Oligarchs Set Off Fireworks for the Fourth!

Oligarchs are coming out of the woodwork, with billionaires setting off fireworks just in time for Fourth of July.

Oligarch Willis Johnson

First. Tennessee billionaire, Willis Johnson, gifted South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, with one million dollars — to fund her state to send 50 National Guard troops to Texas, in order to help guard the U.S./Mexico border.

There have been no criminal wrongdoings. Everything has long been properly rigged, so this private-public, multi-state maneuver is legal. It’s just that…

Experts have voiced concern over a possible precedent being set where wealthy donors are essentially given command of the U.S. military for their political motivations.

— Rebecca Klapper, Newsweek

South Dakota is slick. In 2017, state lawmakers managed to overturn a new anti-corruption law, which voters had initiated via election ballot, by declaring a state of emergency.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation

Second. The Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation just won a case they brought before the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision made the state of California strike down a law that required nonprofit organizations (like AFP) to reveal the names of large donors. The National Review explains the case, from the conservative point of view. (Though you may think it sounds like gobbledygook, objectivity demands that we hear the other side’s view.)

The AFP Foundation is funded by the famous behind-the-scenes Koch Brothers, and their billionaire cronies. David Koch died in 2019. The lone Charles Koch continues to forge on, with only hard, cold financial support from ultra-wealthy peers. Without David, his confidence took a hit. Last year, Charles admitted their relentless, decades-long promotion of Republican partisanship may have been a mistake.

Nevertheless, AFP won this new case against California. Charles is probably feeling more steady. And Vox sums it up for everyday Americans:

The decision is, simply put, a disaster for anyone hoping to know how wealthy donors influence American politics.

— Ian Millhiser, Vox

A Happy Mask-Free Fourth of July

Oligarchs: 2, Democracy: 0.

Wait, let’s make that… Oligarchs: 3, Democracy: 0.

We need to recognize the win of wealthy oligarchs in the pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to them, Americans can celebrate independence mask-free this year. Big Pharma oligarchs deserve every dollar of profit from the Covid Virus vaccination (and projected boosters), because they get all the credit.

That is, the U.S. Government allows Big Pharma to take all the credit. For instance, according to Forbes

It is not really “Moderna’s vaccine.” It would be more appropriately called the “People’s vaccine,” as Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, has noted. It’s “the NIH’s vaccine. It is not merely Moderna’s vaccine. Federal scientists helped invent it and taxpayers are funding its development. We all have played a role. It should belong to humanity.”

— Judy Stone, Forbes

Happy Fourth of July! Whether regular Americans get any credit, or not. Whether our labor is fairly remunerated, we get to vote, receive a traffic ticket without a salad of police brutality — or not. This weekend we celebrate our freedom from royal rulers, and give a nod to Big Money oligarchs — for being the winning team.

Juneteenth Goes Federal

Sweet. Congress just designated Juneteenth, the 19th of June, as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. President Biden plans to sign the bill today.

It’s nice how U.S. lawmakers were able to officially acknowledge the end of slavery, only 156 years after the done deed, without the turmoil and expense of reparations or defunding the police. Our elected officials are models of efficiency, when they decide to work together in a nonpartisan* way.

Yes. Enough Republicans jumped on board to make the new federal holiday happen. Thankfully, changing the name of a post office, or declaring a new holiday, doesn’t cost wealthy donors any money! The entire duopoly was pleased about that.

White supremacist groups are probably unhappy, though. They don’t have a symbolic federal holiday of their own. (Yet, that is. Maybe some time in August?)

Seriously. What I’m saying is this: turning Juneteenth into a federal holiday is a small concession to the black community. It’s a nod to human rights, of course. But rights don’t have “teeth” without economic justice. Why do you think The Elites are fixated on maximizing their own wealth, yet care little that regular people enjoy a degree of comfort and financial flexibility? (They don’t want to share power.)

Nevertheless, I’m eager to celebrate the first-ever federal Juneteenth holiday this Saturday. I’ll prepare a dazzling holiday vegan dish for the occasion. Symbolic days possess a dash of people-power, after all, when we gather together.

Happy Juneteenth to everyone — black, white, purple and green! It’s a day to honor and thank the black community and its leaders for pushing, activating, and improving the principle of American democracy. Let’s acknowledge the hard-fought progress that has been made, and keep moving forward.

* “Nonpartisan” is D.C. code that means unified support of the wealthy corporate state.

What Left-Leaning Titles Are You Reading?

Left-leaning politics are fascinating. Social, economic, environmental — and political — systems are dynamically interwoven. But how do you intelligently interpret the vast changing trends and power shifts that occur throughout the globe?

Consult the experts.

To make better sense of the world, I particularly like to read books by professors. They’re excellent at explaining things.

Right now, I’m reading Understanding Socialism by Marxist economist Richard D. Wolff. Socialism is evolving, like every other “ism.” The next stage of socialism may emphasize democracy in the workplace. At least, that is Wolff’s hope. He’s an advocate of the worker-owned-and-directed enterprise. He argues that work should be democratized, in a democratic society. Does that sound logical, or what? (Wolff is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor at the New School in New York City.)

Next, on my reading list, is The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton. The book is supposed to be a comprehensible introduction to the topic of modern monetary theory (MMT). Though I sense the importance of MMT, from a few videos I’ve seen, I’m helpless at explaining it. This book should cure that. (Kelton is professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University.)

Then, there are two especially outstanding sociological books that I read in the last year or so. I recommend them to all inquiring minds.

The first is Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl. For anyone who has ever wracked their brain to figure out why so many people vote against their own interests, this book provides the best answer you’re bound to find. (Metzl teaches sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.)

The second is Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. Even if you think you already understand American racism, please read this book. It’s a deep, and riveting, endeavor that connects the dots. Anyway, the book is just plain interesting. For instance, did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King was disconcerted at being compared to an Untouchable from India? Did you know that the Nazi regime studied Jim Crow policies in America, in order to better oppress the Jews — and get away with it? (Although Wilkerson is not a professor, she could be! She’s a brilliant, award-winning author and journalist.)

What progressive books are you reading, or have read, that help you better understand our upside down world? (Fiction or nonfiction.) Tell us about your favorites in the Comments Section, so people can add them to their reading lists.

One of the great solutions to many problems, is to get smarter. So we read, read, read!

A Summer for Political & Social Action

LAST UPDATED: August 24, 2021

The 2021 Covid-19 vaccine program rolled out successfully in the United States. The threat of a highly contagious serious disease is over. For the first time in over a year, most people can move about society mask-free and carefree. It’s a time to celebrate.

Still, the last 15 months have revealed the ragged, ugly depth of societal problems in America. More citizens now understand that we can no longer take the basics for granted. Living wages, health care, rent, police integrity, and democracy are under savage assault.

Even as we celebrate our restored public health and the freedom to move about this weekend, let’s remain aware of the mounting urgency for people to join the Good Fight. Maybe this Memorial Day will launch an incredible “Summer of Political and Social Action.” Particularly, if you help make it happen.

Good Fights – Summer 2021

Everyone can get involved in Good Fights, one way or another. If you can’t attend an action event in person, you may support it online or donate some money to the cause.

Here’s an agenda of nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, and issue advocacy happenings, that are going down this Summer. Bookmark this page. I’ll update you on all the nationally organized action events I learn about — that are taking place this June, July, and August. (Remember the sunscreen!)

If you’re looking for a Good Fight right in your own neighborhood, check into the regional chapters of activist groups. You may find one near you.

JUNE 2021 Political & Social Action

JULY 2021 Political & Social Action

August 2021 Political & Social Action

Chevron is trying to criminalize those who fight for justice in Ecuador. Support Steven Donziger. | Amazon Watch

Will the Real Warnock Beagle Please Step Up?

Nobody knows the name of the Warnock Beagle dog, even though he or she was featured in Sen. Raphael Warnock’s two best campaign ads. (See below.) This leads us to surmise that the good Beagle… is an actor. And that Reverend Warnock doesn’t have a single friend of his own!

The Beagle was the deciding factor that won Warnock the 2021 Georgia U.S. Senate race. But there remains the other problem. As former President Harry S. Truman once said, everyone needs a true friend in Washington D.C.

You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.

~ Harry S. Truman

What can we Dogs of America do to make Sen. Warnock’s new career a success? We must find him friends of his own!

If any good Beagles out there can leave home for awhile, please donate your devotion to Senator Warnock for the duration of his term, only 42 dog years. The Senator is a good guy. He likes “puppies.” He pastored the very same church as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. — and we know that MLK really liked dogs! (All Revs like dogs. We aren’t called “Angels from Heaven” for nothing.) The Senator is also anti-corruption and pro-racial-justice. Though he isn’t politically progressive, Warnock IS one of the Decent Democrats.

In return, Warnock’s Senate Beagles will be repaid with showers of love and all-American treats — including the chance to bite the corpulent buttocks of corrupt corporate lobbyists and the fleshy flanks of far-right fascists (who are, even now, plotting further insurrection against the United States).

There can never be too many good dogs in Washington D.C. And Sen. Warnock needs a whole pack of friends. Supremely white terrorists, like the ones who bleached the Capitol on January 6th, are mean to black people. Therefore, all able-bodied Beagles, please volunteer to be a Warnock Beagle!

Uncle Sam needs a Battalion of Beagles to befriend Senator Warnock right now. Woof!

An able-bodied candidate for the Warnock Beagle Brigade.

Warnock Beagle Puppy Ads

Check out the “puppy” campaign ads that won Sen. Warnock’s race for U.S. Senate — and possibly saved the country. (The Democratic Party once again controls the U.S. Senate.)

“I Love Puppies” – Warnock for US Senate puppy campaign ad 1.
“Poop In the Trash” – Warnock for US Senate puppy campaign ad 2.

~ Chester reports on Canine News & Views

P.S. Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a dog, either. I know. But he’s busier than anyone else in D.C. He honestly doesn’t have time to walk a dog. I suspect he strokes a cat, once in a while; Bernie is compassionate to all. Feathered friends keep Bernie company when he’s working all over the country. (They can fly to keep up!)

Thanks for reading the “Canine News & Views.” Please share Progressive Graffiti articles, that you particularly like, with your friends and social networks. Sharing quality information, from the Left point of view, helps to advance the Progressive Justice Movement.

A Vegan Holiday Recipe Calendar for All 4 Seasons

Welcome to the holiday vegan recipe calendar for celebrations all throughout the year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter! The recipes cover traditional plant-based dishes, ingenious meat-substituting main course entrees, and trendy vegan culinary creations. The holidays range from lesser-known days of observance or awareness, to high-profile festivals and feast days.

The list is updated whenever The Editor (me!) wants to save a promising recipe for future reference. (Use the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut to search the list.) Priority is given to clever vegan recipes that are both easy to prepare and make use of commonly available ingredients. Tell us about your favorite holiday vegan recipes in the comments section, at the end of the page.

Updated: May 5, 2022

A vegan lifestyle supports animal welfare, human health, and a sustainable planet. If you need extra motivation, learn more:

Spring Holiday Vegan Recipes

Spring is the season of renewal. The big religious holidays, in the United States, are Easter and Passover. Think of breaking a fast, or the end of a dark period, by marking a new beginning with a life-affirming feast.

Mix and match dishes within the Spring holiday vegan recipes collection. Most recipes are appropriate for any festive Spring feast. There are no rules; only loving suggestions.

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) – March 1, 2022

National Pig Day – March 1

National Pig Day recognizes the pig as a highly intelligent domesticated animal. They make great pets. But most pigs are raised for food, and factory farms are very hard on pigs. Use this day to think about how to make their better lives.

St. Patrick’s Day – March 17

In the United States, St. Patrick’s day is largely a secular holiday. We see Ireland’s national plant, the shamrock, everywhere. It’s another great day to “go green.”

Holi (Festival of Colors) – March 19, 2022 (Evening of Full Moon Day in Month of Falgun)

The theme of Holi, the Hindu Festival of colors, is the triumph of good over evil. Sweets and snacks are reigning feast items.

Spring Equinox – March 20, 2022 (Northern Hemisphere, March 19-21) — featuring SPRING ROLLS

No food recognizes the first day of Spring better than spring rolls. Have each guest prepare and bring a different kind of vegan spring roll to the party.

National Library Week – April 3-9, 2022

Public libraries are society’s great equalizers. Celebrate your local library and its workers. Visit your library in person, or online. Read a library book aloud with friends, or watch a borrowed movie on CD.

National Pet Day – April 11

National Pet Day celebrates companion animals and encourages people to adopt shelter animals. It’s your furry friend’s big day!

Passover – April 15-April 23, 2022 – 15th day of Month of Nisan, Jewish Calendar

Passover commemorates how God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as told in the Biblical story of Exodus. Current social justice issues are often discussed during the Passover dinner, or Seder.

Easter – April 17, 2022 – Falls on Sunday After Passover Full Moon, Jewish Calendar

Easter is the holiest Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is a time of rebirth. We can set the old aside, and step forward renewed and refreshed.

Earth Day – April 22 — featuring HUMMUS

Demonstrating for climate action on Earth Day? Pack hummus, flatbread, veggies and fruit that can be eaten on the go.

May Day (International Workers’ Day) – May 1 — featuring SANDWICHES

Joining a strike or protest march on Workers’ Day? Pack a lunchbox and thermos with hearty vegan sustenance to eat on the go.

“Lunch box and vacuum bottle owned by Harry S. Truman… In the United States, the lunch box or lunch pail has been used as a [political] symbol of the working class. The phrase ‘lunch pail Democrat’ is used to classify populist politicians who attempt to gain the votes of the working class.” ~ Wikiwand

World Press Freedom Day – May 3 — featuring COFFEE & TEA

A free press is vital to democracy. Caffeine is vital to journalism, and any form of writing, research or investigation. On World Press Freedom Day, by your favorite independent news outlet “a cup of coffee.” That is, make a donation.

Cinco De Mayo – May 5

Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican 1862 military victory over the French forces of Napoleon III. The day is observed in the U.S. to celebrate Mexican heritage.

Mother’s Day – May 8, 2022 – 2nd Sunday in May in U.S. — featuring BREAKFAST & BRUNCH

Serving Mom breakfast or brunch is a Mother’s Day tradition. Mothers rule the (plant-based) world! (See the poem.)

Memorial Day – May 31

Memorial Day honors the military men and women who died in service to our country. It is celebrated with prayers, parades, red poppies, and outdoor gatherings. Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the summer season of barbeques and cookouts.

World Peace begins in the kitchen.

~ Anonymous

Summer Holiday Vegan Recipes

Summer is the season for out-of-doors recreation. The biggest U.S. patriotic holiday is the Fourth of July (Independence Day). Think: barbeques and picnics.

Vary your recipe choices from among the Summer holidays. Any of the holiday vegan recipes will be welcome at an outdoor feast, regardless of the actual day of observance.

World Oceans Day – June 8 — featuring SEAFOOD

The oceans sustain life on Planet Earth. World Oceans Day advocates for a united, global project to keep world oceans sustainable. Fish-loving vegans can join the effort, too!

Greek Food Festival (Monday of the Holy Spirit) – June 13, 2022

Agios Pnevmatos is celebrated 50 days after Greek Orthodox Easter. In Greece, it’s a national holiday. In the United States, many festivals are held at this time to celebrate Greek food and culture.

Father’s Day – June 19, 2022 (3rd Sunday of June, U.S.)

The third Sunday of every June is Father’s Day. Spend time with Dad. Do whatever he loves to do, and prepare him a manly vegan meal.

Juneteenth – June 19

On June 19, 1865, the last remaining black slaves in Confederate-held West Texas were freed, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is a day for jubilant celebration. Red foods are traditional.

Summer Solstice – June 21, 2022 (Northern Hemisphere, June 20-22)

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. It’s also known as Midsummer. Fair weather? The perfect way to celebrate is with a picnic.

Independence Day – July 4 — featuring the OUTDOOR GRILL

On July 2nd, 1776 the Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain. Two days later, July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Thus, the Great American Experiment began. Today we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks… but not before a outdoor grilled meal!

Cow Appreciation Day – July 9 — featuring veggie BURGERS

On Cow Appreciation Day, it’s good etiquette for everyone to eat veggie burgers. Learn more about how to help factory farmed cows at the National Humane Education Society.

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

~ Anatole France
Cows love it when humans make “green” diet resolutions! It’s good for them and the planet.

National Ice Cream Day (US & UK) – July 17, 2022 (3rd Sunday of July)

Vegans like to celebrate the perfect dessert, too. (Nondairy, of course!)

Mandela Day – July 18 — featuring PANTRY ITEMS only

This day calls on people to be active citizens in their community by helping the less fortunate. Very often, people donate to local food banks. Have your guests, or group, bring 4 cans of food to donate AND a vegan potluck dish made from only canned goods and dry pantry items. The following recipe selection is inspired by 12 Best Food Products to Donate, and 3 to Avoid. (The recipes are easy fallbacks for busy or newbie vegans, too!)

Jamaica Emancipation & Independence – August 1 & 6 — featuring JAMAICAN CUISINE

Autumn Holiday Vegan Recipes

Autumn is the season of harvest and thanksgiving. In Fact, November’s Thanksgiving is THE great American secular holiday.

Many of the Holiday Vegan Recipes within the Autumn collection are appropriate to serve at any Fall festivity. The recipes are mostly harvest-related, and quite interchangeable.

Labor Day – September 5, 2022 (First Monday in September

Labor Day is the last warm-weather outdoor celebration on the calendar. The holiday has its origin in the labor movement, and celebrates the essential importance of workers. Labor Day weekend is filled with parades, picnics, and cookouts.

Autumn Equinox – September 22, 2022 (Northern Hemisphere, September 21-24)

Celebrate the Autumn Equinox by feasting on local produce from the Fall harvest. Whether grown by local farmers, or harvested from your own garden, an abundance of fresh, healthy food is always a cause for a joyful celebration.

National Voter Registration Day – September 22, 2022 (4th Tuesday in September) – featuring ALL-AMERICAN CLASSICS

Make sure you and your friends are registered to vote. Reward your diligent efforts with an all-American vegan feast!

Dogs in Politics Day – September 23 — featuring vegan HOT DOGS

Behind every successful politician, there’s a good dog. Checkers, the Cocker Spaniel, single-handedly saved his human’s political career in 1952 — and inspired Dogs in Politics Day. Checkers’ human was Sen. Richard Nixon… so, Lefties, take this day over! It’s a perfect time to host a political gathering. Feed your fellow-rebels vegan hot dogs. They’re economical, “politically correct,” and memorable.

Rosh Hashanah – September 25-27, 2022 (Usually Occurs During Month of September)

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and celebrates God’s creation of the world. It’s a time to review, and reflect upon, the past year — and to seek forgiveness as a fresh new year begins. Traditional Rosh Hashanah feast dishes represent blessings. For instance, sweet foods symbolize hope for a “sweet” new year.

Baked Apple Roses make a luscious Rosh Hashana dessert. (Use a vegan egg wash.)

Global Smoothie Day – October 3

Smoothies are packed with nutrients. They’re easily veganized, and quickly blended (use some frozen ingredients). Sip one while reading a book, or while you’re on the go. Celebrate personal strength!

World Animal Day – October 4 — featuring vegan CLASSICS FOR BEGINNERS

World Animal Day is the international day of action for animal rights and welfare. The date coincides with Saint Francis of Assisi Feast Day. It’s a great time for carnivores to consider adopting a more plant-based diet. Here are some links to help:

St. Francis of Assisi was known for his gentle manner with animals. In the 1297-1299 Giotto di Bondone painting, he is seen “Preaching to the Birds.” Enjoy his feast day with Autumn holiday vegan recipes.

Here are the easy, basic dishes to get you started on a “greener” diet that is kinder to animals and Mother Earth.

Yom Kippur – October 4-5, 2022 (Occurs During September or October)

Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement. It’s a time for fasting and purification. It’s a time to forgive others, as well as repent of one’s own sins against God. It’s a time of renewal. There are two Yom Kippur meals. One is served before the fast, and one is served after the fast.

World Teachers’ Day – October 5 – APPLE Recipes

World Teachers’ Day originated from a partnership between UNESCO, International Labour Organization, UNICEF, and Education International. The food most associated with teachers is the apple. Why not celebrate your teacher with an apple-themed potluck?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day – October 10, 2022 – 2nd Monday in October

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is now observed, in many places, instead of Columbus Day. The holiday is also called First People’s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, or Native American Day. The day celebrates the history and culture of Native American people, including their food. It’s a day of ceremonies and feasts.

Halloween – October 31

From communing with dead souls to bats in the belfry, Halloween is the official day of the year to laugh at demons (you know, like greedy corporatists). Spooky foods make you brave.

Veterans Day – November 11

Veterans Day honors all current and past active-duty soldiers who serve/served in the United States Armed Forces. Prepare your Vet a hearty hero’s breakfast. Later in the day, eat out. Many familiar restaurants feed vets for free on Veterans Day. (See link below.)

World Children’s Day – November 20

World Children’s Day is observed in order to protect children’s rights and to improve their standard of living. To celebrate this day, have the kids work on a project that helps less fortunate children. Maybe they can sell snacks, in order to donate to the cause…

Thanksgiving – November 25

Thanksgiving is the High Feast Day of the United States, and officially launches the “holiday season.” A roasted turkey is the traditional table centerpiece. But vegans “mock” that idea.

Hanukkah – November 28-December 6 (Begins 25th day of Kislev, Hebrew calendar)

Veganism is not a sacrifice. It is a joy.

~ Gary L. Francione

Winter Holiday Vegan Recipes

Winter is the season to celebrate forgiveness, peace, and love. The most widely observed holidays are Hanukkah. Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Whether celebrated in a secular or religious fashion, festive tables and gifts reign supreme. Think: food and culinary gifts are ambassadors of peace, love, and joy.

Most of the holiday vegan recipes in the Winter collection may be prepared for any Winter festivity. There are no rules — feel free to mix them up.

Bodhi Day – December 8 – featuring vegan RICE dishes

Buddha, meditation, and enlightenment are quietly celebrated on Bodhi Day. It commemorates the day historic Buddha, Siddartha Gautauma, first achieved enlightenment. Afterward, the first simple meal the Buddha ate was rice and milk.

Human Rights Day – December 10

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN. Know your rights, your human rights. Politically speaking, never be intimidated from demanding what you deserve. You have many rights!

Humane Educator, Abby Power, explains how human rights and human rights are connected.

Winter Solstice – December 21, 2020 (Northern Hemisphere, December 20-23)

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. It was observed by many ancient cultures, and is the pagan Yule holiday. Whether you’re intrigued by the astronomy or the ancient history, comfort food is perfect for the longest night of the year.

Christmas Eve – December 24 – plus featuring CHINESE FOOD

Tomorrow’s the big day. Make something quick and easy, but nice, for Christmas Eve dinner. Sip a festive beverage while hanging your stockings.

Or go Chinese. (There’s a Jewish connection between Chinese food and December 24th.)

Christmas Day – December 25

Celebrate the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Gather your family and friends around, including the furry ones, and have yourself a merry little (vegan) Christmas.

Boxing Day – December 26 — featuring LEFTOVERS

It all began in Victorian England… The BBC explains Boxing Day: “[It] was traditionally a day off for servants, and the day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters.” Modern Boxing Day means glorious leftovers and TLC for anyone who had to work on Christmas day. (Also check May Day, May 1, for sandwich recipes.)

Kwanzaa – December 26 – January 1

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration of African-American culture. A feast, called “Karamu,” is served on the 6th day. Groundnut (peanut) stew and Jollof rice are popular traditional West African dishes to serve.

New Year’s Eve – December 31 — featuring FINGER FOODS & COCKTAILS

New Year’s Eve celebrates the coming new year, often with a party. Finger foods and cocktails are all you need for a late-night celebration. (And to arrange safe rides home for guests.)

New Year’s Day – January 1

On New Year’s Day, millions of people will launch life-affirming resolutions. Many people will determine to eat less meat — for personal health, the planet, and animal welfare. Their intentions will range from Meatless Mondays to Full-Blown Veganism. New Year’s day is perfect for celebrating… holiday vegan recipes!

Ready to Go Vegan? Take the Veganuary Pledge.

Veganuary is the world’s largest vegan movement, inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year.

~ Veganuary

National Bird Day – January 5

National Bird Day is a campaign from the Avian Welfare Coalition. They believe birds are most beautiful in the wild. Outdoor birds appreciate suet and seeds during cold winter months. So, you know what to do…

Coming of Age Day – January 10, 2022 (Second Monday in January) — featuring JAPANESE cuisine

On this day, Japan celebrates everyone who entered adulthood (age 20) during the previous year. It’s a worthy holiday to borrow in the United States, where young adults are often politically denigrated. In the U.S., 18 is “Coming of Age.” This is when Americans are old enough to vote, drink, and serve in the military. Eat Japanese cuisine, have a drink, and plot your political activism for the coming year.

Mardi Gras or Fat-Tuesday – January 16, 2021 (Day before Ash Wednesday)

Mardi Gras is celebrated on the day before the Christian season of Lent begins. “Carnival” refers to the days of festivities leading up to Mardi Gras. There is no reason why people cannot revel in luscious holiday vegan recipes that are prepared for Mardi Gras! A plant-based menu is an epicurean delight, without the animal fat!

Mardi is the French word for Tuesday, and gras means “fat.” Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard and cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.

~ History.com

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 18

A wonderful way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to invite some friends over for hearty cold-weather vegan comfort-food, and to talk about the fight for human rights and economic justice. After eating, plan a local grassroots action and paint protest posters.

[King] wasn’t vegan/vegetarian, but his wife, Coretta Scott King, was vegan for the last 10 years of her life. Dr. King’s son, Dexter King, has been a vegan and animal rights activist since the 1980s. 

~ Lisa Viger Gotte, Planted 365
Jenne Claiborne, of Sweet Potato Soul, learned lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — while making his favorite dessert: pecan pie.

Food for Thought: Black Health Matters [and Veganism] | Jewcology, MLK Day: An Opportunity to Serve | Kitchn

Chinese New Year – February 12- February 22, 2021 (January 21 to February 20)

The Chinese New Year marks the transition of zodiac signs, which are represented by animals. 2021 is the Year of the Ox. More than 20% of the world’s population celebrates the Chinese New Year. Prepare humane holiday vegan recipes for an auspicious new year!

Super Bowl – February 7, 2021 (Sunday in January or February)

The Super Bowl determines the championship team of the National Football League (NFL). It’s the biggest game day of the year. So dig into your stash of holiday vegan recipes, and prepare something special to eat while watching the game. Being vegan is rather sporting, afterall, towards both animals and humans.

Valentine’s Day – February 14

Couples have a holiday to celebrate their love each year, on February 14th. Try preparing one of these lovely holiday vegan recipes for an intimate dinner for two on Valentine’s Day, or any Date Night.

How to make the Love Martini (Cranberry Cocktail), in pictures.

Presidents’ Day – February 15

You won’t find many holiday vegan recipes to commemorate Presidents’ Day. But George Washington and Abraham Lincoln deserve a festive vegan dessert in their honor. They founded and protected our country’s democracy. Let’s celebrate liberty and justice for all creatures, by preparing holiday vegan recipes to honor the Presidents.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

~ Gandhi

Tips & Tricks for Veganizing Regular Recipes

Almost any dish can be veganized. Check out the following resources about tips and tricks for vegan substitutions.

Flavor Boosters


Vegan Cheeses

Keto Tips

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The Ancient Wool Dogs of the Pacific Northwest, and Me

The Wool Dog, of the Pacific Northwest, was considered a myth. Until now. Recent anthropological studies confirm that, over 17,000 years ago, the Salish Sea indigenous people bred a smallish, and possibly whitish, domestic dog in order to use its wooly fur.

The people sheared the special coats of the Wool Dog breed and used the luxurious fur to weave warm, beautiful blankets. The blankets became so cherished, far and wide, they turned into a highly prosperous trade commodity. The Wool Dogs, who made the first North American blanket industry possible, were considered very valuable.

Below, you can see what the Wool Dog may have looked like. From the painting, it seems like they lived comfortably indoors with humans, in contrast to other dogs who performed sentry duty out-of-doors in a harsh, damp climate.

In “A Woman Weaving a Basket,” Paul Kane painted what he imagined a Wool Dog might have looked like.

The heyday of the Wool Dog blanket industry, and its wooly dogs, enjoyed a long run. But the arrival of European textiles in the 19th Century put them out of business. Only a few tatters of Wool Dog blankets remain today, stored at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The Wool Dogs are extinct.

The story of the Wool Dogs is both fascinating and sad. It’s tragic to lose any noble dog breed. It’s fascinating to discover the unique canine history of Wool Dogs.

But the Wool Dogs also stir my personal interest. You see, I think I’ve found my genealogical roots. I’ve been called a “wooly” mop-dog many times, whenever I need a grooming. And, let’s face it, my fur would make great sweaters… maybe for sentry dogs who work in the cold…

Chester: dead ringer for a wooly Wool Dog.

~ Chester reports “The Canine News & Views”

Read more about the wool dogs here: “Study Shows Ancient Americans Bred Dogs for Their Wool.”

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The ‘National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’ Is Vital to Democracy & We Have the Power to Make It Happen

Progressive Graffiti contributor, Real Representation, presents a powerful argument for the
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Updated: December 16, 2020

Editor’s Note: Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election with 307 electoral votes and surpassed Donald Trump by nearly 7 million popular votes. Yet the loser of the race jangled the nerves of Americans, for at least a month following the General Election, with plots that involved “faithless” College Electors and/or state legislators who could selectively re-create elector slates. Americans must block an undemocratic, malleable Electoral College, and we have the power to do it. Say “hello” to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is a vital step toward a stronger American democracy. The NPVIC is designed to ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is elected president, without the need to amend the Constitution.

The Problem of Unpopular Presidents

There’s a problem when unpopular candidates win an election. For instance, five sitting Presidents have lost the popular vote, two of them in this century.

  • 1824: John Quincy Adams
  • 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes
  • 1888: Benjamin Harrison
  • 2000: George W. Bush
  • 2016: Donald Trump

It may happen more frequently, from now on. Some political pundits predict that no Republican President will ever win the popular vote again. It could have easily happened again, in 2020, which was a fairly close election.

Electors Elect the President, Not the Voters

Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 through 4, of the U.S. Constitution prescribe how the President is elected. “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” The District of Columbia, as of 1961, is also granted electors. As if it were a state, thanks to the 23rd Amendment, D.C. is currently represented by three electors.

When we vote for President, we are really voting for a slate of electors from our state to be chosen by our candidate’s party.

Determining the Number of Electors Per State

The Formula for Determining the Number of Electors Per State (No. of Representatives + 2 Senators) is grossly undemocratic. States with large populations are under-represented in the Electoral College. To illustrate, let’s compare California with Wyoming.

  • California: Population 39,747,267 – each Senator represents 19,873,633 people
  • Wyoming: Population 572,381 – each Senator represents 286,190 people
  • California: 53 congressional districts – each Representative represents about 749,948 people
  • Wyoming: one congressional district – one Representative represents 572,381 people

Votes by electors from different states are unequal.

But that’s not even the worst part. The worst part of our Electoral College system is winner-take-all. All the states, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, have a “winner-take-all” system in which the candidate with the most votes in the state gets all the electoral votes. If a candidate can eek out a narrow win in a few closely divided states, he can win the presidency while losing the popular vote. The 2016 election is the perfect example. Just 4 states made the difference for Trump. These same four states were also predicted to make the difference in 2020.

In 2016, Donald Trump won with a total of 304 electoral votes. Only 270 electoral votes are needed to win. Trump won four states with a margin of 1.2 percent, or less. Hillary Clinton lost with 227 electoral votes, yet she won the nationwide popular vote by 2,868,686 votes.

Clinton only needed 43 more electoral votes, out of 75:

2016 Electoral College Votes in battleground states — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

What Are the Solutions?

Are there solutions to prevent a candidate, who wins the popular vote, from losing the election? Yes. There are two.

The first solution is to amend the Constitution, which would provide for direct election of the President by the voters on a nationwide basis. However, there is a problem. It’s hard as hell to amend the Constitution.

An amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the states. The process may be lengthy. For instance, the 27th Amendment took 202 years to ratify, and it took 14 years to repeal Prohibition. The process may also be partisan. Indeed, in our hyper-partisan political climate, it’s prudent to note that (barring results of the Georgia Senate runoff race on January 5, 2021) Republicans currently control more than half of the U.S. Senate and 29 of the 50 state legislatures.

The second solution is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). It’s main benefit? No constitutional amendment is necessary. The Electoral College remains, but is used to achieve the same result as direct election of the President. There is one big challenge, though. We need to get enough states, to comprise at least 270 electoral votes, in order to activate the NPVIC .

What is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact?

What, exactly, is the NPVIC? The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among participating states, and the District of Columbia. They agree to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote (from all 50 states and the District of Columbia).

The legal basis for NPVIC is in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which directs each state to appoint its electors “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” For smooth logistics, there are conditions to meet.

NPVIC will go into effect only when enough states, and the District of Columbia, have joined the agreement in order to comprise the 270 electoral votes needed to elect a President. Until the compact’s conditions are met, all states award electoral votes in their current manner. Meanwhile, the compact mandates a July 20th deadline every presidential election year, in order to determine whether the agreement goes into effect for that particular election. A participating state may withdraw from the compact, as long as it does so before the deadline.

15 States and D.C. Have Enacted the NPVIC

15 States, plus the District of Columbia, have already enacted the NPVIC:

StateDate AdoptedElectoral Votes
MarylandApril 10, 200710
New JerseyJanuary 13, 200814
IllinoisApril 7, 200820
HawaiiMay 1, 20084
WashingtonApril 28, 200912
MassachusettsAugust 4, 201011
District of ColumbiaDecember 7, 20103
VermontApril 22, 20113
CaliforniaAugust 8, 201155
Rhode IslandJuly 12, 20134
New YorkApril 15, 201429
ConnecticutMay 24, 20187
ColoradoMarch 15, 20199
DelawareMarch 28, 20193
New MexicoApril 3, 20195
OregonJune 12, 20197
Percent of needed 270 EVs72.60%
15 states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, as of October, 2020.

Several states took favorable action toward the NPVIC in 2020:

Maine42019–20Passed 77–69Insisted 21–14Failed
Minnesota102019–20Passed 73–58Not votedFailed
New Hampshire42019–20In committeePending
Ohio182019–20In committeePending
Pennsylvania202019–20In committeePending
South Carolina92019–20In committeePending
Virginia132020–21Passed 51–46Postponed until 2021Pending
7 states made partial legislative progress toward NPVIC.

Several more states attempted some action on NPVIC in 2020, without any progress:

Florida292020Died in committeeDied in committeeFailed
Georgia162019-20Died in committeeFailed
Kansas62019-20Died in committeeFailed
Mississippi62020Died in committeeFailed
Missouri102020Died in committeeFailed
North Carolina152019-2020Died in committeeFaled
West Virginia52020Died in committeeFailed
Wisconsin102019-20Died in committeeDied in committeeFailed
8 state legislatures took up NPVIC, without any success.

The Biggest Myth About the Electoral College

The biggest myth about the Electoral College is that it somehow helps the small states. However, the small states (13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are the most disadvantaged and ignored group of states under the current system. Political power in presidential elections comes from being one of the few closely divided battleground states with a significant number of electoral votes. None of the small states meet those criteria. The “small state” story has survived, but not the context in which it originated.

Counting Slaves as 3/5 People

Counting slaves as people is how the Electoral College originally helped small states. Slave states were the “small” states, with small numbers of white people, but large numbers of black people. Slave states wanted their slaves to count as people for apportionment purposes. In 1787, slave states argued for a much larger number of votes in the House of Representatives, than if only white people were counted. The Three-Fifths Compromise was the result of this dispute. Since the number of electors for a state is the sum of 2 (number of senators) + the number of representatives, slave states also gained a much larger number of Electoral College votes under the Three-Fifths Compromise. Slave states thereby held a huge advantage in choosing the President.

Today, with no slaves to count as people, the Electoral College offers no significant help to amplify the political power of small states. The Electoral College is merely an anachronism, and a legacy of slavery.

Every Vote Should Be Equal

Every vote in America should be equal. Whether you choose to live in Vermont, or in Texas, your vote should be equal to every other vote in the United States. That’s the essence of democracy.

And if every vote were equal, so-called “battleground states” would no longer dominate every presidential election cycle. Presidential candidates would have more reason to campaign in all 50 states — and, hopefully, get to know the entire country better.

How to Outsmart an Electoral College

What can you do to help outsmart an old, obsolete Electoral College?

First, the National Popular Vote website makes it easy for you to exert an immediate impact. It’ll help you send your state legislators a quick email that asks them to support the proposed National Popular Vote bill.

Then, you might consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. The National Popular Vote website highlights specific NPVIC points that can be included in your letter. Since Trump’s 2020 machinations to influence the Electoral College, it’s particularly important to alert local newspaper readers to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which provides an effective solution to protect presidential elections and our democracy. (Change always begins at the local grassroots level.)

If you have any spare time or money, you can volunteer to help the National Popular Vote movement and/or make a donation.

The National Popular Vote website is filled with pertinent information, including answers to the many myths about the Electoral College. Take a look-see. View the following video, too. Share these resources and talk about the NPVIC with your friends.

We have the power to block an undemocratic, obsolete Electoral College.

All about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

The NPVIC Fight Continues

December 16, 2020

Single-term President Donald Trump created national chaos by refusing to accept the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. Over 56 Trump-supporting lawsuits challenged President Elect Joe Biden’s win. Most of the legal cases were dismissed for lack of standing or lack of evidence.

Trump’s non-concession strategy also targeted state Republican lawmakers, in an effort to persuade them to nullify and replace state electors with pro-Trump electors. Worried such a tactic might be possible, Americans experienced a growing awareness that the Electoral College does more to protect partisan politics than democracy.

As a result, more people are talking about reforming or abolishing the Electoral College. John Koze, chair of National Popular Vote, appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

“John Koza, chair of National Popular Vote, says the chaos of the 2020 election is further proof that the United States should abandon the Electoral College system as it is currently constituted and elect presidents by popular vote instead. “‘he flaws of the current system have become more and more apparent to people,’ he says.” ~ Democracy Now

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