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Why There Will NEVER Be A Political Solution To America’s Problems

Why do things never seem to change no matter who we send to Washington? It seems like for decades many of us have been trying to change the direction of this country by engaging in the political process.

But no matter how hard we try, the downward spiral of our nation just continues to accelerate. Just look at this latest spending deal.

Even though the American people gave the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, this deal very closely resembles “an Obama administration-era budget”.

It increases spending even though we have already been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt, it specifically forbids the building of a border wall, it fully funds Planned Parenthood, and there are dozens of other concessions to the Democrats in it.

As I previously warned, these “negotiations” were a political rout of epic proportions.

Perhaps many of us were being highly unrealistic when we expected that Donald Trump could change things. Because fixing America is going to take a lot more than getting the right number of “red” or “blue” politicians to Washington.

Rather, the truth is that the real problem lies in our hearts, and the corrupt politicians that currently represent us are simply a reflection of who we have become as a nation.

The generations of people that founded this nation and established it as the greatest republic that the world had ever seen had far different values than most Americans do today.

So until there is a dramatic shift in how most of us see the world, it is quite likely that not much in Washington will change.

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump spoke boldly about “draining the swamp”, but this spending deal very much reflects the swamp’s priorities.

The Washington Post has published a list of eight ways that “Trump got rolled in his first budget negotiation”, and in this case, the Post is quite correct…

1. There are explicit restrictions to block the border wall.

2. Non-defense domestic spending will go up, despite the Trump team’s insistence he wouldn’t let that happen.

3. Barack Obama’s cancer moonshot is generously funded.

4. Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. The final deal trims its budget by just 1 percent, with no staff cuts.

5. He didn’t defund Planned Parenthood.

6. The president got less than half as much for the military as he said was necessary.

7. Democrats say they forced Republicans to withdraw more than 160 riders.

8. To keep negotiations moving, the White House already agreed last week to continue paying Obamacare subsidies.

In essence, the Democrats got virtually everything that they wanted, and the Republicans got next to nothing.

Trump and the Republicans are promising that they will fight harder “next time”, but we have already heard that empty promise from Republicans year after year going all the way back to 2011.

Among many other conservative pundits, author Daniel Horowitz is absolutely blasting these “weak-kneed Republicans”:

“Now, with control of all three branches and a president who sold himself in the primaries as the antithesis of weak-kneed Republicans who don’t know the first thing about tough negotiations, we are in the exact same position.

“Last night, President Trump signaled that, after not even fighting on refugee resettlement and Planned Parenthood, he would cave on the final budget issue – the funding of the border fence. But fear not, he’ll resume his demand … the next time!

“This degree of capitulation, with control of all three branches, is impressing even me … and I had low expectations of this president and this party. They have managed to get run over by a parked car. It’s truly breathtaking to contrast the performance of Democrats in the spring of 2009 with what Republicans have done today with all three branches.

“At this time in 2009, Democrats passed the bailouts, the stimulus, the first round of financial regulations, an equal pay bill, SCHIP expansion, and laid the groundwork for other, bigger proposals, such as cap and trade and Obamacare. Then they got everything they wanted in the March 2009 omnibus bill, and a number of GOP senators voted for it. We, on the other hand, are left with nothing.”

And even the mainstream media is admitting that the Democrats made out like bandits in this deal.

Just check out the following quotes:

  • “Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one,” Bloomberg reports.
  • The Associated Press calls it “a lowest-common-denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.”
  • Reuters: “While Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, Democrats scored … significant victories in the deal.”
  • The Los Angeles Times describes the agreement as “something of an embarrassment to the White House”: “Trump engineered the fiscal standoff shortly after he was elected, insisting late last year that Congress should fund the government for only a few months so he could put his stamp on federal spending as the new president.”

If Trump can’t get his priorities funded now, do you think that the Democrats will somehow become more agreeable after he has spent a year or two in the White House?

 

Of course not.

If there ever was going to be a border wall, it was going to happen now.

If Planned Parenthood was ever going to be defunded, it was going to happen now. From this moment forward, the blood of every child that Planned Parenthood kills will be on the hands of every Republican that voted for this bill or that signed this bill.

The next “big battle” is going to be over a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the truth is that “Trumpcare” is going to end up looking very much like Obamacare.

Instead of repealing it, the Republicans are trying to “fix” Obamacare, and that is kind of like going to the dump and trying to “fix” a big, steaming pile of garbage.

But like I explained earlier, we should not expect things to move in a positive direction in Washington D.C. until the values of those representing us change.

At this point, there are only a few dozen members of the House and a handful of members of the Senate that even give lip service to the values of our founders.

And until our values change, we are not going to send representatives to Washington that share the values of our founders.

Sadly, most Americans know very little about the history of early America. I would encourage everyone to look into why our founders came to this country in the first place, what they believed was most important in life, and how they viewed the world.

If we ever want to “make America great again”, we need to return to those values. Otherwise, we are just blowing a lot of hot air.

By Michael Snyder, TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

 




Wake Up People! NOW Is the Time to Transform Our War Economy

By 

This piece is adapted from a speech given by Brock McIntosh at a mass meeting for the Poor People’s Campaign. 

I’m here to speak to you today about one of Dr. King’s triple evils: militarism. As an Afghanistan War veteran, I’d like to highlight an aspect of his warning about militarism, when he said, “This way of… injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane… cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.”

I’d like to tell you all about the precise moment I realized there was poison in me. I’m the child of a nurse and a factory worker in the heartland of Illinois, the family of blue-collar and service workers. At the height of the Iraq War, military recruiters at my high school attracted me with sign up bonuses and college assistance that some saw as their ticket out—for me, I hoped it was my ticket up, providing opportunities that once felt out of reach.

Two years later, when I was 20 years old, I was standing over the body of a 16-year-old Afghan boy. A roadside bomb he was building prematurely detonated. He was covered in shrapnel and burns and now lay sedated after having one of his hands amputated by our medics. His other hand had the calloused roughness of a farmer or a shepherd.

As he lay there with a peaceful expression, I studied the details of his face and caught myself rooting for him. ‘If this boy knew me,’ I thought, ‘he wouldn’t want to kill me.’ And here I am, supposed to want to kill him. And feeling bad that I wanted him to live.That is the poisoned mind. That is the militarized mind. And all the opportunities afforded me by the military can’t repay the cost of war on my soul. It is poor folks who carry the burden of war for the elites who send them.

A working-class boy from Illinois sent halfway around the world to kill a young farmer. How did we get here? How did this crazy war economy come to be?

“We need a Poor People’s Campaign to amplify the voices of regular folks above the lobby of militarized industry, a poisoned economy, to demand jobs in industries other than war-making, to demand opportunities for working class folks that don’t require killing other working class folks.”




Washington State Becomes First In US To Pass Legislation Protecting Net Neutrality

By Amanda Froelich | Truth Theory

Though the Federal government is taking steps to eliminate net neutrality, not all states are playing along. Earlier this week, Washington became the first state in America to pass legislation protecting net neutrality.

In a bipartisan effort, legislators in Washington passed House Bill 2282. Governor Jay Inslee promptly signed it into law. “Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet,” said Inslee on Monday.

The bill was approved by the legislature last month and exists to safeguard net neutrality protections. As you may remember, these were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are scheduled to end by April 23.

What is net neutrality? Essentially, it requires internet service providers to treat all online content the same. Without it, internet service providers can deliberately speed up or slow down the rate at which websites load. This gives certain sites and companies advantages over others.

The FCC’s decision has been hotly criticized in recent months. As MSNreports, “Attorneys general from more than 20 red and blue states filed a lawsuit in January to stop the repeal.” So far, Washington is the only state to pass legislation protecting net neutrality rules.

According to Inslee, the new measure will protect an open internet in Washington. In his own words, the law allows “the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history.” HB2282 will go into effect June 6.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

Image Credit1: Copyright: kagenmi / 123RF Stock Photo

Image Credit2: Copyright: denispc / 123RF Stock Photo

About the Author

 Amanda Froelich

I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned KitchenRead More stories by Amanda Froelich

Read more great articles at Truth Theory.




In Significant Shift from Criminalizing Homelessness, Judge Rules Man’s Vehicle Is Indeed His Home

Image Source: flickr/photos/300tdorg/

By Claire S. Bernish | The Mind Unleashed

A considerable and potentially momentous shift in the need for Seattle to confront its homelessness emergency occurred last week, when a judge invoked the 123-year-old Homestead Act in determining a homeless man’s vehicle is, in fact, his home — thusly, cannot be seized to satisfy an outstanding debt.

Further, King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer found the fines and fees applied by the city — first, $900 for towing and impound, in addition to a $44 ticket, and later reduced to $557, with the ticket waived — amounted to an insurmountable burden for Steven Long, 58, whose monthly income totaled between $300 and $600, and thus violated constitutional protections against excessive fines, as defined by the Eighth Amendment.

“We believe this case has a lot of implications for other people using their vehicles as homes,” Long’s attorney, Ali Bilow, of Columbia Legal Services, observed, according to Governing.

“I think Seattle municipal judges should follow this ruling and take a hard look when homeless individuals, who are living in their vehicles, are charged these really excessive fees.”

Where the condition of homelessness had previously been combated controversially through criminalization of its many iterations — prohibitions on campingvehicle-sleeping, and, at one time, panhandling, for instance — Friday’s decision forces officials to consider the full scope of its concomitant housing and homelessness crises.

Governing continues, noting the “decision could impact how cities across the state enforce parking regulations when people are living in cars. It also speaks to the complications people living in vehicles pose for the city as it deals with a growing homelessness crisis.”

Indeed, appeal remains an option, and although Assistant City Attorney Michael Ryan has yet to indicate whether or not it will come to fruition, his concern such a move creates the need for error on the side of leniency on the issue of city camping — vehicle-sleeping, being one form — was evident in court proceedings.

“Someone could park right here in front of the courthouse on Fifth Avenue,” he contended“and we couldn’t tow them, or if we did tow them, we couldn’t put them in impound.

“We’d have to put them somewhere else and we couldn’t charge them at all for it, because if we did, we’d violate the constitution if they were living in that vehicle.”

Writing similarly to the court on potential repercussions of its decision, Ryan asserted, according to the Seattle Times“Individuals will have the right to park wherever they want for as long as they want” — meaning the city “will be unable to enforce any number of laws against a certain class of individuals.”

Arguably, however, lumping homeless individuals as a ‘certain class’ ignores the plethora of pitfalls forcing people from housing — or preventing them from capably finding affordable housing once they’ve been evicted or forced out due to rising rents — and Long’s case evinces an all-too common conundrum where pay is insufficient to cover rent and basic needs.

To wit, skyrocketing rent had become unmanageable for the now-58-year-old man, and he was evicted in March 2014. But it wasn’t until 2016 — while he was employed at CenturyLink Field, cleaning after Seattle Sounders games — that his 2000 GMC pickup was snatched and impounded by authorities for violating an ordinance against parking in one spot for longer than seventy-two hours.

At the time, Long had been unable to amass the funds needed to repair the stalled vehicle, his de facto home, so its impoundment under ransom of exorbitant fines left the man even worse off than before — particularly, as several tools he required to work manual labor jobs remained inside. He sued the city for the return of the truck, but Seattle Municipal Court ruled against Long in May 2017 — so he filed an appeal, on which Shaffer ruled Friday, additionally ordering the city to refund all payments he had thus far made.

Taken with an October 2017 Washington Court of Appeals decision in favor of unsheltered homeless man, William Pippin — who had been charged for possession of a controlled substance after a warrantless search of his tent by law enforcement investigating an unrelated incident turned up methamphetamine — the ruling in Long’s case has conjured fears Seattle will soon be a parking lot for those with no other place to go.

In fact, plans for two so-called vehicle safe lots to allow parking during overnight hours resulted in just one coming to fruition, located at Second Avenue South and South Spokane Street — albeit, under a cloud of controversy — and even it will be shuttered by the city as soon as April 30 this year, notes Governing.

Seattle isn’t alone in a lengthy history of criminalizing the condition of being without shelter or sustenance, shuffling homeless populations from place to place, nor in codification of strictures against sleeping in public — be it vehicle, tent, or bench — rather than allocating funds toward expanding and constructing shelters, assisting those with the desire to find more permanent residences, or any other of a plethora of potential solutions proposed by advocates around the nation.

However, the right to sleep — in essence, the umbrella legal theory under which advocates for the homeless have argued for years — received a substantial boost by the Department of Justice in 2015, writes Danny Westneat for the Seattle Times, when its “civil-rights division put out an opinion that a Boise, Idaho, ordinance banning homeless camping in public areas violated the Eighth Amendment’s protections against ‘cruel and unusual’ punishments.”

That opinion asserts, with emphasis added, “Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of an anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

Elaborating on the DOJ statement  at the time, the Atlantic reported“Municipalities across America have now been notified: If a law criminalizes sleeping outside when shelter space is otherwise unavailable, then in the eyes of the DOJ that law violates the Constitution. Some cities are already acting to align themselves with this notion […]

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After Legalizing Weed, Colorado Now Taking Steps To Legalize Magic Mushrooms

By Matt Agorist | Natural Blaze

Less than six years ago, Colorado citizens—tired of the war on drugs and wise to the near-limitless benefits of cannabis—made US history by voting to legalize recreational marijuana. Now, this state could once again place themselves on the right side of history as they begin pushing for the legalization of magic mushrooms.

Paving the way for legalization is a group called Denver for Psilocybin and they may soon have the go-ahead to get mushroom legalization on the ballot.

As the Denver Channel reports:

Gathering at the steps of the Denver City and County building on Wednesday, the group — chanting at times, “free the spores!” — met with city leaders about their push to decriminalize psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms.

Decriminalization would mean reducing the penalty for possession of psilocybin mushrooms. Colorado decriminalized marijuana long before the drug became legal for medicinal or recreational use.

Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of Denver for Psilocybin, spoke to Denver7 about their reasoning behind the push.

“There’s a lot of research for all sorts of mental health issues. Everything from anxiety to depression to cluster headaches, addiction,” said Williams.

Indeed, there are mounds of evidence and studies showing the positive benefits of magic mushrooms. But Williams doesn’t need those to be an advocate for them—because they already saved his life.

“I had a suicide attempt November 12th of 2015 and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it’s helped me with my PTSD,” Williams said.

Williams is not alone.

As TFTP reported earlier this year, a study, published in the scientific journal Neuropharmacology, found that clinically depressed people had increased neural responses to fearful faces one day after a psilocybin-assisted therapy session, which positively predicted positive clinical outcomes.

“Psilocybin-assisted therapy might mitigate depression by increasing emotional connection,” neuroscientist and study author Leor Roseman, a Ph.D. student at Imperial College London, explained to PsyPost.

This is almost the exact opposite of how standard anti-depressants operate, as SSRI’s typically work by creating an “emotional blunting.”

“[T]his is unlike SSRI antidepressants which are criticized for creating in many people a general emotional blunting,” noted Roseman.

“I believe that psychedelics hold a potential to cure deep psychological wounds, and I believe that by investigating their neuropsychopharmacological mechanism, we can learn to understand this potential,” explained Roseman.

As TFTP previously reported, mushrooms and psychedelics used to be widely accepted as a treatment for many ailments until the government moved in to stop the expansion of human consciousness.

In the 1940s, Western medicine began realizing the potential for psychedelics to treat addiction and psychiatric disorders. Tens of thousands of people were treated effectively, and psychedelic drugs were on the fast track to becoming mainstream medicine. But the beast of oppression reared its ugly head.

In 1967 and 1970, the UK and US governments cast all psychedelic substances into the pit of prohibition. People were waking up to the fact that governments intended to keep the world in a state of war, and that governments were working to keep the populace sedated under a cloak of consumerism. The collective mind expansion of that era came to a screeching halt under the boot and truncheon.

As John Vibes pointed out in January, a study actually confirmed the fear of authoritarians and showed they have every reason to oppose legal mushrooms. According to the study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacologypsychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.

“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris write in the study.

Now, as people share information globally, instantaneously, on a scale unstoppable by the State, we are resuming the advancement of medical research on psychedelic substances. Scientists are challenging the irrational classification of psychedelics as “class A” (UK) or “schedule 1” (US) substances, characterized as having no medical use and high potential for addiction. And, the recent push in Colorado is evidence of this.

While the stigma associated with mushrooms has been perpetuated by those who wish to keep them illegal—to keep society in a constant state of obedient mediocrity—in reality, they are extremely safe.

In fact, a major study last year declared magic mushrooms to be the safest recreational drug.

Of an astonishing 120,000 participants from 50 nations, researchers for the Global Drug Survey found the percentage of those seeking emergency treatment for ingesting psilocybin-containing hallucinogenic mushrooms to comprise just 0.2 percent per 10,000 individuals.

Rates of hospitalization for MDMA, alcohol, LSD, and cocaine were an astounding five times higher.

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” Global Drug Survey founder and consultant addiction psychiatrist, Adam Winstock, told the Guardian, noting the biggest risk users face is misidentification — ingesting the wrong mushroom — not from the psychedelic fungus, itself.

After 40 years, it appears that another brick in the wall of prohibition is beginning to crumble in the face of science and logic. There may be hope for humanity after all.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appearedFollow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Facebook.

Read more great articles at Natural Blaze.




It’s Time to End America’s Shameful Role in ‘Worst Humanitarian Crisis on the Planet’

Demostrators hold signs during a vigil for Yemen. (Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/cc)

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Anti-war groups on Friday are urging their supporters to pick up the phone to tell U.S. senators to back a joint resolution to “end America’s shameful role in Yemen.”

The Sanders-led resolutionintroduced at the end of last month, calls for “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.”

The United States has been fueling the conflict for years by aiding Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign with weaponry and military intelligence, leading to accusations by rights groups and some lawmakers that the U.S. is complicit in fueling what the United Nations describes as “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.”

There is urgency for constituents to make the calls, the groups warn, as a vote could come as soon as Monday.

In a further push to make the resolution successful, Win Without War led a group of over 50 organizationse—including CODEPINK, Democracy for America, Our Revolution, and War Resisters League—in sending a letter Thursday to senators calling on them to back the resolution.

Their letter says that “U.S. weapons sold to Saudi Arabia have been misused repeatedly in airstrikes on civilians and civilian objects, which are the leading cause of civilian casualties in the conflict and have destroyed Yemen’s vital infrastructure. This destruction of infrastructure has exacerbated the world’s largest hunger crisis in which 8.4 million civilians are on the brink of starvation and created the conditions necessary for the largest cholera outbreak ever documented in modern history,” they state.

“Congress has a constitutional and ethical duty to ensure any and all U.S. military operations comply with domestic and international law, and U.S. participation in the civil war in Yemen raises numerous legal and moral questions that must be resolved by Congress,” the letter continues.

“With S.J.Res. 54, the Senate must send a clear signal that without congressional authorization, U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war violates the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973,” it adds.

It wasn’t the only letter senators received Thursday calling on them to support the resolution.

A group of nearly three dozen experts—including former U.S. ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche and Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams—also delivered a similar missive to lawmakers.

In their letter, the group of experts referenced an assessment by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), which said, in part:

Nowhere else on earth today is there a catastrophe that is so profound and affects so many lives, yet could be so easy to resolve: halt the bombing, end the blockade, and let food and medicine into Yemen so that millions may live. We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.

The resolution currently has 8 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Mike Lee of Utah. The Democratic senators co-sponsoring the resolution are Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Dianne Feinstein of California.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Popular American Journalist Explains How There Was No Sarin Gas Attack By Assad In Syria

By Arjun Walia | Collective Evolution

Russian president, Putin, within recent years, has given multiple speeches stating that this ‘global elite’ are and have been using “imaginary” and “mythical” threats to push forth their agenda. He began his speech at  the 13th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, whose theme  was “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow.” by arguing that the oligarchic ‘1 percent’ that dominate our world “abandoned substantive and equal dialogue with other actors in international life, chose not to improve or create universal institutions, and attempted instead to bring the entire world under the spread of their own organisations, norms and rules. They chose the road of globalisation and security for their own beloved selves, for the select few, and not for all.”
It’s interesting for mainstream politicians to mention this, it’s trend that’s been happening for a long time and it raises an eyebrow because there is evidence to back it up.US Four Star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark once expressedthat the US is invading other countries for no good reason, but simply because they have “a good military and can take down governments.”
Perhaps the best example would be 9/11, where many believe that a powerful group of people orchestrated the event, in order to justify the invasion of the Middle East for ulterior motives. This means, if true, essentially every single thing we hear from the mainstream media and their perspective towards these types of events, is complete fake news.

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England. Robert can be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com.




Media Silent as Congress Finally Debates America’s Endless Wars [VIDEO]

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Taking “an important step towards a long overdue debate and vote,” a bipartisan congressional hearing Tuesday afternoon put a spotlight on what is often dubbed a “blank check for war”—the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

For over 16 years—a time period spanning the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations—the executive branch has leaned on that AUMF to justify wars across the world—from the Philippines to Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia—in the name of defeating supposed terrorist organizations, without prior congressional approval.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer while these wars expand. For too long, Congress has ignored our duties on these ongoing wars,” said meeting co-chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) at the start of the hearing.

Rep. Lee, it should be noted, was the sole member of Congress to vote against the AUMF, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack.

The “2001 AUMF has become a blank check for any president to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyplace without the consent or oversight of Congress,” she continued.

As the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which co-hosted the ad hoc hearing along with the House Liberty Caucus, tweeted, “It’s time to revisit the U.S. role in military operations around the globe.”

Among the experts offering testimony at the hearing was Rita Siemion, international legal counsel at Human Rights First, who noted that not only has the AUMF “been interpreted as authorizing military operations that Congress never intended,” it has also been used to justify “a range of human rights abuses from detention without charge or trial to extrajudicial killings via drone strikes far from any battlefield.”

Congress, she argued, “must discuss and debate the difficult question of whether the war-centered approach [to counterterrorism] of the past 16 and a half years has been effective.” If Congress does decide that continued military force is needed, she laid out what she believes a new AUMF should include:

First, any new AUMF should name the specific enemy that military force is authorized against and specify the permitted mission objectives to prevent the executive branch from overstepping Congress’s intent.

Second, any new AUMF should include robust reporting requirements to promote democratic accountability and enable Congress to fulfill its critical oversight functions.

Third, any new AUMF should require compliance with U.S. obligations under international law to demonstrate to our allies and enemies alike that the United States is a nation that complies with the rule of law and is committed to its obligations to respect state sovereignty, human rights  and the law of armed conflict.

Fourth, any new AUMF should include language that makes it clear that it is the sole source of statutory authority to use force against the enemy named in the authorization to avoid overlap, confusion, or loopholes.

And last, but perhaps most importantly, any new AUMF should include a sunset provision that sets a timetable for ensuring continued congressional approval and oversight as the conflict evolves, providing a safeguard against perpetual armed conflict or overly expansive executive interpretations

The executive director of Veterans for Peace, Michael McPhearson, spoke at the hearing as well. “The cost of war to people should compel us to rethink U.S. foreign policy and specifically these current wars,” he said, citing the suicide risk veterans face, the pain of “Gold Star families,” the pain felt by Iraqis whose children were killed at the hands of U.S. forces, and torture committed by U.S. forces at places like the Abu Ghraib prison.

Veterans for Peace, Human Rights First, and other groups as well as members of Congress took to Twitter to highlight comments from the hearing and the importance of repealing the AUMF:

In a press statement following the meeting, Lee asserted that the “critical hearing showed that a growing, bipartisan group of Members are calling for a debate and vote on our ongoing wars. We are saying that enough is enough. The 2001 AUMF is a blank check for war—plain and simple.”

“For far too long, our brave service members have risked their lives around the world, while Congress has failed to even debate these military operations,” her statement continued. “Every day that Congress delays, we become further entangled in these conflicts. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to hold a debate on these endless wars.”

Also on Tuesday, 106 members of Congress (including 10 Republicans) signed on to a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calling on him to lead the chamber in allowing “a serious debate and vote on the use of military force (AUMF).”

“The debate should also allow members the opportunity to debate and vote on the long-term costs and consequences of and alternatives to military action,” the letter said.

While praising the signatories “for adding their voices to this critical issue,” Yasmine Taeb, director for human rights and civil liberties at Friends Committee on National Legislation, decried how “Congress has abdicated its constitutional duty to decide where and when the United States goes to war.”

Watch the hearing in its entirety below:

Read more great articles at Common Dreams. 




#ArmMeWith: Teachers Lead Opposition to Trump’s Plan to Give Educators Guns

Teachers from all over the U.S. have begun a social media campaign using the #ArmMeWith hashtag, suggesting ways the government could support educators other than arming them with guns. (Photo: @Miss_Johnston5/Twitter)

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

As students lead the nation in fighting for stricter gun control legislation, teachers across the country are speaking out against an alternative measure President Donald Trump has suggested to prevent school shootings like the one that took place last week in Parkland, Florida: arming teachers and training them to use firearms.

With the #ArmMeWith social media campaign, educators are calling for the government to provide them with school supplies, books, and other resources instead of spending an estimated $1 billion to train teachers to act as armed guards—while also being responsible for educating the nation’s children.

https://twitter.com/_kaykinsey/status/966103881385168897?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fnews%2F2018%2F02%2F22%2Farmmewith-teachers-lead-opposition-trumps-plan-give-educators-guns

The president has proposed arming 20 percent of teachers—about 700,000 people. When asked about the practicality and wisdom of the plan on Thursday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters, “When you have a horrific situation like you had last week and other school shootings we’ve seen, these horrible tragedies, what we think and don’t think is practical can change.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) pushed back against the notion that the onus to protect students’ lives should be on their teachers, rather than on legislators, who many Americans believe should pass legislation that would prevent school shootings.

“Anyone who suggests this has no real understanding of what goes on in schools, or worse doesn’t care, and is more focused on the needs of gun manufacturers and the NRA than of children,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teacher, told Politico.

“You’re asking the teacher to have the presence of mind to not only do what her instincts compel her to do, but then find her loaded handgun and get in position… and be a good enough shot—in the middle of all of this—so that she can be the marksperson who then maims or kills the intruder with the rifle,” Weingarten continued. “That may work on a movie, but in real life that is not a situation that most people will—even those who have been trained—will be able to do.”

The Violence Policy Center noted that supplying teachers with weapons would likely do little to prevent the loss of life during a shooting—as guns are rarely able to stop a crime that’s already underway.

“Highly trained police officers, whose only job is law enforcement, all too often fail to use firearms successfully,” said the group in a statement. “Trained law enforcement officials have only an average 20 percent hit ratio in armed confrontations, meaning that only 20 percent of shots fired hit the intended target.”

Trump critics on social media also spoke out against the proposal.

https://twitter.com/owillis/status/966752680751321093?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fnews%2F2018%2F02%2F22%2Farmmewith-teachers-lead-opposition-trumps-plan-give-educators-guns

https://twitter.com/robbysoave/status/966701128414048257?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fnews%2F2018%2F02%2F22%2Farmmewith-teachers-lead-opposition-trumps-plan-give-educators-guns

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A Very Brief History of Taxation in America (What You Should Know)

Declaration Founders2-compressed

By Susan Boskey | Activist Post

“100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Debt … all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government.” ~The Grace Commission Report, 1984

As April 15 nears…thought you would find this research on taxation in America timely if not interesting.

No one living before the Constitution of 1787 could have believed the seven ways to Sunday Americans are now taxed. Under the Declaration of Independence and the first American constitution of 1777, The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, association among the confederate states and a state’s interaction with federal authorities was 100% voluntary.

Though paying taxes was a voluntary act, the federal legislature (never referred to as government), did have legitimate operating expenses, and depended on property taxes collected from and given by the states voluntarily in varying amounts. It was this inconsistent funding that historians thereafter have considered the deal-breaker issue for what has been called the “failure” of this first American union.

A Second Constitution Provides New Powers of Taxation

The untold rest of the story? The Framers of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 seriously wanted centralized authority which was non-existent under The Articles. Far from being commoners, the Framers of the 1787 U.S Constitution were either landed gentry of prominent families, or had risen to the strata of aristocratic American society due to intelligence, education and intent, as did Benjamin Franklin, the tenth son of a soap maker. Make no mistake; these men gleaned knowledge about governance and taxation from the British Crown and the Church of England’s system of tithing. The U.S. Government came into existence with the establishment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787.

Not long thereafter, in 1791, Alexander Hamilton lobbied Congress. He wanted an excise tax to accelerate the payment of national debt incurred during the American Revolution. Also known as the Act of March 3, 1791, this tax law enforced government’s new ability to compel performance (force and the power of distraint giving authority to seize personal property for payment.) Unaccustomed to this new form of government and laws of the U.S. Constitution, some of the earliest Americans took offense. Hamilton’s excise tax incited them to rebel in the 1794 Western Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion. An excise tax laid on the manufacture of alcohol had not lawfully applied to them. Those who then lived in Pennsylvania, an original state established under The Articles, were called “free inhabitants” and lawfully remained so.

Here’s why.

According to the law definition of territorial jurisdiction, only those living on land owned by said government are also subject to its laws. As of 1791 U.S. Government federal lands consisted of the Northwest Territory but excluded the original thirteen states of The Articles. Even so, President Washington sent in troops to silence the tax protesters of the Whiskey Rebellion.

In 1798, the Fries’ Rebellion led by John Fries of Pennsylvania, opposed the enforcement of a direct federal property tax. Even though the Whiskey and Fries’ Rebellions had not been waged on lands subject to U.S. Government territorial jurisdiction, the federal government captured and convicted rebel members for the supposed act of treason. John Fries was pardoned by President Adams after his conviction. Fries had been a “turn-coat” infiltrator for the government militia against those of the Fries’ Rebellion.

Theft of Private Property

“[E]very Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.” ~John Locke, English philosopher and political theorist, 1632-1704

slave_of_liberty_taxation

Taxation on labor (income tax) was an unimaginable, unheard of kind of tax until the latter half of the nineteenth century. Labor was one’s personal property, the bread of life of natural and common law. To tax labor was considered direct theft, an outright assault against property rights of the individual.

Related Article: ‘Taxation is legalized form of robbery’

The first income tax act Congress passed was the Tax Act of 1861. The Act stated the territorial jurisdiction of which and to whom the tax would apply: “every person residing in the U.S.” Yet, this tax was never enacted.

Soon to follow, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1862 which led to the creation and opening of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to collect the new income tax. For the first time, a tax on one’s labor was imposed on the people of the United States. Its purpose was to defray the many costs incurred by a Civil War already underway.

Again, in 1864, Congress authorized an additional income tax to augment the payment of war debt. This 1864 additional tax required Americans pay five percent when earning between $600 and $5,000, seven and one-half percent if between $5,001 and $10,000 and ten percent on anything above $10,000. After the Civil War, the rate modified to a flat rate of five percent and then to two and one-half percent. With the purpose of the income tax to pay off Civil War debt, the Revenue Act of 1862 was repealed and ended in 1872.

Until 1913, for forty-one years, no substantial effort was made towards the reinstatement of the 1862 income tax law. Prosperity in America reigned supreme during that period; the only tax funding the government was a tariff tax on imported goods. However, during that same period, the Supreme Court focused on several tax cases.

Supreme Court Tax Cases

An 1883 Supreme Court decision, Butchers’ Union Co. v. Crescent City Co., 111 U.S. 746, cited that one’s labor was, in fact, one’s property. Then, in another case, Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co, 1895, the very same Supreme Court that had supported the passage of the Tax Act of 1864, did an about-face and decided against a proposed Income Tax Act of 1894.

The Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. 1895 Supreme Court decision against the Tax Act of 1894 determined it to be a direct-tax scheme and therefore unconstitutional. Given that taxation of real estate (personal property) was lawfully a direct tax, so also would be the taxation of any and allpersonal property, including money earned from one’s labor. Therefore, a tax on labor was exempt from the explicit tax powers of Congress granted in a portion of Article I, Sections 2 and 9 of the U.S. Constitution.

Article I. Sections 2 and 9:

“Direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states,” and “no capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

Decisions of the United States Supreme Court were to be bound to the written law of the U.S. Constitution, the professed law of the land.

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Article VI, U.S. Constitution

Yet in 1913, the government overturned the 1895 Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. decision. What happened? The U.S. Government laid a claim. It said that a 1913 Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution gave them the authorization to levy an income tax on the people without the constitutional requirement of apportionment confirmed by the Supreme Court.

However, another Supreme Court case challenged government plans to renew income taxation. This was the 1916 Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. 240 US 103 case. It decided that the U.S. Constitution clearly stated that direct taxation of the people must be apportioned to a State by a certain percentage of a State’s representation. In other words, this Supreme Court decision established that the Sixteenth Amendment had not altered, added, or removed any words from the Constitution.

“…[the 16th Amendment] conferred no new power of taxation…[and]…prohibited the…power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged….” ~Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. 240 US 103

Given Supreme Court rulings are bound to the Constitution, one would rightly assume apportionment as regarded direct taxation would be reinstated. Wrong. “Justified” by the Sixteenth Amendment, the U.S. Government reinstated its powers of income taxation. The BIR increased their staff and operating systems to capture the coming new big wave of government funding.

The Rest is History

Most Americans in 1913 paid no income tax. The average annual earnings of a middle-class family were approximately $800 and only people earning $3,000 or more annually were requested to voluntarily comply by filing a 1040 form to pay a one percent in taxes. A one percent income tax rate ninety-nine years ago has morphed to a graduated tax-rate of fifteen to thirty-five percent depending on one’s yearly earnings.

In 2016, those married under 65 filing jointly need to file if they make more than the filing threshold requirement for W-2 income of $20,300. This actually ends up as a much lower dollar amount (inflation –adjusted) than the $3000 original threshold requirement of 1913: In 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars for $3000 in 1913 is $71,851, which, if using the same $3000 threshold amount, would mean only those today making $71,851, or more, would need to file income tax.

Perhaps needless to say, many questions arise from the chronology of these facts and events.

“You are among the millions of Americans who comply with the tax law voluntarily.”Form 1040 Tax Instruction Booklet, 1992

Susan Boskey is author of the book, The Quality Life Plan®: 7 Steps to Uncommon Financial Security. After exposing the bottom-line of why more and more families need credit each month just to make ends meet, Susan provides game-changing practical strategies, tactics and templates to help you create a life of greater ease. You can reverse the downward trend of credit and debt while learning how to establish a long-term, debt-free lifestyle; a life that allows you to build both financial wealth and the wealth of well-being midst the challenges of today’s economic landscape. To learn more or to purchase the book, please visit her website athttps://TheQualityLifePlan.com

Susan can customize her strategies and templates for your particular situation and is available to coach you through this process. She can be reached through her website.

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The Next Big Fight: Saving Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from Massive Cuts

“According to an analysis of census data, Social Security payments keep an estimated 22 million Americans from slipping into poverty.” (Photo: Screenshot)

By Robert Reich | Common Dreams

Fresh off passing massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and congressional Republicans want to use the deficit they’ve created to justify huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As House Speaker Paul Ryan says “We’re going to have to get… at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.”

Don’t let them get away with it.

Social Security and Medicare are critical safety-nets for working and middle-class families.

Before they existed, Americans faced grim prospects. In 1935, the year Social Security was enacted, roughly half of America’s seniors lived in poverty.  By the 1960s poverty among seniors had dropped significantly, but medical costs were still a major financial burden and only half of Americans aged 65 and over had health insurance. Medicare fixed that, guaranteeing health care for older Americans.

Today less than 10 percent of seniors live in poverty and almost all have access to health care. According to an analysis of census data, Social Security payments keep an estimated 22 million Americans from slipping into poverty.

Medicaid is also a vital lifeline for America’s elderly and the poor. Yet the Trump administration has already started whittling it away by encouraging states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Republicans like to call these programs “entitlements,” as if they’re some kind of giveaway.  But Americans pay into Social Security and Medicare throughout their entire working lives. It’s Americans’ own money they’re getting back through these programs.

These vital safety nets should be strengthened, not weakened. How?

1. Lift the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax. Currently, top earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $120,000 of their yearly income. So the rich end up, in effect,  paying a lower Social Security tax rate than everyone else. Lifting the ceiling on what wealthy Americans contribute would help pay for the Baby Boomers retirements and leave Social Security in good shape for Millennials.

2. Allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices. As the nation’s largest insurer, Medicare has tremendous bargaining power. Why should Americans pay far more for drugs than people in any other country?

3. Finally, reduce overall health costs and create a stronger workforce by making Medicare available to all. There’s no excuse for the richest nation in the world to have 28 million Americans still uninsured.

We need to not just secure, but revitalize Social Security and these other programs for our children, and for our children’s children.  Millennials just overtook Baby Boomers as our nation’s largest demographic.  For them — for all of us — we need to say loud and clear to all of our members of congress:  Hands off Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Expand and improve these programs: don’t cut them.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers AftershockThe Work of NationsBeyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Support for Marijuana Legalization Grows With 60 Percent of Americans Now in Favor

This week, Vermont became the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Dispensaries have opened in recent years in California, Colorado, and other states amid a growing movement to decriminalize the substance. (Photo: Beverly Yuen Thompson/Flickr/cc)

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

A growing majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for personal use, according to a new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said adults should have the right to buy marijuana, with even higher levels of support among Democrats and respondents under the age of 35.

The survey results were consistent with another recent poll taken by Pew Research Center earlier this month, which found that 61 percent of Americans back legalization.

Nearly three-quarters of people ages 18 to 34 supported legalization according to the new poll. While support was lower among those ages 35 to 49 and 50 to 64, majorities in both age groups said the substance should be legalized.

The poll showed an increase in support since 2014, when only 55 percent of Americans supported legalization.

The survey results came out days after Vermont became the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults ages 21 and older, with a law that will go into effect in July. The state is the first to pass legalization through its legislature rather than a ballot initiative. Maine, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska have all decriminalized the substance in recent years.

New Jersey and Michigan are expected to vote on legalization this year, while groups in red states including Oklahoma and Utah are mounting efforts to include medical marijuana use on this year’s election ballots.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Denouncing ‘FCC’s Dangerous Ruling,’ Cuomo Signs Order to Protect Net Neutrality in New York

The Federal Communications Commission’s move to roll back net neutrality has led to nationwide protests. (Photo: Maria Merkulova/Free Press/Flickr/cc)

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

In response to a recent move by the Republican-controlled FCC to roll back net neutrality, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday to make New York the second state this week to ensure the consumer protections.

Paired with action taken by Montana on Monday, the orders to preserve net neutrality are being celebrated by free speech and consumer protection advocates, who have mounted a national movement against the FCC ruling, which critics warn enables internet service providers (ISPs) to choose to slow down or block access to certain content.

Cuomo’s executive order (pdf) unequivocally states that in order to receive a state contract, ISPs cannot “block, throttle, or prioritize internet content or applications or require that end users pay different or higher rates to access specific types of content or applications.” Similar to the order signed by Montana’s Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, the Cuomo order attempts to work around a preemption in the FCC repeal that aims to prevent states from enacting their own net neutrality rules.

“The FCC’s dangerous ruling goes against the core values of our democracy, and New York will do everything in our power to protect net neutrality and the free exchange of ideas,” Cuomo vowed in a statement. “With this executive order, we reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy and help ensure that the internet remains free and open to all.”

Cuomo’s order declares, “the internet is an essential service that should be available to all New Yorkers,” and “the free exchange of information, including the ability to access the content of their choosing secured with net neutrality protections is expected and relied upon by all New Yorkers.”

It also chastizes the FCC for opting “to do away with free and open internet protections in order to satisfy corporate interests that are not aligned with those of New Yorkers,” and outlines ways the internet is often utilized by businesses, students, educational institutions, state employees, and residents who are accessing government services or seeking to stay in touch with friends and family.

While Cuomo’s order attempts to maintain net neutrality protections for residents of his state, New York’s elected officials are also involved in efforts to fight the FCC at the federal level. Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he is leading a coalition of attorneys general from 21 states and D.C. who have filed a lawsuit to challenge the FCC ruling.

While welcoming all efforts to thwart the FCC, open internet advocates continue to argue the best path to ensure net neutrality protections is to nullify the agency’s rule changes, which Congress can do by passing a Congressional Review Act resolution.

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A Well-Known CIA Pilot Claims That The Moon Has 250 Million Citizens

By Arjun Walia | Collective Evolution

You may think it’s quite ludicrous to even contemplate that the Moon could be harbouring as many as 250 million citizens, but it’s not. Although this may not be true, those who have looked into it know that strange anomalies have surrounded the Moon for decades. “Contemplation without investigation is the height of ignorance,” a quote attributed to Einstein holds true here. If you actually do some independent research, you might be quite shocked with what you find, especially when it comes to the credibility of the sources.

Take for example Timothy Good, one of the world’s leading UFO researchers, who has lectured at universities, schools, and many organizations, including the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Naval Air Reserve Branch, the House of Lords All-Party UFO Study Group, and the Oxford and Cambridge Union societies.
Good says that a former member of MI6 revealed her conversation with Neil Armstrong at a NASA conference, when he confirmed there were “other” spacecraft on the Moon when Apollo 11 landed in 1969. Armstrong also confirmed the CIA was behind the coverup. He also goes into more detail about it in this 2013 lecture.
Dr. John Brandenburg, the Deputy Manager of the Clementine Mission to the Moon, which was part of a joint space project between the Ballistic Missile Defence Organization (BMDO) and NASA, has also made some fascinating revelations. The mission discovered water at the Moon’s poles in 1994 (Source: page 16 of 18)(source)(source). But, according to Brandenburg, the Clementine Mission had an ulterior agenda:

“The Clementine Mission was a photo reconnaissance mission basically to check out if someone was building bases on the moon that we didn’t know about. Were they expanding they expanding them? . . . Of all the pictures I’ve seen from the moon that show possible structures, the most impressive is a picture of a miles wide recto-linear structure. This looked unmistakably artificial, and it shouldn’t be there. As somebody in the space defence community, I look on any such structure on the moon with great concern because it isn’t ours, there’s no way we could have built such a thing. It means someone else is up there.”

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England. Robert can be reached at romayasoundhealth andbeauty@gmail.com.

 




As #TrumpShutdown Takes Hold DACA Supporters Denounce GOP’s ‘Racist Agenda’

DACA recipients and supporters rallied outside the Capitol as lawmakers failed to reach an agreement protecting undocumented immigrants and funding the government. (Photo:Molly Adams/flickr/cc)

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

Progressives and immigrant rights groups denounced President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans after the Senate was not able to reach an agreement to fund the government by midnight on Friday, forcing the government to shut down exactly one year into Trump’s presidency.

The shutdown became official after Senate Democrats rejected a bill passed by the House earlier in the week that would have funded the government through February 16.

Democrats refused to back the spending deal as it did not include protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which have strong public support.

“There is no doubt that Donald Trump, congressional Republicans, and their racist agenda are fully responsible for this government shutdown,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org, which helped to organize a rally in support of DACA outside the Capitol Friday night as lawmakers struggled to reach an agreement inside. “It’s on Republicans to…pass legislation to protect Dreamers—who have been left in limbo since Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September—and reopen the government.”

Senators could potentially reach a temporary spending agreement in weekend negotiations before government offices are scheduled to open on Monday, avoiding a full shutdown.

As of Saturday morning, more than 1,000 White House and congressional staffers had been placed on furlough, and non-essential agencies including those that process small business loans and passport services were expected to be closed starting Monday, barring a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hoped to get Democrats on board with a short-term spending deal that would keep the government funded through February 8, when he said the Senate would then vote on a bipartisan bill protecting Dreamers.

Although Republican leaders including McConnell blamed Democrats for the shutdown, most Americans surveyed this week echoed a sentiment shared by Trump in 2013, when he stated “I really think the pressure is on the president” to reach an agreement to keep the government running—particularly considering the popularity of the programs the Republicans have held hostage.

“American voters expect Republicans—who control all branches of government—to figure this out and pass a spending deal that reflects American values, including the Dream Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and funding for disaster relief in Puerto Rico and elsewhere,” said Sheyman.

As news spread of the failure to reach a deal, #TrumpShutdown became the top trending hashtag on Twitter worldwide early on Saturday.

The progressive advocacy group Action Network quoted a DACA recipient in its statement on the shutdown.

“This shutdown shows that we cannot put our faith in the hands of the establishment,” said Juan Carlos Carabantes. “By taking action and mobilizing our community, we have made the entire country feel the urgency that we have felt every day since DACA was repealed. The U.S. government is shutting down, but we won’t stop fighting for what our community deserves—permanent protection, dignity, and respect. We’ll see you in the streets.”

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.