Sunday, August 13, 2017

While North Korea Makes Overtures the US Saber Rattles

The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the forgotten war. It may have been quite overlooked by most Americans, but Korea still bears its scars and will for eternity. Now especially, with threat and counter threat, and in the face of an abdicating media, and the very fearsome possibility of a nuclear conflict looming, it is time to remind ourselves of exactly how the American economy hangs on two sectors, one of which happens to be perpetual war. (I leave discussion of the other for an issue on Afghanistan.)

This past week I had the pleasure of listening to three extremely well-informed women speakers who shared their remarks with us on the occasion of Nagasaki Day at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, attended by 200 peace advocates for a nuclear-free world and followed by the non-violent civil disobedience arrest of 42 of us. Here are the remarks of Christine Hong, who joined us last Friday morning from Santa Cruz where she teaches literature and specializes in Korean diaspora and Pacific Rim studies:

I am here speaking before you today because of the terrible urgency of the present crisis with North Korea and the need for those of us in the anti-nukes, peace, and social justice movements in the United States to mobilize en masse to push for peace.

Korea by Picasso
Many of you who have fought for a world without nukes understand that the horror of the atomic bombings of civilian populations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki amount to a terrible stain on the American conscience. Some of you came of age during the era of the brutal American war in Vietnam, and you recall how youth and conscience-stricken people converged in protest, making that time period a watershed moment in the American peace movement. In more recent decades, some of you may have taken part in the anti-war protests, raising your voices in the lead-up to the unconscionable war in Iraq. These have all been signature moments in the grassroots struggle for peace.

By contrast, North Korea, a country that knows more intimately than almost any other what it means to be in the cross-hairs of the U.S. war machine and that the United States has repeatedly threatened with nuclear annihilation has hardly occasioned any organized grassroots action. North Korea does not weigh on the conscience of the American public, though it should. Most Americans have no sense of how intimately the current crisis with North Korea is shaped by the ugly and reckless adventurism of American warmongering and the overwhelming disregard that most Americans demonstrate when the deaths of others as a result of our foreign policy occurs far from U.S. shores. North Korea comes to us in media portraits not in its complex truth, but as a simultaneously cartoonish and demonic portrait filtered through the fog of war, so shrouded in jingoistic rhetoric that too many of us consent to its apocalyptic destruction in advance. 

 When asked this past spring to ponder in real terms what it would mean if Trump were to authorize a nuclear strike against North Korea, Senator Lindsey Graham stated, “Yes, it would be terrible, but the war would be over there. It wouldn’t be here. It would be bad for the Korean peninsula, it would be bad for China, it would be bad for Japan, it would be bad for South Korea, it would be the end of North Korea but what it would not do is hit America.”

Yesterday we were subjected to Trump’s reckless challenge to North Korea, the most terrifying that we’ve yet seen from his administration: If North Korea continues to make threats against the United States, he stated, appearing to draw a red line with regard to North Korean speech acts, it “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Given that his words fall around the somber anniversary of the atomic apocalypse the United States visited on Japan, we are again reminded that the policy-makers in Washington are afflicted with what Chalmers Johnson described as the amnesia of imperial powers.

We don’t recall that at the root of the present crisis is the Korean War, a brutal, dirty, and unresolved war—a war ironically known in this country for being “forgotten” but that set a paradigm for subsequent U.S. wars of intervention to follow. Few, in the mid-twentieth century, during a time of McCarthyism, registered opposition to the Korean War. Paul Robeson was an exception, and he is an example for us now. In a critique of “armed adventure in Korea” that resonates to this day, he lambasted his fellow citizens’ “meek conformity with the policies of the war-minded, the racists, and the rich.”

Robeson unflinchingly observed that “the maw of warmakers [was] insatiable” in Korea. In an asymmetrical conflict in which the United States monopolized the skies, raining down ruin from on high, four million Koreans—the vast majority of them civilians—were killed. Chinese statistics indicate that North Korea lost an unimaginable thirty percent of its population. Civilian infrastructure was not spared. Dams, schools, any standing structure was deemed to be fair game; indeed, American bombers complained that there was nothing left for them to bomb. As the historian Bruce Cumings notes, it was during this period that North Koreans, whom he describes as the “party of memory,” learned how to live below ground. Three days into the war, Truman slapped a punitive round of sanctions against North Korea as an explicit part of his war policy—sanctions not as an alternative to war, this is to say, but as warand North Korea to this day is the most heavily sanctioned nation on this earth. Against the conditions of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, the United States maintains roughly 30,000 forces and 100 military installations south of the DMZ—in stark contrast to China, which withdrew its forces from the peninsula within a short window of time. This is to underscore that for the entirety of its existence, North Korea has been subjected to a regime-change policy from the United States.

 Just as most Americans did not register that the United States test-launched a Minuteman 3 ICBM from Vandenberg last week in a show of force aimed at North Korea—something that is, we should note, routinely done—so too do most Americans not know that at mid-century General Douglas MacArthur contemplated dropping “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs…strung across the neck of Manchuria” in order to create a zone of cobalt where no one could live for at least 60, perhaps over a hundred years, thus making impossible a Chinese advance from the north.In addition to placing nuclear weapons in South Korea for the duration of the Cold War in violation of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, the United States has threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation on at least a dozen occasions: when North Korea captured the crew of the Pueblo in the late sixties, when Colin Powell threatened to turn North Korea into a “charcoal briquette” in the nineties, when North Korea was added to the list of permissible preemptive targets in the 2002 Nuclear Posture review during the George W. Bush “Axis of Evil” era, when President Obama announced he was sending two Stealth bombers to drop dummy nuclear munitions off the Korean peninsula in a simulated nuclear first strike against North Korea, when Trump administration officials have repeatedly declared that all options are on the table. The unresolved Korean War, U.S. threats of nuclear annihilation, and U.S. regime-change policy are the structural roots of North Korea’s proliferation 

In this time of unprecedented danger, we have to be ruthless not in our threats but in our pursuit of truth, courageous not with our swords but in our willingness to confront our own denial. We have to recognize that North Korea does not require further U.S. intervention but rather that what we are seeing is a result of prior U.S. intervention and a state of unending war. The question before us is what a genuine peace means with North Korea. Few media outlets have reported on North Korea’s overtures to the United States. When it comes to North Korea, media coverage is all too often truly “fake news.” Yet these overtures, if pursued, might result in meaningful de-escalation on both sides. To be clear: there are peaceful alternatives at hand. Far from being an intractable foe, North Korea has repeatedly asked the United States to sign a peace treaty that would bring the unresolved Korean War to a long overdue end. It has also proposed that the United States cease its annual war games with South Korea. North Korea has cautioned the United States not to treat war as a game, especially in the form of the simulated invasion and occupation of North Korea, the “decapitation” of its leadership, and rehearsals of a preemptive nuclear strike. In return, North Korea will cap its nuclear weapons testing. China and Russia have reiterated this proposal. The United States, however, maintains that its joint war games with South Korea are simply business as usual and has not seen fit to respond. On August 21, it plans to proceed with its annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint war exercises.

At mid-century, the vast majority of Americans were silent as this country went to war with North Korea. We cannot, we must not, be silent now.

If you wish, also sign the petition here.

Join a Peace demonstration near you!

A Scattering of of this Week's Roses Amidst the Thorns



White House withdraws nominee, George Nesterczuk, former employee of  the Ukrainian Government, as Director of the Office of Personnel Management.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Shedding the Dark Legacy of 1945

This week the world marks the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. government eager to grandstand by reminding the Eastern bloc that U.S. is the world’s Number One strong man.

In one small part of the world, I will join the monthly demonstration taking place on the 11th of every month outside the Japanese consulate in San Francisco, sponsored by the No Nukes Action Committee, to commemorate the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima which occurred on March 11th, 2011, and to confront the government of Prime Minister Abe as the leader of one of American’s many client states.

Writing letters to a Prime Minister who is probably as moss-backed as Donald Trump, but not quite as unpredictable, represents some kind of folly—except that this demonstration is live-streamed directly to Japan where it reminds many Japanese traumatized by the actions of their government that in a small part of the world, there are a few Americans left still capable of expressing hamdard* on their behalf. (Hamdard is the Dari word for ‘shared pain.’)

With some help from my nuclear-resisting friends, and on behalf of the No Nukes Action Committee, I share this month’s letter to P.M. Abe:

Your Excellency:

This week marks the 72nd anniversary of the most heinous war crime ever perpetrated on one warring nation by another: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

You sir, were not yet born. But by the time of your birth, thanks to the machinations of the U.S. government in collaboration with war criminal Matsutaro Shoriki, and despite the deep aversion of the Japanese people, the government of Japan was sold on nuclear energy, and Japan’s period of nuclear research and nuclear plant construction by American companies began.

Your administration has inherited this dark legacy. But at the same time, it has inherited what could turn out to be two magnificent opportunities if your government is brave enough to pursue them:

•Your administration could countermand the order forcing persons displaced by the nuclear disaster to return to live in the contaminated areas of Fukushima and in particular, the city of Namie, and to re-populate an area even more contaminated than Chernobyl with its one thousand square mile exclusion zone.

Fukushima 311 Voices’ recent post at https://fukushima311voices.wordpr describes the work of the Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project team, a group of people over 60 years of age who have ventured into these heavily contaminated areas to obtain radiation readings at great risk to their own lives. Their post includes a 372 plot map of Namie. each plot measuring 375 meters X 250 meters in the Futaba District of Fukushima prefecture showing 13 plots which register 2 million to 3 million Bequerels contamination by Cesium 137 and Cesium 134 per square meters; 76 plots registering between 1 and 2 million Bq/m3;  an additional 111 plots registering between 400 thousand and 1 million Bq/m3; plus 160 plots showing contamination ranging from 40,000 Bq/m3 to 400, thousand. But 9 plots show contamination exceeding 3 million Bq/m3.

The average surface count per minute above ground is 1,199 counts per minute.  At this average level of contamination, drinking, eating or staying overnight is prohibited; even adults, including nuclear workers, are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours—and your government is proposing that those displaced persons must return there to live???

Fukushima "clean-up" Crew

• Still another opportunity presents itself: Recently the Tokyo Electric Power Company announced plans to dump the 770,000 tons of tritium-contaminated water presently being stored in some 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean based on the naïve theory that the ocean is so big it can absorb an insult of such magnitude. But the dumping cannot occur without the consent of your government. Your opportunity and the opportunity of your government is to recognize the irreparable harm such a measure would entail, and to prohibit TEPCO from realizing such an eco-cidal plan.

Besides repeated cover-ups, TEPCO’s criminal track record includes failing to meet the basic safety  requirements which might have prevented the Fukushima-Daiichi emergency generators from failing. With 40% of marine species already unfit for human consumption, dumping hundreds of thousands of tons of tritium-contaminated water would further devastate sea life.

Will you step up to the plate? Will your government recognize that Japan is part of a larger planetary system which transcends national boundaries, and political maneuvering by prohibiting TEPCO from dumping its tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific, whose waters are shared by 42 other countries and 12 colonial dependencies?

Will your government uphold the human right of the survivors of Fukushima’s nuclear catastrophe by countermanding your administrations’s order condemning them to face the risk of radiation disease and death by forcing them to return to an area more heavily contaminated than Chernobyl?

Will your government have the courage to seize these opportunities? Or will you
surrender Japan’s independence by following in the dark footsteps of Japan’s American-imposed nuclear legacy?

Tell the Japanese Government: don’t dump hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water into the Pacific.

Endorse and circulate the WILPF petition supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by 122 countries on July 7, 2017.  

A Few Roses Amongst This Week’s Thorns


EPA director Scott Pruiit withdraws the unlawful delay postponing standards regulating smog pollution.


Santee Cooper Utilities and the Scana Corporation, co-owners of the Summer, N.C.  light water reactor building project announced cancellation owing to cost overruns, and inability of the nuclear industry to compete with wind and solar.


In Malaysia workers at Shangri-La Hotels won their thirteen-year fight to restore collective bargaining rights.

Endorse the petition to stop Scott Pruit’s waffling on the issue of methane pollution, a gas far more lethal to global warming even than C02.

Endorse the no war planes over Syria (in violation of sovereign airspace) petititon now.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Shared Pain

The world was made poorer by one life-time activist when, on July 25, Jerry Zawada died at the age of 80. By the time I met Jerry at the Nevada Test Proving Ground some years ago along with a Code PInk contingent protesting drone warfare at Nevada’s Creech AFB, Jerry could barely walk. But there he was with many others of us attending Chief Bob Bobb’s prayer ceremony on land appropriated from the Western Shoshonne by the U.S. government for its planetcide nuclear arms program.
Fr. Zawada (right) at a missile silo
Fr. Jerry Zawada was a nuclear resister, a peace and justice  activist, and a Franciscan friar. He served two years hard time in the late 80s for repeated “trespass” at Midwest nuclear silos (some 400-plus still on hair trigger alert), and a total of eighteen months for “trespass” at the genocidal “School of the Americas”, the U.S. training program for Latin American death squads. The Vatican censured him for advocating women in the priesthood, and for celebrating mass with them. In retirement, he supported migrants as they attempted to cross the desert at the Arizona border.
In 2010 Jerry wrote a letter to the people of Dai Kundi, Afghanistan, in the Dari language. He titled this letter Hamdard, which in Dari means “shared pain.” 


         To my friends in Dai Kundi:

It's already over 9 months since 21 members of your families have been killed by NATO. How hard it must be  for you, for your family to continue without your loved one, an innocent victim of a war that should never have happened. It's not enough for me nor from a citizen of a country responsible for your personal tragedy to say "I'm sorry."
In some small way, I sense a little of your pain and I'm finding it hard to write when tears are clouding my eyes. This too is not enough. I'm so glad that three special friends of mine.., are with you now to express in person what I and so many who are so strongly against the hurt we as nation have brought to you and to your country. I pray that all this tragedy will come to an end soon. I wish I could be with you now and to work with you to end all warfare.
You are my family. I never want you to have to suffer this  way any more. With best wishes and a prayer that Allah blesses you and enables me to feel your hamdard.
                  Your brother, Jerry Zawada
When headlines read: “Mosul’s Bloodbath: ‘We Killed Everyone – IS, Men, Women & Children’ or “Beauty of Our Weapons” in the War on Yemen” how many citizens of this waroholic country have reached their hamdard threshold to be able to write a letter such as Jerry Zawada’s? Are you one of them?

U.S. Troop deployment world-wide
Because each one of us is complicit, every one of us over 300 million U.S. citizens owes such a letter to the people of Yemen (who face famine, and whose children are dying by U.S.-enabled hands), Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, and the many other countries where the U.S. is obsessed by “full-spectrum dominance,” and whose brave young men and women defend our right to take other people’s lives and their resources.

This year the U.S. Government is allocating over one trillion dollars for its perpetual war budget. The figure includes the Trumpocrat’s call this year for an additional $575 billion for the Pentagon. Besides including over one trillion dollars a year, the cost of war can also be measured in the misery of our people. This same government cannot afford

•universal free higher education for its youth (unlike any number of other advanced countries, including Mexico & Brazil!);
•maintaining the infrastructure of its roads, bridges and dams;
•subsidizing mass transit;
•programs for the disadvantaged including low-cost housing,  prison reform, nutritious programs for poor women and children to name only a very few;
•A cabinet post for the arts; and a cabinet post for women

The U.S. disparity in budget priorities alone demands that every man-jack one of us becomes a full time peace activist.

Yet, it comes as something of a counterintuitive surprise that Peck’s Bad Boy in the White House has defied the Pentagon and the CIA on the subject of the U.S. proxy war in Syria by negotiating ceasefires. Because the MSM, in its complicity with CIA-style coup strategy, has tried hamstringing PBB at every turn, including ascribing PBB’s motive in Syria to “collusion with the Russians,” you need to depend on the Black Agenda Report or Information Clearing House for this remarkable piece of news.    

Mistake me not, I am not ascribing motives of hamdard to PBB, but I am raising the question: is it better go along with mob rule 100% to demonize a foolhardy president or is it more appropriate to consider the consequences of each of his separate actions?

Endorse the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases.

Calculate your hamdard coefficient:

How important to you are black lives in domestic U.S.?
all;______ maybe some; ______none; _______don’t know______

How important to you are foreign black lives?
all;______maybe some; ______none; _______don’t know______

How important to you are lives in domestic U.S.?
all______; maybe some; ______none; _______don’t know______

How important to you are foreign lives (including people in the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa?)
all______; maybe some; ______none; _______don’t know_____

If you answered “all” four times, you are hamdard-sensitive. Please compose your own letter to the people of your own U.S.-ruined country of choice and send it c/o Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Non-Violence ( @ 1249 W. Argyle Street #2, Chicago, Ill. 60640,

If you answered maybe some, or none, water got into your moral compass.

If you answered “don’t know” four times, call the undertaker.


Some Roses Amongst the Fortnight’s Thorns

Transcanada backs away from Keystone XL Pipeline for economically persuasive reasons.

Utah declares ag-gag law unconstitutional, allowing activists to investigate farming practices.

Arkansas and Missouri ban Monsanto-made dicamba weed killer. Like GMO crops, it damages crops through drift.

Democrats (party of the carrot) won two seats in Oklahoma in a special election. (That’s two seats that are not Repuglican.)

And U.S. underserved citizens breathed a sigh of relief as their activism brought them a reprieve from Trumpcare-less.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

If Frances and Lucy Can, You Can, Too

Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of one count of second degree manslaughter, and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm, in the fatal shooting Philandro Castile in July of , 2016, despite the coroner’s report ruling the death a homicide, the victim having sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Prior to the day of his death at the hands of Minnesota police, Philandro Castile had been stopped 52 times for minor traffic violations. Castile was a black man. His death left bereaved the 395 kids at an integrated Montessori school where he served them lunch every  day.

The dashcam footage of the slaying was released June 20, 2017, following the trial.

The weekend after the acquittal, an Oakland demonstration took place. Here is how one activist described it:

Lucy, 16 years old, is the person who organized the Saturday, June 17th action in Oakland. She was able to do what many "organizers and organizations" have not been able to do. No ego and no organizations pure PEOPLE! This was one of the most genuine actions that I've attended in a long time. There were about 400+ people present. Speakers were not the regular known speakers or from organizations (participation was also from folks who attended) - messages were clear and thought provoking. The dots were connected.  I hope that people heard the messages -different from all the [usual] intellectualizing. Thinking about it, I only know one or two other people who have been able to do what she did.

No sound system until after the event was half over when someone come up with a bull horn, but it didn’t matter – those who were present were engaged and seemed to be actively listening. I saw people openly sob. 

These thoughts don’t even capture all that happened. Us oldsters have a lot to learn from our youth.  
Lucy speaking

And Us Youngsters Have Trespass and Disorderly Conduct to Learn from Our Oldsters

When she was asked how often she had been arrested, 98-year old Frances Crowe answered “Not enough.” A resister for the past 72 years, this tribute by Lee Schwartz summarizes her story:

Lucy speaking And here is Lucy speaking:
“I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who attended. Thank you to those of you who supported this event in alternative ways. Thank you to the indigenous folks who took care of and defended the Ohlone land that we gathered upon. And thank you to those of you who spoke.
I also want to say I’m sorry. To the beautiful, black folks reading this, I’m sorry that this didn’t happen sooner. But saying sorry won’t help combat the injustices plaguing your community and other marginalized groups. An apology is not enough. We have to do better. We have to do better. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe I’m dramatic. Or maybe I’m pretty damn right when I say that waiting for a change to come only brings more caskets. Silence in the face of injustice only digs more graves. And tolerance for terrorism against black folks in Amerikkka has taken too many lives, already.
And yes — I’m focusing on black folks right now. This fight and the rally was centered entirely around empowering and uniting with black folks. And we joined together, primarily, to stand in solidarity with black folks across the country.
The police officers (*murderers) who shot and killed Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and Akai Gurley were non-black people of color. Anti-blackness also exists and thrives within non-black communities of color as it does in white, and we have to recognize and check that.
I organized this event — not so that I would get credit. I’m not looking for thank-you’s. And I’m not looking for recognition. I’m looking for a “see you next time.” I’m looking for the white women who showed up to the women’s march to show up to rallies like these. I’m looking for people to step up and defend black folks just like they’ve defended us.
I am sixteen years old. I’m hella brown. I’m young, and I’m Tongan. I don’t have a lot of money. I don’t work with any specific organization — and I don’t have as many resources or experience as some of you do.
I don’t know much, but I know that waiting for change, and silence in response to oppression only contributes to the terrorism on black communities. It’s a major element that plays into the fact that too many black bodies are sitting in graves, currently.
We have to keep going, we have to keep organizing. We have to keep up this momentum because telling black children to “do the right thing,” is not enough anymore to keep them alive. We have to continue because we saw what the products of silence were. We have to continue because Dylann Roof made it to Burger King while Sandra Bland never made it home. We have to continue because too many black women have been bent and broken in order for us to give up on them. We have to continue because black women NEVER gave up on us. We have to continue because black children deserve to grow up without fear. We have to continue because if the people paid to protect and serve our communities choose to do the opposite when it comes to transgender, black womyn — then it is on us to fight for and with them. We have to continue because black folks have been terrorized for centuries and if a broke, 16 year old, brown girl can organize against that — then WE ALL CAN. We have to continue because being black is not a crime and we have to stop acting like it is. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.
We have to act like it.
I have never seen so much community. I have never witnessed such a strong, empowered, and determined group of beautiful people at an arm’s-length distance. And I can testify that I know what the future looks like — I saw it staring back at me in the middle of Oscar Grant Plaza, yesterday.
We all unified together under bizarre conditions — and within an hour, a group of several hundred strangers became a family. And if that isn’t power — if that isn’t the foundation of a revolutionary movement, then I don’t know what is.
I’m in highschool. If you asked me five years ago what I wanted to do with my life — I would have never guessed that this would be it. And if you ask me that same question, now — I can’t picture myself doing anything else.
Black folks are everything and more — you ALL are beautiful and stunning. You have a spirit that continues to radiate endless light. You are capable and full of strength, and each and every one of you are enough. You are worth the fight. You matter.
To the allies who came through: thank you. Our voices and support are needed in this movement; solidarity and unity are stronger than separation. I hope you all got home safely last night — and I hope you left feeling inspired. I hope you left feeling loved and cared for. I hope you left remembering that there is still more healing to do. But most importantly, I hope you left hungry and thirsty for change. I hope you remember that we all are embodiments of this movement, and fear only dwindles our flame.
I’ll see you all soon. Unfortunately, we are gathering together under tragic circumstances. But this work is necessary — and if we won’t do it, then who will?
So please — don’t make excuses. The fight is not over until ever lock and chain has been loosened and freed from the ankles of the suffering.
And thank you, again. Thank you for having faith in a young, angry, brown girl with a lot to say. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and I hope the same goes for each and every one of you.
The time is now.
And Us Youngsters Have Trespass and Disorderly Conduct to Learn from Our Oldsters
Frances Crowe, 98, arrested for stopping a Kinder Morgan pipeline

Hell on Wheels, a poem by Lee Schwartz

She’s 98, rides a Harley wheelchair,
arrested in Sandisfield for protesting a fracking pipeline,
her third arrest since she turned 90.

His hair stands like a torch holding light up to evil.
Frances Crowe has been at it since she’s 26,
a peace activist, war refuser, now keeping the earth from
being raped by hydro-fracking is her cause célèbre.

His tongue a serpent flickering falsehoods and frenetic tweets.

Frances Crowe protested the bombing in Hiroshima,
now she and twenty-six others wrote protest words,
buried them in a cardboard casket next to the trench.

His mind a money coaster running loops into our soul.
When hauled off in a sheriff’s cruiser for trespassing
she was asked how many times she’s been arrested,
“Not enough” she boomed to the forest and the birds.

A peacock strutting his walk of shame.

There is so much to be done, and I’m not in a wheel chair,
the world is coated with a lethal mist
I must make a stink to survive.

Women are nothing you peck at, devour and vomit up.
In the Summer of love, there were many liars in office,
helpless to transform, the body bags along the trenches,
the only thing to do was to get arrested.

Meet  the amazing Frances in person. Here, she is interviewed along with her companion, Connie Harvard, by anti-nuclear, anti-fossil fuel activist Hattie Nestel. The story of her arrest was picked up by the international press.

You, too, can participate in non-violent civil disobedience. You meet amazing people on the picket line and in jail! Only in the best company, and remember this added bonus:  no presidents, or other war criminals!


You too can participate in non-violent civil disobedience. You meet amazing people on the picket line and in jail! Only in the best company, and remember this added bonus:  no presidents, or other war criminals!

A Few Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns

In a policy to reduce possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, State of Oregon decriminalizes cocaine meth, heroin etc.

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re shifts the entire $130B investment towards ethical Investments and out of coal, although they still insure coal plans and mines.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tying the Knot

Two noteworthy events have headlined the recent news:

1. Negotiators representing  some 168 nations (of the 192 nations represented at the UN) got together and crafted a nuclear weapons ban treaty, the first time in over 70 years there has been a successful effort to avert nuclear war—this at a time when international tensions have never been higher. Formally known as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it was adopted July 6, 2017 at the final session of the conference. Big Brother’s presence was predictably absent.

2. The two houses of the Japanese Diet, where a two-thirds majority of PM Abe’s conservative party rules, enacted a conspiracy law, with the very real potential of criminalizing protest, according to the Tokyo Bar Association and the UN rapporteur for human rights.

The first event appears to have international implications (although without the participation of the Nuclear Nine), the second appears to apply only to a small island nation, but that perception misses recognizing the global dimensions of the recent Japanese phenomenon and how the two might be related. About the new law, Koichi Nakano, professor of political science at Tokyo’s Sophia University said:  [It] shows both [PM Abe’s]  arrogance and his weakness….We’re seeing the personalization of power, and it’s not all that different  from what we see in the Trump administration.”

First some comic relief (Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado comes to mind): originally criminalizing over 650 acts, after some negotiation, the Diet knocked down the number of offenses to a mere 277. The bill was rushed through the Diet with only some 16 hours allocated for debate. Why? A phenomenon called “look at the birdie,” namely the dreary ploy in vogue by all political criminals to distract: Japanese PM Abe faces two scandal probes. And the law was snuck in in advance of Tokyo municipal elections to be held in July.

Officially, the Japanese government needs to pass the bill in order for Japan to become signatory to the UN convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by UN member states in 2000, which targets human trafficking, narcotics trading and money laundering, Which is why the new law criminalizes:

  • Sit-in protests against the construction of apartment buildings (Berkeley, take note!) 
  • Racing motorboats without a license
  • Mushroom gathering in protected forests
Although ostensibly the new law purports to target terrorism and to avert terrorist attack, it may be useful to note that last year crime statistics for Japan listed one fatal shooting, and that the last terrorist act occurred in 1995 with the sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo, a shadowy Japanese cult, in the Tokyo subway.     

But the unofficial government rationale is that the government of Japan needs to be safe from protest.

To “Serve and Protect:” Do the cops need more power?

World over, fear is universal and profitable. Fear afflicts global populations as political figures sabre rattle for fun and profit: they are the living, real time mouth pieces for the international weapons trade (someones are getting awfully, awfully rich on a steady diet of M & Ms: maimings, mayhem, and murder). Fear-mongering pervades the government-managed media as it happily amplifies the message of the living, real time mouth pieces.

Fear is useful. Surveillance legislation, sugar-pilled by intriguing acronyms (P.A.T.R.I.O.T., for example) crops up, not just in Japan, or the Unied States but as a global phenomenon. Effectively managed, fear works to persuade the world’s populations to go along with sacrificing their freedom and privacy. Maybe not entirely willingly (39% of Japan’s population approves of the new Conspiracy Bill vs. 41% opposed).

Qui Bono

In the case of the Japanese conspiracy legislation, besides affording PM Abe a comfortable smoke screen obscuring his own misdemeanors, the act is now in place to dissent especially now that PM Abe
            •wants to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors in one  of the world’s most seismically active regions,

            •plans to host the Olympic games slated for 2020—in areas some of them still heavily contaminated by nuclear fallout, notably in Miyagi and Shizuoka Prefectures.

            •intends to convince some 154,000 souls originally evacuated from areas      contaminated by Fukushima’s nuclear fallout that the area is now, magically and suddenly perfectly safe for them to return there. And to insure their willingness to return, the Japanese government is terminating their living subsidies.

(The above link will lead readers to a propaganda video describing how Japan has now overcome nuclear contamination and made Fukushima's coastline "safe" for displaced persons who are now being forced to return to their contaminated villages.)

At the same time, the law criminalizes any possible conspiracy such as
collusion by Japanese entities with foreign Olympic teams or other entities, which might express a certain reluctance about scheduling athletes to compete in contaminated areas, inhaling nuclear particulates as they run, jump, and row.

Twin Janus Face

Dr. John Gofman, the anti-nuclear world’s late messenger, wrote that if we espouse nuclear energy we agree that someone will have to die. (He did not include athletes.) He was referring to injury and death associated among others, with the people living in the area close to nuclear plants, and to worker injuries inevitable in a criminally risky industry (vide the recent tunnel collapses at Hanford (nuclear) Generation Station, and the injury of dozens of workers at the recent WIPP nuclear waste storage facility in Carlsbad, not to mention the death-by-cancer statistics of Navajo (Diné) miners working the uranium seams in New Mexico). Nuclear infrastructure  will also have to be maintained under conditions of secrecy.

But the rationale for nuclear plants is to develop weapons grade plutonium for atomic bombs, without which they cease being profitable. John Gofman was referring as well to the magnitude of death statistics from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the little recognized Port Chicago (now renamed Concord Weapons Depot) disaster of 1944 which pulverized four loading area blocks and incinerated all the black seamen loading ordnance there.

Port Chicago multiple-block explosion - 1944

Obedience Behind closed doors

The connections between secrecy on the one hand, and conformity on the other are fairly obvious. Japan needs to insure both, especially now that, as a matter of course,  the world seems to have accepted Abe’s brash offer to hold the Olympics both in Tokyo (areas of which were contaminated by fallout of hot particles) and some of the games nearer to the disaster’s epicenter, in a PR stunt related to whitewashing the dire and permanent consequences of the Fukushima catastrophe.

With the passage of the States Secrets Act in 2015, and now the Conspiracy Act of 2017, Japan has tied a Gordian knot, guaranteeing both.


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A Few Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns

Aside from the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted July 6, 2017 at the final session of the conference,

In the face of illegal and expanded Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, UK Court ruling allows council’s pension plan to boycott Israel.

Guantanamo’s child prisoner, its most abused detainee, Omar Khadr, may his soul be blessed, and 15 at the time of his detention, to receive an apology and at least $10 million from the government—of the US? in a pig’s eye.: Canada.

Directly in the path of the proposed pipeline.  Nuns of the order of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ build chapel to thwart Pennsylvania Adorers of the Blood of Corporations pipeline.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day (and that is sometimes good news):Trump nominated Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the health commissioner for Indiana and a strong advocate of needle exchanges to avoid the spread of disease, to be the surgeon general of the United States.

Trump is expected to tap Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald as the new director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to two administration sources.  She was the face of the Deal administration’s effort to combat the spread of the Zika and Ebola viruses, and helped reduce wait times for a program that provides life-saving medications to thousands of uninsured Georgians with HIV or AIDS.

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, a Pine Ridge Reservation project, is developing a regenerative community  over 34 acres, building homes, creating jobs, and producing its own energy, clean water, and food.

U.S. court throws out Feds’ policy limiting prosecution of killers of endangered wildlife.

Regulators in the state of Mississippi end a coal plant project, converting it into a gas plant and refusing to pass the all the $7.5 billion construction costs along to consumers.