[pjw] REPORT BACK: Going in circles: Friday rally #71 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jul 31 14:00:24 EDT 2021

Greetings supporters of peace and of justice

Luckily, a cloud (or cloud/smoke?) cover gave us respite last night and 
the bank clock thermometer claimed it was only 86 degrees, not 101 as 
predicted. Seven of us gathered at the corner of SW Broadway and Yamhill 
for the weekly Friday Rally for Peace and Justice, albeit one participant 
decided not to carry a sign. We once again had a lot of positive community 
engagement and were able to hand out quite a few pieces of literature to 
the curious. One woman along the march route wished upon us "PLUR"-- 
Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, which I have now found out came from rave 
culture in the 1990s.


So, here's what we talked about in terms of the news:

--The US Inspector General for Afghanistan reported to Congress that our 
country will likely repeat its mistakes in another "nation-building" 
blunder, noting that the Afghan situation "turned the corner" so many 
times we were going in circles:


---and meanwhile, the US continued bombing Afghanistan while it's 
supposedly on the way out the door. It's not 100% clear where the aircraft 
were launched from but this article does confirm both piloted and 
"unmanned" planes (drones) were used:


--The US continues sending ships through waters between Taiwan and China 
as a "show of strength" (aka provocation) to the latter:


--Surprise, surprise, do what I say not what I do: the US has put 
sanctions on Cuba's police for crackdowns on pro-democracy protests. Are 
we going to sanction ourselves for what happened to the Black Lives Matter 
protests over the past year?


(thanks to one of the Rally regulars for this headline)

--While the US is pulling troops out of Afghanistan and "reconfiguring" 
the mission in Iraq, President Biden intends to keep 900 troops in Syria 
for, well, no particularly legally justifiable reason.


--As noted last week, Biden also re-launched the airstrike program against 
Somalia. Fortunately some Democrats are actually calling him out for the 
questionable legality of those actions.


--In Iraq, groups with ties to Iran are reportedly welcoming the US 
transition from combat troops to advisors, so I guess I'll temper my 
cynicism for... a couple of weeks to see what happens.


When we got to the part of the march to talk Israel/Palestine, I noted 
that the UN has called for a political solution and to end the military 
engagements, estimating as much as $485 million in damage done (mostly by 
the Israelis) in the last round of fighting. That sound low to me but then 
maybe they undervalue the price of Palestinian high rises.


In the final stretch talking money for human needs not war, I was sad to 
report that the Senate is set to add $25 billion to the defense budget 
passed by the House. Imagine what that could do for healthcare, jobs, 
housing, education and other things not designed to kill people.


Without any special equipment this week, I pulled the wagon with the Ann 
Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign as close to Pioneer Place Mall as I could, 
and it remained working until we got across the street from the Apple 
Store entrance between 4th/5th on Yamhill. This is the location where it 
used to conk out before the Gucci store showed up around the corner.

As we wrapped up I also gave one final reminder that next week is our 
special Friday rally with the title "76 Years Later, We're Still
Building Nukes."


We will march to Waterfront Park near the Oregon Physicians for Social 
Responsibility limited in-person commemoration, but those who wish to join 
with PSR should RSVP to them at this site:


It does appear as if the County and state are at least encouraging 
everyone to wear masks and distance indoors, and with the national 
restrictions on mass transit still in place we continue to mask up and 
stay distanced at the rallies. Join us if you feel so moved.


dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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