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!