“Better ‘No Deal’ Than ‘Bad Deal'”: Walking Out Of Hanoi Summit Earns Trump Bipartisan Praise

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Though Kim Jong Un has a long train ride back to Pyongyang to ponder how the collapse of Thursday's talks in Hanoi might impact his relationship with Trump, senior officials in his government are already signaling that the detente between the two geopolitical rivals might be over, having deliberately undermined President Trump by contradicting his version events during a midnight press conference - even going so far as to suggest that Kim has "lost the will" to continue negotiating (since North Korea's "reasonable" position "will never change" - something that US intel analysts have been saying for months).

And as we wait for a rebuttal from President Trump (who will arrive back home much quicker than Kim despite the greater geographical distance), it's worth noting that the reaction to Trump's performance in Hanoi - which provoked some twitter wits to joke that he managed to find another way for America to "lose" in Vietnam - hasn't been as negative as one might have expected.

In one of the few examples of true bipartisanship during the Trump era, lawmakers from both parties chimed in on Twitter and on the floor of the Senate to praise President Trump for having the temerity to walk away from the table.

Confounding Trump's allies and his enemies, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer even praised the president during a speech on the Senate floor for choosing to walk away instead of accepting an inferior deal that would have made the US less safe in the long run.

And Schumer wasn't the only Democratic leader to offer praise. According to Bloomberg, Nancy Pelosi told reporters "It’s good that the president did not give him anything for the little he was proposing," and that "diplomacy is important; we all support it,” but the prospects for a deal were dim.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted that, while he wished Trump had stood up to Kim on the North's "brutal" human rights record (a sentiment that was echoed by other Democrats), "talking is never a bad idea and no deal is better than a bad one."

Marco Rubio took a brief break from tweeting about Venezuela to contradict an Axios report about his reaction to the talks, saying that, while he would love to "deal with a #NorthKorea that eliminates their nuclear weapons", agreeing to "sanctions relief while allowing them to hide warheads" would not only be a bad deal, but a "dangerous one."

Taking a slightly more belligerent tack, Senator Lindsey Graham applauded Trump for walking away, affirmed that the only good deal would be complete denuclearization and warned that, if relations with NK completely break down, there may come a time when the nuclear threat posed by North Korea must be dealt with "one way of the other."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said Trump should be "commended" for his performance.

But the response wasn't all positive. Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine questioned why Trump decided to 'stick up' for Kim by telling reporters he believed Kim had no knowledge of the brutal treatment suffered by US student Otto Warmbier in a "rough" North Korean prison.

Both Pelosi and Kaine agreed that Trump's willingness to defend dictators was troubling.

Still, it's hardly surprising given all of the evidence that the intelligence community has unearthed showing that NK has continued its nuclear program at several clandestine sites exposed by satellites. Trump said that Kim expressed surprise when he presented him with evidence of the secret sites during the talks.

While it's still unclear exactly what impact the collapse of the Hanoi talks might have on Trump's negotiations with China, equity bulls better hope that Trump doesn't take the phrase "no deal is better than a bad one" to heart.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

The International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the UN, declares that London and Washington are illegally occupying the base of Diego Garcia‎

The International Court of Justice sitting in the Hague reached the decision that the British faked the independence of the current Republic of Mauritius in 1968, by illegally dissociating the Archipelago of Chagos illegally from it. ‎ Responding to the UN General Assembly's request filed on 22 June 2017, the International Court of Justice declared on 25 February 2019, that the process of decolonization (1965 - 1968) violated relevant General Assembly Resolutions, specifically Resolution (...)

It’s official: Syrian President Assad is tripping to Iran

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad travelled to Iran on an official visit. Apart from his previous trip to Russia, this is the first trip President Assad has made abroad since the aggression against Syria started in 2011. ‎ Contrary to what the Western Press are making out, relations between Syria and Iran are particularly complicated due to Iran's bi-cephalous political system. The Guide of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supports the Syrian Arab Republic, in the context of the (...)

The EU and the Arab League oppose the US “Deal of the Century”

The Summit of Sharm-el-Sheikh took place on 24 and 25 February 2019 and brought together the European Union and the Arab League. Its final declaration very clearly expresses opposition to President Trump's Deal “of the Century” . Considering the Israeli- Arab conflict to be never ending and that no party has been able to resolve it, the White House has tried to take a pragmatic approach, preferring to take into account what's happening on the ground and not International Law. President (...)

The Chagos Islands Case, WikiLeaks and Justice

Let this be a lesson to its detractors, doubters and stuffed shirts of the secrecy establishment: the documents sourced from WikiLeaks can have tangible, having significant value for ideas and causes. They can advance matters of the curious; they can confirm instances of the outrageous and they can add to those fabulous claims that might change history.  While Julian Assange and the publishing organisation have been sniped at for being, at various instances, dangerous, unduly challenging and even less than significant (odd, no?), its documentary legacy grows.

Nowhere has there been a tangible demonstration of this than the issue of litigation.  With gradual but relentless commitment, advocates and activists have been introducing documents obtained from WikiLeaks into court proceedings.  The judicial benches have not always been consistent on how best to cope with the adducing of such matters.  Would, for instance, a document obtained improperly still be relevant in proceedings?  Or should be excluded on grounds of confidentiality?  This state of affairs sits oddly with reality, but then again, the law is more often a fiction that resists reality.

The technological imperative here should be obvious.  Such documents lose their factual character of confidence the moment they appear on the website, however obtained.  Millions have the means to access it, even if, legally, the document might retain a certain character.  In this regard, state officials remain jealous of their secrets and their correspondence, keen to ensure that prying publics are kept in the necessary dark.

The case of removing the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago is a particularly ugly one, deeply mired in political considerations and diplomatic intrigue.  The islands, located some 1,800 kilometres from Mauritius, became part of an arrangement between Britain and the United States, the latter particularly keen to acquire a military base in the area, the former keen to be in the good books as Greek advisor to all-powerful Rome.

In 1965, with cards firmly kept to their chests, British diplomats disaggregated the Chagos Islands from Mauritius.  Mauritius, in turn, received four million pounds for the favour.  This underhanded arrangement became the prelude for the removal of all 3,000 occupants from the Islands.  The UK Permanent Under-Secretary overseeing the sordid business was intent on being brutal, suggesting in 1966 with all the crudeness of an ethnic cleanser that Britain be “tough about this.  The object of the exercise was to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a Committee (the Status of Women does not cover the rights of Birds).”

The hand written note appended by D.A. Greenhill on August 24, 1966 on the same document was filled with lashings of vulgarity: “along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays” who had to be moved on.  Once done, “we must be very tough and a submission is being done accordingly.”  What followed was a forced eviction of the inhabitants and the construction of the US base on Diego Garcia.

This nastiness proved perennial.  The Chagossians took up their claims of return, including unacknowledged fishing rights, badgering the UK government repeatedly in their efforts.  One ploy adopted by the good officials in Her Majesty’s Government was its attempt to turn the area of claim, known as the British Indian Ocean Territory, into a marine park or reserve.

This is where WikiLeaks proved particularly valuable, with cables clearly outlining the improper and frustrating motive of UK officials.  This wily and heinous move, went one summary on May 15, 2009 of a discussion conducted by US political counsellor Richard Mills at the Foreign Office, would make it “difficult if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.”  The assent of the United States would also be required – a mere formality.

That cable in question became the subject of a legal claim by the Chagossians that wound its way through the British legal system, culminating in two approvals of the use of WikiLeaks cables, the first being the Court of Appeal in 2014, and the second being before the UK Supreme Court in 2018. The latter duly acknowledged that the principle of inviolability would normally “make it impermissible to use such documents or copies in a domestic court of the host country” except in extraordinary circumstances or instances of a waiver by the mission state. In this case, the cable in question did not form part of the London Embassy archive, meaning it could be used in court proceedings.  Even more significantly, the very fact that it came into the public domain “even in circumstances where the document can be shown to have been wrongly extracted from the mission archive” destroyed its inviolability.

Such proceedings formed part of a momentum that saw the UK referred to the International Court of Justice via vote in the United Nations in 2017.  Many European states that might have voted for the UK decided to abstain, a result of Brexit fever.  The ICJ duly found that “the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago.”  Accordingly, the UK was “under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.”

The UK Foreign Office has been snooty in response.  This island dot continues to irk, worry, and gets under the skin of the establishment. “This is an advisory opinion, not a judgment.”  Besides, “The defence facilities on the British Indian Ocean Territory help to protect people here in Britain and around the world from terrorist threats, organised crime and piracy.”  When in a tight corner, always aspire to universal relevance and importance.  In the meantime, the fortunes of the Chagossians, and international opinion, have turned.

The Chagos Islands Case, WikiLeaks and Justice

Let this be a lesson to its detractors, doubters and stuffed shirts of the secrecy establishment: the documents sourced from WikiLeaks can have tangible, having significant value for ideas and causes. They can advance matters of the curious; they can confirm instances of the outrageous and they can add to those fabulous claims that might change history.  While Julian Assange and the publishing organisation have been sniped at for being, at various instances, dangerous, unduly challenging and even less than significant (odd, no?), its documentary legacy grows.

Nowhere has there been a tangible demonstration of this than the issue of litigation.  With gradual but relentless commitment, advocates and activists have been introducing documents obtained from WikiLeaks into court proceedings.  The judicial benches have not always been consistent on how best to cope with the adducing of such matters.  Would, for instance, a document obtained improperly still be relevant in proceedings?  Or should be excluded on grounds of confidentiality?  This state of affairs sits oddly with reality, but then again, the law is more often a fiction that resists reality.

The technological imperative here should be obvious.  Such documents lose their factual character of confidence the moment they appear on the website, however obtained.  Millions have the means to access it, even if, legally, the document might retain a certain character.  In this regard, state officials remain jealous of their secrets and their correspondence, keen to ensure that prying publics are kept in the necessary dark.

The case of removing the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago is a particularly ugly one, deeply mired in political considerations and diplomatic intrigue.  The islands, located some 1,800 kilometres from Mauritius, became part of an arrangement between Britain and the United States, the latter particularly keen to acquire a military base in the area, the former keen to be in the good books as Greek advisor to all-powerful Rome.

In 1965, with cards firmly kept to their chests, British diplomats disaggregated the Chagos Islands from Mauritius.  Mauritius, in turn, received four million pounds for the favour.  This underhanded arrangement became the prelude for the removal of all 3,000 occupants from the Islands.  The UK Permanent Under-Secretary overseeing the sordid business was intent on being brutal, suggesting in 1966 with all the crudeness of an ethnic cleanser that Britain be “tough about this.  The object of the exercise was to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a Committee (the Status of Women does not cover the rights of Birds).”

The hand written note appended by D.A. Greenhill on August 24, 1966 on the same document was filled with lashings of vulgarity: “along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays” who had to be moved on.  Once done, “we must be very tough and a submission is being done accordingly.”  What followed was a forced eviction of the inhabitants and the construction of the US base on Diego Garcia.

This nastiness proved perennial.  The Chagossians took up their claims of return, including unacknowledged fishing rights, badgering the UK government repeatedly in their efforts.  One ploy adopted by the good officials in Her Majesty’s Government was its attempt to turn the area of claim, known as the British Indian Ocean Territory, into a marine park or reserve.

This is where WikiLeaks proved particularly valuable, with cables clearly outlining the improper and frustrating motive of UK officials.  This wily and heinous move, went one summary on May 15, 2009 of a discussion conducted by US political counsellor Richard Mills at the Foreign Office, would make it “difficult if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.”  The assent of the United States would also be required – a mere formality.

That cable in question became the subject of a legal claim by the Chagossians that wound its way through the British legal system, culminating in two approvals of the use of WikiLeaks cables, the first being the Court of Appeal in 2014, and the second being before the UK Supreme Court in 2018. The latter duly acknowledged that the principle of inviolability would normally “make it impermissible to use such documents or copies in a domestic court of the host country” except in extraordinary circumstances or instances of a waiver by the mission state. In this case, the cable in question did not form part of the London Embassy archive, meaning it could be used in court proceedings.  Even more significantly, the very fact that it came into the public domain “even in circumstances where the document can be shown to have been wrongly extracted from the mission archive” destroyed its inviolability.

Such proceedings formed part of a momentum that saw the UK referred to the International Court of Justice via vote in the United Nations in 2017.  Many European states that might have voted for the UK decided to abstain, a result of Brexit fever.  The ICJ duly found that “the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago.”  Accordingly, the UK was “under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.”

The UK Foreign Office has been snooty in response.  This island dot continues to irk, worry, and gets under the skin of the establishment. “This is an advisory opinion, not a judgment.”  Besides, “The defence facilities on the British Indian Ocean Territory help to protect people here in Britain and around the world from terrorist threats, organised crime and piracy.”  When in a tight corner, always aspire to universal relevance and importance.  In the meantime, the fortunes of the Chagossians, and international opinion, have turned.

War on Al-Aqsa: What Price Netanyahu’s Victory

On February 18, members of extremist Jewish groups raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). They clashed with Palestinian worshippers, as the settlers attempted to shut down the gate of Al-Aqsa itself.

The clashes involved the Israeli army and police as well, who opened fire and brutally assaulted Palestinians, leading to scores of injuries.

On February 19, the Israeli army carried out the unusual step of shutting down Al-Rahma Gate, which leads to a section of the Al-Aqsa compound that has, itself, been shut down by the Israeli army since 2003.

The provocative decision to seal the gate was clearly made in advance, and the lock and key have the fingerprints of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is quite typical for Israeli politicians to carry out confrontational measures against Palestinians shortly before general elections are due. The nature of these measures is determined by the kind of political constituency that Israeli leaders aim to appease.

However, a war on Gaza, at least for now, is too risky an option for Netanyahu as it would take place too close to the April 9 elections date. Moreover, a botched Israeli attack on the Strip on November 11 caused Netanyahu a major embarrassment, forcing him to shelve the Gaza option for now.

That said, if the Israeli Prime Minister’s political standing grows too desperate in the coming weeks, a Gaza war may, once again, be placed on the table.

Indeed, the political union between Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, which was declared on February 21, has certainly upped the ante for Netanyahu who has assumed that his election victory is a foretold conclusion.

Gantz and Lapid merged their two parties into one election list called Kahol Lavan (“Blue and White”), the single most serious electoral challenge for Netanyahu in years.

For the time being, Netanyahu has decided to appeal to the most messianic religious segments of Israeli society in order to keep his challengers at bay. This should come as no surprise as the religious, ultra-national far right has been backbone of the Israeli leader’s coalitions for a decade.

In fact, weeks before the Gantz and Lapid union, Netanyahu had taken several measures to show signs of goodwill towards his religious constituency.

One such overture was made on January 28, when Netanyahu ordered the UN unarmed international observers to leave the Occupied Palestinian city of Al-Khalil, where a few hundred armed Jewish settlers have been a constant source of violence. The Jewish settlers of Qiryat Arba’a live under the protection of a massive Israeli army contingent. Both groups have worked together to terrorize the Palestinian inhabitants of the city for many years.

A joint statement issued by several humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned of the terrible fate awaiting the Palestinian community as a result of Netanyahu’s decision in Al-Khalil.

“Hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron,” the statement read.

True to form, attacks by Jewish settlers followed, as media and rights group reports point to a surge of violence against Palestinian civilians in the city.

By unleashing the wrath of Jewish settlers in Al-Khalil, Netanyahu wanted to communicate to his supporters that he remains committed to their settlement project, an unworthy cause that violates international law and comes at the price of protracted human suffering.

Similarly, the Israeli decision to shut down Al-Rahma Gate on February 19 was a pre-calculated move, aimed at uniting the entirety of the Israeli right, including the most extremist of all religious and settler groups behind Netanyahu’s leadership in the coming elections.

In fact, a trend began a few weeks earlier. On January 9, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment documented a sharp increase of Israeli violations, involving the Israeli army and Jewish settlers at holy Palestinian sites throughout the month of December. According to the Organization, over 100 such violations were reported, including 30 different incursions into Al-Aqsa itself.

A raid on Al-Aqsa on January 7 involved more than the usual suspects, but was led by Israeli Agriculture Minister and a strong ally of Netanyahu, Uri Ariel.

This type of politically-motivated and highly militarized ‘visits’ to Al-Aqsa are reminiscent of the infamous ‘visit’ by late Israeli right-wing leader, Ariel Sharon in September 2000. At the time, Sharon wanted to increase his chances of becoming Israel’s next prime minister, and to ensure that his arch-rival (then, interestingly enough, the very Benjamin Netanyahu) did not win the Likud Party nomination. The gambit worked. Sharon sparked the Second Palestinian Uprising (2000-05), leading to the deaths of thousands and, of course, securing his seat at the helm of Israeli politics for years.

Netanyahu, ever studious and resourceful, has, indeed, mastered the art of political manipulation as his mentor and, once again, Al-Aqsa is the platform for this sinister Israeli politicking.

Netanyahu’s decision to strike an alliance with Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) – the rebranded party of the extremist late Meir Kahane – further demonstrates how the current surge of violence around the holy Palestinian sites is a pre-calculated political move by Netanyahu and his government.

The fact that Netanyahu would bring into his future coalition groups that are the ideological mutation of the Jewish Defense League – which is classified as ‘terrorist organization’’ by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – speaks volumes about the changing relationship between the US and Israel. Thanks to Washington’s blind support of Israel, Netanyahu feels politically triumphant and invincible, even above US’ own laws.

However, to achieve his pathetic dream of being Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, Netanyahu should be wary of the bloody consequences that his reckless action is sure to yield. Indeed, Netanyahu may be provoking the kind of violence that is much bigger than his own ability to contain.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has served not only as a religious symbol for Palestinians, but a national symbol as well, representing their coveted freedom and serving as a source of hope and unity over the course of generations.

While the blood of Palestinians is irrelevant in Netanyahu’s quest for political dominance, the international community should take immediate measures to prevent what could become an Israeli-induced bloodbath in the coming weeks.

The Climate Fiasco is Solved through Socialism

Oh, Oregon is holding hearings on HB 2020, a baby step around putting feet to fire of those so-called polluters. I will list it below. I have been asked to attend a skyped hearing, one that tells me to go for no more than 3 minutes.

This is Kabuki Theater. The bill is about green as the new black. It’s always about Democrats and 350.org looking to capitalism to solve a problem — an entire set of problems — created by capitalism.

Instead of socialism — working for the environment, for the people, for communities and for a healthy truth-telling of how bad the climate disruption and changes are and will be — we have the Green New Deal/Plan that leaves out the 52 percent of the USA’s national budget — war, military, and all the tens of thousands of companies and corporations that make money off of prisons, surveillance, armaments, bombs, DARPA-inspired killing.

Forget the fact that the US military is the largest polluter in the USA, in the world. We are using valuable resources, funding, minds to perpetuate a dying project of star wars, Mother of All Bombs, perpetual war. So, what do I say, then, or do, when friends want me to go to a hearing and speak talking points? I have a letter below I tweaked to tell the truth to my two reps — David Gomberg, Democrat, District 10; and Arnie Roblan, Democrat, 5th District.

It’s milquetoast, still. Decorum and being respectful override being truthful and impassioned.

Image result for arctic ice melt

Dear Representatives:

I’m writing to urge you to make the Clean Energy Jobs bill a priority in the upcoming year. And that’s just a start. I’ve been an educator and journalist for more than 40 years, 80 combined years. I am 62, and have worked in public schools, community colleges, four-year land grant colleges, private universities and myriad of alternative and non-traditional learning places.

I have spent my time learning about the built environment many ways (master’s in urban planning) and sustainability tied to community participation (master’s in Communications/ English).

The bottom line is we need to do more than what HB 2020 asks for. This is only the tip of the iceberg, to use a prophetic way of telling you that we need more than a Marshall Plan to mitigate the negative effects of global warming. The scientists I communicate with and study are way ahead of any panel impaneled by the US government or corporations to look into global climate change.

We are in dire straits, tied to crop failures, record temperatures, desertification of ecosystems, lowering of oxygen in our atmosphere, species collapse, and a shift in the water cycle, to name just a few. We need to move quickly to an eco-socialist mindset.

If you can’t see HB 2020 as a small first step, yes, necessary, then your own myopia certainly would speak to an uninitiated mind. Hold all major polluters accountable with a price on greenhouse gases. Don’t allow for exemptions for any polluting industries.

Everyone under the cap! Make sure we’re reinvesting in Oregon to make our people resilient, to have food security, to plan sensibly, and to make sure our citizens are prepared for some tough times ahead. This is not a time to believe green is the new black (economically speaking).

The idea of green-washing vital human-ecosystems-cultural safety nets for the price of predatory capitalism as we have it in Oregon and in the USA, is worse than doing nothing at all. We need steady-state economic thinking, and to act and work locally and connect globally.

From better transit in cities to modern irrigation on farms, from renewable energy for homes to managing wildfire risk, the Clean Energy Jobs bill will benefit all communities in Oregon. I ask you to champion bold climate action with Clean Energy Jobs.

I’ll stay in touch about the progress of the bill. I ask you to get informed as quickly as possible to understand the full impacts of global climate catastrophe, over-harvesting of resources, and the impacts of business as usual in a no holds barred attitude that puts economy over equity and environment. Environment and equity far outpaces any economic boondoggles and schemes the industrialists and capitalists have devised for their immediate profit theft.

Sincerely, Paul Haeder

Crazy, I sent in such a mellow letter. I didn’t want to upset the political apple cart, by telling these representatives what they should be doing to grow Oregon: stop infinite growth, or any growth, and do steady state economics and the economics of the poor, as in the proposals of the barefoot economist, Manfred Max-Neef. Our entire system is flawed with town-halls and Skyped hearings. We need ecosocialism now, and a billion trees planted now. A plant-based diet NOW. All transportation predicated on true 200-mile diets and consumption patterns NOW. Durable goods manufactured locally NOW.

Related image

My fellow writer, John Steppling, has a good piece out today over at Dissident Voice. Please read it. “Scurrying Fascist Cockroaches”.

Already, I am having arguments about Bernie. Those who support him will not allow for any criticism. Then, I have to defend Sanders when dyed in the wool culture wars Democrats ply one of their top ten (will it be 23 total vying for the nomination in one form or another?) as the real choice/champ/darling-to-beat-Pence/Trump and attack Bernie for being unrealistic, a spoiler, a socialist!

Bernie or the rest of the shills are not for socialism. Period. They are for war, no taxes, endless confusion and chaos, which are the by-products of vulture-predatory-zombie Capitalism.

Now, Ocasio Cortez is floating something she calls the Green New Deal (which, in another form, was already promoted by Green Party candidate Jill Stein) and which is a nakedly pro capitalist bit of three card Monte that will provide a boost to the nuclear power industry and line various corporate pockets. It’s capitalism.

Omar and Ocasio Cortez also signed the odious Code Pink letter condemning US involvement in coups while at the same time slandering and fabricating stories about Maduro. The logic of the letter was that US proxy forces and covert activities had a counter productive effect and only helped to shore up the credibility of the Maduro government.

In other words, fascism is OK, is just fine, only please do it in ways that will not bruise my delicate sensitivities.

— John Steppling

Only socialism can tackle what is happening in the world now, not just tied to climate change, but also tied to the global economic inequities and the murder and plunder and sexism, ageism, racism, ableism which Capitalism not only creates, but breeds incessantly.

Think hard who cares about animals, the aged, the young, the land, air, water, soil, the whales, the bees, ending prisons, developing safety nets for we the people.

Think hard who cares about First Nations and Civil Society and peasant movements and self-determination for people of the land. It’s not going to be the elephant at the end of the feast; i.e., Republicans.

The right-wing does not care about any of these groups or concerns. Right wingers do not care about us, the 80 percent, or the Romney 41 Percent, or the 99 Percent when looking at billionaires running for the Democratic presidential nomination — Bloomberg and Starbucks Howdy Doody Schultz.

The right-wingers do not care about teachers, about public institutions, about science (real science, not bought and sold science for the industries of Capitalism, the polluters, financiers, lords of war, and the infinite consumption/retailers’ products of obsolescence, planned lack of durability, etc.)

And, well, the democrats, too, from Clinton to Pelosi, and all the usual suspects this election cycle — all war mongers, genuflecting to Israel and $$$ — they think of us as super predators, super naive, super Utopian.

Steppling:

To fix or at least manage, to some degree, the worst environmental problems will actually require drastic socialist programs. Not fascism as Noam Chomsky** suggests…or as Bernie Sanders or AOC or any of the rest of these capitalist sock puppets … but socialist.

And nothing, NOTHING of any good is ever going come out of the Democratic Party. And nothing of any significance can happen via the US electoral theater. The amount of energy wasted in endless debate about the virtues or ‘electability’ (sic) of Elizabeth Warren vs Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris vs Tulsi Gabbard etc is breathtaking. Imagine that time spent on something useful.

Like, oh, how to prevent more war and carnage. And how to create a sustainable form of human development.

Socialism, in its most radical form, is about substantive equality, community solidarity, and ecological sustainability; it is aimed at the unification—not simply division—of labor. —  “The Indispensable Radical Left”

Here, a great quote from Steppling citing John Bellemy Foster, Monthly Review, February 2019

Once sustainable human development, rooted not in exchange values, but in use values and genuine human needs, comes to define historical advance, the future, which now seems closed, will open up in a myriad ways, allowing for entirely new, more qualitative, and collective forms of development. This can be seen in the kinds of needed practical measures that could be taken up, but which are completely excluded under the present mode of production. It is not physical impossibility, or lack of economic surplus, most of which is currently squandered, that stands in the way of the democratic control of investment, or the satisfaction of basic needs—clean air and water, food, clothing, housing, education, health care, transportation, and useful work—for all. It is not the shortage of technological know-how or of material means that prevents the necessary ecological conversion to more sustainable forms of energy.103 It is not some inherent division of humanity that obstructs the construction of a New International of workers and peoples directed against capitalism, imperialism, and war. All of this is within our reach, but requires pursuing a logic that runs counter to that of capitalism. —

And again, proof about just how broken the logic of our lefty intellectual, N. Chomsky. Note**

Suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effects has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover-with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there’s just no other alternatives right now.

— Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, 2002

The counterpoint to any of these baby steps, to speak power to money at these capitalism-will-forever-rule-and-dictate-our-futures believers on all sides of the duopoly aisle, is real rebellion. Rebelling in a time of student loans that murder future, militarized police, informants, pigs ruling all media, and cult of celebrity sounds daunting, but do we have any other choice? Extinction Rebellion!

From Rolling Stone:

Drawing inspiration from the civil rights movement, Occupy Wall Street, and HIV/AIDS protest group ACT UP, Extinction Rebellion makes clear demands, among them that the government must “tell the truth about the climate” and “enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.”

But it also aims to acknowledge and draw on the intense emotions that come with the environmental calamity that’s upon us. “Even while resolving to limit the damage, we can mourn,” is how Gail Bradbrook, one the organization’s founders in England, puts it.

“Our intention is to provoke an uprising on a scale that’s never been seen before in the U.S., a national coordinated economic and government disruption that will be maintained until the government is forced to negotiate with us.”

Utilizing strictly nonviolent tactics and operating within a largely decentralized structure, the Extinction Rebellion has three ambitious demands: to push governments to communicate the truth of the ecological crisis to the public, to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to allow the formation of a democratic “citizens assembly” to oversee the massive changes this would necessitate.

The New York City chapter of XR also includes a demand for climate justice, or “a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty.”

Or, do we really confront all systems and break away from all structures of power, including government, government controlled by the elites, government in the hands of despotic thinkers, corporations riding roughshod over all our lives? Cory Morningstar:

How would you describe the general impact of liberal foundations on the evolution of research within universities and on intellectuals more generally?

Cory: It is my belief that the impact has been debilitating beyond measure. Worse, it is not only underestimated by society, but I would go so far as to say that the co-optation of growth and intellect is not even recognized by society. We like to believe that Euro-Americans are the brilliant ones (after all, we’ve been battling Nature for eons and winning): yet collectively we (the supposedly educated) are destroying our own habitat at an ever-accelerating speed.

Those chosen for positions of power, which accelerate our demise via the industrialized capitalist system, are cherry-picked from the Ivy League. Corporate control (via direct funding and foundation funding) has resulted in a cohesive silence on almost everything that flies in the face of common sense. Creativity has been grossly stifled.

Critical thinking has been framed as confrontational while submission and obedience are deemed admirable. I covered this topic more extensively in part 3 of my investigative report on methane hydrates (The Real Weapons of Mass Destruction: Methane, Propaganda & the Architects of Genocide) under the subsection Universities as Bedfellows| Moral Nihilism.

[Excerpt: “Corporate funding effectively silences dissent and buys legitimacy where none is deserved. The corporate influence and domination, like a virus, crushes imagination, strangles creativity and kills individual thought. Education pursued for the collective good is dead. Transcendent values — dead. The nurturing of individual conscience — dead. Ethical and social equity issues are framed and accepted as passé. Political silence reigns. Moral independence within educational institutes is being effectively decimated. It is of little surprise that empathy has declined by 40% in college students since 2000.”]

See the source image

Flotsam Central Oregon

Simple communitarian spirit, tied to serendipitous moment listening to this artist a month ago talking about climate change, tide-pools and new earth emerging. His name is Bill Kucha, 74, originally from Cleveland. He was trained as a classic artist in Boston, BU, and he married at 18, had a child, and ended up on his walkabout single again. He ended up in Portland years later, new wife, Dorothy, two children, a grandchild, and more than 47 years later, Sitka roots and multi-variant artwork with creator, artist, struggling with the weight of climate like a storm over humanity, over all of nature and over his personal connection to mother earth.

He talks a lot about this new time of chaos, the opportunities for change, pushing the old — fossil fuel “economy,” dreaded Capitalism — into the dustbin of history with the energy of new minds, new ideas, new sense of identity. Where ego desiccates and a new giving gift society rises from the ashes of the Phoenix that once carried the tools of greed and war for the elite. Here, a piece I wrote about his talk along with a conservation biologist’s posted on several places on the Internet — Tidepools.

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[Paul K. Haeder, photographer]

I was invited by Bill and his wife Dorothy to their home overlooking the Pacific, South of Depoe Bay, near Newport. Their home in 1972 was once a broken-down old drafty ramshackle of a beach house, and then 47 years of TLC and a dramatic setting down of roots — spiritual, creative, and holistic. Bill has worked the land, the side of the hill sloping toward the Pacific, moving rocks and pilings and earth to make an amazingly healing place, terraced, gardens, swales for graywater and rainwater for consumption. The transformation of a man who has gained friends galore but who has worked in solitary brushing on paints and chipping into basalt and welding metal to stone, Bill has been intersecting with youth and old, playing his guitar and composing songs. He helped found 350.org Central Oregon Coast.

The talk we had Sunday February 17 was anchored in transference, a new or very old expansion of the universe talk about evolutionary principles tied to the noosphere, the creative connectivity of humanity in this time of crisis. I’ll be writing about Bill and Paul’s Lightness of Being Adventure, but yesterday, Dorothy opened up, first a teacher in Portland and then a social worker. Her parents fleeing Austria under the saber of Hitler. Her father has been featured in Portland historical news for his own migration to this new land.

Gentile and Jew, Bill and Dorothy live in balance, as the artist Bill is tied to his mistress: the land he has sculpted nail by nail, stone by stone, shadow by shadow. Their own relationship and lives in Mexico, the lightness of being now calm in a state of upheaval, great lessons passed forward to their family and friends. He is unsettled by the crisis in climate and politics and humanity.

We talked about story, about narratives, and then, bam, we headed in our separate vehicles to Newport to be with Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, who talked with around 50 people crammed into the Newport library. Kim talked about story, too, and my interpretation of that two hours will be written about in another blog here soon. For now, read about his father and me here, at Cirque Journal: A Poet, the Pacific Flyway, and a Sonora Flash Flood here! Kim was kind enough to pair up some of his poems with my non-fiction piece a few years ago in the Cirque issue, which if you open up and read my piece from the hyperlink above, you’ll see it is largely about my own poetic rites of passage tied to his father, William Stafford, and my own life moving from point to point in my as of yet revealed journey back to some imagined place in my literary soul. Three poems, Kim Stafford, Cirque Journal. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is imgp1325.jpg

[Paul K. Haeder, photographer]

Much of what Kim said in his Newport, Oregon, talk I have been practicing all my life — writing, thinking, inventing my perceptions of life, and the daily practice of writing, photographing, teaching, giving, struggling. I look to words as lamentation and personal narrative. The poem below is my spiritual word journey, after Bill and Dorothy shared their lives and home, and ruminating from that point where I listened to and talked with Kim among all these Central Oregon Coast writers and writer-wanna-be’s. I sent the poem to Bill and Dorothy. I also sent it to Kim, now on a busy schedule as Oregon’s poet of record, a two-year stint where he has to meet with people throughout Oregon; Kim still has his gig as professor at Lewis and Clark University.

I am now intersecting with much of my own scattershot history, unfolding narratives, collapsing beliefs, a new revised personal relationship, and I am about to be married, yet we’re looking for some solace in Mexico, maybe, but now, living and breathing in Otis, Oregon, near Cascade Head, the shape of life molded into the refracted light dancing in my cones and rods. I am teaching now, and working on a couple of book manuscripts. I am beach combing and photographing and just pushing out some terrible times as a social services professional in the Portland arena for more than a decade. Read at your own peril below!

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[Paul K. Haeder, photographer]

Insanity of Social Work as Human Control

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[Paul K. Haeder, photographer]

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[Bill Kucha art]

Rodea Point, Broken Circle, A Nautilus Shaped from Basalt and Pig Iron

By Paul Haeder

words like slow trowel
wet alabaster, cupped hands
incantations of synesthesia
as loud as basalt
prodded by lichen
he comes to me with law of time
universal expansion, he feels
cosmogenesis transmuted
drawn into climate crisis
his sensuality cuts, chips, digs
stone, earth to loam, stone to bricks
patterns shaped into lamentations

the weight of geological time
expands, he expresses yin yang
Chinese character “crisis”
a point where things happen
or change
artist from Cleveland flays
canvas with acrylics
the ebb like spiritual
floe, trapped in vortex
this synchronicity, the calcifying
old world new world noosphere
emancipation for him

transmogrifying nature, he paints
biological fractals, polygons of betrayal
conjures up seeds as ghosts-
dances, perennials perma
culture as long as soil
finds impregnation, Gaia
increasing complexities
he culls crisis in triptych
weight of Egyptian prophecies
curses, earth flagellated for a new
creative evolution
he covets hope

he watches river burst
flammable memories, Cuyahoga
dreams, Cleveland boy
“jawbone” for Seneca
“crooked river” for Mohawk
white man’s trash heap
emblematic of a million
trails of tears, eviscerated river,
time
space entropy land of holy
benedictions as interlopers
condemn new rivers to oil slicks
dams slough off unholy
metals, fossil hunters’ distillates

now slower in his gait
overlook of Pacific more
than germination, gestation
new age ancient he holds
paint brush hammer trowel
welding stick
old hands pushing yanking flogging
weight of 4 billion years
earth lifts to 74-year-old touch,
he flavors temporary home
in poppy lilac cruciferae
abundance
bounty shared by wife
friends
air soil water soul

she comes from Diaspora
Austrian Aryans finding
Hebrew enemies
her parents fled in 1939
warnings of Crystal Night
broken glass Kristallnach
weight of futures
death camps

she parts words between teacher
social worker, life flowing from
Mexico, weight to his fanciful
ruminations Jew with Gentile
family prayer Shema Yisrael
inscribed on grave of a Jewish
infant in Halbturn 3rd century
Roman slavers tossed Jews
into all corners of empire
Austria, land remembered
now she finds father
recriminating her to
not marry artist
you’ll be working for his art
not a dime he’ll make

migration from Cleveland-Portland
New York-Depoe Bay
islands in the stream
couple’s migratory passage
monogamous galvanizing
I his poet one step away
into pure light of chaos
she asks me if pain
of bearing witness
of finding center in political
turmoil takes joy from
living . . . the smile on my face

a million light years back
my future written when
I was nine, earlier
vision quest long walkabout
dreamtime more than
weight of ions breathed in
the soiling people
are minor actors
this artist comes to me
fielding a new love
old passions

he calls me brother
we part for another beach town
as we hold another poet’s words
speak to all his relations
we share the amen
as laureate reshuffles our
game, moments trapped
between cerebral connectivity
and laws of co-evolution
harmonic convergences
sharing food, opening spaces
we stay as one
momentarily, Pacific high tide
receding for another passing:

“I want to thank all my relations
for this chance to be on Earth
in her time of flourishing; to thank
the First People of this place,
to honor their sovereignty in long
and continuing relation, still teaching us
how we might be here together; to thank
my mother and father, moon and sun,
for setting me forth before their own
passing on; to thank my grandmother
who listened to me so eloquently I learned
to listen to my own heart and mind, to find
stories and songs there; to thank my family
and friends, and all citizens and travelers
who study and work for deeper kinship
in this place, with one another, and with
all creatures, one Earth, visible, palpable,
fragile, intricate, resonant, in need of our
better stories. I want to thank you
who have gathered to receive what I have
carried here—in hope that something
I have may meet something you need,
so all our relations may be strengthened
for this life we live together.

Amen.”

– Kim Stafford, “All My Relations

 

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Bill Kucha artwork