Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hundreds of Children Remain Separated From Their Families

Choosing Democracy: Hundreds of Children Remain Separated From Their F...: Getty Images As Reunification Deadline Looms: Hundreds of Families Remain Separated Shortly before today's court-ordered deadli...

Children's Hope: Leisa's 2018 Haiti Journal #1 -- "We Continue to Pack" (July 9)

Dear Friends and Family,

This last Saturday, before our dear Haitian orphanage director faced pure chaos that set the streets ablaze in Haiti, we faced a sweet group of new Children's Hope Team members anxious to leave for Haiti later this month to help however possible. Such contrast, yet such similarity. Desperation driven protests fueled by fear and frustration in Haiti and such inspiring simple dedication to service and solidarity in our preparing team at home. Different sides of the western hemisphere - each side determined to serve justice, support life and aid dignity. 

The streets are on fire in Haiti.

We continue to pack.

The airport is closed. 

We continue to pack.

U.S. Embassy sent our warnings.

We continue to pack.

Please know that by your support we will get into this desperate country, held hostage by IMF imposed taxes and struggling just to get by. We continue to pack. Though this is the first time this year I have sent out a letter asking for support. I keep going to my porch and am welcomed with such simple pleasures as a sack of infant shoes, obstetrical delivery kits, infant clothes and sundresses.

We welcome your continued support, whether it is a text message, email, check to Children's Hope - or a surprise sack of shoes on our doorstep. We continue to go, we continue to need your help.

Peace, always and all ways,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Economy is Booming- And We Can Not Afford it

America Is Booming and Americans Can’t Afford It. We know the good news; we’re experiencing the bad. As everyone has heard, the economy keeps roaring along; the recovery that began in late 2009 is the longest in modern memory; unemployment hovers around 4 percent; the sun rises in the East.
That’s the big picture. Closer to earth, at least here on the East Coast, it’s been raining on us so long we have to take news of the sunrises on faith.
Closer to earth, today’s Wall Street Journal reports, homes sales are declining, the boom notwithstanding. Though economists are predicting that the economy in the quarter just ended will have grown by 4 percent, home sales have declined for five of the past six months when compared to their totals one year ago.
A particular weakness in the home-buying market is millennials, whose rate of homeownership is well below that of previous generations when they were under 35. Apparently, when you saddle millennials with record levels of student debt and strip them of the kind of employment security their elders experienced, they don’t buy houses as their elders once did, either.

U.S. Interferes In Other Nations' Elections

Election interference:
Did Russia attempt to influence the election? Undoubtedly. This is what governments do. The United States interfered in 81 elections from 1945 to 2000, according to professor Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. His statistics do not include the numerous coups we orchestrated in countries such as Greece, Iran, Guatemala and Chile or the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. We indirectly bankrolled the re-election campaign of Russia’s buffoonish Boris Yeltsin to the tune of $2.5 billion.
Chris Hedges 2018.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Left Democrats Organize

Bernie Sanders

Let me tell you about two different kinds of meetings that took place this past weekend.
On Friday, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I went to Kansas and held rallies with two great progressive candidates who are running for Congress. In Wichita, according to local media reports, more than 4,000 people joined us at a rally with James Thompson.

The rally in Wichita with Bernie, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and James Thompson.
Then in Kansas City, at our rally for Brent Welder, the convention center was so crowded the staff had to remove a wall in the middle while the event was going on to let more people in. These were incredible crowds coming out in more than 100-degree weather to participate in our political revolution. And, yes, this was Kansas where Republicans control almost everything.
There was quite a different event in Columbus, Ohio. Two hundred and fifty wealthy invited Democratic donors and Wall Street insiders came together at a gathering hosted by a real estate billionaire. Why were they there? The headline on an NBC News story tells it all:
"Sanders' wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here's how they plan to stop it. Party members and fundraisers gathered for an invitation-only event to figure out how to counteract the rising progressive movement."
What are they concerned about? That our ideas, such as Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges and universities, a $15/hr minimum wage and progressive taxation are now mainstream positions.
Make no mistake about it. The gathering in Columbus was not simply a social event. The corporate Democrats are plotting how to defeat progressives the only way they know how — with big money. But you’ve shown that, together, we can overcome their brand of pay-to-play politics.
Brent Welder is one of those candidates the political and financial establishment wants to beat. But if we’re with him, he’s going to win:
The big money interests should be scared. During the past two weekends, I have been traveling across the country and what I’ve seen has been remarkable. This weekend we were in Kansas. The previous weekend I was in Minnesota where we held two rallies for Congressman Keith Ellison who is running for Attorney General there. We packed “First Avenue” in Minneapolis where the crowd heard not only from myself and Keith but an inspiring speech by Ady Barkan. Diagnosed with ALS, Ady has dedicated the remainder of his life to fighting for Medicare for all and other progressive goals. It would be impossible to hear Ady and not be inspired.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What Is Democratic Socialism ?

Jacobin magazine
Everybody's talking about democratic socialism these days. .... the meteoric rise of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is now at 45,000 ...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

U.S. Public Approves of Socialism !

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
American socialism is having one hot summer. In New York, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, running as a Democratic Socialist, upset Rep. Joe Crowley, favored to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats, in the Democratic primary. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, running in the September primary against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has proclaimed herself a Democratic Socialist too.
Its numbers surging in the wake of Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory, the Democratic Socialists of America now claims 45,000 members. That’s a nine-fold increase over the 5,000 members (myself included) it had before Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders began his presidential run in 2015.
Connected to but distinct from the socialist surge, leading Democrats, not just from the party’s left but from its center as well — particularly if they have presidential aspirations — are embracing social Democratic policies. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has co-sponsored Sanders’ bill to supplant our unaffordable hodgepodge of a healthcare system with Medicare for all; so have her previously centrist colleagues, New Jersey’s Cory Booker and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, who also have endorsed Sanders’ proposal for a governmental full-employment program. Of the 57 Democrats who have won congressional primaries in swing districts and will challenge Republican incumbents this November, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, 33 support Medicare for all.
By running in Democratic primaries, candidates like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have made it easy for vote for them.

Democratic Socialist Grow

Democratic Socialists of America grow to 42,000

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

Opinion | Why Won;t Donald Trump Speak for America? - The New York Times

Opinion | Why Wont Donald Trump Speak for America? - The New York Times

What is democratic socialism

Trump and Putin

In Helsinki, the GOP War on the Enemy Within Reached Its Logical Conclusion. When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed, the American Right was faced with a conundrum. For most of the 20th century, it had defined itself by its anti-communism, the sole idea on which all wings of the disparate conservative community could agree. Moreover, anti-communism gave the Republicans a handy club with which to beat Democrats, since they could always attack the Democrats for being either soft on communism or, since Democrats believed in a mixed economy, being closet communists themselves. Then as now, Republicans were seldom deterred by an absence of evidence.
But with the 1991-1992 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the barbarians were no longer at the gate. The immediate beneficiary of this brave new world was presidential candidate Bill Clinton, whom the Republicans couldn’t attack, in the sudden absence of communism, for being soft on communism. There was still China, of course, but Republicans in those days and for some time thereafter liked China as a place where American corporations could do business.
Over the past quarter-century, however, Republicans have risen to the occasion: They have invented an enemy within whose purported terrors still drive GOP voters to the polls. The process began right after the Commies disappeared, in the 1992 Republican primaries, when Pat Buchanan proclaimed a culture war on liberals, minorities, and modernity itself—that is, on his fellow Americans. By 1994, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh were singing from the same foul hymnal, and one year later Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes came along to swell the chorus. From that time forth, the Republican mantra was established: The enemy was here; the enemy was modernity; the enemy was the Democrats.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Saving Our Democracy

The greatest experiment in democracy in human history is now being run like a gangster-state. And so we protest, not because we want to spend our days this way, but because now we have to spend our days this way. We protest in the same way the brave rescue teams in Thailand have repeatedly dived into the dangerous waters of the flooded cave, not because they relish danger but because to do otherwise would be a moral failing.
In the eruption of protests this past month, outside federal buildings in cities large and small around the country, along the border, at detention facilities, there are at last the stirrings of redemption. There is a moral outrage percolating now throughout this great land, a sense that, with the taking of the children, with the stealing of the Supreme Court, with the destruction of environmental regulations and the rolling back of 60 years of civil rights advances, everything is on the line.

In ever-increasing numbers, and with ever-increasing urgency, as our own political flood waters rise, so we will keep protesting, keep fighting, keep pushing back, until bit by bit we redeem this wondrous democracy from rule by thugs.
Sasha Abramsky is a Sacramento writer who teaches at UC Davis. His latest book is “Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream.” He can be reached at

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Democratic Socialism and the Democratic Party

Mehdi Hasan
July 6, 2018
The Intercept 
The modern, liberal, progressive America so cherished by Democratic Party elites might not exist today — were it not for socialists!

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a press conference at the Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center on February 21, 2018, in San Francisco., Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

IS DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM now in the “ascendant” in the Democratic Party? That was the question posed by a reporter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week, in the wake of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shock primary victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

And Pelosi’s response? “No.”

Elaborating a bit, she qualified that “it’s ascendant in that district perhaps. But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now.”

Who is she kidding? Ocasio-Cortez, a “Democratic giant slayer” (New York Times) who “rocked the political world” (CBS News), is now a household name. From the pages of Vogue to the studios of ABC’s “The View” and CBS’s “Late Show,” the Democrats’ newest star has been eloquently explaining — and detoxifying — democratic socialism to millions of apolitical Americans. “No person should be too poor to live,” she toldStephen Colbert, to cheers and applause, when asked to define her ideology.

Then there’s Bernie Sanders. Who’d have imagined that a self-proclaimed democratic socialist from the state of Vermont, who was pilloried for going on “honeymoon” to the Soviet Union, would become the most popular politician in the United States?

If socialism isn’t “ascendant” in her party, why did 16 Democratic senators join with Sanders in September 2017 to introduce his Medicare For All Act, a bill “enthusiastically” endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America? Lest we forget, only four years earlier, Sanders introduced a similar bill in the Senate that had zero Democratic co-sponsors.

Here are a couple of other questions for Pelosi to consider: If socialism isn’t “ascendent” in her party, why did nearly six in 10 Democratic primary voters in 2016 say it has a “positive impact on society” and four in 10 Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa describe themselves as socialists? Why did the New York Times publish a piece in April that was headlined, “‘Yes, I’m Running as a Socialist.’ Why Candidates Are Embracing the Label in 2018”?

Of course, this isn’t socialism of the totalitarian or even Marxist variety. Even by European standards, it’s pretty tame: Neither Sanders nor Ocasio-Cortez is echoing British Labour Party leader and proud socialist Jeremy Corbyn’s call for the nationalization of public utilities. “Many socialist candidates sound less like revolutionaries and more like traditional Democrats,” acknowledged the New York Times. “They want single-payer health care, a higher minimum wage, and greater protections for unions.” (Although Ocasio-Cortez did pay homage to Corbyn in her viral campaign ad, intoning that “a New York for the many is possible,” a phrase Corbyn himself borrowed from Percy Shelley.)

Nevertheless, leading Democrats have, for many decades now, run a mile from the socialist label. “We’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is,” Pelosi told a CNN town hall audience last year, when confronted by a student who asked her if the Democrats “could move farther left to a more populist message.” An anxious Barack Obama once called a reporterwho had asked him whether he was a socialist to say it was “hard … to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.” Hillary Clinton recently complained that her embrace of the label “capitalist” during the campaign “probably” hurt her in the 2016 campaign among Democrats.

Yet the modern, liberal, progressive America that is so cherished by Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democratic Party elites might not exist today — were it not for socialists!

TAKE THE NEW Deal. “FDR’s borrowing of ideas about Social Security, unemployment compensation, jobs programs and agricultural assistance from the Socialists was sufficient to pull voters who had rejected the Democrats in 1932 into the New Deal Coalition that would sweep the congressional elections of 1934 and reelect the president with … the largest Electoral College win in the history of two-party politics,” writesJohn Nichols in his book “The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition…Socialism.” Elsewhere, Nichols cites a 1954 New York Times profile of Norman Thomas, six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America, which described him as having made “a great contribution in pioneering ideas that have now won the support of both major parties,” including “Social Security, public housing, public power developments, legal protection for collective bargaining and other attributes of the welfare state.”

How about the war on poverty?

In 1962, socialist intellectual Michael Harrington — who would later go on to found the Democratic Socialists of America — published “The Other America: Poverty in the United States” and it became an instant classic. “Among the book’s readers, reputedly, was John F. Kennedy, who in the fall of 1963 began thinking about proposing anti­poverty legislation,” wrote Harrington’s biographer Maurice Isserman. “After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson took up the issue, calling in his 1964 State of the Union address for an ‘unconditional war on poverty.’ Sargent Shriver headed the task force charged with drawing up the legislation, and invited Harrington to Washington as a consultant.”

Then there is the civil rights struggle.

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, was organized by proud democratic socialists Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph. King himself would later remark that “something is wrong … with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth.” “Maybe,” he suggested, “America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

Go beyond politics, too.

“It’s kind of ironic,” Nate Silver once remarked, “American sports are socialist.” Consider the NFL, which operates a strict salary cap for players, while also ensuring that each NFL team receives an equal share of the league’s revenue from TV deals. To quote Art Modell, the late owner of the Cleveland Browns, the league is run by “a bunch of fat-cat Republicans who vote socialist on football.”

To recap: The most popular politician in the United States today is a socialist; the most admired American of the 20th century had a soft spot for socialism; and the most popular sport in the country is basically a “government-sanctioned socialist utopia.” So much for socialism, then, being somehow un-American or some sort of foreign import.

It is also worth noting that while the “s-word” may still bother a majority of Americans, especially older Americans, socialist policies are pretty popular across the board — including with plenty of Republicans. Writing for New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer, and citing a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Eric Levitz points out that “a majority of voters in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania would all support a socialist takeover of the health-insurance industry (so long as you didn’t put the idea to them in those terms).” He also observes that the “most radical economic policy on Ocasio-Cortez’s platform — a federal job guarantee — meanwhile, actually polls quite well in ‘flyover country.’”

So, what is Pelosi so afraid of? The way in which Republicans have turned “socialist” into a smear and a slur? Who cares? They’ve done the same to “liberal” — yet that hasn’t stopped Pelosi from identifying herself as one.

At the very minimum, even if the House minority leader doesn’t agree with the chair of the Democratic National Committee that democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez represents “the future of our party,” she should stop being so defensive. Perhaps Pelosi could learn a lesson from President Harry Truman. The conservative Democrat and proud Cold Warrior was dubbed — yes, you guessed it — a “socialist” by his GOP opponents in 1950. “Out of the great progress of this country, out of our great advances in achieving a better life for all, out of our rise to world leadership, the Republican leaders have learned nothing,” responded a defiant Truman. “Confronted by the great record of this country, and the tremendous promise of its future, all they do is croak, ‘socialism.’”

Mehdi Hasan is an award-winning British columnist, broadcaster, and author based in Washington, D.C. He is the host of The Intercept podcast “Deconstructed” and also hosts “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English. He has interviewed, among others, Edward Snowden, Hamid Karzai, Ehud Olmert, and Gen. Michael Flynn. He is also the author of two books — a biography of former U.K. Labor Party leader Ed Miliband and an e-book on the financial crisis and austerity economics. Mehdi has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Times of London, among others, and is the former political director of the Huffington Post U.K. and a contributing editor to the New Statesman. He has been included in the annual list of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world and named as one of the 100 most influential Britons on Twitter.

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