#UnscrewedNews

A Peace Economy Could Save You and Our Mother Earth

Treat yourself to a Green St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s ecofeminist Vandana Shiva in conversation with Amy Goodman about her two latest books, Who Really Feeds the World, and Oneness vs. the One Percent.. What she reveals is eye-opening and scary, the threats to survival very real. When Himalayan snow no longer feeds the rivers of Asia, what will its life, its people, do? But she also inspires with proven and doable fixes for our broken natural cycles, organic carbon sequestering a green new vision we can fuel with a Green New Deal.

Beautiful Vandana Shiva has led global efforts to save life-giving seeds now threatened by GMO patents that endanger life by forgetting what corporate-owned scientists don’t know. They patent seeds with BT, a poison that A.) doesn’t work and even backfires, creating superbugs and superweeds, and B.) .enriches the 1 percent. No one knows what joining genes with toxins will do to all life that feeds on it.

Shiva fought for India’s law that says to corporations: hey, you cannot patent life. She calls the 1 percent “rent collectors” on our new digital communication, digital currency, global finances, and our means for staying alive.. They turn our intelligence into “intellectual property,” and AI. She names Bezos and Gates “life-lords,” similar to the 19th century’s landlords, who got rich without working, and whose hubris imagined their ruthlessness natural. They were only “the fittest,” a dangerous misreading of Darwin if ever there was one.

They’ve turned the global economy into “a company store,” the same way landlords controlled what renters and share-croppers earned from their labors, and what share-croppers must pay for their needs at the company-owned store. No such regular robbery could happen without the threat of violence always present. But Shiva helps us remember Ghandi, non-violence, and democracy: we are many, and they are so few.

What's a Mondragon?

It’s the largest worker-owned cooperative corporation in the world. Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute in California has been taking Americans there for decades, but most American have never heard of it. Mondragon doesn’t advertise; it has no public relations department. Started in Franco’s Spain, this cooperative kept a low profile, but since then they’ve transformed their poverty into wealth that values people over profits, and has put education at its center. This video shares Georgia describing how they handled the 2008 crash when so many jobs were lost. How? Not the way so many American companies did. This is an hour-long, but worth a watch—including great questions from the audience.

There are still spots available in this year’s Mondragon Seminar and Tour in Spain, June 16-22, 2019. To register, go to www.praxispeace.org/mondragon for info on registration, prices and travel.

Gillette's Best Men: Will it Influence SuperBowl Ads?

It’ll be interesting to see how Super Bowl advertisers react to Gillette’s bold move, switching its slogan, “the best men can GET,” to “the best men can BE.” Their short film with their logo has gotten 747 K Thumbs Up on YouTube, and 1.3 Million Thumbs Down, notes Forbes, and they’ve been criticized for hiring a female director for the shoot, and for showing a “toxic masculinity” without any blame falling on women. Aren’t there “mean girls,” too? Don’t men have toxic mothers as well as toxic dads? Sure! We’re all toxic by those standards. Stand by for a backlash! One step forward….but hey, it’s better than being ignored!

Who Has the Biggest, Costliest Button?

Ray Acheson delivers a TedX talk well worth listening to as President Trump and VP Pence and Bolton and Pompeo consider “military options” for Venezuela, fake us out with another North Korea “show” that removes not a single bit of fire and fury, and threaten us with another government shutdown to divert attention from their rampant corruption.

Women's Bodies Are Citizens' Bodies

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It was six degrees outside, but about 1000 bundled-up citizens, women and men, many in pink pussy hats, turned out for the third Women’s March on Jan. 19, 2019 in Montpelier, Vermont. The signs they carried showed no evidence that women are resigned to being quiet about a Presidential pussy-grabber. The opposite!

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The group pictured above, draped in American flags (oops, one slipped!) are part of a campaign called #GrabThemByTheBallot, anticipating 2020. They could hardly be ignored!

Other speakers included MacKenzie Murdoch, a youth activist and host for the event, who shared a poem she wrote about her rape on a Vermont campus and its investigation. She reported one of every three women experiences sexual violence of some kind, the reason for #MeToo.

Women’s bodies were also the centerpiece of Vermont’s Nutty Steph’s efforts. The chocolatier brought a basket of specially made chocolate vulvas, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, and they stood by a huge fabric vulva, inviting attendees to step through and be reborn as they entered the public space.

Former Bennington Representative Kiah Morris, who in the face of racial threats resigned her position to much national attention, urged attendants to do the real work of “peaceful revolution,” avoiding “narrow identity thinking.”

A theme that threaded through all the speakers’ exhortations, cheered by women and men, was the broad inclusion in government policies of all of us born of women, and living on our Mother Earth—especially in the face of dramatic changes, including racial, gendered and environmental ones.

Divisions had emerged nationally this month, with one organizer citing Louis Farrakhan as a GOAT (Greatest of All Time), and some important organizations, including Planned Parenthood, stepping back from national sponsorship as a result. But the Vermont organizers set up their own Vermont website to declare their principles of nonviolent resistance and inclusion.

The spirit of the event was capped by Patty Casey’s song, whose chorus, sung by all the crowd, really should become a movement hymn:

“We are better than that, we are kinder than that; we are going forward and we’re not going back.”  Yes, even when it’s freezing cold and a huge snow storm is on the way!

One image opposite is an amazing quilt made of tiny pieces of fabric! (quilt photo and #GrabThemByThe Ballot photo by Meg Kuhner)

What's that you say, Mr. Wall Street Banker?

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I’m feeling more hopeful today despite bizarro-freak news that does not appear to be fake, only stupid. The great white hope, our president, is possibly a Putin “asset,” which in economic terms means he is owned. In today’s politics the thing that makes this sleazy is the alleged owner is a foreign billionaire, not an American one.

 So why am I hopeful? Business Insider has focused on the House committee assignment of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s the woman who yesterday walked to the Senate to hand-deliver a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging him to bring bills he’s sitting on to the Senate floor for a vote. Why isn’t the Senate doing its job, and keeping government open? And who passed a law that says “essential” government workers must work for no pay?

 It’s rare for a House member to do such a bold thing. But no, that’s not the best news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has placed this daring woman on the elite House Committee on Financial Services. Years ago, it used to be called the banking committee, and traditionally sat only elite white guy “assets,” who had rich white guy owners on Wall Street. It’s no wonder the media focuses on Ocasio-Cortez—she’s so fearless and beautiful. But the news is better than that.

 Rep. Maxine Waters is chair of that committee now. She’s served her time and learned the Wall Street players; she’s the first woman chair, and the first African American. I counted the sixteen members of the committee she just announced and found other formidable newcomers like Rep. Rashida Tiabi of Michigan, and tough veterans like Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. All told they’re a majority female, another first.

 There are 540 mostly-male billionaires in the US and nearly 15 million millionaires, half of them multi-millionaires. The rest of us tend to come up short because the American political system for the past 40 years has enabled 1 percent of our population to hoard 40 percent of our national wealth and its assets, and the top 20 percent, fully 90 percent. That’ll buy a lot of politicians.

 That means the rest of us have to split the remaining 10 percent of our wealth. Picture it this way: Jeff Bezos gets 40 front row seats in a 100-seat theater for the “show” of our American life. His slightly less rich friend reserves 50 more seats for himself and his 9 guy friends. As a result, 80 people like you and me will have to share the remaining ten seats. The median chair-reservation is about $60,000 a year in income, enough for one butt-cheek. But the bottom 20 of us own nothing but debt. Go sit in that hole in the floor.

 About 49 million people in 19 million households are now below the poverty line, in the hole, on average with around $18,000 a year per household. A bunch of these are women and children. But when women no longer are tokens, they’re harder to silence. The new House Financial Services Committee might just put their pretty little heads together to call out billionaire owners of political assets—and make some real change in who gets a decent seat.

 —Rickey Gard Diamond