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.