Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Start Sharpening Your Pitchforks




Start Sharpening Your Pitchforks
by Still Bernin'

It's been a rough week. People are dying by the dozens, and still, the status quo remains intact.  The billionaires are still safe in their mansions, making billions while their slaves (employees) sweat to death in un-airconditioned work places. 

What gives, revolutionaries?

If you think of immigrants and refugees as "animals," you're probably not too bothered about young children being separated from their parents and stuck in government warehouses such as ICE is currently doing.  You probably don't equate forcefully splitting up immigrant families with how slavery destroyed families, either. You're just grateful your job has been saved from the "rapists" amassing at our borders.

Now, why would "rapists" consist of families with young children and husbands and wives and grandparents and otherwise normal people, you might wonder. And why would children be considered a threat to our national security or your job? It's best not to think too hard on these matters or else you could start to see these "animals" as humans. Take a hint from Nazi Germany--any people you don't want in your country you label  "animals," and then you call them "a threat to all we hold dear." This kind of labeling helped the gas chamber attendants sleep at night.

If you think of teenagers as nuisances, you probably bought more stock in Smith and Wesson this past week after another young male got a hold of a rifle and went on a rampage and shot dead ten of his classmates and teachers  and wounded many others at Santa Fe High School in Texas.  

Really, what's another school shooting among friends? Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wants to shut down public schools and fund private and parochial schools to take their place. Let's just get rid of the need for public schools altogether by ridding ourselves of poor students and save the rich tax payers' money. Win-win.

If your motto is "The only good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian," then this past week you hit the jackpot. Israeli Defense Forces shot more unarmed Palestinians in cold blood in one day than they have in a good long time. They even killed an 8 month old infant. 

You know, you can't be too cautious with drooling babies, right? The noxious fumes from their diapers might just explode. It's best to shoot them or lock them up. Just ask ICE.

If the death toll this past week doesn't wake you up and inspire you to march with your pitchforks in hand and demand change now, then what in the world will?

Will an added tariff on cheap, imported cell phone batteries get you off your butt and into the streets shouting? Will the threat of possible stronger gun control laws propel you to phone and complain to your elected officials and the NRA? Will the bugging of your electronic communications by the NSA put a bee in your bonnet? Will the closing of your place of employment (since the owners have decided they'll make more money sending your job overseas) inspire you to pick up a sign and march?
If you answered yes or maybe to any of the above questions, then you're as narcissistic as the orangutan-in-charge of the mad house (a.k.a. the White House) in D.C.  Why are you reading a progressive blog? To convince others you're actually cool or that you actually care? It ain't working! Go check out Fox News--it's more your speed. Political revolution is not a spectator sport for self-centered types.

It's time for all good revolutionaries to engage their empathy and consider the suffering of their fellow human beings worldwide. The poor and dispossessed, infants and students don't deserve to die because of the greed of the military-industrial complex. Children should never be taken away from their parents because of their race or country of origin. We are the only ones who can save them and ourselves from the exploitation of the oligarchs.
But first, we need to pick up our pitchforks (metaphorical and/or real) and take some action to shake up the establishment. Now is the summer of our discontent! Get out there and demand change for the better and for all. 

Power to the people--not the corporations, not the billionaires, not the paid-off politicians, and certainly not the military-industrial complex and its handmaiden, the NRA. Stand up We the People and claim your power!

BIO:  Still Bernin' doesn't want people  resigned to the mounting death tolls in our schools, in our cities, on our borders, and caused by the military-industrial complex worldwide. Let's get off our computing devices and take action against the status quo that's killing us and our planet.
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The Importance of the Average Person
by Ruth Ann Oskolkoff

One thought I'm struck with today is the importance of the average person. Not the rich. Not the powerful. Not the politicians. Not those who are directors and administrators and presidents. Not the famous. Not the top, out of sight.

It's us. The struggling masses. The people who walk the pavement. We don't have title or position. We don't merit a mention, not even a footnote, but I truly believe we all matter equally.

Yes, I think structure is important, but that doesn't mean some of us are lower. We are not less than anyone else ever. Ever.

The big lie is that our words and actions don't matter unless someone important say they matter. We are brainwashed from day one not to seize our power, not to use what voice we can muster, not to believe in ourselves.

Look at what happened in Seattle. A small group of dedicated progressives joined together to challenge the richest man on the planet, and we won a victory. Now $40-50 million will go to fund affordable housing and help the homeless population. We the People did that. We can keep doing that.

I reject the narrative that says our elected leaders will save us. We will save ourselves.

BIO: Ruth is an activist in Seattle and social commentator on Facebook.
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Calling all investigative reporters for help. According to the New York Times: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the U.S. prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy.” We need to find out why these protestors mysteriously died since its clear the NY Times is clueless. -- Ajamu Baraka, international human rights activist and Green Party V.P. candidate

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/17/israel-commemorates-nakba-with-mass-murder-at-the-gaza-fence/

New York Times Glowingly Defends Israel's Crimes Against Humanity (video):
https://youtu.be/0Z6MJHuaQ3s

More video from the New York Times reporter who blames Palestinians for their own deaths: https://youtu.be/JjIT6GuLDU8
***
This fantastic short video busts open myths about socialism. Watch, learn and share with others. It's time to reach out to those brainwashed by the anti-socialist propaganda generated by the oligarchy.

https://youtu.be/lN0HkA6APKk

Five Ways America is Already Socialist (video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zq-2cKENOc
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Good news, everyone!  
Kevin Zeese protests near Commissioner Ajit Pai’s home in May 2017. Photo by Anne Meador

Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Washington, DC–The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to reject an FCC rule change that would end Net Neutrality. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the charge last year to strip protections which require Internet Service Providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The 4-1 FCC vote last December effectively privatized the Internet by allowing Big Telecoms to charge some customers more for privileged access. Over the last several years, Internet watchdogs groups and large services such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Google have enlisted the public to wage a ferocious war to preserve Net Neutrality.

The Senate exercised its power under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reinstate any regulation changed by a government agency. By passing the Senate resolution, Democrats will force the issue into the House of Representatives, where it has less favorable prospects. About 160 members of Congress, mostly Democrats, have pledged their support. The resolution requires 218 House votes to pass. The vote is scheduled for June 11.

Recently, in a bombshell revelation, documents show that giant telecom AT&T paid $600,000 to Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen for “access” to the administration on issues of interest to AT&T. Soon after, Commissioner Pai met with an AT&T executive lobbyist, leading to accusations of corruption.

***

Win Without War


A dozen Google employees are quitting to protest Google’s plans to help the Pentagon automate drone targeting. [1]
This is huge. The Pentagon’s drone warfare program is already notorious for killing civilians. The new Google-Pentagon plan, called Project Maven, would automate remote assassination even further by using artificial intelligence to identify human targets. What’s more, the Trump administration blatantly ignored their most recent deadline to report drone casualties. Our chances of learning the names of civilians killed by secret Google drones — or even the number — are nearly zero.
With Project Maven, Google can claim to keep their hands clean while they’re automating the business of death.
That’s why it’s such a big deal that these brave Google employees stepped up to tell another story. But they’re up against a tech giant and the powerful Pentagon. They need to know you have their back.
Add your name to stand with the Google employees who quit and demand Google pull out of Project Maven.

While only about a dozen Google employees quit, their brave actions could spark a sea change in the the tech sector’s dangerous history of partnerships with the Pentagon.
In addition to the handful of Google employees who quit, thousands more have signed a letter of protest to the company. But this is still an incredibly under-reported story. That’s where we come in.
The Google employees who quit are shining a spotlight on the under-the-table dangers of the Pentagon’s drone warfare. We can’t let this window to make change fall by the wayside. We’ve got to keep their momentum going.
Add your name to tell Google: Americans stand with the protestors, not the Pentagon. Don’t help automate death.
Thank you for working for peace,
Amy, Mariam, Sunjeev, and the team at Win Without War
---
[1] Gizmodo, Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract
[2] Washington Post, “White House ignores executive order requiring count of civilian casualties in counterterrorism strikes”


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Image
Yesterday was the kind of day that makes my heart soar. Greenpeace USA and Mosquito Fleet activists blocked an oil barge from entering into Kinder Morgan's Seattle facility to oppose the oil company’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker superhighway. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Greenpeace USA and Mosquito Fleet activists stopped an oil barge from entering into Kinder Morgan’s Harbor Island facility in Seattle.
  • Two activists physically locked down at the Kinder Morgan facility with a banner reading "Protect Water. Stop Pipelines."
  • Local kayaktivists next to the facility deployed a 32 feet by 74 feet water banner that read “NOT THEN” with a Shell Oil logo, and “NOT NOW” with the Trans Mountain logo. 
Of course, the activists  in Seattle aren’t doing this alone. They’re part of a much bigger movement to stop pipelines, and they need your help. Please add your name to our petition and tell the Dirty Dozen banks not to finance pipeline projects.
To respond to the growing climate crisis — with its super-storms, floods, wildfires, and other extreme weather events — we need to be rapidly moving away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. Massive new oil pipelines do the exact opposite.
Some banks are already backing away from tar sands, pipelines, and Energy Transfer Partners but these Dirty Dozen banks still don’t seem to understand that financing pipeline projects is risky business. If people around the world urge their banks to not fund pipelines, we can tip the balance on these toxic projects and stop these new pipelines for good.
We have to show them the power of just how many people are opposed to the construction of pipelines. Only then will they change the way they do business. Please, do your part right now and sign the Dirty Dozen petition.
For a green and peaceful future,
Dario Parra
Social Media Specialist, Greenpeace USA
P.S. Several banks, including the seventh-largest in the world, HSBC, have already announced that they will no longer finance tar sands pipeline projects. We won’t rest until they all stop funding these dangerous projects that threaten the climate, water, and Indigenous rights. That’s why it’s so important that you sign the petition now. There is strength in numbers!

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USDA’s Proposed GMO Labels: Don’t Let it BE!
   
The long-awaited draft rules for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods are here.
    
Unfortunately, they fall far short of the clear, direct labeling consumers want and will continue to keep the public in the dark unless you take action today!
    
You can comment on what form the labels should take (a QR code, a phone number, text on the label, or a symbol) and what that label should look like.
    
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing a misleading rebranding of genetically engineered food by calling them BE or bioengineered and the use of symbols such as bright sunshiny smiley faces, in an attempt to convince people that genetically engineered foods are something they should want to buy.
   
They are also proposing to exempt “highly refined” GE products such as sugars and oils. This would mean that about 70 percent of GE products would not be labeled!
    
No matter what you think of genetic engineering’s use in agriculture, the USDA is supposed to be value neutral. In fact, the marketing for USDA organic cannot be overly positive for fear that may give consumers the impression it is better than conventional. The USDA should not promote genetically engineered foods.

Go to regulations.gov today and type in "National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard". Confirm the docket # AMS-TM-17-0050 and click on the blue Comment Now box. 
      
   
Tell the USDA to use words or symbols that are clear and simple that cover all GE products:
  • The symbols proposed by the USDA are not value neutral and are disparaging to non-GE products.
  • The term “bioengineered” is confusing and a departure from the term genetically engineered or genetically modified organism (GMO) understood by the public.
  • The USDA should recommend the text used to state “Produced with genetic engineering” or “Partially produced with genetic engineering” or use a neutral symbol such as the one here.
  • The USDA should label all “highly refined” GE products like cooking oil, high fructose corn syrup, and the like.
  • Say NO to confusing QR codes and text messages that would make shopping trips longer, be costlier, and discriminate against those with less resources.
We only have until July 3 to get comments in. Don’t wait, please comment today!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Morally Bankrupt Society




A Morally Bankrupt Society...
This is what it looks like in a morally bankrupt society. -- Lee Camp

This week we consider what it means to be a morally bankrupt society.
Our featured writer takes an in-depth look at a morally bankrupt move on the part of the current US administration that threatens world peace. But first, we start out with a few visual examples. 

The above meme shows the world richest man, Jeff Bezos, behaving as he normally does--setting up two cities against each other for one of his coveted Amazon headquarters. Bezos paid no taxes in 2017 and pays his employees slave wages under horrible working conditions. It is said that Bezos could give away half of his $139 billion net worth to end world hunger and homelessness, and he would still be one of the richest men in the world. He could easily give his warehouse workers a raise and provide air conditioning in the summer so they wouldn't faint from heat prostration, too, but he chooses not to be charitable. Instead, he chooses not to pay taxes, and he chooses to forces cities to give his warehouses tax breaks. 

Wouldn't you agree that Jeff Bezos is a prime example of a morally bankrupt individual from a morally bankrupt society?

The following are self-explanatory. 









And now our resident historian and military analyst tackles moral bankruptcy on an Armageddon-like scale.

The Trump Bull in the China Shop
by Coast Watcher

International diplomacy is a vital feature of human relations. Treaties are the fixed points that bind nations together for mutual benefit, to prevent wars and to enable commerce to proceed with little hindrance.

So, why in the name of all that’s holy is Trump breaking the treaty with Iran?

Some background: This particular treaty's full title is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It was signed in 2015 by the US, China, Russia, Germany, France, the UK and Iran. Iran undertook to limit its nuclear activities – particularly the development of nuclear weapons – in return for the easing of sanctions on its economy. 


The treaty is working. Iran’s economy was in a deep recession in the years before it was signed, but the International Monetary Fund reported that the real GDP of Iran grew 12.5% in the first year, mostly through oil exports, following the implementation of the treaty’s provisions. The Iranian economy was expected to grow by 4% this year, which is below the desired target figure but still pretty good for a country battling its way out of recession.

The treaty had the additional effect of weaning ordinary Iranians from the Islamic fundamentalists who took over the country following the fall of the Shah in the revolution of 1978-79. Greater prosperity turned people away from the conservative killjoy religious doctrine of the fundamentalists. 


The fundamentalist hold on the country has diminished, but it remains a potent force which could make a resurgence under the wrong conditions. One of the objectives of the treaty was to curb Iranian influence in the region and its potential to attack neighboring countries through its development of nuclear weaponry and ballistic missiles. Sending it back into the dark ages of fundamentalism will only exacerbate the possibility.

Iran’s trade with the European Union increased significantly thanks to the lifting of sanctions, but China, South Korea and Turkey remain Iran’s top three trading partners. The decision by Iran to drop the petrodollar in favor of the Euro looks set to increase trade with the EU, probably to the detriment of the US.

On May 8, President Trump demanded Boeing not complete a $20 billion contract to supply two Iranian airlines with aircraft. This directly hurt the commercial airplane manufacturer and caused the loss of American jobs – something Trump pledged not to do during his 2016 election campaign. While the cancellation of the contract hurts Boeing, there’s every possibility that the renewal of sanctions will prevent the country’s airlines from beating a path to Airbus of France, which already has a contract to supply 100 aircraft to Iran and would happily expand the order. Airbus and other EU manufacturers are vociferous in their complaints against Trump’s actions, as they would stand to benefit through Iran’s adoption of the Euro.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani kept his promise to maintain the stability of the Iranian currency, the rial, for almost four years. But in late 2017, when President Trump refused to certify the nuclear deal to Congress, the rial started to fall again. It has lost almost half of its value against the dollar since last September. Many Iranians bought gold and foreign currency to hedge against the collapse of the nuclear deal, the return of sanctions and a fresh currency crash. It was reported that some $30 billion of capital left Iran in the first quarter of this year, mostly to neighboring countries and the Caucasus.

The ongoing conflict in Syria is also directly linked to the international position on Iran. The Iran–Iraq–Syria pipeline (called the Friendship Pipeline or the

Islamic Gas Pipeline) is a proposed means by which Iranian oil can be exported to the West. Russia and Syria made a deal for a Russian-backed pipeline, but this was challenged by the US, which wants its own pipeline project to go ahead. It’s one that would benefit the US more than any other nation. The American desire for oil is better understood when one realizes the US consumes about a third of the world’s oil production, a figure that’s not set to decline when President Trump’s antipathy toward renewable energy production is factored into the equation.

Add to this the Zionist (end of days) movement in Israel and among certain Christian evangelical supporters of President Trump, and you can see the current situation in the Middle East is only set to worsen. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the driving force behind Israel’s expansion of influence in the region and his nation’s long-time enmity with Iran, to the extent that Israeli forces recently launched air attacks on Iranian forces in Syria. The Pentagon admitted that Israel does have nuclear weapons. Given the Israeli tendency to attack any and all perceived threats to its existence – including an air strike against a suspected Iranian nuclear facility in Dier-ez-Zor, Iran on September 6, 2007 – it’s not very comforting to learn they have this option – the very option the West is trying to keep Iran from possessing.

On May 6, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited the US in an attempt to persuade President Trump not to abandon the treaty with Iran. Johnson left empty-handed the following day. His visit was part of a major diplomatic effort underway to save the treaty. France has condemned the re-imposition of sanctions as "unacceptable." French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe had to defend its "economic sovereignty." He asked:
"Do we want to be vassals deferring with a curtsy and a bow to decisions made by the US?"


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the West can no longer look to the United States for leadership. It is in extensive talks with other EU members, Britain and Russia to seek a way to circumvent President Trump’s decision. Foreign Ministers from Germany, France and Britain will meet on May 15 to discuss their countries’ options.

Of course, this isn’t the first occasion when the United States has interfered directly in Iranian affairs. In 1953 the CIA backed a coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, an outspoken advocate of nationalism who almost succeeded in deposing the Shah. The sheer number of American military bases that surrounds Iran gives a clear statement of the United Stares’ attitude toward the country.

In conclusion, President Trump is the latest in a long line of presidents seeking to secure oil resources, guarantee the security of the state of Israel, and combat threats to American interests in the Middle East. However, he has gone about matters in entirely the wrong way. His dangerous, indeed wanton breaking of an international treaty – something that is never done lightly – sends a clear message to the world: America can no longer be trusted.

President Trump is nothing more than a bull in the china shop where international diplomacy is concerned. His erratic behavior, his acting on a whim or at the behest of the more radical and venal of his followers, is a clear and present danger to world peace. He is already profoundly transforming international relations, well beyond promoting unilateralism at the expense of multilateralism. By unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump has demonstrated his contempt for international law, reversed half a century of American commitments and, in doing so, badly damaged his country’s credibility in the region.

Talks on the situation in the Korean Peninsula are due to begin later this year.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has already made considerable peace overtures towards his southern neighbor to the extent he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have declared the Korean War officially over after almost seventy years. Can anyone blame Kim Jong-un if he refuses to talk to the American president if that man shows he cannot be trusted?

It remains to be seen if the renewed onset of sanctions against Iran will lead to a trade war, let alone military conflict. Frantic diplomatic efforts might prevent such things happening, but the sands of time are running out.


Related Articles:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-44018068

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/09/609851278/trump-administration-orders-boeing-to-cancel-deal-with-iran

https://www.britannica.com/event/Iranian-Revolution-of-1978-1979


https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/21/595727058/israel-acknowledges-having-bombed-a-suspected-syrian-nuclear-reactor-in-2007


https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2012/04/2012417131242767298.html


BIO: Coast Watcher is troubled by current events and the present administration's recent actions. He says we all need to keep awake and stay informed and tell our neighbors who listen to mainstream media what's really happening in the world. They deserve to know the truth before the bombs drop.




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Another example from our morally bankrupt society--attacking our freedom of speech. Retired CIA agent Ray McGovern is brutalized for protesting the CIA use of torture at Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing. https://youtu.be/GTF07picnj8


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This fantastic video was taped live in Germany by AcTVism. A very informative program, Jill Stein's interview starts about 40 minutes in, but all three guests are worth watching. The Q & A with Jill and Abby in the last part is great, too. Share it widely. It gives insights into the corporate mainstream media that has vilified Jill and other alternative viewpoints such as those held by Abby and Glenn as independent journalists. It will open eyes clouded by the duopolistic silliness of Russiagate and other distractions of a morally bankrupt society.

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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. Any amount you can donate 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!


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From Movement for a People's Party:

Nick Brana has been arrested along with the Rev. William Barber II and 300 other protestors in a launch of the non-violent 40 days of moral action organized by the Poor People’s Campaign. 
The arrests occurred on the northeast Capitol lawn in Washington D.C. after the protestors, led by Barber and his PPC co-chair the Rev. Liz Theoharis, shut down Independence Avenue. The street was closed for 90 minutes before police moved in to arrest the peaceful demonstrators for obstructing the main thoroughfare.

The PPC organized a mass movement around the country - including simultaneous actions today at state capitols - to protest these horrendous statistics: Some 140 million people live in poverty when basic necessities are taken into account. And half of our nation’s children are poor. 

It is time to break the silence about America’s war on the poor! In one of the most prosperous nations on earth, it is time we say that everyone has a right to live!

Fifty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called for a Poor People’s Campaign to begin a “revolution of values” in America. MPP is an official partner with the PPC in reigniting that campaign by uniting thousands of people across the country to challenge systemic racism, poverty, militarism, ecological devastation and our nation’s distorted morality.

“We have to cry loud until hearts are changed...It’s time to cry loud with every bit of love. Somebody’s hurting our people, and we won’t be silent anymore.” ~ Rev. William Barber, May 13, Washington D.C. 

Watch here for live updates: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/live/

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Stick With Love (#StrikeOutHate)

Stick With Love 
(#StrikeOutHate)
by C.A. Matthews
protest photos by Adrian J. Matthews

This past week, a group of  Toledo area activists took to the streets across from a neighborhood bowling alley with one mission in mind: #StrikeOutHate 

The owner of the bowling alley had a history of posting racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic comments on his business' Facebook page and Twitter account. He had been repeatedly called out for his hateful behavior, but he refused to stop the postings. He eventually went as far as to accost a woman wearing a hijab in retaliation for what he felt were Muslims following him in a shopping mall.

Area activists decided enough was enough and a demonstration was planned. It was delayed by one week after the bowling alley owner was interviewed in the newspaper and on local TV news. He claimed he was "sorry" for saying what he said, but he did not apologize to the victims of his hateful postings. He even went on to use further racial slurs in his remarks. A multi-faith council asked to speak with the bowling alley owner and his wife and their faith leader to see if the situation could be resolved positively, but he declined. 


With business dropping off, his Facebook page shut down, and the public and press looking more closely into the bowling alley owner's hateful actions, the owner and his wife said they'd be willing to speak to only one faith leader from the community he wronged. The #StrikeOutHate demonstration was postponed for one week in hopes a full apology was forthcoming. Alas, it was not.

The evening of the demonstration was sunny and windy, but the activists were
strong in their convictions and strong in voice. The vast majority of traffic passing by the bowling alley and the demonstrators honked and gave thumbs up when they saw the signs and heard the chants. Many in the neighborhood had earlier expressed dismay and anguish that such an individual was allowed to operate a business in their ethnically diverse area. What did it say about their community?

Police cars were plentiful just in case of retaliation by white supremacists who had issued death threats and trolled some of the organizers' social media pages. At the start of the event, four individuals wearing mostly black were seen standing diagonally across the street from the protest. They glared sullenly for about fifteen minutes--one of their group carrying a hockey stick--but eventually they walked away. It's telling that white supremacists are rather timid creatures who slink away when it becomes apparent the rest of the neighborhood doesn't approve of racists or racism and death threats.

In this season of re-birth, it is fitting a revival of Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor People Campaign is  now underway. Fifty years on, the same evils King fought against--racism, militarism, poverty--are still with us, more prolific and onerous than ever before. In 1968 (the year of King's assassination) there were 40 million Americans of all colors living in poverty. Today there are over 140 million poor Americans. The campaign labels itself as a "National Call for Moral Revival," and it is seen as a continuation of the campaign King had planned before his death.



Dr. King saw the interlocking nature of poverty, ecological destruction, systemic racism and militarism. It is impossible to get rid of one of these ills without ridding ourselves of the others. King and many others realized that America's problems were not caused by a scarcity of wealth, rather they are caused by a "scarcity of will." The campaign's six week agenda begins the week after Mother's Day and will focus on key issues in a "season of moral resistance" that isn't so much about "left or right, but right and wrong."

Week 1 will focus on children, women and the disabled in poverty. Week 2 considers the connection of systemic racism and poverty, voting rights and attacks on immigrants. Week 3 features Memorial Day, and so it will focus on veterans' issues. Week 4 will look at ecological devastation and how it affects the poor, as well as the right for all to have access to health care. Week 5 covers the topics of wages, guaranteed income, housing issues and social services. Week 6 concludes the campaign with a discussion of America's "distorted moral narrative."

More information about local and statehouse rallies, teach-ins, and cultural events will be posted online at the Poor People's Campaign web site for your state. The national website is https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/


As the #StrikeOutHate activists understand, our society's problems don't go away simply by us refusing to face them head on. We all need to challenge the status quo. We must expose discriminatory practices and business people such as the bowling alley owner who thinks attacking women wearing head scarves is a good thing and leaving racist/homophobic/Islamophobic/misogynistic comments online is entertaining and not hurtful. We must model the justice and compassion we wish to see in the world. Only by standing up to hate and sticking with love can we ever hope to bring about the future Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life fighting for.


Join one of the first statehouse rallies in Columbus, Ohio:


More about the #StrikeOutHate protest (and how some in the local media seemed more worried  about the owner's lost business than in human rights):

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2018/04/24/Twin-Oaks-Lanes-owner-draws-fire-for-anti-Muslim-comments.html

http://www.13abc.com/content/news/Toledo-businessowner-in-hot-water-after-Facebook-posts--480764511.html

http://www.wtol.com/story/38034128/west-toledo-business-owner-receives-backlash-for-past-derogatory-social-media-posts-towards-muslims

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As the Poor People's Campaign points out, ecological devastation affects the poor first and foremost. Oil pipelines that leak and threaten water supplies is one such issue that needs calling out. A new protest song epitomizes how First Nations People of Canada have taken on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Listen to the lyrics to "We Don't Want Your Pipeline" and sing it at your next protest.
https://youtu.be/2bKxATTtVaM 

Jordan Chariton interviews anti-pipeline activists, mother and daughter Red and Minor Terry. Keep a tissue handy while listening to their harrowing story of what's happening to their ancestral home in Virginia. Corporations and governments simply don't care about your health, your civil rights or your  land when they believe there's money to be made exporting fracked natural gas overseas. They'll  destroy pristine woodlands and archeological finds, and then sell you bottled drinking water after they've polluted your well.
https://youtu.be/BPnJsMMIi5M

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Our net neutrality could be under attack this week.  Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to join the battle 
by sending an email to your representatives.

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We have just one week until our 40 Days of Nonviolent Direct Action begin and we need to be ready. 

With thousands of supporters poised for action at dozens of locations around the country as part of our growing moral fusion movement, we have to be prepared for everything. 

That’s why we created the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Legal Defense Fund—to ensure the rights of those on the front lines in the fight to reclaim our nation’s soul are protected. 

Donate to the fund today to make sure everyone joining our fight on May 14 and beyond has the legal support they need.
 
Poor and disenfranchised people, clergy and advocates will be protesting at more than 30 statehouses across the country, hosting teach-ins and demanding policies that lift up the 140 million Americans living in poverty. This isn’t about left and right, it’s about right and wrong. 

This fund and those who contribute to it are our last line of defense and a vital part of our movement.


Support the nonviolent direct action at the heart of our call for a moral revival in this country. Contribute now.
 
Thank you for everything you do,
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival


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From Credo:

With average payday loan interest rates as high as 338 percent and check-cashing shops charging exploitative fees, more struggling Americans get trapped in inescapable cycles of debt every single year.1

It's no accident: It's the deliberate strategy of Wall Street-backed lenders that vacuum billions of dollars out of low-income communities every year.2 To break the grip of the predatory financial industry we need tough enforcers, strict rules – and a public option like postal banking to serve as a low-cost alternative.

Progressive champions like Sen. Elizabeth Warren have championed postal banking for years and pushed the U.S. Postal Service to use its existing authority to launch pilot programs. Now, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has expanded the fight by introducing new postal banking legislation.3

Tell Congress: Postal banking, not payday lending. Click here to sign the petition.

The dirty secret of the payday lending industry is that there is no money in people repaying their loans on time. The key to the whole profit-making engine, the one that makes lenders’ Wall Street backers rich, is tricking people into taking out a loan and then locking them into months or years of debt. Charging hidden fees and demanding sky-high interest rates, payday lenders are little more than legal loan sharks.4

A full postal banking system would offer a low-cost alternative to the most predatory companies. Low-income neighborhoods often lack commercial bank branches, and many struggling families without access to mainstream banks have little choice but to turn to check cashers and payday lenders. Postal banking would offer basic services like check cashing, savings accounts and cheap loans so that one unexpected expense doesn't trap someone in debt for life.5

The USPS has done this before, from 1917 until 1967. In 1947, the post office held nearly 10 percent of commercial savings in the United States.6 The USPS can do a lot to bring back postal banking on its own and many progressive allies have been pushing for just that. Sen. Gillibrand's new bill adds to those efforts by putting postal banking back on the agenda in a big way.

Tell Congress: Postal banking, not payday lending. Click here to sign the petition.

Some have looked to postal banking as a way to increase revenue for the USPS. But Sen. Gillibrand's bill focuses solely on providing an alternative to payday lenders, thus helping the most vulnerable Americans. The reality is that the USPS's supposed budget woes stem from a deliberate right-wing attempt to sabotage a vital government service by mandating that the agency pre-fund its retiree health care and pension benefits for 75 years – something that no other government agency or private company is forced to do.7

Sen. Gillibrand's bill keeps the attention where it belongs: keeping low-income Americans out of the clutches of a predatory financial industry that wants to trap them into debt and exploit them for all they are worth. Postal banking is an idea whose time has come again, and a big show of support for this bill will provide momentum to every effort to make it real.

Tell Congress: Postal banking, not payday lending. Click below to sign the petition:
https://act.credoaction.com/sign/postal_banking_payday?t=8&akid=28419%2E9999572%2EPYJ39d

Thank you for speaking out,
Josh Nelson, Co-Director CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►
References:

  1. David Dayen, “The Government is Finally Cracking Down on Legal Loan Sharks,” Fiscal Times, March 27, 2015.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Alan Pyke, "Gillibrand’s post office banking bill bypasses years of careful, quiet work to kill payday lending," ThinkProgress, April 27, 2018.
  4. Dayen, “The Government is Finally Cracking Down on Legal Loan Sharks.”
  5. Pyke, "Gillibrand’s post office banking bill bypasses years of careful, quiet work to kill payday lending."
  6. Campaign for Postal Banking, "Know the Facts: Is Postal Banking a New Idea?" accessed May 1, 2018.
  7. Pyke, "Gillibrand’s post office banking bill bypasses years of careful, quiet work to kill payday lending."
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From Sierra Club:

This year's House Farm Bill is an absolute disaster and it must be stopped. Replete with partisan, anti-environmental provisions, the 2018 House Farm Bill represents Big Ag and pesticide companies over our food supply, wildlife, ecosystem, public health and small farmers -- we need to do everything we can to stop it.


What kind of a Farm Bill cuts programs to develop farmer's markets and undermines sustainable farming? It offers subsidies and tax breaks to big corporations while failing our small family farmers, including those who are historically disadvantaged or veterans. It shrinks programs proven to promote soil health and fight climate change, while raising costs for organic farmers.

This bill continues to support big Caged Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and strikes state rights to set their own food and animal standards, such as pesticide bans or cage-free egg requirements. It even dares to cut safety net programs for low-income residents, exacerbating hunger and food insecurity.

Please urge your House representative to vote down this dangerous bill now.

The House bill weakens critical protections to keep wildlife safe from toxic pesticides and unbelievably, seeks to exempt pesticide manufacturers from any liability for harming endangered wildlife. It even proposes a new office to advocate for the use of genetically engineered organisms around the world. This Farm Bill would log its way through our forests, gut water conservation programs and make it easier for corporate polluters to contaminate drinking water.


The public deserves safe and healthy food, water, wildlife and forests and the House needs to put the greater good before Big Ag's toxic agenda.

Sincerely,
Jordan Giaconia
Federal Policy Associate for Defense
Sierra Club