Sunday, March 28, 2021

Re-Funding the Peace

Re-funding the peace is the question I hope to address this week because it’s an important one with national implications.  Remember the time (some 70-80 years ago) when cops were called “peace officers?” There were stories of people who’d worked as peace officers who set up after school rec programs for kids, those kids we now call “at risk.”  I met one of those, driving a New York cab.  After his tour in Viet Nam that’s the work he did—until  he got “laid off” and now he was driving a cab.  He got laid off because at that point (the 80s) the peace keeping culture in the police academy had begun to change as law enforcement bent more and more toward militarization. My cabbie had come home from the My Lai massacre, and he told me about that too, where the order to “waste ‘’em” had come from the Colin Powell High Command. 

 

My Lai massacre

For decades, U.S. wars had targeted civilians. At home, such people had always been considered fair game. Whereas prior warfare against minorities, workers, and slaves had been massaged in the usual law enforcement hypocrisy, a more violent form of warfare became the militarized practice we have come to know today. Adding fuel to the fire came not much later, when municipal police began training with the IDF, both here, and in apartheid Israel. This information is now internet blocked prompting me to copy/paste the link here: https://bit.ly/392QnLk


But already in the ‘70s, there were cries of resistance. One of them is exemplified in a letter written by Tom Glen, a 21-year old soldier assigned to the 11th Light Infantry Brigade who described an ongoing and routine brutality against Vietnamese civilians. It’s important enough to quote:

            It would indeed be terrible to find it necessary to believe that an American soldier that harbors such racial intolerance and disregard for justice and human feeling is a prototype of all American national character; yet the frequency of such soldiers lends credulity to such beliefs….What has been outlined here I have seen not only in my own unit, but also in others we have worked with, and I fear it is universal. If this is indeed the case, it is a problem which cannot be overlooked, but can through a more firm implementation of the codes of MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) and the Geneva Conventions, perhaps be eradicated.”

Fast forward to the Oscar Grant, Travon Martin, Michael Brown era when finally with the murder of George Floyd, what had been a sporadic eruption of demonstrations became a full fledged nation-wide conflagration of revulsion. A conflagration where the nightly demonstrations in Portland became the rehearsal for militarized police-civilian warfare and for the insurgency of Jan. 6th in D.C.

 

No caption can put a  name on this

As is often the case, Oakland led with the APTP (Anti-Police-Terror Project) which began almost as soon as  BLM came to the fore The umbrella of APTP at that time was already wide enough to include people of all colors, and was headed usually by a white and black facilitator; that black facilitator was usually Cat Brooks who rose to prominence when she ran for Oakland mayor in 2018, opposing Libby Schaaf. A good speaker, she bore the facial expression of someone who’s had enuf, with a drawn “Can’t Take It Anymore” expression on her time-worn face. Even then, the organization had a rapid response arm, organized to come to the aid of families whose sons or daughters had been the victims of police violence and who needed support and counseling.

 

Some five years ago, the APTP birthed the Defund Police movement, creating the current coalition of 12 community BIPOC organizations, centered around Refunding, Restoring and Reimagining Public Safety in Oakland, Ca.  The Coalition pressed the City Council to form a Task Force to redirect police funding by 50% to support programs more closely aligned with public safety.  According to APTP (See report):  “The task force was created in direct response to significant local demand to redirect monies from the Oakland Police Department to programs, support services, and resources that take a holistic view of public safety and focus on addressing the root causes of so-called “crime” rather than relying on militarized policing and a violent and cyclical carceral state.”

 

None of this would have gotten off the ground without the step by step process underlying its advancement. The City Council, responding to the APTP-headed coalition’s demands, agreed to consider alternatives to traditional policing. It appointed a Task Force and assembled Advisory Boards (ABs) of several hundred volunteers to help advise it. The ABs researched issues focused on alternatives to the current function and structure of Oakland Police Department (OPD), including OPD services and their costs. Among specific topics researched were an analysis of 911 calls as well as the effects of de-criminalizing what is currently criminalized.

 

Based on their months-long research efforts, the ABs recommended a list of services better handled outside of OPD that would increase Public Safety for all Oaklanders.  Recommendations included: A Mental Health Hotline and Mental health services, providing housing, food security, medical care, education, decriminalization of drug and sex work, youth and transitional age services, instituting reparative justice in place of punishment, and more. The recent unanimous vote of the Oakland City Council to introduce a new model for mental health emergency response known as MACRO shifting 911 response away from the police department is an early outcome of this effort.

 

The final list of AB recommendations were presented to the City Council appointed Task Force. The Task Force studied them, discussed and modified some of them with public and AB input, and voted on a final list to present to the Oakland City Council for discussion and approval. The process by which the City Council will move forward with the Task Force’s list of recommendations is yet unknown. as is role OPD will play in this process. Regardless of the outcomes of this process in Oakland, the move towards increasing public safety through Defunding Police and Refunding and Re-Investing in Communities will  have a lasting and positive impact locally and nationally.

 

We recommend reading the full report to see the specific recommendations, the research supporting them, and their expected impact on increasing Public Safety.


The Medium is The Message 

 

Can we trust the APTP report? Unlike so many initiatives of this kind, where most are developed while completely overlooking or excluding the populations they are intended to serve., the very people the recommendations are designed to impact served in the initial committees. Committees focused on specific areas of concern, For example, there were committees comprised of or led by Oaklanders who have been unhoused, school dropouts, formerly incarcerated, unemployed/ under- employed, and victims of violence. Some were populated by solely by youth. Members also cut across the economic and educational spectrum. Importantly, members of ABs were a true reflection of the black, brown, yellow, white, mixed race, multi-ethnic, gender, and ability diverse communities in Oakland, a stunning example of true Democracy at work.

 

My colleague and companion in arms who worked as one member of such a committee described the process as very moving. “I have to say I am humbled by the process. Although I worked on part of  [it], months of collecting information, analyzing it, synthesizing it, and writing about it with my working group cohorts, the scope of this effort and its impact is amazing. This work will replace policing not reform it; it eliminates the need for historically punitive regulations. In its place will grow services communities need to become healthy and safe places for their members.”

 

 “[It] will be another step towards ending the endless war on communities at home that have targeted BIPOC for so long.…It will further link the anti war movement, with its historic focus on wars abroad, to domestic struggles [at home] which are no different …. We use weapons of mass destruction abroad; policing and imprisonment at home. Both at home and abroad we destroy, devastate, displace and kill; we attack those who rebel. These wars are about subjugation, dominance, accumulation of wealth and power, humiliation, and furtherance of racist, ethnocentric, anti-gender, and anti-able policies and practices.”

 

Oakland’s initiative has legs.  It has the potential of reviving life in our dying cities as well as in ignored rural areas. It can be applied nationwide if they will only make use of its far-reaching insights, and applied to their own circumstances.

 


REALLOCATE Pentagon budget.

ADD  your name to abolish nuclear weapons.

URGE world’s major development bank to kick fossil addiction.

 

 


G 7 Supports emergency funds for developing country COVID relief.

Organizations petition High Court of justice demanding vaccines for Palestinians.

Venezuela sues the U.S. at the WHO.

Protecting public health, environment and human rights, people of over 13 nations including U.S. oppose 5-G installment of a planetary surveillance grid.

Brazil’s Lula urges Biden to call emergency G 20 summit to promote global vaccine equality.

Japanese court orders government,BIDEN TEPCO to pay more for Fukushima disaster damage.

March 27, 110,000 people demonstrated all over Frances demanding a “real” climate law.

Argentina withdraws from Lima Group of countries established to push for regime change in Venezuela.

New global alliance including Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua. Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Syria, Venezuela, and Palestine Russia, and China, defends UN charter.

Parisians march against systemic racism and police brutality in France and for a climate change law with teeth.

 

"For a real climate law": Stop the blahblahblah
 

Beijing has donated vaccines to over 50 low-income nations.

UK Uber drivers to get minimum wage and paid vacation after big court win.

Julian Assange wins 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award.

Assange’s father, John Shipton on the home run tour for Julian.

MI-5 whistleblowers Annie Machon winds 2021 Sam Adams Award.

Texas utility behind huge electricity bills seeks bankruptcy

Biden signs American rescue plan providing $1.9 trillion for COVID relief, lifting millions out of poverty.

Biden admin ends policy that made migrant kids’ potential sponsors vulnerableto ICE.

Biden admin reportedly reverses decision to reopen Homestead prison camp for migrant kids.

Biden reinstates Obama-era program allowing Central American kids to join parents in U.S. Would reunite families split up by deportation.

Biden admin calls for federal volunteers to help get asylum-seeking children out of U.S. custody.

‘Jim Crow in 21st century’: Biden rebukes Georgia’s new voter suppression law.

Church joins lawsuit against ICE with religious discrimination claims.

U. S. Rep Jayapal and Dongell with 112 co-sponsors to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2021.

Sanders bill would hike taxes on big corporations that pay CEOs over 50 times more than median worker.

Tlaib unveils bill to provide monthly payments to everyone in U.S. funded by minting trillion-dollar coins.

After months of pressure from advocates, detained immigrants in California now eligible for vaccine.

Amnesty International USA applauds Virginia for abolishing the death penalty.

Party for Socialism & Liberation dropped a banner at the San Isidro border crossing.

50+ House Dems urge Biden to fire Postal Board for complicity in Dejoy’s sabotage.

House Dems introduce legislation to block Dejoy’s Postal Service sabotage.

Biden submits Postal Service Board nominations, starting countdown to Dejoy’s departure.

Tammy Duckworth demands postal board fire Dejoy over pathetic 10-year plan to weaken USPS.

Defund Police Department: 50 House Dems demand Biden slash Pentagon budget to invest in public health, common good.

Progressives pressure Biden over COVID vaccine patent waiver.

Coalition calls on Biden to use U.S.-owned patent to share COVID vaccine with the world.

From space to F-35s congress given specific path to cut Pentagon budget by $0 billion.

Senate Dems employ obscure law to reverse #45 rollback of methane emissions standards.

Dems call for $1 billion shift from weapons of mass destruction to ‘vaccine of mass prevention.’

New calls, records. allegations swirl around #45 attempts to extort Georgia officials.

In unprecedented move,  EPA to conduct ‘public accounting of #45’s political attacks on science.

With McConnell out of the way, Dems reintroduce plan for affordable internet access nationwide.

House votes in favor of Farm Workers Modernization Act.

In huge progressive victory following years of grassroots organizing, a late of progressive candidates sweeps the elections for the Nevada Dem Party’s five leadership positions.

Earth Justice applauds bipartisan water infrastructure bill.

Actvists block rail line near General Dynamics over arms sales.

Minnesota  activists fight to stop new pipelines to go under water sources.

Water protectors lock to Gate and ascend equipment to stop Enbridge Line 3 in St. Louis County.

Activists organize a Defund  demo on Golden Gate Bridge.

Tribal Nations Fight Proposed gold mine near Death Valley.

Caravan disrupts Line 3 construction routes.

Backing push for public ownership, Tlaib to join virtual rally to reclaim Nestlé’s stolen waters.

Activists demand Georgia-based corporations like  end complicity in GOP assault on voting.

Activist investor urges Exxon shareholders to vote against directors.

“A moral imperative”: business leaders demand death penalty abolition worldwide.

Public Citizen congratulates Katherine Tal on her confirmation as U.S. trade rep.

A resolve, led by a 501(c)(4) non profit, the Maine Health Care Action, will have to collect nearly 65,000 valid signatures for Maine voters to put it on on ’22 ballot.

Jury acquits Iowa journalist for arrest while covering BLM protests.

The minimum $15 wage fight is not over.

Migrant worker women submit first petition against the U.S. under USMCA

“My mom was very angry,”: Rite Aid apologizes for denying undocumented mom COVID vaccine.

Garment workers win $22 billions in historic victory against wage theft.

Colectivo could become the largest unionized coffee chain.

Bernie Sanders rallies with Amazon workers in Alabama.

Wisconsin teamsters spend seven years fighting not to see their pensions cut in half.

“We can cancel all $1.8 trillion,” say activists as Cardona announces full debt relief for scammed students.

76 year old Asian grandmother attacked, sends assailant to hospital, and gives the 900,000 raised thru a Go Fund Me to the AAPI community: “This is bigger than me.”

Michigan man sues Hertz for not turning over receipt that proves his innocence in murder case.

NYC Council approved measure to curb “qualified immunity,” cop’s get out of jail free.

Members of Oakland’s City Council vote unanimously to introduce a model for mental health emergency support known as MACRO that does not lead with law enforvement.

Boston elevates its first woman and first person of color to city’s top job.

Illinois City becomes 1st in U.S. to offer reparations for lingering effects of slavery.

Philadelphia skyline to go dim in favor of migrating birds.

California regulator praised for landmark proposal to life ‘forever chemical’ as carcinogen.

Oregon considers universal suffrage.

Monarch Act introduced to ensure pollinator is around for future generations.

Sightings of rare wildlife add to case for main g permanent the temporary halt on wall construction.

Plant-based diets help save planet.

 


Ever Given crisis on-going. Make sure you're not short on toilet paper.

Financial press fears Brazilians will elect presidents of their choice.

With a sticker price of $100 million, Air Force admits the F-35 is a bust.

Kentucky lawmakers advance bill to crimnalize insulting police.

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

 Well, slouching may be an exaggeration, but my reluctance can’t be described any other way.  The subject is nuclear, both war and energy.  And of all our planetary issues,  nuclear, the nuclear of power and the nuclear of war, both joined at the hip, one not possible without the other,  is—at least in my view—the most dire. Even more dire than global warming And that probably explains my reluctance. Bear with me.

 

There is something to celebrate, and something to mourn. The good news first. After years and years of patient work for peace, by, among thousands of others in this country alone, the Women’s League for International Peace and Freedom, and the Catholic Plowshares-Catholic Worker Movement, the Treaty to ban nuclear weapons was signed by, of all countries, Honduras, which became the 50th to do so, and at last the Treaty entered into full force and effect on Jan. 22 of this year.

 

Here is pre-forever-war FDR in 1936: “I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded….I have seen the dead in the mud….I shall pass unnumbered hours thinking and planning how war may be kept from the Nation .”

 

As my readers can imagine, the Treaty is binding only on its signatories, none of which are bomb-blessed countries; all the 8 bomb blessed-countries won’t sign the Treaty. This includes not only the Big Brother Nuclear Eight but also all the little toady NATO subscribers.  #45, our former very own Very Magnificent and Glorious Caudillo, sent all those little shit hole signatory countries letters ordering them under all circumstances, to walk back their talk. Many such letters found their way to the nearest paper basket for recycling.

 

Nonetheless, the Treaty represents a colossal effort by all of humankind which has made this amazing benchmark possible We cannot even begin to imagine the years and years of diplomacy at top levels, the untold quantity of international flights by all people working at the NGO level, and all the strivings of all the grassroots people world over,  getting arrested and jailed, some of them for years, trying, trying with all their might to reverse the course of The Great Blundering Ship of States.

 

And that is what we must celebrate. Against Might, we have the great weapon of Spirit.

 

And now, to mourn

 

In the U.S. The new $100 billion Ground Based Strategic Nuclear Deterrant, a weapon of mass destruction the length of a bowling lane, carries a warhead 20 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and is slated to replace the Minuteman. It is on order by the Air Force—600 of them.

 

Soon after yet another mega earthquake roiled Japan Feb. 13, and following the tenth anniversary this week of the Disaster at Fukushima, Japan is still hell bent on restarting all their rectors, and holding their Olympics in heavily contaminated areas. After the relocation of millions of people, many of whom took their own lives, after scraping the Earth of millions of tons of top soil, decomposing vegetation of acres of forest land, only to have to decontaminate them all over again, and despite the resistance of its people, Japan still has not learned, and neither has the U.S. for that matter.

 

One picture is worth 1,000 words, and for that please go to

 

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/piapeterson/fukushima-10-year-anniversary-memorials

 

And for those still wanting to resist the media blackout on the events of Jan, 6, here are the Zexs Kashes:

 

https://www.propublica.org/article/6-questions-officials-still-havent-answered-after-weeks-of-hearings-on-the-capitol-attack#1053554

 

and on  March 18, if your appetite for war has become sated, check out:

https://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/

 

 


 

No more Hiroshimas! No more Fukushimas! Please sign.

 

Read Ray Acheson’s new book: Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy.

 


 

 

Resilient women farmers fighting climate change in six Jamul district villages transform lives by carrying out organize kitchen gardening with support of Greenpeace India.

 

Chile to elect convention to rewrite constitution replacing that written by Pinochet.

 

Brazil judge annuls convictions against Lula Da Silva, leaving him free to challenge Bolsonaro.

 

Lula goes after Bolsonaro’s ‘moronic’ handling of COVID pandemic.

 

Far-Right Bolivia coup leader Jeanine Añez arrested on terrorism, sedition charges.

 

First Atikamekw Nation asks UN expert to probe systematic racism in Canada

 

Canadian protesters call for end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

 

Assange’s father takes fight to free son to Canberra.

 

In the UK, study shows school street plan to keep them traffic free improves AQ.

 

New report to expose war industry’s lobby behind $24 billion US nuclear missile ‘boondoggle.’

 

NRDC DOE stike five-year deal allowing nuclear education of state energy regulators.

 

Supreme Court reject final #45 appeal.

 

Biden signs sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package into law.

 

‘The kind of speed and efficiency we should always expect’ as $1,400 checks already hitting bank accounts.

 

Biden administration announces Pentagon will conduct an  urgently needed ‘Global posture review.’

 

Biden administration tells Supreme Court it won’t defend previous administration’s ‘public charge’ rule.

 

Supreme Court rejects final #45 appeal.

 

Biden administration‘s vaccine promotion efforts will look to take politics out of the picture.

 

US lawmakers call on Biden administration to oppose Israeli Palestinian home demolitions.

 

Congress urged to take ‘immediate action’ to stop debt collectors from snatching relied checks.

 

Black alliance for peace solidarity network demands NATO support peace process in Afghanistan.

 

Over 350 groups urge Biden to stop Line 3 pipelines, protect climate and indigenous rights.

 

Biden urges House to approve Protecting the Right to Organize Act following his support of Amazon  Alabama workers.

 

Amazon workers in Italy to go on first strike.

 

Deb Haaland confirmed as Interior Secy.

 

With appointment of Columbia U law professors Timothy Wu to the White House National Economic Council and Lina Khan to Federal Trade Commission, antitrust is back in the US.

 

House passage of historic union rights bill intensified pressure on Dem Senators to ‘stop hiding behind’ filibuster.

 

Broadband infrastructure bill centers affordability and equity.

 

Warning against ‘Democratic’ version of Ajit Pai,’ groups call for FCC pick without telecom ties.

 

Growing chorus implore Biden to fire #45 holdovers who support ‘dismantling and cutting ‘ social security.

 

Progressives hail official end of DCCC consultant blacklist.

 

Progressive takeover of Nevada Dem party sparks mas exodus of staff consultants.

 

Interior take first step evaluating leasing moratorium.

 

Applause as Biden picks antitrust trailblazer Linda Khan for FTC spot.

 

Jimmy Carter condemns Georgia GOP’s voter suppression push.

 

Stimulus package aids Puerto Rico still reeling after two years from Hurricane impacts.

 

Representative Smith re: F-35 boondoggle: ‘finally we have a shot to stop feeding that rathole at the Pentagon.’

 

Jayapal vows to fight for $15 minimum wage.

 

Jayapal demands investigation into 3 House Republicans for ‘involvement in the deadly attack on the Capitol.’

 

‘Don ‘t  patronize me”: Katie Porter tears into oil exec for claiming his industry doesn’t get special tax breaks.

 

Report finds raising minimum wage to $15 would boost pay of 32 million workers.

 

Support keeps building for #BAmazon Union Drive as three dozen organizations add the names urging Biden to come out for union organizers.

 

Poll shows majority of US adults support govt action to require COVID vaccine

manufacturers to share formulas, and forego patents to hasten vaccine deployment globally.

 

Progressive health care and global justice groups to rally across country and push pharmaceutical  companies to commit to just global vaccine distribution.

 

N.Y. State’s top legislators call on Cuomo to resign.

 

Georgia House passes repeal of citizen’s arrest law in aftermath of Ahmaud Arbery’s death.

 

Abortion ban repealed in N. Mex. after years of struggle.

 

Victory for BDS as Orange judge slaps down Zionist attempt to stifle free speech

 

Queens County judge blisters prosecutors in decision to release 3 wrongfully convicted Black men after 24 years.

 

ACLU, civil rights groups call on DHS to abandon proposed expansion of face surveillance at airports.

 

Push for Robinhood tax grows as poll shows majority in NY support levy on Wall St. trades.

 

Atlanta DA’s latest hire in #4 investigation is a racketeering expert.

 

Youth climate activists seek court ruling that US fossil fuel-based system is unconstitutional.

 

Climate activists applaud Rutgers University’s fossil; fuel divestment plan.

 

College athletes demand NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sport legislation.

 

Culver City calls on Gov. Newsom to slow neighboring gas storage facility in Playa del Rey.

 

Kansas City tenants’ month of activism breaks systems preventing 919 eviction hearings, 90% of all evictions scheduled for January.

 

Hundreds protest on eve of Derek Chauvin’s trial.

 

‘Say Her Name’: rallies and marches mark one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s killing.

 

Bayer’s Roundup class action settlement draws widespread outrage.

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that in 2021, some 156 years after the Civil War, Congress managed still to vote down a $15.00 minimum wage. To cite the names of the eight Democrats who voted against it (Manchin, Sinema, King, Carper, Tester, Shaheen, Hassan, and Coons) is a distraction. To point out  their net worth (Coons $10 million,  King, 9.49 million, Manchin $7.62 million, Carper, $5.73 million, Shaheen, $3.82 million, Tester, $3.67 million, Hassan, $3.47 million, Hassan, $3.47 million, Sinema, N/A) is a distraction. To plead that this is “the richest country in the world” that won’t guarantee universal sick pay and family leave is a distraction, to shame these feckless marauding filibusterers by reminding them that jobless benefits expire in 9 days is a distraction (to delay debate, Johnson forced a speed reading of the 628 page bill, which took 11 hours).

 


Garcia-Marquez, who said America is the country of forgetting, the country of “dust” because it suffers from amnesia about its history, got it bass ackward. We learned not too long ago that all that Paul Revere stuff we heard in school obscured the essential fact that the U.S. (at that time “the thirteen colonies”) rebelled against Great Britain not because we lusted for freedom (for Just Us but not anyone else), but because Britain was abolitionist, and we… well, we just couldn’t let go the idea of getting people to work for us “free”. We called it slavery (1619 – 1865); after the Civil War was supposed to end that, we had to call it something else. So we created the 13th Amendment, which set the idea in concrete once and for all, and which perpetuated the old system under a new name. It guaranteed that we could go on stealing people’s labor except we had to put them in prison first.

 


So we put a lot of people in prison and we called it ”convict leasing,” a system wherein if you were a private firm, or a business, or a planter or a corporation, you could “borrow” prisoners at no pay to work for you. This system of involuntary servitude became popular at first because it associated “work” with “punishment.”  And everyone knows miscreants  need to be punished. Soon “punishment” became “rehabilitation” because it sounded nicer. (Arbeit Macht Frei). The new system of prison labor became known as “state use,” the idea being that prisoners could work for their own upkeep. Have a little extra to send home to the wife and kids, not just a bus ticket and $20 on release. To this day, prisoners work for as little as $1 a day. They make license plates, staff prison kitchens, build furniture for state offices, and sew Victoria’s Secrets underwear. They fight forest fires (extremely hazardous work) but are not allowed to continue that kind of work following release.

 


The minimum wage has stayed the same ($7.25 an hour) since 2009.   Twelve years. Before taxes that comes to $290 a week., or $1,600 a month, or $13,920. a year.   There’s slight disconnect here because now (after 12 years) a studio apartment rents for minimum $2,000 a month. So in order to afford rent, food, and a few extras, someone earning minimum wage would have to work 2 jobs. That’s 16 hours a day not counting commutes, and might leave some 5 hours for sleep. Two jobs would yield $27,840 a year before taxes, but would allow you $3,840.00 for food, clothing, and carfare, which comes to $320 a month. The employees of such concerns as Walmart, Amazon, Costco, McDonalds, and many others have to subsist on food stamps; in other words, the U.S. taxpayer subsidizes corporations who hire employees at minimum wage.  A good reason never to patronize any of them.

 

 

So far, our discussion has included only single individuals; now if  someone has the misfortune of having a family (families consist of wives, or husbands, or children, or sometimes all three) how do three people (or more) live on $27,840 a year; or if two people are working two jobs, $55,680.00. Occasionally, there happens to be an unforeseen benefit: one bed can be shared in shifts.

 

Is this slavery by another name? Or is this only a revisit of post-industrial Industrial Revolution Britain? Does the subject person need to be Black or Brown? or can a person be White or Asian or Native American and still qualify?

 

So no. These feckless, marauding filibusterers in Congress have not forgotten American history.  They are remembering it all too well. Please help vote them out of office. We need a little more amnesia.

 

                                                ______________________

 

 

WAR NO MORE

 

An article appeared this week published by Common Dreams which casts a rare light on the events of Jan. 6 (which the MSM seems to have consigned to the dust heap of history). “Living Up Close and Personal With Our Endless Wars” is offered from the perspective of a military wife who happens also to earn her living as a social worker interested in the health impacts of war. She is also co-founder of Brown University’s Cost of War Project. 

 


Among the many points the article raises is the idea that, with the events of Jan. 6,  America’s Endless Wars are coming home to roost, and that D.C. has become a war zone, cities like Portland, practice runs.  Officially we might refer to Portland as military exercises.  (It is critical to keep in mind that Portland police, beneficiaries of the 1033 program, are using expired WWII and Korean war tear gas cannisters so toxic and blinding, demonstrators must avail themelves of gas masks. Subjected to chemical analysis, the likelihood of these substances being carcinogenic is high. Like Scott Olson in Oakland some ten years ago, one Portland demonstrator received a cannister directly in the face. He suffers from the loss of one eye, and his shattered brain pan will have to be completely reconstructed. He still suffers from neurological deficits, notably loss of short-term memory.) 

 

She writes, “We have been amazed at how few Americans, other than our fellow military families, have been preoccupied with the violence beginning to unfold on our nation’s streets and the way, in some strange fashion, America’s distant, never-ending wars of these last 20 years were threatening to come home.”And, to cap her argument she stresses that the unimaginable sums this country’s military machine have siphoned off increasingly massive portions of the domestic budget at the expense of social services ranging from healthcare to domestic job creation, at the same time retiring military grade weaponry from far flung war zones into the homeland hands of police departments across the country.

 

Whether Democrat or Republican, the presidents of the past 20 years have insured that the violence continuing in war zones world over has now begun to unfold at home, and that as a military wife in contact with many other military wives, she names and shares their unique and very appalling fears—all this at salaries reduced from the national average by 27%. 

 


 

Urge Biden to end forever wars.

 

Demand Congress bring the George Floyd Justice to Policing Act to a vote, ending the transfer of battle grade weaponry to municipal police.

 

End wage slavery now. No one can live on $7.25 an hour which has been the minimum since 2009.

 

Uphold the $15 an hour minimum wage.

 

 


After yet another major earthquake, Ex-Japanese PMs Kan and Koizumi urge Japan to quit nuclear power generation.

 

Greens seek to halt German uranium exports to Europe.

 

Aid groups reject charges over Mediterranean refugee rescue missions.

 

International Criminal Court prosecutor to open formal probe into war crimes in occupied West Bank.

 

French ex-president Sarkozy faces sentence to 3 years in prison for corruption.

 

Iran agrees to IAEA talks, Western powers pause censure plans.

 

Haitians continue to resist dictatorship and imperialist forces.

 

‘We need to be on war footing’: head of WHO calls for vaccine patent waivers to halt pandemic.

 

European powers scrap US backed plan for IAEA rebuke of Iran.

 

India: Farmers mark 100 days of protests.

 

In a huge win for labor, Biden issues public statement of support for Alabama workers fighting for union.

 

Fight is not over say rights groups as Biden administration lets separated families remain in U.S.

 

Word by word, Biden administration is easing #45’s language of racism, xenophobia, and hate.

 

Supreme Court dismisses so-called sanctuary city cases following Bidden administration request.

 

Progressives push Biden to end ‘vaccine apartheid.’

 

Biden administration brokers deal between two corporate competitors to vastly boost vaccine supply.

 

Biden rolls out array of climate-related orders calling on all agencies to factor climate into their work.

 

Biden withdraws Neera Tanden’s nomination.

 

Pressure building on Biden to rejoin Iran nuke deal.

 

80 House Dems urge Biden to repeal #45’s cruel sanctions on Cuba

 

Sea. Kaine (D-Va) plans new push on war powers resolution after Biden attacks Syria.

 

‘We need to make sure it’s done right’: peace advocates welcome Biden move to limit war powers.

 

Biden open to repealing US laws that enable ‘forever wars’.

 

Biden orders temporary limits on drone strikes outside war zones.

 

Senate passes $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, without however approving $15 minimum wage.

 

Biden says $1,400 payments can start to go out this month.

 

ACLU to Biden: Do not ‘review’ drone killing program-end it once and for all.

 

States are moving to end National Guard role in unauthorized wars.

 

Could be worse department: Biden calls off strike on second military target in Syria last week.

 

USDA pauses land transfer of Oak Flat  including Bildagoteel, site of southwest tribal religious beliefs to mining company. 

 

Protesters block intersection in support of jailed indigenous elder.

 

Marshall Islanders remember ‘Castel Bravo’ nuclear bomb that destroyed their island, and ruined their health.

 

Citing harm to tribal lands and wildlife, groups call on Biden administration to remove certain border wall.

 

150 former aides, surrogates urge Sanders to help secure citizenship pathway for undocumented immigrants.

 

Bill to expand federal background checks on all gun sales reintroduced in Senate.

 

House new voting rights bill now curtails gerrymandering right away.

 

To help fund COVID recovery and redress inequality, Warren unveils wealth tax on ultra billionaires and billionaires.

 

To ensure justice and accountability for police brutality, Pressley leads Masssachusetts’ progressive lawmakers in new bill to end qualified immunity.

 

Part of he George Floyd Justice in Policing Act newly introduced in Congress is called the ‘Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

 

AOC among N.Y. lawmakers saying Gov. Cuomo cannot hand pick investigator into allegations against him.

 

California Senator Alex Padilla’s first bill would protect millions of undocumented essential workers.

 

Sanders attempted to force vote on $15 minimum wage amendment.

 

Advocates urge permanent closure after parents and kids released from Pennsylvania’s Berks migrant family jail.

 

New study find about 300 fewer police killing have occurred in most cities where BLM protests occurred.

 

Evanston, Ill. becomes first city to make reparation amends for black residents.

 

108 illegal immigrants in Texas who tested positive for COVID reportedly released.

 

US journalists form union to survive ‘hedge fund vampires’ and COVID 19.

 

While tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been unable to cover rent due to COVID, tenant organizers protest re-opening of Housing Court.

 

Rooftop solar forms an alternative to monopoly utility models.

 

San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Baltimore and a dozen more cities have reduced police spending in favor of transferring money to the community.


 

 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Reliability: Whose, and How Long?

Greg Abbott, the Cancun misadventures of Ted Cruz, even Texas is a distraction. Ever since Katrina, Gulf Coast disasters have followed thick and fast one upon the other. After Katrina, which affected Louisiana and Mississippi most drastically, New Orleans was never given a change at recovery. Two years ago Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in two feet of water. The snow storm affecting the entire state last week was preceded last August by Hurricane Laura forcing half a million to evacuate, and affecting the Lake Charles area, located just 3 miles from Houston. A month after Laura, Delta again left Lake Charles reeling under mass devastation. Weeks later, Zeta knocked out New Orleans power for nearly a week. 

 

In case no one’s noticed, the Gulf Coast has become uninhabitable.  That’s the real news.  All else is distraction, the politicians quick to pin blame on the Green New Deal and on wind turbines (Texas’ are not hardened against the cold) and not the  utility managers who sit on ERCOT’s board (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). Not the failure of its coal and gas plants, and its reliance on fossil fuels generally. Texas insisted on having its own grid in order to avoid regulation. Ten years ago after a severe storm, ERCOT’s managers were advised to harden their infrastructure, but they chose to do absolutely nothing that would stand in the way of more and more profits at the expense of rate payers statewide who have been without power, most without water, without heat in freezing temperatures, so severe it has resulted in several deaths, and whose uninsulated water pipes are located on the exterior of their homes. Many days of snow, and freezing temperatures eluded the Texas imagination—as did so much else. Because like everything else, Texans are immune to the ravages of global warming. Until it strikes.

 

Austin: Texans carrying potable water

Throughout the state now, millions of houses have burst water pipes, with severe water damage making many homes uninhabitable. Texans have had to scramble to obtain water and food as super market shelves have emptied; some have had to burn furniture to try to stay warm, and most hospitals are without power or  potable water, unable to care for the severely ill who keep their emergency rooms overflowing.  Like Katrina, the snow storm has impacted millions of people, but unlike Katrina, this disaster has reached deep into the white middle class as well.  Whereas one Katrina survivor described caravans of escaping white folks speeding by on the state interconnector, waving at them with “So, long, niggers,” this time some of these white folks don’t even get to exercise any ready-to-hand racism. In a great evening of the playing field, this time all Texans have been “so longed,” and ERCOT is slapping them with utility bills somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,600 for just trying to keep warm over the cold snap. My, oh my. oh my, just think what that’s going to do to Texas real estate values.

 

Homes in darness while corporate Houston glows

But Texas is just one sacrifice zone, the Gulf Coast is just another sacrifice zone. What about Iowa which not too long experienced flooding on a scale never before imagined, destroying some 43% of its corn crop? What about California which experienced skies the color of dark chocolate with massive wild fires too hot to control, reportedly because of the geo-engineered aerial spraying over its forests coupled with the fecklessness of PGE, the Northern California utility which alone managed to cause over 400 fires, and nearly one hundred deaths? Is California too to become a sacrifice zone to the global warming caused by human activity? And what about the U.S. military which produces more greenhouse gases than several developed countries?

 


And is all the United States between California and Texas to become one gigantic sacrifice zone, and is continental U.S.A. to become one mega sacrifice zone? And is Central America with so many of its inhabitants feeling drought to become just part or a Northern Hemisphere sacrifice zone, and as the Andes glaciers continue melting depriving much of Peru and Bolivia of water is Latin America to join a hemispheric sacrifice zone? And while the Western Hemisphere parches, burns, freezes and floods, will the Eastern Hemisphere, home of a great part of the world’s population, remain immune?

 

In the absence of local, state or federal agencies,  a number of articles, point to the heroic efforts of mutual aid groups all over Texas and Mississippi assisting neighbors, despite their own homes being subject to flooding, fires, freezing cold water damage, and their own food lockers all but empty. Neighbors turned absent homeowners water mains off. But despite the deep humanity to which these gestures attest, global warming is of such a vast scale that only the essentially radical approaches of governments uniting in one-world government can possibly encounter it.

 

Last night I watched the miracle of moon rise.  The moon stares down on all of this with an indifferent eye—as indifferent as most of the Earth’s people who do nothing and could care less.  Until disaster visits them.

 

 

 


 

CUT the Pentagon budget.

 


 

NO MORE WAR in the Middle East.

 


 


 

Academics at UK university reject IHRA anti-Semitism definition.

 

Iran and IAEA reach ‘temporary’ agreement to maintain nuclear surveillance.

 

China declares victory over poverty as World Bank estimates that in the past 40 years, this accounts for more than 70% of the world’s total.

 

India, China PMs to set up hot line as border crisis eases.

 

India and China complete pull-back of forces.

 

So Korea agrees to partial release of blocked Iranian money.

 

Israel lashes out as ICC okays war crimes probe.

 

Magpie River becomes first in Canada to be granted legal personhood.

 

Mexico to ban glyphosate and GM corn.

 

Victory for Uber drivers as UK decision clarifies drivers’ employment status and time for which they must be compensated.

 

U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi’s murder, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis.

 

SCOTUS denies Trump’s “shameful” effort to block tax returns release green lighting their release to NYC prosecutor.

 

Latest from SCOTUS conservatives compels Senate to ditch filibuster, restore voting rights.

 

Texas mutual aid groups meet people’s long-term needs.

 

Dozens of House Democrats call on Biden to give up sole nuclear launch authority.

 

Biden’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps is positive step.

 

Biden evokes #45 order designating Democratic cities ‘anarchist’ designation.

 

Biden team considering halting some arms sales for Saudis.

 

Citing concerns about corporate power, Sanders votes against Biden’s choice for USDA chief.

 

Sanders warms Biden about attack on Syria.

 

Neer Tanden’s bid to head OMB on verge of collapse.

 

Slavery is alive and well: Progressives reject Manchin plan to cut $15 MWP to $11.

 

With $15 wage included, House Dems fulfill election promises with passage of sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

 

AOC spends weekend raising millions and delivering aid to Texans.

 

Jewish groups urge Biden to review and revoke Trump-era ‘made in Israel’ settlement good policy.

 

Ahead of hearing, calls grow for Postmaster General DeJoy’s removal.

 

California State legislature passes Golden State stimulus with governor signing it.

 

California appellate court holds that Wi-Fi sickness is a disability.

 

Newsom administration sued over thousands of unlawful oil and gas projects.

 

Judge upholds California’s gold standard net neutrality law.

 

Virginia to become first state in South to ban capital punishment.

 

California becomes first stats in country to repeal many onerous administrative fees in the criminal justice system.

 

Advocates applaud as Illinois approves elimination of cash bail.

 

Coastal Annapolis MD becomes 25th U.S. community to file climate suit that aims to #MakePollutersPay.

 

Under pressure from activists, fracking banned in Delaware River basin.

 

Coalition of activists tell Gov. Wolf, no sacrifice zones in Pennsylvania.

 

Environmentalists sound alarm over Texas refineries’ release of hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants during storm.

 

Investors managing $250 million in assets call on big banks to stop funding Mountain Valley Pipeline.

 

Fighting ‘disease of greed and destruction,’ water protectors blockade over a dozen Line 3 worksites.

 

Law students announce boycott of Chevron law firm, Seward & s.

 

Asian and Black progressives stress unity and understanding amid attacks on Asian Americans.

 

Minnesota returns land to lower Sioux Indian community.

 

New database aims to track police use of force, bypassing current government inaction.

 

Santa Barbara approves Medicare for All resolution.

 

Chicago City Council unanimously passes resolution to end blockade of Cuba.

 

 

 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Those Golden Arches

 

A nation that contents itself to eat McDonald’s has the government it deserves.  Our representatives in Congress with few exceptions are like Big Macs, bad for you, bad for the fear you eat with each bite of the butchered cow that was slaughtered to feed you, bad for the fear of all the trees in the Amazon which are felled to feed your habit, and bad for Earth which needs her lungs to breathe. We seem not to know how to stop.

 

Our insatiable habit is to keep electing the government we think we deserve, expecting better results, yet year after year we see the outcome.  Now our government has perpetrated the greatest crime of all.  I do not refer to the pitiable Kabuki of an “impeachment trial” meant to decapitate Grendell, and whimped out on by the ice cream empress Pelosi and all the whimpublicans in Congress. I refer to a Pentagon budget in the trillions while our people, if they are lucky enough still to have a job are paid starvation wages, while others die of starvation and disease, living in tents by the railroad tracks all over the United States because our government can’t be bothered to house them, or educate them out of their sad delusions, or help them learn how to think critically, or manage their finances to have a crack at basic survival.  That’s the crime behind our Golden Arch.

 

Of all industrialized nations, not only are we last in healthcare, we have the worst worker benefits. the worst income inequity, and we are by far the largest incarcerater in the world. We require forced  labor of prisoners at anywhere from 86 cents to $3.45 per day: in five states, prisoners are forced to work for free under the draconian provisions of the 13th amendment, many doing dangerous work, fighting California’s wildfires for example, work they are barred from doing on release.

 

And our life of crime is our chief export.  Making the rest of the world’s people miserable seems to be a specialty. Twenty years of misery exported to Afghanistan, more years in Iraq, bombing Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and those are just the wars for fun and profit. The economic wars spread their largesses to Venezuela, Haiti, Iran, 30 emiserated counties in all, not to mention Cuba. I leave Cuba with its now 60 year’s blockade for last because in my lifelong travels it is the only country I have visited that is a victim of U.S. economic sanction.  I can attest with my own eyes that the results look very much like a shooting war.  It just takes a little longer.

 

Like the Marshall Islands, whose people have been irradiated for all eternity, Haiti is another laboratory country, namely a country where we like to experiment with horror to see what effect it has on the people living there. Conveniently, laboratory countries are often populated by people of color. Thanks to the Clintons and many before and around them, Haiti now provides an excellent picture of what happens to a country when its president refuses to step down.  Jovenal Moise has been replaced one week ago; his people have taken to the streets. His police is arresting them as they demonstrate. Throughout his “presidency”, violence has been waged against opponents of his dictatorship. State sanctioned gangs have massacred people in opposition communities. Both police and military trained in repressive measures by (you guessed it) the United States, have attacked and arrested demonstrators and journalists, making use of live ammunition.

 

Thanks to the events of January 6 and February 13, Americans are now in a much better position to understand what that feels like. 

 

ACTION

 

 

Using e-mail and tweets, express support for Haiti to your representatives and public officials.

 

Demand Biden end economic sanctions worldwide.

 

Push Congress (remember them?) and Biden to undo #45’s damage.

 

Oppose Feinstein for voting for changes to social security.

 

THIS WEEK'S ROSES AMONGST THE THORNS

 

China and India announce joint troop withdrawal from Kashmir border.

 

Venezuela parliamentary commission charges Guidó.

 

Damning UN report urges UK to unfreeze Venezuelan gold.

 

UN Special Rapporteur urges U.S. to lift blockade against Venezuela.

 

Palestinian groups call on ICC to take swift action.

 

U.S. firms behind Agent Orange stand trial in France.

 

Claiming fight is not over, women’s rights activist  Loujain al-Hathloul released after 1000 days from Saudi prison.

 

With 10-point declaration, global coalition of top energy experts says 100% renewables is possible.

 

‘End this human atrocity’ says amnesty after Biden signals goal to close Gitmo.

 

Muslim Advocates files brief on #45’s anti-Muslim motives in detaining Gitmo prisoner.

 

GAO report shows Biden should scrap #45’s economic sanctions on Venezuela.

 

Under Biden, U.S. DOJ drops lawsuit filed under #45 challenging California’s net neutrality law, which could set the baseline for future federal rules.

 

Net neutrality to come back under Biden.

 

Applause as Biden plans ending Medicaid work requirements. targeting one of #45’s most cruel policies.

 

Thousands of advocates push Biden to end fossil fuel era.

 

Dems have massive COVID support so they can keep minimum wage hike.

 

New House bill reaffirms strong Congressional support for trillions in special drawing right as part of global COVID responses from Washington.

 

Mask wearing and lockdowns eliminate fluunivserities season this year.

 

Youth plaintiffs to take landmark case to Supreme court after Ninth Circuit denies en banc review to Juliana vs. U.S.

 

Ecologists and trade unionists demand just transition towards less air traffic.

 

Beyond Nuclear files federal lawsuit challenging high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Texas-New Mexico Border.

 

Attorneys and anti-nuclear groups ask Biden administration to take fresh look at risky plans for plutonium pits.

 

In  what might be one of the largest  antimonopoly cases of this century, Justice Department files antitrust action against Google and its parent, Alphabet for controlling more than 878% of US search market.

 

BAP Solidarity Network demands Biden end war in Afghanistan.

 

Biden removes all 10 members of anti-worker Federal Services Impasses Panel.

 

Bden can be pushed for fundamental change at USDA and beyond.

 

The Black anti-war movement demands Biden take concrete steps to end the wars at home and abroad.

 

At confirmation hearing, Sanders call out Neera Tanden’s vicious attacks on progressives.

 

Progressives applaud FAIR Act reintroduction aimed at ending ant-worker, anti-consumer forced arbitration.

 

New York’s new law covering 67,000 fast food workers is a leap forward for just cause for all.

 

N.Y.C. taxi drivers shut down Brooklyn Bridge in demand for debt forgiveness.

 

Calls continue to drop charges against the 646 mass-arrested on interstate 94 in Minneapolis.

 

Press freedom groups call on DOJ to drop Assange charges.

 

Free Assange demands grow as Biden DOJ says it will continue to seek extradition.

 

Amnesty International joins civil liberties groups to ask Biden to drop case against Assange.

 

Local Georgia prosecutor launches criminal probe into #45’s request to ‘find the votes.”

 

Study finds increase in anti-Zionism at U.S. universities.

 

Court rules Arkansas’ Israel boycott pledge law is unconstitutional.

 

Philadelphia educators defy district.

 

After threatening strike, Chicago teachers set ‘n standard’ with safer school reopening plan.

 

St. Louis inmates take over units after weeks of complaints.

 

Wrongly jailed Queens youth organizes own defense from prison.

 

In study detailing #45-inflicted death and misery Lancet panel declares Medicare for all only way forward.

 

B of A announces net-zero emissions target financing goal.

 

Climate activist target major banks in fight to defund toxic Line 3 Pipeline

 

Tribes reclaim control of national bison range at long last.

Newly elected Orleans Parish DA cleans house of predecessor’s filth.

 

Baltimore democratizes economy one ice cream pint at a time at Taharka Bros. worker-owned co-op.

 

Fences and protesters return to Berkeley’s People’s Park as UC tries bid to expand yet again.