Freethinkers: Recovering From Religion — Hotline Project…




From Recovering From Religion

The Hotline Project is expanding to include a new, Live Chat Line. Now, people all across the world can connect with a Hotline Agent through an instant chat client.

Think about it… Anybody who may risk being outed because someone overhears their call can now get help using their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Our tentative launch date is March 1, 2016. In order to meet that deadline, we need volunteers to work as chat line agents. We’ll provide the training and mentoring so you are well prepared and confident in your work.

We also need your financial support. Even a small donation will go a long way to helping us get the chat line operational.

I’m offering you this personal invitation to join us as we make history…again!


Teresa MacBain
The Hotline Project
Recovering From Religion

Volunteer Here

Donate Here

Flush The TPP… It’s Worse Than We Thought…



From Flush The TPP

TPP text is released and activists call for major protests in Washington DC from November 14-18.

Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It’s Worse Than We Thought, With Limits on Food Safety and Controversial Investor-State System Expanded, Rollback of Bush-Era Medicine Access and Environmental Terms

Pact’s Fate in Congress Uncertain at Best; Long-Awaited Text Reveals Gaps Between Administration Claims and Actual TPP Terms On Key Congressional, Public Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today’s long-awaited release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) reveals that the pact replicates many of the most controversial terms of past pacts that promote job offshoring and push down U.S wages while further expanding the scope of the controversial investor-state system and rolling back improvements on access to affordable medicines and environmental standards that congressional Democrats forced on the George W. Bush administration in 2007.

“Apparently, the TPP’s proponents resorted to such extreme secrecy during negotiations because the text shows TPP would offshore more  American jobs, lower our wages, flood us with unsafe imported food and expose our laws to attack in foreign tribunals,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “When the administration says it used the TPP to renegotiate NAFTA, few expected that meant doubling down on the worst job-killing, wage-suppressing NAFTA terms, expanding limits on food safety and rolling back past reforms on environmental standards and access to affordable drugs.”

On some key issues, the text reveals provisions that will cost TPP support from members of Congress who supported the narrow passage of Fast Track trade authority this summer, and affirm for the many members of Congress who backed past trade deals but opposed Fast Track that the TPP must be stopped.

Defusing a Ticking Time Bomb



From Els Cooperrider

It is inevitable that there will be another wildfire. It is part of the redwood ecology. As with the 2008 Lightning Complex fires, it will be high intensity and difficult to fight. Decades of overcutting and fire suppression have resulted in proliferation of forest fuels.

Timber companies are currently poisoning hardwood trees using a method called “Hack & Squirt”, leaving the trees to die and eventually decompose. As a result, our coastal forests now have as many as 15 million intentionally killed hardwood trees left standing. Add to that a tinder-dry forest in its fourth year of drought and we have—a ticking time bomb!

Even if you don’t live near the forest and are not in danger of losing your life or property, you care about our brave volunteer and professional firefighters.

A Cal Fire Incident Commander cautions his firefighters about the dangerous snags and dead trees which can fall and spread a fire. “He wanted to be sure that the firefighters paid attention carefully to each and every snag. It only takes one to cause injury or death.”

I asked our Mendocino County Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Scaglione about the smoke from these poisoned trees when they burn. He wrote: “… the main ingredient, isopropylamine salt of Imazapyr…indicates that when thermally decomposed, may release hazardous and/or toxic fumes. and may release irritating or toxic fumes if burned.” He went on: Just as in “treated” lumber, I would whole heartedly recommend NOT burning wood that has been treated with any other EPA registered herbicide or pesticide.

Scaglione continued: “As to your question concerning protection of you and your family in case of fire, let me state the obvious; the most healthy option is not to remain in smoke laden areas if at all possible.”

You may not be in danger of burning in the next forest fire, but most of us will be breathing that toxic smoke when those poisoned trees burn. Think of our firefighters, putting themselves in harm’s way. They are the first line of defense and the first to be harmed by this misguided practice of intentionally killing and leaving standing millions of trees every year.

I hope you’ll give your firefighters and neighbors a fighting chance by signing the petition to place this important initiative on the ballot. MRC’s Mike Jani recently told a reporter that when this initiative becomes law they’d stop hack & squirt. Please help us defuse this time bomb.

For info contact:
Els Cooperrider,
(707) 937-6250

The AVA calls Mendocino County Health Services a “stinking pile of privatized administrative manure”…


mEvan Johnson has photoshopped what many of us say every time we drive by…

From TheAVA

WE’RE AMAZED that no one in Official Mendocino County seems upset in the least about Mental Health Director Tom Pinizzotto — a former Ortner executive — negotiating billing rates and Mental Health contracts with his old pals at Ortner Management Group.

WE HAVE Supervisor Dan Gjerde pointing out that Ortner is overcharging for administration.
WE HAVE Ortner’s bill showing that they’re overcharging for case management (and probably more, buried deep in their nearly unreadable bills).

WE HAVE the Grand Jury’s report from last year pointing out in chapter and verse that Mr. Pinizzotto has an obvious “appearance” of a conflict of interest, i.e., an actual conflict of interest if not a technically illegal one.

SINCE Pinizzotto oversees Ortner’s Mental Health activities and acts as gatekeeper for information to the Board of Supervisors and the public, and since he’s a former Ortner employee who negotiated privatization of roughly half of Mendocino County’s mental health services (valued at $7 to $ million annually) with Ortner and then went to work as an administrator with the unprivatized part of Mendocino County’s mental health services, how could this NOT be an illegal conflict of interest?

WE HAVE a Mental Health Advisory Board that doesn’t interest itself in finances or actual delivery of services, which causes us to wonder how that board views its function. What is its reason for being?

WE STILL HAVE a bloated County Mental Health department — also overseen by Pinizzotto — in spite of most of the work supposedly having been farmed out to Ortner Management Group, a private for-profit business, and Redwood Children’s Management Company, another private business.

WE HAVE A Board of Supervisors (well, four of them anyway — Hamburg is either oblivious or complicit) who seem interested in looking into some aspects of the Mental Health Department’s finances but never gets around to actually doing it.

WE HAVE a small army of free-range nuts and drug-addled Mendolanders who get no “service” and cause a lot of trouble and expense because a huge chunk of the Mental Health money is not going anywhere near them. Instead, we have the Ortner people offering alleged services like Tai Chi and Geezers Talking To Each Other (“Senior Peer Counseling”) being charged out by the minute as a “Mental Health Service.”

WE HAVE this private contractor, Ortner, in business to make a profit for its owners deciding who gets what mental health service based largely on ability to pay or insurance coverage.

AND WE HAVE Ortner (via a subcontractor) about to move in to the Old Coast Hotel in downtown Fort Bragg where they will surely expand their admin services even more because Ortner has yet to bill at his full spending authority rate rubberstamped by the supervisors.

WE HAVE HHSA Director Stacey Cryer saying — admitting, really, after more than two years of privatization experience — they have a lot to learn about the process, and admits that the County and Ortner are still performing duplicate administrative functions.

WE HAVE AN ongoing multi-million dollar mental health deficit caused by state denials of mental health service reimbursement claims, which drains money away from other important county programs, including law enforcement which has become Mendocino County’s de facto mental health services provider although we’re paying a private provider between $7 and $8 million annually to care for this county’s adult walking wounded.

AND WE HAVE the Board of Supervisors throwing even more money at this badly broken and corrupt mess via two recent $500k Mental Health contract amendments and the pending $150k “Stepping Up” initiative as if any real good is being done for the bulk of the Mentally Ill with these wasted tax dollars.

HOW BAD DOES THIS HAVE TO GET before somebody at least audits this stinking pile of privatized administrative manure?

CALLING DA EYSTER: Is fraud still a crime? Isn’t Pinizzotto’s position illegal?

Today, there continue to be struggles for independence in the US and around the world…



On the orders of George Washington the Continental Army burned the village of Coreorgonel in what is now Ithaca in September 1779. The town was occupied by Tutelo people, who had fled the British and were taken in by the Cayugas of the Six Nations. Washington's orders to lay waste and devastation to the tribes of the Six Nations,  burn their villages and destroy their crops with the objective being “their total destruction and devastation and the capture of as many persons of every age and sex as possible.”  Painting by Glenn Norris; image provided by the History Center of Tompkins County.

On the orders of George Washington the Continental Army burned the village of Coreorgonel in what is now Ithaca in September 1779. The town was occupied by Tutelo people, who had fled the British and were taken in by the Cayugas of the Six Nations. Washington’s orders to lay waste and devastation to the tribes of the Six Nations, burn their villages and destroy their crops with the objective being “their total destruction and devastation and the capture of as many persons of every age and sex as possible.” Painting by Glenn Norris; image provided by the History Center of Tompkins County.

In the US, as the country celebrates the 4th of July, more are understanding that the so-called “founding fathers” have taken credit for a mass movement of colonists who sought independence, where nearly 100 “Declarations of Independence” were written before the Jefferson version; and where the issues of racism, sexism, and ethnic cleansing of the Indigenous were not recognized. Rather than  celebrating the slave-owning plutocrats who hijacked this country we celebrate those who continue the struggle for self-determination here and around the world.

The struggle, as we can see in Greece, is against the plutocratic bankers who profit while the 99 percent suffer the consequences of their wealth extraction. True independence is a worldwide struggle that is ongoing.

It is essential that we understand the true history of the United States and how it plays out today in order to transform the world to be more just and sustainable. Bill Bigelow of the Zinn Education Project provides excellent references in “Celebrating the Fourth of July is a Cartoon in Miseducation.

Indigenous Resistance

There has been 500 years of Indigenous resistance in the United States.
 There has been 500 years of Indigenous resistance in the United States.

For a better understanding of the utter brutality used to take land and fund the founding of the US, read “Indigenous Peoples History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. She describes the roots of the “American Way of War” that means total annihilation – destroying food crops, terrorizing women, children and the elderly and killing all potential fighters without concern for the non-fighters of any age or sex that die with them. That brutality continues today in subtler but still violent ways beginning with economic embargoes and sanctions to shock and awe aerial bombardments and constant drone attacks.

The Indigenous Peoples of the United States continue to be mistreated, for example the taking of Indigenous land, including Sacred Sites, and giving it to corporations so they can extract its wealth as is happening in Arizona.  Tomorrow the Apache Stronghold convoy begins its journey to Washington. Click here to learn more about their struggle and how you can support them. This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the long practice of exploitation of Indigenous Nations.

White Supremacist Violence

LGBTQ Immigrant Rights protesters hold a die-in near the White House.LGBTQ Immigrant Rights protesters hold a die-in near the White House.

Bree Newsome describes why she scaled the flag pole in Charleston after the massacre to take down the confederate flag. She says: “I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015….”

Newsome is active with the growing Freedom Side movement of black and brown youth working to build more inclusive, economically just and democratic institutions. United We Dream, also a member of Freedom Side, held an action outside the White House this week to protest the detention of LGBTQ immigrants and their mistreatment.

Structural Violence

A part of the increasing awareness of injustice is the role of structural violence, which comes in many forms, and its roots in a hierarchical social order where a few exploit the many for profit. This is explored in depth by Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree in “The Hidden Structure of Violence.”

Image from Wikileaks

There are many current examples. The Obama administration is moving forward with the triad of treaties, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in Services Agreement (TiSA). Recent leaks of the TPP and TiSAreveal the harm they will cause by driving a global race to the bottom in worker rights, wages, health and destruction of the planet. The TiSA leak should enrage every local government as Wikileaks reports their loss of control over their local ecoomy: “The draft Annex aims to reduce procurement regulation to ensure that TiSA governments will not favour local services over services supplied by foreign multinationals.”

Walden Bello tells us that the TPP is the economic arm of Obama’s Asian Pivot to surround China and he urges us to rise up together and resist it. Popular Resistance will continue to organize to stop the triad of treaties. Take the pledge to join the TPP Resistance.

Protest at Tia Maria Copper Mine in Peru. Source AP.Protest at Tia Maria Copper Mine in Peru. Source AP.

That pivot also has a military arm which includes building more US military bases and running military drills in ecologically sensitive areas in South Korea, Okinawa, the Maldives and the Philippines where there are strong community opposition. This week during a commemoration of the battle of Okinawa, the audience heckled Japanese Prime Minister Abe for his support of increased militarization and a new base in Henoko. A protest of the Asian Pivot was also held in Manila.

The struggle in Peru over the Tia Maria Copper Mine demonstrates what our future will be like if the triad of treaties passes. It includes more land grabs, environmental degradation and militarized oppression of those who resist.

The US and Global Elites Block Struggles for Independence

Another new book, “Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq” by Ali Issa shows more hidden history of the vibrant nonviolent movement that was working to oust Saddam Hussein before the US occupation violently disrupted it.

Palestinians in the Port of Gaza wave the Palestinian flag at a rally in support of the Freedom Flotilla III. Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty ImagesPalestinians in the Port of Gaza wave the Palestinian flag at a rally in support of the Freedom Flotilla III.

An international coalition, Freedom Flotilla III, attempted once again to end the blockade of Gaza. As the four boats approached Gaza, the Israeli military intercepted the lead boat, used violence against the peaceful passengers and jailed them in Hebron. The other boats turned around to avoid the fate of the Freedom Flotilla II in which nine passengers were killed by the Israelis but Israel was never prosecuted.

Greece is at a critical crossroads this weekend after being the first developed country to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tomorrow Greek citizens will vote on a referendumover whether or not to accept bailout conditions, which include severe austerity measures, imposed by the European Union.

Historical context is essential to understand the situation in Greece as since World War II the US, United Kingdom and Germany have repeatedly abused Greece and pushed it toward neoliberal oligarchy. The IMF intentionally acted to provide inadequate support to Greece after its economic collapse and to protect investors and elites.

Greece Democracy not available in EU

There is a strong movement to vote “No” on the referendum which has held massive protests recently, including the largest crowd last night since 1974 when the dictatorship ended. But the elites are doing all they can through their control of the media to convince the people to vote “Yes.” Seumas Milne of the Guardian writes that the EU is using this as an opportunity for regime change in Greece and to end the rise of Leftist governments such as Syriza and Podemos.

A Few Victories to Celebrate

There are active movements in the US and abroad working for justice and gains are being made.  Reclaim the American Dream reports that 16 states and 500 cities have voted to repeal Citizens United.

A Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma this week opened the door to lawsuits against oil companies for damage caused by fracking earthquakes.

Also this week, a court in Washington State ruled in favor of youth who petitioned for limits to carbon emissions.

Student Protest US History

So let’s celebrate the global movement to stop the violent neoliberal agenda and transform the world to a place where all people are treated equitably with peace and social, economic and environmental justice for all. And let’s understand our true history so we don’t repeat it. Today, let’s celebrate the ongoing struggles of millions around the globe for true independence and not the founding myths on which the United States is built.

Tired of Domination by the Bushes and Clintons?

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July 4th is approaching — a great time to declare independence from the Bushes and Clintons who have dominated our country’s politics for decades.

Click here to declare independence from Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and these two almost-dynastic families.

And please share this message WIDELY.

Our country was born in revulsion to hereditary family rule. Yet we’re supposed to accept that 2016 will be the 8th presidential election out of 10 since 1980 with a Bush and/or a Clinton on a major party presidential ticket.

Click here to join thousands of others in saying you’ve had it with the Bushes and Clintons, and you’re seeking a new direction for our country.

Both the Bushes and the Clintons — sometimes with different approaches and rhetoric — have presided over national decline, especially the corporatization and militarization of our society. In the decades of domination by these two families and their corporate friends, our country has experienced:

  • middle-class decline
  • ever-increasing corporate control of politics and economics
  • “free trade” pacts like the TPP that hurt workers and the environment
  • near-constant war and erosion of civil liberties
  • government bailouts for Wall Street but not homeowners
  • structural poverty and a racially-biased “drug war”
  • ever-rising costs of a college education

If you believe our country needs a total change of direction — not just rejecting the Bushes and the Clintons, but any candidates who propose to continue their corporatist policies — please click on the following. . .

Yes, I want a major change in our country’s politics — an end to stale Bush/Clinton-like policies.

The reality is that corporate elites can’t lose with another Bush or Clinton. In a Politico article revealing Hillary Clinton’s support among Republican financiers, a “top Republican-leaning Wall Street lawyer” said the following: “If it turns out to be Jeb versus Hillary we would love that and either outcome would be fine.”

Good news is that Hillary Clinton faces growing progressive opposition in the Democratic race.

Please spread this message to friends and relatives who are fed up with the status quo.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.

— The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time…


Take Action: Will Parrish’s Restitution Hearing October 10th…


From Save Little Lake Valley

After all this time, CalTrans still insists on seeking criminal restitution fees from Will Parrish for his occupation of the “wick drain stitcher” in Little Lake Valley, which occurred in the early summer of 2013! After countless delays, the restitution hearing is scheduled for Friday, October 10th at 9:30 a.m. at Mendocino County Courtroom “B” in Ukiah.

CalTrans seeks $154,733 in restitution fees from Will, down from their original claim of $490,002. This is in spite of the fact that Will already settled the criminal charges related to his non-violent action in Jan. 2014, with the Mendocino County DA agreeing to two misdemeanors, which become infractions on Will’s record in Jan. 2016, and 100 hours of community service (which Will has already completed).

Your presence at the hearing helps make a powerful statement. This case provides a measuring stick for the validity of CalTrans’ utterly absurd claims that protesters caused $12 million in taxpayer burden by delaying the project in 2013.  Let’s stand behind someone who has stood up for all of us! Let’s put CalTrans’ greed on trial!

– Live in Willits? Carpool by meeting at Bountiful Gardens in Evergreen Shopping Plaza at 8:30
– Restitution Hearing at 9:30
– Rally at noon on the courthouse steps

My Favorite Four Letter Word…


From Els Cooperrider

Okay, you Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, listen up. I know you’re tired, disgusted, and thoroughly pissed off by the Gigolos running this country. You and I know almost all politicians are for sale to the highest bidder and we know the highest bidders are getting richer every day on the backs of us wage slaves. And, it seems there’s nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

Yes, there is actually. And it doesn’t just mean lifting our sharpened pencil and voting the bums out of office. There is hope even beyond that. Sometimes a bunch of common folks get so fed up that they decide to get it together, even here in Mendoland, to put something on the ballot that will knock your socks off. Something that will benefit us, our kids, and their kids, for a long time to come.

If you do nothing else this fall, at least peruse your election ballot and go to the very end where you’ll see Measure S. Then take your pencil or pen and fill in the box that says YES. What have you done? You may prevent your tap water from catching fire. Not only is such tap water not fit to drink for you or your kids. It’s not fit to drink for your cats and dogs and it will probably kill any plants you’re trying to grow.

Measure S is a citizens initiative, like Measure H, the GMO ban was, seeking to prevent something bad from happening in our county. That ‘bad’ would be fracking. Measure S puts the people’s will before the will and greed of the corporate giants who want to make still more money, even it means contaminating your water source. Measure S, if passed, won’t let them do that.

Sure, it isn’t perfect and there will probably be a battle with the Big Boys when it is passed. However, ‘Bring them on’, I say. Let’s get this fight and the disparities between the Haves, and Have Nots out in the open. If the People have spoken, is anyone listening? You bet! There is Hope. It’s my favorite four letter word (in spite of Bill Clinton). You can have it too, It will bring a bounce to your step. Try it.