Why I’m voting for Cindy Sheehan for Governor

I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for Cindy Sheehan for Governor. Here’s why she is getting my vote. Not only is she an outspoken anti-war/peace activist, she opposes corporate rule, is a woman (we need many more in office!), she is a third-party progressive (the only real kind, other than a few exceptions like Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren), and she is running on the Peace & Freedom ticket. Mr. Jerry Fracking Brown, the Democratic candidate, is certainly NOT progressive, bowing as he does to the oil industry and other corporate interests. Haven’t we had enough of the two-party corporate-owned tyranny?

Cindy writes on her website why she is running for governor: “primarily because I believe that California should be leading the nation in peace, education, health care, sustainable/renewable energy and democracy.” Secondarily, she writes that she feels the only way to halt the corporate stranglehold is by running as a third-party candidate, thereby challenging the two-party system which collaborates with and enables corporate rule. This is why I support her and the Peace & Freedom Party, which represents and fight for the rights and benefit of the 99%, not the over-privileged 1%.

P&F recognizes that capitalism is the vehicle of classism and imperialism and is inimical to democracy, and clearly states this in its platform without equivocation. Our system is in grave need of socialization, in every sense of the word, in view of the winner-take-all, mean-spirited, violent, war-obsessed plutocracy we currently have where profit rules supreme in a corrupt political landscape where money is “speech” and corporations are “people” while actual people are reduced to a commodity to be manipulated and ruled.

Remember to vote on Tuesday and remember we can now vote for any candidate of any party in California, so I hope you consider voting for Cindy Sheehan for Governor!

The California Peace and Freedom Party is the only socialist and feminist political party on the ballot in California and has the largest voter registration of any socialist party in the U. S., nearing 80,000 currently. P&F’s preamble reads, “The Peace and Freedom Party is an open, multi-tendency, movement-oriented socialist party. We are united in our common commitment to socialism, democracy, feminism and unionism and our common opposition to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism and elitism.” For more information, visit peaceandfreedom.org.

“Progressive Evangelical Fundamentalists?”

Read another article on the Alternet at http://www.alternet.org/belief/if-only-right-wing-christian-evangelicals-knew-where-their-ideas-came, arguing that evangelical fundamentalists have a progressive history in the 19th century and suggesting that perhaps when the GOP/TeaParty crumbles, progressives should consider aligning themselves with them.  The author offhandedly remarks that progressives may have to think “strategically” about possibly teaming up with them for equal pay, for example, even though it might mean compromising on abortion or gay rights, surmising from his comment that there may be “good arguments on both sides.” My answer to that is, “Are you crazy?!”

What kind of “progressive” movement are you left with when you’re willing to trade away women’s or LGBT human rights for equal pay?!  Any movement that coerces women into unwanted childbearing would properly be called an authoritarian, ultra-right, fascist patriarchy, not a “progressive evangelical movement,” an oxymoron if there ever was one. And what would the “good arguments on both sides” be, pray tell, that male supremacism is blessed by God and that abortion is “murder”? Why should anyone “compromise” with extremist fanaticism?

These are people to challenge, not embrace, and indeed the radical religious right have been the lunatic fringe and undoing of both the GOP and the tea party and would stop at nothing until they establish an horrifically oppressive theocracy, regardless of any progressive history or association with populism. They are the core of the sanctimonious, hypocritical, meanspirited GOP, and a bigger threat to human rights and social justice than either the establishment Republicans or the tea party are without them and who both factions should unceremoniously dump if they hope to have a prayer of surviving politically. But more importantly, because the 20th century GOP have virtually nothing to offer anyone (other than the corporate elite) and the Tea Party has nothing to offer that true progressives (I’m not talking the mediocre, cave-in-to-the-right spineless Democrats here) do much better, like peace and civil liberties, I would be among those who would welcome their all going the way of the dinosaurs.

Peace or Profit: an Update

Due to the ongoing imperialism on the part of the U. S. and its allies, here we are again at the brink of yet another war, this one threatening to mushroom into WWIII, given the explosive situation in the Middle East and the clash of alliance between Syria/Iran/China/Russia vs. the U.S./Israel/Britain/rest of the Middle East, over yet another pipeline that threatens the business interests of the U. S. and Israel. http://t.co/A7ZGYTB20f

This is how this endlessly circular scenario always seems to play out:  the U. S. corporate government decides that its interests are “threatened” (read its monopoly of a sector of the global economy is challenged), the U. S. and its allies install dictators, or depose (or assassinate) democratically-elected leaders by funding and arming rebels (aka “foreign aid”), the country in question descends into chaos and civil war, some flimsy pretext is invented in an attempt to justify military intervention that invariably escalates into all-out war, and voila, U. S. corporate interests and profits remain intact.  See: http://www.corbettreport.com/selling-war-to-the-public/

Obama is again appearing to overstep his authority in yet another example of executive overreach by indicating his willingness to “draw a red line” over the use of chemical weapons supposedly by the Assad regime and attack Syria.  Since these weapons have more likely been supplied to the insurgents by the West in order to further destabilize the situation in Syria, one has to ask if the hypocrisy ever ends with this administration.  Claire Daly in the Irish Parliament did just that when she called the Obama Administration out on this issue:  http://disinfo.com/2013/07/obama-called-war-criminal-and-hypocrite-of-the-century-in-the-irish-parliament/  For a historical perspective, see also:  Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

Obama seems determined to double-down on these wrongheaded policies rather than question whether he has either the moral or legal authority to go on the offensive, which will undoubtedly leave far more victims in its wake.  The Green Shadow Cabinet has weighed in on this issue with a statement that if Obama attacks Syria “without prior explicit authorization by Congress, he will have committed an offense worthy of impeachment” and if he does so without UN authorization, that he will be guilty of war crimes: http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/dont-attack-syria

The corporate warmongers and their government shills know very well that their continued profiteering depends on the war machine–why so many peace groups, rallies, and marches are so viciously targeted as the goal of peace as inimical to its continued domination.  In funding and fueling wars in their malevolent, underhanded game of chess, they manipulate behind the scenes to pit different groups/nations against one another in an unending ruse to keep the peoples of the world at each other’s throats, off-balance, and fighting to survive and thereby distracted and diverted from not only the truth regarding who is directing the game but from being able to pursue and enjoy the fruits of peace:  health, justice, education, freedom, and democracy, all the human rights so under attack in a militaristic, authoritarian police state such as ours has increasingly become in the last decade.See:  http://www.answercoalition.org/march-forward/statements/to-my-fellow-sailors-refuse.html for a former sailor’s analysis of this situation.

Throughout history, wars have been waged over resources and profits to enrich the 1% at the expense of the 99%.  Never was the Civil War protest rallying cry of “a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight” more true than it is today, the impoverished young people entering the armed services as the options narrow for economic survival as our Treasury, into which we the taxpayers have paid, is raided to fund yet another war with all the corporate pigs gorging themselves from the war machine’s “defense” contracts and spying programs while paying no taxes. We have become a corporate welfare state heedlessly pursuing endless war for profit hell-bent on destroying all life on this planet if it means an uptick in quarterly earnings regardless of the ever-more disastrous consequences.  The ultimate irony is that we the taxpayers are funding our own destruction and that of the Earth as well as paying to be spied upon by our own government. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid

This war, like all the others, has nothing to do with being so offended by innocent casualties but rather, and quite to the contrary, it has to do with the corporate and governmental war criminals who profit from endless war and human carnage, cultural genocide, and ecological destruction. The empire hasn’t a vestige of clothing to cover its naked aggression.  The choice has never been more clear:  we the 99% can have peace, or the 1% can profit from war—which is it going to be?

Peace or Profit: Violence as Commodity

We honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of non-violence as well as recognize the 3rd year anniversary of the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  Many times, especially in the aftermath of violence like the recent school shootings, it is difficult to see the big picture and the interconnectedness of events, as we are overwhelmed by sorrow and a marrow-deep feeling of helplessness, and at first blush, these two symbolic dates may seem unrelated.  They are not.

We recognize Dr. King’s birthday because he is a powerful symbol for peace and non-violent protest and we recognize the anniversary of Citizens United because it is a symbol of how out-of-control corporate influence and the pursuit of violence for profit is in this country.  The theme today is “Peace or Profit:  Violence as Commodity.”  We chose this title to highlight the fact that this is indeed the choice and that there is a bigger pattern at play that needs to be illuminated. We can choose peace, or we can choose to allow runaway corporate profiteering off violence in all its forms: endless wars, weapons, defense contracts, the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on workers, the war on homeowners, the war on women and minorities, the war on the earth.

Some would say that we have peace here in America because we so aggressively protect our country from terrorism, but the truth is we are at war in the Middle East because of corporations protecting their oil interests and their profit margin and because they make billions from war itself.  But corporations are also at war with the citizens of this country, and anyone is expendable in the pursuit of profit.

Achieving peace requires treating people and the earth with respect, a willingness to share wealth, and cooperation that can come from only a democratic system based on fairness, a level playing field, and the rejection of exploitation and violence, including economic violence, which today is being perpetrated by the 1% onto the 99% in a massive redistribution of wealth from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. The corporate elite have subverted our democracy for their own uses and have distorted it into a plutocracy.

The corporate world and the military-industrial complex profit greatly from, and are addicted to, violence, which has been turned into a commodity to be traded and sold for the profit of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Violence, exploitation, and coercion are hallmarks of unbridled capitalism and greed, and corporate greed for profit is poisoning our society by nurturing sociopathy and turning the entirety of civilization and the earth itself into a perpetual war zone.

What are we to do about this?  Many solutions are being proffered to address gun violence and campaign contributions, but while getting money out of politics and instituting some limits on the selling of any gun to anyone, are examples of how corporate abuse of our democratic system could be stemmed somewhat, there is a larger problem:  corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.” This goes back much further than the 2010 Citizens United decision, to 1886 in fact, when the Supreme Court declared in Southern Pacific Railroad v. Santa Clara County that corporations are “persons.” Since that time, thousands of subsequent decisions have reinforced this misguided notion and allowed corporations to exploit this illegitimate status by claiming they have “rights” under the Bill of Rights, which was meant exclusively for actual people, not artificial entities like corporations, which are legal fictions. The end result is we now have corporate rule of every aspect of our lives.  Let me give you an idea of the scope of the problem.

The Corporation controls:

  • Our industry – small mom and pops and independent businesses have increasingly been taken over by large corporations like Wal-Mart and the laws have been re-written to favor them
  • Our banks – small, independent, local banks have been taken over by huge multinationals who have engaged in criminal practices that have crashed domestic and foreign economies and who continue to illegally foreclose on homeowners
  • Our energy sources and policy – big polluters fight greener alternatives, such as solar, wind, geothermal, rapid transit, while receiving government subsidies to continue to pollute
  • Our healthcare –big pharma pushes Rx drugs, insurance companies and hospitals are run as for-profit enterprises, research is corrupted, biotech companies patent life forms, including human genomes
  • Our food supply – agribusiness dominates with their use of GMO’s, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives=denatured, poisoned food
  • Our natural world – oil drilling and oil spilling in sensitive, pristine areas, fracking and destroying aquifers, spewing CO2 from industrial plants, slashing and burning the rainforest, dumping nuclear waste in the ocean, toxic waste in landfills, clearcutting forests, mountaintop removal mining
  • Our airwaves – corporate giants have taken over major networks: GE (NBC), Disney (ABC), Westinghouse (CBS), Time-Warner, individual media moguls like Rupert Murdoch control huge markets (FOX Networks, 20th Century FOX, etc.) and Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network) while simultaneously fighting to end public television and radio, which is one of the only independent alternatives
  • The Internet – Internet Service Providers like AT & T, Verizon, Time-Warner track usage, attempt to curtail or eliminate access, pressure the FCC for authority to control online activity, back bills like SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA
  • Our drug policy – corporate interests support the “war on drugs”, thereby perpetuating a black market and violent cartels and the criminalizing of substances like marijuana in order to maximize profits from legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco)
  • Our foreign policy – big oil, industrial giants who produce fuel, weapons, and equipment foment and profiteer from wars as they receive giant government contracts
  • Our commons – corporations bankrupt local governments, convert and take over public land, property, and infrastructure for private purposes and corporate gain; exploit natural resources—minerals, forests, oil, water–for private profit with no concern for environmental and health consequences while paying no royalties
  • Our government – Congress, the White House, and the Courts

1. Lobbying and the revolving door – corporations manipulate congress, regulatory agencies for the benefit of private enterprise to the detriment of the taxpayer and voter

2. Elections – corporations buy elections by funneling huge donations into campaigns while trying to suppress the vote of those who would oppose them

3. Representatives and justices – corporations buy influence by campaign contributions, perks, junkets

4. Legislation – corporations support and even write laws that benefit corporate interests rather than the interests of the people and fight passage of laws that would protect the citizenry

5. Ballot Initiatives – powerful corporate interests promote ballot initiatives that are often wolves in sheeps’ clothing that serve their interests at the people’s expense while dumping huge sums of money into defeating others like the tobacco industry did with Prop 29 in CA June 2012.

Corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” are at the core of this systemic sickness of profiting from violence, exploitation, and the stripping away of the constitutional rights of real people that has infected not only our nation but our world.  There have been plenty of attempts to try to legislate campaign contributions, as well as environmental rights, workers’ rights, gun control, protect our food supply, and many other issues, all to no avail because the corporate world can and does litigate all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary on the basis of their supposed “rights” as “persons” being abridged or denied.  “Personhood” was the prize they sought back in the 1800’s because they knew it would enable them to challenge every single law that local, state, or federal governments tried to pass to limit their abuses and protect the economy and the citizenry.

For example, money as “speech,” which was expanded upon in Citizens United, is based on the First Amendment, to which corporations have been enabled to claim they have a right because they have been recognized by the Supreme Court as “persons.”  This decision allowed corporate interests representing the 1% to contribute millions of dollars in this last election cycle and will continue to allow the outright buying of elections and representation until we pass an amendment to the Constitution correcting this misappropriation of personhood standing to artificial entities, because any legislation that is passed will be struck down by the courts until “personhood” that was wrongly awarded to corporations is abolished.

People who are aligned with corporations will be the last to acknowledge the clear choice between profit or peace and that violence has been turned into a commodity by corporate greed, but eventually even their denial will be shaken I believe as the dark side of the corporate world is exposed to the light of day. The recent shootings reveal this to an excruciating degree as weapons and munitions manufacturers profit exponentially in the wake of these tragedies like Newtown, something they bank on and which they work to ensure through organizations like the NRA.

The TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership “treaty”, also known as NAFTA on steroids, is another extreme current example of the insidious overreach of corporations and the extent to which they have infiltrated and control both major parties and run, and will even trump, government if TPP passes, as it will institute corporate world government where corporate tribunals will have the final say. It is vital that the public be made aware of these attempts to circumvent democracy and nullify the will of the people and the fact that nothing short of a constitutional amendment will remedy these abuses of power and unrelenting attacks on our freedoms.

Though the process is difficult and requires a sustained effort, the fix to the massive amount of problems we face is elegantly simple because all of them are traceable back to the abuse of the misguided notion of corporate “personhood.” Once this is corrected, laws can be passed to regulate corporate excesses and they will stick, because there won’t be any basis upon which to challenge them. Our non-partisan organization, Move to Amend, is building a grassroots movement towards this end, and keeps its eye singlemindedly on the goal of returning the power to the people via constitutional amendment to end corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.”

Our government has been bought and has allowed the corporate world to monopolize every sector of our economy and commit unspeakable crimes against humanity and the environment while escaping all accountability, paying no taxes, shipping our jobs overseas, and bankrupting our country while getting government contracts, subsidies, and bailouts. All of this has been made possible by the expansion of the unconstitutional concept of corporate rights. This insanity has to end.

Honoring peace, remembering our dead who are victims of all the forms of violence, and finding solutions means not only addressing the immediate crisis, but turning away from violence for profit and illuminating the clear choice between profit or peace by expanding the conversation to all of the ways in which violence is perpetrated, not simply by individuals with guns. We are either building peace and non-violence, or we are destroying it through pursuing profit through violence. As long as corporations and the profit motive rule, we will never have peace.

We must amend the Constitution to end the corporate takeover that has allowed the wealthy elite to ruin our economy, strangle our democracy, commodify and profit from violence and destroy our society, our country, and our world.  Join us at Move to Amend in reclaiming our democracy by working for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” so that we may build a healthy society and world not based on profit, but on peace!

All for One, and One for All

We need a new national motto.  I have always loved the Three Musketeers’ motto, “All for One, and One for All” (unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno) because it speaks to the best of all systems:  it acknowledges the importance of the collective as well as the individual, and does not put one before the other.  If we were to think in these terms, we would have a much better life and system of government because everyone would be equally important and no one would be sacrificed for the good of the whole.  Think about that.  If we were to adopt this motto instead of the “In God We Trust”, how would our outlook, self-esteem, and behavior towards others change if we felt truly valued and indispensable!  Instead of engaging in endless wars because God is “on our side” and constantly fighting for our piece of the pie, we would instead be looking out for one another, ensuring each other’s safety and well-being, and making sure each person’s needs were met. No one would be attacking Social Security, Medicare, or the commons:  national parks, natural resources, a clean environment, a postal system, libraries, or single-payer healthcare.  They would all be seen as human rights because we as valued citizens would be entitled to them!

There is a serious need to shift towards more pro-social values like inclusion, sharing, and cooperation vs. anti-social values like exclusion, hoarding, and competition and we would be much better off if we switched to the motto, “All for One, and One for All”, which is Switzerland’s national motto, incidentally.  Switzerland, as you may know, never engages in war, doesn’t get embroiled in taking sides, is actively involved in international peace-building processes, home to the Red Cross, is one of the richest countries in the world, boasts cities with the 2nd (Zurich) and 3rd (Geneva) highest quality of life on earth, and has a direct democracy instead of a representative one.  There’s a lot we could learn from Switzerland, and I think their choice of national motto is both a reflection of and a reason for the country’s success.

I would like to suggest that we all give serious thought to adopting “All for One and One for All” as a personal motto.  Try it out for a week or a month, and see if it doesn’t change your outlook.  I’m betting it will help you feel less isolated and alienated,  more peaceful, and less stressed.   I believe it epitomizes the Occupy Movement (and every populist movement) and should become the rallying cry of Occupy.  Then maybe we can convince cities, communities, and eventually the country to consider endorsing it, and then it could become an international campaign.   All for One and One for All!