The Thunderbolt 082913 Truth and Reconciliation

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Action Alert Calendar

The Thunderbolt!!!


Truth and Reconciliation:


1)  FYI Section:

   1A)  Bradley Manning Support Network

   1B)  Spokane Judge Guts Initiative Movement for Community Rights

   1C)  Neighbors Speak Against Homeless Shelter on East Side

   1D)  Update from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

2)  No War with Syria Rally

3)  No War with Syria Rally

4)  Anti Labor Day:  General Strike

5)  Bonus Tip of the Day




Hey Kids!


If you missed the Love Our Local Festival last Sunday then you have my deepest sympathies.  In hindsight I now realize I should have featured this event much more prominently in last week’s Thunderbolt.


One of the most powerful impressions Love Our Local left with me was how many incredible humans share our little city with us.  I know a lot of them, but seeing all of them all at once in the same place blew my mind as I never fully realized how many of them there are, and having such a large collection of magic people all in the same place and all on the same page creates a synergistic level of awesomeness that is beyond words.


The music kicked ass too.


If you missed it, you’ll have to wait until next year.


In addition to everything else, lots of people learned about KOWA 106.5  and over a dozen new people signed up for the Thunderbolt!  Welcome aboard!


The CoOp Harvest Party will be coming up in September, so stay tuned.




A reminder:  The Thunderbolt is also published online at


You can link this to friends or whatever; they just don’t get all the pretty colours.


The audio version of the Thunderbolt airs Friday and Saturday mornings at 8 am (and various other unpredictable times over the weekend) on KOWA 106.5 fm if you’re in downtown Olympia or streaming worldwide at:


Basically, the radio show is an audio version of this newsletter with music added for extra emphasis; I have never heard anyone else do what I do on the radio show and I have absolutely no idea why because I think that it is a very powerful format.  I don’t put out as much information as the people who just talk, but what information I do put out I at least like to think gets hammered home in a manner that people are very unlikely to forget…


The Thunderbolt also has a Facebook page though I’m still not sure what to do with it.  I’ll probably promote stuff there so if you’re not my ‘friend’ then maybe it would be of use:


If you ever want to check out my fiction, my novels can be found here:


Self promotion!  It’s the American way!




I have several times now pointed out my view that the non-violent and violent wings of the revolution actually complement each other as long as they are kept completely separate.


For you newbies:  The theory behind this concept is that when people are burning shite down, the relatively ‘reasonable’ non-violent people can threaten the power structure with the crazies if they don’t accede to their ‘reasonable’ demands; i.e. do you want to talk to Martin Luther King or do you want to deal with Malcolm X?


In Democracy Now for Monday August 27th Amy interviews 91-year-old Gloria Richardson, one of the organizers of Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington.


One thing I learned that I didn’t know was that Malcolm X was in DC that day — and though he didn’t attend Dr. King’s speech, Ms. Richardson met with him that day.  Then, Ms. Richardson validates my thinking on the violent/non-violent dichotomy by telling a story about how she was later negotiating with the City of Cambridge and that she had hit a brick wall — until she directly threatened them with bringing Malcolm X to town if they did not accommodate her demands…


According to Ms. Richardson this completely freaked the city fathers (there were no ‘city mothers’ in those days) and they soon thereafter backed down and granted her nearly all of her demands.


Due to his position Dr. King himself could not really talk about this in public — but he did say a couple of things indicating that he was also aware of this dynamic…




I also attended the Washington Community Action Network Summer Leadership Council in Ellensburg a couple of weeks ago.  (If you’re looking for an effective activist organization to work with Washington CAN kicks ass, by the way. )


As one of the exercises everyone got up and explained their ‘Ah Hah’ moment, i.e. the one incident or realization that led to their becoming activists.


Upon contemplation, I realized that my own ‘Ah Hah’ moment actually kind of came in two parts:  Part one was in my early twenties when I became involved with activists and educated myself as to what was really going on — and I came to the same conclusion as the Black Flag kids, i.e. the entire system was so utterly completely irretrievably corrupt rotten vile and evil to its very core and that there was no fixing it or reforming it.


However — unlike the Black Flag kids — it seemed to me that the Machine was doing just fine falling apart all by itself and it didn’t need any help from me so I was content to allow it to do so; I decided that I was just going to have a good time and enjoy my life until everything collapsed, and I did just that for many years.


Then, three things:  Daughter, granddaughter, and federal prison.  I gained a reason to care about the future and after six years of doing lots of reading and lots of thinking I came to the second portion of my personal ‘Ah Hah’ moment:  I realized that the problem isn’t the system, the problem is the people.  The system is just a reflection of the people.  When you fix the people, the system will fix itself.


And most people can be fixed, or at least they can come to an arrangement, and even those who can’t make accommodation can be dealt with much more effectively and much more humanely than we do currently; when most of the other people are fixed then I highly suspect that the problematic ones will become much less so.


Thus, this week the Thunderbolt’s ominous and baleful eye will be directed toward some foundational nuts and bolts!


And I don’t mean the usual metaphorical nuts in Congress and Wall Street that I generally dwell upon — and rather than my normal metaphorical thunderbolts, this time I mean literal metaphorical fastener type bolts.


(Can something be literally metaphorical?  If so, would that be literally or metaphorically or both?)


(Words are so much fun to play with!)


Yes, Kids, even as my ponderous intellect ponders the great overarching questions of our day — occasionally even I descend from my lofty ideological perch in order to get down into the weeds of practical details…


And so, I am most pleased to announce that this week the Thunderbolt will be dwelling upon the concept of…




Truth and Reconciliation


And so, the theme of this week’s Thunderbolt can be best summed up with one of the most nauseatingly cheesy songs in history:


Once there was a silly old ram

Thought he’d punch a hole in a dam

No one could make that ram scram

He just kept butting that dam


Cause he had high hopes!  He had high hopes!

He had high apple pie in the sky hopes!


So any time your feeling bad

Instead of feeling sad

Just remember that ram…


Oops, there goes a million kilowatt dam!


                        —Frank Sinatra


Barack Obama has unequivocally stated that he isn’t going to prosecute any of the many odious crimes perpetrated within the Bush Administration.


Obama says he [doesn’t] ‘believe in looking back’.


The lie to his reasoning is quickly and easily determined by the fact that for no apparent or stated reason Obama’s Justice Department just recently elevated Assata Shakur to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorist List even though Ms. Shakur has been retired and inactive in Cuba for over 30 years now — so evidently black female activists who were railroaded into prison for crimes they didn’t commit are just one of many exceptions to Obama’s ‘not looking back’ rule — but that is par for the course and by this point I don’t think much of anyone is overly surprised at Obama’s profound hypocrisy anymore; if you don’t get it by now then I suspect you are incapable.


Just in case you have any doubts whatsoever who Obama really works for, though, then here is what should be a final nail in the coffin except there are already so many nails in that sucker that it is now more nail than coffin and it is difficult to find anywhere else to hammer another one in…


Be that as it may:  Barack Obama has just nominated Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve.


Besides being a pure sexist in the worst sense (women are not as good at math as men are according to Mr. Summers) Lawrence Summers was one of the central architects of the Great Wall Street Rip Off.  Lawrence Summers is an acolyte of Robert Rubin, who was himself Bill Clinton’s  champion of the bank deregulation that allowed Goldman $achs to steal a good part of the entire world during the Great 21st Century Housing Bubble Scam.


Good old Greg Palast has very effectively opened up Mr. Summer’s can of worms — thus even further exposing Obama as the corporate fascist toady that he is.  Check it out:


I think that I can also tell you a very good reason explaining why Obama is refusing to prosecute the Bush war crimes completely disregarding the obvious one that since Mr. Obama has himself subsequently taken Bush’s crimes and put them on steroids then he certainly doesn’t want some future president prosecuting him


…but the main reason is because the corruption and criminality have become so pervasive and systemic and since it has become such an integral part of every aspect of government these days then if anyone actually started any prosecutions then the dominos would begin to fall and the entire house of cards would almost instantly collapse into a pile of rubble even uglier than my mixed metaphors — and that wouldn’t do anyone any good.


And this is a serious problem as far as getting past this stuff and as far as prosecuting government officials is concerned.  The rot is so deep and so pervasive that there is no fixing it or reforming it; on that point I find myself in 100% agreement with the Black Flag kids.  However, while they anticipate and relish the thought of the American Government Machine collapsing into chaos, I would prefer a more thoughtful and realistic process — and that is where the concept of Truth and Reconciliation comes into play.


Our current situation is not unique; many other countries have also faced the situation wherein their cultures and governments are so pervasively and systemically corrupt and the past crimes were so massive and so monstrous that no normal legal proceeding presented itself as a realistic choice.  With but a very small handful of exceptions (and I’m not even completely sure about them) every elected official in our federal government — including especially our president and the vast majority of the higher-up federal bureaucrats and appointees — are quite literally criminals of one kind or another and many of their crimes are quite serious and many of their crimes are quite heinous.  The Justice Department holds responsibility for prosecuting these crimes but the Justice Department itself is one of the more corrupt agencies and in any such proceedings Attorney General Eric Holder would find himself in the dock rather than at the prosecutor’s table.


Do you see the problem?


Well, I am most happy to announce that there is a tried and effective method for dealing with this situation!


Truth and Reconciliation Commissions


This process has been carried out in a variety of manners in a variety of countries with a variety of levels of success.  Some criticize the process for letting criminals get away with stuff, and in the cases of Argentina and Chile such a case can indeed be made, but I would maintain that what happened in Argentina and Chile was more a slimy political deal than a righteous Truth and Reconciliation process (the militaries in both countries made a deal wherein they would turn power over to civilian governments as long as no military personnel were prosecuted) so whatever.


And in the end, Augusto Pinochet stood in the dock and was convicted, albeit not until 30 years later and albeit in Europe rather than Chile and albeit only after he was nearly dead of natural causes anyway…


But the message was sent.  Fascists the world over were surely deeply disturbed by Pinochet’s conviction.  That is important.  The only way people will do stuff like that is if they believe that they can act with impunity and get away with it.


Basically, Truth and Reconciliation in its pure concept is a process wherein past crimes are forgiven if the criminals publically acknowledge their crimes and apologize and/or pay some sort of compensation to victims.  There are no set rules and the data is still coming in but it seems that an integral part of the process is that victims get an opportunity to personally confront the criminals and describe the real-world consequences of their crimes to them and/or to their loved ones.  In the case of any theoretical T&R commission in the United States this would mostly involve foreigners — but every maimed American soldier and every family of every soldier killed in our imperialistic depredations all over the world and every autistic child who was victimized by our government’s willingness to allow large corporations to poison people and every child that was victimized by the large corporations that actually did the poisoning would also qualify as victims.


There are numerous and various permutations upon the ideological ideal, though.  Wikipedia has a list of the current commissions here if you want to do a little reading upon the subject:


The most famous and most successful was in South Africa after the fall of Apartheid:


Now:  Already I can hear the Black Flag kids (I sort of use them for my conscience these days) saying that this aint gonna happen.  The Machine aint gonna allow it to happen.


Here’s how these things work:  There is an idea that is superior in every way to the way things are currently being done — but people who benefit from the status quo are almost invariably also the people that run everything and they are the ones that either make things happen or they are the ones that prevent things from happening — and generally such people like things just the way they are.  They are never going to change anything unless they are dragged there kicking and screaming.


Thus, your idea hits a big impenetrable dam and goes absolutely nowhere.


The trick in such a case is that you must keep banging that dam with your idea over and over again — often for decades — and then — often without warning — the dam suddenly breaches and sanity suddenly appears and everyone who was dismissing you yesterday suddenly begins singing Kumbaya with you today.


Now:  I have been planning on doing a piece on Truth and Reconciliation for awhile now and as part of that I have been trying to buttonhole a friend of mine for an interview.  (This would be my first interview in the Thunderbolt.)  My friend is a practitioner of a concept called Conflict Resolution — and Conflict Resolution is a vital component of Truth and Reconciliation.  Conflict Resolution is a process wherein rather than aggrieved persons engaging in an adversarial court proceeding or doing a drive-by shooting — or taken to the meta-level, rather than blowing up their women and children with drones — they instead sit down in a room together with a professionally trained conflict resolution expert — such as my friend.


Besides a potentially vital role in bringing about peace, one of many other exciting possible areas wherein Conflict Resolution could be deployed is in criminal justice; as I have been screaming from the mountaintop for many years now, our criminal justice system is not only completely off the hook but it is entirely dysfunctional — which is bad enough in and of itself — but what makes this particular problem exponentially worse is the fact that virtually no one knows about it and the few that do know about it are mostly either the ‘criminals’ that no one cares about or listens to and the law enforcement officials who like things just the way they are.


Our current method of ‘law enforcement’ basically represents a very expensive way to make a problem much worse than it was originally.  The ‘Land of the Free’ has more people in prison both proportionally and in total numbers than any other country in the world.  China, a brutal police state, has four times our population yet we have more people in prison than they do!


Special Thunderbolt Exclusive Newsflash:


In a Thunderbolt exclusive, I can now reveal the results of a secret investigation I have been conducting for several decades now!


Hang on to your seats, Kids, because I may be bursting some bubbles here:  My research has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that criminals are human!


I know that this seems incredible, but I am afraid that the evidence is incontrovertible.


Nothing happens in a vacuum, Kids; especially people.  The human brain is by far the most complex organism in the known universe.  While brains continue to grow and to learn and to adapt throughout life, most of the hard wiring for many very basic things is done during childhood and even before birth.  If you are subject to conditions that destroy parts of your brain or if you grew up with serious violence or sexual abuse then your brain adapts to that reality and the rantings of some fat white wanna-be slave owner on the television Machine about what poor people should do and what they should be like are completely irrelevant.


Virtually every violent criminal was violently abused as a child.  Serial killers are an exception to this rule but they are exceptions to a lot of rules and they are pretty much in a category — and largely an American category — of their own — and fortunately there are not very many of them, so whatever…


I am thinking that the readers of the Thunderbolt probably tend to be a little more knowledgeable about public affairs than the Average Joe is and I find myself wondering how many of you knew about this connection between child abuse and violent crime?


It seems to me that this is a very vital and foundational part of this particular puzzle.  Why does virtually no one know about this?


Could it be because Wall Street is making bank on the private prison industry and that they couldn’t do that if everyone stopped dehumanizing violent criminals?


(Oh Dana!  You and your conspiracies!)


Another serious problem with the status quo is that our criminal justice system also punishes the victims of crime, especially rape victims.


As soon as my friend began explaining the concept of Conflict Resolution in the area of criminal justice everything clicked into place; this was the way to deal with interpersonal and criminal conflicts, not some unthinking uncaring unfeeling Machine that was intentionally designed to mass-produce black criminals.


And on the meta-level, Conflict Resolution could also be the way to resolve the seemingly impenetrable web of corruption criminality and pure evil that permeates nearly every level of our culture.


Anyway, let us now take as a model that obsessive-compulsive ram described by Mr. Sinatra at the beginning of this week’s Thunderbolt:  Many people have been banging their heads on the Prison Industrial Complex’s dam for many years now trying to implement proven best practices in dealing with crime, criminals, and crime victims.  The ears in the criminal justice system tend to be even more blocked than others due to the fact that pretty much everyone dehumanizes criminals and nobody much cares about them and the problem of the current process further victimizing the victims is virtually unknown.


Still, those folks in prison reform and the folks who practice Conflict Resolution kept banging their heads on that prison dam and seemed to be getting absolutely nowhere until, suddenly, it appears that the dam has perhaps been breached…


Last Thursday I was having a very good day selling Real Change at the CoOp when I saw my friend.  When I asked her about our proposed interview she informed me that she had to postpone it because she had just gotten done received training from the Washington Department of Corrections (the non-consciously ironic name for our state prison system) and since there were now security issues involved then she needed to consult with others about what sorts of things she was legally allowed to talk to me about.


This means that the DOC is planning to implement Conflict Resolution somewhere in their process and once that dam is breached and once the results start coming in then I suspect that this breach will become a full-blown gusher in the not-too-distant future.


Gotta watch out for those obsessive-compulsive rams!


This is very good news for everyone except the private prison industry!  Yay for us!


I would like to think that this means signs of actual humanity coming from government and prison officials, but I suspect that a lack of funds bears more responsibility than any tentative enlightenment.  In addition to preventing future costs by actually fixing the problem, fixing the problem is also much cheaper than the current practice of spending tons of money making the problem worse.


I plan to feature the Truth and Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution processes in future editions of the Thunderbolt so stay tuned.  Hopefully my friend can deploy conflict resolution skills to resolve theoretical legal conflicts and I will soon be able to interview her!




And on that uplifting note — it’s time to get to work now, Kids…



1)  FYI Section:


1A)  Bradley Manning Support Network


Help support this hero.




1B)  Spokane Judge Guts Initiative Movement for Community Rights


Judge Decides That the Community Bill of Rights is Outside the Authority of Citizen Initiative  



You Don’t Decide – This morning Judge Maryann Moreno ruled that both the Community Bill of Rights and the Voter Bill of Rights exceed the scope of what citizens can bring forward via an initiative.   


Spokesman-Review article: Click here  

Inlander article: Click here 

Alliance for a Competitive Economy announcement: Click here 


The judge’s decision means YOU WILL NOT VOTE on the Community Bill of Rights in November.  


Envision Spokane is considering appealing that decision.   


This decision renders the local initiative process sterile for any meaningful law making when it comes to advancing  rights for people, neighborhoods, workers, or the environment.


Don’t forget that it was the major corporate powerbrokers along with our elected officials who forced the issue.  Why?  Because theCommunity Bill of Rights almost passed in 2011


“The initiative process in general, and the Community Bill of Rights specifically, have always been about putting real decision-making authority in the hands of the people, not just a select, powerful few”, says Kai Huschke from Envision Spokane.  


“Today that idea was trashed.  The ruling upholds the ability of a few wealthy and powerful people to continue to make decisions about the future of Spokane.”


You Pissed? 


Many of you have put a tremendous amount of time and money into what has been so far a 6 year fight to recognize community rights over corporate rights.


We want to hear from you about how this ruling is effecting you as well as what you see for the the road ahead.



This fight will continue.


Let us know –info@env





1C)  Neighbors Speak Against Homeless Shelter on East Side


NIMBYism is alive and well in Olympia.  I wasn’t there but the Olympian covered it.




1D)  Update from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance


It’s been a busy summer for all of us at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, even while we’ve been enjoying every bit of sunshine and warmth possible!  We’ve been running since the gavels in Olympia signaled sine die* (finally) on June 29, from planning for our 2014 State Legislative Agenda, to working with our partners in D.C. on securing a National Housing Trust Fund, to ramping up our Board Advocacy Project.

We want to update you on all the exciting things we are working on and make sure you know how to get involved.

*Sine die is a Latin term that means “to conclude a regular or special session without setting a day to reconvene.”

2014 State Legislative Agenda

Every year we develop a set of state budget and policy priorities. These are legislative initiatives that will help ensure everyone has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.

Our Public Policy Committee is in the process of developing a proposal for our 2014 lead and support agenda items.  That proposal will go to the Housing Alliance Board of Directors who will consider it later in September.  Next year will be a short, 60-day session and many Olympia insiders are saying a combination of factors indicate that additional special sessions are unlikely.  Thus, it will be a hard environment to push anything controversial or new.  The chambers will still be split by party and that will make negotiations as difficult as they were last year.  With this in mind, we expect to keep our 2014 priorities close to the issues we championed and supported in 2013: the Housing Trust Fund, protecting funding for homelessness services, and furthering the Fair Tenant Screening Act.

If you have suggestions for our agenda or if you are working on an issue that you’d like the Housing Alliance to partner on, please complete this form and return it to no later than Wednesday, September 4 at 5:00pm.
Please use Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to complete the above form.

Our state legislative agenda is just one of the ways we advocate.  To find out about some of the other things we’re working on, follow the links below.

Housing Trust Fund Summit
Board Advocacy Project
Medicaid Expansion
United for Homes: Securing a National Housing Trust Fund
Emerging Advocates Program
Racism, Classism, and other Oppressions
Save the Date

Thank you for being involved with the Housing Alliance. We couldn’t do all this exciting work without you.

Thanks again,


Rachael Myers, Executive Director
Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

206.442.9455 x202  I  I  fb /wliha  I  tw @wliha

Our vision is that all Washington residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.

If you share in our vision, please support us in making this a reality.



2)  No War with Syria Rally

Friday August 30th from 4:30 to 6:30 pm @ Percival Landing, Corner of 4th and Water St SW


This is really weird because if Assad did indeed use chemical weapons then I think he should have his pee pee whacked — just not by the Americans and just not the way the Americans will do it and just not for the reasons the Americans would be doing it — and there is the very good argument that using chemical weapons was an incredibly stupid thing for Assad to have done while it would be a very smart thing for the rebels to do if they could blame Assad for it — so evidently there is controversy there also.  The fact that the Obamabots began stating that they knew positively without doubt that Assad had launched the attack before they could possibly have known any such thing gives further credibility to the argument that Assad wasn’t actually responsible.  I guess that as long as the horror of chemical weapon attacks and the necessity of strongly dissuading people from using such weapons is neither compromised nor diminished then I can support this action.


Here’s the Facebook link for further info:



3)  No War with Syria Rally

Saturday August 31st from 12 to 3 pm @ Percival Landing, Corner of 4th and Water St SW


Another anti-Syrian-war rally!  Nothing like an old fashioned illegal war to get the protesters into gear!


Here is the Facebook link for this one: 



4)  Anti Labor Day:  General Strike

Monday September 3rd at 10 am @ Sylvester Park, Legion and Capitol Way


The name says it all.  Come flip off the Machine and have a good time in the process.


This from the organizers:


A call for general strike for this one day!  Let’s see what the rich do without services!



5)  Bonus Tip of the Day:


Tell the truth and reconcile with someone today.







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