Bring Back Dirty 10/11/17

This land is your land – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

I spent the last few days traveling across the country to North Dakota to join others in supporting a gentle man who tried to help everyone. For that he was convicted of several crimes and will be heading to a North Dakota prison.

Michael Foster was born and raised in Texas, in an oil family. His crime in North Dakota was turning off the Keystone pipeline in a symbolic but real call to all of us to do what we can to stop global climate chaos.

That North Dakota valve turn was one of five similar actions last October–two women, three men, five valves on lines in Washington state, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, all done in resonance with the Break Free from Fossil Fuels campaign.

We see the buck-naked consequences of paying no attention to our oil consumption; Harvey drowns Houston, fires rip through the West, every hurricane is more intense than it otherwise would be, droughts last longer, lakes are drying up, the seas are rising and surging, and with fracking even earthquakes are no longer a pure act of God. Most previously natural disasters are now unnatural disasters, made worse by our hand more than the hand of God or Mother Nature.

The Trump regime is doing worse than nothing; they are exacerbating the problem by rolling back the tepid regulations the Obama administration brought to bear. Trump yanks the US out of a world agreement to fix this, the Paris Accords. He gets Rick “Never-met-an-oil-well-I-didn’t-like” Perry as his Secretary of Energy and Scott “That-pollution-smells-like-money-to-me” Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency–into the ground. Trump promises to bring back dirty coal. It is Satanic, frankly, with zero regard for the children of the world, for the generations. He’s old without any discernible conscience. Who will confront him?

Michael Foster, Leonard Higgins, Ken Ward, Emily Johnston, and Annette Klapstein will. They have.

I attended Michael’s trial as much as possible, although I couldn’t be in the room in the beginning because I was scheduled as an expert witness and we were sequestered until we testified–or until the judge disallowed us…which she did.

Michael was facing 23 years in prison on four charges. Three of us were there to provide expert testimony in three topic areas to help the judge and jury understand why Michael should be acquitted. Two of us were there to speak to different aspects of nonviolence and one was on hand to speak about the urgency of a rapid change in our general habits but a specific exam of the dirty tar sands oil that flows through the Keystone pipeline. Climatologist James Hansen is 76 years old and is the one who announced that “global warming has arrived” in 1988 when he worked as a scientist at the Goddard Space Center. Every single prediction he made then has come to pass. He is arguably the world’s top scientist in that area–certainly the most famous. He’s Trump’s age, only with a long-view conscience and integrity.

The court could not be bothered to listen to this eminent scientist, someone who could have helped the judge and jury become at least familiar with the emergency that we see unfolding all over nowadays, made much worse by the dirtiest sort of fossil fuel–tar sands oil.

The contempt for anyone coming to North Dakota to “tell us how to live” (the prosecutor’s attack on Michael, who is now from Seattle) was palpable. The judge allowed the prosecution’s expert witness, demonstrating some spectacular inconsistency and hypocrisy. As one who woke up a few times this summer to unbreathable air and everything in my town covered in forest fire ash, I say to North Dakotans, you need to fix this. We will do our part but you need to do yours. Most of us know at least one or two people in Houston, or in the Santa Rosa area, or in Miami or Puerto Rico. Are we Americans who value all other Americans or are we not?

But the prosecutors were dismissive. Hell, Foster only faces 23 years, why give him a chance to reason with jury members? Let’s not confuse them with the facts.

The trial in tiny Cavalier, North Dakota, in remote Pembina County, was heartbreaking.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is a scholar of civil resistance and PeaceVoice Director.

Best Time is Now 10/11/17

Now  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Don’t you just love it when a problem occurs and the one who caused says something like, “Now is not the time to talk about it.”

Huh?

Such as when Harvey hit Houston, a hurricane made into a monster by the extra-warm Gulf of Mexico, and all that additional warmth in the ocean produced by human-caused climate change. Streets became rivers, houses and people were swept away.

Hurricane Irma leveled towns roared through the Caribbean, twisting and killing in September.

Fossil fuel burning–oil, gasoline, natural gas–warmed the air, warmed the ocean, and what did Trump’s EPA head, Scott Pruitt say? Now is not the time to talk about climate change.

Seriously. That is exactly the best time to talk about it. When cities are inundated is when folks need to know why. Floridians want to know if there is any way to prevent unprecedented storm surges and record sustained winds sometimes nearing 200 mph, ripping off roofs and flattening trees and buildings.

When conflagrations are burning down the astonishingly beautiful forests of the Pacific Northwest, when iconic parklands and treasured places are in flames and we cannot breathe, when we wake up in my town of Portland and everything is covered with the ash from these firestorms, that is precisely when we need to talk about changing course and fixing this.

Now 59 people shot dead and more than 530 wounded from automatic gunfire and what does Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokesperson say in response to questions about gun control? “Now is not the time to talk about it.”

Hogwash. It is precisely the time to talk about it.

Why, indeed, does Donald Trump immediately tweet about his travel ban and wall after every news item about either a terror attack anywhere on Earth or an undocumented Hispanic person getting a parking ticket (this is almost not exaggerated)?

Time to talk. Time to study. Time to act.

Seriously address anthropogenic climate chaos. Reward clean energy. Rapidly phase out Keystone pipeline dirty tar sands oil. Rapidly phase out coal-burning electric-generating plants. Radically reduce the highly fossil-fuel-consuming US foreign military presence and thus carbon footprint. Now.

Repeal the Stupid Second Amendment. That is how citizens, towns and states can regain their rights. As it is, when a city tries to ban certain weapons the NRA rolls in with their kill squad and finds plaintiffs to sue. The Supreme Court eventually says, hey, no local or state control for you–it’s in the Constitution. Gun rights trump human rights.

Ironically, those who historically clamor for states’ rights are now the ones smashing states’ rights. They wanted states’ rights to discriminate against various races, genders, sexual identities, and unions, most notably in the infamous U.S. Supreme Court in the 1857 Dred Scott decision in favor of slaveowners but many times since. Now, hypocritically, they want to do away with a state’s right to ban as many proven killer weapons as they wish.

Some of us want to live amongst others in civil society in which issues are resolved without guns, where someone with a concealed mental health issue cannot carry a concealed weapon–because no one is carrying weapons in that town.

Some want to live in states with essentially no limits to weapon ownership short of a nuclear bomb. Great. Good luck with that, Texas and Idaho. But when Chicago–formerly the murder capital of the US before it banned certain guns–tries to pass bans on some guns and they are told they cannot, that the ban is lifted, what sort of freedom is that?

Guns do not produce freedom; guns are often the direct enemy of freedom. Each locality needs its freedom back, the freedom as it defines it.

Now is the time to talk about it.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

 

Insulting the Victims 10/4/17

Catalonia to Cascadia  –  by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Since last November many of us in many places in the US have heightened dreams of secession, of new nation-states, new sovereignty. It is true that many of us have had less intense versions of that fantasy for decades, waxing and waning from regime to regime.

Now it’s approaching heart-attack serious.

Trump is a daily embarrassment; worse, he gets to use the fruits of our labor to carry out disgusting policies, drop the Mother of All Bombs on Afghanistan, likely pay for a cruel and retro-minded border wall with Mexico, and possibly even wage nuclear war with North Korea. He seeks to gain more personal wealth on the backs of poor people daily, he insults the victims of anthropogenically worsened climate disasters in the Caribbean, and is simply insufferable in his tone-deaf narcissism, adolescent braggadocio, and trailer-trash personal insults.

One of my Vermont friends sent me notice that she has joined a group there calling themselves Most Likely to Secede. Some in the Upper Great Lakes region are reviving ideas of Miniwishigan, a nation-state of the US side of the Lake Superior basin. Increasingly, Native Americans are discussing stronger sovereignty, often in broad multi-tribal coalitions.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we refer to it as Cascadia. We even have our own flag, the beautiful Douglas Fir. We envision ourselves as Washington, Oregon, and northern California. We may need to reassess if eastern Washington and eastern Oregon prove to be Trump loyalists, essentially artifacts from the racist white homeland some wished for the Pacific Northwest from time to time. Maybe we are mostly coastal. And of course there are some serious Jeffersonians in a particular part of northern California, but they may or may not be amenable to a racially, religiously, ethnically diverse and eco-friendly vision for Cascadia. Let them secede in their own way or join us with forward thinking, not backward.

So, as you may imagine, we love the serious struggle by Catalonians for their independence. They clearly want it even more than Puerto Ricans or Scots, voting to remain part of the US and the UK respectively in 2017 and 2014. Puerto Rico voted to become a state and against independence; Scotland voted to remain a junior partner in the UK. I wonder if those peoples are regretting their votes?

Gandhi once told the British (paraphrase), We would rather govern ourselves poorly than have you rule us efficiently. This is a sentiment held by many people worldwide, though when the voting chips are down, the blandishments of the hegemon often prevail. I am not suggesting that if we held a vote in Cascadia we would do as well as Catalonia, but as Trump alienates and makes us all roll our eyes and shake our heads, perhaps the potential vote is growing closer.

Of course the other North American secession movements are irredentist First Nation and Native American struggles to regain complete nation-state sovereignty, not the limited “trust relationship” sovereignty of the tribes to the US government nor the more advanced but still unsatisfactory relationship of the Anishinaabeg to the government of Canada or the provincial government of Manitoba.

The UN is a hostile environment for most secession movements since it is a composition of some 194 nation-states in a world that the anthropologists tell us used to be at least 800 distinct nations with sovereignty and their own lands, a natural world turned violently into the colonial system driven by European colonial powers for half a millennium, with new national borders crunching peoples together or splitting them apart in ways they well remember and generally regret. The UN’s members, thus, do not favor setting precedent by approving of secession when they often harbor groups who would love to rule themselves too.

Indeed, even the EU is not friendly to secession movements and said so publicly following the Catalan vote. This was a great blow and disappointment to the Catalonians who voted, some say in excess of 90 percent, for complete autonomy, independence, and separate nation-state status from Spain. Of course this picture is blotched by the Spanish police, who were ordered to prevent the independence vote, who attacked voters and injured nearly 900 of them, and who confiscated ballot boxes. How can accurate results obtain from such brutality, such a quash of indigenous democracy?

Are voters intimidated at times so severely that they simply stay away, thus compromising the results? It is hard to say with Puerto Rico, since the vote was not taken seriously by the US government and a mere 23 percent of eligible voters actually cast ballots. But in Catalonia the Spanish government was dead serious and hyper-involved, possibly deterring a hefty percentage of potential voters by beating those who showed up at the polls and by blatantly seizing ballot boxes. Still, some 42 percent of registered voters did so.

So we shall see, here and abroad. Trump’s base includes many from states that attempted to secede and became the Confederacy, and the rest of us know it. More and more, we want less and less to do with him, with them, and possibly declaring our independence, our sovereignty, is the solution.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

 

Kindegarten Immaturity 9/27/17

Tween boys and the fate of the world? – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

First Donald Trump, inexplicably in the ill-fitting role of the President of the United States of America, threatens to go totally criminal, to “totally destroy” North Korea. This violates international laws to which past US presidents have signed and far better US Senates have ratified. Killing civilians. Shooting rockets into cities. Committing genocide. All totally immoral and illegal.

Then the Spoiled Brat Ruler of North Korea responds: ‘I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.’

How, how on God’s green Earth could humankind have permitted us to be in this untenable position, with aged boys taunting and reviling each other, manchild specimens whose only actual achievements were being born sons of powerful men? The tween in his dotage in the US is far older, but no wiser, just a sad blustering narcissist seemingly utterly unaware of just what a pathetic cheap fool he is. The twerp in North Korea earned nothing, son of a son of a brutal ruler, as endowed with a human conscience as, say, Uday Hussein or Curtis LeMay.

These are two poor excuses for humans, clearly addled by their upbringings and the forbearance shown them even when their behavior is kindergarten immature, even when testosterone, greed, gluttony and power over others corrupts all their actions.

And, dammit, they both have nuclear arsenals.

Seriously, humankind, what are we going to do? Even Nixon, as maniacal as he was, visited Leonid Brezhnev and gave him a Cadillac. He really thought better about starting an atomic slugfest.

Not Trump, referred to by many nowadays as ONE (Our National Embarrassment). How many North Koreans have participated in terror acts against the US? How many times has North Korea conducted war games just off the coast of the US? How many times has North Korea attacked US soil?

Oh, that’s right. Zero.

How many times has the US conducted intimidating war games all around the northern half of the Korean Peninsula? How many North Korean civilians were slaughtered mercilessly by the US military in the 1950-’53 bloodletting, in attacks on North Korean cities, towns, and villages? Just sayin’.

If we would prefer to avoid a nuclear war, if we would rather not have a few US cities immolated and Far East Asia burned down, the US and North Korean peoples need to swing into action, and, as we live in a putative democracy in the US, our duty is even more clear than that of North Koreans.

Impeach.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

 

Healthy Water & Air 8/9/17

Are we Egypt?  –  by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

When the world watched Egyptians bravely gather en masse in Tahrir Square in Cairo in January 2011 to Arab Spring Hosni Mubarak out of office, we were mightily impressed and most of us cheered the nonviolent resistance.

The western press lionized the Egyptian military as it seemed to support the uprising and the generals kindly offered to run the country on an interim basis. Sure enough, there was an election eventually, Mohammed Morsi won, and the military handed over power.

For a minute.

Then we saw the military not-so-kindly grab power, ousting the elected Morsi and General Sisi ordered mass arrests and torture of dissident pro-democracy Egyptian activists.

Now, a few short years since the US calmly watched democracy betrayed badly by the Egyptian military, the US press is valorizing the military officers who are starting to snap some discipline into the most chaotic, dysfunctional, investigated White House this senior citizen has ever observed, at least since the months leading up to Richard ‘I am not a crook’ Nixon’s resignation.

Be careful.

Falling all over ourselves in gratitude because a Marine general imposes some order in the executive branch may benefit the racially biased, anti-immigrant, pro-military agenda of the range of rightwing members of Congress, but that new efficiency is not going to result in the policy changes most Americans want nor those which protect the healthy water and air we all need.

From H.R. McMaster (National Security Adviser), to John Kelly (Chief of Staff) to James Mattis (Secretary of Defense) to Joseph Dunford—all generals—Trump is ceding power to those who know how to seize it. Generals now head his staff in the White House.

In short, handing over the keys to the democratic system to the military might seem like a safe path toward stability, but it failed miserably for the Egyptians and even in our disrupted state we should not seek to hitch our lines to the ones who do not practice democracy, who have a mission to control by threat of destruction, and who practice a dominating form of rule, not a democratic form of governance.

None of these generals is a Dwight Eisenhower, all are dedicated to the Trump agenda—ramping up global climate chaos, sowing race hate and violence, targeting refugees and immigrants fleeing from wars we supply arms to wage, rolling back civil rights, being cozy with the likes of autocrats Putin, Duterte, and yes, General al-Sisi, while scorning democratic humane clean energy leaders like Merkel. Be ye advised.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

Nine Powers Showdown 8/2/17

Now  –  by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

We have been living with nuclear weapons for 72 years, so that must make them safe and sustainable, right?

Wrong.

Nuclear weapons are the only way we have of killing most humans on Earth in the space of a few hours—far more immediately than global climate chaos, which is itself a dire threat. Indeed, reliable astro-scientists assure us that they predict no giant meteor collisions nor anything else that can wreck life on Earth for at least millennia, except the ultimate self-inflicted nuclear apocalypse.

Most of humankind understands this, most of humankind is not defended in any conceivable fashion by the godawful weapons in the arsenals of just nine of the 200 nations on Earth.

That is why we are witnessing a political showdown between the overwhelming majority of the planet’s countries and the nine nuclear powers.

Oh, you hadn’t heard about this conflict? That is hardly surprising in our strange media and political atmosphere of random bellicose presidential tweets, votes on whether to slash healthcare for our most vulnerable citizens, and narcissistic speeches to the bewildered Boy Scouts. Not to mention the deranged cockfight environment we are witnessing inside the inner circle in the oddest, most dysfunctional White House in US history.

Far more meaningful in the long arc of human history and certainly in our hopes for future generations is the recently passed treaty to ban all nuclear weapons on Earth.

Yes, there have been sidelong, kick-the-warhead-down-the-timeline attempts before, including the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the stalled Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but now comes a full frontal legal and worldwide political assault on the enemy of the generations, nukes.

And we have seen successful treaties to outlaw both biological weapons (1972) and chemical weapons (1992), neither of which have ever been capable of the immediate and long term threat to life locked and loaded in the arsenals of just nine nations.

Naturally, it is The World v Nuclear Weapons Nation-states, plus a few nations who don’t have nukes but whose economic and political arms have been twisted, primarily by the US.

The 72 years since the atomic annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is nothing more than a quick eyeblink in the long span of human history and prehistory. Nukes are a single incident away from wrecking your life, your great-grandchildren’s lives, and those of everyone else. They are now officially criminal and have always been evil.

Now is the most opportune time ever to let your federal elected officials know that we stand with the vast majority of people on planet Earth. It’s time. Sign that treaty and get it ratified. Save the world, literally.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

 

Doubling Down Badly 7/19/17

TrumPutin moving forward, democracy declines – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

As a child of the Cold War (born during the Korean War, learned to talk during the McCarthy Era, turned 12 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, feared the Soviets and loved Barry Goldwater as a 13-year old) it is stunning to me, even as a peace and justice person critical of my own government since Civil Rights and Vietnam, that Donald Trump is a) president and b) a traitor to the US and c) loved by his nationalist base.

Seriously. While the Putin-ordered Russian interference with the US election is far more complex than most media describe, it is real and Trump was “elected” due to Russian meddling at several levels.

And now, having met face-to-face with the foreign adversary who put him into the highest office in the land, Trump is once again doubling down on treason, saying he wants to ‘move forward.’

Great line for a crook. Caught robbing the bank? ‘I just want to move forward.’ Exposed as a perpetrator of illegal financial crimes taking millions from retirees? ‘Can we just move forward?’ Confronted as he stands holding a smoking pistol over the bleeding-out body of the Goddess of Democracy? ‘Let’s just move forward.’

No. Unless by ‘move forward’ you mean move to impeach.

@HardyMerriman: GOP wants to make US a one party state. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, no action on hacking the vote. It’s a slow motion coup.

There was much about Winston Churchill I loathed—he was an avowed racist and self-described terrorist—but his gift for the turn of phrase was significant, and never more profound than when he said, “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

TrumPutin ‘democracy’ is what we are sliding into. Writing this column in Russia might be the last thing I ever did, as the slaughter of Russian journalists by Putin shows. Fake news, fake elections, fake democracy—that is what Putin has produced in Russia and he now brings it to the US.

In the McCarthy Era the hysteria whipped up by the Wisconsin Senator was fake news and it harmed our democracy then. Now, however, the Russian agent is the tool in the White House. Trump and the Republicans are the greatest threat to our democracy we have faced since World War II, rot from the inside instead of bombs from elsewhere. Trump is just low-hanging fruit to Putin and Trump’s voters were badly, sadly duped.

Without an impeachment, without a serious overhaul of enforced voting rights and a return to safeguarded paper ballots, we will continue to watch the erosion and destruction of this 241-year experiment in freedom. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is stable right now. Civil society will engage or it will lose what liberty is left.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

 

Bad & Sad Two 7/5/17

Fundies, Issa to ISIS – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

As the world recoils in disgust at the new Trump America, even independent voters are jumping the Trump ship. In March, 38 percent expressed disapproval of Trump’s economic measures, and now it’s a 49 percent opinion amongst independents that Trump is weakening the economy.

Who are the Congressional members who stick with Trump through everything?

Darrel Issa (R-CA 49th district), purportedly the richest member of Congress, endorsed Trump more than a year ago, still said he’d vote for no one other than Trump when the “grab ‘em by the p__sy” tape came out, and has voted for Trump resolutions and legislation 100 percent of the time.

Of course they are soul mates, of a sort. As a younger man, Issa was twice charged with Grand Theft for stealing cars and was under suspicion later for insurance fraud and arson after a troubled business of his went down in flames shortly after he took out a major policy. Then he made his fortune from car alarms designed to thwart Grand Theft. Apparently he was the best person to fix the car stealing problem.

Similarly, Donald Trump has connived to pay a far lower percent of his income in federal taxes than you and I—and campaigned claiming he was just being a smart businessman and that his knowledge would make him the best person to fix those inequities. Of course, his tax ‘reform’ aims to do the precise opposite, revealing more of his lies and false promises. Issa will benefit massively from Trump’s overwhelming favoritism for the rich.

Like all sociopathic leaders from Trump to Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, from ISIS to Issa, they cite religion without shame, with a straight face, as the backbone of their actions. Issa opposed every civil and human right for LGBT citizens on a religious basis, and the elimination of Planned Parenthood for the same, yet supports Trump’s ongoing wars and arms transfers to war criminals such as the Saudis, who are mercilessly committing genocidal bombing campaigns against Yemenis that rival Assad’s attacks on civilians.

I’m sure it was pure faith in Jesus that drove all of Issa’s pro-gun votes, though protesters at his office might roll their eyes as they tried in vain to convince him to vote for sane gun laws. Pass the Lord and praise the ammunition. Other protesters, many in wheelchairs, protested his version of a Christian vote to reduce healthcare benefits, including Medicaid to people with handicaps.

Perhaps we are all ‘bleeding badly’ from a ‘face-lift’ that should never have placed those two faces in positions of authority and power.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

Expert Witness Role 6/28/17

Courting each other  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

This week I was certified in a Spokane, Washington courtroom as an expert witness, able to offer a professional opinion as to the conduct of a man who sat down on a railroad line to block a coal train. My role was to let the court know whether, in my opinion, this elderly gentleman was acting in the American tradition of nonviolent civil resistance that is, at times, permissible by law.

George Taylor wore his clerical collar to court that day, looking the part that he plays in Spokane life, which is that of a Christian minister. This has historically lent itself to the perception of possible moral authority and, under the circumstances, Reverend Taylor certainly held it.

The Rev had done this nonviolent confrontation last August in the company of other sincere souls, all six of whom were arrested and charged with relatively minor crimes; the maximum sentences they faced were three months in jail. All indicated willingness to serve that if convicted, since coal is the largest contributor to greenhouse gasses that are driving up the temperatures of the oceans and atmosphere around the world.

Then the railroad threatened to seek unknown scores of thousands of dollars in restitution for costs they claim were incurred by the delay of all their trains by the blockades. The other five defendants were legitimately concerned–all were senior citizens and more vulnerable to the seizure of their limited funds than to serving three months of their retirement years in a jail cell.

All undertook the blockade as an act of pure altruism; none are likely to be affected by the most terrible results of global warming. They were acting in defense of their grandchildren and future generations.

The other expert witness, I confess, intimidated me at first when I read his curriculum vitae–which included sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his scientific work to document, explain, and predict the effects of climate change.

Dr. Steven Running has studied and measured aspects of our atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-effect gasses, since the 1980s. He has personally published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers and his expertise will be validated by any court.

He’s also an affable, humorous, genuine fellow, who, like me, appeared because we intend to help, and not for any fee or any compensation other than the sense of duty to help battle the descent to what Dr. Running described as human chaos.

If, as a society, we pull together hard, starting now, says Running, the children of the future won’t lose too much to the climate change that is underway, with an unavoidable temperature rise of perhaps two degrees Celsius this century. But, he says, if we continue business as usual, temperatures will rise upwards of 12-14 degrees Celsius and, he cites the collective judgment of his fellow scientists, human life may not go totally extinct in the next few decades, but a human society will not continue anywhere. All human systems will break. Fires, floods, hurricanes, crop death, drought, massive dislocation as virtually all port cities are lost to the seas, and killer heat.

Civil resistance, my area of expertise, is expressly to interrupt business as usual, and to do so in ways that invite others to approve, if not join in–completely nonviolent, accountable (no running), and transparent (no masks). I explained all this to the judge, was lightly challenged by the prosecutor, but it was apparent that Dr. Running’s pure fact-based analysis, derived entirely from millions of data from reliable instruments gathered for decades by dedicated and very smart scientists, impacted everyone.

Dr. Running is profoundly worried about the Trump regime, which is doing everything possible to simply ruin life, to strip the protections that might give children a chance.

So, I suppose, I may well be back in that court, or another one, but not always as an expert witness, rather as a defendant. I’d invite anyone to consider that. Business as usual cannot continue if we want to preserve hope for the young, for the unborn.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

IMPEACH NOW 5/17/17

Seriously. Now is the time –  Impeach.

Tom Hastings

It is a daily rush of traitorous, misogynist, racist, autocratic buck-naked dissembling and craven manipulation. Trump now. Pence next. Keep it going until we get someone with a bit of integrity.

On Wednesday, May 10, the day after Trump fired the lead investigator of the increasingly obvious collusion between Vlad Putin and the Trump campaign to get this clown in the White House, Trump meets with the Russian Sergeys—Kislyak and Lavrov, ambassador to the US and Foreign Minister, respectively. What media gets shut out and what media is allowed in that meeting? No, I am not making this up. The Russian media is allowed exclusive access; the US media is shut out. While I am more of a matriot than a patriot (loyal to Mother Earth more than to a country), I highly value the best of what America strives to be, and Trump is plunging us the other way, toward strongman rule, anti-environment, and a deep disregard for the truth and facts.

Trump praised James Comey—FBI Director until just days ago—when Comey essentially tossed the election his way last October by going very visibly and audibly public with his incorrect but volatile findings that Hillary Clinton had used the wrong server for her emails when she was Secretary of State (wow—who knew that was a capital offense?) but Comey remained completely silent about the known and possibly suspected connections between Trump operatives and Russian operatives until long after the election, even though the FBI was investigating both of them at that time. Obama should have fired Comey.

Trump on October 31, 2016, just days before the election: “‘That was so bad what happened originally, and it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution,’ Trump said at a Michigan campaign rally.” In other words, he approved of Comey’s meddling in the election in both July and the infamous October Surprise.

But on Tuesday, May 9, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said in firing Comey, Trump had “accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Those recommendations were all based on critiques of the Clinton email business and were the transparently fig leaf silliness we’ve come to expect from the Lyin’ King.

And sure enough, suddenly Trump says he was going to fire Comey because FBI personnel wanted him out. Huh? That is exactly backward from what the Acting Director Andrew McCabe just said, that in fact Comey had “broad support” across all sectors of the FBI.

Bill Moyers is a trusted American life commentator. The way he put it: “whenever Trump finds it more convenient to tell a falsehood than to tell a truth, he chooses the falsehood.”

This regime needs to fall.

Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Gravity Fake Science 5/3/17

Trump kleptocracy  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

The Trump budget—pure profit for Pentagon corporate contractors. The Trump tax “reform”—massive tax cuts for the rich. Really? We are going to stand for this?

Compared to last year, if his corporations truly paid the going corporate tax rate, Trump would “richly benefit,” in multiple ways when his proposed cuts kick in. His corporate tax burden would be cut by at least 4.9 percent—millions of dollars—and his personal taxes would likely be cut even more massively, although since he alone amongst modern presidents has refused to let the American people see his returns, we cannot pin a number on his projected undeserved gains.

This is the textbook definition of corruption.

Fortunately for him, the Senators are wealthy too and love these ideas, as are most of the members of the House of Representatives. Corrupt Congress, corrupt president—and somehow the white male voters generally suppose this will all work out for them, since a reported 96 percent of his voters say they would vote for him again (and white males voted for him in overwhelming numbers, with white males without a college education voting for him a 72 percent rate).

This is not working out for those uneducated white men, but they love him. Could it be that blowing off a Mother of All Bombs on Afghans, deporting Mexicans, ending Department of Justice investigations of police killings of people of color, and banning many Muslims from entering the US is more important than getting totally hosed by a kleptocratic kommander-in-chief and kongress? Interesting priorities.

Just to further pound in the financial punishment to the very voters who put him and the other Republican lawmakers into office, they are gutting healthcare to millions of the least well off Americans as the Tea Partiers are now lining up to repeal Obamacare—unless enough moderate Republicans save the day, which will only happen by ongoing constituent pressure.

Meanwhile, in a regime just as Orwellian as his BFF Putin’s, Trump keeps tweeting and repeating that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other evidence-based mainstream media are “fake news.” If Donald Trump tripped and fell he would blame it on CNN and call gravity fake science.

When will we all be embarrassed enough or properly terrified enough to halt this charade? Will we get this charlatan impeached before he launches a Wag the Dog nuclear war? Before Miami and Manhattan are inundated from rising seas due to his sheaf of anti-environment Executive Orders? When does that 25th Amendment kick in?

Since our “leaders” seem incapable, we will need to lead ourselves, it appears. This is our democracy and we want it back. These are our children and grandchildren and we want them protected. We cannot allow this to continue for 1300 more days.

Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

It’s Worth It 4/26/17

Happy Earth Day  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

It was 21 years ago on April 22, I awoke in the middle of the night, got my co-actor up, then roused the others and we all got into two vehicles, drove to a deserted part of the Chequamegon National Forest in the boreal forest of northern Wisconsin, and unloaded our tools, statements, and general gear. My father, in his 70s then, hugged me goodbye and drove off on slushy roads. It was still pre-dawn. We were operating by moonlight.

We had come to a place where the gravel road passed under an antenna that carried command signals to all US thermonuclear submarines, as well as fast attack and hunter killer submarines, and this command facility, for a number of technical reasons, had one and only one mission, to issue the command to launch a pre-emptive nuclear war.

So we hiked in about a quarter mile to where we had done our reconnaissance and hung signs, sprayed painted the wooden poles on which the antenna was strung (one pole every few hundred feet), and, with swede saws, notched three poles. By then the media arrived, including a reporter from the Progressive magazine, a tribal station radio reporter, and a reporter from Wisconsin Public radio, along with a television crew from a Duluth, Minnesota station (the only ones I didn’t know nor invite, but the WPR man did).

I had sent media packets to everyone beforehand, explaining our action and the difference between what we were doing to prevent bombing and the property destruction we sometimes see, unfortunately, in mass actions (broken windows, vandalized mailboxes, etc.). We were the 58th Plowshare action, a tradition begun by Phil and Dan Berrigan and others by “hammering swords into a plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4).

We administered the coup d’grace and three poles, all about 40 feet tall with the antenna strung between them, crashed to the Earth. Happy Earth Day. We knew we had shut if down; I took my metal saw and tossed it to hit the antenna to make sure the 125 million watts weren’t still running through it, and sure enough, we had shut it down. We chatted with the media folks and waited for the sheriff. The Navy crew showed up and the first one out of the snow machine said to me, “You’re going to prison for this.” I said, “Yup. It’s worth it.”

We did. We had a very interesting trial with a world-class defense, and we were acquitted of sabotage but convicted of destruction of property, three-year sentences. We each served about a year, and then released wearing electronic ankle bracelets. That’s when I applied to teach peace at a local college (I had been doing so before our Earth Day action through the U of Wisconsin) and was hired. I taught there until coming to Portland.

So that’s my Happy Earth Day story. We stopped any first strike nuclear war, even if only for a few days until they could repair it. But we kept fighting it, alongside the Lake Superior Ojibwe, and we eventually succeeded. It is now shut down, dismantled, removed, and the forest has been coming back since then, since 2004.

Earth Day was our way to use robust nonviolence to participate in democracy that day. Dr. King said the purpose of direct action is to get to the negotiating table. We did.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

Bombs are Dumb 4/19/17

Mad bombers just so 20th century – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Bombing is dumb. The Age of Destruction is a foolish logic. Mother Nature is offended and is showing us that annoyance—and this will worsen as we fail to correct our conduct. Simply put, anyone anywhere from the top of the command chain to the frustrated lone fertilizer bomber is acting foolishly. We are looking at you, Kim. And you, Donald. Our Era of Strategic Patience is wearing thin.

The solution to bombs is not more bombs—or rather it is the worst and most costly “solution” that usually leads, eventually, to even more bombs exploding and destroying even more innocent noncombatants. Idiot’s Delight.

And so, even as impulsively cathartic as Trump’s bombing the Syrian airbase might have been, it was Wag the Dog gratuitous. As dime store tough-talking as Mike Pence is in Asia, his braggadocio is simply annoying to anyone with a shred of humanity and coherence.

Can we, at some point very soon, move to thinking critically and in our national/transnational enlightened self interest? Simply put, Trump is threatening Life on Earth and it’s intolerable.

This guy can’t even show us his taxes. Dearest Trump supporters, it is time. Time to join the rest of us who want to survive, who want to salvage democracy, who want to have a President we can trust—even if we disagree with some of his decisions. You must know by now, if you have been paying attention even a wee tiny little bit, that Donald Trump is stone incompetent, a buck naked liar, a flipper and flopper who will betray you in a New York second, and someone who tosses his “promises” overboard when the first whitecap appears in the sea of public policy questions.

Let him go. Help us impeach this Tweeting Nuclear Option—and for Trump the nuclear option is not REPEAT NOT a metaphor. For your daughter, for your granddaughter, for all the daughters to come, stop this. End this aberrant administration. Yes, US presidents have been bad. But this one is an existential threat who must be turned out to pasture. Now. Before he turns Pyongyang into vitrified kimchi and Kim Jong-un transmogrifies Seoul, San Francisco, Tokyo and Seattle into seas of fire. We have two testosterone-addled rulers with pudgy fingers on nuclear code launchers. The Humankind Era of Strategic Patience is ended. Impeach one, impeach both—but stop this dummy dance to death now.

Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Nymphs in Heaven 4/12/17

Murdering martyrs: This too shall pass – by James A. Haught and Tom H. Hastings

James Haught

On Palm Sunday, suicide bombers detonated themselves at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, killing 44 and wounding 126. Undoubtedly, the volunteer “martyrs” thought they were on a mission so holy they were willing to sacrifice their own lives.

Each time this happens, we’re engulfed by a sense of lunacy. What kind of misguided fanatics think God wants massacres of defenseless strangers?

Tom Hastings

Yet it occurs thousands of times—now and in the deep history of humankind. A couple of months earlier, suicide bombers struck a Sufi temple in Pakistan, killing 90 and wounding 300. Evidently the death volunteers think God wants slaughter of dancing Sufis as well as Christians.

Christians are of course famous for such unholy campaigns—in 1209 at Beziers, France, the papal legate, when asked by the military leaders how to distinguish the Cathars (the “heretics”) from the Catholics, replied, “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius – Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His.” The Catholic forces took the lives of a reported 20,000 civilians that day, the equivalent to seven 9.11.01 attacks.

Not to mention Hitler’s theft of life from 12 million Jews, communists, disabled, LGBTQ, and other innocents. Or the Allied bombing of civilians from Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfort and many more residential areas. How about the US annihilation of nearly three million Vietnamese, approximately 90 percent of them civilians, often poor unarmed peasants? From the Spanish Inquisition to the Salem witch trials, we humans burn, bomb, stick, shoot and kill so many who have no weapons.

And now jihadis kill civilian Christians, Jews and fellow Muslims. Many radical Islam attacks hit Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. The Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University says 800 suicide bombers killed 5,560 people in 28 nations in 2016 — an all-time-high death toll. In 2015, some 735 martyrs killed 4,370. In 2014, the toll was 937 death volunteers and 4,400 victims, scarcely more than four casualties per martyr.

The so-called “cult of death” has become the driving force of radical Islam. Without self-chosen martyrs, the religio-political movement would have little impetus. With them, it has become the world’s chief cause of bloodshed after the Cold War ended except the underreported wars in portions of Africa that have seen many more civilians attacked than anywhere.

But what of those who intentionally include themselves in the casualty count? In the final months of World War II, of course, Japanese kamikaze and shimpu attackers were on suicide missions, although one might argue they were in some ways morally superior since they only targeted military in a desperate act of “legitimate” war. Similarly, Vietnamese sappers sacrificed themselves carrying bombs to kill invading American soldiers.

Holy suicide was little known until 1983, when a volunteer truck bomber killed 240 U.S. Marines at a barracks in Lebanon, and another killed 60 at the U.S. Embassy there. Ever since, it has surged into a global curse.

The most maddening aspect is the righteousness felt by the killers, who think they’re serving God, who will reward them with virgin nymphs in heaven. When 19 devout young men committed the historic U.S. attack on Sept. 11, 2001, they left behind a written testimonial saying the “women of paradise” awaited them.

Columnist David Brooks calls suicide martyrdom “the crack cocaine of warfare…. It unleashes the deepest and most addictive human passions — the thirst for vengeance, the desire for religious purity, the longing for earthly glory and eternal salvation.” He said volunteers are promised “dark-eyed virgins in paradise” who will greet them the instant they depart this life.

In some Islamic societies, families express joy when their sons or daughters sacrifice themselves in massacres. Announcements in newspapers, almost like wedding notices, tell of sons happily united with virgins in heaven. The BBC filmed a “paradise camp” where children as young as eight are taught jihad (holy war) and martyrdom.

Columnist Brooks hopes that changing conditions may “allow the frenzy of suicide bombings to burn itself out.” But, so far, the phenomenon isn’t fading.

Ironically, religion is dwindling rapidly in Europe, America, Canada, Japan, Australia and other western democracies, especially among the young. Yet it spurs many young Muslims to kill themselves to kill others. It’s a strange contrast of faith, a gulf between the two civilizations.

Germans have gone to great lengths to face their history, as have Rwandans. American history that includes wiping out Native villages full of noncombatants has never been properly faced. Perhaps the dominant cultures are poor at self-assessment; one hopes we can all learn about our failures as humans and educate for love and friendship, values that are nominally core to all decent beliefs, religious or humanist.

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. Tom H. Hastings directs PeaceVoice.

Impeach A Liar 3/22/17

Job-killing Lyin’ King president  – by Tom H. Hastings

Impeach.

Tom Hastings

Trump’s budget is out, his Trumpcare bill is introduced, and between them they are astonishingly stupid and promise-breaking. Featured are just a small sample of these job-killing aspects:

· The American Healthcare Act (Trumpcare), if enacted, will eliminate 23,000 jobs just in my state, Oregon. The national implications are horrific, in job loss and in healthcare loss—as well as sharp increases in premiums for at least the next two years—for example, senior citizens in Alaska may see a rise in annual healthcare insurance premiums of more than $14,000. I wonder if they are still thrilled about giving their electoral college votes to Trump?

· The Trump budget, if passed, would cut enormous numbers of civil service jobs, including scores of thousands by the elimination of 19 federal agencies and slashing the budgets for many others.

· Increasing the Pentagon budget will create fewer jobs per $billion spent than in any other sector of the economy. Each $billion that goes to DoD is job loss for even more Americans.

Between the two Trump proposals, several key promises that he made to help convince gullible Americans to vote for him will be broken:

· The Congressional Budget Office predicts that under Trumpcare 24 million Americans will lose health insurance, contrary to Trump’s unbelievable promise that everyone will be able to get health insurance. He lied.

· “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump said as he campaigned making glib promises to everybody. The Trumpcare proposal cuts Medicaid. He lied.

Trump will completely eliminate these agencies, getting rid of some of the most forward-thinking US federal programs: The African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

But Trumpcare4rich will be the actual result of his collection of proposals, featuring:

· $900 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Impeach.

Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

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