From Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation:
‘While our society places great emphasis on the individual, true prophets are almost always concerned with social, institutional, national, or corporate evil and our participation in it.
That’s because the future is always contingent upon our cooperation, choices, and actions. Therefore, if we live in love and treat the poor with justice, the good will happen.’
From Marianne Williamson:
‘Where racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamaphobia and xenophobia have become collectively politicized, we must collectively politicize decency, dignity, mercy, justice, compassion and love. This isn’t philosophy; it’s strategy.’
‘She only spoke for five minutes during the debate, but she managed to advocate for reparations; implicitly compare herself to John F. Kennedy; rail on her opponents for focusing too much on policy plans; bring “chemical policies” into the health-care debate; advocate for a spiritual, love-based strategy to beat President Trump; promise to call the prime minister of New Zealand on her first day in office; and beat the other candidates in debate-night Google search interest (although Kamala D. Harris was the top “trending topic” on all of Google). We may never have seen anyone exactly like Williamson on a national debate stage, but she’s channeling a real, and underserved, constituency in American politics.’ [Washington Post]
‘Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson called climate change the country’s greatest moral challenge in an interview Thursday, spotlighting an issue at the center of the 2020 primary race.
The author and activist told PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff that investing resources to combat climate change now would pay off in the future.
“I’d rather pay with money now than pay with our inability to breath 25 years from now, 50 years from now,” said Williamson, who supports the Green New Deal.
Williamson also said the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services, needs to be repealed.
The remarks come as several states have pushed controversial bills limiting abortion services. The debate over abortion is playing out in the 2020 primary race as well. Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines Thursday by reversing his support for the amendment.
Other highlights from the interview:
On military spending: Williamson criticized U.S. military spending as excessive, touching on an argument she makes in her new book, “A Politics of Love.” “Anybody who thinks that our military budget is based only on military considerations is fooling themselves. It is based at least as much on short-term profit maximization for defense contractors,” she said.
On creating a Department of Peace: Williamson reiterated her call for a new agency with the name the “Department of Peace,” which would deal with domestic peace-building efforts, including in neighborhoods grappling with violence. “We do not spend money and put our resources behind the factors that create peace, like expanding education for children and ameliorating unnecessary human suffering,” Williamson said.
’What I saw outside the fence is as important as what I saw when I looked over it: politicians, human rights groups, religious groups, social justice advocates and others, all bearing witness to a tragic situation and refusing to look away. Gandhi’s concept of soul force means bearing witness to the agony of others as a form of political expression. People from across all religious and spiritual and social justice communities are ready to take a stand for love, and turn it into a political force.’
David Wallace-Wells, Author of the book, The Uninhabitable Earth/Life After Warming [‘The most terrifying book I have ever read.’ -Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times]
“It’s become fashionable to call for a WWII-style climate mobilization. But virtually no one will call for activities the U.S. actually undertook then—rationing food and fuels, seizing property, nationalizing factories or industries, suspending liberties.”
Himalayan glacier melting doubled since 2000, spy satellites show
Ice losses indicate ‘devastating’ future for region and 1 billion people who depend on it for water
The analysis shows that 8bn tonnes of ice are being lost every year and not replaced by snow, with the lower level glaciers shrinking in height by 5 meters annually. The study shows that only global heating caused by human activities can explain the heavy melting. In previous work, local weather and the impact of air pollution had complicated the picture.
Joshua Maurer, from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth observatory, who led the new research, said: “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting since 1975, and why.” The research is published in the journal Science Advances.
The spy satellite photographs used in the research had lain unused in archives for some years. But a computer tool developed by Maurer and colleagues enabled these 1970s photos to be turned into 3D maps.
Schaefer said: “For the wellbeing of the people there, our results are of course the worst possible. But it is what it is, and now we have to prepare for that scenario. We have to worry a lot, because so many people are affected.
“To stop the temperature rises, we have to cool the planet,” he said. “We have to not only slow down greenhouse gas emissions, we have to reverse them. That is the challenge for the next 20 years.”
“Is it too late for us? Scientists have spent decades sounding the alarm on the devastating effects of climate change. And for decades, society decided to do pretty much nothing about it. In fact, over the past 30 years, we’ve done more damage to the climate than in all of human history! Now, there’s a real chance we may have waited too long to avoid widespread tragedy and suffering. In his book “The Uninhabitable Earth”, David Wallace-Wells depicts a catastrophic future far worse than we ever imagined…and far sooner than we thought. It is undoubtedly a brutal truth to face, as you will hear in this episode, but if there’s any hope to avert the worst case scenarios, we have to start now.”
‘A handful of 2020 Democrats support eliminating the Senate filibuster, a rule that lets a minority of lawmakers block any bill from coming up for a vote on the floor. Vox reporter Alvin Chang explains what the filibuster does, where it came from, and why there’s a growing movement to scrap it.’ [5:57]
“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.” [juneteenth.com]
Eviction isn’t without its own historical context. In vulnerable communities of people of color, in particular, displacement and denial of housing are phenomena centuries in the making. This episode maps the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering, and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth.
On the Media
From June 14th:
‘We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore, reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.’
‘Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis.
We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted.
Matthew Desmond, founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data.’
Evictions are filed over 3.7 million times a year in America — or at a rate of one every seven seconds. The eviction epidemic has bedeviled more lives than the opioid crisis and still its causes — and consequences — remain largely ignored or misunderstood.
With the help of Matt Desmond and the Eviction Lab, which has compiled the largest-ever database of eviction records, our series charts a course through a thicket of contradictions and assumptions to reveal the heart of the crisis.
You can take your own first step on this course by witnessing the data from your own state, in comparison with two states that we visited in our reporting.
“Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books.” —Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
‘In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.’ [Amazon]
For expanded investigative reporting on redlining, visit:
‘We engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy.
CREDIT: GOODBY SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS
Founded in 1977 as the nation’s first nonprofit investigative journalism organization, The Center for Investigative Reporting has developed a reputation for being among the most innovative, credible and relevant media organizations in the country.
Reveal – our website, public radio program, podcast and social media platform – is where we publish our multiplatform work.’
The New Yorker
Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations
It’s not often that an article comes along that changes the world, but that’s exactly what happened with Ta-Nehisi Coates, five years ago, when he wrote “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic. Reparations have been discussed since the end of the Civil War—in fact, there is a bill about reparations that’s been sitting in Congress for thirty years—but now reparations for slavery and legalized discrimination are a subject of major discussion among the Democratic Presidential candidates. In a conversation recorded for The New Yorker Radio Hour, David Remnick spoke with Coates, who this month published “Conduction,” a story in The New Yorker’s Fiction Issue. Subjects of the conversation included what forms reparations might take, which Democratic candidates seem most serious about the topic, and how the issue looks in 2019, a political moment very different from when “The Case for Reparations” was written.
75 years ago today, the Greatest Generation proved what they were made of. The invasion of Normandy was literally and figuratively the line in the sand past which the Nazis would not be allowed to go.
160,000 Allied soldiers participated in the D-Day Invasion. It is estimated that 4,413 of them died. One can only imagine the energy, the courage, the fear, and the prayers that were uttered on that night, this night, in l944.
Several years ago I visited the beaches at Normandy, where barges still rest in the water along the coastline. It was one of the most moving, haunting experiences of my life and I will never forget it. On this day, may we all remember.
In honor of those who came before us, let us in our time rise up and do what is ours to do. May those who lost their lives that day, and those who fought with them, be forever blessed.
The French military defeat in 1940 had torn apart social wounds dating back decades and longer. Conservative and Catholic France reinterpreted the battles of 1940 as a debacle only of the liberal and secular France that had held the upper hand since the founding of the Third Republic in 1871 and especially since the Dreyfus affair that began in 1894. When the reactionary French writer Charles Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration, he supposedly replied, “It’s the revenge of Dreyfus.”
The French military defeat in 1940 had torn apart social wounds dating back decades and longer. Conservative and Catholic France reinterpreted the battles of 1940 as a debacle only of the liberal and secular France that had held the upper hand since the founding of the Third Republic in 1871 and especially since the Dreyfus affair that began in 1894. When the reactionary French writer Charles Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration, he supposedly replied, “It’s the revenge of Dreyfus.”
But the human impulses on which the fascists and communists of the 1930s battened? Those do remain with us. They have been a powerful resource to extremists of all kind in our unsettled present moment after the Great Recession of 2008–09 and amid the mass developing-world migration flows of the 2010s. Trump is their most conspicuous beneficiary, but not their only beneficiary. They trouble France; they trouble us.
This time, no D-Day is called for to defeat them—just a renewed commitment to the ideals for which D-Day was launched 75 years ago by soldiers of so many lands, including the France that has taken so long to make its entire peace with this complicated anniversary.
‘Prosecuting Evil’ Docu Producers Secure Rights To Story of Nuremberg Prosecutor Ben Ferencz For Scripted Project
Ben Ferencz, a lifelong advocate of “law not war”, became the lead prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen case at Nuremberg after witnessing Nazi concentration camps shortly after liberation. In his first trial, at age 27, all 22 Nazi officials who were tried for murdering over a million people, were convicted. Ferencz went on to advocate for restitution for Jewish victims of the Holocaust and later assisted in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
Avrich directed the documentary, which had its world debut at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival and is now available to screen on Netflix.
Avrich’s Melbar Entertainment Group and Theroux’s Sugar Shack Productions will produce the scripted projects.
“This is an extraordinary honor to tell the story; one of the most iconic and historic figures of our time,” said Avrich. “I feel a real responsibility to continue to bring this important story to as many people as we can, this time through a scripted project.”
“I am thrilled to help bring this prestigious, inspiring and historic story to the big screen,” remarked Theroux. “Ben has led an incredible life and it is a privilege that Barry and I have been allowed to share it with the world in a new capacity.”
Benjamin B. Ferencz was born in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in 1920. When he was ten months old his family moved to America. His earliest memories are of his small basement apartment in a Manhattan district – appropriately referred to as “Hell’s Kitchen.” Even at an early age, he felt a deep yearning for universal friendship and worldpeace.e
After he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1943, he joined an anti-aircraft artillery battalion preparing for the invasion of France. As an enlisted man under General Patton, he fought in every campaign in Europe. As Nazi atrocities were uncovered, he was transferred to a newly created War Crimes Branch of the Army to gather evidence of Nazi brutality and apprehend thecriminals.s
“Indelibly seared into my memory are the scenes I witnessed while liberating these centers of death and destruction. Camps like Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau are vividly imprinted in my mind’s eye. Even today, when I close my eyes, I witness a deadly vision I can never forget-the crematoria aglow with the fire of burning flesh, the mounds of emaciated corpses stacked like cordwood waiting to be burned…. I had peered into Hell.” (From Planethood,1988)8
On the day after Christmas 1945, Ferencz was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Sergeant of Infantry. He returned to New York and prepared to practice law. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited for the Nuremberg war crimes trials. The International Military Tribunal prosecution against German Field Marshal, Herman Goering and other leading Nazis was already in progress under the leadership the American Prosecutor, Robert M. Jackson on leave from the USSupreme Court..
The U.S. had decided to prosecute a broad cross section of Nazi criminals once the trial against Goering and his henchmen was over. General Telford Taylor was assigned as Chief of Counsel for 12 subsequent trials. Ferencz was sent with about fifty researchers to Berlin to scour Nazi offices and archives. In their hands lay overwhelming evidence of Nazi genocide by German doctors, lawyers, judges, generals, industrialists, and others who played leading roles in organizing or perpetrating Nazi brutalities. Without pity or remorse, the SS murder squads killed every Jewish man, woman, and child they could lay their hands on. Gypsies, communist functionaries, and Soviet intellectuals suffered the same fate. It was tabulated that over a million persons were deliberately murdered by these special “action groups.
Ferencz became Chief Prosecutor for the United States in The Einsatzgruppen Case, which the Associated Press called “the biggest murder trial in history.” Twenty-two defendants were charged with murdering over a million people. He was only twenty-seven years old. It was his first case.
All of the defendants were convicted. Thirteen were sentenced to death. The verdict was hailed as a great success for the prosecution. Ferencz’s primary objective had been to establish a legal precedent that would encourage a more humane and secure world in the future.
In 1988 Ferencz wrote PlanetHood with Ken Keyes, Jr., to offer practical steps for the average citizen to take to help establish international law and urge U.N. reform. Receiving critical acclaim from its readers, with over 450,000 copies printed and served as an inexpensive and easy-to-read “Key To Survival and Prosperity.”
‘On the morning after yet another terrible, preventable crime, the world looks bleak. For those in mourning, that bleakness will never end. Yet over the horizon, hope is glimmering. Those who have imposed this nightmare on the country are weakening. Those who reject the cult of the gun are rising. Tomorrow will be better.
The political map of the country is changing.
Groups such as Shannon Watts’s Moms Demand Action are winning actual election victories for women who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
On the morning after yet another terrible, preventable crime, the world looks bleak. For those in mourning, that bleakness will never end.
Too many guns.
Too little hope.
After each succeeding gun massacre, a dull fatalism grips the American mind. The victims of such massacres are counted in the thousands; the victims of individual murder, of suicide, and of heartrending accident by now are counted in the tens of thousands. Yet action to save lives is vetoed again and again by an implacable minority who see gun ownership as integral to their identity.’
[Photo: A law enforcement official stands at an entrance to a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting, Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va. A longtime city employee opened fire at the building Friday before police shot and killed him, authorities said. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]
‘Everytown for Gun Safety is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.’
Shannon Watts / Moms Demand Action:
‘Every nation is home to angry, disgruntled and unstable people – online and offline. Only America gives them easy access to arsenals, silencers, high capacity magazines and bulk ammo.
Virginia has no law restricting large capacity ammunition magazines and silencers are legal. According to a researcher at Boston University, “Whether a state has a large capacity ammunition magazine ban is the single best predictor of the mass shooting rates in that state.”’
The latest mass shooting victims in the United States, Friday, May 31st in Virginia Beach.
‘What Republicans and Democrats are doing in the states where they have total Power.
by Perry Bacon Jr.
‘What laws are being passed in “trifecta” states, in which one party controls both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office? These states are ripe for bills to pass easily because the other party can’t stop them. And they serve as a good indicator of each party’s priorities and what it might do at the federal level given unfettered power.1
There is no formal clearinghouse for state policy changes, so I looked for legislative patterns and consulted with national groups that work on state policy, such as the left-leaning State Innovation Exchange. The result is a non-exhaustive list of legislation that has passed in multiple trifecta states, either blue or red.
The issues being pushed in liberal states aren’t too surprising. They reflect a combination of (i) initiatives the Obama administration was pushing in its latter stages but couldn’t get approved nationally because the GOP controlled Congress; (ii) reactions to the Trump era (particularly trying to ensure that another president is not elected without winning the popular vote), and (iii) priorities of the party’s activists.
36 Legislative Chambers in 23 States Have Now Passed National Popular Vote Bill
‘The National Popular Vote bill will take effect when enacted into law by states possessing 270 electoral votes (a majority of the 538 electoral votes).
It has been enacted into law in 14 states [April 2019] possessing 172 electoral votes (CA, CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). The bill will take effect when enacted by states possessing an additional 98 electoral votes.
The bill has passed at least one legislative chamber in 11 states possessing an additional 89 electoral votes. Specifically, the bill has passed both legislative chambers (but in different years) in 2 states with 14 electoral votes (CO, NM), and it has passed one legislative chamber in 9 states possessing 75 electoral votes (AR, AZ, DE, ME, MI, NC, NV, OK, OR). It has been unanimously approved at the committee level in 2 states possessing 27 electoral votes (GA, MO). The National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in various years in all 50 states.
The bill has now passed a total of 36 state legislative chambers in 23 states:’
Michael Bloomberg delivers the commencement address at the University of Maryland.
“…fire all politicians who ignore these threats. Whether it’s climate change, or gun violence, or any other issue, all of you can make up for the inaction in Washington by turning their points of failure into turning points for our great nation. […] “When you leave this campus, look for ways to exercise your power. Join an advocacy group. Write your representatives. Call them, organize, march, donate, vote. And get your friends and family to do the same. You have more power than you realize – use it.”
Oprah speaking to the 2019 graduating class at Colorado College.
“Pick any problem. Small steps lead to big accomplishments. You will V O T E.”
Speaking to FiveThirtyEight, Williamson’s communications director framed “the unusual nature of Williamson’s candidacy as a strength. “We’re different. We know that and we embrace that.’”
Williamson has made action on climate change a key part of her campaign platform.
Here’s her position, summarized by the PBS NewsHour:
Williamson believes action is needed to address climate change, and she has said she supports appointing a “world-class environmentalist” to head the Environmental Protection Agency. She supports halting all new fossil fuel projects, and restarting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Williamson would also place a temporary ban on new oil and gas fracking, and invest in electric vehicle production and high-speed trains.
When a student asked her about her political experience during a CNN Town Hall here’s how she responded:
You know, the — the Latin root of the word “politeia” doesn’t mean of the government. It means of the people. And I think our political establishment has gotten too far away from the people.
We have a political establishment that doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, doesn’t speak to what’s really wrong. Politicians don’t really get down and talk about what’s really wrong, even though they know it. And because they don’t talk about what’s really wrong, they don’t get to what can really be made really within us./p>
So in a way, for me, I challenge the idea that people whose careers have been entrenched in the same limitations that are endemic to the system that got us into this ditch are the only people we should possibly consider qualified to take us out of the ditch. I challenge that, and that’s why I’m running./p>
We speak to Willamson about her long-shot status, her policy priorities and more.”
What drives you to go forth? Impatience, instinct,
a dark need, the incapacity to understand.
To bow to all this.
To let go-
even if you have to die alone.
Is this the start of a new life?’ -Rilke
‘The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.The leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength.
The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance.
The great, gashed, half-naked mountain is another of God’s natural saints. There is no other like him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did, or ever will, imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity. -Thomas Merton
Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life
Scientists reveal 1 million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report
“Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.”
The knock-on impacts on humankind, including freshwater shortages and climate instability, are already “ominous” and will worsen without drastic remedial action, the authors said.”
“The research included more than 450 researchers who used 15,000 scientific and government reports.
A new United Nations science report says nature is in trouble and 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct. [May 6]
The report’s summary had to be approved by representatives of all 109 nations.
The findings are not just about saving plants and animals, but about preserving a world that’s becoming harder for humans to live in, said Robert Watson, a former top NASA and British scientist who headed the report.
“We are indeed threatening the potential food security, water security, human health and social fabric” of humanity, Watson told The Associated Press.
It’s also an economic and security issue as countries fight over scarcer resources. Watson said the poor in less developed countries bear the greatest burden.”
The bombshell Summary for Policymakers, to be unveiled on May 6, makes for very grim reading. But we must.
The new report details how humans are undermining Earth’s capacity to produce fresh water, clean air and productive soil, to name a few “ecosystem services”.
Revamping global food production, retooling the financial sector, moving beyond GDP as a measure of progress and other “transformative changes” are needed to save Nature and ourselves, a major UN biodiversity report is set to conclude.
Delegates from 130 nations wrap up week-long negotiations in Paris Saturday on the executive summary of a 1,800-page tome authored by 400 scientists, the first UN global assessment of the state of Nature — and its impact on humanity — in 15 years.
Since 1990, Earth has lost 2.9 million hectares — an area more than eight times the size of Germany or Vietnam — of forests that play a critical role in absorbing record-level CO2 emissions.
The heavily negotiated text does not make explicit policy recommendations, but will serve “as a basis for redefining our objectives” ahead of a key meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in China next Fall, said Yunne Jai Shin, a researcher at the Research Institute for Development in Marseilles.
The way humanity produces, distributes and consumes food — accounting for a third of land, 75 percent of fresh water use and a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions — is especially destructive, the report shows.
Fertiliser use, which degrades the soil’s ability to grow plants and absorb CO2, has risen four-fold in just 13 years in Asia, and doubled worldwide since 1990.
The report cites estimates that tax havens finance about 70 percent of vessels implicated in unregulated fishing, and an equal share of the soy and beef sectors that are ravaging the Amazon.
Finally, the last two scenarios — “business-as-usual” and “regional competition” — plunge the planet into a nightmarish, downward spiral of conflict, growing inequality and continuing degradation of Nature.
“This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today.”
At first a little disheartened to learn yet another candidate joined the Democratic presidential race.
“Now who’s running?”
It’s a lot to follow, isn’t it. But here’s the thing. It’s early. And the first Democratic debate is next month…yep. June. Following the rules the DNC has set for the candidates to be on that stage, let’s help get them there with 65,000 unique donations ($1 to $5), and get them to poll at least 1%. These debates will help us define the platform. And all candidates need to pledge to focus on the issues, and not disparage or debase each other. Indivisible https://indivisible.org is asking candidates and voters to take the pledge, #2020, to join us make the primary constructive, rally behind the winner, and do the work to beat DT. ✔Done.
And read their platforms.
Here’s Bennet’s. Impressive. Hopeful.
Rising to the Challenge
Building Opportunity in America & Restoring Integrity to Our Government
“Expectations. Americans built our nation on the high expectation that, as a people, we could govern ourselves better than any tyrant. These aspirations to self-government take many forms. They include our elections, three co-equal branches of government, and shared rights and obligations as citizens. They include our commitment to pluralism, democracy, and the rule of law. And they include our most cherished beliefs: that we are created equal, that our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable, and that we have a collective obligation to seek a more perfect Union.
We have never fully realized these aspirations, and more than once we have betrayed them. But over nearly two and a half centuries, even as we had tremendous disagreements, we struggled to make our country more democratic, fair, and free. The point has never been that we would all agree. Living in a free society means living with disagreement and people who disagree with me or with you. The challenge for us today, as it always has been, is to contend with those disagreements, even burnish them, in ways that will create imaginative and durable results to brighten the future for our children and our country.”
“Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, running for president as something of a moderate among Democrats.
Prior to his Senate appointment, Bennet had never run for office and was serving as superintendent of the Denver public school system, so his promotion came as a surprise to many observers.
His biggest moment in the public eye was probably when his shutdown speech went viral in January, as he attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for hypocrisy over funding the government.
He’s got a winning track record in a purple state, and he’s a moderate, both points he could use to sell himself as a good bet in the general election
Should Biden struggle, it’s entirely possible that the field could open up for someone like Bennet.
Bennet is the son of Douglas J. Bennet, a former State Department official and president of Wesleyan University.
Bennet’s father was Christian and his mother is Jewish. Bennet’s mother, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland, emigrated to the United States with her family in 1950. Her parents survived imprisonment in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Bennet’s father ran the US Agency for International Development under President Jimmy Carter, served as President and CEO of National Public Radio (1983–93), and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton Administration (1993–95). His grandfather, Douglas Bennet, had been an economic adviser in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. Bennet’s mother is a retired elementary school librarian.
His father served as an aide to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, among others. Bennet was held back in second grade because of his struggle with dyslexia.
Bennet also released a campaign video titled “7,591 words,” after the number of words in the Constitution. “The word ‘politics’ is not among them,”
Bennet, 54, said he was inspired by the nation’s founders, and these were not limited to the founding fathers. He listed Abraham Lincoln, civil rights icons like Frederick Douglass and the suffragettes, and “Our parents and grandparents who stood up to tyranny in World War II. My mom and her parents who survived that tyranny and rebuilt their shattered lives in the only country they could, the United States of America.”
Bennet’s mother and grandparents survived the Warsaw Ghetto.
“Sound, stable government can’t be a perpetual game of shirts and skins.
Electoral victory is not an end in itself. It is intended to set in motion a pluralist process to resolve our disputes and move the country forward.
Finding our way will not be easy in the context of a national government awash in special-interest money and with elected officials who quake at the first sign of a social media storm.
Demagoguery is not unknown in American history. Anytime Americans have become fearful or worried, there have been those, like our current president, who saw personal advantage in fanning those flames. But their names are not inscribed on the honor roll of history. Sowing division does not require moral authority.
What we must decide in this election — now having seen what is down the easy path of our worst instincts and pessimism in our country and each other — is whether that is the road we will continue to choose.”
How Michael Bennet Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary
“What else does Bennet have going for him? Well, he’s got a winning track record in a purple state, and he’s a moderate, both points he could use to sell himself as a good bet in the general election. Bennet was more conservative than 82 percent of Senate Democrats in the previous Congress, according to his DW-Nomination, which measures politicians on a scale from -1 (most liberal) to 1 (most conservative) based on their congressional voting record. His career -0.208 score puts him relatively close to fellow presidential candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (-.252) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (-0.304), which could make Bennet’s path a bit harder, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s entry into the race has sucked up a lot of the oxygen for candidates ruining near the middle. But should Biden struggle, it’s entirely possible that the field could open up for someone like Bennet. Bennet might also benefit from arguments within the Democratic Party about “electability” and identity given that white men often seem to get preference in those discussions. And his recent bout with prostate cancer gives him with a personal story to share with voters that can also double as a talking point about health care, a top issue for Democrats.
It won’t be easy for Bennet, of course. Besides being relatively unknown — a Monmouth University poll in March found that nearly half (48 percent) of Democrats had never heard of him and only 20 percent were able to form any opinion of him — Bennet will also have to contend with not even being the only Coloradan in the race. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is running, too, which might limit Bennet’s ability to get endorsements or raise money in his home state, and that will make it much harder to get his campaign off the ground.
It’ll also be imperative that Bennet qualifies for the upcoming Democratic primary debates, which he could do by getting at least 1 percent support in three polls (he already has one) or by getting donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, which might be hard to accomplish before the first debates at the end of June.
It’s entirely possible that Bennet’s bid is more of a play for the vice presidency, or simply an attempt to bring more attention to issues that are important to him, such as government dysfunction and money in politics. But as his first run for the Senate shows, Bennet shouldn’t be underestimated.”
‘Bennet released a campaign video titled “7,591 words,” after the number of words in the Constitution. “The word ‘politics’ is not among them,” Bennet notes, before preaching the need to invest not in tax cuts for the wealthy and wars in the Middle East, but in social security, the VA, teacher pay, climate change and more. He also makes a point to say that he is not in favor of Medicare-for-All or free college, two progressive policy proposals that have gained traction among some of the Democratic frontrunners. “I’m not going to say there’s a simple solution to a problem if I don’t believe there is one.”’
‘Bennet’s announcement comes weeks after he underwent successful prostate cancer surgery. He noted last month that the initial diagnosis delayed his announcement. “The idea was to announce sometime in April,” he told the Colorado Independent. “That was the plan. We hired some staff. We interviewed people for positions in New Hampshire and Iowa. And then I went for the physical. In my last physical, my PSA was high. They did a biopsy, and it was clear. But this time, it was not clear.”
He’s said that he was first inclined to run while writing a book about partisanship in Washington. He referenced the book and its message Thursday on CBS This Morning. “I’ve spent the last couple of years writing a book about our politics over the last 10 years or so,” he said. “I became convinced in that process that … if we keep going down this road, we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the next generation,” he added. “I need to do everything I can do to make sure we don’t do that.”
He’s said that he was first inclined to run while writing a book about partisanship in Washington. He referenced the book and its message Thursday on CBS This Morning. “I’ve spent the last couple of years writing a book about our politics over the last 10 years or so,” he said. “I became convinced in that process that … if we keep going down this road, we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the next generation,” he added. “I need to do everything I can do to make sure we don’t do that.”’
“Partly insulated from the rest of the Islamic world, the Uyghurs constructed a local history that is at once unique and assimilates elements of Semitic, Iranic, Turkic, and Indic traditions–the cultural imports of Silk Road travelers. Through both ethnographic and historical analysis, The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History offers a new understanding of Uyghur historical practices, detailing the remarkable means by which this people reckons with its past and confronts its nationalist aspirations in the present day.”
Journalist and MSNBC host Chris Hayes:
“Did you know there are roughly one million people currently held in internment camps in China? One million people detained against their will, facing no criminal charges, cut off from the outside world. This is the story of the Uyghurs, a small insulated ethnic minority in Western China. The predominantly Muslim group has faced growing levels of Islamophobia and paranoia from the Chinese government. Right now, roughly ten percent of the Uyghur population has been ‘disappeared’, held indefinitely in re-education camps where they are subjected to totalitarian indoctrination in an attempt to erase their identity, their language, their religion and their culture. Rian Thum, who has spent his career studying the Uyghurs, joins us to explain everything we know about the camps and how they came to be – including the prison-like surveillance state that Uyghurs outside of the camps are forced to live in.”
CHRIS HAYES: That’s the thing that I keep thinking about, that keeps haunting me. The reason I’ve been wanting to talk to you is I know this is going on. It’s sort of in the corner of my head, what if the Chinese state just said, “Well, you know what? The indoctrination’s not working. We’re just gonna execute 1,000 of these folks a day.”
RIAN THUM: Yeah, that really worries me, too. I think at some point, they are going to confront a failure of indoctrination. There’s … You can make people submit, but it’s very difficult to make them think differently. It might have some success, but there’s bound to be a large percentage of this million or so people who they determine to be failures and irredeemable, and I’m worried about what happens to those people.
You’ve brought up the Holocaust a few times, and I think there’s one place where that analogy is really important, and that is in examining intent and plans for the future. The German concentration camps, it was something like four of five years before the majority of the population in them was Jewish, and it was eight or nineyearsbeforetheywereconnectedtoaprogramofmasskilling. The reason I bring that up is that goals can change, and the function of these things can change, especially when you’re looking at such a massive system that has no appeal system, no regulation, no oversight. Who knows what the future holds? And we’ve already seen that the rest of the world’s reaction to this has been rather slow. I don’t think there will be time to react if it does take an uglier turn.
CHRIS HAYES: What chills me to my bones is, as far as I can tell, they’re doing it in plain sight and getting away with it in plain sight, and by that, I mean the camps, not something beyond that. But this totalitarian surveillance state they have erected on the backs of the Uighurs, outside the camps and the camps themselves, which are, I think … the largest internment camps that exist in the world at the moment.
KASHGAR, China — Muslim inmates from internment camps in far western China hunched over sewing machines, in row after row. They were among hundreds of thousands who had been detained and spent month after month renouncing their religious convictions. Now the government was showing them on television as models of repentance, earning good pay — and political salvation — as factory workers.
China’s ruling Communist Party has said in a surge of upbeat propaganda that a sprawling network of camps in the Xinjiang region is providing job training and putting detainees on production lines for their own good, offering an escape from poverty, backwardness and the temptations of radical Islam.
But mounting evidence suggests a system of forced labor is emerging from the camps, a development likely to intensify international condemnation of China’s drastic efforts to control and indoctrinate a Muslim ethnic minority population of more than 12 million in Xinjiang.
Accounts from the region, satellite images and previously unreported official documents indicate that growing numbers of detainees are being sent to new factories, built inside or near the camps, where inmates have little choice but to accept jobs and follow orders.
After awareness? Boycotts. Products, like tomatoe used from Xinjiang make most brands of ketchup. Also, refusal to participate In Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
”I think we need to consider very carefully whether we want to support an Olympics that will be held in China in 2022 when they’re doing this to one of their ethnic groups. I can’t support it, and I would hope that people involved in the Olympics would consider this.”
‘SaveTheRest.Campaign is a human rights campaign to save the lives of thousands of detainees in Syrian prisons.’
‘No One Hears Us’: Torture of Women in Syria’s Dungeons
‘The report ‘No one hears us’ documents the horrific torture of women in Syria’s dungeons as part of a deliberate strategy employed by the Syrian regime. In light of these crimes against humanity, the TRT World Research Centre calls for an impartial investigation into the use of systemic torture and gender based violence.’
As long as there is a dearth of women in positions of political power, this chronic tilting of American priorities toward short-term economic interests as opposed to humanitarian values is understandable. As long as women are basically invisible, children are invisible as well. -Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson
Supermajority launches today.
“A community for women who want to work together to build economic and political power, organize for gender equity, and transform this country. Sign up to be a founding member and be part of this from the beginning.”
WOMEN ARE ALREADY THE MAJORITY. NOW LET’S BUILD A SUPERMAJORITY.
In the past two years, we’ve seen what happens when women mobilize.
1 in 5 Americans has participated in a march or protest since 2016. The biggest issue driving these actions is support for women’s rights.
Women donated $100 million more to campaigns and causes in 2018 than they did in 2016.
We’ve been the majority of voters in every national election since 1964. In 2018, women helped elect a Congress with a record-breaking 127 women members.
Women are on the cusp of becoming the most powerful force in America. But to fundamentally transform this country, we need to work together. That’s where Supermajority comes in.
AI-Jen Poo, Executive director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Co-director, Caring Across Generations
Alicia Garza, Strategy and partnerships director, National Domestic Workers Alliaince
Co-founder Black Lives Matter Global Network
Principal, Black Futures Lab
Cecile Richards, Former president, Planned Parenthood Federation of American and Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Supermajority is a membership-based organization that affirms and builds women’s power and serves as a one-stop shop for advocacy, community building, and electoral participation aimed at transforming our country and building an intergenerational, multiracial movement for women’s equity.
Women are marching, running for office, donating to and advocating for causes and campaigns, and voting in record numbers. We can be the most powerful force in America—if we do the work together.
We’re building a Supermajority of women* who are organizing for gender equity. Sign up to be a founding member and be part of this from the beginning.
*And everyone who shares our values!
“The feminine energy is the energy of creation and of protection of the community. By adopting policies to protect women, society simply protects itself.” -Marianne Williamson
Idaho’s first female Lt. Governor could have been Kristin Collum, a former Army officer who served under Colin Powell at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. After 12 years in the military, she left to work at Micron, Hewlett-Packard, and as a software engineering manager at Xylem Inc.
Idaho’s current Lt. Governor is Janice McGeachin, a hard-right Republican who previously spent four terms in the House of Representatives before retiring in 2012. In late February she flashed a hand signal, “sending love”, to Todd Engel, who is in prison in connection to the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada. In the photo McGeachin was posing with two members of the III Percenters group wearing prison garb, also flashing hand signs.
An editorial in the Lewiston Tribune yesterday [4.25] headlined “Never allow McGeachin to be acting governor again,” noting that while acting governor while Gov. Brad Little was out of town, McGeachin “observed the 24th anniversary of the bombing at Oklahoma City last Friday by encouraging the ideology that sparked it. McGeachin left out the portion of the oath that obligates a person to “obey orders of the president of the United States and the governor of the state of Idaho,” and that the event occurred on the 24th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
“On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680. It remains the nation’s deadliest act of domestic terrorism. McVeigh justified his actions by saying he hoped to “wake Americans up to the tyranny of government.
His ideological heirs are a group of self-styled extremists calling themselves the Three Percenters — militia-minded types who have declared the same credo: “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”
From the editorial:
Asked about the Friday rally during the press conference in the governor’s ceremonial office on Thursday, Little said, “That’s not germane to what we’re talking about here. Let me absolutely refuse to answer your question.”
McGeachin, too, declined to comment on the rally during the press conference but spoke about it afterward in her office.
“We were just trying to carry on that tradition and not forget the history of our country, which some people are trying to cover over,” McGeachin told the Idaho Press. She cited “when people are trying to tear down statues” as an example of that.
“I love history. I think we can learn so much from history,” she said.
The Friday rally was hosted by the “Real III Percent of Idaho,” a right-wing group that emphasizes gun rights and what it views as threats to the Constitution, the Post Register reported. Other speakers included Scott Drexler, a Challis man who was arrested for taking part in the 2014 standoff with federal authorities at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada; Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett; Sarah Clendenon of Health Freedom Idaho; and Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, who later acknowledged that his fiery speech calling for resisting tyranny was lifted without attribution from an essay by Libertarian activist Adam Kokesh.
McGeachin told the crowd, “Hold up your right hand and all of you please repeat after me.” After all had repeated the oath to support and defend the Constitution, “against all enemies foreign and domestic,” she raised her fist and called out, “Hallelujah!”
Please note: this email contains language that may trigger feelings of trauma related to gun violence.
Twenty years ago, two Columbine High School students murdered twelve peers and one teacher.
Two decades later, the rate of school shootings has increased. In 2018, there were more incidents of gun violence and more gun deaths at schools than any other year on record. In no other developed nation do students face these unprecedented levels of gun violence in their schools.
We owe it to every victim, every survivor, every student, every teacher, every parent, and all school staff across America to pass universal background checks, to place restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and to prohibit bump stocks
I was a high school student a thousand miles away when the Columbine massacre took place. It changed the psyche of young people in America. The era that followed saw more active shooter drills. Hiding in classrooms and bathrooms. Advice on how to stand on the toilet to hide your feet. Second-guessing your peers. Plans for airport-style security to get to class.
Our teachers are left to decide if they are strong enough to try to take down an active shooter. If they should close the door and shield their students, or try to lead their students out to safety. They are asked to think about how to barricade their doors, as much a part of their job as how to structure their class time.
Student, parent, and teacher activists — from Columbine, to Virginia Tech, to Sandy Hook, to Marjory Stoneman Douglas — have shown what elected officials in Washington have lacked when it comes to common-sense, comprehensive gun reforms: courage.
These simple, bipartisan steps will not stop every single gun death. But today, on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, we owe it to Rachel, Daniel, Dave, Kyle, Steven, Cassie, Isaiah, Matthew, Lauren, John, Kelly, Daniel, and Corey to commit to these basic measures to make our country and our communities safer.
And we owe it to every young person and every educator to make sure that they have a safe place to learn and teach.
When I was deployed in Afghanistan, it was my responsibility to carry two weapons — a pistol and a rifle (an M4, which is not that different than an AR15 if we’re being honest) — on foreign soil on the orders of a U.S. president. I’m aware of the capabilities of some weaponry that simply does not belong on the streets of American neighborhoods in peacetime.
I think most people understand that as a member of the generation defined by mass shootings, and as a veteran of the military, I’m coming to these views honestly. And even in my very red state of Indiana, many common-sense reforms are widely accepted and understood to be constitutional. Yet Washington can’t deliver. This must change.
We must do better for each other.
We can do this if we decide to.
Pete for America
PO Box 1226
South Bend, IN 46626
Greta Thunberg, speaking to Europe’s political leaders ahead of European parliament elections in May on Tuesday, April 16th.
Referring to Monday’s fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral in her speech, Greta called for “cathedral thinking” to tackle climate change.
“It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling,” she said. “In other words it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible.”
With the Netflix Series “Our Planet,” David Attenborough Delivers an Urgent Message
Our Planet is a departure from David Attenborough’s previous documentaries. It places global climate catastrophe front and center, and treats the problems of climate change and habitat loss with a new urgency. “The longer we leave it, the more difficult it will be to solve the problem,” Attenborough, who is ninety-two, told me over the phone from Washington, where he was going to deliver a speech to the International Monetary Fund. “Eventually, of course, you can’t solve the problems, and the result is chaos.”