Sunday, May 21, 2017

Do Trees Have Politics?


After reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, this writer will never again be able to look at trees in the same way. But my politics remain unchanged. Trees offer the human (if we can call it that) race a planet-old reminder: no matter how fierce the competition, survival depends on communal organization! (That means us too.)


Darwin once famously quipped: Trees have their brains on the bottom and their sex on top. Perhaps that makes trees much more thoughtful beings than humans. For one thing, they limit their reproductive abilities: each tree, because of the exquisite balance of the forest ecosystem, reproduces itself only once each mast year, despite releasing into the environment as many as billions of seeds in the years it decides to blossom and fruit. (The year trees “decide” to fruit is referred to as a mast year.) And a community of forest trees “decides” unanimously what that year will be. In this story, there is an interplay of weather, sunlight, predators (deer and wild boar) and pests (fungi and bacteria). All are necessary, indicating that when humans attempt to make things “better,” the delicate balance of nature is disrupted, to the detriment of the entire ecosystem.  Forests are best left undisturbed. The political implications are vast: countries (I am thinking of Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and others) are best left undisturbed.


 

In my recently published Apology to a Whale, I quoted Wintu matriarch, Kate Luckie:
When the Indians all die, then God will let the water come down from the north. Everyone will drown. That is because the White people never cared for land or deer or bear…. The White people plow up the ground, pull up the trees, kill everything. The tree says, “Don’t. I am sore. Don’t hurt me….” The Indians never hurt anything, but the White people destroy all…How can the spirit of the earth like the White man..? Everywhere the White man has touched, it is sore.

Yes. Trees feel pain, but their “nerve” impulses travel much more slowly than ours, only 1/3 of an inch per minute because trees live in the very slow lane.  It may take them as many as 120 years to reach puberty. But unfailingly, they (like animals) take care of their young!  Yes. Tree mothers nourish their offspring with sugar transfusions until they are old enough to make it on their own. They do this by a nervous system which co-exists in a colonial arrangement (much like the Portuguese man of war): tree cells coexist with the cells of mycorrhizal fungi which connect their roots, the forest’s fiber-optic cable system (yes, Darwin had a point). (A curious question might arise if we speculated that human brain cells co-exist with other human cells in a similarly colonial arrangement). One teaspoon of dirt contains many miles of such fungal fibers. And some of these fungal systems occupy many square miles. As such, they are the largest living beings on earth, infinitely larger than the largest mammals.


 

Not only do tree mothers nourish their own species, but depending on the delicate balance of sugars in their blood streams, because of intra species communication, trees of divergent species can exchange nutrients. In this way, the forest thrives because it requires the participation of every living being in its ecosystem—reminding us that there exists no other silver bullet than community organizing, and community resistance in a united front to successfully resist all invading pests, whether fungi and bacteria or our own toxic political systems.

 




Lots of Lovely Flowers amidst this week’s thorns

None of these victories could have been won without YOUR resistance.

Blackfeet Nation to control its own waters after 35-year-long battle.

Chelsea Manning was released this week. History will mark her as one of this country ‘s foremost she-roes for all she revealed.

Texas Senate unanimously passes Sandra Bland Act, for criminal justice reform.

Louisiana to reduce its prison population down from 8% of its citizens.

Baltimore Action Legal Team partners with a coalition of racial and criminal justice organizations across the country to bail out mamas on Black Mama’s Bailout Day.

New York State beats California in being the first to pass Medicare for all bill.


Healthy California Act now on its way to the Senate Appropriations Committee as California advances another step towards single payer health care.

North Carolina’s voter ID law bites the dust.

Financial Times declares that alternatives are already the winners in energy’s future, with fossils taking a back seat.

Sweden drops rape charges ag. Julian Assange, but he still faces harassment from harassers-in-chief, the UK and US.

Veterans for Peace to march In DC on Memorial Day with their message: Peace at home, and peace abroad.


Long-time Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera is freed to return home to Chicago and the movement.

Ex-prisoner and addict, Susan Burton founds housing movement for incarcerated women.


Special prosecutor Mueller is assigned to investigate Russia/Trump ties, but surprise, Mueller has ties to the deep state.




Utilities losing customers as California mulls retail electricity choice.

Walmart agrees to reduce carbon footprint of its suppliers by one billion metric tons.

Attempt to repeal anti-fracking law fails in the Senate.



WHAT YOU CAN DO:


Earlier this year, activists and their elected officials began moving $5.4 billion out of banks invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). As you know, Trump ordered the pipeline built and oil is now flowing - and leaking. So we’re demanding that banks divest, not just from DAPL but from all the dirty pipelines transporting climate pollution throughout North America.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

EVERY DAY IS MOTHER’S DAY: PUSHING PEACE AGAINST THE TIDE


Originally Mother’s Day was intended by Julia Ward Howe to be a day in which women and all people would unite to bring peace into the world. This Mother’s Day, you, too, can act up for peace by signing on to Tulsi Gabbard’s bill H.R. 608,  the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act.” By clicking on the link, you can read the bill, and sign the petition (on the right side of the screen) that asks you to add your voice.

Many people are unaware that in order to extend war and war profiteering, the USA is arming and training the very terrorists it is supposedly fighting throughout the Middle East.
 

H.R. 608, and the Senate companion bill (S. 532) are designed to end funding for all U.S. wars in Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya, and end the training of ISIL, ISIS, Al-Nusrah, and Al-Qaida terrorists in Jordan and elsewhere. It makes little difference to war profiteers whether the US “wins” or “loses” in any and all zones of conflict, so long as the money keeps rolling in.

We need to draw people’s attention to the fact that if we factor in the “black” budget, the US budget allocates over 60% to war and warmaking, reducing entitlement allocations to Third World amounts (one of the reasons universal health care remains “unaffordable.”) We also need to make the connection between the Pentagon and global warming. US warmaking accelerates climate collapse by burning 340,000 barrels of oil a day, 80% of federal energy demand, in a vicious circle to “secure” (read: steal) more oil.

One of the reasons the peace movement has lost some of its muscle has to do with the betrayals of language itself. Peace is not an active word. Is there an active word for peace? If we borrow “wage peace,” we are using the war maker’s language.  A better alternative might be ACTING UP FOR PEACE.   

You, too can Act Up for Peace by going to the H.R. 608 website and adding your voice to its nine House of Representative sponsors, and the nine organizations that support it.




A FUN THING TO DO MOTHER’S DAY

Support national Mama’s Bail Out Day. Color of Change in collaboration with many other organizations to bail out women caged behind bars who have only been accused of minor offenses, but not found guilty. The reason they are still in jail is because they are too poor to afford bail.

Please donate to make the reuniting of these women with their families visible and to demand an end to modern-day debtors prisons. And please sign the petition of support.


 

FLOWERS AMIDST THIS WEEKS THORNS

Environmental groups sue administration over offshore drilling.


After a four-day-long student sit-in, Chancellor  Henry Yang agrees to discuss UC’s divestment from fossil fuels.

Unanimous Los Angeles City Council passes resolution calling for impeachment investigation for violation of the emoluments clause.

Los Angeles school board passes resolution reiterating that school employees are not to allow any ICE on campus until the superintendent and toplawyers review the policy.

At the eleventh hour, Georgia democrats win lawsuit changing the election rules allowing voter registration to be extended.

Senate kills Trump’s plan to hand over public lands to big oil.



A total of twenty attorneys general demand immediate appointment of special prosecutor for Russia probe.

Tiny Town in the Iowa heartland creates its own homegrown sanctuary.

Winnipeg models car sharing linking housing and transportation.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why Voting Won't Save Us, And Why It's Time For A Women's Strike

Republished from Went 2 the Bridge

What to do with so much egregious government to respond to? In Maine we have a legislature in session that is attacking Medicare, Medicaid, public education funding passed by referendum, water quality via changes in mining regulations, Native sovereignty, and our status as a refugee asylum state -- just to name a few.

Thelma Glass, a founding member of the Women's
Political Council of Montgomery, Alabama
The link shared was news of the passage of draconian austerity in the form of the "American Health Care Act" published in the Washington Post. (The Post is a corporate government stenographer I'm no longer willing to read or share because it has been so destructive of truth; but most baby boomers cling to loyalties they developed when young. Here's an alternative by RoseAnn De Moro in Common Dreams, "Did the Marquis De Sade Write This Health Care Bill?")


Older white progressives have a hard time recognizing that the Democratic Party is not their friend.

This delusion extends to believing that an "independent" senator toeing the pro-Israel line and espousing socialist notions while voting with corporations would have saved the party.

Source: Amino.com

Millenials, on the other hand, have been kicked in the teeth by corporate government since the day they were born. As they stagger through life carrying the burden of their student loans, many can't afford a dentist. A dip into their social media threads finds them responding to the newest wave of healthcare austerity by calling for guillotines and other forms of violent rebellion.

I don't believe in the effectiveness of violent tactics, especially when the people are so thoroughly outgunned by the "security" forces of the state, whether police or military (this line is blurring rapidly).



Also, I'm a boomer heavily influenced by Rosa Parks and Jo Ann Robinson, women who believed that giving up the moral high ground i.e. abandoning nonviolent tactics like the Montgomery bus boycott would be a strategic mistake.

Another view in wide circulation among the woke on U.S. healthcare woes:
Phil Rockstroh sums it up:  
"If Obama and the Democrats had submitted and fought for a single payer plan rather than the byzantine, designed-to-fail (by the rightwing Heritage Foundation) Big Insurance/Big Pharma/Big Medicine Trojan horse ACA, there would not be the extent of discontent that has allowed the act to be challenged and its existence threatened.  
The popular outcry would have made the attempt to dismantle it politically prohibitive.  
Therefore, we are witnessing yet another example of how the lesser-of-two-evils canard in the end serves no one but the capitalist plundering class.In short, liberals and sham progressives, it is more propitious, result-wise, to be engaged in an honest fight, rather than to feign one, as High Dollar owned and controlled Democratic Party elites did in regard to Obamacare.  
Yes, the Republicans are soul-dead practitioners of shit-wizardry. But the fact does not provide cover for Obama’s and the liberal class’ own collaboration in the craven art."
This is countered by people calling for our "Representative" Bruce Poliquin to be held accountable at the next election and who will no doubt call on us to elect a Democrat to fix everything.

Poliquin is a man who wears $500 shoes to a town hall in central Maine, whose entire resume reflects his service to Wall St., and who will literally hide in the bathroom to avoid questions about how he intends to vote. All his office voicemail boxes are full, and all constituents get is a busy signal when trying multiple times a day to get through. On the rare occasion that they do get through they are told that "the congressman is still deciding." If they rally at an event he's willing to attend, he quickly cancels his appearance citing yet another family emergency.

My impression is that Poliquin has watched and studied the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off very, very carefully.

I do not believe that working through the proper channels to request meetings or elect better represenatives are anything more than elaborate wastes of time at this point in the trajectory of history.

We have full on corporate government with the mass incarceration that goes with along with regimes abandoning non-coercive ways of earning support (like providing healthcare, housing, or public transportation) in favor of 100% coercion.

I also do not believe that most baby boomers will understand this. That's ok, we are the past not the future. We are old and in the way for the most part.

Begging for scraps from the corporate table is also a waste of time.

Women's Political Council organizer Jo Ann Robinson's mug shot from the Montgomery County archives


Now is the time for Parks and Robinson-style strategy: start withholding support from the corporate beast.

If every woman who could get away with it would call in sick for two days in a row, the system would wobble. Then, others would join in. Einstein estimated that if 2% of the population stops upholding a system, that's enough to bring it down.

Baby boomers, many still working because they can't afford to retire, could play a key role here. Most of us could get away with not working for two key days (like the Monday and Tuesday of a new quarter or fiscal year?). Working class women who can't afford to lose wages should be subsidized by those who can. Caregivers for the dependent obviously would go on working. No one is going to stop feeding their 3 year old or bedridden mother to make a political point. That's ok if the 2% work together.

After 48 hours, the white males who run this country would be forced to notice their lack of meals, travel itineraries and business as usual. Phones would ring unanswered. Important emails would pile up in inboxes, or not get sent in the first place. Many in the ruling class would be scrambling to get enough calories -- or maybe they would just drink their calories until their liquor supplies ran out?

The Montgomery bus boycott was a movement largely of women (and the making of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national leader -- draw your own conclusions). The black female domestic workers who joined the boycott initially wanted to make a point about how valuable they were as a customer base for the bus line that discriminated against them.

The Mongtomery bus boycott was only planned to last for a day.

But the power of withdrawing so much support from a bad system was intoxicating. It snowballed quickly so that the cautious joined the first adopters. Community groups helped organize people to share resources so they could still get to work.


Pregnant teenager Claudette Colvin's wildcat strike against bus segregation provided the spark that motivated the Women's Political Council WPC) of Montgomery to support Rosa Parks in a planned arrest followed by a boycott. Which strategy adopted by the WPC resulted in more change: voter registration, or the boycott?

May 1 this year saw strikes in many U.S. locations, with a theme of the power of immigrant labor predominating. That's a good sign.

What will be the spark for a general strike by women? My prediction: when the corporate controlled Supreme Court removes access to legal, safe abortion.

The ACHA is already well on its way to making abortion unaffordable. Even white baby boomers will strike against that.




 ----statement reputedly uttered first by her royal highness, Queen Victoria, when her equerry—and presumably a very good lover as she had reason herself to know—shared an off-color story.

In the late great days of declining empire, nothing gets you a jail sentence faster than spontaneous laughter. It’s more deadly than an AK 47, especially in the views of those who have good reason to fear it; at the same time it’s as compassionate as Mother Theresa because it doesn’t get anyone killed—except maybe the person who may just about have to die laughing.

That’s what happened to hapless Desiree Fairooz (don’t you wish you had such an exquisite Persian name?)  who let out a guffaw during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing, when Sessions' colleague Senator Richard Shelby claimed that Sessions' record of "treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well documented."


And just today news came in that Steven Colbert is being investigated by the FCC for a joke he told about eeeeuuu know who on the late night show. Colbert joked about Trump’s fellow feeling for Vladimir Putin.

Speculation: will Sanders be investigated for guffawing at eeeuuu know who’s claim that Australia’s single payer plan is better than American coverage?


Ever since the ascendancy of our first Alzheimer-afflicted president in 1980, I have advocated mass laughter coordinated on cue as a vehicle to neutralize politicians.  The idea seems finally to be taking hold. It needs to be an option in the halls of congress, and in town hall meetings everywhere.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What’s Killing Life On The Planet


Aside from being focused on the Western mind, and the Western way of doing things, this week’s newsletter examines militarization, and pipelines, linking them to climate collapse, and the over-all need to de-carbonize the economy. Both issues point to a PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT. If that sounds like the blind men palpating the elephant, by the last sentence, elephant anatomy should become clear.

Today the Bay Area joined many other U.S. cities celebrating April 29 in the biggest ever turnout for re-claiming the climate the Bay Area has ever seen. In the process of handing out nearly 300 flyers—two even went to Barbara Lee, our stand-alone voice for restraint in the US congressional cowboy cabal—I stumbled on any number of people I knew. Stumbled because most of the time the crowd was so dense, I couldn’t even see where I was going, let alone where they were coming from.

(For additional facts and links and how you can reprint both two-sided flyers—they’re open source—see below).

And before any of that happened, I formed part of a ragged little band of uppity Code Pinkers shutting down a Wells Fargo Bank, one of some 20 banks capitalizing Energy Transfer Partners, the corporation backing the Dakota Access Pipeline. “You won’t mind if we just run this pipeline through your bank,” we shouted as we unspooled a 20-foot long collapsible black pipe displaying the message #DIVEST FROM SUPPORTING THE DAPL.



Trump’s technocrats to the contrary, the culture seems finally to have made the connection that human activity is causing global warming and eventual climate collapse. In the history of human affairs this ideational breakthrough parallels that other great aha! moment, when some less-than-dim-wit discovered that certain human activity refreshes the supply of tiny humans.

Fact: In its efforts to “secure” (Ambrose Bierce: secure-steal) the oil under their sands, the Pentagon burns 340,000 barrels of oil a day, 80% of Federal energy demand, creating a spiraling vicious circle: the more oil under their sands, the more oil gets burned getting it. 

We need to think about the connection between warmaking and climate collapse.. As the planet heats up, there will be massive displacement, resulting in massive civil unrest. Power of the people to push back requires a nation-wide PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT.

Military Fossilization’s evil twin: Civilian Pipelines

Fact: Pipelines and their construction is the CIVILIAN TWIN OF THE PENTAGON. At the height of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, the National Sheriff’s Association lobbied for more military gear and (under the auspices of FEMA “Garden Plot” and “Cable Splicer”) law enforcement officials began pouring into North Dakota.

The PennEast Pipeline would lead to annual emission of 49 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent like adding 14 coal plants or 10 million passenger vehicles; the Atlantic Coast pipeline would harm agricultural producers, and lead to annual emissions of over 69 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, like adding 20 coal plants or 14 million passenger vehicles; the Mountain Valley Pipeline would lead to annual emissions of over 89 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, like adding 26 coal plants or 19 million passenger cars, and in the Appalachian Basin, there are 19 key new proposed natural gas pipelines. Not to mention inevitable “spills.” Just this week, Energy Transfer Partners Rover Pipeline Project spilled 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into the Ohio wetlands. I all, FERC approved 38 new pipelines in 2016.
 


VIDEO: Outdoor theater spices up 2012 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill protest

The movement to de-carbonize the climate needs to find itself under the
PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT, pushing back against the two evil twins: Pentagon and Pipelines (This newsletter’s Cowboys & Indians, Part I addresses how corporations appropriating ancestral native American lands to lay pipelines opened up yet another chapter of the American Indian Wars. Part II describes how FEMA used the reservation to develop population control procedures).

The time to organize a massive PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT is NOW.

WHAT YOU CAN DO.



Move your money to a credit union, or other institution not capitalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Write your retirement fund urging it to divest from supporting pipeline infrastructure, complicit banks, and warmaking industries.

Join (or start) a people’s budget initiative in your community.

*Use outdoor theater strategy to bring your point home

Reproduce and circulate the two-sided flyers copied below:

DIVEST FROM BANKS FUNDING THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE

Please consider withdrawing your money if you bank at any of these institutions:

Citibank (CitiGroup)             Bank of America                    Tangerine Bank
Wells Fargo                            JP Moran Chase                     Royal Bank of Scotland
Barclays                                  Sumitomo Mitsui Bank         BBVA Securities
Deutsche Bank                      Societe General                      Bank of Nova Scotia
Morgan Stanley                     Credit Suisse                          Royal Bank of Canada          
Bank of Tokyo                        Intesa SanPaolo                     Citizen’s Bank           
Goldman Sachs                      UBS HSBC Bank                     Comerica Bank
TD Securities                         Natixis                                                U.S. Bank
Credit Agricole                       BayernLB                               PNC Bank
Bank of the West                   ICBA London                          SMBC Nikko Securities
DNB Capital/ASA                   ABN Amro Capital                 DNB Capital
Mizuho Bank                          Sun Trust                               Origin Bank
                                                                                               
and writing to their headquarters (see http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/how-to-contact-the-17-banks-funding-the-dakota-access-pipeline-20160929  for names & addresses) explaining why; and please re-deposit your money at your local credit union.
For other redeposit suggestions:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/is-your-bank-funding-dapl-heres-how-to-find-one-that-isnt-20161201

URGE RETIREMENT FUNDS TO DIVEST FROM FUNDING THE DAPL

If you contribute to or benefit as a retiree from a pension fund please consider urging your fund managers to divest from any entities capitalizing the DAPL.

Here is a sample letter:

It has come to my attention that ________ fund benefits from the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, and other entities capitalizing pipelines:
I cannot in right conscience benefit from retirement funds so-derived because:
1. Fossil fuels are contributing to climate collapse.
2. The probability is that an oil leak will contaminate the water that over six million (that’s 6,000,000) people depend on for drinking, irrigating, cooking and eating.
3. The land is designated by the Sioux as a sacred site.  
4. The DAPL was re-rerouted through indigenous lands ceded by the U.S. to the Sioux Nation by the treaties of Fort Laramie of  1851 and 1868.
5. The so-called easement allowing the pipeline to run through Standing Rock is illegally issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
For these reasons, your board has the imperative necessity to divest forthwith of all entities capitalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline and all other pipelines.
Thank you.



TAKE THE NATURAL GUARD PLEDGE

Speak out about how militarism’s consumption of fossil fuel impacts the climate.
        
Engage in discussions reminding others of the cost of waging wars in terms of fuel consumption and resulting pollution of air, water and soils.

Remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and war contractors in contributing to planetary warming.

Join (or start) a people’s budget initiative in my community.


Reduce my and my household’s consumption. https://www.treehugger.com/culture/10-tips-make-every-day-earth-day.html

Reprint and circulate this flyer.


Flowers Amidst This Week’s Thorns




For the third time, a Trump immigration policy has been struck down on unconstitutional grounds by Judge William H. Orrick of the 9th District Court.  What about unconstitutional don’t they get?

News comes from the good-for-nothing Dems that a majority of House Dems now support medicare for all bill. Shall we hold our breath?






Louisiana Governor John Edwards calls his state’s disappearing coastline an emergency hoping to draw attention to the issue of global warming.

Bay Area Non-profit Project Equity transforms businesses into worker-owned cooperatives.
California may lead the way to universal health care. Sen. Ricardo Lara and Sen. Toni Atkins lead the way.

Ninth Circuit upholds Berkeley cell phone warning law: radio frequency radiation may be bad for your brain tumors.

City of San Francisco at work to create its own net neutrality on the assumption that the internet is a right for all.

Cities to divest from Wells Fargo: Alameda, Davis, and now Berkeley is expected to join them, moving its money to the public bank of Oakland now on the drawing board.

District of Columbia indemnifies Occupy DC activists for overlooking their civil rights, arresting them at Bank of America subprime mortgage protest.

Visionary police reforms in Providence, RI, provide an example for the rest of the country.

Berkeley Energy Group is putting coal miners back to work installing the largest solar project in Appalachia on top of a closed mountaintop strip mine, just one example of a massive  retooling of the energy industry throughout the country.

Because it’s Harvard: Harvard U elects to “pause” its investments in some fossil fuels.

Brazil calls a general strike to oppose austerity measures and serious curtailment f workers’ rights. Can you say greve geral?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cowboys and Indians - Part II

Part II. U.S. Experiments with Genocide 

(Cowboys and Indians, Part I. Bringing Manifest Destiny to points south east and west made the point that the U.S., deprived of its Indian Wars, would suffer an identity crisis. Where the Wild West no longer exists, it has to export the product.) 

Dunbar-Ortiz’ An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States quite naturally lead me to A Little Matter of Genocide, published in 1997 by Ward Churchill, a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. He equates the history of the illegal appropriation of those reservation lands originally ceded by the US. government by treaty to develop nuclear weapons to a pattern of internal colonization, colonization in the sense of exploitation of a people in order to extract their resources at no cost to the colonizer, and at great cost to those so colonized.

 

Whose sacrifice, whose discipline?

 

Over ninety percent of the uranium mined in the United States during the Cold War was extracted from reservation land, going back to 1950 when Truman followed Recommendation 68 of the National Security Council calling “for comprehensive restructuring of the U.S. economy to accommodate a massive and perpetual military  buildup with emphasis on nuclear weapons…[entailing] a drastic reduction of Federal expenditures for purposes other than defense [sic]]…by the deferment of certain desirable [civic] programs, requiring a large measure of sacrifice and discipline [on the part] of the American people.”  Maybe not at first.  That distinction would go to Native Americans. The program was designed (initially) to force the Soviet Union into bankruptcy. But even after the demise of the Cold War, as the program has grown exponentially, it is bringing the people of the U.S. close to bankruptcy, evidenced by our homelessness, lack of available employment, massive student debt, unaffordable housing, collapsing infrastructure, off-shoring of jobs, exhorbitant (or unavailable) healthcare, substandard education, and the deficits brought about by so-called “free trade agreements”  to labor and to the environment.

While assembling the infrastructure of the military/industrial/scientific complex that resulted in the nuclear age, the U.S. government required an abundant supply of uranium; areas in which it could be processed and converted into weapons; areas in which they could be tested; and dump sites where the waste products could be stored or disposed of. It looked to keeping its most damaging consequences remote and out of view of all but its most expendable population. Until now its economic consequences have been felt most acutely by a population sacrificed both in terms of its land, and its physical and mental wellbeing, the Native American population.

Uranium Mines
Increasing rates of birth defects, notably cleft palate and Downs Syndrome have been documented on mine-adjacent reservations. Children living in such locations show five times the incidence of bone cancer compared to the national average, and ovarian cancer proliferates at seventeen times the norm. Radioactive mine tailings have contaminated soils and water through drainage and wind dispersal, and even being repurposed to build Indian community centers, housing complexes and roads.

A tailing dam failure released more than a hundred million gallons of highly contaminated water in the Rio Puerco, a drinking source for Diné people and their cattle. Kerr McGee, the corporation responsible, had been aware of cracks in the dam at least two months prior to its rupture, but had failed to repair it. The company refused to supply the Diné with uncontaminated drinking water, forcing it to eat the meat of its contaminated stock.

In its search for an area more suitable for nuclear weapons testing, and without consulting the Western Shoshone (the Newe), on whose land including sacred sites it happened to be, the AEC and the Pentagon fastened on a tract in the upper Sonoran desert region of Nevada, claiming that it “really wasn’t much good for anything but gunnery practice—you could bomb it into oblivion and never notice the difference.” Military ranges in Nevada amount to over four million acres. Indigenous people have been displaced, and their sacred lands have been “bombed, strafed and shelled relentlessly for over 50 years,” according to Churchill.

In search of MRS (monitored retrievable storage) sites the government manipulated Indian reservations through the puppet governments established by the Bureau of Indian affairs to accept nuclear waste. Its efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Leon Bear, a tribal member had this to say by way of explanation:
"People need to understand that this whole area has already been deemed a waste zone by the federal government, the state of Utah and the country….Within a 40-mile radius there are three hazardous waste dumps and a low level radioactive waste dump. From all directions…we’re surrounded by [the county’s] waste, the state of Utah and U.S. society."
Moab Uranium Mine next to Colorado River
$1 Billion cleanup of abandoned uranium mine endangering the Southwest's water

Churchill quotes Native American  Grace Thorpe: "The U.S. government targeted Native Americans for several reasons: their lands are some of the most isolated in North America, they are some of the most impoverished and consequently most politically vulnerable citizens, and perhaps most importantly, tribal sovereignty can be used to bypass state    environmental laws.…After centuries of attempting to destroy it, the US. government is suddenly interested in promoting Native American sovereignty—just to dump its lethal garbage."   

More than half a billion tons of contaminated mill tailings deposited in over 200 locations in the Four Corners area, prompted a Los Alamos team to recommend “zoning” uranium mining and milling districts, barring them to human habitation. The concept of “zoning” closely resembles the concept of “enclosure” by which the commons became gradually unavailable to English farming communities in the eighteenth century. Shortly thereafter, a study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that desert lands subjected to strip mining could never be reclaimed. Its logical outcome was the formation of a “secret federal ‘policy option’ declaring the Four Corners and …the Black Hills… ‘national sacrifice areas in the interest of energy development.’ These areas happened to contain the largest and second largest concentrations of reservation dwelling Indians in North America.” American Indian Movement leader Russell Means responded that to “sacrifice the landbase of landbased peoples is tantamount to sacrificing the peoples themselves.., a prospect he aptly described as genocide.”

Canary in the Coal Mine 

Churchill makes the point that by designating desert land for nuclear waste dumps, and creating of it a sacrifice zone in perpetuity, the U.S. has effected the collateral genocide of a colonized population. Furthermore, he likens the role Native Americans have played to that of the canary in the coal mine. “By using native people essentially as guinea pigs for experiments in socioeconomic and political engineering, federal policy makers have been able to assess the relative degrees of efficacy and consequence attending implementation of their ideas. Based upon these results, the government can tune its programs, enhancing their effectiveness and reducing the least appearance of likely costs to acceptable levels before exporting them to the broader U.S. society” as well as applying them abroad.

If Native Americans can be sacrificed, who’s next? For example, “two operational plans for domestic counterinsurgency, code named ‘Garden Plot’ and ‘Cable Splicer,’ each of them utilizing combinations of federal state, and local police as well as military personnel and private vigilante organizations to quell ‘civil insurrections,’ were field tested against the American Indian Movement on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the mid-‘70s.…Both plans were incorporated into the contingency inventory of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)” in 1981 under Reagan, and continue operative to this day.

But Churchill climaxes his argument as he cites the Geneva Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. He emphasizes that the Convention as we know it today is the result of pressure brought to bear by the U.S. government to gut the original text by deleting provisions defining cultural and economic genocide. The original draft aimed to protect racial, national, linguistic, religious and political groups. It even called for punishment of all forms of public propaganda tending to promote genocide. And it called for an international tribunal to try such cases that states were unwilling to try. Under physical genocide, besides listing mass extermination, it included such “slow death” measures as subjection to conditions of life which, owing to lack of proper housing, clothing, food, hygiene and medical care or excessive work or physical exertion are likely to result in the debilitation or death of individuals….

Homeless encampment
Biological genocide (before the U.S. gutted it) was defined as restricting the births of a group, including segregation of the sexes (the American prison industrial complex which severely restricts the Black gene pool might be an example in point).



It defined cultural genocide as destruction of specific characteristics of the group, including forced transfer of children to another human group (examples are the American Indian schools, and the adoption of the infants of political prisoners by the Pinochet regime), prohibition of the national language (as was practiced in the American Indian schools) or religious works, systematic destruction of historical or national monuments, or their diversion to alien uses (a good example is the Dakota Access Pipeline, planned to run through Sioux sacred lands), to cite only a few of the Convention’s original provisions.

Churchill makes the point that already by 1959 the concentration of wealth among the Pentagon’s preferred contractors guaranteed their control over resources and populations not only at home but abroad as well. He compares global hegemony to that ruling the internal colonies of Native North America, suggesting a pattern of experimentation in more expendable areas first, in order to develop more wide-reaching policies later.

The Future R Us.



For additonal uranium resources:  Energy Net Uranium Project






This Fortnight’s Flowers Amidst the Thorns


New York State’s Gov. Cuomo denies permit for Northern Access Pipeline in victory for New Yorkers and the entire planet!

New York State becomes the first to offer free tuition to students of low and middle income families at its public universities and community colleges.


Federal judge, Nelva Ramos Gonzales rejects DOJ request for delay on Voter ID law.



Democrat Jeff Ossoff wins in a heavily Trump Georgia District.

On April 3, the California State Senate passed the California Values Act (SB 54) -- a groundbreaking law that would prevent state resources from being wasted on needless deportations.


Massachusetts and Tennessee consider bills to keep parents out of jail and with their children.

State of Massachusetts throws out 21,000 drug convictions based on a nine-year history of tampered evidence.

Edison agrees to negotiate rather than sue to protect their permit to leave over 3 million pounds of nuclear waste stored at San Onofre  yards away from the Pacific Ocean.

The Chuitna coal project in Alaska put to rest after an investor backs out, preserving indigenous territory for humans and for animal habitat.

Raul Grijalva of Arizona joins Center for Biological Diversity in suit that could delay  construction of The Great Wall for several years.