Tuesday, August 7, 2018

"We Are Not The Enemy..."

This week, we're committing an act of political revolution. We're telling you the truth. It's a heady concept for some, but stay with us. You might learn something useful. You might be inspired to do something to ensure that your own municipality's drinking water is clean and safe, too.

But first, there needs to be some clarification...

"We Are Not The Enemy Of The People" 
or Being a Journalist Is Not A Crime

words and protest photos 
by C. A. Matthews

Contrary to current popular belief, human beings who share information with others through the witnessing of events and reporting of facts are not criminals. No matter what Trump or his sycophants say, performing the functions of a journalist isn't a criminal offense.

Sure, some so-called journos aren't so great at their jobs. Many (if not all) of the highest paid broadcast news hosts on the mainstream networks act like blatant propagandists for the status quo. These propagandists can't seem to get enough of praising the establishment and passing on their version of events. If you watch a certain cable news network, you'll hear that climate change is a hoax in spite of the record heatwave this summer. If you watch another cable news network, you might come to believe we haven't been helping to bomb Yemen for several years since they rarely mention it. (Those millions of Yeminis dying of cholera and from the collateral damage of war are making it all up. It couldn't have started during the Obama administration, either. Oh, and "Russia!")

The vast majority of those who write news articles for print and produce programs for radio/TV/online are honorable. They're just doing their job. We  should cut them some slack. We should give them the respect they deserve since they're doing their best to protect our First Amendment right of free speech. After all, an informed electorate is a free and democratic electorate, right?

The sad thing is, in this day of multi-media conglomerates that own the vast majority of our newspapers, radio and television stations we find CEOs who won't even pay their workers a living wage. Case in point, the employees of the Toledo Blade haven't had a raise in sixteen years.
Sixteen years.  It's not like there's been zero inflation in over a decade and a half. It's not like the cost of housing and fuel haven't gone up. These guys deserve a raise--retroactively.

The Blade's owners, Block Communications--which also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (the paper that recently fired their editorial cartoonist for his anti-Trump cartooning)--are so cheap they can't even give cost of living increases to their employees. Instead, they're investing their hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly profits in hiring a union-busting law firm just to make life even rougher for their workers. 

(Very nice of the Block family to hire lawyers to scare their employees into submission. I guess that's why they don't even live in Toledo. They'd have to have their servants scrub the eggs and tomatoes off their mansion and yachts constantly. And all the toilet-papering and soaped windows? Don't get me started.)

When former press secretary Sean Spicer announced he was coming to Toledo to promote his newest piece of fiction (or is his book supposed to be factual?) the local union that represents the Blade's workers decided to use his visit as a way to draw attention to their plight. They protested in front of the main branch of the public library where Spicer was speaking. They chalked messages on the sidewalks to let him know the score. Spicer is a symbol of all that is wrong in our country with its horrible treatment of journalists. 

And get this: Kurt Franck, the Blade's top executive, actually sponsored Sean Spicer's visit to the Glass City. A newspaper exec sponsored the "Mr. Fake News" guy himself. What a great way to show how much you care about your employees, Kurt!

It's obvious the 1% don't care about the 99%. The Block family's and Mr. Franck's actions demonstrate their contempt for ordinary Americans. Truly, we are living in an age where civil discourse among the ever-widening chasm between the economic classes is not only improbable, it's seemingly impossible.

Although trying to survive on poverty wages (or none at all for yours truly) is bad, consider the tragic tale of journalist Manuel Duran Ortega. His story is worse. Manuel is the founder of Noticias, a Spanish-language publication in Memphis, Tennessee. He was one of several journalists covering an Occupy ICE protest, and yet he was the only journalist arrested for "disorderly conduct." He was even wearing his press badge at the time. The charges were  dropped by the police, but someone called ICE instead. Manuel, a legal resident, was sent to an ICE detention center far away from his friends and family. 

America has criminalized the profession of journalism, attacked journalists and locked them up without provocation. It has labeled them all as "fakes" and slighted its hardest working practitioners through unfair labor practices and union intimidation. Why does the current administration hold our First Amendment right to free speech in such contempt? Could it be those in charge realize the only way to completely subvert democratic ideals is by shutting down all avenues of free expression--and the first step is by criminalizing the free press?

Support your local journalists whenever you can. Tell them when they're doing a good job, and give them constructive criticism when they need to improve. Make sure they're safe and that they aren't going hungry. We need them now more than ever.  We need brave souls to share vital information with us--not the establishment's empty platitudes it wants to distract us with while it gets up to no good.

Who knows which profession the fascists will criminalize and lock up next--social workers? Public school teachers? Lawyers? Nurses? Scientists? Artists? I.T. wizards? Pastors and priests? Remember, the concentration camps of Nazi Germany were filled with ordinary people just like you and me. What makes anyone immune to illegal imprisonment at the whim of a dictator? Without a free press, how will you know if they're coming for you next?

Our good friend north of the border wonders, "Is the free press dead?"  https://youtu.be/OH_k9M7K6ds

Related articles on the press (and those who give us information):

Someone Is Going To Get Killed--How Trump's Political Climate Threaten Journalists

Arresting Assange will be dire for the mainstream media (although they won't report on him) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-30/refusing-defend-assange-mainstream-media-exposes-its-true-nature
History in the Making: The Lake Erie Bill of Rights

August 6, 2018, is a date for the history books. The first ever American "Rights of Nature" initiative was presented at One Government Center, Toledo, Ohio. The initiative is expected to be on the November city ballot as a charter amendment.

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) is a citizens' initiative to ensure the more than 11 million human beings who dwell along the shores of Lake Erie will have access to clean, safe drinking water. Under our current system of law, nature is regarded as property, and citizens have no legal standing in court to object to government issued permits and projects that jeopardize the public's health, safety or the quality and integrity of their water supply. LEBOR will change all that by giving the citizens the power to protect Lake Erie from environmental harms.

Toledoans for Safe Water, a grassroots organization, is a group of concerned citizens tired of waiting for government action to protect their drinking water from another toxic algal bloom. Toledoans will never forget the bloom that occurred in the western basin of Lake Erie in August 2014. It shut down all municipal water to a half-million Ohio and Michigan residents for four days. These activists vow it won't happen again.
Volunteers worked hard to gather 10K+ signatures for the LEBOR ballot measure. They gave a press conference before walking the petitions up to the Clerk of Council and then on to the Lucas County Board of Elections for the petition signatures verification process to begin. Their next plan of action includes convincing voters to support the initiative.

For more information and for ways you can help the Lake Erie Bill of Rights  come to pass, check out the Toledoans For Safe Water web site at www.LakeErieAction.org and join them on Facebook at Toledoans For Safe Water.

 Freedom Isn't "Free" -- Somebody's Got To Pay!
The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. We've gone three years without those obnoxious ads (that many news sites have to cover costs). It's been great, but the editor does have to pay for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket. She would like to be able to pay her contributors in the future.

Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $100--any amount you can share with us to keep this progressive site going without those awful ads is appreciated. Help us become a strong alternative voice protesting against the corrupt establishment and its paid-off corporate mouthpieces. Give to TRC today. Thank you.

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

Power to the people and not the corporations!


From Roots Action:

Manuel Duran Ortega―founder of Memphis Noticias, a Spanish-language publication in Memphis, Tennessee―was arrested in April for disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic while covering a local protest.

Duran Ortega was one of several journalists covering the protest, was wearing his press badge, and yet was the only journalist arrested.

Two days later, the Memphis Police Department dropped the charges against him. But instead of releasing Duran Ortega, Memphis officials turned him over to ICE. He was subsequently transferred to a detention center in Louisiana―separated from his family in Memphis.

Manuel Duran Ortega should never have been taken by ICE. click here to help us undo this outrage.

His attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center allege that Duran Ortega was targeted by local police in retaliation for his critical reporting. In a petition to the court, Duran’s attorneys state that:

“Detention of Mr. Duran Ortega is a direct result of Memphis law enforcement officers’ and ICE officers’ illegal and unconstitutional actions in targeting, arresting, detaining, and seeking to deport Mr. Duran Ortega. MPD [Memphis Police Department] unlawfully arrested Mr. Duran Ortega to silence and retaliate against him.”

An attack on journalists is an attack on our First Amendment rights! Sign the petition and demand the immediate release of Memphis journalist Manuel Duran Ortega.

After signing the petition, please share it with your friends.

-- The RootsAction.org Team

From Friends of the Earth:

Every day Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in office, he works to destroy our public lands and waters at the expense of our communities.

He proposed gutting Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. He wants to massively ramp up oil and gas drilling off our coasts. And he’s trying to slash protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
All this begs the question: What is Ryan Zinke getting out of destroying our last remaining wild places and the people who depend on them? 

There are 11 investigations into Zinke’s decision-making, misuse of funds, and potential corruption. We can’t continue to allow him to destroy our wild places and communities. We need Congress to kick him out of office before he can do any more harm!

It’s been reported that a foundation established by Zinke and chaired by his wife engaged in a real estate deal with the chairman of dirty energy giant Halliburton -- which is already benefitting from Zinke’s attacks on our public lands.

Zinke’s scandals are remarkably similar to those of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He used taxpayer money to take unnecessary charter flights. He potentially violated the Hatch Act by mixing work and campaign travel. And now, his wife’s foundation is involved in shady dealings with oil executives.

Thanks to Friends of the Earth members like you who pushed your Representatives to pay attention to Pruitt’s scandals, he was forced to step down just a few weeks ago. This shows that when we pressure Congress to hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, we can win.

Now, we need to turn up the heat on Zinke. Our wild places, wildlife, and communities across the country are at stake. Zinke is helping his friends in the oil industry by gutting our bedrock protections for healthy communities and public lands. It’s time to hold him accountable.

Some Members of Congress are already working to hold Zinke accountable. Rep. Grijalva introduced an amendment to increase the Inspector General’s budget -- allowing for the hiring of critical staff, but GOP leaders blocked this effort. 

But this isn’t enough. Even many Democrats haven’t made public statements to hold Zinke accountable.

Every day that Congress doesn’t act, Zinke is free to continue destroying our wild places for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. And it’s not just our environment that pays the price. It’s communities like the Alaska Gwich’in, who rely on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its porcupine caribou herd. It’s the people who live in coastal communities that could be devastated by increased drilling. And it’s everyone who could soon live somewhere where they’ll see, hear and smell coal mines and oil wells every day.

It’s time for Congress to step up. They pushed for Pruitt to be fired, and it worked. Now, we need them to do the same with Zinke.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to stop Zinke from destroying our wild places to benefit Big Oil!

Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuels program manager,
Friends of the Earth

From Care2 Petitions:

Immigrant Parents Are Being Charged Up to $8/Minute to Call the Children They're Separated From


Over and over again we've seen the Trump administration commit horrific, inhumane acts against refugee children. They've ripped children from their parents, put them in cages, subjected them to horrifying conditions. Now, to add an extra layer of cruelty, the government is charging parents money just to speak to the children they've been separated from. Right now the government is charging immigrant parents as much as $8 per minute to call their children.

These parents, who have often fled horrific conditions in an attempt to find safety for their families, aren't going to have that kind of money easily available.

Per ICE's own rules, detainees should have the right to contact immediate family members via phone for free, but media outlets have discovered that immigrants are being charged to make such calls anyway.

The Texas Tribune has accounts from a Guatemalan mom who could only call her three children after saving up enough money to place the call, as well as a father who was denied a call to his son because he didn't have sufficient funds in his account.

These families should be speedily reunited, and in the meantime, there's no reason to compound the cruelty. Please, sign this petition demanding ICE ensure all phone calls between separated parents and children be free of charge.
Thank you,
Ellen B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. There have been small victories over the course of this despicable, self-made humanitarian crisis, but we have to keep the pressure on Trump and his cronies. Please sign the petition today and help ensure parents are able to speak to their children as we continue to put the pressure on for full reunification of families.

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