POEM: Cruel After Math — Owed to Sen. Rob Portman’s Health Care Vote

What kind?
Of cruel after-math
Is Sen. Portman working up
The American people
Facing death
Bye the tens of thousands
Buy the tens of billions
For tax cuts
For the richest Americans
For loaded corporations drunk on power
What is owed
To the flush and the flushed
To the affluent and the effluent
How does this add up?
What is the take away?
Is this the American will?
The right to health care
Or merely the extreme right of congress
Into an afterlife
Leaving loved wons behind
And nothing else
A cruel after-math
It’s your cull
A nation divided
Halves and halve nots
And what might
You be culpable of
Americans may ever no
Of a partisan’s last will and testament
Sow telling
In the ends
And the means
Of congress
And its reverse
Progress

This is the poem that I read at today’s health care protest outside of Sen. Rob.Portman’s Toledo office (see video of poetry reading).  A large laminated version of the above poem was delivered to his office.  There were an estimated 45-45,000 protesters.  In the photo below, I am pictured in the center next to “Flat Rob,” a cutout of Sen. Portman that we use to conduct our own town hall meetings on the street, since Sen. Portman does not see it fit to hold official town hall meetings with his constituents.

Sen. Rob Portman Health Care Protest

KILL The BILL – That is, The Congressional So-called Health Care Bill

The Senate so-called health care bill literally sucks, the life out of Americans.  The House bill does the same.  KILL the BILL – that is, the congressional so-called health care bill!

The below meme uses three pop culture references.  The first is Saturday Night Live’s Mr. Bill from the last millennium, famous for crying out, “OH NOOO!!!” — which is surprisingly contemporary.  The second comes from the movie franchise, Kill Bill.  Kill Bill ends with an exploding heart — which, may also be tragically contemporary.  The third comes from the ubiquitous truism that congress is fueled by payoffs — preferably in large, unmarked bills — by uncountable and unaccountable corporate interests.  KILL the BILL!  KILL the House bill!!  KILL the Senate bill!!!

KILL The BILL - That is, The Congressional So-called Health Care Bill

POEM: Nonpartisan Shootings

Weather running the country
In too the ground
Or playing hardball
So well practiced
America pines
For that national past time
And return to nonpartisan shootings

The shooting on a baseball field full of Republican congressmen and staffers has jacked up partisan wranglings and a united front of buy partisan preyer.  STOP [with bullet hole as O] POLITICAL BUTTONOf coarse, violence is the ultimate partisan activity, fashioning stiff lines between life and death, conveniently favoring won’s life over an other.  Our national celebrity worship teams with hour enduring desire too be led to brake through our collective amnesia over mass shootings daily reeking havoc among mere pee-ons. Gun violins unremarkably persist as congress works to legalize silencers — strange, I never heard that.  In the end, for whatever end, I am agin gun violence, agin and agin and agin…

Feel free to browse anti-gun violence designs.

NRA Not Representing America POLITICAL BUTTONGuns Don't Kill, Gaping Holes in Vital Organs Do POLITICAL BUTTONGet Real, Like Jesus Would Ever Own A Gun And Vote Republican POLITICAL BUTTON

Guns Are Not Pro-Life POLITICAL BUTTONIf Guns Are Outlawed Only Outlaws Will Accidentally Shoot Their Children - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONGuns Don't Die People Do PEACE BUTTON

 

NEWS: TPP Declared Dead — Good Riddance Trans-Pacific Partnership!

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, President Barack Obama has ended his push for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest free trade agreement ever sought.  The Free Market Costs Too Much POLITICAL BUTTONThe TPP is dead.  	 Corporate Crime - Privatized Profit, Socialized Debt [Coca-Cola parody] POLITICAL BUTTONI am hard pressed to think of a larger giveaway of the power of the people and good governance to corporate power than the TPP.  Good riddance!  This is a huge win, undergirded by years of activism by millions of people across the planet.  Candidate Trump campaigned strongly against free trade agreements, second only in emphasis to immigration control.  Candidate Clinton switched her former support for the TPP to opposition during the campaign.  Clinton advisers spoke openly of its eventual passage under a Clinton presidency.  President Obama’s perplexing insistence in pushing the TPP, against most in his own party, congress, and the American people, kept alive and relevant candidate Trump’s vociferous opposition.  For those mourning, with good reason, a Trump regime, this may be the best news we see emanating out of the Trump earthquake, perhaps ever.  So…celebrate this big win, and get back to the fight.

Feel free to browse more designs on economic violence and corporate greed:

Corporate Greed - The Other National Debt POLITICAL BUTTONCapitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONCorporatocracy Is Not Working For Me POLITICAL BUTTON

Growth For The Sake of Growth Is The Ideology Of The Cancer Cell -- Edward Abbey quote POLITICAL BUTTONCAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Those Without The Capital Get The Punishment POLITICAL BUTTONThe TRICKLE DOWN THEORY Is The Principle That The Poor, Living On Tables Scraps of The Rich, Can Best Be Served By Giving The Rich Bigger Meals -- William Blum POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTONClass War - I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

FREE EDWARD SNOWDEN POSTER: Pardon Me!

1984 Was NOT Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual POLITICAL BUTTONEdward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower, is my candidate for the most heroic American this decade.  Is it time for President Obama to grant a presidential pardon to Edward Snowden?  YES!  The campaign is on, with the release of Oliver Stone’s new movie portraying Edward Snowden’s journey from ardent right-wing patriot to ardent left-wing patriot, while remaining quintessentially American and evolving into a formidable global citizen.

 I Love My Country, It's The Government I'm Afraid Of POLITICAL BUTTONAs American and planetary citizen Edward Snowden says, “Pardon me,” let’s work to get President Obama to grant a presidential pardon to this American hero.  Check out Pardon Snowden for how you can get involved.  Please feel free to circulate this free poster as a means of drumming up more public support for a Snowden pardon.

FREE EDWARD SNOWDEN POSTER: Pardon Me!

As reported in The Guardian, Edward Snowden made his case for a presidential pardon:

Edward Snowden has set out the case for Barack Obama granting him a pardon before the US president leaves office in January, arguing that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off.

s It 1984 Already? POLITICAL BUTTONThe US whistleblower’s comments, made in an interview with the Guardian, came as supporters, including his US lawyer, stepped up a campaign for a presidential pardon. Snowden is wanted in the US, where he is accused of violating the Espionage Act and faces at least 30 years in jail.

Speaking on Monday via a video link from Moscow, where he is in exile, Snowden said any evaluation of the consequences of his leak of tens of thousands of National Security Agency and GCHQ documents in 2013 would show clearly that people had benefited.

“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things,” he said.

“I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [US] Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”

In order to assure the quality of your patriotism, your conversation may be monitored POLITICAL BUTTONAlthough US presidents have granted some surprising pardons when leaving office, the chances of Obama doing so seem remote, even though before he entered the White House he was a constitutional lawyer who often made the case for privacy and had warned about the dangers of mass surveillance.

Obama’s former attorney general Eric Holder, however, gave an unexpected boost to the campaign for a pardon in May when he said Snowden had performed a public service.

The campaign could receive a further lift from Oliver Stone’s film, Snowden, scheduled for release in the US on Friday. Over the weekend the director said he hoped the film would help shift opinion behind the whistleblower, and added his voice to the plea for a pardon.

Ahead of general release, the film will be shown in 700 cinemas across the US on Wednesday, with plans for Stone and Snowden to join in a discussion afterwards via a video link.

Transparency For The State, Privacy For The Rest Of US POLITICAL BUTTONIn his wide-ranging interview, Snowden insisted the net public benefit of the NSA leak was clear. “If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off,” he said.

In Hong Kong in June 2013, when he had passed his documents to journalists, Snowden displayed an almost unnatural calm, as if resigned to his fate. On Monday he said that at that time he expected a “dark end” in which he was either killed or jailed in the US.

More than three years on, he appears cheerful and relaxed. He has avoided the fate of fellow whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is in solitary confinement in the US. Snowden is free to communicate with supporters and chats online late into the night.

His 2.3 million followers on Twitter give him a huge platform to express his views. He works on tools to try to help journalists. He is not restricted to Moscow and has travelled around Russia, and his family in the US have been to visit him.

But Snowden still wants to return to the US and seems confident, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that it will happen. “In the fullness of time, I think I will end up back home,” he said.

“Once the officials, who felt like they had to protect the programmes, their positions, their careers, have left government and we start looking at things from a more historical perspective, it will be pretty clear that this war on whistleblowers does not serve the interests of the United States; rather it harms them.”

Snowden attracts lots of conspiracy theories. Early on, he was accused of being a spy for China and then a Russian spy. In August a cryptic tweet followed by an unusual absence prompted speculation that he was dead. He said he had simply gone on holiday.

There had also been rumours that his partner, Lindsay Mills, had left him, which would have been embarrassing as their romance occupies a large part of the Stone film. Snowden said “she is with me and we are very happy”.

His revelations resulted in a global debate and modest legislative changes. More significant, perhaps, is that surveillance and the impact of technological change has seeped into popular culture, in films such as the latest Jason Bourne and television series, such as the Good Wife.

Snowden also welcomed “a renaissance of scepticism” on the part of at least some journalists when confronted by anonymous briefings by officials not backed by evidence.

He warned three years ago of the danger that one day there might be a president who abused the system. The warning failed to gain much traction, given that Obama’s presidency seemed relatively benign. But it resonates more today, in the wake of Donald Trump’s response to the Russian hacking of the Democratic party: that he wished he had the power to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

If Obama, as seems likely, declines to pardon Snowden, his chances under either Clinton or Trump would seem to be even slimmer. He described the 2016 presidential race as unprecedented “in terms of the sort of authoritarian policies that are being put forward”.

“Unfortunately, many candidates in the political mainstream today, even pundits and commentators who aren’t running for office, believe we have to be able to do anything, no matter what, as long as there is some benefit to be had in doing so. But that is the logic of a police state.”

We Don't Need More Cameras Aimed At Citizens, We Need More Cameras Aimed At Politicians And Police POLITICAL BUTTONHe is even less impressed by the British prime minister, referring to Theresa May as a “a sort of Darth Vader in the United Kingdom”, whose surveillance bill is “an egregious violation of human rights, that goes far further than any law proposed in the western world”.

Snowden was initially berated by opponents for failing to criticise the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but he has become increasingly vocal. It is a potentially risky move, given his application for an extension of asylum is up for renewal next year, so why do it?

“Well, it would not be the first time I have taken a risk for something I believe in,” he said. “This is a complex situation. Russia is not my area of focus. It is not my area of expertise. I don’t speak Russian in a fluent manner that I could really participate in and influence policy. But when something happens that I believe is clearly a violation of the right thing, I believe we should stand up and say something about it.

“My priority always has to be my own country rather than Russia. I would like to help reform the human rights situation in Russia but I will never be well placed to do so relative to actual Russian activists themselves.”

Might he end up as part of a US-Russian prisoner exchange, with Putin possibly more amenable to the idea if Trump was in power? “There has always been the possibility that any government could say, ‘Well, it does not really matter whether it is a violation of human rights, it does not really matter whether it is a violation of law, it will be beneficial to use this individual as a bargaining chip’. This is not exclusive to me. This happens to activists around the world every day.”

He said he saw the Stone film as a mechanism for getting people to talk about surveillance, though he felt uncomfortable with other people telling his story.

Snowden has toyed with writing his memoirs but has not made much progress. There are at least three books about him on the way; an extensively researched one by the Washington Post’s Bart Gellman and two others thought to be hostile.

Asked if he was the source for the Panama Papers – the comments by the source sound like Snowden – he laughed. He praised the biggest data leak in history, adding that he would normally be happy to cloak other whistleblowers by neither denying nor confirming he was a source. But he would make an exception in the case of the Panama Papers. “I would not claim any credit for that.”

got privacy? POLITICAL BUTTONFor someone who has spent his life trying to keep out of the public eye, he has now appeared in a Hollywood movie and an Oscar-winning documentary, and several plays, including Privacy, which just ended a run in New York and in which he has a part alongside Daniel Radcliffe.

“It was an alarming experience for me. I am not an actor. I have been told I am not very good at it. But you know if I can, I can try and maybe it will help, I will give it my best shot.”

For Snowden, his campaign for a pardon, even if forlorn, offers a chance to highlight his plight, and he expressed thanks to all those who were backing it. He also said he hoped that after the fuss of the movie he could finally fade into the background. “I really hope it is over,” he said. “That would be the greatest gift anyone could give me.”

Edward Snowden - AMERICAN HERO - Taking Great Personal Risk for Truth POLITICAL BUTTONThis Edward Snowden design is available as buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers, mini-posters, caps, mugs, stickers, and more!  Also, check out more designs about the security state and secret surveillance.

 

 

 

POLITICAL POEM: Pick You’re Genocide

Pick
You’re genocide
Won side or the other
Gun to head
Ahead to gun
Aliens pervade our atmosphere
As whirled wore thee
Restless natives no so slight
Wear homieland security rules
Redcoats and bluecoats
Everyday cover ups
Of fuzz overruling
Wile privates everywhere
As wee divine
A bomb in nation
Knot our own
As they get
Our scapegoat
As if too give
Pour excuses
Tired pleas
And huddled asses
Wretchedly refuse
Their teaming shore
Up walls
In efface of stranger contentions
Reproving those
Fresh off the bout
Or slaves too buy gone ways
The wiled West
And marshal law
For sum of the people
OK, corral most of the people
Distantly droning on
Pining a bout boots on the ground
As pay no tension to boots on the neck
Of silenced know bodies
Fueled into thinking
It’s awe we Cain do
As we might be Abel
Too win with a faction of the vote
Seduced by sects
Of phallus choices
And foe alternatives

This poem sticks to my recent theme of radical change needed to the U.S. electoral system posing as democracy.  More specifically, the national or federal elections system needs a complete overhaul.  Ranked choice voting would be revolutionary.  We the people should end money as free speech, with its tsunami of money from the rich and corporate “persons” overwhelming voters and voters’ choice of candidates. The electoral college should graduate finally to something else.  An actual representative congress, akin to many European parliaments, would better assure diversity and fuel true coalition building rather than simple domination of one party over the other.  Still, this poems strikes a deeper and immediate chord.  Voters could benefit much in the long run by refusing to negotiate with terrorists.  The two-party duopoly holds voters hostage to lethal choices for the planet and humanity.  Believe it or not, billions of non-voters around the planet have a stake in the health of American empire — that stake is often through their heart!  Plus, the growing internal inequalities and ghettoizing of America could use some serious care and attention.  It’s time to demand freedom to choose sustainable, life-compatible candidates and political parties.  More directly, voters could exercise power more productively by demonstrating such freedom rather than simply wishing for freedom to be granted to them from above by the powers that be.  How many cycles of abuse do we the people need to endure to muster the courage and fortitude to demand nothing less than fair elections and candidates that both represent and are responsive to the people?  Corporate persons selecting corporate candidates is unacceptable.  But, alas, we teach people how to treat us.  Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you've found out the exact measure of injustice which will be imposed on them. Frederick DouglassAs Frederick Douglass so shrewdly pointed out, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you’ve found out the exact measure of injustice which will be imposed on them.”  Actually, the powers that be don’t really mind if we put on a good show with whiny grievances or articulate analyses, as long as we don’t change our behavior.  In this context, that means our voting behavior and the long, disciplined work of non-electoral political action.  Change takes time.  Healthy behaviors often take years, decades, sometimes generations, to manifest themselves visibly in the body politic.  If we don’t have the patience, the fortitude, the vision, and the faith that we CAN do better, then we will end up with the same old crap over and over again.  This crap may have improved packaging.  This crap may contain 25% more crap.  Butt, in the end, if we take it, it is ours — all for the price of a mortgaged future!  May we vote without fear.  May we vote FOR love.  May we vote with a hope that transcends tried and true naive optimism of the same-old, same-old delivering the same-old, same-old.  Let’s make it so.

REAL POLITICS, REAL CANDIDATE: Jill Stein 2016 Platform

IF you want a progressive presidential candidate that you can get excited about voting FOR, then Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate is worth serious consideration.  Jill Stein has selected her Green Party running mate, Vice President choice, Ajamu Baraka.  Mr. Baraka is an internationally recognized human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst with a deeply progressive resume.  Here is their platform:

Jill Stein 2016 Platform

Our Power to the People Plan

Climate Action: Protecting Mother Earth and Humanity

  • Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
  • Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.
  • Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
  • Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation.  Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.
  • End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies.  End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.
  • Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides that threaten the survival of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  • Support a strong enforceable global climate treaty that limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and provides just financial compensation to developing countries.
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.
  • Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
  • Protect the rights of future generations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle. When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, in the absence of objective scientific consensus that it is safe, precautionary measures should be taken. The proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
  • Invest in clean air, water, food  and soil for everyone. Clean up America.
  • Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted by harmful pollution and other negative environmental and health effects.
  • Support conversion to sustainable, nontoxic materials and the use of closed-loop, zero waste processes.

 Jobs as a Right, and Key Support for Labor

  • Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Government would be the employer of last resort, and the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work. Create direct public employment, as the Works Progress Administration did,  in public services and public works for those who can’t find private employment.
  • Advance workers’ rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of the wealth they create.
  • Enact the Green Deal full employment program to create 20 million green jobs in sustainable energy, mass transit, sustainable organic agriculture, clean manufacturing and improved infrastructure, as well as social work, teaching, health care, after school and home care, drug rehabilitation and other service jobs.
  • Provide grants and low-interest loans to green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community, rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.
  • Replace NAFTA and other corporate free trade agreements that export American jobs, depress wages, and undermine the sovereign right of Americans and citizens of other countries to control their own economy and political choices. Enact fair trade laws that benefits local workers and communities.
  • Repeal  the Taft-Hartley Act which banned secondary boycotts and permitted state “right-to-work” laws. Enact a federal just cause law (to prohibit firing without just cause,) and outlaw scabbing on striking workers.

 End Poverty:

  • Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
  • Establish a guaranteed minimum income.
  • Reform public assistance to be a true safety net that empowers participants and provides a decent standard of living.
  • Free universal child care.

 Health Care as a Right:

  • Establish an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health program to provide everyone with quality health care, at huge savings by eliminating the $400 billion annually spent on  the paperwork and bureaucracy of health insurance. No co-pays, premiums or deductibles. Access to all health care services, including mental health, dental, and vision. Include everyone, period. No restrictions based on pre-existing illness, employment, immigration status, age, or any other category.
  • Eliminate the cancer of health insurance, which adds costs while reducing access to health care.
  • End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.
  • Eliminate health disparities in communities of color and low-income communities. Ensure easy access to health care in communities of color, including community health centers.
  • Allow full access to contraceptive and reproductive care.
  • Expand women’s access to “morning after” contraception by lifting the Obama Administration’s ban.
  • Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit.
  • Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, and fair trade practices.
  • Prioritize preventive health care, including physical activity, healthy nutrition and pollution prevention.

 Education as a Right:

  • Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.
  • Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude.
  • Protect our public school systems from privatization.
  • Use restorative justice to address conflicts before they occur, and involve students in the process.
  • Evaluate teacher performance through assessment by fellow professionals. Do not rely on high stakes tests that reflect economic status of the community, and punish teachers working in low income communities of color.
  • Replace Common Core with curriculum developed by educators, not corporations, with input from parents and communities.
  • Stop denying students diplomas based on high stakes tests.
  • Stop using merit pay to punish teachers who work with the most challenging student populations.
  • Restore arts, music and recreation to school curriculums.
  • Ensure racially inclusive, sensitive and relevant curriculums.
  • Use Department of Education powers to offer grants and funding to encourage metropolitan desegregation plans based on socioeconomically balanced schools.
  • Recognize poverty as the key obstacle to learning. Ensure that kids come to school ready to learn: healthy, nourished, secure and free from violence.
  • Increase federal funding of public schools to equalize public school funding.

 A Just Economy:

  • Guarantee a living wage job for all.
  • Set a $15/hour federal minimum wage, with indexing.
  • Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve.
  • Support development of worker and community cooperatives and small businesses.
  • Make Wall Street, big corporations, and the rich pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Create democratically-run public banks and utilities.
  • Provide full protection for workplace rights, including the right to a safe workplace and the right to organize a union without fear of firing or reprisal by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work, ending discrimination based on race, gender, or generation.
  • Enact paid sick leave and family leave, strong overtime protections.
  • Take action against wage theft.
  • Oppose two-tier wage systems (e.g., for young people and individuals with disabilities).

 Freedom and Equality:

  • Expand women’s rights, including equal pay and reproductive freedom. Pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).
  • Protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination.
  • Defend indigenous rights,  lands and treaties.
  • Support immigrants’ rights. Create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants.
  • Halt deportations and detentions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants, including the shameful practice of night raids being used to terrorize refugee families.
  • Improve economic and social conditions abroad to reduce the flow of immigrant refugees, in part by repealing NAFTA, ending the failed drug wars, and halting CIA and military interventions against democratically elected governments.
  • Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.
  • Protect the free Internet. Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.

 Criminal Justice Reforms

  • End the failed war on drugs. Replace drug prohibition with harm reduction. Legalize marijuana/hemp. Treat substance abuse as a health problem, not a criminal offense.
  • Release nonviolent drug offenders from prison, removing such offenses from their records, and provide them with both pre- and post-release support.
  • End police brutality, mass incarceration and institutional racism within our justice system. Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • Demilitarize police. End use of SWAT teams and no-knock raids for drugs and serving papers.
  • Repair our communities rather than dump resources into the prison-industrial complex.
  • Establish police review boards so that communities control their police, and not the other way around. Appoint dedicated investigators to investigate every death or serious injury at the hands of police.
  • Enact laws to require independent outside legal representatives to investigate and prosecute any killing or brutality  by the police rather than prosecutors involved in the local criminal justice system.
  • Eliminate harsh  mandatory sentencing requirements which often result in unjustified sentences.

 Justice for All:

  • Enforce the Bill of Rights by protecting the right to free speech and protest, to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure and invasion of privacy, as well as our other Constitutional rights.
  • Terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying, close Guantanamo, and repeal indefinite detention without charge or trial. Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that give the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.
  • America’s youth should not be put in jail for offenses they commit.
  • End discrimination against former offenders who have paid for their crimes and should get a fresh start.
  • Abolish the death penalty.
  • End persecution of government, corporate  and media whistleblowers.
  • Issue an Executive Order prohibiting Federal agencies from conspiring with local police to infringe upon right of assembly and peaceful protest.
  • Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.


Peace and Human Rights:

  • Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, human rights, and nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world.
  • Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases. Ensure a just transition that replaces reductions in  military jobs with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.
  • Stop U.S. financial and military support to human rights abusers. Barring substantial changes in their policies, this would include Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.
  • End the US’ role as the world’s arm supplier.
  • End use of assassination as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, including collaborative assassination through intermediaries.
  • End the destructive US economic and military intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. Such intervention serve the interests of multinational corporations and  global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations.
  • Freeze the bank accounts of countries that are funding terrorism, including the Saudi royal family.
  • US policy regarding Israel and Palestine must be revised to prioritize international law, peace and human rights for all people, no matter their religion or nationality. End US policies that have supported the worst tendencies of the Israeli government in its treatment of the people of Palestine.
  • Restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.
  • Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
  • End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawing troops and military contractors.
  • Join 159 other nations in signing the Ottawa treaty banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
  • Lead on global nuclear disarmament:
  • Rejoin the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US dropped out of in 2002 when it installed missiles and missile bases in Turkey, Romania, and Poland.
  • Agree to Russia’s proposal to jointly reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,000 nuclear weapons each. Also call for all countries to the table to negotiate a treaty for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Remove US nuclear weapons in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands.
  •  Support Russia and China’s joint effort to open negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space.
  •  Pledge to end any further laboratory or sub-critical nuclear tests at the Nevada and Novaya Zemlya test sites, and end all nuclear weapons research, design, and modernization at the weapons laboratories.
  • The US must take the lead in nuclear disarmament by itself starting to disarm. We should create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in the area to join.

Empower the People: Fix our Broken Elections with Real Democracy

  • Eliminate the doctrine of corporate personhood that among other things has been used to justify unlimited corporate spending in elections with a constitutional amendment to clarify that only human beings have constitutional rights.
  • Enact electoral reforms that break the big money stranglehold and create truly representative democracy: full public election financing, ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, and open debates.
  • Protect voters’ rights by enforcing and expanding the constitutional right to vote (including a new amendment if necessary). Enact the full Voter’s Bill of Rights guaranteeing each person’s right to vote, the right to have our votes counted on hand-marked paper ballots, and the right to vote within systems that give each vote meaning. Make voter registration the responsibility of government, not a voluntary opt-in for citizens.
  • Restore Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, requiring preclearance by the Attorney General or federal district court of DC to election law changes in areas previously found to limit voting rights.
  • Abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote with ranked-choice voting..
  • Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers.
  • Guarantee equal access to the debates to all ballot-qualified candidates.
  • Provide equal and free access to the airways for all ballot-qualified candidates, not just those with big campaign war chests.
  • Eliminate “winner take all / first past the post” elections in which the “winner” may not have the support of most of the voters. Replace that system with ranked choice voting and proportional representation.
  • Enact statehood for the District of Columbia to ensure the region has full representation in Congress, and full powers of democratic self-rule.
  • Restore voting rights to offenders, including while in prison.
  • Replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions.
  • Reduce barriers to voting by making Election Day a national holiday.
  • Enact simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls.
  • Protect local democracy by making clear that acts of Congress establish a floor, and not a ceiling, on laws relating to economic regulation, workers’ rights, human rights, and the environment.

A Humane Federal Budget with Fair Taxes

  • Increase government revenues for social needs by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated, dangerous military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
  • Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.
  • Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
  • Strengthen rather than cut Medicare and Social Security. Remove the cap on social security taxes above a certain level of income.
  • Maintain and upgrade our nation’s essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.

Financial Reform

  • Establish federal, state, and municipal publicly-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities and focus on helping people, not enriching themselves.
  • Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.
  • Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.   Prohibit private banks from creating money, thus restoring government’s Constitutional authority.
  • Manage pension funds by boards controlled by workers, not corporate managers.
  • Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
  • Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.

Housing   

  • Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
  • Offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.
  • Create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages, and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants.
  • Expand rental and home ownership assistance and increase funding for public housing.
  • Use Department of Housing and Urban Development authority to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, prohibiting the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to increase low income housing in already segregated neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.

We can build a better future together.

IN DEPENDENCE DAZE POEM — A Little Colony PR: Owed Too Puerto Rico

If at first you don’t secede
You will be tried, tried agin
Taking atoll
Largely unheard
Feigning liberties
In centuries owed looming freedom
Weave earned our lessen
From the British umpire
Never let US leave North America
[Except for certain exceptionalisms proving the rule]
The land of the free
For giving debts
In rolling that island pair o’ dice
Assure abet
Capital flushed down that Saint John
Welcome to the state hood!
That mourning after
A fifth of July
Only too have
Their suffrage denied
Nothing that can’t be fixed
Buy a little colony PR
In dependence daze for all
Let freedom wring
This is the America I no
Enough to make a native restless

On this Independence Day weekend, I dedicate this poem to the people of Puerto Rico, who are nominally American citizens but do not enjoy either statehood or independence.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress may put Puerto Rico solidly back into colony status with a seven-person outside controlling board taking over whatever governance Puerto Rico now has.  This has triggered reconsideration of the status of Puerto Rico by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.  The re-colonization of Puerto Rico as reported by Democracy Now :

The U.S. Senate has passed the so-called PROMESA bill, which will establish a federally appointed control board with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. While the bill’s supporters say the bill will help the island cope with its crippling debt crisis, it has also been widely criticized as a means of removing democratic control from the citizens of Puerto Rico. The Senate’s 68-30 vote comes two days before Puerto Rico is expected to default on a more than $2 billion debt payment. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez led the opposition to the bill.

Sen. Bob Menendez: “It is a vote to authorize an unelected, unchecked and all-powerful control board to determine Puerto Rico’s destiny for a generation or more. It is a bill to force Puerto Rico, without their say, to go $370 million further in debt to pay for this omnipotent control board, which they don’t even want. It is a vote to cut the minimum wage down to $4.25 per hour for young workers in Puerto Rico. It’s a vote to make Puerto Ricans work long overtime hours without fair compensation. It’s a vote to jeopardize collective bargaining agreements. It’s a vote to cut worker benefits and privatize inherently government functions. It’s a vote to close schools and shutter hospitals and cut senior citizens’ pensions to the bone. It’s a vote to put hedge funds ahead of the people. And it’s a vote to sell off and commercialize natural treasures that belong to the people of Puerto Rico.”

May the United States and all of its citizens free themselves from colonial and imperial rule.

PUCO Testimony – FirstEnergy Robbery of Ratepayers

Below is my testimony at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) hearing regarding the proposed corporate welfare for FirstEnergy.  There was an impressive show of force by the anti-nuclear and pro-environmental folks from the region.  There was a show of farce by the usual parade of brown-nosers whose employment is closely related to Davis-Besse nuclear plant operations.  Still, the greatest number of testifiers were opposed to the above-market rate hike to subsidize FirstEnergy’s uncompetitive and dangerous energy generation.  In an unusual move, PUCO literally made every testifier swear.  So, legally, this testimony is “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  May PUCO deny FirstEnergy’s application to rip off ratepayers for private profit.

Testimony at PUCO Public Hearing
Re: First Energy Robbery of Ratepayers
January 15, 2015

My name is Dan Rutt. I am a citizen of Toledo and this great planet. I have a B.S. in biology. I have a masters degree in public health. I am a breather of polluted air from coal-fired electric generators. I share with you a planet that is threatened by global climate instability, due to pollution from carbon dioxide and co-called “natural” gas, more accurately described as methane. I live in the deathly shadow of Davis-Besse, the aging nuclear power plant with the worst safety record in the U.S., thanks to a couple of nuclear plants which have been wisely closed recently for safety and economic reasons. It’s Davis-Besse’s turn — hopefully to be decommissioned, not blow up. To you who live outside the region, welcome to Davis-Besse’s kill zone.

I will take my precious few minutes to plead with PUCO, charged with protecting public health and economic sanity. Do not allow the building of a pipeline from the First Energy corporate board room to the public purse. The boondoggle that is the Davis-Besse nuclear plant drives this issue. Davis-Besse is a poor investment economically, a perilous venture environmentally, and a catastrophic threat to human life along the Great Lakes. The federal government already indemnifies the nuclear industry from accountability for catastrophic events. PUCO should not further this lack of accountability by forcing the public to invest in nuclear plants. If anything we should disinvest from nuclear power.

First Energy has lobbied to prop up coal and nuclear, the way of the past. We need change, not infrastructure and rate plans which will lock us into an unsustainable future. Still worse, First Energy has lobbied to block the transition to renewable energy, the way of the future. If First Energy is allowed to pass on most or all of the risk of its increasingly risky ventures to the public — that is, ratepayers and biological entities susceptible to lethal radiation catastrophes — then I suspect that this could trigger a rush of entrepreneurial types wanting to PUCO all over Ohio.

The energy industry is quite adept at playing the hodgepodge of regulatory agencies for its own profit. They are experts at leveraging the narrowness of regulatory agencies’ perspectives and authority, which, given time limitations here, may be summed up as: “It’s not my job” and “I’m only doing my job.” Ironically, this may leave us with somebody’s job, even a so-called “good” job, but no livable world. If your work leads to the destruction of the planet, then it is not a good job. Job one must be protecting the planet. This includes accountability for those who would “invest” (sic) in the destruction of our planet for profit.

There is little doubt that we are being gamed. And if we don’t get wise to this, there are likely to be many losers, and few winners. I wonder if perhaps this issue might be better served by a change of venue. Perhaps we should add to the mix oversight by the Lottery Commission or Casino Control Commission; it might be more honest. Perhaps we could turn that ole Besse into a cash cow. Convert it from a white elephant into a casino. We could call it “Chernobyl on the Lake — an Eerie Adventure.” We could feature Russian Roulette. Unfortunately, we, the public, are already subject to a game of Russian Roulette, playing with nuclear catastrophe and the steamroller of climate instability. Free us from this deadly game. Help us pave the way to a new and sustainable future. Disapprove this proposed rate plan, the robbery of the many to enrich the few, and a dangerous course for all. Thank you.

[Note: I didn’t read this poem at the hearing, but included it in my written testimony]

Good Job
by Dan Rutt, alias “Top Pun” (it’s just, my pun name)

It was early Monday mourning
When the Davis-Besse nuclear plant
Finally ruptured
At the base of Lake Eerie
Weeping poison
From the once-great lakes
Now a watery grave for both sellers
And consumers
Of atomic drivel
For what human remains
The event became known
Simply as “The rupture”
Leaving sleepy millions
In its wake
Sucked into a glowing sky
For who knows watt
Feudal to press release
Fore their heavenly reword
A paradise rolled
Entranced buy snake eyes
In charge of all that meters
Relegating us to hoarse power
Silent partners
Dealt a roil flush
In a conniving casino
Pain only in skullduggery
Forging height reason
And absolute faith in stonewall
As a bet
A dark wager
Echoing in the empty halls
Of unions and congress
“Good job”

Testimony to NRC to Shut Down Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant

Below is my testimony for today’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s public hearing regarding the potential re-licensing of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant:

My name is Dan Rutt.  So, what are my credentials for being here tonight?  I live in the kill zone of Davis-Besse.  I have lived in the kill zone of nuclear plants almost my entire life.  I suspect few could argue against the mournful reality that way too many people share these credentials.

I do have a B.S. in Biology.  Though, I must confess, my B.S. pales in comparison to the B.S. of the nuclear industry and the NRC.

I also have a masters degree in public health.  But I am not here to debate technical minutiae, nor to discuss the arrangement of deck chairs, the lack of lifeboats, nor the alleged unsinkability of the titanic nuclear industry.

Today, I am here as a poet and an activist.  I am here as a child of mother earth and as a planetary citizen.  Most importantly, I am here today as a prophet.  And let it be said: nothing today will truer be said than that the nuclear industry and the NRC listen to profits!

I am here to do the impossible.  I am here to topple a multi-billion dollar corporate empire with a mere wisp of democracy — approximately 3 minutes worth.  Unfortunately, the NRC’s plan to protect itself from democracy is much stronger than it’s plans to protect us from nuclear disasters.

When the NRC circus comes to town, their death-defying prestidigitations may very well make you gasp.  Still, we will be safely confined to grandstanding.  This dog and pony show might allow us to bitch until we are hoarse.  But, at the end of the day, the elephant in the middle of the big, flimsy tent, will do its thing, and the little people of this world will be left with the mess.  And the NRC circus will skip town, to continue their tour de farce.

So, I am here to do the impossible.  I am here to speak for a thousand generations in 3 minutes.   Usually such hope and possibility requires the venue of something like American Idol.  Well, my friends, we have an American idol: the nuclear industry.  This American idol has reigned for 70 years.  This American idol has rained nuclear waste across this great land.  And today, 70 years later, as the waste of the nuclear fat cats grows larger, they offer a 600-page tome as their litter.  And who dares wade through this litter box?  Who dares to think inside this box?  Who of us will not be pooped out?  Can anyone venturing into this 600-page tomb view it as anything but a deathly undertaking?  What box can possibly hold such eternally reigning transgressions?  Do you have a staff member called Pandora by any chance?!  There is only one sane solution: let’s idle this idol!  The solution is simple: we must end nuclear generations to end nuclear generations.

The ultimate question for today is: In our call to shut Davis-Besse down, will we be heard?

Sure, NRC staff will herd our comments into another neatly formatted tome.  But will we be heard?  Sure, the decision-makers have ears, and stenographers, and word processors.  But will we be heard?

Will the people affected by nuclear power generation be heard?  They call this a public hearing.  But the reality is that it is physically and metaphysically impossible for over 99% of those affected by Davis-Besse’s nuclear waste to be here — for the simple fact that they have not even been born yet.  Will we weigh the testimony today to account for their interests, the interests of future generations?

Can you hear our great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s nuclear executives: Why did you poison our world for a few kilowatts?

Can you hear our great, great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s First Energy shareholders:  Why did you rob our future for a few profits today?

Can you hear our great, great, great grandchildren cry out into the not-so-great ears of today’s parade of crooning cronies, sometimes called politicians:  Why did you sell out your communities for a little patronage?

But…what if we are truly heard today?  Then we might just hear:

The gentle whispers of our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren saying “good job” to the employees in the former nuclear industry — and by “good job” they don’t mean thanks for taking that decent paying job, but rather, holding out and demanding good jobs, jobs friendly to both working families and our environment.

If we are truly heard today, then we might just hear: the gentle whispers of our great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren thanking the nameless thousands across this great land who worked for neither wages nor shareholder profits, but rather, worked freely for a world where it doesn’t pay to destroy our environment.

We must listen to our future generations.  If not us, who?  If not now, when?

As for me, in this generation, I will gladly live without Davis-Besse.  I will gladly trade the sliver of energy produced during my lifetime to spare thousands of generations the poison of nuclear waste.  Though make no mistake, even if the problem of nuclear waste disposal was somehow miraculously solved, I would still gladly trade this energy source simply to avoid the probability of a nuclear catastrophe from the safety disaster that Davis-Besse has so proven.   Shut it down!

Please listen to the prophets who seek the good of all, not the profits which only enrich the few, at the expense of the 99%.  THANK YOU!

Good Job
by Dan Rutt, alias “Top Pun” (it’s just, my pun name)

It was early Monday mourning
When the Davis-Besse nuclear plant
Finally ruptured
At the base of Lake Eerie
Weeping poison
From the once-great lakes
Now a watery grave for both sellers
And consumers
Of atomic drivel
For what human remains
The event became known
Simply as “The rupture”
Leaving sleepy millions
In its wake
Sucked into a glowing sky
For who knows watt
Feudal to press release
Fore their heavenly reword
A paradise rolled
Entranced buy snake eyes
In charge of all that meters
Relegating us to hoarse power
Silent partners
Dealt a roil flush
In a conniving casino
Pain only in skullduggery
Forging height reason
And absolute faith in stonewall
As a bet
A dark wager
Echoing in the empty halls
Of unions and congress
“Good job”

POEM: Davis-Besse Nuclear Disaster – “Good Job”

It was early Monday mourning
When the Davis-Besse nuclear plant
Finally ruptured
At the base of Lake Eerie
Weeping poison
From the once-great lakes
Now a watery grave for both sellers
And consumers
Of atomic drivel
For what human remains
The event became known
Simply as “The rupture”
Leaving sleepy millions
In its wake
Sucked into a glowing sky
For who knows watt
Feudal to press release
Fore their heavenly reword
A paradise rolled
Entranced buy snake eyes
In charge of all that meters
Relegating us to hoarse power
Silent partners
Dealt a roil flush
In a conniving casino
Pain only in skullduggery
Forging height reason
And absolute faith in stonewall
As a bet
A dark wager
Echoing in the empty halls
Of unions and congress
“Good job”

This poem is inspired the chronic reality of having lived in the kill zone (50-mile radius) of nuclear reactors most of my life.  Currently, Toledo is smack dab between two nuclear power plants with very poor safety records, that is, Davis-Besse and Fermi 2.  A nuclear disaster at either of these nuclear reactors on Lake Erie would be catastrophic for both human populations and the entire ecosystem of the Great Lakes region.  For the oft cited improbability of such disasters, I publish this poem around the 3-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear reactors melting down, and still melting down with no good end in sight.

The specific theme of this anti-nuclear poem is triggered by multiple disturbing experiences at public hearings on these nuclear reactors.  At such hearings, there is typically a parade of power plant union workers — think Homer Simpson — and fawning public officials — think Mayor Quimby.  Their well-orchestrated homilies extol well-paying jobs and how magnificently the plant has overcome past safety failures.  Local political cronies typically wax on about how great corporate citizens these huge and hugely irresponsible energy companies are for their patronized communities.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is a willing conspirator and ringmaster to this surreal circus of blessed assurance.  I am particularly disturbed by how enthusiastically workers, and specifically labor unions, are willing to worship any job, however “well-paying,” that endangers humanity and Mother Earth.  Though, if you’re going to destroy the planet, I suppose it seems better to get well-paid along the way.

The farcical facade of nuclear safety has been exposed in three not-so-easy steps: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.  I, for one, am not waiting for a twelve step program to shutter the drunken gait of the nuclear industry.

POEM: War on Poverty

War on Poverty

In our nation’s capital
We are drowning in think tanks
Our chief armament
In the war on poverty
And for all of their business
They have made up their mine
Poverty is not the problem
Poverty is the solution
Yet the war ever undertaking
Congress versus progress
Commander-in-chief of CEOs
Backed by supreme courts and county jailers
Triune bosses super intending won
Until six feet under
With nary a heart
The only pauper resting spot
From their holey canons
Granting fiats where one can scarcely ford
Pronouncing victory
In their own dialectical weigh
Emptying their echo chambers
Buy and buy
Only saying
Let them eat ordnances

This poem is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the “War on poverty” declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.  Of course, there is war and poverty aplenty still.  Sometime in the 1980s, during the inglorious Reagan regime, I heard a phrase which has stuck with me ever since: Poverty is not the problem; poverty is the solution.  Fortunately, this phrase was uttered as a biting critique of the implicit assumptions of a capitalistic plutocracy.  The war on poverty is about the same age as me. The material wealth in the United States of America has more than tripled during this time.  Further, for at least centuries, there have been enough material resources to meet the basic needs of every human being on this planet.  Answering the question of why there is widespread poverty worldwide and within the fabulously wealthy U.S. is perhaps the most important inquiry humans on this planet can address.  The only real scarcity on this planet is within the human heart.  Talk is cheap, and rhetoric is not very nutritious.  Surely, Man does not live by bread alone.  As surely, Man does not live by focaccia alone.  Mother Theresa perhaps said it best: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

Martin Luther King Day history and reflection

Martin Luther King Day is coming up on January 20, 2014.  MLK Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the third Monday of every January.  The first official celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as a federal holiday in the U.S., was 1986. This upcoming MLK Day will be the 29th annual celebration.  Many younger folk will not remember a time without a MLK Day holiday.  However, much like Dr. King’s long-haul struggles, getting an official King holiday met with strong resistance for a long time.

As told here:

“Congressman John Conyers, an African-American Democrat from Michigan, spearheaded the movement to establish a MLK day. Representative Conyers worked in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and was elected to Congress in 1964, where he championed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Four days after King’s assassination in 1968, Conyers introduced a bill that would make January 15 a federal holiday in King’s honor. But Congress was unmoved by Conyers’ entreaties, and though he kept reviving the bill, it kept failing in Congress.

In 1970, Conyers convinced New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor to commemorate King’s birthday, a move that the city of St. Louis emulated in 1971. Other localities followed, but it was not until the 1980s that Congress acted on Conyers’ bill. By this time, the congressman had enlisted the help of popular singer Stevie Wonder, who released the song “Happy Birthday” for King in 1981, and Conyers had organized marches in support of the holiday-in 1982 and 1983, respectively.

Conyers was finally successful when he reintroduced the bill in 1983. But even in 1983 support was not unanimous. In the House of Representatives, William Dannemeyer, a Republican from California, led the opposition to the bill, arguing that it was too expensive to create a federal holiday and estimating that it would cost the federal government $225 million annually in lost productivity. Reagan’s administration concurred with Dannemeyer’s arguments, but the House passed the bill with a vote of 338 for and 90 against.

When the bill reached the Senate, the arguments opposing the bill were less grounded in economics and more reliant on outright racism. Senator Jesse Helms, a Democrat from North Carolina, held a filibuster against the bill and demanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) make public its files on King, asserting that King was a Communist who did not deserve the honor of a holiday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had investigated King throughout the late 1950s and 1960s at the behest of its chief, J. Edgar Hoover, and had even tried intimidation tactics against King, sending the civil rights leader a note in 1965 that suggested he kill himself to avoid embarrassing personal revelations hitting the media.

King, of course, was not a Communist and had broken no federal laws, but by challenging the status quo, King and the Civil Rights Movement discomfited the Washington establishment. Charges of Communism were a popular way to discredit people who dared speak truth to power during the 50s and 60s, and King’s opponents made liberal use of that tactic.

When Helms tried to revive that tactic, Reagan defended him. A reporter asked Reagan about the charge of Communist against King, and Reagan said that Americans would find out in around 35 years, referring to the length of time before any material the FBI gathers on a subject could be released. Reagan later apologized, and a federal judge blocked the release of King’s FBI files.

Conservatives in the Senate tried to change the name of the bill to “National Civil Rights Day” as well, but they failed to do so. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 78 for and 22 against. Reagan capitulated, signing the bill into law.”

It wasn’t until November 2, 1983, that President Reagan signed the bill that made Martin Luther King Day an official federal holiday, to be first celebrated on January 20, 1986.

I have a tradition of attending our local community-wide annual MLK celebration.  In Toledo this event is called a “unity” celebration.  I find the theme of unity somewhat incongruous with the divisive issues that Dr. King boldly and controversially confronted and persistently pursued.  These celebrations seem much closer to “have a nice day” than “get jailed for justice.”  While I consider it a victory to have won official recognition of Dr. King’s life and life’s work in the form of a governmental and nationwide celebration, the institutionalization of Dr. King’s institution-challenging message and life’s work is problematic.  Of course, hard-fought victories can never be permanently institutionalized, but must be fought and re-fought by spirited and compassionate folks across generations.  Institutions tend to be guardians of the past and the status quo.  Fully alive people need to secure the day and the future.  Like they say: activism is the rent you must pay for living on this planet.  Otherwise our lives will face foreclosure.

Of course, MLK Day cannot expect to be immune from the inane, monetizing, unjust powers that be — just like every other holiday (formerly holy day).  You can expect way more people to get excited about businesses selling discounted merchandise of MLK Day, or most any other holiday, than righteous and indignant people overturning the moneychangers’ stranglehold of debt on working people or their insistence to monetize every ideal or spiritual venture.  Every celebration is met with a tsunami of merchandising.  Buy your sweetie something expensive, commensurate with your love — which can’t be bought, but may be sold.  Celebrate dead presidents by spending dead presidents.  Buy some munitions for Independence Day.  Honor veterans by living out the consumers’ creed: Live, Work, Buy, Die.  Thanksgiving has been overrun by the commercialization of Christmas.  Perhaps this is not surprising, since the Christmas season now reaches before Halloween.  Martin Luther King, Jr., quite aptly, is in good company with Jesus.  Yet the eternal question remains: Is MLK Day just a day off?

POEM: Eternal Seasoning

A house divided soon Falls
From fair-weathered friends
A summer fallowing
Hommés united spring eternal
From perennial buds
After a parent winter
So goes
The eternal seasoning
A savor for all
The whirled

This short poem is about hope, friendship, and collective action.  I must give props to M.K. Gandhi who said something with a similar sentiment: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it — always.”

Hope is a common theme in my writings.  Partly because the world so commonly seems in so desperate need of hope.  Partly because I find the nature of hope intriguing, elusive and indefatigable!  After all, I literally graduated from Hope College!  Of course, it was with a B.S., so you may want to take what I say with a grain of salt.  Though, personally, I’d prefer that you’d take it with innumerable grains of salt, as in Gandhi’s Salt Campaign for independence from British rule:

Led by Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Congress’s Working Committee decided to target the 1882 British Salt Act that gave the British a monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt and allowed them to levy a salt tax. Although he faced initial ambivalence and opposition to the idea of targeting the Salt Laws, Gandhi asserted that salt would help unite Indians of all religious communities, castes, and regions for salt represented a basic and crucial dietary need that the British colonial government monopolized for its own benefit. By encouraging all Indians to defy the Salt Laws by manufacturing and selling salt themselves, Gandhi argued, Indians could collectively challenge the authority of the Raj.

At the time of the Indian Salt campaign (1930-31), the United States was in the Great Depression, as a result of reckless financial speculation, another great trickle down from the money changers of the world.  Some things never change.  The more recent Occupy Wall Street movement recognized that the 99% vastly outnumber the 1% and that direct democracy, empowering the masses to take control of their lives without relying on the profiteering inter-mediators of the 1%.  Many mourn the rising and falling tides of social movements, but the currents favoring truth hold sway forever.  Like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”

The “house divided” reference is both to Mark 3:25: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” and the famous speech by Abraham Lincoln during his presidential re-election campaign amidst the Civil War (NOTE: “civil war” is perhaps one of the greatest oxymorons ever).  The most famous passage of the speech is:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

As described in Wikipedia, the people’s encyclopedia, Lincoln used this speech to frame the epic moral and political question of the day:

“Lincoln’s goals with this speech were, firstly, to differentiate himself from Douglas, the incumbent; and secondly, to publicly voice a prophecy for the future. Douglas had long advocated popular sovereignty, under which the settlers in each new territory decided their own status as a slave or free state; he had repeatedly asserted that the proper application of popular sovereignty would end slavery-induced conflict, and would allow northern and southern states to resume their peaceful coexistence. Lincoln, however, responded that the Dred Scott decision had closed the door on Douglas’s preferred option and left the Union with only two remaining outcomes: the United States would inevitably become either all slave, or all free. Now that the North and the South had come to hold distinct opinions in the question of slavery, and now that this issue had come to permeate every other political question, the time would soon come when the Union would no longer be able to function.”

This poem attempts to capture some of the flavor — the eternal seasoning — of this perennial cycling and recycling of the work for justice throughout our lives and across generations.  Savor the high tides, but be not discouraged when the tectonic shifts of social change seem imperceptible.  Winter always passes, and hope springs eternal.  And if you still have a headache from all of this, just mix two metaphors, ingest gently, and call me in the mourning.

POEM: Smoking Guns

Smoking Guns

Gun control is their aim
Bringing a bout
Sad states
And a stag nation
Wear points are sported
Big bucks are the game
Triggering depression
Beyond one’s cope
Looking down
The business end
Of a gun shaking
As one’s head
Worse than beating
Against the wall
Steadied boots
Quaking again
Mourning posthumous convictions
Of scofflaw abiding citizens
Accost paid
Wrapped in flags
Until free at last
Like taking life
Most like one own
Or another
Like black male
Against one’s will
No more amendments seconded
In this ultimate bill of rites
Pain in full
Coffin at the price
High as a kite
And nonnegotiable        
Hostage too smoking
Guns unlocked
And loaded
Still packing
In their sleep
Dreams of night stands
And steel pillows
Leaving red necks
And faces
Like a smothers love
Taking homicides
As common ground
All the wile
Shooting off their mouths
Making impossible Glock suckers
Deceasing and desisting
The Man
Behind the curtain
Firing the lynch pin
For all times
As smoking guns
Don’t prove anything
So says anyone with half a brain

The title of this poem, “Smoking Guns,” is at least a triple pun.  The first meaning, most literal, is a gun just fired.  The second meaning refers to a quest for direct evidence of something (like a gun being fired!).  The third meaning is a bit more nuanced and fleshed out in the poem: literally smoking a gun by holding it in one’s mouth and committing suicide by firing it and blowing one’s brains out.  While this may seem more crude than nuanced, it is referencing an oft overlooked reality about guns and public health and safety: guns kill more Americans by suicide than murder.  The bizarre notion that guns offer some great protection in a dangerous world is negated by the frightening reality that someone possessing a gun is more likely to shoot and kill themselves, then kill another.  Now, this may be some bizarre karmic feedback to those with guns, but it can’t get much stranger — another loaded pun!  If someone possessing a gun manages not to kill themselves, they are far more likely to mistakenly kill a family member than a truly threatening stranger.  Of course, this leapfrogs over the tragic reality of purely unintentional deaths from accidental discharges, most often of a gun owner’s family members or friends!  Only when guns are outlawed will outlaws accidentally shoot their kids!  So much for protection.

The reality is guns are lethal consumer products that have escaped safe, commonsense regulation — unparalleled by any other consumer product with such inherent lethality.  Guns and suicide are the perfect example of this public health problem.  Guns are a very effective means of killing oneself that doesn’t take any special knowledge or training.  Very few people “fail” when trying to kill themselves with a gun.  Combined with the nature of suicide attempts, guns become particularly lethal.  Firearms are involved in over half of all suicides.  Most suicide attempts are by people depressed or distressed who experience an acute episode of severe suicidal thoughts.  These episodes are most frequently minutes or hours.  Without easy access to lethal means, most suicidal episodes are survived.  The choice of suicide methods is key. Moderating easy access to firearms is the most effective means of reducing suicides.  For example, compared to men, women are about three times more likely to experience depression, twice as likely to attempt suicide, yet only about a fourth as likely to “successfully” complete suicide.  This is largely related to the suicidal methods chosen.  Simply put, women use guns much less frequently in suicide attempts.  Women are only about a third as likely as men to own a gun, and are less likely to live in households with guns.

The main alternative approach to preventing suicides is having an excellent mental health system.  Unfortunately, this approach is at least as complex, and perhaps similarly intractable, as altering easy gun access.  Plus, building and maintaining an excellent mental health system is surely more financially expensive and less cost-effective than sensible regulation of firearms.  Of course, pursuing both would have definite payoffs, reducing suicide and much more!

Having worked in public health for many years, I see the parallels in the battles to bring both tobacco use and guns into a reasonable place in protecting the publics health.  Frankly, I see gun right’s nuts as even crazier than tobacco company executives lining up in front of congress and saying that they don’t believe that nicotine is addictive.  It’s difficult to think of another area of public policy and public health where the political and societal realities are so divorced from science and reason.  May we escape the ideological traps that threaten the public’s health and well-being.  After all, guns don’t die, people do!

POEM: Hard on the Poor

Hard on the Poor

Our moral compass
Goes south
Skewering
Those below
Under lyin’
Poverty abashed
Without abjections
Needle US
Too say
Pricks
Hand shakers
And grand standers
Razing just for fund
He’ll freeze over
Before changing any position
Undertaking another bleak poll
Never about-facing mistakes
Fueled by deft ears
As the eaves drop on the homeless
Given props by spooks
Out of focus groups
Like miss diagnosing
The mortified
A rhino virus
In the middle of the living
Room for a growing boy
Like a Pinocchio knows
Running up bills
Virulent peckers
A fecund plague
Deifying gravitas
With hearts sow cold
Bringing them to their sneeze
A wretched climax
Eyes watering
When seize it
Progress
And congress
Members stiff
The public
Relations privatizing
A press corpse
Unable to issue a retraction
Interminable hacks
That even in their coffin
They are still
Convinced that they are
Looking up
Mean wile
Enjoin bye
The least of these
Has been
All ready
Spinning
In their gravy
Known as
Underground resistance
Ever more
Digging their new haunts
Offering no quarter
Giving berth
To just deserts
Best served
Cold
As south is south
And north is north
Encompassing awe
Probity

This poem offers a bevy of mixed metaphors and social commentary.  I wrote this poem before the latest Republican government shutdown, but its themes are eternal in politics.  The rich get richer and the poor get the shaft.  Republicans moralize to others and then epitomize sleaziness themselves.  Politics is governed more by money than the needs of the people.  Proselytizing politicians paint themselves into a corner driving their internal contradictions into explosive stupidity matched only by their intransigence.

Still, reality gives feedback.  Karma wends its way into the path of even the morally blind.  With wisdom, the subtle nuances of life’s ways can be discerned from a distance, and it’s gentle signs guide us in harmony.  With increasing foolishness, a dulled capacity to read wisdom’s kindly signs, ever-increasingly blunt warnings of impending danger will be offered.  If we insist on continuing down ever-increasingly perilous paths, mere red flags will turn to violence — sometimes physical violence, sometimes emotional violence, sometimes political violence.  Violence is the province of fools, whose understanding ends at blunt instruments.  May we keep our eye on wisdom’s gentle signs guiding us to harmony amidst giant oafs clumsily swinging their blunt instruments.

BP Tar Sands Refinery Expansion – PEOPLE’S HEARING Testimony

Below is my testimony at the PEOPLE’S HEARING to respond to the Ohio EPA’s sham public hearing on BP-Husky’ Draft Air Pollution Permit as part of their Oregon Ohio refinery re-tooling to process oil tar sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet.  This People’s Hearing was sponsored by the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy.  I was speaking on behalf of Occupy Toledo and planetary citizens everywhere:

Welcome to Oregon, Ohio — now with 50% less stench!

My name is Dan Rutt.  I am a long-time resident of Toledo, a citizen of Ohio and these United States of America.  However, I have an over-arching allegiance; that allegiance is to our planet, which sustains our life and the life of all living beings from all nations and ecosystems.  I am a planetary citizen.  I am calling on all planetary citizens to rise above lesser allegiances and protect our planet from British Petroleum and other transnational corporations who stand against the interests of humanity and life on our planet.

I am standing outside the formal EPA hearing, so we the people can have our own hearing, a people’s hearing, that is not limited to narrow, technical matters, while BP and others are literally mining our planet in order to burn it.  BP wants to re-tool their refining to process tar sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, the bottom of the barrel.  This is exactly the wrong direction we should be headed.  Spending billions on an infrastructure to process the most polluting, least economically viable and least sustainable fossil fuel will only lock us onto the wrong path for years — years that we and our planet cannot afford.  We need to switch to safe and renewable energy NOW — not next year, not next decade, not next generation, but TODAY, June 5th, 2013!

How about investing billions of dollars to switch to clean, safe, renewable, and sustainable energy?  Where is your plan for that BP?

Unfortunately, the Ohio EPA is powerless to stop BP from destroying Mother Earth.  The EPA may be able to regulate the lethal injection of Mother Earth while BP euthanizes her.  But I am here to say, that that is not good enough!  Merely deciding how we are going to destroy the planet is insanity of the highest order.  We need to end our addiction to fossil fuels or we will become fossils ourselves.  BP is a pusher, profiting from this deadly addiction, and should be treated as such. 

Real people suffer environmental destruction while corporate persons like BP are insulated from their crimes.   Three years ago, BP caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.  This was not an “accident.”  It was a criminal act.  Now, they want us to entrust Mother Earth to them, again.  As the U.S. Department of Justice put it, “The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence.”  BP has pled guilty of felony manslaughter, environmental crimes, and obstruction of Congress.  While no BP executives have gone to jail, planetary citizens resist their criminal behavior and fuelish business practices and these planetary citizens go to jail.

Inside, there will be a parade of people on the payroll of British Petroleum, some literally on the payroll, some just hoping to get some of the economic scraps from refining our planet into money.  This is on the heels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, which in 2010 cited Oregon’s BP-Husky refinery for 62 safety violations and fined the company nearly $3 million for “exposing workers to a variety of hazards.”  Then, this year, on March 10th, the BP-Husky refinery malfunctioned and released extremely dangerous hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide pollution into the air.

Should we trust BP?  Is BP a good corporate citizen?  In the years leading up to the BP gulf oil spill, on about an annual basis, BP pled guilty to criminal acts, each time saying that they were going to change their ways.  Mother Earth is a battered women, BP is a batterer, and it’s time to end the cycle of criminal abuse.  Buying her flowers and offering her gushing words have not stopped BP’s gushing oil in the past.  We don’t want your sweet talk.  We want you to stop raping the earth!

The only real question here today is whether or not we can avoid the Native American prophecy that “When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”

BP will you fundamentally change your fossilized business practices and switch to clean, safe, renewable, and sustainable energy? 

I have in my hands 38 pages of documents from Ohio EPA regarding the draft Air Pollution Permit-to-Install for BP-Husky Refining, Limited Liability Corporation, with an accent on the “Limited Liability”!  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in biology, a Master’s Degree in Public Health; I’ve even had a graduate level course in environmental genetic toxicology.  I’ve spent years working in and with government bureaucracies.  How can one adequately address the issues raised in a few minutes?  What I conclude from this draft permit and tonight’s so-called public hearing is that they are a smokescreen.  Buried in this smokescreen of technocratic minutiae is our planet being buried; or perhaps more accurately: unburied and burned — literally, the cremation of our planet.  This Ohio EPA sham hearing today is lethal to democracy, thwarting the larger will of the people, as it stands by, impotent to protect our environment, the very environment it is sworn to protect.  Meanwhile, BP and others are destroying our planet.

Anybody who lives or passes through Oregon, Ohio, knows that BP doesn’t pass the stink test.  You don’t need a doctoral degree to know that our fossil fuels addiction threatens our planet and the life it sustains.  We can’t depend on British Petroleum or other fossilized corporations to protect our planet.  We can’t depend on politicians or bureaucrats to protect our planet.  If the planet is to be saved, then it depends on you and me, we the people.  Thank you for coming out to this people’s hearing.  Thank you for listening.

I will now conclude by reading a poem, entitled, O Children of Mother Earth, Arise!

Listen, O children of Mother Earth!
Hear, those who have ears
Hear the streams of clean water, our tributaries of life
Hear the streams of cars and trucks dirtying the air we breathe
See, O children of Mother Earth!
See, those who have eyes
See the beauty of fields and forests, mountains and meadows
See the scars of strip mines and cesspools of toxins
Smell, O children of Mother Earth!
Smell, those who have noses
Smell the fragrance of wildflowers and gardens
Smell the stench of oil and coal combustion, and chemical cocktails concocted
Reach out and touch, O children of Mother Earth!
Reach out and touch, those who have hands
Reach out and touch the soil and sun which fuels nature’s bounty
Reach out and touch the concrete and landfills, the Alpha and Omega of so-called “progress”
Taste, O children of Mother Earth!
Taste, those who have mouths
Taste the fruits of her plenty, enough for all
Taste the bitterness of her children’s petty scarcity, robbing brother and sister
Feel, O children of Mother Earth!
Feel, those who have hearts
Feel the call of nature
Feel the greed of those who would of nature relieve themselves
Speak, O children of Mother Earth!
Speak, those who have tongues
Speak of the splendor of a Mother’s care
Speak of the horror of an orphaned race
Arise, every living creature, O children of Mother Earth!
Return to her lap, and breast, and arms
Turn away from her desecration
Take your rightful place, to neither rule from above nor rule from below
Work side by side
Play together
Live neighborly
For we share the same fate
Whether we share or not
O children of Mother Earth

NOTE: There were an estimate 18 to 18,000 people at the People’s Hearing.  THANKS to all who showed up!

Here is the testimony of Kristina Moazed, Chair, Western Lake Erie Sierra Club:

The proposal that BP has revealed to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and to us, the public, has been improperly piecemealed and made to appear as if it will be just fine for this refinery to accept tar sands.
We must begin at the very source of these oil bearing sands. Canada’s government, and the province of Alberta are massively destroying Alberta’s pristine, northern ancient forests, poisoning the water sources of their native wildlife, and natives and other Albertans for one generation’s profit and greed. The desecration of this form of extraction is seriously forever.

   >  This permitting decision is being made in ignorance of recognized scientific principles that do predict increasingly worse consequences of global warming.

   >  The decision to go forward with tar sands as a source of petroleum rejects the scientifically-grounded conclusion that to even begin to slow down the global warming and that our over-use of fossil fuels has put into motion, we must keep as much of the remaining carbon fuels as possible in the ground: they must never be extracted and burned!

   >  There is no consideration in this decision process of public health effects on human populations in our Toledo-Oregon-Lake Erie shore region as a consequence of the higher volumes of known carcinogenic and other pollutants which will be emitted!

    >  There is no consideration given to otheralternate mitigation activities, such as the building and promotion of mass transit, which would consume less petroleum, create far more permanent jobs, and cause much less pollution than perpetuating North America’s one-car, one-driver folly.

    >  There is no certainty that high volumes of petroleum coke will actually be generated by the proposed altered refinement process.   And if it is, that coke will not be sheltered from the elements and will accumulate less than a mile from Lake Erie and one of its estuaries.
Have any emergency plans been put in place in case of explosion or fire while processing these dirty bitumen fuels so close to our source of drinking water?
Have possible impacts to tourism and the maritime and fishing industries been considered?
I’m sure if we contact the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the birding crowd will have plenty of objections to the increased pollution in and desecration of the surrounding habitat!

Just one example of tar sands refining immediately to our north, in Detroit will give us an example of what happens. Emissions of sulfur dioxide did decrease, but emissions of hydrogen sulfide increased as they do everywhere bitumen is refined. Hydrogen sulfide is known for its rotten egg odor and is potentially fatal in sufficient concentrations. Residents near this Marathon Refinery in Detroit participated in Air Sampling which was overseen by Global Community Monitor, an environmental group based in California. In 2010 they found high levels of benzene, a carcinogen, and hydrogen sulfide near the refinery. IN one case, more than 20 chemicals, including benzene were detected in a resident’s basement. An EPA investigation traced the contamination to Marathon’s dumping of wastewater into the city sewer system! “We were shocked to learn they did not have their own discharge pipe into a body of water like, I believe, every other refinery in the United States ,” said Denny Larson, Global Community Monitor’s executive director. How convenient that the BP Refinery is right on the shore of Lake Erie! I think we will need to watch their discharges very carefully!

   >  These production changes are being undertaken by a global corporation which has seriously poisoned the Gulf of Mexico through crass, careless and dangerous negligence and deliberately ignoring safety regulations causing the oil spill in 2010, and its still incomplete remediation.
Now that we know BP has gamed the regulators and the public into bring tar sands cracking here to Oregon, Ohio, exactly what basis is there for any trust that consideration of public health and avoidance of environmental destruction hold any priority for BP?

We must promote green, renewable and sustainable energy! We must conserve and become more efficient our usage!

THANKS Kristina!

Occupy Wall Street Buttons

I am finally uploaded a new batch of Occupy Wall Street designs.  This batch of 125 political designs is mostly Occupy Wall Street designs, but there are also a large series of “stop socialism” designs, a large series of Fox news parodies, and a new line of designs: vegetarian.  I still have hundreds of other designs made that I still need to upload, so stay tuned.

The designs below are linked to button products, but each of these designs is available in all of Top Pun’s products such as T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, magnets, key chains, sticker sheets, posters, and caps.

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs, which also include more Occupy Wall Street related designs.

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can't UNDERSTAND It For You - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 - I Can Live With That - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don't Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One - I Stand With The Odds - Stand Together - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves - Edward R. Murrow Quote - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can't Be Bought (Heart Cloud) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Elections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES - Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism --End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence - POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren't A Vegetarian, You Probably Don't Know Beans - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It's Called Responsibility - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Medicare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Join 'em, Beat 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn't - POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Postal Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Education (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War - I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Anti-Corporation, I'm Anti-Corruption - POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power - POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It - George Carlin Quote - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Social Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren't People, We Are - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End the Court System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery - No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It's WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Military (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke - Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others - POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Park System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The State (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You've Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling  - Occupy Wall Street - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don't Ask Me Why I'm A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You're Not - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First - We'll Rape the Other Planets Later - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You - POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime - Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech - SHUT UP! - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan - Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes - Wall Street - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste - Pay as You Glow - POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 - POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - BIG BROTHER'S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool - REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System - Republicrats - POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way - POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B - POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country's Operating System - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - SO RIGHT WE'RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life - Unborn, GOOD - Born,  BAD - Born Again, GOOD - POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) - POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption - POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies - POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias - Stephen Colbert - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic - Too Big To Fail - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - REPUBLICAN PARTY  Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It's Un-Fucking Believable - POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl - Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them - POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) - POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF - POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams - CANCELLED - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian - Compassion Doesn't Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We're Full of Xenophobia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN - Join The Evolution - POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn't Free - So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For - POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island - NO NUCLEAR POWER - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don't Do - POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It's Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It's Called VIOLENCE - POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greed Over People - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When You're In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greedy Old Perverts - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans - POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To - POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts - POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I'm Different, I Laugh at You Because You're All the Same - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs.

Religious Liberty, Conscience Exemptions for Everything

With the Obama administration’s recent rules requiring organizations owned by religious groups to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employees’ health insurance, conservative groups and the Roman Catholic Church have gotten all their panties in a bunch, which is particularly interesting since most of them are men.  I like the take on religious exemptions for everything by Jonathan Zasloff and conscience clauses by Mark Kleiman in the reality-based community blogs.   The most obvious religious exemptions would be for Quakers, Mennonites, and other pacifist religious groups, to have to pay for anything related to war.  The more interesting suggestion was by Mr. Zasloff:

Why not include immigration law in the picture?

“You shall love the stranger, for you were a stranger in the land of Egypt.”  This is not an isolated Biblical line: it is repeated no less than 36 times (really) in the Bible.  So synagogues, churches, and mosques (musn’t forget mosques) should just make it clear that they should not have to obey immigration law: they will hire or provide services to anyone and everyone regardless of immigration status.  Any attempts by any law enforcement agency to prosecute them or in any way harass or deport immigrants who are part of their religious communities violates their freedom of conscience to include them (not to mention their rights to freely associate).

I think that both of these authors are offering these suggestions more as tongue-in-cheek parodies than as serious policy considerations.  This is not to denigrate in any way the importance or depths of the religious beliefs of any of these groups, including the anti-contraceptive crowd.  I believe that what is being legitimately mocked is an immature insistence that religious liberty, at least for their own particular group, requires absolute unchecked freedom.  This is a fiction in the real world.  The legitimate questions asked by these bloggers have taken us just far enough down the road of logic to see the absurd conclusions that must be drawn if such logic is taken to its nth degree.

As with all freedoms, religious freedoms must be balanced with other freedoms.  This will never make everybody completely happy, and fortunately, will not make anybody all-powerful, with infinite, absolute, unchecked freedom.  That sounds like the kind of freedom reserved for God anyways, and you’d think that religious folks could respect that, even insist upon it.

I have commented elsewhere on this issue, particularly in the context of the current birth control insurance mandate debate (see Birth Control as a Human Right – Toledo Protest).

I think this issue to be resolved in the real world, religious groups, claiming a particular bastion of truth, need to vote with the existential force of their lives, to make these beliefs real in the world, not just words, particularly words to control other people.  In the 1980s and 90s the Roman Catholic Church provided strong leadership in the sanctuary movement which protected persons who are in this country of illegal status due to economic or political violence.  The Roman Catholic Church took real risks and paid a price for incarnating their beliefs.  Pacifist religious groups have refused to go to war and pay war taxes for generations.  As a religious pacifist myself, I was convicted by the United States of America for refusing to register for the military draft, and I was incarcerated for a few months.  I think I made my point.

The state cannot be trusted to strike a balance between religious liberty and other liberties.  This is precisely why religious groups need to be about the difficult and real work of living out their beliefs in such a way that their importance is manifest to the rest of the world.  Since the US made a federal case of it, my resistance of draft registration, I learned that according to the US Supreme Court, that the US has the absolute power to conscript anybody for any reason, and there is no constitutional right, religious or otherwise, to refuse military conscription.  The US government could conscript your grandmother if they wanted to.  The specific language cited in my case, which was used to reject a claim of religious liberty, was that conscientious objection was by “legislative grace” alone.  I for one, do not by the grace of Congress go.

The bottom line:  if we are going to live by God’s grace, we will need to fight for our liberties and rights, and real grace is not cheap, it has a cost; if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be worth much now would it?

 

Post Office Not Broke

Nation magazine blogger John Nichols (a former Toledoan for my Toledo friends) reports in The Post Office Is Not Broke about all of the hype about the post office and how it is supposedly going bankrupt, an antiquated institution, etc.  I personally and professionally have an interest in the state of the post office, since I run a mail-order business, and I have a local branch of the post office only about a mile from my house, which is walking distance in nice weather.  My local branch of the post office is on the chopping block to be eliminated, along with several others in Toledo.  It would be a sad day for our inner city neighborhood to lose its post office.  I am more than willing to deal with changes that might be necessary, even if that means closing some branches or reducing mail delivery to five days a week.  However, such changes, at least at the scale that is being proposed, are unnecessary.  The U.S. Postal Service has had a requirement to fully pre-fund its retirees health care benefits.  No other government agency or private company bears the same burden, which costs over $5 billion each year, roughly the amount that the post office is in financial trouble over.  The U.S. Postal Service cannot compete, or run well, with this onerous burden.  The U.S. Postal Service should be relieved of this burden.  This will not endanger retirees, and will assure continued excellent service to the American people. Go here to help America’s postal employees press Congress to Save America’s Postal Service.  Long live the U.S Postal Service!