How We End the Corporate Corruption of Congress

Make History. Restore Democracy.

Today is the day to get involved in Wolf-Pac.com!  Please join your State’s Wolf Pack. Each State has it’s own Google+ group, by which one stays connected to other volunteers in the state,  gets information about actions, and follows the progress of the Resolution in that state. Aside from speaking to one’s own State Representatives and Legislators, the most active participation is in making phone calls to the voters (in your state, and helping do the same for other states); this involves each signing up for short periods of time (an hour or two), generally during the evening, to makes phone calls to the constituents (the voters) within a particular Legislator’s district. The purpose of doing this is inform voters of the Resolution, its purpose, and to seek their support for it. Those that agree with our efforts are then asked to contact their local Legislator to demand their support as well.  A script is provided, as are all the phone numbers you’ll be calling.

Experience has shown us that these calls truly do have a tremendous impact on the way a State Legislator votes. When a Legislator receives even a few calls (less than 10) about a particular agenda, they begin to pay more attention. But Legislators who receive 15, 20, more calls from their personal constituency have changed their vote from a No to a Yes, in direct correlation to those calls. This is because, on the State level, we still have some semblance of Democracy that remains; our Legislators are still beholden to the voters, rather than to the Koch Bros, or Big Oil donors, etc.  They can be swayed to vote according to our demands.  When they receive a few phone calls or emails from their voters, they know that there 100’s more who didn’t call, but want the same thing. And if they want to keep their jobs, they will act accordingly.

The Resolution itself is a statement: only People have the rights of “Personhood” (you know, those things called Human Rights?), NOT Corporations. Further, because our Congress is so thoroughly corrupt as a result of the the influence of “dark money” and other lucrative donations, each State’s Resolution must demand to engage in a Constitutional Convention of the States, as described by Article V of the Constitution.

The purpose of a Convention is for the States to override the powers of Congress. In the simplest of terms, Article V states that when our Congress becomes too corrupt, threatens our Democracy and endangers the Republic that is the United States, it is the duty of the People of each State to correct the problem, by holding a Convention of the States. A Convention of the States is, in effect, the States acting as Congress should, making the changes needed, and necessary, to our Constitution, in order to restore the Democratic process in our Government.  To do so, at least 34 States must pass similar/same Resolutions that propose participation in this Convention, and 36 (or 37? 38?) to Ratify it (to make it a Constitutional Right, and binding).

In this case, it is the powerful influence of money in DC that we must change, the all-encompassing power of money that currently holds sway over the voting patterns of our Legislators in DC.

We have got to remove the ability of the Corporate elite to pad the pockets of our Congressmen and Congresswomen –thus ensuring their compliance in creating laws and regulations that bow to the whims and desires of corporations– and by denying them such, we return to a Representative Democracy, in which the power of our government resides with the People, and is expressed on a ballot in a voting booth. Once we pass such a Resolution in a majority of our States, and add it to our Constitution, corporations will no longer have the power to use their financial influence in our government. They will no longer be able to simply buy the votes of our Congressmen and Congresswomen in DC. In other words, we will dismantle the current Oligarchical system of government in which we currently reside.

When the States act as Congress, it will be for the sole purpose of proposing this Amendment. The Amendment will solidify our Human Rights, and deny those Rights to the non-living Corporate entities. Only Human Beings will bear the the right to elect representative  leaders, without the overwhelming influence of Corporate elitist financing, or massive 1% “campaign contributions” (ie, bribes).

We are snipping the puppet’s strings, and returning the Power of our electoral process to the People.  With the Oligarchy defeated, we can restore Democracy to its rightful place: into the hands of the People.

This is HUGE! We now have 4 States committed to this effort. Dozens more are gaining traction.  But we need YOU to help. This is YOUR Democracy. YOU have to do your part. Please, do your part –participate, donate, and share. Start by clicking here:

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Battle For The Net

Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

the internet's spinning wheel of death

the internet’s spinning wheel of death

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On February 26th,  just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you still don’t understand what Net Neutrality is all about,* Last Week Tonight comedian, John Oliver, explain:

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here:

 Countdown for Net Neutrality tools

Everyone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown:

Join the Battle for Net Neutrality

Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net on February 26th!

via Battle For The Net.

*shared for educational purposes only

The Arrests on Inauguration Day and the pride of Vermont, Ms Shela Linton

I read a wonderful article on a blog today, the Vermont Political Observer, entitled, A passel o’ peevishness on Inauguration Day (Part One) written by John Walters, in response to yesterday’s protest at the Vermont Statehouse.  The action, organized by the Vermont Workers’ Center, was a direct result to Gov Shumlin’s recent announcement that he would no longer be working to formulate a budget plan to support Act 48 –the law passed in 2011. This law made VT the first State to declare that Health Care is a Human Right, and as such will be publicly financed, and made available to all VT residents beginning in 2017. (In fact, it was the cornerstone of Mr. Shumlin’s promise to us that garnered our support, and got him elected.) The only point in this article, however, with which I disagree, is in his assessment of Ms. Shela Linton, the Field Organizer for VWC for Windham County, saying she should receive his “whiny award”.

What he did not realize –because the cameras did not capture softer spoken words of police to her, and details hidden, but seen by others to each side of her– is that the police began to apply their “motivate-with-pain” techniques within moments of their request for her to leave. Other passive-resistant arrestees (those who went limp) did not have their arms jacked up behind their backs, while their wrists were also being twisted in an opposite direction, to a pain-inducing degree. While Ms. Linton was still seated, an officer was beginning to apply this “motivation”, yanking her arm, bent at the elbow, upwards, and slightly into her body (which causes the arrestee to lean forward slightly, to force compliance) she stated, three times, and calmly, “you’re hurting me”. The officer then said something to the affect of “I’ll stop when you behave”. They proceeded then to haul her upright, and continued to apply even more pain inducement, which, as seen in the video, caused her to crumple to the ground. All the way to the processing room, they continued using the arm and wrist pain-technique; this was unwarranted and abusive. And it led to her need of emergency medical care.

The other woman of color in the sit-in circle, on whom less than professional and painful tactics were used, was also the only person to be placed in handcuffs, despite the fact that she had remained passive.  And, another person of color, there to support the sit-in protesters, was also handled, without cause, by a Statehouse officer, who then tried to deny his actions when the man protested having hands placed on him; except there was a witness, who spoke up and described to the officer exactly how he had placed his hands on the gentleman in an attempt to control the man’s movement while questioning him.

As for the arrestees, however, not a single other passive-resistant protester was “encouraged to comply” with the use of cuffs or with applied pain. The white arrestees were allowed or assisted to stand, or carried like a swing by the arms and feet, or simply dragged part way until another officer caught up to pick up the arrestee’s legs. Simply denying such discriminatory behavior–intended or not– does not erase the fact that it happened. And it won’t end until it is first acknowledged.

Remember, too, that this was an action of non-violent Civil Disobedience; all members who risked arrest had to agree to be peaceful, and non-combative during any potential arrest before being allowed to participate. In fact, this request was brought up to the group of protesters again, just prior to the start of the arrests, and all the members of the group reaffirmed their commitment to non-violent conduct if arrested. Even later, during the processing of arrestees, as one gentleman was expressing himself with more aggressive language, he managed to calm his expressive demeanor, when reminded by another arrestee in the room that his conduct represented everyone involved.

The proper way to remove a non-combative, but passive-resistant protester, in such a way as to minimize harm to both protester and officer, is thus: two officers stand side by side and in front of the arrestee; in concert they bend at the knee -in order to use leg muscles rather than strain back muscles- the officers loop his/her arm that is closest to the arrestee, under the arrestee’s armpit. Each officer uses bicep, shoulder and leg strength to lift the protester. The protester is then easily and safely be dragged backwards, without causing pain and minimizing potential injury. I saw this used many times during my time with the Occupy protest encampment on Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC (a good example here. Start at the 5:10 mark).

It is unfathomable to think that our own Vermont police ranks have not been taught this method. It seems they were aware of it, and were capable of implementing it with other, even larger sized, but white, protesters, as seen in contrast with the two videos here.

I know that, years ago, VT police were made aware of no-pain methods of removing protesters. I know this because, in the beginning of my own NVCD activism in which I risked arrest (and subsequently was), the resultant outcry over the abusive use of pain-inducing methods led to then-Governor, Madeleine Kunin publicly demanding that all non-combative protestors be arrested without the use of force. Further, she demanded that all police troops immediately be trained in non-pain inducing techniques to remove non-combative, non-violent civil disobedience protesters.

So I have to wonder: Why, in the face of such historical knowledge, did the police opt to use pain –and actual harm–in this instance? And why, specifically, were these methods used on the only protester whose skin coloring is darker than the greater numbers of obvious Caucasian NVCD protesters? The behaviors of the officers involved just stinks of outright racism, and must be addressed immediately. We are Vermonters, after all. We are better than that, and our police forces should reflect the highest kind and quality of non-discriminatory character that we strive for in this state. (Yes, I am sticking my Vermonter nose upwards, with obvious pride for my home state.)

Another unknown thing is how the police behaved after Ms Linton was loaded into the ambulance, crying, and cradling her arm.  When I asked to go with her, or to have another person close to her go with her in the ambulance (her own daughter, perhaps?), the police responded rudely, with a forceful, “No!” A crowd of released arrestees began to gather behind the parked ambulance, demanding that a person with close, personal ties to Ms. Linton, be allowed to ride in the ambulance with her. Suddenly, about a dozen other officers rushed out of the building, obviously prepared to engage with us in a perhaps not-so kindly manner.

Thanks to the quick thinking of Kate Kanelstein, another VWC organizer, who announced that she was being allowed to ride in the ambulance with Ms. Linton –after getting easy permission from the ambulance driver instead of the police– the crowd drew back. However, in some final angry verbal exchanges between police and protesters, one officer loudly proclaimed that “None of this would have happened if you’d just behaved yourselves and never showed up here in the first place.”

Uh, excuuuuuussse me?? Please tell me our police have, at the very least, a basic understanding of the US Constitution, and are aware of the fact that NVCD is one of the very highest forms of civic duty a citizen can, and should commit, to address, and change, the wrongs we see committed by our Government. And, ultimately, it is their duty to protect the citizens so that they may do so. (If they are not there to protect us, then what, really, are they for?)

For now, Ms. Linton, who was recently recognized as a “Women of the Year” in Glamour magazine, for being one of “50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference”, is recovering, with her arm in a sling as a result of the injury inflicted on her.  I have no doubt that she will continue her work, fighting for Justice and the Rights for all people, but especially for the people of Vermont, regardless of race, religion, orientation, ability or social status. She is just that kind of woman. She is just that kind of Human Being.

The media is most certainly likely to “spin” the story in various ways –undoubtedly, mostly negative–but I hope and pray that her efforts, as well as the efforts of the members and activists of the VT Workers’ Center, will meet with the successful end for which this action was intended: getting our legislature to have a public discussions on the different financial formulas that can, and will, support the implementation of Act 48, Health Care For All, starting in 2017.

And as for Ms. Linton herself, Vermonters should just be damn proud to claim a woman of her caliber –strong, outspoken, passionate, open-minded, intelligent, kind, and, oh ya, black— as one of our own. She is an amazing representative of Vermont’s tenacity, courage, and leadership in choosing to do what is best for all people, no matter how difficult the presented challenges may be. Personally, I am honored to call her “friend”.

John Walters’ article, by the way, concluded with what I felt was a sign of hope for the Act 48 activists of the Vermont Workers’ Center, and Shela Linton. It was with a quote from the Speaker of the House, Shep Smith, and with who’s words I, too, shall conclude:

“I think this was an incredible example of the openness of our democracy,” he said. “In the people’s house, people are allowed to petition, and I would expect that over the coming weeks, we’ll talk with people about setting up hearings.” [emphasis added, mine]

Now I think I’ll go back to that blog, to read Part 2.


Special thanks to:

The Commons Independent, Non-Profit Source of News and Views from Windham County, Vermont Image by Shanta L.E. Crowley/Courtesy photo, featured on The Comons Online http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=11304&page=1#.VLCIS_nNGPs

other referenced links:

Seven Days Vermont’s Independent Voice: http://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2015/01/08/massive-protest-disrupts-shumlin-inauguration

For more information about the work being done by The Vermont Workers’ Center, and to learn how you can help, please go to: http://www.workerscenter.org  Your tax-deductible contributions are appreciated, too!


Your considerate responses are most welcome, and appreciated.

A Recovering Racist for Justice for Mike Brown

UPDATE:

JUSTICE DEPT RULES THAT MICHAEL BROWN’S DEATH WAS A HOMICIDE

It found that Brown — who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 — suffered “severe injuries of the skull, brain and right chest” and appeared to have been shot in the hand at close range. “The manner of death is homicide,” the Justice Department’s medical examiner ruled.

The fact that Mike Brown was MORE than 130 feet away from Officer Darren Wilson when he was shot –NOT the less-than 35 feet as told in MSM–should have been all the evidence necessary to indict Wilson for murder. What more can I say? The higher percentage of whites making the decision, in an area that is nearly 70% black, predisposes the possibility of any true Justice by a majority white jury —skymama65

Dear Readers,

Right now I feel ashamed of my skin tone. I am outraged that yet another so-called “Peace Officer” has gotten away with murdering an unarmed black man. I’m so angry I’m still shaking from the injustice of it all. I’m so angry that I’ve come here to vent.

Before I say anything else, however, I need to admit something about myself that is very important for you to know about me:

I am a Racist.
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.