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Archive for April, 2017

Those watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu cannot be faulted for thinking they might be living a cyncial version of the old 1940s “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. (Who gave her that name?!) A movie called “The Road to Gilead.” Emily Peck has other ideas, but there are portents that cannot be denied.

Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” resonates, but there’s reason for hope.

Peck is pretty optimistic positing that the road to Gilead is fraught with lots of potholes and obstructions, but we do well not to focus too narrowly on the falling rock on one side of the highway thereby missing the sheer cliff on the other side.

I am not watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” much as I would like to. I simply refuse to pay another dollar beyond my already expensive FiOS service, so Hulu and Netflix are out for me.  I have, however, read the book. The coincidence of the airing of the mini-series with the Democratic “Unity Tour” should set off some bells and whistles.

This is the axiom Peck offers that Bernie supporters continue to reject.

“Progress does not happen in a straight line. Setbacks are inevitable. What’s critical is what comes next.”

They rejected it during the 2016 primaries renouncing any and all incremental policies proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and stubbornly continued their opposition during the general election.  They persist in their unwillingness to allow the Democratic Party to evolve naturally and have set out to take it over and overturn the common sense principles that have been its warp and woof since the groundbreaking days of FDR.  Rather than empowering women, the party is rolling back its liberating positions on women under the influence of a man who refuses to join the party.  No, this is not a relitigation or extension of the 2016 primaries.  It is a fight for the future.

The parallels between the dystopia Atwood projected and perceived potential effects of the new administration are not limited to Trump’s positions and those of his cronies. The BernieBros continue to have a hand in suppressing female issues, concerns, and voices within the only party likely to continue to highlight them.

Women have a stake in resisting efforts on either side to curtail our rights and freedoms. Resisters must do it for ourselves.  But we must be careful not to lose the party.  That is where the strength is.  The reason the BernieBots are fighting to usurp that power is because they know that a third party will have no muscle except to do what they have done in 2000 and 2016 – split the progressive vote.

We must remember that there was a reason why, at the end of her senior thesis, Hillary Clinton spurned Saul Alinsky’s methods (i.e. change from without the system rather than within) as well as the job he offered her and opted for the discipline of law school instead.  We have to be in it to win it.

Leaving the party  is no solution.  Think hard before you do that because it is not only the Trump crowd that would happily see us in shades of red, blue, green, and stripes according to their designations of how we serve.  We cannot determine our fate from the outside.  The Bernie crowd knows this, and that is why they fight to take over the party.  Let’s not just abandon it to them.

Crossposted at The Department of Homegirl Security.

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Ten days into the new administration, a Russian military push in the Arctic was the subject of concern and a post here. At the time, both Russian appropriation of Arctic waters for drilling and Russian control of Arctic sea routes as those waters thaw (guess why) were the issues. Days later, on Thursday February 2 came this post: Throwback Thursday: I TOLD You to #WatchThisSpace!!!  The issue there was disclosure of oil company funds going to foreign governments.

Here we are 13 weeks later, and oh what a tangled web we see described by Dr. Vanessa Neumann in The Daily Beast today.  Dr. Neumann, Daily Beast points out, is “a Venezuelan-American and president of the trade integrity and political risk consultancy Asymmetrica.”

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Double Deal

Russia Gave to Citgo, Then Citgo Gave to Trump

Many big oil companies funded Trump’s inauguration. Only one is deeply in debt to the Kremlin.

Dr. Vanessa Neumann

Dr. Vanessa Neumann

04.27.17

The oil company’s half-million donation to Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee wasn’t illegal. But it certainly wasn’t moral. And the cash may have come from the Kremlin, at least indirectly.

Recently released Federal Election Commission filings show that Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (known as PDVSA) gave Trump more money than Shell or Walmart. The donation is unusual for PDVSA: Citgo had not donated to previous presidential inaugural committees.

Citgo’s donation to the Trump Inaugural Committee and the horrifying images emerging from Venezuela’s weeks of brutally repressed protests (26 killed, 437 injured, and 1,289 arrested—according to Venezuela’s attorney general; Venezuelan prisoner rights NGO Foro Penal says 1,536 have been “detained” as of April 25) are connected: Russian money and influence is behind both of them. Some of those detained are tortured in Venezuela’s equivalent of CIA headquarters, known as “The Tomb,” for its subterranean torture chambers. The Inaugural Committee donation came days after Citgo (a Delaware-incorporated company with operational headquarters in Houston) mortgaged 49.9 percent of its holdings to Rosneft, an oil company controlled by the Kremlin. That enabled Citgo’s parent company PDVSA to make its bond payments. Rosneft is sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. So is its CEO, Igor Sechin, “Russia’s Darth Vader.” One of the most feared men in Russia, Sechin is close to Vladimir Putin and is one of Putin’s key instruments of geopolitical power. Net net: If Venezuela defaults on its bond payments, Rosneft (i.e., Putin & Co.) could own several refineries, nine pipelines, and distribution terminals all across the Eastern U.S., from Texas to Maine, without any government oversight. If the Russians end up owning Citgo, they will be using American consumers to fund their autocracy and Assad’s brutality in Syria.

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Yes, you read that correctly.  No, your eyes do not deceive you.  Holy moly!  Sechin’s name comes up as does, in a very disturbing way, Rosneft.  Where did we see those names before?  Oh, right!  The Christopher Steele memos!  Those documents were highlighted in a second, then seemingly unrelated, post here also on February 2:  Throwback Thursday Part II: The Russians, the Memos, the Sanctions – The Art of the Steal.

Dr. Neumann has pulled the whole cat’s cradle into a coherent web that reaches, now, from the Arctic to the Caribbean to the Middle East and remains about Russia, oil, money, Syria, and elections, and threatens a new refugee crisis.

As we approach the 100th day, remember this from 13 weeks ago?  We still do not know who bought those shares. It’s a good guess that Carter Page knows.

The deal on the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft will bring Moscow some $11.1 billion in revenues, the company announced Saturday.

Hillary Clinton and her team tried to warn us. But, you know, emails, wikileaks, ‘flawed,’ ‘ill,’ and ‘shrill.’ Not the perfect (female) candidate – which is the enemy of not just the good, but of the best yet.

10-19-16-z-15

Keep watching this space!  Here’s a pretty picture for #ThrowbackThursday.

 

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I have a Vizio flat screen TV.  It certainly is not huge. But when the news outlets put Trump’s picture on the screen, his head is really big – and toxic.  I cannot look at his face so often (and LARGE) without feeling contaminated.  So here!

 

Much better.  Right?

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There’s a scene in “Erin Brockovich” where Julia Roberts, as the title character, says, “That’s the kind of thing that pisses me off!”  That is how I felt when I read this passage in the viral Medium entry, “Tough Luck Destroyers of Hillary Clinton: You Won the Battle, You Won’t Win the War.”

There is only one interpretation that I can give to this paragraph.

“It got so bad that her supporters had to shrink away in secret Facebook groups, afraid to put bumper stickers on our cars and damage the cars that were not covered by Insurance Partnership or lawn signs in front of our homes — afraid for our reputations, afraid to be exiled from Coolsville, afraid because we were watching a real live witch hunt. “

When the going got tough, you ran and hid rather than stand and fight.

Especially in the waning days of the campaign, after James Comey’s stunning announcement only 11 days before election day, there was increasing concern that we could lose.  Those of us on the social networks front of the campaign received numerous messages during those last days warning that we did not have this sewn up and needed to redouble all efforts in order to reach 270.

Things were nasty those last weeks. Hillary herself, in a final op-ed on November 7 said this.

I know it’s been a long and difficult race. I’ve heard from so many people who are shaken by my opponent’s hateful, divisive rhetoric. One woman wrote to me about her son, Felix, who was adopted from Ethiopia as a baby. Felix is genuinely afraid that if my opponent wins, he’ll be taken from his parents and forced out of the only country he’s ever known. And his story is just one of many.

A lot of what we’ve seen and heard has been distressing, but we’ve also shared proud moments that remind us that we’re a country of fair-minded, big-hearted people. Millions of Americans—Republicans and Democrats alike—have stood up to say we’re better than this. And everywhere I go, I meet people who remind me of the diversity and determination that make this country great.

She knew exactly how vituperative it had become out here in the trenches, encouraged up to fight on, and thanked us for remaining loyally engaged.

The morning after Election Day, Hillary delivered these words.

And to the millions of volunteers, community leaders, activists and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook, even in secret, private Facebook sites – I want everybody coming out from behind that and make sure your voices are heard going forward.

The emphasis is mine.

When an essay goes viral and implies that “we,” as a group, shrank away into secret Facebook groups and were “afraid” to put bumper stickers on our cars I tremble with fury. “We” did not!  We fought it out, as Hillary asked numerous times in those pre-election emails and messages, in public. Her true supporters never shrank away in fear.  We stood with her and for her. I, for one, still do.

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” ― Thomas Paine, The Crisis

 

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The Tribeca Film Festival is going on in New York City this weekend, and Hillary Clinton showed up for a panel discussion of Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Protectors: A Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes” which is being featured at the festival. Bigelow, much acclaimed  for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, has taken on elephant poaching in this latest opus, a documentary tracking a day in the life of rangers in a wild animal park. Hillary has been passionate and outspoken on the topic of wildlife poaching and trafficking for years.  At Spring Studios, she joined the panel and answered questions, a surprise treat for the audience.  What a perfect ending to Earth Day 2017! 

Hillary Clinton Makes Surprise Appearance During Kathryn Bigelow’s VR Tribeca Panel

Hillary Clinton
AP/REX/Shutterstock

Hillary Clinton surprised Tribeca Film Festival goers tonight, making a special appearance during Kathryn Bigelow and Imran Ismail’s The Protectors: A Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes panel. “Thanks for seeing this remarkable film which brings to reality what we’re up against,” Clinton said. “I first became really focused on the horrific slaughter of elephants when I was Secretary of State. It was clear it wasn’t just a terrible crisis, it was the trafficking that was a lot of bad actors. A militia out of Sudan, Boka Harom. It was used to buy weapons and fund the terrorist activities of [many] groups.”

The Protectors: A Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes, from National Geographic Documentary Films, is a VR documentary short that chronicles a day in the life of the rangers in Garamba National Park. With over 30,000 African elephants dying each year at the hands of poachers, and despite the global outcry over the killings, trafficking continues, the film is a call to action to help the conservation NGO African Parks and end the Ivory War.

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Two influential women standing up for these heroic rangers and the elephants they protect sends a powerful message, not only for conservation of wildlife but also in opposition to the the terrorism animal trafficking and poaching finance.

Learn more here >>>>

Visit Garamba or donate >>>>

Read Arianna Huffington’s Speech Honoring Hillary Clinton for Her LGBT Service>>>>

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Hillary Clinton was honored last night with the LGBT Center’s Trailblazer Award at the organization’s annual dinner last night.

Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition, Mme. Secretary!

 

 

Hillary Clinton blasts Trump on LGBT rights

Story highlights

  • Clinton is given an award at an LGBT dinner
  • She calls for supporters to focus on the 2018 midterm elections

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton on Thursday warned that President Donald Trump could roll back progress on LGBT rights.

“We may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues,” Clinton said in a speech in New York.

Clinton was addressing a fundraising dinner for The Center, an LGBT community organization, where she received an award and thanked members of the audience for supporting her unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid. But she told those gathered there to watch out for “the progress that we fought for, that many of you were on the front lines for.

“It may not be as secure as we once expected,” she said.

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Hillary was beside Governor Cuomo today as he signed the free tuition bill into law.

Hillary Clinton joined Gov. Cuomo in Queens Wednesday to promote his new tuition-free plan for New York’s public colleges.

“You move to New York you can get an affordable college education,” said Clinton, as Cuomo sign a bill at LaGuardia Community College to launch the program this fall at CUNY and SUNY.

“That would only be fair for young people who come here. I hope it will be the first of many states [that offer free tuition],” she said.

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