Thanksgiving 2016

November 24, 2016, John Hanno

Thanksgiving 2016

On Thanksgiving 2008, exactly eight years ago, I had an article published in a Chicago newspaper, where I described all the things I was thankful for. Although the war in Iraq was finally winding down, ours and most of the worlds economies were imploding, thanks to the risky and criminal financial schemes of the world’s banking giants. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and markets were in free fall. America had just chosen Democrat Senator Barack Obama to be it’s next president and savior; and I truly believed he and Michelle understood why I was thankful for the 35 things listed in my article.

I was thankful the eight years of the Bush Administration were almost over and we didn’t elect John McCain because the world could not have survived another Republican term like that. I was thankful the world was welcoming President Obama with open arms and a deep sigh of relief because it showed they believed America could still lead us from despair. I was thankful Barack Obama realized we all had to work together to solve the enormous problems because being divided was what got us into the mess in the first place. I appreciated the important things; family, friends and community because we had to depend on each other. I was thankful and hopeful that 60 years from then, people would be glad they were born in 2009, because it was the beginning of another period of great hope and change, and not because they were sorry to have been born into another great depression.

Some of that hope was quickly dashed when the Republican leaders in Congress, led by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, met on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, to hatch a plan to obstruct the President on everything he tried to do, just to make him a one term president. They didn’t care about the consequences to Americans reeling from an economy driven off a cliff by, too big to fail banks and neocon ideologue’s in the Bush Administration.

Every time the President held out a hand, the Republicans slapped it away. They refused to allow him to succeed at anything. Compromise to them meant total capitulation. But what they really accomplished was to make America even more polarized, and it showed during this election. Donald Trump took advantage of and widened that divide to Grand Canyon proportions.

As the votes continue to be counted, Hillary has received more than 2 million more votes than Donald Trump. The 64.5 million folks who voted for Hillary, the media and pollsters, most Republicans and even the Trump campaign, still can’t believe she lost. Computer experts have found evidence that the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin may have been manipulated or hacked; possibly by the Russians, who favored Trump. And if these shenanigans with electronic ballots are proved valid, Hillary’s supporters might yet be vindicated. The Jill Stein campaign has collected millions of dollars from concerned Americans, who like me, can’t believe America is still not able to guarantee a free and fair national election.

The OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics reports that the cost of this 2 year long election is approaching 7 billion dollars, thanks to Citizens United and dark money. Couple that with Republican legislatures throughout the country passing bills aimed at voter suppression, gerrymandering, a reality candidate who believes lying and deception are invaluable traits, debates where discussing critical issues are put on the back burners, a media more concerned with profits than truth in journalism, campaign hacking by the Russians, and the latest peril of Russian propaganda spreading fake news stories, is it a wonder that 53% of America’s eligible voters didn’t bother to vote.

Some of the 62.5 million folks who voted for Mr. Trump believe he will govern much different than he campaigned; that all the nativist, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti immigrant and violent dialog and conduct was just chalked up as campaign talk. But half of those who voted for Trump, who Hillary named the “Deplorables,” are in sympathy with the alt right tea party and obstructionist McConnell. They want to burn down the government. They want to “Make America Great Again,” which really means they want to take America back to the dark ages, when America was primarily male controlled,  white and Christian, before workers rights and women’s rights and civil rights for our black and brown brothers and sisters. Before regulations on banks and corporations and protections for workers and the environment.

But so far, based on the people he’s chosen for his cabinet, it’s clear he will govern exactly like he campaigned. He told his supporters that he knows, and would choose, the best and the brightest people for his cabinet. Then he turns around and picks rich, alt right ideologues; Rudolf Giuliani, who most people think has gone off the deep end, Steve Bannon, alt right white supremacist sympathizer, Mike Flynn for National Security Advisor, who has endorsed the use of torture and other war crimes that violate the Geneva Convention and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, who worked hard to gut the Voting Rights act and suppress minority voting. Fellow Republicans denied Sessions a federal judgeship because of his racist track record. Trump also nominated Koch Brothers aligned Billionaire charter school and voucher advocate and $9.5 million Trump campaign contributor Betsy DeVos, as his Secretary of Education, someone who American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten describes as “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education.” Weingarten said, “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.” This coming on top of the 31 mostly red states that have already cut funding to public schools.

During the election, Mr. Trump told his supporters he would not touch Social Security or Medicare, two of the most successful government programs in our history. But the Republican House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has the privatizing of those programs at the top of their to do list.

Trump repeatedly told supporters that he would repeal Obama-care (Affordable Care Act) on his first day in office but he’s already backpedaling on that promise. He might have discovered that the popular parts of the ACA, which he also favors, the preexisting conditions part and the ability to keep children on their parents policy thru age 26, must be paid for, by mandating that everyone sign up or pay a penalty. It’s mind-boggling to me that many of the folks who signed up for Obama-care, some who never before had medical insurance, voted for Trump. Thanks to Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, more than 60% of Kentuckians, most of them poor, had signed up for subsidized Obama-care. But they not only elected a new Republican governor who favors ending the ACA, but more than 70% of them voted for Mr. Trump in this election. And with Kentucky’s 2 Republican Senators and full cadre or Republican Congress persons, I’m sure the Republican Congress, who already tried to repeal the ACA more than 60 times, will finally succeed without President Obama to veto them. I believe some of the poorest of the poor, those left behind by the new economy, jumped on the Trump train because they were desperate for any type of change.

Mr. Trump said many times during the election, that if elected, he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and make them pay for it, ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., send 11 million illegal immigrants back to Mexico, cancel the nuclear peace treaty with Iran, cancel all of President Obama’s executive orders, bring all the jobs back from China, keep others from off shoring, bring back the coal industry, drop out of the Paris agreement, exit the TPP, renegotiate NAFTA and the China PNTR agreement, end the carried interest exemption, drain the Washington swamp of lobbyists, throw crooked Hillary in jail, destroy ISIS because he knows more than the generals, cut taxes for individuals and corporations, rebuild the depleted military and a whole list of other things. And that’s just in the first 100 days. I hope those who voted for him don’t hold their breaths waiting for most things on this list. It should soon be obvious that Donald Trump was feeding his supporters a monumental line of bull dung. And how these poor souls will react, when they wake up from their Kool-aid induced stupor, is anyone’s guess.

I suspect Mr. Trump will quickly reveal himself as a traditional billionaire zealot who champions, and will again try to implement, the neocons discredited trickle down economics. He despises paying any taxes even though the rich and corporations benefit from them more than anyone, so he will again place cutting taxes above all else, even though it will surely blow up the deficit. He will fall in line with fossil fuel interests and join with his Republican Congress to gut environmental regulations, and to support drill baby drill and heavy investment in pipeline infrastructure; and of course at the same time, they will dial back investments and subsidies for alternative energies. He will fully support charter schools and school vouchers because he simply hates free public education. He will go along with the Republican Congress to attack middle class entitlement and social safety net programs, while at the same time passing out favors to crony capitalists, fossil fuel companies and the prison and military industrial complexes. He will hire a long list of other billionaires, who like himself, have little regard for 99% of the rest of America.

There are some things the Democrats would be willing to work with Mr. Trump on, like an infrastructure bill, modifying trade agreements to make them fairer for America and the American worker and real tax reform that includes ending the carried interest tax dodge. But if the Republican juggernaut resumes efforts to steamroll America’s middle class, the poor and the environment, the Democrats will have to use every tool, including the Republican’s favorite filibuster, to minimize the damages.

America is starkly divided; there’s a pitched battle for America’s Democratic ethos:

Between those who believe a rising tide lifts all boats and that all of us should share in the profits and benefits of a free society and economy….. and those who believe in a plutocratic, corporatist, limited government with lax regulations, low or limited taxes to support our commons and consequently, diminished worker and middle class rights.

Between those who believe our diversity makes for a stronger America and a better future …..and those who long for a lily white, male dominated, Christian past.

Between those who embrace science, innovation and a green future based on sustainable alternative energy….. and those steeped and mired in fossil fuel’s dirty and unsustainable past.

In spite of the Republican’s unrelenting obstruction, the Obama Administration still accomplished a lot, primarily during the first 2 years, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. I think history will regard him as one of our best presidents.

With the help of the admittedly weak stimulus after the economic crash, they were able to apply a tourniquet to the bleeding economy. In spite of staunch opposition from the Republicans in Congress, they bailed out the auto industry, which has increase production each year since 2009 and reached a new record of 17.5 million last year. I wrote the president a letter in early 2009 advocating for the auto bailout and also saying I thought the three most important issues were Jobs, Jobs and living wage Jobs. But he concentrated on and expended a lot of capital and good will on the Affordable Care Act. I guessed that when he sat down with the corporate executives after the crash, he asked them about creating more jobs at home. I’m sure they told him the number one reason for exporting jobs was the escalating, enormous and unpredictable cost of health care. For auto manufacturing, that means between $2,300 and $2,700 per vehicle.

So the administration did what 5 presidents couldn’t do; they committed to finally providing healthcare for 40 million Americans, which caused more than 20,000 deaths a year simply because folks didn’t have insurance. They also slowed the double digit escalating health care costs. They not only had to tackle the number one cause of America’s long term fiscal problems but needed to level the playing field for companies that must compete with countries with much lower wages and much lower health care costs. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a start. America is finally on the path to universal health care. And on the path to healing and rebuilding the finances of the families where medical costs contributed to 65% of all personal bankruptcies.

As part of the ACA, the Obama Administration also took the banks out of the Federal Student Loan Program and expanded Pell Grants. Since 2010, students now get their loans directly from the federal government instead of from subsidized banks. This will save the Treasury almost $70 billion dollars over 10 years. And $36 billion of that will go into expanding Pell Grants for low income families. They also cracked down on predatory for profit colleges.

With the help of Michele Obama, they passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, giving $4.5 billion for higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. It doubled the amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains in foods served to school children.

They passed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

They repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

They helped make same sex marriage, the law of the land.

I believe the Obama Administration has done more for Veterans than any since Truman’s and Eisenhower’s. They increased the budget for the Veterans Administration by 16 percent in 2010 and 10 percent in 2011, passed a new G.I. Bill that provided $78 billion dollars in tuition assistance and gave tax credits to businesses who hire Vets.

And they still created more than 15 million jobs, including the biggest (800,000) growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990’s. Unfortunately many of those are not living wage jobs. They’ve created an average of almost 200,000 jobs for 29 straight months between 2010 and 2016 and the unemployment rate dropped from more than 10% to 4.9%.

Medium household income has gone up $1,140 or 2 %.

The buying power of the average workers weekly paycheck is up 4.2%

Median sales prices of existing single family homes are up 23%

The murder rate is down 5%, despite an increase in 2015.

The number of unauthorized immigrants is also down.

Our national deficit has been cut by three-quarters, from the 2009 bail-out deficit of $1.4 trillion to the $439 billion 2015 deficit.

The stock markets have soared. The S&P 500 was up 220% over 2009. Nasdaq is up more than 320% and the Dow is up almost 200%, rising from about 8,000 after the crash to a new record of more than 19,000 now.

The Federal Reserve also played a big role in digging us out of the financial crisis and deep recession, by keeping interests low, which also helped the housing sector recover.

They passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 to regulate the practices that bank engaged in that crashed the economy and caused the Great Recession. Dodd-Frank improved the regulation of eight areas that led to the financial crisis. The “Volcker Rule” banned banks from being involved in hedge funds. The Financial Stability and Oversight Council regulated hedge funds and banks that became too big to fail. Dodd-Frank also directed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to regulate the riskiest derivatives, like the credit default swaps and commodities future that were the primary causes of the collapse.

They also created the Consumer Financial protection Bureau, which has returned billions of dollars back to victimized consumers and improved regulation of credit cards and mortgages.

They also passed the Credit Card Accountability Act in 2009.

And the first bill they passed in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which gave women who are paid less that men for the same work the ability to sue their employers after they finally discover the discrimination.

They passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011, which increased the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion dollars, so they can expand food inspections, issue direct food recalls and increase safety practices of countries importing products into America.

They Passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Which mandated that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients and obtain FDA approval for any new tobacco product.

They passed the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program (Chip) to cover health care for an additional 4 million children, paid for by a tax on tobacco products.

In 2009, they got the EPA to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant and allowing them to regulate its production.

In 2009, they eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

They engineered Federal Communications approval to transfer $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.

In 2009, they passed the Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion funding for the legal settlement for black and Native American farmers who the government denied loans and natural resource royalties to in the past.

They passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act in 2009, which designated more than 2 million acres of wilderness, created historic trails and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

They invested $90 billion dollars in research for smart electric grids, energy efficiency, electric autos, renewable electric generation, clean coal and bio-fuels.

They issued an executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to reduce their environmental impact. This includes 30% reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26% increase in water efficiency and sustainability requirements for all federal contracts.

They passed in 2011, over staunch objections from fossil fuel pandering Republicans, new fuel efficiency standards that will double fuel economy for cars, and for the first time trucks by 2025. Some auto manufacturers have already surpassed those standards.

Wind and solar power have quadrupled; coal production has dropped 36% and carbon emissions have gone down 12%.

Clean energy production (300 million megawatt hours) from solar, wind and biomass has doubled since (150 million megawatt hours) in 2009.

The Administration engineered an agreement with British Petroleum to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to quickly compensate victims of the Deep-water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after pointing out that it took almost 2 decades for the victims of the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill to receive $1.3 billion.

President Obama led global efforts for the International Climate Agreement in Paris in December 2015. Countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon trading and to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

He also enacted the Clean Power Plan in 2015. It reduces carbon emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. This is accomplished by reduction goals for the nations power plants. Power plants will create 30% more renewable energy generation by 2030.

They reduced military spending in 2011 by $450 billion dollars.

They stopped the $1 billion per launch Space Shuttle program boondoggle and the even more bloated Bush era Constellation program in 2011.

In 2009 they ended the Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin engine, fighter aircraft program, which cost $358 million dollars for each plane. The plane never flew a single combat mission, even though they already had 187 planes built. Eliminating the program saved $4 billion.

They also created Recovery.gov, an independent board of inspectors general directed to look for fraud and abuse in the stimulus program. It provided transparent information on every contract funded by the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

They ended the war in Iraq and wound down the war in Afghanistan.

They captured and killed Osama bin laden.

They joined with European and Arab governments to topple Moammar Gaddafi and helped unseat Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

After rescinding Bush Administration torture policies, President Obama began rebuilding the world’s opinion toward the U.S, which was severely damaged during the previous Republican administration.

President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2010. The committee cited “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” He withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011 and reduced the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile by 10%.

The Iran sanctions they helped get passed in 2010, with other countries, led to the Iran Nuclear weapons program agreement.

They helped the South Sudan declare Independence. They appointed envoys to the Sudan, and had U.S. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice negotiate a peaceful split

And I think one of the most important issues, especially in light of the potential conflict of interest issues for the incoming Trump Administration, is that President Obama has served longer than any other president in decades without a scandal. When he came into office, he told the American public that he was demanding that everyone who worked in his administration would be held to a higher standard of ethics and he has faithfully delivered on that promise.

When the President came into office, he said he would be a president for all the American people, even those who didn’t vote for him. He said he made mistakes but got up every day determined to help improve the lives of all Americans. I think he was successful in spite of Republican refusal to compromise on anything. But looking at the list of achievements, we see that he has helped 100’s of millions of folks in countless ways.

President Obama’s administration has helped:

The banks and financial institutions who benefited from the bail-out,

The investors and pension funds harmed by the financial crash and then made whole,

The homeowners who lost equity in their homes and then recovered with TARP funds,

The entire auto industry and the millions of new workers in that industry,

The 40 million folks now eligible for Obamacare,

The 10’s of millions of who can’t be denied insurance because of preexisting conditions,

The millions of young folks who can stay on their parents policy through age 26,

The 10’s of millions of folks who won’t have to file bankruptcy because of medical costs,

The 10’s of millions who can now get preventative care at no cost,

The millions of students and their families who now pay reduced student loan interest,

The millions of students and their families who have benefited from more Pell Grants,

The 10’s of millions of children who now have healthier and more nutritious lunches,

Those less likely to be the victims of hate crimes,

The LGBTQ members of the military who can now openly serve their country,

The same sex partners who can now legally get married,

100’s of thousands of men and women of the military and vets who depend on the V.A.,

The 15,000,000 Americans who now have a job,

The 10’s of millions of taxpayers who will have to pay less interest on the deficit,

The millions who profited from the doubling and tripling of the stock markets,

The millions of homeowner families who have benefited from low home mortgage rates,

The 10’s of millions who are protected by Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Act,

The 10’s of millions of women who are now protected by the Lilly Ledbetter Act,

The 10’s of millions of young people who will not start smoking, or will decide to quit,

The 4 million additional children in the expanded CHIPS health program,

The 10’s of millions who will benefit from reduced carbon dioxide emissions,

The millions who will benefit from embryonic stem cell research,

The millions of rural folks who can now use the Internet,

The black and Native American farmers who can now get farm loans and royalties,

The millions who use the 2 million acres of new wilderness and 1,000 miles of rivers,

The millions who benefit from a smart electric grid, energy efficiency and electric autos,

The millions of taxpayers who benefit from a more efficient environmental impact,

The 10’s of millions who will benefit from doubling the fuel economy standards,

The folks in the Gulf who will receive payouts from the Deep Water victims fund,

The billions of people around the world who will benefit from the Paris accord,

The 10’s of millions of American taxpayers who benefit from reduced military spending,

The 100 million folks in Iraq and Afghanistan who can now see the end of the tunnel,

The 100’s of millions around the world who are glad Osama bin laden is in hell,

The 100 million people of Libya and Egypt who have new leadership,

The 10’s of millions of Iranians who are no longer suffering sanctions and,

The 100’s of millions who no longer have to worry about Iran’s nuclear program,

The 100’s of millions who are just a little safer after we reduced our nuclear arsenal,

The many millions in the South Sudan who now have an independent country,

Add to this list the millions of folks helped by the presidents signing of executive orders, including undocumented children and young Latinos, and we can see why President Obama’s approval rating is 57%, the highest it’s been since 2009; and why folks in the U.S. and around the world are sad to see Barack and Michele leave the White House.

What amazes me, when honestly considering this list of accomplishments, is the 43% of American’s who don’t approve of the job the President has done. The alt right, the tea party and virtually every member of the far right media refuse to give the President any credit at all. Anyone who claims this isn’t racism is fooling themselves. And Trump, with his “birther” rants, was the main culprit in this racist campaign to diminish the first black America President.

I think if the Obama Administration would have tried to prosecute some of the evildoers who crashed the economy, had concentrated more on a legitimate jobs program and not just retraining for nonexistent jobs, and had done more about unfair trade agreements and practices or explained their efforts better, they could have dulled Trumps populist message to those who have been left behind in this new economy; and Hillary would have won the electoral college. I realize the administration tried to get a jobs bill, and countless other legislation they thought would help the middle class and the American worker, thru the filibuster happy Republicans in the Senate and past a Republican House unwilling to propose or compromise on any meaningful legislation that would have allowed the President to succeed; but I think the administration could have done a much better job of explaining their goals and the Republicans obstruction, to the voters. The Republicans were adept at framing their obstruction, as handcuffing an out of control socialist spendthrift and as being beneficial to the economy, where in reality, it just exacerbated America’s widening income inequality.

There are any number of mine fields ahead for Trump and the Republicans, including the 25 million dollar Trump University settlement. Neither the plaintiffs nor the courts have signed off on that agreement. Then there’s Trumps upcoming rape trial. Many experts also believe this Trump Administration will explore uncharted new frontiers of governing conflicts of interest. He honestly believes he can run his family business from the White House. And of course, the Republicans always tend to overreach, especially now that they have the White House, the Senate and the House. So strap on your seat belt because it looks like a rough 4 year ride for progressives, the middle class, the working poor, the environment and the economy. Between the cast of characters Trump has assembled for his administration and the temperament and apparent unfitness of the President elect himself, there’s a 50/50 chance this administration may not make it past the 2018 midterm elections intact.

A November 21st article in USA Today by Matt Krantz, highlighted the economic records under Republican and Democratic Presidents. “Recessions are much more common under Republican presidents.” In the last 63 years, since President Eisenhower at the beginning of 1953 until President Obama through 2016, there have been 111 months of recession. 105 of those months of recession have been under Republican presidents, with only 6 months under President Carter. And I think that was because of the oil embargo.

“Every Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt in 1901 has endured a recession in the first term, according to an analysis from Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at stock research firm CFRA.” Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton and Obama had no months of recession. Eisenhower had 28 months, Nixon/Ford had 27 months, Regan had 16, Bush senior had 8 and George W. Bush had 26 months. The average GDP in the last 65 years since President Truman was 3.33%, according to Princeton Professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson. “With a Republican in the White House, the GDP slowed to 2.54% and with a Democrat jumped to 4.35%.

“A variety of other economic indicators, such as per capita GDP, stock market returns, real wages, and the change in the unemployment rate are also more robust under Democrats. Unemployment fell by .8% under the Democrats and rose 1.1%  with the Republicans.” “The U.S. Economy has performed better when the President of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, regardless of how one measures the performance.” “The current economic expansion has been running for 89 months (under President Obama), 4th longest since 1902.”

Some experts believe this disparate performance may just be a matter of timing or bad luck. I think it’s simply about the economic philosophy of the Republican president and his cabinet and not due to random acts. Republican’s number one goal is cutting taxes, especially for folks who don’t need it (millionaires, billionaires and corporations, who like Mr. Trump,  already enjoy a very low or N/A effective tax rate). Number two is cutting programs started during the FDR New Deal era, especially for those who simply can’t afford it (attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). And of course continuing the assault against organized labor (attacking teachers, mail-carriers, government workers, collective bargaining and promoting right to work legislation). But these zealots will never understand that these actions severely depress the economy. It’s been proven time and again that when lower and middle class folks have more discretionary income, they freely spend it and the economy flourishes. When rich folks get huge tax cuts and have more money than they know what to do with, they don’t invest it in the economy but engage in risky business practices (the 2008 financial crisis). These folks heading to the White House again are not true conservatives. They can’t wait to get their hands on Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Agency (Overreaching). The richest of the rich always benefit from chaos and financial distress. Like Mr. Trump stated during the campaign, when the economy goes to crap, it’s a great opportunity for him and other billionaires to make a killing. You wonder, by looking at their record, if they actually try to crash the economy on purpose.

But all is not lost. This is after all Thanksgiving and while I don’t have 35 things like I did in 2008, I still have a few things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for all the courageous and patriotic American’s in the streets, especially the young folks, who are protesting the election of Divider in Chief Donald Trump, as America’s leader, especially after eight years of President Obama, Michele, and Joe and Jill Biden attempting to unite us.

I’m thankful for all the Native American water protectors, our first environmentalists, standing up for the earth at Standing Rock, especially all the young people. And thankful for all the Native American tribes (more than 300) from all over the country and Canada who have gone to stand with them. I’m thankful for all the environmental activists like myself who have donated and spoken up and stood with them. I’m thankful for all the landowners and farmers like myself, from North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois who have stood in the way of the Dakota Access and other risky pipelines. I’m thankful for all the earth protectors who stood up in Canada against the Alberta Tar Sands. I’m thankful for the protectors who stood up in Minnesota and stopped the Sandpiper pipeline project. I’m thankful for all the Native Americans, activists, landowners, farmers and members of Bold Nebraska who stood up and stopped Keystone XL. And I’m thankful for all the Americans and Canadians and people around the world who have donated and wrote letters and signed letters and petitions and said prayers and commented on social media. I am thankful for all the celebrities and concerned media who refuse to ignore the plight of our Native American brothers and sisters. I’m thankful for all the environmental organizations around the country and the world who stand with Standing Rock and stand for the earth. I’m thankful for all the activist leaders who organized demonstrations supporting Standing Rock on November 15th across the country, in almost every state and around the world. I’m thankful for all the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, with their hand made signs, who were at the Standing Rock protest in downtown Chicago; and for their parents and teachers for showing them the right way to live sustainably. They will be the earth protectors taking over for their elders. And I will be thankful for all of my fellow Veterans who are going to standing Rock the first week in December to stand with Standing Rock, to show that they represent the true patriotic Americans defending their country and our earth.

I’m thankful for all of humanity who shuns greed in order to protect our blessings of clean air, fertile soil, clean precious water and wholesome food.

I’m thankful for those on the front lines, protesting exploitation of our wilderness, our public lands and our National Parks and Monuments.

I’m thankful for all the organic and sustainable farmers like myself, who feed their neighbors without spoiling the earth. And I’m thankful for the organizations like MOSES who promote and teach the next generation of protectors.

And in spite of how hard Mr. Trump, his exploitative cabinet, the fossil fuel pandering Republican controlled Congress and the evil doers in the fossil fuel industry work, to overturn progress made by the Obama Administration, to reverse climate change and global warming, they can’t stop the march to a cleaner more sustainable world. Alternative energy is cheaper than coal, oil and gas, it’s sustainable and 10’s of millions of people around the world are already enjoying it’s benefits. The world is using less coal, more wind, solar and alt energy, emitting less carbon dioxide and growing and farming more sustainably. More than 100 large corporations have pledged to become 100% renewable. Corporations, utilities, countries, states, cities and communities have promoted and invested in renewable energy. Even oil companies and insurance companies have woken up to the new sustainable world order. We are plodding forward. Trump, his fellow billionaires and the big banks who are heavily invested in fossil fuel assets will attempt to extract every ounce before America says, enough is enough. But they’re on the wrong side of preserving humanity.

Like probably 80% of Americans who did not vote for Mr. Trump, I’m worried for America’s children and grandchildren, the poor, our middle class, labor, the environment, our Democracy and half of the rest of the world. And I worry that Trump will try to undo  60 to 75% of what President Obama accomplished. President Obama set the bar high with his performance in repairing the economy after the Republicans drove it into a ditch, by repairing our reputation around the world and by his integrity and concern for all human beings. If the Trump Administration can do half as well, I will be surprised. I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong.

John Hanno

 

Thanksgiving 2008

November 27, 2008

 

Thanksgiving

I am thankful I was born the same year as Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, a period of great hope and change after World War II ended … because the last 25 years have not been favorable to the middle class.

I am thankful my grandmother was strong enough to raise 7 children alone during the great depression after her husband died…because many families would not have survived intact.

I am thankful my Grandmother had a green thumb and passed on her love of growing flowers and vegetables through my father to us…because not much beats the joy of eating fruits and vegetables fresh from my own garden.

I am thankful I grew up in a family with one sister and three brothers who were nurtured and loved… because I know there are children who are not.

I am thankful I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a neighborhood still considered rural and where every joyous day was like living on a farm…because I know children grow up not understanding the blessings of a country of such enormous bounty.

I am thankful I earned money cutting grass and doing gardening for neighbors and learned to appreciate our environment and my relationship and responsibility to the earth…because hopefully, there are enough of us who cherish this earth, to keep it from being destroyed.

I am thankful I grew up in an economically diverse neighborhood; with doctors, dentists, engineers, teachers, business owners, firemen, policeman, factory workers, construction workers and labors living in the same community…because with the stark separation of classes today, some can’t appreciate the struggles some families endure just to survive.

I am thankful my parents and neighbors would not hesitate to help someone in need and I learned a community is as strong as its weakest link…because too many people believe no one needs or deserves a hand up.

I am thankful my father, an engineer in the steel mills who worked with people of all races, taught us by example to respect people of all colors…because I realize discrimination and bigotry is passed on from generation to generation.

I am thankful I went to a great Chicago public grammar school with wonderful teachers…because I know some people believe we should not have free public education.

I am thankful I went to a great public high school with wonderful teachers, when I did…because I realize the drop out rate at Chicago public high schools, is now much too high.I am thankful I lived in Alaska long enough to appreciate what a remarkable place it is…because if the oil interests get their way, future generations will not get the same privilege.

I am thankful that I finished my 3 years in the Army before the Viet Nam war escalated and without having to shoot anyone…because there are many Viet Nam and Iraq veterans who can never forget they killed another human being and live every day with that burden.

 I am thankful the army taught me communications and electronics…because my family could not afford to send all of us to college.

I am thankful when I got out of the Army, there were many good paying jobs available for people willing to work hard but with only a high school education …because now all those jobs are gone to countries with low wages, no benefits and no protection for workers or the environment.

I am thankful for the many labor unions I was part of for more than 40 years…because unions gave the American worker a middle-class standard of living that was the envy of the entire world.

 I am thankful to be called blue collar and proudly wear that blue uniform…because for me, the uniform pays tribute to the sacrifices of the organizers and founding members of the American labor movement.

I am thankful there were vast numbers of excellent manufacturing companies in Chicago, companies like Campbell’s Soup and Johnson & Johnson, where I worked for many years… because whole communities prospered around those economic engines.

I am thankful these companies offered apprenticeship and training programs and were willing to give a hand up to veterans like myself…because I became an electrician and was able to support my family, attend community college and buy a home with help from the G.I. bill.

I am thankful that, after being the victim of a predatory mortgage lender and losing that home, and having to live in my van for months, I had loyal friends and family who helped us through some really tough times…because some families suffering through this current mortgage foreclosure crisis, may not have anyone to turn to for help.

I am thankful I was strong enough to survive foreclosure and bankruptcy…because many families do not, and end up homeless and living on the street.

I am thankful for the social security checks I receive, after contributing for more than 40 years…because without them, I might be living on the streets with some of my fellow veterans.

I am thankful for the “Together We Cope” food bank where I try to contribute food every week…because those who have lost jobs and homes and pensions and who need help may not survive without it.

I am thankful I have medical insurance through my former employer and the Veterans Administration Clinic…because almost 50 million Americans have no health insurance and our economy cannot survive and prosper under those circumstances.

I am thankful there were many volunteers and churches that helped and are still helping the victims of Katrina and the people of New Orleans and other cities…because our government failed them miserably.

I am thankful we have a government however…because without it, we would not have a civil society.

I am thankful the troop serge has helped stabilize Iraq…because the poor souls there deserve better.

I am thankful for the servicemen and women and their families who have sacrificed greatly by serving in Iraq and Afghanistan…because without their dedication, this unnecessary war would be an even greater disaster.

 I am thankful the last eight years are almost over and we did not elect John McCain…because the world could not survive another term like the last.

I am thankful the world is welcoming President Obama with open arms and a sigh of relief…because it shows they believe America can still lead us from this despair.

 I am thankful Barack Obama realizes we all have to work together to solve these enormous problems… because being divided is what got us into this mess.

I am thankful that, although I am not financially wealthy, I appreciate the important things, family, friends and community…because we must depend on each other.

 I am thankful America has chosen Barack Obama to be our next president…because I believe he and Michelle understand why and for what I am thankful.

I am hopefully thankful that 60 years from now, people will be glad they were born in 2009 because it was the beginning of another period of great hope and change… and not because they’re sorry to have been born into another great depression.

I am thankful I live in a country where everyone can express their opinions and there still are newspapers where we can offer those opinion… because one of the joys of my childhood was getting the Sunday papers after our parents were finished reading them.

John A. Hanno

Chang.org Petition Asking Pres. Obama to Return Standing Rock Land

Ask President cede to Standing Rock Sioux, A.C. land at Lake Oahe; or make it a Natl Park.

John Hanno Oak Forest, IL

 

The Dakota Access pipeline poses a catastrophic threat to Native American sacred lands and to the critical water source for more than 17 million Americans down stream of the Missouri River crossing.  We know that President Elect Trump has a serious conflict of interest by owning large investments in DAPL and other fossil fuel assets; and his energy team includes Harold Hamm, billionaire founder of Continental Resources oil company, and someone Mr. Trump might name as his Secretary of Energy. Mr. Trump and the Koch brothers said they support extractive exploitation of public lands and National Parks. President Obama must not only order the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the pipeline permits and stop the Dakota Access pipeline but we petition President Obama to cede to the Sovereign Standing Rock Sioux Nation water protectors, ownership rights to Army Corp land surrounding and including Lake Oahe and land at the pipeline crossing of the Missouri river, before he leaves office; and / or in the alternative, permanently protect this land by declaring it a National Park. After suffering centuries of persecution and exploitation, Native Americans deserve justice. This land belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Rez before it was taken back. President Elect Trump has stated he will quickly approve the Dakota Access pipeline and also reverse President Obama’s decision to deny approval of Keystone XL pipeline. We have an enormous glut of oil reserves at Cushing, Oklahoma. The clear purpose of Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines is not to make America energy independent but to reap enormous profits for greedy oil interests exporting oil to China. We must protect our environment and our oil resources. This outdated fossil fuel infrastructure is not needed and railroads serving the Bakkan North Dakota oil fields have invested heavily in improved railroad oil tank car safety and have stated that they have more than enough railroad capacity to transport the Bakkan oil. They will also be able to permanently rehire thousands of laid off North Dakota railroad workers. America must finally honor the first Americans and our first environmentalists by stopping Dakota Access. John Hanno

This petition will be delivered to:     President Obama

Exactly as said in your petition. A shitstorm is coming in Jan. unfortunately.

Gene Day, Wichita, KS     1 week ago

You have been a great champion for the environment. I trust you to do what is right in this case also. Please DO NOT LET DAPL win. Cede the land to Standing Rock Sioux or make it a National Park. This will be the crowning jewel to your environmental legacy.

Cindy Dutka, Philadelphia, PA      1 week ago

President Obama, I’m embarrassed to keep asking you to do things after all the great things you have done, but you know this would be fair. Trump still needs to learn to put the needs of our citizens ahead of his own financial interests. Help him see that!

Rita Sack, Newtown Square, PA     1 week ago

#HonorTheTreaties #HonorOurTreaties ceding the USAE land back to Standing Rock Sioux via 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie

NorthWind Stilson, Nelsonville, OH     1 week ago

It poses a threat to farmers as well as children. We all need relief from this pipeline.

morgan kanae, hanford, CA      1 week ago

This process has literally been bulldozed through the rights of people and at the eventual expense of the planet.

Allen Frechette,  Shakopee, MN      3 weeks ago

 

Veterans Day 2016

November 10, 2016

Veterans Day

Friday November 11, 2016

A big thank you to all the businesses who show their support and appreciation for us on Veterans Day. As usual, I’ll take fellowship and join my fellow Vets at Texas Roadhouse for a much appreciated steak dinner. They really treat the Vets with open arms.

This time of the year, when Veterans Day rolls around, the memories come flooding back. I had a hard time in high school because of a really bad stuttering problem. It was so embarrassing when I was called on at school and couldn’t even get my first name out that I finally dropped out when I was 16. There were 5 of us kids and my folks struggled to keep us all fed so I went up to Alaska to work after their monster earthquake. I came back and joined the Army at 17.

I caught pneumonia on my first day of basic training at Ft Knox, Kentucky. We went to bed with all the windows wide open and no blankets because it was so hot and then woke up in the morning freezing with frost on the floor. Vague memories of AIT training at Ft Dix in New Jersey, standing on the parade field and freezing your you know what off, and at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Georgia where we were given free admission to the Sunday finals of the Masters golf tournament, if we wore our uniform. Now, you can’t even buy those tickets. I try to remember all my Army buds but don’t have any photos. It’s not like today, where everyone has a cell phone camera.

When we went overseas, and yes we actually did travel over the seas; we shipped out to Europe (Bremerhaven, Germany) on a troop carrier; an extremely miserable 14 day trip on the USS Upshur. We called it the USS Upchuck because most of the troops were violently sick most of the time. When we went through the English Channel, we encountered the worst storm they had in 25 years. We were up on deck when the storm blew up. When the ship listed, we were staring at what seemed like a hundred foot wall of water. Very scary for all the landlubbers like myself. I was deployed to Giessen but because I had a critical MOS, ended up in a Pershing nuclear missile outfit in Southern Germany. We spent two and a half years mostly in the field with our missiles aimed at the Soviets and theirs aimed at us. I sometimes think I went to sleep for 50 years, just woke up and nothing has changed. We’re still butting heads with the Russians.

And I’d like to give a shout out to the Veterans Administration. When I lost my medical insurance, after surviving four manufacturing plant closings, I used the V.A. clinics for primary care. I had great preventative care from Dr. Lee and Dr. King and their dedicated support staffs through the years. I know there’s been problems with Iraq and Afghanistan Vets getting timely treatment, but the V.A. was put in a untenable situation. After decades of inadequate funding, they had to somehow cope with the enormous influx of active duty and disabled Vets. Since the U.S invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of our Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Reserve and National Guard have been deployed in those wars. One third of those had multiple deployments. Almost 40,000 were deployed more than 5 times, including more than 10,000 Guard and Reserve members. More than 400,000 troops did 3 or more tours. That’s an incredible burden and sacrifice on those troops and their families.

1.6 Million (1 million active duty and 675,000 Guard and Reserve) of those deployed, have transitioned to Veterans status. And of those, 675,000 have been awarded service connected disability claims, and another 100,000 have claims pending. And those numbers will continue to climb for decades. These two wars have produced a higher percentage of disabilities because of a combination of outstanding critical battlefield care, which produced survivors instead of fatalities, a large number of injuries from improvised bombs and traumatic brain injuries and PTSD and mental health issues. There were more than 32,000 injuries, some of those with catastrophic wounds that will take decades of intensive treatment. As these Veterans age, and their health deteriorates, their disabilities will worsen. Disability claims for WWI Vets reached their peak in 1970 and for WWII Vets in the 1980’s. Almost 1 million Iraq and Afghanistan Vets have used V.A. medical services, which include 270,000 for issues related to PTSD. And of those, 150,000 have been awarded disability. Experts say the cost for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans disability and medical care for their life will far exceed 1 trillion dollars.

Adding the 2 trillion or more to fight the two wars, 1 trillion to pay the interest on the credit card we used to fund the wars and more than 1 trillion to take care of the surviving Vets, we fully realize the enormous 4.5 to 5 trillion dollar cost to prosecute these unnecessary wars. We finally paid off the cost of the Viet Nam war during the Clinton Administration’s second term surplus. I’m guessing our children and grandchildren will still be paying for these wars 20 or 25 years from now.

I was totally against the war in Iraq and was looking into being a human shield when the Bush Administration, was not only ignoring the U.N. inspectors claims that there were most likely no WMD still in Iraq but was threatening a “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign. I can remember their mad rush to war and them saying they had to hurry and invade before the approaching hot summer temperatures. But as it turned out, we spent more than a dozen summers in that god forsaken inhospitable climate. I was against the invasion because war impacts poor people most, the folks that don’t have the resources to escape the carnage. We’re rightfully troubled over the handful of terrorist attacks in this country and in Europe but can we even comprehend trying to protect family members against more than 36,500 terrorist attacks in Iraq during the last decade. A little more than 3,000 folks died on 9-11. Can we even imagine the 200,000 or 250,000 dead in Iraq? Translating that loss to America’s population, it’s the equivalent of 2,500,000 deaths. War is Hell! And war is the ultimate failure.

My family didn’t have a lot of money, and even though I was a sergeant, I didn’t make enough money for airfare. So I was away from home for 3 years. I missed a lot when my younger siblings were growing up. But even I can only guess the sacrifices most of these military men and women and their families have endured, especially those with catastrophic injuries.

I’m sure they and their families sometimes wonder if those sacrifices were ultimately worth it, especially when the military and political stability in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the middle east in general spirals into chaos. But they should remember that, in spite of suspect and faulty reasoning for the war and incompetent leadership of those who dragged us into that unnecessary war, the men and women of our military served their country honorably. They did their duty in one of the most inhospitable environments on the face of the earth, often enduring temperatures approaching 120 degrees in full combat gear. They endured thousands of improvised bombs. But they persevered through all that, conducted the successful surge and then handed over the keys of a burgeoning democracy to politicians who then squandered that hard fought opportunity.

Maybe 5, 10 or 15 years from now these soldiers can look back and say that the middle east is a better place and that they played a major role in that success. And the world will be able to say that thanks to these soldiers, the support of their families and to the notion and idea that America was willing to, send 2.5 million troops and billions of tons of arms and material half way around the world, spend 5 trillion dollars and sacrifice thousands of young men and women’s lives and health, the folks in these countries have a better future.

I know President Obama and Michele, and Joe and Jill Biden highly regard your service and sacrifice. I don’t think any administration has done more for Veterans issues since Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. I can remember not long after President Obama took office in 2009 when he reversed the eighteen year ban, continued by President Bush, on the media covering the arrival of flag draped military coffins of fallen soldiers. I remember President Obama and Joe Biden standing in the early morning rain on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, saluting the flag draped coffins as they came off the cargo planes. They strongly believed that America needed to see the full cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have to elect politicians who understand that cost, who walk the walk and not just talk the talk. And we have to do our homework when Veterans issues come before Congress. See who actually votes for these issues instead of just spouting about them. A lot of politicians say they support the troops but then when it come time to cast their vote, they somehow just can’t justify the funding. The Republican’s now control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. If funding for Veterans and the V.A. aren’t fully supported in the next 4 years, there will only be one group to blame. And I think we should take this opportunity to post on the White House Facebook page our thanks to President Obama, Michele and Jill and Joe Biden for their unwavering support over the last eight years.

So on this Veterans day, you have a lot to be proud of. And if you’re having trouble dealing with physical or mental health issues, please reach out to the V.A. for help. And if one of your military buds is struggling, get them to some help. The V.A always has someone ready to talk to or refer you to. And if there isn’t someone available where you live you can go into a room at a V.A. Clinic and talk to a counselor over a monitor. I also know Vets who have spent many years in V.A. assisted care and that care has been great. The V.A. is also building new SRO and dormitory units. No Vet should be homeless. Please reach out to someone if you’re having trouble finding shelter, especially with winter coming. Asking for help is standing strong for yourself and for your family.

There are lists all over the Internet of restaurants and businesses who look forward to showing their appreciation for your sacrifices on Veterans day, so please take advantage, and enjoy the fellowship of other Veterans. Happy Veterans Day!

John Hanno, www.tarbabys.com

The “Winuts”

 

The “Winuts”

Lessons (not) Learned From Aesop or Uncle Remus

John Hanno    October 31, 2016

Whether employing Aesop, the Bible, Big Bird and Sesame Street or Uncle Remus, most parents attempt to plant the seeds of morality into their children, soon after the age of reasoning. I believe you can relate each and every one of these lessons to the 2016 Republican primary and general election. Its clear that many neo-con politicos and corporate types, either failed to heed those formative lessons, or were tutored from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, while they’re little brains were developing. Can we even guess what stories Donald Trump was reading or listening to from his parents when he was growing up? He obviously didn’t even read the Journal because from all accounts, he’s just not a very good businessman.

Many rich people like Trump, #324 on Forbes world’s list of billionaires (who by the way is opposed to raising the minimum wage for the working poor), and the Koch brothers, 7th and 8th richest billionaires in the U.S and tied for 9th in the world with $42 billion each, (who support ALEC legislative efforts throughout the country, opposing labor and union rights, living wages for teachers and others in the middle class, and supporting right to work campaigns), must have been reading books like, “The Art of the Deal” when they were very young. Each of the Koch brothers wealth ($42 billion each) is the equivalent of the yearly income of 840,000 average American families, or 1,680,000 families between the 2 brothers. How can they possibly begrudge middle class folks like teachers, mail carriers and union employees, a living wage or collective bargaining. How much wealth is enough for these people?  If they would have read the “Boys and the Frogs” maybe they wouldn’t try so hard to undermine the American worker. Its the story of boys throwing stones and killing frogs swimming in a pond. One of the frogs lifted his head out of the water and cried out: “Pray stop, my boys; what is sport to you, is death to us.” And the moral of the story is: “One man’s pleasure may be another’s pain.”

Charles and David Koch, pledged to spend $889 million on the 2016 election to promote an alt right agenda detrimental to working men and women, organized labor and the environment. The Donald and the Koch’s represent people who place winning above everything; who would do absolutely anything to win. I call them ‘Winuts’. They say America isn’t winning any more and our current leaders don’t know how to win, as if the only thing that matters is how much money or how many toys you’re able to accumulate. We all had friends like them when we were growing up; children who wouldn’t share. Their parents should have read them “Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby.” Brer Rabbit wanted no part of working with his neighbors to provide water or food but just took what he wanted. Or read “The Miser and His Gold,” the fable about a miser who reduced all his riches to a lump of gold, which he buried. He came back every day just to look at it, but was spied on and his treasure was stolen. As the miser was crying about his loss, he was consoled by a neighbor, who told him that he might as well just bury a stone (or had returned each day to look at a big empty hole) because it would serve the same purpose for all the good his money had done him or had done to help others.

These folks also should have read: “The Dog and it’s Reflection.” A story about a dog carrying a stolen bone in it’s mouth. The dog is looking down as it’s crossing a stream and sees its own reflection in the water. Taking it for another dog carrying something better, the dog opens its mouth to bark at the other dog and drops the bone into the stream and loses it. For years, the Koch brothers have supported efforts by PERC and others to privatize our National Park System and public lands. They believe America should exploit public lands and our national parks for oil drilling, hydraulic fracking and the mining of minerals. They’re also big supporters of Governor Scott Walker and behind efforts to make the state of Wisconsin a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, in order to exploit the states silica sand deposits used by the Koch’s for fracking of natural gas. Aesop’s Fable “The Old Women and the Doctor” involves a women who asks a surgeon to cure her worsening blindness but would not pay for his services unless she was cured. While the surgeon applied salves to her eyes, he was stealing her valuables during each visit. Once she was cured, the women refused to pay his fees because she claimed her sight was worse than ever since she couldn’t see any of her valuable belongings.

The Donald, mimicking all Republicans and many businessmen, trumpets that America’s GDP is anemic. And he screams daily that China and Mexico are stealing our jobs. But China and Mexico aren’t stealing our manufacturing plants and jobs, multinationals have and will continue to chase the cheapest labor, the least amount of safety and environmental regulations and international partners who will turn a blind eye to their exploitation of labor. These companies have off-shored about 60,000 manufacturing facilities. China and Mexico are just the latest destinations. And if TPP is passed, there will be another half dozen of these cheap labor pools to chose from. We used to have a vibrant manufacturing sector that balanced out the rough times for our economy; but thanks to unpatriotic multinationals, our economy now depends on a retail sector representing 71% of America’s economy. And since America’s middle class is struggling, so is our economy. Business titan Henry Ford realized this many decades ago. If his own workers couldn’t afford the autos he was making, his company wouldn’t prosper. So he raised his workers wages substantially. Donald constantly claims he will bring back American jobs but then buys steel and aluminum for his buildings from foreign manufacturers even though it’s readily available from American workers.

In reality, our GDP growth is anemic because America’s middle class has been under siege, since the Regan administration declared war on organized labor. Boomers like myself don’t really buy much of the cheap crap coming from low wage countries. Our homes are mostly furnished and most of our income goes for necessities like food, transportation and healthcare. Millennials, 40% of which still must live at home, can’t spend much because they’re saddled with a student debt albatross around their necks. They can’t buy a home, get married, start a family or can’t even afford rent and expenses while paying down these student loans. This should trouble the family values diehards who support Trump, but it clearly doesn’t. Many Millennials who live in urban areas don’t even drive a car. Low growth will therefore be the new normal for the foreseeable future. And there’s not much a president can do without cooperation from congress. Republicans in congress pander to corporations and the super rich, who want still more tax cuts, so there’s slim to no chance of getting any legislation passed to help the middle class, unless the Democrats take control of the Senate and make strong gains in the House. The fact is, most of us who don’t have investment funds or wealth, couldn’t care less about GDP growth. 75% of America’s workers live paycheck to paycheck. Probably 80% of American’s wages have been stagnant, adjusted for inflation, over the last 25 years. All the benefits from steady increases in productivity over the last 3 decades, has gone to the upper 10%. And unless Citizens United is overturned, nothing much will change.

As always, when it comes to the Republican controlled Congress proposing or opposing legislation to help America’s middle class, they trot out the discredited trickle down economic ideology that hasn’t worked in the last 30 years and has only contributed to worsening income inequality. The first thing that comes out of their mouths is, tax cuts for the rich and cuts to entitlement and social safety net programs. Empathy is not their strong suit. These new tea party controlled Republicans continually bash social programs for poor folks, mostly women and children. They demonize food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and even Social Security, which is the most successful government program in our history and a program that has raised 10’s of millions of seniors citizens out of poverty. And by the way, a program that is fully funded as long as tax cutting Republi-cons keep their hands off the $2.8 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund surplus. They also opposed every single jobs bill, proposed by the Obama administration after the financial collapse, to help put our middle class back to work. Mr. Trump brags about not paying federal taxes, and after he loses (on paper, thanks to favorable tax dodges) one billion dollars in a single year, experts surmise that because of that write off, he probably hasn’t paid federal taxes in the last 18 years. He says that’s being smart. He doesn’t contribute to our military, which he routinely denigrates, doesn’t contribute to the crumbling infrastructure he bashes daily and doesn’t contribute to our veterans, even though they made it possible for The Trump Brand to flourish. He and many1% er’s and some successful corporations refuse to pay their fair share of supporting our governments and society even though they have prospered the most from them. This reminds me of the fable “The Horse and the Donkey” a variant of the story of the overburdened ass who asks it’s companion the horse to help him carry his load. The horse refuses and the ass dies. The horse is then forced to carry not only the original load but also the dead donkeys skin as well. But the burden here is placed on the American taxpayer. Again the moral comes from La Fontaine’s Fables in poetic form: “Neighbours here should each other aid, For if one dies, it’s on your back, His burden surely shall be laid”.

I realize many people have a jaundiced opinion, when it comes to the ability of politicians to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but Mr. Trump is clearly in a class by himself when it comes to lying. When he repeatedly stands before the American public and lies to their faces, sometimes twice in the same sentence, how can true Republicans still support him? How can they tell their children to tell the truth and then vote for a pathological liar? How can family values type evangelicals continue to support him in spite of his lying, bigotry, deceitful and vulgar conduct and revelations concerning sexual abuse toward women? These evangelical family value ‘Winuts’ place winning the presidential election above absolutely everything, even moral integrity. And you must blame the Trump supporters even more than Trump himself. He said he could shoot someone in times square and they would still vote for him. That’s actually one of the few times he’s told the truth.

I read an article last week in Politico about fact checking the Donald. Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent from Canada’s Toronto Star, thestar.com, said there’s multiple media, CNN, Politifact, Washington Post and others, taking on the monumental task of fact checking Mr. Trump, but he wanted to compile the actual total number of falsehoods. He found that in a 33 day period, Mr. Trump made 253 false statements. He also made 67 false statements (34 and 33) in the first 2 debates. Politifact’s Truth O Meter revealed that 204 of Hillary’s statements were true, mostly true or half true; the Donald had 87. And that 75 of Hillary’s statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire; the Donald had 219. During the final debate they found that 100% of Hillary’s statements were true, mostly true or half true, and 72% of Trump’s statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire. Many people have rightfully labeled Trump a pathological liar.

It’s obvious Mr. Trump never heard the “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” or “The Honest Woodcutter,” which tells of a woodcutter who accidentally drops his axe into a river; and because it was his only means of livelihood, sat down on the river bank and wept. The God Hermes (Mercury) saw him and took pity on the woodcutter. The god dove into the river and brought up a golden axe instead. Is this your axe, asked Hermes? No it wasn’t said the woodcutter, and said the same thing when Hermes brought up a silver axe. But Hermes then brought up the real woodcutters axe and the woodcutter said that was his. Hermes was so impressed by his honesty, the god let him keep all three. Hearing of the woodcutters good fortune, his neighbor threw his axe into the river and sat down and began crying. When Hermes appeared and offered him a golden axe the greedy man said yes it was, but was then denied that and his own axe because he was not truthful. The moral is obviously, Honesty is the Best Policy.

Donald Trump has consistently tried to divide America into two basic groups; those who have always been in power and are reluctant to give that up, even if it means dragging us back to the dark ages; “To Make America Great Again.” And in the second group, “the others;” women, people of color, immigrants and others who just want their share of the American Dream. He denigrates Mexicans, Muslims, women, gays and even disabled folks. He should have studied “The Four Oxen and the Lion.” A lion visited a field where four oxen lived. He repeatedly tried to attack them but the oxen turned their tails to each other so that their horns always faced the attacking lion. But when the oxen fought with each other and went off on their own, the lion attacked them one by one and killed them all. The moral: United we stand, divided we fall.

Donald, like many rich folks and corporate executives, lives in a world where no one ever tells them they’re wrong. They’re surrounded by yes men, revered and constantly praised. Mr. Trump’s ego is bigger than Mt Rushmore; he obviously failed to learn the meaning of humility. He should have read “The Fox and the Crow,” a story about a crow that found a piece of cheese and flew up to a branch to eat it. The Fox, wanting the cheese for himself, flatters the crow, telling him he’s beautiful and asks if his voice is as pretty. When the crow lets out a caw, he drops the cheese and it’s eaten by the fox. The moral, in the form of prose from the La Fontaine’s Fables taught to French and Creole children:

Flatters thrive on fools’ credulity. The lesson’s worth a cheese, don’t you agree.

The crow shamefaced and flustered swore. Too late, however, “Nevermore!”

Everything that comes out of Donald’s mouth is beyond exaggeration. “Only I can make America great again, he says; in spite of the fact America is still great.” “I’m the greatest businessman,” even though he lost a billion dollars in one year, filed bankruptcy 6 times and refuses to produce his tax returns to prove it. “I build the greatest buildings,” even though he merely puts his name in really big letters on someone else’s buildings and then promotes it for his own benefit. “I know more than the generals” or “I alone will destroy ISIS”, even though he hasn’t put forth one single sentence of a creditable foreign police plan in the last 2 years. Donald frequently refers to best selling book, “The Art of the Deal”, as the second best book of all time behind the bible and brags about it as his own work, even though Tony Schwartz actually wrote the entire book. He says he’ll build a wall (the biggest and best wall ever seen) and make Mexico pay for it, even though anyone with half a brain knows it’s a pipe dream. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines demagoguery as the “use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” Aesop warned against these promises of politicians (“Great cry and Little Wool”) in the fable “The Mountain in Labour.” He also might have read “The Ass In the Lion’s Skin,” the fable about a donkey who puts on a lion’s skin to intimidate and terrify all the foolish animals, but as soon as the fox heard the donkeys voice he said: “I might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray.” The moral is of course: clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

Donald Trump  regularly brags about his charitable trust and all the charities he donates to but it’s been proven that he never gave what he claimed to schools, veterans, 9-11 victims and others. He took credit for the donations made to his trust by others. In contrast, the Clintons give 11% of their income to charity and their foundation has collected $2 billion for charities around the world, 90% of which goes directly to the various charities. Sen. Bernie Sanders gives about 5% of his income to charity. Mr. Trump should have read: “The Fir and the Bramble” It tells of a fir tree that boasts to a bramble. “You are useful for nothing at all; while I am everywhere used to build roofs and houses.” The bramble answered: “You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a bramble, not a fir tree.” The brambles and scrub trees are small but strong and are used in the making of saw and axe handles. The moral: “renown is accompanied by risks of which the humble are free.

And of course Mr. Trump denigrates everyone just to pump himself up. I think he hides an inferiority problem. Mr. Trump led the campaign and propagated lies about President Obama’s birthplace even before he decided to run for office. The Donald hasn’t said one single positive thing about President Obama’s eight years in office. That, in spite of this administration’s success in turning around an economy in free fall, one that was losing 800,000 jobs a month and heading into a depression. They bailed out the American auto industry, which is again making a record numbers of autos. Job creation has averaged more than 200,000 jobs a month and the total is more than 15 million since 2009. The unemployment rate has been cut in half to 4.9%. And the President has cut the deficit by two thirds; you would think he could have at least gotten an at-a-boy from businessman Trump for that.

The New York Times used two full pages of their paper to print out every person and organization insulted by Donald Trump on Twitter since his presidential campaign launched more than a year ago. The list contains 281 “people, places, and things,” including each and every one of his fellow Republican competitors. When I first saw the supremely effective Hillary Clinton campaign video, depicting children watching Donald Trump repeating all the extremely vile and derogatory things he’s said about women, people of color, immigrants and disabled folks, it reminded me of the fable, “The Eagle and the Arrow.” The parable of the soaring eagle who was mortally wounded by an archers arrow. As the eagle fell to earth bleeding to death, he looked at the arrow that pierced his body and discovered the arrow had been made with his own feathers. The moral of the story is: “We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”

It also reminds me of the “The Bee and Jupiter.” A queen bee ascended Mt. Olympus to present Jupiter with her fresh honey. As a reward, he granted her whatever she wished for. She said ” Give me, I pray thee, a sting that if any mortal shall approach to take my honey, I may kill him. Jupiter loved the human race, but had to grant his promise to the queen bee. So he told her “You shall have your request, but it will be at the peril of your own life. For if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound you make and then you will die from the loss of it.” The moral: Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.

“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” a story originating in a sermon by Jesus from the New Testament and later told as an Aesop fable, told of a wolf who disguises himself in a sheep’s skin in order to get close to the sheep he wanted to eat. The moral is that: one’s basic nature eventually betrays itself. There’s a variant story that tells us the shepherd was fooled by the wolf’s disguise and he locked up the wolf with his sheep at night, but when the shepherd wanted to eat a sheep for supper, he mistakenly killed the wolf. The moral: Doing bad things can have unintended consequences.

Mr. Trump says over and over that he alone can save the Republican party, that he’s brought millions of new followers into the party. But who are these converts? They’re the voters who Hillary correctly labeled the “Deplorables.” These Folks (The Winuts) will stand by Trump no matter what he does, who he hurts, who he disparages, how deplorable his conduct is, how much he lies, how many folks he cheats, no matter his ties to Russia and their oligarchs and even if he were to shoot someone dead in Times Square. And the media has been fully complicit; giving him as much free rope and coverage as he’s was willing to take. And then Mr. Trump has the nerve to say the election is rigged against him. An apt Aesop fable here would be “The Mischievous Dog” a story about a dog that keeps biting people on the leg. It’s owner ties a bell around his neck to warn people. The dog thinks the bell is a reward so he prances around the town showing off his bell until an older dog tells him it’s really a sign of disgrace. The moral is: notoriety is often mistaken for fame.

This new collection of voters is well; you can’t really call them Republicans because they’re nothing like the Grand Old Party. Those moderates were all drummed out long ago. And you can’t call them conservatives because they’re the least conservative folks I know. Spending $4 or 5 trillion on an unnecessary war is not being conservative. You can’t call them a party because they’re as divided as any group can be. It’s an organization cleaved together basically to oppose, beyond all reason, the first black President in our history. And if Hillary is elected, they will continue to oppose, without rhyme or reason, the first female President in our history. These ‘Winuts’ will work against the “others” no matter the consequences to the country because compromising to them means total capitulation.

The Republican leadership created the environment for this (NTP) Neo Tea Party group to flourish when they got together on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration and hatched a plan to obstruct everything the President attempted to do. They wanted him to fail and become a one term president. They couldn’t care less if America and it’s middle class failed in the process. As long as America’s first black President failed, it was a “win.” Eighteen months ago, no one would have thought Donald Trump would be the standard bearer of the GOP. No one took his candidacy seriously and when they still could have stopped him, they didn’t because he was useful in bringing excitement to a moribund party. Then when he was exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, its was too late.  Reminds one of the fable “Belling the Cat” or “The Mice in Council,” a story about a group of mice who crafted a plan to put a bell around the neck of a dangerous cat, so they were warned when the cat was near. But none of the mice would volunteer to put the bell around the cats neck. The moral: The story was used to teach the wisdom of devising a plan not only on how effective it was but also on how to execute the plan, the fundamental difference between an idea and its feasibility.

Or he should have read “The Blind Man and the Lame.”

A blind man was carrying a lame man on his back,
And everything was going well, everything’s on track,
When the blind man decides to take it into his head
That he needn’t listen to all that the lame man said.
“This stick I have will guide the two of us safe,” said he,
And though warned by the lame man, he plowed into a tree.
On they proceeded; the lame man now warned of a brook,
The two survived, but their possessions a soaking took.
At last the blind man ignored the warning of a drop,
And that was to turn out their final and fatal stop.

And in the end, the Donald should have read “The Fox and The Grapes,” about the fox in a vineyard trying to get at the grapes hanging from the vines. Hard as he tried, he couldn’t reach the grapes. He took solace in that they were probably sour anyway. The moral of that story is: people sometimes belittle things they can’t have. This fable brought about the popular expression, “sour grapes.” If he loses to Hillary, he’ll probably say that he really didn’t want to be president after all, that the job would have crimped his style. He wouldn’t have been able to speak his mind (what there is of it) or do exactly what he wants because, well “quite frankly” he would have had to sit down and compromise with the Democrats and even with those in his own party in Congress who disagree with him, and with the FBI and the CIA and the EPA and the IRS and the Pentagon and with NATO and Mexico and Canada and with our other neighbors like Cuba and with Arabs and Muslims and of course would have had to work with black folks and Latinos and with women (who now make up a majority of the work force) without grabbing them by the private parts. And “quite frankly,” he just can’t fire everyone who would disagree with him. And of course he’s said he won’t respect the results of the election “unless he wins.” If that’s not sour grapes, what is?

The simple fact is, 10’s of millions of American’s still haven’t recovered from the great recession of 2008. 100’s of thousands of innocent families, including mine, lost their homes and life savings. None of the culprits who perpetrated that calamity and crisis have gone to jail. Most of us can no longer say that our children and grandchildren will have a better life than we had. Many of the young people today are saddled with a 30 year mortgage of student debt and can’t find the living wage jobs necessary to get over that hump or shed that albatross. State after state is broke and on the road to bankruptcy because unpatriotic multinational corporations fled the country and abandoned the tax paying American worker for cheap labor and lax regulations.

America faces enormous problems. A large national debt that threatens necessary investments in social services and crumbling infrastructure, low tax revenue from low wage jobs, ballooning student debt, rich folks and prosperous corporations that aren’t paying their fair share and the angry taxpayers who resent having to pick up the slack for them and for the lowest 47% who can’t pay anything at all. We face the catastrophic threat of global warming and climate change and a congress half full of deniers. Because of gridlock and obstruction by the Republicans who wanted the President to fail, our congress has an approval rating in the single digits. That gridlock won’t allow constructive debate and compromise, on comprehensive energy reform that emphasizes alternative sustainable energy over destructive fossil fuel interests, on comprehensive tax reform that closes the loop holes that allowed Mr. Trump and others to shirk their responsibilities, on comprehensive immigration reform that takes into account fair treatment of families who took advantage of the welcome mat held out for workers who took the dirty jobs American’s really didn’t want, or cooperation from the Republicans to fix and improve the Affordable Care Act, instead of demonizing and repeated efforts (60) to repeal help for 20 million or more deserving Americans (20,000 of which die every year simply because they don’t have insurance) and on a whole host of other legislation, including real budget reform.

 Before you cast your vote on November 8th, ask yourself the tough questions, void of political bias. Who held out their hand for compromise, like the President did; instead of slapping it away, like the Republican leadership? Who’s not afraid to talk about immigrants without being derogatory? Who’s willing to face head-on the growing threat of climate change? Who will make the tough decisions on the national debt, tax reform and a budget with a line item veto? Who’s willing to compromise on these issues without holding them hostage to special interests or to political pressure from contributors? If you answer these questions truthfully, your choice on who to vote for will be apparent.

Some might be tempted to vote for a snake oil salesman barking miracle cures, but There’s an Italian proverb sometimes attributed to Aesop: “Jumping from the Frying Pan into the Fire” a story about some live fish thrown into a frying pan of hot grease. One of the fish talked the others into jumping out of the pan but of course they ended up on the hot coals. The moral: The fable warns us that when we’re trying to avoid present dangers, we should not fall into even worse peril. John Hanno,  www.tarbabys.com

Letter to President Obama About Dakota Access

John Hanno response to:   http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-10-03/standing firm at standing rock why the struggle is bigger than one pipeline

October 26, 2016

Letter to President Obama Concerning Dakota Access Pipeline

Thank you Amy for shining a light. I also wrote the White House, as did many others, including many organizations with 10’s of thousands of signers. The President has heard and is listening. That’s the reason they halted Dakota Access. It’s also the reason they decided against Keystone XL. Protests by Native Americans, farmers, landowners, activists and environmental groups have slowed tar sand extraction in Canada, stopped Keystone, stopped Sandpiper and are on the front lines fighting lines 3,5, 6B and others. If we can stall DAPL through the winter, we just may stop it. Stopping a half built pipeline will be an enormous victory for Native American sovereignty and a sustainable energy future. But we must keep up the pressure and stand up in such numbers that it will make the Presidents job of rejecting Dakota Access much easier. I also received a reply from the White House. Vote on November 8th for Earth Protectors. John Hanno

 

Dear John:

Thank you for writing.  As President, my greatest responsibility is ensuring the safety of the American people, including when it comes to our Nation’s energy infrastructure.  My Administration is setting the highest possible standards for oil and gas production and transportation, and each day we are working to make sure our pursuit of energy resources does not put our communities at risk.  That work includes steps the Army has committed to taking in light of important issues raised about the Dakota Access pipeline.

I understand the risks associated with the development and transportation of fossil fuels, which is why my Administration has overhauled Federal oversight and raised the bar on safety across the board.  As part of our efforts to improve Federal permitting and review processes, we are making safe pipeline infrastructure a priority in order to help ensure the health and security of our communities and the environment.

As new energy infrastructure is developed, the Federal Government will continue working with State, local, and tribal governments—which play a central role in the siting and permitting of pipelines—to address the concerns of local communities.  One of my priorities as President is upholding an honest and respectful relationship with Native American tribes, and we have made a lot of progress in restoring ancestral lands, waters, and sacred sites over the past 8 years.  My Administration also remains committed to consulting with tribes to ensure meaningful tribal input is factored into infrastructure-related decisions across the Federal Government.  In the weeks ahead, Departments and Agencies will meet with tribal leaders across the country in a series of formal consultations on this issue.

Again, thank you for writing.  I hear you, and I am optimistic that together, we can grow our economy and create new opportunities while securing a cleaner and safer future for all our people.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

 

 

Drilling Into Underground River of Magma in Iceland

John Hanno response to:    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/blogs/iceland-taps-into-underground-river-magma-geothermal

October 26, 2016

The first thing I think of when I hear of someone drilling deep into the earth, is how many holes can we drill before we blow the whole dam world apart. It’s not like that saying when we were kids, “if you dig down deep enough, you’ll get to China.” I picture the earth being attacked from every angle, drilled left and right, on an angle and horizontally, by oil wells, fracking wells, gas wells, deep wells drilled below the bottom of the oceans, and now by someone thinking it’s a good idea to drill into the magma core of the earth and drilling into “tectonically-active regions,” which as we know are prone to earthquakes. I mean, we know what happens when one of the world’s sleeping giants we call volcanoes decides to let off steam and magma. I’m not an expert geologist or scientist but I’m a bit skeptical. I construct buildings and understand the importance of a solid foundation. I would never drill into a foundation of anything because it’s only a matter of time before the dam building will come crashing down. We have to think long and hard before we do something that isn’t reversible. I think wind and solar are better alternatives.

Depending on who’s opinion you use; “Sunlight striking Earth’s surface in just one hour, delivers enough energy to power the world’s economy for an entire year.” or “In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.” or There’s enough wind energy potential within the corridor from Texas up through Illinois to power the entire nation, if only the electrical power grid infrastructure were in place. Europe is already all in, in developing off shore wind.

Our energy department has invested in tidal research but we haven’t scratched the surface of that energy potential. Although our U.S government and military have put more than $330 million into marine energy research over the past decade, Britain and Europe have invested more than $1 billion. We need to do better. The DOE believes 20 to 30 % of America’s energy could come from wave energy. They just announced our first wave generated energy went online this week in Hawaii. The power travels by undersea cable to a military base, where it feeds into Oahu’s power grid. America’s first off shore wind farm came online recently and will produce enough power for 17,000 homes.

The main problem we have with energy today is not the solutions, it’s the political will. The will to put the enormous amount spent, drilling the earth apart and blanketing the globe in leaking pipelines, into proven alternative sustainable energy. Too many in our Congress (Republicans) are beholden to fossil fuel. Complacent lackeys who have, shirked their duty to craft comprehensive energy legislation favoring alt energy, by supporting companies trying to extract every once of fossil fuel asset before it becomes obsolete. Vote on November 8th for the environment. John Hanno

Police Beat Native American Water Protectors with Batons and Pepper Spray

October 23, 2016       Standing Rock Sioux

Police beat Native American water protectors with batons and pepper spray them in unprovoked attack

By Brenda Norrell at Censored News

STANDING ROCK, North Dakota — The Morton County Sheriff and police carried out a brutal attack on Native Americans as they gathered for prayer today. Native Americans and supporters defending the water of the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline were beaten with batons by police, pepper sprayed and thrown to the ground. More than 80 water protectors were arrested today during the unprovoked attack by police on peaceful water protectors. The police are defending a private pipeline.

Tipiwizin, a young mother at Standing Rock, called out for help, urging all those who came and camped at Standing Rock to return. “The police, the military, armored vehicles, assault rifles, they are chasing our people, surrounded our people, chasing them into the river.” Watching the live stream today, she said, “I started crying, holding my baby daughter, because we come from people who were chased down, hunted down and gunned down by the military and the police. History is repeating itself. All those stories we were raised with, that we carry in our hearts, of our people, fleeing, running, racing, for our lives, just to live. We are the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who survived the US Government federally mandated massacres on our people.”

In an unprecedented amount of lies in the media, the Morton County Sheriff has falsely accused the water protectors of being violent and being armed. The local media, revealing a long history of racism, have repeated these lies in the media. In a steady stream of misinformation, the mainstream media reported that President Obama had halted the pipeline construction. Again, this is misinformation. DAPL, owned by Kelcy Warren, who has become the face of genocide for Native Americans, is racing to complete the construction. The DAPL construction is near a burial place where water protectors were attacked with vicious dogs and pepper sprayed on Sept. 3.

The Morton County Sheriff is engaging in strip searches and false imprisonment of Native American men and women, who are jailed without credible charges. The owner of the land where the Camp of the Sacred Stones Camp is located, said her daughter was arrested without cause, while traveling in a car away from the area, strip searched and jailed naked. Dakotas, Lakotas and Nakotas here say this abuse is recreating the historical trauma, a result of their ancestors who were murdered and subjected to sexual violence by the Calvary and U.S. military.

 

October 23, 2016

John Hanno

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You would think the Governors office and these police officials might have learned lessons from the civil rights protests in the south in the 1960’s. America was jolted awake when they saw police turning fire hoses and attack dogs on our black brothers and sisters peaceful protests. That was the impetus for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965. America and the world is watching, and is again waking up thanks to the Standing Rock Protectors and the morally bankrupt police who think it’s OK to abuse and intimidate peaceful protestors. This should be the catalyst we need to finally address climate change, global warming, destruction of our air, water and soil. We need a bill in Congress to protect our Native American brothers and sisters and our environment. It should be called The Standing Rock Protect America Act of 2016. This pipeline insanity must be stopped. We can’t all go to Standing Rock or line up with protestors in Iowa and Illinois but we can do our part. Contribute to their legal defense funds. And vote on November 8th for progressive Earth Protectors.

Like 37

Jerilyn  So well said, Thank you.

Scott   I hope so!

Reina  What’s sad is that it happens again and again because prejudice and hate begets prejudice and hate or it goes into hiding for awhile but comes back whenever true freedom and human dignity raises it’s head

Phyllis  John Hanno – Yes!!

Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan

John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower

October 23, 2016

SICK ENBRIDGE RESIDENTS PART 1

A few small clips of the hundred sick residents I’ve interviewed. Almost a dozen kids now have lukemia, in our small area. A must see. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.com

SICK ENBRIDGE RESIDENTS PART 1A few small clips of the hundred sick residents I've interviewed. Almost a dozen kids now have lukemia, in our small area. A must see. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.comWatch part 2

Posted by John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Proof ENBRIDGE lied. Please share all of these short clips. Many more on my facebook. They can help save future lives. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.com

Posted by John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower on Monday, June 20, 2016

Watch part 2

“True Blue Collar”

Response to AFL CIO President Richard Trumka’s CBS News interview talking about why Trump falls like a house of cards with union members.

“True Blue Collar”

John Hanno    October 7, 2016

I’m blue collar, thru and thru. I wear blue shirts, blue pants, blue socks, blue hats and if I could afford designer underwear, I’d wear blue underwear too. I’m proud of my lifetime (50 years) of working with my hands, as an electrician/electrical tech and carpenter. I belonged to 4 different locals of the IBEW and was a member of a dozen other unions; steel, textile, auto, teamsters, nuclear workers, furniture workers and other industrial unions. Having been through 4 manufacturing plant closings, I can understand folks who need a job, any good living wage job. But there are issues more important than strictly looking out for one’s own welfare. There were many of our brothers and sisters who sacrificed life and limb in the early days of America’s labor struggles.

I know some union workers are thinking about voting for Trump, especially in those rust belt states most impacted by off shoring. Trump will say anything to anyone in order to hoodwink voters. It’s pure bull. Every other sentence that come out of his mouth is a lie. If you think for one minute that you can trust Trump or any other Republi-con in Congress to support programs vital to labor and particularly union labor, you’re kidding yourselves. Even before the Regan administration’s war on unions, corporations (now multinationals) and their Republican enablers have mounted an unrelenting decades long assault on labor, and consequently America’s middle class. Walker in Wisconsin is nothing new, he’s just the latest version. These crony capitalists have an inbred hatred for unions and labor in general. And Trump has proven that, time and again, by stiffing workers who labored for him. Just check out the unrelenting legislative attacks in every single state controlled by Republican Governors and or legislatures.

And if you think Trump or any other alt right republi-con is capable of bringing back manufacturing plants or keeping others from leaving, you’re delusional. China and Mexico are not stealing our manufacturing plants and jobs as Trump screams daily, multinationals have and will continue to chase the cheapest labor, the least amount of safety and environmental regulations and international partners who will turn a blind eye to their exploitation of labor. China and Mexico are just the latest destinations. And if TPP is passed, there will be another half dozen of these cheap labor pools to chose from.

Study the history of the labor movement. It’s no accident that labor has unfailingly supported progressive Democrats. Google these Republi-con pretenders voting records in Congress. They’ve voted for every single bill that enabled these companies to flee the country with lucrative accompanying tax incentives and against any legislation that would protect workers or retrain those impacted by off shoring. They’ve voted against any and all minimum wage increases and unemployment benefits. They’ve voted against any and all jobs bills proposed by the Obama or any other Democratic congress or administration. And if you think Trump would be any different, just read a list of the folks he’s intended to hire if he’s elected. He wants to take America back yes but back to the Robber Baron days.

These folks despise and devalue those of us who work with our hands or undertake the dangerous and dirty jobs. They demonize government workers (especially mail carriers for some strange reason), public school teachers and those who labor long and hard to supply us with cheap food. They can’t help themselves, it in their DNA.

It’s been a rough few decades for labor but I think the pendulum is swinging back our way. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month in the last Republican administration but are now creating 200,000 or more per month now. And because of The Affordable Care Act, all those older workers, who were hanging onto jobs just for medical insurance, have left the work force; ergo the low employment participation rate. That’s why the Republi-cons tried to overturn the ACA more than 54 times. They want desperate workers beholden to employers. But President Obama quickly realized that to tackle the jobs debacle he inherited, he had to try to appease the corporate titans who pleaded the high cost of health care as the number one reason for off shoring jobs, ($2,300 per American made auto). That’s the primary reason he invested so much capital, trying to get at least a marginal health care bill passed. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a start.

To continue the rebirth of labor and the American middle class started by this administration, we must support progressive Democratic candidates who respect labor and their contribution to a vibrant middle class. Our job on November 8th is to vote only for candidates who fight for, living wage jobs for all, the clean technology jobs of the future, infrastructure beneficial for all of us, not just corporations and fossil fuel, free public education and affordable single payer health care. And most importantly, overturning Citizens United so that oligarchs like the Koch brothers can’t buy our politicians. Stay strong brothers and sisters, don’t sell your soul to these anti labor devils.

Alton    Very well said brother

John Hanno,   Thank you.

Patrick    If the “GOLD STANDARD” TPP is passed, you can thank your blue sweatered friends in DC…

John Hanno,   Patrick, Do your homework. 100% of progressive and at least 75% of the rest of Democrats in congress are against TPP.

Elizabeth   HRC is NOT a progressive and she IS for TPP

Marie,    Unions are automatic votes for Democrats. How about Unions stay out of politics and just worry about your members well being. Stop telling them how to vote. Btw, proud Union home here.

John Hanno,  Marie,  You can’t separate union and politics any more than you can separate living and politics. They’re intertwined. There’s been a coordinated war on labor and unions since Regan. It’s corporations and oligarchs like the Koch Brothers in coordination with their Republi-con lapdogs waging this war. Its a political war waged in legislatures in red states, (and some in blue states with Republi-con governors like Rauner in Illinois) and labor must stand up and defend themselves in the political arena. I was a union member for 50 years in a dozen different unions. I was never told who to vote for. I had enough brains to know who was and was not supporting labor. Most if not all the Republican who even thought about supporting labor interests have been drummed out of the party long ago.