Behind the Green Veil

I’ve noticed it has become really cool and trendy to pretend to be above all the “woo” about GMOs, and to attack people who have done actual research on this subject for years, and have many genuine concerns. Why do some very reasonable people think GMOs are safe? Because we have seen countless greeny-hipster sites mocking anti-GMO activists. We all have “activism fatigue” to some extent. It’s exhausting to be constantly ridiculed by conservative cave-dwellers who got a lot more mileage than they deserved out of that whole spotted owl thing. We knew we were right about saving a species, but it took a hell of a lot out of us. Wouldn’t it be great to have one token liberal cause that we could all throw under the bus, just to prove we’re not all Chicken Littles, wringing our hands about the falling sky? I’m sorry, but the GMO debate is NOT that cause. We’ve already made the appropriate sacrifice by cutting the cord with anti-vaxxer morons and those chemtrail twits. But GMOs… we’re talking about our FOOD supply. How and when exactly did that issue cross over from anti to pro? Did it really? Says who?

 

Grassroots organizations are all over Facebook trying to tie anti-GMO activists in with the anti-vaxxers and chemtrail idiots. Our friends post the articles to their pages and ours, parroting soundbites about the improved yields of GMO crops and how they will end starvation on this planet (disproven). Another half dozen articles, all appearing to be from friendly tree-hugger sites, celebrate the scientific consensus that GMOs are safe, complete with a daisy-chain of links that all lead back to the same survey of scientists. Sounds legit.

 

You hesitate to ask your friend a question about the trustworthiness of the companies in charge of these agricultural breakthroughs because your buddy has already taken a few swipes at the non-believers and threatened to block anyone who doesn’t embrace our fabulous new bionic futurefood. What’s going on here.. why are they so smug and kind of… defensive? There is an air of self-congratulation among the GMO fans. After all, they read the articles that mysteriously drifted into their newsfeed, obviously drawn by the pheromones emitted by all concerned liberals. Gosh, it’s like they know us. Totally grassroots, yo. The shyly amateurish graphics, lending that whiff of non-profit cred, the photos of kids and spunky young women with tousled hair and no makeup, picking berries as friendly Mom and Pop farmers look on with indulgent smiles from behind their folksy fruitstand counter.  All the right lingo is woven through the text.. locally sourced… fair trade… sustainable… They speak our language, they must be our people.  We can relax and love the GMO, whew! And there it is again, the smug satisfaction of having out-witted the fringe left and their penchant for paranoia.

 

Did it ever occur to you those sites might be fake? I’m sorry to tell you that is a very common practice used to promote conservative ballot measures in California. They are part of the multi-million dollar publicity campaign waged by big corporations disguised as consumer advocacy groups to gain your trust in an industry that is rife with fraud and corruption.

 

But but but – genetic engineering of plants has gone on for centuries! Yes and no. Making adjustments for the plant’s size, growth rate, color, flavor, seed production, yield, and other changes that are already part of the plant’s genetic code are beneficial and achieved through selection of individual plants that display the desired traits. That is a LONG way from actually integrating a strain of bacteria into the plant to fend off pests, or designing a plant to withstand a carcinogenic herbicide that a chemical company would like to spray with impunity around the plant – your food – while it’s growing, to keep weeds at bay.

 

Shouldn’t we be concerned that glyphosate is now coming down in RAINWATER? Are you fine with food items that are genetically engineered to withstand being doused with Roundup? Don’t you care that Monsanto’s bribery of a Fox affiliate to fabricate a report that their bovine growth hormone was safe resulted in a lawsuit that now allows all media outlets to lie to the public and gives the networks the right to force their reporters to lie on the air?

 

The “scientists” calling GMOs safe are all American, and the surveys taken by Pew Research only questioned those who were members of an agricultural committee that was formed by Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and several other chemical corporations. This information is readily available by digging deep into the websites where it is published. Next time you are reading pro-GMO spew, try checking the “about” link at the bottom of the page and do some research on the founders of that organization. All pro-GMO leads back to chemical companies every time. As long as our agricultural corporations and chemical corporations are working in sync to manipulate and eliminate safety regulations, no GMO product can be trusted!

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Fight Election Burnout!

By Glenn Adams

 

Now is not the time to draw weary about this election, for the outcome is too important. There’s simply too much at stake to get turned off by anything that gets said. See, Trump and the Republicans would love for Democrats to feel that way. A way in which Democrats will suppress their own votes by not coming out to vote. For every vote that a Democrat does not cast for Hillary Clinton is equivalent to Trump gaining a vote. Yes I am tired of the media constantly engaging in talk about email crap. Yes I am tired of hearing the con man Trump and his surrogates speak about making America great again for I understand what that coded phrase refers to. Yes I am tired about the double standard employed by the media when it comes to Hillary Clinton, and I’m tired about how the Republican Party, even today, continues to hold hearings about an issue that the FBI has already ruled on.

But each day I realize that our country is moving closer to having Hillary Clinton as its next president, so I don’t get anywhere near the point of tuning out. Folks, there’s an old play in politics that is referred to as “political overload”. It is employed by a losing party to try to turn people off completely about the entire process. My suggestion is to filter the crap you hear from the media and from the party of fools, the Republican Party. Understand what is going on and what we all must do down this home stretch of this election. Enjoy the moments that are really starting to take place as Hillary Clinton lays the heavy hammer down on the con man Trump. He ain’t seen anything like what he is about to see. The best has just gotten better. Stay strong with Hillary Clinton all the way, because she will be strong for us.

What Do You Have To Lose? Well, Let’s Start With…

By Steve Rohosky

 

A parade of rightist extremist surrogates and sycophants, as well as Donald “Despicable He” Trump, have stampeded across a multitude of media outlets this presidential campaign. Each deflects pointed criticism of the GOP nominee, then fires back increasingly harsh verbal grenades, meant to minimize potential damage done The Donald while at the same time hoping to blast gaping holes in voter perceptions concerning the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

All while every last Republican talking head worth their worship of Ronald Reagan has resolutely refined a rather bizarre, deeply seated party-wide delusion: that the eight torturous, fractious and near financially catastrophic years of the George W Bush administrations NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

This seems to have been developed to serve as a key campaign strategy for Republicans, one deployed straight out of their convention and it will surely hold heading toward Election Day: take the calamity Dubya wrought on 99% of Americans and lay it all at the feet of the sitting president and his first Secretary of State.

According to these purveyors of political prevarication, the Bill Clinton presidency bumped right into that of Barak Obama, nothing but a transition team in between. And just like that, eight years of GWB…gone.

Trump has lately taken to blaming the wreckage in Iraq and difficulties of Afghanistan on Obama, trying to sell some increasingly gullible and incredibly low information individuals on the fantasy the president and Hillary Clinton “founded” ISIS. Other right wing proxies spiritedly savage the slow, steady economic improvement and job growth triggered by Obama’s policies.

Done while completely ignoring all the frightfully inept decisions Bush and congressional Republicans implemented which nearly caused what would have been a devastating worldwide depression and did bring about a severe domestic recession.

In support, Trump hammers the idea to his lemming-like supporters that Obama is the worst president in history: Warren G Harding, James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson aside. The reality, of course, is he’s light years away from the worst between the last TWO men to sit in the White House, much less all 42 prior to Dubya.

Fierce to expand beyond the knuckle-dragging white male demographic already locked up, Trump hankers to improve upon his pitiful 1% share of the black vote, his 15% of Latinos. At recent rallies, he burbles to predominantly pasty crowds, white-speaking old stereotypes as to how ALL African-Americans live in poverty, attend horrible schools, get shot walking the street in inner cities, received terrible educations. Like all on the über right, he relishes making twisted statistics his mantra: 58% of blacks being unemployed.

What Republicans tend to conveniently overlook is while the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates only 41% of blacks are in the labor force, Trump refuses to recognize the 58% figure is for ALL those between the ages of 16 and 65. Which includes HS and college students, stay-at-home moms and dads, the retired, disabled, those unable and/or not desirous to work. BIG difference, that.

The reality outside Trumpworld: according to The Atlantic magazine, 12/21/15: “Unemployment among blacks was 9.5 percent during the third quarter of 2015 compared to only 4.5 percent for whites.”
(1) http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/black-white-unemployment-gap/421497/

Another much favored, albeit equally misleading statement made during a party primary debate in an attempt to cast aspersions on President Obama’s efforts: the unemployment rate for young blacks is 51% and 36% for youthful Latinos.

Politifact.com debunked it. “Using the standard method for determining the jobless rate, the figure for African-American youths is 31.5 percent and for Hispanic youths it’s 18.6 percent. While those rates are still disproportionately high, they are not nearly as high as” the candidate said.
(2) http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/oct/13/bernie-s/debate-bernie-sanders-says-african-american-youth-/

Certainly, the numbers are disproportionately high when compared to those of whites. No one disputes much improvement is needed in order to equalize employment opportunities among all, including older folks who still want to work, as well as young people. No matter, Republican presidents and GOP members of congress have consistently made comfortable livings by attacking public schools and by stifling the creation of jobs for the working and middle classes since the days when Nancy Reagan’s astrologers were considered nearly cabinet level policy advisers within the administration of The Great (Ex)Communicator.

Over the past nearly eight years, those very same GOP Congresspersons have BLOCKED every single jobs program Obama submitted. They have continuously CUT funding for public education, pre-and-after school programs, for school lunches. All in an attempt to cripple the National Education Association and other teacher unions. Unions which are traditionally very large contributors to the Democratic Party and Dem candidates.

THEN Republicans have had the unmitigated gaul to blame Obama for the generally declining quality of education–especially when compared to that of the more affluent mostly white suburbs–received by students attending inner city schools and the unbalanced educational and employment opportunities open to minority youth. Done while gleefully pretending Reagan, Daddy Bush and Bush the Idiot played NO part.

It seems Trump and his boot lickers take great joy in practicing selective amnesia. All ignore the extensive damage done by Dubya to public schools, the economy, the upwards to 750K jobs lost PER month–MILLIONS of jobs lost overall–during his administration. Republicans want to forget about the two wars waged on the national credit card, the 5,000 American DEAD in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They try their damnedest to overlook the trillions of dollars the Bush White House added to the national debt, the dramatic increase to the budget deficit, in part due to the tens of thousands of governmental workers added between January 2001 and Obama’s ’09 inauguration.

While delivering one of his suddenly scripted speeches recently, The Donald has begun to implore of all minorities, but specifically blacks, “What the hell do you have to lose?” by voting for him. Really?? What people of color have to lose is all the gains made under Obama in trying to repair the damage done by the deplorable policies practiced by Republicans under Bush.

All Americans, other than the Top One Percent, have a tremendous amount to lose were President Trump to adopt the budget House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying to implement for the past five years: deep cuts to Social Security, including raising the age of eligibility to 70. Consider, too, Ryan’s ultimate goal is to completely privatize the program, to have a for-profit company administer it.

Don’t like that? How about the elimination of Medicare, to be replaced by $5,000 “healthcare” vouchers? Exceed the amount of the voucher in a years time and you’re on your own, sorry.

Ryan wants to eliminate the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agencies. Imagine how much worse would be the quality of schools without ANY oversight. Think our rivers, steams, lakes and other waterways would still be the same without the ability to monitor gross polluters? Or for the DOJ to haul them into court to prosecute, seeking penalties for their actions and superfunds to facilitate clean up operations??
NOT a pretty sight.

By and by, the GOP has long tried to turn public education into a voucher system, too–in lieu of governmental subsidies–thus forcing schools to compete with each other for students. A system which would take away even more precious funding in order be to put toward educating students, as a portion of each schools budget will need to be redirected toward competing with others for students and those vouchers.

Too, if a years attendance for your child to attend the school of your choice exceeds the amount of the voucher, YOU pay the difference. Can’t afford it? Looks like Junior or Janie is heading right back to one of those poorly performing schools the voucher program was supposedly meant to improve or eliminate. So much for a parents ability to choose what school their child will attend. Sorry.

Let’s not forget, too, under a President Trump and the Ryan budget you could say goodbye to the US Postal Service, another long-time Republican scapegoat. Seems they just can’t stomach the idea of all those subsidies going to any governmental agency, especially when they’d vastly prefer all that $$$$$ be redirected to private businesses (i.e. BIG GOP campaign contributors.)

Efforts have been underway for several years to cripple the USPS by forcing it to put money for 75 YEARS worth of healthcare benefits away right now, to cover the costs of aging for all employees. A requirement which has left the postal service operating very much in the red ever since, something rightists deceitfully leaped upon to proclaim as “proof” government subsidized mail service is obsolete and a huge drain on the taxpayers. One which would be better served by, you guessed it, privatization, as if ya didn’t know.

“What the hell do you have to lose?” Ever take a look at Trump’s tax plans?? Potentially eight more years of tax policies geared toward the top one percent, for a start. Under his plan, the highest maximum personal rate would be lowered from 39.6% to 25%. He would eliminate the Estate Tax (which currently applies only to inheritances in excess of $5 million, effecting just 0.5% of Americans), the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Gift Tax.

The top federal tax rate on long-term capital gains (income derived from investments, for instance) is currently 23.8%. Trump’s plan would cap that at 20%.

The maximum rate of taxation for businesses would be lowered from the current 35% to just 15%, as if any now pay that high a rate to begin with. According to the GAO, Jul 1, 2013: “Large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The federal corporate tax rate stands at 35%, and jumps to 39.2% when state rates are taken into account.”
(3) http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/01/news/economy/corporate-tax-rate/

Trump wants black and brown voters to believe 60 years of Democratic policies and programs have only made their lives worse. Of course he and his surrogates ignore the failings of Nixon, the refusal of Reagan to do anything helpful for minorities, the reading of Bush the Elder’s lips concerning new taxes and the continuation of the failed Trickle Down economic theory–which Bill Clinton had to rectify–the near collapse of the world’s economy brought on by Bush the Younger, leaving a fractured economy once again in dire need of repair and improving by a Democratic president more than up to the task.

Yes, Trump wants voters, especially those of color, to believe reinstating the same policies implemented by recent Republican presidents which have failed time after time after time will somehow miraculously work, this time. He wants Americans to accept isolating the nation from friends and allies, refusing to honor long-standing treaties, a Berlin-like wall erected between Mexico and the US, the backing out of trade agreements and cutting the country off from the rest of the world. Trump moronically crows how these will be good things.

Yet less foreign trade means reduced demand for American goods and services, leading to REDUCED job opportunities, not more as it restricts the market for American products to our own 350 million residents, rather than the 7 BILLION folks comprising the rest of the world.

Refusing to honor treaties and agreements means countries and foreign corporations will no longer trust the word of the US. As a result, they might well no longer invest here, build no new assembly plants to employ American workers, conceivably going so far as to shut existing facilities already standing, possibly including plants which make Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes vehicles right here in the US of A. The potential loss of jobs could be more devastating even than that under Dubya.

So when Donald Trump next blithely asks as to what you have to lose, consider fully the ramifications of he and his brood working out of the Oval Office, setting foreign policy, having access to the nuclear codes, potentially choosing several more extreme rightist Scalia-clone justices to sit for several decades on the US Supreme Court.

Consider coordinated legal and congressional attempts to reverse marriage equality and the gains made in civil rights for the LGBTQ community, think about what it would mean to further soften the Second Amendment to the point where instead of a chicken in every pot, it will be a couple of handguns and enough ammo to shoot up the OK Coral.

Contemplate the impact another Republican presidency would have on attempts to severely restrict abortion rights affirmed by Roe v Wade, how religious zealots WILL push for a ruling to limit its scope, too. A new über retrograde SCOTUS might well affirm preventing statewide automatic voter registration for those turning 18 years of age, could severely limit early voting days as well as the hours polls could be open on election days.

Conceptualize how Trump could push for legal approval to restrict voting by the poor, college students and minorities–including the establishment of a national form of ID, one required to be shown in order to vote–and the crown jewel of GOP reactionaries: finalizing efforts to repeal Obamacare, replacing it with nothing.

Now, think of how much better this country could have been under Bill Clinton and Barak Obama had they not been forced to first fix the disasters left them by right wing predecessors. Then contrast it with the devastation to be wrought by any Republican elected president, Trump in particular.

It’s easy to see the risk of yet another is simply too great. And THAT’S what we in the 99% have to lose; far, far more than the overwhelming majority of we Democrats care to relinquish.

Too Wild to Tame or… Too Dumb to Train?

By Steve Rohosky

 

Donald “Despicable Me” Trump has created a mythology about himself that he only hires “the best.” For months and months we’ve been subjected to a mountain of his boasts, this chief among them. And then Trump goes and shakes up his campaign hierarchy, one more time, in order to once again usher out someone decidedly less than “the best.”

First through the revolving door of abject ineptitude was Corey Lewandowski (who never saw a female reporter he believed he couldn’t beat) as the original campaign manager-type. Until escorted back through the same door months ago, that is, when it was decided he’d best serve The Donald’s ego by pretending to be a Trump surrogate on CNN–while admittedly still receiving “severance,” campaign-speak for Lewandowski is still on the payroll while acting as a cheerleader over on the news network.

Now, gone so quickly it’s doubtful he can even file for unemployment is Paul Manafort, who was given the requisite gold watch and cheerful hyperbole to go along with the largely ceremonial position of Chairman after having been on the job just two months, when he too was pushed out the door, doubtlessly kicking and screaming all the way.

Next hired-to-be-fired is strategist Kellyanne Conway as the latest sacrificial campaign manager. The well liked Conway, apparently, replaces Russian dictator, errr, President Vladimir Putin’s secret campaign weapon. Manafort, it seems, took time off from his regular gig of influencing Ukranian politicians to look favorably upon Mother Russia and Putin, that he might return to the US so as to influence the Republican presidential candidate to look favorably upon Putin and Mother Russia.

But, once those famous anti-Free Press–according to the candidate–gremlins at the New York Times discovered Manafort’s name mentioned repeatedly in a collection of hand written ledgers kept by the administration of deposed Ukranian despot Yanucovych, in reference to his having been paid a total of $12.7 million for services rendered–ostensibly under the table–Manafort’s days of influencing Trump to favor anybody, including himself, were numbered. As in all of two days.

Still, from Putin’s perspective, job well done by Manafort after Trump continuously crooned Kumbaya concerning Russian/American relations on the campaign trail, for several weeks. After which the nominee successfully removed several anti Russian planks from the GOP party platform during the convention.

Joining Team Trump, too (or is it three, at this point?)–supposedly strictly in an advisory capacity–is recently resigned Fox News pooh-bah and internationalist Roger Ailes, he of the Roman hands and Russian fingers. Allegedly. Having undoubtedly grown weary of dealing with Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit, Ailes will purportedly assist with Trump’s debate prep. Also brought in is Breitbart über rightist extremist smearmeister extraordinaire, Steve Bannon.

This parade of ex-advisors and former campaign managers continues to lengthen for one rather salient reason: Donald J. has proven himself either incapable and/or unwilling to listen to anyone not named Trump. Because of that fatal flaw, RNC chairman Reince Priebus and the majority of the party’s down ticket candidates are presently in near panic mode, having watched key battleground poll numbers continue to sink, observed once redder than red states like GA, AZ, SC being reevaluated and moved into the toss-up category.

This while one after another prominent Republican publicly pledges to NOT vote for the nominee. Some even going so far as to commit the ultimate right wing heresy: stating intent to cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton.

With yet another reshuffling of the campaign pecking order, one is left to wonder if Trump isn’t being giving this one last chance by the RNC to get his act together. There have been rumblings of late of veiled threats he should act more like a traditional candidate, more presidential. Encouraged to stay on topic during scripted speeches, whilst at the same time told to scrupulously avoid the rambling stream of consciousness style of public speaking from which have come many of the candidates worst self-inflicted wounds.

Whispers abound that if he doesn’t soon begin to turn things around, he could possibly face being replaced as the GOP standard bearer, potentially by Trump’s own handpicked VP candidate, Mike “Mr Somnambulist” Pence.

Alas, the New, Newer, Newest Trump campaign seems to have gotten off to a less than auspicious start Tuesday by avoiding the racial unrest in Milwaukee, eschewing an opportunity to speak directly to angry black voters in that city. Voters who are fed up with the treatment they receive from the local police and politicians. Instead the candidate chose to hold his rally in a nice, safe, lily-white suburb. A rally attended by a virtually all white crowd, not surprising since West Bend, WS, has a black population of 1%.

To this point Trump’s appeal to black voters remains incredibly limited. According to recent polls only 1% support him while a whopping 91% favor Clinton. That is, at least those not effected by red state voter suppression laws aimed specifically at blacks, browns, the poor and the elderly.

In that particular town, so sparkling bright the populous would have no choice BUT to wear shades, Trump chose to give a speech littered with white-speak: restoring law-und-order, how Democrats have done nothing to help blacks, the need for more cops on the streets. JUST the kind of campaign positions sure to endear the candidate to already enraged and bitter Milwaukee residents while at the same time receiving rousing ovations from the extremely low information attendees.

Interesting, too, that Trump avoided mentioning the systematic obstruction by congressional Republicans of every jobs bill Obama sent to Capitol Hill over the past nearly eight years. Bills meant to help unemployed blacks get jobs, especially teens. He also failed to elucidate how his professed commitment to issues important to women–boasting about being “the greatest president for women”–would be improved by bringing aboard an accused sexual harasser sitting on a sizable stack of allegations made by former female employees, someone being sued in court for sexual harassment.

Donald Trump likes to think of himself as being too wild to tame. Those who have been trying to advise him–to the extent Trump is capable of accepting direction from anyone–as well as RNC chair Reince Priebus, Conway, Bannon, Roger Ailes, et al, are about to find out over the next several weeks to what extent he CAN be tamed.

A great fear has arisen and spread like a plague through what remains of the Republican Party: he’s simply too dumb to train. Trump’s ability to move his campaign from the category of train wreck to one of competitiveness is completely dependent upon finding out which is which, over the time remaining.

For if Priebus and the other GOP decision makers wait too long, make the wrong choice, the Republican Party will awaken Wednesday, November 9th to find their carefully cobbled real-life house of cards has collapsed all about them. And it could take generations to build it anew.

Wouldn’t that be a pity???

Vaccine Heroes

By Aaqib Malhi

 

I’ll be visiting a country which is one of the only three in the world to still have Poliomyelitis, also called Polio. They would have gotten rid of Polio years ago, but they are a different type of anti-vexxor. Vaccines are an American plot to neuter, sterilize, and emasculate Muslim men, you see.

People talk about polio in the past tense, but to me it’s very real. I’ve been vaccinated for polio. It’s three bitter drops of a red-ish liquid poured down your throat. The disease is horrible. I’ve seen kids with deformed limbs, rotting muscle tissue, and partial body paralysis.

Vaccines prevent that.

Vaccine providers are heroes. Maybe not true where you live, but in parts of the world, it’s a job more dangerous than military service. Brave women carry big red coolers containing the polio vaccine through villages and towns alike. You will actually hear them before you see them, the shouts of “Polio! Polio drops!” will make sure of that. But in some parts, you’ll see men with guns following the vaccine providers. It’s because these unsung heroes, these warrior women, who get up every morning with a singular mission of providing life saving medication to babies, they’re routinely assaulted, beaten, and even murdered. Still, like clockwork, the ladies return every year, they do so until every single child below the age of five in a given neighborhood is fully vaccinated. That’s the struggle, the sacrifice, and the personal cost of vaccination in distant parts of the world.

My news feed is saturated with vaccine posts. So this was my take on the ‘controversy’. Peeps be railing real hard against preventive medication. I don’t know about the evil capitalists, but, you sure have an agenda.

Rising Together With Hillary

By Emelie Rose Barg

 

I am so overwhelmed tonight knowing Secretary Hillary Clinton accepted her nomination for President of the Democratic Party. The glass ceiling is breaking, one shard at a time. The DNC Convention just got better and better every day. I am so thankful that I got to watch it without interruption on C-Span. All the delegates, speakers continued to build the excitement. Every day was more enjoyable than the day before. I was thrilled that we had Democratic Speakers, Independent Speakers and Republican Speakers. Talk about inclusion! The best convention ever, imho. And thank you Debbie Wasserman Schultz for putting it together and to all who helped or contributed in some way.

I have been a supporter of the Democratic Party for decades now. I grew up supporting the Republican Party of my parents, but that party no longer exists today. I am so happy to call myself a Liberal Progressive that wants to have things get done for our country.

I’ve thought a lot about the women and men Suffragette’s this week. I’ve thought about my ancestors, my great grandparents and my grandparents that came before me. They were soldiers in the American Revolution and The Civil War. Now 240 years later we now have a Women nominated from a Leading Democratic Party to be President. I am grateful tonight to have lived to experience this momentous occasion. And that my daughter and son did too.

I have cried several times during the last four days. Tears of joy, tears of love and compassion. I am so proud of what we can accomplish, if we pull together as Americans.

And that is why I support Hillary Clinton. ‪#‎ImWithHer‬

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

“Rise, Hillary.

Rise.”

From On High

by Steve Rohosky

 

From On High…

Are many cops racists or hold a great dislike for black people when they are hired? Most likely not.

But with time…

Police in many cities and states purposely target black and Latino neighborhoods. It’s called racial profiling. When you actively look for ONLY minorities committing crimes, then you will FIND only minority criminals. As per numerous studies and statistics, black and Latino men and women DO NOT commit the majority of crimes, they do NOT comprise the majority of illegal drug users. Yet today’s prisons and jails are overwhelmingly populated by black and brown men, women.

…having basically looked for only minority criminals, over many years, yes. Too many police officers come to loathe and detest minorities, principally young, black, men. No doubt about it. Which is, as one would expect, greatly disturbing to the black community and all who are concerned about injustice.

It is human nature to want to lash out, to strike back, at those considered responsible for dead black man, murdered at the hands of seemingly bad, poorly trained, overly ozealous and over reacting, possibly hateful cops. Officers who are measurably more suspicious, quantifiably more distrustful of black men than white. Yes, some within the black community want to strike back when it is perceived that the legal system has failed them. Especially when those cops responsible for dead black men time after time escape prosecution, pay no penalty other than resignation.

Now, let’s establish that NOT ALL POLICE OFFICERS ARE HATERS. Not all are bad cops. In point of fact, the overwhelming percentage of police are good, hard working men and women who care about those they are sworn to protect and serve. They are passionate about helping, about making a difference within their communities.

Only problem is: they all appear the same, the good as well as the bad. One simply cannot identify which cops are which just by looking at them, no more so than you could identify potential criminals from gazing at a large crowd of individuals.

More than half a century ago, Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary” as a counter to Dr Martin Luther King’s philosophy of Non-Violent Resistance for blacks to gain equality in America. It is questionable how much, if any, that philosophy which sanctioned violence assisted in the means to an end, helped achieve the measured progress of the nascent civil rights movement of the era.

There is NO doubt, though, that by attempting to adapt the “By Any Means Necessary” ideology to the 21st century, by using it as a rationale for the murder of five police officers in Dallas and other cops around the country, it only serves to create GREATER animosity, a DEEPER distrust, a more all consuming SUSPICION of the black community by local and state police forces.

Sure, those who advocate the “an eye for an eye” approach no doubt believe they are making a point, that they will not stand idly by while young men of color are wantonly murdered. Retaliatory strikes such as these make as much sense as when rioters in American city after city, from Newark to Detroit to Watts in LA, burned down their own homes to demonstrate their degree of rage as per the white controlled institutions and the biases long inherent to them, back in the mid to late 1960’s.

The fact of the matter remained that when the anger subsided, the smoke cleared, those residents were all homeless. The few shops and businesses available to them where groceries and essentials could be purchased–along with the non essentials, like the ubiquitous liquor stores, seemingly everywhere throughout each predominantly black neighborhood–were gone. The acts of defiance didn’t make the situation for the residents of those areas any better. It only served to make it worse–much, much worse.

The youth of each generation over the past six decades seems to be increasingly less willing to do the laborious and time consuming work required to bring about change. Instead, each in its own way has fantasized about “revolution,” sought to bring about quick change. Today is no different.

Look at the millions of Bernard Sanders supporters who ever so naively believed they could influence the capitalist economic system of this country just by stomping their feet. Still more threatened to hold their collective breath, having pledged to never, never, EVER support the eventual nominee of the Democratic Party.

Others fixed those filthy capitalists by making grandiose demands, each punctuated with reams of ineffectual whining, followed up by more $27 donations to their favorite grandfatherly candidate.

Young’uns (and oldsters who should’ve been smart enough to know better) who all practiced a sort of mass delusion, having conjured up a belief all this could somehow effect change. Or taking it a step further, bring down current systemically controlled institutions, thus eliminating the biases long inherent to them. Beliefs nothing more than the contemporary version of the burning of your own homes and businesses, the deluded so convinced such a differing demonstration of rage would force those holding the reigns of power to make changes. If only…

Real change DOES NOT work like that. There will be no more French Revolutions or another overthrow such as the Czar in Russia. Power in industrial nations is no longer concentrated in one person. It is spread, diversified, for a very good reason: helping insure the mutual survival of them that pull the strings.

And despite the romantic imagery of poets like Jim Morrison of The Doors who wrote, “They got the guns but, we got the numbers!” in the song Five To One, that kind of safety in numbers is fantastical, wishful thinking. Cause they got countless more bullets now than you got numbers, Jim. And too many have powerfully vested interests in seeing the economic and political structures standing, as they do today, remaining essentially intact.

Cause THEY are doing quite well, thank you.

Real change DOES NOT start at the bottom. It begins at the top, where rests the power. 1954 saw the US Supreme Court put an end to the myth long perpetuated of “Separate But Equal.” It took congress to pass the Civil Rights Acts, then the Voting Rights Act, fifty years ago. It took the Highest Court to determine women could decide for themselves if they wanted to legally and safely terminate a pregnancy, in 1972.

The SCOTUS also ruled against the Texas sodomy laws in 2003 by stating the government had no business intruding in bedrooms of the citizenry. One more time the SC handed down another monumental decision declaring the rights of LGBTQ people to be equally protected by the constitution, in 2015. Thus gay and transgender individuals could marry, then further enrich divorce lawyers, just like straight folks do.

When things got crazy in Ferguson, MO, the Justice Department investigated the police department and found such widespread racism and corruption, the whole PD was dissolved and a new one put into its place. Killing random cops in retaliation for the murders of black men didn’t do that. The change came from on high.

The videos taken by citizens which have shown to the world black men being murdered by police demonstrates the symptom of a disease. The disease being there are entirely too many badly trained, under prepared and at times psychologically handicapped cops carrying guns and badges. Many of whom simply shouldn’t even be police officers. Too many of which when facing a black man–who correctly informs the officer he is carrying a gun–too frequently the cop immediately expects the worst, anticipates resistance, grossly overreacts in a situation where his life IS NOT threatened and shoots anyway.

The tragic result being the life of Philando Castile ebbed slowly away, the aftermath of his shooting streamed live onto Facebook for all to watch. To see how his blood covered more and more of his white shirt, his eyes soon closed and he was dead. While the cop, so much adrenaline coursing through him the arms still holding his aimed gun spasmed and shook, as he stammered excuses for discharging the weapon.

Or a bunch of cops initiate a power struggle with a man reportedly carrying a gun. A potentially life or death struggle begins which quickly devolves into a shoot first ask questions later mindset. This is what left Alton Sterling dead in Baton Rouge, LA.

Would those same officers have reacted in an identical manner had there been young white men involved? Who knows. Yet the same sort of thing keeps happening almost ridiculously too often to far, far too many black men: Eric Garner murdered on the street in Staten Island, NY, while trying to tell the officer choking him to death, “I can’t breathe.”

Walter Scott, shot in the back while attempting to get away from an officer in South Carolina. An officer unbeknownst to him recorded on a citizens cell phone, the video capturing him calmly walking over to the dying Scott and dropping his taser near him, to make it look like Scott removed it during their struggle, inferring Scott had intended to use it as a weapon against the officer.

12 year old Tamir Rice was playing with a toy gun in a park. Cops roll up and in less than three seconds the boy was dead. They shot first, didn’t give a damn about questions. Freddie Gray was brutally beaten and dragged by Baltimore police, before being taken for a “rough ride” in a paddy wagon, a punishment doled out by cops who thought someone being taken into custody had given them a hard time. Gray died after his neck snapped. And on and on it goes.

One facet of this can begin to change by budgeting more money to be spent in every PD across the land. NOT for increasingly sophisticated weaponry and former military vehicles. A police department enforces the law, it must not wage war with the very people it is sworn to protect and serve. ALL THE PEOPLE.

With increased funding, psychological testing must be done every couple of years to ferret out potential problems within a department. And why not? The FBI and CIA randomly administer state of the art lie detector tests to all agents. They also undergo periodic psych testing, too. If it’s good enough to discover agents who have gone rogue or are no longer effective and/or compromised, it damn sure should be good enough to protect citizens from bad cops and ultimately the good police from bad citizens looking to make a statement.

More and differing sensitivity training should be implemented, also. And on top of it all, civilian review boards are needed for every PD above a certain size. Boards comprised by local persons: business professionals, doctors, lawyers, teachers, blue collar workers, homemakers, college students, a real cross section of the community. Review boards with the power to investigate officers against whom habitual complaints are lodged pertaining to brutality and excessive use of force. Ones given the power to refer results to the local DA or higher still, should local DA’s take a cavalier attitude towards those findings.

Not to be excluded, but newer and more creative ideas and programs are in dire need to bridge the ocean separating too many black residents in too many communities and their local police departments. This “us versus them” mindset which lingers almost a fifth of the way through the 21st century, must end.

The overzealous, distrustful and poorly prepared policing practices which are leading to the deaths of young black men must change. It has created a deteriorating situation, one which seems to be crumbling before our eyes. Responding to another black man dead at the hands of a cop by making police officers targets, then murdering THEM randomly in retaliation, only fuels an already bad situation by helping launch another which could become exponentially worse.

Again, change simply doesn’t come from the bottom. Marching and protesting in the streets won’t lead to any permutations. Days later it’s all forgotten, including any and all pledges and promises made to momentarily assuage crowds. The best place ordinary citizens CAN make their voices heard is at the ballot box on Election Day. Find out where your elected representative stands on the issues concerning effective policing, police oversight by the community, review boards if none exist, common sense gun control, preventing those on the No Fly lists from buying a gun–with an appeal process designed to ensure jus’ folks aren’t confused with potential terrorists.

And question representatives about their willingness to institute laws so as to keep weaponry designed for the military OUT of the hands of non military personnel. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to own A gun, not ANY gun.

Then GET OUT AND VOTE. Too many eligible voters stay home, never bothering to cast a ballot, complaining how their singular vote doesn’t make any difference. Yet they are frequently the ones bellowing the loudest about the inequities of “the system.” If you don’t vote, SHUT UP!! You have no right to complain. If you do vote, great. Work to install local representatives who respond to you and your concerns. If they don’t, toss them out, too. But make your voice heard at the top, so real change, beneficial change, can take place.

Back in the Sixties, a phrase was used frequently, one which still holds true, even this many years later: You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

BE the solution, NOT the problem.
Find a way.