Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Voice of the People (Never Give Up)

Who Will Speak for the People?

The meme says it all--the elite and their corporations have taken over our government and effectively locked us out with the Citizens United ruling. Who will speak for the people? Who will voice our concerns and stand up for our rights?

Not the establishment candidates--they're too worried about giving their rich friends (and themselves) tax breaks. They're drooling about making a profit off the military-industrial complex in all out war with Russia, Syria, China, Ecuador, and/or Whoever-Fits-the Bill-this-Week. The only voice they have is the voice of greed, shouting, "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"

We need a champion in our corner, someone who's not afraid to speak his/her mind and point out the corruption in the system and face it head on. We need a leader who is eager to help the people develop our own voice. Senator Bernie Sanders was our champion earlier on in the election cycle, but his voice has been muffled by jealous bullies who don't really care if they stand for democratic principles or not.

Poor Bernie was unfairly pushed aside through their primary rigging. He's still speaking out in support of progressive candidates running down ticket in various states. He's still encouraging us to speak out for ourselves, albeit not from center stage as he deserved.  

Since the DNC Convention in Philadelphia, many Berners have turned to a new voice, a voice that is not afraid to speak out about the corruption of the establishment party candidates. That voice says we the people have the power--but we don't always believe we do. That voice is Jill Stein of the Green Party.
Read  Jill's Power to the People Plan here. It calls for a "Green New Deal" and  health care and jobs as a right. See if it doesn't match with what Bernie said during his campaign run. Tuition-free college, a federal $15/hour minimum wage, breaking up the "too big to fail" banks, tackling the crisis of climate change... These all should ring a bell with Sanders supporters. Bernie talked about them at every rally from coast to coast.

With Jill Stein, the people have found a new progressive voice to lead us. It isn't Bernie Sanders, as many had hoped, but it is a voice who isn't afraid to take on the corrupt system on our behalf. It's a voice willing to lead us in our grassroots efforts--in our efforts to speak up for ourselves through action.

Americans often forget real change is instituted not from the top down, but from the bottom up. Bernie Sanders emphasized this point repeatedly during his campaign rallies. "Not Bernie Sanders, not any president can change things--only you, the people, can," was perhaps his most consistent talking point. We are the political revolution.  We the people have the power to make lasting positive changes to our corrupt system.

Our Revolution in Northwest Ohio, our local grassroots group, is trying to coordinate our voices in our part of the country. There are so many things in need of change. Working against big money in politics (essentially dismantling the Citizens United ruling on a state by state basis) is the Move to Amend organization. Move to Amend says corporations aren't people and don't have the same rights as human beings. Similar initiatives have been passed in over 30 separate municipalities so far.

A particularly gratifying part of the Toledo Move to Amend initiative is that the mayor and the city council must hold a "Democracy Day" hearing each year where citizens can voice their complaints against big money in politics and government. The mayor must then write and sign a letter summarizing the citizens' concerns about the abuse of big money and present it, whether she/he agrees with the people or not, emphasizing the need for a US Constitutional amendment outlawing the Citizens United ruling once and for all.

The Toledoans for Safe Water group is drafting a charter amendment to the city's charter. The amendment states all residents have the right to safe drinking water. Those corporations, businesses or individuals who are found to be polluting the city's water supply can be held accountable for their actions and forced to pay fines and enact remediation to clean the water they've polluted. This "Lake Erie Bill of Rights" could be the first "rights of nature" legal precedence of its kind in the US.

These examples are but two of many local progressive grassroots actions happening. Think of how many others are taking place, or will take place soon, all across America. Is there something you'd like to add your voice to? Don't be afraid--just do it.
As Bernie said, "Not me us!"

Far from being voiceless, we the people have the capabilities to tackle the issues

nearest and dearest to us, such as the right of proper representation in government without the influence of big money and the right to safe water. Together we can use our voices to speak out and create a future to believe in.

And with the help of the Green Party in the White House, we can be assured there will be a better tomorrow. As Dr. Stein says, "It's in our hands." Let's use our voice at the ballot box to make it so.

You have a voice! Sing along with Kor Element's Power to the People. (And check out the next article. Take its advice--Never Give Up.)

Never Give Up
By A. J. Matthews
“Never, never, never give up.” ~ Winston Churchill
The popular consensus of opinion is this is the worst election in the history of the United States. Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders in particular feel let down. Due to the Wikileaks exposure showing the Democratic Party had no intention of nominating anyone but Clinton for president, all their efforts seem in vain. Electoral fraud, vote rigging, voter intimidation and the use of vicious online attacks were employed to hamstring the Sanders campaign. In hindsight, it all seems unnecessary since the fix was in from before the start. The Democratic Party wants to anoint their queen, and that’s that.

Now we’re treated to the spectacle of the two main contenders, supposedly fierce rivals, dining together with a Roman Catholic Cardinal and laughing as if there are no clouds on the horizon. Their so-called electoral fight is as real as any WWE wrestling bout. In the meantime, the enmity is all too real for those involved in politics at grassroots level. We hear of thousands of people who’ve lost friends and relations due to political rivalry. The blocked list on social media sites is staggering. Here, two weeks before Election Day, the lines are drawn. 

Few will change their minds now. Electoral fatigue has reached terminal proportions. People are tired and dispirited, unwilling to go on with what looks like a farce scripted by The Establishment, of which the Republicans and Democratic parties are but two aspects. The average American voter has to get on with his or her life. There’s the perpetual need to find money for food, college loans, rent, mortgage, health care payments, and fuel in harsh economic conditions. These are bitter, bitter times.

As title of this article I used a quote from a man who went through some extraordinarily hard times, yet he didn’t give up: Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during the Second World War. Here’s another quote from him: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Yes, it is hard to keep going in the face of all the blatant electioneering. It all seems cut and dried in favor of The Establishment, whatever the result of the election.   

Yet nothing is cut and dried. Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party is making great strides in the polls as more people come to realize Green values are not so different from those espoused by Senator Sanders. Trump has reason to be concerned. Many of his supporters are finding his behavior increasingly obnoxious and are looking to third parties for alternatives. 

Clinton in particular is looking over her shoulder in fear of the Greens as her own voting base disintegrates under the pressure of more Wikileak exposures. We see her concern in the rise of vicious attacks by Democrats against Dr. Stein and the Greens along similar lines to those used against Bernie Sanders’ supporters. 

The Senator himself instituted the Our Revolution movement to assist candidates with progressive values to gain seats at every level of government, something that has raised fears in both wings of The Establishment. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently drew attention to the Our Revolution movement, voicing concern that the Republican dominated House may well disappear under the progressive wave.

And really, it comes down to this: Trump won’t be allowed to get away with more than a fraction of what he proposes, but a fool in the White House is still a danger to the people of the United States and the world as a whole. He seems willing to toss nuclear weapons around like confetti. As for Clinton, although she says otherwise, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be signed the moment her butt hits the chair in the Oval Office. World War III against Russia, China and Iran may well follow soon after. In any case, democratic government will be dead and buried by the corporations that will inherit the Earth.

To quote Dr. Stein, referring to the last debate.

What a distressing hour and a half to sit through: Donald Trump’s psychosis and Hillary Clinton’s distortions of her record and what the future would look like. And the picture they paint of unbridled militarism, which is already robbing us blind, taking up more than half of our discretionary budget, almost half of your income taxes, only making the world a more dangerous place.
Do we give up the fight and let "Them" win, to trample on anything resembling social, environmental and economic progressiveness? Because that is exactly what will happen should either candidate gain the White House. To quote Churchill again: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Do we have the courage to continue, to fight for progressive values that benefit society as a whole and not the one-percent?

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” --Churchill

I, for one, will never lose my enthusiasm for making this world a better place for those who come after us.

Never, never, never give up.

Bio: A. J. Matthews is a writer, artist and armchair historian who sees many parallels in  the current election cycle with historical events. He supports progressives such as Jill Stein because we can't afford to repeat history the way the establishment candidates seem bent on doing.
Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Jill Stein for President
by Bernin' Green

10.  I believe in breathing clean air and drinking safe water and wish to continue doing so. We need strong leadership on climate change and pollution control issues, and we needed it yesterday. The Green Party is all about protecting our environment--not the Cayman Island bank accounts of the one-percent. Jill Stein and her VP pick, Ajamu Baraka, traveled to Standing Rock to stand beside the water protectors there at the Dakota Access Pipeline. No other presidential candidate has spoken a word about the plight of Native Americans or the Missouri River. Only one party cares--the Green Party.

9.  I believe that all Americans, regardless of race or ethnic identity, should have the right to a fair trial and not thrown into jail simply to make money for the private for-profit prison system. I don't believe in  forced "slave labor" that for-profit prisons use to make even more money for themselves. The Green Party takes a strong stand on social justice, and Jill Stein has stated we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, such as South Africa had after apartheid ended, to help heal old wounds.

8.  I believe in human rights for all human beings on this planet. This means no more "regime changes" (such as the one in Honduras) and throwing our fellow human beings (Honduran children, no less) back into violent situations our government has caused in the first place or endorsed in order to make money off of cheap labor and/or take resources from others. Jill Stein has repeatedly stated that the U.S. should follow international law and respect human rights.

7.  I don't believe in blaming other countries for our problems and risking a nuclear war or a prolonging of current conventional conflicts around the world in order to hide the DNC's criminal activities they got up to in this year's primaries. (See the Podesta emails on Wikileaks.) If you break or seriously bend the law for your personal or your political party's benefit, you should be charged with a crime, brought to trial, and receive punishment no matter how wealthy or connected you are. Equal justice for all. End of story.

6.   I believe in health care as a human right for all Americans. No family should go bankrupt just because someone in their family becomes seriously ill. No one should be turned away from a doctor's care simply because they're unemployed or can't afford high-priced private insurance. Obamacare didn't go far enough. It was set up to benefit the private health care industry primarily, not the general public. Jill Stein states that by extending Medicare to all Americans, from cradle to grave, will actually save our country money in the long run because of the savings we'll receive from having  a healthy populace. Win-win!

5. I believe in guaranteeing equal rights to all loving couples who wish to marry, regardless of gender. What purpose does it serve to discriminate against adults who want to live their lives the way they feel is right for them and doesn't interfere with others' happiness? Gay marriage is now the law of the land. The Green Party has been a leading proponent of this movement and want to keep it that way. (How can anyone really trust a candidate who strongly supported DOMA while she was in the senate?)

4.  I believe in making public college/technical school tuition-free for all Americans who wish to further their education. The world is rapidly becoming a more sophisticated and technologically advanced place. Why do we want our country to be behind the times? As Jill Stein has said numerous times, for every dollar invested in education, we as a society receive a seven dollar turnaround in productivity and a rise in our standard of living. Education can cure a lot of ills in our society by first opening the minds of many close-minded individuals, creating a happier and mental-healthier America for all. Through the "Green New Deal", thousands of jobs will be created by improving our country's crumbling infrastructure and training workers in green energy work. It will benefit both our environment and our economy and education. Win-win-win!

3. I also believe the current student debt crisis can be alleviated by following the the words of Jill Stein: "We bailed out the bankers who caused the crisis--why aren't we bailing out those who are suffering because of that crisis?" By forgiving student debt, we release a whole generation from a burden that is keeping both them and the entirety of our society from becoming what it could be. Without this Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, students will be able to move out of their parents' basements and buy homes and cars and start families, which will stimulate our economy. (Both parents and Millennials will benefit and be more than grateful!)

2. Because I want our economy to prosper for all Americans, I don't believe in the Trans-Pacific Partnership that former Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama are touting. The TPP has been called "NAFTA on steroids," and many of us know from experience  how destructive NAFTA has been for American workers and industry. Jill Stein and the Greens have been vocal opponents of NAFTA from day one and are outspoken supporters of workers' rights. With Jill Stein in the White House, we can rest assured that American workers will not be sold up the river again--or have their jobs shipped to China or elsewhere.  (The Green Party also supports a Federal minimum wage of $15+/hour and creating jobs through the "Green New Deal".)

1. Last, but certainly not least, I believe in  positive and honest leadership in Washington, DC. The entrenched establishment wants to maintain the status quo of corruption. It has to go. Since I became a voter, America's dominant political parties have been all about making large sums of money for their campaign war chests from their lobbyist friends instead of representing the people. The Green Party does not take money from corporations or Super PACs, and they believe in rescinding the horrendous Citizens United ruling.  The Greens are all about "grassroots democracy" and they wish to encourage  everyday people to run for office. Ordinary people will be able to since the billionaires won't be able to buy elections anymore once Citizens United is history.

And wouldn't it be nice to be able to look at the White House and say, "President Stein is a hard-working, honest person who isn't in the back pockets of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. We can trust her to make the right decisions in regard to ordinary Americans' health, safety and happiness." 

Jill Stein is the only candidate running for the presidency that I can say this about. I truly believe this. Jill is the only candidate who reflects my values and doesn't give my conscience a black eye. This is the top reason I'm voting for Jill Stein. I believe you'll sleep better if you vote for her, too.

Early voting has begun in most states. Why not vote your values today?