Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Changing the Narrative


Changing the Narrative

We're changing the narrative this week and giving you, our dear readers, a glimpse into alternate narratives that are more vital than the false ones pushed by the mainstream media, a.k.a. the oligarchy's propaganda machine. 

Our first guest blogger gives us a look into how many Americans struggle to survive in our current economic system, a struggle our elected officials seem to be completely oblivious to, putting us all at risk. Linda wonders if we can wake  up politicians to our reality. It seems a daunting task, but it's one we can't afford not to tackle.

In our second piece, we'll gain insights from our friend north of the border, Vegematic, whose country is now on the wrong side of a Trump tariff policy. Who will suffer the worse from imposing trade tariffs on Canada? Surprise! It's probably the US, especially Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, all states that do a lot of business across the border. But those states can afford to lose a few more jobs, right? (I'm joking, of course. No state needs more economic woes.)

New on the blog this week, a page for Ohio Green Party gubernatorial candidate Constance Gadell-Newton. With a Republican and a "Republican-lite" running to maintain the status quo in the statehouse, Constance is the only progressive running for the governor's office, and many Ohioans are interested in knowing more about her and her platform. A link to an excellent video interview Constance did on the Tim Black Show is provided as well. 
Lucas County Greens promoting Constance in the King Wamba Parade
The mainstream media will, of course, not share Constance's progressive narrative with voters (and the smear tactics have already begun, believe it or not), so please feel free to share this page and the information contained on it with others, particularly Ohio voters. They deserve to know they actually have a choice in November and can vote for the greater good, not the lesser evil.

No one said changing the corporate narrative would be easy, but we can do it if we work together. Power to the people--not the corporations! 
--C.A.M.


A Way of Bringing Elected Officials to Our Reality
by Linda Hansen


I'm disabled, and living on Social Security Disability. At the beginning of the year, my disability check went up a whopping $20 per month while elected officials in Washington DC voted to give themselves a raise of $20,000.00, which is an extra $1,666.00 per month. To think what everyone receiving Social Security could do with an extra $1,666.00 a month!

I'm one of the fortunate ones. Prior to Medicare coming out of my check every month, I bring in $1,012.00 a month. I know people on Social Security that receive $730 a month, and I wonder how in the world they make it. I have a hard enough time paying rent, paying utilities, keeping my vehicle in good condition so  I can drive to the store or laundromat, buying insurance, and getting my medications every month on what I bring in.

I was homeless, living out of my vehicle with my ESA (emotional support animal) until I found the room where I currently live that I can barely afford, but I was able to keep my emotional support dog with me. While homeless, I applied for and was approved to receive food stamps--a whopping $15.00 per month.

Sadly, even though I'm no longer homeless, I don't qualify for more SNAP benefits because utilities are included in my monthly rent.

It's a crying shame that senior citizens and disabled Americans are barely able to survive on the small “entitlement” (as defined by elected officials in Washington DC) check we receive every month while the officials give themselves such a huge raise, all on the taxpayers' dime. If our elected representatives were more concerned with actually representing us, We the People, instead of catering to lobbyists and whomever gives them huge, expensive gifts, maybe we'd get something accomplished in Congress?

I am proposing that every member of Congress, in both chambers, take a complete leave of absence and live as the bottom 99% do for a full year. They would have to put their children into public schools, leave their fancy homes, see regular physicians at regular hospitals and clinics, drink the same water and breath the same air that the rest of us do. They would have to go to homeless shelters to live, give up credit cards and not use any money in savings for the entire year.

Not only would they have to live like an average American citizen, they would have to go apply for the benefits that we use to survive on and see if they could do it with how things cost. I'm proposing a full year because, quite simply, thirty days isn't anywhere near long enough for them to get a full idea as to what we go through.

They need to fully appreciate the experience of being homeless and trying to “pull yourself up by your boot straps,”,“work harder,” and “stop buying $600 cell phones.” Heaven help them if they get seriously ill and need to see a doctor! Nope, anything tied to their life in Washington DC would be off limits. All assets frozen for one year. And, yes, I would also include the current occupant of the White House and his immediate family. No one is exempt.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this proposal would actually cause Congresspeople to get off their rumps and do something about free childcare, free college tuition, free healthcare, raising minimum wage, and possibly putting a freeze on necessary items like rent, utilities, etc. so that those of us who have been drowning can actually get caught up and start breathing again?

BIO: Linda Hansen is a freelance writer for hire. She specializes in blogs, re-writes, social media and proofreading.  She can be found playing with her Labraheeler, Rocky, when she’s not busy writing. Linda can be found online at https://twitter.com/witornado and https://lmhansen2018.wordpress.com
 ***

Contemplating the Unthinkable
by Vegematic Deluxe

Back in the spring of 2016 in the midst of the excitement and optimism of the Bernie campaign, I witnessed something that deeply troubled me. The endless free publicity a long shot fringe candidate in the Republican primary was receiving. Compared to a virtual blackout of Bernie Sanders, whose poll numbers were astonishing, it left no doubt that any pretense of a free press in America was over. Trump was beyond horrifying. The failed casino owner and loud-mouthed game show host spewed racist and hateful invective. Surely, I thought, the American people couldn't be stupid enough to fall for this known con artist.

The course of the next few months were a roller coaster ride for those of us who were enthralled with the bright and hopeful vision that Sanders offered. Having viewed Brunch with Bernie on Thom Hartmann's show for a couple of years, I knew who he was and already considered him the most decent and honest senator in Washington. There is no need to rehash here the corporate machinations that cheated Bernie out of the nomination. It was heartbreaking then and even more heartbreaking in hindsight.

Trump's "election" brought forth the ugly demons of America's past with a vengeance that was both shocking and repulsive. The oceans of national treasure already wasted on a bloated military were increased, as were the nuclear weapons hanging over humanity like Damacles' sword for decades. The wealthiest were showered with even more tax cuts, the EPA was staffed with oligarchical climate deniers and corporate yes men. America's descent into totalitarianism had begun.

When I used to read books about the Third Reich in high school, the question would invariably come up, "Why did no one stop Hitler?" As Trump continues to ignore the rule of law and create chaos, I do not think it is hyperbole to ask that same question. Will anyone stop him when 5000 children disappear instead of 1500? When Betsy Devos has completely decimated education? When deregulation of the banks causes a massive collapse? After he starts the next war? When?

The astonishing lawbreaking and corruption continues unabated and unchallenged while the courts are being stacked like pancakes with Trump sycophants. The checks and balances required for a modern democracy to function are failing badly. The ever-present racial and class divisions in America have been exacerbated to levels not seen in a century. On the verge of climate catastrophe, carbon extraction is being accelerated at an unprecedented pace. At a time when we need more cooperation in order to confront humankind's desperate condition, we are being served a large dose of enmity for "the other."


Those of you who know me from You Tube or my previous column here know that I am Canadian. Yesterday, while reading comments under a video about the tariffs being placed on Canadian steel, I discovered something truly horrifying. Dozens of comments from Trump supporters threatening and insulting Canada. Sadly, many proud Canadians took the bait and engaged them. Soon it escalated into an insult filled screaming match ending with a Trump supporter saying America should nuke us.

Suddenly I had a gut wrenching frightening thought: Where have I seen this before? What historical parallels could I draw? The answer was almost too frightening to contemplate, yet there it was. The US and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world. Our ties run deep. Friendship, family ties, and brothers-in-arms since WWI, we have forged a common bond between us. America has a trade surplus with Canada. Why on earth would Trump want to stir division and hatred with a staunch ally?

Then it hit me. Since well before the election of 2016, one would have to be blind not to notice similarities between Trump and Hitler. His ex-wife told the press that he slept with a copy of Mein Kampf on his nightstand. Could Canada become Trump's Poland? Could Trump actually desire to invade Canada? 

At first I dismissed the thought as imaginative paranoia, but being the son of a Polish immigrant father who survived the Nazi invasion, the thought kept nagging at me. Canada has abundant natural resources. Water, minerals, oil, lumber. America has the largest military the world has ever known. It is ruled by an increasingly unstable leader desperate to cling to power. Am I right to be concerned? That really depends on you, my dear American friends. If he wanted to do this, would you be able to stop him? Would anybody?
BIO: Vegematic is an artist and You Tuber extraordinaire with a growing audience of independent thinkers. You can enjoy his excellent commentary on the Vegematic Deluxe  channel.  Like his videos and subscribe to his channel today.

***


Another narrative that needs airing in this LGBTQ Pride Month: International Sex Workers' Day rally in in DC for equality and labor rights.


***

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Power to the people and not the corporations!





 ***
From Climate Hawks Vote:

Climate Hawks Vote

Did you see the shocking new report on Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico? Despite the official death toll from Maria being just 64, the actual death toll was likely more than 4,600!

A study by academics at Harvard rigorously reviewed death rates in the months following Maria. Their conclusion: the actual death toll as a result of Maria was more than 70 times the official death toll, mostly due to disruption of health care and lack of electricity.

Meanwhile, more than half a year later — as a new hurricane season is set to begin June 1 — some parts of the island remain without power. And powerful corporate interests are trying to use the recovery to privatize essential government services.

Let there be no mistake: this disaster was not solely an act of nature. Human-made climate change fueled the hurricane’s intensity. Then, apathy and indifference by the Trump Administration and too many members of Congress led to a delayed and inadequate emergency response.

As a climate hawk, you recognize that aggressive efforts to reduce global warming pollution must be paired with swift and just responses to climate fueled disasters.

The United States has failed that test so far with Puerto Rico.
Now what?

There is no silver bullet — or single action to take at this point. We need to:
  • Continue to push for more aid — and forgiveness of debt — to address the continued challenges posed to Puerto Ricans.
     
  • Advocate for rebuilding the Puerto Rico power grid in a manner that keeps it in public hands and emphasizes distributed, renewable energy.
     
  • Investigate the Trump Administration’s incompetence and malfeasance in the recovery process, to help ensure that the victims of the next natural disaster get better treatment.
     
Email Congress
Our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico—and those fighting for them in the halls of Congress—need our continued support, our determination, our anger, and our love. They need us to not forget them.

Your fellow climate hawk,
RL Miller

References


From Replace NAFTA:
 
Together, we’ve changed the national narrative so much that NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime could very well be removed from NAFTA.
And the corporate lobby is freaking out.

We usually ask you to contact your member of Congress, but right now we have a quick ask for your state legislators that could make a big difference at this critical point in the NAFTA renegotiations.

Ask your state legislators to sign a simple letter supporting the elimination of ISDS in NAFTA.
The infamous, corporate-funded American Legislative Education Council (ALEC) — yes, that pay-to-play group that pushes state policies to benefit corporations and their lobbyists— organized a pro-ISDS letter from state legislators.

They managed to scrape together just 12 state legislators to sign.

In response to ALEC’s pathetic effort, in just a matter of days, already more than 45 state legislators from 18 states have signed our letter opposing ISDS — the provision in NAFTA that empowers corporations to sue our governments before panels of three corporate lawyers.

Our letter reiterates that the National Conference of State Legislatures — the national body that represents state legislatures — has long opposed including ISDS in trade agreements on a bipartisan basis.

Let’s bury ALEC’s latest pro-corporate push.
Urge your state legislators to join this letter today.

Talk soon,

Ryan Harvey
National Field Director
Replace NAFTA

*** 
 
Straws Can Be Devastating For Wildlife. Let's Create a Citizen Tsunami to Limit Starbucks Straw Pollution!

 



Sign Now

 



Care2 is celebrating World Oceans Week by taking action for our blue planet every day from June 3 - 9. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing exponentially and is now twice as large as Texas. At least two sperm whales have been found dead with dozens of pounds of plastic trash in their stomachs. The turtle from the heart-breaking image above had a cocktail straw stuck up its nose.
Stephanie is a Care2 community member and works at a Starbucks in New Jersey. She loves her job, but hates the huge number of straws used by the store. She knows straws are largely unrecyclable and can be devastating to wildlife.
The movement to save our seas from plastic trash is growing. Over a hundred cities have already banned styrofoam take-out containers, and California has banned single-use grocery bags. But we need more leadership from the world's largest corporations.
Thank you for taking action for our blue planet,
Aaron V.
The Care2 Petitions Team


 


P.S. Stephanie's petition has already gotten the attention of Starbucks leadership, so it's time to increase the pressure. Please add your name to her campaign now.

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