Monday, July 30, 2018

Maine Natural Guard At Peace Hub In Portland Climate Action Saturday, September 8 Noon

Calling all Maine Natural Guard members to help bring the essential message that the Pentagon is the biggest polluter on the planet to a climate action being organized by 350 Maine:

RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice
Saturday Sep 8 -- noon
Portland, Maine

The Maine Natural Guard will display our MNG t-shirts and messaging:

Click here to order your shirt

or other costumes:

That's Natasha Mayers holding her giant (cardboard) carbon footprint

That's Cynthia Howard as a polar bear who recognizes the largest cause of carbon polluting

We will carry signs such as:

​image: Suzanna Lasker
Image: Lisa Savage

Image: Jason Rawn 
Bruce Gagnon in action for life on the planet
Last Run (serigraph by Kenny Cole)
Also, since part of the call by organizers is for jobs (i.e. RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice) messages about the urgent need for conversion of the military-industrial mess we're in would also be a great fit. For example:

Mary Beth Sullivan showing that public transportation light rail could be built at Bath Iron Works instead of warships.
Jenny Gray sharing her conversion vision

You can join the Natural Guard campaign by signing the pledge here.

Be a communication worker and help bring news of the path of real resistance to people befuddled by corporate media messaging.

Add your name to join the Natural Guard effort from wherever you are!

I pledge to speak out about the effects of militarism on our environment, because the commons we all share that sustain life are valuable to me. 

In discussions about security and safety, I will remind others of the need to count in the cost in pollution and fuel consumption of waging wars all around the planet.

In discussions about acting soon to protect our loved ones from the effects of climate chaos, I will remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and its many contractors in contributing to planetary warming.

Mark Roman, Ridgely Fuller and other climate activists at Bath Iron Works bridge banner drop
We welcome all who want to help bring this important message on September 8, one which is very often omitted from climate events.  FMI call me at 399-7623

For more information on the September 8 event:

This is our invitation to participate in a joint action as part of the global RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice  in Portland on Saturday, September 8th beginning at noon. It’s  part of a worldwide mobilization taking place four days before the  Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. 350 Maine is  coordinating the event focused on the rising and warming waters of  the Gulf of Maine, but we expect the Maine Chapter of the Sierra  Club to join us as co-sponsors. Our goals for the event are to move the state legislature toward  climate action; get voters to ask what candidates in the November  election are going to do to take action on climate change; and to  register new voters. We want people to see and understand how much is at stake and how important it is to elect people willing to  work seriously on environmental issues as well as jobs and justice.    

The New Orleans Style Funeral procession we are planning will  pass through the center of town and end at a point currently being  determined, but at a place where a modest and active rally can take  place combined with voter registration.  We want as many people  as possible to be involved in the action with individual groups  taking responsibility for a specific components of the overall  program.  This should be a fun event that carries a serious message  and purpose.      Accordingly, some of the ideas being considered include:  ● The Leftist Marching Band to lead the funeral procession  ● A coffin containing a Gulf of Maine codfish and/or other  endangered species inside   ● Puppets, cheerleaders and dancers  ● People in costumes that emphasize mourning or sea level  rise  ● Floats or similar (e.g. Noah’s Ark, a giant lobster, fishermen  with empty nets, etc.)  ● Fishermen & lobstermen with empty traps and nets (income  & job loss)  ● Symbols of rising, warming seas (e.g. blue ribbon)  ● Children, teens, college students participating in any way  they see fit  ● Rally point activities that are lively and active:  o With local performers (singers, dancers, band)  o Limited talks that include funeral orations or memorial  addresses  o Tables with displays of Portland areas likely to be  flooded, climate action plans (simple, easy things  everyone can do), Children’s Trust, etc.  o Voter registration  ● YOUR IDEA PLEASE

The event wants to be big and memorable.  Would you be  interested in helping us pull it off?  Will you get involved and help  make it happen?    You, ------, are invited to play an active role in the overall  planning and event coordination and/or to simply take an active role  in the event itself.  Since we are working on a tight schedule, we’d  like to hear from you a.s.a.p. one way or another.     Let us know what you think.
With best regards, Espahbad Dodd & Chuck Spanger, 350 Maine 

to connect the dots between 
militarism and environmental harm.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Deadline July 30 To Tell Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Don't Truck Radioactive Waste Around The USA

Guest post by author and activist Cecile Pineda, from her most recent newsletter, with urgent information on protecting the planet.

Deadline to communicate with the NRC is July 30, 2018.

Mobile Chernobyl: Part II of Tin Can Alley

This week the House of Representatives rammed through the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, (with 139 Democrats' aproval)  which, besides green lighting a new, submarine-launched nuclear warhead, approves $717 billion for such hardware as 13 new Navy warships, and the purchase of 77 F-35s, and not coincidentally, the government will have to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year. But not to worry: you are expected to pay for it: you and all future generations.

Said the Intercept: “Its seems strange…that Democrats…say Trump is an authoritarian, lawless traitor, but…keep voting to increase his war powers, military budget, and detention and spying authorities.”

Meanwhile, chugging away,  nuclear plants continue to supply the needed plutonium to obliterate the life on Earth and so doing keep piling up more nuclear waste, some 100,000 metric tons of it and counting. 

But the climate has a nasty way of non-cooperation: in particular, with high temperatures this week in much of France, some of its nuclear reactors cannot be cooled. Rivers have become too warm, and EDF has had to cut energy output.


And now before a complaisant congress is a proposal to truck all that waste throughout the United States to two temporary dump sites in Texas and New Mexico. Moving it would have to continue for the next 40 years, there’s that much nuclear waste piled up. To quote the Nuclear Information and Resource Service: “Thousands of casks of this waste would move on our roads, rails and waterways! It could take 40-50 years to move the waste once but then it would all presumably move again to a different permanent site, [one] as yet to be found…So this could be the start of a virtually endless campaign of moving insanely radioactive nuclear waste back and forth across the country.”


So please, dear reader, especially if you prefer not to read the fine print below, before doing anything else,  please send your comment (already written out for you ) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission right now.
The deadline is July 30th.  

NIRS lists 9 reasons to oppose the dump

1. The plan cannot go through unless you and every other taxpayer in the United States, including those not yet born agree to assume ownership for this waste, and pay to transport it. U.S. federal laws forbid such an arrangement.

2. Tetra Tech, the contractor Holtec chose to make the Environmental Impact Report, has a track record of falsifying radiation monitoring data, hiring unqualified workers to conduct scanning and clean ups; and suppressing reports for 20 years namey the Navy’s Hunters Point site which has been converted to San Francisco housing!

3. Proposed storage site in  Texas is home to agriculture, dairy farms. And New Mexico, already victim of the 94 million-gallon “spill”  by Kerr McGee into the Rio Puerco, is a minority state, and has experienced environmental racism for decades.

4. Canisters as reported in last week’s Tin Can Alley are less than an inch thick, cannot be monitored for leaks, and do not in any way conform to safety requirements in the case of fire, road accidents, or extended submersion in water. Contact with water leading to erosion will ultimately cause leaks, resulting in a nuclear explosion.

Break down of rail (red) and highway transportation

5. Some of these canisters contain high burn up fuel.

6. As of now the nuclear regulatory commission has been unable to report as to the distantly located emergency response teams, upon which these sites will rely.

7. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission  tends to ignore such factors as high temperatures, salty dry climates, potential flash floods, lightning, blocked vents, and other factors contributing to un predictable conditions.

8. So-called “interim” storage could well become permanent.

9. Consolidating this waste raises the specter of reprocessing to extract the plutonium required  to manufacture nuclear weapons leading to weapons proliferation.

But there is a tenth reason: One site, Yucca Mountain, on Western Shoshone land, is located in the basement of a mountain slowly swimming westward. It consists of 10% water, and its drip has been shown to corrode metal within 20 minutes.

Please send your comment (see above) to The Nuclear Regulatory Commission at

Read a book I wish I had authored myself: John D’Agata: About a Mountain.


U.S. Court of appeals rules in favor the Oglala Sioux, protecting the Black Hills from uranium mining.   

Federal Judge Peter Missette allows emoluments lawsuit, challenging Trump’s refusal to divest assets, to proceed.

By releasing a man awaiting a retrial without bond, Judge Wm. Hooks of Cook country may have set a precedent.

Court orders NYPD to record all citizen encounters.
North Dakota attorney general sues Dakota Access pipeline, charging it never acquired legal ownership of the land.

Necessity defense allowed in Resist Spectra/Enbridge AIM pipeline case.

A new Cuban constitution revises the legal definition of marriage.

Four years after he murdered Eric Garner, NYPD officer is finally facing charges.

Judge Dana Sabraw orders temporary halt to deportation of reunited migrant families.

Polk County District Judge Karen Romano issues temporary injunction barring the state from implementing some of the provisions of Iowa’s new voter ID law, restoring the absentee early voting period and blocking certain ID requirements.

A three-member panel of the 7th Court of Appeals in Indiana determines that the requirement forcing any woman considering an abortion to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before the procedure imposes an unconstitutional undue burden on women.

Federal Judge, Jesse Furman allows legal challenge to Trump’s citizen question on the census to go forward.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty frees pizza man jailed by ICE.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss suit by 21 kids suing the U.S. government over climate change.


RAICES rejects $250,000 Salesforce Corporation donation over company’s border agency ties.

In Iowa, the “No Respect” added to the U.S. Army billboard urges people to oppose the active war zone at Drone Command Center next to Des Moines International Airport.

White House stenographer quits because “Trump is lying to the American people.”

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak issues call for National prison strike August 21 to protest prison slave labor.

Lod stages unique Jewish-Arab LGBTQ Pride event.

Children march through San Francisco Streets and other cities, demanding adults protect them from a future of climate chaos.

Volos, Greece, resorts to barter to by-pass use of Euro.

In Sweden, Elin Ersson, a college student, stopped a deportation to Afghanistan by holding up an international flight.

Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman, are released from Israeli prison where Tamimi was held for slapping an Israeli soldier.

“I am a child”: 100 kids and their advocates fill Senate office building demanding family unification.


Famed Seattle fish market sold to longtime employees rather than highest bidder.

Forbes reports that Vermont’s Putney Food coop produces more revenue per square foot than fancy chains like Whole Foods.

Starbucks announces it will open it’s first “signing store” where employees must be proficient in sign language. (Yes, but what minimum wage will it pay them ?)

NFL rethinks its anthem policy after Miami Dolphins try to punish protesting players.

New Zealand offers paid leave to domestic violence survivors.


UNESCO designates 24 new biosphere reserves.

Estimating that its mean ban will save 16.7 billion gallons of water, WeWork, a London company,  goes meat free.

31 new solar power plants bring 1 gigawatt of renewable power to Portugal.

Thanks to 100% wind and solar, Republican Georgetown TX mayor Dale Ross announces his town has some of the lowest energy costs in Central Texas.

After a long list of violations, Oregon shuts down Lost Valley mega-dairy factory farm for good.

With tailpipe emissions the largest source of pollutants, California school districts order all-electric buses.

After first approving  a plan charging ratepayers billions of dollars for the emergency closing of San Onofre nuclear plant, California Public Utilities Commission trims $750 million from customer bills.

In a grid modernization plan, Dominion of Virginia hopes to target  3 GW of wind and solar.

Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the EPA announces that he won’t follow Pruit’s order giving super polluting trucks a temporary pass.


Aware that it’s not a lack of food keeping  people hungry, Atlanta’s Goodr  partners with restaurants  to  deliver their unused food—already up to 900,000 pounds— to the hungry while allowing restaurants to reduce their trash bills and increase their tax write-offs.


Joint Sanders-Occasion-Cortez Kansas rally is so mobbed, it has to relocate to much larger quarters.

Democrats demand records for Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before starting the confirmation process. (Duh.)

House progressives, putting common good above billionaires, introduce “People’s Budget.”

California dental and medical associations announce that they will pursue a statewide sofa tax initiative on the 2020 ballot.

So far this year, North Carolina has not been guilty of voter caging.

Recalling Trump’s infamous remarks during his presidential campaign, Massachusetts’ “Nasty Women” Act, will officially stop a Roe v. Wade reversal from automatically banning abortion in the state.


Immigrant parents charged up to $8 a minute to call their kids.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Super Racist Summer In The USA, And It's Only Half Over #JusticeforNia

Nia Wilson, 18, was murdered on a train platform in Oakland, California July 22 by a white male stranger with a knife.

I was partway into a post about continuing to be amazed by the sheer volume of trivial calls to police because people of color are just existing and doing the things we all do: shop, mow the lawn, play in the sprinkler, park our cars, etc. I can't help but feel like there should be a big penalty for calling 911 about nonsense (and there probably is, so what we actually need is enforcement).

I started compiling some of this summer's stories and I had gotten this far:

Black woman says CVS manager called police because she had wrong coupon
Chicago Sun Times 7/14/18
#SummerJobWhileBlack: Child Gets Cops Called on Him for Delivering Newspapers
The Root  7/11/18

when I heard the shocking news that a black high school girl had been killed on a BART train platform in Oakland by a white man slitting her throat. Nia Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene while her assailant John Cowell fled after also stabbing her sister Latifah. He was arrested in the most peaceful way possible on another BART platform later that day, enjoying the white privilege that even murderers can count on.

Latifah said the man never spoke to either sister, and security camera footage showed he rode the same train car with them and got off at the same stop, attacking quickly and without warning. Cowell has a record of violence, was released from prison in May, and no motive other than racial hatred has been suggested for the murder.

Here's where the second civil war kicks in: Wilson's family and friends were holding a vigil to mourn her on Tuesday in Oakland when a white man in a red MAGA hat showed up to disrupt the vigil.

He was beaten by the crowd. Was he a provocateur as many have suggested? Several comments chided the videographers saying they were providing police with information that would be used to brutalize black people.

Photo credit: artiecrafts / Instagram

An announced Proud Boys gathering in Oakland that same night at a bar drew many in the crowd to gather after the vigil. Proud Boys claim to be anti-immigrant nationalists who are not necessarily white supremacists. Hmmm...

Comments on the video of the MAGA hat guy getting moderately beat up and chased away promised that if he showed up in Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans or other places, he wouldn't have gotten off that lightly. Also this comment:

Reggie Locke Tried to be bad white privileges don't work in da hood from real people

For context, Oakland was the site earlier in the season of a white person weaponizing police call to 911, the infamous BBQ Becky, who tried to get police to stop black people from using charcoal briquettes to cook food at Lake Merritt park.

The last thing I'm going to say today is: go see the film Sorry To Bother You, which is set in Oakland and critiques vulture capitalism and racism from several black points of view.

I'll leave you with national journalist Shaun King's words today on Nia's vicious murder and what it says about the horrible mess we (yes, white people, talking to you) have gotten ourselves into.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Violent, Dehumanizing Language Is For Fascists -- Don't Be A Fascist

Standing up to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, 2017 took a lot of courage. Unite the Right will be back, this time in front of the White House, on August 11, 2018 in case you missed your chance last year.

It's been coming on for a while now, this pressure in my head about the proliferation of slogans on punching Nazis, and of the even more common practice of dehumanizing name-calling e.g. piece of shit, idiot, and so on.

I'm no philosopher, but here are some of the many reasons I disagree with these tactics.

1) They are not effective because they appeal mostly to people that already agree with the user. We're not trying to win over the people who already get it -- we're trying to win over the confused ones on the fence. Aren't we?

2) They are not effective because they make the user sound belligerent rather than intelligent. Belligerence is highly correlated with not being smart enough to understand the complexities of fake news and celebrity spokesman-style corporate government masking the realities that lie beneath. Do you really want to sound like the tweeter in chief?

3) They are not effective because violence is not a good tactic when winning hearts and minds is your goal. Which program did the Black Panthers consider their most important (and the white supremacists of their day considered the biggest threat?). Yup, free breakfasts for children.

4) They are not effective because they do nothing to withdraw support from the systems of violent oppression we're all living under. A women's strike would much more effectively halt the machinery of the white supremacist military-police state. Did you know that the Montgomery, Alabama bus strike was only planned to last for one day? Once the boycotters' power was demonstrated, though, the bandwagon effect was enormous.

How come the Nazi rocket scientists were not on trial in Nuremberg?

5) They are not effective because they tend to perpetuate a simplistic either-or model of understanding social trends or historical events. The U.S. military did not defeat the Nazis, the Russians did. (Our allies in WWII, remember?) The U.S. government turned away boatloads of Jewish refugees who died in concentration camps, knew about the Holocaust but allowed it to proceed anyway, and after tardily "liberating" the camps ran show trials at Nuremberg while quietly bringing Nazi rocket scientists to the USA.

The U.S. government also never tried Japanese war criminals for their heinous crimes against occupied people using sophisticated (at the time) biological weapons they had developed. Want to guess why not?

6) They are not effective because we are always in danger of becoming the thing that we love to hate. Or put another way, they focus our attention on unproductive emotions and drain off energy for devising or recognizing creative solutions to the mess we're in.

7) They are not effective because they're not educational. There are millions of people who have sworn by an ideology at one point in their lives and then changed their minds. Most members of Veterans for Peace, for example, would fall into this category. VFP members I know often cite a conversation or a message as having opened the door of their closed mind and started the questioning process that led them to new understanding. Hearing "You are a piece of shit" is never cited as the catalyst for their transformation.

I know lots of people will disagree with me and use ad hominem attack words like "keeping your hands clean" or whatever.

I've been arrested standing up for my beliefs, and I've been in trouble at work many times for speaking political truths. No, I have never punched a Nazi and it's unlikely that I ever will; I'm a writer, not a fighter. With my low pain threshold and aging body, practically anyone could beat me in a fight. But that's not the actual reason that I sincerely believe the pen is more powerful than the sword.

The Nazis didn't win over the German people by violence. They won them over with sophisticated propaganda, and by making sure they could feed their children. They scapegoated the Jews, Roma, homosexuals and people with disabilities to give the humiliated and broke German workers something to feel good about.

Yes, I know that the antifa forces in Charlottesville last summer saved the clergy, according to several who were defended and lived to tell the tale.

Self-defense is another category of violence that has different moral implications than premeditated assault, and I'm glad the antifa did what they did.

Would I use a weapon in self-defense or to protect a child or other innocent target? Yes, I think I would. There are all kinds of subversive acts I'd be willing to take against fascists if I had the opportunity. There's a huge arena for action between cowering in fear/appeasement on the one hand, and threatening to punch Nazis in the balls on the other.

It's been my experience that most people in the U.S. are too scared to even speak up in the face of racism or other forms of violence, much less punch anybody. People I work with quiver in fear at the thought of sending a letter to the editor and that's the truth.

I admire a family member who plans to be in Washington DC next month to film the Unite the Right rally as a citizen journalist. I respect groups like Unicorn Riot that use the power of media and information sharing "dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world."

Let's all do what we can as best we understand it, and let's keep this conversation going.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Racism Is What Makes U.S. Wars, Pollution Invisible To Those Who Fund Them

Houdieda, Yemen September 9, 2016. © Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters
Racism is what makes U.S. wars around the planet largely invisible to those who fund them. We've payed to starve and bomb the people of Yemen for years now courtesy of U.S. good buddy Saudi Arabia, but who among us could find Yemen on a map?

Racism is what makes many in the U.S. label anyone with the hint of Middle Eastern origin or culture a "terrorist" when it's obvious that our government and its military (and militarized police) are the worst terrorists ever.

It's what covers for NATO when it upsets regimes that are providing for people in ways that a few years later sound like the best of times: clean water, no power outages, and health care systems intact (think Iraq here).

A scene from Gaza last week shows how Israel uses U.S. taxpayer support in the form of millions annually in military aid.

Racism is what makes most U.S. taxpayers turn a blind eye to Israel's genocidal policies in Gaza and the West Bank. Last week Israel passed an apartheid law establishing itself as a Jewish state with its capital in Jerusalem, and it issues maps wiping Palestine off the Earth -- but most here in the U.S. side with white Zionists over Arab Muslim or even Christian Palestinians.

Racism is also what makes the most dire effects of pollution and climate change invisible to those who cause them. 

Malecon, Cuba beach cleanup

The people who live in the Dominican Republic and Bua are brown and black and speak Spanish, so who cares if "their" ocean is covered with trash, right? I would say put the indigenous grandmothers back in charge but sadly Taino/Arawak people were wiped out by genocide after Columbus landed here first.

Will racism lead most polluters to continue ignoring this problem because (for now) it presents in places where the population is mostly not white?

Map from Parley for the Oceans

Most people in the U.S. cannot see racism because they are white, and they don't believe they suffer from it.

Liberals will react with horror when the annual Unite the Right rally occurs next month in Washington DC, the very heart of white supremacist government. Last year's rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (which is nearby) resulted in violence against people of color and a white counter demonstrator being killed when a white nationalist drove his car into the crowd. Afterwards, the demagogue with bad hair said from the White House that there were some "fine people" in Unite the Right.

Racism is what keeps most white people silent, and allows a vocal minority to claim their hate speech represents majority opinion.

Sadly, that's not far from true. Brown, black and Native children have been torn from their families for years, and they have inter-generational trauma to show for it. Brown, black and indigenous families continue to suffer under the militarized terror regimes our taxes support.

A lot of jokes have been made about the so-called Second Civil War coming. This video of police officers brutalizing brown children in El Paso, Texas brought that phrase to mind for me. 

I think this is what the Second Civil War will look like: heavily armed state agents battling young people who scare them by not acting scared enough.

Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. will side with the highly militarized police when the time comes. So did the Germans. And look where that got them.