Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It Can Be Done (#StopKavanaugh)

Breaking News: The Lake Erie Bill of Rights--the first "rights of nature" citizens' initiative in the US--has been denied ballot access by the Lucas County Board of Elections. Over ten thousand LEBOR petition signatures were gathered by volunteers, submitted and certified by the clerk of council to be put on the city of Toledo November ballot. The appointed Board of Elections memebers--consisting of two Democrats and two Republicans--unanimously voted to keep both the LEBOR and a Toledo jail citizens' initiative off the ballot. Toledoans for Safe Water will be filing a lawsuit to have the Lake Erie Bill of Rights placed on the ballot. For more, read: https://celdf.org/2018/08/press-release-lake-erie-bill-of-rights-blocked-from-november-ballot/

That an appointed board can thwart the democratic process in the year 2018 shows you how far we've fallen into the beginnings of a fascist state. Now more than ever, the two party "duopoly" that is so easily bought off by corporate interests needs to be dissolved. This week's topic (planned weeks earlier) gives us some insight on just how Americans can take back their country from the grip of the corporations who don't care whether we have clean water or not.
Did you know there was once an American Progressive Party? It's better known by its nickname--"The Bull Moose Party." The most famous Bull Moose candidate was Theodore Roosevelt, but the Progressive Party did field other candidates and did win offices across the nation. Read on to learn some more about American third parties. Can they really win? What does a third party vote actually mean in an election? Why do most American voters list themselves as "independent"? Will the Bull Moose raise its head again?

It Can be Done
by Coast Watcher

It’s a phenomenon mostly confined to the United States. Only two parties—the Democrats and the Republicans—dominate American politics and vie for control of the government. Between them they have fielded all the candidates who went on to become President since the 1860s. Why should this be so?

The main reason is the country’s winner-take-all electoral system. Unlike a parliamentary system, in most American states the presidential candidate with the highest percentage of votes gets all the state’s electoral votes. The other "third parties" struggle to win enough votes to remain viable, let alone win a presidential race. Often they face devious tactics from the Democrat and Republican machine that have a cozy little arrangement between themselves to prevent third parties from becoming a threat to their hegemony. For instance, some states have rules that state should any party fail to win at least 5% of the popular vote they are no longer allowed on the ballot in the next election. No country on Earth other than a dictatorship reserves the right to do this to its political opponents.

Third party candidates face other obstacles such as federal campaign finance laws and rules that prevent third party candidates from entering presidential debates. Especially evident in recent times are how third parties face an utter lack of mainstream media attention. If third party candidates do gain the  attention of a mainstream media correspondent, they always face the same tired old questions: “Why are you running at all? Aren’t you taking votes from the Democrat/Republican candidate?” Seldom are they asked about their campaign platforminformation voters really want to know. In no other political systemespecially not a parliamentary oneare candidates of any party ever asked these insulting questions.

Political analyst and comedian Bill Maher expresses disbelief that Americans would willingly accept only two choices for president: “It’s silly that a country that prides itself on choice allows only two.”

Another phenomenon is the immediate effort the major parties make after the primaries to corral third party supporters and splinter groups and bring them into their own camp. This was seen most recently in the pathetic attempts made by the Democratic Party to round up Bernie Sanders’ supporters following Clinton’s nomination in 2016 after the rigged primaries.

For some reason—possibly related to their fabled "big tent" approach—Democrats seem to think they’re entitled to all votes cast by voters left of center. Progressive voters don't necessarily agree with this assessment. They wish to support true progressive candidates, and dream of a party that meets with their expectations, not a weak approximation of them.

It can be done.

It’s when the two major parties fail to take into account the general mood of the

population that third parties really begin to come into their own. Theodore Roosevelt is the most well-known third party candidate in American history as the leader of the Progressive Party or "Bull Moose Party." He actually instituted progressive policy from the White House from 1901 to 1909. Roosevelt’s famous muckraking campaign led to significant improvements in trading standards and industry, improvements that the voting public had cried out for for years.

Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura served as the 38th governor of Minnesota from 1999 - 2003. His campaign urged voters not to “vote for politics as usual” and was unexpectedly successful, enabling him to defeat both the Democratic and Republican candidates by a narrow margin. After all, in a multi-party race for governor a third party candidate only needs  33% of the total votes cast plus one in order to win.

This is where a lot of Americans will scratch their heads. They don't realize that in all elections there have been (or are) 30 United States Senators, 112 Congress members, 28 state governors, and four major city mayors (plus many more smaller city mayors and other state and local office holders) who were not (or are not) affiliated with either major party. Hundreds of third party officeholders exist at every level, including those from the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Socialist Alternative, among others.

We are witnessing a steady turning away from the "Big Two" parties. The

recent presidential election showed independents far outnumber Democrat and Republican supporters combined. The words socialist and oligarch recently topped the number one searched-for word on the Merriam-Webster dictionary site. The two big parties believe it’s still business as usual and that they can continue to ignore the voters in the quest for ever more money from their corporate paymasters.

But change is coming. Perhaps it will be a tough road for third parties, but in the end, the system must bow to the inevitable. The Democratic and Republican parties will no longer dominate American politics. It can be done. It will be done.

Related articles:


Ranked Choice Voting--Democracy wins! https://youtu.be/eQpDRo-l4eU

BIO: Coast Watcher is patiently waiting for signs of a political revolution in the USA. As a Brit, he has experienced the benefits of a multi-party political system and sees it as a more democratic form of government. He says Americans shouldn't be afraid to vote third party. Show the corrupt establishment who is in charge! Power to the people!

The Green Party candidate running for Ohio governor discusses the vital function to democracy her party performs. (You can learn more about Constance Gadell-Newton by checking out our Constance for Ohio page link on the sidebar.)

In Bernie's own words--third parties are needed! Watch this video blast from Bernie Sander's past and see how it compares to what he said in a recent interview. You'll also enjoy insights from Nick Brana, leader of Movement for a People's Party, and Jimmy Dore on the topic of what a people's party would look like and what all it could do to bring about a future to believe in.
#StopKavanaugh ProtestsNationwide August 26
words and photos by C.A. Matthews

Here are some photos of the Toledo area protest against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Americans aren't exactly happy about what Kavanaugh stands for, and many are not afraid to speak out and demonstrate their displeasure.

When something or someone goes against your better judgment or your morals, do you speak out against it? Do you take action? Why or why not? What have you got to lose by remaining inactive? What have you got to gain by remaining silent?

I wrote about Judge Kavanaugh's nomination a couple of weeks ago on the blog. (Read what I said about him in A Matter of Control.)  I didn't pull any punches on what I thought about his backward stance on women's issues and where he stands on environmental concerns. (Clue: He can't wait to sell off our national parks to private corporations. Say goodbye to Yellowstone and Yosemite!)
If Americans don't speak out and we don't point out the inconsistencies of those in high public office, we'll get what we settle for. Let's not settle for an end to a woman's right to choose by allowing a Kavanaugh court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Let's not settle for further degradation of our environment by allowing the fossil fuel industry and others to frack and pollute at will on our public lands and parks.

Let's stand up for what we believe in. Call your senators today and tell them you don't support Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Future generations will thank you.

Here's how to call your senator and how to contact other elected officials:
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Power to the people and not the corporations!


From Lee Camp:
As you know, alternative and independent media is being crushed and suppressed at every turn. Well, I just found out that one of the most important investigative shows is ENDING due to U.S. sanctions. Abby Martin's show "Empire Files" has closed its doors because of complications from the insane U.S. sanctions on Venezuela.

So they need our help to continue. If they find enough funding, Abby Martin can continue her phenomenal reporting. You might know her from her previous show "Breaking Set." She has reported first hand from the rubble in Palestine, the jungles of Columbia, and the US-backed violent protests in Venezuela. Her show is honestly what it looks like to be a TRUE journalist - not a corporate stooge. She reports with heart and honesty - and what she says is NOT allowed on corporate airwaves.

And just as a side note - Redacted Tonight would not exist without Abby Martin. She believed in me and had me on her show as a guest many times before Redacted started. It was her show and her kindness that allowed me to create Redacted Tonight.

CLICK HERE to help via GoFundMe

CLICK HERE to help via Patreon

Corporate America will NEVER fund the truth. So it's up to you and me.

Please share if you think this is important.
Keep fighting.
- Lee
We made history together. On Sunday, August 26, we saw the largest grassroots demonstration ever against a U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

From Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, we turned out thousands of folks in coordination with more than 75 partners in all 50 states to fight back against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. There were marches, house parties, postcard writing gatherings, and rallies. People made their voices heard online, and many of you kept up the drumbeat by making calls to your senators.

It was an incredible day of resistance and as the images poured in from event after event from across the country, I couldn’t help but be struck by the certainty that we are on the side of the future, the side of the people, and the side of core American values.
This is one of the most important moments in our lifetimes. Our rights will be under an even greater attack than ever before if Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the Supreme Court. But as yesterday’s national day of action proved, we are ready to fight back and show our senators that we are paying attention. We are fired up — and we WILL be holding them accountable.

We have more work to do, and because of the momentum we saw yesterday, I know that we can win. I know we have what it takes to protect our democracy, our right to control our own bodies and futures, and those of generations to come — but only if we keep up the pressure and work together as powerfully as we did Sunday.

We will need your energy and activism to keep making it clear to our senators that the American people will not accept a Supreme Court nominee who would end Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and punish women.

We can stop Kavanaugh. We WILL. Together we are unstoppable and capable of anything.
In unity,

Ilyse Hogue
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
P.S. If you are looking for more ways to take action to stop Kavanaugh — check our our activist toolkit today!

Update from Public Citizen

A preliminary NAFTA renegotiation deal between the United States and Mexico has just been announced.

We know progress was made between the U.S. and Mexico on some key changes we have demanded for decades.

But we also know that the enforceability of the new labor standards to which the countries agreed is still lacking, which is a serious problem that needs to be resolved.

Mainly though, we do not have enough detailed information to determine if this initial U.S.-Mexico deal can be the basis for the real NAFTA replacement we’ve been demanding that could stop NAFTA’s serious, ongoing damage.

Plus, a lot of critical issues are still in play.

Canada has not participated in negotiations since May, so it’s unclear where it stands on the terms agreed to by Mexico and the United States.

Sign the petition to Congress demanding a NAFTA replacement that puts people and the planet before corporate greed.

Add your name now.

As we’ve made clear since Day One, an acceptable deal must remove NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives.

More American jobs continue to be outsourced to Mexico every week, and already almost one million American jobs are certified by the government as lost to NAFTA (and that’s even an undercount).

A NAFTA replacement must remove corporations’ Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) powers to attack our environmental and health laws before tribunals of three corporate lawyers and obtain unlimited sums of taxpayer awards.

And it must add strong labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement to raise wages. Otherwise, U.S. corporations will keep moving jobs to Mexico to pay workers a pittance, dump toxins and import products back for sale here.

From what we have seen up to this point, it is clear that the administration has made some progress, yet there is more that must be done.

Tell Congress to demand that NAFTA negotiators keep working to get a deal worth supporting.

Sign the petition.

The initial deal that has been agreed to by the U.S. and Mexico is supposed to serve as a guide for when Canada rejoins the talks and negotiators try to hammer out details for a final deal in the coming days.

Any new deal must end NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives and ISDS tribunals where corporations can attack our laws and add strong environmental and labor terms with swift and certain enforcement to raise wages.

No agreement should be signed or vote held until these standards are met.

So it’s especially crucial that Congress hears our demands.

Take action now.

Keep fighting,

Melanie Foley
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

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