What are the challenges faced by a writer when she sees her country committing suicide and a great part of the rest of the world following like lemmings leaping off a cliff. For one thing, it requires staying a few footfalls away from the bog of despair. In this weeks news Lord High Judge of England and Wales Ian Duncan Burnet, will now share the bench with lesser Judge Timothy Holyroyde to hear the U.S. case for extradition of Julian Assange. Why is that significant? The case itself received a black eye when revelations exposed the CIA plot to assassinate Assange, and because Judge Burnet has adjudicated similar high profile cases, informed by a sense of greater humanity. That seems to indicate that in Very High Places, the UK government may privilege humanitarianism over state conflict.
Common Dreams reports that in an ironic twist of coal-baron-Manchin fate, China is now positioned to become the champion of solar energy with one desert site that by 2015 will produce more electricity than twice of all U.S. solar combined. But recently we have learned that 5133 acres are being leased for the “Indian Springs Solar Right of Way” in the Nevada Desert. The principal is registered as “Bonanza Solar LLC” located in Dan Diego. Other solar energy concerns are housed at the same location, a fact which has piqued this writer’s curiosity. Can it be that a shadow entity is saving the U.S. from itself?
Collaboration by the U.S. with Saudi Arabia, one of the principle agents in the events of 9-11, has probably produced the worst humanitarian catastrophe on Earth now with famine seriously threatening the people of Yemen. Compounding the danger, a recent New Yorker article, “The Dead Ship” chronicles the decay of an floating oil tanker terminal parked on Yemen‘s coast only a few miles south of Hodeidah, the sole port through which humanitarian food supplies to Yemen can enter the country. A spill would effectively close the port of Hodeidah and block the narrow Bab el Mandeb straight through which most of the Middle East’s shipping must pass. And a spill is inevitable. The only question is when. Meantime the U.S. has sided with Tigray in the current war in Ethiopia. More money for insatiable munitions makers, Lockheed Martin and the rest of the pack, and more yummy for Congressional portfolios..
Our good Congress is all too happy to pass the Pentagon another shady $29 billion, committing grand larceny against American citizens, and the 500,000 unhoused of them forced to live in tents along highways and railroad rights of ways during a pandemic while the state police continues to dump their meager belongings into trucks to be hauled away to the city dumps as they “clear” the area of human detritus.
And it was very these homeless, this writer was planning to cover this week, all the more so because as of now, the Bay Area is several hours into a winter rain and wind storm guaranteed to soak, freeze, and demoralize these shelterless souls, many of them children, some of them sometimes working two or more jobs, but unable to afford landlord and real estate shysters’ inflated rents. Against the juggernaut of State indifference, I juxtaposed the efforts of a few home-(non-government) based projects: in Portland, fed up with the do-nothing blather of her City Council, Mimi German is one of a number of souls who builds tarpees for unhoused people. A tarpee is a teepee made of tarpaulins. It saw it first light of day at Standing Rock (where AOC got the dawning idea that she could run for Congress). As a housing solution, tarpees first hit Seattle as a temporary solution to homelessness, and from there migrated to Portland where Mimi German takes some credit for putting them up, one by one, each at a cost of some $127. Each has a chimney which allows its occupant to cook. Although the parks have not “allowed” them, a handful of them have appeared in one city park and, so far at least, they have eluded police sweeps.
On the West Coast we are seeing Enclosures as part of the State’s response. The police sweep a homeless camp void of its occupants and impound their meager possessions, and the grass is shaved. Such sweeps are followed by Enclosures, sturdy cyclone-fenced-in areas, constructed, unlike most jails, to keep people out. (The tradition of Enclosure harks back to 17th and 18th century England, where bit by bit the public commons grazing lands were taken back from the common people by the gentry.)
But this sad state of affairs is not part of the East Coast landscape, at least not in New York which still can't properly house 10% of the nation’s homeless, the minimal 50,000 homeless human beings identified by the current body count because, according to Marc Greenberg of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing who has been doing advocacy work for the homeless for the past 40 years, half of New York’s shelters are substandard. He describes the moment when the subject of homelessness actually entered the conversation as his big triumph.
Recently it was my good fortune to run into Deborah Matthews, Secretary of Oakland and the World Enterprizes, a 79 unit housing project slated to break ground this fall on land purchased in 2014 by Elaine Brown, former Black Panther, and present CEO. Their mission is to offer housing and jobs to formerly incarcerated and other people facing extreme barriers to economic survival. This they plan to do with a constellation of profitable businesses linked to the project, such business as a food truck in a grocery ghetto, an urban farm, a tech center, and a fitness center. What drew my interest to this project is the inclusion of voices of the very people it is designed to help. They speak for themselves here. It is all too rare to hear the voices of people such good intentions are actually meant to serve.
In suicide-bent societies, we hear the continued blather of politicians who try to convince their electorate their intentions are exactly the opposite of what they really want as this last column of Charley Reese describes.
Finally, this week saw the funeral of Megan Rice, 91-year-old anti-nuclear weapons activist who at the age of 84 was condemned to serve three years hard time for trespass at Y-12, the Tennessee locus of U.S.’s. plutonium stockpile. Sentencing a fragile 84-year-old woman with heart disease to three years for trespass is Court Misconduct. Finally we have allowed “police misconduct” to enter the conversation. This week over 600 people were arrested demanding of their government appropriate response to catastrophic global warming, a stunning example of police misconduct. It’s high time, the dam gates opened to allow conversation about the flood of “Court Misconduct.”
And to cheer you up, here’s the column I wish I’d written this morning.
To my readers: A colleague has offered to help me sift through ten years of newsletters with a view to creating a collection of posts worthy of publication. To that end I want to enlist my readers’ help by asking you if one or more issues come to mind which in your view either may have sharpened or changed your way of thinking. Please let me have their titles and date of publication. Use the “contact” button on my web site: cecilepineda.com, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I am engaged by this new project, I will be publishing irregularly. I propose sharing my subscriber list with my colleague Lisa Savage, who ran on the Green ticket for U.S. Senate from Maine in 2020; and who publishes an extremely well written and well-researched blog, Went 2 the Bridge. Once you have had a chance to become its recipient if you find her newsletter inappropriate, you may unsubscribe directly or if you prefer, please let me know you object.
DEMAND the Department of “Justice” drop extradition and prosecution of journalist Julian Assange at 202 353-1555. Call as often as you can.
URGE your Senators and Representatives to read “Why reducing risk of nuclear war is hidden in plain sight.”
PUNCTURE Pentagon bloat.
DEFEND women’s rights to own their own bodies.
EXPRESS your outrage that Bank of New York Mellon is funding Carmichael Coal Mine.
JOIN 74% of Americans who support striking workers.
Chief Justice of England and Wales joins bench for Assange hearing.
24 rights groups call on Garland to #freeAssange.
Europe’s largest pension fund announces fuel divestment.
Over 30 countries agree to cut methane by 30%. Why can‘t we?
Climate movement hails mind-blowing $40 trillion in fossil fuel divestment pledges.
Australian research team devises cheap and scalable way to break up CO2 into C and O2
Chile at dawn of new political era with death of neoliberalism.
Brazilian Senate commission accuses Bolsonaro of crimes against humanity for COVID recklessness.
Nicaragua the exception as journalist reports a government actually looking after ordinary people!
Quebec declares end to fossil fuel extraction in province.
Irish writer Sally Rooney shuns apartheid Israel after recent human rights reports
Palestinians protest in support of prisoners on hunger strike.
Half a million Korean workers walk off job in general strike. Why can ‘t we?
Finland’s public childcare system puts Britain (and U.S.) to shame.
International Tribunal seeks to charge U.S. govt. with crimes against humanity.
‘March of million’ in Sudan revives spirit of December revolution.
New study finds that indigenous U.S. and Canadian activists stop and delay greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one –quarter of annual U.S. and Canadian emissions.
U.S. donates 3.6 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to Nigeria.
Supreme Court commission signals support for term limits.
Guantanamo: U.S. court rules inmate’s detention ‘unlawful.’
People vs. fossil fuels mobilization ends with youth-led civil disobedience and over 655 arrests.
Biden Administration ramps up offshore wind plans.
House intelligence (oxymron) committee seeks answers from CIA on plot to assassinate Assange.
Arizona groups demand Sinema ‘stop obstructing’ on Medicare expansion.
Postal Banking now reality in DC, Baltimore, Falls Church and the Bronx.
Small business organizations call for filibuster carveout to start debate on Freedom to Vote Act.
Ultraviolet slams Senate after failing to pass Freedom to Vote Act, says results will directly harm women of color.
House Progressives call on Biden to declare a climate emergency – Now.
House panel votes to hold #45 adviser Bannon in criminal contempt.
‘We’re appalled by your failure’: 5 vets resign from Sen. Sinema’s advisory council.
‘And maybe more’: Biden says he’s open to reforming filibuster to win voting rights.
‘Like it never happened’: federal judge tosses #45 attack on clean water rule.
Dartmouth College formally announces plan to divest from fossil fuels.
Enbridge Line 5 shut down in accordance with Michigan governor’s order.
Forest defenders continue to block destruction of rare forest habitat within Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Diné organization files petition against the U.S. citing human rights violations.
Tulalip fishermen to appear in Skagit court defending treaty rights.
Mi’kmaq grandmothers and water protectors celebrate Alton Gas decommissioning.
SEPTA workers in So. Philly votes to authorize strike.
Taxi drivers plan hunger strike for debt relief.
Amazon workers in Staten Island to file for union vote.
Workers at beverage giant Refresco defeat notorious union buster.
Michigan expands maternal and post-partum care for people in prison .
Reno transit workers holding form in second strike since August.
John Deere strike shows tight labor market ready to pop.
Low age workers take power back in ‘Great Resignation .’
A ‘shoot to incapacitate’ policy puts Lagrange, Georgia chief and town in spotlight.
Former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz freed from prison after 49 years.
Man jailed in solitary for over a year fist to due private prison company under recent state law.
Facebook papers spur more calls to “break them up.”
Advocates say they hope new California law protecting unaccompanied kids gets duplicated nationwide.