1. One day it’s “selective thinning” by timber companies that will save Oregon’s wilderness areas from grotesque human depredation….And the next? For those of us who still believe in empirical evidence rather then heuristic sophistry, science shows that logging big dead trees after a wildfire and planting young ones makes future fires worse. (And it doesn’t even take that much science to come up with that assessment: I learned in the fourth grade that when trees die they become ‘nurse trees’ providing the nutrients for more trees. Fer chrissake, you don’t even need to get through the fourth grade to learn this – a short walk in the woods should suffice as a demonstration…)
2. “I remember when all this used to be forest”: Oregonians get to vote on a property rights bill again this November. The bill isn’t much of an improvement on Measure 37, but it does put the damper on the bulldozers to some small degree. (Edward Abby, where are you now that we need you most?)
3. (Not) Laughing Gas: Oregon LNG, the new, metastasized Calpine wants its 117-mile LNG pipeline and it wants it now. The pipeline is going to run from Warrenton on the mouth of the Columbia River all the way to the unsuspecting town of Mollala. And Oregon LNG (Catchy little name, no?) is just one of five such bad ideas waiting to happen. None of the five has formally applied to FERC…Hmmm, smells like a fix is in somewhere. Don’t be surprised when ground is broken, permits retrofitted and Ron Wyden and the Oregon Economic Development Commission throw themselves a party…
4. How many laws does it take to unscrew a metal halide light bulb? Just one… but people actually have to suffer permanent injury before it can be enacted.
5. Fish & Ships: NOAA Fisheries Service has denied a special permit to allow drift gill net boats to troll for swordfish and thresher shark in waters designated as a preserve for endangered leatherback turtles. The turtles actually only have to manage to hang on for another decade or so until the sharks and swordfish have been fished to extinction or industrialized nations eat themselves to death…
6. Oregon unemployment numbers are down and spirits of the wealthy are up. It’s hard to swallow that huge mouthful of $60 steak with all those faces pressed up against the window, isn’t it? The numbers may be down, but do they count those who have given up all hope of finding work and are now enjoying a life of crime and/or incarceration? What about the people who are working three part time minimum wage jobs and are maxed out on the payday loan line?
7. The Iraq Study Group now says it isn’t so sure that pulling combat troops out of Iraq by March 2008 remains valid. (Pull ‘em out! The Pentagon’s private Armies of the Night are more than capable of protecting America’s privatized shadow government in Iraq, whose role is, of course, to govern privatized Iraqi ministries and institution from the safety of fortified structures build by private contractors. It didn’t take America long to make the leap from sanctifying the Corporate Citizen to the apotheosis of the Corporate Nation…
8. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Get Out of Jail Free: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wants Scooter Libby to go straight to prison (Where Libby will doubtless have ample opportunity to do some research for his next book; rape from the other point of view. (I say we lock him in a cage with a bear hopped up on Viagra to train him not to fall in love with his captors…).
9. As predicted, delaying the no-confidence vote on Alberto Gonzales had the GOP’s desired effect: It provided time for the likes of Trent Lott to do some arm-twisting and deal fixing.
10. Proof the Human Race has ceased evolving: A majority of Republicans are Creationists – paramecium that celebrate Christmas and Easter.
11. The Pentagon is selling used F-14 parts to Iran. And just to show the world that this isn’t true at all, the House voted a second time to ban the Pentagon from selling leftover F-14 fighter jet parts sought by Iran. (What was not said is that the Pentagon – dare I say the entire US military establishment? – is so deeply and irreversibly privatized that Iran should have no trouble whatsoever getting those parts. Never had, never will.)
12. Not As Seen on TV: As the world’s top military powers go about the delicate business of dismantling stockpiles of obsolete nuclear arms, more ordnance of all kinds are entering the international arms Black Market (You should see some of the catalogues…Awesome!). The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute issued a report last week that underlines the dangers presented by this flood of ersatz nuclear gizmos. By the time you see it on TV, it will be too late..
13. Military recruiting is down. (I guess the guys are signing on with Blackwater. The pay is better and I hear the benefits are great. Plus they give you flack jackets made out of real Kevlar instead of the version offered by the Army made from old copies of ‘Playboy’ and duct tape…)
14. Senior American military officers have told the Jerusalem Post that war planning is at the “Iran ready” stage. Whether or not the American public is at the “Iran ready” stage is not known…I suppose that’s why they told the Jerusalem Post instead of the Washington Post.
15. Somewhere Over The Green Zone, Bluebirds Fly…The Pentagon apparently once was developing a “gay bomb.” (Okay chemtrail watchers…are you happy now?)
16. Afghan police mistook US troops on a nighttime mission for Taliban fighters and opened fire on them early today.
17. The CIA has been unsuccessful thus far in its mission to infiltrate white Americans into radical Sudanese groups in the Middle East (Possibly because the Americans kept calling their contacts, ‘Dude’ and inserting the word ‘like’ into every sentence.). So here’s the next best idea: We are going to use Arab-speaking Sudanese citizens. (But wait, you say…Didn’t President Bush himself just call for additional sanctions against the Sudanese government over the genocide in Darfur? Think: We already are selling F-14 parts to Iran and we routinely do ‘business’ with Colombia…)
18. First it was the Americans passing around handfuls of amphetamines and steroids to the troops …Now the British are on board the Magic Drug Bus. This, despite the fact that when accused of one atrocity or another perpetrated against civilians, said troops blame, ‘the fog of war’, the sense of camaraderie and the drugs. What ever happened to ‘Lessons Learned’?
19. In Australia, A “cyclone-like” monster storm has shut down most of New South Wales.
20. And the same goes for China. A monster storm has closed down most of the southern part of the country. Guangzhou is where all the foreign factories making all the American and European products sold in the Big Box world are located….In case any of you are Wall Street watchers…you might want to try it this week…. fascinating!
1. Welcome to ICE Land: More than 165 workers were arrested yesterday by almost the same number of ICE agents in a raid at the Fresh Del Monte plant in north Portland. Two offices of the company responsible for hiring the workers in the first place, American Staffing, also got ICE-ed. In the case of American Staffing, deporting these sons of bitches will be a no-brainer: send them straight to hell. The Del Monte workers, like much of Del Monte’s products, will be “processed.” As for their children and families…their lives are currently in freefall
2. The State of Oregon has told federal agencies that they will have to do some hard work on behalf of beleaguered salmon if they are going to bring the Columbia River Basin hydroelectric system into compliance with the Endangered Species Act, while at the same time avoiding breaching dams on the lower Snake River. The only ‘hard work’ that will have any effect will be removing the dams, the timber companies, the developers and the thousands of True Believers who feel entitled to their limitless use of natural resources. (As for the dams, they are for the most part in such disrepair in the wake of governmental privatization; it won’t be long before the salmon will swim free, along with most of the people living downstream…)
3. Bushwhacking: The Bush administration wants to cut 1.5 million acres from Northwest forests considered critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl.
4. It Is The Sunset of The Age of Aquarius: Fellow walks into the Beaverton DMV, wants to renew his license…The police appear and taunt the 25 year-old man, telling him to “Get a haircut” and then calling his parents to verify the man’s identity. (Good thing he wasn’t trying for a passport; he could be in Gitmo by now…)
5. Father Knows Asbestos: Washington State is still – after six long, cough-inducing years – trying to get its ban on asbestos in place. The way to do these things is to revise actuaries in order to reflect the real cost of ‘doing asbestos business’.)
6. Case Dis-messed: More from Washington: A judge in Olympia has dismissed charges against 16 people who protested military shipments through the Port of Olympia last year.
7. The National Intelligence Director, Mike McConnell – a man with a colorful past has won Bush’s approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency’s responsibilities and the government’s protections against spying on Americans. In the case of the former this is going to take some time. In the case of the latter, it will be a short walk off an even shorter pier. Just a few of the high points: We can expect to lose all protection against surveillance along with prohibitions against human experimentation and the long-standing ban on assassination (Let the Israelis or Blackwater do it; Their hands are already dirty…)
8. Just for starters: The head of Boston’s FBI office is warning the region’s top universities to be on the lookout for foreign spies or potential terrorists who might be trying to steal unclassified, yet sensitive research (Such as candid photos of George Bush’s Skull & Bones initiation? Who wouldn’t exchange a few prisoners for those…)
9. Your Money And Your Life: The National Security Analysis Center Knows Where You Live: In fact, it may well have been there. Even lawmakers have been startled from their comas by a proposed FBI anti-terrorist program, which is going to cost an unknown but massive amount of your money and invade a massive, unknown amount of you life.
10. Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, is the latest member of the Bush administration to pitch for a compromise immigration bill. The best thing about the immigration debate is the way it clarifies the sheer veniality of both Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers are engaged in a delicate balancing act, the Hispanic vote, the business vote, red neck bigots and billionaire donors. It’s way more than they ever wanted to show us and just what we expected to see…
11. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy is not happy with a Justice Department staffer implicated in the AttorneyGate scandal (That has been artfully concealed behind the immigration debate and Bush’s jumpstarting the cold War). Apparently, one Bradley Schlozman has been rethinking his thoughts out loud. It all revolves around an election eve lawsuit (My favorite kind!) and some of Mr. Schlozman’s ill-considered statements.
12. A top Army investigator went a little, well, too far with a recent investigation. Brigadier General Rodney Johnson (‘Rod Johnson’? I’m just saying…) apologized for ordering New Mexico National Guardsmen serving in Kuwait to be strip-searched (For “gang tattoos”, y’know. After all, they were Hispanic…) All together now: “Hey you bunch of immigrants, Grab your gun and drop your pants…Hup Two Three Four…”
13. The soldier that went missing during a solo exercise at an Army post in central Texas was found dead yesterday.
14. The Feds are going to do a better job of inspecting harvested human body parts. Targets of the beefed-up (I swear, no pun intended. No. I mean it. Really.) inspections provide bones, tendons, cartilage, heart valves and other prime cuts. Apparently some of their ‘products’ have had to be recalled.
15. The UN’s Middle East Envoy, Alvaro de Soto’s “End of Mission Report” lays it all out: The US and Israel are largely responsible for the chaos in the Middle East. de Soto should read the Project for a New American Century manifesto to learn why the chaos is no accident. It’s all there in black and white.
16. In Iraq today, it was a repeat of the 2006 attack that shattered the famous golden dome of the Askariya Shrine which amped-up an already out of control situation. Today’s bombing destroyed two minarets of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra. (Hmmm, wasn’t it just yesterday that we learned that US forces were cooperating with Sunni insurgents?)
17. In Afghanistan, a former Green beret serving time for running a private jail for “suspected terrorists” has been sprung. Jack Idema was mysteriously pardoned by Hamid Karzai after serving nearly three years. (But it’s going to look good on Idema’s Blackwater resume. We may even meet him personally one day soon when the US has got its system of private detention centers fully functional…)
18. Hamas has seized the Fatah Party security headquarters. Factional fighting in the occupied territories is deep into a downward spiral. I wish I could say that the US and other Western nations are standing by doing nothing, but, alas, it looks like they are on the verge of rolling out a blood-red carpet for Israel to march into the remains of Palestine…
19. The Czech villages where Bush wants to put his Star Wars ride are protesting, vehemently demanding that America take its LaserLand and shove it.
20. American and Australian military forces are staging war games – Exercise Talisman Sabre – in Queensland next week. A record more than 27 thousand troops along with a carrier battle group, 30 ships, two nuclear submarines and more than 100 aircraft are gathering for the massive ‘play date’. It is an environmental disaster of epic proportions for marine life off the Queensland coast…and so much more…For starters; it comes on the heels of reports of China’s rapid militarization and America’s raging Empire of Paranoia.
1. Something’s Rotten in the Produce Aisle: Aside from the families torn in pieces and scattered to the four winds, the raid on Fresh Del Monte brought to light egregious safety violations at the plant. If the economic refugees who were rounded up by ICE agents fled their native countries to work for Del Monte, that puts the results of NAFTA into stark perspective…
2. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions are more likely than the rest of us to commit suicide. It must have been something they saw. They say travel broadens one’s point of view…
3. Something’s also rotten in Eugene: The Oregon DEQ is going to “expand the investigation” of 30 more residents of a neighborhood in Eugene that is contaminated with trichloroethylene, a known carcinogen. Welcome to Superfund Estates!
4. Duct & Cover: One hundred and sixty-seven human beings are currently being “processed” and Randy Leonard is battling the city of Portland over the popular practice of duct-taping a family ‘Spot’ on the sidewalk from which to view the tanks and advertisements for local corporations. (Wait a moment! What about our ‘Sit/Lie’ ordinance? Let’s grab all these people and ban them from the streets of Portland for a year or so….)
5. Cleaning the Government’s Clock: A budget subcommittee is going ahead with a bill that would strengthen Oregon’s ‘clean government’ guidelines. (It bodes ill that it’s a budget committee that is going to address the problem of following the lobbyists’ money. Ethics is something money can’t buy…
6. Starbucks is going to have to cough up $85 thousand dollars for failing to provide extra training and support (And for firing her as well) for a bi-polar barista. (I thought all baristas were bi-polar….)
7. Psycle-Killers Be Warned: Oregon roads are a bit safer now with the passage of a law that prohibits drivers from running over cyclists or at least from driving close enough that if the cyclist fell off into the traffic lane, he or she would not be hit.
8. Fire! There he was, a fireman standing in a burning house, cell phone at the ready, calls 911 and is put on ‘Hold’. Here’s what the problem was: The call center was overwhelmed by…three calls at the same time.
9. The Felon of a Felon is Not Fitzgerald’s Friend: I. ‘Scooter’ Libby, acolyte of Felony Fats himself, Dick Cheney, is back in court today, begging Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald not to send him Down In The Hole while his appeal is pending.
10. ‘It’s A Pleasure To Serve You!’: Two former White House officials will face subpoenas for their involvement in the firings of the 8 US Attorneys. Harriet Miers gets one and so does Sara Taylor. (Karl Rove, the cheque is in the mail…)
11. Dennis Kuchinich is gathering co-sponsors for his resolution to impeach Dick Cheney. Is he serious? Serious as a heart attack, as I believe the saying goes…
12. Cover Your Ass Memo from the Feds: The FBI wants all its agents to be careful (So if you are an FBI agent, Listen up! I’m not going to repeat this…) while collecting data from Americans in terror investigations: Specifically: don’t go trampling on their privacy rights and not to expect secret evidence to remain secret no matter how long it takes you to cover your tracks…The is a nation of rules and laws, some of which pertain to you (Like not driving close to bicyclists and putting duct tape on the sidewalk) but most do not. So keep up the good work, boys! And if anyone gives you any trouble, call Evergreen and get that person on the next flight out of town…
13. The House passed a gun control law. Seems that even the NRA thinks maniacs and convicted felons can’t get a hold of guns (Are you listening, Scooter?)
14. The six men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix are being arraigned right now in New Jersey.
15. In Lebanon, tens of thousands of mourners marched in a funeral procession for prominent anti-Syrian legislator Walid Eido. Eido was killed by Israel’s Mossad …Wait…did I say ‘Mossad’? I meant a car bomb. That’s right he was killed by a car bomb….
16. A coalition of NGOs took out the UN security Council’s trash yesterday. (Is it just me or have you noticed that Ban Ki-Moon is no Kofi Annan?) for its shocking silence on violations of international law by US occupying forces in Iraq. The group urged the UN to end its mandate in Iraq. (I’m sure the UN would love to get its mandate out of Iraq but that road to the airport is just too fucking dangerous. They are going to wait for the helicopters to pick them up from the roof of the US Embassy….
17. In Palestine the Gaza Strip is virtually on the edge of civil war and the fighting is spreading to the West Bank is my bet. Just a moment ago we got word that Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyah has been “fired.” Arab states fear a Hamas-run Gaza could become a power center for the group’s allies Iran and Syria. (I can picture Condoleeza Rice in her cobweb-festooned, toad and rat-infested tower is rubbing her hands together: “It’s working! It’s working! We starve them until they become radical fundamentalists with nothing left to lose and then we stand back while they self-destruct….”)
18. Human Rights Watch says the UN has tarnished its reputation and undermined its legitimacy through “lack of accountability” in the Serbian province of Kosovo. (Be glad that’s all they did. Look at Sudan. Look at Iraq…)
19. While the Americans and the Australians amuse themselves with war games in Queensland, the Chinese are massed military firepower – nuclear and conventional – on the coast across from Taiwan. Some of the hardware is short range, some not-so-short range…
20. A 6.8 earthquake knocked the dishes of Guatemalan shelves last night.