Thursday, August 6, 2020

Hiroshima: an unneeded atrocity

Left: Photo over Hiroshima by George R. Caron from the Enola Gay; right, Nagasaki.
Left: photo of mushroom cloud
above Hiroshima by George R. Caron;
Right: above Nagasaki. Wikipedia.

The horror of Hiroshima stands undiminished though 75 years have passed.  

August 6 dawns, and forever it carries the mark of humanity's worst single sin.  August 6 and its twin, August 9, bring tears to my eyes.  

And it was my country--not Germany, not Russia--that needlessly killed 200,000-300,000 humans.

"U.S. leaders knew we didn’t have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway," 

reads the headline in the opinion article by Gar Alperovitz and Martin J. Sherwin in yesterday's Los Angeles Times.  Alperovitz wrote The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Knopf, 1995).

"...the overwhelming historical evidence from American and Japanese archives indicates that Japan would have surrendered that August, even if atomic bombs had not been used — and documents prove that President Truman and his closest advisors knew it."

General MacArthur called the use of atomic bombs "inexcusable."  Former president Herbert Hoover and future president Dwight Eisenhower opposed the use of these bombs.  

Read about this.  You have no right to remain ignorant, not when "the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock warns us, the world is now closer to nuclear annihilation than at any time since 1947."

The atomic bomb exploded 1800 ft. above Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people instantly, mothers and fathers and children going about their daily lives at 8:15 am.  Another 62,000 died later of radiation poisoning or injuries.  For additional statistics, see "How Many People Died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" by Seren Morris in Newsweek magazine on August 3, 2020. 

Due to crosswind, the bomb missed the aiming point, the Aioi Bridge, by approximately 800 ft (240 m) and detonated directly over Shima Surgical Clinic.[140] It released the equivalent energy of 16 ± 2 kilotons of TNT (66.9 ± 8.4 TJ).[137] The weapon was considered very inefficient, with only 1.7 percent of its material fissioning.[141] The radius of total destruction was about 1 mile (1.6 km), with resulting fires across 4.4 square miles (11 km2).[142]    (from Wikipedia)

Everyone should read about these two massacres once a year.  Read a newspaper. Watch a television report.   Search the internet or read Wikipedia:

Many victims were eating breakfast; some were children at school.  Others were soldiers.

Since Mayor Senkichi Awaya had been killed while eating breakfast with his son and granddaughter at the mayoral residence, Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, who was only slightly wounded, took over the administration of the city, and coordinated relief efforts.

Most elements of the Japanese Second General Army headquarters were undergoing physical training on the grounds of Hiroshima Castle, barely 900 yards (820 m) from the hypocenter. The attack killed 3,243 troops on the parade ground.[163]

American citizens were told about the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, "a military base," 18 hours later with the spin that it was done "in order to save thousands and thousands of young American lives."  My parents believed that story completely.   

I don't believe it.  There had to be another way to end the war with Japan.  Research cited above shows that negotiations were already underway and that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on August 8 convinced Japan's generals that they needed to negotiate a surrender. 

In the same speech, President Harry Truman said, "We have won the race of discovery against the Germans." Cheer, everybody!  It was a race, and we won.  Don't think about the innocent civilians who died. 

But before the bombing, "Truman knew that the Japanese were searching for a way to end the war; he had referred to Togo’s intercepted July 12 cable as the “telegram from the Jap emperor asking for peace.”

My father was in the Army, stationed in the Aleutian Islands, at the time.  My mother was a Navy nurse, one of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), serving at Camp Elliott near San Diego.  They met in Boulder, Colorado, early in 1947, married in October, and I was born on August 19, 1948, 

My birthday has always been close to the death day of tens of thousands of people.  

Truman and those who insisted on this brutal demonstration of power have not only killed hundreds of thousands of humans and wounded many more.  

They have also scarred the minds of every human on earth with the knowledge and photos of these two nuclear massacres and with fear of the future. 

On every American then and now they have imposed indelible shame.  We are ugly Americans.

For further reading:

Continued effects on Masaaki Takano, age 82, and others:

Letters to the editor on 75th anniversary of Hiroshima

Pilot turned anti-nuclear activist

Folded cranes and other facts 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Masking a Problem

"Shut up!" said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona, to Rep. Jamila Jayapal, D-Washington, on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 28.

Sounds like 4th grade. How had Rep. Jayapal offended her?

She had asked Rep. Lesko to wear a mask.

I expect Jayapal to stick her tongue out and chant, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Instead Rep. Jayapal accepted an invitation to discuss the exchange on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. How civil.

The next day Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 after refusing to wear a mask in the same hearing. (What, it's real? Yes. Duh.)

As a result, Gohmert wasn't allowed to accompany dt on a trip to Texas on Air Force One. But he had already exposed everyone present at the House hearing to his virus-laden breath and spittle.

Today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a rule requiring anyone in the chamber to wear a mask from now on.

We also learn today that prominent businessman Herman Cain has died of Covid-19 after attending the dt rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a month ago. He had a number of risk factors in his health history, but he chose to give his life for his president. Or for his ego.

Although it is unclear where Cain, who was 74, contracted the disease, he was among several thousand people, most of whom did not wear masks, who attended a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20. Cain, who co-chaired Black Voices for Trump, was photographed maskless and not socially distancing at the event, report John Wagner, Robert Costa, and Annie Gowen for the Washington Post.

How did we get to the place where masks are signs of political persuasion?

How did the House of Representatives become less civil than a children's school yard?

These are the kinds of things we Americans are suffering through as the seventh month of a terrible year ends.

But all of the above amounts to just footnotes. The big news today was the memorial service for Rep. John Lewis, D - Georgia, who served for more than thirty years. Three former presidents attended--but not dt. He refused.

In fact, he tried to steal the limelight by a shocking tweet during the service:

Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. 

"He should be removed unless he relents," replied Steven G. Calabresi in a column in the New York Times "That's unconstitutional."  Calabresi is a co-founder of the Federalist Society and a professor at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law.
The 45th prez was not only grabbing attention but insulting Rep. John Lewis, who spent his life working for voting rights for poor and Black Americans.

Or maybe dt tweeted nonsense to distract us from another major news report today:

Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 32.9% amid virus-induced shutdown.

Either way, we Americans are traumatized by how his fanning of flames, with Russian help, won him the 2016 election. We don't trust the 10-point lead former Vice President Biden has at this point in the 2020 race.

I want to believe that in the next 95 days there's no way this trickster could change the way Americans appear to be planning to vote on November 3.

I want to relax and return to working 9-5 pm on the computer without having to keep cable news on in the background.

Each time I try to keep the television and radio off, he pulls another trick out of his bag. Or the pandemic he fostered hits another incredible total.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Obesity + asthma + Corona = death

Illustration by Renée Gordon (FDA), Victovoi
                       on Wikipedia

Obesity and asthma are the result of inherited vulnerabilities, often complicated by factors around you as you grow up.  If you are born with a genetic make-up that makes you likely to have these problems, you will find each one very hard to control.

If the corona virus becomes part of the picture, even a young person can die.

Monete Hicks lost two of her children in 11 days near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Byron Francis, 20 yrs. old, and Mychaela, 23 years old.  See this report on a local TV channel.

I watched Monete and her niece speak on MSNBC this morning.  It was heart-breaking.

"Wear masks," they urged.

If anyone but dt had been our 45th president, Byron and Mychaela would still be alive.  

He became a mass murderer by ignoring the pandemic protocols set up by the Obama administration, down-playing the seriousness of the problem, and making a political issue out of wearing masks.

 The liar-in-chief said many recorded cases of Covid-19 are just "the sniffles" (in an interview Sunday with Chris Wallace on Fox News).

 Trump continued to downplay the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and said that many cases are "sniffles" that shouldn't be considered real cases in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace.

May informed voters rise up in rage this coming November 3.

See also:

Friday, July 17, 2020

She's 105 and has survived two pandemics...

Donna Lee Pera Burr with her mother, Allene Winkfield Pera, and her brother Jack Pera
at Lone Tree Cemetery in Telluride, Colorado, in 2016
Good news: Allene Winkfield Pera turns 105 on Friday, July 17.  I'm celebrating her long life and good health.  Born in 1915, she has lived through two pandemics.  

The first pandemic began when she was a three-year-old child in a mining town in Colorado.  The year was 1918.

She grew up in Rico, CO, and married Walter Pera, the first cousin of my mother, Evelyn Gustafson Eggebroten.  Walter Pera was the son of Mary Gustafson and Jacob Pera.  Mary Gustafson, born in Finland, was the sister of August Gustafson, my grandfather.
Allene and Walter lived in Telluride most of their lives: in later years they moved to Durango.  She made beautiful quilts and raised five kids: Jack Pera, Donna Pera Burr, Patricia, Eddie, and Walter.

She has many great stories--for example, she and Walter were living at the Tomboy Mine, altitude 12,000 ft., when Jack was a one-year-old.  She had to go down to Telluride via sled and mine shafts for the birth of Donna (who now lives in Durango).  Walter's uncle August Gustafson got him the job as caretaker for the electric power line at Tomboy in about 1940.  At that time it was already a ghost town because mines had shut down.

Both Allene and Walter Pera tell their stories in Conversations at 9,000 Feet: A Collection of Oral Histories from Telluride, Colorado (Ouray: Western Reflections, 2000).  Davine Pera, wife of Jack Pera, worked with the recorded stories and compiled them into the book. 

Davine's family owns a ranch on Wilson Mesa near Telluride; she grew up in Ridgway CO and married Jack Pera.  Davine and Jack still live in Telluride at age 81.  They have a cabin at Trout Lake, where their daughter lives.

Allene now lives at an assisted living facility in Durango.  She uses a walker and is nearly deaf but doesn't have dementia.  (Well, she does have a teeny bit of memory loss.) 

At her 100th birthday party she was walking around without a walker and gave a charming speech including a few memorable stories.

Everyone in Allene's residence is restricted from contact with visitors because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  When Donna visits her mother, they have to sit outside under an awning at a picnic table, six feet apart from each other.  It's hard for Allene to understand these rules.

Here's a photo of two quilts Allene made.  These are just the plainest ones--the more elegant ones have been given to family members.

Happy Birthday to my oldest and most amazing family member!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Bari Weiss and Palestine

Map courtesy of Wikipedia, Grey = Israel, Jordan, or Egypt
Yellow = the west bank of the Jordan
Red = areas under Palestinian administration (Areas A & B)

Palestine matters too.  People uprooted from their homes in 1948 when Israel became a nation still do not have equal rights in Israel today.

They live in refugee camps in Bethlehem.  They live in Gaza, prisoners not allowed to leave.  They live in the eastern part of Jerusalem, in Nazareth and other cities in Israel.  They live on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

This is how Wikipedia begins its summary on their removal from Israel:

The 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba (Arabicالنكبة‎, al-Nakbah, literally "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm"),[1] occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs – about half of prewar Palestine's Arab population – fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war.[2] Between 400 and 600 Palestinian villages were sacked during the war, while urban Palestine was almost entirely extinguished.[3]

When I visited Israel for the first time a year ago, many shop owners and taxi drivers asked me, "Do you love Israel?"

"Yes," I replied innocently, not quite sure what that meant.  I was thrilled to see the Holy Land and get acquainted with its people.

But I talked with a hotel maid and learned that she is Palestinian, that her parents' home just north of Jerusalem was taken by Israelis in 1948, and that she grew up in a refugee camp in Bethlehem, where she still lives today, commuting into Jerusalem for work.  She told me her story.
Amos Oz (photo by Michiel Hendryckx)

I also read A Tale of Love and Darkness, the memoir of Amos Oz, a famous Israeli writer who supported justice for Palestinians, advocating a two-state solution along the 1949 border with Jordan.  He's not popular among Zionists today.  He was a spokesman for the Zionist left though he grew up in a prominent right-wing Zionist family.  The New York Times published his opinion piece on a two-state solution in June, 2010.

I'm beginning to get a feel for what Zionism is.  Now I think the question "Do you love Israel?" can sometimes mean "Do you want Israel to continue to exist?  Do you support Netanyahu?  Do you agree with confining Palestinians into Gaza and refugee camps?"  These are complex questions to which right-wing Zionists would answer yes.

I've been following the many recent elections in Israel, always won by Bibi Netanyahu, the corrupt and very anti-Palestinian prime minister.  He's a mirror image to our 45th president.

With this background, I was interested to see that Bari Weiss resigned on July 14 from her work on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, citing "constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist...."  I read "I Stand with Bari Weiss" by one of her supporters, Jeffrey Salkin, a columnist for Religion News Service (RNS).

She describes herself as a Zionist, and that made me wonder what her position is on Palestinians and how they are treated in Israel.  I searched her name and came up with evidence that she is not popular with Palestinian rights activists.  For example, see this article in the Middle East Eye by Ali Harb in Washington, D.C.

Then I posted a rebuttal to Weiss and Salkin on the RNS website:

I urge you and Bari Weiss to visit the Palestinian camps in Bethlehem, to listen to people confined in Gaza. Well, maybe you can't cross the checkpoint into Bethlehem; I don't know. I would like to see more compassion for Palestinians and more support for a solution other than apartheid. I stand with Amoz Oz on this issue.
I'm sorry that Bari was scorned for "writing about the Jews again." Until anti-Semitism ends, Jews need to tell their stories and the stories of other Jews.
But it's not true that "the only ethnic issues that you can write too much about are Jewish issues." Many Americans are sick of hearing about Black issues--police violence against Blacks, Confederate statues, reparations, etc. Many Oklahomans don't want half their state run by Native Americans; other Americans don't want to give up their racist mascot names like the "Redskins." Many Americans don't want to hear that Mexico owned parts of California and Texas; they don't want to hear that Latinx people should have a right to migrate here legally.
Thank you for printing part of Bari's beautiful speech in January. Am Yisrael Chai!
I've visited Israel and listened to Palestinians as well as Jews. I've studied Hebrew for ten years at American Jewish University, LA, and read many Holocaust survivor books, some journals by those who died.

I admit, however, that I have a Christian bias. I stand with Jews who want either a two-state solution or an equal status for Palestinian Israelis in Israel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

China removes Hong Kong's right to protest

While Trump fiddles and all of us watch, preoccupied with the pandemic, China is swooping into Hong Kong and imposing a "security law" that will imprison people for speaking against their government or opposing China in any way.

Students, some just middle school age, are risking their lives and being thrown into prison, reports Gerry Mullany for the New York Times.

Hong Kong’s education secretary on Wednesday banned students from singing the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting slogans with political messages or forming human chains, saying “the schools are obliged to stop” such activities.

The Covid pandemic is giving China "an opportunity it thinks won't come again," says Ross Douthat in an op-ed in the Sunday NYT.

Focused on the pandemic and the antics of our deranged president, Americans and their leaders have "No time to spare for a rival power's crimes." 

But Douthat says all is not lost: "if we find a way to contain China for a decade, the Chinese century could be permanently postponed."

Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times is likewise perplexed by US silence as China eliminates dissent in Hong Kong.

To be in Washington is to sense a nation sliding into open-ended conflict against China with eerily little debate.

Why aren't we discussing how to cope with China's aggression and how to defend human rights in Hong Kong?

It is no longer clear, for instance, if US grievances stop at China’s trade practices or reach into its domestic treatment of its own people. 

"Dissent is becoming a political no-no," Douthat writes.

We aren't out the the streets.  Our quiet assent to Trump's hawkishness against China is "troublingly civilised,"   he concludes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Fear of Vaccines

Screen shot from propaganda sent out via Facebook--
was it made and sent by Russian bots?

Five days after my friend Alicia's mother died, I decided to drive an hour from Santa Monica to Long Beach to visit her with flowers from my garden: magenta sweet peas, huge white Alaskan daisies, and a yellow-and-pink Chicago peace rose.

Of course, we stayed ten feet apart during the visit.  I stood at the gate to her property, and she sat on the front steps of her home.  We talked, and I wore a mask.

It was a relief to see her coping pretty well with this sudden death from the novel corona virus.  She was still teary-eyed at times but not sobbing with grief like last week.

I learned several things during our conversation.

1)  Alicia too had probably had Covid-19.  When her mother became ill, Alicia had been urging her sisters not to take their mother to the hospital.  

"If you take someone to the hospital, you will never see them again.  They will get Covid," she had argued.  

But Alicia herself was too sick to go tend her mother or prevent her from going to the ER.  She was weak and coughing badly enough that she had gone to see her doctor.  The doctor diagnosed bronchitis, prescribed antibiotics and inhaling steam, and sent Alicia home.

"If you are not better in three days, come back and I will test you for Covid," she told Alicia.  "If you test positive, I will put you into the hospital." 

Alicia took the antibiotics and bought a small inhaler to make steam.  She drank tea with lemon and lemon zest and honey and two capsules of oregano oil.  Within three days she was feeling well enough not to return to the doctor.  

2)  But Alicia was determined not to go back to the doctor in any case.

"If you test positive for Covid," a friend told her, "they will put your name on a list.  Everyone on the list will have to have the vaccine when the vaccines are ready.  And when they vaccinate you, they will also insert a chip in you to control you."

"If you have Covid, you don't need the vaccine," I argued.  I didn't even try to argue against the rumor of inserting a chip.

I remembered the headline of an opinion piece by Phoebe Danziger in the New York Times the day before: "A Vaccine Doesn't Work if People Don't Take It."

"A few families even buy into the conspiracy theory that microchips will be implanted into the vaccine...  social conditions like income inequality, educational disparities, racism and gender discrimination... have created a cultural climate in which vaccines represent so much more than simply immunization against infectious disease."

Alicia's fear of having her name put on a list may be partially the result of a year or two of being in the US sin papeles--without proper immigration papers.  Having one's name on a list could get you deported.

She had her green card when I met and hired her, but other family members arrived, and they all lived with a certain level of fear.  A government that keeps 11 million people in fear of deportation is not going to be trusted when it needs to immunize its population.

She has not been tested either for the virus or for antibodies.  (I lamely attempted to explain what antibodies are.)

3)  How do you combat fear and disinformation?

Alicia told me that she does not watch news on television.  "It's always people speaking against each other.  My husband and I, we just go to church and pray."

Without reading a newspaper or watching news reports, her only sources of news are items sent to her on Facebook or oral reports from trusted sources such as family, friends, and visiting pastors.

I thought about maybe giving her a subscription to La Opinion, a newspaper in Spanish owned by the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, her adult daughter joined us as we talked about false information and rumors.

"Yes, like they're saying that Wayfair is part of child trafficking," said Ruth.  

"Yes!" I replied, my anxiety level rising.  I hadn't heard that rumor, but my daughter Roz told me later that this type of rumor is the PizzaGate of 2020.

4)  I learned that Berta will be buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Whittier.  

The cost for the mortuary services, coffin, and burial will be around $20,000.  The family has found a way to come up with the money, but the financial impact of these expenses during an economic downtown is significant.  

By the time we said goodbye and I returned to my car, I was exhausted.  The sun had set.

Multiply this family's pain and struggle by 138,000 deaths, and you begin to understand the dimensions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of course, if we had President Hillary Rodham Clinton instead of the fool currently in the White House, we would have far fewer deaths, maybe 30,000.  

She would have followed the protocols set up during the Obama administration.  She would have mandated masks and social distancing.  She would have used the Defense Production Act to mobilize industry to produce medical equipment such as N95 masks.

President Clinton would have worn a mask.  She would not have confused the public with lies.  

Berta might still be alive.  Alicia and her family would probably be willing to receive vaccines.

See previous posts in this series:

Monday, July 13, 2020

Who should control the land of Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is a living monument to the wars between Native people on this continent and the white invaders from Europe.

Like nearly half of the 50 states, its name comes from the people who lived on this land before Columbus arrived: Kansas, Missouri, Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, and more.

The Supreme Court ruled on July 9 that Oklahoma has no jurisdiction over the Cherokee Nation, the Muscogee Nation, the Choctaw Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, nor the Seminole Nation.  These nations govern their own people and their own land--though they do have to obey federal law.  The Navajo Nation in Arizona has a similar status.

Two years ago I drove from Georgia through Alabama, Missouri, and Oklahoma on my way back to California.  I was surprised to encounter all the Native American reservations in eastern Oklahoma.  As a westerner, I was only familiar with Navajos, Southern Utes, Hopis, Arapahoes, and other nations in California, Washington, and Alaska.

More things I learned: 

  1. the Muscogee tribe was renamed "Creek" by white invaders.
  2. the Muscogee today are the fourth largest indigenous group in the US.  

As Jack Healy explains in the New York Times:
"The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which has 86,100 enrolled members, stretches across three million acres of rolling hills, grasslands, small towns and cities across 11 counties in eastern Oklahoma. Sprinkled across that land are more than a dozen ceremonial grounds where citizens meet to tend sacred fires and participate in stomp-dance ceremonies."

To understand the huge significance of the Supreme Court ruling, you have to go back in history to 1507 and 1832.

In 1507 two German mapmakers named the newly known part of the world for the Italian merchant and explorer Amerigo Vespucci.  That's how these continents got the name "America."  Why the people who lived there were called "Indians" is another story, but many of the original people's place names remained, becoming the names of cities and states.

In the early 1800s, European settlers in several southeastern states wanted to have the native people removed to west of the Mississippi. Here's how Wikipedia summarizes the situation

"At the turn of the century, the Cherokee still possessed about 53,000 square miles (140,000 km2) of land in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.[13] In the meantime, white settlers eager for new lands urged the removal of the Cherokee and the opening of their remaining lands to settlement, pursuant to the promise made by the United States in 1802 to the State of Georgia.[14]"

The Cherokee sued the state of Georgia for removing their rights and passing laws that would "annihilate them as a society." The case went to the Supreme Court, which declined to rule in 1831 and then ruled in favor of the Cherokees in 1832:

" Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee Nation was sovereign. According to the decision rendered by Chief Justice John Marshall, this meant that Georgia had no rights to enforce state laws in its territory.[33]"

Unfortunately for the Cherokee, however, the US president at the time, Andrew Jackson, decided to ignore the Supreme Court:
Historical signs near Madrid, MO, marking place
where barges took Cherokees across Mississippi River

These banished people were sent west of the Mississippi, and treaties promised them that the "Oklahoma Territory" would be theirs forever.  That lasted until white men wanted the land.  (The US had bought this land from France in 1802--the Louisiana Purchase.)

During the Civil War, the Muscogee, Cherokee, and other first nations tried to remain neutral but their citizens ended up fighting for both sides.  Things got worse after the war, according to Healy:

The Muscogee lost nearly half their lands in an 1866 Reconstruction treaty, and over the following decades saw them splintered off and sold to private owners. State officials began denying that there had ever been a Creek reservation on land that became Oklahoma.  

Another historical footnote: Freed slaves, formerly owned by Muscogee, settled in the city founded by those who walked the Trail of Tears (Tulasi now called Tulsa).  The slaves prospered and their business center became known as the Black Wall Street--burned down by white men in 1921.

Yes, there's a lot of history in Oklahoma.

Healy applauds the Supreme Court decision: "The history of treaties between tribes and the United States is rife with coercion and broken promises, and activists said the court's decision was remarkable for doing something seemingly simple: Holding the United States to the promises it had made to tribal nations."

Practically, The court’s decision means that Indigenous people who commit crimes on the eastern Oklahoma reservation, which includes much of Tulsa, cannot be prosecuted by state or local law enforcement, and must instead face justice in tribal or federal courts.

I applaud the Supreme Court decision too, though it does invalidate the Oklahoma sentencing of a Native American man for child sexual abuse.  From now on, the Muscogee will prosecute cases that occur on their land, or federal prosecutors will take the cases. 

The US president has broken promises and treaties with Native people so many times.  

As a child, I learned the name "Indian giver" for someone who gave me something and then took it back.  But now I know that my government is the entity that has set aside land for native people and then taken it back many times.  Somehow that label got stuck on the victims whose land was grabbed, not on the true perpetrator.

Life in the Time of Corona

Guest post from a friend who is also a therapist, always reflecting on how we humans manage our lives.  ~~~~~~~~

It continues to shock me how powerfully presuppositions and beliefs participate in directing behavior, even when contrary to all other evidence (in outcomes both for good or for ill). In this practice it seems we are all united.

I have friends in a conservative church who contracted Covid through weekly meetings in their homes.  For a while they took the precaution of meeting in back yards, not indoors.   

But now they've again begun to have their small home groups inside, hugging, without masks, saying that they believe God will protect them.   50% of them have already become infected.   Some of these friends are hospital workers, who have the highest incidence of infection, according to statistics.  Some are also vulnerable both in age and in ethnicity.

In contrast, the church my husband and I attend is in one of the first counties in California to mandate masks and voluntarily shut down, so our church has been meeting online only. 

Belief is determinant.

Who but the individual can conclude the meaning of the consequences for themselves?

Compare two towns in this county: 
  • One is a university town, science inclined and populated mainly by rule followers.  It has about 80 known cases of Covid so far.  
  • But a nearby town of about the same size has 300 cases at the moment.  The second town is Old California and predominantly Hispanic.  Extended families there have close ties and decades or even centuries of continuous residence.  The virus has made greater inroads there.

I hear that if we do contract Covid-19, we are predominantly contagious 5 days prior to symptoms, especially the last 2 days. 

I look around and think, "Which of the people I see, or those I know and love, is innocently sharing the virus?"  The answer is unknown, both to us and to those with whom we interact, until symptoms finally appear.  

In memory of those killed by Covid-19

Even the Masks don't know.