Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Taking On The Ten Year Challenge

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was extremely cold and snowy here, causing cancellation of many events, but the "fire" of the slain civil rights activist lives on! Let's follow in Dr. King's footsteps and tackle the challenges that lie ahead of us with the same passion and dedication he did. We're all in this together.

This week we take a look at the economic, ecological and social injustices that Dr. King fought over fifty years ago and that we're still fighting today. The more things change... Or do they?

Taking On The Ten Year Challenge
by C.A. Matthews 

I've never been much for following the crowd, but I do like challenges. So, when everyone on Facebook started posting a photo of herself from ten years ago alongside one from today, I ignored it.

Why? Well, to me it's not much of a challenge. I can't turn back time and magically become the person I was ten years ago, so why torture people who've become my friends recently with a photo of a person they could never hope to meet? They've got to put up with me the way I am today. I don't want them to regret not meeting me earlier--or worse, wishing they had and then walked away.

But when people began posting before-and-after pictures contrasting once verdant landscapes with their now-denuded appearance, I began to see the usefulness of the ten year challenge. It's good to compare an image of a pristine forest with the strip-mined mud pit it's become. It's a wake-up call that gets you thinking: How could it have come to this? The simplest answer is, of course: We're greedy, selfish human beings who don't care what we're doing to our fellow humans and Mother Earth as long as we get what we want out of it.

The same could be said of the before-and-after memes of American drug prices and the federal minimum wage. You're not imagining things--medicine costs have risen astronomically in the US while real wages have stagnated over the past decade. So, why have we let it come to this?  Are ordinary Americans "greedy" and "selfish" and don't care what they're doing to each other and our planet as long as they get what they want out of it? 

It could be argued that ordinary Americans are indeed all those negative things, but it could also be argued the current system of government that our society functions under encourages these types of destructive behaviors. Some would argue our system of government practically mandates these actions. Until we eliminate our governmental system or vastly modify it, it will continue to promote Earth's destruction in resource and land grabs and the twin travesties of price-gouging and labor-devaluing.

Perhaps it's time all Americans take on the ten year challenge, first in our local communities, then in our states, regions and then the nation as a whole. I feel we need to go back a few more decades and probe even deeper in our comparisons. What was life like for average people thirty years ago? Sixty years ago? One hundred? 

While there's no doubt we've all benefited from recent advances in science and technology, let's seriously consider this question: Have all Americans benefited equally from these advances? If they haven't, then ask yourself the following: Why are only a handful of Americans benefiting from these advances? Why do we allow only a handful to benefit from these advances when so many lives could be saved and the country as a whole could become healthier, happier and more prosperous if these advances were available to all, regardless of class, race, gender or income?

At the end of the day, there is really only one challenge, one question that needs answering: Why do we not simply show compassion to our fellow human beings and the world that shelters and nourishes all humankind?
If your answer to that question is, "Because you can't get rich that way," then you have demonstrated what the problem truly is and how to tackle it. 

I believe humanity's challenge for the next ten years is the dismantling of the destructive system of late-stage capitalism and the artificial economic system it creates that prohibits the equitable distribution of life-sustaining necessities such as food, clean water, clothing, shelter and medicine. 

Will the end of capitalism bring about the end of  this evil called "money" and put to death the class system that degrades most and elevates only a few based simply on their bank account balance? Will it create a Star Trek-like semi-utopian society where all people are valued and their physical needs met so they're able to develop fully into the human beings they want to become? I sincerely hope so. 

Until that day, keep challenging your thought processes--and others'--with intelligent comparisons of how our lives were then, how they are now, and what they could become. Think about positive ways to bring about those changes and how to meet the obstacles you'll encounter along the way. 

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope one day you'll join us, and the world will live as one. --John Lennon

Related articles--

The Earth's #10YearChallenge is Grim

250,000 Deaths a Year From Climate Change is a Conservative Estimate

Big Pharma Raises Prices on Hundreds of Drugs

Students in MAGA Hats Surround and Harass Native American Veteran

MLK Warned Us of the Well-Intentioned Liberal


It's time to face our challenges head on!

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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--not the corporations!

From NRDC:

Twenty-eight days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, millions of Americans are struggling without a paycheck, and nine federal departments and agencies are mostly shuttered.

But that hasn’t stopped President Trump from bringing Interior Department employees back to work — without pay — to push ahead with plans for expanding oil and gas drilling along our coasts and on our public lands, including in the Arctic.

The Trump administration just released a draft Environmental Impact Statement that, if approved, would bring the administration and its fossil fuel allies one big step closer to tearing open the Arctic Refuge’s pristine, publicly-owned land for fossil fuel extraction.

But before they can do that, the administration must accept public comments on this assessment — so we need your help to mobilize a massive outcry today.

Show the Trump administration that Americans strongly oppose destroying the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Submit an official public comment now before the Feb. 11 deadline! >>

Often called “America’s Serengeti”, the Arctic Refuge in Alaska is the largest unspoiled wildlife refuge in America. It’s a haven for iconic wildlife like Porcupine caribou and imperiled polar bears, vital to the culture and survival of the region’s Gwich’in people, and ground zero for climate change.

Moving forward with these reckless plans in the middle of a government shutdown means that the future of this cherished refuge is being jeopardized in the dark, with little public oversight.

We can’t allow this administration to open the heart of our greatest wildland to destruction by the fossil fuel industry. If we don’t act now, lease sales for drilling in the Refuge could begin this year.

Act now: Submit a public comment telling the Trump administration you oppose any drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

NRDC is on the frontlines fighting to save the Arctic Refuge and so many more of our cherished public lands and waters from the Trump administration’s relentless attacks — in court, in Washington, and in communities like yours.

In fact, we're in federal court right now fighting to block Trump and his oil industry allies’ attempts to illegally authorize oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea, which sits right off the coast of the Arctic Refuge. An oil spill there could devastate the Refuge, blanketing its sensitive coastline with a deadly slick of toxic crude that would be functionally impossible to clean up.

And we’re keeping watch for an expected Trump administration announcement any day now about a potentially massive expansion of offshore drilling along nearly all of America’s coastlines, including along the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts.

Here’s the bottom line: The Arctic Refuge belongs to us — and this fight for our land requires a show of massive public resistance that the Trump administration can’t ignore.

Please send a message to save the Arctic Refuge today.

Thank you for standing with us at this critical time.


Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

Don't Want to Live in Gilead? Tell the Virginia Legislature to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment Now!
Sign Now

Many people think women are already protected by the United States Constitution — after all, many other countries have constitutional protections for women — but the US does not!
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees women's rights, unlike laws which can expire or be changed. The ERA fell just three states short of ratification in 1982, which is why so many Americans think we already have it. We do not!
In March 2017, Nevada surprised the nation and was the first state in over 30 years to ratify the ERA. In May of 2018 Illinois followed suit. We need just one more state to make history. And that state could be Virginia.
The ratification resolution just passed in the Virginia Senate, but its fate in the House chamber remains unclear. Despite support for ratification on both sides of the aisle, House Speaker Kirk Cox is refusing to bring the ERA to the floor for a vote. So the constitutional rights of all American women are essentially riding on the whims of one man.
Thank you,
Lacey K.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. Laws can be changed, and given who our President is right now, we need women's equality to be protected by the Constitution. Sign this petition to save us from a white bonnet existence.

From Friends of the Earth:

Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior is trying to gut a crucial protection for transparency in our government. It wants to make it even harder or impossible for people like you and me to gather information about troublesome land sales, backdoor drilling deals, and any other shady tactics between Big Oil, Big Ag, and corporate cronies in the Trump Administration.
The agency wants to make drastic and likely illegal changes to the rules for requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. This is a blatant rejection of transparency and democracy. It begs the question -- what could they be hiding?
So we need you to raise your voice and protect the Freedom of Information Act. Can we count on your support? 
The proposed changes would make requesting information from DOI much more difficult, and in many cases impossible. In one fell swoop, DOI is aiming to give itself unilateral decision-making power about what information is made public. This would be a huge blow to the power of grassroots movements and everyday citizens to hold Trump’s political appointees accountable for their cozy relationship with Big Oil.   
In short, this is a likely illegal proposal that would make it easier for the Trump Administration to hide its corruption and conflicts of interest.
The good news is, DOI is required to seek public input into the changes. So we need the help of progressives like you to stop them. 
Government transparency is a bedrock of democracy. But time and again, Trump’s Administration has proven it doesn't care about the rights of everyday citizens like you and me -- it only cares about furthering the interests of big corporations. 
The Freedom of Information Act has been a key tool for holding the government accountable. It helped expose how the mining industry influenced Ryan Zinke’s conversations about handing over parts of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante to Big Oil. 
Now, this crucial tool against government corruption is in danger. If the new FOIA regulations are implemented, the ability to protect our public lands and waters from Big Oil's drilling, Big Ag, and further environmental destruction will be threatened. But with your help, we can stop this abysmal misuse of power. Will you show the corrupt Trump Administration that you will not stand for the degradation of democratic rights and government transparency? 
Standing with you,
Nicole Ghio,
Senior fossil fuels program manager,
Friends of the Earth

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