Sunday, June 3, 2018

Stealing Candy From Babies

The ad says: With Father’s Day right around the corner, we’re sure you’re already thinking about what to get the fathers and father figures in your life. Even if it hasn’t crossed your mind yet, we’ve got your back -- and front! Our Tax March t-shirts are American-made, super-soft, fit dads of all shapes and sizes.
Another says: Next Weekend: Classic Star Wars Film Gets an Adult Makeover at The Warfield.

The Caption reads "Bawdy burlesque to Star Wars.
This is America in the trumpfirst century.

But a headline (from Common Dreams) gets real: ‘Thousands arrested nationwide as Poor People’s Campaign Demands ‘End to the War Economy.'” The article cites the Pentagon budget “which [steals] resources that could be used to provide healthcare and food [not to mention housing] to the poor at home [while] killing innocents abroad, and quite frankly it’s killing us, too, because it’s a vast mechanism of upward wealth transfer.  A recent publication  addressing that very issue is titled: Stop Thief!: the Commons, Enclosures and Resistance (by Peter Linebaugh). And Kathy Kelly’s report, Scourging Yemen, where starvation and disease have been enlisted as weapons of war, tells it like it is, and can be read here.

And steal it does.  Almost every outing, I discover new settlements of tent cities in the town in which I live. In another decade, our cities will vie with those of 80s India: Bombay, especially. How did they get that way? What historical processes, created such a desperate housing crunch? Meantime, here is the pie chart representing the administration’s Discretionary Budget request for 2019:

How hard does the American worker have to work to pony up taxes in support of this Gargantuan war programme? More than workers of most industrialized countries, American workers produce the greatest amount of goods for the maximum numbers of working days.  If the American  worker worked as little as Norwegian and Danish workers, he or she would enjoy nearly 2.2 months of paid vacation.  Instead American labor works way more than, say, Denmark’s while suffering huge levels of inequality, poverty and material deprivation.

Conclusion: Stealing from poor Americans is like taking candy from a baby. But some of us get it.  According to Common Dreams, the Poor People’s Campaign unveiled a series of demands last month ahead of launching its 40 days of action, rolling over more than 30 states:

“We demand a stop to the privatization of the military budget and any increase in military spending. We demand a reallocation of resources from the military budget to education, healthcare, jobs, and green infrastructure needs, and strengthening a VA system that must remain public.” Surely modest, routine demands appropriate to any industrialized country not owned by oligarchs and governed by elites, especially those who prefer to lose an election rather than go against the interests of the bankers and corporations that buy their sycophancy year after year.

 “The really critical thing,” wrote Howard Zinn, “isn’t who’s sitting in the White House, but who’s sitting—in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating—those are the things that determine what happens.” Does it seem to you as though Capitalism is not working for you? And that it may be time to create whole new systems for making things work sustainably?

In “Needed Now: A Real and Radical Left,” Chris Hedges advises investing “our energy in building parallel popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power…including unions, community development organizations, local currencies, alternative political parties, and food cooperatives” a list which should be expanded to include state and city banks, cooperative production through worker owned coops, with a vision based in harmony, rather than exploitative of the natural environment.

We need a serious Left, one not atomized by identity politics, and capable of sticking around for the very long and steep haul.

To join the Poor People’s Campaign. Visit

Petition congress to stop Trump from attacking North Korea by going to

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Toffiq al-Bihani has been stuck in Guantanamo for 16 years without charge or trial.

Congress attempts to shut down war plans for Iran with an amendment now attached to the national Defense Authorization Bill.

Following the worker revolt there, Google ends drone technology contract with the Pentagon.

Nationwide #KeepFamliesTogether rallies demand the administration halt cruel border separation of parents and children policy.

Stockton CA Michael Tubbs, the nation’s youngest mayor  experiments with a universal basic income.

Chile joins Kenya and Morocco becoming the first Latin American country to ban plastic bags,

Iran enacts massive and meaningful drug reform.

Toshiba withdraws from South Texas nuclear power plant project.

Mid American Energy becomes first investor-owned utility in U. S. to generate renewables equivalent to 100% of its customers’ annual use.
Despite intense opposition from big polluters backed by the global north at the recent international meeting in Germany to advance the Paris Agreement, activists helped pressure the EU to side with people and with climate justice. 

Congress introduces legislation to protect California swordfish industry.

Costa Rica’s new president, Carlos Alvardo, announces a ban on fossil fuels, placing his country as a major trailblazer in the fight against climate change.

The 2018 Freedom Flotilla arrives in Gaza with desperately needed food! medical supplies! and other aid!

In a win for sustainability, reducing military costs, and promoting water security, the House Armed Services Committee unanimously approved Rep. Salud Carbahal’s water amendment.

Prosecutors drop charges against a half dozen people the government had sought to imprison for decades for their roles in planning an anti-Trump march.

Former felons nationwide use their past connections with the incarceration system to restore voting rights to the disenfranchised.

Andy Tsege is pardoned after nearly four years on death row in Ethiopia and rejoins his family in London.

The nation’s largest union of federal workers files suit against the administration over an EO that seeks to deny workers the right to job site representation.

Despite fierce lobbying from ISPs, net neutrality bill passes in California.

Candidates backed by the Sanders revolution achieve early success in the primaries.

The Virginia Senate votes to expand Medicaid and provide health care to nearly 400,000 Virginians.

The California State Assembly votes for the first time to require Ethnic Studies as a statewide graduation requirement.

Illinois ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment, making it the 37th state to do so.

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