Saturday, October 15, 2022

Sent to Joe Biden via the Whitehouse Contact Page

Dear President Biden,

I urge you to listen to what former CIA analyst and Presidential advisor writes about "off ramps" and the prevention of nuclear annihilation -- Ray McGovern

Russia is not the USSR, It does not seek expansion so much as security. You and you alone can end this today. Instead of upping the considerable risk to life on earth with increased weapons to Ukraine, you need to pull back NATO, missiles that can reach Russia, and assure Russia that Ukraine will not be a NATO state.

At the present moment, impending nuclear holocaust (even by accident) aside, our world is facing the rapidly expanding existential disaster of climate catastrophe -- already made worse by the sabotage of the Nordstream pipeline and the release of all that methane. If you are to have a legacy at all it's time to end this now while there is any chance of our survival. We feel for Ukraine but it isn't worth the sacrifice of all life on earth. What is needed here is sanity, a longer view, mutual security for all involved.

Will he listen or even see this? Not likely but the more of us that send anti-war letters and links that show we are aware of the lies, the history and the truths omitted by corporate embedded media the better. Of course writing is not enough. Action updates we can participate or have listed can be found at United National Antiwar Coalition.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cutting through the Bullshit

Beyond the offical propaganda and war-mongering hypocrisy of the U.S corporate embedded media there are informed individuals attempting to set the record straight. They and others contradicting the pentagon line will not be read in the New York Times or called upon as experts on CNN. Below are two of our greatest and most informed minds telling it like it is. It should be noted that both can be found at

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Beyond Corporate Corruption and Nation States

Still my favorite songs from this era with a message that continues to reverberate. We are living in a time of escalating climate catastrophe and international tension as the unraveling of civilization increases, driven by the economics of competitive greed and the resulting creation of refugees by impoverishment, war, class oppression and climate disaster made worse by purveyors of xenophobic nationalisms. It becomes increasingly obvious to those who pay attention that the competitive nation state is a moribund, outdated and ecocidal disease. Now, only internationalist cooperation can save our species. Half-way measures and incrementalism on climate action will not save us. Ecosocialism or extinction. It's not just a slogan.

Your humble truth-telling writer continues beyond the limitation of a one-time column in the local Veer magazine. I continue my onine commentary on articles in the New York Tims as well as continuing to write and publish the poetry, prose and cutural reviews of other progressive, enlightened thinkers in the .

Friday, May 21, 2021

Roadmap Redux

This is an article first publshed in Veer magazing back in 2012. It provdes some background on the present phase of the ongoing catastrophy of zionism. Real questions are, how many times must we go through this? Why is our Presdent still spouting ridculously uninformed nonsense? Why do we arm, support and financially underwite such blatant human rights violations in Israel?

I had an article on another subject prepared for this space but the situation in Gaza has been weighing heavily on me. This latest attack on the Gaza strip by Israel began with its assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari. The last time, it began with Israeli shelling of a beach crowded with people just as Hamas was making overtures for peace. The militants in Gaza responded with largely ineffective missiles and, like last time, our President and press pontificate about Israel's right to defend itself. Never mind the rights of Palestinians living in what is an open air prison surrounded by guard towers and shot at regularly, to defend themselves. I take it personally. I find it unbearable.

As a Jew I was raised with an awareness of the horror of fascism. Most of my mother's relatives, Hungarian Jews, died in Auschwitz. Only a few survived; a cousin I met with a faded number tattooed on his arm and two others; cousins who walked back to Hungary only to find there was nothing for them to return to. They married to keep the family going and emigrated to Palestine and the newly forming Israel. My own sensitivity to and awareness of how nationalism, prejudice and religion are used to support Fascism continues to inform and shape my political perspective.

I was very religious in my youth. Growing up in an intolerant Christian area in California, I remember being taunted by schoolmates as a “Christ killer” and could count on being beaten up on Christmas and Easter. I know all to well about antisemitism and the bitterness of being hated. The Judaism I was raised with was rich with values. Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord your God, as the prophet Micah said. We were proud to stand against racism and to have a cultural and racial rainbow of friends. We were a people of laws who knew first hand the horror of hatred and nationalism. That was before the real effect of nationalism took hold on us.

Though my own spiritual journey has taken me beyond any belief in deities, as a cultural Jew with many spiritual and philosophical influences, I still take it personally: What Zionism has done to us, distorting our culture and values; How the antisemitism that was once a European Christian phenomenon has grown globally because of it; The suffering of Palestinians chased from their homes and made permanent refugees tormented at checkpoints and endlessly harassed; The splitting up of families, the demolition of their homes, the uprooting of their orchards, the theft of their water; The teaching of hate and fear my grandchildren got in Sunday school. I learned it myself and it took a long time to get beyond it. It goes against thousands of years of our values and teachings. It echoes our own experience at the hands of others. Who should know better than us? Some of us do. I am not alone in my disillusionment and distaste for Zionism and the poison of nationalism – all nationalism. There are large organizations like the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Not Zionists and others. I was deeply moved by the number of Jews attempting to bring humanitarian relief to Gaza aboard the small ship Irene, under the banner “Not In Our Name” back in 2010. The one American on board was Lillian Rosengarten, 75, a practicing psychotherapist from Cold Spring, N.Y, who fled the Nazis as a child in Frankfurt. Also on board, were Israelıs Reuven Moskovıtz, an 82 year old concentration camp survivor, and Ramı Elhanen whose child was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem in 1997.

You should take it personally too. The continuing intransigence, human right abuses and regional aggression inflicted by Israel is our doing. We underwrite Israel's existence at over 3 billion dollars a year. That is enough to support every Israeli quite comfortably and it doesn't include military support. The rest of the world and the nations in the region are well aware of our support and responsibility for Israel's behavior and it earns us neither trust or friendship. We have the power and the responsibility to use it.

Friends don't let friends become monsters. If we really care about Israel's security, we should apply some tough love and help them out of a tight spot. Consider it an intervention. We should, as responsible benefactors, apply strings to our benevolent support by tying continued funding to a concrete schedule of real action toward a just peace that would bring them and ourselves security. Hamas may be militant but who can blame them? They are the product of injustice and confront the equal militancy of a much larger and better armed oppressor. No good will comes from brutal oppression. Hatred made powerful by injustice can be undermined with good will. Mistrust can be overcome, though it takes time.

I am pleased at the UN vote overwhelmingly supporting recognition of Palestine, reaffirming “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.” This historic vote recognizes Palestine as a state and gives it observer status and the right to join U.N. agencies, including the International Criminal Court. It also allows Palestine to bring cases against Israel. It is an important moment. Unfortunately, Israel has responded to the UN vote by announcing the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and by seizing $120 million dollars of Palestinian funds. And they threaten to take more. The official UN recognition gives Palestine status that may afford them some protection and a long overdue degree of power in negotiating and defining their future but much depends on the response of the real power, which is our government.

Even in the unlikelihood that Israel removed its many settlements and its military forces from the West Bank, it has purposefully made a two state solution physically impossible over the last two decades. It seems to me, and to a growing number of Palestinians, that as even under the best situation with both states mutually dependent on limited resources, ultimately, a single combined state would be the best solution with equal citizenship and equality for all. Israel could do this by granting full citizenship to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza ending this festering crisis once and for all. The elected Palestinian leadership and parties could be granted representation in the Israeli Parliament, or Knesset. Israel has the advantage of a multi-party system where clear majorities are difficult and cooperation is a necessity. As citizens sharing the same country, common interests would override differences. Civic participation should be encouraged and the most militant segments on both sides, disarmed. This would be in Israel's best interest making them more secure, ending a costly occupation and undermining regional animosity. Treating others as we would want to be treated is more in line with Jewish cultural norms.

Though the wounds inflicted by the injustices of the past will take time to heal, they can't even begin until the situation changes. I recall watching a powerful documentary at the Naro Cinema, where Jews and Palestinians living in Los Angeles sat down and listened to each others experiences. In doing so they overcame mistrust and created a bond, becoming friends who still meet. This was inspiring in demonstrating how hate and fear can be overcome if we stop clinging to our own narratives and listen to each other. I believe it can happen in Palestine but those with the power bear the responsibility of initiating change. That means Israel and more so, the United States. It is in our shared interest to see this conflict end. Thanks to pressure by our own government and Egypt, there is a truce as I write this-- a fragile truce. It won't bring back the more than 160 Palestinians killed or the 5 Israelis. A permanent and just solution must be pursued and that will require ongoing pressure. It is incumbent on our government, as the patron state and on us as citizens to demand that our government take responsibility to make it so.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Surviving the Storms Together

This article was written, like most of the others here, for Veer Magazine but will not appear in it. Due to the crippling economic difficulties affecting that local paper, editorials like this are not welcome for now but may again be used in the indefinite future, should they or I survive.

These are certainly the darkest and most ominous of times I've lived through. Like many, I have been locked down, living on tinned fish, rice and beans and noodles and drinking more than usual. When I go out, I am masked, gloved and wary of others, It seems everything has changed. As a close friend pointed out, this is as much a plague of the spirit as it is of the body. At the same time, we are seeing an outpouring of generosity as people check on each other, sew masks and give away food. There are tables set up in places like Graydon Avenue, near Colley where neighbors put out cans of food for those that need it. Some even share rolls of that now rare and valuable commodity -- toilet paper!

We understand why we as a nation are less able to deal with this crisis than any other modern country on earth. We do not have a public healthcare system. Many of us lack health care coverage. Even if we have it, deductibles and copays aside, our corporatized medical approach treats symptoms rather than causes and relies on over-priced, often toxic medicines and expensive procedures. It is a commodified disease maintenance model designed to rake in profits. And now so many more of us are without basic coverage.

This viral pandemic is only one of the deadly plagues that has infected our country. We continue to suffer the plague of cultivated partisan division. We suffer from a much longer-term disease of racism and the violent suppression of minorities; especially Black people.

I have written many essays in Veer on racism, on racist police violence and on the dangerous rise of armed proto-terrorist hate groups. The attention brought has helped push reforms in local policing policy though much more needs to be done. We still lack a community-based civilian police review board. It is still more likely for Black people to be shot by police than it is for wild animals who would be subdued with drug darts.

The racism and divisions that are tearing our country apart were here long before Trump was appointed president but he has, through steady provocations and ineptitude made our situation far, far worse. From his stubborn resistance to science in handling the spread of COVID 19 to his rolling back of public safety protections and of the CDC defenses against pandemics, to his constant incitement, support and promotion of neo-faschist hate groups, he has been and continues to be a toxic danger and the number one threat to our national security. And I'm no loyal democrat! This is all a trial run for worse disasters to come, from the horrific destruction made inevitable by the expanding climate catastrophe and the storms we will experience locally to other waves of disease and of possible societal breakdown and civil war.

Given the reality of this moment, we are either witnessing the economic and social collapse of civilization and the rise of brutal fascism inherent in disaster capitalism or the beginning of a new era of progressive fightback as so many find ourselves with no other realistic choice.

So how do we get through this? The protests we are seeing are a beginning. The rising up and standing together of citizens, even amid the dangers of the pandemic and increasingly violent acts of suppression by militarized police at the direct instruction of the president and his attorney general, demonstrate our solidarity against racist violence and against Trump's destructive actions.

With the exceptions of Richmond and aggressive police in Virginia Beach, our local area has avoided violence and riots. We have, so far also avoided massive deaths by COVID seen elsewhere, though the numbers of sick continue to grow locally. We have responsible state leadership and that saves lives.

I expect the numbers to rise as we "open up" and due to the number of people in the streets protesting police violence and institutional racism.

As I wrote in the editorial of a recent Blue Collar Review, it is increasingly obvious that we are now in undeniable need of Medicare for All, a minimum income and the job-creation and climate sanity of a Green New Deal. The time for the Jonestown rule of corporations and billionaires has been unmasked by the multiple pandemics we face and must be swept away by united citizen action to restore the Republic.

Only the committed solidarity of love and community can save us as a nation from rising dictatorship and destruction. The protests around the country and in our area are examples of that. Hate and well earned mistrust can be overcome. Together, as history repeatedly demonstrates, even brutal dictatorships can be overcome when we as citizens stand together in opposition.

Though the situation is too dynamic to make any predictions, this promises to be a long, hot and bloody summer. Let's do everything we can to be safe, to avoid the worst, to take care of each other and, more importantly, to demand leadership with integrity that puts people first.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Instant Karma

As the corona virus tears across the globe leaving medical systems overwhelmed, in civilized countries that have them, and mass death in its wake, our country continues its economic terrorism against affected countries including Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, denying them food and medical equipment. In fact, there is hardly a country on earth we have not done filthy murderous things to from instigating civil wars and violent coups to orchestrating genocides.

In our own country there are calls from politicians and the corporate media for bailouts of the usual suspects; banks, big oil, finance, airlines, ect. along with emergency crumbs in the way of checks to “taxpaying' citizens. Even that appreciated but inadequate assistance – coming from the corrupt and inept G.O.P leadership – is being stymied by Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Cuomo with calls for stringent means testing. Layoffs and unemployment are skyrocketing by the day with evictions likely soon to follow.

Meanwhile, the only platform and leadership that could limit the damage and save the country, and I refer of course to Bernie Sanders's calls for universal medical coverage via Medicare for All, relief from student dept, a job-creating Green New Deal focused on adaptive infrastructure renewal, green agriculture and moving away from fossil fuels from the power grid to transportation has been soundly defeated by corporate media efforts and voters driven by fear and misinformation. A majority of said voters stated in exit polls that they support these things but were informed that Joe Biden, a senile conservative democrat was more electable in spite of polls showing the very opposite.

So here we are, sheltering in place with the most inept and crooked government in the history of our republic in charge even as we continue raining death and destruction in every part of the world. This includes the deadly embargo on Cuba which has been successful in assisting China with the development of Interferon Alpha 2b which has proven effective for viruses with characteristics similar to those of COVID-19. But hey, let's not let common sense or the curbing of unnecessary deaths get in the way of our renewed cold-war fervor!

Music, the tunes that rise out of the inky bitumen of our subconscious can sometimes be an oracle trying to tell us something or helping us see situations in perspective. The other day the voice of Doris Day rose from my inner swamp singing Que Sera Sera. As I consider the larger reality the tune that has been playing in my head is Instant Karma.

Monday, February 17, 2020

An Opportunity for 2020 Foresight

There are many issues that should motivate us to public action as responsible citizens. Issues like human rights abuses, access to needed healthcare, confronting ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to roll back regulations on environmental safety, deregulating the dumping of industrial toxins into our lakes and rivers, threats to cut back healthcare access, vital support for disabled recipients of Social Security, the spread of nuclear weapons, war, and support for oppressive regimes. Such actions can take many forms from visiting or writing letters to our elected representatives, writing editorial letters to the local paper or participating in public demonstrations.

In the last month we witnessed a day of protest by people who do not seem to object to or protest any of these things. Instead, in response to long overdue and very moderate legislation seeking mandatory background checks and monthly caps on gun purchases, militias and gun-right activists spouting unfounded fears and misinformation gathered in Richmond. None of the legislation proposed or thus passed in any way prevents anyone from purchasing a firearm.

Demonstrations around issues serve not only as a way of pressuring elected leaders but as education and outreach around things we feel are important. The Richmond gun rally succeeded in illustrating a real problem.

Photos of heavily armed zealots with over-sized military-grade weapons should concern us all. Do you really want your unstable neighbor to be that heavily armed? The other big issue made evident was the presence of highly armed extremist militia groups. As reported in the Virginia Mercury, six men were arrested in Georgia, Maryland and Delaware, all allegedly involved with a neo-fascist white supremacist group known as The Base. Authorities reported that the men were suspected of planning an attack against counter protesters at the rally. While thankfully there was no violence reported in Richmond, unlike the Charlottesville rally, there were only a few overt signs of racist nationalism or Nazi propaganda. Racist groups attending were more subtle, waving flags and wearing patches with the symbols of far-right groups like the Proud Boys and various white nationalist militias such as the III Percenters and Oath Keepers. Coincidentally, the Richmond Rally was being covered at the same time as another public shooting incident – the kind we have become too used to seeing on the news.

Recently some of the same fearful gun activists have attempted to pressure our city councils to endorse “Second Amendment cities” which Chesapeake City Council supported. As a long-time activist myself, I think many need to realize the empty symbolism of this and to read up on the “Dillon Law” which in Virginia states that “local governments are limited to the powers expressly granted to them by their state” meaning the State Legislature makes the rules and cities cannot choose to defy them or to do otherwise. The Dillon Law is problematic for local democracy on many issues. Virginia is one of 39 states in which it applies.

Four years ago at the close of the last electoral debacle I wrote of my deep concern about the ugly rise and empowerment of hate-groups and the neo-fascist right. It remains obvious that we as a nation still have a serious problem. It was on display in Richmond and has more to do with the danger, beyond partisan division, of proto-terrorist groups than it does with our continuing right to buy reasonable firearms for hunting or self defense. Public access to high-capacity military grade weaponry and armed hate-groups continue to pose a grave threat to public safety.

Another key issue, made evident by the growing Coronavirus epidemic, is the necessity of universal access to health care. Without everyone being covered, the poverty of some poses a health risk to all. The most important issue of the day remains the rapidly expanding climate catastrophe which threatens our future – especially in our low-lying, increasingly flood-prone, hurricane-vulnerable Tidewater area.

Voting is among the most important things we can do as citizens. Next, we need to keep pressure on those we manage to elect to act on the issues we care about. Our Virginia mid-terms demonstrated the effectiveness of this. We have seen action to expand Medicaid access and to enact sensible fire-arm regulations. Progress is also being made to protect our state environment. Though fracking and gas pipeline projects remain an issue, we have seen a ban on fracking in the eastern part of the state to protect the Potomac Aquifer, enacting of carbon cap-and-trade legislation, expanding offshore wind energy plans, and addressing flooding in areas of the Eastern Shore and in our own area including parts of Virginia Beach. A proposal to make the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice a permanent body, put forward by Democratic Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton, is making its way through committee. This would create a standing advisory council which would offer recommendations to the governor to protect historically vulnerable poor and minority communities from disproportionate impacts of pollution. Given the rapid warming of our seas and the increasing rate of their rise, there is much more that needs to be done to mitigate carbon emissions and to strengthen and adapt infrastructure here and throughout our country.

A vitally important opportunity for citizen action is upon us. The Virginia Democratic Presidential Primary is on March 3 with voting scheduled from 6AM – 7PM. Primaries are very different from elections. Come the election, we will likely have to vote against, rather than for a candidate, playing the old “lesser evil” game. Settling for lesser evils in questionably legitimate elections has not served our country well. Given record levels of corruption, media manipulation, voter suppression and reliance on shady technology it remains questionable whether legitimate federal elections are even possible anymore. This may be our last opportunity to make a real difference. Unlike elections, primaries are where we can and should vote our hopes by choosing the candidate we think is best on the issues. Capitulating in advance based on what corporate media tells us is possible is to surrender any chance of making a difference.

Whichever party affiliation or candidate you choose, I think what most of us have in common is a revulsion to corruption and to the continuation of resulting bad economic policies which poison our communities and impoverish us for the benefit of the well-connected. That is why many voted as they did in the last presidential election for someone perceived as an outsider who promised to “drain the swamp” but sadly continues to do just the opposite. As I've said in the past, the best criteria for judging a candidate are their actual record and who is backing them because that is who they will serve.

Given that criteria, I think Bernie Sanders remains the best and strongest candidate. Maybe it is his integrity. Beyond that rare characteristic in politicians, the vast majority support his agenda of universal access to medical care, climate action and people-first economic policies reflective of FDR's New Deal. He, unlike others, can be counted on to protect programs like public education and Social Security. His record shows him to be incorruptible. Most important is that Sanders is the only candidate who can be trusted to stand up to the enormous power wielded by corporations and to do what we must to address public health and the climate catastrophe. Sanders represents the best of our country. He will protect the civil rights and hard won gains of working people and minorities.

Beyond cultivated partisan division, the Representative Republic is on its deathbed. Citizens like those of us who are not billionaires have little if any real representation. Corporate influence has come to define public policy. Sanders and the broad citizen movement behind him are the last chance we have to revive and protect the Republic and to insure that we address the climate issue in a way that really matters. He can be counted on to actually drain the swamp of corporate lobbyists and self-serving moneyed interests. I hope we will approach this opportunity with 2020 foresight and not rue a lost chance with 2020 hindsight. We will all have to live with the consequences.