Sunday, July 16, 2017

If Frances and Lucy Can, You Can, Too


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Hell on Wheels, a poem by Lee Schwartz

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

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


His tongue a serpent flickering falsehoods and frenetic tweets.

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

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


A peacock strutting his walk of shame.

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


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


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


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

 

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

A Few Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns


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

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



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tying the Knot


Two noteworthy events have headlined the recent news:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Qui Bono

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

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

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


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

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

Twin Janus Face

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

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


Port Chicago multiple-block explosion - 1944

Obedience Behind closed doors

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

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

 


Sign the Petition agreeing that Trump cannot act unilaterally with respect to North Korea


A Few Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Extreme Policing In The Era of Trumpocracy


Voting on a long-delayed and highly controversial agenda item centering on the City of Berkeley’s contract with Urban Shield, a Homeland  Security-affiliated program of militarizing the nation’s streets, finally came to the vote the evening of Tuesday, June 20 in a location, Longfellow Middle School, deliberately chosen because it could hold the 500 folx who showed up.

From the start of the evening, tensions were high.  Hundreds of Berkeley citizens had expected to make their voices heard last month at the council meeting originally designated to include this item on its agenda but after the meeting dragged on till the wee hours of the morning the item was postponed.

 

On June 20, the council—and the public—came fully prepared.  The agenda included three issues: Would the City of Berkeley continue or sever its contract with Urban Shield; would the City continue its relationship with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) and would the City purchase a bullet-proof armored personnel carrier at a cost to Berkeley of $80,000 funded at a cost of another $125,000 by the Department of Homeland Security (in possible anticipation of a huge wave of civil unrest.)

Whose Unrest?


Alameda County Sheriff Ahern’s 10-year-old police militarization extravaganza, Urban Shield, combines an assault weapon and surveillance technology vendor expo with practice skits in a variety of assaults engineered by narco-terrorists, eco-terrorists, anarcho-terrorists and a plethora of unhappy people of Middle Eastern descent, most of whom are shot dead with large assault weapons,” writes Tracy Rosenberg for Berkeleyside. “This is interrupted by shopping for the latest T-shirt declaring that “Black Rifles Matter” (instead of Black Lives Matter). The expo sucks up millions of dollars in federal grants leaving virtually nothing left over for public health and emergency preparedness, and factually defunding existing emergency programs like CERT and CARD — much as the 2003 absorption of FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security exacerbated the disastrous Hurricane Katrina response in Louisiana in 2005.

“Berkeley’s deputization of police officers as “Terrorism Liaison Officers” under the fusion center agreement with the Northern CA Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) places local cops under the direct supervision of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)As stated:“TLOs shall not independently investigate tips or leads unless directed to do so by the proper authorities i.e. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), Fusion Center, etc.” This implies municipal police cooperation with ICE in what has officially been declared a sanctuary city.

After pointing out that U.S. fire practice targets during the Vietnam war showing Asian features morphed into those showing Middle-east figures, one witness, Iraq war veteran Scott Kimball stated: “Those weapons and tactics are used to kill people. They are not going to make our community safer.” Meanwhile, in an apparently unrelated event, the NRA is circulating a video apparently calling for armed resistance to what’s characterized as the “liberal agenda.”

Had the June 20 agenda been calculated to infuriate all those in attendance, it could not have been designed more skillfully. Presumably “progressive” Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, who incidentally is one of the members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, allowed the Police 40 minutes of uninterrupted time to present their power point assisted case in support of Berkeley’s continued contract with Urban Shield. Their testimony suggested that without maintaining the contract, emergency assistance should Berkeley require it, would not be forthcoming, an innuendo amounting to subtle blackmail. In contrast, the 500 people, most of whom had come to oppose the continuation of the contract were allowed only 1 minute each to present their case. Their testimony took up 4 hours.

The vote to continue the contract took place after midnight. Evidence seems to  suggest that the decision had been taken before the meeting even began., and that allowing 4 hours of testimony had been a mere pro forma exercise.  As a tactic for disrespecting those present, the mayor’s gesture could not have been more pointed. Following the announcement of the vote results, the outraged but non-violent audience mounted the stage and unfurled their huge banner, prompting the Council to call in the cops.



But what ensued proved beyond any doubt exactly what the citizens of Berkeley could expect with Urban Shield: To quote Peter Woiwode writing for Berkeleyside:Berkeley Police beat, pushed and battered over 200 peaceful protesters late last night, bloodying at least two and arresting two more. With fear and anger written across their faces, dozens of officers struck elderly people with batons, targeted trans people and people of color, drove recklessly into peaceful crowds, and escalated a peaceful protest into a violent, chaotic mess….The myth of how non-violent Urban Shield was, was over.”

man bleeds from head wound 
after police baton hits him

Natalie Orenstein writing for Berkeleyside, states that, “Organizers are demanding a re-vote on Berkeley’s participation in Urban Shield. Represented by the Oakland law firm Siegel & Yee, they are alleging that the City Council violated the Brown Act by privately discussing the vote before the meeting, voting on an unclear amendment to the original item and holding a vote that was not publicly audible amid disruption. The firm has sent Zach Cowan, the city attorney, a “Cure and Correct” notice, demanding a re-vote within 30 days.”

Meantime the U.S. Council of Mayors recently passed a resolution denouncing Trump’s allocation of  $54 billion additional dollars to the Pentagon, and calling for demilitarizing the nation’s streets and reallocating funds to anti-poverty and environmental programs.

We wonder where supposedly “progressive” Mayor Arreguin was when that vote was counted.




What You Can Do.

Sign if you live in Berkeley, and  please consider passing on to others living in Berkeley.





A Few American Beauty Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns

City of Oakland Divests from Wells Fargo.

U.S. Conference of mayors calls for reversing the Trump re-allocation of $54 billion away from the Pentagon and back where it belongs relieving poverty and supporting environmental needs.

The South Korean Government will halt construction on two nuclear reactors in order to hold a citizen jury survey of public opinion whether to abandon the project altogether.

U.S. Conference of Mayors backs Resolution 79 calling on the Trumpocracy to lower nuclear tensions, prioritize diplomacy and redirect nuclear weapons spending to meet human needs.

Kentucky, California, Mass, Virginia, Conn, Colorado Iowa And Rhode Island all reject Trump demand for voter data, refusing to abet suppression. In all 25 states have now resisted Trumps commission’s effort to gather data.

Nevada, and Florida pass new solar measures.

Nevada educators working with community partners strip funding from huge voucher program.



In a victory for same-sex parents, Supremes order states to list same-sex parents on birth certificates.



Judge Mark Goldsmith temporarily halts deportation of more than 1400 Iraqi nationals, most of them members of the Chaldean  minority who would face either persecution or death if repatriated.

U.S. Conference of Mayors back 100% renewables, vowing to fill climate leadership void, in reaction foreseen by this newsletter.





Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nine Sure-Fire Steps For Cinching An Election




1. Gerrymander the district to make sure your candidate holds onto it. That’s for starters.

2. Make sure your registrar of voters loses any voter registration forms submitted by undesirables: black or dark brown, Koreans, hijabis, turbanites, and immigrants, even if they try showing you their papers.

3. If any one comes whining about why those names don’t show on the voter rolls, shrug. Like you have no idea what they’re talking about.

4. If someone complains and winds up producing Xeroxes of the originals, slap them with a felony charge.

5. Any undesirables that slip in, zap them with crosscheck. Try matching their names as close as possible with your list of double voters. If they’re in another state, so what. You got the list. Let it do the work for you.

6. Zero in on voter registration projects early in the game. Send large men in to raid their store front, nab their computers, cut off their juice. Run them shitless out of town. Leave a for rent sign in the window. File a criminal complaint against them (you can always dismiss the charges once they’re out of business).

7. If some reporter comes around throwing questions at your candidate, send in the big guys and rough him up a little. Rabbit punches don’t show up.

8. If they still don’t get the message, shut them up for good.
            USA  USA  USA   USA.
It works good every time.

9. Remember the guy who slapped your crosscheck list together is a shoo-in for the Voter Integrity Commission.

Disclaimer:  These particular guidelines were developed in the Republic of Georgia, not the one whose capital is Tbilisi, Atlanta, Georgia, part of the world’s greatest Democracy, home of the Free World and the most expensive elections ($55 million) in the world!

For further reading:


Enjoy!



ALL OUT!
Oakland City Council's Special Budget Meeting Monday, June 26 at 5:30 Pm.

The Council's Conservative Caucus Is Pushing Their Cop & Gentrification Budget For A Vote 

Bring Your Friends And Neighbors Too!


Tell the City Council Oakland Police budget is Unacceptable:

 1) Send your comments to the Council before 5:29 pm  Monday!

You don’t have to attend the meeting in person to make sure your voice is heard!! Go here to make comments and fill out the requested fields for the 6/26 City Council meeting (Item 13). You will stand with the mass of folks who have been pushing the council to #DefundOPD and #InvestInCommunity (Note that written comment closes at 5:29 pm on 6/26, so make sure to do this earlier.)

2) Stay tuned! 

Oakland is able to pass budgets that do not serve the people because its councilmembers say one thing and do another. Let them know that we are watching! We are encouraging Oakland residents to watch the budget meeting online or at watch parties throughout the city. What sounds like more fun than listening to Lynnette McElhaney over dinner!?

3) Join two #DefundOPD social media campaigns. 

•We have a Defund Thunderclap set to
mass-Tweet/Facebook/Tumblr from supporters' accounts at 9 am on 6/26 IF we get 100 supporters.

•Please visit here to support and share from your accounts. We need everyone to use ALL of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) to support the Thunderclap because they count individually.

•The final mass message takes people to this list of requests (submit written comment, #DefundOPD sign campaign, watch parties and link to stream the meeting) to put the pressure on City Council ALL DAY before Monday's meeting: 



•Take a picture with your sign and post it to your social media accounts (facebook, twitter, instagram)
• Include the hashtags #DefundOPD and #oakmtg and a link to these instructions: www.defundopd.org/memo
•Tag at least one Oakland Councilmember (see below)
•Tag some friends to ask them to take their own picture and help spread this campaign!r
e Info:
More Information:


Sunday, June 18, 2017

"This Way To The Starting Gate, Ladies And Gentlemen"


When I first passed through a security barrier after 9-11, what I saw overwhelmed me with feelings of horror and disbelief.  “Do you know what you’re doing?” I kept asking everyone in particular, forgetting that the “what” needed to have a context, and that the people I was attempting to talk to had no awareness of Third Reich history following the Reichstag Fire.

Fast forward to my return to Oakland through the Los Angeles airport this week. (The LA airport, referred to as Lax has recently suffered a make-over to the tune of $509.8 million. Just two gender neutral one-seater bathrooms serve the swelling crowds. The wait line Tuesday morning consists of nine people, their faces screwed up in varying degrees of anxiety. Tip to LAX travellers: allow 20 minutes to attend to bodily needs.)

As a matter of conviction, I have made a habit of refusing to pass through Michael Chertoff’s full body scanners, devices that have made Mr. Chertoff a millionaire, in favor of a pat down conducted in full view of the public. I do this to call attention to what invading the privacy of a 84-year-old woman looks like (which is why I refuse the oxymoronic “private screening.”)

This time around, repeated shouts by TSA personnel for a “female assist” go unanswered. (“Female assist” is the operative term for the soft porn practice by the T&A of the female pat down.) During my ten-minute wait for female “assistance,” I have the benefit of standing at the frontlines where the sheepization of the American traveling public gets reinforced. Some 500 people are waiting to penetrate the “security” veil, one by one.  Constant shouts over the din of the crowd caution people to empty their pockets, remove their hats, and strip their feet of shoes.  So divested, they file docilely forward, all of them barefoot. A small child screams hysterically, in full tantrum mode, flinging her shoes out of her stroller, acting out this environment’s energy. Her mother is warned to extract both her children from the stroller (a likely repository for volatile substances) which must be passed childless, through the barrier by a stolid-faced attendant. The woman hoists one strollerless child onto her hip, grabs the tantrumee by the arm, yanks her up off the floor to haul her, still kicking and screaming, through the security barrier.

Is something wrong with this picture?

I decide to change my waiting to proactive. I block the line waiting obediently for the voyeurism of the full body scanner, making it clear I intend to maintain my stance until the promised “female assist” makes her appearance. Despite my maneuver, another few minutes elapse. At last, I cup my hands, shout through the security barrier “female assist!”

“Are you talking to me?” a “male assist” inquires from beyond the barrier.

“I didn’t think I was talking,” I wisecrack.

Shortly thereafter the promised “female assist” arrives, ushers me through the gate. Tantalizingly she describes all the assistance she intends rendering me. Directed by her litany, I spread my arms, I spread my legs. She indicates she will run her hands under my waist band, front and back. She executes her tasks with conviction, her strokes vigorous enough to dislodge my slacks from my waistline. At last she delivers the promised back and forth over my crotch. (Whereas formerly the hands were passed downward in a swift and I like to imagine embarrassed motion, this new development is intended for further customer satisfaction.) This time her hand gestures are aggressively suggestive.

“Do you have something there?” She eyes me suspiciously.

I restrain myself from using a street expression for the female genitalia. Instead I settle for, “You bet!”

My remark releases the Errinys. A supervisor strolls over. “Ma’am? Ma’am, we have to do the pat down all over again.” She begins repeating the ritual, top to bottom. I demand an explanation.

“Ma’am, you were making sarcastic remarks.” she explains.

“Sarcastic remarks are now against the law?”

“Ma’am, ma’am,” she bleats with all the assurance of an enraged school marm. “I’ll have to call my supervisor.”

Feast or famine, the third “female assist” appears. I spread my arms, I spread my legs.

Bemused, an eleven-year-old boy watches the proceedings. I want to say, “Young man, take a good look at this. Remember this.” But from the time he began remembering, his years tell him that walking through the security barrier into the maw of Michael Chertoff’s radiation-producing full-body scanner requires bare feet. My years conjure images of Jews stripped naked, waiting expectantly to enter the crematoria, of people being told they are lining up for the showers, only to discover that the soap that has been issued to each one of them is really just a stone.




This Week’s Roses Amidst the Thorns





Backers of the dam opposed by Berta Cåaceres withdraw their funding completely.

 
NRDC reaches $100 million settlement that requires Michigan and Flint to replace damaged lead pipes and to provide filter installation and education to Flint residents.



Hawaii joins California, Washington, and New York upholding the goals of the Paris Accords.

Minnesota is the fourth state to support the Paris Agreement, joining Washington, California and New York.

Colorado’s marijuana profits go to schools and to fighting opioid addition.

Kansas rolls back Trumptype tax cuts for the wealthy because it devastated the state’s treasury.

Seeking Economic justice for all, Hawaii becomes first state to consider basic income.
To raise awareness of an unjust bail system, communities bail fathers and others out for father’s day.

Chokwe Antar Lumuba wins mayoral race in Jackson, Mississippi, Jackson’s first black mayor.



Women in Missouri, Ohio, and Texas, get creative protesting repeal of Obama Care. 

Protest: Women dressed as handmaidens after Margaret Atwood's novel
Sweden largest pension fund divests from Paris Accord violators ExxonMobil and TransCanada.




Federal judge rules Army Corps of Engineers gave DAPL a waiver without the necessary EIR, but requires further advisement while the oil keeps flowing. 

What You Can Do:

Sign petition to banks to Stop Financing DAPL and Tar Sands Pipelines