After the Women’s March – Focus Our Massive Energy on THIS ONE ISSUE

“Now that the math is done, time to focus on the aftermath.”

— Swami Beyondananda

Last weekend, women — and men, and children — showed up in record numbers in Washington, D.C. and hundreds of other cities to say YES to the reality “we’re all in this together” and NO to Donald Trump’s “alternative reality” that he seems intent on imposing on the rest of us.

Alternative “facts” to the contrary, the March numbers were YUGE. And now that the math is confirmed, it’s time to create momentum in the aftermath.

My colleague Richard Lang, CEO of Democrasoft, and author of a forthcoming book on citizen engagement in the digital age, came up with a plan to gather record-breaking numbers of people in ONE significant place to hold our president accountable to the rule of law. Regardless of whether you agree with his politics or policies, we must insist that our laws apply even to the President.

I will let Richard present this idea himself … I strongly encourage you to read it all the way through, because you will be encouraged by the end. And if you are I encourage you to ACT, to SHARE, and then to SHARE some more.

Steve Bhaerman

After the Women’s March:

Focus Our Massive Numbers On This One Issue And Get Immediate Results

In the wake of the incredibly successful Women’s Marches around the country and around the world, we now have an even greater strategic window of opportunity for citizens to act in one accord and take our momentum to the next level.

Our window of time is just the next three weeks! Please stay with me – this is really, really important, and you probably were not aware of it.

At the same time as record numbers of Americans mobilized for the Women’s Marches across the country, another equally significant civic engagement event was just getting started and is now fully in process. It represents a profoundly important opportunity. Let’s not miss it…

On January 20th, someone posted a new petition on the official White House website devoted to citizen petitions (http://bit.ly/2jWhiteHousePetitionTrumpTaxes). The petition calls for Donald Trump to release his tax returns in order to prove that he is not in violation of the Emoluments Clause (which protects the country against conflicts of interest and illegal foreign relationships while in office).

There are several noteworthy aspects to this particular petition, but the most important one is the speed with which it has already gained traction. Usually, petitions on the White House petition site achieve a few thousand signatures at best (and it takes a minimum of 100,000 signatures within a 30 day period to force an official response from the White House).

This new petition, filed the day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration (and which expires February 19th), generated over 100,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. Within 72 hours, the number had already more than doubled to approximately 220,000 signatures. At this time of this publication two days later, the number had risen again, to well over 300,000 signatures and counting, with another 25 days left to collect additional signatures. All this with ZERO promotion.

Now imagine what could happen with a concerted effort.

While the energy is still in high gear from the Women’s Marches and a growing number of awakened citizens are looking for the next effective way to mobilize their energy to protect the integrity of our democracy, this simple but powerful petition presents the opportunity to galvanize many millions of voices across the nation. These aligned voices can be channeled into one collective voice pointing directly to one place: the TrumpTaxReturns petition.

As evidence that THIS is the issue to galvanize around, here is the headline on Sunday, Jan 22, 2017:

After Promising To Release His Tax Returns, Trump Aide Says He Wont Because ‘People Didnt Care

       “Seventy-four percent of Americans want Trump to release his tax returns.”

With a concerted collective effort involving the same organizations and individuals that helped organize the hugely successful Women’s March, and with support from the many, many other organizations and passionate individuals across the land, this simple, straightforward and non-partisan petition could easily collect millions of signatures in the next three weeks or so remaining before the February 19 deadline!

When the news media picks up the story of how citizens across the country are focusing their collective energy on the White House’s own website and achieving an online turnout never before seen in the history of our country, the attention will drive citizen participation even further.

The 3 steps to this completely achievable strategy are as follows:

  1. Focus ALL citizen attention on this single petition (because of its existing momentum) and shoot for at least 1 million signatures in the next 25 days (I personally think we may be able to do a LOT better than that).
  1. Spread the word, fast.Use ALL our networks, social media, email, etc. to help this single petition go viral. Putting our laser focus in one spot will command media attention. It will be the largest virtual assembly of citizens ever in the U.S. (it has already shattered records at the “official” White House Petition site).
  1. Make sure that the media is aware of this effort and is covering what is sure to be a record participation event (because We the People will make it so). They will be looking for a story like this.

The great news is that the momentum is already underway. This is pouring gasoline on a fire that is already burning brightly.

So, what can we expect from Trump in response if millions of Americans focus their numbers into a single online location on a matter of obvious national importance (that challenges Donald Trump to be in compliance with the rule of law, in this case our Constitution’s Emoluments Clause)?

One of 3 things will happen:

  1. Trump will close down this petition, offering whatever reason he chooses, which will probably include tweets that these are not “real” signatures or that there is some other “technical” reason justifying the shut down. But this will be on the “Official” White House website, not some “fake news” source that can be easily dismissed.
  1. Trump will ignore the petition. But he won’t be able to say it’s because “people didn’t care.” And the longer he ignores the issue, in the face of millions of citizen signatures, and growing, the more difficult and ridiculous his position will be.
  1. The pressure on Trump will be too much and he will have to release his taxes. Well, we all know this is the least likely outcome. But if by some chance it happens, We the People will have used the non-violent power of participation to take an active role in our democracy and actually gotten results (what a concept)!

We have about three full weeks to coordinate our efforts through all of our networks, and to show up en masse to have our voices heard. The recent marches across the country were profoundly encouraging, and now it’s time to build on that momentum.

Let’s demonstrate that we can generate even larger numbers online at a single venue.

Let’s take proactive action and show ‘em what happens when real democracy goes into high gear.

Richard Lang

January 24, 2017

To Sign the Petition, go here: http://bit.ly/2jWhiteHousePetitionTrumpTaxes

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Donald Trump’s Challenge to the American People

“Trumpty Dumpty is headed for a great fall – and I don’t mean the autumn season.”

— Swami Beyondananda

As the debate season came to a merciful end last night, Donald Trump offered one last challenge to the American people. By insisting that the election is rigged and that he would have to “suspend judgment” as to whether to concede, he challenged the sane and reverent among us (thank you Caroline Casey for that term) to so overwhelmingly defeat him at the polls that there is no doubt whatsoever of the outcome.

Yes, the system IS rigged. You can read an eye-opening article by my colleague David Swanson (War Is A Lie) that suggests that we impeach the entire impeachable system and proposes a Constitutional Amendment that awakening citizens on all sides can say YES to.

Speaking of eye-opening, the Boston Globe published an article last week entitled, “Vote All You Want, The Secret Government Won’t Change”. Based on a book by Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon, National Security and Double Government, the article concludes that the forces that run things operate at a “higher pay scale” than even the POTUS. I suggest you read the article, and give the Boston Globe its props for venturing outside the boundaries of Democrat vs. Republican discourse to offer a deeper truth — yes, THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS RIGGED.

And … Donald Trump is the last person in the world qualified to unrig it. To do so would require awakening citizens of both sides of the political divide to come together in respectful conversation seeking to learn from one another and gather around the virtues and values we all agree on so we can hold governance accountable. Darn Old Trump cannot even hold himself accountable. He even blamed his tax evasion on the laws that Hillary (supposedly) helped put in place.

His lack of perspective, knowledge, wisdom and any clue about the Constitution (hey, Donald … the Constitution calls for an orderly transfer of power) disqualifies him from the office of President, period. As a Bernie supporter from beginning to end, I am well familiar with Hillary Clinton’s past. And … I prefer her past over any future Donald Trump offers.

That’s why I signed Stephen Dinan’s petition, Evolutionaries for Hillary along with folks like Ram Dass, Jean Shimoda Bolen, Robert Thurman, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dan Millman, Michael Dowd, Marianne Williamson and many, many others who recognize that before we can deal with the chronic issue of a rigged system, we must first be victorious over the acute condition of Trumpery.

At a time when we need unifying leadership to overgrow a toxic, rigged, unworkable, obsolete, and obsolethal system, the last thing we need is a small-minded, even smaller-hearted self-serving divider like Trump. (You can read more about my specific rationale for throwing our weight behind — and in front of — Hillary in “lesser of two evils” election to end all “lesser evil” elections).

For those of you who understandably want to cast a vote for Jill Stein who more closely represents your progressive values, I would suggest that at this moment in history the FIRST priority is to push Trumpty Dumpty over the wall, and dispense with once and for all the meanness, heartlessness, and selfish righteousness that has characterized Republicanism over the past half century.

With that acute condition cleared, we are free to call forth — finally — the heart and soul and voice of we the people. Thanks to a dominate-or-be-dominated system, the love in our hearts has until now been viewed as a “weakness.” In the first months of the new administration, it will become a unifying strength as we do the only thing that will transform our system — face the music and dance together.

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What Would Sanity Do? How We Can Choose the Greater Good on Election Day

“You can count on Donald Trump to be unaccountable to anyone.” — Swami Beyondananda

When Trudy and I lived in a small town in the Texas Hill Country for eight years, the currency of connection with the locals at the post office was humor. Since jokes had to be clean and Baptist-appropriate, Aggie jokes were popular. Aggies, for you non-Texans, were the Texas A&M agricultural students who had a reputation for being “clue-deficient.”

In considering our current political shituation, an Aggie joke comes to mind.

An Aggie comes home unexpectedly and finds his wife in bed with his best friend. He goes to the bureau drawer, pulls out a gun and points it at his own head. The wife and friend laugh. The Aggie says, “What are you laughing at? YOU’RE NEXT!”

And my point?

Those angry Bernie supporters who are so turned off by Hillary that they plan to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or even Darn Old Trump may be shooting themselves — and indeed the entire body politic — in the head.

First of all, I’ve been a “tie-dyed-in-the-wool” Bernie supporter throughout the campaign, and I still am. And I recognize Bernie’s deeper strategic purpose behind his presidential bid: to launch and empower a people’s movement to address the unchecked, unbalanced and unmitigated power of money in politics. In addressing this fundamental corruption, we address every other issue where the power of money has “trumped” (pun intended) common sense, common values and the wellbeing of the commonwealth.

Fracking … GMOs … The unquestioned power of the military industrial complex and the war machine … Climate change and the clear and present dangers of global warming … The promotion of fossil fuels and repression of renewables … An unhealthy, uncaring “health care” system where drug companies rule, and the Martin Shkreli’s and Mylan’s of the world can boast, “We upped our profits — up yours!” Sociopathic institutions like Wells Fargo punishing their employees for not being sociopaths …

All of this institutional insanity can only be overgrown through a grassroots movement like Our Revolution, the one Bernie launched in August. Ralph Nader didn’t turn his presidential campaign into a movement in 2000, and Obama failed to enroll millions of already-mobilized supporters in 2008. Nor have Jill Stein and the Green Party done much to ignite and sustain a movement.

Thanks to Bernie, there is such a movement now, one that will only grow in influence, and will give America not so much a new third party but a new FIRST party.

And here is the catch.

There is a simple first step in activating this plan that will build upon our political will for a just, fair, transparent and functional government … electing Hillary Clinton president.

Once elected, Hillary will be accountable to the Bernie faction, PARTICULARLY if they mobilize in great numbers as they “vote past” her for the greater good of all. Trump — as should be apparent by now — is accountable to no one. A Trump presidency will be disruptive, but NOT in the way that those who wish to confront the corporate state hope. It will foment toxic chaos, hatred, misunderstanding, and disinformation, as it already has. It will sweep into power the detritus of racism, sexism, and backwardism of all varieties. It will be a hole that may be too deep to dig out of. Trump has the potential and “poisonality” to make himself dictator. He mistakes temper for temperament, and his “demeanor” is … da meanest.

And if he is impeached? Then we will have President Mike Pence. And as the old camp song goes, jolly, jolly no pence, is pence enough for me.

It is time for rightfully disappointed and upset Bernie voters to think and act strategically so that we have a sustainable movement that begins with the advantage of having someone in office who is standing on a platform that supports our values and programs. This is the winning combination. A burgeoning movement of awakening voters, and a politician who REQUIRES their support for re-election.

And here is something else that progressive voters need to appreciate: We are in the majority.

There’s a very interesting interview with conservative political scientist Samuel Goldman  who says that hard-core Trump supporters comprise about 30% to 40% of the electorate who are enraged because they think they should be the majority — but they are not.

This explains the Republican obstructionism over the past 8 years, and why the Republican establishment had to choose Sarah Palin as VP in 2008. Of course, anyone who has seen Donald Trump in action, recognizes that he makes Sarah Palin look like Eleanor Roosevelt.

No wonder Gary Johnson now polls at 9%, where Jill Stein is at 3%. It’s as if the collective subconsciously realizes what a dangerous wild card Trump really is. Those smart Republicans I know who have been talking about voting for Trump — well, maybe after the first debate they are slinking or even running away. (I noticed that the Republicans trying to rationalize supporting Trump at the convention sounded a lot like battered wives covering for their husbands.)

So now is the time to dump Trumpism over the cliff so we can move on once and for all. Now is the time for we Berniecrats to vote our conscience and take responsibility as the MAJORITY. No, voting our conscience isn’t registering a “protest” vote for a candidate that cannot and will not win. It is looking beyond the frustration and disappointment, using what we have to work with — a binary, this-or-that vote — to choose the open door to positive possibilities. The Bernie revolution — the prize we need to keep our eye on — will only succeed if we take this small (yet great) strategic step now, so that we create the greater good in the future.

To those who ask, “Should I hold my nose and vote for Hillary?” I say, “Yes. Hold your nose, and open your eyes.”

A physician would recognize that when confronted with an acute condition and a chronic one, you address the acute one first … because if you don’t, you might not get a chance to deal with the chronic one. Donald Trump represents the acute danger of fascism, racism and divisiveness. Hillary represents the chronic condition of a corporate state beholden to the power of money. Let’s take on the first danger first, and we will have the strength and momentum to face the more entrenched one.

Let’s begin with a WIN, take credit for the win, and move ahead from there.

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