Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Trump Baby Blimp Rules!

The Trump Baby Blimp Rules! 

Over a quarter-million protesters marched in London alone to voice their displeasure in Donald Trump's trip to the UK.  They protested his insulting of their queen, their government and their common sense through the use of humor in the form of a giant angry-baby Trump blimp--complete with a cell phone to tweet from in his tiny hand. Pure genius, don't you think?

Enjoy some aerial footage and great memes from a German comedy show as you read this week's article on the importance of political humor. Remember, without it there is no freedom of speech. 

Making fun of those in authority is our duty and our right. So get out there and make fun of a tyrant today!

Alas, Poor Yorick! The Passing of the Court Jester?

by Coast Watcher

The recent firing of Rob Rogers, former editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, rang alarm bells in some quarters. The majority of Americans who heard the news couldn’t understand why a cartoonist should be fired for, well, simply doing his job. Nick Anderson, a Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist, was laid off from the Houston Chronicle last year. They are but two political cartoonists of hundreds laid off by various publications across the United States within the last thirty years. A once thriving pool of over one hundred and eighty editorial cartoonists has dwindled to a few dozen, all of whom are looking nervously over their shoulders lest they be next for the chop.

What’s going on?

It’s an old adage that the best way to destroy tyranny is to laugh at it. Making a tyrant seem ridiculous in any way, shape or form diminishes him in the eyes of the general population and so weakens his power. A shining example from history is editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is credited with bringing down Boss Tweed’s corrupt New York Tammany Hall political machine in the late nineteenth century. (Tammany Hall became a byword for political corruption on an epic scale, a tradition the Democratic Party seems determined to uphold.)

The other function of the jester, or fool, comes through literature where he or she is seen as the symbol of common sense and honesty. The court jester is a character used for insight and advice, a person able to take advantage of his ancient right to mock and speak freely in order to highlight folly on the part of the tyrant and generally give sage advice. The jester can do this where a person of more exalted birth would find themselves in the tyrant’s potentially lethal disfavor.

Shakespearean fools are usually clever peasants or commoners that use their wits to outdo people of higher social standing. Even autocratic rulers had to tolerate their jests and japes or be seen as humorless and intolerant. In this day and age of faceless corporate power, the jester has a more difficult life. 

The modern world isn’t kind to the jester’s artistic descendant. Witness the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris in regard to the controversial Mohamed cartoon in a Danish newspaper. Perhaps nowadays the establishment doesn’t care for the idea of being the butt of righteous satire or humor. Since the majority of cartoonists are employed by newspapers owned by a tiny handful of plutocrats, they become a juicy target for  tyrants wishing to suppress dissent. A word in the right ear will see a cartoonist being told the clear his or her desk the next day.
Performance jesters are under attack nowadays as well. One only has to look at comedian Lee Camp's You Tube videos to see how the establishment is attempting to marginalize his progressive insights and his sharing of vital information that is seldom disseminated on mainstream media outlets. The establishment feels so threatened by Lee's humor (as well as others, such as Jimmy Dore's) that they regularly block sharing of his videos and even made You Tube post a nonsensical "warning" under them to scare viewers off. If anything, their attempts have only grown Lee's audience and solidified his followers in their support for him and his message. The joke's on the establishment!

When the establishment fights back and uses dirty tactics, it doesn’t mean we can’t employ humor against the establishment and those who embody it. The American president, a boorish, ill-educated man who practically begs ordinary people to poke fun at his pomposity and foolishness, is on record as hating the Trump Baby blimp that flew over the mass protests against his visit to Great Britain. The humor worked--it got the point across as intended. We the people are not happy with his performance.  

Nick Anderson suggests newspaper readers should tell the editor of the publication how much they appreciate the cartoonist, or if the paper doesn’t have one on staff, suggest they hire one. People power does have considerable sway, even in these days of wholly-owned, Sinclair-Tribune media conglomerates. After all, if the buying public doesn’t buy their product even the arch plutocrat is helpless.   

This means we must support the political cartoonist and the comedian and the creative protester and all  like them in every way we can. Remember, humor is one weapon the tyrannical can't defend against. Arm yourself with a good sense of humor and fight back!

BIO: Coast Watcher is very proud to be British. He salutes his countrymen for their creativity and humor and thinks the Baby Trump blimp is a bloody good idea. Don't hide in the bushes--poke fun at the establishment every chance you get! Knock them down a few notches in the political revolution, fellow humorists.

And now, a bit of political humor in the sing-along fashion...
 Oh, the humanity! (Or is that "trumpanity"?)

 My Donald Trump Balloon
sung to the tune of "Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon"
new lyrics by Still Bernin'

Would you like to fly my great Donald Trump balloon?
All across the "cloud" with my Baby Trump balloon?
We can tweet, grump and spout crass racist talk, you and I--
'Cause we can cry!

Up, up and away on my Donald Trump, my Baby Trump balloon!

Would you like to hate like a Donald Trump buffoon?
Anyone will do if you're a Baby Trump baboon!
Browns, blacks and Chinese have too big a piece of the pie--
So he will lie!

Up, up and away in my Donald Trump, my Baby Trump balloon!

My Donald Trump, my Baby Trump balloon
Created under a narcissistic streak
He'll rant for war and a chance to start one
If by some chance you find yourself hating him
Then find a crowd to join you, and keep this chant beside you

The world's a hate-filled place with our Baby Trump balloon
It wears a sadder face with a Donald Trump buffoon
We can march the streets and shout it high up to the skies
He can die!

Up, up and away in my Donald Trump, my Baby Trump balloon!

(With my sincerest apologies to the Fifth Dimension for using their great tune.)

BIO: Still Bernin' keeps things in perspective through the use of biting humor. It's better than sitting and crying all day long, right? "Don't let the haters get you down! Use satire as a weapon against them. You'll be glad you did."

It's no laughing matter--
independent journalists need your help!

The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. Three years without obnoxious 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 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 puppet journalists. Give to TRC today. Thank you.

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Power to the people and not the corporations!
Another strong independent voice that needs your support:

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The moment the news is presented to you as free, you have already paid the price. At that moment, your right to know has taken a back seat to the interests of whoever, or whatever, is sponsoring the presentation. 

If they are not paying to inform you (and they’re not), what are they paying for?
When the community takes an ownership stake, the priorities change. 

For your consideration.
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Founder, Reader Supported News

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Freedom from election fraud is as important as our exercising our freedom of speech... More on the 2016 recount fight.

As we approach the 2018 midterms, the fight for elections we can trust continues. We’re happy to share with you this latest summary of the successes and ongoing struggles in the continuing recount fight for election protection and voting justice. Thank you for your support that has made this fight possible.

It’s in our hands!
Jill Stein

WithMidterms Approaching, the Recount Fight Continues for Elections We CanTrust

From the start, the 2016 Presidential recount was not simply a call to retabulate the vote. It was a demand for elections we can trust, that are accurate, secure and just, and free from the scourge of Jim Crow. While there’s been progress since then towards greater cybersecurity, our votes remain vulnerable to a spectrum of cyber threats. But that’s not all. On multiple fronts, our right to vote itself is under attack, along with other basic rights at the foundation of our democracy, including our rights of protest, privacy, freedom of the press and more. With democracy increasingly under fire, trustworthy elections are more critical than ever. For all these reasons, the recount fight continues as a battle for election protection and voting justice, a fight being waged in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.

The past year and a half has seen both mounting threats and important progress, including notable successes in ongoing recount-related efforts. This includes the adoption of crucial reforms the recount helped shine a spotlight on, and hard-fought legal progress towards much-needed scrutiny of secret, privately-controlled voting software.

Read More

The water in the faucet runs orange. But kids are expected to drink it.  

In Fayetteville, West Virginia, the water at school has been discolored for years. No one knows what’s in it and there is no plan to clean it up.

Headwater Defense, a local grassroots group, has been donating bottled water to the school since 2016. When they tried to speak out against the school’s neglect, they were threatened. The school told them they’d stop accepting bottled water if the group publicized the issue.

The safety of kids is at risk. Congress must do something about it. Call (202) 224-3121 now to be connected to your Senator.
Schools can get away with potentially toxic water because, shockingly, Public Water Systems are not required to test water in schools.

The Get the Lead Out of Schools Act (S.1401) would make sure that water in schools is tested and that parents and teachers find out when there is a problem right away.  It also creates a grant program to help fund the improvement of water.

This law could have identified and stopped disasters like that in Flint, Michigan, where a whole generation of kids is being poisoned. Right this second, children are at risk for developmental delays, anemia, hypertension, and even death.

No child should come home from school poisoned. Call your senator at (202) 224-3121 to protect children from dangerous drinking water. Whole generations of kids are depending on us.
Lois Gibbs
Center for Health, Environment, and Justice and People’s Action
P.S. Use the following script to tell your Senator exactly why they need to support this bill. 

Please support the Get the Lead Out of Schools Act (S. 1401), a critical bill that will protect children from the devastating impact of lead poisoning.  No level of lead exposure is safe and children are particularly at risk to the detrimental effects of lead exposure. Prolonged exposure can cause developmental delays in children, anemia, hypertension, organ failure and death.

S. 1401 would protect America’s school children from lead by requiring that the Public Water Systems test all water that flows into school systems. This act also requires  results of the water testing to be shared with the school community, because everyone has the right to know what they are drinking. The act also provides grants to help schools address their water contamination issue and protect the health of their students.
I strongly believe this bill must be passed and encourage you to co-sponsor the legislation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Ugly American vs. The Ugly Canadian

Some mornings you feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. You wake up and you wonder: "Am I in [insert your state/country here] anymore?" And if we're not in Kansas or wherever, where the heck are we and how do we get back home?

During these challenging times, we're all learning what it means to be a good and decent American--or Canadian, Mexican, Brit, German, Indian, Australian, etc.  Perhaps these articles of how not to become a negative symbol of your country could help us all to become better human beings.

The Ugly American 
by C.A. Matthews

I'd planned on posting some reportage and photos of a Toledo protest against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos this week, but the darndest thing happened. Betsy became a no-show once news of our protest got out. Like so many of Trump's associates, she probably decided not to risk a public shaming. 
Mrs. DeVos' handlers must have worried something could happen along the lines of what happened recently to DHS Secretary Nielsen, Press Secretary Huckabee-Sanders or now-former EPA head Scott Pruitt if she took a tour of an outdoor area where protesters could see her and wave their signs for the TV cameras. Betsy just couldn't put herself out in front of ordinary Americans and face the creative signage and chants pointing out some her less-than-glamorous flaws. (Update: DeVos did make it to Toledo according to The Blade, but times for her visits to private charter schools were not published. She sneaked in and out of back doors, thwarting chances for the public to actually see her, so CSRN, a local activist group, did a press conference with the media instead on education issues DeVos has totally missed the mark on.Well, it's not like Betsy actually works for the American people, right?)

At least we did receive some good news this week when the story broke that Scott Pruitt was quitting the Environmental Protection Agency due to numerous federal investigations showing how he has personally profited from destroying the agency. Unfortunately, he'll be replaced with his deputy Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, but we can comfort ourselves with the fact that our calling Pruitt out for his crimes against humanity and the environment shut him down eventually. Or was it the magnitude of the man's greed that did him in? Either way, good riddance, Scott!

I'll admit I was really looking forward to the DeVos protest. Betsy's blatant disregard for the health, safety and mental well-being of our students--and the fact that she personally makes a lot of money from student loan collection agencies and a private "baby jail" immigration detention agency out of western Michigan--doesn't endear her to me or anyone with half a heart. She is just one of many of Trump's appointees who need replacing, so perhaps Pruitt's resignation (and coming trial?) will inspire her to do likewise.

It really is hard to say who the "ugliest American" is in the Trump administration. There are so many to choose from. However, today at a bi-weekly peace protest I ran into the most perfect example of an ordinary ugly American to ever cross my path. He fit all the MAGA supporter stereotypes imaginable. He even drove a monster truck jacked up twice as high on its axles as allowed by law with a smokestack on the back belching thick, black polluting smoke as he drove past our corner demonstration. 

Before he drove off with a curse word and a finger, he parked and walked up behind us on the busy street corner (where motorists generally give a honk or thumbs up for our peace and social awareness signs) and gave us a tongue lashing to beat the "snowflake libtard" out of us (while occasionally threatening bodily harm to us as well). His veins practically popped out of his face as he yelled at how stupid we "Commies" were for believing in such things as "Love your neighbor" and "Peace on Earth." After all, a border wall will solve all our problems.

He informed us that we were all "queer dog fornicators," or words to that effect, if we felt people had the right to express the gender identity in the way they felt comfortable with.  He ranted on about the evils of socialism, universal health care and the $15 minimum wage. He blamed all on the "illegals" who had the gall to expect due process of law for themselves and their children when seeking asylum in the US, and their children had to be locked up because they were "criminals." From his remarks, it seemed evident he didn't understand what "seeking asylum"  or "due process" or "socialism" meant. (He claimed to receive his information from "alt right dot org" or similar outlets.) His presence and manners emanated an aura of unhappiness and fear. 

I kept a low-key tone and repeatedly suggested, "Why not go home and do something loving for your family, like making ice cream or cooking dinner? You'll feel better." But he stated he didn't want to have anything much to do with love or family. It's a "drugged up hippy" thing he informed us.

I wonder if this statement made an impact on the young woman standing beside him who kept her mouth zipped  the entire time. Was she his wife, girlfriend, sister, cousin or simply a friend? I couldn't imagine what life around this very unhappy young man who didn't want to have anything to do with love would be like. Suffice it to say, it probably wouldn't be very satisfying, and  it  might even be downright scary at times.

The bellicose Trump supporter is your
quintessential "ugly American." He is a sad person who'd rather expend large amounts of energy hating and blaming others for his and the world's troubles rather than simply loving and accepting his fellow human beings the way he'd like to be loved and accepted. I genuinely felt sorry for the guy. Didn't he have anything better to do on a beautiful summer's day than to yell at a bunch of strangers with peace signs? He's young and has his whole life in front of him, but with so much obvious anger and hatred in his heart, there's a high probability of him suffering a serious health issue, such as a stroke or addiction, or getting into a deadly fight or accident, and dying before his time.

Ugly Americans aren't the only "ugly folks" out there (as our guest blogger will inform you in the next piece). But I keep thinking wouldn't it be nice if Americans could set a positive example of what it means to be a good and loving neighbor on this planet. Why aren't we taking the lead on this worthy goal? Could it be simply because we can't make big bucks on it like Scott Pruitt did at the EPA?

(Here's a video about a bill that could help bring about peace on Earth, goodwill to all mankind, especially those suffering in Yemen:  https://youtu.be/SDy5sQ5gA98)

Doug Ford, a.k.a. the Trump of the North
The Ugly Canadian
by Vegematic Deluxe 
What is happening to our world, our values, our compassion? I realize that I shouldn't read comments on You Tube videos, but the truth is comments provide a snapshot of a segment of society and, as such, provide me with some insights. 

The insights that I gained from my fellow Canadians last week distressed me greatly. I had been watching a CBC documentary following the trail of refugees fleeing violence and poverty in their Latin American homeland. To these traumatized people, Canada represents what America once did--a chance to live in peace and freedom. The video was at once heartbreaking and inspiring. 

The comments were vile and disgusting. I will not dignify the hate and racism here by quoting them, but generally they were on par with something that would be published by the KKK. Coinciding with the election of Doug Ford, an extreme right-wing windbag as premier of Ontario, my faith in basic Canadian decency was dealt a serious blow. Add to that an interesting tidbit about our former right-wing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government was soundly defeated in the last Canadian election.

The Canadian embassy in Washington DC received  a call from John Bolton, asking who would be accompanying the prime minister to a meeting on Monday. The surprised embassy staff called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office who were completely dumbfounded. It turns out that Harper had broken with accepted protocol and not informed the PM of his invitation to meet with White House officials. Although a hastily arranged call claimed a mix up and that his office had meant the former prime minister, one is left with the impression that this was intended to humiliate Trudeau.
Former P.M. Harper eyes climate justice?

Harper has no authority to speak on behalf of Canadians; he is a private citizen. Harper had also secretly arranged meetings with Trump advisors to re-negotiate NAFTA. He is being welcomed in Washington with open arms.  This is an unprecedented attack on the Canadian people. Indeed, it is an attack on democratically elected governments worldwide. It is unprecedented for a defeated politician to act and be treated as if he had any legislative power to negotiate on behalf of the Canadian people.

Given the contempt Trump has for democracy, I suppose Canadians should not be surprised. Is he now planning to install Harper in a bloodless coup? Both men suffer from authoritarian personalities, and Harper never got over losing his grip on power. Being Trump's puppet would appeal to Harper since ideologically he and Trump are birds of a feather.

These are the darkest of days for those of us who treasure democracy and freedom, yet there are glimmers of hope. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  has displaced a powerful corporate Democrat with a fraction of the money. The struggle to regain democracy will be a marathon, not a sprint, and there are undoubtedly more trying times ahead. Fellow progressives must reach out to each other and redouble our efforts to bring about a more just and sane society.

BIO: Vegematic is a humorous and insightful Canadian podcast commentator with an ever-growing following on You Tube. Check out his channel and subscribe.

More stories on current US-Canada Relations:

Canadians Rally Around Retaliatory Tariffs
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/50977-canadians-rally-around-retaliatory-tariffs-aimed-at-the us                                                                                                     

Canada's Retaliatory Tariffs

Doug Ford Is Already Hurting Jobs And Could Cost Billions

Trump Threatens Canada--Canadian Defence Community Stays Quiet


And now a book review about a non-ugly American that many voters wanted to become president in 2016 (and may yet become in 2020).

Bernie or Bust: Pioneers of Electoral Revolt
by @BernieOrBust with Patrick Walker
Dorrance Publishing Company

Reviewed by A. J. Matthews

Of the events that occurred during the contentious 2016 presidential election, the blatant rigging of the Democratic Party primaries against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is at the top of the list in importance. The Bernie or Bust movement was one of the prime movers in public debate on the issue of the Democratic nominee selection process and its aftermath which resulted in the nomination of Hillary Clinton, a deeply flawed candidate with a mass of political baggage who represented the status quo during a time when the American electorate desperately wanted change.

The author and his associate Patrick Walker started the Bernie or Bust grassroots movement in 2016 with a manifesto aimed at affecting change for the better in the American political system. The objective was – and still is – the use of leverage to force the Democratic Party to heed the will of the American people, not that of Big Business. This book recounts a warts and all picture of the movement from the inside. It doesn’t flinch from admitting the mistakes and conflict involved in seeking a way forward, nor does it flinch from scathing and justified condemnation of the Democratic Party machine that helped elect Donald Trump.

Where the book scores highly is in the wealth of advice included for activists, voters, and future progressive movements. This is a valuable resource which can be dipped into for guidance, inspiration and a wealth of "how to" examples (such as facts to refute spurious arguments by Clinton supporters who claim Bernie cost the DNC the election). It is also an important historical document in its own right for all who wish to understand more about the 2016 election, those involved and the consequences of their actions. 

Highly recommended. 
BIO: A.J. Matthews is a multi-published novelist, book reviewer, essayist, and all around decent human being. He openly admits he supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary elections.
Help Create Beautiful Americans (and others)!

The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. Three years without obnoxious 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 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. Thank you.

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

Power to the people and not the corporations!

Win Without War

The war machine is caging kids, and profiting off it too. Defense contractors like General Dynamics and MVM, Inc. are making millions off surveilling and detaining thousands of migrant children away from their parents.

Usually, deep-pocketed defense contractors can get off the hook for war profiteering. But this is different. Right now, people power mobilizing against Trump’s racist immigration agenda has cracked open the door to hold these companies accountable for their cruel profiteering.
If we mobilize grassroots pressure onto defense contractor CEOs, then we can build on this current political momentum and force them to stop profiting from Trump’s family detention policies.

General Dynamics and MVM are both top recipients of lucrative Pentagon war contracts. Both have dirty histories of misconduct including anti-Muslim discrimination against employees and corruption.
And these war profiteers are raking in the cash from Trump’s inhumane and cruel immigration policies. General Dynamics has a $1,667,580 contract with the Trump administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement for the infrastructure to detain migrant kids. Yep — that’s $1.6 million public dollars. And MVM has a long list of multimillion-dollar contracts to detain and spy on migrants as well.

But here’s the silver lining: Right now, General Dynamics and MVM, Inc are vulnerable. In the current migrant-led activist surge, General Dynamics has already responded to pressure by making public statements trying to distance themselves from the business of family detention [1]. However their contracts with the Office of Refugee Resettlement for infrastructure for the shelter of unaccompanied children show they are instrumental to detention [2]. Their public statements also prove they are worried about their public image-- which means we have the upper hand. 

If we let these companies know the public is still watching, we can overturn their contracts and stop them from making war profits off family detention. But we need to act fast. We must seize this opportunity to make them cut their anti-immigrant contracts now!

Ending child detention contracts is only the beginning. If we question the contracts that allow for detention profiteering, we can start to unravel the defense industry’s tangle of profits from traumatizing children and tearing livelihoods apart beyond our borders as well. After all, racism doesn’t just drive Trump’s immigration policies — it keeps the war machine churning forward by devaluing the very lives displaced and destroyed by militarism to begin with. Together, we can bring down corporate profiteering from war and white supremacy, here and everywhere!

Thank you for raising your voice against militarism,
Tara, Cassandra, and the Win Without War team

PS: Did you see our split fundraiser last week for 9 frontline groups working to end border militarization and migrant detention?
[1] US defense contractors profit from child detention—and you might, too
[2] General Dynamics- Department of Health and Human Services Contract Summary
From Acre Action Center on Racism & the Economy:

After white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine Black churchgoers in Charleston in 2015, Amazon said it was banning the sale of Confederate flag images from its site. Today, we released a report with the Partnership for Working Families showing that not only are products with Confederate flag and other hate imagery widely available on Amazon.com, but that Amazon allows recognized hate groups to use its various platforms to spread their ideas and generate resources. Read the report here.


The growth of racist hate movements in our country provides a base of support for horrific policies like Trump's Muslim Ban and so-called "zero tolerance" immigration policy. As racist movements have grown, so have incidences of racist violence.

Will you join us in calling on Amazon to take a stand against hate?

Normalizing white supremacist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic extremists puts our communities at risk -- and yet the country’s largest online retailer and largest distributor of e-books is providing these groups with a platform to spread their ideas and generate resources to support their operations.

Sign the Petition: Amazon, Stop doing business with racist hate groups!

With the public contest for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), many of us are taking a critical look at what kind of neighbor Amazon is, and what values the company promotes. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his board of directors must take a public stand against this hate and violence, and stop enabling others to profit from hate.

In unity,
Carrie Sloan

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dark Times Inspire Brilliant People

The Fourth of July means different things to different people, as Frederick Douglass attests. Do you feel like celebrating this Independence Day? Can we really celebrate American "democracy" when we don't follow our own laws, particularly when it comes to immigrants and those we've falsely incarcerated to make money for a for-profit private detention system?

The following two memes illustrate the conflicting emotions many compassionate Americans have felt recently. There's nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed by current events, but we can't allow our emotions to shut down our response to them. We can't dwell on the darkness. We have to find the courage to keep fighting or else the savagery will continue.
Perhaps we can learn something from those who take action instead of sitting around and bemoaning their lot. Isn't it time we organized to bring about the just and peaceful world we envision? As Dr. King said in 1964:
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
Are we marching toward justice or away from it? Can we lead each other to a moral future? The following is one example to inspire you.
Dark Times Inspire Brilliant People
by C.A. Matthews
photos of Families Belong Together Rally 
by Adrian Matthews
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” --Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross 
With temperatures near the century mark and high humidity, you might think few would show up to a downtown Toledo rally (on concrete) on a Saturday morning. But they did. They braved the extreme heat and came out in numbers with their signs and voices demanding an end to Trump's immoral policy of separating families at the border.

Some days it seems like we're caught up in an endless battle against the forces of evil in our country. It seems there's no way we "little people" can ever defeat the minions of darkness. And then you experience a crowd of approximately 400 standing on a hot cement surface shouting, "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here! No justice, no peace!" Instantly your pessimistic outlook becomes one of optimism.
No doubt about it, these are dark days for Americans, but we aren't stuck in this black swamp alone. There are many compassionate and brilliant people standing up for justice and using their abilities to lead us all to a better world. In the midst of our despair over turning into the 21st century equivalent of Nazi Germany, there are beautiful rays of sunlight and hope. You see them in the faces of Millennials and their children.  You see them in the faces of Boomers and others who have experienced first hand how ugly discrimination and hatred can be. But they're not giving in to despair--they're fighting back and not taking "You can't do that!" for an answer.

We see them at these rallies against Trump's fascist immigration dictates. We see them Occupying ICE in Portland, Detroit and other places. We see them online bravely working as alternative journalists to cover the stories the mainstream media never touches, such as the ongoing water crisis in Flint and the newest oil pipeline threat to indigenous people's lands, Line 3 in Minnesota. They haven't given up on this planet, and they challenge us old-timers to not give in to the destructive, selfish mindset of "I really don't care--do u?"
Over the past couple of years I've lost friends, and I've lost contact with family members who don't see the world the way I see it, but I have gained one thing in this ongoing political revolution: peace of mind. Whether I live to see the day when we're free of the death grip of fossil fuels and war-mongering capitalists or not, I can rest assured that the coming generations will not rest until they've brought peace and balance back to our small planet.

When depression threatens to overtake you in the daily struggle to simply survive, look to the good that is being born in the midst of the darkness. People around the world are standing up and speaking out against racism, sexism, misogynism, classism--all the immoral "isms"--and choosing to put the good of the community above the greed of the billionaires. Join them in their quest and you too will experience their brilliance brighter than the sun on a sweltering hot summer's day at a rally to reunite families.

Power belongs to the people--not the mindless, heartless corporations. We will shut them down in time. Rise and follow the light.
 (Quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley)

I started an online petition. Will you please sign  it and share it with others? Thank you.

Families belong together! Ban the use of military bases to house immigrant children

I have worked with immigrants and refugees and have heard their horror stories of why they were forced to leave their homelands. They do not make such decisions lightly. Americans should not be adding more grief to these families by separating them from their children and refusing to hear their requests for asylum. It goes against everything good and moral when we treat our fellow human beings like "animals." We are not Nazi Germany!

That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump, which says:

"Ban the use of military bases to house immigrant children separated from their families. Families belong together and all asylum-seekers should have  their claims considered and their human rights upheld."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



Help inspire more brilliant people!

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From the UCC:

Tell Congress: No Muslim Ban Ever

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s Muslim Ban, a policy which, from its inception, was based on blatant discrimination on the basis of nationality and religion. 

In Trump v. Hawaii the justices ruled, along ideological lines, that it is within the President’s authority to ban people from Muslim majority countries if he determines that doing so is in the interests of U.S. security. The decision to uphold a de facto Muslim ban is not only unjust, but immoral. The rights of all faith communities are put in jeopardy when one faith community is attacked. 

The Supreme Court has decided, for now, that such a policy does not violate the Establishment Clause and is constitutional. But the deeper question at stake is a moral one. What kind of nation do we want to be? A country that excludes people on the basis of religion, race, or nationality? As people of faith committed to religious freedom, to welcoming the stranger, and to loving our neighbor, we say no!    

This policy is not what we aspire to as a nation.  Excluding people of the basis of religion or nationality not only harms those seeking refuge or livelihoods in the U.S., but ultimately undermines our moral authority as a nation founded on principles of religious freedom, tolerance, and welcome to all. 

Act now. Tell Congress to oppose this shameful policy of religious discrimination and to exert oversight over the administration’s Muslim Ban.
Read the statement from our United Church of Christ Leadership.

We, the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, request to convene a hearing before the U.N. Human Rights Council on the state of poverty in our nation. Co-sign the letter now to add your name to the list of people demanding an end to poverty.
After more than three years of traveling across the U.S., meeting with poor communities from El Paso to Aberdeen to Detroit to Selma, Harlan County, Marks and Memphis, we have just completed 40 days of nonviolent moral fusion direct action with more than 3,000 poor people, clergy and other activists presenting themselves for nonviolent civil disobedience and a call to action rally and march of tens of thousands of people putting a face on the facts, demanding an end to abandonment in the midst of abundance.

We write with a sense of urgency. Just last week, the U.S. doubled down on its commitment to inflicting policy violence against children and families by pulling out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Days later, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley responded to a report from the U.N.’s special rapporteur on poverty by saying, “It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.”

Here is what is patently ridiculous: Today, despite substantial economic growth, a full 60 percent more Americans live below the poverty line than in 1968, and 43 percent of all U.S. children live below the minimum income level considered necessary to meet basic family needs. Fifty-three cents of every federal discretionary dollar goes to military spending, while only 15 cents is spent on anti-poverty programs. An alarming 13.8 million U.S. households cannot afford water, and a quarter million people die in the U.S. each year from poverty and related issues. And 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws since 2010, leaving the US with fewer voting rights than we had 50 years.

For a nation that declared it was founded upon principles of equality, systemic inequality has never been starker. In the richest nation in the world, 140 million people live in poverty. The richest 1 percent in our country hold more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. And our leaders continue to feed us the same moral narrative: We blame poor people for their poverty, when in fact the government has gutted social programs. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not been raised since 2009, and on average, wages for all workers in the U.S. have raised $0.04 a year since 1979.

In recent weeks it has been brought to the public’s attention that Brown children have been systematically separated from their families at the border. Inside our borders, families of all races are separated from health care, food stamps and a living wage, and with widespread voter suppression and racist gerrymandering, millions of people have been separated from the ballot box. Hundreds of thousands of children are taken away from their parents because of their poverty; we hear the cries of the people “take away our poverty, not our children; take away unjust policies, not our children.”

Our democracy is impoverished. Policies serve the few at the expense of the many, while leaders spread lies to divide people against each other. To be clear: Poverty is a moral and political crisis, one that this administration and Congress are inflaming instead of solving. Every policy decision is a moral one, but choices being made by our leaders have been overwhelmingly immoral. We need to reshape the heart and conscience of this nation, starting from the ground up. We need immediate and major changes to address systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and our distorted moral narrative. Add your name to this letter if you agree.
Seventy-one years ago, W.E.B. DuBois submitted a petition to the United Nations about the unequal treatment of Black Americans. More than 50 years ago, Malcolm X approached the U.N. with a similar message, charging the United States with being “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of your 22 million African American brothers and sisters.” Both human rights leaders and countless others including welfare rights activists, indigenous leaders, women and other marginalized groups addressed the U.N. at times when the U.S. government failed to bring forth solutions to moral and political crises.

Since our government is committing policy violence against its citizens and exacerbating poverty instead of alleviating it, we urge the U.N. Human Rights Council to hear directly from the poor and dispossessed of the United States.

We call on you to listen to the Alabama woman whose daughter died in her arms because the state refused to expand Medicaid; to the undocumented California woman struggling to raise a family; to the Kansas City McDonald’s worker battling to raise three young girls on $9/hour; and to the Flint woman who is fighting for clean water in her community still four years after it became public that public officials had knowingly poisoned the whole city. We know you’ve heard from the special rapporteur on the conditions; now we ask you hear directly from those impacted by America’s policy violence.

As W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X and other human rights activists requested decades ago, we request an audience with you because our government seems unwilling or incapable of doing the right thing. 

Thank you for your consideration,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
National Co-Chairs, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival 

From March for Science:

Last week, we learned that the administration and the Department of the Interior are restricting the ability of federal scientists to communicate their research. We need your voice and federal scientists need your support.  

This petition is not just a call for for science and transparency from Congress and the Department of the Interior. This is a rallying cry of support for federal scientists facing restrictions on one of the most important steps of scientific research: public communication.

Why does this matter?

1. Reporters rely on federal scientists for accurate information about scientific research and policies.
2. The Department of the Interior is responsible for, among other things, research on natural hazards and climate change. Vital research on these topics risks being hidden from the public. We are restricting communications from the scientists who know this information best.
3. The research done by the Department of the Interior is funded by our taxpayer dollars. Their findings and work should be publicly communicated and transparent.  

Join us in demanding Science, Not Silence.

Check out our Science, Not Silence merch and wear your support!
It's been a busy time for science advocacy and we need your voice more than ever. Check out our other campaigns, plan an event, or attend one in your area. And register to vote!

From Move to Amend:
Corporations Don't Have Families But They
Are Making Millions Ripping Them Apart

This is a dangerous moment in the United States, and in response hundreds of thousands gathered this weekend to respond. 

  • An increasingly fascist U.S. regime is openly committing crimes against humanity, including the indefinite detention and forced separation entire families.
  • Our Congress not only refuses to hold this authoritarian President and his regime accountable for their crimes, but the majority of our representatives -- on both sides of the aisle -- are actively collaborating with them, for the sake of short-term political gain and furthering the bottom line of their billionaire benefactors.
  • The Supreme Court is so corrupt, they are stripping workers’ of hard-won protections, black and brown voters of their equal protection under the law, women of their right to know and their freedom of choice, and even denying immigrants their humanity and equal rights -- and they have handed over our government to the highest bidder.

Move to Amend has been working to get to the root problem by passing the WE THE PEOPLE AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution to make clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings, not corporations, and that money is not equal to “speech” so it can be regulated in our political campaigns and elections.

The root problems of "corporate constitutional rights" and "money equals speech” go deeper than the obvious political implications -- this is a human rights issue that intersects with every struggle for justice and equality we face today.

Law follows culture, and from the beginning, U.S. culture has mostly prioritized property and profit of a few wealthy white men over the basic wellbeing and common interests of We the People. Such priorities are enshrined in the Constitution itself — written as a property rights document that added only a few human rights as amendments — even enshrining the evil notion that human beings could be legally owned as disposable PROPERTY.

Even worse, the Constitution’s failure to define who is a "person" worthy of legal protection, has enabled our government to persistently deny constitutional protections for the vast majority of people in the United States -- women, black/brown/indigenous people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, and other less wealthy people.

In every movement for justice today, rich and powerful corporations stand in the way of any serious change that we seek: from wanting an end to immigration crackdowns, indefinite detentions, for-profit prisons, and police brutality to creating universal health care, affordable education, and a green energy infrastructure that moves beyond fossil fuels.

Passing the We the People Amendment is the only lasting solution!

This November, let’s make sure that the only people we send back to Washington, D.C. are Representatives who support WE THE PEOPLE, not the corporations.

If you are with me, take Move to Amend's VOTER PLEDGE today and pass it on to all your friends:

We all may working different causes and different issues, but we do not need to go it alone. The root problems are all connected, and working together in solidarity with those intersectional issues, we can step back from the brink of fascism and move forward to creating real democracy for ALL people.

In solidarity,

Keyan Bliss
Move to Amend Volunteer Coordinator