Friday, December 2, 2016

Life Lessons from Gift Exchange Holidays


Life Lessons from Gift Exchange Holidays
by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator

I started writing this on November 30th, 2016 in hopes to share with you life lessons I've learned from gift exchange holidays such as Christmas.  As a child, I wanted to participate in not just making my own wish list and receiving gifts, but, in giving to my loved ones as well.  I would draw pictures, cross-stitch, needlepoint, and crochet gifts for loved ones in hopes to show my love for them by giving a gift as I knew that was the true reason for the gift exchange.

My family is far from perfect, as are most, if not all families.  But, we did and continue to carry on certain family traditions.  Even when I had no gift for visiting family and friends, I helped bake goodies for everyone with my grandmother and took joy in seeing their satisfaction with the treats we made.  And, I believe my family got at least one thing right, they taught me the value of sharing and expressing my love through both words and deeds.  Offering someone warmth when they are cold, a smile when they are down, and a helping hand when needed are all gifts I have cherished and shared throughout my life.

I believe there are four categories of genuine gifts.  These four categories are needful things, wanted things, joyous things, and things to be treasured/cherished.  I believe most gifts should answer a need and be needful/needed things. 

A needful/needed thing is something someone needs.  In the intangible category it could be anything from a smile to a word of encouragement.  In the tangible category it could be anything from a hug to a house.  Some needed things are easier to give then others depending on the giver's individual resources.  But, in the spirit of peace on earth, this type of giving is best.  This year, HEAL HQ is collecting and creating needed things that include books and clothes for local homeless youth.  We encourage others to give to and/or volunteer for those in need and suggest if you don't know someone in need that you do most of your giving to a charity serving neighbors in need like a shelter, soup kitchen, or food bank.  For me, it is difficult to enjoy even small luxuries while people are homeless, starving, exploited and oppressed.  So, I do my best to be mindful of this when considering how to best show my reverence and consideration when sharing and spreading good will and good cheer.  I have to believe that the spirit of giving is intended to inspire generosity and hope, not greed and envy.

Many a child has rolled his or her eyes at the sight of socks or underwear on Christmas morning.  But, the reality is those were things the child needed and therefore truly the best of all the gifts and the ones which likely got the most use.  And, everyone knows that for some, the magic of Christmas is about getting what you've wanted all year and not what you need at all.

A wanted thing is something someone wants or for which they have wished.  In the intangible category it could be anything from appreciation to an apology.  In the tangible category it could be anything from concert tickets to a trip to the moon (or mars if that's your thing).  A wanted thing must actually be what the person wants to count as wish fulfillment.  So, if someone wants Fair Trade Chocolate and you give them a Hershey Bar, you haven't fulfilled their wish effectively.  Getting the wrong thing for someone, even with good intentions, can result in a fuss.  It is best not to get someone something they want unless you are certain you are getting the right thing.  If you have activist friends, like I do, it is best to find out their favorite charity and make a donation to it in their honor than make the mistake of getting an unwanted thing by mistake.  If your friends welcome your good will and good cheer, then all should be pleased regardless.

A joyous thing is a surprise that brings joy.  In the intangible category it could be anything from a call from an old friend to a surprise party or invitation.  In the tangible category it could be any surprise or gift that brings joy to the recipient.  These can be tricky, but, if you know your recipient well a wanted thing can become a joyous thing as well.  But, be careful when reaching out to old friends in old address books, there may be a reason they haven't spoken in a while.  A good surprise is one that is cherished.

A treasured/cherished thing is something given with love that has meaning or value to the giver or the recipient, sometimes both.  In the intangible category it could be anything from time to a recital of an original work (i.e. poem or song).  In the tangible category it could be something the giver handmade for the recipient or a wanted thing so desired that it is also a treasured and cherished thing once received.  For example, I collect from time to time, original copies of Lord Byron and Emily Dickinson's poetry.  This includes original magazine or journal publications in which theirs are among many contributors.  My mother found an original publication while antiquing and that remains a treasured thing of mine.  It was from my mother whom I love, something I desired greatly, and something I will forever cherish. 

So, the life lessons I've learned from gift exchange holidays are that the best gifts fill a need and that the most cherished gifts involve consideration, love, knowledge, care, and wisdom.  I hope that parents and guardians will encourage, welcome, and include children in all holiday preparations including preparing to both give and receive with love, warmth, and kindness to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone in need.

Warning: One of the worst things anyone can do is to give a gift or volunteer with the intention of receiving or gaining something beyond which the joy of giving or participating can provide.  When someone gives in order to manipulate or lay claim to some form of repayment or return on their gift or volunteer participation, beyond the satisfaction of giving or participating, they are not a true giver nor a true volunteer.  Selfish, self-centered, greedy, exploitative, manipulative people who try to use their feigned kindnesses for personal gain or their own entertainment at watching the chaos they create in the wake of their lies and manipulations do not even understand the meaning of giving or volunteering. 

The definition of a gift is: "something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation".  Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gift  The definition of a volunteer is: "a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service".  Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteer.  So, a gift is something given freely without compensation and a volunteer is someone who freely and willingly provides a service to their family, community, country, organization or cause.  When someone expects a return or repayment for their gift, it is not a gift.  When someone expects to be served by their family, community, organization, or cause, they are not a volunteer, but, a recipient of services.  Cooperative relationships exist and reciprocity is natural and normal in many situations.  But, when one volunteers for an organization or cause or gives a gift, it must be with the understanding that they are undertaking an act of giving and generosity with no expectation of personal gain and any attempts to exploit recipients of their gifts or volunteer time and efforts is unethical and therefore unwelcome.

At HEAL, we welcome truly giving people who are happy to volunteer and work with us to achieve our goals for a better world without institutionalized abuse.  However, if you are looking to volunteer with HEAL with some personal agenda or with ulterior motives, know we will figure it out and we will wish you well but ask that you take your private agenda and unethical practices elsewhere.  Volunteer with HEAL because you support us, our agenda, and campaigns.  If you are looking to sign up for any other reason, please don't.  If you need our help, please ask and we'll do our best.  If organizing on your own, see www.heal-online.org/solidarity.htm for information on requesting our help.  But, don't sign up to be a volunteer if all you really want is attention and support.  It dishonors our mission and distracts from important work we do. 

HEAL appreciates all of our volunteers and supporters.  We look forward to a successful 2017 and hope those who can join in and support our efforts and campaigns, will continue to do so.  If we all put a little more love, thought, and care into our actions, the world will be a better place.  Let it be so!  Have a great holiday season and wonderful 2017!

 

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The USA's Biggest Enemies are Ignorance and Fear

The USA's Biggest Enemies are Ignorance and Fear
by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


So, Donald Trump is now the president elect and many activists and allies to HEAL are asking: "What do we do now?"  I wonder if they would be asking this with the same level of fear if Hillary Clinton was the president elect.  I know I would be.

The biggest problem with the US government is the rampant corruption.  We have the ability to reduce and eliminate corruption.  Donald J. Trump suggested introducing term limits for federal legislators.[1]  Progressives also support introducing term limits to help stop the corruption.[2]  Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell has already said there will be no term limits considered by the Senate.[3]  So, on this issue, I would personally side with President Elect Trump's position to impose term limits.  But, just like with most things, Congress will not back the president elect's proposed agenda regardless of what the people and public want them to do. 

So, while we know the two corporatist parties (Democrats and Republicans) are solely interested in personal wealth and power for themselves and other "elites" and do not care about workers, human rights, education, and other public interest issues (i.e. healthcare); we also know that we have to build effective third-parties going forward to challenge the corporatist duopoly.  Volunteer and help build the Green Party, Libertarian Party, and/or any other third party or independent faction organizing to challenge the establishment.  If you truly care about workers, human rights, equality, and other public interest issues, the Green Party is your best bet now and going forward.  Help build that party going forward and consider running for office as a Green candidate.  Learn more and sign up to volunteer here: http://www.jill2016.com/postelection

The biggest problem we face is that people want instant gratification and when they don't get what they want immediately, they give up and go back to business as usual.  HEAL doesn't do that and we don't really respect people who do that.  We know we are making progress because we work hard to make it so daily no matter who is in the White House and no matter what our opposition looks like on any given day.  I've been an activist and organizing locally with various organizations and groups since 1986.  That's right, 30 years of organizing and working and fighting for change.  I've participated in many successes and had my fair share of disappointments as well.  I celebrate the wins and don't allow losses to kill my passion and dedication or mutate me into some defeatist jerk who just tells everyone that making any effort on any issue is a waste of time and resources and that they should just give up.  To those defeatist naysayers who just want everyone to be as hopeless, faithless, and miserable as they are, I'm happy to quote former VP Dick Cheney and say "Go F*ck Yourself".[4]

We have to volunteer, mobilize, educate the public, and show courage while encouraging others to do the same.  We must not give up because people are "too ignorant" and we must not give in because people are "too afraid" to challenge politicians and policies that hurt them.  For survivors of institutional abuse like myself, we've already been raped, abused, tortured, had friends and fellows killed, and have been denied justice and proper redress for our grievances.  If you tell me Trump is going to sick dogs on protesters, I'm going to say how is that any different than what is happening in North Dakota in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline?  The problem isn't red or blue, the problem is our whole damn corrupt system and we have to organize to challenge it.  We have to get out the vote for third-parties.  We have to run for office and fight to challenge the power while working diligently to push those in power to do their job and act in the best interest of the majority of the people.  We must be vigilant and for those who just don't have the time, resources, or inclination to be vigilant, at least pay attention to and support those of us who are so vigilant like the Green Party and reject any fear-based propaganda and manipulation by the ruling "class".  Vote for what you want, not against what you most fear based on lies and propaganda.  Read and understand political platforms and policy votes.  Take charge of your mind and develop critical thinking skills.  Read more.

Survivors of institutional abuse tend to isolate and believe our injuries are special or different from the women and children being sex trafficked, the worker being exploited, the prisoner being tortured, and the environmental activist being disappeared.  But, we are not special and our injuries are not so different from those experiencing other forms of oppression, persecution, and abuse.  We must unite with all who are being treated inhumanely and unjustly and in so doing build a coalition of the disenfranchised, marginalized, oppressed, and persecuted.  This is how we will win. 



[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/10/18/donald-trump-calls-for-congressional-term-limits-to-end-cycle-of-corruption/
[2] http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/01/20/a-progressive-case-for-term-limits and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/2/24/840195/-
[3] https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/2016/11/09/mcconnell-trumps-drain-the-swamp-term-limits-vow-going-nowhere-in-the-senate/
[4] http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/48499:cheney-to-leahy-go-fuck-yourself

Saturday, October 1, 2016

CA SB 524: New "Regulations" of "Troubled Teen" Programs in CA Will Not Stop Institutional Abuse


CA SB 524: New "Regulations" of "Troubled Teen" Programs in CA Will Not Stop Institutional Abuse

by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator
 

There are many problems with SB 524 that Governor Jerry Brown of California just made law.  It is these problems that HEAL raised with individuals working on this legislation during the entire process.  HEAL did not support the bill as written because it provided only lip service to the issues raised by victim's groups and did not effectively address the problem.  It is HEAL's concern that this legislation will have the effect of convincing Californians that this problem has been solved while institutional abuse and fraud are still rampant in the state.

The first huge problem is that parents and institutions can prohibit or agree to prohibit, censor, and monitor a youth's communication without a court order.  Preventing an abused youth from communicating abuse to the authorities or their parents is a serious problem and one of the primary problems our movement has identified in both reporting abuse in a timely fashion and getting justice for victims.  SB 524 states:

[Youths have the right] "To consent to have visitors or telephone calls during reasonable hours, privately and without prior notice, if the visitors or telephone calls do not disrupt planned activities and are not prohibited by court order or by the youth’s parent or legal guardian."  (Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB524 )

Now, anyone with half a brain who had been working on this issue for years would tell you that this is a significant problem and one of the main issues our movement has called to address for decades.  Now, we have it encoded in to California law that kids can be held in facilities incommunicado without a court order.  That's really bad.

Facilities that are not covered by this legislation include group homes, residential treatment centers, and other facilities approved by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, or any Juvenile Hall operated by a county.  Additional facilities not covered by this legislation include health facilities, clinics, any place where a juvenile is judicially placed pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code, and Any facility conducted by and for the adherents of any well-recognized church or religious denomination for the purpose of providing facilities for the care or treatment of the sick who depend solely  upon prayer or spiritual means for healing in the practice of the religion of the church or denomination. (Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB524 )

But, that's not all.  There are more facilities that are not covered by this legislation that include any school or dormitory or similar facility except a private alternative boarding school or private alternative wilderness program as defined in the legislation.  Recovery houses and alcohol and drug treatment facilities are not covered by this legislation.

Here's how the bill defines private alternative boarding schools and wilderness programs:

"“Private alternative boarding school” means a group home licensed by the department to operate a program pursuant to Section 1502.2 to provide youth with 24-hour residential care and supervision, which, in addition to providing educational services to youth, provides, or holds itself out as providing, behavioral-based services to youth with social, emotional, or behavioral issues. The care and supervision provided by a private alternative boarding school shall be nonmedical, except as otherwise permitted by law."

And,

"“Private alternative outdoor program” means a group home licensed by the department to operate a program pursuant to Section 1502.21 to provide youth with 24-hour residential care and supervision, which provides, or holds itself out as providing, behavioral-based services in an outdoor living setting to youth with social, emotional, or behavioral issues. The care and supervision provided by a private alternative outdoor program shall be nonmedical, except as otherwise permitted by law."  (Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB524 )

Beyond that, the initial language identifying staff of private alternative boarding schools and wilderness programs as mandated reporters has been stricken from the final bill.  That makes it unlikely that staff will report abuse they witness because they do not have the protections against retaliation by their employers afforded to mandated reporters by law in California.

This bill is a lie.  It is a fraud.  It is lip service masquerading as legislation while providing no significant regulations.  In addition, the exemption of faith-based and any and all facilities that do not meet the narrow definition provided for alternative boarding schools and wilderness programs are not covered by the legislation.  It is a hoax to trick victims and the public into believing something significant has been achieved where it has not.

It is similar to the lie California legislators pulled by claiming to pass the bill to outlaw reparative/conversion therapy on LGBT youth.  SB 1172 was celebrated around the country and in California where it was signed into law as a ban on conversion/reparative therapy also known as "pray away the gay".  But, did you know that law only applies to licensed mental health professionals and not churches nor faith-based services that are the primary culprits when it comes to conversion and reparative "therapy" scams?  Yes, LBGT people all hailed SB 1172, but, didn't read the fine print.  This is just like SB 524 now.  People believe a problem has been solved, when in reality lip service was paid to the issue in the form of impotent legislation that tells the public all has been resolved while nothing actually has been resolved.  Here is what SB 1172 says:

"Existing law provides for licensing and regulation of various professions in the healing arts, including physicians and surgeons, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors.

This bill would prohibit a mental health provider, as defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity."  (Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billVersionsCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB1172 )

So, while all facilities that do not fall under the specific definition of covered programs in SB 524 or are otherwise exempt continue to abuse kids with no worries, the few that actually meet the specified criteria don't have to worry because kids will be held incommunicado and staff will be scared to blow the whistle in fear of retaliation from their employers because they were not defined as mandated reporters in this legislation. (Source: http://www.maineemploymentlawyerblog.com/2014/09/u-s-district-court-holds-company-may-lawfully-retaliate-employees-report-abuse-clients-dhhs.html)

This is what happens when you let fame, fortune, and notoriety override common sense and good judgment in advocacy and activism.  SB 524 is garbage and those selling it to us do not deserve our support nor our votes.
 
Author's Note: I would personally suggest all survivors of programs that are approved and paid for through social services, IEPs, and other state-sponsored placements (including foster care) write anyone and everyone who is saying this legislation solves the problem about how in your circumstance, not a damn thing would have changed even if this had been law during your enrollment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why You Shouldn't Believe Poll Numbers

Why You Shouldn't Believe Poll Numbers
by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


The Commission on Presidential Debates requires that candidates receive 15% in five different national polls in order to qualify.  The polls they are relying on in the 2016 election are: ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.(1)  ABC/Washington Post based their poll results on a total of 1002 respondents of which only 647 were "likely voters" in the 2016 election.(2)  CBS/New York Times based their poll results on a total of 1753 respondents of which only 1433 were registered or likely voters.(3)  CNN/Opinion Research Corporation based their poll results on a total of 1001 respondents of which only 886 were registered or likely voters.(4)  Fox News based their poll results on a total of 1006 respondents, all of whom were registered voters, and 867 which responded they would likely vote in November.(5)  NBC/Wall Street Journal based their poll results on a total of 1000 respondents, all of whom were registered voters.(6)  That means a total of 5762 people were polled and are deciding who is permitted to participate in the 2016 presidential debates.  That's a lot of power for those 5762 respondents and seemingly undemocratic. 

There were 129,100,000 voters in the 2012 general election.(7)  And, 5762 is .00446% of all voters.  "The larger your sample size, the more sure you can be that their answers truly reflect the population."(8)  The average of the 5 poll numbers for Green Party Candidate Jill Stein provided by the outlets relied upon by the Commission on Presidential Debates is based on the response of 5762 people total and averages 3.2% and the poll questions are skewed to favor the two major parties.(9)  A local Pennsylvania Fox News poll that sampled over 77,000 respondents (over 10 times the aggregate of the 5 "official polls") showed Jill Stein winning in a landslide with 85% of the vote.(10)  An NBC poll that sampled 69,823 respondents (again, over 10 times the aggregate of the 5 "official polls") showed Jill Stein coming in second to Trump with 19% of the vote.(11)  Based on a rudimentary understanding of statistics, it would seem that the polls with ten times more respondents would provide a more accurate result.

Now, let's just say all the polls are unreliable because they do not provide a sample size effective to determine the true position of most voters in the United States.  When you look at the Brexit debacle in the United Kingdom versus the polls leading up to that vote, you can see polls really are not valid indicators regarding voter sentiment.(12)  If we take our total referenced polls in this article, which is 7, and say 2 show Jill Stein winning or coming in 2nd, then you have 2 out of 7 with any arguable accuracy.  2/7 = 1/3.5 which is close to the 1/3 number of polls whose numbers correlated with the actual result of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.  But, there are flaws with this reasoning, so let's agree to throw out all polls.

Now that we have no polls, how do we determine who is likely to win in the 2016 general election?  Well, let's take a look at Facebook "likes" of all four candidates.  We could consider Twitter "follows" and Facebook "likes", but, many people "follow" people on Twitter for reasons that have nothing to do with supporting the people "followed".  So, examining Facebook "likes" may provide a better basis for making any determinations.

On the official campaign pages on Facebook, the breakdown on September 25th, 2016 is: Jill Stein has 576,617 "likes", Gary Johnson has 1,534,003 "likes", Donald Trump has 10,800,664 "likes", and Hillary Clinton has 6,156,232 "likes".   If we base our "poll results" solely on Facebook official "likes", we work from the aggregate total of 19,067,516 "likes".  Based on Facebook likes out of all possible likes, we have Stein at 3.02%, Johnson at 8.04%, Trump at 56.46%, and Clinton at 32.28%.  Calculating with the Facebook numbers alone, it would only represent 14.76% of voters and only if all "likes" were doled out "one per customer" and represented actual or "likely" voters in the 2016 election.  The total number of users of Facebook in the US is 162,900,000.  7,500,000 Facebook users are 13 or under.(13)  There are 25,000,000 teens aged 12 to 17 in US.(14)  And, 73% (or 18,250,000) of 12 to 17 year olds use Facebook.(15)  So, we can subtract 25,750,000 from the total number of Facebook users in the US to get the number of voting age users (18 and older) and that total is 137,150,000 which is more voting age users of Facebook than people who voted in the 2012 general election.  In 2012, only 7.3% of Facebook users reported "voting".(16)    7.3%  could be read as 7.3% of all voters given that more US adults are on Facebook than voted in 2012.  And, I'm sure you can see why even this gets tricky and wouldn't result in truly comprehensive and accurate statistics or poll results.  But, it seems on its face more plausible than the polls we are supposed to "respect" and rely on.  But, is it really?  Or, should we ignore these statistics as well?

The fast food chain McDonald's has 67,160,654 Facebook "likes".(17)  The fast food chain Burger King has 7,905,567 "likes".(18)  This makes the total "likes" of both chains on any given day 75,066,221.  And, McDonald's receives 89.5% of those total "likes" with Burger King receiving 10.5% of those total "likes".  Based on these numbers, one might assume that McDonald's is 89.5% more likely to be the restaurant of choice of most fast food consumers when choosing between Burger King and McDonald's.  McDonald's has 36,525 locations world wide.(19)  McDonald's serves 68 million customers per day.(20)  Burger King had between 13,667 in 2013 and now reportedly has over 15,000 locations worldwide.(21)  Burger King claims 11 million customers per day.(22)  Now, based on customers served alone, it shows that about 86% of consumers prefer McDonald's to Burger King.  But, Burger King has approximately 41% of the number of locations when compared to McDonald's.  And, based on the numbers it would appear each Burger King location serves an average of 733 people per day.  Each McDonald's location serves an average of 1861 people per day.  If you add the total number of people served each day at any given location at both restaurants, you get 2594 total customers served per day.  Based on a side by side comparison of consumers per restaurant per day, Burger King receives roughly 28% of the total customers per restaurant per day and McDonald's receives 72% of the total customers per restaurant per day.  So, the Facebook "likes" do not provide an accurate picture of the true favorability based on consumer behavior when analyzed through existing factual data.  In fact, the facts show that Burger King is nearly three times as favorable, receiving 28% of the consumer support than is reflected in the Facebook "likes" analysis. 

What if we looked at each of the candidates based solely on small individual donor contributions to their presidential campaigns?  Would that give a more accurate idea of the voter support for each of the four 2016 presidential candidates?  Hillary Clinton has received $70,714,091 (19% of her total contributions) in small individual donor contributions.(23)  Donald Trump has received $48,353,930 (29% of his total contributions) in small individual donor contributions.(24)  Gary Johnson has received $5,534,943 (70% of his total contributions) in small individual donor contributions.(25)  And, Jill Stein has received $1,134,508 (60% of her total contributions) in small individual donor contributions.(26)  This gives us an aggregate total, of all small individual donor contributions to all four candidates, of $125,737,472.  This gives Hillary Clinton roughly 56% of the individual donor financial support.  This gives Donald Trump roughly 38% of the individual donor financial support.  This gives Gary Johnson roughly 4% of the individual donor financial support.  And, it gives Jill Stein roughly 1-2% of the individual donor financial support.  Do these results reflect election results?

In the 2012 general election, President Barack Obama received 65,918,507  (51.01%) total votes and Republican Nominee Mitt Romney received 60,934,407 (47.15%) total votes.  Gary Johnson received 1,275,923 (0.99%) total votes.  And, Jill Stein received 469,015 (0.36%) total votes.(27)  Now, what did their political contributions look like in 2012 in small donor contributions? 

President Barack Obama raised $234,388,190 in small individual donor contributions in 2012.  Mitt Romney received $80,058,900 in small individual contributions in the 2012 election.(28)  Gary Johnson raised a total of $780,345 in small individual contributions in the 2012 election.(29)  And, Jill Stein raised a total of $319,221 in small individual contributions in the 2012 election.(30)   The aggregate total of all donations to all four candidates in 2012 was $315,546,656.  This gave President Obama roughly 74% of the small individual donor contributions total.  This gave Mitt Romney roughly 25% of the small individual donor contributions total.  This gave Gary Johnson roughly 0.25% of the small individual donor contributions total.  And, this gave Jill Stein roughly 0.10% of the small individual donor contributions total.  But, as shown above, President Obama received 51.01% of the vote, not 74% as the donations to his campaign might otherwise suggest.  Mitt Romney received 47.15% of the vote, not the 25% donations to his campaign would suggest.  Gary Johnson received 0.99% of the vote, not 0.25% which donations to his campaign would suggest.  And, Jill Stein received 0.36% of the vote, not the 0.10% that donations to her campaign would suggest. 

Based on the above, we have Clinton receiving about 1/3 of the donations that President Barack Obama received in the 2012 election cycle, and he was an incumbent.  And, Donald Trump receiving about 2/3 of the donations that Mitt Romney received in the 2012 election.  Gary Johnson has received roughly 700% more donations than he received in 2012.  And, Jill Stein has received roughly 355% more donations than she received in 2012.  While the Democrats and Republicans have lost between 1/3 and 2/3s of their overall support, the third parties have grown their support exponentially.  Of course, this is based on current numbers available in the 2016 election and these numbers may change throughout the election cycle.

What does any of this mean?  Well, even an intelligent person trying to find the true and accurate percentage of voters supporting any individual candidate based on available objective data will find predicting the outcome of any election very difficult and the true percentage of voters backing any particular candidate virtually impossible until election day. 

As voters and citizens, we are responsible for electing government officials who represent us domestically and globally.  For the majority of us, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not represent our domestic nor international interests.  We should demand a working democracy that includes all candidates, who are on enough ballots to win the election, be included in any scheduled general election debates.  We can achieve that by getting independent and third parties to 5% (or more) of the votes in the general election.  The polls are biased and rigged.  So, our only choice to save democracy is to vote third-party and ignore the lies our media tells us about what our choices are and whether we have the power to change that.  We do! 


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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Don't Trust The Pen/The Peace Team: Establishment Masquerading as Independent


Don't Trust The Pen/The Peace Team: Establishment Masquerading as Independent
by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator

On Sunday, September 18th, 2016, I received an e-mail from theteam@peaceteam.net.  Peaceteam.net is a project of The Pen.  The mailing address for both is PO Box 35022, Los Angeles, CA 90035.  According to online resources, The Pen is an organization for independent voters who do not support establishment politics and parties.

I've been receiving e-mails from The Pen for many years and have participated in many of their action alerts.  In addition, they claim contributors such as Glenn Greenwald on their website.  But, they are not a registered organization in California and have no publicly recognized leadership.  They do not in any way identify themselves.

In researching this organization today, I ran a search for the phone numbers attributed to The Peace Team and The Pen.  The Pen claims the phone number 1.310.494.0114 and that number appears to belong to Dean Larson of Santa Monica, CA.  I could find no detailed information about Dean Larson's association with The Pen.  The Peace Team claims the phone number 1.202.403.0766 and that number appears to belong to Kermit Farley of Washington DC.  I could find no detailed information about Kermit Farley's association with The Peace Team.

As of now, I have no idea who The Pen or The Peace Team is nor why they would endorse Hillary Clinton and spread fallacious propaganda for her campaign. 

In their e-mail (provided in its entirety below), they said the following:

"Yesterday we told you the Jill presidential run was effectively over... Show us the campaign infrastructure where the Greens can get a dog catcher elected."

Well, today I received multiple Green Party and Jill Stein for President email updates and the campaign is still growing and going strong.  So, the first sentence I provide above is clearly a lie.  The second sentence requesting information on whether the Greens have ever run a successful campaign winning any election in the US, is easily answered.  There are over 100 elected Green Party officials throughout the US right now.  Source: http://www.gp.org/officeholders.  And, in order to get federal election funding for third parties, we the people have to help them reach 5% of the vote in the general election.  Then, they will qualify for federal funding which will aid in getting more Greens and Independents elected going forward.  This is why it is imperative for strong third parties like the Greens and the Libertarians to run and as imperative that we vote for them and work to get their numbers where they need to be for inclusion and resources in future elections.  Source: http://www.fec.gov/press/bkgnd/fund.shtml  So, both of the sentences from The Pen above are not reasonable, not factual, and quite honestly made me lose all respect for The Pen and anything they have to say.

But, that wasn't all...  The Pen also wrote:

" We've got people yelling at us that the last message was not supportive enough of Hillary, and just as many people yelling at us that it was too supportive of Hillary. Which we suppose actually tells us we struck about the right balance, when we said we were very unhappy with Clinton, but that we had no choice but to hold our nose for her . . . enthusiastically."

So, here we have the organization claiming to be Independent whose symbol is:



And, these "independents" are telling us our only option this election is Hillary Clinton.  It would appear that The Pen and The Peace Team are front groups for the establishment trying to manipulate independent voters into supporting Hillary Clinton.  And, just like Clinton, they are willing to lie, distort the facts, and use insulting rhetoric to abuse Jill Stein supporters while propping up Clinton and throwing a slight nod of approval to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Candidate.

Based on this, I will personally no longer support The Pen nor The Peace Team.  I believe they are an astroturf group likely lying about their association with Glenn Greenwald or that they have duped him as they did me for years with their diversionary campaigns and rhetoric.  Be careful who you trust.  Be careful who you support.  And, check everyone and everything out thoroughly before backing individuals and organizations intent on misleading you and destroying your political strategy with front groups for the establishment.


Sources/References [not included above]:


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Source: http://www.register.com/whois.rcmx

 

On 9/18/2016 7:31 PM, The Pen wrote:

 
Dear Angela, 
 
We have a message for the haters we hear from every day. If it does 
not apply to you, for CRYING out loud don't take it personally. 
 
We're talking about the Hillary supporters who hate both Jill and 
Bernie. 
 
We're talking about the Jill supporters who hate both Hillary and 
Bernie (calling him a sellout) 
 
We're talking about the Bernie supporters who hate both Jill and 
Hillary. 
 
Where is the end of all this hatred? 
 
We'll cut to the chase and tell you where this all leads . . . 
President Donald J. Trump the Fraud, the biggest hater of them all. 
 
We gave you the magic answer before the Democratic convention, but 
you would not hear it. 
 
When it became obvious to us that Bernie had fallen short, that 
Hillary had an insurmountable lead in the pledged delegate counts, we 
did an action page calling for Bernie to be tapped for the VP slot. 
 
The strategic solution was painfully obvious to us, and should have 
been likewise to anyone who actually wanted to win on policy. 
Everybody now is asking how Hillary can get the millenials behind her 
and nobody has an answer. 
 
That's Bernie's core base. With him on the ticket, the Democrats win 
the young vote, they win the change vote, they win it all including 
the Senate majority and possibly the House as well. No matter how 
passionately Bernie pleads with them to get behind someone else it's 
not even close to the same thing. The team of their respective bases 
would have been unbeatable. 
 
But NOooooooo . . . 
 
What was the response to our Bernie for VP action page? Abuse, 
yelling, condemnation, and people telling us to just shut up. 
 
We tried at least two more times to generate interest in the Bernie 
for VP action, same response, never got any real traction at all. Not 
that the knucklehead so-called strategists with the Clinton campaign 
would have been especially receptive to the idea. BUT, we could have 
forced their hand if enough people had spoken out. 
 
We told you without Bernie on the ticket as VP this election would be 
a chancy toss up. You would not hear us. We told you in the midst of 
#TrumpTheFraud's post convention nose dive that he would get on 
script, that he would come back to life like Jason in Friday the 
13th, using those exact words. Do you hear us now? 
 
Yeah, well, that's just swell. Because now it's too late to pick a 
winner for VP. But hey, the news isn't all bad. Lots of Republicans 
like Kaine a bunch, not that they would ever vote for him. 
 
Yesterday we told you the Jill presidential run was effectively over. 
At some point people need to deal with reality and not base their 
strategic political decisions on some fantasy parallel dimension, 
where 40 million votes suddenly fall out of the sky for Jill. 
 
Show us the campaign infrastructure where the Greens can get a dog 
catcher elected. Then we'll talk about state legislature seats. Then 
we'll talk about runs for Congress. And THEN, we can talk about a 
moon shot for the White House. Anybody can be a frequent candidate. 
Actually winning is quite another matter. 
 
At least Johnson shows as a tiny, less than 0.1% blip for his 
presidential prospects on the 538 site. Jill can't even muster that, 
with 7 weeks to go. 
 
We had no trouble giving away about 15,000 Bernie bumper stickers, 
and frankly we were bitterly disappointed the number was not much, 
much higher. 
 
32% of you said you were supporting Jill in our post-convention poll, 
so we did a bumper sticker run for her. 
 
Do you want to take a wild guess how many Jill bumper sticker 
requests we've had, even giving them away for free? We'd be 
embarrassed to tell you. The good news is we've got a lifetime supply 
of shelf liner here. Honestly though, the Hillary stickers are not 
moving all that much better. 
 
How desperately do you folks want to lose? Really. We're about as 
tired of begging you to request free bumper stickers as you probably 
are tired of hearing us beg for you to cost us money. 
 
We've got people yelling at us that the last message was not 
supportive enough of Hillary, and just as many people yelling at us 
that it was too supportive of Hillary. Which we suppose actually 
tells us we struck about the right balance, when we said we were very 
unhappy with Clinton, but that we had no choice but to hold our nose 
for her . . . enthusiastically. 
 
But hey, some of you folks, again if it actually applies to you, you 
just keep up with yelling and the screaming and the abuse and the 
rancor, and Mr. Big Hate himself will mop the floor with all of you. 
As it turns out, he's just your kinda guy, a hater. 
 
By the way, ya wanna know what other action page of ours got 
practically no response, our call to authorize the Zika defense 
funds. 
 
Stop Zika Action Page: https://www.utalk.us/?a=stop_zika 
 
We lost count of the number of arm chair amateur Nobel prize winners 
cursing at us that the microcephaly was really being caused by 
pesticides, or the GMO mosquitos themselves that were so effectively 
wiping out the mosquito populations where they were deployed. 
 
Today a study from Brazil was published in the Lancet, the most 
respected medical journal of them all, with ironclad, conclusive 
proof that Zika was the cause, the only cause of relevance, by 
demonstrating the major detectable presence of Zika virus in the 
affected babies, and NO Zika in non-deformed children. But of course 
anyone capable of competently reading the scientific literature 
already out there knew this already, which is to say off of something 
besides a quack website. 
 
All the while Zika spreads out of control in Florida, and it already 
nearly endemic in Puerto Rico. 
 
We're not even going to bother to link to any gift pages today. If 
you want to support our voice and our work, dig up a previous alert 
from your inbox and follow one of the links there, or you can find 
them through the Zika action page link above. 
 
And good luck November 8th. You're going to need it . . . 
desperately. 
 
You may forward this message to any friends who would find it 
important. 
 
Contributions to The People's Email Network or ActBlue are not 
tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. 
 
If you would like to be added to our distribution list, go to 
http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm 
 
Or if don't want to receive our messages, just go to 
http://www.peaceteam.net/out.htm 
 
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