Happy Independence Day

Freedom!

Some Americans are free from having a roof over their heads.

Some are free from knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Some are free from a living wage. Or any wage at all.

Some are free from financial security, too far in debt because of the loans they signed to get an education.. so they could gain financial security.

Some are free from the life maintaining medications they need.

Some are free from the basic medical care they need.

Some are free from bodily limbs or emotional stability, surrendered to wars for corporate profits.

Some are free from having a choice over their own body.

Some are free from their freedom because they ingested a substance deemed “illegal”. Or because of planted evidence.

Some are free from a safe environment because of the crossfire between criminals and law enforcement.

Some are free from feeling safe if pulled over or just walking down the street because of the color of their skin.

Some are incarcerated, held in cages, possibly too young to walk, because their freedom to remain safe and alive in their own country was taken.

Some are free from the right to speak their own voice against corporate interests.

Some are free from the ability to reveal the truth about the atrocities and illegalities of our own government.

Some are free from the right to vote, to change things. Possibly even with no criminal charges against them but because of where they reside or changed registration or discarded ballots.

Some are free from the right to openly practice their own religion.

Some are free from the right to use a bathroom of the gender they associate with.

Some are free from the right to marry the person they love.

Some are free from the right to enlist in the military because of their sexual orientation and/or body self image.

Some are free from having safe water to drink.

America. Land of the Free. Home of Independence. Where none of us are free and all of us are dependent on one another, like it or not.

This Independence Day, ask yourself what you are celebrating. Recall that this country was created by Revolution, by people rising up against an oppressive government and corporate power.

It’s not enough to be unhappy with the conditions in this country. We must be willing to stand up and DO something about it.

I’m ready. Are you?

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

High Speed Rail, China Vs US

It is well known that the US is resistant to high speed rail (HSR), which is a mistake placing us behind other industrialized nations on many continents.

As of this moment, the highest speed rail service available in the US is 79 mph. By comparison, France has HSR which has a top speed of 357 mph. China introduced HSR in 2007 and since that time has built out 18,000 miles of HSR, with another 7000 miles to be completed by 2025.

Uzbekistan has HSR with a top speed of 160 mph!

HSR has advantages of requiring less fuel than jets, less time to departure, less infrastructure needed for individual terminals and less passenger cost.

Japan, South Korea, China, India and most of Europe make extensive use of rail service. If you’ve ever visited any of these countries, there is no denying this fact. The US is one of few countries that considers rail travel a thing of the past.

One of the biggest reasons for this is because of competition between rail service, vehicle manufacturers and airlines. Size of the country has nothing to do with it. China is proof of that. Europe is proof of that. The fact that we had many thousands of miles of rail in this country at one time which could have been largely adapted to HSR is proof of that. Airlines, vehicle manufacturers and oil companies have been resistant to HSR because of the profits involved which they would stand to lose if it were adopted on any scale.

Make no mistake, the poor state of all forms of public transportation in the US is also another form of oppression of the poor. Where the US once had extensive public transportation services in major cities including subways, railways, trolleys, buses and streetcars, over time cars and jets took their place, spurred on by corporate interests which made public transportation of other means nothing short of shameful in many cases. Public funding for public transportation has been hard fought for many decades. Even now in a time of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, cities refuse to fund construction and maintenance of existing forms of public transportation. They oppose even more any transportation system which does not utilize fossil fuel. Corporate profits take precedence over transportation needs or environmental concerns.

Even taxi services in major cities have a hand in this situation. Cities would rather have hundreds of taxis, each paying licensing fees, each spewing exhaust, costing far more cumulatively than public transportation which could service more people at lower cost and with less pollution than the taxis do.

I have ridden public transportation many times in my life. In multiple cities, multiple states, multiple countries. In the 80’s I was astounded at the difference in public transportation in Europe compared to the US. In US cities, I have lived where public transportation ceased, only ran twice a day or I had to walk miles to get to a bus stop. On weekends, the nearest service was much further away. In some cases, I actually took a taxi to get to the nearest bus stop and hoped to get there before the last bus left.

Of course, states want more vehicles on the roads because of increased taxes and fees collected for them. They are apathetic to the fact that many of those paying the taxes, fees, fuel costs, fuel taxes, insurance and vehicle payments are at the low end of the income spectrum. They are apathetic to what else those people are unable to afford just to have a means of transport. Leaving some with a choice between needed medications or utilities versus a way to get to their low paying jobs, sometimes working multiple jobs and risking their health further to afford the vehicle in a never ending cycle. Just as long as the corporations make a profit which they can “donate” to future campaigns.

Just call it “freedom” and the general public sucks it up. Talk about creating jobs and you’re a hero. Just don’t talk about high speed rail or expanding public transportation.

Human Rights Records Do Not Stop At The Border

Lots of people try and claim moral superiority for the US in relation to Russia and China regarding human rights records. In each case, they attempt to use histories dating back at least 27 years, typically far more.

Do these countries have distant histories of human rights abuses? Yes, they do. However, they fail to look at the human rights records of the US even from that time frame. If one wants to look at old human rights records, then we have to look at the US history of genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, Japanese internment camps, women’s rights and the abuses they suffered, forced sterilization, frontal lobotomies, electroshock therapy, involuntary imprisonment of women in asylums based on their husband’s word, seizure of private property for corporate interests (DAPL), the civil rights movement…

Getting the point here?

Yet ancient history is not the point of this article. The point of this article is the apparent belief by many people that when you discuss the human rights records of a country, that such record should be limited to inside a country’s borders. Nothing could be further from the truth. Human rights are humanrights.The term has no geographical boundaries attached to the meaning.

Nor are human rights records limited to governmental actions. That record can be even more related to government inaction in the face of known abuse or suffering at the hands of non-government entities. From the Pinkerton massacre at Homestead to Dow Chemical poisoning the Ohio River and thousands of abuses in between and happening now.

The US government has a long, storied history and present of direct and indirect involvement in the abuse and outright murder of millions of people around the globe. From our entry into WWI under false pretenses to the decimation of North Korea to the blatantly false circumstances that took us into Vietnam and Iraq, regime change operations by our military and CIA in dozens of countries dating back at least as far as the early 50’s. Even earlier when we look at the Panama Canal and invasion of Hawaii, the Hidalgo Treaty and who knows what else? Talk to a real historian who is not a propagandist.

Right now we are actively bombing 8 countries and selling weapons to Saudi Arabia who is conducting outright genocide in Yemen in the worst human rights situation globally since Cambodia. We have actively supported the Saudi regime for decades while in full knowledge of their abuse of human rights, with imprisonment and mass public decapitations of dissident journalists, oppression of women’s rights which continues with US corporate created cell phone apps which track women’s movements so they can be reported to authorities if they attempt to escape abuse with a single button. Do our politicians and corporate media scream to the heads of the Saudi royals? Or make weak, failed attempts at ineffective sanctions? Is anyone (and I mean anyone) calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia?

Those claiming American moral superiority over other countries fail to consider any of this or the fact that most of this history has been for the sake of capitalist interests. They will point to Stalin or Mao but never remotely realize that the US has killed multiple times more people than Stalin and Mao combined. There is no way to accurately count the death toll of the United States because the numbers will always be hidden, distorted, diverted, blamed elsewhere and that moral imperative always claimed.

It is always telling that our corporate media never opposes any military action. They attempt to whip up support for the next war and the next and the next. They don’t bother mentioning our current military actions as a comprehensive statement. The bombing of 8 countries mentioned above, the military forces in 50 African nations, the millions starved by our typically sanctions. Yet we hear endlessly how we need to intervene in Venezuela because Maduro is a tyrant.

Corporate media does not broadcast the reports coming back with video from Progressive journalists on the ground in Venezuela at this moment. Aaron Mate, Max Blumenthal, Abby Martin. Their video evidence shows the lack of violence, the store shelves full of items corporate media claims do not exist in the country, the rallies in protest against US intervention. They don’t mention the humanitarian support being provided by less affluent countries who are not trying to seize rights to Venezuelan oil. European countries, Mexico, Russia, China are all providing support without any suspicion of them attempting to sneak in weapons for the opposition to enact a coup. An opposition which is known to have used violence against civilians, including burning people alive. Corporate media does not mention that Venezuela has the lowest rate of homelessness in the western hemisphere. Can’t talk about that, can we?

The US truly has no right at all to dictate ethics or morality to other countries. Americans have no right to believe we are the “good guys” or that the governments that oppose us are worse than our own. Especially when many of those countries have universal healthcare and adult education while we do not. To include Russia and China. Countries that spend more money on their own citizens than on warfare by magnitudes of ten. Countries that have lower rates of homelessness and lower prison populations than ourselves. Countries that often have US sanctions limiting the options available to them to provide for their citizens.

It’s time to define the human rights records of all countries by how they treat not only their citizens but how they treat human beings in general. Define human rights by each country’s actions as a whole. Define human rights by the divide between rich and poor, free and incarcerated, treatment of the ill, housed and homeless, diplomacy versus war, free versus oppressed, freedom of speech and press to include corporate censorship. Because human rights should include life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, medical care, shelter, security, freedom of dissension, food security, political freedom of affiliation even if that includes Conservatism or Communism. Human rights records do not stop counting at your border and you cannot treat citizens of other countries as you see fit for your own greed.

Yellow Vest Protests- The Difference Between French And Americans

I already detailed in my last post a number of reasons that the Yellow Vest movement is not likely to spread to America any time soon.

Let’s say I am wrong and it does spread here. If so, how would it be different?

Most of all, mainland Europeans (do not include the UK in this) have a far different mindset than Americans do. Pay attention to interviews with most of the protesters. What do they state their demands are, individually? It is true that removing Macron from office is on the list but it is far from the first item on that list. Long before that, you will hear them speaking of actual issues regarding economics and social issues on which they demand policy changes. The main point being that they understand that the name at the top of the page is just another name at the top of the page. Without policy change, nothing positive will occur.

Contrast that with America. In America, look at the Women’s Marches. They had no definitive list of complaints, no specific policies they wanted changed. The same thing would happen if the Yellow Vest movement spread to America. There would be no focus on policies. No specific changes that protesters wanted to enact. There would be little or no solidarity as there is in France, where over 70% of citizens agree with what the protesters are demanding.

The long and short of it is that any such protests in America would be seized by political parties to force their own agenda. They would become “Impeach Trump” rallies, with no plans beyond that agenda. None that the public would be privy to, any way. If they actually managed to get Trump impeached, it would be called a success, even though no discernible change would follow. There would be big “we won” parties and speeches and then back to the same path we have been on.

Part of the reason for the differences between the countries is media. Many countries in mainland Europe have standards of public conduct, which includes their media and advertising. Take their advertising as an example. If you advertise a product in Europe, you can state the claims of benefits of your product. What you can not do is compare your product to your competitor. You cannot claim your product is best. You cannot claim there are flaws in competing products.

The same concept holds true with electoral candidates. You can state your policies and plans. You are not allowed to demean your opponent or their policies.

In each case, if you breach such conduct, you can be personally sued, censured, admonished, held accountable in numerous different ways.

This affects the national mindset. They focus on issues, plans, promises. They remember those promises and hold elected officials responsible far more than they are in America.

Here in America, attacking your opponent, being led by the media and already elected power-grabbing officials is the norm. Policies are not necessary, all you have to do is attack your opponent and make them look worse.

Another part of the difference is education. France and most mainland European countries have socialized adult education. More Europeans have advanced adult education than the American population. That advanced education leads to a populace that has greater critical thinking skills.

If these protests came to America, they would be inserted into a population that thrives on violence. Large numbers of people who worship the Second Amendment yet turn a blind eye to children tear gassed at our border, ignore our own unarmed citizens being shot down in the streets. This is a culture of reality show spectators, armchair quarterbacks, MMA and pro wrestling fans. We have subcultures that watch or actively participate in dog fights or rooster fights to the death. Aggression and force are our stock in trade. Hoarding wealth and possessions is idolized.

So, perhaps the real question should not be whether the Yellow Vest protests will make it to America. Perhaps the real question should be, “Do we want it to?”