Saturday, February 25, 2017



These agreements—for Te Urewera, formerly a national park in the territory of the Tuhoe iwi (tribe); and the Whanganui River settlement in the territory of the Whanganui iwi—also come with an official apology from the Crown for historic crimes against the land and the Maori people, and redress funding for new management based on Maori cosmology, community education and cultural revitalization. These laws are deeply rooted in the ancient culture and  spiritual traditions of the Maori, but as we learned, they are for everyone.

More than 350 events have been planned nationwide by Resistance Recess together with a coalition of 21 resistance organizations opposing the Trump agenda.

Nationwide demonstrations take place marking “presidents’” day.

New Mexico just joined ten other states, among them California passing a bill which, if enough states join can to form a majority abolishing the electoral college so that a constitutional amendment would not be required.

In her scathing resignation letter, Labowitz argues that Exxon Mobil’s approach undermines democratic principles. “I am disappointed that instead of examining its own record and seeking to restore a respected place for itself in the public debate, Exxon has chosen to turn up the temperature on civil society groups,” the letter reads.

The proposed changes would limit contract negotiations only to base wages, cutting out negotiations over issues such as health insurance, evaluation procedures, seniority-related benefits, vacation and overtime policies.

More than 120 Wisconsin business close down to protest to Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s immigration crackdown


Letter to President Barack Obama

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Chelsea Manning, Military and State Department Whistleblower [Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama as one of his last acts in office.]


The Hubris Of Endless Wars Brings Down Empires -- In The End

Reprinted by permission from Went 2 the Bridge
Image courtesy Anthony Freda
No war is really endless, though it can seem that way in comparison with the puny life span of humans. A span which wars typically make even more puny; just ask the relatives of nine babies, toddlers and children killed in Yemen by U.S. special forces on January 29.

Back in 2003 when Bush Jr. proposed to attack Iraq on the basis of lies about their offensive capabilities, millions around the globe poured into the streets to protest. The invasion happened anyway, and the U.S. is still there.

During the Obama years, liberals in the U.S. went silent. We were still in Iraq and Afghanistan (and building bases as fast as we could in Somalia and Sudan, and bombing Libya, and arming "moderate" rebels in Syria and "pivoting" toward Asia) and the Pentagon's share of budget was still climbing upwards from 50% of the total. But the commander in chief was handsome and his wife and daughters were beautiful and, besides, "terror" and "9/11" were words often heard from his lips.

Image courtesy Anthony Freda
So with the ascendance of the demogogue with bad hair I've been curious to see if people would flood back into the streets to protest the crippling costs -- environmental, f inancial or spiritual -- of U.S. wars that now seem designed to be endless.

Not seeing it.

Masses of white middle class women whose reproductive rights are threatened will not come out against wars. They mostly supported Hillary or Bernie, both of whom had long pedigrees as warmongers. Their privilege and lack of initiative in finding real news for themselves will continue to blind them.

But there are glimmers of hope.

(photo: Nony Dutton)
Alli McCracken and associates January 20, 2017 in Washington DC

A 20-something friend who recently left her job at an NGO reported that she has found plenty of young people in Washington DC organizing around anti-imperialism and committed to opposing wars and occupations. Pushing back against U.S. enabling of Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine is one aspect of their work, and this will surely become more important under the current regime.

Today I'm taking a meeting with two young people in Maine who responded to my "Open Letter to Young Organizers: I'm Against Imperial Wars, How About You?". My pitch was basically, I'll gladly support your issues and I invite you to consider supporting my opposition to wars.

Image courtesy Anthony Freda

Environmental advocacy is what young people care fervently about as they contemplate their future on a devastated planet. My job in my remaining years here is to connect the dots between militarism and pollution.

Decades of failing to count the carbon output (and other pollutants) generated  by the Pentagon and its contractors has enabled the elephant in the room to evade notice. As Professor Tom Hastings of Portland State University noted, each time a new administration comes into office, advances in holding the Pentagon accountable for its carbon footprint are swept away by the "new" regime.

Plenty of signals indicate the waging of war will continue apace no matter whether the occupant of the White House has a D or an R after his or her name.

An inaugural promise by the demagogue with bad hair to "eradicate completely from the face of the Earth" the threat of "radical Islamic terrorism" is idiotic of course. For one thing, terrorism is a strategy and not a thing that can be eradicted. Secondly, our relentless bombing and invading of oil-rich nations and strategically located nations has only produced (as predicted) far more radical Islamic warriors. As intended. How else to keep the profit mills spinning so that the CEOs of war profiteers like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin can continue to rake in the spoils of war?

Conversion to a peace economy is the only path forward out of this wilderness, but that possibility will be squelched and silenced by squeals about terror.

cartoon by Will Park

My friend organizer Bruce Gagnon is convinced that the master plan is to cut social programs to the bone to continue funding Pentagon-affiliated profit centers. This is hopeful in the sense that most people will not rise up and demand change until it is their ox that is being gored.

Are the powers that be just waiting until the elderly voters of the baby boom generation are out of the picture? I predict they will be amazed at the rising generations of resistance.

Kecia Lewis as Mother Courage in a 2016 production by the Classic Stage Company
German playwright Bertolt Brecht created his historical play Mother Courage and Her Children to comment on how a society at war makes everyone dependent upon the conflict even as it consumes its own young. Created in resistance to the rise of Fascism and Nazi warmongering, the setting is the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe from 1618 to 1648. It probably seemed endless to those who endured it.

In 2002 then U.S. Ambassador Richard Haass laid out the master plan in effect to this day:

There can be no exit strategy in the war against terrorism. It is a war that will persist. There is unlikely to be an Antietam, a decisive battle in this war. An exit strategy, therefore, will do us no good. What we need is an endurance strategy.

Ours is not the first empire to fall prey to this kind of hubris. Romans, Ottomans, Persians, Nazis, Japanese imperialists: all thought they were mighty unto eternity, and all wheezed to a halt when their resources had been exhausted.

Image courtesy Anthony Freda

This time the resource we exhaust may be the capacity of the planet to support our form of life. Earth may have the ultimate endurance strategy, and it many very well not include us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Nisei Concentration Camps & the Racist Roots of Immigration Today

Last Sunday, February 19, 2017, was the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 1066 ordering the round up of West Coast Japanese-American populations, forcing them to report to concentration camps.
Back in the early 1970’s, the University of Hawaii held what was the first major public event/exhibit documenting the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in 1942. The event included a several month long exhibition of images held at the U of H Manoa campus’s East-West Center. The entire top floor of the EWC’s (Jefferson Hall) presented images of the horrific experiences brought on by FDR’s Executive Order 1066. 
 The movement to expose the horror of what happened to Japanese Americans first started to take root in 1970 through the efforts of The Japanese American Citizen’s League, followed by the U of H event. The state has one of the largest Japanese communities that goes back to the 1860’s when Japanese workers arrived as sugar plantation laborers whose numbers eventually reached over 150,000. There was no attempt during World War II to incarcerate the Japanese in Hawaii. 
Because of growing concerns over Japan’s growing military expansion in Asia during the 1930’s, as early as 1936 Roosevelt ordered surveillance of  Japanese, but it really took off in 1939 with the FBI’s Custodial Detention List. The U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle discovered the list and ordered it closed. J. Edgar Hoover just renamed it and told agents not to talk about it; it was then used at the outbreak of the war. The list was maintained by the FBI and later merged with the anti-communist Agitator List that survived until 1978. Its modern version re-emerged after 9-11. 

 18 minute video by War Relocation Authority

California was to Asians what the South was to African Americans

Sadly, going back to the 1860’s the SF labor movement played a leading role fomenting racial hatred of Asians connected to their use by the Central Pacific to build the first continental railroad. A substantial part of this importation was conducted by U.S. Anglo businessmen including the Southern Pacific’s own steam ship business that set up indentured contracts in China bringing Chinese laborers here to work not only on the railroad but also on the construction of the Sacramento Delta’s levees. (After the floods of 1862 destroyed most of the levees a law passed in 1868 revoked the 320 acre size of farms, resulting in the corporate takeover of the state’s agricultural lands.) Mostly Chinese laborers rebuilt them. One of the most egregious examples of buried history in the last 25 years of the 19th century was the the importation of some 50,000 Asian girls to San Francisco where they lived and died in service of the sexual needs of both white and Asian men. Most never lived to reach the age of twenty. 

 Event: Bay Area 75th Anniversary Remembered

One of the leading racist organizations that led the hate-based campaign was the Japanese and Korean Exclusion League that was formed in 1905 in San Francisco primarily by labor leaders from the Construction Trades and Sailors Union (membership Included Andrew Furuseth,  PH McCarthy and Walter McArthur & Olaf Tveitmoe). The group was renamed the Asiatic Exclusion League in 1907. List of anti-Japanese groups in California.
At the height of the Progressive era, the state passed the 1913 California Alien Land Law that forbid Asians from owning agricultural land for more than 3 years. The act was expanded in 1920 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1923.
It was under President Coolidge that the country reached its height of racist anti-immigrant polices with the 1924 Immigration Act that included a complete ban on Asians. With the Bay Area led the battle cry, the Act added the Japanese to the list of already banned Chinese from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The Act also had complete bans on Arabs, Southern & Eastern Europeans and a partial ban on Africans. What was surprising, considering the broad extent of the ban, was that at the time it did not include any Latinos. The reason for its passage? 

 “to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity”

The SF Bay Area was home to some of the most extreme anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. right up to EO 1066 in 1942. For example, The San Francisco Chronicle on February 21, 1942 displayed just such an attitude of pro-Japanese-American internment, stating, “We have to be tough, even if civil rights do take a beating for a time”. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. See Below link on research the Seattle Labor community did to dig up the kind of virulent hatred spread around that region. I’ve not been able to find a similar documentary attempt for the Bay Area media, but the hysteria was spread by the media, special interest groups,  and political leaders across the West and nationally. 
The push for EO 1066 came from a report by General John DeWitt who was in charge of western U.S. defense HQ at the Presidio in SF. An investigation after the war disclosed that not a single instance of espionage by Japanese-Americans was ever found. The West Coast media rolled up its sleeves and spread anti-Japanese-American hysteria everywhere including the notion hatched by Frank Knox, Sec. of the Navy, of a Fifth Column within the country of Nisei ready to kill Americans in their beds at night. 
 (It must be acknowledged that during World War II Japan enslaved massive numbers of Asian peoples, including 10 million Chinese, 5.4 million Koreans and between 4–10 million Javanese.)

The 1934 General Strike was the first serious attempt to reverse racist behavior in the SF labor community. Asian Union locals in SF made attempts to join the labor council as early as 1910 but were ignored. Union leaders from Asia even attended state conventions in the hopes of bridging the racial divide, but to no avail, until 1950, when the SF Labor Council produced a multimedia slideshow titled “Men on the Job”, narrated by Hollywood movie star Keenan Wynn on race relations in the Labor Community. In the mid-fifties, the SF Labor Council teamed up with Jewish activists in SF and L.A. to set up a campaign that eventually led to the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1959. 
Sadly, the very same economic and racial tension that ignited the sandlot protests of San Francisco in 1877 are once again being used to attack immigrants in the U.S.; We now have very real concerns about where this country could be headed in a matter of months. All of which could come down to the ideologically deadlocked 4 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court.
At the height of anti-Chinese battles in San Francisco the regularly published SF WASP included dozens of racist images attacking Chinese people. Including images, like wanting to build a wall an example of history repeating itself. Other images documented how the use of Union Labels started with the war over Chinese vs. union made cigars. Click Here for more. The Bay Area has come a long way since its residents peered at other communities in peep shows of scantily clad minorities during the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Now For Something You'll Really Enjoy

In ways he never expected, Trump is actually making America great again.  Just look at the progress made since the election:

1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.

2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.

3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They're holding signs and marching every week.

4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone's forgotten he's kind of a jerk.

5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.

6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of anti-depressants.

7. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.

8. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.

9. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust and cognitive dissonance.

10. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.

11. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of power and how checks and balances work.

12. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.

13. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead. (See #6)

14. White people in record numbers also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act.

15. Stephen Colbert's "Late Night" finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today's Jon Stewart.

16. "Mike Pence" has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.

17. Trump has succeeded where thousands of history teachers failed - now everybody knows who Frederick Douglass was.

18. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.

19. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.

20. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.

21. Live streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.

22. Massive cleanup of facebook friend lists.

23. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell's "1984" increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)

24. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.

25. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017


We have our brave new coup to thank. It has finally woken the American sleepwalking public to political reality, a reality that has overtaken us more than 46 years ago. The only difference is that now, even the blind can see. Our resistance is late; we should have been in the streets 46 years ago. But—as they say—better late…..

Nation-wide protest: Carl Jr. workers take fightfor15 to Secy of Labor nominee, CEO Andy Puzder’s headquarters.

Vets return to Standing Rock as human shields. National call for mass mobilization.

Whistleblower pay off: National Security Adviser Flynn quits three weeks into the job.

80,000 March in Raleigh for Voting Rights.

Tenants together battles California displacement.

Dems Take Aim at hedge funds. Slap them with a tax increase.

Governing a large country is like frying small fish. Too much poking spoils the meat.      
                                                                                                —Lao Tse

Trump’s  Corporate Enabler:  The Media & How to Deal with It

Twenty days after the arrival of our very own Big Daddy-T-bagger, a substantial portion of the corporate media's normalization agenda is rolling out and confronting us. The big question is how much of the “Swamp” will it succeed in draining and how can it be countered? And what can we do about it?
In view of most of the major issues this country faces, we must confront the fact that role of the corporate media is to legitimize Big Daddy T and the elites set to control our two party duopoly.
Oscar Wilde wrote:
In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism.[source|
On the one hand, we might do well not to underestimate the current danger we face if it’s anything like what the authoritarian regime did to the secular media in Turkey after the 2016 coup as reported in this two part piece (Part I) - (Part II).  On the other hand, we could be facing a very different world if Big Daddy rips apart the internet and Network Neutrality, or the big media players try pulling off a sacrificial lamb attack like the Washington Post tried to do around Fake News. In themselves, these two events could launch a new level of oppression or result in a far bigger tent of ?neocon? allies. The question is how to sort out the media’s fake claim of “fair and balanced” vs. the unawareness—so far — of most people in this country as to  our present state of affairs, since so few of them are able to identify  the media as the single biggest lobbyist in D.C., a lobby that has long been against any attempt at election reform.

And why? Because the media make enormous sums from every election cycle, and they have no interest in reforming the way things operate.
For example, the media has routinely shown its power to distort perfectly legitimate protest, alienating public sympathy by foregrounding violence. And incidentally, particularly at this time, the Black Block issue should be resolved.  From U.C. To D.C., its subculture and violent public tactics must be addressed before the media manage to parlay them into a tragedy that will affect us all.
We have an urgent need to better understand and counter the media's unfair biases, less it assist this administration in avoiding coverage of any major issues from human rights, climate, environment, labor to local and international militarism
Bill Moyer's Movement Action Plan or the Eight Stages for a Successful Movement, offer an important tool, depending on the level of public awareness and support behind an issue, to help us determine what kind of tactics are appropriate. 
We need to counter corporate media's use of polls and focus groups as instruments of citizen manipulation, not so much with protest but with town hall forums and people-to-people organizing, online at home, or face-to-face. At the same time, if  the internet is still left to us as an organizing tool, we had better start understanding that the only global “one-to-many” news broadcasting tool we have is twitter – and we had better know how to use it to organize critical information and to put  our own set of news channels in place.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


California threatens to stop paying taxes to the Federal Govt. if funding for sanctuary cities is withdrawn. California takes in .73 cents for every dollar it disburses to the Federal Government.

Judge blocks Presidential ban to exclude immigrants nationwide.

Senators Collins & Murkowski will vote against DeVos  for Education BECAUSE OF PUBLIC PRESSURE.

Republicans back off giveaway of public land bill BECAUSE OF PUBLIC PRESSURE.

Defense of planet ruled no crime as activists are found not guilty.

and for what it’s worth


•Had it with DC? Calexit movement grows. Sign petition.

Groundgame: super example of tool for organizing nationwide

List of key words that trigger NSA’s prying eyes


The  termites and the ship worms have bored into government riding Mr. Cheeto’s coattails. The Nazi playbook is to exhaust protest through shock and awe, and once the opposition calls it quits, move in for keeps.

HOW YOU CAN RIVAL THE NSA: keeping our eyes open

Monitoring the coup-masters’ strategy.

Regulatory freeze pending review, Office of Mgmt & Budget, page 8346