Our Future on Things that Matter

Watch as these same young adults who can not tell us who won The Civil War, who our current VP is, or from whom or when the US won independence can ALL – without a moment’s thought – correctly answer stupid questions about celebrities at the end.

Our Future

Now, I know: “It is the schools, TV, Common Core, parents, where they are, etc.” Nope. Not at all. If they cared even a tiny bit who the VP was, and/or who won the Civil War, they would Google it.

There is no way a college student who doesn’t know who their sitting VP is, but has even heard of Snookie and Brad Pitt can twist that into the school’s fault. My son would know ALL three, even if his teacher never showed up all year.

This has nothing to do with the trendy teaching method or testing du jour. It is solely due to our nation’s obsession with material wealth and celebrity, combined with a lack of caring about things that matter. Nothing but our social norms, mores and priorities.

The same person who can find out who BOTH of Brad Pitt’s wives were/are can find out who won the Civil War and who the sitting VP is the same way. They don’t have to even attend school.

I was recently in a room with an adult NYU student from CA, and he did not know who his sitting Governor was. I told him (I live three time zones away, in PA). That was a couple weeks ago…I’d bet he wouldn’t remember it today.

And it isn’t just kids being kids. It is adults being adults. As kids, even our most ignorant students (including many who would never go to college) could answer those questions. At that time of life, I knew all three answers. Without a moment’s thought.

Something deeper is happening here. And no new curriculum or TV channel will fix it.  Maybe it is this:

So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.” ~ George Orwell, 1984 (written in the 1940’s)

I say it often: 1984. We are living it; the mind-dead automatons who wander around in that book saluting flags when commanded, smiling blissfully always, either out of ignorance or fear. The plot of that book has proven prophetic. Read or re-read it.

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Dauphin County Democrats Petition Signing – 15th Congressional District

Tuesday, 2/9, 6 – 8 pm

Hershey Chocolate Workers Local 464
16 W Caracas Ave, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033

https://www.facebook.com/events/898148543637503/

** NOTE: Any Democratic candidate who sends petitions will be represented equally at this event. **

Sawyer Neale and I are running to be Delegates for Bernie Sanders, the 15th Congressional district.

But we need 250 Signatures to do so.

Anyone in the 15th Congressional District (Representative Charlie Dent is our Congressman) who is willing to sign our petitions, please attend. Or, I will come to you to get the signatures.

Congressional District 15 includes parts of Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton, following Interstate 78. Here is the clearest map of PA15 that I’ve found.

CD-15.png

You can zoom in and out , using the + and – signs on the lower right. You can then pan across by clicking and holding anywhere on the map and dragging it:

Zoomable and Panable Map

Thank you.

Again, any Democratic candidate who sends petitions will be represented equally at this event.

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Why I Endorse Admiral Joe Sestak as PA Senator to the US Senate

I am the elected Precinct 12 Derry Township committee person to the Dauphin County Democratic Committee.  I endorse Admiral Joe Sestak as the Democratic nominee to run for the US Senate in 2016.

I do so not because I dislike his Primary opponents, Katie McGinty or John Fetterman. I like both fine. I endorse Joe because he is the first, and will very likely be the ONLY to finally address what I’ve been waiting for.

He attacks the true opponent: our broken political class of BOTH parties. In his Nov 30 email to me, Joe says:

“I am starting with…the advantage of having the entire political establishment against me once again.

My independent thinking and leadership has again placed me outside the Democratic party’s establishment. But my independence has given me the support of regular Democrats (and even Independents and Republicans) – because the government of the people has never before been held in such low regard by the people.”

‘The Democratic party’s establishment’ includes those heavy hitters who get national or at least statewide coverage: PA Governors past and current, other states’ Senators, big dollar donors, about whom most of us know little, although we are pretty sure they are not based anywhere near where we work, live, worship, and play.

It is not we local and county Democratic committees, not the rank-and-file of our PA state Committee. Nor is it folks who donate a couple bucks as we can afford (or less, as we really can’t afford it at all). It is NOT we Dem voters…not by a long shot.

Our Dem Establishment actively opposed Sestak last time (2010). He beat them, so this time, they actively recruited well over a half a dozen candidates to challenge him in the 2016 Dem Primary. None did, so they tried Katie McGinty, who agreed to do it. Like clockwork, endorsements fell in line for her, before my friends and neighbors had one clue about what she could bring to the US Senate. But why?

Our Dem Establishment actively opposes Bernie Sanders for President, but not personally. It really opposes anyone who opposes Hillary Clinton, whom it long ago anointed as our choice. Even more generally, though, it opposes any candidate for any office who speaks specifically to issues. It looks on with bemused annoyance at our pitiful little rebellions: how dare we who just work and pay bills actually pick our candidates? To them we reply: “well, someone has to pick OUR servants, and you folks stink at it.”

I understand Joe has significant support among the PA state Committee’s voting rank-and-file. I know there is such support at various county and local levels, because I’ve seen and heard it. Joe acknowledges that, in that same Nov 30 email quote above.  I know Bernie Sanders does too, because I have seen and heard that.

But, just as Clinton has 38 of our 100 US Senators already behind her, while no other Primary candidate has more than 3, McGinty also has the Establishment. Those fine and dandy with things as they are want things to continue as they are. And how on Earth could the Establishment not be fine? Wealth distribution, and its accompanying lock on power, have never more propped up the few on the backs of almost everyone else, since just prior to the US Great Depression.  This wealth and power disproportion is caused by the very thing that keeps those in the Dem (and GOP) Establishment in power: an elite and empowered Political Class.  Both are further enriched as they support each other.

We struggling citizens are NOT fine. We are fed up. Our government doesn’t do what we want, unless The Political Class allows it to.  And we need representation.

Thank you and best luck, Joe.

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Harrisburg Represents with Global Climate March for Paris Summit

Climate March Nov 2015

Interfaith Vigil / Rally for Paris Summit

With former PA Senator Franklin Kury and Professor John Dernbach, a delegate to Paris Summit.

Vigil included spiritual leadership from Unitarian, B’Nai Brith, Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths.

Sun, November 29, 2015, 1 – 4 pm

From Grace United Methodist Church
to Pennsylvania State Capitol
Harrisburg, PA.

About 85 showed up here, joining 2,476 Global Climate March events across our planet home.

Congregation.jpg

IMG_0173.JPG

Tweets

We’ve just seen the biggest in history with 720,000 people marching in 175 countries. Thanks everyone!

Embedded image permalink
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Democracy Spring – Sit In with Thousands. Save Democracy for Millions

“I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests”  – President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010

Neither do I.  So let’s #GetMoneyOut of our politics.

“Day after day, Congress will have a choice: to put hundreds of disciplined, dignified democracy defenders in handcuffs, or simply do its job to listen to the people and fix this broken system.” ~ Democracy Spring, December 2, 2015

Please consider joining Democracy Spring, at the site below, in any way you can.  No one has to commit to all parts.  All who want our government to become of, by and for us must show support!

If at least 1000 people pledge to risk arrest in by Dec 15, 99Rise, Avaaz, and a growing coalition will organize Democracy Spring — the largest American civil disobedience action in a generation next April in Washington, DC. We had 421 on Nov 17, and 612 by Nov 21.

By Nov 26, we had already shattered the minimum needed, with 1,024.  We are headed to OUR nation’s capital, via the birthplace of freedom!

Lawrence Lessig, Zephyr Teachout, Cenk Uygur, Ben Cohen, Captain Ray Lewis and Mark Ruffalo are among us who have pledged to risk arrest and over 40 organizations signed on to help (including me and “The People For Bernie Sanders 2016”, see link).

There are many volunteer positions, most do not risk arrest for peaceful demonstration. FOR EXAMPLE, I am signed up to Lead a regional organizing hub and coordinate local outreach, mobilization & logistics, to Reach out to groups or organizations to join the Democracy Spring coalition, to Mobilize other individuals to pledge to risk arrest, march, or volunteer, and to Promote the campaign on social media.

On April 2, we gather at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and embark on a 10-day march to the US Capitol in Washington DC. Before setting out, we will present a simple choice to Congress: take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and make the 2016 elections free and fair, or be prepared to send thousands of patriotic Americans to jail simply for demanding an equal voice.

When we arrive at the Capitol on April 11, the march will be joined by thousands who’ve come from across the country to make a stand for our freedom. At that point, either Congress will have miraculously come to its senses and passed the perfectly viable reform bills now pending before it, or those who protect corruption will leave us no choice but to reclaim the People’s House in massive, disruptive, nonviolent sit-ins.

Beneath the dome of the rotunda, on the steps outside the Capitol, and in the offices of our supposed representatives, we will engage in peaceful civil disobedience for at least a week.

http://www.democracyspring.org/

In The Meantime, Act Right Now

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

“Take action to fight secret money immediately – and redeem your failed money in politics legacy

President Obama: In the nearly 6 years since Citizens United, super PACs and undisclosed money have come to dominate elections.

You have tools at your disposal to fight this influx of secret money into politics.

But you have done nothing.

You must act now or be remembered as the president whose inaction aided the rise of secret money politics.

We demand that before your State of the Union address, you issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending within 24 hours of it happening, taking effect before July 4, 2016.

We also demand that you immediately call on the leaders you appointed to the SEC, IRS, and FCC to use their authority to unmask secret political donors, and fill all 5 FEC openings with nominees who will enforce the law.”

Published: Nov 16, 2015

As of Nov 18, 26,150 total signatures on this petition. Not bad for less than 2 full days.

73,850 signatures needed by December 16, 2015 to reach goal of 100,000, to force a response by President Obama

S. T.
November 18, 2015
Signature # 23,629

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/take-action-fight-secret-money-immediately-and-redeem-your-failed-money-politics-legacy

36,698 signatures as of 11:15 am, Nov 19.  Go…

47,923 on Nov 21.  Keep going…

64,481 on Nov 26.  Almost 2/3 there and 20 days left.

88,233 with 10 days left.  11,767 more signers to force a response by The White House.

 

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The Drone Papers via @DemocracyNow

Immoral drone bombing of cell phone GPS might yet be stopped by the morals of courageous and honest people.

Highlights:

“9 out of 10 casualties were not the intended target”

“all foreign males in a target zone have been treated as militants”

“defending the right of the US President to assassinate individuals, including US citizens, based on intelligence they never have to make public”

The Kill Chain = ‘secret meetings…death warrant for whoever they’ve decide should die, based on a parallel secret judiciary…not subject to review…POTUS acts as emperor.’

Drone targets often chosen because “they have Arab features…taller than everyone else [in kill zone].”

One murder was of a man who looked “taller”, so we murdered the group. Turns out it was one adult, with children. One survivor.

“This government has been relentless in its pursuit of people of conscience who blow the whistle [to expose US warcrimes] and has characterized them as traitors and spies…criminalized the ability to do independent journalism that is meant to hold the government accountable.”

“Where is Congress in all of this…turf war between the CIA and the Pentagon?”

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Sandy Ballard, Rich Suminski, and Steve Todd Respond To Lying Letter’s Slander

UPDATES: Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick robocalls 8,223 Republican and Independent voters in zips 17033 and 17036 to tell them Derry Twp Chair John Foley’s letter was “inappropriate and troubling,” imploring them to go to Sandy Ballard’s website for “factual responses.”

I have the m4a file (whatever that is, iTunes can play it), and if anyone can tell me how to share it, I will. Or reply me your email and I will send it.

The Sun has more coverage, and cites this blog as a source!

Kathy Sweney Responds:

Kathy Sweney Letter to Foley (“…a great example of cowardice”)

### (Original Text)

A letter of slanderous lies, dated Oct. 28, made its way to many Derry voters. Letter is on letterhead, and with a signature, both identifying the Chair of our Derry Township Board of Supervisors John Foley as the author, and footer stating that it was paid for by Chairman Foley’s Political Action Committee (PAC).

It was spinelessly released too late for major media or traditional mail response, in time for We The People of Derry to make an informed decision, prior to heading to the polls.  The discerning voter must ask themselves why.  In the meantime, we are using the power of social media – the great equalizer – to set the record straight.

349 unique views during first 24 hours.

Imagine how many might get “the rest of the story” prior to heading to the polls.

THIS is what democracy looks like. Please share with all in Derry Twp. Thank you.

Sandy Ballard Responds:

Sandy Ballard Responds, point by point:

Sandy Ballard Response to John Foley Letter

Rich Suminski Responds:

Letter states: ‘Her [Ballard’s] second largest donor has led frivolous Right-to-Know lawsuits against the Twp, wasting thousands of hours of staff time and costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars…’

Forgetting for this moment that I have long broadcast my firm belief that constituent individuals who contribute to local elections should be applauded and not attacked, as they weaken the influence of PACs.  Ballard’s campaign finance report appear to show Richard Suminski as one of Sandy Ballard’s larger donors:

Suminski has such a lawsuit pending. Sumniski’s release follows unedited:

“As to my Right to Know Request (RKR) concerning the bike trail and Foley’s inaccurate remarks on same in his letter below are the facts:

Fact: The Open Records Agency ordered the Township to produce various records. A single 2 page invoice was only produced.

Fact: In the Court of Common Pleas an Enforcement Action was filed and the Judge ordered the Township to produce all records in 2 days time. Appropriately 300 pages of documents were produced 2 days later.

Fact; The Judge stated if an application was filed with the Court that he would sanction the Township for their behavior. When a Court orders the other party to produce all records, in 2 days, that they are withholding and offers to impose sanctions the “lawsuit” is not frivolous.

Fact: After providing the 300 pages it was proven that the Township did not provide all documents and then they produced about another 1400 pages.

Fact: Almost 11 months from the initial request there is evidence that the Township has yet provided all documents.

Fact; I offered several times to meet with the supervisors to resolve several issues and they never responded back.

Fact: I twice offered to withdraw my Right to Know Request if the Township allowed an independent IT expert search their server for records. The township refused that request.

Fact: Months ago I requested the Township produce the Township Solicitor’s invoices to determine if “tens of thousands of dollars” was being spent to review Right to Know Requests. The one invoice released for the first half of the year stated that less than $3000 was billed. The remaining invoices are outstanding.

While still litigating to obtain all records which legally entitled, the records received thus far indicate a supervisor Abusing his Power by unilaterally making decisions and ordering Township officials to take actions without involving the full board and making nasty, unprofessional and defamatory remarks in emails.

In my opinion, Foley should reimburse the taxpayers for all legal costs incurred by the Township for violating the Right to Know and Sunshine Acts. He is not trying to defend the Township, but himself.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Richard Suminski”

Candidate for Derry Supervisor Steve Todd Responds:

I have blogged what is by far the most detailed account of the hearing on Suminski vs Derry in Dauphin County Court, which I attended, and in which Derry was basically spanked by the Court:

https://steventodd.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/derrys-right-to-know/

If you feel this letter was immature, reckless and dishonest, remember: the only surefire way to immediately remove Foley from power is to also elect me, Steve Todd. Candidates Marc Moyer or Susan Cort, who the letter recommends we vote for, will likely allow business as usual to continue. Otherwise, why would the author endorse them?

What Sandy needs is a Board majority, so that she is selected by that Board as its leader. Returning Sandy to the minority of two members will not accomplish that. Only voting for both of us will.

If the rules were changed tomorrow, and I could only vote for one (instead of the two we can), this candidate – Sandy’s competitor – would vote for Sandy Ballard. But, since we have two votes, vote for the only candidate who has pledged, in The Sun four times and via mailing to almost 5,500 households recently or very soon, that:

“I will nominate re-elected Sandy Ballard to Chair our Derry Township Board of Supervisors.”

Because most citizens of all politics and demographics support her, as I have and do.

I have pledged to nominate Sandy as Chair on day one. Presuming we can get Supervisor Matt Weir’s vote, Foley can do or not do whatever he wants. He will be made as irrelevant as his show of inept leadership has proven him, and Sandy leads OUR Derry Supervisors in a constructive fashion.

~ Steve Todd

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