Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Today I Am Grateful... To Stay In Bed

Today I Am Grateful...To Stay In Bed
by C. A. Matthews

Ah, there's no way like the "American Way," is there? I wonder if the folks in the classic photo above understood the irony of their situation. With only a small percentage of Americans enjoying that "highest standard of living," did it make it easier or harder for the people in that line to accept that they and their families would probably never have a chance to experience that same standard of living?

But enough about American exceptionalism! We have a special treat this week--words of wisdom from north of the border. (Yes, Canada.) I recommend you also watch Vegematic's video (below his article)  and take him up on his suggestion. Think of all the things we could make right in the world if we all decided for one day to stay in bed for peace.  The list is endless!

Dirk Droll tackles this topic as well on his blog Beanstock's World. He looks at how American society doesn't always allow us to become what we know we can become in One Man's Wish: Let the People Be Free. Jamarl Thomas's video posted there poses the burning question: "What could America really do if we didn't put so many people into massive debt who simply wanted to go to college?"

The following meme sums up your lowly editor's take on these troubling times:

One day, one society, one individual... How can we change things for the better? Can we be grateful during such times of unrelenting stress? Perhaps by educating ourselves as to "who the government works for" (as Jamarl puts it) and uniting to solve our actual problems (not the ones the paid-off pundits try to put over on us, such as how Stormy Daniels will somehow force Trump from office) we'll eventually bring about the change we want to see. And nobody will have to be bombed, gassed or poisoned through their tap water to do so.

Now's the time to forget the "fluff pieces" courtesy of the oligarchy-owned mainstream media and educate ourselves to the real challenges we face. The re-birth of fascism is one of them, and Vegematic sees its potential growing all over the world. (Beanstock's Allies Against Democracy is worth a look, too.) Once informed as to the true dangers of the mega-wealthy and corporate rule, We the People can work together on ways to defeat it once and for all.

Today I am grateful that you've read this far and have a mind of your own, even if some days all I'd rather do is stay in bed and dream of peace. 

The Dangers of Ascendant Fascism 
by Vegematic

 Being a progressive isn't an easy task these days. No matter where you live in the world, fascism seems to have re-emerged from the dark shadows of history into the mainstream of modern political thought. Living in Canada, my American friends tend to view this nation through somewhat rose-colored glasses, a liberal democracy with a strong social safety net. While much of that may be true, even in this largely progressive country, there are ominous rumblings from the extreme right.

The most populous Canadian province, Ontario, is set to elect a Trumpian style premier, Doug Ford, to the province's highest office. This man is obviously emulating Trump to the point of threatening to "lock up" his political opponents. There seems to be a massive backlash against the rapid speed at which Canada's demographics are changing and a desire to turn back the clock on progressive changes. I have personally witnessed this phenomenon first hand, seeing a white Canadian hurl racist epithets at a group of Middle Eastern immigrants while shopping.

There was a time not so long ago that such behavior was unthinkable and unheard of in this part of the world. Conservatives fear change, and conservatives in Canada have seen massive social changes in recent years. We have accepted a large number of refugee families from predominantly Muslim and Latin American nations. We also are about to legalize cannabis, have elected an openly gay woman as premier of Ontario and have a prime minister who is avowedly pro-feminist.
While these are welcome changes to the more progressive among us, they are terrifying to traditionalists. Frightening enough to trigger their reptilian brains into supporting an outright fascist. Canadians like to feel somewhat smug when comparing our nation to our southern neighbors. The truth is that we are much more alike than we are different. We can be every bit as intolerant and xenophobic.

There are national elections scheduled for next year, and I fear a rightward shift in Canada is very likely. This is fast becoming a global phenomenon with extreme right parties forming the governments of Poland and Hungary as well as making significant gains in such formerly liberal bastions as Germany and Scandinavia. The forces of intolerance and regression are out in the open, gaining political power undreamed of a few short years ago.
While it might be tempting to attribute this to Trump's unlikely victory in 2016, I believe it runs much deeper. The fact is many in the working class have been ignored and disenfranchised by liberal political elites and neo-liberal economics for decades. Liberal politicians beholden to large corporate donors have made even incremental change impossible. This has led to various right wing "populist" figures being able to scapegoat minorities instead of actually solving problems like wealth inequality and corporate malfeasance. We have seen this movie before, and it never ends well.

 We as progressives must fight this scourge with everything we've got. We must continue to speak out as well as do all we can to educate the ignorant for whom the siren call of fascism seems to be a solution to their lack of a voice. The problems we face as a planet are enormous and pressing. We cannot solve them with a return to the vicious failed ideologies of the past.


Vegematic is a Canadian artist/musician who lives in Ontario, Canada. You can also find his commentary on the Vegematic You Tube channel

In case you haven't seen this eye-opening short video from The Intercept, here's another example of how fascism (Mussolini's term for corporatism) has taken hold in the USA, in particular the Democratic Party. Try not to faint as the manipulation and primary rigging you've always thought was going on is confirmed by Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two Dem in the House of Representatives. It is amazing how smoothly he can tell a young progressive to get out of the race so the DCCC's chosen candidate can run without competition.(https://youtu.be/qcgPyKt-ysY)

Here are some other examples of how corporations manipulate public opinion and skew the narrative:

Ex-Host Exposes MSNBC: "I Was Told Not To Cover Bernie"

The Russia Narrative is Nonsense: Anti-Social Media Censorship and McCarthyist Democrats


The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. Three years without obnoxious ads (that many news sites have to cover costs) has been great, but the editor does have to pay for internet, electricity, etc. Any amount you can donate to keep this progressive site going without those awful ads is appreciated. Thank you.

You can donate via Paypal at http://paypal.me/camatthews 

Power to the people and not the corporations!

Update from Public Citizen

Multinational fish farm corporation Cooke Aquaculture has threatened to use NAFTA to bring a new investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) case against a Washington state environmental law.

This new threat spotlights why the elimination of ISDS is a top demand of labor, civil society, members of Congress, small businesses and academics in the renegotiation of NAFTA.

Tell the Cooke corporation to stand down on its ISDS threat or we will make it the poster child of why ISDS must be eliminated from NAFTA.

Sign the petition now.

ISDS grants rights to multinational corporations to sue the U.S. government before a panel of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by America’s taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits.

These foreign corporations need only convince the lawyers that a law violates their NAFTA rights. And already almost $500 million has been paid out after NAFTA ISDS attacks.

Here’s the background on this new threat:

Last year, 200,000 of Cooke’s farmed Atlantic salmon escaped from open water “net-pens” into the Puget Sound, swimming up salmon spawning rivers and wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem. Sadly, this was not the first mess caused by Cooke’s massive floating fish pens.

This time, a broad coalition of indigenous tribes, environmentalists and fishing communities organized with Washington state lawmakers to pass a ban on net-pen farming of Atlantic salmon. California, Oregon and Alaska already ban this practice.

Cooke threatened to use NAFTA’s ISDS provisions to dissuade Washington state from passing and enacting the ban. Cooke said it should be paid $76 million in taxpayer money, plus lost expected future profits if the law was enacted.

Fortunately, Washington state policymakers refused to be bullied, and the governor recently signed this important environmental ban into law.

But Cooke could launch its threatened ISDS case at any moment.

Public pressure has forced other companies to back down from ISDS threats to avoid PR nightmares.

To protect this victory, which was hard won by tribes and other activists fighting to protect native salmon and their local bays and rivers in Washington state, we need to make sure that Cooke knows that we are watching.

Cooke must hear loud and clear that, if it dare move forward with this threat, we will make it the poster child of why ISDS must be eliminated from NAFTA.

Add your name to hold Cooke accountable.

Thanks for all you do.

In solidarity,

Melanie Foley
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch


Fair World Project Header

May 1st is International Workers' Day.


Communities around the world are participating in actions like marches, rallies, and strikes.

This is a day to recognize that workers and their families, especially immigrants and people of color, are being subjected to extreme and escalating attacks on their dignity and security.

Fair World Project has joined Food Chain Workers Alliance in creating this statement in support of workers around the world.
May 1st, International Workers' Day - Join the Action!
We encourage all who are able to find an event or action near you.

And we invite everyone to show your support for initiatives that create a more just economy by signing the pledge.
Thanks for all you do for a just economy,

Kerstin on behalf of the Fair World Project Team

p.s. Our World Fair Trade Day contest launches tomorrow. Make sure you follow along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win great prizes from brands who are working to create a more just economy alongside producers and workers. 


 From RootsAction.org:

Put Antiwar Billboards in Washington, D.C.
We're launching a new effort to raise the funds to put up billboards and/or other large ads in Washington, D.C., as prominently and as close to the halls of government power as possible. This may include ads in Metro trains, stations, etc.

Help fund this effort with a tax-deductible donation of any size.
We're partnering with WorldBeyondWar.org, so your tax-deductible donations will go further.

GRAPHIC: Donate here button
Billboard Military Police
Your donations are tax-deductible in the United States, and will fund advertising in the U.S. capital and the work of RootsAction.org.
Can you help us make this effort a success that fills Washington, D.C., with peace messages?

When you donate, please be sure to also tell us which billboard design you like best.

GRAPHIC: Donate here button

-- The RootsAction Education Fund Team

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