10/11/07 Get This
1. The Rachel Corrie Express: If they aren't busy crushing human rights workers to death in occupied Palestine, they are tearing up the countryside right here in Oregon. Bulldozers: They're everywhere you want to be. Measure 49 is out there on the Electionland horizon waiting to challenge red-blooded American stupidity and greed...
2. Kills Bills: A Marion County judge has ordered three California companies and one Californian to pay more than a million dollars in civil penalties and restitution for illegal trade practices. What these titans of commerce did was offer free English language courses to Spanish speakers and then bill them.
3. The Bush administration is appealing US District Court judge Ann Aiken's ruling that struck down the USA Patriot Act's violation of the constitutional right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Thank you, Brandon Mayfield for taking a stand and forcing the administration into a corner. (Now that they are about to leave office, Bush and Cheney had better think about lawyering-up: The real "War on Terror" is coming to a Supreme Court near you... )
4. Think Outside the Bottle: Half full or half empty, the bottle is the problem. Put simply, the surreal marketing landscape surrounding bottled water is and is not what it seems. Yes money is being made on what amounts to tap water. Yes, oil companies are making a killing selling plastic. But the biggest issue here is the privatization of water. The sharks are circling...
5. The Art of Reparations: Portland's own Damali Ayo celebrated National Day of Reparation in the streets of Portland yesterday - and so can you! Ayo and her volunteers spent the day asking white people for monetary reparations owned to Black people whose whole history in America has been and continues to be driven by the tradition of slavery. Whatever money they collect, they immediately hand over to the nearest Black person they can find. It's political action performance art and living theater.
6. You say you think all that slavery business is a thing of the past and it "time to move on"? Well yet another noose has surfaced. This time at no less than the illustrious halls of learning in the intellectual and inscrutable northeast. Columbia University professor, Madonna Constantine arrived at work on Tuesday to find a noose on her office door. Reparations? America's Black population should sue the whole federal government - and the sooner the better, before all the money winds up in the hands of private industry... (Or perhaps, if White Americans can't pay their debt to the descendants of slaves, they could, you know, work it off... )
7. The Arizona-Mexico fence building party is in time out. Seems they spent three weeks doing the environmental assessment and came up snake-eyes. (I could have done a better job with my cell phone using Google Earth... )
8. In Florida, the Food Not Bombs volunteer who was arrested for giving free food to the homeless (And foodless) has been acquitted.
9. "Cuz the vandals took the handles": The main pumps protecting New Orleans in the event of a major hurricane or flood are "inherently flawed" due to poor design. And they still haven't been thoroughly tested - imagine what else might very well turn up. The whistleblower who revealed this is the top Army Corps of Engineers specialist assigned to oversee the cities pumping system, so it is unlikely that he got his facts wrong. But that's Okay, because...
10. The federal government is hard at work on a multi-billion dollar plan to completely depopulate the Gulf of Mexico - just the poor, however, have to leave. The wealthy are more than welcome to 'Come on down'... Yes, the administration promised billions of dollars for reconstruction, then never delivered, then swept the miserable lives of hundreds of thousand's of survivors under the rug, then handed over money that should have gone directly to people who lost their homes to contractors. And now the plan is to use even more money to drive the remaining remnants of the population away from their home forever.
11. The State Department is considering phasing out private security contractors like Blackwater. (Right. And I'm the Easter Bunny... )
12. Alberto Gonzales is getting lawyered-up. A smart man would find a tough gang of white-collar attorneys who aren't afraid to fight dirty. So I guess Alberto hired a smart guy to find him some.
13. In Iraq, there has been a series of rocket and/or mortar attacks at the unfortunately-named 'Camp Victory.' The camp is a sprawling permanent military installation outside Baghdad. It was considered to be about as secure as the Green Zone, if the Green zone were stripped of the pools, palaces and officers clubs. Ah well; times change.
14. Afghanistan's government is contemplating the forcible ejection of its own private security contractor infestation.
15. Yesterday The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bill that officially calls the mass murder of Armenians by Turks, a genocide. Turkey has been denying the mass murder and rejecting the term 'genocide' ever since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. (I say, we stop calling it an 'Ottoman' empire and call it the 'Sofa' empire or thee 'Couch' regime.) This is actually a major breakthrough for the US government: It is somewhat a political tradition to look the other way when a nation co-signs American military adventures... )
16. But of course, now Turkey has a military adventure to call its own: The Turkish government gave itself permission to attack Kurdish rebels inside Iraq's sovereign borders. The Kurdish rebels or PKK - have been designated a "terrorist" organization by the Bush administration which, by the way, is clearly way, way out of its depth in this current geopolitical tempest. It is highly questionable whether George knows an 'Ottoman' from a sofa or curds from Turkish delight... )
17. Russia is defying the US on the Iranian sanctions issue. But you knew they would: Russia is selling them the parts for their nuclear power plants. (The thing is, ever since the reign of the Shah, Iran has been trying to develop nuclear power sources - as are many other countries around the world. However, under the climate of heavy-handed repression emanating from the US and Israel, it's hard to see why Iran would not feel tempted, if not compelled to come up with some kind of self defense... .)
18. Hamas says it's willing to hold reconciliation talks with Fatah and might even be ready to cede control of the Gaza Strip - before the Israelis snatch it.