Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bush/Cheney - DESPOTIC!

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research...
Cheney won't tell how much he keeps secret

By Mark Silva - Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON — As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as "top secret" or "confidential," one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney insists he is exempt...
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: usurp
Pronunciation: yu-'s&rp also -'z&rp
Function: verb
1 a : to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right <usurp a throne>

Main Entry: des·pot
Pronunciation: 'des-p&t, -"pät
Function: noun
1 a : a Byzantine emperor or prince b : a bishop or patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church c : an Italian hereditary prince or military leader during the Renaissance
2 a : a ruler with absolute power and authority b : a person exercising power tyrannically

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Whatcom's Rational Response to anti-immigrant hysteria

Panel applauds Minuteman forum
Rights commission encourages sides to keep talking

April 29, 2006

Washington State Human Rights Commission members said Friday they were pleased with the community response to a Thursday forum on border-watching activities conducted here by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

Chairwoman Kathy Baros Friedt commended local residents for the civil tone of the meeting, which included comments from Minuteman President Chris Simcox and other border security advocates as well as immigration rights supporters.

"It's a challenge those of us in democracy have, when you respect the right of free speech," Baros Friedt said. "It's a challenge to listen to people when you don't like what they are saying."

Baros Friedt said the commission had heard no testimony indicating any local violations of the state civil rights laws that the commission is empowered to investigate. Commissioners agreed they would take no further action here for now, although they expressed informal interest in establishing a branch office here eventually.

"I think we played our role in just having that forum," Baros Friedt said.

She encouraged local people on all sides of the issue to continue talking to each other.

She and other commission members expressed concern that the Minuteman group is creating a climate of fear in the Hispanic community here. They said they were unimpressed with Simcox's assurances that his group intends to respect the law and is not targeting any ethnic group.

Baros Friedt said she fears that those kinds of assurances would lead the unwary to support a movement that she believes could lead to abuses against Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities.

Commissioner Jerry Hebert said the Minuteman group's Web site conveyed a less benign image than Simcox appeared to be cultivating in his Thursday remarks.

"It is very ugly, unbelievably ugly," Hebert said.
...(full article)
It was pretty impressive when 200 or so people of all shapes, sizes and colors turned out to oppose the activities of the washington minutemen detachment. National Border vigilante leader Chris Simcox and local vigilante leader Tom Williams could only mustered around twenty supporters to attend the Human Rights Commission hearing (about the same number that showed up for the much publicized kick-off of their month long border vigil.)

It's clear we're talking about a unified community that has no patience with scapegoating and racism virus a genuine fringe group.

Too bad the local GOP would rather side with an extremist fringe group instead of with the people of Whatcom County.
- Whatcom County Republican Party 2006 convention -
The platform includes supporting the construction of a larger Whatcom County jail, creating tougher sentencing for sex offenders, supporting the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and expecting the Whatcom County Council to notify landowners by mail when their property is affected by changes in land zoning.

DOUG ROULSTONE (R) Candidate for Congress WA-2nd
Though saying he doesn't know what the best answer is to solve illegal immigration, he wants better security at the border. He called the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps "a program that makes sense,"...

Friday, April 28, 2006

LIMBAUGH - Jail, Yes!


Reported By: WPTV Staff
April 28, 2006

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, has turned himself in to the Palm Beach County Jail for fraud -- concealing information to obtain a prescription. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office online booking blotter, he was booked this afternoon around 4:25. ...

Whatcom County turns out to says NO to racism

Minuteman group comes under fire


As the Minuteman organization's president watched from a pew, local human rights advocates testified before the state Human Rights Commission about the ills they attributed to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps during a Thursday forum at First Congregational Church.The commission came to Bellingham to hear testimony about conditions facing immigrant communities here, spurred by complaints about a contingent of the Minuteman group patrolling the Whatcom County border in what group members say is meant mostly as a protest of lax border controls.

Larry Estrada, associate professor at Western Washington University, delivered perhaps the most heated denunciation of the Minuteman group and its founder and president, Chris Simcox. He accused them of targeting Hispanics for discrimination.

"Latinos have been many times persecuted," Estrada said. "We have been under the gun by vigilantes, and that's not going to happen any more... We say to the Minutemen, 'Not in our city, not in our county, not in our neighborhood.'"

Most of the approximately 200 in attendance responded with whoops and a burst of applause. ...(more)

Actually Larry Estrada's comments got a standing ovation.

There was also testimony about Whatcom County's history of militia/vigilante/racist troubles. It seems every ten years we have an outbreak of Right-wing Extremists.

The folks who showed up for the hearing were a diverse bunch. There wasn't any anger or hatred being expressed; the atmosphere was 100% positive. It was absolutely clear that this wasn't about suppressing anybodies right to free speech or about throwing open the borders. The people who came to the hearing were clearly saying no to scapegoating immigrants, fear-mongering, intimidation and racism.

The Human Rights Commissioner gave Chris Simcox, National leader of the Minutemen, a chance to respond. But of course he couldn't refute testimony that the Minutemen's activities create a climate of fear and distrust that attracts openly racist groups. So he didn't talk about the testimony at all, instead he tried to shift the subject to legalities. After all that had been said, his comments were off topic and just plain lame.

- - TVW video-taped the hearing and it will air on Wednesday May 3 at approximately 3:15 a.m. and
3:15 p.m - -

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The national leader of the Minuteman in Bellingham Thursday

The national leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps will come to Bellingham Thursday to defend the volunteer border watchers at a state Human Rights Commission meeting...

...To Simcox, the Minuteman corps represents a way to show disapproval with the “miserable failure” of President Bush and the U.S. Congress on homeland security issues. Minuteman volunteers “embarrass and expose” the government’s failings, not harass immigrants, he said...

...Marc Brenman, the executive director of the state's Human Rights Commission, sharply disagrees.

"There are a lot of people who are afraid of the rhetoric and action of the so-called Minutemen," Brenman said. "It is clear that they have a history of anti-immigrant - particularly anti-Latino - rhetoric."

While the Minutemen speak in a "“modern media-sensitive language,"” Brenman said their actions only encourage hate groups throughout the state. However, he stressed it was "not to say everyone involved with them shares those beliefs."

The Washington Minuteman Detachment began watching Whatcom County's border with Canada in October. Led by Tom Williams of Deming, Minuteman volunteers currently are on a month-long watch manning positions between Blaine and Sumas.

So far, there have been no complaints filed against Minuteman volunteers, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. However, emotions remain high on both sides as a new group calling itself Águila del Norte began watching Minuteman volunteers this month.

Bellingham police Lt. Craige Ambrose said Tuesday he knew of no special police presence for Thursday's event, though he said the police likely wouldn't discuss any potential deployment plans.

Brenman said the Human Rights Commission would make sure its Thursday night meeting runs smoothly.

"“We will maintain control of the meeting,"” he said. "We will expect everyone to follow the ground rules." (Bellingham Herald article)
'guess Simcox isn't getting enough media coverage down in Arizona.

In the '90's, Whatcom County had experience with groups of armed loonies and we're not interesting in letting the situation get 'border-line' out of control - again.
If you're up here in the Whatcom County, please consider showing up for the Hearing tomorrow night.

Washington State Human Rights Commission Hearing
Thursday April 27th 7:00-9:00pm
First Congregational Church - 2401 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham

All are invited to an official hearing of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. Hear local folks testify on their situation as immigrants in Whatcom County and the impact of the Minuteman Project on the national immigration debate.

Sponsored by: Community to Community Development, Aguila del Norte Legal Observe Team and the First Congregational Church of Bellingham.

More info: (360)756-2330 - -

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Anti-immigrant demagogues insighting intimidation and violence

Nutjobs add sinister side to debate
By Diane Carman
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Maybe it was just an over-the-top e-mail, a trash-talking empty threat. Then again, maybe not.

Scare tactics have become so common as the immigration debate rages, it's hard to know what to fear and what to dismiss as merely the ravings of the ignorant.

After Rep. Terrance Carroll joked that Colorado should build a wall to keep the Minutemen out, he received a barrage of angry e-mails from Minuteman supporters. But one anonymous message warning him that he was "SOOOO lucky lynching and firing squad for treason aren't available punishments anymore" was creepy enough to spur an investigation by the State Patrol last week...
Yes, it's very hard to tell which ones are the loudmouth jerks and which are the dangerous maniacs.
Going Lawless
A prominent anti-immigration leader has secretly urged the nation's largest neo-Nazi group to launch a campaign of violence and harassment against undocumented workers in the United States. » Read More

Protect Our Beautiful Washington - No on I933

This past week, I went to a meeting in Bellingham to discuss organizing a local No on 933 campaign. That's the initiative that would undo State and Local Land-Use regulations and force tax-payers to 'compensate' Land Developers or let them do whatever they damn well please (What I like to call 'Pay or Pave').

At times it's plain old tiring... We beat back one deceitful Right-wing power-play just in time to start fighting another treacherous Right-wing plot.

Sometimes I need to take a minute to remember what I'm fighting for.
One of those things is preserving some of Washington's bio-diversity and beautiful natural environment.
Washington State Parks celebrates Native Plant Appreciation Week

OLYMPIA -- Governor Christine Gregoire has declared April 30 through May 6 as Native Plant Appreciation Week. In recognition of this proclamation, activities are scheduled in several Washington state parks...

And my rye wry sense of humor just can't let this go by:
Native Plant of the Month
Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa)

By Sarah Gage

Pacific bleeding heart

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cantwell tells Bush - Stop Gas Price Gouging

WASHINGTON, DC - Tuesday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a member of the Senate Commerce and Energy Committees, led 15 other senators in calling on President Bush to support anti gas price-gouging legislation currently pending before Congress. CantwellÂ’s Energy Emergency Consumer Protection Act would ban profiteering at the gas pump, empower regulators to go after companies suspected of price-gouging, and increase market transparency... (more)
Good for our Senator Maria Cantwell. With BushCo's insane foreign policies driving the price of crude oil to unheard of highs, some sort of control on energy profiteering is necessary or we'll be dumped into a global economic depression as bad as the 1930's

Oil Prices Settle Above $71 a Barrel

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Oil prices settled at a new high above $71 a barrel Tuesday as supply threats around the world overshadowed a new report from OPEC forecasting weakening global demand... (more)

Puget Sound sez Cheney Go Away

Dan Bates / The Herald
Katherine Finks of Anacortes traveled to Everett on Monday to protest during the vice president's visit.
Jim Hanrahan, 62, left, his wife Debera Hanrahan, 56, and Margie White, 76, all of Bellingham, protest in Everett Monday morning during U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to the city. "We have no voice in foreign policy," said White about why she went to protest the vice president's visit.

...A small contingent of Bellingham residents protested Cheney's appearance. Margie White, 76, of Bellingham stood along the road. She laughed when asked if Cheney would pay any particular attention to her.

However, White does create postcards with pictures from Bellingham protests to send to Cheney's office. And being there meant something to her.

"It's a matter of personal integrity," White said. "We have to stand up."

In the protest community, Bellingham always makes a noticeable appearance, said Vernon Huffman, a protester on hand with Everett Peace Action.

"When the Bellingham people show up, it just delights us," said Huffman, 50. "They have such wonderful signs."
(The Bellingham Herald)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work?

Earlier today, Goldy at pointed out that CEO VP Cheney's visit to WA State was costing $193,079.41. But it wasn't all stumping for the GOP, Cheney worked in an official government function =
During a 17-minute speech inside a giant hangar at Fairchild, Cheney thanked about 500 airmen for their sacrifices in the war in Iraq. (article)
So that's a 11,357.61 tax-dollar per minute official U.S. Government 'thank you'. He couldn't have just mailed them a nice card?

Dollars or Democracy

Hu's visit could bring business

The Chinese president's two-day stop in Seattle hints that more Chinese investments could be coming to the state.

The bodies of dead civilians lie among mangled bicycles near Beijing's Tiananmen Square early on June 4, 1989. (AP file photo)

Money, money, money! Business, trade, investments uber alles.
Will anyone here or in D.C. being asking Hu when democracy will be coming to China? I suppose not... Microsoft and Boeing probably prefer China's "orderliness" over messy old democracy and Bush long ago told us he'd prefer being dictator.

Cheney Alert!

Demonstrators gather for Cheney visit
Vice president to speak at GOP fundraiser in Everett

By Melissa Slager and Jerry Cornfield
Herald Writers

...A crowd of about 30 people - some carrying signs supporting the vice president, others protesting the war in Iraq - took up positions along the sidewalk near the Holiday Inn where the event is planned.

People in support of Cheney and those who said they were in opposition carried U.S. flags during the mid-morning demonstration...

...Chad Shue, 53, Everett, carried "Bush lied" sign. He said he represented progressive Democrats in Snohomish County.

"I just want to make sure Vice President Dick Cheney isn't as welcome here as he thinks he is."

The police presence was visible and security tight. Streets adjacent to the hotel were closed, and by mid morning, the protesters were moved west along Pacific Avenue, away from the hotel... (article)

And Carl at Washington State Political Reporter reminds us that Cheney isn't the only evil wind blowing through Puget Sound.

President Hu heads the same Chinese Government that in 1989 slaughtered peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. [Today (April 17) is the anniverary of the beginning the demonstrations.]
If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend watching Frontlines "Tank Man"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Cheney to invade Washington 2nd Congressional District

Look out Puget Sound! VP Cheney is going to crawl out from under his undisclosed rock and darken Everetts door.
Report: Cheney told Libby to leak
USA Today -
Vice President Dick Cheney told his top aide, Lewis Libby, to leak portions of a still-classified CIA report to discredit a prominent war critic, former ...
Cheney's role in war, Halliburton, FL -
... There has never been an investigation into Dick Cheney's involvement in awarding Halliburton no-bid contracts, making the company the No. ...
Yes that crooked leaky Dick is going to be in Everett, WA. this coming Monday.
His purpose?
...Vice President Dick Cheney is coming to Everett with ideas of seeing U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen replaced by a Republican in this fall's election.

Cheney is coming for a $250-per-plate fundraising luncheon April 17 at the Holiday Inn in Everett on behalf of Larsen's potential Republican opponent, Doug Roulstone, a retired Navy captain from Snohomish.

Cheney initiated the visit even though the vice president and Roulstone do not have a personal connection, said David Hoffman, Roulstone's campaign manager... (HeraldNet)

Why the special treatment? Doug Roulstone has been hand picked by Beltway Republicans. Look at Doug's website and you'll see he's been endorsed by a shit-pack-load of Republican Congressmen; look at his FEC Disclosure Report and you'll see the same Congressmen have used their PAC's to bankrolled his campaign.
...The Republican Party has endorsed Doug Roulstone, a Navy veteran who rose to commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. Roulstone, co-owner of a company that makes precision-machined parts, has raised about $278,000, $82,500 of which came from GOP members of Congress... (Seattle Times)
In the Disclosure Reports "Individuals Who Gave..." category only about a quarter of the individuals live in the 2nd District. Roulstones financial support is coming from connections he'd like to keep quiet. The Seattle Times article goes along with the Republican line... playing up the Navy Vet angle and glossing over his current business connections.
... Since retiring from the Navy in 1999, Roulstone has been the senior vice-president of Thomas James International, a local aerospace and engineering company that does business with Boeing, the Defense Department and many other big-time aerospace players. In a district so heavily influenced and employed by Boeing and other connected aerospace, that kind of experience is vital. Boeing's image has taken a beating in Congress in recent years, not without cause, and it will be helpful to everyone in the region if Boeing has a local congressional ally who understands aerospace. (-)
(PRWEB) March 20, 2006 -- Damar Machine (a wholly owned subsidiary of Thomas James International) and The Boeing Company have been accepted as participants in the Department of Defense (DoD) Mentor Protégé Program. The DoD Mentor-Protégé Program assists small businesses (Protégés) to successfully compete for prime contract and subcontract awards by partnering with large companies (Mentors) under individual, project-based Agreements.
Yes sir-ee, Doug's a Military-Industrial-Complex Insider, not a "local business man". He's got no interest in or ties to WA-2nd District, He's a Boeing/DoD/Republican-Party rubber-stamp kinda guy, bought and paid for.

Support the Troops - Dump Rummy!

Analysis: Criticism Mounts Vs. Rumsfeld

Associated Press Writer

...Two more retired generals called for Rumsfeld's resignation on Thursday, bringing the number this month to six.

Retired Army Major Gen. John Riggs told National Public Radio that Rumsfeld fostered an "atmosphere of arrogance." Retired Gen. Charles Swannack told CNN that Rumsfeld micromanaged the war. "We need a new secretary of defense," he said. ...

...Joining the criticism earlier this week was retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who served as an infantry division commander in Iraq until last November. He called for a "fresh start at the Pentagon," accusing Rumsfeld of ignoring sound military decision-making and seeking to intimidate those in uniform.

Earlier calls for Rumsfeld's replacement came from retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold and retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton....

...Bush's dilemma, said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst with the Brookings Institution, is that Bush "shares a lot of the responsibility for the key decisions on Iraq."

"Bush is implicated. For Bush to fire Rumsfeld is for Bush to declare himself a failure as president. Iraq is the main issue of his presidency," said O'Hanlon, who supported Bush's decision to invade Iraq and said he still supports the war.
And there it is... Rumsfeld is an incompetent blowhard... Bush is a failure. The only way to truly support our troops is to demand new leadership and genuine oversight from Congress.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Human Rights Commission to visit Whatcom County

Minuteman concerns prompt visit from human rights panel
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Saying the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps inspires fear among minorities, the Washington State Human Rights Commission will come to Bellingham later this month to hear testimony about immigrant life in Whatcom County.

The five-member commission visit comes after about 450 people marched on downtown Bellingham over immigrant rights and as the Washington Minuteman Detachment continues a monthlong watch of the county's border with Canada.

Marc Brenman, the executive director of the commission, said concerns over the Minuteman group's "anti-immigrant rhetoric" on the Internet spurred the meeting, scheduled for April 27. ...(more)
I'm sure the Border Vigilantes will be rushing to say, "ah gee-golly, we're just like a neighborhood watch". But evidence of their intimidation tactics aren't hard to find.

The march also drew counter-protesters. Tom Williams, leader of the Washington Minuteman Detachment, videotaped marchers from a black Jeep parked along the route. (source)
Kirk Shields-Priddy owns a farm on the border. He voiced opposition to the Minutemen, saying: "We could not receive a hard and fast assurance from the minutemen that they would not be carrying guns. They were indicating they had the right to tresspass on our property." (source)
The plans, confirmed by Seattle Minuteman organizer Spencer Cohen, would have volunteers suggest job sites across the state believed to employ illegal immigrants. Minuteman volunteers would wave protest signs and potentially take photographs of suspected illegal workers to post on the Internet. (source)
Their message is real clear: 1.) they think everyone with brown-skin is a suspect (and maybe even a terrorist) and 2.) if you disagree with them, you better do it quietly because they are (probably) armed-and-dangerous.

Low, Low... just low

Monday, April 10, 2006

Whatcom County Democrats - Bigger, Better

Rosalinda Guillen tells the Convention about Aguila Del Norte Legal Observer Program.
(photo by JPEG)
Whatcom County Democrats filled Bellingham High School's commons area Saturday, discussing issues such as the war in Iraq, immigration and fair trials.

"This is a great crowd.... We have a lot of positive energy," said Robin Bailey, vice chairwoman for the Whatcom County Democrats. "There was a lot of thoughtful discussion about issues important to us all."

A little more than 200 people attended the all-day event, spending hours electing 38 delegates and 19 alternate delegates from Whatcom County to attend the state convention and speak for all county Democrats.

The party's platform for the next two years, which focuses on many state and national issues, includes supporting the abolishment of the death penalty in Washington, developing a quick and responsible exit strategy from Iraq and making health care accessible to everyone.

Shannon O'Brien, chairwoman of the 42nd Legislative District Democrats, said outside of the platform, the party is focused on "building strong leadership."

"We are building a community of support... a web of support to get people with our democratic values elected and to thank and educate our current elected officials," she said.

Speakers and attendees at Saturday's convention included state Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, Western Washington University professor Larry Estrada and Jasper MacSlarrow, who is running against state Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale. State Sen. Harriet Spanel, D-Bellingham, was elected the convention chairwoman. ... (Bellingham Herald)
Somehow the reporter forgot to mention Jesse Salomon who is running against State Senator Dale (nearly invisible) Brandland (42nd LD)!

Meanwhile - Whatcom Republicans flogged their usual pro-carpetbagger, xenophobic racist drivel.
About 80 people met Saturday in Meridian High School's gym, calmly discussing the stances the Whatcom County Republican Party should take on issues, both locally and nationally.

Much of the proposed platform, which focused on several local issues, was accepted without discussion.
"It's not necessarily a new message, but somewhat of a more refined message," said Joe Elenbaas, chairman of the convention.

The platform includes supporting the construction of a larger Whatcom County jail, creating tougher sentencing for sex offenders,
supporting the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, ... (Bellingham Herald)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Minutemen PR vs THE TRUTH

On Sunday the (AP) reported : "In Sumas, Wash., about 150 Minuteman volunteers were keeping watch Saturday." I enquired where they got their numbers, but never got an answer. Unfortunately, the press has carried a whole lot of crappolla spouted by these (mI-'nüt)men.

It's really to bad that disinformation went out across country. The truth is they weren't even able to turn out a couple dozen supporters... as reported by people who were actually there, like: Michelle Theriault of the Bellingham Herald and David Neiwert of Orcinus blog and Rosalinda Guillen of the Coalition for Professional Law and Border Enforcement .

KING5's coverage of the minutemen and the "Fools on the Border" Gathering didn't mention numbers for either side.
But... if we use the minutemen's new math - we could fluff up the turned out for the anti-minutemen protest on the Border at Peace Arch Park to (actual attendance of 75 x 6.8) = 500+. [But that would be shoddy and shameful]
So we'll say between 50 and 75 attended the protest as reported by Julie Waggoner of the Western Front and Rosalinda Guillen of the Coalition for Professional Law and Border Enforcement. And there's the reality of Whatcom County - for every stealth racist that shows up, two or three decent people are there to confront them.

As far as (AP) coverage of events up here in Whatcom County, like Carl Ballard says "Here's hoping it works better next time"

McGavick already in Sen. Stevens Pocket

Why would any Washingtonian want to vote for a Senate candidate who's going to represent Alaska?

Oil money in Alaska lines up for McGavick

By Alicia Mundy
Seattle Times Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — Arctic oil-drilling supporters are rallying behind Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick of Seattle for a fundraiser organized by Alaska's most powerful politicians...

...The Alaska politicians are the stars, but the other 23 special patrons listed on the invitation are a who's who in Alaska politics and commerce, particularly in the energy industry.

Many of them have been vocal and financial supporters of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling — an issue Stevens has pushed in the Senate for almost 30 years....(more)

Since the threats haven't worked
Threat seen as 'saber-rattling'
Alaska's oily politicians are trying buying one of Washington's Senate seats.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ferndale Friday

every 2nd friday of the month a few of us meet on 3rd and Main and hold our signs in conjunction with friday in Bellingham(peace and justice).....we are there from 4pm to 5pm....if anyone is in the area and wants to join us, please do. or just give us a friendly honk and wave if you're passing by.

Jackson Browne

this is an amazing montage commentary on war and one of the best songs ever...

Lives In The Balance (Exclusive Video)From Jackson Browne Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1
An animated editorial by Andrew Thomas

Casino Nation (Exclusive Video)From Jackson Browne - The Naked Ride Home
An animated editorial by Andrew Thomas

Monday, April 03, 2006

AP spreads Minutemen BS

Here on the Canadian Border in Whatcom County, the 'Washington Minutemen' are once again flogging their delusions of self-importance:

...They say they are doing what they believe our border security has failed to do: keep illegal immigrants out of the United States.

"“They are out to get us, we know that,"” said Tom Williams of the Washington Minuteman Detachment.

Asked who "they" are, he said, "“the enemies of our country, the al Qaida, whoever wants to come in and do our country harm." [KING-5 News]

Do a Google-News search on the words 'Minutemen' and 'Sumas' and you'll get page after page of Newpapers and TV Stations that picked up an AP article that (in part) says:
In Sumas, Wash., about 150 Minuteman volunteers were keeping watch Saturday.

"We're going to be running posts both day and night," said chapter organizer Claude LeBas, whose 10-acre farm was the staging area.

It would be really really scary to have that many Border Vigilantes skulking around Whatcom County... if it were true. But fortunately, it turned out to be pure BS. The truth is the 'Minutemen del norte' only managed to muster a few assorted loonies. This mornings Bellingham Herald reports:
There are 22 Minutemen at the border, said Tom Williams, sector chief of the Washington Minutemen Detachment.
I wondered about the discrepancy in reported numbers, so I emailed the reporters. The reporter for the Bellingham Herald sent me a reply in less than an hour:
I was told by Tom Williams of the Minutemen that there were 22 minutemen at the border as of Sunday. When I asked him about the 150 AP reported, he laughed and said, nope, not quite. I'm not sure where AP got that figure.

Thanks for the email,

I still haven't received a response from the AP reporter

GATS (WTO) - Threat or Menace?

I emailed this article to my County Council members (Whatcom County, District #3).
Trade Talks Put State Powers on Chopping Block

Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of other public services are on the chopping block.

New proposals in a part of global trade law known as the General Agreement on Trade in Services could give global corporations the right under international law to challenge a host of state and local regulations...

...And you won't be surprised to find out that Wal-Mart is trying to manipulate the global trade talks to undermine local regulation of its big box stores. Under a GATS proposal supported by the company, local and state officials would not be able to limit the size and height of buildings, locations or operating hours for retail stores.

Essentially, global trade talks have become a new venue for corporate lobbying, where state and local governments could wake up the next day to discover that home rule and state government powers have been sacrificed in the name of "free trade." Make no mistake, global trade talks are no longer about tariffs or traditional obstacles to trade; they are a new parliament of unelected federal officials beholden to global multinationals and an extreme privatization ideology.
Like most of us, my Council Members weren't aware of these (nasty) new proposals. Now that they know, they are concerned and 'on the case'. The County Executive is also being brought into the loop.

Every Governor and State Legislature, every City and County Council should be up in arms about these 'trade' negotiations.

- - You should ask your local government if they know about this?

Oregon wants to opt out of the GATS expansion!
Oregon seeks global trade pact exclusion
Economy - Citing a lack of input, the governor asks the U.S. to leave the state out of any expanded deal
Monday, April 03, 2006

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is asking the Bush administration to exclude Oregon from a proposed expansion of an international trade agreement on the service sector of the economy. He also asks to remove the state from parts of the agreement that cover health care, land use and zoning, and gambling.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman, Kulongoski said the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services "contains several provisions that conflict with our ability to effectively and appropriately regulate in the public interest."

The governor asked Portman to amend a U.S. proposal to expand the agreement to exclude Oregon...