The Thunderbolt 090513 Syrian Follies

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Action Alert Calendar

The Thunderbolt!!!


Syrian Follies:


1)  FYI Section:

   1A)  Dude Man:  RIP

   1B)  Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s September-October Calendar Now Online

   1C)  Update from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

   1D)  Public Comment Period for Longview Coal Terminal Underway

2)  Public Appearance by Congressman Denny Heck

3)  Sustainable Living Exposition

4)  Media Island/ MPowerment Monthly Benefit Brunch

5)  Olympia Food CoOp Annual Harvest Party

6)  Report from a Recent Trip to Turkey and Greece by Peter Bohmer and Sonja Wentz

7)  Teach In on Coal Exports

8)  Bonus Tip of the Day




Hey Kids!


Concerning Syria; the only uncontested fact seems to be that someone used chemical weapons on civilians.  I am fully onboard with the idea that whoever did this should have their pee pees whacked and arguably the United States is the only country with the resources to do that.


However:  For reasons too numerous to list, Obama’s proposed missile strike is a very bad idea.


To list the basics, though:  First of all, the United States is absolutely the last country in the world that should be attacking yet another Muslim country.  In addition, in any such attack you can count on the United States acting like a bull in a China shop; they will kill masses of civilians and they will further punish the already punished people of Syria without doing Bashar Assad much damage at all and in fact — as is almost always the case when any country is attacked — the people will rally around their leader, and if Assad is seen to be standing up to the Great American Bully he will become a hero throughout the Middle East.


I must laugh when I hear Nancy Pelosi state that we must attack Syria because we can’t let them get away with international criminal acts even though our proposed attack of Syria would be an international criminal act in and of itself.  (It is illegal for any country to attack any other country unless it is in self-defense or unless the UN gives its approval.)


As has been demonstrated over and over and over again over the last few decades, though, the rules don’t apply to the United States.


Also:  The corporate war monsters that pull Obama’s strings care not one squid about Muslim civilians and the actual reasons that the US is attacking Syria have absolutely nothing to do with protecting civilians from chemical weapons.  The United States supports brutal criminal regimes all over the world.  The US itself has a long history of using illegal weapons on civilians and the CIA supplied Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons that he used against Iran during the Iraq-Iran War.  During their last incursion into Gaza, Israel used white phosphorous weapons on civilians — which is also a major crime against humanity — and in many ways white phosphorous weapons are even worse than chemical weapons.


In this case, though, the US did not mount any missile strikes against Netanyahu.


I could go on and on listing the numerous hypocrisies and lies and cover-ups that make Obama’s contention that this is a humanitarian intervention beneath contempt.  Make no mistake; in spite of Obomba’s and Kerry’s soaring rhetoric about crimes against humanity, this is nothing more than a proxy war between the US/ Israel/ Saudi Arabia et al on one side and Iran/ Hezbollah/ Russia et al on the other.  Obama is using almost exactly the same tired playbook and we are experiencing the same tired ‘manufacturing of consent’ for war in order that Raytheon can sell Uncle Sam a bunch more of those $3 million missiles and so we can control and manipulate the oilfields of the Middle East.


That is what this is all about.




Thunderbolt Correction:


Every time I begin to think no one reads these emails I make a boo boo and it is immediately pounced upon.  Since I am a dedicated boo boo pouncer myself and since I pride myself on accuracy, I would thank my fellow pouncers for subjecting me such efficient pouncing thus assuring continued accuracy in the Thunderbolt.


Last week I mentioned Augusto Pinochet, the former fascist military dictator of Chile who, with the cooperation of the CIA, brutally took power in Chile by overthrowing a very popular and democratically elected government in 1973 and who then installed a murderous police state that — with American taxpayer support — ruled Chile with an iron fist for many years.


(Gee, where have I heard that story before?)


I don’t know if the trains ran on time under Pinochet but Communism was not a problem in Chile during this period unless you yourself happened to be a Communist.


Anyway, I stated that Mr. Pinochet had been convicted for his crimes and that he was currently in prison.  I don’t know why I thought that since he wasn’t and he isn’t and in fact he is now quite dead; while he was indeed charged with Crimes Against Humanity by the Spanish judges Baltazar Gazón and Juan Guzman and while he was indeed arrested and held in Britain for 16 months while various extradition and legal challenges were being dealt with — in the end the British Home Secretary Jack Straw used Mr. Pinochet’s ailing health as a reason to release him, whereupon he returned to Chile in 2000.  After years of activism and legal wrangling and after forcing the Chilean Congress to pass a law making it even possible to prosecute Pinochet, he was finally arrested in Chile and placed under house arrest in 2006 — but he died of heart attack six days later and thus managed to escape the hangman.


He was never convicted.


I apologize for the inaccuracy; I am thinking that in my mind I must have conflated or confused Pinochet’s case with someone else’s or something.




Local Activist Receives National Attention


Drew Hendricks, who moved to Port Townsend a couple of years ago but who is a long time Olympia activist that most of us know, has earned mention on Democracy Now by providing vital evidence in the uncovering of the latest scandal de jour:  It turns out that the Drug Enforcement Agency has had a secret deal with good ole’ AT&T wherein they have access to the phone records of everyone whose phone used an AT&T switch ever since 1987.  (This includes even phone calls that were not originated on AT&T’s network but that used any AT&T switches during the call.)


Drew sent reporter Scott Shane the evidence that blew this story open.


Here is Amy’s interview with Mr. Shane:


Here is how far we have fallen:  Not too long ago if the public learned of such a thing there would be a wave of national outrage and the government would be falling all over itself to ‘reform’ or ‘regulate’ something.  Instead, such nastiness has become so commonplace that this latest outrage has barely earned noticed.


I also just noticed that Amy interviewed Drew about John Towery, the military spy that illegally infiltrated the Port Resistance Movement in2009.


Local activist attorney Larry Hildes (who defended Scott Yoos amongst many others) is also part of this interview:




Activist Recreation


Have you ever stumbled over a completely unknown un-regarded and kind of weird sounding movie that turned out to be an utterly priceless gem?


Under the rubric of ‘activist self-care’ I am going to recommend two such movies.  This is a ‘political’ newsletter, but the term ‘political’ can be a purely subjective definition — ultimately everything involving human relations is ‘political’ — but to be honest neither of these movies can really be considered ‘political’ in the classic sense; you should really see both of them, though.


Throw Down Your Heart by Béla Fleck has no overt political message — but the entire movie consists of Béla Fleck traveling around Africa jamming with the locals and the fact that virtually no Westerner — including me — has the slightest clue that such a world even exists means that Throw Down Your Heart is intensely political in the strictest sense.


The movie opens with Mr. Fleck de-boarding an airliner in Africa and at first I couldn’t help a frisson of fear that this was going to be a movie where the Great White Musical God was going to go show the primitive Africans how things are done — but I didn’t really think that was what it was going to be and indeed it was quite the opposite:  Throw Down Your Heart consists of the Africans showing Béla Fleck — and through the cameras showing the viewer — how things are done.


This is one of those things that cannot be described because there is no point of reference; you’ve never seen anything like this.  With that caveat understood I will describe one scene:  The Africans in one of the villages had a huge 15-foot long xylophone made out of huge blocks of wood; several people lined up on both sides of the thing with a mallet in each hand and I am here to tell you that the punk rockers have got absolutely nothing on those folks!  They frigging ROCKED!


You can stream Throw Down Your Heart on Netflix:



The second movie is almost absolutely non-political but it is one of the best movies about personal growth that I have ever seen in spite of being an almost laughably low-budget Indy fantasy flick; it is called Ink.  Again, it is nothing like anything you’re expecting because I’ve never seen anything like it; it is slightly similar in feel to Donnie Darko in that there is lots of mystical stuff happening everywhere all the time, but it is also very different.  Netflix was streaming it but they aren’t anymore so you’ll need to rent it or buy it.


I will provide one slight spoiler:  There is a scene near the beginning of the movie wherein a father tries awkwardly and unsuccessfully to play with his 5-year-old daughter.  The scene is short and unremarkable almost to the point of banality — but the entire theme for the entire movie is encapsulated in that short scene…


Here is the IMDb information on Ink:




So, now that you’re recreated and recharged, it’s time to get to work…



1)  FYI Section:


1A)  Dude Man:  RIP


A local institution, Dude Man, hung himself this week.


Many of you saw him often on the streets with his triple-bicycle trailers and his two dogs.


Amongst other things, Dude Man was an activist for the homeless.  Many — including myself — hold the City of Olympia in general and the Olympia Police Department in particular as at least partially responsible for Dude Man’s death due to the insane level of police harassment that he endured (constant stops, regular beatings, regular seizure of his property and his dogs, on and on) and in fact Dude Man finally had to leave Olympia due to this harassment.


Here is a video clip of Dude Man addressing the city council:


And here is a short requiem from his friend Tahoe:


Someone unique decided to leave us.
Over a girl you will hear,
but much more than that alone.
He disturbed and delighted many people.
Devoted dog lover, a makeshift artist.
Perhaps positive ripples will follow his passing.
R.I.P. Dude Man.  No more pain.


There is an organized effort to attend the next city council meeting (Tuesday September 10th at 7 pm @ Olympia City Hall) and express outrage at Dude Man’s treatment by the city.  The organizers failed to contact me in time for this newsletter and thus I don’t have details or contact info but if you knew Dude Man this is something you could do on your own anyway.  Sign up for a 3-minute slot to speak to the council starts at 6:30.




1B)  Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s September-October Calendar Now Online:




1C)  Update from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance:

Do you serve individuals with high-end medical needs, and are you looking for more resources to help?  Have you heard about Washington State’s new HealthPath Washington project?  You should because this program works to integrate Medicare and Medicaid services for those who are dually eligible.


Join us for this next Learn at Lunch webinar on Friday, September 13, Health Homes 101 for Housing and Homeless Providers, and learn about newly available resources to help serve your clients with specialized medical needs.


DSHS – Aging and Disability Services Administration Project Manager Yolanda Lovato will outline HealthPath Washington, which includes Health Homes and the Duals Project (King and Snohomish County).  Yolanda will also discuss how housing and homeless providers can partner with this new program to ensure those with the highest medical needs get the best possible medical services and care coordination.


We believe this is another piece to the broader health care reform happening in Washington State that could greatly benefit those experiencing homelessness and others living in affordable housing.  So please make sure to join us for this important conversation.


Also, the previous Medicaid webinars have generated large interest, so we recommend signing up immediately and logging in early on Friday, September 13 to ensure your spot. If you are unable to attend due to a conflict or because space runs out, we will record the webinar and post it on our newly launched Medicaid Expansion page. It is also full of important resources and links. Visit the page today and let us know what you think.


Thank you,




Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance


206.442.9455 x205  |  |  fb @wliha  |  tw /wliha


Our vision is that all Washington residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.  Help us make this vision a reality:  click here to donate




1D)  Public Comment Period for Longview Coal Terminal Underway


The public comment period for the proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA is officially underway. 

This is our opportunity to say NO to this coal export facility and to voice our concerns about specific impacts. Please come to a hearing, submit a comment, and testify 


There are five hearings.  Please try to attend one near you, and absolutely everyone needs to comment whether you can attend a hearing, or not.


The hearings dates/locations are below (all are 5-8 p.m. Doors open at 4) Please RSVP today at


• Sept. 17, Cowlitz Expo Center, Longview

• Sept. 25, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane

• Oct. 1, The Trac Center, Pasco

• Oct. 9, Clark County Fairgrounds, Vancouver

• Oct. 17, Tacoma Convention Center,  Tacoma


If approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal in Longview, WA would be the largest coal export terminal in the United States with plans to export 44 million tons of coal annually. Right now, the three agencies involved in issuing permits are trying to decide which impacts to take into account in their decision-making process.


Because you stepped up in a powerful way, there were over 124,000 comments submitted last fall concerning the coal export proposal just North of Bellingham.  And thousands of you attended in person! Your diligence paid off, and the agencies listened.  This proposal is just as disastrous as the previous one you commented on.  Please comment today, and consider attending one of the upcoming hearings.


Let’s make it clear that we don’t want coal in Northwest or Southwest Washington.  We don’t want it in Oregon.  We don’t want it.  Period



Wanna ride to the Longview (Sept. 17th) or Tacoma (Oct. 17th) hearing – both from 4pm – 8pm Hop on board a bus leaving from Thurston County mid-afternoon and return at the end of the hearings.  TC Pro-Net is managing the bus reservations.  Please email and indicate which hearing you will be attending.




2)  Public Appearance by Congressman Denny Heck

Thursday September 5th at 10 am @ Olympia Farmer’s Market, 700 N Capitol Way


Heck will be taking questions.  I can’t be there but I would have a few.  Why he voted to continue funding the NSA’s secret illegal spy program and why he is supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership even though the TPP is even worse than NAFTA.  Larry thinks you should pressure him on Syria.  Whatever; if you aren’t happy with the performance of your congressional ‘representative’ then come tell him about it in person.


This from OMJP:


This is from Congressman Denny Heck’s website.  You will have a chance to tell him how you feel about a military attack on Syria (and other issues) on Thursday in Olympia.  Sometimes it is not always productive to just “contact our Congress people”, but this week, on this issue, it just might make a difference-it definitely cannot hurt.  Below Heck’s schedule are the email and contact numbers for the two Washington Senators.  It is best to call or email- regular mail may not arrive this week.  Please forward if you can.

“Congressman Heck will also be hosting three “Congress At Your Corner” events at local farmers markets.  Constituents are invited to speak with Congressman Heck on whatever issue they would like to talk about………


Lakewood Farmers Market

Tuesday, September 3, 12:00 PM

6000 Main St SW, Lakewood, WA 98499


Olympia Farmers Market

Thursday, September 5, 10:00 AM

700 N Capitol Way Olympia, WA 98501


Residents of the 10th Congressional District are always able to contact Congressman Heck online at or by calling his district offices at 253-208-6172 (Pierce County) or 360-459-8514 (Thurston and Mason Counties).”


Senator Patty Murray: (For Email)


154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2621
Fax: (202) 224-0238

Toll Free: (866) 481-9186 


Senator Maria Cantwell (For Email)


Seattle Office 915 2nd Ave., #3206 (206) 220-6400 

Tacoma Office 950 Pacific Ave., #615 (253) 572-2281 

Washington, D.C. Office 311 Hart Senate Office Building (202) 224-3441



3)  Sustainable Living Exposition

Saturday September 7th from 1 to 5 pm @ West Central Park, Corner of Harrison and Division Streets SW


It’s the third and final event of the season at our new People’s Park!  Come check out how to live on the planet sustainably!  (This would be a good habit to pick up pretty soon.)


Sustainable Living Exposition, September 7th, 1-5


The West Central Park is having its third and final event of the summer, a Sustainable Living Exposition.  Come to the park and network with lots of community businesses about what they are doing for our sustainable future.  Food and music will be available throughout the event and the admission is free!



4)  Media Island/ MPowerment Monthly Benefit Brunch

Sunday September 8th from 11 am to 2 pm @ Media Island, 816 Adams St SE


It’s another wondrous benefit brunch at Media Island, this time teamed up with MPowerment, an organization dedicated to young gay and bisexual men.


This from Media Island:


For September 2013, Media Island International is partnering with MPowerment Olympia to help raise awareness and contribute community support to their work.

Members of MPowerment Olympia have been very kind and generous with Media Island in recent months as we’re going through improvements to our facility, and we would like to show our gratitude by contributing to their mission.

The mission of MPowerment Olympia is to empower young gay and bisexual men to shape positive social connection, build a healthier community, and promote safer sex.

Please Join us in supporting their important work to facilitate community, health, safety, and advocacy for a stronger, more vibrant community!

MPowerment Olympia can be reached at 360.352.2375, or on the web at



5)  Olympia Food CoOp Annual Harvest Party

Sunday September 8th from 1 to 5 pm @ Lions Park, Corner of Wilson St SE and SE 7th Ave


It’s the CoOp Harvest Party!  Come enjoy good food and good music and good people.  The CoOp people rock!



6)  Report from a Recent Trip to Turkey and Greece by Peter Bohmer and Sonja Wentz

Monday September 9th at 7 pm @ Traditions, 300 5th Ave SW


There is a lot that we can learn from the uprisings and movements in Turkey and Greece.


This from the organizers:


Sonja Wentz is a mental health therapist and faculty member of the International Trauma Treatment Program (ITTP).  This was her sixth trip to Turkey.


Peter Bohmer is a member of the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP) and a faculty member in political economy at the Evergreen State College.  He was invited by the anti-authoritarians to speak at their large festival in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2010 and met with many of them in July, 2013. 


Sponsored by the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace.



7)  Teach In on Coal Exports

Thursday September 12th from 7 to 9 pm @ Traditions, 300 5th Ave SW


Come educate yourself about why you don’t want several miles-long coal trains passing through our communities every day.


This from the organizers:


Your invited to a teach about coal issues sponsored by Greenpeace and Rising Tide.  Please help spread the word!


The Longview coal export terminal hearings taking place on Sept. 17 in Longview and October 17th in Tacoma are important to attend!  Come and learn more about the scoping process and the impacts of coal.  We’ll have updates and learn more about effective testimony, particular areas of interest, and how to help get supporters to the hearing.  Come meet other concerned neighbors and grab your dinner or a drink with us!


Where: Traditions Cafe 


When : Sept 12th 6pm-8pm


Why:  Local, state, and federal agencies will use the comments submitted to draft an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and make permit decisions for Millennium’s coal export proposal.  If approved, the proposed 44 million tons per year coal export terminal (which would be the largest in the United States) would bring 16 dirty coal trains down the Columbia and through Longview each day en route to Asian markets.


The EIS must address all of the impacts that you put in your comments.  Comment today!


In addition to saying NO to dirty coal, this is your opportunity to tell decision makers how coal export will affect you and your community.  Impacts to air quality, traffic congestion, water quality, river recreation, and our climate are just a few of the vital things that you can ask to be considered in the EIS.




Because of the huge risk coal export poses to our region, five public hearings are planned.  Please attend one near you we absolutely need everyone to comment whether you can attend a hearing or not.


Prepare testimony & comments for the hearing at one of our pre-hearing workshops!


The five hearings are planned for Longview, Spokane, Pasco, Vancouver, and Tacoma. All hearings are 5-8PM, doors open at 4PM.


We are planning rallies at all 5 hearings, starting at 4PM.  Please wear red to the rally and hearing, and RSVP with us by clicking on the hearing you’re planning to attend:


*Sept. 17, Cowlitz Expo Center, Longview


*Sept. 25, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane


*Oct. 1, The Trac Center, Pasco


*Oct. 9, Clark County Fairgrounds, Vancouver


*Oct. 17, Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma


Click here to download Riverkeeper’s useful guide to providing oral and written testimony about Longview’s proposed coal export project.


Over 124,000 people submitted comments during a similar comment period for the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point, near Bellingham, Washington.  As a result, a broad environmental review will be conducted.  Longview deserves the same!



8)  Bonus Tip of the Day:


Don’t fall for their BS.







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