The first day, I attended a Veteran's March which took us to the bridge, the now infamous spot of burnt out vehicles, armored police vehicles, and militarized police in combat gear. The ceremony at the bridge was powerful, with the spreading of the ashes of a recently deceased native veteran, a ten-gun salute, and a prayer ceremony. As I tippy-toed to see above the crowd, past the people and horses, I see in the distance the police, standing at attention, holding their hats to their hearts during the playing of Taps. This began the tears.
The drum they played had to be carried by a group of men, walking together, the sound resonated widely but also, deeply. The entrance back into camp, had a spot for cleansing with an aluminum can with sage burning. For what we all carried with us into the camp from far and wide around this country, there did not seem to be enough sage.
After the March, I attended another veteran ceremony and stood in line to shake hands with every veteran. And then, to the communal kitchen, to watch how a community pitches in to feed all the people, and ate breakfast in the army-style mess hall with humongous pots of home-cooked offerings from donated produce and food.
From there, I walked behind the camp to the Cannonball River where it came to me to observe 24-hours of silence, spend less time talking and debating, more time listening and being present, which I did.
The next day, I attended a direct action against #NoDAPL. My locked-arms line of protectors were to keep closed the DAPL parking lots which appeared unused on a Saturday while the other water protectors blocked the road and protected a medicine circle ceremony. As it turned out, the police took a back way into the parking lot where we were blocking and I suddenly found myself in the middle of the front line. Provided safety gear in case of macing, ear plugs in case of sound bombs, we agreed to hold the line after the "unarrestables" left the line for safer places. An elder walked down our line with sage and prayers for our protection. There, in the silence provided by the ear plugs, the helicopter circling above was just a low hum, and along with others, I stood facing the militarized police not knowing if they'd approach, who might be hurt or arrested; just not knowing. We held a banner which read "Water is Life", kept our arms locked tight, we kept one foot slightly in front of the other for balance in case of attack and then....we waited. But these events feel like you are looking into yourself, your greatest fears, and deciding what is truly worth the risk.
The ceremony up the dirt road was able to be completed with the police standing down and we were able to proceed behind the ceremonial group as we marched back down the road to safety.
Later in the evening, I walked the camp to finally take some pictures, reflect on my experience, when I found myself behind Neil Young who started walking with his guitar and harmonica playing for the camp. A group of us walked with him as he played, his humble presence and song was another form of sage.
The end of my evening was spent at our campfire with the great (to the 8th) grandson of Crazy Horse as he told us the many tribal prophesies which have come to pass at Standing Rock.
I am leaving Standing Rock but it won't leave me. If you can go, go - it's the spot where what we could have been meets who we have become and the battle lines test which side you belong.
I learned we live on Turtle Island and tribal prophesies tell us, the possibility of a tomorrow is being fought by us here today.
Climate change is not a conspiracy. We need water to live right? Everyone can agree humans need water. Life as we know it couldn't survive without water. So if you submerge a person in a tub of water and shut the lid, they should be super extra alive then, right??? No. No they would die. You know that, we all know that. That's easy to understand.
So, carbon. We also need carbon, maybe even a little more than water. Carbon is the primary element upon which life is built. Its unique ability to pair with so many different elements in so many ways is paramount to the survival and diversity of life. So throwing lots of carbon into the air should be good, right? Wrong. Just like the water example, too much of it in the wrong place is lethal. LETHAL to humans and many other types of life. Can a human person survive breathing his or her own air? If you seal (air tight) a bag over your head, and breathe in and out, with nothing coming in from the outside, what will happen? You lose consciousness. Why do you lose consciousness? You breathe in a mix of gasses mostly comprised of nitrogen and oxygen, (mostly) but you breathe out carbon dioxide (which is obviously also in the air in significant amounts because, duh, 7 billion humans, plus everything else that exhales CO2). However, when you keep breathing it in (just the air you exhale, nothing else), you exhaust your lungs' ability to extract the oxygen your blood needs to keep your brain active because it all gets paired up with carbon.
But isn't carbon dioxide vital to life, too? Yes. Trees and other oxygen producing plants 'breathe' it in and exhale the oxygen that creates the life sustaining balance we all experience every day. This is why people want to 'save the rain forests!' and other forests across the world. They 'breathe in' our 'dirty' air and clean it. Like a filtration system, which most water filtration systems rely on carbon, too. But too much of it in the wrong proportions or forms means certain death for us. It's not difficult to understand. Many of these experiments can be done with little effort. If you don't believe it, get together as a community and preform some of your own experiments to find the truth.
Question everything, by all means, but if you're prepared to question it, you must also be prepared to find the answer.
Katherine A. Miller
PIP Director of Operations
Our Millennial Revolution/ The Fall of Hillary Clinton
This election will be the third election I have the opportunity to vote my values and beliefs. What's different this time is that we experienced the rise of Bernie Sanders, who lit the flame of the revolution inside of the hearts of over half of the largest generation in history. But what's eating me alive inside is the fact that we have witnessed, yet again, another rigged election that the mainstream media will not talk about, no matter how much evidence there is to prove it. Lately, it's been making me question not only our government but life itself.
I'm 27 years old with a 4 and a half year old daughter and considering the massive amount of student loan debt I'm in, the fact that I still have to depend on my parents to help me survive financially, and having grown up with the advancement of technology and into the Age of Information, I am considered what they call a "Millennial." Just don't believe the stereotypical rumors that Millennials are selfish, spoiled, and entitled. Not only is that completely untrue, it's definitely not the case. It's not our fault that we became the "cash cow" generation for the federal government and Wall Street to feed upon (that being student loan debt).
Think about it, they only give you 6 months after graduation to find a job to start paying them back. There are even those with master’s degrees who can't get a job because of the competitiveness among the Baby Boomers, Generation Y, and Millennials. When applying for a job, they say the more experienced the better, but what they really mean is the older, the better. So how do they expect 100% of college graduates to get a job within 6 months of graduating? Not to mention that even if you plan to get married, you have to account for the fact that "their debt is your debt." And if they have a master’s degree, that's probably going to be a lot of debt worth a lot more than you bargained for. And when you have to consider things like that in your 30s just to get married, that puts a hold on your life and worst of all it impacts your bank account and in some cases, your credit score. This keeps people my age, and people into their 30s, from being able to purchase a house, start a family, or in a lot of cases, even afford health insurance. Most Millennials actually can't afford to do much but barely make rent and pay a few overdue bills, while having to rely on our parents to cover the remaining debt we are stuck with.
When it comes to this year's election, I think I speak for a lot of people my age when I say, things really need to change this time. And voting the lesser of two evils isn't going to do it this time. I am sick and tired of being poorer than my parents, and it's not like we did this on purpose. The mainstream media portrays this election to be some kind of political soap opera, as if scripted and planned years in advanced. I remember learning about rigged presidential elections in 6th grade, when Bush ran his first term, saw it again when Obama ran after my senior year of high school, and now we have just witnessed the most horrible election fraud and rigged electoral system in history. This is why my generation absolutely cannot afford to have Hillary Clinton as our next president. Take it from someone who has grown up with her in office since they were 3 years old. We know exactly what she's capable of and what she's doing. We have awoken now and there is no going back to sleep this election year.
While Hillary "says" she's going to help students who graduate high school pay for public college, hasn't she forgotten that an entire generation and those before us are currently drowning in student loan debt that far exceeds the amount of combined credit card debt in our country? The total has now reached into the trillions. Why must we be punished just for doing what we were told was the right thing to do? From freshman year of high school to graduation we were encouraged to get a higher education and earn degrees or attend a trade/technical school. After earning our degrees and receiving our certifications, come to find out that all we could get was an underpaying job to barely survive in the real world. It blows my mind that our own government can easily use the Federal Reserve to bail out Wall Street after the burst of the housing bubble, but can't get them to do the same for us who are paying more than a third of our income on student loans because inflation has caused the prices of things to increase but our income hasn't changed a damn bit since our parents graduated high school. It just doesn't make sense. It must be a coincidence that it occurred during my senior year, because next thing you know, student loans are the way to go when it comes to going to college or needing money while in college. Hillary can say all she wants that she will "regulate" Wall Street, but it doesn't help that her campaign's top distributors come from the one place she wants to "regulate." Sorry but we're not dumb and we haven't forgotten about what's really going on.
I remember in 7th grade when 9/11 happened, that following March 19, 2002 (my best friend's birthday) president George W. Bush declared war on Iraq and thus we were introduced to such terms as "terrorist" and "terrorist attack." Every morning in junior high, our teachers would turn on the news geared strictly for our age group where we were kept updated on what was going on around the world, as if we were forced into knowing that war is here and it's here to stay. It was never any good news, and next thing you know, others my age started talking about joining the military to help "kill the terrorists" and "hunt down Osama Bin Laden" because they did 9/11. We aren't even considered teenagers yet and 7th graders already wanted to join the military. And thanks to this Information Age we're in, those willing to accept the truth know a lot more about what's really going on inside our government and our military. But back during the start of the Iraq War, no matter where you were in the United States, a terrorist attack could happen anywhere. Or at least that's what our government and the news wanted us to think. All the while, our military budget is increasing into the billions by 2005. Once Obama came into office, and appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, everything went downhill from there. Throughout his campaign of encouraging "change," he promoted peace over war. But once in office, he threw all of that out the window in hopes his supporters would forget. And thus, he got "Hillary the War Hawk" rather than the peace he promised. Not only did the military budget increase tremendously (currently in the trillions) but her idea of "fighting for peace" is creating and using war itself. Which is completely mindless if you ask me. And now things have only gotten worse after starting wars in Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine. She won't think twice before allowing a drone to kill thousands of innocent civilians and children because she thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is so much wrong with that and this election, we are voting for peace. And when it comes to ISIS, Green Party candidate Jill Stein states, "Clearly we can't bomb terrorism out of existence. We have to starve it of weapons and funding, and address the root causes of terrorism." I couldn't agree with her more, starting by cutting off U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia, Israel and other human-rights violators. It starts with us. If Hillary becomes president, we will be in war for the rest of our lives, until she has complete control of the world.
The thing about Millennials growing up in the Information Age, we get our facts from all across the board with plenty of evidence to back it up. If there's an article about it, there may even be a video with 10 different sources linked to it. Hence why it's called the "Age of Information." Thanks to Facebook, and other social media sites, we stay connected to the people we relate to the most and nowadays information spreads like wildfire and before you know it, we already know the facts by the time CNN does some propaganda-filled, scripted segment about why Hillary did this or said that, as if in her defense. Too late CNN, we know the truth so sit down because we aren't listening to your bias lies anymore. It's almost as though we know too much. I do agree that too much information is a bad thing, but the right information is a good thing. And thanks to the gift from God called Wikileaks, we know enough information about our government that frankly we don't even listen to what the mainstream media says anymore. The fact that none of them have discussed the content of the 30,000+ leaked emails from Wikileaks just proves that they really were part of the plan to rig the primary against Bernie Sanders. It's right there, in the emails. But they don't see emails, they see an opportunity to turn the public in another direction to distract them from the truth by simply "blaming the Russians" and eventually attempt to connect them to Trump, again, ignoring the content of the emails. And it's just a coincidence that 3 officials from the DNC just decided to all resign at the same time after the huge email leak. Sorry mainstream media but, again, we are not dumb. Thanks to the over abundance of information this election, we all know the truth about how the Clinton Foundation funneled over $2 billion through oil companies, The DNC is trying so hard to get Bernie's supporters to back Hillary, and unfortunately, they aren't going to be able to do it. We are smarter than that. This generation is different. We aren't falling in line because, apparently, it hasn't worked in the past. Like Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange said during his interview at the Green Party Convention, "What the Clinton campaign at the moment is trying to say is… Maybe we’re connected to arms dealers and to Saudi Arabia and yes maybe we subverted the integrity of the Democratic primary… But you’ll just have to swallow that or else you’ll get Donald Trump. That’s a form of extortion…" Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting evil. It's literally insanity, which by definition, is to do the same thing over and over expecting different results every time. And my generation has come to the conclusion that this country is in dire need of a third party. We need an outside party, not bought out by special interest groups, corporations, or lobbyists so that we can all just "meet in the middle." We can call it a "middle man party" for all I care, but regardless, those that are "on the fence" about things deserve to be given a place where they can help this country move progressively forward and not feel so helpless. I don't believe in the two party fallacy, and thanks to the luxury of being in the Information Age during this election, we have another presidential candidate who is not bought out by corporations, doesn't condone war, has the perfect plan to fight climate change and actually has policies identical to Bernie Sanders; which is why I will be voting for Jill Stein. As much as Hillary wants to flip flop back and forth on her policies, such as fracking, keeping coal industries in business, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, LGBTQ rights, and climate change, it's physically impossible for most of us to be able to hold her accountable and hope for the best that she strives to be more progressive. My whole life, she has become famous for being a liar and getting away with being a criminal. Most of all, she doesn't relate to my generation whatsoever, so why does she deserve our vote? She has absolutely nothing to offer to us and never has. We already know she won't keep her word once she makes it into office. We can't trust her. And for the sake of my daughter’s future, this Millennial will not be voting for Hillary Clinton. I will take her advice however, and vote my conscience. #JILLSTEIN2016
Our application for a permit to demonstrate in Washington DC was hand delivered by my friend today! It's been officially stamped and accepted and we'll be communicating with the office of National Parks Service by end of this week. We haven't released the action or the details yet, but will soon!
It's truly amazing what we can accomplish, when we stand up together. And stand up together we must. #UniteTheFight
Araquel Bloss, PIP Founder
August 6, 2016
There is every indication WikiLeaks, possibly in conjunction with Snowden, will be dropping something very big today. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is set to be interviewed via live steam today at the Green Party Convention. We will wait and see...
But as mass media has not given us true national investigative journalism probably since 9/11, the public isn't truly prepared for what might be revealed today or as time goes on. Sadly, we've had to count on these outside sources to reveal the truth of our government and other corrupt political entities as our own systems of checks and balances have been corrupted to the point of dysfunction.
What we, as a country, are facing is something I'd like to term American privilege - the blind spots in our perception which prevent us from seeing our country in its true light. For instance, we are no longer a democracy. Pretty big deal, right? But where is the outrage?
The strong sense of nationalism instilled in us from a very young age has created a strong collective denial, even when history shows us otherwise or proof is directly before us, our blind spots prevent us from acknowledging what our country has become and demanding accountability of our elected officials.
This is where we are and before it's over, we will need a country full of activists. It'll no longer be acceptable to be apathetic in your community, only voting once every 4 years, and leaving the rest of "governing" up to a minor few. We have taken our democracy and our liberties for granted and as such, we are losing them, not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.
This is not a "progressive" issue. Not a Bernie Sanders issue. Not a Hillary Clinton issue. Nor Trump.
This is an "us" issue. From small Midwestern towns to our great cities, from our desert lands to our mountain ranges, we do have so much to be proud of, and have every single reason to fight for what's right about our country and every single reason to defeat what's wrong. But this "us" is not just "me" but requires millions of "you"s to fight for what's right, too.
Whatever may be revealed by WikiLeaks today or beyond, please take personal time to work through your American Pride and Privilege, challenge your natural bias to defend our country and her leaders regardless of facts. Our denial no longer serves us.
We are on the crux of a vital political revolution, an #UsNotMe revolution. But this is not doom and gloom; just as the morning light always appears the brightest where it meets the night, I believe our political revolution will inspire the next great American Revitalization. And this will indeed be something we will all be proud of...and rightfully so.
We are the 99%. Join us to continue the political revolution.
Araquel Bloss, Founder PIP
In my activism, I never wanted to be nor do I want to be a leader in my own right but rather, I've always hoped to be a conduit for uniting an often fragmented progressive movement because here we are, folks: climate crisis, justice crisis, poverty crisis with no strong united front to combat corporate interests and corrupt politicians who care only for profits above all else - above water quality, air quality, sustainable living, civil rights, living wage, health care as a right, fair banking systems, affordable college education, humane treatment of all animals, a sustainable agriculture system, funding social, mental health, and addiction services, decriminalizing marijuana and ending the prison-for-profit US prison complex. The machines which run this country are not people, they are corporations looking at their bottom line. The machines are huge, powerful, and funded in ways the people cannot compete with until Citizens United is overturned. We, my friends, are in a mess.
I've seen some beautiful things since we launched The Progressive Independent Party - Honorary Bernie Sanders Party volunteers who became friends, who grew to be my progressive family, who continue to give me hope, each and every day, that we can achieve our goals; goals which impact the 99% of us - regardless of party affiliation.
Activism is not easy. It tests our strength - physically, emotionally, intellectually; it tests our values and our endurance. It's not glamorous. It's sweaty and stinky and painful and emotional. It's costly and time-consuming. Activism pushes us beyond our ego, beyond ourselves, beyond the present -- and looks you straight in the eye and challenges you: Are you sincere? Are your intentions pure? What will you sacrifice?
I know my smaller group of personal friends and family with me on Facebook have watched all of this transpire over the last few years. After my activism during the Bush War years, I put it away for awhile, discouraged. I decided to leave it to others but after returning to Indiana, I had no choice but to strengthen my voice against the worst governor in Indiana history, Gov. Mike Pence.
And now, I'm here, you're here, WE are here - with two of the most unfavorable presidential candidates in history with our economic system feeding 98% of all new wealth to the top 1% as the rest of us are buried in debt and joblessness or underemployment and health care we can't afford. We are sinking, many of us. Our communities must worry about our increasingly dangerous public water systems corroding, climate change impacting our communities with historic flooding and major climate events, corporations buying up our public water rights while surrounding communities suffer droughts. You know. It's not good.
But, my friends, there is also so much hope for we still believe we have time to change our current direction if we do so fast. And the beauty of this is YOU can help the world too. YOU can change your communities too. YOU can stand up with us and make our government work for the interests of the people who they've been elected to serve.
I'm done arguing about the presidential election. Both candidates are horrible and arguing about which one is less horrible wastes our valuable time, precious time we need to save our democracy, heal our communities, and fight for the real change necessary to uplift ALL people not just the 1%.
What I'm asking you today, even if you've NEVER been involved in politics or your local communities, to make a commitment to do so TODAY. Go to city council meetings, volunteer for your chosen cause, and DEMAND more from our officials and our mass media. Demand truth, fairness, and transparency. Because you have more power to spark change than you've ever imagined and we need your help.
And I bet, like me, those who join you in the fight will end up friends and then, family. Because what we all may be truly missing in our lives is 1) true purpose and 2) a loving, supportive community.
All of us want the same things, let's unite. We can make our world better, together. I believe. And I'll keep on believing. #UsNotMe
"Hope dies last." - Studs Terkel
To the #ImWithHer Supporters,
I hope those of you who claim to support Hillary Clinton but did NOTHING for her campaign are prepared to work your asses off for her, like we did for Bernie Sanders. We donated 8 million individual contributions, hosted debate watch parties for strangers, we traveled outside our states to canvass, phone banked, rallied, designed memes and logos, knocked on doors rain or shine, we wrote commentary, attended fundraisers, funded our delegates, we stood up, and we rose up to create a historic campaign for the people, by the people.
I have yet to meet ONE Hillary Clinton supporter who was inspired or cared enough to change their schedule for even ONE day of their life, let alone a year to help her win or rig the primary.
That being said, this is what I have to say to #ImWithHer supporters: if you don't get off your damn couch, work outside of your boardroom, give up your weekends and nights, donate your money --- then YOU will be to blame for a Trump presidency. You got your candidate by election fraud, dirty politics, DNC partiality, and mass media bias but indeed, you got her! Now, the most distrusted, unpopular, crooked candidate in US history is all YOURS!
We won't fight for Hillary Clinton; she's not our candidate. We left the Democratic Party and we aren't coming back. Watch all our Bernie Delegate interviews; watch how they treated our fellow Americans - censorship, threats of losing jobs and credentials, bullying, excluding them, kicking them out, filling their seats with cheering actors, how they censored them. If you aren't afraid for our democracy, it's because you are afraid to open your eyes. We are SHOWING you!
As for Bernie's Movement, we have lots to do to take our government back from corruption, racketeering, and corporate control. So, we are gonna be busy the next 4 years and beyond. We must continue the work; now.
Therefore, you better get up and fight for Hillary or let me tell you, she won't win. We've been telling you very clearly this fact for a year.
Maybe it's time you listen.
And to those people not #ImWithHer but instead with #UsNotMe, meet us at PIP to build the largest progressive coalition voting bloc in US history. Cause we got work to do.
So many of us continue to feel disappointed about this election cycle, and rightfully so. Many Americans like to complain about people complaining, and resort to name calling over the emotional states of others, all the while just spiraling deeper and deeper into this vicious never-ending cycle of negativity.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Ten days and the eyes of the world will be on the “City of Brotherly Love” one of America’s great cities, Philadelphia. At first glance, one would say ‘That’s the perfect place to hold the Democratic National Convention’ but then we sit back and remember that it’s 2016; and we can describe this Presidential election cycle in two words: Train Wreck.
Now, more than ever, as America reaches its boiling point, we need someone who can take her hand, pick her up, help her dust off and say “It’s all going to be okay.” Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
On the one hand, you have one of the most divisive and utterly shameful people in the American lexicon attempting to “Trump” his way to become the leader of the free world. On the other, you have the “Teflon Don in a Pants Suit”. Neither of which are trusted enough to run this country. This is a problem; and what is the solution?
The solution came in the form of a 74-year-old Senator from the “sleepy” state famed for its maple syrup and ice cream. The gentleman from Vermont named Bernie Sanders. After more than a year of speculation and quiet rumor, his announcement to run for President came with little fanfare at Burlington Waterfront Park in Burlington, VT. The city he once served as Mayor.
The next year he would prove to be a political juggernaut as his crowds grew from 20 to 25 people in small venues to 20- to 25-thousand seat arenas turning the political world on its preverbal ears. Now we find ourselves as Progressives in a precarious position.
As I sit here and listen to an endorsement that I hoped would not come—an endorsement that I hoped would’ve played out in reversed roles—I now realize that this is bigger than two people. I’ve realized that this is not the end of the Progressive Revolution. This is merely the beginning.
The Democratic Party is poised to adopt the most Progressive platform that it has ever known, 80% of which were brought forward by Senator Bernie Sanders during his campaign. For what it’s worth, it can be seen as a win for progressives; just not the win we were hoping for.
Where do we go from here? Now is the time to build…Build the framework to a strong progressive government. That framework starts at the local level. Find out who your local Progressive candidates are and give them the push and support they need to get elected and keep the revolution going. If there are no local progressives…become one. Become the spark that lights the fire to a strong progressive government in your towns, in your cities, counties and build; build something bigger and stronger than ever before. You can either be the person who stands in a crowd complaining about litter, or be the person who breaks from the crowd to put the litter in its place.
THE REVOLUTION IS NOT OVER…IT'S ONLY JUST BEGUN.
Written By: Tony Joseph