Saturday, February 19, 2022

Speaking Truth to Power

This week's newsletter is the expression of my deep grief and outrage at my country’s continuing piracy. First, the text of paragraph one of Mr. Biden’s letter to me from the White House:


Thank you for writing.  The United States went to Afghanistan two decades ago with clear goals:  to take out the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001, to deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, and to keep Afghanistan from being used again as a base for attacks against the United States.  We eliminated bin Laden a decade ago, and al Qaeda has been severely diminished.  Our only vital national security interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been:  preventing another terrorist attack on American homeland.  That mission is enduring, and we will continue to monitor and disrupt terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan with our over-the-horizon capability, just as we do to meet the terrorist threat in countries all around the world. 



What follows is my response:


Pres. Joseph Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20500


Mr. President:


I am taking the liberty of returning your letter.  I am not sure who may have written this letter, whether it comes directly from you, or an official letter writer, or a speech writer, but it is written over your signature, suggesting my response needs to be addressed to you.


Regardless, whoever is its author needs to be set straight: by now too many U.S. citizens know the facts as outlined in your paragraph one to be entirely otherwise viz.

This poor country was NOT attacked by Afghanistan on 9/11.  All but two of those so-called “box cutters” were Saudis, not Afghans. 50% of New Yorkers knew the day of 9/11 that something was amiss, and the official narrative of the United States about the demise of bin Laden does not align with what really happened either viz. Seymour Hersh:


Quite frankly, to receive a letter under the seal of the White House, containing such a web of fabrication is an embarrassment and an insult to the intelligence of the citizens of this country, and a sure fire way of ushering in Mr. Trumpster for another x  years, (because 4 will not contain him).


I am perhaps naïve to insist on love of my country’s people, and to receive a letter containing such egregious falsehoods betrays my faith in my own country. I believe I am within my rights as a citizen to insist upon a public retraction.



...and to the U.S. people as well. (courtesy Paki Wieland)

Collective punishment as visited on the Afghan people by impounding their treasury is an act of piracy and an outrage against humanity: their treasury remains theirs no matter how it is divied up between squabbling lawyers and lobbyists (viz, the victims of 9/11, and the U.S. government. That my country is the agent of nation-wide Afghani starvation, of people needing to sell their own children and their kidneys to stay alive and that such criminality happened on your watch is beyond shamefully unconscionable. For anyone who has ever known hunger, such collective punishment is beyond unthinkable: it’s a towering crime against humanity. 


 "Biden: world thief of 2022." Kabul Feb. 15

May the United States never see such days of destitution and desperation visited upon its people, with the exception of 41% of our children now cast into poverty with the expiration of the Child Tax Credit and the official half million of us who now have to make our homes in tents along the railway rights of way and byways of this country.




TELL U.S. Pres. Biden & Congress to provide economic and humanitarian relief for Afghans.


DONATE to the Earth Activists Emergency Fund for Afghan Relief.


READ “Death Sentence for Untold civilians: Biden to permanently seize Afghan assets.”


READ “UN has millions  in Afghanistan bank, but cannot use it.”


READ Kathy Kelly on “Americans Must Realize the Pain They are Causing the Afghan People.”


READ Phyllis Bennis on: “Washington’s War in Afghanistan is Over, What Happens Now?”


READ Hedges on “Democrats, the More Effective Evil.”


WATCH the National Priorities Project ‘Trade-Offs’ 2 min. video showing how military dollars could be redirected to human needs.


LEARN about the Ban Killer drones campaign and taking action.


Ukraine could drop NATO bid to avert war.


Germany sees ‘moment of truth’ for Iran nuclear talks.


UK protesters nationwide say ‘enough is enough’ to austerity


Peru community restarts blockading mine road amid truce.


Mexico coaltion of indigenous activists prevent water extraction by transforming bottling plant into community space.


Puerto Ricans take to San Juans’s streets protesting debt restructuring plan.


Winnemucca Indian Colony sues Bureau of Land Management and lithium corporation.


Guantanamo torture survivor Mohammed al_Qahtani cleared for transfer.


‘Cancel this project’: campaigners point out price tag of Trans Mountain expansion nearly doubles.


Progressive International organizes second Belmarsh Tribunal in New York.


Biden urged to cancel student debt during SoFi stadium super bowl.


House progressives urge Biden to release Afghan funds ‘before it’s too late.’


Sen. Ossoff files first bill in U.S. history ever guaranteeing the voting rights of every American.


Sanders rips into billionaires for creating U.S. ‘oligarchic’ society.


‘Morally obscene’: Sanders blasts GOP, Manchin over 41% spike in child poverty with lapse of Child Credit Tax.


California bill would allow citizens to enforce assault weapon ban.


Nevada Dems sound alarm over ‘single most vicious vote-suppression attempt yet by GOP.


Atlanta activists protest new police training facility, calling it ‘cop city.’


Seattle Teachers rally for a thriving wage.


Teachers in Puerto Rico and Minnesota take to streets demanding better pay, benefits, and greater school funding.


North Dakota farmers file class action  ag. John  Deere for monopolizing and capitalizing equipment repair.


New Orleans teacher creates school for unaccompanied migrant kids.


Students sue school district over 8 books pulled from library.


In DC demonstration activists mark Day Without Immigrants.


Archbishop of Miami slams DeSantis’ war on asylum-seeking kids.


Physicians slam industry push to ‘fix’ medicare privatization scheme.


Students at top universities push ‘legal imperative’ of fossil fuel divestment.


Demonstrators call to #BoycottPuma outside brand’s flagship store.


High School students organize thousands to walk out for cop murder victim, Amir Locke.


To protect ‘web of life.’ California proposal would ban bee-killing neonics.


Four scientists, a few small nations making unthinkable climate action possible.

Saturday, February 12, 2022


The week Greg Hayes, the CEO of Raytheon Weapons Manufacturer had this to say ”We are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales. We just have to look to last week where we saw the drone attack in the UAE And of course, the tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea…. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”


For the 80 Yemenis that won’t be coming home to supper any time soon, rest in peace.  Tough for the over 200 Yemenis wounded, death and mayhem is good for business, according to Greg Hayes. We are not saying what’s good for him. Not in a free country.


Sea water boils as methane is discharged in Russia Arctic

War may be great for business, but Mother Earth is in acute pain. You can feel that pain with every footstep as you walk on her skin.  War is not good for her climate.  Imagine what the transport of 3,000 troops from U.S. bases to the Ukraine does to foul the air we breathe, as U.S. media fans the flames of war hysteria, and our government does everything it can to get us into a nuclear war. Elsewhere, Germany has refused to send weapons in support of this latest murderous NATO adventure, and Pres. Macron of France has initiated diplomacy in face-to face meetings with Pres. Putin of Russia. The Russian people don’t want war, any more than 76% of Americans who are sick of war.


Ukrainians protesting before Kiev US embassy against war

We like to say there’s no Planet B, but there’s no atmosphere B, and we are breathing the exhaust from all that jet military transport. Just yesterday, Common Dreams published this headline: Scientists Fear Soaring Methane Levels Show Climate Feedback Loop Has Arrived.  If you know anything about feedback loops, they are irreversible.  Read Climate Collapse.



Meanwhile in this week’s other news, we read that for the past five years, the death rate among the homeless, the so-called “unhoused” has increased by 76%. Why are the “unhoused” not placed in concentration camps?  Because it’s cheaper to let them die on the streets. The mean age for death on the streets in present-day United States of Anguish is 48, just like the death rate in  Europe in the 12th, 13th and 14th Centuries. Why our government has returned us to the Middle Ages! 


And to add to its very own quaint Medievalism, in a move that sidles right up next to the diktats of such enlightened potentates as Ghengis Khan, the White House is scheming to grab 7 Billion of Afghani assets that the U.S. has frozen to settle 9/11 victims claims, reserving only half of that for starving, beyond desperate Afghani families who, to survive Afghanistan’s fierce winter, must resort to selling their kidneys and their children so that they can buy food. Those of us who have never known a day of hunger ought to be out in the street, day and night, raising Cain in support of our sisters and brothers—and children—against starvation.


If there is any uplifting news this week, it comes from Holland where the Dutch promise to ‘egg’ the Bezos yachtzila  if, once it’s built in a Rotterdam shipyard, a bridge gets dismantled to let it through to the open seas.


When will we ‘egg’ our very own democratically ‘elected’  Mediaeval government?




SIGN Bernie’s petition: Prevent what could be the worst European war in over 75 years between nuclear armed opponents.


CALL on the Biden administration and key Congressmemebers to  unfreeze Afghan funds to pay salaries of Afghan techers and health workers and allow people to buy food at

DEMAND Congress get off their sorry duffs to take climate action now.


DEFEND Planet A against climate catastrophe and make Wall St. protect our planet.


URGE somnambulist Joe to drop #45’s policies in Yemen.


BAN Congress from trading stock while in office




Ecuador’s Constitutional Court publishes ruling in favor of Indigenous people’s right to decide the future of their lands in the Amazon.


France’s Macron flies to meet Putin in risky bid to avert war.


Peace Boat docks in San Diego in observance of the one-year anniversary of he UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Xi and Putin  issue statement.


Argentina proposes ending debt dependency on U.S.


Mexico GM workers vote in an independent union.


A bridge too low: Dutch vow to egg Bezos $500 million yachtzila if bridge is dismantled to let it pass.


Colombia announces huge victory against aerial crop eradication.


Scathing Amnesty Apartheid report may lead to change in Israel’s criminal practices.


Wet’suwet’en approach UN over militarization and rights violations.


Snoqualmie Tribe acquires 12.000 acres of ancestral forestland.


South Africa scientists reproduce Moderna’s COVID vaccine such that patents must now be shared.


Stock ban proposed for Congress to stop insider trading among lawmakers.


Experts detail deadly consequences of U.S. drone strikes to Senate.


Antiwar groups nationwide rally to stop U.S. from being lied into war with Russia.


Ilhan Omar blasts ‘unconscionable’ Biden plan to seize Afghan assets.


Montana plaintiffs announce first children’s climate trial in U.S. history.


To avert ’full blown war’ coalition  urges Biden to rejoin Iran deal.


Biden administration sides with tribes over North Dakota in mineral dispute.


Biden reinvents migrant detention (using home confinement and curfew) with the aim of curbing for-profit detention spaces.


Biden must nominate justice beholden to people not corporate power and that’s Ketanji Brown Jackson.


White House considers expanding limits on ‘no-knock’ warrants following murderbycop of  Amir Locke.


Senate finally to move to renew Violence Against Women Act.


Thousands of students from various Minneapolis high schools protest fatal police shooting of Amir Locke.


Journalists win $825,000 settlement and ban on police attack.


Progressives call on Democrats to endorse 21st century economic bill of rights.


USDA offers $1 Billion to help farmers and ranchers fight climate change.


Bipartisan infrastructure bill helps plug some of off-coast 35,000 abandoned wells.


Katie Porter introduces legislation raising fees of polluters extracting from U.S. public lands, protecting the environment, and saving taxpayers money.


Despite Dejoy’s mandate to fossil fueling new fleet, House passes bill to repeal ‘debilitating’ USPS refunding retirement mandate.


IRS abandons plans to subject website users to facial recognition.


Judge orders U.S. to pay $230 million to victims of 2017 church massacre.


On the basis of climate Federal court rules against Oil Lease Sale #257. the largest sale of public waters for offshore oil drilling in U.S. history.


Big week for oil wins as Mountain Valley Pipeline approvals are revoked, new oil wells banned in LA, and in the Gulf of Mexico.


Sen. Capito, Rep Rodgers ask GAO to assess NRC’s review process for advanced nuclear reactors.


Appalachians build Green New Deal for themselves.


North Carolina elections board assert power to bar Cawthorn from 2022 ballot.


New Hampshire House Committee on Science, technology and energy  votes unanimously to uphold 500 meter setbacks from cell towers and antennas.


Drug decriminalization works in Oregon.


After months of CPUC debate, solar energy and storage issues, a judge on commission rules matter is suspended, meaning rooftop and small-scale solar are safe for now in California.


Solar panels to be installed above California canals.


Immigrant communities breathe sigh of relief after Georgia sheriffs terminate ICE agreements.


Teachers in Puerto Rico strike for wages, benefits.


Construction stalls as concrete workers strike for wages, health care.


Lobstermen form a union co-op to claw back fair prices.


Capitol Hill staffers organize unions.


Jericho Movement, Boston, United American Indians of New England, and Boston BDS call for standout in front of Boston’s Federal Building to call attention to freeing Leonard Peltier, the U.S. longest incarcerated political prisoner.


Zuck could face jail time under new law.




Turkeys create nightmare at NASA's Ames Lab


Friday, February 4, 2022

What’s It Take To Unstick a Dysfunctional Congress?

Supposing you were a U.S. congress person.  And supposing you were raking in the pay offs from things like private prisons and weapons-manufacturing corporations to stay in office.  And supposing the scene was just so juicy, you had to stay in office to make sure it lasted. Why, you’d keep on raking it in from all those corporations manufacturing bullets, shells, bombs, drones, war planes, submarines, tanks, and nuclear tipped ordnance, and piling up dough to get re-elected.


But supposing all your people, blue and red, just got fed up with your suits and your faces. Supposing some figured out that you were just greedy butcher puppets, while others resented being left out while other folks who-don’t-look-like-you keep getting ahead. But ALL of them got tired of hearing you say the same old things over and over while twiddling your thumbs. Now if you wanted to stay in office, wouldn’t you want to make sure the red and blue people never talked to one another, or traded ideas, or discovered that the ONE THING they couldn’t stand was your suits and your faces? You’d put up a fence to separate them, and call that fence polarization, but no matter how “polarized” you made sure to call them, over 50% of those people don’t trust you any more. And why should they? although 84% to 89%  wanted background checks, 70%-73% wanted paid family leave, and 83% wanted  Medicare to be able to negotiate drug prices, you ignored them because you were too busy raising boodle 80% of the time.


To imagine that the Senate majority is Democratic is pure illusion.  The Senate majority vote makes sure to doom any chance of addressing the U.S. dizzying decline in quality of life.  The U.S. has not revised its treatment of immigrants, not even those asking for asylum. U.S. deaths from COVID far exceed that of any other industrialized country. Of all these industrialized countries, the U.S. is the only one still lacking universal healthcare. Even progressive California has had to shelve its plans for CalCARE because there just aren’t enough votes for it.


Can these omissions point to something far more sinister? If we make the connection here we find a disturbing pattern. Those most vulnerable to death-by COVID are those who lack healthcare, and who are forced to work during a pandemic, often without protections. That demography is made up of the poor, mostly black and brown minorities and when they vote, notice how this group does not vote Republican. The big question we must ask ourselves here: is this apparent lack of healthcare, and of a humane approach to immigration, actual policy? And is that policy supporting genocide-by-default?


As someone deeply distressed seeing the poverty and desperation of so many living around me, there’s no doubt in my mind that no matter what their political beliefs, too many American’s are entitled to their own deep feelings of helplessness. Frances Moore Lappé writing in a Portside article titled “Is all this ‘Polarization’ a cause or a symptom,” cautions us not to blame society for its polarization because it “skirts the truth that many (most) Americans live in daily distress, especially those “living from paycheck to paycheck because it fuels their fear and distrust of government.” Polarization is “the result of a system guaranteeing the extreme accumulation of wealth, along with deepening daily insecurities and indignities for the non-wealthy.” She points to this economic unfairness as the root of poor Whites feeling “left behind.” For a vivid account of those left behind, I recommend Strangers Living in their own Land, Arlie Hochschild’s study of poor folks living in LA’s “cancer alley.”


Historically, that feeling stems from the mighty expectations Americans learned to entertain in the FDR years when they began to see government as a real safety net capable of leading their lives out of a Great Depression.  Now the Depression we have is far far worse than 1929 because besides being the outcome of vast economic inequities, it is compounded by a pandemic with no end in sight, a congress that has never wanted folks to benefit from a national health scheme and total absence of a caring government. The list is as vast as society itself, from endless wars, suppression of voting rights, to the cruelties of the border, to the NRC knowing there’s no way of safely storing nuclear waste with a half life of half a million years. 


Lappé writes “When our people suffer widespread economic insecurity due to the extreme unfairness of our economy and legalized corruption built into our governance—along with media profiting on inflammatory content—widespread despair, anger, and a need to punish become understandable.”


Purpling, a new verb


We must begin to purple, to find ways of talking to one another, of mixing red and blue, finding that pathway away from punishment  to the kind of solidarity that comes from recognizing that that old “divide and conquer” trope used by those presuming to rule over us is at work again, especially since our government doesn’t seem to be listening. How many small conversations between blue and red, how much purpling will it take to turn the monumentally creaky, leaking “ship of state” around, slowly, increment by increment. Who will have the imagination to begin?  And what does it take to reach that shared moment of  “Oh, yes, wait a minute…..Where have we heard that one before….?” Purpling has the potential of  creating a better life quality  for everyone.




PEACE – Everyone out for peace in Ukraine


SIGN to prevent war with Russia


SUPPORT representation for 670,000 folks in D.C. and gain Dem congressional seats


PROTECT voting rights by donating to Democratic Assn. of Secys of State


END Congressional stock trading


INSIST on the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act




Peace organizations including Code Pink gather in front of White House to express opposition to extremely dangerous possibility of war in Ukraine.


100 + anti-war groups demand Biden end brinksmanship with Russia.


Poll shows majority in U.S. want diplomacy, not war with Russia over Ukraine.


Germany refuses to funnel more weapons into Ukraine.


Alternative press begins to write about obscene profits made by warmakers Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and General dynamics among others.


Mexico fights back against U.S. gunmakers in $10 billion suit  with 12 U.S. states supporting the suit.


Judge blocks Biden’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil lease sale over climate crisis.


Ecuador court rejects oil drilling in Indigenous protected area.


U.S. climate activists call on Senate to confirm key federal nominees.


Federal court deals blow to ‘noxious fracked gas’ pipeline.


Lawsuit forces nuclear regulator to turn over records of San Onofre near-miss incident.


Southern Australia goes full week on 100% solar, and wind.


Court upholds California net neutrality law.


California sets $15 an hour wage for large employers, $14 for smaller ones, with many counties and municipalities establishing even higher wages.


Mexico auto workers choose new union in landmark vote.


In a U.S. first Pittsfield, MA Board of Health unanimously votes to issue cease and desist order against Verizon cell tower.


Holocaust book Maus hits bestseller list after Tennessee school board ban.


Monarchs make astounding rebound in ‘21 migration.