that didn’t take long

It’s not like anyone could have predicted it, right? The hell with promised stimulus checks when you can go drop bombs on Syria. 

It’s amazing. With the wealth of disturbing problems festering, nay, flourishing, in our country, willful destruction with bombs remains the go-to behavior. Return to normal, eh? Not impressed with the new administration thus far, whoever it actually is, on any counts. I say NO to dropping bombs. 

Stand for peace. Stand for love.

we deserve better

Hell, yeah. It was a breath of fresh air to see first Tulsi Gabbard and now, yes, even Donald Trump, call out and expose the supposed Covid relief bill Congress pushed through. If it wasn’t already apparent, the approval of this ‘bill’ demonstrates such open contempt for the American people that no doubt can remain in the mind of any thinking person about the breathtaking, evil corruption in our “representation.” 

The 5,000-plus pages of brazen handouts to an astonishing array of entities, both foreign and domestic, under the guise of Covid relief is beyond insulting, it is criminal. The people we’re paying in Washington need to be fired, yesterday. 

And where, by the way, was incoming Joe Biden while this reprehensible act played out? After the fact, he suggests that he’ll push for more assistance in the next bill. Sorry, Joe, but your “down payment” is a day late and a dollar short. Come on, man.

Failing an overthrow of Congress, I’d settle at this point for a clean Covid Relief Bill, with none of the outright theft and sleight of hand that constitutes the majority of what Congress just passed. This would be a bill that includes actual relief for the people. And that does not amount to any 5,000 pages, mind you. While that’s going down, let’s boot Pelosi, too, and have some real discussion on healthcare for pete’s sake.

The people. That’s us. The ones paying these cretins. The ones paying for all this corruption. Wake up. Step up. We deserve better.

go ahead, change the world

As we all watch our leaders in Washington struggle, yet again, to bring themselves to serve the people instead of, say, defense contractors, who can help but wonder what we can do. 

As we watch even the progressive “squad” demur from forcing Medicare for All to a floor vote during a pandemic, we wonder just what it will take to effect real change. 

Each day, as we see the President-elect prepare to nominate yet another empty-suited crony to a top position in the new administration, we struggle to know how real change, positive change will come. 

We feel powerless, helpless to change this massive system that rolls along and over so many.

And yet, it is we who really do hold the power in our hands. Short of organizing, beyond organizing, there is one simple thing each of us can do that would immediately trigger change towards the world we want to see. 

If we all really want peace on earth and good will to all beings, we will walk away from using and eating animals. It’s that simple. And it’s something any of us – yes, even you – can do.

The uncomplicated act of refusing to participate in our society’s oppression, abuse, and killing of animals on a scale beyond imagination is the beginning and the key to massive, positive societal change. 

If our society really embraces a whole food plant-based diet, we will witness profound changes in everything from much-improved health to a reversal of climate destruction (and just in the nick of time). We will break the grip of the cabal of corporations on government and in our lives.

We will change the world in amazing ways, turning toward a compassion-based way of life instead of the cruel competition that we were taught to believe is inevitable and normal. 

Cruelty, killing, impoverishment, suffering, control is not normal. Nor is it inevitable. We have the power to change it for the animals, and, in so doing, we will change it for ourselves and our culture. We will change it for our children, and theirs.

So simple. It’s something you can do. It’s enjoyable. There’s tons of support and information. Be delighted by what you discover.

YOU have the power. Step up. Go ahead, change the world.

question not

No matter the church doors shut,
science is the new religion.
Cover your face, humble yourself in solitary contemplation,
bow in fear of the awesome power of your new god. 

Believe! the white-coated preachers call.
Faith and money will save you.
Proffer ample gold at the altar of the chosen science,
then bring your body and soul to the sacrifice.

Bow before the altar,
turn not your eyes toward any other. 
Make outcasts of those who would be scientists 
with data or ideas deemed unholy by your master.
Mingle not with heretics
no matter how learned.
Spit on them, damn them, gag them
in deference to the one true deliverer of science.
Shun the neighbor who questions.

Open your throat and
extend your arm for the sacraments.
Place your children on the pyre of the appointed science, too.
Empty their minds and yours of other notions.
The proclaimed science does not query, 
nay, it commands the natural world.
Question not.
The homeless, the unemployed, the lonely, the struggling, the ostracized, the injured, the ill, the once-free —
see how the saving arms of the only true science make it all so deserved.
Believe and be grateful.

unthinkable

Not gonna lie. This presidential election is a sad commentary on the American people. It is unthinkable that with all the great minds and big hearts in this country of 330 million people, these are the candidates and leaders we allowed to rise to the top. At a time when we really need dedicated leaders working on our behalf, all we have are a bunch of self-serving players in Congress and beyond. We let this happen. And we continue to let it happen. The power lies ultimately with the people. We need a new party. Yesterday.

yup, and science is real

We are hearing “science” every day. Our lives have been torn asunder the last few months because “science.” 

Except it hasn’t really been science we’ve been hearing. We’ve been hearing selected pieces of science accompanied by some mixed up data that serves a specific narrative.

As we all know, if what someone has to say does not agree with the selected science of the World Health Organization, it is likely to be censored on platforms like Facebook or YouTube or Twitter. When you’re doing that, it’s not science anymore, it’s dogma.

Way back when, Galileo was censored by the Pope because of his belief in a heliocentric system. He was finally hauled up before the Inquisition and condemned to life imprisonment for “heresy.” Hmm.

Or how about the somewhat less well known Ignaz Semmelweis who made the observation back in the mid-19th century that hand-washing could positively impact mortality rates in the hospital where he worked as an obstetrician? Others in his profession did not appreciate the inference that they were ‘dirty’ and it didn’t end well for him.

Even Einstein’s theory of relativity was largely dismissed by many for a good long while.

My point is simple. I believe in keeping an open mind and being fully informed. We need to hear it all. We need to discuss all of it.

We don’t need Big Brother-style fact checkers out there filtering what we can and can’t read or consider. We need to recognize that science has limitations, and that it can be politicized, subverted for particular purposes, or handled incorrectly.

We need to hear about all of the research, not just some of it. We need to hear about more than the industry-funded, cherry-picked studies. We need to entertain opposing points of view rather than rejecting them out of hand with scorn and labels of quackery. And, as always, we need to follow the money.

I do not believe the WHO is the final arbiter of TRUTH. Nor is Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx. Or Gavin Newsom or Gretchen Whitmer or Andrew Cuomo.

There is so much money and power involved in the current life-impacting decision-making, that we cannot afford to settle for dogma.

We want science. And we want it in the context of objectivity and freedom.

defund … something?

but let’s not defund the postal service!

We have seen a lot of protests. We have seen statues pulled down, institutions renamed, products scheduled for rebranding. We have seen a lot of discussion, a lot of reading, a lot of educating. 

What we have not seen is a whole lot of purposeful response from government.

Oh yeah, we’ve had police crackdowns and shows of police solidarity. We’ve seen Trump get right on it to make sure folks who tear down statues as they seek social change pay a hefty price for it. We’ve seen our legislature gin up reform bills designed to go exactly nowhere. We’ve seen the presumptive Democratic nominee suggest reform, and, oh, more funding to re-educate police (again).

So, for all that the people made it pretty damn clear they want change, it’s kind of a nothing sandwich from our illustrious “representation.” How could anyone be surprised?

Seems like the government rarely rises to the moment unless it’s on behalf of the only class they care about. 

So as we call for defunding of police, i.e., shrinking police budgets while diverting funds to programs that actually help build socially and economically healthier communities and individuals, I cannot help but ask, why stop there?

I can think of a lot of things that make excellent candidates for the defunding treatment. 

For starters, how about the legislature? They seem to be doing jack on behalf of the people these days. What say we just cut the budget for salaries and benefits for pretty much everyone in the House and the Senate right now? We could put those funds to actual good use. That’s at least $300 million in salaries and benefits alone, but if we throw in other federal departments and agencies, we’re talking hundreds of billions.

For example, how about the Environmental Protection Agency? I think it’s pretty clear it’s become an anti-environmental sort of body — time to cut the budget for that. There’s more than $8 billion with which we could actually do something. We could net a few billion more if we defund the sold-out FDA while we’re at it. The Department of Agriculture – almost $150 billion. We could net another $55 billion or so if we give the CIA and the rest of the National Intelligence Program the defunding treatment.

How about the war machine? Sure Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing a 10 percent cut to military spending, but it’s almost guaranteed that legislators will make sure that the initiative goes nowhere — like they always have. We could shift an astonishing amount of money from military endeavors to peace endeavors. The 10% that Bernie Sanders is talking about amounts to $74-frick’n-billion.

How about prisons? The US predilection for locking people up translates to $80 billion each year in taxpayer dollars, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. I think we all know we’re overdue for scaling back on incarceration.

How about animal agriculture? We currently subsidize this environmentally destructive, human and animal health hazardous industry with about $38 billion in taxpayer funds. Come on, this is a no brainer. What could we do with $38 billion?

This is just a smattering of budget items that leap to mind.

It is not to say that there aren’t some worthy programs and purposes to which our tax dollars are directed, but it blows my mind the way our government just squanders a jaw-dropping amount of our tax dollars for things none of us actually want or need. Many of these things we pay for are things we actually resent or to which we have ethical objections, while there are other things that go lacking.

I think it’s high time for a little defunding.

a better candidate

We learned yesterday that Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden does not support police defunding. That didn’t take long.

Considering that Biden was responsible for the 1994 tough-on-crime bill that exacerbated problems rather than solve them, his rush to rule out defunding should come as no surprise.

It’s interesting that a lot of folks seem uncomfortable with defunding. I would guess that comes from a lack of understanding, and, of course, resistance to change. 

Defunding doesn’t mean we drop everything overnight and suddenly find ourselves in some kind of ‘wild, wild West’, every person for him/her self. No, it means reallocating funds to support people in the ways they really need help, so that crime and distress are not such prevalent realities for so many people in the first place. It also means developing a new vision for the kind of policing we really need and want in our communities, and then making that happen, too. It also means rejecting a form of policing that does not serve our population well.

It’s a radical step toward making actual systemic changes. And it showcases other areas that need radical overhaul. Our mental health, education, and health systems are not so great, nor are they equitable. All of them need reform. Plus, defunding forces us to look at the fundamentals of meaningful work for a meaningful wage, secure housing, and availability of nutritious food. 

We’re talking about basic respect for each human being.

But back to Biden. He’s got a lock on the nomination. He’s doing well, by doing nothing, in recent polling against Trump. It’s pretty sad commentary that this is what we’re down to.

Biden may be a familiar, perhaps friendly-looking face, but take a serious look at his record in terms of peace, justice, and equality. This is a candidate that has authored legislation that has hurt people of color, among others. He is another candidate who has allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him. His cognitive abilities are seriously under question. His engineered rise to the forefront has alienated many progressive voters, perhaps for the long haul. And he has made no effort throughout the campaign thus far to instill confidence or enthusiasm, hat tip to corporate donors.

Folks, we can do better than this.

We should not be surprised that there is actually a movement afoot. Believe it or not, a March Against Biden is set for June 27. These are not Trump supporters. Nope, these are voters who fear a loss to Trump because Biden is such a demonstrably lousy candidate. They are all about finding a better candidate. Check out @BidenMarch on Twitter.

Dems, are you listening? It’s not too late. We really could have a decent candidate if we put our minds to it.

We are witnessing firsthand the power of the people in the ongoing protests. Things are changing in our society entirely due to the people’s fearless and persistent demands right now. Another thing we can absolutely demand is a better candidate, not just a perhaps-lesser evil. One actually worth voting for.

time for a new party

veru5_19_20

It was only early March when the Super Tuesday coup saw Joe Biden, the candidate who hardly bothered to campaign, magically sweep up rival candidates, votes, and endorsements. Then, suddenly we were all caught up in the pandemic vortex, and a month later Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign.

The pandemic commanded our full attention, also raising a lot of questions about leadership, policies, healthcare, economics, rights, freedom.

In that context, we still gather a simmering steam towards November.

We have had ample opportunity to watch Trump and his cohorts at the helm. We’ve seen the Dems in action, too, repeatedly turning their backs on the working populace they supposedly champion. We even occasionally get glimpses of the presumptive nominee, Biden, giving a shout-out from his basement.

This is the man the establishment Dems somehow expect people to line up for? Who puts up a candidate for whom there is zero energy in the electorate? A candidate clearly coping with cognitive decline. A candidate with a predilection for hair sniffing. A candidate who must carry around the baggage of his own track record and lies even before the contest really begins.

The Trump campaign lately put up a website sadly featuring Biden’s difficulties in parody. Truth Over Facts derives its name from a Biden quote. And it is laugh out loud stuff. It was inevitable. But if you’re going to point the ‘for shame’ finger at anyone, point it at the Dems who have foisted this man onto the presidential stage.

One can’t help but wonder if the deliberate intent of the Super Tuesday coup was specifically to get Trump re-elected. They swept the popular agenda and grass roots candidate off the table and installed an unfit candidate with a dysfunctional neoliberal agenda – to the extent that he has one at all.

One cannot even bother to blame Bernie Sanders’ voters for the next Trump win — the Dems engineered this situation with brute force. Lesser-of-two-evilism notwithstanding, there’s a percentage of those voters that have DemExited for good now that they’ve been pushed over the cliff.

I don’t think the Dems will lose any sleep over it though. As we have seen with their pandemic priorities, the Dems are perfectly fine with their Republican agenda. They don’t even bother playing Good Cop Bad Cop anymore. In fact, at this point, it’s not so much that we have Red and Blue factions. Nope, we just have one party, may as well be Purple.

We deserve better than this. The planet deserves better than this.

It’s time for a new party to come to the forefront. One that doesn’t just give lip service to the working and broader populace while doing the bidding of the one percent. The Movement for a People’s Party launched in the wake of the 2016 election, and it is gaining momentum. Maybe the Green Party will be part of the ultimate equation. It’s a wave that looks surfable.

If we don’t have a revolution first, I think we’ll see a People’s Party take center stage for 2024. Then, we might really have something worth voting for. Sadly, it’s not really clear we can afford to wait that long.

if we truly care about health

veru5_15_20

If we are so full of fear about health that we can be easily compelled to wear masks of dubious efficacy and to submit to severe restrictions of our freedoms — how is it then, that we fail to take the truly meaningful steps toward health?

If we truly care about health, we would change how we eat.

We would walk away from animal agriculture. We would say no to animal foods laced with antibiotics and unhealthy fats. We would not tolerate a system of slaughterhouses staffed with suffering, at-risk workers surrounded by suffering, doomed animals. We would walk away from dairy and processed foods, and head straight for the fruits and vegetables.

But, hey, we have masks.

If we truly care about health, we would seek fresh air and sunlight.

We would be outside every day, soaking up the vitamin D and oxygen, and moving our bodies. We would connect with nature instead of staring at screens as we huddle in our homes.

If we truly care about health, we would demand a healthy environment.

We would recognize that pollutants both on our earth and in the air we breathe are factors in the conditions that predispose a person to succumb to illness. We would recognize the terrible contributions of animal agriculture and other industry to the degradation of our environment and its impacts on health. We would refuse to support the practices, corporations, and government leadership that kill the planet upon which we depend. We would demand new leadership, and find new ways. We would stop walking around our yards spraying weed killers, too. Got your mask?

If we truly care about health, we would question our medical system.

We would insist that health care be readily available to all, not just to some. We would take the profit motive out of health care. We would insist that health care for all issues not be delayed or neglected while providers are busy flattening the curve or idled or laid off. We would look at the implications of the many drugs and treatments our system prescribes in both the current crisis and beyond. We would seek multiple perspectives from a diverse group of medical professionals. We would recognize that a system that promotes extended lockdowns by fiat across society is turning a blind eye to a host of serious health problems. We would denounce blatant propaganda and censorship attempts to thwart access to full information. We would question the mad rush to a vaccine, with all the risks and unknowns that entails, being prioritized over actually working to improve health.

If we truly care about health, we would insist on supportive community and government.

We would be intelligently going about the business of life, which involves other people. We would admit that forsaking actual community for virtual ones – or often, none at all – does not support health, but, in fact, compromises it. Going without employment, social commitments and relationships impacts our very ability to live at all, cutting off both economic means and derivation of purpose and satisfaction. We would demand a responsible, independent media. We would reject any form of censorship. We would not pick sides and vilify the others, rather we would join together to solve our problems – with new leadership that actually works for the people. We would reject any form of surveillance knowing that no thinking adult human being watched and tracked thrives under such treatment. We would insist on education that supports critical thinking. We would recognize that health does not derive in extreme authoritarian overreach that subverts the very foundations of a free society.

If we truly care about our health, there are so many things we could and should actively be doing — not just for the current moment but for the future. This business of corporate control of health, food, media, and government systems; extensive authoritarian lockdowns; economic devastation and instability; censorship; surveillance; pervasive fear, distrust, division, anonymity — this is not it.

If we care so much about health, our own and our neighbors’ and our loved ones’, we need to let go of our cowering fear. We need to own our responsibility in this — and that means far more than wearing a mask.