Sunday, December 9, 2018

More To Come: Hold Onto Your Handkerchiefs


This week, in the context of mawkish obsequies for the now defunct #41, CIA darling and war criminal George Herbert Walker Bush, my 93-year-old friend called me up giggling, reminding me that in my glory days I gave #41 what the French sardonically call le geste noble, the universally recognized “street” gesture, one hand placed in the crotch of the other arm in high salute.

It was at the time of $1000 dollar a plate GOP dinner and Gulf I- the first war on Iraq as you may remember. The long defile of very black limousines crawled down San Francisco’s California Street to make a right turn past the corner where I stood. As the cortege came within 30 feet, never one to let a golden opportunity pass by, I took aim. I like to think #41 got my message, but he smiled and waved, nodding his head like a kokeshi doll, one of those pin-neck Japanese dummies that nods and nods in meaningless assent.

Why is it that the president’s club, dead and alive, which has done such inestimable harm to the country, around the world, and to the planet undergoes this celestial transformation once their members depart? If such amnesia could, it would float each one of them straight to Paradise. But a cursory review of their careers here on Earth may suggest why there might just be a traffic jam outside those pearly gates:

The Line Up
Let’s start with the deceased #40. The secret czar of Iran Contra, the election warping October Surprise schemer, and air traffic controller union buster, who began the cult of wealth, ignored the spreading pandemic of AIDs, and with the nomination of Clarence Thomas, laid the cornerstone of the right wing Supreme Court, oversaw the Savings and Loan scandal, and raised the national debt by nearly a trillion dollars. He terms out to

The late #41 of Willie Horton fame, a pre-curser to the dog whistling #45. His role as chief architect of US neoliberal trade policy through ushering in NAFTA helped to exacerbate global inequality and fuel the loss of over one million manufacturing jobs in the United States and Canada. An old CIA hand, he lied the nation into war and was responsible for the murder and assassination of thousands in Iraq.  The first of the 40s to use “depleted” uranium ordnance, contaminating the Earth’s soils for all eternity, eventually insuring that 15 out of 100 in Basra would be born with devastating malformations.

To be succeeded by #42 who passed Wall Street deregulating measures and “ended welfare as we know it,” consigning the poorest of the poor to immiseration, who signed NAFTA into law, underselling Mexican corn, and forcing Mexicans to migrate to the U.S. or starve, ordered military “intervention” in Bosnia and Kosovo, where “depleted” uranium contaminated Yugoslavian soils for all eternity.  And presided over ten years of sanctions against Iraq in which nearly half a million people died in a country which, prior to U.S. regime change policy, had had one of the highest living standards in the Middle East.

 
                            #43's likeness: 670 soldiers dead from a lie

To be succeeded by #43 of the torture memos, those workarounds that shredded the Constitution, and his invite to the members of Congress to hear the new policy, which implicated them—including Nancy Pelosi—for all time.  Took the nation into the second Gulf war by lying , causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands. A bit of interruptus here, while he declared “mission accomplished” decked out in an operetta costume that cost upwards to $10,000 dollars for a war that still rages, and who opened up Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib for business.  

And next to the bottom, #44 oversaw the coup that toppled democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya, which is why all those desperately poor folks are now heading north from Honduras, deported some two million of the poorest souls on Earth, and kept the Tuesday ‘Kill List” where he signed off on deaths by targeted assassination by more drones than previous presidents on people whom he didn’t know, and whose names he didn’t understand. And toppled the now failed state of Libya (with the help of his gleeful Secretary of State who crowed: We Came, We Saw, He died,” as she gloated over Gaddafi’s lynching.)

And last and most triumphal of all, racist, xenophobic #45 (still with us) cager of children, and never one to let a business deal stand in the way of a little murder.  Maybe his least harmful action so far was attending the funeral of now defunct #41 where, for a moment at least, his tweets were temporarily suspended. Just this week, his antics may have caught up with him, but he’s Individual #1 and not a felon because a sitting president is sacred, and sure to be eulogized the minute he departs this Earth.
ICE immigant family
The official military budget, foreign and at the border for 2019 is $716 billion. 


Support Medicare for All and lower drug prices by demanding Pelosi appoint Ocasio-Cortez to Ways and Means Committee at

Reduce lame duck abuse: Please sign:

Remind Congress that #45’s Fox News Heather Naubert is a standard bigot and unfit to be UN Ambassador.

Although there shouldn’t be one at all if we are to live on this planet, please donate to a sensible Pentagon budget at


And now for something entirely different: Newly elected President Andrés López Obrador affirms his commitment not to lie, steal, or betray the Mexican People.

Brooklyn to unveil first statue of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Alabama legislature votes 102 to 0 to proclaim Dec. 1st as Rose Parks Day, the fifth state to honor her.

California Republican concedes defeat, giving House Democrats their 40th pickup with Dem, TJ Cox.

N.Y. School installs vending machine that dispenses free books.

Unlike Al Gore, Democrat Dan McCready withdraws concession in tainted N.C. race.

N.C. GOP open to new election in fraud-marked House race.

Michigan and Nevada pass automatic voter registration, inviting Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine and N.Y. to follow suit.

Rasida Tlaib (D), rather than joining the customary AIPAC-funded junket to Israel for freshmen congress persons, announced she would organize her own focusing on poverty, education, access to clean water and Israel’s detention of Palestinian children.

After brilliant citizen agitation in Portsmouth, N.H., Air Force agrees to pay $14.3 million to construct water treatment facility to remove PFOS and PFOA from city-owned wells.

In the absence of federal leadership, New Jersey starts to regulate PFOS and PFOA at steeply lower levels than the EPA’s.

Philadelphia joins New York as the second largest city to hike wages to $15/hr, and approve fair workweek law that requires large employers to give workers two-week up front schedules and offer predictability pay for last-minute schedule changes.

Resistance

Protests urge Sen. Schumer to oppose Bernard McNamee as FERC Commissioner.

Internet refers to #45 as ‘Individual1’.

Worker Veste Jaune protests lead to police riots in ten major cities throughout France, and Belgium and the Netherlands as demonstrators take to the streets to protest against income inequality, higher taxes, and to express disgust with Macron’s austerity measures.

With a 1,035 to 720 vote, Columbia’s graduate student union agrees to a bargaining framework with the university’s administration.

Protests engulf Wisconsin Capitol as outgoing Scott Walker and GOP move to cripple Democratic power in wee hour session.

After the Supreme Court declined hearing their case, Brian Segree of The Center for Biological Diversity states center will continue opposing The Wall in the courts and Congress.

Huge Marriott Hotel strike ends with San Francisco workers winning better pay.

Senate Judiciary Committee scraps votes on #45’s judges because of Mueller probe.

Disgusted with unpaid internships, Cortez supports paying interns $15 an hour.

Members of the Connecticut immigrant rights activist community shut down Hartford federal courthouse, protesting injustices suffered by Nelson Pinos and family, victims of ICE terror.

Recent victories and grassroots organizing outline the importance of addressing state-sponsored violence as a health hazard with distinct causes and solutions.

Calling themselves “Occupy Jamie Dimon,” activists chase billionaire across the U.S.

Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib expose congressional orientation’s so-called ‘bi-partisan’ corporate sponsors.

Walmart workers confront Alice Walton outside her Manhattan penthouse with a demonstration demanding better pay.

Chicago’s largest union of striking teachers close 15 schools.

The wars

Yemen’s oil-rich Shawa Province declares independence and orders Saudi-allied government out.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers message urging North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un to pay a reciprocal visit to Seoul within the year for the summit meeting in the Capital of South Korea.

The Planet

Fifteen-year-old Greta Thornberg addresses COP24: “We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”


As #45 moves to bailout it out, coal falls to levels not seen since 1979.

California becomes first state to require all new 3-story-and-under construction to install solar.

Winona LaDuke calls for indigenous-led Green New Deal.

Oglala Sioux Tribe and their allies win when federal administrative judges rule that Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff failed to take a hard look at cultural resources when they recommended renewal of a uranium mining licenses at Crow Butte Mine.

Representative Adam Smith, prospective chair of the U.S. Armed Services Committee declares “nothing endangers the planet more than nuclear weapons.”

Toshiba retreats from nuclear construction project in the U.K.

Cincinnati becomes 100th U.S. city to commit to 100% clean energy.

From wind power maintenance to energy efficiency upgrades, clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel work in Midwest.

Maersk Navigation announces it will go carbon free by 2050.

In response to federal government’s rollback of longtime protections, the State of California is stepping up to protect birds.

Louisiana judge rules in favor of plaintiff suing private corporation, Energy Transfer Partners for illegally seizing their land and starting to install a crude oil pipeline on it.

Sempervivens Fund purchases 50-acre property along Highway 9 in Santa Cruz, California, one of the last unprotected holdings of Castle Rock. 

In a first-ever, Virginia State Corporation Commission issues order rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan.

Dominion Energy, contending with Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals permit stay, temporarily shuts down construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Alberta’s premier announces that government will temporarily curtail province’s oil production absent sufficient pipeline capacity.

Human Rights

Canadians call on pension funds to stop investing in U.S. private prison firms profiting from “brutal human rights abuses” of #45.

Germany allocates $62 million to development projects in Palestine.

Neo-Nazi convicted on all counts of driving into a crowd of protesters and killing Heather Heyer.

Oncology nurse deported by #45 over a year ago wins fight to return to the U.S.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

WE ARE ALL LEONARD PELTIER NOW


It used to be that as I walked the streets of Oakland, or as I drove past gnarled stands of Monterey cypress in the countryside, I’d catch sight high in the canopy of plywood signs crudely lettered in red paint: “Free Leonard.” You had to be alert to find them, half hidden, high up the trees, and wonder who put them there, and how they managed to climb that high without getting caught. And you imagined them tacking such signs up in the wee hours of the night, when the streets are emptied of cops, and filled with homeless people sleeping under overpasses and in darkened doorways.

Leonard Peltier
Where he has been incarcerated by the government 43 years for his inconvenience to it, Leonard Peltier writes from jail “Another year and I am still writing you from a prison cell...alive and still breathing, hoping, wishing, praying not just for my pains, but for all native Nations and the People of the World who care and have positive feelings about what is happening to Mother Earth and against the evils committed by Wasi’chu in their greed for Her natural resources,” and at the same time (this past week) Ecologise re-publishes a 2017 article by Noam Chomsky saying that “indigenous people are our only hope for survival.”  (It’s nearly unfathomable to imagine how any indigenous person reading those comments might feel about them: Now that you’ve decimated the soils, the water, the air, the forests, and the meadows, are you proposing to return the land that you have stolen and befouled so we can save you? Imagine what feelings that idea might evoke.)

Writing for Yes Magazine, Louise Dunlap, knowledgeable about the Indians of Northern California, describes how the catastrophic recent California fires would never have happened under the forest and fire management practices by the land’s original inhabitants, the Concow and Maidu people, who like many other tribes knew how to husband the Earth because they knew they were part of a system that plays no favorites.

Under the steady progress of climate change, many parts of the world—not just California are burning.  But relying on Thanksgiving distractions to obscure its message, on Friday, the Administration released the 1,656-page climate assessment report, Volume II, in which 13 federal agencies present the most alarming warnings to date of climate change and its dire consequences.  All 1,656 pages are entirely too overwhelming to process for those of us who will be impacted. Nothing has changed really from the government’s 2014 assessment either, because, well because … Well let’s just say… Aw, shucks, let’s just say that by 2050, half of San Francisco will be under water.

2050 San Francisco

Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz writes “What White Supremacists Know: The violent theft of land and capital is at the core of the U.S. “experiment”: the U.S. military got its start in the wars against Native Americans.”  That’s how she connects U.S. addiction to militarism and the presidency of  #1, George Washington, who speculated on lands belonging to Native Americans, all the way up to #45, the apotheosis of the grim Realtor.

Not to be deterred from its death-dealing proclivities, the White House ordered troops to the Border to fire tear gas (a chemical weapon banned in warfare) on migrant women and children, some of them still in diapers, almost all of whom are indigenous people, asking —legally—for asylum, indigenous people whose caravan deliberately makes a statement that individuals are no longer hiding their attempts to escape death squads and assassinations as they attempt passage through a harsh desert landscape, seeking safety for themselves and their families, while The Center for Biological Diversity runs an article how the U.S. Navy has plans to grab more land for the Nevada bombing range, land about the size of Delaware, to drop more bombs on it. These are lands set aside as a wildlife refuge, lands originally ceded to the Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute native people which the Navy now proposes to steal and seal its fate planting bombs there instead of seeds.  

Stillwater Wildlife Refuge
Here is message I wrote re: the FRTC Draft EIS on the government web site: “I oppose the Navy expansion of its bombing range to add the wildlife refuge at Fairview Peak area and the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge. I oppose it on ecological grounds. I oppose it on budgetary grounds. I oppose it because this is land ceded to the Western Shoshone and Paiute Peoples, and does not belong to the U.S. government to do with as it pleases. and I oppose it on the grounds of resisting climate change because as the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, the U.S. military, must change its posture if the planet is to survive.”

History bats last. The country can never again bury the tiger burning bright, the Sioux struggle to save the waters from its fossil fuel exploiters at Standing Rock. The battle was pitched, it was genocidal, water hoses were turned on the water protectors in sub zero temperatures. The scenes of outright warfare there can never be erased, and despite overwhelming odds, native peoples and their allies made a statement: Idle No More.

But Pace Noam Chomsky, indigenous peoples will not save us. Not unless we join them, as the veterans did at Standing Rock. Because if we want to protect life on Earth, we are all Leonard Peltier now.

The only prison we’re in is our own deadly inertia.




A Polish Coal company, the EU’s largest producer of high-quality coal, becomes first sponsor of U.N. climate talks.



The essentials

Oppose the Navy’s land grab for an expanded bombing station at

Tell Congress: stop the Native American land grab in Utah at

The fringes

Demand Chase stop bankrolling fossil fuels at

Demand a green New Deal at

Add your name: sign the people’s demand for climate justice at

Contact your local school board or food bank to support backpack program fighting child food insecurity (otherwise known as hunger).

Tell the U.N.: send observers to the border at

Demand Congress stop funding Border Patrols’ human rights abuses at

Read

Donate to fire-ravaged North Valley Mutual Aid at

Donate to help protect land rights Maasaii defenders at


Black internationalists demand closure of hundreds of U.S./NATO military bases.

Following the coroner’s recent findings, advocates filed a notice of wrongful death tort claim against all parties responsible for transgender Roxanna Hernandez’ death while in ICE detention.

FDA approves life-saving cancer drug claimed to be affordable and accessible to all in need.

Stacey Abrams files federal lawsuit detaining Georgia’s extensive voter suppression.

Ending polling crisis, 2018 polling reported the most accurate in a decade.

Tucson demonstrators wheat paste in intersection after second border patrol agent found not guilty.

Defying White house by a vote of 63 to 37, Senate advances war powers resolution to end U.S. complicity in Saudi assault on Yemen.

BXE activist Ted Glick disrupts Senate vote on #45’s corrupt, climate-denying FERC nominee.

New Jersey immigrant leaders launch successful hunger strike demanding drivers licenses for all.

Scaling the outside of the building to hang their banner, 30 Greenpeace-UK activists aided by an animatronic orangutan demand Oreo drop Indonesia-decimating palm oil.

Tricking the sensor system on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota, activists halt and block the movement of oil trains.

Mapuche and Ionko Nations in Chile call for dialogue with Chilean government. over corporate incursions.

Thanks to organizing efforts by Comunidad Colectiva, McFadden wins post of sheriff promising to end 287g, (local police collaboration with ICE) where seven NC counties total elect black men to serve as sheriff.

Engaged in tense negotiations, L.A. teachers overwhelmingly vote to strike if no resolution is reached.

Saudi crown prince MBS (for BS) may face prosecution in Argentina for alleged complicity in the murder of journalist Khashoggi and the Saudi-led crisis in  Yemen.

Because activists stood up against proposed government censorship in Israel, the “loyalty to culture” bill collapses.

City of Northampton and the State of Vermont pull out of a planned “training” junket for U.S. police to learn “crowd control” from the Israeli military, the IDF.

Senator Tim Scott announces his opposition to confirming Thomas Farr to the federal bench, bringing the nomination to a halt and because of lack of support on both aisle sides, the Senate will not confirm his nomination.

In the red for the second consecutive year, the NRA experiences $55 million income decline for 2017.

Four St. Louis cops indicted on federal civil rights charges for protest abuses.

Jill Stein and plaintiffs end Pennsylvania recount lawsuit with settlement guaranteeing the state will provide new voting systems and paper ballots by 2020, with automatic audits by 2022.

Borrowing from the Green Party, freshmen Dems push for  Green New Deal.

As borrowed by freshperson Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal  includes public bank funding.

U.S. students sue for constitutional right to education.

Formally requesting that the $540 invoice for “police escort” presented to organizer Cindy Sheehan for the Women’s March on the Pentagon be withdrawn, march officially refuses to pay to play. Sorry.

More than 300 miles of Virginia streams and the brightly colored Candy Darter fish are protected under the Endangered Species Act. High fives for the Candy Darter!







Saturday, November 24, 2018

NO EXCEPTIONS


American corporations today are entitled to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, the same as American citizens. How exactly did corporations come to be “people” bestowed with the most fundamental constitutional rights? The answer can be found in a grotesque series of lawsuits over 130 years ago, involving a lawyer who lied to the Supreme Court, an ethically challenged justice, and one of the most powerful corporations of the day.

Today that law is known as the law governing “The Civil Rights of Corporations.”

But if corporations are people, it’s time we understood that all persons are accountable—no exceptions. PGE is guilty of manslaughter with 7 dead in the 2010 San Bruno explosion and 81 from the Camp Fire—so far.

Now picture it for the moment.  What if the fires that obliterated Paradise had had a nuclear component, say, on the magnitude of Fukushima, where a nuclear installation and all its contaminants had burned to the ground. Far greater a swath of landscape would have to be condemned— most of Northern California in fact.  And the folks camping out in the Walmart campground would be lots more unhappy. As it stands, although they would much have preferred to have a roof over their heads and a refrigerator of rotten food, now they have no roof at all, and no rotten food.

But, thank heavens, they skirted the ultimate tragedy: a nuclear plant was not on fire.


Or wasn’t it? With 2 dead, the Woolsey Fire burned up at least half of the mountaintop where the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, now owned by Boeing Corporation, with a set of yet-to-be decommissioned and cleaned up experimental reactors without containment vessels are located. It burned up some of the most lethal radioactive elements known to humankind in the vegetation that had taken them up, and the soils into which they had leached, lofted them into the air, and spread them over Southern California. 

 

Santa Susana, 35 miles from Los Angeles, is a site heavily contaminated with radioactivity and toxic chemicals originally developed in the 40s in a low density population area, which over time has become surrounded people, half a million of them. And unremarkably, some wildly dramatic and horrifying cancer clusters have been documented within a 2-mile radius, with cases of rare childhood leukemias and brain cancers in particular. (For more details on this subject, hear archived KPFA.org broadcast with Dan Hirsch on 11/21/18 “Talkies” program.)


Right now, as Gov. jerry Brown is termed out, and Gavin Newsome takes his place, Boeing and the government agencies that own Santa Susana Field Laboratory are racing to get the EIR certified, and tie Newsome’s hands so that clean up of  the site, promised by 2017 but never done, can be reduced by 98% and Boeing can wash its hands by donating the land  to the State as a wildlife refuge (for picnicking-but only on Sundays!)

What you can do: You can contact Newsom at https://gavinnewsom.com/get_involved and leave a message calling on him to (1) stop the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) from taking any action on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory until he takes office, such as certifying the EIR or other steps that would restrict the cleanup, (2) committing to vigorously carrying out the cleanup agreements requiring cleanup of SSFL to background, and (3) appointing a strong reformer to run DTSC and perform a top-to-bottom fix of that dysfunctional agency.


And instead of another criminal bailout of PGE, you can read about a citizen’s take over at https://popularresistance.org/pge-dont-break-it-up-take-it-over/

And about converting our fossil-fuel culture into something more earth sustaining at https://popularresistance.org/confronting-the-carbon-capitalists/

And about the yet to happen Santa Susana Field Lab  cleanup at https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/LA-Nuclear-Secret-Santa-Susan-Field-Lab-450098253.html

And the 55–page PSR report about the corporate capture of Santa Susana regulating agencies at  https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/report/inside-job-how-boeing-fixers-captured-regulators-and-derailed-nuclear-and-chemical-cleanup

And meantime, besides stripping Citizens United from U.S. law, how about de-Peopling Corporations? both subjects the new progressive wing of the Democratic Party needs to take up as part of its platform. And Nancy Pelosi, with her pretensions as putative Speaker, needs to get on board before she becomes fodder for the La Brea tar pits, along with the other dinosaurs.

(I have purposely not hyperlinked but left the links in as they stand in this edition because, should you wish to forward this newsletter, the links will still be available.)


Resistance

U.S. Green Party urges International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel for crimes against Palestinians.

Calling for ‘corridor of life and culture,” indigenous Amazon groups propose creation of largest protested area on Earth.

In Montreal 50,000 people march demanding more climate action.

At Portuguese left block convention, Portugal gears up for year of crucial fights to up wages, up welfare payments and stop privatization, and halve unemployment to 6.3%.

Claiming good planets are hard to  find, Extinction Rebellion shuts down London bridges Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark  to protest global lack of climate action.

Parents deliver ashes of deceased diabetic children to  Sanofi, the price-gouging pharmaceutical corporation.

Chiliean workers observe national strike demanding labor rights.

Thousands march in Rome protesting against climate of hatred.

Activists disrupt Jamie Dimon speech to hand deliver IPCC report sending message that Chase must stop banking on fossil fuels.

The media fails to cover six recent U.S. antiwar demonstrations.: George Bush receiving the Philadelphia Liberty Medal; Women’s March on the Pentagon; Hudson Institute disrupted by Medea Benjamin; demonstration against war criminal Kissinger; demonstration against Pompeo and Bolton at the United Against a Nuclear Iran Summit; and Cindy Sheehan’s hunger strike against the Saudi destruction of Yemen. 

Students at Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland demand their universities end contracts with ICE.

Veterans for peace urges U.S. border troops to follow their conscience and disobey orders.

Sanders urges Democrats in new congress to embrace detailed progressive agenda from which Peace is still absent.
  
Saying ’we are not robots’, Amazon workers across Europe walk out on black Friday over low wages and ‘inhuman conditions.’

Stacey Abrams will fight as a private citizen to hold Brian Kemp accountable for undermining voting rights in Georgia.

First paraeducator-led strike of the teacher uprising takes off in Pacific Northwest.

Led by women of color, network initiative connected by hashtag #BlackFridays results in symbolic walkouts across country.

After four weeks of non-stop police sweeps of homeless people trying to survive winter, Denver citizens convene in outcry demanding such displacement end.

Organizers with the FANG Collective and other community members demonstrate outside home of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson over county’s 287g agreement with ICE.

Royal family of Kardashains calls for clean-up of Santa Susana on Facebook.

And Noam Chomsky announces indigenous people are our only hope for planetary survival.

The courts

Sea change in criminal justice around country includes Florida restoration of voting rights to ex-felons,  Louisiana repeal of racist jury law, Colorado ending prison slavery without pay, Washington holding cops accountable for unreasonable use of force, and Michigan legalizing marijuana.

In response to a lawsuit filed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, federal labor officials to release diversity numbers, formerly blocked, for government contractors.

Nation’s largest environmental group says catastrophic wildfires show need for stronger, faster action on climate change.

Democratic AGs successfully sue DeVos in federal court to stop her from rolling back protections for students from abusive, for-profit colleges.

Senators sue to block Whitaker from serving as AG, accusing #45 of subverting the Constitution to protect himself.

GITMO prisoner Guled Hasssan Duran has his case heard before Periodic Review Board.

As the result of activist pressure, AIRbnb announces it will remove all vacation rentals on its site located in Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank.

ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center  to challenge #45’s asylum ban in court.

The Standing  Rock Tribe renews lawsuit against the U.S. Corps of Engineers, challenging the approval of the Dakota Access Pipelines.

ACLU wins release of 90-page account of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services role in the CIA torture program.

In Pennsylvania, 9-jury panel reconsiders life without parole is unconstitutional for sentencing 18 year olds.

NYT investigation reveals #45’s ‘empire’ laundered $500 million in taxes over decades.

Detroit environmental justice organizer Siwatu-Salama RA, pregnant, and with toddler at home, freed after controversial ruling.

Following requests from Appalachian Mountain Advocates, attorneys from Norfolk, Huntington, and Pittsburgh district of the Army Corps of Engineers have each suspended its authorization of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
  
The elections

New Hampshire Democrats set to oust secretary of state notorious for backing GOP voter suppression.

In New Mexico, another Democrat wins Congressional seat after 8,000 votes are found in a warehouse.

A U.S. district court judge orders ICE to release within 30 days more than 100 Iraqis held in Michigan detention centers and jails for more than a year.

Democrat Ned Lamont wins Connecticut governor’s race.

Voters approve Prop C plan to tackle homeless crisis in San Francisco.

Florida voters pass offshore drilling ban. 

Treasury Department announces it’s slapping sanctions on 17 Saudi government officials over the torture, murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi.

Democrat Andy Kim defeats Tom MacArthur who killed his own career when he tried to kill Obamacare.

Democrats sue over North Carolina GOP legislative gerrymanders.

Over 700 union members win seats in the midterm elections.

Democrat pediatrician Kim Schrier wins in Washington State.

Net neutrality supporters score major victories in  House with Democrats supporting reversal of administration’s FCC 2017 net neutrality ruling.

One hundred twenty-three Congresspeople sign on to co-sponsor HR 676, single payer legislation, and sixteen Senators endorse S 1804, the Senate version.

Immigration

City of Tucson passes resolution banning the privatization of its jails and detention centers.

Cosecha wins Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey campaigns to get licenses for all residents, regardless of immigration status.

Cosecha wins in Georgia to end collaboration between the sheriff and ICE, and in NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia with #nobusinesswithICE campaigns.

The Ninth Circuit upholds a January 2018 order allowing renewals to continue for certain DACA recipients.

Federal judge blocks asylum ban for migrants entering illegally from Mexico.

Twenty-nine asylum-seeking families ordered released from Dilley Detention Center in South Texas.

Court grants temporary relief to desperate families seeking asylum.

Along the border, Texas volunteers open homes and heart to asylum seekers.

Miscellany

Calling for end of Western Imperialism, First International Conference Against U.S./NATO Bases is held in Dublin.

Reversing his $210 million pre-electoral stunt, #45 recalls troops from the U.S. Mexico border just as migrant caravan arrives.

Parkland students’ activism honored with international peace prize from Desmond Tutu.

Huge farm releases 100 turkeys to activists facing felony charges for investigating it.

Scientist unveils blueprint to plant wild flowers, saving bees and enriching farmers.

Friday, November 16, 2018

INCINCERATING OUR KIDS' FUTURES


Arden, 215; Chico, 242, Concord, 174, Davis, 196, Gridley, 367, Livermore, 203---The airnow.gov site is so overloaded now, you only get to see California as a whole, and this list isn’t even past the Ls.   But in case folks need to know, Yuba City registers 369.

Butte County

What do these airnow.gov AQI readings mean besides measuring pollutant concentrations in a community’s air? Zinke says now is not the time to point fingers, especially with 66 recorded deaths so far. But those deaths require more, lot’s more than the bromide “our thoughts and prayers etc. etc.”

We need to point fingers at PGE, a corporation so addicted to its bottom line, according to the New York Times, it was responsible, for “several” of last year’s wildfires, at least 17 of them caused by power line, pole, and other poorly maintained PGE infrastructure. PGE’s recent incident report states that a  power failure occurred on a transmission line in Butte County at 8:15 AM, exactly 15 minutes before the fire was reported as starting.

And we need to point the finger at the Supreme Court which is still trying to put off hearing Juliana vs. U.S., the youth lawsuit that argues kids should have a future, and at Congress and a White House, god forbid, that withdrew from the Paris Accord.

Juliana vs. United States
And at the fossil-fuel-based economy and the fracking industry, and the pipe line corporations, and other fossil-fuel-culture-maintaining enterprises.

And at the authorities who failed to decontaminate the Santa Susana reactor, which spread radiation over SoCal as the fires burned.

And at a long-term drought which has left the ground parched, and over a billion California trees dead, and misguided people who know nothing about fire management logging out whole areas where the flames could sweep through the dried weeds and grasses like the hurricane force winds that drove them.

photo credit: Michael Kerr
And the military and its more than seven wars, both foreign and now domestic, that are the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels, and its domestic occupations, now busy reinforcing our own border with retrofitted concentration camps designed to hold 200,000 immigrants.

And all the State governments that have overlooked declaring driving on alternate days of the week, based on even and odd numbered license plates.

And the mayor of your city and your city council who have not prohibited all city center vehicle use.

And any of the citizens who have ignored putting pressure on them.

What’s the answer? Nothing comfortable, any more than the over 7,000 people who have lost 8.650 homes to the Camp fire are finding running out of hotel money, and camping out in pauperizing-wage Walmart’s parking lots comfortable.

In 2011 Fukushima happened. It happened because of the energy addiction that rationalized the building of nuclear reactors, a technology that is way over any human ability to control.

That day, I was so aggrieved, I should not have been on the road. And sure enough, I was involved in an accident by a woman making a blind left turn directly in my path, totaling my car.


I gave up driving on the spot. Since then I have reflected on privilege. How everyone driving does so because they’re in a hurry. How everyone driving feels entitled to getting there faster and more CONVENIENTLY. My own conclusion—because I don’t like bean counting and budgets—is to try embracing poverty.  I’m doing it in every small way I can, knowing full well that whole countries of very poor people are scrambling their way out of it: China, India, for example. Although I don’t think what I don’t do makes much of a difference delaying the final trumpets of global warming, I do it because in my own delusional way, I assume it might actually be the right thing to do.  And I do it for the kids. They need a future, too.



Bone up on Juliana vs. U.S. here.

There is no planet B. Sign Greenpeace petition here.




Sign petition arguing DHS cannot throw immigrants deeper into poverty.


 

Headlines

Under poaching pressure, elephants are evolving to lose their tusks!!!

With Tory government in shambles, Labor Leader, Jeremy Corbin demands Theresa May(not) withdraw ‘half-baked’ Brexit deal.

The backlisting of Iran from SWIFT, the international financial messaging system, by U.S. sanction will hasten the demise of the dollar.

Labor

Colorado becomes the first state to abolish prison mandatory labor, thus ending slavery. (49 more to go.)

Missouri and Arkansas  voters pass big minimum wage increases.

The Sanders-Khanna ‘Stop Walmart Act’ would outlaw stock buybacks for corporate giants that don’t pay $15 an hour.

 Peace

Anti-war groups and progressive lawmakers express cautious optimism after the administration announces it will end its policy of refueling Saudi planes engaged in assault on Yemen.

The elections

Arizona senate race no longer in doubt as  Democrat Krysten Sinema expands lead to over 30,000 votes.

Josh Harder defeats GOP Denham in California House race.

Maine announces historic victory for Dem Jared Golden after federal judge rejects GOP lawsuit to stop the country’s very first congressional ranked choice voting

Democrat Katie Porter wins in CA district 45.

Federal Courts rule against massive voter suppression in Florida and Georgia

Young and growing progressive caucus determined to fight ‘like hell’ for bold Demo agenda.

Judge orders Georgia recounts to continue.

Florida lawsuits challenge voter suppression in recount.

Just Now: Florida Secretary of State orders manual recount in U.S. Senate race.

Schools win as Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Seattle pass measures to raise moneys locally for schools. Referenda win in Georgia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

2018 Democratic wins show GOP no longer has lock on senior vote

The midterms prove progressive ideas are now mainstream.

The 2020 electorate will be even younger, better educated, and more diverse than this year’s.

And Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp resigns after scrubbing 340,000 voters from the rolls, slamdunk sure that he’s won the governor’s race.

Anti-nuclear

Physicians work to bring back the anti-nuclear movement.

Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty could become law next year.

The Planet

Spain unveils groundbreaking plan to slash emissions and transition to 100% renewables by 2050.

Students across Europe excoriate world leaders for hiding scientific  reality of pending global climate collapse.

Backed  by Ocasio-Cortez, youth climate activists arrested at Pelosi’s office demanding Democrats embrace ‘Green New Deal.”

Oil and gas company drops all plans to drill beneath Rocky Flats following intense backlash.

Over eminent domain, landowners fight the Bayou Ridge Pipeline in court.

Judge halts further fracking off SoCal Coast until full review is complete.

Dutch stop fracking over potential earthquakes.

Co-op solar project to be owned by Brooklyn’s under poverty-line community it benefits.

Keystone XL pipeline blocked by federal judge in major blow to administration. 

Oakland terminates army base, telling Tagami coal train project is over.

Local communities turn vacant lots into thriving urban farms.

East Bay switches to community energy.

The Courts

Maryland files for injunction against Matthew Whitaker’s AG appointment.

Abrams files lawsuit to count absentee and provisional ballots in Georgia’s gubernatorial race.

Southern Poverty Law Center sues over presidential proclamation banning migrants from seeking asylum.

Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit against neo-Nazi leader moves forward.

Durham’s next DA wants to stop prosecuting students charged in school.

Administration endorses criminal justice bill mandating reduced mandatory sentences that divides McConnell’s GOP.

Emoluments lawsuit to sandbag #45.

Brooklyn Appellate Court bars local police from ICE detentions.

#45-appointed Judge Timothy Kelly orders administration to restore Acosta’s press pass. (Huckabee cries 'uncle'.)

Resistance

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and more than 70 human and digital rights groups call on Zuckerberg to add real transparency and accountability to Facebook’s content removal process.

Environmental groups up in arms about bill targeting legitimate protests.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#Dump45Now

 
Item: The U.S. is in full Constitutional Crisis. #45 waited till just after the election to dump Sessions whose southern accent apparently got on his imperial nerves. Immediately after 45, Jr. signaled he might be indicted, #45 plopped Matthew Whitaker in his place as the new acting AG. Who is Whitaker? Formerly Sessions’ chief of staff, after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker called his investigation a witch hunt. No wonder: he’s loyal to #45, and he takes over the DOJ at a critical point in the investigation. He’s made it clear he intends to satisfy #45’s desire to knock the teeth out of it, including the misdeeds of the Don’s family, and the corruption of the 2016 election by Russian interference.  Now Mueller will have to run any major decisions by Whitaker, including all indictments or a report on his findings. As a result, #45 aided and abetted by Whitaker has the maximum amount of time between taking control of the investigation and the new Democrats are seated (and subpoenas fly) on January 3. 
 

Item: The Border has become #45’s racist dog whistle and election ad. But before the administration ordered 5239 troops to head there to encounter a migrant caravan due weeks from now, it already knew that very few of the migrants would make it to the border, perhaps only 1,500 desperate people asking for asylum from death-squad-plagued Honduras, whose democratically leader, Zelaya was kidnapped by the U.S. under Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton’s watch, throwing the country into chaos.  #45 promises to send 10,000 more troops in the next few weeks, matching the troop level that now occupies Afghanistan.  And new rules give #45 the discretion of who gets asylum and who doesn’t.

 


Item: Concentration Camps. The Administration is quietly converting military installations along the Southern United States into concentration camps designed to hold immigrants. (First they came for the immigrants. I was not an immigrant…you know the drill). Targeted camps include Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas; Goodfellow AFB, Texas, Fort Bliss, Texas, Dyess AFB, Texas, Little Rock AFB, AK; Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, CA; Navy Outlying Field Wild and Silverhill, AL; and Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, AZ, for a total capacity of 135,000 inmates, including 3,800 children. Plans for Concord Weapons Depot (formerly Port Chicago) in CA have been cancelled after local authorities and the community voiced its opposition. My source: Courage to Resist.

 
Item: Voting “irregularities.”  Florida and Georgia are still in play as “ballot submission deadlines, candidate lawsuits and preparations for recounts or runoffs all converged,” according to Laura Clawson writing for Alternet. Many other races are still too close to call. Republicans are already trying to impede vote recounts in a number of states. But election integrity in the U.S. is on the banana level: there were missing voting machines in a Detroit precinct, which turned voters away who may not have been allowed to return. In an Indiana precinct voting machines weren’t plugged in and only one volunteer was present to oversee the voting; In Arizona three polling places were unable to function, in one case because the building in which it was housed was in foreclosure! Long lines were reported caused by technical problems, forcing the use of paper ballots in three Georgia precincts, in another Georgia precinct with only three machines, and in some precincts in New York City which reported broken scanners where voters stood in line for hours.

But outright voting manipulations occurred, among other states, in Texas where at least one voting machine had wi-fi connectivity, impacting Beto O’Rourke’s race. In one Texas precinct, 133,412 ballots were cast but the list of voters who voted shows only 133,041, showing a discrepancy of 371 more ballots cast than voters who voted. And in one precinct, 55 voters cast 119 votes! In Texas and Georgia voters reported instances of voting machines blatantly flipping votes. In Florida hundreds of thousands of mail in ballots are stuck in a post office that had to be locked down because #45 devotee Cesar Sayoc sent a bomb through that facility. And after former Senator Patrick Murphy discovered that his absentee ballot wasn’t counted, Senator Nelson (Dem) of Florida with only a 15,000 vote difference as of right now, is filing a lawsuit seeking to revisit the “invalid signature” rejections and get these votes counted.  

Most egregious of all, North Dakota demanded identification of Native Americans based on street addresses, whereas everyone residing on a reservation has a P.O. Box, thereby disenfranchising thousands of Native American voters.  Said Chase Iron Eyes: “when they called on us to enlist and defend our country, they didn’t need street addresses, why now? That story has a happy ending. For that, please see the schadenfreude express below!

Already there are four good reasons to #Dump45Now when the new House of Representatives is seated in January. How many more will we have by then?

 
  
Schadenfreude department:

Democratic activists crowdfunded a massive effort to get street address IDs for all the disenfranchised Native Americans so successfully that the turnout was even higher than in 2012, and Republican Randy Boehning, whose idea this was, was unseated by Democrat Ruth Buffalo, a Native American.

After Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, purged over a million votes, his maneuvers bit him in the butt election day when he went to the polls to discover he was ineligible to receive a ballot.


 

Please sign and send Daily Kos petition to your U.S. senator(s): support legislation to protect the Mueller investigation before it’s too late.

Sign the petition to House Democrats to impeach #45 if Mueller is fired.

Please donate to Stacey Abram’s campaign not to concede her candidature for Governor of Alabama.


If you can spare the time, please phone your representatives in Congress.  Tell them this is a Constitutional Crisis, and that you demand that Whitaker recuse himself.

In California:
Kamala Harris  415   981-9369
Diane Feinstein   415   393-0707

In the East Bay:
Barbara Lee  510  763-0370

To qualify for the California November Ballot the measure to restore funding to schools needs to be on the ballot, requiring 900,000 signatures. Please go here to collect signatures.


The elections

Best rose of all: Florida restores voting rights to 1.4 million ex-felons who’ve served their time.

The House gains a Democratic majority, giving it subpoena power.

Florida Secretary of State orders a full machine recount.

Georgia’s Stacey Abrams plans legal action to insure all votes are counted.

For the first time ever, 100 women were elected to the U.S. House:

Two Muslim women Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashidda Tlaib (MI).

Two Native American women, Deb Haaland (NM) and Sharice Davids (KS). 

Two more African American women, Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Jahana Hayes, (CT).

The first Latina members from Texas, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia.

The youngest African American woman, Lauren Underwood (IL).

And  Lucy McBath in Georgia, Kendra Horn in Oklahoma, and Lizzie Fletcher in Texas.

N.Y. 14th district will have the very youngest woman ever elected to Congress to represent them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The first Latina Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M).

The first African American woman to serve as AG of New York, Tish James.

The first African American from Colorado Joe Neguse was elected.

Colorado elected Jared Lois an open gay governor.

First ever Medicare for All PAC established by Rep.  Pramila Jayapal (D. Wash.). By issuing ID cards, Medicare for All has the power to end GOP voting violations.

Darrell Issa (Rep-CA) concedes even before polls close.

Older voters, a GOP mainstay, abandon the party in droves, a win for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Activists crowdfund an initiative procuring street addressed IDs for thousands of Native Americans otherwise denied the vote.

Students behind Everytown for Gun Safety organize a campaign to get everyone to vote.

Iowa students back campaign to send two Dem women and one man (in a  state where all representatives but one were Republicans) to Congress.

Across the country voters reject ICE loving Sheriffs.

Texas elects 19 black women judges.

Progressive attorneys general were elected: Xavier Becerra (CA), Phil Weiser (CO), William Tong (CT), Kathy Jennings (DE), Karl Racine (D.C.), Kwame Raoul (IL), Tom Iller (IO), Brian Frosh (MD), Maura Healey (MA), Dana Nessell (MI), Keith Ellison (MN), Hector Balderas (NM), Tish James (NY), Peter Neronha (RI), T.J. Donovan (VT), and Josh Kaul (WI).Aaron Ford (NV),

And more than 240 LGBTQ candidates won their primaries, with at least 14 elected. 

Throughout the U.S., activist groups such as unions, DACA, and folks in Georgia work to get out the midterm vote.

California passes Proposition 12, the world’s strongest animal welfare law for farmed animals.

Baltimore voters stand up to water privatization.


The climate

Florida amendment 9 passes banning any drilling offshore in state waters.

Peat soils, thick deposits of decomposed plant matter, as a breakthrough conservation strategy for combatting change have  been pioneered by The Nature Conservancy.

Two states launch investigations into responsibility of Exxon in causing climate change, and nine cities and counties actually sue major fossil fuel companies, seeking climate-related compensation.

In Washington State, carbon pricing initiative gains traction.

Sempervirens Fund restores redwood forests in California’s Sta. Cruz mountains.

The Nature Conservancy announces successful efforts to reforest bottomlands of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, sequestering millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere.


Labor

In Boston, the Ujima Project works to create economic equity for artists.

Woman activist aims to get 50 million Americans into the worker-owned economy.

The Courts

Ponca Nation of Oklahoma becomes first U.S. tribe to recognize the Rights of Nature in tribal law.

Judge Peter Messitte of the U.S. District Court for Maryland dismissed 45’s interlocutory appeal attempting to delay his trial for violation of the emoluments clause.

7 to 2 the Supreme Court denies an administration motion to stop a constitutional lawsuit filed by 21 young plaintiffs, Juliana vs. the U.S., perhaps because demonstrations upholding the lawsuit were staged in cities nationwide.

Supreme Court denies net neutrality challenges brought by the telecom industry.

Nye County, Nevada prosecutors and Sheriff’s deputies end 60 year policy of arresting protesters at the Nevada National Security Site (the Nevada test site.)

Another federal court rules 45’s decision to end DACA is wrong.

Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Ct. for Montana rules the administration ignored climate change and blocks Keystone XL pipelines from going forward, ruling that the administration violated key laws when it approved the pipeline.

Peace

Russia and the U.S. announce they seek negotiations to uphold the general prohibition of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe, now and in future. 

Secretary of State Pompeo, never known for peace activism, calls for an end to fighting in Yemen.

And General Mattis sets a 30-day deadline for a Yemen ceasefire.

In Iraq, oil takes an independent step for the benefit of all Iraqis, but maybe not exactly for the planet.

The two Koreas halt military exercises and close gunports once aimed at each other.

The UN votes the 127th time to end the U.S. blockade which has caused Cuba untold suffering, with 189 for, and two objections. Guess who?

Because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, five U.S. lawmakers, led by Rubio urge 45 to suspend any related negotiations for a U.S.-Saudi nuclear agreement.

Resistance

Nationwide protests break out as Whitaker, the new AG, poses serious threat to Mueller’s investigation.

Data for Democracy harnesses powers of Big Data for civic good, tracking (for example) data on migration and family separation.

Demonstrating against the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, Richmond residents stage a Halloween parade in full costume outside Virginia Governor’s office.

The Mexican way: as the refugee caravan travels through Mexico, it is welcomed with food, festivity, care, and clothing! Huipils and huaraches, anyone?

Marriott hotel workers stage a strike in ten cities in the U.S. and Canada. Note the transnational strike.

Undocumented black migrants build informal organizing network.

Veterans issue open letter to all active duty fully armed soldiers deploying to the border, urging them to disobey orders threatening defenseless migrants legally seeking asylum.

Eleven Honduran migrant caravan members sue 45 for violating their Constitutional rights to demand asylum.

Student groups push ‘Justice for Jordan’ at the University of Maryland.

Nuclear

Walkatjurrra walkabout opposes uranium mining in Australia.

Toshiba abandons new nuclear project at Moorside, UK.

Grand Canyon uranium ban upheld as Supreme Court declines to hear government’s challenge.

Civil  Rights

California’s Gov. Brown signs law granting parolees right to apply for licenses and certifications to support themselves using the skills they’ve learned before and during incarceration.

California passes AB 2845 setting more careful parameters for parole board hearings, and making it unlawful for employers to consider convictions for which applicants have received pardons.

Wyoming strikes down another Ag-Gag law.

Over 80 civil society organizations object to NPS “Pay to Protest” proposal.

Over 90,000 citizen comments submitted in response to NPS “Pay to Protest” proposal.

UN adopts new general comment on the Right to Life, referencing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

Nine more Wisconsin communities vote to amend the Constitution, clarifying that only human beings (and not corporations) should have  human rights, and that money is not the same thing as free speech.

Suspected BuzzFeed leaker released on $100K bond.

Portugal launches world’s first ever national participatory budget.

Law Enforcement

FBI policy guide notes that ‘domestic’ terrorism’ is connected to ‘white supremacy.’ Duh. Errata: read fascism throughout.