Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tune In, Shutdown, Sell Out



Tune In, Shutdown, Sell Out
by Coast Watcher  


It was a tumultuous start to the year 2019. The Petulant President’s government shutdown broke all records for duration and hardships caused. Trump demands government funding for his border wall. He held the entire country hostage for 35 days. At the end of it he walked away with nothing.

This  administration had two basic reactions to the shutdown. They either showed callous disregard for suffering Americans, or plain ignorance as to the damage they were causing the country and its reputation abroad. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said publicly he didn’t understand why some Federal workers had to resort to using food banks and suggested they take out bank loans to tide them over. Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump said the shutdown was causing “a little bit of pain,” but that the country would “thank them (Federal workers) for their sacrifices.” 

Both reactions from those close to this president show how dangerously out of touch he and they are. Furloughed workers were not on vacation. Missing their second monthly paycheck meant they weren’t able to afford food, or life-saving medication or, especially in the northern states, to be able to heat their homes in the middle of a bitterly-cold winter. Certain Federal workers were expected to work without pay, something which was made illegal by Lincoln’s government passing the 13th Amendment in 1863. To add insult to injury, some GOP Senators even questioned whether Federal workers should receive back-pay once the shutdown ended. In any case, it’s still expected to take several days before that back-pay is issued.

The knock-on effects of the shutdown extends to the communities in which the Federal workers live, because those workers could not spend money on goods and services in those communities. Beyond those on the Federal payroll, 42 million American families on food stamps and section eight housing allowance faced the terrifying prospects of hunger and homelessness. With the IRS shut down millions of Americans will suffer delays in getting vital tax rebates.  

Had the United States extended Medicare and Medicaid to cover all its citizens the effects of the shutdown would have been mitigated to some extent. Instead, healthcare in this country is in the hands of the insurance industry, a body devoted exclusively to making money. No doubt the loans business is also doing a roaring trade as people suddenly lacking their steady income turn in desperation to the loan sharks. 

Then the shutdown ended—at least for 21 days. A deal was reached on Friday January 25 to partially reopen government, and Congress is expected to endorse the measure quickly. Trump is still insistent on getting funding for his infamous wall project. He’s threatening to let government shut down again or to use Presidential emergency powers to bypass Congress altogether when the current deal ends on February 15. The projected cost of Trump’s Wall is around $5.7 billion. The cost of the shutdown exceeded that amount some days ago, something Trump hopes will bring the people of America around to his way of thinking by believing funding his wall would be cheaper than another shutdown.


In that hope, he has failed. The general mood across the country is that Trump is on entirely the wrong track. His actions have sapped the national economy. Recent polls show support for Trump’s actions among his notoriously fervent voter base has sharply declined.  


Liberals across the country are praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the skies for going eyeball to eyeball with Trump until he blinked. Perhaps she had a small part in it, in the role of an opportunist politician with a questionable track record for taking bribes, but the real heroes and heroines who ended the shutdown are the American workers.


On January 25, TSA workers walked out of several airports across the country, refusing to work without pay any longer. Trump’s praise for them as “fantastic people,” and “incredible patriots” fell upon deaf ears. Airline cabin staff unions threatened a general strike if the shutdown didn’t end. These actions closed airports and began to impact air travel across the world. It’s no coincidence that negotiations to end the shutdown came about within two hours of this happening. Perhaps also the sense that people deprived of the basic necessities of life such as food and housing might just take to the streets in a second American Revolution that would make the ongoing Yellow Vest movement in Europe look like a picnic.

It remains to be seen what will happen next. We vanished down the rabbit hole back in 2016 when Trump’s victory in the presidential election was announced. Trump’s threat to use presidential emergency powers to override democratic government may come true. Perhaps the Democrat dominated Congress and increasingly nervous GOP Senate will come to some kind of deal. Trump’s ego is such I doubt he’ll suffer his newly-imposed lame duck status for long.


In the meantime, while we were all distracted by Trump’s antics, funding for military activities abroad continued. The citizens of foreign countries died under American bombing and drone strikes. Protests against pipelines driving through Native American lands are ongoing. Venezuela continues to suffer United States' interdiction and interference in its internal affairs. Trump recognized right-wing leader Juan Guaido as "rightful" president of Venezuela, thus blatantly attempting to undermine legitimate President Nicol├ís Maduro Moros. It’s no coincidence that this gross interference in a sovereign country’s affairs is entirely down to the fact Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves.


And factories continue to close, workers are laid off in an economy depressed by Trump’s petulance. Ironically one of those factories, Werner Ladders of Louisville, Kentucky announced in August it plans to lay off 188 workers and close the plant by March 2019. Production will move to a new plant in Mexico. Now, what would be useful for climbing over a wall between the United States and Mexico...a ladder, do you think?

Related articles:



https://www.cnbc.com/government-shutdown/

https://www.nbcnews.com/holidayshutdown
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/54675-focus-noam-chomsky-greg-grandin-and-70-other-experts-sound-an-alarm-on-venezuela

BIO: Coast Watcher keeps watch and wonders what will bring about the political revolution in the USA. If not being paid for over a month and going without food stamps doesn't provoke a general strike (like the threatened strike by TSA and airline workers) then what will?



***

We won't be silent on things that matter--so don't let them shut us down!

The Revolution Continues has been targeted by anti-progressive trolls and hackers. It's difficult to fight against their blocks to prevent readers from sharing our web site link since these trolls/hackers have access to corporate cash. But you can help out by donating to keep the blog ad-free and functioning. The editor pays for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket, and she would like to be able to pay her contributors, so your generous monetary gifts are appreciated. 

Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $20--any amount you can give to keep this progressive site going. 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 

And thanks to a generous reader, we have a  domain name. Please share the link: http://therevolutioncontinues.com 
***
 
Cadbury Sources Its Milk from Inhumane Farms, Uses Dirty Palm Oil, and Exploits Its Workers. Demand That The Chocolate Company Clean Up Its Act Now!



Sign Now

 



Male calves shot through the head. Orangutans starving to death. Workers not paid enough to support their families. This is the price of Cadbury chocolate.
Cadbury still uses dirty palm oil in its products, despite the availability of ethically-produced palm oil. And because Cadbury and other ethically questionable corporations refuse to make the switch, massive deforestation is pushing orangutans to extinction.

Sign this petition to demand that Cadbury switch to using ethically-produced palm oil in its products. 

Cadbury has quietly abandoned its Fairtrade Certification. It decided that instead of trying to meet the strict criteria of the certification, it would make its own "certification." The big difference being that there is now no minimum requirement for how much Cadbury will pay farmers for their cocoa.

But Cadbury's exploitation doesn't stop there. The company also gets its milk from inhumane dairy farms that shoot male calves in the head. Males are not milk producers, so this is a common practice on many dairy farms. But Cadbury could easily find a farm that does not treat its cows so inhumanely.
Sign this petition to demand that Cadbury become a Fairtrade company once again, and improve its animal welfare standards.

Thank you,


Lacey K.
The Care2 Petitions Team


***

Tell Congress:

"Shut down Trump's children's prisons and then investigate what happened there."

After 35 days, Donald Trump has caved and agreed to re-open the federal government.

There’s still a crisis at the border--but it’s not the one he talked about in his speech in the White House rose garden. That’s because it’s a crisis that his administration created and perpetuates every day.

Donald Trump’s inhumane, dehumanizing immigration policy is still locking up thousands and thousands of children in prison camps.

Through all of the indictments, shutdowns, self-inflicted crises and general chaos of the Trump administration, it’s easy to lose sight of each crisis. But for these children, who eyewitnesses say are locked in cages, trapped beneath barbed wire, and under military-style guard day and night, were seeking asylum through legal channels. It’s sickening that this is being done in our name.

These camps must be shut down now, and then Congress must open an immediate investigation into any human rights abuses these children may have suffered.


The wall is not the answer. A humane immigration system is.

Thank you,

Mike Phelan
Progress America

*** 
 

 

Sign Up

 



Nearly one year ago, on February 14, 2018, 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and took the lives of 17 young men and women with an AR-15. In just the year since then, there have been over 300 mass shootings in the United States — and not one piece of common sense gun control legislation passed by Congress.

Gun violence in the U.S. is an epidemic, but our leaders have done nothing to help. As the brave Parkland survivors so succinctly and accurately put it: enough is enough.

That's why Care2 is launching a month-long campaign to fight for gun safety in America. You can join us by clicking this link now.

Last year was the deadliest year for gun violence in recent history. Despite this, our Republican-led Congress, whose pockets are padded by the NRA, refused to take action. But now, with Democrats in charge of the House, it's time for that to change.

What exactly do we have in mind? We'll be launching petitions for common sense gun reform, partnering with leading organizations fighting on-the-ground for change, tuning in with Facebook Live updates and interviews, and so much more. With the Democrats leading the House, we are in a prime position to make real change this year. But we are going to need your help.

Please join us in our fight to save American lives throughout the month of February. Click to sign up to help us end gun violence now.

Thank you,

Alex B.
The Care2 Petitions Team

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Taking On The Ten Year Challenge

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was extremely cold and snowy here, causing cancellation of many events, but the "fire" of the slain civil rights activist lives on! Let's follow in Dr. King's footsteps and tackle the challenges that lie ahead of us with the same passion and dedication he did. We're all in this together.

This week we take a look at the economic, ecological and social injustices that Dr. King fought over fifty years ago and that we're still fighting today. The more things change... Or do they?

Taking On The Ten Year Challenge
by C.A. Matthews 


I've never been much for following the crowd, but I do like challenges. So, when everyone on Facebook started posting a photo of herself from ten years ago alongside one from today, I ignored it.

Why? Well, to me it's not much of a challenge. I can't turn back time and magically become the person I was ten years ago, so why torture people who've become my friends recently with a photo of a person they could never hope to meet? They've got to put up with me the way I am today. I don't want them to regret not meeting me earlier--or worse, wishing they had and then walked away.


But when people began posting before-and-after pictures contrasting once verdant landscapes with their now-denuded appearance, I began to see the usefulness of the ten year challenge. It's good to compare an image of a pristine forest with the strip-mined mud pit it's become. It's a wake-up call that gets you thinking: How could it have come to this? The simplest answer is, of course: We're greedy, selfish human beings who don't care what we're doing to our fellow humans and Mother Earth as long as we get what we want out of it.


The same could be said of the before-and-after memes of American drug prices and the federal minimum wage. You're not imagining things--medicine costs have risen astronomically in the US while real wages have stagnated over the past decade. So, why have we let it come to this?  Are ordinary Americans "greedy" and "selfish" and don't care what they're doing to each other and our planet as long as they get what they want out of it? 


It could be argued that ordinary Americans are indeed all those negative things, but it could also be argued the current system of government that our society functions under encourages these types of destructive behaviors. Some would argue our system of government practically mandates these actions. Until we eliminate our governmental system or vastly modify it, it will continue to promote Earth's destruction in resource and land grabs and the twin travesties of price-gouging and labor-devaluing.



Perhaps it's time all Americans take on the ten year challenge, first in our local communities, then in our states, regions and then the nation as a whole. I feel we need to go back a few more decades and probe even deeper in our comparisons. What was life like for average people thirty years ago? Sixty years ago? One hundred? 

While there's no doubt we've all benefited from recent advances in science and technology, let's seriously consider this question: Have all Americans benefited equally from these advances? If they haven't, then ask yourself the following: Why are only a handful of Americans benefiting from these advances? Why do we allow only a handful to benefit from these advances when so many lives could be saved and the country as a whole could become healthier, happier and more prosperous if these advances were available to all, regardless of class, race, gender or income?

At the end of the day, there is really only one challenge, one question that needs answering: Why do we not simply show compassion to our fellow human beings and the world that shelters and nourishes all humankind?
 
If your answer to that question is, "Because you can't get rich that way," then you have demonstrated what the problem truly is and how to tackle it. 

I believe humanity's challenge for the next ten years is the dismantling of the destructive system of late-stage capitalism and the artificial economic system it creates that prohibits the equitable distribution of life-sustaining necessities such as food, clean water, clothing, shelter and medicine. 

Will the end of capitalism bring about the end of  this evil called "money" and put to death the class system that degrades most and elevates only a few based simply on their bank account balance? Will it create a Star Trek-like semi-utopian society where all people are valued and their physical needs met so they're able to develop fully into the human beings they want to become? I sincerely hope so. 

Until that day, keep challenging your thought processes--and others'--with intelligent comparisons of how our lives were then, how they are now, and what they could become. Think about positive ways to bring about those changes and how to meet the obstacles you'll encounter along the way. 

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope one day you'll join us, and the world will live as one. --John Lennon
 


Related articles--

The Earth's #10YearChallenge is Grim
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qvydvm/the-earths-10yearchallenge-is-grim-climate-change

250,000 Deaths a Year From Climate Change is a Conservative Estimate
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/54505-250000-deaths-a-year-from-climate-change-is-a-conservative-estimate-research-says 

Big Pharma Raises Prices on Hundreds of Drugs
https://thinkprogress.org/big-pharma-raises-prices-on-hundreds-of-drugs-dc66321ca9e1/ 

Students in MAGA Hats Surround and Harass Native American Veteran
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/54546-catholic-students-in-maga-hats-surround-harass-native-american-veteran 

MLK Warned Us of the Well-Intentioned Liberal
https://www.thenation.com/article/martin-luther-king-trump-wall-jim-crow/

***

It's time to face our challenges head on!

The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate in order to keep it ad-free. Almost four years without obnoxious pop-up ads (that many news sites have to cover costs) has been great, but the editor does have to pay for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket, and she would like to be able to pay her contributors someday. 


Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $20--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 

And thanks to a generous reader, we have a  domain name. Please share the link: http://therevolutioncontinues.com 


Power to the people--not the corporations!

***
From NRDC:

Twenty-eight days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, millions of Americans are struggling without a paycheck, and nine federal departments and agencies are mostly shuttered.

But that hasn’t stopped President Trump from bringing Interior Department employees back to work — without pay — to push ahead with plans for expanding oil and gas drilling along our coasts and on our public lands, including in the Arctic.

The Trump administration just released a draft Environmental Impact Statement that, if approved, would bring the administration and its fossil fuel allies one big step closer to tearing open the Arctic Refuge’s pristine, publicly-owned land for fossil fuel extraction.

But before they can do that, the administration must accept public comments on this assessment — so we need your help to mobilize a massive outcry today.

Show the Trump administration that Americans strongly oppose destroying the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Submit an official public comment now before the Feb. 11 deadline! >>

Often called “America’s Serengeti”, the Arctic Refuge in Alaska is the largest unspoiled wildlife refuge in America. It’s a haven for iconic wildlife like Porcupine caribou and imperiled polar bears, vital to the culture and survival of the region’s Gwich’in people, and ground zero for climate change.

Moving forward with these reckless plans in the middle of a government shutdown means that the future of this cherished refuge is being jeopardized in the dark, with little public oversight.

We can’t allow this administration to open the heart of our greatest wildland to destruction by the fossil fuel industry. If we don’t act now, lease sales for drilling in the Refuge could begin this year.

Act now: Submit a public comment telling the Trump administration you oppose any drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

NRDC is on the frontlines fighting to save the Arctic Refuge and so many more of our cherished public lands and waters from the Trump administration’s relentless attacks — in court, in Washington, and in communities like yours.

In fact, we're in federal court right now fighting to block Trump and his oil industry allies’ attempts to illegally authorize oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea, which sits right off the coast of the Arctic Refuge. An oil spill there could devastate the Refuge, blanketing its sensitive coastline with a deadly slick of toxic crude that would be functionally impossible to clean up.

And we’re keeping watch for an expected Trump administration announcement any day now about a potentially massive expansion of offshore drilling along nearly all of America’s coastlines, including along the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts.

Here’s the bottom line: The Arctic Refuge belongs to us — and this fight for our land requires a show of massive public resistance that the Trump administration can’t ignore.

Please send a message to save the Arctic Refuge today.

Thank you for standing with us at this critical time.

Sincerely,

Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

***
 
Don't Want to Live in Gilead? Tell the Virginia Legislature to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment Now!
 
Sign Now
 

Many people think women are already protected by the United States Constitution — after all, many other countries have constitutional protections for women — but the US does not!
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees women's rights, unlike laws which can expire or be changed. The ERA fell just three states short of ratification in 1982, which is why so many Americans think we already have it. We do not!
In March 2017, Nevada surprised the nation and was the first state in over 30 years to ratify the ERA. In May of 2018 Illinois followed suit. We need just one more state to make history. And that state could be Virginia.
The ratification resolution just passed in the Virginia Senate, but its fate in the House chamber remains unclear. Despite support for ratification on both sides of the aisle, House Speaker Kirk Cox is refusing to bring the ERA to the floor for a vote. So the constitutional rights of all American women are essentially riding on the whims of one man.
Thank you,
Lacey K.
The Care2 Petitions Team
 
P.S. Laws can be changed, and given who our President is right now, we need women's equality to be protected by the Constitution. Sign this petition to save us from a white bonnet existence.

***
From Friends of the Earth:

Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior is trying to gut a crucial protection for transparency in our government. It wants to make it even harder or impossible for people like you and me to gather information about troublesome land sales, backdoor drilling deals, and any other shady tactics between Big Oil, Big Ag, and corporate cronies in the Trump Administration.
The agency wants to make drastic and likely illegal changes to the rules for requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. This is a blatant rejection of transparency and democracy. It begs the question -- what could they be hiding?
So we need you to raise your voice and protect the Freedom of Information Act. Can we count on your support? 
The proposed changes would make requesting information from DOI much more difficult, and in many cases impossible. In one fell swoop, DOI is aiming to give itself unilateral decision-making power about what information is made public. This would be a huge blow to the power of grassroots movements and everyday citizens to hold Trump’s political appointees accountable for their cozy relationship with Big Oil.   
In short, this is a likely illegal proposal that would make it easier for the Trump Administration to hide its corruption and conflicts of interest.
The good news is, DOI is required to seek public input into the changes. So we need the help of progressives like you to stop them. 
Government transparency is a bedrock of democracy. But time and again, Trump’s Administration has proven it doesn't care about the rights of everyday citizens like you and me -- it only cares about furthering the interests of big corporations. 
The Freedom of Information Act has been a key tool for holding the government accountable. It helped expose how the mining industry influenced Ryan Zinke’s conversations about handing over parts of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante to Big Oil. 
Now, this crucial tool against government corruption is in danger. If the new FOIA regulations are implemented, the ability to protect our public lands and waters from Big Oil's drilling, Big Ag, and further environmental destruction will be threatened. But with your help, we can stop this abysmal misuse of power. Will you show the corrupt Trump Administration that you will not stand for the degradation of democratic rights and government transparency? 
Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuels program manager,
Friends of the Earth