Huff Post, the internet’s most homogeneous enclave of “opinion,” whose thought police, thought judges, and thought jury overlords hand down verdicts for those of us NORMAL enough to watch nostalgic Christmas specials on TV, announced felt compelled to label the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas special “problematic” last week.
Really? Problematic? Now, I’ve worked for a few big corporations in my time, and their HR Department’s favorite thing to do is tweak words and flip verb tense to make new and different meanings. Something (read: someone) isn’t just a problem, requiring a solution, something is “problematic.” Salient points in a discussion become “take-aways.” A raise becomes a “merit adjustment.” Justifications for not giving someone a raise are “constructive criticism.” Thinly veiled insults become “feedback.” (Note: feedback, by definition, is the horrifically painful-to-hear jarring noise of a microphone doing its impression of a battery being run up and down a cheese grater through the loudest speaker possible. But but but, “here’s some feedback! To help your growth!” Uhhh, no thanks, sadist. Have a really awesome day though!)
Words have meaning. Yes, I know my fellow Trump supporters have known this for some time. And we can tell that the thought police (a very small group of people who are incredibly loud, who are by no means the majority) are now saying “problematic” instead of “offensive.” If I came over to your house and you fed me a meal and I criticized your cooking, thatwould be rude. Impolite. Offensive. Mean! “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” is none of those things. Not even remotely.
And here is the best part: the more these mentally ill people attack obviously fun, spirited, joyful, happy moral stories, good vs evil fables, if you will, the more they alienate the masses. Even the left-leaning Democrat masses. For example, I consider myself to have mostly libertarian views with a few exceptions (yes, I was a Bernie supporter before I flipped to Trump) but I have long agreed that calling gay men the f word or black people the n word or women the c word is offensive. Mean. Rude! And most of my conservative friends agree! They — we — aren’t out using those words (that have meanings!) in the HR or leftist fashion, in ways that don’t make sense, to twist their meanings and use the words to control the speech and thought patterns of others. A woman I met at a women’s college once told me that her calling me a c–t is a compliment: that we have to usurp the patriarchy’s power to oppress women by taking the power of that word back, and by using it in empowering ways. I said, wrong. Whether a woman or a man calls me the c word, I am going to walk away from them and avoid seeing them ever again. She wanted to argue. Guess what I did. I cut her off. I literally said to her, “I don’t give my consent to be called a c—.” Yep, I used her consent language! (lol) And I saw a flicker in her eyes — for a just a split second, there was brief awareness that her reasoning was far from logical.
The more these mentally ill people attack obviously fun, spirited, joyful, happy moral stories — good vs evil fables — the more they alienate the masses.
Coincidentally, the very first clip Huff Post “exposes” in their anti-Christmas propaganda is Rudolph being bullied by the other reindeer. They call him horrible names. You know what he says? “Stop calling me names.” That in and of itself is incredibly brave. Most of us probably witnessed bullying at school on the playground as kids. The person being bullied just sits there and waits till it’s over. Teachers might intervene. They might not. Never did I observe anyone who was being bullied say — courageously — “Stop bullying me.” What a great movie for kids to watch: Rudolph protests the injustice as it’s happening to him. Nip it in the bud. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for those weaker than you. That’s what my parents taught me. And the message in the Christmas special gets even better!
Now, the wackjobs on Twitter want to call Rudolph’s dad saying, “There are more important things than comfort: self-respect” verbal abuse. Nope. We should all be so lucky as to have a strong father figure growing up who teaches us that temporary discomfort is worth it if it leads to an accomplishment we can be proud of down the line.
Yes, the basketball coach leading the gang-up on Rudolph is shitty and horrible. And we all knew a bad guy like that as kids. Stories like these teach us about the nature of good and evil. That sometimes evil is an adult who abuses power over kids. It’s usually NOT a horned devil. Kids need to know this. Show your kids this excellent TV special/parable today! Spoiler alert: Rudolph is vindicated in the end. And what does that teach kids? That there are good adults in a position of power as well, generous kind benevolent adults (Santa). That children have a choice regarding which path they’ll go down as they grow up.
Ok, Huffpost, you’re right: it’s mean that the dad of Clarice (the pretty girl reindeer that Rudolph likes) says he wouldn’t allow any daughter of his to be seen with a red-nosed reindeer. People are mean. Parents can be too. The whole point of the show is to teach kids that in the end, good leaders (Santa) identify what it is that each member of the tribe has to contribute to the overall happiness of the family/tribe.
And the young elf who wants to be a dentist who is berated for not wanting to be one, by his dad? Again, the lesson is that Santa (the good guy/alpha tribal leader in this context) sees that even if your whole family has been making toys for generations, you might be better off being the first dentist and helping the other members of the tribe in a way that more fully expresses your talents. Huff Post ridiculously analyzes this wonderful tale of love, acceptance and victory over bullies through a lens of PC purgatory. The note they insidiously end on? As Santa is flying though the sky to deliver toys, Rudolph proudly leading the entire herd, what suggestion do they implant in the viewer’s mind?
“Deviation from the norm will be punished unless it is exploitable.”
Give me a break. A literal break.
Deviant behavior and traits can and should be punished. But Rudolph isn’t a deviant. His nose isn’t a deviation. It’s not a flaw. It’s a gift. Santa is the strong leader who recognizes strengths. Guess what, Huff Post? Exploiting strengths is awesome. Otherwise, the strength the elf had, the skill of cavity filling, would have been lost in a sea of toy-making. Rudolph’s brilliant nose would have been wasted if he’d been forced to cover it up.
Words matter. Exploiting people — forcing them into unpaid labor — is bad. Exploiting strengths, valuing them, and rewarding the person who uses them in constructive ways, is good! If Huff Post weren’t so full of actual feces, they would be talking about how Rudolph covering his red nose with a fake brown prosthetic so it looks brown could be seen as a metaphor for the niqab or burka which force a woman to veil her strengths and hide her very existence to the point of near invisibility, and this propaganda outlet could instead spark a discussion of how some religions value women only for their reproductive organs.
But they don’t. Because the point of this video is not reallyto expose anything sinister. Huff Post’s goal isn’t to shine the light of truth onto any darkness (Santa does that!). Huff Post’s goal is to fill people who watch their micro documentary with hate. To fill people who watch it with hate for those who looooooove Christmas. Trump supporters.
What Huff Post wants the most is to normalize hate. But especially to hate anything that promotes happiness and national unity. Remember when everyone loved holiday specials no matter what their political background was? These fun TV specials that air this time of year were loved by everyone. They’re fun! Hilarious sometimes. My Jewish friend in grade school watched them with her family! Christians don’t have a monopoly on Santa. It’s a fun character! You’ll find out soon enough that it’s your parents. But that too is fun because then you know that you get to grow up one day and “be Santa” for your kids!
The good news is that Huff Post and their cronies are losing the culture war. People are sick of this B.S. They just want to focus on their families and have money and a good job. They don’t want to talk politics! The more Santa — who is obviously a “good guy” — is villainized in this absurd (almost laughable) way, the more the entire overt operation to mainstream hate and normalize tension between family members and polarization between the two political parties, backfires.
And they are such a hate-filled tiny percentage of the population, screaming into a hate-filled echo chamber, that they have no idea. So let’s not tell them to put down their shovels. Let’s celebrate family, tradition, and the spirit of giving that inspires us to be generous and creative all December long!
Interim Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe is as corrupt as the day is long! Even his subordinates say he’s a screamer and discriminates against them. And what’s thiiiiiiis? General Mike Flynn was willing to testify on Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz’ behalf AGAINST her direct supervisor (at the time) Andrew McCabe in sex discrimination lawsuit? What’s that? McCabe gave her nasty critical annual reviews to prevent her from being promoted? What now, General Flynn wrote her a glowing review on Pentagon stationery in stark contrast to Andy “I have a blatant man crush on Jim Comey” McCabe?
Or click on the link below to listen — it will open in a new window! Hear your favorite progressive patriot analyze the speech patterns & body language of corrupt McCabe when he testifies before the House Intel Committee. Somebody has an intense man-crush on Comey. DAMN.
Please check out my video and be sure to like and subscribe!
STRATEGY: Vote third party if you live in a historically red state in order to create a historical record of dissent but vote for Trump if you live in a state that is historically blue or is a swing state. Remember, it’s a just war we’re fighting. Hillary is just a pawn in the game, the human personification of a wire transfer. But the war is real — and it’s a war on corruption. We know what we’ll get with Hillary: four more years of corporatism. Trump may keep none of his promises (to stop regime change, nation building, endless war, the TPP, pull out of NAFTA, and bring back manufacturing jobs), but we know for sure that Hillary won’t. If we take a risk on Trump’s populism, the worst case scenario is four years of republican disaster that create the fertile ground for an even more progressive candidate to run in 2020. For example, BERNIE. Hillary has run for president twice and ostensibly, Bernie would be running a re-election campaign in four years anyway, had the DNC and the mainstream media not conspired against him to ensure that Hillary was the candidate and that Bernie never even had a chance.
Here’s the article on the Iranian asset that was killed because of those classified emails Hillary sent with extreme carelessness on an unencrypted server. Ruh-roh. The Nat Sec community doesn’t like you anymore, Hillary.
“He’d been sentenced to prison, but after the release of these emails, he was taken out and executed.” https://t.co/qLLKUj1hCZ
The second that Iranian nuclear scientist was hanged for treason, she became a liability. Think I’m connecting imaginary dots? Well, what day was he executed? And what day did Trump make his apology speech? Trump is now being coached by people who have a lot more to lose than their pride. Notice he’s walking back his immigration stance and skipping the torture rhetoric and no longer saying weird things like “Hillary and Obama are the founders of ISIS” and instead saying logical things like “Obama and Hillary’s actions in the Middle East contributed to the vacuum from which ISIS could emerge.”
Now, when Bernie warns us that if he ever tells us who to vote for, we shouldn’t listen to him — should we listen to him? YES.
Here’s Hillary earlier this month on a stage as her health publicly deteriorates. Hillary freezes: then her handler comes up to her and tells her to “keep talking,” but has to say it twice before it works.
Here’s a HILARIOUS — and I mean HUH-larious — reading by Bill Whittle. Hillary Clinton is NOT a feminist.
And here he is talking with Stefan Molyneux about FBI Director Comey’s scathing statement on why the FBI would not be recommending prosecution to the DOJ, which to many of us sounded a lot more like “closing arguments” that beautifully outlined all the crimes that Hillary committed rather than an explanation for why he wasn’t recommending prosecution. Bill has an excellent theory that Comey essentially couldn’t recommend prosecution because of possible corruption inside the Dept of Justice and so instead, he disclosed all of her crimes so that Congress would demand a hearing (which it did) and call for additional separate charges (which they did). Lo and behold, the Clinton Foundation is being investigated for corruption as we speak!
My own personal theory (AND I’M SPECULATING) is that Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch did indeed talk about the grandchildren on the plane for 39 minutes, but especially about Loretta’s grandchildren and what might happen to them if Attorney General Lynch went ahead and charged his wife Hillary with any crimes. At that point, I speculate, faced with no other option, Director Comey decided to try Hillary Clinton in the Court of Public Opinion, and delivered his closing arguments in front of the jury of 318 million of her closest peers in the form of a live televised “official statement.”
And watch more about the donors to the Clinton Foundation in Abby Martin’s excellent expose. The whole episode is great, but I have it embedded to start at exactly 12:15 in order to get straight to the corrupt donors to the Clinton Foundation. $10 million from literal hell on earth Saudi Arabia, $10 million from billionaire oligarch Victor Pinchuk, between $1 and $5 million each from Oman, Quatar, Kuwait, the UAE and … that’s right, another friendly neighborhood Saudi billionaire. These are countries where dissent is punished with public execution. Oh, and a woman who is raped? Well, that’s adultery, you silly Westernized whore. And adulterers get stoned to death.
And here’s the conservative version of Abby Martin’s expose called “Clinton Cash.” There was a lot of pseudo fact checking, but lo and behold, it turned out that Clinton Cash the movie, like Clinton Cash the book, simply followed the money trail and documented the horror as it was. There was no need to make it look worse. Here’s the fact check of the fact check! Click here.
Now watch the Clinton Chronicles — the corruption goes WAY back!
Listen to Hillary Clinton pat herself on the back for getting a 41 year old child rapist off with two months’ time served in the 70’s. And she chuckles in nostalgic glee.
Watch Abby Martin’s excellent expose on NAFTA, “How NAFTA Displaced Millions of Mexican Farmers”
Don’t let David Seaman be the next Seth Rich.
Please vote! I’d love it if you voted for Trump but I’d love it if you voted period!
My name is Sarah, I’m a millennial who voted for Obama twice, and I see you being railroaded by a media who refuse to acknowledge you as a legitimate Presidential candidate and the only Democrat candidate who can win the general election. I have previously blogged about Hillary Clinton’s lack of electability, and unlike her followers who are literally blind to her flaws, I am not only aware of hers, I see a few of yours as well. And I want you to win the Dem nomination because if you don’t, I feel very strongly that we will be looking at a President Bush or Trump thirteen months from now. Writing an open letter to her would be a waste of time because her greatest flaw is a sense of entitlement that causes her to think in terms of how much she deserves to be president instead of how much work it requires to earn votes. You, on the other hand, know all too well how hard the fight ahead will be. You’ll have to fight tooth and nail, not only against your opponents and the superpacs but against the media itself who have already decided you can’t win. I think you can win by implementing a few specific strategies. But the number one demographic you need to start concentrating on right away is the Millennials.
Here a Millennial, there a Millennial, Everywhere a Millennial
It turns out that there are more Millennials alive than Baby Boomers, (87 million compared to 76 million) and now that we’re all officially old enough to vote, we are the most influential demographic politically (notice that no major news outlets are rushing to announce this). This means that Millennials need to get registered to vote so every time you’re on TV, Senator, don’t waste an opportunity to remind us to if we aren’t already. And, point out that in 31 states and in Washington, DC, people must be either registered *as a democrat* in order to vote for you, Bernie, or they must declare their party affiliation at the polls. (Click here to find out if your state is one of them.) Hey, fellow Millennials, think having to declare loyalty to a political party, in and of itself part of the divide-and-conquer-method, is a load of steaming cow pie? You’re not alone; lots of millennial, gen x-er and Boomer lawyers agree. I have talked to a few and apparently it will take a series of lawsuits against individual secretaries of states (but we have to be careful which states we start with) for infringing on our 1st Amendment right to free speech. The argument will go something like this: if I am prevented from voting for someone on a ballot because I have not registered with my secretary of state as a member of a certain political party, then I am being prevented by that state government from “speaking” my support for a particular candidate. Now if you think that’s a stretch, keep in mind that when Citizens United vs the FEC (federal campaign commission) and McCutcheon vs the FEC were each heard by the Supreme Court regarding whether or not money is speech, those sage robed upholders of our constitutional rights decided that money IS speech! (Obviously, money buys volume or silence, it is not in and of itself a type of expression, for crying out loud.) So if money is speech, voting is definitely speech. And how about our right to privacy also being violated by making us disclose to the secretary of our state which party we intend to vote for? Bernie, those two issues would be a great thing to bring up during the debates.
Do we really need a fly on the wall of HRC’s war room to guess she’s rubbing her hands together and grinning, “Berrrrnie. Sannnnders,” then leaning forward on her throne to command her minions, “Destroy him”? Do we actually need someone to secretly screenshot her whiteboard and tweet the image of the hashtag thereon, #OperationRedSmear? No, we don’t. We just need to acknowledge that it’s probably already begun. By saying that you are a democratic socialist (or, to put it another way, admitting that you are one), Hillary probably sees you walking into a trap of your own making. For example, you say something like, “with a small transaction tax on high frequency stock trades, we could pay for socialized health care, just like in Canada and France, or fund college tuition at all public universities at no charge to students.” She’ll grin into the camera (amused at your ignorance), announce this isn’t Denmark! and then shake her head back and forth condescendingly (pitying your ignorance). Then she’ll pounce and declare: sometimes we need to save capitalism from itself, [everything up to this point she’s already done] conflate socialism with communism, use nasty throwback trigger words like “Marxist” and “the USSR,” and you’re going to lose, sir.
Now, the only day we can go back to is today. So let’s rewrite that chapter right now.
“Senator, what’s democratic socialism?” Here’s where it’s really important to answer the question, directly, before you go off on your trademark soapbox style “Bernie Sanders says NO to Wall Street’s greed” tangent. We love those tangents; we love them because they indicate passion, idealism, and confidence. Those aren’t the problem. You know what a tell is in poker? Well, your unwillingness to just put it out there, what democratic socialism is, tells us that for some reason, you aren’t quite comfortable with your fondness for it, or perhaps the discomfort is with dem-soc itself. Here’s your usual way of answering the question:
To me, Democratic Socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people.
That’s right, you tell us what dem-soc means, to you, connotatively, instead of denotatively. Hillary will eat that right up, like butterscotch pudding, Bernie. When you don’t answer a question directly, you look like you’re trying to hide something or that you can’t handle the question. I want you to win; that’s why I want to tell you how I think HRC will turn this hesitation around and use it against you. I think she’ll interrupt youtalk over you say, “Senator Sanders, why don’t you just admit it? It means there’s voting but the means of production are socialized. And we all know that’s a stone’s throw away from communism.” So I want you, as part of a premeditated strategy to appeal to the large number of libertarian millennials whose interest you have already piqued, to be the first to reference the Bill of Rights in your answer. So here is one way you could define democratic socialism in a forthcoming way that does the most damage control:
Democratic Socialism is where you have a democratic political system, where people vote just like we have now, and a socialist economic system. Now, when the economic system is socialized, it doesn’t mean it has to be run by the government – there are probably people out there who belong to a co-op, and if you do, you know the profits are socialized, meaning spread out among all the members, everybody gets a dividend at the end of the year. But it often does mean state-run programs. And the truth iswe already have tons of socialized — meaning government run, in this case — programs in our country. The FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the military, our entire Justice System. Do our judges get paid per decision or per trial? Do our FBI agents get paid per case? No, they all get paid on salary so there is no motivation for them to serve anyone’s interests but the American people’s. (Later, you could tie that into why you co-sponsored the Stop Outsourcing Security Act.) And let’s not forget the bailouts; a taxpayer bailout is known as socializing a loss — instead of spreading the profit or benefit around, we spread the loss around. People will tell you we have a capitalist system but not only do we already have a ton of socialized services that benefit everyone, like our national security apparatus, already in effect, the negative effects of the casino capitalism, they don’t trickle down, they flood down. All those bets Wall St made? When they lose, the taxpayer picks up the tab. That 2008 TARP bailout under President Bush? It was $700 billion. Divide that by the population of the US at the time: 309,557,862. That works out to be $2258 for every man woman and child in the country. Now how much did you pay for your health insurance last year? In student loan payments? In credit card payments? Crony capitalism’s gambling losses are always socialized, but when they make a killing on the stock market and we ask them to pay the same tax rate on capital gains as other income, they balk! Now, obviously, we have a constitutional republic (this phrase is a trigger phrase for libertarians) and one democratic socialist president is not going to undue the system of checks and balances designed by the framers of the constitution, and I wouldn’t want to. The Bill of Rights is designed to protect us from a corrupt government. But the income inequality in this country, where 95% of all income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1%, where only 2% of this country makes more than $250,000 a year, is scandalous. Only 5% of Americans make more than $150,000 a year. The founders wanted the Bill of Rights to protect us from a corrupt government but they could never have imagined we’d need just as much if not more protection from a corrupt Wall Street.
Emphasize that socialism has nothing to do with corrupt fascist regimes. If anyone asks you if you are a Marxist, say, “No, Marx advocated the abolition of private property; that kind of extremist ideology has no place in our country.” If you don’t believe that, start practicing in the mirror now. You will be asked. The GOP is just waiting to accuse you of it. But Hillary will be worse. She will say, “the rich need to pay their fair share” but then refuse to pick an income level or an income tax percentage that corresponds to her vision of “fair.” Instead, she’ll use your desire for high income tax rates on high income as evidence of you being “out of touch.” Point out that during the 1950’s and early 60’s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90% and the economy boomed.
Thank you for getting totally real on marijuana; more than half of Americans support legalizing marijuana (58% according to Gallup’s Oct 2015 poll) and an overwhelming majority of millennials do. But HRC is going to pounce on this issue because even though more than half of Americans support legalization, they are not the half you can count on to go register to vote in advance or make sure they’ve declared a party affiliation. So, here’s how you could play it. You want marijuana to be legal not only because the drug war is imprisoning young people instead of the banksters (this is deflecting, by the way, and Hillary will hone in on that like a predator drone) but because prohibition doesn’t work. It doesn’t make sense. Did prohibition of alcohol work? No, but a massive campaign against drunk driving and drinking while pregnant have worked. Why not legalize pot and put warnings on the packaging like we have with cigarettes? If growers of organic pesticide-free fair trade marijuana want to sell their plant at the farmer’s market, then we require them to hand out a little warning pamphlet (with side effects on fertility/virility, memory, and citing studies of irreversible IQ point decreases in people under age 25, etc.). In other words, you can and should acknowledge that there are negative side effects of pot use and say, “I want buying and using marijuana to be legal; no one should spend a minute in jail for smoking pot. That doesn’t mean I want you to use it!” The DEA spends boatloads of taxpayer money trying to override people’s free will decision to use drugs, a fool’s errand in this blogger’s mind. Far more logical to regulate their sale and educate people (especially on the horrific side effects of meth and heroin). And, Senator, when the topic of legalizing marijuana comes up, you could also suggest using the sales tax revenue it would generate to fund national health care, including treatment programs for those addicted to alcohol and drugs.
Speaking of Health Care
Lots of people who voted for President Obama blindly supported anything he proposed after he took office because of his star power and magnetism. And you want that demographic to vote for you too (look them up on twitter with #UniteBlue). You need that demographic to vote for you. So start out praising Obamacare, and segue to single payer by pointing out that the best part about the ACA is the provision allowing each state to set up its own single payer system. Besides, as long as there’s going to be a mandate, why not take the middle man/insurance company out of it so that the mandated number of dollars we all pay is even less? And why not put doctors on the federal payroll? Judges are on the federal payroll and get paid from our tax dollars. What is a doctor but a judge of disease? What is a prescription or treatment but a sentence for wayward health? What is a hospital but a jail that doesn’t need bars because the people inside are too sick to get up and walk out of it? (Kidding! It’s way more fun to visit people in the hospital than jail! Unless they’re dying, of course.)
You’ve continued to associate the epidemic of gun violence with our disenfranchising health care system that doesn’t get the mentally ill the treatment they need. HRC may not realize it but “gun control” is a trigger phrase too — and what it triggers is a knee jerk reaction in many Americans to buy more guns. Tread as lightly on this issue as you did in the first debates; emphasize your concern for prevention and national health care. Then after you’ve won the nomination, you can reference the 2nd Amendment specifically to relate to libertarian voters. You’re going to need them in the general election. This is a very difficult issue because clearly something must be done; but in this millennial’s opinion, your suggestion that what must be done is getting people access to doctors to prevent these shootings in the first place is the one that will earn you the most votes in our current electoral college voting system. If presidential elections were a strict popular vote, I’d say push gun control because roughly a third of Americans own guns (not the majority by any means). But you’ll need to win many of the states with a high rate of gun-ownership if you want to win the electoral college, so your emphasis on healthcare is strategically your best bet.
Are you a pacifist? How you can align your conscientious objector past with Daniel Ellsberg & Edward Snowden and appeal to the greatest number of Americans
You said you weren’t a pacifist and you clearly aren’t or you wouldn’t have voted for the AUMF after Sept 11. Use the phrase “just war” sparingly to describe our nation’s right to defend itself if attacked on our own soil; and remind us again and again that you voted against war in Iraq.
Most people won’t doubt the validity of your being a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. We should never have been there in the first place, as the Boomers who lived through it (or lost loved ones who died for it) well know. Many of them, including over 7 million living Vietnam war vets, explained that to their gen x-er and millennial offspring. If you align yourself with Daniel Ellsberg who blew the whistle on the government’s false narrative of success in Vietnam by releasing the Pentagon Papers, (which is why you objected to it too, right?) you’ll not only tap into our country’s collective regret over the Vietnam War and how it could have been prevented or at least cut short, you’ll simultaneously appeal to the Millennials’ admiration of Snowden (70% of us think he’s a whistleblower) because Daniel Ellsberg has been such a vocal supporter of him. In fact, many younger Millennials had never heard of Daniel Ellsberg before Snowden came along.
You are wise to say Snowden should have a trial in a court of law though, rather than that the Department of Justice should drop the charges against him or that he should be pardoned because this is what the majority of Americans think. But we’re a funny people; the majority of Americans were glad to learn from the Snowden disclosures that our 4th Amendment rights were being violated by the NSA too. So while I get it that you may feel reluctant to say anything beyond, “I think Snowden played a very important role in educating the American people to the degree in which our civil liberties and our constitutional rights are being undermined,” as you said at the first debate, there are 61 million Millennial Americans who more than agree with you. Evoke memories of Ellsberg, and many other civil libertarians and peace activists and unjust war protesters, especially Boomers, are sure to notice too. And remind us again that you voted against the PATRIOT Act.
And be sure to mention that as a contractor, Snowden was not eligible for any whistleblower protections. Not from President Obama’s executive order …
On Snowden, Obama sd he signed 1st ExecOrder that affords whistleblower protections to IC; does NOTapply2contractors http://t.co/uke7B59le2
No low blows, just acknowledgement of the systemic corruption of campaign finance and the need for reform
Bernie, it’s so awesome that you haven’t said one bad word about Hillary. Millennials hate — with a PASSION — that bullshit. WE HATE IT. Thank you, Senator, for sticking to the facts! It’s awesome to point out that the % of your donors who are small donors is extremely high compared to the average campaign, and great to point out how much money has gone into the superpacs since the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions in order to show how flagrant the attempts to buy this election are, and even better to highlight that you aren’t taking a dollar of that superpac money. We know which candidates are in Wall Street’s pocket and that you aren’t one of them.
Politicians pointing out each other’s flaws instead of focusing on solutions to very real problems we would prefer to have solved doesn’t make them look better than their opponents. On the contrary, it reveals their personality weakness. Thanks, Bernie, for being the kind of politician who focuses on society’s flaws, not people’s personality flaws.
Below is a tweet from someone who has the opposite view. And as far as a winning strategy, I couldn’t disagree more. (This was one of the ways HRC embarrassed herself in 2008 — by insulting Obama over and over. It didn’t even faze him!)
There’s only one thing I’d recommend you completely eliminate or significantly reduce in your campaign, Senator, and that is any reference to a revolution. Especially during this time of recovering from the disappointment of President Obama’s promises of hope and change, the concept of revolution is a bit much. When someone says revolution to me, I think of two things, the Revolutionary War (and that we won it) and then I think of the Beatles’ song, and this line from it: “You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan.” Revolution is a big word, Senator, and it has all kinds of terrible connotations, like no clean running water and the grid going down and rape in the streets. And death and blood and corpses and horrific fighting — and war. Even when you specify a political revolution, it just doesn’t ring true. All revolutions are political revolutions. Yes, “a revolution” has a better ring to it than “Get off your butts and participate; show a little gratitude for your freedom to vote that people died for. Apathy’s not gonna cut it. You actually do have to vote to remind Congress that they work for you and will be fired if they don’t do what you want, and this means voting every 2 years, not every 4.” While apathy-shaming won’t work, I think the concept of revolution in this sense will make people think of a rebellious uprising more than anything else, and that will turn off a very large important demographic (Boomers) and won’t turn on any of the others.
Your campaign is still young and I’m positive there’s a far better slogan to be had, one that will appeal to people of all generations and socioeconomic backgrounds who favor overcoming income equality and seek social justice.
To Do List:
Don’t miss an opportunity to remind people to get registered to vote, including tweeting reminders that in many states, you must be registered as a Democrat to be able to vote for you
Define democratic socialism within the context of it already being part of our constitutional republic (saying we live in a democracy is not factually true)
Use trigger phrases like constitutional republic and democratic republic; explain they are synonyms
Answer questions directly even if being direct requires a lie; a straightforward lie is always better than a hesitant justification*
Continue your habit of not intentionally lying
Use trigger phrases like “the truth is”
Explain that capitalism is voting with our dollars; then contrast that with our current rigged “capitalist” system using both “casino capitalism” and “crony capitalism” interchangeably to explain how it really works in practice
Use the 3 phrases “framers of the constitution,” “founding fathers,” “Bill of Rights” and the 3 phrases “Wall St” “income inequality” “the 1%” at a ratio of 1:1 in order to appeal to both liberals and libertarians (also, a lot of people are just plain patriotic and those first 3 words mean something to them)
Hillary overuses the phrase “the middle class” — don’t make her same mistake! Explain socioeconomic classes as they pertain to income inequality; there are the working poor, then there’s a working class, a lower middle class, a middle class, an upper middle class, the rich and the super rich. Below are 2 videos to help explain the insanity of the ratio of CEO pay to average worker and how much worse the reality of income inequality is compared to what we think it is.
Acknowledge the working poor in the debates, those who work but can’t get full time hours because their company’s policy is no more than 32 (or however many) hours a week and consequently, they qualify for SNAP and subsidized housing. They don’t vote because no one acknowledges they even exist! And there are millions of them. If you use the phrase, “the working poor,” they’re going to look up at the TV and go, oh, my God, someone’s talking about us! The other reason they don’t vote is because they literally can’t get time off work on election day and are unaware that in many states, employers are legally required to allow workers to take time off to vote. These votes are ripe for the picking, Bernie. Snatch them up with your #15now rhetoric.
I know you’ll make a great president, Senator Sanders!
*Example: Hillary’s concise “no” when Anderson asked her if her flipflopping on issues meant she was changing them based on the demographic (“Will you say anything to get elected?”). She was verifiably lying but it came across as honest.
Click here for an easy to use link – simply enter your zip code and Roots Action will automatically pre-fill your 2 Senators and 1 Representative’s information. Take a second, if you wish, to compare my re-write below to their text that pops up after you enter your zip code. Mine is more specific so be sure to take out “as a consistent supporter” on the second to last line if you don’t support your Congresspeople and then enter your name where I have YOUR NAME in all caps on the last line if you are going to use my text instead of Roots Action’s text.
As your constituent, I urge you to support legislative efforts to make college tuition-free. The United States has the money to do this, as some other nations do, and the 1.2 trillion (not billion – trillion!) dollar student loan debt crisis is crippling an entire generation of potential leaders, entrepreneurs, and young families – families that choose to have only one child or no children because they simply cannot afford to.
Please cosponsor and support S.1373, a parallel House bill, and any similar legislation that will provide America’s young people with the opportunity to pursue taxpayer funded higher education at any public institution.
Additionally, please support H.R.2429, the Student Loan Tax Debt Relief Act, which protects students from tax liability when a school closes or an agreement is reached with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to keep a school open.
As a consistent supporter, I thank you for taking the time to consider my view on this important issue.
Think voting doesn’t matter? Amendments are ratified by elected state legislatures. Are you a woman? Are you black? The 15th & 19th Amendments were passed by white men! There wasn’t a single woman or black person in the entire Congress.
If your vote doesn’t matter, why did corporations go all the way to Supreme Court to get permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence who you’ll vote for? (Citizens United vs FEC)
If your vote doesn’t matter, why did ONE billionaire go all the way to the Supreme Court to get permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy it? (McCutcheon vs FEC)
If your vote doesn’t matter, why did 19 states pass laws in 2014 making it more difficult to vote? Why are they trying to legislate silence? What do they have to gain?
Voting is a matter of cause and effect. The narcissists and liars in Congress today are there because they were votedinto office. So were the good ones.
I’ve said before and will say again: you can’t use logic to reason with illogical people (though with the above statements, I definitely gave it my best shot). You have to use emotion. So, finally, please know that if you believe your vote doesn’t matter, someone is getting off on that. They’re rubbing their hands together going, moo ha ha ha … and chuckling all the way to the bank.
And not voting is weighted. Not voting at the polls is the same as voting with our silence for everything to stay the same. Consider this: the majority of eligible voters do not show up at the polls, even in presidential election years.
Elected officials may have the rule-making authority, but the masses have the power to decide who gets that authority. We the people. Rulers (“politicians”) work for us. This is the difference between power and authority: Elected officials have Authority. We have the Power to keep them on the payroll OR vote them out. They work for US. Imagine if you had been raised – known your whole life – that the day you turn 18, you become the employer of 4 federal employees — your one Representative, your two Senators, and the President.
The Divide and Conquer Method is what keeps people discouraged, keeps them from showing up at the polls, and keeps them from exercising this power to cause change – power that, if you’re an American, you came into like the richest inheritance the day you came of age. In other words, if you think the system is broken, remember, you’re supposed to.
The Myth of Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils
Think that if you voted, you’d only be voting for the lesser of two evils? That’s a myth. People are people. They have strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited, whether they work for the private sector or public. Everyone responds to incentives. We the people first have to be aware of that (that politicians are not above us or beyond us – that they work FOR us) and then we can get down to the business of reminding them, hey, you work for us. We pay your salary. And we’re watching. And in two or six years, if we don’t like your performance, we’re going to let you go.
We the People have the MOST leverage when a politician is up for re-election and has something to lose — namely, their job. Corporations are already fully aware of this! They know what the masses don’t: party doesn’t matter, threat of unemployment does.
Corporations already know what the masses don’t about leveraging re-election: the party of the individual congressperson doesn’t matter – only threat of unemployment does.
We the People have the leverage. Let’s be like corporations and say with our vote, “Congress, if you don’t do what WE want, we’ll find someone else who will – next election.”
For one, it’s the name of my new live online radio show, broadcasting from 10 pm to 11 pm Central Time on Sunday nights.
But the best way to describe one is the way I did on the first episode of the Progressive Patriot this past Sunday night:
“It’s Sunday night at 10 pm and you’ve joined your favorite progressive patriot for an evening of Social Justice promoting, Constitution loving, Bill of Rights upholding, Discussion, Interviews, and more on radio blog talk.
Hello, everyone! And welcome to tonight’s episode of the Progressive Patriot. I’m your host, Sarah Reynolds, and straight out of the gate, I want you to know that my goal – over the next hour – is to provide you with information and inspiration that will motivate you to take action.
Today, May 4, 2014 is the inaugural episode of my new radio show. For those of you who have been following me on twitter, you know that I come on about 5 minutes before midnight every night and then tweet for 2 hours or more a continuous stream of petitions, and that my slogan is a petition a day keeps the fascism away. I’ve got a phenomenal guest lined up for the very first show EVER of The progressive patriot who’s going to speak with us about the movement to get a living wage for workers also known as the #15now movement, but first, let me tell you what being a progressive patriot is. See, I hate labels, I’m not a can of soup so labels are not going to stick to me. Yes, I’m a millennial, yes, I lean to the left on most social justice issues, but my thought is that the widespread usage of either/or trigger words (such as left/right, liberal/conservative, democrat/republican, red/blue etc.) — it’s all very effectively dividing and conquering us as a country. And at some moment in time, we have to ask ourselves, is that the point?
So to me, being patriotic is loving my whole country, no exceptions, everybody. And that’s why I love my vets. Try to wrap your mind around being willing to die for anyone in our country at any time. The true patriot is happy to die for any American — not just the ones who share the same political beliefs. And that is why we need people to a) run for Congress and b) become journalists who are as happy to die for our country as those who join the military, True Patriots who are not afraid of being blackmailed or having their lives threatened if they defend the Bill Of Rights and expose government corruption.
The true patriot is happy to die for any American — not just the ones who share the same political beliefs.
The Founders delineated specific protections against specific kinds of tyranny with the Bill of Rights. And if you follow me on twitter, you know my favorite is our 1st Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. When we sign petitions, we’re essentially protesting injustice and objecting to abuse of power by authority. And sustained pressure is the key. Elected officials, rulers a.k.a. politicians, have the authority, but they won’t keep their job if we vote them out and vote better people in. Remember, not voting is a weighted vote for everything to stay the same. Tonight we’re talking about raising the minimum wage, but in the future we’ll talk about everything from closing Gitmo, repealing AUMF, repealing the PATRIOT Act (which is the opposite of how a patriot would act), pulling out of NAFTA a.k.a. the North American Free Trade Agreement which has caused the loss of 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs, to stopping the TPP a.k.a. the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, getting universal health care, income inequality, Wall Street Speculation which we should choke with 1% Tobin tax on every transaction; and saving Social Security by funding it via a flat tax on all income, not just the first $113,000.”
And then I wrapped it up with:
“As we close, I challenge you to ask yourself, “what action can I take to prevent future pain of the same nature?” Remember, regret is a teacher and progress is a verb. Have a great night now, and we’ll see you right back here next Sunday night at 10 pm central time, 11 pm eastern time, 8 pm Pacific time and 9 pm mountain. Good night.”
You can listen to the archive of the very first show here.
You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged since the 4th of July, and I haven’t uploaded a video to YouTube since June.
Since I began tweeting daily in April and interacting with the ever increasing members of my twitter family, I’ve come to feel very attached to you all. I made a major change to my life/schedule by quitting the 2 part time jobs I had for 2 years and trading them for one full time job back in July, and it’s been quite the positive change. On the other hand, ever since the move, I’ve found myself relegating my social justice/progressive patriotism work strictly to twitter with zero youtube/blog actvity. Due to a recent twitter war I participated in on the topic of a living wage for fast food workers, I realized that you guys know a lot about what I believe and the actions I want us all to take to ensure a more just and ethical world, but you may not know why, simply because I do not tweet much about myself (though my youtube videos do tend to divulge more of my personal feelings/experiences). For example, the other day someone on twitter assumed that I do not like hard work. I thought that was interesting because I’ve never tweeted anything to indicate that and ironically, the opposite is true. Moreover, if the positions were reversed, and I was following this person (me) who spends two hours tweeting petitions to be signed every night and seems focused on the closing of Gitmo almost to the point of obsession, I would conclude that not only does the person like hard work and indeed has a very high pain threshold, but that she also seems not to mind working hard toward that social justice goal– for free! For no pay! In the process of the back-and-forth-tweeting, the topic of passion came up, and I thought about how I WISH my passion — motivating our government/elected officials to uphold our Constitution and Bill of Rights in the Progressive Patriot fashion — was something I could convert into a job. Good grief — that would be amazing.
And you may have noticed that I’ve started to tweet earlier in the evening and for only an hour, as of just a few days ago, so I want to update everyone — but especially my Twitter Family who I would otherwise only communicate in 140 characters or less with — on what’s going on. I figure if you’re reading this far, then you must be one of the closer members of my twitter family and might appreciate the rare view into my personal life.
Back in July I made a much needed break with the Corporation (Ecolab). I started there in 2011 and for the first time in my life, worked for a big corporation that wouldn’t give full time hours, and had implemented that strategy as a way of deliberately increasing turnover. Starting pay was $13.00/hour regardless of experience or education (not the norm at big corps) and everyone in our customer service training group was hired on for 30 hours a week, part time. Sometimes I wonder why I worked at a certain job — what was the point? Because it’s never to stay indefinitely. I work simply to have money to pay the bills so that I can work on my world-service/social justice goals — without pay — in my free time. On every project (what I call my jobs/tenures at the Big Corporations, so far Target, GE, Ecolab, and a myriad of other companies via temp agencies, Merrill Corp, Land O’Lakes, et al), I gained insight into the inner workings of corporations — and there are many good things about them, despite the greed that casts such a dark shadow at the levels of upper management. The efficiency of a corporation is unrivaled. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years from them is that if you just keep working, as hard as you can, and take regular breaks, you can’t help but progress (the verb, not the noun). I apply that reasoning to every personal goal I’ve made and stay motivated that way because I never ever feel that I’m not making progress. Why? Because I always am.
But specifically at Ecolab, there were two reasons I was there — and I do mean this in a spiritual sense. I don’t view myself as someone who has free will in the conventional way. I feel that I am moved around on the chess board of life to wherever I can bring the most truth or joy or service or love to people. And there were 2 super important things accomplished during my time there. The 2nd was that I found out (because, you know, people talk … and other people listen ) that in 1988, the hiring wage for a customer service rep at Ecolab was $8.00/hour and everyone was hired full time. Guess what eight 1988 dollars converts to in 2011 dollars? $15.19. And they were hiring at $13.25 when I left in 2013 but eight 1988 dollars turns out to be $15.92 in 2013 dollars. How did this conversation happen to come about? One of the assistant supervisors was celebrating her 25th anniversary (in 2013) and was telling me a story about when she was a “poor little CSR making only $8.00 an hour” back when she started. My jaw dropped (I don’t have a poker face — I am really good at getting people to tell me everything they know, but not at not reacting to that information) and I said, “In 1988? You were hired at eight dollars an hour — full time?” Yes, she said. Everyone was. You had the option to go down to part time but most people didn’t. I practically teleported back to my desk where I googled “inflation calculator” and found this spectacular one from Dollar Times. To put it even more disappointingly into perspective, I was hired on at Target Corp as a full time returned check collector at $12.35/hour for the 1st 90 days, then $12.72/hour after that grace period, back in 2004 ($15.85 in 2013 dollars), and $13.75/hour plus incentive as a full time debt collector at GE Money Bank in 2008 ($15.03 in 2013 dollars). But learning that tidbit was most likely secondary to the other goal: On the first day of training, I was seated next to a woman a few years younger than I am who had recently given up on online dating. We hit it off right away, having both worked for corporate coffee shop chains, both loving French press coffee, and enjoyed a conversation or two about politics and religion. As I had just gone on a date with someone from Ok Cupid and was about to go on one with someone from Match, I was unsubtly encouraging her to go back on (what I call the Full Sarah Effect, including random bursts into song). I had literally just ordered a slew of books off the internet on the topic and lent her them, one by one. She was a very unique case, looking for something very specific, and at that point was a little despondent. Over the next 8 months, long after I had cancelled my memberships to all the sites I’d been on, I would check in with her everyday to make sure she was still communicating with her matches. She had one false start — from the way she described this guy, I knew he was not a good match, and I did my best to assure her that her soulmate was looking for her too and that the doubt/hesitation she was feeling was the indicator that this guy was not the one. Boom — the next guy was it. He exactly personified the unique components she was looking for and so what if he lived a thousand miles a way? I said. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. They got married in June at her parents’ house (a year after being matched) and on the drive home from the wedding, I knew I was done. I got that familiar feeling, like a click, as if everything is clicking into place, and knew that I would be leaving that job soon. (The $8.00/hour conversation happened a month or two months before that June wedding). I applied for my current job a few days later and started July 22. (This whole time of course, since there was no way in hell I could live on $390/week, I was also working 16-20 hours a week at a retail store as a part time associate, so I’d work there from 9:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. usually 3 mornings a week and then catch the 1:27 bus to get to Ecolab by 2:00 and work till 8:00 pm.)
Those kinds of experiences are not unique for me. There’s always something I “have to” do at every job that has nothing to do with the job description and then it’s on to the next company. And all the “overcoming objections” skills I learned at Target as a debt collector, honed at GE as a debt collector, and am using again in my current position as a debt collector, are skills I apply every single night on Twitter and in my youtube videos and in my blog. People don’t always naturally want to do the right thing and lots of good people on twitter don’t feel motivated to take action at all. I love inspiring people. I love inspiring people to take action and reminding them that they are not alone in their desire for justice and truth.
So here’s the bad thing that happened. I’ve gotten sick 3 times since I started the new job because I haven’t been getting enough sleep. And of course, I still went to work every time I was sick instead of staying home to rest which prolonged the cold, ear infection, and hacking cough. The cough that sounded like pneumonia lasted 3 weeks. Now, I am a very healthy, naturally resilient person. For me to be sick for three weeks is bizarre. I’ve never been sick longer than 4 days in my life. I finally stopped coughing up crap on Friday. And that’s when I realized I have to go to sleep by midnight, no matter what. While I was working the 2 jobs, I never had to get up earlier than 8:30 a.m. and some days not before 11 a.m. Now I get up at 6:30 a.m. 4 of 7 days a week; tweeting till 3 a.m. is just not conducive to a healthy immune system when you end up exposing yourself to all kinds of viruses on 3.5 hours of sleep. So last weekend I spent the entire two days catching up on sleep and by Sunday night, knew I wanted to make some kind of adjustment. It has been really hard. My inner clock is very set on 2nd shift mode so I have been making myself get at least 6 hours of sleep and get into my bed with eyes closed no later than 12:30 a.m.
Making videos is now a little more challenging as well; my friend who films them was also a coworker at the previous job, so we could film them during a morning I wasn’t also working the other job, before work. It’s not impossible — we can always film on weekends, but I have been so frequently sick and then consequently unprepared, that I haven’t made one I thought was good enough to upload. We did go to Nathan Hale Park in August and make one on Snowden and Manning, but it was 45 minutes long. I thought that was just way too long and wanted to refilm it, and make it more concise. This is hard for me — you know how I memorize a lot of info and then have my progressive patriot commentary. So I thought, 45 minutes isn’t too long for a radio show! So I downloaded the app for Spreaker to make it an internet broadcast. This is definitely still in the works, as are more NHP videos.
So how do you like this journal format for a blog post? All my other posts are about some kind of political or social justice issue. This one is about me. I have a feeling that it will increase my effectiveness as a social justice activist/Bill of Rights enthusiast if I interact more with people on twitter and share more of my personal life via my blog. After my 48 hours of hibernating last weekend, I woke up very refreshed and this idea to make the Messages to Millennials as much about the messenger as the messages occurred to me. It’s not one of those things where you can go back though, and because of this, I slept on it (for 7 nights). Outcome? I decided to go for it.
Be sure to watch for more blog posts and Sunday Sarah Updates now that I’ve got my schedule more mapped out. Now that I only have the one job, my weekends (if not spent catching up on sleep, which I hope to never do again) are free to blog/research/record. I may even tweet a selfie!
First of all, since WordPress won’t let me embed the poll image inside a post and inside a widget, here’s the link to the poll or you can vote in the widget on the right hand side of this blog page.
The question is, should Social Security be funded via a flat tax instead of a regressive tax?
You probably know that income tax in the United States is progressive, meaning not only do you pay more dollars in tax the more you earn, you also pay a higher percentage of your income. A flat tax as an income tax would take one percentage — say 10% for easy math examples — and apply it across the board. So, the argument goes, yes, the person who makes $20,000 pays the same percentage as the person who makes $200,000, but the first person only pays $2,000 and the second pays the yearly income of the first person. The progressive tax takes into consideration that as you make more money, your quality of life is likely to increase as well and so from that stand point, the flat tax, although “consistent” is not “fair.”
Ironically, the Social Security tax of 6.2% is not even a flat tax. It does not come close to consistent, to say nothing of fair. It’s not fair. It is inconsistent and unjust. Here’s why:
The maximum amount anyone could possibly pay in SS payroll tax (6.2%) is $7,049: this is because only income up to $113,700 is taxed.
6.2% on $25k = $1550
6.2% on $35k = $2170
6.2% on $50k = $3100
6.2% on $75k = $4650
6.2% on $100k = $6200
6.2% on $113,700 = $7049 —-> the MAX anyone ever pays
Once you earn more than $113,700, you never pay more than $7049. From thereon out, the percentage of your income that you pay into social security goes down — it decreases; i.e. it becomes a regressive tax.
So if you make $150k then $7,049 = 4.7% of your income.
If you make $200,000 then $7,049 = 3.5% of your income.
If you make $250,000 then $7,049 = 2.0% of your income.
If you make $500,000 then $7,049 = 1.4% of your income.
If you are a millionaire, you pay in 1/10th of one percent!
The Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden tells Esquire that he was thanked by the Federal Government for his 16 years of service and has now essentially been informed that, to paraphrase the President in an ironic way, “You’re on your own.”
If this is really true, it’s really horrifying and makes me sad. Let’s remember to extend the benefit of the doubt here (remember, the benefit of the doubt — the doubt of someone’s guilt until there’s proof of it beyond a shadow of a doubt — along with the presumption of their innocence are two of the most patriotic ideals we could ever uphold as Americans and as American Millennials who will eventually be predominant representative generation of our country to the world). And, if this degree of injustice really happened, which we can only know for certain once the evidence is out and available for full examination, let’s remember to request that the government make amends and do the right thing, a.k.a., petition it/them/ourselves for a redress of grievances (see the First Amendment).
In Russia, if you criticize the government in public, you end up in prison. What will the charge be? “Hooliganism.” The women of the Rock Group “Pussy Riot” did exactly this in February of 2012 by shouting, “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,” in a protest act inside Christ Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Today, October 1, is their appeal trial. Before taking action and signing the petition below, let’s reflect on how lucky we are in the United States to have our multiple rights to freedom of expression (specifically, freedom of speech, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and freedom of religion) protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Now let’s reflect on the irony. These women were praying for mercy from the tyranny of a fascist regime, out loud, in public.
“Facing 2 years in jail for singing a song criticizing President Putin in a church, a member of Pussy Riot gestured to the court and said in her show-trial’s closing statements, “Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us … We can say anything we want…”
Russia is steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy — clamping down on public protest, allegedly rigging elections, intimidating media, banning gay rights parades for 100 years, and even beating critics like chess master Garry Kasparov. But many Russian citizens remain defiant, and Pussy Riot’s eloquent bravery has galvanized the world’s solidarity. Now, our best chance to prove to Putin there is a price to pay for this repression lies with Europe.”
Please join me in signing the petition from my friends at Amnesty International:
“As an Amnesty activist, you know we don’t need a bulldozer to free a prisoner – just the power of our voices. And we need your voice more than ever as [the women of members of the rock band] Pussy Riot face[s] an appeal hearing on October 1st.
Nadya and the other members of Pussy Riot went to the cathedral to give Russia – and the rest of the world – a wake-up call. They felt it was their civic duty to expose the corruption and repression they saw.
Pussy Riot stood up for their ideals. As artistic expression. Nonviolently. Legally.
Except, of course, in Putin’s Russia, where their dissent was stifled and condemned as “hooliganism.”
But there is hope. The world is watching. Last week, Pyotr Verzilov travelled with his daughter Gera to the United States to work with Amnesty to raise awareness for his wife’s case. During the Amnesty International Youth Town Hall, Aung San Suu Kyi met with Pyotr and Gera and called for the release of the women. With Amnesty at her side, Yoko Ono gave the band the LennonOno Grant for Peace to honor their courage.
During their visit, Pyotr expressed how moved he was by your advocacy on behalf of his wife and the other courageous women imprisoned for expressing their opinions peacefully:
“We are grateful to Amnesty International for your work on the case and all of your support. The most important thing you can do is rally people. We need your voices.”
Michelle Ringuette Chief of Campaigns & Programs Amnesty International USA”
Here’s the letter I sent to Russia’s Prosecutor General today:
“I am deeply concerned about the imprisonment of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of the feminist punk group “Pussy Riot” on February 21, 2012.
The two-year prison sentence handed down to Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is far too severe. The cathedral performance was a peaceful protest against President Vladimir Putin and those leaders of the Orthodox Church who have supported his repressive tactics.
While it is true that many Russians were offended by Pussy Riot’s actions, the women never incited violence and they do not deserve prison terms. They were prosecuted for political reasons and they are prisoners of conscience.
I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release the three imprisoned members of Pussy Riot. It is up to you to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression in Russia and ensure that there are no additional arrests or trials related to this case.”
Let’s take action and join our voices in protesting injustice and objecting to government abuse of power anywhere and everywhere on Earth.