act Out! 


The Hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and How Do Progressives Move On from Here
By Eddie Alvarado

Remember when everyone and their mother said, “Oh my God! Donald won't concede if Hillary won? What a douchebag. #IMWITHHER”?  Guess what’s going on now? Hillary’s own supporters are losing their minds and saying we will protest. There are rumors that a lawsuit by her own supporters which may dispute the US presidential election results.  

Despite her winning the popular vote, by less than 900,000 votes, Hillary got schlonged with the likely Electoral College vote of 306 Trump and 232 Clinton.  As we know, this is not the first time in presidential elections in which the electoral votes conflict with the popular vote.  There have been four other elections where this has happened.  If you want to learn about why, and or how this happens.  This explains a lot and the drama that transpired:  The Trouble with the Electoral College--https://youtu.be/7wC42HgLA4k  

and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wLQz-LgrM

But now, we're dealing with literal riots. Let that sink in. People took to the streets and rioted, most notably in Washington and Portland, Oregon.  People have been attacking cops, vandalizing private property. People have been reported going to the hospital and getting arrested.  This happened right after major news outlets called the election at about 4 A.M.  Being an activist, and someone who frequents marches and political drama, I believe you should exercise your first amendment rights and protest if you are pissed about the toxic political climate in the nation. I commend the people who are going out to express their anger. But the moment you begin attacking your peers, cops, private property, etc., you are the problem.  Not Donald Trump, you.  

I really couldn't care less if I trigger anyone. Political Correctness and the need to be nice from the Senate/House Democrats and the SJW Movement is one of the biggest reasons the most hated and most conservative nominee in the history of the Democratic Party got whipped by the most hated presidential candidate in the history of the US. They deserved it. Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of Washington corruption--hypocrisy, neo-liberal crony capitalism that people hate.  

But I have to say it the way I see it: Donald J. Trump is a retard.  A doctor said he has issues and may be a sociopath. Working families are why he won, and people who do not want establishment politics to continue and racist human pieces of garbage. But you can’t reach 270 electoral votes with racists and bigots.  Holy hell, 36% of Latinos voted for him!  But let’s disregard the demographics. Let’s talk about the message the candidates gave and show them.  

Coming from a millennial that everyone takes a crap on every other day, because apparently I have pipe-dreams that ruin my judgment, let’s talk about Trump's message: We want jobs, and we want them back. The reason everyone is unaware and has forgotten the bad effects of the Clintons is because you didn’t deal with it. The people in the Rust Belt remember because they were negatively affected.  Most of their industries that powered their economies are gone because of NAFTA, CAFTA, and the now defeated TPP and TTIP. Hilary didn’t even go there. She literally ignored them!  In no way, shape or form she wanted anything for them.  Trump said he wants it back, and his plan to get it back in an economic standpoint is reasonable.  Many economists on both sides say that specific part is probably the only good thing of his plan.  

Now let’s go to Hillary's message: “I’m not Trump.” Wow.  A message that sends anything but a good message on a major party ticket for why someone should vote for your party on the presidential side or the down ballot candidates that need you to be a good candidate so they have a better chance.

The Committee itself and what needs to happen to ensure the DNC learns for next time.

Simple--every DNC member needs to get the hell out. You want a Democratic controlled House and Senate or even ever see the presidency for your party ever again?  Clintonism and Neo-Liberal bullsh*t is done. It needs to get whacked in the skull by Negan and Lucille. (I will love someone forever if they get that reference.) Even Hillary Democrats are starting to see why Bernie was pissed about it. They are to a degree seeing why a deep blue state like Wisconsin went red. You need to remove Donna Brazile, remove any establishment Democrat, every blue dog in the DNC--except the one who yelled at Brazile during a conference, correctly pointing out the insanity and stupidity the Democrats did to screw their genuine chance to retake the Senate. 

The DSCC really funded campaigns in safer than safe Republican seats. Not toss-ups.  Safe.  I said Democrats would have 51 (D) – 49 (R) in the Senate if they put their money in the right races and would gain 16 seats in the house, not a retaking number, but an amazing start.  But no, they gained two. When Louisiana votes again, they are 100% likely to vote Republican, which would give the Republicans a less than comfortable majority in the senate 52 (R) – 48 (D).  There is more than enough evidence for the Democrats to boot all of those people controlling the main committee, the DSCC and the DCCC. 

Now let’s talk the presidential election.  If the Democrats in anyway run Tim Kaine, Cory Booker, Andrew Cuomo, Bill De Blasio, or even Joe Biden, I can then call the 2020 presidential election right now. Any of them will be massacred by Trump. Point.  Blank.  Period. They would have no chance to regain control of the House or the Senate if they played their cards right for years to come.  Because no matter how hated Trump will be at the end of his first term, the anti-establishment sentiment will remain, and it will go to him, no matter how establishment he’s become. 

Why would I sneak my own senator, Cory Booker, from New Jersey in here?  Because word on the street is he may not run for re-election in 2020 for a primary battle for the Democratic nomination. He will get demolished the same way Hillary did because he is part of the Jersey corruption elite that people around the country hate. To make matters even worse, he is funded by war-monger neo-cons--the same ones that fund Trump, for pity’s sake.

You need someone like Russ Feingold, Elizabeth Warren, or even the man himself.  Bernie Freaking Sanders, if Democrats want a chance to win and have any glimpse of hope in seeing the Oval Office once again.  How are we going to get that to happen?  Progressives need to continue to test Clintonism establishment politics, kill it and show it to be detrimental and not the way of the left-wingers, nor the way of the nation. 

So, where’s Bernie been?
Bernie has been making first interviews since the election. He has been coming out swinging, and giving the right jabs to the people who screwed us over with Trump and $hill.  He has released his new book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.  Bernie has said he is not shocked about Donald’s victory. He feels the election results show it is time for the Democratic Party to undergo a fundamental reassessment.  "I think it's time for a fundamental reassessment," Sanders told NPR's Robert Siegel, "and I think what that reassessment has got to entail is to understand that we cannot have a party that will win, if we continue to become dependent on big money interests and campaign fundraisers all over this country."

Gearing up for the Future

The great Bernie Sanders once said, “Never lose your sense of outrage.” And conveniently, we have the No Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Fortunately and unfortunately, we need to continue the fight against it at all costs. So many banks want the DAPL complete so it can return an investment for them from screwing people over.  But investment or not, this pipeline risks Native American sovereignty. If you don’t give anything about it, you should be concerned about the fact that oil pipelines have huge risks that have a huge chance of contaminating Lake Oahe, which is part of the Missouri River, and millions of people, including Natives, get their water from this alone. What is happening in Alabama is an unfortunate example of why this needs to be stopped.  Thankfully, progressives are standing with Standing Rock.  In spite of the risk of arrest or physical harm from the dogs, cops' rubber bullets and tear gas, we need to keep going. This isn’t a Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Green issue.  It is a national issue.  

Standing Rock is the start.  We need to begin protests, marches, and action days of many issues that drive progressives and get them going. We need to stay angry at how establishment politics, or the shift to the right Democrats have been doing, is inevitably hurting the country as a whole. It starts with midterms. We now have a group that is slowly growing in numbers and is committed to produce 400 progressive candidates from both parties and even independents across the country. They will challenge incumbent representatives in the primaries to start the Political Revolution. I am proud to be a volunteer of Brand New Congress, and hopefully a worker of the platform committee, the platform those candidates will use and work on when in office.  

The late launch of Our Revolution and the funding drama of the DCCC and DSCC made it hard and ruined campaigns that had the chance to flourish, but that doesn’t justify an excuse to slow down or give up on it. With the Democratic establishment wanting blood from the left, it is highly unlikely for Democrats to retake the House. They will continue to nudge Republicans with a more and more uncomfortable majority to the point where I expect them to have a chance to take it back in 2022.  The Senate can be easily re-taken; we just have to get real progressives, someone like Keith Ellison as DNC chair, commanding the wave of progressives to take back state houses and the Senate since this year’s crushing Republican revolution. 

In the end, even if faithless electors do cast their ballots for Hillary, or stay with Trump like the classic Electoral College should, we have to fight like hell to stop their atrocious neo-conservative policies. We need to fight like hell to make our establishment-leaning Congress listen to the people and put the policies of the people first, not their donors. 

The Revolution is starting, and the next right-wing trifecta is starting, so buckle up and go outside and raise hell to the establishment.  Because one is none and two is one--and we need those twos to rise as one!
BIO: Eddie says: "Born in Newark and raised in Elizabeth, NJ in 2000, I've been committed to protest, discuss, debate and even rant whenever possible because that is how we teach people.  Saying you aren't going to take sides says you are with the aggressor.  Saying Neo-Liberal Clintonism keeps us afloat shows you don't care.  Saying we shouldn't fight for what is right, even when it means the right might not have a chance or doesn't at all, still doesn't give anyone incentive to go with lesser evil because it will get more evil and will ruin everyone as a whole.  Don't lose your sense of anger, or the Political Revolution never begins."

 Baron Lichenstein and the Penguins of Death sum up the election fairly well in The Best Laid Plans. (Warning: Contains some NSFW language)