Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Nation so Conceived



Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived…can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live.  But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.... the brave men, living and dead, (and the women and children) who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above out poor power to add or detract….

Quite often great writers don’t know what they’re writing.  Only with the passage of years does the meaning become plain.  Can a nation so conceived on the genocide of native peoples, men women and children long endure?

Now we are assembled on a great “battlefield,” Standing Rock. But to the Sioux it is not a “battlefield.” It is sacred ground, ground consecrated by the lives of their ancestors who lived and died and were buried there.

But it has drawn the white man’s battle lines once more, between brother who may be ordered to slay brother, as this youtube of Michael Wood, one of the veteran organizers of the veterans mobilization at Standing Rock makes plain.  In the video below, he describes on the Jimmy Dore show how the veterans plan to meet the order to disperse coming down tomorrow, December 5.


This war is not a war between men and men. This is a conflict between people and an inanimate set of pipe segments about to be laid beneath a water supply impacting millions downriver when (not if) it leaks. Because inanimate objects, like people, also leak. Because they are designed by people who leak.

If this pipeline is to be averted for good it will be because the veterans have finally understood: this is not a fight, not like the gladiator contest they were trained to “win.” This is  hallowing of sacred ground.  Until all men, all people, white and of color recognize the hallowing, the earth will not live eternal.  Only her hallowing can ever guarantee it.

Michael Wood is a former marine who with army vet Wesley Clark, Jr. put out the call for vets all over the country to stand with the water protectors of standing rock as UNARMED human shields.

Listening to these two youtubes is well worth your time this morning. Hear Michael Wood saying of these veterans “They’re really serving for the first time ever” because they feel that this is the first time they will be defending the American people. By serving in the U.S. armed forces they have been defending the interests of Standard Oil, of pipelines, “securing” (read stealing) resources for the interests of the United States oligarchy. Interestingly there is no command structure. In other words, as an alternative to hierarchy, the vets are proposing a horizontal structure, characterized by cooperation. So many vets applied, just in terms of logistics, and of quartermastering a cut-off of 2000 had to be established


Another realistic view of the danger of the situation unfolding, a pipeline whistleblower describes the scene at Standing Rock.

Meanwhile scores of people all over the country have been arrested protesting the Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline:


Tune in tomorrow. This is a historical event, unprecedented in the long, genocidal course of U.S. history, as recognized by Margaret Flowers writing in Popular Resistance today. “What is happening in Standing Rock is powerful on many levels. The resistance efforts are courageous and persistent. The solidarity is widespread. The struggle there has the potential to be a turning point in five hundred years of American Genocide, in the fight to protect the planet and to set the stage for years ahead.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO:


Boycott ACE hardware for refusing to sell propane to the water protectors at Standing Rock.


Call Resident Obama.  If you call early enough, you may get him out of bed:
1-855-411-0302.
 
Sample script: I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the water protectors defending their sacred land and water against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is your job to take responsibility for protecting people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Rights against the attacks of law enforcement, and to reject a pipeline that imperils the water supply for millions of people downriver.



Lend support to the vets whose go-fund campaign for essential supplies and be sure to watch the video of Michael Wood speaking.

Nominate Gov. Dalrymple Hypocrite of the Year.
 

READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS

Saturday, December 17 from 3 to 4:30 PM
Redwood Gardens
2951 Derby St. @ Piedmont, Berkeley

Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to 4:30 PM

Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
(510) 238-3134

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal, environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

STRINGING RAZOR WIRE AROUND St. Patrick’s in NEW YORK


 

The confrontation at Standing Rock intensified this week. The Army Corps of Engineers has unilaterally declared that the Sacred Stone camp will be cleared as of December 5. They seem to overlook the fact that this is Sioux land as David Archambault II, Sioux Tribal Chairman, has reminded us.

At the same time, a caravan of over 1,000 Iraqi Veterans Against the War is setting out from all over the United States to stand with First Nations People at Standing Rock. Donate to their go-fund me campaign for travel expenses.

David Lindorff writes for Information Clearing House, re-printed in Popular Resistance:
“It’s time for all decent Americans to take a stand in support of the Sioux People of Standing Rock. Contact the White House at 202-456-1414 and demand that the Resident send troops to stand between Sioux water protectors and their local law enforcement assailants, and to have Federal Marshalls arrest those who commit acts of brutality. [AND please sign the petition.]

“The militarized response to peaceful protest at Standing Rock should stand as a warning to all who would protest America’s slide into totalitarianism. What the government will do to Native Americans and their Anglo supporters today is what we can probably expect them to do to any of us who protest in this…Trumpian America.”

In fact the current Resident managed to visit Standing Rock, but in 2014, where he shed crocodile tears about the U.S. government‘s centuries of abuse of native peoples, but now that the true lines of power have been brutally exposed, this Resident has been quoted as saying, let’s just see how things play out.

The media meanwhile continues to spin the bankers’/petro-oligarchs' story, but any reference to riots and thugs truthfully needs to be laid at the door of “law” enforcement, because Standing Rock has in fact become a magnet for volunteers eager to participate in yet another American Indian War.

Last week, we ran a photograph of a severely wounded, but unnamed woman. She is 13-year-old Vanessa (Sioux Z), who has suffered a detached retina from a “law” enforcement projectile hurled at her. You can go fund her retinal re-attachment.

Even more severely injured (by a concussion grenade, legally required never to be aimed at personnel, civilian or otherwise) has shattered the elbow of Sophia Wilansky, with injury to bone, nerve and muscle.  Currently Sophia is hospitalized in Chicago where doctors are performing repeated surgeries, attempting to save her arm. Send donations to her go-fund-me campaign.

Meantime, the mound across the river, a Sioux sacred site and burial ground was being encircled with razor wire yesterday by employees of Energy Transfer Partners while a long shot shows other personnel standing on top of the burial grounds.



Imagine—for one shocking moment—a quick direct action by New York State’s Iroquois Confederacy (the folks who gave us language for our own “Constitution”) stringing razor wire around Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and riding horses into the sanctuary. Some people don’t need to build stone cathedrals because the Earth’s magnificence is Cathedral enough. This is a time to listen to what they have to say. It’s time to abandon confrontational ways of thinking—and lay down lethal arms if life on the Planet is to survive.



READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS


Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
(510) 238-3134
Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to 4:30 PM

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal, environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The American Indian Wars: Coming to You Livestreamed




Last night I watched live feeds as the white man fired rubber bullets on people trapped on a North Dakota bridge, unable to leave, subjected to water cannons under below-freezing temperatures, sustaining serious injury by tear gas, their ears deafened by MRAP sound cannons, all for the crime of protecting the water for future generations, and for saving their sacred sites. Protecting them from the inroads of a corporation bent on exploiting fossil fuel all the while the climate is collapsing, with the atmosphere now saturated with more than 400 PPM of carbon (the threshold being 350 PPM).  


 

Try to call the Whitewash House to call off the Resident’s and the oil company’s dogs, but the Resident is asleep, the office is closed. The Justice Department is closed for business. Try later. Call easternstandardtime 9 am to 5 Pm Monday. This message will be monitored for quality control but will not be recorded.  Good bye.


How many more injuries will be sustained during this night of horror while America sleeps huddled in doorways, trying to stave off the cold, how  many deaths before Governor Dalrymple of North Dakota calls off his hounds, before the Army Corps of Engineers takes a stand, before the DAPL re-routes the pipeline from hell away from First Nations' sacred sites?

How many traumatized children and women and men, before Maitreya appears?  How long oh lord, how long before the world is ready to receive thy saints?

The below 10 minute raw footage is from a Drone camera.  Around 5:20 in you will see water cannon attacks that are incredible!  The entire piece, however gives you the lay of the land, the fires that were started to keep people warm, even water cannon attacks on the drone itself!



To keep an eye on live news you please use the #NoDAPL hashtag on twitter, or go to the Indigenous Environmental Network's feed!  

WHAT YOU CAN DO


1. With many seriously wounded on-site, medics are asking for emergency supplies:
            Milk of magnesia
            wool socks
            wool blankets
            space blankets
            hand warmers
            trauma kits (portable)
            suturing kits
            straw bales

            Supplies can be shipped to:
            Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
            P.O. Box 1251, Bismarck, ND. 58502
            or if you are shipping via UPS or FedEx, please address to:
            220 E. Rosser Avenue, 1251
            Bismarck, ND 58502

2. Alert national and international law keepers to denounce these atrocities:
            International Court at The Hague Telephone: (+31) (0) 70 302 23 23          
            UN number for urgent disasters: UNDAC Americas and Caribbean region
            Christopher Schmachtel
            schmachtel@un.org
            Office: +41-22 917 1684
            Mobile: +41-79 449 4223

            White House  202-456-1111
            https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
           
            Army Corps of Engineers 202-761-5903
            ND Governor Jack Dalrymple 701-328-2200
            Call your representatives

            Donate Supplies:
            www.sacredstonecamp.org/supplylist

            Donate Funds:
            http://bt.ly

            Donate to legal defense:
            https://fundazr.com/d19fAf

            Call or write to Executives at DAPL/Energy Transfer Partners LP:
            Lee Hanse, EVP 210-403-6455  or Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
            Glenn Emery, VP 210-403-6762  or Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
            Michael Waters, Lead Analyst 713-989-2404 or
            Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com

            Join or organize events in your area:
            http://bit.ly/NoDAPLevents

3. Close your accounts, encourage your friends/family to do the same at banks
    investing in Energy Transfer Partners:

ABN Amro Capital
Bank of America
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank)
Bank of Tokyo  - Mitsubishi UFJ
Barclays
BayernLB
BNP Paribas
Citibank (CitiGroup)
Citizens Bank
Compass Bank
Credit Agricole
Credit Suisse
Deutsche Bank
DNB Capital ASA
Goldman Sachs
HSBC Bank
JP Morgan
ICBC London
Mizuho Bank
PNC Bank
SMBC Nikko Securities
Societe Generale
SunTrust
TD Securities
UBS Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust)
U.S. Bank
Wells Fargo

Please find names, e-mails, and phones of CEOS of these banks at this address:
4. In every way you can think of please get involved.
            Circulate this newsletter
            Talk, post, tweet
            Organize events

Our lives and the lives of our beautiful planet depend on us!

Oil amounts to war and death. Support alternative energy sources now!

And let us remember: WATER IS LIFE! YES!

 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

PINKING UP THE NEVADA DESERT:


READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS


Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
(510) 238-3134
Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to 4:30 PM

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

 
Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal, environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.



A WEEK OF DRONE RESISTANCE, Part II

 

The Desert


The entire plateau surrounding both Indian Springs, site of the notorious drone slaughterhouse known as Creech AFB, and Cactus Springs, home of Code Pink’s drone resistance, consists of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Western Shoshone territory, including the highly polluted Nevada Test Site, from which, despite the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, the native Shoshone have been displaced.  At this time of year, temperatures range from freezing in the nights and pre-dawn mornings to 80 degrees and above in the noonday sun.

At each of the cardinal points, mountains encircle the desert in a vast embrace. Uninterrupted by highways, roads and pathways through the desert are unpaved. The expanse of land is flat except as it rises towards the foothills where it begins to mound, creating shallow desert washes. Vegetation includes mostly desert scrub, the rare palmetto and occasional Joshua tree. The land is home to the desert tortoise (a creature shy of appearances), desert hares, rabbits, hawks, crows, and many other bird species, as well as snakes.

The sweep of sky is vast, normally cloudless. But these days, starting just past dawn, a dense webbing of chemtrails chalk-lattices the sky every day of the week, Sundays included, the only exception being national holidays. For the uninitiated, chemtrails are part of a geo-engineering effort under the pretense of slowing global warming, to spread aluminum salts and dispose of excess coal ash from planes flying at about 33,000 feet—with no accountability or input from tax- and non-tax-paying  citizens..

It is an area not devoid of sound pollution, paid for by your tax dollars: five days a week, there is the steady rumble of training drones being flown from Creech AFB Monday through Friday, lasting from 8 AM till 3 PM. Only outside these hours can the profound silence of the desert be fully appreciated.

Before the white man, the desert—and all the Earth—was considered sacred. It did not serve as a place where objects such as beer cans, broken glass, spray bottles, paint cans, aerosol cans, rusted bedsprings, rotting mattresses, and rubber tires could be dumped. Archeologists of the future will speculate those heaps of rusting palm-size cylindrical metal objects, marked by two triangles gouged out on one side must have been devotional objects the original desert inhabitants may have held in their hands as they worshipped.

The Personnel 

 


During a week (Nov. 5 – 12, 2016) of anti-drone warfare protests under the auspices of Code Pink, some eighteen of us activists camped out or shared sleeping quarters in a double trailer guest house. Taken together, we represent collectively close to 600 years of dogged activism. Among us are elders, one of whom despite her years and state of health, journeys to Palestine twice yearly to insure the safe conduct of Palestinian children as they pass through Israeli check points on their way to school; a Korea war veteran with a fearless penchant for risking arrest; a wilderness experience coach, and activist whose people-to-people journeys have taken her to war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bahrain; a U. S. retired diplomat and co-organizer of The Women’s Boat to Gaza; a corporate CEO; a retired licensed therapist, a novelist, and a university anthropologist and linguist, to identify only a few. Also participating, besides Americans, were nationals from Mexico, Pakistan, the Shoshone Nation, the UK, Spain, France, and Iran-via-Germany.

On-going Education


Nearly every evening we attended presentations by a number of our participants. Notable was the presentation by Col. Ann Wright, a retired US diplomat, who had just returned from two visits to Standing Rock, and who shared with us a fully vetted secure website where donations of much needed funds can be made. She also gave us a full report about The Women’s Boat to Gaza, intercepted in international waters by the IDF, which impounded their boat on the high seas (an act of piracy countermanded by international law).  Despite the silence of the complicit US media, The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an internationally effective gesture pointing up the plight of Palestinians under Israeli apartheid, essentially people being held in an open-air prison where their access to power, waste disposal, and water is highly curtailed.

Other presenters spoke of their activism in Palestine, about the essentials of Islam, and the history of Pakistan, about cultural, and environmental population displacement, and about “Gifting” as a way of being-in-the-world in contradistinction to an economy of Exchange such as Capitalism prompts us to take for granted.


The Actions


Every morning (except Friday—Veterans’ Day) we were awakened at 4:30 AM by native Shoshone drumming summoning us to a prayer circle to greet the dawn. Circling a cedar fire, we joined the dancing and chanting with our own heartfelt invocations for the life-affirming world we want to see. Some of us grabbed a cup of coffee and a bite to tide us over the long hours (6 to 8 AM) of standing on the highway at the Creech AFB gate, in time to greet base personnel as they began arriving—most of them driving single-passenger vehicles from Las Vegas (46 miles)—with our banners (DEMILITARIZE OUR EARTH; DRONES MAKE MORE ENEMIES THAN THEY KILL).


The winter darkness, illuminated by headlights, gave way to the dawning light, and as the temperatures rose, we shed some layers, allowing us to stand in the hot sun. We repeated this action each afternoon from 3 to 5 PM as base personnel left to return to Las Vegas (another 46 miles). For the most part, the drivers chose to keep stony faces attempting to ignore us; but occasionally a driver might wave, or even give us the thumbs up. From time to time, big rigs roaring past us on the highway blared their horns in doppler effect support. We activists, depending on our own cars, added to the carbon release caused by heavy base personnel traffic.

Thursday-Theater at the slaughter house gate 

Following our routine morning action, we staged a direct action planned first by those willing to risk arrest (four of us originally, with one last-minute addition). The five principle actors held a 20 by 4 foot banner, lined up and marched slowly and ceremonially into the base gate, making for the white line (the line where crossing is forbidden to non-base personnel); a speaker held the bullhorn and read the words of our proclamation to the base personnel:


As global citizens we are part of the International Peace Patrol. Creech AFB, through its participation in the U.S. drone assassination program, is in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, articles 3, 7 and 10. As an active member of the U.S. Air Force, your duties indirectly support the illegal activities taking place on this base. Therefore you are complicit in the crimes against humanity being committed here.
As global citizens, we order you to disperse immediately and to stop helping the illegal drone program to continue. If you fail to comply with the order to disperse, you will be trespassing against the human rights of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Somalia who are victimized by U.S. drones. Therefore I order you to disperse.

 (After repeated readings of the above statement while counting down, the final statement was added): Since you have all failed to disperse,    we are compelled to make a citizen’s arrest of the commander in charge of   Creech AFB. At the top of the chain of command, Colonel Case Cunningham has the highest responsibility to ensure that all international laws are being   upheld. We call on all personnel at Creech AFB to either stand down, or to    assist us, in making this arrest to protect the global community.

Following the first reading of this text, one of us reported how as a veteran of the Korean war, witness to corrupt military behavior, he attempted to report to his superiors and to his congressman. Base personnel listened to this reportage with  noticeable interest.  A recent drone massacre of 15 Afghani men who slept peacefully in their beds alluded to the 15 faceless men cutouts we had placed at the barriers in commemoration of their now-forgotten names.

A supporting cast of those of us behind the exclusion barrier carried the cut-outs, lining some of them up along the barrier. We witnessed our colleagues being placed under arrest, one of them visibly roughed up to cries of “The Whole World Is Watching.”
  
Skillful melding of three elements: a text which coopted the official language of police and military personnel; the supporting “chorus” of the 15 faceless cardboard cutouts; and especially by the ceremonial aspect of the slow procession by the five willing to risk arrest, carrying the formal banner, as they processed toward the trespass line made for a spectacularly successful action.

Friday – Military Parade Interruptus despite Permit #143


Our colleagues in Las Vegas at Veterans for Peace and the Nevada Desert Experience went to great trouble to register us, allowing us to participate in the Veterans’ Day Parade. The parade fee was waved, contrary to media reports.

As the last group to be registered, we had to wait in the hot sun for nearly two hours as the military display formed up past us and entered the parade route. At last it came our turn. We proceeded onto the parade route with our peace banners held aloft. In short order we were forcibly cut off from the rest of the parade and two of us were detained. The pretext  given was “No political messages allowed in the parade.” Yet wasn’t all that military display “political messaging?” Wasn’t it yet another commercial for endless war, and endless war profiteering? Undeterred, we continued walking, some of us forced to the sidewalk, some of us fielding such objections to our presence as: “They served,” implying that we had not served.


And yet there were five veterans amongst us, two of them young vets from recent wars, one had served in Korea, the same one who proceeded undaunted, only to be handcuffed by irate police. Another participant was tackled from behind. Unable to see that he carried a cop on his back, his impulse at first was to resist. Comrades loudly cautioned him not to offer resistance. Our videographer was also temporarily handcuffed. Both men were released without charges.

Despite these setbacks, overall our action was successful.  People watching on the sidelines got a full picture of our First Amendment Rights being trampled; they saw the unfairness of excluding vets whose deeply informed inclinations against the horrors of war must also be honored. And many bystanders engaged in meaningful conversations as we proceeded.

As of this writing, the feasibility of a lawsuit against the Las Vegas municipal police for improper and unsanctioned behavior is being explored.

WHAT YOU CAN DO


1. Resist. The time to sit on the sidelines waiting for “Joe to do it” is past. We are all Joe now.

2. Join up with organizations protecting the environment, protecting the homeless, advocating for low income housing, advocating for the safety of people of color and LGBT in the streets of our nation, advocating for election protection so that yet another election can’t be stolen, advocating for demilitarization of our society at home and abroad, advocating for an end to the prison/corporate complex.

3.. Educate yourself and your children about what fascism looks like.

4. If you can’t stand with the Native Americans at Standing Rock, here is a secure and fully vetted donation site where you can donate. Funds are much more urgently needed than supplies.

Everett J. Iron Eye
P.O. Box 298
Cannonball, SD 58528
ocetisakowincamp.org

5. Thank you!

For PART I please go to  “Where Were You?”



Sunday, November 13, 2016

WHERE WERE YOU?



READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS


Berkeley Fellowship
Cedar at Bonita
Saturday, November 19,  4 – 5:30 PM           


Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the author of nine published works of fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.

 

WHERE WERE YOU?  

 

Where you were when Kennedy was shot?

Do you remember where you were on 9/11?

People born in the U.S. have been accumulating leading questions for some time. Now, thanks to a sensationalist media, we have a third: Where were you when you heard Mr. Trump in all his vulgarian vainglory was to be inaugurated as the 45th Resident of the White(wash) House.

I was greeting the pre-dawn Nevada desert sky in a prayer circle led by a Western Shoshone Chief who chanted prayers to Mother Earth, to the sky, to the water, to the Earth and to the fire. I was there along with some 15 (the number varied as the week progressed) other people committed to ending the terrorism of drone warfare, of targeted assassinations originating in the White(wash) House every Tuesday morning when the current Resident signs off on the “Kill List,” which includes mostly Arabic names of people unknown to him, many of them  innocent and non-combatants, people who are someone’s son or daughter, someone’s father or mother or good friend, most of them by- standers, who once they are good and dismembered, the U.S. identifies as enemy combatants (but they have to be good and dead to achieve this elevated distinction). And to stop the “double-tapping” of those deeply humanitarian people who rush to aid the fatally wounded and dying only to be dismembered for their efforts.

All week, we activists protested drone warfare at Creech Air Force Base. We held our banners over the highway as the drone pilots and support personnel entered the base from 6 AM on, and in the afternoons when they left for home after a good day of death-dealing. We staged two extremely successful actions, sustained five arrests, and multiple roughing up and handcuffing. Full reports will appear in my next newsletter. Meanwhile, pictures are worth a thousand words. Our most spectacular action: we carried a 20 foot wide banner reading: SHUT DOWN CREECH, held by five people risking arrest, moving toward the gate towards a lineup of Las Vegas municipal police and base MPs. We prepared and mic checked our own order to disperse, coopting their own language:

November 10, 2016
To: Personnel at Creech AFB

As global citizens we are part of the International Peace Patrol. Creech AFB, through its participation in the U.S. drone assassination program, is in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, articles 3, 7 and 10 [to which the U.S. is a signatory]. As an active member of the U.S. Air Force, your duties indirectly support the illegal activities taking place on this base. Therefore you are complicit in the crimes against humanity being committed here.

As global citizens, we order you to disperse immediately and to stop helping the illegal drone program to continue. If you fail to comply with the order to disperse, you will be trespassing against the human rights of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Somalia who are victimized by U.S. drones. Therefore I order you to disperse.

(After repeated readings of the above statement while counting down,  the final statement was added): Since you have all failed to disperse, we are compelled to make a citizen’s arrest of the commander in charge of Creech AFB. At the top of the chain of command, Colonel Case Cunningham has the highest responsibility to ensure that all international laws are being upheld. We call on all personnel at Creech AFB to either stand down, or to assist us, in making this arrest to protect the global community.

The Things That Matter

Circling the fire pit with the Shoshone Chief, we were reminded that a different world exists, a world from before “Contact,” a world before the White Man set his annihilating foot on this continent, where people who inhabited this landscape understood a little better how to take care of Her. It is a world that still exists.
 
Each morning last week, for a little while, we were invited by the Chief to re-enter that world, to greet the dawn with prayers, dancing and chants in the Chief's native tongue. To visualize the vast expanse of desert surrounded by majestic mountain ranges to the east, south, west, and north, lit only by the moon and starlight of 4 AM, stars as thickly scattered as sand on the shores, slowly extinguished one by one by the dawning of first light, the sky lightening to the crowing of the resident rooster, its faint blue light yielding to yellow, then to a faint blush of rose, the sun rising at last and against its blinding first rays, and as the Chief drummed and chanted, two doves alighting on the utility pole directly in the sun’s face and making love; to give thanks for the blue of distant mountains to the east, and to the growing blush of mountains to the west, to be reminded that each day lived on Earth is a blessing for us to bless, this it seems to me is what matters. Such a world is still possible if humans rediscover how to make it so.

We have been traumatized by months of unpardonable vulgarity, hubris, hatred, rabble-rousing, all amplified to a roar by a complicit media, numbing our minds with the relentless blaring of the TV, our wits dulled by more than a century of the dumbed down “free” education mandated by the State in order to socially engineer an ignorant, uncritical citizenry more easily fooled and controlled.  We see the result. The new Residential phenomenon is NO ACCIDENT. It results from a relentless barrage of empty television noise, the product of a political class bent on collaboration with the banker and corporate class striving to amass billions at the expense of our national infrastructure and the citizenry it purports to represent.

My own sense was that Trump would be declared the “winner,” with the aid of caging and by cross checking voters’ names (mostly poor and people of color) off the rolls, and that regardless of who might “win,” there would be activity and mayhem in the streets. But when the next four years draw to a close, we will see the very people who voted for Mr. Trump feeling betrayed and disillusioned by a man who, regardless of this words, has never had any intention at heart of coming to the aid of the disaffected, and who has the attention span of a cockroach. Meantime, he will have done his damage, become complicit in the suffering and deaths of millions of war victims, millions of deportees, ripped apart from their families, many of them sent back to the starvation and death squads they came here hoping to avoid.

This world is not a sane one, Trump or otherwise, and to expect sanity to emerge from it strikes me as nothing short of delusional. The mission of this country has become the suffering of millions.

What is Left After the Wreckage?

Although the State is powerless to change, it is a mistake to think that the people themselves are without power. We have the power of imagination, the ability to visualize another world and the will and energy to create it, locally, enclave by enclave, tribe by tribe, refusing to acknowledge defeat, strengthened all the more by this new challenge and by the evidence of history. Nowhere on Earth have a people ever been tyrannized by an unjust regime without resistance and revolt.

We are all in for interesting times. We can join hands around Lake Merritt in Oakland, but these are symbolic gestures. They will encourage people, and remind them of solidarity based on the love existing in their hearts, but we are now faced with an extreme challenge.  Careful analysis is necessary, responsible leadership needs to emerge, a leadership endowed with vision, restraint, and fierce integrity.

Where will it originate? 


Friday, November 4, 2016

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE?


READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS


Berkeley Fellowship
Cedar at Bonita
Saturday, November 19,  4 – 5:30 PM           


Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discourage- ments, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the author of nine published works of fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.



IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE?

I like keeping up with all the news that’s unfit for the big media to print.  I picked up this funny rumor, allegedly from SETI, the acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence which is supposed to be transmitting a message from the U.S.A. (presumably addressing the Entire Universe) “Help. I’ve fallen down and I can’t get up.”

Presumably SETI’s doesn’t expect the Entire Universe hastening to come to our aid with a cosmic load of Viagra. But assuming for the moment that underlying the message is an ominous implication that indeed the days of the Late Great Empire of Fighting Seven Simultaneous Wars With Its Left Hand Tied Behind its Back (LGEFSSWWLHTBB) may be numbered, I would like to share perspectives from a couple of articles I considered worth saving from the shredder this week.

On inequality, Nicholas Kristof  writes in the 1.2.11 NYT: “A long-term study of British civil servants found that messengers, doormen, and others with low status were much more likely to die of heart disease, suicide, and some cancers, and had substantially worse overall health.” In other words, emiseration kills. It guarantees more mental illness, infant mortality, high school dropouts, teenage births and homicides according to Kristof. Its stresses lead to the release of cortisol, and to the accumulation of the abdominal fat that kills (obesity in preparation for long lean winters). It is what he calls a “Sprit Leveler” that breaks down social trust, and community life, corroding societies from inside.

On globalized mayhem, John McMurty writes for the CanadianCenter for Policy Alternatives, p. 40  in February, 2015 “From Africa to Europe to the Middle East to Latin America, the unspoken macrotrend of U.S. intervention abroad is society destruction….Not only is the society decapitated.., [its] civil bonds are rent asunder, its productive base is sabotaged, its social life supports are stripped, its government is made a permanent debt servant, and its environment and resources are hollowed out.” And as a footnote he adds: “The U.S. government has systematically undermined virtually all international laws to protect human life: treaties and conventions against landmines, against biological weapons, against international ballistic missiles, against small arms, against torture, against racism, against arbitrary seizure and imprisonment against military weather distortions, against biodiversity loss, against climate destabilization, and even international agreements on the rights of children and women.”

Inequality's Pincer Movement

How does the macrotrend of U.S. globalized mayhem relate to the societal inequality decried by Nicholas Kristof?  Both destroy the collective spirit, one by reminding us of the enormous economic disparity that now exists within the U.S.; the other by reminding every U. S. citizen of conscience how unequal we are to stand against the power of the State (the Great Empire of Fighting Seven Simultaneous Wars with its Left Hand Tied Behind its Back) when we want to change the course of what was once our government. Because foreign intervention affects the peoples of other countries, it re-enforces our feelings of inequality from the outside.

There is more to “Inequality” than just access to the good things of life. Citizens of conscience add to that: Access to a condition of world peace, to a political and social climate which promotes the welfare and enrichment of all people and all living things. Where all that is life affirming can flourish. Without such a condition, life on the planet cannot hold.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

1. Do not wait for government to do anything to relieve a situation that serves it so well.

2. Listen. Learn about Frances Peavey’s listening project. More than anything, people in distress need to find people willing to listen. You don’t have to go to Osaka, Japan as Peavey did. There are plenty  of distressed people right where you live.

3. Think of greeting the folks you come in contact with everyday with a “how are you doing?” before getting down to business.

4. On your daily rounds, lend a helping hand to someone in distress. It’s fun, it’s a learning opportunity, you may make someone’s day, and your adventure may make your day.

5. Find something you have too much of. Find someone who doesn’t have enough of it and find a comfortable way to share.

6. Keep going! Find a group working for peace-on-Earth. Find a group working to end wars. Find a group working to help all our returning GIs suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Find a prison near you that needs something you can offer, if just your listening ear.

7. And for a parting “feel good” Check out what Citizens Environmental Legal Defense Fund is doing.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

SLAVESNOMORE: HOW TO GET A TUITION-FREE HIGHER DEGREE EDUCATION IN THE USA


READINGS AND BOOK SIGNINGS 

Berkeley Fellowship
Cedar at Milvia
Saturday, November 19,  4 – 5:30 PM           


Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the author of nine published works of fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize. 


 SLAVESNOMORE: HOW TO GET A TUITION-FREE HIGHER DEGREE EDUCATION IN THE USA 

 

  This past Monday evening, over 500 citizens of Berkeley managed to work around the debate mano a mano by descending on the Martin Luther King Jr. High School auditorium to hear Chris Hedges’ assessment of where we stand in the presumed Republic we imagine ourselves to occupy. His assessment brought little cheer, besides the pleasure (albeit incalculable) of having avoided the set-up of a lying capitalist, and a capitalist liar, both of whom know each other and are mighty cozy with each other.

I listened with especially rapt attention to his account of offering instruction within the framework of the New Jersey correctional institution framework, a system I wrote about in 2010. That his remarks caught my attention followed my reading of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, required reading for anyone inhabiting any of the 50 states, 52 if we include Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C..

Stevenson is a criminal lawyer and founder & director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who has devoted his entire career to representing people on death row, many of them innocent, accused of crimes they did not commit, and to children condemned to life without parole. It  may take little imagination to guess that his clients—most of them—are black. In the U S the death penalty is probably one of the very few things favoring black people.

The Constitution of the United Sates of America, Amendment XIII. Abolition of Slavery Section 1. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


Hedges summarized the situation in New Jersey, and in the U.S. prison system in general by stating that its function is to remove from the labor market excess labor, while at the same time, providing corporations with cheap prison labor remunerated sometimes with as little as ten cents an hour. Yes: Victoria’s Secrets servitude wear is manufactured in U.S. prisons. Prison voices may be taking down your plane reservations. Hedges reported on what today’s headlines (even the back pages) make no mention of: A GREAT REBELLION IS TAKING PLACE EVEN NOW IN THE UNITED STATES! At least 75,000 prisoners in jails throughout the country are on strike. #slavesnomore is the guiding concept behind their movement.

The more I listened to Hedges’ anecdotes in which he drew attention to his incarcerated students’ outstanding acuity in perceiving exactly where we are in the presumed Republic we imagine ourselves to be, the more it occurred to me that there was a curious imbalance Monday night. The audience was predominantly white, mostly people of the Left, many of them activists, some known to me in the various circles in which I personally contribute. We can decide what demonstrations we want to join, and in which free speech zones we want to hold forth. We can decide when we want to stay home. We imagine that such “choices” make us “free.” Yet we cannot decide who represents us other than the “choice” between a lying capitalist, and a capitalist liar.

I looked at all the white faces in the packed house.  It occurred to me: we need an education.  What better place to obtain one than by volunteering in U.S. correctional institutions such as San Quentin, Lompoc, Leavenworth, Pelican Bay and Corcoran to name a few. We would be able to contribute our white exemptionism  for inmate  entertainment, and in exchange we could obtain from them a clear, uncompromising picture of the American dream and the place we all occupy in it, those of us who know where we are, and those of us who don’t. And best of all, our education would be tuition free.
 
Anthony Ray Hinton: 'I had to watch 54 men walk past my cell to be executed.'

WHAT YOU CAN DO: