Republicans Defeat LGBT Rights Bill

In another shining non-bipartisan move geared toward taking rights away from LGBTQ American citizens, Republicans defeated a piece of legislation protecting the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees of government contractors.

The bill was an amendment to a veterans and military construction bill introduced by New York Democrat Sean Maloney and initially had the proper amount of “yes” votes to pass as according to the House Chamber. However, House Republicans extended the time line allowed for the vote as they urged enough party members to alter their vote. This succeeded, as enough Republicans changed their “yes” votes to a “no”–effectively bringing the vote to 213 AGAINST vs 212 FOR the measure. All 183 Democrats and 29 Republicans initially voted YES in favor of the measure. All 213 final votes of “No” were cast by Republicans. After the measure was defeated, shouts of “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” erupted in the House of Representatives.

So the next time you hear Republicans complaining about how no one will work with them, remember this. And remember all the obstructionism that the Republican party has been engaged in ever since 8 years ago when President Obama came into the White House. 8 years Republicans have been doing their best to obstruct legislation that would better the lives of thousands, most likely millions of Americans. Obama Care, any piece of pro LGBTQ legislation, etc. And now the obstructionism and croneyism and irresponsibility that the Republican party has shown are now coming home to roost in the form of Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee. The American people, whether they recognize it or not, the ones who are angry, are upset at the lack of things being accomplished to help the American people–the reason for a great deal of this anger is the Republican members of the Senate and House (though this does not exclude the Democrats who also bear part of the responsibility). The crazy thing is that these same angry members of the population don’t see that the people they’re angry at are the ones that are members of the same group that they affiliate themselves with. I think the worst thing about all this is that these angry members of the population, a great number of them, are also not in favor of Gay Rights–and so united in this prejudiced, discriminatory view, the Republicans are still getting power and gaining votes based on one faulty worldview. This is why some people are saying that this election will be important for the evolution of humanity, I feel. We, the People, must stand up and remove the blinders of prejudice that we allow to influence our judgment–removing the veil of fear to make the correct decision is the most important decision any voter could make for this election and every one thereafter. Fear of gays, fear of Muslims, fear of the government…all this shit needs to be done away with and the first place to start is voting every single Republican out of office who votes in favor of anti-gay legislation or anti-religious freedom bills. Going beyond Republicans, Democrats who vote in favor of protecting corporations and who vote in favor of legislation taking power away from the people also deserve to be voted out. This calls for a complete Progressive sweep of the Senate and House of Representatives. The politicians in power have let the American people down time and time again. We can’t trust anything they say and they expect the people to not do a damn thing. FUCKING TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE ISSUES. TALK TO RANDOM PEOPLE ON THE STREET. START A BLOG. START A ZINE. WRITE, SING, MAKE ART ABOUT THE SHIT THAT FUCKING MATTERS. Stop fucking watching television that rots your brain. Reality TV is as far from reality as it gets. Sports are there to distract you and millions and billions of dollars are spent on that misdirection propaganda. When the news is talking about an emotional issue topic, take to the Internet to see what other news it’s covering up by making so much noise. You’re not blind, so help your friends to see.

Upset Ry,

Out.

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Music for the Conscious and the Conscience: Nahko and Medicine for the People

So, this won’t be a regular thing on my blog, but today I want to post about a musical act that is making very important, prescient, and powerful music about the times that we’re living in. The band is called Nahko and Medicine for the People and their music has inspired me to be more conscious about the way that I’m living, to be more aware of the energy that I’m putting out into the world, and be more involved in the political process of where I’m living.

Nahko and Medicine for the People has music about personal issues, but also about the plain truth about the way that our country (and others) have committed genocide, rape, and murder in order to gain access to these lands and have continued to oppress various people all to attain some illusory goal of “Progress” and to spread this Progress as far as the eye can see. The band talks about spiritual awakenings and consciousness as well, mentioning reincarnation and spirit animals and how our relationships to our parents and grandparents are sacred and have the capacity to teach us more about life than we think they do, especially in today’s society where old people are seen as a burden instead of honored as they should be.

Nahko and Medicine for the People is a music about respect: respect for the Earth, respect for oneself, respect for the other, respect for your elders and respect for your brothers. It’s an awakened sensibility that has the capacity to awaken others, simply through the act of listening. The style that it’s in is very much like jam band music, but also peppered with influences from bluegrass, reggae, ska, and folk music. The arrangement is guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, violin, and various other instruments at certain points. Each band member has a different ethnicity, so in that way it’s very much a world music sensibility being put into the music as well. A music seeing us all as one world, one people, one love. I very much hope you check them out.  LINKS BELOW

nahko.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/medicineforthepeople

Voter Fraud in Nevada Democratic Convention

Nevada caucuses have three tiers–the first one showed the results in favor of Hillary (amid many cries of voter fraud). The second tier flipped the results to favor a Bernie Sanders victory. And then we enter the craziness that occurred in the third tier, the Nevada Democratic Convention.

The first tier on February 20th, 20 percent of the voters at the original caucus were missing valid ballots. Which meant that 20 percent of the delegates were up for grabs, meaning Hillary did not legitimately win the first round of caucuses, a fact that many are still leaving out.

Before the 3rd tier vote, because of the Bernie-flipping result, the Nevada Democratic Party knew that the result would most likely go to Bernie. So they changed the rules last minute. The Party changed the Nevada rules so that Nevada’s votes would be awarded to the winner of the February 20th vote (Hillary.) However, the Party also knew that educated people would make motions at the convention to object to this rule and that the motions would most likely pass…so THEY ALSO CHANGED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY RULES SO THAT ALL VOTES ON THE FLOOR OF THE CONVENTION COULD ONLY BE DECIDED BY A VOICE VOTE (i.e. “All in favor say “aye”.) and that the results of the vote would only be decided by the Nevada Democratic Party chair Roberta Lange, and that her vote would be FINAL.

The day of the 3rd tier vote, the first item on the agenda was for those TEMPORARY RULES mentioned above to pass. It was done with a paper ballot, but was also conducted 30 minutes early, before the voting was actually to begin–Clinton supporters who may or may not have known that this would take place vastly outweighed the others who showed up early. The vote passed. NEXT, A MOTION TO HAVE A RE-VOTE OF THE TEMPORARY RULES WAS DEMANDED BY CITIZENS. INSTEAD, ROBERTA LANGE HELDS A VOICE VOTE THAT THE TEMPORARY RULES WOULD STAY. Resounding NAYS overwhelmed the AYES, but Lange ruled that the vote passed and the temporary rules stayed. Video footage of that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5srPXtJV0V0

After that, 64 Sanders delegates were ejected from the convention because “they didn’t have the proper credentials”even though they did. They weren’t allowed to prove that they were credentialed. Most of these delegates were Sanders supporters–in the end, Hillary won by 30  votes.

BY THE RULE CHANGE and delegate suppression there is a change of 8 net delegates. Instead of Bernie winning by 19-16, the result is 20-15 Clinton now.

Taking all of this into account, it’s not too surprising that there have been massive outcries–some appropriate, some not, about everything from the Nevada Democratic Party to Roberta Lange. Some death threats and misogynistic remarks peppered the Internet immediately following the chaos caused by the Nevada Democratic Convention. The media has portrayed Bernie Sanders as being “belligerent” in his remarks in response to the reactions of his supporters, but at the same time only providing a snippet of what his full response was. Different article headings include saying that Sanders refuses to apologize or that his statement was weak. Suspiciously, the full Sanders statement is very hard to find on the Internet. A half hour search from me yielded nothing but these lines from Sanders: “Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.” And then of course after these lines only a parroted line about how Sanders went on to explain his followers’ reasons rather than stopping there, saying that Sanders is defending his supporters, the ones who issued threats included. However, as we have all seen, the media has a script to repeat, and honestly, I’m glad that Sanders did not apologize for this supporters and what they did. He has condemned it and that’s enough–it’s up to the supporters to apologize for what they did. The fact is that the democratic process has failed to work yet again. It has failed time and time again–one instance worth mentioning is the way the election was stolen from Al Gore in year 2000, when George W. Bush was declared the winner by FOX News. How difficult would things have turned out if the people had risen up and ensured a Gore presidency? Such wonderings might not hold much power, but I for one have had enough of the voice of the people being silenced again and again, referendum’ed on and dispatched and manipulated and poisoned. Of course all those people in the newspapers and on TV decry Sanders and his supporters for being loud and passionate. The violent feelings and emotions are a very regrettable, slightly frightening side effect of the way that our country is fucking over the people. Plain and simple. And of course this is scaring the people in power, especially when the person the people want to lead them is refusing to play their game–he sees how close the people are to succeeding and he would rather have the establishment know how very pissed off the people are, rather than placating the situation. Bernie Sanders is not a coward. He is not looking to get elected–he is not looking for popularity and a sound bite and being a person within the system. He is a person seeking real change. He is a political revolutionary AND THAT IS WHY THE ESTABLISHMENT IS WORKING SO HARD TO BRING HIM DOWN. People on the Internet talking is merely a reflection of what people have been talking about in their living rooms regarding politics for ages. Now it’s simply being brought out into the open. Are candidates supposed to apologize and be accountable for what their supporters are thinking and saying in the privacy of their own homes? I feel like people may begin to draw comparisons between Donald Trump’s supporters and Bernie Sanders’–while on the surface it may be an apt comparison, I say that the differences, and they are key, between the two groups, is that first of all, the rage from the Trump camp is being directed to groups of people that are minorities and marginalized–Mexicans and Muslims; the rage of the Sanders supporters is being directed at the instruments of power keeping the establishment and the status quo the way they are. Roberta Lange being singled out was because she did the dirty work of the Party–though this is not excusable, if it had been a white male in her position, rage still would have been directed at the agent of the disenfranchisement. Second, Donald Trump has made statements plainly stating that he wouldn’t be surprise if riots happened if he wasn’t elected. Bernie Sanders has always advocated peace and the voice of the people–what the media has portrayed as Bernie Sanders being an apologist to his supporters making death threats was to explain the situation–he condemned them as a politician should, but also went the extra mile to explain the plain fact–that if tampering hadn’t occurred at the convention, this situation wouldn’t have happend. The oppressors do not have the luxury of outrage against those they’re oppressing. Plain and simple.

I sincerely hope that Bernie Sanders wins the election. I love this country and I believe that the only way to make it the way it never was before is to elect Bernie Sanders. We had a chance at greatness a few times. I hope we get another one soon.

Thanks for reading,

-ry

Royal Dutch Shell Pipeline Spills 90,000 Gallons of Oil into Gulf of Mexico

Less than 24 hours ago, a 2,100 barrel oil spill into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico forced Royal Dutch Shell to shut in all wells that flow to its Brutus platform. The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement say that a 2 x 13 mile sheen of oil was visible about 97 miles off the Louisiana Coast. NEARLY 90,000 GALLONS OF CRUDE OIL WAS SPILLED INTO THE OCEAN.

The cause of this oil spill is not yet known, according to officials. It is still under investigation and according to Shell, the company has mobilized response vessels to see if the oil could be recovered. Additionally Shell says that no injuries were sustained in the spill.

I’m sure we all know where this post is going. How many times are things like this going to happen? Fossil Fuels are on the way out–thanks to the COP21 Conference and Paris Agreement, the world is now in the process of doing away with fossil fuel energy. The problem is that this is not going fast enough. Things like this have happened too many times for it to be expected to stop. 6 years ago the BP Oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, making it the worst disaster of its kind in US history. This past October, the U.S. Government gave BP A 15 BILLION DOLLAR TAX WRITE OFF AS A RESULT OF ITS 20 BILLION DOLLAR GULF SPILL SETTLEMENT. BP Oil should be out of business. And yet, it’s not. The oil companies in America and other corporations are given tax writeoffs and loopholes to keep huge, significant amounts of their money while the American pubic foots the bill. BP wrote off the cost of its 32 Billion dollar cleanup, costing the American public 10 billion dollars–that is money from the public that could have been put directly toward free public education, free health care, or–a  novel idea, putting together a sustainable, renewable energy system. We need to shut down the oil companies, we need to stop giving so much power to corporations before it’s too late. Will Shell have to pay for this latest disaster? Or is nearly 100,000 gallons of oil spilled not enough to throw a fit over, compared to the BP Spill of 2010?

I’m sick and tired of seeing our planet destroyed. Shell says there were no injuries sustained in the spill–but what about the fish, what about the whales, what about all the life that depends on the ecosystem of the ocean to survive? There is still a layer of oil on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico from the BP Oil spill. What kind of effect will that have on our environment in the years to come?

BP has been funding Tea Party members who deny climate change. Oil Companies were suspiciously absent from a group of companies who were donating hundreds of billions of dollars to fight global warming. Information has been published showing that the biggest American oil companies were possessing knowledge of global warming since the 1970s, all while fighting regulations and readying for the fight that would come.  They are an entrenched lobby that has to be pulled out by the root–the politicians that are being funded by the companies need to be taken out of office as soon as possible. This is an issue that is so pressing that it’s hard to overstate its importance. If you care about these kinds of things, please do things like vote for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming election, give money to different associations that fight the oil companies, like OilFree Wellington, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, Humane Society, The Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Futures Society, Global Coral Reef Alliance, SeaWeb. All of these are great choices and even more can be found here: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2006/03/guide-environmental-non-profits

The fight doesn’t stop, please help.

-ry

Bernie Sanders Draws 20K Plus in Sacramento, Media Is Silent

In contradiction to the mainstream media’s assertion that Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is all but over, over 20,000 people flocked to a rally on Monday May 9, to support Bernie Sanders and see him speak at Bonney Field in Sacramento, California.

Supporters waited in line for four hours yesterday to see the Seanator from Vermont speak–some even longer than that. Though the mainstream media was completely silent about the Sacramento rally (all except for the local Sacramento news station), various alternative news sources including Our Voice Media and usuncut.com were there to document and report on what was going on. In addition to the alternative news sources, countless tweets and posts on social media were made to document and inform the rest of the world about what was taking place while the mainstream media sat silent and elected not to report on the movement. Pictures, videos, and various hashtags were used by the public to report on the happenings in Sacramento. While an estimated 20,000 people got into the stadium to see Sanders speak, an estimated additional 10,000 did not end up getting into the venue, as it had reached capacity–bringing the total attendance of the Bernie rally to a grand 30,000 people.

In recent weeks, ever since the New York primary debacle, California has become the state where Bernie’s last stand in the primaries seems to be focused. The state with the most delegates to offer, and the one state that could offer Bernie the chance to turn it all around, California will be seeing major focus from both Democratic candidates. Bernie’s initial showing in Sacramento has definitely given Hillary Clinton something to be worried about. While the media blacks Sanders out, his supporters seem to be only increasing in excitement and solidarity–pictures from the Bernie rally have upended the stereotypical white, male Bernie supporter, the”Bernie Bro” that the media has recently made much of and instead given a picture of a very unified and diverse crowd, with supporters of all different ethnicities coming out to lend their voices in supporting their candidate.

Bernie seems to be the candidate trying to bring us all together. Though political rhetoric may cause rifts and harsh words and judgment, Bernie is the candidate telling us all that we can work together to effect real, sweeping change. His platform of Us Not Me is indicative of that attitude. Hillary Clinton should be worried, and so should the political establishment of the United States. Those entrenched interests are now in trouble and will soon be on their way out, because regardless of a win or a loss in the Bernie camp, the Bern has had its effect, and the people are waking up to the fact that they have the power and that change is not far around the corner.

Maine Democratic Party Abolishes Superdelegates

The first precedent has been set on the road to eliminating Superdelegates, one of the many pieces of the poisonous election system in the United States. The Maine Democratic Party has just overwhemingly passed an amendment at the statewide contention eliminating the autonomous influence of superdelegates.

Representative Diane Russell said that the amendment was adopted by a single voice vote (meaning an “aye” or “nay” vocal vote by the people in response to an amendment) followed by chants of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!” Ber-nie!” Russell said she never expected that kind of a reaction.

The adoption of the amendment means that Maine’s superdelegate votes will now be allocated proportionally according to the overall popular vote, rather than each superdelegate having complete autonomy. Which is to say that the superdelegates no longer get to choose or be influenced by any factor other than the amount of votes–i.e. no more of the people’s voice being disregarded.

The incredible thing is that this amendment does not stop at the state level. Now that the amendment has been adopted in Maine, the Main Democratic Party will petition the Democratic National Committee members to get rid of the superdelegate system altogether AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. Unfortunately, the amendment is nonbinding for the 2016 election, but will take effect in 2020 and every year after. There was much debate about making it effective for the 2016 election, but Russell had written the amendment with 2020 in mind. It is, however, her ultimate goal to do away with the delegate system entirely and decide the election by popular vote.

This is such an amazing development that I’m not sure how to overstate it. The delegate and superdelegate system was created to keep power with the politicians, as a final trump card against the will of the people. Bernie Sanders is primarily responsible for changing the conversation of politics in the United States. He is the face of the thing, but we, the public and the people are the driving force behind it, the voice that raises the volume and focuses the attention on the real issues. It does not stop with Bernie Sanders, regardless of a win or a loss–we are the future, especially young voters. We will never accept being talked down to or told to respect our elders. Our elders put us where we are, and now the oldest current candidate is showing us the way, and that the revolution starts with ALL of us–Bernie Sanders saw the beginning of the system we live in and has fought his whole life against it. We need to do the same. It might be hard and it might be stressful, and take up a lot of time and energy, but what we’re deciding right now is the future. We need to look forward, not to our children, or to our children’s children to make the right decisions, but to the next seven generations.

Make the movement move.

-ry

Independents Will Win This Election

Donald Trump is the nominee for the Republican Party. That is all but decided at this point. So now what is to be done with this information? The simple answer to this is that we nominate Bernie Sanders as the Democratic presidential candidate.

In all the polls having to do with a general election, we see that Hillary Clinton wins against a Donald Trump candidacy by a margin of about 4 points. On the other hand, a Bernie Sanders candidacy wins against a Trump candidacy, by about 7 points. However, many opinions are that Trump will end up winning against Clinton. Why is this? One reason I would give for this is because the primaries have given us a distorted view of the political playing field. And this is basically because in CLOSED primaries, where independents are not allowed to vote, Hillary Clinton wins those primaries and has won them. On the other hand, in OPEN primaries, when independents are allowed to vote, Bernie Sanders wins and has won. This fact is essential to understanding how a BERNIE SANDERS CANDIDACY WILL BEAT DONALD TRUMP. The vast majority of the voting public this time around is Independent. Each time a CLOSED PRIMARY happens, the voice of the middle ground, the Independent is silenced. The vast majority of the voting public is tired of the 2 party system and is tired of the status quo. In a general election, the Independents will have their voice heard–and by this point, there are far too many voters who have seen through the facade of Hillary Clinton to assume that she will carry the vote in the general election. If the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE does not nominate Bernie Sanders, the Independents will not turn out. They will see this as another instance where the status quo has triumphed and the last chance for real, working Democracy this season will be silenced and will lose. In a general election where it’s BERNIE SANDERS VS DONALD TRUMP, the Democratic establishment, as well as the Independents of America, will be behind Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders has been an Independent all his life, and a champion of civil rights and is aware of the risks of allowing our political establishment to continue business as usual. Additionally, as much as Sanders has gone after Clinton so far, I feel like Trump would have a field day with the accusations of treason leveled against Clinton, in addition to the amount of Super PAC money she takes and how much of an establishment candidate she is–Trump is self financed and will make a big noise on that topic. I honestly feel that the only chance to avoid a total disaster this voting season is to nominate Bernie Sanders.

Recently, it has also come to light that Hillary Clinton has also been courting the supporters of Jeb Bush and Jeb Bush himself for more money to fund her campaign. In what world does this make sense? Hillary Clinton is already a barely left leaning Democrat–she has been pushed into changing her campaign rhetoric by the incredibly popular Sanders campaign, basically becoming a candidate who parrots Sanders’ progressive policies, but with no guarantee that she will follow through on these things once she’s in office. 15 dollar minimum wage, breaking up the big banks, and other campaign talking points were adopted by Clinton after Sanders had the idea. But now Clinton is actually courting Neo Conservative supporters in the hopes of gaining more monetary momentum in order to beat Sanders. Are we stupid? Does Clinton think that we are a group of dupes who don’t see the strings that are being tied by the minute to Clinton’s person that will serve to hamstring her and make her beholden to the powers that gave her the money to run her campaign? We can’t trust a thing Clinton says because she is not funded by the people–Sanders is funded by the people and thus given authority to act in the peoples’ interests. Which consequentially means that Clinton’s money is corporate, which means that she (if elected) will be given the authority to act in the interest of those parties, not the people themselves, thus continuing the bullshit political climate we’ve been saddled with for DECADES.

Please, if you have the means, donate to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Talk to your friends about Bernie Sanders. Be the downer who has the conscience and good sense to address the issues that affect all of us, whether or not people would like to believe it. Post about Bernie Sanders on your Facebook…go to family reunions, class reunions, talk to your pizza delivery man for God’s sake. Now that we know that Trump is who the Republicans will have representing them, it’s even more important to READ THE WRITING ON THE WALL. It’s there, whether we want to read it or not. Facts do not cease to be facts if you decide to ignore them.

Be an independent. The voice of the people matters.

-ry

While We’re Busy Arguing Over Who Gets to Use Which Bathroom, 2 Nuclear Plants Are Leaking in America

So, if you’ve been watching the news or been on Facebook lately (I’m guessing one is far likelier than the other), Americans are going batshit over whether or not transsexuals have the right to use the bathroom that they prefer rather than using the one assigned to them by biology. This is definitely an issue that deserves addressing, as it pertains to a group of underrepresented and often rejected portion of our society. However, there is an issue that deserves as much if not more attention from the media and the public in general. Not one, but two nuclear reactors in the United States are leaking radiation. And it’s very possible that one of these leaks could be worse than Fukushima.

The University of Miami has found that the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant just south of Miami has caused levels of Tritium (a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear reactors) in Biscayne Bay to spike to 200 times higher than normal levels. This basically has confirmed suspicions that the aging nuclear plant is leaking radiation into the nearby National Park. “This is one of several things we were very worried about,” South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who is also a biological sciences professor at Florida International University, told the Miami New Times. “You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge.”

This leak is now endangering the water supply of the residents of Florida, as well as endangered plant and animal life in the region, as the nuclear plant is located between two separate National Parks. State regulators are still not acting on what could become the next major health crisis in America. It even has the power to put Florida into a very immediate state of emergency.

And if that’s not bad enough, there is another nuclear leak in the state of New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed that the Indian Point nuclear facility is leaking tritium into the groundwater! Cuomo called an investigation after Indian Point, a facility that sits on the Hudson River, reported a leak of radioactive material flowing into the groundwater. Samples from groundwater show that levels of tritium are 80% higher than at previous times. Governor Cuomo encouraged Entergy, the company that runs Indian Point, to shut down the facility. But do you think they listened? Entergy responded with this: “While elevated tritium in the ground onsite is not in accordance with our standards, there is no health or safety consequence to the public, Releases are more than a thousand times below federal permissible limits. The tritium did not affect any source of drinking water onsite or offsite.” Does anyone even begin to believe this, the idea that radiation leaking into the groundwater will affect no one? Indian Point is located just 25 miles north of New York City–and serves the electrical needs of around 2 million people. If nothing is done about these nuclear spills and Indian Point in particular, some are saying it could be an even worse disaster than Fukushima. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has repeatedly weakened federal regulations to allow plants to keep operating, despite thousands of problems ranging from corroded pipes to cracked concrete and radioactive leaks.

Let’s be clear–the reason the media is not covering this and the reason that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission made their decision and the reason that Entergy released their public statement as it was is to AVOID THE PUBLIC PANICKING. To avoid a public outcry against the things that are happening in this country, and now in particular this thing that is threatening the health of millions of American Citizens. We need to act on this before any more can happen in the way of Nuclear spillage. Renewable energy is the only way to ensure that more damage to our planet and to our people does not occur. If we don’t act now in a public, united outcry, it may be too late when it finally comes. The demand for these types of things to stop has to come sooner than later if we are going to survive. The hour is far later than any media outlet or Commission or government would like us to believe–and we only shorter our timetable when we continue things like nuclear energy and other actions that pollute and damage and weaken our environment. Do whatever you can. Get out there with picket signs, organize protests, talk to your friends at parties about the shit they don’t pay attention to while they’re watching American Idol or completely isolating themselves with Netflix. Be that annoying gadfly in people’s ears to wake them up to what the fuck is going on. Act now, because that’s all we have.

Protect our Mother before it’s too late.

-ry

Another Police Shooting of a Black Minor…When Will We Stand United?

It’s happened again.

On the 1 year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death, a black man who died from injuries sustained in police custody, Baltimore police have shot and wounded a 14 year old African-American boy carrying a toy gun.

On Wednesday, plainclothes officers began chasing 14 year-old Dedric Colvin after they saw him with a BB gun. Police say the officers opened fire, striking him as he ran away. Colvin’s mother said Dedric was shot in the leg and in the shoulder–he’s thankfully expected to recover. This incident also comes 2 days after Cleveland officials agreed to pay 6 MILLION DOLLARS to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old African-American boy who was fatally shot by police in what was for all intents and purposes, a drive by shooting, for playing with a toy pellet gun in a park.

Though the BB gun does appear very lifelike–a replica of a semi-automatic handgun–police’s claims that they had no way of knowing whether the gun was fake or not are being contested by eyewitness accounts that say that “[Colvin] turned towards them but the wasn’t turning the gun towards them, and I’m positive I heard him say, ‘It’s not real,'” a witness who identified himself only as “Bryan” told a local NBC affiliate. “He said, ‘It’s not real. It’s not real,’ and that quick, the male officer shot him twice in the leg.”

This report from the eyewitness makes plain that the officers responded too quickly. Local activist and artist Kwame Rose told The Independent: “This speaks to the fact that a young black male was never given the chance to be innocent. He was automatically criminalised and automatically feared by the police.” Mr. Rose addressed the need for “heavy investment” in de-escalation training tactics for the Baltimore police. “Shooting should never be the first action….The only difference between this case and the Tamir Rice case…is that Dedric ran–which probably saved his life.”

Another call in addition to de-escalation training for Baltimore Police has come from Baltimore residents, who called for police reforms to confront “institutionalized racism”. Both topics are key to ensuring that travesties like this do not occur again. This obviously should not only be a localized effort, but instead needs to spread to the rest of America so that there is never another Tamir Rice or Dedric Colvin case. President Obama met with civil rights leaders and Black Lives Matter activists from across the country a couple months ago in February to discuss organization of reforms and the issue of police brutality. Many leaders commented, saying they believed the meetings to have been very productive. However, Aislinn Pulley, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago, declined the invitation to the meeting, saying that she believed the meeting was nothing more than a photo-op for the President. In an editorial for TruthOut.org, Pulley wrote: “I do not feel that a handshake with the President is the best way for me to honor Black History Month or the Black freedom fighters whose labor laid the groundwork for the historic moment we are living in…We assert that true revolutionary and systemic change will ultimately only be brought forth by ordinary working people, students and youth–organizing, marching and taking power from the corrupt elites.” Exactly what actions are involved in that “taking power from the elites” were not stated, but Pulley’s words remain true and striking. Until the people stand up and unite and send a continuous message to those in power, I fear that the systemic racism going on in our country and our police forces in particular, will not be addressed, but instead will have lipservice paid to them without any real specific change.

This is why the Black Lives Matter movement is important, and why it must continue, and why it must gain more and more followers, regardless of race. We have to stand united against a system that is becoming more and more akin to a police state. The officers in the case of Dedric Colvin knew better–they did, and if it had been a White kid with a BB gun instead of a Black kid, I believe that the officers would have found better means for dealing with the individual in question. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who has discussed real police reform in his campaign. He has called for police transparency and has led a charge to “de-militarize the police”–the rest of the candidates stand firm with the status quo of police brutality and systemic, institutionalized racism.

I believe the Police must take drastic steps in correcting itself before any more of these instances happen. They have to do anything within their power–one idea would be to enlist help from the Police departments of other countries…Norway’s Police, for instance haven’t resorted to killing any suspects in a number of years. Why is it so inconceivable to think outside the box in this way in order to combat the many problems facing our defective Police forces? Why isn’t there a conference held with all the major Police chiefs of all the major American cities with Black Lives Matter protesters and organizers? Has the rift and spirit of enmity between these entities become so entrenched and immovable that we are deliberately looking away from the most crucial actions of peacekeeping and reconciliation? The attitude of both of these groups has become so militant and so stubborn that they are both becoming part of the problem. Why is a meeting with the President more important than a meeting with the Police departments themselves? I don’t believe that any progress will be made in the fight for equality until the tensions and grudges are dissolved between these two developing factions. I call for a respectful and productive spirit in which these issues can be hashed out and dealt with–no more name-calling and passing the buck.

That being said, I believe the Black Lives Matter protesters are right. And I know that they are angry. I’m angry too, that an issue this important and divisive hasn’t been taken care of and put to bed. Some say the issue will never fully be resolved–but I say it’s that attitude combined with unchecked anger and aggression that will prove that self-fulfilling prophecy. We must remember that we are all brothers and sisters, and that when one of us bleeds or is mistreated, we all suffer from. Black Lives Matter, and it’s time everyone joined together in peaceful demonstration to make this dream a reality. Look up Black Lives Matter protests and organizations in your area–if there isn’t one, start one, or find someone who will. Write to your legislators, try to organize conferences. Get in touch with the people who have power to make sweeping legislative change, and then act on your own to sow the seeds of immediate, local change. We are all a part of this together, whether we put effort toward making a change or not. Making the decision to do nothing, is still an action–just one that doesn’t serve anything. Make a change, make a choice to be a part of this voice. Together, the people united will never be divided.

Love. Peace. Unity.

-ry

Gays and The South: The New Jim Crow

There is something sick and wrong going on in this country. Gays are being persecuted and subjugated just as much as they have been in the past. Only this time it’s not being done under the table. It’s being done right out in the open. By lawmakers. These lawmakers are shitting on the streak of progress that has been made lately in America, namely that of the legalization of Gay Marriage. These ignorant legislators are actively and openly seeking to take away the rights of a group of people whose culture values openness and acceptance and love and who deserve the same protections and freedoms under the law as everyone else. A number of Southern states have enacted legislation that gives any number of the following: permission to all sorts of health professionals in denying services to homosexuals; allowing individuals and institutions with religious objections to deny services to gay couples; permits business owners with broad application to deny homosexuals service; gives power to marriage insitutions to deny servies to homosexual couples.

The amazing thing is that something almost exactly like this happened 60 years ago in our country–just to a different group of people. Immediately after the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown vs Board of Education, which called for all public schools to be desegregated, Alabama lawmakers passed a series of laws intended to ignore the high court’s ruling–one of which established a procedure that would close any Alabama public school that even attempted to integrate; many of the other Southern states followed Alabama’s lead. The passing of laws meant to subjugate a certain group of people in the past, even after the highest court in the land had passed a ruling pertaining to the subjugation of said groups, compares amazingly to the situation going on right now with the LGBTQ community. Just like with the Supreme Court’s decision on Brown vs Board of Education, the highest court has already ruled: to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation is EXACTLY just as UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL as discriminating against people because of their skin color. Period. What we are seeing is a resurgence of the Jim Crow laws, dressed up differently. As if these people (the South) just have to find a group of people to subjugate and treat with disdain. The other day I saw something that summed up the situation more than I ever could: it was a picture of an older lady holding a sign that read, “IT WASN’T ABOUT THE WATER FOUNTAINS THEN AND IT ISN’T ABOUT THE BATHROOMS NOW. STOP THE HATE.” This woman was drawing the same parallel that I’m drawing now–it was actually the inspiration for this blog post.

The states leading this despicable Jim Crow 2.0 charge are: North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, and now Tennessee. The amazing thing is that these lawmakers from these states have an awful memory when it comes to history. When the lawmakers in the South tried to flout the ruling of the court, this gave the South a reputation as being a place crawling with bigots–people and businesses became reluctant to set up shop in a place known for intolerance and it took decades to undo the damage done by those elected “leaders.” The important thing to note is that this DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE ENTIRE SOUTH IS BIGOTED–surely, there are bigots in the South (they’re the ones running the South)–but there are also members of the LGBTQ community in the South, which means that there must certainly be a strong contingent of citizens in the South who support the LGBTQ community. This fact is important is because of how much financial impact is already happening to the South. Millions and most likely billions of dollars have already been taken out of the South, specifically North Carolina for its remarkably discriminatory bill against transgender individuals and homosexuals–PayPal elected not to extend its services to North Carolina, divesting millions of dollars from the state’s economy; Deutsche Bank on Tuesday said it would halt plans to add 250 new jobs in its Cary, North Carolina location, citing state legislation enacted in March that blocks anti-discrimination rules for gay and transgender people; in addition to this a number of musical acts and million dollar conferences have boycotted the state of North Carolina for the measures enacted by its lawmakers. Furthermore, major corporations have slammed the lawmakers’ decision publicly, including IBM, Google, and Facebook. Hopefully the people of these southern states will stand up and take back their legislatures and vote or oust their bigoted legislators. Mayors from major US cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and New York have banned all official travel to the places that have enacted discriminatory legislation.

The most recent anti-progress bill was signed just today by the Governor of Tennessee: SB 1556  was signed into law, the measure that allows counselors to deny services to clients based on the counselor’s “sincerely held principles”–the original wording of the bill allowed counselors to turn away clients based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” These measures are rooted in the dangerous misconception that religion can be used as a free pass to discriminate. To find out how you can help in the case of the Tennessee issue in particular, contact Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, 615-320-7142.

Maybe we can look at the example set by a different, non-Southern state to determine the likelihood of a pattern developing between enacting bigoted legislation and losing money influx. Last year, the state of Indiana enacted anti-gay legislation–a year later, the tourism department (VisitIndy) reported the loss of 60 million dollars in convention and tourism revenue. The picture is clear and developing more and more all the time–the people of this country will not stand for discrimination of any kind and they are speaking with the thing that speaks (or swears) loudest–money. If the Southern legistlators are not careful, they are going to end up with a much more difficult economy on their hands than already exists–and all over the issue that Southern legislators claim is “religious”–just like the South still contends that the Civil War was about states’ rights!
The HUFFINGTON POST recently ran an article titled: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 100+ ANTI-LGBT BILLS PENDING IN STATES. In reading this, I learned that there are more than 100 ACTIVE BILLS LIKE THE ONES PASSED BY THE STATES MENTIONED ABOVE. Some are bathroom bills, some let judges refuse to marry same-sex couples, some let businesses deny services to LGBT people–but they all have the same goal: legalizing discrimination against queer people. Another scary thing is that Democrats used to support bills of this same nature. These kinds of bills have far more support in places of power than we probably even know–Democrats far and wide now are for the most part too scared to support bills of this nature because they’ve seen the backlash from them. This is the pressure we need to continue to put on any legislator that attempts to push through these bills labeled “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” or anything of the kind.

If you, reader, want to do something about this, there are many things you can do. First of all, divest any funds from investments that go to companies based in those states that I mentioned above; decide against any travel to those aforementioned states as well; if you live in any of those states please write/call your legislators…ALL of them…the ones involved AND not involved in the enacting of this awful legislation. Go to your local Gay Pride Parade and march in solidarity with your brothers and sisters. Hell, run for fucking office, and run on a non-discrimination platform, especially if you’re in the South.Do something, do anything to show that shit kind of discrimination and prejudice will not stand. Don’t give in to apathy–just because they’re not attacking your rights now doesn’t mean they won’t come for them in the future.

Get up, Stand up.

-ry