Sunday, December 25, 2016

Little Mall of Horrors


Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to 4:30 PM

Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
(510) 238-3134

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being
Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal, environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.


“The historical record is full of sad journal entries about wildlife going to slaughter at human hands with no apparent understanding of the predator-prey relationship.”

I have no recollection of where I read this, but I read it recently, and I connected it immediately to what we are about to experience under a Trump Residency.

The Resident-to-be has the attention span of a cockroach, and the ability to make up whatever statement suits the moment with a liar’s tongue longer than an ardvaark’s.

On the campaign media circus, the Resident-to-be pledged to appoint the very best people to help him run the business of the country. Hereare their qualifications: wealth beyond the dreams of Croesus; a medalled military resume; and/or determination to  scuttle the agency they’ve been appointed to lead. The combined assetsof this cabinet happens to be just north of $14.6 billion, equal to more than a third of American households.


For those among our population of over 300,000,000 who are inclined to lay back and “wait and see,” there is no need to wait any longer.  Trump’s cabinet contains a sufficient number of gargoyles to remodel Notre Dame." For a GARGOYLE GALLERY, see below.

The slog ahead will be a long one. Things will not magically turn around after 49 Bardo days. We are in—minimally—for the next eight years. All the demonstrations scheduled for D.C. and around the country are just the juicy foretaste, the opening salvo.

The message must be given the positive frame that should backbone any long-range campaign. Derail Trump with

• peace
• a living wage
• quality education
• affordable housing
• universal healthcare
• solar energy, wind energy,
• energy efficiency
• state banks, postal banks
• worker owned cooperatives
• boycotts and general strikes
• campaigns against mass incarceration, illegal deportations, torture, militarization, nuclear war, war in space, etc.


Massive resistance to Trump is taking a full spectrum of forms from people still trying to work within a moribund system (leaning on members of congress. Letters, letters to editors; visits to congresspersons. Working within the dinosaur-Democratic party framework) to more effective resistance coming from outside the system. A host of political groups is resisting the Trump agenda and planning to demonstrate in DC timed to the “unnauguration:”

Petition for the stay-at-homes:




Here the collection in all its smarmy detail:

Secretary of “Defense” James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Four star commander of Centcom, served in the Marines. Famous quote:  It’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot [Afghans}. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them….It’s a hell of a hoot. Net worth: only $2.9 billion.

Mike Pompeo. Director of the CIA. Graduate of West Point, and Harvard Law. Editor of the Law Review (in the tradition of another editor of Harvard law review who became a famous violator of internal law.)  Swept into Congress by the Tea Party wave of 2010.

Scott Pruitt. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has sued the EPA twice. A climate denier who fought the expansion of the Clean Water Act. A loyal buddy of the oil and gas industries.

John Kelley. Secretary of Homeland Security (that’s Heimat Sekuritat). Former Marine, four star general, head of U.S. Southern Command
(Southcom). He intends cutting anti-war Americans no slack. Quote: “These people are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation.”

Rick Perry. Secretary of Energy. Ex-Governor of Texas, U.S. most progressive state. Failed Dancing with the Stars contestant (came in second to last).
This guy has no idea that he’ll be overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He’ll be sitting in the catbird seat if Trump follows his promise to engage in a nuclear arms race. He forgot the name of the agency he proposes to abolish.

Rex Tillerson. Secretary of State. He’s an ex-Exxon/Mobil CEO. He’s hot on the trail of oil and gas contracts with Russia. He supports the fossil fuel industry. The timing isn’t quite right now that glaciers are melting in the European Alps, the Andes, Alaska and the Arctic. Net worth: $150 million.

Steven Mnuchin. Secretary of the Treasury. Former Goldman Sachs partner. Foreclosed on a 90=year old woman over a 27-cent bookkeeping error. He has plans to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Co- founder of One West Bank, known as a foreclosure machine. Net worth: $46 million.

Wilbur Ross. Secretary of Commerce. Former investment banker, known as the “king of bankruptcy” for buying up failing companies in the steel, coal and textile sectors, and selling them at a profit at the substantial expense of workers, and worker safety when one of the mines he purchased in Sago, West Virginia exploded, killing 12 miners. Net worth: only $2.9 billion.

Linda McMahon. Administrator of Small Business Administration. No political experience other than as member of Connecticut Board of Education 2009-2010. Net worth: a shabby $500 million compared to her husband’s $1.14 billion.

Elaine Chao. Secretary of Transportation. Moved from banking to the Reagan White House. Married to Mitch McConnell. Member of Wells Fargo (holds a position in Energy Transfer Partners-Dakota Access Pipelines funder) board of Directors. Responsible for monitoring the bank’s actions and leadership during the time the bank created millions of fake accounts. Net worth: $22.2 million.

Ryan Zinke. Secretary of the Interior. Former Navy SEAL. A confirmed climate denier and champion of fossil fuels. Maybe he’ll want to mine the Grand Canyon, and clear cut the Tongass National Forest.

Ben Carson. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Vocal opponent of some of HUD’s initiatives such as desegregating public housing, critical of social safety-net programs such as rental assistance, public housing, and various community development grants. Lacks any housing experience. But plenty of net worth: $26-30 million.

Tom Price. Health Secretary. A strident critic of Affordable Care Act which he intends to dismantle. Rated Zero by Planned Parenthood which calls him “a direct threat to women’s health and rights.” Member of American Physicians and Surgeons which claims among other things that HIV does not cause AIDS, that Obama may have won the Residency by hypnotizing voters, and that doctor participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs is evil and immoral. Net worth: $13.6 million.

Betsy DeVosSecretary of Education. Has zero experience in public education, never attended a public school, nor has she been a parent of a public school students. She continues to ignore the student debt problem. Promoted a program of unregulated vouchers and for-profit charter schools that failed students, parents, and teachers in Michigan. Wants to expand these policies nationwide. DeVos’ group was fined $5.3 million 10 years ago for breaking Ohio election law, still owes Ohio taxpayers monies which could help fund Ohio’s underfunded public schools. Net worth: $5.1 billion

Andrew Puzder. Secretary of Labor. Opposes minimum wage increase, overtime pay, and advocates replacing workers with machines. As CEO of Hardee’s/Carl, Jr., he’s paid more in one day than many workers make in a whole year. His restaurants have been charged with 98 federal or state safety violations. He opposes unions and unionizing, and considers labor just an “extra cost.” Annual salary: $4 million.

Jeff Sessions. Attorney General. Killed both congressional attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. His score on LGBT issues is zero, and an F from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (relating to mass incarceration for drug offenses). He was rejected for a federal judgeship for intensely racist remarks. Net worth: $7.52 million.

Junior gargoyle #18. Nikki Haley. Ambassador to the UN. She’s just a locum tenens. Her replacement as Governor of South Carolina is one of Trump’s earliest supporters, Henry McMaster. Her nomination will be a shoo in.

David Friedman. Ambassador to Israel. He never saw an illegal settlement he didn’t like, rejects a two-state solution, and knows zero about diplomacy. He’s fine with Israel confiscating all remaining Palestinian territory.

Gargoyle-in-waiting #20. Sylvester Stallone. Trump pick for Director of the NEA.  He’s made a career playing tough-guy, jingoistic cinema heroes. But he’s playing hard to get. Maybe Trump will have to grease the Rambo skids.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Nation so Conceived

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived…can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live.  But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.... the brave men, living and dead, (and the women and children) who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above out poor power to add or detract….

Quite often great writers don’t know what they’re writing.  Only with the passage of years does the meaning become plain.  Can a nation so conceived on the genocide of native peoples, men women and children long endure?

Now we are assembled on a great “battlefield,” Standing Rock. But to the Sioux it is not a “battlefield.” It is sacred ground, ground consecrated by the lives of their ancestors who lived and died and were buried there.

But it has drawn the white man’s battle lines once more, between brother who may be ordered to slay brother, as this youtube of Michael Wood, one of the veteran organizers of the veterans mobilization at Standing Rock makes plain.  In the video below, he describes on the Jimmy Dore show how the veterans plan to meet the order to disperse coming down tomorrow, December 5.

This war is not a war between men and men. This is a conflict between people and an inanimate set of pipe segments about to be laid beneath a water supply impacting millions downriver when (not if) it leaks. Because inanimate objects, like people, also leak. Because they are designed by people who leak.

If this pipeline is to be averted for good it will be because the veterans have finally understood: this is not a fight, not like the gladiator contest they were trained to “win.” This is  hallowing of sacred ground.  Until all men, all people, white and of color recognize the hallowing, the earth will not live eternal.  Only her hallowing can ever guarantee it.

Michael Wood is a former marine who with army vet Wesley Clark, Jr. put out the call for vets all over the country to stand with the water protectors of standing rock as UNARMED human shields.

Listening to these two youtubes is well worth your time this morning. Hear Michael Wood saying of these veterans “They’re really serving for the first time ever” because they feel that this is the first time they will be defending the American people. By serving in the U.S. armed forces they have been defending the interests of Standard Oil, of pipelines, “securing” (read stealing) resources for the interests of the United States oligarchy. Interestingly there is no command structure. In other words, as an alternative to hierarchy, the vets are proposing a horizontal structure, characterized by cooperation. So many vets applied, just in terms of logistics, and of quartermastering a cut-off of 2000 had to be established

Another realistic view of the danger of the situation unfolding, a pipeline whistleblower describes the scene at Standing Rock.

Meanwhile scores of people all over the country have been arrested protesting the Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline:

Tune in tomorrow. This is a historical event, unprecedented in the long, genocidal course of U.S. history, as recognized by Margaret Flowers writing in Popular Resistance today. “What is happening in Standing Rock is powerful on many levels. The resistance efforts are courageous and persistent. The solidarity is widespread. The struggle there has the potential to be a turning point in five hundred years of American Genocide, in the fight to protect the planet and to set the stage for years ahead.”


Boycott ACE hardware for refusing to sell propane to the water protectors at Standing Rock.

Call Resident Obama.  If you call early enough, you may get him out of bed:
Sample script: I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the water protectors defending their sacred land and water against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is your job to take responsibility for protecting people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Rights against the attacks of law enforcement, and to reject a pipeline that imperils the water supply for millions of people downriver.

Lend support to the vets whose go-fund campaign for essential supplies and be sure to watch the video of Michael Wood speaking.

Nominate Gov. Dalrymple Hypocrite of the Year.


Saturday, December 17 from 3 to 4:30 PM
Redwood Gardens
2951 Derby St. @ Piedmont, Berkeley

Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 3 to 4:30 PM

Oakland Main Public Library
125 14th Street
(510) 238-3134

Book Launch: Cecile Pineda's Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being

Cecile Pineda touches on issues of displacement, personal, environmental and cultural, as she talks about 40 years of the writing life, the breakthroughs, the discouragements, and the daily practice. She will read and sign copies of Three Tides: Writing at the Edge of Being. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. 
Pineda is widely recognized as the winner of the Gold Medal from the California Commonwealth Club and nominee for the 2015 Neustadt International Prize.