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)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!"

 Now is the Time
words & photos by Cindy A. Matthews

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!"

These are the last words of labor organizer Joe Hill. They've been quoted by the Green Party's Jill Stein and many others this past week. Now more than ever, they're words worth heeding.

What do they mean? They mean there's no time to lose, people! Get back out there and work hard for the political revolution. It's not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. We're going to have to sweat for it.

On this week's blog we'll gain insight on how progressives should deal with the aftermath of a Trump victory, but the photographic images will come from the latest Dakota Access Pipeline protest I attended in downtown Toledo, Ohio, at 1 Government Center. It was an extremely windy evening, but that didn't prevent 40+ activists from participating. We held up signs, chanted "Water is life!" and talked with passers-by--including a couple of very nice police officers. 
The officers really wanted to know what all was going on at Standing Rock. They thought President Obama had stopped the pipeline a while back, since that's all they heard on the mainstream news channels. They said they didn't realize the pipeline is to go under the Missouri River and threaten the water supply of millions if and when it should leak.

Now is the time to take Joe Hill's remarks to heart. The  conversation we had with the two police officers demonstrates how the majority of our fellow citizens need more information about what is happening in North Dakota and elsewhere that threatens their health and the health of the planet.  They need to know who in power is fighting for them and who is exploiting them. They need uncensored information to make wiser electoral decisions next time at the polls. Where will they receive this unbiased information? You are their source for that much needed information.

So, grab some friends, pick a cause, make some plans and some signs and get out there and inform the public. Forget about the presidential election--it's over! To quote Joe Hill:

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!" 


              "It's Time"
Green Party US Senate Candidate
 Joseph DeMares's Statement on the 2016 Election

This has been a hard election for all of us. I know in my household the personal, financial and health costs of mounting a statewide election for a year and a half on a tiny budget have been severe, and I thank my family for helping me make this effort. 

Perhaps the deepest loss in this election is the loss of civility, the loss of friends and family who disagree politically. Our country is more divided than it has been since I was a child in the 1960's, at a time when we desperately need to come together to tackle society-threatening problems like global warming and income inequality. One of the main causes of this division is our corporate dominated media. By carefully censoring what information we see, it gives us a distorted picture of ourselves and our neighbors. 

According to the (Ohio) Secretary of State, I received 1.6% of the vote for a total of 85,000 votes. This doesn't sound like much until you realize that 9 out of 10 Ohioans went into the polls not even knowing that there was a Green Party candidate for US Senate. I was locked out of the three hour-long televised debates, and the public television stations refused to play even my two minute candidate statement. The television, radio, and newspapers assiduously ignored the Green Party for a year and a half. That makes the 1.6% I received nothing short of miraculous, and I thank my volunteers from all over the state who were out knocking on doors, hanging banners and passing out fliers for that 1.6%. 

I was honored to be included in candidates' nights all over the state, and pleased to be included in some voters' guides put out by groups like the League of Women Voters. To the extent that true democracy exists in Ohio, we were present and we did well. To the extent that money and the corporate media control who governs the country, we were excluded. In the last days before the election, I received literally thousands of Facebook messages, phone calls, and tweets from people who had just found out about my candidacy and were overjoyed that they could vote for someone outside of the two party system. It is an indictment of our system that most Ohioans never knew they had that opportunity.

So, we find ourselves after the election a deeply divided country with the bonds between friends, family and neighbor torn or strained, and we are faced with a decision. Do we deepen those divisions or do we work to strengthen our connections with each other? The threats to our nation are still there. Threats like global warming will not go away simply because we elected a president who denies them. In the coming years, as crops fail, cities sink, and the climate runs away we will need each other. We can't afford to put off ending the fossil fuel economy simply because Jill Stein lost. We cannot give up. Things look desperate right now, but we can't let that drive us to desperation.

The Green Party made some gains in this election. Jill Stein got almost three times the votes that she received in 2012. The Ohio Green Party has almost doubled in size, and we now have Greens in every county in the state. There are new county committees forming where we have never had an organization before. So, there is hope for the future. We need to take that hope and turn it into a Green reality. Thank you to all who have helped us get this far. Let's keep going. It's time.

Mariana offers us a different perspective on the recent election. We should all stop complaining and start looking for the "silver lining" in a Trump presidency, all the while not forgetting to Act. Wake up. Organize.

photo by Zaire Daniels
The Silver Lining
by Mariana Alvarez
I know what people think about Trump. But I have also been carefully listening to his speeches instead of just following the media hype on the stupid things he says (racist, sexist, etc.). Yes, he's a crazy bigot, we all know this, but we have to look for the silver lining. Is he really the worst that could have happened to this country? Is there no reason to celebrate a Hillary loss? What will Trump’s presidency mean for the progressive movement?

To begin, Trump's foreign policy is revolutionary. He wants to bring America back to the manufacturing age, mining and small business age. He wants to stop outsourcing jobs (i.e., stop American corporations from invading other countries for cheap slave labor). He wants to bring back small businesses and skilled trades and small farmers. He wants to cancel all international trade agreements that force the cheap flow of natural resources from third world countries into the US. (He wants the US to exploit its own resources instead of colonizing other countries. Finally!)  He wants third world countries to lose dependency on the US. This is all a good thing. It’s a good thing for the world, and its a good thing for the USA. 

Do you really want to continue to live on your knees to big corporations and bankers? Do you really want your career to depend on big monopolies and their profit? What if the American people take back their economy?

Yes, Trump's against immigration, but, if he keeps his promises, moving away from violent neo-liberalism will reduce the amount of people that need to move to the US in search of jobs in the first place. Why? Because the US will stop causing poverty in other countries. If Monsanto, Walmart, Nike, Verizon, the steel industry, etc., stop invading other countries for land, resources and cheap labor this will change up the global game. If American corporations stop invading small farmers’ lands in other countries, this will be a great thing for the world. This type of colonialism is the cause of the high level of immigration into the US in the first place. 

The US has always been sticking its nose into foreign politics and economies. The US wants the third world to become its source of labor and resources so that America can keep on getting richer. This is not what the USA was meant to be by our founding fathers. Yes, diversity and immigration is a wonderful thing, but not when it is fueled by a violent, colonizing, neo-liberal force of power held by the 1% of this country.

Others: "Oh, but Trump is going to cause WWIII!"

My response: You think Hillary wasn't going to do that? She's a warmonger. She's super neo-liberal and supports US intervention in every country. She wants war with Russia. She doesn’t care about minorities unless it means keeping them here to provide labor for big corporations. Look at how many countries she bombed as Secretary of State. She kills innocent women, children and men every day. That is not coming from a place of love and morality. It’s coming from a place of greed. 

photo by Zaire Daniels
Hillary is all rhetoric. She makes you think Trump represents racism and everything we need to be against, when in reality she cares just as little about minorities’ lives. She just wants to protect big business’ interests. That’s all. Trump is against a lot of neo-liberal policies. He's against NAFTA and a whole bunch of other international trade agreements. This is good news for the rest of the world. Maybe the US will finally begin to focus in on itself and get its dirty paws out of the natural resources of other countries and stop messing up with their politics.

And hey, maybe those that can should just move out of the USA. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. There are thousands upon thousands of immigrants in the US living horrible, difficult lives away from their family members across the globe, working long hours for ridiculous wages, living here just because its the only choice they have to survive. The US is no longer a melting pot. Only a place for immigrants to be pushed out of their countries to become slaves to big business. Trump isn't against immigrants with education and money. "Educated" immigrants will get to keep their good jobs and money. Don’t worry about that. He wants business. What he doesn’t want is Latino/Asian/Black farmers and construction workers and bathroom cleaners and slaves of big corporations. He wants to stop that type of immigration. But funny enough, the US has been causing that type of immigration in the first place.
photo by Anthony Curi
Yes, poor families will feel the burn. It'll be hard. I know because I am part of a poor Latinx family. I know because my mom cleans houses for a living. I know because I don’t have health insurance and have to pay a fee for Obamacare for not having any. I know because we live paycheck to paycheck. It’s not good news for us directly, but what if we the poor immigrants (many of whom haven't seen our families in years) can return to our countries, finally find jobs there and are no longer be forced to immigrate for the so-called "American (neo-liberal) Dream" (a.k.a. slave labor machine)?

In short, of course both parties are scared of Trump! He is against a lot of policies that protect money interests. What will the 1% in the US do if they can no longer exploit the planet for profit at the rate they have been doing?

My only concern is Trump’s domestic racism. This is bad news for the Black Lives Matters movement and for immigrants. But keep in mind that Trump hasn’t brought in new racism into our country. He has just uncovered the racism that has always been there. The war against us will be more explicit now. This just means we have a clearer target now. We have to stick together, more than ever. Instead of losing hope, let’s look at the opportunities this has opened up for us.

For example, I think these results show that people are tired of the status quo (and I was seriously more fearful of the status quo under Clinton more than anything). A Trump win may actually be good for third parties. It is our chance to start a bigger movement. Wall Street could possibly be crumbling! (Unless this is all just a sick game and Trump is actually on their side, but let's ignore that possibility for now.) Trump is all about getting big money interests out of politics. (At least that’s what he says.) He has taken the power out of the Clinton’s hands. 

Let’s use this chaotic time to grow even bigger. Let’s mobilize. Let’s stick together, make the Green Party grow. Make a movement based on love and peace. Support our indigenous people fighting against the DAPL. Support the Black Lives Matter movement. Support the people getting organized in your localities.  

Act. Wake up. Organize. Stop sitting on your ass. 

It's funny how the people lecturing me about Trump have never even volunteered for a political movement and are those who just believe everything the news feeds them. Stop the ignorance and start getting connected to local groups trying to make a change. Research the Green Party. Fight for the country you want!

This is an opportunity. If you just take this as a loss and give up, what's that going to do? You gotta look at the silver lining. The better question is: What are you going to do?

Bio: Mariana Alvarez is a 27-year old immigrant from Colombia to the United States and currently resides in Florida with her mom. As part of her activism, she has traveled and lived in various poor communities around the world in an attempt to better understand today’s global geopolitics and social movements.



From Brand New Congress, ways to help the 2018 election outcome turn out a whole lot better for our country:
Dear Friends,

We weren’t hoping for this, but we’re ready. For the past several months, Brand New Congress’s full time staff and volunteers have been recruiting a new generation of leaders to run for Congress in 2018. The candidates are amazing women, men and people from every American community -- uniquely equipped to defeat Trumpism by healing our divided nation and rebuilding our economy. They are the gems out of thousands of nominations we’ve received from you, and your small donations have made our work possible. Thank you!

When we started reaching out to these potential candidates, they thought we were crazy. They are not politicians; they are working people who keep America going every day. But both yesterday and today, we have woken up to emails and phone calls. Trump’s victory has convinced many of them the time is now.

But some of these folks are asking us very specific questions -- questions about you. “Haven’t people lost faith in this entire country now? Haven’t they given up?”

This is very real. We need you to show our candidates that you will never give up. Add your name to our pledge to elect a Brand New Congress in 2018.

When we get to 100,000 names, we will announce our first batch of draftees: http://BrandNewCongress.org

Please share this with everyone you know who is heartsick about where our country is right now and wondering what they can do to fix it.

A lot of people are asking why did Trump win? In the end it was because people’s incomes and access to jobs have been disappearing for 40 years and a lot of people -- including many who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 -- either cast a protest vote against the establishment that let it happen or deserted the two party system. Eight million people who voted for a major party in 2012 did not in 2016.

Trump’s power will be short lived -- but only if we organize to put a way forward in front of Americans. If history is any guide, when Trump fails to turn around the economy, he will seek to rally his supporters to the campaign promises he was most passionate about: targeting undocumented workers, targeting Muslims and “bombing the s*** out of” various countries. We have to take this country back for the people -- all the people!

When the labor organizer Joe Hill was sentenced to death in 1915, his immortal words to the movement were, “Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!”

Let’s organize!

Yours for the revolution,

The Brand New Congress Working Group
Alex, Corbin, Haley, Issy, Mary, Nasim, Saikat, Zack 

Got the message? ORGANIZE! 
And let us know what you are doing in your community.
Please send us your photos, event news, blogs, poems, etc. to thebernieblog2016@gmail.com
Thank you and Power to the People!