Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Blackest Friday

The Progressive American Abroad heads home this week, but not before discovering how the disease of late-stage capitalism has infected the entire world.
Blackest Friday
by C.A. Matthews 

Votes for Women!
There are several explanations about how the term "Black Friday" came about. One story tells us it was coined during the Suffragette era. On November 18, 1910, 300 women in London marched on parliament in support of women’s voting rights. The day became known as Black Friday due to the extreme violence of the police response.

But the most common reason given is the  Friday after Thanksgiving was the first day most retailers fell into the "black" on their ledgers and made a profit because Christmas shoppers began shopping in earnest. Hence, the name "Black Friday."

Black Friday has now become such an integral part of most American autumnal celebrations that it inspired new terms such as "Small Business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday" and "Giving Tuesday." One might assume all these new holidays were only present in North America because it's primarily Americans and Canadians who celebrate Thanksgiving. Nothing can be further from the truth as the sign above posted in the window of a British toy and model shop called Langley's attests.

The British have decided to adopt an American custom, but not the one centered around friends and family and giving thanks. Instead, they have taken a fancy to a manufactured holiday centered around consumerism and forcing workers to work long hours away from their families. Somehow it seems more than appropriate that this American tradition has to do with exploiting the masses in order to make the filthy rich even richer while simultaneously not helping the poor, downtrodden wage slaves. It is nothing if not downright sociopathic and sinister, the American virtues of the twenty-first century.

That's not to say that Americans have a monopoly on exploitation and conspicuous consumption. Living in an English city this past month hasn't made me blind to what's going on in these parts. The British are every bit as materialistic as your next Westerner. There are designer duds and high-end fashion shops everywhere. Pricey cars clog the thoroughfares just as badly, if not worse, than most American cities. They have just as many chain box stores, upscale eateries and fast food joints as any urban area in the US, and they are hungry for more. 
The British variety of banksters extend credit and create seductive commercials on the telly to entice people into crippling debt. Sorry to say, but Black Friday would exist in the UK with or without the title. The one-percent never met a working class anywhere that it didn't want to take advantage of, and the British public are ripe for the picking.

I find it a little sad to think how universal the philosophy of materialism has become during the Christmas season. We have taken a holiday (a "holy day") about God's gift of a savior to the world and flipped it on its head. We have made it all about us, the needy consumers and greedy capitalists who try to outdo each other in purchasing gifts that are often not wanted or even needed and will more than likely wind up in a landfill within a month or two. 

When and where did this orgy of avarice and waste begin?

Many historians credit Queen Victoria and her husband Albert with the popularization of Christmas trees, holiday decorations and gift-giving on a big scale. Victorian-era toy makers and card publishers made the most of the royal family's celebrations and encouraged others to do the same. British and Americans alike took to the new fad with great enthusiasm, never once looking back to remember the deeper meaning behind the holiday.

Perhaps it's fitting that the culture that made gift-giving the thing to do every December 25th has at last absorbed the ultimate consumer fest.

Happy Black Friday, Great Britain! May you (in time) grow weary of the endless cycle of buy, buy, buy! And remember: not everything that comes out of America is worth copying. Look at what's sitting in the Oval Office currently... Yeah, you really don't want to go there.

BREAKING NEWS from Good Jobs Nation: General Motors just announced that it will be laying-off thousands of American workers and closing down many plants all together.

Here’s the bottom line: Trump gave GM over $700 million in federal contracts — on top of massive tax breaks — without doing anything to prevent top executives from pocketing the money and betraying American workers.

With the stroke of a pen, Trump could act to save thousands of families from economic terror. Add your name here to demand that he take immediate action with an Executive Order!

Worth reading:
Pathological Consumption Has Become So Normalised That We Scarcely Notice It--

Worth watching:
 Amazon workers strike in Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK! https://youtu.be/KQCk0Ek7cRY
Reports say Amazon ask police to stop massive workers strike on Black Friday in Spain.  https://youtu.be/k6sTHIEXtu4


The epidemic of late stage capitalism needs to be wiped out once and for all--but we can't do it if we're not allowed to speak freely!

 The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of ending the scourge of the oligarchy and keeping it ad-free. Three years plus without obnoxious ads (that many news sites have to cover costs) has been great, but the editor does have to pay for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket, and she would like to be able to pay her contributors in the future.

Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $20--any amount you can share with us to keep this progressive site going without those awful ads is appreciated. Help us become a strong alternative voice protesting against the corrupt establishment and its paid-off corporate mouthpieces. Give to TRC today. Thank you.

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Power to the people and not the corporations!

From Credo:

Disgraceful: The U.S. border patrol just tear gassed mothers with children and toddlers in diapers seeking asylum on our southern border.1

Every day, Donald Trump's white supremacist war on immigrants grows worse. Just last week, the White House issued a memo authorizing the troops at the border to use lethal force against asylum seekers.2 The tear-gassing of families shows that Trump's plan to have the military treat immigrants like enemy combatants in a war zone is no idle threat.

This is America under Trump, and it is shameful. Though Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has the authority to order troops to use lethal force, he has not yet done so. In fact, Trump's order for lethal force may be unconstitutional.3 It is the responsibility of people of conscience to speak out and demand that Mattis put a check on Trump before the situation gets even worse.

The reports of Customs & Border Patrol's actions are truly shocking:4

Children screamed and coughed amid the gas, The Associated Press reported. The wind carried the aerosol chemicals toward people hundreds of feet away who were not attempting to enter the U.S., the wire service noted. One woman collapsed unconscious amid the chaos, and two babies sobbed with tears running down their faces from the gas, Reuters reported.

CREDO members will continue to press to end the racist, anti-immigrant culture that gives birth to such horrors. That includes cracking down on ICE and the the Customs & Border Patrol's complicity in terror. The heads of the ICE and CBP unions were in the room with Trump last week when he gave the order for lethal force.5

Right now, we need an urgent call to stand down before tear gas turns into live bullets.

Let’s be clear: The United States is not under attack. The families walking from Central America are survivors of deadly state and domestic violence, climate devastation and poverty.6 They are coming to exercise their right under U.S. law to petition for asylum.

But instead of fulfilling his legal obligation to evaluate their asylum claims,7 Trump plans to terrorize migrants with military force. His dangerous ploy is part of a white supremacist agenda that includes banning Muslims, restricting legal immigration, separating children from their families and denying citizenship to children of immigrants born in the United States.8

Further militarizing the border will do nothing to keep our country safe. But it will terrorize and harm vulnerable migrant families and add fuel to the fires of racism and xenophobia.

Tell Secretary of Defense James Mattis: No lethal force at the border. Click below to sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out,

Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►


  1. Mary Papenfuss, "Activists, Politicians React With Horror At Border Scenes Of Tear-Gassed Children," HuffPost, Nov. 25, 2018.
  2. Eliana Johnson, "Fiery West Wing meeting led to more power for military at U.S.-Mexico border," POLITICO, Nov. 22, 2018.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Papenfuss, "Activists, Politicians React With Horror At Border Scenes Of Tear-Gassed Children."
  5. Johnson, "Fiery West Wing meeting led to more power for military at U.S.-Mexico border."
  6. Washington Office on Latin America, "9 Questions (and Answers) About the Central American Migrant Caravan," Oct. 22, 2018.
  7. Maya Rhodan, "President Trump Threatened to Turn Back Caravan Migrants If They Don't Claim Asylum in Mexico. That's Not Legal," TIME, Oct. 23, 2018.
  8. William Cummings and David Jackson, "President Trump says he plans to end birthright citizenship with an executive order," USA Today, Oct. 30, 2018.

From Just Foreign Policy:

I believe that we will win!”

Share: Bernie Sanders interview

Share: Mike Lee interview

Share: Pelosi & Schiff
co-sponsoring Yemen War Powers Resolution

Share: National Day of Action Monday

Call the Senate:


This week, we have a world-historical opportunity to end the monstrous, deliberate-famine-causing, unconstitutional U.S.-Saudi war in Yemen. The Senate will vote. We will win the Senate vote. Then the House will vote. We will win the House vote. When we win the Senate vote and the House vote, Trump and Mattis will end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi regime’s deliberate-famine-causing war in Yemen. When Trump and Mattis end U.S. participation in the Saudi regime’s war, the Saudi regime will agree to a ceasefire. When the Saudi regime agrees to a ceasefire, the United Nations and aid agencies will be able to get the resources and people in to Yemen to stop the famine. When the UN and aid agencies stop the famine, we can turn our attention to trying to achieve some measure of accountability for the bipartisan participation of the United States government in this world-historical atrocity.

Our Senate champions Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee were on the Sunday talk shows, which Washington journalists watch to find out what’s going to happen in Washington in the next week. Today, Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee used their platforms in the national media to tell the American people about the coming Senate vote to end the war. 

Here’s the first thing you can do: help us spread the Good News about the coming Senate vote, however you spread Good News, to whomever you spread Good News: 

Bernie Sanders confident bill stopping U.S. support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen can pass

Full Lee Interview: 'Congress has to take some ownership in U.S. foreign policy'

Here’s a second thing you can do: help us spread the Good News about the coming House vote: 
Leader Pelosi, top Intel Dem Schiff Back Yemen War Powers Resolution Ahead of House Vote

Here’s a third thing you can do: help us spread the word about the National Day of Action to End the War in Yemen on Monday:
- including actions in Rhode IslandNevadaNew YorkNew JerseyIllinois, DC

Here’s a fourth thing you can do: mark your calendar to call your U.S. Senators Monday morning using the toll-free number provided by the Friends Committee on National Legislation: 1-833-STOP-WAR (1-833-786-7927). Using FCNL’s number adds pressure on your Senators to do the right thing, because it allows FCNL to tell your Senators how many calls they received, so your Senators can’t pretend they’re not hearing from constituents.

Thanks for all you’re doing and will do to help end this monstrous war and famine, 

Sarah Burns, Hassan El-Tayyab, and Robert Reuel Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

From Four Directions:

We hope you enjoyed the weekend with family and friends and realize it has been a few days since you've heard from us. We cannot thank you enough for your interest and support for our cause to bring equal voting rights to our brothers and sisters in Indian Country.

Navajo votes made the difference in Arizona this year, but suppression continues and Four Directions has been busy fighting to ensure that Native ballots count this year, 2020, and beyond.

Late last week we announced a joint effort with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice Attorney General, Ethel Branch, suing the state of Arizona to protect Navajo Nation members right to vote and have their vote count in the 2018 election.

The lawsuit demands that Arizona provide equal access to the ballot box for all future elections – in a state with eleven electoral votes and a 2020 Senate race already being targeted by political leaders – with the equal access of 70,000 voting age Navajo Tribal members at risk.
Navajo Nation Attorney General Branch issued a news release last week regarding this lawsuit. We have included the background of Federal District Court Judge Lanza and Judge Lanza’s order setting a hearing in the case for tomorrow morning in Phoenix (scroll to bottom of this email for documents) Judge Lanza was nominated by President Trump in January, 2018 and was confirmed by the United States Senate in September, 2018.

We will have more details on the lawsuit and the impact Native votes made in 2018 shortly so stay tuned.

OJ Semans (Executive Director, Four Directions)

Navajo Nation Office of the Attorney General Press Release
Navajo Nation v. Michelle Reagan Pleadings Document
Judge Lanza Confirmation
Politico: Arizona key battleground in 2020


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Special Relationship

More observations this week from an American Progressive Abroad. But first, a Brit-at-Large takes a closer look at the US and the UK and what is commonly called...

The Special Relationship
by Coast Watcher

It’s probably a coincidence that the two major Anglo-Saxon countries on Earth are undergoing a crisis at the moment. The United States is suffering from the Republican regime of Donald Trump and his Tea-bagger cronies. Social programs are being gutted or wound up across the board, leaving millions in the lurch. Jeff Sessions had Medicare and Medicaid firmly in his sights until his sacking right after the mid-term elections. The propaganda supporting government rape of the welfare systems is well under way. 

Even recent gains by the Democratic party in the House won’t suffice to pry the cold, dead grip of capitalism from control of the country. The party itself is firmly in the pocket of Big Business. In Ohio, the outgoing GOP-dominated state house is rushing through bills limiting abortions after six weeks and a Stand Your Ground gun rights legislation, both of which have caused so much death and misery in other states that have adopted them.

In Britain, the post-Brexit vote is causing all kinds of ructions in the country as Theresa May’s Conservative government grapples with finding a way of leaving the EU gracefully. The recent deal negotiated with the EU has left the country in turmoil and the deal comes in for severe criticism. Several prominent ministers and Members of Parliament have filed motions of no confidence in the Prime Minister with the chairman of the Conservative party. It looks like her tenure in No. 10 Downing Street will soon be at an end. 

Motions of no confidence in the Prime Minister usually force a general election. With the mood in Britain swinging firmly behind the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, the whole Conservative government may soon be retired.

The American system of checks and balances was set up to prevent any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. It has failed. Big Business is in control. The British Parliamentary system has survived far worse crises than Brexit and will survive far more yet and still be responsive to the voter rather than Big Business—especially with a Labour government in charge.

Perhaps it’s time America abandoned its flawed experiment in democracy and returned to the parliamentary system of government the Founding Fathers rejected two hundred and forty two years ago.

BIO: Coast Watcher regularly compares and contrasts the systems of government and politicians in both the US and the UK and finds the current lot wanting. It's time for a change. Political revolution, anyone?

And now, the word on the street in everyday England...

Don't Many Americans Like Mr. Trump?
by C. A. Matthews 

"Don't many Americans like Mr. Trump?"

This question was asked by a friend's mother. She was sincere in her query, and after being in England for a week I can well understand her confusion.

Watching glimpses of the BBC and other British political television programs this past week, I see there's no reason why our friend's mum could realize just how unpopular Donald Trump is in the US or anywhere else in the world. I hate to break this to you, but British news sources are every bit as controlled (and the narrative carefully tweaked to support the status quo) as American media networks are.

Case in point: Prime Minister Theresa May and her own party's upcoming vote of no confidence in her leadership abilities. It sounds rather dire for Mrs. May, doesn't it? On a regional political news show, however, it was made to sound that the possibility of a general election being called wasn't that big of a deal. The P.M. would easily win again. Everyone in East Anglia (a Conservative stronghold) loves Theresa May and the Tory message on Brexit it appears. You would never know that there were dissenting viewpoints in the UK by watching their mainstream news programs.

Another example of how the Trump narrative has been spun by British media is coverage of the Trump Baby Blimp event from this past summer. Our friend and his mother both hadn't heard about the blimp. Sure, it flew over the skies of London and not near their small town (120 miles east of London), and they were probably busy with work and other activities, but still... The Trump Baby Blimp obviously didn't warrant a lot of press coverage in Theresa May's  Conservative stronghold, did it?

The lesson to be learned here is that censorship and media manipulation of public opinion is a  worldwide phenomenon. Many ordinary people are kept in the dark on purpose by the mass media. Outright lies to make the public think right-wing politicians are more popular and in tune with the majority than they are in reality is the order of the day. Corporate propaganda reigns supreme.

One last thing--I haven't heard any mention of Jeremy Corbyn on a newscast so far. Even with the small amount of telly I've watched I should have heard his name  at least once this past week, right? But if we've learned anything since 2016 in the US, it's this: If you don't mention your opposition then they simply don't exist, and how can voters support a person who doesn't exist?

Sound familiar, Berners?

My takeaway from all this is that we can't afford to sit back and wish for a big name newsreader to tell us what we need to know, when we need to know it. A free and fair mainstream media simply doesn't exist. So, why should we continue supporting the corrupt system that is?

Support as many independent journalists as you can while your ISP allows it. Get the facts minus the propaganda. The planet you save may well be your own.

A great place to find news you won't hear on the mainstream media--Beanstock's World Political Awakening Video Weekend. This past week's pick of the best of indie podcasts and videos was fantastic. Watch and learn a lot:

From Rainforest Action Network:

You’ve heard for years that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a disaster for our climate… but do you know WHY we’ve fought it SO hard, for so long? I want to share some of the backstory with you here today.

So without further ado, allow me to present the 8 reasons.

Why We Fight KXL:


1. Climate Impact: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released a devastating new report revealing that if we don’t keep warming to 1.5 degrees, the consequences will be absolutely devastating for our future. In fact, it’s clear that we have to ACT NOW in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and we have to keep ALL fossil fuels in the ground to achieve that. KXL would be responsible for as much carbon pollution as 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants

2. Tribal Opposition: The KXL would cut directly through tribal lands, without their permission, and potential spills could devastate their water supplies, food sources and destroy sacred sites.

3. Social Impact: In tribal communities on the border of this project, Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing. The tribes have had to start “safe house” campaigns in opposition of “man camps” by KXL workers.

4. Health Impacts: First Nation communities that live near tar sands mines and production sites have seen an increase in cancer, poor air quality and long term damage to fish, game and water quality.

5. Forest Destruction: Tar sands mining has directly impacted the Boreal Forest. Forest loss caused by tar sands development is projected to exceed 1,150,000 hectares over the next few decades. Studies show that disrupted habitat for endangered species will be at least 10 times that amount.

6. The Location: The Keystone Pipeline is supposed to bring tar sands oil down from Alberta, Canada all the way through the middle of America to Steele City, NE. That would connect Canadian tar sands all the way to the Gulf Coast. If KXL is completed, it would carry 830,000 barrels of tar sands to refineries each day.

7. Leaks & Spills: It’s not a question of if… The only question is WHEN will the pipeline leak, and how devastating will it be for Indigenous communities? TransCanada’s pipeline oil spill in 2017 was TWICE AS LARGE as originally believed. It spilled ANOTHER 9,700 barrels in South Dakota in April 2018.

8. Agriculture:  Farmers along the pipeline route fear that the irreplaceable underground water their livelihoods depend on would be contaminated by oil spills.

If these 8 reasons aren’t enough, try this one: the future of the KXL pipeline has a direct impact on YOUR quality of life and that of all of your loved ones.

 Please act now…. Before it’s too late.

In solidarity,
Ruth Breech
Senior Climate Campaigner
Rainforest Action Network


From the Sierra Club:

The climate alarms are getting louder, and the fires burning across my home state of California are the latest sign that we can’t wait for a new Congress and White House to face reality.

In order to stop the worst impacts of climate change, major corporations have to own their climate responsibility and make urgent changes. And no company has more money and influence to push for climate action than the largest investor in the world: BlackRock.

Send a message now: tell BlackRock to align their investments and practices with a climate-safe world!

Most people don't know what asset managers like BlackRock are, but they have quietly become the largest owners of the global economy and have enormous influence behind the scenes. The world's biggest asset manager, BlackRock, manages $6.4 trillion in assets and is one of the largest shareholders in most major companies. 

That also means that BlackRock is the largest investor in companies that are driving the climate crisis. In fact, BlackRock is the number one investor in new coal plant production, one of the largest investors in oil and gas, and the top US investor in companies destroying the world’s rainforests. BlackRock is also a top shareholder of many of the big banks that finance the development of new dirty fuels and pipelines.

Rather than using that leverage to push for strong climate action, BlackRock has let most of these companies off the hook. BlackRock lags behind some of its peers by refusing to divest or vote against the directors of the worst polluters,1 by voting against shareholder proposals for climate action, and by offering no transparency into its own shareholder engagement practices.2

BlackRock has a big climate problem, but they also have a big opportunity to fix it. Their CEO, Larry Fink, says that he wants to be a climate leader and has been vocal about the need for greater corporate social responsibility.3 In his own words: “Every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Right now, that's mostly talk -- but if enough of us raise our voices, BlackRock will have to square its actions with its leader’s words. It’s time for BlackRock and Larry Fink to put their money and power where their mouth is. 

Send a message to BlackRock now: be a true leader in the fight against climate change!

Thanks for all you do,

Ben Cushing
Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Representative
Sierra Club

[1] Ben Chapman, The Independent. Legal & General gets tough on companies not doing enough to tackle climate change. June 11, 2018.
[2] Kimberly Gladman, 50/50 Climate Project. Asset Manager Climate Scorecard 2018.
[3] Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times. BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support. January 15, 2018.

It's high time we ended this special relationship our government has with corporations...

 The Revolution Continues has set up an easy way to donate to the cause of keeping it ad-free. Three years plus without obnoxious ads (that many news sites have to cover costs) has been great, but the editor does have to pay for internet, electricity, etc., out of her own pocket, and she would like to be able to pay her contributors in the future.

Please consider donating a buck, $5, $10 or $20--any amount you can share with us to keep this progressive site going without those awful ads is appreciated. Help us become a strong alternative voice protesting against the corrupt establishment and its paid-off corporate mouthpieces. Give to TRC today. Thank you.

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

And thanks to a generous reader, we have a  domain name. Please share the link: http://therevolutioncontinues.com

Power to the people and not the corporations!


As families across the country prepare to gather with loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday, lawmakers in Washington are preparing for the post-election ‘lame duck’ session, which could bring opportunities to protect and strengthen Medicare.

This and every Thanksgiving, we are thankful for Medicare. Tell your lawmakers why you are too, and ask them to prioritize Medicare, older adults and people with disabilities during the lame duck session by:

  • Passing the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S.1909; H.R. 2575), which would improve the Medicare Part B enrollment process; and
  • Opposing any attempts to raise prescription drug costs for people with Medicare, including efforts to roll back recent Part D reforms.

Take Action

  • Call your Members of Congress: Dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your Representative and Senators. Use these talking points to help guide your conversation or to leave a message.
  • Amplify your Voice: Please share this alert widely and let others know why you’re thankful for Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA.
  • Learn More: Click here to read a summary of these issues from the Medicare Rights Center, and click here for insight from the Center for Medicare Advocacy on what to expect in the lame duck session and beyond.  ***
  • Climate Hawks Vote

    On Friday, Donald Trump announced that he’ll nominate Andrew Wheeler, acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency since Scott Pruitt was fired, to serve formally as the administrator. The main difference between “acting head” and “head” is critical for activists like you and me: Wheeler will need Senate confirmation.

    What you need to know about Andrew Wheeler:

    • Wheeler spent most of the last decade at a DC lobbying firm representing the coal industry, including Robert Murray of Murray Energy, an old school coal baron who's consulting with Trump to save the coal industry, never mind the planet.
    • Prior to that, Wheeler worked for the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee under Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), a notorious climate denier.
    • Wheeler is shrewder than his predecessor Scott Pruitt -- he’ll avoid scandals involving mattresses, lotions, and soundproof booths -- but equally dedicated to dismantling the EPA’s entire regulatory system. And that makes him more dangerous than Pruitt.

    Here’s an example of Wheeler’s calculations. He’s trying to undo the mercury rule, the rule that required coal plants to add mercury “scrubbers” to their smokestacks. This rollback is so indefensible that even the coal-fired electric utilities have asked him not to undo this rule -- they’ve already spent the money and installed the scrubbers, so they can’t even claim that the regulation will cost them. And the rule has what EPA-folk call “ancillary benefits,” like public health. We fear he wants to undo the mercury rule to set a precedent that ancillary benefits shouldn’t be counted. In other words, public health won't ever matter one bit in Wheeler’s world. Just profits.

    We must stop Wheeler. And that means mobilizing climate hawks even before he's formally nominated.

    Even some Republican Senators, like the coal-fired electric utilities, are uneasy with a wholehearted embrace of mercury poisoning.

    Your fellow climate hawk,

    RL Miller