Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Mea Culpa… Of Sorts-Down With The Trump Government!- Build The Resistance

A Mea Culpa… Of Sorts-Down With The Trump Government!- Build The Resistance      

A while back, last year, during the American presidential election campaign of 2016 at a point where the two major contenders, now President Donald Trump and now failed contender Hillary Clinton had been nominated by their respective organizations, I was under constant and hard-core pressure from personal friends and political associates to let up on my opposition of support to the candidate of either of the major parties. I had planned, and had made my stance clear early on to one and all, that I planned to cast a protest vote for Green Party candidate once socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign went down in disgraceful flames (disgraceful because of the horrible way he was treated by the Democratic Party establishment which went out of its way, way out of its way, to favor weak-kneed leading candidate Clinton). On November 8th I did just that here in Massachusetts whose Electoral College votes were overwhelming won by Mrs. Clinton. 

The gist of my opposition to the two major party candidates was that I could discern no qualitative difference between war-hawk Clinton and war-hawk Trump, the issues around war and peace being the central reason that I have steadfastly opposed both major parties since my military service during the Vietnam War. A war whose long duration like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were started by one party’s president (Johnson in the case of Vietnam and avidly pursued by another before the fall of Saigon, Nixon/Ford). While I was not, and have not been, agnostic on my differences on other social and personal liberty issues that war and peace issue has always anchored my politic perspectives since the old days. And those personal friends and political associates have known that as well. Yet as the general election campaign progressed, if that is the right word for the down and dirty slug-fest between both candidates which nobody could rightly accept as reasonable political discourse, they continued their drumbeat. Something in that hard sell twisted me to become more adamant in my opposition-in my seeing that there was as the late great American novelist Gore Vidal no stranger to mainstream politics only “one ruling party in America with two branches-Democratic and Republican.”

I wrote a number of blogs and other commentaries as a result all along this line which not only included my opposition to the two parties but my fervent desire to get on with the real business of people with my brand of politics-organize against the endless wars and home and abroad. Here is a sample of my thinking at the time:

“Now several years ago, maybe late 2007, early 2008 when one Barack Obama made his presence felt on the American national political stage and sought to slay the dragon, to slay what we would come to find out was the dragon lady but who just then was in the first blush of her endless drive to win the Oval Office I noted that the Hillary-Obama race for the Democratic Party nomination looked like a breath of fresh air and although I would not have voted for either for love nor money I decided to try to chronicle the beginning storms of the campaign that year. (In the interest of full disclosure I voted for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party that year a natural choice as a black and woman with a political past which she need not be ashamed of and who had at least a passing acquaintance with the truth-a big plus that year after all the bullshit was cleared away)   

“Early on though somewhere around the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary (which Hillary had won late by a hair and kept her campaign alive) in 2008 I gave up the enterprise as so much blather and as so much hot air and realized that the “promise” of 2007 had turned to ashes as neither candidate could give the approximate location of the truth in a time when all hell was breaking loose in the economy and working people, the working poor were being beaten down mercilessly by what would be called the Great Recession of 2008. And as we witness in 2016 working people, hard-working working people of all ethnic, racial and gender identifications have been taking it on the chin lo these many years. Taken it on the chin so they have in some cases fervently listened as one Dump the Trump (sorry I could not resist that slam, not the worst thing that will ever happen to that ill-bred bastard) lulls them to sleep with his balderdash, with his contempt for those who have so fervently supported him despite any good sense. We will find no truth coming from anywhere in that precinct. Worse this year milady Hillary has lost all her slight girlish charms from 2008 and is frothing at the mouth in anticipation of next week’s coronation as war-monger-in-chief.      

“Here is the hard truth, the truth neither billionaire Donald nor Wall Street Hillary have a clue about. For working people, for the hard-working people of this country who have been put up against the wall and blindfolded for a while now there is no salvation this side of capitalism, this side of that  defunct system that has had its day and had long ago lost any progressive content that it had in its golden age. “Speak the truth no matter how bitter” and that is the bitter truth as we will, once again learn over the next dreary four years. Yeah, Leon Trotsky, one of his books the place where I first read the truth of that “bitter” phrase, would have said it himself if he was not beyond the pale. You heard it here-think about it okay.”    

I was almost as surprised as everybody else come the morning of November 9th to find one Donald “Dump The Trump” (no apology for that now) had been an upset winner of the 2016 American election. Although maybe not as surprised as most as I kept hearing a small drumbeat from working class guys and gals too whom I would meet in my work, or somebody would tell me about that there something underground in the political world, something down at the base was happening for Trump. Hell I even heard stuff when I played golf with guys on public golf courses (not Donald’s private ones) in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire that Trump was their guy for jobs, for keeping black and Latinos down, keeping the fucking immigrants out and making America an armed fortress. 

Then as the transition began its awful cycle on the turnover Trump daily almost shocked me, and everybody else like me, with his choices for who would aid him in his government. This is where the “mea culpa” of the title of this piece comes in. I now am ready to concede that there is some qualitative difference between a Trump government and what Hillary’s would have looked like- if only because she would leave us alone. I still stand by my vote of “no confidence” and am still glad, very glad, that I cast my protest vote for Jill Stein but we are in a mess for the next four years no question. Practically speaking though I was down in Washington on January 20th to express my opposition, no, my resistance to the Trump government on day one.

Down with the Trump government!-Build The Resistance   

National Bird-Drone film showing Arlington, Ma Oct. 10.

To  act-ma  
National Bird
A new documentary film about the secret United States
Drone Assassination Program
Why is our government killing thousands of people around the globe they can’t even identify?
Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 7-9 pm
Robbins Library Community Room
700 Mass. Ave., Arlington ( on the 77 and 79 bus lines)

Why did u kill my family, Yemen 9-2017.jpg

People interviewed in this film include drone operators turned whistleblowers suffering PTSD, and people on the ground in Afghanistan whose families and lives have been shattered by ongoing drone attacks
After the film there will be a short discussion with suggestions of things we can do to stop this immoral and indefensible form of warfare.

Sponsored by Eastern Massachusetts Anti-Drones Network, a task force of United for Justice with Peace, Arlington UJP, co-sponsored by Mass Peace Action, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Veterans For Peace-Smedley Butler Brigade.
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VA Wait Times As Good or Better Than Private Sector: Report-Stop VA Privitazation

VA Wait Times As Good or Better Than Private Sector: Report-Stop VA Privitazation 

A doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to the heart of a Vietnam Veteran (Photo:
VA health care is as good or in some cases better than that offered by the private sector on key measures including wait times, according to a study commissioned by the American Legion.
The report, issued Tuesday and titled "A System Worth Saving," concludes that the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system "continues to perform as well as, and often better than, the rest of the U.S. health-care system on key quality measures," including patient safety, satisfaction and care coordination.
"Wait times at most VA hospitals and clinics are typically the same or shorter than those faced by patients seeking treatment from non-VA doctors," the report says.
The 17-page report was co-authored by Phillip Longman, a senior editor at the Washington Monthly and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Suzanne Gordon, a health care journalist and assistant adjunct professor at the University of California at San Francisco School of Nursing.
The report comes at a time when the Trump administration, Congress and the VA are considering a long-term overhaul of the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek VA-funded care through private providers.
In July, Congress approved a $3.9 billion bill to extend the Veterans Choice Program on private care for six months. Funding for Choice had been due to run out in mid-August, according to the VA.
The Choice program, established after a 2014 scandal over extended wait times for care at VA medical facilities, allows veterans who face a more than 30-day wait for an appointment, or who must travel more than 40 miles to a VA facility, to instead seek VA-funded care through private providers.
In a memorandum last week to VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, the VA's Office of Inspector General warned that the Choice program continues to be plagued by problems with duplicate payments, overpayments, and a failure to offset payments against outside insurance coverage.
"These deficiencies must be addressed in the process of awarding additional contracts to any [contract payment processors] that may be selected for the future iteration of the Choice Program currently under consideration by Congress," the IG's Office said.
Since the Choice program's inception, the American Legion and other Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) have cautioned against attempts to use it as a smokescreen to privatize the VA.
Legion-commissioned report says, "Although there are opportunities for VA to improve its performance by entering into partnerships with other health-care providers, no evidence supports the claim that privatizing VA or substantially outsourcing its services would bring veterans better care."
The report continues, "In evaluating the quality of VA care, one should first remember to ask an all-important question: "Compared to what?"
On wait times, "The entire American health-care system faces acute shortages of doctors, especially primary care physicians and mental health professionals. This means that even fully insured patients seeking care outside VA often face long wait times to see doctors," the report states.
The report cites numerous studies, including one by industry consulting firm Merritt Hawkins showing the wait time to get a first appointment with a private-sector doctor averaged 24 days in 15 metropolitan areas.
"By contrast, the latest available data shows that one in five VA patients is seen on the same day he or she makes an appointment," the report says.
"Even though roughly 16 percent of VA primary care facilities are operating at over 100 percent of capacity, for the system as a whole, the average wait time to see a VA primary care doctor is five days, and nine days for appointments with VA specialists," it states.
"The familiar narrative about wait times at VA being worse than in the rest of the system is just demonstrably untrue," the report says.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

Related Topics

Headlines Veteran Health Care VA Claims and AppealsDepartment of Veteran Affairs Veteran Benefits Richard Sisk

Tell Me: What Does The Resistance Looks Like-This Is What The Resistance Looks Like-Join The Resistance Now!!

Tell Me: What Does The Resistance Looks Like-This Is What The Resistance Looks Like-Join The Resistance Now!!  

In Boston-Sunday Sept 24- United Nations International Day of Peace

United Nations International Day of Peace

Sunday, September 24, 2017

1-3 PM
Boston Common

near the Park Street MBTA Station

Music, Dance, Song, Poetry,
Artwork, & Peace Education

Face-painting and Activities for Children


Followed by Workshops at

Beacon Hill Friends House

6 Chestnut Street, Boston


Church on the Hill (Swedenborgian)

140 Bowdoin Street, Boston

starting at 3:30 PM

United Nations Theme for 2017 International Day of Peace:
"Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All"

This year's program includes the following:

Wompimeequin Wampatuck

Toussaint the Liberator

Raymond Street Klezmer Band

Brian Quirk

Zenaida Peterson

Rodney Petersen

National Liturgical Dance Network - Massachusetts Chapter

Robert Lewis

Miranda Henne

Cole Harrison

John Gross

Kaeza Fearn

Ghanda DiFiglia

Workshops include:

Premiere of "Peace and the Planet:

War, the Environment, and Your Taxes"

Thanks to our 2017 Sponsors

(would your organization like to join the list?)

(click on sponsor name to reach their website)


International Day of Peace Boston
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VoteVets Launches Nearly $400,000 Ad Blitz Against Privatization of the VA-Stop Back Door Privatization Effort Now!

VoteVets Launches Nearly $400,000 Ad Blitz Against Privatization of the VA-Stop Back Door Privatization Effort Now!

WASHINGON, DC – A new ad blitz launching today aims to stop efforts aimed at privatizing the Department of Veterans Affairs, in their tracks.  The ads, sponsored by VoteVets Action Fund, will be airing nationally and on the internet, with particular attention paid to areas with lawmakers who will be influential in deciding the future of veterans health care.  The total buy for the ads is $390,000, with $320,000 on television and $70,000 on the internet. The ads will run, beginning today, for one week.
While the ad is airing nationally, particular attention will be paid to people living in Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
The first ad, airing on television, features Patrick Cleveland, a Vietnam Veteran.
In the ad, Cleveland explains, “In Vietnam, I counted on my fellow soldiers to help me make it out alive. Here at home, the VA has done the same. They caught my lung cancer early. At another hospital, they would have never known that was connected to Agent Orange. But some folks in DC want to privatize my VA. The VA is better prepared to serve veterans because they know what we veterans have been through. The VA saved my life. Now it’s up to us to save the VA.”
That ad can be viewed, here:
The second ad, which will appear online, to target a younger audience, features Victor Phillipi, an Iraq War Veteran.
In the ad, Victor says, “When I was a Platoon Leader in Iraq, we had to lean on one another to get through. My PTSD really got worse around some anniversary dates of combat operations I was involved in. That’s when I first went to the VA for treatment. They helped me tremendously through a little bit of some medication and being around other veterans and talking. But some folks in Washington DC are talking about privatizing my VA… And I’m not sure I’d get health care I trust. The way I see it: the VA saved my life. Now it’s up to us to save the VA.”
That ad can be viewed, here:
Both ads end with the same call to action: “Tell Congress, don’t let Trump privatize my VA.  202-225-3121.”
The Trump administration is making good on the Trump campaign’s word to consider moving veterans health care to “some form of privatization,” as campaign advisor Sam Clovis put it, in May, 2016.
In testimony to the Senate, VA Secretary David Shulkin outlined a plan that, if implemented, would begin the creation of a VA insurance plan which would be divorced from VA care, and take funds away from care. Under that plan, the VA could begin sending veterans directly to the private, for-profit sector, and close VA centers as they become underutilized.  The result would be a fast track to privatization of the VA.
Polling shows that veterans strongly oppose privatization and voucher schemes.  One bi-partisan poll, for the Vet Voice Foundation, found that veterans opposed privatization and voucher schemes for the VA by 64-29 percent.  And 57 percent of veterans said that they would be less likely to vote for a politician that supported such schemes.  That poll can be found here:
VoteVets Director of Government Relations, and Iraq War Veteran Will Fischer explained the purpose of the ads by saying, “The Koch Brothers are using everything they’ve got to try to push through privatization of veterans health care, which would toss veterans into the for-profit, private system.  We’re here to say that veterans are going to fight it, all the way. Our ads make clear that the VA does incredible work, and deserves more support, so it can properly serve all veterans. For those public servants standing up against privatization, we want this to serve as encouragement to keep up the fight. To those who find themselves leaning towards supporting the Trump privatization scheme, we want them to know we’re going to let their constituents know what is happening, so they can hold those politicians accountable.”

Friday, September 22, 2017

A View From The Left- Hold Mike Pence accountable


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While President Trump is being denounced for his vile efforts to whitewash bigotry, Vice President Mike Pence is trying to skitter under the radar.

"President Trump's leadership inspires me every single day," Pence says.

What about the days when Trump defends and incites racist violence? Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remarked that "Trump speaks [only] for himself." When a journalist asked Pence, he dodged the question.

What about the days when Trump threatens nuclear war, or esclates the war on Afghanistan?

Or the day when Trump pardoned a Sheriff for illegal racist targeting?

What about the days when Trump removes environmental protections or hurricane preparedness?

Or the days when he tries to ban Muslims from entering the country?

What about the day when Trump set up a commission to suppress voting?

Or the days (every day of his presidency so far) when Trump accepts domestic and foreign payments("emoluments") in violation of the U.S. Constitution?

Are those days when Pence feels inspired by Trump's leadership or not?

Demand that Pence directly say whether he agrees with Trump's comments on Charlottesville and other key issues.

The silences and utterances from Vice President Pence are dangerous and despicable.

Please click here to sign the petition demanding that Pence stop evading the moral depravity of President Trump's coziness with racism and bigotry.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

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