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.

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