Monday, May 31, 2010

Native Wolves in Wallowa--Human variety in the Middle East

Nothing seems to upset some people in the rural West more than to hear about our native predators, like wolves, killing unguarded livestock, but many of these same people don't even raise an eyebrow when Israel (or god forbid, the US) kills innocent civilian human beings in continuing acts of state terrorism. As much as it troubles me, I've never been able to completely understand it, although the potential reasons might fill a book or two. Much of it of course is related to acculturation and the values that are instilled in Americans by family and local custom, but much is due to simple brainwashing and information control by the mass media, government, and other institutions beholden in some way to the special interests involved.

One wonders whether some humans become so accustomed to killing things that soon enough any flimsy excuse or rationale will do, even for killing human beings, as if it were just another day at the office. . . or as if they were like young wolves habituated to killing unprotected livestock in another day on the range.

In This Edition (Edited 5/31/10; 6/1):

- ODFW Issues Murder Warrants for Two Wolves Involved in Wolf Killings; Additional Kill Permits Issued for Wolves Caught in the Act

- Israel Commits Another Barbaric Attack--This Time on Civilian Humanitarian Convoy in International Waters


- ODFW Issues Murder Warrants for Two Wolves Involved in Wolf Killings; Additional Kill Permits Issued for Wolves Caught in the Act

For Immediate Release May 31, 2010

ODFW authorizes lethal removal of wolves
Breeding pair to be protected

ENTERPRISE, Ore.—ODFW is authorizing USDA Wildlife Services to kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack, which are responsible for five confirmed livestock losses in the past few weeks.

Wildlife Services has been authorized to kill only two uncollared wolves. This selective removal is meant to protect the alpha male and alpha female, Oregon’s only known breeding pair of wolves at this time. Protecting the collared wolves will also help ODFW, USDA Wildlife Services and ranchers continue to monitor wolf activity. (The alpha female was collared in July 2009 and the alpha male was collared in February 2010.)

ODFW confirmed two additional wolf-caused livestock kills in the upper Wallowa Valley area on Saturday, May 29. (The other three confirmations occurred May 6, May 21 and May 28.)

The lethal action is aimed at killing wolves that are showing an interest in livestock, not wolves simply in the area, and will be limited to an area where three of the confirmed livestock kills are clustered. Under the terms of the authorization, the wolves can be killed a) only within three miles of three clustered locations with confirmed livestock losses by wolves and b) only on privately-owned pasture currently inhabited by livestock. ODFW’s authorization will be valid until June 11, 2010.

Through these specific terms, ODFW aims to protect the breeding pair and the Imnaha pack’s den site, where the alpha female may be caring for new pups. (Wolf pups are typically born in mid-April, though ODFW has not visually observed any new pups this year.)

The authorization for lethal removal is consistent with the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and associated Oregon Administrative Rules, which guide ODFW responses to livestock losses by wolves. After non-lethal measures have been used and there are two or more losses on adjacent properties, the department may authorize its own personnel or Wildlife Services to kill wolves.

The non-lethal measures tried include removal of livestock carcasses and bone piles that can attract wolves; radio telemetry monitoring of wolves; use of radio activated guard box; aerial hazing of wolves; the hiring of a wolf technician to haze wolves and monitor wolf activity nightly; and increased presence around livestock.

ODFW has also issued two additional “caught in the act” permits to the landowners with losses confirmed on Saturday, May 29. The permits give landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing livestock. Last week, ODFW issued five of these permits.

The Wolf Plan, first adopted in 2005, is currently undergoing a five-year review. Ranchers, conservationists and others with comments about the process for responding to livestock losses or other issues may provide public comment.

To comment, please send an email to Comments received by June 30, 2010 will be considered for the draft evaluation, which will include any recommended changes to the plan. The draft evaluation should be available for preliminary review by the public in August. ODFW will present the results of the evaluation and any recommendations to amend the plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission (the state’s policy making body for fish and wildlife issues) at their Oct. 1 meeting in Bend.

For more information on wolves in Oregon, visit


Israel Commits Another Barbaric Attack--This Time on Civilian Humanitarian Convoy in International Waters

After the bloody and barbaric Israeli invasion of Gaza near Christmas of 2008, in which 1,400 Palestinians were murdered, Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein deplored the attack in his book, "This Time We Went Too Far." At the time, servant of AIPAC and then president-elect Barak Obama, avoided any moral condemnation or other criticism of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians. Since then it has been business as usual for American foreign policy and Israel. Obama did nothing, Bush did nothing, most of the entire corrupt, so-called "international community," did nothing.

Early on May 31, Palestine time, as they have regularly been doing since the original ethnic cleansing of Palestine in the late 40's, the Zionists and the now State of Israel, again went too far. They boarded a humanitarian flotilla of ships in international waters carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians--just as they had done in previous humanitarian missions--but this time they slaughtered at least 20 civilians and injured dozens of others, many severely. Yep, once again they went too far. [The number murdered has been adjusted downward to 9 as of June 1st. Hard to know with any certainty due to Israel's near total control over news concerning the incident since shortly after the attack began. - Chris]

They once again killed many innocent civilians, They again broke international law by seizing ships in international waters. They again seized the humanitarian aid that was intended to break their illegal, immoral, and concentration camp style siege of the people of Gaza.

Will those with power in the corrupt western nations, America and the EU, do anything effective to change Israel's behavior? My first inclination is to say "Of course not!" But history in not always a good guide for or predictor of the future, as reliable as it sometimes is. So, there is always hope, but don't cross your fingers or hold your breath.

Amnesty International has issued a call for an international investigation led by the UN, and has condemned the Israeli siege of Gaza, so anybody who had a momentary convulsion of conscience can feel like something is being done and get back to the holiday and the usual spring things. It is really the kind of rights group action that just supports the status quo, while giving, for the moment, the illusion that something is being done: yet another nearly useless investigation that no matter how critical, will change little, because there will be no follow through.

I do think it is safe to say that America will do little, because the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their Zionist supporters are in control of our Middle East policy, at least as it relates to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama will huddle with his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Israel, or his top political advisor, David Axelrod, who while Jewish, is not rabidly Zionist, and a few others, and they will work out some statement that keeps the AIPAC money rolling in while pretending to be critical of Israel but even-handed (i.e. doing nothing serious to change Israeli behavior). The smart thing for Obama politically might be to try and put the responsibility for changing policy on Congress, which will do just about anything AIPAC wants it to.

Internationally, the US, as it always does, will block any effective action from the UN with a veto or other shenanigans in the UN Security Council. Both Israel and the US will be pulling strings and applying pressure on Western nations and client states to subdue any other possible effective action, and that will be the end of it until the next barbarity issues forth from the Israeli government.

So, whatever comes out of Washington or the UN, I simply cannot imagine it will be something aimed at truly offending AIPAC or Israel. Israel's psychopathic criminality will likely continue. - Chris

International solidarity and the Freedom Flotilla massacre
" enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli massacres and apartheid"
Editorial, The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2010

Early this morning under the cover of darkness Israeli soldiers stormed the lead ship of the six-vessel Freedom Flotilla aid convoy in international waters and killed and injured dozens of civilians aboard. All the ships were violently seized by Israeli forces, but hours after the attack fate of the passengers aboard the other ships remained unknown.

The Mavi Marmara was carrying around 600 activists when Israeli warships flanked it from all sides as soldiers descended from helicopters onto the ship's deck. Reports from people on board the ship backed up by live video feeds broadcast on Turkish TV show that Israeli forces used live ammunition against the civilian passengers, some of whom resisted the attack with sticks and other items.

The Freedom Flotilla was organized by a coalition of groups that sought to break the Israeli-led siege on the Gaza Strip that began in 2007. Together, the flotilla carried 700 civilian activists from around 50 countries and over 10,000 tons of aid including food, medicines, medical equipment, reconstruction materials and equipment, as well as various other necessities arbitrarily banned by Israel.

As of 6:00pm Jerusalem time most media were still reporting that up to 20 people had been killed, and many more injured. However, Israel was still withholding the exact numbers and names of the dead and injured. Passengers aboard the ships who had been posting Twitter updates on the Flotilla's progress had not been heard from since before the attack and efforts to contact passengers by satellite phone were unsuccessful. The Arabic- and English-language networks of Al-Jazeera lost contact with their half dozen staff traveling with the flotilla.

News of the massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla began to emerge around dawn in the eastern Mediterranean first on the live feed from the ship, social media, Turkish television, and Al-Jazeera. Israeli media were placed under strict military censorship, and reported primarily from foreign sources. However, by the morning the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli soldiers who boarded the flotilla in international waters were fired upon by passengers. Quoting anonymous military sources, the Jerusalem Post claimed that the flotilla passengers had set-up a "well planned lynch." ("IDF: Soldiers were met by well-planned lynch in boat raid")

The Israeli daily Haaretz also reported that the Israeli soldiers were "attacked" when trying to board the flotilla. ("At least 10 activists killed in Israel Navy clashes onboard Gaza aid flotilla")

This narrative of passengers "attacking" the Israeli soldiers was quickly adopted by the Associated Press and carried across mainstream media sources in the United States, including the Washington Post. ("Israeli army: More than 10 killed on Gaza flotilla")

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated in a Monday morning press conference that the Israeli military was acting in "self-defense." He claimed that "At least two guns were found" and that the "incident" was still ongoing. Ayalon also claimed that the Flotilla organizers were "well-known" and were supported by and had connections to "international terrorist organizations."

It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli narrative of "self-defense" when Israel had carried out an unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in international waters. Surely any right of self-defense would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless, the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a humanitarian mission.

The Israeli media strategy appeared to be to maintain censorship of the facts such as the number of dead and injured, the names of the victims and on which ships the injuries occurred, while aggressively putting out its version of events which is based on a dual strategy of implausibly claiming "self-defense" while demonizing the Freedom Flotilla passengers and intimating that they deserved what they got.

As news spread around the world, foreign governments began to react. Greece and Turkey, which had many citizens aboard the Flotilla, immediately recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Spain strongly condemned the attack. France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner expressed "profound shock." The European Union's foreign minister Catherine Ashton called for an "enquiry."

What should be clear is this: no one can claim to be surprised by what the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights correctly termed a "hideous crime." Israel had been openly threatening a violent attack on the Flotilla for days, but complacency, complicity and inaction, specifically from Western and Arab governments once more sent the message that Israel could act with total impunity.

There is no doubt that Israel's massacre of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 was a wake up call for international civil society to begin to adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel similar to those applied to apartheid-era South Africa.

Yet governments largely have remained complacent and complicit in Israel's ongoing violence and oppression against Palestinians and increasingly international humanitarian workers and solidarity activists, not only in Gaza, but throughout historic Palestine. We can only imagine that had former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni indeed been arrested for war crimes in Gaza when a judge in London issued a warrant for her arrest, had the international community begun to implement the recommendations of the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, had there been a much firmer response to Israel's assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, it would not have dared to act with such brazenness.

As protest and solidarity actions begin in Palestine and across the world, this is the message they must carry: enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli massacres and apartheid. Justice now.


Gaza Aid Convoy Attack: Israel’s Murderous Sea Piracy a Horrendous Moment of Truth for US Policy
Finian Cunningham
Monday, May 31, 2010

.. ..

This time, the Israeli war machine may have gone too far for international public opinion to stomach. In the early hours of 1 June, before daybreak, Israeli commandos stormed the international civilian aid convoy heading for Gaza. Between 20-24 volunteers onboard have been killed and at least 50 injured, according to various reports, but the number of casualties has risen rapidly from the initial reports of two dead. The final death toll could be greater.

.. ..

The actions by Israeli forces have been condemned by governments around the world. European governments, including those of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway and Sweden have summoned their respective Israeli envoys over the incident. Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan is reported to have cut short a trip to South America and his country is said to have recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest.

.. ..

In a tired-sounding script, Israeli government spokespeople claimed that its forces were acting in self-defence after they were attacked by aid workers wielding knives when they boarded the main ship – a Turkish vessel – in the six-ship convoy. One Israeli commando was stabbed, Israeli TV reported.

.. ..

Within minutes of the interception, Israeli forces blacked out all communications from the flotilla, which is carrying 700 civilians from 50 countries, including Britain, Ireland, Turkey and the US. The aid convoy – dubbed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla – had a high-profile assembly in Turkey last week before departing from Cyprus for the Palestinian coast on Sunday. Backed by several governments, including that of Turkey, and counting among its numbers at least four European MPs, a Nobel laureate and journalists from various news media, the aid convoy had declared itself to be a civilian, humanitarian relief operation.

.. ..

The flotilla was attempting to ferry some 10,000 tonnes of aid material, ranging from medicines, building materials to school equipment, for the 1.5 million Gazans who have been besieged by Israeli military for three years, ever since they democratically elected the Hamas government. After the Israeli onslaught on Gaza during December 2008 and January 2009, in which more than 1,400 people – mainly civilians – were killed, the Palestinian territory remains a disaster zone, with its population living under tents and having to resort to smuggling vital materials via underground tunnels, which the Israeli air force frequently bombard. The Gazans’ only other lifeline is via tunnels into Egypt on their southwestern border, but these, too, are routinely attacked by Egyptian forces.

.. ..

The Israeli government had denounced the Freedom Flotilla as “provocative” even before it departed and warned that it would be intercepted – despite the fact that the convoy had declared that it would be entering Palestine from international waters in the Mediterranean, well away from Israeli territory.

.. ..

While the Israeli naval interception was clearly well planned, its accompanying blackout of communications was evidently not swift enough, failing to prevent Turkish satellite TV footage broadcasting for several minutes what was taking place. Those images relayed by international media nail the lie in the Israeli version of events. (Whether the US media do so will be telling.)

.. ..

Taken from different angles on various positions of the vessel, the TV images show the following:

.. ..

The convoy was intercepted at around 5am local time, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza in international waters.

.. ..

Israeli commandos are seen hauling themselves on to the aid ship. The commandos were armed with assault rifles and handguns, wearing helmets and full body armour. It appears that the passengers and crew are unaware of the intrusion. The Israeli personnel were able to assemble without any opposition; they seemed casual in their movements, then raising their guns in assault mode, covering each other with pointed weapons before filing off to their intended target area on the ship. Other images show an Israeli military helicopter hovering over the convoy and high-speed marine dinghies approaching.

.. ..

Chaotic scenes ensue. Aid workers are seen lying on decks wounded with what appear to be gunshots. Some of the injured – all clearly civilian in appearance – are lying motionless and unconscious, presumably dead. Other aid workers are shown trying to assist the wounded. One woman is seen carrying a blood-soaked stretcher amid the mayhem.

.. ..

Some of the footage shows a melee of aid workers scuffling with Israeli commandos. None of the civilians are shown to be carrying knives.

.. ..

Of course, there is hardly anything new here – Israeli forces using disproportionate violence, killing civilians with impunity. But on this occasion, the murderous incident is not in some poor ghetto in the Gaza Strip hidden from the full view of the world. Up to now, Israeli disinformation could afford just enough wriggle room to sow doubts over such events. The cynical phrases of “terror suspects” and “self defence” parroted by the western mainstream media served to give the Israeli government and its backers in Washington a degree of political cover for otherwise heinous conduct.

.. ..

Hence, the United Nations’ Goldstone report on human rights violations by Israel during the Gaza offensive could be rebuffed by Tel Aviv and Washington because Israel was responding “in self defence to rocket attacks”. The crushing to death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer was “a tragic accident”. The assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhoub by Mossad agents in a Dubai hotel in January of this year could be brazened out because, well, the victim was an official of Hamas – the government of Gaza whom the Israelis and the Americans refuse to legitimise and treat as “terrorists”.

.. ..

Nevertheless, all of these crimes – in addition to the warmongering towards Iran over trumped allegations of nuclear ambitions from the only state in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons and possess them illegally – has seen the political and moral position of Israel and its US patron gradually diminish to the point of contempt in the eyes of the world.

.. ..

In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel and the US are now in danger of losing whatever shred of credibility or pretence they may have had with regard to the roots of conflict in the Middle East.

.. ..

What the world has witnessed is an outrageous act of sea piracy bordering on an act of war that transgresses the diplomatic rights of 50 countries and the premeditated, cold-blooded murder of civilians.

.. ..

At the same time that world powers are demanding a tough response to the alleged attack by North Korea on a South Korean warship in which 46 seamen died, public opinion will likewise see the appropriate demand for the same legal standard applied to Israel.

.. ..

The US government stands to be severely exposed by this latest, most glaring crime against humanity. No mealy-mouthed US censure of its client will placate world anger that is inevitably pushing governments, especially the increasingly critical governments of the non-aligned movement, including Turkey and Brazil, to apply international law on the US-Israeli war machine.

.. ..

Washington is so bound up by mendacious contradictions in its support for the Israeli war machine while at the same time posturing for international standards to be imposed on others such as Iran and North Korea – this latest outrage by its favourite criminal client will surely impose a diplomatic manoeuvre on Washington that even the great escape artist Houdini could not defy.

.. ..


The Gaza flotilla and the ironies of history
Richard Irvine, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2010

No one can accuse history of not having a sense of irony. Sixty-three years ago in July 1947 a passenger ship destined for Palestine and named The Exodus was stopped and boarded by the British Navy. The ship was crowded with Holocaust survivors determined to make a new life for themselves in British controlled Palestine but did not have official immigration permits. Facing terrorism by Zionist organizations, waves of illegal immigration by Jews fleeing the displaced persons camps in post-war Europe, and resistance by Palestinian Arabs to the increasingly powerful and belligerent Zionist movement emboldened by its growing numbers, Britain was determined to stop the ship. Accordingly when the Royal Navy boarded the ship twenty miles out from Haifa a full scale battle ensued. Three of the immigrants were killed and dozens injured as British troops beat the passengers on to three separate prison ships. From there these Holocaust survivors were transported back to Germany and were once again placed in camps. The world was horrified; an American newspaper ran the headline, "Back to the Reich." Delegates from the UN Special Commission on Palestine who watched what occurred were similarly shocked; the Yugoslav delegate cited that what happened to The Exodus "is the best possible evidence we have for allowing Jews into Palestine."

Since then the fate of The Exodus has achieved legendary status: Leon Uris used it as the basis of his 1958 bestseller of the same name; an award winning film starring Paul Newman came out in 1960. Indeed, The Exodus the book and film, painted an exceedingly favorable portrayal of the Zionist movement and the fledgling state, arguably helping the US and Europe to overcome their guilt for historic anti-Semitism and inaction during the Holocaust by supporting Israel. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban drew a direct link between The Exodus story and the ending of British rule in Palestine. Tellingly a 1996 documentary celebrating the story is entitled, Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation.

Today another small flotilla of ships is making its way to Palestine. Crammed with humanitarian aid and some 600 international peace activists and human rights workers it is set for Gaza.

Synonymous with violence and poverty Gaza is home to 1.5 million dispossessed and imprisoned Palestinians. Under Israeli control since 1967 Gaza has seen it all and been through it all. Yet the events of the last two years are without precedent. Under blockade since 2007, bombarded in a three week long assault that is called a war, its people have been barely subsisting since. As Dov Weissglas, an advisor to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained in 2006, Palestinians were to be "put on a diet." Today much that is essential for everyday life in Gaza is banned -- for either "security reasons" or because they are "luxury items": cement is banned, pencils banned, paper banned, toys banned, medicines and food restricted.

Of course you can agree with all this and say it is "the terrorist" organization Hamas that is to blame. You can say that even though all this is illegal under international law it is necessary for Israel's security. Or you can ask how banning toys is fighting terror?

Like Mary Robinson after the war you can be shocked of course: "Their whole civilization has been destroyed, I'm not exaggerating ... It's almost unbelievable that the world doesn't care while this is happening." Or you can believe Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Despite Hamas' war crimes against Israeli citizens ... Israel continues to respond in the most humane way possible."

Regardless of whom you choose to believe, this weekend you are likely to see another example of Israel's humanity. Reportedly a quarter of Israel's Navy has been mobilized to ensure the aid flotilla does not get through. The Israeli press reports that just like the British all those years ago, plans have been made to stop the aid flotilla twenty miles out to sea and transfer the passengers to holding camps or prisons inside Israel before deporting them. For Israel's foreign minister this is not an aid convoy, but "a blatant provocation" and "violent propaganda." Which is odd really since the convoy, if left unimpeded, will not go near Israel.

However, even if Israel does stop the convoy it should be aware that its position on blockading a whole people is not sustainable. At the time of The Exodus affair future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared: "To Britain we must say: it is a great illusion to believe us weak. Let Great Britain with her mighty fleet and her many guns and planes know that this people is not weak, and that its strength will stand it in good stead." Replace Great Britain with Israel and the same applies today.

Richard Irvine teaches a course at Queen's University Belfast entitled "The Battle for Palestine" which explores the entire history of the conflict. Irvine has also worked voluntarily in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and taken part in olive planting and harvesting in the West Bank.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

ODFW's Double Standards: Wolves, Ranchers, and Non-lethal Measures

[This is a followup to yesterday's post about wolves and the recent ODFW press release concerning another calf kill in Wallowa County. Photos of carcasses left by ranchers in the area are shown below. Edited 5/29/10]

It appears that ODFW is carefully wording the messages to the press to indicate that they are not issuing kill permits until adequate non-lethal measures have been seriously implemented. But the bar is ridiculously low if they want it to be, and apparently they are not considering any non-lethal measure that could impact the ranchers financially--like active herding. Are adequate measures being out there with your cows in wolf country, or are adequate measures setting up hit and miss "rag boxes and hollering at wolves from your front door? You may remember that ODFW allowed the killing of two of our Baker County wolves, even though most defensive measures had been removed weeks before the last attacks and the fencing around one of the ranches with lambing areas was pitifully inadequate. See Wolves and Other Predators. One wonders how Hells Canyon Preservation Council could stand by and not oppose those wolf killings. ODFW is apparently willing to sacrifice wolves so that the ranchers don't have to take any more expensive serious defensive measures, and the environmental groups have been stunningly unsuccessful in getting ODFW to put more pressure on ranchers to do more to protect their cattle with non-lethal measures.

I guess ODFW figures that since the ranchers and government eradicated our wolves so that ranchers could put their cows out all over creation with no worries, that they shouldn't have to change their ways now that we want the wolves back. They and others also push the concept of compensating ranchers for losses from wolves.

The double standard is this: Your tax dollars are used by governments to shoot or trap predators like coyotes and now wolves, on private ranch lands, and to fund other protective measures for ranchers, but others are expected to pay for their own measures to protect their property, crops and domestic animals from all wildlife. Some are also pushing for taxpayer funded compensation for rancher losses, but not for the rest of us.

If you ask ODFW to keep the deer out of your garden, they will tell you to put up an expensive 8 foot fence. If the raccoons or foxes come on your property to snack on your chickens, they will tell you to keep a closer eye on your chickens and make a more secure coop. Compensation never comes up. A double standard is in effect re ranchers and wolves.

See below for my questions and answers from ODFW on non-lethal measures, etc.

Livestock Carcasses Litter the Wallowa Landscape

From the Idaho Statesman Article:

"Dennehy says agencies and livestock producers have tried nonlethal deterrents such as removing any livestock carcasses, aerial hazing of wolves and watching livestock more closely." [emphasis added]

The quote from the ODFW spokesperson is that one non-lethal measure the ranchers have taken is to remove livestock carcasses that are attractive to wolves. If so, it is a little late. The private land area of the Imnaha pack was littered with livestock carcasses this spring when a concerned citizen took the following photos. It is reasonable to assume that they attracted wolves to the area when they were relatively fresh, and it gives an indication of careless rancher disposal practices with carcasses. Here are a few of several photos of carcasses in the area of the attacks:

From the ODFW press relase- Third calf killed by wolf in Wallowa County:

"After repeated livestock losses from wolves and use of non-lethal measures, ODFW can issue permits to landowners to kill wolves under certain circumstances."

Wimpy administrative rule:
Oregon Administrative Rules.
(c) Lethal force is allowed by permit from ODFW only if:
(A) ODFW confirms that wolves previously have wounded or killed livestock in the area and efforts to resolve the problem have been deemed ineffective; [emphasis added]

ODFW is being very careful and somewhat vague in their statements referring to which, and to what extent, non-lethal measures are being used.

I tried to speak with Russ Morgan on Monday and Tuesday of this last week, but he did not return my calls. When I pressed one of their spokespeople, Michelle Dennehy, in Salem, about the wolf issues later, after the Wolf Coordinator would not return my calls, this is what she said:

Also, can you give an a definitive statement about what non-lethal measures were in place prior to the issuance of the 5 kill permits?

"Hazing since early spring (including since early May, a full time hazer), RAG (radio activated guard) boxes on property where it’s appropriate and some ranchers have other telemetry equipment to pick up signals from radio collars if they are in vicinity."


"How many of the ranches where attacks occurred had RAG boxes and telemetry equipment set up?"

"Neither of the two ranches with confirmed wolf depredation had this non-lethal equipment. The area of wolf use is very large and providing this type of equipment to every rancher is not practical or possible. Though it is difficult to predict where depredation might occur, the non-lethal efforts to date have been applied on a number of ranches across the entire area."
[Emphasis added]

"Were any of these latter two measures in place near where the cattle graze or just around the ranch home areas (In other words, where were the boxes and telemetry equipment in relation to the cattle?"

"Yes, these measures are being used where cattle are. However, free ranging cattle are present and are scattered on nearly every piece of land within the upper Wallowa Valley. This makes protection of every cow location impossible. Efforts have been focused to discourage wolf use of these private lands in general but have met with little success – the wolves continue to periodically use the private ranchlands.
" [Emphasis Added]

"Who set up these non-lethal measures and are they periodically tested by ODFW to make sure they are working?"

Michelle- "
"ODFW has provided the non-lethal equipment (RAG Boxes and Receivers), and both ODFW, area ranchers, and APHIS-Wildlife services agent have actively monitored and hazed wolves. All equipment is tested and checked. However, it is important to remember that specific non-lethal equipment and techniques are not considered to be effective 100% of the time. Rather they are tools and methods that are designed to help prevent depredation."

More followup:

"Thanks Michelle.

I gathered from the talk at the "symposium" on Saturday that there is no active herding or baby sitting going on and that ranchers only periodically check on some of their cattle. I assume because you didn't mention active herding as a non-lethal measure being implemented, that your understanding is that it isn't being used.

I look forward to the answers to the "hazer" questions and the one above.

Thanks again,


Michelle, are you going to answer my questions from yesterday? I would also like to know who is paying for the "hazer" and any other non-lethal measures that were being used. Also, when did hazing end, or did it?

"Working on answers for you. Also ODFW Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan will try and call you in the next few days (not today)." [Call from Morgan didn't happen - Chris]

Michelle: "Re the hazer, better term would be wolf monitoring technician, because what that person is mostly doing is monitoring wolf activity especially during the evening and relaying information on wolf location to area ranchers in an effort to avoid further livestock losses. That position is being paid for out of federal grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some ranchers have increased their presence around their livestock."

Thank you for the reply Michelle.

Followup for understanding RE hazer and herding:

Does the wolf monitoring technician work from the air or on the ground?

Does he try to frighten the wolves away with noise and etc, or just monitor their presence?

Who actually employs the technician? Is the technician a wildlife biologist, a rancher's nephew, or what?

What do you mean when you write that "Some ranchers have increased their presence around their livestock."? The statement seems very vague to me. What percentage of them are? To what extent? Are they or hired hands staying out there with the livestock? Do they keep them bunched up with supervision?

I look forward to answers to these questions.

Thank you.

"I believe wolf monitoring technician works from the ground. An employee of ODFW.

Not sure of the percentage who have increased their presence around livestock and I think the best bet is for you to wait to talk to Russ cause he has more details. If I talk to him today I’ll remind him to call you; I know he was planning to anyway
. [Emphasis added - Chris

This has been going on all week. Still no call from Russ Morgan. I guess he's busy cultivating mainstream local media and environmental groups.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Cocky Israeli Reporter Takes on Noam Chomsky; Wolf "Symposium" Video; Third Calf Killed in Wallowa

I know, I should be writing about the woes in Baker County and City, about wolf issues [another dead calf yesterday that ODFW says was killed by wolves (see below at bottom)], the Cole hearing, and the birds I have photographed & posted recently on my Flickr site, but Noam Chomsky's interview was so compelling to me personally, and refuted so much US and Israeli propaganda, that I just had to post it (not to mention my current time constraints). I will post on wolves in Oregon and the Cole hearing at a later date, but have included one rancher's view offered at the Oregon Cattlemen's Association wolf "symposium" in La Grande this last Saturday. For some information on the Cole hearing, see the Herald's pretty good article, or pick up the recent edition of the Record Courier.

Cocky Israeli Reporter Takes on Chomsky: Chomsky, at 81, Still a Master of Language, Logic, and History, Calmly and Lucidly Destroys Her Barrage of Propagandistic Nonsense.

Chomsky on Dershowitz: "He's a dedicated liar" & "He's extremely dishonest." He is "very dangerous for Israel."


Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-up? (best viewed on YouTube)

Rancher speaking at Wolf Symposium: "Can Ranchers and Wolves Co-Exist?"

A Symposium Hosted by the Oregon Cattlemens Association and Eastern Oregon University Range Club held in La Grande, at Eastern Oregon Universitys Badgley Hall in the first floor auditorium from 1- 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2010.

It is illegal to kill wolves in Oregon without a permit from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. ODFW recently issued 5 permits to kill wolves in north east Oregon. More on hysteria promoted at OCA wolf "symposium" later.

Third calf killed by wolf in Wallowa County

[Note: ODFW has included more information about alleged non-lethal measures taken in their press release. The details of these measures differs somewhat from the account I was given this week by Michelle Dennehy, who I believe is responsible for this report. Whether adequate non-lethal measures have been taken is open to dispute.]

May 28, 2010

ENTERPRISE, Ore.—A domestic calf was killed by a wolf or wolves in Wallowa County yesterday, marking the third confirmed wolf kill in the area this month.

The incident was first reported late yesterday. ODFW and USDA Wildlife Services investigated and confirmed the kill today.

The calf carcass was discovered on private ranchland that first experienced wolf activity in late March, when wolves were found within a small fenced cow pasture near the ranch’s house. The ranch is in the upper Wallowa Valley area, which has been part of the territory of the Imnaha wolf pack since spring.

Since that time, the agencies and livestock producers in the area have tried a variety of non-lethal measures to avoid wolf-caused losses, including: removal of livestock carcasses that can attract wolves; radio telemetry monitoring of wolves; use of radio activated guard box; aerial hazing of wolves; the hiring of a wolf technician to haze wolves and monitor wolf activity nightly; and increased presence around livestock.

ODFW responses to wolf-related livestock losses are guided by the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and associated Oregon Administrative Rules. After repeated livestock losses from wolves and use of non-lethal measures, ODFW can issue permits to landowners to kill wolves under certain circumstances.

Earlier this week, ODFW issued five of these “caught in the act” permits to the two landowners that experienced wolf kills on May 5 and May 20 and to the three landowners that live between those two properties. The permits give landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing livestock. One of the permits went to the landowner that experienced today’s confirmed wolf kill.

Four members of the Imnaha pack are radio-collared, including the alpha male and alpha female, which are Oregon’s only confirmed breeding pair of wolves at this time.

ODFW is considering next steps to avoid more livestock losses.

Comment on the Wolf Plan

The Wolf Plan, first adopted in 2005, is currently undergoing a five-year review. Ranchers, conservationists and others with comments about the process for responding to livestock losses may provide public comment.

To comment, please send an email to Comments received by June 30, 2010 will be considered for the draft evaluation, which will include any recommended changes to the plan. The draft evaluation should be available for preliminary review by the public in August. ODFW will present the results of the evaluation and any recommendations to amend the plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission (the state’s policy making body for fish and wildlife issues) at their Oct. 1 meeting in Bend.

For more information on wolves in Oregon, visit


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Attempted Robbery in Baker City?

Ex City Manager Steve Brocato Files lawsuit Against Our City, Four City Councilors, and Baker City Resident Gary Dielman.

Below is a copy of the text from a press release issued yesterday by Steve Brocato's most recent attorney's, Crispin Employment Lawyers.




Craig A. Crispin, Attorney at Law
1834 SW 58th Avenue, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97221
(503) 293-5759
(503) 756-1701 (Cell)

Portland, Oregon (May 24, 2010): Former Baker City Manager, Stephen Brocato, today filed suit in US District Court, naming Baker City, Mayor Dennis Dorrah, City Councilors Beverly Calder, Aletha Bonebrake, and Clair Button, and Baker City resident Gary Dielman as defendants. Although the complaint filed today does not specify the amount of damages claimed, it claims lost wages, lost benefits of employment, and other economic losses, as well as future losses and lost earning capacity. Brocato seeks an award of damages for noneconomic damages and an assessment of punitive damages against the individual defendants.

Brocato was Baker City Manager from February 2007 until his termination by the City Council on June 9, 2009. His firing drew strong criticism and led to a failed recall election against Mayor Dorrah and Council member Calder in November 2009.

In his complaint, filed by Portland employment lawyers Craig Crispin and Shelley Russell, Brocato claims he was terminated as a result of Council retaliation for his work on proposed revisions to the City Property Maintenance Ordinance. Brocato’s lawsuit describes a survey of potentially affected property, which showed that defendants Dorrah and Calder likely had actual conflicts of interest in that each owned properties that showed multiple violations of the proposed ordinance. He claims that after he contacted the Oregon Government Ethics Commission disclosing the potential conflicts of interest by those members of the City Council, the Council retaliated against him by wrongfully terminating his employment as City Manager.

Brocato alleges that Mayor Dorrah and Councilors Calder, Button, and Bonebrake violated Oregon’s Open Meeting law by adiscussing (sic) in private and collaborating on the decision to terminate him. Brocato’s complaint notes that he was terminated during a June 9, 2009 City Council meeting where Mayor Dorrah allowed no debate or discussion before the vote.

Alleging a federal civil rights claim, as well as defamation, Brocato claims all the defendants made false and defamatory statements about him, causing a violation of his Constitutional Fourteenth Amendment right to be free from false charges made under color of law which involved or implied personal and professional dishonesty, immorality or malfeasance in office.

Brocato said he made every attempt to resolve his dispute with the City and City Council through two Portland employment lawyers, “but the City made no effort to prevent his lawsuit.” “If they wouldn’t negotiate a fair resolution, I had no other choice but to take the matter to court,” Brocato added.

Portland employment lawyer, Craig Crispin, who represents Brocato in his lawsuit, said he expects the case to take a year and a half to complete, and that both sides will incur a great deal of expense in the court proceedings and at a jury trial. Crispin, who maintains a Portland office but handles employment cases against public and private entities statewide, said he expects to ask a jury to award Brocato in excess of $1 million. “How much in excess of $1 million, we don’t know at this time. A lot depends on the calculations of our expert economist and how egregious the behind-the-scenes conduct of the individual defendants turns out to be.”

The case is expected to be assigned to the Pendleton division of the federal Oregon District Court for trial.

My Comments:

In my opinion, it goes without saying that Mr. Brocato had lost the confidence of most on the City Council and a majority of city residents long before he tried to manipulate, threaten, pressure, and and paint them into a corner with his intimidating "survey of potentially affected property" related to the heavy handed, "war on the poor"(and other innocent bystanders) style property maintenance ordinance, that he, some realtors, and the police department were promoting.

While many would like to think Brocato is a friend of the community, it is clear, in my opinion, that he is no friend. It is my understanding that not only did he decline to resign and accept a separation payment, as is the practice in the city manager trade, but he, and his ardent supporters, including Milo Pope, put us through an expensive and divisive recall campaign, the results of which showed overwhelming support for two Councilors who voted to fire him. Now we are treated to the threat of a potentially multi-million dollar lawsuit, at a time when we are trying to figure out how to deal with budget problems that are, at least in part, of his making.

The simple fact is that the Charter allows the Council to fire the City Manager for any reason. Mr. Brocato should know that.

Attempted Robbery

In my humble :-) opinion, he is putting a gun to the head of the city in an attempt to extort what ever he can get, either from a successful lawsuit, or, much more likely, from a settlement derived from the multi-million dollar threat.

Perhaps if Mr. Brocato hadn't fired our full time City Attorney and replaced him with a part-time attorney, who seemed to serve more as Mr. Brocato's personal attorney than one serving the city, none of this would have happened. As a good friend constantly tells me, "It is time to bring the law back to Baker City." We need a full-time City Attorney.

Other Related Issues:

And what about Gary Dielman? Regardless of whether you always agree with him or not (I don't always agree with Gary, nor he with me, for example) Mr. Dielman has served this city well as a dedicated citizen who has the courage to challenge city leaders and our public "servants" when he feels they are on the wrong track or violating the law. That is what good citizens do. What kind of message does it send to others willing to criticize what they perceive to be bad behavior on the part of our city government? Are you prepared to defend yourself from frivolous lawsuits brought by wealthy individuals just because you tried to do your duty as a citizen? The message is that if you challenge powerful people they will attempt to crush you by depleting what resources you may have to defend yourself from a lawsuit. This kind of unwarranted behavior could ruin many well intentioned citizens. The result, intended or not, will be to put a chill on democratic participation.

And what about Milo Pope's divisive attempt to promote the second coming of Mr. Brocato? In my opinion, he seems compelled by some sort of demented arrogance and lack of community oriented self control to keep the ill-considered idea alive that Mr. Brocato is somehow a positive force in our community. One need only make a cursory review of the turmoil created by Mr. Brocato's tenure, now continued by Mr. Pope and a few others, to see how misguided that is. Thankfully, The Herald, which early on helped to stall the Pope recall effort by Dick Haynes, has seen the light and will continue to call out Mr. Pope on his divisive behavior, as they did in a recent editorial over his dragging Mr. Brocato into a budget "training session." In any event, absent a recall, we are stuck with Mr. Pope's seemingly erratic and divisive behavior until 2012!

We can only hope that people will come together to fight what really amounts to an unwarranted and continuing assault on our community.

See Also:

Brocato Fired! Pope to Sue. . . . Divisions Likely to Deepen. (Updated)

More on Baker City Recall (part 1)

Posts on Brocato Firing

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Bird Migration in Baker County, Part 1

Lazuli Bunting Male, singing in breeding habitat east of Sparta, Baker County, June, 2008.

Writing about spring migration in Baker County is something that can become a bit formidable, due to time and the numbers of birds available. Instead of presenting information on all the migrants I have photos of, which are at least several, the task has been broken down into segments.

As I'm beginning this project a little past the peak, perhaps, of the migration, it seems that writing about a few birds that are passing through right now might be most useful to anyone who is interested.

If you are interested, and would like to attract birds to your home, there are at least two factors to consider. Food and habitat.

Perhaps the most important is readily available food for birds that are currently on an energy intensive migration from many miles away, and who in many cases will have many miles to go. This is not likely a high priority item in the budgets of many Baker County residents, but if you want to see many migrating and other interesting birds at your home, it is essential, because they will not linger unless food is available. At this time of year, an important and sought after energy source is "black oil" sunflower seed, because it is rich in fat, carbohydrate, and protein, which will help many birds replenish depleted energy supplies and provide other needed nutrients after an exhausting trip. They also will readily eat the millet-sunflower mix such as that provided in the "Audubon Park" mix sold by Bi-Mart and the millet mixes sold by D&B and other and other retailers. The Bobolink in La Grande is an excellent source of all types of feed, feeders, bird boxes, and expert birding advice. This shop is at 1102 Washington Avenue, La Grande, OR 97850-2534, Phone: (541) 963-2888. Another expert birding friend of mine here in Baker County, Jim Lawrence, goes there for good value, and the owner, Trent, as an expert birder, can answer questions that the other retailers can't. Black oil sunflower alone is available from Bobolink, D&B, as well as Bi-Mart and some feed stores. For goldfinches (AKA "wild canaries" around the West) and pine siskins, I often will put out one or more specialized "thistle" or "nyger" seed feeders, the two most common of which are nylon socks and normal looking feeders with a small opening that the narrow bills of the two birds are adapted to.

If there is food available, birds will stay long enough for you to get a good look at them. I put feeders in both the front and back yards. As I spend an inordinate amount of the time at the computer, checking e-mail, processing photos, and sometimes writing, I have a flat, open feeder stationed just in front of the window by my computer desk, which in this case, also doubles as a dining room table. Also, out front in the tree beyond that, are other feeders. Right now, I have three black-headed grosbeaks squabbling as they seek out sunflower seed in my window feeder. An hour ago, there were six of them on the feeders I can see out the window.

In the back yard, I hang a seed feeder of some sort, along with hummingbird feeders. Hummingbird feeders can double as oriole feeders, especially if you can find the feeders with bee guards that fit over a tube. When you remove the bee guard, the orioles can easily access the sugar water that they will utilize as if it were wild flower nectar that they cherish. Additionally, and importantly, I also throw out millet-sunflower mix onto the walkways and grass in both back and front.

The persistent intrusions of the introduced fox squirrels are a real challenge, and they are ingenious at finding ways to get to the feed, but some feeders are designed to foil them, and hanging a feeder on a thin long wire also helps, as will well designed caging of the feeders. Good luck out-foxing the fox squirrel!

The second, more problematic, but no less important item you can provide is habitat. A mix of old growth trees which may provide both insects and seeds, like conifers, birch, and, god forbid, the ubiquitous and messy elms, will help bring in many migrants like warblers, tanagers, and lazuli buntings. Others, like towhees, some finches, and sparrows, like the cover provided by brushy borders around grassy open areas. Many of the commonly used ornamental shrubs will do, but it is best to chose those with edible berries, or hummingbird-attracting flowers (Forsythia and Japanese quince come to mind).

While not really a neo-tropical migrant (basically a bird that travels far south to warmer and friendlier climate in winter), the migratory, sleek, and beautiful cedar waxwings will also visit your home one or more times a year if you plant the shrubby, small-leaved ornamental junipers that you can find planted at 11th and Westview here in Baker City (see photo below). I have them in my yard, and the waxwings have visited many times since the New Year. (These plants require less water than most, but flourish in good sunshine for a decent part of the day. Waxwings also prefer Oregon Grape, an easily maintained native, that has berries in the fall and winter, as well as showy clusters of yellow flowers in the spring. Unfortunately, the introduced pest bird, European starling, will often strip the shrubs of berries before the waxwings arrive.

Now onto a few of the migrant birds that are in Baker City right now.

Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana (A. Wilson, 1811) :

Family: Thraupidae, -- Tanagers
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Western Tanager, Male, Monument Rock Wilderness,
Baker County, OR, May 19, 2008

I've had three male tanagers here yesterday and the day prior. They are among our most beautiful and colorful birds and, in my exerience, only stop here in May, on their way to local and more northern coniferous forests, although they also frequent deciduous forests. Previously, it was thought to be related to the next group we will look at, the Cardinals and relatives, but further research has muddied the waters as to their close relations. Locally, they inhabit ponderosa forest, especially older trees, and also riparian cottonwood groves. Like many birds, they are secretive and once sighted will disappear into dense foliage. The females are more subdued, and lack the red-orange colorationon the head. They primarily feed on fruit and insects and their song is easily confused with that of the Amerian robin (at least by me).

Lazuli Bunting, Passerina amoena (Say, 1823), :

Family: Cardinalidae, -- Cardinal-Grosbeaks, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Saltators
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Lazuli Bunting, Photo taken through screen door window on cloudy day, Baker City, May 11, 2010

This bunting, related to the well known red northern cardinal, is also among our most gorgeous migratory song birds. I've never encountered so many as in this year, from my yard during the last two weeks, on down to Richland. They inhabit riparian areas adjacent to more arid scrub, like sagebrush, in the higher portions of the interior western U. S. The males, with their bright blue heads and buff to cinnamon breasts are unmistakable, but the females, once again more drab, with blue tails and less distinct wing-bars, are less often noticed. The males are very territorial and will quickly respond to recorded calls during breeding season. They primarily feed on seeds, for which their bill is adapted, but also feed on insects. They, like the next bird, to which they are related, like a sunflower-millet mix at the feeder.

Black-headed Grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus (Swainson, 1827):

Family: Cardinalidae, -- Cardinal-Grosbeaks, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Saltators
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Male Black-headed Grosbeak, Baker City, May 17, 2010.

The large bill of the colorful Black-headed Grosbeak is specialized for breaking open seeds and eating fruits, although, as the next photo will show, they also eat insects (normally during the breeding season). Like most birds of the Cardinal family, these grosbeaks are monogamous, and they have sharp. clear songs. They have flooded my feeders during the last few days, with, as noted above, as many as six males and females being visible out the front window Their preferred habitat is mature deciduous woodland, which is becoming scarcer by the day, as population growth, grazing, and generally poor habitat management puts increasing pressure on the regeneration of these woodlands. The photos below give examples of female Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak, after having caught an insect in the maple tree out front.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak, trying to figure out how to get into feeder with a squirrel guard (actually, a bit of a problem).

Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullockii (Swainson, 1827)

Family: Icteridae, -- American Blackbirds, New World Blackbirds, Orioles
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Bullock's Oriole, 1st Year Male, Baker City Backyard, July 23, 2009

The western Bullock's oriole is closely related to the eastern Baltimore oriole, and will, occasionally, hybridize with it. The family includes the meadowlarks, blackbirds, and grackles, the latter which may become familiar to you in the ensuing decades, as climate change becomes more pronounced. Even though you will observe their many well constructed sock-like nests hanging from high cottonwoods or even in much lower willows in the riparian areas of Baker County during winter, most people rarely see them, even with their bright coloration. I find them to be highly secretive, vanishing into the foliage of nearby trees or shrubs of their usual habitat once they observe the human presence (who can blame them?). They eat primarily insects, although they do like nectar, as mentioned above. Winters are spent in Mexico and points south, but you can find large numbers of them in the lower Powder River canyon during summer. Last year, a pair nested in the neighborhood.

American Yellow Warbler, Dendroica petechia (Linnaeus, 1766)

Family: Parulidae, -- New World Warblers, Wood-Warblers
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Yellow Warbler, American Yellow Warbler, in cottonwood, Loenig Lane, Baker County, OR, June 9, 2009

In my experience, the yellow warbler is the most common of our local warblers. Perhaps I think that is so because their bright coloration and territorial nature makes them easy to spot. Anyway, I love them, and their presence assures me that things could be worse. They always come through Baker City in May, and I can find them in my old European weeping birch and the problematic old elm trees here at home. Once you find them in neighborhood trees or along the riparian corridors, you will soon enough remember their high-pitched song. They are primarily insect eaters (insectivorous) but may also partake of berries or nectar. In Baker County you can find them during the breeding season in riparian habitats of willow and cottonwood, including along irrigation ditches where these plants grow.

Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum Vieillot, 1808

Family: Bombycillidae -- Waxwings
Order: Passeriformes
Class: Aves

Cedar Waxwing, 11th St. & Westview, Near Indiana Avenue, Baker City, Baker County, OR, January 2, 2010

Cedar Waxwings are another of my favorites, and perhaps the most "handsome" of our north east Oregon birds. No human artist could have come up with a more pleasing design. This year, they have blessed me numerous times, as opposed to earlier years, but perhaps I am just paying closer attention. A small flock was visiting my elms this week. Like solitaires and robins, they go to the bitter extremes in berry eating, favoring, among others, the berries of the ornamental junipers, that even the starlings won't often touch. They are a highly migratory species, searching high and low throughout the northwest for favored fruits during winter. They also will eat the buds of trees like maples, and some flowers and insects. "Sleek" is the word most commonly used to describe them, and I can't disagree. They most often breed in brush along streams and neglected fields. The scientists say that the red appendages on their secondary flight feathers are composed of waxy droplets, hence their common name. The much less common Bohemian waxwing also inhabits our area. The Bohemian waxwing looks a lot like the cedar waxwing, but its rufous under-tail coverts and larger size help identify it.

More on migratory birds in later editions I hope.
Cedar Waxwing

(Blog edited 5/19/10)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who's To Blame? Here Are a Few

I've had my fingers in the dirt of my garden recently, so still no time for spring birds. Here is some dirt of a different kind, the sort that has affected you, and the ones you love personally, unless you happen to be a lucky Wall Street gambler.

The second article concerns grazing management by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and their plans for expanding grazing damage on the forest..

America's Ten Most Corrupt Capitalists
By Zach Carter, AlterNet
Posted on May 13, 2010, Printed on May 16, 2010

The financial crisis has unveiled a new set of public villains—corrupt corporate capitalists who leveraged their connections in government for their own personal profit. During the Clinton and Bush administrations, many of these schemers were worshiped as geniuses, heroes or icons of American progress. But today we know these opportunists for what they are: Deregulatory hacks hellbent on making a profit at any cost. Without further ado, here are the 10 most corrupt capitalists in the U.S. economy.

1. Robert Rubin

Where to start with a man like Robert Rubin? A Goldman Sachs chairman who wormed his way into the Treasury Secretary post under President Bill Clinton, Rubin presided over one of the most radical deregulatory eras in the history of finance. Rubin's influence within the Democratic Party marked the final stage in the Democrats' transformation from the concerned citizens who fought Wall Street and won during the 1930s to a coalition of Republican-lite financial elites.

Rubin's most stunning deregulatory accomplishment in office was also his greatest act of corruption. Rubin helped repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that banned economically essential banks from gambling with taxpayer money in the securities markets. In 1998, Citibank inked a merger with the Travelers Insurance group. The deal was illegal under Glass-Steagall, but with Rubin's help, the law was repealed in 1999, and the Citi-Travelers merger approved, creating too-big-to-fail behemoth Citigroup.

That same year, Rubin left the government to work for Citi, where he made $120 million as the company piled up risk after crazy risk. In 2008, the company collapsed spectacularly, necessitating a $45 billion direct government bailout, and hundreds of billions more in other government guarantees. Rubin is now attempting to rebuild his disgraced public image by warning about the dangers of government spending and Social Security. Bob, if you're worried about the deficit, the problem isn't old people trying to get by, it's corrupt bankers running amok.

2. Alan Greenspan

The officially apolitical, independent Federal Reserve chairman backed all of Rubin's favorite deregulatory plans, and helped crush an effort by Brooksley Born to regulate derivatives in 1998, after the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management went bust. By the time Greenspan left office in 2006, the derivatives market had ballooned into a multi-trillion dollar casino, and Greenspan wanted his cut. He took a job with bond kings PIMCO and then with the hedge fund Paulson & Co.—yeah, that Paulson and Co., the one that colluded with Goldman Sachs to sabotage the company's own clients with unregulated derivatives.

Incidentally, this isn't the first time Greenspan has been a close associate of alleged fraudsters. Back in the 1980s, Greenspan went to bat for politically connected Savings & Loan titan Charles Keating, urging regulators to exempt his bank from a key rule. Keating later went to jail for fraud, after, among other things, putting out a hit on regulator William Black. ("Get Black – kill him dead.") Nice friends you've got, Alan.

3. Larry Summers

During the 1990s, Larry Summers was a top Treasury official tasked with overseeing the economic rehabilitation of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. This project, was, of course, a complete disaster that resulted in decades of horrific poverty. But that didn't stop top advisers to the program, notably Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer, from getting massively rich by investing his own money in Russian projects while advising both the Treasury and the Russian government. This is called "fraud," and a federal judge slapped both Shleifer and Harvard itself with hefty fines for their looting of the Russian economy. But somehow, after defrauding two governments while working for Summers, Shleifer managed to keep his job at Harvard, even after courts ruled against him.

That's because after the Clinton administration, Summers became president of Harvard, where he protected Shleifer. This wasn't the only crazy thing Summers did at Harvard—he also ran the school like a giant hedge fund, which went very well until markets crashed in 2008. By then, of course, Summers had left Harvard for a real hedge fund, D.E. Shaw, where he raked in $5.2 million working part-time. The next year, he joined the the Obama administration as the president's top economic adviser. Interestingly, the Wall Street reform bill currently circulating through Congress essentially leaves hedge funds untouched.

4. Phil and Wendy Gramm

Summers, Rubin and Greenspan weren't the only people who thought it was a good idea to let banks gamble in the derivatives casinos. In 2000, Republican Senator from Texas Phil Gramm pushed through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which not only banned federal regulation of these toxic poker chips, it also banned states from enforcing anti-gambling laws against derivatives trading. The bill was lobbied for heavily by energy/finance hybrid Enron, which would later implode under fraudulent derivatives trades. In 2000, when Phil Gramm pushed the bill through, his wife Wendy Gramm was serving on Enron's board of directors, where she made millions before the company went belly-up.

When Phil Gramm left the Senate, he took a job peddling political influence at Swiss banking giant UBS as vice chairman. Since Gramm's arrival, UBS has been embroiled in just about every scandal you can think of, from securities fraud to tax fraud to diamond smuggling. Interestingly, both UBS shareholders and their executives have gotten off rather lightly for these acts. The only person jailed thus far has been the tax fraud whistleblower. Looks like Phil's earning his keep.

5. Jamie Dimon

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has done a lot of scummy things as head of one of the world's most powerful banks, but his most grotesque act of corruption actually took place at the Federal Reserve. At each of the Fed's 12 regional offices, the board of directors is staffed by officials from the region's top banks. So while it's certainly galling that the CEO of J.P. Morgan would be on the board of the New York Fed, one of J.P. Morgan's regulators, it's not all that uncommon.

But it is quite uncommon for a banker to be negotiating a bailout package for his bank with the New York Fed, while simultaneously serving on the New York Fed board. That's what happened in March 2008, when J.P. Morgan agreed to buy up Bear Stearns, on the condition that the Fed kick in $29 billion to cushion the company from any losses. Dimon-- CEO of J.P. Morgan and board member of the New York Fed-- was negotiating with Timothy Geithner, who was president of the New York Fed-- about how much money the New York Fed was going to give J.P. Morgan. On Wall Street, that's called being a savvy businessman. Everywhere else, it's called a conflict of interest.

6. Stephen Friedman

The New York Fed is just full of corruption. Consider the case of Stephen Friedman (expertly presented by Greg Kaufmann for the Nation). As the financial crisis exploded in the fall of 2008, Friedman was serving both as chairman of the New York Fed and on the board of directors at Goldman Sachs. The Fed stepped in to prevent AIG from collapsing in September 2008, and by November, the New York Fed had decided to pay all of AIG's counterparties 100 cents on the dollar for AIG's bets—even though these companies would have taken dramatic losses in bankruptcy. The public wouldn't learn which banks received this money until March 2009, but Friedman bought 52,600 shares of Goldman stock in December 2008 and January 2009, more than doubling his holdings.

As it turns out, Goldman was the top beneficiary of the AIG bailout, to the tune of $12.9 billion. Friedman made millions on the Goldman stock purchase, and is yet to disclose what he knew about where the AIG money was going, or when he knew it. Either way, it's pretty bad—if he knew Goldman benefited from the bailout, then he belongs in jail. If he didn't know, then what exactly was he doing as chairman of the New York Fed, or on Goldman's board?

7. Robert Steel

Like better-known corruptocrats Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, Steel joined the Treasury after spending several years as a top executive with Goldman Sachs. Steel joined the Treasury in 2006 as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, and proceeded to do, well, nothing much until financial markets went into free-fall in 2008. When Wachovia ousted CEO Ken Thompson, the company named Steel as its new CEO. Steel promptly bought one million Wachovia shares to demonstrate his commitment to the firm, but by September, Wachovia was in dire straits. The FDIC wanted to put the company through receivership—shutting it down and wiping out its shareholders.

But Steel's buddies at Treasury and the Fed intervened, and instead of closing Wachovia, they arranged a merger with Wells Fargo at $7 a share—saving Steel himself $7 million. He now serves on Wells Fargo's board of directors.

8. Henry Paulson

His time at Goldman Sachs made Henry Paulson one of the richest men in the world. Under Paulson's leadership, Goldman transformed from a private company ruled by client relationships into a public company operating as a giant global casino. As Treasury Secretary during the height of the financial crisis, Paulson personally approved a direct $10 billion capital injection into his former firm.

But even before that bailout, Paulson had been playing fast and loose with ethics rules. In June 2008, Paulson held a secret meeting in Moscow with Goldman's board of directors, where they discussed economic prognostications, market conditions and Treasury rescue plans. Not okay, Hank.

9. Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett used to be a reasonable guy, blasting the rich for waging "class warfare" against the rest of us and deriding derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction." These days, he's just another financier crony, lobbying Congress against Wall Street reform, and demanding a light touch on—get this—derivatives! Buffet even went so far as to buy the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, for a filibuster on reform. Buffett has also been an outspoken defender of Goldman Sachs against the recent SEC fraud allegations, allegations that stem from fancy products called "synthetic collateralized debt obligations"—the financial weapons of mass destruction Buffett once criticized.

See, it just so happens that both Buffet's reputation and his bottom line are tied to an investment he made in Goldman Sachs in 2008, when he put $10 billion of his money into the bank. Buffett has acknowledged that he only made the deal because he believed Goldman would be bailed out by the U.S. government. Which, in fact, turned out to be the case, multiple times. When the government rescued AIG, the $12.9 billion it funneled to Goldman was to cover derivatives bets Goldman had placed with the mega-insurer. Buffett was right about derivatives—they are WMD so far as the real economy is concerned. But they've enabled Warren Buffett to get even richer with taxpayer help, and now he's fighting to make sure we don't shut down his own casino.

10. Goldman Sachs

No company exemplifies the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington more than Goldman Sachs. The four people on this list are some of the worst offenders, but Goldman's D.C. army has includes many other top officials in this administration and the last.

White House:

Joshua Bolton, chief of staff for George W. Bush, was a Goldman man


Current New York Fed President William Dudley is a Goldman man

Current Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has been a responsible regulator under Obama, but he was a deregulatory hawk during the Clinton years, and worked at Goldman for nearly two decades before that.

A top aide to Timothy Geithner, Gene Sperling, is a Goldman man

Current Treasury Undersecretary Robert Hormats is a Goldman man

Current Treasury Chief of Staff Mark Patterson is a former Goldman lobbyist

Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt is now a Goldman adviser

Neel Kashkari, Henry Paulson's deputy on TARP, was a Goldman man

COO of the SEC Enforcement Division Adam Storch is a Goldman man


Former Sen. John Corzine, D-N.J., was Goldman's CEO before Henry Paulson

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., was a Goldman Vice President before he ran for Congress

Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., now lobbies for Goldman

And the list goes on.

Zach Carter is an economics editor at AlterNet and a fellow at Campaign for America's Future. He writes a weekly blog on the economy for the Media Consortium and his work has appeared in the Nation, Mother Jones, the American Prospect and Salon.

Here's another interesting article about how the Forest Service "manages" your public lands. HCPC Blog: From the Canyons BTW, Jennifer Schwartz is a friend of mine.

In Response to Comments re: Forest Service Aims to Reward Bad Behavior (posted 4/12/10)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The "Hope" & the Reality: Obama--talking head pimp (or is that whore?) for corporate America

Been busy with Spring, so not many posts. Lots of birds and garden chores to keep me away from the blog, and besides, things have been going to hell in a hand-basket so quickly that I couldn't possibly keep up! Not that I haven't collected probably hundreds of articles to post and comment on--just no time. Below are a few about our savior Barack Obama, without comment. Will post some info on birds later. In the mean time, see my Flickr Photostream.

In This Issue:

- A Presidency in Peril
- Confirmed: Obama Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen
- The Cowboy President
- Obama the Ping-Pong Populist
- The 'Obama Doctrine': Kill, Don't Detain
- US troops executing prisoners in Afghanistan


Before the 2008 election, I tried to warn my so-called "progressive" and "liberal" acquaintances that Obama's advisor appointments and financial donors spelled doom for the "Hope and Change" rhetoric he espoused. I was roundly criticized for not giving him a chance. Well he's had his chance, and what you see is what you get.

A Presidency in Peril: Warnings from Robert Kuttner

Dean Baker
TPMCafé, May 4, 2010

Like most progressives, Robert Kuttner had great hopes following President Obama's election in 2008. However, Kuttner also has been around long enough to realize the risk that President Obama might not live up to his potential in bringing about progressive change. His new book, A Presidency in Peril, documents how the Obama Administration has been falling short.

The basic story is both straightforward and depressing. President Obama surrounded himself with advisers that were close to Wall Street and business in general. This undoubtedly reflected his disposition; he had always been a political moderate. However, it was also partly determined by his political backers. Wall Street's generosity with campaign contributions was an essential part of his rise to the top of the Democratic field in the presidential primaries. This guaranteed that Obama would pursue a cautious business-friendly path.

Much of the book focuses on the response to the economic crisis, in particular the bank bailouts and the stimulus. In both cases Obama took a centrist path that that largely protected the interests of the wealthy. This is most clear in the case of the bank bailout. In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign Obama took time out to push for the TARP, a huge wad of money for the banks that came largely without strings. After TARP, the bailouts continued, with Citigroup and Bank of America nursed back to life thanks to the generosity of the taxpayers.

By contrast, the government could have taken a hard line, temporarily taking over insolvent banks, including these giants. This would have wiped out shareholders. It also would have meant giving bondholders a haircut, and sending the top executives packing. While this route was derisively termed "nationalization," including by some top Obama officials, the point was not to have the government own the banks. Rather the point was to do a quick clean-up operation that would involve selling the banks, possibly in smaller pieces, back to the private sector as soon as possible.

The Obama Administration has boasted that its path prevented a second Great Depression and has allowed for most of the bailout money to be repaid. Of course, avoiding a second Great Depression is a rather low bar (this spectre was an invention of the Wall Street crew - it was never a serious possibility) and repaying the bailout money is essentially meaningless.

By telling private markets that it would support Citigroup and Bank of America in spite of their insolvent state, the government was giving these corporations a gift of enormous value. (Imagine that the federal government announced that it would guarantee all the debts of a corner lemonade stand. The lemonade stand could make billions from this guarantee.) Their profits are really just a portion of the dividend they received from this fairly explicit government guarantee. In other words, we gave them the money they used to repay us.

Kuttner points out that the stimulus was woefully unambitious and inadequate. The amount that they requested from Congress was only a bit more than half as large as Obama's top economists felt was necessary. Of course, they ended up with even less as Congress pared back the request. The result is that the unemployment rate is still close to 10 percent and is not projected to return to near full employment until 2016.

Kuttner also attacks the administration's strategy on health care. He argues that there were major failings of both timing and approach. On timing he argued that Obama would have been better off waiting until he established a record of accomplishment to give him the standing to press his case. On approach, he criticizes Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for taking an approach that involved cutting deals with the major business interests at the onset. This limited the opportunity for cost savings and therefore meant that the resulting health care plans would still be expensive for middle-income families.

In the wake of the bill's passage (after the book went into print), a bit more generosity might be appropriate here. The bill will extend coverage to 30 million people who did not have it. And it will give the rest of us real insurance, since we will still be able to get coverage if a serious illness causes us to lose our jobs and our insurance. But, Kuttner is absolutely right that the bill does not come close to fixing the health care system. We will have to go back and discipline the drug industry, the insurance industry, the hospital lobby and the other bad guys in the medical-industrial complex or we will end up with a health care bill that bankrupts the government and the country.

Kuttner's book does not give much cause for optimism. We are sitting in the middle of the worst downturn since the Great Depression listening to Robert Rubin lecture us about the need to cut Medicare and Social Security. Given that Rubin earned more than $100 million from the mortgage games that sank Citigroup, and set the economy on a glide path to disaster as Treasury Secretary, there is something seriously wrong with this picture.

However, we have real populist anger that will not go away as long as the economy is being run for the benefit of Wall Street. We also have the benefit of the Internet, which makes it impossible for the elites to shut out populist arguments in the way they did 20 years ago. This is not much to go up against the near infinite money commanded by the Wall Street crew and their lackeys, but it's a start. It also sometimes helps to be right.

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy. He also has a blog, "Beat the Press," where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.

Confirmed: Obama Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen

By Glenn Greenwald

April 08, 2010

In late January, I wrote about the Obama administration's "presidential assassination program," whereby American
citizens are targeted for killings far away from any battlefield, based exclusively on unchecked accusations by the Executive Branch that they're involved in Terrorism. At the time, The Washington Post's Dana Priest had noted deep in a long article that Obama had continued Bush's policy (which Bush never actually implemented) of having the Joint Chiefs of Staff compile "hit lists" of Americans, and Priest suggested that the American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al- Awlaki was on that list. The following week, Obama's Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, acknowledged in Congressional testimony that the administration reserves the "right" to carry out such assassinations.

Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield. I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they're sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind. I won't repeat those arguments -- they're here and here -- but I do want to highlight how unbelievably Orwellian and tyrannical this is in light of these new articles today.

Just consider how the NYT reports on Obama's assassination order and how it is justified:

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday. . . .

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say they believe that he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad, the officials said.

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing
, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any
American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president. . . .

See link above for rest of article.

The Cowboy President

By Yvonne Ridley

April 11, 2010 "Information Clearing House" --

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA has reached a new level in its discredited War on Terror just when we thought it could not sink any lower.

And what makes this even more tragic is that the new depths being plumbed are on the express orders of Barack Obama
… a US President who promised the world so much and has delivered on so little.

That he is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient makes this all the more shocking.

President Obama has authorized the assassination of a Muslim scholar by the name of Anwar al-Awlaki. But what is really breath-taking is that Al-Awlaki is an American citizen, born in Las Cruces in the state of New Mexico of Yemeni parents.

He has now become the first US citizen placed on a targetted killing list. His nationality should not really be an issue because in the eyes of most right minded people extra-judicial killing is wrong, it is an action which puts the killer above he law – and no one, not even the President of the United States should think himself above the law.

Wasn’t Obama supposed to be more principled than his predecessor?

See link above for rest of article.
British journalist and author Yvonne Ridley is also a patron of the London-based human rights NGO Cageprisoners -

Wall Street Reform: Obama the Ping-Pong Populist
David Corn

Call President Obama a ping-pong populist. Throughout the entire tussle over Wall Street reform, he has shifted back and forth between angrily bashing the big banks and presenting himself as a responsible reformer who merely wants to revise the rules of the road for Wall Street's own benefit.

Last month, when he spoke at Cooper Union in New York City and decried the "battalions of financial industry lobbyists descending on Capitol Hill" to weaken or kill the financial reform legislation now being debated in the Senate, Obama named no names and did what politicians often do when they describe how special interests game Washington: He stayed vague. A week later, as Senate Republicans were threatening to block the Wall Street reform measure from reaching a vote, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the White House believed the GOP was in league with Wall Street to thwart the bill. Gibbs wouldn't take the bait. "You know where the president stands on moving forward with this legislation," he said. That is, he passed up the chance to rail against the GOP for being the handmaidens of Big Finance. For weeks, Obama had implied that, but Gibbs wouldn't even go that far. Of course, real populists don't imply.
See link above for rest of article.

The 'Obama Doctrine': Kill, Don't Detain

George Bush left a big problem in the shape of Guantánamo. The solution? Don't capture bad guys, assassinate by drone

By Asim Qureshi

April 12, 2010 "The Guardian" --

In 2001, Charles Krauthammer first coined the phrase "Bush Doctrine", which would later become associated most significantly with the legal anomaly known as pre-emptive strike. Understanding the doctrine with hindsight could lead to a further understanding of the legacy that the former administration left – the choice to place concerns of national security over even the most entrenched norms of due process and the rule of law. It is, indeed, this doctrine that united people across the world in their condemnation of Guantánamo Bay.

The ambitious desire to close Guantánamo hailed the coming of a new era, a feeling implicitly recognised by the Nobel peace prize that President Obama received. Unfortunately, what we witnessed was a false dawn. The lawyers for the Guantánamo detainees with whom I am in touch in the US speak of their dismay as they prepare for Obama to do the one thing they never expected – to send the detainees back to the military commissions – a decision that will lose Obama all support he once had within the human rights community.

Worse still, a completely new trend has emerged that, in many ways, is more dangerous than the trends under Bush. Extrajudicial killings and targeted assassinations will soon become the main point of contention that Obama's administration will need to justify. Although Bush was known for his support for such policies, the extensive use of drones under Obama have taken the death count well beyond anything that has been seen before.

See Link Above for rest of article

US Troops Executing Prisoners in Afghanistan: Seymour Hersh

By David Edwards

May 12, 2010 "Rawstory" -- The journalist who helped break the story that detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were being tortured by their US jailers told an audience at a journalism conference last month that American soldiers are now executing prisoners in Afghanistan.

New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh also revealed that the Bush Administration had developed advanced plans for a military strike on Iran.

At the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva, Hersh criticized President Barack Obama, and alleged that US forces are engaged in "battlefield executions."

"I'll tell you right now, one of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan," Hersh said. "They're being executed on the battlefield. It's unbelievable stuff going on there that doesn't necessarily get reported. Things don't change.:

"What they've done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban," Hersh added. "You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they're Taliban, you must turn them free.

"What it means is, and I've been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place," he continued. "Well, if they can't prove they're Taliban, bam. If we don't do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that's going on now."

The video of Hersh was uploaded to Michael Moore's YouTube account Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hersh has a long history as an investigative journalist and worked for many years at The New York Times. In 1969, he broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Billy Bragg and Wilco-- "The Unwelcome Guest"
By Woodie Guthrie