2016 US Presidential Elections: Candidates on Overturning Citizens United


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Since the 2008 victory of Citizens United, a political action group, corporations share the same right to free speech as we the people. With their right to pay for electioneering communications in federal elections, Big Money now wields immense power on who gets elected and what laws and regulations are approved or not.

Here’s how our candidates stand on overturning Citizens United to reclaim our democracy.

Hillary Clinton – Democratic Party

There’s no question that we need to make Washington work much better than it does today. And that means, in particular, getting unaccountable money out of politics… That’s why I’m so passionate about the issue and I will fight hard to end the stranglehold that the wealthy and special interests have on so much of our government.
~ Hillary Clinton on Campaign Finance Reform, June 2016

Learn more and watch a video clip on “Hillary’s Fight Against Citizens United” at http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/campaign-finance-reform/


Jill Stein – Green Party

Abolish corporate personhood… Enact electoral reforms that break the big money stranglehold and create truly representative democracy: public campaign financing, ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, and open debates.
~ Empower the People: http://www.jill2016.com/plan

[We don’t] accept corporate moneyMost of our money comes from small donors, just everyday people. (June 2015)

We now have influence-peddling on steroids with Citizens United and the Super PACs… We have a political system which is completely disconnected with the public, and connected instead with those with deep pockets who can fund these campaigns with such extreme amounts. (December 2011)

Learn more at http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Jill_Stein_Government_Reform.htm


Donald Trump – Republican Party

The Establishment:
I want to win for the people of this great country. The only people I will owe are the voters. The media, special interests, and lobbyists are all trying to stop me. We won’t let that happen!

Self Funding:
I am self funding my campaign so I don’t owe anything to lobbyists and special interests.

Learn more at http://www.donaldjtrump.com/issues/

Super PACs are a disaster. They’re a scam. They cause dishonesty. And you better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people. (October 2015)

Learn more at


Gary Johnson – Libertarian Party

Johnson doesn’t mention Citizens United on his party’s official website. In 2010, he favored unlimited contributions to electoral campaigns by both individuals and corporations. However, he is a strong advocate of term limits for governors and members of Congress.

Under a republican form of government, representatives should be accountable to all people, not institutional forces like lobbyists, special interests, and partisan gamesmanship. Yet today, politicians are often unable to do their job because they are incentivized to do what it takes to get re-elected, not to do what is right for the American people. This doesn’t make them bad people. But it does make for bad representation.

Learn more at http://www.johnsonweld.com/term_limits


Safe with ‘Oligarchs and Imperialists’ in US, Brazil’s New President Admits Coup Plot

I decided not to wait until next Wednesday to share this latest revelation. Rosaliene

Proponents of her ouster argued that former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was targeted and ultimately booted from office for budgetary wrongdoing or, ironically, corruption. However, the unelected new President Temer admits that ousted President Dilma Rousseff wouldn’t enact austerity roadmap, so “a process was established which culminated with me being installed as president of the republic.”

Source: Safe with ‘Oligarchs and Imperialists’ in US, Brazil’s New President Admits Coup Plot

Climate Disruption: Latest News on ExxonMobil


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The campaign to hold Exxon accountable for their climate cover-up just took a big step forward.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on September 20, 2016, that they’re opening an investigation into whether Exxon has failed to account for the risk climate change and climate regulations could pose to their business model.

Learn more at 350.org.

Corruption and Big Business Triumph in Brazil


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New Brazil President Michel Temer – August 31, 2016
Photo Credit: Pensa Brasil


On August 31, 2016, following her four-month battle against members of congress calling for her impeachment, Brazil’s first female president Dilma Rousseff lost by 61 to 20 Senate votes. The corrupt political class and their Big Business collaborators won the day. Michel Temer – Rousseff’s former Vice President and ally from the right-wing Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) – now governs Brazil until her mandate ends in 2018.

After thirteen years of economic boom then bust, the government of Brazil’s center-left socialist democratic Workers Party (PT) became the victim of a parliamentary coup d’état. The former president and popular PT leader Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva now faces charges of masterminding the Petrobras graft scandal intended to make him ineligible to run for the presidency at the next election.

Brazil’s Workers Party is by no means exempt from corrupt practices. Brazil runs on corruption. It’s a plague that infects not only the government but also all of Brazilian society. If you do business with Brazil, you may or may not be aware of the corruptive hoops that your Brazilian partners or representatives jump through daily to stay in business and meet your requirements.

Since its foundation in 1980 as a large left-wing socialist movement, arising from opposition to the military dictatorship following the 1964 coup d’état, the Workers Party moved towards a form of democratic socialism that served the capitalist economic class while implementing social programs to lift the working poor out of poverty.

When my family and I migrated to Brazil in 1987, I experienced first-hand the struggles of Brazil’s majority low-wage workers. At the time, while I still struggled to learn Portuguese, I became a strong supporter of the PT presidential candidate, Lula da Silva in the 1989 General Elections. Lula’s rise from poverty and his tireless fight for workers’ rights inspired and gave hope to the people…me inclusive.

After three failed attempts for the presidency (1989, 1994 & 1998), Lula won the 2002 General Elections in the second round with 61.3 percent (52.7 million votes), becoming at the time the second most voted-for-president in the world, after Ronald Reagan (1984).

I recall well that election and our elation after years of struggle. Brazilians, especially those of the educated middle class, deemed a person without a college degree unworthy to hold the nation’s top post. A common criticism for not voting for Lula: How would a person of his humble origins be able to negotiate with foreign leaders? In addition to shedding his Che Guevara appearance, Lula had to appease investors, fearing the “Lula Risk,” that he would stay the economic course set out by his predecessor, if elected.

The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff has knocked me sideways. The pain from the fall runs deep. Under the new right-wing government’s neoliberal economic strategies for recovery, all the gains for Brazil’s low-paid workers and their families are now at risk. But that’s another story.


2016 US Presidential Elections: Candidates on Militarism & War


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Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, catapulting our nation into what has become an endless War on Terror. With our strategy of fighting terror with terror, we have ignited the Middle East into sectarian wars that have fractured the nations of Iraq and Libya, fueled the emergence and spread of ISIS, threatened the destabilization of Syria, and forced over 65 million people from their homelands.

While the military-industrial-financial complex salivates with endless wars, we-the-people must bear the burden of such wars. Where do our presidential candidates stand on this issue, if unchecked, that could transform us into a nation of empty bombshells and drive our world into a nuclear holocaust?

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“Calling All Grand Mothers” – Poem by Alice Walker


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Hard-Times-Require-Furious-Dancing-Alice-Walker-Front Cover

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing by Alice Walker
Photo Credit: New World Library


My Poetry Corner September 2016 features the poem “Calling All Grand Mothers” from the poetry collection, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, by Alice Walker, an African American poet, writer, and activist.

Renowned for her Pulitzer Prize winning 1982 novel, The Color Purple, Alice Walker started her literary writing career as a poet at the age of seven or eight in the racially segregated southeastern state of Georgia. Her first poetry collection (1968) drew from her experiences in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

The title of Walker’s poetry collection caught my attention. She notes in the Preface: “I share losses, health concerns, and other challenges common to the human condition, especially in these times of war, poverty, environmental devastation, and greed that are quite beyond the most creative imagination… I have learned to dance… for maintaining balance.”

We have hardened towards violence at home and endless wars overseas. We have hardened towards the plight of refugees fleeing our bombs. We have hardened towards the destruction of our ecosystems and extinction of thousands of other species.

Walker reminds us that we are One Earth / One People / One Love.

In “Watching You Hold Your Hatred,” Walker observes:

There is no / graceful / way / to / carry / hatred.
While / hidden / it is / everywhere.

Walker dedicates “Loving Humans” to Aung San Suu Kyi, the then Burmese opposition activist under house arrest:

Loving humans / makes us / want / to invite / ourselves to tea / with rancid / dictators

~ Dictators who may be scheming how to poison, stone, or waterboard us to death.

Although I’m not a grandmother and have never known my grandmothers, the poem that most resonated with me was “Calling All Grand Mothers.” Fortunate to share time and space with the young kids in the apartment complex where I live, I consider myself as possessing the Grand Mother / spirit / of respect for / life / & / protection of / the young…

The poet rallies all grandmothers across our planet to rise and lead:

We have to live / differently / or we / will die / in the same / old ways…

To lead humanity / to health, happiness / & sanity…

The life of / our species / depends / on it.

In an interview with The Atlantic in March 2012, Walker talked about the need for elder women to be in more leadership positions. She noted that the voice of the grandmother has been silenced deliberately. “Clearly older women and especially older women who have led an active life or elder women who successfully maneuver through their own family life have so much to teach us about sharing, patience, and wisdom… Until women can lift their voices, take their rightful place, I don’t think we’re going to shift very much.”

To read the complete featured poem and learn more about Alice Walker and her work, go to my Poetry Corner September 2016.


2016 US Presidential Elections: Candidates on Global Trade


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Photo Credit: Maps of World

Here’s how our top four presidential candidates propose to address global trade.

Donald Trump – Republican Party

Trade reform—

  • Appoint trade negotiators whose goal will be to win for America: narrowing our trade deficit, increasing domestic production, and getting a fair deal for our workers.
  • Renegotiate NAFTA.
  • Withdraw from the TPP.
  • Bring trade relief cases to the world trade organization.
  • Label China a currency manipulator.
  • Apply tariffs and duties to countries that cheat.
  • Direct the Commerce Department to use all legal tools to respond to trade violations.

Learn more at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/economic-vision

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Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil



A little too late?

Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

Source: Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil