[pjw] REPORT BACK: The Hokey Pokey: Friday rally #120 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jul 9 15:42:19 EDT 2022

Iraq Affinity Group supporters.

Last night we had seven people at the Friday Rally for Peace and Justice. 
I made my opening and closing remarks in memory of Yvonne Simmons, who 
attended quite a few of the events over the years.

The weather was mildly hot but overall cooperative. We stayed masked up 
and distanced-- Multnomah County's now at extreme risk for COVID. While it 
felt more stretched out than usual, we did get quite a few honking horns 
and words of support. One person at a bar we go by weekly said "Drink 
beer, not war." I'm not sure what that means but I'll take it. A passer-by 
said he was ex-military but agreed with the signs against war. After the 
event was over another ex-military person saw the Ann Huntwork Sign (which, 
spoiler alert, had gone out but came back on again by then) and told a 
story about how he got angry with protestors at the fireworks show on July 
4, not for burning a flag-- free speech he acknowledged-- but for lighting 
a nylon flag that was potentially toxic and could cause a larger fire.

In my introduction at the rally I remembered Yvonne with items already 
sent to this list in previous emails about her activist life and 

I also reminded people to watch the video of Col. Ann Wright:


These are the headlines we talked about at this week's rally:

--International events seem to confirm the wheels are coming off the bus 
all over, with the resignation of Boris Johnson in England and the 
assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan. Both are right 
wing politicians, with Abe a champion to let Japan go to war again.



--President Biden has decided to revoke Afghanistan's special status as a 
non-NATO ally. Apparently only 18 countries have this "honor" and given 
the failure of the US' occupation government, it's surprising it took 10 
months for this to happen.


--On the other hand, the US is going to allow liquid natural gas (a 
horrible climate destroying substance) into Venezuela to help people with 
household needs, as an exception to the sanctions. This shows more of a 
thawing of the relationship... probably motivated by US thirst for oil.


--On the other-other hand, the US has imposed new sanctions on Iran for 
continuing to sell oil despite America's OTHER sanctions. A strange move 
if there's any hope to revive the nuclear agreement.


--After previously receiving notice and mostly turning a blind eye, Russia 
is now demanding that Israel stop firing missiles at Syria.


--As a follow up to my correction from the recap from 2 weeks ago about 
Iraq's new parliament, it does indeed look as if Nouri Al Malaki, the 
somewhat once-US puppet who eventually called for the troops to leave, 
will be Prime Minister again.


In local news, I noted that after years of criticism for being racially 
biased, the latest version of the Portland Police's Gang Enforcement Team 
has a civilian oversight group. But that group is recommending a technology 
called "shot spotter" to alert police when guns are fired. Problems 
include that (a) by the time cops show up people will be gone, (b) the 
tech picks up car backfires and other loud noises as false report 
gunshots, and (c) they will be concentrated in Black neighborhoods, almost 
guaranteeing more biased policing.


Along the march route, I noted that the US investigation-- released on 
July 4 so nobody would notice-- said that Israeli soldiers "likely" killed 
journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it wasn't deliberate. This goes against 
eyewitness testimony describing the gunfire as extremely well aimed.


As we got back toward the Square, I noted something that two other people 
at the rally (and a supporter who emailed today) had already heard: that 
Rep. Barbara Lee introduced an amendment to cut $100 Billion from the 
military budget and redirect it to housing and health care. This is what 
we talk about every week!


The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign made it all the way around the 
Pioneer Place Mall, albeit having frozen up at the Gucci store. But then 
as we crossed SW 5th Ave it went out again. *Sigh.*

At the very end I talked about how Yvonne would teach children at peace 
camp, including the "Hokey Pokey" which she sang as the "Hokey Cokey" 
which I guess is the UK original version of the song:

In her honor I said maybe Yvonne was right, citing the bumper sticker that 
says "Maybe the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about."


Hope to see folks out at SW 4th and Yamhill sometime.
--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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