KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON VENEZUELA!

July 20, 2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.  

COUNTDOWN: Regretfully, we must still put up with the Thief-in-chief   Donald Chump for yet another 1,284 more days…

Venezuela has erupted in a series of often violent anti-government protests. The U.S.  corporate-owned media has placed the blame on the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, and what it views as growing citizen opposition to its 18 year old socialist government. As I have learned to take reporting from these corporate-tainted sources lightly, I have instead gathered info for this post from eyewitness reports given investigative journalist Abby Martin in one of her informative documentaries featured in her fabulous Empire Files series which has been airing on FREE SPEECH TV, plus additional info from the BBC.

Albeit for much different reasons, the electorate of Venezuela is split,  just as is that of the United States. On one side is the ruling government party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), knwn as the Chavistas (the name given it to describe its pro-Socialist followers of the late President Hugo Chavez), and on the other side, the Opposition, which is made up of upper middle class and upper class people and business owners, who cannot wait to return to power. This opposition charges that the PSUV, now led by President Nicolas Maduro, is attempting to set up a dictatorship along the lines of what exists in Cuba. It claims that since it first came into power in 1999, the Chavanistas have steadily been eroding Venezuela’s democratic institutions. They claim media censorship, but Ms. Martin went freely to different newsstands and found 4 opposition newspapers on display, as well as 2 pro-government ones and one neutral paper. She found little evidence of censorship on television networks, so it appears this opposition claim of media censorship is NOT accurate. She also toured restaurants and supermarkets to determine how accurate the claim of food shortages were. Agsin, she found that some items were in short supply, but most foodstuffs were available. It would seem, then, that the claim of widespread shortages may also not be fully accurate. On the other hand, the Chavinistas view the opposition, with some justification in my view, as being elitists who have exploited poor Venezuelans for their own profit. The Chavinistas applaud the fact that this socialist party has lifted millions out of poverty and has justifiably used the country’s oil revenues to largely reduce income inequality.  Maduro is far less charasmatic than his predecessor: much less flamboyant and visible. Chavez was elected and then re-elected, but died of cancer while in office in 2013. Maduro ran for President after Chavez had died, promising to continue his predecessor’s reforms, and won election. Whereas world oil prices were relatively higher in the days of Chavez, they have dropped significantly since his death, leading to a decrease in revenue for the country. This has caused curtailment of many of the country’s most popular social programs as well as to shortages of food and medicines, and the opposition is having a field day heaping blame on the PSUV and Maduro in particular. This has led to outbreaks of violence and rioting in the streets of many of the largest Venezuelan cities. Another cause of violent outbreaks was the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s suprise March 29 announcement that it was taking over the powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, stating that the Assembly had disregarded previous Court rulings and that it was therefore placing it in contempt of court. Though this decision was reversed three days later, it caused  a huge wave of opposition-fueled dissent and repeated outbreaks of violence. The opposition is now calling for several immediate steps to be taken:

1). New general elections to be held this year.
2). The removal from office of the Supreme Court justices who issued the March 29 ruling.
3). Release of all “political prisoners”.
4). The creation of a new “humanitarian channel” to enable and  administer the importation of medications which are now  in severe shortage in the country.

According to Reuters, in a national non-binding plebiscite held July 16,  almost 7.2 million votes were cast against Maduro and the leftist PSUV government he now leads. Incidentally, those figures correspond roughly with the 7.7 million votes which were cast against his government in the last midterm election in December of 2015.

Faced with nearly daily riots, the besieged President Maduro has understandably refused to hold a new presidential election. He claims, with some justification, that the opposition is trying to overthrow his legally elected government in a coup. He further states the he is being victimized by an “economic war” being waged against him by monied forces in the United States. Though he has yet to name these forces, this blogger’s educated guess would be the far-right wing bloc of sneaky billionaires who prefer to do their dirty work out of the public eye, like the Koch brothers, the Mercer family, Sheldon Adelson, and / or their like-minded billionaire allies. Another key group would be billionaires who fled Venezuela after Chavez was first elected 18 years ago. Inside the country today, Abby Martin found evidence of hoarding by the monied forces of the opposition, which would certainly lead to shortages and discontent. These creeps all prefer to spend vast sums of money behind-the-scenes to influence domestic as well as international politics. Even billionaire President Donald Chump has declared the situation in Venezuela  to be “…a very, very horrible problem.” Chump also urged Colombian President Miguel Santos, who visited the White House recently, to pressure Venezuela to end the violence it has been plagued with.  Who else can say exactly what other sources of funding may be involved here?

Maduro is pushing to rewrite the constitution of his country, claiming that doing so will”neutralize” the opposition. He has announced the creation of a new Constituent Assembly. The oppos9tion, of course, is dead set against this.     They claim the creation of it will further weaken their National Assembly and will delay regional elections this fall and the next presidential election in 2018.

One thing is certain: far-right wing advocates in the U.S. have long hated the existence of a popularly-elected socialist government in South America. They and their stooges in the corporate-controlled U.S. media heaped tons of sarcasm, abuse, and misinformation upon Hugo Chavez when he twice won election as Venezuela’s President. They previously expressed little sympathy, and actually subtly supported the Nixon White House’s-engineered overthrow in 1973 of Chile’s popularly-elected Marxist leader Salvador Allende. So now that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox “News” is on the scene, and the billionaire class is covertly engaged in the subversion of American democracy, I fully expect this Venezuelan opposition to become even more emboldened and violent. In her brilliant coverage of these disturbances, investigative journalist Abby Martin found that it was not the Chavinistas but rather the opposition which was responsible for the largest share of deaths which have been caused by this violence. Naturally, though, our very biased and flawed mainstream corporate-controlled media has yet to report this correctly, and has instead implied that the Chavinistas are somehow to blame. Our corporate-owned media has thus far not reported on mass pro-government rallies which have occurred and has chosen instead to highlight violence and opposition demonstrsations. It is still too early to predict with certainty how this will all come out. Maduro apparently lacks not only the charisma of his predecessor, but also seems to be less adept at political maneuvering. This does not bode well for him or his gpvernment.

My advice to all of you is to keep a close eye on Venezuela, and do NOT allow our corporate media to hoodwink you!
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Plrase consider becoming a member of the only true, independent, non-commercial and fully viewer-supported media source available today – FREE SPEECH TV. At their website http://www.freespeech.org/ you can live stream many of their great programs and see what you’ve been missing if you’ve only been watching our stale, corporate-owned, biased television networks. You’ll appreciate FREE SPEECH TV‘s investigative journalism and fabulous documentaries. Please consider phoning in a pledge of support for them TOLL FREE at 1-877-378-8669 – ANY amount will be greatly appreciated – and you’ll be doing your part to ensure the continued existence of freedom of expression in Trump’s authoritarian America, and beyond. OR, instead of donating cash, you could even donate an old car, RV, or motorcycle! Just call for details. PLEASE consider becoming a member of the only network dedicated to amplifying the voices of those who are often marginalized or ignored altogether by corporate America. Kindly do so NOW – TODAY, and thank you so very much! 🙂
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BE WITH US LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW. My co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and I discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and other persons of interest. Past guests have included ELEANOR GOLDFIELD of FREE SPPECH TV’s ACT OUT!; activist CHERRI FOYTLIN of Bridge the Gulf Project; comedian LEE CAMP of RT America’s Redacted Tonight, “The Progressive Professor” noted author Dr. RONALD FEINMAN, and many more! Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters

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Taking America to a Dangerous Place

July 17, 2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P. (in association with the gifted writer BURR DEMING, creator of and chief author over at the brilliant blog site FAIR AND UNBALANCED.COM – see my Blogroll in the right hand column of this page).

COUNTDOWN: We are disgusted to report that 1,285 days still remain in this horrid administration’s term in office…  

Greetings to you on this start of a new week. As we are repeatedly subjected to outright lies from key players in the Trump :administration” (namely from Sarah Huckleberry Slanders, Kellyanne Con-job, plus even Mike Pence and Donald Chump himself) it is becoming quite apparent that they are all a very depraved group of scoundrels. They exhibit a disgusting load of gall to constantly assert that their wholly justified detractors are spreading “fake news” when it is actually they themselves who are spinning tons of bullshit with every utterance. In today’s gem of a podcast, our master podcaster Burr Deming examines the latest batch of lies coming from this sorry group, and contrasts their scurrilous behavior with that displayed in 2000 by the members of Al Gore’s campaign. These differences are astounding and notable.

Burr relates, “They accuse fake news of dragging America to a dangerous place.

But it turns out the news was not fake and those reports are showing us who has been doing the dragging.”

Transcript:
http://fairandunbalanced.com/?p=6646

PODCAST

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Plrase consider becoming a member of the only true, independent, non-commercial and fully viewer-supported media source available today – FREE SPEECH TV. At their website http://www.freespeech.org/ you can live stream many of their great programs and see what you’ve been missing if you’ve only been watching our stale, corporate-owned, biased television networks. You’ll appreciate FREE SPEECH TV‘s investigative journalism and fabulous documentaries. Please consider phoning in a pledge of support for them TOLL FREE at 1-877-378-8669 – ANY amount will be greatly appreciated – and you’ll be doing your part to ensure the continued existence of freedom of expression in Trump’s authoritarian America, and beyond. OR, instead of donating cash, you could even donate an old car, RV, or motorcycle! Just call for details. PLEASE consider becoming a member of the only network dedicated to amplifying the voices of those who are often marginalized or ignored altogether by corporate America. Kindly do so NOW – TODAY, and thank you so very much! 🙂

 

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THIS PRESIDENT’S IGNORANCE, BEHAVIOR, AND BLUSTER EMBARRASSES THE COUNTRY!

July 13, 2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.  

COUNTDOWN: I am grieved to report that an unbearable 1,289 days still remain in this terrible administration’s term in office…

I have seen through President Donald Chump’s preposterous bombastic blowhard bluster for years now, and it mystifies me that he still is managing to hold sway over so many people.  Not only his ridiculous Twitter rants and repeated lying statements, but his behavior has been atrocious, also. As I write, this  wholly unqualified oaf has an approval rating  of only 38% according to the Gallup weekly poll, and I wonder just who these approving stooges really are. It defies logic that a man who has bragged about “grabbing a woman by the pussy”, encouraged  violence against dissenters, and who has physically pushed aside the president of Montenegro to get all the camera action for himself could retain popularity with anybody. The steady stream of lies coming from his mouth plus the numerous outright contradictions of campaign promises are stunning and wholly unforgivable. This pitiful man has been called an excellent salesman by some and has been likened to an automobile salesperson. From my vantage point (as  I have viewed him for a long time now), Donald Chump has been a shameless con-man. His closest associates and press “spokespersons” like Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Con-job, and Sarah Huckleberry Slanders all lie with impunity, doubling down and trying to reinforce his continual babbling nonsense. NONE of this group have any credibility – nor do they deserve any – with sane, thinking, informed individuals. This so-called President isn’t presiding in the least, unless you consider a burst of Twitters sent out in the middle of the night presiding over the needs of the country. For this pathetic old man is masquerading as a leader and is simply not up to the job he is in.  Legislators from his own party reported that he was having difficulty grasping all the details of the recent health care legislation they were attempting to pass before the July 4th break, and that is not a good thing. We can all be grateful that the vote was called off, or this bumbling, confused goof would have signed this disastrous bill into law. As his array of press spokespersons show, and the fact that he has selected his 31 year old son-in-law to be his closest presidential “advisor”, Chump is in fact a woefully insecure person who feels he needs the constant adjulation and companionship of servile “yes-persons.” We must acknowledge his insecurity, but we must NOT tolerate any excesses which will result from it!  

We can no longer permit this charade to exist. It is NOT enough for us to sit around complaining as Chump continues to embarrass this country. We can’t expect “Russiagate” to magically be the answer to our prayers – it won’t be! We MUST therefore begin active resistance NOW: resistance which will culminate in a massive shift in the control of Congress starting next year, and the replacement of Chump as President in the 2020 election! For the reactionary CON-servative Republican Party is hopelessly bought-out and is fully compromised, and the existing Democratic Party is far too compliant and is also compromised to the point where it, too, cannot effectively legislate for the benefit of the 99% MAJORITY, as it should! We must push for a responsive Congress and President! We must focus and dedicate ourselves to the election of a PROGRESSIVE legislative and executive branch of government, like this country enjoyed and prospered under in the 1960s. Until this is accomplished, we can only expect the same-old, same-old tweedldee and tweedledum – something we have had our bellies full of for the past four decades.  So let us all commit to  JOIN HANDS! RESIST! FOCUS! ORGANIZE! ELECT! And, last but not least, REPLACE and RENEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!          
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Plrase consider becoming a member of the only true, independent, non-commercial and fully viewer-supported media source available today – FREE SPEECH TV. At their website http://www.freespeech.org/ you can live stream many of their great programs and see what you’ve been missing if you’ve only been watching our stale, corporate-owned, biased television networks. You’ll appreciate FREE SPEECH TV’s investigative journalism and fabulous documentaries. Please consider phoning in a pledge of support for them TOLL FREE at 1-877-378-8669 – ANY amount will be greatly appreciated – and you’ll be doing your part to ensure the continued existence of freedom of expression in Trump’s authoritarian America, and beyond. PLEASE consider becoming a member of the only network dedicated to amplifying the voices of those who are often marginalized or ignored altogether by corporate America. Kindly do so NOW – TODAY, and thank you so very much! 🙂
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BE WITH US LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW. My co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and I discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and other persons of interest. Past guests have included ELEANOR GOLDFIELD of FREE SPPECH TV’s ACT OUT!; activist CHERRI FOYTLIN of Bridge the Gulf Project; comedian LEE CAMP of RT America’s Redacted Tonight, “The Progressive Professor” noted author Dr. RONALD FEINMAN, and many more! Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters

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Chris Christie, the Snow, and the Beach

July 10, 2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P. (in association with the gifted writer BURR DEMING, creator of and chief author over at the brilliant blog site FAIR AND UNBALANCED.COM – see my Blogroll in the right hand column of this page).

COUNTDOWN: We are sad to say that an abominable 1,292 days still remain in this inept administration’s term in office…

Happy start of a new  week, everyone! Today, our podcaster magnifique BURR DEMING  examines the typical hypocrisy and contempt for his constituents exhibited once more by the mouthy and self-centered Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. This fat slob closed down  all the public beaches in the state (forcing a number of homeowners whose property was on one of those beaches to leave their homes) so that he, along with his family could have the beach, piggishly, all for themselves.

Burr explains, “Most of us are values voters. When we decide our candidate is a real jerk, we support someone else.

That can give us hope.”

PODCAST

Transcript:
http://fairandunbalanced.com/?p=6545
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Plrase consider becoming a member of the only true, independent, non-commercial and fully viewer-supported media source available today – FREE SPEECH TV. At their website http://www.freespeech.org/ you can live stream many of their great programs and see what you’ve been missing if you’ve only been watching our stale, corporate-owned, biased television networks. You’ll appreciate FREE SPEECH TV‘s investigative journalism and fabulous documentaries. Please consider phoning in a pledge of support for them TOLL FREE at 1-877-378-8669 – ANY amount will be greatly appreciated – and you’ll be doing your part to ensure the continued existence of freedom of expression in Trump’s authoritarian America, and beyond. PLEASE consider becoming a member of the only network dedicated to amplifying the voices of those who are often marginalized or ignored altogether by corporate America. Kindly do so NOW – TODAY, and thank you so very much! 🙂

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WHY ART LAFFER, MILTON FRIEDMAN, AYN RAND, AND THE CHICAGO SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS ARE ALL FULL OF S-IT!

July 6,2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.  

COUNTDOWN: I HATE to report that an awful 1,296 days still remain in this horrible administration’s term in office…

Today’s reactionary, politically and economically off-the-charts radical right wing Republican Party seems hell-bent on delivering the extremely errant Libertarian dream of as little government regulation over business as possible, and that “the market” will cure all ills, provided it is left alone to self-correct whatever mistakes it may have made. This blogger is unconvinced, and completely rejects this idealistic and naive philosophy! In fact, I see the need for even greater regulation! In this age of Donald Chump and his presidential cabinet stocked to overflowing with anti-government and anti-labor billionaires, a dangerous precedent has been established: roll back or eliminate regulations, allowing these careless businesspersons to soil and pollute with impunity, and ensure that, above everything else, they profit immensely with no interference at all! As these greed-obsessed  billionaires help themselves to record profits, they are proving what a failure their capitalist system truly is.  

Evidence of what a farce corporate capitalism is abounds all around us, from the record, ever-growing wealth disparity we have been living under for years now to the ever-increasing amount of advertisements we are plagued with on commercial network TV stations to the ever-shrinking amount of individual owners of television stations, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. The free market loving supporters of this craziness all claim to believe in competition, and claim that government influence or regulation hampers competition, but in actual practice, they engage in monopolistic behavior which by its very nature stifles competition.  

I have only scorn to heap upon these “free market” advocates, as they have been lying to us for decades. Our economic system has NOT grown fairer or more inclusive over the past 40 years – exactly the OPPOSITE has occurred for all but a tiny handful. Former Reagan-era economic advisor Art Laffer gave us his preposterous Laffer Curve, which assumes that as the rate of income taxation gets closer to 100%, the rate of production will fall as there would be no incentive to produce anything. This completely ignores the fact that a top income tax rate of more than 90% was instituted by FDR in the Great Depression and remained in effect for a great many  years thereafter. While it’s true that World War II and its aftermath greatly added to the size and scope of our economy, the fact that our highest tax rate was very high never impeded production – thoroughly disproving Laffer’s assertion. As a matter of fact, during the 1950s, with Republican Dwight Eisenhower as President, the top tax rate was 91%!

Not to completely dismiss Laffer, though: even a child would recognize that, by greatly overtaxing an individual for a very long time, that person’s incentive will be reduced. It is actually a sort of mindset or perception thing. Post World War II America’s goal was to avoid the horrible, near-universal poverty of the Great Depression and to maintain high wages for American workers. This was accomplished through a strong network of labor unions and a progressive tax system, wherein the earners of the highest incomes were taxed more heavily, as they could more easily afford it. This goal was met and these high wages and progressive taxation produced the largest and strongest Middle Class in the history of the world. But business owners eventually grew tired of paying what they viewed as excessively high wages,  They began looking for cheaper sources of labor, and began to export American jobs to much cheaper, foreign slave-wage labor markets.

There soon dawned our current era of stagnant wages and corporate capitalism, which dominates globally today. During the 1980s, we saw this phenomenon of destroying or nullifying labor unions come into being.  Along with Laffer came the rise of economist Milton Friedman, his Chicago School of Economics, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. The goal of the economy now became to maximize the profits of corporations, to be achieved by decimating labor unions and by slashing as many government regulations as possible. These regulations had been necessary to protect the public from the excesses of concentrated capital, and monied types and corporations set about to rid themselves of as many of them as they could. Snide, sneaky billionaires like Sheldon Anderson, the Mercer family, and the Koch brothers began to corrupt our political system by contributing millions of dollars to the campaigns of like-minded conservative and/or reactionary political candidates. Previously accepted candidates whose mores and morality expressed the values of traditional New Deal or Great Society Democrats became labelled with supposedly negative monickers like “socialist” or “far-left”, by slick new far-right sleazebags like Frank Luntz, Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch – even though they had once been the politically, economically, and socially-accepted norm. Regrettably, this outpouring of millions to buy political influence has so far been successful and has resulted in the election of a Republican Congress led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (RUIN) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as the crazed, billionaire-friendly President Donald Chump. If that sorry collection of greedy plutocrats disguised as public servants doesn’t provide a strong case to GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS – it appears that nothing will! We have been brainwashed into believing a number of fallacies: that the capitalist system is the best there is (it ISN’T); that business is more efficient than government (SELDOM, as in many cases, EACH have their drawbacks); and that billionaires are somehow smarter and more deserving of wealth than are workers (One glimpse at the bumbling oaf Donald Chump puts that idea to rest permanently). Paul RUIN is a follower of the hypocritical author Ayn Rand, who maintained that the rich unquestioningly deserve everything they have and that government programs are undesirable – until she herself became destitute in her old age and gladly accepted Social Security and Medicare! It is a tragedy that, even today, she still has followers like RUIN who believe in her crazy notions!

The fact of the matter is this: corporate capitalism is a bankrupt system that depends on lying, cheating, and exploitation to survive. It is inherently greed-obsessed, and therefore has little to offer the non-wealthy 99% MAJORITY.  It perpetuates cycles of boom and bust, and MUST be replaced with a far more just, fairer, and much more inclusive system!

Art Laffer, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and the Chicago School of Economics are all FULL OF S-IT!!!
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NOW is the time to come to the aid of completely non-commercial, independent media by giving a pledge of support to FREE SPEECH TV!  This fabulous network is beholden to NO ONE but their viewers. Please visit their website at http://www.freespeech.org/ and see what you’ve been missing. If you would, consider becoming a member, as I have, by calling in a pledge TOLL FREE to 1-877-378-8669 – ANY tax deductible amount you wish to give wull be greatly appreciated! Support a strong, Trump-free media TODAY! Thank you! 🙂
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BE WITH US LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW. My co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and I discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and other persons of interest. Past guests have included ELEANOR GOLDFIELD of FREE SPPECH TV’s ACT OUT!; activist CHERRI FOYTLIN of Bridge the Gulf Project; comedian LEE CAMP of RT America’s Redacted Tonight, “The Progressive Professor” noted author Dr. RONALD FEINMAN, and many more! Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters

Posted in "free market" economics, corporate greed, corporatist, Donald Trump, Fox "News", FREE SPEECH TV, labor unions, THE MAJORITY 99%, wealth disparity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Presidential Denial that Denies Itself

July 3, 2017  By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P. (in association with the gifted writer BURR DEMING, creator of and chief author over at the brilliant blog site FAIR AND UNBALANCED.COM – see my Blogroll in the bottom right hand column of this page).

COUNTDOWN: We report, impatiently, that a full 1,298 days remain in this worst-ever administration’s term in office…  

Happy Independence Day eve, everyone! In today’s endearing and self-revealing podcast, our Master Podcaster BURR DEMING relates an incident which happened in his own career, as only he can do, with the constant denials of Russian collusion we hear incessantly from President Donald Chump and his close associates. The very end is humorous, so please have your volume up, click on the PODCAST link below, and enjoy! Happy 4th, too! 🙂  

Burr says, “While falsely accusing us, the planner accidentally proved the truth.

Maybe she should run for President.”

PODCAST

Transcript:
http://fairandunbalanced.com/?p=6458
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2017 HEAD AND HEART AWARD!

June 29, 2017   By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.

COUNTDOWN: As of today, a pitiful 1,302 days yet remain in this terrible administration’s term in office…

Those who have followed this blog for years know I have made it a point to focus on many of the problems our country faces as well as on those whom I believe have helped cause those problems, either through their actions or inaction. I have done so to draw attention to the numerous flaws we have here in America, in hopes that improvements will be made someday. I will continue doing so on a regular basis. As you know, annually near year’s end, I post a special December feature, which I call “Santa’s Bozo of the Year.” It highlights some of the fools and clowns in public life whose antics were so outlandish and / or devastating that they were deserving of ridicule. In a similar fashion each June, I take an opposite approach and do a positive feature, which portrays an individual of today or yesterday whose contributions to our country and / or humanity have been so spectacular, courageous, and/or noteworthy that they should be lauded near and far as good examples of what we as humans can achieve, if we only put our minds and hearts to it. After all, not everything going on in the world is doom and gloom! So here is the ninth installment of this annual mid-year feature I call the “Head and Heart Award.” Past recipients have been MOTHER TERESA, fellow bloggers GWEN BARRY and BURR DEMING, plus filmakers GERARD UNGERMAN and STACEY WEAR, ROBERT REICH, NICK HANAUER, VAN JONES, and KEITH OLBERMANN. Individuals featured here have used their head and heart to produce great things for humankind, and have shown themselves to be beacons of light in an often vast sea of darkness. These persons should serve as an inspiration to us ALL to actually DO something – to take a principled stand – using OUR heads and hearts on behalf of our fellow brothers and sisters, rather than simply sitting back complacently enjoying the relatively good life we have experienced here in the United States.

This year’s award goes to a very passionate and driven young woman named HEATHER SCHRECK.  She is shown at right alongside FREE SPEECH TV show host and comedienne Stephanie Milller. As the former Pledge Drive and Special Events Manager for FREE SPEECH TV, I first became acquainted with Ms. Schreck a number of years ago. I had just completed my first of many subsequent donations to that independent TV network a day or so earlier, when I received a very pleasant thank-you phone call from her. She was perky, friendly, and authentic, and her sincerity and good nature made an immediate positive impression on me. I loved her genuineness and warmth, plus her obvious intelligence. She told me then, and in later brief conversations we had, that she was committed to working in non-profits like FSTV because the behavior of profit-driven, greed-obsessed corporations turned her off; she was far happier dealing in endeavors that actually helped people and would make a positive impact on their lives.  Her four-plus year tenure at FREE SPEECH TV helped cement that ambition and ensured her commitment to positive activism.

During the late 1990s, Ms. Schreck had been working in Hollywood, as a Post Production Assistant for two years on the very popular TV series The Sopranos. Heather relates, “I had always wanted to work in Hollywood as a little girl, believing that that was a way to make a difference in this world. While I was working on The Sopranos in 1999, I was having a conversation with my co-worker Lynne on the issue of women’s rights. That conversation would forever change my life, as it led me to the country of Afghanistan. At the time the Taliban had been in power for a few years. Reading about it led me on a mission to learn more and try to understand [how] this was even possible. A few years later after talking to everyone I knew,  and further educating myself I would discover the Revolutionary Association for the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). They are the oldest feminist women’s organization in Afghanistan fighting for a secular democracy. RAWA was exactly the group I was looking for as far as supporting Afghanistan. They inspired me more than anything I had encountered at the time. The US-based non profit, Afghan Women’s Mission was the US contact for them, which led me to meeting and working with Sonali Kolhatkar.” 

There in Hollywood, then, she first met progressive Pacifica Radio show host Sonali Kolhatkar, who, like Heather, eventually migrated to television at FREE SPEECH TV, and became a regular TV show host there. Sonali had been a long time activist in support of Afghan women’s rights. She turned Heather on to the great injustices women were experiencing there and so Heather also became involved. From 2002 – 2007, Heather worked with Sonali as the Community Relations Manager at Afghan Women’s Mission in Los Angeles. She also took part in and completed 3 Revlon Run Walks there to raise money to fight breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer, walked 60 miles for Breast Cancer, took to the streets against the war in Iraq and supported efforts at South Central Farms which was an urban farm and community garden located in an industrial area of south central Los Angeles which was considered one of the largest urban farms in the United States. Despite powerful protest and civil disobedience, with incredible community support, workers bulldozed the farm on July 5, 2006.

Late in 2007, a writer’s strike hit Hollywood, so Heather returned to her family and where she attended high school in Colorado. After a rough start to her new path several years later, she began canvassing for Denver’s rape crisis center, the Rape Awareness and Assistance Program (RAAP) now called The Blue Bench. She spent an incredible 5 days a week, working 4-5 hours each night raising money door to door for rape and sexual assault survivors – a very personal issue for her. While canvassing for RAAP, she volunteered as the event coordinator for a V-Day production in 2011 benefiting the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

In 2012, Heather’s life would forever change as she applied for and received the position of Fundraising Events Manager for the Open Media Foundation. Here she met a passionate activist by the name of Jason McKain, and an immediate bond developed between them. As Heather recalls, “He was kind, funny, fierce in activism and incredibly passionate about making a difference. At the time he was also working at Free Speech TV and shortly after we had completed the event we were working on at OMF, he moved to Free Speech TV full time promising to bring me on board when he could. Several months later he did…” Heather started there part time and eventually moved into the Pledge Drive position. She recalls, “Through a belief in cultivation and rebuilding relationships with FSTV donors, FSTV’s revenue would begin to climb and become more sustainable. The average amount of donors that would come in through pledge drives began to grow and the organization today is stronger than it ever has been due to especially his efforts.” Heather adds, “He believed in YOU and in every adventure you wanted to take for yourself. SO RARE in today’s world where you believe in the individual and their dreams and how to make them happen. I miss him and he will forever be my brother.”

Regrettably, the activist community in Denver as well as the staff at Free Speech TV received a horrific shock when it was revealed that Jason McKain had suddenly and very unexpectedly drowned while fly-fishing in a Rocky Mountain stream in June of 2015, sadly leaving behind a grieving wife and a young son and a young daughter. Heather, like all who knew the man, was completely devastated at the loss. The two had accomplished a great deal working in tandem, and Jason had served as an encouraging and inspiring mentor for her. She is grateful for all he did for her and for so many others, and she will never forget him…

McKain’s tragic loss has not slowed Heather down one bit, and she is steadfastly carrying on his example of activism and service to others.  For example, she has walked 60 miles for Breast Cancer and has just completed doing the Giving Project through the Chinook Fund. 

Hrather states, “The Giving Project is an innovative new model for funding social change, building community, and leadership development. It brings together a multiracial, cross-class group of people who are passionate about social change and interested in building their skills in fundraising, grant making, and community building. Participants work together to raise and grant money to organizations that build power for social change in Colorado. Now with the Trump Administration, I was looking at something tangible I could do and to get back to connecting within being with the community and the building of it…21 of us made a 6 month commitment going through racial injustice training, economic injustice training, the history of social justice and philanthropy, grant making and fundraising training, and fundraised on our own. We collectively raised $79,700 and granted 19 organizations on issues such as police brutality, economic injustice, food justice, breaking the school to prison pipeline, immigrant justice, disability justice and many more. I recently joined their Program Committee to stay active as I was truly moved and inspired by all that the Chinook Fund does for social justice grassroots change! THEY prove that local grassroots activism is where TRUE change lies!! It WAS and had been the best decision I ever made and once again, a simple conversation with a friend, Debra Brown, led me to this. You never know where a simple conversation can lead you!”   She recently joined their Program Committee to stay active , as  she was truly moved and inspired by all that the Chinook Fund does for social justice and grassroots change.

Last, but definitely not least, Heather has been a vegetarian for the past 19 years and has just turned vegan to support her passion and commitment to animals and against the factory farm industry.

This truly remarkable lady has spent nearly her entire adult life selflessly helping others around her – even including animals! As such, she is more than deserving of this year’s Head and Heart Award! I sincerely hope I will have the opportunity to someday meet this lovely lady face to face, as her spirit is uplifting and personally inspiring to this blogger! Hats off to Heather Schreck!
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NOW is the time to come to the aid of completely non-commercial, independent media by giving a pledge of support to FREE SPEECH TV!  Go to their website at http://www.freespeech.org/ and see what you’ve been missing. Please consider becoming a member, as I have, by calling in a pledge TOLL FREE to 1-877-378-8669 – ANY amount wull be greatly appreciated in their current Summer Pledge Drive. Support a strong, Trump-free media TODAY! Thank you! 🙂
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BE WITH US LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW. My co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and I discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and other persons of interest. Past guests have included ELEANOR GOLDFIELD of FREE SPPECH TV’s ACT OUT!; activist CHERRI FOYTLIN of Bridge the Gulf Project; comedian LEE CAMP of RT America’s Redacted Tonight, “The Progressive Professor” noted author Dr. RONALD FEINMAN, and many more! Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters

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