Sunday, January 27, 2008

BIRDS, BULLIES, AND BAD TIMES

In This Issue:

- SOME BAKER CITY BIRDS IN WINTER
- PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI CONFLICT & THE SIEGE OF GAZA
- IT’S THE CORRUPTION, STUPID!
- IRAQ: KILLING AS IF WE WERE MORAL, SPENDING AS IF WE WERE RICH

SOME BAKER CITY BIRDS IN WINTER

With the unrelenting cold and snowfall this month, my feeders are crowded
with some of our winter resident birds looking for a life-sustaining
handout. Among the more common birds here are house finches, the
introduced house sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, mountain and black-capped
chickadees, pine siskins and American goldfinches. Their grim situation
has afforded me an enhanced opportunity to photograph a few of them, so
I will share them with you.

Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) were a very rare occurrence where I grew up in California, and I really don’t remember seeing any until I lived part-time in west central Utah, where they were referred to by my neighbors as wild canaries.

Male American Goldfinch in Winter Suit at Nyger Thistle Feeder.

Goldfinches eat seeds from members of the sunflower family, like dandelions and ornamental sunflowers, introduced weeds, as well as seeds and buds from birch and elm (among others). They can often be found feeding in clumps of teasel in winter and will usually eat from feeders containing fresh nyger thistle seed. The bird in the photo above is beginning to lose some winter feathers where his summertime black cap is coming in (breeding plumage).

Another irregularly occurring finch, the pine siskin (Carduelis pinus,
photo below) aggressively seeks out thistle feeders in winter. Its
normal fare ranges from the seeds of weeds to those of birch, alder and
various conifers . Its narrow, pointed beak is particularly suited to
these chores. They are common in some years, and absent, or nearly so,
in others.

Pine Siskin above shows typical yellow lining of wing primary feathers.

The most common finch around Baker City feeders in winter is the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus (below). The large powerful beak makes quick work of eating larger seeds and berries, but it is also a valuable feeder on smaller weed seeds as well.

Male House Finch (above) with typical red "forehead" and breast above brown streaked belly and flanks.

The handsome dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis, photo below), the common Oregon variety of which is named the Oregon junco, can be attracted by throwing “wild bird seed” millet mixes out on the ground or on a flat open feeder placed on a pole or attached to the house by a window. It is usually found in open woods in the spring and summer seasons. Other varieties, such as the slate-colored junco, also appear here. They normally have gray, rather than buffy, sides.

Dark-eyed “Oregon” Junco with typical black "hood," buff brown flanks and white belly.

Along with the mountain chickadee shown in the last blog, the back-capped chickadee sometimes finds its way to Baker City feeders. Like the Mountain, it is friendly/fearless to the point of foolishness, and its sprightly acrobatics and handsome suit, cheer up the most dreary winter day. It closely inspects trees and shrubs looking for insects and berries, often hanging upside down from branches, but forages for seeds as well. At feeders it likes black-oil sunflower seeds and suet.

Back-capped Chickadee (above) with typical buffy flanks, lacks the white "eyebrow" seen on the mountain chickadee.

Another bird that may be found lurking around feeders is the sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) It is our smallest Accipiter:i.e., raptors with long tails and short-wings. They are very quick and agile in their pursuit of small birds through trees and shrubs. Parents teach the young to catch birds in flight by tossing food to them in mid-air. These raptors will also catch small birds thrown to them by humans, not that anyone would do that. The bird pictured below thins out the non-native house sparrow population around my place, but they are not too picky about which small bird species they select for dinner.

Young Sharp-shinned Hawk--looking good and ever wary.

Lastly, below is a picture of our smallest falcon, the American kestrel (Falco sparverius). Falcons generally exhibit purposeful, powerful and fast flight with somewhat narrow and pointed wings. This bird used to be called sparrow hawk, but normally feeds on small rodents and larger insects like grasshoppers. They can be found with bobbing tail onpowerlines or hovering over potential prey in open areas. It nests in cavities excavated by woodpeckers or other cavity like spaces, including those found in the walls of old barns. This one was suffering the cold winds on a cloudy New Year’s Day at Ladd Marsh (2008).

American Kestrel enduring a bitter cold wind on New Year's Day.

(I had hoped to show more cacti at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument,
but this blog is already too lengthy so I will do them next time.)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI CONFLICT

Between January 15th and 19th, during the siege of Gaza, Israeli State terrorists killed at least 28 Palestinians and injured about 90 more, most of whom were civilians. 115 Palestinians have been killed since world leaders gathered for Bush’s farcical Annapolis “peace talks” in November of 2007. Israel accomplished these deeds with tanks, rockets, and American supplied F-16s against un-armed or lightly armed people. This killing spree was in response to the firing of primitive and inaccurate homemade Kassam rockets at the nearby town of Siderot in Israel. From the beginning of the 2nd intifada in September 0f 2000, to the 19th of January, 2008, 10 or 12 Israelis had been killed by the firing of these rockets (figures differ). No one had been killed this year, and only 2 people had been killed in 2007.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, since the beginning of the 2nd intifada:

“3534 Palestinians Civilians have been killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) forces in the OPT. [OPT = Palestinian Occupied Territories]

A further 928 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in armed clashes in the OPT.

11300 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Intifada.

13450 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the West Bank territory since the beginning of the Intifada.

Over 800 of the dead were children, 142 were women.

Israeli state terrorists killed 372 of these people, many of whom were innocent bystanders, while attempting extra-judicial assassinations of people they said were involved in various “crimes” of resistance to Israeli occupation. There is no right to a kangaroo court when Israel makes you a suspect in the occupied territories.

On the other hand, Palestinians have killed 705 Israeli civilians and 325 Israeli security personnel during the same time period.

Checkout Ali Abunimah on “Democracy Now” :
<”The United States is complicit. And, by the way, Amy, this is another
setback for the Bush Doctrine. The people of Gaza have been the victims
of an experiment by the Bush administration and Israel, where, first of
all, they had a democratic election [Hamas won! Chris]. The US and Israel didn’t like that
result, so they tried to overthrow Hamas using Contra-style militias
and using a starvation siege. Hamas turned the tables on them and got
rid of those militias. So they decided to tighten the siege on the
people of Gaza, and the people of Gaza decided to break out of it
themselves.”> Ali Abunimah


Palestinians surge into Egypt after knocking down Israeli built ghetto fence reminiscent of the Berlin Wall (Al Jazeera photo)

“Gazans are still subject to the control of the Israeli military which retains the ability and right to enter the Gaza Strip at will. Furthermore, Israel retains control over all of Gaza's public utilities, airspace, sea shore, and borders, including Gaza's border with Egypt. It is Israel that both sets and collects Gaza's taxes and customs [and often withholds them from the Palestinians-Chris]and controls its population registry. It controls Gaza's international relations, whether or not they can open a seaport or an airport, and continues its military activity along the GazaStrip's coastline. Taken together, these powers mean that all goods, services and people entering or leaving Gaza are subject to Israeli control.”
Quote above from: Q&A: The Occupation in Law
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/17CCDB3E-3E53-4CF5-8B20-33A63A30EF65.htm

Gazans bring supplies back to their open-air prison from Egypt after knocking down one of Israel's border walls. (Electricintifada.net photo)

POP QUIZ ON THE PALESTINIAN – ISRAELI CONFLICT

1) True or False—The West Bank and Jerusalem are occupied by Israel, but the Gaza Strip is no longer occupied.

2) True or False—Israel’s ongoing, open-ended occupation is legal.

3) True or False—Israel’s ever-expanding settlements on occupied Palestinian land are legal.

4) True or False—The Palestinians and Hamas have the right to defend themselves and to resist Israel’s occupation and war crimes.

Since the beginning of the second Intifada in September of 2000, to the end
of 2007, Israel has killed around 3500 civilians (estimates vary),
including over 800 children. The Palestinians have killed 234 Israeli
civilians and 39 children.

5) True or False—Killing civilians and children is legal under international law.

During the same period, often using US supplied rockets and aircraft, Israel
killed 272 Palestinians during attempted extra-judicial assassination
attempts, including the wheelchair bound former Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

6) True or False— Extra-judicial assassinations, aka, “targeted killings,” are legal under international law.

7) What is it called when Israel punishes the entire population of Gaza for the actions of a few resistance fighters?

8) True or False—Under the Geneva conventions, collective punishment by occupiers is illegal.

9) True or False—The U.N. Human Rights Council recently blasted Israel for the siege of Gaza.

10) How often does NPR’s Israel reporter, Linda Gradstein, offer a report on the conflict that isn’t biased in favor of Israel?

11) True or False—The population densities of the Nazi controlled Warsaw Ghetto (at its worst) and the “Beach” (Life’s a Beach!) Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip are about the same.

12) True or False—Most Americans could give a rat’s ass whether Palestinians suffer or die as a result of US and Israeli criminal behavior. Many are more concerned about the money they have to spend to drive around in their tank-like pickups than they are about the death and destruction our weapons and foreign policy spread around the globe.

Answers: 1 FALSE, 2 FALSE, 3 FALSE, 4 TRUE, 5 FALSE, 6 FALSE, 7 Collective punishment, 8 TRUE, 9 TRUE, The resolution, adopted by a vote of 30-1 in Geneva, called for "urgent international action to put an immediate end to the grave violations committed by the occupying power, Israel, in the occupied Palestinian territory.", 10 NEVER, she seems to be incapable of offering and objective undistorted report!, 11 TRUE, population density for both was/is around 1 person for each 130 square feet (10x13 foot rectangle). 12 TRUE Americans are brainwashed and otherwise misled by the mainstream media, their political leaders who are in the pocket of the Israel Lobby, their religious leaders who are enthralled by fantasies and the holocaust industry, and by a politicized educational system. Many have been led to believe that their most noble roles are to consume as much as possible, be otherwise entertained, believe in and pray to an invisible friend, and blame the victims.

For discussion of questions 1-6, see: Q&A: The Occupation in Law
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/17CCDB3E-3E53-4CF5-8B20-33A63A30EF65.htm

IT’S THE CORRUPTION, STUPID!
Our current financial crisis, a follow-up act to the savings and loan
scandal and the technology bubble-bust, has been brewing since the late
90’s, and became inevitable during the reign of King George W. Its
roots have been nourished by the deregulation dogma begun in the Carter
administration and made a holy writ during the union busting regime of
master salesman and heartless bully, Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton, the
face of the Democratic Leadership Council, along with his financial
advisor and Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs,Citigroup,
etc.), all but turned over the economic reigns to Wall Street, while
loosening conflict of interest regulations that had helped to keep the
financial scampsters on a long leash. War criminal George W. Bush
ignored the housing bubble while increasing the national debt by over
$3.5 TRILLION, or 62%, in 7 years. The 2006 trade deficit was double
that of 2000, the year Bush stole the Presidential election, and during
his time in office, over 3 million good manufacturing jobs have gone
overseas. Under G.W., energy prices have skyrocketed, credit card debt
has increased by almost half, total household debt, credit card and
mortgage, as a percent of the market value of total household assets is
at a new high, foreign-held debt has doubled, while the dollar is in
steep decline. The popping of the housing bubble, during which Wall
Street banker/traders made millions selling bad loans, and the ensuing
credit crunch, has left us in an ever-deepening financial crisis which
could lead to a variety of the “stagflation” we experienced in the
‘70s, if not a 21st century version of a depression. Bush and Congress
have concocted an inadequate and poorly targeted stimulus package that
will likely prove to be more politics, psychology and style than the
effective long-term reform necessary for rescuing the economy. There
are few politicians left in Congress who possess the sense of fairness,
compassion, intelligence and courage needed to reign in the bankers and
traders on Wall Street with new regulations.

Here are some interesting articles concerning the financial upheaval:

“Is This the Big One”
From Information Clearing House
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19126.htm

Even the far-right Op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal conceded Greenspan's culpability in Saturday's edition…..

The Wall Street Journal admits that a new “structured debt” market was created to package dubious subprime liabilities (from “no doc”, no collateral, “bad credit” loan applicants) and sell them to hedge funds, insurance companies and foreign banks as if they were precious jewels. TheWSJ avers that this is the way that “smart people” “exploit” the opportunities from lavish “capital flows”.

But was it “smart” or criminal?

Fortunately, that question was answered this week in an extraordinary outburst on cable TV by market-insider and equities guru, JimCramer. In Cramer's latest explosion, he details his own involvement in creating and selling “structured products” which had never been stress-tested in a slumping market. No one knew how badly they would perform. Cramer admits that the motivation behind peddling this junk to gullible investors was simply greed. Here's his statement
:”
"ITS ALL ABOUT THE COMMISSION”
Cramer Rages on Banks: 'Where's the SEC?!'
http://www.cnbc.com/id/22706231
<”(We used to say) “The commissions on structured products are so huge let's JAM IT.” (note “jam it” means foist it on the customer) It's all about the 'commish'. The commission on structured product is GIGANTIC. I could make a fortune 'JAMMING THAT CRUMMY PAPER' but I had a degree of conscience---what a shocker!--We used to regulate people but they decided during the Reagan revolution that that was bad. So we don't regulate anyone anymore. But listen the commission in structured product is so gigantic. (pause) First of all the customer has no idea what the product really is because it is invented. Second, you assume the customer is really stupid; like we used to say about the German bankers, 'The German banks are just Bozos. Throw them anything.' Or the Australians 'M O R O N S' Or the Florida Fund (ha ha ) “They're so stupid let's give them Triple B (junk grade) Then we'd just laugh and laugh at the customers and Jam them with the commission...That's what happened; that's what happened....Remember, this is about commissions, about how much money you can make by jamming stupid customers. I've seen it all my life; you jam stupid customers.”
See the whole damning confession on
: http://www.cnbc.com/id/22706231

Trillions of dollars in structured investments (CDOs, MBSs, an ASCP) have now clogged up the global economic system and are dragging the world headlong into recession/depression. Cramer's confession is a candid admission of criminal intent to defraud the public by selling products which people--within the financial industry---KNEW were falsely represented by their ratings. They sold them simply to fatten their own paychecks and because there is no longer any regulatory agency within the US government that curtails ilicit activity.”
AND
Economics Journalist Robert Kuttner on the “Most Serious Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression”: “This is the Result of Rightwing Ideology and the Political Power of Wall Street
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/23/recession

Amy Goodman: The solutions now—the Fed interest-rate cut, the stimulus package—is this enough, Robert Kuttner?
ROBERT KUTTNER: No, it’s not the beginning of enough. And I think the place to start is to recognize why this recession is different from all other recessions. This began and is continuing with a collapse in credit markets, and the collapse in credit markets is, in turn, the result of deregulation gone nuts. And it’s a repeat of a lot of things that happened in the 1920s, where there was too much speculation with too much borrowed money and a complete lack of transparency. The regulators, the public had no idea of what these bonds that had been created out of subprime mortgages really contained, what they were worth. The people who packaged them were not subject to any kind of regulatory scrutiny.
. . . .
This did not just happen. This was not an accident. This was the agenda of business, particularly Wall Street, going back thirty years. And if you look at the history of this, the Great Depression discredited free-market ideology, because it was such a colossal practical failure. Nobody in the 1930s could argue with a straight face that free markets worked.

And so, we had a whole mixed economy, a regulatory structure invented during the New Deal, that really lasted thirty or forty years. By the ’70s, for a variety of reasons, big business had recovered a lot of the political power that it had lost in the Depression. And both parties, beginning with Carter, continuing with Clinton, became enablers of the kind of deregulation that finally has come home to roost in this crisis. So now we’re learning, painfully, for a second time a lesson that we never should have had to learn twice, that markets don’t regulate themselves. Markets, left to their own devices, create grotesque inequality, ruin the environment and ruin the economy. And we’re seeing that unfold.
. . . .
. . . they need to hang this around the necks, not just of the Republican Party, not just around George W. Bush, but around the whole conservative ideology, because this economic mess is the gift that’s going to keep on giving, unfortunately, for years to come, of rightwing ideology put into practice in its most extreme form since Reagan. And that message, I think, has to keep getting out. This did not come out of thin air. This was not like a comet striking the earth. This was the result of rightwing ideology and the political power of Wall Street taking over the economy
.“>

Robert Reich | Darker Days Ahead?
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012608F.shtml
<According to Robert Reich in Newsweek,
"Think the last few days have been bad for Wall Street and the rest of the world's markets? Hang on, things are probably going to get worse, says Robert Reich, President Clinton's former secretary of Labor and author of the recent book 'Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy and Everyday Life.' According to Reich, who currently teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, the United States might even be headed toward a depression.
">

Hard Times A-Coming
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19133.htm

Neither Supply-Side Theory Nor Keynesian Remedies Can Save Us Now
http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts01222008.html

Also, from a new film, "Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony," aka ("this is the way empires end”)
http://www.tomdispatch.com/p/chalmers_video
or view it at:
America – A Bankrupt Empire
http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=12259

IRAQ: KILLING AS IF WE WERE MORAL, SPENDING AS IF WE WERE RICH

January 23, 2008
U.S. War Costs In Iraq Up: Report
By REUTERS
WASHINGTON
(Reuters) - . . . . "Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007," the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday. War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120
billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote. . . . . Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Congress has written checks for $691 billion to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and such related activities as Iraq reconstruction, the CBO said.

More: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-iraq-usa-spending.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

From ICH:
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq 1,168,058
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America'sWar On Iraq 3,932
http://icasualties.org/oif/

Documenting How the Busies Lied the Country into War
The Center for Public Integrity web site documenting the lies that the Bush administration used to destroy so many lives:
http://www.publicintegrity.org/WarCard/

NY Times article on CPI's "False Pretenses" site:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/washington/23database.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Web+Site+Assembles+U.S.+Prewar+Claims&st=nyt&oref=slogin

KUCINICH

Well, the media finally mentioned Kucinich the other day—when he dropped out of the “race” for president. Due to lack of media attention, many people didn’t even know he was running. Part of the solution is public financing for election campaigns, instant runoff voting, and reform of the primary system with something like regional primaries. We don't need the media and a small fraction of the American electorate telling us who will appear on the final ballot.

Wildflowers will be in next blog.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Oppression of Northern Winter and American "Democracy"

IN THIS ISSUE:
- Longing for the southern deserts--Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
- Kucinich out of the Money and Media Primaries
- HOMO HYPOCRITCUS: Cracked Pot Calls Kettle Black
- Why Not One State for Israelis and Palestinians? / The Lobby/AIPAC
- Lantos' Tarnished Legacy
- Jefferson and the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
- Feral Cat Fallout

WINTER AND THOUGHTS OF SOUTHERN CLIMES

I’ve been sick for a few weeks and feeling like the winter has put me on restriction. The path to the shed where I store some of my firewood is beginning to look like an Olympic bobsled run. The two benefits of northern winters that I have been able to discern are the beauty of the stark, snow covered Baker County landscapes and the birds that have been driven from the mountains in search of food. The feeders are busy with Chickadees, House and Gold Finches, Pine Siskins, and Dark-eyed Juncos. The Flickers and the occasional Downy Woodpecker have also returned.
Mountain Chickadee
Male Northern Red-shafted Flicker

At such times my memories of the southern deserts begin to stir and a barely resistible wanderlust overcomes me. Given that these old haunts are also in the grip of drought this year, I realize that the wild flowers will be few and far between, and the urges subside. The fact that I’ve got a flock of chickens to look after helps too. There are the wildflower photos from my 2005 trip however, so I’ve dragged them out to see if they can brighten the day. They can!

THIS WEEK, MY FIRST STOP WAS ORGAN PIPE CACTUS NATIONAL MONUMENT.

Over the next few blogs, I’ll post some of the sights, primarily wildflowers, that I encountered on that 2005 trip. While it was a very good wildflower year, it was just good in Organ Pipe, and my timing wasn’t perfect. I was fortunate to be able to visit twice, so there were still good flowers to be found. Here is a look at the terrain and the first few.


Above is a picture of the Ajo Mountains, in the eastern portion of the park. The large cactus on the left is the Saguaro. The one on the right is the Organ Pipe cactus, for which the park is named.

If you arrive in mid-May, it can be quite hot, and many of the annuals will be gone, but many cacti will be in bloom, including the Saguaro and the Organ Pipe.

Above and below are Saguaros in Bloom (Carnegia gigantea)


Many desert animals, including birds, bats, and ground squirrels, depend upon these giant cacti for food and/or shelter. Gila woodpeckers, Flickers, small owls, and other birds make their homes in them.


Above and below are photos of the Organ Pipe cactus blossom. It opens at night and closes after sunrise, so you must be up early to see it. The scientific name is Stenocereus thurberi. The cactus was named for George Thurber, a phamacist turned self-taught botanist, who served in that capacity for the U.S. Boundary Commission in the Organ Pipe area from 1850 to 1854.

And lastly for this issue, below is Mammillaria grahamii, Graham's Fishhook or Nipple Cactus. These small beautiful cacti are easily missed if not in bloom or fruit. The delicate pink blooms are followed by 1/2 to 1 inch, bright red, club like fruit. The name Mammillaria refers to the nipple like bumps found on the stem just under the stellate array of spines, and the fishhooks are the central, spines with curved tips.


CORPORATE AND POLITICAL MASTERS KEEP KUCINICH OUT OF THE MONEY AND MEDIA PRIMARIES

Michael Parenti has been speaking and writing about our sham “democracy” for a long time (e.g. “Democracy for the Few” 1980; "Inventing Reality" 1993, etc.) and recently has been informing us about the money and media primaries that the corporations and other powerful interest groups use to manipulate elections in our country. (See http://buffalobeast.com/116/parenti%20interview.htm
and http://aud1.kpfa.org/data/20080110-Thu1700.mp3 )

Parenti reminds us:

Remember, we have three primaries in this country. We have the voting primary. We have the money primary, in which the candidates actually parade how much money they've been able to gather as a demonstration that they are serious and mainstream and top contenders. And the third primary that we have is the media primary. The media anoints and appoints certain people as front-runners.

Regarding Congressman Kucinich, he told an interviewer last month, before the Iowa caucuses that:

Dennis Kucinich is losing neither the media primary nor the money primary because he was never even in them, not as a serious candidate. So they don't take him seriously. He is a very serious candidate, but not coming up with many millions of dollars and not winning the corporate media's attention and being frozen out, he in effect is not even in the primary.

Since that article was written, as unbelievable and outrageous as it may seem, Kucinich has been kept out of the Des Moines Register Debate, the ABC New Hampshire debate and has just been uninvited from the NBC debate in Las Vegas (1/15/08). He was originally invited by the “Democratic Debates” consultant because he had met NBC’s criteria, but realizing the threat he posed to both military profiteering and the corrupt concentrated corporate media, NBC changed the criteria so as to exclude him.

Congressman Kucinich has been almost totally ignored by the mainstream media, including the elitist and so status quo National Public Radio. In the two NPR reports I have heard about the Michigan primary, one yesterday and one today (Now 3 reports, as of 1/15/08), NPR reporters did not mention Kucinich or the fact that he was on the Michigan ballot. They, like the papers focus on Hillary as the only “major” candidate on the Michigan ballot and mention that Obama and Edwards are not on it. Newspaper articles are similar, in that they either don’t mention him, or they do so dismissively, as in “Michigan voters will see Clinton on a list with three candidates who have been afterthoughts this season: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), former Alaska Gov. Mike Gravel and Sen. Christopher Dodd (CT).” (Washington Post) Afterthoughts this season? The season has barely started and the media won’t let Kucinich into the media primary!
If you read Kucinich’s views on media reform, campaign finance reform, health care, military, corporate power, etc., you can understand why the corporate media want to kill his campaign. (See: http://www.dennis4president.com/go/resources/issues-library/ ) The same applies to Libertarian Republican candidate Ron Paul, who also has been left out of a debate or two and who has been largely ignored by much of the media.

So here we are, after a couple of caucuses and a single primary, the media has already decided for us who gets to run for President and who doesn’t. That’s American democracy for you—a model for the world!

Kucinich on media reform:
I am working for serious media reform, including substantial free airtime for candidates and parties. Given the high cost of campaigns, the power of corporate special interests, and the fact that the networks are given free use of the public's airwaves, I believe that the networks should be required to give something back other than "reality" shows.

Media conglomerates are currently among the most powerful lobbyists against media reform, but I believe that were the media to provide substantive coverage of politics it would actually boost both media ratings and voter turnout.

In addition to requiring free airtime for political campaigns, we need to create a greater diversity of viewpoints in the media by breaking up the major media conglomerates, encouraging competition and quality as well as diversity. We should place new caps on media ownership and ban the granting of exceptions to those caps. We should limit the number of media outlets one corporation can own in a given medium, such as radio, print, or television. We should strictly prohibit cross-ownership and vertical integration.

I believe the people should be involved in the maintenance of their airwaves, creating public media outlets controlled by community boards similar to the model of Pacifica Radio. Funding for public broadcasting channels on television and radio should be greatly expanded, assuring the existence of media outlets free of the influence of advertisers.

I aim to promote knowledge of the public process through which citizens can challenge the licenses of local broadcast outlets failing to provide local coverage and coverage directed at the whole community, or outlets airing excessive violence.

Not-for-profit groups should be allowed to obtain low-power FM radio-station licenses. The development of new, community-based, noncommercial broadcasting outlets should be encouraged
.“ And more.

In a press release, the Kucinich campaign wrote:
<Kucinich is the only remaining Democratic Presidential candidate who: voted against the original Iraq War authorization in 2002 and every war-funding measure since; voted against the so-called Patriot Act; advocates a national, not-for-profit health system that covers all Americans; has called for the repeal of NAFTA and withdrawal from the WTO; and proposes a national back-to-work program (Works Green Administration) patterned after the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The Kucinich campaign, which filed an emergency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission last week because of ABC’s decision to exclude the candidate from a nationally televised debate, is considering legal action to address “the blatant disregard of the public interest in silencing public debate that dissents with the views of NBC, its parent company, GE, and all of the military contractors and their candidate-funding corporate interests. Corporate control of the media is one issue. Corporate media control of the information that is allowed to reach American citizens is much more dangerous, much more sinister, and much more un-American.”
“When ‘big media’ exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear, and read, then the Constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multi-billion corporations that want the votes to go their way,” the Kucinich campaign said.
>
(See http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/73663/ and
http://www.dennis4president.com/go/homepage-items/nbc-un%11plugs-kucinich-from-presidential-debate/ )

HOMO HYPOCRITICUS
CRACKED POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK: BUSH STILL SAYING THE MOST INCREDIBLE THINGS

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates on January 13th, George W. Bush, the most notorious thug, terrorist, and war criminal of the 21st century, said that Iran is "the world's leading state-sponsor of terror" and that Tehran threatens nations everywhere. ( http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=3643 ) Bush's false and hypocritical statements go completely unchallenged by the media. The fact that we have invaded, intervened, or overthrown leaders in around 60 countries since 1945, including Iran ( See “Killing Hope” http://members.aol.com/Bblum6/American_holocaust.htm ), while Iran has invaded no one during that period, is apparently irrelevant to them. The American people may just be ignorant on the issue, as most of them couldn’t find Iran on a map, but Bush, the god-guided psychopath, is intentionally lying, as he nearly always does.

Some think that despite the NIE stating that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program after we invaded Iraq, Bush is still intent on invading Iran, and is using his current mid-east peace charade to give Arab leaders a glint of hope to offer their people in an attempt to keep them pacified in the event he does attack. He recently expressed little faith in the commonly offered conclusions drawn from the NIE. Continued US claims of Iranian support for Iraqi resistance fighters and the recently concocted, gulf of Tonkin style pretext, involving tiny Iranian speedboats and huge US warships in the gulf tend to at least support the idea that “all options are still on the table” even when the whole world knows Bush is again lying.

Bush’s effort to create apartheid style “Bantustans” or “open air prisons” for the Palestinians, a.k.a. the “piss process” by those who have been paying attention, is actually seen as a bad fantasy by most Palestinians that are not on the payroll of the “quisling” Abbas. Israel’s Olmert has recently been quoted as saying "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights [ also for the Palestinians in the territories], then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished." (See Bowen “Apartheid-style fight for democracy looms” http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0074934.html )
Palestinians in Gaza--an open prison

What the Israelis are afraid of are that the Palestinian refugee’s right of return will be honored and that Americans will one day wake up, turn off the TV and radio shows about the holocaust, and ask why it is that Israel should be allowed to create an exclusive, ethnically and religiously based Jewish state supported by billions of our tax dollars, while a religious and ethnic pluralism, hyperdiversity, and wide-open borders are forced on us.

WHY NOT ONE STATE?
Israel Destroying Palestinian Homes

As explained by Ali Abunumah, a Palestinian refugee and founder of electricintifada.net, the “One State Declaration, [was] authored by a group of Palestinian, Israeli and international and activists, affirms that ‘The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status.’ ‘It envisages a system of government founded on "the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens.’

It is precisely this basic insistence on equality that is perceived by Zionists as an existential threat to Israel, undermining its discriminatory foundations which privilege its Jewish citizens over all others. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was refreshingly frank when he recently admitted that Israel was "finished" if it faced a struggle for equal rights by Palestinians.

But whereas transforming a regime of institutionalized racism, or apartheid, into a democracy was viewed as a triumph for human rights and international law in South Africa and Northern Ireland, it is rejected out of hand in the Israeli case as a breach of what is essentially a sacred right to ethno-religious supremacy (euphemistically rendered as Israel's ‘right to be a Jewish state.’)

Palestinians are urged by an endless parade of Western envoys and political hucksters -- the latest among them Tony Blair -- to make do with what the African National Congress rightly rejected when offered it by South Africa's apartheid regime: a patch-work Bantustan made up of isolated ghettoes that falls far below the minimum requirements of justice.
” (See: “Democracy: An existential threat?” http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9187.shtml )

Above: Fortified checkpoints (“terminals”) and gates are a key element of the Apartheid Wall and the ghettoization of the Palestinian people. Racist oppression and daily humiliation is intensifying as the Occupation builds a series of fortified checkpoints. Spread throughout Palestine they control and regulate all movement. This picture reveals an overview of Qalandiya fortified checkpoint and the ghettoization of Ramallah and Qalandiya. (Caption & Photo from http://stopthewall.org )

So why is it that Israel is honored for creating an ethnically and religiously based state, while we are taught that the moral and ethical imperatives are pluralism, diversity and freedom from religion? It really gets back to the money primary that candidates need to succeed in so as to win elections. A pertinent example goes back to the Presidential campaign of 1947-48 and Harry Truman. JFK and Gore Vidal both agreed that that Truman accepted a $2 million campaign contribution (a very large sum in 1947) from the Zionists in return for recognizing an Israeli state, one which claimed a disproportionate amount, and the majority of, Palestinian lands. Nothing much has changed since, except that now the friends of Israel also successfully target any candidate who is not seen as being loyal to the Zionist agenda and a pro-Israel foreign policy.

Anyone who has seen the pandering to AIPAC by Clinton, Obama, and other candidates realizes that, 60 years later, campaign contributions from the Israel Lobby are as important as ever in the money primary. As pointed out in a recent Oregonian op-ed piece by professor John J. Mearsheimer, “Each of the main contenders emphatically favors giving Israel extraordinary material and diplomatic support — continuing the more than $3 billion in foreign aid each year to a country whose per capita income is now 29th in the world. They also believe that this aid should be given unconditionally. None of them criticizes Israel’s conduct, even when its actions threaten U.S. interests, are at odds with American values or even when they are harmful to Israel itself. In short, the candidates believe that the U.S. should support Israel no matter what it does.
Such pandering is hardly surprising. . . .

See: “ISRAEL'S FALSE FRIENDS” http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1200102915113270.xml&coll=7&thispage=1
Israeli Soldier Threatening Palestinian Woman

LANTOS' TARNISHED LEGACY

Speaking of the Israel Lobby, Israel’s good friend, and frenzied Iraq and Iran War promoter, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Representative Tom Lantos (D. CA) is leaving Congress. Wow, every once in a while, good things do happen! (See: Zunes, “Lantos' Tarnished Legacy” http://www.antiwar.com/zunes/?articleid=12195

VIOLENT RADICALIZATION AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT

One of the most successful tools used by oppressors like Bush and the Israeli government, not to mention Hitler and some Democrats, is to turn truth on its head through repetitious lying and the Orwellian misuse of words to get people to believe things like the strong are weak and the victims are aggressors. If a country like Israel takes or illegally occupies the land of the Palestinians by terror and military force, and the largely unarmed Palestinians resist by the few means at their disposal, then to defuse the righteous anger of Americans and others about Israeli injustices, we are constantly told that Palestinians are terrorists, not freedom fighters, and that the Israelis are victims who are rightfully defending themselves from pathological Palestinian aggression. If Iranians resist American imperial intervention and the overthrow of their democratically elected governments, then they must be seen as state terrorists and a danger to their neighbors, even though it is we, and not they, who have the history of unrestrained aggression towards many nations in the world. Resistance must be seen to be futile, and anyone who resists in any form must be seen as an “extremist.” Truth becomes a subjective concept to be created by the powerful.

On the home front, leaders in both political parties realize that things have become so corrupt, economic inequality so vast, and questions about Israel’s barbaric behavior so serious, that significant resistance could be just around the corner. In an attempt to head off the inevitable, Congresswoman, Jane Harman (D. CA) introduced the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.” It passed the house by a 404 to 6 vote and has no serious opposition as yet in the Senate.
Representative Jane Harman of the Israel Lobby

According to Paul Craig Roberts, the law “will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas. The commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs.” Roberts and others, myself included, think that these “extremists” will include, among others, “civil libertarians, critics of Israel, 9/11 skeptics, critics of the administration’s wars and foreign policies, critics of the administration’s use of kidnapping, rendition, torture and violation of the Geneva Conventions, and critics of the administration’s spying on Americans. Anyone in the way of a powerful interest group--such as environmentalists opposing politically connected developers--is also a candidate. . . . “ I qualify under several categories, how ‘bout you?

One definition in the act is of the phrase “ideologically based violence, i.e. ”the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.” With reference to this definition, Col. Dan Smith, in a Counterpunch article, writes:
"The history of democracy is that over time, government encroaches so much into the lives of its people that government itself becomes the problem. Consider that in the 1770s, had the U.S. been a country with a law that criminalized the "threatened use of violence," every one of the Founding Fathers who participated in the Boston Tea Party organized into the Minute Men detachments or refused to accede to the British soldiers foraging on private property would have been guilty of "violent radicalization" and of promoting "ideologically based violence."
What has become an "extremist belief" in some circles within the government is democracy.


Indeed! Col. Smith echoes one of the greatest men in American History, Thomas Jefferson. In an 1787 letter to a friend, Jefferson wrote in support of Shay’s Rebellion: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Is that advocacy an implied threat of force? Would our present government feel a need to throw Jefferson in Jail?

Jefferson was also the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, which in the third paragraph states:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive. . . ., it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [and] when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

“Throw off” is a physical act and a use of force. Did any of the principles think that violence would not be needed to enforce the independence they sought? Would the signers of the Declaration be imprisoned under the law introduced by Jane Harman?

(See: “The Politics of Paranoia” [Must Read] http://www.counterpunch.org/smith10252007.html and “Thinking For Yourself Is Now A Crime!”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19002.htm )

So who is Jane Harman? Besides being chair of the Homeland Security subcommittee in the House, according to an October 20, 2006 article in Time Magazine and another in the Washington Post, the Justice Department and FBI are “examining whether Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman's behalf” in order to get Harman reappointed to head up the House Intelligence Committee. In return, it was alleged that Harman would get the Justice Department to go easy on two AIPAC lobbyists charged with receiving classified information from a Pentagon analyst. [AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, perhaps the most effective lobby in the U.S.] (See: http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1549069,00.html and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/24/AR2006102401446.html )

Although she has downplayed her cheerleading for the Iraq war, she has been a rabidly pro-Israel supporter of U.S. aggression in the Middle East, including economic sanctions against Iran (to protect Israel), and has been described as “neocon-lite.” In September of 2006, Representative Harman, who is Jewish, hosted a fundraising dinner attended by 120 wealthy AIPAC donors, as well as Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. George W. Bush appointed Chertoff, who is also Jewish, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Somehow, all of this doesn’t make me feel too secure.

FERAL CAT FALLOUT

Although I have been chastised by a very few for my article on feral cats, little in the way of rational thought has come this way. The best one of the major proponents could do was to tell another that I was mean and angry. Better to demean, dismiss and ignore than to engage in rational debate I guess. The anthropologists refer to two of the time-tested methods of social control in tribal and other societies as being gossip and exclusion. Why should things be different in Baker City?