Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Way of Life/The Way of Death

Editor's note: This is a British board. Whitechapel is the cheapest property.
The Way of Life/The Way of Death
by Coast Watcher

It’s pretty much evident that capitalism is destroying our world. This parasitical philosophy treats everything as a commodity to be exploited for the maximum amount of money possible. People—ordinary human beings—are an endless source of wealth. We are lied to, coerced, bribed, blackmailed and outright threatened to make us continue working for the System. No matter where we turn in life, a capitalist is there, ready and willing to screw us over.

Big Business owns governments. The United States government, founded on such principles as liberty and justice for all is a wholly-owned concern of capitalism, but this should not come as too much of a surprise when you consider the Founding Fathers were all rich white guysin other words, the very stuff of capitalism. Many of them owned slaves. After the successful revolution against British rule it took decades and a bloody war to abolish slavery, yet even that abolition didn’t stick.  

Although slavery and involuntary servitude were outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, an exception was made as a punishment for crime. Capitalists seized upon this exception and set up for-profit prisons in which those incarcerated are forced to work for Big Business. To ensure a ready supply of labor, the capitalists persuaded lawmakers to introduce the "three strikes and you’re out" laws for petty infringements, such as possession of marijuana. It’s a matter of record that African-Americans are the section of society most afflicted with these laws and the ones least likely to afford a competent legal counsel.

In California, volunteer convict firefighters are instrumental in fighting the terrible wildfires afflicting the state. They’ve helped save countless lives and property—including homes belonging to the rich—yet once they leave prison they are not allowed to parlay their hard-won experience into a permanent firefighting job. How is it just that a person who risked his or her life to help others is not allowed to benefit from it? What is even more infuriating is the fact that most of the recent wildfires were caused by PC&G electric company’s lack of maintenance on their power lines. Maintenance is given zero priority because it gets in the way of yet greater profitsat the cost of serious damage to the environment.

Of course, the sale and purchase of people is still illegal—just—but the capitalists have found a way to circumvent such things. Take the trade in children forcibly separated from parents who entered the US, either illegally or in search of asylum. (No, Mr. Trump, under the UN charter which the United States signed, seeking asylum is not illegal). Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has shares in companies that trade in adoptions, and a ready supply of children is essential to her healthy profit margin. Those kids, over ten thousand of themand mostly of Hispanic ethnicity, will likely go to affluent white people to be brought up as white, losing their heritage along with their true parents. And some of those poor children end up in the hands of pedophiles, adding sexual abuse to their woes."
The destruction of the environment in pursuit of profit is a major goal of Big Business. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) pour hundreds of thousands of tons of animal effluent into water courses each and every day all year round. Agribusinesses spray pesticides,herbicides, and fertilizers onfields in similar amounts, the run-off from which also finds its way into water courses. The net result of this is a massive increase in algae blooms as the cyanobacteria present feeds on the nitrogen in fertilizer and effluent. 

Cyanobacteria excretes toxins into water and the air. It has been linked to a variety of medical conditions including ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s Disease, and has killed animals that come into contact with it. The gene that allows genetically altered "Roundup Ready" plants to tolerate the carcinogenic herbicide was extracted from cyanobacteria.

Big Business knows that the public would close down CAFOs in a heartbeat for this, let alone the horrible mistreatment of animals that occurs in such places. To protect its vast profits the companies that own and run CAFOs succeeded in getting a law pass that forbids the public from taking photographs of their operations. They also succeeded in persuading a number of state to exempt CAFOs from most regulations regarding animal welfare.

Nuclear power plants in North America are aging and increasingly dangerous. Three Mile Island is the most notorious example, but there have been other incidents involving pressurized water reactors that the public was not made aware of. The Davis-Besse plant, located between Toledo and Cleveland, is a decrepit facility, yet First Energy, the owner, has rammed a bill through the Ohio state house giving them a heavy subsidy for keepingthe plant open. This in spite of a near meltdown in 2006 which only came to light in 2011. A mere sixteenth of an inch of metal—that’s the width of a slice of processed cheese—stood between the nuclear core and the total devastation of the western Lake Erie basin. 

If you think the public will be warned if such a meltdown should ever happen, think again. The power industry decided long ago it wouldn’t be feasible to evacuate major cities, so they won’t bother. Oh, and you can’t sue them if you are displaced by a nuclear incident. Yep, Big Business ensured that law got passed long ago.

We can also look at the way oil pipelines are forced through rural areas of America in spite of vehement opposition from residents, usually Native Americans. Back in the 1930s Big Oil got the government to give them the right to claim eminent domain when building pipelines.  

Recently it got the government to rate such pipelines as "infrastructure," which means anyone protesting or damaging them are liable for trial under terrorism charges. If convicted it would mean several years to life imprisonment. People have gone to jail for obstructing pipelines crossing their own land. Big Oil gets around local objections by promising jobs, without mentioning that the jobs involved amount to local security and minor construction. The big ticket jobs like engineering and specialist construction come from out of state. Numerous cases of murder and rape have been leveled at construction workers while oil pipelines are being built, but few convictions come from them.

As an aside it’s interesting to note that when a proposed pipeline was scheduled to pass through a large country estate belonging to a billionaire in Pennsylvania, the proposal was dropped when said billionaire threatened a lawsuit against the oil company. The same thing happened when a fracking operation was to be set up next to a stud farm owned by another billionaire. The proposal was dropped like a hot potato the moment he threatened to sue.

The way of life will be to curb the activities of Big Business, forcing them to clean up their mess and enforce the laws and regulations preventing them from polluting our planet ever again. The way of death will be to allow these rich individuals and their corporations to continue as they’re done for far too long. 

Which is it to be? It’s past time we decided once and for all.

BIO: Coast Watcher is keeping score. The crimes of the capitalists will not be forgotten--or ignored much longer. The people are awake and watching. Now is the winter of our discontent--and our political revolution!

Related articles:

Top 26 Billionaires Worth $1.4 Trillion--As Much As 3.8 Billion Other People

Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid

In a Step Towards Justice, US Senate Passes Bill with Funds for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 

US Annually Uses 388 Million Pounds of Potentially Fatal Pesticides Banned in EU, China and Brazil

Over 10,000 Migrant Children Are In US Government Custody

Climate Hawks Vote

Communities of color on the frontlines of the climate crisis have been battling environmental injustice for decades. Landfills, dirty industrial plants, and warehouse / truck depots all are located, by design, in lower income, black and brown communities.

That means the people who live, work, and raise their kids in these areas face greater health risks from pollution. It means their kids cannot comfortably play outside without breathing dirty air or drink water from their tap. It means that these frontline communities will continue to bear the brunt of the climate crisis as politicians kick the can further and further down the road. Meanwhile, the rest of society lives a comfortable distance from the consequences.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) have drafted the Climate Equity Act, a legislative proposal to achieve the key principle of justice for frontline communities. This legislation focuses on communities most affected by the crisis and the transition to renewable energy. It will require environmental and climate-related legislation receive an equity score that will transparently estimate the impact on frontline communities, require environmental and climate-related rules and regulations have significant impact on frontline communities, and ensure that representatives of frontline communities are at the table during the review of rules and regulations of a newly established Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability.

If brought into fruition, the Climate Equity Act will help rebuild communities affected by environmental injustice, ensuring they receive adequate attention from Congress looking forward.

Join our national grassroots network mobilizing for climate equity.

Your fellow climate hawk,
RL Miller


“Harris and Ocasio-Cortez Announce Landmark Legislation to Ensure Green New Deal Lifts Up Every Community,” Office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

From Roots Action:

Julian Assange is being held in prison in the United Kingdom, convicted of and charged with no crime there. He is in danger of being extradited to the United States to be prosecuted for publishing accurate information in the public interest. This is a threat to journalism and to democracy, not just to WikiLeaks and Assange.

Click here to sign a petition to the government of the United Kingdom.

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Click here to sign the following petition.

To the Government of the United Kingdom:

We the undersigned respectfully call on the appropriate authorities of the United Kingdom to immediately release Julian Assange, citizen of Australia, from Belmarsh prison where he is being unjustly and cruelly incarcerated.

Acting as a publisher through WikiLeaks, Mr. Assange has done the world a service in documenting the war crimes and other abuses of the United States and other governments, organizations, and corporations.

He is not charged with any crime or even misdemeanor in the United Kingdom, and has fully served his sentence for his single offense: jumping bail to avoid extradition to the United States via Sweden. He was not and is not charged with any crime in Sweden.

The sole charges against Mr. Assange originate in the United States, where he is charged with the publication of accurate information provided by informed sources, as well as with encouraging a source, and protecting a source. These are regular and necessary practices of journalism in a free and democratic society. The prosecution of a publisher for publishing accurate information that is clearly in the public interest is a threat to journalism and to democracy.

The "espionage" prosecution by the United States of a non-U.S. citizen who has not been in and is not in the United States would be an additional dangerous precedent to set.

It is quite clear that in its current treatment of Julian Assange, the United Kingdom is debasing itself as a mere instrument of political repression exercised by the United States. The current imprisonment of Mr. Assange is a blot on the United Kingdom’s judicial system, a disgrace to British decency.

There is every reason to fear an unfair trial, or cruel imprisonment without trial, in the United States. We appeal to your sense of justice to uphold the best traditions of British democracy and respect for human rights by immediately freeing, rather than extraditing, Julian Assange.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

From Progress America:

Tell Congress:
"We, the undersigned, call on Congress to support legislation that would end surprise medical bills and hold down health care costs overall. We shouldn’t be left to foot the bill when health care industries disagree."

Nichole Briggs woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pain and went to the local hospital for an emergency appendectomy. She double-checked that the hospital was covered by her insurance, yet she still received a bill for nearly $5,000 because the surgeon within the hospital was outside her network. She refused to pay the unfair bill. A credit agency then took her to court and put a lien on her home, all for a bill she shouldn’t owe in the first place.

This should not be the status quo, but one in five emergency department visits result in a surprise medical bill. These bills occur when a person is charged for care they receive from a health care provider or facility that is outside of their health plan’s network, even though they didn’t choose to go out of network to begin with.


Progress America
Email from Brand New Congress

We have been closely monitoring recent developments in Bolivia as President-Elect Evo Morales was forced to resign yesterday at the hand of the Bolivian military. Despite the tepid response from major American media outlets, let us be clear that this is a coup.

Bolivia has been rocked by weeks of protests challenging the validity of the October 20th election results in which Morales, the popular first president from Bolivia’s indigenous population, was elected to a third term. 

Morales, who has served for 14 years, agreed to an audit of the results to be conducted by the Organization of American States (OAS). His right-wing challenger, Carlos Mesa, did not agree to any such audit.

It’s important to know that the OAS has a record of overturning elections in left-leaning countries while turning a blind eye to emerging right-wing regimes backed by U.S. foreign policy and American corporate interests.

The United States has backed 12 coups throughout Latin America. It is clear that these governments are targets because they are considered hostile to U.S. capital and strategic interests, not because they are undemocratic.

The OAS follows a specific script of contesting the legitimacy of the elections, vowing to restore democracy with the new hand-picked leader, and downplaying U.S. involvement which translates to funding and arming the opposition, waging an economic war, and of course, blaming the target for civil unrest, corruption, and authoritarianism.

But if the OAS were concerned with democratic elections, where were they when loyalists of Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, conspired to lock up his rival, Lula da Silva, to clear Bolsonaro’s path to the presidency? And why, following a contentious election in Venezuela, did the OAS align with Tri, and rush to recognize Juan Guaidó as the rightful president over Maduro? To this day, the OAS continues their effort to legitimize Guaidó, a man who is known to be friendly to U.S. oil interests. 

If the OAS were concerned with recognizing the will of the people, why didn’t they demand a proper audit of those election results? Or call for a new election with independent international oversight?

Brand New Congress believes unequivocally in the right to self-determination in governance. It is a cornerstone of our 21st Century Bill of Rights.

Our founders believed that government must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. That is a human right, and these principles must be protected even when the will of the people runs counter to U.S. business interests.

No one -- not the OAS, not the United States government, not multinational corporations looking to exploit natural resources -- no one but the people of a nation has the right to dictate who will govern that nation.

We must stand in solidarity with the people of Bolivia and support a truly independent audit of the election results to ease political tensions in their deeply-divided country.

In solidarity,
Roza Calderon
Brand New Congress

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