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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 14, 2018, 05:21:10 pm »

Fierce Battle for State Assembly Between Socialist 👍 and
Obama Staffer in Richmond, CA

October 14, 2018

Richmond, California, Councilperson Jovanka Beckles, a declared socialist versus Obama staffer Buffy Wicks in a battle for State Assembly is defining the Democrats

Story Transcript

MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Good to have you all with us.

The new class of political battle inside the Democratic Party seems to be between the Democratic establishment and the rise of new people from the Democratic Socialist association and others; candidates that are defining what’s happening in politics in America, redefining what’s happening in America. And it’s happening in the 15th California Assembly District. It’s a district that comprises working-class cities like Richmond, and academic left-wing enclaves like Berkeley, and parts of Oakland, California.

One of the candidates running- they’re both, actually, Democrats in this final election. One of them is an Obama acolyte whose name is Buffy Wicks. The other candidate in the general election is Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles. Jovanka Beckles and the other candidate are similar on some issues, but really different. Jovanka’s running on single-payer, full daycare, free college, as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which sets her apart. In our continued exploration of America’s future with progressive candidates from around this country, we talked today with Richmond Councilperson Jovanka Beckles, who’s running for the Assembly seat in the 15th District. And Jovanka, welcome back, good to have you with us here on The Real News.

JOVANKA BECKLES: Thank you so very much. Great to be here.

MARC STEINER: Good to have you with us. So what I want to do, we’re going to start by playing this short clip of your campaign ads to give people a flavor, and then jump into our conversation.

All right. Very well.

VIDEO: My name is Jovanka Beckles. I’m a mental health professional, a union member, and an immigrant. For the past eight years on the Richmond City Council, I’ve been part of a movement and fight corporate [money]. We rejected corporate campaign donations and achieved victories for working people. We banned the box, won rent control, and a $15 minimum wage. When working people come together, we can take back control of our lives, and a greater share of the wealth that we ourselves create.

Because together we can build a California that puts people over profit.

MARC STEINER: So for our viewers across the country and the globe- let me explain very quickly and see if I have this right, Jovanka- in California when you run for political office, the top two vote getters, to make 50 percent, run against each other. Many places have two Democrats running against one another for the general election, which is what’s happening in your district this moment. Is that correct?

That is absolutely correct. In fact, in the primary there was one Republican in a race full of 12 people.

MARC STEINER: It says something about your district.

JOVANKA BECKLES: It says a lot about our district. Exactly. It’s the most progressive district, the most diverse district in the state.

So I really want to explore, because I think this, as I said at the top of the program here, this is kind of an example of this new classic battle across the country in the Democratic Party. But talk a bit about that as you see it. Because Buffy Wicks is an Obama acolyte, as I said. She worked for his administration. She helped his campaign in California when he fought against Bernie Sanders’ campaign in California. But she also is very liberal and progressive on a number of issues, and that’s what mean by this new battle. Define what you see as the difference between that point of view and point of view that you’re running on.

JOVANKA BECKLES: Yeah, it’s exactly right. And I you know, I know folks have have expressed that oh, you know, we’re we’re both very liberal, very progressive. But I haven’t really seen that in terms of the policies that we both find to be the most important. So in other words, we differ in so many different ways. We both agree, of course, yes, something needs to happen with regard to wealth inequality. We both agree that there’s an affordable housing shortage, absolutely. But we differ in the way that we- in the solutions that we have.

We differ in the solutions to address the housing crisis. I believe that we need to build hundreds of thousands of new affordable housing, public housing. She believes that we will get ourselves out of this mess by building market rate housing, and I don’t. I disagree. And so that’s why we differ when it comes to just- one of the other solutions being the support for Prop 10, which is the repeal of Costa-Hawkins at the state level. I support it. The opposition does not. That’s one way we differ.

We also differ in other ways. I believe that when you have an attack on the public school system the way that we’re seeing it, unprecedented numbers of resources being drained from our public institutions, our public schools, we need to have a moratorium on charter schools. And she does not agree that that’s the way that we address resources being drained from our public schools.

I also believe that we need to get dark money out of our elections, out of our politics, and our government. The majority of money comes from, that were donated to me, comes from right within the district. The majority of money that she’s received comes- a lot of it is coming from Washington D.C. Unfortunately, a lot of the billionaires that are donating to her campaign are the same billionaires who not only donate to Republicans, but are invested in privatizing our schools, are invested in private prisons, and are committed to destroying unions, and destroying- and not supporting the implementation of a single-payer healthcare for all system.

MARC STEINER: So if I’m clear, you are a union member. You’re in the Teamsters, correct?

JOVANKA BECKLES: Correct. Local 856. Absolutely.

MARC STEINER: But you’re a mental health worker by trade?

JOVANKA BECKLES: There we go. Teamsters Local 856. And yes, I’m a mental health professional by training. I’ve been in the mental health field for 30 years right here in the Bay Area. That’s the other way that we differ. I’ve lived consistently in the Bay Area for 30 years, and have worked here consistently for 30 years. I moved to the Bay Area in 1989, and I have never moved away, but I’ve been devoted to creating the change that I like to see in my community for the last 30 years here.

So let’s take a couple of these things that you’re talking about. I want to take a broader issue here first, before I talk about some of the specifics you’re kind of talking about in your district. What does it mean for you as a union member to be a socialist, a declared democratic socialist, running for a State Assembly seat? I mean, clearly the socialists won’t have a majority in the Assembly. They most likely will not for the foreseeable future. But what does that mean for you, to be a socialist running?

JOVANKA BECKLES: It means that I believe that there is more than enough to share. I believe that in the fifth-largest economy in the world, within the largest economy in the world, there is enough resources for us to share. We as working people, we created this wealth that we are seeing, and yet we’re not benefiting from any from it. We’re not being, it’s not being shared with us. And so we as working-class people absolutely have to have a seat at the table. We have to have a seat in positions of power to be able to change this direction that we’re seeing, where we’re seeing the gap between those who have and those who do not have widen every day, by the day.

And so it’s so important that as working people we know, we see, we experience firsthand the challenge that it is to make ends meet. The challenge that it is to pay for for healthcare, to pay for food, to pay for rent, or a mortgage, and still be able to have some, you know, some spending money, right? Some disposable income. And so when we have more working people, I believe, in office, we’ll start to see the wealth shared a little bit better and more equitably.

So one of the things we see in this race also, I believe George Miller the congressman came out in favor of Ms. Wicks, and Barbara Lee came out to support you. Am I right about that?

JOVANKA BECKLES: Yes, you are. So excited. The congresswoman is someone that I’ve admired for years, particularly when she was the lone ‘no’ vote to start us in this endless war that we are still experiencing today. So she’s always been someone that I’ve admired because of her courage and her willingness to stand up for the people and be a voice for the people. So that’s really exciting. This happened yesterday. The endorsements from other unions are also coming in. So we’re really seeing this campaign gain so much momentum on a daily basis.

MARC STEINER: So let me talk about the issues here. And when you, when you talk about the housing issues, and talking about Prop 10 and what that means, and what the battle is over Prop 10- and I believe that is your opponent has not said she’s for or against it, she said let the voters decide, but you very clearly have come out on this on this value proposition. Talk a bit about that.

JOVANKA BECKLES: Right. What Prop 10 does is right now, cities like Richmond- I’m really proud to have been in this movement to bring the first rent control policy to a city, the first one in 30 years. So Richmond, we passed a rent control on the ballot. However, our hands are tied. And Berkeley has rent control, and Oakland does, too.

MARC STEINER: And hands are tied why? Why are your hands tied?

JOVANKA BECKLES: Hands are tied because of Costa-Hawkins. That’s the state law that exempts properties built after 1995 from rent control policies. And what Prop 10 does by reforming Costa-Hawkins, by repealing it, rather- my, the opposition wants to reform it. But we, the majority of people understand that we have to repeal that that law so that states, so that cities, can have more power, more control in creating the kinds of policies that best fit their residents.

And so right now we’re seeing, for example, in Oakland lots of new development; for-profit luxury units being built right now. And those units are not going to be under rent control, under the rent control policies, because they’re being built, you know, after 1995. So by reforming that it gives cities more options for those, for better policies that best fit their residents. And so my opponent believes that we don’t need to appeal that, we need to reform it. And it really is, you know, her idea of housing development, her plan, really is- there’s no other way to say it, but it really is a public giveaway of land for the for-profit developers. And I believe that we really should be using our public land and money to build the permanent, affordable, not-for-profit housing that that we need.

MARC STEINER: So let’s talk about money for a moment. One of the things, the conversations I’ve had with people in this state, where we broadcast from in Maryland, and across the country, about certain policies is about money. We live in a capitalist world, which is how our economy is managed and run. When people talk about having a single-payer system in the state of California, when you talk about daycare for working families that is paid for in California, when you talk about free college tuition, which used to be in California, as it was in New York once, and no longer is. First question people will ask, will ask Jovanka Beckles: how do you pay for that? In this system, how do we pay for those things for our people?

Absolutely. So we’re really seeing now in 2018, we’re seeing how capitalism really is not working for the majority of us. It’s only working for a very, very small percentage of people. So you pay for these things by taxing the wealthy, by taxing the rich, by insisting that they pay their fair share of taxes just like the rest of us. And you do that by reforming Prop 13. And in California, Prop 13 really is a way for big corporations to have a loophole, and not pay their fair share of taxes. So when we reform that that proposition- and it will be on the ballot- we will then be able to have the resources that we need. Since Prop 13 was initiated in, I think it was 1979, we have lost about $367 billion in revenue. Now imagine what we could have been doing with all that money lost. And so when we reform prop Prop 13, we’ll then have the billions of dollars that we need.

But it isn’t just a matter of of taxing the rich through proper reform of Prop 13, it’s also taxing speculators. It’s also taxing vacant properties that they buy and they keep open, they keep empty. And so when we tax these kinds of speculators and vacant properties, we can build the, as I talk about in my platfor, the hundreds of thousands of of housing for all, through taxing the rich. We can also- that will bring millions and billions of dollars to the state for us to build the affordable housing that we need, and that people have a right to. People have a right to shelter. We’re seeing so many people who are working 40 hours a week living out of their cars, and something is terribly wrong when hardworking people can’t afford to pay rent in the state of California in the Bay Area.

So Jovanka, one of the things I think that a lot of us really wonder about, and many of our viewers who wonder about people around this country are wrestling with, is for people running as democratic socialists in this country, we live in a land right now that is hugely divided in terms of political viewpoints. And It’s gotten to a point where we are as divided now as it was when I was younger civil rights worker down South. It’s that intense. I can feel the same intensity at the moment. I’m just curious, from your perspective, what the political battle means that we’re facing now when we’re so divided as a people. And so much is built around race, it’s also built around, kind of, political viewpoints and more. And what that means, you think, for our future, your future as Californians and our future as Americans, and where that takes us.

JOVANKA BECKLES: Yes. You know, we’re all in the same boat. The 99 percent, we’re all in the same boat. Because what we’re seeing now is a movement. Is a movement that really is stating a loud message. We cannot continue in this direction. The for-profit system that puts profit above our health, that puts profit above our education, that puts profit above our planet, is not working. It’s not a sustainable model. We need- people are fighting. We’re coming together, we’re realizing that we have to put aside our differences of race and age and even political affiliation, and come together as one united people to fight against the injustice that we’re seeing, to fight against the greed.

What we’re seeing right now, as people are understanding that we have to elect more candidates, more public officials who are going to always put the needs of the planet and working people and our children and our health above the profit of of our billionaire class and corporations. What we’re seeing is a movement where people are understanding that we are getting poor while they’re getting richer, and it’s not a model that’s sustainable. Because when we don’t have the kinds of regulation that we need, our planet is literally burning. Our planet- we’re seeing the weather is wreaking havoc right now in Florida and throughout the world. And that’s a scientific truth that if we continue to go in this direction we’re not going to have a planet to live on.

And so no amount of profit- we have two corporations right now, I believe it’s Amazon and Apple, that have now reached the trillion dollar profit line. That is not a model that is sustainable, because we the workers created that wealth, and we are realizing that we deserve, we’re entitled to share that wealth that we ourselves have created. And so we have to build a world, a California, a United States that puts the needs of the people above the profit of corporations. And that’s the, that’s the model that we’re seeing; a movement that’s gaining momentum more and more every day. And so I’m really excited about what we’re seeing, that people are now awake, and are passionate and driven to change the system, this very corrupt, unjust system that we are all experiencing.

MARC STEINER: So very quickly here as we conclude, Jovanka- I mean, I understand also that the campaign, which was really kind of aboveboard for a long time, and the two of you, with different positions, were acting fairly honorably, at least in the debates I’ve seen, the conversations I’ve seen taking place. But things have gotten ugly. I understand that some red-baiting has taken place and people are literally attacking your signs, and attacking you as a person. Not physically, but your character.

Yes, attacking my character. Red-baiting a black woman living in the United States of America. Our signs are being defaced. They’re being tagged with things. One sign I saw someone had “Communist voters unite.” Don’t even understand. That’s obviously people who don’t understand the difference between communism and socialism. Socialism just says that there is enough wealth to share. That’s all. That’s what that means. And it’s unfortunate that any working-class person would not subscribe to a model that benefits all of us.

They’re they’re attacking my character. There’s whisper campaigns. I had a gentleman, a black gentleman the other day approached me saying he heard that I hate black man. And I know that it’s a whisper campaign based on the fact that I’m an out lesbian on the Richmond City Council. But to take it to that level, that I hate black men, is really disheartening. But it’s not the first time that this has happened. In 2008 when I ran the first time, that was the whisper campaign; Jovanka doesn’t think she’s black, Jovanka doesn’t like black people because, you know, she’s a Latina. And then there, then the other whisper campaign was, you know, Jovanka is a Green Party member. And I’ve been a Democrat for 37 years at this point. But it’s just the kind of things that people use to divide us. Our office in Richmond has been vandalized twice.   >:(

And so we’re seeing that our message that resonates with the majority of people to actually build a California that works for all of us, it resonates with the people to have a California that’s just and equitable. Resonates with the majority. But we’re seeing that there are those that are feeling threatened. And unfortunately, you know, the very people that I’m sure are doing these things are working-class people not understanding that everything that I do, everything that this movement is about, is for them. And so that’s really unfortunate. But we move on, we persevere, we stand up, we fight back, and we’re going to win this election in November.

MARC STEINER: We’ve been talking to Richmond City Councilperson Jovanka Beckles, who is running for the 15th Assembly District in California. And Jovanka, thank you so much for joining us here on The Real News. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you.

JOVANKA BECKLES: Thank you. Pleasure is all mine. Thank you so much.

MARC STEINER: Take care. And I’m Marc Steiner for The Real News Network. Good to have you with us. Take care.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 09, 2018, 05:49:32 pm »

Chris Hedges in Eugene, Oct. 3, 2018


Todd Boyle

Published on Oct 4, 2018

Chris Hedges spoke in Eugene, Oct. 3, 2018 to the Community Rights Lane County.  He is on the west coast for his latest book, "America: The Farewell Tour"

From the book's website, "Chris Hedges’s profound and provocative examination of America in crisis is “an exceedingly…provocative book, certain to arouse controversy, but offering a point of view that needs to be heard” (Booklist), about how bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.

America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his “forceful and direct” (Publishers Weekly) America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. “With a trademark blend of…sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream” (Kirkus Reviews) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time."

Category News & Politics
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 06, 2018, 06:05:12 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 06, 2018, 12:54:22 pm »

October 6, 2018

PearliePoo2 (7,444 posts)  Right now it's $3,068,650! It's exploding!  Currently, the fund is gaining about $25,000 an hour!   Someone's going to have one hell of a war chest!   https://www.democraticunderground.com/100211244417


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 03, 2018, 08:23:44 pm »

Wednesday, 03 October 2018 08:31

The Real Swamp Report #3: Don't Look Now, But Gillum Is Winning in Florida 😀

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 26, 2018, 01:31:47 pm »

Group of 58,000 Science Teachers Issues No-Bullshit Position on Climate Change

Maddie Stone

9/18/18 11:45am Filed to: STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math 👨‍🔬  🔬) EDUCATION

Scientists and members of the public criticize proposed changes to New Mexico’s science teaching standards at an October 2017 hearing. Photo: AP

Fossil fuel interest groups will continue debating the reality of human-caused climate change until the seas swallow us all, but among scientists the matter is settled. Last week, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) put out a position statement affirming as much and telling the naysayers to **** off.

Published September 13, the new position statement opens by unequivocally acknowledging the “overwhelming scientific consensus” that Earth’s climate is changing due to human activity, while at the same time noting that widespread confusion exists among the American public. It recommends that science teachers and policy makers work to ensure basic science climate concepts are included in K-12 educational curricula—without the ginned up “controversy” pushed by climate denial groups.

“The science of climate change is firmly rooted in decades of peer-reviewed scientific literature,” the position statement reads. “Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum.”

The NSTA—which calls itself “the largest organization of science teachers worldwide” with nearly 60,000 members—has issued position statements on topics ranging from laboratory safety to the metric system. Occasionally, the private professional association also weighs in on a scientific topic that’s become polarizing because of political ideologies or religion, like evolution.

David Evans, executive director of the NSTA, told Earther that the decision to develop a position statement on climate change came about a year ago, as high-profile battles over teaching the subject played out in state legislatures and school boards and garnered national media attention.

Last fall, controversy erupted in New Mexico over an attempt to replace climate change with “temperature fluctuation” in new science teaching standards. In the winter, a similar brouhaha occurred in Idaho, after state legislatures voted to remove most mentions of climate change from proposed K-12 science standards. Teachers have also faced pressure from outside interest groups, most notably fossil fuel propaganda machine The Heartland Institute, which recently mailed a misinformation-ridden report titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to hundreds of thousands of teachers nationwide.

Both the New Mexico and Idaho efforts to water down climate science were eventually defeated, but many teachers, especially in more conservative locales, are still reticent to bring the politically-charged subject into the classroom. Evans hopes the new statement gives those teachers a firmer foundation to stand on and helps them acquire additional resources. The position statement recommends school administrators provide science teachers with “professional learning opportunities” that address climate science.

“Most teachers in the classroom now never really had any formal classes in climate science—it just wasn’t taught 20 years ago,” Evans said. “Having a position statement helps teachers get that kind of support.”

Evans also hopes the statement gives science teachers some guidance on what they should leave out.

“Often times, there’s a confounding of climate science on the one hand, and ‘what should we do about this thing happening to the environment’ [on] the other hand,” he said. “And the two are really distinct.”

In his view, the basic science should be taught in chemistry, physics or Earth science, while discussion of specific policy actions or mitigation measures belongs in a social studies class.

“If I had my fantasy wish... that [social studies] class would have students well informed about the science of climate change,” Evans continued. “And that would be a place where they could debate the merits of how much fossil fuel we use and what we use it for. What we want are citizens—students—who are informed about the science and can use that information.”

Among American adults, there aren’t nearly as many of those informed citizens as one would hope. A Gallup poll released earlier this year found that only 35 percent of self-identified Republicans and 62 percent of independents believe global warming is caused by human activities.

“Teachers are in a really tough position teaching this topic in a lot of communities. They want and they deserve a lot of support for it.”

Those statistics can be turned around over time, but teaching climate science accurately is critical. A survey released by the nonprofit National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in 2016 found that while roughly 75 percent of public school science teachers devote some classroom time to the subjec, over a quarter “give equal time” to perspectives that doubt the scientific consensus.

The same survey found that most teachers are unaware of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change’s causes, and that only about two-thirds see human activity as the primary driver.

“You’ve got a situation where these campaigns to cast doubt on the science have had a lot of success,” NCSE executive director Ann Reid told Earther. “Even teachers who believe the science aren’t always sure about the certainty.”

In Reid’s view, the new position statement hits the mark by raising a lot of these issues and suggesting school districts provide teachers more support to strengthen their knowledge.

“Teachers are in a really tough position teaching this topic in a lot of communities,” she said. “They want and they deserve a lot of support for it.”

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 26, 2018, 01:30:36 pm »

Debate Recap: 2018 Maryland Governor’s Race

September 25, 2018

Incumbent Republican Larry Hogan 😈 and Sanders-backed Democrat Ben Jealous ✨square off in the only debate in the race for Maryland Governor

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 23, 2018, 08:48:28 pm »

Brazil’s Historic Presidential Election: Left   and Right Have Equal Chance of Winning

September 21, 2018

Now that frontrunner Lula da Silva of the Workers Party has been eliminated from the presidential race, his running mate, Fernando Haddad and far-right Jair Bolsonaro look likely to make the run-off after the first round vote on October 7th

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 23, 2018, 08:40:47 pm »

Green Party Candidate Barred From Ohio Gubernatorial Debate  >:(

September 23, 2018

Ohio Green Party candidate barred from debates, continues aggressive campaign for Governor  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 21, 2018, 08:37:39 pm »

In Viral Video, Medea Benjamin 🕊   Confronts Trump Official ☠️ on Iran

September 21, 2018

At a public event in Washington, DC, CodePink’s Medea Benjamin confronted Brian Hook , the head of Trump’s Iran Action ☠️ Group , over the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and re-imposing crippling ☠️ sanctions on the Iranian people. Benjamin joins us to discuss her action, which went viral online

Story Transcript 👍👍👍

AARON MATE: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has been one of the most consequential decisions of the Trump presidency that has faced relatively little public protest. Well, this week was different, when the administration was confronted directly. Brian Hook, the head of Trump’s so-called Iran Action Group, spoke Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank in Washington. As Hook finished his remarks, he was joined on stage by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group Code Pink.

BRIAN HOOK: It is time for all nations to join us in holding Iran to a new level of accountability for its destructive behavior; especially its lawless pursuit of ballistic missiles. Thank you.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: That is the most ridiculous thing I have seen. The world community wants to keep the Iran nuclear deal. Our allies. The Germans, the French, the British, they want to keep in this deal. The world community wants to keep the deal. Let’s talk about normal countries. Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are? They are the biggest- to the world community. You’re hurting me. You’re actually hurting me. I want to ask, do you think these sanctions are hurting the regime, or are they hurting the Iranian people? They’re hurting the Iranian people. You’re making the case for war with Iran. How did the war with Iraq turn out? You’re doing exactly the same thing we did in the case of Iraq. We don’t want another war in the Middle East. How did Iraq turn out? How did Libya turn out? We have the people of Syria suffering. And how dare you bring up the issue of Yemen? It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war. Peace with Iran.

AARON MATE: Joining me now is the star of this viral video. Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group Code Pink. Welcome, Medea. Walk us through what you did here, and the message that you tried to bring.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, thanks for having me on, Aaron. You know, it’s very hard to sit through the kind of drivel of Brian Hook talking about missile, missile, missile, Iran threat, danger, not a normal country. And my head was spinning, and I felt like I had to get up and respond to it. And I knew that in the Q&A it was going to be curated. They had passed around cards. They weren’t going to answer the questions that I had asked. And so I felt I better just get up and say my piece.

And so as you can see, I jumped on stage. And I thought it was so important to counter the path that the Trump administration and Brian Hook and Mike Pompeo are taking us down, because it is so dangerous. And I’m old, Aaron. I’ve been through the antiwar movement around Vietnam, Central America, post-9/11. And I was just sitting there feeling this tremendous deja vu about Iraq; that here was yet another administration doing lies, distortions, inventions, whatever it wanted to paint Iran as a demon that had to be addressed militarily. And you know, we’ve got to do something to counter that. We can’t allow them to take us into another war in the Middle East or anywhere.

AARON MATE: You got a lot in in just a few minutes of remarks as they were dragging you away. One of the things you said was talking about the impact of sanctions, how the sanctions do not hurt the government of Iran so much as they hurt the people of Iran. And this is a critical point, as especially now already sanctions are back in place with Trump withdrawing from the nuclear deal. But even harsher sanctions from the U.S. are going to be reimposed in November. So can you talk about what you were speaking of in terms of the impact of the U.S. sanctions on Iran?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Yes. I’m in communication with a lot of people in Iran, and hear story after story about how devastating the sanctions already are. And as you said, in early November is the next round of sanctions to try to cut off oil exports from Iran, which is the main source of income, and will be absolutely devastating. And so I thought it was important to bring out the issue that these are ordinary Iranian people who were being hurt by the sanctions.

And the outpouring from Iran that I received after this intervention has been astounding. Yes, there are some people who are extremely nasty and actually doing death threats that I want to report to the FBI, but the majority of them have been really positive and saying how they are their lives are so difficult right now; they can’t get married because they don’t have money. They don’t want to have children because they don’t have the money to support them. They lost their jobs because the job situation is very difficult. A doctor who wrote to me and said he can’t treat his people, give them the kind of health care they deserve because of shortages.

So this is strangling not the higher-ups, not the clerics, not the government people. This is the strangulating the ordinary Iranian people. And it’s designed precisely to do that so they’ll be so angry that they’ll rise up against their government. But I think what is happening is that many people in Iran are becoming united against the outside because of this, instead of focusing on the changes they want to make in their own government. Now they feel they have to hunker down and save themselves against a potential war.

AARON MATE: And you mention that Brian Hook, the head of this new so-called Iran Action Group, was speaking about missiles in Iran. This issue of ballistic missiles. There have been rumblings in the Trump administration they want to try to push through some sort of new agreement with Iran that would limit its ballistic missiles. Can you talk about what is going on there, and what you think the Iranian government’s reaction to that will be, especially in light of the Trump ministration walking away from the Iran nuclear deal?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We already know the reaction of the Iranian government, which is to say it’s ridiculous to pull out of a deal that was not an agreement between two countries, as Brian Hook said. It was an international agreement approved by the Security Council of the United Nations, by the European Union. If the U.S. pulls out of that it’s just crazy to think that the Iranians would sit down and negotiate another deal with the Trump administration. It makes absolutely no sense.

The rest of the world community, minus a couple of countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates, want the deal to be saved. Trying to figure out how to salvage that deal. And we will see a lot of contentious things at the United Nations next week when the issue of Iran comes up, and we find that our allies in Europe are on a very different page than the Trump administration. So I think it is not rational to talk about trying to rein in Iran’s missile system when you have just ripped up a nuclear deal. And also to recognize the most sophisticated military technology in the Middle East is not in the government of Iran, it’s in the hands of Israel and Saudi Arabia, thanks to the United States.

AARON MATE: Medea, finally, I want to ask you just a personal question. You’ve become notorious for your willingness to confront U.S. officials and former U.S. officials at public events like this one. I remember there’s a famous incident where you were there when Donald Rumsfeld was entering a gathering, and you announced to the crowd, here comes the war criminal. And you stood beside him, denouncing him as a war criminal and speaking a bit about his record. I’m wondering, when you put yourself in this situation, are you ever nervous? Is it scary to go up against people, especially powerful people like your targets?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: It’s extremely scary. I don’t do this without sweating it out, and really a lot of shaking and questioning whether I should do it or should I do it. But in the end I think it’s important to do, and I think more people should do it. I wish there were people everywhere these criminals go to be popping up and denouncing them, because we make their lives way too easy when they are destroying the lives of people around the world.

AARON MATE: Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, star of that new viral video confronting the head of the Trump administration’s Iran Action Group. Thank you, Medea.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Thanks for having me on, Aaron.

AARON MATE: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.


Agelbert NOTE: CodePink’s Medea Benjamin 🕊 deservves the Congressional Medal of Honor for her consistent outstanding courage and heroism. 💐

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 16, 2018, 05:26:54 pm »

Four Reasons Why Los Angeles's Upcoming Public Banking Ballot Initiative is a Huge Deal

BY Phoenix Goodman Medium

PUBLISHED September 16, 2018

Phoenix Goodman, Medium: On November 6, the citizens of Los Angeles will have a chance to decide if their city should pave the path toward creating the first municipal public bank in the country. A public bank, if done correctly, could empower local residents with a level of influence rarely afforded through local ballot measures.

Read the Article
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 15, 2018, 07:45:00 pm »

William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Ted Cruz 🦕 Might Lose, and Other Giddy Tidbits From Election 2018

BY William Rivers Pitt 🌟 Truthout

PUBLISHED September 15, 2018


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 03, 2018, 04:42:54 pm »


French environment minister quits during live interview — says we’re not doing enough



When Nicolas Hulot, the French environment minister, went on a radio breakfast show, no one was expecting anything like this. As the interview went on, Hulot spoke more and more about the failures of his cabinet — lamenting that France has not done enough on any environmental front.

“Have we started to reduce our CO2 emissions? No. Have we started to reduce our use of pesticides? No. To prevent the erosion of our biodiversity? No,” Hulot explained.

As the discussion continued, it seemed that Hulot reached a striking moment of self-awareness. Saying that he felt “alone” in a cabinet which took “insufficient” action to tackle environmental challenges, he foreshadowed his resignation.

“I can’t lie to myself anymore,” he said. “I don’t want my presence in the government to give the illusion that we’re facing up to such stakes,” he said on public radio France Inter.

Neither President Emmanuel Macron nor any other ministers were made aware of this decision beforehand. In fact, when Marlène Schiappa, Macron’s secretary of state for equality heard the news while being live on another radio station, she asked the presenter if he was joking.

Read more:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 30, 2018, 09:07:10 pm »


Aug 29, 2018       

Young Christians More Progressive, Diverse Than Their Parents

Many millennial Christians are seeing political issues in a markedly different light than their parents’ generation, Eliza Griswold writes in a recent piece for The New Yorker. While older evangelicals have fought to put bring down Roe v. Wade, for example, their younger counterparts, concerned with “the sanctity of life both in the womb and after,” are drawn to universal health care and, while still opposed to abortion, are seeking to limit the number of abortions carried out rather than ban the procedure all together.

And it’s not just abortion they differ on. Young Christians are increasingly opening up to ideas of sexual fluidity, and a recent survey by the Human Rights Campaign found that a majority of them are in favor of marriage equality.


While 53% of young, white evangelicals support marriage equality, only a quarter of white, older evangelicals do so.

Such a generational divide existed regardless of ethnicity. Seventy-five percent of young Hispanic Americans and 69% of young black Americans support same-sex marriage, compared to Hispanic seniors at 38% and African-American seniors at 40%.

Asian-Pacific Islander Americans were the only group to have a majority in both generations, with both young and old supporting equal marriage at 84% and 54%, respectively.

HRC found that 45% of young, white evangelical Protestants would reject policies that allow the right to refuse service of LGBTQ people for religious reasons and 54% support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections.

Two-thirds of black Americans and six in ten Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and white Americans disapprove of service refusals due to sexuality or gender identity. Read more.

On other progressive issues, such as police brutality and family separations at the U.S. border with Mexico, millennial Christians have found appeal in the humanitarian approach that can be learned from biblical texts about Jesus’ own actions.

Climate change is also a biggie. The environmental phenomenon may have been “often the butt of a joke” in the communities where they grew up, but the millennial Christians who formed the group Young Evangelicals for Climate Change Action (YECA) see the link between their religious and environmental responsibilities.

“ Y.E.C.A., an organization specifically focusing on millennials, posits that evangelicals aren’t a monolithic bloc that doesn’t believe in climate change — they are more polychromatic than data suggests.

Y.E.C.A. doesn’t have one theological party line about how environmental responsibility and faith work hand in hand. According to Kaleb Nyquist, a member of Y.E.C.A.’s steering committee, the organization is pulling from the Bible. Nyquist … explained that “as an organization, [Y.E.C.A. is] going to take anyone who, as a Christian … finds a reason to be concerned about climate change through the lens of Scripture.”

Traditional proofs used to illustrate that the Bible advocates for environmental care span the Old and New Testaments. The most common and earliest trope is steeped within Genesis’ creation story. Genesis proclaims God as the creator of the world: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” and declare God’s creation good: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” These verses and others deem the earth, vegetation, and everything inhabiting it as good and godly.

The creation story is one of many supporting texts that could be used to say environmental responsibility and faith go hand in hand. Read more.

Griswold found that one of the key factors in the generational shift in the American evangelical community is that Christian youths are less keen on subscribing to what many see as passé political conservatism, but are hanging on to theologically conservative ideas.

There are a number of other factors involved, too, including growing diversity and globalization, Griswold writes.


During the past decade, evangelicalism has grown more diverse: as the number of white believers has declined, the Latino evangelical population has increased dramatically. … From a distance, evangelicalism can appear culturally monolithic—nearly eighty per cent of white evangelicals support President Trump, according to the Public Religion Research Institute—but many young evangelicals are more diverse, less nationalistic, and more heterodox in their views than older generations. Believing that being a Christian involves recognizing the sanctity of all human beings, they support Black Lives Matter and immigration reform. …

For young believers … the ubiquity of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks in their lives, among other factors, have made it more difficult to live in the kind of theological, cultural, and political isolation that previous generations once did. And, as their secular peers embrace more fluid identities in regard to sexuality and race, young evangelicals are also beginning to see such positions in shades of gray rather than in black and white. There are other factors, too, related to globalization: the exponential growth of fellow-believers in the Global South; the growing diversity of evangelicals in the U.S., driven in part by the influx of immigrants who arrive in American churches with their own dynamic faith. The result is that younger evangelicals are speaking out on issues like family separation at the border, climate change, police brutality, and immigration reform­­—causes not typically associated with the evangelical movement. In the continuing moral outrage at the border, which includes nearly six hundred children still displaced in New York City alone, many see the faces of themselves and their families. Read more.

As The New Yorker piece makes clear, however, questions remain about whether the generational divergence in political views will be reflected at the polls, given that, as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, 48, sees it, evangelicals have been able to influence President Trump on a number of issues since he took office.


Agelbert NOTE: The Hydrocarbon Hellspawn TOOL called Trump made clear what he WASN'T in the most recent White House meeting with about 100 "Christian" Evangelical (hypocrite) Leaders. Trump 🦀 said, when referring to "all he had done" for Christians (LOL!), that "YOUR RELIGION" (NOT his religion or our religion) is "in danger" (See: Orwell) with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives... 

ANYONE that still thinks this TOOL of the Fossil Fuel Industry 🐉🦕🦖 is a Christian, is nuts. By saying "YOUR RELIGION", he made it it CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOT his religion, PERIOD. That was one of the rare times Trump told the truth. Of course you will still get hypocritical Pharisees like James Dobson (and other money grubbing friends of government power pretending to be Christians) who will try to spin what Trump said as a 'harmless baby Christian expression'. Trump came out and said he was NOT a Christian, PERIOD. ALL Christians that voted for him have been taken for fools. Of course the PSEUDO-Christians , which represent the majority of "Christian Evangelicals", wanted that evil bastard in power to further the racist, fascist, war/Wall Street loving agenda those hellspawn favor. The Spiritual Consequences of that demonic vote are absolutely devastating.

What goes around, even if it happens after you die, comes around.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 15, 2018, 03:19:09 pm »

Michael Keegan, People For the American Way alerts@pfaw.org

August 15, 20182:42 PM (24 minutes ago)
to me

People for the American Way


The big news from yesterday’s primary Election Day is that history-making, diverse, strong progressives continue to rack up amazing victories . And we’re proud that so many are doing it with PFAW’s help.

PFAW’s endorsed progressive champions in yesterday’s congressional primaries all won -- and won handily, in double-digit landslides!

Ilhan Omar won the Democratic primary for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Ilhan is now running to become the first Somali-American member of Congress and, along with another PFAW endorsee Rashida Tlaib, one of the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress. As a state legislator, Ilhan has been an active member of our nonpartisan affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network.

Jahana Hayes won the Democratic primary Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. If she wins the general, she’ll become the state’s first Black Democrat to serve in Congress.

Randy Bryce won in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District and now stands good chance of turning Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s seat blue! Bryce was going to be a formidable challenger to Ryan before the Speaker decided to retire, and now that he’s retiring, Democrats’ odds of flipping the seat are even better.

Our other successful federal endorsees ran uncontested. They were Angie Craig, candidate for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, and incumbents Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT).   

At the state and local level, the young progressive candidates supported by PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund also fared incredibly well with two of our three candidates in contested races ending their night victorious:

Mandela Barnes, a former member of PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, won the statewide Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin -- by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Mitra Nelson won the special election for St. Paul, MN City Council Ward 4 by double digits.

Next Up endorsee Quentin Phipps    ran uncontested in the Democratic primary for Connecticut State House District 100.

PFAW's Next Up Victory Fund helps strong progressive candidates age 40 and under run and win critical local and state races, to build a deep bench of winning progressive candidates and expand progressive power from the ground up.

Besides our exciting progressive victories, the other big news of the day was that Trump 🦀 continues to consolidate his power and influence in the GOP. 👎 🤬

The most Trump-friendly candidates won in high-profile Republican primaries with the most shining example of this coming in the form of a result from the previously too-close-to-call gubernatorial primary in Kansas from last week.  Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach -- a close Trump ally who spent years seemingly prepping his party for the eventual rise of Trumpism by being a national leader in the arenas of racist, anti-immigrant, and voter suppression policies -- was declared the winner in his challenge against Kansas’s incumbent Republican governor, after Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded. Anti-Trump Republican and former Minnesota Governor (and failed presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty also went down in that state’s GOP gubernatorial primary, in a bid to reclaim his old job.

We have a lot more amazing progressive candidates to support and a lot of right-wing Trump Republicans to defeat!  And, together, with your help, our win record is going to be incredible -- and the country, the Democratic Party, and the progressive movement will all be better and stronger because of it!

You can help keep the momentum going right now by donating to support Andrew Gillum  -- a truly transformational progressive leader and PFAW’s endorsed candidate for Florida governor. Andrew’s Florida primary is in less than 2 weeks!

Thanks for everything you do!


Michael Keegan, President   

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 10, 2018, 09:05:59 pm »

Can Maryland be at the forefront of Third Party Organizing?

August 10, 2018

Executive Producer Eddie Conway speaks with Andy Ellis, Green Party Candidate for State Delegate MD-45, who argues that some of the most popular ideas in the post-Bernie Sanders era emanate from Green Party organizing

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 08, 2018, 10:48:22 pm »

Progressive Groups Tackled Tough Races: Winning Some, Losing Others

Dear friends,

We are pleased to announce that Peabody Award-winning broadcast journalist Marc Steiner 🌟 will be joining The Real News Network’s daily news team for the month of August. Marc has hosted a weekly show on TRNN since April, but for the month of August you will see him on-air for two to three breaking news stories each day.

Marc’s highly acclaimed public interest radio show, “The Marc Steiner Show,” broadcast over Baltimore’s public radio airwaves for almost 25 years. He was also the creative force behind the founding of public radio station WYPR.

Marc was one of the first people Sharmini Peries and Paul Jay met when they moved to Baltimore, and they have been friends and cohorts ever since. Marc has dedicated his life – and his work – to issues of social justice. At age 16 he was the youngest civil rights worker to be arrested in Maryland.

In the summer of 1968 he was part of the Poor People’s Campaign, and he is currently featured in the Poor People’s Campaign exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. For more information on his life and work, you can watch this video that was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his show.


The Real News Team

August 8, 2018

The Nation’s John Nichols analyzes the results of Tuesday’s elections. Rashida Tlaib won Rep. Conyer’s seat in Detroit, becoming the first Muslim woman to go to Congress. Although few other progressive candidates won Tuesday night’s primaries, some did and Missouri’s Right to Work referendum was defeated

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 26, 2018, 09:01:51 pm »

July 26, 2018

Agelbert NOTE: The Zero Hour movement is the last best hope for getting the governments of the world, particularly the U.S. Government , to tackle Climate Change. The demands of Zero Hour that are sine qua non for human survival as a species are listed below under the heading of Ending of the extractive based economy and starting the rapid transition to a living economy that will create local jobs and local sustainable economies (i.e. a VIABLE BIOSPHERE). They demand that the transition be completed by 2040.

I don't know if we have that much time. I believe the 100% Renewable Energy Transition must be completed in a decade, at most, in order to avoid the worse effects of Catastrophic Climate Change. Regardless of how short the time we have is, I applaud these courageous, reality based young people for making these demands.

If Zero Hour's demands are repulsed, or indefinitely delayed, by the Hydrocarbon Hellspawn that have corrupted governments all over the world for over a century, it is Game Over for humanity.

Just Transition

Zero Hour believes that a Just Transition leaves no one behind as we seek to achieve an environmentally sustainable economy.

A Just Transition protects workers as they transition away from the fossil fuel economy to a clean sustainable economy called the living economy. A Just Transition also ensures that communities of color, Indigenous communities, and frontline communities are not left behind in any way. A Just Transition should also protect the youth as they enter into an economy that is already fundamentally damaged by the fossil fuel corporations. A Just Transition means that all have an inalienable right to food, water, air, and land. Zero Hour believes that workers of all ages should be able to sustain their families, their health, their pensions, and their housing for now and future generations.

Therefore, we make these demands for a Just Transition:

Coal, Oil, Gas Corporations and Communities

 - Respect the contributions of the fossil fuel workers.

 - Donate to local impacted communities so that they may invest in local clean renewable energy, community based industries, and local living wage jobs for transitioning fossil fuel workers.

 - Donate into climate justice education for youth as reparations for the  damage caused to their health and future.

 - Donate to local communities so they may clean up the lands and  waters polluted and damaged by fossil fuel extraction/infrastructure/ shipping/export.


 - Switch to clean renewable energy and clean industrial processes.

 - Reskilling of their employees for new clean, local energy industries.

 - Provide fully paid quality healthcare for their workers and families who have been made unhealthy by working for extractive and toxic indus tries.

 - Provide full pensions for workers in extractive and toxic industries.

State and Local Governments

 - Respect and follow the Treaty Rights of the Indigenous Nations of that land and protect their food sovereignty and intellectual property.

 - State governments must pass a state constitutional amendment to include rights to healthy living wage jobs, clean and safe sustainable affordable housing, and affordable quality healthcare.

 - Invest in zero emissions mass transit that is affordable for low income people.

 - Invest in clean renewable energy as the way forward and make it accessible to low income people.

 - Divest pensions from fossil fuels and banks that support fossil fuels and shift to publicly owned state and local banks instead.

 - Invest in grassroots transformative justice to move away from the unjust prison system and the school-to-prison-pipeline.

 - Switch to 100% local clean renewable energy to power government owned buildings such as schools, community centers, City Halls, and etc.

 - Reskilling and redeployment of workers for locally based sustainable industries such as radically sustainable building, permaculture, reforestation, hemp production etc. with educational opportunities and training also provided to youth.

 - Legalize hemp production for local industry, medicine, and food.

- Refuse all new permits to extractive industries.

 - Implement climate justice education in schools according to recommendation from climate justice groups and frontline communities.

 - Invest in local permaculture food growth particularly in low income communities, and include this in climate justice education.

 - Plant indigenous trees and native species in local areas, and include this in climate justice education.

 - Support the state youth climate lawsuits and follow the climate recovery plan outlined in their lawsuit.

Federal Government

 - Respect and follow all treaties with First Nation communities and protect the food sovereignty and intellectual property of First Nations.

 - Respect Indigenous women, Indigenous queer and trans, women of color, and queer and trans people of color and protect them from assault, sexual violence, and trafficking caused by the fossil fuel industries.

 - Provide adequate funding to local communities for Just Transition.

 - Pass constitutional amendment to include rights to healthy living wage jobs, clean and safe sustainable affordable housing, affordable quality healthcare.

 - Outlaw private prisons and the forced labor of prison inmates.

 - Acknowledge the term “climate refugee” and welcome all climate refugees including; war refugees, communal/gang violence refugees, and natural disaster refugees.

 - Work together with other wealthy nations to be prepared to welcome climate refugees and provide safety and accommodation for them in international solidarity.

- End the extractive based economy and start the living economy that will create local jobs and local sustainable economies:

 - By stopping the extraction and pollution of all water bodies

 - By investing in water cleaning measures to restore ecosystems

 - By investing in innovation that enables clean renewable energy and local green economies

 - By supporting structural change at the national, state, and local level

 - By stopping the exploitation of labor including labor in prisons

 - By reskilling and redeployment of workers for local sustainable jobs

 - By providing sustainable job and business opportunities to youth with access to training and affordable education for those jobs

 - By providing quality affordable universal healthcare

 - By investing into research for natural healing methods and making these methods accessible and affordable for all

 - By providing affordable radically sustainable housing and making it accessible for all, particularly low income communities

 - By banning any extractive industries from operating in wilderness areas and nature sanctuaries

 - By taxing extractive industries and put that money into the Just Transition practices listed here.

Climate Justice Alliance tells us:

- A Just Transition moves us towards a livable future.

 - A Just Transition upholds Self Determination.

 - A Just Transition equitably redistributes Resources and Power.

 - A Just Transition creates Meaningful Work / Right Livelihood / Human Development.

 - A Just Transition requires Regenerative Ecological Economics.

 - A Just Transition retains Culture and Tradition.

 - A Just Transition embodies Local, Regional, National and International Solidarity.



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 23, 2018, 09:28:27 pm »

July 23, 2018

Youth Climate Suit Moves Forward

An appeals court has blocked the latest attempt from the Trump administration to dismiss a lawsuit brought by 21 young people against the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled against the administration in the suit for the second time this year, voting unanimously to allow the suit to move forward to an October trial.

The case was originally brought against the Obama administration in 2015.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 11, 2018, 02:13:54 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 04, 2018, 02:56:08 pm »

With Superdelegate Reform, is the Democratic Party Now Democratic?  ???
July 3, 2018

New Democratic Party rules scale back the influence of superdelegates in choosing the presidential nominee. But DNC Unity vice-chair Larry Cohen of Our Revolution says the party still has a long way to go towards real reform

Story Transcript

AARON MATE: It’s The Real News, I’m Aaron Mate. The Democratic National Committee has taken a big step towards becoming more democratic in addressing one of the key issues to come out of the contentious 2016 primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee has voted to curb the role of superdelegates in selecting presidential nominees. Superdelegates are a group of hundreds of party activists and insiders whose votes are counted on top of the general primary results, and curbing their role has been a top priority for supporters of Bernie Sanders inside the Democratic Party.

Well, joining me is someone who has helped lead that fight. Larry Cohen is Board Chair of the Bernie Sanders campaign offshoot, Our Revolution, and he is Vice Chair of the DNC Unity Reform Commission. Welcome, Larry. So, talk about these new rules. Under the change, now superdelegates will no longer be allowed to vote on the first ballot at the convention, only if it goes to a second ballot. But let me ask you, why even have superdelegates at all ?

LARRY COHEN: Well, that would be a good question. I’m quite happy that we have some results from two years of work, and it still has to get voted on on August 25 by the four hundred and forty seven DNC members who are all superdelegates themselves. But that might be an interesting question for another time at this point. We’re happy to move on. I mean, the general theory would be that you have a balance between the public and voters, caucus voters, primary voters. And the people who work in the party every day lead the party members of Congress. And so, in this case, we’re saying all those folks are delegates at the convention, but they 👹 💵 🎩 🍌 won’t vote on the first ballot for president. There hasn’t been a second ballot since 1924. So, I think, you know, big progress here.

AARON MATE: Let’s just remind people why this is so important to Bernie Sanders supporters. I want to go a clip from CNN. This is early on in the primary, in February 2016, right after Bernie Sanders has beaten Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by more than twenty points. The DNC chair at the time, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she goes on CNN and Jake Tapper says to her that Bernie Sanders is coming away from New Hampshire with about the same number of delegates as Hillary Clinton, even though Sanders has just beaten Clinton. And this was Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s response.

JAKE TAPPER: It looks as though Clinton and Sanders are leaving the Granite State with the same number of delegates in their pockets because Clinton has the support of New Hampshire’s superdelegates, these party insiders. What do you tell voters who are new to the process, who says this makes them feel like it’s all rigged?

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists. We are, as a Democratic Party, really highlight and emphasize inclusiveness and diversity at our convention. And so, we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse, committed Democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention. And so, we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.

JAKE TAPPER: I’m not sure that answer would satisfy an anxious young voter. But let’s move on.

AARON MATE: So that is Debbie Wasserman Schultz in February 2016, speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper. Larry Cohen, so you have Wasserman Schultz there saying that superdelegates exist, in part, to basically protect party elites and insiders from the grassroots. Do you feel as if that mentality is still prevalent inside the DNC leadership and do you think that the reforms so far that you’ve managed to win, including the superdelegate victory that you just had, have addressed that?

LARRY COHEN: Well, the Unity Reform Commission has thirty pages of reforms. And the question is still not clear how many of those will get voted on on August 25 at the full DNC meeting, four hundred and forty seven members in Chicago. But if we were to implement all those or most of those or even the ones that the Rules Committee, in the previous four meetings this year, have considered, we’re going a long way towards making this a grassroots party but at the same time a party. So, you get into a philosophical discussion about, well, what is a political party? It has to have some structure to it in terms of people deliberately joining, building at every county. There’s more than three thousand counties in America.

Part of what’s been lacking is no party in many of those counties, maybe even half of them. And so, you do have to have some balance, pushing aside her answer, between building a party- and most of the superdelegates are nothing to party leaders. The question then is, well how did those party leaders get elected? Are they elected by grassroots members of the party, are we encouraging grassroots members to join in all fifty-seven states? And that’s the much bigger issue. You have fifty-seven different parties. The DNC is only really there to pick the presidential nominee. Important as that may be, much more important is reforming the fifty-seven parties. Long way from that.

AARON MATE: Right. Okay, so on that front, let’s talk about a few key cases. You have a gubernatorial race in New York between Cynthia Nixon, seen as the progressive favorite, and the incumbent governor, Andrew Cuomo. How is the fight over rules, and this suspicion that the rules are rigged against progressives like Nixon, playing out when it comes to that race?

LARRY COHEN: It’s huge in that race because there’s three point six million unaffiliated voters in New York. They’re not in any party. They were registered without a party, in many cases almost automatically, when getting a license. Many of them are young and they had to join the Democratic Party on October 13 of 2017, exactly eleven months before the gubernatorial and legislative primary. It doesn’t even stop with Cynthia Nixon.

As you likely know, or viewers would know, there’s eight people, eight senators in New York that are Democrats from heavily Democratic areas that caucus with the Republicans. They all have challengers. In fact, we’re supporting all those challengers. Those challengers can’t look to those millions of unaffiliated voters, the ones who live in those districts, because they’re shut out because they didn’t switch last year. We’ve been pushing all year to change that. In fact, the Democratic Party itself could change it in New York. And at their convention a few weeks ago, they tabled the resolution to do so.

AARON MATE: Finally, Larry, let me ask you about the impact of last week’s victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, defeating the incumbent Congress member, Joe Crowley, widely seen as being in line to become the next Speaker of the House. Your sense, from talking to your colleagues in the party and activists, about what that victory means for people and what kind of energy it’s generating?

LARRY COHEN: Yeah. So, first, we were proud to be one of the few large organizations that endorsed Alexandria. She is awesome. Ironically, she won with these incredibly closed rules. So, the party machine, which is what it is in Queens, Jackson Heights in that area, and part of the Bronx, turned out fewer voters than she did because she created real excitement. And the turnout is so low that she was able to run with the win, with the rigged rules. So, that shows the enthusiasm for her, that even though she couldn’t appeal to younger nonaffiliated voters, she was able to win anyway.

What it means is that as we approach the state primary, as I said on September 13, the energy level, the enthusiasm for candidates like Jessica Ramos, running against one of the Independent Democratic Caucus senators, Peralta  , who caucuses with the Republicans, which means that even though there is a Democratic majority you can’t pass anything, this is what New York has been for years. And I think we may be close to a new day. We still need party reform. We need it in every county in New York. We need in terms of, who are the county chairs? They have obscene power in New York and we need it in terms of how government functions in New York, the corruption level in New York.

And it’s not just New York. It’s New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois. It’s many states, not all, not even most, where this kind of what what you call “rigged” system definitely makes it harder for change to occur. But Alexandria is amazing   and I think that that spirit will build in Queens, in the Bronx, across the city and across the state. It still makes it very hard for Cynthia Nixon  because on a state level, you have these three point six million unaffiliated voters in the same way they couldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016. Because in that case, the presidential primary was six months after the registration deadline. He wasn’t even running then. You know, these barriers need to go.

AARON MATE: Okay. And quickly, Larry, looking ahead to 2020, do you think by the time that primary comes around that the concerns of the Bernie Sanders supporters who felt as if the deck was stacked against them, that party elites would not give up control of the party no matter what- do you think that there is going to be, by then, there’s going to be enough progress made to address that sizable contingent’s concerns?

LARRY COHEN: Well, I think we’re making a lot of progress. And let me credit the current chair, Tom Perez, of the party. He has actually embraced the Unity Reform Commission reforms totally. And his leadership is key. We never would have passed that without it. Jen Dillon, she came. She was named by Clinton, as I was named Vice Chair by Sanders, she was named Chair, and she is looking for massive change. She’s still only forty years old, but she’s helped lead lead this effort for significant change. So, I think it’s no longer about Sanders, per se. This is about, can we have a party that can win, can we have a party that appeals to younger voters and diverse voters? And I will continue to work for that. I’ve been doing it, really, for three years, since I entered the Sanders campaign. And I’m hopeful that that one day soon we can have a Democratic Party that is democratic and that all voters, young and old, can say, “Hey, I want to join this party. I want to fight for change in our nation.”.

AARON MATE: Larry Cohen, the Board Chair of Our Revolution, Vice Chair of the DNC Unity Reform Commission. Thank you.

LARRY COHEN: Thank you.

AARON MATE: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 04, 2018, 02:18:08 pm »

Can Ben Jealous Unify Democrats against Larry Hogan?

July 3, 2018

Ben Jealous takes viewer questions and discusses what his primary win means for the future of the Democratic Party

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 26, 2018, 08:55:27 pm »

What Does It Take to Excel in Archery?

American archer Matt Stutzman holds the Guinness World Record for the longest accurate shot with a bow and arrow. In 2015, Stutzman broke his own 2011 record by accurately hitting a target 310 yards (283 m) away using a compound bow, and no one has bettered that mark since -- not even archers with arms. Stutzman was born without arms and grew up using his feet for nearly every task imaginable, including using a bow and arrow. Stutzman originally began shooting arrows in order to hunt and provide food for his family, before ultimately taking his archery skills all the way to the podium at the Paralympic Games.

Take a bow, Matt Stutzman:   

At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Stutzman won a silver medal in the men's individual compound event. At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, he lost in the round of 16, and he is now preparing for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

How does a person without arms shoot arrows? He picks up an arrow with his left foot, maneuvers it onto the bow’s string and then pushes his right foot away from his chest. He’s now locked and loaded.

To release the arrow, Stutzman uses a belt stretched around his chest. The belt holds a release aid that he activates with his jaw, using pressure similar to clicking on a computer mouse.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 20, 2018, 02:34:41 pm »

Army Discharges West Point Grad Who Promoted Communism

by Tyler Durden

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:33

Authored by Commie Bishop via Campus Reform,

The West Point graduate who promoted communism in social media posts last year has officially been discharged from the U.S. Army.

According to Fox News, Spenser Rapone’s resignation was accepted Monday, and he will be leaving the military with an other-than-honorable discharge.

Rapone’s social media posts, including a picture of him wearing a Che Guevara shirt under his military attire, sparked outrage last year, with officials blasting the West Point graduate for his radical political activism.

"The U.S. Military Academy strives to develop leaders who internalize the academy's motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and who live the Army values,” the military academy said in a statement at the time.

“Second Lieutenant Rapone's actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.

“As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct, and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform,” West Point continued.

“Second Lieutenant Rapone's chain of command is aware of his actions and is looking into the matter. The academy is prepared to assist the officer's chain of command as required.”

According to The Daily Caller 🦕, former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, Jason Altmire, who nominated Rapone for the elite military institution, also disavowed the former cadet’s actions, calling them “abhorrent.”

“While I strongly support the rights of American citizens to express their opinions, the actions of 2nd Lieutenant Rapone are abhorrent and appear to be in clear violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in addition to being inconsistent with the values of the United States Military Academy,” the former lawmaker said last year.

“I have no doubt that the U.S. Army will take appropriate action.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed the decision to discharge the West Point graduate, noting that Rapone’s pictures suggest that he supported U.S. enemies.

“While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States,” Rubio said, as reported by Fox News.

I’m glad  to see that they have given him an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.”

According to the news network, Rapone said that he “knew there could be repercussions,” to his actions and that his “military career is dead in the water.”

“On the other hand, many people reached out and showed me support,” he said.

“There are a lot of veterans both active duty and not that feel like I do.”

"I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement," Rapone added.   

Rapone also posted a picture on Twitter Monday showing him giving the middle finger to the sign outside Fort Drum, along with the caption, “One final salute.”


This took me back to the days when I wore those uniforms. Shining that tiny breast plate (a token symbol of an ancient large breastplate) was always a chore. You also had to be very careful when you attached it to the white canvas straps that attach to the dummy powder box (a token symbol from the Revolutionary War) because the Brasso polish you used on the breastplate, which comes in contact with the 4 bent metal clasps underneath the breastplate, might stain the white straps (a lot of cadets got demerits for that when we had to wear the full dress gray uniform for parades) :P . You put everything on and THEN carefully positioned the breastplate. Full dress gray is the one with that ridiculous three lines of round gold colored fake buttons in the front. The military just LOVES shiny objects.

I admire the this brave man of conscience, Spenser Rapone 🌟, for realizing the ethical and moral value of Communism and its vast superiority over our ethically and morally bankrupt Capitalist System Cruelty.

I salute him.  

But, I ain't done yet.

This is MY CONSTANT SALUTE to anyone who thinks Capitalism is "the best system".

Have a nice Brainwashed Capitalist day.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 16, 2018, 05:14:34 pm »

A WIN TODAY FOR NET NEUTRALITY – The Senate today PASSED our resolution to restore net neutrality –

May 16, 2018

Senator Leahy <Senator_Leahy@leahy.senate.gov>
4:41 PM (31 minutes ago)
to me
Dear Mr. Gelbert:

Today, by a vote of 52 to 47, the Senate approved a congressional resolution of disapproval that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s misguided decision late last year to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Rules.  I was proud to join 29 other Senators to sign the discharge petition forcing a vote on this critical resolution.  As a longtime advocate for strong net neutrality rules, I cast my vote for this resolution because Vermonters expect and deserve a free and open Internet.

The FCC under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai has made clear time and time again that the voices of the American people are irrelevant in its blind pursuit of regulatory reform, even when those reforms are poised to detrimentally affect millions of people across the country and benefit only large Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  Millions of Americans contacted the FCC ahead of the 2015 vote, and then again before the vote last year, and urged it to protect the pillars of freedom and openness upon which the Internet was built.  Instead, Chairman Pai and the other Majority Commissioners disregarded their duty and obligation to act on behalf of the public and repealed these pro-consumer, pro-small business rules.

Vermonters have spoken loudly and clearly.  They want an Internet free from corporate control, where they are the ones who decide what they can see online.  Businesses in Vermont have been just as outspoken.  For our entrepreneurs and business owners, net neutrality rules provide the certainty that they can compete on an equal playing field with the largest companies in the world.  They should not be held hostage by the prospect of being relegated to a slow lane, where they either pay a toll or lose customers due to slow loading times.

I encourage you to read my statement on this resolution and the FCC’s actions.  The Congressional Review Act established procedures by which Congress can pass a Joint Resolution of Approval or Disapproval of a rule issued by an executive agency.  If passed and signed by the President, the rule is repealed, and nothing substantially similar can be promulgated again in the future.  From here, this resolution will go to the House of Representatives to await further action.  You can be sure that I will continue to fight for a free and fair Internet for all, including by urging passage of this resolution by the House of Representatives.


United States Senator
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 23, 2018, 05:15:56 pm »

Progressive Candidates Are Pulling the Democratic Party Left, Whether the Establishment Likes It or Not

Monday, April 23, 2018

By John Knefel, Truthout | News Analysis

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 11, 2018, 03:35:56 pm »

It turns out, most of us prefer our beaches nice and clean. That’s probably why a January proposal from Trump’s Interior Department to open up the Atlantic coast for offshore drilling was met with op…

Agelbert NOTE:
Don't reward the polluters for pollution, TAX THEM!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 11, 2018, 02:50:33 pm »

The Monday showdown at the hotel began with the arrival of the majority owner, Orestes Fintiklis, 39, followed by a contingent of court officials and police officers — and a Panamanian court order au…
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2018, 02:57:30 pm »

March 8, 2018

Top Democrats' 🦍 😈 War on Progressives Backfires in Texas ;D

Despite open opposition from the DCCC, Houston progressive candidate Laura Moser advanced to a runoff in one of the first contests of the 2018 primary season. Larry Cohen of Our Revolution discusses the struggle for progressive Democrats under a corporatist party leadership

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 02, 2018, 10:22:56 pm »

Can we Save Social Security From The Trump 🦀 Administration? (w/Guest Jasmine Jefferson 🕊)

Can we fight off the Morbidly Rich and save Social Security?

Thom Hartmann Mar. 1, 2018 3:00 pm

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