Impeachment protesters, Code Pink celebrate after Dems take over House

On the 3ed of January, the GOP formally lost the House to Nancy Pelosi, with former speaker Paul Ryan “slinking away on his belly” as jubilant “Kremlin Annex” protesters put it at the nightly Impeachment rally. Shortly before that rally began, Code Pink held a welcoming at BusBoys and Poets for some of the most progressive members of the House in front of a capacity crowd.

All of this was against a backdrop of overflowing trash cans and people having to shit in park woods due to the government shutdown. Fortunately, this shutdown also means ICE and CPB, the killers of migrant children, are no longer being paid and their morale should begin to decline shortly. They will not be paid on time, if ever, for shooting tear gas, pepper spray, and plastic shotgun pellets at migrants on the border on New Years Eve. Hopefully the only pay they will ever receive for gassing women and children is the rocks thrown back at them in return.

While liberals and the Democratic Party celebrate Nancy Pelosi’s ascendency to Speaker of the House, many have mixed memories of her from 2007. That year, with Democrats taking over both the House and the Senate. Nancy Pelosi had an opportunity to promote impeachment of George W Bush for lying the United States into war with Iraq and instead seemed to take all available measures to keep impeachment “off the table.” The Democrats refused even to deny George W Bush money to continue the Iraq War, while antiwar protesters shut down the Hart Senate Office building in protest.

It can be argued that a repeat of that performance is a defense against Christian Dominionist theocrat (as in “Christian ISIS”) Michael Pence taking the White House. On the other hand, Michael Pence could not take the White House unless a House vote to impeach was followed by a Senate vote to remove Trump from office. Not only that, Michael Pence apparently was also involved in Russiagate. That means it would be possible to impeach Trump and Pence together and remove them both. It would be in Nancy Pelosi’s interest to promote that, as the removal of both the President and the Vice President catapults the Speaker of the House into the White House, 3ed in line of succession.

The GOP can no doubt prevent a 2/3 vote in the Senate to remove both Trump and Pence and install Pelosi in their place. On the other hand, if Articles of Impeachment pass the House but Trump remains in office, his influence in Mexico, Turkey, with anyone in the US Congress, with anyone in state and local government, and with voters in 2020 will all be severely reduced. This, passing articles of impeachment against both Trump and Pence together cannot harm Nancy Pelosi’s interests. It will mobilize her base like nothing else, and those who oppose it would mostly be limited to those already in Trump’s camp anyway.

Video mostly Kremlin Annex music and speakers, plus a look inside the very crowded Busboys and Poets event

Capacity crowd at Busboys and Poets for Code Pink’s event greeting several members of the new Congress-the one many hope will put a leash on Trump

Kremlin Annex protesters celebrate Paul Ryan “slinking away” and explain HB1, a bill to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and to shut down both GOP voter suppression efforts and the power of big money in politics

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Maryland Board of Public Works DENIES permit for Potomac Pipeline

On the 2nd of January, MD kicked off the year with a resounding rejection of the Trump agenda of more fossil fuels and more global warming. On this day the Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously voted to DENY Transcanada subsidiary Columbia Gas a permit needed to build the Potomac Pipeline under the Potomac River.

The permit is required to cross under the Maryland Rail Trail, and Columbia Gas cannot reapply for it. They can attempt to rerout, but that requires starting ALL the permitting process over including FERC and could add years of delay to a project they hoped to start in just weeks. They can attempt to sue the State of MD, but courts have already shut down two other pipeline projects in MD. Alternately, they can stop throwing good money after bad and walk away from their failed investment.

Near the end of December, the US Chamber of Commerce claimed that water protectors and anti-pipeline activists (the “Keep it in the Ground” movement) had in the last few years stopped, pre-empted, or deterred an estimate $91 BILLION in “economic activity”. Most of this “economic activity” would have taken the form of fossil fuel consumption, so this is a huge blow to defend the climate. The $91 Billion lost means that companies like Dominion and TransCanada have taken a loss about 3,000 times the size of Vail Ski Resort’s losses (totoal insured and uninsured) losses from the 1998 ELF Vail Fire. This big an economic contraction scales down an entire economy that at its root is based on unbounded growth and unlimited pollution and consumption. This massive blow has been delivered mostly by ordinary protests, lockdowns and civil disobedience, and well-places applications of the attorney’s art leading to court decisions that have shut down pipeline after pipeline. In Occupied Canada, more tar sands pipelines have been cancelled than have been built.

Here in MD, preventing the Potomac Pipeline from being built prevents fracked gas from the gaslands of Penn from ever reaching the proposed Rockwool mineral wool factory in Jefferson County, W VA. Overwhelming public opposition to this plant and the industrial park around it has not prevented the county from granting massive tax subsidies and exceptions to environmental regulations. Now they might find themselves quite literally in the same place as an SUV driver with an empty gas tank.

Protest WORKS, to the tune of taking $91 BILLION out of the hands of the Enemies of the Planet continentally, and stopping the delivery of fracked gas to a “welfare for corporations” boondoggle locally!

Protesters outside MD Governor Hogan’s house against the Potomac Pipeline ten months ago (2-15-2018)

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Video: 2018-the year in activism

Video-2018 in activism 18 min 25 sec

Video of protest and direct action against the regime of Donald Trump and against its alt-right/fascist allies in 2018. As the year opened we still had nearly 60 people facing decades in prison for the previous year’s DisruptJ20 Inauguration protests. Now, all those charges are dropped and it’s Donald Trump who has to worry about prison. Mueller’s indictments are dropping closer and closer to Trump like an artillery barrage getting the range.

In June, Trump’s brutal family separation policy on the border blew up in the GOP’s face, and a storm of outrage and protest forced the Department of Homeland “Security” to abandon ripping children from their parents arms to be caged.

Trump’s alt-right friends are in disarray, and several attempts on their part to recover from their Aug 12, 2017 defeat in Charlottesville failed. Richard Spencer had to shut down his college speaking tour after the stinging defeat he took at the Battle of Michigan on the 5th of March. On the 12th of August, Jason Kessler’s attempt at a “Unite the Right II” Cville do-over was soundly defeated in the streets of Washington DC. All through August the alt-right took defeat after defeat at the hands of anti-Fascist activists. Note that the entire #AllOutAugust section was separately published in August 2018, and none of the Aug 12 portion of it could be re-edited as raw clips from UTR II had to be destroyed after use for reasons of security.

After that came the huge but failed fight to block the comfirmation of Trump’s rapey nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. In November the spectacular “Catharsis on the Mall” fire show was followed by the Nov 17 showdown in Philadelphia where the Proud Boys failed to get more than 35 people instead of the hundreds they expected, and had to hide behind police from perhaps 1,000 anti-Fascist counterprotesters.

As the year came to a close, Trumps’s vicious hate aimed at migrants again erupted into news and protests, as the caravans arrived at the border and seven-year old Jakelin died in Border Patrol custody after being denied water. Members of Trump’s cabinet were resigning and some facing prison as the wheels started coming off the Trump Train once and for all.

We are two years in, two to go. See you in the streets in 2019!

Video-2018 in activism 18 min 25 sec

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Impeachment protests continue as Trump shuts down part of Federal government

On the 22nd of December, a larger than normal crowd of passers-by stopped in front of the White House to cheer on the #KremlinAnnex protest demanding Trump be impeached. Speakers emphasized how indictment after indictment is dropping ever closer to Trump and prison may be his fate. This as Trump in a temper tantrum refused to sign a spending deal to keep about a quarter of the US government open because he didn’t get his wall funding.

Not only has Mexico refused to pay for Trump’s wall, so has the US Congress. Trump’s proposed “Berlin Wall on the Rio Grande” and his anti-Latinx hate are so objectionable that keeping part or all of the US government shut down all the way to Jan 20, 2021 is to be preferred to submission on the part of the Democrats to Trump’s demands. Social Security, Federal retirements, Medicaid and Medicare all are unaffected at this point. Meanwhile such criminals as ICE and CBP agents are being told to work without pay, with luck those criminals will never be paid for such so-called “work.”

The goverment may be “shut down,” but the Kremlin Annex is open for business as usual!

Video-singing pro-Mueller carols in front of the White House 5 min31 sec

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People for Fairness Coalition marches coffin to City Hall to remember 54 who died in 2018

On the 20th of December,the People for Fairness Coalition carried a casket from a church near Logan Circle to Freedom Plaza in front of the Wilson Building(city hall) to remember 54 homeless people who died on the streets of DC this past year.

As the march was being set in order outside the church, a white rider on a rental scooter yelled insults and “fuck you” at the march. He did this even though a protest is no obstruction to the smartphone app rental scooters popular with DC yuppies, and he was riding in the other direction.

Heavy rains fell on the march, but if it was dry enough for anyone to sleep outside it was dry enough to march. At Freedom Plaza, marchers piled into a tent for the evening, holding down an overnight vigil for the homeless on the longest night of the year. The next morning (Dec 21), participants in the march and vigil held a “walk-through” in the Wilson Building to familarize participants with the nuts and bolts of lobbying for more money for homeless services.

It is worth noting that if DC spends as much money on a new stadium for the Washington Football team as they spent on the Nationals baseball stadium ($750 million), it will cost as much money as housing every one of the estimated 7,500 folks sleeping outside or in shelters in $4,000 a month luxury condos for 25 months, just over two years. Meanwhile the Washington Football Team can play in the parks.

Video-marching a coffin to City Hall for 54 fallen homeless folks in pouring rain

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Kurds protest at White House after Trump declares he will remove US troops as Turkey requested

On the 19th of December, Donald Trump announced the last 2,000 US troops would be withdrawn from Kurdish areas in what is now Syria, possibly within 24 hours. This is suspected of being to get them out of the way of a Turkish bombing campaign and invasion of Rojava. In response. Kurds and allies supporting the YPG and YPJ gathered in front of the White House on the evening of Dec 19 demanding that the US troops remain but above all that US ally Turkey cease and desist their armed aggression against the Kurdish people

Turkey would probably cancel their planned invasion if the US threatened a trade embargo and a severance of diplomatic relations, or if Europe and the US together threatened to expel Turkey from NATO in response to any such invasion. Trump however has issued no such warnings, and may in fact be removing troops only to pave the way for invasion. Only Trump would find a way to use the withdrawal of US troops from anywhere(normally a difficult to achieve anti-Imperialist goal) as a means to massacre some politically inconvenient former allies, whom he now wishes to throw away like yesterday’s trash.

The US along with seemingly everyone else was allied with the YPG and YPG in the war to overthrow Daesh,the so-called “Islamic State” of terrorism, torture, and summary beheadings that rose from the ashes of the US war in neighboring Iraq.That war could have gone either way, but the Kurds in a desperate “goal line stand” stopped a ISIS onslaught against Kobane in winter 2014-2015 in a battle many have compared to Stalingrad. Like Stalingrad, the Battle of Kobane was the turning point of the entire war, and the march on Raqaa(Daesh’s former Syrian capital) began with that victory. Throughout that war, ISIS fighters entered Syria from Turkish territory with little opposition while YPG/YPJ volunteers had a more difficult time getting in. As this war drew to a close, Turkey launched a series of bombing campaigns and invasions of territories liberated by the YPG/YPJ from occupation by Daesh.

Turkish president Erdogan is almost universally suspected by Kurds of being a covert supporter of ISIS, and his actions in assaulting Kurdistan have saved ISIS’s bacon by forcing Kurdish fighters to cancel a final offensive to finish off Daesh so troops could be moved to the Turkish border instead to resist the new threat. Erdogan like ISIS leader Baghdadi (who may or may not have been killed by an airstrike) is a “political Islamist” or believe in theocracy, in which church and state are one and the same. The closest equivalent movement in the United States is “Christian Dominionism” which believed the Bible and the Constitution should be considered equally in US law. The most prominant follower of Christian Dominionism in the US is believed to be Vice President Michael Pence.

Trump for his part has praised dictators around the world for assaulting protesters, muzzling the press, and similar actions. He ensured the US did little about it when Turkish President Erdogan’s security guards beat and kicked pro-YPG/YPG protesters in Sheridan Circle here in DC outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017. Photos exist of Trump and Erdogan shaking hands. Both Turkey and Russian strongman Vladimar Putin have demanded the US remove troops whose presence in Kurdistan is obstructing a planned Turkish invasion, and it stands to reason that both Putin and Erdogan have considerable influence over Donald Trump. In fact, two associates of former Trump foreign policy adviser Michael Flynn have been charged with lobbying for Turkey without registering as foreign agents, and Flynn himself participated in a failed campaign to get the US to extradite exiled Turkish cleric cleric Fethullah Gulen on trumped-up charges of organizing a failed military coup attempt.

Neither Trump nor Turkey will be able to prevent an invasion of Kurdistan from killing US citizens, as not all fighters from the US in Kurdistan are members of the US military. Also present are international volunteers, many of them Anarchists and anti-Fascist activists from the US and Europe. In the past year there have been at least two anarchist funerals (one in Baltimore) for US anarchists killed by Turkish troops while resisting Turkey’s aggression against Kurdistan. Trump can withdraw the US military but he cannot withdraw the international volunteers defending Kurdistan from Turkey and ISIS alike.

While the YPG and YPJ may well stand their ground and fight to the death against Turkey’s invasion, it is probable that all efforts will be made to get children and noncombatants out of the path of the war. If a Turkish invasion of Kurdistan leads to a massacre and an occupation, Trump and the US will have the moral if not the legal obligation to admit every last Kurdish refugee into the United States. In addition, there is the serious danger that ISIS will recover and expand again in Syria once theor great enemies the YPG and YPJ are removed from the battlefield. If this occurs, the US will then be responsible for accepting every last Syrian refugee of any religion or community background who flees the resulting carnage.

Video of the Kurdish emergency protest in front of the White House 1 min 17 sec

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Sex workers and supporters hold Decrim Carnival 3 at Reeves Center

Dec 17th was the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In DC, the Decrim Carnival 3 was held in the Reeves Center on 14th st. Music and dancers performing dances similar to what they would do onstage (but fully dressed) alternated with speakers on the human cost of keeping sex work illegal. Physical assaults by violent men posing as customers go unpunished because sex workers know the police cannot be trusted and filing a report simply creates a second round of risk, this time from the cops.

A certificate was shown off honoring DC Councilmember David Grosso for the bill he introduced to decriminalize sex work in DC. The bill has not been passed, but it has not been voted down either and it will be reintroduced in the 2019 DC Council session. Passage of this bill would force an end to police entrapment, extortion, and arrests of sex workers working inside the boundaries of DC.

The passage of FOSTA-SESTA, an internet censorship billed aimed at shutting down has been catastrophic for sex workers in general and transgender sex workers in particular, in DC as it has been all over the US. There are websites outside the US that do the job Backpage (and no longer offered personals on Craiglist and so many other sites) used to do, but some of them are extremely expensive, in once case charging 20% of every successful transaction. This while the site in question is hosted in a country where sex work is openly legal. Thus, many sex workers have had no choice but to return to traditional street work, where they are exposed to violence from police, robbers, and fake customers whose intentions are anything but a consensual transaction. A bill aimed at sex trafficking (forced labor) has instead created a crisis for consensual sex workers who choose this line of work because conventional employers either offer tiny wages or won’t hire them at all. This is particularily acute for transgender folks both women and men.

Thus transgender sex workers and their allies were strongly represented at the Decrim Carnival. Also present were cisgender women who support themselves by sex work and a few cisgender male sex workers as well.

Video-two dance performances and a speaker on why sex workers can’t report assaults to the cops 4 min 13 sec

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