Progressive events calendar

If you can’t see the calendar below, click here to view progressive events in and near Chester County. Agenda view (upper right of calendar) is easiest to use.

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What Swings the Swing Voter?

by Les Leopold, Common Dreams, 2/13/19

Today, a similar common denominator unites every identity group with every economic populist: All have much to gain from policies that address rising inequality

According to conventional wisdom, the Democrats must appeal to middle-of-the-road swing voters in order to defeat Trump in 2020. Supposedly these voters want a moderate who “crosses the partisan divide,” “finds common ground with all classes and income groups,” “removes barriers to advancement,” “builds public/private partnerships,” “works for the common good against all special interests,” “avoids the extremes of the right and the left,” and “shuns costly pie-in-the-sky programs.”

Wrong.

Mounting evidence suggests that the swing voter is one who faces the stark daily realities of rising inequality and all its related issues — expensive or non-existent health care, astronomical student debt, unaffordable housing, and a generation’s worth of wage stagnation. As the New York Times recently reports (“For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold’”)

The soak-the-rich plans — ones that were only recently considered ridiculously far-fetched or political poison — have received serious and sober treatment, even by critics, and remarkably broad encouragement from the electorate. Roughly three out of four registered voters surveyed in recent polls supported higher taxes on the wealthy. Even a majority of Republicans back higher rates on those earning more than $10 million, according to a Fox News poll conducted in mid-January….

continue reading at Common Dreams

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International Law Under Threat—An Analysis

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 2/8/19

Several recent events suggest that global warming is not the only thing threatening our future. As if they are running on parallel tracks, some of the modern institutions that help make for stable societies—the ones that hold back the rise of barbarism—are being weakened even as the atmosphere is heating up and the oceans swell. In pursuit of short-term state or personal interests, some national leaders are violating or ignoring international law and, by doing so, putting us all at long-term risk.

Part I—The First Example: Subverting the International Criminal Court

One of the most hopeful developments to follow the catastrophe that was World War II—the war that brought the world the Holocaust, the Blitzkrieg, the carpet bombing of Europe, and the use of nuclear bombs against large cities—was the extension and strengthening of international law. In 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations, seeking to give such laws real force, called for the establishment of an international criminal court. That call triggered resistance because such a court would necessarily impinge on nation-state sovereignty. It took 54 years before the court was finally convened in order to enforce laws against the committing of war crimes and other evils, such as genocide.

Still, there are some nations that refuse to recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Often these are the states most addicted to the barbaric behavior that came close to destroying a good part of the globe during the 20th century. These governments now threaten the very workability of the court. Thus, on 28 January 2019 it was reported that “A senior judge has resigned from one of the international courts in The Hague” due to interference and threats coming from both the U.S. and Turkey. The judge’s name is Christoph Flügge.

In the case of the United States, the problem began when the International Criminal Court at the Hague decided to investigate allegations of war crimes, specifically the use of torture, committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. At that point President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton (who reminds one of a modern Savonarola when it comes to ideological enforcement), publicly threatened the court’s judges. “If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen,” he said, “the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States—and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”…

read more at To the Point Analyses

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Draft Statement of Conscience–Democracy Uncorrupted

Unitarian Universalist Association

“Democracy is a name for a life of free and enriching communion.” -John Dewey

Democracy in the U.S. has always been compromised. At the Nation’s very founding, only white male land owners were allowed to participate in governance. Wealth was created from those excluded: the seizure of land from indigenous peoples who were forcibly removed and exterminated, enslaved Africans, and exploited labor from indentured servants, immigrants, prisoners, and the working poor. As people of faith committed to “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large,” we must strive toward uncorrupted democracy.

As a means to an end, democracy organizes consensus among diverse people and preserves stability while balancing competing interests. But democracy is not merely a means. It is an end in itself, an ethical ideal, a moral and spiritual way of relating to one another.

The promise of democracy is for a life that fashions us as the people we want to be. Terry Tempest Williams asks: “Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up – ever – trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?” She calls us to be equitable, and generous, attentive to one another, resolute and courageous in our trust. If democracy has sometimes seemed, as Winston Churchill said, “the worst form of government except for all those other forms,” it is because democracy has been limited and constrained – merely a means for giving powerful interests the appearance of legitimacy….

read more or download at Unitarian Universalist Association

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Indivisible & MLK

Dear Indivisibles,

Our communities are at the heart of this movement. Taking action in our communities, in our districts, in our states to build long-lasting local power.

Why? Because when we all build our power locally, our collective power can change what’s politically possible.

This year, alongside our daily Indivisible work, we want to highlight the importance of giving back to our communities in the form of service. That’s why this January 21, Indivisible is proud to partner with the Corporation for National & Community Service to support volunteer projects happening across the country as a part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Service to our communities is at the heart of everything we do as a movement, and we invite everyone to take part and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Here’s what you can do this MLK Day:

Check out the MLK Day events near you at MLKday.gov. If there’s a service opportunity in your area, talk to your local Indivisible group, friends, and family about attending together.

Plan your own event! If there’s not an event currently near you, you can also plan your own service project. Be sure to register your event on MLKday.gov to help others find your project and spread the word, as well as registering on the Indivisible event map. For more resources and ideas, check out this event toolkit prepared by Global Citizen.

More than ever, we need to hold tight to the values of justice and freedom that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. espoused in his life. By weaving service into our lives as Indivisibles, we honor Dr. King’s legacy by giving back to our communities on January 21 and beyond.

In solidarity,

Indivisible Team

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