Monday, July 2, 2018

New Paltz Joins Hundreds of Thousands to Protest Trump's Cruel Policies

It was a sweltering day, but that did not stop 2 to 300 people from taking to the streets in New Paltz, NY on Saturday, to demand an end to 2,000 children being ripped from their mother's arms and sent to the far corners of our country with no plan to reunite them. We were protesting tender age internment camps, children being caged, parents deported without their children, indefinite family detention and the Trump/Sessions' policy of Zero Tolerance that created this crisis, chaos and cruelty. 

We stand for due process for all asylum seekers which is their right under US and International law. All immigrants should be treated with fairness, respect, compassion and dignity! 

Thanks to Gabriela Quintanilla, founder of Adelante Student Voices, who brought 25 or so local Dreamers with her and was interviewed on Spectrum TV. Dreamers are part of the American Family- they deserve our support and protection!  Here is a video of our event taken by Beth Dulay -

Thanks to all who joined us and attended over 750 rallies across our country!                                        Photos by B. Upton

If you would like to stay more involved on this critical issue locally, please send your email to Thank you to Linda Abbott who initiated this event! MoveOn helped Linda and I to reach out to the thousands of local MoveOn members and we thank them.Their words below excellently sum up our renewed resolve to change Trump's immoral policies. We will not forget those children who need to be reunited with their parents! And we will remember in November!

Dear MoveOn member,
After weeks of heartbreaking images, here are some beautiful rays of hope: 

In Washington, D.C., today, 35,000 demonstrators braved 96-degree temperatures to march on the White House and send a crystal-clear message: Families Belong Together. There were 30,000 participants in New York, 60,000 in Chicago, more than 70,000 in Los Angeles, and huge turnouts from Orlando, Florida, to Austin, Texas, to Boise, Idaho (which is one of the pictures above!). We were everywhere. 
Here's the eye-popping map of all the protests, one dot per demonstration, spanning all 50 states, as hundreds of thousands of us gathered in cities from Antler, North Dakota, to Lake Worth, Florida:

More than 750 cities. One message. This is what it looks like when a nation speaks with one voice. 
The past few weeks have been excruciating. We've learned about unspeakable abuses being perpetrated in our name. And at the same time, the Supreme Court upheld the Muslim Ban, which keeps yet more families separated. A Supreme Court retirement means fundamental rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community—among others are now on the line for a generation.
And for the thousands of parents and children in cages, not knowing if they'd ever see their family members again, it was, and remains, infinitely worse. 
But today was a ray of hope.
It was a reminder that, for all the chaos and cruelty of those in power, a massive and growing movement exists in every corner of the nation that still believes in fundamental decency. It was a reminder that—at the ultimate wellspring of power in the American political system—the core values of we, the people blaze, undiminished, indivisible.
The horror that so many of us feel about the devastating policies of our government won't go away due to a march. But we are here, we are ready to fight, and we won't go away. This administration hopes to crush our will to resist. Today, we made clear that they will fail.

#FamiliesBelongTogether    #ReunitetheFamilies    #RememberinNovember

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Feeling Hopeful for Bernie on New York Primary Morning!

What we have witnessed in the last month is truly remarkable. From Bernie Sanders' Kick off in the Bronx (15,000), to Washington Square Park (27,000-48,000) and Prospect Park (28,000), not to mention countless more rallies across our state; no one inspires as much passion as Bernie. While Bernie had 28,000 cheering, Hillary Clinton spoke to 500 people. Here are 2 videos from Senator Sanders' rally in Poughkeepsie, NY. "Why Trump Will Never Be President- Words of Wisdom from Senator Sanders" and "Senator Sanders Rocks Poughkeepsie, NY"

But if you have been tuned into Mainstream Media, you may think it is looking hopeless for Senator Sanders. As reported here earlier, the media have been very deceitful on how they report the delegate count. Most continue to include superdelegates that haven't even voted yet and can change their minds. You can see in this article some are still reporting that Clinton has an unbeatable lead (CBS- 695, NBC- 664), but the truth is Clinton is only ahead by only 194 delegates!

There is also some news that polls may have been rigged in New York to favor Senator Clinton, and discourage Bernie supporters. Really Marist College- is it true that you only polled in districts that Hillary won in 2008?

So Bernie supporters, take heart and get out there and vote and drive a few folks to polling places!

I'll leave you with an excerpt from Senator Sander's speech at the Vatican. The media, of course did a terrible job in reporting the substance of the talk, which calls for a moral economy that can only happen when big money is removed from our politics. You can trust the man who has eschewed corporate, billionaire and Super PAC money. Hillary has taken in  over $224 million for her campaign from Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, big Pharma, the arms industry and more. They will expect a return on their investment. Bernie Sanders only has to answer to us, the voters! To paraphrase the Senator, "Let us move boldly toward the common good in our time."

"I am told time and time again by the rich and powerful, and the mainstream media that represent them, that we should be “practical,” that we should accept the status quo; that a truly moral economy is beyond our reach. Yet Pope Francis himself is surely the world’s greatest demonstration against such a surrender to despair and cynicism. He has opened the eyes of the world once again to the claims of mercy, justice and the possibilities of a better world. He is inspiring the world to find a new global consensus for our common home.
I see that hope and sense of possibility every day among America’s young people. Our youth are no longer satisfied with corrupt and broken politics and an economy of stark inequality and injustice. They are not satisfied with the destruction of our environment by a fossil fuel industry whose greed has put short term profits ahead of climate change and the future of our planet. They want to live in harmony with nature, not destroy it. They are calling out for a return to fairness; for an economy that defends the common good by ensuring that every person, rich or poor, has access to quality health care, nutrition and education.
As Pope Francis made powerfully clear last year in Laudato Si’, we have the technology and know-how to solve our problems – from poverty to climate change to health care to protection of biodiversity. We also have the vast wealth to do so, especially if the rich pay their way in fair taxes rather than hiding their funds in the world’s tax and secrecy havens- as the Panama Papers have shown.

The challenges facing our planet are not mainly technological or even financial, because as a world we are rich enough to increase our investments in skills, infrastructure, and technological know-how to meet our needs and to protect the planet. Our challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to the common good. Centesimus Annus, which we celebrate and reflect on today, and Laudato Si’, are powerful, eloquent and hopeful messages of this possibility. It is up to us to learn from them, and to move boldly toward the common good in our time."

Let's do this!

Muslim Americans coming out to support Senator Sanders

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Media Are Deceiving You- Bernie Is on a Roll!

Corporate media have been bashing Bernie (16 negative stories in the Washington Post in 16 hours is just the tip of the anti-Bernie bias) and trying to coronate Clinton from the beginning. They continue to do so by adding the undemocratic "superdelegates" (made up of Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, party officials and registered lobbyists) into the totals. There has never been a case where a person won the popular vote, but lost due to superdelegates. The system is designed to allow superdelegates, also known as "unpledged delegates" to switch votes to reflect the popular vote; so why are they counted at all at this point? In 2008, Hillary had a lead of superdelegates against Obama too- but when Obama began sweeping states, the superdelegates switched allegiance, or went with him for the first time and many think the same thing will happen in this election.

In addition to using misleading delegate numbers, the media have also given Clinton twice as much free media as Sanders - $741 million dollars worth for Clinton, versus Sander's $321 million. Trump has benefited from mainstream, corporate media the most with $1,898 million- six times the free media that Sanders has received.

But in spite of all that, look at Bernie's two latest landslide wins. In Utah and Idaho he roughly beat Clinton 80 to 20% (yes, he lost Arizona*, but so did Obama). Now we are headed for Bernie country- California, Washington and Oregon and others where he could continue to win "Yugely".

Yet Obama recently told donors that the Sanders campaign was nearing the end and that we should all line up like little ducks behind Clinton- the Wall Street, biotechnology (GMO producers) defense industry pick.  Would he have quit at this point when he was running? No, of course not. Between this sell out and the even worse one of his pushing TPP, Obama's true corporate colors are showing.

Then there is the terrible prospect of a Trump presidency. A CNN/ORC (3/22) shows Bernie is our best bet to defeat him! Sanders now trounces Trump by almost 20 points! Clinton beats him by just 12 points and Trump has been within just a couple of points of her in other polls. It is also hard for Clinton to overcome her high unfavorable ratings (not to mention the ongoing FBI investigation). People having an unfavorable view of Clinton has now climbed to 54%. Many find her not honest or trustworthy, or not caring about their needs and problems. 

Bernie supporters- Don't buy the hype! Stay strong. Work harder than ever. As Bernie says when we all stick together and vote together- there is nothing we can't accomplish!

*Here is a video of Democratic voters having to wait for hours to vote in Sheriff Arpaio's Maricopa County in Arizona.

There are also reports that Independent voters (who cannot vote in the Democratic Primary in Arizona) were turned away or given provisional ballots that were not counted. Demand an investigation-

And please sign the petition, Superdelegates: Don't Deny Democracy

An article from FAIR- calling out the NY Times for including superdelegates in delegate totals- something they did not do in 2008- NYT Used to Report Delegate Count as if It Was Voters Who Mattered

Delegate count from Wikipedia "Democratic Primary Results" on 3/23/16

Saturday, July 4, 2015

We Can Still Defeat TPP

 “When the inexcusable and anti-democratic veil of secrecy surrounding the TPP is finally lifted, and the American people see what is actually in the agreement, they are going to force their representatives in Washington to vote that deal down.”                    Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen

We lost the Fast Track fight, (because of the 13 traitorous Senate Democrats above who sided with Republicans to end debate) but TPP is far from a done deal. Once the text is released, Congress will be debating it for 90 days and the ugly truth the "corporate trade advisors" have been hiding for years will be in open view.  

TPP's unprecedented secrecy
The little we know about TPP, is thanks to Wikileaks. Members of Congress have only recently been able to see portions of the text and are not allowed to take notes, copy pages or even talk about what they read!

We will not be able to see TPP's negotiating texts until four years after it is passed, or is voted down. With TISA we will not be able to see them for five years. What are they hiding?

It is already clear from leaked texts that this is not just a trade deal (only 5 chapters out of 29 are specifically about trade) but it is rather a global power grab by multinational corporations intent on profits at the expense of the earth and our rights. 

Here is what corporate tyranny looks like
I think most Americans would shudder at the thought that multinational corporations could sue US taxpayers for laws and policies that a corporation says could reduce their "expected future profits". Under the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) provision of TPP, these cases would be decided by international tribunals and the judges would be corporate lawyers whose decision would be final. No US court could override them! 

Want clean air, safe food, drinkable water, fair working conditions, labels on GMOs, fracking bans, or bank regulations to prevent another 2008 economic meltdown? TPP will give foreign corporations the right to retaliate against any such laws or regulations and sue us for billions of dollars. Think it can't happen? Unfortunately, under NAFTA and other trade agreements, corporations are already suing nations and winning ($3.5 billion has been paid out and another $14.7 billion in corporate suits are awaiting decision). TPP goes a step further than granting corporations personhood- it makes them more powerful than countries. It gives them nationhood!

"In a threat to our sovereignty and solvency, the TPP would expand the scope of policies that could be attacked. And, there would be 15,000 new foreign corporations empowered by TPP to attack US laws." Expose the TPP 

To me this is the most egregious part of TPP, but there are many other disastrous results of TPP passing- the loss of millions of American jobs (hard for us to compete with Vietnam wages at 29 cents an hour), a race to the bottom for wages and worker safety, increased costs for medicines (Big Pharma made sure patents on drugs would be extended and generics will be at risk), loss of internet freedom,  the end of Buy American policies, the forced importation of foods that do not meet our safety standards, increased environmentally destructive fracking (see the video below) and more. 

The unbridled corporate greed of "Free Trade", or a "Fair Trade" bright future? 
The good news is that a slumbering America has been awakened! Environmental groups, workers, family farmers, internet freedom advocates, people of faith and organizations for food safety and public health have all come together to fight this corporate takeover. It's about time that we started to marshal all our forces to restore democracy and to protect what is dear to us and makes America great. 

This is just the beginning of a movement to create a new paradigm of trade that protects our earth and ensures our basic human rights- our ability to live in freedom, safety and dignity. Fair Trade lifts all people to a better standard of living and ensures a viable and sustainable future for all of our children. 

TPP and its partners TISA* (Trade in Services Agreement) and TTIP (the European version of TPP) do just the opposite. They benefit the very few, the plutocratic elite, at the expense of the rest of us. This unholy triumvirate would make our lives less safe, more polluted, miserable and eventually unlivable as measures to deal with climate change would be seen as barriers to trade. We are already seeing the effects from NAFTA and TPP is NAFTA on steroids.

So let's roll up our sleeves and "Get to work!" as Ed Schultz of MSNBC says. By the way, he deserves kudos for being practically the only journalist who has covered these terrible, plutocratic deals from the beginning. We need to exert more pressure for others to follow his lead.

There are many organizations leading this fight- join them! Public Citizen, Flush the TPP, Progressive Democrats of America- TPP Media March, MoveOn, Sierra Club and more. 

Remember, Fast Track only won in the House by two votes- we can defeat final passage of TPP there. Pledge to keep up the fight hereWe can do this. We have to do this!

*Please note this article "Leaked TISA Documents Reveal Privacy Threat" was in Forbes magazine -  hardly a bastion of left-wing thinking. It's time for the "left" and "right" to come together on this! We have to go beyond labels to save our democracy. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Amnesty International Calls on Obama to Drop Charges against Edward Snowden

Claire Bernish
June 9, 2015
(ANTIMEDIAAmnesty International UK has launched a campaign and petition asking President Obama not to“punish” Edward Snowden for whistleblowing. By exposing “the sinister extent of global mass surveillance,” the organization says, he has informed the world about “human rights abuses” and should not be prosecuted as a traitor.
In light of the federal court ruling that deemed the NSA’s surveillance tactics using provisions of the Patriot Act illegal, Amnesty is calling for the charges against Snowden under the infamous Espionage Act to be dropped.
The organization also explains that its successful litigation against the UK government and its intelligence community was only possible with information revealed by the whistleblower—thus questioning the justification for such “strict charges” still remaining against him. As its statement explains,
“There are protections around whistleblowers when the information they have revealed is seen to be in the public interest. Snowden’s revelations undoubtedly brought our attention to previously unknown abuses […] The charges facing Snowden under the 1917 Espionage Act are outdated and ill-equipped to deal with the circumstances of his case — and if he’s tried for crimes under the Espionage Act, he could be prevented from presenting a defense that explains his motives were in the public interest.”
Snowden’s freedom to seek asylum in countries that agree he deserves such protection is being severely hindered by the US government’s revocation of his passport and continued political pressure to force other countries into cooperating to restrict his travel.
Amnesty’s campaign vigorously urges the US to completely drop the charges, but says:
“If the US does try Snowden, President Obama should ensure that Snowden is guaranteed a fair trial, and allowed to argue that information he revealed was in the public interest and guarant[ee] him whistleblowers’ protections.”

This article (Amnesty International Calls on Obama to Drop Charges Against Edward Snowden) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hudson Valley Says "No" to Pilgrim Pipeline

                                                                                                                                          Photo: Jodiah Jacobs
Monday, May 18 a crowd gathered in Kingston, NY to celebrate over 50 municipal and county resolutions opposing Pilgrim Pipelines in New York and New Jersey. The Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines – NY (CAPP-NY) launched the campaign with a press conference and rally. People there were against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure throughout the Hudson Valley. They aim to stop Pilgrim Pipelines from being built, while also pressing to ban dangerous rail cars and barges carrying Bakken Shale crude oil, citing threats to rivers and streams, drinking water, climate, public health and safety, and to the regional economy.

“It’s time for us to move our regional economy towards clean energy and a bright future, away from the old, destructive, dying oil economy of the past!"
Organized with: “48 Hours of Actions for Safe Clean Energy” NJ / NY, May 16th – 18th" 

All photos by Jodiah Jacobs

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

Photo from Our Hudson Valley Rally against TPP       B Upton

Ellen Brown,
Author Web of Debt, Public Bank Solution, President, Public Banking Institute
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." -- Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution
A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as "a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . ."
On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.
The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40 percent of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote. Negotiating the TPP in secret and fast-tracking it through Congress is considered necessary to secure its passage, since if the public had time to review its onerous provisions, opposition would mount and defeat it.
Abdicating the Judicial Function to Corporate Lawyers
James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers:
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . "Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. . . ."
And that, from what we now know of the TPP's secret provisions, will be its dire effect.
The most controversial provision of the TPP is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) section, which strengthens existing ISDS  procedures. ISDS first appeared in a bilateral trade agreement in 1959. According to The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits -- such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe.
Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases; and the secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent gives wide scope for creative judgments.
To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, this although the termination was apparently legal. Still in arbitration is a demand by Vattenfall, a Swedish utility that operates two nuclear plants in Germany, for compensation of €3.7 billion ($4.7 billion) under the ISDS clause of a treaty on energy investments, after the German government decided to shut down its nuclear power industry following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
Under the TPP, however, even larger judgments can be anticipated, since the sort of "investment" it protects includes not just "the commitment of capital or other resources" but "the expectation of gain or profit." That means the rights of corporations in other countries extend not just to their factories and other "capital" but to the profits they expect to receive there.
In an article posted by Yves Smith, Joe Firestone poses some interesting hypotheticals:
Under the TPP, could the US government be sued and be held liable if it decided to stop issuing Treasury debt and financed deficit spending in some other way (perhaps by quantitative easing or by issuing trillion dollar coins)? Why not, since some private companies would lose profits as a result?
Under the TPP or the TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under negotiation with the European Union), would the Federal Reserve be sued if it failed to bail out banks that were too big to fail?
Firestone notes that under the Netherlands-Czech trade agreement, the Czech Republic was sued in an investor-state dispute for failing to bail out an insolvent bank in which the complainant had an interest. The investor company was awarded $236 million in the dispute settlement. What might the damages be, asks Firestone, if the Fed decided to let the Bank of America fail, and a Saudi-based investment company decided to sue?
Abdicating the Legislative Function to Multinational Corporations
Just the threat of this sort of massive damage award could be enough to block prospective legislation. But the TPP goes further and takes on the legislative function directly, by forbidding specific forms of regulation.
Public Citizen observes that the TPP would provide big banks with a backdoor means of watering down efforts to re-regulate Wall Street, after deregulation triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression:
The TPP would forbid countries from banning particularly risky financial products, such as the toxic derivatives that led to the $183 billion government bailout of AIG. It would prohibit policies to prevent banks from becoming "too big to fail," and threaten the use of "firewalls" to prevent banks that keep our savings accounts from taking hedge-fund-style bets.
The TPP would also restrict capital controls, an essential policy tool to counter destabilizing flows of speculative money. . . . And the deal would prohibit taxes on Wall Street speculation, such as the proposed Robin Hood Tax that would generate billions of dollars' worth of revenue for social, health, or environmental causes.
Clauses on dispute settlement in earlier free trade agreements have been invoked to challenge efforts to regulate big business. The fossil fuel industry is seeking to overturn Quebec's ban on the ecologically destructive practice of fracking. Veolia, the French behemoth known for building a tram network to serve Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, is contesting increases in Egypt's minimum wage. The tobacco maker Philip Morris is suing against anti-smoking initiatives in Uruguay and Australia.
The TPP would empower not just foreign manufacturers but foreign financial firms to attack financial policies in foreign tribunals, demanding taxpayer compensation for regulations that they claim frustrate their expectations and inhibit their profits.
Preempting Government Sovereignty
What is the justification for this encroachment on the sovereign rights of government? Allegedly, ISDS is necessary in order to increase foreign investment. But as noted inThe Economist, investors can protect themselves by purchasing political-risk insurance. Moreover, Brazil continues to receive sizable foreign investment despite its long-standing refusal to sign any treaty with an ISDS mechanism. Other countries are beginning to follow Brazil's lead.
In an April 22nd report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, gains from multilateral trade liberalization were shown to be very small, equal to only about 0.014% of consumption, or about $.43 per person per month. And that assumes that any benefits are distributed uniformly across the economic spectrum. In fact, transnational corporations get the bulk of the benefits, at the expense of most of the world's population.
Something else besides attracting investment money and encouraging foreign trade seems to be going on. The TPP would destroy our republican form of government under the rule of law, by elevating the rights of investors -- also called the rights of "capital" -- above the rights of the citizens.
That means that TPP is blatantly unconstitutional. But as Joe Firestone observes, neo-liberalism and corporate contributions seem to have blinded the deal's proponents so much that they cannot see they are selling out the sovereignty of the United States to foreign and multinational corporations.
For more information and to get involved, visit: