1. Senate Majority leader Kate Brown is moving on. Her name has come up as a possible candidate for statewide office next year…Secretary of State? Attorney General? All it takes is money. The clearest indication that we have forfeited Democracy is not the USA Patriot Act, not state-sanctioned torture, not the corruption of the judiciary. Close, but no cigar…The real canary is election money. Your vote doesn’t count unless your candidate can back it up with cash…
2. The Pros versus the Cons: This November we all get to vote on an 85 cent cigarette tax. Tell me how much the pro-tax campaign has and how much the con side has and I can tell you what the outcome will be.
3. All that money Oregon managed to round up and dedicate to education isn’t going to make much difference. The anti-tax people say it is all going to teachers salaries and healthcare. But here’s the thing: The money in the school budget just barely restores the system to its pre-recession level. If we were really serious about educating children, we would have raised taxes and doubled the current budget. (But who needs educated citizens when money is going to decide the outcome of all future elections and the only role people play in the scheme of things is to serve as trained monkeys pushing the lever and eating the food pellet that is instantly forthcoming…)
4. Sea lions are eating too many salmon…But that’s just what sea lions do. And have been doing for thousands for years. Sea lions eating salmon is only a problem when fish stocks are dangerously low thanks to agribusiness run-off, industrial pollutants, logging and let’s not forget the most alarming threat of all: the failure of the ocean systems known as ‘up-welling.’ You want to eat salmon? How much is it worth to you? Can you stop buying at ‘Big Box’ stores? Stop driving a car? Live your carbon footprints at t he door?
5. Is it, for example, worth doing without a little heating in the winter and cooling in the summer months? A federal judge has nailed the BPA for miscalculating energy demand. And selling more electricity than it could generate. So what did the BPA do? The choices were, adjust turbines to boost power – thereby pureeing the fish or cut off power. Hellllloh, salmonburgers!
6. Loggerheads: The US Fish and Wildlife Service offered timber titan Weyerhaeuser the golden opportunity to “edit” a letter the agency was sending to that selfsame timber company regarding “concerns” about Weyerhaeuser logging on land designated spotted owl habitat (Not to mention the thousands of other creatures who call it home….)
7. Cutting ‘Timber’ to Save People: The US Senate cut the extension of the county timber payments. Ron Wyden has chosen to build his nest on this very, very safe issue. We now await the egg.
8. In Seattle the NAACP has asked the police chief to resign. Seems there was some chiefly involvement in a controversial internal investigation of an instance of excessive force…..Hmm, probably nothing serious, eh Chief?
9. Activist Martha Odom has this: Police at the G8 summit admitted they had agents provocateurs urging protestors to throw rocks and bottles. – no doubt even provided said rocks and bottles… And in Texas, Texans4Peace want you to know that there is a detention facility – not unlike our many other detention facilities spread out around the world like a tide of tears and blood – where more than 200 families are being held. And specialist Eli Israel has become another military voice refusing to fight in Iraq.
10. Last week Vice President Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney came out with the statement that his office is not part of the executive branch of the government and therefore not subject to oversight. But that was then and this is now: Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel plans to introduce an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to cut funding for the VP’s office. Emanuel: “He should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January of 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill.”
11. Forty-one percent of Americans think Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. It’s all there in a recent Newsweek poll, and I assure you, it gets worse than that.
12. California is facing what forecasters are calling the ‘Perfect Drought.’ (And the Colorado River is facing what climatologist are calling a ‘Shit Out of Water’ event.
13. The big immigration vote is on the way. Here’s where the glorious spectacle of money and politics conspire to generate some of the worst legislative behavior we have seen in a while. (Behold the writhing, roiling contortions lawmakers are putting themselves through as they attempt to make donors and voters of every stripe happy. And imagine if legislators had read the USA Patriot act, or the authorization to go to war…imagine the furor if anyone had been paying attention, if anyone cared…)
14. Britain’s new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown says he really cares. Protestors to Brown: ‘Enough to pull out of Iraq?”
15. There’s a video out now all over the internet featuring BBC journalist Alan Johnston wearing a suicide bomb belt…and it doesn’t seem to be the lamentable result of a bout of ‘Stockholm Syndrome.’
16. Meanwhile, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is wondering if he too will have to strap one on in order to get the world’s attention.
17. Israel is still in the process of telling the world that it is giving the Palestinians the money it took from them. (Israel is telling the world slowly and giving the money back slowly in order to make the good vibrations last…)
18. In Karachi, Pakistan, the weather is up to its new tricks. Heavy rain and thunderstorms killed at least 228 people….and counting.
19. Six United Nations peacekeepers were killed by a car bomb in southern Lebanon yesterday.
20. Checking Out: And in Iraq, a suicide bomber targeted a meeting of Sunni-allied Sheiks. The bomber managed to get through the layers of security surrounding the Mansour Hotel and blew himself up in the lobby. The Mansour is a stone’s throw from the hallowed Green Zone. The blast killed at least twelve people and messed up a great many others. Among the dead was noted Iraqi poet Rahim al-Maliki. So it goes…