Election Time 2018

As a committeeman for my ward in South Philadelphia, and as an American, I urge you to get out there and VOTE in the general election. The last day for voter registration is October 9; the last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot if October 30; and the election itself is on November 6. Here are the candidates I endorse:

US Senate from Pennsylvania, Bob Casey; and

Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolfe.

Not only must we get out and vote, but we must do so in record numbers, to show the politicians of both parties that we the people are conscious of what is going on in our nation and in our communities, and we want to hold them accountable and not take us for granted.

Later on the Presidential elections will come up; and hopefully the Democratic party leadership will have learned not to cheat the progressive element of their voice or votes, that the progressives of the party are raising serious issues:

trade treaties that move manufacturing, and the jobs that go with them, out of local communities and cause unemployment for workers, with its accompanying sense of hopelessness;

gun violence that kills young lives;

banks receiving virtual welfare-such as grants from the Federal Reserve-while delivering perks to executives and buyout deals for incompetent CEOs;

tax benefits for corporations and the wealthy which, in spite of the myth, do NOT simulate the economy, but stay in the foreign bank accounts of billionaires;

and the racism crawling out of the woodwork, thanks to (sarcasm alert) the wonderful example set by our commander-in-chief.  This list just scratches the surface.

Not only must you vote, but inform yourself of what goes on in the community an the world, so the politicians see you are paying attention to what is going on.

 

 

 

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America’s Shame, July 16, 2018

Donald Trump, supposedly the President of the United States, went to Helsinki to meet Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia and the man helpful to donnie’s getting elected, with the Russian intelligence agents hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign. In the press conference after the meeting-where there were no one else but interpreters, no foreign policy advisers-donnie commended Russia’s hosting the Word Cup, and took the word of Putin, the former KGB agent-you remember form the Cold war era, the KGB were the villains- over the findings of US government intelligence agencies-the same government donnie is supposed to be running-whether or not the Russian intelligence agencies sabotaged the election of 2016, jeopardizing what’s left of our “democracy,” thus installing a business failure-racist-misogynist-realty-show clown as president.

(Plus in the press conference, trump once again went off on a tangent about beating Hillary Clinton, like he’s campaigning again-but when does he ever stop campaigning?)

trump always had a soft spot in his “heart” for dictators and authoritarians, whether they be Kim John-Un, Erdogan, Recep Dutarte, Ix Jinping, or Putin. “Like takes to like,” as they say, and THESE are the role models trump is trying t follow.

Americans! Let’s stand up for our rights! Don’t wait until November, start NOW! Hit the streets, write to your editors, visit your elected officials!

The Mason Missile, July 2, 2018

Greetings!

This is Independence Day-what do we have to celebrate? We have a regime (I won’t call it an “administration”) that separates immigrant children as young as several months from the parents, as a bureaucratic form of punishment for entering this country “illegally” (which is classed as a misdemeanor).

That has never happened before, and this practice inflicts trauma upon these children and their parents-but what to the alpha males ruling our affairs care? They show what kind of big strong men they are by terrorizing people who can’t resist, talking about a “zero tolerance policy,” and have sadistic fun doing it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the Bible, the Apostle Paul letter to the Romans, chapter 13, verses 1-7, (RSV) as an excuse to justify this: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.  For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”

That verse had always been a favorite of slaveholders and authoritarians, using some biblical justification for their domination of their subjects. It would not hold sway except for some true believers of the Leader.

(Were he to go further down the chapter, Sessions would have found verses 8-10 “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”)

This is the kind of thing that conservatives, who have whined about “big government taking control of our children,” have warned us about- but it’s happening to dark-skinned foreigners, so they say nothing. I’m pleased, though, that people have risen up against this; I doubt, though, if it would influence this regime from ending the practice, but hopefully, it would make people on the ground ashamed to implement such policies on behalf of their superiors up the chain. There is also institutional resistance to this evil practice, as several state governors have refused to send their National Guard units to the border for this kind of duty.

There is also publicly confronting the top officials responsible for these policies, such as the crowds shaming Stephen Miller and Kristjen Nielsen-as they ate at MEXICAN RESTAUANTS-and Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave the little restaurant. Now the conservatives complain that the officials are being oppressed and bullied-any worse than the little kiddies in the detention centers separated from their families, scared out of their minds, feeling lost and abandoned, put through possibly all kinds of abuse, not knowing if they’ll ever see their parents again?  Can’t we look at THAT, Americans, and know the shameful thing going on in our name, and with our tax dollars?

With protests against unjust conditions, there are always complaints about how the protestors behave-“They’re not polite, they’re not civil, they use such bad language!” But what about trump’s line in a rally, “I’d like to punch him in the face”? His instigating violence against protestors by his fans? The incidents of white people calling the police on African-Americans for such crimes as sitting in a Starbuck’s, playing golf, napping in a dorm at Yale, holding a cookout in Oakland, mowing a neighbor’s lawn for a few bucks, selling water for money for tickets to Disneyland?

It’s as if we need permission by our conservative superiors to protest unjust conditions, from which they benefit, and the consequence of which they don’t suffer (so it’s no skin off their asses)-and such permission won’t be forthcoming. No one will give us our rights-we’ll take them. It’s just a way for them to not deal with it-but there are people who deal with it every day, and they won’t take it anymore, and will let everyone know they won’t take it.

Again, let’s discuss “big government“-the boogie of right-wing propaganda for decades, since the New Deal and beyond. This is the scare used when the issue is using the mechanism of government, local, state, or federal, to restrict the ability of corporations to swindle consumers and oppress workers. Added to this is the Labor movement, the institutional gathering of workers for their mutual benefit, to prevent corporate bosses from forcing workers into long hours, in oppressive and unsafe worksites, for merger pay.

With the Janus decision of the Supreme Court-which says workers who don’t want to be in a union do not have to pay the “agency shop” fee, but would still be protected by the union-The ability of unions to protect workers is in trouble. But do we take it lying down? No, we organize, just like our forbearers did a century ago, in the face of company thugs, police and militias, and hostile courts, judges, and governments. We have a history and tradition to draw our strength from.

Indeed, activism abounds throughout the nation against the trump agenda-and NO, I will not show him any respect! Along with the protests against the immigration policies along the border, there are protests by high school kids against the gun violence they witnessed, when they had to see their friends killed by gunmen who had too easy an access to an AR-15, and the #MeToo movement of women who refuse any longer to put up with sexual harassment from rich and powerful men.  The Labor movement can tap into that energy, and once again be the insurgent force our plutocratic masters fear it to be.

Bye!

Committeeman!

I have just come from the meeting of the 48th Ward Democratic Committee in South Philadelphia, where I presented my credentials as a Committee-member. we had nominations for officers-Anton Moore, a live wire of a young man who is dedicated to the community, was elected Ward Leader; I myself was elected Assistant Secretary. I will join other great activists in bringing in the people of our neighborhoods into the democratic process, just in time to fight the Trump agenda.

Philly For Change

Tomorrow I’ll take part in a meeting of Philly For Change, a grassroots progressive group allied with Democracy For America, the organization formed after the Howard Dean campaign in 2004. Once a month we meet and discuss various public issues, such as immigration, gun control, legislative districting, and natural gas fracking, as well as listen to candidates for public office tell us their programs. It’s a great combination of serious discussion and good fellowship. Philly For Change meets every first Wednesday at 7:00 PM, at Tattooed Mom, the bar-restaurant-club on 5th and South streets in Philadelphia.

The Mason Missile, November 26, 2016

Greetings, and happy holidays!

Yes, I am over the shock of the reality of Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States, keeper of the nuclear codes, leaders of the “free world.” How did it come to this? Was Trump really the avatar for change he made himself out to be?

Donald Trump-a billionaire (as far as we know) real-estate tycoon who inherited the business from his father (who discriminated against minorities renting is apartments; who used his father’s connections to attain deferments from the draft for Viet Nam; who has insulted almost every one of the “other” demographic groups-Mexicans, Muslims, the physically handicapped; who acts like women are his playthings to just grab wherever he chooses; who offered simple sound-bite rhetoric to complicated foreign policy issues, like the civil war in Syria; who joined the ‘birther” crusade that said Obama was not born in this country; who, in spite of his “protectionist” talk on trade, had his brand of ties made in china, his brand of clothing made in Mexico, and the furniture for his hotels made in turkey.

Now, barring a miracle in the Electoral College, he will be our President, the face we have to show the world who and what we are as a people. Is it anything to be proud of?

The Trump campaign has brought out of the woodwork the racism in this country, against African-Americans, Asian-descended people, Muslims, Jews, and LGBT people-swastikas sprayed on walls, arsons fires in churches, taunts of kids in schools, and physical assaults. How can we tell kids that bullying and terrorizing minority kids is wrong, when they see the President of the United States do it and get away with it?

Racism, long confined to such code works as “inner city” or “law and order,” has returned into the political mainstream, due to Trump’s campaign. Along with endorsement of such veteran racists as David Duke-who bragged that Trump campaigned on what he, Duke, has preached all along-the movement called the “alt-right” has stepped from the shadows; it shows itself to be savvy with the internet, but it’s really a rebranding of the same old racism and white supremacist claptrap.

And of course the “left-liberal slanted” commercial news media presents like there’s nothing wrong, it’s a normal transition from one administration to another, and the white supremacists around Trump are no big deal, downplaying the racist nature of the Trump support. Also, there is the tired old trope of the “white working class” which supposedly was all in for Trump, as if working-class whites are more susceptible to racism than other white economic groups. And the talk is revised complaining of “identity politics,” that in our endeavor to deal with racism and sexism in this country, we have neglected the problems of low-income white. (Calling this “identity politics” is a way of trivializing racial and gender issues; many people don’t like politics, seeing it as campaigning over nothing.)

The media idea is you have to work on EITHER race and gender issues OR class issues-as if they were separate; I have seen much overlap of them. Why not BOTH AND? We CAM and MUST simultaneously take on the issues of race, class, and gender, they are intertwined. So many occupations are dominated by particular racial and gender groups, such as the sleeping car porters, almost all African-American, organized by A. Philip Randolph. It is Native American people, standing fast at Standing Rock, North Dakota, who are taking the lead against the Dakota Access pipeline, which would run through their ancestral lands and contaminate the drinking water of everyone in several states.

(That leads me to the geniuses in charge of our glorious “free enterprise” system, the great entrepreneurs who, is you keep the government off their backs, will usher in an era of prosperity, just by allowing them to take as much money as they want for themselves. They know the technology for non-fossil energy systems in available-wind turbines, biofuels, solar panels-but they want to stick with the only thing they know about, good ol’ dead dinosaur carcasses turned into oil and gas after millions of years-the process of extracting the oil, gas, and coal has been a ruin for the environment and a disaster to surrounding communities of people who have to breathe the fumes and smoke of these fuel sources. Can’t these “geniuses” think of anything else?)

And what of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton? During the primaries, the DNC apparatus was biased in favor of Clinton against the insurgency of Bernie Sanders, a man of decades of experience in political and social activism, and who has galvanized a generation of young activists, who has identified himself proudly as a “Democratic Socialist,” and who has flooded stadiums and assembly halls with enthusiastic young supporters, and who has funded his campaign with small donations averaging $27.00 apiece, who has inspired art and song in support of him. BUT the party apparatus, in its “wisdom,” loaded the primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, the safe, Wall Street friendly, “don’t cause the corporations to worry” choice-and failed in the long run. It’s as if our political leadership has no recourse except candidates that say nice things about racial and gender minorities but don’t want anyone to interfere with their domination of the economy, which Bernie Sanders (God bless him!) has challenged.

We have to be careful about the election results. This is from NBC News:

231,556,622 people were eligible voters;

46.9% did NOT vote;

25.6% voted for Clinton;

25.5% voted for Trump. Not much of a mandate for Trump, is it?

Recounts are taking place as of this writing, and the popular vote has been growing for Clinton. Yet Trump won the Electoral College vote, of an institution dating back to when the Constitution was written in 1787, when low-income people were deemed unsuited to decide political issues, when the vote was limited to white male property owners, the economy was primarily agricultural, and communication was through dirt roads. This is a governmental dinosaur long overdue for extinction, an elitist body that mocks whatever ‘democracy” we have left in this country.

And of course Clinton and the democrats, instead of fighting this injustice, are expected to give up, not fight it, just as they did in 2000, even with ample evidence of voter suppression in Florida-it didn’t hurt George W. Bush that his brother Jeb was Governor-and the screaming mob of Republican activists yelling while the votes were being recounted. (Liberals are expected to always defer to their conservative superiors.)

All attempts to protest these problems are called “sour grapes, get over it,” like it’s little league baseball, and not the fate of the most powerful nation on the planet. Did the Republicans graciously handle their loss in 20087 to Obama? No, they went to work almost immediately to undermine his presidency, formulating the “tea party” movement which terrorized congress-members in town meetings-as opposed to the reasoned debate we’re supposed to have in a democracy-bringing forth the “birther” movement that stated that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not the legitimate President, putting forth racist cartoons about him, linking his policies with the now-extinct Soviet Union, and blaming Obama for George w. Bush’s trillion-dollar deficit-so much for “personal responsibility.”

(That is the point of conservative politics all along, since the New Deal- Formerly dominant groups, either based on economic class, race, or gender, have had their dominance challenged, and these former out-groups have entered positions formerly reserved by the dominant groups; the former dominant groups had the idea that if they were Not dominant, they would be subordinate, like they could not comprehend the idea of equality, which they juxtapose against “Liberty,” meaning “If the government gets out of the way and not interfere with the natural order of things, the dominant groups would stay dominant.” The former subordinate groups are seen as usurpers against the rightful rulers, affluent white males.)

And let us spend some time with the religious right movement-the same movement that would eliminate abortion and the right of women to control their bodies, would make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious excuses, and who in general would make their idea of “Christianity” the law of the land (even while getting hysterical about Islamic Sharia law). After their chosen candidates, like Ted Cruz, failed in the primaries, the religious rightists jumped on the Trump bandwagon, knowing him to be a dirty-talking whoremaster, corporate conniver, racist, and tax cheater, just so they can get some of their own people into cabinet positions. Are they facing a period of decadence, a downslide?

And, let us note the cynicism you hear out there-“Trump is in, there’s no point in protesting, they won’t pay attention, and so what’s the point?” The point is we come together as a group, to know there are many more of us who want to fight back against any injustice Trump may think up, to give confidence to politicians who want to fight the Trump agenda, and-possibly-to convince other officeholders that it’s safe to challenge trump and all he stands for.

That’s what we’ll do-take to the streets, write to our editors and politicians, and let them know how we stand-bye!

 

Serving Notice

Lately there have been comments that since Donald trump has been “elected” President-with the Electoral college vote and have the voting public NOT voting- we who oppose his agenda should be quiet, put up with it, and not complain. There have been protests all around the country of people who oppose trump’s agenda-racist, sexist, homophobic, and downright neo-fascist, judging by the people he has on his staff, like Steve Bannon.

Conservatives act as if their opponents should stay in their place and be quiet; this is true especially about the anti-trump protests, which conservatives have accused of being entirely violent and anti-social; this from the faction that would love the state to use violence and force against their opponents, who have raved all along about staging a revolution if Obama of Hillary got elected, and who feel they have to take their guns for a walk all the time. THEIR violence is supposedly more moral than OUR violence. This accusation of violence is an attempt to de-legitimize the opposition, to say we are not decent and nice people and we should be ignored in public discourse.

What about when Barack Obama was definitely elected President? There were the complains that he was a Muslim from Kenya and not legitimately qualified to be President. From the start, the republican congressional leadership vowed to do everything they could to make it impossible for Obama to govern. SO, why should be accommodate trump?

And the aftermath of the trump victory has seen many incidents of racist intimidation, such as anti-Semitic graffiti, physical assaults on Muslim and African-American people, and taunts and verbal harassment. The trump victory was no mere election but an opportunity for the neo-fascists and racists to crawl from the woodwork and into the mainstream of politics.

Let me be clear-I will join in the protests against the trump agenda, and I will not ask the permission of those who would benefit from it-the plutocrats who benefit from tax breaks what working people have to make up for, and the racists and neo-fascists who enjoy the false of security of “racial superiority.”

Okay, now what?

the elections are over, thank God, and it has been, to use that elegant word, contentious. Hillary Clinton has conceded the election to Donald Trump-an act that Trump himself wasn’t sure he would do if HE lost.

I am NOT please with the Trump victory, and it’s not just a case of “my candidate lost.” AMERICA lost this election, all that has been decent about it. Due to this election, the racists and neo-fascists have crawled out of the baseboards and into the mainstream of political discourse.

Hillary Clinton may have conceded the election-which is the tradition to respect what is left of our democratic tradition. HOWEVER, I will NOT concede my rights to any one, let alone Donald trump, who, in spite of how the media may pretty him up, remains a racist, sexist, ignorant, narrow-minded plutocrat who talks to the American people like they are ignorant yahoos-his political base.

For me, I DEFY Donald trump. I will continue my life and my learning and my activism. I will continue to take part in the issues this country faces. And in the long run, I and the rest of the progressive forces of this country WILL be victorious.

America will be free!

I did PhillyCAM

This afternoon, I performed again in Conversations Across Time, the show hosted by my friend Vivienne Crawford; and again, I portrayed Lyndon Johnson, and Mark Hoffman portrayed Michael Schwerner, one of the three civil rights activists who, while trying to register Black people to vote in Mississippi, were killed the Klan, with collusion by the local police.

The theme was to urge people to vote; it is a precious right to have, not to be neglected, especially when we have a flat-out racist-sexist-fascist psychopath running for President. People like Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney gave their lives to make sure people have the right to vote; please, don’t let their sacrifice be for naught, get out and vote tomorrow.

You can contact PhillyCAM at phillycam.org.

PhillyCAM Work

Tomorrow and Tuesday (after I vote), I will be at PhillyCAM again performing on Conversations Across Time; THIS time, we will be performing LIVE, and I will again play Lyndon B. Johnson, and we will discuss the urgency of getting out to vote-PLEASE get out and VOTE! PhillyCAM is on channel 29 on Verizon FIOS and channel 66 on Comcast. I urge you to watch the show, and I urge you to vote like your country depends on it, because it DOES.