Sunday, August 15, 2021

Home away from House

Downstairs Seabreeze, Cob on Wood. Say their names.  Like the names of so many of our dead, they are the names of two California Bay Area homeless encampments.  But to say their names is to remember their history.


Downstairs Seabreeze

Last  Monday morning I received this SOS:

“Live from the eviction happening NOW at Downstairs Seabreeze. There is an abundance of COPs but no one from the #CityofBerkeley. No one from #MentalHealth. No one from the new shelter in #HorizonTransitionalVillage. There is no one here offering hope, options, or shelter.” You can watch what happened Monday at University and 2nd in Berkeley.


                                                            Say their name.


Cob On Wood

End of July one of many articles appeared describing Cob on Wood, the homeless encampment at the intersection of Wood Street near Beech St. under the 880 freeway. It is state owned land, but it is the place where cops bulldozing other encampments tell homeless people to go so they can be left alone.  Cob on Wood is an indigenous type of construction. The encampment was started by a local activist whose organization Essential Food and Medicine teamed up with a tiny home building group, Artists Building Communities, and a local construction business called Living Earth Structures who began building Cob on Wood on a former junk yard piled high with torched abandoned cars, illegally dumped building materials and trash. It housed its own medical clinic, shower, kitchen, free store, garden and pizza ovens.

It restored dignity and will to live to countless homeless people. You can read about it here:


Cob on Wood

But the land is the property of the State. The State saw no reason to clean up when it was a dump, and now that people were on it, the State in its mighty wisdom  came to tear it down. No one sent me an SOS.


                                                            Say their name.


On August 4, WaPo reported Cori Bush slept on the wind whipped steps of the U.S. Capitol as rain fell.  After three nights during which she was joined by activists and fellow Democratic lawmakers, the White House suddenly remembered that, altho Congress was happy to award the Pentagon trillions of “defense” dollars to kill more people and thereby hasten planetary climate collapse the IPCC has just described as close to the tipping point, it would adjourn having done nothing to extend the eviction moratorium, putting millions of Americans at risk of homelessness during a pandemic.


Everyone in Congress needs to live homeless for a month to begin to understand why a nation that can allocate trillions for war and weaponry must manage to house its people, feed and clothe them, and restore their dignity and will to live, and provide them with living wage jobs.


 Cori Bush

Cori Bush describes her time living homeless with her children: “When I was living out of my car, I did not know where we were going to eat, use the bathroom, rest or enjoy a quiet moment. I used McDonald’s bathrooms to mix baby formula and wash my body because I had no other options. I received food from food pantries, but I could not eat the items that had to be refrigerated or cooked. This never ending instability, combined with the constant fear of interacting with the police, losing custody of my children, having my car impounded—even losing my life—left me stressed, traumatized and exhausted.” 


Now imagine Nancy Pelosi with her 2 gelato-full freezers writing that. 


If you could write to Cori Bush, what would you want to say to her? See sample letter  provided below:


Rep. Cori Bush

563 Cannon House Office Bldg.

Washington D.C. 20515


Dear Cori,


Thank you for doing what I could not join you doing.  It’s not everyone—and almost no one in Congress—who would choose to sleep on the Capitol steps in the wind and rain, inside a soaked-through sleeping bag to make a point.  Thank you for representing us, the millions of Americans at risk of homelessness during a pandemic and for those millions more living in encampments along the railroad rights of way throughout the United States. Homelessness is very much a part of California life.  The attitudes of housed people ranges from “call the police” to genuine grief to see our fellow beings reduced to lives that challenge their very existence.  To my own way of thinking, our entire society suffers from the misery of its few.


Thank you for breaking the Congressional tradition of suits and red ties and pearls to get right to the point: impoverished Americans have had only a tiny minority representing us since the Democratic party chose to become a second business party aping the old Republican party, which seems to have morphed into a separatist movement.


As long as money and politics are linked, as long as Congresspersons can move their investment money providing they make their financial maneuvers public, as long as they are beholden to corporations for moneys that allow them to conduct the campaigns that keep them in office, impoverished Americans will never again have the representation we had under the old Democratic party before it discovered greed. I hope that you and the other members of the Progressive Caucus will fight to get money out of politics, and to restore some sense of balance where CEO pay does not exceed 1000% of ordinary worker’s wages.


I hope that you and the Progressive Caucus will motivate our government to allocate some of the trillions it invests in militarism, war, and the consumption of fossil fuel that military activities entail in caring for its people, housing, clothing, feeding and educating them.


Thank you for your good example in getting right to the point. Camping out is worth hours of empty rhetoric.







DONATE to Cori Bush.




It should be unthinkable’: EU nations told to immediately end deportations to Afghanistan.


After decades oil giant Shell agrees to pay $111 millions for destruction in Nigeria.


Mexico: indigenous communities take over the Bonfont  water-bottling plant in Cuanala, Peubla.


Paraguayans take to streets to reject President Abdo.


Extinction  Rebellion launch plans for UK rebellion to coincide with release of IPCC.


Indigenous group accuses Bolsonaro of ‘genocide’ and ‘ecocide’ at the Hague.


Germany rejects calls for troops to return to Bush-folly Afghanistan.


Salish and Kotenai First Nations win National Bison range, part of their homeland.


Ottawa implements historic fisheries agreement with First Nations.


In Chhattisgarh, India, mining company shifts from coal to forest fruits and flowers.


Council of Haida Nation, feds and province sign historic agreement setting stage for reconciliation negotiations with respect to their geographic area.


Group of doctors and nurses launch billboard campaign targeting British Columbia ferries burning liquefied natural gas threatening world’s climate system..


China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous Region criticizes US for notorious rights record on forced labor, border detention centers.


An global anti-Olympics movement rises.


On eve of hearing, Amnesty again demands US end effort to extradite Assange.


Kids as young as four can now change gender in Scottish schools without parental consent.


DC circuit court remands radiofrequency case to FCC challenging the agency‘s RF standards rules, and ordering it to ‘provide explanation for its determination that its guidelines adequately protect against harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation unrelated to cancer.’


Pipeline fighters lock themselves to drill equipment at crossing of I-64.


Appalachian defenders of homes, hills, and neritage unite against Mountain Valley Pipeline.


Medicare for All movement to file human rights violation complaint with the UN.


Dems in Congress urged to ‘go big’ as Biden endorses bold reforms to slash drug prices.


Dems introduce Right to Vote Act to beat GOP voter suppression.


Protesters resist militarized gentrification of  public beaches in Puerto Rico,


75 groups ask DOJ to oppose ‘racist’ anti-protest laws.


Supremes hearing likely as ‘reckless’ Bayer loses third appeal over glyphosate use.


Commission on Capitol attack contemplates requesting Jan. 6 #45 call logs.


Biden administration opens new review of 9/11 documents. Maybe they’re contemplating too.


Biden urges Californians to fight Newsom’s recall.


Majority of US voters want Biden to fight for key voting rights bill.


Family of John Lewis, National Progressive Groups & Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton too deliver petition to White House calling on Biden to urge Senate to end filibuster and pass voting rights legislation.


Sanders unveils final $3.5 trillion reconciliation package alongside infrastructure bill.


Sanders says, ‘instead of giveaways to the rich, we will use reconciliation to serve working people and heal the planet.


‘Our caucus is clear’: House progressives say no bipartisan deal without reconciliation bill. 


Without single GOP vote, Senate approves $3.5 trillion budget blueprint.


Census shows unprecedented diversity, but GOP gears up for gerrymandering.


Round one of Democrat’s child tax credit payments slashed hunger rates, US data shows.


Santa Fe will send some parents $400 per month, N. Mexico may follow.


House’s Hyde amendment vote advances abortion justice and racial equity.


New Warren bill proposes taxing real company profits, not what’s reported to IRS.


Warren writes wealth tax and IRS funding could pay for entire $3.5 bill.


A path to citizenship could soon be within grasp for millions of undocumented workers.


Whistle blowers step forward with new complaints of abuses at Ft. Bliss TX, site for immigrant children.


Biden must fire climate skeptic from key financial stability council, 223 organizations say.


Fearing government whitewash, scientists leak draft IPCC report urging bold emission cuts.


New Oregon climate plan protects coastal habitats.


Workers are saying minimum wage jobs just aren’t worth it anymore.


Tax beak on union dues added to Senate Democrats’ budget plan.


Hundreds of NYT tech workers walk off the job.


More than one thousand miners are on strike at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Al.


Workers shut down luxury butcher shop after investor demands removal of BLM and pride signs.


Protesters including the FANG Collective, Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex block entrances to Raytheon plant over weapons sales to Israel and killing of civilians.


AIPAC accused of Islamophobia after vitrolic ads against Ilhan Omar.


Activists launch petition calling on Facebook to remove AIPAC’s dishonest, Islamophobic and dangerous ads against Representative Ilhan Omar.


Over 130,000  petitioners sign letter from 350, and Lead Now to call on Chubb multinational insurers to drop their policy on Trans Mountain pipeline.


Water protectors headed for Minnesota Capitol to protest Line 3.


Housing memorandum provides much needed understanding to uphold federal fair housing policies during pandemic.


Patriotic millionaires launch ‘tax the rich” mobile billboard campaign in Philadelphia for Can’t Wait live concert.


Va State U. unveils student debt cancellation plan.


AZ schools sue state government over classroom mask mandate ban.


ACLU sues DC, cops over attacks on journalists at 2020 racial justice protests.


Brooklyn billboard calls for Sen. Schumer to end Big Oil handouts.


Five Miami Beach officers charged after police swarm, attack suspect and bystander who recorded it.


Activists protest project for new jail costing an estimated $28 million in Winona City, MN.


Renters call for direct cash assistance as evictions loom.


Solar-powered refrigeration trucks to cut pollution.



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