Month: February 2017

Pocahontas Is a Great Hero Elizabeth Warren Should Embrace

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By Harvey Wasserman, origianlly posted on Reader Supported News

22 February 17

enator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would do well to embrace our early American hero Pocahontas. She might even thank Donald Trump for making the link.

With his signature sneering, leering sexism and racism, Trump refers to the Massachusetts senator with the name of this real-life historic figure as if it were a put-down.

But Pocahontas is a true American icon. Unlike Trump, she was greatly loved by her people, and her character was impeccable. She was deeply admired in England, where she travelled with her husband and young son and then tragically passed away, having barely turned twenty.

Throughout her career, Senator Warren has referred to her lineage as including traces of both Cherokee and Delaware tribal heritage. It seems to be family lore for which she has no firm documentation. There’s no indication Senator Warren has benefitted from the possibility she may be part indigenous. Given her legendary serious demeanor, it’s extremely unlikely she made it up. But with characteristic ugliness, the Republicans have turned it into a slur.

In fact, Pocahontas was born with the name Matoaka, probably around 1596. She was the much-loved daughter of the powerful chieftain Powhatan, whose tribe occupied the tidewater region of present-day Virginia.

In 1607, as the first white settlers arrived at Jamestown, Pocahontas may have saved the life of the English adventurer John Smith. Allegedly Pocahontas’s father meant to put him to death. Legend has it Pocahontas saved Smith by stopping the execution. It’s also rumored she may have saved another white man as well.

The stories are shrouded in mystery, and there’s much about them that makes little sense. Smith was a polarizing character. It would have been very much in character for him to have alienated the Virginia chieftain, but the two men needed each other. Smith included the story of Pocahontas’s alleged intervention in memoirs that were relentlessly self-serving and doubted by some historians.

Whatever the case, the story has stuck throughout history and is revered as one of the first instances of a positive human connection between the indigenous Americans and invading Europeans.

There is no indication from Smith or any other contemporary that he and Pocahontas might have been lovers. She would have been about eleven years old when she allegedly saved him. He was probably pushing forty. The anatomically impossible characters in the Disney film are very far from credible.

In 1613, the teenaged Pocahontas was kidnapped by English settlers. While in captivity she converted to Christianity, then married a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe. The circumstances were complex, though most accounts indicate the two were in love. Their marriage prompted a “Peace of Pocahontas” between the colonists and the local tribes that lasted until her father died about a year after she did.

In 1615 Pocahontas and John Rolfe had a son they named Thomas. The following year Rolfe took the family to London, where they met the king and were welcomed at various social gatherings. She also met Smith again in what he described as a complex and not entirely loving encounter.

In March, 1617, the Rolfe family embarked for Virginia. Pocahontas took sick and died at Gravesend, on the Thames. Some of the natives on board the ship believed she was poisoned. There have been attempts to bring her body home, but the exact location of her gravesite at Gravesend has allegedly been lost.

Young Thomas returned to America. His descendants include First Lady Edith Wilson (married to Woodrow, also born in Virginia), the astronomer Percival Lowell and the actor Glenn Strange. It’s widely asserted that Nancy Reagan was also descended from Pocahontas, although the evidence is sketchy.

Pocahontas is the first indigenous female to be honored on a US postage stamp. She was revered on both sides of the Atlantic as a gentle, courageous woman of good character whose marriage helped inaugurate a rare time of peace between whites and natives. The armload of articles, books, and movies about her always exude the welcome image of a great heart.

Next time Donald Trump refers to Senator Warren as “Pocahontas,” she’d do well to proudly embrace the name and honor the real-life woman who made it famous. Perhaps she could propose a special commemoration to the Senate — if they let her speak.


Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History can be had via www.solartopia.org. The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, co-written with Bob Fitrakis, is at www.freepress.org.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Trump Is Our Imperial Vulture Come Home to Roost – We Must Repent

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By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Cross-posted from Reader Supported News

13 February 17

 

s the nightmare reality of Donald Trump sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective.

There’s no need here to list what he is doing and is prepared to do to what remains of our rights, freedoms, economy, ecology, human dignity, sense of justice, the future of our children and much, much more. Donald Trump appears at this point to be our worst national nightmare.

For many of us, it will be the challenge of a lifetime to solve this problem. Millions of words will be written about it in the months to come.

But we might start by comparing him to the kinds of leaders our nation has forced on other countries, and by making some kind of amends. Trump is, in fact, our own imperial vulture come home to roost.

Indeed, he’s actually (so far) a moderate compared to scores of murderous dictators the US has installed in other countries throughout the world. Especially since World War II, our imperial apparatus has constantly subverted legitimate attempts by good people to elect decent leaders.

In all such cases, people no different from most of us have suffered terrible, tangible consequences. No matter how much pain we may now feel in America, it pales before the horrors we’ve imposed with Trump-style dictators in other nations.

To get them installed, the Central Intelligence Agency and other imperial organs have often merely subverted elections. As was done here in 2016 and for countless elections before (and perhaps to come), substantial portions of the population have been systematically stripped of their right to vote. Where that’s proven insufficient, vote counts have been flipped by electronic and other means to guarantee a secure corporate outcome.

But where even that’s not been enough, our imperial minions have simply exiled, killed outright, invaded, employed mass violence, concocted civil wars and done whatever else necessary to remove those popular leaders that have not suited the American corporate interest.

One recent instance has been in Honduras, where the elected president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup and the military took over from 2009 to 2013. Honduras became the most violent non-war zone on Earth in those years.

Here is a partial list of other duly elected leaders the United States has had removed, disappeared and/or killed to make way for authoritarian pro-corporate regimes. In each case, their demise resulted in death, denial of democratic rights and massive suffering to individuals within those countries who stood in the way of America’s imperial agenda:

Lumumba, Congo; Allende, Chile; Aristide, Haiti; Mossadegh, Iran; Arbenz, Guatemala; President Joao Goulart, Brazil; Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Greece; Sukarno, Indonesia; Tecumseh, John Ross, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Sealth and countless other indigenous Americans; and too many more.

Taken in sum, the horrors these coups have imposed on innocent people throughout the planet comprise a terrible karmic debt our nation owes the rest of humankind.

The idea that such retribution would come home to roost may have been best stated by our 16th president. It is chiseled on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital, for all to see.

At the end of the Civil War, in his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln mourned that this “terrible war,” which killed more than 620,000 Americans, had come “as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”

The offense, of course was slavery. To pay for it, Lincoln warned, we would see the war “continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”

Are we, as modern Americans, now being called to pay for the blood drawn and the pain imposed by our imperial armies? And for all the wealth and comfort and dignity unjustly stolen from innocent peoples around the world?

As we squirm and mourn and march and organize, we might keep in mind the image of Donald Trump as imperial payback.

We might remember that as we work to overcome this homegrown vulture of our own making we must make right what we’ve imposed on so many others.

And that the restoration of sanity, dignity, and democracy to this nation can only come with a genuine sense of perspective … and with the resolve to never again impose any such suffering anywhere else in this world.


Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT at www.freepress.org, where Bob’sFITRAKIS FILES are available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

3 Million “Alien Voters”: Figment of DT’s Imagination?

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Joan Brunwasser interviews  Harvey Wasserman

(originally published on Op-Ed News)

 

My guest today is Harvey Wasserman, author, teacher, environmental and election activist. He just co-authored a piece with Bob Fitrakis: Trump’s Big Lie About 3 Million “Alien Voters” Cuts Far Deeper Than You Think 2.6.2017.

Joan Brunwasser: Welcome back to OpEdNews, Harvey. We last spoke several weeks before this election. And, I thought we were initially glad that DT shined a spotlight on the dysfunctional apparatus that powers our elections. Apparently, that’s not the case. Why not?

Harvey Wasserman: He was the wolf crying wolf. He yelled about a rigged election while himself rigging it.

Joan Brunwasser: You’re going to have to flesh out that very provocative statement for us, Harvey. Are you referring to the Russian involvement?

Harvey Wasserman:  By yelling about three million alleged alien voters, which as everyone knows is an utter falsehood, he distracted from the fact that millions of primarily black, Hispanic, Asian-American, Muslim and other non-millionaire citizens were denied the right to vote in this election.

This is the Big Lie at work: as the Nazis knew, if you tell one long enough, people start to believe it.

I’m glad much of the media has persistently referred to it as a false claim. It’s important they do that.

But his people are persistently making the claim and it’s very dangerous.

It masks the fact that millions were in fact DISENFRANCHISED from voting in this election, as shown by Greg Palast’s BEST DEMOCRACY MONEY CAN BUY and others.

It’s also important to remember that Clinton won the five key swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in the exit polls but not the official vote count, a sure sign of electronic manipulation.

And then, Jill Stein and the Greens were throughout abused during the recounts, with no help from the Democrats.

So, this was a fascist stolen election and Trump’s screams are a brilliant smokescreen.

Joan Brunwasser: Trump being capable of executing such a “brilliant smokescreen” may be a stretch for many voters who view him as irrational and narcissistic, at best. Our readers might not be familiar with the voter suppression that was carried out throughout the country. Ohio, where you and your colleague and co-author, Bob Fitrakis, live, was particularly hard hit. What can you tell us? How does voter suppression happen, especially on such a large scale?

Harvey Wasserman:  Trump’s rantings may or may not have to do with covering up Russian involvement. We don’t know if the Russians hacked the electronic voting machines or the poll books. It’s possible.

But the real hacking is homegrown. There are 30 GOP Secretaries of State who used the CrossCheck program to strip hundreds of thousands of black, hispanic, Asian-American,Muslim and other non-millionaires from the voter rolls.

So when Trump bleats about three million “alien” voters what’s he’s covering up is the millions of AMERICAN voters who were stripped from the rolls.

Joan Brunwasser: Why is no one having a total hissy fit about this? This is pretty darn serious. Where was Clinton? Where’s the press?

Harvey Wasserman:  Clinton and the corporate Dems may be hushed because what Trump did to them, they did to Bernie. Bernie was the rightful winner of the primaries. The Superdelegates played the role of the Electoral College. The [corporate] Dems don’t want to give up the ability to steal elections themselves, especially primaries. They clearly prefer having Trump in the White House to having Bernie there.

Joan Brunwasser: Two questions here: Is this just a case of sour grapes because Bernie didn’t get the nomination? And how can you say that the corporate Dems would prefer Trump to Bernie?

Harvey Wasserman:  Well, however it happened, the grapes are sour indeed.

Our studies show Bernie was the rightful winner. (For a full discussion, see our book THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 via www.freepress.org; a full summary will appear in our upcoming THE STRIP & FLIP DISASTER OF AMERICA’S STOLEN ELECTIONS.) There’s no doubt the leadership of the DNC conspired to prevent him from getting the nomination. There was stripping of voters in both CA and NY, and indications of electronic flipping as well. And they used the Super delegates like a form of the Electoral College at its worst.

Did they prefer Trump to Bernie in the White House? There are many ways to speculate on different outcomes in this election. But one fairly obvious conclusion is that if Hillary had taken Bernie as her VP, which seems the obvious and gracious thing to have done, she would have won. The army of grassroots activists would have been there, as with Obama in 2008 and 2012, to make sure this lunatic did not get into the White House. So you tell me”.why didn’t she do it?

And where has she gone now? Hillary has virtually disappeared since the day after the election. Just like Gore and Kerry after they won their elections and then said nothing about election theft or the EC. It’s as if they never existed, and here we are stuck with the catastrophic aftermath. There’s got to be a better way.

Joan Brunwasser: Before we discuss our options, you didn’t answer the age-old question, where is the press?

Harvey Wasserman: The media can’t seem to handle the idea that our elections are a total sham. There was some coverage of disenfranchisement leading up to the 2016 election. But not much. And no follow through. The reality that our voting machines are totally rigged is simply “conspiracy theory” in their eyes. And they are unwilling to make the slightest effort to research the realities.

Joan Brunwasser: Sadly, you appear to be right. Which brings us to possible paths of action. I read something encouraging from the Jill Stein camp regarding their lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Would you care to discuss that for a moment?

Harvey Wasserman: What Jill Stein’s brave campaign made clear is that the electoral system is completely corrupted and impenetrable. Even in a state like Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic governor.

Nationwide, our elections are simply a bad joke. They need to be reformed from top to bottom, with universal automatic voter registration, a four-day holiday for voting, ample places to vote, hand-counted paper ballots, automatic recounts at no charge to candidates and abolition of gerrymandering, the Electoral College and corporate money in campaigns.

It’s a simple, clear agenda but a monumental task to win. On the other hand, without it, we have nothing resembling a democracy.

Joan Brunwasser: Do you want to talk about Jill Stein’s lawsuit?

Harvey Wasserman: Over the coming months and years, you can expect to see numerous lawsuits by many democracy advocates. There will be referenda and other campaigns to fix this problem. The corruption of this system is deeply embedded in our body politic, but so was the British empire, slavery, legal segregation, the war in Vietnam and much more.

I also expect to see the rapid shutdown of all nuclear power plants, hopefully before the next one explodes, and the conversion of our civilization (if it can be called that) to 100% renewable energy.

So let’s just remember our great activist history and honor it and get the job done,. I think everyone who intends to go to a march or rally in the Trump Era should knock on ten doors before they do. Then, we will win!!!

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Trump’s Big Lie About 3 Million “Alien Voters” Cuts Far Deeper Than You Think

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by BOB FITRAKIS AND HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Donald Trump’s relentless insistence that three million “aliens” voted for Hillary Clinton and cost him a popular majority in November’s presidential election cuts far beyond what the corporate media is willing to report. When it comes to undermining democracy in the US, Trump is once again proving that the best defense is a total attack, even if it relies on “alternative facts.”

Trump’s Big Lie on voter fraud has been as widely scorned as his fantasies about the size of the turnout at his inauguration. Even the normally restrained New York Times has editorialized that “what once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy.”

It seems to be dawning on The Times and others that by claiming so many non-citizens voted more than once, Trump re-loads America’s Jim Crow lynch laws against Black people voting. Based on these assertions, we can expect more and more aggressive attacks by the administration against the rights of non-whites and non-millionaires to a fair and honest ballot.

Indeed, the corporate media has not yet faced the devastation of mass disenfranchisement in 2016. As reported by Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com) and others, some thirty GOP Secretaries of State across the US used a computer program called Crosscheck to strip thousands of mostly black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Muslim voters from the registration rolls. These mass disenfranchisements could well have made the difference in key swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida that allowed Trump to win in the Electoral College while so thoroughly losing the popular vote.

Trump’s carping about voter fraud has first and foremost has helped divert the public’s attention from this defining reality.

But unfortunately, there is far more.

Let’s start with the Electoral College. For the sixth time in US history, the candidate who lost among eligible voters has entered the White House. Last was 2000, when Al Gore beat George W. Bush nationwide by more than a half-million votes. Neither Gore nor the Democratic Party followed this stunning election theft (which had such dire consequences) by launching any kind of movement to abolish the Electoral College. Instead, many Democrats have spent 16 years screaming at Ralph Nader for daring to run for president.  Had they instead recruited him to help organize the abolition of the Electoral College, Trump might not now be in the White House.

In 2016, the attack on Nader has morphed into a fixation on Russian hacking and anger at the FBI. So barring a miracle (or a Constitutional Amendment) in 2020 and the foreseeable future beyond, the curse of the Electoral College will still be there to serve the popular minority.

Trump has also fought hard against any meaningful recounts, And for good reason. As many as 28 states this election showed statistically significant variations between exit polls and official vote counts. In 25 of those states, the “Red Shift” went in Trump’s direction.  Among statisticians this is known as a “virtual statistical impossibility.”

In Michigan, which officially went to Trump by about 10,000 votes, some 75,000 ballots came in without a presidential preference, mostly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The idea that 75,000 citizens would take the trouble to vote but not to make a preference among at least four presidential candidates has yet to be explained by the media or the Democrats.

Major problems with electronic voting machines, precinct access, ballot chain of custody and vote count issues also surfaced throughout the swing states. But when the Green Party’s Jill Stein dared to attempt a recount, Trump launched an all-out attack. High-priced attorneys in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere did all they could to prevent any realistic examination of what actually happened in the states that gave him the presidency.

Meanwhile, rather than doing the work themselves, the corporate media heaped scorn on Stein for daring to examine exactly how Trump became president. The Democrats and the Clinton campaign offered no help beyond sending a few attorneys to “observe” the assault on greens uppity enough to challenge the system that had flipped the presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court and innumerable state and local governments.

The bottom line here is that our entire electoral process is broken. Donald Trump became president because massive disenfranchisements kept thousands of citizen from voting, because electronic “black box”  voting machines cannot be monitored or accounted for by the general public, and because the Electoral College remains in place, ready to swing the next loser into the White House.

Trump’s screaming assertion of entirely the opposite is a brilliant strategy that can only work in a country where the media refuse to face the realities of a thoroughly broken system, and an “opposition” Democratic Party that won’t fight for elections it actually wins.

Our survival demands an actual democracy. That means universal automatic voter registration, with voter rolls transparent and readily accessible for verification. It means a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots, and automatic recounts at no cost to the candidates. It also demands an end to gerrymandering, a ban on corporate money in our campaigns and, of course, the abolition of the Electoral College.

Trump’s rantings about voter fraud are a brilliant diversion away from all that. So is the media and Democrats’ obsession with the Russians.

Our stripped and flipped elections are home-grown poison. Donald Trump is the ultimate outcome. Until we reject the current electoral system, we will all be living in a world of hurt.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, including The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016, at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s Fitrakis Files also reside.  Harvey’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is right here at www.solartopia.org.

This article was originally published at Truthout.

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The Death Spiral of Atomic Energy

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Listen to the Green Power and Wellness Hour February 2, 2017 audio archive  for an update on accelerated demise of Atomic Energy with Harvey Wasserman and his guests Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, and Tim Judson of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS)

Harvey, Kevin and Tim start out with recent big  news about the  Westinghouse decision to go out of the nuclear power consumption business. Learn how this decision impacts the new reactors being built on the public dime in Georgia.  You’ll hear about the planned shutdown of Pilgrim, Indian Point, Diablo Canyon and learn about how we transition to Solartopia.

 

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