Thursday, November 14, 2019

IN THEIR OWN VOICES


This week the newsletter highlights the voices of three other women.

 

Emily Amelia:  The Wall 

Yesterday I went to Al Wappia/Quitobaquito springs on Hia C’ed O’ooham land with some friends.  In the lead up to this, we’d been driving through the desert putting out water on trails and my mind wandered between the delight with the plants and humans I was spending time with, and scenes of stories of migrating here. The stories aren’t mine. They were told to me by  people I’ve met and loved, who’ve traveled this desert, and who don’t necessarily tell them publicly. They already bear the brunt of the pain plus the cost of telling their stories is total life-changing displacement and violence. They’re stories of drinking dirty water from abandoned cattle troughs, losing all supplies and companions in the rock splitting windstorm of a low-flying border patrol helicopter, thinking only of their life-threatening thirst [and] their beloveds, miles away…. 

"Twenty wall panels"
Quitobaquito is a clear blue body of water  in the Sonoran Desert. It is a ceremonial site of the Hia C’ed People and gives life to the whole [of] everything around it. Yesterday we saw a baby Sonoran desert tortoise get carried along the source stream current through pupfish territory towards green reeds and its deeper adult swimming hole. My friends and community members’ families lived here and took care of this everything before Quitobaquito Village was [purchased and erased by #organpipenationalmonument. When I visit now because I didn’t value it  fully until it was under threat and because now I finally do, and because it will be irreparably damaged when the wall goes up.

And then, driving home along the bottom half of the long loop through western organ pipe, we came upon these 20 wall panels. I don’t know when they went up—it must have just happened. I stopped breathing. Honestly, it reminded me of times in my life we I’ve heard horrible true news that I knew would change me, but that I couldn’t possibly process at the rate of its unfolding, news about death and violence. We parked the trucks and watched. I had the thoughts, what does it mean if a heart breaking thing is happening and people’s hearts aren’t breaking?

Barbara Brust: It’s cold outside

Consider The Homeless does what it can to keep people alive.
Please consider making  a tax-free contribution (see below). 
We pay, out of our own pockets, about $300 a week in order to serve a hot homemade soup (stew) every Thursday & Sunday night, to over 100 people a night. this is for the ingredients only! It does not include the gasoline, insurance, registration, inspection, etc....for the vehicle and the myriad…other expenses that come up!

In close to 5 years of doing this there has been only 2 nights we
missed. It takes six people working for between 2-6 hours, as  volunteers, to get the van out every time we do a soup run! That is 12 people a week! 48 people a month!  just for the soup run!!!!

We also fill the van with survival supplies: blankets, socks, pants, jackets, etc....And for what? So their belongings can be confiscated by CalTrans?  So the Berkeley Police Department can harass them, to have their tent [torn] down and all property in a 3’ X 3’ footprint [confiscated?] Even though they are not blocking anyone's right of way they get cited if they do not comply and are forced to be sitting unsheltered in the elements until 10 pm when they are allowed to put their tents back up, people [who] are disabled, mentally challenged, medically in need of care and no one helps! people will die!!!
How can we call this a Sanctuary City? A sanctuary for who? Housed [people] only??? What about the poor??? It is winter now!!!  Cold! I bet all of you have the heat on in your comfortable houses... I don't.  I cannot afford to pay PG&E. I am disabled and busy as hell in spite of that trying to help those in a far worse condition than mine!
Stop looking at homelessness as a problem. Cancel that study, How to solve the problem of "Homelessness." Stop wasting funds the City of Berkley has on enforcing cruel and potentially illegal laws on persecuting the un-housed. Shift your paradigm to see it for what it is...a human crisis! Stop focusing on (allegedly) trying to solve the problem of homelessness! We all know what the real agenda is. It is not getting rid of Homelessness, but rather, it is getting rid of the Homeless! The sidewalk ordinance is torture! I will never forget when Jesse [Arreguin, Mayor of Berkeley] said, and I quote: "[the sidewalk ordinance..] is not about people, but about property" I still have a copy of the video from that meeting…. It is about abuse [that] targets the unhoused... It [represents] a waste of [money] and resources to enforce it.
We (at Consider the Homeless!) cannot supply all of our neighbors on the streets with a hot meal twice a week and supply all of them with warm jackets, tents & blankets! Forty pads on the floor of Old City Hall will not protect even 4% of the un-sheltered on our streets when the rains start... and how inhumane is it to just make them leave at 7 am with no place to go?
I have sat here writing this letter while both crying and feeling my blood pressure rise. If this touched you at all, please send a check, made out to Consider The Homeless to PO Box #2771, Berkeley, CA. 94702.  I am even willing to write a receipt for tax purposes for those of you with incomes high enough to use the deduction. If you write BLANKETS in the space at bottom, I can assure you that that is what it will be used for….
 YES, I am angry, I am sure you can see that. I challenge all officials of the City of Berkeley (both elected and assigned) to read this all the way through, all the way! I also ask that you acknowledge receipt of this email and show me the respect of replying.

Val Eisman: Pictures Shout Louder Than Words

Methane escaping from Siberian Arctic Ocean



Demand Congress pass The Green New Deal at
https://www.paction.us/greennewdeal/daily-kos?link_id=11&can_id=655968a96e1bce05c463b2f640bf633c&source=email-william-barr-is-racing-to-deliver-a-report-that-blows-up-the-impeachment-inquiryand-everything-else-2&email_referrer=email_660838___subject_858567&email_subject=rape-survivor-turns-down-judges-offer-of-150000-in-exchange-for-attacker-serving-less-time

Hold ICE accountable for deaths in detention at
https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/petitions/sign-the-petition-asylum-seeker-nebane-abienwi-died-in-ice-custody-we-demand-answers?detail=emailLL&link_id=14&can_id=447ac5b0d7a5124338b20f2bb702d0f8&source=email-cartoon-those-woke-kids-today&email_referrer=email_662230&email_subject=cartoon-those-woke-kids-today


Keep an innocent man alive. Attend a day of action for Rodney Reed Saturday at
https://www.mobilize.us/actionpac/?page=2&per_page=25&utm_source=frrwebsite / Search website by location proximity, and date.

Donate to Consider the Homeless at PO Box #2771, Berkeley, CA. 94702. Your check is tax-deductible.


European Investment Bank, the world’s largest public bank ditches oil and coal citing ‘Beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil-fuel finance.’
Sierra Club takes a brave new turn on population, climate change, and inequality.

‘No More Fossil Lovers!’  Beyond Extreme Energy disrupts hearing for new FERC commissioner.

City and County of Honolulu votes unanimously to support UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Back from the Brink Framework to reduce possibility of nuclear war.

Oakland Representative Barbara Lee signs on to HR-2419, the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Coversion Act of 2019.

In Detroit a new type of agricultural neighborhood emerges.

Equal Citizens wins landmark case against super PACs in Alaska.
Code Pink disrupts Jamie Dimon’s UCLA-sponsored conversation.
China announces vision for future: ‘Give Peace a Chance.’

In Brazil, Lula da Silva freed from prison in victory for movement resisting racist Bolsonaro.

Brazilians march against Bolsonaro and his ties to murder of activist.

‘We don’t want any dictators,’ waving indigenous flag, Bolivians flood La Paz streets to protest right-wing, anti-indigenous group lead by Jeanine Añez who referred to them as ‘satanic.’.

Millions of people take to Santiago’s streets demanding Piñera’s resignation.

Chilean activists sue Piñera over crimes against humanity during protests.

Resisting U.S. pressure, Thailand bans Monsanto.

Students walk out all over the U.S. to demand Supreme Court Defend DACA.

UPS workers elect progressives to lead Philadelphia local.

One thousand take NYC streets and trains in outrage over police attacks on teens.

Alliance to Mobilize our Resistance and allies protest companies invested in Wyatt prison .

South Carolina prisoners appeal to UN for relief from torturous conditions.

Inmates create a Japanese garden inside the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin, the son of two incarcerated parents, scores major victory in San Francisco DA race.

Democrats win control of major suburban  Philadelphia county first time since Civil War.

Democrats flip GOP seat in St. Louis suburbs.

Democrats win full control of Virginia government, laving way for voting rights expansion.

Citing deep commitment to Medicare for All and Green New Deal, nation’s largest nurses union endorses Bernie Sanders for president.

In ground breaking ruling, U.S. must provide mental health services to separated families.

Julián Castro accompanies refugee to one routine ICE check=ins that can now result in deportation.

Bernie Sanders releases detailed immigration plan, including vow to break up ICE and Customs and Border Patrol.

Judge blocks administration’s onerous health care mandate for immigrants.

Asylum seekers get attorney access before return to Mexico.

Sanders and AOC unveil “Green New Deal for Public Housing.’

US Judge rules suspicionless searches of travelers electronic devices unconstitutional.
Local Mayors back movement for customer-owned PG&E.


   
Mother Nature does a ‘mic drop’ as Venice City Council Chamber floods minutes after members vote down climate crisis.

 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

IMPERILED JOURNALISM: THE SORRY STATE OF THE FOURTH ESTATE


Yet another journalist has been chained as the U.S. government attempts to silence his work. On the morning of October 25, a SWAT team surrounded Max Blumenthal’s house, threatened to arrest him, shackled him for 5 hours, and forbade him to contact his lawyers, effectively keeping from outside communication for over 24 hours, and eventually jailed him.

D.C. Venezuelan Embassy under siege

Originally, a warrant had been issued for his arrest in connection with his and other journalists’ coverage of the attempt by the US to take over the Venezuelan Washington embassy, an action strictly proscribed by international law, in connection with its clumsy coup attempt to elevate unknown Juan Guidó to the presidency and to effect “regime change” in Venezuela, a country among other Latin American countries which has embraced the Bolivarian Revolution.

Greyzone jounalist Max Blumenthal
At that time, Blumenthal had covered the actions of the Embassy Protection Collective, and the violent counter-reaction by Venezuelan  goons who harassed the Embassy Protector Collective day and night, and provoked violent and abusive action in the surrounding streets. But that warrant had been rescinded over 5 months ago. Suddenly it was reactivated, and the SWAT team appeared without any prior notification to him. Why?

Kevin Gosztola writing for Shadow Proof raises the interesting point that Blumenthal was arrested literally hours after The Grayzone published an article on USAID paying the salaries of Guaidó’s team as they lobbied the US government.
“I am firmly convinced that this case is part of a wider campaign of political persecution using the legal system to shut down our factual investigative journalism about the coup against Venezuela and the wider policy of economic warfare and regime change waged by the Trump administration,” Blumenthal stated.

Following the persecution of Kiriakou, Sterling, Chelsea Manning., Snowden, and Assange, Blumenthal’s arrest is the latest assault on individuals determined to practice true journalism in contrast to regularly salaried people in the employ of the stenographic media: state organs such as the New York Times, and the Guardian among others, who take dictation directly from governmental sources.

Sacred apes of disinformation

In more recent developments in the US-lapdog UK, which following US interests, is actively supporting the extradition of Assange to a lifetime imprisonment by the US, journalist Craig Murray in a recently published book, In Defense of Julian Assange, describes the recent procedural irregularities in Julian Assange’s recent extradition proceedings before Judge Vanessa Baraitser. I quote in detail because there is no link:

“I was deeply shaken…by Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded, and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing….But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both….It was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his trend of thought.
Julian Asssange Drugged?
“Until yesterday I had always been skeptical of those [claiming] his treatment amounted to torture. But…Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim…in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to asset free will thorough the fog of learned helplessness….

“To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable….

“The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan was logs, and the State Department cables….The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was…to detemine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. …

“James Lewis, QC, stated the government…opposed any delay being given for the defense, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraister stated categorically that the date…could not be changed.

“What happened next was very instructive. There were five representative of the US government present, seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.

In summary, Murray reports, “Baraitser...capped it all by saying that the Feb. hearing will be held, not at the comparatively open and accessible Westminster Magistrates Court where we were, but at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, the grim high security facility used for preliminary legal processing of terrorists, attached to the maximum security prison where Assange is being held (in 23/7 solitary]. There are only six seats for the public even in the largest court at Belmarsh, and the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again to a genuine account of her proceedings, like this one you are reading.”

Overlooking and deliberately ignoring that, according to Stuart Littlewood writing in the Oct. 26 Morning Star, any “political charge” is strictly prohibited in extradition hearings, the UK court plans to proceed full steam ahead.

Despite the US media having fully exploited Assange’s courageous reporting, now he’s behind the eight ball, the media has turned its back, perfectly willing to comply with the “official story,” and hang him out to dry. Do not ever look to any established media for loyalty, let along feelings of solidarity. 

In Edward Snowden’s word, in a world of total surveillance, “the citizen is no longer partner to government, but subject to government.” In Snowden’s over two-hour- long interview by Joe Rogan, there is more than ample evidence of his mental clarity, ability to detail the most complex of issues, and none of the adolescent, smelly sneaker profile evident in the New Yorker’s recent hit piece, yet another example of the media deliberately vilifying true journalism, and readiness to criminalize dissent.

The book jacket copy for In Defense of Julian Assange makes the case that “It is critical now to build support for Assange and prevent his delivery into the hands of the Trump administration. That is the urgent purpose of this book. A wide range of distinguished contributors…here set out the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the importance of their work, and the dangers for us all in the persecution they face.”

A truism applying to all true journalists, including Max Blumenthal.

If Democracy is to be upheld, a free, ungagged press is the first requisite. A campaign must be mounted at once, a shaming campaign against all our compliant, complaisant, stenographic media. I have approached Medea Benjamin on this issue, and so far await a response.



Petition US AG Wm. Barr to dismiss charges against the anti-nuclear plowshares activists facing 25 years at:

PGE’s negligence has killed people, destroyed towns,  an d is the caretaker of the Humboldt Bay nuclear site. It’s time for the state of California to take over at:

Urge Congress to pass the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Energy Conservation Act at:

Help Florida fully restore voting eligibility for citizens returning from incarceration at:



Climate

Youth climate activists sit in, demanding Green New Deal from Canadian parliament. 27 arrested.

15 Canadian Youth sue government for failing to address climate change.

Offshore wind power said to be able to produce more electricity than world uses.

Foreign

Fed up: People take to street in all continents demanding humanized system.

Amid protestor pressure, Lebanese PM Saad Hariri resigns.

After 1 million flood street, Chile’s government announces serious changes.

President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina meets outgoing conservative Pres. Macri in election shifting Argentina’s economy to the Left.

Honduras opposition unites to oust ruling US-backed drug cartel.

Right rejected in Colombia, and Left leads in Uruguay’s second voting round. 

Resistance

After ballpark event, Chicagoans surround #45 event with booing, sound and fury.

Duke students protest Tzipi Livni speech, aware of her history as former minister accused of war crimes.

Free Press supports Facebook employees’ demands to stop spread of deceptive political ads.

Chicago teachers victorious as they reach deal with Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Government

Former NRCC chair and occasional Trump dissenter 19th House Republican to pass on re-election.

Trump student loan official resigns, says system is ‘broken,’ calls for cancelling all student debt.

Two leading economists point out Medicare for All would give workers biggest take home pay boost in a generation.

Trump administration walks back proposal to restrict protest as united coalition of grassroots groups stops regulations that would have made people pay for right to protest.

Court blocks North Carolina’s GOP House map in victory over the worst gerrymander in modern history.

Federal judge blocks Alabama’s near-total abortion ban.

Las Vegas Sheriff Lombardo pulls out of 287g program, ending collaboration with ICE deportation factory, and vows he’ll no longer detain people on ICE holds.

Nashville Sheriff ends ICE rent-a-bed agreement.

Twitter CEO says twitter to end paid political advertising. Vamos a ver.

D.C. Court of Appeals requires environmental review for implementation of 5G.

Rep. Ro Khanna calls for PG & E to become publicly owned.

Uighur bill marked up by the House Committee.

Democrats vote to formalize #45 impeachment inquiry, paving way for public hearings.


Former Republican congressman wonders how Congress can read an eight-page impeachment resolution in only two days.







Sunday, October 27, 2019

Melting Ice, Crumbling Nukes


For anyone following or attempting to follow nuclear energy news in the United States, what’s been going on in the State of Ohio is a solid indicator of just where we stand, technologically, and from a style of government standpoint.

Without going into stupefying background detail, I’ll try to sum up the Ohio situation with help from the summary published Oct. 26 by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman who have been birddogging this issue for decades now. And I quote:

•In July, the gerrymandered Ohio Legislature passed HB6, a massive 
[1 billion-dollar] bailout to keep the two dying nukes operating on Lake Erie, [Davis-Besse, and Perry].

•Akron-based First Energy is bankrupt…[demanding] a promised $1 billion bailout.

•Perry opened in 1986; Davis Besse in 1974, [the latter’s containment vessel so embrittled, cores tend to look like Swiss cheese. In 1974 it nearly melted down, inspiring Scott Heron’s song: “We Nearly Lost Detroit.”]

•HB6 also bails out two coal burners (on in Indiana [not in Ohio]) and subsidizes ten small solar arrays while slashing successful energy efficiency/conservation programs and killing broader support for renewables.

•Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts (OACB) filed for a referendum to repeal HB6 with a requirement of 265,774 certified signatures to be gathered within 90 days.

•Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State sat on the application for 38 days, effectively reducing the petition-gathering window from 90 to 52 days.

A New MO (operating style)

•After OACB’s hired petition gatherers were required by the state to make their contact info public, they immediately began receiving phone threats and bribe offers.

•Signature gatherers in the field were physically assaulted by pro-nuke thugs, including one attack in which a hand was injured, and a cell phone smashed.

•Up to three “blockers” repeatedly surrounded individual signature gatherers and drove away [potential] signers.

•Signature gatherers were offered as much as $2,500 to turn over their signed petitions. [Contrast this with receiving only $.25 cents a signature.]

While disrupting legitimate [signature] gatherers, pro-nuke thugs aggressively collected multiple duplicate signatures for a fake non-binding petition.

Deep Pockets

•First Energy then claimed it had gathered more than 800,000 “pro-nuke’ signatures.

•First Energy accompanied [thug] assaults with a massive radio/TV/mailer campaign [with the ridiculous claim that] “Chinese Communists” were buying Ohio’s grid.

•OACB’s court filing showed that state regulations imposed on certification have vastly reduced the number of referenda Ohioans can vote on.

•Wednesday last, Oct. 26, a federal judge rejected OACB’s request for more time to gather signatures, and sent the case to the Ohio GOP-dominated Supreme Court.

•OACB is rumored to have about 225,000 signatures on hand, 40,000 short of the threshold. Far more will be needed to overcome a [Republican] Secretary of State certain to disallow as many as [possible].

•[And here’s the kicker:] Polls show Ohioans [who will be the rate-payers] vehemently opposed to the bailout. [That’s why] most observers believe if it [got] on the ballot, the referendum would pass by a large margin.

•[But] should Federal appeals fail, and the Ohio Supreme Court refuse the request for more time, the referendum process will have suffered a potential death blow nationwide. It will mean Fascist thugs will be free to assault legitimate signature gatherers at will.

This last point is the main take-away. First Energy mounted this campaign in major Ohio cities: Youngstown, Akron, Toledo, and Columbus among them. It underwrote its million-dollar-plus cost-of-doing business in flyers, TV/radio/mailer announcements. It paid thousands of goon-disrupters to do their thuggish business on the streets.

At play is a $1 billion bailout. A million-dollar cost-of-doing business is a mere investment, a drop in the corporate bucket. At issue is that its cost will be passed directly to ratepayers.

Core tests conducted at Davis Besse show that its containment vessel is critically embrittled. Should there be an accident (like Three-Mile Island for example} Lake Erie is at serious risk of nuclear contamination. First Energy’s ratepayers draw their water from Lake Erie, the fourth largest of the Great Lakes and source of fresh water for Canadians and Americans living in the area.

Already in 2011, following the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, I covered the issue of Davis Besse’s critical embrittlement in Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step.

That was 8 years ago.

In other nuclear developments this week:

Despite massive activist opposition, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously a permit Edison to destroy the San Onofre cooling pools. 


Turkish President Erdogan states he wants to build a nuclear bomb.

Although the Senate voted to reinstate them, the House version of the Defense Authorization bill cuts out funding for new ICBMS and for the new production facilities.

The Kings Bay Plowshares are all found guilty of their nuclear resistance actions In the State of Georgia.

The nuclear industry continues to lobby Congress for a 23 billion bailout over ten years, and $34 billion over 20 years at the expense of taxpayers and the climate (because it dries up funds which otherwise might go to sustainable energies).

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to OK thin walled Holtec canisters liable to damage in all U.S. waste storage applications.

Thousands of sloppily stored bags of radiation waste go missing in Japan after the latest typhoon hits.


Tell chairman Neal to invest in clean renewable technology, not dirty nuclear energy at:

Tell Trump’s EPA not to give a free pass to the oil and gas industry to pollute our air at:
https://act.nrdc.org/letter/epa-methane-190906?source=EMOMETPET&tkd=%7B%7Buser.id%7D%7D&utm_source=alert&utm_medium=actr&utm_campaign=email&t=10&tkd=993405&akid=6941%2E993405%2E9hTLhQ

And what the hell, buy a “No First Use” tee-shirt at:
https://www.bonfire.com/no-first-use/?link_id=0&can_id=655968a96e1bce05c463b2f640bf633c&source=email-bombsquad-swag-alert&email_referrer=email_648589___subject_844519&email_subject=flaunt-your-no-first-use-support



Japan's New Environmental Minister Calls for Closing Down All Nuclear Reactors to Prevent Another Disaster Like Fukushima.
  
Legal

Federal court blocks Florida Republicans’ modern-day poll tax.
California’s new public banking bill opens door to community investment by cities.
N. Y. C. bar assn.. calls for Trump AG Barr to either recuse himself or resign.
South Carolina prisoners appeal to UN after state and federal “officials” ignore please for livable conditions.
In historic vote, House passes bipartisan bill to end anonymous companies.
ACLU celebrates settlement ending unconstitutional effort to silence pipelines protesters in So. Dakota.
House bill would create specific protections for climate refugees.
House Democrats pass bill that would completely restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As the House legally engages in an impeachment “inquiry”, a judge finds ruling that lawmakers can see some of Mueller’s secret evidence.
DeVos held in contempt for predatory student loan collecting practices.
Federal judge orders DOJ to turn over Mueller grand jury material.
Maryland AG sues slumlord Jared Kushner’s company.


Resistance

College Students opposing U.S.-Korea $6 Billion defense sharing stage protest inside residence of U.S. Ambassador to So. Korea.
Massive protests in Chile force repeal of fare hikes. Chilean trade unions  call for general strike in support of uprising originally led by students.
In Chile, miners initiate general strike as military kills 11.
Lebanese Ministers resign from cabinet after third day of protests fueled by music and dancing  as people demand an end to austerity.
Huge demonstrations flood streets of Barcelona in response to Spain’s attempt to put down Catalonia separatists, and impose draconian jail sentences on their leaders.
Extinction Rebellion targets arms industry, opposing the major carbon pollution by the  world’s militaries.
Tulsi Gabbard calls out U.S. on its endless regime change wars.
Jane Fonda, Sam Waterson arrested on Capitol Hill protesting for a Green New Deal.
First fast food workers union in U.S. prepares to strike for better wages and a higher living standard.
Tens of thousands rally in Khartoum against former ruling party in Sudan.
Palestine lecture proceeds as Milan students stand up to Zionist attempt to block it.
In Panama, students defy blockade to deliver message directly to National Assembly.

Global Warming

India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low.
Bank of England boss says global finance is funding 4C temperature rise.
Progressives in Canada celebrate victory of “Green New Deal Squad” of eight winning candidates.
Fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline dealt major blow as Virginia AG imposes multimillion-dollar fine after they  committed over 300 water-protection violations.
Opponents of facial recognition surveillance at music festivals across the U.S. declare victory.
Exxon and Oil Sands go on trial in New York climate fraud case.
City of Greensboro, NC City Council approves $500,000 for violence reduction program

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Where Have All the People Gone


On a recent road trip that took me from north of Las Vegas where I had travelled to Creech AFB  to protest assassination warfare by drone, I was able to check out nearly 700 miles of highway between Nevada and home in the Bay Area.

Travelling south from Indian Springs, soon we found our eyes assaulted by the forest of giant signs that clutter both sides of the roadway through the architectural aberrations of Las Vegas, signs that obliterate the skyline, vying for the custom of passersby eager for cheap thrills. “The Largest Chevron in the World,” screams one sign, followed by “Size Really Matters.”

Sprung from its commercial clutches, we continued on our way past hundreds of miles of Nevada desert, edged by purple and sand-colored hills and mountains, and mile upon mile of trailers, hundreds and thousands of them, whole trailer towns, some in decay, their doors gaping empty, their windows smashed. A stranger passing through these lands might conclude all America (except  the super-rich) lives in trailers.

The hills and mountains of the Tehachapi Pass gave way to a view as far as eye’s reach of California’s Central Valley, mile upon flat mile of Kern country farmland, studded here and there with empty corporation yards, spilling over with rusting farm machinery, row upon row of porta potties, and orchards check by jowl with endless furrows, and more orchards and the occasional vineyard. No people. No people anywhere. Come to a small town, I spotted one human being, not a convenience store or gas station employee, or a tourist merely passing through, but a human being at last, a sighting rare as glimpsing a desert fox. “Look!” I found myself exclaiming, “there’s a human being.”

I found my eyes straining, trying to find the occasional family picnicking between the endless rows of fruit and almond trees, sharing wine perhaps, or perhaps telling stories.  Nothing. Where are the folk festivals and celebrations, the libraries, or the theaters, or the schools or the universities? No where to be seen. Kern County doesn’t need people anymore. Now what was once farming has become agribusiness, conducted by machine, plowing, seeding, watering, weeding; with a possible exception when the harvest rolls around.

But this eerily depopulated landscape didn’t just get that way by accident. With the 1902 formation of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the state began to work with the feds, sorting out the complex legal fights over water rights. These battles were drawn out but mostly settled during the New Deal and Truman administration. Activists together with California cities tried to push through a public power and water system in 1922 but at least $1 million was spent by PG&E and allies to kill that statewide initiative. In 1933 the state passed new legislation for a $170 million central valley project that was meant to build dams in the north and construct canals to ship water south, eventually to Kern county. After a two-year delay caused by PG&E’s attempts to block the public power project, the US Bureau of Reclamation took charge, using federal funding to start constructing the canals and necessary power to pump the water south into San Joaquin Valley, setting water access levels with 160-acre limitation on all land owners (320 acres for farms owned jointly by man and wife). PG&E used its massive lobbying operations to stop most of the project until after the war, but continued to block power that was needed to pump the water south. According to an  article in Zocalo, “an  irony of the water projects is that they killed off half of the smaller family farms…, while helping bigger and richer corporate “farmers” like Standard Oil, Prudential Financial, Southern Pacific, Getty Oil and Shell. With the recent seven-year drought, farmers had to let millions of acres go unplanted.

 

In 1948 San Joaquin Valley (which includes Kern), there were around 13,000 farmers with 20 large ones holding over 50% of the land. Over time, other corporations stepped in, bankrupted the family farms, and bought them up for pennies on the dollar, consolidating their strangle hold over the Central Valley, impoverishing and polluting the soil, and significantly contributing to global warming with its heavydependence on plowing and fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers, and establishing a style of farming that is unsustainable. Today, according to a 2012 article in the San Jose Mercury News, The Central Valley is among the poorest areas in California and the US, with the Bakersfield area ranking fourth poorest in the nation. Students who aim for a college degree face many obstacles, and public education funding is in decline. Many who graduate migrate elsewhere to find work. 

Unrepresented Souls, Depleted Soils


Not only the soils have been despoiled, but, from the county’s first Indian inhabitants, the people who once lived and worked there have been displaced. These are the people the US government has long ago abandoned and left to rot, people who came to recognize that neither corporate party, Democratic or Republican, represents them or their interests any longer if they ever did. And it’s this decades-long Republican and Democrat unresponsiveness that has helped the orange hair revolution come about.

Where have all the people displaced by agribusiness gone? On the right of way between Fresno and Hanford, the train passes through miles of tent cities lining the tracks.

The fare is just $5.00.


Demand big polluters like Exxon and Shell pay up at

Donate to block William Pendley’s appointment to the Bureau of Land Management where he wants to put all BLM lands East of the Mississippi up for sale at

Oppose the EPA’s changes regulating the release of methane gas at


Stressing that money is not speech and corporations are not people, Sanders unveils plan to get corporate $$ out of politics .

Sanders cops key endorsements from AOC, Omar, and Tlaib .

U.S. backed Moreno flees Quito as thousands of indigenous people enter the city in opposition to IMF-imposed austerity measures. Moreno is forced to repeal austerity decree and end violence.

Nuclear ban treaty nearly two-thirds of way into entry into force.

A new website, “QuitICE launches career change program for ICE agents looking for change.

Abolish ICE, Denver and Denver Communists march through quiet suburb to home of Johnny Choate to confront the warden of immigrant and detention facility in Aurora, CO.

California moves to ban for-profit prisons, including immigrant jails.

Federal judge declares #45 border proclamation unlawful.

#45 public charge rule against immigrants declared unlawful in the State of California.

Series of rulings in federal courts in New York, California and Washington State indicate that #45 and senior policy adviser Miller’s anti-immigrant policy may have struck its limits.


Honduras holds hearing for military intelligence office for the murder of indigenous and social movement leader, Berta Cáceres.

Thanks to California’s SB 394, eligible parents and caregivers won’t have to be separated from the children who depend on them, enabling them to be diverted to rehabilitative programs and counseling.

California’s Gov. Newsom sigs bills to limit the role of money in elections, make voting more accessible, and enable fairer representation.

Federal court overrules Pai’s ban on states passing the own Net Neutrality laws.

Labor wins big time as California passes AB5 securing the rights for over a million workers misclassified and cheated out of minimum wages, overtime, workers comp, and other protections.

Federal appeals court upholds House subpoena for #45 financial records — which show discrepancies amounting to fraud.

Appeals Court orders stay of Mountain Valley Pipeline permit.

Citing ‘moral duty to take radical action’ more than 700 scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to fight climate crisis.

Ahead of mass protest on Capitol Hill, doctors demand #45 close ‘inherently immoral’ immigrant detention centers.

Trading information, over 12 different utilities figure out how to deliver fresh drinking water to over 50 million consumers nationwide.

Chlorpyrifos banned in California.

By unanimous vote, Berkeley becomes 4th US city  to ban face recognition.

Texas cop arrested and charged with murder for shooting woman in her home.

Police-exonerating Gascon resigns as San Francisco DA.

#45 impeachment barricade crumbles as Fiona Hill cooperates with Dem’s investigation.

Groups offer to deliver 50,000 comments that Election Assistance Commission Staff did not allow decision=makers to see.

Earth Justice announces it has repeatedly won court cases against the #45 administration barring pipelines through the Mojave Desert, opening up public lands for coal leasing, removing permanent protections from oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic sea board, and stripping the Endangered Species Act over the past 1000 days.