Sunday, April 30, 2017

What’s Killing Life On The Planet

Aside from being focused on the Western mind, and the Western way of doing things, this week’s newsletter examines militarization, and pipelines, linking them to climate collapse, and the over-all need to de-carbonize the economy. Both issues point to a PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT. If that sounds like the blind men palpating the elephant, by the last sentence, elephant anatomy should become clear.

Today the Bay Area joined many other U.S. cities celebrating April 29 in the biggest ever turnout for re-claiming the climate the Bay Area has ever seen. In the process of handing out nearly 300 flyers—two even went to Barbara Lee, our stand-alone voice for restraint in the US congressional cowboy cabal—I stumbled on any number of people I knew. Stumbled because most of the time the crowd was so dense, I couldn’t even see where I was going, let alone where they were coming from.

(For additional facts and links and how you can reprint both two-sided flyers—they’re open source—see below).

And before any of that happened, I formed part of a ragged little band of uppity Code Pinkers shutting down a Wells Fargo Bank, one of some 20 banks capitalizing Energy Transfer Partners, the corporation backing the Dakota Access Pipeline. “You won’t mind if we just run this pipeline through your bank,” we shouted as we unspooled a 20-foot long collapsible black pipe displaying the message #DIVEST FROM SUPPORTING THE DAPL.

Trump’s technocrats to the contrary, the culture seems finally to have made the connection that human activity is causing global warming and eventual climate collapse. In the history of human affairs this ideational breakthrough parallels that other great aha! moment, when some less-than-dim-wit discovered that certain human activity refreshes the supply of tiny humans.

Fact: In its efforts to “secure” (Ambrose Bierce: secure-steal) the oil under their sands, the Pentagon burns 340,000 barrels of oil a day, 80% of Federal energy demand, creating a spiraling vicious circle: the more oil under their sands, the more oil gets burned getting it. 

We need to think about the connection between warmaking and climate collapse.. As the planet heats up, there will be massive displacement, resulting in massive civil unrest. Power of the people to push back requires a nation-wide PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT.

Military Fossilization’s evil twin: Civilian Pipelines

Fact: Pipelines and their construction is the CIVILIAN TWIN OF THE PENTAGON. At the height of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, the National Sheriff’s Association lobbied for more military gear and (under the auspices of FEMA “Garden Plot” and “Cable Splicer”) law enforcement officials began pouring into North Dakota.

The PennEast Pipeline would lead to annual emission of 49 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent like adding 14 coal plants or 10 million passenger vehicles; the Atlantic Coast pipeline would harm agricultural producers, and lead to annual emissions of over 69 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, like adding 20 coal plants or 14 million passenger vehicles; the Mountain Valley Pipeline would lead to annual emissions of over 89 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, like adding 26 coal plants or 19 million passenger cars, and in the Appalachian Basin, there are 19 key new proposed natural gas pipelines. Not to mention inevitable “spills.” Just this week, Energy Transfer Partners Rover Pipeline Project spilled 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into the Ohio wetlands. I all, FERC approved 38 new pipelines in 2016.

VIDEO: Outdoor theater spices up 2012 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill protest

The movement to de-carbonize the climate needs to find itself under the
PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT, pushing back against the two evil twins: Pentagon and Pipelines (This newsletter’s Cowboys & Indians, Part I addresses how corporations appropriating ancestral native American lands to lay pipelines opened up yet another chapter of the American Indian Wars. Part II describes how FEMA used the reservation to develop population control procedures).

The time to organize a massive PEACE IN ACTION MOVEMENT is NOW.


Move your money to a credit union, or other institution not capitalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Write your retirement fund urging it to divest from supporting pipeline infrastructure, complicit banks, and warmaking industries.

Join (or start) a people’s budget initiative in your community.

*Use outdoor theater strategy to bring your point home

Reproduce and circulate the two-sided flyers copied below:


Please consider withdrawing your money if you bank at any of these institutions:

Citibank (CitiGroup)             Bank of America                    Tangerine Bank
Wells Fargo                            JP Moran Chase                     Royal Bank of Scotland
Barclays                                  Sumitomo Mitsui Bank         BBVA Securities
Deutsche Bank                      Societe General                      Bank of Nova Scotia
Morgan Stanley                     Credit Suisse                          Royal Bank of Canada          
Bank of Tokyo                        Intesa SanPaolo                     Citizen’s Bank           
Goldman Sachs                      UBS HSBC Bank                     Comerica Bank
TD Securities                         Natixis                                                U.S. Bank
Credit Agricole                       BayernLB                               PNC Bank
Bank of the West                   ICBA London                          SMBC Nikko Securities
DNB Capital/ASA                   ABN Amro Capital                 DNB Capital
Mizuho Bank                          Sun Trust                               Origin Bank
and writing to their headquarters (see  for names & addresses) explaining why; and please re-deposit your money at your local credit union.
For other redeposit suggestions:


If you contribute to or benefit as a retiree from a pension fund please consider urging your fund managers to divest from any entities capitalizing the DAPL.

Here is a sample letter:

It has come to my attention that ________ fund benefits from the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, and other entities capitalizing pipelines:
I cannot in right conscience benefit from retirement funds so-derived because:
1. Fossil fuels are contributing to climate collapse.
2. The probability is that an oil leak will contaminate the water that over six million (that’s 6,000,000) people depend on for drinking, irrigating, cooking and eating.
3. The land is designated by the Sioux as a sacred site.  
4. The DAPL was re-rerouted through indigenous lands ceded by the U.S. to the Sioux Nation by the treaties of Fort Laramie of  1851 and 1868.
5. The so-called easement allowing the pipeline to run through Standing Rock is illegally issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
For these reasons, your board has the imperative necessity to divest forthwith of all entities capitalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline and all other pipelines.
Thank you.


Speak out about how militarism’s consumption of fossil fuel impacts the climate.
Engage in discussions reminding others of the cost of waging wars in terms of fuel consumption and resulting pollution of air, water and soils.

Remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and war contractors in contributing to planetary warming.

Join (or start) a people’s budget initiative in my community.

Reduce my and my household’s consumption.

Reprint and circulate this flyer.

Flowers Amidst This Week’s Thorns

For the third time, a Trump immigration policy has been struck down on unconstitutional grounds by Judge William H. Orrick of the 9th District Court.  What about unconstitutional don’t they get?

News comes from the good-for-nothing Dems that a majority of House Dems now support medicare for all bill. Shall we hold our breath?

Louisiana Governor John Edwards calls his state’s disappearing coastline an emergency hoping to draw attention to the issue of global warming.

Bay Area Non-profit Project Equity transforms businesses into worker-owned cooperatives.
California may lead the way to universal health care. Sen. Ricardo Lara and Sen. Toni Atkins lead the way.

Ninth Circuit upholds Berkeley cell phone warning law: radio frequency radiation may be bad for your brain tumors.

City of San Francisco at work to create its own net neutrality on the assumption that the internet is a right for all.

Cities to divest from Wells Fargo: Alameda, Davis, and now Berkeley is expected to join them, moving its money to the public bank of Oakland now on the drawing board.

District of Columbia indemnifies Occupy DC activists for overlooking their civil rights, arresting them at Bank of America subprime mortgage protest.

Visionary police reforms in Providence, RI, provide an example for the rest of the country.

Berkeley Energy Group is putting coal miners back to work installing the largest solar project in Appalachia on top of a closed mountaintop strip mine, just one example of a massive  retooling of the energy industry throughout the country.

Because it’s Harvard: Harvard U elects to “pause” its investments in some fossil fuels.

Brazil calls a general strike to oppose austerity measures and serious curtailment f workers’ rights. Can you say greve geral?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cowboys and Indians - Part II

Part II. U.S. Experiments with Genocide 

(Cowboys and Indians, Part I. Bringing Manifest Destiny to points south east and west made the point that the U.S., deprived of its Indian Wars, would suffer an identity crisis. Where the Wild West no longer exists, it has to export the product.) 

Dunbar-Ortiz’ An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States quite naturally lead me to A Little Matter of Genocide, published in 1997 by Ward Churchill, a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. He equates the history of the illegal appropriation of those reservation lands originally ceded by the US. government by treaty to develop nuclear weapons to a pattern of internal colonization, colonization in the sense of exploitation of a people in order to extract their resources at no cost to the colonizer, and at great cost to those so colonized.


Whose sacrifice, whose discipline?


Over ninety percent of the uranium mined in the United States during the Cold War was extracted from reservation land, going back to 1950 when Truman followed Recommendation 68 of the National Security Council calling “for comprehensive restructuring of the U.S. economy to accommodate a massive and perpetual military  buildup with emphasis on nuclear weapons…[entailing] a drastic reduction of Federal expenditures for purposes other than defense [sic]]…by the deferment of certain desirable [civic] programs, requiring a large measure of sacrifice and discipline [on the part] of the American people.”  Maybe not at first.  That distinction would go to Native Americans. The program was designed (initially) to force the Soviet Union into bankruptcy. But even after the demise of the Cold War, as the program has grown exponentially, it is bringing the people of the U.S. close to bankruptcy, evidenced by our homelessness, lack of available employment, massive student debt, unaffordable housing, collapsing infrastructure, off-shoring of jobs, exhorbitant (or unavailable) healthcare, substandard education, and the deficits brought about by so-called “free trade agreements”  to labor and to the environment.

While assembling the infrastructure of the military/industrial/scientific complex that resulted in the nuclear age, the U.S. government required an abundant supply of uranium; areas in which it could be processed and converted into weapons; areas in which they could be tested; and dump sites where the waste products could be stored or disposed of. It looked to keeping its most damaging consequences remote and out of view of all but its most expendable population. Until now its economic consequences have been felt most acutely by a population sacrificed both in terms of its land, and its physical and mental wellbeing, the Native American population.

Uranium Mines
Increasing rates of birth defects, notably cleft palate and Downs Syndrome have been documented on mine-adjacent reservations. Children living in such locations show five times the incidence of bone cancer compared to the national average, and ovarian cancer proliferates at seventeen times the norm. Radioactive mine tailings have contaminated soils and water through drainage and wind dispersal, and even being repurposed to build Indian community centers, housing complexes and roads.

A tailing dam failure released more than a hundred million gallons of highly contaminated water in the Rio Puerco, a drinking source for Diné people and their cattle. Kerr McGee, the corporation responsible, had been aware of cracks in the dam at least two months prior to its rupture, but had failed to repair it. The company refused to supply the Diné with uncontaminated drinking water, forcing it to eat the meat of its contaminated stock.

In its search for an area more suitable for nuclear weapons testing, and without consulting the Western Shoshone (the Newe), on whose land including sacred sites it happened to be, the AEC and the Pentagon fastened on a tract in the upper Sonoran desert region of Nevada, claiming that it “really wasn’t much good for anything but gunnery practice—you could bomb it into oblivion and never notice the difference.” Military ranges in Nevada amount to over four million acres. Indigenous people have been displaced, and their sacred lands have been “bombed, strafed and shelled relentlessly for over 50 years,” according to Churchill.

In search of MRS (monitored retrievable storage) sites the government manipulated Indian reservations through the puppet governments established by the Bureau of Indian affairs to accept nuclear waste. Its efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Leon Bear, a tribal member had this to say by way of explanation:
"People need to understand that this whole area has already been deemed a waste zone by the federal government, the state of Utah and the country….Within a 40-mile radius there are three hazardous waste dumps and a low level radioactive waste dump. From all directions…we’re surrounded by [the county’s] waste, the state of Utah and U.S. society."
Moab Uranium Mine next to Colorado River
$1 Billion cleanup of abandoned uranium mine endangering the Southwest's water

Churchill quotes Native American  Grace Thorpe: "The U.S. government targeted Native Americans for several reasons: their lands are some of the most isolated in North America, they are some of the most impoverished and consequently most politically vulnerable citizens, and perhaps most importantly, tribal sovereignty can be used to bypass state    environmental laws.…After centuries of attempting to destroy it, the US. government is suddenly interested in promoting Native American sovereignty—just to dump its lethal garbage."   

More than half a billion tons of contaminated mill tailings deposited in over 200 locations in the Four Corners area, prompted a Los Alamos team to recommend “zoning” uranium mining and milling districts, barring them to human habitation. The concept of “zoning” closely resembles the concept of “enclosure” by which the commons became gradually unavailable to English farming communities in the eighteenth century. Shortly thereafter, a study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that desert lands subjected to strip mining could never be reclaimed. Its logical outcome was the formation of a “secret federal ‘policy option’ declaring the Four Corners and …the Black Hills… ‘national sacrifice areas in the interest of energy development.’ These areas happened to contain the largest and second largest concentrations of reservation dwelling Indians in North America.” American Indian Movement leader Russell Means responded that to “sacrifice the landbase of landbased peoples is tantamount to sacrificing the peoples themselves.., a prospect he aptly described as genocide.”

Canary in the Coal Mine 

Churchill makes the point that by designating desert land for nuclear waste dumps, and creating of it a sacrifice zone in perpetuity, the U.S. has effected the collateral genocide of a colonized population. Furthermore, he likens the role Native Americans have played to that of the canary in the coal mine. “By using native people essentially as guinea pigs for experiments in socioeconomic and political engineering, federal policy makers have been able to assess the relative degrees of efficacy and consequence attending implementation of their ideas. Based upon these results, the government can tune its programs, enhancing their effectiveness and reducing the least appearance of likely costs to acceptable levels before exporting them to the broader U.S. society” as well as applying them abroad.

If Native Americans can be sacrificed, who’s next? For example, “two operational plans for domestic counterinsurgency, code named ‘Garden Plot’ and ‘Cable Splicer,’ each of them utilizing combinations of federal state, and local police as well as military personnel and private vigilante organizations to quell ‘civil insurrections,’ were field tested against the American Indian Movement on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the mid-‘70s.…Both plans were incorporated into the contingency inventory of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)” in 1981 under Reagan, and continue operative to this day.

But Churchill climaxes his argument as he cites the Geneva Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. He emphasizes that the Convention as we know it today is the result of pressure brought to bear by the U.S. government to gut the original text by deleting provisions defining cultural and economic genocide. The original draft aimed to protect racial, national, linguistic, religious and political groups. It even called for punishment of all forms of public propaganda tending to promote genocide. And it called for an international tribunal to try such cases that states were unwilling to try. Under physical genocide, besides listing mass extermination, it included such “slow death” measures as subjection to conditions of life which, owing to lack of proper housing, clothing, food, hygiene and medical care or excessive work or physical exertion are likely to result in the debilitation or death of individuals….

Homeless encampment
Biological genocide (before the U.S. gutted it) was defined as restricting the births of a group, including segregation of the sexes (the American prison industrial complex which severely restricts the Black gene pool might be an example in point).

It defined cultural genocide as destruction of specific characteristics of the group, including forced transfer of children to another human group (examples are the American Indian schools, and the adoption of the infants of political prisoners by the Pinochet regime), prohibition of the national language (as was practiced in the American Indian schools) or religious works, systematic destruction of historical or national monuments, or their diversion to alien uses (a good example is the Dakota Access Pipeline, planned to run through Sioux sacred lands), to cite only a few of the Convention’s original provisions.

Churchill makes the point that already by 1959 the concentration of wealth among the Pentagon’s preferred contractors guaranteed their control over resources and populations not only at home but abroad as well. He compares global hegemony to that ruling the internal colonies of Native North America, suggesting a pattern of experimentation in more expendable areas first, in order to develop more wide-reaching policies later.

The Future R Us.

For additonal uranium resources:  Energy Net Uranium Project

This Fortnight’s Flowers Amidst the Thorns

New York State’s Gov. Cuomo denies permit for Northern Access Pipeline in victory for New Yorkers and the entire planet!

New York State becomes the first to offer free tuition to students of low and middle income families at its public universities and community colleges.

Federal judge, Nelva Ramos Gonzales rejects DOJ request for delay on Voter ID law.

Democrat Jeff Ossoff wins in a heavily Trump Georgia District.

On April 3, the California State Senate passed the California Values Act (SB 54) -- a groundbreaking law that would prevent state resources from being wasted on needless deportations.

Massachusetts and Tennessee consider bills to keep parents out of jail and with their children.

State of Massachusetts throws out 21,000 drug convictions based on a nine-year history of tampered evidence.

Edison agrees to negotiate rather than sue to protect their permit to leave over 3 million pounds of nuclear waste stored at San Onofre  yards away from the Pacific Ocean.

The Chuitna coal project in Alaska put to rest after an investor backs out, preserving indigenous territory for humans and for animal habitat.

Raul Grijalva of Arizona joins Center for Biological Diversity in suit that could delay  construction of The Great Wall for several years.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cowboys and Indians:

Part I.  Bringing Manifest Destiny to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and points south, west and east.


Before rooting out psychotic behavior, it’s useful to get to the bottom of it. Now that the hounds of war are braying for expanded armed conflict in Syria through their mass media mouthpieces, (including Noam Chomsky and Democracy Now), laying responsibility for a false flag sarin attack on the Assad government to justify yet another endless war, it might be a good idea to get a grip on just where the American trigger-response for bloodlust originates. (Meantime, a Russian war ship is steaming toward the US destroyers that launched the Syria strikes.)

Who knew—did you?—that the behind-the-enemy-line expression “in country “ is short for Indian Country? I was one of millions of oblivious Americans until I read* Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States published in 2014. This expression, which continues to be used by both military and media, originated in Vietnam. Its on-going use is there to remind us of the origins US warmaking history.

Fernando Botero: "Village Bombardment"
Dunbar-Ortiz points out that the American-Indian wars are still on-going. (More recently Americans witnessed events at Standing Rock where once again, the Sioux have been displaced from land rightfully theirs according to the Treaties [1851 and 1868] of Ft. Laramie.) What has ended on domestic soil is the romance of the frontier. And without the frontier, America has serious identity problems. Solution? Just expand the frontier globally with 200,000 troops actively deployed in 177 countries throughout the world(of a 1.1 million total troops on active duty), practicing the same scorched earth, and high collateral damage (civilian) body counts that characterized the American Indian genocide so that by the turn of the 21st century, the US military machine had overrun the entire earth, ready to wage take-no-prisoners war in five command areas, just as it had originally divided up Indian territory.

Dunbar-Ortiz goes on to cite numerous other parallels. In 2011 a Yemeni citizen imprisoned at Guantanamo appealed his conviction. The lawyer for the Pentagon, Capt. Edward S. White, wrote a brief in which he referenced the Indian wars: “Not only was the Seminole belligerency unlawful, but, much like modern-day al Qaeda, the very way in which the Seminoles waged war against U.S. targets violate the customs and usages of war.” The U.S. government stood by its precedent.

Botero displaying his torture art work
Perhaps the most shocking is the connection between the notorious August 1, 2002 John Yoo torture memos which legitimized the use of torture as national policy, relying on the language of the Supreme Court 1873 opinion naming Modoc warriors “unlawful combatants,” an expression it applied to Modoc Indian prisoners who, once so-identified, could be killed with impunity.

While the frontier proceeded outward, at first colonization proceeded inward, with the United States subjugating its darker native peoples, as “domestic, dependent nations,” from whom its “interests” demanded exploitation of that peoples’ lands and resources. The impunity continues. According to Ward Churchill writing 20 years ago, the US had already expropriated over 4 million acres of reservation land for weapons testing, land which is now contaminated for all eternity with nuclear fallout, causing cancer rates on some reservations 16 times greater than normal. Its domestic supply of subjugees exhausted, the US looked to exporting the same oppressions in such areas of the world as the Philippines, Diego Garcia, the Marshall Islands (also nuclear-contaminated for all eternity), Guam, and Hawaii among others.

With the civil rights movement of the 60s, came the Indigenous movements for self determination, emblemized by the Indian take over of Alcatraz Island in November of 1969. Here is the text of the treaty proposed by the Native American occupiers of Alcatraz: “We the Native Americans, reclaim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.

We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealing with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty:

We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars (24) in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago.
We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of the land for their own to be held in trust by the American Indians Government and by the Bureau of Caucasian Affairs to hold in perpetuity—for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down to the sea.
We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, our life-ways, in order to help them achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state….” (Don’t you wish they’d succeeded? I’m sure the Syrians and the Yemenis and many others do.)

The fun poking was balanced by serious demands to establish a center for Native American studies, an Indigenous spiritual center, an Indian center for Ecology, a training school that would operate a restaurant and provide job training and employment, market indigenous art, and teach “the noble and tragic events of Indian history”.., and a memorial to remind visitors that the island had initially been established to imprison and execute California Indian resisters to US assault on their peoples. No where, in any of this Indigenous expression is there any trace of animus.

To quote Vine Deloria (of the Sioux Nation): “Name if you can the last peace the United States won. Victory, yes, but this country has never made a successful peace because peace requires exchanging ideas, concepts, thoughts, and recognizing the fact that two distinct systems of life can exist together without conflict.”

The overriding question is when and if the US will ever come to a place where it makes war no more. If such a phenomenon were ever to occur, the US would finally have to confront its founder’s guilt: the genocide upon which this country was established based on a racism which still infects its domestic and foreign policies.

*Recently I exchanged messages with a respected colleague who wrote that she keeps Dunbar-Ortiz’ book on her bedside table but can’t quite stomach reading it. I admit for me reading it has been a penitential act, but for those of the many of us who are sick unto death of eternal war, I offer a suggestion: Read it backwards. Start with the last forty-three pages. They will fortify you to attack the first chapters for background. And once you’ve closed the book, consider buying 500 copies for distribution to America’s school children whose brains are still being stuffed with settler-nation myths.

Please tell Speaker Ryan to let Congress debate & vote on military intervention in Syria. 59 tomahawks cost 82 million dollars, an expensive way to kill 8 children. Think of how many homeless that 82 million could house.



The newsletter will take  a spring break before outlining a basic scheme to put an end to militarism and publishing Part II: Cowboys and Indians: the Chickens Come Home to Roost.

This Week’s Flowers Amongst the Thorns:

Ecuador rejects neoliberalism: Moreno, the people’s candidate, wins.

Environmental groups join Native Americans to sue over Trump’s Keystone X permit.

Killer circle loses one of its own: Steve Bannon exits the NSA.

Twenty top US cities solar energy equals nearly as much installed solar as the entire US in 2010.

US District Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed ExxonMobil’s lawsuit challenging climate change probes by NY and Massachusetts attorneys general.

City of Portland becomes first US city passing an ordinance taxing CEOs who earn more than 100 times the median pay of their workers. The taxes so levied will raise enough to pay for the city’s homeless programs.

elected Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Baltimore Consent Decree approved by US District Judge despite administration’s request for a delay.

Dyed-in-the-red Colorado Springs goes blue in recent city council election.

LGBTQ employees protected by federal civil rights act, 7th Circuit Appeals Court rules. 

Berkeley Public Library Advocate efforts pay off as Berkeley City Council votes—at 11:40 PM—April 4 to oust unresponsive library trustees.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Acting Up for Peace

Now that this administration in all its wisdom has reallocated $54 billion away from services and entitlements to increased military activity and swung a wrecking ball against the Paris climate agreement, it’s time to take a serious, informed look at the role militarism, and warfare play in contributing to climate collapse and ending life on this, Our Earth.

The word Peace may evoke passivity, but Acting Up for Peace prompts engagement. Until we reach critical mass awareness that PEACE is an ACTIVE force for reversing climate change, we will continue turning out for the climate, and staying  home for peace. We need to highlight this life-affirming linkage as part of the April 29 nationwide climate mobilization.

“Peace” is not the opposite of war.

The opposite of war is Acting Up for Peace. Acting Up for Peace means de-militarization, de-militarization of both our national obsession, and our Western state of mind, the state of mind that systematically kills all living things on our Earth. But without looking an opponent in the face, it’s impossible to know how to resist his advances. Here then is militarism’s facial recognition:

•The Pentagon releases more CO2 than the next 153 countries on the list. Only 32 countries release as much or more CO2 than the US military. Through the use of pressure politics, the US horse-traded to remove from international climate discussions any records of fossil fuel consumption resulting from the US war machine.

•While making war to gain control of more oil resources, the Pentagon creates a spiraling vicious circle by burning 340,000 barrels of oil a day, 80 percent of the US Federal energy demand.

•Like all corporations, the military privatizes profit, while socializing cost to the planet by dumping barrels of nuclear waste in the oceans, and toxic chemicals into the soils and water table, both at home and abroad, while avoiding any cleanup responsibility.

•US wars create sacrifice zones in the U.S. and worldwide, contaminated by the use of depleted uranium, land mines and cluster bombs. Of 100 live births in areas of Iraq contaminated with DU, 15 are born severely deformed. Life on the planet cannot survive continued conventional war making, let alone nuclear war.

•The U.S. military is an agent of environmental degradation. An example is its plan to destroy 70 acres of Guam’s Apra Harbor coral reef  to build a naval base.

Art credit: Russell Wray
• With its use of sonar, the U.S. Navy is accountable for the deaths of whales and dolphins, all animals which depend on their own sonar for survival. By sounding and breeching, whales and other sea animals agitate the waters, providing life-sustaining recirculation of nutrients and minerals vital to the oceans and to all life on Earth.

• Instead of making more jobs available for marginalized people, militarization reduces the number of jobs available in all other sectors, including teaching.

• While profiting from its wars, the U.S. bankrupts other countries. The U.S. made $53 million on Gulf War I while costing Jordan a whopping 25 percent, Yemen, 10 percent and 40 low and middle income countries 1 percent of their GDP.

• Militarization is not good for kids, worldwide 33% of them live in poverty (that includes in the U.S.), while the U.S. spends 60% of its budget on militarization.

Three U.S. communities, New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA and Montgomery County, MD, have passed resolutions opposing the Trump budget’s reallocation of money away from everything else to the benefit of the military, urging that those budget reallocations be reversed. Your community can, too, by contacting World Beyond War.

Listen to Janet Weil and Cecile Pineda address this issue on Post-Carbon Radio.


Rosalie Bertell: Planet Earth

And Some Good News This Week:

Ooops!  Dissention in the ranks: The Wall Street Journal newsroom goes rogue.
El Salvador first nation to impose a blanket ban on metal mining.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, workers take over failing restaurant and run it as a worker-owned cooperative by leveraging their months of unpaid wages.

Guess what? Clean energy provides 2.5 more jobs than the fossil fuel industry. GO CLEAN!

Canadian study reveals that transition to renewables is ‘irreversible’ no matter what!

One more for the climate: As part of VW’s settlement with the State of California, Air Resources Board and the EPA, VW is pledged to build 400 electric vehicle fast charging stations

Earthjustice sues the Trump administration opposing executive order opening tens of thousands of public lands to coal exploitation.

Toshiba/Westinghouse bankruptcy signals death knell of nuclear contamination industry, halting four behind schedule and over budget reactor construction projects in Georgia and So Carolina.

Seattle sues Trump, Sessions and Homeland’s John Kelly calling threat to strip cities of billions for offering sanctuary unconstitutional.

Trump, Sessions, and Kelly

Following pressure from activists, ING Bank divests its DAPL financing.

People’s Filibuster turns out in 14 cities urging that Gorsuch be deep-sixed.

Forming powerful coalition: On the anniversary of Dr. King’s murder by the state, the nation’s two most powerful social movements unite to protest GOP crackdown on protest.

When individuals make a difference: Son of immigrant father rallies peers, linking poverty, climate change and social challenges.

When individuals make a difference: Solar business expands horizons to bring more solar-related jobs to West Virginia’s unemployed miners.

Americans significantly reduced their consumption of beef 19% from 2005 to  2014.

Global coal boom took a nosedive in 2016, with power-plant construction falling nearly two-thirds from 2015 levels.

Green Republicans (that’s not an oxymoron) recognize the science of climate change and hope to wrest the initiative for change from Democrats.

Facebook new feature allows users to contact local government officials (hoodlums).

New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA, and Montgomery County, MD, have passed resolutions opposing the Trump budget’s moving of money from everything else to the military, urging that money be moved in the opposite direction.
Your town or city or county can do the same.
Steps you can take:
  1. Contact to ask for help
  2. Form a coalition of local groups concerned about the cuts, the military increase, or both
  3. Find out how to speak publicly at local government meetings and how to submit a proposal or get one on the agenda for a vote; or ask council members/ aldermen / supervisors to sponsor it.
  4. Collect organizations’ or prominent people’s or lots of people’s names on a petition
  5. Hold rallies, press conferences
  6. Write op-eds, letters, go on radio, tv
  7. Use to calculate local trade-offs
  8. Revise the draft below:
Resolution Proposed for __________

Whereas President Trump has proposed to move $54 billion from human and environmental spending at home and abroad to military spending[i], bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending[ii],

Whereas part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees[iii],

Whereas President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer[iv],

Whereas fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college[v], end hunger and starvation on earth[vi], convert the U.S. to clean energy[vii], provide clean drinking water everywhere it’s needed on the planet[viii], build fast trains between all major U.S. cities[ix], and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it[x],

Whereas even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid[xi],

Whereas a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world[xii],

Whereas a United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world,

Whereas our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,

Whereas the military is itself the greatest consumer of petroleum we have[xiii],

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program[xiv],

Be it therefore resolved that the ____________ of ___________, ________, urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.

[i] “Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending,” The New York Times, February 27, 2017,
[ii] This does not include another 6% for the discretionary portion of veterans’ care. For a breakdown of discretionary spending in the 2015 budget from the National Priorities Project, see
[iii] “43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes,” World Beyond War, / “Europe’s Refugee Crisis Was Made in America,” The Nation,
[iv] On February 27, 2017, Trump said, “Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East . . . and we’re nowhere, actually if you think about it we’re less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there’s not even a contest . . . we have a hornet’s nest . . . .”
[v] “Free College: We Can Afford It,” The Washington Post, May 1, 2012,
[vi] “The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger,” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
[vii] “Clean Energy Transition Is A $25 Trillion Free Lunch,” Clean Technica, / See also:
[viii] “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” UN Environment Program,
[ix] “Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries,” The World Bank,
[x] Non-military U.S. foreign aid is approximately $25 billion, meaning that President Trump would need to cut it by over 200% to find the $54 billion he proposes to add to military spending
[xi] Letter to Congressional leaders, February 27, 2017,
[xii] See
[xiii] “Fight Climate Change, Not Wars,” Naomi Klein,
[xiv] “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” Political Economy Research Institute,

9. Be prepared for the argument that a national issue is not your locality’s business:
The most common objection to local resolutions on national topics is that it is not a proper role for a locality. This objection is easily refuted. Passing such a resolution is a moment’s work that costs a locality no resources.

Americans are supposed to be directly represented in Congress. Their local and state governments are also supposed to represent them to Congress. A representative in 
 Congress represents over 650,000 people — an impossible task.Most city council members in the United States take an oath of office promising to support the U.S. Constitution. Representing their constituents to higher levels of government is part of how they do that.

Cities and towns routinely and properly send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rule book for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate.

In 1798, the Virginia State Legislature passed a resolution using the words of Thomas Jefferson condemning federal policies penalizing France.

In 1967 a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325) in favor of citizens’ right to place a referendum on the ballot opposing the Vietnam War, ruling: “As representatives of local communities, board of supervisors and city councils have traditionally made declarations of policy on matters of concern to the community whether or not they had power to effectuate such declarations by binding legislation. Indeed, one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.”

Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol (which includes at least 740 cities), etc. Our democratic republic has a rich tradition of municipal action on national and international issues.

Karen Dolan of Cities for Peace writes: “A prime example of how direct citizen participation through municipal governments has affected both U.S. and world policy is the example of the local divestment campaigns opposing both Apartheid in South Africa and, effectively, the Reagan foreign policy of “constructive engagement” with South Africa. As internal and global pressure was destabilizing the Apartheid government of South Africa, the municipal divestment campaigns in the United States ramped up pressure and helped to push to victory the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. This extraordinary accomplishment was achieved despite a Reagan veto and while the Senate was in Republican hands. The pressure felt by national lawmakers from the 14 U.S. states and close to 100 U.S. cities that had divested from South Africa made the critical difference. Within three weeks of the veto override, IBM and General Motors also announced they were withdrawing from South Africa.”

10. Remember that Trump has not proposed a smaller or larger budget. When people only oppose the “cuts,” as the cities of Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor have done, others will reflexively argue against “big government.” But that whole tired debate has nothing to do with Trump’s budget proposal, which is for the same sized budget as last year — except with $54 billion moved from everything else to the military. So you have to oppose the military increase as well as the cuts to everything else, if you want anyone to understand what’s going on — and if we hope to stop it.

11. Use this action to form a new World Beyond War chapter.