Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I Believe Christine (and Anita and Patti and...)

I Believe Christine (and Anita and Patti and...)
by C.A. Matthews

The time we live in is one of skepticism and cynicism.  We trust nobody and trust even less what these "nobodies" have to say. Yet Americans have elected an apparent pathological liar to the highest office in the land. What gives?

When a liar is elevated and adored by many, any persons who are seen as a threat to the worshiped sociopath must be eliminated. Their reputations must be besmirched; their testimony silenced. Truth cannot be allowed to shine on the heroes of darkness, revealing more warts than even the most adoring of fans could tolerate. So truth must be denied and added to the list of ideals to be skeptical of, derided to the point that it becomes the most despised of virtues. Because to quote an infamous Twitterer: "Facts aren't necessary."

Even so, I believe in truth. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I still believe Anita Hill and the testimony she bravely gave at the Clarence Thomas hearings. Why do I believe these women? It's not just because I'm female and a fellow #MeToo member.  It's not because I've experienced similar horrors or felt powerless to do anything against my attacker. I believe them because I believe any person (male, female or other gender) who is brave enough to admit publicly of being harassed and violated in such an intimate manner is a strong person, and, as such, has no reason to resort to subterfuge to gain an upper hand over the person who wronged them.
A rapist/sexual predator, on the other hand, behaves in the completely opposite manner.  This individual learns to lie and obfuscate to cover his deep-seated sense of inadequacy and self-loathing that manifests itself in an outward hatred and dehumanizing of others. He (face it, most rapists are male) becomes an actor in our "macho tough guy" culture. He knows how to put a woman "in her place" through forcing her to "live through her own death," as rape has been described by many survivors. Laughing it off as "boys will be boys," he seeks to normalize his sadistic behaviors by destroying his victim's reputation. He'll claim she is liar, a whore, an attention seeker or otherwise a person of no consequence. He alone is what society wants and needs. Society shouldn't listen to the hurting souls he leaves in his wake through his violent actions, let alone believe or empathize with them.

I don't believe Brett Kavanaugh knows what truth is--or else he would take himself out of the running for the Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh is being honest with himself, he would understand that his past actions constituted a felony and were physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually harmful to a fellow human being. Of course he would also have to acknowledge that Christine is a human being worthy of respect, which his denial of the importance of this revelation indicates he does not. He is allowing the darkness to dictate his actions, giving into the lie that when a crime isn't reported then there isn't a victim.

But there is a victim, and she is brave enough to come forward to talk about the injustice perpetrated against her. It's the least the senate judiciary committee could do is to let her speak her piece without unwarranted criticisms and slanderous commentary. It's the least they could do to investigate the incident and not take Kavanaugh's dismissal of it as the only evidence they need to place him on the highest court. Revealing the truth is where victims can at last exert some measure of power over their attackers and begin to heal.

To deny the truth doesn't mean the false reality where "boys will be boys" automatically becomes the accepted norm for the majority. Most Americans feel that a rapist is a rapist no matter what term you use to describe this sort of individual. He forces himself on another without pity and enjoys silencing his victim through fear and intimidation that can last a lifetime. If denying climate change doesn't stop the destructive hurricanes and flooding, then why should denying the crime of a man in the running for a high office change the horrendous nature of that crime?

But why Kavanaugh? It seems our current sexual predator/liar-in-chief desires a person possessing a similar outlook on the worth of women sitting on the bench. When push comes to shove, one "good ol' boy sexual predator" will gladly cover for another, won't he? A woman's right to safe and legal abortion, her right to equal pay, her right to feel safe from uncalled for advances from people in a position of power over her--both Kavanaugh and Trump express contempt for these rights. They both seem to enjoy forcing  women into a "helpless" position, making them dependent upon the "help" of men in order to maintain a decent standard of living for themselves and their children.

If you want to know more about "Why Kavanaugh?" please click through to read my article A Matter of Control that I wrote a few weeks ago. It's a control game, all right. The truth-deniers are spinning the narrative on the mainstream media even now. The dirt-diggers will continue flinging mud on Christine Blasey Ford and other women who  come forward to expose the predators in positions of power who hurt them. We can't let these evil-doers get us down. We must continue to believe in the truth and support truth-speakers, because as it is written, "The truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

We need to free ourselves from the lies, hatred and division of our cynical society before it enslaves us all. We need to protect the truth and believe in justice now more than ever.

Related articles:

Christine Blasey Ford agrees to testify before Congress

Second woman accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

Lessons never learned--45 years after the All in the Family Episode where Gloria was almost raped

Brett Kavanaugh faces unprecedented opposition

Patti Davis (Ronald Reagan's daughter): I was sexually assaulted...

The Kavanaugh confirmation battle is about to explode

Another example of how women are "put in their place" and silenced by our corrupt system:  The Real News Network interviews Green Party candidate for governor, Constance Gadell-Newton, on her platform after being barred from participating in the Ohio governor debates.

Press Release: Ohio Supreme Court Ignores Rights, Blocks Citizen Initiative Protecting Lake Erie - Voting rights and Lake Erie disregarded as justices dispute technicalities

TOLEDO, OH: On Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court blocked from the November ballot a Toledo citizen’s initiative. The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) would have recognized the right of Lake Erie to be healthy and free from pollution that today is killing the Lake and depriving surrounding communities of safe water.

Toledo residents are among eleven million people dependent on Lake Erie for drinking water. Following a 2014 algae bloom that deprived Toledoans of water for three days, community members formed Toledoans for Safe Water. The group requested the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assist in drafting a bill of rights for Lake Erie as a means to legally protect it. Decades of government regulation have failed to do so. Community members gathered nearly 11,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Over the last 18 months, in addition to blocking the Toledo initiative, the Ohio Supreme Court justices have ruled to keep a number of rights-based initiatives off the ballot that would have protected communities from shale gas drilling and fracking activities. In addition to those justices dissenting from the majority, the remaining justices are disagreeing how to rationalize blocking the people’s right to vote on their own measures.

In Friday’s ruling, a majority made clear the court had made errors in previous decisions regarding these initiatives. Justice Sharon Kennedy concluded, “The public is not under the illusion that we are infallible. There is little harm in admitting that we made a mistake. But recognizing an error in a prior decision is only the first step; sooner or later, we have to rectify it.”

In all of the justices’ machinations, there is but one mention of Lake Erie in a background paragraph. Markie Miller, an organizer with Toledoans for Safe Water, stated, “We the people put in hundreds of volunteer hours collecting nearly 11,000 signatures because we’re alarmed about Lake Erie’s deterioration. We’re apprehensive about the safety of our drinking water. We’re worried about our survival. Our Ohio Supreme Court justices make no mention of any of that in their decision. It is as if Lake Erie and the people are invisible to the court.”

Crystal Jankowski, another organizer with LEBOR, added, “It was devastating to be without water for 3 days in 2014. This is worse. To know that the Lake and my children are at risk because it is legal for the polluters to pollute us, while our own government makes it illegal for us to propose a law to protect the Lake and our children, is beyond devastating. It is the realization that we not only have a water crisis, but we also have a democracy crisis.”

Terry Lodge is a CELDF-affiliated attorney representing the community group. Lodge stated, “There seems to be a ‘ruling class’ divide in the court, yet they all miss the point that the people have the right to directly legislate by initiative. They ignore their own long-standing precedent, which has always been to allow initiatives on the ballot, regardless of constitutionality. No one can interfere with the city council or the state legislature voting on an illegal or unconstitutional bill. It should be the same for the people of the state. It’s clear that our government is afraid to let the people legislate by initiative.”

CELDF is filing a Motion to Reconsider on behalf of community members today, based on a federal judge ruling in Schmitt vs. Husted, Case No. 2:cv-18-966, on September 19th. In that case, two marijuana initiatives kept off the November ballot by the Portage County Board of Elections were ordered on the ballot.


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From the National Domestic Workers Alliance:

I can't stop thinking about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who courageously came forward to share her story of being sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. As a survivor, I know how difficult it is to come forward. I believe her. That's why I decided to add my voice to this video.

This nomination process cannot go forward without a full and fair FBI investigation into the case.
The #MeToo movement has given us the courage to demand that survivors be heard and supported. And no matter how powerful -- even those nominated to the highest court in the land -- those who are accused of abuse should be fully investigated.

It's hard to overstate the stakes with this nomination: it's a lifetime appointment that could affect everything we care about: Workers' Rights, Marriage Equality, DACA, Citizens United, Roe vs Wade -- many court cases that have a profound impact on our lives.

Ai-jen Poo
National Domestic Workers Alliance


Win Without War

Can you imagine your home is no longer safe because of the horrors of bombs, blockades, or floods? And you’re forced to flee with your family, across land and water, not knowing what’s ahead? That when you finally arrive, you’re ordered to “go back where you came from.” You’re told you are criminal, a burden, unwelcome.

This heartbreaking story is an everyday refugee story in our world. And Trump is making it even worse.

Last night, the Trump administration further dismantled the Refugee Admissions Program by announcing an all-time record low admissions cap of 30,000 for fiscal year 2019. This is WAY below even a bare minimum needed for the program to survive. 

This is unacceptable. And what’s worse is that Trump is required to consult with Congress before setting this cap —but he didn’t. That’s illegal.
I’ll be really blunt: Congress has to grow a spine and step in to stop Trump’s hateful and illegal anti-refugee agenda. But our elected officials will only act if we make them. So that’s where we come in.

Tell Congress: Act immediately to stop Trump from slamming the doors shut on refugees for good. 

The U.S. should be opening our doors to refugees. After all, our failed violence-first foreign policies drive displacement around the globe, from war to climate change. Yet, instead, Trump is barricading our borders to those our own policies harm.

Congress MUST stand with the American people and honor our nation’s aspiration to be a refuge for those in need. If our elected representatives stay silent now, they will enable Donald Trump in slamming shut our nation’s doors for decades to come. And we need to make very sure they know it.

Tell Congress to act immediately and stop Trump from dismantling the life-saving refugee resettlement program.

Refugee and migrant solidarity is one of the biggest anti-war issues of our time. Refugees already face insurmountable obstacles in fleeing the frontlines of war, climate catastrophes, and social and economic inequalities in pursuit of sanctuary and dignity. We must not make this pursuit impossible.

Thank you for working for peace,
Mariam, Tara, Cassandra, and the Win Without War team
From the Sierra Club:

We have less than two weeks to stop the anti-environmental provisions of the House Farm Bill in final negotiations with the Senate, which will shape the next five years of food, farming, agricultural and environmental policy.  

A clean bill would promote sustainable agriculture, and support local communities, without making egregious cuts to funding for local food systems, weakening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) designed to curb hunger, and trampling state and county rights -- including the right to regulate pesticides!

The House Farm Bill is full of anti-environmental provisions that would even gut the Clean Water Act, log away our national forests, harm conservation policies and launch a total attack on the Endangered Species Act.


Kirin Kennedy
Associate Director for Legislative and Administrative Advocacy
Lands and Wildlife, Sierra Club

From RootsAction:

The Trump administration continues to keep children locked up whom it has torn away from their parents.

And the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement routinely denies or limits journalists access to child "detention centers," arguing that it needs to protect the privacy of children.

But professional journalists are capable of reporting on children responsibly, and the government could easily negotiate with them on ways to do so.

If reporters are locked out, the public is denied its right to freedom of the press and the ability to engage in self-governance.

Click here to join RootsAction and a huge coalition in demanding access to these child jails so that the U.S. public can see what is being done with our money and in our name.

Our Message to Office of Refugee Resettlement:

Since May of 2017, the number of migrant children in custody has jumped from 2,400 to 12,800 as of September. The administration’s recent investment in “tent cities,” which provide harsh living conditions for children, is horrifying and unacceptable. The Office of Refugee Resettlement routinely denies or limits journalists access to child detention centers, arguing the need to protect the privacy of children. But professional journalists are capable of reporting on children responsibly. We demand that journalists be given immediate increased access to detention centers―to honor our constitutional right of freedom of the press and to ensure government transparency and accountability. Only through our free press will we begin to understand and be able to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.

Add your name now by clicking here.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Anyone Know How To Run A Country?

Experiencing an evil system? Corrupt government? Regulatory agencies that make it easier for an industry to pollute, exploit and kill? Is anyone in control here? Does anybody care?

That's the theme this week. If nobody but We the People care, then maybe we're the ones who need to take--and be in--control.

Anyone Know How To Run A Country?
by C.A. Matthews

It's a legitimate question. Does anyone know how to run a country? If someone out there does, can we really trust this person to do so in a just and moral manner? Or are Americans just fooling ourselves to think this grand experiment in democracy (begun in 1776) is even possible?

An excellent example of democracy-not-in-action is the recent meeting of the Lucas County (Ohio) Board of Elections. They halted not one, but two citizens initiatives after they were certified to be on the November ballot. That an appointed group of four individuals can tell voters what they can and cannot vote on demonstrates just how sick our version of democracy has become. We've been brainwashed to think a board made up of  well-paid appointees from  the Republican and Democratic Parties somehow equals a "fair and democratic" agency with the public's interests at heart.
The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is a petition that received 10,000+ signatures from voters eager to prosecute the industries actively polluting the drinking water for 11 million and causing toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie. So, how does preventing this measure from getting on the ballot embody "democracy"? If anything, it demonstrates the complete opposite. It shows where the interests of the two parties that make up the Lucas County Board of Elections lies--in pleasing the polluting industries and their lobbyists, not the voters.

One might surmise from the Board's recent actions that "democracy" exists in the US to serve corporate interests alone. One could also conclude the two major parties are pretty much one and the same, since they work together to accomplish the same goals for corporations. Democrats and Republicans are all employees of the corporations, serving them at their beck and call. And on August 28, 2018 in Toledo, Ohio, they did as they were instructed by Big Oil & Gas and Big Agriculture interests.

Well done, Bruce Saferin, Brenda Hill, Joshua Hughes and David Karmol,  good and faithful servants of the Lucas County Board of Elections! (The check is in the mail.)

Government at the service of  corporations is termed fascism. When Democrats and Republicans do as corporate lobbyists tell them to, they are acting as fascists. Some feel that calling politicians who serve Big Oil or Big Agriculture, for example, fascists is a slur. But if their actions fit the definition of fascism, then that's what they are--fascists, plain and simple. There's no need to beat about the bush, is there? 

The two major parties in the US regularly cooperate with corporations and pass laws that support corporations over ordinary people. In the case of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, they cooperated to block a citizen-instigated law from reaching the ballot that could cut into big business's profits at the expense of the environment. Since these two parties support ever increasing profits of corporations over the public's welfare, they can be rightly labeled as supporters of fascism.

I now will address the elephant in the room: "But, but, but... What about there being one evil party and one not-evil party as the campaign rhetoric tells us every election? There's supposed to be just one evil party, right? We then have to vote for the other party, even if we don't like everything they do. There can't be two evil parties because... then who can we trust?"

Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as a lesser evil if you haven't figured that out yet. There is only evil and those who cooperate with it. Sure, they can choose different terminology or styles of cooperation, but it doesn't stop them from cooperating with evil. No one can occupy two positions at once. You either work with evil or you fight against it, and both of the major parties in the US are working with those who would do us and our children harm. Compromising on any instance of harm makes one complicit with the harm, and harm is evil. If deliberately polluting drinking water and covering for the perpetrators of such acts isn't evil, then what is?

If you believe in doing as Big Business/Wall Street tells you to do is acting in the best interests of our country, though, then you believe in fascism. As a fascist, democracy--or the lack of it--isn't something that keeps you awake at night. You believe corporations and their CEOs can run things better than democratically elected (not via rigged primaries, that is) public servants. 

Who cares about civil rights? CEOs don't, so why should you? Go ahead and lock up as many brown, black, red and poor white people as you can. It's good for the for-profit private prison system. Don't forget, incarcerated immigrant children make for a good source of slave labor, too. And the shooting of unarmed persons of color and hiding behind a badge is a sport fascists can really sink their teeth into.

However, as a fascist politician-puppet, you always have to think about where your next election is coming from. Ordinary Americans don't write many big checks to bankroll your next turn at the feeding trough--I mean, the next time you run for "public" office, do they? So you can ignore them and concentrate on your wealthy donors. What can poor folks do? Your fascist buddies and you control the system, and you're motivated to maintain the status quo no matter what.

But wouldn't you know, some pesky citizens called Toledoans for Safe Water still believe in old-fashioned democracy and not fascism. They want clean drinking water, and they demand the right to live without the fear of toxic algal blooms that have been linked to increasing numbers of ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's cases worldwide. (Watch the film Toxic Puzzle for more on this frightening medical link of cyanobacteria in our algae-filled water and these illnesses.) The supporters of  the Lake Erie Bill of Rights are fighting for both clean water for millions and for the power of restoring democracy to the people. They want citizens to have a say so on protecting their natural resources, not corporations.

Citizens not corporations--is that a good way to run a country? One person, one vote? Not one billion dollars in kickbacks to politicians and the rules are rewritten to help your polluting industry? I don't know anymore. The Lucas County Board of Elections instructed the citizens at the meeting to  "Vote next time for representatives who will represent you." But if we continue to do as the Board told us, and we allow representatives of the two corporate-owned-and-operated parties to appoint people to a board that thwarts democracy without blinking, then we'll get exactly what we deserve: Fascism.

I don't think we deserve it, but unless more of us wake up and fight for democracy, we'll have to live in a country run solely by corporations and learn to like it--toxic algal blooms and all.

Is this the "future to believe in" we've been working toward? If it isn't, then we need to take actions to start building a better one. Today. Join with others fighting for democracy and a better world. Don't let evil win.

"Change Society Now, Don't Wait" is the theme of Lee's opening segment on last Friday's Redacted Tonight. Sometimes activists can't wait to take action--especially when the clock is ticking down on climate change and our chance to survive as a species. We have to act decisively and quickly. Watch and see if you don't agree.  https://youtu.be/yqeMbfh_exE

Some other things to be aware of this week-- 

Big Pharma Family Finds New Way to Cheat (and flood the market with more addicting opioids, of course): https://youtu.be/QXg_iTOadCM

Our good friend from the North, Vegematic, shares stories about activists worldwide that you won't hear much about on mainstream media: https://youtu.be/X6pXDWO4ZKg  

I've lost count of the number of book publishers that Amazon has destroyed in the last couple of years. It's heartbreaking. It's "economic censorship" since these publishers aren't putting out different books and different voices aren't heard. It's the ultimate control mechanism--both financially and psychologically. More people need to #BoycottAmazon and support small businesses, but they'll just whine if you mention all the harm Jeff Bezos has done because Amazon has become their drug of choice. Watch this short video to understand how allowing corporations to rule us is destroying our economy and our world: https://youtu.be/4dnf55cUIV0

Jonathan Pie gives us the low down on Amazon and corporate greed and what they're doing globally in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner.  https://youtu.be/4f1vNr9j5G8

Fight For Freedom! Support Independent Media
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Power to the people and not the corporations!

The National Campaign to End Corporate Personhood and Demand Real Democracy!
Move to Amend
At Move to Amend we have one goal: to help build a democracy movement so deep and so wide that we pass the We the People Amendment (to secure constitutional human rights for natural persons only) and go on to build real, authentic democracy for every living human in the U.S. for the first time in our history.
Unfortunately, far too many Americans believe we can vote ourselves out of this mess. They are wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Our Pledge to Amend campaign drives the Moment to Amend into our elections.

Fundamental flaws have brought us to this point. Constitutional human rights limitations, white supremacy, classism, the two party system, and the Electoral College have all played their role. Equally destructive is an unelected Supreme Court that has created and nurtured "corporate persons" with human rights for 130+ years. We're experiencing corruption writ large!

Nowadays, voting is actually pretty far down the list when it comes to a making functioning democracy. As broken as this system is, between organizing and earning a living, vote we must. To effect change, we have to vote -- as a movement!

That's why Pledge to Amend is so important right now. With the passing of Labor Day, the campaign season just got hot. People are starting to really pay attention now, which means your participation in Pledge to Amend is more important than ever before.

Pledge to Amend is the way for candidates to tell us whose side they are on -- do they stand with We the People or with multinational corporations & billionaires?

Vote to Amend is the part of Pledge to Amend that connects YOU, the voter, to the candidate. By taking the Voter Pledge, you are telling candidates that if they Pledge to Amend, YOU will vote for them. Easy peasy!

You do have power. Pledge to Amend has become more influential in every election because more and more voters and candidates participate. It's an integral part of our strategic plan to pass the We the People Amendment by 2026. YOU can make it all happen!

And taking the pledge to Vote to Amend is simple; just add your name to our list! It takes less than 1 minute. So before you close this email, just go for it! And then take 2 more minutes to encourage all your friends to join you!

Move to Amend knows we will win this battle. We will end corporate rule and make the U.S. a real democracy. Will you stand with us? Will you Vote to Amend?

In solidarity,
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
National Director, Move to Amend Coalition

P.S. Tell candidates that supporting the We the People Amendment is what you need from them if they want your vote!

From Friends of the Earth:
Help send 30,000 comments to the EPA: Don’t slash protections from methane pollution!
This week, Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler launched another attack on our environment and our communities.
They announced a plan to gut the EPA’s methane pollution standards. If their plan goes through, it would mean polluters would be free to pour even more of this dangerous greenhouse gas into our atmosphere. This would harm our health and bring us further to the brink of climate disaster.
The administration is required to consider public input on this plan before it can go through. So we need you to speak up now!
Methane is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. What’s more, it’s linked to severe public health impacts -- including increasing the risk of asthma and cancer.
The EPA’s restrictions on methane pollution are a common-sense effort to protect our environment and our communities. The only reason the Trump administration wants to roll them back is to help its friends in the fossil fuel industry make more profits.
This is unacceptable. The administration is saddling communities who live near oil and gas facilities with polluted air and health risks, all for the benefit of Big Oil.
This is just the latest in a string of efforts by the Trump administration to hand over our environment to corporate polluters. Trump’s Department of the Interior is also poised to roll back restrictions on methane pollution. And just last week, it advanced its plan to gut the Clean Power Plan.
This is the opposite of what we should be doing. Time is running out to prevent climate chaos. We need stronger action to avoid the worst, not a rollback of our existing rules.
The EPA could halt Trump’s disastrous plan in its tracks -- but it will only act if people like you speak up.
Standing with you,
Ernesto Vargas,
Climate and energy program director,
Friends of the Earth

We're excited to announce our autumn webinar series, starting this September 27. The topics of our upcoming webinars are based on the feedback that we received from our supporters about what most interests you! Details below.

What: Webinar: How War Threatens the Environment
When: Thursday, September 27 at 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern
Where: Your computer or telephone!
One of the most destructive of human behaviors, war is a leading contributor to the growing global environmental crisis. Hear from experts Gar Smith and Tamara Lorincz about the deep ecological impact of the war system.
Register here!

What: Webinar: Global Perspectives on War
When: Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Eastern
Where: Your computer or telephone!
How do people around the world think about militarism? You won't want to miss this interesting webinar featuring three different global perspectives on the impact of war, featuring David Swanson, Kathy Kelly, and Barry Sweeney.
Sign up!

And stay tuned for a November webinar (date to be announced) celebrating the launch of the 2018-2019 edition of World BEYOND War's book.

RSVP to join us on September 27, to kick off our autumn webinar series!

Greta Zarro
Organizing Director
World BEYOND War