Tuesday, October 15, 2019

No Such Thing As A Quick Fix

No Such Thing As A Quick Fix
by Redd Phlagg

It's amazing how quickly people forget that Rome wasn't built in a day. It's astonishing how little patience some have when faced with the reality that difficult, complicated problems aren't solvable by simply wishing them so. It's awful how downright lazy folks can act when told the Revolution won't happen without their blood, sweat and tears.

Everybody wants a quick fix to our lack of democracy and our dying planet. I'm here to tell you the bad news: There ain't no such thing as a quick fix. Why would anyone assume there was since this mess took some time to come together in the first place?
But you wouldn't believe the naysayers and the bellyachers!  They're playing right into the trolls' hands.  They're saying things like "any blue will  do" like it's a mystical incantation that will somehow make everything all right. Why would installing yet another corporate tool to high office magically fix income inequality?  They're just as liable to give tax breaks to the rich and screw us peons over just as the orange baboon in the White House does.

 Already I'm receiving emails telling me that I must plead with Democratic presidential candidates to accept Medicare For All and to vote for impeachment. We must beg them not to support the Atlantic Pipeline and to not repeat "Republican talking points" during their debates. Okay, you tell me how are these "any blue" people different from the ones in power you're currently railing against? How is putting wolves in sheep's clothing going to make them go "baa-baa"?

 Wake up and smell the sheep dip! They're one and the same. We can't expect them to be our saviors. They're only in it for their saving accounts. It's time we became our own heroes and start cleaning up their mess. 

"It's a big club--and you ain't in it," said the great philosopher and comic George Carlin. Yep, you sure ain't going to be invited to hang out with a former president and war criminal unless you're a well-to-do neoliberal who made lots of money during his administration. Right, Ellen?

While the elites all scratch each others' backsides and take an even larger part of the workers' pie, the forests burn, the oceans churn, and thousands of cities suffer from tainted drinking water.  And yet I still see solo working class slobs in gas-guzzling SUVs idling in drive-thru lines while buying feedlot produced cheeseburgers wrapped in paper that depletes our forests and plastic that poisons our whales, dolphins and other aquatic creatures. 

What--you actually thought you were going to keep your wannabe one-percent lifestyle and still enjoy a healthy environment? Hate to break it to you, but there ain't no Tooth Fairy neither. We're going to have to give up the plastic straws and the fossil fuel frenzied Ford Explorers. We're going to have to follow folks like Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion and take it to the streets to overturn the oligarchs that are bent on destroying our world in order to line their pockets.

Watch what the environmental protesters have been up to recently. (You won't see this footage on mainstream TV without a negative commentary attached.)

Does this look easy to you? Does this look like going to the polls and blindly voting for "any blue" in hopes he/she/it will make everything better overnight? Does throwing criminals like Trump in jail actually sequester carbon from the atmosphere and solve our growing climate crisis? Raise our wages? Provide universal health care for all Americans?

If you didn't say "no" to all of those questions, there's no hope for you. You're brain dead. For the rest, remember: There's no such thing as a quick fix! (Your instructions on how to proceed are in the memes below.)
BIO: Redd Phlagg resents the fact that so many Americans in particular act like they don't give a sh*t about the rest of the world--or even their own backyard. It's time those folks stand aside and let those who do care rescue our planet before it's too late. You can thank us later (if you're still breathing, that is). Power to ALL the people!

Not many have heard of this very unique independent candidate running for the presidency. Watch Mark's announcement video to see where he stands on many issues. Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day!

Find out whose land you're living on here:  https://native-land.ca/ 

From Friends of the Earth:
Polar Bears and Porcupine Caribou need your help! Trump’s Bureau of Land Management wants to open the entire 20 million acres of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for Big Oil to drill.

This plan is bad for climate, bad for Arctic wildlife, and bad for local communities. It would push endangered species closer to extinction, including the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which the Gwich’in people have relied on for millennia.

The good news: The proposal isn’t finalized. If we flood the BLM with public comments opposing the agency’s plan to open the refuge for drilling, we can convince it to change course. But we need you with us, C.A.!

As one of the last pristine ecosystems in the country, the Arctic Refuge should be protected, not opened for Big Oil development. But Trump’s BLM doesn’t care. It only cares about bending to the will of Big Oil companies like Chevron -- the main corporation pushing to drill in the Arctic.

It seems the goal of the BLM is to be as cozy with Big Oil and Gas as possible. This summer the agency announced plans to close its office in Washington D.C. and relocate to an office building also occupied by Chevron. The BLM can’t get in bed with Big Oil, so it’s moving right next door. Now, the agency meant to protect us and stand up for our public lands will be rubbing elbows and making coffee with dirty fuel corporations and their cronies.  

The Trump Administration isn’t even trying to hide its corrupt connections to the oil industry. So it’s up to us to hold the BLM accountable for protecting our public lands and wild places. To stop Trump’s destructive agenda, the BLM needs to feel the outcry of opposition to drilling in the Arctic.

We know how drilling in this region would end. It would cause irreversible damage to this fragile and pristine ecosystem as well as the communities that inhabit it.

The land that’s under threat is the calving and post-calving ground for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and the Gwich’in consider it to be “the sacred place where life begins.”

But instead of fully considering the destructive impacts of the proposed plan, the Trump Administration is barreling ahead. This administration will try anything to give Big Oil a handout.

Therefore, protecting the Arctic Refuge is up to engaged environmentalists like you and me. With your help, we can pressure the BLM to change course and protect these lands rather than selling them off. But we must act fast!

Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuel program manager,
Friends of the Earth

Chocolate Scorecard
Check out the Scorecard!
With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll want to celebrate with chocolate that’s not tainted with child labor. We have updated our Chocolate Scorecard with new companies that support farmers and their kids, and an exciting addition – we are now including company’s efforts to combat deforestation.
On top of a child labor problem, the cocoa industry has had a huge negative impact on forests. In the Ivory Coast and Ghana, 90% of their forests have been lost and the cocoa industry is a big driver of that deforestation.
Even after nearly two decades of company commitments, there are still an estimated 2 million children involved in child labor in the cocoa industry. That means 2 million children are helping to make our Halloween candy, rather than enjoying their childhoods.
These are not children helping on the family farm part-time. These are children who are working full time, day after day, in the fields. Some of them are doing dangerous work, and some are trafficked from other countries and are forced to work for little or no money.
Unfortunately, there are no surprises in this year’s scorecard. The big brands are still falling short. Again, Godiva was at the very bottom of the list: Join us in telling Godiva to step up their commitments to ending child labor!
While ending child labor in the cocoa industry will take time, you can help by avoiding brands like Godiva, and purchase chocolate from some of the A-rated brands.
Find out where you can buy chocolate from brands like Divine and Equal Exchange, so that your chocolate is both delicious and good for cocoa farmers!
Thank you for your continued support,
Charlotte Tate
Labor Justice Campaigns Manager
Green America 

From Friends of the Earth Action:
School meals are the primary source of nutrition for many children from coast to coast. And our kids deserve food that’s both healthy and environmentally friendly. 
But many families struggle to afford lunch. And when they can’t, children are sometimes shamed via wristbands, hand stamps or having to return their meals.
The good news: Rep. Ilhan Omar and Sen. Tina Smith have introduced a bill that would help ensure every child is treated with dignity at school lunch. Ensuring every child eats is a nonpartisan issue, but your legislators will only act if they feel pressure from constituents like you!
Student lunch debt may seem minor, but the problem is widespread. More than 75% of school districts nationwide reported children with lunch debt in the previous school year -- and this issue can drastically burden working-class families.
In a Pennsylvania school district, several parents were sent letters threatening to take away their children if the parents did not pay off their kids’ lunch debts. In a New Hampshire school cafeteria, a worker was fired for providing food to a student who had $8 in lunch debt. And in several troubling cases across the country, lunch debt prevented high school seniors from graduating.
The question of whether a child has access to healthy food at school should never depend on a family's income. And no student should be stigmatized because they can’t pay for lunch. 
From Washington D.C. to California, we’ve been fighting to ensure every child has access to healthy, climate-friendly school meals in their cafeterias. But we can’t stop until every child -- and their family -- can enjoy that food without worrying about being shamed over their financial situation.
Even if the cafeteria provides healthy, climate-friendly food, there are millions of children who won’t eat because they can’t afford to do so. 
The No Shame at School Act takes important steps to protect primarily low-income families from school lunch debt shaming. This is a key step toward a healthier and more just food system.
No family wants their child to go hungry or feel shame about being in school food debt. Now is the time for our lawmakers to support their constituents and get this important legislation passed. But Congress will only act if it feels pressure from constituents like you, C.A.!
Standing with you,
Chloe Waterman,
Climate-friendly food program manager,
Friends of the Earth Action

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Why Impeachment Doesn't Matter

Why Impeachment Doesn't Matter
by C.A. Matthews

There are no surprises coming from the lips of the mainstream media pundits. As soon as the vacuum left after their endless bleating of "Russia! Russia!" became an uncomfortable silence (even noticeable by their fans), these corporate mouthpieces started grasping at the brass ring of Trump's impeachment. It's all a game of smoke and mirrors, a distraction from the true crime being committed against the American people--namely the crime that it doesn't matter who is ultimately in charge in a corrupt system. For in a corrupt system the leader will be corrupt (or quickly corrupted) and their replacement(s) will be equally corruptible.

In other words, replacing a sociopathic president like Trump within the current capitalist system--a system that rewards sociopathy with more money and power--with a substitute of equal stature isn't going to bring about a utopia where peace, justice and harmony among all peoples prevail. It simply brings more of the same. How could it do otherwise?

I hear you saying, "Hey, but what if we replace Trump with an actual 'good person' and not another narcissist? Won't things improve then?" To paraphrase from the Bible: You can't pour new wine into old wineskins and not expect them to burst.

What does this mean? It means that the whole corrupt system that caters to the corporations and the mega-super-uber-wealthy will collapse if a truly honest and noble leader takes control. It means Revolution. The new wine or leadership will explode the old container--or corrupt system--and it will make quite a mess and things will get rather ugly before things settle down and look better.

A moral individual who takes office cannot survive and cannot lead for long unless our current immoral system of government is done away with once and for all. They just can't. Think about it: Even a world-renown Indy car racer can't win a race in a clapped-out junker, can they? Both the driver and the vehicle need to be capable of winning. It can't be just one or the other.

Any attempt to replace our current driver--or president--with another who isn't at the beck and call of the corporate elites (who essentially run our country) will be met with force in the guise of our own local and state policing agencies and the military. Take for example Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The "crime" of the people was their "unreasonable demand" for a safe, clean water supply. The Big Oil Corporations and the Pipeline Builders had our corrupt federal, state and local governments respond with brute force courtesy of local policing agencies (sheriffs, state cops, highway patrol) along with other states' policing agencies brought in for the occasion, as well as the National Guard. Tear gas and rubber bullets are excellent examples of the "democratic process" that our corrupt system uses. 

Were you thinking of the "ballot box"? Sorry to wake you, but that device hasn't worked in years.

The corrupt system of American governance only allows those who are corrupt to use it in the manner in which it was designed. A different outcome isn't possible. Think hard: Obama's administration bombed civilians and used drone warfare in the Middle East, allowed the oil pipelines and fracking to destroy our environment, and actually had the cages that currently cage immigrant children taken from their families at the border built in the first place. The profit motive trumps the people's welfare every time. Capitalism simply changes its leader's name every four to eight years.

In the end, impeachment is simply political street theater created to distract us from the true evil of the Trump administration--or of any US administration. Impeachment is tossed out there from time to time to cover up the fact that our corrupt system exists in the first place, and we've done nothing to destroy and replace it with something that is actually democratic, just and compassionate. 

For more on Trump's possible impeachment and the real reasoning behind it, watch this video from Lee Camp.


From UltraViolet:
BREAKING: This is it, the end of safe and legal abortion--unless we act now.1

The Supreme Court will consider a clinic shutdown law that would wipe out abortion access in Louisiana--and allow other states to do the same.2 

Roe v. Wade is hanging by a thread, and we need all hands on deck.

The Supreme Court has decided to consider June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, a case concerning TRAP laws (targeted restrictions on abortion providers)--regulations written solely to shut down clinics.3 Despite the fact that the court ruled against TRAP laws in 2016, they're taking up the issue again--now with Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the bench.

If the court reverses its previous decision and allows this Louisiana law to go into effect, it will give anti-abortion politicians a roadmap for shutting down virtually all safe abortion providers in many states.

TRAP laws are just backdoor ways to stop women from getting the abortion care they need. These laws include everything from determining how wide hallways need to be to forcing clinics to have medically unnecessary surgical suites.

One of the most common and onerous TRAP laws--and the one under review again at the Supreme Court--requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. But abortion is such a safe procedure that doctors can go their entire careers without admitting a patient--which prevents them from obtaining admitting privileges.4

So what has changed since 2016? Not clinics, nor the safety of abortion care--just the makeup of the Supreme Court. Anti-choicers have their man in Brett Kavanaugh to achieve their biggest dream: denying people the respect, dignity, and autonomy to decide when or if they will become parents.

And the Supreme Court is now giving Kavanaugh the chance to overturn its previous decision and allow states to establish TRAP laws that will, essentially, shut down abortion services entirely. 

Once that happens, we won't be able to depend on Roe any longer. That's why we need to ramp up our campaign to stop abortion bans and TRAP laws at the state level right now.

Thank you for joining in.

--Shaunna, Kat, Kathy, Anathea, Melody, Lindsay, Pam, Sonja, and Kimberly, the UltraViolet Action team


3. What are TRAP Laws? Planned Parenthood Action Fund, accessed October 7, 2019


From Fight for the Future:

State net neutrality bills have been introduced in at least 34 states by both Democrats and Republicans.2

In fact, California's net neutrality bill is one of the strongest net neutrality laws we've ever seen—even stronger than the rules repealed by Pai.3 But Pai's repeal of net neutrality said that states weren't allowed to institute rules on their own—so all these bills were thrown out or blocked. 

But now that the courts have overruled the FCC's ban on state action, strong net neutrality laws like California's gold-standard net neutrality bill are back on the table. 

If we can get 10 or more states to adopt laws similar to California's, the ISPs will eventually have to treat all of us like they treat those states. Just imagine them trying to apply one set of rules to half the country and another set of rules for the rest of us. 

With the courts upholding the repeal of nationwide net neutrality rules, we must take the fight to the states. But running a state-by-state campaign is a huge undertaking. We'll need funds to hire local organizers, run billboards and newspaper ads, send mass text messages, organize protests and petition deliveries, and more. 

And Big Cable will be fighting us every step of the way. They spent millions trying to stop net neutrality in California—but we fought them and we won. If we can raise the funds we need, we can beat them again in more states. 


For the Internet,

Evan at Fight for the Future


From Friends of the Earth:
Soon our wild places and communities could be overrun with millions of experimental GMO mosquitoes. 
GMO mosquitoes pose risks to human health and could disrupt fragile ecosystems in unpredictable ways. 
Trump’s EPA is considering allowing the release of millions of GMO mosquitoes in Florida and Texas. The EPA could stop this dangerous experiment, but it’s ignoring scientists’ warnings about likely impacts on our health and environment, and is keeping the public in the dark about the details. We need your help to stop this reckless experiment, C.A.! 
The genetic engineering corporation that created GMO mosquitoes -- Oxitec -- is a subsidiary of Intrexon, the same company that owns GMO apples and is a major investor in GMO salmon. The company wants us to believe these mosquitoes will help reduce the spread of diseases like zika and dengue by reducing mosquito populations, but the data shows that they don’t reduce population sizes. In fact, new research shows that in some places where GMO mosquitoes were released, the mosquito populations actually increased. 
The Center for Disease Control even noted that Oxitec’s trials are not set up to test for disease reduction -- making them totally pointless!
Moreover, scientists have found that GMO mosquitoes can breed with wild mosquitoes, creating hybrid mosquitoes that may spread more viruses and be more resistant to insecticides. In other words, GMO mosquitoes could make public health problems even worse. 
Trump’s EPA wants the American public to take Oxitec’s word that their GMO insects are safe, without any independent assessment. The EPA must protect us from the potentially devastating threats GMO mosquitoes pose -- especially when there hasn’t even been adequate research. 
Once millions of these mosquitoes are released into the environment, they cannot be “recalled.” And despite Oxitec’s claims that its GMO mosquitoes could help end devastating diseases, there is not a clear case to demonstrate this outcome. 
Oxitec doesn’t want you to know that there are promising and less costly alternatives to addressing mosquito-borne diseases with far fewer risks. It just wants to secure public dollars for its potentially disastrous experiment .
Our environment and our communities should not be a testing ground for risky new GMOs. We shouldn’t wait until after GMO mosquitoes are released to figure out the risks. With your help, C.A., we can stop these experimental mosquitoes before they are released from labs into our environment. 
Standing with you,
Dana Perls
Senior food and technology campaigner
Friends of the Earth, U.S.

From Restore the Fourth:

This is a critical moment to shut down one of the worst parts of the Patriot Act and stop Trump, or his successors, from conducting unlawful, intrusive, and racist government surveillance.

Section 215 is a provision of the Patriot Act that allows the government to collect an astonishing amount of our personal information - we still don't even know exactly how much -  without ever needing a warrant or suspicion of a crime. Passed after 9/11, Section 215 has never prevent a single terrorist attack. Snowden showed that this provision was being used to spy on essentially all Americans by collecting records of whom you call and who calls you (also known as "metadata").

Millions of people have been spied on under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but we're not all being surveilled equally. The government wrongfully spies on communities of color and immigrants more than others. For example, the FBI's recent designation of "Black Identity Extremists" as domestic terrorists has allowed the Trump administration to justify spying on Black Lives Matter activists. People who communicate with family and friends overseas are particularly exposed, which feeds the oppression immigrants and Muslim communities experience in this country. Despite all this surveillance, NSA itself now says they have suspended the program and that it's not effective at thwarting terrorism - so what does the President still want it for?

We cannot let Trump, or anybody else, have the legal authority to conduct this surveillance.

Sponsored by: Demand Progress, Watchdog.net, Win Without War, Daily Kos, RootsAction.org, Restore The Fourth, Free Press Action Fund, Defending Rights & Dissent (DRAD), MPower Change, Fight for the Future, New York Communities for Change (NYCC), Progress America, The Other 98%, MediaJustice, Color of Change, Just Foreign Policy, Media Mobilizing Project, and Common Dreams.