Volume XXVI – Number 7

Stamford Workers Show How to Transform Our Unions and Rebuild the Labor Movement
Truth Out – February 11, 2018 – Andrew Tillett-Saks

To organize the non-union Hilton Stamford, instead of relying on paid staff organizers, the union turned to rank-and-file members from nearby union workplaces… Rather than simply riding along as sidekicks to a staff organizer, the volunteer rank-and-file organizers led the organizing visits and held responsibility (“turf,” in organizing parlance) for meeting weekly with non-union Hilton organizing contacts… The rank-and-file union members easily built trusting connections with the non-union workers who came from similar backgrounds, did the exact same work every day and often even lived in the same neighborhoods.

A Pentagon budget like none before: $700 billion
AP News – February 10, 2018 – Robert Burns and Richard Lardner

The extra money is not targeted at countering a new enemy or a singular threat like al-Qaida extremists or the former Soviet Union. Instead the infusion is being sold as a fix for a broader set of problems, including a deficit of training, a need for more hi-tech missile defenses, and the start of a complete recapitalization of the nuclear weapons arsenal.

Life in the Gaza Strip — a cauldron of deficit, despair and desperation
Los Angeles Times – February 8, 2018 – Ann M. Simmons

Palestinian lives are being manipulated and played with in order to compel them to succumb to a political reality of Israeli dominance, which they refuse…

EPA Head Scott Pruitt Says Global Warming May Help “Humans Flourish”
Mother Jones – February 8, 2018 – Oliver Milman

“As the evidence becomes ever more compelling that climate change is real and human-caused, the forces of denial turn to other specious arguments, like ‘it will be good for us’,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University.

Trump Budget Offers Stark Vision
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – February 12, 2018 – Robert Greenstein

A President’s budget reflects his vision for America. From that perspective, President Trump’s vision is stark, with the most affluent individuals and powerful corporations accumulating more wealth — and wielding more power, and facing fewer limits, to treat workers and consumers as they choose — while tens of millions of struggling Americans must reduce their already modest standards of living… This budget would widen inequality, worsen poverty and hardship, and further divide the country. With it, the President essentially calls on us to ignore what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” — and instead to enter a new Gilded Age.

From ‘Liberal Media’ to ‘Fake News’
The American Prospect – February 12, 2018 – Todd Gitlin

What Politifact means by “fake news” is “fabricated content that intentionally masquerades as news coverage of actual events.” By contrast, “Instead of fabricated content, Trump uses the term to describe news coverage that is unsympathetic to his administration and his performance, even when the news reports are accurate.”… By any of these measures, the public that swallows the accusation that unwelcome reports are “fake” is substantial. They are comfortable with their certainties, impervious to disagreement, fortified to bypass or eviscerate any naysayers.

Trump the Con-Artist Is at It Again
Reader Supported News – Robert Reich’s Facebook Page – Februry 12, 2018

Now that Trump and the Republicans have enacted a huge tax cut for corporations and the rich, there’s no money left. Trump won’t admit this, but he plans to get money for his big infrastructure plan from (1) higher state and local taxes on average working people and the poor, (2) higher gas taxes paid mostly by average working people and the poor, (3) tolls on highways and bridges also paid by average working people and the poor, but which will go into the pockets of private investors, and (4) cuts in public services, that will hurt average working people and the poor.

Arizona is denying female inmates pads and tampons, then punishing them for blood-stained pants
The Daily Kos – February 9, 2018 – Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza

Last year, the Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a memo making access to pads, tampons, and panty liners free of cost for federal female inmates. Problem is, most incarcerated women are in state prisons and local jails. Just 10 percent of female inmates were affected by the federal policy change. State-level progress has been slow, in part because of lawmakers’—predominantly male lawmakers, it seems—reluctance to address issues surrounding menstruation.

Trump Proposes Eliminating Federal Funding for PBS, NPR
The Hill – February 12, 2018 – Joe Concha

President Trump’s newly proposed budget includes a proposal to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), part of a package that includes $300 billion in new spending overall. CPB provides federal funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.

A new market for old and ugly fruit and vegetables takes shape
The Economist – January 11, 2018

Far too much ends up wasted… Slowly, ideas on better ways to run one of the world’s oldest markets, the trade in food, are bearing fruit.

The Latest Devious Republican Attack On Social Security
Common Dreams – February 13, 2018 – Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch

We are the wealthiest country in the world at the wealthiest moment in our history. The United States of America can afford tuition-free public college, paid family leave (as well as medical and caregiving leave, which Shapiro and Biggs do not mention), and expanded Social Security benefits. We just need to require the wealthiest among us to contribute their fair share.

Why Are We Still in Afghanistan?
Reader Supported News – February 14, 2018 – William Boardman

Because the American people have been systematically numbed emotionally and dumbed-down intellectually and mystified for so many decades that they are more angry with each other than the people who do them real harm? Any or all of the above?

Following member’s deportation, N.Y. Teamsters kick into action with ‘Know Your Rights’ workshops
The Daily Kos – Fevruary 13, 2018 – By Gabe Ortiz

Immediately following the deportation of one of its members last August, Teamsters Joint Council 16, “the umbrella group for 27 Teamsters locals in and around New York City,” declared itself a “sanctuary union,” saying it would “not voluntarily cooperate with federal agents in the prosecution or attempted deportation of Teamster members.” And since then, “across Long Island and throughout the city,” Teamsters are making good on their word.

“America’s Harvest Box” Captures the Trumpian Attitude Toward Poverty
The New Yorker – February 14 , 2018 – Sasha Abramsky

The Trump Administration’s reimagining of SNAP reduces food assistance to a humiliation ritual: recipients would take whatever they are given, in whatever condition they are given it, and would be expected to feel gratitude… SNAP is the single biggest reason why malnutrition has largely vanished from the United States. Trump’s “reform” package would reverse these achievements, ratcheting up the country’s misery index like few other public-policy changes of the past century.

Enough Defense, Declares Planned Parenthood, ‘We’re Going on Offense!’
Common Dreams – February 14, 2018 – Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Planned Parenthood has announced that it is going on the offensive in the ongoing fight to expand reproductive rights across the United States with a new “sweeping plan” to challenge the Trump administration as well as anti-choice activists and lawmakers by proposing policies to make sexual education more inclusive and increase access to healthcare such as birth control and abortion.

I’ve Reviewed Some Cruel Budgets. I’ve Never Seen Anything Crueler Than This.
Reader Supported News – Robert Reich’s Facebook Page – February 14, 2018

Trump has taken social Darwinism to a new level of absurdity.

The Ugly Hypocrisy of “Thoughts and Prayers”
From a Certain Point of View – February 15, 2018 – Laslo Boyd

Let me be very clear: despite the pious rhetoric, the defenders of absolute gun rights do not care at all about the continuing carnage in our schools, in our streets, in our places of leisure and in offices and factories. They mouth the words, but there is nothing behind them.

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
The New York Times – November 7, 2017 – Max Fisher and Josh Keller

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the… assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.

Noam Chomsky: We’re on the Brink of Global Catastrophe
Alternet – February 7, 2018 – Brad Reed

“Go back to the 2016 election, the focus of attention is of course on the Trump victory,” he said. “However something else happened that was astonishing: Bernie Sanders, who came from nowhere, even used the scare word ‘socialist,’ had no support from private wealth… he might’ve won the election, and is now far and away the most respected political figure in the country.”

US wasting billions on nuclear bombs that serve no purpose and are security liability
The Guardian – February 15, 2018 – Julian Borger

The US is to spend billions of dollars upgrading 150 nuclear bombs positioned in Europe, although the weapons may be useless as a deterrent and a potentially catastrophic security liability, according to a new report by arms experts.

To Better Understand Segregation, Look at Social Networks
Next City – February 9, 2018 – Jen Kinney

In their new book “Cycle of Segregation: Social Processes and Residential Stratification”, Krysan and Crowder argue that the classic model ignores the role of social networks and the vast array of preconceptions people have before they even start their housing search. Decades of segregation have hardened the effects of all three forces, and shaped people’s knowledge of cities, so that Americans of different races start their searches from very different places.

Where Is The Outrage Over Civilians Being Killed In Our Name?
The Huffpost – February 15, 2018 – Mehlaqa Samdani

President Donald Trump’s racist remarks about people from “shithole countries” outraged Americans across the country. And yet, when innocent civilians are killed by U.S. drone strikes and aerial bombing campaigns in far-flung countries, nobody seems to notice. We as a nation, it seems, are more offended by racist rhetoric than we are by racist policies… For far too long, we have remained oblivious to the suffering of innocent civilians caused by our government. It is time we held our leaders and ourselves accountable for the mayhem committed in our name.

Not a Matter of If, But When
Portside – February 17,2018 – Shawn Hattingh

The danger derives from the reactions of the ruling classes and their states to the crisis of 2008. The paths they chose to follow to save and even further their own wealth in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis have paved the way for a future crash that could dwarf the one of a decade ago.


Volume XXVI – Number 6

ICE Director Brags About How Much He’s ‘Enjoying’ Tearing Immigrant Families Apart
Common Dreams – February 1, 2018 – Jake Johnson, staff writer

Reacting to Homan’s comments on Thursday, immigrant rights activist Tony Choi wrote, “There’s a special place in hell for those who get off on broken families and profit off of incarcerating innocent people.” “Homan [acting ICE director] is the proof that our immigration system isn’t broken; it’s fundamentally designed to break us,” Choi added on Twitter.

Huge Military Budgets Make Us Broke, Not Safe
Informed Comment – February 4, 2018 – Miriam Pemberton, Otherwords.org

We’re now spending more on the military, adjusted for inflation, than at any time since World War II — including during the Reagan and George W. Bush buildups. We spend more than the next eight countries put together… Here’s what we really need to feel safer: Leaders who are working to reduce nuclear tensions rather than rev them up.

Spying on Americans
The Shipler Report – February 4, 2018 – David K. Shipler

Look past the huffing and puffing of the politicos and the propagandistic attempts to discredit the Russia investigation in advance, put aside your pro-Trump or anti-Trump sentiments, and the essential question remains: Should the FBI have been able to eavesdrop on Carter Page without showing probable cause that evidence of a crime would be found? Not if you respect the Fourth Amendment.

Looking Ahead
Peter Seidel – Environmentalist – February 4, 2018

You might want to stop right here, but you must read this: If you are driving down a road at 60 miles an hour and suddenly notice that you are headed straight for a tree, it is good to know this so that you can do something about it… If we succeed in stepping beyond ourselves and our limited here-now mentality, base our judgments on evidence, protect our planet, and live harmoniously with each other, our descendants will have reason to thank us for what we have passed on to them, rather than curse us for the chaotic, depleted, polluted world they have to contend with. If we don’t preserve our planet as a viable place to live, what else matters?

We Can Battle Climate Change Without Washington DC. Here’s How
Guardian – February 4, 2018 – Bill McKibben

It has three main components… The first – joining in work pioneered by groups like the Sierra Club – is to persuade towns, cities, counties, and states to pledge to make the transition to 100% renewable energy… Job two is to block new fossil fuel infrastructure… And third is to cut off the money that fuels this industry… Yes, it would be easier if the country, and the planet, were acting together – if Washington were leading the fight the way the planet’s superpower obviously should. But since it isn’t, the pressure will find other outlets. This fight is going aggressively local, and fast.

‘Poor People’s Campaign’ readies nationwide mobilization
AP News – February 4, 2018 – Martha Waggoner

The campaign is building toward a “season of direct action and civil disobedience” that begins on May 13 and continues through June 21, the anniversary of the slayings of three civil rights workers in 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The actions, including a poverty tour, will be followed by more work as part of a multiyear campaign to build power “among the poorest and most powerless communities,” he [Rev. William Barber of North Carolina] added… It’s immoral to make people poor with our actions as a government and as a people.

Sharia Law: It’s Not What You Think It Is
Reader Supported News – February 5, 2018 – John Kiriakou

But what, exactly, is Sharia law? The word Sharia literally means a “road” or “path.” In the religious context, it means a path to faith. (I speak Arabic and have a degree in Middle Eastern Studies, with a concentration in Islamic theology. I studied Islam under the noted theologian Sayyid Hossein Nasr.)

Restaurants have no right to take employees’ tips
The Guardian – February 6, 2018 – Heidi Shierholz and David Weil

Customers are usually happy to provide the people who serve them a monetary expression of their gratitude. Allowing employers to take that hard-earned money for themselves flies in the face of fairness and undermines the economic wellbeing of millions of low-wage workers.

Yes, Lots of People Go to Jail Because They Can’t Pay a Fine
Truth Out – February 6, 2018 – Sarah van Gelder, Yes! Magazine

In some cases, the infractions that send someone back to jail are as simple as coming late to a meeting with a parole officer or failing to make payments on a fine. Being a person of color increases the odds of winding up in prison for a parole violation, according to a study by the Urban Institute… Now is the time to “reimagine how probation and parole can truly help people reintegrate back into society — rather than simply being a trap that leads to needless reincarceration.”

The Democrats’ False Choice
The American Prospect – February 6, 2018 – Robert Kuttner

The punch line of this column, if you haven’t guessed it, is that this argument inside the family is our old nemesis, the False Dichotomy. Democrats need to do more for downtrodden people of all races, including whites, and they need to be the party of justice for groups oppressed based on their race, gender, sexuality, national origin, or immigrant status… Keep the emphasis on the economic screwing that the one percent and Republicans are giving to working people of all races and genders, and you stand a better chance of bridging these divides.

Gene Sharp — the lonely scholar who became a nonviolent warrior
Waging Nonviolence – February 1, 2018 – George Lakey

His disposition to be a nonviolent warrior at a time when so many non-warriors were looking for conflict resolution, and warriors looking for a way to apply violence, made him a lonely scholar. To my eyes his perseverance made him a hero… The work so far done on CBD [civilian-based defense] points to the most promising nonviolent defense strategies having a decentralizing impact, empowering the grassroots of society… Gene’s own eyes sparkled with pleasure a few years back when my student Max Rennebohm and I showed him the Global Nonviolent Action Database [https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu].

#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool is a National Uprising for Racial Justice
Common Dreams – February 6, 2018 – Jesse Hagopian

“The Black Lives Matter at School movement is about dismantling the school-to-prison-pipeline and creating a school-to-justice-pipeline.”… Educators in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in between will join this national uprising to affirm the lives of black students, teachers and families. The lessons that week will correspond to the thirteen guiding principles of Black Lives Matter [https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/what-we-believe/].

The Continued Federal Prohibition on Marijuana
Reader Supported News – February 8, 2018 – Bernie Sanders

I am writing you about an issue of grave consequence that affects the lives of millions of Americans and greatly impacts our democracy – namely the continued federal prohibition on marijuana and the need for reform of our criminal justice system… Of course, marijuana prohibition is part of a larger failed war on drugs that has led to the great national crisis of mass incarceration… We need to stop criminalizing addiction. We need to stop criminalizing recreational marijuana use.

If the Russians Got Into Voting Machines, I Fear for the Republic
Esquire Magazine – February 8, 2018 – Charles Pierce

The electoral systems should be treated like the power grids and communications systems. The states are too riven with internal mischief and budget problems to handle a problem of this magnitude.

20 Signs of Impending Tyranny
Reader Supported News – February 9, 2018 – Robert Reich’s Facebook Page

As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically:…

Republicans Back Monsanto, Threaten to Cut WHO’s Funding Which Calls Glyphosate ‘Carcinogenic’
Reader Supported News – teleSUR – February 9, 2018

Jennifer Sass, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that a 2015 paper by the University of Southern California medical professor Dr. Jonathan Same, said the attacks on the IARC “can be traced to the ‘playbook’ of the tobacco industry for discrediting findings related to active and passive smoking,”

‘Plastic in All Sizes’ Found Everywhere in Once Pristine European Arctic
Ecowatch – February 9, 2018 – Lorraine Chow

As ABC.net reported from the study, “even in remote areas with relatively low human impact, it says the concentration of plastic waste in the European Arctic is now comparable or even higher than in more urban and populated areas.” The researchers are most concerned about the amount of microplastics in the sea, said scientist Ingeborg G. Hallanger, who is urging for more research on the effects of plastics on the area’s wildlife.

US Secretly Negotiated With Russians to Buy Stolen NSA Documents and Trump-Related Material
The Intercept – February 9, 2018 – James Risen

A fantastic back story involving US and Russian intelligence communities… The Russian stated that he had no knowledge of a “master plan” to cause major disruption to U.S. election activities, but the effort was generally understood as a “green light” from Russian security officials to enlist cyber-related groups in probing and harassing activities directed at U.S. targets.

From the Green Book to Facebook, how black people still need to outwit racists in rural America
The Guardian – February 11, 2018 – Ed Pilkington

For younger African Americans, racial profiling by police has become the new frontline in their experience of driving while black. Marshall Egson, whose family owns a large colonial-style house in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which was listed in the Green Book, likens the cumulative effect of being stopped over and over again by law enforcement to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Why Rural America Isn’t a Lost Cause for Progressive Ideas
Yes! Magazine – January 29, 2018 – Ivy Brashear

“Trickle-down economics has been a disaster for most rural places, and we need a bottom-up alternative,” says Anthony Flaccavento, who’s running for Congress in Virginia’s 9th district. He says both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for the economic issues currently plaguing southwestern Virginia, where coal and farming are the top industries. The district voted for Trump by 69 percent… “I think being straight with people wins you more votes than it loses you, particularly the farmers and folks I know,” Flaccavento says. “If there’s one thing they hate, it’s people who talk around the issue. They want straight talk.”

Extreme Poverty in the US Is A Political Choice of the Powerful
Portside – February 10, 2018 – Kenneth Surin, Counterpunch

Following his US fact-finding mission, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights concluded extreme poverty in the US “is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”

Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans
Portside – February 8, 2018 – Henry Farrell, Boston Review

Standard utopias and standard dystopias are each perfect after their own particular fashion. We live somewhere queasier—a world in which technology is developing in ways that make it increasingly hard to distinguish human beings from artificial things. The world that the Internet and social media have created is less a system than an ecology, a proliferation of unexpected niches, and entities created and adapted to exploit them in deceptive ways. Vast commercial architectures are being colonized by quasi-autonomous parasites.

Volume XXVI – Number 5

Trump’s attack on the FBI is an attack on the US constitution itself
The Guardian – January 27, 2018 – Jill Abramson

Congressional Republicans who stick by Trump and protect him will be remembered as the villains of Washington’s unfolding drama. They are the ones enabling an epic White House end run around the constitution. Instead of holding Trump to account, Republicans are joining him in a cynical attempt to tarnish the FBI and undermine the criminal investigation into Russian election meddling… This is political poison. It is toxic to democracy. It goes beyond anything contemplated by Richard Nixon and his supporters during Watergate. What can prevent the poison from infecting the country’s lifeblood?

Trump’s Leaked Infrastructure Plan Suggests A Future Sell-Off Of Public Land
Huffington Post – January 25, 2018 – Chris D’Angelo

Zinke continues to paint himself a champion of public lands and “a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” But the conservation and outdoor sporting groups that once supported his nomination have largely walked away, as the interior secretary has led the administration’s effort to gut national monuments and prioritized energy development over conservation.

3 Strategies to Get to a Fossil-Free America
The Nation – January 28, 2018 – Bill McKibben

None of them rely on Washington to do anything useful… Job 1: Push for a fast and just transition to renewable energy in cities and states… Job 2: Stop new fossil-fuel projects… Job 3: Cut off the flow of money to the fossil-fuel industry… No lie lives forever, and 2018 may be the year that the most dangerous deceit in the planet’s history finally unravels for good.

‘The civil rights issue of our time’: how Dreamers came to dominate US politics
The Guardian – January 27, 2018 – Lauren Gambino

Collectively, they are known as Dreamers, young people without immigration status who were brought to the US as children. Over the last decade, they’ve gone from the “shadows” to the center stage of US politics, and their fate now dangles before an irascible president and a gridlocked Congress.

Seeds of Destruction: – The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
Global Research – January 26, 2018 – F. William Engdahl

“Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl is a skillfully researched book that focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread… In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

The Libraries Bringing Small-Town News Back to Life
The Atlantic Magazine – January 28, 2018 – David Beard

It makes sense that librarians would get it right. Librarians understand the value of accuracy. They are familiar with databases. Americans by and large trust librarians, actually much more than they trust journalists. And in a nation where traditional local news outlets are cutting back, their advertising coffers drained by Google and Facebook, their ownership increasingly by hedge funds or other out-of-town enterprises, where else can a citizen go?… Palfrey [former head of the Harvard Law School Library and the founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America] in his 2015 book “BiblioTech” concludes, “libraries should be laboratories for a digital-plus era in which coproduction is the norm.”

Floridians should scrap these retrograde, racist voting laws
The Washington Post – January 27, 2018 – editorial board

It is one of just three states that permanently bars all felons from voting unless their rights are individually restored following an arduous, years-long process. The result: More than 10?percent of voting-age adults, and more than 20?percent of African Americans, have no access to the ballot box in Florida. You read that correctly: 1 in 5 black adults in Florida cannot vote… Permanent disenfranchisement is a retrograde, racist and anti-American project. Here’s hoping Floridians heave it onto the scrap heap of history.

Rotting cabins, closed trails: why we’re shining a light on US national parks
The Guardian – January 29, 2018 – Alastair Gee

The National Park Service is the protector of some of America’s greatest environmental and cultural treasures. Yet a huge funding shortfall means that the strain of America’s passion for its parks is showing. Trails are crumbling and buildings are rotting. In all there is an $11bn backlog of maintenance work that repair crews have been unable to perform, a number that has mostly increased every year in the past decade… advocates have raised concerns that the Department of Interior, which oversees many federal lands, is staffed with lobbyists for the energy industry. Even absent such issues, climate change, privatization and energy extraction risk changing the face of the country’s public spaces forever.

Last Night Proved We Need More Scientists in Public Office
Scientific American – January 31, 2018 – Shaughnessy Naughton

The President’s hostility to evidence-based policy has not made the state of the union stronger, safer or prouder… Setting the President’s hubris aside, it was perhaps what the President didn’t mention that spoke the greatest volumes. No mention of efforts to weaken evidence-based pollution and chemical safety standards. No mention of the way the White House has acted to silence scientists, misrepresented climate science, altered information on government websites or deleted important scientific data altogether. No mention of the fact that federal agencies are being run by people who were chosen for their industry ties rather than their scientific expertise… The only way to change the anti-science narrative in Washington is to change the kind of people we send there.

Infrastructure Plans Should Invest in Affordable Housing
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – January 31, 2018 – Will Fischer

The Trump Administration, however, has moved in the opposite direction, omitting affordable housing from its infrastructure plans while seeking deep cuts to existing federal housing programs.

101 Ways Donald Trump Has Betrayed his Populist Agenda
Portside – Public Citizen – February 2, 2018 – Alan Zibel

The sad reality is that decision after decision by the Trump administration will benefit ultra-rich elites — at the expense of everyday American families. It’s all a stark betrayal of the populist promises Trump made as a candidate. Much like other populist plutocrats who have come to power around the world, Trump used anti-elite rhetoric to gain office, then performed an about-face to govern for the benefit of the very elites he derided as a candidate.

How the Wonder of Nature Can Inspire Social Justice Activism
Yes! Magazine – February 1, 2018 – Adrienne Maree Brown

Emergent strategy is a way to build complex patterns and systems of justice and liberation through relatively small interactions. I am often wowed when I imagine the scale of transformation that could come from movements intentionally practicing this way of being, on our own and with others… Mycelium mushrooms have been one of my greatest teachers of trust. The word mycelium means ‘more than one.’ The mycelium organism is a dynamic root system of mushrooms that utilizes trust as a mechanism to build and sustain a vast, reciprocal, underground network that connects the roots of trees and plants and skillfully shares nutrients and resources to support the health of the entire ecosystem with which it moves.

Volume XXVI – Number 4

Rep. Gabbard speaks truth to power about the real reason North Korea has nukes
Nation of Change – January 16, 2018 – Dave Lindorff

Gabbard, interviewed on ABC News, declared unambiguously that the reason that North Korea has worked so diligently to develop nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them to the U.S. is that the United States over several decades and under a number of presidents, has had a policy of “regime change,” and a history of violently attempting to overthrow governments that it doesn’t like. As she put it in an interview over the weekend with ABC news host George Stephanopolos, “Our country’s history of regime-change wars has led countries like North Korea to develop and hold on to these nuclear weapons because they see it as their only deterrent against regime change.”

Republicans Plucked Out CHIP but Let a Slew of Other Health Programs Languish
The Intercept – January 20, 2018 – Aída Chávez

The continuing resolution Congress passed in December came with a small Band-Aid, giving CHIP a new $2.85 billion so the program could scrape by for a few more weeks. But it’s not even the only critical health program Congress has failed to allocate funding for. A home visiting program to help out new mothers and their infants, known as MIECHV; community health centers nationwide; teaching health centers; and even a special diabetes program have all been forced to scale back services or in some cases, shut down, because of congressional inaction and disagreements over funding.

European Parliament backs Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050
Informed Comment – January 21, 2018 – Frédéric Simon

The carbon budget proposal “will set out exactly what can still be emitted into our atmosphere if we are to comply with the 1.5 and 2 degrees limits set out in Paris and achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050,” Turmes said in a statement after the vote, hailing “a great victory for the climate and citizens”.

‘Is whistleblowing worth prison or a life in exile?’: Edward Snowden talks to Daniel Ellsberg
The Guardian – January 16, 2018 – Ewen MacAskill, Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg

The two most famous whistleblowers in modern history discuss Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, about Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the personal cost of what they did – and if they’d advise anybody to follow in their footsteps. Introduced by Ewen MacAskill.

New Analysis: Voter Suppression Laws a Concern in 2018, Though Many States Looking to Expand Access
Common Dreams – January 22, 2018 – Brennan Center for Justice

“Our initial look at state laws makes it clear that the fight continues against voter suppression across the country,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “But it’s extremely encouraging to see so many states looking to expand access to the polls and make a more inclusive democracy, especially in the face of a push for the opposite at the national level.”

“Friends” Like These Imperil Israel’s Survival
Ron Young Views – January 22, 2018

President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his tweet that “we’ve taken Jerusalem off the table” clearly had more to do with keeping a promise to his billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson and to his and Vice President Pence’s evangelical Christian fundamentalist friends than it did with the Administration’s claim to be seeking a great peace agreement for Israelis and Palestinians. Trump’s moves on Jerusalem, taken together with his allies’ apparent support for the Israeli rightwing version of a “one-state solution” could doom chances for peace with the Palestinians and imperil Israel’s survival.

US air wars under Trump: increasingly indiscriminate, increasingly opaque
The Guardian – January 23, 2018 – Julian Borger

The increased reliance on drones, the spread of the counter-terror battle to remote new areas, where reporting is minimal or non-existent, combined with looser rules of engagement and a gung-ho command tone, threaten to combine to create an increasingly indiscriminate, increasingly opaque, global war in which civilians are likely to account for an ever larger share of the victims.

The Power of Positive Persistence
George Lakoff’s Website – January 17, 2018

Strategies to flip negative attacks by Republicans into positive progress for Americans… Framing is about reclaiming our power to decide what’s important. Framing is about making sure WE set the terms of the debate, using our language and our ideas. Conservatives have beaten progressives at this for decades. It’s time for a change.

America Can Never Go Back to the Era of Back-Alley Abortions
Time Magazine – January 21, 2018 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren

When making policy about women’s bodies, government officials should trust the women whose lives and futures are on the line. Safety and economic security — that’s what Roe v. Wade is still all about. I lived in a world of back alley butchers and wrecked lives. We’re not going back — not now, not ever.

Creating an Empire of Graveyards? At the Circus with Donald Trump
Tom Dispatch – January 25, 2018 – Tom Engelhardt

For the last decade and a half, through invasions and occupations, surges and counterinsurgency operations, bombing runs and drone strikes, commando raids and training missions, they and their colleagues in the U.S. high command have helped spread terror movements across significant parts of the planet, while playing a major role in creating a series of failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. They’ve helped uproot whole populations and transform major cities into spectacles of ruin. Think of this as their twenty-first-century destiny. They’ve proven to be key actors in what has become an American empire of chaos or perhaps simply an empire of graveyards.

Doomsday Clock Now ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ as Trump Drives Up Nuclear and Climate Threats
Common Dreams – January 25, 2018 – Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Global Zero executive director Derek Johnson recalled when, “largely in response to candidate Trump’s alarming campaign rhetoric,” the Doomsday Clock was moved up to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight last year. A year later, Johnson said, “the reality of a nuclear-armed President Trump running loose in the world is worse than we feared, and that is clearly a central factor in this decision.”

Floridians’ Broad Support for Second Chances Sends Voting Amendment to 2018 Ballot
The Brennan Center for Justice – January 23, 2018

“This is an encouraging step in the right direction,” said Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “Florida is one of the very few states in America where people with past convictions who are living and working in their communities don’t get the second chance they deserve to have a say in our society. This amendment is needed to move Florida more to the mainstream.”

The Courts Take Aim at Partisan Gerrymandering
The New Yorker – January 23, 2018 – Jeffrey Toobin

A district map is invalid if (1) it was enacted with the discriminatory intent of benefiting a particular party and handicapping its opponent; (2) it has produced a discriminatory effect in the form of a large and durable partisan asymmetry in favor of the mapmaking party; and (3) no legitimate justification exists for this effect… What’s most important about Wynn’s [Judge James A. Wynn, Jr., North Carolina] opinion is that he seems to have solved the biggest problem with judicial review of gerrymandering: the standard of review… In plain English… if politicians draw district lines solely to protect their partisan interests, they’re invalid.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die
New York Magazine – January 26, 2018 – Eric Levitz

If right-to-work laws alone cost Democrats roughly 3.5 percent of a given state’s vote share, how many votes has the party lost since 1978 by refusing to prioritize progressive labor reforms? What kind of country would we live in today, if they hadn’t?

Why Climate Change Is Worsening Public Health Problems
Eco Watch – January 26, 2018 – Chelsey Kivland and Anne Sosin

Climate change is making communities around the world more vulnerable to ill health. A 2017 commission of The Lancet, a leading health research journal, tracked the effects of climate change on health and found evidence of harms “far worse than previously understood.” … Fixing health care systems while we undermine the environmental conditions for health are a textbook example of what Haitians describe as “lave men, swiyè atè”—washing your hands but drying them in the dirt.

No Price Tags: These Neighbors Built Their Own Economy Without Money
Yes! Magazine – January 24, 2018 – Araz Hachadourian

Time-banking is a model for trading skills, goods, and labor instead of money. There are close to 500 such banks across the country.

How to Bring Caring for Kids and Elders (and Other Acts of Love) Into the Economy
Yes! Magazine – January 22, 2018 – Ai-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta

Every day, people in our communities are figuring out how to care for one another against the odds—and to value that vital work. That is what should inspire and inform the larger changes we need. Creating an economy that allows our families to live, care, and age with dignity is the challenge of a generation.

Raising Consciousness About The Color of Law
Counterpunch – January 26, 2018 – Steve Early

Richard Rothstein in his new book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (W.W. Norton, 2017)… documents how racial segregation in housing did long-term damage to African-American family wealth, income, job opportunities, and access to good public education… What’s most important at the moment, he argues, is arousing in Americans “an understanding of how we created a system of unconstitutional, state-sponsored segregation.” Without a “sense of outrage about that, neither remedies nor reparations will be on the public agenda,” he predicts.

Volume XXVI – Number 3

MLK and the “Firm Dissent” That Is Needed Now
Reader Supported News – Dan Rather’s Facebook Page – January 15, 2018

King is now spoken of with hushed and nearly universal acclaim, but this has deadened the radicalism of King’s message. We must remember that King was a deeply contentious person at the time of his death. The clarity of his mission for justice was not welcome in many corridors of power. He not only preached powerfully about the necessity of racial healing and inclusion. He also issued stirring rhetoric from his pulpit on the need for peace and economic fairness across racial lines. I believe that many who now pay homage to his legacy with florid paeans would be singing different tunes if King was still actively rallying civil disobedience toward the twin causes of racial and economic fairness for the marginal and dispossessed.

If Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, politicians would denounce him
The Guardian – January 15, 2018 – Steven W Thrasher

Today is the day when many American politicians pretend to care about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, one of the wisest souls who attempted to save this sorry nation. Don’t fall for their scams… yet, modern-day Republicans and Democrats often speak as if they love King, even as they excoriate the real heirs to his legacy: the Black Lives Matter activists and other social justice warriors who fight for racial and economic liberation. But the truth is, many of these American politicians would have hated King when he was alive as much as they hypocritically dishonor his radical legacy today.

US to loosen nuclear weapons constraints and develop more ‘usable’ warheads
The Guardian – January 9, 2018 – Julian Borger

Arms control advocates have voiced alarm at the new proposal to make smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons, arguing it makes a nuclear war more likely, especially in view of what they see as Donald Trump’s volatility and readiness to brandish the US arsenal in showdowns with the nation’s adversaries.

What Republicans Have Learned from Their Tax Cut Debacles: Nothing
The American Prospect – January 11, 2018 – Manuel Madrid

Less than two weeks into the new legislative session, Nebraska lawmakers already look to be moving full speed ahead on enacting corporate and top-rate tax cuts—even amid an ongoing budget shortfall that has resulted in severe spending cuts to state services.

Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Racism Has a Long, Ugly History
The American Prospect – January 12, 2018 – Harold Meyerson

Trump’s latest infamy, his shithole sonata, almost faithfully recreates the Klan-fed sentiment that gave rise to the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which created a quota system for immigrants that greatly favored those from northern, “Nordic” Europe… As Linda Gordon documents in her excellent new history, ‘The Second Coming of the KKK”, almost every college offered required classes in eugenics—the science demonstrating Nordic superiority—during the ‘20s… The Trump administration needs to go shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It’s time to update their sheets.

Kentucky Waiver Will Harm People with Medicaid Coverage
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – January 16, 2018 – Judith Solomon

The Trump Administration’s approval of Kentucky’s demonstration project or “waiver” under section 1115 of the Social Security Act — which came just a day after the Administration announced that it would let states condition Medicaid coverage on work — confirms its intention to let states deviate from Medicaid rules in ways that will reduce the number of people with health coverage and make it harder for those covered to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved Kentucky’s waiver under its new waiver criteria, which no longer include increasing and strengthening coverage or improving health outcomes for low-income people.

Breaking the Cycle of Cynicism: “Stand Up!” Offers Tools for Effective Organizing in the Age of Trump
Truth Out – January 16, 2018 – Gordon Whitman, book excerpt

In Stand Up! How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a World on Fire, veteran organizer Gordon Whitman argues that the only way to move from protest to power is through the kind of face-to-face organizing that has powered every successful social movement in US history… When we organize, we experience being an agent of change rather than an object of someone else’s imagination. This is about more than just being good people. It’s about our survival. In a society where wealth is ever more concentrated and the planet is at risk, opting out is not an option.

The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior
The New Yorker – January 22, 2018 issue – Elizabeth Kolbert

Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off… Zinke is, in many ways, a typical Trump appointee. A lack of interest in the public interest is, these days, pretty much a precondition for running a federal agency.

The World According to Trump: Or How to Build a Wall and Lose an Empire
Tom Dispatch – January 16, 2018 – Alfred W. McCoy

Conservative CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria blasted the “Trump administration’s foolish and self-defeating decision to abdicate the United States’ global influence — something that has taken more than 70 years to build.” The great “global story of our times,” he continued, is that “the creator, upholder, and enforcer of the existing international system is withdrawing into self-centered isolation,” opening a power vacuum that will be filled by illiberal powers like China, Russia, and Turkey… in a globalizing world interconnected by trade, the Internet, and the rapid proliferation of nuclear-armed missiles, walls won’t work. There can be no Fortress America.

A Long-Simmering Factor in Iran Protests: Climate Change
Los Angeles Times – January 17, 2018 – Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim

Drought is a concern across the Middle East, but Iran’s 80 million people are especially at risk… In some of the hardest hit areas, including border provinces where ethnic and religious minorities complain of official neglect, concerns over natural resources were a key driver of the demonstrations that began in late December… The drought and water transfer projects are so dangerous and detrimental that environmental protests will resume soon…

Democracy in America? Part 1 and Part 2 Democracy in America? What is it?
Justice Initiative International – January 9, 2018 – Heather Gray

We’ve seen a trend in the past few decades of not teaching civics in America’s public school system to prepare our youth for voting and other civic responsibilities – as in voting and caring for your neighbor… A country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth-a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short-has succeeded not only in buying the label of “democracy” to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary… I’d argue that voting and other decision structures are tools – and when they work well, symbols for democracy. They’re not the essence of democracy… Democracy means agency, citizen power, capacity of people to act to build a common life. In a time of bitter electoral division, when tools replace substance, remembering the larger meaning is crucial.

‘Don’t Wait Until the Bombs Are Falling.’ Pentagon Papers Leaker Encourages More Like Him
Time Magazine – January 17, 2018 – Lucy Feldman

Ellsberg’s urgent interest in nuclear debate runs deep. Before he released the material that revealed the government misled the public about the extent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War — a story newly refreshed by Matthew Rhys as Ellsberg in Steven Spielberg’s latest, The Post — Ellsberg was a nuclear analyst and consultant to the Department of Defense, where he helped draft Secretary Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war. In December, he released “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner”, a book which unravels his untold history with 1960s nuclear secrets and his would-be plans to release them.

Steven Spielberg: The Urgency to Make ‘The Post’ Was Because of Trump’s Administration
The Guardian – January 19, 2018 – Jonathan Freedland

“The level of urgency to make the movie was because of the current climate of this administration, bombarding the press and labelling the truth as fake if it suited them,” Spielberg tells me, recalling the sense of offence he felt at documented, provable events being branded fake news. “I deeply resented the hashtag ‘alternative facts’, because I’m a believer in only one truth, which is the objective truth.”

Trump’s Roundup of Immigrant Leaders Has Begun
Common Dreams – January 18, 2018 – Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

In New York City, hundreds rallied in Judson Memorial Church, demanding freedom for Jean Montrevil and Ravi Ragbir, two men who had just been detained by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Both men have been in the U.S. for almost 60 years between them, and both are prominent immigrant-rights organizers. They aren’t the only ones who’ve been targeted by ICE lately, either, suggesting a concerted effort by the Trump administration to round up leaders in the immigrant community.

ICE Detained My Husband for Being an Activist
The New York Times – January 18, 2018 – Amy Gottlieb, associate regional director of the American Friends Service Committee

Like Jean and thousands of other immigrants caught in ICE raids, Ravi threatens no one. On the contrary, he and other immigrant leaders have led their communities with dignity and courage in a brutal time. That’s why they were snatched — and why ICE wants to deport them.

The Shadow Safety Net
The New York Times – January 19, 2018 – Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Nonprofits across the country have opened “warming centers” to temporarily house some of these people, so that they don’t freeze to death. This idea is critical and certainly well-meaning. But solutions like this are part of something bigger and stranger that I call the dystopian social net. That’s the set of private, philanthropic and even entrepreneurial solutions to social problems that shouldn’t exist in the first place, problems our government should be fixing… the repair clinics and bail funds and the broader shadow social net must exist because the world we exist in can seem dangerously close nowadays to a dystopia.

The Resistance to Trump Will Be Local
The Nation – January 9, 2018 – Bill McKibben

If we’re going to reverse our dire situation, I imagine much of the impetus will come from gritty and real places.

Medicaid work requirements, Trump’s new health care crusade, explained
Vox – January 12, 2018 – Dylan Scott

The Trump administration, after months of promises, is now telling states how they can introduce a new requirement that certain Medicaid recipients also work in order to receive health coverage through the program — a move that experts say is a significant departure from the program’s purpose of providing a safety net to Americans in or near poverty. “Conditioning Medicaid eligibility and coverage on work is a fundamental change to the 50-plus-year history of the Medicaid program,” MaryBeth Musumeci, who studies Medicaid at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me.

Class war in the American west: the rich landowners blocking access to public lands
The Guardian – January 21, 2018 – Kathleen McLaughlin

A creeping, pervasive and underreported threat to public lands in the West: a widening class battle between private landowners – oftentimes newcomers with little knowledge of the region’s history or law – and the general public expecting to use public lands. It’s become the new class war of the West, one public lands advocate I interviewed told me.

A Populism of Hope Begins When People Feel Their Own Power
Yes! Magazine – January 16, 2018 – Nathan Schneider

For those who would like to see today’s populist moment turn from a tenor of fear to hope, from fantasizing about walls to reimagining banks, the challenge is not a matter of slicker messaging or tweaks to any political party’s platform. Hopeful populism begins when people feel their own power, when they experience it through economies that improve their lives by their own hands.

When Economic Growth Indicates Failure
Yes! Magazine – January 19, 2018 – David Korten

For most countries economic performance on equality is far more important to the well-being of their citizens than GDP growth. Indeed, in our currently overstressed world, in which humans are consuming at a rate 1.7 times what Earth can sustain, our real need is for less consumption and more equity. For the well-being of most everyone—including the rich—equality is more important than growth… Our economic priority at this point in human history must be to organize ourselves to meet the essential material needs of all people in ways that fulfill us spiritually and heal the Earth. To make the appropriate policy choices we must understand the sources of our current dysfunction and redirect our economies to achieve an equitable sharing of income and wealth.