Bloodless Battles of (R)Evolution

I think one reason Democrats didn’t win the election on Nov 4th is because, in most states, there are so many other choices available for liberal, or left-leaning parties (Green party, Liberty Union,Progressive, Independent, etc) listed the ballots. All those choices allowed voters to vote with their conscience, rather than trying to choose “the lesser of two evils.” It can be a difficult choice to make, really; Is it “throwing away your vote”? Giving your vote to “the dark side” by default? We are taught that we have a Representative Democracy, and that we should vote for those candidates that better reflected our values, but it is often not possible with the current, limited, two party system.  The imbalance of political parties on either side of Liberal and Conservative detracts from the general Left/Right dichotomy presented to the voters.

Take this mid-term election as an evidential example of the flawed balance: In my state there were five Left-leaning candidate choices, including Democrat.  But, for the Conservative choices on the Right, there was only one: Republican. There wasn’t even a Libertarian, or declared Tea Party Republican choice! Only Republican. Suffice it say, it was an incredibly close call for the top position of Governor (the incumbent Dem was finally called). It does make sense, though. Liberals expand, while Conservatives, well, conserve.  Continue reading

on public versus private education…some thoughts

My area has some very fine private schools, but they are too far out of my financial reach to consider, even with the fullest scholarship offered. Honestly? In light of the difficulties my family has had with the local public high school, I would have preferred to send my daughter to one of them, rather than home school.  But these private schools are simply not accessible to us, nor to many who are low-income-to-middle-income. Even if the failures in public education are proven  to be the fault of that school, the amount the school district is required to pay to the private institution isn’t enough to cover the full costs. So what can a parent to do? How will the child be educated?  Should we move to another area and try a different public school? Even the cost of moving  can be a deterrent for many, such as myself.  Beyond homeschooling, what choice is there when public schools fail a child?

I do appreciate the existence of private schools. I really do. And I believe in our right to determine if the focus and specialization of a private school is right for our children, as long as the foundation of is based on honest, proven and factual information:

Wanna add your god to the curriculum? Have at it! But tell it like it is: it’s a belief, not a fact. Using the bible as the only source of your claims does not constitute proof of fact; it proves a foundation for your belief.  If agriculture is focus and structure used to educate, fantastic! Just remember to teach those kids the truth about the Native Americans who once lived on that land, and what methods were used to remove them from it; tell them where the survivors live today, and the conditions in which they are allowed to maintain their culture.

The most important aspect of education is to teach kids to exercise their critical thinking skills, so that they make their own decision about in what to believe, and can distinguish between that and the factual truths presented to them in core subjects. Let them decide if we were morally right to take this land, or if we should make reparations for harm done, and let them pray to their god as they plant their corn. As long as they learn that 2+2 is always 4, Hitler really did kill millions of Jews, and dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years before the emergence of humans, it’s good in my book… and  I really don’t care, then, if you believe it was a sudden, massive and spontaneous BANG out of nothingness that started the universe…or that it was some old guy with a long white beard, laying on a pillow of clouds, who pointed his finger and said “let there be…” and *poof* -there it was! Continue reading

I really don’t care if you think I look pretty when I run

Reading the thoughts of other strong women inspires me, and those willing to to use the word “Femism” and who describe themselves as “Femists” are definitely worthy of my time and attention. It was Fear and Hate within a patriarchal society that pushed the idea on us that Feminists are ugly, hairy, stinky man-haters. So many young women today, including well educated women, have fallen under the weight of the misconception that being a Feminist is a dirty thing. Yet if you ask a woman if she believes women should be paid equal wages for equal work, or if she should be respected when she says, “No”, and whether she has the right to live free of being beaten, abused and terrorized by a partner or spouse, or if she should be “allowed” to decide for herself whether she wants to carry a pregnancy to term– without any conditions (like being forced to submit to a vaginal probe with a sonagram dildo) and without false propaganda to try to scare her into making a decision that isn’t what she really wants– she is likey to say “Yes” to most, or all, of those. And thus, without realizing it, she has agreed to the very things that Feminism fights for every day.

In 2013 there were more than 600 new laws created in this country that specifically limit a woman’s right to make decisions choices that affect her body and health. Do you know how many laws were created that affect a man’s rights? None. Zero. Nadda.

I’m not a man-hater. In fact, I rather love them, and I love what what can transpire between us! But, I do feel there is still an imbalance, and that we, as women, are still kept subordinate to men. And it has to change. The dichotomy of male/female is one of many delicious, messy, fun, challenging, aggravating, yet all-together wonderful human experience, but the rules and roles have got to become balanced in such a way that we each, male and female, can respect each other, and allow each other to make choices that support our individual needs and rights. And that, my friend, is what being a Feminist is all about.

Fit and Feminist

A few weeks ago I was reading Facebook comments posted beneath an article about street harassment faced by female runners, and one comment in particular jumped out at me, from a man who wanted to know what was so wrong about letting a woman know she looked good while she was out running.  I commented and suggested that while I can’t speak for other women, I know that when I’m out for a run, pretty much the last thing on my mind is whether or not a passerby finds me attractive.

Anyone who runs with me knows that I tend to be gross when I run. I get incredibly sweaty – no “glowing” and “glistening” for this broad. My face also turns a lovely shade of eggplant.  I wear no makeup, just smears of sunblock and BodyGlide.  I spit when I run.  Like, a lot.  Brian says he can identify…

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an Activist Mama: a brain draining, unedited freeflow of thoughts

entering the mind of the Conservative, I crack…

Ultimately, it’s about the future we create for our children and the generations to come…if they come at all. Sometimes it seems as if there is no hope; we’ve poisoned our soil, cut down or ripped up more than half of our our forests and jungles, spilled vast quantities of toxins into our drinking water supply, poured garbage and oil into our oceans and dispersed particles of pollutants and radiation into our air. None of it has been by accident.

Our largest world industries, bent on building empires of unthinkable wealth, only at the tippity-top of the food chain of humanity, continue to grab resources produced by our beautiful planet –heedless of the warnings we little people drum, march and cry out about, and with reckless disregard of even the most minimum of protective regulations that we’ve place around them for our own safety. It is unfathomable to think that those in power don’t think of their own children’s future well-being, or how they can’t see and believe that their poisoning power is really causing damage.  How can they not believe it? Do they really not see it?

And, if they do, how can they not care? That is the most unfathomable part; the idea that they simply do not care. I can’t seem to wrap my head around that thought.

Sometimes, in trying to accept that thought, I try to understand how those in power –the Oligarchs– must think. How do their thoughts actually process what they see when evidence –real and honest, factually based evidence– is put before them? I do this because I know that the only way to really change something is to work it from the inside. So, into those brainwaves I dive. I’m falling….falling…into the abyss… Continue reading

Voter Lookup

There is a growing movement, comprised mainly of Millennials (the 20-somethings) who have become disenfranchised by voting manipulation and the corruption in Congress that has demolished our Democracy. The truth is, they’re right.

But to give up on voting right now, especially in this mid-term election, is the worst possible choice to make, IMHO, simply because it admits defeat, and adds another chain link to the yoke of oppression around our necks by the new Oligarchy –the 1%, the Corporatists… the Conservative Right Wingnuts who are hell-bent on bringing Fundamentalist -Ale Lay Loo Ya, Jayzus is Lord, Awl Mitey- Sharia style law down upon us. Given the chance, Corporations will have sovereignty over us all.

I refuse to bow before them. I will continue to fight them with every tool I still have. Voting is still viable. Weak, yes. Manipulated in many places, yes, but still powerful enough to keep our heads above water. USE IT, while we still can.

Then, continue taking the streets, Occupying parks, creating blockades around financial districts, and crowding our capital til the politicians can’t move without a social justice movement placard being waved in their faces. Inundate them with letters. (Hell, if it was possible, I’d do a  Citizens’ Arrests and charge ’em with Treason– because most of them have indeed committed Treason.)

If we can get a majority of Progressive candidates in, then we stand a chance of really weeding out the crooks.

And if you really want to restore our Democracy, then help empower our States to bypass Congress all together with an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States, to demand a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that states, unequivocally, that the Rights of “Personhood” belong ONLY to Human Beings…NOT Corporations. This will effectively overturn the disastrous SCOTUS ruling known as Citizens’ United, and other associated rulings that have given Corporations the power to control our lives and our Government.  More than 20 states are now in process of passing Resolutions demanding we do just that, and two have already done it!

Wanna know more? go to http://www.wolf-pac.com

And remember to VOTE in November. While we still can. Don’t let the Koch brothers own us.

of Money, Politics, Unions & You

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“Porkorate Paul” visits Fairpoint in Brattleboro Post Office

Meet “Porkorate Paul”, the enormous big pink pig seen squatting in the bed of a sign and slogan covered pick-up truck, puffing a cigar. He came to Brattleboro this Monday morning, October 20th, on one of his many stops throughout New England.  His purpose: to parade his pompous presumptions of wealthy entitlement over the lower echelon (that’s us). And like a boar, greedily tearing at the soil for every last morsel of truffle fungi, he is tearing and shredding the roots of Union strength–even at Democracy–with total disregard for the potential of our future economic health. “Porkorate Paul” represents the rapacious greed of Wall Street, draining Vermont (and the rest of the 17 states in which Fairpoint exists) of the few industries we have left that provide decent, living wages to its Union Member employees.

According to the Union-created website (see website at the end) of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA), less that two years after Fairpoint quintupled its size, by acquiring Verizon’s Northern New England service region, it filed for bankruptcy. In the process of reorganizing at last, a mere 191 wealthy creditors bought the “distressed” shares from the  previous half a million stockholders. Only five of those new creditors now control over 50% of the shares, (54.1%) and 4 of those 5 are hedge funds! Then, instead of creating another 675 new jobs as promised in Union talks, these shareholders cut 22% from the workforce –bringing total worker number of over 4,000 members to just over 3,100. In other words, a whole lot of bacon landed in a very few silk-lined pockets, while nearly 1,000 hard working people ended up on the unemployment line. Right now, those Union workers are on strike in protest of the broken promises from Fairpoint and it’s elitist shareholders.  

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communication Workers of America, on Strike from Fairpoint.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communication Workers of America, on Strike from Fairpoint.

If you understand this concept, that a strong middle class is the long-term foundation of a healthy economy, then you also understand that manipulation of the “buy-low, sell-high” stock market games of Wall Street, combined with undermining Unions, cutting a skilled workforce and replacing it with less qualified workers, and outsourcing, serves only to destroy the already dwindling middle class and further devastating our economy as a whole. The only ones that “win,” in the short-term are those at the very top; they are the one that cash out quick with their riches, leaving behind a trail of bankruptcies, lost homes, and unemployed talent that will then depend on social safety net services (into which they once were contributors).

Being extraordinarily wealthy, in a nation where a majority is poor,doesn’t seem like a healthy business plan. Cutting a raw deal for the original half a million stockholders (who had originally bought into the company with a real commitment to its long-term stability), is so heinous an act it has the feel of criminality to it;  it certainly does not promote longevity or stability for the company, but does lend to the continued degradation and collapse of our entire nation. Further enriching the fewer-than-200 investors and hedge funds in a short term, get-richer-quicker endeavor, completely undermines– really it voids– the company’s history as being a high quality service provider, with guarantees of  “Customer Satisfaction” (unless the only customers counted are the current shareholders). Causing unemployment and poverty for thousands of competent and skilled Union, and other, employees –despite the demand for more to service the extended service area– can’t even be called a “business practice”, for what does it have to do with keeping the company strong? All it does is cause poverty for the many, while a few gain some morsels of mushrooms. That’s greed, plain and simple.

So the pig analogy continues…

Fairpoint now competes with the corporate giant, Comcast/Xfinity. It’s grew over the years to become one of few fiber-optic telecommunication service providers to reach the rural areas that Comcast couldn’t be bothered to service.  It created thousands of well-paying jobs for skilled, organized workers. It meant that small states, like Vermont, had a growing middle class. Having a solid middle class is key to economic stability overall. That’s what Fairpoint was a part of… but apparently, not any more. At this rate, it won’t be long ’til Fairpoint is paying the equivalent of Walmart’s wages.

Unions’ histories prominently include: aiding in the end of child labor in this country, creation of the 8-hour work day, increasing quality of work and higher wages, and ending so many other unfair business practices, all of which brought helped in giving us decades of American prosperity. Union members helped build and sustain a middle class, and, truly, helped in making the US a great nation. But with the new masters for companies like Fairpoint, who are completely, and blatantly, disregarding promises they made, refusing to come to the negotiation table, and continuing to thumb their snouts at strike.2.jpgcourt ordered judgments….as they wantonly go on digging for their truffles without care…we see yet more proof we are no longer operating in a Democratic society, but in an Oligarchy. We are being ruled by the decisions and whims of wealthy Corporatists; and all for their own benefit. Supporting this claim is a ground shaking study that was released last April by Princeton and Northwestern Universities, entitled: “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.”  In it, the researchers analysed over two decades of detailed policy and data,  and were able to prove beyond doubt that our government no longer represents the US populations. Rather, it represents corporate wealth.

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Ellen Schwartz, of the Vermont Workers’ Center, joins the Union Strikers in solidarity. Please visit the Vermont Worker’s Center and the Put People First movement http://www.workerscenter.org

Yes, it does look grim. Maybe it even looks hopeless. Despairing, however, serves no purpose. That’s an act of genuflection to the “Porkorate Paul” dynasty, allowing him to grunt at us all on the way to the soup lines and tent cities. No more enormously big pink pigs in front of post offices, please!  Making Pork Pie is meant to be a shared endeavor. So is making the Vegan Tofu Pot Pie, a Kosher Beef pie, or whatever other Pie there is. We bring sanity back to our Democracy by becoming active participants in it.   

 Getting a piece of Democracy in action can be as simple as bringing your Right to Vote out next month.

Of course, to really make a difference, it’s going to take even more than that. We start by standing up and getting out into the streets, supporting  Workers’ Rights and Unions. And we take away “personhood” power of Corporations that has run our Democratic process amuck.  We put “Porkorate Paul” back in his pen.

Bringing this pig analogy to its conclusion once and for all:  Please follow these links to learn more, and to get involved.

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In solidarity, VT Workers’ Center volunteer, Ellen Schwartz, stands in the rain with Strikers

 Information on the current Strike against Fairpoint by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communication Workers of America, including history, issues and ongoing actions:

  www.fairnessatfairpoint.com

Information about the Vermont Workers’ Center activities and membership in your area, and its work in collaboration with other Human Rights organizations throughout the state.www.workerscenter.org

Support the 28th Amendment. No Human Rights for Corporations.

Support the 28th Amendment. No Human Rights for Corporations. Be a part of the Wolf-Pac!  A national non-profit movement that is leading the the fight to overturn the US Supreme Court decision, Citizens’ United, with a singularly focussed  Article V Constitutional Convention of the States, calling for a 28th Amendment to Restore Democracy.

Leading the pack to end Corruption in Congress, Reclaim Democracy, and create a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens’ United: No Human Rights for Corporations. Congress won’t do it, so it’s up to us. www.wolf-pac.com