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Political involvement should be a requirement for citizenship
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Ali Velshi exposes Ivanka Trump’s hypocrisy with well-crafted rebuttal of her words (VIDEO)

Wed, 2017-10-25 02:42

Ivanka Trump like her dad, Donald Trump, attempted to mislead Americans about her and her dad's concerns about the American worker. Ali Velshi did not allow her to get away with it. He showed her concern was meaningless given her actions.

Ali Velshi continued keeping the Trump BS at bay. "While Ivanka Trump may believe in the American worker with her heart and soul," Velshi said. "She doesn't believe in them in her balance sheet."

Ali Velshi exposes Ivanka Trump

Ali Velshi destroys Ivanka Trumps hypocrisy with a well-crafted rebuttal of her words (VIDEO) pic.twitter.com/iDsNTcJHRY

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 25, 2017

In an interview with Fox News, Ivanka Trump expressed her and the Trump administration's belief in the American worker.

"No one can best the American worker," Ivanka said.

Ali Velshi went on to summarily prove the hypocrisy of her statement.

"Let's take a look again at where her clothing is made," Velshi said. "Ivanka Trump's Denim pants are made in Bangladesh, a common place for clothes to be made. Her shoes are made in Ethiopia. Her dresses and knit tops are made in Indonesia. Her cotton tops, on the other hand, are made in India. The suit jackets she makes, are made in Vietnam. And the woven blouses, more shoes & handbags are made in China. The sum total of the stuff that is made in the United States is zero. But at least six other countries' workers are just fine to make the first daughter's brand."

The Trump family is a fraud. They've stolen peoples money with Trump University, not paying contractors, not paying banks, and much more. For too long the media have given them a pass. Ali Velshi and a few others are no longer allowing their fraud and hypocrisy to go unchallenged.

The post Ali Velshi exposes Ivanka Trump’s hypocrisy with well-crafted rebuttal of her words (VIDEO) appeared first on EgbertoWillies.com.

My Facebook friend is right, stop framing Trump as the problem

Tue, 2017-10-24 16:20

Every so often someone clearly states a reality that should be obvious but that goes unnoticed because of our self-imposed tunnel vision. Sometimes the protagonist is simply a convenient distraction.

A Facebook friend and activist, Torry, laid it out, I imagine after the barrage of negative stories hitting Trump over the last few days. The fact that he put it on my wall shows a justifiable level of frustration with the current narrative. He posted the following.

It kind of boggles my mind when people frame Trump as the problem. Trump is the tip of the iceberg, a symptom of the problem, a visible manifestation of a much deeper underlying cancer, and not just in our political world, but our very culture, and culture includes everything and everyone. Our entire culture needs to change.

Everything about our popular politics needs to change. Singling out Trump takes our eyes OFF of the problem. Trump becomes no less of a scapegoat than Muslims or undocumented immigrants. You can't fix a car or heal a human body without a proper analysis of what is wrong. It's the same thing for a political system.

Just a thought, but have you considered that neither of the two parties are running any presidential candidates that anyone in their right mind would ever want to vote for? They have not yet, so we get a combination of the crazy voters, Nazi symps, dimwit fearful Munchkins, myopic identity politics one-issue-wonders, and pissed off Molotovian protest voters showing out on Election Day = Trump, just because he's not really a Republican or a Democrat.

The potential for something wonderful to come out of this grand-scale alienation with the status quo is just as great as the current gaping morass of dumbass dysfunction. Keep your eyes on the prize, a new political leadership that reflects the aspirations of most working-class people, the majority, and not Trump, the carnie huckster luring slack-jawed farm boys into his lurid peep show of a presidency.

Please, just walk past this peacock feathered buffoon a.s.a.p.... and spend your time, money, and energy organizing for a progressive coup d’état in the Democratic Party.

While it is clear many won't get what Torry is saying, many of us do. The battle against the ever-expanding plutocracy must be fought on several fronts. Moreover, activists cannot be self-isolating or self-righteous in their approach. They must tailor the narrative in a manner that reaches more than their audience or immediate sphere of influence. After all, Progressive activists must not live in the same type of echo chamber that parallels that of the Right.

Many Americans see Donald Trump as the problem that must be stamped out. But there are those who see hope in him because they see him as the externality to the current duopoly. The job of the Progressive activist is twofold. Make it clear that Trump is a result of a form of cancer we've been afflicted with for decades. And make it clear he is not the solution but a facade over the problem itself. As such, it is important that the resistance keep him in our crosshairs at the same time that we identify the systemic political problem in a manner the masses can understand.

The post My Facebook friend is right, stop framing Trump as the problem appeared first on EgbertoWillies.com.

Bob Corker lashes out at Trump in very unbelievably harsh terms that sting (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-10-24 10:58

Senator Bob Corker in his most harsh attack to date really let Trump have it. He did not mince his words as he called out the president as a liar and much more. He seemed resolved to a dysfunctional government for the foreseeable future.

It is clear that Bob Corker does care more for the country than the Republican Party as he made it clear that Trump is a clear and present danger.

Bob Corker slams president with his harshest words to date

Asked if the President is debasing the country, Senator Bob Corker could not be clearer.

"I don't think there's any question but that's the case just in the way that he conducts himself and goes to such a low level," Corker said. "I just. I do. But look, I mean the rest of us need to do what we can to act as statesmen and to try to move our nation ahead and a time when we have a leader such as we have now."

Corker gave his Republican colleagues a pass in response to a reporter who asked if they need to speak up.

"I can't speak to what other people should do. Corker said. "I would never want to you know do or say something that puts people that I serve with, in an uncomfortable place."

A reporter asked if he regretted campaigning for Trump. Corker said he really did not campaign for Trump. He said he went to Raleigh when Trump was considering him for the Vice Presidency. He said he told the Trump then he wouldn't be Vice President and in an embarrassing moment the president called him out on stage.

Corker gave a harsh parting shot at the end of the interview.

"But look, we are where we are as a country and again I think what we need to do is support him when he's right," Corker said. "Check him when he is wrong which is plenty. And try to conduct ourselves in a manner that brings out the best of the American people when our president obviously does not conduct himself that way. His governing model is to divide and to attempt to bully and to use untruth."

When will the floodgates open from the Republican Party? Senator Corker and a few others are giving the timid ample opportunity even if to simply use his quotes. It is likely just a matter of time for this president.

Trump's tweet before Bob Corker's comment.

...the entire World WAS laughing and taking advantage of us. People like liddle' Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now we move forward!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017

Sen. Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn't have a clue as.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017

...Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017

Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017

 

 

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Raj Patel on How to Break Away from Capitalism

Tue, 2017-10-24 01:59

by Chris Winters

Capitalism has been the world’s dominant economic system for more than 700 years. And as it brings the planet to new crises, author Raj Patel believes it’s important to imagine what might replace it.

Capitalism values cheapness above all else.

But reform won’t happen unless we understand capitalism’s appeal and historical rise, says Patel, a food justice activist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s remarkably resilient and can be traced to a process he calls “cheapness.”

Together with Binghamton University professor Jason W. Moore, he has written The History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2017), which aims to put it all together for us. The seven “things” of the title aren’t physical objects as much as they are a hidden social, ecological and economic infrastructure: nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives. The point being that cheapness is a process of responding to economic crises by devaluing each of those forces so that capitalism can continue to concentrate wealth in the hands of the already-wealthy. In that sense, “cheap nature” refers to the way in which land and its resources are systematically given away to businesses for exploitation, “cheap work” refers to slavery and other anti-worker tactics that keep wages low, and so on.

Capitalism values cheapness above all else. And through this lens, Patel and Moore explore the evolution of capitalism from its roots in the late medieval period with the collapse of feudalism in Western Europe caused by climate change and the Black Death to—now.

Raj Patel spoke with YES! Magazine senior editor Chris Winters in Seattle. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Winters: If I were to take a single important concept away from this book, what should it be?

Patel: The idea would be that we are made by capitalism, and that capitalism can’t last forever. The reason we wrote the book is so we could help broker conversations between the different areas of social movement activism and social transformation. We’re hoping that these ideas of seven cheap things can help social movements identify their shared points of solidarity with other movements. When movements begin, they always start with living politics and real struggles.

Capitalism can’t last forever.

Obviously, people start the work of change and resistance where they are. You always start with the politics the way you find them, you can’t start from any ideal position. But understanding that, for example, the struggles of activism in Black Lives Matter are linked to the struggles of activism in 350.org, which is linked in turn to the struggles of activism in certain parts of Slow Food, is I think the contribution that we wanted to make.

And if you think systemically, we can figure out ways of fighting them all at once, which is what we have to do.

Winters: You identify toward the end of the book some promising signs where organizations are in fact taking on causes transcending their traditional political boundaries: the Movement for Black Lives taking on fossil fuels, for example. La Via Campesina talking about disability rights. Are you seeing the future of activism moving in that direction, toward taking that broader view?

Patel: I do. I know that there are still parts of, for example, the environmental movement that don’t particularly care about people as much as they care about pandas, and that their environmentalists can sometimes be misanthropic. But in general, even the Sierra Club has started to melt its traditional antipathy towards immigration and is taking race more seriously than it has in the past. The Sierra Club is a fairly large environmental movement, and its transformations have been made possible by the ceaseless activism of people who are in the environmental justice community. La Via Campesina starts off as an organization that’s about fighting the World Trade Organization and ends up as an organization that is transforming human relationships with nature, that takes feminism incredibly seriously, that tackles issues of gender violence. And that’s because they have to. It’s not because someone in a Politburo meeting decides, “Oh, this is probably what we ought to tackle next.” It’s because the way that La Via Campesina has built their politics around food sovereignty encourages and demands this kind of spread of mission, because actually in order to be food sovereign as La Via Campesina wants to be, they have to attend to issues of gender equality.

Winters: I read this book as an upending of the traditional historical narrative in the sense that you’re taking a look at the significant events of the past 700 years and looking at them not as what they meant at the time, but how they laid the groundwork for what we are experiencing in right now. When you were researching the book, were you intending to look at the historical underpinnings of our current system and how it got there, or were you working backwards from the present?

Patel: I think, in a sense, it was a bit of both. And that’s because we knew that the sorts of intervention we wanted to make, and in particular we wanted to bring history to some of the debate and some of the activism. But we also discovered new historical connections based on the kinds of questions we’re asking of our present moment.

We wanted to bring history to some of the debate and some of the activism.

Early on that we knew that Christopher Columbus was going to be an interesting figure, for example, in the stories that we were telling. So we dug deeper and deeper and deeper and found much more about him than either of us had known. For instance, since we’re interested in how finance works today, we wanted to find out more about what Columbus did. The structure of the finance that made Christopher Columbus’ journeys possible, I think, is very interesting, based on a web of promises of future colonization, and financiers made rich through war looking for a high return. It’s very modern. His attitudes toward women and his attitudes toward work … and what he thought of nature. What we found was that by coming at the history of capitalism with a clear analytical agenda and then doing the deep sort of archival work, we were then able to sort of spin it back to the present.

For instance: here we are in Seattle. Jeff Bezos is one of the kings of the hill in this town. And in many ways, the things that Columbus says and the way he talks investors into giving him money, through which he always manages to get paid and his investors have to wait a long time for their money to come, the ways that he offers new frontiers in which entrepreneurship and civilization will be brought back—that’s almost exactly the kind of language that Jeff Bezos is using right now to talk about going into space and colonizing the moon.

If you look at the finances, the kinds of promises that (Columbus) offers his bankers, the structure of financing through which that money comes, the way that he swindles his workers out of full payment and relies on slaves, it all looks very contemporary. This is not to say Jeff Bezos is a slaver, but it certainly does say that the kinds of minerals that allow Alexa to order things for you in the shower come from the systems that require modern day slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are 40 million slaves in the world today. The persistence of slavery and its compatibility with high finance and with people being paid wage labor, that’s old. You don’t need to be conspiratorial, and one doesn’t need to bend history at all to observe that slaves, alongside wage workers, alongside entrepreneurs, alongside bankers, alongside people offering new things from the frontier, is happening in the 21st century as much as it was in Columbus’ day.

Winters: You define cheapness as a system that the capitalist system has used to overcome its periodic crises. There’s a quote in here: “We’re arguing that the modern world emerged from systematic attempts to fix crises at the frontier, crises that resulted from human and extrahuman life inserting itself into the calculus. The modern world happened because externalities struck back.” Is there a lower limit to cheapness within the capitalist world structure, or a finite number of frontiers that we’re going to run up against?

Patel: One oughtn’t bet against the imagination of capitalism to be able to open up new frontiers. The frontier of genetic material is one that continues to be profitably mined. The fact that (Tesla founder Elon) Musk and Bezos are off into space, that The Financial Times recently had a supplement on space mining, is, I think, very telling.

Systems change happens when business as usual can no longer continue.

At the end of the day, when we talk about externalities striking back, it’s not just about a climatic or geological shift. This is also about the ways that humans have rebelled against certain kinds of order being put on them, whether it’s about slavery or about domestic work or it’s about racism. … Whether it’s about workers going on strike or about slave rebellions, or about certain ideas of a nation coming back to bite the colonists on the ass, that’s what we’re getting at with the idea of externalities striking back. There always comes a point at which societies undergo a state shift. Now looks like one of those times.

The reason we look to the plague, the Black Death, and the end of the Medieval Warming Period is because, they may be augurs of change. It’s a sad commonplace to hear a lament that, in order for things to get better, they need to get worse. “Oh we just have to get to a point when so many people are suffering, and then there’ll be a change.” But how bad does it have to be? We’ve already had a billion people going hungry. Systems change happens when business as usual can no longer continue. Business as usual is entirely compatible with a billion people going hungry on the Earth today.

So you have to ask, “Well, what is it that’s going to create that phase shift?” Historically in Europe, the answer lay in a mixture of disease, climate (change), and a strong hand being given for the peasantry and the exploited. And the number of exploited in the world today is fairly large. We are in a time of particular climate tumult, and the possibility of old orders being transformed or resurrected or remixed is one that a lot of groups are interested in looking at.

Winters: The concept of capitalism as something to name and define and study, it only goes back to the 19th century or so. What we’re describing here is, especially in the medieval period, is human greed as the driving force. Is there a point where it became meta-capitalism, the capitalists became capitalistic about the capitalist system, and it wasn’t just about trying to line their own bank accounts?

Patel: Banking and the modern banking system that emerges from Italian city-states, I think, constitute a very important moment in how that greed gets facilitated and channeled. … That’s why again Christopher Columbus gets to be such an important figure. What he embodies is not just a greed for money, but an attitude that can look on the world and automatically appraise its value—the retail profit in slaves, nature, and so on.

I don’t think that you need money in order to be able to make social change happen.

So is there a moment where capitalists become meta-capitalists? No, but I think that when you see the confluence of seven cheap things coming together, I do think the “long 15th century,” to use Fernand Braudel’s term, is sort of the beginning of capitalism. If you want to give it a birthdate, the first Columbus Day is as good as any.

Winters: When we start talking about the solutions at the end of the book, the broader steps to build or at least lay the groundwork for something that would come after capitalism, one of them is the idea of re-imagination. You’ve made this abstract distinction between nature and society as these two things that were separated arbitrarily in the beginning, and that this abstraction has allowed this classification system that we call capitalism today. Re-imagination, as you define it, is a psychological shift, presumably that would allow us to go back to this original abstraction and repair that split, or would allow something to be created that would be something other than just yet another thing that is embedded within the capitalist worldview.

Patel: Well, I’m glad you seized on that. The bumper sticker problem that a number of people notice is that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. When you ask folks to imagine what they want instead of this world? Blank stares all around.

Yet, not far from here, you have Coast Salish communities that have profoundly interesting relationships with nature, relationships that can point the way to what a different world might be like. So let’s look at the salmon festival. It begins with the celebration of the first salmon caught swimming upstream. The festival runs for 10 days, during which no fishing is allowed. While the first salmon is prepared and eaten, all the other salmon go upstream and they spawns. And then you start fishing for salmon. But for 10 days, you don’t, and instead you celebrate the treaty that your people have with the salmon people.

These transformations have to be collective and social.

It’s not open season. It’s the result of a treaty. To enter into a treaty with extra-human life rather than simply possess it involves a deep psychological reorientation. It’s an individual transformation of a relationship in the world and with nature, but also it’s a social one. If an individual asserted, “I’ve signed a treaty with salmon,” that’d be bonkers. … These transformations have to be collective and social.

Winters: Can you fight capital without capital?

Patel: That’s the only way it’s ever been fought. There’s a very good book called The Revolution Will Not Be Funded (Duke University Press, 2017). And particularly in a town like Seattle, the home of the Gates Foundation, that’s important to bear in mind.

Obviously movements need money for buses and childcare and organizing materials and salaries. But the idea that it’s only through having vast scads of cash that the big transformation’s going to happen—I think that’s misguided. I mean, look at the white supremacists who seem to have something of a foothold in this town. Their ideology is spreading without having massive infusions of money, it’s spreading through viral means and through getting people to do things and turning up at events and participating in what they understand to be a movement. And they’re doing that for free.

So I don’t think that you need money in order to be able to make social change happen. I mean, it helps, but it shouldn’t substitute for the hard grassroots organizing. … The movements that I’ve seen around the world that have been able to organize successfully, they’ve done it on a shoestring.

Producing in-depth, thoughtful journalism for a better world is expensive – but supporting us isn’t. If you value ad-free independent journalism, consider subscribing to YES! today. Chris Winters wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Chris is a senior editor at YES! He covers economics and politics.

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Churches sue FEMA. Tax-exempt, hate government, but want handout (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-23 16:26

This one beats them all. Churches continuously meddle in politics. They instigate the election of politicians with draconian policies. Now they are suing FEMA because it's following the law.

Churches don't want the government involved in their business and they don't pay taxes. Now they want a handout after Hurricane Harvey. They don't want the responsibility of contributing some of their vast financial accumulation to society but want society to take care of them. Don't they have a bigger power that would make them whole after a hurricane likely intensified by human action?

Redacted Tonight take on churches suing FEMA, a government agency

Redacted Tonight took on the churches suing FEMA.  While it's amusing, it is very serious. Just like corporations get all kinds of preferential treatments at the expense of the masses, so do churches.

Reuters reported the suit as follows.

(Reuters) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been sued by three Texas churches severely damaged in Hurricane Harvey, over what they called its policy of refusing to provide disaster relief to houses of worship because of their religious status. In a complaint filed on Monday in federal court in Houston, the churches said they would like to apply for aid but it would be “futile” because FEMA’s public assistance program “categorically” excludes their claims, violating their constitutional right to freely exercise their religion.

They said FEMA’s ban on providing relief where at least half a building’s space is used for religious purposes, a policy also enforced after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, contradicts a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision making it easier for religious groups to get public aid. ...

The Texas churches that sued are the Rockport First Assembly of God in Rockport, which lost its roof and steeple and suffered other structural damage, and the Harvest Family Church in Cypress and Hi-Way Tabernacle in Cleveland, which were flooded.

According to CBN News, Trump is backing the churches.

President Trump continues to confirm his verbal support for Christians, with his actions--this time, standing up for churches barred from relief funding after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.

Trump tweeted Friday night:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/906320446882271232

The hypocrisy continues.

Watch the full episode of Redacted Tonight here.

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Media comes out swinging against Trump clan alternative facts (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-23 12:31

Donald Trump and his clan have been trying to discredit the media for years. The media seldom push back against the false accusations from this corrupt leader. It seems that is changing.

The media is fighting back against Trump and his misinformers by pointing out their lies and making sure Americans understand their lying techniques. Earlier this year the New York Times put out the following video.

They flashed a lot of information, many portrayed as the truth that could only be read in some instances by stopping frame after frame in a video editor. Some statements are definitely true, some are in the grey area. And some are completely false. They end the commercial pointing out that getting to the truth can be difficult. But that is their job.

New York Times' ad on truth and facts slowed down to make it readable

The truth is our nation is more divided than ever. The truth is alternative facts are lies. The truth is the media is dishonest. The truth is a woman should dress like a woman. The truth is women's rights are human rights. The truth is we have to protect our borders. The truth is refugee policy is a backdoor Muslim ban. The truth is we need a full investigation of Russian ties. The truth is leaking classified information is the real scandal. The truth is climate change is a hoax. The truth is the Supreme Court seat was stolen. The truth is this country was built by immigrants. The truth is 600,00 immigrants will be let in.  The truth is the emails are dangerous. The truth is we do not know who is responsible. The truth is black lives matter is a simple statement of fact. The truth is all lives matter. The truth is we need new restrictions on gun control. The truth is our gun problem is bigger than mass shootings. The truth is we should support the president no matter what. The truth is he's not interested in uniting the country. The truth is we have a crime epidemic in our cities today. The truth is there is no evidence of voter fraud. The truth is Obamacare isn't affordable. The truth is we need to police the police. The truth is pro-life women weren't invited to the march. The truth is this administration has stumbled. The truth is executive orders have gone too far. The truth is banks need to be monitored. The truth is we must hold free speech sacred.

The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to know. The truth is more important now than ever.

The CNN's ad is more in-your-face. In effect, it tells Americans to use common sense and stop being gullible.

CNN educating Americans on alternative facts

This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that it is a banana. They might scream, "banana, banana, banana.," over and over and over again.  They might put bananas in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it is not. But it is not. This is an apple. Facts first.

One hopes all media will come out swinging against the deception by this president going forward.

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McCain nails Trump for Vietnam ‘bone spur’ deferment (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-23 01:21

Trump may have believed that Senator McCain would cower when he threatened him with fighting back over the Senator's description of Trump's foreign policy as 'half-baked.' After this interview, it is clear that Senator McCain instead of cowering upped the ante.

Our faux-patriotic President would do well to cut his losses. Trump's record of bankruptcies and selfishness pales in comparison to the Senator's, the decorated war hero.

McCain takes swipe at Trump for bone spur excuse for not serving his country

TONIGHT - @SenJohnMcCain talks about the Vietnam War's legacy on C-SPAN, at 6 & 10pm ET. pic.twitter.com/WnZT0n8Mcn

— American History TV (@cspanhistory) October 22, 2017

The Hill reported the following.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took what appeared to be a swipe at President Trump during an interview about the Vietnam War on Sunday, criticizing how upper-income Americans were able to obtain a draft deferment for having a “bone spur.”

McCain made the remarks while discussing the draft on an episode of C-SPAN3’s American History TV.

“One aspect of the (Vietnam) conflict by the way that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

The media has given Donald Trump too many passes on many issues over the years. He should not be given the space to declare anyone unpatriotic, whether kneeling football players, the past presidents or decorated heroes. It is bad enough that the media allows Trump to be described as a successful businessman when he is not creditworthy, has been bankrupt many times, and builds nothing of societal value.

One hopes that the media will explore in addition to the Russia Scandal, Donald Trump's Vietnam draft dodging in more detail now that Senator John McCain has given them the excuse to do so. After all, he has been questioning the patriotism of others.

 

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Sent to Destroy Sanders’ Case for Democratic Socialism, Danish Right-Winger Bolsters It

Sun, 2017-10-22 15:57

In a televised debate with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on CNN Thursday night that quickly became a social media sensation, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tore into the "fraud" that is the Trump-GOP tax plan, slammed America's corrupt campaign finance system that allows the wealthiest Americans to buy policies and politicians, and "dunked on" a Danish representative of a right-wing think tank who challenged Sanders on his support for Scandinavian social democratic policies.

Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, charged late in the debate that Sanders wants to spend like a Scandinavian nation, but not tax like one.

Sanders responded by highlighting the benefits citizens of Denmark, Sweden, and other Scandinavian nations reap as a result of paying more in taxes and concluded that these benefits far outweigh the costs.

"How much do you pay when you go to the hospital, if you have cancer, God forbid, and you went to the hospital?" Sanders asked.

"Zero," Kirkegaard said.

"And what about college in Denmark?" Sanders went on. "Our kids can't afford to go to college. How much does it cost to go to college in Denmark?"

"Well, in fact, you get a government stipend to go to college," Kirkegaard said.

"Oh. In other words, not only is it free, they give you a stipend, because they want to make sure—correct me if I'm wrong—that they take advantage of the wisdom of all of the kids," Sanders replied. "They want to make sure that every kid in that country gets the best education he or she can have."

"Wow," tweeted Josh Miller-Lewis, Sanders' deputy communications director, "Bernie just dunked on this guy from the Peterson Institute."

"Bernie Sanders just (peacefully) disarmed a Danish Pete Peterson plant—brilliantly," added Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation.

By the end of their exchange, Kirkegaard conceded that familiar right-wing talking points about single-payer healthcare—for instance, the oft-repeated claim about extraordinarily long waiting lists—are false.

Watch:

This guy is getting fired. #CNNDebateNight pic.twitter.com/e5woxpr3WT

— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) October 19, 2017

Sanders concluded the debate by calling on Americans to resist attempts by Cruz, President Donald Trump, and the Republican Party to "give $1.9 trillion in tax breaks to the top one percent" and "throw 15 million people off of Medicaid, cut Medicare by over $450 billion, cut Pell Grants, [and] cut programs like the Women, Infant, and Children program."

"I do not believe that America is about giving tax breaks to the very, very wealthy and cutting life-and-death programs for working families. This Trump Republican tax proposal is a disaster," Sanders concluded. "And the American people have got to stand up. And together we are going to defeat that awful proposal. Thank you very much."

Watch Sanders' full closing speech:

.@SenSanders closing argument: Together, we are going to defeat the awful tax cuts for the rich being proposed by the GOP #CNNDebateNight pic.twitter.com/Wg7Wyj9ihh

— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) October 19, 2017

This post originally appeared at Common Dreams.

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Two Facebook posts speak to the perversion of Republicanism & Christianity

Sun, 2017-10-22 11:46

The average American citizens are starting to get it and they are expressing it in whatever forum they can. These two Facebook posts are well expressed and one hopes it can assist an introspective Republican or Evangelical Christian caught up in Trumpism to find their way.

The first post was a response to the article "Republican Successful Assault On The American Fabric Started With Him," an article that everyone should read. Many have yet to realize that much that is occurring today is preplanned. Facebook user Debora Pscholka shared the article with the comment that said it all.

Republicans have never been known as a party fighting for the poor or the middle class. They have never been known as a party that believed in a social safety net. The problem for Republicans is that 90+% of Americans fall into that category.

The level of intolerance by the GOP is incomprehensible until the strategy is understood. It is easy to dismiss comments by a few. However, when it becomes a chorus line that is perfectly synchronized, it becomes a strategy.

Republicans balk when one speaks about the Republican war on women, war on the poor, war on the environment, war on gays, war on minorities, and many other select micro wars. They don’t want these wars called out. And the reality is these should not be called wars at all. It is much too simplistic.

It is a war on democracy. How do you win a war on democracy when there are many more subjects than you? You fight many battles. So the battle against the poor, the battle against women, the battle against gays, the battle against minorities, the battle against education, and any other micro battle to keep the subjects occupied is the modus operandi. It does not matter if in the process a few of the battles are lost. After all, their eyes are on the ball, the destruction of a functional democracy.

The second post expanded on Trump's fiasco in addressing the widow of the soldier that was killed in Niger. Facebook user Justin Rosario sarcastically admonished the expected reaction of the "good, moral, upstanding, conservative Christians" to Trump's chief of staff, General John Kelly's, lying about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL). He wrote the following in his post.

SUNDAY MORNING BLASPHEMY!

Today, millions of good, moral, upstanding, conservative Christians will kneel in church and praise retired Gen. John Kelly for telling off that uppity negro Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson.

They won't find it strange that a now-retired general insulted the majority of the country by suggesting they are not fit to question him because they haven't served in the military or lost a family member to war, a sentiment reinforced by White House Press Secretary Sanders. After all, the military is holy and sacred and above reproach, is surely says so in the Bible....somewhere?

They won't find it strange that in a country where the military is explicitly subordinate to the civilian government, which, in turn, is explicitly accountable to the people, that we are now supposed to meekly bow our heads to our military overlords. After all, they've already decided that religion is more important than the Constitution, why not throw in a little military dictatorship to go along with the theocracy?

Amen and give me twenty, maggots!

Everyday Americans are starting to get it. But it is important that they express these realities openly and often. When they do that, those sitting on the sidelines, knowing something is wrong, but uncomfortable in expressing it, will get the encouragement to be a beacon of truth as well.

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Black protester hugs white supremacist & he doesn’t know what to do (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-10-21 12:02

Call me a mush, but I loved watching the black activist hugging the white supremacist in a nonconfrontational manner even if he invaded his space. People hate the caricature of others but it is hard to hate just flesh & blood of a different hued facade.

Someone has to break the cycle. Actions like that of this brave protester are more powerful than one can imagine because it is personal. I wrote the article "Why I give racists 2nd, 3rd, and more chances and it's about sexism" that is congruous to this story that is worth a read.

Black protestor hugs white supremacist

A nazi and a black man.....America 2017 #SpencerAtUF pic.twitter.com/sSaG36EuOr

— Politics 4 Dummies (@Politics4dum) October 19, 2017

WGN 9 reported the following.

GAINSVILLE, Fla. — A video shows the moment a black man hugged a Nazi outside white supremacist leader Richard Spencer’s speech Thursday afternoon at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

In the video, which was posted on Twitter by user Politics for Dummies, 31-year-old Aaron Alex Courtney is seen hugging the man and asking, “Why don’t you like me, dog?”

Courtney told the New York Daily News that he could have hurt the man or started a fight but instead wanted to show love.

“I asked him, ‘Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin color? My history? My dreadlocks?”

When the Nazi looked away and avoided his questions, he gave him a hug.

“I reached over and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, ‘You changed his life,'” Courtney said.

When he asked again, “Why do you hate me?” the man replied, “I don’t know.”

The white supremacist said he did not know why he hated the other. We cannot allow instigators to create divisions between groups. The biggest fear of those in power is for Americans to realize they have a common enemy and it isn't each other. Activists must cross lines to get that reality cauterized in the brains of our citizens. Then we can work together to fight that which pilfers us, the plutocracy.

 

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If Progressives perform the country will respond. Its values are with us (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-10-20 21:25

America is not a Center-Right country. It is governed by a Right Wing sect and run by Center-Right ideologues. America is a Progressive country based on the value set people by large majorities or pluralities. So why is it that we do not see a government that reflects the people?

The following is a snippet from my Politics Done Right Show. Please listen and answer the poll question in the video at around 2-minutes-thirty-second in the video.

Progressives, the country is with us

Check out the entire show here.

I attend the Netroots Nation conference every year. At the 2015 conference, Elizabeth Warren enumerated all the reasons why Progressives need to boldly promote our values.

Elizabeth Warren proved with fact-based data that most of the American population are in fact Progressives/Liberals. She used the examples of the passage of minimum wage increases in four states even in a year that was devastating for Democrats. Warren went on to enumerate progressive issue after progressive issue including student debt, election reform, Wall Street reform, and many other issues where irrespective of self-identification, Americans are progressive.

The Right was effective in demonizing the word Liberal and now the word Progressive. They needed to demonize the label because they knew what Americans' real values were. If they could disassociate values from the proper moniker, they could win with deception. They have been successful in most instances  thus far. After-all, it has given them a near lock on the U.S. House of Representatives.

It is for this reason that real Liberals and Progressives must self-identify as such and articulate the values as Elizabeth Warren is doing. That will 'rehabilitate' the words under which real progress was attained in this country. It will initially be slow and painful.

Here is the video.

Of course many in America have been indoctrinated to believe that policies expressed in "liberal terms" as bad even as they want and need them. It is incumbent on us to connect. (e.g., Pay-It-Forward Tuition instead of "Tuition Free," and so on.

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America in trouble, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly has become Donald Trump (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-10-20 16:24

Working with good, compassionate and honest people tend to infect. It makes one work towards becoming better. Unfortunately, the converse is true. It is clear that while most hoped that John Kelly could temper Trump, his false attack on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson prove the opposite has occurred. Moreover, he lied just like his boss did and Lawrence O'Donnell made him pay for it.

Lawrence O'Donnell excoriates John Kelly

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a job to do today," Lawrence O'Donnell said. "Take the heat off the president for getting into trouble for something that no president before him has gotten into trouble for. Donald Trump made a mess with the condolence phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson who was killed two weeks ago.in Niger. Today John Kelly made just as much as a mess in his attempt to clean up Donald Trump's mess."

In his attempt to defend the president John Kelly attacked the congresswoman with what ultimately turned out to be a lie. He falsely accused her of grandstanding and tried to demean her by calling her an empty barrel.

Rawstory reported the following.

New York Times writer and MSNBC political analyst Nick Confessore took exception to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ contention at Friday’s press briefing that reporters shouldn’t question White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s word because he is a “former four-star general.”

On Thursday, after giving a moving account of losing his son, Kelly launched a vicious personal attack against Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL). The retired general called Wilson an “empty barrel” that “makes the most noise” even as he seemed to corroborate her version of events with regard to Trump’s call to the widow of fallen U.S. Army Green Beret La David Johnson.

Confessore pointed out that the video from the 2015 eventdescribed by Kelly does not remotely resemble Kelly’s account. Kelly accused Wilson of grandstanding and interrupting the solemn occasion of an FBI building’s dedication to two fallen agents to boast about her fundraising prowess.

“He is a former four-star general but he’s a current chief of staff at the White House,” said Confessore. “He led a press briefing yesterday” — meaning Kelly set aside the mantle of nonpartisan general when he became a political operative and did the president’s bidding by carrying out a political hit on Wilson.

In other words, John Kelly has become Donald Trump.

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President Obama all but said the Trump administration is doomed to failure (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-10-20 12:00

President Obama has always been a smooth operator. He chooses his words carefully for maximum impact. He can a whole lot with very few words. And that is just what he did here.

Some may wonder what took the former President that long to be as specific as he was in describing Trump's win and his inability to govern going forward.

President Obama: Implies Trump administration doomed

"I mean, you notice I haven't been commenting a lot on politics lately," President Obama said. "But here's one thing I know. If you have to win a campaign by dividing people. You're not going to be able to govern them.You won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start."

That very short and concise statement packs a lot and describes exactly what is occurring within the Trump administration. President Obama also pointed out in his speech that Americans are not feeling very good in their public lives because of a politics that is instigating divisions instead of a politics that lift people up. Ironically on the same day, former President Bush called out Donald Trump as well.

Trump lost the popular vote. He got 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. But he got the necessary votes in the right areas to win the Electoral College using techniques to divide Americans by reigniting friction between groups.

Trump was a wake up call. It is time for Progressives to regroup and it seems they are doing just that. This week I featured two Progressive candidate on Politics Done Right who are vying for seats held by Conservatives in Texas. They are running under the Justice Democrat Platform and were part of the Brand New Congress movement. They intend to present citizens in their district with a choice, inclusion and an economy that works for all versus hate and an economy that pilfers the middle-class.

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Kingwood mom who caused a stir biking her kids to school featured on KHOU (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-10-20 02:39

The Houston local television station KHOU picked up the story of a Kingwood mom who was attacked online for taking her kids to school by pulling them in a carriage behind her bike.

KHOU's Brett Buffington visited Jennifer at her home in Kingwood to get the story directly from the source. She explained why she pulled her kids to school. She also showed her disgust for those attempting to shame her online.

Kingwood Mom interviewed by KHOU about the reaction biking kids to school

Kingwood mom who caused a stir biking her kids to school featured on KHOU (VIDEO) pic.twitter.com/y1LV6fmrDE

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 20, 2017

The reality is Jennifer owed no one any explanation. But it is clear the reaction to her pulling her kids with her bike created a story worth telling. According to KHOU,

KINGWOOD, Texas – Twice a day, five days a week, parents line up at Bear Branch Elementary. The line is long as students are picked up and dropped off. Since school started this year, almost everyday, Jennifer Ackerman has peddled past other parents, right to the school’s front door.

Her twin boys are in first grade but aren't going to the same elementary school that backs up to the family's backyard. One of Ackerman’s sons is autistic and the Kingwood school district offered the child a spot in a program that is designed for gifted children, including those with special needs. For the Ackerman family, that meant both boys had to be in two separate places, at the same time.

The KHOU interview and subsequent article were fair but I think they missed an opportunity to go more in depth with many issues that are readily apparent. Should there be recourse from HISD for parents that must be at multiple schools at the same time? How does one explain the psychology of those attacking the mom?

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“We are at war with Russia?” Oh, Really? Here are some questions.

Fri, 2017-10-20 01:34

by Ernest Partridge

As the American media pumps up its Russophobic rhretoric, escalating the status of the Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation from "rival" to "adversary" to "enemy, " and the crisis from "rivalry" to "The equivalent of war," finally to (unqualified) "war," numerous urgent questions arise. These questions are, for the most part, ignored by our "mainstream media" (MSM) by which I mean I mean the90% of all American media that is owned by just six mega-corporations, together with the portion of the remaining 10% following the party line.

Absent a serious discussion of these questions by the MSM, I will pose some of these questions and suggest a few answers.

Are we really "at war" with Russia, due to Russia’s alleged election interference?

When Russia tries to interfere with the American elections, our media calls it "the equivalent of war." When the United States does the same thing to Iran, Chile, Ukraine, Russia, etc. (it’s a long list), we call it "regime change."

"At war with Russia?" Where are the missile launches, the air combat, the marines on the beaches, the armies in deadly combat, the bombed cities? And where are the casualties – the young men killed in battle? None of the above? Then in what realistic sense are we "at war?"

Even so, we are told that this is "the equivalent of war!" If so, then so too was Iran (1952), Chile (1973), Ukraine (2014), when we overthrew legally elected governments, and in Russia (1996) when we successfully prevented Yeltsin’s defeat.  Did we then hear hyperventilating media rhetoric about "the equivalent of war?"

Our media have made it clear to the Russians that we regard them as are our enemies. Why then should we be surprised if they then apply the same "election tampering" tricks on us that we have inflicted upon other nations, including Russia?

If the American public is convinced that "we are at war" (albeit "metaphorically"), might not that public be eager to retaliate with a "real war" – with missiles, tanks, aircraft, bombs and casualties."

No, we are not "at war" with Russia in any meaningful sense of that word. "War talk" is inflammatory, irresponsible and very dangerous. Let’s stifle it. Are you listening, Morgan Freeman, Rob Reiner, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Malcolm Nance, (and many more)? Not likely. And so the beat goes on, as we march confidently toward unspeakable disaster.

Do the Russians and the Americans have different attitudes toward war?

American and Russian attitudes toward war are vastly different, and for very good reasons.

For Americans, war is an adventure, glamorized by Hollywood and video games, and always fought on foreign soil "over there." In World War II, not one Nazi bomb or artillery shell fell on the American continent.

For the Russians, war is an unmitigated catastrophe. Russia has been invaded countless times in its history, most horribly in World War II (which the Russians call "The Great Patriotic War"). In that war, twenty-five million Soviet citizens perished, including ninety percent of all males born in 1920.

Recently, NATO conducted "war games" in Estonia, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, where, in the 900 day siege of Leningrad (1941-1944), a million Russians starved to death. NATO exercises were also conducted in Poland, across which the Wehrmacht marched on its way toward the slaughter of those twenty-five million Soviets

Perhaps these NATO maneuvers are, as the NATO officials insist, not intended to threaten the Russians. But surely we must understand why the Russians might not agree.

The Russian attitude toward war was eloquently stated by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova:

There's nothing worse in this world than war, because war renders everything else irrelevant. When there is war there is neither good nor bad, there is only war. So when they make documentaries in the West about Russia mounting offensives and launching missile strikes, there's one thing they fail to understand. The mere mention of war to a Russian makes our skin crawl. It gives is a sense of the world coming to an end -- a sense of panic. Once they realize [this], (if they ever do), they will be able to understand everything about us. We have lived through real war so many times -- not the movies or video games, the way they experience war. It is not even the kind of war where they dispatch their troops elsewhere, not knowing what it is like to fight a war at home. If they ever realized that, which I hope they will, they are bound to feel guilty and ashamed of what they are doing right now. (February, 2016)

Are the Russians capable of waging war against the US and its allies?

The Russian military capabilities are paradoxical. Offensively, the Russian military is weak. Defensively, it is very strong. Surely the Russians know this. And if they can put propaganda and group-think aside, American strategic planners must also know this.

The Russian military budget is one tenth of that of the United States.  Moreover, while the Trump administration is proposing an increase of $80 billion, Putin’s government has announced a 25% reduction.  Few Americans know this, because the MSM has not seen fit to report it. The Russian navy has one obsolete, oil burning aircraft carrier, the United States has twelve nuclear powered super carriers, the latest, the USS Gerald R Ford, costing $13 billion. Russia has one military base outside of Russian and former Soviet territory (in Syria).   The United States has nearly 800 foreign military bases in ninety countries.  Clearly the Russians are not preparing to launch invasions outside their territory. Furthermore, there is no compelling evidence that they intend to do so.

Defensively, the Russians are on much more secure ground – specifically, the "ground" of the largest nation in the world. The United States military – boasted as "the mightiest military force in history" – has failed to win a war since 1945, and cannot prevail over peasant armies in Viet Nam and Afghanistan. Claims that this military can succeed on Russian soil, where Napoleon and Hitler failed, is pure fantasy.

What about Ukraine and Crimea?

I truly wish that Putin had not annexed Crimea, and perhaps by now Putin agrees, given the damage to the Russian economy from the resulting sanctions. But I also doubt that he would have taken Crimea if we had not invested five billion in the effort to get Ukraine into NATO, and if we had not assisted in the ouster of Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovitch. That coup was followed by the revolt of the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Granted, Yanukovich was a corrupt scoundrel. But he was also legally elected to his office.

Crimea is a bell that can not easily be unrung. Apparently up to ninety percent of Crimeans prefer to be Russians than Ukrainians. Should they not have a say regarding their future? My suggestion: another plebiscite, this time supervised by the United Nations. If, as is likely, the Crimeans vote for independence from Ukraine, the Russian government should pay reparations to Ukraine, which would cost Russia far less than the cost of the western sanctions following the Maidan uprising (2014).  In order to allow a "cooling-off period," following the plebiscite Crimea might agree to be an independent republic for twenty to thirty years, following which, most likely, the Crimean people would choose union with Russia.

Russia has not "invaded" eastern Ukraine, although to be sure, many Russians have crossed to border to fight with the ethnic Russian rebels. They have done so to protect their Russian-speaking cousins from Kievan "irregulars" some of whom wear swastikas on their helmets and uniforms. Yes, there is fault to be found on both sides, but there are no regular organized Russian army troops in eastern Ukraine, and no tanks, personnel carriers, artillery or Russian air strikes in Ukraine. The eastern regions of Donetsk and Donbas have not been annexed by Russia. Solution? A federated Ukraine, with the eastern, Russian-speaking regions semi-autonomous from the Kiev government.

American critics of Russian "interference" are typically ignorant of the historically close ties between Ukraine and Russia. Kiev is the "cradle" of the Russian nation where, a thousand years ago, Prince Vladimir converted to Christianity and "urged" (under duress) the entire city to do likewise.

Is the new "Committee to Investigate Russia" likely to shed light on the so-called "war" against Russia?

Why should this "Committee" even bother to "investigate," since they clearly have answered the question to their satisfaction. "We are at war!" Morgan Freeman proclaims. And CIR founder, Rob Reiner: we will endeavor to "understand the gravity of Russia’s invasion of our democracy." "Invasion"? "Our democracy"? Shouldn’t these tacit assumptions be subjected to critical analysis? Apparently Rob Reiner and the CIR do not think so.

"Verdict first, trial later, said the Red Queen."

There are numerous informed experts on Russia – former diplomats (e.g., Jack Matlock), scholars (e.g. Stephen F. Cohen), historians (e.g. John Mearsheimer), journalists (e.g. Robert Parry) among them, all loyal American patriots – who have strikingly contrary opinions about Russia and the current conflict. If the CIS agrees to examine these opinions respectfully and objectively, then I will take their pronouncements more seriously.

Likewise the commercial news media. Unfortunately, these moderates (aka "Russian dupes") are totally absent from the mainstream media. If they are allowed on panels with "the usual suspects," and treated with respect and not as targets; if, that is to say, they are allowed to complete their sentences, and even string a few sentences together uninterrupted, then I might begin to pay more attention to the MSM.

I find little reason to expect such responsible behavior on the part of the Committee to Investigate Russia, or the mainstream commercial media.

Some of the pro-Trump ads on Facebook were paid for in rubles. Doesn’t that prove that the Russians were involved?

Pause for a moment and take a critical look at this charge. The Russians allegedly mounted a covert campaign to influence the election by purchasing pro-Trump ads on Facebook, some of which were paid for in rubles. "Covert"? "Rubles"?

Say what you will about the Russians. But surely we can agree that they are not stupid. If they truly wanted to keep the source of these ads secret, would they pay for them in rubles? However, if someone wanted to steer suspicion toward the Russians, then they would connive to pay for those ads in rubles. In short, this has all the earmarks of a "false flag" operation. And the Russophobes have fallen for it totally. For example in an MSNBC interview on September 25, Hillary Clinton cited those Rubles as "evidence" of Russian "interference." It is a charge heard repeatedly in the MSM, in the apparently successful belief that the public will not see the absurdity of it.

And now, the media is obsessed with Russian infiltration of "social media" – Twitter, Facebook, etc. The Russian investment in this mischief has been estimated at $100,000, elsewhere at $250,000. These princely sums, we are told, may have significantly affected the election. Oh, really? That "investment" of $250,000 amounts to .0005 percent of the five billion cost of the election.

Just what is this "Russian threat?"

There are several alleged "threats." Among them:

1. Russia aims to undermine our "leadership of the free world," and in particular, the NATO alliance. Well, what should we expect? We have expanded a military alliance (NATO), in violation of an agreement with Gorbachev not to do so, in exchange with Russia allowing the reunification of Germany as a NATO member. Do we now expect Russia not to respond to NATO troops along its western border by not attempting to weaken that alliance? As for our "leadership of the free world," our buffoonish President has done far more to undermine that leadership than Putin could have imagined that Russia could accomplish.

2. Russia resists the American "global hegemony" proclaimed by the neo-cons. When we believed that "the international communist conspiracy" intended to establish a "global hegemony," the West responded vigorously with NATO and with expanding military budgets. When our neo-cons openly advocate American global "hegemomy," and when our Congress and our media boldly announce American "exceptionalism" to international norms and to the United Nations Charter in particular, why should we be surprised if the Russian resist?

3. Russia aspires ("threatens"?) to become a strong, prosperous, and independent nation among the "community of nations. Of course it does! What nation does not? What nation does not have a "right" to such aspirations. Apparently Russia is succeeding in this aim, despite American sanctions (as I elaborate below).

4. Russia threatens nuclear attack. And the United States does not? In fact, in 2014 President Obama announced an expansion of our nuclear deterrent that will cost a trillion dollars over the next thirty years.  And so Russia responds by announcing a modernization of its nuclear forces.   Who’da thunk it?

So we are back to the old Cold War, zero-sum, nuclear arms race. When will we ever learn that the threat of nuclear war cannot be rationally regarded as an "us vs. them" contest. It is, instead, a common problem, requiring a plus-sum solution. Now and then, both sides come to that realization: the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear test bans, non-proliferation treaties, and the Reagan/Gorbachev accords. But then, somehow, we slip back into our bad habits. I am reminded of the closing comment by the computer in the first "War Games" movie: "a strange game. The only winning move is not to play ."

5. Russia is undermining our democracy by meddling with our elections. This accusation dominates the anti-Russia, anti-Putin media barrage. Although the accusation escalates day by day – "We are at War!!" we are told – many responsible observers reply that the charge is either unproven or enormously exaggerated.  See, in particular, Robert Parry here  and here.   But don't expect to encounter dissenters such as Parry anywhere in the mainstream "Ministry of Truth."

Count me among these dissenters. I need not burden the reader here with criticism of the "Russian meddling" hysteria, since I have done so elsewhere at some lengthhere and here.

If, as I suspect, all five of these alleged "threats," are either groundless or vastly exaggerated, will someone please explain to me why or how "Putin is threatening our democracy?"

I have much more to say about "the Russian threat" in my essay, "Unwrapping the Russia Enigma." 

What is the point, and the likely result, of economic sanctions against Russia?

What do we expect? An urgent plea from the Kremlin, ""We give up, you win! Please send over your Viceroy to come and rule us."

History affirms that Russians do not respond like this. Instead, they respond with defiance and resolve. If challenged, they will look elsewhere for an alliance against the American’s self- proclaimed "global hegemony" And where? China of course. Or the BRIC economic union (Brazil, Russia, India, China). And you might be astonished to find defections from some of our European and Pacific Rim "allies," even now getting restless in the face of American bluster, arrogance, and bullying. After all, as few media pundits have bothered to note, economic sanctions cut two ways. Forbid sales of agricultural products to Russia, and European farmers will suffer. Same for consumer goods and much more.

Even so, won’t these sanctions devastate the Russian economy?

Don’t count on it. If the West refuses to deal with Russia, then Russia will turn to the East. The Russian prospects for such a "turn" are remarkable to say the least. They might totally transform the global economic system, with the United States left behind. In fact, such a transformation is already in progress. Consider:

The United States is separated from its European and Pacific Rim allies by broad oceans. In contrast, Russia and China share a 2316 mile border. Today, a slow train can travel from eastern China to Madrid in three weeks. When a projected hyper speed train is installed, that time will be reduced to two days. Today a train ride from Moscow to Beijing takes six and a half days. With high speed rail, that time will be reduced to 33 hours.

That rail system is projected to extend from Beijing to Portugal, with branches to the south to Islamic nations, and transecting the territories of our "steadfast European allies," who will surely utilize it to establish firm commercial ties to Russia and China and other nations to the East.

And what investments and technological wizardry do we American have to match all that? Have you taken a ride on Amtrak recently? We could surely have a high speed rail network in the United States to rival anything in China, Japan or Europe. However, our Congress has decreed that tax breaks and tax shelters for our billionaires are more urgent.

"But surely, the Russian economy, broken by US and Western sanctions, cannot finance such expensive projects?" Really? Have you seen "Moscow City," a massive new business center two and a half miles from the Kremlin? Take a look.Visit Moscow today and you will see cranes everywhere, as dozens of new high-rise building are being constructed. Is this evidence of an economy in ruins?

The United States will not establish its cherished "Global Hegemony" simply because it cannot. It lacks the political institutions, the economic foundations, the infrastructure, and the human resources, to do so. A bold claim, that I will argue in my next essay.

If we go to war with Russia, will it be like World War II? Will it "go nuclear?"

"World War III" would be nothing like its predecessors. Armies that prepare to fight the "next war" with the weapons and tactics of the previous, tend to lose. Strange to say, the Japanese did us a favor by sinking our WWI battleships at Pearl Harbor. We responded, not with a vast fleet of new battleships, but with numerous aircraft carriers – the kind of ships that launched the Pearl Harbor attack.

Clearly the Russians, with their minuscule investment in conventional weapons and their projected reduction of their defense budget, are not preparing to fight a repeat of WWII. The next war would be a cyber war, and it would be brutal.

The 1940s infrastructure was connected with roads, rails, wires, vacuum tubes and radio ("RF") transmission. Today’s commercial infrastructure is digitally connected with semiconductors and microprocessors, and it is much more vulnerable. For example, a high-altitude nuclear blast, while it might not cause extensive property or personal damage, would create an electro-magnetic pulse (EMT) that would "fry" (i.e. destroy) all microcircuits within a wide radius.  And a well-designed computer virus or "worm" could infect and disable essential military and industrial computers.  Indeed, the "Stuxnet" virus, did just that in 2010 when it sabotaged the Iranian nuclear industry.

The Russians know this, and they are showing considerable skill in cyber warfare. The US military’s response is more $13 billion aircraft carriers (twelve and counting), super sonic aircraft and drones, each of these advances of WWII weapons and technology.

An all out cyber war would massively attack our communications system, in a shutdown of the internet and emails. Also, the disruption of business and financial communications and utility grids. Imagine returning home to no electric power, phone service or access to the internet. Add to that, no restocking of the local supermarket or gas stations. And no capability of the government to make prompt repairs. The result: Total economic collapse, and widespread starvation and disease.  Doubtlessly, if this happens, we would attempt to do the same to Russia. A few autonomous micro systems would survive, most ominously the strategic nuclear attack forces. They would be the only remaining mode of retaliation from the cyber attack.

If both sides recognize these implications of cyber-warfare -- nothing less than a cyber version of Mutually Assured Destruction -- they might be restrained.  But don't count on it.  There is nothing "gradual" about a nuclear first strike: it would surely trigger a retaliation..  Cyber warfare is different -- it can escalate from trivial beginnings.  In fact, the Russophobes are telling us, even without compelling evidence,  that Russia has already launched such a "war" with its "meddling" in the 2016 election.  A year ago on "Meet the Press," Vice Presidet Joe Biden indicated that the United States is fully prepared to embark upon that escalation when he said: "We're sending a message [to Putin]. We have the capacity to [retaliate] .. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact."  One must wonder if Biden had any idea of the dreadful import of that warning. Did he somehow believe that Russia would not then retaliate in kind? Where does it end?

Why is the media Russophobic? What are the Putin-demonizers trying to accomplish?

That the MSM is russophobic is beyond dispute. Just watch or read it. You might find Russia-friendly and peace-oriented media "at the fringes," in the dissenting internet and publications such as The Nation. But you have to look for it, and the audience is minuscule.

Why the MSM is russophobic is more difficult to understand. One question-begging answer is "group think." If you are a TV news "personality" and have kind words for Vladimir Putin and his government, and if you invite a real-live Russian on your program to defend Russian policy, you will soon be unemployed. Just ask Phil Donahue. If you are a politician and express similar views, you have forfeited your career and will likely lose your next election.

Do I exaggerate? Then please identify just one dissenting russophile in the MSM.  (To repeat, by "the mainstream media" I mean the six corporations that control 90% of the US media). As noted earlier, there are numerous scholars, retired diplomats, historians and journalists who sharply dissent from the russophobic MSM "group think." Their views may be found at the websites of The Center for Citizen InitiativesThe American Committee for East-West Accord,  American University in Moscow,  Consortium News.    But how many of these dissenters have appeared on Face the Nation, Meet the Press, MSNBC panels, and such?

So what are the media russophobes trying to accomplish? In two words: "job security." To accomplish this without embarrassment, they must persuade themselves to actually believe this propaganda.

We’ve seen this before: early in the Viet Nam war, in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Now to that begged question: why the group-think? First of all, "Russia-gate" is seen by the "never Trumpers" of both parties as a crowbar with which to pry the Moron-in-Chief from his office.

But more fundamentally, the russophobic group-think is nurtured by careerism, the profit motive, and audience size – by senior military officers who want to add more stars to their shoulders, by military contractors who want to glom on to still more of the federal budget, and by media moguls who have discovered that peace is a bore and that war-talk is boffo box office.

This is the "military-industrial complex" about which President Eisenhower warned us in 1961, now metastasized into the "military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media complex," aka "the deep state."

In a 1987 letter to The New York Times, Soviet scholar Georgi Arbatov asked; "We have a secret weapon ... we will deprive America of The Enemy. And how [then will] you justify ... the military expenditures that bleed America white?"

Perhaps we have an answer: if we don’t have an enemy, then we may have to invent one.

Goals aside, where is this russophobia leading us?

The lesson of history is clear: escalating war-talk, unchallenged, often leads to war.

One might assess the state of "Russia-fever" today with a present-time snap-shot. Far better to assess it as a "moving picture" – a trend-line. If so, we find that Vladimir Putin has evolved from "rival" to "adversary" to "enemy" to "demon." What’s ahead? "A new Hitler?" "Another Stalin?" "Devil incarnate?" Uncontested propaganda is like a narcotic: the addict needs more and more of it to get the same "kick.

Congressional and media group-think have put us on a one-way road to catastrophe – a road with no recognized exits and no prospect of a reversal of direction. But there are exits: Negotiation and de-escalation, following a mutual acknowledgment of the common nuclear peril. If not these, then what?

That’s a question that you are unlikely to hear from the pundits and politicians.

I hasten to add that I am no admirer of Vladimir Putin   If I were a Russian, I would not vote for him, as more than a third of the Russians in the 2012 election did not.  But he is the legally elected President of the Russian Federation, and he is supported by a large majority of Russians.  So, like him or not, we must deal with him.

What goals, what "trends" are remotely worth the perils of Cold War II?

In a word: none!

Even so, this is another existential question rarely if ever posed in Congress or the mainstream Ministry of Truth.

Is there an escape from this march to oblivion?

There is. Most urgently: negotiation and de-escalation, as noted above.

Beyond that, we might acknowledge, without necessarily agreeing with, the Russians’ perceived grievances against us.

We might attempt, however painfully, to accept the idea that we Americans are not perfect, or even "exceptional." We might then make a sincere and determined attempt to correct these errors. As a wise man once observed: "the greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none."

We might, through our news media and our schools, learn more about Russian history and culture, and apply this knowledge to our foreign policy. Russia has bestowed upon the world a vast legacy of literature, art and science.  Following the fall of the Soviet Union, cable TV networks such as The Discovery and The History Channel featured an impressive array of programs celebrating this legacy and portraying Russian history. They are absent today.

We might insist that the media welcome dissenting views. That media entertains "both sides" of the evolution and climate change debates. Why not the Russian "threat"?

Then there is "the peace dividend:" if we cut the $824 billion military budget in half, the United States would still have the largest military in the world – not including the military of its allies. Those $400 plus billions could then be applied directly to the physical and human infrastructure – roads, rail, water and sewage, electrical grids, internet access, schools, scientific research and development. The neglect of these essential institutions and services poses a far greater threat to American security and world leadership, than any Russian threat imagined by the media-hawks.

All these positive moves are possible. But sadly, they are unlikely while we are captivated by this deadly anti-Russian "group-think."

And so I must urgently ask the neo-cons and the mainstream media: What do you see as a way out of this deadly trap? What else other than negotiations and mutual concessions?  Do you ever ask these questions?  Do you even care?

What common interest could, and should, unite the United States and Russia?

We begin with the mutual acknowledgment that we Americans and the Russians are fated to live on the same planet. There is no "Planet B." Then we acknowledge common threats and plan together in good faith efforts to deal with them. We know these threats: Non-state terrorism, climate change, nuclear war.

There is no need to posit, as Ronald Reagan suggested, an alien invasion from outer space to unite us.

When I visited Russia seven times in the nineties, Americans were very popular. Some polls showed that Russians approved of Americans four to one. Now, I am told, those numbers have been reversed. No doubt, many Russians are just pissed-off at us yanks. Still more, I suspect, are simply bewildered as they wonder, "why are the Americans treating us this way?"

I confess that I do not have an answer that does us Americans much credit.

 

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Do you want a Progressive America? Vote for Progressives in the primaries.

Thu, 2017-10-19 14:18

America is not a Center-Right country. It is governed by a Right Wing sect and run by Center-Right ideologues. America is a Progressive country based on the value set people by large majorities or pluralities. So why is it that we do not see a government that reflects the people?

Elizabeth Warren prove America is a Progressive country

The answer is simple. Americans have been irresponsible with their votes. The plutocracy introduced this irresponsibility. They have successfully made most Americans believe that their vote does not matter because they really cannot change anything beyond the options given within two rails, the Establishment Democrats on the Left and the Establishment Republicans on the Right.

The TEA Party taught us that paradigm was not unbreakable. They are still in control of the Republican Party. While ineffectual because their ideology is a mathematical and societal impossibility, that is a reality Progressives need not fear if they organize and behave cohesively.

It is becoming clear that Progressives are starting to see the light. The Indivisible Movement is using some of the positive techniques used by the Right for some time with much success. The difference is that because Progressivism is inherently fact-based while Right Wing policies are generally anathema to history and facts, an elected Progressive Majority can accomplish middle-class centric policies the country is yearning for in the near term.

Several organizations including Our Revolution and Brand New Congress are seeding America in local and national elections with Progressive candidates. And note the keyword is Progressive, and not Democratic or Republican. A Progressive revolution will require the support of both parties until the day we do away with parties altogether or increase the number of functional parties.

America is governed by the Right because of a process that began with the inception of the Powell Manifesto. While Progressives were asleep basking in their many victories, the plutocracy began its infiltration in all aspects of government, education, media, and more.

Control of the media allowed them to create the false reality of what is best for Americans. Infiltrating the schools and creation of Think Tanks that mislead allowed them to give their ideology the semblance of fact-based viability. Infiltrating the government allowed them to codify their plutocracy building ideology into law.

All of this can be reversed but just like it took time to build, it will take time to destroy and rebuild the Progressive core. Americans must do their part. It is not enough to vote for the lesser of two evils. Progressives must do their civic duty. They must run for offices, from city council to municipal government, from the school board to the water board, from the state Congress to the national Congress, from the state Senate to the national Senate.

Most importantly Americans must vote in the primaries where the plutocracy fields its acceptable candidates. You see, both parties try to stuff Establishment characters which ultimately are acceptable to The Establishment. The disruption must occur in the primaries so Americans have real Progressive choices in the general election. Progressives, you have much work to do. Start now.

 

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Bernie Sanders corners Ted Cruz in CNN debate and Cruz knew it (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-10-19 11:01

The CNN Debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz has not gotten much coverage but it showed the difference between a party that has middle-class centric policies and one where middle-class support is not a prime concern. This particular snippet where Sanders confronts Cruz is the technique Progressives must learn.

Bernie Sanders corners Ted Cruz

"Before we talk about the small business," said Bernie Sanders. "Will you agree with me that it makes no sense to lower the tax rates of the highest income people in this country?

"I don't agree with that.," Ted Cruz replied.

"Would you agree with me that thousands of people will die if we cut Medicaid by a trillion dollars and throw 15 million people off their health insurance that they have?" Bernie Sanders said. "That's not Bernie Sanders. That's a number of studies saying that. To answer your question, if the question is should we support small businesses and low-income people, with assistance? Of course, we should. That's the tax reform we should do. I don't want to write them a check, we could lower taxes. But what you are doing is saying we're going to help a lower income person, a small business over here, but we're going to tie it to the fact that 80% of the benefits are going to the top 1%. Work with me on a tax proposal where 80% of the benefits go to the working class and middle class of this country."

Walter Einenkel at DailyKos described this segment best.

Sen. Bernie Sanders took on Sen. Ted Cruz in a debate about the big tax-overhaul being discussed in our country. Sen. Cruz’s position, as is his Party’s position as well as the President’s position, is that we need to give the wealthiest people in the country huge tax breaks. They want to do this because they believe that their power exists solely as a result of that money. And they’re right; because their ideas are shit and the evidential record proves that out. This one exchange gave us all a chance to remember what we like about Bernie Sanders and how special it is to watch Ted Cruz wilt under the pressure of someone with real passion and ideas (and ideals).

While Cruz attempted the old Socratic trick of creating consensus by asking relatively rhetorical no-brainer questions (do you believe small businesses should be relieved of some of their tax burdens? Do you think lower income homes should pay less taxes?), Sen. Sanders reminded little Teddy that this wasn’t an insecure prospective-freshman at Princeton he was debating with.

The debate displayed the clear contrast between the parties. An educated America can make the correct choice.

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John McCain slams Fox News reporter: Why would you say something that stupid? (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-10-19 02:02

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) thought the Fox News reporter's question was dumb and he insulted him for it. But, was the question that 'stupid?'

McCain returned to his maverick ways as he excoriated a Fox News reporter for asking a question that he thought was stupid, but was it?

Senator John McCain let this Fox News reporter have it

"Has your relationship with the president frayed," the Fox News reporter asked. "To the point that you are not going to support anything that he comes to you and asks you?"

"Why would say something that stupid?" McCain replied. "Why would ask something that dumb. My job is the United States Senator as the senator from Arizona, which I was just re-elected to. You mean that I am somehow going to behave in a way that I am going to block everything because of a personal disagreement? That's a dumb question."

Senator John McCain did not break ranks during the Obama administration. He like every Republican obstructed every policy President Obama attempted to put into effect when Democrats lost their majorities in the Senate and the House. They did it out of spite. They were not even ashamed to admit that they were purposefully obstructing President Obama.

So, John McCain, the question was not stupid. He asked it because your past history made him infer that blocking legislation for no specific reason was a possibility.

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Houston Mayor Turner slams State Senator Bettencourt for his tax hypocrisy

Thu, 2017-10-19 00:19

Is State Senator Paul Bettencourt trying to soften up the terrain to run for Mayor? He attempted to pull a Trumpian move on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. He forgot that Houston politics and some Houston Democrats do not follow the path of timidity. Bettencourt apparently questioned Mayor Turner's credibility on taxes. Turner responded with all guns blazing releasing the following statement.

"In a written statement published today, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt of Houston questioned my credibility on the issue of taxing property owned by residents of the city. But in doing so, the senator is a hypocrite who either forgot his own record or assumed others would.'

"It’s time to set the factual record straight.'

"Sen. Bettencourt stated that instead of keeping property tax rates at the current level, which is what I proposed for Houston, governments should instead lower property value appraisals 'to give flooded out homeowners a break.''

"The facts show I would have done exactly that – taken the Hurricane Harvey flood damages into account when levying property taxes – if Sen. Bettencourt had not failed to pass a bill in the Senate that was adopted 148 to 0 in the state House. At the very least, he should have supported passage of the bill that would have helped everyone whose home flooded.'

"Sen. Bettencourt, who claims to be a taxpayer watchdog, barks often.'

"But in the regular session of the Texas Legislature, this year and in the special session that followed, the Senate had an opportunity to pass legislation that would require local governments to reappraise homes and businesses that suffered damage in disasters like Hurricane Harvey. This requirement would have allowed all ad-valorem taxing entities to share the cost of reappraisals. Sen. Bettencourt did nothing.'

"After Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston got her bill through the House, the bill never received a hearing in the Senate. Again during the special session, the House passed Rep. Davis’s bill without opposition. The bill, nor any similar bill by a Senate author, did not even get taken up by a Senate committee.  State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton and chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, said he believed the Senate was guilty of engaging in 'fake junior high politics' in not passing the Davis bill (Houston Chronicle 10/5/2017).
Sen. Bettencourt claims he wants to protect taxpayers now, but when he had an opportunity to take action, he chose to play politics instead and took no action.'

"Also in his news release today, Bettencourt falsely accused me of breaking a promise to not pursue an option to temporarily raise the city property tax rate to pay for disaster recovery. I kept my promise, taking the tax rate increase off the table and keeping it off the table after Gov. Abbott provided the city with recovery funds.'

"This week I proposed keeping the city’s property tax rate unchanged from last year. The City Council today lowered the property tax rate instead, costing the City $7.8 million, while we ask the federal and state government for more recovery money.'

"In 2015 and 2016, when declared disasters were factored in to the revenue taken in by the City of Houston – the amount was $15 million and $6 million respectively -- Sen. Bettencourt offered no criticism in either case.'

"This year the senator repeatedly called on me to provide emergency services to the public, and I responded. If Sen. Bettencourt is now stating there was no emergency in dealing with Hurricane Harvey, his repeated requests for services proved otherwise.'

"That’s not all.'

"Sen. Bettencourt voted for a state budget that depends on increased property appraisals for it to balance.'

"'Property values, and the estimates of local tax collections on which they are based, shall be increased by 7.04 percent for tax year 2017 and by 6.77 percent for tax year 2018,' said the budget bill he backed.'

"It’s strikingly two-faced to accuse a municipality dealing with an unprecedented natural disaster of keeping a tax rate steady when his own budget dictates local tax increases. At the same time, he remains surprisingly silent about the State’s $10 billion Rainy Day Fund.'

"This dog doesn’t hunt."

How small does that make Bettencourt seem? What a rookie mistake.

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Kingwood residents e-attack mom for pulling her kids to school with her bike/cart.

Wed, 2017-10-18 17:52

In this reality TV era, it seems many are so trained to go after the mundane, burning a lot of mental capital on things that ultimately have no value to make our lives in the community, state, or country any better. My old QLS racquetball partner and friend, Jennifer wrote a Facebook post that kinda shocked me.

Kingwood resident photographed her riding kids to school

So I'm racing across Kingwood on the bicycle, pulling Mike behind me in the bicycle trailer and heading to get Connor at his school... and a cop pulls up beside me at a stop light and tells me that people are complaining ABOUT ME on social media, riding my bike between the schools each day on the road, but then he says he was going to pipe in on it and tell them I had the right-of-way being a cyclist...I just laughed. Watch me give a flying * about negative comments on social media, bahahaa!

Someone created the post on the Kingwood.com forums titled "Please be careful with this person in Bear Branch." As of the date of this post, it has received over 3,638 views. My initial scan seems to show that most of the Kingwood residents were attacking Jennifer for all kinds of reasons. It was amazing how much they assumed or believe they had the right to infer. It is the same behavior that has made our politics so caustic. While I don't chime into these types of petty issues, I really wanted to just put one supporting voice in the thread for my friend.

I am so amazed that a woman riding a bike to take her kids to school in a neighborhood with controlled speeds during school hours can cause this much angst. BTW, I know this woman and she is one of the most attentive and responsible parents bar none.

If I still had elementary school-aged kids, I may have tried what she is doing. I am pretty sure the kids appreciate the bonding time and experience. And other kids watching just may appreciate if their parents who are able would do so as well. And on the positive, she is teaching her kids that one can get around with more than a gasoline/diesel powered metal box.

Keep up the good job biking mom.

A 21-year Kingwood resident who continues to get shocked from some of my neighbor's continually.

But, the take-no-prisoners Jennifer who hustled in racquetball or any of the other sports she decided to take over gave a response I knew was in the making and well deserving to the self-righteous souls attacking her.

Jennifer strikes back

New addition to my bike. I guess I'm feeling a little confrontational right now. I just posted this photo and this remark at the end of the thread:

"OK, since I am now famous on here, and throughout Kingwood I guess- I will leave you with this, because, frankly, I have a life, a business, and no time or patience for this childish, inane nonsense (even though I have enjoyed many chuckles from the remarks).

My name is Jennifer; you all know what I look like and where I am, obviously.

  • If you are law enforcement and see me doing something illegal, by all means, stop me (just as the officer did yesterday at the stop light on WLHP- but only to tell me that I was in the right, and let me know about this crazy post).
  • If I have buzzed you on my bike because you are in the middle of the path, have earbuds in, are on your phone, taking up the whole path with your dogs, a team of runners, or a cluster of people- pay attention to the very distinguishable bicycle bell that I RING.
  • If you have been sitting in the pickup line for 45 minutes prior to school letting out, and you see me whiz by you at 5 minutes till and leave at 1 minute after- STFU, you are just jealous.
  • Yea, I grew up in the 70's, in the country, not wearing helmets or seat belts, so no, I'm not a fragile-minded or fragile-bodied millennial that is ever going to wear a helmet- if you get off your phones in a school zone (which is a $200 fine), you would see me and my very legal bike trailer, and I wouldn't need to wear one out of fear that a careless driver will hit me.
  • I am a 23-year resident of Kingwood, drive a Cadillac, and own my home outright- this isn't because of finances...it is freedom of choice.
  • NOW, if any of you have a set of these, get out from behind the anonymity of your little computer and approach me with any VALID points. (You won't change my mind with your personal beliefs and I won't try to change yours- what you do is your own business.
  • If you choose to make threats of hitting me or my child, or want to start something, be advised-not only could I probably bench press you, but I have an LTC, and my son's father is a Sheriff's Deputy- bring it...
  • If you are some of the cool cats on here that support me, feel free to give me a "rock-on" fist up as I pass...if you're not, feel free to flip me the bird... at least you have a set of balls!

Now, go find some politics or religion to argue about.
Peace out"

Look, folks, Jennifer is right. If there is something she was doing "really" wrong that somehow needed addressing, I am sure she would always have been ready to take the advice. But the way folks came at her is counterproductive. Moreover, even the police officer corroborated that she never placed her kids in danger. And yes while so many complain about helmets and other issues that in her situation was her choice, I find it ironic we do not get these complaints on everyday issues that affect your children here in Kingwood and throughout the country.

We tend to have tunnel vision and unable to see the big picture on issue after issue. Do you want discussions? Watch your school board and just like many on the chain researched whether Jennifer was breaking the law and posted laws in the thread, do the same as you watch our local school board to ensure the best interest of your kids are really being addressed. Remember, to many they are just the raw material for the income of a few companies salivating to profit from skimming a few dollars that could ultimately affect their education going forward permanently. Get out of the comfort of your echo chamber and explore.

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