Sunday, March 31, 2019



L’etat c’est moi. The famous quote came, not from the U.S. Department of Justice this week, but from a man who hefted roughly 80 pounds of clothing on his back, not the light weight Armani, and red power tie, signature costume of the current white uber alles regime. Lace-makers sweated over their bobbins most of their life-time just to fabricate the ruffled jabots, and pleated cuffs; silk weavers sent the heavy knickers and waistcoats to the embroiderers for countless hours of invisible stitching before they could be seen as fit to wear. But now, although it’s quick and dirty, tyranny reigns just as strong, but a lot more gracelessly than it did in the days of Louis XIV.

Take Russiagate as a benchmark. From the start, nothing seemed simple or clear cut to this writer. Rather Russiagate seemed a labyrinth peopled by white men in suits, a scene I found unconvincing and less than appealing. It didn’t smell right.  There was too much hue and cry, too much media hype.  Too much distraction.

But while the American public left, center and right, got sidelined by the Mueller Report, by the endless speculation, by the fear it might get shut down one way or another, by Rachel Maddow’s trumpeting, making a case for it loud and clear, by the appointment of Wm. Barr, who, it turns out, is a friend of Mueller’s, no one paid attention to the bloated fist of Uncle Fatso and his gang dipping into the till, diverting funds for wars in space, requisitioning funds for “useable” nukes, moving funds away from entitlements to build a mediaeval wall, to fund the Pentagon with 61% of the budget, and rob veterans benefits to put brown children in cages.

Democrats were all too happy to lick their political defeat like dander off a cat’s back, rather their blame their own corruption for the outcome.  If anyone benefitted from a Russian connection, it was Hilary Clinton, who, despite the Clinton Foundation’s disgraceful corruption, still remains a darling to the necrophiliac female voters (all except the Haitians) who can’t see beyond identity politics.  Sore losers were only too happy to overlook Mueller’s dark history:  G-man in chief for twelve years under Bush and Obama.

But although the prevailing feeling is that the investigation has been a failure, quite the contrary, in my view it has been a huge success in stalling any action to get at the real corruption that curdles Washington these days, both Democrat and Republican, guaranteeing continued chaos, and terrorizing of the American people, and preparing the future in such a way that electoral politics will no longer be relevant by 2020.

The so-called election of 2020 will bring us the mixture as before at best, if it brings us ANY mixture at all: the Democratic carrot, the Republican stick. The system will never allow anyone of integrity to hold office. And caught between the gears of two-party government, the population already under unbearable pressure, will be ground to a pulp.

And the fate of life on the planet hangs in the balance.

Please read: Six policies to reduce economic inequality at

Please support League of Conservation Voters at

Yellow Vests hold protests across France despite bans.

Protests across Europe highlight rifts over copyright bill.

Venezuelan government bans Guaido from office for 15 years.

Arrest of Guaido’s chief of staff, Roberto Marrero tied to terrorism plans involving 19 teams of assassins.

Week of rebellion called for April 17 in N.Y.C.

Economics doom coal plants as solar and wind are now cheaper.

Russian troops in Venezuela complicate U.S. “regime change” plans, delivering red line warning to #45 regime.

In a still honorable country, Argentina, over a million march in honor of victims of U.S.-backed military dictatorship. When will we turn out in the millions here?

Progressives launch citizen takeover of the EU to defeat far-right and establishment.

EU lawmakers back ban on single-use plastics, set standard for world.

LA county bans roundup.

Vietnam bans import of glyphosate herbicides after U.S. cancer trial verdict.

OxyContin maker, Purdue Parma to pay $270 million in legal settlement.

Monsanto found liable for man’s cancer, ordered to pay $80 million in damages.

Standing Rock medic bus now traveling decolonized pharmacy.

Student reporters in W. Virginia find Atlantic Coast Pipeline offers only two dozen permanent jobs.

Flight attendant with DACA status released after 6 weeks in immigrant detention.

Unsealed documents shed light on state conspiracy against Chelsea Manning.

Minnesota Amazon indentured servants walk off job after speed-up is announced.

Thousands of Uber drivers strike In LA.

10-campus wide strikes characterized by solidarity between research, technical, health, and service workers.

Not piracy, but ‘matter of survival”: Refugees take control of ship headed back to ‘hell’ in Libya.

AOC, happy to engage workers and community on Green New Deal, accepts GOP invite to Kentucky coal mine.

Judge blocks drilling on 300,000 acres of Wyoming public land, citing climate change in the decision.

#45 administration effort to open arctic to oil and gas drilling ruled illegal in ‘huge victory for our oceans.’

Scotland to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles.

California rewarded with butterfly boom after 7 years of drought.

California hills clothed in glory

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Who Is Patricia Okoumou?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

We were taught those words in parochial school, and although I have long abjured my Christian upbringing, these words still make sense to me.

Who is Patricia Okoumou? 


Today’s Newsletter is authored by Lisa Savage, whose blog, Went 2 the Bridge is one of my faves.

Patricia Okoumou is a woman of conscience who could not stand by and watch children being separated from their parents and caged at the U.S.-Mexico border. First on July 4, she climbed the Statue of Liberty with her banner and was arrested. I wrote about that at the time, and you can read that here.

In an interview with Democracy Now! this month, she explained that the slogans on her attire are a response to the current First Lady who wore a jacket that said: I  REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” Okoumou said she was also inspired by our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who was often targeted by ugly racists and who responded, “When they go low, we go high.”

Okoumou commented: “I went as high as I could.”

Okoumou at Liberty's feet
When Okoumou was interviewed by Paper Magazine, reporter Michael Love Michael wrote her as saying:

“the way conservative politicians talk about the family separation crisis is steeped in misleading and xenophobic rhetoric designed to keep people distracted. You can’t call human beings illegal; you can’t call human beings aliens because our children are listening….Aliens come from outer space, and by calling our children that who want better lives, we are a detriment to them.”

Most recently, news that child separations and detentions were kept secret, that they generate profit for corporations like Northrup Grumman and Amazon, and that even infants have been separated from nursing mothers makes Okoumou’s cause even more pressing for those who care what their government does in their name.


Today activists will pack the courtroom in NYC for Okoumou’s bail hearing. A bad judge sentenced her to house arrest, claiming that she engages in activism because it’s the only way she has to make a living. Shame on him.

Those of us who can’t be in court with Okoumou today can help by contributing to her defense fund and other expenses here:

LA City Hall: intact family protesting  (source: Reuters)

Patricia Okoumou hears the children crying for their parents. Do you? (Trigger warning: this recording of their voices could make you cry, too.)


Water Protector Scales Water Well-Drilling Rig

Supreme Court delivers slim victory in Yakima Nation’s treaty rights case.

Robert Mueller delivers his final report to the Justice Department

US jury finds Monsanto's Roundup was a 'substantial factor' in causing man's cancer in latest blow to Bayer-Monsanto

Judge Blocks Lame-Duck Power Grab by Wisconsin GOP 

Colorado Supports National Popular Vote

Teaching Assistants Go On Strike At University Of Illinois At Chicago


French Unions Call General Strike For Better Pay, Retirement, Education

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Ball and Scepter vs. Ball & Chain

I can’t help noticing, even in the alternative electronic press which should know better, that headline after headline includes the name that has become the new mantra. Starts with T, ends with P.

It is a Ball and Scepter framing of our current malaise, whereas the true king is the corporate, multinational Ball & Chain. Bottom feeder politicians are merely the enablers. The real tyranny comes from the smoke stacks, and the antennas, and their marketeers, not the political schemers and dealers except in their forceps role, even though they seem to think otherwise.

Parties on The Roof

Story in point: I live in a building whose Board of Trustees by their own verbal admission have begun to negotiate with Verizon which wants to install cell phone antennas on our roof requiring a 50’ X 50’ foot space. The foot-print of the building in question measures about 200 X 200 feet. If my figures are anywhere close to accurate, the total roof area is approximately 40,000 square feet. Facilities where the building’s boiler and ventilation systems are housed occupy a centrally located structure measuring roughly 50 feet square, or 2500 square feet, leaving 37,500 square feet for Verizon whose plans call for 2500 square feet and an additional 22 foot limit marking the extreme danger zone which workers cannot enter without protective gear. One imagines lead-backed Halloween costumes and aluminum foil headgear in the 31,571 square feet remaining, ample room for roof parties where those humming antennas will supply the background music. That, believe it or not, is the scheme one board member is advancing in all seriousness!

What is even more to the point, Verizon has our membership attached to a ball & chain, namely a board which is indifferent to the damage such a scheme would do to property values (, human, animal, bird, insect and plant life ( and to our neighbors living within the 1300 impact radius of such antennas, let alone the havoc it is already creating in a community of aging folks, some of them already in fragile health.

Finials with a Tail

Finials with tails
At about the limit of 1300 feet from our building, a church in the neo-colonialist style has mounted multiple cell phone antennas disguised as finials at the base of its tower. Normally, finials in  the neocolonial style would be “turned,” but not only are these disguised as tapered pentagonal boxes, they sport tails. The tail of course houses the necessary electrical conduit! More ingenious might be cell phone antennas masked as kangaroos. 

Aesthetics aside, catty corner to the House of God, the University of California has just opened a multi-storey student dorm capable of housing nearly 500 innocent young lives, while the House of Money slow cooks them.

1942 Japanese roundup. Urn-shaped finials faintly seen

Moral of the story: the Men of God, like certain board members, do not necessarily concern themselves so much with their neighbors, as with the lures of Mammon.

Petition Governor Newsom to order testing of Diablo Canyon for embrittled, earthquake-prone reactors in  light of PGE’s criminal negligence at

Demand Europe’s biggest public bank to #stopfundingfossils at

MAJOR HEADLINE: French Police To Join Yellow Vests After Realizing Government Is Extorting Them Too

House committee chair cancels #45 plan for low-yield nuke.

Death penalty, mostly targeting people of color, ended by California’s Governor Newsom who “can’t sleep at night.”

U.S. Senate passes war powers resolution ending complicity in world's worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Congress ends #45’s State of Emergency 59-4l, with 12 Republicrats crossing the aisle.

Millions of students in over 120 countries skip school in the name of planetary transformation and to protest climate collapse.

The bad news is the Pentagon spent $2.6 billion developing hypersonIc weaponry, but the good news is they only spent $4.6 million in just one month on crab and lobster.

U.S. plans to demand ‘allies’ pay 150% for privilege of hosting troops.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Two for the price of one

Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman has an article you need to read this week: What Deadly Disaster Is the Criminal, Bankrupt PG&E So Desperately Hiding at Its Diablo Canyon Nukes at

Diablo Canyon NPP at San Luis Obispo
There you can read about how PGE deferred maintenance since 2010 at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, and about unit one’s serious embrittlement (that means its containment vessel is cracked and flaking) making it vulnerable to a serious earthquake. A little background here: besides killer PGE's deferred maintenance at Diablo and its serial mayhem in San Bruno and Paradise, California, like other utilities, PGE also subscribes to the Holtec thin-walled canister (roughly one inch thick) because it’s way cheaper (as in cheap and dirty) than the foot-thick casks other nuclear-subscribing nations use. The canister is supposedly designed to receive nuclear waste and store it on site. Why is this important? Because Diablo, like San Onofre, is right on the ocean, (It has killed all sea life around it for a radius of 500 miles!) and salt air has a nasty way of corroding those nice neat Holtec canisters. Once air comes in contact with the rods, an explosion results. A normal explosion can be counted on to act like a normal bunker buster, but a nuclear explosion has exponentially more uncomfortable consequences. And once Diablo is decommissioned (sooner preferably, but probably later than life on earth would like) those very same canisters will be used to store “spent” fuel rods. (They are not spent by any means, it’s just nice, soothing language the industry uses to help you sleep well at night).

There are a couple of other inconveniences about Holtec canisters:  they cannot be loaded safely. When they crack or develop holes, they can’t be inspected. Nor can they be repaired. A fourth inconvenience is that the regulatory agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission like to approve them. Now ordinarily, the explosion of a canister, say one containing tomato soup, although messy, is not  a worrisome matter, but these canisters store hot nuclear waste. If/when air comes in contact with a “spent” fuel rod, the canister explodes. A one-canister explosion can trigger a domino effect, where a whole football field worth of storage canisters explodes.  Ooops! There goes California AND the U.S. agricultural industry. You can read about such an accident which happened in 1957 in Kyshtym, at the Soviet Union’s Mayak plutonium production and reprocessing plant by googling Kyshtym.

We ask that every one of our readers to please sign the petition asking Governor Newsom to investigate Diablo Canyon before unit one is turned on again after refueling. You may sign the petition to Newsom here:


Flash in the Pan

Elsewhere, the coup called by weaponized-mustachioed John Bolton for Venezuela, although it has suffered rather embarrassing (to the winner-steals-all U.S.) developments since I last wrote about it (such as the burning of so-called “humanitarian” aid trucks waiting at the border to enter Venezuela, and the embarrassing revelation that our brave men-in-Havana were right there alongside them in the small town where those trucks were lined up and ready to soften the Venezuelan resistance) activists foisted the State Department's plan by setting those trucks on fire. They were prevented from crossing the frontier into Venezuela.

For residents of the Bay Area, and in particular San Francisco, don't weep for Venezuela, join the rally called by a coalition of groups, among them ANSWER, at the Civic Center BART stop's UN Plaza, Saturday, March 9 at noon.   And please remember, aside from labor's slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all,” if we don’t object to the high crimes and misdemeanors of our own country, sooner or later, we run the risk of the chickens coming home to roost (meaning our internal invasion by #45.)  Do it NOW.
Notification of the event is at

To our readers: This week, good things outnumbering skullduggery in our world are so numerous, the list has to be limited to the three which struck me as most  seminal.

Deep ecology

Peasants, including small-scale farmers, rural workers, fishing communities, pastoralists and landless agriculture workers, have been recognized as a vulnerable population with distinct needs for the first time ever. A new UN Declaration protects their rights to land, seeds, and adequate incomes with an emphasis on civil and social rights. By protecting peasant rights, the new status also aims to help reduce climate change and protect biodiversity.

Giving nature human rights (and vice versa)

Modeled on rights of nature laws passed, among others, by the Ponca Nation in Oklahoma, and the Chippewa Nation in Minnesota, Toledo Ohio voters grant Lake Erie legal rights of a person giving the city legal recourse to fight corporate polluters and protect its water.

Comic relief

Reducing planetary pollution, China beats New York City instead of incinerating waste, by raising cockroaches to eat it.

Cockroach farming in China