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Government for Good: Why We Need SNAP and More..

November 04, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2014 Mid-term Elections, 2016 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Economic Terrorism, Government for Good, Intersectionality, Poverty, What People are Doing to Change the World

“Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”

~ Senator Paul Wellstone ((July 21, 1944 – October 25, 2002)

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In era where government is so vilified, we at Critical Mass Progress would like to consider Government for Good. Collective governance – past present and future – can work to defend/secure rights, distribute social and economic goods, provide legal recognition, jobs, healthcare and more, create opportunities via public schools, public works, and public policy that centers everyday people.

Everyday.

Today, the importance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

poverty PNG

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Revelations: Don’t Call Them Anarchists…

October 13, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Media Conglomeration, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex

FASCISM ANYONE? THE 14 DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM
by Laurence W. Britt

Originally published in the Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry Magazine

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Government Shutdown Planned by GOP, Paid for by their Corporate Masters

October 06, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, 2014 Mid-term Elections, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality

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A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning, New York Times

To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known…

The current budget brinkmanship is just the latest development in a well-financed, broad-based assault on the health law, Mr. Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Groups like Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are all immersed in the fight, as is Club for Growth, a business-backed nonprofit organization. Some, like Generation Opportunity and Young Americans for Liberty, both aimed at young adults, are upstarts. Heritage Action is new, too, founded in 2010 to advance the policy prescriptions of its sister group, the Heritage Foundation.

The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort. A group linked to the Kochs, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, disbursed more than $200 million last year to nonprofit organizations involved in the fight. Included was $5 million to Generation Opportunity, which created a buzz last month with an Internet advertisement showing a menacing Uncle Sam figure popping up between a woman’s legs during a gynecological exam.

The groups have also sought to pressure vulnerable Republican members of Congress with scorecards keeping track of their health care votes; have burned faux “Obamacare cards” on college campuses; and have distributed scripts for phone calls to Congressional offices, sample letters to editors and Twitter and Facebook offerings for followers to present as their own.

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Hunger Games: Heartless House GOP Votes to Cut $40 Billion from #SNAP

September 19, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality

Food_Insecurity__2-18-13Source:  Upworthy

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Sequester Starvation: Women and Children First

March 22, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism, Education, Housing, Intersectionality, Poverty

The big sequester gamble: How badly will the cuts hurt?

February 25, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Economic Terrorism

From Washington Post:

“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health-care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.”

In the long partisan conflict over government spending, the sequester is where the rubber meets the road. Obama is betting Americans will be outraged by the abrupt and substantial cuts to a wide range of government services, from law enforcement to food safety to public schools. And he is hoping they will rise up to demand what he calls a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that replaces some cuts with higher taxes.

But if voters react with a shrug, congressional Republicans will have won a major victory in their campaign to shrink the size of government. Instead of cancelling the sequester, the GOP will likely push for more.

“It would be a big problem for the White House if the sequester came and went and nobody really noticed anything. Then people will start saying, ‘Well, maybe we can cut spending,” said John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who penned a recent Wall Street Journal piece titled “Learning to Love the Sequester.”

Adding to the liberal angst is concern that the scale of the cuts may be overstated, at least in the short term. While the sequester orders the White House to withdraw $85 billion in spending authority from affected agencies in the fiscal year that ends in September, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that agencies will reduce actual spending by only about $44 billion, with the remaining cuts carried over into future years. Compared with total 2013 discretionary spending, that’s a cut of less than 4 percent.

From CAP:

. This time a refusal to compromise by conservative leaders in Congress would lead to massive, damaging across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, potentially dragging the economy back into recession and hurting American families by slashing critical investments in job training, public health, and public safety.

The spending cuts, also known as the “sequester,” are a direct result of a long push by conservatives to take the nation’s economy hostage in order to secure massive, harmful spending cuts. In the summer of 2011, in exchange for agreeing to pay America’s bills, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) negotiated the deal that wrote the sequester into law, stating that he had gotten 98 percent of what he wanted. Though there is a concerted effort to blame the president for the sequester, no amount of whitewashing can erase the fact that many conservative members of Congress voted for this plan.

Under the terms of the sequester, federal spending would be cut by $1.2 trillion from March 2013 to March 2021. States stand to lose billions of dollars in critical grants needed to fund everything from schools to new police officers to parks. In fiscal year 2013 alone, states stand to lose an estimated $6.4 billion in federal funding. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 750,000 jobs could be lost because of the sequester. Taking a meat cleaver to spending in such a blunt, unfocused manner would send a shockwave through our economy and would hurt countless American families.

The Impact of the Sequester on Communities Across America by Anna Chu

CI: Standing Up to “Stand Your Ground”

December 05, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Corrupt Legislature, Criminal Defense, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, White Privilege

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

Standing Up to “Stand Your Ground”
by nancy a heitzeg

A mere 9 months after Trayvon Martin, and here we are, mourning Jordan Davis, another 17 year old Florida teen shot down. This time “loud music” not “hoodies” was the proximate trigger, but the real reason, of course, irrational archtypical threat of The Criminal-Black-Man.

As Melissa Harris-Perry puts it, “No Country for Black Boys”.

Her Open Letter this week addresses the details and the larger concerns:
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Spirit and Election 2012

November 02, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Development, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Spirituality, Voting Rights

SPIRIT AND ELECTION 2012
Commentary by Kay Whitlock

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

This is an unusual Critical Mass Progress post, written because almost everyone I know is feeling psychically worn and battered by this election season. I certainly am, although I know the tide has turned and we will see any number of necessary and heartening victories – including the presidency. I hope you know that, too.

Even so, we can’t ignore what’s been happening, or its meaning as we come through the election and work to give even deeper strength to the many interdependent struggles for freedom, human rights, social and economic justice, and environmental integrity.

Constellations of psychic energy are in motion, and the most difficult ones to deal with are embedded in the onslaught of Republican/Right messages and tactics that emphasize fear, rage, resentment, enmity, racism, misogyny, heterosexism, xenophobia, brutal disdain for poor and working class people, and callous disregard for the climate and our natural environment.

Unleashed in these frenzied storms of fear and rage are mythic images and archetypes that touch us all in unconscious ways, even if we reject them: white supremacy; violent and patriarchal authoritarianism; bully boys; religious inquisitors; tricksters and confidence men (yes, men) who offer only lies, deception, and greed. And this is what’s coming cloaked in the language of faith and values. It’s clear that politicized religion either works for liberation or against it.

The Right’s messages, mythic images, and violent, emotion-soaked archetypes call out the worst in all of us – whether we reject them or, out of a desire for vicarious power over others, embrace them. They often keep us reactive to and bound within the great whorls and whirlpools and quicksand created by those who prefer an ethic of dominance and subordination.

I’m not having it. I want leaders and neighbors and colleagues to be calling out the best in us, not the worst, the smallest, the meanest. And I don’t mean just speaking out on issues. I mean calling us all to something much larger than ourselves – and to engaged, community-based organizing that goes on before, during, and after elections.

I’m no spiritual leader (hear that roar of raucous laughter from my pals and partner in the background?), but I am a person whose spirituality (Buddhism) is central to who I am. So I decided to post something here and send it out into the Great Noise because I believe that everything we say and do matters, for good or ill. I’m not doing it because I believe everyone must or should be religious or spiritual. We’re all so different, and there has to be room for us all. I’m doing it because I have to.

Many (too many) years ago, I was a member of the NGLTF’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable, representing an organization I worked for at the time. I wrote something for the NRLR for a particular event, and it’s never been used again. I’ve tweaked it somewhat and offer it here as my personal prior-to-the-election and after-the-election reflection.

ON LOVE, JUSTICE & SPIRIT

The presence of Spirit, or God, is the life-giving presence of love and justice for all people and for the earth itself. The presence of Spirit, or God, is the realization, here on earth, of just and beloved community in which we celebrate the dignity and sacred worth of every person and all peoples.

The spiritual call to love and justice is a joyous call to resistance and transformation. We are called to resist the unjust beliefs, structures and practices in ourselves, in our communities, and in society that declare some categories of people superior or subordinate to others. We are called to transform by example the corrupt ethic of domination and supremacy, which justifies the social, economic, environmental, and spiritual evils of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, heterosexism, and ecological devastation.

The call to love and justice is a call to radical generosity and open-heartedness in a time of spiritual and social stinginess, greed, insularity, and indifference to the suffering of our neighbors. We reject the fearful message of scarcity and enmity preached by some who claim there are not enough civil and human rights to go around, not enough social and economic goods to meet everyone’s basic needs. Only by taking up others’ burdens of injustice and suffering along with our own will we transform the curse of fear, hatred, and human brokenness that afflicts our society in so many painful ways into the blessing of just, generous, and compassionate community.

The call to love and justice is a call to radical nonviolence in the midst of great storms of psychic, structural, physical, and economic violence. It lifts up a vision in which all of us, not only the most privileged of us, can live freely and exercise our rights and responsibilities without fear of exclusion, threat, intimidation, or violence.

The call to love and justice is a call to spiritual wholeness within our churches, synagogues, mosques, sanghas, ashrams and other sacred gathering places. Where stifling boundaries constrain our ability to claim wholeness, the call to love and justice gives us the strength to shatter them.

The call to love and justice gives us the strength necessary to lift up a bold, audacious vision of spiritual community in which all are welcome and invited to participate equally in worship, sacred ceremonies and blessings, and in which the gifts of spiritual leadership are recognized and honored in people of all races, cultures, genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations.

A commitment to love and justice is one that demands everything of us – and in return, it offers us infinite possibility. It calls us to nurture – in ourselves as well as others – the courage, integrity, kindness, and generosity necessary to create just and beloved community, in which none of us is cast aside and all of us are kin.

See you on the far side of the election.