Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Can Progressives Be Thankful For?

What Can Progressives Be Thankful For in 2017?
a top ten list compiled by  C.A. Matthews 

Happy Thanksgiving. During this holiday when we generally share our thoughts of what all we are thankful for, here's a loosely-compiled list of what I feel are things progressives can truly say they're grateful about--in spite of what else has occurred this year so far.
1.) Most of us are still here in one piece and fighting for the political revolution.

Notice I didn't say "all of us" are still here and fighting. We have lost comrades this past year. RIP Scott Galindez and all those who died due to corporate greed and a government that shows no compassion for its people by denying them access to life-saving health care. 
RIP Scott

We've also lost some of our companions to sheer exhaustion. Yeah, it's been a long, drawn out, painful-at-times haul. There seems to be no end in sight, and it's gotten to many Berners, progressives and other awakened people. They've passed out by the wayside and crawled back into their beds, sucking their thumbs and cradling their bottles for comfort. But nothing worthwhile is easily won, so we know deep down we've gotta keep keepin' on. 

So, get out those marching shoes and your sign and hit the streets. Call that Congress member and tell them what you really think. Viva la revolucion!

2.) Many progressives have been awaken to the fact that the establishment "parties" are essentially one in the same. There's no true differences in these factions owned-and-operated by the billionaires and their corporations for their pleasure and profit.

Jimmy Dore says it all in this video:

With "progressive friends" like the Democrats, who really needs rich Republican millionaires trying to screw us over? And on a related note--

3.) There are  hopeful signs that Americans are waking up to fact they have choices at the ballot box outside of the Old-Fashioned Vanilla and French Vanilla ice cream establishment factions (formerly known as the Republicans and Democrats).

Slowly but surely, American voters are realizing they don't have to check the box for the little elephant or the little donkey on their ballot slip. (They're also becoming very suspicious of easily hacked electronic voting machines and their results, too.) One promising sign is many excellent progressive third party candidates are running for office. Check out Constance Gaddell-Newton, a candidate for Ohio governor, in this video: https://youtu.be/lhR8mem-Uuk

4.)  Progressives should rejoice that most Americans are becoming aware of our country's lack of adequate health care for all. The majority want to see some kind of Medicare for All program. This is no mean feat. Progressives can take heart that by continually bringing up this issue at town halls, protests and debates we have brought it into the consciousness of voters everywhere. Nobody can deny the evidence of their rising private health insurance premiums, either. We might actually see changes that will benefit us all soon. (If only our friends and family members, like Scott, could be here to rejoice with us.)
From Ohio Single Payer Action Network (SPAN):

A recent Harvard Harris poll found a majority support for single payer.  A Pew poll conducted last July found:

A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs.
5.) This might sound a bit odd, but progressives should be thankful for the Trump administration's awkward attempts to kill the ACA/Obamacare and their horrendous tax bill that makes the 1% richer at ordinary Americans' expense. Yes, by openly acting like a bunch of selfish narcissists, Trump and company only make themselves appear more despicable and untrustworthy. 

While I realize not all the Donald's supporters will turn their backs on the object of their affection, many are losing their patience and tolerance of the tangerine tyrant's childish antics. To all the Tea Party members in Congress, I say, "Keep acting like spoiled brats! You're not making any friends. Your days are numbered." To the tweeter-in-chief? "Tweet away! Don't worry about your spelling, grammar or facts. Just be...yourself. It says it all."

6.) Even in the midst of all this corruption, some lights do shine brightly. The alternative media and investigative journalists who report on the "real news" (as opposed to the "fake news") are working harder than ever to share news and information with We the People. In the last two years I've discovered some of the best investigative journalists in the business--and none work for the mainstream media. 

If you haven't checked out Abby Martin's Empire Files and Greg Palast's reporting on election fraud, do yourself a favor and click on these links. I get most of my news and political commentary from The Jimmy Dore Show and Lee Camp's Redacted Tonight. They deliver the news without the corporate spin and with humor to boot. Try them--you'll like them. (If you prefer your news coverage straight up without the occasional laugh, check out The Real News network. Excellent journalism.)

7.) My husband likes to point out to me we haven't started a nuclear war yet. For this I am very thankful, but I'm not sure all my worries have gone away. Still, progressives have been outspoken on the issues of war and peace, and we have made our voices heard. The orange orator in the White House may bluster and post nasty tweets about bullying heads of state, but saner individuals will prevail. Let's keep praying they do, but let's continue to sing, "Give peace a chance" at every opportunity. 

Dr. Jill Stein and the U.S. Green Party and South Korean Greens have been very outspoken and active on the issue of peace on the Korean peninsula. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their work. Let's continue working for peace as individuals and organizations, even if our nation's leaders are sponsored by the military-industrial complex.

8.) Even in the midst of so much negativity and outright racism/sexism/every-ism this past year, we've seen much love and support of others who are not like ourselves. When Islamophobia raises its ugly head, Americans have stepped in--even at the cost of their lives--to protect their Muslim neighbors. When the Dreamers and other immigrants are at risk of deportation, communities and churches have become safe havens and sanctuary cities. Black Lives Matter has many non-African-American supporters. Transgender and gay folk have gained new allies and friends.

It seems that Americans still love and trust each other at the deepest levels in spite of the horrible bigotry the current administration encourages in its heartless followers. Dr. King isn't with us in the flesh, but his spirit lives on--and it looks like it will never die. Amen.

 9.) This is probably not on everyone's top ten list of things to be grateful for, but I know I'm grateful that some "old friends" have unfriended me on Facebook when I began posting progressive articles, thoughts and memes. It's sad to lose a friend or acquaintance, but when you see these persons post disgusting, bigoted and hateful articles and jokes, it makes you ask yourself: why mourn such negativity passing out of your life? 

Perhaps, one day, they will change their minds and want to be our pals again. Good. But never for one instance should we think of compromising our progressive ideals to keep such individuals as our friends. (Family members--that's another tricky issue. Sometimes we can't dismiss them in person or unfriend them online. You have my deepest sympathy for dealing with Tea Party relatives. Here's an article with some advice on how to deal with them.)

10.) Progressives can be thankful for never running out of anything worthy to fight for! As Jesus once said, we will always have the poor, hungry and  homeless among us--as well as the unemployed and those without health care and/or a safe community to dwell in.  Challenges to our environment and our land, air and water aren't going away anytime soon. (But many states and cities have come out in favor of keeping the Paris Climate Agreement no matter what Trump says--another thing to be grateful for.) People in need will always need allies to speak up and take action alongside them. Our planet needs all the protectors it can get. Be glad we will always have a positive and useful purpose for our lives. 

Some day, we might have the future we've always believed in. Until that day, fellow progressives, don't give up--keep fighting!

This informative graphic is courtesy of MikesGearReviews.com. The Svalbard Seed Vault offers  hope that we'll be able to preserve most of the plant life on Earth. 
Thanks for the share, Mike.

And now, more ways to keep up the progressive fight and build a better world.
 Sanders Institute
Every day seems to bring another way for the current administration to deny healthcare to people in need. The latest policy shift toward “less is more” care involves applying a work requirement to Medicaid recipients. The CMA Administrator, Seema Verma, has proposed that in order to receive Medicaid benefits, those able must do “community engagement.” That's policy-speak for forcing someone to work—possibly unpaid—or lose their healthcare coverage.

Ignoring the evidence that 59% of able-bodied people on Medicaid already work, this looks like a so-called solution to a non-problem.

We cannot let our outrage fade away under the daily onslaught of provocative policy proposals. As a Fellow of the Sanders Institute and the Director of Public Policy at National Nurses United, I feel it is important to highlight this issue and challenge the conservative dogma that would deny people the healthcare they need simply because they do not fulfill an onerous and unrelated work requirement.

Medicaid provides a safety net to the most vulnerable and poor in our society. Imposing new barriers to care is inhuman, and reflects not “hope” as Administrator Verma professes, but cynicism: it scapegoats low-income people to save money for state and federal budgets.

In the fight over ACA repeal, Medicaid has achieved a new-found popularity. If the Administration wants to use Medicaid as a social engineering experiment to punish the poor, it's up to us to stop them. Again.

Thank you for staying engaged,

Michael Lighty
Fellow, The Sanders Institute

From Friends of the Earth:

Tell your Senators: Stop Trump from putting a Monsanto hack in charge of chemical safety!
Donald Trump is trying to put a Monsanto hack in charge of protecting us from pesticides.
He nominated Michael Dourson to lead the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Dourson has spent his career trying to make it easier for pesticide companies like Monsanto and Dow to douse our food in their toxic products.

Momentum is building to stop Dourson’s nomination in the Senate. Last night, both Senators from North Carolina spoke out against him. But we need to keep the pressure on the Senate to reject him!

Tell your Senators to stop Trump from putting a Monsanto hack in charge of chemical safety!

Michael Dourson’s consulting firm has taken money from companies like Monsanto and Dow. In exchange, he produces studies that say their pesticides and chemicals are safe. But the truth is, those chemicals are polluting our environment and harming our health.

For instance, Dourson argued that the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos is safe for one- and two-year-old children to consume -- at levels 5,000 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in 2016. Chlorpyrifos is linked to a reduction in IQ, change in brain architecture, and increased risk of learning disabilities. And the impacts are even more pronounced in young children.

But Dourson doesn’t care about whether chlorpyrifos is safe. He just cares about making sure that companies like Dow can continue to make huge profits from it.

We can’t let the Senate hand over our chemicals protections to someone who’s in the chemical industry’s pockets!

Tell your Senators: Block the nomination of Michael Dourson!

Donald Trump is trying to fill his government with Big Polluter cronies who will destroy our environmental protections. The impacts on our health and environment could be devastating. But together, we can stop him.

Two weeks ago, pressure from people like you helped force another Trump nominee -- Sam Clovis -- to withdraw his nomination. This shows that when you speak up, it makes a difference.

Dourson’s initial hearing was delayed. Now, even some Republicans are expressing concerns with him. His nomination is controversial. There’s a real chance we could stop it. So it’s critical that you take action NOW.

Tell your Senators: Stop Trump from putting our chemical safety in the hands of the pesticide industry!

Standing with you,
Lisa Archer,
Food and technology program director,
Friends of the Earth


My mom died without me by her side because my boss at Walmart wouldn’t let me leave.

In 2015, my mom had a stroke, so I upended my life in North Carolina, and moved to Texas with my son to take care of her. A friend helped me get a job at Walmart, and when I was hired I explained that I was looking after my dying mom. But when I needed a flexible schedule to take care of her, they ignored me. And when I got the call that she was about to pass, my boss told me I’d be fired if I left. So she died without me there, as I listened on the phone and cried.

That’s how Walmart treats workers like me. That’s how Walmart respects the work I do for them, and the caregiving work I do for my family. Lots of people already speak out against Walmart’s unfair treatment of workers like me. But now Walmart has started buying up other companies, without making much noise about it. So you could be buying from Walmart without knowing it -- and if you shop at ModCloth, you are.

Walmart workers like me have come together with former ModCloth customers and our allies across the progressive movement to speak out.

It really stings when I hear people talk about ModCloth, and they don’t know it’s owned by Walmart. ModCloth pretends to be a woman-friendly company, creating designs for women of all sizes. But Walmart doesn’t work for all women: rich executives get paid leave, and ordinary workers like me get little or nothing.

ModCloth’s talk of being great for women is just that -- all talk. ModCloth is owned by Walmart, and Walmart’s policies of low pay, unfair schedules, and no paid leave are hurting hundreds of thousands of women like me.

It’s just not right for Walmart to hide behind the ModCloth brand while they treat women workers like me so badly -- and that’s the message we’ll be taking to ModCloth customers this Cyber Monday.

Walmart forced me to choose between the family I love and the job that I need. But no-one should have to make that choice, and that’s why we’re saying #ByeModCloth.

Thank you for supporting workers like me,



Insulin is life or death for a diabetic, and Trump’s latest nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services led a 325% price hike on insulin when working for Big Pharma.1 Senator Bernie Sanders is opposing his nomination. Your senator should too. 

Tell the Senate to vote NO on Big Pharma’s Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Trump’s last nominee, Tom Price, resigned in scandal, in part over his close ties Big Industry.
Trump’s pick, Alex Azar, has had a long career with Big Pharma, and at every turn he’s squeezed healthcare patients to line the pockets of pharmaceutical drug companies. His price gouging scheme on insulin was so egregious it was the subject of a class action lawsuit and an investigation by Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Secretary of Health and Humans Services administers Medicare and Medicaid and oversees the FDA. Representative Elijah Cummings tweeted that installing a Big Pharma crony in Health and Humans Services is “like a fox guarding the henhouse.”2

Tell the Senate to vote NO on Alex Azar’s nomination.

We’ve seen Trump and his Republican allies to try gut the Affordable Care Act time and again. But with a Pharma Bro like Alex Azar running the Department of Health and Human Services, Trump would be able to bypass Congress entirely. Alex Azar could dismantle the ACA piecemeal to ensure that Big Pharma’s profits get bigger while patients and taxpayers feel the squeeze for the vital medicine and prescriptions they need to survive.

For many of us, healthcare is about life and death. For Alex Azar it’s about profit margins.

Tell the Senate to vote NO on Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Thanks for taking action,
Reuben and the team at Demand Progress

1. Politico, “Trump's HHS secretary nominee boosted drug prices while at Eli Lilly,” November 14, 2017.
2. Ibid.
From the Sierra Club:
The Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline was just approved by Nebraska's Public Service Commission, but there is some good news. The PSC has approved an alternative route that TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, has called unworkable.1

That means TransCanada still has multiple hurdles to overcome -- so this pipeline may never be built. That gives Sierra Club and our allies the perfect opportunity to fight back by urging banks to stop funding Keystone XL.

Any approval of a tar sands pipeline brings a grave threat to our climate. But Sierra Club and our allies have fought this pipeline for nearly a decade. We aren't about to back down now. Send a message to Wells Fargo, a key funder of TransCanada, demanding that they stand with the landowners and tribes along the path of Keystone XL and not fund this dangerous pipeline.

The movement demanding that banks stop funding pipelines started with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in only a year has already seen major victories thanks to the millions of people like you who held big banks accountable. ING, one of the major banks behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, already divested as a result of public pressure. The movement has already moved more than $85 million from the banks funding major pipelines. Cities like Seattle and San Francisco have also responded to public pressure and committed to moving their own accounts from pipeline funders, and there are campaigns underway in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Albuquerque, and many more.

Despite the conditional approval of KXL in Nebraska, it's becoming clear that pipelines are a risky investment. TransCanada has publicly stated that they aren't sure Keystone XL will ever be built, so with enough public pressure, this movement can still stop this pipeline.2 In fact, TransCanada is now having a hard time finding enough customers, and oil industry insiders say there's no need for more tar sands pipelines.3,4 We can stop the tar sands at the source by stopping Keystone XL's funding at the source.

When we stand together, we are stronger than Big Oil's money, and in this moment we can still fight back by showing Wells Fargo that they will be held publicly accountable for betting against our climate by investing in dirty fuels. Send your message now.

Funding Keystone XL is out of line with Wells Fargo's public commitments to both climate action and respect for Indigenous rights. It would carry 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil -- tar sands -- every day from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It would cut directly through Sioux treaty lands and near several other tribal reservations and the Ponca Trail of Tears, yet Tribal Nations in Nebraska and South Dakota have not been properly consulted.

For the past seven years, we've protected the Ogallala Aquifer, Indigenous treaty lands and the Ponca Trail of tears, and endangered species like the sandhill crane, and kept the carbon-equivalent of more than 37 million cars worth of pollution out of our climate. We will continue to explore every legal avenue to stop this pipeline. Today, we make it clear to Wells Fargo that an investment in Keystone XL is a bet against our climate and Indigenous rights. It's time they stood on the right side of history.

Though Trump approved KXL, the reality is that he can't stop the powerful movement to protect our communities and keep fossil fuels in the ground, no matter how hard he tries. Forty-nine cities have already committed to move to 100 percent clean energy and a dozen new coal plants are set to retire since Trump took office. We will continue to fight every pipeline and fossil fuel project across the country and stand with frontline communities. I know that thanks to the strength of millions of activists like you, we will continue to build a clean energy future.

Thanks for standing against Keystone XL,

Michael Brune
Executive Director
Sierra Club

1) Mufson, Steven. "Keystone XL pipeline gets Nebraska's approval, clearing a key hurdle in 9-year effort and allowing Trump to claim a win" The Washington Post. November 2017.
2) Cama, Timothy. "Developer might not build Keystone XL pipeline" The Hill. July 2017.
3) Matthews, Christopher and Olson, Bradley. "After $3 billion spent, Keystone XL can't get oil companies to sign on" Fox Business. June 2017.
4) Hammel, Paul. "Skeptics in oil industry question whether Keystone XL pipeline is still needed Spills for TransCanada Pipeline." Omaha-World Herald. August 2017.


  1. We need Medicare for all, universal basic income, and the money out of government. As for Thanksgiving thoughts, I'm thankful the Tangerine Twit hasn't started WW3.

  2. I'm thankful that there is still one way to reach Trump supporters--through their health care. It's the one issue that seems to have them worried. At least for working class Trump supporters. The 1% don't worry about anything except getting another tax break, which they will if we don't deluge Congress with phone calls this week.

    Happy Holidays!


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