Politicians Can Legally LIE About Their Opponents

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Truth in Advertising laws do NOT apply to political campaign ads.

Why not?

  1. Political ads are not commercial in nature.
    1. They do not aim to sell anything for money.
    2. They only want you to buy into a free idea: their message.
  2. Political ads are protected by the First Amendment.
    1. They’re treated like political free speech.
    2. Candidates may sue the makers of a political ad for slander, but defamation suits are very difficult to prove.

Most people viewing political ads on TV never suspect that outright lies may be spoken. Some viewers may even mistake political ads for public service announcements.

Be sure to inform your family and friends that political campaign ads are NOT required to observe Truth in Advertising laws. Political campaign ads allow politicians to legally lie about their own accomplishments and to lie about their opponent.

Political campaign advertisements are designed to persuade viewers to vote for a particular candidate. Don’t be fooled or manipulated. Do a little research on your own. Check the candidate’s record. The League of Women Voters (LWV) offers tips on how to judge a candidate. (However, ignore the example meant to illustrate unsubstantiated “guilt by association.” Accepting large donations from ‘big money interests” is not an association. It’s the first step in a transaction, and creates a conflict of interest.)

Would you like politicians to stay clear of negative ad campaigning? Then support Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Candidates have an incentive to speak fairly about their opponents:

With RCV, candidates also compete for second choice votes from their opponents’ supporters which lessens the incentive to run a negative campaign. In RCV contests, candidates do best when they reach out positively to as many voters as possible, including those supporting their opponents.

– FairVote

Meanwhile, don’t accept everything you hear without reliable corroboration. When it comes to politics, take the time you need to question and challenge.

I Support Humane Animal Welfare Because We Are ALL Animals

A friend sent me the following video. It’s about a Frito-Lay worker who was electrocuted on the job, and then denied healthcare.

Too many people are treated like animals. That’s why I support humane animal welfare. It draws a line.

Not that I don’t love animals. I do. And as badly as we treat animals, that’s how badly some “animals” are willing to treat their fellow human beings.

Frito-Lay Worker Electrocuted, Denied Healthcare & Spied On By Company | Secular Talk

Animal welfare is for humans, too. Because no human should be treated “like an animal.” Yet they are. Humans ARE animals. They ARE often treated “like animals.”

What about the people, and corporations, who act “like animals?”

Deborah Perry Fruk explains that the expression “acting like an animal” means “to behave ignorantly, vulgarly, violently, and without any semblance of self-control.” With that definition in mind, it’s clear that the PepsiCo Frito-Lay subsidiary is the worst kind of “animal.”

(Please boycott all PepsiCo products.)

We need strong labor unions. We need universal single-payer healthcare. We need a properly funded Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) so it can enforce worker safety regulations. We need to curb the power and greed of large corporations.

We need to treat all animals humanely, including humans. We need to draw the line.

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!)

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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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