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200+ Democrats Offer Social Security Reform Bill

Yesterday on President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday the Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson introduced the Social Security 2100 Act with more than 200 Democratic sponsors but no Republicans so far. 

Because of Republican opposition the minimum benefit established in 1972 has not been improved since then. Republicans tried to scare people that Social Security was going bankrupt, and President George W. Bush even tried to privatize the highly successful retirement program by which the government has each generation pay for the retirement of previous generations. Thank goodness that failed because his irresponsible policies of decreasing taxes for the rich while spending more on foolish wars caused the economic crash in 2008. 

As American wealth has been increasing, there is no difficulty in increasing benefits as Democrats propose. Polls show that two-thirds of voters favor expanding Social Security benefits. 

The FICA tax paid by employees and employers would be increased gradually from 6.2% to 7.4% by 2043. The new minimum benefit would be set at 25% above the poverty line, and average benefits would increase about 2% and according to changes in the cost of living. The cap on annual income subject to this tax is currently $132,900, and the new law would apply the tax also to annual incomes over $400,000. 

I support this bill but would also favor removing the cap altogether rather than exempting income between $132,900 and $400,000. I believe that those with such rich incomes should be paying society back some of the benefits they are gaining since they can most afford to do so. 

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Help Congress Pass No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons

Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu have re-introduced the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (H.R. 669 / S. 200), legislation that will block the President from launching a nuclear weapon without a Congressional declaration of war. 

This essential safety precaution is especially important now with the erratic Trump in office. If Republicans refuse to support this legislation to prevent a nuclear war, voters should replace them in the next election. 

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Trump & Putin Escalate the MAD Nuclear Arms Race

Yesterday Julian Borger reported in The Guardianthat the US is making the 6-kiloton W76-2 nuclear weapon for Trident II submarines, and they could be “operational” before September. This smaller weapon is being made because Trump complained he did not have any nukes he could really use in a war. This is intended to supplement the 100-kiloton W76 weapon on Tridents. 12 of the W76 thermonuclear bombs could be put on each Trident II missile, but a treaty limits them to 8. Trump already has access to “tactical” atomic weapons on cruise missiles that can be as small as 0.3-kilotons including some between 5 and 10 kilotons and up to 170 kilotons. US thermonuclear weapons available go up to 1,200 kilotons in explosive power which is 80 times the Hiroshima bomb. The “modernization” of US nuclear weapons is estimated to cost between $1.2 and $2 trillion over the next ten years.

Meanwhile Russia has developed the hypersonic RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry 15 nuclear warheads and can fly more than ten times the speed of sound. Putin has also bragged about making laser weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles that can fly for an indefinite period. So far the Strategic Defense Initiative begun by Reagan in tests fails most of the time and could not counter these new weapons. 

In 1989 I stepped over an imaginary line on a sidewalk outside the Kings Bay Trident base and spent six months in prison for that misdemeanor. In my opinion humanity will be much better off without these expensive and holocaustic weapons. 

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Trump Robs Venezuela & Blames Their President

Yesterday the Trump government robbed $7 billion in assets from the people of Venezuela, and yet they blame Maduro for “mishandling” Venezuela’s economy! 

Trump is a bully and threatens to make US imperialism much worse. The people must insist on his being removed from office asap. We (US) should be helping the people of Venezuela, not harming them. 

Bolton issued another military threat which makes him a criminal for violating the United Nations Charter. 

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Ecology, Green New Deal, a Better World & Afghanistan

Yesterday I attended the “50 Years After the Santa Barbara Oil Spill: A Call to Action” meeting that filled an auditorium with about a thousand people. The response to that major oil spill at Santa Barbara in 1969 stimulated the environmental movement that soon led to Earth Day, the EPA and much ecological legislation. 

Wake up America! Support the Green New Deal that is coming in the 2020 election and will help bring about a peaceful revolution in 2021. 

Today I read two excellent articles at comondreams.org. Michael Galant wrote “The Green New Deal is Not Enough: We Need an Alternative Globalization,” explaining how the world economy needs to be reformed. Eric Margolis wrote “Afghanistan: America’s Shameful War” with stunning insight on America’s longest war. 

Anyone who does not see the beautiful revolution that is coming to this country and the world is not paying attention. 

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Trump Hires War Criminal Elliott Abrams as Envoy to Venezuela

Elliott Abrams worked for President Reagan as an Assistant Secretary of State for nearly 8 years. He was severely criticized for hiding atrocities by the militaries of the US-supported governments of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and of the Contra rebels fighting against Nicaragua. He denied that more than 500 civilians were killed in the El Mozote massacre in December 1981, calling it FMLN propaganda. In 1982 the Boland Amendment ended US aid to the Contras. Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding evidence during the Iran-Contra investigation by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh that began in December 1986, but President H. W. Bush pardoned him in December 1992. 

In June 2001 President George W. Bush hired Abrams as “Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Operations” at the NSC. Abrams favored the coup attempt against Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in April 2002 and also the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. He criticized US policy for attempting to make Israel give concessions for peace. During Bush’s second term Abrams was deputy national security adviser for Global Democracy Strategy. 

In May 2016 Abrams wrote an article criticizing candidate Trump, and for that reason Trump vetoed Tillerson’s choice of Abrams as Deputy Secretary of State, but Secretary of State Pompeo appointed Abrams a Special Envoy to Venezuela on Friday. 

If the US gives military support to the opposition party in Venezuela and escalates that crisis into a civil war, it will be a serious crime against peace that could lead to war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

My presidential campaign is dedicated to ending US war crimes and bringing about world peace through nonviolence, democracy, and international law. 

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US-directed Coup in Venezuela is Illegal & Immoral

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that US VP Pence called Venezuela’s Assembly leader Guaido urging him to supplant President Maduro which he then announced on the 24th. Soon after that President Trump recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s leader. The European Union and other capitalist nations then added their support for this illegal effort. 

On Thursday the 24th an open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, Laura Carlsen, Mark Weisbrot, Medea Benjamin, Phyllis Bennis, and 65 others urged the US government to stop interfering in Venezuela because it would make their desperate situation worse.

Sanctions imposed by the US and its capitalist allies have been strangling the economy of Venezuela for months if not years. The oil company Citgo has not been allowed to transfer from the US $1 billion in profits to Venezuela, and the Venezuela government has not been allowed to borrow money to help them get through the crisis resulting from lower oil prices in that oil-rich nation. The US has tried to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist leader Hugo Chavez in the past. The coup attempt which began on Monday the 21st with a failed military plot violates the Charter of the Organization of American States. 

Wise people on all sides are urging negotiations and the peaceful settlements of the disputes in this economic and political crisis. 

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Wealth Tax I Proposed 4 Years Ago

My plan calls for a temporary tax on assets to pay down the national debt, and it is more progressive than Warren’s idea. The annual tax would be 1% on assets over $1 million, 2% over $10M, 3% over $100M, 4% over $1 billion & 5% over $10B. I also advocate a tax on stock transactions to share the wealth and reduce wild & micro speculation. 

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Scientists use Doomsday Clock to Warn of Nuclear War

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is keeping its Doomsday Clock at 11:58 for another year which is the closest to midnight and disaster it has been since it was there in 1953. 

Removing the danger of nuclear holocaust by abolishing all nuclear weapons is my top priority in my Presidential campaign. The policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is the worst insanity and could destroy the human species. The two superpowers, US and Russia, which have 95% of all the nuclear weapons, stand to benefit the most in getting rid of them by saving much money and wasted human effort while making the world safer for everyone. I believe the time has come to negotiate total nuclear disarmament with all the nuclear nations starting with the superpowers. 

After that is successful, we can then move on to disarming the weapons of war and replacing them with effective international law under a democratic federal world government that would be responsible for keeping the peace. No one nation has the right to be the policeman in the world or even a region. No nation should be allowed to use force outside its borders. Thus all nations could disarm weapons of war while retaining local police for law enforcement. 

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Trump Backs Regime Change in Socialist Venezuela

On 20 May 2018 Chávez successor Maduro was re-elected President of Venezuela with 68% of the vote. The opposition MUD Party boycotted the election, and turnout was 46%. Maduro had asked the Carter Center to send an observation team, but they declined. Facing crippling economic sanctions by the US and other right-wing regimes, President Maduro has maintained welfare programs. 

On Monday (3 days ago) Sgt. Wandres Figueroa led a small group of soldiers in an attempted coup that took four hostages but failed. National Assembly President Juan Guaido tweeted (falsely) that this revolt reflected “the generalized feelings within the Armed Forces.” Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly’s attempt to claim the executive office is invalid. 

On Tuesday the National Assembly moved to grant amnesty for civilians and military officials rising up against Maduro’s government. 

Yesterday after Trump recognized Guaido as President, Maduro cut diplomatic ties with the US, rejecting the invasive policies of the US empire and Trump. 

The United States has a shameful history of persecuting socialist nations in Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela and helping to overthrow governments in South Korea in 1945, Egypt in 1952, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Congo and Laos in 1960, Dominican Republic in 1961 and 1965, South Vietnam in 1963, Brazil in 1964, Indonesia in 1965 and 1997, Greece in 1967, Bolivia in 1971, Chile in 1973, Afghanistan in 1979, El Salvador in 1980, Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Haiti in 1991, Yugoslavia in 2000, Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011.