Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Preventable Acts of Evil

 Preventable Acts of Evil
by Still Bernin' 
We have watched, time and time again, as people describe these mass shootings as unimaginable and unpreventable acts of evil. But we all know that is not true. -- Gabby Giffords

After the death of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., it sort of went out of fashion to shame people and organizations for being racist elitists. We weren't suppose to point out their crimes, their lies or their immoral behaviors. In the process of sitting on our hands and zipping our lips, hundreds--no, millions--have been slain.

Why did good men keep silent? We were afraid. Afraid of the system and afraid that we'd be arrested and tossed into the bottomless pit of for-profit prisons. That's a lot to be afraid of and rightly so. But you know what? I'm not afraid anymore. I'm mad--mad  I let the one-percenters and their greedy ways keep me afraid and silent.

The time has come to point out these things and prevent these shameless people from committing evil acts ever again. I pledge to boldly call these people and groups and their immoral actions what they are--evil. I will call them to account, and I ask you join me in this crusade as well. No longer will I allow our people to suffer from preventable acts of evil (to rephrase the quote above).

So, in no particular order, here's a list of persons and groups who need calling out and then some:

 1.) The National Rifle Association. This organization seems to think guns are more precious than our children. They seem to think the sexual gratification of gun hoarders stashing hundreds of  "penis extensions" or AR-15s and the like into their basements and barns is more important than the safety of our students in their classrooms. They feel that the American public--whether at school, the cinema, a concert or at church--is their members' biggest target to shoot at. They're not for deer hunting--they're for people hunting.

For this I say, "Shame on you, NRA! Disband now and beg forgiveness from the families of the victims whose blood covers your selfish and self-serving organization. Redeem yourselves by helping us turn the plethora of guns into plowshares and our communities into safer places."

2.) The Military Industrial Complex or Eternal War  Machine. This is self-explanatory. War is killing. We've been at war now for the past two decades almost non-stop. Heck, we've been at war since we officially declared WWII over whether we admit it openly or not! 

What has America gained from all this warring and killing? We've robbed other countries' natural resources (oil, minerals, etc.), and we've made ourselves into the biggest bully on the planet. We've left millions orphaned and widowed. We've allowed our sons and daughters to go off to war thinking they'd make something of themselves with a G.I. Bill and some V.A. health care, only to learn firsthand the horrors of P.T.S.D. We've allowed a handful of white males to become some of the richest creatures on the planet at the expense of so many lives and so much goodwill as well as the natural beauty of the Earth destroyed.

For this I say, "Shame on you,War Machine! Shame on all those who perpetuate war as well--the politicians addicted to your lobbying dollars and the bigots who want to wipe out whole groups of people because of their religion, gender, race or location (so they can steal their resources). You know you're covered in the blood of innocents. Repent and be gone forever!"

3.) The Mainstream Media (MSM). Does this one surprise you? If you're a progressive thinker and followed any of the 2016 election cycle, it shouldn't, but you'd be surprised how gullible many Americans are when it comes to what they watch on TV or online or read in newspapers. The mainstream media is owned by a mere handful of corporations whose only desire is to make billions of dollars at our expense. These MSM journalists are not crusaders for  truth and justice anymore--Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are rolling in their graves when they watch the circuses that are CNN and MSNBC. News divisions at these networks have been listed as "entertainment" since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. They only "truth" they tell is from their biggest advertisers: the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Ag.

No wonder so many Americans don't realize they had more than two presidential candidates to choose from! No wonder so many have fallen for the media shenanigans of the "Russiagate" scam. (Hey--look over here! Ooo, shiny! What's that? Another mass shooting? Forget that--it's Russia! Russia! Russia!) After all, why should you trust a newsreader like Rachel Maddow who is paid $30,000 a day to tell the truth to someone struggling to get by at minimum wage or less? She's going to tell you what keeps the big bucks rolling into her Swiss bank account. MSM pundits laugh all the way to the bank, crying, "Screw you, poor people!"

For this I say, "Shame on you, Mainstream Media! You smear those who speak the truth to power such as Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner and Jill Stein. You elevate lies and the lying liars who tell them. You smear the truth-speakers and elevate the liars all for the sake of making endless profits for your parent corporations, many of which are a part of larger the Military Industrial Complex. It makes you think: Is this why we're never made fully cognizant of how much warring is going on in the world in the name of the American people? These corporations don't want us to know the full extent of the horrors so we don't get tired of it and demand that all wars cease? These evil-doers are cunning, are they not?"

4.) The For-Profit US Health Care System. There is so much blood on the hands of those who run the American for-profit, private health insurance industry and Big Pharma that it's hard to know where to begin. They overcharge for premiums. They overcharge for deductibles. They then blithely deny you coverage for the medicines, treatments and surgeries you and your loved ones need when you need them the most.  

What a way to show compassion, huh? They take the "care" out of "health care." Hey, they take the "health" out of it as well!

And for what? They don't enjoy watching us file for bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills, do they? They don't enjoy watching us bury our loved ones who died preventable deaths, do they? They're not denying us access to health care for our "good," are they?  No, they're doing it to fill their coffers with more money at the expense of our health and our very lives. This is the epitome of evil and needs calling out. Fortunately, many Americans in the last year or so have listened to Bernie Sanders and others speak about Medicare For All. Recent polling shows how the majority of Americans agree  we need a national health care plan for all people, regardless of the ability to pay.

After all, how can you put a price tag on a human life? Big Health Insurance and Big Pharma executives sure can, but it's time those greedy bastards took a long walk off a short pier!

For this I say, "Shame on you, For-Profit US Health Care System! The Improved Medicare for All Bill or something better is coming our way soon. I just hope it gets here before many more of our fellow citizens die unnecessary deaths due to your CEOs' unfeeling greed."
5.) Wall Street. The meme says it all:  "Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world." If you barely survived the 2008 Mortgage Crisis, participated in Occupy Wall Street or don't particularly enjoy billionaires receiving tax breaks while the poor and middle class suffer vital programming cuts, you'll agree with me. Wall Street is home to some of the most immoral, self-centered, evil beings on the planet. They make the NRA, the Military Industrial Complex, the Mainstream Media and our for-profit healthcare system possible.

For this I say, "Shame on you, Wall Street! Do as Jesus says and sell all your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. Only then will the blood of innocents be washed from your hands."

I could go on forever with my "shame list," but you get the picture. I encourage you to do likewise. Don't hold back. Let those who commit acts of evil know you will hold them accountable for their crimes. You can call, email or write them about their actions and how you want them to change. Confront them in public. Start a protest or die-in in front of their corporate headquarters. Vow that you'll prevent them from committing these evil acts ever again. 

It's time for We the People to take back our power from the lying, scheming, stealing elitists who have terrorized us and our precious planet for way too long. Power to the People--not the corporations!

BIO: Still Bernin' is still doing just that--burning with righteous indignation at the sheer evil of the system that supports the few (the 1%) at the expense of the many (the 99%). No more Mr. Nice Guy!
Here's an example of how the mainstream media works for the Wall Street/Military Industrial Complex establishment and perpetuates a false narrative to smear those who speak the truth. (https://youtu.be/i475yscpfNA)

An ingenious way to take on the Military Industrial Complex...

Billboards Opposing Drone Wars Are Going Up All Over Syracuse, New York

World Beyond War has been raising funds for and renting billboards in opposition to war. We’ve run into censorship from numerous billboard companies but persevered, and more billboards are on their way.

First we put this message up here in Charlottesville, Va., and then in Baltimore, Md. (see explanation of the 3% calculation here):

Now we’re putting these two images up on billboards in Syracuse, NY, where drone pilots participate in U.S. wars from Hancock Air Base:

For 8 hours a day for 16 days in March, these two images will be on either side of a billboard truck driving around downtown Syracuse and the University of Syracuse. Then, from April 2 to May 27 each image will be on two of the four stationary billboards located at 115 South Street, 700 East Washington Street, 1430 Erie Boulevard East, and 1201-1208 South Salina at Raynor Street. Then, from May 28 to July 22, one image will be on two and the other on one of three billboards at 700 East Washington Street, 909 East Genesee Street, and 1758 Erie Boulevard East.

Why Syracuse?
The Syracuse area hosts Hancock Air National Guard base where the Guard’s 174th Attack Wing conducts drone assassination and target identification missions using MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan and probably elsewhere. It has been announced that the numbers of drone operators being trained at Hancock will be doubled.

The billboard ads are being undertaken in the context of what amounts to a whiteout of information on drone and other air operations in Afghanistan. Pentagon reports on drone and other air attacks in other nations are inadequate at best, and these reports when they come have been inaccurate and have grossly under-reported casualties. The U.S. government has made no reports and taken no responsibility for the emotional devastation of drone attacks on children as well as adults, as documented by the Al Karama Foundation’s “Traumatising Skies.”

Syracuse is home to a creative and courageous group of activists who have done a great deal of public education already and who are continuing those efforts.

Overcoming Censorship
Some companies have refused to rent space for billboards opposing drone wars. No company has questioned the facts of the messages, apart from one company asking us to say that drone wars “may” make us less safe, adding the word “may.”

It is hardly disputable that drones make orphans, or that they kill innocent children. That drone wars make us less safe ought to be obvious after what the “successful” drone war has done to Yemen, following the April 23, 2013, testimony of Farea al-Muslimi before the U.S. Congress that drone strikes were building support for terrorists. But don’t take it from him or me, when a leaked CIA document admits that the drone program is “counterproductive,” and numerous recently retired top U.S. officials agree.

For the most part companies have given no explanation for refusals to display these graphics. In some cases, they have said the graphics made them “uncomfortable,” or they’ve asked that we stick to “positive-oriented messaging.” Those companies that have written policies that I’ve seen for what they accept have in no case had a policy that explained their refusal, other than their declaration of their right to refuse for any reason whatsoever.

While some companies in Syracuse said no, and others yes, every company in Forth Smith, Arkansas has, thus far, said no, without any explanation. These include:

RAM Outdoor Advertising: 1-479-806-7735
Ashby Street Outdoor: 1-479-221-9827
Billboard Source: 1-940-383-3500

Feel free to ask them to explain. Remember that politeness is most effective. RAM Outdoor Advertising did say: “Thanks for sharing your potential creative. I’ve shared it with the owners and they have decided that your creative will violate our lease agreements. We will have to decline your ads.” I requested to see the “lease agreements” and received no reply.

Fort Smith is the home of the 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard at Ebbing Air National Guard base, which controls Reaper drones for assassination and target identification. It appears drone operations will expand there also.

Freedom of Speech
World Beyond War billboards are funded entirely by contributions made by supporters of ending war who want to help put up more billboards. We will continue to solicit such contributions and to work to overcome censorship.

One of the more common, if ludicrous, defenses of war making is that it somehow defends one’s rights. Yet, freedom of speech and of press is routinely restricted in the name of protecting the war making.

Following the recent school shooting in Florida, we pointed out that the shooter had been trained by the U.S. military in a JROTC program funded by the NRA, and that this information was publicly available and not disputed. Major media outlets chose to avoid that story in order to focus, instead, on the undocumented (and, as it happens, false) claim that the shooter had worked with right-wing groups.

Google, Facebook, and other big forces on the internet are working hard to steer ever more traffic toward big corporate outlets and away from voices of dissent. Congress has eliminated net neutrality.

Whistleblowers are now up against the risk of prison time.

Protesters at inauguration parades face felony charges.

In my town in Virginia, Charlottesville, we are still forbidden to take down any war monuments, and still have no public peace monuments, but the local government has just made it a crime to hold a public demonstration without a permit obtained 30 days ahead.

In some airports and perhaps other locations, this story that you are reading will be blocked by internet services on the grounds that it constitutes “advocacy.”

Is this the “freedom” for which the wars endanger and impoverish and indebt us?

What you can do
1. Politely phone the companies above and ask them to explain their censorship.
2. Send us ideas for good locations for billboards anywhere in the world.
3. Send us donations with which to put up more billboards.

From Gabby Giffords (via Bernie Sanders):
Speaking is still physically difficult for me, but my feelings are clear: I am furious.

We have watched, time and time again, as people describe these mass shootings as unimaginable and unpreventable acts of evil.

But we all know that is not true. 

We have seen them before, and we will see them again. And what angers me most is that Congress knows how to solve this problem. 

Bernie Sanders has fought to reduce the epidemic levels of gun violence in this country. And at the end of the day, both of us know that the root of this issue lies in the outrageous amounts of money the corporate gun lobby spends buying candidates and elected officials.

So if we want to change the equation, that means Congress must realize they have more to fear from all of us standing together and acting than they do from the gun lobby's money. 

That starts with all of us making our voices heard. So today I am asking you to do something important, C.A., I am asking you to take my pledge.

For decades now, the gun lobby has used its power and influence to instill fear into the hearts of legislators in Congress and state capitals across our country.

But that fear is nothing like what those students fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School must have felt as they ran out of the building with their hands in the air as officers ran toward them with their guns drawn. 

That fear is nothing like what the children and teachers must have felt at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the club goers felt in Orlando, or the holiday party attendees felt in San Bernardino as shots rang out all around them.

What those legislators who vote to put the profits of manufacturers ahead of the safety of our communities really feel is cowardice.

They look at the most benign and practical solutions offered by moderates from each party and then they look over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby and choose to do nothing.

This November, we are going to vote them out. But it will only happen if we stand together. And that starts with making your voice heard. 

Join me and Senator Bernie Sanders. Pledge to Vote Courage in 2018:

We do not have to accept these horrific acts of violence as routine, and we must never stop demanding that our leaders not only acknowledge this devastating problem, but take long overdue action to keep our children safe.

If Congress won't act, the American voters must.

All my best,

Gabby Giffords

Common Defense

The mass shooting of students and teachers at Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday was unspeakably horrific.

The murderer was a Trump-supporting fellow student, radicalized by white supremacists. But unsurprisingly, the NRA — who almost always has a lot to say — has been completely silent.

For years, the NRA has fed violent, paranoid rhetoric to their millions of members. They share apocalyptic, terrorizing propaganda videos, openly threatening peaceful protesters with menacing violence. The NRA’s leadership and spokespeople constantly spew racist rhetoric about Muslims and people of color. And they spent an unprecedented $11.4 million to support sexual assaulter and bigot, Donald Trump.

But anytime a black person is gunned down or a school is shot up, the NRA stays silent. Why? Because they don’t actually care about ending violence in our communities, or the safety of our kids and families. They care about funding corrupt politicians and are complicit in domestic terrorism.

Add your name »

But as long as the NRA is able to push their hate-filled agenda without recourse, we’ll never be able to end this mass shooting epidemic. They have our children’s blood on their hands and unlike them, we will not be silent.

In solidarity,

The Common Defense team

Sign today »

P.S. — Stand in solidarity with your fellow veterans, military family members, and allies. Join the #MarchForOurLives mass protest on March 24 here!

From the Network for Public Education:

The response to our call for Action on April 20 to Stop Gun Violence in Schools has been overwhelming. Over 22,000 have pledged to be involved. We are working with a coalition that includes the AFT, NEA, AASA, BATS, Sandy Hook Promise and others to make sure that our lawmakers hear that the status quo is unacceptable. Our goal is simple--we want laws and regulations designed to stop gun violence. In the coming weeks, we will work with gun control advocacy groups to identify and promote sensible legislation that will make a difference.

If you have not signed up to join us, please sign up here.
Then share this link with others and ask them to take the pledge.
Since our email, we have been flooded with questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions with our responses. 

1.  What am I pledging to do?
On April 20th we are asking you to participate in a high profile activity of your choosing that demonstrates your support for legislation and programs designed to reduce gun violence in schools. The color of gun control is orange. Please wear an orange armband or headband that day. 

School communities and other groups should engage and publicize activities that make sense for them. What is an appropriate action for a high school may not work in an elementary school. In the coming days, we will put suggested activities on our website as well as a form where we encourage you to share what you will do. 

Some schools may choose a sit in before, during or after school. Others may encircle the school with linked arms. Some may choose an assembly where they read the names of students and adults who have died from gun violence in schools. Some classes may write letters to policymakers. Some may organize marches to the offices of legislators. 

We ask that any activity be respectful and peaceful in honor of those we have lost. We are not battling our communities or school administration. We are working together as educators, students, families and communities to send a loud message to policymakers and legislators. We are taking a stand against those who sit on their hands while students and teachers are slaughtered in their schools.

2. Why April 20?
April 20 is the day of the massacre at Columbine High School during which 12 students and one teacher were killed. Yes, we are aware that the date is associated with other events and causes. We hope that everyone will focus together on the need to stop the slaughter of innocents by guns on that day. The significance of the date for those of us dedicated to stopping gun violence outweighs any pre-existing associations to that date.

3. There are other events that are happening including a walk out on March 14 and a March on Washington on the 24th. Why not have one day?

NPE supports all other actions against gun violence. We want the momentum for real change to build with every new action. In the past, when gun tragedies happened, they attracted attention and mourning for a week or two. We say "no more moving on." It will take the work of many groups on many days to overcome the resistance to change. We salute and support all efforts to combat gun violence, and we look forward to working with every group that shares our goals. 

To receive updates and information, please sign up here and share the link. A webpage with a wealth of information will be up shortly.

Thank you for all that you do,
Diane Ravitch,
President of the Network for Public Education
Carol Burris
Executive Director
Here is a link to this email: https://wp.me/p3bR9v-2Ec


Democratic Socialists of America

In a major speech responding to the Parkland shooting last week, NRA head Wayne LaPierre just attacked DSA and Young Democratic Socialists of America by name, warning a crowd of scared conservatives about YDSA’s “100 chapters at universities” and the nation's "slide into socialism."

If the NRA is scared of our 100 YDSA chapters, we must be doing something right. Now imagine how terrified they’ll be if we double that number. Or triple it. 

Contribute $3 to DSA today: help grow our “scary” socialist movement even bigger and fight back against the NRA’s attacks.

Contribute $3 »
Let me be clear: the NRA embodies everything DSA opposes. For decades, the NRA raked in billions by flooding our streets with guns, then using that blood money to bribe national leaders into complicity. They’re barbaric political bullies that propagate and profit off of murder.

But they won’t get away with it anymore. Because unlike all those corrupt politicians, there are hundreds of thousands of pissed off people — just like us — ready to take to the streets and take the NRA down.

Join us in this fight. If the NRA is scared of our 33,000 members, let’s show them what we’re really made of. Chip in to DSA today and let’s stand strong against the NRA and Wayne LaPierre.

As democratic socialists, we’re not afraid to put people over profits. Especially when it’s about going after the abominable gun industry. Thank you for standing with us in this fight.

In solidarity,
Maria Svart
National Director
Democratic Socialists of America


  1. And now we're treated to the spectacle of the State of Florida passing a law to allow the arming of teachers - this within hours of a teacher in Georgia being arrested for firing a shot in the classroom. I see many comments along the lines of 'if teachers at my kids' school are armed, I'm withdrawing my children!' Is forcing this issue of armed teachers yet another trick in the attempt by Betsy DeVos to close down public schools? Perhaps her brother's mercenary company will get a fat contract to supply schools with armed guards?

    1. I think you've made a valid point about Betsy DeVos and her brother Erik Prince making more money by causing chaos with our public schools. She wants to close them down and he enjoys making money by installing killers overseas, so why wouldn't he be open to the domestic armed guard market? The sheer evilness of this astounds me, but I can't put it past any Trump-appointee. They're all morally bankrupt.

      It's time our schools became places of nurturing the growth of the body, mind and souls of our children. They should never be made into the killing fields like the DeVoses of the world want them to become.


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