Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Start Sharpening Your Pitchforks

Start Sharpening Your Pitchforks
by Still Bernin'

It's been a rough week. People are dying by the dozens, and still, the status quo remains intact.  The billionaires are still safe in their mansions, making billions while their slaves (employees) sweat to death in un-airconditioned work places. 

What gives, revolutionaries?

If you think of immigrants and refugees as "animals," you're probably not too bothered about young children being separated from their parents and stuck in government warehouses such as ICE is currently doing.  You probably don't equate forcefully splitting up immigrant families with how slavery destroyed families, either. You're just grateful your job has been saved from the "rapists" amassing at our borders.

Now, why would "rapists" consist of families with young children and husbands and wives and grandparents and otherwise normal people, you might wonder. And why would children be considered a threat to our national security or your job? It's best not to think too hard on these matters or else you could start to see these "animals" as humans. Take a hint from Nazi Germany--any people you don't want in your country you label  "animals," and then you call them "a threat to all we hold dear." This kind of labeling helped the gas chamber attendants sleep at night.

If you think of teenagers as nuisances, you probably bought more stock in Smith and Wesson this past week after another young male got a hold of a rifle and went on a rampage and shot dead ten of his classmates and teachers  and wounded many others at Santa Fe High School in Texas.  

Really, what's another school shooting among friends? Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wants to shut down public schools and fund private and parochial schools to take their place. Let's just get rid of the need for public schools altogether by ridding ourselves of poor students and save the rich tax payers' money. Win-win.

If your motto is "The only good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian," then this past week you hit the jackpot. Israeli Defense Forces shot more unarmed Palestinians in cold blood in one day than they have in a good long time. They even killed an 8 month old infant. 

You know, you can't be too cautious with drooling babies, right? The noxious fumes from their diapers might just explode. It's best to shoot them or lock them up. Just ask ICE.

If the death toll this past week doesn't wake you up and inspire you to march with your pitchforks in hand and demand change now, then what in the world will?

Will an added tariff on cheap, imported cell phone batteries get you off your butt and into the streets shouting? Will the threat of possible stronger gun control laws propel you to phone and complain to your elected officials and the NRA? Will the bugging of your electronic communications by the NSA put a bee in your bonnet? Will the closing of your place of employment (since the owners have decided they'll make more money sending your job overseas) inspire you to pick up a sign and march?
If you answered yes or maybe to any of the above questions, then you're as narcissistic as the orangutan-in-charge of the mad house (a.k.a. the White House) in D.C.  Why are you reading a progressive blog? To convince others you're actually cool or that you actually care? It ain't working! Go check out Fox News--it's more your speed. Political revolution is not a spectator sport for self-centered types.

It's time for all good revolutionaries to engage their empathy and consider the suffering of their fellow human beings worldwide. The poor and dispossessed, infants and students don't deserve to die because of the greed of the military-industrial complex. Children should never be taken away from their parents because of their race or country of origin. We are the only ones who can save them and ourselves from the exploitation of the oligarchs.
But first, we need to pick up our pitchforks (metaphorical and/or real) and take some action to shake up the establishment. Now is the summer of our discontent! Get out there and demand change for the better and for all. 

Power to the people--not the corporations, not the billionaires, not the paid-off politicians, and certainly not the military-industrial complex and its handmaiden, the NRA. Stand up We the People and claim your power!

BIO:  Still Bernin' doesn't want people  resigned to the mounting death tolls in our schools, in our cities, on our borders, and caused by the military-industrial complex worldwide. Let's get off our computing devices and take action against the status quo that's killing us and our planet.

The Importance of the Average Person
by Ruth Ann Oskolkoff

One thought I'm struck with today is the importance of the average person. Not the rich. Not the powerful. Not the politicians. Not those who are directors and administrators and presidents. Not the famous. Not the top, out of sight.

It's us. The struggling masses. The people who walk the pavement. We don't have title or position. We don't merit a mention, not even a footnote, but I truly believe we all matter equally.

Yes, I think structure is important, but that doesn't mean some of us are lower. We are not less than anyone else ever. Ever.

The big lie is that our words and actions don't matter unless someone important say they matter. We are brainwashed from day one not to seize our power, not to use what voice we can muster, not to believe in ourselves.

Look at what happened in Seattle. A small group of dedicated progressives joined together to challenge the richest man on the planet, and we won a victory. Now $40-50 million will go to fund affordable housing and help the homeless population. We the People did that. We can keep doing that.

I reject the narrative that says our elected leaders will save us. We will save ourselves.

BIO: Ruth is an activist in Seattle and social commentator on Facebook.

Calling all investigative reporters for help. According to the New York Times: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the U.S. prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy.” We need to find out why these protestors mysteriously died since its clear the NY Times is clueless. -- Ajamu Baraka, international human rights activist and Green Party V.P. candidate


New York Times Glowingly Defends Israel's Crimes Against Humanity (video):

More video from the New York Times reporter who blames Palestinians for their own deaths: https://youtu.be/JjIT6GuLDU8
This fantastic short video busts open myths about socialism. Watch, learn and share with others. It's time to reach out to those brainwashed by the anti-socialist propaganda generated by the oligarchy.


Five Ways America is Already Socialist (video):
Good news, everyone!  
Kevin Zeese protests near Commissioner Ajit Pai’s home in May 2017. Photo by Anne Meador

Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Washington, DC–The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to reject an FCC rule change that would end Net Neutrality. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the charge last year to strip protections which require Internet Service Providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The 4-1 FCC vote last December effectively privatized the Internet by allowing Big Telecoms to charge some customers more for privileged access. Over the last several years, Internet watchdogs groups and large services such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Google have enlisted the public to wage a ferocious war to preserve Net Neutrality.

The Senate exercised its power under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reinstate any regulation changed by a government agency. By passing the Senate resolution, Democrats will force the issue into the House of Representatives, where it has less favorable prospects. About 160 members of Congress, mostly Democrats, have pledged their support. The resolution requires 218 House votes to pass. The vote is scheduled for June 11.

Recently, in a bombshell revelation, documents show that giant telecom AT&T paid $600,000 to Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen for “access” to the administration on issues of interest to AT&T. Soon after, Commissioner Pai met with an AT&T executive lobbyist, leading to accusations of corruption.


Win Without War

A dozen Google employees are quitting to protest Google’s plans to help the Pentagon automate drone targeting. [1]
This is huge. The Pentagon’s drone warfare program is already notorious for killing civilians. The new Google-Pentagon plan, called Project Maven, would automate remote assassination even further by using artificial intelligence to identify human targets. What’s more, the Trump administration blatantly ignored their most recent deadline to report drone casualties. Our chances of learning the names of civilians killed by secret Google drones — or even the number — are nearly zero.
With Project Maven, Google can claim to keep their hands clean while they’re automating the business of death.
That’s why it’s such a big deal that these brave Google employees stepped up to tell another story. But they’re up against a tech giant and the powerful Pentagon. They need to know you have their back.
Add your name to stand with the Google employees who quit and demand Google pull out of Project Maven.

While only about a dozen Google employees quit, their brave actions could spark a sea change in the the tech sector’s dangerous history of partnerships with the Pentagon.
In addition to the handful of Google employees who quit, thousands more have signed a letter of protest to the company. But this is still an incredibly under-reported story. That’s where we come in.
The Google employees who quit are shining a spotlight on the under-the-table dangers of the Pentagon’s drone warfare. We can’t let this window to make change fall by the wayside. We’ve got to keep their momentum going.
Add your name to tell Google: Americans stand with the protestors, not the Pentagon. Don’t help automate death.
Thank you for working for peace,
Amy, Mariam, Sunjeev, and the team at Win Without War
[1] Gizmodo, Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract
[2] Washington Post, “White House ignores executive order requiring count of civilian casualties in counterterrorism strikes”

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes my heart soar. Greenpeace USA and Mosquito Fleet activists blocked an oil barge from entering into Kinder Morgan's Seattle facility to oppose the oil company’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker superhighway. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Greenpeace USA and Mosquito Fleet activists stopped an oil barge from entering into Kinder Morgan’s Harbor Island facility in Seattle.
  • Two activists physically locked down at the Kinder Morgan facility with a banner reading "Protect Water. Stop Pipelines."
  • Local kayaktivists next to the facility deployed a 32 feet by 74 feet water banner that read “NOT THEN” with a Shell Oil logo, and “NOT NOW” with the Trans Mountain logo. 
Of course, the activists  in Seattle aren’t doing this alone. They’re part of a much bigger movement to stop pipelines, and they need your help. Please add your name to our petition and tell the Dirty Dozen banks not to finance pipeline projects.
To respond to the growing climate crisis — with its super-storms, floods, wildfires, and other extreme weather events — we need to be rapidly moving away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. Massive new oil pipelines do the exact opposite.
Some banks are already backing away from tar sands, pipelines, and Energy Transfer Partners but these Dirty Dozen banks still don’t seem to understand that financing pipeline projects is risky business. If people around the world urge their banks to not fund pipelines, we can tip the balance on these toxic projects and stop these new pipelines for good.
We have to show them the power of just how many people are opposed to the construction of pipelines. Only then will they change the way they do business. Please, do your part right now and sign the Dirty Dozen petition.
For a green and peaceful future,
Dario Parra
Social Media Specialist, Greenpeace USA
P.S. Several banks, including the seventh-largest in the world, HSBC, have already announced that they will no longer finance tar sands pipeline projects. We won’t rest until they all stop funding these dangerous projects that threaten the climate, water, and Indigenous rights. That’s why it’s so important that you sign the petition now. There is strength in numbers!


USDA’s Proposed GMO Labels: Don’t Let it BE!
The long-awaited draft rules for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods are here.
Unfortunately, they fall far short of the clear, direct labeling consumers want and will continue to keep the public in the dark unless you take action today!
You can comment on what form the labels should take (a QR code, a phone number, text on the label, or a symbol) and what that label should look like.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing a misleading rebranding of genetically engineered food by calling them BE or bioengineered and the use of symbols such as bright sunshiny smiley faces, in an attempt to convince people that genetically engineered foods are something they should want to buy.
They are also proposing to exempt “highly refined” GE products such as sugars and oils. This would mean that about 70 percent of GE products would not be labeled!
No matter what you think of genetic engineering’s use in agriculture, the USDA is supposed to be value neutral. In fact, the marketing for USDA organic cannot be overly positive for fear that may give consumers the impression it is better than conventional. The USDA should not promote genetically engineered foods.

Go to regulations.gov today and type in "National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard". Confirm the docket # AMS-TM-17-0050 and click on the blue Comment Now box. 
Tell the USDA to use words or symbols that are clear and simple that cover all GE products:
  • The symbols proposed by the USDA are not value neutral and are disparaging to non-GE products.
  • The term “bioengineered” is confusing and a departure from the term genetically engineered or genetically modified organism (GMO) understood by the public.
  • The USDA should recommend the text used to state “Produced with genetic engineering” or “Partially produced with genetic engineering” or use a neutral symbol such as the one here.
  • The USDA should label all “highly refined” GE products like cooking oil, high fructose corn syrup, and the like.
  • Say NO to confusing QR codes and text messages that would make shopping trips longer, be costlier, and discriminate against those with less resources.
We only have until July 3 to get comments in. Don’t wait, please comment today!


  1. It has been a tough week. The deaths in Texas from yet another school shooting, the deaths in Palestine thanks to Trump's illegal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and then the Supreme Court decision against working people that basically allows employers to do whatever they like. Something's gotta give.

    1. You do wonder when it will give and what will give first, don't you? Americans seem to be just too lazy and accepting of the status quo at times, but eventually something's going to give. You can't keep up the pressure forever without consequences.

  2. All in all, I've been ready since the start of the 2016 election cycle to head to DC with pitchfork in hand, ready to overthrow our current government and rid it of the uncaring, unfeeling, out of touch with reality individuals who make up the chambers of Congress and all of the cabinets as well as the other various departments there.
    I will take issue to this:
    "Now, why would "rapists" consist of families with young children and husbands and wives and grandparents and otherwise normal people, you might wonder," Rapists can and do consist of people that you would normally not even think of being capable of doing such a horrible and despicable act. The thing to remember is that this is being aimed towards those who are not native-born citizens, but immigrants, whether or not they came legally.

    1. Good point, Linda. Trump enjoys denigrating people of color and immigrants with negative labels to stir up feelings of fear and loathing in the general populace. A real sick and twisted mind he has.

      I agree--it's high time We the People march into D.C. and take back our country from the greed of the 1%. After all, there's 99% of us and we outnumber them, pitchforks or not. They should respect our power.

      Power to the PEOPLE!


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