Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Young People With A Vote

We start out with a piece from our resident historian 
on the Second Amendment...

A Bit of History on the Second Amendment
by Coast Watcher

Yet again we see the sad spectacle of the NRA and its supporters trying to defend the indefensible. They claim their right to bear arms is more important than the life of a child. They claim this right includes ownership of military-grade weaponry such as the AR-15, a "civilian" derivative of the M-16 military issue assault rifle. As we all know, the AR-15 was the weapon used to gun down the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. It has also featured in many other school shootings.

The primary argument of those wanting gun control legislation is not against the principle of owning firearms such as handguns, hunting rifles, and sports shooting rifles. It’s against the prevalence of military-grade weaponry in civilian hands where it has no business to be.

We have to go back to the time when the Constitution was written, the late eighteenth century. At the time the Founding Fathers were working on the drafting of the document and the Amendments, the most powerful portable
military weapon was the 12-pounder cannon, similar to the one above. It required six horses and a crew of fifteen to move and serve the gun. Firing a 12 lb. roundshot or a canister full of musket balls, it would have had the same effect on a crowd as someone using an AR-15 – the so-called "civilian" version of the Stoner Arms M-16 used by the US and other military forces.

I'm pretty sure the Founding Fathers would have kept these cannon secure in an artillery park where it would have been used exclusively by the military, not civilians, especially if there was the prospect of some maniac using it against a school. I’m certain they would not have phrased the Second Amendment the way they did if they could have foreseen the future. Are those who cry that military weapons should be in civilian hands saying the Founding Fathers would have been okay with a person walking into a school and shooting dead dozens of kids? If so, they really are trying to defend the indefensible.

Those same ammosexuals also claim they need their guns to overthrow the government if needed. Okay, let’s run with that idea in a hypothetical scenario.

Let’s say that one day Bubba Sixpack and his buddies decide they want to overthrow the United States government. They load their guns and ammo aboard their pick-up trucks and head off down the interstate to Washington DC, country rock blasting from their stereos.

They won’t see or hear the drone orbiting on a racetrack pattern 40,000 feet overhead. They won’t see or hear the Hellfire anti-tank missiles leave the drone’s launch rails. They will see a bright flash and might hear the explosion as those missiles turn their trucks, guns, ammunition – and themselves – into so much junk.

Because governments have Armies. They have Navies. They have Air Forces. They have Marines. They have all the special forces that public funds can pay for. Bubba Sixpack and his treasonous buddies may think they can take on professional military personnel on a one-to-one basis, but they’d be wasting their time and their lives.

The Founding Fathers ordered the amendments the way they did for a reason. They held the right to freedom of speech – the First Amendment – to be paramount, superior to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Only through public pressure, through marches, rallies and other peaceful protest as guaranteed by the First Amendment can something be done about the slaughter in our schools. 

Related article--AR-15: America's rifle or illegitimate killing machine?

Bio: Coast Watcher studies history and current politics. He eagerly points out the inconsistencies in the mainstream media narrative and the gun lobby's propaganda. Down with the military-industrial complex!
Young People with a Vote
Photos by Adrian Matthews
Words by C.A. Matthews
The Toledo March for Our Lives was a great success in spite of cool and windy conditions. Approximately two thousand rallied in Promenade Park.  The YWCA I-Rise coalition sponsored the event, but the students were the leaders.

Signs and chants demonstrated the crowd's frustrations with the growing epidemic of gun violence. "Books not bullets" declared signage carried by many educators, prompting the question of why politicians think spending money to arm teachers is a better use of taxpayers' dollars rather than giving teachers and their classrooms the educational resources they truly need.

The youth gave impassioned speeches on the topic of school safety and gun violence. Speakers didn't stop  at just mass shootings in American schools. The very real specter of being gunned down in the streets simply for being the wrong person (read: color) in the wrong place at the wrong time was mentioned, and Toledo is no exception. Eight Toledo youths lost their lives to gun violence in 2017. They provided rational arguments for commonsense gun laws that protect everyone from harm, including those who feel they must own a weapon. The idea of throwing more firearms into the conflagration that is  our modern society and expecting less deaths makes no sense.

Voter registration was offered during the rally. Attendees were encouraged to vote in the mid-term elections and vote out all under the control of the NRA. If young adults register to vote and turn out at the polls, their numbers will make a significant impact. Things will change.

A short parade through the windy downtown streets from Promenade Park to 1 Government Center garnered  honks and thumbs up from passersby. There was little evidence of opposing viewpoints. (One possibly dissenting person held a hastily scribbled sign equating the current opioid epidemic with infringement of the Second Amendment. It was unclear what connection the individual was trying to make.) A short presentation in the plaza in front of city hall ended the day.
March for Our Lives was a worldwide phenomenon with millions of participants. Millions of motivated activists working toward a safer, saner future for all.

Related articles on  Gun Control and the Marchers:

From Rep. Tulsi Gabbard:
The Gun Control Debate: What Debate?

How to Join the Movement to End Gun Violence this Weekend and Beyond:

Drain the NRA (Find out how much your elected representatives have taken from the gun lobby):

The School Shooting Generation Has Had Enough--How Parkland Teens Are Leading:

We are so incredibly grateful for you and the hundreds of thousands of people who came out out Saturday to raise their voices.

You showed up, but our fight isn’t over – action is still needed.

When it comes to ending gun violence, we have two extremely powerful mechanisms for change — our voice and our vote. You sent a commanding message to Congress, with the determination to get results. It starts with registering to vote – which only takes an average of two minutes or less to complete.

Don’t wait -- click here to get registered to vote.

This is the best chance we have to save lives. Thank you for being a part of this with us -- we couldn’t do it without you!
March For Our Lives Team


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Power to the people!

From Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Late last month, the Koch Brothers and their network committed to spend up to $400 million on the 2018 election as a thank you for the Republican Party's tax cuts for the rich, and "to change the trajectory of this country."

Given this news, I thought it was an appropriate time to ask the question that the media and most politicians won't ask: Who are the Koch brothers, what do they want and what are some actions we can take to stop them?

As you may know, the Koch brothers are the extreme right-wing "libertarian" family. They are the third wealthiest family in the country - worth some $120 billion. They also, unbelievably, have more political power than either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. As this country slides into oligarchy and, as a result of Citizens United, we see one family not only making huge campaign contributions, but establishing think tanks, appointing university chairs and creating a number of organizations in almost every sphere of American political life. Their goal: make the very rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

Not only did they help pass the Republican tax bill - which will provide them with about a billion dollars a year in tax breaks - they are also working aggressively to move toward the privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare and public education. In fact, they want to repeal virtually every piece of major legislation passed since the 1930s designed to protect the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor and the environment.

Now, it's hard for me to understand how you could have almost $100 billion and feel the desperate need to lower your taxes, or to take from those who are struggling, so you can have even more. I would think that with that much money you just might be able to get by. But given the news of their projected campaign spending, it doesn't appear that they are satisfied. Their greed demands more, more and more. They never stop.

What the Koch brothers and their friends want is to spread their unique vision of "freedom" in America. They want to dismember government so as to give Americans the "freedom" to live in poverty working for $3 or $4 an hour without health care, without child care, without a pension, without the ability to afford to send their kids to college and without any hope that their children will have a higher standard of living than they do.

They also want to end - not cut - but end, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. One of the Koch brothers even once ran for president on a platform of "the eventual repeal of all taxation."

Now, this isn't personal for me. I don't know the Koch brothers, but I do know this: the Koch brothers and billionaires like them have bought up the private sector and are now well on their way to buying up the government. And I can assure you, sisters and brothers, they aren't spending that money with the interests of working families, women and seniors in mind - they are doing it to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer. 

Let's be clear: Money dominates everything that goes on in Congress. Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the coal and oil companies, agribusiness and the rest of corporate America spend billions every year not just on campaign contributions, but also on lobbying. That is why we have a government that represents the 1 percent, and ignores the needs of almost everyone else.

Do you want to know why we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and why there are no regulations preventing the drug companies from selling their products for any price they want? It might have something to do with the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most politically powerful industries in the country and spends endless amounts of money on lobbying and campaign contributions.

In Washington, you get what you pay for, and the result is that the desires of the rich and powerful are well-attended to. The pain of working families is ignored.

This is the rigged economy held in place by a corrupt system of campaign finance that we talked about on our campaign. And it is just as important to take it on today as it was in 2015 and 2016. 

If we are serious about creating jobs, gun safety, about climate change and the needs of our children and the elderly, we must be deadly serious about campaign finance reform. And Congress must know you are committed to this fight:

The Koch brothers understand the importance of politics. Meanwhile, people who work for low wages, have no health insurance and live in inadequate housing don't see a connection between the reality of their lives and what government does or does not do.

Showing people that connection is a very big part of what a true progressive movement has to do, because it is impossible to bring about real social change in this country if people are not involved in the political process.

Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.

Our job is not to think small in this pivotal moment in American history.

We must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. We need legislation that requires wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. And more importantly, we need to move towards the public funding of elections.

The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans - regardless of their political point of view - who wish to preserve the essence of the longest-standing democracy in the world, a government that is supposed to represent all of the people and not just a handful of powerful special interests.

And that starts with overturning the disastrous Citizens United decision:


What we showed in our presidential campaign - in a way that can change politics in America forever - is that you can run a competitive national grassroots campaign without begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions. 

That is what we must demand of our elected leaders: a complete rejection of their influence on campaigns. And that starts with making your voice heard.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders


The Delaware River Basin provides clean drinking water for millions of people in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. 

But this water source, like countless others across the country, is at risk.
Submit your public comment before the deadline: we need a complete ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin!

Last December the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) put forth new rules for a half-measure fracking ban that leaves the door open for fracking waste to enter the watershed, and allows drilling companies to take water for their own uses.

But we’re fighting for a REAL ban on fracking in the Basin — one that includes fracking AND fracking-related activities — and we need you to weigh in before the public comment deadline Friday.
With your support, Food & Water Watch fought alongside local activists and allies to pass a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin in 2011 — a pivotal moment in the movement against fracking. Our goal is to ensure the Basin continues to provide clean, frack-free water now and for the years to come by opposing efforts that allow oil and gas companies to drill and frack in the watershed. But we can only get there with your help.

Tell the DRBC: we want a FULL ban on all fracking-related activities.

The DRBC's draft fracking ban regulations are unacceptable, and definitely not up to our standards for a fracking ban. So earlier this year when the DRBC held a series of public hearings, we held rallies calling on the four governors in the Basin states (Cuomo, Carney, Wolf and Murphy) to support the strongest possible ban on fracking — and not settle for anything less! 

Those rallies were attended by hundreds of people — all showing up to demand better protection for this invaluable water resource. 

Now, we need to keep this momentum going and make it known to Governors Cuomo, Carney, Wolf and Murphy that we will fight until the end to protect our most precious water sources, and we need them to do the same.
Send your comment
A full fracking ban in the Delaware watershed helps us build the movement to ban fracking everywhere. You can help move our world toward a future with 100% renewable energy, and you can take action to protect drinking water for millions.

It all starts by standing together and sending a clear message to the four governors in the Basin: Cuomo, Carney, Wolf and Murphy. Protect the people in the Basin states — defend a drinking water source for millions!

Onward to a frack-free future,​

Emily Wurth
Organizing Co-Director
Food & Water Watch 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bless the Bees and the Children

Bless the Bees and the Children
by C.A. Matthews

I don't care very much for daylight savings time, but I do like how in the spring the days become longer and the sun brighter in the Northern Hemisphere. It makes it easier to deal with this crazy world whenever I spy a spot of green growing along a sidewalk or a flock of birds in a field or an insect buzzing about. (Well, at least pollinators buzzing about. I won't be too happy about mosquitoes before too long.) To quote the book of Ecclesiastes and The Byrds: "To everything there is a season--turn, turn, turn!" (Video: https://youtu.be/pKP4cfU28vM)

Are there seasons in politics? I assume there are, as primary season is upon us in many states. Are there seasons in social movements? Oh, definitely there are. Turn, turn, turn!
The children are leading our new season in social movements this year. The March for Our Lives is being led by students everywhere this coming Saturday in response to the latest mass shooting at an American high school. Isn't it wonderful that our young people don't know cynicism and silent rage like their parents? Instead, they are optimistic and striving to build a better future. They're not keeping their anger contained--they're channeling it into a positive message: Human lives are infinitely more precious than AR-15s.
They are shouting, "Enough is enough! We don't care that the NRA owns you, Mr. and Ms. Senator. You're supposed to be working for our best interests. You're supposed to want to keep us, your children, safe and not your blood-money-filled bank accounts."

And so, with the coming of spring we have the coming of a new world. It's a world of our children's making. It's not going to be the world we old farts grew up in and grew too comfortable in without a thought of what we were doing to their future. It's a world where they will have to work hard to erase all the damage we've done--ecologically, environmentally, socially, politically, psychologically, morally. Thank heaven they seem up to the task.

When I grow up I want to be just like them.

Where will you be this weekend? Will you be with the children marching and demanding sane gun control laws in this sick country? Or will you be sitting at home bemoaning how much you despise the current occupant in the White House?  If you're doing the second activity rather than the first, ask yourself this: When did whining about something ever make it change for the better? 

Follow the children's example. Paint a sign and head to your local march. Stand up for their safety! Then go home and plant some pollinator-attractive plants (not coated with bee-killing pesticides or any non-organic substances) so we all can have fruit in the future. After all, the future is the direction the world is traveling in--don't be left behind!

As The Carpenters sang:
Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice
Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see
Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them
Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

Follow the children's shining light. Give them love. Keep them safe. Let them have the voice they deserve in this world and in the one to come. 
Related articles:
Enough! A Million Students Walk Out of Schools To Demand Action On Guns in Historic Day of Protest (with video):
Teens Go Nuts Over Bernie’s Surprise Appearance At a Walkout Rally:  https://youtu.be/5zV2_htGpV0

Here's What Happened When the Supreme Court Ruled on Whether Students Can Protest During School (a 1969 court case):

ACLU: This is a School, Not a Jail (with video):

More Children Have Been Killed By Guns Since Sandy Hook Than U.S. Soldiers In Combat Since 9/11:

Meet the Students Leading Mass Protests for Gun Control:

Moms Demand Action (a  group fighting for gun control):


If you're willing and able, The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. Three years without ads (that many other 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!
The youth-led movement against gun violence is kicking up this month with the national “March for Our Lives” on March 24th. But while those brave young people rally at the nation’s capitol, many state legislatures are quietly drafting bills designed to curb protests and silence First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. 

Sign the petition: Stop state governments from criminalizing activism. 

Ever since water protectors stood firm at Standing Rock, multinational companies have been lobbying state and federal lawmakers to pass laws to make it harder for people to protest. With the help of ALEC, the Koch brothers-funded project to push far-right legislation, 31 states have proposed anti-protest legislation.1
Some of these bills, like those introduced in Washington and North Carolina, would define political demonstrations like rallies and sit-ins as “economic terrorism.”2 Bills pending in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri would criminalize protesting on highways and streets, carrying fines as high as $7,000 and up to 5 years in prison.3

Sign the petition: Stop state governments from criminalizing activism.

So far, the Koch brothers and pipeline companies like Energy Transfer Partners (the company behind the North Dakota Access Pipeline), lead the lobbying efforts to block protesters. But make no mistake: as our nation’s young people continue to effectively organize for gun violence prevention, it’s only a matter of time before gun manufacturers and the NRA jump on this anti-protest bandwagon as well.

Sign the petition: Stop state governments from criminalizing activism.

Thank you for taking action,
Reuben and the team at Demand Progress

1. National Lawyers Guild, “Conservative-led Anti-Protest Legislation Already Doubled Since Last Year,” February 15, 2018.
2. The Hill, “The assault on environmental protest,” March 2, 2018.
3. International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, “US Protest Law Tracker,” February 27, 2018.
From Friends of the Earth:

Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. But supermarket giant Kroger is failing to protect them from toxic pesticides.
Kroger is still selling food grown with bee-killing neonicotinoids and other pesticides. These chemicals are linked to unsustainable bee die-offs that threaten our entire food system.

Kroger is the second largest food retailer in the U.S. So the first step to shifting the entire grocery sector away from killing bees is convincing Kroger to stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides. We need YOU to help make that happen!

The threat that pesticides pose to our food system is clear. A global body of independent scientists have reviewed thousands of studies and concluded that systemic insecticides are a major worldwide threat to biodiversity and ecosystems. They called for an immediate stop to agricultural uses of these toxic pesticides.

They even released a report showing that many alternatives exist. So there is no excuse for using these toxic pesticides.

Garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s have committed to stop selling plants grown with bee-killing neonicotinoids. But food retailers are dragging their feet on this issue. This week, Friends of the Earth released a report showing that 20 out of 25 of the top food retailers in the U.S. are not doing enough to stop the unsustainable bee die-offs.
Kroger shouldn’t be selling food grown with these toxic pesticides. It should step up to protect our food system and its customers from these chemicals.

Kroger has the power to act on this issue. It can commit to stop stocking its shelves with food grown with pesticides like Dow’s nerve gas pesticide chlorpyrifos, Monsanto’s Roundup® and Bayer’s neonicotinoids.

Already, some supermarkets are taking steps to address this issue. Whole Foods is making progress on eliminating these toxic pesticides on the food it sells and offering more organic options. This means its customers have more access to organic food that is free of all synthetic pesticides and that supports 50 percent more pollinator species.

But we need to shift the market faster if we want to save bees and other pollinators. We’re on the brink of a second Silent Spring. If we don't rapidly move away from toxic pesticides, we could lose bees, birds, butterflies and aquatic insects that are all essential to our food production systems and our environment.

Our health and the environment can’t wait. We need to transition away from these harmful pesticides NOW in order to protect bees and all of us. That’s where you come in.

Standing with you,
Tiffany Finck-Haynes,
Senior food futures campaigner,
Friends of the Earth

This is AMAZING:
POLITICO: Schwarzenegger to Sue Big Oil for 'First Degree Murder'
We’re gathering 20,000 signatures in support of SUING Big Oil, and we need you take a second to sign on →

We're going to go after them. Because to me it's absolutely irresponsible to know that [oil] is killing people and not have a warning label on it. -Arnold Schwarzenegger
Just like Arnold, we’re ready to fight Big Oil till the end.
So we’re collecting signatures to show public support for SUING Big Oil. Please take a moment out of your day to sign →

Environmentalists have called for legal action against Big Oil modeled after lawsuits against Big Tobacco.

And that’s EXACTLY Arnold is doing.

Big Oil has known for DECADES that fossil fuels contribute to climate change -- their OWN studies confirmed it.

If a company’s product is KILLING, they MUST be held accountable.

So we need a MASSIVE showing of public support for SUING Big Oil.


Thanks for signing,

314 Action