First Meeting of the New Year

Some time after 6:25 the weekly meeting of the Cascadia Chapter convened at Random Order Cafe yesterday, Thursday 7 January 2016.

seige of Leningrad.jpgDave Westerlund, Charlotte Miller, Herschel Soles and Y[our] I[ntrepid] R[eporter] in attendance.

Dave produced the Oregonian article discussing recent Albina Ministerial Alliance for Peace, Justice, and Police Reform press conference held on steps of City Hall. YIP pointed out a lower half of face in the picture illustrating the article, which was me, to Dave and Charlotte’s apparent surprise.

T. Allen Bethel (hands raised) with Pastor Mark Knutson of the Lutheran Church [YIP holds sign]

T. Allen Bethel (hands raised) with Pastor Mark Knutson of the Lutheran Church [YIP holds sign]

Dave further spoke of his experience with suits brought against the Bureau of Land Management regarding the handling of rural resources; he indicated interest exists for a Green Party chapter in his base of Longview, WA.

Herschel to inquire of Dan Handelman at Monday afternoon’s demonstration at 3:30 pm at east end of Hawthorne Bridge for the details of Portland police training held together with Israeli Defense Force personnel.

Charlotte joins the Green Party, pledges to remain decorative. Herschel provides the news of, and explains, Joe Walsh’s legal victory against the City (and its Mayor); but then, upon adjournment, the Oregonian article describing said victory was lying on the table, presumably contributed by (self-effacing) Dave and Charlotte.

Meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael Meo, secretary


Christmas Eve, 2015

Although the fact that Random Order Cafe was closed on Christmas Eve made it more difficult — indeed, Dave Westerlund missed the meeting, even though he arrived at 6:26 p.m. — Herschel Soles and Your Intrepid Reporter Michael Meo conferred across the street for an hour.

The main topic of our consultation was the present state of disarray within the progressive movement of our city. This week, as we both noted, Black Lives Matter publicly accused
Dont Shoot PDX of a series of deliberate actions hindering the movement for police accountability in Portland. In their own words,

"We are publicly requesting that this behavior stop: Do not threaten us with violence. Do not allow white folks or any allies affiliated with your organization to threaten us with violence. Do not represent yourselves as members of our organization. Do not call members of our organization collaborators, federal agents, or police. Do not spread falsehoods about our behavior or organizing. Do not attempt to co-opt the name or work of our organization.
We do not have to work together. We don’t even have to like each other. But we will not accept interpersonal violence in this movement.
This statement is signed by all members of Black Lives Matter Portland, an unapologetically Black-led collective of Black women and gender variant folks working for the liberation of all Black lives worldwide."

Neither of us knew much about the details, but both of us were impressed by the virtually immediate endorsement of the statement against DontShootPDX by former Oregon Representative and current chair of the Portland NAACP, Jo Ann Hardesty.

Our own organizational efforts have been hampered, as well, by inexplicable actions by what one would have expected to be our natural allies. Specifically, Herschel spoke of the experience he had, with Portland Copwatch, where the Portland Alliance was locked out of the building the two organizations shared. At the time Herschel served as the chairman of the board of directors for the Portland Alliance newspaper, and he has reservations about the effect of Dan Handelman’s highly questionable behavior in that incident.

Your Intrepid Reporter shared his own discouraging experiences with Dan Handelman, but he urged Herschel to chalk up the differences as due to ignorance on Handelman’s part of the consequences of his dictatorial tendencies.

In fact, I was joined by Dan Handelman the following day, today, Christmas Day, at the Friday Afternoon Anti-war Witness at Pioneer Courthouse Square; he was welcome, too.

Everyone wants these divisive issues to go away; but they do not. The policy of the Cascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party is, rather, to think carefully about what caused the schism. We are pretty clear about Portland Copwatch: they do invaluable work on documenting the need for police accountability in Portland, yet stop short of demanding that cops not receive a free pass when they feel endangered.

The considered policy of the Cascadia Chapter has been the same for years: the police officer who loses the life of a citizen in his or her custody should normally lose his or her job. Herschel spoke of his own situation when he was a school bus driver; were a student to complain about his inappropriate speech while working as a bus driver he would lose his job; similarly, as a former Portland Public Schools teacher, I could testify to the fact that one or two girls claiming inappropriate behavior on my part, as a teacher, would have meant that I’d have had to find another job. It’s simply the conditions of the job.

The solution to police misbehavior is not better training: in general, the training is semi-reasonable; the accountability expected of all other professionals is absent in police work. State law supports this impunity and ought to be changed; but the first thing to address is the attitude; this includes the attitude of those who are agitating for police accountability. We have thousands of unfairly imprisoned citizens in our prisons, put there in large measure to enforce the unquestioning obedience by citizens, under all circumstances, to the sometimes arbitrary and illegal demands of the police. This is the basis of our militarized police state.

more: 
at https://cascadiachapterpgp.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/christmas-eve-2015/


Cascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party
17 December 2015 Minutes

That's Herschel Soles holding the microphone.  Candidate for US President Jill Stein speaks in Portland, 7 September 2012

That’s Herschel Soles holding the microphone. Candidate for US President Jill Stein speaks in Portland, 7 September 2012

Herschel Soles commented upon arrival at the Random Order Cafe in the midst of a downpour Thursday evening, that the heavy rain discouraged a larger attendance. Nonetheless he and Your Intrepid Reporter met and agreed that the Chapter will make a concerted effort to support the “Shut Down Guantanamo” demo at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, 3:30 in the afternoon of Monday, 11 January 2016.

We will also collaborate to enlarge the speakers’ list of the War Resisters’ League, when they visit local high schools to counter-recruit.

P.S. added later: The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition members Scott and Rob came up with a new chant for the Friday at Five Afternoon Anti-War Witness at Pioneer Courthouse Square [an occasion of which is pictured, above], the following day:

American War in the Middle East

Won’t Bring Safety, Won’t Bring Peace


Art Intuiting the Truth

There was this song popular in the early Sixties, when I was young and impressionable. I like to sing it still, and give a gutteral delivery to the last word of the refrain

Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley
Poor Boy You’re Gonna Die!

Who knew? — as the Jewish comedians of New York City made famous

Tom Dooley

The story in Appy’s first chapter that this reviewer found most revealing about the American Catholic anti-Communist connection with the Vietnam War is the story of how Tom Dooley, a Navy doctor who worked in a refugee camp in Haiphong in the final phase of the Franco-Viet Minh War and its aftermath, told stories of American kindness and Communist brutality in Vietnam that reached millions through Reader’s Digest, his own best-selling books, and television appearances starting in the latter half of the 1950s.

The cutting edge of Dooley’s account was his tales of Communists crucifying Vietnamese Catholics and sticking chopsticks through the eardrums of their children. His grisly stories of Communist atrocities were never supported by any other source, even though the U.S. Information Service sought to get confirming details, as Appy’s account documents. Yet no one questioned their veracity at the time or through the entire U.S. war in Vietnam that followed a decade later.

Many years after the war people who had worked with him revealed the truth: Dooley had fabricated the stories out of whole cloth. But it was those stories that had ingratiated Dooley with powerful people whose interests it served. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke, for example, wrote a forward for Dooley’s first book, Deliver Us from Evil.
Dooley was forced to resign from the Navy after a Naval Intelligence sting operation established that he was a homosexual, but the Navy kept the information under wraps, allowing him to establish medical clinics and hospitals in Northern Laos and write two more books that pushed more stories of atrocities by Communist forces, while passing on information to the CIA. The major mass print and electronic media outlets all featured Dooley and his stories of Communist horrors. By the time of his death of cancer in 1961, Dooley had become the third-most esteemed [by US citizens] person on Earth, just after the pope and the former president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. But although his charm and talent for self-promotion were important in his rise to fame, it was primarily the result of decisions by powerful figures in the national-security state and their allies in the media. And Dooley’s role in shaping the popular American view of Vietnam was not so much to confirm the unique goodness of the American people as to peddle a systematic deception about the Vietnamese adversary.

Gareth Porter, Vietnam War and the Permanent War State, 18 Dec 2015, reviewing
Christian Appy, American Reckoning, the Vietnam War and Our National Identity.


“Better than that”, enh?

The refusal of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [not shown] to invade Iran stopped Cheney's plan

The refusal of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [not shown] to invade Iran stopped Cheney’s plan

Last week’s Pravda-on-the-Hudson had a curious piece on the so-called “op-ed” page, the page devoted to columnist commentary on the affairs of the day. One Michael Mann, of Pennsylvania State University, warned of an “assault on climate science”; the curious part included the sentence, mid-way through the third and final column on the page

Not only did the Democrats object. So did Republicans.

This raises the left eyebrow of Your Intrepid Reporter due to the fact that the authorities accused by Mr Mann of said “assault on climate science” were, up until that point, Texas Republican (and Chair of House Committee on science and technology) Lamar Smith and Joe Barton, Texas Republican (Chair of House Committee on energy).  Whereof would one then follow such a list with the sentence, given an entire paragraph to itself, “Not only did Democrats object.  So did Republicans.”?

But there’s worse.  Mr Mann says in conclusion

Let’s hear more from these sensible voices.  And let’s end the McCarthy-like assault on science led by the Lamar Smiths of the world.  Our nation is better than that.

Not too good a nation to re-elect Bush and Cheney, though.  Note the illustration from these war criminals’ second term of office, reproduced above.

Your Intrepid Reporter is reminded of the French Revolutionary, condemned by Thomas B. Macaulay in an 1844 essay : was France better than condemning, at the instance of Barère, Marie-Antoinette, the widow of the lately executed king, to death on trumped-up, patently false charges?  Macauley concluded with ringing phrases regarding the attempt at rehabilitation by Carnot in four volumes of Memoires

It is no light thing that a man in high and honorable public trust, a man who, from his connections and position, may not unnaturally be supposed to speak the sentiments of a large class of his countrymen, should come forward to demand approbation for a life black with every sort of wickedness, and unredeemed by a single virtue.  This M. Hippolyte Carnot has done.  By attempting to enshrine this Jacobin carrion, he has forced us to gibbet it; and we venture to say, that from the eminence of infamy on which we have placed it, he will not easily take it down.

–which it [the carrion: Monsieur Barère] has not been (although the attempt has been made — trust me, without success) in the time since.  Our genocidally hostile to the Native Americans nation is no better than the executioners of an innocent Austrian archduchess and the contemptuous gaolers of the Dauphin.  The same Paris which sends its President to President Obama to ratchet up The War against Muslims.

In short, mesdames et messieurs, comme disent les Anglais, “Handsome is as handsome does.”  No country is too good for genocide.


In Case You Were Thinking

of attending one of the regular meetings, Thursday nights at 6:30 pm, at the corner cafe, N.E. 18th and Alberta, there was this item today in the Newspaper of Record:

Police are investigating a late-night shooting at Northeast 18th Avenue and Alberta Street.

Police responded to call at 10:40 p.m. on Thursday and found a man in his 40’s suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg. Police applied a tourniquet and he was taken to a Portland hospital. Portland’s gang-enforcement team is also investigating.

The victim was not named.

The scene of is just three blocks from where three teen-agers were shot in broad daylight in May during the neighborhood’s Last Thursday street fair. May brought the biggest burst of gang-related calls in a year in which police have responded to a record number shootings.

On Saturday night, witnesses told police they saw several men running away from the intersection, which is near several restaurants and bars open late on the popular street.

Such goings-on may, indeed, draw more people, given the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.


Just to Put a Number on It

Oil painting of second-cousin's village in Italian Alps, right; Portrait of Trudy Meo, 1990

Oil painting of second-cousin’s village in Italian Alps, right; Portrait of Trudy Meo, 1990

The Economist dated today says (p. 59) that in 1990 1.9 billion people on Earth lived on what today is $1.90 per day. In the same sentence these authors believe the number to be 700 million today, living at that extreme level of poverty.

That accomplishment, that the very poor are one-third as many today as twenty-five years ago, is an accomplishment of the Chinese leadership’s adoption of capitalism.

A Green Party government based on socialism would be inconceivable. We are pragmatist, and would adopt methods to increase human felicity, without recourse to preconceived dogma.

Sustainability, the mantra of our world view, is simply the preference for life.

I illustrate this post with a wall of my study.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cascadia Chapter Meets

Thursday evening, in the pouring rain, four people gathered at the Northeast Portland pie bar Random Order Cafe. Your Intrepid Reporter was joined by Dave Westerlund and his companion Charlotte, when Herschel Soles arrived, on time as always.

Meetings of the Cascadia Chapter of the Pacific Green Party do not follow an agenda: we do not follow bullet points, assign tasks, and review our progress. We meet one another and see how the Party can collaborate.

For example, he wasn’t at the meeting but Ted Pyle called in that day, to tell attendees that he has a scheme to build mobile plastic-walled and -roofed shelters, on casters, for a low price, with labor supplied by the homeless whose new shelter it becomes. Contact with Ted available on request, so to speak. The meeting did (of course) discuss the activity, and wishes Ted all speed.

NonParty-member Dave opined that the anti-war witness performed at Pioneer Courthouse Square every Friday afternoon now for 12 (13?) years has had little effect; he termed it the “Portland Pitiful Response” since the same 8 people meet every week. The reply of Your Intrepid Reporter was, that no one could deny the impact of those 8 people, chanting as they filed through the crowd last month at the lighting of the Portland Pioneer Square Christmas Tree, “While You’re Shopping, Bombs Are Dropping”.

Bump City's expression of shopping frenzy: artificial Christmas Tree

Bump City’s expression of shopping frenzy: artificial Christmas Tree

Herschel found of interest the showing of the movie “Suffragette”, which indicated that, in the struggle for women’s suffrage asking for the vote was attempted repeatedly without any success.  The movie, which Charlotte also had seen, indicated it was only when property was destroyed and large demonstrations held that women got the vote.

Similarly, the week before at the Chapter meeting, Matt Brewster and Bob McGown inquired about activities and accepted materials published by the movement for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Herschel and I have gotten pages of signatures on the ballot initiative, attacked today by the Portland Tribune, to increase the minimum corporate tax in Oregon.


 

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