July 30, 2012

Jill Stein to hand in insane number of signatures to get on PA ballot- 1 day early

Via PhillyNow

After a last-minute signature drive, the Green Party of Pennsylvania will hand in signature petitions to get on the presidential ballot tomorrow—a day earlier than expected and required.

Petitions are due Wed., Aug. 1 to get the Green Party’s presidential ticket of Dr. Jill Stein andCheri Honkala on the ballot. But according to the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s team coordinator Hillary Kane, those signatures will go to the Pennsylvania Department of State tomorrow. “That’s the plan,” says Kane, whonoted just two weeks ago the party had collected about a quarter of the required signatures for ballot access.

Third and independent parties that want to put a candidate on the ballot in Pennsylvania are required to hand in the number of signatures equaling two percent of the highest vote-getter in the previous state election. This year, that number stands at 20,601 signatures for ballot access. However, due to the legal challenges that grassroots ballot petitions in the state often face from establishment candidates, would-be political candidates of all stripes now consider it a practical buffer to gather about double the number of signatures required.

In 2006, Green Party senatorial nominee Carl Romanelli handed in was required 67,070 signatures—the most in Pennsylvania history—handed in over 100,000 and was still kicked off the ballot by lawyers representing the Democratic Party and candidate Bob Casey. Due to Pennsylvania law that requires rejected ballot petitioners to pay the legal costs of the party who challenged them, Romanelli still owes over $80,000 in fees to the Democratic Party, which he refuses to pay.

This year, the Greens’ goal had been to hand in about 40,000 signatures. Kane says they’re close. “We don’t know for sure [how many signatures will make it to Harrisburg],” she says. “My best guess is at least 35,000. We’re hoping for closer to 40 [thousand].” Canvassers, including members of the Green Party of Pennsylvania and Jill Stein for President staff, are still collecting signatures today.

Stein will join her veep candidate, Philadelphia activist Cheri Honkala, for a press conference in Harrisburg after handing in the petitions. They plan to appear in Philadelphia on Wednesday for a protest at Fannie Mae.

This post has been corrected with regard to the number of 2006 ballot signatures handed in by Mr. Romanelli.

Lee Camp and Negin Farsad ask Jamie Dimon to Step Down

Tired of the big banks buying off our democracy? http://DumpDimon.com

Watch this video of Lee Camp and Negin Farsad asking Jamie Dimon why he wants to regulate Jamie Dimon. Then join the campaign to push / kick Jamie Dimon off the Fed.

Negin Farsad and Lee Camp came out to deliver 30,000 petitions to CEO Jamie Dimon at Chase's HQ in Manhattan - watch what happened next.

See my interview with Lee Camp here. And Lee Camp's interview with me, here.

The Euro was DESIGNED to fail

via Lee Camp's Moment of Clarity.

See my interview with Lee Camp here. And Lee Camp's interview with me, here.

July 29, 2012


Today in Burlington, VT there was the Conference of Governors, who met with Provincial Premiers of Canada to discuss, among other things, the Tar Sands pipeline that will be going from Fort Murray, Alberta to Portland, ME:

As the Delegate Buses were leaving, Occupy New England Regional Gathering formed a blockade to send a message about Tar Sands.

The police responded by firing pepper balls, rubber bullets, spraying pepper spray, and beating people with nightsticks.

Said Kara, an eyewitness, "The Riot police geared up, skipped buttoning their clothes, and slammed people into the ground soon after they had used pepperspray and shooting rubber bullets at the protesters. This was the first time."

According to Kara, the protesters were not detered by police violence, and regrouped to form a second soft block for a second bus. The police proceeded to respond to nonviolent tactics with violence.

At least 6 injured.

Call Burlington Police Department @ 82-658-2704. Twitter: #btvconverge, #j29

Why I'm Running

Today's Music is by Hop Along: http://hopalong.bandcamp.com

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The Species of Activism

The following is a lecture I gave at the annual "Peace of Mind" conference on behalf of New Hampshire Peace Action in the spring of 2010.

With my online persona, I blog, I make videos, and attend conferences, and do other things.
In real life, I work full time in a factory, I play in a band called “Theodore Treehouse” and serve on the Maine Green Independent Party steering committee. I’m much more boring in real life than my online persona makes me seem. When Will Hopkins asked me to fill this slot for Yael Petretti, I had no idea what I was going to do. He joked that this part of the conference would be changed from “Compassionate Listening” to “How the Punk Patriot is going to save the world.”

I’m not here to tell you how I’m going to save the world though. Not only is that incredibly vain, it’s an absurd thought that one person on their own can save the entire world. But what isn’t absurd is that one person can make a profound difference. You can make a profound difference on a global scale, or you can make a profound difference on a local scale. You can make a difference, and what you choose to do with your life DOES matter.

To do that, I’m going to talk a little bit about where I come from. I’ve always been a political activist. It was an accident. When I was a child, my mother was sort of politically active, and I went with her to political events. I vaguely remember attending meetings at churches and town halls. I remember more vividly walking door to door with her, and watching her talk to people in our neighborhood. I remember it being a problem that people would dispose of toxic fluids down the storm drains. I remember going out with my mother and spray painting stenciled warnings in front of storm drains telling people not to dump their paint or other toxic fluids there.

When I was in middle school, I was living in a rural community in the Bangor area of Maine. Our town council was made up of conservatives to believed that raising taxes was one of the seven deadly sins. They wanted to cut taxes, and cut spending, across the board. Our school was not well funded to start with. We barely had an art program, and our music program consisted of a woman who visited several schools in our general area, wheeling in an electronic keyboard and passing out the lyrics to Abba songs, and she’d have us sing the main melody line while she played keyboard. I don’t remember learning much about music, nor did I feel particularly culturally enriched, but this seemed to satisfy the requirements of the school board, and it was a monthly interruption to math class-- for that reason alone we enjoyed it. Otherwise it was pure torture.
One member of our town council pushed very heavily the idea that the ballooning costs of public education was the cause of all our budgetary woes, that we as a town were going broke, and that we couldn’t afford to keep spending, and sought to cut spending across the board. Because of our Town Council’s proposed budget, our school was facing the reality that it might have to close down for most of the year, or maybe even entirely. A small group of people decided, and rightfully so, that this-- was complete bullshit. The final straw. Behaviour by our town council that was totally unacceptable. For a while there was a lot of vitriol from people on both sides of the fence. Those on the conservative side of the fence agreed that the School was too expensive and that taxes were too high.

The progressive side of the fence decided that education was important, and we shouldn’t neglect our kids, that education was valuable.

This group of like-minded women who knew one another through their kids involvement in Boy Scouts, through after school activities, they got together to do something about this. The town librarian, a handful of concerned mothers, including my mother, got together and started holding meetings to talk about what to do. They held meetings at people’s houses. They held meetings in the public library.

They decided what they’d do, is something radical, crazy even. They would go to the town council meeting, get on the speaker’s list, and COMPLAIN. And they did.

The delinquent kids of my school, whose parents both worked, or came from single parent households, leaving them with nothing to do at home until late at night, they would hang out at the library. They would normally skateboard and commit acts of minor vandalism. They were natural rabble rousers. Our town librarian had to regularly go outside and yell at them. So naturally they become good friends. When our librarian approached them and asked them if they would like to complain to the town council about how much our school sucked, they thought that sounded like a great idea. They even agreed not to cuss in their speeches.

The conservative blowhards on the town council decided that they had heard enough, and began parroting all sorts of stupid conservative talking points. One of them said to one of the mothers who had the floor, “Ma’am, the fact of the matter is, our school is not going to produce any rocket scientists.”

The other mothers organized their kids, and their kids’ friends. We got together to rehearse our speeches. We all went to the next town hall meeting wearing handmade t-shirts that said, “FUTURE ROCKET SCIENTIST.” We each got on the speakers list to talk about how much the school sucked due to underfunding, how important education is to our future, and how a small property tax increase would raise a huge amount of money for the school solving a lot of our funding problems. We asked,

“How often do you hear people rallying and asking you to RAISE their taxes?”

One astute member of the community decided that even more than persuasive emotional arguments, we needed to find out what the facts were. He did not believe it was true that the cost of education was ballooning, and decided to go to the town’s budgetary records held in the library, and look through the budgets for the past 30 years and enter it all into a spreadsheet. He found that expenses across the board were nominally flat, with an average fluctuation of 3 to 4%. But there was a bizarre anomaly: an account that appeared about 10 years prior, that was going up by one hundred thousand dollars every year. It was a reserve fund that the town council could use as a slush fund. And it had accrued about one million dollars over ten years. And this was back in 1990 when a dollar was worth about 40% more than it is today. The town council was taxing the town, and then not spending it on anything, at the expense of the public good.

He had a chart made up graphing the town’s expenditures. He made up a bunch of pamphlets with the same information. And two weeks before the referendum on the budget, he presented at a joint session of the Town Council and School Board. As soon as people realized that they were being lied to, it was an easy sell.

We organized the community, going door to door and explaining how the town council was taxing us and then not spending the money, and how they were lying about the school’s operating costs ballooning out of control. And we had the data to back it up. And my town rejected the town council’s budget by an overwhelming majority. In the next budget, we lobbied for, and won, our tiny property tax increase.

Nobody had to run for office. Nobody had to be impeached. It wasn’t a Democrat of Republican issue. It was just common sense, solid data, and math. It was good citizen ethic. We just did a voter education and a grassroots “Get out the vote” campaign.

We engaged in one of the forgotten parts of citizenship-- we LOBBIED. It’s a dirty word these days. But that’s only because too few of us do it. Too few of YOU do it.
Because of that experience, activism has seemed so natural to me. It’s just something that is part of every day life. Just like we are all supposed to brush our teeth and floss regularly to protect and maintain our dental health, we also need to be politically active on a regular basis so that we can maintain the health our democracy.


Let me tell you another story about somebody I know. I don’t actually know him directly, he is a good friend of someone who is, in turn, friend of mine. You may have heard of him. His name is Tim DeChristopher.

Tim DeChristopher was just an economics student living in Salt Lake City Utah. The Bush Administration was auctioning off public land for “energy exploration” aka strip mining. This land was owned by the public, land set aside during Theodore Roosevelt’s time for enjoyment by the public. And this auction and sale of this land was illegal. But the Bush Administration was a criminal government, they didn’t care much about the law, so it was happening anyways.

Tim DeChristopher and his politically aware friends heard about this auction going on. It was right around the corner from where they were already living and going to school. He and his friends decided that they needed to do something to stop it. So they came up with a plan to disrupt the auction.

They were going to go down and storm it, and then scream and yell and try to prevent it from happening. So he and his group of friends went down to the hotel conference room where the auction was happening. Just outside of the doors, his friends chickened out. But Tim decided he had to get in there and at least check it out. He figured he was going to go in, throw a shoe at the auctioneer, and then he’d get arrested, and that would be the end of it. But he’d at least bring some attention to the issue, and maybe delay it for a little bit.

What happened instead is much more interesting. He went through those doors into the area just outside, where he was greeted by a stern man in a suit. At this point, Tim thought to himself, “oh great, they’re not going to let me in.” But the man in the suit said, “Are you here to attend the auction?”
So after pausing just a split second, Tim responded, “why, yes, I am.”
The man in the suit asked him, “And would you like to bid in the auction?”
At this point Tim was thinking. “SCORE! I’m totally getting inside!”
“Why yes I would.”

And so the man in the suit handed him a bidding paddle with the number 70 on it.

So he went into the room, and he sat down in a chair with his paddle, and he began to look around the room. There were all sorts of old white men in business suits, and younger people like Tim, who were talking on cell phones, probably listening to old white men in business suits in offices far away from Salt Lake City.

As the bidding started, and plots of our public, federally protected land were being sold for $4 an acre, Tim decided that there was no reason that he shouldn’t bid too. He had a paddle. He had gotten inside legally. He had every right to be there, and every right to bid as well.

At first his strategy was to drive up the price to ridiculous amounts. And he did. He started bidding like mad until there was just a few other bidders, and driving the price up as high as the other guys were willing to go. Where plots of land were once selling for $4 an acre, they were now selling for $50 an acre, being sold in tracks of thousands of acres at a time.

But then, Tim realized-- it wasn’t enough to stick it to these criminals by driving the prices up. This land was public land, and it belonged to the public, not the coal companies, not mining companies. That land that they were winning, they were still going to strip mine public property. They were still going to ruin the local ecosystem.

So he decided he was going to just grab up all the land he could, and keep it out of the hands of these goons. And so he did. After winning every plot of land from that point forward, somebody from the FBI came over to talk with him, and he was escorted out of the building, and the auction was halted. Tim was charged and sentenced to two years for “bidding without intent to pay.” Which is interesting, because the auction he stopped was itself illegal. But he stopped it.

He and his friends have started an organization called Peaceful Uprising, and have begun organizing climate justice actions around the USA.


Another activist you have probably all heard of: Bradley Manning. Bradley Manning was just a Private First Class intelligence officer. He found though, that he had access to damning information about our foreign policy. So he allegedly burned it all to CD-Rs and sent that information off to Wikileaks. A fairly small simple action. But one with huge, sweeping consequences.
Rosa Parks famously decided one day that she was sick of being treated like a second class citizen. So she decided she just wasn’t going to take shit from anybody anymore, and in a simple act of noncompliance that anybody could have done, she simply refused to move to the back of the bus. She also decided to dedicate her life to organizing, boycotting, striking, and mobilizing her community.

Cindy Sheehan, attending a Veterans For Peace conference in Texas, realized that she was just a few miles away from George W Bush’s ranch. So she and a few others decided that they were going to camp out on his front lawn and wait to ask the president, “For what noble cause did my son die?” The media took notice, and she became a hero. But she’s just a person like you.

Tim DeChristopher, Bradley Manning, Rosa Parks, Cindy Sheehan, are not that different than my School Librarian, my mother, or any of you.

The only difference between the people in the stories I’ve told you, and anybody else you know is the following:

1) These “heroes” found themselves in a position where they could do something to make the world a better place. It came with a certain amount of risk to themselves. But, and this is the most important part
2) They did it anyways.

They are not super-heroes. They are not Saints. They are just regular people like you and me. They got more press than most, but the DNA of what spurred them to action, the essence of what drove them to act, is no different.

This sounds too simple. It’s almost boring. So let me call it by something that sounds far more fancy: Leadership.

Why did they behave the way they did?
What if they had waited around for the Obama, or the Nader, or hero politician of their time to fight all their battles for them?
What if Rosa Parks had waited around for somebody else to be Rosa Parks?
What if Bradley Manning had waited for somebody else to be Bradley Manning?
What if Cindy Sheehan had waited around for somebody else to be Cindy Sheehan?
What if Gandhi had waited around for somebody else to be Gandhi?
What if Martin Luther King Jr had waited for somebody else to be Martin Luther King Jr?
What if Tim DeChristopher had been like his friends, and chickened out at the front steps?

Why did these people take action instead of waiting for some politician to do things for them? Why did they decide that THEY should be the ones to make a difference, instead of waiting around for some activist hero to do it for them?

One word: Leadership.

What does it mean to be an activist?

I think to be an activist, a real activist, is to be a leader. A sovereign individual. When you decide that you are in charge of your own life, that you have a role to play in shaping the world around you, that your life has value and importance, that things like justice and truth are important, when you invest your hope in yourself and your community, instead of investing it in politicians and activist heroes, you are a leader. And the best kind of leader is the kind of leader that inspires people who are not presently leaders to BECOME leaders.

Leadership is something we desperately need in this world.
Activism is something we desperately need in the world. We need people who are able to not only diagnose our societies ills, but who are willing to treat them.

The Species of Activism

These are the medicines we have at our disposal:
Lifestyle Activism
Theater activism
Electoral Activism
Direct Action

One thing that I’m frustrated by, is that people often get into arguments about which one of these types of activism is the right one. This is an incorrect way to think about activism. Each of these has limitations, and each has benefits.

Lifestyle activism: It’s the kind of activism preferred by folks who feel totally ignorant about politics, and as a result totally disenfranchised from our systems of power. Buying organic food, wearing sweatshop free clothes, and eating a vegan diet are all noble things to do. Changing your diet to include more local food is also a noble thing. But some people don’t have that luxury. For instance, you cannot buy romaine lettuce in the bronx. In some parts of Chicago, you cannot buy a carrot. Your grocery store is 7-11. People living there don’t have the luxury of eating a vegan diet. They eat what they have available to them, which is a lot of dinty moore beef stew and fast food.
Riding your bike instead of taking your car will save you money, but 3/4ths of the US’s greenhouse gases come from processing and burning coal and other fossil fuels for electricity. More than half of that electricity goes to private industry-- factories, and even... power plants. For instance, Nuclear Power requires the consumption of electricity, which comes from burning coal. Riding your bike will save you money. But it won’t change this.
What lifestyle activism can do is start important conversations about issue that you care about. It also allows you to be an example for others to follow.

Theater activism: This is the form of activism that we are all probably most familiar with. We go to protests, we hold signs, we give speeches, we chant chants, we get into the media. The term “theater activism” makes it sound like it’s phony. It’s not. It’s an important tool in the tool box. Now theater activism is not unimportant. Theater activism raises awareness about your issue. It builds momentum. It brings people together into one place so you can do education, and organize them for education or electoral work later down the road.

Education: This can be as simple as having casual conversations with the people you know, or it can be as concerted an effort as going door to door to every home in your neighborhood and having a thousand conversations. It can be standing on a street corner and handing out pamphlets. It can be making YouTube videos. It can be updating your facebook status. I’m sure you can think of plenty more examples.

Electoral activism is another important tool in the toolbox. There are a lot of people who think that electoral activism is the be-all end all of activism. These people are usually partisan jerks who think everybody needs to vote Democrat, even if the Democrat is just as crooked as the Republican. I think that these people are wrong, but that’s another issue. Cindy Sheehan engaged in electoral activism when she ran as a Green Party candidate against Nancy Pelosi. Many of us wanted, and still want, to see George W Bush and Dick Cheney stand trial for war crimes. Nancy Pelosi refused to move forward on impeachment proceedings, and continued to vote to authorize funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cindy Sheehan wanted to call her out as a two-faced phony. So she ran against Nancy Pelosi in 2006. Ralph Nader was sick of seeing Democrats move further and further aligned with Corporate interests, and more and more against human interests, which is why he ran for President in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

Once you get your candidates into office, you have to hold them accountable. Or maybe there are people in office who disagree with you, and you want to change their mind. You can do this through lobbying them. Which is basically just another way of saying, “talking to them.”
I’ve lobbied for a few bills in the Maine State House, not as a hired representative of any organization, but as a concerned citizen. People think that if you go to lobby your representative, that they won’t bother listening to you. I’ve found the complete opposite to be true. Elected representatives, in my experience, are desperate to hear from people who aren’t paid to have a point of view. If you make an effort to speak your mind to your elected officials, whether at a committee hearing, or in a one on one meeting in their office, you will be heard.
(talk about IRV bill experience)

Direct Action:
Lastly, Direct Action is a form of activism that comes to mind when people say “activism.” Occupations, sit-ins, etc. In terms of escalation, it’s the last peaceful method of protest. In it’s most broad definition, it’s when you do something that directly prevents something from happening. It might be Matthis Chiroux laying down in the middle of the street outside Fort Hood to stop the buses carrying troops to be deployed. It might be members of environmental groups camping out in the tops of trees in old growth forest. It might be the activists at the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, forming human chains, blocking entrances and intersections, shutting down the WTO convention. It might be activists occupying the SEC building this October, or occupying Wall Street this month on the 17th. Or it could be as small as stepping between two people who are fighting and breaking it up.

All of these are options for you as you set out to tackle problems you come across.
So if being a leader means being an activist, what does it mean to be an activist? It means that you are in control of your own life. That you are participating in systems of power. That you have taken control of your own destiny. That governing is something done by you, not to you.
I would just ask you all to join me in a saying something that for me, has carried me through times of doubt and struggle. “We have a duty to fight. We have a duty to win. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our fear.”

July 26, 2012

Keystone XL didn't die, it just changed names

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Why I'm a Democratic Socialist

The stories we tell ourselves are all essentially just lies that we tell ourselves so that we distract ourselves from noticing how shitty and meaningless our lives are.

I know that coming from me, a white male living in a 1st world nation, that sounds like I'm just being ignorant or bitchy about not having everything handed to me, but it's totally not the case.

I'm just recognizing what can only be described as a fact. Life is shitty. To be alive, no matter WHERE you live, is to suffer.

So let's get ethnocentric for a moment-- Here in the United States of America, we've got this narrative that we tell ourselves. That if you just work hard, do the right things, and you'll get ahead.

We go to school and school sucks, but we're told that we're supposed to endure being bored while being fed lies about Europeans who got lost and “discovered” places where people were already living, told a bunch of dates from history that have absolutely no meaning or relevance to our tiny myopic 10 year old universe, having dodgeballs hurled at our heads in gym class-- and with all of it done in shifts, like at a factory, which was designed to mentally prepare us for a life of working in all those factories that left the country 30 years ago. For our tests, we regurgitate answers without understanding them, and we accept things our teachers tell us without thinking about them. And we call that “learning.”

And it sucks, but we endure it all. In fact, we work really hard at doing well at this thing that sucks, because if we do well at this thing that sucks, it opens up this chain of possibilities for other things that suck, but supposedly lead to better things (but which in reality, also suck). If we do well in school, we're supposed to be able to get into a good university, and then we stress out and work really hard going to that university because if we do well, we supposed to be able to get a good job. And then you get a job, and you work really hard no matter how much you hate it, in the hopes of moving ahead in your career, so that eventually you'll get to a point in your life where your body is giving out, and your organs are failing, you can do all those fun things that you wanted to do in life.

But it's all a load of bullshit. We are constantly deferring our happiness today for this abstract happiness in the future which never materializes. And it's not going to either.

Well, I mean it could work out for you that you get your story book ending where you live happily ever after, but more likely than not, it's not going to work out that way. You're just going to keep suffering through the shit in front of you today, and then at the end, you just die, and it's all shit. It's just one long line of continuous shit from birth till death. Rather than getting ahead, you spend every day giving it your all just trying to keep what little you have, and then you're even losing ground, day after day, no matter how hard you work.

That procession of success we're all told to believe in is complete and utter bullshit. Some people have the right skills or the right connections and happen to be in the right spot at the right time and get lucky, but most people don't.

Some people don't go to college, walk into a street while drunk, get hit by a car, and end up with a huge settlement, and then invest it in something that makes them rich. Some people just happen to be born to the right parents. Some people just happen to be born to the wrong parents. There's just no fucking rhyme or reason to anything, and it's foolish to assume that anything in life is going to resemble ANYTHING like fairness.

Some people are able to amass huge amounts of wealth for no goddamned reason, and most people end up with little or nothing. That's how we currently organize our society. And part of that too, is that's just how life works-- some people get rewarded for doing the totally wrong thing, and some people get punished for doing everything right. Being successful in life seems to be a lot like winning the lottery-- it's just random chance, and it's totally out of your control.

Unless you happen to be born to the right parents, the parents of successful capitalists, and then you can use your money to do all your work for you. Then you can hire people to do other things for you. You can even hire people to do your hiring for you. You also get buy politicians, politicians who will change the laws to make it easier for you to do whatever the fuck you want to.

While there is abundance which can only be described as insane for a small few, that wealth is gathered by force from everybody else. And that is where poverty comes from.

So if we're living on a planet where odds are, you just happen to be born to the wrong parents, you know, parents with brown skin who live in a place without clean drinking water, how can we say, “well, there's some winners who profit from being born to rich people who use money to buy force to control natural resources and fuck other people over, and that's totally fine with me” and then call ourselves moral, or ethical?

If you subscribe to the theory that we live in a cold and uncaring universe, and that life on the planet earth is as fragile and meaningless as mold in a bathtub, you quickly realize that the world is filled with suffering FOR NO GODDAMNED REASON, and the very least that we can do is reduce the total amount of suffering on the planet by evening things out a little bit.

And that's why I'm a Democratic Socialist.

July 24, 2012

Are you a Green? Why?

The number one problem that Greens face is that people don't know who we are, or what we stand for. To fix that problem I've set up a tumblr account to which anybody can submit their reason why:

Here are my favorites so far:

Go ahead and submit your own!

July 22, 2012



Cops shot non-lethal rounds toward men, women and children and unleashed a dog who charged toward a stroller during a clash with mostly Latino residents in Anaheim following an officer-involved shooting there.

July 20, 2012

Jello Biafra: Insurrection on all fronts

Do I see eye to eye with Jello, or does he see eye to eye with me?

The Democratic Party is irredeemable and unreformable

Cynthia Dill's run for US senate is a prime example

If you run into people who think that running as a Democrat is a good way to seek reform at the national level, tell them to follow this race in Maine: Cynthia Dill for US Senate.

The DSCC (Democratic Party Senate Coordinated Campaign) doesn't even mention Cynthia Ann Dill or that she won the primary of the Maine Democratic Party in their write up about the race.

Instead the DSCC chooses to talk about how the corporate-funded independent with ties to clearcutting... is an "Obama supporter."

Well first, I'm not an Obama supporter, because I don't support incinerating women and children with drone strikes, and I don't support the executive branch having the authority to assassinate people, or keeping a "Kill List."

But let's just put that aside for a second.

This just goes to show how completely corrupt the DNC is. Why is that the case? Why are they backing a corrupt, millionaire independent over a politically progressive woman that their own Party nominated through the democratic process?

Well, I would say that they are concerned with winning, but that's not true. If that were the case, they'd be dumping DSCC money into Dill's race, which they are not. And besides, the past 20 years show that they have made a pretty successful career out of chronically losing -- losing on the agenda front, losing on the congressional seats front...

Could it have something to do with the fact that Dill states that she is opposed to PACs and supports amending the Constitution to eliminate corporate personhood? (Thereby pulling billions of dollars out of the industry that is politics.) I think you'd be on the right track there. They are not concerned with policy. They are not concerned with the well being of the average American. They scapegoat the republicans, and willingly step aside on key issues that they should be digging their heels in on.

I have a theory that because Cynthia Dill is a real progressive, is opposed to the NeoLiberal agenda of Bush and Obama, that the DNC is pulling the rug out from under her because she would show how corrupt the DNC is. She would potentially be a thorn in their side. This is what I learned the hard way back in 2007 working on Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign. As Howard Beale said in the film Network, "I have seen the face of God."

Since then I have Registered Green, haven't looked back since. If Cynthia Dill were to have registered Green, we might not have had a giant political machine to push behind her with, but she'd at least have the formal backing of the party that she is registered with at a National Level.

The DNC is beholden to corporate money, wall street, the war machine, and that's it. They are irredeemable, unreformable, and corrupt beyond repair. Your time would be better served walking away from them, and building an alternative.

Colin Beavan, aka "No Impact Man"

Colin Beavan is running as a Green in New Yorks 8th congressional district in Brooklyn!

Jill Stein on CurrentTV's "War Room" with Jennifer Granholm


July 16, 2012

Talking Points on Welfare: parts 1-4

Part 1

So after my last video on How to Fix the USA’s Economy, I saw a lot of ignorant comments in the comments section about WELFARE.

They weren’t NEW ignorant comments, they were the SAME ignorant comments that you hear over and over. Apparently nobody out there is challenging people on their declarations, and allowing the virus of ignorance to spread.

So I wanted to make a list of facts and talking points for progressives when confronted with these conservative... well, let’s call them what they are-- they’re LIES, and stop the spread of ignorance in it’s tracks.

So let’s go down the list, and tackle them one by one, shall we?

1) Welfare spending is the reason our government is in debt.

If you had the choice between giving somebody a dollar and getting back either $1.50 or $0.80, which would you choose? Hold that thought.

According to USGovernmentspending.com The Federal Government is committed by law to spending 557 billion on welfare in the year 2010. Which seems like “Oh my! That’s a lot of money!” Which, for one person, yeah it is. But for our federal government, not so much.

Especially when you compare that to the $895 billion we’re committed to spend, by law on Defense spending. Which doesn’t account for the $711 billion in our discretionary spending on stuff like the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and useless cold war-era weapons that we don’t even use, and never will.

Next you have to take into account what we get for those dollars spent.
Most economists agree on the following figures, including conservative ones:
Welfare spending has a fiscal multiplier of about 1.5-- while military spending has a fiscal multiplier of 0.8.

To which you might say, “wow, you just said some numbers, but what the hell does that mean? It means that for every dollar our gov’t spends on welfare, we get one dollar and fifty cents back in the form of GDP. With military spending, for every dollar we spend, we get back $0.80.

That seems really stupid. And that’s because it is. Which is why politicians frame their arguments about or disgustingly wasteful military spending as being “patriotic” or “supporting the troops.”
How much support actually goes to our troops? You, know, like after they come back from getting shot at and having their legs blown off?

According to the White House’s own figures, we’re slated to spend $125 billion on veterans affairs. And we all know about staffing shortages and underfunding that goes on in our VA system. So clearly this isn’t about supporting our troops.
For those who don’t care about human lives, and only the hard economics, I want to ask you again: If you had the choice between giving somebody a dollar and getting back either $1.50 or $0.80, which would you choose?
Now for the humanitarians out there, if you had to choose between giving somebody a dollar to feed their family, knowing you’d get back $1.50, or give somebody $1 knowing that your next door neighbor would have his legs blown off and you’ll only get back $0.80, which would you choose?

Part 2

Talking Points and facts on Welfare part 2:
"I was denied welfare because I’m white."

The largest population of welfare recipients, by race, is white. So that’s clearly false.

You were denied welfare because conservatives like you threw a hissy fit back in the 1990s, because you thought it was too easy to get on welfare, and that too many people were getting on it. Now that you’ve applied for it, you’ve seen hard to get on it, and rather than admit to your own mistake, now you’re playing the race card.

Part 3

People on welfare are mostly black teenage mothers:

FALSE: This is a fiction created by assholes like Newt Gingrich to get poor white people to get angry at poor black people, so that poor people in general would spend our time fighting against one another, instead of coming together and fighting against rich assholes like Newt Gingrich.
According to our gov’ts figures, white people receive the largest amount of welfare by race, making up nearly 40% of the welfare recipient population. 43% of welfare recipients with children have only one child, 30% have two, 15% have three, and there’s a real sharp drop-off after that.
Of those who are on welfare, and are mothers, 47% are between the ages 20-29. 32% are between the ages of 30-39. Only 7% of welfare recipients who have children are teenagers.

So sorry. The most common welfare recipient is white, between 20-40 years old, and has two kids or less.

Part 4

"Taxation is theft, why should I have my pay stolen to pay for a free ride for other people?"

This one is going to take a while to unpack. It requires some knowlege of recent economic history, which is going to mean explaining. I hope I don't bore you.

In 1960, the average household worked half as many hours. Adjusted for inflation, the Cost of Living was a third of what it is today. Yet, the average household income for a person in the lower 85% of income brackets, in terms of real dollars, has remained stagnant for the past 40 years.

That’s right, 85% of the population has seen their cost of living triple, has had to double their hours they spend working, and as a reward for working twice as much have LESS expendable income than we did 40 years ago.
To recap really quickly- [drawings] the dollar cost of living has tripled, but the actual stuff we’re getting for that cost isn’t three times better. We’re still buying pretty much the same houses and the same wonderbread and the same Jif peanut butter as we did 40 years ago.
So we’re paying three times as much today for the same things we had in the 1960s.
The Average American household had one income earner working 40 hrs a week in 1960, and that was enough to maintain a comfortable standard of living.
For twice as much labor today, 85% of Americans still have an income gap of a third. That money has to come from somewhere. Some households have two adults working 80 hours a week, and still struggle to make ends meet.
For 85% of Americans, we’ve been slowly eased into a starvation diet over the past 40 years.
That income gap, for many people, who thought that going on welfare was irresponsible, had to borrow their wages. Where did they borrow their wages from? From the wealth they already had. We’ve borrowed against our houses, and we’ve used credit cards to fill our income gap. We were told that this was the responsible thing to do. The fiscal reality of it, is that we’ve been cannibalizing ourselves.
If you look at this through another lense, by indexing things to the value of labor-- the value of the labor you produce has been devalued by two thirds. You have essentially been getting paid a third of what your labor is actually worth. That income gap of a third should rightfully be paid by our employers. And where has all that money gone?
Check Wall Street. While the value of our labor has been cut to a third of what it was, the value of labor of the average CEO has skyrocketed, from just 30 times the lowest paid employee at their company to 300 times the lowest paid employee.
So while the 85% of Americans who work our asses off just to get by, we’ve seen the value of our labor be devalued, fraudulently, by 300%. We’ve seen the value of labor of CEOs increase, fraudulently, by 1000%. What are they doing differently that they need to be compensated at 1000% more than they were back in the 1960s? Well, there’s a short answer and a long answer:
The short answer: Nothing.
The Long answer: Absolutely NOTHING whatsoever, at all.
Now, who has been deciding what everybody’s labor is worth? The invisible hand of the market? Bullshit. It’s been those CEOs. Of course they are going to give themselves raises and reduce the value of our labor by 2/3rds. They’re greedy, shortsighted people. You would probably do the same. Right? No, actually you probably wouldn’t, because that would be THEFT, and THEFT is wrong.

So let’s get back to our initial conservative talking point: Why should you allow somebody else to get a free ride from your labor? You shouldn’t. Which is why we need a maximum wage.
Is taxation really theft? Well, if you’re taxing that top 15% of people who have increased the value of their own labor and decreased the value of everybody else’s labor, we’re not stealing from them by taxing them to pay for welfare. The lower 85% earned that income, but were not paid that income.
The *real* problem is that those richest 15% aren’t PAYING what the 85% is earning by their labor leaving an income gap. How the hell are people supposed to fill that gap through working more if their labor just keeps getting further and further devalued?
With welfare. Welfare is just the lower 85% of people getting what their labor earned them.
If we don’t reverse this trend of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, eventually there will be no way for the lower 85% of Americans to feed themselves by our own labor.
At which point, we will be forced to kill the top 15% and eat THEM.

One source: http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/

Another one I didn't specifically use, but has a lot of the same info as a presentation given at the Commenwealth Club of California two years ago, by an economist whose name I can't remember:

July 11, 2012

David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Candidate for President and cofounder of Move to Amend.

Lauren (Blue Hair) challenges the NYPD to a rap battle

This is exactly the creative, nonviolent, provocative shit that I love to see.

Labor Abuse in the USA: Third World America

via WBUR's On Point:

We’ll look at forced labor in America. From a fish factory in Louisiana to the national picture.

The story out of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana sounded Third World. Guest workers in a seafood processing plant allegedly forced to work 24-hour shifts. 80-hour weeks. Barricaded in so they couldn’t escape. Threatened with beatings to work faster. Bullied. Underpaid. Families threatened. Forced labor.

Last month, Wal-Mart suspended the supplier of crawfish, and the horror stories ricocheted around the country. But in a bad economy, with the pressure on, exploited labor doesn’t just happen on the bayou.

This hour, On Point: On the bottom rung. Exploited labor in America.

-Tom Ashbrook

July 10, 2012


this is incredibly awesome

Via Wired Magazine:
He’s an anarchist-pacifist, he told me after our chance meeting, but he calls himself Anarchopanda. You can find tributes from his fans on Facebook and a handful of videos of him on YouTube, hugging the riot cops dispatched to suppress the spontaneous marches that have surfaced every night since the bill’s passage.

[Film] There's No Tomorrow

great film about why we are currently at peak everything

...and why Capitalism needs to end NOW.

July 5, 2012

The Punk Patriot interviews Lee Camp

Lee Camp's stuff: http://LeeCamp.net
His interview with me: http://leecamp.net/2012/07/podcast-146-asher-platts-sits-down-with-me-to-talk-occupy-his-race-for-the-senate/

BLOG: ‪http://punkpatriot.com
FACEBOOK: ‪http://bit.ly/1OtiqI
TWITTER: ‪http://www.twitter.com/punkpatriot‬
STORE: ‪http://punkpatriot.etsy.com

What do you do when the cops attack?

Stand up... spray back?

I was pepper sprayed for being near peaceful protesters in DC. Being pepper sprayed fucking hurts like hell.

Congrats to the Kiev police force, you've now been trained in how much pepper spray sucks. You get a gold star. And pains in your lungs for several days. And pain every time you take a shower, for like a week.

Also, looks like the Ukrainians have invented a new RevGame: Cop Surfing

July 4, 2012

Stupid Math Tricks

My friends on facebook have been passing around this stupid math trick:

A lot of the math here is slight of hand. I'm working it out right now on the back of an envelope.

You can reduce the equation to (250(80a+1)+2b-250)/2=x

The "+1" is cancelled out after you multiply by 250, when you subtract 250 at the end (250*1=250). So you can just eliminate both of those.

Then you have 250(80a)+2b

Using 111's as your numbers and isolating the parts of the equation you can see the sort of effect that they have.

So if a=111 and b=1111 you can see the following:
250(80*111) = 2,220,000 Or twice the first three digits in your phone number.

When you "+2b", you just get twice the last four digits in your phone number.

When you then divide all those numbers in half, you get your phone number. It's a roundabout way of just entering your phone number into a calculator and then being surprised that you got your phone number.

You're welcome.

July 3, 2012

Protesters at #NatGat Kettled

Lee Camp's interview with me on the Moment of Clarity Podcast


I have an interview with him as well, which I am hoping to get up soon. I've been having trouble with the files becoming corrupted either while editing, or while exporting the files from my editor, so I have had to start over from scratch a bunch of times.