Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The True Enemy

Sometimes it's someone you least suspect--the person or group of people who betray your trust and take advantage of you. This week we look at who our "enemies" are. First up, we have photos from the Anti-House Bill 6 protest in Toledo. Ohio HB 6 is a taxpayers' bailout of First Energy's two aging nuclear power plants and two climate-changing coal plants--one of which is located in the neighboring state of  Indiana, no less. First Energy is definitely not our friend! Secondly, we have the latest in the fight to protect Lake Erie against an enemy that one would think would be on the public's side--the Ohio state legislature. And last of all, we're treated to an interview discussing who are the true enemies of the political revolution. Could it be someone you know?


Press Release: Multi-Prong Attack by State of Ohio Against Rights of Nature

Attorney General files complaint against the Lake Erie Bill of Rights protecting polluters

COLUMBUS, OH: On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a legal complaint to have the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) overturned.

The AG’s filing comes less than two weeks after the Ohio House of Representatives adopted its 2020-2021 budget with provisions that prohibit anyone, including local governments, from enforcing recognized legal rights for ecosystems. Friday’s court filing is the state’s intervention in a lawsuit filed by the agribusiness industry against LEBOR, Drewes Farm Partnership v. City of Toledo. The Ohio Farm Bureau is backing the lawsuit.

In Friday’s complaint, the State of Ohio “requests the court issue a permanent injunction” to stop the City of Toledo, any person, or “fictitious entity…from enforcing any provisions of [the] Charter Amendment.”

In defending its title as “proprietor in trust to the waters of Lake Erie,” the state argues LEBOR must be invalidated because it “deprives” fictitious corporate “persons” of the “privilege of engaging in lawful operations.” This includes, according to the state, “sludge management permits and permits for the discharge of sewage, industrial waste, or other wastes.” The state argues that denying industries’ permission to pollute, which the state controls, would be a violation of the constitutional rights of fictitious corporate “persons” under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. As such, the state claims it is beyond the power of local voters to protect their own rights or the lake.

“The lake is dying and the AG says only the state of Ohio has the power to protect it. But it’s not. A generation has passed during which the Ohio legislature and governors have stood by enabling a corrupt system of permitting and willfully ignoring scientific data that has caused water quality and the Lake’s condition to worsen to crisis levels. The people have had enough. The state claims to be the sole trustee of Lake Erie, but they have forfeited that trust by their inaction. The lake and the people have suffered direct harm due to the state’s failure to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people and the lake. Our Constitution states that the people can step in when their government fails them,” said Tish O’Dell, CELDF Ohio Organizer.

Markie Miller of Toledoans for Safe Water added, “Because of the state’s failure to act on behalf of the people and Lake Erie, we have suffered without water and we fear the next contamination or algae bloom. We know Lake Erie is dying, so this winter, WE did what the state would not – we took action. We asserted our inalienable democratic right to pass a law that will actually protect the Lake and our community. Now, ‘our’ government claims the people’s law is invalid and our judiciary is keeping us out of the judicial process completely. We will not allow this government to sabotage our basic rights, the rights of the Lake, and – most importantly – the future of our children.” 

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is representing Toledoans as they fight to defend their Lake Erie Bill of Rights. 

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund 
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature. 

The True Enemy
By Redd Phlagg
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice ...  Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote about "the white moderate" being the true enemy of the Civil Rights Movement really hit home the other day.  My thoughts ran along these lines: What happens if a small minority of us agitate and demonstrate for a people-powered, grassroots-driven society based on equality and justice for all, and we actually see signs that we're getting somewhere and then… 

Then nothing happens when we reach out to that complacent white moderate class? Nada. Crickets. Worse yet, this complacent white moderate class undermines all of our hard effort by insinuating that it's not all that bad being the mindless servants of the oligarchs. They shame and ridicule the agitators into silence and effectively shut down the revolution before it can truly begin. And then they go and have brunch somewhere, followed by getting their nails done or going to the theater to see a pricey show.

It begs the question what is the purpose of people like you and me working toward a political revolution if a large majority of Americans desire the enslaved position they currently occupy?

It's a scary question that potentially has a very scary--and highly unsatisfactory-- answer.
But I decided to get down to the bottom of this complacent white-moderate conundrum. I decided to gain some insights from a fellow revolutionary and compare and contrast my own take on the situation with hers. Through the magic of the internet, I had in-depth conversation with my editor about her experiences with these white-moderate non-malcontents.

Redd Phlagg: Thanks for letting me interview you on this subject.

C.A. Matthews: You're welcome. I'm glad to be of service to anyone willing to fill in the white space at the blog.

Redd: Even if you don't agree with him all the time?

C.A.: Especially when I don't agree with you! That's the intent of The Revolution Continues--to provoke discussion and debate and promote deep thinking. You're definitely a deep thinker, Redd. We need more people like you in the world.

Redd: Thanks. Let's get down to the question that's been bugging me for some time. Guillotine or gulag for these one-percent wannabes?

C.A.: You mean do we totally write off the white moderates, or the white neo-liberal middle class as I see them, as useless--or worst than useless, as a hindrance to the revolution to change our society into an egalitarian socialist utopia--or do we attempt some kind of rehab and see if it sticks. It's a tough question and requires a tough answer: In my opinion, it depends on the individual and their actions whether we give up on them or not.

Redd: Okay, I see where you're coming from, but you do admit to being a church-going type. And you say your dad was a Southern minister who claimed to have met Dr. King in person and was influenced by King's non-violent philosophy. But you've said you're also from a multi-racial family and that you personally haven't lived much of a "middle class" life as an adult. How can you give these idiots that want to thwart the happiness of the 99%--while ironically being part of the 99% themselves--a break? They haven't done you many favors.

C.A.:  True. I find many white neo-liberals to be extremely irritating, phony, hypocritical and patronizing to the extreme.  I have a permanent perforation in my tongue from biting it hard at times so I don't shout out, "What the hell do you know what it feels to be homeless or hungry?" when they go on about all the good works they've done in the "poor community." 

Here they are commuting from their beautiful McMansions in their all-white, upper-middle class subdivision or suburb where they have a choice of restaurants and supermarkets and they tell me they know what it's like.  I've experienced homelessness and hunger first hand. These pampered neo-libs have no clue what that sort of stress and degradation it does to a human being. If they did, they'd keep quiet and listen to those who have suffered from it.

The working poor is invisible to them. We're defectives who can't possibly understand anything about our own existence since we're not as white or as middle class as they are. You know, the more I think about it, the less inclined I am to give these heartless bullies any breaks.  Still, there might be some good in some of them that we can extract through example, like by demonstrating what it means to scrub toilets or pick produce for a living.

Redd: You mean, we place these one-percent wannabes into manual labor jobs?

C.A.:  If it could help them learn what humility and service really means, then yes. We'd be doing them a favor. They only come to their erroneous conclusions that they're better or smarter than others because they live in isolated, insulated "bubbles" or pockets of suburbia where they can only interact in any deep way with those of their own race and class. They think they understand what it means to be a person of color or a working poor family in America by what they've seen on television or read in textbooks. They might get their hands dirty from time to time dealing with working class populations, but they usually do so from a white-collar, managerial role. At night, they'll get in their car--not on a bus or other public transport, mind you--and drive home to their very nice house filled with nice furniture and adequate heat or air conditioning, where they get to eat decent food, enjoy decent entertainment and plan out their two week long paid vacations.

Redd: And they have access to decent health care and can afford their co-pays, too?

C.A.: Don't get me talking about the inequality of access to health care in the US! We'll be here all night.

Redd: You've experienced being denied medical care--even if at first glance you can pass for being a middle class person of non-color?

C.A.: More than once. And it is amazing when you check certain boxes on a new patient form how quickly you're pointed to the door--even if you have so-called "health insurance" through an employer. Your insurance doesn't pay enough for some doctors' offices. Once again, upper-middle class neo-liberal whites who have always had access to decent health care have no clue the horror you or your child feel while being sick and having no means to deal with the illness other than over home remedies. I'm sure they all think poor folks are just faking it so we don't have to flip hamburgers or clean out their pool or mow their lawn. They don't understand the lasting fear and psychological scars earned from being sick or in pain for a long period of time and having no means to address it. 
Redd: Their "bubble" protects them from the painful reality most human beings endure on a daily basis?

C.A.: Exactly. Until we can burst their bubbles once and for all, they'll probably never be on our side in the revolution. The white moderate bubble is a strongly-woven fiberglass ball that creates a false sense of security. It has been formed and perpetuated by our society's true rulers--the oligarchs--and not by the unwittingly dense white middle class members themselves.  The white moderates create a convenient buffer zone for the upper echelons. 

The white moderates have been played over the years and they don't realize it. They were created to come between the mega-wealthy one-percent and the dirtiest of the dirt poor. Keep the white middle class complacent, self-righteous and in love with their self-perceived worthiness and love of lording it over the working class, and you as an oligarch need never fear a political revolution.

Redd: Ingenious in its simplicity, isn't it?
C.A.: It is. So the route we must take to unravel this hideously simple plan also has to be simple by design. We simply have to keep waking these complacent types up and keep them awake to the true evilness of the oligarchy and how they've been used. We have to break the false illusion that somehow by virtue of being a middle class white that you eventually will gain access to the "club of the billionaires" and enter the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth. 

George Carlin said it best, "It's a big club, but you ain't in it." God probably doesn't want anything to do with you, either, if you treat people like dirt just to get ahead. Read Matthew 25: 31-46 and meditate on it, rich boys and girls.

Their "bubble" has to be shattered into a million sharp glass pieces and the shards have to cut deep into the hardened hearts of the complacent white moderates. Only then will they bleed like the rest of us in the working classes. Only then we will see each other as brothers and sisters, each worthy of decent food, shelter, healthcare access, education and opportunities to grow and contribute to society.

Redd:  I'm still leaning toward the guillotine, but it would be nice to see these indifferent white moderates bleed for a change. We'll have to keep them around for a while longer so they can experience that joy for themselves. Until then... we bite our tongues in half?

C.A.: Yeah, and we avoid the most obnoxious ones as much as possible to keep ourselves sane and whole. That's what the internet and blogs like this one are for. When our patience with a complacent type is stretched thin, we can always point them toward this blog and hope they read it and gain some insight on their own.  It's not the best method of instruction, but we have to consider our own health first and foremost.

Redd: Right--not all of us have access to decent health care, after all. Thanks for your insights. Power to the people!

C.A.: Right on, Redd!


From Friends of the Earth:
Our wildlife refuges should be a safe space for all wildlife, including bees. But Trump’s Administration is allowing bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides to be used in these refuges. 

This means plant and animal species that are supposed to be protected in refuges are at risk of being wiped out by toxic pesticides. 

As a leading cause of bee decline, neonics have no place in our environment, most certainly not in our refuges. The good news is that Rep. Nydia Velázquez has introduced a bill to ban neonics and make our refuges safe for bees and other pollinators. We need your help to build support for this bill!

Neonic pesticides are extremely toxic to bees and other pollinators. Over the last two decades neonic use has skyrocketed, while pollinator and honeybee populations have plummeted. A growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that pesticides like neonicotinoids are a leading contributor to pollinator declines. 

Our National Wildlife Refuges are meant to conserve wildlife species, especially those that are endangered or at risk of becoming endangered. The Obama Administration introduced a ban on neonics, but the Trump Administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service reversed this decision, putting our bees in grave danger. 

Bees and other pollinators are essential to our food systems and agriculture economy. Up to $577 billion of our annual global food production relies on the contributions of pollinators. We can’t let the Trump Administration’s efforts to prioritize the interests of the pesticide industry threaten our public lands and wildlife. With your help we can convince legislators across the country to stand up to the pesticide industry and ban these toxic pesticides on our refuges. But we need you to take action NOW!

The pesticide industry has successfully influenced policymakers in the Trump Administration. Pesticide corporations spend tens of millions of dollars lobbying to prevent any restrictions on their products. These efforts have succeeded in convincing policymakers to deregulate pesticide use. Now our pollinators and food system are in serious danger. 

Pollinators and other insects are dying at an alarming rate and overuse of neonics is a key driver. If we don’t take immediate action to protect critical pollinators like bees and other insects, scientists warn we could soon see a ‘complete collapse of nature’s ecosystems.” 

There is no doubt that pesticide companies are working hard persuading legislators to allow the continued use of these toxic chemicals. We can’t let the chemical industry harm our refuges, public lands and pollinators. The only way to protect our National Wildlife Refuges is with your support. If you take action today you can help ban neonic use in refuges.

Thank you,

Michael Jarosz,

Food and Agriculture Program,

Friends of the Earth


  1. Big Business blatantly paid for those GOP candidates' election funds. It's becoming so obvious the government of the United States is bought and sold from the lowest level to the Presidency. Now we read that certain states are trying to make it illegal to protest-a measure clearly against the 1st Amendment. When will people wake up to the damage this is all causing?

    1. Good question! Perhaps many won't wake up until they've lost all their rights. Or perhaps they won't even notice it once they have because they've been brainwashed into apathy. The "woke" need to keep each awake and continue to shake the lethargic into action. Our planet is depending on us to take action quickly before it's too late.


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